A glimmer of hope

Well I woke up to a nice surprise this morning. I was officially approved for EI and actually had money in my bank account when I woke up today. As someone who’s had roughly $50-$100 to my name for the past six plus months, seeing money in my bank account is a huge sigh of relief that I’m very thankful for at this point in time.

I also woke up to a second surprise this morning. The engineering firm that I was interviewing with in early late February/early March has decided that, though they’re not back at their office yet, they want to move ahead with recruitment as a measure to have someone hired to start when they do return to their offices. They’ve asked if I can do a video interview next week. I presumed that they were either going to forget about me, or cancel the posting because businesses have to be very careful with their spending in this present economy and hiring a new employee is a large investment. They still want to talk to me though… two months later… so they haven’t forgotten about me yet.

Two good things happened in one day.

I almost don’t know how to contain myself.

Someone threatened to poison my dad’s dog.

I wish it weren’t true but I’m not even kidding. My dad is not a very fearful man. I’ve seen him fend off someone with a knife and not blink twice. Right now, though… he’s a little on edge.

A couple of days ago my dad took his dog on a walk through some of the trails around here. The trails themselves are provincial parks that have just had walking paths cleared for people to hike in the non-snowy months.

Leading up to the trails you have to walk past a house with a rather yappy little fur ball in the back yard. If you so much as step foot within eye-line of the fence the dog will bark until you’re long out of sight.

A couple of days ago when my dad was walking with his dog past this house the dog started yapping at them. His dog, naturally, started barking back. The man that owns this house came out and started screaming at my dad. My dad says that he called the man an idiot for complaining about a barking dog because dogs bark when they see each other, it’s a fact of life. Then he says that he kept on walking leaving the man to yell into the abyss of his backyard.

A few hours later, bylaws enforcement showed up at our house and had us come out to the driveway so that, from a distance, they could tell us that someone had reported we were out with our dog, not on leash, and that we were not following social distancing guidelines and had gone into someone’s yard and made them fear for their safety.

There’s a fence. A FUCKING FENCE. There was no going into anyone’s yard.

Should my dad have pissed this man off my calling him an idiot and walking away? Probably not. But that’s how my dad rolls. I guarantee you, with how worried he’s been about this COVID stuff as of late, he ain’t going near anyone who doesn’t live in his house.

Anyways, bylaws enforcement left and my dad was like ‘Well, I guess we won’t walk that trail anymore’. And he told each of us to avoid that trail, whether or not we had the dog with us.

Today this grumpy asshole brings his yippy dog down our road. Naturally, when my dad’s dog sees this dog on the street it starts barking.

This man gets so angry that my dad’s dog is barking from the window, inside of the house, that he walks up to our front door, pounds on it and starts screaming ‘Get out here you asshole, and bring that fucking piece of shit you call a dog too’.

My dad went over to the fence and started yelling at the man to get out of our yard and leave us alone and this guy just went off. He was screaming and yelling about how my dad’s dog is a menace to society and she bites small children (which, by the way, I don’t think my dad’s dog has ever bitten anyone or anything… she’s the dog equivalent of a teddy bear) and she annoys the whole damn town and on and on AND ON… My dad, not being afraid of pretty much anyone, just called him an idiot and told him to keep on walking.

The man told my dad to ‘man up’ and come out and fight him. When my dad refused this guy got angrier. Finally my dad said ‘If you don’t leave my yard I’m going to call the police’.

The man says ‘You want to play that game? You want to hide behind the fucking cops? Okay, we can play that game. Better watch that nobody puts drain cleaner in your dog’s water bowl because we’d all be pretty fucking happy if that thing dropped dead’.

This all unfolded in the space of maybe 2-3 minutes. My dad ended up coming in the house and phoning the police. He did so to let them know that this guy had just threatened to kill our dog. And now, I tell you, I haven’t seen him this afraid of anything in a long time.

I don’t think he’s going to let the dog out of his sight. I mean, he’s told us we’re not allowed to give her food or drink outside anymore and that if we let her outside we need to watch her. He’s just really scared right now. And rightfully so, I think. That dog is his best friend.

What kind of a human being threatens to poison someone’s dog?

