Saturday, July 30, 2005

what to do when your MOM is a LUser

Sigh. It's happened. I've answered the question "do the instructions really have to include that part about inserting the CD?"

For my mother, they do. Although questions remain about whether she'd read and/or follow that direction. What's a computer programmer to do?

Thursday, July 28, 2005

what I do in my spare time

It's summer and there's no curling to be done, so I indulge in one of my relaxing hobbies. Cross stitch. This is Spring Queen, I've been working on her for awhile now, but recently I've made a lot of progress.

The expensive part of this little hobby is the fabric. I'm doing this one on a very nice hand dyed fabric purchased from a woman in Ontario (Gotta support a fellow Canadian!). She no longer sells to the public, just to needlework stores which is a disappointment. At least she's got one she sells to in Edmonton now.

The picture's a little dark. Funny, it didn't look so bad last night when I uploaded it to the web. Ah well, next time I'll get a better shot.

Some changes just have to be made

Tonight, I'm reverting to my maiden name. At least that's the plan if I can fit it in between work and hitting the road. I just realized this morning I needed someone to take care of the cats since I'm leaving tonight instead of the oringinal Friday departure. So I called a couple friends and one is willing to do it. I guess I owe him food now... just not sushi, my bank account can't afford that! Anyway, I tried to decide whether to change the name before leaving town, or waiting until Tuesday and ceremonially do it on the 8th anniversary of losing my maiden name. To be celebrated with... uhhhh hmmm.

The itchy feet aren't going away and there's a part of me that's looking at leaving Edmonton. Go somewhere to get a new start. The problem... a 2 month old mortgage on a condo. Not to mention the cost of moving. so for right now, it gets to wait. I have too much I want to do to start running away and hoping a bank would finance another mortgage when I got wherever I was going!

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

99 bottles of wine on the wall..

99 bottles of wine...

Yeah, I wish. Nope, just one. One sad little bottle of white wine in my fridge. ooops, white zinfandel. A california rose. And it's now empty. I'd love to tell you how it tasted, but.. I didn't savour it.

I'm having a bad night. LOL, yep, the girl who had the confidence just last night to flirt with rugby and hockey teams is terrified tonight. And what has scared this strong single women? The prospect of her ex on a date. My backup plan, my safety net is gone.

For whatever reason (fear) these last few days have been hard for me. Hard, what an understatement. The situation prompted Robyn to drive up here to visit. It prompted a night out last night like I've never had before. It's prompted phone calls that I regret to my ex. It's prompted a bottle of wine to help me sleeep tonight.

Total fear. Something I don't remember feeling before. I used to numb myself with food. Try to cover the pain with doritos. I'm avoiding that now. Oh, wait.. I used alcohol instead. Maybe I'm not so far ahead.

Well, i think it's bed time for me. I've had too many sleepless nights.

Travellin' Girl

Well, it's done. My flight is booked for halifax. The trip's at $1000 so far and I haven't hit Halifax yet! That's just flight and curling tickets. Eeeep! At least Linda and I are sharing the hotel. Oh, and my flight out on the Saturday is at 12:30 am. Yep...middle of the night. BUT it should mean I miss as little as possible of the curling. I arrive in Halifax at 10:00 am or something like that. Only one stop in the flight - Toronto.

And I've got itchy feet. There's a big part of me saying "book Victoria... do it... Book VICTORIA!" Sigh, I think I need to wait another month and see where I am financially before I go too crazy with vacations.

"Happy Panties are Easy Panties"

No, I'm not advocating this statement. Nor am I saying if you make me laugh I'll go to bed with you. But I had the greatest time last night. And it has nothing to do panties.

Robyn, Nicky and I headed out to Taste of Edmonton last night. As the rain started we were just about fed up with the crowds anyway. In the downpour, we decided to go for a "couple drinks" and they looked to me to pick a place. Well, the only one I knew of nearby was a place frequented by a certain igloo dweller. So off we went to Sherlock Holmes.

We decided to go for a second round and as our drinks arrived, so did the entertainment for the evening. He was cute and he flirted with our table so what the heck, we stayed for a third round.... and a fourth... Well, at some point our table was joined by mullet wearing Scots. They were fake mullets.... wigs. And the one wore a Scottish tam with red hair attached - this was Brian Lyall. He came with an "interpreter". And together they kept us laughing for quite awhile. They joined us because one of the guys with them wanted to come talk to us but was too scared to on his own. He never did come over. That's where the title of my blog comes from. The Scotsman mumbled something about us laughing and the "interpreter" said that little line. We learned later they were a rugby team here for the World Masters games. They left for another bar since they didn't like our 60's, 70's and 80's music playing entertainer.

