Woe is me (or how to get a little perspective)

Oh, woe is me… I have the money and the health to pick up and move in less than a month (which started right after my hysterical crying fit).
Oh, woe is me… I have many many boxes full of stuff that I no longer want and have to drive ALLLL the way downtown to drop it off…
Oh, woe is me… I’m allergic to the cardboard boxes (I got for free) and I have SO MUCH stuff that I need to use a lot of boxes…
I had the following quote from Friends playing in my head all weekend… My wallet’s too small for my fifties AND MY DIAMOND SHOES ARE TOO TIGHT.
I got a little perspective on Saturday (through no fault of my own I might add… I was just going about my business).
I finally got around to taking my donation items to the WISH foundation.  Two boxes of dishware, one box of food that is perfectly fine but gives me a tummy ache (Fibre One bars are evil!), two bags of toilettries and perfumes (not cheap!), a garbage bag full of clothes, towels and blankets and a rubbermaid bin full of stuffed animals and blankets.  Woe was me when I had to make five or six trips up the stairs from my apartment to put this all in the car… Woe was me when I had to spend a fortune in gas to drive across town to the ‘sketchy’ area to drop these things off… And absolutely woe was me when the volunteer at the WISH Foundation said that yes, they do want the stuffed animals because ‘some of the ladies have kids or grandkids at home’.  Uh… full stop… remember what I said the WISH foundation was for?  Survivial Sex Workers.  Women who resort to selling their bodies for sex to get by one. more. day.  And these women have GRANDKIDS at home?  That was more than I could take and my mind and heart shut down in a poor attempt to prevent a catastrophic breakdown on the steps of the building.
The more I thought about it, the more it didn’t compute.  I thought about my grandma… (who sent freshly made gingersnaps to me via my mom on Sunday.).  I thought about the classic ‘grandma’ portrayal on television that absolutely does not include the grandmas living on the streets and prosituting themselves… Woe was me no longer as I desperately wanted to pack everything I owned into a moving truck and take it to the WISH Foundation.  To figure out some way that I might help these women… between a full time job with the government, the necessity of grocery shopping and taking care of a kitty and my not so busy social life… how could I ever make time…  Time will be made.  I grouse on and on about how women need to stand together, stick up for eachother and take care of one another.  What more important way in this very moment can I make that happen… walk the talk and get my hands dirty helping!
Woe was me about ten minutes later when my gas light on my paid-off car started dinging alerting me to the fact that I didn’t have enough gas to get home.  Woe was me when I had to drive three blocks out of my way in order to make the left turn required to get to the gas station.  Woe was me when I had to consider packing my iphone, my wallet and my camera into my hundreds of dollars custom leather handbag while I pumped gas or just use the automatic door locks and leave it all on the seat.  Woe was me when a wind picked up and I had to put my hand knitted scarf around my neck while I stood pumping liquid gold into my car that is really too big for just one person to commute to and from my government job…
While I was pumping my gas, a disinfranchised man stood on the other side of the pump and started chatting to me.  He was so far beyond threatening… he intentionally stood with a gas pump and garbage can between us and struck up conversation. I asked him questions about himself and took an interest in him… for whatever reason, my normally cold and dismissive attitude took a vacation and I felt like the five minutes I was going to have to be there would be well served by not pretending this guy was invisible.  I’m not naive by any stretch of the imagination when it comes to the stories that people make up in order to separate you from your money, however for whatever reason, I actually believed him.  He’s a sheetmetal worker/roofer by trade from Scarsborough Ontario.  He moved here three months ago expecting to find work in the construction trade and is now resorting to riding his bicycle around and picking up empties.  Once a week he buys a loaf of bread and a jar of peanut butter with his ‘earnings’ from doing day labor for construction crews.  Usually he doesn’t work more than about an hour a day for them… probably picking up debris on the sites or digging holes…
Once I was done filling my tank with gas, he asked me if I may have had any empties in my car that I could give to him.  Not for money… for recycling.  I said I’d check and ended up giving him 8-10 bottles… and he was so thankful!  I gave him essentially GARBAGE and he was so thankful!  Woe was me… I looked in my purse and all I had was a few pennies and a loonie… Normally I don’t give money to people because I figure they’re going to buy drugs or alcohol with it… but I thought… who cares!  Whatever he does with his money is up to him… Only by the Grace of God and hardwork do I not have to dig in public trashcans for empty pop cans to return for a nickel. I gave him the loonie and he looked like I’d given him a $100 bill… and he said he was now pretty close to being able to get a slice of hot pizza for his dinner.
As I drove off, I was again reminded that comparitively speaking, I have no woe… Of course everyone has woe… everyone has issues and things going on in their lives that they worry about, complain about, struggle with…  I work my butt off at work, I haven’t made poor choices (alcoholism, drug use…).  I stayed in school, I respected my parents and the rest of my family and I’m honest… I’ve worked damn hard to make this life for myself where I can have a custom made leather handbag, name brand glasses and an iPhone.  But one poor choice… one economic downturn… one health issue is all we all are away from being in a position that we never thought we would be in… where we have to rely on the charity of those in a better place to help us.  I am that person right now.  I’m in a good place…  I can give my time (because I can’t really afford to give a lot of money).  I can give my kind heart, my strong shoulders and my warm smile to someone who doesn’t have anything else.  I can do it and I will.  I have to… because if we all decided someone else would do it…. well… the math on that is not favorable…
I’ve been reading blogs lately about strong and powerful women who have given themselves for the fight against famine in Africa… who dig wells and build houses in neglected parts of the world… and it’s inspiring… but it also leaves me wondering… if we all give of ourselves in empovrished countries… who helps at home?  Every country will have a percentage of people who are living beyond the system… who don’t have a steady supply of food or a roof over their heads.  Just because Canada has such a small percentage compared to other nations doesn’t mean that we just accept that as collateral damage and give our time and money to the worse off countries… does it?  Is it not just as honorable to work at home?  In your own community?  Where there are no accolades… where the charity is just as needed but the landscape isn’t as stark a contrast… That’s where I want to help.  In my own community.  That’s where I will help.  In my own community.
If you want to put back into your community, there are many ways that you can do so at your own, local level… some ways are:
Donate to the food bank (time, or money… I know for the Vancouver food bank, every dollar you give is equal to $3 in buying power… so it’s better to bring money than canned goods, altho they’ll take anything!)
Donate time, money or goods to your local women’s shelter
Find an independant charity in your community that helps sex trade workers, provides education, provides rehab and shelter 
Donate books and magazines to shelters
Volunteer with your local crisis line
Volunteer to drive elderly people to and from the grocery store and doctor’s appointments
Anyway, off my soap box for now… likely this is the last post until the weekend because I’m going to be in the last sprint towards packing the rest of my stuff and moving across town.
Talk to you on the flip side… or the Oak side as I like to call it….


