Thursday, July 28, 2011

Day 196: People.

Guys, there is just a lot of war happening right now. A lot of fighting. A lot of not understanding where other people are coming from.

I, obviously, don’t have any fabulous ideas on how we can reach the elusive idea of world peace, because I don’t see how this world will ever get to a place where we respect one another, even if we are different. Where we love one another, even if we don’t agree. Where we put down weapons and embrace one another as people. As living, breathing, thinking humans.

We’ve heard many times that ‘variety is the spice of life’, and yet, we kill people over their ‘variety’: their religion, the colour of their skin, their political ideologies, their affiliations with certain countries – as if we all have a choice of where we are born.

Sometimes in Canada, where life is pretty good, we forget how much death at the hands of another happens in other parts of the world. Sometimes we turn a blind eye to the news reports, assuming that the media is sensationalizing things again. Guys, 20 people have died in Afghanistan in the last two days via suicide bombers and gun fights. 76 people died in Norway because one person decided it was his duty to fight back against a perceived impending domination of a certain religious group. There is a famine in the Horn of Africa, where a South Somalia political leader is denying the famine is a problem in his area, forcing thousands upon thousands of people to walk many miles in the hot sun, often leaving sick children behind to die, in hopes of being given a bite to eat. Anything to eat. Imagine having to choose between your two children, knowing that one is definitely not strong enough to make it to the camp because they are so malnourished that they cannot even walk. They are so malnourished that they cannot even cry.

Why can we not love each other, or care for each other? Why is it so hard for us to see past titles of what/who people ‘are’ and focus on the fact that they are people?

I don’t have the answers. I can’t claim to have never fallen into the trap of stereotyping/judging/disliking people. But, I can say for myself that I am trying. I am trying my best to love people, even if I don’t understand them. To show people I meet that they have worth, even if the world has told them that they don’t. I’m sure my own personal ‘Love Movement’ won’t bring about world peace, but hopefully it can make even one person feel more loved after having met me.

Share love. Share hugs. Don’t kill people.
It seems like common sense, but we're getting it so wrong.


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Day 195: No socks

Okay, so I'm not showing socks on this one because I'm actually adding this from a computer that is not my own. Therefore, this computer houses none of my sock photos.

But, this is a story for the day/week/two weeks/whenever I wrote last. Forgive me.

Here goes:

I have this life that is sometimes unbelievable to me. I wouldn’t change that for anything. I like the excitement. I like the drama even, sometimes. I don’t crave it, but I like having things to deal with, things to keep me busy.

What I don’t like is killing things. No, not killing them, but badly injuring them. That is too much drama for me. However, this is exactly what I did yesterday.

I am working outside the city this week and am, therefore, commuting. It’s about a 40 minute drive, mainly on highways and secondary highways. Highway driving lends itself to specific dangers, such as a wheel blowing up, or an engine overheating. Perhaps one of the most common highway dangers is the danger of hitting an animal. Mostly people hit squirrels, gophers, birds, or the odd rabbit. But why would I hit one of those? No. For my first murder (or almost murder), I decide to go big. And flat. And hit a badger. A BADGER. I’ve never even seen a badger before yesterday. This thing was HUGE.

 This is obviously not the one I hit (I don't think!), but this is what they look like.

So there I am on a secondary highway, cruising along in the sunshine, music playing, cruise control set around 85km/h in an 80km/h zone. I literally did not see the badger at all until after I hit it. Cruising along and BANG and then what feels like I ran over a massive speed bump. I screamed bloody murder, as it completely terrified me. My eyes shot to my rearview mirror and I saw this huge animal curled into a ball on the road. I knew what I had done. I had murdered an innocent animal.

