Remembering is Different this Year

One WTC as I know it. So very different than it was 15 years ago today.
One WTC as I know it. So very different than it was 15 years ago today.

The morning of September 11th, 2001 I was 23 years old, sitting at my desk as usual at ANF, on the computer, working as I typically would be on a Tuesday morning.  In the background, coming though my phone on my desk, was FM96, where Pete, Jeff and Mindy were doing their morning show.  Shortly after 9am, there was a break in the program where Mindy came on and said that a plane had hit one of the towers of the World Trade Center in New York City.   Prior to this moment, I had heard of the World Trade Center, but didn’t really know much about it.  If someone had shown me a picture of the skyline of New York, I wouldn’t have been able to say that the twin towers were the World Trade Center, or really any details about them.  Shortly after, she came back on again to say that a second plane had struck the other tower.  Again, I couldn’t really put together in my mind what was going on, but of course knowing that two planes had struck two buildings, especially in a city as busy and populated as New York, this was certainly going to mean a massive loss of life.

Shortly after, my phone rang and it was Joe, calling me from another part of the building to tell me that there had been a further update, the Pentagon had been hit by another plane.  At this point, my stomach sank.  This is when the gravity of the situation began to set in and I realized that this was not just a horrible accident or a fluke, this was an act of terror, being carried out on US soil, not oceans away as they usually were, but not so far away from where I sat at my desk in Ailsa Craig.  I knew that this was big, that this would likely mean war, and that somehow, life would never be the same.

Everyone has their own story of where they were that day.  It’s the catastrophic moment of our generation.  The older generations have theirs, my Mom says that she will always remember where she was when she heard that JFK had been shot.  I’m sure that older generations still will always remember when they heard about the attack on Pearl Harbour.

For me, there will always be life before 9/11 and life after 9/11.  The weekend before the attacks, our good friends were getting married.  Joe and I were both in the wedding, and we had a wonderful time dancing and drinking, never imagining what would play out before our eyes a few days later.  I remember thinking that we will never get that back again.  Never have that “pre-9/11” feeling of freedom, the feeling of not knowing, that blissful ignorance that you have before a major event like this opens your eyes.  It has never been the same since.  It has affected the way we do so many things in life that before we just did without thinking – boarding a plane, making travel plans, packing a bag, visiting certain places.  My son who was born in 2008 will never experience that – this is the world that he was born into.  And he learns about 9/11 the same way I learned about WWI and WWII – as an event of the past that helped shape the society in which we now live.

The North Pool - sits in the exact footprint of where the North Tower stood.
The North Pool – sits in the exact footprint of where the North Tower stood.

In the weeks and months and years to follow, we have never forgotten the events of that day, and how many lives were lost, how many fallen heroes there were.  So many individual stories that we could never hope to hear them all.

This year, I will remember the events of 9/11 in a different way.  Last November, I travelled with my friend Jolene to New York City for the first time as my Birthday present from her, to attend the Book Riot convention.  It was my first time there, and we were there for three jam packed days.  I took in so much, and my list of what I want to do next time I go grew with each passing minute.  It is safe to say that I fell in love with this city in the short time that I was there.  Of all the places that I want to travel, I want to go back to New York so badly, I know I will make it happen again.  I want Joe to be able to experience the things that I did.  I want to be a part of the city again.

While we were there, we visited the 9/11 Memorial.  If you ever go to New York City, I would put it at the top of the list of things you must do while you are there.   Seeing those fountains, walking through that museum, moved me in a way that I can not fully describe.  I barely used my camera the whole time we were there, because it just didn’t feel right.  There is a section of the museum where you go through the day so to speak.  You see broadcasts of the day, there are timelines of what was happening on the ground and in the sky.  There are artifacts from the site of the WTC, they play voice messages from people on planes left for their loved ones on the ground.  There are things that were found in the rubble – shoes, glasses, notes scribbled on scraps of paper in the hopes of being rescued from the top floors of the building.  It brought everything home for me in a way that watching it on TV could never do.  It was different than visiting a WWII museum, this was something that I remember happening, I remember it unfolding.  As I left there, I remember feeling a numbness in my body, as I walked down the street and looked up and saw the new One World Trade Center, there was a quietness in my mind and I knew that I would never remember 9/11 the same way again.  It was a life changing moment.

Central Park was one of my favourite spots in the city.
Central Park was one of my favourite spots in the city.

The next day, while walking through Central Park and down 5th Avenue, it really started to resonate with me and I could see why terrorists that wanted to strike at the very heart of Western Civilization would choose New York as their target.  The city is alive.  It actually breathes.  It embodies the life and spirit and values that make our civilization what it is.  Yes, it is a financial hub, and it is heavily populated and everything else that goes with the goal of crippling a nation, but more than that – it is the symbol of the life, and the freedom we enjoy but don’t often think about.  You walk down the streets of New York and you see every type of person imaginable.  All races, creeds, lifestyles, etc.  and they all share one thing in common by being there:  in New York you are who you are, and you don’t have to be sorry for it.

So we commemorate the 15th anniversary of 9/11, and remember the lives that were lost in New York, at the Pentagon, and in the field in Pennsylvania, and remember the courage of so many that day and in the days and weeks following.  We move forward in the hopes of a brighter tomorrow, and say thank you to those that fight to protect our freedom.  Every year, on this day we take a moment to remember, to reflect, and to be grateful.

