Monday, September 29, 2008

Will, I just read y0ur blog - You are like Mrs. Beamish only in the hugging dept. "Don't you dare be hugging me." You should post the link to that song for everyone.
Geoff has still been working lots, didn't even get home Thursday night. I did something to my back on Saturday, it is really sore and doesn't seem to be going away. It's not sciatica so I don't have to worry about my anger.
Despite the back, I have to get the garden in while we are having such nice weather. Don't laugh, Kelowna people, but the tomatoes in the (new) greenhouse are starting to ripen. It is so warm out, we had lots of summer days that weren't as nice as this.
Tim is getting new shingles on the house today. They started work this morning and were almost done by the time I drove by at lunch time. He was relieved to find out that the roof under the shingles was in good shape.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Last night in Porto

I have enjoyed my time here, but all good things must come to an end. I did quite a bit of walking while I was here, doing the usual getting lost at least twice before I found the correct route, but it was all good. Porto is a mixture of old and new, the area I am staying in has quite a few new buildings around, but right accross the street, there is a row of beautiful big houses, that look to be pretty old. One of the things I have noticed is that there is a lot of tagging on the buildings, I thought that was mostly a North American thing, but I guess it is global.

I took the subway, over to the train station to buy my ticket for the Algarve. The subway here reminds me much more of Edmonton's than Toronto's, the cars seem brand new, and the stations are quite modern. I still managed to get lost on there, took the train going the wrong way, but since I had a day pass it was no big deal. The system is similar to ours as well, no turnstiles, but a little thing that you flash your pass at, and then there are transit people who randomly check on the train to see that you have a pass or ticket. They have these little machines that read the pass, to make sure you had it read before getting on the train. I could have taken a train that would only be about 4 hours, it leaves at 6 am, but in the end decided, I would take the slower train and enjoy the sights, and since that train leaves at 9:00 am it seemed like a better option. The slower train is only about 2 hours difference, and I am on vacation I have the time. I booked first class, since the dfference was only about 10 Euros.

I had lunch the other day in the old part of town, at an outdoor cafe, cafe con leche and a pizza. The cost was pretty reasonable, 4 Euros. It is very hilly here, so comfortable shoes are a must. It is funny how you can pick out the tourists, while walking around. They generally have day packs on, and likly to be wearing shorts. The locals seem to wear jeans, and carry bags. The buildings are little and ornate, lots of wrought iron, in the old part of town. I was not really in the mood to see any museums, or galleries, so I did not. I think I should have rearranged the trip and stayed at the Algarve first, gotten rested up, but I guess it really doesn't matter. I have seen what I wanted to see here, had a nice place to stay and enjoyed myself. One thing I find nice, is that people call me madam, makes me feel kind of special, even if they don't mean it that way.

Time to have some supper, room service tonight, and pack for the trip tomorrow.

Thursday, September 25, 2008


I just found out that I received a bursary for half my tuition for this term from VST!  Apparently the school has pots of money in the bursary fund, and they are committed to spraying it around as much as possible.   This, along with the happy fact that I'm apparently entering a redundancy proof profession, means that today should be quite a good day.

I met my field placement supervisor today as well.  Field placement is like a practicum, I'll have one each year.  It's pretty low key the first year, 4-6 hours a week, starting in January.  I'm at a church near the campus, which is nice, so I can take one quick bus straight there, and not have to fiddle about with connections.  The rector, who will be supervising me, is very nice, and reminds me a bit of Dr. Laydon.  Anyway, the church seems quite good too, and the experience will be valuable, no doubt.

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So I don't know about Canada (probably not Alberta!) but the "credit crunch" is big news here. Here is what the Guardian had to say:

"Traditional redundancy-proof jobs include undertakers, Church of England vicars, tenured academic staff and most in the health service."

So that's Will, Lisa, and I sorted... what are the rest of you gonna do?! I reckon "undertaker" is the way to go...

I have booked my train ticket down to see Judith in London and share in some of that glorious luxury. My supervisor said she "thought" it would okay for me to go, which was good enough for me! With any luck I should have my thesis handed in by then and the stress will be somewhat off. Filled out all the forms today - I'm officially a university employee starting Oct 1. I'm supposed to have my thesis hand-in date extended till Oct 15 because I've been working too many hours (like 40-50 per week) as an RA for my supervisor, but no one will confirm whether I've been granted the extension or not. Rather stressful. I assume they WILL grant it, hope I'm not wrong or I'm in big trouble on Sept 30!