Honestly, if a man comes that unhinged at another dog barking at his dog, he’s lost his marbles. There are 20 dogs on this road, all of which are a chorus of barking the majority of each day. Is he just going to start going around poisoning the whole neighbourhood?

Coping with anxiety during a pandemic

Lately I’ve had an extremely difficult time coping with the sheer amounts of anxiety wracking my brain. First I caught a cold and my brain was trying to convince me that it was Corona Virus, and now that I’m basically over that, I’m struggling to believe that I can step outside of the front door without catching Corona Virus.

It makes no sense. I know this. My neighbourhood is sparse. Large yards, minimal homes, basically no chance of stepping out the front door and meeting anyone. But still, the fear of stepping outside of my front door is very real.

Today I sat in the truck outside of the Pharmacy for a half hour before I could actually work up the nerve to go in. And, when I did go in, it was only because I’d gotten a pep-talk from Knight on the phone.

I’m probably alone in this, but lately, every time I actually go to the store (which is the absolute minimal possible), my anxiety likes to play this game with me where I’ll be wandering the aisles to quickly grab what I want and I’ll feel a swell in my throat. Is it a sickness swell? No. More or less just one of those swells that comes before a big gulp when you’re trying to get past your nerves. But anxiety, damn anxiety, it tells me ‘that’s it… he/she was asymptomatic and he/she just gave it to you without knowing it’.

It’s not logical. I know it’s not logical.

I want to get to a point where my brain understands and appreciates the cautionary measures that I’m trying to make and doesn’t automatically turn them into fear.

Caution, not fear. That is my goal.

It’s important to be cautious right now. And realistically, when I go into a store wearing a mask, don’t get within ten feet of anyone, use the self-checkout and am out of the store within ten minutes, that’s caution. That’s smart. I know what I need, I know what aisles they’re in and there’s no need to browse or wander. That’s caution. Having outside clothing and indoor clothing, washing outside clothing after it’s been worn outside, that’s caution.

I don’t want to fear the world. People aren’t wandering around licking strangers in the store. I know this. I need to learn how to deliver that reassurance to my brain.

Things I’m doing to cope:

  • Forcing myself to go into the store because if I need an item and it cannot wait for another day or another time, then sitting in the parking lot, prolonging the struggle isn’t helping my brain
  • Reminding myself that no one else wants to get sick either, and with that notion, I should be confident enough to know they’ll want to stay as far away from me as I wish to stay from them
  • Careful and calm breathing and methodical movement in public and acknowledging the difference between needs and wants. Planning ahead, so that if I have to go to the store, I’m going to the store once and getting everything in one go
  • Going for walks through the bush because exercise is good for the body, mind and soul, sunshine is good for my mood and there’s still so much snow on the trails that they’re basically abandoned (see photo)
  • Not allowing myself to feel this productivity guilt that’s become trendy around the web as of late, trying to remind myself that ‘just being’ is enough right now
  • Taking all precautionary measures to stay safe and stay healthy
  • Learning how to tolerate the uncertainty of the world right now. When will this end? I don’t know. And I have to be okay with the unknown. The goal is to keep as many people as healthy as possible. The goal is not to ‘open the economy’. Knowing that if we’re smart about this, more people can stay safe
  • Trying to look forward to post pandemic life, living in the city, working my dream job, paying off my debts, being happy

If I can keep calm, turn the fear into caution, I think getting through this pandemic will be a whole lot easier to deal with.

Has anyone else been dealing with anxiety about going in public? Those times when you have to, when you just can’t avoid it, when it’s a requirement to go out… how do you deal?

Mighty Neighbourly

This morning we found a note on our front door that read:

Hey Neighbour,

We hope you’re staying sane during this crazy time.

If you are unable or afraid to go to the store right now feel free text your shopping list or any singular items that you might need to [insert phone number here]. We will leave any and all of said items at your front door with 24 hours of reading your text message.

Stay healthy and safe!

[Insert their address here so we knew what house the message came from]

The neighbours’ on this street are so nice! I rag on small towns a lot. I’ve always considered myself a city person, and small towns kind of drive me nuts. But, when I see how good the neighbours are to my parents, it really does warm my heart of stone.

At least I’m able to know they will be looked after if this pandemic ends and I EVER get a chance to make a break for the city.

