Friday, November 11, 2011

Remembering the Fallen

"I'm standing in the station,
I am waiting for a train,
To take me to the border,
And my loved one far away;
I watched a bunch of soldiers heading for the war,
I could hardly even bear to see them go;

Rolling through the countryside,
Tears are in my eyes,
We're coming to the borderline,
I'm ready with my lies,
And in the early morning rain, I see her there,
And I know I'll have to say goodbye again;

And it's breaking my heart, I know what I must do,
I hear my country call me, but I want to be with you,
I'm taking my side, one of us will lose,
Don't let go, I want to know
That you will wait for me until the day,
There's no borderline, no borderline;
Walking past the border guards,
Reaching for her hand,
Showing no emotion,
I want to break into a run,
But these are only boys, and I will never know
How men can see the wisdom in a war...

And it's breaking my heart, I know what I must do,
I hear my country call me, but I want to be with you,
I'm taking my side, one of us will lose,
Don't let go, I want to know
That you will wait for me until the day,
There's no borderline, no borderline,
No borderline, no borderline... "

~ Chris De Burgh's "Borderline"

These mist covered mountains
Are a home now for me
But my home is the lowlands
And always will be
Some day you'll return to
Your valleys and your farms
And you'll no longer burn
To be brothers in arms

Through these fields of destruction
Baptisms of fire
I've witnessed your suffering
As the battles raged higher
And though they hurt me so bad
In the fear and alarm
You did not desert me
My brothers in arms

There's so many different words
So many different songs
We have just one world
But we live in different ones

Now the sun's gone to hill
And the moon's riding high
Let me bid you farewell
Every man has to die
But it's written in the starlight
And every line on your palm
We're fools to make war
On our brothers in arms

~ Dire Strait's "Brothers In Arms"

It's not always about me; I have not and will never forget. Much gratitude for fighting on my behalf. Peace be thine.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Black & Orange Day? Way to RUIN Childhood!

HAPPY HALLOWE'EN! This year, Edmonton's Youth will be spoiled by Mother Nature. Currently, there is no snow on the ground (knock on wood it stays that way for as long as possible!) and the temperatures are on the plus side of the Celsius thermometer rather than the negative. So, this year, the kiddies will have a more pleasant time while out on their sugar raid! YAY!

There were a couple things I saw and heard over the past week about Hallow'een that really agitated me. No, not about razor blades in Apples or anything nutty like that. (Though I will be disturbed if I hear about kids getting poisoned or razored up candy! Don't get me wrong!) Over the weekend I did see a post of Facebook that my cousin shared about inappropriate costumes parents dress their children in. For example, a little girl that wasn't old enough to walk dressed in a baby bikini with a gold pole in front of her. Yep, they dressed her as a future pole dancer... I'm very liberal when it comes to most things, but it just screamed trashy to me. Another was a kid dressed as a mini-Hitler... Another as a Hooters girl... Another as a Pot Leaf... Another yet as a Middle Eastern "Terrorist". An adult was dressed as Superman but was in a wheel chair... There's a fine line between clever and being down right offensive.


On the other side of the coin, late last week, I heard something that really bothered me though... A few schools here in Edmonton are not allowing kids to dress in "scary" costumes. Why? Not everyone "celebrates" Hallowe'en and the School Administrators don't want anyone to be offended. In my mind, one of the main staples of being a child is Hallowe'en and wearing a "scary" costume to school, or at least being allowed to be something Hallowe'en inspired.... Way to rob a kid of their child hood! Why not just cancel Hallowe'en all together then? Seriously... I've gone many a time as kid to school dressed as a vampire, black cat, witch.... But if I wanted to be a zombie, goblin, mummy, ghost etc I had the option. The kids aren't even allowed to say Happy Hallowe'en! They are expected to say "Happy Black and Orange Day"! This leaves me with one last question, what is deemed as "appropriate" for a kid to wear costume? A princess? A cowboy? A hippie, or would this offend people, too?
 
I've just got one thought on the whole sugary holiday.... Let kids be kids... If they want to dress as a zombie this year, let them... If it's not offensive, let it goooooo! Kids grow up way to fast in this day and age, don't ruin yet another fun time for them. I'm all over not being offensive, but the political correctness is getting out of hand... First it wasn't "politically correct" to say "Merry Christmas" anymore, it's now "Happy Holidays". Now it's not "politically correct" to say "Happy Hallowe'en"? Give me a BREAK!

I'm 30 years old, I'm sitting here at work writing this on my lunch hour... I'm dressed completely in black and have a fake pair of cat ears on top of my head... People older than I am came in dressed in Hallowe'en garb. I saw a devil co-worker, a grim reaper, a jail bird, a witch, a bloodied doctor and a plain old moo cow... The Jailbird happened to be the General Manager for "Satan's Sake"! No one was offended by any of the costumes, and those that don't "celebrate" Hallowe'en weren't forced to show up in costume and participate... Live and let live people!

It's not always about me... I tell you what,though, this switch offends the hell out of me! And I don't even have kids!!!!!!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

What Are You Trying to Do, Ralph? Wreck My House?

"I'm praying for rain in California
So the grapes can grow and they can make more wine
And I'm sitting in a honky in Chicago
With a broken heart and a woman on my mind

I matched the man behind the bar for the jukebox
And the music takes me back to Tennessee
And he asked who's the fool in the corner crying
I say a little ole wine drinker me

I came here last week from down in Nashville
'Cause my baby left for Florida on a train
I thought I'd get a job and just forget her
But in Chicago, the broken heartache's still the same

I matched the man behind the bar for the jukebox
And the music takes me back to Tennessee
When they ask who's the fool in the corner crying
I say a little ole wine drinker me
I say a little ole wine drinker me"

~ Dean Martin's "Little Ole Wine Drinker Me"

This time of year used to mean meeting up with friends after a two month summer hiatus and the beginning of some good old fashioned book learnin'. As we all change and shift in this game called life, so did our priorities in life. Autumn and September, specifically today, shifts for me from new beginnings to honouring the memory of my Grandpa, Leonard Paul Strand. I'd like to share with you today, on 10th "anniversary" without him, some of my favorite memories of Grandpa.

I remember Grandpa being gone a lot in my early years - not because he necessarily wanted to be, but because he worked for the Department of Highways in BC. Grandpa gained many friends, memories, and miles working for the Department. When he retired, with great respect from many if not all of those fortunate enough to work with him (including his son, my Uncle who bares the same name) he'd get a far away look in his eye this time of year as well... It was usually about now he'd be on another adventure up North, working on improving the condition of the highways as a grader man. Though he spent many a year on the highways, Grandpa didn't start out in BC or with the Department of Highways. I remember hearing stories of his life in Dryden, Ontario and how he gained the nick name of "Zip-Zip Strand" while working for the Railroads there. "Zip-Zip" was due to Grandpa being able to scale a mail pole in seconds flat. It was also in Dryden where Grandpa worked as a body guy, as in automotive bodies, and gained an appreciation for cars.

A couple of my fondest memories came before Grandpa retired from the Highways and Byways of BC. While living in rural Vernon, BC, my brother and I had to walk down the hill to mailboxes to catch the big yellow bus to school. While walking down the one day, we noticed a crew of guys waiting by large equipment. One of the guys must have noticed us leaving our long driveway and making our way down to the small group of kids already waiting. The guy looked familiar, I turned to my brother, Scott, and asked "Does that look like Grandpa to you?" A couple steps later, "No, no.... That's not Grandpa..." After a few more feet, "Ya, ya - that's Grandpa." It went on like this the whole five minute walk down the hill. "Ya, that's Grandpa".... "Nope, that's not Grandpa". Turns out it was Grandpa and later he told my Mum (his daughter) that he heard us the whole way down. Pretty funny - kind of embarrassing too!

A year or two later, when I was about ten, I got a birthday card in the mail. It was from Grandpa, who happened to be on the Highway for yet another of my birthdays. Inside the card was a cheque and a note. The note read along the lines of "Hope your birthday is fun, here is some money to spend on whatever you like - don't spend it all on candy!" I happen to have inherited Grandpa's sweet tooth. He enjoyed Cadbury Creme Eggs and every Easter I have my share, as well as his.

