What’s going on in your community?

Let me first admit that I am not someone who wants to be up in my neighbours’ business any more than I want my neighbours up in mine. I like knowing people to say hello and smile at, but I don’t usually get much closer than that. I have made friends with people in my city and I think it’s fun (and so typical of this city’s character) to see people I know when running errands or being out around town. It’s nice to have a chat in the grocery store or while grabbing a coffee, but there are only a few locals I spend time with. I don’t mind it that way.

I’d describe the local community as somewhat tight knit. When there is an event in the community, it creates a good buzz in local businesses and on social media. On a day when an event takes place, expect a lot of tweets telling you what’s going on and a ton of Instagram stories showing you.

A few of our biggest events:

I’m sure to have missed a few others.

We also have plenty of regular events that happen year round. Events like:

This is a city that prides itself on having many community focused events designed to appeal to all walks of life. Just today, my Mom and I walked over to our city’s Pride Festival. While most of the continent is celebrating Pride month in June, Vancouver holds its annual Pride Parade on the Sunday of BC Day (August) long weekend. Here in New West, we hold our Pride festivities a little later, in this year’s case, they started a week later with events throughout the past week, the main event being the Pride Street Party on Saturday afternoon/evening (tonight.)

The main street through town was closed down to traffic and opened up to three stages of entertainment, tons of vendors, organizations, a handful of food trucks and even a wrestling ring for Royal City Wrestling performances. The street was pretty crowded with people having a great time and it was a really nice atmosphere to be in.

I’m not sure if there were fewer events like these when we were younger or if it’s just something we didn’t do, but Kevin and I will attend anything. We’ve wandered through street fairs in a number of cities while we’ve been traveling – a farmer’s market in Victoria, a night market in Daytona Beach, a sweets festival just last week in Toronto, to name a few. I’ve said it before, I know, but it’s one of my favourite things about us – I am enthusiastic to try anything and Kevin is laid back enough to go along with it.

Tomorrow, my Mom and I are going to take on a community event in her neighbourhood, my hometown. More on that later, but in the meantime, check the listings in your local area and find something to attend. You might just decide that you like it.

Cultivating casual relationships

This isn’t my idea. It isn’t my story.

I’ve been a little delinquent on my podcast listening lately. Since I decided to limit myself to only podcasts from which I’d gain personal growth, I’ve experienced this interesting phenomenon: every podcast I listen to is really meaningful to me. That was the point, right? Well. I hadn’t really accounted for the fact that I’d need some time to digest everything I was listening because it was so meaningful to me. Duh.

To the topic at hand: cultivating casual relationships.

Gretchen Rubin and her sister and co-host Elizabeth Craft presented this as their try this at home on Happier podcast this week.

Here’s a link to the show notes for this episode, including the article that inspired the subject’s inclusion: Why You Need a Network of Low-Stakes, Casual Friendships.

“Weak ties”, as they are so unappealingly referred to are the relationships you have with people you see regularly, but that never really develop into more than casual acquaintance. Your regular barista or waiter, your hairdresser, people you see at the dog park or school pick-up, your gym trainer, mail delivery person, neighbours, etc. These all qualify as weak ties. You know them, but you don’t really know them.

I’d read about weak ties being beneficial in search of new jobs. The more weak ties you have, the more you can increase the opportunities you are exposed to. At the same time, since your weak ties are probably less similar to you than your strongest ties are, they stretch your reach into places beyond where you’d normally go.

What I didn’t know? That people who have more weak ties, they feel happier. That is attributed to a better feeling of being surrounded by goodwill and stronger feelings of connection within their community. In addition, Gretchen pointed out that the more familiar we are with someone, the more we will like them.

“We have an acquaintance at work that we connect and talk about work projects, or dog-walking friends. It helps to have these different kinds of people in our lives to add different kinds of support.”

Quote found here.

I love the phrase that Liz used when she referred to “investing in the people around you.” That’s checking in to see how they’re doing, getting to know a little more about them and paying closer attention to who actually is in your orbit.

