Author Archives: kerryreneemarie

Home. My true Connect post.

After reading all the post Connect posts on my Facebook and on the Connect Tribe facebook page, I’ve felt compelled to write out my thoughts that have been flooding my brain the past few days. I know I’ve already written about it this year, but this post will be about the years, the memories of Connect past.

I began going to parties here in Winnipeg back in 2001, but I had heard about the old Warehouse parties since the late-nineties. Not having any friends who would have gone with me (as they weren’t the “electronic dance music” types), I never went. I remember listening to 91.1 on Saturday nights and wondering what that kind of life was like. Fast forward to 2000 and I was supposed to go to the first Tranceformers party, about an hour south of the city, but the people I was supposed to go with ditched me and left me without a ride there. Honestly, I think had I gone to that party, it would have been the only one I would have gone to. I didn’t know anyone in the scene at the time and my friends never went back to another one after that time.

I met people in the scene at a local bar and became friends with a few of them, they convinced me to go with them to my first party, “Chemical Attractions”, it was a sweaty mess, but oh so much fun. I met many new people that night who became my friends for the next several years. They also introduced me to #p-raves and #popup, both were online IRC channels that were for the Winnipeg and Saskatchewan rave scenes. There, I met a whole world of new people whom I was and am happy to call my friends. We had the same backgrounds of loving the “underground” music, loved going to “raves” which was frowned upon in regular society.

My first Connect was in 2002, the last year at MacLean’s. I had been convinced by Dan and Randal that I should go, that I would love it. And boy I did. I don’t remember much about that year, but I do remember meeting lots of new Saskatchewan people, getting “lost” with Dan on an evening wander, and dancing under the stars with new and trusted friends. I made sure that I would return the following year. That year was the first year at Besant and I met so many more new people, hung out with the No-Town crew and added so many more memories to the already growing list of memories. The year it rained all weekend and it we only got maybe an hour of sun all weekend (I can’t remember which year that was), dancing in mud to Romeo Kardec at 5am, watching friends dance on the speakers and just about fall off because they were slippery. From tie-dye shirts, to field hangouts with good friends, lots of laughs and hiding in tents from the rain. Being blindsided and tackled by someone from NoTown while sitting on a camping chair and breaking it countless times over the years, to watching Rob wrestle with one of the random guys from NoTown ending up with a goose egg in the middle of his forehead. There are so many more memories that were made and countless number of laughs. 2004 was the year of the megaphones from both Craig and Mich, and a lot of us wanting to scream from our tents at 6am as Mich and Craig asked if “the robots wanted to party?” and that the garbage cans were “made for percussion” as we were all trying to sleep.

I only missed 2006 and 2008, and both of those years, I felt like something out of my summer was “missing” because I wasn’t going home. I haven’t missed since 2009 and would always make sure that I would be able to attend.

I met my current group of friends in 2009, through a couple of people on the now defunct online message board Mixhard. These guys created so many more new memories and Camp Hail Damage was born a few years later. After a couple of years of hanging out with them at Connect, I knew I was supposed to be with them. That this was part of my chosen family. Their weirdness meshed well with mine, although they’re much more weird than I am ūüėČ The loyalty and love shows through and through with them. Yes, we’re loud and can be overly obnoxious but it wouldn’t be us if we weren’t.

Hanging out at NoTown Bar the past few years was always a highlight of the weekend (“Fuck you Greg Eversoul” will always make me laugh), along with the 7 years of Beer Pong Tournaments and having Kayla as my partner for 6 of the 7. Getting to see countless number of amazingly, talented DJ’s both international and local, dancing until my knees, feet and ankles are so sore and getting to meet some of the best people I’ve ever met and this year meeting so many more new people, I’m happy to call friends. The wanderings between the Temple stage & the Garden and almost always running into someone you knew, trying to see DJ’s who played at the same time but you don’t want to leave one set because you can’t stop dancing.

All of these things I wrote about will forever be engraved in my brain and the pictures I’ve taken over the years will be cherished. Connect has helped shape me into the person I am today, it was my “home away from home” and it always grounded me, I would turn off my phone for 4 days to be able to disconnect from the real world. I would always return home feeling refreshed and ready to face the rest of the summer head on before the “real world” of the regular day to day job (aka the school year) would begin.

Thank you to Jeff and all of the Connect Tribe, (including those people gained and lost over the years) you made a festival worth returning to year after year. It became more of a family reunion for me than a music festival. I would look forward to the weekend where I could see my friends from Saskatchewan and Alberta that I only see once, maybe twice a year. ¬†All of your hard work and dedication over 22 years is definitely an accomplishment. To NoTown and Hail Damage for the countless number of laughs and memories, and all the other people I’ve met over the years. Thank you.

Next summer will be different without making that 7 hour drive to go “home” to Connect. There is a new festival in the works called Emotion Arts & Music festival (that I’m more than happy to be helping out with) and I’m really hoping that people come our way this time, to create new and long lasting memories. Because we all have to stick together, and create a new “home”.