And as for you New York, we will meet again – that I promise you!

Flying home - I'll be back again someday!
Flying home – I’ll be back again someday!

A Little Rant About Social Media

TweetI have something to say about something that bugs me. I love social media. This is not news to anyone that knows me. I’m all about progression, I love technology and know the way the world is going in this regard and I find it exciting because the possibilities are endless.
Everyone uses social media for a different reason. Personally I like it to keep abreast of what’s going on in the world, and I use it to share what’s going on in my life. To show our life in pictures, to share little bits about my family, my friends, and little positive bits and pieces that I find. I also sometimes share the tough stuff as it happens. Sometimes I keep that to myself. I love to see what’s going on with my family and friends. I want to see the pics of your kids and marvel at how quickly they’re growing and how cute they are. I want to see where you’re going, and what you’re seeing and possibly offer words of support to you if you need them.
What bothers me is the dark side of social media. The empowerment that a keyboard gives people is not always positive. Being able to put something out there or say something to someone without actually having to see them or talk to them makes people say things that they would never actually say if they were looking you directly in the face.
Some people just use Facebook and Twitter to spread their drama around for everyone to see. To say things without really saying anything. To rant about things or people or situations while being vague and cryptic.
Sometimes people use it to air their political views and their beefs with what’s going on in the world and in ours and other governments.
Usually when I see a lot of this stuff online, just like when I see other things that don’t interest me, I just keep scrolling. I also assume that there are folks that scroll past my endless selfies and pics of my kid and my dog, and I’m okay with that too.  Sometimes though, people take it too far. And I’m not just talking about online bullying, which is a real problem in today’s society and I’m not downplaying it at all. I’m talking about a lesson that I learned in life very young: think before you speak. Don’t be insulting. Respect others. Don’t be mean.  If there is a chance that what you’re going to say may insult someone that really doesn’t deserve it, think again before you say it. If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. I’m not saying that there aren’t sometimes difficult things that need to be discussed. Horrible things going on in the world that need to be brought to light. Action that needs to be taken and our human voices should not be silenced. We need to talk about these things and bring about change. Think about these things and let them bring perspective about what is important, and what isn’t.

Everyone has a right to their opinion and the right to express it. I know that if someone doesn’t like it they can keep scrolling. And for the most part, my feeds are filled with love and light and kids and animals and Birthday wishes and vacation pics. But the next time you sit down at your keyboard or on your phone or tablet and prepare to put something out into the universe that you feel that you absolutely have to say, ask yourself: why am I saying this? To make myself feel better? Is there someone out there that’s going to read this that is going to be hurt by my words? If this person were standing in front of me, would I say these words to their face? If you wouldn’t, there’s probably a reason for that.
There is too much devastation and hate and negativity in the world. When given the choice to add to it or not, please choose not.

The Scent of a Person

I miss her so much already.
I miss her so much already.

There’s no way around it, we all smell.  Our sense of smell is like nature’s built in time machine.  One whiff of a particular smell can take us right back to a specific time or place.  Or remind us of specific people.  The smell of a woodburning stove or campfire reminds me of my Pepere.  The smell of sawdust takes me right back to my childhood, hanging out with him in his woodworking shop while he tinkered away.

On May 30th at 4:49am, not quite a month ago, I was blessed to hold the hand of my Memere as she took her last breath and left this world to go to the next.

In my kitchen is a cabinet in the corner.  It was a present from Memere’s kids (my Mom and Aunt) on their 35th wedding anniversary.  When we moved into our house, she gave it to us.  It was the first piece of furniture to be moved in.  For the longest time, you could open the cabinet, or one of the drawers, and you could smell Memere.  At that time, it was a combination of good perfume and cigarette smoke.  It was a pleasant smell actually, and I used to smile when I went in to get my good dishes caught a whiff.

Memere quit smoking a few years ago.  At this point, I never really noticed it, but her scent changed.  It was there, when you walked into her apartment, when you hugged her or got close to her, when I sniffed something she had given me (a handbag, a scarf, etc.) but it wasn’t anything that I really paid attention to.

Now she’s gone.  And I miss her so much.  She was 90 years old, and I know that she lived a long, good life, but I still selfishly wish she was still here.  I’m not going to stomp my feet and say it’s not fair when there are children dying all over the world, and innocent people dying in acts of war or terror.  But it still sucks.  Sometimes I think that the longer a person is in this world, the more we miss them when they’re gone, because they have been a part of our lives for so long, that the void they leave is un-fillable.

After she passed, the scent that I unconsciously associated with her lingered in her apartment.  I don’t even know how to explain it.  She rarely wore perfume anymore, it’s not an “old-lady” scent, it’s just a pleasant scent that is her.  Sometimes on my lunch in the last few weeks when I knew there wasn’t going to be anyone there, I would go to her apartment on my own.  As soon as I walked in the door, the scent was there.  I would sit on the couch and cry for a while, but it was almost a soothing feeling.  Like she was around me.  Even though she wasn’t physically there in the apartment, being there with all her things, with the familiar smells, comforted me and calmed me down.

