Category Archives: Venting about whatever

whoa…you have a blog?

Yes I do. I just completely left it untouched for over one month. We all do this right?

Although it is completely negligent of me to bury my outlet, I have had time to think up thoughts, you see…

Topic for discussion:

What is your labour truly worth?

My job is in the caring field and I chose to go in this direction. It’s really something I feel drawn to. It certainly isn’t the money I can assure you that. But my philosophy goes something along the lines of “caring for and helping people is rewarding” or something like that….

One of my 3 jobs I find more exhausting (physically and mentally) than the others and let me brief you without too many details but enough so that you can understand my reason for discussing your worth in labour.

The other day I showed up to work at a location I was last at in December – clearly I would be a bit rusty on the specific procedures but I consider myself “with it” enough that I am great “on the fly”. Immediately I am left alone with four individuals that do not remember me or really know who I am – and it’s 7 o’ clock in the morning (on a Sunday).  Things were off to a rough start. I spent 2 hours convincing one individual to move out of one room that someone else needed to use ( you can use your imagination to figure out which room that might be), cooked pancakes for everyone, assisted with 3 full on baths/showers/help to get ready. I was sweating by 9am. But really, this is kind of what I had expected – although it had been a while since I had worked in a place like this, I expected the chaos.

What I did not expect was yet to come.

In a nutshell, I was groped by one of the people in the house. Not like a gentle kind of possibly accidental one either. I was pinned down and my upper torso area (again figure it out) was grabbed while in front of the other people I was supporting. I was shocked, embarrassed and extremely distraught at what happened yet I had to pick up and carry on until the end of my shift. Of course there was paper work to be filled out and incident reports etc. but I seriously had to carry on like it was no big thing.

It was shortly after this exact moment that I thought to myself
“holy crap…is this really worth it?” Like how much do people really put up with at their jobs to earn their keep?

I know there are tons of examples of crap situations in the workplace. I just wanted to get it out and possibly get a discussion going….

I’ve moved on (I think) and have found better things to focus on in my week – such as the fresh oysters we picked, shucked and feasted on tonight.

I’m back blog…hopefully for good.

-SM

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With a little help from my friends

I know…I need to tell you all about the scrimmage on the weekend past. More on that later.

Right now I am faced with a tough decision to make and in a pathetic attempt to avoid making the full decision solo, I am soliciting input from my friends and readers.

So…for the month of March I have been making a conscious effort to track my mileage and gas receipts for my commute to and from work.

The scenario:

In January I got a permanent part time position at a job I really love. The downside is, I work 5 days a week for an average of 4-6 hours each day. I drive about 40km in each direction to my place of work. The sick reality is gas is costing approximately $600/month. This is a little less than half what I take home in pay (after union dues, taxes etc.)

Recently I inquired about a job cleaning fancy vacation rental properties. Not glamorous by any stretch, but my Mom and I used to do this privately a few years ago and made some good mad money. The plus side of this opportunity is as follows:

A 10 minute drive to and from work. $2/hour more to start (compared to my current job) with a raise in a month or two. I work solo most of the time at swanky beach front properties.

The dilemma:

I really really enjoy my ppt job. BUT it is costing me to do it. So the decision seems obvious from an economical standpoint but I still feel torn.

The risk:
Right now there are some days scheduled in the next couple of weeks for the vacation property job and I’d need to give notice NOW to my current job. But there is a risk that there is not guaranteed every day work quite yet but will get busier as the nice weather approaches. Oh geez…just writing this all out is making my head spin.

Do I give up my ppt job and ask to stay “on-call”? Sure this is an option I suppose.

Ok….tell me what you think.

Thank you for reading and your input – I REALLLLLLY appreciate it.

-SM

Diving into 2012…almost literally

It’s the first week of the new year and I couldn’t wait to get it going. I enjoyed the holidays this year, surprisingly more than I usually do, but honestly by New Year’s day I just wanted to get back to business. I know…it sounds crazy. But my logic behind this enthusiasm is to take on some personal challenges I have set for myself. Who can argue that?

I am completely swamped with finishing up courses, writing papers and studying for a terrifying exam on January 14th. I’m also back to training and working at the new job (not the one I really really want yet….fingers still crossed but trying not to dwell on it) and of course roller derby. I got my ass kicked at practice last night. I seriously felt the results of hosting friends for the past four days, indulging and perhaps having a bit too much holiday cheer. But I won’t be too hard on myself, I know we all have our “off” days and tomorrow’s practice will be better.

