Saturday, November 28, 2015

Winter is Coming

You know nothing Jon Snow.
as winter seems to be here, it is cold and we have a bit of snow, not very much, but it is chilly out.
went to Vancouver last weekend to see Allison as she was there with conference. Stayed at Hotel Vancouver-fancy-pants. we didn't do too much, a bit of shopping, lots of walking. I got a dress on sale at Anthropologie, which is the only way I would buy a dress there. Allison broke a glass dish there-smash!

I feel behind for Christmas, sigh. It isn't even December yet, why should I feel behind?  Also, I spent a good part of yesterday with a client who is over 50, and is starting over from scratch-has an apartment (that we got thanks to a non-profit who does scattered site), and everything this person has is free from non-profit thrift stores etc. Doing this work is a good way to disengage from consumerism. I have so much stuff, and the people I work with have almost nothing. To use the food bank, you have to have proof of ID, and an address etc. This person did not have ID, but they allowed  as I vouched for. All very dehumanizing, especially when food bank guy was crabby.

Sometimes I also think about how much money I get to work with people who have almost nothing. In some way, wouldn't it be better to actually give people on social assistance a living amount of money? On PWD (persons with disability social insurance), someone gets about $900, and of that, a cheap rent for 1 bedroom is $800/month. (they do not seem to ever build bachelor suites, which is too bad)There are several people in rooming houses (which is a better option in some ways, because it is hard to get landlords to rent to people with disabilities), but those are $450 for a room, shared with at least 5 other people in the house, with their own set of issues. How can anyone make it work? Food bank lets you access 1x/month, if you have above requirements and can stand outside in cold for 1-2 hours. Salvation Army will let you get food if you exhaust food bank, and St Michael's church, St Vincent de paul, and 1st united, have some food cupboards (thanks Anglican, Catholic, United, and Salvation Army churches!) Gospel Mission will always be open and you can get meals there, but many people don't like going there, for obvious reasons.

For these reasons, I feel pretty fortunate to have the life I do have.

What else is new? Not so much. Been doing some thesis (nagging voice inside says not enough), but I always want to sleep when I start doing it. Clearly, run out of gas with it. We hates it, precious, we hates it.

Ok, enough rambling, and will turn on potatoes for supper!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

More moving

Sam moved to a new apartment this weekend so we went up on Friday night to help on Saturday. He does not have much stuff so since Grace and Dallyn helped it only took two loads. It's a small bachelor apartmeant so it's a good thing he lives spartanly. We had a little scare when Sam lost the key to the new place but it got found so he took us all out for lunch and that was it. Geoff and I went shopping for a bit but it seems that I can't shop any more. I just don't enjoy it. Saturday afternoon in the city isn't the optimum time to shop anyway, but I could see nothing that I even felt temptd to buy. Well I did find a couple of pairs of pants.
After the stress of moving Tim had another anxious week as Transcanada announced there would be layoffs. He ended up ok but two guys were terminated. It's a terrible experience to go through. It happened to Geoff a couple of times over the years. You obviously feel bad if you lose your job but seeing someone you have worked with go is not a good feeling either.
Just got back from our first meal at Tim and Courtney's place. They are pretty settled in there and are happy with their move. We walked over, takes much longer now.
Will arrives tomorrow for a week. He gets a study week every year so he is going to do his reading in Rocky. It has been a long time since he's been here. Tim's wedding was the last time, I guess.
I have a cold that seems to be hanging on. I dragged myself through last week, there was something going on every day and all I wanted was to spend a whole day in bed.
Work is going fine, it has all come back to me now. Still I will be glad to have all week at home.
Talked to Anne today. They sound happy in their new home. That's three kids moving in a couple of months. And here we are in the same place for 35 years.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Happy Birthday Anne

Happy Belated Birthday Henry

Saturday, November 14, 2015


We have had a couple of snowfalls this week, on Remembrance Day and today, snow on the 11th did not really stay, but maybe this will. Theresa and I went to the Remembrance Day ceremony at the high school, as always it made me think about the terrible things that happen during a war. Then with the Paris stuff last night, it made me think about it some more. I saw a lot of stuff on social media, for both events and I wonder why the wars in the past seem to bring out the thoughtful side of people and something that is happening right now brings knee jerk reactions and the horrible side of people. It is like trying to place blame is the most important thing to do. It makes me sad.