Shortly after, the three of us had paid our tab and were looking for the waitress who was about as interested in getting paid as she was in serving us all night... when I looked around the bar. "Oh! Kilts!" I say, and immediately we're joined by the Scottish ice hockey team. The Flintstone Flyers. Another group participating the the World Master's games. One win, one draw and they hadn't had a sober night yet. Well, last night was no exception. The guy who originally plunked himself at our table wore a kilt... and a woman's spaghetti strap top. John, who I later learned was actually named John Walker... sat and chatted with me for quite some time. He even read our palms. His brother Allen was wandering about and apparently was the source of the spaghetti strap top - he traded his "Flintstone Flyers" T-shirt for it.

They do one tournament a year, typically around Europe. They'd been planning the trip to Canada for 4 years. They had a mascot... Funshine Bear. I think it was a ploy to get girls to talk to them :-D

By this time it was midnight, and my two friends - who didn't have to get up this morning to go to work - were getting tired so we left the Scots on their own to find the next bar. Allan was mumbling about being at an English Pub when they have them on every corner back home...He was also about 1 1/2 beers away from passing out.

We made it home safe and sound and not only did I make it to work on time this morning... I was up at 7:09 and caught the 7:28 bus. Yes, my hair looks like crap.

Anyone want to know what they wear under a kilt?

Monday, July 25, 2005

diary of a bus rider

Ya know, my parents worry about me. Can you blame them? Their daughter, the baby of the family, is alone in the big, bad city. I have a mortgage (gasp!) and various other bills.

Now, let's consider what they aren't aware of. Public transportation. Sure, they know I take public transportation. They're blissfully unaware of the elements of the city that spill onto the bus. Take Friday for example... I get to the Transit centre and surprise surprise, there's one of the buses I can take sitting there waiting - never happens. So I rush over and climb on, taking one of the front seats, near someone sleeping. Normal enough, right?

Well, further investigation of said sleeper shwed that he....hmmm... well, his fly was open. I'm starting to get a little concerned at this point and I glance around to see where empty seats are. Then a breeze floats through the bus bringing me the scent of alcohol. All right, maybe this isn't some normal commuter - so I move. The lady in the seat across from me smiles and nods knowingly and I realize I"ve made the correct decision.

That's confirmed when he starts yelling, yep, yelling, in his sleep. So I breathe a sigh of relief that I'd moved and settle into my new seat comfortably. Well, before long, our bus driver is joined by a transit official... a large, bouncer-ish transit official, who boards the bus and removes the drunk for us.

But really, that was nothing compared to today. That's just an amusing tale to share over wine. Today, a monsoon hit Edmonton right around quitting time. I got a bit damp on the way to the bus stop, and waiting in the shelter for a bus. When it came, I picked a seat toward the back, hoping I'd be lucky enough to spend the trip alone.

Seconds later, I notice my arm is getting wetter. Yep, the bus had a leak, so I moved. The bus had more than one leak. Significantly more than one leak. I managed to avoid most of them and turned to look out the front of the bus. And I thought to myself, "funny, it wasn't foggy when I got on the bus...." Then I realized it still wasn't foggy outside. But our bus was bobbing and weaving through rush hour traffic... with very, VERY foggy windows.

ah well, the bus is bigger than anything else on the roads, I feel safe.

Friday, July 22, 2005

OMG - there's a Corner Gas DVD???

Yes, I'm shocked by the existance of a Season 1 DVD . I love that show. And even note that the particular person reviewing Corner Gas appears to be American. Everyone loves a flatlander.


I don't want this blog to become a political place. But I felt a need to post something about the bombings in London. It happened again yesterday. Same people? People hoping to leverage fear created by the first, and much more lethal bombings? Does it matter?

It's easy for me to sit in my little cubicle overlooking a parkade and the river valley in a Canadian city and say "don't give in to the fear," when to this point Canada hasn't been targetted for this kind of terrorist attack. If I lived in London...or New York, or any US city, would I still be as comfortable stepping onto the LRT or the bus for my daily commute? Or would I turn to my car in fear, paying a higher price to park downtown, not to mention the ridiculous gas prices?

I admire the Londoners who refuse to give in to fear. Who don't change their daily schedules and lives. The ones who show the true "stiff upper lip" attitude of the British people.

It truly sucks that there are people in the world who glory in causing death and destruction. I feel for innocent, or even not so innocent people, who are making their way to or from work who get caught in something as basically ugly as this. There is no good, no beauty, in a terrorist act. It accomplishes no real purpose and only breeds anger and hate on both sides.

So keep that stiff upper lip, wherever you are, however you are involved. I commend you, I feel for you.

It's good being me.

Yeah, I have the odd thing I whine about, complain about. My life may not be perfect, but it's good being me.