There's a departmental ceilidh tomorrow. I am not sure I'm invited, but I'm crashing anyway. I love ceilidhs.

Have two housemates at the moment (never thought it was possible in a house this size, but apparently it is!) One is the Kiwi, who is an official housemate, and the other is an Aussie girl called Claire. She's a PhD student who is doing a three-month stint in the lab, and I was going to let her move in as we would both only be here till December. However, the Kiwi pleaded with me to let him stay, and I agreed as I knew him and had never met Claire. But then Claire turned out to be awesome, and was having an impossible time finding a place... so we all ended up living here. Claire thinks she's found somewhere else starting halfway through October, but to be honest it's been great having her. We all take turns cooking for each other so there is always food on the table but you only have to cook every third day... all very happy families! I can't believe it is working out so well but am counting my blessings. And the best part? I still get the big double room to myself! The Kiwi's happy to take the small room and poor Claire is haunting the attic.

So as long as my extension comes through, it is all good...

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

I don’t want to leave my Room

Not because I an afraid but because it is so nice. I am at the hotel in Porto, and I cannot believe it, because I am a Platinum member of SPG, I was upgraded to a suite!! So the hotel is costing me nothing for two of the nights and the other 3 I think 60 dollars a night, and I have the best room. Thank you IBM, if you had not sent me to TO, none of this would be possible.

Anyway going back to the beginning of the trip. The flight was originally to be a direct non stop to London; however, because there was something mechanically wrong with the plane, the part had to be flown in from TO. Then because the crew can only work so many hours, in a day, we had to fly to TO, and change crew there, then on to London. The flight left Edmonton at 12:40, so it would not arrive at TO until after 6:00am (planes are not supposed to land between certain hours). We waited until 8:00got a new crew and back in the air. The original pilots were also on the second flight as passengers, I guess so they could return with their scheduled flight from London, but the flight attendants were not. I have to say, first class when flying a long distance is the way to go. The seats were PODs,which you could turn into a little bed, after take off . And the service was fantastic, they served supper after we left Edmonton however I was too bagged to partake, and I just had a little nap, until we reached TO. Once we were airborne again, there was breakfast, starting with mimosa’s. then another nap, and I watched some videos on my laptop. Dinner again, and then landing in London. Because of being in first class, I got to bypass the regular lineup for customs and immigration to the fast track line, picked up my luggage and re-booked the flight to Portugal for the next day. When the immigration lady heard I was going to Portugal, she told me not to miss Lisbon, lots to see and do there.

The hotel was about a 10 minute drive from the airport, using one of the shuttle buses (or Airport Hoppa). I had a lovely room there, king-size bed, but a bit of a funny view, when I looked down out the window, it looked like a trailer park, but it was on the hotel grounds, when I went for a walk the next day, the building beside the hotel, looked like a prison, or something, small, small windows and surrounding by a fence with barbed wire at the top, I was afraid to ask what it really was. The other great thing about having status with the hotel, means that I have access to the club lounge which serves breakfast in the morning, at no extra cost. I had beans and bacon, the traditional English Breakfast (Theresa, remember how good that tasted when we were at the hostel in London?), fruit and juice and coffee. I was able to get a late check out since my flight did not leave until 7:00 pm, so that was great, no hanging around the airport for hours, and I got to have an afternoon nap.

The flight took about two hours, and was pretty uneventful. We had a hot sandwich, tasted like salmon, not sure if it was a traditional Portuguese snack, or not. Arriving in Porto, the customs and immigration seemed to be pretty lax, compared to what we go through, no questions, just read my passport, and wave me on. I bought a guide book at the airport, on Portugal, since I left my other book at home, and so I had an idea of how long it would take and how much it would cost to go from the airport to the hotel. I was happy it was about 10 pm and the road was not that crowded, because I could see that the drivers here lived up their billing. Reminded me a bit of the drivers in Costa Rica, but the roads seem better here.

