Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Sweet, sweet Iced Cap

It's expected to hit 32 today. Yep... 32. All right, so I thought that was pretty toasty until I did a temp conversion on it. We aren't even going to hit 90 and here I am whining. For those who are wondering 32 is 89.6F. Doesn't seem all that toasty, does it? Keep in mind we don't do air conditioning up here in the great (not-so) white north. Well, we do in most office buildings and malls and such, but not in our own homes.

So, with a morning temperature of 21/70 degrees, I figured an iced Cappuccino was in order. Yep, from Timmy's. Mmmmmmmm Tim's. Iced Cap and a Strawberry Danish... so much for starting out the day healthy!

I'm really not looking forward to the trip home. That lovely un-airconditioned bus ride for 30 minutes. And I'm not looking forward to another night with the windows open in my house to try to cool it off. It isn't so much the heat that's the problem. It's the idiots with the bikes and kids with their noisy mufflers going by all through the night.

At least tonight they're predicting a thunderstorm which will help cool things off.

On the topic of predictions. I just wanted to note something here. I've heard it predicted that Edmonton will see another tornado this summer, likely hitting either the Evergreen trailer park again or the west end. It'll be interesting to see if this prediction happens.

Friday, June 16, 2006

On being alive...

I like to think that somewhere in my ramblings, someone might find something profound. Maybe an angle on life they hadn't considered or inspiration to try something they've never done before. I think that courage and ability is within us all, it's just a matter of finding it and nurturing it that prevents us from being what we can be.

My first problem with someone finding something meaningful in what I have to say is... someone has to hear it and with my "readership," I have to admit that I'd better get on being profound because I have a limited audience.

However, my goal here isn't just to be profound for others. It's to better understand myself and where my life takes me. Because if you need to know one thing about me it's that I fly by the seat of my pants. It's just recently that I've put any effort into goals or working toward attaining them.

Sounds odd, doesn't it. Here I am, a computer programmer working for a pretty darned good company, and I'm just starting with the goals. It's true though. I guess there's just a lot of things I never thought about - like education. I had to go get an education and I figured I might as well like what I do so I applied for programs that fit my interests. From there, I fell into a scholarship and went that way, rather than following any big dream to be a geek.

Yet, I'm happy where I am. Ecstatic, really. Which brings me to being alive (better get back to my point).

There are people who live life, yet are never truly alive. They wander through life, plotting and planning, yet missing out on the little things. Sure, it's silly to get excited over a used, destroyed chair. It's silly to get excited over paint colours and the new colours of osteospermum as well.

If we start to think we should only get excited about the big things in life, we stop living life and start simply seeking the next big thing. We wander through our days without seeing or learning because we feel there's nothing big enough to see or learn today.

And quite frankly, I can't afford the big things. Ok, so I've got the whole Vegas thing. yep, that's big. And last year there was that Nova Scotia thing. All right, all right, I've had some big things. But if I had to wait 6 months for the next big thing in my life, I'd go nuts.

I'd rather live for today. I don't want to wake up retired and realize I forgot what roses even smell like. Ha, speaking of roses... or flowers in general. I know a lot of people think that flowers are a waste. They just end up dead and thrown away.

So do a lot of things. Chocolates just get eaten - although one could argue they're there forever on the hips... cards end up in a box in a storage room. most of the gifts we give one another as an expression of love end up gone. They're short lived. Perhaps that indicates the short-lived nature of relationships.

Or maybe it's the realization that some gifts aren't meant to be permanent in their current state. The permanence they have is in memories. While I can't go back in time to the camping trips with my family, I have the memories. Dad catching a clam, Grandpa silently reeling in fish while the rest of us jumped announced every little nibble on the end of our lines. A squirrel stealing my peanut butter oreos... the list goes on. And when I think back to that time, it feels great.

It's so easy to get caught up in life and the future that suddenly you've missed out on a lot of little opportunities. And with those opportunities go the memories.

Should I get excited about every little thing? Well... no. And I don't. I mean, I don't run into the grocery store and yell "wooooo hoooo grocery shopping!" Although I might get home and curl up on the couch and say "woo hoo, Cherry Garcia ice cream!"

I do get excited about the small things. It's easy to get caught up in the rest of your life. Assuming everything will be there tomorrow. That next week you can get around to painting. Next month you can try kayaking. Maybe in 5 years you'll get to the caribbean. In 10, you might get to Thailand. Next summer you'll do that Mother/Daughter trip to the spa. In a couple years you'll take a vacation with your spouse.

But what if there isn't a tomorrow. Or a next week. What if while you're waiting for the right moment to be with your loved ones... your loved ones move on.

My ex told me once that he wouldn't golf in his company tournament with me because he figured he'd spend the rest of his life with me so he didnt need to spend that day with me. I'm still not sure when the rest of his life started, but while he was waiting for that, I was falling out of love with him. Now he is searching for someone else to spend the "rest of his life" with.

Meanwhile, I was waiting for the right time to travel. The right time to paint the house, the right time to try something new, or make new friends. I missed out on a lot of opportunities - like getting into competitive curling. I was waiting for the right time to live.

Tomorrow I may be gone, or you may be gone. Parents, brothers, sisters, grandparents. None of them are permanent in our lives. Not even children. Ask a parent who has lost a child or even watched their children deal with illness about the permanence of life.

