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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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    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…

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    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…

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    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.**

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    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.

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