Gratitude Challenge

9. How Did You Do & Feel?

These past two weeks have been so lovely. I got asked by a co-worker to dog sit [as I mentioned in my last post] and I used it as an opportunity to “test drive” living with my boyfriend. Through the fun and bumps, I must admit it has made me extremely eager to move out with him to a small place of our own. Time to analyse – how did I do? I think I did great. The dog and cat never seemed to be upset at all [aside from missing their owners] but all-in-all they were happy. How do feel? I feel excited to know that I enjoyed living with my boyfriend and knowing that we can grow together – December couldn’t come sooner!

First things first – her pets are ridiculous!

Thelma

A large mutt [she looks like a cross between Golden Retriever with German Shepard colouring] and she is the most happiest dog on the planet. She loves hamburger on top of her food each morning for breakfast. I was told she didn’t understand the word “walk” but since I’ve been with her she’s started to clue in. And when I say clue in, she really knows and flails her limbs like she’s falling from the sky. When you take her to poop, she gets a treat after every poop she does –  I wish I got treats after I pooped… When she’s in IMG_20170611_135649the backyard she likes to huddle under the bush beside the back deck. The first day we were there I left a pair of my socks on one of the chairs on the back deck. I went inside while she was cooling down in the dirt and when I returned outside she had taken my socks and buried them in the garden…. She didn’t do a very good job of hiding them, but her intentions made me laugh really hard! Thelma also thoroughly enjoys to hang out in the basements laundry room. Down there is where my co-worker’s boyfriend’s guitar is and there’s a groovy red carpet down there she seems to enjoy sleeping on.

Fergal

IMG_20170612_194240He’s the king of the cats in the neighbourhood [so Anna, the neighbour, tells me]. He is an outdoor tabby that loves to hang around the streets and cause a ruckus with his buddies. He’s not home very often but when he is he is either a) lounging on the front step in the sun b) has forgotten where his cat window is and his howling to be let in c) is inside and announcing every move he makes and d) forgets where his food dishes are so you have to show him. Every evening around 9:30 pm this chatterbox is waiting at the front door waiting to be let in, just to prance around the house for a short period of time and then heads out of his cat window to explore the night.

Overall my experience has been wonderful. I cooked for myself an actual meal – on my own may I add – which I’ve never really done before unless it was pre-made and just needed heating up. The best part was getting to know my boyfriend a little bit more than I already did. You really learn about people when you live with them. We worked out some concerns we had, which was nice. It’s really prepared us for what it’s going to be like when we finally move in together.

I’m sad to say goodbye to my furry friends, but I’m sure this won’t be the last I see of the darlings!

 

Until next week,

Meghan C

Gratitude Challenge

8. Express Gratitude to 3 People

First off, let me express how much fun I’m having this week. A co-worker of mine has gone on vacation to Portugal for two weeks[that lucky girl!] and asked me to dog-sit for her.

  • Perk 1: Her home is a 20-minute walk to my work.
  • Perk 2: my boyfriend gets to keep my company.
  • Perk 3: Her dog is the happiest dog I’ve ever met
  • Perk 4: It’s close to all the finest coffee shops in Toronto
  • Perk 5: Her cat is the Alpha cat of the neighbourhood and he is the funniest cat ever

Claire – you are the first person I’m showing gratitude to because I’m so grateful for the opportunity you’ve given me.

The second person I want to express gratitude to is my old boss. She was tough but taught me so much. She took me under her wing when I was looking for an internship for school. After I graduated she hired me back to work full-time in the marketing department and now I am part of the radio marketing and promotions team. She ended up carrying on to a different job, but I now report directly to the Vice-President of Promotions for both stations. And he is so easy going, which makes me want to prove to him that he doesn’t need to be on my ass all the time to get my work done. Lisa – you are the second person I am showing gratitude to because if it wasn’t for you, I would still be working retail.