‚̧

Advertisements

Connect Terminus

Connect has come and gone, but this time for the final time. The festival that has become my “home away from home” for the past 15 out of 17 years has called it quits after 22 years. I know all good things eventually do come to an end, but I know lots of us Connect veterans are sad of it’s termination.

There have been so many memories made, people that I’ve met and some I can call part of my chosen family, countless number of laughs and awesome times over the years. And not to mention, listening to all the amazing acts that the Connect Tribe has brought in year after year.¬†The people who have gone every year are like minded, non judgmental people. We all are there for a good time, to forget about the real world for a few days and I know for me, I come back home a bit more grounded after the weekend.

This year was no different. I’ve had better years there, but it was still lots of fun. It all started Friday on literally no sleep and leaving the city at the ungodly hour of 4:30am to arrive at Besant at around noon. We set up our camp with our group and the chaos began. I have no voice to prove it from yell-talking all weekend. I hid from the rain for most of the night on Friday, thankfully was able to somewhat catch up on the lack of sleep.

Some of the highlights of the weekend:

  • Fancy Friday — our group danced around in the most fanciest (aka ugly) shirts that we could find, it was entertaining.
  • Beer pong tournament on Saturday. Minus the fact that it was raining, we were still able to play down by the main stage under one of the canopies.
  • Best of three against Adam and Erin in the beer pong tournament; Erin and I kept on going after the rebounds, getting super competitive. She even full on body checked me at one point, knocking me to the ground. Couldn’t stop laughing about it.
  • Getting to see old friends whom I hadn’t seen in years, meeting their kids and having their youngest daughter ask me if I was “okay” as I was about to go shower. She made my Sunday morning.
  • Getting to hang out with lots of great people that I usually only get to see at Connect.
  • Some of the best sets of the weekend for me: US Marshall’s sunrise set on Saturday morning (which I was always asleep for in previous years), Deko-ze, Freestylers, JFB, MonkeyTwerk, Kytami, J.A.DJ, Chaos Theory.

Thank you Connect tribe for everything you’ve ever done for us. It’ll never be forgotten and always be appreciated. You’ve helped shaped me into the person I am today ‚̧ It’s bittersweet that it’s over.

20729570_10159208905480581_8421851927386753062_n

Fringe review of 4.48 Psychosis

I went to go see a Fringe play tonight directed by a dear friend of mine, Kendra Jones. She took on the extremely dark and often put on the back burner subject of mental illness by directing the play called “4.48 Psychosis” by the late Sarah Kane who took her own life in 1998.

Liz Whitbread played this unnamed woman who was extremely depressed, anxiety ridden with such force and brutality (in a good way) that I’m sure that most of the audience felt her pain as she cried out for help, withering around in her space on the floor. I watched her in some very uncomfortable positions (at one time you could see her calf muscles tighten because of how far she was pointing her toes) as the “voices” kept going, telling her things that she unfortunately had no control over because of the anxiety and depression. I honestly felt her character’s pain, knowing how she felt in certain scenes because of my personal experiences and seeing close family members who live with mental illness suffer in an episode.

Kendra’s vision of the setting was simple, open for interpretation but all it had were 4 pieces of wood, attached by hinges that were at first left open, in a shape of the number seven. Symbolizing that she was open to get help, open to talking. As the play goes on, she closes the shape into a rectangle that I saw as her bed, she was closing everyone out, she was shutting down. In the corner of the staged area, there was a looping machine and a microphone. She would say certain words, phrases and loop them over and over as she was clearly in distress. The sound design was chilling with deafening silence at points, and muddled sounds on repeat; the sound that one with a mental illness might experience in their own heads.

A quote that really stuck out for me: “Please. Don’t switch off my mind by attempting to straighten me out. Listen and understand, and when you feel contempt don’t
express it, at least not verbally, at least not to me.”

If you’re in need of help, please know that it is out there. Contact a trusted friend, your doctor or your local suicide hotline. You’re never alone.

The play runs until Saturday with shows tomorrow, Friday and Saturday at RRC on William (venue 11). But be aware, if you’re in a dark place mentally, I wouldn’t suggest seeing it as it’s extremely dark.

Lest we forget.

Tomorrow is Remembrance Day here in Canada and it’s a time to reflect and thank our veterans and those who lost their lives in all the wars over the years.

img_20140511_193240

My grandpa (on my dad’s side)

Both of my grandfathers were soldiers for Canada in WW2, I don’t know the story of my dad’s dad, but I know the story of my mom’s dad’s time. All of this information I know about his time overseas is second hand, from my uncles and grandmere, as he never talked about it when he was alive, I can understand why, it wasn’t a pretty time, full of sunshine and rainbows. I have a “letter” that was written by one of my uncles but it was written from my grandpere’s point of view (from what my uncle was told by his dad), this is where I’ve gotten this story.

