Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Caterpillars and Mamosas...

Be nice to creatures. They have feelings too.
 This story reminds me of something, although I can't quite put my finger on one particular lesson it portrays.  In this case, make it what you want.  Bottom line - it's about a caterpillar. Make what you want of it.

I spent Sunday afternoon in the sun with some coworkers (and friends).  It was a pretty afternoon, the sun was shining of course, but it wasn't too hot. The setting was a well-maintained backyard, with a perfect little deck.  There we were, in the sun, sipping rich people coolers - humans, dogs, and many spiders who had taken up residence. 

I happened to look over and see a small, white caterpillar struggling in a web.  The caterpillar writhed about in one of the large spider webs. There was a gentle breeze that was recklessly tossing the caterpillar into an even further mess.  I pointed this out to the other guests. 

Those things are poisonous.
Let nature take its course.
It's just a caterpillar.

Yeah, it's just a poisonous caterpillar and that spider has to eat too, I thought to myself, agreeing with the other guests.

But I couldn't let it go.
Suddenly my afternoon rich people cooler didn't taste the same as I watched this creature struggle.  At one point I noticed that the caterpillar had escaped it's doom and was out of the web.  I almost jumped for joy, until I realized the dumb thing was crawling back toward the web - certain death.

I think the other guests were growing tired of my caterpillar updates, so someone got a stick and threw the caterpillar out into the woods. I went back to drinking my cooler - the spider went back to his web house with nothing to eat.  The caterpillar probably had a nasty bruise/died from being thrown into a tree.

End of story.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

10 Things...

The first thought to go through my mind when I was asked to list ten things that make me happy was dread.  I haven’t been feeling very happy lately.  When I first tried to jot down the list, I had a really hard time coming up with any more than three things that make me smile.

It only took a few minutes before I realized that I was focusing only on the negative.  Each thing I thought of that made me happy was overshadowed by a negative event in my life.  My son – his father died.  Good friends – I used to have more.  Cosplay – I lost all of my in-progress projects in the move from hell. 

Once I was able to push back the negative thoughts, my list grew rapidly and effortlessly.  I could have listed 100 things that made me happy – as long as I could put the negative behind me and leave them in a locked folder of my brain called experiences. 

There is no way that I will ever forget the negative things that have happened, and I’m not entirely sure that is a good thing to forget them completely anyway. They were experiences.  I learned things from them.  Best to just put them behind me and move on. 

“10 things that make me happy”:

  1. Mason – or “evilboy” as he’s usually referred to on here.  This kid – I don’t even know where to start – he’s my hero.  I know that sounds cheesy but he really is. He makes me realize that people can be amazing and not even know it.  This kid has had to face so much hardship in his short little life but he still continues to be positive.   He has big dreams and great focus.   He is thoughtful and loving and is very pleasant to be around.
  2. My family – My family always makes me happy. My mom is my biggest crutch and is always there when I need her (which is more than I wish I had to lately).   I don’t get to see my family very often, but when I do it’s always a great source of happiness for me.
  3. Good friends – Friends who will go with you to see a movie that you’ve seen five times before – even when they know you’ll cry and embarrass them.  Friends who share their muffin tops with you.  Friends who will do theme Halloween costumes with you.  Friends who are there for you when you need them the most. These are some examples of good friends – you know who you guys are.
  4. Going to the movies – I love going to see movies.  I have loved going to the cinema since I was a little girl and watched Dirty Dancing for the first time with my uncle. There’s just something about oversized concessions, foldy seats and pretending you’re getting married when you walk down the aisles in between the seats - I mean who doesn’t do that…right? Going to a theatre and seeing a movie always makes me feel like I’m in a different world. Suddenly on the way home my old Pontiac Vibe turns into a spaceship and it’s exciting.  Of course I still obey traffic rules…space probably has traffic rules too anyway so it’s totally realistic. 
  5.  Loud music in my car – I was going to just say “music in my car” but then I remembered to change it to “loud music in my car” because I like to sing but I don’t like it when people hear me sing so I have to listen to my music loud.  Nothing gets me more motivated in the morning than a new set of songs in my car.  I can’t describe it…it just makes me happy. 
  6.  Cosplay – I just love creating things and problem solving how to do specific things with a costume.  Although it can be stressful at times, the part of having to think about a certain way to do something always makes me happy.  Even if it doesn’t work, it’s all part of the project. My goal is to do more of this once I can get my office back up and running. 
  7.  Laughing – I love laughing until my stomach hurts and tears run down my face.  Some of my greatest memories include this type of laughter.  Sometimes I laugh when I’m nervous and I think it’s a defence mechanism I have because I just really like laughing.  Kind of like moonwalking out of a room at awkward moments, laughter is my key to removing myself from awkward situations.
  8. Social media – Without social media, I would probably spend my evenings talking about Minecraft and Ninja Turtles…which really isn’t much different since I spend most of my social media time talking about Power Rangers and Rocket Raccoon.   I just love having a place to share my thoughts with people all around the world.  I have met some really awesome people through social media.  Social media has rewarded me time and time again with relationships with people who I normally would never have met in real life. Every time I see a “like” or “reply”  or “favourite” or “retweet” pop up on my phone it makes me happy.  I was recently selected to be a Canadian Ambassador for Jason David Frank.  Being able to represent someone who is always positive and dedicated to his fans gave me a huge boost in confidence and introduced me to so many new friends with similar interests. 
  9. Writing -  Writing is like therapy for me.  I love having my thoughts documented and being able to look back on them later and think about how things have evolved since then.  Also, people have told me that I’m pretty good at writing – I can’t say I always agree with them, but that does make me happy to hear.  I haven’t had a chance to write lately because my life is still sort of all over the place – but I’m getting there.  In fact, writing this doesn’t feel like my style at all.  I blame having my life scattered – quite literally – lately and still trying to catch up.  
  10.  Photography – I have always loved photography.  From the time I started dressing up kittens in doll clothes and taking their pictures up until a few months ago when I realized that I have completely forgotten how to use my camera and that it’s too big and bulky to carry around most of the time.  I love using my phone to take photos, but I always feel guilty or like I’m cheating or something.  One day I would love to be able to pick up my camera again and get back out there.

