#PizzaItForward

So, for the past few weeks I’ve been trying to convey a distinct message with a story that I wanted to share but always felt that I couldn’t quite find the right words. Something wonderful happened, yesterday, that has lead me to believe I need to share this story regardless of whether I get the messaging correct.

I’m not sure how many people heard of this story or not, I know it was big in a lot of circles, but I still think many people missed out on the goodess.

In late September the Fire Department in Slave Lake, Alberta, Canada was hosting a PTSD Seminar for Firefighters and decided to order pizza for dinner for everyone.

Local Fire Chief, Alex Pavcek, asked one of his team to call ‘Alimo’s Pizza’ in Slave Lake to order pizza for the crew, gave him his credit card to pay for it and told him to tell ‘Alimo’s Pizza’ they’d drive down and pick up the pizzas when they were ready.

Not knowing the phone number for ‘Alimo’s Pizza’ the firefighter placing the order went to google to find it. And with an easy mix-up, he used google to find the phone number for ‘Alamo’s Pizza’. He phoned and placed an order with ‘Alamo’s Pizza’ (in San Antionio, Texas) not realizing that he’d called Texas and not realizing that he’d misspelled the restaurant’s name by one letter.

An hour and a half later ‘Alamo’s Pizza’ in San Antonio called them to let them know their pizza’s would be ready for pickup in ten minutes. A different firefighter answered the phone and when he saw the number on call display, he realized something wasn’t right. They googled the area code and thought ‘Why was Alimo’s calling from a San Antonio number?’. Then they realized they’d made a huge mistake.

The Slave Lake Fire Department had called ‘Alamo’s Pizza’ in San Antonio, Texas rather than ‘Alimo’s Pizza’ in Slave Lake, Alberta. They’d paid for 18 pizzas and ‘Alamo’s Pizza’ in San Antonio had spent the past hour and a half making all of these pizza’s.

The Slave Lake Fire Chief, Alex Pavcek, called up Alamo’s Pizza in San Antonio to let them know about this hilarious, huge mistake that was made and that they wouldn’t be down to pick up these pizzas. The Alamo’s Pizza Manager in San Antonio, laughing over the mistake offered to refund their purchase but Pavcek wouldn’t have it. 18 pizzas was a large order and a lot of money for that restaurant and he didn’t want that food to go to waste.

So, instead, Pavcek suggested that Alamo’s take the pizza and deliver it to local fire departments in his area. The owner of Alamo’s obliged and the pizzas were dlievered to firefighters in local fire departments in San Antonio, Texas, telling them they were a gift from the firefighters in Slave Lake, Alberta and to ‘pizza it forward’ if they ever get the opportunity.

Photo of the San Antonio fire fighters eating their pizza! The photo courtesy of Alex Pavcek (from GlobalNews.ca

The act of kindness sparked an international campaign of paying it forward where Fire Departments, Police Depatments, Hospitals and other locations across Canada and the USA were being randomly delivered pizza for their first-responders and given the message #PizzaItForward.

It was a really heartwarming story to follow on Twitter and Instagram. If you search the hashtag you can still find photos and stories of police officers and nurses, doctors and firefighters being handed large quantities of pizza, ‘just because’.

I share this story because, for weeks now, I’ve been wanting to promote the notion that paying it forward is one of the best things that we can do for fellow human kind. ESPECIALLY, with the holidays coming up. American Thanksgiving is next month and Christmas and Hanukkah will be here before we know it. Random acts of kindness are wonderful things to do all year, but I find them especially important during the holidays! Holidays can be really difficult times for a lot of families, whether they can’t afford things or have lost loved ones or are just struggling with mental health issues. There are plenty of different things that can make holidays really hard.

I’ve been wanting to encourage every person who reads my blog to go out and ‘Pay It Forward’ to a stranger, to a friend, to a family member… just to someone who will appreciate it. Then, yesterday as I was counting ballots for the Election, an extremely thoughtful, kind individual (Katherine) who reads this blog did something extremely, extremely kind for me with a simple note that said ‘Pay It Forward’. It was so kind I actually started to cry when I saw it. I thought of how good it felt and how happy it made me, and I thought, yeah, I have to pass this on.

To the firefighters of Slave Lake, all of the people who took part in the #PizzaItForward campaign, and to Katherine, thank you. Thank you for your random acts of kindness, thank you for spreading so much good in the world.