The hotel is all glass and chrome, very modern looking, the elevators are completely glass, and not so good it you don’t like heights. My suite has dark hardwood floors, a living area, with a couch and a couple of chairs, a table and chairs, a little stereo system to plug my iPod into . The bathroom has a separate shower , another room with the toilet and bidet, and then a huge tub. It looks like one of the after pictures of a renovation, I am sure Colin and Justin would approve. The bedroom, has a kingsize bed and a big dresser, flat screen TV. A little bottle of port was left in my room as a welcome gift from hotel, have not had any yet.

I slept in today, and decided I was going to take it easy, had lunch in the hotel restaurant, what the waiter told me was a typical Portuguese meal. The menu called it clam rice, which was rice with clams in a sauce and vegetables, almost like a stew, and some pieces of fish on the side. The fish was so good, very light. If all the food here is as tasty as that I will not go hungry.

I am in the lounge right now, just having a coffee, while I write this, it is on the top floor of the hotel and has an ocean view. Tomorrow I will go out and see some of the sights, and book the train down to the Algarve. What difference it is traveling to Europe this time around in comparison to 30 years ago. I do wish that some one had come with me, it would be lovely to share the luxury. Think I will go back to my room, have some port, read my book, maybe watch some TV. Life is good!!

Sunday, September 21, 2008


I am still at the airport, the flight has been delayed until 12:40 in the morning. So in spite of my thinking I would have tons of time to make the flight to Porto, I was wrong. I have called the hotel, and changed my check in date by a day, and I have a booked a hotel room near Heathrow. I tried to call and change my flight to Porto, but spent a bunch of time on hold, so I think I will just do it at the airport in London. Sigh, but on the upside, I am in the Air Canada Lounge and the drinks are free, so they may have to pour me on the plane, once it finally leaves.

In preparation for my trip, I bought a bunch of books (but I just realized that I left my guide book at home), bought Mad Men and Six Feet Under to watch, I have tunes on my iPod, so I am really pretty much set. The Air Canada lady told me that the plane has those Pod things in First Class, that turn into a bed, so I will be able to sleep, I think. Of course there were the people who are angry, about the delay, but I would rather have the plane be safe. I also received a voucher from AC to buy supper here, at the airport because of the delay.

Will post later, from London, and let you all know what the PODs were like.

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Rainy Sunday

Hudith left at the right time for her holiday. It has turned cold and rainy out and is supposed to be like for a bit. Geoff is making supper, Lisa's houseboat ribs.

Geoff and I went for a walk today and stopped across the street at the new townhouses. There is one all staged for an open house so we checked it out. It is very nice, of course all the new furniture helps with that, but it seems bigger inside than you would think from looking at the outside. The main living area (kitchen, dining and living room) is all one big space but nicely laid out. Tons of kitchen cupboards. The view from the master bedroom upstairs is really nice, out to the west. The view from the other bedrooms is Tim's house.

We have booked a flight to Kelowna in October to visit Mom and L and R. Geoff's project should be finished by then and he will need a break. I couldn't believe the airfare - $45 pp each way. The taxes were more than the airfare. Talked to Will today - he is going to Kelowna then too for a visit. Good idea, Mom. Lisa says she will be off the whole time we are there. We are really looking forward to going.
We are thinking we would like to tour a winery while we are there.

Friday was The Mountaineer's 85th birthday. It was 85 years ago that day that the first issue came out, and 41 years to the day since the Mazzas bought it. So we had a little celebration after work with champagne and snacks. It is such a great place to work. It's a good thing I have a job, I was thinking that with no kids around, I would probably become a hermit if I didn't have to be somplace every day. I would sit at home all day brooding about my grudges.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Getting Ready for Vacation

I am doing laundry right now, and now I have to decide what shoes I want to bring. I enjoyed my supper with Theresa on Thursday, nice to see her again. This has been my time for seeing relatives, yesterday I was downtown at the Bay, when I heard someone call my name, it was the Longs in for a flying trip. Then over to Sue and Mike's for supper, along with Allison and Grace. We saw some of their pictures from Italy, so that was cool.

