Three hundred and sixty-five

A big thank you to my supporters

This is a MAJOR thank you to all my supporters out there over the past year.  I really couldn’t have done it without you.  Whether you are people I know – friends, family, co-workers, or friends of friends of friends.  Or you’re people I’ve never met who’ve found the blog somehow and are entertained by it.

Each of you have a role in the success of this past year.  Some of you have helped out – held a camera, took me to a pottery class, forced me to practice stand-up comedy (this is still going to happen – I promise), went on a date with me, ate weird food, held me up on an escalator when I was too tired to keep my eyes open.  Some of you have been put into the blog without you knowing ahead of time and have laughed about it.  Some of you have commented, or in some cases debated, to add more depth to the topic of the day.  Some of you I’ve been hurt by and some I have hurt (and I’m deeply sorry to those people).  Some have made me smile and feel so loved.  Some of you have followed along my journey and each “view” that I see on my blog encourages me even more.

My mother will probably kill me for this photo, but as she’s on holiday right now, I won’t hear it right away.  This is the look she gives me when she ends up in the blog – again.  Probably the same look the Jackass** parents give their kids when they involve them in a prank!  Love you, mom!

** I talked about falling down the rabbit hole of research the other day and here’s a perfect example.  While looking up Jackass online I came across this:

A Montana man named Jack Ass has sued MTV’s parent company, accusing the music channel of “plagiarizing” and “defaming” his good name in connection with the show “Jackass.”

The 44-year-old Ass, who legally changed his name from Bob Craft in 1997, is seeking at least $10 million from Viacom, which Ass contends is “liable for injury to a reputation I have built and defamation of character I have created.” (thesmokinggun.com)

There are some interesting people in our world.  (Apparently he changed his name to raise awareness for drunk driving, after his brother and friend were killed in a vehicle accident. )

Tomorrow is my last post of the project, but don’t fear, I will still be updating the blog at least once weekly, plus you’ll have the book to look forward to!

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Two hundred and ninety-one

Some fun with Friends…

After all these heavy, emotional posts the last few days, it’s time for something a little light and fluffy.  Here is Joey and Phoebe from Friends arguing over whether there is such thing as a selfless good deed:

And a throw back to ‘date month’:

I read today on the Globe and Mail site, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines is introducing “Meet & Seat,” a service that lets passengers pick their seatmates in advance based on shared interests stated on their Facebook and LinkedIn profiles.  Other airlines are expressing interest in this type of seat matching as well.  When I’m traveling, I’d personally rather keep to myself, sleep, read, watch movies and listen to music.  And I’m probably wearing my sweat pants.  There is no way I want to have someone sitting beside me trying to pick me up, or talk to me the whole time!  For short flights this could be ok, but can you imagine being ‘matched’ with someone you are incompatible with and stuck beside them for ten hours?  My nightmare!  It’s like a never-ending bad date.

My good deed for the day

I know I just wrote yesterday about not making this whole month about giving money, but today it’s going to be.  I worked all day until 8 pm tonight and I am ready-for-bed exhausted.  This is an extremely good cause that I wanted to donate to, as well.

It is getting damn cold out there in Southern Ontario.  Riding my bike home from work tonight made me shiver and it isn’t even snowing yet!  As our winters get colder, it is harder and harder for those people who don’t have a home or somewhere warm to stay to survive.  I get cold in my heated apartment in the dead of winter, so I can’t imagine what it’s like out on the streets.  Project Winter Survival puts together and distributes winter survival kits to front line agencies such as the Salvation Army, Red Cross, local shelters and drop-in centres across the GTA.  The kits provide warmth and essential supplies to those in need.  You can either donate supplies to them, or money to help buy those supplies they can’t get donated.

Two hundred and eighty-nine

Mid-month recap

It’s almost mid-month and I’m having a frustrating day (as per what usually happens mid-month for me – it’s like “hump day” but for each month).  I’ve tried to contact numerous charities to volunteer for them (started contacting them at the end of last month), and not one of them have contacted me back (that includes the Sally Ann).  A lot of the others require months of application, interviews and training before they allow you to volunteer for them.  I just want to give my time and no one will let me!  The only way around this right now seems to be going along with friends of mine who already volunteer and shadowing them.  I don’t want to make this month all about giving money, but it’s much harder than I anticipated to do good actions other than giving money.

This month has also affected my friendships.  Every time I do a good deed to someone I know, people give me a hard time because they say I’m just doing it for my writing.  I offer friends help that I would have offered any other time and they tell me I’m using them.  Other times when I offer help, people won’t accept it because they think they then owe me something or their pride is hurt.  What is this world coming to that people think that everything everyone does is to get something in return?  There is such a thing as genuine kindness.  That’s what people do for their friends and family – help them when they need help, because they care about them and want them to be happy.  And when someone offers help to a stranger, they are doing it because they can help and it makes them happy to do so.

My friend from yesterday said he was embarrassed by my post because he hates asking for help because he doesn’t want anyone sacrificing anything for him (see his comment on yesterday’s post).  I will admit I was tired when I wrote what I did yesterday at 6:45 AM (far earlier than I ever get up), and I’m sorry I embarrassed him.  I didn’t mean to – I was just writing how I felt at the time.  And for the record, I INSISTED I was going to drive him because I wanted to see him off, I wanted to see him again before he left and I thought it would be much nicer for him than taking a cab.  He did not ask for help, I forced it on him.  Circumstances change, that is life,  and I am happy he is staying in Toronto longer.

