Saturday, September 29, 2007

Cathy & Michael

Cathy & Michael
Originally uploaded by LK's photospace
... At Web of Change. Meet my friend Michael.

Interesting that this conference has led to an increase in workload.

After a morning of episodes of Voyager, a nice long conversation with my sister in Calgary and wading through my bills, I'm starting to get back to the task at hand: writing up some stories from this conference.

But first there were a couple of interesting emails to respond to. It gets me thinking, but it's scary how much time this can eat up. Checking out various people's blogs. Looking up Flickr photos. Joining the Facebook communities and email discussions.

It's all a bit crazy.

Especially when it's such a nice day outside and I really want to get to Starbucks and start writing.

Amazing that this is so hard for me. I should have known: if I have to write, I never want to. So I have to get into the mindspace and remember why I WANT to write about this. Find the passion for it again, find the story that I want to tell.

How people are using technology to change the world. It's a dream that I want to be part of. But something I also feel a bit apprehensive about as I see so many people doing it so misguidedly. It makes me not want to make the same mistake.

And do we know how much I hate making mistakes? A lot.

And now to Starbucks and from there, Nuit Blanche.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


I have a serious talent for talking too much and giving too much personal information away, even in professional settings. I think it's a nervous habit. Weird. Why DO I do that? Thinking about it afterwards, I figure they were sitting there thinking, "Dear God, why is she telling me that? How awkward."

And then what do I do?
Blog about it.


I am not feeling well at all. The lack of sleep and stress of too-much-work-to-catch-up-on is, well, catching up with me. On top of that awesomeness, I've developed another of my killer migraines. These are good times to be sure.

I'm working on a project at work that I'm really excited about and another project that is wearing me down. Anyone have recommendations for me in how to perk back up to former post-conference motivation levels?

It all seems so easy when everyone is in the same mind-set as you are. And then you come back to the real world where people look at me like I'm on fire when I suggest that a status report includes a list of the tasks left to complete and the time required to complete them. Am I crazy?

I need a shot of positivity.

On the positive side, I have finally got an application for some help. I am desperate for this person to be amazing when I meet them so I can just hire them without thinking any further. So I can stop working late every day while still feeling like I'm not getting everything accomplished.

* * *
OK, Starbucks at my desk now. Banter with cute Starbucks boy accomplished. The day can begin anew...

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Home sweet home?

Originally uploaded by sarahfelicity
Seems so long ago that I was there in that session room at Hollyhock. But yes, I'm in there, paying rapt attention to the speaker. I believe that this was the session on Human-Centred Design. Oh, those were the times, I tell ya.

And today, when I dragged myself out of my warm bed much too late to be at work on time, I tried to convince myself that I could bring the conference state of mind to my day. On my bike ride through my neighbourhood, I tried to be present and aware. I smelled the too-sweet smell of honey and butter from the local baklava bakery. I looked at the gardens of flowers (trying not to curse that mine had dried out and died while I was away...)

I had my usual banter with my cute little Starbucks guy about my London fog and thought about how much I had missed him. It was sunny and warmer than the west coast. Quite beautiful, actually. And then the crap day started. I guess it was inevitable. Inspiration doesn't make the crap go away, it just makes you a little more immune to it... or sometimes, anyway.

At first I was cheerful. And suddenly I felt I was hanging on to my smile with desperation. Finally, I sat down in my chair and gave in to it.

At the end of my very long crap day in which I didn't manage to a single inspiring thing, I remembered what I had waiting for me at home: ST Voyager episodes.

And it carried me through to getting out of there and picking up my bike from the bike room. It carried me home through the darkness as I looked at the lights of the DVP from the Bloor-Danforth bridge and cars ripped by and even other cyclists were jerks to me.

It carried me until I checked my messages and got the one that had been waiting for me since I left on my holiday.

It was from my neighbour. He was calling because he wanted to know if he could use the driveway. There were relatives over, you see. There were many people visiting, in fact. They were over because his wife died last week. Passed while I was away. And he had just wanted to use my driveway and I wasn't here to say yes.

I felt so petty about begrudging my day. Because nothing really matters that much, does it?

I do love my neighbour. He is such a nice man. And his wife was so wonderful to me. And now she has given in to the lung cancer and he is probably alone with his yappy dog. Do I go knock on his door? What do I say? Do I give him space? Do I call him?

I remember the last time that his wife was away. I remember he lived on frozen dinners because he hates cooking. I think I will make him something. I will make him something and bring it over and tell him that I'm very sorry. And it won't be enough but it will be something, won't it?