I have plans to take Katherine’s kindness and pay it forward, though I doubt my abilities to make someone as happy as she made me, I’m definitely going to try. And, since I’m here and telling you these stories, I’d like to encourage anyone who reads this to do commit their own random act of kindness. To do something nice for someone you know, or someone you don’t, and tell them to pay it forward. Ahead of this holiday season, the world could definitely use a lot more kindness in it. And it might as well start with you and I… right here and now.

#PizzaItForward #PayItForward #KindnessAboveAll

It’s Election Day, Canada.

Photo from the dailyhive

Please, please, please, I beg of you, go out and vote. Don’t spoil your vote. Don’t throw your vote away. Don’t refuse to vote. Just go and vote.

People all over the world are wishing they could do the very thing we have the privilege and right to do today. People in our own country are wishing to do what we have the right and privilege to today. So please, don’t waste your chance.

Vote.

The Cost of Living in Canada

So I’ve done a couple of posts about Real Estate on my blog before (here and here). It’s a subject that truly fascinates me. Where you want to live, or dream of living means E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G to your budget. Like, we’re talking 95% of your budget factors should be location. After that you can consider size, amenities, renovations, etc…

Initially, I was going to make a post about the cost of living in Vancouver, and why it’s one of the most expensive cities in the world to live in. But, when I saw how far your money really gets you in Vancouver (a townhouse for nearly 1.4 million) I thought it would be cool to compare that to the rest of Canada. All houses shown in this list will be between $1,300,000 and $1,400,000 – as I thought it best to keep similar prices for comparison’s sake.

Why is this list interesting to someone like myself? I think there’s a preconceived notion that it’s cheap to live in Canada. And yeah, you might be able to get a cheap house, depending on where you decide to live (Spences Bridge, anyone?), but for the most part if you’re going to be living and working in a major city centre or touristy location, there’s a deep chasm between how far your money does or doesn’t go.

Disclaimer: All opinions are my own. If you disagree with my tastes, please don’t be offended by the snark that I’ve included. Also, please note that all of the following photos came from Realtor.CA and I presume are credited to the listing agent for each listing. If you click on the link to the listing you’ll see the agent. (Link is location and price listing)

Banff, Alberta – $1,400,000

You’re not seeing things, a home in the Canadian Rockies will cost you a pretty, pretty penny. For anyone who doesn’t know, Banff is a tourist hot-spot that people from around the world flock to each year… just to bear witness to it’s sheer beauty and breath its crisp mountain air. (Fun fact: it’s also where Knight grew up) Real estate is pricey, no matter how new or old the home, and there are increased regulations for home ownership due to it being located in a National Park. Thus, with a tiny, old, dated home such as this costing $1,400,000, 99% of the town rents… and rents at obscene prices at that.

Calgary, Alberta – $1,349,900

Now we’re talking luxury. Boasting some pretty spectacular properties on the outskirts of the city, Calgary is a place with a lot of wealth and where your money will take you a long way. This stunning brick exterior home boasts 3700 square feet of living space that includes five bedrooms (every single bedroom having its own walk in closet), four bathrooms, vaulted ceilings, and a private, landscaped, lot with big back yard that backs onto a ‘private club’ golf course. You ain’t gonna see your neighbours in this place, baby.

Cambridge, Ontario – $1,375,000

Doesn’t this home look like something from a story book? This Queen Anne style historic home (built in 1888) in Cambridge, Ontario proves that home prices are still high even if you remove yourself from the GTA(Greater Toronto area)! That being said, this house has been beautifully kept up and thoughtfully renovated over the years. If you’re the type of person who looks for a home with character, this is it. Each room tells a story and each glance gives something new to offer. Curb appeal is A+, the yard is HUGE and the home itself is just the type of home that everybody could really make their own, whether they like historic or modern.

Edmonton, Alberta – $1,385,900

Edmonton is nestled at the foot of Alberta’s oil sands and is the root of OODLES of wealth. Some of the nicest homes in Canada can be found in Alberta’s capital and this home is no exception. Built in 1990, I’d describe this 6,000 square foot home as vintage modern. It’s been updated well over the years, as you can clearly see from photos, but there are some dated pieces to it’s structure. All in all, would it be an incredible home with incredible yard to call home? Sure, if you want to live in one of the most regressive cities in Canada.

