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  • It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

    December 3rd, 2017 she Posted in Friends & Family, Frothing At The Bit 1 Comment »

    Unsurprisingly, when left to our own devices, Drew and I don’t normally celebrate the holidays. Don’t get me wrong, we do get together with friends and family over the holiday season and we participate in gift purchases for those less fortunate that us, but we prefer not to decorate the house or exchange gifts. Too many years of the two of us being in different countries or continents during the season have made this time of year little different from any other. I don’t think that’s a bad thing. As I’m getting older and watching the world change around me, I want to find ways to celebrate and mark the everyday.

    I suspect we’ve reached that “age” my father did when your ideas surrounding receiving gifts changes; where you realize that if you need something – like a new fridge after your ancient one finally gives up the ghost and rejects all past attempts at repair – you do your research, set a budget, and just go out and buy it. So it’s the home made things, the things you can do for others, or with others, that increase in appeal.

    When it comes to gift giving for family and friends, we’re trying to switch away from things and on to experiences or consumables; handmade art, home cooked preserves and snacks, whisky tastings, tickets (theatre, concert, sporting events, movies, museums), gift certificates to favourite restaurants or donations to a favourite charity.  Whether or not we’ll be successful in the endeavour remains to be seen. This isn’t the first time we’ve tried to follow this concept and in previous years we’ve failed miserably. There are so many expectations, personal history, and a myriad of other things wrapped up in the concept of gift giving over the holidays that tend to make me into a giant ball of stress.

    Gift giving for strangers is a whole other kettle of fish.

    For the past few years we’ve been sponsoring seniors at a retirement home. Families move away. Parents outlive children. Some people choose never to have had children to begin with (like us!). The holidays can be a lonely time of year for some. We attempt to brighten their days buy obtaining a name from the retirement home, purchasing some of the items (ok, ALL +some more) and delivering the package to the home. Shopping for a stranger is fun. While we can’t always guarantee that our tastes match our gifts, we can hope we’ve made someone else’s outlook brighter for a while.

    This likely explains why I’ve joined my first Reddit Christmas exchange this year. I completed a Firefly based exchange this fall and had a blast loading some unsuspecting individual up with a ship full of goodies. There are some benefits to being on the board of the AB Browncoats Society; we know where to find the coolest swag to share with brand new shiny Browncoats! Picking and shipping gifts, the anticipation of waiting for shipments to be delivered, and then seeing the posted gift unveiling gives me a huge sense of joy. And then, there’s the fun of opening a package from someone, somewhere else in the world, who has taking the time to find something for you that fits the small sliver of your personality that they’ve gleaned from your application profile. There’s a lot of joy to be found in being someone’s secret Santa!

    In any case, I hope my giftees like what I’ve selected. Thanks for the giggles.


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    Do you even email bro?

    August 1st, 2014 she Posted in Frothing At The Bit No Comments »


    There’s a new US based individual using my email address as theirs. They’re giving it out willy nilly, registering for services, sharing with friends, and driving me bonkers.

    After 10 years of getting personal messages (banking, job related, school, etc.) for “Sade” and a few months worth of messages for “Steve”, I’m now getting personal & business messages for someone named “Samudio”.

    Really people, how hard is it to learn your own email address?

    1. I’ve had this email address for well over a decade. I don’t care if we share initials or a last name, it’s mine. My precious!
    2. There’s little more annoying than getting requests to reset passwords on accounts and services I’ve registered for using my own email address. That Linked-In profile is mind gorram it!
    3. I am not US based. While I’m sure they are lovely places to visit, I don’t live in New Jersey, Brooklyn or South Carolina.  Never have. Doubt I ever will.
    4. These people are damn lucky I believe in protecting their general privacy as the personal details I know about them is incredible. And I’ve never had to google them to get any of this info!

    So much for 100 days of positivity…

    UPDATED: Feb 2015: I thought I’d suffered through it all. One should know this is never the case. A 50+ year old man in the US registered for an account on Ashley Madison using my email address a few weeks ago. The only bonus in this situation is that the company quickly responded to my request to have my email disassociated with this “gentleman’s”  account. It’s probably the only time I didn’t have to fight to get my email address off of a crazy account or mailing list.

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    unread blogger

    May 26th, 2014 she Posted in Frothing At The Bit, Random Burbling No Comments »

    I joke a lot about being an unread blogger. So much so that it’s in my twitter and FB profiles. I’ve slid away from writing over the past few years. Not because I have nothing to say, but because I’ve got limited amounts of time and have found other venues for my craziness. That said, I think I need to ponder reviving the blog.

    Months have passed between posts. I didn’t post my usual tribute to the members of my family who served in November. I didn’t post a giant celebratory message when I *finally* graduated from RMC or rant about my insecurity as I wait for notification relating to my grad school applications. There have been few posts about learning to live with a celiac diagnosis or what it’s like to spend years in a marriage with someone who is frequently away from home. Nothing about the amazing milestones our not-for-profit society has reached nor the people I’ve met through its development. I didn’t post about our family’s attempt to walk up a mountain and spread some of dad’s ashes.

    I wonder how much more time will pass before these items, already disappearing, completely fade from my memory.

    Perhaps I should start with a short weekly post. I’ve come to realize that I need the blog to act as my memory and if I don’t write my experiences, thoughts & random babbling down and stick it somewhere in the ether, I’ll never remember any of my life. Which is terribly sad in and of itself.

