Posts Tagged ‘throwback thursday’

CC CHRONICLES: Throwback Thursday / With Colleen circa 1999

Published by cctadmin on August 27th, 2015

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This Throwback Thursday I’m thinking of one very special person in particular; and a time that seems long ago but is certainly not forgotten by me.

I lived in Winnipeg, Manitoba from about 1998-2002. I have a lot of fond memories of past friends and of all the places I worked and became familiar with socially. One of the people I’ll cherish forever was my friend Colleen, whom I had a special connection to and still think of to this day. I worked for a spell in Osbourne Village’s Blockbuster Video and originally met Colleen as a customer who frequented our location and was very well loved by all the staff there. What I recall most about those initial contacts was that she was a big fan of the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer (particularly Angel) and we’d talk at length about it and all sorts of other programs we shared in common. She was kind.

Ironically enough, I eventually moved into an apartment that was not only in the same building as Colleen, but the same floor as well. We took that initial connection at the video store and built on it; Colleen would invite me over to her apartment and we’d watch recorded episodes of Buffy and she’d cook me nice meals. She was gracious and I can’t tell you how much those times meant to me. Her company was appreciated, and she was a soft and gentle person with quick wit and generous soul.

Later on I ended up residing in Ottawa, and while we did keep up sporadically, eventually we did come to having less and less of these communications. I learned later on that Colleen had passed away, far too young, and this news hit hard. Every now and then her memory will return to me and I’ll be reminded how life is such a precious thing. If I’d known she wouldn’t ‘always’ be there maybe I would have shown her more love, commitment as a friend and maybe …. Who knows. There are just so many things I would want her to know; like that I loved and valued her for who she was and for the kindness she showed me in our brief time. I would hug her and I would tell her what a beautiful human being she is/was.

Here’s to friends like Colleen; and here’s to the memories we’ll cherish.

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CC CHRONICLES: Throwback Thursday / Man’s Best Friend circa 1991

Published by cctadmin on July 30th, 2015

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Once upon a time CC Trubiak had a dog named Karma.  They say ‘man’s best friend is his dog’ and I can attest to that most definitely.  As a family growing up, and as an adult I’ve always loved animals and had nice history of great pets over the years.  See there was Maggie (the cat), Felix, Seymour, Saishia, Carl, Sheba… today there’s Doobie, Poppy and Smokie the dog…. but at one time there was just Karma.

In the early 90′s our family was on route back from Winnipeg.  We stopped at a farm just outside of the city and picked her up to bring her all the way out to our Schist Lake home.  Schist Lake was the perfect place to raise a dog because we never had to keep Karma on a leash; nor did we fear she’d run away.  She was a naturally wild one yet she was loyal, loving and about as intelligent as a dog can be.

I was a fairly solitary kid in those days; I loved living out a Schist because it was a golden nature and by golly, nature is like being in Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory to me – eye and ear candy all over the place with the sights and sounds of the lakes and the trees and all the paths on which I could walk on with my dog Karma by my side.

And Karma was indeed often by my side…. for 18 years our family included Karma; and how beloved she was by all of us.  She was an incredibly loving dog, smart as they come.  Any time I’d prepare to go for a walk along the dirt roads to clear my head, Karma would be there right by my side.  I could talk to her.  I could bounce my troubles off of her and she’d connect with my eyes and it always felt like in some way she could understand the dilemmas, or at least, how they might be affecting me.  She knew when I was my usual contented self or in a state of distress.  There were even times I’d stop and cry, down on my knees, troubled by things that felt very overwhelming – and Karma would trot back to me if she had been up ahead, and she would gently lick my tears and sit right there by my side… until I felt the strength to stand up again and continue on that dirt road.  She really was a best friend.  And I could always get back up again; we could always continue on and she’d have lifted my spirits.

Pictured below are two shots: one of Karma right around the time we would have picked her up as a puppy.  Look at how small she was!  The other is random shot taken of her and I when she was much older, I was on a visit in 1991 from Ottawa and she was begging me to put down my book and take her for one of those walks.

Once all of us left home Karma remained living at Schist with Mamma; like I said she lived for 18 years with us so you can imagine my mom’s pain when Karma did pass.  Mom also describes Karma as her best friend – and I doubt that Karma could ever be replaced.  Not entirely.  There was a specialness to her; a gentle and wise knowing-ness that I miss to this day.

