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  • poppy count – status the first

    October 31st, 2011 she Posted in Random Burbling, Those Who Volunteered   No Comments »  

    The poppy count has been slow since Friday’s launch. In fact, it was so slow that I ended up counting poppies I saw on tv screens (mostly News & hockey games) on Friday and Saturday. I also counted the poppies we saw on people at the Oiler’s hockey game on Sunday.

    I had thought that counting poppies at a venue with over 10,000 people in attendance would result in a ridiculously high number and a donation tally that we couldn’t afford to pay.  That’s why I’d placed a caveat on our poppy count plans; planning not to count at designated sporting events we’re attending between the poppy launch date and Remembrance day. 

    That wasn’t the case at Sunday’s game. We’ll revisit the non-counting policy at giant venues while at the Esks game on Friday.

    Current poppy count stands as follows:

    • Oct 28 = 14
    • Oct 29 = 15
    • Oct 30 = 34

    Donation tally, as of yesterday, is only $6.30 (per charity).

    Of all the places we’ve lived, Edmonton has been the most pro-military and supportive community. I’m hoping to start seeing an increase in poppies worn over the next few days.

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    How will you remember?

    October 20th, 2011 she Posted in Lighter Side, Random Burbling, Those Who Volunteered   8 Comments »  

    Veteran’s Week takes place from Nov 5-11 and this year Veterans Affairs Canada is asking Canadians to Make remembrance more than something you feel. Make it something you do. (2011 theme was How will you Remember?).

    Shamelessly stolen from the Veterans Affairs website:

    “Your challenge is to make remembrance more than something you feel. Make it something you do. There are many ways you can show that you remember and honour our Veterans.

    • pin a poppy above your heart;
    • attend a local Remembrance Day ceremony;
    • follow Veterans Affairs Canada on Twitter;
    • download the “We Remember” mobile app;
    • listen to Veterans talk about their experiences;
    • create a mashup and share it on the Veterans Affairs Canada YouTube channel;
    • visit the Veterans Affairs Canada fan page on Facebook, write on our wall and share how you remember;
    • change your Facebook profile picture to a poppy, write on your wall about how you remember or create your own remembrance fan page.”

    In 2010 I decided to donate funds to friend’s Movember campaigns based on the number of poppies I saw people wearing as I randomly walked through Edmonton. In 2011, I expanded my list of charities to donate to (Movember, Kids Need to Read, Boomer’s Legacy, WoundedWarriors.ca and CaliCan Rescue Foundation). I haven’t yet decided who the beneficiary of my 2012 poppy count will be.

    As always, I’m donating $0.10 to each charity for each poppy I see people wearing as I wander around Edmonton & Ottawa from the Poppy Campaign’s launch date until November 11.

    will be counting poppies on my way to work, at work, and running normal day-to-day errands (shopping, bill payments, etc.).

    I know 10 cents per poppy doesn’t seem like much, but I’m since I’m planning on counting poppies for approximately 20 days and will be attending the Remembrance Day ceremony at the War Memorial in Ottawa this year, I expect the dollar amount to add up quickly. I’m optimistic; hoping to see far more poppies in 2012 than I did during my previous counting experiments in 2010-2011.

    Why no donation to the Royal Canadian Legion you might ask? My husband and I are Legion members and donate to their programs throughout the year. I also have an annual tradition of purchasing a new poppy each day of the campaign. And Honestly? I suspect that the Legion’s poppy campaign will benefit more from my poppy purchase traditions than from my poppy counting project.

    - side note -
    In 2010 I also decided to try and collect photos of poppies on people’s jackets from the date the poppy campaign began until Nov 11. Instead of randomly photographing strangers, I asked friends and family to send in a picture of themselves wearing a poppy. Sadly, my collection was tiny and the project was a bust. I received less than 5 pictures of people wearing poppies.

    I think I need to reconsider how I’m collecting the poppy photos.

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    Summer already?

    July 27th, 2011 she Posted in Random Burbling   No Comments »  

    Seems I’m starting all my new posts with “it’s been a while” lately.