Why? You might ask. I mean I am on the road to divorce, trying to date again, I have insane cats and even crazier friends. My family doesn't agree with all my decisions in life, and my mom hates my new place. I have limited living room furniture and a car that needs a washing. And if you read the blog below, you'll find I don't quite live up to an ideal.

But, I'm me. I have a big heart, a great sense of humor, a healthy dose of curiousity and (my personal favorite) intelligence. 12 years ago, I took a path that was slightly less travelled by the female population and I became a computer geek. Really, it was ideal - painfully shy, I could hide behind a computer screen and let someone else do all the customer contact stuff. Ok... it was ideal if that were the real way this industry works. It isn't. Customer service and client contacts have become a way of life for me and we all know I'm working on my skills in that area thanks to toastmasters.

But the end result is still the same. I have a job I love. I know the divorce situation likely makes me appear to be a woman who took a man who loved her for all he was worth. Well, let me put that little myth to rest right now. Throughout the marriage, our incomes were equivalent. Sometimes he made more, sometimes I made more. We had separate bank accounts and he paid for somethings, I paid for others, always trying to keep things as even as possible. He paid for the house, I paid for the car, the boat and the groceries.

When the marriage ended, he took half, I took half. So what I have now, I have paid for and I now pay for on my own. I don't receive spousal support and I never asked for that from him. My car is paid for, my condo is not. The only real debt I have is my mortgage as I hate debt.

I have a good job. A very good job, that I love. I like what I do. Yep, you read that right. I like what I do and I'm good at it. Likely too good for the most part as I was just lamenting to a friend this morning that I'm not challenged in my work anymore. Ok, web dev in Notes was a challenge for me, but it's all object oriented programming. The concepts are the same. The language used is slightly different - like learning to speak newfie.

Perhaps this is the source of my recent restlessness. I'm not being challenged in either my professional or personal life. Maybe this is why my vacation was such a success even if I'm lacking stories from it. It was a challenge to me. It forced me to do something I wasn't completely comfortable with. It forced me out of this comfort zone I've dug myself into.

Maybe that's why I'm looking to foster a dog again. Doing something for someone other than myself. Helping another of God's critters by providing what we consider the basics for human survival. Giving myself a purpose and the added bonus of someone to go home to at the end of the day.

It's sad when I think back and the compliments that have meant the most to me are things like, "You are the best Notes programmer I know besides myself," from a former co-worker I looked up to. "You seem competent enough," from Igloo boy just this morning, and finally, "when I'm gone these calls will come to you because you're the only one who can do them," from a current co-worker who is moving to another team.

I'm smart. I'm good at my job. But how does that define me as a person? If I failed the bus test tomorrow (for all those uninitiated...the bus test is better known to geeks as "if this person gets hit by a bus tomorrow, can our company continue with little disruption"), is that what I really want to be remembered for?

Well, that's enough belly button gazing for one day. Not sure what the point is other than I like my life but I'm not sure I should :)

Do you REALLY want to know this much?

I've had two friends now who've told me that it's great that I do this (blog), but they really don't want to know this much about me. How sweet :) Granted, they aren't really close friends in the grand scheme of life and perhaps this stuff was just making them feel too close to me. Can't imagine why... Or maybe there really are some things better left unsaid.

Ah well, I do it for me and if you aren't comfortable reading, don't. Oh, and if you'd rather remain simply an acquaintance rather than have all this lovely knowledge about me, you're likely better off not reading as well.

I made a mad dash cleaning of my house last night, including my much neglected laundry pile. That's what I get for inviting company over when my house is a disaster area. Still is in fact, but like I always asked Mom when she did this... "are they coming to see us, or the house?" Yeah, sure, it's a little of both and you'd like for there to be some counter space and an absence of cat hair on the floor, but it sometimes just doesn't work that way.

Particularly with my cats. They see the vacuum as a challenge and a clean floor as a bad thing. The second I'm done and the vacuum is safely stored away, it's like the WWF has come to my living room. Tigger's jumping off the back of the couch to tackle Bailey, I'm sure I've seen a flying scissor kick or two from the princess herself. They roll around kicking, fighting and growling and the result - carpets that look like I haven't vacuumed in a week.

Bailey tries to do her part to keep the place clean, I'll give her that. If, for some reason food gets under the water bowl, she makes it her personal mission to clean that up. One never knows where the water bowl will end up, but she gets every bit of food that was under it. I think it's her last ditch effort at working for her food. Now that the food I buy doesn't roll so she can chase it through the house, she has to find another solution - food under the water bowl.

So, I skipped breakfast this morning and went to Starbucks for a Mint Mocha Chip and a scone. I'm standing there waiting for my frappuccino and the girl ahead of me gets a non fat, no sugar blah blah blah. The guy behind the counter takes one look at her and asks if she wants whipped cream on it. I stifled a laugh. Perhaps he was hinting at something... The girl was a stick. You could count her ribs...through her shirt! I'm fairly certain I have more muscle to my arms than she does her legs.

