Television and North America Ruin Weddings

In the last 3 years I have been involved in three weddings, including my own. Being directly involved in two of them, I have come to see the ugly weeds that can sprout quickly and viciously in the midst of a beautiful thing.

My best friend was engaged first, in May of 2011, to her common-law boyfriend of 5 years, and I was very happy for her since it was something she’d always wanted. She’d asked me to be her maid of honor, for which I was initially excited, then realized all the responsibility that came with the title. (I got married just over a month before her so I ended up being the matron of honor.)

Then ensued all the “wedding shopping” for which it was my “responsibility” to attend. All of it. She just got married July 27, 2013 (over a week ago) and in that 2.3 years I attended two Bridal Fantasy fairs, and multiple dress shops, and however many fittings, you name it. Bridal Fantasy for me was just a lavish, over-the-top poster of what a North American wedding should look like. Limos, limo-buses, high-end $1200 DJ’s with smoke machines, expensive macaroons, and plastic looking cakes (that when sampled certainly tasted that way). Booths with wedding table settings and centerpieces created out of what looked like half a tree and draped with everything glitter and diamonds. Walking out of that place I was only left with the thought of “how can anyone even afford a wedding when these are the expectations?”

When you google the average cost of a wedding in North America, $26,000 is the number that appears!! No wonder many people live common-law with the way cost of living has gone up coupled with the expectation that you’re going to need between $19,000 and $32,000 in order to have “the perfect day”. And that number does not include the honeymoon.

My second beef with weddings in our country is how we tell brides they are allowed to act. Not directly, but through media, celebrity weddings, and television shows that are all about overspending, air-headed, snotty bridezilla’s. Constantly you hear brides are told “Honey, this is YOUR day” and “Today is about you” which leaves pedesteled brides resorting to the generally tearful phrase “but this is supposed to be about me!”…which frankly is a poor albeit selfish way of dealing with the bride not getting her way.

Pardon me, but it does read in Psalm 118:24 “This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it.” It doesn’t say this is the day the Lord made FOR YOU. It also says in Psalm 24:1 “The earth is the Lord’s, and all it’s fullness. The world and those who dwell therein.”
We are so easily bombarded by the world’s ideas that somehow you are OWED the day of your wedding (and those leading up to it) and everyone must wait on you hand and foot. Some brides seem to think that their friends lives should stop and come second to the brides wedding. When I requested to my best friend if I could please do my own hair for her wedding to save $100 (after I’d already spent $1000 to be in her wedding), she told me the other bridesmaids had also dropped out of their expensive hair appointments. Then she said “everyone had two years to plan for this.”

Come on, lady. I love you to death, but why turn to absurd statements like that.

She did pretty well for a bride under much stress. A few points throughout the day before and the day of the wedding she did have a few snapping moments, which when addressed, she would say “I’m allowed my one bridezilla moment.”

Now, I’m not blaming her for any of this. Truthfully, I have sat and watched TLC for hours, all the wedding shows they have available. From Rich Bride, Poor Bride to Say Yes to the Dress, and even Bridezillas. The attitude and actions of most brides on these shows is atrocious, and that’s an understatement. How can you tell a bride to be nicer when she’s been shown time after time this type of behavior is allowed and even excused for?

Where is there posts on the internet and magazines that talk about being a UNDERSTANDING, GRATEFUL, and KIND bride, one who carries herself with grace and is humble before others and before the Lord? Well certainly being a beautiful bride from the INSIDE and out does not make good television.

I was humbled by my own family and friends at my wedding about seven weeks ago. My grandfather fell ill 9 days before the wedding, while I was out of town at work. I came back 4 days before the wedding, and my whole family was constantly at the hospital, leaving me to do almost all of the leg work myself. My husband tells me that the only thing I complained about when I called him sobbing at night those 3 days was NOT that no one was helping me or that there wasn’t time to get the ceremony programs done, but that I did not have the time to stay all day long with my grandpa, only a few hours here or there.

He died the morning before the wedding while I was at the spa getting a body polish and my gel nails.

My mom and her side of the family (three boys, two girls) were all making the food for my wedding, and in the midst of everything they lost their father, and still gave to me and my husband from the bottom of their hearts.