The packing continues… I’ve now put green tape on every kitchen cupboard that has been emptied… that’s 12 of them…
I made two boxes of kitchen items I no longer want… old dishes, drinkware etc… I was going to take these to Value Village, but from what I understand, Value Village supports Salvation Army and if there’s one ‘charity’ that I refuse to support in any fashion, it’s Salvation Army.  Not. Ever!
I also have two bags full of toiletries and perfumes that I no longer wear and there’s a foundation here in Vancouver called WISH.  It’s for self identified female survival sex workers.  Basically women who see/have no other way to make a ‘living’.  They provide health care, shelters, education and a safe place for these women to turn.  So I looked on their website and they also take (besides the toiletries that I have been collecting specifically for them) clothing, towels, bedding, shoes… so I emailed them and asked them if they also wanted these donated dishes… if they provide food and shelter, then perhaps they may need these items… I also asked if they wanted books… I’ve taken a bucketload of books over to my mom’s for our garage sale but whatever doesn’t sell is going to be donated to WISH.
If you live in Vancouver (or the Vancouver area) and would like to donate to WISH, I would be very happy to help facilitate that.  Their ‘WISH List’ is here.
So… with all the charity stuff spoken for, it turns out I’m doing pretty well on my packing… I have to stop at this point tho because there’s no more room to put boxes in such a way that it doesn’t freak the cat out… or squish him…also, the contact dermatitis only likes it if I pack every second day or so… and my allergies agree…packing sure kicks up a lot of dust…
It turns out that I probably won’t get a chance to paint in the apartment before I move in… money is tight… I think the cat would rather have his litter box and litter and I would rather have laundry detergent than have painted walls…we’ll see tho… I have some of the paint, so I can probably get some of it done…
Not much else to report… but as soon as I get in there, I’ll take some pictures…