Yes, I have more than my share of padding so perhaps I should stfu, but how...when, even...did the skin and bones look become appealing on a woman? Who looks at another person and says "gee, you don't quite look like a starving child in Africa. Could you maybe skip eating for a week?" Hell, who looks at themselves and thinks, "geez, I'd find it much easier to get a date if they could count my ribs - front and back - without me ever taking off my shirt!"

Look at what appears to be the fashion standard for our society - Hollywood. The bleached blonde, plastic surgery capital of the world. We fake 'n bake, spray on tans and dye our hair hoping to emulate a bit, just a little bit, of what we see on the screen. We shop in stores where if your body isn't absolutely perfectly proportioned, you're better off going to Value Village in search of clothing to make you look your best. You'd have a better chance of finding something.

People go out in search of Angelina Jolie's lips (and hell, they're kissing Brad Pitt, I can see the attraction!), Nicole Kidman's nose, a model's breasts, eyes, cheeks or chin. We spend hours at the hairdressers coloring our hair and getting it cut "just like Jennifer's." Ok, not me so much, my hairdresser would never allow that ;)

What happened to just being you? The you that you got to be in that big genetic lottery. Tall or short; blonde, brunette or redhead, pale skin, dark skin or somewhere in the middle. When we all go in search of some artificial ideal, we create a society where perfection is worshipped and imperfections are hidden or removed. A society where we all begin to look alike and what makes us unique is destroyed.

Perhaps it's just me. My love of the underdog (go Flames Go), that makes me seek out the imperfect in the world around me. The unwanted, the unloved, the things in our world that just aren't perfect so they're thrown away.

There are three dogs I've had the pleasure of being around that I will never be able to forget. The first was Sasha. She was a mutt that was found half frozen on the highway out by Edson. She had missing and broken teeth. Yes, broken. This allowed a space on one side where her tongue would stick out. Permanently. She'd been abandoned and apparently abused, yet at that adoption day, she stuck by my side. Literally. I finally had to sit down because wherever I went she LEANED against me. She had a bit of mass behind her too so I was constantly trying to stay balanced. When I sat down, she lay her head on my lap and stared at me with these big brown eyes. Yes, she drooled, but I couldn't bring myself to move her head.

I went home that night and tried to convince my husband we should foster dogs simply for her - she'd just come in to NASAP's care. I found her picture on the website and showed him. By the time I convinced him though, she'd been moved to the permanent care part of the website. A vet visit showed her to be suffering from cancer. And my soft little heart melted even more. No, I never had Sasha in my house. She died a few short months later and it's probably a very good thing I only spent one day with her.

Next to come into my life was Bud. A border collie cross. Likely with lab based on body shape and toe webbing. I've talked about him before. I fostered him for 5 days. He was terrified of men, and protected me like only a herding dog can :-D

Finally, there was a deaf purebred at one of our adoption days. He was a bird dog of some kind and I want to say some version of Pointer, but I could be wrong. He sat there just watching the birds in their cages all day. But he'd been trained. Hand signals. Smart dog, yet imperfect so he ended up at NASAP as a "special case." A hunting dog who couldn't respond to verbal calls and had to be looking at you to know what you wanted. A bad thing in the city when they get out of the house without a leash.

All of these dogs were less than perfect. And many would have walked right past them, dismissing them as less than worthy because of these imperfections. Many go off in search of the perfect purebred. And now that Britney and Paris have been seen carrying dogs the size of a purse, girls will flock to petstores spending hundreds of dollars to be just like the famous. They'll keep the dogs as a fashion accessory, but when the responsibility kicks in, the SPCA and groups like NASAP will get these animals because suddenly they're an inconvenience.

And on and on we go. A celebrity decides to change something to stand out from the herd of cattle that is Hollywood, and the rest of us follow, regardless of what is involved.

Well, maybe not "the rest of us," I have a friend who swears by luau fridays. Hawaiian shirts every friday. I can't see him carrying around a dog named "Bit Bit" anytime soon. And his beat up Rabbit convertible is far from Hollywood standards. He's got the right idea. He is who he is and life goes on. Not that I'll be picking up a hawaiian shirt any time soon. That's his fashion statement.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Since she's another Saskatchewan girl...

I had to post a site to Theresa Sokyrka's CD. I'll admit, I'm a country fan. I know, I know, most people have something against country. However, Theresa is not country. She's a folk/jazz singer. It was the CD I listened to the most on my trip. I particularly like her version of Jan Arden's "Good Mother"

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Gonna be a foster Mom!