Sometimes this is easy for me, others times it challenges every bone in my severely introverted body, but I think I am going to be more mindful of how I cultivate my casual relationships because as I’ve been opening up to this possibility more and more, it actually has felt more satisfying.


Funny story! WHILE I was writing this post, I got a call from Kevin. Yesterday, he’d tweeted about his search for a particular piece of obsolete lacrosse equipment that is the preference of one of our players. Last night, while we were out with the team, we got to talking about it again. The player in question staunchly defended his position while others agreed, disagreed and everyone else had a good laugh. Kevin was phoning me today to tell me that he got a Twitter DM from someone who was on the same team as him for one season of masters lacrosse. He was messaging to say that he definitely has at least a couple of what Kevin was looking for, but maybe as many as five or six. Eureka! We hit gold – all thanks to a generous weak tie. 😊

Vancouver Marathon

Truth be told, today might actually be one of my favourite days of the whole year.

For the third year in a row, Kevin and I set our alarm clocks and ventured downtown to hang out at the finish line of the BMO Vancouver Marathon and cheer on racers as they came in. This year, we had six friends racing, three in the half-marathon, three in the full.

The timing is a bit funny for the races. The half marathon goes at 7am and the full goes at 8:30. Since our fastest halfer was going to be coming in at around the start time of the marathon, that was when we aimed to get there and we got there right on time. We waited for only about ten minutes before he passed by us. Our other two friends running the half marathon course came by shortly afterwards.

We got to take a bit of a breather then and walked around the finish line area and down to the festival on the street below it. We met up with a couple of our friends/finishers and listened to their experience of the race.

Once we parted ways with them, we walked back around and got back up to the race just in time to see the men’s full marathon champion cross the finish line. That’s always a really exciting moment to experience. Shortly afterward, the women’s champion came through. Interestingly, the two are engaged to be married in just a few weeks’ time.

We got to see a couple of local celebrities finish the race.

Then our marathoner friends started coming in.

Yes, he is juggling while he is running or joggling as the kids – and his bib – say.

We got to see all but one of the people on my list finish the race. Unfortunately, by about 1pm, after we’d been there for 4.5 hours, Kevin was becoming weary and his injury was acting up from too much standing. We had to pull the plug on our cheer station.

As always, this is the best experience for getting a boost of motivation and get your head into the right mindset to get back on track. It’s such an inspiring place to be and you’re surrounded by non-stop, endless good energy.

Let people show you who they are

This is a saying that I love. It’s one of my favourites.

I’ve had a few experiences lately that have reminded me that it’s in the moments when people are not necessarily at their best when they show you who they really are. And instead of writing their excuses for them and sifting through all the possible reasons, I like to just take a step back and accept that it’s an opportunity to learn.

So they weren’t a good friend. So they forgot something that was really important to me. So they talked about me behind my back. So they didn’t act with integrity. So they chose to go low.

It reminds me of another of my favourite sayings.

I take this one to heart. And I apply it to a lot of things – the words people use, the actions they take, the things that they do.

When it happens, it’s okay. Now more than I ever, I am confident in the decisions that I make for myself and accepting what comes my way – and what I choose to move on from.

Remember this. It’s one of the most powerful discoveries I’ve made. Sometimes it isn’t you, it’s them.

So, these are a couple of the sayings I remind myself of often. Which words of wisdom get you through the day?

I almost made someone cry today

It was in a good way. Well, sort of. Let me tell you about it.

So, we live in a, I don’t know, 30? (details aren’t my jam) story building. There are nine or ten suites on every floor (again, details.) Unlike other Strata groups we’ve lived under, this one is smart – and maybe lucky. They’ve invested in a full-time, live-in building manager (smart) and she is a workhorse (maybe lucky.) She has a couple of residents who also work for her, doing cleaning and a variety of other tasks. As a team, she and her right hand woman are around a LOT. They know everyone and where they live, what they do and what they’re up to without being invasive about it.

