Tuesday, January 5, 2010

New Year Letter

Dear Family and Friends, December 2009
Another year has flown by like the pages of a book left to the wind. It seems like yesterday I was just finishing my last Christmas letter to everyone and I realize that another year has flown by again. It’s time for another Christmas letter about what has happened in life over the last year or so and coming to a realization that I really needed to sit down and reflect on what I have done this year. I am sure that a lot has happened since we last talked in one way or another. I know that for me, there has been a lot of life experiences that I have learned willingly and not so willingly but isn’t that what life is all about?! I know that last year I talked a lot about it being the year of first’s but this year I have come to realize that I have had a lot less first’s then I had hoped to but as the years go by I hope to improve and continue to stretch myself in the hopes that it will make me a much stronger person. I feel that learning something new every year has been a really big challenge but a challenge that I am willing to fight for and keep it a priority in my life. I can say that this year firsts weren’t as good as last year but I did buy a computer for the first time by myself, I served a mini mission and, I drove a car for a week all over Manitoba without any mishaps. I have continued to work on my last year first’s with practicing my skiing skills, and continuing to learn about curling. I may not be so girly this year but I have made more of an effort to dress more professionally instead. This year has started out very challenging as I spent my 32nd birthday in bed with a high fever, flu like symptoms and bronchitis. I thought that my birthday was a bust and I hated that I spent my 32nd birthday in bed but thank heavens for kind friends who knew I really wanted to celebrate it in style and they throw me a surprised birthday party in February. Boy did they surprise me...... I don’t think I have ever been that speechless ever in my life. It was a small party but lots of fun and everyone dressed in Hawaiian attire. I am so grateful for friends that have supported me and encouraged me to be the best I can. I have felt that this year has been a year of challenges and they have really rallied around me when I needed them the most. Soon my February bled into June and I was rushing around to finish the year off with a flare. I had been given my continuous contract with the Catholic School Division in May 2008, which was a blessing this year as the Recession hit all walks of life in Alberta with less jobs and more challenges to find work and problems finding better employment. Last year I worked with a young lady in grade 9 with Down syndrome in Jean Forest Leadership Academy. This year I was hoping to continue with her to the feeder High school for Jean Forest Leadership Academy in the hopes that her transition to High school would be good but things don’t always turn out how we would like them. I didn’t get the job and I was really disappointed because I felt like I was just getting the hang of things with her, but isn’t that always the way it is when you feel that you have gotten a handle on things and it changes. I guess God loves me enough to challenge me. The summer started out promising but ended up with me visiting my doctor with serious health issues that where plaguing me continuously with extreme problems with my blood pressure and anxiety. I spent the first half of July in and out of the doctor’s office with one thing or another and then I boarded a plane the second half of July to Winnipeg in the hopes to attend a wedding of a close family friend in Neepawa. I also spent a lot of time driving my mother back and forth to things and visiting yet another doctor. If that wasn’t funny enough I was eventually hunted down by my Bishop in Edmonton in the hopes that I would be willing to serve a mini mission in Edmonton Alberta Mission because there was a sudden shortage of Sister Missionaries. It seems that one of the Sisters got sick and was sent home suddenly and the Bishop felt that I would be the perfect candidate to serve yet another mission. I have to admit that I wasn’t totally convinced of what he was asking me as I haven’t served a mission since 1999 and the whole Missionary program has changed since I have been in it but I felt that I would do whatever the Lord wanted me to do. So I boarded a plane home and 2 days later I was in the mission field serving a mini mission in a remote corner of Edmonton city center. My companion was Sister Evans and she was from Wyoming. She was a very kind, strong missionary who had the task of caring for her whole area of work and me. I can’t say it was easy; I certainly struggled to keep up with her. She humbled me and made me realize that I was grateful for the opportunity to have Christ’s name on my chest once again. I served with some trepidation but in the end I served to my very best ability and by the end of August I came back with my eyes opened to the work that the missionaries do for the church today. I am grateful for the opportunity to serve even for such a short time. I know that I have learned a lot and have certainly strengthened my testimony of the divinity of Jesus Christ’s mission on earth, the Restoration on the gospel in latter days, the blessings we have as members to be sealed to our families for time and all eternity and the love God has for his children. I am grateful for the opportunity the God has given me to learn more. I have certainly stretched and grown a lot this year and I am grateful for my many friends who have encouraged me to succeed even when they were facing challenges of their own that was beyond their own strength. I have certainly felt your prayers and I know that Heavenly Father will bless you for that. After my mini mission I had but a day to adjusted to civilian life before I was thrown back to work at Jean Forest Leadership Academy. This year has certainly been a challenge. I was given the assignment to work with multiple girls in grade 7, 8, and 9. It seems I am suppose to learn to be ok with change as I have spent most of my days never doing the same thing twice in a row. I may work with a grade 8er and then a grade 9er within the same day or even the same hour. Then on top of that I was assigned another Down’s girl in Grade 1 to work with on Friday’s. So my life is certainly not boring, just a little busy. I have found it hard to keep in touch with every one as I should, but I am trying to be better. I am certainly grateful all those that have continued to encourage me as I strive to improve. I really appreciate all those who have stood by me through thick and thin. I feel your prayers and well wishes and miss you all tons. I hope that as we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ and His divine mission here on earth that you have a joyous Christmas season, and best wishes for health and happiness in the New Year. May God bless you and keep you in the hallow of His hands.......until we meet again!
Lots of Love and Kisses,
Emily Shand
I am also hoping that this new year brings new and exciting things including my 33rd Birthday!

