And now for something a little different

Very rarely do I post a blog related to my work, because that is SO NOT what this blog is about and could be considered a conflict of interest, but I have been thinking lately about volunteering and how so many people (of all ages) do not do it and yet complain like crazy when they can’t get work because they have no relevant or recent experience. 

Now I am not talking about my client’s because that would be a huge breach of trust, I am talking more about the young people I know personally – outside of work who are required to get volunteer hours in to complete high school and who don’t put any kind of thought into it – or worse yet expect their parents to tell them where to volunteer and get them to arrange everything.  How in the world are these children supposed to take care of themselves and fend for themselves, if they can’t possibly think outside the box and volunteer to build skills for change?  

Surprisingly THIS makes my blood boil.  As an employment case worker I am well aware of the stats of high school grads getting jobs (it sucks – big time) and those that have put in an effort to volunteer regularly, not just the required 40 hours have a MUCH higher percentage of finding stable, lasting work. 

Who should be at blame here?  The kids?  The parents?  The school?  Everyone wants to blame the schools – it’s always the government’s fault, parents have no responsibility right?  WRONG!  A parent’s only job in life is to prepare their children to survive on their own, if they fail at that – they have failed as parents, at least in my humble opinion.  Schools, play their role – believe me!  However, they only have your kids for 5-8 hours a day and usually they are running around trying to make sure the kids have been successful with the education piece they will require to get a job in the future. 

Why would a company care about someone who volunteers????

There are no dumb questions here (well maybe), but I’ll answer anyway…

Volunteering gives you skills you just can’t get from sitting at home playing video games, swimming at the beach or chilling with your friends!  Skills such as leadership, problem solving, conflict resolution, communication, punctuality, adaptability, time-management and team work.  These are just a few of the skills and qualifications MANY high-quality employers are not only looking for on the resume, but desire in an ideal candidate. And they want demonstrated experience here people, not just a statement on the resume. 

I was on LinkedIn the other day looking through different people s LinkedIn pages (always creeping) and almost all of the PROFESSIONALS had one things in common on their page – they had volunteering listed.  They may not volunteer now, many of these people, like me, are in their 30’s and 40’s and have full-time jobs, families and other responsibilities, but they did volunteer for hundreds of hours, many years and for countless non-profit organizations.  

I am asking, begging, pleading with you to not forget those that need our help.  Volunteer, get involved, and help out where it’s needed.  Your resume and your career will thank you – trust me!

XOXO Nikilee

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2012 in review

Today is my last day of work for 2012 – it is also the last day I will probably blog for 2012 because I start Christmas Vacation and my calendar is filled with family, friends and laser eye surgery.  I mean I could try blogging blind for the day I have my surgery – but that could be incriminating!

As I’m reflecting over this year and as much as the last few months have been emotionally trying both professionally and personally, I am glad this year happened.  I started this year thinking I would never be able to move past my relationship from GBF.  One wedding in the DR a month later and I was quickly falling head over heels with someone else and feeling completely released from my relationships from years past. 

Falling in love is such an amazing feeling and I have to admit I am in love with falling in love, but none of the guys I had dated in between GBF and MiMo could get me to feel anything further than friendship and admiration.  MiMo changed that and as much as it hurts that we didn’t work out, he did change my life – and my year!  So 2012 is over and I am hopeful that with the new year comes new opportunities to meet people.

I have spent some time with amazing friends and family!  Between the DR trip with K and family, Zumba with my sister-in-law and my NK nights, I couldn’t have asked for a more fulfilled year in the friendship department.  I have also become extremely close to my gf at work A and have spent plenty of hours crying on her shoulder and laughing along with her at numerous activities throughout the year.

Work has been – well work.  I truly am blessed because I LOVE my job, I love working for the City I love, serving clients who need my help and seeing them reach goals set.  There have been times where I wanted to pull my hair out and kick and scream, but that had nothing to do with my job or the clients – that was an internal struggle and I have adjusted to that and moved on fairly unscathed.   I look forward to meeting new clients in 2013 and being given new opportunities to prove my worth in this field!

Finally, on a family note – my dad went through the whole year with no major catastrophes.  His heart behaved, the diabetes didn’t give him any more trouble then usual and I was able to get through all of 2012 without constant worry for him.  My father is my world (as I think most people know) and having him in it is my number 1 priority.  