I had decided to rent a car this weekend, so I could do some running around, before I leave, then drive myself to airport. I went downtown to pick up the car, and Hertz did not have a record of my reservation, and nothing available but a dirty van. I normally rent from National, but thought I would try something different, and it did not work out for me. So I walked down the street, to National and picked up a car, for less money and it was pretty new, only 700 ks on it.

I also had some good news this week, I received a Service Excellence Award. Lorrie called my manager, and said I deserved one, which was really great of her. She has been flat out trying to get everything with the project wrapped up, so for her to take the time to do this for me really meant a lot. It comes with money, which I got on my check yesterday, so the timing was really good.

I still can't believe I am leaving tomorrow, and will be gone for 3 weeks. Really looking forward to the break. When I get home I will on the GOA upgrade, so that means home for a year, with no work travel.

Have to go and switch up the laundry.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Aboriginal summer

Or native summer or first nations summer. Whatever. The weather has been beautiful this past week, so nice and warm with the leaves starting to turn.
Drove into Red Deer last night to have supper with Jude. She was working in Calgary this week and leaves for her trip on the weekend so it was good to see her since she will be gone for a long time. She misses us showing up at her apt every weekend.
Geoff has been working, working. This new project is part of the reason he didn't retire in February, so it is good work although lots of hours. So he couldn't come for supper last night.
The Cavalier is gone. We have kept to heart the caveat when Richard passed it on to us, that we can't sell it, only give it away. A guy from Geoff's work took it for his kids. Tim took it for one last drive the other night. A lot of kids in Rocky learned how to drive a standard on that little car.
Am getting used to not having kids around, although it still seems strange.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Sad news

George Carter died on Friday. His funeral is tomorrow. He had been on blood thinners, and on Thursday he fell and hit his head, causing a brain hemorrhage. He was sent to Calgary, but there was nothing the doctors could do.
I was just over at Jenny Belle's to get pictures for the powerpoint. She seems to be OK, but it will be hard on her without George. He was such a great person.
Was just going to e-mail this but we got a virus on the computer so it is at the shop getting cleaned up. Don't have everyone's e-mail addresses on this old one. If you get a pop-up message saying that your virus scan may not be working, don't click OK.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Last Minute Change

Yesterday at 3:00 my boss came up to me and asked if I would go to Calgary instead of Toronto, next week. I said sure, no plane trip, no time change what could be better. All was fine until I tried to book a hotel, the only thing I could find under the approved hotels on the IBM website was the Sheraton Suites, for 600 a night. Even when I tried to book directly on the hotel websites, I could not find anything. In the end I booked through Expedia, and found a room at the Delta for 225.00, it was crazy. I am renting a car, and driving down to Calgary on Sunday, then I will drive back on Thursday night.

Wednesday night,the people who were on the IBM project team of Canadian Tire were taken out out for supper, at this great french restaurant called Didier I had red snapper and a warm chocolate cake for dessert, mmmm. We also received gift certificates to the Keg and Chapters, nice to be appreciated.

At the Library This Friday

Sarah and I did a little presentation to the library staff on mental health, dealing with people with possible mental health behaviour etc. It went well and I think they want us to come back! And help them with their own mental health. It seems that it is very stressful for them to manage this as obviously they didn't think they'd be dealing when they signed up to work at the library. Sarah says maybe we can take our show on the road.
I have been off work the past 2 days because of my leg. Guess what the Dr. thinks I have? Sciatica!!!! But I don't feel angry.
I wen to the walk in as no appt's at the family GP. So, I go for x-rays to rule anything really out of the ordinary out, to physio before I can be cleared to work. He also gave me a couple different drugs to use, which seem to be working quite well today- Celebrex-my leg feels quite fine right now, and Flexeril to use at night-which seemed to work as I slept well and I ahven't been sleeping well lately. I didn't really put my poor sleeping (which isn't all that bad, but unusual for me) togteher with sore leg, but that was perhaps the problem.
I ahve been making recipes out of Nigella's book, they are all good!

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Grrrr GRE

Actually, no GRRR. Because I passed the GRE that is a requirement of getting accepted to PhD program at library school! And so from here, I can write my pre-application application. Doing the GRE requires a lot of recall of old math skills in trigonometry and the like, as well as understanding some antiquated vocabulary definitions. I didn't study at all; as long as I passed, mark didn't matter. And I am relieved to say that I passed. Although the pre-application process sounds tiring, I feel energized by the fact that I jumped this hurdle this week.

