PS752

People say that I feel too much. That’s probably true.

I can’t help but feel sad, though. I’m heartbroken and a little lost thinking of all the people who thought they were boarding a flight home and their lives were lost in an instant.

On January 8, 2020 a plan crashed into a field shortly after departing the Tehran International airport and all 176 people on board the flight were killed, immediately. The plane exploded upon hitting the ground and all that remains are remnants of the lives that were.

Mothers, fathers, sons and daughters, doctors and researchers, students and kids. Newlyweds, best friends, people who loved, cured, and looked after us all. People who dreamt of a bigger and better world free from war, people who deserved more, deserved better and were innocent in all of this, lost their lives because of something that had nothing to do with them.

‘That’s terrible’, I saw someone write on twitter. ‘But what does that matter to me?’ Pretty cold, right? I don’t think that it came from a callous place, I just think it came from an uninformed place. I truly don’t think people understand that everything happening in this world effects us all. 176 families around the world are grieving the loss of loved ones and millions of people around the world are wondering the very real question ‘what happens next’?

We might not get to know what happens next. In chaos theory, the butterfly effect is the sensitive dependence on initial conditions in which a small change in one state of a deterministic nonlinear system can result in large differences in a later state. In layman’s terms, it doesn’t matter if it happens a world away, it will effect us all.

The first thing I thought when I heard this plane went down was ‘this was not an accident’. The second thing I thought was ‘holy shit, how do we prepare for retaliation?’ People can toss blame wherever they damn well please, but the truth is, if we’re passing blame, we’re not fixing this. 176 people died and something needs to be done about it.

Missiles are being shot off like it’s no big deal and it’s a big fucking deal. We are one on this earth. No matter the country you come from, no matter who you are, we’re all human beings and we should all care when something like this happens.

How do we fix this? I’m not sure yet. I do know that nothing’s going to get fixed so long as there’s weapons of war being strewn about the skies over ANY country.

6 Winnipeggers, including family of 3, confirmed dead in Iran plane crash – Here’s an informative report to some of the victims, one of which, Uzonna said Forough Khadem, was a Canadian scientist who discovered a treatment for Leishmaniasis, a disease that kills 50,000 people per year when untreated.

More information on the plane crash victims

My only solace in the aftermath of this horrible event is that it’s got our country, and hopefully the world, talking about the incredible value of human life. The narrative of the news has been much of an explanation as to what these beautiful souls brought to our world.

The world has suffered a giant loss. Why does this keep happening? I don’t have the answers… just a lot of questions.

What makes a great blog?

In my personal opinion, individuality is what makes a great blog.

A blog that showcases individuality is one that I will come back to read again and again and again.

So many blogs just seem to be different variations of the same thing. And, while that’s all fine and dandy, it’s just not interesting to me. What is interesting to me is finding something new and different to view every day. What is interesting to me is finding someone who makes me think differently about the world, someone who opens my eyes to something I’ve never realized.

If you want to run a great blog, you need to ask yourself what stands you apart from the other 75 million blogs on WordPress. If you want to run a great blog, you need to ask yourself what you can do differently.

“I’ve been blogging for a year and I have 40 followers.” 40 followers is awesome. How about celebrating the fact that you’ve managed to connect with 40 strangers and ask how you can build upon that, not speak of that like it’s a bad thing.

“Why don’t I have more followers? Do people just not like me?” I think you’re asking the wrong questions. People don’t really know you. Remember, the goal of any blogger should be to make a reader care about their content. Have you been writing content in hopes it’ll make you famous, or have you been making content in hopes it’ll make people care?

In blogging, you shouldn’t be measuring your success by your follower count, you should be measuring your success by the fulfillment you get from making a post, by the fact that people are coming to your blog, reading a post and coming back. Views are great, yeah! If someone comes and reads your post and your view count goes up for a day, that’s awesome. But, if they never come back then you’ve not given them a reason to come back.

I follow blogs that have follower counts from 8 to 140,000. And let me tell you, the person with 8 followers has just incredible of a blog as the one with 140,000 followers. The person with 8 followers has successfully made me want to come back, time after time.

If you’re wondering how to make your blog stand out, wonder what makes your blog individual.

So, what makes you an individual?

As I rant/ramble on… (warning: expletives ahead)

I’m not really sure where this image originated, it seems to be making its way around the internet so I don’t know who to credit. Sorry!

First and foremost, something I’ve posted to social media but not to WordPress, The Australian Red Cross is accepting donations from around the world. If you would like to donate to help those affected by the devastation of the ongoing wildfires in Australia, please click here.

