I’m starting to think the dream of owning a home is a lot more hyped up than it should be… like being a homeowner is the biggest scam of the century. Think about it; you take out a ridiculous mortgage that you’ll be paying off until you’re retired or well past it. You’ll be paying interest to the bank on that, and then you’ll be struggling to survive between utilities payments and fluffy privileges like internet and TV that tend to cost a fortune. Or, you could live in a mobile home and pay next to nothing. I think my fantasy of buying a house is slowly dwindling to the more realistic and attainable goal of buying a plot of land and just building a small shack… or living in a trailer on it. As long as it’s got heat, is cheap and has my personal touches, I’d be happy to call it home.

Home is what you make it, right? Who cares if your house was made in a factory, or if it has wheels on it. Houses are such a pain in the ass anyway. The constant maintenance and expense makes me kind of happy I’m not paying for one right now. If I had a mobile home, I could dedicate all my spare time to my yard. I could put money in the bank to fund trips around the world, which is more important to me than a house. I want to retire comfortably. I want to be a snowbird. How do you do that if your entire paycheque goes towards funding your life in the now?

Too many people buy in to this. Have less material stuff, more money and be comfortable. I think I’m just going to commit my savings for a plot of land and buy it outright, and then worry about living on it later. I want to live my life to the fullest while I’m young, and not be saddled in one town without the ability to go anywhere or do anything.

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I’m quickly realizing that this trip to Europe next summer is going to cost us a fortune. I almost wish we had been able to do it this year so that I wouldn’t be stressing over it right now. However, this is going to be a good trip because I’m planning for a stopover in Iceland.

I know, right? Random.

But, as it turns out, flights to Reykjavik are weirdly cheap… and Icelandair offers stopovers of up to 7 days. So this is kind of perfect. I feel overwhelmed by the amount of research I have to do to make this trip as organized and efficient as possible.

In unrelated news…

I’m seriously considering giving up alcohol… totally. I don’t know if I want it to be a permanent sacrifice, but you know, my lifestyle has taken a turn for the worst in the last few years. When I lived on my own I was a little bit overweight… I smoked every once in a while. I seldom drank, unless I was with friends. And I enjoyed the control I had over myself. It’s harder to do when friends are always here, or when your partner drinks frequently as it is. It just happens. I have the type of personality that is easily manipulated by the people I’m around. But it’s been a nagging thought lately, and every time I do end up drinking I feel consumed by guilt. I want to listen to my conscience and be more diligent about my health as diabetes runs in my family. So does alcoholism, on both sides. I feel pretty sure about being able to commit to a change, because it’s something I feel in my gut and that I actually WANT. Although, I feel I’ll indulge on certain occasions… like New Years.

I also started physio today. My path to recovery has been going pretty flawlessly, actually. On the 6-week anniversary of my injury I started walking, and it didn’t take very long until I wasn’t using the air boot at all. My foot has a tendency to swing out to the right when I walk though, because the ligaments are still tight around my ankle when I walk straight (around the Achilles especially), so swinging it out distributes the weight more comfortably. I’ve been trying to force myself to walk straight when I notice that I’m doing it. The swelling has almost totally gone down, although my right ankle is still noticeably larger than the left. Both the surgeon and the physiotherapist have commented on how well I’m doing, so quickly. I shouldn’t need much physio, which is a relief.

I’m kind of missing work. Not greatly lol, but I miss the people. I miss the creativity and the purpose in each day. I miss my little cabin too. Every month I decorate it with photos and paintings, and when I go back in December I’ll be able to decorate it for Christmas… which I always love doing. Work tends to lift my spirits too, and I’m wondering if that’s because I don’t like my house. I’m hoping that changes when we move in a few weeks.

To my boyfriend’s grown son,

Lately it seems your father and I are public enemy #1. Unbeknownst to us, we have permanently kicked you out of the house. We were unaware of this until we heard from at least two people that you’ve been telling everyone this. Not only do you have the story backwards again and not only have you manipulated the details again to victimize yourself, but you haven’t given us the chance to even talk about it. Yet again you’re hiding under the other parent’s wing because you can’t pull your thumb out of your mouth long enough to accept responsibility for the choices you make and be an adult.