Here’s to all the dogs in the world who give us that gentle companionship and who even lick away our tears from time to time; waiting for us to pick ourselves up and continue our journey.

Love you Karma!! xoxoxox

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CC CHRONICLES: Throwback Thursday / ‘Prairie Boy’ & the Victims Voices Matter Conference 2010

Published by cctadmin on July 15th, 2015

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Once upon a time, CC Trubiak wrote a song called ‘Prairie Boy’.  The year was actually 2010.  The setting, Ottawa, Ontario.  At the time I was a full-time social work student at Carleton University, working my way through the program in hopes to one day become a qualified counsellor.   However, as a singer/songwriter I was just getting my feet wet in terms of working on the independently recorded They Say I’m Different (Torrid Productions).

While I was studying at Carleton I got word that a two-day conference called Victims Voices Matter was being put on by the Ottawa Police Service queer liaison committee and Ottawa’s queer community centre project.  The conference itself would cover a wide range of topics from reporting homophobic violence to letters from victims of hate crimes and workshops on queer terminology.

I thought the conference idea itself was a great one; not only did it seem progressive but somehow I thought anything that encourages the breakdown of gay stereotypes and the building of bridges between the ‘gay community’ and the larger society was good in my books.  You could imagine my surprise when one of the organizers contacted me directly to invite me, as an openly gay singer/songwriter/social worker to write a song in honour of this two-day conference.

I took the opportunity seriously – and thus went home and worked on a song that I felt would hopefully encapsulate my story in a snap-shot.  After experiencing bullying in my own youth growing up in Flin Flon, I could appreciate how the conference was about building support and understanding between the queer community and police officers.

Out of it came ‘Prairie Boy’; a song that draws a lot of visual images of feeling like a loner in an unwelcoming world.  A young ‘fairy’ boy who’s a vulnerable, yet resilient dreamer.  Not only did I get the chance to perform it at Victims Voices Matter, but I was able record it as well – produced by The PepTides band leader Claude Marquis.

I recall about 150 people attended the conference, with RCMP officers joining police from Hamilton, Cornwall, Peterborough and Waterloo.  It seemed to me that the conference generated discussions and broke down some barriers.  I for one, was honored to be a part of it and looking back on it today after some time – I can’t help but be proud of how this little song was born.

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CC CHRONICLES: Throwback Thursday / Anne Murray circa 1999

Published by cctadmin on July 2nd, 2015

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Once upon a time a young man made his dream come true when he saw Anne Murray sing live. That young man was me of course, and to this day I still remember that performance well. Growing up I already had a thing for a lot of 1970′s folk and country, so discovering Anne Murray came naturally. I find her voice unique and heartwarming, and her personality down to earth. Songs like Snowbird, What About Me?, Danny’s Song, Love Song and You Needed Me – all showcase her warm alto and rich tones. You can imagine my surprise when I found out she was playing live with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra circa 1999; though I could not find anyone who would go with me at the time. I made it my mission to buy a ticket and see her in person even if I had to enjoy the experience solo. In 1999 I would have been 20 years old – working in Osbourne Village’s Blockbuster video; I didn’t have a lot of money but I made it work.

That actual night I remember sitting centre stage in the 8th row, thinking to myself that I had to be the youngest person in that entire packed audience, which was strange I thought because to me it made sense that you should want to see Anne Murray perform, regardless of your age. It was an eye opener though to find myself alone in a sea of elderly people – yet here’s the thing – I had the greatest time all by myself. I chatted with the people on either side of me and I could sense we were all in agreement about one thing: Anne Murray was a class act and we were excited to be there. When Anne entered the stage, she was nothing short of professional and on point. Every song I wanted to hear – including some of her Christmas hits, I got to hear – and impressively enough she never faltered and every word was crystal clear and delivered with grace and gratitude. That’s what I love about Anne Murray: she doesn’t demand attention nor is she a high-profile celebrity – yet she is a consummate vocalist.

