Thursday, June 30, 2005

being single... sucks.

It's been 10 years since I've really had to do this and even then... I didn't. So, I'm bad at the whole dating thing. Heh, bad could be an understatement. To borrow a line from igloo boy, "Welcome to the fitness club....i'm your professional trainer, I will be going on a date with you, and you will procede to eagerly run a marathon."

Or, even better, "CurlingGoddess. Scaring men away one date at a time..."

Bah. Summer's here, vacation coming up. Woo hoo, a week in Calgary and Banff. Which reminds me, I've figured out what I want to buy (camping gear). Now, I just need to go buy it. I'm so excited. The only remaining question... am I brave enough to buy an axe and try building a fire on my own.... eh, why not? :-D what's life without a little danger???

Just another growing (or shrinking, if I miss my target with the axe) experience... It does beg the question "should I be camping alone," but dammit, if I can't go camping alone in Canada, how can I wander through Italy alone next fall????

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Ah, being sick. A time for me to contemplate life's mysteries. A time to think about who I am and what I want to be when I grow up.

It's been suggested that perhaps this blog is a part of my problem when it comes to guys - given that several have found it and read my words of "wisdom." Those are typically the ones that look at me and say, "hmm, let's be friends." Fair enough. Knowing that much about me can be... downright frightening. Any warnings I give that these are the extremes of my life, while surely understood, are hard to keep in mind. It hasn't really been said what in my writings could be the problem. So perhaps it's just the wealth of knowledge available when it really shouldn't be available.

But here's the thing...I do this for me. Some people understand that, some find hidden meanings in what gets written. I've taken some things too far and regret that. I've tried to keep this to inner conflicts and reflection on myself, yet sometimes that hasn't been so easy.

I'm an insomniac - mainly because when I lie down at night, I can't make my brain stop working. I think differently than other people. I've actually been driving down the road wondering if I had to code what I was doing, how I would do it. Case statements? If statements? What kind of functions could I build? That's nothing compared to the database I built today to compare the camping gear I want to buy. Prices, location, etc. It's all there complete with total cost of purchases by store if I were to buy it all at one place. Yep...geek. Hey, I had nothing else to do but cough, sniffle and sneeze!

Some may wonder what else goes through my head other than that which gets "published" here. Well, I do have a strong creative side that I've been neglecting recently. My writing shows best what goes through my mind when I'm laying in bed trying to sleep. And no, it isn't a giant case statement about the days events. I'm not talking about my blog either. This is just an accounting of the days that make up my life, and the funny, odd, weird situations I get into. And some of the painful stuff because life isn't all fun and games. You get the bad with the good, my friends.

I attempt to write fiction here and there, but, well I really need to learn how to plot a story and pace it. I'm working on that, but I tend to have a relatively short attention span and often want to move on to a different story before I get to far into one. Probably because in my mind, I already have the conclusion written and it's no fun anymore :-)

And here we see the cold-fogged state of my mind. I have no idea what point I wanted to make when I started this post.

Oooooooooh Shiny...

Sleep, wonderful sleep

Well, there ya have it. I went home from work sick at 11 this fine morning. Was home in bed by noon. Crawled out 4 hours later hoping that I haven't screwed up my sleep patterns for tonight. So no words of wisdom from me today.

Now I'm off to plan my camping trip.

Monday, June 27, 2005

My search for camping gear

Being exhausted at work and having a cold are a bad combination. Even all the advil and coffee aren't helping me much. But...I need camping gear. And a significant amount of it at that. I'd like a camp stove, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, and backpack...for starters. Thankfully, I have a tent, but somehow the rest of the camping stuff stayed in the 5th wheel. Oh, a cooler would be good too.

I figure the sleeping back and backpack are required for my trip to calgary/banff in July. Camp stove - would be nice, but I'll survive if I don't have one. Hmmm, Darcy used to have extras, I should check with him or mom and dad to see if they have one I could have. Woo hoo - camping!

oh, right there was a point to this and it wasn't...whatever point I may have made to this point. It was the availability of camping supplies online. MEC and Camper's Village both have online catalogues. Now the only remaining question is - do I trust myself with an axe?

What an icky day

I've been fighting this darned cold since Friday. I thought I might've hit it with enough echinechea friday night/saturday morning/saturday afternoon, but no such luck. Ohhh the temptation to stay in bed this morning. But I figure with the long weekend coming up, there are likely a lot of people out on vacation and the queue should be slow, but there's no guarantees. And I knew Vishnu was out and I'm backup on the queue this month. So here I am, coffee and Advil cold and sinus in hand. Blech.

Orange juice, tea, and cold medicine. Aren't I just a bundle of laughs today? weekend. The anticipation was perhaps way too much. Things went well, I had no urge to run, screaming. So now my question is - how can online interest and chemistry go so wrong in real life? Up until that night, I was feeling a little guilty about agreeing to meet someone else two weeks before. The interesting thing about that is, he and I had barely talked online. Couple MSN messages back and forth, then a request for coffee after work one afternoon. While I stared at the screen with a mixture of anticipation and "eeep, what about...???" thoughts, I figured what the heck? I've hardly talked to this guy. He fell off the face of the planet about 3 months ago and now he's back and wants to meet. Might as well go say hi, have a couple laughs and walk away - just like with everyone else.

Coffee led to dinner a few nights later and I had a problem. While I'd tried to avoid getting too emotionally invested in something online with someone a long way away, I'd failed. Rationally, I knew that it had a high chance of failing. There was a lot at work against us, but I really did enjoy chatting with him online. Smart, funny, attractive....what wasn't to like? I also knew there was a likelihood that when we met, he'd have no interest in me. Ok, I'm smart, funny and cute, but I'm also terribly shy and often lose any coherent thought in some situations. Saturday was one of those situations. So, didn't make my greatest impression. Well, that and bad driving. Typical.

Am I disappointed, yeah. Yet it's the loss of something I never really had, and I had reservations about. So, the disappointment isn't too great. If that makes sense. So, Christmas morning came, and it wasn't just a bland sweater from Grandma, but Santa didn't exactly do his best work either ;) I liked him enough that if distance weren't an issue, I might've tried to persuade him to give it another try. But, 5 hours.

Sigh.... evil twin, you were right :) But, I just hope you can understand WHY I had to do it. No regrets.

Friday, June 24, 2005

A kid at Christmas

Sorry for the reminder that Christmas eve is only a short 6 months away. But today, I feel like a kid on Christmas eve. Part of me excited as heck to see what Santa brought me, another part sure that at least one gift under that tree is going to be another bland sweater knit by Grandma. Ahhh, the things I didn't appreciate back then.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Everything you wanted to know...

But were afraid to ask about my divorce.

Just kidding, I'm not going that in-depth into it for now. I do want to explain something that a few people find hard to understand. My ex and I are still friendly.

I can never explain the situation when we met. There are some things that will remain private. But I fell in love with him and we married. I was naive. Really naive and I just figured a marriage would work. It had to. I wasn't going to get a divorce (ha ha, funny joke, Fate).

Time went on and I still cared about him because he's that same person I married. But the marriage didn't work. Plain and simple. And I learned a valuable lesson. Work and commitment is essential to a marriage, but it'll only save a marriage if both are willing. And if the two people can communicate. As much as I like to think I was good at that, looking back, I wasn't. Another lesson learned - sacrificing everything to make someone happy, doesn't make me happy.

Which is why I'm doing the stuff I'm doing - toastmasters in particular. I need the confidence to speak up for myself and not just at work.

But I digress. The marriage failed due to both of us mucking things up. I can't look myself in the eye (good thing that's physically impossible without a mirror) if I totally blame him.

And how do I justify hating someone who meant so much to me? I've had guys decide that because I don't hate him, there's a chance of reconciliation. Well, no. We tried counselling three times. This isn't just a whim. The first time we went into counselling was shortly after the move to edmonton. Then again a couple years ago. Then again last fall after a week long vacation in the mountains ended with us barely speaking. Part of that had to do with work. Looking back, making myself available several times a day for conference calls when cell reception is spotty at best ( and for a couple days involved about an hour in the truck to find ), probably wasn't my best decision.