Of COURSE you do…

As of this very moment, the contact dermatitis on my hands is gone… mostly.  Wanna know why?  Because I haven’t touched a single packing box or item since Saturday afternoon.  Wanna know what I’m doing when I get home?  Giving myself another round of contact dermatitis… because I, apparently, am allergic to the effing boxes!
Love it!  Couldn’t be loving this little curve ball ANY BETTER!

You ate WHAT for dinner?

I have some of my best ideas when I’m compromised… as in, wouldn’t it be fun to play with a staple gun after I had two (or three-ish) drinks and mini eggs for dinner last night…
Now, before you get all bent out of shape, the thing I did was related to the move and before I did that, I packed another box full of stuff, so technically… wait… why am I making excuses to you??  I can do whatever I want!
So last night after work I went and got my tattoo touched up.  Man alive, it hurt worse than the first time and let me tell you, when you accidentally whack a new tattoo with a hard sharp piece of plastic, it does NOT feel good!  After my dinner of champions, I decided to turn the tv off (because I was too drunk to decide on something else to watch and what I was watching was creeping me out) and do something toward the move.  So I packed the dvd’s and found more video games that are being donated to a charity.  I started looking around for something else to pack and had one of those ‘OMG, I have to pack everything… its too overwhelming so I’ll pack nothing’ moments and decided to reupholster my dining chairs instead.  If you recall from a previous post on the weekend, I stained the chair bodies and they’re sitting at my sister’s house waiting for next Saturday’s delivery day. (These are the same chairs that I realized the day AFTER garbage day that I’d ‘purged’ the screws that attach the seat to the frame…)
Years ago when I found the chairs and had very ambitious plans to recover them immediately (and before I took up knitting and the yarn ate up every spare space in the house, not to mention that I also lived with a hoarder) I went to see my friend Roger who has a drapery workroom.  He has oodles of remnants of some pretty gorgeous fabric and as his ‘adopted project/daughter’, I’m pretty spoiled and I got my choice for the chairs.  I happened to pick out a fabric that retails for well over $100/yard… it’s gorgeous tho… cut chenile and satin… taupe and dark charcoal…. divine!
So last night, in my pretty sloshed state I decided to recover the cushions so they’ll be ready to attach to the chairs.
I was very impressed with how straight and even and tight that I got everything… the only problem is that the staples I have are only long enough to go through two layers of the fabric (which itself is pretty thick upholstery fabric) and at the front of the seat is an overhang, which ends up having about four or five layers of the fabric… so I need to go and get some upholstery tacks to finish that little part.
Here’s a before and after…(please excuse the bag of garbage in the background!)
This weekend I’m going to pack and clean and hopefully get in to the studio with Sharon to work on my art project.  I should also probably go to the pet store and get the stuff for Mr. Fluffypants and buy some paint… So much to do… so little time to do it in… a smart person would suggest not getting drunk on a weekday so that more stuff gets done…