No, not to a child. Do you REALLY think the world needs me raising an actual human child? Uh huh. Didn't think so. So, I'm going to be a foster Mommy to a dog. Maybe. Soon. Sometime. I hope.

This is my solution to being restless, edgy and needing something to do with those hours in the day I'm not at work or on the bus going to work. Speaking of... on my bus ride the other day I saw the oddest thing. A red, 90's-ish Toyota Tercel with "hiclass" as the personalized plate. Now, the car certainly doesn't say it, so apparently the owner felt a need to tell the world about her high maintenance personality... oh... or she's a call girl. Either way, I find truly high class people don't have to shove it down your throat that they are. They just are.

Then again, I'm not... so what do I know? Other than... I'm getting a dog!

Just a little busy...

I swear it's only a week that I took off. I came back to 12 calls in the queue waiting for me. Well, what the heck, it made me feel important. My house is a disaster and if I don't get my act together, my cats are going to be eating my food since they're almost out.

All right, I'm done whining now. Not sure if I mentioned it, but my new furniture arrived before I left on vacation. It looks great, but I need to get my living room cleaned up and organized. The good news - I've figured out how to arrange it. TV on the fireplace and a couple corner shelves placed above that for the VCR/DVD/Cable. I'm even thinking a nice set of doors would look good since I don't watch my TV that much sometimes. And it'd be nice to have it hidden away if people come to visit. Now to convince my dad and/or brother to build it for me :-D They have nothing better to do this winter...right?

I attended a "Time Management" lunch and learn yesterday. Heh. Apparently I'm not nearly busy enough. At the same time, I never seem to get done what I want to get done. So the first rule - prioritize your goals. Well, my #1 goal... travel. So last night after Coffee with Sushi Boy, I went home to dream some more about using my one remaining week of vacation for a trip to Victoria (for those that aren't keeping track, I get three weeks. One's used, one is booked for Halifax and the third is still open). I figure I could easily do it for about $700 hotel and flight. Not for a WHOLE week, just Sunday to thursday.

But then I did the math on my Halifax trip. Sure the curling tickets are paid for, but between 10 nights in a hotel and flights, plus a generous amount tossed in for food (and liquid refreshments)... it's going to be about $2000. So in the next two months, I need to figure out how much I can really save (so much for new hikers & DVD player!). If I can do both trips, I will. Otherwise, it's halifax this year. And yes, I really think I can save that much money in 4 months. Call me crazy... or call me a geek with no life.

The good news is this means I'm eating breakfast at home and taking lunch to work. Should help with the weight loss :-) I'm even refraining from drinking wine. However.... in two weeks I have a certain anniversary to commemorate. Good or bad, I'm doing it with wine.

I saw an ad this morning for part time call centre work. Now, part time work would be great if I had something to do with the rest of my day. Then I thought about picking up a possible second job and it'd be great if I could get one evenings and weekends. Then I'd have no problem affording both trips. getting time off for them might be another story. And having time to do my volunteering which I've been neglecting but will get back to. Actually, I'm getting back to it this weekend :)

All right, I'm done babbling. Have to get to work.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Some sad news

I debated posting this, I really did, because I hate sounding like a victim. But I just figure it should be added. For whatever reason.

I found out when I got back from my trip Friday that my brother has found 2 more lumps and yes, they are cancerous. I feel like someone kicked my dog.. Heck, I feel like someone kicked me. Friends have told me stuff happens for a reason, and while I'm sure that's true, couldn't it happen to someone else? Heck, let it happen to me. I've got nothing better going on right now. But my brother...and his wife...and their son. He already has numerous scars on his neck, including the one that runs almost from ear to ear.

Excuse me. I just don't feel like doing this right now.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Back in civilization

Actually, I've been back for a couple of days. What a great week!

I started out Sunday driving out to Jasper. Spent the first night in the Snaring River campground. Woke up to clouds and rain and the sinking feeling that my vacation would be spent in my tent and car. Had a couple leaks in the tent but nothing serious. So I packed up and headed in to Jasper. Slight miscalculation. Nothing in Jasper is open until 9, and I got there at 8. I needed a towel so I wandered around until I found one open store. Luckily they had towels so it wasn't long before I was on my way again.

It was pouring down rain so my planned hikes for the day were off. Not that I'm against hiking in the rain, but the rain kept other hikers away meaning I'd be hiking empty trails and I just didn't want to put myself in that situation. I'd decided at the start that if I went hiking, the trails would be well travelled. So, I drove all the way to Lake Louise on Monday. The rain backed off long enough for me to get my tent set up. I decided I'd spend the remaining 2 nights of my camping trip in the Lake Louise campground. It's a great little village and if you stay away from the Chateau, it's not all that busy. And it would allow me to hike either up the Icefields parkway, or down towards Banff. Oh, and it had showers. Not that that influenced my decision...much.

