Monday, Monday

Another week is here to kick-start those promises you made to yourself late on a Sunday evening! Perhaps you were bargaining with yourself as you witnessed the most epic ending to a televised awards ceremony in recent history?

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Duke being a bad influence and making me hit the snooze button.

In the one hour I stayed up past my bedtime (yes, I am a bit of a Nanna when it comes to sleep), I told myself that by staying up it means I have to make my regular 5:30 a.m. workout class. Just because I wanted to be a part of the frantic social media blitz shouting their reactions to the Oscars Best Picture blunder DOESN’T mean I get to take a pass on sweating it out in the early morn. HA!

Cut to 4:45 a.m. when my alarm went off. Monday morning me wasn’t as committed or enthusiastic as social media blitzed me. Needless to say, I missed my class today.

The one thing I always neglect to remember when I hit the snooze button is how this decision has a chain reaction effect on the rest of my day. I slept longer, got out of the house later, missed my morning espresso, didn’t take Duke to play at my in-laws, was late to work, had to work through lunch etc., etc., etc.

I feel like that’s a lot of fallout due to witnessing the embarrassment of PWC giving Bonnie and Clyde the wrong envelope. No?

Worth it.

M x

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Bored

I’m bored. Yes, something I am sure my mother can still hear even from decades ago and half a world away.

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Duke being bored too. We’re so in-sync!

After a few frantic weeks (more like months now I think about it), I’m searching for that illusive and sweet side-hustle. I’ve got some more time on my hands after finishing up a few projects and it struck me at 2 a.m. this morning that perhaps I should just start a writing project.

 

A friend of mine recently completed a project where she had to write/blog once a day for 100 days. While that would definitely help me scrub up on my keyboard skills, sometimes I just feel like there’s nothing happening worth putting into words.

Perhaps I need to start by just writing about things I’m loving at the moment. I feel like I have endless recommendations for podcasts and books right now. Stay tuned. Just need to finish up one book and the latest episode of Pod Save America.

 

M x

On Wednesdays we get inspired

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Wednesday is my favourite day. Wednesday means inspiration. Wednesday is the day my favourite podcast drops and I get my head into gear to tackle the enormous list of to-do’s waiting on my desk at work.

If you haven’t subscribed or listened to Mamamia’s flagship podcast, Mamamia Outloud, then you’re missing out. Three intelligent, hilarious and on-point women discuss the week’s events, pop culture and most importantly give their 2 cents on what women are talking about.

This podcast always leaves me bristling with inspiration. It makes me pause and give thought to what other people have on their plate. Most importantly, it keeps me connected to not only other women around me, but tuned in to what women in Oz are talking about. There are very few podcasts that give me this luxury, Hamish and Andy is another podcast, but this one is distinctly more feminist and resonates that little bit more.

So this is a shout-out to those books, blogs, podcasts, tv programs that give you inspiration. To tackle the to-do’s, that make you laugh and impart some intelligent conversation into your day.

Subscribe now in your iTunes store and do yourself and your brain a favour!

*Image taken from google images and without consent….but I’m singing the podcast’s praises so I feel like they could let it slide?

 

Hello WordPress my old friend..

It’s been over a year since I bashed out anything on this site that wasn’t work/school related. I’ve moved my professional portfolio over to another site which means I can now utilize this site as an outlet for my personal blog again….so if you’re here looking for examples of my work or looking to contact me in a professional capacity, click here.

If you’re still reading along because you a) have stumbled across this site due to a random selection of keyword searches or, b) you’re somewhere interested in the ramblings of 30-something woman then…. welcome and I apologise in advance.

I’m writing this post early on a Saturday morning as I’ve been awake since a ridiculous hour due to phantom leg pain, which can only be described as adult growing pains. I’ve been in bed for the last 3 days with the head cold to end all head colds and I believe my body is now telling me that I’ve reached my capacity of laying down and to get the hell up. I of course internalized this as a sign of something more sinister occuring as I’m happy and in a good place in my life….so OBVIOUSLY something is going to go horrifically wrong.