Grandpa was an avid Sports fan. Liked Hockey and Football especially. (Must be the Norwegian in him, his NFL team - if I'm not mistaken - were the Minnesota Vikings.) Grandpa played Keno, Sports Select and the lotto and the guy had some luck, too particularly with the ponies. The only luck I seemed to have was being born on Grandpa's Grandpa's Birthday (September 21st - shared with who would have been my Great, Great Grandfather from Norway.) While watching the players paste each other on the field or into the boards, Grandpa enjoyed many a beer... Preferably a Canadian. If music had to be playing rather than the sound from the game - he preferred the likes of Dean Martin and Company.

Though it didn't happen very often, I enjoyed hearing of Grandpa's childhood. He'd poke fun at his own Dad, who happen to immigrate to Canada from Norway, about having "tree sons" instead of "three sons". Stories floated around of when Grandpa worked down in the States when he was barely of high school age. When he attended school in the States, the kids used to call him "Strand, Strand the man from the Northern land." Grandpa was a true Canadian patriot and had no doubt where he belonged. He became pretty homesick and came back to Canada less than a year after leaving. Grandpa did travel abroad after that, but resided only in Canada after that. I also enjoyed looking through old photos of all my grandparents. I remember seeing pictures of Grandpa as a young boy with such blond hair it was almost white. (Odd how at least four of his grand kids also had such blond, blond hair.) There were pictures of when Grandma and Grandpa were dating - I couldn't help but think they looked like they could pass for a couple of Movie Stars. In his later years, Grandpa was notorious for ruining pictures taken of him or of the group he was in. He had a bit of a weak jaw line and would forever hold his head up to try to disguise his "waddle" under his chin. After enough razzing, he quit that habit.

I remember Grandpa being a quiet, laid back kinda guy. Don't be fooled though, he was also a witty, funny kinda guy - kind of a worry wart too. I remember being maybe about 8 and swimming in Grandma and Grandpa's above ground pool. It was getting near to the end of the day and Mum called my younger brother, Scott, and I out of the pool. My Brother, the willful little shit that he remains to be to this day, decided he wasn't done swimming yet... Mum had already pulled one of his "water wings" off then Scott took off again towards the middle of the pool. So here's Scott swimming in a lop-sided circle trying to avoid coming out of the pool, and Grandpa panics a little thinking Scott's going to drown or something, hips up onto the edge of the pool to grab him. Just then Scott swims juuuuust out of reach - Grandpa strains to reach, then all of the sudden *bloop* Grandpa falls into the pool - fully clothed, I might add - and yanks Scott down with him. Grandpa stands up and casually leans on the edge of the pool with an expression of "Well hell, that wasn't supposed to happen!" on his face and Scott bobs to the surface with shock on his face and gasps "GRAND - PA! Are you trying to DROWN me?!" Once it was established that both Scott and Grandpa were alright, everyone had a good laugh. Scott got yanked outta the pool and we had to lay out the contents of Grandpa's wallet on the table to dry out.

Many years later, when I was about 17, I had started to date my first serious boyfriend. It was Christmas time and the boyfriend and my first Christmas together... Only we weren't together because he was out of town visiting family for the holidays. "Naturally" being that it was my first serious relationship, and the fact that I was only 17, I had a serious case of "puppy love" blues going on. Grandpa could see this and did everything in his power to put a smile on my face. He would walk by and do his trade mark stick-out-the-tongue-and-blow fart noise... No dice... Then he came up and asked "Hey Lauren - why do you look so for-lorned!" (Told ya he was a witty kinda guy!) I'll admit, this did give me a kick into a more jolly mood.

If you ask anyone of Grandpa's older eight grand kids about Grandpa - they'll most likely tell you one of two things... That when Grandpa burped, he said "Ralph"... Or they might tell you that when we were growing up and at Grandma & Grandpa's during the summer or on holidays and got rowdy - Grandpa would bellow "What are ya trying to do? WRECK MY HOUSE?" I'd give almost anything to hear him ask that again, especially now that he's got a great grandchild, with another on the way.

Grandpa was diagnosed with Prostate Cancer when I was about 11 or 12. When Mum first told me, I didn't know how to take it. He seemed to battle the disease into remission. The second Cancer diagnosis came when I was about 14 or 15 and the Cancer had spread to one of his kidneys. He over came the disease a second time. Just after Christmas, just after I turned 19, Grandpa was diagnosed with cancer for a third time. This time it was with bone cancer. He fought the best he could but there wasn't much any of us could have done at this point.

I had applied to and was accepted to a college out of town prior to Grandpa's diagnosis and he encouraged me to keep my plans. I moved to Trail, BC in mid-August - a small town Grandpa had many work related memories. The day I moved to Trail, was the last time I saw my Grandpa. He was amazingly lucid that morning and asked if I was nervous and told me not to worry because I would be a "hit" in Trail. He also had great faith that I would do well in my studies. Before I broke out in tears, I told him I better be on my way and that I would see him in about a month because I would be coming home for my birthday in September. Little did I realize that Grandpa wouldn't be there for my birthday that year. It's been said that the third time is a charm, and unfortunately for us, the third time was a charm for the wrong side. Just before noon on the day before classes were scheduled to start, I got a call from my Mum to say that Grandpa was no longer in pain. I grabbed the only framed picture I had of him and I and sat in the middle of my living room floor and cried. The following weekend, which was two weeks before my 20th birthday,  I made the trek back to Vernon for his memorial service.
My Handsome Grandpa - even as he aged....
This was put in Vernon's "The Morning Star"
in his Memory

Grandpa had been right. I was a hit in Trail and made a ton of friends. My path of studies had changed, but I graduated from Selkirk College with a Certificate of Applied Business Technology. Ten years later, I still have friends in Trail and still use what I learned education wise from my Trail days. I've missed my Grandpa everyday of my life since, and hold many fond memories of him.

It's Not Always About Me; however; today I am most certainly "forlorned"... I miss my Grandpa pretty much every day, even 10 years later.



In Loving Memory of Leonard Paul Strand (July 13, 1935 - September 3, 2001)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Finally Found the Shifty Vampire Bandwagon

I'm not sure if it's the Vampire bandwagon I've jumped on due to the recent acquisition of the Twilight Saga hardcover box set and first book of the House of Night series called Marked.... Or the recent re-watch of the Anne Rice's book turned big screen cult classic Interview with a Vampire, that jump started this generation's interest in vampires.... Or the fact that about two and a half months ago, I took a job working odd hours.... But, I'm beginning to think that real life Vampires just may exist... Even if it is in a shift-work Vampire capacity....

Don't get me wrong, I've always had a mild interest in Vampires... I think it started when I saw the Wynnona Ryder/Gary Oldman version of Dracula when I was 11 or so... I remember when Interview with a Vampire first came out in the mid-'90's and Oprah & other media making a big deal of how gruesome it was... I remember hearing how people walked out of the theatres due to that graphicness. I remember women, who could stomache it, swoon over Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise. I didn't watch it when it first came out, but I did watch it a few years later. Kirsten Dunst, the young vampire, who did an amazing job in the movie - could have easily have passed as a cousin of mine's Doppelganger.

Fourteen years later, Interview with a Vampire had long since been forgotten, it was replaced with the first movie installment of the Twightlight Series. Team Edward vs Team Jacob was the focus of many a female's infatuation. (Not just teenaged girls either.) The books seemed to fly off the shelf with the movie's popularity - even trying to get a copy at a local library prompted long waits. Personally, until now, I haven't had the faintest interest in Twilight. I had seen the first installment of the theatric series... Had attempted to get into the first book... But had failed to see what the big deal is? Maybe now that I have the box set fallen into my lap... I'll eventually get through the books. The aforementioned book Marked also fell into my lap. I've started reading it and enjoy the angle that PC Cast and daughter & Co-Author, Kristin, took on vampires. It's a very easy read and also pretty teenage-y. (I guess that's to be expected though as that's who it's geared towards.)

