Tattoos and Judgement

10 Tattoo Cliches to Avoid at Any Cost. 

I saw this Matador Article and it bugged me. Unfortunately comments were closed, but hey, here I have my own personal venue for any comment I want. Yay!

I grew up with parents who absolutely hate tattoos. They still do. My mom constantly will say stuff along the lines of, “Oh, that outfit would look so great but it’s ruined by that tattoo.” For me personally? I’m absolutely terrified of needles so sticking a bunch into me is a no go. I’ve seen some I don’t really get, and some I think are beyond beautiful. My upbringing was shaken when I started travelling for more reasons than tattoos, but I remember one incident… not incident… happening? in especially great detail.

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Tattoos and Judgement

My Two Cents On Online University

I get a lot of flack for online school. People think it’s easy, fun, “OH MY GOD YOU NEVER HAVE TO PUT ON PANTS”. It’s not. I mean, yes, sweatpants are fun. I can’t deny that one. But honestly, no one makes a college movie about the studying, and with distance ed that’s all your left with. So, it’s time online school gets the respect it deserves, and yes, people have said all these things to me.

Online University Comment #1: You didn’t get in anywhere else?

Okay, I get this one partly. The selection process does cater more to mature, working adults and a large part of my application process was life experience. However, they looked at my community college grades and made sure I was up for it.

Online University Comment #2: It must be so much easier!

I took a history course that had six textbooks for one semester. SIX. It wasn’t even a “pick and choose” type thing, it was a “you bet we’re reading every word in here, plus online readings, plus videos!” My friend who took the equivalent at her standard university had one textbook. ONE. The entire thing is readings and essays because it’s not like you’re going to get the information from your twice weekly lecture.

Online University Comment #3: At least there’s no group projects! 

I hate group projects. I know it’s supposed to be about learning to work together and all that, but there’s always that person who… well, I’m sure you know that person (if not, think about how you’re acting in group projects). Naturally, I was super excited about not having a group project ever again… and then I took a math course. You know what’s worse than a group math project? A group math project that has to be done over email when all 4 people are in different time zones.

Online University Comment #4: I would kill to not have to listen to people be stupid in class…

Yeah, so would I. Picture the people who ask a question for the sole purpose of getting to drone on about answering it. Picture that person getting to internet comment. Now, picture you “participation” grade depending on your response showing that you actually read twenty paragraphs of them.

Online University Comment #5: It must be so nice not having to get up and go to class. 

This is the tough one. Yes, it is nice that I don’t need to get up and make myself presentable, but you know what the hardest thing to do is? Getting up and studying when it’s raining and all you want to do is curl up with a cup of tea and a good book and/or it’s netflix equivalent. In college I would rent a locker and keep all my books there. I would be on campus all day and when I was home I would relax. That separation helped so much. When your study area also doubles as a cozy couch it’s really hard to concentrate.

Now, this isn’t to say it’s all bad. Online school has afforded me the option to travel long term and not feel like I’m putting off a goal. Also, it makes for some pretty cool course/trip match ups. Studying modern European history while backpacking Europe? Cool as hell, and everything takes on a much greater meaning. It’s like having the ultimate guidebook.

If you’re thinking about online school, I’m finishing my degree through Thompson River’s University, but there are tons of other ones depending where you live. If you do decide to go for distance ed it can give you some amazing opportunities, just know it’s not all textbooks at the beach.

For reals though, don’t bring a textbook to the beach. Trust me, it never works.

My Two Cents On Online University

2016: My Year in Review

This year. Many argue the world went to hell quicker than a basket of chinchillas falling off a wagon into a bay of unicorns. The good thing is it’s inspired a lot of people to post things like, “despite the world pretty much imploding, there’s a lot of good that happened to me!” So, my year?

Well, first off, I finally came to terms with my pain and took steps to help it. I got K Laser therapy on my feet and calves, and I’m doing really, really well with it. It’s basically a cold laser that goes “hey cells! You know how to cure yourselves! Let’s do that!” I was super scared when I first got it because I thought it would be like laser hair removal which doesn’t hurt hurt, but it’s not comfortable. The K Laser is literally the most painless thing. It was great, and I recommend a chat with your doctor about it if you’re in chronic pain. Seriously, there were days I couldn’t even stand without being in excruciating pain. I still get issues, but I think that’s due to the fact that I have to rebuild my fitness and strength.