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    It’s the most wonderful time of the year

    November 18th, 2011 she Posted in Frothing At The Bit, Random Burbling, Save Us From Evil 1 Comment »

    A lovely woman I know, let’s call her Kikki, has issued a challenge to Edmontonian’s to put away our “bah humbugs” and do more for others this holiday season. When I read her original challenge, I had to shake my head. Not because I don’t think it’s a good idea. It’s just an odd concept to me to accept a “challenge” that my husband and I would consider parts of our daily lives.

    Years ago, hubs and I realized that we often have more than we need. We might not have a fancy car (our “youngest” vehicle is approaching 9 years old) or a big house (790 sq feet) but we have a roof over our head, clothes on our backs, and food on our table.

    Long ago we stepped away from traditional Christmas gift giving and started giving to charities rather than giving presents. We adopted families and organizations rather than attending parties or spending ridiculous amounts on items we’d likely never use.

    And we don’t stop at an arbitrarily defined “holiday season”. We realized that the need for support doesn’t end when Christmas wrapping paper goes into the trash. It exists all year long. So we do our best each and every month to make a difference, however small, in other’s lives.

    Somewhere along the way we’ve realized that “there but for the grace of go I…” and started trying to live our lives to honour the sentiment. Perhaps it’s because of the time I spent living in what are politely termed “developing countries” or the time my husband has spent Peacekeeping and Peacemaking across the globe; we’ve realized just how incredibly fortunate an act of chance – our births in Canada – have made us.

    As we get older, we’ve watched our “friends” pool decrease to the point where we’ve surrounded ourselves mainly with like minded individuals. Most of our friends and acquaintances are actively involved in non-profit organizations. They plan and deliver meals to the homeless. They run dog rescues. They raise funds for women’s rights organizations or to put books into school libraries for underprivileged children. They build schools in developing countries. They fund community centres and gather diapers for teen mothers. They pass out backpacks with supplies to homeless community members. These people we choose to spend time with do something amazing for others on a regular basis and their efforts need to be celebrated.

    We’re going to continue on our daily lives as if Kikki’s challenge doesn’t exist. Because for us it’s not a challenge; it’s simply the right thing to do. As 2011 draws to a close and 2012 looms before us, I’m asking everyone else to join us in making helping someone less fortunate than you something you do all year long. Stop using “it’s the reason for the season” as an excuse to only participate in giving once a year. Do something each and every month.

    Bah humbug!

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    Are we forgetting?

    November 8th, 2011 she Posted in Frothing At The Bit, Those Who Volunteered No Comments »

    In 2010 the last Canadian veteran of WWI passed away; a moment in history that should have been stamped upon each of our memories. It’s not. Many I’ve encountered are not even aware this milestone has passed. The last survivor of a ghastly event in our history is gone. Aside from stories collected over the years, there is no one left to stand before us and remind us how horrific man can be towards his fellow man.

    Vimy Ridge Canadian War Memorial
    Inscription on Vimy Ridge Canadian War Memorial

    When I was a child, Remembrance Day wasn’t a holiday. If November 11 fell on a school day, we spent the day in classes, breaking to attend ceremonies at the nearest cenotaph. Some schools held Remembrance Day assemblies in addition to attending the cenotaph. When I was an air cadet, we left classes early to participate but returned to the normal school routine once the ceremonies were over. I don’t recall when the change was made to provide us a day off on the 11/11. Perhaps not until I’d graduated and moved on to University. I’m sure some of my old classmates can correct any errors in my memories of the time period.

    The ceremonies were somber. Often delivered on a cold day where the remaining WWI, WWII and Korean veterans quietly stood, as erect as possible, with dignity and determination. And tears in their eyes.

    By the time I reached high school, I remember being disturbed by the apparent lack of respect my generation had for both the day and the veterans who came to speak at our school and our cenotaphs. Poppies were often flung to the floor as soon as the day’s assembly was over. I recall my horror at this casual attitude towards the poppy and all it represented as being the motivation behind my second place finish (provincial level) in the Royal Canadian Legion’s writing contest. I mused then that we were beginning to forget; beginning to cease caring. I hoped I was wrong. 20 years on, I fear my younger self may have been on to something.

    Perhaps it’s a commentary on where I live, work and play, but I’ve noticed a trend in who I see wearing poppies in my wanders these past few weeks; the elderly (not unexpected), visible minorities, and the marginalized (homeless, addicts, working poor, etc.). Those I would expect to be wearing poppies – businessmen and women, students (both k-12 and university/college age), and middle aged – seem to be few and far between in my counts. That’s not to say that no one in the previously mentioned categories is wearing poppies. I’m just not encountering them often in my day-to-day routines.

    Wearing a poppy isn’t about condoning wars. It isn’t about glorifying one nation’s soldiers over another’s. It’s about taking a few minutes to acknowledge that horrific things have happened in our past – and continue to happen on a daily basis in the present – brought on by greed, politics, ethnocentrism, gender bias and a host of other sources. It’s about recalling that, on a regular basis, we have asked the impossible of our young men and women; generation after generation. We’ve asked them to leave their homes, their families, their work, their futures and their sanity. For many, our politics have resulted in the sacrifice the soldier’s and support worker’s lives.

    Remembrance Day shouldn’t be another holiday; a day off work or school to play or shop. It should be a somber reminder that when egos and icons become too big for their britches, we tend to ask too much of some of our citizens. And they deserve our acknowledgement and respect for answering the call time after time. Considering all they have given, a moment of silence to consider both what they’ve gone through and what we expect of the current crop of soldiers is hardly too much to ask. Nor is wearing a poppy to display a visible reminder to those few WWII, Korean, and the ever growing new crop of Afghanistan war veterans that, for a moment in time, we appreciate and thank them for their service.

    I, for one, refuse to forget.

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