I learned at a young age that you should not have to ever be nervous unless you’ve done something wrong. People used to say “just picture everyone in their underwear.” Well that’s a little hard when you haven’t seen all your classmates in their knickers before… Or maybe just my lack of imagination. However, I was able to teach myself that when you’re prepared, you have no reason to be nervous. You’ll be speaking to people you see every day and telling them everything you learned [a lot easier than I ever imagined.] That being said when I was in grade 6 we had a project to do on Great Explorers. I had a The_landing_of_Vikings_on_America.jpgfascination with Vikings at the time so I got to choose Leif Erikson. Our project was to study these explorers and profile them. After doing the profile you had to dress up as that explorer and talk to the class as if you were the explorer. For ten minutes I was a male Viking who discovered North America centuries before Christopher Columbus ever did… Since presenting that project, not once have I had stage fright – it also gave me the confidence to try out acting and be part of the drama club and, in high school, musical theatre! For this, I need to thank Mrs McQuary. If it was not for that project – God knows where I’d be right now!

 

Stay brave my friends!

Meghan

Gratitude Challenge

7. A Friend

A friend – how do I even begin to describe her. She’s basically my sister.

Since I was in grade 5 I’ve been best friends with my pal Ciera. Growing up with her has been an honour, even though we haven’t finished growing yet [who really does?] We 1916490_182699160779_6689980_n.jpgwent to elementary school and middle school together. After grade 8 her family decided to move out east of the city and around that same time, my family did just that too. After the move, I didn’t end up going to the same high school as Ciera, but that didn’t stop us from staying in each other’s lives. I’d spend weekends over at her place hanging out with her friends, going to the mall, swimming in her pool, going to family birthday parties. Her family really greeted me as on of their own. It had been that way since we were 13. My family did the same for her.

When I first got a phone, Ciera was the first person I called. Probably went something along the lines of “HOLY SHIT, YOU’RE NOT GOING TO BELIEVE WHAT I’M CALLING YOU FROM…” … ” UH, DUH, MY NEW PHONE!” And that’s what started the late night phone calls at 11 pm on a school night. The gossip sessions, 3-4-5 and sometimes a 6-way call… needless to say, my dad did not approve. Especially when I started pretending I wasn’t on my phone at 10:30 at night and would hide my phone under my pillow until he left the walkway outside my room.

Ciera has always been my go-to person. Any issue I ever encountered always ended up with a phone call to Ciera at the end of the day. She is truly one of the most genuine, kind and dedicated friends I have ever had. She’s stuck with me through thick and thin and I can not appreciate her friendship more than I do at this day in age.

As most friends do, we’ve shared our ups and downs. And as time takes its toll, of course, we grew apart. However, we have always found our way back to each other and when we’re together, it feels like no time has passed since the last time I had seen her. She knows my deepest darkest secrets and if we ever stopped being friends – she could ruin my life with all the dirty details she knows. And that’s why I love her; because I can trust her with these tales and secrets.

I got told once “if you’ve been friends longer than 10 years, that friendship will last a lifetime” and I do not doubt that for a second!

Until next time,

Meghan

Gratitude Challenge

theSix. City I live In

Toronto – That’s the city I live in.

 

I love this city. The sites, the sounds and the people… Usually. Some people are just flat out crazy. Stay clear of these people haha.

Toronto is easy to get around for sure. I don’t care what anyone says about the TTC and complaining it makes them late for work blah, blah blah… leave earlier…. But the TTC really does make it crazy easier to make it from the east end to the west end of the city. The bus routes and drivers are a little questionable, but I won’t complain because I’ve never had to blame the TTC for being late or mistreating me. Act like a civil human being and they won’t give you a hard time haha.

The sad thing about this city this year is all the flooding. Our island is almost (vt-algonquin-island-resident-010.jpg.size.custom.crop.1086x724.jpgbasically) underwater. The people who lived on the Toronto Island were evacuated due to safety concerns of high waters… The island was always such a nice place to visit at the beginning of the summer, so I’m pretty upset I won’t be able to get there this summer until later in the season.
Each time it rained I always said “Oh, when summer comes, everything will be pleasently in bloom!” and we got that, but we also got flooding… Some luck…

13220644_1715418572061531_4340155510203539234_o.jpgThis city also has a bunch of wonderful places and events to go to. One of my favourites is Sneaky Dee’s… Infamous for the hipseter/punk/grunge/nacho crowd (boy do they make nachos). Every Friday night they put on this event called Homesick. Music from the 2004-2011 punk days get jammed through the thick air of this place. The first time I had ever gone I chipped my front tooth and fell in love with the bar ever since. Cheap beer, amazing tunes, mosh pits, and a crowd of people just like you. You can never feel like you don’t fit in – one fo the most amazing feelings in the world!

