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Manderz Musings

Manderz Musings


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Do you think you're old enough to be engaged?!? Clearly my punctuation belies my POV, but... really, I'm interested in knowing more.

I think one important thing to know about me that plays a huge role is that I've always been mature for my age. It's something I grew up hearing from parents, teachers, therapists, etc. Granted, maturity doesn't equal experience, but it certainly affects the mind set.

I recognize that a marriage takes work. That it won't always be easy, and that we will fight. We're working our way out of a rough patch right now. That's the key though, "we". There is no rush for us to get married. Being engaged really is a stage in the relationship all on its own. The reality starts to sink in a bit more. For me, divorce is not an option. When we get married, it is a lifetime commitment. No matter what life throws our way.

Deep inside, I know this is the man I want to spend my life with. Looking ahead, he is a part of everything I see. We have woven our lives and goals together, and it just works. There is no pretending, we can act natural around each other. And trust me, it takes a special man to fully accept some of the things I do/say. My feelings for him are unlike anything I have ever felt for anyone.

At the end of the day, age is nothing more than a number. In spite of the 5 years between us, we are on the same page. I know that other people disagree, and I won't tell anyone they shouldn't be concerned - but ultimately this is mine and Jason's life.

Ask me anything

Saturday, January 2, 2010


I'm being a pain, I know.  I bought a domain, so my blog is moving to

If you're on the site, it should redirect automatically.

If you're following the feed, please update it to:

Sorry for the hassle!!

Friday, January 1, 2010

In Review...or A Bit of History

I've seen many other bloggers reviewing the past decade.  Just the other day, I was talking with a friend about how this is the first decade I'll actually completely remember.  As I sit here, alone (by choice), on New Years Eve, I think it is the perfect time to reminisce.  To review the lessons learned.  To see how much I've changed.  To let go of the past, and embrace the new year.

I entered the new decade (and millennium) 11 years old, and loving grade 6.  It was a great year of school - I had my all-time favourite teacher and I was the tallest student in the school.  My family moved into a new house.  In soccer, I was dipping my feet into being a goalie.  I remember hitting my head on the goal post diving for the ball, and being so proud that I made the save.  Summer left me with memories of camping with my family and friends.  That fall I entered junior high and french immersion.  I met a lot of great people, struggled to learn in a new language, and surpassed many people's expectations.  Playing on the junior basketball team was fun, and I got an award for "Best Defenseman".

The most important occurrence of 2001 by far is I went on a snowboard trip with school.  I spent the entire day side-slipping down a black run since I couldn't get up the T-bar.  I fell in love.  This year brought with it my very first boyfriend.  It was a month filled with holding hands, hugs and long phone conversations.  The relationship ended because I wouldn't kiss him.  I played on the school badminton team and still loved being a soccer goalie.  That fall I made the school senior volleyball team and junior basketball team.  My Grade 8 homeroom teacher barely spoke English, so my French improved drastically.  I started my first job at the public library shelving books in December.

There was a teacher strike early in the year, so we had about a month off of school.  I had my first kiss, and there was absolutely nothing romantic about it.  The boy does not remember this at all now.  An acquaintance from my gym class started to work at the library.  She became my best friend.  This year Jill taught me all about fencing, British humour and how to walk extremely quickly.  The outdoor soccer season was a great one.  I loved being a goalie, and was showing my talent (if I do say so myself).  Grade 9 started that fall; it was a year of experimentation with clothes, hair, make-up and everything else that went with being "popular".  I really dislike the person I allowed myself to become this year.  In the fall I played in a recreational volleyball league and had one of the most enjoyable sport seasons ever.  I also made the senior basketball team, and worked my butt into fine shape.

This was the end of junior high.  In shop class I discovered drafting, and made a safety video where we had a near-disastrous accident while filming.  It was a blast, and I still have the video.  I went to Grade 9 Grad with my friend Malyssa as a date.  We became really close that summer, and when high school started in the fall I would walk over to her house at 6:30am so that I could get ready at her house.  I made the decision to quit soccer and try lacrosse instead.    That summer I did a volleyball bootcamp, and discovered I wasn't as talented as I believed.  Grade 10 brought lots of new people into my life.  In the winter I joined a freestyle snowboard club, and had a blast falling and learning.

I turned 16.  I'm pretty sure Jill took me to M.A.C. for my first make-over, then we went back to her house for a sleepover.  The summer was crazy.  Jill and I went to the gym 3 times a week, and got super in-shape and toned.  We totally ruled the library.  I got a summer job at Little Caesars.  At the end of summer, I got a job Chapters and quit the library.  In hind-sight, I should've just stayed.  I transferred to a new high school for Grade 11.  It was a self-study school, and I wanted to take extra courses.  It meant dropping out of french immersion.  I made the senior volleyball team, and then quit a month later when I never got played.  Self-study was a huge fail on my part, but I met Steve who is one of the few people from high school I still see on a regular basis.  That Christmas, my mom told the manager at Chapters I was quitting.  This amuses me now.  I joined a new snowboard club, Riders on Board, and met some awesome new boarders.