If you are having a crummy day, feel free to list the ten things that make you happy. I promise you will not be able to stop at just ten.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

A Total Loss...

In the recent weeks, I have found myself using the phrase “total loss” a lot.

I was at a “total loss” when we lost most of our belongings when the home we moved in to was infested with bed bugs.

If I always trusted my instincts I would be living in a forest somewhere in a house built of dung and twigs (maybe not dung…I think it would be pretty hard to find a bunch of dung these days without some extra effort).  However, this is one of those cases where I probably should have listened to my inner self.  We moved into a beautiful home, but something just didn’t feel right. 

The neighbours were weird, there were ominous noises , and the basement was one of the scariest places I have ever been – seriously. I guess I also had a hard time leaving my old life behind (a life that I hated – go figure!).  I knew I had to grow into this home and make it our own, but there was always something that wasn’t right. Whether it be that the plug in the bathroom was on the opposite wall of the mirror (which drove my OCD into overdrive) or the fact that the landlord told me (after I moved in) that the people upstairs were being treated for bed bugs it just never felt like a home and I found myself constantly on edge. 

After spending a small fortune on precautions to prevent us from getting bed bugs in our home, EVILBOY woke up one night with bites all over him – and I lost it. The thought of the possibility of getting an infestation was hard enough, but to actually encounter the problem was enough to push me over the edge.  We moved out that same day – leaving everything behind.

The criticism I got for leaving this home behind was shocking. I had a hard time believing anyone would react differently in such a situation – but with my mental state, I knew this was for the best of our little family.  This was not my problem to begin with, we were very unfairly thrown in to this.  I tried – so hard – to live knowing that this could happen and when it did I hightailed it out of there simply because I didn’t want to put us through the trauma of going through treatments for weeks, months or maybe even years and always wondering if marks on our bodies are from an injury or the return of bed bugs.  It’s just something I knew I couldn’t handle emotionally.

So while some people think I made the wrong decision, I am pretty confident – in our situation – that I made the only decision  we could live with.   

I was at a “total loss” as to where to turn when we needed help.

The first place I turned to was our insurance company who were quick to inform me that “insects were not covered under my tenant policy”.  I didn’t believe them so I called again only to be given the same answer.  I called local social service agencies, churches and the health department (many of which never even awarded me with a return phone call).  The only people who would help us was a society which normally helps people who are returning to society after a prison term.  They were very nice, but unfortunately they too did not follow through with assistance as promised.

The first night we spent with EVILBOY’s grandma (his father’s mother).  I realized how much trouble we were in when I had to make a late night stop at Wal-mart to buy a whole outfit for my son to wear to day camp the next day.

The second night my mom came to help us try to salvage what we could and we spent the night on the floor at my old apartment (luckily it was still available).  We slept on a roll of foam, a duvet cover and two or three top sheets that I had in a box that I had yet to move to the new house (thankfully!).

Our goal the next day was to salvage some more things and try to find beds.  When things weren’t looking so well, I put out a call of help on Twitter to see if anyone knew somewhere we could get help to replace our beds.

What happened next was completely shocking.

I had a “total loss” of words when a bunch of people came together and donated to help us get through this.  

