Saturday, February 28, 2009


Originally uploaded by tricky ™
Perspective. It's so underrated.

I've been a bit inundated in the past little while with nudges of it.

Kat wrote a blog that puts perspective on life in terms of looking into the future and realizing how different it can be from the present. But she also reminds me that "difficult" means different things to different people. The house problems that make me boil are a luxury compared to the health and the general quality of life of your child.

My roommate returned home this morning from her trip to South America. Refreshed and excited about her trip, she talked about how, especially in Bolivia, people have nothing. And yet they are so inviting and friendly. A reminder of how little one needs in life. That happiness is a state of being, not a state of adequate consumption.

But this is not all her trip brings into perspective. Returning to work after a long vacation is tough, especially when others in your group are on around-the-world adventures and this two-week stint was to them a very small piece of a year-long journey. In some cases, it was an even smaller part of an entire way of life: working just to finance their exploration of the world, culture and themselves.

I also attended a free documentary screening that showed me how the work that I'm doing every day fits into the general massive change of society. The general opening-up of everything. The implications are huge and we are only beginning to see what can be achieved. It will get better... and worse. And it's exciting to be a part of it. It makes me feel a new responsibility for being better at it. But secure that it will happen even without me.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Is this what it feels like?

It's funny how things can change so quickly.

My weekend started out so crappy - getting frustrated with all the crap going on with the house. Of course, it all gets compounded by the stress that is my professional life as well.

But then I started to do something about it. I called. I left messages. It made me feel like I was doing something about it at the very least. And then I went upstairs and finished the final bits of my flooring upstairs. There was a moment there when I just stood in the middle of that room with my hands on my hips and felt powerful.

And then my boyfriend came over and he asked me if I wanted to go for a walk.

I don't know if you know, but I love walking. And he doesn't like the cold. So this was a big deal. We walked down to Queen St. East and just browsed. Gordon bought me lovely chocolates (and himself bad coffee) from Ambiance and a wonderful chocolate hazelnut tart from this amazing, cute pastry shop near me and then we ducked into a few gourmet shops and local joints to pick up dinner items, including Chino Loco. We just walked and gawked and held hands and had a wonderful time.

Then we got home and cooked together, making a wonderful meal and he did the dishes and mopped the floor and I think I'm going to have to marry him soon because he also made my bed two days in a row. Seriously, I'm not making this up.

I have been having moments lately of such intense, overwhelming appreciation for Gordon. I know he will read this and I know he will like it, but that's not what this is about. This is about change.

This is about going from the depths of frustration about my house to satisfaction in the space of a day - partly because of my own toil and partly because my contractor did come over, fixed one thing and promised to return today (which he also did) to do more work.

This is about my recent performance review at work when I considered exactly how much things had changed since last year. And how much I'd accomplished. And how much my stress decreased when I discovered that my bosses think I'm doing a good job.

And it's about everything that bugs me from time to time, all the things I want to accomplish and worry that I'm not doing: it all either passes or happens or wasn't important anyway. Everything just... changes. You go on that trip, you finish that project, you save that money. Or you decide you don't really want to go there, that task was silly, or you can do without that item. Even fears about marriage can turn into confidence that a strong partnership can figure it out... whatever "it" is.

It's a calming thought.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Getting frustrated

Originally uploaded by purpleslog
I'm pretty mild-mannered.

I generally want everyone to get along and people to be happy. I don't cause much of a fuss, really. Even when things go wrong. I try to roll with it and figure out what to do next to fix it instead of pointing the finger for blame. Because pointing makes people feel bad. And I don't like people to feel bad.

But how often can "things" happen before you start to get frustrated and start to fight back?

Before you start pointing fingers and naming names?

  1. MasterCraftsman - I hadn't read about these guys before I had them quote on refinishing some furniture for me. Tired and stressed, I had them take it away to start on the project. That night, I woke up in the middle of the night, convinced that it was the wrong decision. I changed my mind -- I didn't have the money to do what they were going to do. Then I looked them up and realized I had to stop the project. I called. They said OK, they'd get me the furniture back. THREE MONTHS LATER I'M STILL WAITING. After numerous phone calls and voice mails and complaints. Three months. Are they holding my furniture ransom? Do I start calling the police?

