Pushing Through Hard Days

Work days are the hardest days to blog. I feel like nothing happens that is worth blogging about. Someone yelled at me within the first 5 minutes of my shift today though, and I dragged the frustration of that around the city with me. It made for a super long day. Then I came home and had dinner and got ready for bed. I did however have a really important moment of self-discovery while recording today’s vlog.

Battle It Out

I really wish that I was able to enjoy days off, but it always seems like there are so many tasks around the house that I need to get through. Today was no exception. I am suffering the consequences of having moved everything into the dining room and trying to get everything reorganized. My evening was wonderful as I had the opportunity to attend RuPaul’s Battle of the season with Mike T and then headed over to Club 200 for a drink afterwards. There was an interesting emotional moment that happened though when I realized that I was in a gay bar which I have always felt was my safe space.

What Day Is It?

 

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I bet that none of you are going to be able to guess what today’s blog post is going to be about…

HAPPY NEW YEAR!…pretty original right? In fact it is so original I actually just copied and pasted this introduction paragraph from last year because it happened to apply to this year yet again.

It also is kind of a special blog for me as this will be post number 150!  YAY for crossing yet another milestone.

Yesterday, as I scrolled through my friend’s Facebook pages I noticed a very common theme. I came across comment after comment from people saying how 2015 wasn’t such a great year, but it wasn’t bad either. It made me stop to reflect on my year and I began wondering what my overall feelings of the past year. There were a lot of changes in my world, and since I have the memory of a gold fish, I decided to go through my massive collection of photos to recall all the crazy things that happened.

January:

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As with every January, I started off with my resolution of blogging more, but as we saw that didn’t last very long. I did however pick up a new hobby of knitting.

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Mike and I also struggled with our mouse invasion and started setting up traps to try and evict our unwanted house guests.

February:

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Winter here gets so incredibly cold that the Red River freezes over completely. My family started off the celebration of my aunts birthday with brunch at the pop-up restaurant in the middle of the river.

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I also moved from knitting to crocheting as my crafting hobby grew and learned how to make slippers. I also finished off the month by getting hurt at work and ended up stuck in the house for the next six weeks.

March:

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Since I was unable to walk due to my injuries and had a lot of free time on my hands being off work, my crafting hobby moved up to a whole new level and I tackled my first baby blanket with matching baby hat which I gifted to Sarah and Jeff for their new little one.

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About half way through the month, I decided to move back out to the farm with my parents. It was awesome to spend some time with them and be able to cuddle Oskar, my puppy, every night.

April:

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I was finally able to return to work again progressing through reduced hours all the way up to full shifts as my body healed. As much as I complain about my job somedays, I sure am grateful for it cause overall I love what I do. Crafting became a much more slow process as I had much less free time, but I started on a full size afghan for my bed.

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April also brought with it springtime and the opening of the BDI (Bridge Drive-In) which meant the start of ice cream season.

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The snow had melted early and it was awesome to be able to enjoy all the outdoor activities.

May:

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I moved in with one of my best friends as being an adult living with my parents so far away from the city started to become tiresome. Shannon’s daughter had moved out and it was an awesome opportunity to move into the newly vacated space.

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Being single and having made a series of poor life choices, I finally hit my financial breaking point and had to make major changes. I said goodbye to my car and turned it over to the bank and have been carless since.

June:

 

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June started off with my birthday which this year was planned to be incredibly low key. Shannon, her brother, and Mama Mike kidnapped me to took me to the Half Moon out in Lockport, Manitoba.

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We had an amazing lunch together before we headed over for cake and a bonfire at Cori and Richard’s place. I am so blessed to have such amazing friends in my life that organized such a wonderful surprise day for me. June also marked the 100th subscriber to my blog (which really isn’t that big of a number when you look at most blogs, but it is still a huge blessing to know that 100 people have decided that my writing is worth actually following).

 

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June also is the month which we celebrate Pride. Shannon and I made Rainbow Jello Shooter Cake, but our annual before the parade brunch didn’t happen this year because I wasn’t hosting it (remind me that I am hosting brunch again next year). Shannon and I headed down to the parade anyway and had an awesome day together.

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I also started playing with my camera more and spent more time making videos for YouTube. I finished off June catching poison ivy. That was probably the worst part of my year because it was so incredibly itchy and took so long to heal.

