Thursday, 19 July 2012

Day 49 - If I were Prime Minister for a Day, I would...

Today's prompt was submitted by me, so I figured I should make a point of posting this one :)

The prompt, verbatim, was "If you were President or Prime Minister for a day, what law would you change?"

...and my first response is "only one??"  There's a lot I would want to change, but mostly I would want to re-evaluate the whole social assistance area.

For most of my childhood/teenage years, my family lived on a fixed income due to my father's illness.  My mom was his primary caregiver, and because of the nature of his disability/pension, if she (or any of us kids) worked outside of the home and made over x amount a month (I think it was in the neighbourhood of $200), over half of it would be garnished.  So basically she either didn't work at all or had to find a job that made enough money that we didn't need social assistance at all.  And Dad's medication cost A LOT of money.  In essence, we were screwed.

It seems that the way that social assistance is set up, once you need it and are on it, you can't get out.  When I was old enough to have a full-time job, I pretty much had to move out of my parent's house and find somewhere else to live so they didn't get penalized because I was working.

What really got our goat as well, was that we were scrutinized all the time, but knew of people on welfare who got away with (it seemed) anything.  (To clarify, we weren't on welfare, we were on disability.  But even with that there were problems.  Canada Pension Plan gives you a fixed amount, based on how long you worked (there might be other factors in place; I haven't done any current research).  ODSP (Provincial Disability) gives a top-up (kind-of) which takes into account how many kids you have, etc.  The only problem is that if CPP gives you extra money (like a winter clothing allowance for kids.  I'm pretty sure one can clothe a child for the winter on $200 (being frugal about it), but how do you clothe 5 children for the winter on $200????), ODSP says, "Oh, you're getting extra money from there, so we won't give you as much this month")

There's no way to save money to send your kids to college, try and put a down-payment on a home, get a decent (5 years old or newer) car to drive.

This issue is the main reason I got into Social Service Work.  I know that it needs to change, but I don't know how to start.  I guess the best I can do is keep researching issues, bringing them to others' attention, and go from there...

My apologies for this post turning into a bit of a rant.  This is definitely a topic that can gets me worked up, so that I have difficulty approaching it objectively.

Say that you're a leader for a day; what would you change??

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Day 43 - Photos of me; Then and Now

A Picture Post!

I couldn't find any decent photos from my kid days that I haven't already used, so here are some from the last few years...

Around 22 years old, with my favourite soundboard ever!!

During my college days, at the ripe old age of 26 :)

Our wedding day, December 2010

April, 2012.  Introducing my Sweet Pea to her Gammy's horse.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Day 42 - Talk about a favourite vacation you have taken

A Picture Post!

My most favourite vacation was probably my honeymoon :)
Long story short, having a wedding wasn't going to work, so we decided to elope, and were going to do so in Alberta, then ended up eloping in Ontario (one word: paperwork), but still had the trip booked, so we turned it into our honeymoon!

We went to a chalet in Canmore, Alberta.  It was absolutely gorgeous!!!

For the first three days, we hardly stepped foot outside of our chalet.  We both worked 50-hour weeks and it felt absolutely wonderful to sleep and take bubble baths in the jacuzzi and lounge in front of the electric fireplace!

The week we were there, they were experiencing a chinook, so we were comfortable in layers and hoodies! (And back home, there was a cold snap all week)

This is what we got to see out of our chalet window every morning...*wistful sigh*

We went to Banff National Park for a day and took a gondola up Sulphur Mountain.

My hubby doesn't like heights that much...

We walked across a part of the mountain to a weather station that was built in 1902!

The inside was set up as it had been when the station was manned, way way back in the day.
I love historical stuff like this!!

In the parking lot we came across a pretty cool vehicle; it's used for driving over glaciers and stuff.
(Size reference: I'm 5'2" in my boots)

 This could totally fit in the backyard of my triplex, right??

Went to a natural hot springs as well; it felt amazing!

I'm in love with the mountains...I definitely want to go back someday...

So how about you? Tell me about your favourite vacation!

Friday, 6 July 2012

Day 36 - What is a Holiday Tradition you have in your family?

We never were big ones for traditional things growing up, except for observing Sinterklaas (Dutch, December 6) and making taai-taai (trans. "tough-tough"; a Dutch honey cake with anise) and pepernoten (pepper nuts; a hard little cookie with a story).

The past few years we've simply tried to get together at Thanksgiving and/or Christmas, which is no mean feat with five siblings, their spouses and kids, plus one or more parental units :)  We usually do Secret Santa between the siblings/spouses, so I guess that could be a tradition!

This is my Sweet Pea's first year of holidays, so we'll see what things end up becoming a tradition in our own little family.  I'm excited!

What traditions did you start when your kids were little?