Went to T-Bay and Got My Ass Chewed

I dedicate this post to The Shameful Sheep – because if you have never visited her hilarious blog before, at least start off with this post like I did. I write the following post with her in mind.

Last weekend, we flew up to my in-laws’ northern, Ontario city for a weekend visit. Well, I stayed for just the weekend but my husband and daughter stayed for a week. And you will soon learn why I keep my stay short.

I care about my in-laws a great deal. They are, at the end of the day, people with good intentions. I believe they care about me though I’m quite certain it started off with a very rocky start (one where my MIL told my mother while Doug & I were engaged that I “really knew how to spend lots of money” and where my PIL didn’t hide his distaste for my city, Toronto). 15 years later, I’ve finally come to terms with the way they are. Not that I encourage it nor agree with it, but as they are thousands of miles away from us, I know it doesn’t affect my daily life, that I’m not about to succeed in ever changing them and I sure as hell will not change myself for them.

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A view I enjoyed – for about 10 minutes.

So what is it about visiting my husband’s hometown which makes me, well, cringe a little. Hmm… lets see, is it because there’s nothing to do? No, not really. There is a lot to do. They have amazing camping there with beautiful trails waiting for us to climb.

But, I don’t get to do that. Normally whenever I’m there, we are hanging out at some one’s home because my MIL has invited half the town to come over and visit with us or I’m stuck at home because my husband is helping out his dad on some work around the house (granted my husband’s choice but it leaves me bored out of my mind).

Their foodie industry is starting to develop with great farm-to-plate restaurants. But I never get to try those out either – nor can I even suggest it without that “Toronto people like to spend money, look.” So my husband and I spend part of our afternoons shopping for the RIGHT kind of food and cook the RIGHT way for everyone. Yeah, okay. I admit that we’re a bit snobbish when it comes to food but for cryin’ out loud, whenever I stop to buy a nice bottle of red wine, I have to always stop my MIL from putting it in the fridge! YOU DON’T EVER PUT A NICE BOTTLE OF VINTAGE RED WINE IN THE FRIDGE!!!

When we go to their cottage (a cute, rustic-like cabin powered only by solar – it IS a very cool place), I do enjoy the view. And we did visit for the day on the Saturday we were there and I brought my Kindle in hopes of catching up on my reading. I never got to – every time I found a quiet spot, I was joined by the rest of them within 5-10 minutes. Which is fine – but they never ask how I am doing or even care to understand or truly know me. I indulge them by listening to their rants and complaints but it’s never really about me. So once again, I’m bored. And I don’t have the piece and quiet to read.

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My only friend during my visit.

I did, however, really enjoyed meeting my husband’s one aunt I had not met yet because she had moved to B.C. when she was very young. She was, as my husband said, the cool aunt. And now I know why! She and her long-term boyfriend (more like common-law as they’ve been with either other for 25 years), with their cool hound-mix dog in tow, drove their camper across the country to visit with the family.

I asked my hubby why she was so different from the rest of his family. His response was simple, “Because she moved away from this place a LONG time ago!”

So there you have it. The people in their small city probably wouldn’t be so grumpy or so jaded if they just all had moved out before the gloominess of the city all go to them – economically, it’s been struggling and I’ve noticed their population on a decent ever since I first visited. Every time I go, I hear the same old rants and raves. It’s like I picked up from where I left off each 12 or so months that I visit with them. My husband has become immune to this T-Bay syndrome but he is fully aware of it. I am just starting to get it – yet it’s hard for me to be around for more than just a weekend. I wish we could stay in a hotel but that would be the death of me if I ever suggested that – a true slap in their faces.

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Home sweet home!

When I left on the Sunday afternoon and stepped on the ferry from our city island airport – I watched the city line of Toronto before me. One thing is for sure, whenever I go to visit my in-laws, I am reminded of how grateful I am to live where I live.

Oh – and what does this have to do with The Shameful Sheep’s post here?

Well, while there, I got attacked by mosquitoes, black flies and some other kind of bug that likes to take a chunk of human flesh out with each bite leaving itchy and painful welts that supposedly take a month to heal, I got 2 bites right in the top crack of my butt. I got it while using the cottage outhouse.

On the way back home, I tried not to scratch it because it would have looked like I was picking my bum.

And that’s why I had The Shameful Sheep in mind when I wrote this post. I’m sure she would be very proud of me if she read this.

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And the Rest of #Canada150 Weekend…

I always come back to work feeling content after a good weekend well spent. I do. I feel like I deserve a pat on the back or something. Because that’s the kind of ego I have!

Granted, some weekends are very “nothing” weekends. Ones where we are just lazy. And that’s okay – I think we need those types of weekends every now and then. Then there are weekends where we are booked with social events. These are the weekends I try to avoid – It’s one thing to spend an evening with friends or family but it’s another weekend where every single minute of our day is spent socializing.

And, no surprise, these types of weekends happen not by choice. We’re about to approach just that type of weekend when we visit my husband’s family in Thunder Bay. My MIL has this weird obsession of making sure the entire city has a chance to visit with us when we arrive – something no one in the immediate family cares for. But she INSISTS. Which is why I always stop at the liquor store and stock up for such weekends.

