• You are currently browsing the archives for the Friends & Family category.

  • RIP – Ann

    July 28th, 2013 she Posted in Friends & Family   No Comments »  

    Today marks the passing of a longtime family friend. In truth, Ann was so much more than a friend. She taught me to read and write, cleaned up scraped knees when my parents weren’t around, had to childproof her house because of me (her daughters were better behaved), & cared for me when my parents were away. She & Gerry housed members of our family who came from away when my da died. If I had to say I had a second mom as a small child, Ann would be the one I identified in a heartbeat. My heart breaks for her family because she and Gerry have always been such a huge part of ours.

    So many things to remember Ann by. Love, smiles, laughter and tuna with relish. Say hi to dad for us. RIP.

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    changes

    September 19th, 2012 she Posted in Friends & Family, Random Burbling   No Comments »  

    In a week it’ll be 6 years since dad passed. A lot can happen in 6 years. Many memories that never get shared. Many times when you pick up a phone wanting advice and remembering, at the last minute, that the person you’re calling isn’t there. Since his passing we’ve been putting an annual memorial notice in the local paper. This year, partially because so many other things have been going on, I didn’t send in a notice for publication. I’m torn. It feels weird knowing that this year there won’t be a letter from mom with a snippet out of the local paper containing the memorial notice. It feels even stranger that I’m quickly approaching university graduation (May, 2013) and knowing dad won’t be there to celebrate.

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    And in the going down of the sun

    November 10th, 2010 she Posted in Friends & Family, Those Who Volunteered   2 Comments »  

    For those who have served and fallen – both during their service or after retirement – take a moment to remember their sacrifice.

    Notice

    Great Grandpa

    Dad.jpg

    Black Watch
    Grandma and Grandpa Grandpa in the Pacific Grandpa

    CFB Borden

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    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.

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    happy (almost) b-day to me

    August 18th, 2010 she Posted in Friends & Family   2 Comments »  

    I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that hubs had these delivered to work because if he’d had them sent home the cat would eat them. Since they’re only guaranteed to last 48 hours, it makes sense that he wouldn’t wait until my actual b-day to send them. Otherwise only the janitors would be enjoying them before they wilt.

     

    Now that they’ve arrived, I feel I can write about how I knew they were coming. Well, I didn’t know what the flower arrangement Drew picked out was, but I did know he’d ordered something from Funky Petals. [After scoping out their site, I was hoping for this and not flowers. Yeah, I know, I'm an ungrateful wife. Blah. Blah. Blah.]

    So, how’d I know something was coming? Someone from the store called and left a message for hubs on our answering machine last week. Said they wanted to get some clarification about the order he’d placed. Then they called (and got me in) the next day. They asked for Drew. I said he wasn’t in the country. They said “thanks” quite quickly and hung up.

    Being the smart little cookie I am, I put two and two together and scoped out their web site.

    He also kinda sucked at keeping the secret that something was being delivered since he called me at work this morning (yay!) and asked whether or not his package had arrived yet. I suppose if I hadn’t known something was on it’s way, the eagerness in his voice may not have been a dead-giveaway that delivery was scheduled for today.

    I’m a little stumped as to why he chose orange roses though…

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Avatar

    February 17th, 2010 she Posted in Art, Vittles & Beer, Friends & Family, Frothing At The Bit   3 Comments »  

    I have a funky eyeball. There’s no better way to explain it without getting into complicated ophthalmological terms that I barely understand. However, what it boils down to is that I’m pretty blind without my glasses, suffer spells of optical induced vertigo and can’t “see” 3D.

    So of course last night I went to Avatar in 3D with the hubs and a friend.

    I don’t know what I was expecting. In past trips to 3D movies, only small-ish elements were done in 3D so I could watch 90% of movies while missing out on very little. Drew really wanted to see the movie in 3D at the IMAX and we’d been asked to go with a friend.

    That certainly wasn’t the case in Avatar. With the 3D glasses on, everything was one giant blur. My eyes never managed to focus on anything. Not too much of a surprise there. I took the 3D glasses off at about the 15 minute mark. My regular glasses followed minutes later. Seeing nothing but fuzz was giving me a headache.