Today I walked into her apartment again.  Almost all of her things are gone.  All of the furniture has been moved out and there are just a few things left behind.  My mom has been in there cleaning, and when I walked through the door, the first smell to hit my nose was cleaning supplies.  Lysol, VIM.  Her scent is almost gone from the apartment completely.  This made me so sad.  Not that the apartment was empty, that her belongings have been handed out to those she loved, but that the scent of her, that had been so prominent in there before – was gone.  It was like it hit me (again) that she truly is gone and isn’t coming back.

I have some of her things.  A handbag, a couple of scarfs, a chair.  All of these things still smell like her, but after today I’m terrified that the scent will fade from these things too.  It already has slightly – it’s not as prominent as it was a few weeks ago.  I’m so scared that once the scent fades from these things, that it will be gone forever, and that I’ll never ever smell it again.  That the one thing that was unique to her will be gone and I’ll never get it back.  It’s not like it’s a scent that they bottle and sell, though I wish they did.

Losing someone you love hurts really badly.  The more you love someone, the more it hurts.  It’s the price you pay for love.  But it’s worth it.  Every single memory that I cherish tells me – it’s worth it.

Thankful for the Big Little Things

I'm thankful for Pumpkin Spice lattes too. #psl
I’m thankful for Pumpkin Spice lattes too. #psl

It’s Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada, and of course that got me to thinking about what I am thankful for.  I try to count my blessings daily, though sometimes after a long day where it seems like everything is going wrong, it’s hard to not focus on the struggles and concentrate on the good things instead.  I’m very fortunate in my life.  Of course I’m thankful for my son, for my husband, for my parents and grandparents. I’m thankful for my friends, who support me through good times and bad, who I share laughter and tears with.  I’m thankful for my job that I love, and for the amazing people I get to work with every day.  I’m thankful that I have a home that I love to rest my head in every night and keep my family warm and safe.  I’m thankful for my health, and being able to be active.  I’m thankful for the food on my table and the clothes on my back.

These things though, I think are pretty obvious.  I send up a quick prayer of thanks every day for these things.  What about the little things? What about the things in my life that are a huge part of my life, but I don’t really stop to think about them at all – I just take for granted that they’re there and they’ll always be there.  Today I want to be thankful for them too.

  1. Books.  We all know I love books.  That they are a big part of my life.  Reading is one of my true loves. I never stop to think about what life would be like if there were no books. Probably because I shudder at the thought.  Books were my friends through childhood (though I had other friends too 🙂 ), my escape as a teenager, and my sanctuary as an adult.  As a part of this, I also want to mention how thankful I am for my local library, that gives me unlimited FREE access to all the books I love.  It is an under utilized service that our tax dollars pay for, and with today’s technology, we simply go online, do a search for what we want to read, and place a hold.  When it’s available, you get an email to go pick it up, and you can read it for free!  Not done after three weeks?  Renew it online.  I love my library and am so thankful it is just a short walk away.
  2. Music.  We all know I love music.  But sometimes I think I just take it for granted.  My life, everyone’s life has a soundtrack, and sometimes I don’t think we’re aware of that.  Music fuels me, motivates me and moves me.  Yesterday I went out for a walk and I thought for a change I would listen to an audiobook instead of the playlist I usually do.  I love books…see above…but I made it almost halfway before I had to switch back to music.  It really makes a difference and I’m so grateful that music is woven throughout the fabric of my life.
  3. My church.  My faith and going to church is a part of my life.  Today though I looked around and really felt thankful for the sense of community that I feel there.  I am happy to raise my son in that community and excited that he gets to be a part of it.  It’s like an extension of our family and going there feels like going home.
  4. Memories.  I work for an organization that specializes in senior healthcare services.  Every day I see what the effects of Alzheimer’s and Dementia can be.  I can’t imagine what life would be like to lose all the memories that I hold dear.  Times I shared with my grandparents, some of whom are no longer with us.  Vacations we took, school memories, my wedding day, unlocking the front door of our home, the moment I found out I was pregnant with Nicholas, the day he was born.  I am so grateful that though sometimes I walk into a room and forget what I came in there for, my memories – the experiences that made me who I am – are all still intact.
  5. Breathing.  Okay, this seems obvious, because if I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t live.  But think about breathing aside from the receiving oxygen part of it.  Think about walking outside in the spring right after the rain starts and you can smell the rain in the air.  Or taking a deep breath on a crisp winter day and smelling the freshly fallen snow.  Or the smell of Memere’s beans baking in the oven.  Or being freaked out about something and focusing on your breathing and taking one breath at a time until you are calmed down again.  Sometimes I just think, as silly as it sounds, we really take breathing for granted.

I hope that everyone has an amazing Thanksgiving, and that everyone takes the time to be thankful for the little things.  Even though sometimes they are hard to see, they are there.  I’m getting ready to go and celebrate the day with our family, and will be very thankful for the meal that we will eat together.  Gobble gobble everyone!

What is Love?

Baby don't hurt me...
Baby don’t hurt me…

Love, amour, amare, amo, любовь,爱, agape, eros, älskar…..

The Concise Oxford Dictonary, Ninth Ed. describes love like this:

love n. & v.  -n. 1. an intense feeling of deep affection or fondness for a person or thing; great liking. 2. sexual passion. 3. sexual relations. 4 a a beloved one; a sweetheart (often as a form of address). Brit. colloq. a familiar form of address regardless of affection. 5. colloq. a person of whom one is fond….