I’m almost positive there are rumors going around that my poor husband is married to an alcoholic. Fine by me… just give me my red wine!

So due to this impending weekend of doom approaching fast, we’re making sure this weekend is going to be one of those nothing-weekends. Today, yeah, I did play around with the idea of a hike but I have too much to do with laundry and stuff at home as it is. So I’m going to just throw in the towel and stay home. I will, however, enjoy our patio just to say I ‘got out of the house’ – how about that? Does that count?

And I’ll have a martini whilst I’m enjoying our patio.

Last weekend which was the #Canada150 long weekend, we had one of those very fulfilling weekend where we saw no one but did a lot as a family. Chaeli and I did participate in the July 1st festivities, but we also made sure to spend the rest of the weekend doing things we love to do (and take advantage of good weather)!

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Crawford Lake Hike – 1 hr 45 min

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Our first raspberries of the season

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Late afternoon stroll by the lake

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Hobbes the Dog was a happy pup!

Why “13 Reasons Why Not” isn’t THAT Bad

I was skeptical at first. Really skeptical. And not because of all the controversial talk about how the series glamorizes teen suicide. I wasn’t worried about that – mainly because after doing my own reading on the internet, most articles who claimed professional psychiatrist stated this show could spur real life copy-cats, no where did they even give any reference of credibility of such professionals or case studies. Once again, alternate facts looms over us again.

And of the few supposed copy-cats that surfaced on the news after the series aired, there was no direct cause-and-effect relationship tied to show and real suicide victim. And the fact is – leaving a suicide note is not a new thing. Of course, with modern-day technology, letters are, I suppose, old school. Video and/or audio recording is probably more realistic these days.

The show, 13 Reasons Why, was not a great show and had mediocre acting (though I will say the main actor, Dylan Minnette, who’s character, Clay – who we watch as he unravels the mysteries from each tape – was my favorite). It captivated my attention enough to get me to watch all 13 episodes. Yet, 1/3rd into the show, I really was just wanting to get to the end so I could find out what lead to her suicide (the tapes gradually explained how they were all connected – but there appeared to be this looming doom which broke her soul at the very end).

Why I continued to watch the show was basically because of this:

While the suicide was a main focal point of the show, the issues that surrounded it was what people should be talking about: drugs, alcohol abuse, bullying and rape.

Especially the last two – bullying and rape (or assault of any kind).

So while the masses are upset with the show, fearing teens will be easily swayed to end their lives in a dramatic, revenge-like “trend”, I ask this… Would our teens feel a need to even consider suicide if they did not have to go to an institution day in and day out, facing such risks? When they go home, with social media being such a huge part of their lives, can they even escape it when they are not at school?

What are we as parents, the community and the school doing to prevent this warped, criminal behavior from happening? I say this because before this show even existed, this sad reality has happened before. The one I can’t get out my mind was the teen girl who was gang-raped by four of her classmates. The rapists took photos during the act and the photos went viral. Shortly after, she was bullied. Like 13 Reasons Why, she was called a slut and her reputation from good, sweet girl, flipped 180. Just like that. This poor teen suicide victim not only endured a horrible and criminal act, but then went through significantly, cruel bullying.

So for all the parents out there, outraged by this show, I ask this – what are WE doing to try and prevent this from happening in real life? If the issues on the show were not a real concern in our society, would there even BE such a show? Did we shape our culture/society to basically, give birth to the plot line of 13 Reasons Why?

I’m a bit dumbfounded why everyone seems to be pointing fingers at the show, stating it is too dangerous for teens to watch and lacks any accountability of the message. Yet what about the discussions this show has cultivated? Are we going to continue and point fingers at a fictional show (or novel which it was based off of) and ignore the fact that we have the power to make a change in society? What about the good that has come from all this controversy? What about the teens who created a project called “13 Reasons Why Not?”

People are also upset about this fictional teen leaving tapes – as if she was being selfish.

She was in pain. People who commit suicide are not thinking logically. They are not behaving normally. To blame the victim (for victimizing others in the aftermath) is a moot point. However, let me ask this – what if those tapes stop these people from making the same mistake to others? What if it is enough to bring charges down on the rapist(s)? What if it saves another life?

Honestly, before I watched the show I did not have a strong opinion of all the controversy surrounding the topic of 13 Reasons Why because it sounded like a pretty bad show. I don’t mean bad in that the subject was a horrible subject. I mean… it just sounded like a really bad show!

And, while it was not as bad as I imagined it to be, yeah, it was still bad.

I am not too swayed with this fear of teens glamorizing suicide. If they were in a suicidal state to begin with, the problem was there way before even watching this TV series.

The topics, however, were important to me. As a parent of a teen who has started discussing this show with friends (even though she has not seen it yet – she told me she is not interested at this point), I wanted to be prepared. I wanted to know what exactly happens so when she has questions or want to talk about it, I am hopefully, more ready than not.

Perhaps this show sort of sucked – but the topics are very real. We must stop the ignorance and get to the root of this problem. Increasing teen suicide rates are NOT due to this show. And we need to do something about it.

