Friday, April 21, 2017

Giving it the old College try!

It's been a while. I have been busy, aren't we all? Sometimes busy means doing nothing special but surviving to make it through another day and sometimes busy means having too much on the go at once. I have been a little bit of both. I feel like I am in a place where I want to start writing again. Letting my rambling thoughts spill out on to paper (proverbial of course, given I am tap, tap, tapping away on my phone) and throw it out there for others to read. I will always have a writer's heart but I will also have that personality where starting is never the problem.
That's kind of why I am here. Giving it the old College try! "Hey-oh boys (and girls) let's have one more jolly go at it, shall we!?" (Said in your best British accent, of course.) Maybe this time is the one.
During my busy, I have started and even completed a number of things, some of them fairly big changes to our (my) life and several with big potential yet to be reaped. (More on those to follow!)
On the topic of College, I have been taking courses at our local community college and working towards a Diploma in Human Resources. I am 50% of the way through the program (about to start course 6/10).
I never intended the career I am in, it was never on my radar but I fell into it. I fell pretty deep too, I have been at it for nearly two decades! I am good at it. I am sought after, well liked by peers and management, I am dedicated and knowledgeable but it does not set my heart on fire. As a matter of fact, it can drain me utterly and completely at times.
I still give it my all (nearly) every day (we all have off days, right?) But at the end of the day l still say, "What do I want to be when I grow up?", at my age I can't keep asking that without doing something about it.
I am hoping, as I sit in this lull between semesters, that I can apply some if the organizational skills and experience that I have developed in my personal life to add regular writing into my schedule. I have set a goal, it is measurable, it seems reasonable, and I am going to give it another real go. To stay on top of school, work, family and writing committments without burning a fuse. I hope see continued success, and to share some of the changes I have made and the successes I have had with them.
Right-Oh then, cheerio for now!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Life, the universe and everything

Since moving to the big house (no,  I haven't been incarcerated, this is just what we call the new house since it's,  well, bigger) we have been very good at sitting down for dinner as a family.  Mr. stopped working nights and quite frankly, I won't let the kids eat in the living room because we have new furniture, so it's become routine.  It's nice though, we gather around and talk about our days. 

Some of the conversations are quite hilarious, while others are serious and thought provoking.  The other night did not disappoint as it was both. In Canada, from which this particular crazy cat lady hails, we pause for reflection on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. We think of all the brave men and women who served and continue to serve our country, putting their lives in jeopardy to keep the peace.  We thank them and we honour them. This day is called Remembrance day. It tends to be somber as we reflect on the many who have lost their lives in this noble pursuit of freedom.

That evening, as we sat down to eat together,  boy wonder asked how the second world war started. It was a long and serious conversation as he just couldn't fathom why a people would want to annihilate another. To be honest, neither could I. We talked on about war, and how it is seemingly always connected to religion and more specifically religious fanatics.  At some point the conversation veered into talking about the universe (a natural progression when talking about world religions and faiths) and more specifically, life within the universe.  Then boy wonder pipes up and says, "I wonder if there is intelligent life on earth? "

I have to say, especially after discussing wars, I wonder too!

So long, and thanks for all the fish.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Day 19 - a talent of yours

I know I signed up for the blog challenge to get me writing. Apparently it was supposed to inspire me to write on a regular basis. I've not been too successful at that. Again, I am making an effort and hoping to keep up with it. People now know I am writing and some are even reading so now I am feeling somewhat obligated to keep up on a relatively regular basis. Things are quiet at work, this is my last week in my current position before I take on a new adventure. I am taking advantage of the quiet and catching up in my blog. It will be hectic for a few months again while I get used to my new role, I will be training with the person I am replacing until the end of the month. She is retiring after doing the same role for 30 yrs! I am not sure I can imagine doing the same job for 30 yrs. I applaud her for her ability to keep on keeping on, but my personality does not suit that way of life at all. I need to be challenged. I do something until I tire and bore of it and move on. Usually I move on to something that is similar, that uses my talents (oh, good segue to the actually topic there Lady) still, but allows me to flex them in another manner. I hope I last at this job for 5 yrs or so, that will probably be enough time to get some education behind me. I'd like to start focusing on that. So the long and the short of this introductory paragraph. Thank you for reading. I am making an effort to continue doing entries. I may have another brief break while I am in training. And finally, today's challenge subject is difficult for me to write about because I am modest and have a hard time talking about my talents.

