Tuesday, December 28, 2010

New Year's Resolutions

So these were my resolutions for 2010:

1. Work out 4 times a week.
2. Be more helpful to strangers.
3. Don't bad-mouth anybody.
4. Stop dwelling on things.

I think I actually had added more to that, because I remember having a longer list on my mirror in Iqaluit. I trashed the list when I was moving so I have no idea what the other resolutions were. However, I'm pretty sure one was, "Pay off debt and save for future." Haaaaaaaaaaahahahahahhahahhahaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! Ahem. Excuse me.

I've totally and utterly failed at #1, mostly because I keep getting hurt. I've been injured so many times this year, it's just ridiculous at this point. #2 has gone pretty well. I forgot that was ever a resolution but I really have tried to be a helpful, courteous, honest person this year. #3 I wouldn't say is either a success or a fail. Certainly since I made this resolution, I've tried to avoid joining in on any gossip or bad-mouthing of people. I can't say I've always abstained but I do try to avoid it. #4 has gone well. I find it weird that I even made it a resolution because it's generally my policy not to dwell on things. 2 weeks ago I had a customer at Coles who said something very rude and offensive to me and after being angry for 5 minutes, I decided just to shrug it off since I can't really take seriously a person who thoughtlessly says such caustic words to a stranger.

I don't know if I made it one of my resolutions on my "official" list of resolutions I had on my mirror, but another of my goals was to give to charities more frequently. I have donated some of my money this year, more than I have in years past. I've said yes when asked to add a dollar to whatever I'm buying, I've dropped money in charity banks, and I sent via PayPal money to Caboodle Ranch (if you're a cat lover, you need to click!).

So, without anymore blither about the past, here are my resolutions for 2011:

1. I am not going to dye my hair. If you've known me for at least a year, you will be shocked. I have not had my hair entirely my natural colour since I was maybe 10 or 11. I have been very brutal on my hair between regular dye jobs and daily straightening with an iron. I don't want to have straw for hair by the time I'm 30 so I'm going to try to be nicer on my hair.

2. I am going to start donating blood as much as I can, if I can. I've never donated before and even giving small vials for testing has made me feel sick but I feel like I've taken so much from the universe without giving back. I have a nagging feeling when I remember that I need to do more for my fellow man. So many people aren't as lucky as I am and I feel a sense of duty to spread more evenly the good luck floating around in the world. I had a friend in high school whose mom one day came home with a pin that either said "25" or "50" (can't remember). I asked her what it was for and she said she'd just donated blood that many times and they gave her a pin. I was totally in awe of her and that memory always stuck. I've wanted to donate blood for a long time, I just never have. I made the big decision earlier this year that I will donate my organs when I die. I never wanted to in the past but I feel good about this choice. I don't want to be cremated when the times comes, so there's no sense in (probably) perfectly decent organs rotting in the ground when people around the world are literally dying for organs.


Also, I'm going to try and keep up with 2010's resolutions although having totally forgotten about them and still doing well with them, I think it's safe to say they're part of my everyday goals now anyway.

I may come up with more resolutions in the next week or two, it takes me awhile to think of them.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Deery Christmas

Merry Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Festivus, or whatever you're celebrating.

It's been nice to spend the entire holiday season here in Ontario with friends and family, but you may have noticed a theme in my life since I moved back. I keep injuring myself.

My knee finally started feeling better at the beginning of the month, just in time for me to start working again. All was well. I felt good, I apparently lost weight during my sloth months, and I was working. Of course I had to get hurt again, right?

Being on my feet all day has been a bit hard on my back, but nothing to write home about. Until yesterday (which was my only scheduled day off in 8 days). I was at Anthony's Christmas morning and wanted to take a shower. As I reached to turn on the faucet, I did something to my back. It's all been downhill since then. Vicodin, Tylenol 3, heating pads, Epsom salts, Advil...nothing is helping. However, I am not complaining about the 2 Tylenol 3s currently in my system. Mmm...

I had to call in broken to work today which really sucked. I do not like calling into work, especially when I would have been making stat pay. I really wanted to go but I knew I wouldn't be able to handle even 15 minutes of work. The only positive was that my brother and sister-in-law came to Sarnia for brunch so at least I got to see them and my cousins. I was pretty miserable all day, though.

As if this wasn't bad enough, I had to make the painful drive back from Michigan yesterday to go to my mom's Christmas dinner. I had shooting pain down my right glute the entire drive and it was quite painful. After a pleasant afternoon with Anthony's family in South Lyon, I drove back around dinnertime. The hazard of deer isn't something usually on the forefront of my mind when driving, simply because most of my driving life was in Nunavut.