Hate is a costly emotion. It's usually combined with anger and together they make a person bitter and lonely. Is there any purpose to me hating my ex? Don't get me wrong, I've been angry, I've had my moments when I hated him - a week in the rain in a 5th wheel. But to let that consume me and define who I am makes no sense. To let that cause more hurt to someone who doesn't deserve it any more than I do is ridiculous. The marriage failed. We're dealing with it as best we can, and for my own sanity....I don't hate him.

The counsellor once talked to me about forgiving him. I like to think I've found that, along with strenth, independence and maturity.

I know a typical divorce involves animosity and bitterness. It involves fighting and hurtful words. But what does that gain the people involved? A sense of well being created by destroying another person? Bitterness and anger that prevent the parties from moving on because they're so hurt, jealous and betrayed by the other person's actions that they feel a need to get even?

I may have been hurt by people who don't understand why I did things the way I did and fear the situation, but for me that's much easier to live with than not being able to look at myself in the mirror every morning. When it comes down to it, I need to respect me and the decisions I've made. I'm working on that. But when it comes to the end of my marriage, I have no doubts that I handled things as best as I could for those involved. Those not involved....well, I understand protecting yourself from hurt. I just wish that didn't involve ME getting hurt.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

My insanity has a limit

I figure I'll do my next toastmaster's speech in August. I've decided on a topic - hiking - and I just need to do some. I kinda figured I'd have a little power point presentation done up with some of my pictures from hikes I've been on. The problem is, I want pictures from the Ink Pots down in Banff. I sadly have none.

I do, however, have a week planned in the calgary area. Perfect opportunity to get out there and get some pictures. I'll probably do more than one hike, but the ink pots is pretty intense. So I figured I'd spend a night out in Banff. And well, since I was planning to overpay for a hotel room anyway, might as well REALLY splurge and check out the Banff Springs. Or so the theory went.

Off I went to the Fairmont Hotels website and I picked a mid-week night - because it'd be cheaper you know... Hit "get rooms and rates" and waited. Excitedly anticipating a luxurious hotel room to rest in after I complete my hikes. Finally, the site returns room rates for me and I'm SURE there's been a mistake. I was looking for ONE room for ONE night. I blink a couple times and think... hmmm, must've listed highest priced first. I scroll down. Nope, that's not what they did.

One room, for one night, mid-week in mid-July.... $639. That's more than a "splurge."

I figure the ink pots hike is half way to lake louise, what the heck, let's check out the Chateau Lake Louise. I let it chug away for a bit on the search and it comes back with a more reasonable $429. Who'd have ever thought I'd say THAT about a hotel room????? Let's just say no hotels were booked in the making of this blog.

Although... curiousity got the better of me and I had to snoop further into this hotel rate thing. What if I book a room in mid-October at Lake Louise. Thankfully this rate didn't make me fall out of my chair $249 a night. One might actually find me out in Lake Louise in Mid-October. But certainly NOT in mid-July.

Un-freakin-believable (work related)

Imagine me, spending a couple hours this morning debugging code. Trying to figure out why changing the source of data means that the list of choices available to the user becomes blank. I tried changing everything.

About to scream in frustration, I think, "wait a second... we're using Microsoft specific XML. I'm trying to run this in Firefox. I wonder..."

And off I go to test with IE.

It worked. Excuse me while I go find and beat up the person who decided to go with proprietary code...

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

I end up in the oddest situations.

I bought a china cabinet tonight. Nice, used one to replace my casualty of moving. It's not perfect, but for $70, I regain use of cupboard space and my kitchen table.

This purchase showed me that I know too few people with trucks. Far too few. I ended up having to call my ex. So now my china cabinet cost $100. $70 + a $30 meal at Gino's. It really only made sense that I meet him on the south side since that's where he and the china cabinet both were. Anyway, I could explain all my thought processes this fine afternoon, but let's just leave it at exhaustion and stupidity.

He picked me up at work. Let's just have a moment's celebration for the fact he remembered where I worked this time ;-). We ate, we still had time to kill so off we went furniture shopping. See.... odd situations. It's not that we can't be civil with one another. Wecertainly can. But why put myself in that situation? Oh, right. A china cabinet.

Well, the china cabinet is here, the old one gone and so is the ex. I can only hope my sanity returns from it's Mexican vacation sometime soon. First my immune system, then my sanity. When do I get a mexican vacation ;-) I could use a marga....oh wait... an italian vacation with some nice wine!

An hour of my day...gone.

Score one for my customer service skills. I've just spent an hour. Yes, an hour, on the phone with a user. Not just any user... the director of Engineering. As he's heading for the door for a business trip. "Hey, can you tell me..."

It's understandable. I'm certainly not the most adept user when it comes to technologies I never have to use. I spend a lot of time searching for stuff on our portal. Yeah, I know. One would think that I'd be better at it than I am. But no. I'll let you in on a little professionals don't know everything about every little piece of software out there. Throw me in front of an outlook mail interface and I'd be panicking and reaching for the wine.

But I digress (common occurance, isn't it?) . I spent an hour walking him through necessary steps to work offline, how to get his changes back to the server once he is back in civilization, stuff like that. Even set up his connections so when he's out of the office he still feels like he's here. And again, I had to go off a reference document to set that up for him. I don't do it every day and when I did it at home, I just about threw my computer out the window. And I did well. I usually hate taking those calls. Busy people, lack of time, a lot of frustrations, and high enough up that he mentions the Director of IT comfortably. High enough up he can probably see the river from his office, instead of just valley and parkades.

I had to suck it up and take about 20 minutes of pure frustration at mail file size limits and archive file size limits and what this means with the new legislation in effect in the US, etc. Like I have any control over said limits. But that's my job. Reassure him I'll bring his concerns up to the server guys and let him know I'll see what I can do for him. Which is likely nothing, but I guess I get to try. I'm sure the server guys just laugh when they see my number on their call display. Such is life. I'm still learning to live with the red tape.

I could even explain the reason for some of the red tape to the user. blah blah, server space, blah, thousand users, blah, blah, cost of storage, blah blah blah. I thought I was quite eloquent about it. I'm sure I was, in fact. He just didn't agree with the reasons for it.

Now if you don't mind, I have new pictures of my nephew to look at that my sister in law sent me.

Thanks, but I think I'll take the stairs.

Had our quarterly IT safety meeting. And yeah, I know that sounds like it might be advice on avoiding paper cuts or perhaps avoiding dangerous stapler incidents... but it isn't. Today's topic was protecting your identity, with a presentation from the RCMP. A very entertaining presentation. I learned Stuff. ;-)

But after the presentation, we had a reading of the minutes from the corporate safety meeting. Even the poor constable was laughing with the rest of us. There are two items that stand out in my mind. The first was the announcement that the tower elevators have been fixed...kinda. They'll still stop on the wrong floors, but they fixed.... something. What could possibly be a higher priority fix than making them stop where they should stop??? He then states that fix is scheduled for 2007. So, two years from now, they intend to make the elevators work like elevators should. What, exactly, is the elevator service company doing between now and then? Are ANY elevators in this city safe????? Sheesh. I'm on the 7th floor. The walk will do me good.

The other announcement that drew a chuckle from the crowd. The safety video for new employees will be shortened to avoid boring new employees. All right, as a tower employee... please, by all means, shorten it. I hope to avoid ever needing to know what to do in the case of a leak or a spill. After all, it should be at a good distance from me. But...uhh...the guys in the regional offices... you know, the ones working around pipes...could we see about them knowing a little more?

Oh, and add something to that safety video about the elevators in the tower. THAT might be useful information.

Monday, June 20, 2005

I feel the need to apologize...

Surprisingly enough, I'm apologizing to the male population. I'd suggest writing this down, but I seem to be doing that for you.

I just took for granted that planning stuff was easy, guys. I really should know better because every time I have family come to town, we end up doing the same thing - sitting around the house asking each other what we want to do. No one ever knows what they want to do, and I really should've considered planning Stuff. Stuff being a general term for "things to do." Or, even better, "things to see and do."

