Tabs

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Dear Jason

I know you know that I am not a huge fan of Christmas. The stress of the season really gets to me and I often pull my ostrich card to hide from the world. This year feels so special. Hunting out and finding the perfect things to brighten your morning, having your mom plan this whole day around us, baking treats for your friends at work -- all of it, is so amazing. I know you keep asking me what I would like for Christmas, but you need to know that THIS is exactly what I want. Everyday of this year that I have had the opportunity to spend with you has been amazing. I feel so blessed to have you in my life, more than I could even say.

Happy first real Christmas together Rainman. I love you and am excited for all of the Christmases of OUR future. You're my favorite.

Lala.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Tips from Santa's Little Helper

The Children's Christmas Party for my workplaces'employees' families was held last Saturday. Our corporate office was transformed into a winter wonderland and each boardroom was set up into a different activity station. One of those stations was a place to write and "mail" a letter to Santa complete with your wish list.

Santa and Mrs. Claus made a stop (side note: why doesn't she have a first name? It's 2011 people!) and took the letters back to the North Pole with them to peruse over milk and cookies, in between preparing for the big sleigh ride.

This morning, all of the letters written to Santa were read and each letter generated a handwritten responding letter from the Big Guy himself (AKA the group of ghost writers working on his behalf).

Here are some tips I have for parents who help their kids write these sort of things:

1)Make sure you include your full address, so a response can be sent back. I get that we tell kids to behave and that Santa has the ability to know what you are up to when and where at all times so he should therefore already know your address. Maybe you could swing it that mail can only be delivered if there is a return address attached. A few kids didn't get responses today because of this. And that's unfortunate.

2)I am unable to guarantee to a kid that his wishlist will be fulfilled. So when the letter is only full of wants formatted in bullet points, I am not too sure what to write to the child to make it seem personal. I did swing a few different approaches (my favorite was for the child wishing for a light saber and I wrote to him about how I loved Star Wars and the Ewoks reminded me of the elves every time I watched the movies), but the kids I had the most fun responding to were the ones who actually asked me questions about the weather, how busy the elves and I were, what kind of cookies I would love to have left out, etc. etc. Those responses will probably spark more of the magic in those kids when they get them.

3)On that note, I also really appreciated the one and only child who hoped I would have a really nice break during New Years after all of the toys were delivered. He understood that "I" was working hard most of the year to make sure a lot of those wish lists were completed. And the kids that asked that toys get sent to less fortunate children showed me that parents out there were trying to showcase the true meaning of the season.

4)Finally, can you please stop telling your child to ask Santa for that new iPhone 4S or the new big screen television (HD) (for real, a child placed that in brackets to let me know that anything not HD would probably not be tolerated) or the millions of other electronics asked for. The legend is I have a toy shop up at the North Pole where I hire elves who can build toys.There is no electronics department and there is no Apple retail store. And if there was, it looks like more and more toys are going to be shipped to the Island of Misfit Toys because nobody wants them anymore.

I'm lucky that the letters I responded to were lighthearted and showed the innocence of childhood. I have heard sad stories from others that have donated time to respond to letters to Santa with requests from children wishing for less divorces, family violence, and the delivery of basic needs. Those are the kids that deserve what they are asking for the most. And I really do wish I could be Santa Claus to grant those wishes.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Fading of the Bar Star

One thing I have learned as I am nearing my 30s is that the allure of the bar or night club is not as enticing. I spent most of my twenties speaker dancing, shooting back jager bombs, waking up with a headache in the morning. Showing my skin to the world in the hopes that it would set me apart from the other girls also showing their skin, dancing on speakers, shooting back jager shots and waking up with headaches.

As I get older, I am less focused on the "fun" that a drunken, dancing night out falsely promises and more focused on what I can do to better myself, be productive in the moment and secure the things I want for myself. I don't spend my weekends slinging drinks in stilettos while trying to maintain a conversation with boys over the cacophony of bass and cheap pop music. I spend my weekends enjoying a cold beer with my boyfriend while we cook dinner together, sipping coffee in the afternoons while reading and broadening my mind, meeting like-minded girlfriends for the occasional martini to motivate each other in our fields of choice. At the end of the weekend, I know that I have helped myself to grow and develop, and create new ideas and goals to help further me along in life. I am not waking up on Sunday mornings wishing for death, chasing the hair of the dog in the hopes of re-enacting the prior evening out. I waking up refreshed and renewed and ready to embrace the day.

With this self discovery, I have realized that there are two groups of friends in my life. Those that continue haunting the dark dance floors reminiscing about all of the best times they have ever had, but barely remember, and those that are growing up, focusing, and creating the life they intend to have. I realize that as I too start to make choices that will affect where I will be in 5, 10, 20 years, I have less and less in common with my bar-star friends. And although any break up of any relationship is hard, I don't miss those "glory" days and I don't feel the connection with those people that I thought I once had.

Maybe this is just another sign of growing up--the realization that now that I am not 20, I look ridiculous out partying with the kids. The realization that I would rather line up dinner party plans with our friends then line up shots with them. The realization that I am perceived as a stronger, more empowered woman with a clear head than with a drunken glaze in my eyes. The realization that just a hint of skin garners more attention then the skimpiest outfits. The realization that my life does not have to be set in a dance club. The realization that I actually enjoy not having to endure the monotony of a night club (because let's be honest, they really are all the same).


The stars shine so bright, but they're fading after dawn

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

100 Days

Today marks 100 days till my 30th birthday.

100 days left of my 20s.

100 days to finish up a decade and make it feel like I took full advantage of being care-free in my 20s.

My 30 before 30 list has not been attended to very regularly. There are things on there that I won't be able to complete. Things that I don't care about completing anymore. There are things on there that I still hope to experience and complete before the clock strikes 12:45 p.m. on March 10th.

A lot can happen in 100 days. 100 days ago it was August 22nd, a Monday.
I was preparing for a long weekend road trip with Rainman. And finalizing my payment for my trip to Jamaica. And working on my 20th Century English course.

In those 100 days, I have been to the tropical resort where everything is "irie mon," I completed my course with an A-, I have helped Rainman raise almost $500 (we could get there, today is the last day!) with the Movember campaign for men's cancers. I sat on the United Way campaign committee at work, scheduling breakfasts for field crews to increase participation and the success of my role has my work being looked at for the possibility of an award. I have joined another committee at work that helps inspire and empower women through networking and mentor-ships. I have deepened my connection with Rainman and love hearing him call me his girlfriend.

In those 100 days, I have learned more about my industry at work and with that have been able to apply technical skills to new platforms and programs. I have learned more about my city and made new connections through the power of social media. I have put together a group to create, cook and serve meals at Ronald McDonald House. I have added more time to my volunteer bank and have broadened my mind through reading more books.

So much can happen in 100 days and this has me excited for what the last 100 days of my 29th year will bring. There is so much to do and see and love and live for. And with this attitude, starting off a new decade can only mean great things to come. And with a wonderful supportive group of people around me to help celebrate every mile stone and accomplishment.

100 days. 2422 hours. 145370 minutes. And so many things that can happen.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

On 5 Year Plans....

I am a planner. I like to plan my day (and often before I go to sleep the night before). I like to plan my weekend and know where I am supposed to be and when to maximize the small amount of free time I have. I like to plan my meals and my chores and my outfits. I like routine and the sense of stability it offers. I am not one who is readily able to accept change and when it comes I go into flight and fight mode, depending on what the change means.

It's no surprise that when I learned about Stalin's 5 year plans (or was it Lenin....)for the economic state of the Soviet Union in grade 9, I was intrigued. This made sense to me...a 5 year plan. To know where I would be in 5 years if I stuck to a plan. Unfortunately, I wasn't paying enough attention in class to realize that as life happens, plans change and you can't really depend on them.

I am going to be 30 in about 120 days (or so...there's a ticker on the side of my blog). I was thinking this morning about where I thought I would be at 30. When I was 25, I fell for a boy and created a 5 year plan around him. If all had worked out, we would be married with a house and a kid by now (or a kid on its way). I forgot to focus on the boy and instead focused on my 5 year plan, not really caring if he believed in it.And of course, this led to the demise of our relationship (amongst so many other things because I know now that he and I were never meant to work out).

Other 5 year plans I have created have also faltered. To the point that now I feel wise enough to know not to make them. I create goals. And try to make them more short term so that I feel the motivation to complete them. But I don't make plans for where I should be.

5 years ago, I would never imagine I would be where I am today. I would never have imagined the relationship with Rainman that I have now. And this feeling of contentment with whatever happens, is supposed to happen. As a planner, this is the strangest feeling, albeit calming. I still plan for my day (and the weekends with him) as well as all the other little things...but no longer do I plan on the future. Things will happen, when they are supposed to happen, if they are supposed to happen.