I forgot about most of these photos.

Last June when I got that job offer that fell through, I ended up switching from an iPhone to a Samsung. I was going to need a new phone for the job, and when I went to replace my phone, I decided to take a leap and make the switch.

I still have the iPhone, mainly because I never took the photos off of it. Well, now that I have all this time on my hands… why not?

I am no photographer, just a girl who likes to remember moments. I tend to save my favourite photos for Instagram, so if you want to see my favourites, follow me on Instagram (shameless self promotion).

*These are in no particular order. Just some random photos that documented my days. There’s also no identifiable people in these photos, for the sake of the privacy of my family and friends. Any people you might see are strangers. Hopefully I don’t upload any photos of identifiable people though. I hate it when I wind up in the back of other’s photos so I never want to do that to someone else.

Sunrise from the balcony of my old apartment.
Watching the Calgary Stampeders. Yeah, yeah, I know what people say about the CFL. I don’t know a ton about football but the Stampeders are a fun team to watch.
Golfing in Calgary on one of the few days of the year there isn’t snow.
The view from the top of the Zip Line at Canada Olympic Park. This was the Ski Jump for the 1988 Olympics. 1988… also the year I was born.
Watching the end of summer at Lake Louise, Alberta
One time the road flooded and this is how the neighbours got around for a few days.
This is at Waterfront Station in downtown Vancouver, BC
The top of the Westin Hotel in Edmonton, Alberta
This is from Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton. I am still not sure why they let us into the Stadium that day… in the middle of football season, but it was a fun afternoon.
This is Nyhavn Canal in Copenhagen, Denmark. It’s a very… ‘instafamous’ stop on the Copenhagen crawl. We didn’t really get there until the sun was already setting so it made for a very dark photo. Oh well, still a nice photo!
I haven’t the foggiest idea what this hotel was called. I remember, though, that it was in Whistler, BC. It was a perfect mountain escape.
This is the penthouse of the Westin Hotel in Downtown Calgary. I remember thinking that my entire apartment could fit into one room of the penthouse suite.
An epic display of rainbows on a top secret weekend away.
When the locals cause a brief interruption of your golf game. Canmore, Alberta.
I cannot remember the name of this place but it sure is beautiful, California.
Shopping District in Copenhagen, Denmark
Watching hockey with the Danes in… Vojens (Voyens? Sorry if any Danes read this and I butcher the spelling), Denmark.
This was at one of those UPICK farms in Chilliwack/Abbottsford, BC.
This is what $85 Canadian gets you at Hells Kitchen on the Las Vegas Strip.
New York New York Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas Strip. I am proud to say that I never got drunk enough to risk that roller coaster.
That time I snuck away for a rainy day in the city…
That time that I snuck away for a rainy day in the middle of nowhere. Well, nowhere now. This was the primary route used for British Columbia’s Gold Rush.
The Driveway. It’s just a driveway, I know. I just thought it looked… majestic with the sun poking through like that.
Springtime in Niagara Falls, Ontario
The Ice Magic Festival at Lake Louise, Alberta

Alright, that’s enough of a photo spam for now. Next time: Germany, England, New York, Alaska and… probably a lot more of BC and Alberta. Let’s face it, the majority of my days are spent in BC and Alberta. This place is heaven on earth. What’s not to like? Well, there’s a lot not to like right now… but that’s a story for another day.


Thank you to each and every one of the #MillennialLifeCrisis Patreon supporters.

Stay safe. Stay healthy. Stay home.

We can save our adventures for later.

XOX
Vee

A rant: Decluttering does not equal minimalism, sustainability or eco-consciousness.

This is likely going to come across as quite ‘spacey’ so to speak, but I need to get this out. So, if it makes no sense, then I guess I’ll have to fix it later.

Lately I’ve been noticing this trend going around the internet (I’m pretty sure it started with that Marie Kondo book) and around people in my life, if I’m being totally honest, where people are promoting ‘Decluttering’ and ‘Minimalism’ because it’s become trendy. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen people doing things that mimic the notion of “I’m a minimalist, it’s so trendy, look at me decluttering in my photos, on my Facebook Page, in my videos, in my blog posts… it’s so great!”