Fernie, British Columbia – $1,400,000

Fernie is a mountain town that… fun fact, is where the movie Hot Tub Time Machine was filmed. Nestled smack dab between two of the biggest ski resort towns in North America (Whistler and Banff) Fernie is a town often forgot about by internationals, but on a local scale has seen it’s popularity on the rise. This luxurious, modern home was built in 2012 and is centrally located for any and every outdoor activity your little heard could ever desire. If you want to experience mountain living at its finest, without the overly tourist-oriented mentality of the well-known mountain towns, this house and this town is the place that you should be. Honestly, the hot tub, the deck, the modern style and updated functionality… I’m daydreaming. I really am.

Montreal, Quebec – $1,395,000

Montreal is a city that’s famous for it’s history. There’s a lot of old architecture in the city that really draws people in to it’s almost… European charm if I do say so. (Though people from Montreal might not like me saying that) This stunning brick home was built in 1987, so it’s older than I am, and the interior almost looks as though it hasn’t been updated since then either. It’s going to take some serious dough for a buyer to update this place to decorative styles that match this decade. And if you’re already spending over a million dollars on a home, do you really want to be doing renovating from there? This home is a perfect reason you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover. Street appeal is A+ but inside you can watch all your dolla bills fly away from the updates you’d need to do.

Ottawa, Ontario – $1,389,000

Oh Ottawa, you’re such an enigma. Seriously, for Canada’s capital, your money won’t stretch very far. I mean it. There were condos on the list for $1,400,000. And, if this home looks a lot like another home on our list, it’s because it is! Seems this… style of tall and skinny homes is popping up more and more across our country. There’s not really anything special about this home. It’s new, so that’s a plus. It’s got an all-white interior, so if you have children that might not be a plus. But hey, if you need to live and work in our capital and have a lot of money that you don’t care about, this house is exactly what you’re looking for!

Parry Sound, Ontario – $1,300,000

Nestled in the heart of Ontario’s ‘Cottage Country’ this cottage is no joke. Containing 11.9 acres of land and 600 feet of Georgian Bay shoreline, this is the ultimate summer home for anyone with an extra 1.3 mill laying around. I’ve included this home on the list, because much like Whistler and Banff, this home sits in one of our countries famous tourist hot spots. This home proves though, that you can seemingly get a lot more for your money in cottage country than you can in the mountains! Warning: this home is for wood lovers only. The interior is definitely not for everyone’s taste!

Quebec City, Quebec – 1,399,000

Of all the homes on this list, I think this might just be my favourite. Built in 2004, this stunning 2-storey stone/wood home sits on a picturesque property with beautiful yard and plenty of space to raise kids, or not. There’s 4100 square feet with four bedrooms, two bathrooms and a very unique design to every room in the home. Some updates would be necessary, but, all in all, I think there is a Mona Lisa quality to this place. Bonus points for it being nestled in the heart of Quebec City, a city rich in beautiful Canadian history and the world’s best poutine.

Regina, Saskatchewan – $1,399,900

It’s worth noting that this is the only home in the city of Regina for sale that costs more than $1,300,000, so that is why it’s made the list. Built in 1991, the design of the home is a little dated (although I fully admit some people still like that look… it’s just not my particular style) and the neighbours are RIGHT THERE. Seriously, that’s neighbour house next to the truck (on the left) and you can see the shadows of the neighbours on the right side of the photo too.The garage situation makes no sense. Also, I don’t know why you’d want to drop 1.4 million on a home only to be able to hear your neighbours phone ring…

Surrey, British Columbia – $1,395,000

No, this is not a joke. This is what 1.4 million will get you in the suburbs of Vancouver. That’s right! Not even in Vancouver, but the suburbs! The Greater Vancouver Area (known locally as the ‘Lower Mainland’) is one of the most expensive places in the world to live. As Vancouver has continuously made the list of most expensive cities to live in, people have slowly, gradually, made their way farther and farther out from its city limits, sadly only to find heartbreak and disappointment when they see how much their money won’t get them. If you want to live in the Lower Mainland, you better be independently wealthy or, be prepared to rent.