I feel like I am declaring this state of independence from the Republic of Routine. Bring on the Perestroika.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

ENFJ

Last Thursday, I partook in a session that tested Myers Briggs Type Indicator. Then as a work team, we participated in different activities to showcase how our "types" come out in decision making.

I tested in with slight Extraversion, clear Intuition, and very clear Feeling and Judging. Before you start judging me, know that Judging actually refers to people who enjoy living in a planned, orderly, way. Sticking to a plan and schedule is highly important to me, and I rock at organizing outings and events for my friends.

The course was able to showcase the strengths and weaknesses of people who share all four of my characteristics

Characteristics of ENFJs:

  • Look for and find the best in others

  • Prize harmony and co-operation

  • Warm, compassionate, and supportive

  • Loyal and trustworthy

  • Imaginative and creative

  • Can be very insightful about others

  • Stimulated about the possibilities for contributing to the good of humanity

  • Like variety and new challenges

  • naturally see the potential for growth in others and devote energy to help others achieve it


Others see ENFJs:

  • Sociable, personable, congenial, and gracious

  • Expressive, responsive, and persuasive


Weaknesses of ENFJs:

  • worry, feel guilty, and doubt themselves

  • become insistent and controlling in their desire for harmony

  • be overly sensitive to criticism, real or imagined

  • make decisions based solely on personal values when logic is needed also

  • find it difficult to admit to problems or disagreements with people the care about

  • overlook details required to realize their ideals

  • under great stress, may find themselves suddenly and uncharacteristically critical and fault finding with others, but keep these negative opinions to themselves


The entire session was incredibly insightful. It not only allowed me to see the best ways to communicate and collaborate with my co-workers, but also ways I could improve my weaknesses and utilize my strengths in my personal relationships. Understanding my weaknesses especially will help me take that moment before reacting and responding, and I can already tell it will help me create an even stronger bond with my Plus 1.

If you ever have the opportunity to get tested for the MBTI, I strongly urge you to jump on it. Especially if you can do this in a situation where you learn how other types make decisions and the rational behind the choice. For example, as a feeler, I learned how thinkers come to conclusions and they learned how I lead with my heart first. And neither way makes us inept.

The best way to become the best you is to learn who exactly you are. Embrace all of it, highlight the great, be cognizant of your weaknesses, turn all of it into opportunities to create a perfectly wonderful you. I am very thankful to have had this chance to learn more about me.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Thankful Tuesday

~Open reign of the Plus 1's kitchen to freely hold a bake off with myself. It's such a luxury to have an oven that doesn't change temperature the minute you walk across the room (or the neighbour shuts his door or a bird flies by or a leaf falls from a tree)
~The sweet smell of banana bread filling the house on a chilly night
~A co-worker that I assist telling me I am a great "winger" and letting me know he can see I'm "on the ball" and using other athletic-influenced idioms as though I'm obviously athletic
~pencil skirts and dangerously high heels to prance around the office in (looking cute while being highly efficient and quick witted FTW)
~my sales crew knocking the targets out of the park this month (I can use sport metaphors too) resulting in the chance for me to attend the hockey game tomorrow (will know at 6 a.m. tomorrow morning)
~sipping this cold beer, in Rainman's house, thinking about how lucky I am and how he is worth it all
~crunchy fall leaves that make walking Molly way more fun for me
~the anticipation of seeing my BFF this weekend

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Procrastinating...

Did you know that I am taking a course in 20th Century Literature? Apparently not a lot of people I talk to daily actually knew this. I guess I tend to discuss other aspects of my life more so than my scholarly gains. Anyway, my contract date for this course is up October 31, 2011.

Which is only 18 days away.

Which, with everything else going on in my life, is coming way too quickly.

To receive credit for the course, I need to complete two assignments, the midterm and the final. Don't worry. The midterm is done AND (as of last night)the first assignment is completed too. I won't go into the details of my analysis on two distinct ways the authors I studied used writing the beginning of their novels, let's just celebrate that I 100% completed it! I have also scheduled my final exam for the 22nd. So, in reality, I am pretty much on track.

I get side tracked. I need to check my email, my facebook, my twitter account, Googleplus, etc. etc. etc. The essay I completed last night (finally) should have taken me maybe two days from start to finish. But I stretched it out over a week (because remember last week when I was thankful for completing it...I may have been slightly over-zealous that i would have the editing part finished that night). And I probably wouldn't even have finished it last night if I didn't yell at myself. And promise rewards for finishing it. And finally set a timer for 20 minutes and told myself I only had to focus for those 20 minutes on my paper and then I could do whatever I wanted.

You know all of those web pages that offer tips to help one focus? This "setting of a timer" seemed to be a consistent trend. And because I was wasting so much of my time focusing on research about how to focus, I thought I would give it a go.

And now I am a raving fan of setting a timer. I was able to finish up my paper in two 20 minute sessions last night. And completing this task that has been hanging over my head for the last week (or year...however you want to look at it) exhilarated me. I wanted to keep going! I started to organize study notes. And created a plan of action for assignment two. I felt so responsible that I took 20 minutes to de-clutter my office space (also known as the kitchen table!). And woke up this morning feeling ready to take on all of the tasks thrown my way.

One of the things I am super fabulous at is procrastinating. And I found the thing that may work for me. And I wanted to share this knowledge. Maybe us procrastinators can unite, and make a plan to take over the world by completing all of those tasks that are haunting us.



We can start tomorrow!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Universe is telling me something today

As mentioned earlier this week, I am sent a daily email challenge from meyou health. Today's was about taking just ten minutes and focusing on one task, instead of the usual multi-tasking that most of us do. I completed this right away focusing on a task at work, finishing all of the steps as soon as I received the email.

On Wednesdays, one of my favorite blogs, The Simply Luxurious Life, writes a regular feature inspiring her readers to create a more fulfilling life. The last three weeks have been dedicated to becoming more productive filled with tips and ways to focus on the task at hand. The final tip this morning was to reiterate that one should not multi-task in order to see better results.

And then, as I am looking through my twitter feed, Kyle Shewfelt tweets about his new blog post: The Focus Zone.

After reading The Celestine Prophecy a few years ago, I have decided that I too do not believe in coincidences. That when something happens enough times that you start to take notice it is because the Universe is screaming for you to take notice. And today, the universe is demanding that I start focusing on the task at hand if I truly want to be more productive. And so, not one to undermine authority, I am standing up and taking notice and going to spend the rest of the day focusing on one task at a time to see just how much I can accomplish.

Here's to a wicked Wednesday!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Thankful Tuesday

Live in the present, and make it so beautiful it will be worth remembering -Anon



My Plus 1 gave me a calendar last Christmas. Every month has a butterfly and an inspirational quote. Clearly, this guy might kind of know me and what I might kind of like. I finally switched it over to October today and this month's quote struck a chord with me.

Today's Thankful Tuesday:

  • ice cream cake for lunch

  • an increased sense of financial control

  • Cute Plus 1 did something last night to qualm my over-active imagination.♥

  • rocking peep-toe booties with tights and a cozy dress

  • clean house

  • Finishing this damn essay and Arranging the date and time for my final exam

  • Oryx reaching out this morning to lay his paw on Molly's back then going back to sleep. ♥

  • National Taco Day celebrations

  • Wicked team to work with everyday (or week day anyway)
  • Monday, October 3, 2011

    Making a 6 month commitment

    Have any of you heard of MeYou Health? I read about it on lifehacker or mashable or another website like that. Basically, you sign up and everyday a new healthy "challenge" is emailed to you. As you complete the challenge you gain points. It's like playing farmville, but with actual results in your life ;-) The challenges are fairly simple...from having a cup of green tea that day to taking the stairs to crossing an item off of your to-do list.

    Today's challenge was to create a 6 month goal. As so many of us in the blogging community know, a goal is easier to achieve if it is written down and shared with the world so that there is accountability. And, although I shared my goal on the website, I figured it would be best if I shared it here as well. Because I know that here I have a wicked support system cheering for me (even if many of you are silent readers and then talk to me about blog posts in real life).

    The goal I made today that I would like to achieve within the next 6 months (so by April 3, 2012) is putting $10,000 towards my entire debt amount. This includes my car loan, a loan from a family member and my VISA bill.

    Here's to making smarter financial choices!

    And if you decide to join MeYou Health, feel free to add me to your personal connections :)

    Wednesday, September 28, 2011

    Chicken Soup (heals my heart)

    My plus one yesterday stepped up to the plate and made me homemade chicken soup. He sent me a text at noon and stated that he would do it if I made my way to his house.