Anyhow, the point of this post is more along the lines of "real" vampires. I've seen talk shows with people who claim they are real vampires. These people claim that they sleep in coffins, drink blood, and other vampire-ish things. I'm not attempting to discredit or disprove their claim. I've just got a mildly different take on the idea...

Ever been walking down the street on a mid-summer evening, and passing someone wearing a pair of sunglasses... Then have Corey Hart's voice run through you mind... "And I wear my sunglasses at night, so I can, so I can, Keep track of visions in my eyes." Or maybe walking past a very pale person in the same sort of scenario and wonder "Why is that girl so Pasty White? She must sit in her parents' basement eating chalk!" Granted, these aren't strictly characteristics of a Vampire, but maybe a Shift Working "Vampire".

I took a job in mid-May working a shift schedule that have left my eyes a little sensitive, and my skin paler than usual. A couple of friends have been harrassing me that I'd have to get a tan, just to be considered white... I've heard my fair share of "neon" white jokes due to being stuck in the office during the day or having to sleep during the day to make my night shifts. The transition has been interesting - and has been my excuse for neglecting my blog, of late.

I have a new found appreciation for those commited to shift work - such as Nurses, Doctors, EMTs, Police and other shift working "Vampires". Disturbing the biological clock alone is a challenge but to successfully train one's brain to sleep during the day and be awake during the night is a small feat - at least for me it was! Dealing with a messed up sleep pattern is one thing, the light sensitivity is another. Not being out during "normal" hours, at least in my experience, has left a definate need for sunglasses and requirement to get some sunlight back on this pearly, white skin. Hours seem to drag on, much like they do during the day, but feel like an eternity or a life time to make it through. (I've been at this job for almost 3 months and it feels like it's been seven years!) These may be more coincidental to vampires than anything. I don't think shift working "vamps" drink blood or anything else that a historical vampire would do....

This was just an amusing thought that had crossed my mind... Shift-working Vampires - could work! Maybe we're more shift-working zombies than vampires, though? I'm open for debate! =0)

It's not always about me; I may be more of a mushroom than a vampire... I prefer to be kept in the dark and I'm used to being fed bull$h!t.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Nuck-ing Futz! : A Disgrace to Hockey and Canada

What a crappy start to my day... Transit was late and I got stuck in a torrential down pour making me look like a drowned rat for my appointment... This was after being reminded by the Morning News that the Vancouver Canucks lost the Stanley Cup to the Boston Bruins last night. I sat there and listened to the Reporters as they reported the news of mobs, looting, tear gas, flash grenades, beefed up security, Police, Riot Police, fences to herd the crowd, vehicles being set a blaze, Fire Departments, clean up attempts and other disgrace. I finally had to switch the channel. I couldn't handle listening to the News team look down their noses at the City of Vancouver. Let me explain.....

I grew up in small town BC and have been a Vancouver Canuck fan since I was about 12... Meaning, I was a Canucks Fan the last time they broke the City of Vancouver's collective heart, and mine for that matter, when they lost to the New York Rangers back in '94. I don't much remember hearing about the riots back then - though it's been reported that there were some.

I've since relocated to Edmonton, AB and I guess being removed from BC allows for a little biased behaviour on the part of News Casters. I've got Edmonton Oiler Fans on my Facebook page, and their comments angered me as well, especially being that they were on the Canuck bandwagon while they were winning... Then after last night they were "disgusted with Canuck fans for acting like imbeciles". It's as though they have forgotten that 5 short years ago, their hockey "fans" were doing the exact same things and bringing negative attention and media to their city & country, to their game & team and to their friends, family, fellow fans & themselves.

I was here in Edmonton in '06 when "Oilers Fans" rioted down Whyte Avenue as well. Garbage cans were set a blaze - much like in Vancouver last night - cars and business/shop damage was done. Police and I believe Riot Police were involved. All because the Oilers "fans" were pissed their team lost the Cup that year. All over a game, right? I am well aware of "two wrongs don't make a right"... I'm also aware of "those who live in glass houses, shouldn't throw stones" - so quit acting... I know in Europe there have also been riots over Soccer (AKA Foot ball in Europe) as well. Wasn't there a soccer player that was murdered because he won or lost a game???

Don't get me wrong, the riots last night in Vancouver pissed me right off! (Excuse the sailor talk - I'm not going to candy coat this for anyone.) Let me set the record straight though - it wasn't the Canucks' Fans who rioted by any means. It was the rowdy more brawn than brain IDIOTS that rioted.... The part timer Hockey fan that only give a crap about hockey when "their" team has made it to the play-offs. The mental nut cases that look for a reason to drink on a Wednesday night and cause such a spectacle of themselves by causing such shenanigans.

I'm as much of a Canucks fan as the next person but I stayed at home last night and drowned my sorrow in a couple glasses of wine... I was just as disappointed by the fact that the Canucks were the ones that screwed up the Olympic/Stanley Cup tradition that we had going on. Montreal hosted the Olympics in '76 and the following season the Canadiens won the cup.... Calgary hosted the Olympics in '88 and the following year the Flames won the cup... Vancouver hosts the Olympics last year and the following year there were riots in the streets of Vancouver. (I personally blame Harper for bringing that up and then calling the Canucks his team... They ain't your team, Asshole... You're from Calgary - piss off... But that's an entirely different issue.) As a Canucks fan, I sure as hell didn't bring negative attention to my favorite hockey team... To my home town... Or to my country... I didn't go break windows or light stuff on fire... I drank like a good Canadian - though I would've been a better Canadian if it were a beer rather than wine.

While I don't condone the actions of the idiots/morons/losers/wankers/imbeciles or brain~dead assholes that rioted last night - I also don't much enjoy being blamed as a Canucks fan. A true Canucks fan would never tarnish the long road and the hard work of their team. They would've been gracious - much like Kesler was last night as he was near tears while being interviewed as he was giving his competitors the credit where it seemed due. As a true Canucks fan, I will give credit where it's due - the Bruins wanted it more and therefore deserved the Cup.  Tim Thomas - the Bruins' goalie - stood on his head and amazed me. The man also had serious class... While Luongo wanted to blast Thomas for a goal he let in - Thomas remained focused on the task at hand... The Stanley Cup and didn't get tied into the trash talk. I knew he'd be a tough opponent and definitely kept Boston in the Play-offs. After 39 years, the Bruins have the Stanley Cup back in their barn.

I hate to speak for my whole country but... For those of you who aren't from Canada, who happen to be reading this... We aren't all sore losers or cry babies... We aren't all Neanderthals and Criminals... We aren't all ignorant and shameful.... (Though we are ashamed of the actions of those few individuals that have caused such a disgrace.) There have been a few ideas of charging the rioters with being domestic terrorists, even if it was only brought up as an idea on Facebook.

It's Not Always About Me; I will die a Canucks fan even if they never win the Stanley Cup in my life time - preferably without Luongo or the Nut jobs that call themselves a "Canuck Fan"... They just didn't have enough left in the tank last night to unbreak my heart from '94... I just hope it doesn't take them another 17 years for a shot at the Hockey Holy Grail again!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

These Times They Are a Changin' : A Wedding, A Funeral And An Ignoramus Stays

Here we are on the eve of my return to Alberta, and the face of the World has changed since I've left it. The "Royal Couple" has wed, a Terrorist is dead and the Governing Landscape of Canada has drastically changed.... And it all happened in less than a week... And it all started barely a week ago.

Princess Catherine, as I hear we're encouraged to call her, married her Prince last Friday. Though I wish them well and nothing but a long and happy marriage - I couldn't have cared less. That might have been different if my invitation to the event hadn't gotten lost in the mail, but it did... So I don't. I've seen enough clips on TV and on various websites to know that Kate's dress was simple and elegant - and that Prince William is balding... Even though I live in a country that is still part of the British Commonwealth, to me the event wasn't a huge deal. I will say good for Princess Kitty for having the "obey your husband" line taken out of the vows. What I didn't understand was the big hoopla my American counterparts seemed to make of it. Sure, it's an "Historical Event" but didn't y'all fight a big war to gain your independence from the Monarchy of England? So what's the big deal? Just sayin'... And that's all I have to say about that.