Here’s the thing… if you were actually a minimalist, you wouldn’t have bought those fucking things to start with. Furthermore, please stop pretending as though this trend of becoming a minimalist is sustainable, eco-conscious or good for the environment.

Hearing about how you decluttered your home to throw a bunch of stuff in the trash, that’s the farthest thing from being eco-conscious. And honestly, please don’t try to pretend like you’re doing anything better by donating these things to a Thrift Store. While Thrift Stores try to resell what they can, they’re inundated with millions upon millions pounds of junk people bought and didn’t need each year, so they decided to ‘donate’. And I’m sorry, but you’re not saving the planet by forcing a Thrift Store to throw out things for you.

A minimalist is someone who doesn’t buy things they don’t need. A minimalist isn’t someone who declutters so they have space to go and by more things.

An eco-conscious person is someone who really thinks about their purchases and how they can make purchases that are better for them and smarter for our earth. And I really cannot stress this enough, an eco-conscious person is someone who makes use of what they already have.

For example: Being eco-conscious is not about buying a stainless steel water bottle when you already have a plastic blender bottle. An eco-conscious person says ‘I already have a water bottle so I’m going to make use of that one until it’s worn out or I can’t use it anymore’. Don’t just declutter your water bottle because it’s made out of plastic. It’s a water bottle. You already own it. Fucking use it. Dear god, please just use what you already fucking have.

This eco-conscious movement is being driven by hyper consumerism and it’s driving me crazy. You’re not doing anything good for the environment if you’re throwing out something you already own in order to buy something that isn’t plastic. You’re not doing anything good for the environment if you’re purchasing things from a Thrift Store if you still don’t need the things you’re purchasing… I don’t care how cheap they are. You’re not doing anything good for the environment by consistently donating what you have because your home is a revolving door of what is new and in style.

Furthermore a minimalist is a minimalist because they don’t buy/own things they don’t need. They’re not doing it to be trendy. They’re not doing it for clout. They’re doing it because if they don’t need something then they don’t want it taking up space in their home. Minimalists don’t have to declutter because they use what they have.

If you really want to make eco-conscious and sustainable decisions – start composting. Start recycling. Save your leftovers and eat them tomorrow. Don’t buy something because it’s trendy, buy something because you need it. Make smarter decisions.

I’m so tired of people throwing away entire boxes of Ziploc bags and plastic wrap because they purchased beeswax wrap or reusable bags on Amazon. Firstly, if we’re talking sustainability here… Amazon in itself is a huge problem. Secondly, you already own the Ziploc bags. You already own the plastic wrap. You might as well make use out of them, since you have them. And then, when you run out, that’s the time to think ‘how can I make a smarter purchasing decision next time’. Don’t just throw them in the garbage.

I will not ever fault someone for wanting to make eco-conscious, environmentally friendly decisions. That being said, please, please, please educate yourselves when doing so. Because there’s so much perfectly good/usable stuff sitting in landfills right now because someone needed to go out and buy the plastic free version, or the ‘sustainable brand’. And how is that helping anything?

Some people.

Some people just walk into your life and you know, immediately, they’re meant to be there. They fit. They make things better. They make you better. They make the sun shine brighter and the bad days seem shorter. Some people turn your whole world around. No matter how perfect or imperfect it might be, they never let you go. And that, that means everything.

If you’re grateful for this life, you’re grateful for everything in this life… even the hardships.

This is something that I’ve been thinking about a lot as of late. People are so quick to state that it’s the wrong time, that they’re not ready, you’re not ready or I’m not ready. Everyone’s got an opinion about the wrong time. Something that people never seem to want to share though is, when is the right time?

With all the things I’ve been through this year, with all the things that everything has been through this year, why are we questioning the wrong timing rather than living in the now?

A friend of mine was recently diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Now, understandably so, all they can think/talk about is all of the mountains they never climbed, all of the marathons they never ran and all of the times they put these things off for work, or for ‘life’ not really thinking one day they wouldn’t be able anymore.

Point of this story? The right time is right now. Stop telling yourself that it’s the wrong time. Stop telling yourself that you’ll do it later. If it’s something that you want, do it. Do it now. If something is happening, whether it’s in your control or not, this is what is supposed to be happening. This is something that I’ve had to learn the hard way… because it’s been a crappy year. Even just typing that, I feel like a broken record as I know it’s something I’ve said all too many times before.