I was on some country road just outside of South Lyon when all of a sudden I spotted 3 small deer on the side of the road. I gasped, then slammed both feet on the brakes. I was RIGHT in front of the deer and while my car was struggling to slow down, the deer ran out in front of me. Imagine, 3 deer hitting my bumper, going through my windshield. I'd be killed instantly. Instead, nothing short of a Christmas miracle saved me and the deer were able to pass the car, mere inches away from the bumper as my car slowed to a halt. Had I hit the brakes even a second later, I'm sure I'd be dead right now. It was that crazy. With my jaw agape, I started to drive away but I was so shaken up, I had to pull over. I was shaking like a leaf and crying (hey, I am a girl). It took me about 5 minutes to pull myself together and keep driving. I couldn't believe how close I'd just come to death or near death.

I've been feeling thankful these past few weeks for the good things that have happened lately but this only solidifies it. One of my new year's resolutions is going to be to start donating blood on a regular basis. I don't know how else to thank karma for saving my life.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas Chaos

Hi there, do you have an iRewards card? Do you need a bag today?

Oh wait, I forgot I wasn't at work. My brain is practically fried from working so much. After 8 straight days of work, I have (tentatively) 2 days off before working another 5. After that, my days off are few and far between!

I'm enjoying working at Coles although it is so mentally exhausting. However, it's gotten a lot easier now that I have I know a little bit about current books and authors. Being that it's so close to Christmas, the store is insanely busy. There is rarely a moment without a massive line.

So without coffee, I like my job. With coffee, I love it. Being caffeinated makes the job much easier.

And since there is never a dull moment in the life of Jaime, I start job #2 tomorrow at the YMCA. Every time someone asks me what I'm going to be doing there, for some reason I want to blurt out, "Fitness instructor." HAHA! I don't even know why. I think because I'd love to be a personal trainer some day in the future. But alas, for now I will be working at the front desk. All day work-a-thons start tomorrow and will last until the middle of January. I don't even have the mental resources to be excited about Christmas, I am way too busy to even remember what day it is!

Anyway, mine and Anthony's (first) anniversary is Wednesday so we're going to celebrate by going to the restaurant where we had our first date. I haven't been there since our first date and I'm really looking forward to it. I'm glad this time around I won't be thinking, "Arggghhh why do I have to like this guy? There's no way he likes me the way I like him! This sucks!"

Well I'm going to go have a soak and prepare for my first day of working 2 jobs in one day.

I work from midnight to eight, come home, sleep for five minutes, eat breakfast, sleep six more minutes, shower, then I have ten minutes to bask in Lisa's love, then I'm off to the power plant, fresh as a daisy.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Pros and Cons

It's been almost 5 months since I moved back to Ontario. The time is flying so fast, I can't even believe it. Next week I'll be experiencing my third season here! I think about Iqaluit and miss it everyday. As I was preparing to move south, I had several people say to me, "You'll be back, you're a lifer." While it's true I loved living there and was a "lifer" compared to most non-Inuit, I don't think I'd ever move back. It was just time to go, time to move onto a new phase of life. I think had I stayed a few more years, I literally would never have left. I didn't want to be stagnant before I'd even hit 30. As stressful as things have been since I left, they're necessary stresses.

Anyway, now that I feel fully acclimatized to life here, this is what I do and don't like about it.

DISLIKE:

  • Traffic
  • Traffic lights
  • Not knowing where anything is in the grocery stores. I stick to 1 or 2 stores because I hate that lost feeling when I go in other stores.
  • The scenery here is boring, I miss the tundra.
  • I no longer feel like I'm doing anything special or unique with my life.
  • I don't really have any friends here and I only ever socialize with my family.
  • I miss wing night Wednesdays in Iqaluit with my friends.
  • It takes so long to drive anywhere in town.
  • Despite growing up in Sarnia, I often have to consult Google and/or Street View to find new places.
  • Constantly being asked about what life was like up north. How can you summarize 4 intense years with 1 sentence? Sometimes I want to reply to this question with, "Sjfhgslkfghisurghfbckvjkdjfhgk!" and tell them it's a combination of every adjective in the dictionary.
  • Constantly being criticized any time I complain I'm cold. YES I'M COLD, GET OVER IT.
  • The lack of northern lights in the sky.
  • People are less friendly and helpful. In Iqaluit I had trouble opening my sealift and my neighbours (who were also coworkers) came to my rescue. Twenty bucks says if I was struggling with let's say, my car in the parking lot outside my apartment building, nobody would even notice.
  • The air quality here is noticeably poorer than up north. I've since developed a daily cough that I never had before.