Just as I was about ready to gag on all the Royal Wedding coverage, another tidbit of information made breaking news. The death of terrorist, Osama Bin Laden. While having conflicting thoughts of "It's about time" and "How can anyone celebrate a death - even of someone that terrible" - I can only hope and keep my fingers crossed that American and Canadian troops will now finally be able to come home. It's unfortunate that all those Men and Women have lost their lives Over Seas and I will never understand the apparent Wisdom in War. I understand the want for retaliation. I understand the want for Justice. However, I will never understand War, no matter what argument has been made... And there have been many an argument and opinion made. What I fear now is retaliation of the Al Qaeda. I wish there was 100% certainty that there won't be, but there isn't. We've all heard the cliche quotes of an eye for an eye but what happened to turning the other cheek. Well, there has now an eye been taken for an eye. I hope that the other cheek won't have to be turned. I hope it's done.

I'm conflicted with Osama's death for many reasons, really. If he was in fact behind the tragic events of September 11th - he should very well have been punished and severely. I'm not even the slightest conflicted there. Where I am conflicted though is reading reports that Bin Laden was a father of anywhere from 12 to 25 children. As awful as his actions were, he had people in his life that will be deeply saddened by his loss. It was also said that he was shot in front of 4 of his grandchildren. I know that if Bin Laden were my grandfather and was executed in front of me - even as terrible and horrendous as his actions were - I'd be traumatized for the rest of my life. The death of any person - even as evil as Bin Laden - I don't think should be celebrated for that small handful of reasons.

The day after the announcement of Bin Laden's happened to be Election Day here in Canada. On Monday, May 2nd, Prime Minister Stephen Harper won a majority government. Not going to lie, I was not a happy person that day. I don't believe Mr Harper has the Canadian People's best interest at heart. (One of the reasons I don't believe he does.... The fact that there are still Canadian troops and Military Personnel in the Middle East.) My personal political opinions aside, however, History was made that day. The NDP, New Democrat Party, won the official opposition for the first time in the party's existence and for the first time in Canadian Political History. The Liberal and Bloc Quebecois Parties were obliterated in the polls which shocked many. Also making history was Elizabeth May as she will be the first Green Party Candidate/MP to sit in the House of Parliament of Canada... EVER. Now we'll have to see where Mr Harper leads this country over the next four years. I hope he surprises me and does wonderful things.... I'm not holding my breath though as I head to the heavily Conservative Alberta...

It's Not Always About Me; Every one's entitled to their opinion - this just happens to be mine. These times, they are a changin'....

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Sit Down Before You Fall Down : Happy 4:20 Day!

"I smoke two joints in the morning, I smoke two joints at night,
I smoke two joints in the afternoon and it makes me feel alright
I smoke two joints in time of peace and two in time of war
Smoke two joints before I smoke two joints
and then I smoke two more."
~ Sublime/Bob Marley "Smoke 2 Joints"

HAPPY 4:20 DAY to all the Hippies, Stoners and former Stoners alike! What better topic to talk about on 4:20 Day than weed, pot, grass, reefer or whatever Marijuana name you use!

Firstly, what does 4:20 even mean, right? "420" isn't a police code for possession of a controlled/illegal substance - such as weed. "420" isn't the number of active chemicals in pot. "420" isn't the pager code used by teenagers to signal they were about to smoke a joint. Close but not quite.... In all actuality, the term 420 was coined by a small group of students in the early 1970's in California. 4:20 was the time of day they'd meet at a specific spot to smoke weed and the term caught on like wild fire and hasn't been forgotten since. Since then, marijuana culture has used April 20th (4/20), as "4:20 Day" to further enjoy the 4:20 experience...

Back in December, right around Christmas time, I was suffering from some serious insomnia - so I started flicking through the satellite channels. No, I didn't reach for a "big, fat cannon", but I did find a couple of documentaries about our topic of conversation. (A link to each documentary can be found at the bottom of this post - along with various other links.) I learned more about Ganja in the three hours of television than I had in the whole time I had spent smoking the stuff....

The first thing that caught my attention were a few segments reporting on Portugal's Drug Laws. I mean, everyone knows about Amsterdam, but did anyone really suspect that Portugal's drug laws are so drastically different from what we are used to here in Canada? I was blown away by what they were able to film on the streets and in parks of Portugal Cities. (I believe they were in Lisbon - don't quote me on that though.) There were people in parks openly using much harsher drugs than weed. (Yeah - we're talking the likes Heroine among other things.) There were groups of people using. They weren't out in the open to be defiant or because they were too strung out to care - it was because of laws over there that I still can't wrap my head around.

At one point, they showed a police officer "walking a beat" at night passed a club/bar. There was a patron, from the bar, outside smoking a marijuana cigarette. (Anyone who has ever smoked a joint, or has been around one being smoked, knows "That" smell.) The police officer just continued on his beat, not bothering the patron a bit. Had that been here in Canada - entirely different story. The Portuguese have an entirely different way of handling their drug users as well. Rather than throwing the user in jail for possession, or any other like drug related charge, the user is sent to state paid rehab instead. What stuck out in my mind was when the documentarian asked someone who worked at the rehabilitation center what they thought of junkies going to rehab instead of jail. The Rehabilitation worker's answer was basically along the lines of "Either way, my tax dollars are paying for it. I'd rather have them go through rehab and give them a better chance to get better and not re-offend... In jail, it's more likely that they'll come out to use again." (I honestly think that an idea like this may work over here... Just a thought... I'd like to see this kind of law in Canada. If a person is convicted of a non-violent drug related crime, such as possession or something, that they go to rehab instead. Get them clean, maybe less of a chance to re-offend...)

The second thing that caught my eye was Oaksterdam University... There is an actual weed University out there! Who KNEW?! If you guessed Oaksterdam was located in California - you guessed correctly. Oaksterdam offers weekend seminars, semester programs, horticultural programs etc etc. They'll teach you how to grow marijuana and cultivate it. They'll inform you of different strains of weed and which are more potent than others. Oaksterdam even offers a glass blowing course - you can learn how to make your own bongs and pipes. Had I known about Oaksterdam back in high school - my career choices may have been a little different.... All in all though, I don't regret where I'm at today.

The third thing was that I had my eyes opened about something. I had no idea that there was such a large smuggling operation that had gone on.... The Emerald Triangle was the center of an elaborate marijuana smuggling ring. I come from BC, you always hear about "BC Bud". I know California is known for their weed as well. You hear of "Maui Wowie", "Panama Red", "Acapulco Gold", "Thai Stick" and a list could go on forever. I always thought that there was pot everywhere and there was no need for smuggling marijuana. Cocaine smuggling, that I understood.... Blew my mind about the weed though...

The last thing that really stuck with me, were the stories of medical marijuana growers and the government hypocrisy that seems to be there... These people spend about a year filling out the proper forms and shelling out thousands upon thousands of dollars to file these applications/permits/legal documents. After they've jumped through all the bureaucratic hoops, they were "busted" with a grow op and fined.... So the government gets their money... Then busts you anyway? Lame sauce, dudes!

Marijuana documentaries aside - as I mentioned, I'm from BC and grew up knowing about BC bud... I'm not gonna lie and say I've never smoked a joint in my life... I've had stoner friends, I've been friends with pot dealers. I've had my share of dances with Mary-Jane and had a few good times with it. I do remember some wicked bad paranoia and munchies too... I've watched stoner films and eatten stoner brownies. Two birds, one stone with the brownies... (Yes - pun very much intended there.) I've gone to the Legislative Building in Edmonton on 4:20 and witnessed the green haze in a sort of demonstration - albeit a very peaceful demonstration. I've experienced a term called "Green Out" due to an over indulgence on 4/20... Basically, "green out" kind of like smoking one's self sober if you will. Was still very, very relaxed the next day but none of the head fuzz followed. If you catch a bad buzz, drink a glass of OJ. The Vitamin C found in that Orange Juice will help straighten your head out...