The voice in your head…

About a year ago last December I was in charge of moving about 60 people from 4 different sites to one new consolidated location.
Every site had a site lead, including the one I personally worked at.  They were the secretaries for the most part.  Because I was managing the larger project, I was told that I would NOT have to manage the packing/purging of the site I worked at… that our secretaries (three) would do it.
I spent four weeks gently encouraging the staff to pack… to do a little bit at a time… Every day that went by made me more and more anxious because I knew if they didn’t do it, I would be the one stuck with it…
The day before the moving truck was to come…. at 3pm (when the staff leave at 4), nothing was packed.  The stationary cupboards were still overflowing with, well, stationary.  The supply cabinets were jammed to the brim with supplies… it was not a good sight.  I went in to my manager’s office and had a minor freak out… and then she and I spent the next four hours packing… We, the two people who had the MOST to do based on the larger project, spent four hours packing the stuff the secretaries ‘didn’t have time for’.
I distinctly remember wanting to scream at the top of my lungs and start flinging things in a fit of rage… The whole while that we were packing I was ranting about how leaving things to the last minute only hurts yourself, how it was really inconsiderate of them not to do anything and how they had FOUR WEEKS to do this and we were doing it at the last second.
The reason that I tell you this story is because in the car this morning my friend asked me if I remembered how I felt about them not packing… About my anxiety over the weeks and weeks of non-action… that not even the stuff that never gets used was packed…. I said I did remember very well how that felt…
And then she yelled at me that she was feeling the same way about my apartment that I felt about the secretaries… that there’s ELEVEN YEARS of stuff in that house that has to be processed and every time she hears that I’ve dicked around buying cupcakes and beach walking with Sam, it makes her more and more anxious…(I didn’t tell her that I went to bed at 7:30 last night…)
And THEN… I got to thinking about it… The contents of this… the contents of that… oh and this.. AND THAT!… uh oh!
I’ve decided that it’s probably not feasible to only pack when the cat is gone… I’m going to need to pack some now… gently… tidily… a box here and a box there… stacked into tidy piles that don’t freak the little fuzzball out… So I’m starting tonight… I’m going to pack the big cabinet in the bonus area, whatever is under the bonus sofa and the bathroom cabinet.  I’m also going to at least pull out the chair seats from under the other sofa (vacuum them off) and then see about recovering them maybe tomorrow… 
If someone that knows me very well is worried about how little I’ve done (when really, I’ve done quite a lot), then perhaps it’s time to step up the game… There are 15 sleeps till moving day…

You can’t make mEEEEEE (or how I saved $90!)

 You’d think that I would have taken the four glorious days that I had off from work and done something… anything towards my move.  You’d think that… yes you would.  Did I?  Barely… and I mean BARELY!
Thursday night Sam and Kathleen and I went for a salon appointment (which went on until 10pm) and then went to a favorite hole in the wall spot (it used to be just Kathleen’s favorite but now it’s a communal favorite!) and had Okonomyaki.  It’s sometimes referred to as ‘Japanese Pancake’.  For a warm, saucy, smushy food lover such as myself, it was beyond fabulous!  I want to go there right now!
After that, Sam went to his home and Kathleen and I went to mine and before I’d even given the kitty his treats and said hello, Kathleen had launched herself into bed… which was fine by me because I was so tired and out of it that I fell asleep on the sofa at the hair dresser!
Just when we were on the cusp of falling asleep, Kathleen started inquiring about my storage locker and whether we could rearrange and ammalgamate some boxes in order to make ‘less’ and therefore get rid of my storage locker completely.  I have to say, I wasn’t really into the idea and I really didn’t want to fart around with the storage, but after we went to Ikea and picked up some awesome deals on Friday for my new place, the mission was set and off we went to thin out the herd in the locker.  As it turned out, Kathleen was right, and we managed to donate enough stuff and reorg enough stuff into boxes together that I will be able to completely get rid of the storage locker when I move!  That’s $90 a month!  I’m not too proud to say I was wrong and I’m very thankful to my very smart friend!
Saturday was a lovely day spent with my family and then very late at night with my friend.  Once Easter dinner had been had and I was on my way back home, Sam called and wanted me to come and get him and take him to get Easter candy, so at 11:30 at night we were fooling around in the Easter Candy aisle of the local 24hr drugstore. While at dinner, I took a few minutes and applied some stain to some old chairs I found a million years ago… I bought them from an antique store in town for $20 for the pair and my G’pa sanded them down about three years ago… finally I’ll have a place to put them, so I snuck away to stain them and then my lovely sister and her man brought them home for me (to their home) and will deliver them to me in two weeks.
On Sunday I went and met another friend and we went to the art supply store and then to her studio for some art fun.  We’d been planning it for a while and I’m very happy with how my project is turning out so far!  It’s for my new apartment and it’s pretty neat… This picture is just of the base of it so far… it needs it’s ‘art’ and then it’s epoxy top… this same friend is an actual artist and while I was making my project, she was cleaning her studio and I got ‘hired’ to be her art storage depot… as in, I have so many walls now with no art to hang on them, so I’m going to help her out by hanging her art in my house… it’s a perfect match… I have a love affair with her art and she needs somewhere to store it.
 Speaking of art, I’ve come up with the paint color scheme for the new apartment also…
What do you think?
Yesterday was a rather lazy day which consisted of sleeping in until 11, being picked up to go on errands, going back home, napping and then having a special cupcake delivery at 11 last night.  We also got to see a house being torn down… how very destructive!
I feel like I need a holiday from my short holiday and also to actually DOOOO something toward moving…

