Sunday, August 31, 2008

Family Dinner Party

We had 24 people in our house tonight. All of my Mom's side of the family (minus one) came over to celebrate my Grandma's 80th birthday, my Great Aunt and Uncle's anniversary (63 years I think), and my Mom's 51st birthday.
Mom always gets super-stressed out before company comes over. The house has to be spot-less, because our guests might notice the cobweb on the baseboards in the corner of the front living room that no one ever even goes into. I wonder if my family is alone in this.
I think that's why I feel guilty whenever anyone comes to visit my apartment and it's not perfectly clean. Even if I know that my guests really don't care, I can feel my Mom's disapproval.
The dinner went really well though, in spite of the stresses of prepping for it.
Also, Grandma loved the gift I organized the 10 of us grandchildren to create - a heart made of puzzle pieces, each decorated by one of us. Ta-da!!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

I Don't Like the Word "Meme"...

My goodness, this took longer to type up than I expected. Some interesting tidbits about me in it though.

A: Attached or Single? Oh so single... for oh such a long time. It's to the point where I know own a cat and consider myself borderline crazy cat lady.

B. Best Friend? I have quite a few really close friends... Jim and I have been "best friends" for the longest, but then there are Mel, Stace, Sarah, Jessica, my sisters, and newest of all, Sam.

C: Cake or pie? It depends, is it chocolate pie? Because if it is, then my answer is pie - but I don't like other types of pie really so otherwise my answer is cake. Chocolate cheese cake!

D: Day of choice? During the summer, it was the last day of my camp block. This upcoming semester, it will most likely be Thursday or Friday, but it's hard to tell. It varies depending on what I am doing that semester.

E: Essential Item? I am crazy-dependent on my electronics, so perhaps my computer, or ipod, or cell phone.

F: Favorite color? Green!!!

G: Gummy bears or worms? Worms, especially if they're sour. Sour gummies are pretty much the best thing ever, no matter what form they come in.

H: Hometown? Beautiful Wallaceburg.

I: Favorite indulgence? Tim Horton's breakfast sandwich with bacon. Seriously. If I could only have one food for the rest of my life, that's it.

J: January or July? July!! Beautiful warm summer days and warm starry night trumps freezing, gray, and snowy any day.

K: Kids? Undecided. I plan to work with kids for a living, so why bother having my own when others will pay me to take care of theirs? For now, I have Thunder Kitty, who is about as much work to care for as a child is.

L: Life isn't complete without? Thunder Kitty, family, and friends.

M: Marriage date? Probably a loooong time in the future. But when it comes, it'll be in the summer.

N: Number of brothers and sisters? Two little sisters, no brothers.

O: Oranges or apples? Orange juice over apple juice. But apples themselves over oranges.

P: Phobias? Does Generalized Anxiety Disorder count as a phobia? Lots of things I'm afraid of... mostly change.

Q: Quotes? So many...

"Be the change that you wish to see in the world." -Gandhi

"Whatever tears at us, whatever holds us down, and if nothing can be done, we'll make the best of what's around." - Dave Matthews Band

"Anything worth having is never easy, the pain is only a sign, if you can just push through and make it out of bed, everything will be fine." - Craig Cardiff

"You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose." - Dr. Seuss

"I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be." - Douglas Adams

"To change the world, Start with one step, However small, The first step is hardest of all." - Dave Matthews Band

R: Reasons to Smile? I'm on holidays, relaxing at my parents house, we're having an 80th birthday party for my Grandma tomorrow, I'm starting a brand new placement on Monday and feeling good about it, my kitten makes me happy, and I have a fantastic family and wonderful friends.

S: Season of choice? Well, I like any season other than winter, really. But most specifically the end of summer and beginning of fall.

T: Tag 5 People: Tagging seems like it belongs on Facebook and not on my blog.

U: Unknown fact? I've been thinking about getting a tattoo, but I'm not sure if I can handle making a commitment like that. Interesting, because as a teen I was so against tattoos for so long. Why the change? I'm not really certain. I think I like the self-expression aspect.

V: Vegetable? I don't like most vegetables. I'm what they call a meatatarian. Here are the veggies I do like: carrots, celery, potatoes, corn on the cob.

W: Worst habit? Biting my nails, procrastinating, stress eating.

X: X-ray or Ultrasound? I thought they were used for different things? I'm not sure if I've ever had an ultrasound, maybe when I was 3 and having my kidney surgery. I've for sure had x-rays, when I broke my finger and probably some surgery-related too.