I am exhausted. It’s been raining like mad the past two days and normally I don’t complain about the rain. I am born and raised on the West Coast of BC – the most beautiful place ever. It is a rainforest and one of the worlds’ largest. But seriously, the last two days have been ridiculous. Extreme rainfall warnings, the road is flooded, my back field is flooded, my shoes were flooded this morning when I stepped into them to let the dogs out for pees. We are on well water, and it’s turned a murky brown and I have to boil it before anything can be done with it. I’m afraid to wash my lovely new white bath towels. *Sigh* I’m so tired and this crazy weather is just weighting me down.

Anyways, now that I’ve nearly finished whining, I wanted to report that I completed one of my New Year’s resolutions for this week already. I have added a new page up at the top (in addition to What’s my deal you ask?, GOALS, there will be NYR) where I will attempt to hold myself publicly accountable for the resolutions I made for myself.

I’ve got to get back to writing for school and although it feels depressingly overwhelming the end is in sight….

AH!

-SM

Rockin’ in the free world

I love Neil Young and I take quotes I use of his seriously. Today I feel like I am lucky to rock in the free world I live in. Times may be tough and I may feel down and out sometimes, but seriously, I have it made. I just thought about how easily I ran a full hot bath last night because I was feeling under the weather. How I have a full fridge of food to cook with and options for dinner tonight. I’ve got friends and family who don’t mind me either. So yup, I’m doing alright.

Today marks an exceptionally great day for  me. I finished, revised and perfected that big scary paper I’ve been battling. For former/current students out there, you GET the overwhelming weight that is lifted when you submit one of these bad boys….the clicking of the “send” button on my email to my prof…it’s fan-fricking-tastic. And to celebrate, I poured myself a festive glass of Baileys.

But alas, the goodness does not end there….

I’m still in the mood to appreciate the goodness all around. Today was a beautiful day, and although I had to spend the bulk of it at my computer tackling said project (and fighting Betty for a direct view of my computer screen) I did manage to get outside to the dog park for an hour, chatted with one my favorite dog park guys AND ride my beautiful cruiser bike for a bit. I am a firm believer in giving myself little breaks while tackling a big project – to keep my mind fresh and all.

While getting some fresh air this afternoon I spotted a healthy adult-sized blackbear moseying up my driveway. He turned around when I made a sound, but he was big, hairy and definitely lookin’ for a snack, considering it being quite late in the year for black bear sightings. I wasn’t spooked, but considered myself lucky to see such an array of wildlife on a daily basis where I live:

-bunnies (every day, definitely two that call my yard home)

-deer (plenty frequent the property, especially the apple tree)

-eagles! How amazing is it to see several bald eagles flying overhead all the time? VERY AMAZING! that’s how.

-black bear (new to the ‘hood but I’m cool with that so long as he doesn’t eat my pets)

-woodpeckers and other really neat little birdies (daily)

LOVIN’ life in the small-ish town, trials and tribulations and all.

Keep on Rockin’

-SM

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………..A few things I’ve thought about today…………

So today was a day I woke up feeling motivated by health. This sounds completely sappy, but it’s been an active week (super fun roller derby practice last night) where I’ve been outside a ton and cooking from scratch. But this is not the main topic for why I am writing. The two things I feel compelled to discuss:

1) perseverance

2) Loving yourself (and not necessarily in the “x-rated” way, but go for that too if it makes ya feel good)

per·se·ver·ance

noun

1.

steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, etc., especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement.
Ok, a steady persistent course of action. Well I consider this to apply to many things we all go through in life – learning, growing, working towards something. I am finding myself bogged down with school, but I know the end is getting closer (freakishly closer when I look at the calendar and my exam schedule) which many people have been there, done that. But I know myself to be the procrastinator-extraordinaire and here I find myself searching for things to do other than write this paper that is hanging over my head. And this isn’t the first time. I tend to do this, avoid something that freaks me out (in this case a big scary psych. paper) until it literally makes me sick. I know right? Like what the heck is my deal. I know I will get it done but it will come at the cost of all nighters in front of my computer screen, stressing myself out. Or maybe not. I just find that academics have never come easy to me, ever, but I guess I keep persevering through it to reach a goal. So maybe I just answered my own question/dilemma/addressed my problem. Working hard and pushing through it all is the only way it’ll happen despite the discouragement I’m feeling. Ugh. Sorry this wasn’t meant to be a downer, more of a “real life experience” that I’m sure everyone feels. Overwhelmed and freaked out.
This is meant to make you stop and take a breath and then go forward
My second topic: Loving yourself, was inspired by a Television commercial I heard today while wandering the house procrastinating (well I wasn’t aimlessly wandering, I was doing random chores). The commercial was for a beauty product (can’t recall what exactly, some sort of face stuff) and what I heard was something along the lines of
“Research has now proven that by age 20 your skin begins to act/feel/look older”
Excuse me?
There is more than just one thing wrong with this statement. The first being, way to shamelessly market your product to teens (because surely they must jump on board before they hit the dreaded……20th birthday) by spending their allowance on overpriced chemicals to coat their faces with.
The second is, shouldn’t our skin act/feel/look older along with the rest of our biological makeup because we ARE aging. This doesn’t necessarily mean 20 year olds will get wrinkly (unless they are addicted to tanning beds), but according to science I am pretty sure that our whole body is meant to age right along with us, face and all. Just saying.
And the third problem I have with this add, and many more just like it, are that I am tired of being told/brainwashed that we should try to defy the natural process of aging. Yes I believe in leading a healthy lifestyle, but I refuse to buy into “age defying” makeup and magical potions that promise to keep me looking young. Seriously, what the hell is a chemical peel and why would I ever want one? I am just not a fan of trying to trick myself into thinking I won’t age if I cake some over priced crap on to my face. And I don’t think it is fair that women & men have been subjected to such a superficial world where this is all “normal”. Somehow I have found myself smack in the middle of rant.
I think what I’m really getting at, is that you can buy all the age defying potions you want, but at the end of the day do you love the way you look in the mirror? If yes, than great! But I suspect that there may be a slippery slope with all of these targeted marketing campaigns……when is it enough? I know that I am not a beauty queen by media standards, but I like what I’ve got going on and to me that is what matters. Of course there are parts of me I wish were skinnier, or smoother or whatever, but I still think I’m awesome and I ain’t afraid to say it. I encourage everyone to write down an ongoing list of attributes that you love about yourself. Start with a minimum of 5 and look over them often.
Oh ok, I’ll go ahead and get the ball rolling:
1) I have nice thick hair
2) I am tall and I like that
3) I like my freckles
4) My eyebrows seem to naturally shape themselves, and I like that too
5) I like my legs
***disclaimer***
*no, I’m not an ego maniac, just someone who isn’t afraid to be bold about being awesome*
-SM

Oh deer! First week in the twigs

Well, it’s happened. We have survived the move from the mainland to island life. Boy oh boy was it worth it! The new place is unpacking as to be expected for me….quite chaotically however I feel that in all of the madness I have some form of “organized chaos” within it all….sort of. I am proud to say that one of the bathrooms looks very inviting and in fact resembles one of a real grown up – could this really be my doing? Almost. With the help of a lovely sisterfriend of mine, I have purchased towels! Lots and lots of matching, colour-schemed towels in all types of sizes!

Aside from fancy new towels, the setting up of a new place is fun but quite exhausting. Trying to figure out furniture arrangements, and designating rooms for certain purposes is fun, but if I decide it’s not quite right then it means more furniture moving. And seriously, my body has NOT healed since my adventures of dining room table/deep freezer-toe-smashy last week. I’ll survive.

So what have I done in the last four days of my new rural life? Well, I walk two minutes to a fenced off-leash dog park for the boys to run wild….well Benji runs wild. Walter sniffs around, pees, sits on the covered bench or waits by the gate for Benji to stop chasing balls. Seriously. I’ve mingled with some other “small town folk” who are also dog people – something I may have once scoffed at, but our chats have been quite pleasant and informative. I learned where the hospital is, other dog-friendly areas, shops and oh ya, the cougar sighting nearby! What? Yes, there has been a cougar sighting in my new ‘hood. Cool and freaky at the same time.

I’ve done a bit of a grocery shop in town and spotted the local ethical meat butcher place (it was closed when I drove by, but I know where it is!) and plan on checking it out for real today or tomorrow.
I’ve picked apples from the tree outside and made one helluva delicious pie! Mmmmm pie.

The new favorite pass time is deer spotting. There are plenty of deer that have laid claim to the property we’re on LONG before we got here, so we run from window to window scrambling with the camera to try to get some shots of them. We are mainly seeing does, but we did spot a young buck yesterday. The pic isn’t the greatest, and clearly you can see the window frame, but as proof, take a look at this boy!

