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Off day

Just struggling and dragging a bit today. Bit more than usual. Coworker called me on it today at lunch. I guess when you have that many off days. They aren't off days..

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National Night



This is friggin' hilarious. Reminds me of the "I am Canadian" commercial years ago...

End of an Era....

DSC_0370 by Ray Wong
DSC_0370, a photo by Ray Wong on Flickr.

Gold Star Restaurant



Last day at the restaurant. It was quite emotional. There was quite a crowd of folks that came to say good bye and thank you. From the mayor, to friends both from then and now, it was bittersweet.

DSC_0385 by Ray Wong
DSC_0385, a photo by Ray Wong on Flickr.

Last day at Gold Star Restaurant



We drove in the morning, and got things setup early. While most of us kids haven't worked in the restaurant for a number of years, having many skilled hands (albeit a bit rusty), it was great. We spent an hour or so wandering around town. Taking pictures, and reminiscing. For most of us, this might be one of the last times we'll be back. While I wish we could say we have reasons for coming back, with my parents gone, we may only visit for nostalgic reasons. more here...Collapse )

J

Remember the girl who I met at a party, and then I went to the Stampede and won that humungous angry bird for her? And then she disappeared off the earth?

Bumped into her this evening. Hopefully we can catch up.... =)

Its really funny what life presents you. I had no inkling to stay late today, as I was headed to work some more hours, but it just so happened, that we crossed paths when we did. Obviously this is a coincidence, but a fun one...

Ending...

Tomorrow morning I will be headed back to Beiseker. This will be the last time I will be connected in a larger sense. My parents have finally sold the restaurant. A few of the townsfolk want to say thank you. All four of us kids are headed back as well. Final farewells and goodbyes. Mom has wanted this to be quiet, but respectfully, I know we would get a lot of flack from friends and family who don't say much. Its pretty funny, trying to keep an open secret like that, but seeing as we don't hang out with extended family, this tends to be a lot easier...

She can't understand why that's the case....

I know I am struggling with it. There's a lot more memories that I have of that place for a long time. It was a decade of my life. Can't believe that was over a decade ago. Its the end of an era. I know personally, I don't think I will ever work in the service industry like that. Seeing my parents work 70+ hour weeks for the last 40 years, I am glad to see they are finally stopping. Hopefully, they find a new activity soon. I suspect mom will try to be more nosier with our private lives... I know she wants grand kids, but that's not going to happen (at least for me), for a long, long time......

I picked up a new Nikon SLR for the occasion. This should be pretty interesting... I'm still trying to figure things out...

Choices.... Ramblings of a Mad Man...

Been consoling a friend and her struggles with her relationship. Recently engaged, now, I've been trying to be supportive as a friend. My thoughts and opinions always come off very strong and charged, but I do try to temper them.

This is the second friend in the last few months, that I have agreed to terminate our friendship should their romantic partner not feel comfortable. Both friendships are quite significant to me for a variety of reasons, and I don't take the decisions lightly, but I think the ability to find someone to your partner is more important than a friendship.

I have a few friends that will kill me for saying this, but their happiness will always be more important than mine....

So yet again, I feel my circle of close friends continue to shrink.. Maybe, truly this is the reason why male and female friendships are destined to end at some point. I know the above scenario isn't the status-quo, but I also understand my decision to make it easier for others is equally (or more important).

My friend K asked me to her small wedding in Sept. After her and partner visited me this evening as I was working, she left me a voicemail asking me to be emceee at her wedding. I have responded, and as a small party, this should be pretty interesting. As my Chinese isn't very good, I'll need to work on this part quite a bit...

Was struggling a bit this weekend when I was trying to take time off in August to visit a friend. Not even sure I will be able to get the time off anymore. I really do need a break, and some time for reflection... I'm having a hard time keeping up. I am going to be very interested to see what transpires.

Suicide Attempt

Found out last week that my uncle was in the hospital. Very odd circumstances that never made any sense. He was found lying in a field and a teenager who walked by called the police. This was not far from his home. Then bits and pieces of the story came out. Heard something about him being dead for 22 minutes and then brought back to life. Other news about his body needing to be flushed out....

Yesterday, I went over to the hospital to pay him a visit. While a bit of a smaller guy, he seemed to be almost 50 pounds underweight. Almost wanted to cry. Of all the family members on that side of the family, he's the only one I could say I truly have respect for. I think he was tired of all the visitors, all the crying .. unsure of what to do.

As I arrived, he was finishing up with one of the psychiatrists. My uncle was candid with me, that it was a suicide attempt, and he had swallowed over 80 sleeping pills. My heart just sank. He told me how precious life was and how he didn't want us to worry, or to visit and see him in this state. I honestly think, it was grandma looking out for my uncle. Over the last six years of grandma's life, uncle was her primary caregiver. He mentioned it was these thoughts, that he missed grandma.

I walked out of the hospital, and was in shock. Working at a crisis centre, I felt even more helpless, seeing the stages. Anger, frustration, disappointment, sadness.. I still think I am in shock, and still trying to process it. I am hopeful for the future, but I can't help wonder if there is anything left that he's hiding. Hiding in plain sight... I know its something I am particular good at. To see him talk as candidly about suicide and how much he loved us, was something I've never seen from him before, and I am hoping and praying its more of a fresh start.