    So, there I was. Sitting in a seat a few rows before the IMAX screen completely unable to view the visual spectacle that is Avatar. I could have made due with that if it had had an engaging story that caught my attention. But it didn’t. The story is unoriginal and extremely dull in large stretches. Thus, I spent the next 2+ hours fidgeting in my seat. Watching all those around me sit enthralled. Listening to the Ooh-ing and Aah-ing while I counted ceiling tiles. Sleep eluded me because the theatre sound was too loud.

    It was a miserable way to spend an evening. I didn’t want to leave the theatre because I’d have to disturb other’s view and everyone around me seemed amazed. Granted, when we left none of the talk about the movie was about the storyline. I think it’s well and truly acknowledged that the storyline sucks donkey’s balls is awful.

    The entire visit to the IMAX left a bad taste in my mouth. I bought our tickets online. The system only provided an option to choose number of tickets. I thought they were quite expensive compared to what I’d normally pay for a movie ticket – $16.95 – but figured IMAX is probably a more expensive experience overall. Boy was I wrong. When the tickets were placed on screen to print, I discovered the ticket price was only $11.75 and change and the remaining $5.20 was for a pop and popcorn. Let me repeat the really annoying part here:

    I was FORCED to buy snacks from the venue. NO option to decline. NO option to get a refund on your ticket once purchased and NO advance notice that the ticket price listed included non-optional snacks.

    Even more unbelievable is that the food vouchers were date stamped so we couldn’t give them to friends who might be going to the movies on a different day unless they could attend within 10 days.

    Drew hates popcorn and I’m dieting so I didn’t want it. Even if I wasn’t dieting, I certainly wouldn’t have eaten 2 bags of the stuff. The venue refused to allow Drew to exchange the popcorn vouchers for a bag of candy instead. We were handed two bags of unwanted popcorn and left to rot. While we ended up giving it to our friend T at the end of the night (she’s bring it to work today) the whole forced snacking really left a bad taste in my mouth both before and after the movie.

    What I’ve learned is that I’ll never buy tickets online to this venue again. In fact, it’s damn unlikely I’ll ever spend a cent of my money at the Scotiabank Theatre in the West Edmonton Mall again.  I would have happily sucked up not enjoying the movie. That happens all the time. People’s tastes are different. No big deal. But the forced purchase of snacks, that just roils my stomach and gets my ire up.

    Yeah, I’ve already submitted a written complaint about the online ticket purchase process. Not much else I can do other than boycott the theatre. And warn poor gimpy people like me; if you’re visually impaired you may be bored out of your ever lovin’ gourd if you bother to watch Avatar.

    Like I was.

    UPPERDATE: It’s been a week and the theatre company hasn’t bothered to even acknowledge my complaint. Fabulous business practices you have going there…

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Christmas Wish List Challenge – Results

    December 27th, 2009 she Posted in Friends & Family   No Comments »  

    Shortly before Christmas I posted a Christmas Wish List Challenge. In it we asked that friends and family who had the means choose to donate to a local charity or worthy cause that was near and dear to them rather than buying presents for Drew and I. I’m thrilled to report that our challenge was adopted not only by friends and family that we would normally exchange gifts with, but also by neighbours and childhood friends who we normally sent Christmas cards to. The generosity people have show continues to amaze me.

    Since I didn’t have a change to ask everyone who sent cards listing the charity they donated to, donors will be listed by first names only.

    Me and She (that’s us):

    Mum:

    Mom & Dad S:

    Earle & Paulette:

    Diane & Mark

    • Local (Southern Ontario) Food Bank

    Gin

    Paul & Wendy

    Amber & Jay

    Some of the participants chose to give of themselves rather than just spend money. I have to admit, Mare’s choice was one of my favourites this year. Mare is the wonderful and talented woman who knitted Jayne hats for Drew and I for Christmas last year (delivered a bit late…but no worries, they made it to Comic Con in July). She has pledged to knit 10 tiny Jayne style hats (minus the funky colours) for the Saint John Regional Hospital NICU.

    In our neighbourhood a group of us adopted a single parent family in order to provide them with a Christmas meal and presents. Sylvie, Jeri, Les, Drew and I spent a few days shopping for food for the basket and presents appropriate for a 9 year old girl before dropping off the baskets on Christmas Eve. While we didn’t know much about the family we’d adopted, I must say it’s more fun to shop for this situation than for Santa’s Anonymous.

    Finally, members of the #yeg Twitter community attended a wrapping tweetup for Santa’s Anonymous in early December. It was a lot of fun but also a tiny bit heartbreaking to see how many people needed help this holiday season.