July:

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I celebrated Canada Day (July 1) with Shannon and her family. We went over to her mom’s place to watch the fireworks from the top floor of their high-rise apartment.

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I also enjoyed the Bridge Party at The Forks with Jason, Jesse, Crystal, and some other friends which was a lot of fun spending the day hanging out on the bridge listening to awesome music.

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Then I broke my head open by running into a concrete beam. I ended up with a pretty bad concussion and spent most of my summer feeling way less smart after injuring my brain. That resulted in more time off work which meant the perfect opportunity to make another baby blanket as I found out my friend Mandy was expecting a new family member.

August:

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Apparently in August I developed a bit of a gambling addiction! Just kidding, I apparently had a whole stack of lotto tickets that I never checked. As it turns out, I actually won almost $100 on one ticket so that was a pretty awesome way to start the month.

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Then I went out to Calgary, Alberta to celebrate Jayme’s bachelorette party. It was awesome to see her and Tim and make some more new friends. We had a crazy weekend together and it brought back a lot of awesome old memories about living in Calgary the first time round.

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Shannon and I also couldn’t miss out on Folklorama which is the opportunity to celebrate all the different cultures in the world. Patrick, Tom, Adam and I also went to a few different pavilions later that week. August also ended with the beginning of the busiest time of year for volunteering for the board of Reel Pride as we started kicking everything into high gear for the annual film festival.

September:

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I can’t go a year without putting a 12 inch wiener in my blog at least once, and thanks to Mama Mike and a late night drive to Skinner’s out in Lockport, that mission was fulfilled.

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Reel Pride celebrated their 30th Anniversary of incorporation this year and thanks to Fame Night Club we had an amazing pearl themed birthday party to mark the occasion with the most amazing birthday cake from Chocolate Zen Bakery.

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Then I headed back to Calgary to visit Austin who has become a great friend and we had an amazing weekend doing things that I hadn’t done when I lived there like checking out Telus Spark and going to the Home Show at the BMO Centre.

October:

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Moving into October, I enjoyed two weeks of vacation from bus driving and spent two weeks volunteering to get all the last minute details organized for Reel Pride. The film festival was amazing and our programming committee selected some amazing films to feature once again this year. I am so excited to see what they come up with next year.

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I also had the opportunity to host David C. Jones and Paula Stromberg, two amazing short film makers who came from Vancouver to participate in the festival. It was awesome getting to be a tourist in my own city with them and enjoy eating at some of the fantastic restaurants we have here and touring the Manitoba Legislature, The Forks, and the Canadian Museum of Human Rights.

November:

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Patrick and I started out November with a road trip to the Whiteshell Provincial Park. We enjoyed an awesome snow-free day taking pictures of the amazing scenery provided by the park. November also marked for me an entire month of daily vlogging which felt like an awesome achievement to have accomplished. I feel like we were also extremely lucky last year as it didn’t snow until late November, which combined with the early spring resulted in a pretty awesome summer.

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Since I spent so much time vlogging, there is a definite lack of pictures to share with you for this blog, but you can check out my YouTube Channel to keep up with my adventures there as well.

December:

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After taking a month off from Reel Pride, it was time to step-up and start getting ready for next year. One of the biggest changes next year is the fact that we are probably loosing the Gas Station Arts Centre due to renovations. I took on the project of starting to scout out new venues for the board so that newly elected board at the Annual General Meeting in January will have the opportunity to have a confirmed space booked for the festival.

 

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I also finished one of the best kept secrets I’ve managed to pull off which was a hand made afghan for Brent and Chris as their Christmas/Wedding gift that I haven’t given them for the past two years. Between having to make sure all the pieces were hidden when they would visit and resisting the urge to post pictures about it, I managed to surprise them and I hope that they really liked it. I also decided to go back to knitting as I was getting bored with crocheting after doing a few large blankets.

Probably the most exciting part of 2015 is fact that I have moved into my own apartment solo back in Downtown Winnipeg. It was a little unexpected, but the opportunity to rent Mike’s condo popped up and I jumped at the chance to have my own space.