    I packed up the dog and wearing sweats, no make up and my hair pulled back into a messy bun, I went to his house where I passed out in his bed. I woke up to find him busy at work, cutting vegetables and chicken to add to homemade broth. As miserable as I felt, this simple action warmed my heart.

    I lied on his couch, watching him play NHL 2012 and realized that I really am unbelievably lucky. And that all of the stuff I went through in the past led me to that moment where I found a man who took the time to attempt to make me feel better.

    I'm not perfect. I'm whine-y when I am sick. I am naturally worried about the future. Things in the past eat away at me. I use sarcasm and dry humour to mask my emotions. My observations about people can be cuttingly mean.

    He is not perfect.

    The simple act of making me soup while I was ill made me realize that he genuinely cares about me. And that is really all I want.

    To the chicken that gave up his life so that I could feel better, I thank you. And to the plus one that does his best to show me he cares, I thank you. And to the people in the past that made me doubt that I would have all of this, pushing me to prove all of you wrong, I thank you. I have something great in my life. I will continue to nurture it to keep it vital and growing.

    Lung.

    Tuesday, September 27, 2011

    *sniff sniff*

    I have a cold. It's not the first cold I have had in my adult life. And it's not going to be the last. Unless of course I decide to live out the rest of my life in a perfectly sealed bubble that is sanitized and doesn't allow other people to have contact with me or me to have contact with anything other people have had contact with. Unfortunately, I would not survive very well in a no-contact world and it would cause harmful mental side affects and I would probably lament about how delightful having a cold would be if only I could be around others.

    I digress.

    Sunday afternoon I began having those heavy-headed feelings one gets when a cold has decided to invade one's sinuses and begin causing ruckus. I was tired and a little bit moody. Yesterday, I put on a happy face to get through work, but by 3, all I wanted to do was sleep. This morning I woke up with a full on war raging in my body as my white blood cell soldiers carried on their plan of attack. I can not be certain, but they may be using weapons of mass destruction in my head to let this cold know that I am not weak and will not take this invasion lightly. I called in sick and made myself some tea to settle back and allow the army of darkness to carry out its battle.

    What I really want is someone to bring me chicken noodle soup. And some movies I haven't watched. And for cable to magically hook up for an hour so I can watch The Price is Right at 11. And maybe some glossy new fashion magazines to flip through, enviously looking at models who appear to never suffer from colds. And someone to use the back of their hand on my forehead and tell me that I feel a little bit warm and put a damp wash cloth there. And maybe offer me a popsicle. And I think it would be best if this someone was my mommy.

    I have a cold.

    And having a cold as an adult sucks. Because you have to do all of these things yourself.

    And if you think this is whine-y, you don't even want to know how I handled having the H1N1 a few years ago.

    < /pity party >

    Saturday, September 24, 2011

    Volunteering Vixen

    Remember one of my 30 before 30 goals was to reach 200 volunteer hours? I have been horrible at tracking those hours. Even with that said, I am nowhere near my goal or where I should be in order to reach my goal, but the last couple of weeks have definitely made a dent.

    I have joined the United Way Committee at work and my role was to organize a breakfast series to help increase participation in pledging to the guys who work mostly outside of the office. This was an incredible learning experience for me. Making sure I had breakfast for up to 100 guys at any one time, a guest speaker who was allotted at most 10 minutes to rev up emotion in the guys and motivation to donate, prizes for those who pledged the day of their breakfast, and looking bright and cheery at 6:30 a.m. AND do this 6 different times over a two week period helped me develop even more organizational skills, leadership skills and make connections within my company with people I normally would not deal with on a day to day basis.

    Although it started out a little bit rough, we held the final breakfast last Thursday and it went the smoothest as well as generated the most participation AND the highest amount in pledges. AND the exciting news with all of this too is that my company is now being considered for an award from the United Way for motivating field workers to participate (the overall participation rate from the Breakfast series is significantly higher compared to other organizations within the industry). :) On Friday, I received an email from the head of the committee and a VP in the organization congratulating me on a job well done. Pretty Super Penguin Awesome!

    So, not including the prep organizational time for these breakfasts, each breakfast had me donating approximately 2 hours. So that is another 12 to add to my 2011 total.

    And this week, I volunteered at the Dream Centre radiothon again for 2 hours answering phones, taking people's pledges and donations. The Dream Centre raised just over $90,000 this year which is incredible! Especially with the new Distracted Drivers Law in Alberta not allowing people to talk on their cell phones while driving. Before going to the radiothon, I was worried that this new law would deter people from calling in as most people listen to the radio while driving. That said, I did speak to a lot of kids who were speaking on behalf of their mom or dad while being chauffeured. The Dream Centre is a wonderful organization that I truly love supporting. They help men transition from living on the streets to learning the ropes to live the life they dream of. Listening to some of the clientele's stories were heartbreaking, inspiring, and filled me with gratitude for what I have in my life.

    To finish off my hardcore weeks of giving back, today I helped a friend at her garage sale where all proceeds went to the MEOW foundation - an organization in the city that takes in stray cats, provides them with their shots, spays or neuters, and socializes them, then helps them find forever homes with the right owner. This organization has a no-kill policy and will attempt to find a home for every cat. Right now, they need a new shelter, so are busily raising funds so that these cats all have a safe place to stay while their human soul mate is being found. The garage sale today was crazy busy! So many people donated items, and even more people stopped by to shop. I loved that many people left their change with us instead of bartering for a lower price. I am not sure of the total yet, but the goal for the weekend was $2000 and we surpassed that by 2 p.m. today. That is another 8 hours to add to my 2011 total!

    Have you been keeping track? In the last 2 weeks, I have volunteered 22 hours (give or take, I do have to tally up the United Way meeting hours and other minutes I spent on this project for work, so the total is probably a bit more). Not a bad little dent to add to my progress bar.

    If only I could do this to my savings as quickly.

    Tuesday, August 30, 2011

    "If you put me to the test, if you let me try"

    risk   [risk]
    noun

    exposure to the chance of injury or loss; a hazard or dangerous chance


    The idea for this post has been playing around in my mind for some time now. I'm sure it hasn't been hard to figure out from my blog, but I have been getting closer and closer with someone the last couple of months. The kind of closeness that creates flutters in my stomach, and smiles at the mere mention of his name, and just overall contentedness with everything and every one in life.

    There was a little bit of fear there too. At the beginning. After months of feeling strongly, but no one being able to commit. I used a lot of strength to push away that fear and take a leap and hope for the best. So far, it's been bliss.

    To dare is to lose one's footing momentarily. To not dare is to lose oneself. ~Soren Kierkegaard


    With every relationship (romantic or platonic) comes risk. The risk of being let down. The risk of being rejected. The risk of being lied to, cheated on, and hurt. These risks are always possible as long as the relationship continues. People change, life paths alter, circumstances have things happen that a person may never have imagined he or she could have done. There's always that chance you could get hurt. Just like there is always that chance that everything is going to work out more amazing than you could have imagined.

    If one is forever cautious, can one remain a human being? ~Aleksander Solzhenitsyn


    This is probably one of the most mature relationships I have been in. Not saying that we aren't silly and teasing and laugh at inappropriate things at inappropriate times. But because I went through my heartbreaks where I continued the same behaviors and patterns on my partners expecting them to cater to what I thought I needed in the relationship, I learned that what I was continuing to hope for was insane (in Einstein's definition). This is the first relationship where I have not looked into his past and continued probing, looking for anything that would make me distrust him. This is the first relationship where I am not hyper-concerned with making plans for our future before we have even enjoyed today. This is the first relationship where I completely accept the way he is and accept that as we grow and develop, there will be change. He will not always be the same (his core values will be consistent, but his passions, hobbies,interests won't) and I find that exciting. This is the first relationship where I feel secure. Not because of the trust I have for him, but because I have finally learned to trust myself.

    Living at risk is jumping off the cliff and building your wings on the way down. ~Ray Bradbury


    I took a risk with Rainman. I was able to take the risk because I took a risk on myself and learned what I was made of first. And if it doesn't work out? I know that I am strong, smart and capable of taking more risks.

    And so far, the ROI has been absolutely wonderful.

    Monday, August 29, 2011

    The Final Week

    I looked at my calendar this morning. And then I looked at it again. A third time confirmed what I had feared -- it's the final week of summer.

    Technically, being as I am not in school and have responsibilities that require me to have a steady income, care-free days of lounging around in the heat have not been a reality. I make a wish every night that this dream will come true, but alas, my eyes open up to another day spent in an air conditioned cubicle that is NO WHERE near windows. I do try to make the most of evenings and weekends, yet at the end of every summer, I still feel I squandered away precious extended hours of daylight and too-hot-to-sleep warm nights.

