It’s Saturday. I’m lazy. Here is a list.

  1. I turned 33 a week ago. I know I probably say this every year, but this feels like legit adult territory. I’m feeling good about it though. I’m where I need to be.
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  2. To all you guys around the world that feel the need to yell FHRITP behind female reporters, what is wrong with you? You are adults. Some of you are even 33. Why are you acting like 6-year-olds hyped up on sugar and the influence of the bad kid that lives down the street? This whole thing is turning into a debate on the ethics of social shaming which is so incredibly beside the point. When you chose to yell immature, stupid sh** at the TV camera, well, you’re making your own bed. Be prepared to lie in it. Didn’t your grandma tell you that?
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    Oh, and guys around the world that feel the need to yell FHRITP, thanks for being regular readers of my blog!
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  3. Literally the moment that I complained about life being boring, my social calendar filled up. Speaking too soon: my greatest skill. And you know, while 30-somethings are pretty good at living the quiet life, when it is time to socially engage, we leave all you 20-somethings in the dust. BBQ’s are better because we (royal we) own our own homes and can therefore do what we want. Birthday’s are better because our champagne and wine budgets are much higher than they used to be. And the celebrations are better because the milestones in your 30’s are just that much huger. At least in my social circle anyways. Homeownership and weddings and engagements and great, big, massive promotions that just didn’t happen 10 years ago. That is worth toasting with the good stuff. (Apologies for the righteousness. I’m just so excited to be leaving my house again.)
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  4. I got engaged. Three weeks ago the best man I’ve ever known got down on one knee in our kitchen and gave me the prettiest ring I’ve ever seen and promised me a lifetime of laughter and love. Obviously I said yes. I’m totally one of those girls too. I’ve had a “Secret Wedding” Pinterest board since long before three weeks ago. And I’ve been quietly putting money aside for the “big day” ever since I knew Kurt was the one I would marry. Love it or hate it, there will be a lot of wedding talk on this blog over the next 10 months.

Happy long weekend!

 

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a thought

“He doesn’t get that his problems only fill a dust pan when other people could fill a dump truck with theirs. But that’s okay. A dust pan is all he’s strong enough to carry right now.”

My wise and brilliant friend said this to me over a beer the other day.

I love my people.

Summer Reads: Cheryl Strayed Edition

Wildwild

At first I was like, a woman goes on a long hike by herself? Boring. And then everyone was like, no it’s really good. She faces challenges and the hike helps her. And I was like what kind of challenges? And everyone was like her mom dies and she does drugs and her relationship ends, and she went on the hike to find herself. And I was like, yeah that sounds hard, but not uniquely hard. She must be crazy pretentious to feel she had to write a book about it. And then everyone was like, shut up and read the book.

So I read it. And I didn’t put it down until I was finished. I couldn’t. Because that’s how good this book is. Wild is so captivating and well written and just beautiful that I fell in love instantly. I loved it despite it being one of my least favourite genres. By now I’m sure most people reading this have all ready read it, so you get me. And if you haven’t read it, I absolutely recommend you pick it up today.

 

 

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Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar

After Wild I couldn’t wait to read Tiny Beautiful Things, a series of letters from Strayed’s online advice column Dear Sugar. I related to exactly zero of the letters requesting advice in the book. None of them. However, I took something from each and every beautiful response. Each one inspired and encouraged me. You know someone is a great writer when the response they provide to  someone mourning the death of a 50-year partner (something I know nothing about) touches you in such a way you have a new confidence in wherever it is you are in your life.

I would recommend this book to anyone, but especially to anyone going a transition or facing a life challenge. And if your particular transition or challenge isn’t touched upon in this book, it won’t matter, you will still put it down as inspired as if it had.

I Support BC Teachers

Full disclosure: Both of my parents are retired BC teachers. 

For any of you who think this strike is about anything other than the kids, please read the words of my friend Jess:

Did you know?

  • A completely dependant child with special needs does not receive enough funding to cover the day? Even if they are known to self injure?
  • Children, with extreme behaviours, including violent outbursts and bolting, only get 6 hours of extra help a week?
  • That children are coming to school that we literally can’t understand and they only qualify for 1 half an hour session of speech therapy a week for 6 weeks, if they are lucky?
  • More children are coming to school with behaviour and sensory needs but they are closing Occupational Therapists’ positions?
  • That it can take up to 3/4 years for a child to get tested so they can be designated?
  •  That we teachers care so deeply that we buy school supplies, shoes, clothes, food, books, and birthday presents for those in need? 
  • I believe your children deserve a good education. So does every other educational professional I’ve personally had the pleasure of working with. That is why we are in this predicament. That is why I will risk not being able to pay my mortgage. We believe.

This is a woman who would make an effort every morning to wear nice clothes, do her hair, and put on perfume even though she was teaching a room full of 5-year-olds, because she felt these 5-year-olds deserved her utmost respect. What kind of respect is the BC government showing her in return? Shame on you BC Liberals.

If I ever have a child I can only hope that all of her teachers will be like Mrs. McPhee.

 

 

 

 

Nelson Mandela

On December 5th 2013 one of the greatest human beings of the last century passed away.

Of course I’m talking about Nelson Mandela. What this man accomplished in his life time, “freeing not just the prisoner but the jailor as well” (spoken oh so eloquently by Barack Obama) is enough to move even the most hardened hearts.

