Tuesday, October 23, 2012

30 Things - #17

To see what this is all about click here

I'd forgotten all about this and then noticed in my blog stats that someone had been reading the first 16 things...so I thought I should continue.

17. What is the thing you most wish you were great at?

I wish I was great (or even good for that matter) at small talk.

Yup, small talk.

See, when I'm with friends talking is no problem. I can talk about anything. If I'm with strangers I can talk about work - I'm good at my job and I love my career and can talk endlessly about it. I can also talk about cancer - not such a fabulous topic but unfortunately one I'm more learned in than I ever wanted to be.

But to be in a group of people (strangers or even acquaintances) and make conversation off the cuff - I'm terrible at it. And I think it hinders me. I think it makes it harder for people to get to know me. I think people mistake my shyness for snobbishness and that's just not the case.

In fact, I'm a nice, witty, intelligent person and I have a fun, wild side to me. It just takes me some time to relax and show that.  I'm an observer and I like to watch people, learn what they're about and try to engage them with that but time is not always on my side for that.


Maybe I need to wear a sign.


                                       

or

                                     


or how about this?

                                      

 

or, just for shiggles, how about one of these?


 

 


                                    

Okay, so not the last three - though some days I feel like that. Don't we all?


Saturday, October 20, 2012

Halloween Hell!

Halloween is just around the corner.

I used to love halloween. Now, I simply dread it. For me, halloween has become a nightmare...almost as horrible as shoe shopping for Emily.

Let's examine the selection, shall we?

There's this.......


 
 
 
 
Or this......
 
 



Or even this......




I should mention - these are costumes that are listed in the TEEN girls section. Yep, you read that right. These aren't costumes I found at the Stag Shop. These are costumes from a large chain party store for teens. 

Are you shitting me? Do I want my 13 year old out looking like she's turning tricks for treats? No, not so much.

Now, in the interest of fairness they do carry more appropriate attire.


 
 
 
 



These are all much more appropriate costumes...with one problem. She's not 5. She doesn't want to be a witch, or a queen. 

Last year she put together a costume from bits and pieces she found at Claire's and was a bumblebee.
This year I think she's settled on an 80's costume - thankfully neon is making a comeback with the kids and it will lessen the financial impact of this costume.

As for me - I ran into the same problem; finding a costume that didn't look like I shopped at Sluts R Us. I'm all for being Superwoman or Bat Girl but if my ass cheeks are showing I'm thinking it's not really kindergarten appropriate.

I've settled on something that will stand the test of time; it will be relevant and appropriate for my job this year and for many many years to come.
 

 


 




Friday, October 12, 2012

People Need to Give Their Head A Shake!

I like to surf the internet in the morning before work. It's quiet, everyone is asleep, I can check my email and read the news in peace.

This morning I saw something posted on my friend's facebook page, a link to a news story about a young girl from the west coast. She made a YouTube video about her life - about her pain. You can see it here.  If you've skipped the link - don't.

I don't like to start my day with sadness or anger - who does? But watching this video made me think of my own teenage daughter and her friends.

I think every parent dreads the thought of their child being bullied. No one wants to see their child suffer. I think what scared me more about the video was the thought that my child could be one of those bullies.  I'm not saying my kid is a shithead in any way and I don't think she's a bully but I think we'll all agree that not standing up for someone who's being bullied - or at the very least not doing something to help someone who is being bullied makes you just as guilty.

I know how hard it is to be a kid. I remember. I was bullied - through most of my elementary school life. And not just by the students. I can remember as clearly as if it happened yesterday - my 7th grade teacher saying to me "When I told the class you were going to be moving into this class they were all upset and didn't want you here." What the fuck kind of thing is that to say to a 12 year old girl??  And 27 years later is sticks with me. (I'd have words for that teacher if our paths ever crossed again - I can promise you that!)

But I was also lucky. Suicide is not something I ever considered. I don't know if it just wasn't bad enough for me, if I was just stronger or what - but for so many young people.....they just see it as the only option. Obviously this young girl did. Unless you're familiar with the story or read the comments on the video, you may not know - that girl took her life earlier this week.

I had a hard time functioning today. I couldn't stop thinking of that poor girl. I couldn't stop thinking of my own girls. One bad decision and it ruined her life. No ones life should be ruined because of one mistake.

Technology makes it so easy for kids these days to be nasty. It's easy to hide behind a screen and say terrible hurtful things. It's easy for them to convince themselves that what they are doing really isn't that wrong. And because our kids are so addicted to their devices - it's hard for them to escape it.

When I started writing this post I titled it Kids Need to Give Their Head a Shake but then it occurred to me, this isn't just about kids. Adults are bullies too. I saw it first hand at work. I had a coworker who was treated like shit by just about everyone until it got unbearable for him and he left. And I was sad because I took the time to get to know him and while he has his quirks - he was also the kindest, most genuine, compassionate person I've met in a while. He's thoughtful and funny (if you like his brand of humor - not high brow by any means but still funny) And it saddened me to see people treat him so poorly.

I made a point of always treating him well. I didn't hide it. I didn't care if the others didn't like me because of it. I won't make an apologies for being kind to another person - whether you like them or not. But - I'm comfortable in my own skin. I'm not looking for acceptance. I just need acceptance from myself.

Most teenagers aren't wired that way though.

I showed Emily the video. We talked about it - both from the point of view of being bullied and feeling hopeless but also about being a bully - whether it be directly or by standing aside and letting it happen. I've tried to instill in her that if she's not comfortable enough with coming right out in defence of someone (which makes her a target too - I get it) that she needs to tell a teacher or a parent or anyone...until someone listens and helps. If she can't be the one to help - she can be the one to get help. But standing by and watching someone hurt so bad that they feel like life is not worth living anymore.....we just can't do that.

