Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Happy Story

Yesterday, as part of the "great car shuffle" that happens most days on our driveway, I ended up on the end. This turned out to be a good thing because when I got called in to work by a very desperate co-worker, I could just drive instead of catching the bus. I was only supposed to be at work for two hours. Just covering until someone else finished an exam and came in. It turned out that her exam was done early so I wasn't really needed. I was there for about a half an hour but I'll still get paid for the two hours. Plus I got a free drink because I had been working, and this is the coworker who I closed for a few weeks ago so he's promised me a thank you. Really. It was the easiest shift EVER and a nice break from studying!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Today's Adventure

I renamed this blog "Mine to Discover" in anticipation of discovering my new province. I have done that, but I haven't really posted about it. Today I had a slightly more exciting than normal day so I'm going to try and capture it. I had the day off work and my next exam isn't until Wednesday so I decided to go for a drive. I fly out of the Buffalo Airport next Thursday and since I've never so much as crossed the border here, I decided to go do a "dry run" today. I left around 9am and just followed the "fastest route" according to the GPS in my phone. I crossed in to NY State at Lewiston and promptly ran into a toll booth that only takes cash. Good to know. Next time I'll be prepared!


I found the airport fairly easily. With the border wait it was close to three hours door to door. Again, good to know. It's easier to plan now. After that I just wandered around. I hit Target (which was surprisingly quiet for the last Saturday before Christmas), Walmart (where I didn't buy ANYTHING) and Cracker Barrel for lunch (I had a craving). I also went to Starbucks because the American ones have the chocolate mint brownies and we didn't get them this year :( My discount worked though! That's exciting LOL I also got gas. Really not exciting but finding a station was a bit of an adventure so it's worth noting.


On the way back, because I didn't care about the time, I veered off my path and came back through Niagra Falls. This was my first time visiting the American side of the falls and my first time in the winter. I've only actually been to the falls once and that was over ten years ago so it was nice to go back...even if it was *freezing*. I absolutely love the thunder of all that water pouring down. I forgot how invigorating it is just to be that close to it. It makes my heart thump! Here's a few of the pictures I took, including one by a German tourist who was taking her own self portrait. I offered to take her picture and then had her take mine :)
Coming back across the border the guard asked the standard questions, where I lived, how long I had been gone, the purpose of my trip (I just said shopping because it was easier to explain) and the value of goods being brought back. I didn't buy a lot so he questioned "you drove all the way down there for $45 worth of stuff?" "Yes" "Pop the trunk please ma'am" LOL Obviously he didn't find anything there and I didn't have to explain the convoluted reason for my trip.

Coming back I wanted to get off the 403 aka Queen Elizabeth Freeway aka the ugliest road in Southern Ontario. Seriously. It's horrible. So I asked my GPS for the "shortest route". Of course it's short distance wise but I wound through (what I assume was) Hamilton, and then went cross country towards home. The roads were dry so it was a good day to go exploring. I called my parents while I was on the way and Dad asked where I was. My answer? "I dunno, halfway between where I was and where I'm going?" I love that I can drive around here and not know exactly where I am at all times! That's my adventure for today. Hopefully I can have more soon!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Update & #78

I just finished my last shift at Starbucks until the new year. I realized something kind of crazy. I have two weeks off. The only time I can recall having a full two weeks off in a row was in August when I quit my job!!! Even when I went to Texas in 2007 I was only off for 12 days total. In fact...yes! It's #78 on My List (which desperately needs to be updated :D) Anyways, I'm really looking forward to the break. I just hope I don't forget everything!

Tonight was an awesome shift and I finally feel like things are starting to click. We had a pretty intense rush, with a bunch of cold drinks (my weakest area) and I totally rocked it. Yeah me!

Other good somewhat work related news? One of my coworkers has agreed to buy one of my text books! I could sell it back to the school but this way I get the same amount of money, he saves a bit and I know it's a guaranteed sale. Woohoo!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas Meme

I lifted this from somewhere a few days ago and I need a break so I'm going to post it now.

1. Have you started your Christmas shopping? No. My brother's have decided that we're not exchanging gifts. They're bringing me home, I'll have other expenses to get me there, they have girlfriends to buy for and no one needs the headache so we're skipping it. We'll do stockings but no "big gifts". Works for me!!!

2. Tell me about one of your special traditions. Christmas Eve is Dad’s birthday. We try and make it about him but then the tradition is for us kids to be able to open “just one” present. It’s turned into something where someone can chose what you get as your “just one”. Often it’s something they just can’t wait to see you open. In my youngest brother’s case it was usually whatever would keep him occupied the best :P Not sure how that will work this year. Unless someone finds a really cool something for someone.

3. When do you put up your Tree? Me personally, I like Remembrance Day (Nov 11) this year I don’t have one though. Mom and Dad? Dunno. They’d do December 22nd if they had a choice.

4. Are you a Black Friday shopper? I had class this year

5. Do you travel at Christmas or stay home? This year I’m travelling. First time in a long time and first that I’m “going home for Christmas”

6. What is your funniest Christmas memory? Funniest? I know one year Mom sent us on this elaborate treasure hunt and the presents ended up at the end of my bed. That confused me so bad. 1. How did they get there 2. How did I MISS THEM???

7. What is your favorite Christmas movie of all time? I really think it’s “The Holiday”. I bought it a few weeks ago and just watched it again. I didn't really grow up watching all the Christmas specials so they don't mean much to me. I love this movie though.

8. Do you do your own Christmas baking, what’s your favorite treat? I do all my own baking. Not just Christmas. I was in a cookie swap last weekend and I made chocolate mint somethings. They have a name, it’s escaping me right now.

9. Fake or Real Tree? Mom and Dad usually have real. I have/had a fake one.

10. What day (as a mom) does the actual panic set in to get it all done? I’m not a mom. My mom’s pretty low key too. No stress for her. If it doesn’t get done, we move on.

11. Are you still wrapping presents on Christmas Eve? Usually for others. I like wrapping and they know it. I’ve wrapped my own (without peeking!) more times than I can count.

12. What is your favorite family fun time at Christmas? Just being together. Playing games is fun, but just the togetherness.

13. What Christmas craft do you like the best? I guess card making. I don’t really do anything else.

14. Christmas music? (Yes or No) If yes, what is your favorite song? Yes!!! And my dad and youngest brother are my hero's because they took all my Christmas music, ripped it to a memory stick and mailed it to me! My new favourite song is “I Wanna Be Your Christmas” by Andrew Allen though. I heard it on the radio and I love it :)

15. When do you plan to finish all of your shopping? Dunno. Christmas Eve maybe?

Monday, December 13, 2010

Learned a Very Cold Lesson Tonight

Most of the skirts I wear to work are only knee length. I wear them with black tights. As it's gotten colder I've started wearing my winter boots to work and carrying my work shoes. Then I change when I get there. Today I was inside studying all day and didn't have to be at work till 7 pm. With all that time I was still running a bit late. I knew it had been snowing but I didn't really think much of it (it's been snowing off an on for weeks). I was ready about five minutes before the bus was due so I just threw on a hoodie, a scarf and my winter coat and dashed down to the bus stop. Problem #1: I didn't account for the fact that the bus schedule is screwed up by the weather. So, that would have been okay, IF I was dressed for waiting. I wasn't. I was dressed for catching the bus. The next one didn't come for 35 minutes. I don't know if you've had to catch the bus much but waiting is the most annoying thing ever. You don't know if you should stay or go, or if you'll have enough time to catch the next one. I knew I hadn't missed it because I was early but when weather is the variable, you never know WHEN it will come. By the time it did, I was near frozen. Well, my legs were. My upper body was toasty warm.

So, next time I have to work I'm doing two things differently.
1. I'm planning on catching an earlier bus so I'm not late for work
2. I'm dressing warmer. Proper leg covering/long skirt, etc.

In other happier news, I had my first Vanilla Rooibos Tea Latte tonight. Yummy! I'm not much of a tea drinker (aside from Chai) but I've wanted to start trying the Starbucks teas so I can recommend them to customers. I couldn't decide what to have tonight after work and my boss suggested that. I had it "sub-vanilla" because it usually just comes with classic syrup. It's really good. I'll definitely add it to my "drinks I like" list (which is getting longer by the day!)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Attitude of Gratitude V3#30 - Facebook

Okay, as I avoid studying for my next exams, I'm going to bang out my final official "Attitude of Gratitude" post.

This one I'm dedicating to Facebook. I alluded to it in my BlackBerry post but I think it deserves it's own. I love Facebook. I love that my updates come to my phone and that I can check it any time. I love that I am connected to so many people who I otherwise wouldn't have any contact with. I love that I can keep on top of what's going on with people from a distance and that I can update them on what's going on in my life.