Monday, September 24, 2007

Crybaby alert!

How cool was I today on the plane ride home Vancouver when Away From Her, the in-flight movie, played and I cried beside some guy I've only ever spoken to in order to get to the toilet?

Now, first: see previous email about having no sleep.
But, seriously, have you seen this movie?
It's pretty touching.

I mean, this old couple is so in love (the first tears welled up right there: just thinking about the deep, long-lasting love. That's when I realized I had to write about this because emotional-Cathy is really something sappy and funny when you're not in the middle of it, so I'm giggling about it now).

And then the wife, Fiona, develops Alzheimer’s and the progression of the disease is sad, for sure, but the really sad part is that she loves her husband, Grant, so much that she doesn't want to burden him with her care. She decides, while she still has her marbles, to self-check into some caring institution. He is resistant. Actual rolling-down-the-face tears came when she firmly asks him to leave, but only because it is so very hard for her to say goodbye. And you know that it's hard for her because it is so hard for him. OK, you get the whole love theme happening here? It's heartbreaking.

And once I start, pretty much anything sets me off.
Grant comes back to visit Fiona and she has forgotten him, predictably, but shockingly has found another boyfriend! But Grant continues to visit her every day, doggedly, even though she clearly feels uncomfortable with him there and prefers to spend all her time and compassion that she used to share with her husband on her new mate. And still he comes. Grant explains to a young kid who asks why he continues to visit and torture himself:

"To watch her. To make sure she's happy and OK."

Come on!
My throat is aching, trying not to sob.

And then this new mate leaves the hospital because his wife (yes, he too has a wife) can't afford to pay to keep him there.

Fiona is devastated. Her health goes downhill in grief over the loss of her loved one, the only one she can remember. And what does Grant do? Visits their house and tries to convince the wife to bring Fiona's lover back to the hospital.

Cry fest. Seriously. It was all over for me.
Every thought after that was just a huge wash of emotion that I couldn't contain so I had to distract myself by thinking about something totally mundane like how much laundry I needed to do when I got home and what I was going to wear tomorrow. My brain wasn't capable of any higher thought, to be honest.

But it was a beautiful movie about the selflessness of true love. Which of course led me to introspection on how selfish I am (I love how self-critical I can be -- I'm probably not that selfish, really) and how I'd like to fix that but wondering if it's just something that fixes itself when the situation is right. In truth, I suspect it is a little of both: it requires the right relationship as well as the right personal commitment to it and maybe a different understanding of the self compared to the whole.

Web of Change

I'm back from BC and the Web of Change conference and I am warning you now: I will likely talk about it, refer to it and generally make all the people who weren't there a little nauseous about it.

It's OK, you can sit there and roll your eyes. But I have a few things that I've been thinking about that I need to get out. I'll be coming out with them, I hope, over the next couple of days.

Some of the resolutions gained:

  • start yoga again
  • be a better project manager (and all the other strategic professionally-related boring stuff that will make my work-life better)
  • give myself time for reflection
  • savour my relationships and remember that I love making new ones
  • work towards my passion and keep them front of mind
  • more hugs
  • relearn scrabble ;)

There are lots of others that were going through my mind on the plane trip home, but since my overhead light didn't work, I couldn't write them down and I'm just going to have to hope that I remember them later.

OK, I'm working on about two hours of sleep -- that's what you get for making brilliant new connections and looking at the stars on beautiful islands during inspiring conferences. I don't regret a moment.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Granville Island, Part II

Granville Island Market
Originally uploaded by PoYang_博仰
After spending most of the day online, working (ugh, on a vacation?!), I managed to get on the bus and make my way through the pouring rain to Granville Island again.

When I was there with Steve and Heather, I decided I had to come back. And since most of the day had been lost and the rest of it looked quite sodden, I decided to skip the walks that I'd planned and head right for the market.

I went back to the shop where I'd seen some earrings I'd loved. Bought 'em. That, and a necklace. I love buying fun jewlery on vacation.

I met Heather for sushi dinner downtown. And then we went back to Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory and Caffe Artiggiano. Mm.

Now I've got to figure out how to get to the airport tomorrow morning. I'm off to Cortes Island's Hollyhock Centre. Should be interesting. Check out the conference: Web of Change.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Coffee Art in Vancouver

Coffee Art
Original photo by Veerle Pieters
Today Heather took the day off and we headed to downtown Vancouver. We had some seriously amazing coffee.