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I worked Christmas and Boxing Day, but enjoyed the traditional Boxing Day family dinner out at the farm with my extended family which is one my favourite part of the holiday season. New Year’s Eve was shared with Tracy and Sarah for Prime Rib Dinner at Club 200 for “One Night in Bedrock.” Unfortunately, I didn’t last until midnight as I am suffering from a bit of a cold and decided to go to bed early.

All things considered, 2015 was a pretty amazing year. There were absolutely highs and lows, but I have come to appreciate all the amazing people in my life so much more over the past year and can’t wait to make more amazing memories with all of you. Until then, have an amazing New Year’s Day, Happy 2016, and don’t forget to be kind out there!

Happy Birthday to ME!

Today is a really exciting day for me.  I am celebrating the first day of the start of the last year in my 20’s… aka I just turned 29.  I am pretty excited about starting another year and have set some new goals for myself.

I wanted to start this year by looking back at some of the crazy memories we have made over the last year.  It has been a lot of fun and I wanted to share them with all of you.

Check it out below!

What an Awesome Year

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I bet that none of you are going to be able to guess what today’s blog post is going to be about…

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

…pretty original right?

Yesterday, as I scrolled through my friend’s book of face pages I noticed a very common theme.  I came across comment after comment from people saying how 2014 wasn’t a great year, but it wasn’t bad either.  It made me stop to reflect on my year and I began wondering what my overall feelings of the past year.  There were a lot of changes in my world, and since I have the memory of a gold fish, I decided to go through my massive collection of photos to recall all the crazy things that happened.

January

WP_20140113_12_57_17_ProThis always seems to be a pretty quiet month for me following the busy Christmas Season. I was working for WestJet as a flight dispatcher.  WP_20140202_13_27_16_ProI also was filling all my free time with driving motor coach for TRAXX. We were still in the process of filling the house with furniture after having moved into our rented home overlooking Elliston Park on the eastern edge of Calgary, Alberta.  I have no idea what my New Years Resolutions even were last year, but I am sure I wrote them in a blog post some where if I actually wanted to put the research into figuring out if I managed to accomplish any of them, but I am kind of scared to realize the areas where I failed to meet my goals, perhaps I’ll leave that until another day.

February

SavedPicture-201424122815.jpg February brought with it a lot more bus tours into the mountains taking passengers up for ski trip after ski trip.  WP_20140225_001It seemed like I didn’t get a single day off between working full time in dispatch and driving bus, but the money sure was nice to be able to make bill payments.  However, my stress levels with dispatching started to get higher and higher and my satisfaction level of working for WestJet was quickly decreasing.  My love of driving buses started to get larger and larger as the month went on.  WP_20140214_20_33_29_ProFebruary also brought with it the celebration of my “Mama’s” 50th birthday celebration.  It was a pretty huge honour to be asked to help put together the video memoir to celebrate on of my closest friend’s life.

March

WP_20140305_18_11_47_ProMarch continued with a few more bus charters, but they started to slow down.  I was lucky enough to find myself up at Lake Louise Ski Area for the first time ever.  I really enjoyed being able to see all sorts of destinations that I may not have otherwise seen if I wasn’t driving motor coach.  WP_20140329_16_40_15_ProHowever, I am not very well suited for highway driving.  I find that I get bored as there isn’t enough traffic to keep my mind engaged.  I was really missing driving transit buses.  Luckily, Mike was offered a position as a flight attendant back in Winnipeg.  This put the wheels into motion for us to start moving back.  Our house in Calgary was also joined by one of Mike’s friends as a room mate.  It was fun having a second room mate that was good at cooking and enjoying some libations.

April

WP_20140403_16_14_14_ProApril started with a road trip across the prairies to move Mike back to Winnipeg just in time to start his new job with another airline.  WP_20140429_15_42_08_ProI was glad that I was two provinces away from him while he was studying for yet another initial course, because listening to him complain from that far away was still pretty exhausting.  April also brought with it the offer of new employment for me back home in Winnipeg.  WP_20140418_001I would soon resume driving transit bus for the City of Winnipeg.  I was so incredibly excited for this opportunity to move home and started packing almost immediately.