It's Not Always About Me... : A Friend in Need, is a Friend Indeed! A Friend with Weed is Better!

"Weedy" Places/Stoner Websites:
Stoner Movies
  1. Cheech & Chong
  2. Saving Grace
  3. Harold & Kumar (Go to White Castle & Escape from Guantanamo Bay)
  4. Fast Times at Ridgemont High (Specifically Spicoli!)
  5. The Big Lebowski (The Dude Abides)
  6. Dazed and Confused
  7. Super High Me
  8. Half Baked
  9. How High
  10. Rolling Kansas
Stoner Songs
  1. Afro Man - Cuz I Got High
  2. Tom Petty - Last Dance With Mary-Jane
  3. Sublime/Bob Marley - Smoke Two Joints
  4. Cypress Hill - Hits from the Bong
  5. Steve Miller Band - Joker (At least he was a mid-night toker)
Openly Stoner/Marijuana Using Celebs
  1. Jeff Bridges
  2. Willie Nelson
  3. Bob Marley
  4. Snoop Dog
  5. Matthew McConaughey
Stoner TV Shows
  1. Weeds
  2. That '70's Show
  3. Trailer Park Boys
  4. http://www.pot-tv.net/
Stoner Olympics (I mean Stoners & The Olympics)
  1. Michael Phelps (American Swimmer - 14 time Olympic Gold Medalist & 2 time Olympic Bronze Medalist)
  2. Ross Rebagliati (Canadian Snowboarder - Olympic Gold Medalist in Slalom)
All Things Stoner (Honorable Mentions)
  1. The "Stony" Awards (Essentially the Stoner Awards)
  2. Bus Stop Bench with "Tempting Ad" (See Picture at Beginning)
  3. The Doobie Brothers (The Band)
  4. Stony Plain (A town in Alberta)
"Bibliography"
  1. http://parentingteens.about.com/cs/marijuana/a/420meaning.htm (Meaning of 420)
  2. http://www.cnbc.com/id/28281668/ (Marijuana Inc Documentary)
  3. http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/series/explorer/3821/Overview (Marijuana Nation Documentary)
  4. http://www.cannabisculture.com/v2/content/marijuana-taking-root-californias-emerald-triangle (Emerald Triangle)

Friday, April 15, 2011

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Fraissard: An Aussie-Canadian Bushman

While growing up, classmates only half believed that I had family from the Land Down Under.... When I started to bring in little gifts from the Aussie family, for show and tell - they were a little more ready to believe me. It's been years since I've done a show and tell presentation in front of a class, but today I'd like to do a little show and tell, again... This time with my cousin, Dominique Fraissard's music. I've always known him as Nick, but I hear he goes by Dom these days - can't fear change, just gotta roll with it. =0)

The first real memory I have of my great Aussie cousin, Dom/Nick, was the Christmas after I turned 8. I remember him playing the didgeridoo in my Aunty's basement and remember thinking "Man, this guy's a bit CRAZY!" He was full of energy and life - rockin' out on the "doo" and putting on a bit of a show for the family. Soon the holiday was gone, and the Aussie Relies had to go back to their real lives back in Oz.

A few years back, I was able to make it back to Vernon during the summer. It must have been perfect timing, as Nick was putting on a performance at a local coffee shop. (The coffee shop actually was my favorite cafe when I was in high school.) The evening of the performance, a bunch of my family packed into the Bean Scene, on the main drag in Vernon, and were entertained for about an hour or so. I was blown away by the depth of the lyrics and the enthusiasm of performance. Though Nick had always been talented, the performance was way more serious than the didgeridoo memory from years earlier.

With an indie/folk/roots sound flowing from my CD player, I had driven my then-roommate to distraction. She'd told me that if I played "that" disc one more time, she was going to snap it in half for me... It wasn't always that way though. When I had first got the CD - from my Aunt who happens to be Dom's Mum - the roommate would wander into my room and hang out to listen to a song or two. The down fall was only having one of Dom's discs - maybe a little variety would've avoided the threat. In the end, she didn't snap the disc... I still listened to the music and really enjoyed it. I still need to acquire a few of Dom's discs but there are ways to keep up on the new stuff... (Like checking out a link or two listed at the bottom of this post. You will also be able to find songs are available for purchase on iTunes. Definatelly worth a listen!)

I've had the fortune of hanging out with Dom in a non-music setting as well. I remember one visit where a few Canadian cousins all went boating on Okanagan Lake. Very entertaining.... A few days later, Dom had wanted to re-explore some of what he'd remembered of his Canadian childhood.... So again, a few Canadian cousins and Dom (and his Aussie friends) went for a hike across from Bluenose Mountain in Lumby... Embarrassingly, I was completely out of shape and had to decend as the rest of the crew went further to the top... (It was a good time still though!) While I was living in Edmonton, Dom had come in to see the Fringe Festival. (The Fringe is a festival centered around the performing arts - more specifically plays.) I had met him for a drink at a pub called the Next Act. From what I gathered, he enjoyed the experience.

My post originally from April 6th - Humble in a Moment - is actually the Dom we are speaking of. (I have since removed the post and re-posted on June 10th called Humble Lake - as I preferred this version better.) He's got a voice of his own, has pursued his dream and I sincerely hope he makes it to the top. With inspiration drawn from his childhood in Australia and Canada (and various other experiences of course) mixed with the artistic trait that runs in his family, Dom is out there doing what he loves. I know he's passionate about music and seems to enjoy the process of things. His hard work, over the years, has started to pay off. This year, now that he's residing in the Interior of BC, Nick has been nominated in the BC Interior Music Awards. He's one of the top three finalists in four categories: The People's Choice, Best World/Roots Album of the Year, Best Folk/Traditional Album of the Year and Best Producer. My fingers are crossed as the People's Choice Voting deadline has just recently past - that this year's winner will be Dom. (As well as the other three categories he's been nominated for.) Over the Easter Long Weekend the awards will be presented.

It's not always about me; sometimes it's about supporting the family in any way we can.

Places to Get Fraissard News

  1. http://www.facebook.com/pages/Dominique-Fraissard/109028215793248?ref=ts#!/pages/Dominique-Fraissard/149588535100046
  2. http://www.myspace.com/dominiquefraissard
  3. http://www.facebook.com/pages/Dominique-Fraissard/109028215793248?ref=ts#!/pages/Dominique-Fraissard/109028215793248
  4. http://radio3.cbc.ca/#/bands/dominique-fraissard
  5. http://www.drinkfromthetrees.com/
  6. http://www.last.fm/music/Dominique+Fraissard
  7. http://www.ourfernie.com/node/28529
  8. http://streamingcafe.net/performances/show/119/Dominique-Fraissard
  9. http://www.flickr.com/photos/beardedmanphotography/4833602456/

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Swiss Chocolate and Yodelling Canadian Club : Happy Birthday Grandma!!!!

Since returning to BC, about three months ago, I've been doing a lot of visiting with my elderly Grandma. Today's the day I'd like to wish her a very Happy 80th Birthday. So, even though I'm back in Alberta, that's exactly what I did. I've got a few funny Grandma stories from over the years... Also a few that helped shape the family story & history while aiding in everything making sense... Grandma is my only surviving grandparent, so today I am entirely grateful that I was able to speak with her, as opposed to speaking solely of her.

