Category 5 and I

I have always loved volunteering… I have been finding ways to donate my time in different ways ever since I was a child. I strongly encourage everyone to find some way to pay forward the goodness done onto them, by doing great things for the people around them.

That said, I do have an admission. I am not always great at the things I volunteer doing. I can honestly tell you that I am horrible at some things I have tried doing (I spent some time at a recycling center… I can tell you that job is not for the faint of heart). So when Robbie (the host of Category 5 Technology TV) asked me to be a part of the show I thought I would do my best… and if I was horrible at it, no hard feelings! What can they really expect from someone with zero television experience?

Then I started the show as a co host. I was there on average once a month in a rotation with other super awesome co-hosts. Every single show I was super nervous and the only thing that worked to calm me down was the sweet reassurance of the viewers in the chatroom.  If it wasn’t for them I would never have made it through those first few episodes. Now I am there every single Tuesday. and each one I look forward to checking in with the viewers, the people there have become such a great part of my week, and I consider them all the closest of friends.

This is something I would consider no longer to be volunteer work….I get more every week than I give. I love being a part of the show (even though I am still not very good….especially last night, when I lost my place when reading a simple news story). I love knowing the stories of people from all over the world. I even love the discomfort of being live on air no matter how “on” I am feeling. Stepping out of my comfort zone is something to which I am becoming accustom. There has never been an episode where I haven’t made some ridiculous, humbling mistake. That said, there has never been an episode where the people in the chat room haven’t made me feel so important and special.

Category5 friends, I thank you for volunteering your time to watch every episode, it feels so nice to be a part of the international family that you have created.

Now, I just have to learn everything about computers so I can understand what you are all talking about with Robbie!  category5techtv

Procrastination… in its glory

You may have noticed how long it has been since my last blog post. “Did she forget?” You may have asked yourself. “Does she really want a blog….. maybe she is just so super lazy”. Nope…. I am a world class productive procrastinator.

Here are some of the major things I  have done since my last post:

Super cleaned my apartment…Detailed my car…Worked many many shifts at St. Louis…Cleaned and organized my junk drawer…Started planning and researching my Christmas gift list (yep, that takes time)…Helped with the grand opening of Studio D (Category5)…AND thought long and hard about what my next blog post would be about.

Will I write about the joy I feel taking a bath in a freshly scrubbed tub after a long day at work? Or how great it is to look through precious things that are hidden among so much paper in a junk drawer? I badly need a post about how much I love being on Category5.tv. I  also want to write about how my sisters are my best friends in life. Or I  could fill a page with the wacky and wonderful conversations I get to have daily as a server.  I have also thought about doing a post about chiropractic. And my favorite foods. There are so many little blog-thoughts in my head every day. Seriously…. I sort of have a constant blog-brain.

The truth is, if I didn’t feel the pressure and urgency to write in this blog then none of the other tasks would ever have been started, let alone finished. As I am doing something then I’m not being lazy, right? My inability to blog on a predictable schedule is not something I know how to change. I can’t explain why I think every single other task in my life has to be completed before I open my laptop (but I can tell you that I did clean for two hours and make homemade soup before I sat down today). All I can do is give you a little taste of the crazy productiveness behind my blog silence…. and ask you, do you do the same thing with your important tasks?

Talk to you soon (ish) 🙂

What you can do?, Nawting!

It has been a year since my grandma passed away (just three short weeks following her son). You need to know a little bit about this amazing woman 🙂

Please note **especially if you are either family or a devote historian** the “facts” in this post are purely hearsay, and the memories are of a very unreliable eyewitness (me). Some of this article may be a bit less factual, but really…. does it matter?

My grandma was adopted in Lithuania when she was a baby. I have no clue who her birth parents were, but the mystery leads me to some fun imaginary ancestors. She was raised by two Lithuanian doctors alongside an adopted sister.

Then the war happened.

She lost her small family.

My Grandma somehow (with forged documents making her older on paper) managed to leave the country. I don’t know if she came straight here…. but eventually my super awesome grandma was in Canada! Yippppeeeee (although I’m certain Lithuania is beautiful, I’m sure you wouldn’t be reading this post without that continental shift of location ).

My grandma and grandfather met in Timmins (I think), where he was a minor (super rugged and cool). He was also from Lithuania (it is very apparent to me I don’t know his story at all… something that I would love to learn), but also managed to make his way to Canada. They were married within a month of meeting. When you know, you know.  I heard they had to lie to the priest to get him to marry them, so they told him my grandma was expecting a baby– just so they could be married.

