It’s not a race

The other day I took my 8-month-old son to a class at the library, called Baby Laptime. Basically you sit in a circle with your baby and the other mom and tots and sing songs, do a few sensory activities, and then afterwards there’s time for mingling.

Matthew was not interested in the class. He wanted to crawl around and try to touch everything, maybe grab at another baby, but he really could have cared less.  One of the mums asked how old he was, and remarked at how well he was crawling. When I asked how old her young one was, she said 9 months, and immediately followed up with:

“He had bad reflux, so we didn’t do much tummy time, that’s why he’s not crawling.”

It actually was good she said that, as Matthew too had bad reflux, so we chatted about the challenges. But as I was walking out, I thought about how quickly she had volunteered that information. It hadn’t occurred to me to be honest, to ask her about his crawling, babies all figure out eventually. Some skip that completely and start running around. Some babies sleep through the night immediately, while some take some encouragement.

But clearly, she has had some comments thrown her way about her sons’ development. Which sucks. Hard. In kindgergarten, you wouldn’t know that Timmy walked before Suzie. So what does it matter?

I read a blog once that was from the point of view of a mum who had a highschooler and a new baby. She talked about how she was very focused on milestones raising her first child. As she watched her elder son walk across the stage at graduation, amongst the rest of the graduates, she suddenly realized how little all of that mattered.

They all get there eventually.

So lets stop putting so much emphasis on “what can Timmy do”, and support one another. Instead of asking “Is Timmy doing (insert milestone here)?” … ask “How is Timmy doing?” Better yet: “How are YOU doing?”.

 

**Allison**

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Let’s Talk

First, let me apologize for my absence… for the five or six of you (actually more like one) that are signed onto this thing. As some of you may know, I’m expecting my first child, so that’s been occupying a lot of my mind.

It is Bell Let’s Talk Day. It’s an initiative put forward by Bell Media that aims to get people to share their mental health experiences, one day hoping to eliminate stigma and promote talking about challenges we face. The idea here is perhaps just one conversation, one friend reaching out to another, one person sharing their story, perhaps it will save a life.

In that spirit, I’ll share mine.

I was 21 years old, attending NAIT for Radio and Television Arts. I was a spunky, speak-your-mind kind of gal, who wore her heart on her sleeve. This would prove to be both a  blessing and a curse.

While some appreciate the off the cuff, tell ’em like it is, no hiding her emotions, kind of personality, it often got me into trouble.  I was quick tempered, I often didn’t think through the things that I said before I said them. I wasn’t paying attention to tone or body language, and often it would put people off, understandably.

I was angry. It was a perpetual cycle of anger. I was angry at who I was, I was angry at how I treated others, and the more frustrated it made me, the worse I treated people, and the worse I felt about myself.

I didn’t know what was wrong with me. I didn’t want to snap at people. I didn’t want to bite my mum’s head off when she told me I had food in my teeth. I didn’t want to interrupt them when they were talking, I didn’t want to talk to them with a rude tone. But I just couldn’t control it. It was like my mouth was acting before I even had the chance to think how to properly react.

I had a disagreement with my boss at my part-time job. It resulted in me being let go. I walked to my mum’s office, told her what happened, and she decided to have me take a test. It was a diagnosis for ADD. The things that were asked on that test, I had no idea were symptoms of ADD.  In hindsight, I have had it all my life. Both mum and I wonder what life would be / have been like had we known much sooner. Maybe I wouldn’t have lost so many bank cards, maybe I would have done better in school, who knows? At this point I wouldn’t change it, because that’s my journey, and that’s what’s made me who I am now.

The next step was getting formally diagnosed, which proved to be more challenging than I thought. I didn’t have a GP, so I went to a medi-centre. The doctor there gave me a bunch of happy pills and sent me on my way. Really, not solving the problem at all. The fact that he failed to recommend me to a psychiatrist is discouraging. Finally I called the mental heath awareness line – 1-877-303-2642 – and they were able to direct me to a GP accepting new patients, who then referred me to a psychiatrist out of the Grey Nuns. That process took over a month. That’s a month too long if you ask me, especially when you’re talking about someone with mental health issues. Once I saw the psychiatrist at the Nuns, it became very apparent that while she was confident in my diagnosis, she was not confident in her knowledge about my disorder. It became apparent also that there are very few doctors in Edmonton, or Alberta for that matter, that are fluent in all things ADD. After years of bouncing around, including seeing a Dr. in Lloydminster and making the trek out there every 3 months, I found Dr. Nagy Youssef in Edmonton, who specializes in the disorder. Although he has a wait list months long, it was worth it.