When you’re going through a hard time it can feel like everyone and everything is against you. And honestly, on my bad days, that’s what I’ve spent a lot of time this year believing. However, I watched an interview between Stephen Colbert and Anderson Cooper last night to which Stephen Colbert said something that really struck me.

I’m paraphrasing here:

“I’ve learned to the love the thing that I wish most had not happened. What punishments of god are not gifts?”

It’s a gift to exist. It’s a gift to exist. And with existence, comes suffering. There’s no escaping that.

If you’re grateful for your life, you have to be grateful for all of it.

Stephen Colbert

I’m not a religious person, but I do absolutely believe in what Colbert has said. If you’re interested in seeing the interview, you can watch it here: The Stephen Colbert Interview from Anderson Cooper 360 (I highly recommend watching it from start to finish)

If you’re grateful for your life, you have to be grateful for all of it. The good, the bad, the happy, the sad. And with that understanding comes the realization that the right time is right now. Whether it’s good or bad, happy or sad, right now is the right time for what is happening to you, for what you want and desire most, for what you think you cannot handle but absolutely can.

If you’ve ever wondered what it feels like to have the weight lifted off your shoulders, I think this is what has done it for me. Honestly, these shitty times are setting me up for something. They have to be. And that’s why I’m choosing to believe that what’s happening right now is supposed to be happening right now.

Stop putting something off because it’s not the right time. Don’t tell yourself you can’t have a baby or buy a house or go on a trip or pierce your nose or change your career path. Do it.

*This definitely sounded a lot more coherent in my head. Ah well, I’m leaving it now.

Friday’s are for…?

I don’t even know where to start.

Wilson was elated to see all of us show up at the hospital this afternoon. He’s a bit of a handy-man by nature. Even at 85 years old he is still someone who made his own repairs to his home and changed the oil in his vehicle on his own, things like that. So, instead of bringing him flowers today, the neighbourhood all went to the hardware store and each bought him a tiny tool to sit on his windowsill in his hospital room. Kind of like… a little touch of him can be there since he’s not allowed to go home.

I truly think he was shocked as heck to see so many people today. But I’m taking that as a good sign. I think in times like these, the best things you can give someone is a smile, and this neighbourhood definitely did that for him today.

If you believe in it, send some positive juju to the universe for Wilson. He’s going to need it in the coming weeks. Today his son told us the doctor’s said it could be a few days, it could be a few weeks, they’re not sure how long he’s got left. The son says once he gets permission to he’s going to take Wilson home to his house (the son) to look after him in his final days. So send some positive juju for the son, too. I can’t imagine that’s easy to deal with.

In another update, I spent two hours on hold this morning to deal with the bank and PayPal to get my credit card sorted out.

PayPal has agreed with me that the transfers appear to be fully fraudulent and they said they will be refunding me within 7-10 business days.

My credit card has been cancelled (as a safety precaution) to ensure that no more charges are made to the card now that the information could possibly be compromised. The bank has told me that I should receive a new card within 7-10 business days.

The stupid part of all of this is that I haven’t even made a purchase on PayPal since 2015. And I’ve only ever made one purchase on PayPal. I’d forgotten all about any existing account with them due to lack of using it. I didn’t need the account so I forgot all about it. The whole situation is all too frustrating. I’ve been trying so hard to be good and not purchase unnecessary things and save my money and then someone goes and steals it. Well, I’m presuming it’s someone at this point.

I have to keep my PayPal account long enough for them to refund me. After that, I’m deleting it and never dealing with PayPal again.

My lesson in this? Don’t have leave your credit card information on sites you don’t use, or sites at all, really. It’s not that hard to rewrite your credit card number each time you purchase something online.

Also, sign up for text alerts from your bank. If they hadn’t texted me this morning notifying me of ‘Suspicious Purchases’ on my card, I wouldn’t have known for a while. I maybe check my bank balances once a week, if that. I don’t know how I signed up for text alerts from my bank, I don’t remember ever doing it. Let me tell you though, I am damn sure glad I had them today.