Yadda yadda yadda.

After 9 definitions of the word love as a noun, it goes on to provide 4 definitions of love as a verb and the use of the word in various contexts, such as fall in love, for the love of, in love, love-hate relationship, making loveand so on and so forth.  All of which make me believe even more strongly what I am here to say today, on Valentine’s Day, when love is celebrated above all else:

There is no true description to the word love.  It means something different to everyone, in every situation. Each time the word is uttered (which is often – I also think it is the worlds most overused word) it means something different.  Love is such a vast, multi-layered complex concept, that those folks that wrote that dictionary barely even scratched the surface in their very long definition of the word.

Let us break it down.  I can only speak for myself, but I think that the general concept is universal:

I love God.  God loves me.

I love my son.  My son loves me.

I love my husband.  My husband loves me.

I love my Mom.  My Mom loves me.

I love my Dad.  My Dad loves me.

I love my friend Jolene.  My friend Jolene loves me.

I love my friend Renee.  My friend Renee loves me.

I love my friend Karen.  My friend Karen loves me.

I love all my friends (you know who you are) and they all love me.

I love my dog Sophie.  Sophie loves me.

I love reading.

I love my job.

I love being home, nice and cozy, on a cold winter day.

I love soaking up the sun on the beach on a hot summer day.

I love my cell phone.  Also my Macbook Pro.  And any kind of amazing technology.

I love shopping in Sephora, Indigo, Coach, and other various clothing and shoe stores, etc.

I love bacon, pizza, popcorn, chocolate, the smell of BBQ in the summer, the smell of baked beans in the winter.

I love to cook, bake, and create things in the kitchen.  I love to share those things with the folks that I love.

I love Harry Potter.

I love music.

I love the sound of my son’s laughter.

I love my bed.

I love cuddling.

I love a good cup of tea.

I love how you get the idea…..I’m sure you get the idea.

I just used the word love in almost 50 different ways.  Each time I typed the word, it meant something different.  Each time I typed the word I totally meant it.  Relative to the subject I was writing about.  Do I love a good cup of tea as much as I love my Mom?  Uh…no.  But I do love them both.  I love my son more than anything in the world.  I also love my husband more than anything in the world.  You may ask how I can say that.  You may think I am contradicting myself.  But I am not.  I love them both more than anything in the world, yet the love I feel for my son is so completely different than the love I feel for my husband, that there is absolutely no comparing the two.

Love is a pretty big thing.  It makes the world go around.  There is a reason why many people wait to say it in relationships, and have a hard time saying it for the first time.  It means something, or at least it should.

I hope you all have an amazing Valentine’s Day, and use this day to celebrate love.  It doesn’t matter if you’re in a relationship or not.  We are all capable of love and because of that today is for everyone, everywhere.

Enjoy!

 

It’s Been a Long Winter

Winter 1
At least someone looks like he enjoyed winter!

I think that statement is the biggest understatement of the year.  We have had an incredibly long, cold, snowy winter this year.  It was only a few weeks ago that the high temperature reached a number on the positive side of freezing, and that was only for a couple of days and then we were back to -10, -17, -29, with wind chills at times of -40.  It is only now that looking at the 14 day weather forecast (which could also be a bunch of malarky, but here’s hoping) and the high temperature is consistantly in the positive numbers every day.  This is like a heat wave.  Even though there is only 2 days in the next 14 that we are supposed to be above 10 degrees.

Winter seemed to start early this year.  Earlier than usual anyway.  The last two winters before this we barely had any snow or cold weather at all.  I don’t think we took our snowblower out of the garage once in either year.  This year probably seemed far worse in comparison to those two years, but the cold temperatures certainly didn’t help.  Since the beginning of 2014, we have been under at least 3-4 cold temperature alerts, and they tend to last for about 2 weeks at a time.  It has been brutal, and it hasn’t let up.  Every week it seemed to be about a new system, a new storm, a new pileup on the highway.

But, what can you do?  We live in Canada, we accept the winter along with the rest of the seasons.  Hopefully we have a nice long hot summer where we can spend lots of days at the beach.  That will help make up for it.

At Disney on Ice
At Disney on Ice

Overall though, we have had a good winter.  We have kept busy, and done some fun things. Back in February, we went to see Disney on Ice at Budweiser Gardens.  It’s the second year in a row we have gone now, and we really enjoy it as a family.  The look on Nicholas’ face when he sees Mickey and Donald and Goofy – is a true testament to the magic of Walt Disney.  It also adds to our conviction that we really need to try to go to Florida to take him to Walt Disney World.  I think we are going to try to go next February.  If Disney on Ice makes him excited, I can only imagine what Main Street USA will do to him.  I went when I was a kid – and again with Joe when we were engaged, and I seriously can’t wait to go back.  I really hope we get to go next year.  I really want Nicholas to experience it.