  2. FutureShop - I bought my fridge on sale way back. Was it November? Anyway, their first attempted delivery, my contractor decided not to be there, though he SAID he would. I told him to call to arrange for the next delivery. He didn't. Fine. So I arranged for the next delivery. They didn't show up. No call, nothing. Just no show. I call them the next day and they weren't at all apologetic, but set up another delivery time for me. I asked for the next available 5-8pm delivery time. They gave me a date. Then I get a call at 1pm on that date saying that there was no one there to receive the delivery. First, where was my contractor? Second, why were they delivering THEN? They'd scheduled the wrong time. So I rescheduled delivery, got the fridge in and I verified the working order of the fridge before the guys left. Then I saw them: gouges in my floor from the fridge. I call immediately. They say they send an email to the delivery company and I'll hear back in two days. Nothing. I finally call and get another email sent. I wait. Nothing. It's now a MONTH after delivery. After another promised status phone call completely missed, I called this a.m. and Frank is bringing this up the chain of command and calling me Tuesday to report.

  3. Rogers took a MONTH to figure out how to give me internet access. A month and two home visits, four hour-long phone calls and several missed deliverables later, I do have internet access. But NO break on cost at all. No apologies, no perks, nothing at all. First chance I get, I will leave them after being a fantastic loyal customer. I hate them now. Congratulations.

  4. Should I talk about my house renovations and how a three-week project turned into a four-MONTH project? I've mentioned a few things already, but have I mentioned that my washing machine has done leak damage to my basement floor? And that, since not being able to figure out the leak problem, my contractor hasn't been back in my house to do anything whatsoever? I have an HVAC duct that just came undone, fell off, and is just sitting there loose. I have unfinished all sorts of things.I have shoddily-done things.

I wonder how these things happen. Am I too nice? By focussing on solutions and trying NOT to get mad, do people think that they can just do whatever to me? Forget about me, ignore me?

I think it's fair to point the finger at them and tell them that they've disappointed me. I do my best to stay on top of things even though I have stresses and pressures in all corners.

I almost cried last weekend, frustrated. I just want someone to help me: someone to do something without me watching and making sure they're actually doing it. Someone to follow up with me, tell me what's going on if there's nothing else they can do. Someone to take care of a task, even a small one, so I don't have to cram yet another thing into my skull or add it to my ridiculous bulging list.
check list
Check list
Originally uploaded by Great Beyond

Sometimes life gets overwhelming and I want to handle it, knowing that it could be worse and sometimes it doesn't work out. Sometimes I need to shut down.

And now I need to shut up, stop feeling sorry for myself and just focus on a task and just get 'er done. Right now, I just need something to strike off my list.
  1. Take migraine meds - check
  2. Make London Fog - check
  3. Watch Heroes on internet - check
  4. Call FutureShop - check
  5. Call Mastercraft - check (vm)
  6. Call contractor - check (vm)
  7. Take shower once confirmed hot water working - wasn't earlier
  8. Get dressed
  9. Finish up flooring in back room while it's still light out, before boyfriend comes over.
  10. Clean main floor and make it livable with furniture.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Valentines and all that

Via Rail Train
Originally uploaded by Bradley Woods
I'm not really big on Valentine's Day.

Last year, I was on vacation for the big V-Day and it would have passed uneventfully except my boyfriend, who was told not to do anything, sent flowers and a gift to my hotel room.

Which was really very nice.

But it really did wreck it for him forevermore. This year we went out for dinner at The Real Jerk, which was OK. Honestly, I just wanted to get some stuff from the grocery store, cook and stay in. A friend told me today that he and his wife stayed in and ate a vat of ice cream.

I should have insisted on staying in and eating all manner of crap: ice cream, cheesecake, perhaps some chips or popcorn, and hot cocoa. That, and a big bubble bath.

This is my dream for the perfect day that is for me. I don't want any presents. I don't care about a card. Unless he made me a silly card from scratch maybe. That would be OK.

But the slothfulness of it all. The decadence. Most boys really don't GET it.

It's OK, though, because I don't care a whole lot about the so-called holiday anyway. The rest of my weekend was pretty good. The best part? When I MADE myself authentic London Fogs at home. It was divine. I didn't have to go out into the cold. I drank a pot of it while reading my Canadian House and Home on my newly-uncovered couch. Divine. And silent.

And then I got to work with some more unpacking and cleaning and laundering and finishing up some flooring. I got stuff accomplished. Which, if you know me, you'll know is VERY important to me.

I had so much more on my list, but I at least got half of it done. And I'll be antsy about the other half until next weekend when I again don't get it all done.

Instead, I went to the bf's family's house and hung out there. It meant I got a lot of time to read and hang out and talk and think about having children (scary) and got my haircut (finally -- last time I had my haircut was August). We went for a really nice walk and ate well and everyone was really nice to me. And I was thinking how nice it is to really really like your boyfriend.

We took the train home. I can't remember the last time I took Via Rail. It was kind of fun. Again, I got to read quite a bit, and I'm really liking my book. And I got to try out my new free camera although I'm too lazy to download/upload the photos right now.

All in all, it was a lovely weekend.