Now… I’m no sushi eater, but I do enjoy myself all you can eat because you can get UNLIMITED RAMENS!, UNLIMITED GARLIC MUSHROOMS, UNLIMITED TEMPURA, UNLIMITED MISO SOUP, UNLIMITED EVERYTHING ELSE! Which I absolutely love. I loveSushi-Legend-3-featured-image-644x415 eating ramen, I think it’s so cute. I love using chopsticks and I love going on dates to Sushi Legend with my boyfriend because we just eat so much and enjoy each others presence. I love sitting across the table from him, watching him get food in his moustache and just giggling at him while I slurp noodles. I do recommend – check it out!

For my last place, I want to talk about a coffee shop. What kind of post would this be without me mentioning coffee in a city filled with cafes?
Along Kingston Road, by Birchcliff, there’s a cafe called the Birchcliff Coffee Bar. This is 20150111-590-TheBirchcliff5.jpgyour typical aesthetically pleasing, white birch, cottagey feeling cafe with new mums with their newborns doing brunches with their neighbours. If you go to this bar at the right time (maybe 8:30am on a Saturday) you’ll find the older crowd. Maybe two or three people sitting in the shop, but this is when it’s most quiet and you can go in and enjoy the atmosphere. Their coffee is so rich and delicious, cookies so fresh and their baristas are always so pleasent despite the fact they’re there earlier than the most of us.

 

For now that’s my date guide… Each one of these places I’ve gone on a date with my boyfriend to. Each date has been great too may I add. If you have any questions that I did not answer in this post, please feel free to shoot me an email. I’d love to hear from you!

 

Quick teaser for next week – You’ll get to know my best friend!

Until then,
Meghan

Gratitude Challenge

5. Something Someone Gave Me

I must apologize for being late on this post… Becuase of this you’ll be treated with TWO posts this week. Welcome – sit back, relax, prep your coffee and let’s dive into this adventure!

I will admit trying to find something someone gave me that was precious enough to share was a little difficult. I would stand in my room caressing my chin thinking [I could talk about this… But I’ve mentioned so-and-so in a post before…. nnnggg… That too…] So it finally dawned on me to talk about something someone gave me that I have never really met before.

Now I know what you’re thinking “Meghan, how does that even work?” well let me tell you this – I work in radio promotions for two radio stations in Toronto. Part of this job entails me calling prize winners and letting them know they won a prize, confirIMG_20170130_140727m pick-up or even just hearing from listeners who picked up our AM signal way down south in Tennessee. Some of these people are very gracious and send me little souvenirs from where they are. Most common ones are post cards. On this post card —->
it says “Many thanks for the QSL! – Harri”. This card is from Finland, yes, FINLAND! This was the first ever post card I had received from a listener. When our receptionist gave me a call to let me know I had mail, this honestly put me through the roof. It was so exciting and made me realize how much I actually enjoy my job. It’s the little things like this that really make me cherish what I have here.

IMG_20170317_131704.jpg

This image here is a letter (and chocolate) that a prize winner had sent me. She had never won a contest in her life before and this woman was so insanely thrilled that she won a pair of tickets to see a movie.  The note reads “Hi Meghan, Happy Friday! It was such a nice surprise to get your message, thanks so much for the call and for the movie passes. Have a great day and a wonderful weekend – Mary”
Her husband came in later that day to pick up the prize for you and hands me this envelope and says “Mary greatly appreciated this opportunity. Thank you!” and he walked out with their prize. It was so cute.

That’s all for now. Until TOMORROW!

– Meghan

Gratitude Challenge

Family 4 Life

Why did they put ‘Family’ and ‘Family Member’ one after the other… Haha… Oh well

The family member I’m choosing to base this on is my grandfather. I know it’s really easy to say he’s the most gentle man, but honestly, he’s the strongest man I know. I’m going to start from the beginning though. Fasten your seatbelts, this is going to be a long ride.