I quickly pulled over to the side of the road and put my hazard lights on, just in time to begin crying my eyes out. Because, what else was I going to do? I couldn’t go pick it up, it was big. I didn’t want to get out of my car because the next guy behind me might run over me like I ran over the poor badger. As I was contemplating how awful of a human I am for not seeing the animal before hitting it, I look in the rearview mirror again and, I kid you not, see the badger uncurl itself from the ball and try to DRAG ITSELF TO THE SIDE OF THE ROAD. It was obviously in misery. It was obviously in pain, barely clinging to its little life. The waterworks turned on full tilt now. I LOST MY MIND.

I could have lived with myself if I had killed it. At least it would have been fast and over. But no, I brutally wound the animal so that it has to peel itself off the pavement and drag itself to the side of the road and disappear into the grass of the ditch. I cried basically the whole way home.

I really hope I never hit another animal in my life. I feel like a bad person! Please forgive me little badger, I didn’t see you. :(

Monday, July 18, 2011

Day 194: Jailbird

Blogging every day was much easier in the fall/winter when I was in school and used it as a way to avoid doing homework. I shall use this post as a way to recap my incredibly eventful weekend.

Friday evening my friend, Kaitlin, flew in to town from her respective homestead in BC. I totally love this girl. While slightly apprehensive since we'd never spent more than a dinner or an afternoon together in BC, and were now facing a whole weekend, it turned out fabulously. Some friends you just don't miss a beat with, you know?

As she came out the doors I was so super excited and we both squealed like little girls and hugged and laughed. I think internally we knew this weekend was going to be fabulous!!

Friday night, we met up with Jadah and went to a delicious exclusively vegetarian restaurant in downtown Calgary. It was incredible (as always)! While on our walk to another friend's house, we encountered some extremely inebriated guys who asked if we would "skip" down the street with them. Let me just express how much I love Stampede in Calgary and the ridiculous antics that all seem to partake in at this time of year.

Saturday was such a fun day. Kait and I got up fairly early for breakfast at one of my favourite breakfast places, Diner Deluxe. We enjoyed delicious food and coffee. I took her on a little Calgary tour and then we went shopping. I got two dresses and a pair of shoes for under $60. Kaitlin also scored some wicked deals. It is important at this point to mention that at the TNA store we were helped by a super sweet girl who happened to have big bandages on her face. I'm not mentioning this to be cruel or anything, but later this story will come into play.

After getting ready to go out for the evening (we bought tickets to the Cowboys tent for Stampede), we were driving to Jade's and we drove past a girl in a car who had big bandages on her face too. This led to a purely speculative conversation on whether or not people were getting bottled at parties during the Stampede. Naturally, me being me, my anxiety levels rose and I was worried that someone this evening would happen to get in an unfortunate fight at the Cowboys tent and that they'd get bottled. I pushed these thoughts aside for a couple drinks and some barbequed chicken. We all traipsed over to the Cowboys tent and and had a really fun night. Tons of people dressed in cowboy/girl gear, loud music, and incredibly overpriced drinks (aka the water I bought was $4.75). While exiting the girls washroom, Kaitlin and I ran directly into the girl from the TNA store with the bandages on her face. Kaitlin (very politely) asked if she'd mind sharing her story of how she hurt her face. She definitely was not bottled in a bar fight during Stampede. She actually had an unfortunate accident where she happened to faint while on a flight of stairs -- poor girl! Mystery solved. I had more faith in the people of Stampede than to be angry types. Usually everyone is so happy at Stampede time.

Sunday we both slept in and got ready and then went out for lunch. We enjoyed a super leisurely late lunch. Then we headed to the Stampede grounds for Kaitlin's first-ever Stampede experience! We took the train and took in all the sites. Indian Village, the Agriculture tent, all the little animals, the BMO Centre, etc. We wandered around for a few hours, ate some mini donuts, commented on many people's unfortunate choices of attire. We decided to head out of the grounds for dinner and along the way saw that Mariana's Trench was doing their soundcheck on the Coca-Cola Stage. My inner 13-year-old girl freaked out. I totally LOVE Mariana's Trench. No, for serious. Love. Sigh.