I also found a support group through CHADD Edmonton. Here’s a list of their meetings: http://adhdedmonton.com/?post_type=tribe_events. Knowing that there are others out there going through the same challenges that you are, that you’re not a complete a**hole, that you’re not “crazy”, it works wonders for the soul.

At first I was reluctant to go on medication. You hear stories of people becoming zombie-like, or not using them properly. But I chose to try it, because clearly what I was doing then wasn’t working.

When I got pregnant, I had to stop my medications obviously. There is no proven link to impacts on the fetus, but who would want to take that chance? This thought though, of going off of my medication, terrified me. It took years and years to find a balance of medications. It had become my greatest tool – or so I thought. It turns out the self reflection, research, and discussions with others, had given me even better coping mechanisms than I realized. I learned self awareness, I learned I needed a fidget tool when I went to meetings in order to stay engaged, and I learned how to be more mindful of things going on around me.

It’s been 8 months since I’ve been off of my medication. While I do notice a difference in some aspects; my brain just feels busier, and I have to stop myself from interrupting people, the awareness is there. If I acknowledge right away that I interrupted someone, it goes a long way (or at least I think it does).

If you find yourself about to say “She was acting so ADD” or something to that effect, just don’t. If you find yourself questioning if it’s even real, just don’t.

If you find yourself wanting to talk, please do. Shoot me an email allisonsalz@gmail.com.

#BellLetsTalk

 

 

 

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“Game Changer”

Happy Friday all!

I have a story for you.

Let me preface this by saying I am not absolving myself of any negligence. I didn’t do my due diligence before this, I didn’t do research into the company at hand. Had I, I most definitely wouldn’t have taken part.

A few weeks ago, I was at Dairy Queen…cheating on my diet.

If only that was where my bad decisions ended, this blog would probably be much shorter and much less painful.

I saw a framed picture of Connor McDavid, set up as an auction to raise funds for the Stollery Children’s Hospital here in Edmonton. I put down a bid of $205.00, just $5.00 over the minimum, thinking, well I’m probably not going to get it but if I do, bonus.

Mistake number two: don’t bid on anything with the assumption you’re not going to win. That’s how people accidentally buy yachts. I think.

Anyway, a few weeks later I got an email saying my bid had been accepted. In hindsight, the wording of this was crucial. I wasn’t the highest bidder. I wasn’t the only bidder. They had made several prints, and accepted as many as they had available. I paid the fee, which included my $205.00 bid, a $25.00 shipping fee, and GST.

I asked if pickup was an option, thinking: well if the painting was just at DQ down the street, I can go grab it from somewhere. But of course it wasn’t. It was in a warehouse with all of the others.

This frustration rolled around in my brain until I Googled the company and found a Reddit thread that told a very similar story to my own.

That story can be found by clicking here.

It was all very eye opening for me, especially the responses from the COO, Chris Carter. Seriously. This thread could be studied in PR education programs as “How to Spin Negative Press 101”.

There was plenty of discussion but only a few real answers. In the end, the original complainant got to keep his art, and got his money back, and the charity got their funds.

My mum said: “well good on them, the guy got to keep his art and gave his money back.”

Well no kidding. Again, it’s worth it for them to do that, it’s all about optics. See how easily my mum’s opinion was swayed? Take that $200 out of the PR budget and put it back to the charity, and it’s paid for itself.

One Reddit user balked at Carter’s grammar, and shortly after, this snarky response appeared in the FAQ.

Grammar

It’s odd for someone so schooled on PR spin, that he’d use this tactic to respond to critics.

kermit

I sent an email to my “customer consultant” and she replied with an email that contained info either cut directly from the FAQ or their spin manual.

According to them: 65% of “Net proceeds” go to charity. 35% goes to admin, and purchasing the prints.

According to my accountant:

“Net proceeds usually means after costs. But they are saying the other 35% covers the costs – so I must wonder what net proceeds means to them.”

The consultant also noted that it says on the auction slip that a)multiple prints may be produced and b) you may not receive the item you saw in that particular location.

Lesson number three which again is an embarrassing one to learn at 29. READ WHAT YOU ARE SIGNING.

She also asked if I’d like the COO to call me to discuss further, but given by his attitude displayed on Reddit, I doubt it would go well.

Because they are not a charity, they’re simply the middle man between donor and charity, there is no “checkup” on their ethics and practices. So, that’s just fine. I will keep doing my research on charities via Charity Intelligence, to find organizations that better match my values in transparency and communication. Easy to say, this experience has resulted in lesson(s) learned.