As a child, I always looked up to my grandfather. He was the one I always wanted to be around because he made me laugh all of the time. He knew exactly what kind of humour I liked and he also introduced me to my love of fiddle music [reasons why I enjoy highland dancing.] Staying at my grandparent’s place, we used to drive all over the countryside. We would visit abandoned houses, farms, little towns, small malls, grocery shop and visit my grandparent’s friends. There was always adventure in store while we stayed at Grandma and Granddads.
My grandfather was the one who taught me how to snap my fingers and whistle. He was the one that always played hide-and-go-seek with me. Early in the mornings after breakfast, my brother and I would get dressed and then all of a sudden you would hear the ride’em lawn mower start up, the smell of gas would fill the air and then that 3179_101117280319_7533929_nfamiliar CLUNK sound would rattle our ear drums… It was tractor riding time!
My grandfather would hook up a trailer on the back of his lawn mower and while he cut the grass, my brother, some of the neighbour’s kids and myself would hop on the back and enjoy the ride around their huge backyard. Some of us would hop off and run behind the tractor and try and get back on, some not so lucky, but usually, my Granddad would slow down and make us think we caught up haha.
After the lawn mower rides grandma always had a snack ready for us. Melba toast, grapes, cheese and pickles for me.

However, with all the great things that came with being at my grandparents, my grandfather started to get weak. He never showed it, but you could tell. My grandfather has diabetes. It was so bad that he had sores on his feet that would never heal. He would wake up in the night with pains in his legs and wouldn’t be able to get back to sleep.
As I got older, I noticed that he wasn’t able to chase me down the hallway or into the kitchen, he didn’t have the energy to play hide-and-go-seek and he didn’t spend much time down in his workshop. He even stopped riding the lawn mower because the pressure on his feet was too much.

There was one day my grandmother had noticed that he had a red line going up his leg… She rushed him to the hospital to get it checked out and was told by the doctors that if she had waited any longer to bring him in, that line could have killed him. That was when he was told he had to have both legs from the knee caps down amputated. I had never seen such a strong positive man so weak. He was moved to the hospital in Kingston, ON. The day after he had his surgery my mother drove me up to Kingston to see him. My dad was already there, my aunts and uncles were there too. My grandmother came to see me in the waiting room and I just hugged her. She asked me how I was doing but I didn’t know how to reply. She then took my hand and lead me into his room. My grandfather was laying in the hospital bed with tubes tied all over him, white as a ghost and what looked like fast asleep. He seemed like he was finally past the pain that he had been experiencing the past 7 years. As I looked at him I could tell where his legs were missing. My Grandma nudged me and told me to give him a hug, so I grabbed his hand and told him it was ‘Meghan’. I leant in and hugged him and then all of a sudden I felt his arms wrap around me. He was crying “oh my sweet little Meghan. I love you so much…. My feet are so cold, Meghan.” I didn’t know what to tell him, so I just held him. I hadn’t been crying just yet, but then I felt something wet touch my face… He was crying, which made me cry. It was probably one of the most precious moments of my life and a nurse came and ruined it. My Grandma held my hand and then walked me out fo the room.

As sad as that got… There is some good in this. My grandfather fully recovered from his amputation. Some complications with the healing process, but nothing out fo the norm. He got his prosthetics and a walker and to this day I have never seen my grandfather so active and so healthy looking. He’s back to his normal self, doing normal things, but with just a little helping hand from my grandmother. He also has this cool driving contraption. The prosthetics make it impossible for him to drive because he can’t feel the pedals… So he was able to get a little knob on his wheel and he accelerates and brakes with a little lever on the left side of the steering wheel right by his indicators. Pretty impressive, I must admit!

Check out the mini-doc I made in college about it all. CLICK HERE!

Right now my grandfather is 85 years old. Living happily in his home with his wife in 271607_10151238342705320_1698067773_oBrighton, just East of Toronto. I email my grandmother on a regular basis just to check in with them. Now that I work full time it’s really difficult to go see them, but I know they know I think of them a lot. I love them both so much and have so much respect for them and how much they went through during that rough period of time. In the end, they still love each other as much as they did the first time they met in that bar… If not, more.

Meghan

Gratitude Challenge

Myself Plus 3. Family

Challenge number 3 is Family. The ones who will always be there through thick and thin!