    And here it is. The final week of summer before that feeling of a new year takes over. And leaves change into vibrant reds, oranges and yellows. And boots are needed to wear with my skirts. And I start missing the unbearably hot nights of August.

    So many things I want to do with this week. Get in those rollerblading sessions over lunch hours. Reading a few extra chapters while sitting on my balcony, enjoying a freezie. Holding hands with Rainman while looking at stars and walking my dog. And of course, our long weekend road trip has me wishing it was already Thursday and we could be on the road.

    This has been one of the best summer's ever. I just feel like there was so much more that could have been done. More street festivals attended. More bike rides through the park. More Sunday drives to explore little towns.

    How was your summer?

    Sunday, August 28, 2011

    The Basement

    I'll be the first to admit that one of my favorite movie genres is the super gory horror movies. In fact, the more effed up a movie is, the more sadistic, the more I can't take my eyes of the screen. This doesn't mean I'm a Natural Born Killer, (in fact I watched that movie tonight and wondered how it is that someone could ever act like that), I think I watch movies like this (and it's so tame compared to some of the gorier movies I have watched) because I can't fathom the reasoning behind the logic that creates the monsters.

    The thing that has me wondering how I can even stand horror movies (no matter how cheesy) is the couple of years I couldn't handle going into our basement. When we first moved into our very first owned home, one of the enticements was supposed to be this undeveloped basement. The enticement, I guess, was that we were allowed to do whatever we wanted with it. An extra bedroom? A playroom? Somewhere to store our junk without TLC showing up to do a Hoarders episode on us? All things I'm sure my parents consider when writing the cheque.

    Our old house had a basement, in sense, I guess. It was just developed and considered the place my brothers and uncle slept, and where the family watched TV (God forbid, we set foot in the upstairs living room that was reserved for guests!!). The new house had a door that opened to a stairway, leading into a dark, empty space. Stephen King, R.L. Stine, and Christopher Pike had started to play with my mind by that time and the stairway only seemed to lead to something menacing (even though I wanted so bad for it to lead to a Narnia like setting!).

    I can recall Muds (my mom) asking me to grab something from down there and my heart racing at the very thought. As a raised Catholic, I would pray and pray AND pray to God while opening the door that I would be safe. I had no idea what I thought might be lurking down there-- anywhere from poltergeists to rapists, I guess. Blessing myself before heading down the stairs, I would race for whatever was required from me and race back, thinking that at any moment, my last breath would come. Seriously...at times, I would time myself and even hold my breath.

    As I got older, I got wiser (okay..well somewhat wiser, I became more daring anyway). And it seemed that once walls were built and a carpet laid down, the place seemed less menacing. Albeit, I was still scared. Once I learned I could get drunk down there without getting caught or in trouble, suddenly the demons left the scene (thought: do I drink not only cause it relaxes me BUT also because I believe it scares away the evil things???), and I was contented to spend hours in our basement. When my brother was allowed to move back home, the basement became his domain, and he and I would spend hours hanging out, drinking, watching tv, playing childhood games and jamming down there. The basement seemed suddenly less formidable.

    When I moved in with my dad, he finished his basement and created a space for me. I was all too eager to not only have my own bedroom, but a living room as well. BUT, so many nights I would wake up screaming because it felt as though a person was standing next to my bed, scaring the shit out of me. Were we haunted or was my mind warped with reading too many "ghosts in the basement" stories? Hard to say. I was a tough little soldier though and continued living in his basement for a couple of years.

    Where is all this coming from you might ask? Well, it's been hot as hell the last couple of weeks. I am having troubles sleeping in my apartment despite the fan and every window open. My pets are stressing out because it's been so hot. And all I can think about is how awesome it would be to have a basement to set up a bed in for a night or a couple of weeks so that I can get a decent night's sleep. And then, while lying awake in the heat thinking about this, I remember all of the nights and day that the very thought of a basement would paralyze me with fear and I wonder if I could really do it. Have I grown beyond being a scaredy-cat? Or am I now selfish enough that I would rather be able to sleep than worry if I might start talking through a Television to let my loved ones know that I need help? Hard to say, because even though I am the first to watch a gore fest, I also watch those gore-fests wrapped in a blanket unable to look away, and then stay up wondering all the possibilities of a different outcome.

    I think I am still a chicken. But a tough little chicken that might be able to out-smart the basement demons.

    Friday, August 26, 2011

    The more things change, the more they stay the same....


    I spent the afternoon with my new boyfriend at the beach. He's adorable! He is always smiling and showing off his one tooth and NOTHING made him happier than to gleefully scream while slapping the water. He has stolen my heart. He also happens to be one of my oldest friend's 8 month old son.

    January, Ryder and I packed a picnic lunch and headed to the Sikome Aquatic Facilities (nee lake). January and I gossiped about life and love and where we were headed while lazily enjoying the sun. Ryder shamelessly flirted with me and decided his palate was too delicate to enjoy handfuls of sand. Later in the afternoon, my best friend (and oldest friend) Dan joined us.

    As I sat with these two, I remembered afternoons spent at Sikome beach when we were younger. Nothing between the three of us has really changed, yet so much has changed for us individually. Dan is expecting his first child with his new bride and January is busy juggling mommy-hood while planning her Cuban wedding that is quickly approaching. We talked about our friend Kyle who is coming home after spending time in Thailand learning mixed martial arts before heading to Nigeria. And Ryan and I, focused on our careers. The 5 of us met at different stages of growing up, but in a way, grew up together.
    January and I at our aftergrad party in 2000

    These 5 people I can count on no matter where life takes me. I have gone weeks, months and years without seeing any of them, but somehow life's path throws us back together. There are so many memories that we share, and so many new ones we make every time we get together.

    Dan, Kyle and I at our Grad Dinner and Dance, 2000

    Dan's Wedding, 2010

    January and I at my Ride to Conquer Cancer fundraiser, April 2010

    January, Dan, Kyle and Ryan with dates at my Ride to Conquer Cancer fundraiser, 2010


    True friendship is such a blessing and I am so happy to have been blessed to be surrounded with amazing, awesome people.

    Tuesday, August 23, 2011

    Gratitude

    I am thankful for the way you reach for my hand when we are walking -- no matter where we are walking. If it's with the dog or through the parking lot or at the grocery store. Your hand always envelopes mine perfectly.


    I am thankful for the way you laugh at my jokes. Even when they are silly play on words or even after I have to explain exactly how I reached the conclusion or how it tied in with what we are talking about.
    You have the best laugh


    I am thankful that you share my taste in movies. And television shows. And are easy-going enough to watch what I want even when it is not your taste.
    I never feel like something I enjoy is boring you.




    I am thankful that you took a chance on me. Even when you stated it wasn't a chance because I am the best. I know how risky it is to create a relationship.
    I appreciate every moment you took that chance.




    I am thankful for you.


    You are the best.

    Tuesday, August 16, 2011

    Gucci Gucci

    Like every young woman my age, the Queen of Pop influenced me in some way, shape or form. I remember my very first cassette tape was Like a Virgin and I would play it over and over and over on my double cassette player while creating new choreography to each and every one of her songs.

    As I got older, her music fortunately grew with me as well. She was innovative and daring and crossed burned bridges to make an empire for herself. Truth and Dare is still one of my favorite documentaries and I would sneakily stay up late to watch The Girly Show on Much Music unbeknownst to my disapproving father. When she came out with Ray of Light, I was introduced to Trip Hop elements that further influenced my musical tastes.

    An ex-boyfriend bought me her SEX book for Christmas one year. He searched all of the used book stores and made a multitude of phone calls to find it for me after hearing me casually mention that I would love to own it. His and my relationship ended, but I still love flipping through the pages of her coffee table book. It's probably the best present I have ever received in my life.

    I have collected all of her CDs and most of her movies. Desperately Seeking Susan is a go-to for me when I am staying home sick OR need inspiration for an 80s themed birthday.

    She has been one of the most constant elements of my life and no matter how many compilations she releases, she knows she can always count on me to purchase it. My one dream is to see her live before I die.

    It's her birthday today.
    Happy birthday Madonna.

    Thank you for your pop-infused music that makes any day feel like summer.

    Friday, August 12, 2011

    It's Friiday, Friiiday, Gotta Get down on Friiday!

    One day, probably in our future, this generation's kids are going to remember Rebecca Black's song as a throw back to 2011. We all do it -- reminisce about those pop culture items that shaped our youth. I was a child of the 90s and today, you can check out my guest post on Children of the 90s!