Fast forward (too fast, and not too forward), my grandma lost her husband to cancer and was left to raise her very young children on her own. So here she was with two sons and two daughters, working almost 24 hours a day to make ends meet. Most of my dad’s favorite childhood memories happened while he shadowed my grandma around to various places of employment.

I know my grandma’s life was hard, and I know she suffered through so much of it- to make ends meet, to raise a family, to fight through medical losses and scares. When I was very young my grandma helped my dad raise me.  I don’t remember much of that time in my life… but I remember lots of food and time outside walking.  Just simple, no frills, family time. Love and attention is all you really need as a young child.

Her favorite saying “What you can do? Nothing!”, which was (and still is) my reminder to accept the things I can not change.  Life will throw you hard balls. Not everything will be easy and beautiful, but the trick is to understand the power of letting go and moving on. If your eyes aren’t cloaked in the sadness of the past they will be open to the beauty of the future.

My grandma had a difficult life, but I am so grateful that she was here. She has by now given everyone in Heaven a little hard candy… and is resting with her husband and son.

Rest in peace Grandma

Rainbows

Friday was a cold, windy, rainy, grey autumn day.  Days like this make people gloomy… even the beginning of the weekend wasn’t bringing happiness to the people walking into the restaurant! Everyone was so glum. Just as a sunny day adds a little skip to your step, a grey day can make even the most optimistic person a little “off”…. myself included. That said, my Friday shift started a little rough.

As the restaurant started filling up and people started ordering their meals I noticed the sky started turning that particular shade of grey that is generally the first sign a rainbow could be in the future.

I was on high alert.

I told everyone sitting in the dining room to keep one eye on the window…. good things were about to happen. More than one person looked like they could not care less.  Sometimes it can be so hard to get through to people!

Then…. a rainbow 🙂

All of a sudden, everyone was happy. No more “blah-ness”. The patio filled with people taking pictures on cell phones (the one above was snapped by Danny). Every man, woman and child inside was looking out the window at the sky. Every one of them was smiling, no, they were grinning. The room was filled with a childlike wonder. Such joy!

Rainbows make people feel for the moment the way I feel every day. Life is beautiful.

Life-changers

Lately I have been enchanted by the stories of life changing moments in people’s lives. I’m not talking about the epic, huge, global game changers… I’m talking about those quiet quick shifts that take you in a different direction personally. The ones you don’t see coming, and maybe don’t even know happened until years later you look back and imagine the “what ifs”.

The beauty of moments and people that change your course is that they can pop up anywhere at anytime. So on a day that otherwise seems humdrum and monotonous think about how you may be on the verge of the greatest event of your life…it may have already happened and you just haven’t noticed yet!

Sure, you could argue that I am not thinking logically, and just because something happens after an event does not mean it happened because of the event— but thinking about it my way is far more fun!

When you take a happy look back on experiences that seem unrelated, but were a participating factor in life… there really can be magic in any moment. Here are a couple of my great ones :

I met the love of my life directly due to his love for Mandarin Chicken Salad. If I wasn’t working on the patio that day…. I can’t imagine. Thankfully I was 🙂

I am a server/bartender because I am a horrible dishwasher. I was hired to wash dishes at Pizza Hut and immediately reassigned to a more suitable position.

I am a co-host of Category 5 because I took a job at a chiropractic clinic where I met Robbie (the host)… who encouraged me to jump out of my comfort zone and try live TV.

I traveled in Katimavik for a year (awesome experience), because the in school presentation about it was on my birthday…I applied on a whim not knowing anything about the program.

I am not a hairdresser only because the salon I worked for shut down the same week I hurt my wrist… so instead of applying to other salons I went to college (the timing was perfect to start the fall semester).

Life is such a fun and surprising adventure. I wonder what will happen today?

 

 

 

 

Gratefulness Challenge

One of my FB friends (Julie) challenged me to post three things I am grateful for every day for 5 days. I have decided to restructure her awesome challenge to list 15 things in one day (in a blog post). This is mostly because doing something consistently for five days in a row is a bit more of a challenge than I can commit to — but I do have a huge list of things I am grateful for, so I refuse to abandon the challenge completely. Here we go!!!

1) My Family

I have a big beautiful complex family. Some members have already passed, while others haven’t even been born yet. I have parents, siblings and cousins I know I can count on no matter what, it is this amazing sense of security that allows me the courage to take on some of life’s bigger challenges.  I’m lucky to have some of my best friends in life right in my family circle 🙂

2) My Boyfriend

Risking being crowned the Queen of Sap I will give you a glimpse into what is behind my constant daily smile. The man in my life is out of this world supportive, a great listener, affectionate, patient and adventurous.  His enthusiasm for life adventures is contagious and I know we will see many hidden corners of the Earth together. I’m grateful for every opportunity we get to spend time together. That is not all…. but I still have 13 things left to list, so I better move on!