I also have been able to work – lightly – on a new relationship with my mother.  There were a lot of years of hurt there to make up for, but since her husband passed away in March 2012 (may he R.I.P) I feel like I have my mom back.  We may have lost years as mother/daughter, but maybe we gain years as friends – as equals.  As partners in crime.  I look forward to our Vegas trip with my aunt G in April 2013.  Life with my parents is looking up.  I have not said that in YEARS!

My wish for my readers, friends and family for 2013 is for you all to have your greatest wish come true.  I hope you are able to find (or stay in) love, health and happiness.

XOXO Nikilee

The three types of men – from my limited, female perspective

I have heard it said that women are complicated, men – simple.  This may or may not be true.  I personally find men to be incredibly complicated to figure out at times because they are SO secretive, but I have determined that men fall into one of three categories: the financial/work man, the loving sports/women man and the gaming/computer man.  Now I believe all men, like all people, are plaid.  They enter in and out of all three categories depending on who they are with, whom they are talking to and what kind of day they have had.  However I generally feel – looking at the men in my life that they fall into one category that really defines them. 

The financial/work type:     I think everyone know this man.  He talks about how much money he has, how hard he works, he is constantly replying to emails on his smart phone and he is – in a sense – over worked.  Sushi boyfriend kinda falls into this category – only in the sense that he works – all the time.  He works all day and then he works evenings doing another job.  He talks about his projects he’s working on and he is constantly looking for new projects to hang on to.  I have to tell him over and over again – slow down, relax, enjoy your life.  But what I didn’t know was – the financial/worker type are enjoying their lives – they enjoy work *ewwww*.  I know quite a few men who fall into this category – because I just work to make money and while yes I do enjoy my job, I don’t want to work more than I already do – I doubt I could stand being with this type of man for long.  I have dated a man like this in the past and all we fought about – his working so many hours, not relaxing, not spending time together.  Nope – while this man has many amazing qualities to be admired, he can only be truly successful if he has a great work/life balance.  Sushi boyfriend has found a woman whom enjoys his extra curricular activities and she is AMAZING so it all works out!  He has created his own blance that works for him!

The loving sports/women man:  This man loves sports – like really loves sports – to play to watch and especially to talk about!  He is probably playing some kind of sport all year-long and he also probably watches a sport every night and on Friday night pub crawls with the guys (cause this guy also loves going to the bar with his boys) they watch a sport and then analyze it for the rest of the night.  They know stats, players, positions and numbers.  I kinda love this type.  He’s a mans man.  Athletes are hot in my opinion.  However, this type of man is also surrounded by beautiful women.  The waitresses at the bar, the women who love to watch games and when these types of men get together – they all of a sudden turn into a different person.  They talk about women like objects, they bash and ogle different types of women and bitch about the current woman/women in their lives.  Now, I don’t want to be burned on my blog, but really – this happens.  As a “guys girl” I have been to the pub where this happens and guys are not afraid of talking trash in front of a woman they don’t think of in a sexual nature.  I was just the friend for these men, so the bashing went on no matter how much mouth dropping I did and no matter how much swatting I threw at them.  This is when my love for an athlete turns sour.  Unfortunately, they tend to come hand in hand.  I have LOTS of guy friends that fall into this category.  And almost every man I know slips into this category on a regular basis *even when it’s not their main choice*. 

The gaming/computer man: AKA the nerd:  This man I have met before with old roommates, however because they were roommates and not men I wanted to date, I never analysed them before.  These men play games, video games, computer games, card games all the time.  They love computers and systems and probably own most if not all of the systems to have come out in the past 10-15 years.  They have an amazing computer with an upgraded hard drive and processor and can talk World of Warcraft and Super Mario Brothers all in one breath.  They like comics and comedy shows like Big Bang Theory and are very laid back and easy-going.  When a group of them converge together they talk games.  They throw out names and numbers that no other person who is not a gamer would EVER understand and they don’t understand why people – especially other men – wouldn’t want to be just like them.  Now my old roommates were this type of men.  They probably still are.  I haven’t met one since. 