If you do not have the means to donate, I would strongly encourage anyone who reads this to inform themselves as to what is happening in Australia and the reactions (or lack thereof) the Australian government has had. Australia has one of the most, if not the most, unique and diverse ecosystems on earth with hundreds of species who call it home that exist nowhere else on earth. Everyone should be aware of what is happening, what has been lost and what is at stake.

If you’re in Australia and have been affected by these fires, or not, my heart goes out to you. I come from an area of Canada that deals with forest fires annually and I know the heart-wrenching horrors that is watching the world burn up around you… and we don’t even have Koalas to worry about.


Okay, so where to start…

The house is quiet, for a few minutes at least. Insert casual Vee.

It is the first week of the new year (and new decade) and everyone who lives in my house has been sick. Really fucking sick. I’ve been taking them to the hospital to get IVs because they’re just that sick. It has made for a lot of long days and even longer nights. Let me tell you this – cleaning up someone else’s puke is no joke. I’ve always had a respect for doctors and nurses, but when I go through week’s like this week has been, I respect them so much more.

Today, I decided that I needed to do something for myself, so I went for a massage. I told the masseuse, a woman, that I was there to get the knots worked out of my lower back. (I’ve been dealing with some serious tension in my lower back as of late and I thought a massage might help) Her response? Lathering her hands in fucking oil and then running them through my hair. Did I want a head massage? No. Did she try to persist after I told her to stop? Abso-fucking-lutely. There aren’t a lot of things in this world that make me really, truly angry… but when I have clean hair you best not fuck that up.

I was relaxed up until that point. Actual smoke started spewing from my orifices. We had a very frank discussion about what it means to listen to a customer when they make a request of you and my angry voice came out. My angry voice RARELY comes out…

Sadly, that wasn’t the only time the angry voice came out today.

I decided that it would be smart to carry my open laptop, a glass of water and a plate of dinner downstairs at one time. Yeah, that didn’t end well for me. Thank goodness I have one of the most indestructible computers of all time, but I had some very choice words for myself after that happened.

‘You’re such a fucking idiot.’

‘This is why you can’t have nice things.’

I really hope that I’m not the only person in the world to yell at myself when I do stupid things. Also, there’s really no saving your dinner when the dogs run over to start licking food off the floor at the bottom of the stairs. So… protein bars it is?

Today’s score is: World – 2, Vee – 0.

In other news, I don’t think I’ve ever done this, but here’s a song that I really love:

This band is a favourite of mine. I’ve never heard a song of their’s I didn’t like. They’re a Canadian band and they actually had a song (Knocking at the Door) become a bit of a sport anthem in the past couple of years. It was used for the NHL playoffs, NBA Finals, the Super Bowl, the World Series, the World Cup, the Olympics, and so on and so forth. They’re not so much Indie anymore, but I still love them dearly and have fond memories of their incredible shows in dark, dingy pubs across this country.

Also, here’s a book that I really love:

If you’ve ever felt like you just don’t fit anywhere in this world, like you’re misunderstood and you’d be better off on your own, away from every one and every thing dragging you down, this book is for you. I’ve read this book probably… 30 times at this point. Each time I read it I get something new from it.

Alright, I think that’s all for now. I can hear my name being called from upstairs…

Make smart choices.

Bye.

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.

Things I think about when I'm trying to fall asleep at night…

“Did I lock the door?”

“Is the oven off? I haven’t cooked in hours. But, what if I left it on? I know I shouldn’t let my OCD win, but what if? Oh, anxiety you SOB.”

“How many times do you think I roll over in a night? I wonder if Fitbit could ever make an option to track that rolling over. That’s got to count for calories burned, right?”

“I wonder if there’s a way to send supplies to people struggling in North Korea.”

“I wonder if people in North Korea know they’re struggling. If that’s all they’ve ever known, maybe it’s just normal to them?”

“Why are avocados so expensive?”

“I wonder if I’ll ever get a job.”

“Passport to Paris is the best Mary-Kate and Ashley movie ever.”

“I wonder if I ever cross anyone’s mind when they’re trying to fall asleep at night.”

“Can the right pair of jeans really make my butt look that much better? I don’t want my butt to look average, do I? Or, do I really care?”

“English accents are just so adorable.”

“How can I start my own business?”

“I wonder what serial killers think about when they sleep at night.”

“Now that these ancestry kits are available where people are sending off their DNA to find out where there family comes from, do you think serial killers are wondering if their family members might be sending off their DNA and that, could eventually, lead to their getting caught?”

“If you get arrested, own up to it. If all you have is excuses, this likely wasn’t your first time and probably won’t be your last doing whatever caused you to get arrested.”

“I miss cheese. Oh and bread. And chocolate.”

“You should sleep.”

“You should really sleep. Why do you lay awake like this?”

“I have to pee.”