Anyways, so we stuck around and watched their soundcheck. I was feeling good about this and decided to post a picture of them on the stage to my Twitter. Right after this happened I saw that the Calgary Stampede had tweeted saying if we could find them at this location (with a picture attached) that the next 5 people would get FREE tickets to the Kenny Chesney concert that night. I opened the pic and knew exactly where they were. I said to Kaitlin, "Free Kenny Chesney tickets for tonight! This way! Run!" She, being the easy-going girl that she is, just ran after me. Well, we were one of the five, because we got free tickets! It was incredible! Twitter is quite possibly one of the best inventions. I heart social networking! So the concert started 30 minutes after we won the tickets. So we hustled on over to the Saddledome and got in our seats. I was a little bit disappointed that by winning the tickets I was missing the Mariana's Trench concert, but this was also possibly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I couldn't pass up. Plus, capping off Stampede with Kenny Chesney is pretty swoon-worthy. We were also a little disappointed that seeing Kenny Chesney meant missing Doc Walker playing in the Nashville North tent. However, Doc Walker ended up being one of two opening acts for Kenny Chesney!!! How was our luck so incredible on Sunday? Seeing Mariana's Trench doing soundcheck, winning Kenny Chesney tickets AND having Doc Walker open for him. AMAZING. So we country'd it up at the concert, sang along to all the songs, and left feeling pretty good. As we got closer to the train we realized the fireworks show was about to start so we stuck around and waited for the fireworks and then headed home. What an absolutely incredible day! Probably one of the best Stampede days I have ever had in my life. And that means a lot, because as a 14-year-old I met The Moffatts at Stampede. So yeah, big day.

Today Kait, Jade and I headed out to Canmore for a hike. Gorgeous. The blazing sun, the exercise that I am seriously craving and chats with two smart and fun girls. We saw pristine mountain lakes, a waterfall, two guys having an impromptu jam session with their guitars, sitting beside a crystal clear lake. So chill. What a perfect way to spend a last day in the Calgary area for Kaitlin. For dinner Kaitlin and I went to Peters' Drive-In, which is a Calgary staple, then headed to the airport for a drink before she took off to go back home. Now I sit here in a chilly, air-conditioned Starbucks recounting a truly astonishingly fun weekend.

Not sure a weekend will top this for quite some time. Thanks to Jade, Kaitlin and ALL the others that made this as enjoyable as it was.



Monday, July 11, 2011

Day 193: Mr. Freeze Ice Pops

Since my last post is fairly depressing despite the happy-go-lucky socks at the top of it, I thought I would post something more uplifting.

I'm posting of triumphs in school as I am proud of them. I do this not to brag so everyone can applaud me, but I do this because I am excited and am an over-sharer at the best of times, especially when excited.

Over-sharing commence:

- I found out today via email that I was selected to receive the Human Resources Institute of Alberta's $1000 Scholarship for the fall semester. The winner of this award is chosen based on academic achievement and a letter you write explaining why you want to work in the Human Resources field. I am so glad I won this award! That is $1000 extra dollars that I don't have to worry about paying -- amazing!

- When I got home today, I had a letter from my University saying that last semester I was put on the Dean's Honour Roll List. How fun is that! I got a fancy little letter telling me that I'm smart, which was really nice to hear. Especially coming from a University.

End over-sharing.

I had a really good Monday, despite my horrible dream last night, which you can read about in the post below this one.


Day 192: Bringing Sunshine to a Rainy Calgary Day

Last night I had an awful nightmare. I can't even tell you all what it was in detail because it upset me that much. I was unusually angry and violent in the dream. I terrified myself in the dream so much that it woke me up. I was afraid of myself. My own rage. My own reaction to something insignificant. I treated another human being despicably, and it broke my own heart. I was frustrated and my frustration manifested itself in blind, and violent, rage. I remember that I was shaking in my dream because of how angry I was. I then woke up crying because I was so sick to my stomach about how angry and violent I had been. How unnecessarily harsh.