 

My grandpere didn’t join the Canadian Royal Air Force until 1942 and was sent over to Gloucester,¬†England in 1943 where he completed his training. The squadron he joined, #415, was based in Leeds, and most of the missions that they flew were done at night, from 8 or 9 p.m. – 2 or 3 a.m. He was a co-pilot and flight engineer on one of the Lancaster bomber planes. The last flight they were on, they were being shot at from the ground by anti-aircraft fire and were hit on the wing, and the with the fuel tanks being on the wings, it would be a short time before the plane itself would be completely on fire so they were told to evacuate.

My grandpere grabbed a flashlight and attached it to the top of one of his boots and jumped out of the burning aircraft. As he pulled the rip cord of the parachute, it would not open, he started to panic and tried to open the small parachute from his chest. It eventually opened and he landed on the ground, separated from his squad. He had lost one of his boots, the one with the flashlight attached to it and buried his parachute, which he had been instructed to do. He later regretted burying the parachute though, as it would have kept him warm during the night. So he wandered around aimlessly, not knowing where he was, with one boot, both socks on the other foot and hoping to find a place to hide before daylight.

He came up to a bridge and hid under that the whole next day, making himself as small as he could, but he was miserable and cold.Once it got dark again, he thought it was safe to leave his hiding place and he tried to get his bearings, hoping he was walking in the right direction, towards Switzerland and freedom. He walked all night, but didn’t meet anyone.

As daylight returned, he saw a sign on the side of the road and quickly read the name and located it on the map that he had in his survival kit.He laid there, crouched on the ground, nervous, scared, cold and hungry, and a young boy came by on a bicycle. Short while later, the German police came and he was taken prisoner.

15003451_10157759155655581_8173310069556967036_o

My grandpere’s POW card

Along with other prisoners, they were taken on long forced walks, and whenever possible, they would steal potatoes from farmers fields or whatever they could because they were starving. They were spat at, kicked and yelled at. “Kanada shiiwne” was shouted whenever Canadian prisoners were seen by civilians who were also suffering. (not sure of the translation of the word “shiiwne” from German to English. But I think it might mean “shit”. “Kanada” means “Canada”). An American prisoner had a mouth organ and he would play songs during their marches. His favourite song was “The Yellow Rose of Texas” which was able to help the gloom a bit. That song remained in my grandpere’s memory, likely until the day he died.

 

They finally arrived at a Stalag in Mooseburg, Germany, and the compound held about 15,000 prisoners. Food had been rationed all over Europe and so whatever was available, was very meager. They ate thin soup at dusk so they couldn’t see the grubs in it, they slept on the bare ground of the camp. He was held prisoner for a few months, but it felt like an eternity.

The Stalag was liberated on April 29th and they were free. My grandpere eventually made his way back to Canada and back to St. Claude, Manitoba where he returned to his family, friends and his bride to be (my grandmere).  grandmere-grandpere

My brother and I had asked my grandmere at her birthday if her and my grandpere were together when he left to go to war, she told us that she was, but she didn’t want to marry him before he left, just in case he didn’t come home. But he survived, came home, had a beautiful family, 6 kids, many grand kids and grand kids (who never got to meet him, but I’m sure he would be proud of them).

This year, I work with refugee kids, many of them Syrian, some of them, victims of war. I can’t imagine what they’ve seen, what they’ve gone through. We had our Remembrance Day assembly yesterday at school and some of the students sang this song. Very fitting.

So tomorrow, think of those who have risked their lives for our freedom, those who lost their lives and those who have lost loved ones because of wars.

Something to make you think.

I spent the day today with my student at a Holocaust symposium, I had to note-take for her but the whole day was definitely an eye opener.

115166_008.JPG

Pinchas Gutter РHolocaust survivor. РPicture credit Ottawa Jewish Bulletin. 

The morning was spent listening to a Polish Jewish man who had survived the Holocaust… the Warsaw ghetto uprising, 6 death camps and a death march at the end of the war. He had to endure losing his family in the death camps, and somehow managed to push through it all. He made a friend, whom towards the end of the war, was selected to be killed. He thought that his best friend was killed and he mourned him more than anyone else. By the time he was 13, he was alone and an orphan. He experienced a bunch more discrimination in his life after, abuse from people and other things.

He said that a few years ago, he read an article that was published for the society that is in, and this author was in a lot of the same camps as he was and so on. He contacted the author and said that he wanted to meet him, so they met in Warsaw… turned out that the author was his best friend, the same man that he thought he had lost many years before! Apparently his friend had bit one of the soldiers so hard and then was able to escape into the forest. They did everything they could to survive back then, including biting guards, faking deaths and more.