3) My Job

Years ago I quit serving in search of a “real job”… only to return two years ago with a new found appreciation for the career path I have chosen.  My job is perfect for me. People come in looking for a meal, a drink, some conversation and a  place where they are seen and valued for the people they are. All I have to do is bring them something to eat and drink. There are times that is all they need, but sometimes its more. Sometimes it’s a couple who need someone to be equally as excited as they are to an engagement, a new baby, a new job. Sometimes it’s a woman who needs a hug after finding out her dad isn’t going to make it through the night. Other times it’s someone who wants to battle back and forth about something in the news…. or someone who needs to talk about nothing, but wants to feel like they are being listened to.  I am lucky to be a part of so many lives (and I get paid to be there).

4) My Health

 There is nothing to say here except I know without doubt that I am truly blessed to have physical, mental and emotional health in great condition. I will do all I can to make it remain that way.

5) My Country

Canada is a great place to live. I haven’t seen all of it (yet), but the places I have been have been breathtaking in the beauty of the people and geography. I have visited other great countries as well, and not to discredit their awesomeness…. but I think Canada is the best.

6) My Freedom

There are so many places where who I am and what I do would be heavily regulated or penalized. I have the freedom to be who I am freely without judgement… one day I hope to see a world where everyone can see that we are all equal.

7) Luxuries 

I often feel guilty about this one, but I am grateful for it nonetheless. I have a car, shop for food in a grocery store with an endless variety to suit any craving, shower daily in hot water, and sleep peacefully knowing I am safe. Not to mention the health care I receive. This is not the norm worldwide, and I am very thankful for the luxuries I have been allowed.

8) Coffee

Everyday I am grateful for coffee. It is part of a daily ritual for me that helps me take a moment first thing to gather my energy to face the day.

9) Music

I am known to rock out in my car on my way to work, to sing along with the radio at work and to listen to music loudly while cleaning. Something I’ve not done yet, but is on the list of things to do, is to go to a live orchestra. I want to sit in a room with hundreds of instruments and feel the sounds in the room as well as hearing them.

10) Flashmobs

I have never been in one, but there is something about watching flash mobs that makes me cry happy tears. Maybe it’s the co-operation of seemingly unrelated strangers that come together to create something beautiful, not for themselves, but for they people who they  don’t know around them

11) Struggles

I haven’t had a down and dirty horrible life, but I have seen my fair share of struggles. I am very grateful for the opportunity to get through to the other side, look back and know that I am a stronger person because of what I have experienced. I also realize that I  am likely not in the clear, that I will with no doubt see more strife, but I will hopefully be able to bring my lessons from the past with me to tackle any obstacles on my path to happiness.

12) My Nephews

So far I only have two (and no nieces yet either), but I am very happy to see the next generation in my family happy and thriving. Both amazing guys, one has just conquered the art of walking and the other is a grown 19 year old man who blows me away with his ability to debate moral issues 🙂 The world is a better place because of these two boys and I am looking forward to watching them grow.

13) Social Media

I am not very savvy (I don’t use any other platform except Facebook and now this blog), but I am happy there is a way for me to keep in the loop with people I don’t have the opportunity to talk to one on one. This includes many members of my family, so many friends and acquaintances. I know it’s not completely ideal, but it is a way I can keep in the lives of the people who may have otherwise just slipped away. Julie… thank you so much for this challenge, you are one of the people I am happy to still be in contact with, even if it’s just by FB)

14) Books

I love to lose myself in a great story. Roots, Chronicles of Narnia, The English Patient, Wuthering Heights, A Mutant Message from Down Under, The Shack, Life between Lives, The Little Prince, The Edible Woman, The Red Tent…. the list goes on and on. I repeat – this is not a complete list. I don’t even know who I would be without the joys and sorrows given to me by countless authors.

15) My Best Friends

Family.  These people in my life are actually my family. Maybe not by blood, but through life experiences and common ground. I have real earth angels around me, and I am fully aware of how lucky I am.  These amazing people have a way of making my soul sing.   Something important to note is that although these are listed 1-15 there is a 15 way tie for 1st. Writing this blog has put me in the happiest mental state. My suggestion to you, my awesome readers, is to make your own list… public or not. It feels so great to list so many positive things. Do it! I’m so glad I did 🙂

Lessons from my amazing dad

This year, the Barrie Terry Fox run will be celebrating the life of my father.  The life of my dad has been, and always be a huge inspiration to me. It breaks my heart to think that there are so many people out there who didn’t get the chance to meet the dynamic, larger-than-life man that lived every moment (and wasn’t given nearly enough time here with us).