I’m going to start with my brother, Trent. He’s not very outspoken, he hates being wrong, he’s hard headed but kind hearted. He always means well.
Trent is overall someone who is very dedicated and always looking forward to growing. 12991084_10154046933350320_1336066503490066621_n.jpgWhat makes him special to me? Well… All my life I was his player 2. In Super Mario World, Mario Kart, Kirby, fighting games and even during hide-and-seek we always allied. We definitely grew up with some hardships, but we overcame them when I was 15 and he was 17. We had a lot in common when it came to schooling. In high school we both studied the arts; we both were in musical theatre and drama. It was something we strived in.
Now in our early adulthood, we bond over beer and fun adventures. He’s married now too which is great. His wife is lovely; very happy to call her my sister-in-law.

Next up is my mama! And I like to embrace that I am exactly like her. Strong, independent, easily irritated, easy to get along with and trustworthy [even though we shouldn’t be]. I’ll be the first to admit, she has an extremely bad temper. When things do 11032419_10153396445590320_2498092379650652602_o.jpgnot go her way you better steer clear of her path or she is taking you down…
Despite her bad temper, she also is extremely organised and well put together. She knows what she’s going to do and how she’s going to do it before she’s even asked.
I think something funny is, a while ago I used to hate being told I was like my mom… I wanted to be a different human being, not a clone or a copy of my mother. When people told me I was like my mother it was always because of a stubborn comment I would make, or a remark my mother would say. I always thought that comment was a negative thing, but now when I get told that my comment back is “and is it a bad thing?” just like my mother. She taught me how to hold up walls and not let anyone knock them down. She taught me how to deal with girls who pick on you and how to deal with situations in my field of work… She’s just a wise women with years of knowledge. The perfect woman encyclopaedia if you will.
My mom kind of reminds me of a cat… Loves to lounge around in the sun, but is really fast when she has to be. She always helped me with school projects, always kept my room tidy, always made sure I followed the house rules [although I did not always comply] but out of anyone in my family, I think she was the most understanding. I look back now and my dad would melt into a puddle at the palm of my hands [I am a princess, you know] but she was always the one to yell and make a point. Although a lot of the time I used to think she didn’t understand… Looking back and analysing now, I think she was the only one who did but just wanted what was in my best interest. And that is what I most appreciate as an early adult.

Lastly, Poppa Chips.
Picture this, you’re strolling down the road and you see a traffic officer. He has a bit of a belly, coffee in the left hand, doughnut in the right, a couple crumbs on his mustache and a pair of sunglasses on… Typical traffic cop look. Yeah, that’s probably my father.
He’s the man who dropped me off at school in the mornings and watched me climb out of his car crying and watching him drive away. He’s the man I was excited to see when I finished school. He was the one who helped me with my spelling tests and any homework I couldn’t figure out. He’s the one who always bought me a small gift when we went on our Wal-Mart expeditions. He was the one who coached my 6th-grade soccer team and so much more… I could go for days about him, but he was always extremely proud of me and was always there to hold my hand when I needed it. 11953217_10152954428086012_1411631912791080077_n
If there’s something I miss about my dad it would be going out shopping with him each night. Monday, Wednesday and Friday’s are his days off from his second job and we used to go to the mall, Wal-Mart, discount stores or just about anywhere I wanted to. And the reasoning was just to spend some time and walk off our dinner haha.
My father is where I get my humble side from. He’s open to listening to what anyone has to say, he’s the first to offer a helping hand, he always wants to do what’s right and help anyone out that needs it.
One thing I like to tell my boyfriend is that he reminds me a lot of my father [okay, I know right now you’re cringing, but keep reading…] My father treats my mother like a queen. Though they may bicker from time-to-time, my father goes above and beyond for my mother. She wants a hot tub? He gets her a hot tub. She wants steaks for dinner? He gets her steaks… He also does this thing where he likes to surprise her with gifts, take her for dinners and really treat her like royalty. He is so genuine, kind and gentle towards her and that’s what my boyfriend is like with me. People say when you look for your partner in life, you look for someone similar to your parents [of course this isn’t everyone’s case] but in mine, this statement stands true!

I love my family, I hold them near and dear to my heart… Glad this was in the challenge… I’ve never written about my family like this before!

Until next week,

Meghan C