Dingy Women

I found a blog entry over at Edenland… (you should go and read the recent ones!  it’s important).  Someone told her to ‘get over her childhood’.  Nice hey?  But it got me to thinking… she’s a tough woman.  She falls down and she gets back up again. 
I know I’ve mentioned on this blog here numerous times in the last year that I know some incredibly strong women that fall down and get back up again.  These are what I now like to call Dingy Women. (Like a dingy you paddle around… not like the color of old dirty paint.).
They get in their dingy and they start paddling… out of their comfort zone… out to sea to find a better life… sometimes it’s stormy and they have to paddle harder… to find safe harbour.  But every time they leave their safe harbour, knowing that they’ll eventually have to paddle out a storm, they get stronger… and they can paddle further or faster to their safe harbour.  They find things on their journey… they find peace and calm in the quiet seas… they find untold strength as they ride out the storm… and their safe harbours have treasures that the women who stay moored to the shore will never find.  Dingy women will push themselves into uncomfortable situations as they battle for health, fitness and finding the best life they can for themselves and their loved ones.  Moored women will appear to ‘have it all’ and ‘never have to struggle’, but really, you can only grow so much when you’re not willing to pull up and break up your root ball a bit (holy mixed analogies batman!).
I want to be a Dingy Woman.  I want to island hop from safe harbour to safe harbour, riding out the storms in between.  I want to learn where my limits are as opposed to where I’ve set them for myself.  I want to look back on the storm and see that I not only survived but am thriving in my new safe harbour… until it’s time to set sail once again.
And I feel for the moored woman.  She has already defeated herself by choosing to never venture out… never allow herself to have to work so hard she’s empty… only to be filled up again.
I will raise my wine glass tonight (a few times) to the Dingy Women in my life… for you are beauty and strength!
Kathleen – no blog… me sad 😦

Public Service Announcement

So last night I did my couple of cleaning/purging items that I had pre-chosen during the day.  The junk drawer, the cabinet under the junk drawer and my tool/paint cabinet.
As I was saying to my mom last night, it’s a far bit different cleaning to move than it is cleaning just to tidy up.  Things that over the last 11 years I have picked up out of that junk drawer and then put back are too  many to count… Maybe it’s that the those times I wasn’t ready to let items go, or maybe it’s because your thought process for cleaning when it comes to moving is less emotional and more practical.  It’s no secret that I’m an incredibly emotional person… Case in point, GreenMonkey.
I found GreenMonkey hidden in the top of the lockers that I sold on Sunday.  I won him playing boardwalk games in Disneyland… I was all by myself for an hour or so and decided to fool around… and I won GreenMonkey.  He has velcro on his hands, so I attached him around my carrypack and took him on all the rides with me for the rest of the trip.  He got flung into the back of the lockers at some point and I forgot all about him.  Until Sunday when I put him in with the garage sale stuff and carted him off to my mom’s.  Only when we were going through the boxes so I could show her what I brought, I decided I didn’t want to let him go so I stuffed him down the front of my shirt… and then took him out and flung him in the box… and then removed him from the box… and then handed him to my mom… and then ripped him out of her hands in the same second…
I realized in that instant that I had come to the end of my ability to cope with so much change and decided that GreenMonkey could hang out with me in my car until I felt a bit better.  Two friends have been in the car since and interacted with GreenMonkey… my explaination that he’s only there temporarily and ‘helping’ me get through this change was well received… until I suggested yesterday that I knit him a sweater…
Anyway, that’s my point… I’m emotionally driven and attach value to things that others may not… It’s a damn wonder that I”m not a redzone hoarder!
In the midst of all of this change, I stumbled across a post on my favorite website asking for people to sign up for OneMatch, which is the former ‘Unrelated Bone Marrow Donor Registery (UBMDR).  I used to donate blood all the time and then I became severely anemic and I tried a couple times but was turned down.  The OneMatch registery is very easy to sign up for… You fill out a questionairre online and then if you’re eligible, they send you a mouth swab kit and you swab, send it back and done… then you just wait for the call (if you ever get one) stating that you’re a match.
I would encourage everyone I know to sign up for this… bone marrow surgery (which is only one of the ways they get stem cells) is a reasonably uncomfortable endeavor (take a couple days off work and a few advil) but dying because you can’t find a match would be worse… seeing your family member suffer or die because of some one chose not to do something as simple as register is unimaginable!
For Canadians, you want to go to www.onematch.ca
For Americans, you want to go to http://www.abmdr.org/home0.aspx
For the UK, you want to go to http://www.nhsbt.nhs.uk/bonemarrow/
For anywhere else, if you are having trouble finding your registry, let me know and I will help you.
Please.  One simple act could save a life.  As Canadian Blood Services says: ‘It’s in you to give’.