And now I'm trying to do just that. Plan Stuff. My family has announced their intention to be around on the long weekend - hmmm, give me a second, I need to check on the ETA of certain red furniture....


July 15th. Yikes. Yep, 2 full months to receive furniture. Which means that on the long weekend, I'll be short furniture.

But a more immediate concern... this weekend and trying to plan Stuff for Saturday. I figured coffee would work. Starbucks tends to be a favorite destination. And while I love their Iced passion tea, without heading to Whyte ave or a chapters, a Starbucks can be an elusive critter. And I'm not a fan of trying to park along Whyte Ave, or near Whyte ave. So I search the locations of Starbucks' Canadian cousin - Second Cup. Hoping that my coffee companion isn't a coffee bigot. :-) Don't laugh. I know some. The result - I've decided perhaps a scouting trip to the south side is in order. My memory fails me and I rarely head down that way.

Next up selecting a dining destination. Sigh. Again, my knowledge of the south side is weak at best. I throw together a few of my favorites, and toss out the ones that will be busy (O'Byrne's on Whyte), too expensive (Jack's Grill, sawmill, moose factory), and lacking imagination (Sawmill, moose factory). The good news - it whittles my list down to one option. The bad news, Italian. I've barely saved it from the "lacking imagination" category based on it's relative obscurity. However busy could end up being a problem as it is regularly packed by those who do know of it.

So back to square one. Still lacking a coffee shop and dinner destination. Does one lose points for predictability? How about lacking imagination? :) And the obvious question - would I judge anyone else on these standards? Nope.

Am I thinking about this too much. Yep. Waaaaaaaaaayyyyy too much. Yep. I need a hobby.

Serial Killer near Edmonton

In my search for news on the flooding happening throughout Alberta, a headline on the CFCN website caught my eye. "Serial Killer at work near Edmonton." Wow, I thought to myself. Then... Really??? I guess I should pay more attention to the news. So I click on the headline thinking this might be something I need to know about.

Ummm, kinda. If I were a prostitute. Now, because of these killings, my most frequent joke with my friends is that I could end up dead in a field near Sherwood Park if I go on a date with the wrong guy. Perhaps I jumped to conclusions, but this just seemed like it could be the work of one person. All prostitutes... common dumping area... but who am I to say.

The funny part... the really, really funny part... is that the profile of said serial killer is pretty short. And based on the description... could be my ex.

"The RCMP's Behavioural Science Branch in Ottawa says the killer is likely a man who drives a truck or sport utility vehicle.

He may be seen washing it at odd hours of the day and may be an outdoorsman who likes to hunt, fish, or farm."

Well, ok, the washing the truck at odd hours of the day doesn't fit. But the rest. Heck, this is Alberta folks. The rest of the description describes roughly half of the male population. More if you leave the city and head to rural areas. Perhaps the Behavioural Scientists should come visit the province and see just how little information that description really gives us out here in the west.

Sigh, likely a man who drives a truck or SUV. *chuckle* Outdoorsman who likes to hunt, fish or farm. Wow, my family just became outdoorsmen. Oh wait... truck, farmers... it could be THEM. Oh, right, they live in Saskatchewan.

All right Albertans, raise your hand if you are a male and drive a truck or SUV... now how about you if you don't fit the description, but know at least one person who does. Yeah, thought so.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Protect and Defend

A couple weeks ago, I picked up a few used books downtown on one of my lunch hours. After perusing the shelves for awhile, I'd picked one by and author I'd previously read, one by a new author and I was looking for a third. That's when I realized the creepy old guy in a suit standing about 5 feet away was creepy because he was flipping through a playboy magazine. Slightly unnerved, I finished reading the back of the book in my hand, figured it'd do and went to pay for my selections.

That book was Protect and Defend by Richard North Patterson. Now, I'm not sure if I've read anything by him before. The name is somewhat familiar which is why I'd picked up the book to begin with. I left it to be read last out of the books I bought because the story did interest the heck out of me. A story about a new president forced to select a new Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. The woman (yep, woman) he chooses to nominate has a secret. This nomination causes dissent in the senate. Just to add a little complexity to the situation, the author throws in an abortion rights case that will eventually end up in the supreme court.

I'm about 200 pages into this novel and am very impressed with the book overall. In my opinion ( based on the reviews on Amazon, not everyone agrees with me), the author has done an excellent job of portraying the characters involved, their pasts, the decisions they've made as well as both sides of a very divisive issue. I'm barely a third of the way through this book, but I think it's one that's going to remain a permanent part of my personal little library, alongside novels by Grisham, Lescroart and Louis L'Amour.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Forks - never leave home without one

Yep, I'm bad at creating titles for this stuff. But there is a reason for that title...

Eating a salad with a spoon gets to be rather... messy. I thought it was bad enough when I forgot the tortilla chips for my taco salad.

Hmm, now you're asking yourself, "did she REALLY start this post with the intent of talking about nothing other than her salad problems???" And it appears I may have....

Yup, after a couple of weeks with so much to say about so little, I now have little to say about nothing. So there. Go... eat your lunches with forks. Don't worry about me here with my spoon. I'll be fine. Really.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

My first speech... Done :)

first I've gotta say... holy crap.

next..... I feel like I just threw the last rock of the game ;) I may need a minute here. Nope. Not helping.

Holy crap!

First, I felt like such a geek picking a speech title based on a book by Stephen Hawking. The Toastmaster asked where the title came from, then researched the book and outlined what it was about. Now I don't just feel like a geek, I look like one. Quantum mechanics, the origins of time and the universe. But it was too late. My fate was sealed :) Hey, at least I didn't talk about curling.

I was nervous. Kinda. Well, ok, I was terrified. I hate getting up in front of people to speak. But I did it. Damned stubbornness. But, I've decided I'm doing this so I might as well get started.

So, my evaluation. Damn... he didn't write it down. Oh well. He liked that I gave a good look into that part of my life. Felt I could move around more and hold eye contact longer. That was my official evaluator. Then came the little slips of paper from other members. Very positive overall which is great. Heh, my favorite one - excellent voice, good poise. Poise???? POISE???? ! I was shaking in my... running shoes up there.

So, two of us spoke - myself and a girl who is on her 7th speech. There are ballots that allow members to pick who they think the best speaker, evaluator, etc was. I figured being up against Tegan meant no hope for me. I won it by one vote. I think they felt sorry for me.

Nerves. It really was no different than going to throw my last rock in curling. I was going to say there were more people watching, but there were only 11 people at the meeting. Which means 10 watching. On a sheet of ice, there are 7 watching to start with. The only difference there is confidence. I know I'm a good curler. And aside from the odd wrong decision that costs me four points - well, five, counting the one I gave the opposition - I'm pretty confident in my ability out there.

I'm not so confident in my ability to speak in front of people and hold their interest for any length of time. It's that part of me that still thinks of myself as a kid. And what do I really know about anything? Hmmm, maybe next time I should speak about curling.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

A brief history of time

(some version of my toastmaster's speech)

As you may know, the title of my speech is also the title of a Stephen Hawking book about quantum physics, the origins of time and the universe. I'm not going to get that detailed today, but I did want to give you a brief history of me.

I grew up on a farm outside a small town in saskatchewan. My brother, my parents and I - so a small family. We had horses, chickens, pigs, dogs, cats, grain and a greenhouse.

When it came time for me to decide what I wanted to be when I grew up. I thought I had it all figured out. Greenhouse management, landscape design or landscape architecture. My dad had other ideas. He was a DeVry grad and figured it was something I should consider. So consider I did. The recruiter talked about job opportunities after graduation, a 3 year degree and the big seller - scholarship opportunities. So I applied. And I applied for the scholarship. Wrote the exam. Wrote the essay.

And I still didn't know what I wanted to be when I grew up. Until the day I got the letter - I'd earned a 1/2 scholarship. Still unsure, Dad sat me down and we talked. It's probably better to take the IT path and get a good job. If I still wanted to change careers later, I'd be able to afford retraining. So at 17, I moved to Calgary and started a degree in computer information systems.

