Wednesday, February 29, 2012
SAY (Suicide Awareness for Youth) responded to my application. Because of my recent loss of Tareq, they won’t allow me to volunteer just yet. Apparently I have to wait a year. I can understand this, even if it sucks. I’m strong enough to do this. I know many aren’t. So I will reregister again.

Emergency Response responded too. I’ll set up an interview with them tomorrow and see if they have such a policy. It’s crossed my mind to lie about my recent loss, as I know they’re going to ask, but I can’t do that. It just feels dirty. I’m going into this, into every commitment I make, whole-heartedly and with only honesty.

I woke up to a full-fledged snow storm today. Here’s what it looked like this morning as I reached my office:



Clumps of snow the size of twoonies fell from the sky. By the time my day was over, the sun was shining, the snow melted off the roads and most of the sidewalk. I arrived home just before 7pm. I’m glad to be here, with Lars and my father and all our pets. I look forward to sleeping in my new bed.
Monday, February 27, 2012
It's been a week and a day now Tareq.  My heart still aches at the void born to humanity at your passing. I think of you constantly, perhaps just a little bit more than I did while you were still breathing. You were always in my heart. Your  name ran across my lips so often that your passing was much a loss for those I work and live with, though you never met.

Each encounter we ever had was like yesterday. I was shocked to read through our old emails and realize its been almost a year since we'd had a real chat of sorts. I thought it was just recently we were planning to meet at the Sun Run but a closer look proves those were last years plans, that fell through. The Sun Run is around the corner again and I missed you. I have learned from this.

I have reached out to those I love and let them know it, and I've made a promise to myself that I'll keep on doing so and more frequently. I want to leave each encounter knowing I was there, engaged, loving each breath with my company as you lived and loved each and every one of yours. I have tried to enter each encounter this week with love in mind and upon my lips.  It is my intention to forever now do so.

I've taken steps towards all those things you encouraged me (and so many others) to do. I have submitted my application form to volunteer  with the Suicide Awareness for Youth. Training starts this fall. I've contacted our Saanich Emergency Response. I am waiting a reply on how to get involved. I called Red Cross Canada and will volunteer with them as well.  

In yoga, this past week, I have accomplished things I did not want and would not have tried without you in mind. I'm thankful I did.

Your lessons weren't taught in vain, old friend. I am just one person. There are hundreds if not thousands you've  touched, each of whom you've encouraged to be a better person in some way.  How many of us have taken those first steps, only since you left us? How long might we have waited, if you were still here to be brilliant for us? Perhaps we'd end up taking our own last breath without allowing ourselves the opportunity to make ourselves just a little bit greater too? Without your life, without your death, we may not have ever known we had it in us to reflect even a little bit of you. Thank you. Thank you Tareq, for you and for all that you've given me and others. We will carry you with us always.
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Where are my words and why does it matter that I cannot find them now? You are not here to hear them.

I thought to call you last week for some puzzle I was faced with, but opted out of disturbing you with such a trivial thing. I wish I'd instead taken a moment to dial your number just to say 'Hi dear friend. It has been too long. I miss you. How are you doing?'

You taught me Tareq, so many things by simply being. Where are the words to express that you have been with me every step of my way? And why must I find them when you are not here to hear?

These are the questions as those we once pondered together till dawn, dear friend, and now they are simply words lost in the wind. My life will never be the same with the knowledge that you are not here to respond. Your voice I'll never again hear. So selfish I am in this way - thinking of me when it's your turn to shine. And you loved me anyway - how much that says about you.

I miss knowing you are always there, already.  I love you and am so glad I made sure you knew when your ears were able to receive.

I have cried for two days now Tareq, and I'm certain I'll cry many more. I know you would not approve... But I hardly ever listened to you anyway. At least not right away. Perhaps when my eyes have had a moment to dry and my heart is ready for the next blow, the lesson you're meant to teach me now dear friend, will make itself clear.

Until then, please world let me mourn this tragic loss for humanity too many of you never knew.
Friday, February 17, 2012
In May of 2010 I purchased a Blackberry on a 3-year contract from Virgin Mobile. I have paid every bill in advance usually over the amount owing on my next invoice since.