 Until I met Newbie.  Newbie is a gamer.  At first I was worried – I mean I am NOT a gamer at all.  I own a Gamecube for my nieces and nephew to play when they visit – hence a bribe – but overall I could care less about games and the differences between Play Station and X-Box.  However, it has become quite amazing to see this handsome, intelligent man talk with his friends about all the HoN characters and strategies and when I thought about it – I realized, he is talking with men about games, he is not flirting with women at the bar, he is not drunk somewhere acting like a fool and because he still dips into the sports category often I think I have the best of both worlds!  Now I doubt I will EVER want to play X-Box or Play Station on my own, but maybe I will let him teach me a thing or two… 😉  I mean the couple that plays together stays together right?!

I know men and women alike are going to bash this blog – I am stereotyping and I hate stereotyping, but hence the title of this blog ” from my limited, female perspective”.  It’s okay if I am wrong, I am sure I am, but this is my blog and my perspective!  🙂  If I wrote from your perspective then it wouldn’t really by my blog would it?! 

XOXO Nikilee

I think I need a mental vacation

I know I cannot afford an actual one (and neither can anyone else who I’d wanna take with me), but a mental vacation is  high on the top of my list of needs right now.  Just a couple of days where I can lie in bed, sleep, read, answer to no one – of course I’d want newbie there, but if he was getting bored or loud, well he’d have to go play outside because this is my mental vacation and on this vacation there is no loudness, no room for boredom!  Now all I need is my bsmt apartment and a new bed (since my is broken, thank you K and GBF for not putting it together properly!) and my mental vacation can begin!

Biker dude passed away Friday March 30th at 4:10 pm.  I spent the next week back and forth between home in Toronto and my mom’s home in Bobcaygeon, ON.  An almost two-hour drive.  Taking care of two parents who both need you and who live far apart is BRUTAL.  I needed to support my mother, she has lost her true love, a love that did everything for her.  While I may not have gotten along with Biker dude, she loved him and relied on him for everything.  Thankfully she has an amazing sister who also split her time between Toronto and Bobcaygeon to offer support and a shoulder to cry on.  In time I know my mom will be okay, and I will be grateful if/when she moves back to the city so I can be there for her and my father in a much more comforting environment. 

Without airing too much family laundry I have been fighting with my brother a lot lately – and T has gotten involved at times as well.  I know, I know, I ALWAYS fight with my brother – we are two peas from the same pod, but you would never know it!  We are the exact opposite in every way possible.  But we have both crossed lines now and who knows if or when those lines will be erased.  Fighting with T is exhausting though because she is also my bff.  You can’t fight with your bff without wanting to punch a wall just so you cause yourself some physical pain to take away the emotional pain.  Things between us are okay now, not the same, but we love each other and they will be fine, but I’ll be grateful when it’s all over with.  All this fighting isn’t good for any of us – at least some of us have healthy ways of dealing with it – you know communication…

My grandmother’s house is in the process of being cleaned out and fixed up to sell!  Hence the reason for the fighting between me and my brother.  It’s a huge task as my grandmother was something of a hoarder.  No matter how many hoarding shows I watch, or how many Pawn Star shows I see regularly, I have no idea whats’ worth any money or value and whats not.  I literally picked up her entire jewelry box and brought it home hoping I can find someone who can appraise it. I mean my grandma owned a lot of junk jewels – I can tell some of it is dollar store quality because I probably bought it for her when I was young.  However some of it looks nice, or old, or expensive…so who knows?!  We will see.  I miss my grandma, but holding onto that house is not allowing me to let go…and I need to.  I feel like to much of a disappointment to her in so many ways and I need to accept what is, what was and go on with my life being the best me I can be.  I went to visit her grave last weekend over Easter.  I dropped off newbie at home and went across the street to the cemetery to say hello.  I was at first grateful I found it because I have never gone alone.  Secondly I was grateful I went because I let out a few tears, said hello, apologized for the two years of lies about me and GBF being together and told her about Newbie.  I believe she is watching over me, protecting me, loving me still.  I want her to know who newbie is and how important he is to me, I am sure she would like him, approve of him because of how happy I have been since dating him (once she got over me not being with GBF, who in her eyes could do no wrong).   