The building manager seems to do the managing and the Right Hand Woman does the dirty work – often literally.

A few months ago, we got in the elevator with the Right Hand Woman early in the morning. She was just taking her young kids to school, but she commented on how someone had spilled something sticky on the floor of the elevator and “what were residents going to think if they saw that.” We all went on our way and I presume she doubled back to clean up the mess shortly after.

Minutes later while we were in the car, I told Kevin how I was still thinking about it. I’m always in awe of the different types of people there are and how her reaction had been considerate of the residents when my reaction would have been, “screw these idiots.” I admire her sense of duty to the greater good because if I feel that, it’s a very rare occurrence and how lucky we are to live in a world where people like her exist and spread their good deeds and hard work.

This morning, as I rode the elevator down, I found two bags of abandoned garbage just sitting in there. I mean, who does that?!? The two other residents I rode with were prepared to just leave it there because, well, that’s exactly what they did. I’d assumed it belonged to one of them, but when I realized that it’d just been left in there, I went back, picked it up and took it to the garbage room. (All the whole thinking, “screw these idiots.”)

I went on my way, completed my run and came back to the building. As I got into the elevator, the Right Hand Woman got in with me. We said hello and smiled. I scanned my fob and pressed the button for our floor then realized that she was there to just ride the elevator and polish the inside walls, door and panel. She asked me how Kevin’s back was today. I gave her a quick reply and asked how she was doing. She said she was okay and continued to work her modified Swiffer to remove some scuff marks off the wall. And then I told her that she did a really good job in the building.

She froze.

Then she spun around and looked at me, her eyes already tearing up.

She said, “all we ever get are complaints. You have just made my whole day.”

It isn’t that I don’t think about how good a job she does – that they all do – every time I see her/them. It isn’t that I don’t appreciate their dedication at times when I can’t see them as well. It’s just that I’d never said it before. And, to be honest, saying it made my whole day, too. At the same time, it made me sad that so many people can live here and so many people can see these people every day and never think to say something nice. (Like I hadn’t.)

I recognize that sharing this may be bordering on the does an act of kindness really happen if you never post about it? behaviour that I railed against last month, but that isn’t why I’m sharing it. I’m sharing it because it never hurts to tel someone that you notice what they’re doing or that you value their contribution. The world needs the people who are going to take care of us all and it needs the people who are going to let those people know that we’d be lost without them.

Tell someone today.


Here’s my own story of being on the receiving end of a compliment that still makes me feel warm inside.

Also, check out the Compliment Project where I picked up that photo and found printable for the poster featured in it and seven others!

Finally and for the record, I do know the same of the Right Hand Woman, I just didn’t want to use it.

10.13.18

Regret is something I almost never talk about. That isn’t related to shame or embarrassment or even privacy, but mostly my conscious decision to see everything that happens as having a purpose and serving as a lesson. It isn’t that I haven’t been through some challenging and traumatic experiences, I just don’t look back on them with regret, but, instead, gratitude.


We’re at the BC Lacrosse Association Annual General Meeting this weekend, an event that happens every October in Whistler, BC. Representatives from lacrosse organizations around the province gather to attend informational sessions, vote on changes to operating policies and celebrate the year’s accomplishments and victories.

I’ve attended this event as an observer/participant twice in the past, while sitting in several positions related to the Western Lacrosse Association and a number of teams around that league and the BC Junior Lacrosse league. After a couple of years of neither Kevin nor I having any organizational involvement in lacrosse, we are back. He has a role here, I am his guest.

The AGM weekend generally goes like this:

Friday:

  • Arrival
  • WLA Board of Governors meeting
  • Kick-off Social cocktail party

Saturday

  • Breakfast
  • General sessions
  • Awards banquet

There’s really no way to pick out highlights of the weekend because it’s all so great. The cocktail party is a great way to network and get caught up on what’s going on in lacrosse in BC. Breakfast is always delicious, though it’s EARLY. The awards banquet has a fun theme and the BCLA goes ALL OUT in making it a great celebration. We’ve attended circus and medieval nights and this year’s theme is sock hop. (I didn’t bring a costume and now I regret it.)