So far I haven't really shared my blog with the general world but I'll pretty much make anyone a Facebook friend. Facebook has definitely made moving easier. It makes my world seem much smaller as well. I check it multiple times a day and send messages both on people's walls and through messages. I still have it set to French so occasionally it makes me laugh and sometimes it frustrates me because I have to stop and actually translate what's going on, but mostly I love it.

Facebook is a tool and like any tool it can be abused. I understand that some people don't have any use for it. Personally, I can't imagine my life without it!

Okay, back to studying...after I check Facebook one more time... ;)

Attitude of Gratitude V3#29 - Conditioner

One of the first things I noticed when I moved to Ontario was how different the water is. My whole trip had been an adventure. Lots of places we couldn't drink the water and one place it actually turned stuff orange because there was so much water in it. When I arrived here and tried to wash my hair it was horrible. I could hardly brush it out and for the first time I actually considered cutting it. Of course I didn't. Instead, I did what I've managed to go 29 years without doing. I bought different shampoo.

For someone with such long hair I'm pretty lazy when it comes to caring for it. For the most part I can get away with Pert Plus 2-in-1 shampoo/conditioner and that's pretty much all I've used, ever. It's what my mom used for forever and since it worked (in BC water) I felt no need to change. Here, I had to. Interestingly I actually needed shampoo when I arrived. I had a few small travel bottles full that got me through but I didn't have a full bottle. My roommate let me try her stuff (I didn't notice it being all that much better) but I got a sample of Pantene in the mail. I used that and it was like having totally diffent hair! I know it's not a big deal to people who are used to using separate shampoo and conditioner but I am definitely a convert now. I love doing my hair now, especially after it's just been washed. I'm very thankful for conditioner!

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Attitude of Gratitude V3#28 - BlackBerry

I am determined to do 30 of these entries. Yes I know November is long over. I don't care though. Thankfulness shouldn't end.

Today I'm going to do an ode to a slightly obvious item. My constant companion. My tool, entertainment, distraction. The first thing I reach for in the morning and often the last thing I see at night. My connection to the world, my communication device, my addiction.

My BlackBerry.

I know it's going to make me sound old but as someone who didn't have a personal computer at home until grade 11, sometimes it astounds me that a device the size of my hand is so powerful. I use it for so much. I have three (of four) email addresses directed there, I can access Facebook and the internet. It's my address book, calendar and GPS, and that's before I even open up the full menu. I keep notes in it, use it for a calculator and play games. Oh, and it even makes phone calls! LOL And I use the BBM (BlackBerry Messenger) and texting. (Really, if you can't get ahold of me, I must be in the bathroom or in class when it's usually off. Give me and hour (if I'm in class) and I'll get right back to you...unless I'm igorning you ;)

I don't have a lot of apps loaded but I do have dictionary.com and I use that one ALL the time. Long time readers of this blog may have noticed an absence of my "Word of the Day" posts. That's because I'm no longer sitting at a computer and I just search from my phone. I use that app a couple of times a day.

Addicted? Yes. But I love it :)

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Attitude of Gratitude V3#27 - My Church Family

I've listed out my reasons for moving to Ontario on this blog before. One of the top reasons is that I knew there was a church I could attend and people I wanted to know better. I couldn't have anticipated just how wonderful they have been though. I mean I hoped, but they're really fantastic. I live about 45 minutes from the church which you'd think would be kind of awkward. I knew there would be that distance when I chose my new hometown though. Lots of people drive in so I'm not an anomoly. Because of this distance we have a potluck almost every Sunday. Sometimes it's a pain to get ready for but I wouldn't trade that time of fellowship for anything. Everyone has been so welcoming and I kow they'd help me out with anything if I asked. Having an established community to turn to has made this transition unbelievably smooth. I am very thankful for them :)

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Attitude of Graitude V3#26 - Red River Cereal

As a kid I rarely ate hot cereal. I just couldn't get past the texture. Once in a long while I'd have Cream of Wheat but oatmeal was my least favourite and I never ate Red River Cereal even though my dad had it practically every morning.

When I was doing my initial shopping when I arrived in Ontario I saw this cereal and decided to try it out. I'm not going to lie and say that the fact that I had just been through Manitoba and passed over the Red River didn't have anything to do with that decision. It certainly did. Hey, marketing works. In fact when I posted a picture of the Red River my friend Jenna commented:
"The mud from this river can be mixed with equal parts silage and gravel to make the famous Red River Cereal" :P

The good news is, my taste buds have changed. I actually really enjoy this cereal now. I eat it once or twice a week and it's best with raspberry jam. I'm thankful that I like it now because on cold winter mornings, it's perfect!

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Attitude of Gratitude V3#25 - Starbucks

I have an undated list in a note book of "Jobs that May Be of Interest to Me". I estimate that it was written sometime in 2007. I distinctly remember writing that list. It don't exactly remember what the impetus was but I remember that the parameters were "if money wasn't an object". Meaning I opened it up so that I could write down any job no matter what the wage is. It was sort of a dreaming, not conciously goal setting exercise. Here's what I put down:
  • Starbucks Barista
  • Tour Guide - preferably at a Historic Site
  • Tourism Officer
  • At a Railway company (CPR/CN etc)
  • Mapping/Geography
Interesting. Some of them are really, really vague. Some require a lot more explanation. I never added to the list although I've thought about it a lot.

Notice though how "Starbucks Barista" is at the top of the list? I searched my blog and the first time that I can see that I acknowledged wanting to work for Starbucks was in August 2009 when I was considering applying for school. Anyone who has read this blog for any length of time knows how obsessed I am with the company. Now that I'm working there, I sometimes have to pinch myself to realize that it's actually happened!!!

Today I finished my official certification. We definitely identified "areas of improvement" but overall my boss is really happy with me. He used terms like "friendly, optimistic, efficient and a good communicator". I'm looking forward to strengthening my areas of weakness.

I love my team as well. There isn't a single person who, when I look at the schedule I think "I have to work with them?" And the people that aren't at my VERY top of list, are the ones who keep me really accountable and call me out when I'm not doing something right so they're actually really, really good TO work with.

We were supposed to have our Christmas party on Friday but it got put off to January because we couldn't convince anyone from the other stores to work. I'm sad. I was actually really looking forward to it. Not everyone can say that about their work parties! It shows how much I like working there. It's tiring for sure and sometimes I'm just not in the mood, but invariably when I get there, it's all good. Especially at Christmas time. Starbucks at Christmas is the best and I love being part of the joy!

I am thankful for my job and that I get to fulfill a dream of working at Starbucks!

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Attitude of Gratitude V3#24 - Laughing at Myself

The kitchen in this basement suite is tiny and set up really badly. It has a bunch of awkward angles and in the corner where it would make sense to store stuff, is the electrical box around which we have to keep a four foot empty space. Because of that we have a shelf set up just outside the kitchen door which also puts it beside the bathroom door. It works for the most part. We store dry food, our cookware and the toaster oven on there. On the top is also where my roommate stores her tea pot. I'm not sure what is wrong with me but I've knocked that stupid thing off the shelf twice, just while walking by. I guess I'm in a huge hurry to get to the bathroom or something. The first time the handle on the lid broke. Not a big deal and she improvised by using duct tape. Yesterday I knocked the whole thing off again and this time it totally smashed. I showed it to her immediately and offered to pay for the replacement. I'm such a clutz! She got a new tea pot today and has promised that she'll store it somewhere away from my gorilla arms :P

I am thankful that I can laugh at myself and that I don't have a roommate that breaks my stuff!!!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Attitude of Gratitude V3#23 - Good Timing

My great uncle Oskar passed away this morning. It may sound like a weird thing to be "thankful" for, but I really am. He's been very, very sick for many years. Last week he had a stroke and was hospitalized. They stabalized him and he's been in a coma ever since. Mom and I talked yesterday and were comparing his situation to his mother's (my great Grandma). She also had a series of strokes but she had a STRONG heart and she "lived" in a nursing home for years. It was so hard on my grandma to see her mother like that and stressful to have to go visit someone who doesn't even recognize you :( The doctors told Aunty Helen that Uncle Oskar (her husband) really has no hope of recovery so the fact that he didn't linger, really is a blessing.

Other things to be thankful for? Mom is there in Alberta right now. She's had this trip booked for months and she's scheduled to be there for all next week as well, which means she can be there to assist with funeral arrangements and doesn't have to make separate travel plans. Oskar and Helen's oldest daughter (Mom's cousin) is there as well. So she got to say "good-bye" to her Dad and again, doesn't have to make a special trip. She can just stay.