Eating a cookie (or pretty much ANYTHING else sweet) with one hand and armed with a back up in the other - my Diabetic Grandmother will deny her sweet tooth... I think it's more like three, but good luck getting her to admit one! I'm not sure if that stems from Grandma being a Swiss girl at heart - the Swiss are renown for their chocolate you know!  Or if it has anything to do with the fact that she was a girl raised in the Dirty Thirties.... It could've stemmed from being in Switzerland when WWII was rumbling and rationing came into the mix of everyday life. Grandma's told me numerous times that she used to stock pile her sugar and use it to barter with her own Mum. (She'd give my Great Grandmother her hoarded sugar ration so Great Grandma could use it for baking. Grandma was no fool - fresh baking is super sweet... Especially when you can load it with butter - another of Grandma's favorites that she may deny as she's loading her bread with it! LOL!)

Grandma is the only one of my Grandparents not born on Canadian soil. She was born in Switzerland and immigrated to Canada when she was around 6 or 7. I remember having to do an art project in grade 11 or so and the subject was Family History related. I went to Grandma and wracked her brain for something I could draw out. She told me of her boat ride over to Canada when she was small. She remembered that they came  across a Soldier - before boarding the ship- who clicked his heels and expected her father to give the Nazi Salute. He was reluctant at first but eventually gave in. She vividly told me of people getting sea sick and puking off the side of the boat. She remembered Swastikas on the rain barrels of a male relative they briefly stayed with upon their arrival in Canada.... I've come into Grandma's kitchen a time or two and managed to witness her yodelling quietly to herself - a trait learned of her own Mother. (Some of her siblings have been caught doing the same.) Every so often, you'll catch Grandma mumble something in Swiss-German under her breathe - it's usually a swear though. Grandma and my Mum have made the trek back to Switzerland since. I think a more recent trip back is in the back of her mind as well.

Grandma made it to the eighth grade before dropping out to join the work force. After moving across Canada from Dryden, Ontario to Vernon, BC, Grandma was employed in various places - usually as a Machine Worker/Machinist. While my Grandpa was away working for the Department of Highways, Grandma worked on the Machinist lines of the Canadian Club Distillery (Hyram Walker) in Winfield, BC. She was home every night to keep her four kids in line - the oldest of those four being my Mum. I remember Grandma retiring in 1989 after many years of service.

I remember many summers in Grandma's backyard - which was equipped with an above ground pool. (This is where I learned how to do a flip into a pool or appropriate sized/depth body of water.) It was always great to be able to go to Grandma's for a sleep over - especially when one of the cousins was sleeping over with you! I remember one such sleep over.... My cousin, Jessica, always had the flare for drama, singing and just down right entertainment. She got an idea in her head that we could basically do our own variety show kinda deal. We'd play songs popular in the late '80's and we'd dance around and lip sync. Grandma had a video camera and offered to film it.... We even did a "Weight Watchers" commercial and stuffed a pillow up the front of our shirts for the before shot... I'm not sure where that video is in Grandma's pile of stuff... But if it ever turned up, I'd be mortified! Grandma was always good for that though. She was always doing something creative... I've seen pictures where she dressed her own kids up!

Grandma's house was always the centered point of any family get together - whether it be Thanksgiving or Christmas. All my cousins (as Grandma's got 10 grand kids and 1 great grand kid now) would come and aunts and uncles would congregate at Grandma's. (I remember when Grandma and Grandpa moved out of the house I'd known as theirs for the first 15 years of my life... I was pretty sad - the cousins and I would hunt Salamanders in the basement... Where I had numerous tea parties with the special tea sets Grandma kept in her cupboards for us... I still want to buy that house one day.)

A couple summers ago, I had come home from Edmonton for a week or so vacation... I spent a sunny afternoon at the peanut pool with one of my baby, baby cousins Syd and my Grandma. After packing up for the day, then dropping Sydney off at home (which was just up the street from Grandma's), I stayed at Grandma's for dinner. Grandma had decided to make spaghetti but was in a panic for a vegetable to serve with dinner. I laughed my head off and asked if the tomato sauce wasn't good enough to consider a veggie. She replied no and continued making dinner. I laughed even harder when she called me for dinner and served broccoli with spaghetti. I'll never forget that evening, so long as I live!

So, on this day all those years ago, my Grandma was born in Switzerland 6 weeks or so premature. The doctor told my Great Grandfather not to worry about registering his 5 pound daughter, because she probably wouldn't make it. Naming her was optional as well, for the same reasoning. I'm glad that Great Grandpa Gysler registered her as little Rena Gysler because Grandma proved that doctor wrong... Here it is 80 years later, and she's still alive and kicking and I'm proud to call her Grandma!

HAPPY 80th BIRTHDAY GRANDMA!!!!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Price Tag



Love this tune! Wish we could all forget about the price tag some times!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

A Woman's Love of Shoes : A Tribute of Sorts

Sure, shoes serve a purpose - protecting one's feet... This could mean from weather - like snow or rain... Or from the heat of the pavement on a hot Summer's day... True - shoes also protect one's feet from sharp and uncomfortable things - like rocks or glass... They can also protect other things - like proper running shoes protect from shin splints and joint pain... We've even got steal toed boots to protect us while on the job. Shoes can make an outfit, they can make a person taller, they can help correct one's posture and a bazillion of other things... Maybe these are examples of why the stereo typical woman has so many pairs of shoes. And as a woman, I'd love to be able to completely explain why women have heaps of shoes... I'll try my best to do so, from my perspective, though I don't speak for every female out there.

I moved a few months ago, and the sheer amount of shoes in my collection astounded me! I had two very large garbage bags full. (That didn't even include the duffel bag full of slippers - which in my mind are just shoes acceptable to wear in the house.... Winnie the pooh, Eeyore and Shrek are just a few of my slipper characters... And that doesn't include a few of the "plain" pairs I have... Ridiculous!) Compared to some Ladies out there, that's a minuscule amount... To me it just seemed nuts! I was in full out moving purge mode and trimmed that down by half..... I got rid of old, warn out pairs that had already been replaced... There was easily about $500 worth of shoes there... And by no means do I own a pair designer shoes of Jimmy Choo status. I don't even own a brand name pair of shoes! They're all middle of the road, not overly expensive department store brands.... Okay, so I do have a pair of Columbia boots that are kind of expensive - but they were part of a uniform that I didn't have to pay for... But I did get to keep the boots! =0)

While purging, I also got rid of a couple pairs that I would never wear again...  I'm not going to lie... It literally hurt to wear them... Why do we do that to ourselves my fellow Ladies? I've wandered through the shoe sections of various department stores and have wondered how some people are able to walk in some of the styles out there! The honking high heels for example. If I could make it out the door without snapping an ankle I'd be impressed... And if I managed not to injure myself throughout the evening's events, the dang things would leave me crippled by knee and foot pain for a couple days. I will admit - even though I graduated from high school coming up on 12 years ago - I still have the shoes I bought and wore especially for grad. They are high heels, borderline hooker shoes... I can't seem to bring myself to part with them, even though they've been worn twice and I doubt I could walk in them again.

I've probably got at least one pair of every style of shoe out there... I've got steel toed boots - which of course were required foot wear for a few jobs I've had... I've got a couple different styles of winter boots - a dresser pair, my favorite "sh!t kicker" ankle boot style, and a pair of mid-calf functional winter play boots... Let's face it, I'm Canadian and there's bound to be snow at one point or another. (Now that I'm no longer in Edmonton, I hope the snow stays in actual Winter months and doesn't make a surprise appearance in the middle of July!) I've got a couple pair of comfortable formal flats... Runners/Work-out style shoes, yep you'll find them in my collection. My favorites though - sandals and flip flops... That's where most of my shoe money's been sunk! I've got a pair of for every mood or necessity one can imagine - with the exception of a pair of "Hooker Boots"... And Heaven forbid I find another cute pair out there!

I just came in from mucking around on the muddy country road I live on, in my newest footwear acquisition.... Gumboots, or Rubber boots if you will. Yeah, I said it - Gumboots! Out here it would be crazy not to possess a pair. While coming in more stylish patterns than I remember growing up, Gumboots are functional.... They serve a purpose. One can go outside on a soggy Spring or Fall day, do yard work and not worry about ruining a pair of shoes that are otherwise still acceptable to wear in public... They clean up really easily and are waterproof... So, you don't have to worry about getting your feet wet either! Gumboots are functional - one of the reasons why Women love shoes! (Oh Gumboots! I don't know why I waited so long to own a pair again!)