I transferred back to my original high school for second semester.  My motivation towards school began to wane, and my grades slowly dipped.  A couple weeks after my 17th birthday I got my driver's license.  My parents let me drive myself to work.  I was working back at the library, and was one of the "senior" pages.  I began to lose interest in lacrosse, but still loved snowboarding.  Grade 12 involved a lot of relationship drama.  I got into a semi-serious relationship with a boy, and developed a friendship with Kaylee on the bus rides home.  My snowboarding "career" took a leap forward as I got Karine as a coach.  She really helped push my skills to the next level.

I turned 18, and got 5th place out of 50 girls in a snowboard competition the next day.  My first (and only) finalist finish and my parents were watching.  The boy kissed another girl, broke up with me, and then cried for a week until I took him back.  We went to grad together, and while it wasn't a bad experience, I definitely wish I'd made some different choices.  I graduated with Honours.  Barely.  Summer came, I got a job at Claire's and at another library.  I finally broke it off with the boy.  My parents found a car for me after 10 months of searching.  A girl from work took me to the club for the first time, and I was a nervous nerd.  Some friends introduced me to a "bad boy".  I was hooked.  It was a rollercoaster ride, and no one else liked him.  I got multiple piercings and two tattoos this year.

The 2006-2007 snowboard season was THE best.  I was riding with an awesome group of girls.  We pushed each other, and laughed, and were just all-around stoked on shredding.  I sent an audition-video in for Canada's Next Top Model.  The video is here, and is too hilarious (and embarrassing) not to watch.  I got a call-back, and spent 10 minutes talking to a producer and model agent in a bikini and heels while being filmed.  Then I had to strut my stuff.  I didn't make it on the show, but I had a blast.  My friend Kim named my car Putt-Putt.  I got my "Live.Laugh.Love" tattoo at the end of summer.  My mom told me to take up scrapbooking instead of getting inked.  That Fall I went to the University of Calgary, and took a random mix of classes.  The goal was to get a Bachelor of Communication and Culture with a minor in Architectural Studies then go on to get a Masters of Architecture.  I lost motivation, and dropped out of 3 of 5 classes.  At this time, I decided to try out Lavalife.  I met Jason.

Obviously, I did not continue with University.  I worked a few different temp jobs, then went back to the library to work at the check-out desk.  My snowboarding was going quite well, my coaches thought I should try competing at the national level and my club offered me the chance to try for a bursary.  I decided I wasn't committed enough to the sport, and my interest declined rapidly after that.  Story of my life: giving up when it stops being easy and starts taking effort.  I went to San Diego with Jason and another couple that summer.  My first trip outside of Canada.  Surfing was amazing.  We went to Disneyland, and I was a grumpy-pants the entire day.  I get like that when I don't get enough sleep.  In the fall, Jason got a job in Fort McMurray.  I went back to school, SAIT, and took Architectural Technologies.  I enjoyed my classes, but decided it's not what I wanted to do as a career.  I slacked off, and decided to move up to Fort McMurray.  Jason came home for Christmas, I packed my car, and we took off.  I arrived on December 28th.

I got a job as a receptionist at a dental clinic, and Jason and I moved into a 2-bedroom basement suite.  I became friends with the girls at work, and some people from Jason's work.  Life in Fort McMurray was enjoyable.  We started house hunting, and finally found something we liked in our price range.  April 1st we got possession and had a pizza party on the living room carpet.  Jason proposed.  We ripped out the carpet and linoleum, and Jason put in bamboo hardwood.  Both our parents came to visit during the summer.  On August 1st we adopoted Dexter and Gizmo from the SPCA.  In September, I started evening courses in a Business Administration and Accounting program.  Working at the dental office became too stressful, and I got a new reception job.  Somewhere during all of this I became depressed.  I finished the school year with amazing marks, and came up with a plan to become happy again.

What was your favourite memory from the past decade?

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Thoughts for Brandy

I firmly believe in the power of a thought.  And right now, there's a fellow blogger that could really use a thought.  Do you have one or two to spare?

My name is brandy. And I have a blog.

And a plea.

I use my blog to showcase the crazy I meet everyday, share the stories of the kids I teach and document my love for tequila, dairy products and the abdominal muscles of Ryan Reynolds. Rarely do I talk about personal issues on my blog- as personal as the dude that I adore (who I actually met through my blog- single ladies, let that be a very good reason to blog, the possibility of meeting someone as wonderful as my man), but I need your help. And it involves my dude.

He's a guy who made math comics for my class, so they would love learning about addition. He's the kinda guy who sends my friends gift cards when they are having hard times, who remembers every story I ever told him, who was the first person I celebrated with when I got a teaching job. He's the guy who sent flowers to me at school- dozens of my favourite pink roses just because he loves me. He's a guy who has spent a year patiently explaining (and re-explaining) everything there is to know about football during the important games when silence is preferred. He's made me word puzzles and comics and stayed up late playing Scrabble with me (even though I beat him almost every time). He's listened to me cry about school and family and jobs. He is everything I never knew I needed and everything I always knew I wanted.