Listening to his story (and typing it out… as much as I could anyways), I’ve been going back to it in my mind all day. As he told us this story, I thought about all the innocent people who lost their lives, all the innocent people who fought for freedom, risked their lives, all the people who helped those Jews and other targeted people hide or escape. I thought about my Grandp√®re who was a co-pilot for the Canadian army and who spent time in a work camp after his plane was shot down and captured by the Nazis.

The man made a few good points and when the time came for question & answer, one of the students asked him how he was able to survive. He, had at the start of his story explained his family’s history and how they had been wine makers for hundreds of years. He then said because of how close he was with his father, and everything that they had gone through, that as long as he was alive, both his father and grandfather were a part of him. He didn’t want them to die since they were his angels. He said that since he had gone through a lot in his life, he was more open to helping others, he doesn’t have hatred and doesn’t regret anything in his life

It was incredibly moving.

The afternoon session was just as moving, it was by a girl who was born in a refugee camp in Iraq. She showed pictures of the camp and of her experiences. She told us about how she tried to hide who she really was once they moved to Winnipeg in 2001, and all the hardships she’s had. She told us how appreciative of the teachers she had here since when the fleed the camp, she only had a grade 2 education and she was put into a grade 9 class because she was 15.

Her main points were more geared towards the students who were still there since she’s much younger than the morning speaker. She reminded them to be proud of who they are, to be proud of where they came from and to not hide their true identity. And that she has been wanting to start a movement where there is less hatred and bigotry in the world. That we should all be accepting of everyone around us, no matter their religion, their race, their culture.

After typing over 10 thousand words, and 90-something pages later, I hit “save” for the last time and my student and the other student who had joined us both cheered, put their hands on my shoulders and thanked me profusely and said that I did a good job, considering I was the only note-taker.

Seriously, my job is harder than you think! But that being said, today was a good day, it’s made me think about life and that we should all be a lot more kinder to each other and we should never let history repeat itself.

If anyone has a chance to ever see either Mr. Gutter or Kobra Rahimi speak about their experiences, do so. They definitely opened my eyes to humanity. The world needs more people like them.

I’m exhausted.

Love, not war

As I sit here, trying to figure out how to describe how I feel about all the craziness that has been going on on Facebook and other social media for the past week, I’m overcome with a sense of sadness. A sense of sadness towards those innocent lives that have been lost, those innocent lives who have been trying to flee their homes because they’ve been through hell due to the wars in their countries, those who have lost loved ones because of other people’s senseless and destructive acts. There has been too many bombings, attacks and killings lately. Too many people pointing fingers and blaming one specific religion, grouping everyone into the same group. That all Muslim people are “terrorists”. Mainstream media and other groups have been instilling fear into people who aren’t aware, who aren’t educated in the subject of that religion.¬†The more fear is instilled in the general public (aka you and I), the more the group doing this wins. The more hatred they see, they win again. We can’t show them that, they want hate, they want war. I’ve seen a few videos on Facebook over the past couple of days that shows exactly that. It shows that we cannot show fear or hatred. That we have to stand up, united and go upon our daily lives. That we still need to be trusting of others since not everyone is a terrorist.

If only all fathers were like this one. ‚̧

12243403_10156247857950581_4405667613859825433_n¬†As sad as what happened last Friday in Paris, don’t just “pray” for Paris, but hope for peace for Syria, for Beirut, for Iraq and all the other places where innocent people have lost their lives because of this “war”, these inexcusable acts of terrorism. What you and I can do is be nice to everyone, don’t accept xenophobic comments on your social media, accept and care for those who aren’t the same race, religion, culture or whatever than you. Learn about the Muslims, learn their values, their religion, don’t just go and dump them into that “terrorist” group just because they’re different.

I hope that one day, for our future generations, they won’t have to live in fear, that they can still live in a free country and have all the rights that ¬†we, here in Canada have. After all, all we want is love, not war right?

Where has the time gone?

Where has the time gone? Summer flew by as it always does and we’re back into the swing of things with the school year already a month into it. My summer was awesome as it always is, the 6 weeks of work with the day-camp was entertaining, as always; Connect was spectacular (I love being able to see my out of town friends, it’s very much like a family reunion); MEME was hectic with all the volunteering I did and then I visited friends in Calgary the weekend after which was exactly what I needed. It was relaxing for the most part, unlike the last time I was there which was a whirlwind of a weekend.

School year is back in full swing, I’ve been moved once again to a different school. (This is what happens when you have a special skill, mine being sign language), it’s been crazy hectic, I’ve mostly been computerized note-taking for a couple of hard of hearing grade 9 students. But it makes the day fly by. I miss my old school though, just as you get settled in, there’s a chance you get moved because of student needs (or lack there of).

