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Prairie girl with a west coast future.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Oh Captain, My Captain

May 21 marks a very strange and bittersweet date for me at work. That Friday, the oldest, most experienced and sassiest member of my work team is retiring. After working at the Commission for over 30 years, her split with this job is well deserved.

After she leaves, it will vault me into the position of the most experienced on our team. I'm not quite sure how I feel about this. One of the reassuring things about my job was the understanding that if I was ever unsure or unclear on an inquiry, I could turn to my team mate and get the answer I needed.

Now I'm turning into that person. I'm becoming the expert that my other team members rely on, and I find myself providing the answers that I used to ask for.

It's a strange role reversal and my instinct is to fear the change that's coming and try to ignore the inevitable.

I call this "The Ostrich" and I'm very good at it.

But there's also a part of me that is excited about being the true, indisputable leader of the group. A part of me that's confident and sees the road ahead with clear eyes.

I'm finding, as I'm growing long in the tooth, that the ambition and drive that's been sitting dormant within me is coming to the surface.

I finding myself wanting more opportunities, more education, more experience, more, more, more.

And I want it all now.

Apparently, as my ambition increases, my patience decreases.

I would draw a graph, but, alas, my math skills have not grown stronger with age.

When I look back at the person I was when I first started this position, I can truly see how far I've come. From being green and eager to taking a leadership position in three short years, I'm quite proud of myself.

Plus, my retiring team mate promised to give me her home phone number so I can call her at home and disrupt her retirement with my inane questions.

It's good to have a lifeline - especially when you're steering the ship.

Just because I'm the boss, doesn't mean I've stopped mixing my metaphors.

Monday, April 19, 2010


I thought that I would share the fruits of my yardening labor from this weekend.

We bought flowers. Lots and lots of flowers. We bought flowers to pretty up our deck, which has recently been through the most thorough power wash its ever had. Ever.

It's now a different color.

It used to be a hazy greenish mossy algae grey color. And now it is a pinkish taupe-y dull color.

It really is an improvement. I promise.

And here's a picture of Mortimer looking judgmental on aforementioned deck.

Yes, so the deck is squeaky clean now, so we felt obligated to dress it up a little.

So we wandered around Art Knapp Nursery and picked out various flowers with fancy names. I tried to look like I knew what I was talking about, but honestly I was just happy that I remembered the difference between annual and perennial.

Here's some pictures!

Enjoy our flora.

Now if I can remember to water these guys and keep them alive long enough to recoup the investment, I will be most pleased.

I don't have much of a green thumb. I kind of look at plants with a kind of puzzled trepidation and try and figure out how not to drown a poor wee seedling in the first hour of its life.

I like flowers. I like to be given flowers (RIGHT ADAM?!). I like the smell of flowers....but I'm just not sure about the upkeep of flowers.

But, I'm going to try and channel some kind of nurturing mother nature persona this summer and keep my balcony plants from singing a floral swan song.

Wish me luck.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Flirting with Academia

I sometimes wonder if I'm a wee bit masochistic.

Not in any kind of scandalous way, but in a "I must take as many classes as humanly possible" kind of way.

I like to torture my brain meats.

From April - July, I'll be involved in three full time courses. Three courses that all demand essays, exams and various assignments.

I also, apparently, have to continue to work full time as well.

I feel I may need to invent some kind of time halting device in order to cram in all of the demands of these courses.

Or, you know, I could stop watching trashy TV shows in the evenings.


I think the time halting device sounds more fun. Plus, maybe I can go on Dragon's Den and get money for inventing it.

If I were to psycho-analyze myself about my propensity to take as many classes as possible, I would say that I am pining for the days of full time academia.

And it's true.

I miss bemoaning the "earliness" of a 10 AM class. I miss cramming for an impossible number of exams. I miss writing lecture notes while half asleep and then trying to decipher them later on.

I miss school.

If I could afford it, I would definitely be a full time student. I would throw myself back into university and stay there until they dragged me out.

Ideally, I'd become one of those mad, old professors who is covered with chalk dust from insane chalkboard scribblings and who wears loud clothing that's 5 years out of style.

This isn't actually too much of a stretch for me. I basically resemble that remark, minus the chalk dust.

I know that I'm idealizing academics, and it's more than brilliantly minded people sitting around debating interesting issues, but I think I would still gladly drop my job like a hot potato if the opportunity for scholastic study was offered to me.

I think I need to win the lottery.

After buying myself a unicorn and a hover car, the next item on my agenda would be to fling wads of money at a university for the pleasure of being locked up in that academic ivory tower.

But, for now, I temper this desire for school with courses that are of vague relevance to my job.

So instead of taking a class called "Zeus - The Formative Years", I have to take classes called "How To Motivate Employees Without Violence" and "Organizational Behavior - Like Herding Cats, Only Harder".


One day I hope to be able to happily ensconce myself in school. For now, I will just continue to teach my cats about Greek Mythology.