Death can be so inconvenient and while it's sad and very final, we really couldn't have asked for better timing or less suffering. And for that, I am grateful.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Attitude of Gratitude V3#22 - ScrapShare

This crazy wonderful website has helped me meet people from all over the world. I've been a member of it since January 2003 so almost eight years already (!) Five years ago it took me to Pennsylvania where I met an incredible group of women. It's hard to believe that's been five years already. Tuesday I met another "SS Sister". GACynM is in town visiting her family and inlaws and took a few minutes to run to the LSS where we hooked up. We were able to have a quick hot chocolate at Timmies as well and chat a bit. I love this website and the fact that it has given me friends all around the world. I was trying to tell her all the people I've met "IRL" and I couldn't even get through half of them. Awesome. I'm thankful for ScrapShare!

Attitude of Gratitude V3#21 - Skype

I finally got Skype. I can't remember if I've mentioned it or not but it's pretty much the only way of contacting me that I didn't already have. You can email me on four different email addresses, text me, BBM me, call me, send me a message on Facebook or SS and I technically have a Twitter account though I've only tweeted twice and I rarely log in over there. Anyways, I have Skype as well now. I don't use it very much but last night was pretty sweet. I had planned a call with my best friend and just as the call was starting I posted my last blog entry. We talked for awhile and then I asked if she had read it yet (which was a trick question because I knew she hadn't. Sorry Mere ;)) But I got to watch her read it. <3 Very cool.

I'm not planning on blasting the fact that I'm going home for Christmas all over Facebook because I don't want everyone to know that I'm there and then feel left out because I'm not making time for them. There are a few people I will tell and others that will find out that I'm coming but I'm not going to make a huge deal of it. It's fun to tell the ones that I am telling though :) And Skype made telling Mere REALLY fun!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Attitude of Gratitude V3#20 - My Brothers

I've been waffling about whether or not to try and go home for Christmas. There's lots of reasons on both sides of the "pros vs. cons" list and I just couldn't decide. The pros are pretty obvious. I can get time off work without an issue and it would be nice to see everyone. The cons include the fact that it's so expensive, it's a horrible time of year to travel, my last exam isn't until December 22nd, etc. etc. Well I talked to my brother Robert last week and he and Seth have decided that they really, really want me there so, as an early present, they're paying for my ticket! I fly out on December 23rd and back to Ontario on January 3rd! I'm flying Buffalo to Seattle and I still haven't figured out all get-to-the-airport stuff but the point is, I'm going home for Christmas!

I am thankful for my brothers!!! (and their pocket books :D)

Attitude of Gratitude V3#19 - My School

So I'm two thirds of the way through these posts and I haven't profiled some of the major things in my life. I've alluded to them but not talked about them directly. (and I'm avoiding homework so now sounds good :D) Saturday was Sir Wilfrid Laurier's birthday but we celebrated on Friday at the school. I am thankful for my school. Considering I literally picked the school off Google maps, it's been a great choice. The school is small but it offers everything I want (so far at least). This term, I really enjoy every one of my profs and I've made friends in every class. I can't wait for the next semesters so I can experience new classes (although I still have to get through this one!)

WLU is celebrating 100 years of existance over the next twelve months (counting it's inception as Western Lutheran University) so there is a lot of pride being felt around the school. I suppose you'd get that anywhere but I'm really enjoying being a part of it.

There are lots of universities in Southern Ontario but I am thankful for whatever led me to pick Laurier.

Attitude of Gratitude V3#18 - Via


I've confessed before in this blog that I'm a closet instant coffee drinker. Well, I'm happy to report that, thanks to Starbucks, I've "upgraded" my tastes. I still drink "instant" but now it's "microground" and really does taste much better. As barista's we get a free pound of coffee a week, or, a box of Via. As you can see, I have a bit of a collection :) I *love* the Christmas blend and there's rumours of Verona coming as well. The Iced Via was my saviour this summer while I was packing in a major heat wave and while travelling. I went through a few boxes of it on the road. It worked well to stop at a gas station, buy a bottle of milk, and have coffee!

A quick Via funny, the other day one of my fellow barista's said that he keeps Via in his glove box and when he's out and about he'll drive through at Tim Hortons and just order hot water, and then add Via. Smart!

Today, and most days, I'm thankful for Via. It's faster and cleaner than "real" coffee and cheaper than actually goin in to the store (although I do that a lot too). Have you tried it? What do yo think? What's you're favourite flavour?

Attitude of Gratitude V3#17 - Last Week

So I kind of got off track with these posts. I will catch up, I just may be bit slow. My first one is being thankful that last week is over. I knew it would be in-freaking-sane and it certainly was. I closed on Tuesday and Thursday and had a group project and two book reports due. I alluded in post #15 to the amount of reading I was doing and frankly I feel kind of lazy not having to read at every turn. It's nice to have the break though. Oh, I also had a midterm on Friday but my prof delayed it to Monday for me. I know I didn't do great but I did better on Monday than I would have on Friday.

This last weekend I had a classroom training session for work in Burlington (which is about an hour from where I live. It was the most convenient time and location) and then I spent the night with my friend Jess. Sunday we went to church and then I worked again. Last night I closed and now I don't have to work again until Saturday!!! My school work is "normal" this week because we're getting down to the point where we're wrapping up the semester so it's nice. I need some time to breathe!

I am thankful that last week is over!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Attitude of Gratitude V3#16 - Rain

Tonight, even though I'm wet, I'm thankful for rain. Because it means it's not snowing...yet... And it's cool rain. Heavy, hard driving. If it WERE snowing, it would be a blizzard. I feel like everyone around here is holding their breath just WAITING for the first snow of the season. We know it's coming, we just don't know when. In the meantime, I'll take the rain...but I DO need to buy another umbrella since I seem to have misplaced mine.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Attitude of Gratitude V3#15 - The Ability to Read

I am absolutely swamped with required readings and papers right now. I have two novels that I have to do book reports on, on top of all my regular readings. I'm reading whenever I have more than two minutes strung together. In between classes, before bed, while I'm eating breakfast, on the bus, during my 15 minute break at work. You name it. I've finished one of the books and I'm halfway through the second one. My regular readings have to slide a bit this week because there just aren't enough hours in the day. So here I am, not complaining, but commenting on the sheer volume I have to read and a few classes ago in Geography, my prof was lecturing on literacy levels and the amount of people in the world who CAN'T read. I don't have time to look up the stats right now but it's a significant amount. Can't read at all. That boggles my mind. I am such a voracious reader that I can't even fathom NOT being ABLE to read.

Today, I am thankful for the ability to read, to comprehend, to write, and to not go crazy while doing it!!! (hopefully)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Attitude of Gratitude V3#14 - Mondays

Mondays are my favourite day of the week right now. Sounds crazy doesn't? Let me tell you why.
  1. They are the start of a fresh week and full of possibility with plenty of time to get everything done
  2. I have Latin and then back to back History Lecture and History Tutorial. Three hours of classes that I really enjoy and I can go home.
  3. I seem to rarely work on Mondays so I have the whole afternoon/evening to do school work
  4. Mostly I just like knowing that deadlines are still a few days away.

Tuesday's aren't horrible but they're long and I usually work so they're REALLY long. Friday's are a short day but by then I'm exhausted and conflicted about wanting to go out and needing to do school work. Saturdays are okay but they're usually really busy. Sundays are good too but there's something special about Mondays. I am thankful that I enjoy Monday's so much!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Attitude of Gratitude V3#13 - Bus Codes


I don't even know what to call this post. The picture here is of the bus stop by my house. What I am thankful for is the four digit number on every bus stop (2775 in this picture). I can send a text and within seconds I'll have a reply stating when the next buses are scheduled to arrive. This stop only has one bus that goes by but some of them by the school have up to four. It is SO convenient to know, to the minute, exactly how long you have to wait. Saturday after work the next bus wasn't scheduled for 25 minutes (which meant I probably missed one by 5 minutes :P) so I ended up walking most of the way home which was kind of nice. I have a note in my phone listing the codes for the stops I use the most and I'm starting to use the system more often. It is so convenient and I know I'll appreciate it even more once the snow starts to fly!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Attitude of Gratitude V3#12 - Understanding Profs

Question: What do you get when you combine PMS, homesickness, a midterm that I am not prepared for and $10?

Answer: A medical note with a diagnoses of "acute stress teary unable to cope"



Money can't buy happiness but it does buy a repreive. The stress of the last few months finally came crashing down last night and I ended up in a teary mess. Today's not much better. I managed to make it down to my prof's office two hours before the exam and she agreed that I'm not in any shape to write a test. I had to go get a medical note and I can take the midterm next week. In the meantime I'm going to meet with her a few times so I can properly prepare for it. I am thankful for understanding profs.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Attitude of Gratitude V3#11 - Remembering



I'm trying not to be annoyed that Ontario is apparently the only provice (and no I haven't researched this so I could be wrong) that hasn't designated November 11th, Remembrance Day, as a statutory holiday. I'm not annoyed that I have classes, in fact I'm thankful that I'm free to attend university but I'm annoyed that, because I DO have class, I wasn't able to attend a proper Remembrance Day ceremony like I usually like to do. Interestingly enough though, this minor annoyance provided me with a very profound Remembrance Day.