I will be the first to admit that I am a "Jill of all trades" if you will. I guess that is why I get bored at jobs, I'm always wanting to try something new. It's just the way this Crazy Cat Lady's mind is wired. I could talk about my work talents since I seem to be on that track at the moment, but I am easily enough derailed. Besides, work is not really where my pure passions lie. I enjoy what I do, and I'm good at what I do, but I would rather natter on about some other talent.

So what talents do I have other than work? There are a few. I am not fond of the term crafty because it tends to have a negative connotation. Between the image of someone who has swindled someone out of something due to their crafty ways and the image of an old lady making butt ugly dolls out of scraps of material, I tend to shy away from the term crafty. I am artistic, although I don't consider myself an artist. I don't have anything in a gallery, and honestly, I'm not the best at coming up with my own designs. I'm somewhere in the middle. But I like to think I'm talented at what I do. So what do I do?

Sewing. I learned to sew when I was 9. I begged my mother to teach me. It is something that I am more on the end of being an artist with, when I so choose. At one point I seriously considered becoming a fashion designer, I still kind of wonder why I didn't. Anyway, I was designing clothes for Barbie shortly after I first started using the sewing machine. I designed and made my own wedding dress (for the purposes of full disclosure, by design, I mean I drew what I wanted it to look like and purchased more than one dress pattern to mash together making my own alterations and decisions as I went along). I don't sew nearly as much as I used to, but I have two youngings who suck up a lot of time and energy and don't allow me to lock myself into my sewing room to create without interruption. One day they won't be young and instead of yearning to have more time to sew, I will yearn for their interruptions.
Glass. I create both stained glass and warm glass creations. I think I'm pretty talented at it. Again, generally with the stained glass I am following patterns. Recently, however, I saw something on that Rabbit Hole that I fall down called Pinterest and decided to recreate it for a vampire loving friend. I'm guessing you've figured out that's it to the Right there. Warm glass includes slumping and fusing. Again, these talents are sadly underused. Those small creatures that live in my house are not conducive to working with sharp glass, let alone moments of clarity to think and be creative. They will grow, and I will create.

Knitting. I learned to knit at a pretty young age too. Sub double digits. I put it down for along time, I kept trying to knit large sweaters of stockinette stitch, even worse the kind that are on the round, so all you are doing is knit, knit, knit. (For you non-knitting readers, stockinette stitch is knit every stitch on the front side and purl every stitch on the back side. It is, in my opinion, very boring. If you've read the introductory paragraph, then you learned I get bored easily). When my dad was sick, the waiting room at the ICU had a bucket with needles, yarn, and a pattern for making dishcloths. To pass the time, I picked it up and started knitting. I can't remember how many I made in the 8 months that he was there, but I ended up buying a jumbo skein of cotton and replacing all that I had knit. Anyway, that sparked me into deciding to pick up the sticks again. I then discovered the amazing world of Ravelry and the wealth of patterns there. Next I discovered lace knitting, and that was it. I was off to the races. Building a stash and creating my art. While the sticks (needles) can be sharp, knitting is a perfect fit for family life. It's portable, tidy, I can pick it up and put it down easily, and if needed I can tie up those rotten brats with the string! (just kidding, don't call children's services on me! Besides, we all know duct tape is much more effective!)
TKD swap 011.JPG

So there we have it. I got some mad skills yo!

I guess it wasn't that bad of a challenge after all, I tooted my horn thrice! Well, really I figure it's once because I'm talking about artistic/crafty talents. I am pretty proud of them, but I would never boast about it, I just do it quietly and happily. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Day 18 - my wedding/future wedding/past wedding

I was supposed to do this one a few weeks ago. I popped in here, thought about it, and then got distracted. A lot of that has been going on in my world. Work has been hectic to say the least, and life at home doesn't afford a whole lot of time to think, especially with the post work haze dragging me down. Hopefully that is all going to change next week. I start a new position at a smaller office in a small town. It's going to be a big change, hopefully for the best!

So why, other than I'm woefully over due on posts, did I want to do this specific entry a few weeks ago? Well, Mr. Crazy Cat Dude and I celebrated our 18th wedding anniversary! Yup, 18 yrs ago I said I do to my one true love. (There may be another, but only 'til death us do part, hoping that's a long time from now!)