After calling the health advisory line at 4:30 a.m. convinced I was suffering from either lyme disease or the beginnings of bone cancer, I was informed by the lovely and caring nurse on the other end, Barbara, that it is more likely nerve pain or just my body recovering from said horrific head cold. Basically, take two Tylenol and go to bed. This is the adult equivalent of saying to a primary schooler who is nagging the admin lady at the school sick bay “go and get a glass of water, wash your face and go back to class.”

So I did, and of course the pain has dulled but predictably my brain is now awake and searching for the multitude of reasons to keep me up. Rather than tossing and turning and taking my family along in this glorious state of alertness, I decided to get up and do something more productive…write that blog post I’ve been meaning to get to.

So there you have it. I’m back to blogging and attempting to keep the creative writing dream alive. Admittedly, while I would prefer my fingers to be inspired at more civilized hour, I’m just glad they’re still inspired.

End of a huge week…

I am just sitting at school and packing up my bag after what has been the biggest week I’ve had at Lethbridge College to date….and likely ever will be.

I’ve been so grateful for the amazing words of encouragement from my instructors, staff and more importantly my classmates on the (still shocking) opportunity of receiving the Troy Reeb Internship with Global News this week. Our student magazine, Expressions, arrived today which I was lucky enough to be one of the editors on AND my editorial on parents vaccinating their children ran in our student newspaper.

In the final push towards graduation in a few short weeks, I can’t believe this will all be over! I’m so fortunate to have been able to say yes to the opportunities I’ve been given over the past two years and if it wasn’t for the amazing man who works so hard day-in and day-out to make sure I could be afforded the luxury of quitting full-time work to carve out a new career path for myself, I wouldn’t be where I am now.   Just a great guy from Alberta who happened to be in the right bar at the right time.

So a word for the wise, say yes to that offer for a drink… you never know where it will lead you.

Now for the shameless self promotion…. zip forward to 8:55 of the below link to see what the Troy Reeb Internship is all about…and to hear my name pronounced correctly! And props to the talented Rod Leland for his photo skills!

http://globalnews.ca/video/2580383/early-news-march-15

 

 

 

Local Leatherman’s Labour of Love

The rich, earthy and luxurious smell of leather is an aroma that is unlike any other and one that overwhelms the rustic workshop of local apparel and accessory company Populess.

Brad Gadd is the creative vision behind the grassroots lifestyle brand. The idea was born out of Gadd wanting to extend his creative time in art classes outside of school so he and some buddies started experimenting with screen-printing t-shirts in high school for friends and family. More than 10 years on, Gadd has a brand that is selling in stores across western Canada.

A self-taught leather craftsman, Gadd moved into designing and creating the Populess range of accessories after discovering a skill and love for the craft. A chance enquiry to his father about where to purchase scraps of leather, uncovered a genetic reason for feeling connected with the material and the art.

“I remember asking my dad, where does a guy just go and buy a piece of scrap leather in Lethbridge.” “He laughed and brought up this box of stuff that I guess my mother and my great grandfather used to do leather workwith, I had no idea.”

Gadd designs, sources and creates all of the leather accessories in the Populess line. From making trips to Longview and surrounding areas to handpick the hides he wants to work with, to finding a supplier of rivets and hardware are all part of the job. Trying to source materials locally and keeping manufacturing within southern Alberta are factors that resonate with Gadd, who says that he aims to keep the company’s dollars in Canada or North America where possible.

“I love our corner of the world we live in and I try to incorporate that into our brand so our main slogan is ‘Born where the prairies meet the mountains’.”

Populess is not the only fashion label to emerge from southern Alberta. Lethbridge College fashion design graduate, Caitlin Power, has had her self-titled label recognized both nationally and internationally on the catwalk. Vicki Hegedus, chair of the school of media and design at the college says that up and coming designers are putting more of an emphasis on sustainability and locally sourced products.

“Nicole Bridger from Vancouver for example, does some fabulous things and she’s really thoughtful about sustainability in the fabrics that she chooses. She actually bought a factory in Vancouver so that she has absolute control over what goes on and how her things are made.”

Shelly Court Kanyo is another local designer and founded Lethbridge Fashion Week, an annual event which allows both local and western Canadian designers, models, photographers and DJ’s to showcase their skills. Kanyo believes that while Lethbridge isn’t on the fashion map yet, the city is filled with hidden talent just waiting to be discovered.