I had a good visit with Mom in Kelowna while the Wensinks were away on their annual trip to Ontario. It was a whirlwind of Dr.'s visits, medical tests and new meds for Mom. I was just the chauffeur to deliver her to the right place at the right time, so I was happy to have Lisa and Richard's car to do that with.  I also had time at the beginning and end of the trip to visit with The Wensinks, so a very satisfying trip. Sebastian seemed to warm up to me by the visit end, I think a lot of that had to do with supplying him food. Clem was her usual standoffish self, as long as Mom is there she does not need or want anyone else.

I took a side trip to Medicine Hat before coming back to Rocky. Again a lovely visit with everyone. Laura, Christine wants to know when her favourite is coming to see her. I got there late on Wednesday night and since Thursday is Rhonda's day with the girls, I got to spend the day with her as well. Fred and Christine were in and out of Ramona's house so visited quite a bit with them too.  On Friday Ramona and Rhonda had plans to go to a play in Calgary and left Hannah and I in charge of Anna and Evie. F&C made dinner (ham yumm) and Fred and I picked up the girls from school.  After they went home, Hannah got the kids ready for bed, and then we played scrabble. Sunday night was pizza and swimming at F&C's. Then Monday morning, hopped on the shuttle and bus and Geoff picked me up in Red Deer and home.

I went over for a visit to see T&C's new house. the boys gave me the grand tour of everything including the crawl space. It is a great house, Courtney and her Mom were in the midst of painting when I was there, so looking forward to seeing it with all the new colours.

Tonight T&G and I are going to see Little Miss Higgins at Grandview Stage, looking forward to it.

Sunday, November 08, 2015

Our trip to Ontario went well, although I caught a nasty cold that was present the entire time. Gave me reason to nap.
We went to Niagara on the Lake for a night's get-away, had some family dinners, went out for dinner for jenny's birthday, went on boat at Niagara Falls, but mostly just visited everyone. everyone seems to be doing well. It is Gerry and Dorothy's 60th anniversary next May 31, so I think we will be going there again in May. My grad will be June 9 or 10, so will need to make sure that I am here for that, as I am not missing it.
Which brings me to my committee, as they said I wouldn't be ready to grad in February. (shakes fist in air). But I did meet with them this week, where they reassured me that it was good, just had a bit more to do, that wouldn't take long. I am trusting them on this. I think they felt bad about not graduating in February, as they gave me lots of praise. I needed it because when I got email saying I wouldn't graduate until May, I thought I would start crying. 
Work is going well-still enjoying it a lot-it is always interesting and never the same.
Mom is doing better, gout seems to have settled down, and she is able to eat more.
Is sunny day today, so hung out sheets, will see if they dry!
We will also be raking some leaves to bring to Jones, to discourage weeds.
Mom is making us pizza for supper!

Friday, November 06, 2015

Exam; moving; new job; free time; surgery

It has been some time since my last post, but really, it seems the older I get the less things change.

From the beginning of August until mid-September, I was off work on study leave, preparing to write the  Common Final Evaluation (CFE). This is the last hurdle to becoming a Chartered Professional Accountant. I won't know if I passed until December.
The exam took place over three days (day 1 = four hours, day 2 = five hours, day 3 = four hours) and is entirely made of up case-based "questions". There aren't any actual "questions" on the exam, at least not in the traditional sense. You are meant to read the case, figure out what you are expected to do given the situation, plan your response, and then write, playing the role assigned to you in the case. You have to consciously not address certain requirements because you simply don't have time to do so, which is hard to get used to.
The length of the test also lends itself to interesting psychological quirks. For example, if you don't sleep well the day before an exam, by day 3 you will be a wreck. Even without such confounding factors, it's difficult to remain sharp over all three days especially if, like me, your writing grows more flamboyant, effusive and tangential under sleep-deprived conditions. Also, maintaining sharp focus for five hours in any task is challenging. Now imagine doing so with almost-palpable exam stress oozing out of 150 students writing around you in a frigid, cavernous Northlands expo hall. 

