Business Trips – Like a Parallel Universe

Business trips are sometimes a strange phenomenon. For up to a whole week, life is almost a 180 from home life. At least for me.

In same ways, it’s kind of a nice change. Lets face it, I have a cleaning service – everyday! I’m only living out of my suitcase so there is no clutter. At least not with me – vacationing with my husband and daughter is another thing as they don’t mind just throwing things around. I’m a tidy-traveler. I still believe in some level of order. So when I travel for business, it’s actually pretty awesome to get MY way of living. Clutter-free!

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The Camby – lobby

And not that I cook that much at home, but there’s no ‘what are we going to eat today’ ordeal. Or having to finish leftovers. It can be a different restaurant (i.e. different menu) daily. And the gym is just an elevator ride away!

Of course, there’s also the downside of business travels… I do miss my family after awhile, the work hours are long because since they have you there, they want to maximize your time (which includes lunch and dinner meetings), the commute is a bitch (specifically airport security) and you can only eat out so much before you get sick of it (though, I eat a really healthy breakfast and lunch in attempt to balance the more extravagant business dinners I  go to most nights).

And don’t get me started on the time change!

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The Camby – The Lounge

And then there’s the sleazy side. Yeah – I never thought I’d be writing about this because lets face it… I’m too old for this to happen to. If I were doing more business travels in my 20’s, I could totally see this occurring more often. But, as I found out such people do exist; it’s those hotel bars and single travelers looking for other available single travelers interested in a one-night stand.

And it doesn’t matter if there is a wedding ring present or not. That doesn’t seem to deter it from happening. Because lets face it, these people are just looking for one-night hook-ups. The person being married or not is of no concern of theirs as long as that person is game for well… whatever.

Anyway – of course I did not take the bait. After all, all I wanted to do at the end of the day was go back to my room and right into bed. TO SLEEP!

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The Camby – Different notice sign in each elevator. This was my favorite.

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End of Summer – 2017

As we go into the last long weekend of the summer, I am saddened to be saying good-bye to such an amazing 2 months! It’s been awhile since I felt this way. Of course, I’ve enjoyed many past summer months but with work always being so crazy, it really just sort of blends into the next season for me.

This summer, though… there was something very different about this past summer, which I will get into at the end of the post. First, a re-cap of some of the memories we’ve made to end our warmer months of the year!

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March boardwalk view from one of the trails.

We did go on our traditional, week-long camping trip. This time, we selected a new Provincial Park – Charleston Lake. Being a park with a lot of great nature trails, moderate to difficult hiking trails and many scenic canoeing routes (through the diverse amounts of islands in the bay), this was a very ideal park for us to go camping.

I was able to hit the trails three times on my own during the early mornings while the rest of the family slept in. I eventually got into vacation mode during the last half of the week and slept in as well but I usually am always the first to wake up. We also, as a family, hit three trails together. All in all, I tried to stay active since it was one week away from my usual workout routine.

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Found a great hidden spot on a tiny isolated island. We stayed here for a quiet picnic.

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Our last day paddling for an hour before we headed back to the city.

We managed to rent the canoe for two days. Day one was to find an isolated and deserted island for a picnic. Day two was the same afternoon we were heading back to the city. After packing everything up, we decided it was worth to rent and paddle for at least an hour before heading back. Both times did not disappoint!

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The slowest ride on earth. Seriously – I was bored after being stuck/stalled for the 3rd time.

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It’s traditional to go on the Ferris Wheel for a great view!

We arrived back for a 3-day weekend, just to give us some time to rest and relax before heading back to work the following week. We decided, since that Friday was going be the opening day of The Ex, to head there for the latter half of the day. The last time we went was 8 years ago. Chaeli doesn’t even remember any of it.

I always realize after spending some time at The Ex why we do not go every year. It’s expensive and really, pretty much the same thing each time. I imagine the next time Chaeli goes, it will be with her friends, leaving Doug and I at home (which will be fine by me).

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Caprese salad – with fresh basil from the garden.

The rest of our days have been drinking wine, making the use of our fresh basil before it’s too late and listening to more k-pop. Which brings me to my final point…

I have had the best summer bonding with my daughter. Sure, k-pop helped as she introduced me to this fun and entertaining world. But the conversations that developed out of this shared fascination has been so wonderful.

I will cherish these summer memories forever. I hope she will too!

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.

“Well… the truth is… actually… I’m in love.”

You know that scene from Love Actually? The one where the stepfather is trying to now be THE parent after the son’s mother dies?

And then the next scene we see these together, they have the following dialogue:

DANIEL: We can definitely crack this. Remember, I was a kid once, too. So, come on, it’s someone at school. Right?

SAM: Yup.

DANIEL: And what does she/he, feel about you?

SAM: SHE doesn’t even know my name. And even if she did, she’d despise me. She’s the coolest girl in school and everyone worships her because she’s heaven.

DANIEL: Good. Good. Well, basically…you’re fucked, aren’t you?

I loved how the father did not make any assumption of his step-son’s sexual orientation. Why would he assume Sam is straight when they have never had this talk before?

Let me tell you something, though. Talking to your kid about crushes and boyfriend/girlfriend relationships is not easy. Not easy at all. And it’s not that, I, as a parent, have problems talking to my 13-year old girl about it. It’s the getting her to open up to me part that’s not easy.

She’s at this age where everything is embarrassing. EVERYTHING! And she’s developed this physical tick in response to most of what I say. Some people call it the ‘eye-rolling syndrome.’ I just call it annoying.

The thing is last night, at the pub where we watched the Toronto Raptors kick ass in the NBA playoffs (see? I told you I like basketball more than hockey), I got to talking about what’s going on in her love life.

And I sort of pulled a Liam Neeson-Love Actually thing. I said, “So last year you liked so and so. What about this year? Do you have a crush on a boy… err… or girl?”

“Mom,” and of course she says this while rolling her eyes.

“What?”

“I’m not… you know.”

“What? Gay?”

“Right.” More eye-rolling.

“Okay – well, I didn’t want to assume! There’s nothing wrong if you are you know?”

“I don’t want to talk about this anymore…”

I probably screwed up that conversation. In fact, she is probably mortified – and hence will be in debt in the future from all the expensive therapy sessions I will have caused her.

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.