“Reading a book will help me sleep.” Picks up book and gets bored five pages in. “Yeah, I don’t want to read a book.”

“Why do people think Canadians talk funny?”

“Why do people think Canadians apologize so much?”

“Why do I apologize so much?”

“I wonder what people say about me behind my back. I mean, I don’t want to know because I know that it’ll eat away at me. But, at the same time, I’m curious.”

“Why do I have such a hard time sleeping? How do normal people go to sleep?”

“I wish I could sleep.”

2020 Resolutions

2020 seems like a great year to have a great year. In an effort to leave room for growth, I have set what I believe to be very thoughtful, very attainable resolutions. This year:

I want to be more aware of time. The time I take, the time I give, the time I make, the time I live. I want to have more appreciation for the time I get, the moments I love and the people that make them so special. I want to acknowledge, and appreciate, time… for exactly what it is. We don’t get enough of it, so in 2020 I’m going to saviour it, every second of it.

I want to love and appreciate myself. For far too long I’ve been far too critical of who I am, diminishing what I accomplish and beating myself up for what I don’t. I may not be able to attain perfection, but I can appreciate the journey and celebrate what I do accomplish.

I want to proofread my posts before I hit publish. For the past year this blog has been my thoughts, in the moment, as they happen. And, while I’m not ashamed of anything that I’ve said on this blog, I think that I would be much happier with what I publish if I checked the spelling and grammar first. My posts will never be perfect, but they can be a lot better.

I want to put myself ‘out there’. I want to see if there are companies who’ll possibly sponsor this blog. I want to write articles for other people. I want to take part in more podcasts. Dare I say, maybe one day, show my face to the world. I want to freely, take this blog in any direction that an open door can lead and never say no to an opportunity.

I want to take better care of myself, my mental health and my well being. When I get stressed out, the last thing I think about is my own well being, and I really ought to start putting myself first once in a while. I don’t need to be selfish, I just need to take care of myself. No more crying myself to sleep. I’m going to confront my feelings, eat properly, exercise, and try to see the better sides of life. I’d love to cut my sugar intake by 40-50%. I’ll always love sweet foods, but that doesn’t mean I need to eat them just because they’re there. My body is a temple and I need to treat it better so that I can feel better.

I want to learn more about photography and how to take beautiful photos. I’ve spent so many years of my life trying to edit shitty photos to make them look better for various companies that now I’d really to learn how to take beautiful photos to start with. Colour, composition, focus, flash, shutter speed… I really want to study the art of what it takes to get the perfect photo. After all, if a picture’s worth a thousand words, I might as well make them valuable words.

I want to go somewhere that I’ve never been and experience something I’ve never done. I am the type who wants to dangle my toes of the edge of waterfalls, walk hand-in-hand with weird and wild creatures of the forest, learn embarrassing phrases in foreign languages to be the ‘token tourist’ who makes everyone smile and laugh because they can’t help but love her quirky can-do attitude. So let’s go please. Let’s find an adventure.

I want to teach my friends and family of the importance of sustainability and making eco-friendly choices. I may have made small strides in 2019, but more can be done. It’s been a difficult transition for a lot of people in my life and I really want them to make better/smarter choices with respect to the purchases they’re making and the actions they’re taking. I know it’s possible, and I think with more education everyone can be making smarter choices… even if it’s as simple as buying stainless steel straws and cloth shopping bags. Every decision counts. This is our world and we ought to protect it, look after it and love it.

I want to reach a point where I no longer need to worry about money, or how I will afford things. I’m not someone who needs fancy things, but what I do need is to know that the basics, the simple things in life, will be attainable to me. I don’t want to fear my credit card bill. I don’t want to put off doing things like buying new glasses any longer. My eyeballs need new glasses. Of course, I know, a job will help with this. And, fingers crossed, the stars will align for me from that perspective.

I want to spread kindness to whomever I meet, wherever I go. The world needs more kindness and people need to know they’re loved, worthy and appreciated. If I can accomplish even the smallest fraction of that, I’ll consider it a success.

I want to test out Vessi’s Waterproof shoes to find out if they’re actually as good as they’re hyped up to be. I want to test out a weighted blanket to find out if they really help with sleep, anxiety, restlessness and all other things they claim to help with. I want to test out some noise cancelling head phones to see if they really help me avoid the rest of the world when I need to focus. Also, I’d like to test out waking up exceptionally early to see if it would really make me as productive of a person as everyone claims waking up at 4:30 am makes them.

I don’t ever want to spend another New Year’s Eve alone.

This year is going to be about openness, honesty, generosity and goodness. I want everyone to remember that you cannot do all the good that the world needs, but, the world does need all the good that you can do.