That girl had her whole life ahead of her.....

Let's all hope that this terrible tragedy isn't in vain - that her life - her death will inspire others to stand up and stand beside those who need someone.

Rest In Peace Amanda.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Let's Give Thanks


It's Thanksgiving weekend in Canada. We have it much earlier here because, we'll, we're more northern and therefore our harvest is much sooner.

Tomorrow is our actual Thanksgiving Day but most people celebrate it on Sunday so they can relax and enjoy the day off work on Monday. We're doing ours tomorrow with the hubs' family.

Thanksgiving has never been a really big deal in our house. There have been many years that we didn't do anything at all. Of course, there was also that infamous year that when we went around the table saying what we were thankful for my Dad half joked "I'm just thankful to still be here."  It was his last thanksgiving.

This year is different though. This year I've got a lot to be thankful for. Not that I didn't in years past but this year it's more in your face.

So, in keeping with the day, I'm going to tell you all that I'm thankful for.

In the words of my Dad, I'm thankful to still be here.

Really.

I was in a very different place at this time last year and though I was thankful for a lot, I wasn't sure what was going to happen with my life - quite literally.

I am here, I am healthy and I am looking forward to only 2 more of my maintenance treatments before I'm officially finished cancer treatments.

I'm thankful for my husband. He gets me. He understand my quirks, my tolerates my moods and he loves me no matter how fat I get. He knows what to say, when to say it and how to say it. He's my rock.

I'm thankful for my kids. I know so many (too many!) women who have lost their children or haven't been able to have children and I never want to take mine for granted. They really are a blessing from God. I've be lost without them. They are the reason I fought cancer as hard as I did because they really are my reason for being.

I'm thankful for my family - my Mom, my brothers, my IL's (yes, I'm one of those rare breeds who actually likes her in laws)  They have all helped me to become the person I am.

I'm thankful for my friends. They are the ones who, over the past year, were my cheering section, my pick me up when I was down and, for some of them, the few people outside of my immediate family who didn't seem to be appalled by my making 'one boob' jokes.

I'm thankful for all I've been blessed with in my life: my home, job, ability to live my life and provide a life for my family that is really very comfortable.

I'm thankful for cancer.

No, you didn't read that wrong.

I'm thankful because it gave me perspective - one I was missing. It gave me a renewed appreciation and love of life, of my family and of my friends. It brought new people into my life who I've come to care about a great deal.

I know that not everyone would see cancer as a gift. I'm sure if I were not well, if I'd not beaten it or had I been terminal then I might see things differently.  But for me, for my journey - while it was a gigantic, horrible nightmare, I was able to find something good in it too.

And I'm thankful for you, dear reader. While I'm sure I would still write it even if no one read it, I quite enjoy that someone does. I hope you find within it some joy, hope, laughs, inspiration and maybe even something that keeps you thinking long after you've turned off your computer.



Saturday, October 6, 2012

Birthdays

My baby boy is turning 5 next week. I can't believe how time had flown.

I can still remember the terrifying night he was born and how we thought we were going to lose him. His cord was wrapped around his neck not once but twice and when his head came out he was (from what I'm told) a terrible shade of purple. It took a long time for the Dr to get in and for them to get his cord fixed and delivered.

The most beautiful sound I ever heard was Connor crying just after they'd rushed him from my room to the NICU.  He only stayed there for two hours for monitoring.

Next week we're having a birthday party for him. He's having a glow in the dark mini putt party. He's invited 15 boys from his class. Yep. 15  five year old boys. Yahoo!!

I am paying the girls to help me with the party because they'll be in groups of 4. I don't know how many parents are going to stay - some of the kids coming are only 4 (actually a few could very well be 3) and though I don't know any of the parents - some people are okay with leaving their young ones at a party alone.

It got me to thinking about the first 'friend' birthday party I took Emily to. It was also the last friend birthday party I've taken any of my kids to.

It was a little girl she was at daycare with. It would have been the little girl's 3rd birthday.

I was (am) painfully shy and didn't do well in social situations where I don't know anyone. I am quiet, observant and withdrawn and I don't do small talk well. But I took Emily to the party because every now and then I like to challenge myself. Plus, Emily had been in the daycare for a while and I knew a few of the parents.

So, I showed up to the party 5 minutes after the scheduled start time. Yes, I know, I usually show up everywhere 5 minutes early but my rational for this was that I could come in after a couple of people were there and quietly join in.

But - I was the only one there. Besides the girls family we were the only 'guest' invited. And - even more awkward, the rest of the family wasn't actually showing up for another 2 hours.

I've had cancer. And the 3 hours I spent at that party were far worse. And no, I'm not being melodramatic. Even 10 years later I get anxious thinking about how awkward, uncomfortable and miserable I was at that party. I couldn't wait to get out of there. Finally, 3 hours later and before we even had cake I made an excuse about why we were going to have to leave and went. I almost cried when we left.

Two interesting things came out of that party.

The first was that it was the first time we'd ever been given a loot bag that cost probably as much as the gift we'd brought. It was full of toys, candy and even clothes from Children's Place.

The second was that I vowed that until my kids were old enough to be able to go to a party without Mommy that they weren't going to a party for someone I didn't know well. And I've stuck with that. My mom has been kind enough to take the kids to a few parties through the years but I just can't do it. I can't put myself in that awkward situation again and I figure if they are young enough that I still need to go to a party with them, they are young enough to forget pretty easily that they aren't going to a friends party.

It's a good thing not everyone is like me, otherwise Connor wouldn't have anyone at his party.

I'm looking forward to it.

My baby is growing up.