I'm going off to Jasper this weekend to visit with Sarah. We are staying in the Athabasca Hotel and hanging out in the hot springs. She also likes hiking a lot, so we'll see if I'm up for it.

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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Always Look on the Bright Side of Life

Went to see Spamalot last night, and came out humming. I had forgotten how much I like Monty Python. One of the guys in the office recommended a restaurant right next to the theatre, and I had one of the best meals I have had in TO, lamb for the main, and a peach cobbler with homemade icecream for dessert, really yummy.

Not too much happening at work, at least for me. I am helping out a bit with the questions that come in, trying to finish up some reports, feels a lot less stressful than two weeks ago.

Sam and Grace and Allison and Todd came over for supper last weekend. It was good to see everyone again. I was not too sure about Todd, whether he would make it or not (everytime I invite him, something comes up and he can't make it) and when Allison arrived without him, and I thought ok thats it, no more invitations for Mr Janes. But in the end he arrived for supper just in time, so I guess I will invite him again. Sam and Grace seem to be pretty busy, with school, and work

I was talking to Vicky and she said that they have approved the request to have me work on the GOA upgrade, so that means a year at home, which will be good. they have said implementation is due at the end of the summer next year, so that means I should still be able to go to Scotland, with everyone next fall.

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Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Danger Mac

I'm all moved in to res. I am on the floor called Danger Mac. Our FC has a lot of spirit and really loves Lister. It's kind of funny.

I just finished orientation today. Yesterday is was really boring and awkward, since I didn't know anyone, but today was fun. I went to a good conference on money management, and they gave out a budget type thing. So I will have to fill that in, but I'm pretty sure I'll be fine in that department.

I think it is really weird how much spirit all the faculties have. Like, each one has its own cheers and stuff. As if they were a sports team. Some of them are really funny. And the engineers are crazy. But it was fun to be there and listen to it all. And we all got foamy fingers for the 100th anniversary of the U of A.

I went to the club fair and signed up on the interest list for the chemistry club. I figured it wouldn't be a bad idea since they could help me with my homework. And I am thinking quite seriously about joining the fencing club. Anne has led me to believe it is quite fun. I didn't even know they had it here. And I am planning to join the intramural hockey team. If Anne could play on it, I'm sure I can.

My first day of classes is tomorrow. I am actually not that nervous. Well, I am, but not as much as I thought I would be. I think I am ready. Except I don't know exactly where my classes are. I know where each building is, but not the room. And my first class is in the biological sciences building, which is apparently very hard to navigate in. But that is my first class, so I will be able to go extra early to find it.

Anyway, I feel I need a good night's sleep, so I will sign off. There was a lot of walking today and I am tired. Not to mention cheering. Oh, and Mom, I think you will miss me a lot more when you discover that eating all that gross food is poisonous.
Hee, hee, the kids are gone. We had barbecued salmon for supper last night and tonight a casserole of leftover salmon, mushrooms, green onions and spinach.

Smoke on the water

Slow talkin' Walter, the fire engine guy
Old Cousin WalterAnd he's got fries.
S'mores on the water, cracker in disguise.
Smoke on the water, a fire in disguise
Slow Uncle Walter Kinda dim, this guy
Slow coming water, a fire in disguise.
Slow runnin' water A pirate in disguise