Work has been busy – I mean it usually is, but with PAYE and the workshops and the critiques and the community outreach, I am tired.  It doesn’t help I was off for 11 days for my mom and the pile of email notifications built up to well over 100.  I need to re-organize myself.  Get my thoughts straight, figure out who is on first and who the heck is on second!!  Don’t understand?  That’s okay, I do.  I will figure it out probably just in time for my two weeks of being ill and off for the surgery!

I finally have had some resolution for my uhhh…”lower back problems”…I am having surgery again.  It will be on May 9th.  Newbie has taken a couple of days off to be with me during surgery and to stay with me afterwards.  Honestly, if it wasn’t for newbie, I have no idea where I would be right now – going mental probably.  he has held my hand through everything.  He is my light, my happiness and the fact that he has been so supportive during all this craziness just shows his character – he is a man with so much love to give and I am grateful he has chosen to give it to me! 

XOXO Nikilee

 

Hump day – a long freaking day

So yesterday morning started off stressful as usual.  I needed to decide which way to vote in the CUPE v. City ratification deal.  I knew how I wanted to vote – but  would I have the guts to do so??  Not necessarily.  Sometimes what is right for one isn’t right for the collective, but I did vote (its private people, I will not tell you how I voted).  I took some ladies at lunch and we drove over to the Delta and I slipped my ballot in the box knowing that no matter what happens – we as a local, lose and it’s a shame that the city and the union couldn’t/wouldn’t be more co-operative. 

Yesterday also started with a text from newbie about some trouble I have caused by blogging.  Newbie is amazing and I don’t want to cause him any stress or trouble – so I had to deal with the issue ASAP.  I hope it is dealt with and there will be no more issues. 

I had a workshop to complete on Second Career Strategies (not my favourite workshop, but I had two clients show up that were pretty awesome) and then a whole lot of notes to write, paper work to continue etc etc.  All the while hearing tid bits and snippets of people talking strike.  Nothing like the fear of having no money for a very long time causing your shoulders to rise and your eyes to burn with tears.  I know it sounds bad and possibly selfish and snobby, but I have worked for 16 years – I have never not had money.  Even though I have debt – I still have money to do what I want when I want to.  I was so GLAD at 4:30 I was getting to go pick up my favourite three-year-old lady at daycare for some Ms. J and Nikilee time!  Ms. J and I coloured, ate cookies, watched Treehouse and sang along to Bob and Lolo (YouTube Raindrop pop and Cindy Seahorse my favourites).  Spending time with Ms. J always makes me smile – you should see my smile when Ms. J and newbie are in the same room, my cheeks hurt from smiling so much!

After that, I had to meet my sushi boyfriend and the realtor at my nanas house so they could walk around and talk business.  I sat on the chair miserable because my heart misses my Nana so much.  I know we have to sell the house, and honestly I want it sold because I feel like I can’t say goodbye to her until it’s really gone, but being there, seeing it torn apart from my family being there on the weekend was gut wrenching.  I can’t do it.  I can’t go through her things.  I can’t say goodbye like that.  I took a few things I wanted, left the rest because it was just to hard.  I did get my chair though.  Sushi boyfriend and newbie brought it into my house and all I wanted was to sit in it and rock for a bit – but there will be a time and a place for that. 

After driving newbie back to his place, I curled up and bed, called him to say goodnight and passed out cold.  I was so tired, I didn’t even stay up to hear about the vote.  I knew my co-workers would Facebook and bbm me to let me know.

After snoozing three times this morning and realizing I still had to shower, I grabbed my phone – no strike.  Full time bargaining Unit voted yes for the ratification!  I am not on strike.  One stress down!  YAY…today will be a better day! I hope! 

Power of positive thinking…

XOXO Nikilee

Spring has Sprung – let’s vote!

Oh, I love working for the City of Toronto – a city I love!  However every three or four years, its stressful and causes me to feel anxiety.  It’s that time of year when contracts are renegotiated and my CUPE members fight for a fair(ish) contract.  The city won’t budge, the union won’t budge so we, the members are voting – today.  If after the vote the contract is signed – a lot of us get screwed, but some crazy changes.  If it’s not signed, we all could possibly be on strike, be locked out or be forced to work under different provisions.  I don’t like it – not one bit.  I figure no matter what happens today, we lose.  It’s one of the unfortunate facts of life working for a large municipality.  However, working for Social Services, I also get to help, encourage and support Torontonians on a daily basis and I love that part! 