    We’ve had a pretty busy year so far. I’m still in school. Hubs is home from Kandahar. The spring battlefields (Somme, Normandy, Ypres, etc.) tour is a distant memory. Our annual Can’t Stop the Serenity event is done for 2011 and planning is beginning for 2012. We’re just starting in with volunteering for Pure Spec and are tearing up the basement to deal with the flooding we’ve been experiencing for weeks due to the horrific weather.

    So, what’s new with you?

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    We’re alive

    March 4th, 2011 she Posted in Random Burbling   No Comments »  

    It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything. Between school and hubs quick visit home I haven’t had too much to say lately. But that doesn’t mean the world has stopped turning during my silence.

    Happy things:
    1) The “do things that scare me” plan is in full swing and the girly intervention was a lot of fun. I’m still learning how to put on make-up but I seem to be managing ok walking in high heel shoes. I’ll need lots more practice but I think I can see myself wearing fancy schmantzy girly shoes more often.

    2) The Opera Gala was wonderful and I really enjoyed myself. I took my friend Shannon as my “date” and it was a great way to spend Valentine’s Day.

    3) The fancy schmantzy night out with the hubs was fabulous. We headed to a restaurant, the Unheardof, that had come highly recommended by my co-workers. It. Was. Amazing. The food was fabulous. The atmosphere and service was perfect. I’m really looking forward to our next opportunity to visit Unheardof.

    4) For a long time we’ve been planning a trip to France and parts of the UK once Drew returns from KAF. After spending quite a bit of time crunching budget numbers and seeing what’s available we’ve come to the hard realization that our plans need to change. It looks like we’ll just be visiting France at this time and will need to visit the UK at some future date.

    5) Stuff got done around the house. Mostly plumbing and such. Fewer drips and no more constantly running toilet are very good things.

    Sad things:
    1) The weather was cold and miserable the entire time hubs was home.

    2) We waived goodbye to each other today. I’m home. Hubs is headed onward. Puppehs and I are a bit lonely tonight.

    That is all.

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    one more sleep

    February 16th, 2011 she Posted in Random Burbling   No Comments »  

    Tomorrow, hubs is home on a tour break. 14 days to get as much cuddling in as possible and household repairs that I haven’t been able to manage alone. There will be hockey games and fancy, schmantzy dinners out; long conversations that don’t revolve around the time limit on a phone calling card. Did I mention cuddling?

    Very excited!

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    Enough already

    January 15th, 2011 she Posted in Random Burbling   3 Comments »  

    I’m no stranger to winter. I was raised on the east coast where snow piles were often taller than my mother. From an early age, my sister and I joined our parents shoveling the monster driveway at our childhood home.

    In my mid-20s, my husband and I moved to Winnipeg. The city’s well earned nickname is “Winterpeg” and -40C is not an unheard of temperature.

    When we moved to Edmonton a few years ago, we were thrilled to discover that winter’s here had smaller amounts of snowfall and were much warmer than Winnipeg. Who’d have thought moving so far north would find us smack dab in a warmer climate?

    Sadly, la nina appears to have an opposite impact on winters out west. We’ve had next to no summer. Rain. Rain. And more rain. Our regular small snow fall in October didn’t materialize and for a while we all wondered if winter would ever arrive. Oh, how naive we were…

    Over the past few weeks we’ve been bouncing between crazy freezing temperatures and mounds of snow. Last weekend I spent hours shoveling the 30+ cm that descended into my yard. With drifing induced by the high winds, in some areas the drifts of snow to be shoveled were more than 2 feet tall!

    Just when we thought we couldn’t stand anymore winter, mother nature thumbed her nose at us and stuck out her tongue. We’ve had crazy cold temps all week (-22C and lower, before windchill) and on Friday another mass snowfall began. It’s expected to snow for days…

    I’m tired of shoveling. I’m tired of throwing snow onto piles higher than my head. And now I’m worried about a quick spring thaw. There’s so much snow and moisture that I suspect some basement flooding may be inevitable.

    Someone would make a killing if they came and carted unwanted snow from yards in the city. Smaller piles of snow in my yard would certainly make me happy :)

    Here’s hoping hubs can find a way to move some of this snow much farther away from the house than I’ve been able to manage when he visits next month…

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    Warm feet

    November 21st, 2010 she Posted in Random Burbling   2 Comments »  

    I have freakishly small feet for an adult. My hands are also freakishly small but that’s a rant for another day.