Today, instead of attending a large ceremony with parades, lots of flags, pomp and circumstance, I had to make do at a local memorial just across from campus. I see the memorial most days and I've stopped to reflect on it before. Today it was drapped with hand knit poppies and there were wreaths from the local Legions in front. What was amazingly profound was that at 11am, without prompting, without anyone directing and without any sound whatsoever, a group of people stopped, stood at the memorial and silently remembered. After a few minutes they each took off their poppy, placed it on a wreath and many briefly touched the monument or kissed their finger tips and then laid that kiss on the monument. It was all wordless and fairly short but it touched me deeply.

It reminded me that we don't need big flag waving ceremonies to remember. It can me done quietly, reverently and individually. We also don't need to wait for November 11th to remember. But, today I am specifically remembering. Remembering the family and each person that I never knew who gave their lives so that I can gripe about the fact that I had class and had to attend a quiet "ceremony" instead of the big one.

Attitude of Gratitude V3#10 - Stories

I kind of cheated on my 7th post: Live Music. That wasn't actually what I intended to call it but with the pictures and the recap of the concert it got too long so I renamed it. Now I'm going to blog about what I was actually trying to get at: Stories.

The premise of that evening was "Stories and Songs". It was more about the stories behind the songs than the songs themselves. I am a history major and I find I am confronted with stories everywhere, and I love it! History is all about stories, of countries, of people, of events. Genealogy is the same. It's all about stories. Even at work, in the bathroom we have a poster that says "behind every drink is a story" (or something like that, I'll have to verify it) The point is, stories are everywhere and for that I am grateful!!!

Attitude of Gratitude V3#9 - Stars

(I know I'm behind so I'm going to try and catch up a bit here)

This is a simple post but I am thankful for this on a regular basis. I live in a residential neighbourhood, not totally removed from commercial zones but apparently it's enough. I'm also on a bit of a hill but I don't know if that makes a difference. On clear nights, like tonight, and like we get frequently the stars are just amazing. I enter the basement through the back door so I have to walk around to the back of the house. Unless I make a wide arc and get close to the garage, the security light usually doesn't come on. The backyard is lit well enough from other lights that I can see just fine. The benefit of not having lights is you can really see the stars. I don't know if they're clearer than they were back home or if I'm just appreciating beauty when I can find it but they make me smile everytime I look up at the night sky. I love stars and I'm thankful that I can see them so well here!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Attitude of Gratitude V3#8 - My GG102 Group

Group work is always a crapshoot. You never really know who you're going to get stuck with and if they're any good or not. For my GG102 (Human Geography) class we have five lab sessions during the semester and in those sessions we've had to do a group project. Five topics were posted and you had to write your name on the one that interested you. Unfortunately, the topic I wanted was immediately claimed by a bunch of guys that I knew I didn't want to work with. I ended up putting my name down for "Economics" which was the dumbest topic, we struggled with it the whole time. The good part? My group ROCKED! We had SO much fun together. There were five of us total. Three girls and two guys. Three business students, two history students. One fifth year, two second years and two first years. One living on campus and four living off. Only two of us kind of knew each other before the lab. The rest of us were strangers but we've had so much fun with this project and we all sit together in class now. We got together Monday night at one of the girls houses to put together our final presentation. It was tons of laughs. I don't know how well we'll actually do on the content part of the project, but I know I had fun working on it and to me, that's what matters. So, for this post, I'm thankful for awesome group members!!!

Monday, November 08, 2010

Attitude of Gratitude V3#7 - Live Music

Saturday I attended a very special event. It was called "Stories & Songs" and it was hosted by the local radio station. It was a fundraiser for a local women's shelter and it was tied in with a songwriting conference. The whole event was organized by Canadian singer/songwriter Jamie Warren (in the white shirt) and it featured Deric Ruttan (plaid shirt), Victoria Banks, Duane Steel and Jamie. I debated going until about an hour before the show, which meant I ended up going alone because I hadn't arranged to go with anyone, but that was fine. It was a really cool event. The premise of the evening was that each artist in turn performed either a song that has been a hit for them or for someone else. Before they sang they gave either a bit of background on the song, a story about writing it, or some other tidbit. It was fascinating!

I've seen Deric quite a few times and he does an acoustic bit in his shows so I'd heard at least one of the stories before. He had a bunch of others to add though. He is by far one of my favourite songwriters and the people he collaborates with (Dierks Bentley, Doc Walker, etc) are my all time favourite acts.

I saw Duane live about eight years ago and he put on a great show. This was obviously very different but it was fun to see him talk about the songs. He`s just released a new album so he played a lot of new material. There are some great songs there!

This was my first time seeing Victoria or Jamie live and again, I have only good things to say. Victoria is the reigning Canadian Country Music Association Female Vocalist of the year and, even in an acoustic show, it is a title she really deserves! She has an INCREDIBLE voice! She is an extremely accomplished songwriter as well with cuts by Sara Evans, Jessica Simpson and Johnny Reid among others.


The show was in a smallish venue so I didn't have to wait long afterwards to meet them. They were all awesome and very sweet. I'm glad I convinced myself to go! I am thankful for live music, in whatever form!

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Attitude of Gratitude V3#6 - My Roommate

(Yes I know I'm a day behind, I'll catch up, I promise)

This is a bit of a Pollyanna post. As a general rule, my roommate drives me nuts but these posts are about being positive and looking for the good so I'm going to list why she's a good roommate.

1. (and the most important) Having her here makes the price right. We're in a basement suite and it's not a fabulous space but it's not bad. It's quiet and well located. I could have the whole basement to myself but that would be prohibitively expensive. Putting up with a roommate is well worth "saving" almost $500 a month.

2. She's quiet and I don't have to talk to her if I don't want to. In the beginning she'd try and strike up conversation but as we both got into the school year and I started working (and therefore am not here often) we can go for days without seeing each other or talking. We're both here but we're so caught up in our own lives that it's not really that big a deal.

3. She's respectful of my stuff. She said something that annoyed me the other day and I started thinking about what I COULD have. I realized that having a roommate that you can trust, who doesn't touch my stuff, who cares for her own stuff, who shares her housewares, etc, is pretty darn good.

4. She's slightly OCD on the neatfreak side. I try not to let it bug me because again, it could be worse. I just get annoyed when I've *just* finished cooking dinner, I'm eating, and she's doing dishes. Maybe she likes doing dishes. I haven't asked her but I can't help but think "Leave them!!! I'll do them when I finish eating!" Now we know that I tend to err on the "leave them for a few days" side if I have my choice so knowing that it probably drives HER crazy if I leave dirty dishes around, is probably a good thing. Still, it's strange to feel like she's cleaning up after me. I guess I'm just not used to that.

5. She's also anal about making sure we have milk. For the most part we keep our groceries separate but we share milk. She starts panicking when we get down to the last bag (milk is sold in there one litre bags that you put into pitchers here) Personally I could go for a few days without milk IF we run out, but she'd have an anxiety attack, so we work to keep the milk at an acceptable level. (Hey, I work at Starbucks, we run out of certain types of milk all the time. It happens. It's not the end of the world!)

6. (I think most of my annoyance with her relates to the fact that she DOES have diagnosed "issues" and I have diagnosed impatience for such issues. Horrible and probably not something I should post on the interwebz but it's true.) One of the benefits of her "quirkiness" is that she will only use her own linens. That means that the brandnew towels that our landlord provided us with? I got both. And the comforter for her bed? I'm using it because my room is kind of cool at night. She brought all her own stuff. works for me!

7. Even though she has a boyfriend, I've only met him once and seen him around once when they stopped by before going somewhere. If they do spend time together, it's at his place. I am very thankful for that, considering any potential alternative!

8. She is a great resource. Okay, that's my way of saying "she's an annoying know-it-all". After hearing her talk about her parents I think it may be the way she's raised but one of the reasons I avoid having conversations with her is she acts like she knows EVERYTHING. She's native to the area so she "knows" what the weather is like. She knows the roads. She knows ALL about the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) (note the sarcasm). It gets tiresome especially since I'm obviously older than her (I don't know how old she is. I don't want to know how old she is.) So I generally just avoid conversation as much as possible.

9. She goes to UW (I go to WLU). Neighbouring schools but I am glad that she's there and I'm not. She has the typical UW/engineering superiority complex, but I don't really care. I'm not here to be an academic anyways.