My current roommate, Ian, got a new job and will be moving out at the end of November to be closer to work. I've been visiting various buildings over the last two weeks, deciding where I should go. I'm favouring a bachelor unit in my current building. Unfortunately I look into the side of a parkade, but the price is right.
The rental market is considerably softer than the last time I looked, and most management companies are offering incentives - cheaper rent, reduced damage deposit, IKEA gift cards, etc. There are some good deals out there but I decided there was no need to get something big, since I don't have any furniture to speak of.
Unfortunately I seem to have inherited a inclination towards stocking up when I see a good deal at the grocery store. I'm working on eating my way through my pantry and freezer by the end of the month so I don't have to pack up five cans of crushed tomatoes.

New job:
Although it's not official yet, I'll be moving to a new job before the end of the year, but in the same group I'm in now. Currently I run the long-term financial projections for my company, and I will transition to working on the budget. It's not much of a stretch, since the main difference is the level of detail and time horizon, but I'll have to learn a couple new systems. I'll also have someone reporting to me for the first time since university.
When I got back from study leave in September, I found that the previous week the company had done a round of layoffs - about 25 people total, so not huge, but we did lose someone in our group. It was somewhat odd coming back to empty desks, but at least I was spared.
I'm very busy at work as we are right in the midst of the forecasting cycle. I'm also training my replacement, which always makes things slower, but it will be good to do something new.

Free time:
Since I'm no longer studying and work isn't that busy at the moment, I've had quite a lot of spare time. I've been making an effort to exercise three days a week, and have also been doing some tutoring for university accounting a couple days a week.
I'm slowly working my way through Mad Men on Netflix. I've stalled on season 4, and might not make it much further as my interest in the characters continues to die. I think they should have capped this show early.

I'll be going in for a second gum graft next week (I had the first back in June). I've known since I was 19 that I would probably need grafts, and finally decided to get started since I have good insurance through work.
Basically, the surgeon cuts out part of your palette (top of your mouth) and stitches it under the gum site along with some donor bone - "like putting paper in an envelope" is the way he phrased it. As long as you don't touch it for a while, blood vessels and nerves grow in and attach the new to the old. 
As I had plenty of time to be contemplative while the doc was rummaging around in my mouth, I was reminded how raw and primal actual surgery is. At the end of the day it's pretty much all taking knives and scissors, cutting this or reshaping that, and then the body does the rest. 
The guy I had is the top-rated man in Edmonton for this sort of work and I thought he did a nice job. He even gave me his cell number and responded to texts when I had some post-op questions. If anyone needs something like this done I've got a name for you.

Thursday, November 05, 2015


I'm back home after a very restful holiday!  I got back to the Island yesterday, but  had a meeting in Victoria today, so  I stayed over with Jeff and Kirsten.  Travelling back went OK - the first flight, which was from Halifax to Toronto was super delayed because of fog in Halifax.  There was a flight from New Brunswick that couldn't land, and had to go and refuel and try again, and that took a long time.  Then Westjet cancelled the Toronto- Edmonton portion of the flight, so I had to get all new flights.  It worked out OK, I got in a little over an hour later than originally planned.  The worst part was that I had arranged for exit row on every flight, and only got it on once.   On my last flight, from Vancouver to Victoria, the founder of Westjet was on the plane!  He got up and talked on the mic for a minute, thanking us for flying Westjet.  He seemed nice.  

My time in Halifax was really great.  I didn't do much, which is the perfect holiday.  Allie just started her new job, so she was quite busy with that, and I would spend my days reading and sleeping and sometimes meeting her for lunch.  She has to travel around to different churches sometimes, so I got to tag along for that, and see a bit of the province.  Nova Scotia is really beautiful - especially with the trees all changing colour.

The woman who was house, cat and church sitting for me re-arranged everything - or quite a lot anyway.  I don't know if this is normal for house sitters, but  I'm a bit annoyed.  I like my mess.  She did a good job filling in at the church - she has experience in maritime disasters, so she was the right person to fill in for me. It was tough not being here when everything was happening, and I'm looking forward to connecting with people tomorrow.

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