This year I also went on an awesome trip. It was my first short trip to Europe, and my first time there with friends. I stayed in my first (and last) Airbnb. It was a great trip that recharged me just enough to want to go on an even longer trip.

I also had a stay at a wonderful hostel in Shuswap and rediscovered my nature side. I’m already planning on going back for the Canada Day long weekend.

I got really into cooking. I’m loving cheese making and homemade bacon is amazing! I’m also really happy that you guys seem to like those posts!

This will also always be the year I got engaged. Wedding planning is going well, but there’s still so much to do.

Also this year I had a super big milestone in that I published two listicles on Matador Network. One on growing up in Vancouver  and one on learning to drink in Vancouver.  I’ve loved Matador for years so being able to type my name into the search bar and having stuff come up is actually amazing. I feel all proper and writer-y. I also did a guest post on my friend Tom’s blog, Something Pagan. I’ve really loved putting writing into a more collaborative space. It’s been great seeing the support that came when I put myself out there.

So, what’s happening for 2017?

I’m obviously getting married, so that will take up a big chunk of time. We’re at the point where we have a church, a reception venue complete with a menu, and my dress so that’s a pretty good start. I’m also looking forward to the honeymoon- we’re going to Australia so we can see Adam’s family before we move to Ireland. A big move and a big trip will also both take a ton of planning.

I’m also continuing with my degree and am adding a big museum studies tilt to it. I’ve always loved going to museums- in Paris I’ve been the first in and last out of the Louvre more than one- and so I’m thinking that it might be something I should look into.

I have some collaborations in the works with other bloggers, and I hope to write more. I also hope to be a bit more personal- I feel like I’ve lost a lot of that lately.

I’m finishing off the year by making a batch of my amazing eggnog so it’s ready for Christmas Eve. Between that and my signature cocktail of Crabbie’s I think I’m ready to bid this year adieu.

 

2016: My Year in Review

What Brexit Means For Me

Ugh. I’ve been trying to avoid writing about this because a part of me was hoping if I didn’t acknowledge it it’d go away.

It gets compared to Trump a lot- mostly as a “guys, this could  happen.” style warning. I’m 99.99999% sure that Trump is only running because he’s finally losing his hair and that he’s seen everyone be like “Poor Obama! All those gray hairs!” so he figures if he’s president he can lose it gracefully.

Brexit is just pure racism.

That honestly fucks with my head like a lot.

What kills even more is hearing about all the racist incidents that have been going on. They tend to focus most on the Polish and Muslim people so my example might not be the best, but here’s kind of how my head is wrapping around it.

Let’s break down how ridiculous Brexit racism is.

I have two citizenships- Canadian and Italian. When I planned to live in the UK a few years ago I would have entered as an Italian. So, if I was there now, I would be told to get out, and might be the victim of some of this nasty shit that’s been spewing.

However, my ethnic background is English, Scottish, Irish, and Italian.

But for my Great Grandmother being sent to Canada as a Barnardo child, a choice she had no control over, I might have been born in the UK. Not to mention that my history major cousin has mapped out ties in Scotland and Northern Ireland as well. (If you don’t have a historian in your family start like “encouraging” one of the younger ones. It’s great when you need someone to explain things or have the most detailed family history ever. She’s tracked us back to the Netherlands and France.)

If someone told me to get out of their country, called me vermin, it’d be like…

I think what I’m trying to express and probably failing at is that Brexit sucks. It’s reminding me a lot of Harper’s third term as PM of Canada- all the baby boomers ran out and voted while the young people got lost in the “it doesn’t matter” spirit of it. Maybe there are some things about Brexit that will help the UK and the racism issue is taking over because it’s just so damn disgusting.

I’m not out to tell young people how to vote in elections or referendums. Your vote is your vote, and it’s your personal beliefs and personal business.

I am 100% out to tell people to vote. Seriously. Vote in everything. Have you looked at municipal voting stats? No one votes in them but yet those are things like water, roads, and bylaws that affect you every day. Take every opportunity to make your voice count because sadly, posting it on facebook doesn’t count. When young people don’t vote we’re letting our parents control our lives. It’s like getting a bedtime all over again. But a bedtime that sucks much harder.

