I live with all my fault zones

Heyyyyy Alaska had a 7.9/8.2 (depends who you ask) magnitude earthquake earlier this week and it set off my anxiety because GUESS WHAT? I LIVE IN A MAJOR EARTHQUAKE ZONE AND WE’RE OVERDUE FOR A MASSIVE SHAKEDOWN.

I have emergency bags at home, and I used to be pretty smug about that and thought I was ready! I’m adorable, in case you didn’t know. I knew the food probably needed to be replaced and I needed provisions for my cats, but when I opened the bag I got a major dose of reality: I am nowhere near ready for this. Aside from camping cutlery, some rudimentary first aid supplies, and four years already expired food, there was not much else in that bag that was going to save us.

My poor brain went into overdrive and I started doing what I do best: making lists and meal planning for the apocalypse. Look, I don’t know where I’m going to be when all of this goes down, but I don’t want to have to rely on what will already be an overburdened system. I’d prefer to be self-sufficient so that people who actually need help, such as the elderly, are getting it instead of assholes who couldn’t be bothered to put together an emergency kit. I don’t want to be an asshole if I can avoid it. Okay, I’m an asshole on a regular basis, but I don’t want to be one during a crisis.

I decided that there should be an emergency bag in each of our cars and two at home, each with enough supplies to sustain two people for three days. The bags at home will also have provisions for our cats, because I never, ever want to be in a position where I can’t care for them.

So lists were made.

Whatever is in italics I’ve already taken care of.

Cats:

  • Reflective collars and ID tags 
  • Harnesses and leashes
  • Small cans of cat food that can be opened without a can opener
  • Dry cat food
  • Collapsible food and water dishes
  • Cat treats
  • A few toys

Food, three meals plus snacks and beverages:

  • Dehydrated soups with beans and lentils
  • Vacuum sealed, ready to eat pastas
  • Instant oatmeal
  • Dried fruit
  • Trail mix
  • Chocolate bars
  • Cliff bars
  • Instant coffee because having a caffeine headache during a crisis would definitely turn me into an asshole
  • Vodka
  • Pot, although it is technically not food
  • 4 litre jugs of water
  • Electrolyte tablets

First Aid:

  • Latex gloves
  • Dust masks
  • Bandages of various sizes
  • Butterfly bandages
  • Gauze
  • Medical tape
  • Pain relievers (maybe pot should go in the first aid kit, too)
  • Ativan
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Ointment
  • And then I just said fuck it and bought four small first aid kits in addition to what I have above

Gear:

  • Backpacks
  • Single burner camping stoves and fuel
  • Lighters
  • Solar blankets
  • Whistles
  • Candles
  • Wind up flashlights
  • Radios with extra batteries
  • Fleece blankets
  • Nesting cups
  • Nesting bowls
  • Sporks
  • Small kettles/pots with lids
  • Dish soap
  • Bleach
  • Dish cloths
  • Note books
  • Sharpie markers
  • Folding knives
  • Extra large ziploc bags
  • Toilet paper

Clothes:

  • Base layers
  • Wool socks
  • Toque
  • Gloves
  • Runners
  • Underwear
  • Rain ponchos

To do:

  • Decide on rendez-vous points both from home and from work
  • Find the emergency shelters near home and work, just in case
  • Plan routes to those points that account for disaster response routes which will be closed to peasants like you and me
  • Make maps for those points and include emergency contacts and have them laminated
  • If at home, close the natural gas line
  • Make copies of ID’s and medical cards and medical insurance

So I’m about halfway there. I really hope I never have to experience a major earthquake that would make these kits necessary, and I’d be lying if I didn’t consider hunting down cyanide tablets to put in my kits so I don’t have to witness the collapse of humanity in the lower mainland.

This is your responsibility, too. You need to do this. Yes you do. LOOTING IS NOT AN EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS STRATEGY. Not sure how do to this shit? Here’s a good resource https://www.getprepared.gc.ca/cnt/rsrcs/pblctns/yprprdnssgd/yprprdnssgd-eng.pdf 

Alright. If something should happen, please know that I loved you all along and you were right. Doesn’t matter what it was, you were right and you can have that as a victory. Peace be with you.

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New year, same me, who dis?

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

I hate thinking of life in one year blocks that expire on December 31. My life is fluid and I’ve allowed myself the space to do things in my own time, but I feel a lot of peer pressure to set New Years Resolutions and Intentions. I’ve literally had to remind myself every day for the past week that I am doing just fine and that I don’t need to declare all the things I want to change about myself just because everyone else is doing it.