Toronto, Ontario – $1,399,000

I’ll admit, this custom built, nearly new and very modern home is a bit of an anomaly in a city that’s real estate is typically much older. The home is freestanding, with next to zero yard space… but, if you need to have roommates to help pay your mortgage, you can boast about your whopping five parking spaces available! Don’t miss out on all that the Toronto housing market doesn’t have to offer.

Vancouver, British Columbia – $1,398,000

For the low, low price of nearly 1.4 million dollars you can own your very own, run-of-the-mill town-home. I will admit that this home, built in 1974, has been nicely renovated on the inside. That being said, I still can’t get past the fact that it’s a basic town-home.You get no yard, only 2113 square feet and one parking space… and the property taxes are still $2,600 a year!

Whistler, British Columbia – $1,395,500

For nearly 1.4 million you can own your own run-of-the-mill town-home in Whistler, the ski and snowboard capital of Canada and Australia’s home away from home! (Holla if you’re Australian and you get this joke). There’s nothing special about this town-home. There’s a roof. There’s a kitchen. There are walls. But hey, I guess that’s the price you gotta pay to be at the foot of some of the most incredible ski and snowboard mountains in the world.

Winnipeg, Manitoba – $1,399,646

Winnpeg, Canada’s forgotten city. Right smack dab in the middle of our country, Winnipeg is famous for horrible winters and the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. I won’t lie to you, I picked this home because of it’s flat roof. A home having a flat roof in a city that spends 7-8 months of the year buried in snow seems like a lot of effort. Effort because, with a flat roof, you have to shovel the roof, rather than having the snow just slide off. I will say that it’s a really beautiful home. The inside is well laid out so if you don’t mind that there is not much of a yard, at all, and you don’t mind the frigid winters, this might be the home for you!


How do these compare to homes where you’re from? What do you think about the prices of homes in Canada? Do you have any real estate links you could show me for where you’re from? I’d love to draw comparisons between Canadian cities and towns and other countries.

Happy Thanksgiving (Canada)

I’m thankful for the health of all my friends and family members,

I’m thankful the fire still burns inside of me, even if it only embers.

I’m thankful for my blessings, my good fortunes and my truths,

I’m thankful for being 30 and still having so much youth.

I’m thankful for my Sunday’s, for strangers and for friends,

I’m thankful for how he makes me feel and hoping this distance does soon end.

I’m thankful for the good music, the movies and tv,

I’m thankful for the people who can always see me for me.

I’m thankful for an opportunity to give and to change some minds,

I’m thankful that we’re all different, even if we’re the same kind.

I’m thankful for another holiday and a reminder of my privilege,

I’m thankful for for the welcome mat and that there’s always food in the fridge.

Thank you for this community and for all you’ve shared with me,

I’m grateful for the opportunity, and dreaming of all this place can be.

Happy Thanksgiving ❤

Politics from a ten year old’s perspective.

So, I’ve been hanging out with my nephew for the better part of today. At one point, whilst we were driving past his school, I mentioned that his school was the location in which we have to vote at for the upcoming federal election.

He said ‘Ah, that’s cool. On election day we’re having a mock vote at our school to see who the kids would elect!’

Thinking that sounded like a really cool idea, I pressed him for more information.

He said that every Wednesday, the local representative of each party comes to his school to speak at the assembly and allow the kids to ask them questions. Then on election day, taking the information they’ve been given, they’re going to have a mock vote within the kids at their school to see who the kids believe should be elected.

Firstly, KUDOS TO THIS SCHOOL. I think this is an amazing activity for kids to do and amazing way to make the next generation interested in politics and have them care about voting. (He just goes to a regular public school. The teachers just decided this was an initiative they wanted to take for the kids)

When I asked him who was left to come and speak he said the Liberal Party Representative and the Green Party Representative. So then I asked, based on what he’s already heard from the Representatives and what he knows form the news and from his parents (as I’m honestly not sure where my brother falls on the political spectrum… we have some wildly different beliefs in life), who would he vote for on election day?

He said ‘My first inclination when this started was to vote Conservative because they say they’re going to cut taxes a whole bunch which means I’d have more money which means I could buy more stuff!”

I laughed. I said ‘Good train of thought kiddo.”

Then he said “Yeah, but I’ve been thinking lately…”

“What have you been thinking?” I asked him.

“I’ve been thinking they might be lying about that. In which case, it’s not really going to benefit me to vote for him. I don’t like liars.”