Caffe Artigiano.

New favourite.
Goodness. So yum. So rich. And all done with froth/crema art. Gorgeous AND the best coffee I've ever had, I think.

And it was a beautiful day in Vancouver, after it had promised to probably rain. Yay, thank you for not raining.

That said, I'm looking at the weather forecast for tomorrow and it's not looking great.

However, we did get to the art gallery today where we saw a really interesting exhibit by Andrea Zittel called Critical Space.

She's originally from California and got a call to do some sort of stint at an artist studio thing (yes, I know that's exact correct technical term) in Berlin. Turns out it was in a basement. So she did an experiment. She blocked out all references to time and lived there for a week to see what would happen. A time-indexed surveilance camera took footage which she later reviewed to create a colour-coded hour-by-hour artistic room-sized spreadsheet representation of her time-without-time.

What she discovered was that she was so afraid of not working enough that she worked too much. She found that indicators of time (clocks, the sun, etc) were actually preventing her from working more. Not in fact chaining her to her work at all.

Take a look at her website; she's done many other interesting explorations of time and space and how we live. She made her own felted clothing to wear to her job at a gallery... but she only had money to make one item every six months. So she wore the same "smock" for six months until she had money to make another uniform.

Six months in the same clothes. A jail sentance? Or freeing?

We also caught the gallery talk on the exhibit, where I learned quite a bit more than I had by just reading through the posted notes, collection of felt smocks and series of space-saving apartments-in-a-box. She seems a real cross-over between the disciplines of science, innovation and art. What, really, is the difference?

We had a nice lunch on the patio of the art gallery (including some pretty outstanding strawberry rhubarb pie). I actually remembered to take a photo, except I did forget to bring my camera cable with me so I can't actually upload them at the moment. Boo!

We did a little shopping. Stopped in at the Rocky Mountain Chocolate company and tried some dark chocolate espresso bomb... Oi. Who invented that? They were trying to kill me.

We went to Starbucks, of course. I got my london fog and read through parts of Lonely Planet Vancouver and decided on my course of action for my day alone tomorrow. Then it was home for some fantastic eggplant pizza. I really enjoyed my day with Heather. I don't get to spend enough time with her.

Now off to bed I go excited about what tomorrow holds in store!

Sunday, September 16, 2007


I arrived last night, late but managed to stay up late enough that I slept in sufficiently this morning and am now on Pacific Time.

I still work up early enough -- but 7am is pretty normal for me. And the baby had already woken up anyway. Heather slept in. But she got up before Steve took the dog for its haircut and brought us back Starbucks. As you may imagine, I have warmed to him very quickly. I even confessed that I loved him when he presented me with my london fog.

I'd never been to Granville Island before, so we headed there. And, after battling for a parking spot, probably got there around 1pm or so and stayed until about 4pm. Very cute place. Kind of reminds me of a Distillery District only with more stores. I even bought myself a little something at a cute shop. I wouldn't mind going back as we didn't get to all the stores. And we did eat some yummy blueberry pie. But I think I'd like to try their banana cream pie next...

We got invited for dinner to one of Steve's friends' house in West Vancouver, which is quite a chichi area, apparently. So we went there and I met his really nice friends and we had a lovely evening.

Now they're all in bed and I'm looking up options for tomorrow's kind of rainy weather. (And trying to solve some technical problems that I'm having with my work laptop...) But I'm fading fast.

Thursday, September 13, 2007


Sleeping Numbers
Originally uploaded by bovinemagnet
This is pretty much how I feel today: like I could lay my head down on my keyboard or desk and just fall asleep.

The stress hormones have been coursing through the body, keeping me awake. So, when I get home at 10pm I'm still raring to rip through that pile of laundry and start packing for my upcoming trip to BC.

Now, don't kid yourself: you know I'm not yet packed.

Nice try, but you know that's not how I roll. I'm a terrible packer. Could have something to do with last minuteness. But I did start at least.

And then some TV to try to get my brain to shut down. Several hours later, I guess I fell asleep. I thought I would sleep in... No such luck. So here I am all ready to work, early.

Ready for my Starbucks.


What kind of day is it when I'm not interested in eating chocolate?

Seriously, all I can think about it dark, rich bitter coffee. Oooh, I am craving it. Pots of it. Not for the caffeine, you understand. But the flavour.

I am meeting Sarah for a Film Festival flick tonight, meeting at the Indigo Starbucks. Maybe then I will get my chance. It is three hours away. Not sure that I can make it.