I can't really explain it... I just love shoes! I guess I have so many so I have a variety of choice... If I'm lazy and don't want to bend over and it's nice enough outside - I've got sandals... It's snowing - I've got boots. It's spring and mucky - I've got gumboots... Going on a job where regulated foot wear is required - steel toed boots are there... Going for a walk or exercising - there's the runners... They all serve a purpose and protect the feet in one form or another... Most of them even look cute while doing so! Everybody needs to take care of their smelly feet to make sure they're not all gnarled out for when we're older... Shoes are just the forefront of preserving our foot future! (It would "stink" to have arthritic feet due to improper foot wear!)

It's not always about me... While I have a healthy love of shoes, I'd rather be running around bare foot year round. Figure that one out!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Don't Suffer in Silence: Depression Stinks

"Sunshine, blue sky, please go away,
My girl has found another, and gone away
With her went my future, my life is filled with gloom,
So day after day, I stay locked up in my room

I know to you it might sound strange,
I wish it would rain (oh how I wish that it would rain)"
~The Temptations "I Wish It Would Rain"

Lately, I've noticed that I haven't blogged nearly as often as I used to.... And not as much as I would like to... As I've promised that I would. I'd like to say that it's just the post~Christmas/Winter blues.... I'd like to say that it's being single just before the massively commercial Valentine's Day... I know these aren't the reasons, however... I've figured what the issue is ~ Depression.

While growing up, I remember my Grandma suffering from bouts of Depression... Sometimes, those bouts were pretty hardcore... Grandma has been treated with Anti-Depressant drugs over the years, and they seem to help keep her on a more even keel. I know most, if not all, of Grandma's siblings have suffered from Depression as well - including her only brother. One of her sisters has dealt with a very serious case of Depression that has been treated with Shock Therapy sessions. One of Grandma's Uncles, back in Switzerland, committed suicide due to a heavy bout of Depression.... My Mum has followed in Grandma's footsteps and has been diagnosed and treated with Depression/Anxiety Issues.

I remember my own Depression started as a teenager. I'd come home from school and sleep until dinner was served. It wasn't until I had a break down in 2001 in the Doctor's office, after moving away to go to college, that I was diagnosed with Depression/Anxiety issues of my own. The straw that seemed to "Break the Camel's Back" was a hard core year of personal turmoil. I lost my Gramps in January... My first serious boyfriend and I broke up in March - after two and a half years together. I moved away from home for the first time by myself to go to College. My other Grandfather was pretty sick when I left and passed away three weeks after my move. (He also passed away two and a half weeks before my 20th birthday. It didn't help that I lost both my Grandfathers within 9 months of each other, almost to the day.)

My depression symptoms included being tired all of the time... Even if I slept for 8-12 hours a day.... I'd go for periods without eating very much at all. Then I'd stuff everything and anything in my mouth food wise. I gained a TON of weight. (I graduated from highschool at about a weight of 125 pounds. I stopped weighing myself at 210.... And I know I gained more after that - the clothes that fit almost comfortably at 210 were becoming tight.) The weight gain only added to the depression. I had no energy and my body seemed to ache all the time. I know the added weight didn't help the aching, but it's not the sole reason for the ache.

Friends and Family had tried to cheer me up and would take me out to "get my mind off of things" - but it didn't help. I began drinking and partying pretty heavily.... Heavily enough to wrack up a couple credit cards - which again, only added to my depressed state of mind. That's when the crying fit in front of the Doctor came into play. I was so embarrassed when I started blubbering away in front of the Doc - I hate crying in front of anybody, but in front of the Doctor seemed that much more embarrassing. He had asked me about family history of Depression - I told him the same as I've written here - and he prescribed an Anti-Depressant/Anti-Anxiety medication for me.

I had to stop drinking and partying in order for it to work properly... So that's what I did. I gained a new group of friends who were more supportive, and drank less... With the help of them and the pills, I slowly became more even tempered... I wasn't prone to crying fits as much. I ached less and my appetite became a little more regular. My weight stayed pretty close to the same though - but now I had the energy to go for more walks to help rectify that.

Under the Doctor's guidance, I started weening myself off the medication after about 6 - 8 months. Everything seemed to be going alright. I was doing well enough in school. I had some pretty great friends. I was starting to lose a bit of weight - rather than gain it. Every so often I would have a few "Down Days" but other than that - life was pretty good. I finished my College Education, moved back home for about 2 weeks, and then moved to Edmonton.

While in Edmonton, I was treated for Depression.... Again... The boyfriend, that I moved to Edmonton with, and I were arguing all the time - I could see a real change in him and I really didn't like it one bit. We split less than a month after moving there... (He only lasted a few months in Edmonton before moving back to BC.) So here I was, alone in a new-to-me City, with only one friend and no family around what so ever. (Thankfully I had that one friend - or I would have completely lost it) I was working at least - which helped keep me going...

I found myself falling back into the same Depressed routine. I was sleeping a lot... Crying a lot... My appetite was gone... I was always achy... I was riding the bus and was constantly anxious I was going to miss the bus and be late for work... Even when I was on the bus I was anxious that I was going to be late for work... Even though I knew that wasn't true. So, I was medicated again for both conditions. I remember being so happy once I got to work because I knew it was time to take my pill that would help me calm down, relax and feel more sane. It was this time that I started to lose the weight I had gained the first time around.

As in the song at the beginning of this post, most days I wished it would rain. If it was bright and sunny outside, I'd feel guilty for being holed up in my room due to the lacking energy to get out into the sun. I felt bad wasted days and lack of interest in anything... Even going outside for a cigarette was a chore and required a three hour nap to "recover". I guess I scared my brother enough he read my journal because he was worried I was planning to off myself. (I wasn't... And I was pissed he read my journal... But I was glad to know he was concerned enough - he and I had a pretty strained relationship for most of our lives.)

I've been off any anti-Depressants/anti-Anxiety medication for about 5 years now. I know my signs of Depression, and if they ever come back - I'll be medicated again. I don't enjoy the pills because I feel too much like a drone... But I know they work to help even me out... If I have to be on them for a few months to help get back to a regular, functioning human being... So be it... I'm doing alright now without the meds though, and I'm glad for that. I don't regret the times I did have to be medicated - mainly because they helped me not do something "crazy" like jumping off a building. Things are starting to look up for me, so I will be badgering y'all with more posts - not to worry! =0)

It's Not Always About Me... Being diagnosed with Depression is nothing to be ashamed of... Please DO NOT think you are alone! Get the help you need and DO NOT suffer any longer. Depression is NOT a sign of weakness, it's just a sign of trying to be strong too long.

Below is a small list of Celebrities/Famous People who have suffered from Depression as well. (I know there seems to be a LOT listed below - but the list is only a portion of the MASSIVE list on Wikipedia and other sites.... I just took some of the ones I recognized.)