In April of 2011, Virgin had some technical difficulties with their system, which meant my data services all failed for days. That was a nightmare on its own. Click here for the complete story on that. One of their technicians looked at the RIM side of my Blackberry to determine the cause & fix. From there, he used all of the email addresses that I’d validated on my phone for me to view my personal emails, and he sent me an email about the case copying every single email address I validated. I never authorized Virgin to use any of these email addresses to contact me. The email he sent was sent to my work email address and was thus copied to every member of my company’s management team. I could have lost my job as a result of Virgin’s breach of privacy. When the event was looked into, the Virgin team told me they would ‘talk’ to the technician who breached privacy:

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At the time I was out of town on work and was unable to legally pursue the issue, despite totally intending to – as even at that time they would not let me out of the contract they made me sign despite them breaching privacy terms. By the time I got back home, I was exhausted and busy with other things, like my mother’s estate and I decided to let it go.

In Sept/Oct of 2011, I purchased an internet stick through Virgin Mobile on their Supertab – so Lars could access the net while he was in Manitoba. In November or December of 2011, I realized I hadn’t been charged for the Internet stick so I went to a Virgin Kiosk and asked them about it. They explained they had created a secondary account for the mobile stick and clearly didn’t have my address correct on it as I hadn’t received a bill for it. There was a $70 outstanding balance they told me I’d have to pay in order to combine the two accounts. I paid the outstanding fee and at the same time purchased a new cell phone (not on contract) for my father. The next day, I got a collections letter from Virgin in the mail about the Internet Stick and the $70 owing on it. Not once did they call, mail or email me a bill for the thing, but they sure did know my address to send me their threatening collections letter. Knowing I’d dealt with the issue the day before, I simply ignored this despite how aggravating and insulting it was.

In January, 2012 I cancelled my internet stick with them and put a $200 credit in my account to pay off the super-tab fee owing.

Three days ago, I received a letter in the mail from Virgin Mobile stating that they had cancelled my accounts, that I owed them $30 and that they were forwarding the complaint to a collections agency.

Apparently they had not cancelled my secondary account for the internet stick, which never should have been created in the first place. And they are once again threatening my good credit because they can’t manage their accounts – nor have they sent me a single bill via email, mail or even telephone call prior to this threatening letter.

As I have a credit of $200 on my account, I contact them and ask them to do as they said by canceling all my accounts and waive any penalties for the Blackberry as I am only canceling everything only because they keep threatening and abusing me as a customer. The response they give is that they simply cannot do that and that I am stuck with them until May 2013 or I have to pay an addition $260 penalty.

If Virgin didn’t keep breaching the contract conditions on my account, or threatening me as a client I would be happy to still deal with them. I definitely do need cell & data services – in fact I have a 3G iPad with Telus and am yet to experience a real problem. Virgin told me in November that the 2nd account they created had been paid and closed – in fact, they insisted I had to pay it all off before they could merge the two, to solve the problem. I’ve been paying for the Internet Stick every month since on my real virgin account. They tell me the same thing now – that they’ve waived the $30 owing (I don’t see how the hell I owe more on it in the first place) and I should be happy they’ve now closed the account. How can I be sure that in two months time they are not going to send a bill collector after me – damaging my credit, because of some other mess up on their end? Why should the second time they say they have fixed their mistake be any different than the 1st?

It’s absolutely wrong that companies can get away with threatening their customers this way, binding us to contract terms that they do not abide by themselves, threatening and abusing their customers along the way. Something needs to be done about this!

Virgin insists on keeping me until my Blackberry contact expires in September. That’s a long time for me to come up with a campaign, eCards, perhaps even print T-shirts about their absolute lacking in service and how you shouldn’t make the same mistake I did. Don’t expect this will be the last you hear from me about Virgin's unethical business practices. Perhaps Virgin Mobile will get upset enough to bring it to the attention of their legal department. At least I’ll find some comfort in knowing they will have to pay more for any legal action than the $260 they are holding me hostage with. (I’ll gladly spend more than that warning people not to sign on with them – and defending my actions towards it!).

I am not using my Virgin Blackberry anymore. I spilled chicken stock on it a few weeks back, decided I’d rather wash it and lose it then stick salmonella-infested water to my cheek. It didn’t make it through the bath, so I purchased an iPhone from apple.com. It’s due to arrive on the 21st. I have decreased my BB plan with Virgin to the $15 minimum it can be according to their control. I will cancel my father’s cell as soon as I’m back home (I’m leaving again for Squamish tomorrow). I will sign up the iPhone with Telus or Koodoo – any company that is not Virgin. And I’ll continue to make eCards, comments and other items expressing my distaste for Virgin Mobile Canada and validating my reasoning. Who knows, maybe they’ll catch on...