Y: Your favorite food? Again, the Tim Horton's breakfast sandwich with bacon. Oh man.

Z: Zodiac Sign? Libra.

Here's what Daily Horoscopes says about Libras:

"Libra Personality Traits
Librans do not like to hurt anyone and will work as hard as they can in a diplomatic way to keep this from happening. Because of this they can be seen as indecisive. And sometimes they are. This is one of their worst traits. Librans find their best work at anything creative and they don’t lack physical or emotional energy. They generally appear to be relaxed when in fac t, they are constantly thinking about their next project and ready to get to it. These wonderful people loathe loneliness and are happiest when they have a companion to share in all they do. They need romantic relationships and want to give whatever the love of their life wants. Although they are peace-loving people, Librans have been known to start arguments with their partners just to be able to figure out whether they are really loved or not. Extremely generous to the extremes, Librans need to be aware why they love to give. They are charming and most often very beautiful people who are used to people noticing them. Librans value fairness above all else. And they expect others to feel the same way.
If they have a fault or two, it could be that they give in to others too easily. They do this even when they know that they are right just to prevent upset. And another small fault may be that they sometimes develop a tenden cy towards procrastination especially when they have to make a decision about a loved one."

I Love You, Kate Nash


This is my face, covered in freckles with an occasional spot and some veins.
This is my body, covered in skin, and not all of it you can see
And, this, is my mind, it goes over and over the same old lines
And, this, is my brain, its torturous analytical thoughts make me go insane

And I use mouthwash

Sometimes I floss
I got a family
And I drink cups of tea

I've got nostalgic pavements
I've got familar faces
I've got mixed-up memories
And I've got favourite places

And I'm singing "oh oh" on a Friday night
And I'm singing "oh oh" on a Friday nig
And I'm singing "oh oh" on a Friday night
And I hope everything's gonna be alright
And I'm singing "oh oh" on a Friday night
And I hope everything's gonna be alright

This is my face, I've got a thousand opinions and not the time to explain
And this is my body, and no matter how you try and disable it, I'll still be here
And, this, is my mind, and although you try to infringe you cannot confine
And, this, is my brain, and even if you try and
hold me back there's nothing that you can gain

Because I use mouthwash
Sometimes I floss
I got a family
And I drink cups of tea

I've got nostalgic pavements
I've got familar faces

I've got mixed-up memories
And I've got favourite places

And I'm singing "oh oh" on a Friday night
And I'm singing "oh oh" on a Friday night
And I'm singing "oh oh" on a Friday night
And I hope everything's gonna be alright
And I'm singing "oh oh" on a Friday night
And I hope everything's gonna be alright
Oh oh oh oh oh oh

So, if someone were to ask me what song I feel best represents me (they didn't, but hypothetically speaking), it would be this one. It's been my song of the summer and made it onto almost all of my - now the car thief's - summer mixed cds that I rocked out to in my car while driving all over the province.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Back to School

As my youngest sister is the only child still living at home with the parents, but does not have her full driver's license yet, she doesn't get out much. Mom and Dad's place is pretty much in the middle of nowhere, especially when you're 16 years old. So, whenever I come to visit, I take her shopping. Mom and Dad don't have time or energy to take her out anymore, and I might feel a tad bit guilty that she is stuck at home during her teenage years by herself at home.
Today, I took the little one back to school shopping. I can now understand why Mom always hated taking us back to school shopping. There are mothers and children everywhere, most of them arguing about the brands of school supplies they are allowed to get. The aisles are lined with boxes full of colourful school supplies, everything you could possibly ever need and more, half of which have been knocked onto the floor, so that between the supplies on the floor and the children standing around in the middle of the aisle it's nearly impossible to get your cart through. And then, when you have something to say to the student that you're shopping with, they've wandered off and you're talking to a random sullen-looking teen with her arms full of pens and binders who is giving you a rather pissed off look for even thinking you could talk to her. You then get to give your opinion on what type of pencil looks the best and what kind of binder will work the best for her course schedule and wait around while she decides what will work for her, and at the end you get to shell out the money for over-priced school supplies you most likely will never see again. No wonder Mom hated it.
I'm a little sad that I don't get to have a "back to school" this year, though. I always used to love getting all of the new supplies. It was a chance to start out fresh, you never knew what the upcoming year would hold, but there was always a promise of change - brand new classes that you would meet new people in, and you could guarentee it wouldn't be like last year.
This is my last new semester - for this diploma at least. But with only two classes and having been in school all summer, it's not really a new school beginning. Placement on the otherhand, is an entirely new beginning, and I have really high hopes for this one. I've learned from the last one and grew a lot and know what I need to do at the new one. It's on. This is my September new beginning.