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving here in Canada, and it’s been an absolutely gorgeous weekend. Normally, in the middle of October, we’re seeing the leaves changing colours and falling, the sun is setting much earlier making the days shorter. The days and nights are also normally much cooler/chillier. Not this weekend, though, I was able to do the much needed yard work in a t-shirt and jeans and not have to worry about getting cold. The sun was warm, it was about 24c, much warmer than normal for October. I got a lot done yesterday with the yard, just have a little more to do, but I don’t want to let the last bit of summer go just yet, some of the plants haven’t died yet in my front flower bed, so they’ll stay there a bit longer.¬†¬†I’m sad to see summer go, it’s never long enough here. Winter is long, and usually cold. It brings hibernation, warm hoodies, blankets, hot chocolate and hockey. (at least there’s something good about it, hockey! lol)

I’m grateful for a lot of things, my wonderful, supportive family, my amazing friends (aka my chosen family), my house, my cats (who are like my kids), a free country that will hopefully be changing for the better on the 19th (GO VOTE! I did yesterday!) and so much more.

¬†As for today, I’ll be relaxing at home, watching movies and trying to figure out why my cell is being sketchy. I think I’ll have to back it up and factory reset.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving to all of you reading if you’re in Canada ūüôā

the countdown is on!

I haven’t written anything in a while… it’s been a combination of not really having anything of importance to say and kind of forgetting I had a blog. Oops, my bad, sorry guys. (No, really, I am)

But as I was sitting on my couch, listening to music and refreshing the evil world of Facebook, I realized that I should probably mention that the school year is finally coming to a close! The kids have 14 1/2 days left… SO close to being done for the year!! Being a part of the staff, we’ve all been counting down those days, it can’t come soon enough. The kids are all pretty much on summer mode too, nobody really wants to do work, everyone just wants to stay outside while it’s been nice out. And really, I don’t blame them. At all. I want to do the same! All in good time.

There are so many things that I’m looking forward to this summer.

  1. The first being this Saturday, when my friend Anj will be coming in for a visit. (This is a girl I only really see once a year at our usual music festival in Saskatchewan.) I’m stoked that she’s coming in to visit family but she wants to hang out too!
  2. The next thing, after school is done, one of my best friends, Mikaela, is coming to visit for the weekend. I haven’t seen her in a year and a half, 24 more days! I think the plan that weekend is for us to go to¬†Bridge Party¬†on the Saturday, should be a good time. Last year’s was a blast.
  3. The 6 weeks of awesome work I have this summer with a day-camp program that is run by the city. If its mostly the same staff as the past few years, we have a blast together, it really flies by tho.
  4. August long weekend is of course my usual music festival in Saskatchewan,¬†Connect. This will be my 13th year going, its more become more of a family reunion for me. A place I get to see my friends from Calgary, and all over Saskatchewan too. It’s a weekend full of music, friends, lots of laughs and more. I usually come back feeling much more grounded than before. It’s my “home away from home”.
  5. This brings us to the middle of August and¬†MEME. It’ll be my 5th year volunteering and it’s awesome to see some amazing acts in our “big/little” city. I love it.
  6. Lastly, the end of August I’ll be making the trip out to Calgary for a weekend to visit my friends whom I only get to see once a year at Connect. I need out of the city in the worst way, and honestly, Connect doesn’t really count for that lol.

Not to mention all the patios, BBQ’s, fires and (hopefully) beach days. It’s seriously shaping up to be a wicked summer. As much as people complain that there’s nothing to do here, there really is something almost every weekend.

Dreams are weird.

I’d have to say for the past two and a half years (or so), I have very odd/vivid/strange dreams for at least a week every month. Now, normally, I don’t remember my dreams, unless they are those odd ones. Those ones are usually the ones that can set me off for the day, usually throwing me for a loop depending on who was in the dream or what it was about.

Lately, a friend of mine who passed away 3 years ago tomorrow has been on my mind. Craig used to visit my dreams quite often, until a year ago December. I don’t remember the exact details of the dream, since it was so long ago, but I do remember him giving me advice on a few things and telling me that he is okay. It was a few days before Christmas break and I woke up to go to work the following morning, feeling a bit off. Went about my day and as I was doing something, I could hear Depeche Mode’s “Enjoy the Silence” (which happened to be a song that my friend loved), I walked into the back room and saw that my coworker had put it on the smart board. I knew Craig was there, visiting me at work. That was the last time he was in my dreams until about a week or so ago, where he literally walked into the room, which was filled with a lot of our friends that we had in common; and he kept walking through and out the door on the opposite wall. As much as we were all trying to get his attention, he didn’t stop. It was almost like he was just “passing through”. But for the most part, it has been silence from him. And it has once again, thrown me off.

I’ve had dreams of friends and family who have passed away before, and I’m not entirely sure what the exact meaning of the dream was, but it seems to be one that I can’t shake.

Its funny what a simple dream can do to the mind, its a mysterious tool. tumblr_ll6yjcVsrH1qjwngso1_400

#BellLetsTalk

Today is Bell’s #BellLetsTalk. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s a campaign to hopefully end the stigma of mental illness. Something that has been, for years, something that has been “swept under the rug” and pushed to the back burner. Something that people are ashamed or afraid to talk about because they could be labeled as “crazy” or “psycho”. Meanwhile, they’re very likely just scared and they don’t want to be known in society as those labels.