I’m thinking about giving away mugs and t-shirts for free if only people promise to wear/use them and take a photo of them doing so, that I can share on my blog here. Would you like a mug or a T-shirt under this agreement?
Thursday, February 16, 2012
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Wednesday, February 15, 2012
I came home from yoga on the 13th to a candle lit house… By that I mean the entire house was lit with tea light and scented candles. Lars led my way to the bathroom where he’d prepared a candle-lit lavender-rose-petal bubble bath for me. When my bath was done, he took me to my candle-lit bedroom and tucked me into bed. He spoiled me rotten and wasn’t done…

On the 14th, I got off work to find a beautiful vase of lucky-bamboo and a stunning blue rose – framing a bottle of my favorite wine. We ate steak and lobster for dinner and I went to bed shortly after – a bit tipsy from the wine and unknowingly tackling the start of a flu or cold. I woke at midnight starving and feverish and was up for hours.

Now I can’t breathe. But apparently, my Valentines surprises from Lars aren’t done yet. There’s something in the mail on its way to me.

He kind of put the mug, card and cap I bought him to shame – didn’t he? But that’s ok. I know he still loves me and we love on each other every day. Valentines is just a day we get to exaggerate that!

~*~


Virgin Mobile Canada still hasn’t brought any resolve to their absolute incompetence in managing their accounts in particular mine (of which I really should only have one). They offered to ‘waive the $30’ owing on my secondary account – that they never should have created in the first place, and that I already paid off in order to merge the 2 accounts back in November when I realized they weren’t charging me for my internet stick.

They fuck up my account creating a 2nd one for some unknown reason. We discover this in November and I’m told I have to pay off both accounts before they can merge the two. I do. They then send me a nasty letter saying they’ve cancelled my services and that they will get debt collectors on my ass if I don’t pay them $30 I owe them on some account I never authorized, they never should have created, and was supposed to already have been resolved – while I have nearly $200 credit on the only account I should have. And I should be good with, even thankful for them waiving the $30 fee I shouldn’t owe them in the first place? Fuck that. I want out of my contract with them, so that I can purchase my phone and data needs from a company that has the ability to manage their client accounts appropriately.

I work really, REALLY hard at growing my Canadian credit. The threat that their inability to manage their accounts has the potential to damage that is worth no amount of money. As far as I’m concerned, they fucked up our contract agreement and they need to waive any penalties and let me out of it, now.
Monday, February 13, 2012
Please take a look at my Virgin account and not the ‘CR’ as shown on the ‘Pay my Bill’ button. This is showing a CREDIT of nearly $200 on my Virgin account:

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Now read the letter I got in the mail from them today:

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For those who can’t see it, here’s what it says,

TOTAL BALANCE DUE: $30.47

Hey there Chrystal **********

We’ve tried to get in touch, but we haven’t heard back from you or received payment for your account.

We hate to say it, but your account is now overdue and your service is disconnected. You may have already gotten your final bill. If not, then you’ll be getting it soon. Your final balance might be different from the amount listed here if your Membership Agreement had any early cancellation fees with it.

Please give us a call toll free at 1-877-745-7721 so that we can set up the final payment to your account. Unfortunately, if we do not get full payment immediately then we have no choice but to forward your account to a Collections Agency, which might be bad for your credit rating.

We can’t help you out if you don’t let us know what’s up, so call us right away!

Virgin Mobile

My initial response was to call them – and of course I was pissed. This is NOT the first time they’ve sent me such a ridiculously threatening letter claiming I hadn’t made payment when I certainly have. This is not the first time they’ve insulted me or completely betrayed my trust as a customer. I’m sure you all remember my 1st bought of Virgin’s crappy service here.

After that ordeal, Virgin actually offered me a small credit, fixed my phone rather quickly, but not without one of their technicians hacking into my blackberry and contacting me at all my personal AND professional email accounts (which I never gave Virgin permission to use at all). I fully intended to come back and sue the bastards, but life got in the way and as time went by I calmed down and let it go.

Then today comes around. The Siraya tool I first spoke to at Virgin had the nerve to yell at me until I hung up on her. I called back and got to speak with an equally useless Alesha from the Virgin Mobile customer service team. She refused to let me talk to a manager unless I gave her all sorts of verification information. I don’t understand why I need to prove who I am before reaching a Manager in this company. How’s this for public proof that I’m a real person and I’m pissed:

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Virgin needs to go ahead and cancel my contract with them. THEY need to pay the penalty fees. I washed my Blackberry anyway and am waiting for my new iPhone ordered Apple in the mail. When arrives, I’ll sign on with Telus over this crappy excuse for a Mobile phone provider. I’ll move my father’s cell over too.
Thursday, February 9, 2012
I talked to my best friend on earth yesterday morning. Right now, she is in Kuwait. I should be in Kuwait, or she should be here. I miss her terribly. She’s not doing well. In fact, she’s recovering from attempting to slash her wrists last Thursday. I won’t go into details except to say I know all too well where she’s at and she does not deserve this and cannot help but feel I am at least partially to blame.