A little later on in February, we went with my parents to Great Wolf Lodge in Niagara Falls.  We drove through a snowstorm to get there (how fitting), but we had a wonderful time.  We stayed for two nights.  If you’re not familiar with GWL, it is amazing, and worth checking out, especially if you have kids.  It is a huge lodge themed resort that has an awesome arcade, bowling, mini golf in the summer, and among other things, over 100,000 square feet of water park.  The water park is simply amazing.  There are slides, a wave pool, lazy river, splash pad with bucket, hot tubs, and so much more.  We all had a really amazing time.  This place is so geared towards kids, it is so relaxed and fun, we were all really sorry to leave.  It is an awesome place for loads of family fun, and we have made plans to go back again for a couple of nights in May for Nicholas’ Birthday.  It is a bit expensive to go, but if you plan ahead, and take snacks, it can be doable.  It’s totally worth it.

The Family at Great Wolf Lodge
The Family at Great Wolf Lodge

The rest of the winter has been good.  The frigid temperatures have made it hard at times because even a beautiful sunny day can be hard because when you would normally be outside playing you can’t, because the news reports are saying that exposed skin can freeze in 2-5 minutes.  Not exactly the type of weather you want to send your kids outside to play in.  Nicholas has managed to get out tobogganing a couple of times this winter though, he got a new sled for Christmas, and has enjoyed those times out very much.

Winter 4
Out on the hill

In other news, my Mom just celebrated a Birthday this month.  She turned 65 years young.  She continues to inspire me on a daily basis with her energy, her dedication, and her ability to get things done.  She may be 65, but she really is so much younger than that.  She and Dad are selling their house, my childhood home, to move into an apartment in town.  This is going to be bittersweet for everyone I think.  It will be odd that they won’t be living in their house anymore, there were so many good memories there.  Still, it’s time.  Where they are is too much for them to comfortably look after.  It is getting to be way too much, especially for Dad, and Mom doesn’t want to live anywhere that she doesn’t feel that she can effectively look after.  Being in an apartment will be so much better for them.  No grass to cut, no snow to shovel.  They are looking forward to it, and it will mean that they will live even closer to us, so we’re happy about that too.

65 years young!
65 years young!

So that’s it for the updates I guess.  Not much else to say at this point.  We sit and we patiently wait for summer to come around again.  I look at the local forecast and it says 2 degrees.  This makes me happy!  Tomorrow is supposed to be a high of 11.  This makes me want to dance!  If you read this blog and/or know me at all, you know that I love days at the beach or by the pool, and though I do love each and every season, I am certainly excited to feel a bit of warmth when I step outside.  I’m looking forward to running out to the store or to work or wherever without having to put a coat on.  To slip on a pair of sandals and go.  Those days are coming, we just have to keep being patient I guess.

 

I just wanted to make a note about this blog.  I have a few plans for it, which include expanding the focus slightly.  There will be more about that to come in future weeks.  I know that lately I haven’t been blogging as much, and I really hope to turn that around a bit.  I haven’t had a computer at home for quite a while now, so I have had to resort to blogging when I can, and often on an iPad.  Now I love my iPad, but it is really not the greatest thing to write nice, long blog posts on.  It’s also a little hard to format the posts on the iPad.  Not for everyone maybe, but definitely for me.  I recently got a new computer for various reasons, and I’m hoping that this will lead to many many more blog posts in the future, about various topics, on a regular basis.  I know I’ve made this promise before, but now I have the tools, and I mean to use them.

Hope you’re having a great weekend, and you’ll be hearing from me soon.

 

 

 

There’s a Whole Other World Out There Kids – It’s Called YouTube

A recent conversation with a friend.
A recent conversation with a friend.

There is something about me that those who know me well will know, but I don’t think I’ve ever talked about it in this blog.  I am a total beauty junkie.  I have been obsessed since I was about 16.  I think this obsession was passed on to me from my Memere, who used to take me to drugstores and up to the Clinique counter while she chatted with the girls and tried to find the fountain of youth.  Since then, I have maintained a constant obsession with all things beauty.  Facial skin care, body skin care, makeup, fragrances, you name it.  I love it.  I can spend hours strolling through the aisles of a drugstore or the beauty section of a department store.  Sephora and Bath and Body Works are two of my happy places.

Just trying to give a bit of background here.

One thing I have never much cared about was my hair.  I grew my hair out in high school from the horrible mushroom cut that my mother subjected me to between grades 6 and 8.  Once my hair and bangs had grown out, it seemed like I put my hair in a ponytail and it stayed that way except for special occasions.  I never cared about my hair, other than the fact that it had to be clean.  I never took the 10-30 minutes that most teenage girls and women devote to styling their hair every morning.  I would wash, comb through, and throw into a ponytail. I had absolutely no idea how to properly style my hair.  I have had wonderful stylists and some amazing haircuts over the years, that looked amazing when I walked out of the salon.  Only once I got home, it would get washed the next day and go back up again.  Until about 2-3 months ago.

I don’t know if it was because I finally decided that I was 36 years old and couldn’t wear a ponytail forever, but I suddenly took an interest.  I spent some money and bought the proper tools.  I played with it.  I asked a friend for some advice.  I turned to YouTube…

Okay, it took her a while, but she finally got there…I think there’s a point coming.

I have always been the average YouTube user.  If I’m looking for a music video or an old TV show, or a particular stand up comic, I would Google it, and would end up on YouTube that way.  I never really subscribed to any channels or watched anything in particular.

So imagine my surprise when I searched for how to curl my hair with a straightener and literally hundreds of thousands of hair tutorials came up.  One caught my eye by a YouTuber with the handle missglamorazzi.  I clicked on her and my life changed forever.  I’m not even joking.  It was the start of a whole new obsession.