Friday, January 30, 2009

I am now Bunny Friendly

It all started on a trip to Snow Valley Ski Hill with my Jr. High class where they were all going skiing. My girl had a buddy that she was going skiing with because I don't ski. I've never skied in my life and have never had a lesson. I was grateful this buddy was there for her. It was fun to watch her go down because she was really excited. Then this buddy asked why I wasn't going skiing and I told him cause I've never gone skiing in my life. He said, well that shouldn't stop me from learning to ski and you're never too old to learn. One of my old Bishop's who owns a ski hill had tried to encourage me a number of times to go skiing with his wife and I have never taken him up on this offer so I thought what the heck. So I got sized up for boots and they gave me skis.
The problems is when I went up there, there was no one to teach me how to ski. So one of the girls was like, "Hey Miss Shand I'll show you how to ski.". She was trying to show me the pizza and I had no clue what the heck that was. I certainly wasn't good at making pizza's. I guess from ballet my feet turn outwards and not inwards and when I was coming down I was coming down too fast so I would try to put weight on one foot more than another and I'd start to veer off in one direction and I'd overcompensate and veer off in the other direction. By the time I made it down the hill, screaming the whole way cause I thought I was going to die down a bunny hill, I was so excited by the adrenaline rush that I was ready to go a few more times. The second time I went down I got down I got a little bit better. By the third time the buddy tried to teach me a few things and let's say I almost skied over him cause they never taught me how to stop. So with going down five times it was time go I felt like the champion of the world for going down just a bunny hill.

The opportunity to ski came again on my birthday and this time to Rabbit Hill Ski Resort, the one the Bishop owns. This time I decided I was actually going to get a lesson and learn how to do it properly. I stood in line forever because I didn't want to do it because the bunny hill looked like a lion hill and I didn't want to go because it scared the "poop" out of me. But I decided I was being ridiculous and I needed to buck up and go. So I went and actually found somebody who could teach me. So I spent a lot of my time going down the teaching hill and then they taught me how to go up the rope tow and more about the pizza. Then I started learning to weave in and out without possibly killing anyone else who was on the hill. By the time I finished my lesson I felt confident to take on the lion hill and I went down it 3 or 4 times. People who had never used the rope tow kept falling in front of me but I did it one last time and felt like a bigger champion of the world. I conquered the bigger bunny hill. I am now Bunny Friendly. Next time, up the real hill.

The hill on the left is the real hill and the hill on the right is my new bunny friendly hill.

David saw us taking pictures (he's the one waving in the above picture) and comes up to me and said "carry me" and jumped in my arms.

"Couple Time" & Drive by Jumpings

I was having a conversation with a friend of mine who was saying that she wanted to spend time with her guy friend and she called it "couple time". See, even now it makes me laugh. I don't know why it makes me laugh but when I think of couple time I actually think of couples going out and having time together, but I guess guys can be just friends and you can go and have time with them. Every time she talks about quote "couple time" unquote it makes me laugh. I think of couples going out and going on dates, not two friends who are guy and girl who are going out on a date but not dating. WEIRD. I don't even know what you would call that. Apparently it's "couple time". So random. I picture a guy and girl holding hands and when i start to picture my friend doing this with her guy friend it weirds me out and I just can't picture it. She doesn't think of him that way at all and same for him. Not that you can't go out with members of the opposite sex, but I think of it for couples and not just friends.

One day my friend and I were having a conversation about getting to that time of the month and getting really frisky and wanting to have a close relationship with certain guys. And of course I have to open my mouth and say "what you mean a drive by jumping, where you drive by and just jump him?". So every time I say that it makes her laugh. So when it gets to that time of the month and we're feeling frisky we talk about drive by jumpings. My friend was having a particularly rough time last month and we got talking about drive by jumpings. I told her that if I knew how to drive a stick shift I would have driven so she could just jump out and grab a guy on the street. She was so ready to go and even had the specific guy in mind. In fact, if she had known whether or not he was in town and which room in the house was his she would have stopped on her way home and gone up to his room. Now, that would have completely freaked him out, this friend of his going at him with wild animal lust, but, satisfied her.

Ever since then "couple time" and drive by jumpings have come into conversation, but not about the same guy. Every time we both laugh at them too. In fact, it's about that time for drive by jumpings again. I may have to go take care of that one.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Lions and Tigers and Bears Oh My!