Labour Day

For which I got double time and a half for working nights. Thank you super stat, IH, and BCNU!
I am doing the SPCA walk, for which I have sent out emails. I don't generally like doing group emails like that, but it is the easiest way to do it. And it is for the amnimals. I'm going to see about borrowinig a dog for the walk.
We had a good visit with Nathan (nephew, Bill and Kathy's son, from Ontario). We went to Radium and Golden. White water rafting is so much fun! I think we should do it when in Golden next year. I would send pictures, which we bought, but they are on DVD and our computer does not have player. Humph. Anyway, Radium is only 1 hr from Golden, so we could do that there too. We took a look at the lodges that Theresa found, they look very nice. About ?20 minutes from Golden. Anyway, we camped in Radium, it rained, but Richard had bought a giant tarp, plus several others to add to our collection, so we were fine. We got back here on Wednesday, drove through Nakusp and went to those hot springs too, and then Thursday Richard had to work so Nathan and I biked the Kettle railway. That area was burned of course, but there was still a fair amount of trees left, and it is interesting to see how much has rejuvenated.
Richard is busy making his 2nd set of stew for lunches. we both hate making them, so this should help.
I am going to Dr's tomorrow. I have a weird pain in leg, right at top of thigh. Naturally, being a nurse, I am worried that I have a blood clot. well not really, but I have a hard time standing or walking for any time at all. It has to better by the walk. It came up the last night I worked, and I could barely make it to my car.
We are going to Vernon to meet a friend of Richard's from school and are thinking of going to Lumby for breakfast, though don't know if we'll have time before appt, so may have to settle for Vernon.
Joshua, nephew in Ontario has his surgery date for his heart/aorta and will be having it Sept 22nd.
All of the sudden fall is here. Nights are much cooler.
We have a new tenant downstairs, Tiffani. Yes, spelt that way. She has painted the living room, looks nice, a warm yellow which looks good with the wood. The previous ones are going to have a baby, so we promptly said, 'no babies here, we don't want to hear shrieking in the night'. Actually, they wanted a bigger place for obvious reasons.

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So much for summer

Well, guess that's my summer over with. I read on the train that it was the wettest August in recorded history here. And I think every single drop fell on Bangor.

That said, just got back from my first full-on UK festival experience and it was awesome! Camping in a muddy field with a whole bunch of music lovers... fun stuff! It was nice out on Friday and I had a great time. Saturday afternoon it started to rain, and MAN did it ever. The festival was in Argyll, by Loch Fyne, and apparently it always rains.

However - the festival was by Loch Fyne! Right beside a castle! It was so cool. Arguably the best part was the food - they had a whole section of local food. Stovies with local lamb, pasta with Loch Fyne smoked salmon, organic beef, macaroni with local cheese - so delicious.

And I guess it wouldn't be a proper British festival experience without spending the whole time in wellies.

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Monday, September 01, 2008

New Nest

The move to Vancouver was a success. I was a bit worried about ferries and traffic, as both are legendaryly awful. The ferries in particular have been having a time of it, last weekend one was out of commission, and there were four sailing waits. My friends Jeff and Kim drove me over- Kim has a truck, which sure came in handy. We caught the 8:00 ferry with no problem, and the traffic was not an issue in Vancouver, so we were here by ten thirty.

The school, the Vancouver School of Theology, is at UBC, tucked away at the north end. It's not really it's own campus, more a grouping of three or four buildings. The main building is called the castle, and, well, it looks like a castle. It's an old United Church building. VST is an amalgamation of several denominational schools, Anglican, United, Presbyterian, and maybe more. Anyway, the residence is called Somverville House, and it is very nice, and quite new (looking). I have a studio apartment, which is really just a bachelor style - one small table with two chairs, one easy chair, a double bed, hot plate, beer fridge and small bathroom. There isn't much floor space, but the ceilings are really high, so it feels very roomy. Lots of storage, since the ceilings are high, I can store things above the bathroom. Jeff and I went and bought a ladder today so that I can get at it.

My place faces west, which I know because the sun is in my eyes while I type this. I face another residence building, which is a bit odd- living in the big city now! Orientation starts on Wednesday, and classes next Monday.


empty nest

It's not unusual for Geoff and I to be home alone, but it is different to think that nobody else is going to be coming home anytime soon.
We picked Grace up at the airport on Friday then dropped her at university on Saturday. It's good knowing her roommate and parents. We just wandered around on Saturday, did a bit of shopping. We were going to take Sam and Grace both out for supper Saturday night, but Grace had a floor event so we went with Sam. Had breakfast with Al on Sunday, then picked up the kids to do a bit more shopping. Then home all by ourselves. I miss them.
Keep getting text messages from Will. Will the novelty wear off?
Spent hours today doing the job I hate the most, sorting through paper and balancing the chequebook. Why don't I keep up with it instead of putting it off all the time? I know it is not going to go away. I made myself do it all, even the filing and shredding of old stuff. But of course it won't stay done and I will be fighting with myself again.