Three years later, I had my degree and a job offer from an agriculture company. It was a great start for me. I knew the industry so I only had to get familiar with a business environment. After 2 years there, I was bored and moved on to a consulting company downtown Calgary. That's where I started my Notes career. I spent a year there before getting bored once again and moving on to TransAlta Utilities.

A year later, I had itchy feet again, only this time I wanted out of Calgary. Time to see something else. I ended up with a job here in Edmonton writing software for ambulances. A small start-up company, there were 5 of us when I started. Gave us all an opportunity to be involved in everything. Training, ride-alongs, development, equipment setup, requirements gathering. I even got to travel. One of my first trips to do user training was to Peoria, Illinois during the 4th of July. It was a great trip.

Two years into that job, they moved the office to Calgary, ironically enough. I wasn't ready to go back to Calgary so I stayed here and worked at home. I eventually tired of my own company and needed to find work with people again. I ended up at Athabasca University working with course delivery and stuff like that. It was short on programming opportunities and I quickly grew bored there as well. In December, I was offered a position here at Enbridge on the Notes team. Six months later, I'm still here and I'm not bored yet.

The best part about the career path I chose has been teh learning opportunities. I 've always worked in IT, but I've had the opportunity to learn about the agriculture, power, Emergency services, and education industries. I"ve worked with all kinds of people and been able to travel a fair bit. Some day I may return to greenhouses and landscaping, but I'm pretty happy being a geek for now.

So there ya go. A preview of my speech for tomorrow. Eek. Tomorrow. Noon. I need to go practice some more!


I don't get it. I never used to have a problem sleeping.

Last night I just had too many good thoughts in my head. The day started out a little crappy, but things just got better and better as the day went by. I enjoyed seeing Madagascar. Funny little movie. I talked to people I wanted or needed to talk to. Got things cleared up between the evil twin and I and... well :) just had a good night all around.

But I get to bed and I can't get the thoughts to shut up. I'm like a kid at christmas. Something good is coming up and I just can't stop thinking about it. Oh, and there's my toastmasters speech tomorrow too. Good/bad, whatever. That one gives me something to think about. Trying to remember my opening and figure out how to transition into my conclusion. Ack! Guess what's going to cause tonight's sleepless night?

At some point last night, I woke and listened to the rain. It was such a nice rain. Not sure what caused me to wake up. And I think I had my sleep interrupted more than once. But I'm really not sure. Probably a good thing if I can't recount the times and what I was thinking about. Well, other than... "ooops, kicked a cat when I rolled over"

But it's time for me to go home now. Lotsa time on the bus for good thoughts :)

Cell phone vs home phone

I've had a request. Zig (better known as Ryna) has been asking what makes a person decide to either have a home phone or just a cell phone. He knows I've recently made this decision myself. Well, he's more than likely laughing at me for making the decision twice. I didn't make a wrong decision... I just decided, re-evaluated and decided again. Because I'm never wrong. (zip it, evil twin ;))

So, the phone decision. Financially, it didn't make sense to me to have two phone lines. Especially at the rates telus charges - eep! So I figured I needed my cell phone for travelling to and from the great flat land, so it only made sense to keep that phone and cancel the land line. Bell even offers unlimited weekend long distance - perfect for calling friends and family - for $5/month. So I made my decision and I moved.

I moved into a two story condo.... with the garage in the basement. And I hate wearing my cell phone. I bump into walls and doors enough, and I heal. My cell phone doesn't heal so well and after a few bumps and bruises, it's not going to be happy. So I started leaving it around the house. If I was downstairs, I'd leave it on the kitchen table. Up in the bedroom, it was likely on a night table or the dresser.

And I have a short memory sometimes. So I'd leave the phone on one floor and wander around the house. IF I heard it ring, I'd have a mad dash up or down stairs to try to get to the thing before voicemail kicked in. That is, if I didn't trip and injure myself on the way.

So, I caved. I called Telus and set up a home phone for me again. This way I have my 2 cordless phone - one per floor, should I remember to keep it that way. So my decision is one based completely in convenience rather than financial responsibility.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Project is COMPLETE

Woo hoo :) I'm doing mental cartwheels right now. Just finish testing the last of the functionality required for my project and it works :) :) :)

Mental cartwheels are required as real ones would be dangerous in a cube farm... There is the serious threat of a domino effect. Heh heh... domino effect... notes... yeah, ok, that's probably only funny to notes geeks. (The product is technically called Lotus Notes/Domino)

a week and a half of formal testing because I'm the first to agree that a developer should NEVER, EVER test their own work.

Hmm, nothing else to say. My mind is completely blank other than, well, shouts of joy which just aren't replicable over the web. Replicable? Is that a word? Heck, I'd never used replicate until I started working with Notes. I shudder to think I once sent an email to the sales guys at Noteable letting them know I hadn't managed to make Notes replication work on people. Sheesh, I thought I did well with the whole bar coding thing, which really wasn't all that complex when I got right down to it. Ok, it was dead easy. Hmmm, bar coding. That would've been interesting for patient care reports... But the Disa aster Managementpp we were working on - pretty much a toe tag db is what was explained to me - bar coding would've been sweet for that. All right, that's a touch morbid for my mood right now.

Wow, what did I have for lunch to make me this giddy? Oh, right... finished the project. :)

Expectations and Hope.

I have 15 minutes before I take off for lunch and I don't want to start anything new so....

I was told last night that there is a vague difference between expecting something and hoping something. Give some time to ponder that, I need to write down my thoughts to see if I've completely lost my mind.

They are similar simply because they describe emotions or a thought process. And they tend to have a positive connotation to them. It's rare to hear someone say "I fully expect to get shot today." It's even more rare to hear "I hope to get shot today," unless one is going in for a flu shot.

In my life, I truly hope things go well. I'm an eternal optimist. I look for the good in everything. The glass is half full unless it's empty. And seeing as I love the rain, clouds don't even need a silver lining. Rain is good, sun is good. Snow... well... it's a change and it means it's curling season so snow is good too. Plus, is there anything better than curling up in front of a fire to watch big, fat flakes of snow fall outside?

Now here is where the difference comes between the two words. Do I expect things to go well? This is me folks. I've come to the conclusion that when I expect the best, I get the worst. On nights when I go into the curling club expecting to win, every shot, every end is a struggle for me. When I go in anticipating a tough game or simply hoping to win, the game often goes better for me. It's likely a mental thing. Over-confidence.

Every date I've been on, I've hoped... hell, when I'm on a date, I hope I can put together enough coherent sentences to keep up with conversation and show SOME of my fascinating personality. I hope I can get through the date without injuring myself or someone else. And we all know that hasn't always happened. I'm still at the "hope" part on that one. If I ever get around to expecting a first date to go well... I should be sedated immediately. Check the number of cats in my home... I may have gone over the edge.

The final distinction I came up with is kinda interesting. My friends. They seem to expect me to get hurt. It's probably a reasonable expectation. And I for one totally expect to get hurt as well. It's something that can't be avoided in life.

The question is... do they HOPE I get hurt. And there is where the difference goes from vague to concrete.

It also makes me question what I said earlier. Expectations aren't always positively connotated. Which is really is the difference. One can expect bad things... but one rarely hopes for bad things.

Whew, I feel better now :)


I've gotta stop sleeping in or start drinking coffee, or SOMETHING. Well, I'm not sure either of those would really have made this week or this morning better. I came in to the office to find I'd received an email overnight. Excited, I checked my mail. I shouldn't have.

My ex has decided to speed up the divorce proceedings, citing adultery - apparently his, but I couldn't quite tell - as the reason. I'm not sure what this means for me because I'm fairly sure all of the divorce stuff with my separation stuff. But now we're talking speeding things up (4 months!!! and I thought I was impatient) and throwing in a little complication.

I'm not sure if this is just another attempt at manipulation by him or if he really means it. To this point, everything he's done has been designed to freak me out and send me running back to him or make me feel guilty. I vote for guilty this time, but one never can tell.

I can see this is going to be an interesting week.