“Lethbridge has the right attitude.  We know we’re not a huge player in the fashion industry, but we don’t pretend that the fashion world doesn’t affect us.  People are supportive, generous and work hard.  Lethbridge has so many local businesses that support each other and that helps make the network here strong.”

Gadd echoes Kanyo’s sentiment, admitting he has many helpful hands working with him, including business partner and friend Cameron Stromsmoe. While Gadd remains the driving force behind Populess, he said that knowing that you’re surrounded by a supportive group of individuals and businesses is the beauty of growing and owning a business in a close-knit community like Lethbridge.

The Mid, Mid-Life Crisis

Do you ever find yourself sitting at your desk, daydreaming of a different career path? Of course you do, doesn’t everybody on occasion? What if those daydreams are becoming more constant than just on Monday mornings between caffeine breaks and deadlines? The good news is that you’re not alone!

An increasing number of twenty, thirty and forty somethings are leaving the workforce and are heading back to school. In a 2011 study from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, approximately 41 per-cent of higher education students were aged between 24 and 64 years old. More interestingly, of those enrolled in higher education, 54 per-cent were women, a statistic that has been growing since the mid eighties.

The mid, mid-life crisis is something to be embraced and not denied, a true celebration of the times we live in and how societal expectations have changed. Far from the time when you were expected to start working as soon as you graduated high school and stay with that company until the day you retired, we are experiencing the flexibility to explore our own interests and happiness, which can arguably lead to a more fulfilling life.

Mature students also appear to be the hardest working students when compared to their peers. While just 5 per-cent of younger students were working full time and studying part time, a whopping 40 per-cent of their mature peers were working full time and studying part time. Not surprising when you consider the life experience and time management skills needed to undertake such a schedule.

So take a moment and appreciate the mature student next to you at your evening lecture. Forgive them for running late to your study group and sending emails late at night. They have probably done more in one day than you’ve done in one week in order to get that assignment in on time.

And so it begins…

When thinking about marrying the love of your life, the last thing that springs to mind are organizational draw backs and logistical nightmares…..or am I alone in that one??

After months of procrastination and research and just plain stalling, we’ve done it, we’ve booked a venue.  The procrastination wasn’t due to the lack of enthusiasm to be joined in matrimony, but rather to the lack of time needed to research and plan.  Between the two of us, there have just been bigger fish to fry… or more like backyards to rebuild, money to be made, internships to be worked and if I’m really honest, Netflix to be watched.

Deciding on a location was by far our biggest hurdle.  Fun fact – something that they don’t tell you when you’re in the throws of falling madly in love with a foreigner, is that for the foreseeable future, your lives will be a constant compromise of location.  Whether it be buying a house, holidaying, christmas, birthdays etc etc.  To ensure that our nuptials were inconvenient in the fairest way possible for all concerned parties, we decided to get hitched somewhere completely unrelated to both families.  Perfect!

Amongst all of this planning and mild stress, the word elopement decides to rear it’s ugly head into conversations with friends and family.  Elopement and I have a love/hate relationship, in that I would love to elope and spend all of this money on a 6 month vacation/finishing renovating our house/buying a new car instead….but I would likely then hate us for doing it.  Sometimes when I feel a little stressed about this process, I like to dream of elopement and I on a beach with a stiff cocktail in hand and more time than we knew what to do with…oh and my husband, he’s there too of course.

So with all of this in mind, we continue on to the next stage of our planning endeavour which I’m told should be a wedding coordinator and a caterer…and a photographer…. and a band. Le sigh.

Abandoned and Alone; Dogs and their Rescue Societies

For many of us, owning a family dog is a cherished childhood experience. Playing with your fury brother or sister in the backyard and cuddling on the couch make up some of the most vivid childhood memories. So when you hear of people abandoning their dogs in a field or giving them to animal shelters, the thought is almost incomprehensible.

Unfortunately, this is becoming a rising trend among some dog owners according to volunteers at a local rescue society. Unable to dedicate time and training to their dog, or becoming financially unfit to own a dog, is a social issue that those involved with Windy City Rescue are seeing more often.