With that being said, I wonder if I’m in a much better place myself right now? My meditation is certainly doing me some good. But I am losing motivation to do it on a daily basis and I have no motivation to exercise or do anything else. In fact, I spend most of my time worrying about money and how the hell I can turn what little I have into enough to feel secure.

I can feel my depression seeping in again in the form of boredom, sincere indifference to most general aspects of my day-to-day life, and the unnerving discontent with my life in general. Sure the meditation is helping me cope with difficult situations, but it doesn’t change my personal core values at all. I’ve come to realize I want change. Big change.

I’m angry with unresolved issues and the anger is festering into deep feelings of hate and absolute disrespect. It shouldn’t be like that.

I don’t want to confront it again because I’ve done so already (albeit, in anger) and have pretty much been brushed off and ignored. I know pushing it further will do me no good. So I will lump it and live with it, in silence. At least until I’m in a better place.

I need to be in a place where I am in control of my own security. How to get there, is the problem… Where to find the focus and the time, when I really have no options but to spend every waking hour working towards and worrying about someone else’s?

Today is my first of 3 days off work this weekend. I have no idea what to do with myself. I have this overwhelming urge to go back to bed and just cry myself to sleep until Lars comes home to hug me.

Instead, I’ll try and fester the energy to go down to the gym and walk or run all this negative energy off.

At times like this, I really wish I were in Kuwait. Or my best friend was here.
Tuesday, February 7, 2012
I’ve been thinking a whole lot about what it is I really want to do with myself. For the majority of my life, I’ve known what I don’t want as opposed to what I do want.

I don’t want to live in poverty.
I don’t want to be disliked.
I don’t want to jeopardize my personal integrity.
I don’t want to be useless, incompetent or stupid.
I don’t want to be without financial security.
I don’t want to be around negative people.
I don’t want to feel crappy about myself, my body, my mind…

The list goes on and on. But ask me what I do want, and the opposite of any of those statements isn’t found in the furthest reach of my mind. I think I’ve realized why that is. My wants are consistently changing from moment to moment, depending on my surroundings, my thoughts and feelings during that very moment.

Yesterday, I found great pleasure in spice blends I create in my own kitchen, and I recall thinking and telling Lars, “I want to open a spice blend business”. My Italian spice mixes, my Arabic spice mixes, my Indian Masala, are all fantastic blends! I’m talented in the kitchen, and I could flourish there. I even spent a little time looking up the legalities to such a business in BC, online.

Today, that’s the last thing I want to do. Today, I want to own property and rent it out. I want my income to be based on that. Today’s desire is a more consistent want. I have always wanted to own large amounts of property and to rent each one out. Every time things go to complete hell, or feel like they’re going to complete hell financially – that’s where my ‘wants’ wander. Today is no different.

There is nothing I want more than to buy buildings… and perhaps sell spices, jewelry or paintings as a hobby while I collect rental income.
Monday, February 6, 2012
Today has been trying on my patience, my acceptance, my calm, and everything else I’ve been working towards lately. I have some major worrisome issues pending that are sincerely stressing me out at my core. When things are not in my control, I do not cope well. This is especially true when I have so much faith ahead of time, and perhaps delusions of control that I give my word to someone only to later learn that I cannot keep my promise.

I believe today is meant to be a test and how I choose to cope with and react to the events will help sculpt the path to my future in an either positive or negative way. I want the effects to be positive… But I think I’m going to just get drunk – because that’s everything I feel like doing right now. Whether or not that's positive I do not know. But it's what I feel I need. I work at 7:30am, so I better start drinking now.

Nunnight all.
Sunday, February 5, 2012
It wasn’t long ago that the word ‘meditate’ induced images of fat Buddhist men sitting in absolute stillness and silence on some beach somewhere ignoring everything around them. Sitting still with your eyes closed is about all I understood it to be, and how fucking boring is that? Now that I understand it a little better, there is absolutely nothing boring about meditating at all. In fact, meditation is a challenge, a struggle, a lesson in the art of doing nothing.

As you silence your body’s motions, your mind tends to scream louder. Meditation is the art of silencing the body and the mind, recognizing your thoughts as they come and letting them go each time you realize your mind is wandering. Meditation is being in your body as a true observer of what’s happening to it, while you live in it without trying to change it.

The results, I’m finding of consistent, daily meditation is a calmer nature, less insomnia (in fact I haven’t had to take a sleeping pill since I started), and greater tolerance for pain and discomfort (both emotional and physical). And of course, I’m finding it far easier to tolerate, accept and embrace stressful situations.