So 18 yrs ago, at the tender age of 23, Mr and I tied the proverbial knot that bound us together in this little adventure called matrimony. Where do I start in this story? I can say, it was not love at first sight. No, definitely not. Good thing we were both open minded and willing to look past those first impressions. Oh, the memories. I guess I should start there then. Turn back the time clock to 2nd year University. Living with a friend in an apartment just outside the university gates, another friend, from whom I was subletting, also lived in the building. After an afternoon at work, I step onto the elevator with my roommate, just as the doors were about to close this tall skinny dude with long wild, dark hair jumps on the elevator. He was wearing a Metallica baseball cap, a jean jacket with this strange hand painting of this green alien thing, and some other heavy metal bands plus scrappy cut off jeans. (It was the summer between classes, I was taking one course so I didn't have to move back home!) He got off at the first roomie and I laughed our asses off the rest of the way up to our 8th floor apartment. He was pretty funny looking!

This is the funny looking green alien:

When I got to my room, I checked my phone and had a message from the friend that lived in the building. He mentioned that a friend was coming in from out of town and they were going to go out clubbing that night and wanted to know if I wanted to go along. I called him back and said sure! I changed my clothes, fixed my hair and make up an was chatting with the roomie when there was a knock at the door. A quick look through the peep hole and who should I see? My friend and the guy from the elevator (Mr. Crazy Cat Dude).  A few pre-club drinks, some chatting and we realized that first impressions are not always lasting ones. We talked the whole weekend, hung out more than he and the friend did. It was pretty cool and definitely the beginning of a life long friendship. Since this is supposed to be a post about our wedding, I won't go into further details about how it all started, although I do think it's a pretty good story.

We met in August, wrote letters (of the snail mail variety) for a while. In October, I got a call from our mutual friend letting me know that Mr. was heading this way again, so we hung out again. That weekend, we were again inseparable and we had our first kiss. New Year's we became an official couple and exchanged the L word (no we didn't share a lesbian, we said "Love", and no, sorry I don't have a lesbian sharing story...although roomie did turn out to be one.) By May we were engaged and by the following winter we moved in together.  That also comes with a story. My parents weren't too happy with the whole living in sin thing. They temporarily cut ties...mostly the financial kind. I was still a student when began co-habitating, and Mr. had only just started working in the real world. It was tough. We started planning the wedding, the guest list, with family alone was creeping towards 200. We were living in the big, big city and the moment you said the word wedding when contacting facilities the price suddenly skyrocketed. It was stressful, and Mr. and I argued mostly about the wedding and nothing else. One sunny afternoon, as we walked along the Danforth, we reflected on how one of our friends was actually getting married as we spoke at the city hall. Mr. turned to me and said, "Maybe they have the right idea." So an idea was born. We nearly eloped, but given the already strained relationship with my parents, we decided to keep it small and simple.

There was one catch, well two really, I guess three...I was still in school. I had to plan around tests and assignments. Secondly, I had always dreamed of sewing my own gown. Thirdly, it was fall and peoples schedules were getting busy.  But we jumped into action. We announced it to our families and everyone was thrilled. Dates were negotiated, tests were postponed and I sewed my little heart out. Mom and Dad came through with a generous gift of money for the material for the dress and I headed down to the fashion district to pick out the pattern and everything I needed. Within 8 weeks of that discussion, we had a wedding.

It was a wonderful day. We had 18 guests. My brothers were my men of honour, and of course the best men included the friend that first introduced us. Other than the best men and our minister who was a close family friend, everyone else was family. I finished sewing my dress that morning, and even held the door open at the apartment building in my wedding gown for some guys that were just moving in! (A lady came along and scolded them for having me hold the door, but honestly, I was happy to help, I was just waiting for the car to pull up).

No regrets for not doing the big show. Quiet and simple describes us perfectly, and it was really the perfect way to start our life together. I don't have many electronic pictures of the day. Remember, 18 yrs ago digital cameras were not common place. But here we are with my parents (who did forgive me wholly and fully once that ring was on my finger!)

And here we are at the reception. Best Damn desert I ever ate! ;)

18 yrs, and still on our honeymoon!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Necessity, the Mother of all Invention. Wish this wasn't necessary!