May

WP_20140508_002I’m not going to lie, May was probably the most stressful month of the year.  I knew that starting my new job was going to cause a 4-week delay in getting my first pay cheque.  WP_20140509_22_55_24_ProAs a result, I did lots of shift trades with my co-workers at WestJet to move my scheduled hours for June into May so that I would have worked sufficient hours to still get paid long enough to cover the gap until I got my first cheque from the new job.  Matt Phone_20140529_002As a result, I worked 12 hours nearly every day of the month, and then came home to continue packing everything to get ready to move.  Any days off that I had were spent flying back to Winnipeg to visit Mike.  WP_20140531_13_09_52_ProAs the month came to an end, I worked my last shift at WestJet, went and picked up the U-Haul to start loading all of our belongings into it.  Thankfully, I was rescued by my friend Gavin and together we managed to make it all fit.  I hit the highway with my car in tow and was making my way towards yet another new adventure.

June


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June is definitely one of my favourite months of the year.  Mostly because it means that there is a celebration all to do with me.  Unfortunately, this year there was no celebration since we were unloading the U-Haul on my Birthday.  June marked my official end of employment with WestJet as I started re-training with the city.  I still remembered most of the policies and procedures, but the most difficult part was the process of breaking all the bad bus driving habits that I had formed since leaving transit bus driving several years ago.  Matt Phone_20140621_19_08_05_ProThe people in my class were really awesome and I have made some incredible new friends.  We also got to celebrate the marriage of two of very good friends up at Winnipeg Beach.  The weather was co-operative long enough for the ceremony to finish, and then the skies opened up and dumped half of the lake onto our heads.  Matt Phone_20140621_002It was great to be back in Winnipeg.  It wasn’t the warmest summer that I have ever experienced, but every afternoon was enjoyed relaxing outside in the yard lounging beside the pool that refused to warm up.  We temporarily moved in with Mike’s parents who graciously enough allowed us to destroy the lawn by setting up the Adult Kiddie Pool.

July

Matt Phone_20140707_002Summer was in full swing by the time July rolled around.  The weather had finally warmed up enough to start enjoying the pool.  Matt Phone_20140713_011I had finished my training and was now driving bus full time on my own.  It was so nice to be driving and not have to worry about the stress of the corporate world anymore.  Matt Phone_20140730_11_09_46_Pro July’s warm weather also meant a lot of time to catch up with friends doing some of my favourite Winnipeg summer activities like going to VJ’s and the BDI for burgers and ice cream.

August

Matt Phone_20140822_21_00_59_Pro__highresAugust was the month of birthday’s, or at least that is the way it felt.  Mike and Shannon both celebrated their birthday’s this month.  Matt Phone_20140830_20_49_26_Pro__highresIt was awesome to have a proper birthday party for Mike with all his friends.  We went out for dinner at the Peasant Cookery in the Exchange District and had what can only be described as an amazing celebration with friends.  August also was the breaking point where we needed to move out of Mike’s parents house.  Matt Phone_20140822_001I am so incredibly fond of Mike’s parents, but we all agreed that there was no where near enough space in their house for the four of us to live.  Matt Phone_20140831_14_31_56_Pro__highresWe found a really cute house that is 112 years old in the old Ukrainian/Polish neighbourhood of north Winnipeg to purchase and moved in.  Moving this time was much more relaxed, but much more inconvenient as all of our possessions were spread between three different properties.  The house needed some much needed TLC before it was ready to call a home.  Most importantly starting with a new coat of paint to hide the awful smell of cigarette smoke.

September

Matt Phone_20140901_001September was the continuation of the massive list of projects that needed to be completed around the house.  Matt Phone_20140901_006The living room and dining room were finally painted and Mike spent a lot of his free time going from store to store trying to find the furniture pieces that were going to furnish the house.  Matt Phone_20140924_003We also annihilated the jungle that had taken over the back yard and discovered that it is actually much bigger than we originally thought.  Matt Phone_20140925_001September made me learn to hate painting more than I ever imagined possible.  Slowly though, the house began to come together as the furniture began to arrive and room after room slowly became usable.