    Haven’t yet donated but still want to? Can’t decide on which charity to support? Any Edmonton based Twitter users are invited out to #yegRoma on January 9, 2010. #yegRoma is in support of the Canadian Association of Medical Teams Abroad (CAMTA) trip to Ecuador in late February of 2010.

    I know many others have participated in the challenge but haven’t yet contacted me to indicate who/what they chose to support. Feel free to leave that information in the comments section.

    **Thank you to everyone who participated. You’ve made our Christmas – and someone else’s – a lot brighter this year.**

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Christmas Wish List Challenge – Charity List

    December 3rd, 2009 she Posted in Friends & Family, Random Burbling   1 Comment »  

    I’ve selected the charities we’ll be supporting for our Christmas Wish List Challenge. In no particular order, this year our budget has been split between the following organizations:

    For those of you who are new to my blog, last week I posted my annual Christmas Wish List. This year it’s a little bit different than usual. Our family has decided to stepping off of the Christmas present treadmill hamster wheel. We will not be buying presents. Instead, we’re taking the money we would have spent on presents and donating it to local charities. We’ve also requested that our friends and family skip buying us presents this year and donate those funds to a charity of their choice as well.

    Once the donation has been made we’re asking participants to send us a Christmas card (or comment on this blog post if you’re so inclined) indicating which charity you’ve donated to as part of the challenge. $$ amounts do not need to be disclosed.  I’ll gather up the list of charities people have chosen to support this holiday season and post the list close to Christmas.

    Short on funds? Consider donating your time. Many local organizations are desperate for volunteers.

    What’s our motivation? In our  not so humble opinion, Christmas has become far too commercialized and people are focused too heavily on what they’re going to get as opposed to what they can give. This me-centric trend has been bothering us. We’re hoping everyone will put a little less under their own tree in order to bring a little joy and light to a stranger.

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Peace on Earth – Advent Calendar

    November 29th, 2009 she Posted in Friends & Family, Random Burbling   No Comments »  

    I received this in an email this morning and thought I’d share. It compliments my Christmas wish list well. Whether or not you’re Christian, I think the sentiment behind the activity is a good one and makes it worthy of participation no matter what religion your may choose to follow. Or not follow as the case may be.

    Message added by our friend A: This was a write up in the Edmonton Sun on Sunday Nov. 29/09. I am going to do this and I hope you and your family will too. At the end of advent feel free to add more if you wish.

    Activity: Advent calendars mark the beginning of the Christmas season — a time of gift giving and celebration.

    This Advent Sharing Calendar takes it one step further. It helps us to be mindful of those in need every day of the year, and reminds us how truly fortunate Canadians are. To create your own Advent Sharing Calendar, take a small box or coffee can, put a slot in the lid, and then wrap it in Christmas paper.

    Each day of Advent, monetary gifts are added to the box. At the end of the holiday season, send a cheque to your favorite charity.

    In keeping with the holiday spirit, the theme is “Peace on Earth.” There can be no peace when 86% of the world’s resources are consumed by 20% of the population.

    There can be no peace when 30,000 children die every day from extreme poverty. There can be no peace when in many countries, simply being a woman can be a death sentence.

    Gifts should be added as follows:

    December

    1: For every finger and toe your children have — intact and unblemished by landmines — add 5 cents. Landmines have killed or injured more than 70,000 Afghans in the past two decades.

    2: For every female in your family who is free to go to school, pursue a career, or walk openly in the street, add 50 cents.

    3: Add 10 cents for every time you’ve voted in a democratically held election.

    4: Add $1 if your drinking water is safe. An estimated 5 million people die every year from illnesses caused by drinking poor quality water. 1.1 billion people lack access to safe water.

    5: Add 25 cents for every shower or bath taken by members of your family today. Two-and-a-half billion people lack access to water for sanitation.

    6: Add $1 for everyone you know with HIV/AIDS. 270,000 children die of AIDS every year.

    7: Add 50 cents if you can name your family doctor. Add $1 if you’ve paid a visit to his or her office this year.

    8: Add 5 cents for every year of your life untouched by civil war or conflict.

    9: If you live above sea level, add $1. The World Health Organization estimates that 150,000 people die every year from drowning in low-lying coastal areas.

    10: If you have flood insurance, put a loonie in the box and count yourself lucky.

    11: Add 25 cents for every toy gun in your house (don’t forget video games).