I have personal experience with mental illness, with family, friends and even myself. I’ve never wanted to talk about it to people, in fear of being called one of those labels I mentioned before, but my close friends and family know about my bouts of anxiety. You always try to look tough on the outside but eventually you do break down and¬†that is okay. Cry, scream, yell, punch a pillow (or something soft), talk to someone, write it out, but let it out in some way or form.

I’ve been trying to figure out how to write this post, I’d type a few words and then delete it, that subconscious anxiety voice of mine tells me “its not good enough, nobody will like what you’ve written.” Its really hard to write or talk about something that is so hard to explain. With me, my brain is in overdrive most of the time. Jumbled with words that are moving, what feels like, a million miles an hour and they don’t want to seem to slow down so I can decipher anything. I have so many thoughts that I want to get out, but sometimes honestly have no clue how because of that “inner-voice” that tells me that nobody wants to hear it. That nobody cares or that I’m wasting my time.

I’ve been told I’m shy, well, here’s the main reason for it. Anxiety can be a bitch and I’m usually second guessing everything that I want to say or that I’ve said. Fighting with that inner voice as I said before. Worrying about what the future holds because of my past mistakes.

anxiety1I’ve been dealing with anxiety issues since I was about 12 years old. For about 3 years, I had thought so many times how I could run away because of certain people in my life at the time; then I eventually did, I switched to a different school where I had friends, wasn’t bullied because of the way I looked and acted. When they say “kids can be cruel”, I totally agree. It’s really surprising what a few words can do to a person’s self-esteem. For a bunch of years after graduating, I had, what I thought was a good grasp on my anxiety. I had met a lot of people who were in the same boat as I was. Bullied in school, was considered the “out-cast” and the “weird one” etc. Then a few years back, due to reasons I won’t get into in my blog, the anxiety sky-rocketed again, just as bad as it was, if not worse than it was when I was 12. One again, I wanted so bad to run away, but I fought through it and found another group of friends who know the issues and I know they still care. As much as my brain doesn’t believe it at times.¬†I’m not saying that I’m completely overridden with anxiety, and that’s because I’ve been doing my best to have a grasp on it again. But I do have a ways to go before its gone, if it ever will be.

I’ve had friends commit suicide and if that is something that has been a thought, please call the Manitoba Suicide Line at 1-877-435-7170 or visit¬†http://www.reasontolive.ca/¬†or your local suicide prevention help line.

Always remember, you’re not alone. There are more like you out there and no matter what people might say, people do love you. Lets end the stigma of mental illnesses, no matter what they are.

wish_i_wasnt_everybody_has_a_brain

Jamaica

Wow, what an experience last week was. Getting to travel to a third world country to be a part of two of my closest friends get married, getting to see another country (other than Canada or USA) not to mention to be with some of the best people I know and best friends a girl could have.

Jamaica is a beautiful country, considering how poor it is. We landed in Montego Bay and then had a roughly 2 hour bus ride to our resort just outside of Ocho Rios. Stopped at a little shop on the side of the highway for more drinks and bathroom break, and on our way to the resort, we saw so many unfinished homes. The tour guide told us that the reason for that is because the owners would work and build at the same time, save up more money and build a bit more. They can’t afford the ridiculous mortgage interest rates which is apparently a whopping 25%! There are no problems there, only situations. Everyone is happy, music and dancing is a plenty. I’ve been singing a variety of reggae songs for the better part of the past week and a half now. Including this one

Finally got to the hotel and were greeted by a few friends who were already there. Got settled in and the adventures began. We mostly hung out by the pool and the beach for the first few days, having lots of drinks (yay for all inclusive), tons of laughs, jerk chicken, curry goat and lots of other foods. A bunch of us did a few a la cartes, the best one I would have to say was the gourmet one. I’m not a huge meat eater, but my god the duck was fantastic. There were live acts in the evening on the main stage and a few bands on the steps of one of the bars after. The best stage show was definitely the steel drums, they played a mashup of newer songs, tons of talent that’s for sure.

Thursday was John & Kayla’s wedding, it was gorgeous on the beach! The weather was nice, the ceremony was nice and short. We went over to the other end of the resort for dinner and a dance then went over to the Pacha knock off “bar” that the resort has for more drinks and dancing (after getting changed that is). We closed that down and we had the bright idea to go have a 3am swim in the ocean. I was sitting on one of the lounging chairs when my friends Jessie, Kirby & Shawn got the idea that I’m going swimming too. I tried to fight it, but after all the drinks, I lost and ended up sitting in the ocean, in my clothes. I was then picked up and dunked in by both Shawn and Reece. My friends are lucky I love them haha.