So today I am up early (the crack of 6am that is) to help John wake up for work. He still has to travel once a week to the mainland and stay over night to work his two days at his clinic there, and he is NOT a morning person. So in an effort to help bear the burden of waking up when it is dark out, I got up too and packed him a lunch. For the next two days I will continue to explore my beautiful new surroundings, check out the meat guy in town, research which breeds of chickens to get and where we will get them and catch up on a ton of school work. But before I dive into all of that, I will finish my coffee and listen to the dogs continue to snore at my feet.

Happy Thursday folks 🙂

Cell phone companies are sucking my will to live

Are you one of the millions who are locked in to some ridiculous x-number of years contract with one of the major cell phone providers? Me too. I’ve been with one that rhymes with Dodgers whom I am not at all pleased with. I’ve paid (as an estimate over 7+ years) thousands of dollars in wireless fees, texting, hidden fees, upgrades, replacements, roaming charges and late fees. For a long time I was addicted to having my cell phone at my side. I had the iPhone (first generation) and thought I was all that and a bag of reduced salt chips. I used it is my primary source of contact and information gathering to the outside world.

Last December I was the lucky recipient of tickets to the Roger Waters performance of The Wall – absolutely mindblowing! Somehow, by the end of the show I was convinced I was going on a crusade to protest injustice (which isn’t too far off from how I feel on any given day actually) and that I was not going to conform to the cell phone companies. I know, silly as it sounds, I am sticking by it.

So, back to being a slave to “Dodgers”….my contract isn’t up until October 2012. Blast. The cost to cancel your services (forget the thousands over several years of being a customer) was $360. Unbelievable. So my plan – since I had decided I want to be cell phone free – was to cut my services to nearly nothing. A 40minute per month plan. Laughable to the cell users out there. The agent on the phone as I was doing such an appauling change tried her hardest to get me to change my mind.

CS Agent – “You will likely go over your minutes”

Me – “No I won’t”

CS Agent – “What will you do if you need to make a call?”

Me – “Send a smoke signal”

CSA – silence……….”Ok then, if you are sure then it’s done”

Me – “Excellent. Thanks!”

So I managed to find a way to pay less than $10/month to weasle out of my plan which turns out to be way more than half of what the cancellation fee was. And how am I coping with being cell phone free? Liberated. And ever so slightly richer. Less stressed about the insane monthly bills. Free. Relaxed. As if I have conquered the beast in the ring!

For the current cell phone lovers and users, I’m not hating on you at all. I had to do what I needed to do. The only advice I leave is this:

Stop texting and driving/crossing streets without paying attention!

The trouble with caring…..

So for those of you who don’t know me, I work in the caring field. As a student chipping away at a degree in Social Work, this seems appropriate. My job revolves around a series of unique tasks that are enjoyable at times and less than enjoyable at others. But I wouldn’t do it, if I didn’t care.

I’ve just spent the last 4 months in a role as a manager/carer. It was a great summer filled with challenges, frustration, pride and of course fun. This last week, I ran into a particular challenge that required me to work several hours past when I should have finished, resulting in a long, stressful and exhausting day though I wouldn’t have done it if I hadn’t cared. The day was so much in fact, that as I finally disembarked my bus in White Rock (from Vancouver) and nearly 11 o’clock that night, I stopped in at the local beer and wine on my walk down the hill to my house and grabbed a tall can of Kilkenney for the walk. It was a clear night, I could see the stars and the moonlight reflection off the water below.

I found myself sitting, alone, late at night in the middle of a (non-busy) road down a huge hill, watching the sky and the reflection on the water. It was lovely and I truly wish I had a picture to capture the night sky. I realized how little I allow myself to slow down and breathe. I barely wanted to peel myself up off the ground to keep walking (but a car came eventually) since it was so peaceful.

I realized how I need to care not only for my loved ones and the people I support at work, but I also need to care for myself.

Today I had a conversation with a colleague I respect, about the past summer and the events that went on through work. I’ve had some pretty mixed feelings about my job as of late – I like what I do, I do not like the organization I do it for. I justify this contradiction by affirming to myself that I am going to work purely for the direct people I am supporting. So, during this conversation about the organization I work for, I really realized how easy it is to be managed and overlooked and walked over. Not ok right? New lesson learned: Do not go quietly. If something doesn’t sit right (for example, if you experience something morally or ethically wrong in your beliefs) than it needs to be said. Speak up! Fight the good fight! That’s what I am currently planning to do.


My theory is if I can make an inch of difference or raise any sort of awareness on the subject of social justice, the well-being of real people or a lack of moral standards in the workplace, than I can move on a happy clam.