They're star pupils, my cats are. Except we need to work on their essay writing skills...

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Slug Tossing - a sure sign of spring

I believe that spring may have officially sprung in my neck of the woods.

Today has dawned bright and beautiful and I will take advantage of this gorgeous weather by.....studying for my final exam.


Well, maybe I'll go for a run first and then study. Because I feel if I waste this day, Mother Nature will give me that look that all mothers are famous for. You know, the one that makes you regret everything you've ever done ever.

This weekend will also see Adam and I partaking in some intense yardening. Yardening, for those who are unfamiliar with the term, is a combination of yard work and gardening. Our yardening will include power washing the deck, digging up some planters and de-slugging our backyard.

But don't worry, we de-slug in a humane way.

You see, our backyard is surrounded by lots of trees. This is good, because I love trees (please see my blog posts about THE TRUCK to understand my fanatical love of foliage). These trees, however, block the sun, which casts my backyard in shadow.

This means that my backyard is a haven of moss and shifty looking shade plants. And slugs.


And as much as I love my slimy friends, I don't so much love them in my yard.

So Adam and I engage in a lively sport called "Slug Tossing".

This might be an Olympic event some day.

Basically, we find a slug, scoop it up with a leaf, and hurl it over our fence, into the soft leafy ground on the other side.

From there (we think), the slugs go on and have many exciting and fun adventures.

I feel a little guilty when I launch a slug over my fence, but I can almost hear the slug's joyous "wheeee!" when he becomes air born for the first time.

So, really, I'm just giving slugs the gift of flight.

If they end up inventing tiny, slug airplanes because of this, I think I deserve some credit.

And, yes, this is exactly how my brain operates. Bizarre "what if" moments and slug related hypotheticals take up most of my thinking power.

No wonder I'm so distracted all the time...

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Investing in Psychic Easter Bunnies

As I write this blog (from the comfort of my parent's Nanoose Bay home), I'm watching crows and seagulls feast on a variety of meat and cheese bits left over from a party 2 years ago. For some reason, this extra food was kept in the freezer and was saved for this precise reason.

We make our own fun out here.

There is a surprising amount of drama between these birds. The seagulls use their sheer size and bullying, but the crows have the stealth advantage. It really is anyone's game, but I think the seagulls are winning due to the fact that they have the ability to swallow 2pounds of cheese in one gulp.

Both parents are giving a spirited play-by-play of this Birdie Battle Royale.

I came out here on Thursday on my job's dime to give a presentation about investor fraud to the Parksville Newcomer's Club. Sharing the presentation with my co-worker, we talked to about 70 grey-haired individuals about how not to get scammed.

The presentation was not my best, due to the fact that both of my parents showed up and sat in the front row. This had the unfortunate side effect of causing me to forget what I was actually talking about and make up words that made no sense. Ugh.

My co-worker saved the presentation by telling ficticious stories about people "just like you" who were scammed. We managed to exit, but not before my co-worker almost signed himself up for a senior's bus tour of the island.

Waking up Friday, we were met with a power outage that lasted the majority of the day. After a rain-soaked drive to find breakfast, we came back home and cozied up around the fire. I spent a strenuous afternoon napping and reading and watching the storm rage outside. Seriously, I think I sprained something with all that excitement.

After witnessing nature's amazing destruction, Saturday dawned chilly, but beautiful. And it's a good thing, because mom had plans for me.

Back last summer, before I got married, mom planned to take me out to get my tea leaves read at a quaint little tea house in Nanaimo. Those plans fell through, and we decided to postpone our outing. Finally, the Saturday before Easter was the day of reckoning.

The tea leaf reading was interesting, and more of a psychic reading than anything else. I'm still processing everything she said. I'm internalizing it and seeing what might apply or ring true.

She did say a few things that struck a very deep chord and moved me to tears (which is mildly embarassing in that setting).

I'm interested to return to the tea shop and get my tea leaves read by one of the other women there - one of the traditional tea leaf readers, just to see what she has to say.

One thing the psychic did point out was that I carry far to much stress, about work and about family and I have to learn how to compartmentalize and let some things go. This is a hard concept for me to put into action, because I'm a "fixer" and I want to make sure that everything and everyone I love is taken care of and safe.

She also told me that I grind my teeth. And I do. I even have a sexy bite guard that gives me an alluring lisp.

She also told me that Adam and I were "it" and that he made me happy. Which is true. It's especially true when Adam buys me stuff (kidding!).

And on this Easter Sunday, I am very reflective. Of family and of work and of life. My brain only briefly slowed down to let me enjoy a giant breakfast of eggs, waffles and bacon. My brain knows better than to make me think while I'm eating bacon. Bacon will always be the priority over complex thought.

And now, dear readers, I bid you a wonderful and relaxing Easter and I'm off to enjoy the spoils of the Easter egg hunt mom set up for us "kids" in the living room.

I'm happy to report that I won the egg hunt by an embarassingly wide margin.