A short rant on York Region Public Transit

I was lying in bed this morning listening to the radio say that it was miserable outside, white-out conditions accidents everywhere, and my first thought was “too bad I live so close to work I can’t get a snow day.” I reluctantly got up and started getting ready. But when I looked out the window – turns out it’s only miserable in the city, up here in Northern Ontario it’s a beautiful day with about 8 inches of fresh white snow on the ground.

I went to leave, I took the boys keys to drive to work – the car won’t start. Drat. Oh well, there’s a bus route that takes me straight to work, so I came back upstairs, told the boy the car won’t start, and checked the York Region Transit website. The next bus was scheduled for 9:10, I’m going to be late, but I’ll get there. I call work and let them know I should be in around 9:30.

I had about 10 minutes before I needed to walk to the bus stop so I finished packing for our weekend in London, so the boy can fix the car and pick me up straight from work in the afternoon.

I walk the half block to work in the 8 inches of semi-plowed snow and I get to the light at the intersection where the bus stop is. I see the bus – I wave it down, I don’t want to cross the street while the light is red because that’s not how Sesame Street told me how to do it, plus the roads are slippery and the bus driver has clearly seen me. So I wait assuming (like a fool apparently) that the bus driver driving the EMPTY bus will stop at the bus stop and wait for me to cross the street in 3 seconds.

I thought wrong.

She looked straight at me and barreled through the intersection.

Now this wouldn’t even be that big of a problem if I didn’t live in Northern Ontario and busses came regularly but the next one doesn’t come for AN HOUR!

There’s been a lot of people giving a lot of flack to bus drivers lately, and I’m not one to jump on the bandwagon, I actually think that bus drivers have a really crappy deal. They don’t get breaks unless they are ahead of schedule (and then they just stop on the side of the road while you were secretly hoping you’d be getting somewhere a little faster than usual), and there are a lot of rude people in the world pf public transit who treat their drivers as personal dumping grounds. I’m a nice passenger I say “Good morning” and when I leave the bus I say “Thank you” I take my garbage with me, I keep my feet on the floor and I don’t deface property. What have I gotten for it – ditched at the side of the road.

And I know if I call in they’ll say “We recommend you be at your bus stop 5 minutes before the schedule says they’ll be there so you don’t miss it.” To that I say I recommend a little courtesy on a snowy winter day.

So I got my snow day, too bad I’m all bitter about it now. Brutal

Reasons I’m not an Olympian

The boy and I are deeply engrossed in the 2010 Olympic Games. We’re among the many dedicated Canadians cheering on our country’s athletes, even making sure we were home in time last night to see Jenn Heil’s attempt to win Canada’s first Gold Medal at home.

I’m staying really positive even though Heil wasn’t able to get the gold I still think someone is going to be able to do it… I believe, I guess.

The boy has a little more doubt, he thinks there is WAY too much pressure on Canada’s Olympic team and that they’re going to buckle. He thinks Canadians across the country are in for a huge disappointment. Please don’t stone him if you see him – he’s just having a harder time “believing.”

Win or lose as we were watching the Women’s Freestyle last night, I came up with several reasons why I’m not an Olympian.

1. Lack of talent
Let’s just get this one out of the way right off the top. I do not have the raw natural talent required to become an Olympian. This is combined with a lack of coordination in general I’m pretty much screwed.

2. Lack of commitment
I am in complete awe of the commitment that Olympians have to their sport. The time and everything they have to give up to get the shot at a podium is insane to me. They commit the greater portion of their lives and in the case of Freestyle skiing, it’s all over in less than 30 seconds! I’m with Rick on this one. Amazing.

3. Lack of passion
This is something I’m struggling with in general, but finding something that you are SO passionate about that you don’t mind putting in the time and committing to it with every once of your being. I’m having a hard enough time finding a career that I can be passionate about, something that I can commit myself to fully and completely for about 40 hours a week!

4. Lack of ability to withstand the pressure.
Watching Heil’s race last night I felt physically nauseous. I was on the edge of my seat – I could barely watch, holding my breath, and I was sitting in my living room on my couch in Newmarket, Ontario – I cannot imagine how she did it. If it were me I would be sick before going down that hill. I always feel like I do my best under pressure – but I have never had the whole country holding their breath and waiting for me to perform, I’m fairly certain I could not handle that kind of pressure.

So I’ll take up the task of cheering all of the Canadians on. In my mind they are all champions just for getting there. I believe this is the year for Canada, but I refuse to contribute to the pressure – they’ve already accomplished way more in sport than I ever will.

Save Your Money

I counted down to this movie – then it got horrible reviews, and my sister and I couldn’t seem to find time to go and see it together. So I waited until this past Tuesday for it to come out on DVD. The boy and I were going to go to a cheap movie at Newmarket Silvercity – but the oscar cut-off is past so its back to only terrible movies in theatres. So we rented it, the first day it was available. Overall rating – I wish I had saved the $5.99 and watched an episode of Glee on DVD instead. Horrible.

The Time Traveller’s Wife. This is my review – read the book. The book is wonderful, it draws you in (granted the first 100 pages are a little dull) but past that you won’t be able to put it down. You’ll love the characters, you’ll wish you were married to Henry, or that you could time travel. If you’re like me and everyone I know that has read it, you’ll cry all through the last 100 pages even more than you did when Dumbledore died. It’s super fantastic and totally awesome. The movie… sucks.