    And as much as we shake our heads at the pop "sensation" that Rebecca Black became over night with her catchy tune, our parents and grandparents probably shook theirs at our obsessions. A PSA to give the kids some slack. We all turned out alright -- even with being influenced by Blossom and Six, and listening to our new Willy Smith CDs on repeat.

    And if this is your first time here, thanks for stopping by!

    Monday, July 25, 2011

    Care for some gopher? *

    The hot, dry air was stifling and we were thankful for the refuge of the air conditioned car as we gleefully navigated our way to the hamlet of Torrington, Alberta - home of the Torrington Inn, Torrington Pizza and the infamous Gopher Hole Museum.

    Visitors from all over the world pilgrimage down the number 2 highway towards Olds, keeping keen eyes out for the faded sign that promotes the small museum that is filled with the snared and stuffed Richardson Ground Squirrels (often called Gophers) set up in various dioramas, portraying Torrington daily life.



    The museum is no bigger than a double-wide trailer and there are approximately 30 different dioramas hung on the walls. Depictions of conversations taking place at the dinner table, the beauty parlor and other places around town are done both artfully and with wit. Speech bubbles over the dressed up Gophers had many patrons of the museum giggling and chuckling with friends and strangers.







    Entrance into this one-of-a-kind attraction costs ONLY a twoonie per person and it is well worth the approximate 130km trek from Calgary. Pack a lunch, bring some cold drinks and enjoy Sundays the way they were meant to be enjoyed – exploring Alberta with a mini road trip off the beaten trail.


    *2 points if you know what movie this quote is from

    Monday, July 11, 2011

    Yahooo!!!

    The fabulous Jennifer Huard and I started our day of Stampeding by taking the traditional mode of transportation down to the Grounds – ye ol’ chuckwagon aka the C-train. My first observation (and Jenn’s voiced one) was how awesome it is that for ten days, this city comes together for a costume party that every one in the world is invited to. There are many cynics who state this tradition is silly and make it seem to the world that this is the way Calgarians dress 365 days a year. I guess if this is true, Germans must always wear Lederhosen and those from New Orleans must only wear beads. I love the ten days that bring this city together for flapjacks and line-dancing. It was one of the reasons I was super excited to be offered the job of an ENMAX roaming reporter at the Rodeo.

    There is nothing better then being greeted with sunshine on your planned day to Stampede. Most of these events are “rain or shine”, so when the world decides to shine, you can’t help but feeling more ecstatic about your days adventures. Our first stop was the BMO centre where the hustle and bustle of the latest gadgets, gizmos and doodads filled the air with an excited buzz. We found the ENMAX IceShow photobooth just in the Corral and posed for our pictures. Unfortunately, it wasn’t well explained to us that our two pictures would be made into one hologram picture so our poses didn’t quite work. Mental note for next time is to choose my poses carefully!

    After our photo session, we went back outside to satisfy our craving for Poutine and fresh-squeezed Lemonade. Carb-loaded and ready to go, we hit up the Rodeo – where the origination of the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth came from.

    There are 6 major events in the rodeo: The Saddle Bronc, Bareback, Tie-down roping, Steer Wrestling, Barrel Racing and Bull Riding. Watching these cowboys (and cowgirls) compete in these events not wearing any protective gear was mind-boggling. Think about how much padding hockey players and football players wear under their uniform and here we have events where one is literally bucked off of a horse or bull, and the cowboy is wearing a cowboy hat and some chaps. Not that I am complaining. They look mighty fine in their uniforms. ;-)

    After our afternoon cheering on the boys (and girls) and laughing at the antics of the Rodeo clown, we made our way to the ENMAX Ice Show. If there is one thing anyone must do this Stampede is watch that show. Live music, acrobats, figure skating and Jamie Sale and David Pelltier make the best 44 minutes EVER! They give the Super Dogs a run for their money for sure. We had amazing seats courtesy of ENMAX (so follow them on Twitter - @ENMAXEnergy as they give away VIP seats through out the day) and receiving a high five from a figure skater during the show was awesome!

    I think the best part of being an ENMAX Roaming Reporter was how much more in tune and observant I was during the afternoon. This opportunity had me realize even more just how lucky I am to live in a city where, for ten days, we are all living in the Wild West. Old Western theme songs have been running through my head all week and I love every minute of it.

    Friday, July 8, 2011

    Mental Floss

    Good habits are worth being fanatical about - John Irving


    I'll confess. I haven't always regularly flossed my teeth. I would sporadically run the waxed ribbon between the spaces in my smile down to the gum and usually it would be right around the time I had a check-up coming up at the dentist. And without fail, every visit I would be asked if I was making sure to floss regularly as my defenseless gums lost the battle with the medieval weapons the hygienist used against plaque and tartar. I would become defensive -- of course I flossed and what's the definition of "regularly" anyway? And the only logical reason my gums were being drained of blood was because they had been attacked with a sharp hooked pick by someone who was obviously a sadist, choosing a profession in which sharp pain was wielded against an innocent bystander in the name of preventing cavities.

    I hated the feeling of shame inflicted upon me 3 times a year as I lay back in that chair, mouth open, unable to spew a full sentence with a tiny mirror and a small vacuum hose jammed in my mouth. And I decided to conduct an experiment. I see my dentist every 4 months. I was going to floss EVERY SINGLE DAY in between visits to prove that it wasn't a lack of regular flossing that had my gums weeping. I meticulously made a point of writing in my day book every day after I flossed so that I could show the dentist my records.

    The thing is...my experiment back fired in a sense. At first, my gums howled and were angry that I was continuing the undeserved punishment in the privacy of my bathroom. And then they seemed to subside, give up, allow me to continue the daily ritual. After a few weeks, it was like we had both forgotten that this was an experiment and it became habitual. And, to my dentist's dismay (I am sure), at the next check up, my gums didn't scream silently in fear. And the hygienist seemed surprised that she wasn't causing a possible need for blood transfusions.

    We first make our habits, and then our habits make us" John Dryden


    One hears all of the time about breaking habits -- vices that one needs to rid one's self of in order to live a better, fuller life. Earlier this week I was at my regular check-up, being told that everything was looking fantastic in my mouth and I was still cavity free (29 years and counting!). While perusing the motivational posters that my dentist has decorated his ceiling with, I realized that my defensive and stubborn attitude allowed me to create a habit in my life that may possibly have added a few years on and definitely creates less blood shed during the war on gingivitis. I also thought about how this one little habit I created takes no time out of my day at all and began brainstorming about other little habits I could start implementing.

    Flossing every day really can change your life. I took control of one little thing years ago, and now feel like I have the power to shape and control more and more in my life.

    What's one little habit you have implemented that has created the same feelings in you?

    Tuesday, June 28, 2011

    Beware the Murder of Crows

    It was a beautiful Tuesday morning, rare for Calgary (or it seems as there has only been 7 days in the last month that have not been filled with precipitation). After a productive morning filled with chores, coffee and some quick Internet browsing, I decided it would be a lovely day to walk to work. I should have realized that the one cloud in the sky was actually an omen that I should drive my car the 4 minutes to work -- as an advocate and strong believer of Mission Zero, it would have been the safe thing to do.

    About 10 minutes from my destination is when I saw the first crow. Perched on the power line. Heckling me and taunting me to come closer. I had no idea his gang was nearby. Like Guerrillas (see what I did there) in the Mist, the crows came out of nowhere. All one could hear were the sounds of high pitched caws and I could feel their beady little eyes staring into the back of my head as I quickened my pace.

    Near the Chat and Chew Cafe (the Universe is a fan of Irony), the first one decided he had fooled around enough and like the Angry Birds of iPhone fame, he swooped and dived. I screamed. My screams were lost among the war cries of the scavengers. I started walking faster...trying to keep my eyes on the birds without losing my footing. A second one swooped and then a third. I ran into the road where I thought I may be safe in the opening and someone could come to my rescue. The birds could care less if anyone else saw. I am not ashamed that I chose flight over fight.

    The murder lost interest near my workplace. They returned to their original positions, awaiting their next victim.

    And I have no idea how I am going to get home.

    Wednesday, June 22, 2011

    Summer Loving

    It's the first day of summer. And we were finally blessed with sunshine and 23 degrees. And it looks like it's going to be a promising summer filled with lots of laughs.


    Things I am determined to do in the next two months:

    • visit the Gopher Museum. I didn't get around to doing this last year and it still needs to be checked out

    • vodka water melon

    • lots and lots of bicycle rides and rollerblading afternoons

    • create a chalk mural

    • swing on the swings in the park

    • water fight and sprinkler jumping

    • attend as many social media networking events as possible to get to know the community better here in Calgary (it's time to put some faces to names)

    • hit up Calaway Park

    • sangria picnic in the park

    • complete my summer reading list while sitting on patios at pubs and cafes people watching



    Super soaker excited for another fun summer!