It’s estimated that 25-32% of people in the 18-24 year old range voted in the Brexit referendum.

I wonder what would have happened if people cared as much about the issue before the referendum as they seem to after. I hope they feel guilty for not voting in something that I desperately wish I was given a say in.

What Brexit Means For Me

Thoughts on the Anthem

For those of you who don’t follow Canadian politics you might not know they’ve voted in favour of changing the national anthem.  The lyrics “in all thy sons command” will be replaced with “in all of us command.”

Also, follow Canadian politics. We had a whole scandal with elbows a few months ago. ‘Twas exciting.

I am a feminist. I believe in gender equality. But I am so against this change.

First off, it just doesn’t sound as good. From a musical/poetic perspective it just doesn’t roll off the tongue.

But, more importantly, it’s kind of a band-aid situation. Confederation happened in 1867. The national anthem was written in 1880. Woman got the vote sporadically through the provinces, but federally it was gained in 1918. While gender equality is important, let’s stick with our gender balanced cabinet. Let’s encourage woman to take math and science classes. By changing the lyrics it denies the sense of the time it was written. I’m worried that by doing something like this we’ll gain an “it’s all okay. It’s always been okay.” That line represents the starting point, and while I still make 72 cents on the male dollar, we’re not finished.

 

Thoughts on the Anthem

Are You Kidding Me?!

I love to knit. I started when I was about seven. All knitting is basically made up of two stitches: knit and purl. I learned to knit from my Grandma and to purl from my Nonna and I caught on to it like a house on fire. I recently started the new project that’s all the rage- The Beekeepers Quilt by Tiny Owl Knits. It consists of making little hexagons, stuffing them, and sewing them together.

My hexipuffs so far!

I got the pattern in my Knit Crate Newbies subscriptions (this is linked to my referral code.), which is an amazing way to learn the ways to combine knit and purl. The quilt concept is amazing, and as it’s super popular I’ve spent more than a little time looking at what other people have made. Both because people have done some amazing things with it and because I need proof that it is, in fact, possible to finish one of these in my lifetime.

As I was doing that, I came across this post on pinterest. If you don’t want to waste your time with her blithering, the summarization is that no one should charge for a pdf and $5.50 is ridiculous for a pattern. She then posts a free version of the pattern that isn’t the same, but very similar. She basically says that because people are modifying the cast on/bind off and such that it wasn’t even worth paying for the idea.

This killed me. I actually cringed while reading it. I don’t know what compelled me to, but a scroll through the comments  showed that people were thanking- thanking!- this… human for blatantly ripping off a designer. 

Stephanie Dosen, the designer at Tiny Owl Knits, is amazing. She does quality, well written patterns. The beekeepers quilt pattern has pictures. PICTURES! The pattern is well written and includes charts. Her other patterns are beyond adorable. She has a thing on her ravelry group where you can refresh like mad on fridays and the first person to respond to her post saying go gets a free pattern. This girl isn’t out to screw us, the knitters. She’s trying to make a living as a creative person and she deserves to be paid her work. I sometimes get stuck deciding which stitches to use on a basic scarf so yeah, making patterns is hard. Let alone writing them in a clear and amazing way.

I get a lot of offers to write “for the exposure” and if the site fits my brand and I think I have something that will merge then I’m happy to do it. Being a creative freelancer means not being rich. Flat out. I still spend 5 days a week sitting in an office and I’ll probably be doing that for a very long time. But, if I was offered to be paid for something and the payment never comes then that’s a problem and my friends would be outraged that this reputable publication doesn’t actually pay people. How is posting a knockoff of someone’s work not the exact same thing? Dosen deserves to be paid for her intellectual property. If this Charm Hour person is that outraged at paying $5.50 and has a thing about all patterns being free I’d like to see her make up some stuff and post it for free. Ripping off someone else is not okay.

Rant over.

But still bugging me inside because seriously, so many people are posting this on pinterest being like “this is amazing!” “knitting patterns are a rip off!”

Just, no.

Are You Kidding Me?!