I write this not to get my money back, not for any other reason than to ensure others inform themselves on this company before taking part in any “auction”.

Thanks dolls!

Keep on keepin’ on.

Allison

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Thank you, Rob.

This. This is Rob Ford.

GNM

Toronto, Sept 27//2010 – Toronto City Mayoral Candidate Rob Ford is photographed during an interview at The Globe and Mail in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Photo By Deborah Baic/The Globe and Mail

Rob Ford lost his battle with cancer this week. It’s a tragic end to an already sad story. As we all know, Rob Ford was an easy target for everyone, especially late-night talk show hosts. Hell, I will admit even I fell into making fun of the jolly ole mayor. His faces captured at press conferences are my spirit animal.

His behavior a few years ago proved to be entertaining, but eventually for me at least, became very sad and excruciating to watch. We were watching someone unravel piece by piece, yet it was somehow hilarious to most. Flash to two years later, and we hardly heard anything about him or what he was up to. Why? Because cancer.

Addiction is much less acceptable. Addiction and mental illness, they’re not always visible to the naked eye. And before you jump on me, I’m not saying cancer isn’t a reason to feel empathy. I’m saying that addiction and mental illness are too.  Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it’s not there.

Even I catch myself saying about someone with PTSD, or whatnot … “but do they really suffer that badly”? But, I always bring it back to myself, and how I feel when people use the phrase “oh he’s so ADD”… or even when people try and say that it’s not a real disorder.

Believe me, I wish ADHD wasn’t real.

So, Rob Ford. I hope that wherever you are, you’ve found peace. You’ve let go of all of the struggles that caused you to use drugs and alcohol, and are no longer in pain from the cancer that eventually took your life. Thank you for wanting to make the city of Toronto great, and giving us some smiles along the way.

— Allison

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Once a Nellie always a Nellie

It was 1997 and I was in my grade 6 year. I was in a class that was full of wonderful, but somewhat misguided kids. There was smoking, there was drinking, there was swearing and ‘making out’ parties. All of which happen during normal adolescence, but I must say…just a bit too young for me…or should I say my mum. 😉

Nellie McClung Junior High had seen quite a bit of success at Oliver School in downtown Edmonton, and the program was set to make its debut in Avonmore School the year I was set to begin junior high. Perfect timing. The classes were small. I think there were 3 grade 7 classes, 2 grade 8 and only 1 grade 9 group at the time. The best part about that was in addition to a room full of girls, where it was easy to feel comfortable and even easier to forge friendships, you easily got to know girls in the higher grades as well.

Now. We all know what girls can be like. And it’s not like there weren’t a few bad apples, I think the girls from my crop could name exactly who I’m referring to…. But really, that just is par for the course.

We were young women, developing in more ways than one. And this school gave us the freedom to do just that, without feeling pressure to put on a show for the boys. Although  I could have done without being called a lesbian by the high school kids every time I got on the bus…. just proved how dumb they really were. And honestly… why would it be the worst thing if a gaggle of lesbians got on your bus? Sounds like a clichéd male fantasy if I ever heard one.  😉

Also…as an adult, I would KILL for the chance to wear the same thing every single day. Really. That should be a thing. Where we just decide on a uniform, and all wear it. It would take the pressure off, and maybe allow me to sleep in another 20 min :).

If you’re a parent looking for an alternative program to put your child in, I would recommend this one. However, using it as a “boarding school” “punishment” type situation, I wouldn’t. Those girls were easily spotted, and they never benefitted from any of the things I just mentioned, because they didn’t want any part of it. They rebelled more than anyone there. I absolutely, wholeheartedly recommend Nellie! Congratulations on 20 years Nellie McClung, and THANK YOU.

 

Allison

 

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I DID IT

You guys!!! I did it. I didn’t go over my data. I’m so proud! It’s now a habit to have EVERYTHING turned off… and have times where I deliberately avoid my phone. AKA leaving it in the car or at my desk when we go for lunch. It’s the beginning of a beautiful thing friends, and thanks to everyone who helped me.

Doesn’t it sound like I ran a marathon or won an Oscar? Lol. 🙂 Who cares!

 

Tootles for now friendsI did it

Data Addict

My name is Allison. And I’m an addict.

The first step is admitting you have a problem right? I know I’m not alone in this fight. Look around you right now, and I guarantee there is someone glued to their phone.