    Tuesday, June 7, 2011

    Ooops!

    mis·take   
    [mi-steyk]
    noun, verb -took, -tak·en, -tak·ing.
    –noun
    1.an error in action, calculation, opinion, or judgment caused by poor reasoning, carelessness, insufficient knowledge, etc.
    2.a misunderstanding or misconception.

    I'm reading an article right now about embracing your mistakes. It's no doubt that we have all made one or two or a million in our lives. And through those mistakes we have learned what works for us personally and what works for us in society.

    Apparently one of the reasons we make mistakes is overconfidence. Which makes sense (to me) because the more confidence one has, the more willing one is to take a risk. When one takes a risk, the odds of a mistake happening increases. And even when that mistake is made, it can help one's confidence grow even more-- as long as one is willing to see where things went wrong and try a different way without allowing one's self worth to be affected. Thus the potential to create even more mistakes.

    A mistake isn't a bad thing, but you have to take responsibility and owe up to making the mistake -- from missing a decimal place while working on the company's accounts to meeting the perfect person for you in the wrong circumstances. Sometimes those mistakes lead you into better places and opportunities, some times you have to learn to never make that choice again.

    As long as you can identify the mistake, embrace it, learn from it and turn it around into an opportunity to better your life, feel free to screw up without worry or fear. We only have this one life, and it doesn't come with an eraser.


    "Mistakes are part of the dues one pays for a full life" Sophia Loren

    Sunday, May 29, 2011

    Walking on Sunshine

    After a gloomy week filled with showers that were supposed to be here in April so we could have our May flowers, the sun decided to come out and play. And luckily for Calgary and Lilac Festival attendees (which seemed like pretty much every one in this city), we had beautiful warm weather for the annual street festival.



    Patios filled up as people escaped the packed streets for a refreshing cold drink and an opportunity to catch up with friends that they may have bumped into. Vendors peddled their goods, from cat toys to bubble blowing guns, kettle corn to hot dogs, fashion, jewelery and art. There were stages for musicians to perform on and various companies showcased the talents they could teach you (my favorite was witnessing a lady a few years younger than my grandmother use her self defense skills to take down a pretend perp and beat him with her purse).





    Two guys even built a bicycle that when pedalled would use the energy to generate the electricity needed to blast their stereo. What a fun idea!



    And I always feel that Lilac fest is the opening ceremony for summer. Super stoked for a summer filled with lots of sun and adventures :)

    Sunday, May 22, 2011

    Extreme Couponing

    TLC had a marathon yesterday afternoon/ evening of this show which follows people who devote their lives to clipping coupons and stocking up every empty space in their house with thousands of dollars in product that they paid little to nothing for. It was fascinating to watch an $800 grocery bill come down to pennies owed. So fascinating that I devoted a few hours to watching this marathon.

    It does leave some questions in my mind though. Is one really saving money if they are purchasing product that they don't really need just because they have a coupon for it? And being as this extreme-ness looks to become an addiction for these people, should we be celebrating with them? Wouldn't that be like celebrating with a crack head for scoring more rock? Is there such thing as a good addiction?

    I did feel inspired to clip coupons and already try my best to save money on things I use or events I love to attend. I just couldn't imagine giving 40 hours of my life, involving my family in the ritual clipping of the coupons and shopping with three or four grocery carts. The one episode focused on a man who donated his thousands of dollars worth of product that he had mostly got free though couponing to various charities. That made my heart sing big time!

    Have you watched this show? What were your thoughts on it? Do you think there may be an episode of Intervention soon where a lady thinks she is being filmed as part of series on people who extreme coupon and little does she know that she is about to be part of an (cue music) Intervention? ;-)

    Sunday, May 15, 2011

    People are Awesome

    So, this broken wrist thing in a cast has been really ...um...inconvenient. And I ended up taking Friday off of work because there was so much pain. It has its good moments and then it has its shooting pain, swelling, get-this-cast-off-of-me moments.

    I'm trying to be optimistic and keep the complaining to a minimum. And I have looked at this cast as an opportunity.

    My favorite chef's mother is part of a team doing the Ride to Conquer Cancer. Remember that I did this last year? Every person is responsible for raising a minimum amount and the amount can seem daunting at times. It all goes to helping Cancer research with the goal of a Cancer-free future. So, although it can be hard to ask people to sponsor you, or come up with events and ideas that people want to be a part of, it really is for a great cause to combat a disease that has affected every one in some way, shape or form. And battling cancer is a way tougher battle than either the 220 km you ride your bike alongside the Rocky Mountains or the money you need to raise to be a part of such an epic journey.

    I have been "charging" people a minimum donation to sign my cast with all proceeds going to LN's fundraising efforts. I am almost at $100 and it's amazing to see (once again) how supportive my friends and family are and even more astounding to see strangers dig in their pockets for a twoonie after asking me what happened to my arm, hearing my tale and how I am now taking advantage of my disadvantage to raise money for a cause I truly believe in. Seriously, as much as you read and see and hear stories about the evil in this world, it turns out that the majority of humankind live up to the kind part. We need to stop giving so many bad apples 90% of the spotlight and start focusing on the awesome people out there that make this world better every day through small acts.

    If you are interested in helping out LN's fund raising efforts, please check out her page. Every dollar counts, no matter how small and meager it may seem.

    I'll post pictures of my cast later...it's really starting to fill up :)

    Monday, May 9, 2011

    Things I can now say happened before I was 30

    I got my first cast.

    We were just fooling around, play fighting, flirting. And I tried to brush the pain off as though it was nothing and would go away.

    Except, the pain just got worse. And even though I tried my hardest to tell him it was nothing, he could read it in my face. And off to urgent care we went.

    I was expecting a pinched nerve. Soft tissue damage. Maybe just a bad bruise. I was not expecting a clean fracture across my wrist that even the doctor stated was "the weirdest fracture [he] had ever seen" and after 4 hours of waiting, they wrapped my left arm up in a cast and told me to come back in a couple of weeks.

    I have broken my toe a few times. In all of those instances, I just taped it to the toes next to it and went on with life. This cast thing? It kind of gets in the way of life. Washing my hair was an adventure. It took me a bit of work to figure out how to open up the pickle jar last night. And typing all day has made my arm incredibly tired and sore.

    But at least I can say that I have had a cast now, I guess. Nothing like adding to life's escapades. ;-)

    Monday, May 2, 2011

    Tweet, tweet!

    Hi friends,

    I have been living a fun life, but haven't been good on filling in this little space of mine about it. My apologies. I'm on twitter a lot more these days, so if you're on it, let's follow each other! Find me @lowqis and let me know that you found me through my blog :)

    Here's a bit of a run down of my worldly events:

    I have added a few more hours to my volunteering goal with helping out the City's River clean up. It was a super gorgeous day and I shared a lot of laughs as I picked up litter that had been carelessly tossed in one of our city's bike path parks. Strangest find was a box spring mattress. Grossest find was a home made crack pipe. And dog owners? Seriously, be responsible and pick up after your dog. No one wants to see that shit (literally).

    I attended a glamourous 60s themed cocktail birthday party. I loved having my mom do my make-up and hair, gossiping with her all afternoon. I loved seeing my friends all dressed up. I loved seeing my date in a suit. The venue we were in was pretty loud for casual conversation which was too bad, but everything else was pretty sparkly.

    My favorite chef has been cooking up a storm for me lately. I'm pretty spoiled. I like helping him out and learning about the ways of the spices. He's super creative and his passion for cooking is my favorite part of dinner.

    My best friend and I went and had our nails did. That was a fabulous way to gossip and I think we discovered our new shared hobby :)

    This week holds lots of fun too: a literature event tomorrow evening (Miriam Toews is reading from her new book!), seeing Alberta Ballet's Fumbling Towards Ecstasy on Thursday (it's inspired by Sarah McLachlan's music!), helping to host a fundraiser on Friday for The Ride to Conquer Cancer and then seeing the final installment of the Fast and the Furious Franchise on Saturday.

    My life has been super fun lately :)

    Also, today was election day. Were you happy with the results? I was (what can I say, I am a good Albertan girl who loves her rye and votes conservative)!

    Thursday, April 21, 2011

    Skynet writing in the clouds

    Twitter is a buzz with the idea of Skynet. You know...the self aware artificial intelligence that decided to terminate humankind on April 21 2011. Today could be our last day folks...if James Cameron's predictions are true (and we all know how the Titanic turned out, so why wouldn't we trust him?).