She has hundreds of videos.  The first thing that caught my eye was a “my shower and hair routine” video.  Seriously?  People make videos like this?  They show what products they use in the shower and for skincare and I get to watch??  Holy heck!  Wait, there’s another video here – a “what’s in my shower” video!

Let me tell ya’ll something else about myself.  This is something else that I think I got from my Memere:  I am totally one of those peek in your medicine cabinet kind of people.  I don’t actually do it, but I totally want to.  It’s not because I hope I’m going to find something private or nasty in there, I’m just genuinely interested in what you use to wash your face at night.  So these videos were totally up my alley.  She also had monthly favourites videos featuring the products and things that she had discovered or was loving that month.  Oh, and haul videos – she would go to Target, or Lush, or Sephora, and buy a bunch of stuff and then share it with her over 2 million viewers.  I honestly thought I had died and gone to Heaven.

So if there is one beauty guru on YouTube, there must be more, right?  Oh you bet there are!  I started looking in the suggestions bar and found others, and Ingrid (missglamorazzi) kept mentioning another YouTuber named Fleur.  Fleur is from the UK and is a beauty guru as well.  I started watching her videos and clicking on others from the UK like Tanya Burr and Zoe Sugg.  These girls are awesome!

So I also learned something else from watching the British girls – Tanya has a fiance named Jim Chapman.  He is a YouTuber as well, but obviously isn’t into beauty.  He just makes videos about random stuff.  He’s hilarious and a really sweet guy and he and Tanya have to be the sweetest couple on the internet.  Watching these videos made me realize that there are lots of people out there making videos about random things, and this is what they do.  This is how they make money.  Of course the exposure on YouTube has led to other things for many of these people, but it baffles my mind that someone can sit at home and make a video about things he doesn’t understand about girls and get over 400,000 hits on it.  One of those hits was me, and I thoroughly enjoyed watching it!

Anyway, this YouTube obsession has shown me that there are several awesome people out there with unique perspectives on life spending their time making interesting content for everyone to see.  These people let you in to their lives, and in most cases I truly believe that what you see is what you get.  Some of it is superficial, but much of it has made me literally laugh out loud and I have seriously learned a lot from it – especially from the beauty girls.

Anyway, if you are interested in wasting an afternoon when you should be cleaning your house or balancing your chequebook, check out a few of these channels:

Beauty Focus:

Ingrid Nielsen – http://www.youtube.com/user/missglamorazzi/videos

Casey Holmes – http://www.youtube.com/user/itsbl0ndie/videos

Fleur DeForce – http://www.youtube.com/user/FleurDeForce/videos

Zoella – http://www.youtube.com/user/zoella280390/videos

Tanya Burr – http://www.youtube.com/user/pixi2woo/videos

Tati – http://www.youtube.com/user/GlamLifeGuru/videos

eleventhgorgeous – http://www.youtube.com/user/eleventhgorgeous/videos

Bethany Mota – http://www.youtube.com/user/Macbarbie07/videos

Louise (Sprinkle of Glitter) – http://www.youtube.com/user/Sprinkleofglitter/videos

Alli – http://www.youtube.com/user/MakeupByAlli/videos

Random Focuses – These people are awesome:

Jim Chapman – http://www.youtube.com/user/j1mmyb0bba/videos

Alfie Deyes (PointlessBlog) – http://www.youtube.com/user/PointlessBlog/videos

Marcus Butler – http://www.youtube.com/user/MarcusButlerTV/videos

Tyler Oakley – http://www.youtube.com/user/tyleroakley/videos

JennaMarbles – http://www.youtube.com/user/JennaMarbles/videos

ThatcherJoe – http://www.youtube.com/user/ThatcherJoe/videos

FunForLouis – http://www.youtube.com/user/FunForLouis/videos

Sawyer Hartman – http://www.youtube.com/user/sawyerhartman/videos

There are many more I know I’ve missed, and I’m sure so many I haven’t discovered yet.

You can thank me (or track me down and slap me) later. 🙂

10 Things I Want to Teach My Kid

School
Off to school to learn stuff. But there is so much that I want to teach him that you can’t learn in school.

We are only on this earth for so long.  We only have so many opportunities to learn from life, and we learn so much from our parents, and older relatives, and those that are supposed to be smarter than us.  It’s human nature.  We learn from and emulate those that set examples for us.  Those that we love, those that we trust, those that raise us.  Sometimes we learn about the type of person that we want to be, sometimes we watch them struggle with things and resolve never to have to deal with their issues ourselves.  Either way you look at it, either way it goes, it’s still learning something.

I have a 5 year old son.  I love him to pieces.  He is the most important thing in the world to me.  People come and go in your life.  But your children come from you and they will always be yours.  You will always bear some type of responsibility where they are concerned, and it is up to us as parents to do everything we can to give them a good start.  Good values, the ability to see what is right from what is wrong, and to be able to prioritize things in life so we don’t let trivial things get in the way of what is truly important.  We need to give them the tools to have good relationships, to treat people with respect and dignity, and to grow up to be aware individuals that will contribute in a meaningful way to society.