Friday was an easy day, we all woke up hurting a bit from the evening before. And we all knew that the next day would be a busy one with the excursion we had planned to Dunn’s River Falls. The excursion was so much fun tho! We met in the lobby at 10:30am and boarded the bus to the boat. Stopped at a spot so people could go snorkeling for a bit (I opted not to), and then continued on our way to the falls. Climbing the falls was incredible, the only down side was losing one of my earrings in one of the pools when we got to fall backwards into it. Bought a souvenir as we were leaving, a wooden carving of a turtle with the Jamaican colours. It’s so pretty.

¬†We then had a catamaran booze cruise, filled with tons of rum punch, trying to dance on the boat as the captain was crashing the boat thru the waves and even more laughs. We got back to the resort, relaxed and ate. A small group of us went into Ocho Rios to Margaritaville that night. It was entertaining, but kinda creepy at the same time. We had to fend off creepers from one of our friends all evening. I managed to roll and bruise the inside of my ankle too… note to self: heels, even if they’re wedge ones are a bad idea when you’ve been drinking that much haha. Thankfully one of my good friends was behind me and managed to somehow catch me as I fell.

The rest of the trip was very low-key, spent most of the day on Sunday sleeping, sitting at the pool and chatting with friends.

I’m incredibly happy that I was able to go on this trip and spend it with some amazing people and be there for John & Kayla. I wouldn’t trade any of them for anything, and I’m happy to have them as part of my chosen family. I’ll be back some day Jamaica, until then, I will cherish these memories.

One love.

Another holiday season comes to a close

The craziness of the holidays are winding down, with only New Year’s coming up in a few days.

Normally, I love this time of year, all the family gatherings and food but this year felt a bit, shall we say, off. I guess it was because it is the first Christmas without my memere, so we didn’t do anything Christmas-y with my dad’s side of the family since we were all together at the beginning of the month. My immediate family got together Christmas eve, had a very non traditional supper and opened our gifts; then my mom’s side got together on Christmas day for supper so there was that at least. Too much food, and some beer and wine were consumed, came home after and tried my best to not succumb to the inevitable food coma that was trying to take over while sitting on my couch watching a movie.

We don’t really do gift giving either anymore, both my brother and I are in our 30’s so for the most part, if we ever want something, we get into our respective cars and go get it. The only thing I really wanted was some money so I can have some for the upcoming trip to Jamaica. I remember growing up, getting all these toys and presents, and now, it is definitely more about family being together.

I still have a week left of my holidays before school starts up again. I always find that January is the longest month since we have no inservice days or holidays. That being said, here on the prairies, it’s been a pretty mild “winter” so far. We don’t have a crazy amount of snow like we normally do and honestly, the coldest it’s been has been I’d say has been about -17 to -20¬įc (that’s 1 to -4¬įF for you Americans), when normally it’s much colder than that. This, I can deal with. It’s been a nice change!

I know that January won’t be as long for me since I have 16 more days until I’m on the (hopefully) hot and sunny beaches of Ocho Rios, Jamaica! Actually, I just looked online and it looks like the temps are averaging +30c! YAY! I’m looking forward not only to getting away, but also getting to see some of the best people I know and be there to see two of my very good friends get married. I can already hear my liver screaming at me with all the rum punch and other booze I’ll be having lol.

New Year’s is coming soon, I’ll be spending it with a bunch of friends at a local bar here for a DJ night, should be fun. Normally I don’t do the whole resolutions thing, but I continually try to improve myself and the way I live. There will be no changing that aspect, except I will try to focus more again on the positive in life; although it can be hard when in the winter time, when its warm outside, there isn’t much sun. My body craves sun!

To all of you reading, I hope you have a safe and happy New Years, whatever you end up doing! And all the best in 2015 ūüôā

Rest easy.

On Friday, the world said good bye to one of the most sincere, humble, devoted, strong willed women I’ve ever met. I’m grateful to have had her as my grandma, she’s taught us all the value of family because she would do anything for hers. After my grandpa got sick, she did everything she could to take care of him, up until his final days, she never gave up hope. All while taking time to take care of the rest of her family in any way that she could.

I remember being a kid and going out to my grandparents’ house in the summer, my brother, cousins and I would play games in the backyard, or the times when my mom was still in university and my brother & I would have to stay out at their house for a week; or at Christmas time, we’d pack up the van and bring every single present there to open (only to turn around on Boxing Day and bring most of them back home). My grandma would always make sure there was plenty of food on the tables and things for the kids to do. She never sat in one spot for long when the family was there, she always had something to do, even after we’d all tell her to “sit down and relax”. I’m going to miss going there, that house has a lot of memories for me. It will be weird going there on Wednesday after the service and not having her there, just like it was weird at first when my grandpa passed away a year and a half ago.

I always thought that I was more like my mom when I was a kid, but as I’ve grown up more, I think I’m a good balance of both parents. My grandma always taught me how important family is, my family is pretty close. Just shows how precious life really is when someone is gone suddenly.