    If today was our last day, how would you spend it? Would you eat the best foods and drink the best wine? Would you do that thing that has always scared you? Would you tell that person you love that you love him? Would you stock up and get ready to take out the terminators, locating the nearest hydraulic presses to lure them to?

    The idea to live everyday like it is your last is not a new notion or even an unique one (why does putting "an" there sound funny when I say this sentence out loud?). Yet, for everyone who preaches the concept, how many actually walk-the-walk? I'm guilty of this big time, always thinking there will be tomorrow to do the things I want, accomplish the dreams I have. Will it take the end of the world (as we know it...cue R.E.M!) to motivate me? Kind of a melancholy thought.

    Le Sigh....you may win this round Skynet (or better know as alias Steve Jobs). But the battle has only begun...

    Friday, April 15, 2011

    Confessions

    Last night the ladies and I attended the Post Secret event at the University. Frank Warren, creator of Post Secret, shared some of the secrets that couldn't make it into the books and discussed some of his secrets. He waived his speaking fee so that proceeds would go to The Centre For Suicide Prevention.

    The evening for the most part was quite enjoyable. Hearing about the stacks of postcards Frank receives daily, the secrets that people feel free to release to him anonymously, and the secrets that he has carried and released himself was entertaining. His message that all it takes is one idea to open conversation among a community was inspiring. His hope that people can learn to feel safe enough to share the secret of thoughts of suicide to save his or her life was powerful.

    The uncomfortable part of the evening, for me, happened when the floor was opened up and audience members could walk to the mic to share a secret. Strangers dropping the shroud of anonymity to feel release from a captor was in a sense empowering, but also felt awkward and, at times, as though the secret sharing had become a contest of who had the darkest one.

    The beauty of Post Secret is that it connects people, showcasing that we are not alone and as weird or strange as we may think we are. And that the life events we go through - good or bad - are also being mirrored by other people out there. Post Secret is also fabulous because it allows one to get a secret off of his heart or out of her head without having to worry about the fear that everyone will know. I feel that microphones at an event like this takes away from the nature of the project in a sense and turns the evening into a free-for-all therapy session.

    After the event last night, I thought about some of my secrets that I could create onto a postcard and submit. Different secrets filled my head: hopes, fears, memories and regrets. Secrets that have been holding me captive and secrets that are motivating me to keep moving forward. I had some beautiful ideas surface, but at this time, strongly feel that my secrets are safest within me.

    If you have a chance to attend a talk from Frank Warren, I suggest you do. But, if you are like me, and uncomfortable hearing strangers share so much personal feelings, be prepared for the half hour of awkward that takes place at the end.

    Wednesday, April 6, 2011

    Cork and Canvas

    Last night, my lovely ladies and I headed to the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra's Cork and Canvas Wine and Art festival. There was lots of yummy wines to taste, appetizers to nibble on, auction items to bid for and an eclectic mixture of people to view. As much as I love art and wine and eating, watching people is fascinating. The artsy girl all in black, tall and slim, eyeing pieces that she thinks would be perfect in her loft,* the cat lady hovering around the oil on canvas portrait of a sketched-out kitty, making sure she can keep topping the bid in the war to own the painting. The artist of said cat-painting, looking hip in high boots and skinny jeans, who may have imbibed in one too many sips of wine, excited to see her piece being silently fought over.

    There was more than just art in the auction too. I was in a small, quiet war of my own for two tickets to see Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho accompanied by the orchestra with a Psycho themed after party to attend. I hang my head in shame as I admit that I gave up once the tickets reached more than $100. Katy Perry "California Dream Tour" tickets were up for grabs as well as a plethora of different wines from around the world.

    The venue was in the basement of Willow Park Wine and Spirits. If you are ever looking for that hard-to-find wine or that beer you had in Belgium or have time to try a new scotch, check this place out. They have lots of events filled with spirits. And they are conveniently located next to the fine cheese store so you know there is usually a fabulous pairing. Last night I picked up some strawberry beer to try (and create a summer vibe).

    The great thing about this event is it also let me know what the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra's season looks like next year and I am super stoked. Not only will I try to see the Hitchcock movie, but Herbie Hancock Plays Gershwin looks fantastic as does Pianomania. And for fun, I definitely would love to spend the Saturday afternoon enjoying Bugs Bunny at the Symphony.

    Next week, the ladies and I are attending Post Secret in Calgary. Ladies nights are a blast!





    *totally making this up - I have no idea where people live. I'm not (that) creepy

    Monday, April 4, 2011

    Dear Dairy Queen,

    Can you please make a mini egg blizzard? I strongly feel this would be very profitable for you. Also, please bring back the Pop Rocks blizzard.

    Sincerely,
    Laura

    Wednesday, March 30, 2011

    Snaps, Slams, and Spoken Words

    Last night was the opening event for The Spoken Word Festival. The event was free and featured 4 poets (The Quartet 2011) who each read from their recently published books of poetry.

    The first poet had me giggling as he described his love as deep as the layers of an onion and captivated with the poem about his grandmother's conversion to Christianity.

    The second and third poets were a little bit darker. One shared a poem inspired by a news story about parents who killed their child and left her pieces in garbage bags around the city. The other discussed his mother's fight with breast cancer in three parts.

    It was stated that the final poet had entered a national poetry competition with two of her poems. They tied for first place which should give you an idea of her talent. Her control of the English language seduced me right away as she filled my head with romantic notions. She shared a piece inspired by the time she spent a season in a small hotel room in Paris. Hearing her describe the neighbours lovemaking as "tides of the sounds of sex", the smoke from her cigarette curling around the naked light bulb hanging over the bed as she re-read Moby Dick over and over had me lusting for the chance to escape to a similar setting.

    I was really surprised that this little city I live in, that is seemingly dedicated to the business of oil and gas, held a standing-room-only poetry event last night and I was super intrigued to hear that the last Thursday of almost every month there is a poetry slam. I can't wait to check out a slam!

    Twitter has opened Calgary up for me in regards to art and literature events. For anyone not on Twitter yet, I suggest you try it out even if its just to follow a few different organizations in your city that your interests are in. An entire new world could open up for you too.

    Monday, March 28, 2011

    My Life in a List: The fun weekends are fun edition

    After giving 40 hours of my life a week to the man, there is nothing I ♥ more than being able to have a jam-packed fun weekend. This was one of the better ones:

    ♦birthday dinner celebrations! I was supposed to make the dinner, but my helper took over. We had a delectable 4 cheese stuffed porkchop served with a yam and potato medley and a lovely strawberry salad

    ♦checked out my step-brother-in-law's (are you still following?) new bar and met up with a team that is doing the Ride to Conquer Cancer this year. They asked for my help in fundraising. As this is one of the things that make me super happy, I gladly said yes! Super excited to help this team meet and surpass their fundraising goals :)

    ♦had ice cream cake for breakfast. My life is awesome!

    ♦hit up the golf show! Filled a bag with swag and entered a million different contests to different golf resorts (would they be called resorts? I don't golf, but I do love travelling and posh hotels). The golf show also had different booths set up where you could show off your skills and all proceeds went to help the Kids Cancer Care Foundation (the same foundation I am doing my book drive for). Awesome!

    ♦fancy dinner at a fancy restaurant. It was super nice to dress up. Boys are super cute when they dress up ;-) (that said, boys are also cute when they are in work clothes and when they are not wearing anything).

    ♦watched Black Swan. Yes, this is a ballet movie, but it is more about the intense, dark side of ballet AND it explains the story line of Swan Lake. Even my partner-in-crime watching it enjoyed it. I am now super intrigued to see the Alberta Ballet's rendition of Swan Lake.

    ♦Bought a violin! I have never picked up the violin before, but always wanted to learn. Found a fantastic deal on kijiji (the violin is brand new, never played before and I paid less than $100) and my brother and I went to pick it up. Just meeting the old couple selling the violin was a hilarious adventure. New favorite line to say to my brother? Skin disease.

    ♦Went to an open mic jam and watched my brother rock out for a bit. Had amazing pizza and a pint of beer.

    ♦Came home and saw that my tweet about the golf show had been retweeted by the CEO and founder of the Kids Cancer Care Foundation. Sent her a thank you and she asked me to call her! Fantastic way to end a fantastic weekend.

    Next weekend is going to be even busier! I am super excited. Two volunteering events, a play and a fundraising dance. I am loving this life that I live.
    What did you do over the weekend? Any exciting plans coming up?

    Wednesday, March 23, 2011

    What I am Reading Wednesday

    Well, actually, this post is not about what I am reading, but about what the kids are reading. I am holding a book drive for The Kids Cancer Care Foundation to help stock their library in their summer camp. I am collecting books (new and gently used) for kids between the ages of 3 and 8.