October

IMG_0020Matt Phone_20141013_002October slowly started to bring summer to an end.  I feel like this is where I began to feel that life had become overwhelming and there were just too many projects that needed to be completed.  Of that list, there really wasn’t any that I wanted to complete.  Demolishing the basement was completed and somewhat therapeutic as all the frustrations of home renovations were able to be expressed on the incorrectly framed walls and removal of the old cup boards and sink that weren’t even hooked up since the plumbing in the house was upgraded from steel to copper.  The extent of the excitement that I remember this month was going to work.  Matt Phone_20141031_002I didn’t even get dressed up for one of my favourite holidays, Halloween.  I did stay home to hand out candy to the neighbourhood kids, but was extremely disappointed to have only had about 30 visitors that night.

November

IMG_0024As the weather started to get colder outside, the mice quickly started taking warm refuge inside our house.  This is probably the worst part of 2014 for me.  Trying to evict those little creatures was awful.  The poison worked, but only temporarily.  We finally resorted to borrowing my parents cat to evict the mice which worked rather effectively.  IMG_0032I did enjoy a wonderful pre-christmas celebration with Clif and Shannon though at the annual Santa Clause Parade.  It was bitterly cold, but we endured until the end and saw possibly the very last time that Santa will ride this float before the build a new one for next year as this old piece of tradition has reached a point of being beyond repair.  IMG_0081Mike setup the Christmas tree in an attempt to put me into the festive Christmas spirit, but it just wasn’t happening this year.  The extreme pest problem was driving me crazy and the stress of having to deal with finding the perfect gifts for people was keeping my mood quite “grinchy”.

December

WP_20141211_006By the time December arrived, I reached my breaking point due to the lack of laundry in our house.  The machines were purchased back in August, but they had never been hooked up.  I put on my handy gloves and got to work installing the “Red Green” version a functioning washer and dryer plumbing, even though I didn’t use any duct tape.  WP_20141213_006December also brought with it the gift of lower gas prices.  This was a welcome break from the high price of fuel as prices at the pump are now nearly half of what they have been for the past few years.  WP_20141214_003I also have enough seniority at work to have selected my own designated bus routes which is a great way to wrap up 2014.  Having a designated schedule makes life so much easier to plan and enjoy.  The Christmas holidays were celebrated with our amazing family and friends, and after starting Christmas shopping on December 22, I had found the perfect gift for everyone before noon on December 24.

What is to come in 2015?

…. Well you will just have to stick around and find out!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

Happy Anniversary to Me!



Yesterday, WordPress informed me that my blog celebrated its first birthday!  I am a little disappointed that I didn’t remember that it was coming or planning a party, but alas one year of blogging has come and gone.

The last year has been filled with many changes and most of those I didn’t see coming.  I am lucky to be sharing a life and home with Mike in Calgary, I am glad to have accomplished my goal of returning to work for one of the two major airlines in Canada, I am happy to be driving bus again and seeing things that I wouldn’t have if not for this hobby made into a job, but most importantly I am blessed with amazing friends that I am able to share my story with.

I will admit that I had hopped that I would have been more dedicated to writing, but life got in the way and it is impossible to change the past.  Writing is one of my favourite creative outlets as it allows me the opportunity to organize my thoughts, share my experiences, and hopefully benefit you as the readers in one way or another.

Over the next year my blogging goals include to share more travel stories with you as Mike and I, along with friends, travel around the world and hopefully make some amazing memories together.  I would also like to be more dedicated to writing as I love sharing my thoughts, ideas, and experiences with you.  Lastly, I would like to make time to create video memories along with the written ones to share with you.

My Thinking Spot

As most of you know I have a weird fascination with transportation, which is slightly embarrassing to admit.  Mostly, this includes airplanes and buses which I feel is a bit of a strange combination.

There have been a few days this month that I have been feeling pretty lonely as Mike and I were working completely opposite schedules.  As much as I love working night shift, it resulted in us passing each other on the highway at 5am as I return home from work and Mike heads to the airport.

Sometimes it is nice to get out of the house and just have some me time.  One thing that I love doing, rather than cleaning which really needs to be done, is driving around the city exploring bus routes or watching the train.  I recently discovered several youtube channels of people recording bus routes and thing that it is a really neat way to document the changes our cities go through for people to see in the future.

I was out for a drive last week and decided to test out my new Nokia Lumia 1020.  I have shared a quick video clip of 14th Ave at 14th St NW of the Calgary LRT route 201 passing headed to Crowfoot Station.

What do you do when you need to escape reality and refocus yourself?