Lion tamer Tosh and I went to preschool together!

Last night, we attended the cocktail party and we had a lot of fun. I got to see a number of friends that I’ve made over years of working in this sport myself and being around while Kevin played it. I also got to meet a few people who I’ve known via social media for years, but haven’t met in person before.

Even as early as while we visited the registration desk when we first arrived yesterday, I had started to feel something that was unexpected. I felt wistful, I felt like I was missing something, I felt an emotion like loss. I had no place among this group. For all the work that I’ve done over the years, I am not committed to any one particular cause. Sure, I have an affiliation with the Burnaby Lakers because Kevin is the General Manager there, but I’m little more than a cheerleader these days.

After 27 years, my name is still among the BCLA’s list of volunteers so it feels good to be remembered.
Looping back to my earlier statements about regret, I don’t think that’s necessarily what I’m feeling exactly, but with a couple of years of hindsight, I am feeling sad that I walked away from contributing to this community. At the time, I was exhausted, I felt unsupported and I made decisions based on the actions of bullies who were ruled by their egos and other people who didn’t have the best interest of the game and the people at heart. For a couple of years, I’ve suffered hurt feelings and held some deep animosity towards the people who caused them. I took that out on the sport that has given me so much. I overlooked the people who were supportive and who were working hard for the greater good and those who did value my contribution.

I’m taking this trip as a gift, a sign, reminder after reminder of the community that we’ve built within BC lacrosse and of the reward that comes with contributing to it. It’s time to start giving back again, I just need to decide how.

I want to say a hearty thank you to the BCLA for this great experience and for all the hard work that they pore into making this event so meaningful. Congratulations to all the people who are celebrating awards and accomplishments this weekend. Enjoy the spoils tonight and start working towards the next challenges tomorrow.

you’ll never be alone in the kitchen again

i put the call for help out this morning: how does one crush a bunch of candy canes?

this week, i was given a bunch of candy canes from last christmas. i’m a bit of a candy cane fiend and i guess my reputation reflects that, hence, the interoffice envelope full of the things that arrived on my desk. once upon a time, those candy canes wouldn’t have lasted an afternoon in my office, but i’m currently in the waning phase of my love/hate relationship with sugar and am trying to avoid it. so, what to do with them?

then it came to me…

cupcakes!

i wasn’t sure when i’d fit a candy cane cupcake experiment into my weekend, but i woke with my usual saturday morning thirst for creation and before i even knew it, science and exploration had taken over. i mixed up the peppermint batter and once it was in the oven, i faced the one of the big challenges: crushing the candy canes. how? enter twitter.

some were funny…

most were helpful…

in the end, i got exactly what i needed…crushed candy canes.

it got me to thinking about how useful a kitchen tool twitter has become. need help? just ask. i’ve recently gotten great input about dilemmas involving cinnamon buns, canning and pickling and nathan‘s assisted me in many a meaty quandary. it’s fantastic for a cooking/baking adventurer like me. i am truly one tweet away from all the help i can handle. thank you, folks!

*.*.*

in case you wondered the fate of the newly crushed candy canes, here goes:
i started with a basic plain jane cupcake plan and gave it a pepperminty kick

i doubled the peppermint by flavouring the icing to match

kevin was concerned about injury if i mixed the candy cane pieces directly into it ~ perhaps he’s afraid we’ll be sued if someone chips a tooth on a wayward chunk. after some careful consideration, i laughed in the face of risk and with the exception of a few pieces for garnish, i dumped them into the bowl. the success of the first phase of this project is undetermined. i’ll be on the lookout for testers. please apply within. 😉

 *.*.*

other proof that christmas is on its way…the sounds of the season have arrived!