In order to do this, we need to teach them things.  By example and by just plain telling them and showing them how.  If I leave this world tomorrow if I get hit by a bus, or 50 years from now from natural causes (what I’m hoping for) or anything in between, there are things that I want to teach my kid before I go.  Lessons that I want him to learn from me, and from my example.

The top 10 things, in no particular order are:

1. Take risks.  Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there.  If someone gives you an opportunity to do something, don’t stand back shaking your head because you’re scared.  Take the plunge and do things that are out of your comfort zone.  You’ll have a lot more regrets in life because of the things you didn’t do because you were scared than the things you did do.

2. Be responsible.  This ties in closely with taking risks.  Every little thing you do has an impact.  It impacts your life and the lives of those around you.  Always think about how your actions may reflect on others.  Think twice before you speak.  If it looks negative, think twice about it and tread very carefully.  Rely on your basic knowledge of right and wrong (which hopefully I will have taught you) when making decisions.  When you take the risks above, always be responsible and safe, never putting a whim ahead of your own safety or that of others.

3. Believe in something.  I’m raising you in the Catholic faith, as I was raised and your father  was as well.  I have you in Catholic school, take you to church, and pray with you every night.  This is my gift to you.  As you get older, your beliefs may change.  You may take different paths, begin believing in different things.  You may meet a girl (or boy – who knows?) that shows you a different way of life, a different type of faith, and that’s okay.  As long as you have something to believe in, somewhere to go, someone to pray to, a community to support you.  A good, solid belief system and set of values to live your life by, that teaches you to treat others as you want to be treated.

4. Look after yourself.  There may come a time in life where you may be alone.  You may move away from your family for a job or school, you may just live on your own sometime, doing your thing.  Know how to look after yourself.  Learn how to cook, how to do laundry (including how to properly fold a fitted sheet).  Learn how to properly clean a bathroom and remember to change your sheets once a week.  These are all important things that some people, men in particular (sorry guys, but it’s true!) never learn to do.  They wait for others to do it for them.  They eat out 4 days a week and survive on ramen noodles and Kraft Dinner the other days.  Learn to do things for yourself and you’ll never have to rely on others.

5. It’s okay to ask for and accept help.  This ties in with the above point.  While you should know how to look after yourself, it’s absolutely okay to ask for and accept help sometimes.  Sometimes you just can’t do it all alone.  Sometimes you just don’t want to do it all alone.  It’s okay to let someone you trust in to share the burdens life brings, both mental and physical.  There is no shame in it.  And chances are, those that love you will be more than happy to help if you only ask.

6. Never lose sight of who you are.  You will meet people in life that want you to change.  You know what?  Sometimes that’s okay.  Sometimes a change of behaviour is needed.  You’re not always right about everything.  There may be a better way of doing things.  But if someone asks you or tries to make you become someone you are not, or do something that goes directly against what you believe in, don’t be afraid to put on the brakes.  Don’t be afraid to stand up for what you believe in and who you are and say – “I am who I am.  If you don’t love me for it, then love me in spite of it.  But don’t try to change the essence of me, because I’m worth being me.”  Healthy relationships are wonderful, but never let someone else define who you are.

7. Money isn’t everything.  We’ve all heard it before, and we’ve all rolled our eyes at it.  Sure, money doesn’t fix your problems but it sure helps to make life easier.  Which is true.  I’ve gone through financial difficulties, and I will admit – life is a lot easier to plan when you don’t have to worry so much about where your next dollar is coming from.  It’s important to plan for your future.  It’s important to be responsible enough to make sure your bills are paid and you’re saving for retirement.  But it’s also important to live life.  Treat yourself to indulgences every now and then if you can.  Have fun.  Do things.  Don’t wait until you’re 65 and filthy rich to start living life.  Live it every day and don’t have regrets.

8. Stay in school.  Education is everything.  It gives you opportunities, it opens doors.  Even when things get hard, find a way.  Finish.  If the opportunity is there, learn more.  Always keep your mind open to learning new things.  Read, read, read.  Read anything you can get your hands on.  Books, magazines, online or in print.  Worlds can be opened to you by reading, and it’s often free.  Always remain a student – in the classroom or in life.

9. Work hard and give your best in everything you do.  If you can look back and say “I did my absolute best” you will never regret not trying hard enough.  When you work hard, people see it and you go can places because of it.  Your work ethic and reputation will precede you wherever you go.  Work hard and live up to it.

10. Love DOES conquer all.  Love people.  Allow yourself to be loved.  A safe, healthy, loving relationship is one of life’s greatest gifts.  Don’t shut yourself off from those who love you, no matter how easy it may be to do so.  Sometimes love is hard.  Sometimes it’s about loving someone so much that you realize that you need to let them go in order for you both to be happy – because together it just doesn’t work.  Don’t be afraid or shy to show your love.  Love your friends, and tell them you love them.  If someday you are blessed with children, make sure they know every night when they rest their head on their pillow that they are the most precious thing in the world to you.  Give love freely, and accept it freely…….especially from your mother.  😉

Just 10.  There are so many more.  And so many more that he has taught me or reminded me of in his five years.  Maybe that will be what my next post is about.

What’s so bad about Religion? Yeah…I’m going there.

Pope Francis
Pope Francis

Today, 115 Cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church elected this man to be our next pope.  Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina.  The first pope of the modern era that is not European.  The first ever Latin American pope.  The first pope to take his name after one of the most beloved figures in the Catholic Church – St. Francis of Assisi.