There were people.  A lot of people.  Some I knew very well – others new friends who all came together to help.  We received furniture and money and advice.  I remember reading that first tweet about people helping us and bursting into tears in our elevator.  EVILBOY looked at me and told me to please not cry again but then somehow noticed that they were happy tears. At that moment I felt as though everything would be okay. 

In fact, I feel better than okay. People helped us. People cared about us. I don’t know why it took a disaster like this to happen before I realized how much people really do care. Because of the help we received, I want to smile in public more, I want to be able to make eye contact with strangers more often, and I want to be able to help someone one day like people have helped us. It’s amazing how acts of kindness can really lift your spirits.  

The physical part of this whole ordeal is really superficial.  The emotional part is something I’m not sure I will ever get over.  I will always pick at specks of fluff on my bed wondering if it is a bug. I am not sure I will ever get over feeling like bugs are crawling all over my body at night.  

While we were able to save some of our important belongings (which are currently in bags on my balcony – or in the process of being removed from bags and sanitized), we did lose a lot of things. I’m not sure if I will ever get the image of my stuff strewn about the sidewalk carelessly (even though they were thrown out properly with notification of bed bugs people still scavenged through our belongings) out of my mind. I'm not entirely sure we will ever be able to replace some of the memorabilia that was just too risky to keep, but I will always have the love of others received on my mind and that is much more valuable than anything we had to throw away.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

What's In YOUR Purse (2014 edition)...

I am writing to you from the sweltering treetops of my apartment. About 65% of my belongings are packed neatly in boxes. The other 35% of belongings I just can't live without for a whole entire week and a bit (I'm not sure of an exact moving date - I'm that kind of gal - let's make it as inconvenient and last minute as possible). 

I am writing because a) I'm tired of trying to figure out which stuffed animals I should pack away and which ones I absolutely need and b) I realize that I haven't written in a while and c) You will probably want to know what's in my purse right now because even I am puzzled by the whole thing.

Without further ado (those stuffed animals aren't going to pack themselves - although someone should invent stuffed animals that can pack themselves and also cook dinner and stuff) I present to you, my current purse: Hoarders edition.

  • Purse: Let's start off with the purse itself. You're looking here at a somewhat vintage Old Navy shoulder bag from 2007ish.  This bag holds everything and only smells bad sometimes. I bought it on clearance for $8.99 (I never buy things full price at Old Navy) and I think it used to have a little bauble/tassle thing attached but that's been gone for a good five years now.  The liner of the bag has separated from the bag itself so now I have a super-cool divided bag.  I kind of like it that way. 
  • Movie Stubs/Cineplex peely things: I like going to movies. We have movie stubs from some recent movies such as: Maleficent, 22 Jump Street and two from our recent visit to the Guardians of the Galaxy Sneak Peek.
  • Keys for work: One day about a month ago I had to bring my keys to work.  They have been in my purse ever since.
  • Halle Perfume: I assume this is Halle Berry's perfume? I'm not sure. My friend was giving it away so I hoarded it in my bag - true hoarder style! I forgot to smell it. One day I probably will.
  • Peanut Butter m&m: This must have escaped from the entire bag I ate during the Tammy movie.  I bet it still tastes good (albeit linty)
  • My keys: I use these everyday. They have loyalty cards on them. Also: Power Rangers lanyard. Best ever!
  • Black Crayola Marker: ....I don't know why.
  • Lego: That's not mine.
  • Cell Phone:  Don't leave home without it! One time I did...it was the worst five minutes of my life!
  • Advil/Tylenol #2: Back from my shingles days.
  • Cords for old Nintendo:  You never know when you'll need those!
  • Wallet: It's old and ugly but I love it...even though my mom told me not to buy it - but I did anyway.  I'M AN ADULT!
  • Painter's Tape:  ...I got nothin.  Don't ask me to paint your house. The answer is no.
  • Target Receipt:  I buy all the clearance items so there are none let for you to buy.
  • Simpsons Season 2 DVD:  I bought this at a flea market on the weekend.  EVILBOY has since informed me that we already own this DVD set.  Doh!
  • Heart sunglasses: I like the red ones better than the pink ones because they don't make my nose pink!
  • 3D glasses: Recycle these glasses?  NOWAY! These are special edition Transformers 4 Optimus Prime and Bumblebee glasses. I will wear them to every 3D movie I see (as soon as I figure out how to wash the buttery topping residue off the lenses.
  • Simpsons Lego legend: I want all of these. Currently we own six of them.
So that's it.  I'm afraid that's all the words I have until I get moved and unpacked and stuff. If you have a purse I'm a little bit interested to see what you have in it so tag me in that stuff!


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