10. She is "local". Her parents only live 1.5 hours away so she often goes home for the weekend. I am most thankful for that!!!

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Attitude of Gratitude V3#5 - Sleep

When you are busy with school, and work, and everything that goes with it, sleep becomes very important. Some people don't value it as much as I do. They tend to let everything else take precedence. Maybe it's not the best choice, but I chose sleep over homework any day. I'm not worth much without sleep. For the most part, I get good, uninterrupted sleep, and for that, I am grateful.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Attitude of GratitudeV3#4 - My Parents

This one is definitely a repeat but it is extra important tonight. I found out earlier today that a friend of mine lost her dad and a cousin, both to suicide within less than 48 hours of each other. :(

I have just moved 3,000 miles away from my parents but they are still a huge part of my life. I text with both of them frequently and in September I spent a combined 500+ minuters on the phone with them. I can't fathom not having them in my life. I miss them terribly but they are super supportive of me being here and being away so it's not as bad as it could be.

I have two of the world's best parents. They're not infalliable. They have faults, but overall, I wouldn't trade them for anything. So tonight, while reflecting on my friend's loss, I am thanking God again for my parents and praying a prayer of blessing and strength over them as well as her family.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

A Day in the Life

See? When I start blogging I just keep going!
Tuesday was a crazy busy day. Not exactly "typical" but at the same time, not really untypical either. I want to share what I dealt with just so you get a sense of what I have to put up with sometimes.
9:30 am - get up, get ready (rough life. I know :P)
11:03 am - catch the bus
11:08 am - realize I forgot the poster board for a group project that I was supposed to deliver. Get off bus.
11:15 am - catch bus home, grab poster board.
11:33 am - catch the bus to school again.
11:45 am - arrive in Human Geography class. 15 minutes late, I've really only missed YouTube videos. Gotta love university.
12:20 pm - class finishes
12:30 pm - Geography lab. Meet with group, deliver poster board. Work on group presentation.
2:10 pm - accompany Geography class to an art exhibit that we have to do short answer questions on for next class
2:20 pm - grab a bagel and chocolate milk from the Tim Hortons in the Science Building (across campus from where my Geography class meets)
2:30 pm - North American Studies Lecture (a political science course)
3:40 pm - get out ten minutes early from class.
3:50 pm - go to a local cafe for dinner, read book for History course while eating.
5:00 pm - Languages & Literature "Meet the Profs" night organized by the French club
6:30 pm - Work at Starbucks
9:00 pm - break, try new Caramel Brule Latte. Yummy!
9:15 pm - back to work
11:30 pm - finish work
11:38 pm - catch the bus home
At home I washed my hair and attempted to do Latin for awhile before going to bed at, I don't remember when.

So, crazy day. I was on the go for basically 12 hours straight with just over an hour for a dinner break but in that time I was reading the book I have to do a report on in the next two weeks. Like I said, not every day is that busy, and I only have that Geography lab every second week, but still. I was exhausted by the end of the day!!!

Attitude of Gratitude V3#3 - Buses

I feel like I spend so much time on buses. Unless I decide to walk to school (which I've been doing less of as I get busier and the air gets colder) I take the bus to and from school five days a week, and then often back and forth to work. It's gotten to the point that I can tell you pretty much exactly where we are in the trip (it's all of eight minutes long most days) just by the tilt of the bus, how many times we've stopped and when we turned the corner. Public transportation isn't the most convenient mode of transportation but the bus pass is included in my student fees and a parking pass is not, so I don't mind. Plus, once the weather turns really nasty, the last thing I'm going to want to do is clear off my car just to drive five minutes to school and park.

The transit system here is pretty reliable and even though my bus only runs every half hour, it gets me where I am going at an almost perfect time. I arrive at school 10 minutes before my class starts and at work about 15 minutes before my shifts. Just right. So, I am thankful for buses. They're a big part of my life and I've learned to enjoy the ride.

Attitude of GratitudeV3#2 - Sunshine

I am thankful for sunshine. Growing up in the Fraser Valley of British Columbia, I got used to plenty of long dull dreary days in a row. They didn't really bother me. I have a lot of indoor hobbies that are perfect for rainy days and in some ways I would get confused when the sun came out because I would feel guilty about wanting to stay inside.

Newcomers and visitors to the area would comment about how depressing the weather was but I never really understood them. After two months of living in Southern Ontario, I think I am beginning to see where they were coming from. Yes it rains here, but rarely for more than two days in a row. It gets overcast but, unlike the Fraser Valley which is surrounded by mountains and traps the clouds and pollution, here the wind comes in and sweeps it all away. The wind is COLD (I wasn't mentally prepared for that) but it clears the air and let's the beautiful sunshine through.

So even when the temperature drops, you can still find sun and absorb some vitamin D. I didn't understand people who couldn't handle days and days of clouds, but if this is what they are used to, then I can see why they get depressed. Sunshine makes everything better.

Written early this morning while I was waiting for the bus and standing in the sun.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Attitude of Gratitude V3#1 - Thrift Stores

My Attitude of Gratitude posts are making their triumphant return! Hopefully at least). I've done this for two years now and I'm going to make a go at a third. Between school and work my life is crazy busy but these posts help me focus on the good parts of life so I think they're a good exercise. I'm not going to restrict myself on topics too much but I will try and not repeat from previous years. If I do, I'll try and reference the previous posts to see how this year's thankfulness compares. Hopefully you'll enjoy seeing what I'm thankful for and me blogging a bit more consistently!

Attitude of Gratitude V3#1 - Thrift Stores
I enjoy shopping but I love getting a deal. There are quite a few different thrift/second hand stores in this area, but my favourite one is in a small town about 20 minutes North of where I live. I've gotten a fair bit of stuff there since I arrived and Saturday I had another successful visit. Here's what I got:
  • Ankle boots in my favourite red shoe colour for $4
  • A knee length black skirt that is perfect for work $2
  • Hangers (I didn't have any in my closet and I didn't bring any from BC so I've had to buy more) $1 for a bunch
  • The Devil Wears Prada book, my November book club selection 50 cents
  • Friday Night Knitting Club, a book I have wanted to read, also 50 cents

So for under $10 I got a bunch of stuff that I have been looking for. I love thrift shops!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Is this a trick question?

I got an email from my prof/tutorial leader stating "Your interim participation grade for my [History] tutorial is B+/A-."

I want reply an ask her "so, aside from actually DOING the readings, what can I do to bring that grade up?"...but I think I know the answer.

I think she's on to me...

Friday, October 29, 2010

Parle vous Francais?

Quick recap: I am a History major in first year university with a goal of working in interpretation, so at a museum or National Historic Site.

It's pretty much unanimous among everyone I talk to that, if I want to work for Parks Canada (the people who run a lot of the National Historic Sites), I have to be fluent in French. I'm okay with that. I actually want to increase my French and knowing I need it for the job I want to do is a great incentive. I don't actually have a French class until next semester, and even that is beginners French. So that means that, aside from cereal boxes, I have had hardly any exposure to French for almost 12 years. (Hence the beginners class). Because of that, and because I'm really, really looking forward to getting back into the language, I've joined the French club at school. They are a fabulous group of people. Very encouraging and friendly. I've noticed even in the few weeks that I've been seeing them once a week, my French is starting to come back. I can't speak it yet really, but I'm recognizing a lot of words and for the most part I can follow conversations.

Knowing this, I'm looking for more ways to surround myself with French so I get used to reading it as well as hearing it. I have been listening to French CBC when I'm in the car, but that's not very often. Today I was talking to the president of our club and she shared a bunch of websites for me to explore. So far my favourite is this one for French Country Music Radio. Not all the songs are in French but I'm having a blast listening to it. This is my kind of music, in a language I'm trying to learn!

I also changed my Facebook language to French (and of course Internet Explorer is freaking out "THIS WEBPAGE IS IN FRENCH. DO YOU WANT IT TRANSLATED?" No thank you!!! LOL I'm looking at changing my BlackBerry to French too. Yes it makes it a bit harder to use but that's the point. Pretty soon it will be natural!

Who knows, maybe I'll even be ready to read by the time next semester starts!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Joseph Boyden

So I haven't blogged in a month now. I obviously have tons to write about but unfortunately not a lot of time to do it in. I had a cool experience tonight though so I want to quickly share it.