One of my favourite places to go in the world is museums and zoo. Now most people view zoo's as a little juvenile but I love the animals in them. I spent the first year in Edmonton working in West Edmonton Mall working near and in the marine life. Even though I wasn't allowed to actually touch and work with the animals because I didn't have the animal science background I found the animals very calming. I was always curious about being a veterinarian but realized that medical school and many years after in school to learn to work with large animals would be very difficult, especially with the science portion, which was not an area I was particularly good with. Note to all those hunky guys out there, if someone wants to get on my good side, taking me to a zoo is ok, but be prepared to spend long hours there and taking lots of pictures. Barb learned this this hard way. We have been talking about going to the Calgary zoo for the last four or five months. We did make an outing to the Edmonton Valley Zoo, which brought me to the brink of anger. I found the conditions so detestable I wanted to rip some body's head off and serve it on a platter. The sea life in that area have no room to swim in let alone move. So when the opportunity to go to the Calgary Zoo came up this weekend I was very excited to go there with Barb.

I found the zoo really fun. There was lots of areas for the animals to move around. the structures of the buildings were unbelievable, especially in the African safari building where it looked like some of the buildings you would normally see in papa new guinea. The manhole covers alone caused me to want to pick them up and take them home. They looked like the wind, something that you would see on an old..... bottom line this is the anthropology side of me coming out. As for the animals, the highlight of the whole trip was when we went around the Siberian Tiger cages. On the side they had the door open with one of the tiger's there that they were playing with. We were allowed to go in and play tug of war with him. It's not very often you get to go in and view a tiger so close, let alone play with one. Besides that, the opportunity to see hippos close up was unbelievable. I had never seen a hippo that close but had heard about it. They are huge and seem quite docile when you see them in their habitat. I made Barb take a billion pictures, some of what she thought were stupid statues. I like them and found they said something about the zoo. I was always saying Yahoo and Barb kept saying, You're weird. We spent from 11:30 to 3:30 in the zoo. We ran around the last bit of the zoo because we were exhausted by the time we got there. The parts we had saved for last were the Canadian/Alberta wildlife areas anyway. It's stuff Barb has grown up seeing her whole life. We looked, we saw, we moved on to the next one. I really enjoyed it. I loved seeing the animals and the structures. I was sad the gorilla's weren't out. I was sad the sting ray area had been closed for construction and the conservatory with all the butterflies was no longer there with a new building under construction. All in all it was a great day and would love to go and do it again. NOTE: Barb doesn't like random dumb, or any facts. So don't comment on facts to her, it drives her batty (and we saw a lot of those). I am totally about the facts and the animals and their habitat and where they come from.

Maybe I should have become a veterinarian LOL!!

P.S. Lucky Min made the car trip with us. What a Lucky Panda!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Do they really think we're that stupid???

Welcome to the silent partner of the sisterhood of the travelling panda. Every once in a while you find on this blog me getting up on a soap box talking about something I find important and/or irritating and tonight is a good example of it. Do guys really thing that we're that stupid. Where do I even begin to start? Well, it began as we sat as panda lovers to a bowl of rice discussing the best way to handle situations that have come into our lives, when one of the sisters showed us a text that just made my blood boil. When you ask a guy to leave you alone and not contact you again and he texts you 3 days later...... and not only does he text you but he's trying to weasel his way back into your life with it. As a group we decide the best thing to do was to text him back and let him know he was exactly how people said he was and yes the friendship was missed. Then he actually responds and not only responds but argues about what people have said about him when the fact that he texted in the first place shows that everyone was right about him. In fact the second text made it sound like it was our sister's misconception and that things didn't work out between them and "it happens". I almost went off the deep end. It made me realize that first of all we had hit a sore spot with this person because he was defensive. Second, he shouldn't treat our sister like that and third why is he contacting her at all other than to be exactly what everyone says he is.

Bottom line, it came down to me being really angry and making the comment about that this year had been the year of two dick and an ass, not really meaning it to come out that way but it is that way with two dicks and an ass. The questions I have for you, do guys really think we're that stupid? Do they think that they can woo a young lady, yet on the other hand have another young lady in there pockets and think it's OK that as long as they don't meet or know about each other that it will be all right? It makes me wonder what is the world coming to that there's so many dicks out there that a girl can't get a break. Obviously "it happens"!! No wonder there's so many single women in the world. My heart goes out to any girl who stuck with a dick like that. This concludes the ass portion of the story.

Now on to Dick, who I'm sure is a lovely man deep down inside somewhere, but I find him offensive, lewd, angry, insulting, demeaning to women. I want to rip his nuts off and stick them up his nostril hairs, and yet we are taught as members of the church to be kind and loving to our enemies, not that I think of him as an enemy but he certainly is a boy toy that none of us want or should have in our life at all. Until this dick gets his life in order and starts treating ladies the way the should be treated, even if they are just friends, he'll die and old shrivelled man alone......it happens. I really don't get guys, do they really think that we don't talk to each other?

Thanks for flying the Silent Panda United Air of disgruntled females. I will be back on my soap box when the next occasion calls for it, which shouldn't be too long with the number of dicks and asses in the world. Until then this is the Silent Panda saying good night.