    It’s winter in Edmonton. Which means snow, ice and (in my case) often frozen toes. I have to shovel snow shortly after it falls and I need to walk to and from bus and train stations. I have been in search of boots since just before the weather turned cold.

    I loathe shoe shopping. I’d rather poke my eyes out with hot irons than try to find a nice, comfortable, good looking pair of shoes.

    I’ve lived in northern climes all my life. Winter boot buying is an annual tradition for most Canadians. You’d think I’d be used to it by now. Or that I’d just wear the same boots year after year.

    Hey, that’s a fabulous idea. Why am I not doing that?

    Perhaps because I’ve lost a tonne of weight over the past year. When you lose weight things get smaller. Oddly enough, feet shrink.

    When I was fat my feet were so wide and chubby that I had to wear shoes a few sizes bigger (read: small adult sized) to accommodate them. Now that my feet have shrunk, I’m back to wearing children’s shoe sizes.

    Children’s shoes suck if you’re an adult. Because children’s feet grow so fast they’re not really designed to last. They are often not built well. Try finding a proper pair of running shoes (stability, motion control, etc.) in a child’s size and you’ll see what I mean…

    And they’re UGLY! What’s cute on a small child is not cute on a 30+ year old woman. I don’t need or want bows, ruffles, crystal designs, or bright colours on my shoes. I want classic dress shoes with a smallish heel or flats with decent cushioning.

    I also want the winning lottery ticket. I figure I have about the same chance of finding either in my possession anytime soon.

    But I need boots. It’s cold. There really isn’t a way to make it through winter without them. Shoe shopping has been on my agenda for days. I’ve spent far too many hours bouncing from store to store in search of boots this weekend.

    I’ve learned that many of the boots that do fit my feet are far too short to be useful. Most don’t come above my ankles while I really need boots that come to mid-calf or my knees. I’ve learned that the Bay closest to me doesn’t sell children’s shoes. I’ve learned that the Soft Moc in the same mall doesn’t carry anything smaller than a size 6. I’ve learned that the Shoe Warehouse sold out of my size (3) long before I got there and that Zellers had no boots in my size that looked appropriate for an adult to wear. Not this adult anyway.

    I’ve also learned that many higher end or specialty shoe stores are staffed with young employees more interested in socializing than in helping customers. Again, a rant for another day…

    When I went to Sears on Friday night their winter boot section was almost empty. Empty space after empty space on the shelves. What was left wasn’t in my size. I wandered back through Sears today and lucky for me, they’d restocked between Friday evening and mid-afternoon on Sunday.

    After days of searching, I’ve finally managed to score an awesome pair of just-below-the-knee Sorel boots. Big, giant, warm, clunky Sorels. They’re a different colour (black) than my winter coat (brown). There’s nothing fashionable about them but in the end they’ll do exactly what I need; they’ll keep my toes toasty warm.

    I am victorious!

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    Seasonal stress and taking a load off

    November 3rd, 2010 she Posted in Friends & Family, Random Burbling   5 Comments »  

    If the decorations in stores and prevalence of Christmas music over the airwaves are anything to go by, the holiday season is fast approaching.

    I, for one, am not happy about this. 

    Frequently when I blog I end up having to censor myself. Because if I wrote what I was really thinking I’d end up with a series of phone calls from friends and family all claiming to be hurt in some manner. Hell, even when my posts are self-censored I still get those calls. Whether or not my writings were associated with them in the first place is usually a moot point…

    This trend stresses me out to no end. I frequently feel that when the hubs isn’t home, I have no one that I can openly talk to who won’t judge me and who will at least attempt to see things from my point of view. Sometimes I blog in search of finding someone else who has experienced the same thing. A cyber replacement for hubs if you will. Or, at the very least, a feeling that I am not alone in the universe. Because if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years, it’s that an extrovert has difficulty understanding the mind (and physiological responses to situations) of an introvert. And vice versa of course.

    The Christmas season is fast approaching and I’m stressed to no end. Today I’ve decided to skip the self-censorship and just write what I’m thinking. And if anyone calls to discuss or complain about anything in this post, I will hang up on you. Consider yourself warned.