So, yeah. I live my life emotionally. I may be impulsive and excitable, but I won't miss out on an opportunity because it isn't "the right time." That right time may never come. I've already missed out on enough. I'm not content to wait for the rest of my life. I'm living it.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The chair is naked, and other random stuff

Ok... So, that partially naked chair is now totally naked. Right down to wood and springs. Yay me. Finished ripping it apart last night. Tonight I'm going to get at cutting out fabric and sewing it... Nevermind that I don't know where to get a wide-guage air stapler. Ah well. What are ya going to do? Oh, and that whole thing where I need legs for the chair. It will get done, though. Once I find all the supplies.

Which reminds me... I got fabric for the chair at 70% off. So, I'm recovering the chair, complete with trim and likely a cushion or two, for all of $68. Oh, except for the legs and new padding that I figure I should get. I wasn't going to, but why recover a chair and leave the old, worn out padding.

Today I was trained on my new role of Secretary of the toastmasters club. It's kinda cool to be honest. And for whatever reason, toastmasters is giving me a bit of interest in moving into management roles instead of being a code geek for the rest of my life. Actually, it isn't just toastmasters.

Not sure how to describe this last year to anyone. It's been a huge growing experience. I've made a lot of mistakes, but in many ways I'm happier now than I've been in... well... hell, happier than I can ever remember being. Yeah, it isn't perfect, but what is?

I'm ripping apart a chair for reupholstering. I'm sewing a duvet cover, bedskirt, etc for my bedroom. I've painted my bedroom in colours I love and bought red furniture. I'm on two executives. I have great new friends and many of the same old friends. I really can't list everything I've done or am doing here.

I just am. And I'm good with that.

What I am is changing and growing. Becoming independant, strong and secure. Not sure where this will take me, but damn it's fun being here. I wouldn't change a minute of it.

Monday, June 05, 2006

But it looks so easy on TV!

Well, we all know by now that I'm on this journey of self discovery/learning/growing... blah blah blah. I think we've all heard enough about the reasons why. The interesting thing is where it's taking me.

Down the somewhat uncharted road of home improvement and do it yourself refinishing. I've painted my bedroom and come up with a solid plan for what is going to happen in there. It's all limited by budget of course. (ugh, budget!) Fabric swatches and patterns for bedskirts, pillow shams and duvet covers are already mixed and mingled with paint samples, tools and artwork. And I've just started.

In my bedroom, I'm waiting to pick out a third fabric as the two I've got are slightly too dark to work as the headboard. Once that's complete, I need to pick out a 4th co-ordinating fabric to recover a wing back chair and ottoman I got for a steal at a garage sale on the weekend.

Next, I need to look into how much work is going to be involved in sanding down a rusted, powder coated metal patio set to prepare it for a fresh coat of rust proofing paint and seat cushions to match.... something.

But wait there's more! Life would be no fun if I just wanted to focus on recovering one chair. And let's face it, reupholstering isn't something to tread into lightly. So, why not find some kind of chair to practice on...like that mustard yellow one that has been collecting cat hair in the basement. Yep, that'll work.

And, oh yeah, I know I should be cutting out muslin for that bed skirt I mentioned previously, but the adventure of starting on this reupholstery project is just too much. So... I currently have a partially naked, mustard yellow, tufted-back rocker in my living room. Along with a mug full of staples (Dear GOD the staples!) and a bag full of ugly old fabric. There's also a stack of fabric that's numbered and commented on that will be used to create a basic pattern for the new fabric I buy.

But what could I possibly use this chair for? My living room is fully furnished in red. My bedroom has the newly purchased wing back chair and bistro set. Wait! The spare bedroom could use a chair! And in sticking with my plan to make it tropical, light and airy, I'm going to reupholster this chair in a white/off white/bone colour and use sea green/blue cording to accent the white.


Things I bought to help with my redecoration efforts include a nearly new ceiling fan for $20 instead of $200, a red glass pitcher that will become a vase or simply decoration, a sewing chair to use in what will become my sewing room - the basement, and a couple of painting/decorating magazines for inspiration. Like I need any more of that.

But there are several benefits from what I'm doing. Increased confidence is the least of these benefits. How good will it feel to walk into a well decorated, tasteful home that I've played a big part in designing and working on. The sense of accomplishment sitting on freshly upholstered furniture will give me.

Now is a time to enjoy life. Try new things, experiment with things I've always wanted to try. It's a time when making mistakes affects no one but myself. And I can do this with the help of encouraging friends and loved ones. People who see my potential and give me that kick in the butt to buy the fabric THAT DAY instead of going home to think about it and get someone else's opinion. People who understand the meaning of "Nothing ventured, nothing gained."

And there's a snag. It's a button tufted rocker. The back cushion of which is not merely fabric stretched and stapled over the frame and padding layers. Nope, it's an actual cusion. Sewn together, tufted, and then attached to the frame. Taking that apart isn't going to be as easy as I'd hoped. So, I'm currently investigating modifying button tufted to a plain backed chair and covering it with padding as normal. I'm a tad worried that the curved shape of the back will make this harder. But...

Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Living in fear won't get me anywhere and I learn more from doing than by not doing. So to throw one more quote into the mix... "Whether you think you can, or think you can't, you're right."

I like to think I can.