Monday, 27 June 2016

Weekend Summary in Gifs

Northern Ireland lost to Wales and are out of the Euro.

Ireland lost to France and are out of the Euro.

Attended friend's birthday tea party. There were lots of finger sandwiches and desserts.

The season six finale for Game of Thrones aired.

England lost to Iceland and are out of the Euros.

The weekend pretty much broke even. I'd write more but it's late, and I have to go to bed because I'm my boss this week.

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Brexit Won

In case you've been living under a rock - in which case, who is your internet provider because I didn't know "under a rock" could get a signal - Thursday was the UK Referendum on whether to stay or leave the EU.

The Leave vote won.

I'm not happy about this for two reasons:

  1. I really hate the word "Brexit".
  2. I believe with every fibre of my being that this is the wrong choice.

Ignoring all the economical reasons why I disagree with the vote, the Leave campaign was run on a platform of racism and it won. I'm not naive enough to think that we ever lived in a world without racism, but it is terrifying to see it so openly displayed. And not just in the UK referendum or the US election going on south of the border, but everywhere.

Also, as someone who's family comes from a border county in Ireland, there is the concern about what this could mean for peace on the island. Town and villages on both sides of the border that have flourished since the border crossings have all spoken out about the economical repercussions of monitoring that border again. While both the Remain and Leave campaigns have said that the border would remain open even in the case of a Leave vote, it's an added uncertainty to an already fragile peace.

Add to that, there is a real (and valid) concern that this Leave vote could see a return of sectarian violence. Both in Ireland and Northern Ireland, this has been pointed out. The EU and the removal of borders between EU countries was a big part of what made the Good Friday Agreement work. Where does that leave Northern Ireland, which voted in favour of staying in the EU, when the dust has cleared on this referendum?


I don't want to go to bed feeling this *meh* about everything, so here's a video from of my favourite Gaelic footballer and some other guys driving around singing. (P.S. The Sunday game they talk about was a huge win for Monaghan. Monaghan Abu!)

Yup. Watching this video puts a smile on my face.

Celebrate Good Times, Come On!

Ireland and Northern Ireland have made it through the Group Stage and are into the Round of 16 at the Euros.


WHO FUCKING CARES IF WE WIN OUR NEXT GAMES?????!!!!?!?!? WE MADE IT TO THE ROUND OF 16!!!!!!!!!! BOTH OF THEM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I follow a couple of Irish people (not just Irish family) on the old social medias and the Snapchats, Instagrams, Tweets, Facebook statuses of the Ireland-Italy game were incredible. (That's how Ireland made it through, by the way, beating Italy 1-0. We were third in our group, but we... you know what? You probably don't care.)

To be honest, I didn't have a whole lot of hope that even one of them would make it out of the Group Stage, never mind both of them. I immediately went to the desk of my English coworker and started singing (quietly). There are not a lot of people in my office who would understand my excitement, but he did.

While it might seem like an overreaction to be this excited about teams that still haven't actually won anything, it isn't if you're Irish. Either one of these teams could go on and win Euro 2016 and we probably wouldn't be as excited as we are about this. "Oh great, yeah, won the Euro, BUT WE WEREN'T EVEN SUPPOSED TO MAKE IT OUT OF THE ROUND OF 16!!!!!!" Dare I say it, it is almost as exciting as another unexpected Ireland result 26 years ago...

As my dad said on the phone tonight, "I've never seen so many grown men cry."

Northern Ireland faces Wales on Saturday and then Ireland faces France on Sunday. This will either be the best weekend of my entire life (and that includes any potential future wedding I may have) or it's the weekend that I will spend the rest of my life pretending never happened. (Or they split the difference and I'm both elated and depressed at the same time.)

Regardless of this weekend's outcomes, it is going to su-uck to work with me on Monday.

Sorry, not sorry.

Sunday, 19 June 2016

Highs, Lows, and Cremations

I seem to be starting a tradition of posting after watching 'Game of Thrones'... but how could I pass up posting this after tonight's episode?


Ever since reading the books, I've had a soft spot for Sansa because while everyone says they'd be Arya who physically fights their enemy, we know we'd be Sansa who has to trip and fall her way through the political dance.

Other than GoT, I went to see 'Finding Dory' on Friday night. While the story wasn't as good as 'Finding Nemo' (to be expected), I laughed harder at the jokes so there's that.

It was also the Aboriginal Cultural Festival weekend. I went with my mom on Saturday and by myself on Sunday. I have a few extended thoughts but it's late so for now I will leave you with two photos.

Lekwungen Dancer (Songhees Nation)
performing a prayer dance.
Le-La-La Dancer (Kwakwaka'wakw Nation)
performing a dance to bless the stage.
Because I am a big Star Trek fan, I do need to acknowledge that 2016 just doesn't know when to quit. We get it, 2016. You're an asshole!