The holidays have hit us hard. He's recently been told he may have something called multiple myeloma- an incurable cancer, that gives a person an average of five years of continued life. Though this news has came as a shock, he continues to be exactly who has always been- spending his time worrying about me, rather than worrying about himself. He's the most selfless individual I know- (he stayed late on Christmas Eve to work, so his co-workers could leave early) and a post like this would never be something that he would promote or encourage but when I'm overwhelmed and feeling helpless, the blogging community has always given me tremendous support and comfort, two things I desperately need at this time.

As I write this, the future is uncertain and we aren't sure what's happening. He'll need to see an oncologist soon, to verify what's going on in his body. My hope is that everyone who reads this think positive thoughts and if you are a person who prays, could you add him to your list? (You can refer to him as 'brandy's hot awesome dude'). If you don't pray, please keep him in your heart.This cancer is only a possibility and I believe that the prayers and positive thoughts of people can make sure it never becomes a reality.

I want to give a big thank you to the blog owner who scraped their original blog plans and graciously put this up. My goal is to get as many people as possible to see and read this post. If you are reading this and want to help, copy and paste my plea into your blog or send a link through twitter, so more people can keep him in their thoughts. I would be so very grateful (even more grateful than I am to my friend who first showed me the picture of Ryan Reynolds on the cover of Entertainment Weekly. If you haven't seen it, google it. You. Are. Welcome).

I realize this all sounds dramatic, a Lifetime movie in the making- but this is life. Right now. And I'm throwing away any hint of ego and am humbly asking for you to pray or think kind thoughts. If you are able to pass this on, thank you and if you know anything regarding MM- please email me (my email is on my blog). This isn't a call for sympathy or a plea for pity. It's just one girl hoping you can think positive thoughts for the person she adores. If my current heartache provides you with anything, let it be with the reminder that life is short, love is unbending and no one knows what could happen next. Maybe it is silly, but I really do believe that positive thoughts can make a huge difference. Thank you for reading this and if you haven't already? Please tell someone you love them today.

I did.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas, Life and Adorableness

I found Christmas to be rather depressing this year.  The blame is squarely on my shoulders, which I fully accept.  My expectations were high - which I failed to admit to myself, and verbalize to Jason.  How I dealt with it was pitiful - I stayed up until 4 am Christmas Eve (err, Christmas Day) reading (aka escaping my drab thoughts).  Then I slept from about 12 pm to 6 pm on Christmas.  Avoidance?  Very much so.  Boxing Day I slept in, and procrastinated cleaning the house until the last minute.  But dinner turned out to be quite enjoyable, and I forgot to be grouchy.

The New Year is going to be interesting.  I've got a lot of plans, and I'm ready to put them into motion.  Some plans have fallen through already (ie. completing my 101 Goals in 1,001 Days list).  Others are looking very promising.  All of my plans revolve around dumping this increasingly depressed aura I've been carrying around lately.  I'm ready to be the overly optimistic, easily amused, energetic person I once was.  Any and all support from you is going to be greatly appreciated.

I have to admit, I completely understand why everyone calls it a 'Crackberry'.  My Blackberry goes with me everywhere.  Switching from the Pearl Flip to the Tour was well worth the additional price.  The full QWERTY keyboard really makes all the difference to me.  I don't need a planner or notebook in my purse anymore, and my camera is only pulled out for special occasions now.  My 'berry just emits convenience; I use it more than the computer for many tasks.  Facebook.  Twitter.  E-mail.  Uploading pictures.  Writing blog posts.  Google Reader (I can't comment though, which annoys me to no end).  If they would let me do my banking from my phone, I totally would.

I would like to take a moment and be completely narcissistic.  This is a huge accomplishment for me, and therefore worth sharing.  Ready for it?  I got a GPA of 4.0 this past semester.  Straight A's.  After a semester passed a) regretting taking on 3 classes while working full-time, b) struggling with motivation, c) finally accepting that a "B" or even a "C" would still be a completely acceptable mark, d) suppressing guilt for skipping yet another class to catch up on some much-needed R+R, e) and numerous other obstacles.  I was utterly flabbergasted when I found out.  Now, I just hope all my courses will transfer to my "new school".  I'm transferring from evening classes at the local college to self-directed study through a university.  It means more flexibility with my schedule so I can be a better mother to my pups, and time to go to the gym and start yoga classes again.  Transferring also means a program that is accounting specific rather than a mix of business administration and accounting.  Perhaps not as helpful in the short-term job market, but definitely better in the long-run.

For anyone who isn't already aware the 2010 Bootlegger Finalists have been posted on 20SB, and voting has begun.  If you haven't voted yet, you should.  Because there's some awesome people nominated.  My mind is spinning with the choices.  I'm also discovering new blogs in the process.

Now,  I will leave you with some pictures of my pups.  They're just so adorable, and make my heart melt.

Just look at those puppy eyes

He just wanted to get close

Nothing like a down dog and yawn - simultaneously

Gizmo wedged himself in, and then wouldn't move

Loving the treadmill

Learning to co-operate with my constant picture-taking

Curled up with Mom

He does have a habit of finding tiny spaces

Making my heart melt all over again
(PS Don't you just love my pj pants?)