My life revolves around my phone. Where it is, how much battery is left, and I cringe when I think of how much money has been spent repairing, and replacing the damn thing. Even worse though: the amount of money I’ve given to phone companies for data usage. It makes me sick. When I did the math of how much I’ve been spending, not just on my base plan, but overage costs, and the difference of a plan with reduced data.. I calculated that if I was more responsible, I could save $1500 a year. $1500!! Gross. But it’s definitely an incentive to buckle down.

What’s happened really is we’ve all become so dependent on our phones for every single aspect of what we do on a daily basis. Combine that with my lack of patience… “I must know this now!!” kind of attitude, and the need to check notifications… “I have to see who liked my post”…and it’s an endless cycle.

When I think about what I do on my phone…and how dependent I am on it.. I can’t help but think why? Why is it so necessary to have it in my hand? And the more I try not to, the less I’m able to resist.

I MUST. LOOK. AT. MY. PHONE………

4220df2932a669375b273698bf5d5a14

My boyfriend has made comments about my phone being glued to me. And I don’t want him to feel neglected. That’s really unfair. Also, I fear what it will be like when I have kids. I don’t want to be staring at my phone. I want to be staring at them. Not to mention the bad habit of texting and driving… I don’t want them to ever think that’s ok.

So going forward… what can I do? I found this awesome article that I want to pass along to you. Maybe we can do this together.

Life Hack – Phone Addiction

Their 5 tips:

  • The first 30 minutes of your day
  • Create No-Phone Time Zones
  • Turn your Phone Off When You Get Into The Car
  • Get Real (No notification is THAT important)
  • Don’t Lose Sleep Over It

I have 8 days left until my plan resets. I have 700 MB left of my 5GB plan. I will make it. My goal is eventually to wean off of my data addiction and reduce my bill. Wish me luck!

Tootles for now dolls. XO

 

 

 

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I want it now!

I have a smartphone, just like most of you do. I’m glued to it 24/7, I think about it all the time, I get sad when I can’t find it, and I’m devastated when it stops working.

Again, like most people, I’ve been living my life through the screen of my phone for the past several years. Not stopping to enjoy each moment, instead scurrying to find the camera app so I can take a photo and then try and come up with a witty caption — and of course a clever hashtag.

#basicbitch

But last night I realized something. The need for instant gratification – the likes, the retweets, the shares, have translated into my real life. I’ve become obsessed with “what’s next”, although that has kind of been a  theme all my life, but I digress.

I now have a great boyfriend, Ted, who is so wonderful, and knock on wood – he hasn’t run away screaming…. yet. I’m so busy wondering what our lives will be like… will he propose? when will he propose? will we have kids? I don’t want to wait till then.. hmmph. That I’m not taking the time to enjoy us… as a couple. Just us.

image

Part of it is society. There’s always pressure, no matter what stage of life you’re in, to forge the next path. When you’re single it’s “when are you going to find someone”, when you’re dating it’s “when’s the wedding”, when you get married it’s “when are babies coming”, when you have one it’s “when’s the next”.

My point, and probably I’m just trying to give myself a bit of a pep talk here, but I think I really want to soak in 2016. I’m turning 30, and although I have some self development planned — I’ve never been more confident in my life.. I have a wonderful partner by my side. I’m in a career that I love. I have some of the best friends and family I could ever want. I want to soak it all in. Every second.

As for my phone, perhaps that’ll be another thing to work on.. except..how will I take the pictures of my awesome year ;)?

Tootles for now ❤

Allison

 

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Just Smile & Nod

As many of you know, I waitress part time at a pub in Edmonton.

Working this weekend, a situation came up that happens all too often. A customer, who had a few brews, was saying inappropriate things… about my butt, my boobs, you name it.

For the most part, I just ignored it. But it doesn’t matter what someone is saying to you..if they say it enough times, you eventually say “enough”.

I overheard a conversation, where someone said I should “smile and nod” to those sexually charged comments, because if I did, I’d probably get a bigger tip.

36-frabz-dafuq-e04e7cdafuq20480x311-wallpaper-480x311

Sorry? This logic is the exact reason sexual assault continues to happen. It is certainly not o.k. — furthermore, I’d rather have your RESPECT than your f*cking tip. I’d rather have a CONVERSATION than listen to you say “thank you” every time I bend over to put beer away.

Alcohol is not an excuse for shitty behavior. EVER. It’s not an excuse for running out on your bill. It’s not an excuse for yelling at me because the total is too high or because you had to wait another 30 seconds for a beer.

And p.s. I’d still be grossed out with that pervy behavior even if you were Brad Pitt..I don’t need your tips, I need you to stop being a f*cking creep. Sir.

Thanks.

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