I am one of six very luck people to have been raised by Jim Dirmeitis – It was like winning the Dad Lottery!

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To kick off my month of fundraising prior to the Terry Fox run, I will share with you a couple of my favorite Dirmeitisisms

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1) If you are having a great day, celebrate with ice cream.  If you aren’t having the best day, pick things up with ice cream.  If you are having a down right rotten day… eat some ice cream.  Ice cream is the affordable, easy accessible, 100% effective happy maker (or supreme comforter).  In fact, I think I will have a bowl right now!

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2) Coffee. Black. Lots of it.

To be honest, I’m pretty sure my dad would have preferred I didn’t get into coffee as early as I did in life (I think I would have been short anyway),  but he always had a mug in his hand – so what else did he think would happen?! Growing up I remember fibbing and saying I loved black coffee as a way to get him to share some of his. He attempted to call my bluff, no doubt… but I eventually did acquire as taste for coffee. We had many a daddy-daughter coffee date.  A hot mug of coffee is the way I bring the comfort of my dad’s great big hugs into my daily life.

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3) Love your family. This is one of the last pictures of my dad and my grandma (who joined her son two weeks after his passing). My dad honored his mother and would never give up a moment to brag about what a strong, loving, generous, humble woman she was (and was she ever).  I find myself bragging about my family the way I used to be embarrassed to hear my dad brag about us… but I come from a family of incredible people, so what else can I do!

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4) Give back.  The Terry Fox run is only one example of the way my dad gave back to those around him. He also taught karate, spoke at Gilda’s club fundraisers, and helped anyone who needed an extra pair of hands…. or set of ears…. or a shoulder…. or arms. Get the picture? There are many many times you will need to rely on the generosity of others, so all the other times be the person you hope to see in your time of need.

If you didn’t get the chance to meet the amazing Jim Dirmeitis, I am deeply sorry for your loss. You would have loved him. I do.

 

 

The small things

A week ago today I accidentally splashed hot oil on my right (dominant) forearm. Instant 2nd degree burn on a little less than two inches of skin.  The pain has yet to completely subside, but it’s totally bearable. This really could have been so much worse.

I was looking forward to two days of camping and trail riding with my boyfriend. We had planned on doing about 25 km a day, biking being a passion we share. My burn happened while cooking during the first night. We had literally just unpacked and set up… the bikes weren’t even off the rack and our plans were totally derailed.

I didn’t feel that my injury was bad enough to cancel our trip, we had packed a first aid kit (I am a know to be injury prone). The plan to hit the trails was now a thing of the past… and the future, but it wasn’t happening on this trip! Now the immediate plan was just to take it easy for two days and enjoy the campsite.

Here comes the great part – Chipmunks! These little guys changed my experience from one of sad self pity and regret to one of wonder and made my forced relaxation time an absolute joy. The chipmunks were even brave enough to climb on our laps and take peanuts right out of our hands.

Chipmunks are so super small, compared to them we must seem like whales, or elephants. They are understandably skittish around people… but that doesn’t stop them from facing their fears and coming over for a couple small peanuts. Not a huge reward, but still worth the risk 🙂

I am a small thing. I am closer to the size of a chipmunk than the size of a whale. If a tiny little chipmunk can climb my leg…. then I have no excuse. I can and will be as brave in the face of a daunting task. I can and will accept challenges that are out of my comfort zone. I will not go blindly forth, but will also take the lesson given to me by my little rodent teachers and be aware, respectful and mindful of the dangers around me.

I am happy not for the burn that forced me to sit still, but I am grateful for the lesson.

Be Happy

I struggled to try and find the perfect topic for my blog.  I  just don’t know where to start, as the idea of having my words read freely by the on line universe is extraordinarily daunting. What is the one most important message I want you (the reader) to take with you?

Be Happy

Every day people ask me why I am always smiling. The truth is, I smile because life is amazing. There are so many small miracles in day to day life that I can’t help but walk around in constant wonder.

I can commit to you that I will share some of the miracles that I see day to day in this blog, I will stand on this little soap box to try and further your love for this crazy amazing planet we are on. I will shamelessly preach about keeping your eyes open to the beauty you are surrounded by,  even if the message is on a small used napkin lying on the top of a pile of garbage in the bin.

May your glass ever be half full 🙂