My dad is memorizing 'The Cremation of Sam McGee' by Robert Service. I memorized this poem in Gr. 5 for some extra marks and Robert Service has been my favourite poet ever since. When my dad told me he was trying to learn it, I recited as much as I could remember. Apparently, my dad was learning this poem because my granddad used to recite it as his party piece. My never-left-Ireland-and-died-in-1954 granddad knew a very Canadian poem.

Why can I recite 'The Cremation of Sam McGee'? It's a family thing!

For my dad (and his dad) on Father's Day, 'The Cremation of Sam McGee' read by Johnny Cash.

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Happier Post

I mentioned in Monday's post that the Euros are currently on with France playing host this time round. The event has been marred with the actions of some groups of English and Russian supporters. (Should I even say supporters? If you really support the team, would you go to an event with the intent of fucking shit up?) The sad thing is you know it's a relatively small fraction of the English and Russian "fans" that are doing this. Sadly, their actions may have real world consequences with both teams now having the threat of disqualification hanging over them.

How disheartening that must be for the players. You've possibly played your best soccer in your life... and you're sent home because some asshats don't know how to behave like decent human beings.

Anyway, I said this was a happier post than the last one and it is. Not only are both Ireland and Northern Ireland in the Euros, but the Irish fans are being praised in France for their behaviour during this tournament. Honestly. The French actually like something not-French, and that something is Irish fans!

From pictures of Irish fans helping a French couple change a tire, to singing "Stand Up for the Ulstermen" during the Ireland-Sweden game in memory of a Northern Ireland fan died on the weekend, to reciting "Our Father" to a nun on a train, to singing and dancing with Swedish fans in the streets after their teams tied, to cleaning up their own beer bottles (while singing) after a night of drinking, to singing Boyzone songs in the street... WITH A MEMBER OF BOYZONE, the Irish fans have represented their country with pride.

I am so proud of them!

And the French have been so impressed with them, they went ahead and did this:

Heck yeah! Irish tri-colour on the Eiffel Tower.
Photo originally found here
(In the time it took me to write this, reports have been posted that tensions have risen between English and Russian fans again and the riot police are already on the streets of Lille. The day has barely started there and already they're at it.)

I just want to backtrack for a moment and acknowledge the death of Darren Rodgers who fell to his death Saturday night. After a day of drinking in Nice, he got past a barrier at the edge of a promenade and fell 8 meters. Darren was reported as 24 years old (some reports are now putting him as 25). At the 24 minute mark of the Ireland-Sweden game, Irish supporters sang "Stand Up For The Ulstermen". The song is the cheer for the Ulster Rugby team (as you'll see in the video below), but as an Ulster descendant (just from the other side of the border) I'd be hard pressed to think of a better song to sing. The Northern Ireland team publically thanked the Irish fans for their gesture.

The actions of the Irish fans? This is what sporting events should be about.

Monday, 13 June 2016

So Many Tears

It's a blogging tradition that when a tragedy happens, a blogger writes a post that makes it all about them. I want to do something a little different; I want to write a post that is mostly about me.

Okay. So not that different.

I read about the tragedy on Sunday morning before heading off to volunteer at my company's big annual charity event. I spent the day waffling between the fun and joy of helping raise over $50,000 for Island Prostate Centre and sadness about what had happened. I hugged my coworkers I saw who are lgbtq and I texted my friends who identify as lgbtq. My heart broke for all of them.

When I heard that the shooter pledged allegiance to ISIS, my heart broke again. There was going to be a litany of social media posts about "those people" and how they are the problem. I have never had to apologize for the actions of the IRA (regardless of your opinion on the actions of the IRA, they fit the criteria for a terrorist group), but the sweetest man I have ever known was going to have to apologize again for the actions of a person pledging allegiance to a group my friend detests.

It's Pride Month.

It's Ramadan.

You could not pick a more symbolic date this year for this to happen.

I made the mistake of reading through some social media posts - I know, I know; silly me - and while the vast majority of them were supportive, there were some of the "those [homosexual slur I refuse to have on this site] got what they deserved" comments. These comments predominantly came from young white men. Not visible minorities, but white men.,, and they will expect Muslims to apologize.

My heart broke again.

Sometimes, this world appears so broken. It needs to be fixed but it is such a big task.

It is overwhelming.

To any lgbtq people who stumble across this blog: I am so sorry for the world you have to live in, where there are still people who believe you to be degenerates, where your relationships are so easily questioned, where people feel comfortable using slurs towards you and as a way to degrade their 'friends'. I will do what I can with my actions and words to help make this world a better place for you. I wish you a better tomorrow and a lifetime of happiness.