So, I hit the shower and went for a drive. Yep, Chateau parking lot was packed, same with Moraine Lake. So, I figured I'd get up bright and early and go see them the next morning before the tour busses arrived from Banff. By this time it was time to head into town for food. It was still raining and I hadn't set up a tarp so cooking was pretty much out of the question. Ok, I was just being lazy :) I went in to town and went to the Mountain Restaurant. Nice place. About what you'd expect in a mountain town for prices though. I had a great meal and a glass of wine and was early enough to sit at the window and watch it raining.

Met a couple from Florida. They were travelling through the US and Canada seeing all of the national parks. Come to think of it, that isn't a bad idea. Unfortunately, how much can a person REALLY see in the three weeks vacation I get. I chatted with them a bit while they waited for food and I waited for my bill. Back at the tent I unloaded my sleeping bag and moved stuff into the tent before going for a walk along the bow river loop. I figured I'd take my chances when it cleared up. Lake Louise is home to several Grizzlies this year so all of the trails have warnings on them, and I did take them seriously. So off I went whistling "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" hoping a little Python would scare away any bears ahead of me. Made it back to my tent bear free and headed over to the Amphitheatre for the evening presentation. It was geared for kids, but I had nothing better to do. Learned about glaciers though :)

The next morning, I didn't quite make "bright and early" I finally dragged myself out of bed at 9am or so. Disappointed, I figured I'd still try heading up to the two lakes. They really are quite beautiful. The lot at the Chateau wasn't too full so I pulled in and threw a box of granola bars into my backpack along with my camera since I'd skipped breakfast. I took the obligatory picture of the lake - even got a decent reflection in the lake. Then headed out along the lakeshore trail hoping to get away from some of the tourists. And yes, I know, I was a tourist too.

I found a signpost; teahouse - 5.5 km. Didn't sound so terribly far and I did want to go hiking. What better place to do it. A teahouse at the end of the trail for a nice little break. So I continued on. and on. and on. Along the way, another couple and I kept passing each other. He was from Boston and I'm so disappointed I can't remember where she from from. Eastern US at the very least. His accent gave him away. Anyway, when I got to the teahouse at the top, there they were so I joined them for some tea, scones and a nice break before heading down the mountain. 5 hours and some incredible views later and I'm back at my car. I guzzled some orange juice and water and headed back to my campsite for a well deserved shower.

I know, how out of shape am I that an 11 km walk kicked my butt like that. Well. You're right. In my defence - next time I'm buying better hikers and taking sunscreen. Part of the problem was blisters on my feet.

After I showered and made myself a smokie and some KD, I cleaned up and headed in to Banff to watch my cousin play at the Banff Springs. He's a Jazz pianist. Banff has changed sooooo much, I'm a lot disappointed. It's just not the same as it used to be. I think I'll stick with Lake Louise and Jasper. I wandered around Bow Falls for awhile and then headed up to the hotel. I found where Andrew was playing and had another hour to wait so I wandered through the hotel grounds and shops. Spending more time outside than in. Needed fresh air after seeing the prices of stuff in the shops.

Then up to the lounge to watch. I had tea and spring rolls while I enjoyed the music. Then, exhausted, I crawled back into my car and hit the highway back to Lake Louise. My night of music wasn't over yet. The guy in the next site got his guitar out and was singing. If I'd had any big plans for the next day, I might've been cranky, but he was good. Listened to him for a bit until I fell asleep.

Wednesday I woke up to rain again. Seemed any time I needed to take my tent down, it was determined to rain. So, bright and early, I figured I'd get the tent packed up and then go for a shower to warm up. I did, and when I walked out of the shower I just shook my head when I saw the skies clearing up. Just my luck, but it was too late to stay in bed so I got back into my car and headed toward Banff and Calgary. I stopped in Banff figuring I'd get something to eat and a souvenier or two. I managed to get a T-shirt for me and one for Cameron before I got so sick of other people and the commercialism in Baff that I had to leave. It's truly amazing how much one little mountain town can change in 10 years.

So I decided I'd have a nice lunch in Canmore. But not knowing the town or where to look for a reasonably priced restaurant, I finally gave up and went to Dairy Queen. Hey, a blizzard sounded good. I never got one, but it sounded good.

I was early getting to Calgary considering Ryan and I hadn't planned on getting sushi until he was done work and all. It was about 12:30 when I got there so I had time to kill. I went to Chinook figuring it was as good as any other place to kill time. And an afternoon mid-week would be the best time to go. It was. The mall wasn't a zoo. I got to the theatre about 10 minutes after Batman Begins had started though, which sucked. Bought the CD at Music World though and headed back to my car. Still had time to kill and I needed to be in the North end when Ryan got off work so I drove up there looking for a London Drugs to develop my pictures at. Finally gave up and went to the Panorama Hills Superstore. Then over to Michael's to kill time until they were developed.