Monday, June 13, 2005


New picture of my nephew in my photo album :)

The Mascot Challenge

I'm happy to report that one of my co-workers won the Corporate Challenge Mascot Challenge for our division. Dressed as the "Ener-Bee" he beat out all competing mascots in a bird dance race of some kind. He explained it, but really, without being able to see him mimic it, the explanation would lose something. Namely insane laughter.

As a side, rant....Comment your code, people! Back to trying to figure out if a function does what I want it to as written...

A woman is like a teabag?

All right, typing that made me laugh. First, because when I worked for TransAlta in Calgary, I had a cube with a window - this meant sharing the cube with a window with a woman named Sue. And we were both big tea drinkers so we had a kettle that we shared and we'd make regular trips across the street to Co-op to get more tea. Anyway, whenever she was making herself some tea, I'd hear "tea...bag?" and turn around to see her holding a teabag with this great big grin on her face.

Umm, ok, so maybe you had to be there.

Back to the quote. This morning my sister in law sent me an email that contained the following quote:

"A woman is like a don't know how strong she is until you put her in hot water"

Of course it also contained this little gem, "Don't start with me, you WILL NOT win."

Wow, now I'm not sure which one is my favorite.

Sunday, June 12, 2005


Thursday I have to give my first toastmasters speech. First real one, not counting tabletopics. Which reminds me, Terry went and made me topic master for the next week. Just what I didn't need. Now I have to come up with questions for people to answer.

So last night I started to prepare my speech. It's an easy topic - me. But I have to talk for 4-6 minutes. At first I thought that would be easy. I can talk. But...I'm the only one talking. With a dozen or so pairs of eyes watching me. I'm really not the most interesting person in the world, and I can't imagine anyone wants to hear me talk for 4-6 minutes about curling.

I start preparing my speech and I go with family, education and work history. I'm still a little concerned at this point that I'm going to have trouble talking for 4-6 minutes. Then I run through the speech the first time. I peek at the clock when I finish talking about university and... eep, I'm already at 6 minutes. Time to go back and prune some.

Finally at 11 pm, I ran through it one last time. Still at 7 minutes. I figure I'll leave it there and trim up my work stuff if I end up cutting things close. I'd hate to get in there, talk at hyper speed and be done in 3 minutes flat. Or forget parts and end up short with nothing to say. Although I can babble forever about building ambulance software. So I should be good there.

If all else fails I'll tell some story about my nephew. I dunno. Or I'll pull out the curling card.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Finally drying out

All right. I'm getting there. Still have a damp spot or two, but I'm almost comfortably dry now. Should be all dry just in time to go catch a bus. At least the second deluge of rain appears to be gone. Crossing my fingers a third doesn't come up in the next hour. Then again, I'm the one that tried to get a light to turn red so I'd make my bus yesterday afternoon. Sure enough, the light turned red - after the bus got through and I didn't get across the street. So, perhaps I should just expect the third downpour to start as I step out onto the street.

Frosty Drowned Rat

Ok, I've been back for an hour. My hair - almost dry. My shirt, still overly damp. Who knew sitting around in damp... well, unmentionables, would be so freaking uncomfortable. Wet lace = bad. Ditto wet jeans. Although they're just damp now. To add insult to injury, the rain seems to have stopped. It's not like it had big plans for the day. It could've just held off for another 5 minutes or less to let me get safely back to my office.

And today, the AC has to be working. Add a nice light breeze to the damp clothing and we have a chilly Erin with bad hair. So, I put on my jacket instead of shivering at my desk. Oh, right, my clothes are damp and the jacket is waterproof ( I know, I know. DON'T say it), so now I'm warm and damp. Equally uncomfortable. I guess it's better than soggy.

oh great. Sun. Yep, the sun is peeking out. Excuse me while I go beat up mother nature. I wonder if this has anything at all to do with me forgetting to feed the cats this morning? I bet they put her up to this.

Drowned Rat

I love the rain, I love walking in the rain. I don't love it so much coming back from lunch on a Friday without an umbrella when I've left my rain jacket at work. And not a gentle little sprinkle. Nope, downpour. Great big drops. My mistake for wandering so far from the office. 4 blocks to BP's. A nice little stroll when it's sunny out. A soggy walk today.

So now I'm the drowned rat of the floor. At least I'm not wearing a white shirt. I'd be tempted to just go home for the day if it didn't involve another walk in the rain. Might as well dry out a bit before I get wet again. Heck of a day to wear jeans. But, I need to go before I start cursing my curly hair.

Maybe not so sweet and innocent

Well, I managed to shake the ground under a certain igloo this fine morning. Left the poor boy a little speechless for a moment.

I'll be honest, there are parts of me that I don't reveal often. Things that would shock a lot of people about the sweet, innocent Saskatchewan farm girl. It's not like what I said was anything earth shattering. Heck, I'm a tad surprised it had the effect it did. It's not like I confessed to running a profitable escort service in my spare time. Although that might help pay the bills once in awhile. Or at least provide money for retail therapy. But alas, that isn't the news.

It was a simple, innocent comment about the reasons I enjoy hockey so much. Let's leave it at that since the details of the revelation may have many of you re-evaluating your opinion of me.

We managed a discussion about geeks and their quirks. Apparently mine is a love of sports. Ok, people, stop laughing. Let's just go with that. Fine, I know about the existance of Darth Tater - and I find it amusing. The rest of my quirks....well, they're better learned about over time, not all at once in some kind of Blogger confessional.

Wow, in the midst of all this talking and thinking, one might wonder how I managed an early morning meeting with my project manager as well as fixing most of the issues in the project. Two left (as far as I'm aware). I need something to do after lunch besides nap.

Oh, lunch...Gotta run!

Thursday, June 09, 2005

My life is oddly interesting.

It's like watching a car wreck or the titanic sink. Only, wayyyyy less interesting and much less carnage. OK, fine, it's more like watching grass grow or paint dry.

I have friends who call me the crazy lady. They think I'm only one cat away from "Crazy Cat Lady." I have a friend who are apparently upset at not being called "smart-assed BC boy." I have many other names for him, and smart-assed was probably about the most polite. Hey, some days he's lucky he's considered a friend. Mr. "Oh darn, can't come help you move, Rainmaker Rodeo is on." Shoulda gone with lazy-assed BC Boy. Or there's always drunk-assed, VB Geek. Go back to your igloo...

Wow, does that sound as bitter and angry as I think? Oh well, he should be used to it by now.

The good news - I have AC again. This is cause for celebration since our office is now under 30 degrees again. I did come prepared today - t-shirt, skirt and sandals. Oh well, I still looked good for the meeting with the Director of IT. Although (going to be girly here for a second), the orange red of my toe nail polish just doesn't match the red of my t-shirt. I'm unco-ordinated. Oh wait, that's normal.

I attempted to do more unpacking last night. I really did. I was home early from work due to the heat so I went right upstairs to unpack. For whatever reason I lay down on the bed for "a couple minutes." this was about 4pm. I woke up at 6pm. Got up, went for food, cat food and a quick stop at the drug store for another girly moment - I was out of hairspray. By the time I got back, I logged on to work, finished up my day's work that I slept through earlier, checked my mail quickly at about 10 and went to bed. Maybe got a half box unpacked. So much for getting that done.

It's funny, I look at my previous posts and I probably come across as pretty picky about code standards and all that stuff. Right down to a little rant about whitespace. And I am. Code has structure for a reason. Code maintainability makes my job way easier. Even makes writing the code and debugging it the first time easier. It just takes a bit of planning.

So why is everything else in my life such a mess? This morning, I lost my ID and security badges again. Not a clue where they've ended up. I spent a couple of hours looking for some toastmasters paperwork that I remember being given, but don't know what I did with it. I blame that on the move. Don't give me stuff when the rest of my stuff is boxed up. I'm living out of boxes in my bedroom still, even though Sheila commented on how settled in I am. Ok, so the candles in the ensuite were an early requirement.

I keep giving excuses that once I get furniture I'll clean it up. Well, what does a sofa have to do with all the stacks of paper on my floor? Oh, wait, that's my missing desk... Right now, my desk at work looks like a couple binders exploded. There are stacks of paper everywhere. Oh, and an extremely cute black and white picture of my nephew.