To any Muslims who stumble across this blog: I am so sorry any racism you have to face in your life. I read and hear people's opinions on Muslims (and Arabs because lets just lump you all in together), but these people never seem to know any Muslims first hand. My Muslim friends are kind and generous people. They are no more at fault for the actions of the radical sects of their faith than I am. I will do what I can with my actions and words to help make this world a better place for you. I wish you a better tomorrow and a lifetime of happiness.

To everyone who reads here: All I have for you is my love and respect, but isn't that really all we need to start fixing our world? Isn't a lack of love and respect for our fellow humans the cause of so many of our current issues? I think so. I will do what I can with my actions and words to help make this world a better place for you. I wish you a better tomorrow and a lifetime of happiness.

From my little corner of the Internet, hugs and good wishes to you all.

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Focusing on the Positive

Note: I'm not ignoring the events of the weekend; I just need to be in a better headspace before I say anything about it. Right now, I would just be screaming incoherently and crying.

The Euros have started. For the first time in... well, in my lifetime (I'm too lazy to go look it up). both Ireland and Northern Ireland are going to the competition. Northern Ireland lost to Poland on Sunday. (And rightly so. They played like a Sunday fun-league team.) Not a great start.

Today, Group E - Ireland, Sweden, Belgium and Italy - start their Round Robin. Given that Belgium and Italy are ranked 2nd and 12th respectively and Ireland is ranked 33rd, I'm not very hopeful about their chances of moving to the next round. Still, if Italia '90 taught me anything, it's that I should never count Ireland out until they're actually out. (We beat Romania on penalties. It was kind of a big deal. You can see a retrospective on the penalties here. If you have a spare 20 minutes, you can watch the penalties in their entirety here. If you want to hear the greatest song ever written about that moment, you can watch it here. I so clearly remember watching this game. I remember how nervous I was during the shoot out. I remember my dad throwing his full glass of red wine against the just-painted white wall when Ireland won. I remember screaming and crying and singing on the phone to the family in Ireland. It will always be one of my favourite memories.)

But we're not here to talk about Ireland's past sporting glories (everyone one reading this "we're not?"), but for the Euro they're currently in. As has become tradition, Ireland has put out a song for the competition. A rallying cry for Irish fans everywhere to get behind.

Ladies and Gentlemen, The Irish Roar.

Good luck to the Boys in Green against Sweden tomorrow.

UPDATE: Ireland tied because of an own-goal. Nothing like an uphill battle to spur them on to victory ;)

(I want to take a moment to acknowledge that Irish rugby had a fantastic weekend. The Under-20s beat New Zealand and the National Team beat South Africa. Both are pretty big freakin' deals for us. So proud of the other Boys in Green.)

Monday, 6 June 2016

No One We Cared About in Game of Thrones Died This Week So That's A Plus

I make a comment that 2016 has been a shitty year for celebrities and 2016 was all like "you know what, I think I can out-do myself."


Fuck you, 2016. Keep your hands off Barry McGuigan. I just wouldn't be able to handle that this year. 

While I'm talking about Irish Monaghan sports heroes, I came across an article today on Conor McManus and how he's the best Gaelic Footballer currently playing. I am not the least bit biased (hells yeah, I am) and have no vested interest in seeing a Monaghan player singled out (totally do), but this article is easily the best piece of sports writing ever written. (That may be a slight exaggeration.)

The man himself! (Picture from article linked above.)
Also, Monaghan's new jersey has finally been released and it has a nice big FKM on the back. ;;checks credit card balance;;

My sessions with my trainer have been fantastic. Being a large girl, there are moves that I have to do to the best of my ability and just accept that that's the best I can do. These past two weeks? I have nailed squats. They have been perfect textbook squats. It wasn't just as-low-as-I-can-go-with-good-form, it was as-low-as-you're-supposed-to-go-with-good-form. I was pretty damn proud of myself the first time I did it (and so sore for two days afterwards), but then I did it the next three sessions...

I'm actually - dare I say it?! - looking forward to the gym these days. I think I might be coming down with something.

I haven't stepped on the scale since the last time I mentioned it on here. I'll try to remember to do it some time this week. I feel like it's still moving in the right direction, but there's always that nervous hesitation that maybe my mind's just playing tricks on me.

In reference to the subject of this post, can you believe he's still alive?!? The best part? So many people die in Game of Thrones that I can write that and it's not a spoiler because which 'he' am I talking about?!? You don't know unless you watch!! So happy he's back, but I will say no more or else I will get spoiler-y about it.

Also, these two were back and that makes me happy.

This picture is from Arrested Westeros which blends GoT screen shots with Arrested Development captions.
If you're a fan of both shows, you really should be following this blog. Go. Follow!
Oh, what the heck. One more from Arrested Westeros just because I love it. From a few weeks ago:

Excuse me while I go snort-laugh in the corner. Good night!