Today, December 10th 2013, only 5 days after his passing, I could not believe it when I heard prominent Canadians on the CBC news whining and complaining that none of their countrymen were invited to speak at his memorial. Five Days. 

Seriously Canada, could you be any more uncouth? You’re like the kid crying at the party because he has less sparkles on his cupcake then the birthday boy. Stop embarrassing yourself and let the world mourn this remarkable man, his exceptional life and the permanent mark he has made on human kind.

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Un-Happy Halloween

I’m just going to say it. I hate Halloween. I mean it’s fun for the kids and I love candy and scary movies, but the spectacle that it has become? Ew. And I’m not alone here, anyone who has done their time in the service industry knows that Halloween is part of a family of holidays (also featuring New Years Eve, St. Patricks Day, and Canada Day) that are nothing more than amateur night. Something about these holidays make people wake up thinking they can drink way more than they could the week before. It doesn’t make any sense but I assure you, it happens. Girls cry.  Boys fight. People everywhere puke and pass out. Ugh. It’s the worst.

And, for me, Halloween is the biggest offender of all. I think that it is because of the costumes. When someone is dressed as someone other than themselves, they feel totally comfortable not acting like themselves. The shy become bold, the awkward, cool and the kind, aggressive. I can’t speak scientifically to it, but it’s as though people think that if no one knows who they are, there will be no repercussions to their actions or words. Add this to the herd mentality, the fact that everyone is bolder, louder, meaner and the night just becomes a less fun place to be for those who aren’t participating in the gong-show.

And maybe I’m just being old and grumpy, jaded from years of being berated by people in masks every October 31st because the bar I happened to work in didn’t carry their favourite beer. But as I sit at home tomorrow night, binge eating candy and watching bad horror films I know there isn’t anywhere else I’d rather be.

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Women and Tech and Intangible Frustrations

When the whole PyCon thing went down I couldn’t stop thinking about it. In July Wired referenced the incident in an article about public shaming and it brought the issue front of mind for me again. I know pretty much everything there is to say about this has already been said, but the fact that I think about so regularly has made me want to write about it here.  Also, please note this is my opinion and my experience. I know a lot of women who would agree with me, but also a lot who have had different and more positive experiences. 

Do you remember Adria Richards? She was the woman at PyCon this past spring who overheard some (male) developers making adolescent and sexist jokes, she took their picture and posted it to her influential twitter account. An uproar ensued and one of the developers and Richards herself got fired. I remember this, in fact I still think about it all the time.

Prior to landing my dream job at an NGO, I worked at a software company for 3.5 years. It was a great company with a great staff, I have a lot of respect for the leadership and my direct management were some of the most supportive and wonderful people I’ve ever worked with. I learned so much and was given so many opportunities there and I am grateful for my time. That said, the work environment could definitely be hostile towards women. On any given day I’d encounter a guy who couldn’t look me in the eyes, I would be looked up and down. I received so many unintentionally inappropriate comments that were endearing but tiresome. In one business partner meeting where I was the only woman in a room of 20, I was literally skipped over in the introductions (I KNOW). And the tones, oh god, the tones that some of the male (they were all male) upper management would use with me were enough to make me want to stab them in the eye. None of these were major things, and if they had happened in isolation they wouldn’t even be things. But they didn’t happen in isolation, they happened all time and came from everyone and when all put together it made for a really shitty environment. My last year with the company I cried almost every day out of sheer frustration. I was so frustrated with all of the intangible things, but there was nothing I could do. Claiming that I was hurt or offended by someone’s tone or body language would make me sound ridiculous. I was upset by the intangible and in software the intangible doesn’t matter. It is legitimate to be frustrated by a bug or a deadline or a client, or the bottom line, but not by what you cannot see or count.

Anyways, my first reaction back in March was: awesome. These men were being made examples of and they needed to take responsibility for their actions. Perhaps the punishment didn’t fit the crime, but you can bet these guys won’t be saying ignorant stuff again. And neither will those close to them. That alone is a small step towards a less hostile space. The more people who call out ignorant behaviour, the more people who will think twice before engaging in the first place. The day that I found out I shared my outrage with my best friend Katie and she came back with outrage of her own. She was horrified by Richard’s actions.  She argued that she wouldn’t want to live in a society where you’re always looking over your shoulder, afraid that if you make one mistake someone would take a picture of you and post it all over the internet. She had a point and her opinion shifted my narrow perspective as it has a tendency to do.

After reading the Wired article, I brought this up with my boyfriend and he had a great point: you can’t just slap someone and hope for change. Yes, those individuals may change and maybe a few others will think twice, but will that really make a dent in the culture? No, probably not. He’s right. He suggested change via education not punishment. Men in male dominant industries need to understand the consequences of their actions and the effects they have on their female co-workers. They need to understand that even the smallest action/remark/tone contributes to a culture that isn’t fun for women. They need to understand that if they do chose to participate, it may be the straw that breaks the camel’s back and it could their reputation at stake.

While I don’t blame Richards for anything–I would have done more sooner probably–I agree with Kurt. Education will bring about more change than public shaming. But the fact is, right now, there isn’t education and few feel there is a need for one. I don’t think this will be addressed anywhere other than online until something tangible (a release date, an angry client or the bottom line) is affected. Until then, there is just a population of women with an intangible frustration who feel like their only option is to post pictures of socially awkward dudes on their social media accounts or cry.