Since it is beginning to feel a bit like Spring again (what were those single digit temperatures about??) I am thinking ahead – I need to do some major spring cleaning because by the beginning of summer I should have my new basement apartment and I want to make sure that only the essentials and the things I love go down there with me!  I will clean out the closet – both clothes and shoes and coats – coats!!!!  AHHHHH  Now lets face it, if we don’t go on said strike above, I will continue shopping and buy more stuff so really cleaning out closets is important so I can see what I need/want to fill up a pretty summer wardrobe!  I know I want some pretty summer dresses, I just am not sure where to go for them. I am not as small as I had hoped to be so I still need a store that carries a variety of clothes in a larger size – Ricki’s is great, but they don’t have a lot of casual clothes – most of my office clothes come from there.  I will figure it out – I am a shopper after all!

Speaking of being a smaller size – one of my goals of 2012 was to lose another 25 pounds.  I still believe I can do this except now it’s more like 26.4 pounds because I have gained 1.4 pounds since January!  Are you kidding me!  grrr…it’s been a rough year emotionally so far, but I am hoping to kick my ass back on track now that the nicer weather is here and get out and start moving more often.  I also need to get back to eating my salads and fruits cause they have disappeared out of my diet for carbs – bagels and subs, and sugar – pop and fudge!    Watching Biggest Loser last night made me remember that excuses can only carry you so far.  Newbie needs to start eating better too and since baseball season will begin soon at least he’ll get some exercise, but me – I can’t play again this year due to health issues, so I have to figure something else out. 

Tonight I go to my Nana’s house to clean it out a bit.  To take some things I want, my memories, those things that are meaningful to me.  My pups chair.  The chair I sat in every time I was at my nan’s while she would cook me dinner.  The books I read while snuggled up in that chair…Crazy Cat Ladies dad is going to cover it for me in black so it matches my bsmt apartment colours (right now it’s burnt orange…LOL…).  I can’t wait to read more great books snuggled up in it – reminiscing about my Nan. 

Before this turns mushy and I start to cry – it’s been an emotional week, I am going to end by wishing you all a Happy Hump Day, please keep me in your thoughts as my fate at work is determined by 23,000 people all voting based on their own interests! 

XOXO Nikilee

Had the best night

So work has been crazy busy with workshops, initiatives, coverages etc.  But last night after work, I got to see two of my favourite people!

When buddy left TESS for a different city division he needed someone to pick up his beautiful 3-year-old daughter Ms. J from daycare.  Of course I offered because I love spending time with her!  Last night was my first pick up.  I was worried that she would freak out because I am not her daddy and she IS daddy’s girl and we were breaking routine.  However there was NO need to be worried at all…as soon as I rounded the corner of her daycare she screamed my name and jumped in my arms!  NIIICOOOOOOOOLE!  I love it!  I gave her a million kisses and whisked her away.  When I got her home (after hearing all about her day and her time at the Riverdale Zoo on the weekend) her dad wasn’t home yet so I took her to Mr Wongs convenience Store for a popsicle.  We watched some Bob and Lolo music on YouTube and then daddy came home.  She was so happy and buddy was relieved he did not have to make the drive up north to pick up Ms. J.  Everyone was happy.

Then I had dinner at Makimono with Shaun!  I have not seen Shaun in 17 years.  Since our Grade 8 Graduation.  Now, other than a much more toned physique and a shorter hair cut – he looks exactly the same.  We talked for almost two hours straight about everything that has happened to us in the past 17 years.  He has some amazing words of wisdom for me and made me believe everything would work out to His plan (Gods, not Shauns).  It’s so funny hanging out with someone who has spent the past ten years living in the States (Kansas primarily) because things like working a debit card seemed so foreign to him.  It made me smile.  I hope it doesnt’ take another 17 years to hang out with him! 

The only person I didn’t see last night was the one person who I so desperately need to see, but our schedules have been off lately.  I will see him Friday for a little bit – I cannot wait!  And then we are going to Niagara Falls on Sunday for some alone time and to have some fun!!!  Hopefully he knows my heart is with him 😉

XOXO Nikilee