Our wedding was on Father’s Day and there was no room for selfishness or pride. How could there be when there was so much love, which is SO much more important than if the centerpieces look perfect.

During the signing of our marriage license, we played “Nothing Compares” by Third Day. “Nothing compares to the greatness of knowing you, Lord”. Not even a wedding day compares to the joy and the love we will experience when we get to be with Jesus.

And I hope more brides focus on this instead.


West Coast Trail: Day 2

Day 2: Thrasher Cove -> Cullite Cove = 12 KM

Unrecommended journey. In fact, as I write two weeks after the day, I struggle remembering it. That post-traumatic stress you know…it makes you forget things.

We left Thrasher Cove early that morning after a somewhat sleepless night for myself. I had to get up at 3 am and pee in the dark of the beach, 15 steps away from the tent, wildly swivelling my head with my headlight clenched in my teeth. Watching too many horror movies will do this to you.

7:50 am we left onto the beach in an attempt to reach Owen’s Point before the tide was too high to visit the caves. From what I remember we walked on some beach shelf which was my favorite. Small tidal pools everywhere, filled with anemones, barnacles, snails, hermit crabs, and small fish. I can’t remember what came first, the balancing and hiking across hundreds of gigantic beached and sun-bleached trees, or the boulders. I fell behind quickly, as I tried to choose my footholds wisely, and the one pole I was using probably saved my life a couple times. I’m kind of a slow-poke when it comes to hiking, but with a residual of about 65 km ahead of me, I wasn’t about to rush. Besides, a guy I talked to in the summer hiked this trail and witnessed a guy breaking his leg on the boulders. That ain’t happening to me, nuh uh. Any attempt to keep up with my friends resulted in many slips, ankle twisting, and balance problems; my backpack was as big as me!

We weren’t sure what our hiking plan would be for the day, but our tentative goal for the day was to make it to Camper Creek and re-evaluate from there. Once again, with a slow pace I stayed at the back, as this day was much harder than the day before. Once we passed the beached trees and the boulders, we arrived finally at Owen’s Point. It was beautiful, and made for some good pictures. We explored the caves just bit, but the tide had started to come back and we weren’t able to go around the point. The only choice was up the rocky point via some knotted ropes left there by past hikers (NOT Parks Canada).

After Bonnie climbed up and took our backpacks, hauling them up with the rope, we climbed up after. Oh and don’t look down please. We came back down on the beach for a bit and walked on what looked like the surface of the moon. Pocketed rock everywhere. Erika stayed up top by the trees to check out a possible crossing while Bonnie and I walked below. There was a steep and VERY shiny looking ramp of rock that ended in boulders below. Erika read the sign posted. “This says DANGEROUS SLOPE: DO NOT CROSS” she called. “Oh,” I said, and after a long pause “you gonna do it?”. Word to the wise, never jokingly dare your friends, especially if they are a mother of four. She got three steps over the slope, and was holding onto a tree for dear life, precariously sitting half on her side. Long story short Bonnie dropped her pack and went up to help her across. Nothing like a little life-and-death experience to wake you up in the morning. We ate lunch at the Beach Access in the forest. The power bar and beef jerky left my jaw sore and tired. Bonnie went for a walk for a little while down to the beach, and came back saying “look who I found!”.The three husbands had crossed the beach all the way to the impassable surge channel, so she “redirected” them to the beach access. The whole morning we had been passing people who were saying Camper Creek was crowded and not as nice as Cullite, a campground four kilometres further. Apparently it was a two and a half hour hike, which doesn’t sound so bad, in theory, and when you’ve heard it at the beginning of the morning. After almost six hours of ladders, roots, and whatnot, we finally got to the Camper Creek campground, and it was beautiful. My only complaint is that it was covered in those river rocks, so every step you take is at risk to your ankles. While my friends discussed somewhere by the trees, I napped at the creek, exhausted. It was 2:30pm and the ole hip was hurting. Here, I don’t enjoy the view of a beautiful place…I sleep in it!

At one point while I napped I heard splashing, cracked open an eye to see a naked woman bathing in the creek. Ok, that’s weird, I thought, and continued to nap. The three husbands were staying here the night, and it would be the only night the entire trip we wouldn’t see them. The bad news walked over in the form of Bonnie, who said this campground was too crowded and if Cullite is only two and a half hours later then it would be a better bet. Oh, if ONLY it had been two and half hours.