Recently, on the book of faces, there have been several of my female friends and relatives that have posted a variation on this article. Four College students took on not only a taboo subject but sought to find a viable solution to help those that may be affected by date rape, and more specifically, date rape drugs. While I agree, it is an awesome invention - Dipping your finger(s) in your drink can be done mostly inconspicuously and fairly frequently while in any setting. This simple action could save you or a friend from having a fun night out turn into a life changing, harrowing, experience. - I can't help but feel out raged that we even need this.

Children, plug your ears. Fuck! Seriously! What the fuck is wrong with our society that we have to go to such measures to protect our selves? Why have we (royal we - inferring society) not  learned? I get so fucking steamed when I think of the statistics. The number of women affected by rape, violence, sexual violence (and by this I mean non-consensual sexual violence), abuse, sexual harassment and general discrimination. What the fuck people!?! Sorry, I'll put my potty mouth away now.

Let me start by saying, I'm not exclusively a feminist, granted I'm a woman, but I'm more than an activist for female rights. I believe in equal rights for ALL humans. We all have the right to live in a world being the human we are destined to be. This includes those that realize they we are born different than what was assigned. I'm a firm believer that as a human, it is their right to become who they feel nature is telling them to be. So, I guess you could say, I'm an equalist. However, I do find that I wear my feminist hat when I realize not everyone has my vision of equality and cause imbalance in the world. I stand up and toot my feminist horn and burn my proverbial bra (those things are too damned expensive to actually burn!) when I'm feeling outraged at the inequality and injustices between the sexes.

I want to live in a world where we are seen as people. Individuals who have feelings, wants and desires. Individuals who deserve respect. People who have the right to make choices about their present and future; their body, mind and soul. People who have the right to say yes, but change their mind to no and not be questioned, criticized, coerced or forced into complying with their original thought or feeling.  A world where you wear what you are comfortable with putting on your body with out having it mean you were asking for more than you desire. A world where there are no glass ceilings, it's safe to walk at night or day alone or in a group.

To fuel my frustrations and feelings towards the inequality I look at the Jian Ghomeshi "Scandal" at the CBC. Where a nice guy is accused of not being a nice guy, and people start blaming the women for ruining his reputation. It fucking burns me. I don't even care if this guy is innocent. The point is, all to often women speak out and NOTHING is done. NOTHING. Nice guys can be assholes. I speak from experience. (Sorry, a bit off topic but definitely related.)

No woman should be silenced, no experience swept under the carpet.

So yes, it is wonderful that these students campaigned against date rape. Found an aid to help the far too many women who have been or may be affected by date rape and the use of drugs, it is definitely not a solution. The real solution is raising our boys to become equalists, or feminists if you will. To not just be "nice guys", because we all know that really means nothing, but to actively seek out equality amongst all others. We need to have conversations with our boys about sex. Honest conversations. Not the fluffy, it's best when it is with someone you are committed to because let's face it, women want uncommitted sex as much as guys do. But the honest conversation that teaches them how to get what they want without taking it from someone who doesn't want to give it. To ask honest questions of their sexual partners, to be ready to stop at a moments notice - if needed to finish on their own, or simply deal with any physical side effects...yes boys, they will hurt, but only for a while. Whereas rape leaves a lifetime of emotional scars. Have conversations, start early, and don't stop listening and explaining. Minimize the differences between men and women - because we are both people. These students have at least started a conversation amongst there peers and recognized a sad but true need. I do applaud them. But  the reason we need them, I can't help but feel angered.

Final word, because I could go on about this subject. I really should, because we should never stop talking about it. Anyway, final word: If you are/were a victim of any of the above experiences I have noted above - Talk about it. Break the silence, the taboo, open the floodgates. Let's have discussions about this subject as whole. 

Let's talk!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Day 17 - An Art Piece (drawing, sculpture, painting, etc)

I'm not sure what this challenge title is looking for....I guess it's trying to get me to talk about a favourite or something. I guess that's the whole point of this. A few prompts to get me writing, give me a subject and let me prattle on to an audience that may or may not exist. I'm of course not really putting myself out there, so I can't complain that I've not got much of an audience. Not to mention my entries are nothing if not sporadic. It will come. I'll get more proficient at this and find my niche. Ok, so back to art.