Rather than say I’M GOING TO DO THIS THING STARTING ON JANUARY 1, I enact changes as I am inspired by them. October 11th? That’s a perfect time to start eating more vegetables. July 2? Heck yeah I’m going to open a savings account. Change is so personal, and I dislike NY resolutions because there’s a lot of pressure and the failure that comes from the inability to change your lifestyle and habits overnight is overwhelming.

If you did set some resolutions/goals/intentions and you’re not ready to work on them right now, THAT IS OKAY! Or, if you are working on them and you fall off the bandwagon, THAT’S OKAY, TOO! You always have the ability to hit reset on your goals and intentions. I truly believe there is just as much to be learned about yourself in failure as there is in success.

I had a lot of minor personal achievements in 2017, and I’d like to share them here:

  • I adopted a regular skin care routine sometime in July,
  • I started flossing more frequently a couple of weeks ago
  • I started a regular practice of yoga in August
  • I meal planned the heck out of 2017 from February onward and I think this one has been the most consistent change from last year
  • I read six books in a six-week span and then nothing for months
  • I started bullet journaling intermittently, often forgetting to update it for weeks at a time but I’m still trying to adopt this as a regular practice, I just pick up where I left off

Actually, I pick up where I left off on the regular. I often abandon whatever goal I’ve set for myself but I usually go back to it, sometimes I have to go back to it four, five, or six times. I’m not a spontaneous person by nature, except when I want to make a change. Now is a good time to change something or do something, whenever now happens to be, but it’s rarely inspired by a date on the calendar.

Go forth and be you, and don’t worry about January. It’s kind of a shitty month anyway.

An important message: Consent still applies to pregnant ladies

The following is from my dear friend affectionately known as Nurse Nathalie, or @howetolove on the Twittersphere:

This maternity shirt was lovingly given to me by an amazing coworker as a jest to my disdain for people touching my belly since being pregnant, but it brings forward the important concept of consent. A wise nurse once modelled to me the importance of obtaining consent from a patient before ever touching her breasts, abdomen, or private areas before an exam, and since then, I’ve always tried to model this for newer staff. It may seem like the abdomen is a normal place to touch or rub a pregnant woman, but truthfully, would you do that to anyone else? I believe that usually it is an area reserved for a consensual intimate relationship, and that fact doesn’t change in pregnancy just because a baby is kicking away. It’s not that you CAN’T touch a pregnant belly, but more that you should gain consent before doing so, even if already implied to close friends, immediate family, and your partner. Imagine for a second, a woman who had been sexually assaulted at some point in her life; a point where consent was taken away from her. Imagine bringing those feelings back, even if your touch was well-intentioned. This is why you have to ask, and respect the answer immediately. This is not a hormone fueled rant, but more a peaceful, thought provoking piece on consent, based on my observations and feelings so far as a pregnant woman.

I know many, many times over how amazing it is to share in the life being created by a woman during pregnancy, but if you weren’t invited to do so, all you have to do is ask. 🙂 ❤

can't touch this

Messy inside

Oh yeah I’m a reaper man
Every good thing, I kill it good
Oh yeah I’m a hooligan
Out in the street making a mess

Fuck yeah I’m a deviant
When I go to the store I go undressed
Oh yeah I’m a sexy mess
Go on the date just to get the dress off

How’d I ever get so off my rocks?
How’d I ever get so lost
Everybody out there on the job
But not me

Oh, but not me

Oh yeah I’m an ugly mess
Not in the face, but in the head
I’m thinking that was best not said
But I say it anyway, then I say it again

They took a little look at my brain,
they come to find, all is sane
They took a little look at my heart
They found a prince living behind bars

How’d I ever get so off my rocks?
How’d I ever get so lost
Everybody out there on the job, but not me oh no
How’d I ever get so indiscreet, how’d I ever get so freakly
Everybody out there on a leash
But not me

Oh

I know I got no choice, got no choice, but to love myself
I know I got no choice, got no choice, but to love myself
God knows, you got no choice, got no choice, but to love yourself
God knows, I got no choice, got no choice, got no choice

How’d I ever get so off my rocks?
How’d I ever get so lost (who knows)
Everybody out there on the job, but not me oh no
How’d I ever get so indiscreet, how’d I ever get so freakly
Everybody out there on a leash
But not me

Oh, but not me

(Reaper Man by Mother Mother)

I have a confession to make. When my life gets out of control, I don’t eat. And when I don’t eat, I don’t have enough calories to keep me asleep at night. And when I can’t sleep, I slip into really bad anxiety and then I get sad. It’s hard to make rational decisions when I’m sleep deprived, and it’s not an easy cycle for me to break. Every now and then a song comes along and sticks to you like the gluey residue from an old BandAid, that was Reaper Man for me. I identify with the above lyrics, probably more than is healthy.