A few people have told me that you think I hate you. Hate? Really? I don’t hate anybody… except maybe Hitler. I’m the reason you have a car. I’m the one who tirelessly does all the Christmas shopping every year. I have sat and tried to encourage you and had long talks with you about the things you need to change to get anywhere in life beyond your parents’ basements. I offered you help when you were struggling in school, but you didn’t take it. So no, I don’t hate you. I don’t particularly like you, but who does right now? You treat everyone around you like garbage. You yell and scream and throw childish tantrums. You mooch and never do anything for people in return. You have zero motivation and are unemployed more than you are employed. You lie, steal and manipulate to get what you want, and despite being caught dozens of times, you still choose dishonesty over sincerity. You don’t appreciate a damn thing. You don’t help us out and we can’t trust you. You’re 100% selfish and thoughtless. So, would you like you very much if you weren’t you?

On the ungrateful note… it came to our attention that after your father spent close to $600 in parts for your car last Christmas, all you had to say about it was, “He only got me two struts and I need four.” Then you went and told your entire family that it’s all your dad’s fault that you’re not driving because he wouldn’t shell out the money to fix your car. So, your three consecutive bounced insurance payments and the resulting cancelled policy had nothing to do with it? I guess you forgot that he bought the car, paid to have it safetied and certified, bought you new tires and then spent another $600 on parts to fix it after you drove the shit out of it three months later. Oh, and you weren’t able to renew your plate stickers until you paid off all the outstanding parking fines you let get out of control, so your dad helped you with that. Your dad made it very clear that if he bought you a car, you’d be responsible for it. That meant maintenance, gas and insurance. You only had that car to pay for, but when you neglected that you blamed your dad… the man who got you that car so you could get a job. And you’re STILL unemployed. You’re right… your dad’s a total asshole for not doing more. Whatever were we thinking when we expected you to look after yourself and your own property?

I don’t know where you get this entitlement attitude from, but that’s something you should have grown out of 6 or 8 years ago… if you had been raised with the right values or if anybody had utilized discipline. I don’t like anybody who goes through life with their hand out and does nothing to earn it. US not getting along is 100% a result of your attitude and behaviour. And so long as you don’t change, neither will me disliking you. We’re apples and oranges. I have spent my life taking care of myself, and I have a strong will to do for others who deserve it and don’t ask… but not for people like you. You don’t have a conscience. I will never, ever be OK with the things you do, so you can forget getting any sympathy from me.

You have stolen from us, broken in to our house when we’re not home or when you think we’ll be asleep. You’ve stolen and pawned from your own family. You’ve thrown a party and gotten in to a lot of trouble over it, costing your grandparents thousands in legal fees… and you can’t even offer to cut their grass or shovel their driveway without wanting to be paid for it. We let you stay in this house alone, even though we didn’t have a lot of faith that you’d improved… and we came home to a mess that confirmed we were right. You left the dogs alone for 4 days without feeding them or letting them outside. Without heat in the dead of winter. You couldn’t even snowblow the driveway for us so that we could get down to the house at 10 pm in -20 weather. Your dad had to get up at 6 am to do it himself, after spending a month at work.

We have been fielding nightmare after nightmare with you. How much more do you think we need to take? When are you going to start supporting yourself and living your own life? How many more times are you going to break your father’s heart before a light goes on inside your head? You have no idea what you put that man through, and he has done EVERYTHING for you… even when you didn’t deserve it. And you’re heartless enough to call him a monster… because he yelled at you when you wouldn’t listen or had no common sense. Your interpretations of events are largely misinformed and victimized. Every time you do something wrong, you run away to avoid consequences… which shows how childish and irresponsible you are. Everyone can see it. Everyone comments on it. You embarrass yourself and make your dad the scapegoat, which is totally unfair. He doesn’t deserve to be treated like shit. No one does.

Sincerely,

The person apparently responsible for you being a lousy person

The cold that won’t go away

My lungs feel like they have tiny cuts all over them. Every time I cough, it triggers what’s at least a 30-second cacophony of hacks and snorts as I try to loosen up whatever it is that’s gumming up my lungs. And you can’t stop; once you get that first cough out it’s impossible to stop until you cough something up that your lungs are aggressively trying to get rid of. The continual coughing leaves you gulping for air. Afterwards your lungs just feel scarred and ripped in half.

It’s especially bad when you cough so hard that it turns in to puking. One of the worst parts of having a cold/respiratory infection is when sticky mucous gets stuck at the top of your throat when the nasal passage meets to esophagus, and no amount of swallowing or coughing will get rid of it. When you cough you can feel it muffle in your lungs and the sounds it produces are raspy, and when you just breathe it’s hollow and whirry… sometimes just rumbling in the lower lungs.

Big thanks to Kenney for this one.