 Four and half hours later, I was wondering how my body even hiked a 10-11 hour day through some of the biggest ladders I’ve ever climbed, pack or no pack. I got so tired at the ladders going up and down into Cullite that I started categorizing them by how many times I’d have to stop on the way up.

“Oh man…this is a three-break ladder guys.” A happy camper that day I was not.

 At last, at 7:15pm we were rolling, er, limping into Cullite. It was pretty…but we didn’t get to see much of it that night since the sun was setting by the time we got there. There were quite a few people in that campground. A crazy German guy, who was reminiscent of this guy Klaus I once worked with, invited us to this fire he was building for everyone. My quads were dying, and squatting or bending down was torture.  After set up, and a delicious Chicken Vindaloo, we made tea and joined the people at the fire. We met a group of four Canadian girls travelling south to north as we were, two of them were archaeologists, one a kayak instructor, and the other was comic relief I think. There were also two Swiss couples, but only one of them was going our way. Roland and Ursula were fit, but the Canadian girls leaked to us that on the ladders, Ursula was so tired that her husband would climb the ladder, drop his pack off at the top, come down, take hers, and take it to the top. And many ladders were done like that. Unreal! Good husband.

Sleeping was much better the second night, partly from utter exhaustion, but it was comforting that we were in the company of so many people. NO BLISTERS YET!

Day 3 tomorrow…


Cleaning and Cheating

It seems I enjoy both.

Since finishing practicum, and after winning a few days of work, I have been poorer than I know what to do with, and eating more than my jeans bandwidth…
My closet was a mess, and so was my truck, I still had blonde hair, I guess I was stuck.
I looked at the house, then at the scale, I`ll kill two with one stone, therefore I can`t fail!
First the closet, then the clothes, bottles to deposit, then who knows!

Alright I`m done the Doctor Seuss lines, onward men! I DID in fact change my hair back to dark brown, and it was instantaneous relief. Why I had done it in the first place, I don’t know, but my hair is not it’s luscious liking anymore, still fried at the ends :(..but the color! it is just right 🙂 I’ve been cleaning the closet, and got rid of so much! I cleaned the house a bit for mom, and even touched on the backyard (and mom, if you’re reading this…I have no idea what else to do with the sandbox). Ahh, now we can relax, and study a bit before school next week.
Did I mention I’m doing the Master Cleanse? Look it up. For ten days all I drink is fresh squeezed lemon, maple syrup, and cayenne pepper. Wait, I know what you’re thinking. “But Sierra! That’s not healthy! You SURELY must eat SOMETHING?”. Nope, no I don’t. I drink 6-12 glasses of that (about every hour) for the next ten days. Today is Day 4, but I cheated last night 😦
My dad and my brothers came home, and their favorite awful eating habit showed up at the door in the hand of a delivery man. I ran from the house in terror. I could not bear the smell of it. It had been three whole days since I had any kind of food. I took refuge at a friends house only to find that pizza followed me there too. Sigh. I caved. I fell in the fight last night and had a couple pieces, but it disappointed me. It was not all it promised to be. The smell told me it would taste better than that lemonade I go home to every night. The lemonade that has not failed me yet. Nobody will ever know except you and I, and what you don’t know can’t hurt you, it beckoned me. It knew all the right things to say. Oh, but though my eyes (and stomach) coveted the pizza, it was not my true and faithful. It only left me feeling fat, and dirty inside. A true love would never do that.
But I’m right back at it today, and determined not to let this get me. Harp all you want, I have never felt better while I am cleansing!

Speaking of which…I’m gonna go make some of that spicy lemonade. Mexico’s coming baby.


Life in a Uniform

The last five-six weeks have been a revelation of sorts. I started my ambulance practicum in a small town a few hours northeast of Edmonton, doing 24 hour shifts 4 on/4 off. Was I excited? If by ‘excited’ you mean I stressed myself out to the point of stomach aches, indigestion, acne, and insomnia…then indeed, was I ever excited.