Marc Johns does illustrations that I love, especially the ones about moustaches.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Little Zoo

I'm loving Elizabeth's Soule's photography collection "The Little Zoo", featuring Polaroid pictures of toy animals. Anyone feeling particularly generous can buy me some at her Etsy Shop.

After a Good Night's Sleep...

...I think that perhaps this year has also taught me to see the bright side in everything. It always could be worse.
Yeah, we were in a giant bus crash, but the worst we came out of it with were some cuts and bruises and some post-traumatic stress. Besides, I got to ride shot-gun in the ambulance. It also showed me how genuinely caring people who don't even know you can be. Like the doctor who was driving down the highway and stopped to check and see that everyone was okay, even though that probably breached some sort of medical insurance thing. Or the paramedics who tried to cheer us up as we were couched in the mud under a cement overpass by joking around with us. Or the people who went out of their way to make sure that we made the flight on time. Or the nurse from Montreal and the guy who brought his dog around to the hospital patients.
And sure, Mom was diagnosed with cancer, but it was caught early and is one of the most treatable kinds. It taught me to rely on my new friends from class, because they were there to support me whenever I needed it, so I knew I was never alone. And it was amazing how our family, our extended family, and our network of friends could really pull together and support Mom through it.
And yup, my car was broken into, but it wasn't stolen and I got it mostly intact. And at least it happened where my Grandparents and Aunt could come rushing over and help me deal with it.
Most of all, this year has taught me how important my friends are, and how super supportive they can be.
So I guess I am pretty lucky after all.

I Find These Entertaining

What I've Learned

I was thinking today about 2008 and how much it has sucked. Yes, sucked is probably the best word I can use to describe it. Up until this year, though, life has been pretty good. Sure I've had my share of problems, but no real major life events like I've experienced this year. It's almost as though all of the unfortunate things have waited and piled up and spilled out onto my life all at once. Do things happen just because they happen, or is there some sort of plan behind it all? I think both options scare me a bit. The thought of everything being completely out of anyone's control is terrifying, but, yet, so is the thought that someone (God, perhaps) has planned it out that terrible things do happen to people.
Completely feeding into my anxiety disorder, this year has taught me more than anything to never assume that everything is going to be okay, which, in my mind at least, means always be prepared for the worst possible outcome. I planned my whole life that I would grow up and go to university so that I could go to teacher's college, so what happens when I don't get in? I got on the bus assuming that I would arrive in the Everglades and get to see alligators, so what happens when the bus crashes along the way? I always assumed that Mom and Dad would be healthy and be able to take care of things, so what happens if they aren't and therefore can't? I thought that my car would be okay overnight, so what if it's not?
I really like plans, I have discovered. I don't so much like winging it, figuring stuff out as it comes along - that makes me anxious. I feel most calm and confident when I know what I am doing and know what to do in every possible scenario. But it seems like lately life hasn't been following any least not my plans.
So then what? What do you do when life doesn't follow your plans - the ones you assume will work out exactly the way you expect them?
Albert Einstein once said: “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.” And Dorey in "Finding Nemo" at one point sang a song saying "Just keep swimming, just keep swimming." And I think that's what you have to do. Or at least what I have to learn to do. Things might not go the way I had planned and expected them to go, but that doesn't mean life can stop. In fact, stopping is probably the worst possible option. The best bet is to keep moving forward. As the Dave Matthews Band sings, "And if nothing can be done, we'll make the best of what's around."
At this point, I think that's all I can do. That, and hope that everything will be alright.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Spell with Flickr

E31 DSC_1564 i N14

Pretty flippin' cool. Go here to try it.

Be the Change...

"Year of Creativity - YOC - is designed to stimulate something we all have in common: creativity.
It is a starting point from which to explore the amazing potential of small changes and the infinite opportunities they offer.
YOC is an invitation to be more curious and more imaginative. It is a catalyst that promotes real and virtual opportunities for us all to discuss and compare our own creativity. It is a space in which the endless personalities inside us can express themselves, as only those who are inwardly creative can also be creative with the world at large.
The first initiative in the YOC project is “Be the Change”, an
entertaining and ironic way of expressing our multiple identities through a set of highly original, personalized business cards."

