Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Brushing your hair is for suckers....

I just wanted to post this picture because it's hilarious.

More blog tomorrow, I'm all out of thoughts right now.

Canadian Politics (And the 2011 Federal Election) for Dummies:


Before 1960 an Aboriginal person had to give up their treaty rights if they wanted to vote in Canada. (Click here to read an Elections Canada study on Aboriginal people and the federal election.)

In 2008, when the Harper government won a minority seat in the House of Commons, Canada saw its lowest voter turnout ever, with only 58.8 per cent of eligible voters hitting the the polls.

Low voter turnout is linked to age, education, and a persons socio-economic conditions.

The Harper government is the first government in Canadian history to be found in contempt of parliament. The reason is because the Tories would not disclose how many taxpayer dollars they'd spent (or, are spending) on military fighter jets and prisons after being asked numerous times by the opposition.

Harper and his Conservatives were brought down by a non-confidence vote last friday, which is why we are having another federal election.

A Minority government means that the cabinet does not have an overall majority over the seats in parliament, therefore they depend on support (or votes) from other members to pass bills and achieve goals.

There are currently 308 seats in the House of Commons, before the Conservative government was toppled by the non-confidence vote they held 143 seats. The opposition made up the rest of the seats with the Liberals holding 77 seats, The NDP holding 36 seats, The Bloc Quebecois at 47 seats, two independent seats and three vacant seats.

This is the fifth federal election in 10 years for Canada.

A Federal election costs Canadian taxpayers, on average, about $300-million.

If you're not sure where you stand, click here to do CBC's Vote Compass; a survey that will show you which party your political beliefs most align with.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

sticks and stones...

Yesterday I was sitting with a group of people, eating my lunch, and talking shop. I had a big plate of food, and as embarrassed as I am to admit this, I ate every single last bite of it. (I was so hungry, I hadn't had a chance to eat since breakfast about seven hours prior to that, so I did devour it...)

The girl beside me had the same lunch as I did (it was the daily cafeteria special) and she ate about half of hers. By comparrison, I did look like a pig... I was just so hungry.

A few minutes after I finished eating, the elderly man sitting across from me made a comment about my appetite and my weight. He said something along the lines of how I can always be counted on to eat a big plate of food like that.

"...And it shows, it really shows," he said.

The people around the table laughed. (To be fair, it could have been because they were uncomfortable, as one of them later admitted to me in a tearful apology.) I was mortified. I started to get really hot and it seemed like time started to slow down. I could feel the lump forming in my throat but I just kept telling myself not to start crying in front of these people. I needed to escape.

"Don't let them see you cry. Don't let them see you cry..."

I said a few choice words to this man, but he was just smirking at his attempt at humour. I got up and stormed away, my pride was crushed into a lump in the back of my throat. It was only a matter of time before I would cry.

I took refuge in the empty first aid room, and just like a tsunami of emotion, my tears began to fall fiercely. I could feel my lunch, like an unsettled rock, in the pit of my stomach. I felt like I was going to be sick. I called my sister, who probably couldn't even understand me because I was sobbing hysterically.

"He called me fat, and everybody laughed. They laughed," I said.

Like any big sister would she demanded to know who said that. (Sisters are wonderful, because no matter what, if someone hurts you, they've got your back.)

After I told her the entire story she told me to leave. She offered her family to hang out with me (she was in Churchill, otherwise she probably would've come and got me). When I declined, she made sure to call and message me every half and hour to make sure I was ok.

I've been called fat directly and indirectly all my life, most of the time when it happens I laugh it off. But for some reason this entire scenario cut like a knife, and I couldn't stop crying. It felt like one of those traumatic moments out of a movie when the nerdy kid does something, like drop her lunch in the cafeteria, and everybody stops to point and laugh.

It was certainly humbling.

Perhaps this was lady karma serving me up a slice of humble pie for my less than stellar attitude towards others (at times...) I dunno, but it got me thinking that no matter how old we are, and no matter where we are in life, bullying still exists and it hurts. Perhaps the elderly man was just trying to be funny, I don't know, but he hit a nerve.

I guess this is a good reminder for me, and anyone who reads my blog to be mindful of how we treat others.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Winnipegisms


I've been getting pretty nostalgic about Winnipeg lately.