    12: Add 25 cents for every time you’ve called 911.

    13: If you’ve had a permanent address for more than six months, add 50c. If you own your own home, add $1.

    14: If you have open access to information through newspapers, the Internet, radio or TV, add $1.

    15: Add 50c if you’ve ever written a letter to the editor. Add $ 1 if it was published.

    16: Add 1 cent for every book that you own. If you have more than 100 books, add $2.

    17: Add 50 cents for anyone in your family or circle of friends that serves as a member of the armed forces, police, fire or ambulance services. Now call them up and say thank you.

    18: Add 50 cents for every one of your children who attends a publicly funded school. An estimated one billion adults are illiterate. Two-thirds of them are women.

    19: Add $1 if you’ve ever sought legal council.’

    20: Add $1 if you’ve ever been called for jury duty. Add $2 if you’ve been privileged enough to serve.

    21: On this, the darkest day of the year, add 2 cents for every light bulb in your house. Don’t forget your Christmas lights!

    22: If you’re free to visit with friends and family over the holidays, add $1.

    23: Add $1 if you’ve sung Christmas carols this season. Add $2 if you sang them in public.

    24: When the stockings have been hung by the chimney with care, add 25 cents for every gift under the tree.

    25: If your family celebrates Christmas Day with a sumptuous feast, add $5.

    26: If you didn’t recycle Christmas wrappings and boxes, add $1.

    27: Add $1 if you had fast food today. One billion people suffer from obesity in the developed world. In the developing world, one billion people are starving.

    28: If you have a drug plan, add $1.

    29: If you have a pension plan, add $2.

    30: If you have ever collected employment insurance or disability benefits, add $2.

    31: Add $5 if you attend or host a New Year’s Eve party.

    January

    1: Add 10 cents for everyone you called to say “Happy New Year!”

    2: Add a loonie for every member of your family who received a flu shot this year.

    3: Add 50 cents for every member of your family who has lived past 70 years of age. In Zambia, life expectancy dropped from 44 to 33 years between 1990 and 2000.

    4: Consider how fortunate you are. And then consider that 50% of the world’s children live in poverty.

    5: Sit down with your family and decide where you would like to send the contents of your Advent Sharing box. Suggestions include UNICEF and Oxfam.

    6: (The Epiphany) — Add up the contents of your box and then send a cheque to the charity of your choice.

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Christmas Wish List – Challenge

    November 28th, 2009 she Posted in Friends & Family, Random Burbling   3 Comments »  

    It’s that time of year when I post a Christmas wish list and hope to find some goodies from my list under my tree.

    This year I want to try something new. I want everyone to take whatever money they’d spend on a Christmas gift for Drew or me and donate the amount to their local food bank, soup kitchen, or favourite local charity. Once you’ve done that send us a card letting us know which charity you’ve donated to. We don’t need to know the amount.

    After Chrismas I’ll post a list of all the charities our friends and family donated to over the Christmas season. I hope it’ll be a lengthy one.

    As lovely as gifts under the tree are, many of us still have a job and a roof over our heads. Not everyone has been as fortunate. I’m asking our friends and family to adopt the true spirit of the season and understand why we’ve chosen not to buy or send presents this year.

    Over the next few days I’ll be picking the local charities Drew and I will be donating to and start working on my Christmas cards. We’ll be eagerly awaiting your cards.

    UPDATE: I’m challenging the world – friends, family & strangers – to do the same this holiday season. Put a little less under your own tree in order to help provide for someone else.

    UPPERDATE: Unsure who to donate to? Think local or pick a cause that supports something near and dear to your heart. Love to read? Choose Kids Need to Read or your local library. Love animals? Pick a local animal shelter or rescue league. Know what it’s like to go hungry? Donate to a soup kitchen or foodbank.

    Still not sure? Feel free to follow in our footsteps. Last year Drew was in Afghanistan over Christmas and I chose to support a number of charities rather than buying gifts for most of the people on our Christmas list. Then, I chose Kids Need to Read, Central Asia Institute, Edmonton Foodbank, Edm Humane Society, WIN House, Canadian Cancer Society, Salvation Army and World Vision Alternate Gifts. This year I suspect the list of beneficiaries may be a wee bit smaller so that we can donate a larger amount to the charities we select. Just remember, there’s no right or wrong way to participate in the Christmas Wish List Challenge.

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button