A Very Canadian Christmas

Since I was alone for Christmas this year I decided to sneak away to Lake Louise. Lake Louise is my definition of heaven on earth. It really doesn’t matter what season you visit, it’s nothing short of majestic. There perks to visiting in winter include an ability to walk/skate on the frozen lake, and, this beautiful ice castle that they build as the entrance to the lake each year.

The fact that I was there on Christmas meant that there were a lot less people there than on any other normal day. There were (at most) 50 people there. Normally you’d see 500-1,000 people, if not more. Regardless, we’re Canadian, so even with only 50 people around, there was a hockey game taking place on the lake. Thankfully everyone was wearing masks. They were pretty strict about it, actually. If they saw anyone without a mask, they’d give them a mask and stand and wait for them to put it on their face.

Every February at Lake Louise they host something called the ‘Ice Magic Festival’ where they have sculptures come in from around the world and they carve the most beautifully intricate sculptures all around, and on, the lake. They also construct an ice bar to serve drinks and do horse-drawn carriage rides around the lake. It usually draws quite a crowd though (hundreds of thousands of people over the two week period) so I’m not sure if they’ll do it with COVID being as bad as it is in Alberta right now. I guess we’ll see.

Even alone it was still pretty swell. Lake Louise is always magical. I say that a lot about the place, but it really does earn the title.

To anyone who reads this blog, or might read this post, have you ever been to Lake Louise? Have you ever heard of it? Is it on your list of places to see? I highly recommend, in any season. Also, if you read this, how was your Christmas? Magical and safe, I hope.

Blogmas Day 24

To all of the friends that I’ve made through this blog, Happy Holidays. If you celebrate Christmas, Merry Christmas. If you do not celebrate Christmas, I still hope that you enjoy the coming days. Winter has always been a magical time of year in my mind and something that, in itself, is worth celebrating.

I hope that you’re all able to spread love, kindness and appreciation wherever you can.

Stay healthy, happy and safe, everyone.

Sending my love from Canada to wherever you are in this crazy world.

Blogmas Day 23

‘I’m dreaming of a white Christmas’…

We got absolutely walloped with snow yesterday.

Normally this much snow isn’t such a huge issue. I think, though, the fact that it all fell at once, during a 12 hour period, was a little odd and really had people ‘up in arms’ so to speak. You could see grass prior to this storm, that’s how little snow there was on the ground. Now there’s so much snow in my driveway I couldn’t even make it through shoveling half of my driveway before I just gave up last night. I’m just hoping, dreaming, wishing and praying that someone comes with a snowblower today to help me out, otherwise it’ll be a few days before my driveway gets fully shoveled.

On the plus side, thanks to this winter blast it really is feeling a lot like Christmas in this neck of the woods, which I am not mad at. People are cross country skiing down the roadways, there’s a snowman on every block and the neighbours are all putting on their masks and going out to help other neighbours stuck in the roadway as they try to get out to get to work. (It took one individual over an hour and eight neighbours helping to shovel a path for their tires for him to get off our street yesterday)

Winter solstice has come and gone and now the days will consistently get longer though to June. I cannot begin to explain to you how excited that makes me. Extra daylight is always welcome in my books.

Well, it’s time to stop putting off my work and get back to it.

Happy Wednesday

A Reminder

This blog is my thoughts and opinions. I do not speak for everyone. I do not speak for anyone but myself. And, perhaps, for a friend or family member (once in a while) only when we’ve discussed a certain subject matter and they’ve given me permission to share their perspective.

I do not speak facts.

I speak personal opinions. If you have ever thought I was presenting my personal opinions as fact, I sincerely apologize.

Also, though, just because I share an opinion does not mean that it is my only opinion. Just because I share an opinion does not mean that it’s the only opinion to exist in this world. I think a lot. I read a lot. I watch a lot. I try to see things from a balanced perspective and acknowledge that, though my opinions may lean one direction, the other side of the coin is still relevant.

Just because I share a story does not mean that it is the entire story. I’m only sharing my side to the story. There’s a distinct bias there, and I hope that when people read my stories, they understand that.

If you read this blog, please take it for what it is, the ramblings of a 30 something female who’s deeply opinionated and a little bit lost in this world. If you want to read facts, seek those from factual sources… which are not, and will never be me. A blog is a place to get perspective, that’s all.

To clarify: when I have been wrong, I have been willing to acknowledge that and apologize. When someone else is wrong, I hope they’re willing to do the same. I will not apologize, however, for having one opinion in a world of thousands (if not millions). If your opinions differ from mine, that’s completely okay.

Oh, while I’m spewing this today, I thought I’d add that this world has so many shades of grey. I’ve noticed lately a lot of people suggesting that something can only be one or the other. In reality, things need not be mutually exclusive. You can think someone is both extremely intelligent and a stupid idiot. For example: I strongly dislike Canadian Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole. STRONGLY, STRONGLY dislike him. I dislike his policies and I think that he says some awfully idiotic, and extremely harmful things that are divisive to our country and stoke the flames of racial inequality like it’s a game for him. And I truly believes when he says those idiotic things, that he believes them. I find him to be a flagrant idiot. But, I also know that he’s an extremely intelligent individual. He speaks multiple languages, has a long history with the Canadian Forces Air Command and, served in reserves as he pursued and earned a Legal Degree. It takes an individual of a certain intelligence level to accomplish what he has accomplished in his life and I acknowledge that. I truly believe that you can be both an idiot and intelligent at the same time.