I think this is because I am coming to that point in my life where I predicted that I would've already purchased my one-way ticket outta here. I mean, school's coming to an end, I have nothing holding me back (kids, husband, mortgage...) and I've always wanted to leave.

However, now that leaving this city is becoming more and more of a feasible option, I am getting all sentimental and mushy about all things Winnipeg. In fact, I've made a list of Winnipegisms that I feel represent the people and culture of this cold, but sunny city.

1. CLEARANCE: In most cities, people buy things based on what they like. In Winnipeg people buy things based on how much it costs, whether they like it or only sort of like it. The cheaper something is, the more likely a Winnipegger is to buy it first and find a use for it second...

The icing on the clearance cake is that the Winnipegger will then they brag about how little they paid for the item to every single person that ever comments on it. Forever.

Friend: "Oh, I like your jacket!"

You: "Thanks, I got it for five dollars on clearance at Forever 21!"

Friend: "Really? When?"

An omission of an awesome deal will ALWAYS trigger another Winnipegger to ask when and where the item was purchased; even if they don't want the same sale item as you, they want, er, need to get to that store to see what other treasures they can find for a bargain.

Hell, every single one of us drives to Grand Forks or Fargo to get deals at American stores.

In an ironic twist that kind of doesn't make sense, we'll shop till we drop in the States and then stay there for 48-hours because we don't want to spend money on paying duty, yet we'll happily fork out cash for cheap hotel rooms and American buffets...

I'm just throwing this out there for everyone, but how much do you usually save on duty charges compared to the cost of hotel, food and two days worth of shopping?!...

Just sayin'...

2. We love to hate: As Winnipeggers we are taught from a young age just how shitty life in the prairies is. It's cold, we're the murder capital of Canada pretty much every single year, we don't have an Ikea (yet), other provinces and places in the world make fun of us...

Most of us develop an extremely low sense of community self esteem. We're emo.

However, on the other side of this community apathy, there is a really marred sense of civic pride. You see, if a non-Winnipegger starts making fun of our province, or the way we do things, we get defensive and downright angry. (This might be where the murder capital thing comes in, I'm not sure...)

For example:

Vancouverite: "Wow, Winnipeg is small and it's cold, and you don't have an IKEA here! -- I can't wait to go back to Vancouver where famous celebrities reside and shop at the same Whole Foods that I shop at."

Winnipegger: "Bitch please! -- Has your province ever won the title of Slurpee capital of the World?! No, didn't think so, cause we win it every single year. Booyah!"

But really, nobody but other Winnipeggers can talk shit about our province. Nobody.

3. Open-toed shoes and mini skirts in minus forty temperatures: I've got to hand it to Winnipeg girls; they're the only species out there that can rock open-toed shoes, a mini skirt and a light jacket with just a tube top underneath it in -40 degree Celsius weather for as long as it takes to get into a the bar.

Sure there might be a windchill warning in effect, and yes science has proven that bare skin freezes at a stupidly high rate when it is exposed to extreme weather conditions, but Winnipeg girls are an anomaly. They really are, because they'll shiver and complain the whole time they're waiting in line, but no matter how cold it is most of them will stay in that lineup until they get into the bar. Being cold isn't even be an after thought once they get in, cause DAMN they look good...

4. The Winnipeg Jets: Our beloved NHL team was ripped away from us 15-years ago and we still mourn as though it just happened. The team died before some of the kids who are wearing its merchandise now were even born, and every couple of months local media fuels the fire about an NHL team possibly coming back.

Sure the team wasn't what you'd call a top winning team, and yes I understand that people only started attending games regularly once it was announced that they might be taken from us, but pretty much every single Winnipegger has a little bit of Jet blood running through their veins. (Oh, and also I think Winnipeg has the highest population of Gary Bettman haters in the world...)

5. We like to give: Winnipeggers are notorious of being generous when it comes to giving to charities. We're an empathetic bunch who dig deep to help each other, and it's awesome.

that being said, we still really need to work on not being the murder capital of Canada anymore. Giving is awesome, killing is not...

Monday, March 21, 2011

You know what time it is...It's CAKE O'Clock.

