Things I want for this world

I realize these are what most would refer to as ‘pipe dreams’ and that when I speak of these, most people tell me ‘Stop wishing for it because it ain’t gonna happen’… or something of the sort. I can’t help it though. I have high hopes for this world, and I refuse to let those hopes go.

I want to live in a world where education is a right for everyone and not a privilege for the lucky few. Whether you live in Boston, Riyadh, Bloemfontein or Sydney I think knowledge should be afforded to you. An educated world is an empowered world, and I want to live in a world where everyone is empowered.

I want to live in a world where no one has to go hungry for lack of food, or lack of access (geographic or monetarily) to food. In my dream scenario, no food would go wasted… what we buy from the grocery store, we’d eat. And we wouldn’t judge others for what they do or do not eat. Also, when sports teams have leftover food from games, whether it popcorn or hot dogs or burgers or WHATEVER it is that’s edible, they’d donate it to the homeless shelters in their cities rather than throwing it in the trash. Because there is ALWAYS food left over after the hockey, basketball, football and soccer games, and people just… throw it away, while tens of thousands of people go hungry.

I want to live in a world where health care is free for all. Or, if not free, at the very least, affordable and attainable – whether you live in Canada, the USA, Denmark or Sub-Saharan Africa. There should be no reason that a mother from Michigan needs to come to Canada to get insulin for her child. Insulin is ten times the price in the USA as it is in Canada. I mean… excuse my language but what the fuck for? To take advantage of someone suffering from a disease that’ll effect them the rest of their life? No one should have to decide between medication and paying rent. No one should have to question whether or not they can afford a surgery that’ll save their life, or what the consequences of said surgery will be (paying off bills for the rest of their lives).

I want to live in a world where no one claims the moral high-ground, regardless of their job, their wealth, their religion or any of the other stupid reasons people use as a means to believe they’re better than everyone else. In my ideal world, we’d all understand that we’re all just human. We do good. We make mistakes. We forget. We fumble. No one is perfect and no one is better than anyone else whether you’re the Prince of Whales or the man under the bridge.

I want to live in a world where people can disagree with one another and still show each other respect.

I want to live in a world where equality is a reality. Where you get the job based on your intelligence, experience and skills, not on what you look like. Where women aren’t told what they have to wear and how to act and where men aren’t treated as superior solely for being born a man.

I want to live in a world where… if you can dream it you can do it. I hate thinking about all of the unmet potential in graveyards across the globe because of lack of confidence, lack of money, lack of resources, lack of anything that kept them from being who they could have become. If you want to be President, do it. If you don’t want to be President, then don’t.

I want to live in a world where no one is judged, shamed for or embarrassed about mental illness. The stigma is so real. And, as far as we might have come, there’s still so much more to do. See, point one about education.

I want to live in a world where they remove all pineapple from pizza.

And, I’d really like to live in a world where people choose kindness over anything else. Keyboard warriors, assholes and outright nasty people could just have a change of heart, realize that their nastiness doesn’t get them anywhere and do some good. The world needs a lot more good in it.

Joyeux Noël

May the spirit of holiday last for more than just one day,
Because loving, sharing and giving, you should never put away.
While you may pack the decorations and put them on a shelf,
Remember the good you do for others is the good you do yourself.
So practice kindness during the holiday and all the year through,
Show your loved ones they’re important, that they matter deeply to you.

Whether you’re celebrating or not, I am wishing the happiest of holidays to you and yours. May this time of year be a reminder of all of the good in this world, and where there’s room to grow because the world always needs more of it.

XOXO,
Vee

P.S. I asked Santa for a new job for Christmas. Do you think he can pull some strings?

#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