The other memory I have of that night was that she only changed outfits once: she went from a white pant suit to a black pant suit. No muss, no fuss. I even snapped a few photos from my seat which I share here today!  THANK YOU Anne Murray for your musical gifts as well for the opportunity to see you live!!!

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CC CHRONICLES: Throwback Thursday / Camp Stephens 2001-2002

Published by cctadmin on June 25th, 2015

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Once upon a time I worked at a children’s camp.  Growing up in Flin Flon, there was no luxury of going off to a camp with programs quite like Camp Stephens; a YMCA/YCWA camp located in Lake of the Woods, Ontario. I did however, find myself working for and residing on the island over the summers of 2001 and 2002.

At the time I was working at a YMCA daycare center in downtown Winnipeg; seeking adventure and challenge. It became an opportunity I couldn’t resist and at 22 years of age I was a bit of a free spirit, in fact it was after these two summers that I landed myself permanently in Ottawa, where I then stayed for ten years.

It did not matter I had no summer camp experience nor did I come equipped with that sense of encampment history, much like the alumni and staff I eventually came to work with. It mattered not that it paid little and was located on a remote island where they had to boat staff/kids out. Experience was what I craved and I do believe I got it over those two summers. Beginning as a camp counsellor, I ended up working as the Head Cook for a period of time too. So many good memories of those dog days: all the children playing and laughing; youthful camp counselors who seemed to be hooking up with each other left and right; sleeping in cabins on bunks and waiting for letters to reach me from family or friends back home; and those weekends off where we’d all boat back into Kenora for the day and eat at Boston Pizza and stock up on luxuries for weekends of planned debauchery. That is, until the new batch of children came and it was time to get back to the grind in our respective roles.

There are a couple of stand-out memories even today: I recall crying by myself on the swim dock one sunny afternoon while everyone else gathered in the food hall for lunch, likely surrounded by laughter and camp cheer. It was my inherent loneliness.  In spite of any mission to live on the edge I felt out of place for not being a life-long ‘camp kid’; especially remote in the belief I was the only identifying gay on the island; an isle otherwise full of boys and girls bursting with hormones and sexuality. And that was just the other staff!! On the other hand, I call to mind many unique people, having a lot of conversations with peers and eventually feeling included and a part of the amazing tradition that is still Camp Stephens. I have reminisced about walking in the dark back to my cabin from the food hall, giving haircuts to new friends on cabin floors and soliciting free love advice; dancing to Destiny’s Child in the kitchen while we all slaved and prepared meals for over 120 kids and staff around the clock. I remember skinny-dipping at night with girlfriends in escape the hot hot heat; feeling liberated while treading water in the moonlight.. only to rush back to the cabin before the onslaught of mosquitos or sand flies. So many special people. THANK YOU to Camp Stephens and all of my past friends and the children whom I have long since lost touch with; the summers of 2001/2002 were the stuff youth is made of and I’ll gladly continue to cherish the memories.

Below is a photo from back when, of myself and my kitchen ‘girls’.  I still hear them laughing and talking.

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CC CHRONICLES: Throwback Thursday / Purple Polka Dotted Shirt

Published by cctadmin on August 7th, 2014

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It’s rare I like to post pictures of my youth… call it preservation, call it embarrassment!  Today however, it feels right to take a quick moment to stop and appreciate one of my oldest, most cherished best friends.

Her name is Charlotte Ann Ross and we met in Grade 4, in this very grade you see within the standard ‘class photos’ perhaps we all did growing up… Mine are tucked away safely from most of the public eye.  I found them recently and really couldn’t help but smile.

Grade 4, when this photo was taken – I met Charlotte when my family moved across town and I began going to school at Parkdale. I very much remember her wearing this purple polka-dotted shirt.  I loved that shirt – so I told her so and from there we were inseparable.  We have remained friends a lifetime.  How do these things work?

Today, Charlotte lives in Australia while I live back home again; however, we still keep connected and like all of my dearest friends – I am not sure what my world would look like without her in it.  Back then – she was everything a young, questioning boy could want in a friend: compassionate, fun, trendy (the mis-matched sneakers, spandex shorts in every colour, mushroom cuts) and most of all – a lot like me.  Different.  We had a lot of fun in those days – with endless unspoken understandings.

I love you Charlotte!!!  Here’s to everything before and everything after.

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