I am loving these! Very clever... makes me want to have my own business cards. And of course the "Be the Change" theme is my favourite thing ever.

It Was the Best of Times, It Was the Worst of Times...

By "it" I mean today. Here's an overview of the events:

1) In the morning I went into placement to finish up business there and to present the Plan of Care Review I had to write for one of the clients. It was great to be back, and really great to see my camp team mates again. And to have one of the kids tell you over and over how pretty you look (aka, you look clean and like you've put at least minimal effort into your appearance). However, the client couldn't make it to the review, so I did not have to present it, which was both good and bad because I would have liked to have the experience of presenting but nice that I didn't have to do it. So I said my goodbyes and left placement for the last time. It was sad knowing that I'll likely never see or work with the kids there again, and I really liked the agency and the clients.

2) So I had time to waste in Toronto. But I also had a giant backpack and a big handbag - and I learned that those items are no fun to navigate through the Eaton Centre. I ended up giving up on shopping after a few purchases and heading to Union Station crazy early for my train. I spent the hours at Union reading and pretending not to people-watch. There was a super-cute family near me, with an adorable little girl who couldn't be more than 5. I watched as her Dad brushed her hair back into a neat pony tail (certainly better than I could do) and then she played cards with her older too-cool looking brother, who wowed her with card tricks. And then there was the playfully bickering well-dressed young couple. And the woman and her very young daughter who multiple times left their bags in my care as Mom needed to go outside for smokes, and who was hesitant to allow her daughter to read a story book in the station as she might lose it.

3) On the train ride home, I got a text message from my little sister: "Mom's tumor is gone." I immediately called home. Mom had an appointment in London today, a pre-surgery check I think. Anyways, the doctor went to look at the tumor, and it wasn't there. The chemo and radiation was effective and got rid of it!! She is still going to go ahead with the surgery, as the doctor recommended it just to be sure, rather than going for checks every so often and being constantly worried about the cancer coming back, might as well just make sure it's all gone. BEST. NEWS. EVER. The tumor is gone!! Take THAT tumor!!

4) But... as soon as I arrived at the station and went to put my backpack in the back seat of the car, I came to the realization that while I left it for one night at the train station, someone had smashed the back driver's side window, gone through the entire contents of my car, and stolen anything that might be worth something. Here, I took pictures.

The sign that I parked in front of.
The front seat, note, those maps have been taken from the door pockets and left all over. Also, the garbage bag was taken down and gone through.

Through the glass-less window.
The glass-filled seat.
Items stolen: many many CDs, my ipod FM transmitter, the book with the insurance papers and car manual in it, and potentially other things. But it's not so much the things missing that I am upset about, after all, they are just things that I'm sure can be replaced. It's the act. It was just so invasive...they broke into my car and went through everything. Who does that?? How can you do that?? Even the thought of breaking something belonging to someone else on purpose is so completely foreign to me, and to do that and then steal things that don't belong to you? I just don't understand how anybody justifies that. I am trying to hard to be sympathetic, as they probably need the money more than I do, but ultimately I am just SO fucking pissed that anyone would do something like this to someone they don't even know.

But, on the bright side, the teddy bear that I call Teddy was inside my pillow case in the back of the car with my pillow and sleeping bag, and the thief left that. Thank goodness... I would have been devastated. They also didn't bother to take the change in the coin dish, and it doesn't look like they even attempted to take the CD player... they even left me the CD I was listening to inside the CD player. Got to stay positive. Got to get some sleep.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

I'm Taking the Train

Tomorrow, I am taking the train to Toronto. I am taking it to Toronto, staying at my apartment overnight, presenting the Plan of Care Review I'm doing at my placement, and heading home on the train Tuesday night.
True, I could drive. I feel like I've been driving all over the place this summer, from Toronto to Collingwood and back, and from there Toronto to my parents' place and back. Driving, especially on the 400-series highways used to make me so happy, but now I find it just wears me out.
So I decided to take the train... and I am ridiculously and childishly excited for it. In fact, this train trip may just be the highlight of my summer vacations. I've been prepping for days, making lists of things to bring and such.
I am a giant nerd.
Why am I so excited? I get to relax for three and a half hours each way and just watch South-Western Ontario fly past me. I'll be lulled into a daze, just staring out the window by the gentle rocking of the train. I'll have time to catch up on reading instead of having to worry about which lane of the highway I should be in. And there's just something so romantic about train travel. Like in Casablanca - Humphrey Bogart receiving Ingrid Bergman's note in the Paris train station. Okay, that scene wasn't really romantic, as she was leaving him, but it was full of romance in a 1940s film noir way. And so, in my train riding imagination, I am a film noir heroine, in a pencil skirt, blouse, and trench coat, my head covered by a large-brimmed hat that shades my face, about to meet my fast-talking hero in a fedora and a nice suit, who will whisk me away to Paris.
Again, I am a giant nerd.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Most Interesting Man in the World

I don't drink beer, but these commercials are basically the best thing I've seen on tv in a while.