I’m not really up on my Cardinals, so I didn’t know much about this man before he stepped out onto the balcony to bless the people in St. Peter’s square.  The more I learn about him, the more I think I like him.  He seems to me like he is a humble man, not much one for luxury, seeming to prefer a more simple life.  We will see where his leadership takes us, and he is in my prayers and in the prayers of many I’m sure as he takes the leadership role of the Church in a time where there are many uncertainties, and a Church that seems divided.  This man has his work ahead of him, and I hope his papacy is one that each and every Catholic can be proud of.

I had been watching the “chimney cam” along with billions across the globe, waiting for the white smoke to signify the new pope.  I was quite excited to see the white smoke come out of the chimney.  When Pope Benedict the XVI was elected back in 2005, social media wasn’t as prevalent as it is in today’s society.  It certainly wasn’t in 1978 when Pope John Paul II began his papacy.  Today, we weren’t just watching on TV, or listening to the radio.  We were watching live feeds streaming over the internet.  Checking the “conclave” app on our iPhones.  Watching our Twitter streams and Facebook news feeds.  The moment the white smoke started, we were literally getting notifications.  Social media is wonderful as it keeps us up to date on what’s going on, and allows us to share our thoughts and feelings with our family, friends and peers.

It’s this last part that has me troubled.  Along with the “shouts of joy” that I read celebrating the vote, there were some vile and ignorant, downright rude comments as well.

I believe in freedom of speech.  I believe that everyone has a right to their opinion.  However expressing your opinion in a way that resorts to name calling and hurting other people is inappropriate and rude.  I know I don’t have to read your posts.  I know that if I don’t like what you have to say, I can simply keep scrolling, or if it offends me enough, I can unfriend you.  But why should I have to?

This is a blog about food.  It’s also a blog about books.  It’s a place where I post funny videos, pictures, and talk about things that are important to me.  This is not a political blog, or a religious one.  But if I’m to talk about things that are important to me, I’m going to go there.

I am a cradle Catholic.  Born, baptized as an infant, and raised.  I attended a Catholic elementary and high school, and for the most part, have attended church every Sunday for most of my life.  I have had times where I haven’t been as good about that as others, but I always end up coming back.  My faith has helped me through a lot of very difficult times throughout my life and I am thankful for it.

I believe in God.  I believe in the teachings of my church.  I think that in a lot of ways, my church has got things right.  I think abortion is wrong.  I believe in life from conception to natural death. (I don’t want to debate this here, I know that there are many people who disagree, and this isn’t about that.)  I also believe that there are a lot of things that are consistent with today’s society that the Catholic Church has not modified their stance on.  Gay marriage, contraception, pre-marital sex, are examples of these.  I am a very tolerant person.  I believe we are all equal.  I have a hard time believing that God is going to condemn a good person to burn in hell for simply loving someone else – just because they are the same gender.  But that is my opinion, and again, I’m not going to debate all these finer points with anyone.  That’s not the point of this post, and I won’t let anyone make it the point.

My problem is people that have such a problem with God, or with Catholics in general, Jewish people in general, Muslims in general.  I believe in the teachings of the Catholic faith.  This does not mean that I think Jewish people are idiots, or that Muslims and Buddhists are morons.  Or that Atheists and Agnostics are ridiculous.  Part of being a human being is to accept others, their faiths, and try to learn from them, no matter their beliefs.  Many people say that God and religions start wars.  I don’t believe this to be true.  God does not start war.  People start wars.  People with misconstrued visions of God, and of religion, that can use their faith as an excuse to wage war on others.  People blame God for many things, but it is not God, but the stupidity of man that has gotten us into the situation we are in.

There are a lot of horrible things that have happened throughout the years surrounding different religions.  People who have died and killed many in the name of God.  Scandals of many kinds in the church.  Horrible child abuse scandals.  These are bad, no doubt about it.  There aren’t words to describe how bad.  I believe that these men should be tried by the law, as many of them are nowadays, and the fact that they wear a collar should not protect them from this.  What we need to realize is that the Church, as are all religions, are run by humans.  Simply humans.  Not all priests molest little boys.  In fact, I think it’s safe to say that the majority of them don’t.  One priest, one person who abuses is too much.  But to quote a friend, don’t paint everyone with the same brush.  I have met some priests that are wonderful, God fearing, loving, intelligent men.  I find it hard to believe that any man has entered the priesthood for any reason other than they were called by God and had answered that call.

We need to stop looking at each other and judging each other based on the faith that we practice and start looking at each other as humans, and respecting each others beliefs.   If everyone just stopped for 10 seconds, and thought about that, who knows, maybe there would be fewer wars.  I know for sure that there would be fewer people pissed off in social media.

Hatred feeds hatred.  Love feeds love.

Peace.

No big deal…he just jumped from OUTER SPACE

I sat riveted to the live stream yesterday, along with 8 million other people, as I watched Felix Baumgartner jump from 128,000 feet and actually land on his feet.  He broke a few records while he was at it – as you can imagine.

Just in case ya’ll missed it – here is a quick clip with the highlights.  Absolutely amazing.

What next world?  It really seems like there’s nothing we can’t do without hard work, daring, pure talent, and a good sponsor.