I’m watching I Am Cait and I’m overwhelmed at the ease of which Caitlyn Jenner is living her life. I’m taken aback by how beautiful she is… mostly because I always thought Bruce was an odd-looking person. You could tell he had extensive plastic surgery and it was baffling, because it made him look bizarre. It was hard to imagine the transition being as astounding as it is.

I love to see trans people being able to live their lives in peace and humility, blending in the way they want to… in America, no less. However, California has always been ahead of the curve. California is basically the model the world is hoping the rest of the states will look to for what they could be… maybe minus the tofu smoothies and the whole living on the plate tectonic ridge thing.

I don’t want to put my parents down, because they’re good people; they just have conservative points of view which have always clashed with mine. Attitudes change over time. It’s hard to imagine that I’ll ever be a person who discriminates or believes that denying rights based on who you fundamentally are is ok, coming from a generation of acceptance… so I doubt I’ll ever be considered conservative. But there’s still a big divide between conservative values and progressive ones today, which often causes inner conflict for a lot of people, like being raised in a religious household but being immersed in greater society. It never did for me. For as long as I can remember having opinions about political issues, I have defended them aggressively.

I can’t remember ever being uncomfortable with the LGBTQ community. There was certainly a time when I didn’t get much exposure to it, so I didn’t understand it and asked a lot of questions. I still remember when I was new to college and a childhood friend I hadn’t seen in 6 or 7 years was passing through town on a roadtrip and came to see me. She talked about her life and mentioned that she was gay and had a girlfriend. I remember being stunned and feeling confused. It was really the first time I was confronted with it. Looking back I realize I asked a lot of ignorant and embarrassing questions, which she was really good about answering, but I remember liking the feeling of knowing… like she let me in to that part of who she is at a time when being gay wasn’t quite at the relaxed status it is now. I liked the chance to be around it, because when I was I realized all the things people with anti-gay sentiments say were absolutely not true. Any time you’re around something that validates your opinion, or even changes it, you feel free of confusion. It’s nice to be in the presence of controversial subjects and feeling the uncertainly wash away… and just feel love in your heart for fellow human beings, and embrace differences. I was never anti-gay in the first place, but being sheltered and kept away from people you don’t understand or relate to can brew hatred and is the reason so many people still feel uncomfortable. It’s got to be torture to feel that angry about such a non-issue… to fight over it so senselessly and create so much misery when all you have to do is get to know each other and do your job as a human: love.

I believe that’s all anybody really needs to get over their fear or misunderstanding. I believe human beings are inherently good-willing if they’re open. I’m glad every day that my heart makes up my mind for me. I wish more people in the world followed such a simple instinct.

I am in total writing mode lately. But, I’ve been through a lot this year. I’ve also been on Reddit a lot, which has become my new addiction. And reading all these articles people post about the goings-on in the world has stirred up the dormant typing tendencies.

I’ve been seeing a lot of xenophobia on my Facebook feed… particularly where it concerns Syrian refugees. I see a lot of fear and paranoia, and stereotyping. I hear a lot of whining about immigrants.

The only thing I really agree with is the need to protect the values and laws that have already been established as a result of multiculturalism. Do I think we go too far to accommodate immigrants? Sometimes. Sometimes I get annoyed with the politically correct blandness that has taken over things like Christmas. Who cares if you accidentally wish someone a merry Christmas who doesn’t celebrate it? I wouldn’t get offended if someone wished me a happy Hannukah or a blessed Eid. And if I went to the Middle East and was greeted with as-salamu alaykum, I wouldn’t respond negatively.

I can understand frustrations over political correctness. I can understand citizens having a problem with their taxes being used to support immigrants and give them all kinds of benefits, when citizens themselves don’t get nearly the same kind of help when they need it. I know firsthand what it feels like to be treated like garbage by the government, when I was one of the people paying taxes from the beginning. I can’t imagine how retirees must feel after working their entire lives and having next to nothing to live on, and watching immigrants be better taken care of. And I certainly understand the government banning Sharia law. I understand people getting upset when Muslim women want to cover their faces in official government ID, or want the right not to go through body scanners at the airport. Those things make sense. These circumstances only represent a fraction of the demographic, though… which people don’t seem to understand.

But I don’t understand the paranoia people feel over being “invaded” by immigrants. A lot of people with this sentiment seem to forget that their family histories are made up of immigrants. Far enough back in our family trees, our ancestors had to have come from somewhere… because North America has only been inhabited by Europeans for about 400 years.

Do you think Americans would be as upset about immigrants if most of them were white and from traditionally white countries? Not likely, because I think they relate them to being the same… same level of social status and values, with similar governments. Based on the comments I hear regularly, I can only assume the xenophobia is a direct result of racism.