My North American Studies prof references TONS of movies and lots of books during lectures. A few weeks ago I asked her for some recommendations of Canadian Historical Fiction (you know, incase I ever decide that sleep isn't important and I actually find time to read anything other than my text books :P) She mentioned an author named Joseph Boyden and noted that he was actually coming to Waterloo (my new town) just after his next book was released. I didn't know until a few days ago if I could go for sure but yesterday I bought the book (the $10 ticket is free if you do) and tonight I went to the event. My prof was there as well, with her mother who happens to be visiting from BC! She introduced me which was pretty cool :)

The book is about the famous Metis leader Louis Riel and his not as famous counterpart, Gabriel Dumont. I haven't read the whole thing yet (note the above about textbooks) but it's a fairly easy, gripping read so far. Hearing Joseph talk about the book, about his process in approaching what to include (because it's relatively short considering the vast subject that is Louis Riel) and his struggles of getting it all down, was fascinating. He also read most of the first chapter and the Epilogue (you can read the epilouge with a non-fiction book. Everyone already knows that Riel died :P) Boyden is a Canadian (Metis) living part time in Louisiana so he has an interesting mixed accent. Both his talk and the Q&A after added an extra dimension to the book and I can't wait to finish reading it.

I was able to meet him afterwards and he signed my copy. I was telling him that I had driven from BC to ON and had visited some of the areas featured in the book so his epilogue (which is about him being in Saskatchewan) really resonated with me. As I type this I remember reading on his website that he's acutally BEEN to Abbotsford so he would know where that is, that's why he included when he autographed my book :)

As far as I can remember this is my first author/book event (I've done tons of concerts obvbiously but this is different) and I hope to do more!

Monday, September 13, 2010

University: Day 1

Day one is over. After all that anticipation and planning I’m finally an active university student. It was a typical first day. Nervous excitement all combined with a bit of apprehension and lots of expectation. I had two classes today. Latin first and then History. This combination will repeat on Wednesday and we got the happy news today that only Latin is on Friday. Of course it’s a quiz every. Single. Week. So skipping isn’t an option but at least it’s only an hour of class and then I’m done for the day. Monday’s I’ll also have a History tutorial and Wednesday’s a Latin tutorial.

My Latin teacher’s a bit flighty which is what I expected after reading ratemyprofessor.com Its going to be a pretty intense course but I’m super excited. We started today by looking at a chart of how Latin is related to many, many modern languages, English being just one of them.

History is going to be awesome. The course load looks heavy in that there’s a lot of reading and a couple of papers to write but I took the teachers advice and got a schedule from the Writing Centre on the workshops they provide. The prof for this class seems really passionate and she’ll actually be leading my tutorial (most of the others are done by TA’s) so that’s kind of cool. The topics are exactly what I’m interested in though.

Tomorrow is Geography and North American Studies. They are in much larger lecture halls so they’ll be different style classes but hopefully I’ll have good profs there too.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Explorer Quotient

While I was in Sault Ste. Marie at the Canal I was talking to the staff and they invited me to take a quiz compiled by the Canadian Tourism Commission called the “Explorer Quotient “. My results came out as “Authentic Experiencer”
“In the world of explorers, you are an Authentic Experiencer. With a foot in both worlds, you appreciate the understated beauty of natural and cultural environments. You enjoy using all of your senses when you explore your chosen destination and really get to know the places you visit. You quickly adapt to personal challenges and risks, easily figuring out how to make the most of every situation. You want to be fully immersed in your travel experiences and tend to stay away from group tours and rigid plans.”
For the most part I’d say that’s accurate. I recognize the benefit of being part of group tours but I don’t HAVE to have them telling me what to do. Take the quiz and let me know where you end up: www.canada.travel/eq

Friday, September 10, 2010

What does it mean to be “lost”?

When I left home I was telling people that one of the reasons I was leaving was because I couldn’t get lost out there anymore. After living in the area for over 25 years I almost always knew where I was. Out here in Southern Ontario there are so many more roads and ways to get places and without the mountains, I definitely get turned around a lot more. Still, if I lose track of where I am, I just whip out my phone and activate the GPS. I’ve driven around quite a bit but so far I haven’t been really “lost”. I’ve been unable to find my destination and had to call for better directions twice and I’ve had to “recalculate” my route a few times but I feel like I’ve always known where I am in relation to where I’m going...even if I don’t really know how to get there.

So, lost or not, I’m having fun exploring. So far I’ve located all the important places like the bank, gas station, Walmart and Starbucks. I know where the library is but they have pay parking and I refuse to pay so I haven’t been there yet. If it’s nice out maybe I’ll ride the bike today. If not, I’ll walk over from the school some day when I take the bus.

I stopped at the visitor information centre here in town the other day and got a stack of brochures about my new town. It’s the same size as my old town but it’s way older and has soooooo many more cool shops and restaurants. I can’t wait to discover more of them :)

Oh, and the other thing about being “lost” is that I’m just treating it as an adventure. I think it’s more stressful if you’re lost when you need to get somewhere by a certain time. So far I’ve had very few deadlines so if I take a wrong turn, I just enjoy the new scenery. It’s a great way to live!

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Discoveries

Hello Blog. I had grand plans to keep you updated during my trip but overwhelming emotions when I first started out combined with busy days and limited internet access served to thwart my plans. I have uploaded pictures to Facebook which is so time consuming that I won’t be duplicating those posts here. I’m pretty sure most of my blog readers are my FB friends but if you’re not, let me know and we’ll fix that.

I do have an entry of random stuff about my trip that I will post here. In the spirit of my new “discover” theme, here are some things I discovered (or confirmed if I already knew them) while driving across five provinces and three time zones:
- I would rather follow than be followed and I will go out of my way to let people pass me
- Manitobans are really friendly, just like their provincial slogan promises
- Many of the RV’s on Hwy 17 (the ON part of Hwy 1) seem to be from BC. Are we the only ones who think that driving in Northern Ontario would be “fun”?
- It is a lot harder than it sounds to stick to the “no fast food” rule I tried to set for myself before I left
- There is nothing like fresh blacktop and good driving music
- Starbucks Via (iced) is nectar of the gods
- “Update from here” on my BlackBerry Maps App is the new “are we there yet?”
- Walmart is familiar and comforting when you’re feeling homesick
- It’s hard not to speed when you’re surrounded by fog and feeling rather invincible
- Visitor Info Centres rock...although I already knew that
- The Ontario Ministry of Transportation likes to make signs that state the most obvious things
- OPP (Ontario Provincial Police) are everywhere!
- Full bars on your phone don’t mean that you’ll have service...or if you do, that you’ll keep it
- Manitoba is bilingual and that’s more fun
- In Saskatchewan you start believing that the road will never turn and then if it does you worry that you will forget what to do
- The thing I miss most about home so far is clean clear water (there were a few places on the prairies where I couldn’t drink tap water and it was annoying)
- It sucks to not have cell coverage
- You can see the cars on side or cross roads coming from miles away when in SK and parts of MB and it feels like you’re going to collide with every truck racing down a Range Road
- Brick makes any building look better
- Saskatchewan Rough Rider fans have a LOT of pride
- I definitely need a spouse with wander lust
- McDonalds employees will try to make up for forgetting your fries by giving you enough ketchup packets to fill a whole bottle
- Skunks must be stupid because I passed a lot of dead ones

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Farewell

I handed in my keys to the office yesterday and today I went back for my farewell luncheon. I'll go in briefly on Monday to help with the final bank reconciliations and then I'm done working there forever. I was laughing a little when I handed in the keys. I told them "this is the third time I've done this. Please keep them this time!" :) I handed in the keys to this office when I moved out to the satelite one. I handed in those keys when I quit the organization and now I'm handing them in again!

The luncheon today was wonderful. As someone who's Love Language is "encouraging words" my love tank is definitely full :) We had a wonderful "afternoon tea" catered at the office. It was attended by all the current staff and a few past ones that I have worked with as well as the bookkeeper (who came in special for it) and our current Board Chair and the past Board Chair. Some of them spoke publicly around the table and all shared best wishes with me privately. An unexpected monetary gift was presented to me by the General Manager on behalf of the Board and I will be using it towards my education expenses.

I also *finally* turned over the scrapbook I started for the office over five years ago. I've been putting off finishing it but with this hard fast deadline, I finally buckled down and completed it. I have a companion one for myself (the main one is 12x12, mine is 8.5x11) that I'll be keeping. I have been with this organization, on and off since I started as a volunteer for work experience while I was still in high school. I was 17 then. I celebrated my 18th birthday that summer and recently celebrated 29. That means I've been there for over 11 years, over a third of my life and ALL of my adult life. It's been an amazing journey full of wonderful people and many fond memories. I know they are sad to see me go and on some level I'm sad to be leaving. But, as I've said ad nauseum, I'm ready to move on :) It is nice to have such a wondeful send off though. It sure makes me appreciate the time I've spent there and be glad I've been able to be part of such an amazing team for so long.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Daddy Daughter Bonding Time

I have had a random sound in my car for about two months. Something is rolling back and forth when I accelerate or brake. I looked everywhere I could think of but I couldn't locate the sound. I had identified the area it seemed to be in but I couldn't figure out how to stop it. Last night I finally took my dad for a short drive to see if he had any idea. He identified it as being in the same area that I had suspected and then proceeded to take the interior of my car down to nuts and bolts to find it. It was brutal. We had the whole center console removed, which required loosening the glove compartment and the casing around the steering wheel...and we STILL couldn't find the cause!!! We ended up peeling back the carpet, cutting into the airflow tubes with an exacto knife and shoving a long magnet down the tube. After well over an hour of work where major parts of my car were strewn across the driveway, we finally located the culprit. A double A battery had rolled under the drivers seat and entered the air vent. From there it somehow got up into the tube and was rolling back and forth. The picture is what my car looked like just before we started putting it back together.