Then, understandably, I couldn't sleep for at least another hour. I left my light on thinking that may somehow bring about happier dreams. When I finally did fall asleep, I don't remember what my dreams were after the initial terrifying one.

A certain friend I have that loves interpreting dreams could eat his heart out with this one.

I'm pretty sure it signifies that I might be some sort of raging lunatic. Or maybe I have some repressed anger. Or maybe I'm afraid of my own reactions to uncertain and potentially scary situations. I just may never know.


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Day 191: Sea A Little Blue

Living in BC for nearly six years left me with at least one empty spot in my heart. There is this one spot that has been there since I was a very small child. This spot cannot be filled with generic good times with friends. It cannot be filled with love. It cannot be filled with family. No, there is nothing that can fill this hot-as-hades-cowboy-boots-wearing-parade-watching-Budweiser-drinking-mini-donuts-eating-hole quite like the Calgary Stampede.

In honour of the Calgary Stampede which starts at the end of this week, I thought I would share some of my favourite memories of Stampede with you:

- Riding the rides, before I realized how truly terrifying it is that they set them up for 12 days, then move them somewhere else. I steer clear now, but when I was young, rides were amazing.

- The Ferris Wheel. Yes, this technically counts as a ride. However, there is nothing that makes me long for the movie, The Notebook, more than a ferris wheel does.

- Teaming up with a friend and singing karaoke. I imagine it was terrible. We were around the age of 14.

- My first time in the beer gardens at 18. The only choices were Smirnoff Ice, Budweiser, and Bud Light. I hope they have more this year than they did back then. I remember thinking, "That's it? Those are my only choices? And why do people pay $8 or some such ridiculous price for these insanely crappy tasting drinks?" What I said out loud was, "Alright, I'll have a Bud Light." -- and a Stampede monster was born.

- Inside jokes with Kate about a hot tub and being silly and slightly bordering on exhibitionism. Oh, to be a teenager once again.

- Flash hail storms/snow storms/thunderstorms/sweltering heat. You never know what weather you'll get on any given day at the Stampede. On a good day you get two of the four. On a great day you get all four.

- Wranglers. God's gift to men's butts.

- Music. So much free music. The Coca Cola Stage. Nashville North. It's just ridiculous how much free music you can see at the Stampede. This year, I'm really excited for Mariana's Trench. In years past, the Backstreet Boys tribute band and The Moffatts. All my 13-year-old dreams came true one Stampede day when I was picked out of the crowd by a TV station to meet The Moffatts backstage. Well, technically "backstage" was under the Coca Cola Stage. I have the horribly embarrassing photos to prove this venture happened. I even have the video of them singing "Girl of My Dreams" to me while I sat there awkwardly half smiling and trying so hard to look like a pretty girl when I looked like a boy with long hair in an oversized sweater. Parents of the world: when your daughters are going to concerts, ALWAYS make sure they look their prettiest. You never know when they'll meet their favourite band.

- Two words: mini donuts. There is no mini donut on Earth that compares to "Those Little Donuts" from the Calgary Stampede. Don't even try to argue with me on this one. You will not win.

- Pancake Breakfasts. They are EVERYWHERE during Stampede. And they are usually free. And let's be honest, I've never heard of a fight or a stabbing or a shooting happening at a pancake breakfast. Ever. Because that's how Calgary rolls. We put down our weapons for banjos, hay bails and flapjacks.

- The little kid cowboy hats with the whistles. I still wore mine for years after it was acceptable for me to be wearing it. I'm disappointed to say that I don't think it's still in my closet. Shame. I would totally wear it again this year.

There are many, many, other reasons why I love the Stampede. This is just a highlight reel. I can't wait to experience this all over again.

The Stampede is truly magical. If you haven't been: GO.


Day 190: Rainbow Dots On Navy

I am feeling very...lazy. I've realized today that I haven't worked out in a long time. And it's really not making me feel great about my body, my health, my life. It's just not working for me, this whole laziness thing.