I showed up at the hall the night before it started, met a couple of the medics and tried my best to sleep, but of course the insomnia wins again. I spent most of my first day pretty quiet (true story), met my preceptor, a 6’4″ guy my age, VERY nice and respectable. My first call with them was for a guy with incopacitating back pain. I was vibrating with anxiety, but somehow I managed to take an accurate blood pressure (be thankful for the small things, right?) and keep my wits about me on the call. After that, basically learned everything there was to know on a ambulance call.

After 5 tours (480 hours), I have come through with some fantastic calls, worked with some of the most patient staff in the field, and gained so much knowledge about people, the career, and the health care system.

As well as the fantastic calls, there have been strange ones, and funny ones. I have some examples from my favorite moments on calls, or in the ambulance…

The very first call they made me run was at 10pm at night, and my patient was a Hep C AND HIV positive, 6’7″ 300 lbs black (african-american? mmm not sure how to word that) guy in a jail cell. The RCMP opened the cell, and he immediately started cursing and swearing at me (and I’m so little for crying out loud!). I looked back at the paramedic, who motioned to me “ok, have at ‘er”. Gulp. He actually calmed down once I started talking to him, but as if nobody would be intimidated in that situation!

Then trying to do an IV in a patient while driving on a gravel road, who was going through alcohol withdrawals, he jumped when I tried to stick the needle in his hand (huge pansy) and so I nicked the vein, and blew through it. Sigh. His fault not mine. I put a bandage on it and put an IV with much less fuss in his other arm. When he tell me the first hand feels wet, I tell him he’s just imagining it, but I look down and what do you know…he has bled all over my pants and my boot. Patience, Sierra…remember to have patience.

The most disappointing thing I learned on the service is that no matter who your patient is, white, black, native, young, old…EVERYBODY LIES. Everybody’s only had one drink. Nobody has ever done drugs. Everybody always walks 25 km out of town to get home when they’ve been drinking (when really, they’ve rolled their car in a ditch a kilometer away, and think I don’t know what a seatbelt blemish looks like on their chest. Ya, ok buddy, I believe you.)

Funny story about THAT guy. Despite him lying, we spine-boarded him as a precaution, and loaded him into the ambulance, and started heading down the gravel road to town. A RCMP officer jumped into the back as well, behind the guy, in case he confessed about his car. Now, I had not practiced doing IV’s in a moving vehicle yet. Needless to say I was so nervous trying to start one on the guy with my preceptor AND a cop watching me. I poked him three times and couldn’t even start one! Frustration!! Well, once we wheeled him into the hospital, he confessed to drinking and driving. The cop was waiting in the hall with me and leaned over….

COP: “Psst..”
ME: “What’s up…?”
COP: “You know what my favorite part was? The part where you poked him…and then…you poked him again…and then you poked him again..”
COP: “No…I’m just saying…some of them need to be ‘poked’ a few times if you know what I mean…”


I think I’m gonna like this field 😉


It’s the Little Things in Life


Mmm! A spoonful of delicious, forbidden granola from the palace of the worksite. I’ve been there. It’s like a prison. The men call it Auschwitz, but it’s formally known as the “lodge”.
If you like the luxuries but you mind not having friends, this place is for you. There’s a mudman who works for the rigs I befriended. He smuggled two bags of the granola out of there. He’s pretty much my dealer for granola and Starbucks tea.

It’s truly the little things in life you come to treasure and appreciate here.
One of them being a toilet. Imagine having to go to the bathroom outside, whip your pants down, and pee before someone drives by. You learn tricks though. You come to learn how to pee in a bucket in the back of an MTC and when you discover that, it definitely FEELS like a luxury. There’s technique to be learned though. It only takes urinating on the seat of your own pants once and having to sit in it the rest of the day to teach you to make sure they are out of the way!
And going number 2? There is no woman who can take a graceful sh*t in the woods. After a long hike, it’s a “stop, squat, and plop”. And then you bury it like an animal, but with your eyes closed pretending it never happened. No, it was not that color, and no it did not just smell like that.

The worst part? You get into the habit of peeing outside your car door like its a normal thing. The first time in the city when you feel the urge and reach for the door handle, you realize you must make it to a bathroom. Quickly. How did you ever hold it long enough before? The memory eludes you, and you pee shamelessly in the darkness of the Calgary Zoo Parking lot anyways.

The end.