Famous People with Depression:
  1. Hans Christen Anderson (Children's Author)
  2. Buzz Aldren (Astronaut/2nd Man to Walk on the Moon)
  3. Woody Allen (Film Director)
  4. Terry Bradshaw (Former Football Player/Now Commentator)
  5. Jim Carrey (Comedic Actor)
  6. Drew Carey (Comedic Actor)
  7. Kurt Cobain (Recording Artist/Songwriter)
  8. Leonard Cohen (Recording Artist/Songwriter)
  9. Winston Churchill (British Premiere)
  10. Charles Dickens (Author)
  11. Kirsten Dunst (Actress)
  12. Rodney Dangerfield (Comedian/Actor)
  13. John Denver (Recording Artist/Songwriter)
  14. Harrison Ford (Actor)
  15. Nelly Furtado (Recording Artist/Songwriter)
  16. Vincent Van Gogh (Artist)
  17. Anne Hathaway (Actress)
  18. Ernest Hemmingway (Author)
  19. Clara Hughes (Canadian Gold Winning Olympic Athlete)
  20. Janet Jackson (Recording Artist)
  21. Ashley Judd (Actress)
  22. Billy Joel (Recording Artist)
  23. Beyonce (Recording Artist)
  24. Hugh Laurie (Actor of "House" Fame)
  25. Heath Ledger (Actor)
  26. John Lennon (Recording Artist/Songwriter/"Beatle")
  27. Abraham Lincoln (US President)
  28. Ewan MacGregor (Actor)
  29. Mozart (Composer)
  30. Conan O'Brien (Late Night Host/Comedian)
  31. Gwyneth Paltrow (Actress)
  32. Edgar Allen Poe (Author)
  33. Anne Rice (Author)
  34. J.K. Rowling (Author)
  35. John D. Rockefeller (American Industrialist)
  36. Brooke Shields (Actress)
  37. James Taylor (Recording Artist/Song Writer)
  38. Mark Twain (Author)
  39. Owen Wilson (Actor)
  40. Brian Wilson (Recording Artist/Beach Boy)
Websites Worth a Peak:

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Stephen Harper, Don't Stand So Close To Me!

Dear Stephen Harper,

You seriously need to get voted out of power as Canadian Prime Minister... Then you need to get the hell out of my country! I'm not a very political person, mainly because I don't understand them... But I do understand that I don't like you and how you want to screw my country over! I am sick and tired of people like you being dirty, lying maggots and it being acceptable on the sole reason that your a "politician" and it's "expected".

Enough with your smear campaigns and tactics... Maybe you should be focusing on what you're doing... Like bending over and taking it from the USA. We, the Canadian People, aren't interested in becoming the 51st State... So, honestly, quit kissing ass already! (No offence to any Americans reading this... Your politicians are just as screwed as ours... Don't make me start dropping names!) Or maybe you should focus on what you're not doing, and rectifying those issues.... Like not standing up for your country. Instead of focusing on your competition's shortcomings and issues, which just makes you look like more of a poof than you already look....  Maybe you should try focusing on how you can improve this country and how your going to fix things around here...

You need to remove the multiple pickles from your rectum and take notes from Prime Ministers passed... I think you could learn something from Pierre Trudeau, or Lester Pearson... They were proud Canadians.... And they were eager to stick up for Canada and go toe to toe with anyone who tried to walk on the Canadian people. True, you either loved or hated both Trudeau or Pearson... Guess what Pal... I severely dislike you. You're a sell out and are washed up... My only regret, that's not even my fault... I wasn't born early enough to enjoy Pearson or Trudeau's terms as Prime Minister....

I do have a question for you though... Why are you such a sell out? I mean you extradite the "Prince of Pot", for what? Because you want some brownie points with US Politicians? Didn't I just see one of your smear ads talking down Michael Ignatieff because he worked for a while down at Harvard? Yet you bend over backwards to get in good with the Politicians down there... Disgusting... While I admit, Canada's culture is similar to that of the US of A, purely out of proximity to the US... We, the Canadian people, have our own culture - which I think most Canadians are pretty proud of... So, either get on board on your Nation's side... Or step down, Goof!

And what's the deal with you treating people like crap??? You deported the "Prince of Pot" to the States for US prosecution? I don't necessarily support drug use... But Marijuana is pretty minor in comparison to say... Cocaine or Heroine... (Will be blogging later on regarding Weed/Pot/Marijuana...) I just think you were in it for more US Brownie points... What's with not repatriating the kid from Guantanamo Bay? I realize he is charged with a very serious crime... Come on though! The kid was 15 when he was enprisoned and is now 21 or 22... Drag his ass up here and put him in the clink... He's a Canadian! Oh, I forgot... Unless they are Caucasian and heterosexual, you don't care! Yeah, I said it! You are a racist, homophobic DICKHEAD! While being on the topic of you being a racist prick... Is it true that you don't know the difference between an India Indian and an Aboriginal Indian? Seriously, if you don't know the difference - you have absolutelly no business being in any sort of political office, let alone "running" the country.... Honestly, I don't know how you were elected... I think the Canadian people should stone you before sending YOU to Guantanamo Bay... You'd make somebody a pretty little bitch!

Seriously Stephen Harper... I despise you... I don't like you... I don't like how you run this country... I guarantee I've never voted for you... I guarantee I never will... I think you should call an election and pack your stuff to leave...

Signed,

It's Not Always About Me

PS You may be Canada's Prime Minister on paper... You will never EVER be my Prime Minister... You're embarrassing.... Get a hair cut, you're not doing a real job... (Not doing a real job of running Canada anywhere, that is. Except into the ground.... So, while you're down there, eat dirt!)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Genealogical Numerology & Coincidences

I've always been a little obsessed with where I came from... Genealogically that is. I've always enjoyed Astrology, Numerology and Genealogy, but am no where near an expert in any of these subjects... Just a hobby if you will. I've tried to trace my family tree, and admittedly, haven't gotten very far... From what I have managed to untangle about my family tree, there are a few oddities that are of interest.

My first example of such phenomena is the fact that this year seems to be a big one for a few of my family members and I... In March, my Grandma (Mum's Mum) will be turning 80. In June, an Aunt (my Mum's sister) is turning 50 and an Uncle (my Dad's brother) is turning 60. Three cousins and I are turning 30 this year. (One in March - a cousin on Dad's side, one in May - a cousin from Mum's side, and finally another cousin on Dad's side and I will have our turn come September.) Though it's not a BIG 3-0, 5-0, 6-0, or 8-0 birthday, another cousin will hit the 25 year old bench mark in April... Bizarre state of affairs, but that's how the pickle's squirting this year.

I've noticed that there are a few busy, busy birthday months and others that don't have any at all. March, April and September seem to be those busy months, at least in my family. March seems to hold birthdays for four of my cousins, a great Aunt and my Grandma. Grandma and one cousin share a birthday of March 19th - granted that cousin is on Dad's side... Another cousin and my Great Aunt share a birthday of March 21st. So, with a grand total of 6, March is pretty hopping. April is another kicker. My bro, three cousins, an Aunt (Who's name is also April) and two Uncles are April babies. No overlaps to report here, just 7 birthdays. Finally September babies are on the high side as well. I'm a September baby and so are two cousins and two aunts. I also would have shared my birthday with my Grandpa's Grandpa - my great, great Grandfather - if he were still around. For all the busy birthday months, January, February, and December seem to make up for things. (One, maybe two, family members born in these months.)

The 21st also seems more prevalent in the family than any other day. My cousin and Great Aunt were both born on March 21st. My Auntie April, the April baby, was born the 21st... My Dad was born the 21st of his birth month. I was born September 21st, and so was my great, great Grandfather. (I was also born a year and a day after my parents were married... So I was a day late for their first anniversary.) And finally, my cousin's Daughter was born August 21st. If you impose 21 to the number 12, my little cousin was born November 12th. (She's the closest member of the family, on either side, to be born close to a holiday...)

Something else, that can be considered an oddity, would be my Grandpa (Mum's Dad) and my Dad... Both were born in the same month... If you inverted the last two numbers of the year Grandpa was born, you'd wind up with the year my Dad was born. (For Example 1936 becomes 1963. Neither are the actual years of Grandpa's or Dad's birth.) Coincidentally, the two were both a lot a like... Both were on the quiet side, until they got a couple beer in them. (Both enjoyed their beer.) Both worked away from home, as in on the road. Both were highly respected in their professions. The list of similarities could go on, these were just what came to mind first.

I'm sure, as I delve further into unearthing my family tree, a lot of other cool and interesting facts will arise. I'm not sure if I'll find more overlapping birthdays or others born on the 21st... I'm not sure if I'll find other similarities in personality characteristics... I'm not sure if there are ancestors that were linked to major historical events, or were involved in the building of famous landmarks still a part of today's society... I'm not sure what I'll find... I am a keener and will enjoy the adventure, which ever direction my family tree takes me.

It's not always about me; I just find these things kind of cool and amusing... Even if no one else does!