I was ready to give up about 30 minutes in but Dad is tenacious and it was driving him crazy too. I am SO thankful that we got that cleared up because my car and I will be spending PLENTY of "quality" time together in the next month so I'd perfer not to have it drive me crazy. Of course after we put everything back together we ended up with four extra screws so I may have some rattling I didn't have before. Let's hope not because Dad's not coming with me to fix my car!!!

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Happy 29th Birthday to me

So now I am officially the age that everyone seems to want to "hold" at. I'm interested to see if it's an age I'll pine for. On some level I suspect it will be. It's shaping up to be an interesting year. Full of lots of new starts and adventures. I've had a few people ask "what are you doing to celebrate turning 29?" and my response is "leaving the province!!!"

For my actual birthday-day, it was really low key. A quiet Saturday at home just like I wanted. My last in fact. I only have two more Saturday's in BC and they are both chock full of plans.

I did go out for dinner last night with Deb, Sue and Shannon which was wonderful and tomorrow after church a potluck is planned. Monday is shaping up to be a "family day" with my parents, Robert and Aaron.

So that's it. My deep thoughts on turning 29 :P I doesn't really bother me but I'm pretty sure it's because I have so much going on. If I was just slogging on at work with no end in sight, I'd be going crazy. As it is, I'm ready to embrace my new age and the adventures it brings. I'm ready :)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Welcome New Guy

Congrats on the job. Now call the plumber. Okay, it wasn't quite that bad but there's nothing like a leaky toilet on your first official day of the job to really initiate you :P This guy (my replacement) was actually around last Monday and Tuesday and we got a lot of training done but there's more to do. My parents were over this evening while I was packing and I told them that I didn't realize how exhausting it was to talk all day. Dad got a kick out of that because he thinks I talk too much but I tell you, when you're training and you have to explain every little thing you're doing, it's tiring!

I get the feeling it must be like having a three or four year old. Whatever age it is where they want to be involved in EVERYTHING you do. In my case he HAS to be involved in everything I do because in six work days, he'll be DOING it. There's no point in me keeping control when he has to know what is going on. In fact today we actually gave the word for my computer profile to be absorbed into his. We'll do everything (access emails, files, etc) from within his documents and Outlook. It's kind of crazy but I couldn't come up with a reason not to. The analogy is that I'm "closing a chapter and moving on" well I am SO ready to close this chapter. I mean I like my job and I could continue doing it but I'm getting excited for what ever else is out there and I'm ready to take it on.

On the packing front, it's progressing. I'm sure I could throw out even more than I have already but this is my first major purge since childhood so one step at a time. I started packing clothes today as well. I'm putting my winter stuff in a box and I think I'm going to ship it to Ontario. I was pretty brutally honest about what I actually wear though so a surprising amount of stuff didn't actually make it into the box. I've designated it for garage sale and then whatever doesn't sell goes to goodwill. I can always accumulate more stuff in Ontario.

The last frontier is really going to be my scrapbooking stuff. I was at the SSWA Retreat this weekend which was awesome but it did remind me somewhat of exactly how much stuff I have. I got rid of a bunch in the first garage sale but I have more to do. But, like I told Dad, a little at a time and it will all get done. Slowly but surely...and I can't wait to be done work so I can pack more seriously!

Friday, July 16, 2010

56 Things You Can Toss Out Now

by Christine Kane (with comments added by Heidi as I identified with practically every line in this article)
We hold onto our stuff for two reasons: Love or fear. We either love things. Or we fear letting them go.

We cherish them and know they have value to us.

OR...

We fear that we'll need them someday. We fear that we wasted our money on them. We fear what others will think if we let them go. We even fear making the decision to release our mistakes, so we don't make any decision at all. Instead we passively hold onto stuff out of guilt.

Well, guess what?

When you begin to make choices from a place of LOVE and EXPANSION, then your world will change. Love is the clearest reason to do anything.

If you don't love it, toss it. Give it away. Your abundance and energy will increase when you begin to live by love, and not by fear.

Here are 56 things you can toss out (or give away) right now...

1. All the hotel key cards you forgot to turn it when you checked out. I had a boss who had a phobia that our credit card information would be retained on said cards so she insisted that we NOT return them. I have a stack that I was planning on making into a mini album. If it doesn’t happen before I leave, then I promise to ditch them.

2. The doilies your Aunt Missy crocheted 45 years ago that got handed down to you. What about the ones I bought when on vacation six years ago. The ones that are still in the bag…from the town that I’ll be living 15 minutes away from when I move…

3. CD's you haven't listened to in three years or more. Will you believe me if I say I listen to them all? Yeah, me neither :P I’ve added some to the garage sale pile.

4. The boxes of cassettes you've been meaning to transfer to CD's. – Not transfer. I don’t know how to do that. I do have a few that I still listen to though…

5. The bread maker you haven't used since 2003. – doesn’t apply but I’m having separation anxiety over leaving my Panini maker…

6. Your wedding dress. – What about my prom dress that I don’t fit? Or the two bridesmaid dresses (prom dress actually doubled as a candle lighter dress too) that are hanging in my closet?

7. Credit card bills from 1995. – I didn’t get a cc until 2002ish and yes, I just ditched a bunch of those. What’s holding me up is all my “business” receipts from when I was a CMC. Do I really have to keep them for seven years? That’s 2012!

8. The Allen wrenches from every piece of IKEA furniture you ever assembled. - guilty

9. The jacket you spent way too much money on and never wore. NOTE: Keeping it around just to punish yourself for your bad choices is like going to parochial school all over again. - this is hard. I’ve purged a lot of my clothes though.

10. Every scratching post or toy your cat doesn't like. NOTE: Your cat didn't go to parochial school so there's no sense punishing him.

11. House plants you no longer love. – thankfully they’ve all died :D

12. The stacks of O Magazine you swear you'll re-read. – Not O but I have a complete collection of Country Weekly. Think anyone would want them?

13. Every little zippy bag that came with a Clinique purchase. – got it. In to the trash they go…except for the one I use for camera cords

14. Every unopened perfume that came with a Clinique purchase. – oooh, one thing I DON’T have!

15. Leftover scrunchies in case you grow your hair long again. (Or in case the 90's return!) – again, got it. I promise I’ll throw these out today :P

16. The "Cherries Jubilee" flavored lip balm that makes you nauseous. - okay, lip balm is my weakness. I have tons of them. I like them all though. If I don't I definitely chuck them.

17. Every single regretful lipstick color you bought on a whim. ("Cherries Jubilee" is probably there, too.)

18. Your last four cell phones and all their chargers and blue teeth. - I only have one "ex" cell phone and I will NOT bring it to Ontario with me...I just need to go through and make sure I have all the numbers out of it...

19. Single socks. - they're hanging on my mirror waiting for their mates...

20. The Spode Christmas plates and mugs you don't like. (Along with the Christmas bath towels and welcome mat.) - Christmas plates are in the garage sale pile. Good reminder on the towels though. I'll add them today.

21. The framed posters you had in your college dorm room. - yes, there are posters on my wall that I will not be saving

22. Old stereo wires. NOTE: If your husband refuses to let go of any of these mysterious wires, try this: Put them (not him!) in a bin and label it "Random Cables and Wires." After two years, bring it out of storage and kindly note that no one has thought about it in two years. Ask if it would be okay to let go of half of them. Repeat process until all mysterious cables and wires are gone. - I have a cupboard full of these. I'm leaving them for Robert to inherit :D

23. The nails, screws, anchors, and cup hooks rusting in the bottom of your tool chest. - all random screws are in my tool box. No rust...yet...

24. Remote controls that don't remotely control anything you own. - safe!

25. Lamps, toasters, blenders, coffeemakers that no longer work. - thankfully in four years I have accumulated anything like this.

26. The notion that you will ever be one of those moms that makes beautiful scrapbooks. - at this point, it's more like the notion that I'll ever be a mom. Because I do make beautiful scrapbooks :P

NOTE: Put your photos in boxes. No one will judge you. - no, but it's not as fun!