45 minutes later I left the craft store to a monsoon. :) Well, ok, maybe not quite. But it was one heck of a thunderstorm. I ran to my car and still ended up soaking wet.

Ok, I'll stop boring you with my trip. The rest is easy - sushi... sushi....stampede... haircut...home.

Home to my new furniture that looks great in my living room. Even if it IS red. Now I need to figure out a paint color for the walls.

Oh, and my trip out west was so great that I'm doing it again. Except, now that I think about it, the National Parks trip sounds like a good idea. Might have to finish off the mountain parks with my next trip. I may not get them all in one trip, but I WILL get them all.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Couple Interesting sites

Here are a couple sites I've found interesting lately. Better writing styles than mine.

Why I Hate My Husband

Enjoy. I really just posted these so I could find them when I got home today.

the project from... BC

And I'd been so quiet for so long. Oh well. Just a short little rant about the stupidity of other people. Remember that project? The one I spent some time ranting about, it ran longer than it should have and was basically a pain in the butt?

Well, the changes were re-released today. Woo Hoo, project over, right? Apparently not. It worked when I put it into production. Happy Happy... Joy Joy. then at about 11:30, I get a phone call from my project manager who's clearly checking the our team's queue. "Did you see that call in the queue?" Well, as I go to check the queue, my pager goes off because it's a high priority call. Don't get me started on why she's monitoring our queue for us all of a sudden. Especially when she's sooooo busy all on her own.

So off I go to find out why what once worked is now broken. First stop, server-type guys. I manage to catch one of them before he heads for lunch and get him to poke around and make sure the HTTP task is still running, stuff like that. He suggests that perhaps there was a replication from the south and, lo and behold, there it is. Yep, around 11am, our hub server received a large number of changes. We check the template it's set to refresh from - the South version. Ooops. Now I KNOW that wasn't set to that last night, or even this morning. Meaning someone changed it and forced a design refresh. Or someone in the south forced a refresh that shouldn't have happened.

Either way, not my fault. So I call my PM and update her. Thinking woo hoo, problem solved, not my fault. Apparently I'm wrong. And so is our server guy. My PM tells me there is no replica on the houston servers. They'd have to make that change on our server and they don't have access to do that. Well, I'm just telling her what I was told by the server guy. I don't understand why everything has to be a big freaking fight with her. Whatever I tell her is wrong. This is why I tend to let my teammate deal with her. When he's around. Darned vacations.

Planning and schedules

I'm not the world's greatest planner. I'm more of a fly by the seat of my pants and see where life takes me kinda person But sometimes I do try to make my life fit some kind of schedule.

Take today for example. I'd received a phone call yesterday that my furniture was in and they want to deliver it. Unfortunately, I'm a little busy over the next few day... well, week for that matter. I'm hoping they can make arrangements to deliver today and I'll leave work early (super early) to accomodate that. It is my red furniture finally appearing on the scene! I figured that might happen so I set my alarm for 6:30 this morning to get me to work early. Or so I thought. Yep, set it for 6:30 PM. Some computer geek, I can't even properly set my alarm clock. And no, I never bothered to set the time on my VCR after I moved either. So there... ;-)

So, I dragged my butt out of bed at 7:30 and managed to catch the 7:55 bus. Woo hoo. Means I didn't get to work until around 8:45-ish because the connections to downtown aren't real great. So much for early.

And tomorrow. Well, tomorrow, I have to be in early. Kinda. I'd like to be at my desk by 8am. Just planning to leave at 4.

well, back to scheduling my life. My vacation. Every time I think I have it planned, scheduled and all the stuff I want to do fit in... I realize I forgot about something. Like seeing my friend Dawn. She offered me her place to stay at while I'm in Calgary, but, well, I can't really just go crash in her spare bed and not visit with her, but right now, I'm running frighteningly short of time to do that. So, fiddle with this here, change that plan there and I might be able to fit it all in.

Planning stuff - BAH! I still end up with so much I've forgotten that it's basically flying by the seat of my pants anyway. Just beware of the girl with the axe... Did I mention that I bought an axe for camping this summer?

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

The Inca Trail

it's funny, I'd considered going to Italy and Greece next year. But now I'm starting to think that maybe, just maybe, I should skip that and do what I really want to do. Hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.

Imagine. I mean, Italy can be done whenever. At some point I might have someone in my life I can do that kind of trip with. But not everyone is going to want to hike the Inca Trail. Woo Hoo. Now I have to figure out what the heck I'll need to do that.