The other day I thought it was a good idea to make a cake. My logic was this: If I wanted something sweet and tasty to eat I would have to make it myself, the way the pilgrims did. I thought this would be a good diet strategy because it would mean that I couldn't just buy something...

However, as it turns out, my math was a little off, and this is the worst diet I've ever tried! You see, instead of having an individualized snack, I had an entire cake.

Fail.

Anyways, I ended up throwing half of the cake in the garbage. I started to feel bad about myself as I stuffed forkfuls of frosted goodness into my mouth.

I ate my emotions...

(P.S. Even though eating half a cake is always gross, I did this over the course of three days...Barf.)

Breaking up is hard to do...

Ah the break up.

I was lying in bed last night, trying to fall asleep, when I was struck with a slap-you-in-the-face-light-bulb-kinda-revelation about break ups.

Right now you're probably like: "But Shelley, you're single and you've been single forever, how can you know anything about break ups?"

Perhaps you're right, but lest we forget that I'm old and I've been through some doozies. So have a little faith that I do know a good break up when I see one...

At this stage of the game I'd venture to say that we've likely all been down that road to heartbreak before-- This is that period in our lives where cheesy love ballads and bitter break up songs become a poignant part of our days; where some of us will change our Facebook statuses to cryptic messages of love and loss (Or, even worse, song lyrics...) Or, where we'll take up poetry and/or journal writing.

"I've never written a poem before, but I feel so sad that I just want to express my pain in a rhyming structure of words..."

(Yeah, I don't get it either, but I bet there is a study out there that can correlate breaking up and poetry.)

For most of us the ultimate experience of a break up is lost because it is marred by psychotic episodes of irrational emotion and a distorted sense of self entitlement. In fact, I dare say that reliving a break up in hindsight is often hilarious and awkwardly embarrassing.

You see friends, there are certain things we do when we hit the all-time low of ending a relationship. these things, usually out of the normal scope of who we are, and are often insane.

This is why I've decided to compile a list of breakup behaviours...

1. Cry: Not all of us are criers, but for those of us who are, ending a relationship is like opening an uncontrollable time-bomb of tears. I remember when I broke up with this dude who I dated for a little over four years , I cried for days. I probably even cried for weeks, I don't remember. All I know is that any little reminder of him would send me into a frenzy of tears, and let me tell you, EVERYTHING reminded me of him. Heck, people would say hello to me and I would burst into tears.

"I remember when he used to say hello to me, it was just like that...Waaaahhhhh!!"

It was awkward, but it leads us to our next break up behaviour...

2. Telling EVERYONE you know how sorry he'll be one day: There's this weird thing about human beings, we need justification from other people (and from ourselves) that we're better than our current situation. When someone gets dumped (or endures a break up because their partner did something wrong, like cheat) the scorned person usually looks to other people for confirmation that they're better.

"He'll be sorry. I bet nobody else can cook a roast like me, or can do that (insert explicit sexual reference here) or will love him as much as I did...He's stupid, he doesn't know how good he had it. And you know what, I'm happy I'm out of that relationship, because I realize that I could never date a man who doesn't appreciate me for me. And you know what, he'll be rudely awakened by the next girl he dates, because she won't compare to me and that's when he'll realize how good I am, but by then it will be too late. TOO LATE...I'll get the last laugh, and I feel sorry for him, because even though he deserves to be laughed at, I don't want to hurt him..."

Depending on how scorned a person feels, these conversations can be reiterated (to numerous people) for weeks, even months. It's a tiresome task to be friends with someone who got dumped...

3. Appetite: Most people who are mourning the loss of their relationship either suffer from break up anorexia, where they are too sad and depressed to eat, or they have an insatiable appetite because they are literally eating their emotions. (Hence, they're hungry for the sads.)

I've done both, neither are pretty.

4. Error in judgement which leads to an inability to decipher a compliment from a pass, which leads to a rebound or a full blown case of being slutty: As the break up wears on, emotions change back and forth from sadness to anger to relief, back to sadness, back to anger, and so on...

During all of this the one thing you can count on is your inability to see clearly and your starvation for attention. (You may not see this in yourself, but the stench of desperation you are emitting is clear to the people around you, especially guys like Mr Smooth, who will try to take advantage of it.)