    LIKE:

  • Self-checkout lanes. Yes yes yes! The less I have to talk to somebody, the better.
  • Getting fresh food in the grocery store. Even now I still kind of have that mindset of "Oh I better eat this within the next 48 hours or it's going to go bad." I'm literally shocked when my fruit is still ripe 3 days later.
  • I get to see my family all the time. I live with my dad but when I want to see my mom, I just drop over for a visit. And because she's family, I can just get up and leave whenever I want. It's great.
  • If I'm lying awake and hungry in bed at 3am, I can leave and go get food. That's still a luxury.
  • Food takeout websites, where you order the food on the website and it arrives at your house. In Ann Arbor, Anthony and I frequently have food delivered to the house that we ordered from Campus Foods (thank you, University of Michigan, for existing in Ann Arbor). Last week I ordered Pizza Hut here and went and picked it up. I just think it's so convenient.
  • I get to partake in all my old traditions and I have been. The Brigden Fair, the Big Sisters' craft sale, Christmas on the Farm...all the things I missed while living up north.
  • Being able to have an iPhone. Enough said!
  • The Internet is NOT deplorable and actually works well all of the time.
  • The YMCA here is great. My knee is finally feeling better so I plan to start going again very soon.
  • Although I made very good friends in Nunavut, all of my childhood friends are in Ontario. I've been able to visit them since I came back, and can do so now without 5 months' notice anymore.
  • Paved roads. Hallelujah.
  • I don't ever have to deal with Northwest Hell (AKA NorthwesTel) ever again!!!!!
  • The weather is great. Today I stepped outside into -5C. I told my dad, "It's warm outside!" My dad disagreed but to me, this is sweater weather. I can definitely handle this for the rest of my life. We just got snow this past weekend too (you might have seen Sarnia on the news, we had a bad storm). No snow until the middle of December? And it melts in March? Who died and made Mother Nature a saint?
  • Friday, December 10, 2010

    Commit This to Memory

    I have an extraordinary ability to remember things, especially names of people. Granted, I have a hard time remembering someone's name 5 minutes after I meet them, but as soon as its learned, it sticks.

    When I was in grades 9 and 10, I knew the names of every person I went to school with (all 900 of them). Call it a cross between obsessively reading my yearbooks, OCD, and a steel trap memory, but I could name off every person I passed in the hallway. Of course, when I got to grade 12 and everyone was younger than me, I mostly stopped paying attention.

    Since I started my job in the mall, I've seen a few people I went to school with. I filled an order for a girl I had grade 12/OAC law with and I mentioned I remembered her. Of course, she had no idea who I was. It got me wondering...how many people could I point out as schoolmates who would have no idea who I am? Probably tons.

    Along with my ability to remember names, I remember phone numbers and dates easily, too. I can name off the phone numbers of old friends I don't talk to anymore. I can tell you the date of the first time I ever held hands with a boy, the dates of all of the vacations I took while living in Nunavut, and what number my high school bus was.

    In many ways other than just memory, I feel like I have an abnormal brain compared to most people. I did that autism quotient test that was going around and the results were exactly as predicted: (apparently) I'm half-way between normal and having mild autism. Makes total sense to me, especially looking back upon my entire life. I guess there's not much to say about that other than I'm kinda different but also pretty normal. Who knows.

    Tuesday, December 7, 2010

    Back in the Work Force

    After having not worked for 4 months, being back to work now is...exhausting. I worked my first 8 hour shift today and my brain is mush right now.

    I accepted a seasonal part-time job at Coles Bookstore. I thought working at a bookstore would be easy but there are actually a few challenging things about working there.

    #1: There are thousands of books and only one of me. I don't read as much as I wish I did and so 99% of the time someone asks me about a book, I don't know it. The permanent staff there seem to know off the top of their head every book in the store. It's a little intimidating when I'm practically still unsure of where the entrance is.

    #2. Putting away books. Everything has to be put in the exact right spot or else it's going to cause someone else problems in the future. At my old job it was easy. Every file was numbered and organized in numerical order. Bookstore shelves are not so simple.

    On the upside, the customers I've dealt with so far have been pretty nice. I'm also pretty comfortable with the till already.

    The best part about the job is knowing that when I'm there, I'm making money. After 4 months of being paranoid about EVERY dollar I spent, it's nice to grab some dinner and not mentally slap myself on the wrist for spending money. Not to say I've gone nuts spending money since I started working, but I did buy some Christmas gifts and a few things I'd been putting off buying myself. Rest assured, this will be a modest Christmas as far as gifts from me go, but at least there will be gifts at all.

    In the meantime, now that my intense phase of stress is over, I feel the need to contribute something to my community this year. I would like to contribute my time to help needy people but I don't think I will have any spare time. I just want to do something. I've been really lucky in that I escaped financial turmoil at the exact right time but I know many others are not so lucky. There are lots of people worrying about how to feed themselves or where they're going to sleep tonight. Those are the people I want to help. Anyone have any suggestions?
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