But it does bring up a good point about sacrificing (nothing to do with my friend from yesterday).  I don’t really see the problem with sacrificing for your friends, family or community.  Sometimes we do things we don’t want to do because we know it would make our loved ones happy.  Is our world really so self-centred that it’s not acceptable to do a good deed for someone we care about or accept a good deed from someone who cares about us?  When I need help, I am so glad I have family and friends who will spend time to, for example, drive me to my doctor’s appointments when I’m sick even though they really don’t have time to, or come over and cook me dinner when I’m having a bad day.  I need them and I’m so happy they are there for me, just as I will be there for them when they need me.

I was so excited about this month before it started, but it has proven harder than I expected.  Every time I do a good deed I feel like I’m cheating by writing about it – like it has somehow lost its validity as a good deed.  There are things this month I have done that I am not going to write about because I think the people involved will see the good deed differently.  I also don’t get as much pleasure in the nice action when I talk about it.  It’s sometimes more fun to do it in secret or just to accept a thank you and a hug from the person I did it for.  So today’s good deed is a secret and I will think of a plan of attack for the rest of the month to still write about deeds, without taking away from the goodness of them.

Two hundred and eighty-eight

It’s 6:56 AM as I start this post.  I had just over three hours sleep.   I ‘supervisor’ closed at the pub last night – there was a private Christmas party I had to wait for to finish, and then I found a drunk girl passed out on the toilet in the men’s washroom as I was doing my check before locking up that I had to deal with, so I didn’t get home until 3:30 AM (remind me again why I work in a pub?).

One of my best friends is moving back to New York City (he’s originally from there, but has been in Toronto for a few years now) and I offered to drive him to the airport this morning.  His flight is at  11 AM-ish.  To pick him up and get there through traffic I figured I had to leave at 7:10 AM.  I didn’t expect to be at work so late, but either way I would have offered/insisted on giving him a ride.

Anyone who knows me knows that I am not a morning person – especially if I’ve been working the night before – and that if I offer to do something for someone in the AM, it means they are pretty darn special in my life.  Even though it’s early, I wanted to make sure my friend got to the airport safe and save him a little money.  And it would be nice to see him once more before he left (I missed his going away party last night because I had to work… remind me again why I work in a pub?).

It’s 6:45 AM when I got the text: “Call me when you get this”.  I was drinking coffee and eating breakfast in semi-conscious state.  I hoped nothing was wrong.  “I’m on hold with Air Canada,” he said when I called him.  “I’m trying to change my flight to Saturday.  I have too much to do and I could use the extra time to get it done.  Oh, there they are.  Can I call you back?”

My initial reaction in my foggy brain: “are you kidding me?!”  As much as I’d love to have him stay longer in the country, I wish he could have figured that out before I got myself out of bed after three hours sleep!  But, alas, unforeseen circumstances: his computer crashed last night when he got home from his party and he lost three days worth of backing up of hard drives he’d been working on.  He didn’t get any sleep trying to re-pack all his computer equipment he figured he didn’t have to bring because he had consolidated them. He still has some immigration papers he needs to sort through and his room could use a clean before he moves out.  All valid reasons to stay longer.  I definitely understand what it’s like to move your whole life and try to fit all of your belongings in two suitcases to fit on a plane.  And who wouldn’t want to stay in Canada longer?

Happily he is staying a few extra days in Toronto. I still feel good for offering to drive him and getting myself moving in the morning for him, even if he doesn’t actually need the ride now.  If you talk about good deeds being sacrificing (like some people’s definition), I feel like I did plenty of that this morning.  But, I am happy he is happy, less stressed and has time now to sort out his life before moving.  A little of my sleep is worth sacrificing for a friend.

Now, back to bed…

Two hundred and thirty-three

Have I mentioned recently how much I love my friends?  Maybe it’s the healthy food, or the yoga, or the fact that I am surrounded by amazing, supportive people who want to not only encourage my crazy experiments, but be a part of them, but I’m just so full of love today.  Everyone has ups and downs – I definitely have my moments (you should be glad you didn’t know me during my teenage years – sorry mom).  But, whatever choices I’m making this month have definitely changed the way I feel as a whole.

It’s funny how this year has been such a roller coaster ride.  I have gone from month to month researching and learning about topics and worlds I had no idea about.  Some months have been healthy (art, cooking, first kiss interviews, some of the pushing myself out of my comfort zone) and some months have destroyed me physically and mentally (date month).  Through it all, though, I’ve had my writing to keep me company and my family and friends to both laugh with me (and sometimes at me) and push me along.

Yesterday my friend Leah from work had me over for a home-cooked vegan lunch.  She was so excited about being able to help out this month.  She cooked the most amazing chickpea curry and we made vegan chapati bread together (recipes from voraciouseats.com).  Vegan or not, you should try this recipe (mom, I’m talking to you – and yes, you can use real milk if you really want to). Super healthy, easy and super tasty.  Thank you Leah for a lovely afternoon!

I know sometimes people are more interested in reading about when I encounter challenges (and do silly things) than when I’m happy and healthy.  But the downs don’t mean anything without the ups – the balance of life.  I personally like the ups better than the downs!