I figured since I’ve been going on about it for a while now, I might as well give those of you who view meditation the same way I did up until recently, a little insight as to what it really means to meditate (to me). For more clinical information on meditation, see Wikipedia here.

~*~


The Ali Tattoo… With my recent blog makeover I included the henna-inspired tattoo I drew for my son. I drew the floral borders first by hand, and then in Illustrator. I intend to expand on it a fair bit before the next tattoo date, on March 3rd. What you see here and now will soon frame my shoulder and stretch down my arm.

~*~


We have finally filed our taxes. I’ve renewed my car insurance for the next year. I filled out the organ donor form, and Lars’ is waiting for his signature. Things are feeling pretty complete these days.
Wednesday, February 1, 2012
There was what I can only assume was a multi-page rant from Amanda in my Facebook inbox today. I didn’t bother to read it. I’ve seen enough of her low jabs at Renee, and childish comments towards myself and others to know there was nothing worth my time in whatever it was she had to say. Instead of reading it, I simply replied with, “You are confusing me for someone who will bother to read what you have to say.” I then blocked her completely from my Facebook, so that this book can now be closed. I feel like I’ve spent more than enough time in my adolescent years being overdramatic to have time or space for this now.

At the inability to reply to my Facebook email and my blocking her, she made her way to my blog – for the first time ever. It looks like twice she contemplated commenting but changed her mind and left the comment section. She spent a good hour and 40 minutes here all together. All I can think is, for someone who doesn’t want me in their life at all, she sure cares a hell of a lot about my opinion of her.

Anyway, we had a new tenant move in last night.

We’ve giving him his eviction notice tonight.

While I was working today, all three of his dogs went off barking. They would not stop for hours while he was out. Lars went down to see what was up, and apparently it was our other tenants’ attempt to do laundry that set them off. I am not putting the quality of my work at jeopardy to keep a tenant. And we are not making it impossible for our other tenants of almost a year (without problems) to live their normal daily lives. We suggested bark collars and he was not happy about it. So, the 30-day eviction notice has been written up. We’ll give it to him, and let him know that we will not re-list the suite, and if he can manage his dogs over the next month we will consider starting a new tenancy agreement then. 30 days is a long time for me to put up with barking dogs while I work. Too long. We can’t run the risk of it being even a day longer.

Steaks are on for dinner and I’m hungry! I think after dinner I’m going to take an online IT course of sorts. I’ve got that ‘learning bug’ in me again, and managed to get my meditation in early this morning!
In the middle of writing last night’s blog entry, my sister Kelly gave me a call. She has a whole pile of bullshit to deal with, with her ex-husband and a few court dates coming up. She will be in my thoughts over the next little while, as will my niece’s and nephew.

I wasn’t able to finish with all I had to say. I got a letter from the lawyer acting as executor of my mom’s estate, in the mail yesterday. It was a copy of what was sent to our lawyer in town. Here’s what it said:

Dear Sir:

Re: Estate of ******* **** ********

Further to our recent discussions, please find enclosed copy of the Administrator’s Accounting along with copies of the Consents and Releases signed by your clients.

Pursuant to the Irrevocable Direction to Pay, we also enclose our trust cheque in the sum of $**,***.**, payable to you in trust. This amount represents your clients’ collective share of the residue of the Estate of ******* **** *****.

We confirm we are holding Sheila Fouchier’s share as we await receipt of her signed Consent and Release and/or instructions. We hope to receive those instructions in the near future, and will be in contact with you at that time.

If you require anything further, please do not hesitate to contact my assistant, Pat.

Yours truly,
******* ****** *******

This was brilliant news to start the day! Sheila is no longer given the upper hand on this whole situation and now, she’s only hurting herself with her own stupidity. The rest of us will be forwarded cheques for the residue of the estate. We will conceivably be able to pick up our files from the law offices and finally get closure to it all. Perhaps, we will now be able to put my mom to rest for real.

I sure do miss her.

Anyway, it’s about time for me to go and do my daily meditation. It’s working.

Disclaimer

This is my personal weblog. The thoughts and opinions represented here are mine and mine alone. They do not reflect those of my employers, associates or peers.

I am forever changing and always staying this same; a true living contradiction and as such, my thoughts and opinions change frequently. I may or may not still hold the same opinions noted in out-of-date posts.

By reading my blog, you agree to accept these realities as absolute truth.

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No matter where I am, I'm lost and learning to like it. I'm a living contradiction, and the best lies I tell are the ones I tell myself.

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