OH and I also managed to read my friend Kat's blog about why she blogs. It's really good. She's a good writer: the kind that would make me jealous if I begrudged anyone their talent. I think you should read it and I think you should then vote for her to win over at Mabel's Labels so that she can win the contest to send her to Chicogo's BlogHer conference. Vote now and vote on multiple computers or browsers if you can. She deserves it.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Say g'bye to vacation

It happens.
You return from vacation and you have to go back to work.

Everyone knows this.

But sometimes I guess you hope you can hang on the vacation feeling. The shoulders that have scraped themselves away from the bottom of your earlobes. The unfettered sleep. The openness of the mind. The absence of seering pain in that spot between your shoulder blades and neck.

And then it happens. 800+ emails to respond to or DO something about. The phone calls. The items that you'd put on a list for someone else to do that they either screwed up or didn't do. The follow-ups from when no one got back to you. The to-do list you left for yourself.

And then there's the general day-to-day stuff. And the weird someone-wants-to-choose-right-now-to-be-a-pain moments that you have to deal with -- put on those kid gloves.

Today I resolved many personal items that were overdue: house insurance problems, paid bills, followed up to see if anyone was doing anything about the gashes in my floors caused by the fridge delivery guys, and with the furniture guy who's holding my dining set hostage, read the email from my contractor who hasn't been able to do anything since I left on vacation (and decided to cool down before responding). But all at the expense of not leaving my desk for lunch.

And I'm sure I did lots of really productive stuff at work... but barely put a dent in the stuff that has to be done.

On the good side, I did manage to make a lovely dinner of Asian soups with Gordon. We're discovering that we like to cook together. And I read a diary entry from about a year ago (we figured that we've been dating a year and a quarter now!) and smiled as I read about our honeymoon period and realized that it hasn't really changed since then.

I guess there's always the good stuff to focus on.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Musings on a vacation

We're back from Ski Vacation 2009.

We skiied two days in Fernie, two days in Panorama and a day in Lake Louise. Check me out ripping it up here at Panorama.

We had some great accommodations this time: usually we go cheap, this time we went for comfort and got cheap anyway. They were all under $30/ea/nt. Yes, we're Dutch.

We managed to do a great trip even with injuries and a teething 10-month-old. Shocking, but true. The conditions weren't the greatest. Fernie was very icy the first day and a little better the second day. Panorama -- which we'd never been to before -- was very icy both days but softened up towards the afternoon. It had a bunch of well-groomed runs, though, so we were able to go pretty fast and we found a lot of vip-vaps (AKA jumps) to keep us entertained.

We tried to ski Kicking Horse where the conditions sounded promising, but when we got up in the morning, we couldn't see across the street, never mind the hill. And then the hydro went out in the whole town. Well, we decided it was probably best to drive the hour to Lake Louise instead. There, the conditions were also icy with some bare spots, just like Fernie and Panorama. But we found some snow and vip-vaps on the back side and I managed to do some moguls. Fun!

By the time we were done, I was DONE. Exhausted. I'd done four and a half days of skiing with one rest day. Good times!

We stopped for dinner in Canmore before driving back to Calgary. We exited the restaurant to be greeted by a ginormous dump of snow. It just kept dumping all the way back to Calgary. Just great. Imagine the pow the next day on the hills. Sadly, we had a flight to catch so we just had to slog through the crappy road conditions without being able to enjoy the mad pow.

Boo. Just our luck.

But it was a good trip, all in all. Click here for more trip photos >>

Sunday, February 01, 2009


Day one of skiing was awesome.

We're at Fernie in BC -- all 8 of us -- staying for my first time ever on the hill! This is such a treat.

You've got to understand -- previous ski vacations involve us trying to spend as little as possible so we stay at places that smell or that require you to turn off the heat if you want to use the kettle.

This time, there are 2 bedrooms, 5 beds and a pull-out couch. There is a full kitchen. It's ridiculous how decadent this is.

I've just eaten a fantastic spagetti dinner and posted our pics on Picasa (using our free wifi, no less). I'm about to draw myself a bath, hoping that my back won't feel quite so bad by tomorrow morning when we do this all again.

The conditions are a little icy (a lot icy, I'll be honest) but at least the weather is good. Fernie has a history of serving us up crappy weather (rain) every time we come.

I'm pretty proud of myself for keeping up with everyone even though I hadn't been on skiis at all this year before heading out. Yay for me. And I felt pretty good until the end of the day when my back started hurting. I'm so tired now that my eyes are at half-mast. Didn't realize that I'd worked that hard. It didn't FEEL that hard when I was doing it.

The superbowl is on in the background, but I'm not watching. I'm so ready for bed. And it's only 7pm.