27. Old blankets and linens you keep in case you suddenly have 27 sleepover guests. - I only have one old blanket and I tend to leave it on the couch in the winter when I'm watching tv. I do have two pillows that could probably be thrown out

28. College text books. - noted. Don't keep these.

29. Any boring decorative item that does little more than fill space. - hence the garage sale!

30. Vases you don't love or use. - ditto

31. Candle holders you don't love or use. - ditto

32. Picture frames you don't love or use. - ditto, it's amazing how many of these things I accumulated!

33. Class notes from college. - just entering college and I burnt most of my highshcool ones (we had a bonfire to celebrate graduation). I'm pretty sure all I have left are projects.

34. The idea that you have to save every last piece of your children's artwork and school work because it might mean you don't love them if you don't. (Save your favorites that have meaning to you!) - how about my OWN artwork and school work?

35. The "good silver" you don't use that was passed down to you. - I don't actually have any!

36. Old VHS movies. - I have a handful and I'm gifting them to Robert. He and Seth have HUGE collections of these things.

37. Unlabeled VHS tapes. (And don't waste your time watching them just in case.) - I have the VHS tapes from my grad...I watched them...

38. The stationary bike that got even more stationary after you got it. - LOL I had roller blades, I gave them away years ago.

39. The fabric pieces you've been collecting in case you ever become a quilter. - I'm not a quilter, I've never been a quilter, yet I have TONS of fabric pieces!!! I'm giving them to Mom as I find them. She can deal with them...is that evil?

40. Flashlights that dimly light up only after you bang them over and over on your thigh. - LOL I've had those. Don't anymore though.

41. Old keys that open some door somewhere in the past. - this is my desk drawer. TONS of keys and no idea about half of them.

42. Suitcases you don't use. 43. Old computers. 44. Old stereos. - safe

45. Promotional duffel bags with ugly logos and bad acronyms stitched all over them. - I have a few that need to be chucked. I tried to include them in the garage sale but the fact is, no one wants them...

46. Anything that makes you say, "But I got such a good price on it!"
47. Anything that makes you say, "But I paid so much for it!"
Ouch. Too true!

48. Half-full cans of paint. - again at work. Clear at home.

49. Extra baby items/Old baby items.

50. Record albums.

NOTE: Don't spend your extra hours in a day trying to figure out if someone will buy them. Really. They won't. They can buy the BeeGees on iTunes. - so true.

51. Gifts you never liked. - and don't feel guilty!!!

52. All the cross-stitch, knitting, or sewing projects you never finished. - this is hard. Cross stitching is cyclical. I will work on a project for awhile and then not again for a few years. It does seem dumb to store them though...

53. Any glassware or dinnerware that is a "memorabilia" item from proms or sororities or sports events. - all I have is one from high school that I use as a coin jar...

54. Old information packets you no longer need or that you can easily find on line. - YES. GARBAGE! Along with all the info from the universities I'm not attending.

55. All the hotel soaps that you took with you. (And stop taking them. You've got plenty of soap!) - actually I use them. I'm down to my last sliver of soap from Forks. I'm using all the body wash I had on hand too. I won't have hardly anything left by the time I move!

56. The belief that you only have to go through the de-cluttering process once and won't ever have to do it again. - so true. I only plan on being in my new place for eight months but I'm sure I'll accumulate a lot by then...
________________________________________

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July 12 of 12

I kind off got off track with the Twelve of Twelve thing. I'm going to try and get back to it because they're bound to be interesting in the next little while! This is my last one at this job though.
The first shot is of my new stereo. Yes I didn't arrive at work until quarter after eight :P. My new stereo plays cd's, music from USB's (which is what I was listening to) and I have an auxilary connection as well. I had it installed just before Aaron and I left on our road trip and I'm loving it. Not loving the faceplate thing. That's annoying, but the rest of it is great.

My second cup of coffee (you can tell it's the second because you can see the ring from the first cup, and this batch doesn't have milk in it because we're out at work)

The countdown Deb made for me :)



At lunch I had to go to Michaels for a frame for oen of my coworkers...I may or may not have walked down the scrapbooking aisle on my way to frames... ;)
Next stop was the TD Bank. Robert has to store some of his stuff in Alberta until he can go out and pick it up. He electronically transferred cash to me and I took it and deposited into my Aunt's account (she's getting the unit for him). Kind of round about but he's out of town so it was the least I could do to help him out.

In the afternoon my boss and I met with the auditor. My eyes were crossing from the numbers!!!

Beautiful roses at the library. They smelled like summer :)



Dinner at Restaurant 62 with a former coworker. It was yummy and I had fun filling her in on my plans. She's actually going to be in Ontario in October so we'll be able to meet up there as well.

The requisite self portrait taken on my balcony. It's a bit fuzzy but this is me!

This picture is slightly cheating. It was actually taken on Sunday as part of that batch at Aunty Phyllis's but I was processing them in the evening so I'm including it. It shows how far back this information goes!

I watched the original Toy Story while doing my data entry. There are some GREAT lines in that movie!
And a bonus self portrait. My sexy new sleep mask :P Don't laugh though, it really works!!!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Jackpot!

When I met with my great-aunt Phyllis in September 2008 we were talking about genealogy and she mentioned that she had copied out a bunch of birthdates and deaths for a cousin in England. The cousin had lost the paperwork though so Aunty Phyllis was rather disgusted and not interested in copying it out again. The thing is KNOWING she had this information has been driving me crazy. I’ve been out a few times since and we talked in general terms about this but I never really got hard dates.

Sunday Mom, Dad and I went out to visit again. This time I took my laptop (under the pretense of sharing pictures from the family reunion in June) and while she as Dad were talking, I also booted up my genealogy software. Aunty Phyllis tends to skip around a LOT when she’s talking so I just took notes. Some of my favourite comments were:

"They moved to Alberta because they got free land. They must have chosen it in the dark though because it was bad!"

When I asked why her dad had moved around so much she said he "had farms that got dried out but, if they hadn't moved around he would have never met my mom and we wouldn't be sitting her today."

At one point she was talking about her dad’s siblings and she started listing them off. During this time she referenced a “birthday book” that her dad had started. I stopped her and asked her directly if I could see it. Part of me was amazed that she actually got up and got it. OMFSM I felt like I was holding the dead sea scrolls or something! I’m not sure exactly how old the book is but it was started by my great-grandfather. He passed away in 1971 and since then it’s been maintained by Phyllis. She was good at noting new births and deaths when she thought of it. I tried to start entering the data straight into my software but when I realized how long that would take, I just whipped out my camera and started taking pictures. I took pictures of every page that had meaningful data on it. When I got home I transcribed it all into an Excel spreadsheet and I have over 160 names and dates!!! Not all of those people are family but many are and a large portion of the information goes back to the late 1800’s. The best part is right at the front. My great-grandfather wrote down his name and his wife’s name and their parents and grandparents on both sides.

It is said that most people can name their parents and grandparents. Some even know their great grand parents and fewer know their great-great grandparents. With this information I have the names of four of my great-great-great-grand-parents! That’s five generations back!!! Seeing this book has saved me literally hundreds of hours of research. I still can DO hundreds of hours of research but now I have somewhere to start. And it’s not some random rabbit trail. It’s hard evidence written in my great-grandfather’s hand.

Once I examine what I have (list it and enter the people I can) I’ll print off the family trees that I have and go back and visit Aunty Phyllis again. I’m running out of time though so I have to do this sooner rather than later.

There’s rumour of a second “birthday book”. That one is for her husbands family. He had 14 brothers and sisters though…I may wait on that one…

Garage Sale

I decided at the end of April that I wanted to have a garage sale before moving. I've been putting stuff into boxes designated for the sale and then taking the boxes to Mom & Dad's when they get full. I hadn't quite decided on a sale date yet but on Wednesday I heard that a friend of mine was holding her own sale. I asked if I could join her and she was more than happy to have me. I think that's the key for procrastinators. Only give yourself a few days to get ready!

I spent Thursday and Friday scrambling to get as much as I could ready for the sale and Friday evening Dad helped me take a bunch over to Cathy's. Saturday morning I didn't get up quite as bright and early as I had hoped but I was still there by 8:30am. The sale was slotted to start at 9 but of course there were early birds. It was BUSY until 11 and then it slowed to a steady trickle. I sold approximately half of what I had brought, all of it for under $5/piece. Most at 25 cents to a dollar. I brought home over $100. Not stellar but not bad for a days work and better than donating everything for nothing.

Everything I didn't sell I gathered up and took back to Mom & Dad's. I'm planning a second sale just before I leave to give the stuff one last chance. A different neigbourhood will bring different customers and I've learned a bit about displaying and pricing since doing the first one. Plus by that time I'll probably have a few new things to designate for sale. With my last day at work looming (and therefore my last paycheck) every little bit counts!