Also in the back of my mind: what to pack?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

blading fun

This weekend, I ended up heading out to my parents' place on Saturday night. Sunday, my mom and I went roller blading in Base Borden, an air force base near their home. It wasn't the sunniest day, so there weren't a lot of people on the trail.

But how nice is that, to have a great trail so close to home?

I am just loving the biking and blading this summer! I'm just really glad that I have a mom who likes to do stuff like that.

I remember when I didn't used to be so keen about outdoor sports and activity. And now I find it lifts my spirits so much just to be outside, moving around, enjoying nature, seeing new things, even sweating.

Click on the photo to see more roller blading photos in my Facebook account.

Sunday, September 09, 2007


Did I tell you I got a haircut? Well, I did. A couple of weeks ago.

It was one of those package deals that someone was selling on the street. An ad company selling discounted packages for a particular salon in the area.

I've done it before and got a fantastic deal on a suite of services, so I managed to convince my friend and colleague to do the same.

$50 for a haircut, some foil highlights, a manicure, pedicure and eyebrow threading. Seriously, does it get better than that?

I was a little afraid that it would suck, to be honest. But I've been looking for a hairdresser for some time now. Since I got curly hair. Over three years ago. And I haven't found anyone that I really like and would go back to.

Well, I think I've found it. I got a good haircut.

And a male colleague was standing over me this past week at my computer and said, "are those highlights new?"

I was shocked. When does a guy notice these things? Well, this guy does. He said they were nice. And I quite like them too. I haven't had highlights in probably over 8 years.

It's a nice change. Cute summer hair!
And a note to all those who avoid the guys on the street with their salon offers: they DO work.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Big news

Well, it's finally happened.

I'm using a permanent/reusable cup for my Starbucks beverage. This morning was my first time. My guy there was very proud of me. He's been bugging me to get a cup for months.

And then I found out that it's a tall (as opposed to my usual venti size).

I was heartbroken.

But then I realized that this will just save me money. And calories. So really, this is a positive turn of events.

Except that I kind of think it tastes a little metallic. Which gives me the shivers.

But on the positive side, it's staying hot for a very long time as I sip instead of gulp.

See? Positives on all sides!

Monday, September 03, 2007

Skate Brampton!

Well, I finally got out to Brampton to check out the trails around Professor's Lake, right around my friend Anita's place.

It was a gorgeous day and I loved that fact that I could take advantage of having a car for once. And I got to hang out with my friend, whom I don't get to see very often. And of course, I love the exercise. I so rarely get to skate with anyone!

Anyway, we stopped to chat around the pretty lake before heading back home. And JUST as we're leaving the park, down I go, scraping my elbow.

I think that's the first time I've ever hurt myself falling. DORK!

But it was all made better by going to Dairy Queen afterwards. Where I they messed up my order so I got two hot-fudge-and-pecan sundaes and also was taught a VERY strange lesson from a woman in line about what it means when you lick your spoon in public.

Let's ignore for a moment the fact that this was a totally inappropriate secret to share with a random stranger. Let's just focus instead on the fact that, sometimes, you just have to lick the hot fudge and ice cream off of your spoon.

Anyway, nice end to the long weekend.
Although I am NOT ready for the weekend to end.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Harry Potter, CHECK!

Well, it's finished.

I've been reading the last Harry Potter book for the past couple of weeks, a chapter or so every day that I could fit it in.

And today I had enough doing-nothing time to sit out in my backyard, enjoy the sunshine and read, read, read.

I finished it!

It was pretty exciting, although it did have some boring parts that could have been left out. And don't read this if you haven't read the book yet and want to be surprised. But it really ended exactly as I thought it would. Which is a bit annoying. I prefer surprises.

But anyway, now I'm done my book and I still have a day left of the long weekend. Which actually is not feeling the most festive or relaxing. But I'm determined to make tomorrow better.

I'm torn: there is lots of work to do on the house. It would put me outside, at least. But it wouldn't be very fun, exactly. But I might actually get to see Alex in between his comings and goings. Or I could just ride my bike somewhere and read a new book... or I could do something else exciting.

I had wanted to do something with the vehicle that I have at my disposal, since I so rarely have a car. But it just didn't turn out that way.

I have been aching for a road trip or a short vacation.

Happily, I may be making up for it in a week or so when I should be going to a conference in BC! Very excited about the prospect! I've been so very anxious lately, just feeling that I need to get away and my head cleared...

I'm so very sad that it's the last weekend of the summer.