I felt nothing for Henry or Claire – they came across as kind of cold, and like they don’t even like each other – more forced together by time and fate, rather than drawn together. The movie cuts out some HUGE parts of the book – and while I realize they can’t put in every detail the parts that were cut were those that made me really love both characters. Did it make me cry – a little, not on it’s own merrit but because it made me remember how good the book is and how terrible the movie was.

I was optimistic not for an Oscar winning performance – although that would have been nice, but for a great movie that I could watch over and over, everytime I am in the mood for a love story – or anytime I felt like rereading the book. I didn’t think those were unreasonable expectations. I guess I was expecting The Notebook.

I’ll give the movie credit for only one thing… it made me want to reread the book.

Finally a Canadian!

The boy and I went out on the town this afternoon and I officially became a Canadian. It took us 7 years for him to take me skating… but it has taken 27 years for me to celebrate this momentous occasion. Today I got my first hockey stick.

It’s not pink – slightly disappointing. But tomorrow we’re having a lesson on taping my stick and then I can only assume some sort of lesson in how to use it.

I assume I’ll be awesome since I have already shown some great potential using the boy’s stick which is left handed – I am right handed… I can only imagine what I’ll be able to do with the right equipment!

I feel so patriotic.

Hyper Parents and Coddled Kids

Watched this documentary on CBC last night. It was pretty good. Made me a little concerned about my generation – but then I decided that I’m too close to the beginning of this generation with siblings that are Gen Xers so that makes me more of a Gen X than a Gen Y and I was able to sleep soundly.

It’s about how “hover” parenting has become “blackhawk” parenting and the insane pressure that it is putting on kids. Shockingly, as these kids start entering the workforce they’ve got crazy expectations and they have never actually made a decision for themselves in their life.

The boy and I watched this together, and what he took out of it was, “Don’t raise kids in the city” – I disagree. While I was equally uncomfortable as he was watching a parent host a $4000 1st Birthday Party for their child to celebrate “this significant accomplishment” I don’t think this is a geography thing. Maybe you do see it more in major urban centres where parents are working in super competitive jobs and so raise super competitive children but I think it’s more an issue of wanting the best opportunities for your kids – on crack.

What the show left me most curious about is how we got ourselves into this social experiment. My parents read to me every night – they did it to try and instill a love of reading (check) and I’m sure to make me well prepared for school – which would ultimately set me up to be successful in the education system (check). But I think there’s a difference between reading to your kids at night, and signing up your embryo for super private $1200/month preschool. How did that happen?!

When did they drink the kool-aid? If they didn’t have “blackhawk” parents and they turned out to be successful adults – what makes them think their kids will be duds unless they are scheduled to death and “Mommy makes all the decisions?”

I don’t have kids so I guess I can only comment from the outside – and maybe I’ll see it differently when I do, although at this point I really hope not. And I really hope I’m never considering putting a tracking chip under my child’s skin to know where they are at all times.

Maybe all of the Mommy Blogs that are out there and the community of support that is developing for parents that don’t want to, or financially can’t overschedule and overpraise their kids will take some of the pressure off parents to realize “everyone” isn’t on board with this. Maybe blogging will save the next generation.

Or maybe the whole thing is just the older generation saying “these kids and parents today are crazy – back in my day we walked 10 miles to school, uphill, both ways, in 6 feet of snow” – never heard that before!

You can watch the whole show on CBC’s Website – Hyper Parents and Coddled Kids

Book Review

So I’ve fallen a little off track with the resolutions. But what can I say… it’s February! But I do want to share a couple of books I’ve read recently.

So without further adieu

Half the Sky – Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl Wudunn

I actually finished this book just after the new year, and meant to do a full review on here. Good intentions – and then all of a sudden February!

So I’ll be briefer than I was planning, likely much to my reader’s delight!

Thesis: Emancipation of women around the world will be the social injustice that is addressed in the 21st Century. In the same way that abolition of slavery was the social battle of the 19th Century and the Civil Rights movement was the battle of the 20th Century. Women are up, it’s our turn.

The book is divided into different injustices that are affecting the quality of life for women, including Human Trafficking, lack of education, lack of control over money etc etc… Each section has a personal story of tragedy, then some talk about a grassroots non-profit and often how education has a tremendous effect on combating whatever the issue is, and then ends with a happy feeling of how the original woman discussed has overcome her tragedy.

Even though this book took me a long time to get through I still really loved it. It left me with suggestions of how I can make the world a better place with simple steps. It left me with a renewed commitment to my Masters focus, which was self-esteem education for girls. But not unlike many of the other books I’ve read on this topic – it makes me wish I lived/worked in New York City. All of the non-profits that are discussed are American, and the headquarters for the large “making the world a better place” organizations are in New York. What are you doing Canada? I can’t seem to figure that out.

Basically, the book gives anyone that reads it a huge eye opener as to what too many people in the world live with everyday. It will leave you feeling encouraged to do something about it, and it tells you specifically what you CAN do to make a difference in the life of a girl or woman today.

Thumbs up.

Book 2:

Mudbound – Hillary Jordan

This one is fiction. It’s about two families one white, one black living on a farm in Mississippi just after WWII. The boy hasn’t read this yet – so I won’t give too much detail, but I wanted to mention it because my mom found it for me in Florida. This is one of the great things about going to book stores in the US. While I love Indigo, and I love that Canadian authors are featured so prominently, it is nice to be exposed to new authors and new books.

Just read it – cuz I said so.