I like art. I like to make art, look at art, encourage art and even occasionally review art. Art is so subjective, what it makes one person feel, another cannot. Even what one person sees, another may not. The prevalence of colour blindness always makes me wonder if art can be truly appreciated by all, so many nuances just not seen. Even with out colour blindness effecting the visuals, there are so many different styles of art, that one may see, or infer, something from a piece that another may not "see". Maybe we see something the artist never intended, should we see it, is it wrong, or maybe we are sensing something within ourselves and it makes the artist that much happier that it was "seen". I don't know. Perhaps I'm reading too far into today's subject. Maybe this is why I've procrastinated this entry for so long. If I put something here, what will people see in me, in my choice? I guess this is where I have difficulties with blogging in general. My one moment in time, one post, one snapshot into my thoughts and ramblings may cause someone to form an opinion of myself that is not entirely accurate. It may be a good thing, I've seen social media skyrocket bloggers based on a moment of "brilliance" but I've seen the opposite happen all too often as well. A few moments with the key board and they are now targets for strangers to stalk, and bash. I'm suddenly reminded of  the scene from Indiana Jones: The Last Crusade when he finally enters the chamber where the Knight of Templar is guarding the last cup. When the Knight says "You must choose. Choose wisely.." Always choose your words carefully.

But Steggie, it's just an opinion on a piece of art on a blog that no one is reading...(sorry, I mean not to offend anyone who is reading, you are not a nobody, you are definitely a somebody, and don't ever let anyone tell you any less, otherwise I will come and kick their ass). Damn I get derailed a lot don't I. Well, if you've read this far, then I congratulate you. I now present to you, one of (see not the only, just one, as I am a whole person with many likes and dislikes, many facets to my personality) the pieces of art that inspires me to one day become a better artist.

Fused Glass Leaf Bowl     Kay Sekimachi
Fused Glass bowl by Kay Sekimachi

Friday, August 1, 2014

Day 16 - A song that makes me cry

I would rather post about a song that makes me happy.  I don't always like talking about what makes me cry, the reasons I cry are usually because of something painful. I know it is important in order for my readers to understand me and that I should put it all out there but I'm not going to like it!
I'm not really a church goer, that's a whole other story that I may go into one day, but I was raised in the church. My Dad had an amazing singing voice, and often sang in the choir. We sang a lot around our house, but it's the hymns that stick in my mind.

When ever I hear "How Great Thou Art", I struggle to keep it together. I can just hear him. See him. Feel him. I miss him.

Another, more contemporary song that gets to me is One of these days by the Foo Fighters. I remember listening to the radio on my way to see my Mom when she was in the Palliative Care home. The lyrics struck me. I knew that we didn't have long. From the time she was diagnosed to the time we lost her was less than a month. It went very quickly. It was a rough ride. The tears flowed as I drove to see her. To sit with her. She couldn't talk, she was blinded, she couldn't move. I felt the same. I sat and knit and just was there. It was too hard to think about the reality, to think that I was losing both of my parents.

One of these days your heart will stop and play its final beat
One of these days the clocks will stop and time won't mean a thing


One of these days your eyes will close and pain will disappear

I'm pretty sure they aren't talking about losing someone in terms of someone dying, but it fits just as well. Now, when I hear this song, I remember that time. I remember taking those drives to the next town, the town that was supposed to be a home for us both again, to visit my dying Mother. A disease where we as a her children had to decide to not treat it because she would have had no quality of life. It wasn't a cure, there is no cure, it simply would have prolonged her death and left her an invalid (she had already lost all control of her left side, including her vision and speech). But after having to decide to pull the plugs on Dad, it seemed so unfair that we had to make this choice too. 

Gah! See, I told you I didn't want to post about this. It's all rather depressing now, and that is not who I am. Yes, I've had depression, I've had depressing things happen in my life, but I don't like to dwell on it. There is too much to be happy about. Too much to celebrate. I had amazing parents, and i am thankful for their love and guidance. Thankful for how they raised me, what they taught me and I wouldn't be the person I am today without them. I know they were a rare gift. Does it suck that I lost them so early, why yes, yes it does! But I at least had an opportunity to have them for as long as I did. Always a silver lining, that's the greatest lesson they ever taught me.