New goal: Working out each evening I'm here in the hotel. I realize there are only 3 more evenings until I'm back in Calgary, but it's a start. My goal after this week: to work out at least three times a week on the brand-spanking-new elliptical that we have at home. Well, it's a few months old now, but it's new to me, since I haven't even used it yet. Once I'm back in Calgary I can use up the other 19 yoga classes that I have. The plan there is to go to the one that is much harder and will actually make me feel like I did something productive with my body.

I enjoyed when I was in school and planned my workout classes around my school classes and made sure I went to them. Until the end where I slacked off because of finals.

This summer I need to bring back my momentum and carry it forward into the fall and beyond. I can feel myself gaining weight with every passing day and it's sort of depressing.

I just feel heavy, even though I'm basically the same as two months ago.

Stop. Being. Lazy.


Sunday, July 3, 2011

Day 189: Lime dots

Today I have been extremely lazy. I need to pack for my trip to Edmonton tomorrow. I haven't really started. I did do my laundry this weekend while I was home, but I have yet to put clothes back into my suitcase. Which means I have spent most of this day catching up on my social networking addiction. Blogging, tweeting, facebooking, etc.

I am so addicted to social networking, it's gross. However, I also feel like it helps me. Because of Twitter, I know a lot more about what is happening in the world around me: in my city, my country, the world. Because of Facebook, I know what the people I care about are up to. Because of blogging, I don't have to write in a diary. Thanks for being the readers of my online diary, friends.

That's an interesting thought, really, that all of you essentially read my diary. I mean, it's sort of exciting, like I'm sharing personal things, but people might read it! It's like a rush of 'will this post make someone mad?', 'will people understand this sentiment?', 'are my words conveying my true feelings on this subject?' -- it's exciting!


Saturday, July 2, 2011

Day 188: In The Navy

These look pretty black in this picture, however, I assure you they are navy blue in person.

I have spent the last 8 months reading Jane Austen's books. I take them slow. I read other books simultaneously, as well. I mean, I don't read them literally at the same time, but you get what I'm saying. From reading all this Jane Austen though I panicked yesterday because I felt that I am getting to that age where soon I'll be "too old" to date/get married. Like it's inevitable that once I pass a certain age I will become a crazy cat lady, whether I want it or not. I came to the realization that I could have wrinkles before I meet the guy that I'll eventually marry. Anyone that knows me, knows that I worry about everything. All the time. So this thought, got me into an in-my-head-panic:

"What if I do have wrinkles? What if he hates my wrinkles? What kind of eye creams should I start using to avoid wrinkles? Maybe wrinkles are sexy because you can tell that I laugh a lot? What if I use the appropriate eye creams to get rid of wrinkles and then I find out he likes wrinkles and I should have left my face alone?"

I know these are ridiculous fears, because, well, who even cares?! However in panic moments such as those, it takes me a few minutes to calm down. Krista helped, with her text stating: "Thinking about that BS is what's giving you wrinkles...just so you know."

I fully realize and accept that my own strange anxieties get the best of me sometimes.
I also fully realize and accept that I have no control over when, where or how I'll meet the guy that becomes my next boyfriend.

Later on in the day I was thinking about it some more, and I thought that the whole thing was a bit ridiculous. I have been successfully and (mainly) happily single for the last five years. Five years is a long time. I know a lot more about myself than I would have known had I been intently chasing down relationships in the same time frame. I have career goals, life goals, financial goals, none of which depend on anyone else in the entire world. I am an independent person. Yes, it's nice when boys open car doors, but when something major happens in my life, I don't look to anyone but myself to fix it. I am content.

So, really, I don't care if in Jane Austen's time 25 was "too old". One day I'll meet someone that I care enough about to date -- and he sure as heck will be the one that initiates.

Until then, me being me and doing my own thing is sufficient for my happiness.