I've been a bit quiet lately on here. Not sure why I'm short things to say. Well, I have things to say, but some won't get published until after I return from my vacation for various reasons - one of which is the fact that I'd rather not openly publish what amounts to my itinerary prior to my trip. Afterwards, oh well. I'm not there anymore.

Another reason is I've been busy. Ok, I've just been avoiding my computer. Preparation for my trip has consumed some of my time, as has work and trying to fit in everything I want to do in a day. I'm getting back into a regular yoga practice (yay!) which is really helping my sleep. I'm catching up on some reading I wanted to do. I'm trying to get more involved in things like my toastmaster's group, as well as pursuing other interests. My volunteering, however, has dropped off significantly which is disappointing.

And now I'm distracted by a really cool storm cloud hovering over my little corner of the world. Good thing I came prepared with my columbia jacket. Which I've discovered isn't completely waterproof. But it'll do.

My life is going well. Really good in fact. I'm doing new things, trying to conquer a few of my fears in the process. I've found it far too easy to hide behind my fears for too long. So now I'm forcing myself to just deal with stuff and get over it. When it comes to the big picture, my life is pretty small and insignificant. My problems minor compared to those in other parts of the world. Had this conversation with a friend last night. The reality of life for women (and men) in other parts of the world. Traditions, myths and a lack of respect for people in general that we don't have to worry about so much here in North America. Our freedom, security and peace are things that we often take for granted.

Think back to your reaction on 9/11.

For me, that day was filled with disbelief and a huge lack of comprehension of the footprint western "civilization" has left in other parts of the world. I couldn't understand why people would want to do that. I'd led my safe little life in my safe little world where we apologize for bumping into someone on the street. We open doors for fellow citizens regardless of race or religion. I take for granted the ability to walk safely to and from bus stops. My freedom to wear shorts in stifling heat. I own a car and a house. I had the ability to choose a career path for myself and follow that where it lead. Never expected it to be Edmonton, but here I am.

I can choose my religion, or choose not to participate. I can keep my faith quiet, or let it be known. I can vote. We express frustration that often our voices aren't heard in Ottawa, but we aren't nearly thankful enough that our government doesn't kill it's own citizens for not falling in line. Don't get me wrong, I fully believe our elected representatives owe us at least the courtesy of listening to our concerns and considering them.

Oh, great. That storm I'm watching meander through the sky comes complete with a severe thunderstorm watch. Wind, hail, heavy rain. The usual. Should make the afternoon commute fun interesting. It is quite entertaining watching the clouds develop and change.

Work? What work?

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

what a crappy morning

Well then. I've spent the morning trying to put out fires that I'm not sure were completely my fault. The project I was working on, the one I finished last week... well, it worked fine in testing and in staging. No breaky anywhere. Then this morning - yes, we put the damned thing into production on a thursday. Yes, it was a 4 day weekend. No, I didn't have much say in that. When I suggested perhaps we not do it, I was told no one would be working over the weekend and it SHOULD go in on Thursday.

Well, it didn't work. Big old error when the users go and try to submit a request. Well.... considering submitting requests is the purpose of the app, this is an issue. Call my PM, say "It worked in testing adn staging, wtf" I get yelled at. Ok, so back to debugging. Call her again and say "I think we need to revert production so people can work. The problem with that is, I lose any ability to debug because it works in testing and staging." She yells at me again that she has no control over the production environment and it's different than staging - well, thanks, I've figured that one out. I tell her that on debugging, I'm not sure how/when I'll have answers since the other web guy is out this week and he's way more familiar with the architechture and what may be causing our little problem. I get yelled at again at how this is going to put us two weeks behind with his vacation and mine.

Erm.... At this point, I'm losing my patience. First off, there's NO way I could predict this happening. I have no control over the portal. I have little control over the portlets. All I can do is build and test in the environments I've been given to do so. I can't see the future and determine that certain things will work in testing/staging, then break in production. But somehow this is my fault and not it's my fault that the app is going to be delayed another two weeks. I'll take responsibility for prior delays... but this one? Uh uh. No way. Not gonna happen.

Even better, to revert the design, I got to call the server guys. Well, guess what. He wasn't so happy to hear that "we" decided to upgrade a major application right before a weekend. A long weekend. When he was on call. So, my morning has been crappy. Been yelled at from all sides. And now, it's looking like it might have just been some corruption in the refresh process that caused all the problems. Nothing like corruption to bring out the finger pointing in us all.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Good Intentions

It's funny, my family decided that they should come keep me company on the long weekend so I wasn't alone. If it weren't for them, I'd likely be down watching the fireworks tonight. Instead, I'm hanging out at home with them and the kid. Hmmmm, cute kid... Canada day fireworks. Tough call.

Happy Birthday Canada!