“Why do you think they’re lying?” I asked.

“Well, their leader lied about being an Insurance Broker. And then we found out he lied about where he went to school… which is such a stupid thing to lie about because it’s school, HEELLO? And if he can lie about such stupid and small things like work and school, I really don’t know if they’re telling us the truth about anything.”

Thinking that was an incredibly mature answer to hear from a ten year old, I told him I was proud of him for considering all of the options and for taking an interest in politics.

“I’m just glad we’re not as screwed as the people in the States though. I mean, whoever gets elected, it can’t get as bad as it does down there,” he said.

“You know about American Politics, too?” I asked him.

“Yeah,” he said. “I pay attention to the news and what people say about it.”

“What’s your thoughts on American politics?” I asked him.

“Well, there’s this kid at school named Justin. Justin is really mean to all of the kids in our grade and below us. He’s taller than all of us so he tries to intimidate everyone. He’ll take your lunch money and then tell you that you have to thank him for taking it or he’ll punch you.But then he’s totally fake nice as soon as a teacher walks around. “

Confused as to why he was telling me about a kid at school, but also worried my nephew is being punched by a bigger kid I asked, “Does Justin hit you, B?”

He said “Oh, no. Justin hasn’t hit me. I just think… like… he’s mean to everyone and some people choose to be friends with him not because they like him but because they think if they’re friends with him then he’ll be less mean to them. But the rest of us, we didn’t do anything wrong and we suffer his wrath anyway. Just because we wound up in the same school as him.”

“Uh huh, so how come your telling me about Justin?” I asked.

“Well, the way I see it, Justin is a kid version of Donald Trump.”

And there you have it friends. If my ten year old nephew can understand politics this well, and be forming thoughtful, rational opinions based on what he’s been told and what he’s seen, then adults should have no excuse whatsoever as to being uninformed.

It’s more important than ever to go out and vote. Please, please, please, whatever your views are, get informed and go vote on Oct 21.

Snarky Snippet

Photo: Paul Ekman Group

***The idea for this post came from my reading of the blog Filosofa’s World. (I love her blog by the way. If you haven’t checked it out, you should)

The leader of the Conservative Party of Canada (the ‘Official Opposition’ as he refers to himself as) has been caught in a lie about what he did as a career before entering politics.

Colour me shocked. Colour me surprised. Never did I ever think that he could tell a lie. (Hey, that almost rhymed)

In true fashion of what is his personality (a pathalogical liar, in case anyone is curious), he refuses to acknowledge the lie, or apologize for continuing the lie for the past umpteen years. Instead, he’s trying to ‘spin’ the story to make it sound as though he never lied to start with. Doubling down and tripling down in an effort to bury the lead.

Sound like anyone else we know? (Possibly someone south of the border?)

In the province of Saskatchewan, you are required to pass licensing in order to be an Insurance Broker. This is a law that is in place specifically to keep citizens from getting swindled by people claiming to be Insurance Brokers who are not. For the record, it is against the law to claim to be an Insurance Broker if you have not completed licensing.

In claiming that he was an Insurance Broker when he was not, it is 1) Clearly a lie, 2) Against the law to misrepresent himself as such.

Is this a big lie? No. Is he being an idiot in his response? Absolutely. He’s single-handedly pissed off everyone who has gone through the time trouble and effort to get legal licensing to be an Insurance Broker in Saskatchewan and followed the law to maintain their right to do their job. He’s also single-handedly pissed off everyone who works as a clerk, both in the insurance industry and in other industries because his falsities carry the notion that being a clerk isn’t a reputable enough career… that he’s too good to be a clerk. In still refusing to acknowledge that he was a clerk he’s underhandedly telling the clerks in this country that they’re not good enough.

For reference, a clerk is a really good job. It’s a reliable job, it’s important work and it’s a great, steady, sturdy career.

Am I shocked that he lied? No.

Am I shocked that he refuses to apologize for such a stupid lie? No.

Do I think more lies will come out over the next 21 days prior to Canadians heading to the polls? It’s more than likely.

I’ve already shared my thoughts on the man (here). What I will say at this point is, if he’s willing to lie about something so little and so stupid, and refuses to acknowledge this lie (or apologize), imagine what the sheer extent of possibilities he could lie about if elected?

I’ll leave it there.