I start to wonder if this is my new normal, but then I look back and think how did I get in this place? Is this forever? Has anyone noticed how fucked up this is? You better believe people notice when you’ve become a shell of your former self. I try to hide when I am unwell inside, but it seeps out in the most interesting, and sometimes outlandish, ways. I can’t keep this shit inside, no matter how hard I try.

I know what it is like to be weird inside. I know what it is to be fucked up and make a bad decision or two, or three, or four. I know the self-loathing that comes with making bad decisions, feeling like you don’t deserve the good things in life, entrenching further and further that I am not a good person. In my experience, forgiving and loving yourself again and again is hard work and seems so far out of reach at times.

This I know: I’m a strong woman and I have won many battles on my own, but depression and anxiety are not one of them. I have relied on a therapist and a doctor more than once in my life, and I continually count on a vast support network. People are fallible. Oh God, am I ever fallible. My struggles with depression and anxiety are not over; at the moment I just happen to be on even ground. I know the signs, and I know earlier and earlier when things start to slip for me. But it still happens.

I am human, I am fallible, I am imperfect, I make bad decisions, I hurt people. I don’t pretend to be anything more than this, because I’m not.

I eat well and I exercise because I know I need to take care of my body. I feel like this is a general rule we’re all aware of, because society talks about it all the time. But not enough people talk about taking care of our mental health. You’d go to a doctor if something in your body hurt or malfunctioned, so why do we sweep a mental health crisis under the rug and hope that it goes away on its own? Why is one kind of medical care covered by our government’s provided medical system but one isn’t? Why are they any different?

Unless people talk about it, there won’t be a push for a mental health strategy. I don’t love that it takes a corporation like Bell to get the conversation started, but something needs to happen to make mental health matter. If Bell is willing to help encourage us to speak up and keep the conversation going, it’s a step in the right direction. Talking about it drops the stigma.

I’m a little messed up, but when it comes down to it, we all are. I’m just willing to talk about it.
And I hope it encourages you to talk about this kind of stuff too. I’m here.

An open letter to Jian Ghomeshi, written by Ro

Jian Ghomeshi is raging through my mind this morning.

Maybe it’s because my family is embroiled in its own baseless legal battle where innocent and good people are being dragged through the mud, but Jian Ghomeshi is the scum of the earth.

Dear Jian,

What you did was WRONG and you tried to cover your tracks by puffing out your chest and intimidating people into silence. You hired a big PR firm because once again, you believed that if you beat people down hard enough, they would slither away, like so many of the women that you preyed upon. You used your pseudo-celebrity status to dazzle young women, and then you hurt them and shamed them into silence. You are a predator.

You should have to pay the CBC back for the legal expenses you incurred, but I feel like you owe the CBC far more than $18,000. Your claims were baseless, and while you were being an asshole, you continued to further victimize the women you abused and led your fan base to believe that you were innocent. The damage that you have incurred is priceless, and no amount of money is going to make any of those women feel safe and whole again.

So many of your fans stood up for you and cried for your innocence. You made a mockery of thousands of Canadians. You used your dead father to garner sympathy. You victim shamed innocent women and you called them jilted exes. You attempted to manipulate the situation, and for once, it backfired tremendously.

Everyday people like you walk away from situations like this, unscathed. In your wake you were willing to leave honest and truthful people to rot in the web of lies you’ve created to keep yourself elevated. You disgust me to the core.

Enjoy the legal process, you coward. Enjoy having your words used against you and having holes poked into everything you’ve ever said. Privacy is no longer yours, and you too, can enjoy what it’s like to feel little and helpless like so many of the people you’ve silenced over the years.

Fuck you.

From Rochele, on behalf of Canadians everywhere

I’m angry

I am angry that dress codes exist.

I’m angry that someone’s religion trumps a woman’s right to decide how she uses her body and what she does or does not put in it.

I’m angry that I get a sick feeling when I have to walk past a group of men.

I’m angry that little girls are told to be modest and that taking pride in their body and displaying it will be too tempting to a man. Girls, you are not the problem and don’t ever let anyone tell you that you are.

I’m angry that most men will never, ever understand how degrading it is to be cat-called or leered at.

I’m angry that a woman is a slut if she sleeps with a man/men outside of a relationship.

I’m angry about slut-shaming in general; why are you forcing your insecurity on others?

I’m angry that Hobby Lobby was taken seriously at all. I’m furious that it passed.

I’m angry that women get asked, “What were you wearing?” after they were raped.