    Books have always been very comforting for me and I can only imagine the comfort they may bring a child who is sick or dealing with a parent or sibling who is sick. The way you can escape into other worlds through a book or the way they can evoke happy memories is partly why books have had such an enchanting power over me.

    I want to share that with other kids.

    If you are in town and would like to contribute, leave me a comment with your email address (I monitor comments and won't post your info!).

    Tuesday, March 22, 2011

    Thankful Tuesday


    photo credit: smashing magazine

    I am thankful for Spring.
    For flirty Spring dresses. For cute umbrellas and rainboots.
    For days of puddle jumping. For little green buds and shoots of grass.
    For the sound of birds chirping away in the mornings, so thankful to be alive.
    For evening strolls while holding hands, happy to be free from winter's hibernation.
    For longer days. For warmer days.
    For days of new beginnings.

    Thursday, March 17, 2011

    My Life in a List: The Olfactory Edition

    Let's start this post discussing the image the word olfactory puts in my head. I instantly imagine a factory creating old. The place where all the wonderful old things in this world come from: movies, pictures, babushkas. It's a bittersweet factory. It cures feelings of nostalgia by creating the old we miss, but all old things do need to cease existing in order to be old and thus that feeling of decay and death is quite depressing. *sigh* The saddest place to work ever.

    But that's not really what this post is about! Today as I walked to work, the smell of rain was in the air. That clean, fresh smell of damp Earth and moisture in the sky. And I was so excited that I could smell rain, it made me think about all of the other smells that I adore.

    ♥ Fresh cut grass! Sucks to be you if you have severe allergies and can't handle this wonderful aroma
    ♥ Baking Bread! Seriously, I love the smell of baking bread so much, that sometimes I just bake a loaf to act as an air freshener.
    ♥ Similar idea as to bread is the smell of a stew that has been simmering in your crock pot all day. To walk into your house, greeted with the savory odor is pure heaven
    ♥ Right-out-of-the-shower boys! That clean smell of soap on the smoothest part of their skin. AMAZING!
    ♥ The smell of diesel and dirt mixed in work clothes is also hot. Feel free to judge. I have a weakness for hardworking men.
    ♥ Vanilla. I will always love vanilla. Since the 7th grade.
    ♥ Bon fires! But not ones that have had gas cans poured all over and are burning whatever is available. I know rednecks that do this, I do not recommended roasting marshmallows on these open fires.
    ♥ Pages of books. Seriously. Any book I have read, I fan the pages in front of my nose. I can't describe its awesomeness.
    ♥ Cinnamon oatmeal. This tastes as delicious as it smells
    ♥ Brewing coffee. Like bread and stew this is one of my favorite air fresheners in my home

    What are your favorite smells?

    Monday, March 14, 2011

    Dear Wikipedia,

    I love you. You never judge my questions or make me feel silly for not knowing something. You teach me so much and I truly owe you most of the credit for the random factoids I know. I hope we can be together forever.

    Sincerely,
    LB

    Friday, March 11, 2011

    Help Wanted

    So my amazing work buddies hooked me up with a red panda for my birthday. And even though there are certain people out there who would like to remind me that sponsorship of an animal and owning an animal are actually very different, I disagree. As far as I am concerned, I pretty much own a panda. A red one. That's cute. Here is a picture of the documents showcasing my name stating that I have sponsored (read: OWN!) a panda. I know he is not coming home with me. That doesn't mean I love him any less.



    The help I need is deciding upon a name for my panda. I want something unique, but not too hollywood (therefore not naming my panda Apple or Rumour). I would kind of like the name to have some sort of reference to great literature. And maybe some sort of Chinese influence to recognize my panda's roots.

    Some ideas I already have:

    Aramis Chin
    G√ľnther
    Cyprian

    What would you name your red panda if you had one?

    Thursday, March 10, 2011

    Today was my birthday

    I took all of the wishes from my facebook wall and the text messages sent to me to create this worldle:




    I have the greatest support network. From my first text that made me smile huge to receiving a panda (sponsored, he still lives at the zoo) to a creative dolphin tank complete with dolphins to a dinner date with my daddy. BEST DAY EVER!

    Wednesday, March 9, 2011

    What I am Reading Wednesday!

    Hi everybody! Remember this feature I attempted to regularly do? I decided to resurrect it today (because it's that time of year to think about resurrections? you decide!)

    Right now I am reading the final novel for my 20th Century Lit course. It's a little novella we all came to know through Mr. Stanley Krubrick's adaptation in the early 1970s. Except, I (and most likely many of you) didn't watch it until much later than that.

    A Clockwork Orange is chock full of juxtapositions, creative slang, metaphors and motifs. The movie is good, but, like all movies based on books, the book is WAY better!

    I'm only in the early stages of part two. The "ultraviolence" and "horrorshow" antics of part one were captivating. Picking up on the slang that is seemingly a mixture of Russian and Shakespearean amazed me. At first, the story seemed so confusing due to the language, but I quickly became accustomed to it and I am now fully absorbed in the plot. I am at the part where Alex is in jail, just blamed for the death of a cellmate and signed up for the procedure that will "cure" him of his violent ways.

    I read a little bit about the author before starting this novel. Supposedly, he broke the story into 3 parts of 7 to showcase Alex's metamorphosis into becoming an adult. The 21 chapters is symbolic of 21 being the age of majority in many places. The creative use of Russian words captured into the slang was because he didn't want his story to be trapped in a certain time period, but one that was ageless. And I love that he has his protagonist passionate about classical music. The juxtaposition of highbrow music mixed with the lowbrow antics and violence is thrilling.

    I suggest you read this. And watch the movie if you haven't. Just prepare yourself for ultraviolent scenes.

    Tuesday, March 8, 2011

    Dear World,

    I'm happy. Really, really happy. For no real reason. I just feel like things in life are right where they are supposed to be. And it's a fantastic feeling.

    Sincerely,
    Laura

    Monday, March 7, 2011

    My Life in a List: If I were to create an online dating profile

    This is how I would describe myself.
    It would really narrow down who I am looking for*.

    1.I swear like a trucker. I like to pepper philosophical discussions and debates on literature with the f-word. I try to use it every second word to really stress the other words

    2.In the late 90s I was a hand model. I fell off my bike and scarred my knuckles. My entire career was ruined and my hands had to settle for a low budget film career. It is awkward when people recognize my hands from certain "movies" -awkward for both parties in the conversation. Me for being in said movie, other person for having to admit to watching it. So..if you're going to ask, yes that was me.

    3. I am a devoted Catholic twice a day at 11:11. I always ask God for something in those moments.

    4.I'm only interested in the online aspect of dating. Please don't think we'll EVER meet face-to-face. It's because I have a phobia of walking through doors since I watched Sliding Doors and The Chronicles of Narnia. I hate that everything and anything could happen

    5. I can cook a mean hotdog soup. Basically, you boil water, add hotdogs, let them simmer then serve the hotdogs on buns. I like to garnish mine with Ketchup.

    6.I believe in helping homeless people out financially. I drink copious amounts and leave my empties by the trash.

    7.I truly believe that the greatest moments in sport's history took place during the final scene of The Karate Kid. The Mighty Ducks V formation was pretty steller too.

    8.I have an adopted pet squirrel. I encourage him (his name is Gus) to build a nest in my neighbour's rafters. It's win-win. But not for my neighbours.

    9.I will always cook you your favorite meal. I will secretly add the ingredients that you are allergic too. Small things amuse me.

    10.People who inspire me include Master Splinter, The Gremlins, and Terry and Dean from Fubar.


    *I am mostly kidding. Please don't send me irate comments. Or I will be forced to cook you your favorite meal ;-)

    Friday, March 4, 2011

    So many conversations take place...

    ... around one's kitchen table. Small talk over meals, serious talks over cups of coffee, silly talks over shots of Tequila. For years I have been thinking about what my dream kitchen table would be. When I first moved out, I had room mates and one had a table already so no need to buy one was there.

    When Adam and I lived together, it was one of those things on my list but I wasn't sure how long we would be in our place for (hindsight is always 20/20. My gut knew).
    When I moved in here, I knew I needed one. And even though I know this is not my forever home, I wanted something that was of value and I could use it either in my future kitchen or, ideally, my future games room.

    I bit the bullet this morning. Using my bonus from work and the excuse that I deserved something for my upcoming birthday, I dragged my dad to all sorts of furniture stores. He had the truck in case I found one. And find one I did.

    This was also half an action item on my 30 before 30 (number 12). And now I feel so grown up and ready to invite people over for a dinner party!