I truly believe you can be both happy and sad at the same time. Also, I believe you can be both for one side while not being against another side. Something can be both a bad idea and a good idea at the same exact time. What was considered okay and acceptable when my parents were kids were long past alright by the time I was a kid. And now, now that my nieces and nephews face so many of the same experiences what was alright when my parents were kids can, at times, seem a tad stupid or barbaric.

The world is constantly changing and you have to keep up with it, otherwise you’re only doing a disservice to yourself. The world is not black and white. There are so many shades of grey and you’re only doing a disservice to yourself if you refuse to acknowledge them.

Lastly, as always, if you don’t like me, my thoughts, opinions or what I choose to share, just don’t read this blog. You don’t need to be mean or nasty. You don’t have to spam me. Just… unfollow. It won’t break my heart. Not everyone is meant for everyone. Different people have different tastes in what they wish to consume. If you dislike me, don’t agree with me, think I’m an idiot, think I’m uninformed, think my blog is a waste of effort, just don’t read it. Do yourself a favour and read one which you get joy from. Read one which makes you happy. Life’s too short for hate-following someone.

Blogmas Day 19

Instead of exchanging gifts, this year for Christmas my best friend and I have taken the money we would have spent on said gifts and donated it to charities in our local cities. She donated to a women’s shelter and I donated to a local community group that has been purchasing groceries for families in need throughout the pandemic.

The reason I am sharing this is because, if you have the opportunity and the means to be able to help someone this holiday season, it’s a really great idea. I used to think that ‘Oh, $75 isn’t going to make any bit of a difference’, but the truth is, $75 is $75 more than they had before. Every little bit counts to organizations that truly help those in need.

If the person you’re shopping for doesn’t necessarily need anything this year, maybe check with them and see if you can make a donation to people in need rather than buying your friend or family member something. There’s a lot of people really hurting after the year that’s been and whether it’s $10 or $10,000, every little bit counts.

Spread some goodness and kindness if you can, wherever you can.

Blogmas Day 16

If you read my post two days ago (prior to my removing it), I did manage to get in contact with the person to which I was speaking of. Because I was able to get in contact with them, I decided to remove the post. Due to the nature of the post, I didn’t want it to stay there.

I fell of the Blogmas motivation train. I’m a few days behind. Rather than trying to catch up, I’m just labelling this post with the applicable day.

I’ve been sick for about a week now. I’ve also been dealing with extreme amounts of anxiety. Between the two, I haven’t been sleeping much and I definitely haven’t been enjoying life. I can’t tell you why I’m so anxious. Perhaps it’s the time of year. Perhaps it’s me being worried that I am sicker than I am. Perhaps there’s no reason at all. All I know is… dang it’s really hard to just exist some days. With this heightened anxiety that I’ve been feeling, it’s (and I didn’t come up with this analogy, I heard it from my doctor) the feeling of fear that you’re being chased by a bear whilst doing nothing more than watching television.

I did see my doctor yesterday to get some medication that’ll help me fight off this sickness. The last thing I need right now is to get worse, and since my body doesn’t seem to be fighting it off, I needed the extra hand that antibiotics could provide.

I’m planning to lay low until Christmas. Maybe even the New Year. I just want to recover and be healthy again. Perhaps if I am healthy again some of this anxiety will fade.

Winter solstice (the shortest day of the year) is in just a few short days. After that the days will begin getting longer again. I cannot begin to explain how in need i am of more daylight in a day.

Alrighty, time to get back to work.

Blogmas Day 11

Someone that I know joined an MLM in 2020. Actually, they joined two. First they started off with one of the token MLMs that gets talked about widely, and often, and is well known world-wide. They sunk several thousand dollars into that MLM before they decided that it just wasn’t for them. So then, with a stockpile of these useless goods taking up space in their home, this person decided to join (what I’ve discovered) a new-breed MLM.

This person is miserable. They were already someone whom I would consider to be a vulnerable member of society prior to joining these MLMs, but now… they’re vulnerable and more than $10,000 in debt from just this year alone.

They started changing earlier this year. I remember thinking ‘Oh, that was weird’ when witnessing their behaviour. But, it was two months into their first MLM experience before I realized what was going on. They fell for the ‘be your own boss’ speech hook, line and sinker and immediately started investing money they didn’t have.

Most people know of the obvious MLMs. Whether it’s Amway, Essential Oils, Tupperware, Makeup, Beach Body, etc… there are certainly a lot of them finding loopholes in the law and taking advantage of people the world over. This year, though… this year I’ve noticed a distinct change away from the typical business model of hosting parties and convincing people to buy. Perhaps it’s the pandemic, perhaps it’s people getting incredibly savvy at masking what they’re doing, but I’ve noticed a shift to completely social-media based MLM style structures.