I’ll always remember the amazing times we’ve shared Memere. ‚̧ I hope that you’re reunited with Pepere & uncle Gerald. Watch over the family and thank you for everything.

R.I.P. We’ll always miss you.

Homeowner woes

Wow am I ever thankful to have a dad who is willing to take time out of his day and come to do the renovation of my kitchen, and the fact that he’s skilled in pretty much everything when it comes to building a house. Because, with all the issues we ran into today, it would have been a nightmare (and it was!) and even more expensive for me had I hired someone to do this.

For those of you who don’t know, when I bought my place almost 5 years ago, the previous owner had renovated the entire house, finished the basement etc. But today, as we were pulling out the old cupboards, we noticed that there was no flooring underneath the cupboard, making it lower. Problem number one was somewhat of an easy fix. The second problem, not so easy.¬†The pipes in my house are really weird, there’s a long pipe that runs from the wall, through a cabinet and up to under the sink. We shut off the water, took out the sink, counter top and the cabinets, and this is when we noticed the problem. Part of said pipe was completely broken off (seemed like it wasn’t the right fit for the existing pipe) and was leaking… so this caused a wild goose chase to find parts, setting us back a bunch of hours. After almost 11 hours of them being here, they quit for the day, not even close to being done. Back at it again tomorrow, for who knows how long. All because of a quick renovation.

Things are slowly coming along tho, the old crappy pantry is long gone, new pantry is in. It’s nice to have space for both my and my roommate’s food lol. You never know what you’ll find when you renovate either… we found a book. Yep, a book fell out of the wall when my parents destroyed the pantry! I haven’t looked at it, since I’ve been too busy this past week hacking up a lung because of this god-forsaken cold I have.

You can kind of see the pipe where it comes out of the wall, it makes a turn and then under the other cabinet up to the sink. That was the nightmare.

I can’t wait for this to be done, and I know my parents feel the same way. I know it won’t be for a while still since we have to finish the bottom and not to mention the top cupboards to take down and replace still. But I know once its done, it will look awesome.

True inspiration.

98. When you see that number, what do you think? A number close to 100 right? What about if you hear “98 years old”? I think when I hear “98 years old”, I think of someone who has lived a long life, someone who has a lot of history, someone who has a lot of stories to tell.

Tomorrow, my Grandm√®re turns that magic number. 98. She’s an amazing woman who raised 6 kids (my mom and her siblings) with my Grandp√®re, taught for who knows how many years in their small town. She was the head of the choir in the church for as long as I can remember, she played piano until arthritis made constant playing too hard to do. I remember going out to their house for Christmas as a kid, even though her and my grandp√®re would be away, they would go south in their RV for the winter, but their home was always open for us. After my grandp√®re passed away in ’91, she continued to live in the house where my mom spent most of her life in, she lived there until recently, maybe the past year or so. More recently, having my aunts/uncles/parents helping her out with all the yard and house work. It was hard for her to leave the house where there were so many memories, so many stories.

The times of me sitting on the coffee table with my grandparents playing guitar & piano and singing with everyone, or me sitting at the piano playing whatever tune was there, my grandm√®re has definitely been a musical inspiration for me. She still sings when the family gets together, her voice carrying over everyone else. I don’t have my piano at my house (due to lack of space) but if I did, I would definitely be back to playing it more. I sing, but mostly at home, when I do sing in front of people (other than family), it usually surprises them because it’s something I keep quiet.

This is a video from four years ago, of her singing an old French song.

Honestly, she doesn’t look like she’s 98. Nor does she act like it. Last Christmas, it was around midnight and I was about to leave my parents house for the evening. My grandm√®re looked at me and asked me why I was leaving, she stated, “it’s still early!” This caused my aunts and mom to laugh and poke fun at me saying that she’s “outlasting” a 33 year old. It’s not every day you can say that you have a relative who has reached that age, who has seen so many trying times, the depression and the effects Canada had from the world wars.

mom & grandmere

I know she’ll never read this, but Happy birthday¬†Grandm√®re! 6 kids, 14 grandchildren, 9 great-grandchildren, and 98 years of stories, you’re a true inspiration to everyone you meet. We love you.

The Town That Never Ends

A tale of a small town, 15 minutes at a time

Lessons From Doge 101

This, is mine.

Feebabble

running, yoga, gardens, food, wine, motherhood, pregnancy, and stuff I learned today

Blog

This, is mine.

The House of DJ Danthrax

The House of DJ Danthrax

Soon2BeCatLady

Online Dating is going to turn me into a Crazy Cat Lady.

Let's go have some pancakes.

(these pancakes better be good).

White Elephant in the Room

random insight from an unwanted houseguest

Abby Has Issues

I have issues. So do you.

Sass & Balderdash

Always tongue in cheek, often egg on face.

The Daily Post

The Art and Craft of Blogging

Removing The Mask

This, is mine.

Diana Van Damme

Original Art & Character Design