#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

Things I want out of life:

  1. To be happy.

That’s it, that’s all. Wherever that is, whatever that looks like, I want to be happy. I feel like I will have lead a successful, fulfilling life if I can look myself in the mirror and tell myself that I am truly happy.

Happiness is something that all too many people chase in the wrong places. It seems to be elusive, but I know it’s out there. My only hope is that I don’t chase it in the wrong direction. I’m not getting any younger, I don’t want to take any more wrong turns. I just want to be happy.

Here’s to progress, and to being open to the possibilities the world possesses and to hoping that some of them will come my direction.

Great moments in literature.

The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars…

Jack Kerouac

I’m very particular about the people that I let into my life, those I’m friends with and those who I associate with. Why? Because I’m a firm believer that people should add to your life, not take from it.

When you really stop to think about it, you know who’s adding to your life and who’s chained to your leg like a dead weight you’ve been carrying around for years. As you weave your way through this crazy world, always remember that you can be open, honest and transparent with the world while still realizing that not everyone deserves a seat at the table that is your life.

With glowing hearts.

Everywhere we go, gotta let the people know, we’re Canadian. That’s right, Canadian.

Happy Birthday Canada!

Following the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver/Whistler, NBC’s Brian Williams wrote a thank you note to Canada that touched the hearts of many when they read it. It was a simple note, that was so beautiful I’m using it as a reminder, on this Canada Day, of all that is great about this country I call home.

After tonight’s broadcast and after looting our hotel mini-bars, we’re going to try to brave the blizzard and fly east to home and hearth, and to do laundry well into next week. 

Before we leave this thoroughly polite country, the polite thing to do is leave behind a thank-you note.

Thank you, Canada:

For being such good hosts.

For your unfailing courtesy.

For your (mostly) beautiful weather.

For scheduling no more than 60 percent of your float plane departures at the exact moment when I was trying to say something on television.

For not seeming to mind the occasional (or constant) good-natured mimicry of your accents.

For your unique TV commercials — for companies like Tim Hortons — which made us laugh and cry.

For securing this massive event without choking security, and without publicly displaying a single automatic weapon.

For having the best garment design and logo-wear of the games — you’ve made wearing your name a cool thing to do.

For the sportsmanship we saw most of your athletes display.

For not honking your horns. I didn’t hear one car horn in 15 days — which also means none of my fellow New Yorkers rented cars while visiting.

For making us aware of how many of you have been watching NBC all these years.

For having the good taste to have an anchorman named Brian Williams on your CTV network, who turns out to be such a nice guy.

For the body scans at the airport which make pat-downs and cavity searches unnecessary.

For designing those really cool LED Olympic rings in the harbor, which turned to gold when your athletes won one.

For always saying nice things about the United States…when you know we’re listening.

For sharing Joannie Rochette with us.

For reminding some of us we used to be a more civil society.

Mostly, for welcoming the world with such ease and making lasting friends with all of us.

Brian Williams, NBC

Positive outcomes only.

In a society that profits from your self doubt, liking yourself is a rebellious act.

Today I have promised myself that I am going to talk myself up. I have promised myself that I am not going to allow my brain to think any negative thoughts about who I am or what I am capable of. Today I have promised myself that my insecurities are not going to win, nor going to have any place in my head.

One day at a time.

I am fucking amazing. I am. I don’t say that in a cocky way, I say that in a self-awareness way. I’m intelligent, I’m kind-hearted, I’m overly sentimental and I try my best to understand everyone that I meet. I work hard. I have a phenomenal memory, one that helps me and drives people crazy with the amount of things I can remember.

I look after people. I give with grace. I volunteer my time to help those in need and I do my very best to put a smile on the face of those that I love. I try to be good. I really do. And I try to improve with each day. Self-improvement is my ultimate goal.

I’m self taught in graphic design, self taught in HTML coding, self taught in analytics tracking. I work well as part of a team and on my own and I work hard. I work so fucking hard, all the time. I’m a leader by design, but am also aware enough to realize when I need to let someone else take the wheel. It’s all about timing!

I’m stubborn as all hell and will stop at nothing to get my way. Some might see that as a negative, but I choose to see that as a positive. Why? Because it means that I don’t quit. And I don’t quit. Ever.

I’ve accomplished great feats, bowed at the foot of greatness and will continue to strive for greatness within myself. I believe knowledge is power and that I want to always be learning. I’m creative, insightful and can carry an intelligible conversation with anyone that I meet.

I set high standards both for myself and for the people I love. Why? Because I believe that we can always be better and that we owe it to ourselves to be better.

I’m a constantly evolving working in progress who’s trying to be nicer to herself. I’m only human and I’m far from perfect, but I like who I am. And that, I think that’s what’s most important.

The importance of ‘YOLO’

As much as it annoys me when I hear people saying ‘YOLO’ for stupid shit, there’s also a tiny little voice in the back of my brain saying ‘they’re right, so listen to them’.

You only get a limited number of days, a limited amount of time. Don’t waste those days and that time on people who aren’t worthy of being in your orbit and jobs that aren’t challenging you, or making you happy, or fulfilling your life.

I had a really good conversation with my sister-in-law last night. It was one of those conversations that went well into the wee-hours of the morning where it seems as though everything under the sun gets discussed, so to speak. It was really nice. I don’t have a lot of people like that in my life who I can just talk to. Anyways, the point of this tidbit is that we got to talking about happiness.

What makes you happy? What doesn’t? What do you do because you have to and what do you do because you want to? And if there are things in your life that you’re doing that are making you miserable but you don’t have to be doing them, why are you?

My sister-in-law has a younger sister who got married at 20. Not only did she marry at an age which we consider to be young, but she married a man 28 years older than her. He was the first man she’d ever been with and she’d dated him since she was 17. (Yeah was and still is pretty gross. It’s a whole big family-drama story for another time) Now, having been married five years, she’s 25 years old wants kids and is with a man who’s ready to retire and live out his days lawn-bowling and spending winters in Arizona. She’s miserable. And she’s too damn afraid to leave him that my sister-in-law doubts it’ll ever happen.

She’s miserable. She’s 25 and she’s too afraid to do anything to escape the misery.

The thing is, she’s 25. She’s got soooooooo much life left to live. I wish I could knock some sense into her that she’s capable of leaving him and more than strong enough to do so. Why? Because YOLO.

Life is far too short to live it being miserable. I say that in funny situations and I say that in serious situations. Being 25 and married to a man who’s 53 who you don’t want to be with anymore, that doesn’t have to be your forever.

She owes it to herself to be happy.

You owe it to yourself to be happy.

I’m sure that we all have things in our lives that we can’t escape. That’s life. But honestly, when you can cut the ties with what’s weighing you down, do it. Whether it’s a 53 year old man you’ve grown to hate, a stupid job that’s making you miserable, friends that tear you down, or whatever it is that is weighing you down, you are strong enough to move past it.

You owe it to yourself to be happy.

You only live once. It’s far too short to waste your days with someone or something that doesn’t make you happy.

For what it’s worth, it’s never too late or too early to start over. Begin again, chase the life that will make you happy/happier/happiest. Eat that piece of cake, take that trip, buy that ________(insert expensive object here), be the most fulfilled version of yourself that you can.

At the end of the day, the best thing that you can give to your future self is the memories of a happy life, and the knowledge that you lived it to the fullest.

YOLO