I’m angry that someone I know was touched without her permission on public transit.

I’m angry that someone I know was raped by a friend of a friend on the way home from a party. I’m angry that she didn’t report it.

I’m angry that ANYONE feels entitled to a woman’s body in any way, shape, or form. She is not yours to tell how to dress, how to smile, what shape her body should be, what she can and cannot put in her body, how to use it or not use it.

I’m angry that I feel the need to change my outfit because it’s a bit too sexy or that I’m showing a lot of skin.

I’m angry that when I am mad or upset it’s akin to being crazy or hysterical. Dramatic, sure. Crazy I am not.

I’m angry that women are taught to be uncomfortable in their skin.

I’m angry that I don’t feel safe taking transit at night time because I’m a woman.

I’m angry that if I assert myself and say no that I’m a bitch.

I’m mostly angry because I don’t know how to change any of it. Be the change you want to see in the world, but how? I’m angry because I feel helpless.

 

The biological deadline

Once again I find that being a young woman has its disadvantages.

I feel like I’ve been given a very small window to accomplish everything that I need to- if I want to have children. And I do. But not yet. For all the non-breeders, I can truly appreciate why you chose not to have children and I envy that you are not limited to what I am about to discuss.

Men have all the time in the world to go to school, get their careers off the ground and then start a family. I am not discounting all the loving men and husbands that are standing by their women as they make these decisions when the biological clock gets forced on you. But they can delay procreation for as long as they want. I’m sure the quality of their sperm deteriorates as they age, but not like a women’s eggs. Men continually produce sperm (sometimes at an alarming rate.)

Girls are born with all of the eggs they will ever have, and after the age of 30 the health of these eggs rapidly declines and the risks of birth defects and abnormalities sky-rocket, and fertility drops drastically. We can thank growth hormones and all the crap in our food and environment for that, those eggs are exposed to all kinds of stuff over their lifetime. So if you can, use them earlier rather than later.

So let’s say 30 is the magic number to start trying for a baby. What do I need to accomplish before I will even consider having a child? A lot. It keeps me awake at night.

I feel a lot of fucking pressure these days. I’m 26 and I want to go back to school because it turns out Tourism Management was a terrible choice for me.  Going back to school is a difficult decision; if I choose a degree program, that is four years of income that I am not earning, and I’ll be graduating when I’m 30/31. Then I’ll need to go back to work to get my career off the ground and earn some money. So that puts me in my mid to late thirties before I can even start to try to have a family. And it might take a while to get pregnant, if it happens at all. Yes I know that all the yuppies who put their career first are waiting for their mid thirties and early forties when they are more established to start families, but they are struggling with infertility. I don’t want to take those risks and I don’t want to be an old parent. My mom had me young and I can say that I got the best years of her life. She waited another 12.5 years to produce another child, and although she’s a damn fine mom to my little sister, she’s not as agile and energetic as she used to be and she’s had to come to terms with it. She compensates by having more wisdom, knowledge, and foresight; qualities that she has perfected with my sister.

My husband and I are struggling with what to do. I’m a late starter, I really needed time to figure out what I wanted to do with my life, and now I feel like it’s too late to go back to school, have a career, and have a family. The thing is, I’M 26 FOR FUCK SAKES! I AM FUCKING YOUNG BUT I’VE GOT A MAJOR DEADLINE TO GET MY LIFE IN ORDER. Why do we have such a small window to accomplish everything? That window is not very long, considering I plan to live well into my 90’s. Why does everything need to get sorted between the ages of 18-40? I’m angry about this, and I want to stomp my feet and scream at the world. We have looked at all scenarios: do I have the first baby now, then go back to school? Do I go back to school, start my career, then have a baby? Do I say forget school and limp along in life and then have a baby and never be satisfied? Do we just not have children at all?

I know it is possible. One of my family members had two babies while she was in university. Not one, but two. Her and her husband rigged up the most amazing childcare/school/work/EI combo that there ever was. When the babies were small enough, she took them to class with her. When they got bigger, he took parental leave and she went to school full-time and worked at a grocery store to supplement his EI. She would stay home in the summer and look after the babies and he’d go back to work.

No matter what decisions we make, we’re going to struggle with it. Something is going to have to give. No matter how much I pray, “Dear God, more time! More time!” We’ve got to make a decision and make one fast, the clock is ticking. The most I am willing to wait before procuring my first child is five years.

I’m annoyed that all of my major decisions need to be made in the first 1/3 of my life.

*I’d like to give a shout out to my little sister who is just dying for me to make her an aunt.  If that condom breaks, you better say your prayers. I’m coming after you.