For as smart as we are, a lot of us still believe that behaviour and beliefs are genetic or race-specific. I know people who actually believe that black people are inherently deviant and violent. Times that by however many people in the US feel the same, and you’ll realize why that’s so scary. Once upon a time I believed that racism and feminism were dead, because we had equal rights. But then I got older. I paid attention. It’s alive and thriving.

I hear so many damning attitudes toward Muslims… so much hatred because of what less than 1% of the Muslim world does or believes. “We should have just bombed the entire Middle East and wiped them off the planet.” What a terrifying thing to hear. Who’s the extremist now? That attitude lumps in people like my lawyer friend, who converted about five years ago, and her husband’s Lebanese family who seem to be the loveliest people. It includes my friend Hana and her husband Josh, who I think converted for the sake of marriage, and their new son. It includes her entire Somalian family. It includes my friend Raffia and her Pakistani family. It includes all the beautiful Muslim women I worked with at the Bay, whose families came from all over the Middle East and even Croatia. These women were smart, funny, hard-working and friendly. They just happened to be devout, something I wouldn’t understand but can appreciate. Of all the Muslims I’ve ever met, not one has been a bad person. Not one has been scary. I dated a couple guys whose backgrounds were Lebanese and Jordanian, respectively. They didn’t treat me the way people think Arabic men treat women.

So a lot of these fears are totally unfounded… especially with refugees. These people are fleeing in droves because they want a better life. They don’t want to live in a place where explosions are going off all around them, or where they have to worry about their kids being killed on the way home from school… or women being raped, or families being torn apart by murder over a clash of varying degrees of faith. They want freedom. So what if they pray? So what if their hair is covered? Are they really any different from devout Jews? Or Christians?

I’d also like to remind people that it was Muslims who raised over $100,000 to rebuild burned black churches in the South. They had an objective to raise $10,000 and they did it ten times over. A series of terrorist attacks don’t represent the entire community… just like not every Catholic is a child molester. Not every Jew supports Israel’s violence. Not every Palestinian is plotting Israeli’s destruction. We’re helping people. For every thousand people who come in to the country, there may be a couple bad apples. Nothing you can do about that unless something in the screening process comes up. But I mean, violence happens all over the world every day. There are people doing scary things in our own country everyday, who aren’t Muslim and aren’t immigrants. Stop being afraid of things that aren’t scary.

I can’t believe how quickly September turned snotty. Five days ago we were suffering in heavy humidity, and today it’s cold, windy and raining. I’m tempted to turn on the heat in my bedroom, where I’m laying on my bed trying to scrounge up the energy to get some packing done, but if I do I won’t want to turn it off and it will ignite the desire to have it on every day. I really want to avoid the use of hydro as much as possible until we move.
I could easily go on a rant about the cost of hydro, but I want to read more about the lawsuits pending against our crown corporations before I do.

So, autumn. Every year around this time I write a blog entry spilling my profound love of this season. I guess because I have so many good memories attached to it… a lot of which were during college. I loved riding the bus around town and seeing all the colours, and the fall decorations. I loved going to St. Jacob’s market on boring rainy days, or to the mall when I wanted to get out of the house. Everywhere I went the smell of cinnamon and mulled cider filled the air. Everything was adorned in reds, browns, yellows and oranges. Every store had harvest themed products and decorations. It’s just pretty, and very appealing to the senses. I would rather decorate for fall than Christmas.

I love the sound of the wind blowing through the trees and rustling the leaves off the branches. The rain isn’t always nice, as being wet and cold is never a good combination… but dampness is an inseparable component of the season.

There’s something comforting about wearing a warm sweater and being wrapped in a heavy scarf. I always liked fall fashions more than any other season. Even sitting in a coffee lodge looking out the window at the miserable weather is a small joy I relish every year.

The flashbacks of chilly October hayrides and small town fairs bring of flood of nostalgia. Every October in Sault, MI I went to the Haunted Depot downtown, which was a cheesy “spooky” haunted building where visitors would walk through a series of dark themed rooms on a tour and get startled by costumed figures suddenly lunging at them, or seeing images in a room of strobe lights. It was pretty good for what it was, and I made my mom take me every year.

One of my favourite pasttimes is going for drives through small towns, that always have more seasonal charm than bigger cities. There are always the signature colonial houses done up for the occasion, and turn-of-the-century shops with window decals. We’re lucky to live near some of these places.

Today’s an apple tea and packing kind of day.