Hey! Wait, I found the papers for toastmasters that my co-worker was looking for. I feel somewhat better now. It still doesn't excuse the clutter I can so easily ignore in my personal life. Even my car can get to be a mess. Eep, that reminds me, I have to pick up Stacey tonight for the zoo. Wonder if I'll have time to vacuum my car out. In the winter, my curling stuff has a permanent spot in the back seat. Not sure why, and one of these days I'll get tired of cold toes and start taking it into the house. Oh, wait, my garage is insulated now. My toes won't get so cold!

Wait, where was I going with this? Let's see, friends, code, messy house, messy desk, nephew, curling. Funny how everything ends up back at curling isn't it?

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

I'm melting...melting...

Oh wait, that line would make me the evil one... What did the good witch say??? Did she ever say anything? Oh right, something about ruby slippers. Red shoes, my kinda witch!

Wow, where did that come from? This heat must be affecting my mind. I can see my inline comments now "where did all these flying monkeys come from?" Back to the heat, imagine this - the air conditioning is out in our tower. I'm on the 7th floor. Thankfully heat rises and I'm no higher than 7. On the other hand, we're at 31 degrees in here right now and climbing. I even sacrificed my view when the sun started to peek out. There's only about a thousand people in the tower... I think I need to call our server guys and see if they'll let me borrow their air conditioner for awhile. Either that or go buy a bathrobe and some slippers and pretend I'm at a spa (thanks to a friend for that suggestion).

I wonder what how few clothes I could wear and still qualify as business casual? Somehow I doubt a bathrobe would do it.

I finally check the weather in the morning and in light of the predicted showers and 18 degree high, I felt a light sweater wasn't out of line - and it meant I didn't have to iron anything. Don't tell anyone, but I'm not sure where my ironing board is. I know, kinda a big thing to misplace...

I wonder if anyone would notice if I curled up under my desk for a nap. Or broke a window. Or just went home. There's a reason I keep my house at about 18 degrees. The way the day is going, we're going to double that in the office. Hmmm, think about curling... being on the ice.... I wonder if yelling "hurry hard" would tip people off that I'm fantasizing? Or give them the wrong idea about said fantasy?

Curling. It's only June 8th and I'm already wishing I was back on the ice. Three nights a week this year if all goes as planned :) Although the Friday night league makes it harder to curl in bonspiels. Or go home for the weekend.

Maybe it's that love of pressure that makes me procrastinate at work. On the ice I love it when it comes down to a tough draw to score. I'm not so happy when it usually means I'm looking at 3 or 4 scored by the wrong guys when I miss. But I've made some pretty impressive shots when I've had to, even when my team thinks I'm nuts. Maybe that's why I'm the crazy one.

See, the heat is getting to me. Talking about curling of all things. But, hey, I feel better.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Errors, errors everywhere

I have NO idea what happened overnight, but apparently I've lost any previous ability I had to write code. Today, I've seen sooooo many errors (created by me) that I'm not even sure where to begin. I started with a "Illegal parenthesized function" error. Which was refreshingly new to me. I've never coded into that particular one before. Which means it took me a few minutes to recover from it.

From there, I went right into "Illegal property call" errors. Everywhere. I think every piece of code I attempted to debug today involved that beauty. It's another one I rarely see, although today I made up for it.

And what would a day of coding be without a few of my tried and true favorites. "Type Mismatch" and "Object Variable Not Set" both came to visit me today. In fact, much like my morning intervention, they tag teamed me. I'd get an "OVNS" error fixed only to run my code and get a "type mismatch." And back and forth we went.

I now seem to be error free. Well, in code at least. And taking a much needed mental break before tackling the UI changes I need to make. I hate the user interface. Code I can make pretty. I always have trouble making the screens pretty.

Wow, since when did I have so much to say? And the real question, does anyone really care? I've gotta stop this two posts a day stuff. People might come to expect it ALL the time.

When I break something...

It's really just the way my day's been going, so should I really be surprised? I started out the morning with a little "intervention" from my friends. I haven't read my evil twin's blog yet, but apparently I'm mentioned in there as the crazy one. A name I've more than earned lately. Hmm, just went and read it. If I were more emotional, it might've brought a tear to my eye... (crazy lady - bah!)

But I digress - easily distracted today...

Started out the morning with a fine little warning from my friends. Note to self, when cutting close to a deadline - DO NOT accept MSN group chat invitations. Funny thing - Robyn has never met Sushi Boy, yet the two of them felt comfortable enough to gang up on me online this morning. I wish I'd saved some of that little conversation. There were times I was trying not to laugh - seeing as my cubicle with a view isn't overly soundproof. There were times I wanted to block them both for treating me like a little kid. I'm far too close to 30 to be a little kid anymore. I know, I know stop acting like one and they'll stop treating me like one :) I guess I don't see either happening any time soon. I do envision being handcuffed to one or the other of them, or having them stand guard on my front step so I can't leave by myself. One poopyheaded neighbor and I'm under lock and key.

I will say this. I grew up with drunken men. Well, not WITH them. I was the youngest in the neighborhood as a kid. The neighbors had two boys, the youngest was 4 years older than me, I believe. When they started drinking (it's sask, do that math on your own), they usually partied at home with their friends. We'd go over to visit and the boys would be partying so I was very experienced in drunken behaviour before I ever considered starting drinking. Maybe this is why I never did drink much. I've realized since that I was spared a lot because of my age at the time and my Dad. Even when I was old enough for them to start involving me in their activities, the threat of Harvey was great enough that I would always be either their little sister or completely ignored.

I've had to lock the doors and know where the guns (it was a farm in sask, yes, multiple guns) were simply because we had one older neighbor - very much older - who liked to believe the teenaged girls were attracted to him. Add alcoholism to that and my parents weren't always comfortable leaving me at home alone. So I learned early on that men and alcohol don't mix well at all. But at the same time, most of the drunks I've known were totally harmless and never bothered me. Again, likely because of my Dad and big brother. I'm not protected by that small town knowledge of my family anymore. I'm just a girl, or rather, a woman in a city full of strangers. So I was naive. I'm not so naive anymore, whether big brother and little sister believe that ;)

Wow, off topic again... Next came a two hour team meeting. Hey, at least when it came down to it, there were a couple items I could say "done" to, which is always a good feeling. I am getting a little tired of some of the internal power struggles we have going on here, but hey, I want no power so I should just sit back and be entertained. Not easy to do when you're watching a teammate get hassled. But he's a big boy he can deal with it.

And finally, back at my desk, I got to test the code I'd written while being lectured to by my friends ;) Well, I think I ended up rewriting every last line of the darned stuff and it STILL doesn't work. ARGH. Last thing I did was crash Notes with it and essentially my computer. Apparently I've created an endless loop somewhere. Hate when I do that.

So, now I'm getting a time out before I kill my computer. And notes is getting some time to think about what it did. Maybe I should've had lunch today. Oh well, too late now. Back to my broken code...

Monday, June 06, 2005

On a less personal note

I've found my missing data. In celebration of this discovery, I microwaved my leftovers and filled my mug with water. Kinda a sad commentary on my life there, isn't it?

I'm trying to figure out how to explain the bug in Lotus Notes that caused 2 days of debugging. I don't want to get too geeky or too technical. Oh well, here goes.

I had a form that contained computed subforms. The one computed subform contained a formula to determine what subform to show based on the request type. This should work, but when it came to saving the form online, it wasn't saving all of the fields. My first hint should've come when I noticed some of the data being saved was from a different subform than the one used to enter the data. When I look at something like that and think "hmmm, that's odd," I should really investigate further. Nope, I just figured it was one of Notes' little intricacies.

Today I caved and went to search the online user forums. And I learned that on submit of a webform, it recalculates any computed subforms. Since the type of account requested doesn't change, I wrongly assumed that the computed subform would evaluate the same at this point. So I went back and looked at the code used to determine the subform to be used. The default selection was the modification subform rather than creation. And the mysterious fields I noted earlier came from the... modification subform.