Mom called last night, and said that when he is out of the hospital, he'll be staying with us for a while, until he gets his feet grounded again. This is what we seem to do well in our family. We take things on, and fix things... I know for me, I've got a lot more on my plate than I care for, and I hope I can still be there... There's going to be parts I dread, such as seeing the other family members on that side of the family (we are not close..), but maybe there's an opportunity here... Part of this kills me though, wondering how many years he shaved off his life with this attempt, how many years he won't get to share in his children's future. But its something I have to let go. Because maybe .. just maybe, its quality time that matters... I know it is.

Yesterday, I spent the morning coaching a new volunteer on the crisis lines. It was their second shift, their life experience showed that they were a lot more ready than usual. In order to get them out at a reasonable time, I took a few extra calls at the end of the shift. One of those calls was to someone who we saved their life. I can't get into details, but hopelessness is the corner of the room, where everything is dark, and no light can get in. Its where we struggle to find meaning, to find something or someone to hold on to. While I know we made a difference here, I wonder if this call was meant for me, as preparation or karmic balance for my uncle. So this is what makes it so much harder, so much more challenging...not everything is as it seems....

Keep fighting. Life is precious and worth every single moment.

Stampede

Stampede has started already. Calgary Stampede is the signature event of the year for Calgary. 10 days of cowboys and craziness. Haven't dropped down to the Stampede grounds. Might be a bit interesting seeing as this year is the Centennial celebration. There's also all the food trucks that will be down on the grounds, but also all the crazy foods. I'll probably skip the donut hamburger (ewww), but might try a few other foodies.

Trying to cut costs and save a bit. Didn't win the $50 million lottery yesterday, but thankfully the winner is in Quebec, so unlikely that I will know them. Call me selfish, but I don't want to know anyone who wins that much... lol... unless you are sharing...

Right now, just at home after work and just chilling... I picked up the Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard cover, and just giving it a try. I think I will keep it. Keyboard is a bit smaller than I am used to, but still pretty responsive over the Kensington one. Looks a bit more stylish and professional. Though, this is a bit smaller than I used to. Still....

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Tuesday...

Canadian holiday meant that Tuesday was the first day of the week. Extremely rough day. Almost broke down at work. Struggling a bit from the ups and downs from the weekend. Falling for someone, I cannot fall for. My friend Holly is challenging me on that one, and she's probably right. I just don't believe in being in a relationship when you haven't gotten your own crap together.

Having dual roles means a bit of a personality conflict at times. Can't be in two places at once. Pissing people off is not a good way to start the day, nor is being late.

Then after the dust settles, in the afternoon, I hear about an extended family member who is in the hospital because they were found in a field. Yes, a fucking field... Apparently, they went out for a walk, and then couldn't walk anymore and collapsed and tried crawling. They were found by a teenager who called an ambulance. I almost lost it at work. I had such a hard time trying to keep things together. I don't get along with that side of the family, but they are probably the one person who I will always have respect for.

Not sure how long it was that they were lying in the field, but long enough, that they are in the hospital for toxins to clear out of their system. I am so angry and hurt. Where was his cell phone? This is going to be the biggest reason why my mom is getting a cell phone later this year from me.

Its really fortunate that he's going to be okay. I have to be really thankful by the grace of God that he's okay.

Came home to login to my other job for remote computer support. Was butting heads with a few colleagues in regards to supporting our clients. A lot more so than usual. Ultimately, calmer heads prevailed, but I think it was a clear reflection of my day.

Just gotta keep battling.

Tonight, I am wide awake after being asleep for a few hours.

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Hacking Away...

Picked up Diablo 3 about a few weeks after launch. On the lower levels difficulty of Inferno, which is pretty rough so far... In some ways, I think this mirrors what I am feeling I'm am going through right now, and trying to 'pick up items' to 'level up' and boost myself.

I look around and having been celebrating a lot of happiness around me. From weddings, to the arrival of new babies into this world, to birthday and anniversaries, and I wonder... 'Tis the season. Everyone, it seems like, is in some state of flux and change this year, and I'm just not keeping up.

Hardest part trying to keep up with the changes of friendships over the last year. Many have left, or are moving on, as should I. Though, seems to get strangely a bit harder the older you get. Many are in transition to new paths of life, and the bonds holding me to Calgary are getting weaker and weaker... Still, not quite there yet..

Had a one-on-one with the new executive director at my new job. One hour meeting became almost two and half. I told him I truly believe in the work that we do. I love the team and the work that I do, but I don't know if I can afford to do it, or afford to be here. Financially, its becoming a bit of a burden, as non-profit social service, I just can't even keep up with inflation... Though, lately, I've been recognizing the physical, emotional and mental toll, its taken on me... Can't even deny it anymore...

So I'm disconnecting a few things down in my life. Or at least trying to...Namely emotions and feelings, but I don't have a restart button at this time. So focusing on the little battles. The ones I know that make a difference and are key to moving forward. This though, means pushing a few key people away, despite how much they mean to me.. But as my friend says, "Pain is a great teacher".

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Raymond Wong
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