People are collecting money on social media to teach people how to collect money on social media so that those people can collect their own money on social media by teaching a new crop how to collect money on social media. Does that make sense? They slide into your direct messages to pitch products you don’t want, don’t need and don’t have use for. They try to convince you to ‘be your own boss’ with these products.

The odds are high that you’ve likely seen this throughout 2020. If you have any form of social media – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tik Tok, they’re there. I promise you that they’re there… waiting for you to give them your cash.

Why I think this is so important to note is because they’re capitalizing on a new structure, something that doesn’t look like a typical MLM so a lot of people aren’t realizing what is actually happening.

I love my friend. I’m sorry they’re hurting. But they’re also being an asshole. This group of individuals who are running this ‘scheme’ through social media are teaching those who buy in that if someone says no, if they criticize, it’s not legitimate, it’s someone being jealous. My friend, as a result, is a very different person as we approach year’s end then they were even just six months ago. I truly believe they don’t realize how far sunk into this scheme they are. I truly believe they don’t recognize what is actually happening. And, since they won’t listen to outside voices who try to tell them otherwise, they’re continuing to sink down into this pit of despair.

I… want to help them. I’ve tried to help them. But I can’t. I’m not purchasing their product because I do not wish for them to think I support the scheme they’re running. Also, though… their product is useless. And since they won’t get out while they still can, they’ve all but sworn me off as of late. I think that’s something that is important to note when it comes to this new digitally optimized MLM structure. They’re teaching people to ditch their friends if their friends don’t believe. So, not only are they in harms way through what they’re doing online, but they are also cutting off anyone from their lives who could be a voiced of reason.

So, if you’ve ever considered starting some form of an MLM business that exists solely online, I would hazard a couple of warnings for you:

  1. If a business exists solely on social media, that is a red flag.
  2. If a business relies on your initial investment to be a legitimate ‘boss’ that is a red flag.
  3. If a business is teaching you how to get rich quick on social media, that is a red flag.
  4. If a business relies on teaching someone how to teach someone how to teach someone, that’s a pyramid scheme.

If you know anyone who’s joined one of these digital schemes, see if you can talk to them before it gets too late. Social media is a deeply complicated structure that promotes the popular and provides them advantages over the rest. These ‘gurus’ may have found their popularity in one of ten million ways. I promise you this, however they found their popularity, they’re not going to tell you the truth because that cuts from their bottom line.

Much like people who sell oils don’t make their money from selling oils, but rather from recruiting people to operate beneath them, these people who sell products solely on social media aren’t selling the truth to the trade, they’re recruiting people to operate beneath them.

These MLM structures will continue to evolve in the coming months and years. If there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s these MLMs will always find a way to skirt the system. So be mindful of what you see, who you speak with and what they present to you.

Blogmas Day 8 – So that happened

This morning I learned that the last time I was physically in my office I left the speakers to my computer on. I learned this because, after researching royalty free music for a project that I am working on for work, I decided to play music. Forgetting to remove myself from the remote desktop prior to playing said song, as YouTube was already open due to my looking for royalty free music, I played the song whilst using the remote desktop.

Terry, the 50 year old accountant who’s office is two doors down from mine, stopped by the office to pick up the mail and a couple of his files. He turned on his computer to shoot me a note via Teams chat to tell me that he could hear ‘WAP’ playing from his office.

WAP.

WAP was playing in my office. And not the censored version. (Not that that would really help at all given the lyrics of the song)

I must’ve listened to it three or four times. I wonder if he he was hearing it on repeat and just got sick of it.

That’s embarrassing.

Good thing he was the only person in the office.

Blogmas Day 7

Hi. Hello. I have a headache.

Here’s a list of things that make me happy:

  1. The Rocky Mountains
  2. The song ‘Rocky Mountain Way’ by Joe Walsh
  3. People with an infectious laugh
  4. People with a sarcastic sense of humour
  5. Las Vegas (when it’s not overrun with plague)
  6. Neck kisses
  7. French toast with ketchup
  8. A great pair of sunglasses and a very sunny day
  9. Sidewalk chalk
  10. Comfortable pillows
  11. When you’re standing in line at the grocery store and the person in front of you asks if you want to go in front of them and you’re reminded that there are some kind souls left in this world
  12. Scratch tickets. I’m obsessed! Why are they so addictive? I rarely win. I always want them, though. I haven’t bought one in probably two months and I miss them dearly.
  13. Fancy notebooks. Boring notebooks. Fancy pens. Boring pens. All stationery. When I was a kid I hated going to school but I loved shopping for school supplies.
  14. When people check on you not because they want something but simply because they want to check on you
  15. Blow dryer/hair brush in one. Game changer, I tell you.
  16. Potatoes. They’re so underrated. They’re the best carb, I tell you. French fries, mashed, baked, tater tots, however you make it, they always taste good.
  17. When you tell someone to do something and they do it the first time, without your needing to remind them
  18. Opening a fresh tube of tooth paste
  19. Law & Order SVU
  20. The smell outside after it’s just rained