So, I put the two missing fields onto the modification subform as hidden fields and...voila, data gets saved. Two days of development time wasted on this. I'm still not sure how it re-evaluates the subform to anything other than what it should be, but it does. That investigation gets to wait until I've completed this project and have time to go back and really poke around in the code. I'm still hoping for it to be another Notes intricacy that can't be explained in any other way. That's always fun to document for other developers.

Another clarification on the weekend

C'mon you guys can't read my mind? I've had enough questions about where I meet the guys I date so....

Saturday night was not a date. I was unpacking and generally getting stuff settled in the new place. I took my patio furniture from the garage to the deck and on the way was invited to join the neighbors around the fire. I thought this was a great way to get to know some people. Which I did; and Tamara is a wonderful girl. Dave and Rob - real nice guys. Met the neighbor with multiple personalities. There's really no other way to explain her complete personality change during a conversation with Doug. Doug - the condo association president who's an ass when he drinks, but otherwise quite normal.

Thanks guys - I really do try to have some kind of standards when I pick my dates.

Sunday, June 05, 2005


Well, my first post of the day was somewhat angry and bitter, which isn't like me most of the time. So I need to make sure I end the day with something a bit more me.

Five years ago, I moved to Edmonton. At the time, I had no idea what was in store for me up here. And I hadn't yet met three people who would become some of my better friends. My Evil Twin, Sushi Boy and G.

The evil twin. I never thought I'd meet someone so much like me. The evil one actually started working at the same company as me a few years ago when I was writing ambulance software. She was hired part time to help out our office manager. We didn't even really become friends then. We talked and hung out once in awhile, and added each other to our MSN lists. Over time a friendship built and now... well, heck, she's one person I can always count on to be there.

Last thursday, she knew I was upset about stuff. So, having Friday off, she came to Edmonton and we went out for raw fish. It was more of a distraction for me than anything else, but I appreciated what she did for me. She's also threatened to stay with me for a weekend in June when someone comes to town to see me. Apparently I'm not old enough to make my own decisions. Don't tell her (yeah, right, she reads this darned thing), but it probably isn't the worst idea in the world and I have my own reservations about that weekend as it is. But I like to think I can take care of myself. Heck, I did last night. Ok, OK, I got my own butt in trouble.

She's my guard dog. She's told my ex to stay away from me. She's had words with a guy who's hurt me. She's asked for the MSN address of every guy I talk to. I think she wants to threaten him if I get hurt again. Needless to say,she doesn't get a lot of MSN addresses anymore. But hey, it feels good to have someone care that much.

Sushi boy. Met him when I started at AU... 2 years ago now. He's kinda a shy guy, pretty quiet overall until he gets to know someone. He is partially responsible for introducing me to sushi. And that's how we got to know each other. Since leaving AU, the friendship has continued with he and his fiancee as well as G and his wife. We have monthly sushi outings around the city and weekly coffee, when I can make it. I don't always get there but whenever I do, I'm welcomed.

They worry about me. When I date someone new, they like to know about it and get the details. Sushi Boy is frighteningly close to reality with some of his analysis of the guys I've dated. Give him enough information and he's off doing searches online to see what he can dig up about a given male. Again, all just concerned about me. He and the Evil Twin have never met, but now have each other on MSN so they can co-ordinate their efforts to scare off any potential dates. He is however reading my blog and letting me know that this morning's post may not be coming across quite how I meant it to.

I'm frustrated at the quality of men I've met to this point in my life. I'm tired of the expectation of sex, whether there's an assumption it's been too long for me, or being "recently" separated, I need some kind of validation that I can get from males in the form of sex. Hmm, that was a long, awkward sentence... The eternal optimist in me wants to believe that there are men out there who are not just looking to take a woman to bed. Recent experiences may show otherwise, but I refuse to give up.

Finally, we have G. Another former AU employee. He worked helpdesk there when I started. Then he left and returned in the same position. Now, he's at the U of A in a much more deserving position. He's a lot more quiet about my situation, except telling me last week it would be easy for me to go out and get laid if I wanted to. I don't think he realized I'd already learnt the truth of that statement. But I don't want to just get laid. WIth the right person? LOL, it has been awhile and with the right person...well, he'd better be well rested. Sigh, that just sounds bad again. Sushi boy is going to have a lot of fun with this blog entry.

But G is a good guy. I'm not sure I appreciate the discussions about my life when I'm not around, but as long as G keeps reminding folks I'm an adult and I'm pretty good at taking care of myself it's all good. And, hey, what can you say about a group of people who don't set me up on blind dates? At my request of course. They're all good people and I know they care about me.

But now it's late and I need to get my butt to work early in the morning.


What is it about learning a woman is separated, divorced, single, or whatever that makes single men think "desperate"? It's something I'm not sure I'll ever understand.

Yep, ok, so I'm a slow learner. I've been "one of the guys" so long that it's hard for me to accept the fact that I'm now a target for drunken asses who believe that because they're single and I'm single we should go back to their place. Or in last night's case - my place. Shorter stumbling distance for someone so drunk he probably couldn't have done anything more than pass out at that point.

Another lesson learned. The night was going well. I knew he was older than me, never suspected any kind of interest through the night. We learned that he spent two years working in my hometown after I moved to Calgary so we talked about the people we both knew. Even the town itself and the experience of living in a small town. We talked about the surrounding areas - Senlac, Cut Knife, Wilkie, Winter... covered them all. I stopped drinking, he didn't. He kinda kept finding reasons to get closer through the night. I should've walked away, but I was a dumbass. I wasn't drunk at that point. I was just enjoying the conversation. Until he switched to vodka.

LOL, he tried. I've got to give him credit for that. And somewhere in the past 7 months, I've become a little more blunt than I used to be. When he told me he'd quit smoking for me (yeah, right). I laughed and asked him if he'd say anything to get a woman into bed. Perhaps that was the wrong thing to do. Maybe I should've gone with a quiet retreat to my home. But, no. I figured I'd stick around to help him put out the fire and make sure he got home ok. At 3:30, I finally gave up. I'd been told to f-off more than once and even called the C word. He told me to suck him or leave him alone. WTF? Everything was going fine. Then he just flipped. So I went into the house. Guilt sent me back out to get him back to his place before he passed out and cracked his head on the concrete. No go. So I gave up again and went to bed. I know it was the liquor talking, because I certainly didn't deserve any of that.

Yes, I'm single. Yes, it's been awhile, but that doesn't mean I'm going to jump into bed with a guy because he's interested...and beyond very drunk. Being almost thirty and single in this freaking city doesn't mean that I want or need every other single - or married! - guy hitting on me. It doesn't mean I'm happy to just be used for sex and walked away from.

Maybe I'm nuts, and maybe I'll end up spending the rest of my life alone if I'm wrong. But right now alone seems like a far better option than taking whatever sad offer gets thrown at me. I guess I can take the insults, but just a note guys - those insults are less likely to make a woman go home with you. No matter how cute your freaking dog is.

I'm single. I'm not a moron. I'm not easy. I like to laugh, I like to have fun. I love to flirt. But I draw the line. I'm not a tease, don't treat me like one. I try not to play games, but sometimes I cross the line and realize it too late. When I hardly know you, I don't want to go to bed with you. It's not who I am, it's not what I do. If you push me, I'll call you on it.

And before my smart-assed BC friend makes a comment - yes, I've made mistakes when I'm drunk. It's why I try to avoid that stuff most of the time. It's why a 16 year old could drink me under the table without half trying. Some mistakes made won't be repeated.

Ok, I think I'm done ranting now. At least I feel better.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

The good china

There's just something wrong about drinking tea out of a heavy glass coffee mug. So, it's already afternoon, I'm drinking a cup of raspberry green tea out of one of my grandmother's china cups.

I'd like to say it makes me feel closer to her. Unfortunately, my grandparents never agreed with my Mom's decision to marry my dad and there was a rift that never healed in that family. Do I blame my grandparents? Partly. I mean, my Dad is easily my hero. So for me to know that my grandparents never approved is a bit hard.