It is important to note that just because you and Mr Smooth may have things in common, like eating, sleeping and breathing, you likely do not have a "connection" or a "spark." In fact, you don't have a "connection" or a spark" but that's what you're going to tell yourself when you go back to his parents place after a drunken night at the Pal.

And last, but certainly not least, the final break up behaviour that seems like a good idea at the time...

5. Communication: The psychotic phone calls, texts, visits, notes, emails, etc to the ex: People waiver back and forth a trillion times about whether or not this break up was the right thing to do. Hell, you'll justify why you should be together, why you shouldn't, and what you'll tell your friends if and when you decide to go back.

It's a vicious cycle that starts with a tiny ounce of communication:

YOUR TEXT: "Hey"

HIS TEXT: "Hey"

In no time it will spiral out of control, that 'Hey' will quickly turn into 'I love you' or 'I miss you.' At this point you're pretty much fucked.

However, nobody can tell you not to communicate with the ex because you're not going to listen. Quitting an ex is like quitting meth or crack, you've got to want to do it.

To conclude, all I have to say is that if you keep any sort of record of your next break up (a journal, poetry, a CD of your favourite sad and angry break up songs...) in a couple of months down the road when you're not sad anymore, I promise you, it'll be hilarious.

PHOTO: http://www.inspirational-friendship-poems.com/break-up-sad-love-poems.html

Friday, March 18, 2011

Volunteer Opportunities...

School is almost over.

After spending the last two years scratching and clawing my way to achieving my dream of being able to call myself a journalist, I am finally almost there. In just a few short weeks, I will be done. Weird.

I'm excited and nervous about this new chapter, life is bitter-sweet. On one hand, I'm scared to death that I won't be able to find a job, yet at the same time I'm excited that I will soon be able to devote some time to start volunteering again. (Since I started CreComm I haven't been able to volunteer as much as I would have liked to. I'm astounded at how much my lack of doing things for other people has affected my mood in a negative way. I am truly happiest when I am able to do things to help other people.)

Before CreComm, I spent a lot of time volunteering at Winnipeg Harvest. I worked in the warehouse and was a member of the public education committee. I met so many wonderful people at Harvest, and I credit my experience there for being life altering. (I went there with a mission of changing the world, and emerged as a changed person. In hindsight I can say with certainty that I needed them more than they needed me.)

I'm not sure if I will go back to Harvest once I am done school. I mean, I love it there, and I will always consider myself a part of the Harvest family, but there are so many different places that need volunteers that I might venture to try something new. (Or maybe I will do Harvest and something else?!) Who knows...

I'd like to take my niece volunteering so that she can learn early on in life how important it is to help other people (and herself.)

School is almost over, the countdown is on.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Winnipeg's Great War: Jim Blanchard

For journalism class we had to read Winnipeg's Great War by Jim Blanchard. The book, which is about Winnipeg during the WWI era (1914-1918) is a factually rich account of what happened in our province (which, at that time, was the third largest in Canada) during World War One.

From the first page of this 267 page monster of a book, Blanchard spares no details of what was a revolutionary time for Winnipeg, and the world. For this reason, Winnipeg's Great War needs to be read with a great deal of care and consideration in order to absorb everything that he throws at you.

I found the book extremely interesting, yet hard to digest. (Not because it wasn't good, but just because of all the information that was being thrown my way.) Often I found that I would read a few pages of the book and discover that I wasn't paying well enough attention to the content, so I would have to re-read or forge ahead, depending on my time and schedule. Still, it was a good book, and I recommend it to anyone who is interested in learning bout Winnipeg's history.

I was specifically interested in how Blanchard explained that people rallied behind the War efforts so much that they invested in war bonds. (My grandma took out a loan for $50 so she could buy a war bond during WWII. Many of her brothers and friends from the reserve fought in the war, including her younger brother Tommy Prince, a now decorated war hero.)

It was interesting to see the mentality of people back then...

I am excited to lend Winnipeg's Great War to my (other) grandma who was born in 1919, so we can talk about it. (She is a member of the IODE) Although I think I should re-read it first, because I was rushed the first time.