When Solo Travel Means Being Alone

I walked into the bar and ordered a local pilsner. There was the usual hostel vibe, a large group was playing some sort of game. I sat down with my tablet at a table nearby. I figured being in a hostel bar alone some other solo traveller would strike up a conversation eventually.

I was still tired after the bus ride from Germany, but who knew who I’d meet? Where the night might take me… That’s what I love about solo travel. I completely bought into the whole hostel concept, and after three trips I had yet to meet a person I couldn’t “gel” with. For someone who spent lunch hours in Elementary school doing homework alone and got bullied out of a high school I felt like I had cracked the mythical code to acceptance, friends, and building up self-confidence.

“Is anyone sitting here?” I looked up at one of the guys from the game. I knew it! The travel inclusion always wins. “I just lost the game we were playing and my punishment is to talk to you for two minutes.”

What. The. Fuck.

I wish I had said something along the lines of, “I’m not a punishment, I’m a human. What happened in your life to make you that saying that is at all okay?” But sadly, I’m not a badass. I’m still mad at myself for going along with it. I was just… I guess flabbergasted. Who does that?

Larry*, apparently. Larry was someone who looked like the 90’s spelling of X-TREME! He acted like, well like someone who would orchestrate the above exchange. He set up a GoPro everywhere to record his “epic” times with his friends- one of which had just gone back to their group.

“I just got offered a job!” I saw the tour guide from the bus that day walking away from the group looking as shocked and bewildered as I felt while shaking his head. Larry looked ecstatic and was slurring his story about how the tour guide liked how he arranged this big game and that he should work for the company. I found out during my two-minute-to-the-dot conversation that I was on the same bus schedule as them until Paris. My stomach dropped. Great.

In the next Czech city the booking gods frowned on me and I ended up in the same room as Larry. The town was small and Larry and his merry band of fellowmen decided this means they needed to binge drink for two nights straight. Now, I won’t sit here and say you shouldn’t hard core party in Europe. I ended up being invited in on one of the night (after Larry passed out? Was to drunk to object? I’m not sure. As salty as it sounds, I wasn’t exactly concerned for his well-being.). His friends were actually pretty cool. I had fun. In the next city there was enough museums that I managed to avoid the group, but the town after that was very secluded. Hostel in the middle of the woods secluded. One of the nights a girl they had deemed worthy to be in their group was setting up a board game and invited me in on it. I jumped at the opportunity to be social until Larry announced “I’m not going to play if she’s here.” I was glad to see everyone at the table was a bit taken aback. I just didn’t have the energy to fight it and went to bed. Looking back, this did my bank account and liver a lot of good. I was able to take on the next two major cities with a lot of gusto; however, the whole endeavour soured me a little. I was having trouble shaking it off. What was wrong with me? Why didn’t people want me in on their super fun times? Had nothing really changed since I was a teenager?

I met up with my friend Tom in Munich, where I told him the whole ordeal. “The guy Larry, I just don’t get what his issue with me was. I mean, I don’t think-”

“Wait, Larry?” Tom’s eyes lit up. A look of understanding, disbelief, and the faintest hint of pity on his face. “That group had to stay back a night. They were on our schedule but no one could stand them. We were all happy to be rid of them.”

At first I was shocked but if literally anyone I knew had told me about what Larry did I would think he was more vile than satan’s breath after a night on cheap hooch. The guide’s bewildered face? The other people on the bus when Larry drank a 40 of jager at eight in the morning? His friends faces when he decided not doing something was better than including me? All true reflections of how he is and how the world reacts to him.

I’m happy I didn’t let him ruin my trip, I had an amazing time. I’m also a lot more aware of how behaviour like that hurts people and it’s helped me not do that to others. There needs to be an exception to prove the rule, and he was mine. I still think that I always meet amazing people while travelling.

As for Larry I don’t think that he works for the bus company- they make all their guides get a branded twitter. I haven’t found evidence of him doing anything really. I hope he got help. I get the feeling that there was something under the surface that he took out on me. I hope he’s not pissed off someone who would physically hurt him. Above all else, I really hope I never see that asshat again.

*name changed to protect the absolutely, completely guilty.

 

When Solo Travel Means Being Alone