Comments are fixed, now anyone can do it. Maybe you should, comments pretty much make my day.

It's Starting to Become an Obsession...

Who am I kidding...starting?? It's been an obsession for a while now.
I'm loving the new Matt & Nat collection for fall. Loving may be an understatement for a few of these bags.

If anybody's feeling especially generous, there's the overnight bag - Streamline, Kravitz and the laptop case - Streamline, Jobs.




More Pictures!?

Friday, August 22, 2008

My Latest Quest

Alright, so the actor in the new Divine Brown Video for Lay It On the Line is freaking hot. I cannot find out who he is anywhere, maybe because Divine Brown is a Canadian artist? Any ideas anyone? I took these screenshots from the YouTube video:


So, my Mom has cancer.
That statement has only recently started to feel real.
She went for a colonoscopy back in April, and they found a polyp, which they biopsied. After the longest week of my life, she got the biopsy results back, and there it was, Mom has cancer.
Awesome timing - right in the middle of exams, just as I'm finishing up my first placement, oh, and I'm about a 4 hour drive away from home.
I think I went numb for a bit. Nobody close to me has ever had cancer before, or any potentially terminal illness for that matter. That sort of stuff happens in other people's families, not mine, right? But there was no denying it. This was real. Mom was always the one to come to my rescue, so what happens when she can't be the strong one anymore? Completely selfish, I know, but what happens to me if Mom can't be there? And how do you take care of someone who always takes care of you?
I cried a lot, but never in front of Mom, or any of the rest of my family. I felt like I had to be strong for them. So my wonderful CYW ladies helped me get by and I made it to the end of the semester.
Mom was supposed to have surgery right away to get rid of that tumor. After that she was supposed to have chemotherapy and radiation and then it would be over. But things don't seem to go according to plans any more.
The tumor had gone through the bowel wall, it was worse than they originally thought. So the surgery had to be postponed. Chemo and radiation had to come first to shrink down the tumor first. That tumor that was discovered and drastically changed our lives.
So I spent the majority of my summer driving to my parents' house to spend as much time with Mom as I could and to help out any way I could. Meanwhile, Mom had to make the hour-and-a-half each way trip to Windsor every day to get her treatments.
The treatments finished mid-summer, and now we wait.
Mom and Dad look more tired than I've ever seen them. It's interesting how priorities change though. For me, friends were put on the backburner in favour of going home whenever I got the chance, and I learned the art of separating home from work, not letting home issues affect my work with the kids. For Mom and Dad, the store used to be their life, and there was no way it could survive without them... and now the store is just fine without them there constantly.
Last week, Mom went to church for the first time since she was diagnosed. Good thing too, because I was so worried. She used to go every week, religiously (excuse the pun), and then to just stop going during a time like this didn't seem healthy for her.
The surgery is scheduled for September 8th in London. After that, she has a more intense bout of chemotherapy, which, thankfully, can be done close to home. Then, it's over.



This video makes me pee a little. The more you watch it, the funnier it gets.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

LeRoi Moore, a member of the Dave Matthews Band died a few days ago. I'm still shocked. DMB has been my favourite band for years, and I just saw the band, including LeRoi, in concert mid-June of this year, and it was perhaps the greatest concert ever. LeRoi was an excellent musician and an integral part of the Band. He will be missed, the Dave Matthews Band will not be the same without him.

Internet Pictures I Enjoy

I have a large collection of random internet pics, I will post them from time to time.

A Return to the Blogosphere?

It's been a couple of years now since I closed my old blog... and I've been considering starting a new one for a while. It's been a difficult year, being so far away from my family, in a field where I work with really tough kids, the bus crash back in January, and Mom's cancer. I think it will be therapeutic to write. I've missed having a spot to pour out my thoughts, as well as to post things of interest, Facebook just doesn't cut it for that purpose anymore.
So that's that. Here I am. We'll see how this goes.