According to a study in the Journal Of Applied Animal Welfare Science; The Bond That Never Developed: Adoption and Relinquishment of Dogs in a Rescue Shelter by Mondelli et al, the major reason that dogs are in shelter’s care is due to behavioural issues. Of the people relinquishing dogs to shelters, a large number were found to have limited or no experience in caring for a dog previously.

Wendy Devent, owner of local doggy day care, Paws on the Run and photographer, volunteers her skills for Windy City Rescue. Devent snaps photos of the pooches who are in the rescue society’s care in order to promote them to potential owners.

I joined Devent on a blustery Saturday morning to watch her work her magic behind the lens with the newest Windy City recruit, Lucas. Lucas is a Boston Terrier and Pug cross. This timid little guy was surrendered by his family after being with them for two years.

“It’s sad when it’s an owner surrender because this dog has had a home and a family and then they’re just abandoned,” said Devent.

It was immediately evident how scary this process was for Lucas, being in a new environment and around new people. Lucas had also suffered some kind of trauma to his back end. His tiny tail and back legs have some serious mobility issues, which is the suspected reason why his family surrendered him.

The financial burden of dogs needing extra medical care can be the breaking point for many families says Amy Kiefuik, the foster home coordinator for Windy City Rescue. Kiefuik is the permanent foster mum to two dogs that came to the rescue society. Harper, a Labrador cross and Sully, a Newfoundland dog.

“Sully came to us when he was found on the side of the road with beebee gun shots to the head, a severe nose infection and had evidence of being tied up for a long period of time. We assumed that he was bound and tied in a kennel and left to die because his owners couldn’t deal with his condition,” said Kiefuik, barely holding back the emotion in her voice.

Sully is a big guy, weighing in at around 160 pounds, which is admittedly a lot for someone to care for says Kiefuik. Sully also suffers from epilepsy and has grand mal seizures when his condition comes to a head. Originally, Windy City had successfully rehomed Sully to a family but within 12 months, he was back in the society’s care due to his new family being unable to give him the time, money and attention he really needed.

Since then, Sully has been and will remain in Kiefuik’s care permanently. Windy City takes care of the financial burden of Sully’s condition which run over $100 a month in medication alone. In the time that Sully has been with Kiefuik, he has lost 10 pounds and has been seizure free for five months, a fact that Kiefuik gleefully relays to me, smiling from ear to ear.

It’s not just Windy City Rescue that aids with the care and rehoming of dogs in the Lethbridge area. Prairie Pit Bull Rescue comes to the aid of the pure and crossbred namesake. Natalie Kent and her family help run the breed specific rescue society and are fierce defenders of the breed. When discussing the stigma attached with Pit Bulls, Kent informs me of the realities that the breed suffers in places like Ontario where it’s against the law to own a Pit Bull.

“Pit Bulls are banned in Ontario so for most of them, they are always alone and have never socialized with other dogs before. They’re also usually walked when it’s dark so they never really get to see anything which is why Tugs is so interested on everything that’s going on!” says Kent with a giggle as she plays with one of her current foster dogs, Tugs, a spirited and inquisitive 10 month old fawn Pit Bull that was recently picked up by the rescue in Ontario.

Kent frequently flies across the country and down to the United States to scoop up these pooches who are almost always headed for the euthanasia needle. I met two of Kent’s other foster dogs, Wynter a nine year old, chilled out, senior girl from San Diego, Caiifornia and Keller, a one year old white, playful and deaf Pit Bull cross from San Bernadido, California.

When asked how the rescue affords to keep up with travel and training costs, Kent informs me of how they’re always in debt. She goes on to say how they are always in need of more money but are very fortunate to have members in their society who work for airlines like WestJet. These members are able to give her buddy flight passes to make the cost of picking up these beautiful dogs a little less cumbersome.

With the slow down of the oil industry and the tightening of provincial government belts, one can speculate that the number of dogs being surrendered is only going to increase. For anyone wanting to include a fury friend in their family in the future, perhaps pause for thought should really be taken before you make that leap of emotional and financial responsibility in owning a dog.