Confessions No. 13 – Hockey

Oh… I am going to admit something so very, very taboo.

I hate hockey.

There, I said it. Yes, I, a Canadian, who does a lot of Canadian stuff like camping, hiking and apologizes a lot even if I’m not in the wrong, does NOT like hockey. Which, as a Canadian stereotype, is very un-Canadian-like and is something I would never admit at any sports bar or pub for fear of being chased out, hunted down and stripped of my Canadian citizenship.

This is not something new. Growing up, I actually thought I was just weird. That maybe I’ll grow out of it. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll learn to love it. Years passed by and I still can’t stand the sport.

I think this realization really was brought out when I was down in Phoenix for my first business trip with the new parent company. They took us to a really high-end bowling ally. Until then, I didn’t think “high-end” and “bowling ally” could be used in conjunction with each other. But this place was NICE! Too bad I can’t bowl.

Anyway, they made sure the TVs were on the hockey game. It was the play-offs. Toronto Maple Leafs were not in it – Montreal Canadians were, though. And as most of us were from Toronto, they said, “Hey, you guys must all be happy to see a Canadian team in the playoffs!”

Now, the Americans from my company, are not big into hockey, either. Even though the NHL is pretty huge, from what I gather, in the states. But they have more options in sports than we do – especially when they are much more supportive of their college sports. I wish we were more into our college sports teams. Seriously – they put our school spirit to shame!

Anyway, I did know one thing I was really proud of… what is worse as a Canadian to admit not liking hockey, is no where near as bad if I were to support my rival team. I know that being a Torontorian, if I’m going to cheer for a team, it had better be The Leafs. And NOT the Canadians. Unless I want to be chased, hunted down, stripped of my Canadian citizenship AND skinned alive.

I then admitted to them, the Americans, that I am not really into hockey. I felt, at least, it was safe to say this to them. They really didn’t care, right?

They looked at me dumbfounded. They said, “Well, you’re an anomaly!”

Am I? Am I really an anomaly JUST because I do not like hockey? Honestly, it wasn’t until the Americans pointed this out, that I really felt like I was out of place. I mean all my friends like hockey. ALL of them. My husband’s family, too. Not so much my family but they are excused since they immigrated over to Canada.

There must be other Canadian-born people out there who do not like hockey. Seriously!

Maybe I should form some type of support group or something.

[On the side note, while on a whole I’m not a very big sports fan overall – I mean, I’d rather go to the museum or art gallery than watch most sports – I am an Olympics fan and will watch both men and women’s hockey during the winter games. I also have a list of other sports I would much rather watch over hockey and they are, in the following order: baseball (I’m actually quite dedicated to The Jays), curling (yes, I like curling, okay? and that can be argued as being very Canadian), soccer and basketball. I’ll even watch lacrosse and rugby before hockey. Oh – and this sport called Hurling. Yes, I’ll even watch hurling over hockey!)]

Spoken from a Past Abusive Relationship Escapee

I mentioned in a previous rant – the one where I just loathed not just Monday mornings, but the anticipation of Monday mornings being somewhat far worse – the numerous co-workers I have to deal with. And the stories I can tell. And yes, I realize that the title of the linked post is about zombies because that’s where the post was heading, but there was, still, a point there somewhere of the ‘werk jerks’ I sometimes I have to deal with.

This subject, however, is one close to my heart. Because in my late adolescent years lasting to my early 20’s, I was in an abusive relationship. I’ve brought this up before when describing the psychological win an abuser has over their victims. I won’t go into it further in this post except just to emphasize it’s not about the victim being weak in staying in a relationship. The victim has been weakened over time through extremely strong mind-control which is a skill an abuser has.

So at work, I have heard more than once, sadly, more than many, many times, of which each time I say something and each time I get a dirty look, where people question WHY the victim stays in their abusive relationship. Accusations and questions come flying out: Don’t they love their children to leave their husband? Why doesn’t she just run away? It’s not like we’re in a third-world country that has no support/shelters… what is her excuse for staying?

When I try to combat each of these accusations, I am met with an angry and frustrated, “Yes, I know. That’s why I started with saying ‘I know it’s easier said than done…'”

It’s easier said than done, BUT…

I’m not racist, BUT…

Not trying to sound sexist, BUT…

When will people learn that just because they use mere words to say they aren’t something doesn’t mean that what they are about to say is negated and excused… and clears them of all notions of being a fucking asshole.

I am probably not in the minority of working with dicks like this. I am aware of this being all-to common in the workplace. And everywhere else. It never makes me give up, though. I will always try to educate whomever will listen to reason (if possible). with a steady and patient voice, I always try to give them information (founded, scientific information, whenever possible) to just try and make them think.

Still, I admit, I get so tired of hearing these words. The worse are the women who say, “If I were in that position, I would grab my kids and walk away right away!”

I have heard this many times myself. So naive and immature – I wonder if these people realize they are basically saying, I am better and stronger than SHE is. Look at me! I show no empathy to the weak because they should be strong! Like me!

It is tiring. I need to try and distance myself from these conversations. Which is why I am such a loner at work. Thank God.