    I’m not the biggest fan of the Christmas holiday season. I don’t like decorating. I don’t enjoy the music. I find those who claim to follow religion to be most hypocritical when it comes to “the true spirit of the season“. I’d rather skip the entire production. The only good thing about any holiday is the shared meal with my neighbours; the same communal meal that takes place on every major holiday or at random backyard BBQs. I enjoy our gatherings very much.

    A few years ago I made the conscious decision to stop giving gifts and instead give money to charity. For the past 2 years, I’ve asked my friends and family to do the same. Pick a charity. Any charity. Donate time, money or goods to them. Some people took me up on my challenge. Some enjoyed it. Others expressed their displeasure and disappointment and not getting gifts. Fine. You don’t have to like it. But I shouldn’t feel pressured into completely disregarding my own value system in order to make someone else happy.

    And yet, I do.

    Christmas isn’t even here and I’m already feeling sick, stressed, pressured, dismissed and disrespected. The chorus of orders rings in my head. “Do this. Do that. I expect this…” ARGH! 

    Why do I always have to be miserable just so someone else is happy? Why can’t I be the one that gets to be happy?

    Or, skip the happiness part of the equation. Why are my wishes and values so easy for others to dismiss as inconsequential? What makes the things important to me so easy for others to dismiss out of hand? Why don’t others experience qualms about demanding I bend to their wishes?

    If all your friends jumped off a bridge…

    This is my problem with Christmas. Or any other social gathering with expectations and customs attached. I’m extremely introverted. I’m socially awkward. And after 35 years of trying to be someone else - someone who fits in better with the extroverted mainstream - I’ve learned that I need to stop trying to please others and just be me. You don’t have to understand me. You just have to learn to take me as I am. Or not, as the case may be.

    Now if only I could learn to say “no“. Then I wouldn’t get myself into these stressful messes in the first place. Feeling bullied to do exactly what others want me to do so they can be happy.

    Maybe I should start here. I don’t want to exchange gifts. I don’t want to go to a party. I don’t want a tree in my home for the cat to climb or the dogs to pee on. I will not go to church and sit through sermons for a religion I find conflicts with my base value system. I might drink the egg nog.

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    Communication

    October 29th, 2010 she Posted in Random Burbling   2 Comments »  

    Hubs and I often spend time apart. comes with the territory of military spouse. With my past globe trotting history, we’ve celebrated more than our share of holidays and anniversaries while one of us was 1/2 way across the country or world. This is the first time I recall one of us being in a war zone for Remembrance Day.

    While I stand in the cold honouring all those who’ve gone before, hubs will be sweating away across the world. I’m assuming there will be ceremonies in KAF.

    In this era of near immediate communication, I find myself wondering what it was like during WWI, WWII & Korea for the families left behind. How did they manage to survive the long wait between newspapers printing or radio stories?

    The differences in communication frequency in this tour vs hubs last a year ago has been huge. Cell phones & email (which existed prior of course, he just didn’t use them) mean that I hear from him every few days. Sure, I rarely get letters, but I do have a general idea that he’s physically ok most days.

    As we cross off the days on a calendar until he comes home, I can add one more important date that can be marked while apart. We’ve got a lot to make up for…

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    Thankful

    October 10th, 2010 she Posted in Random Burbling   2 Comments »  

    i frequently tell the world how awesome my neighbours are. they puppy sit, they help rebuild our backyard & garage, they help lay flooring, fix stuff around the house, teach me new things, and generally keep me sane. once again i must repeat that phrase.

    for the past few years we’ve had a communal meal for all the big holidays. christmas, easter, thanksgiving, and a myriad of bbq’s in between.

    whether of not drew or i were home (or traveling the world), whoever was left home alone always had somewhere to go for a special holiday meal. same rules applied if we were both home.

    and those “rules” don’t just apply to us. everyone in our circle of friends has an open invitation to the meal.

    today i spent the better part of my day with some of my favourite people eating an awesome meal. when i left i was loaded up with enough turkey to keep me in sandwhiches and snacks for the next few days.

    i have the most awesome neighbours and for that i’m truly thankful.

    happy thankgiving weekend everyone. may you be blessed with good neighbours at sometime in your lives.

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