I’m out…

I’m out of mustard, margarine, ketchup and rice.
Fear not, for I didn’t actually eat all of those things together… sort of.
The less food stuffs that I have to pack, the better.
I also thinned my book collection and my cook book collection.  In total, I’m donating 21 books and 31 cookbooks to the garage sale, along with a starbucks bag full of other stuff.
I found my Nintendo DS (with two chargers… lol.. that means that the one the ex took can’t charge!) and my brand spanking new, never used PSP with a few games and I’m donating that to a women’s shelter.  Apparently they need things that the kids of these women can do and all the devices are doing at my house is collecting dust.
Tonight I’m cleaning my bathroom and hopefully going through the tool cupboard and the paint cupboard.  I want to see if there’s enough of any color in the paint cupboard to use in the new place.  I’m thinking that I might paint at least one wall in the bathroom the tiffany blue/teal color that I put in my living room last year.  I KNOW there’s enough of that left…
Anyway, the battle rages on to clean and purge without disrupting the kitty…

‘Did you just call me a Dumbass??’ – or ‘Why are you taking pictures of my building?’

Today I escaped.  I left everything that needs doing at home and ran away… into the glorious morning sun… sun I might add that we have not had in about 5 weeks… Sun which will not be here tomorrow… 

I got up early, gathered my laundry and my wits and headed out into the world to have coffee with my mom… it was partly a selfish endeavor because I wanted to offload the two boxes of garage sale items I pulled out of my house yesterday.

We had a lovely coffee and a small unlovely altercation with a real bitch ass woman in starbucks that I really SUPER wanted to punch in the face… I don’t think I’d enjoy jail and I haven’t much spare time for court dates so I called her a bitch and we left… Actually after I told my mom what she muttered to me under her breath, I had to drag her by the arm out the door because SHE was going to go punch the lady in the face (oh, I use the term ‘lady’ very loosely!).

Anyway, after that I called up Sam and headed over to his house.  I wasn’t planning on spending the day doing nothing… I have a big fat list that needs tending to but we were having a lovely day so we just kept on keeping on.  

We went to our fave sushi restaurant and then decided to head down to the beach under the premise of taking pictures in order to a: lure our friend out here from Alberta and b: make everyone we know that doesn’t live here jealous… 

It was gorgeous and we went for a nice walk and took some pictures… and then, Sam played the game he likes to play the most which is jamming his wide angle lens less than an inch from my face and rapid snapping pictures.  Since I know that these are the worlds UGLIEST pictures, I usually run away but I was sitting on a log… so I started screeching ‘nononononoooo’ really loud by accident and he told me later that he saw a couple whip around thinking he was attacking me… whoops!

After the beach we went to have Peanut Butter Cheesecake because I felt like I deserved a treat for getting through the last seven days.  It was goooood!  

Then we tried to put the cherry on the cake of the day (which was super awesome) and go down to the BCSPCA to snuggle kitties and look at puppies but we were late by 18 min… Sam blamed the cake.

After that I got home, cleaned out the fridge, took a nap and now I’m going to head back to bed… if I can stop sneezing… I’m a walking achoo and I’ve sneezed so hard so many times in a row that I’ve hurt my back.

Here’s those pictures to make you jealous!