Grandpa passed away in the late 90's. He was in his late nineties. I didn't attend the funeral, and now I feel some guilt over that. He was a tough old scotsman. I still remember the phone call from Mom and attempting to get a flight to winnipeg to attend the funeral. Neither my brother or I attended.

The year my brother got married, a friend of the families also got married back where Mom grew up so we all went out. And for the first time, my brother's wife and my ex both met my grandma. She hugged my ex. There was just something about him that made everyone want to give him a hug. We all chuckled about that afterwards. And I started to learn more about my grandma. As my uncle went through their stuff, he sent stuff to Mom. Out of that I received newspaper clippings. Pictures from bonspiels I'd placed in, my grad picture from the local paper, the announcement of my scholarship to DeVry. My brother recevied the same stuff. All of these memories. Things I didn't realize Grandma even knew about - or cared about.

But she did. And my brother and I repaid her by having little to nothing to do with her. And a year after we were out there for the wedding, we were back for a funeral. Dad talked to us a bit about the situation and I started to learn that maybe the whole dispute wasn't my grandparents' fault, entirely. Mom had made mistakes and she was stubborn.

So, today I drink tea out of china handed down to me by a woman I hardly knew.

The china does remind me of a wonderful neighbor we had growing up. By neighbor, I mean she lived about 5 miles away, if not further. Mom and I would often go over and have tea with Barb. And every time, we drank tea out of real china tea cups. We sat around that wonderful kitchen table drinking tea and snacking on whatever Barb had recently baked. Barb. When I graduated high school, she gave me a beautiful pendant she'd made. She was like a grandmother to me a lot of times. Just a very sweet woman.

Not that I needed another Grandma. Grandma Kelly lived in the same yard as us for a few years when I was growing up. She looked after my brother and I during the busy seasons. I'll never forget when she and (great) Aunt Grace tried to make a lemon loaf. The only one I ever remember Grandma making. Maybe it's because that one was such a failure. I'm sure it would've tasted fine, but it didn't rise at all.

Grandma was "Grandma Grandma" to some of my friends too. Not sure how we ended up with that name for her. Once they moved into town, My brother and I would head over there if we forgot our lunch, or just didn't feel like eating another packed sandwich. We could count on Grandma and Grandpa having soup and sandwiches every day and always putting another bowl on the table for us.

When Mom and Dad went away, my brother and I would stay with our grandparents in town. We'd play cards, play pool, watch TV, go swimming (they conveniently lived a block from the pool). When I was a teenager, my boyfriend and I would go to Grandma and Grandpa's regularly to play Canasta and Cribbage with them. Time has passed and it's hard watching them slow down year after year. We still play cards with them, but no more games that require a lot of thought or memory. Golf is out because Grandma just doesn't enjoy it. So where once we played games like go fish and old maid because my brother and I couldn't learn more complicated games, we're back to playing games like 5 in a row with my grandparents because they can't remember complicated games anymore.

I've been told quite often that I'm like Grandma in so many ways. Appearance, personality, and attitude being big ones. And our laughter. We both love to laugh. But she rarely uses china. Special occasions is about it.

I have china. My own and some from my grandmother. Mom has more from Grandma for me. I get my pick of three sets. Some is old and irreplacable. One set I've been able to rarely find online and it's very hard to even get information about it. That, I wouldn't use. It's beautiful,fine china. And I've decided that's the set I'll take. Impractical, yes. But I'm allowed a little bit of impracticality. I'll still use the other china. Bits and pieces acquired here and there. Teacups like the one I'm drinking out of this morning. That make me think of the fine, strong women in my life who participating in making me who I am.

Now I feel the need to go bake something.

Friday, June 03, 2005

I'm so happy I could cry

All right - this is a rather sad statement on my life, but here goes...

Today, my coworker gave me code he'd built to allow a user to select more than one name from a Notes name and address book. Since this was the last big functionality pieced I needed to add and today was my deadline (I won't even start on the project timelines...), I was more than a little grateful. Consider that the way I was going with it had a flaw I discovered about 15 minutes ago (sigh, bad planning on that one), I was in a bit of trouble.

but now, I might actually make my deadline without working this weekend...

Oh wait. Still missing two little data elements. Perhaps Sask Smurf ran away with them. Where is that little green...

Just a little note... when you want to test code, make sure you a) save the code you want to test and b) refresh the design in the test environment.

Slow news day.

Vancouver Canucks win the Stanley Cup Apparently, since it is the season for it... felt it necessary to have a hockey headline. Only in Canada.

It's going to be a wet day

I tend to ignore the news. Bad, I know, but how much of it really affects me? We're inundated with information throughout the day, be it TV, radio, the internet or just chatting with people around the water cooler. So I may be the last to have learned about Charles and Camilla tying the knot. Same with the Trudeau son who just got married this week or last. I may not have known last summer that Parks Canada employees were on strike. Does that really matter in my day to day life? Not so much. Sure if the news is on, I might catch it. Or listen to it in my car. Let's face it, K-Rock isn't exactly rated up with CNN on quality of news. But at least I catch up on major happenings - when I'm in my car.

But today, I've learned something. As long as I'm taking the bus... I need to consider checking out the odd weather report. Apparently, rain is in the forecast. My skirt, sandals and white shirt were probably not the best choice. I'd considered going back into the house for my rain jacked when I left, but I figured the sweater I had would do. Watching the clouds gather... probably not so much. So now, I'm planning my walk to the bus stop through the pedway.

Yep, I feel silly.

Oh well, not like I have big plans today. I do wish I'd gotten up early enough for breakfast though. I'm starving. hmm, maybe I should've used my break to run across the street to Tim's instead of writing this.

Thursday, June 02, 2005


Have you ever felt that your computer needed a time out? Just to give it a chance to think about what it's done?

Right now, mine is getting one. I've spent the day designing a couple of web forms and their non-web, notes client counterparts. The problem seems to be with the web form. It's not saving a couple of pieces of data that it really should be saving. And it's coming up with additional data elements that don't exist as far as I know. And considering I did the creating, I'd hope I would know.

Well, I guess, here goes - one more test then I bring in fresh eyes. If this is easy to find I'm going home to bed. Robyn's on her own for sushi.

Coding Frustrations

Repeat after me... "Whitespace is our friend."

Yes, folks, when writing code, whitespace is the best thing you can do to make your code readable. This all goes back to maintainability and not killing the people trying to modify your code in the future. Because while you undoubtedly know that code inside out, I don't. Heck, I don't even know my own code inside out. More than once I've been looking at a script I've written and had to go back and check to make sure that I'm actually the original writer of that code. Then I ask myself what I was thinking when I wrote it. Which typically leads to a desire to refactor my code, leaving me in an endless spiral of rewriting code until I stop asking myself what I was thinking and start asking what the code was REALLY supposed to do when I started.

Ok, it's not that bad. Really. I typically know what the code is supposed to do because....

Basically it comes down to this - a function should do one thing, and only one thing. It should be properly named "dostuff()" is not a good option. It'd be great if it didn't include the original specs as commenting. Although that can be somewhat helpful if those comments are updated when necessary and continued throughout the code. Otherwise, people like me tend to get lost. Give me a map - I might actually use it. Give me half a map - not real useful.

And this weekend, I am SO rewriting the darned code. If we were properly using script libraries and subroutines, my work would be done in an hour or less today. Instead I have to weed through 8 pages of code trying to figure out which parts are relevant to me, and which parts involved subroutines embedded in subroutines in a maze that will take hours to sort out.

In unrelated the next few weeks it looks like I'll be meeting someone who interests the heck out of me at this point. Am I excited - yep. Am I scared... heck yeah. LOL. At some point I turned into a big chicken, and I'm a little nervous about this whole thing. At least I have my first toastmasters speech coming up in 2 weeks. Something else to be nervous about to take my mind off of other things.

Hmm, I'm done babbling now.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Just when I thought I had everything

well, except for living room furniture, a desk and a kitchen table...

But I digress. A friend sent me a link to a new gadget. Apparently this is for the dog who has everything... Odd.