Things that happened in 2019

A lot has happened this year. But, since most of it isn’t really worthy of recollecting, I’ve picked an event from each month as a memory of a year that I’ll be happy to say goodbye to.

In January I sent a lawyer after my former employer for wrongful termination and, in him working his magic, I was able to get four times the amount that was initially offered in severance. January also marked my mom’s third surgery in less than a 30 days. January was also the month I started this blog. Its inception was with purpose to give me a place to vent about the stress I was going through.

In February I went to the Ice Magic Festival at Lake Louise, fulfilling a dream that I’ve had for more than ten years. It might have just been the coldest day of the year, but nothing (ABSOLUTELY NOTHING) was going to keep me from that lake.

In March I got extremely sick. I went to the hospital multiple times, spent most of the month on different forms of antibiotics and sleeping. It was a long, very cold, very dark month. Knight looked after me and listened to my cry the whole time. This man would get up and out of his pjamas to go to the store in the middle of the night and get me a smoothie, because I wanted one.

In April I went to the Cancer Clinic with my mom, five days a week for many weeks. I watched as she got her treatments, cleaned up after her when she got sick and threw up, made her feel better when she was feeling depressed. I saw the people around her, each with different forms of cancer, each in varying stages of the disease, many with smiles on their face because they were thankful for the life-saving treatments they were receiving. Cancer is an extremely scary illness that affects so many people in our world and I am so thankful that my mom’s was caught early enough that she is now happy and healthy.

To everyone affected by cancer this year, I see you, I feel you and I understand you. Whether you went through it yourself, or you helped a family member or friend through it, you’re amazing. Remember that.

In May I went to Niagara Falls/Toronto. It was a quick trip, jam packed with ensuring I hit all the tourist spots and, all the local spots that were recommended to me before I went. I stayed in a room that had the most stunning view of the falls, took a few turns on the Skywheel, walked the falls at night to see the light show… it was a magical weekend for me. May also marked the birth of my niece, Aya.

In June I got a job offer around the end of the month. It was a digital marketing job, working in publishing. The employer hit me with a lot of paperwork – asking me to sign away my intellectual property rights and several other things. After some amendments were made to the contracts, I signed them and was given a start date of July 15th.

In July my job offer was rescinded. On July 13th, to be exact, precisely two days prior to when I was supposed to start. I was mad, pissed, unhappy and felt like I’d been cheated. The only explanation I got was ‘corporate restructuring’. Wowee. July also marked the birth of my nephew Phillip.

In August I went to Calgary to see an allergist and have a breathing assessment test done. I reckon being trapped in a 2×2 box on a hot summer’s day with no air, being forced to showcase who well, or poorly, your lungs are functioning feels quite similar to what summer in Arizona feels like. IT WAS HOTTTTTTTT.

In September I took a few solo road trips through British Columbia. The Gold Rush Trail was stunning and the Highway Thru-Hell was filled with A LOT of road construction. My mom, finally being healthy enough to travel, went with my dad to Denmark to visit their new granddaughter, so I had a month filled with peace and quiet and was reminded how much I appreciated living alone for ten years. I also saw my best friend, her beautiful family and spent a short amount of time in Vancouver. Twas a good month for me. Even if I was still jobless.

In October I worked the Federal Election. It was long, arduous and awful. The supervisors were idiots and the other clerks were extremely rude. But hey, we won. And, much like I predicted in October, Andrew Scheer did lose and has since resigned his post. I’m extremely glad we don’t have a pathological liar in charge of our country.

In November I turned 31. I had a bit of an existential crisis, lost my marbles for a wee bit and god, my birthday, the actual day itself, is not something I want to remember.

In December I made a commitment to purchasing gifts from Thrift Stores for my family. The way we do things in my family is, because there are so many of us, each of us gets one sibling or parent to purchase a gift for. That gift we’re supposed to spend between $75-100 on. After that, we usually gift each other small, minor things that we think would bring smiles to each other’s face. IE My brother Tyler really loves Starburst candy, so my brother Aaron bought him a bunch of Starbust for Christmas. Me, I spent the month searching thrift stores, and wound up purchasing some new, or almost new gifts for each member of my family for between $5-10 each.

2019, I won’t miss you. You’ve been a long, shitty, disappointing, difficult, heartbreaking, gut-wrenchingly awful year. To the good that did happen, I am grateful and I will always remember it. To the rest, it will serve as a reminder of things I never want to experience ever, ever again. This has been, without a doubt, the hardest year of my life. This has been the most difficult of all 30 years and two months I’ve spent on this planet.

I have resolutions. I plan to, hope to, desire to stick to them. Most of all, though, I hope that 2020 is whole lot fucking better than 2019 was.

Out with the old, in with the new.