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Kit's Knit Spot





Updated: 2017-06-25T06:47:43.348-04:00

 



And once again, back to the blog

2011-06-21T17:15:58.569-04:00

So I see that I've not posted anything here in nearly six months. I used to blog faithfully, I used to feel I had a lot to say, and wanted to keep track of thoughts, projects, and general ephemera. It's amusing to me, looking at the past few months, that so much has happened and I haven't tracked any of it. Perhaps I should go back, or perhaps I should just forge onwards. Onwards? Or maybe from scratch. Indeed, I think scratch is the way to go. I need a new direction.



Hi. I love you.

2010-12-20T20:02:30.378-05:00

A lot of people I love very much (most of whom I've never met in person) are having a hard go of it lately. While bad stuff happens pretty much all the time, it always seems to hit hardest (and below the belt) during the poorly-named "holiday" season. (Holiday? Everyone's stressed to the max, worked ragged, broke, and short of sleep!)

I try to send little Tweets of love and Facebook hugs and things, but the internet is a fast-moving place, and I worry sometimes that I've missed something important. So: a blanket announcement.

You are my friend, and I love you. I wish I could ease your burdens, take away your pain, and fill your days with warmth and happiness always. But I can't - no one can. What I (and everyone) can do, is remind each other that we are all out here together, and maybe that little bit of connection and universal good energy can make things a little better.

Yeah, I sound like a big hippie. So what? It's true. It's also true that love means something different to everyone. Whatever it means to you, you're getting it from me. Respect. Admiration. Recognition. Laughs at your silly jokes, and tears at your hardships. Lots of love for everyone; didn't someone once say that it's the only thing that increases, the more you give it away?



Pondering qualities of yarn

2010-12-18T09:02:53.504-05:00

The impetus of this post is a scarf I'm close to finishing; it's two colours of yarn in Patons Classic Wool; first one colour held double, knit to the end of the two balls, then the second colour, done the same. One would think that this would make two equal halves of colour, yes? Not so. The yardage of the second colour is less than that of the first. Grr.

And this made me think: why? WHY? And that made me think that with most yarns, the same base yarn dyed in different colours can have very different hand (that is: texture, softness), and it seems that there can also be a yardage variance based on colour, which seems odd.

So, putting these odd questions out to the spinners and dyers... why are these things so? I mean, I KNOW yarn. The yarns I use frequently, and those we sell in the store, I can identify by sight and by touch. But this variance is something I don't quite have the knowledge about, and this annoys me somewhat.

Please to share your edifying, enlightening information in the comments. Or, by chance if you are Brenda Dayne (!), I'd LOVE to hear you get into these oddments of yarn ephemera on a future Cast-On.

Happy knitting!



Random thoughts

2010-11-10T18:05:26.044-05:00

Things have been busy lately and will continue to be for the foreseeable future, but here are a few thoughts that have been buzzing around in my head this week:

Poppies. Remembrance Day (Veterans Day) is tomorrow, and as always I am trying to keep a poppy over my heart, indoors and out. However, those little pins are slippery and I've probably replaced the one on my coat half a dozen times. And this got me thinking, that it's somehow appropriate. They fall at random, for no discernable reason. They are noticed mainly after they are gone. And most of us don't think of them other than during that one brief period when they are otherwise everywhere. Fitting remembrance for the fallen soldiers that they represent.

Work. This past week has been hectic and happy. I got promoted to a management position at the store; more responsibility but I'm still with the same awesome crew and getting great support from the rest of the management team. I'm excited to have a solid position (full time), which in retail is often hard to come by. But mainly I am so pleased that I made the right choice in leaving my previous job (which was stressful and not very satisfying), and returning to a job where I can really contribute to the smooth functioning of the operation and making our customers happy! It's a fantastic feeling to go to work each day focused and enthusiastic, and to share the workday with others who have the same dedication.

Life balance. Yes, it's a buzz-phrase, but it has merit. I've been reminded recently by people who care for me that it's important to make time for personal priorities as well as the mundane; not just work/food/sleep/chores, but also conversation, creativity, social time, education... the things that get shoved aside when we are busy being busy.

Friends. Forgive me if I get a bit maudlin here. I've got some really fantastic friends and I am increasingly aware of how fortunate that makes me. My local folks, my online buddies - there's a whole lot of people out there that make my days brighter and my life better. And I'm trying more and more to show them my appreciation and caring in return. Lots of things happen every day, good and bad, and with all the social media we have now, it literally takes less than a minute to send someone a word of encouragement and love or acknowledge their triumphs. But tweets and comments aren't enough. It's important too for me (and for others) to take time for face-time (another buzzword, sorry). Tell a co-worker that they helped you out. Compliment someone on a sharp outfit. Buy the person behind you in line a cup of coffee. If someone's having a rough day - STOP AND LISTEN. Really, are you in that much of a hurry?

Sorry, didn't mean to lecture. Just random thoughts. What are you thinking?



Turtle with a broken neck

2010-10-23T18:34:23.479-04:00

Maybe I'm PMS-moody this week, or maybe it's just a confluence of circumstances, but the past 24 hours have me feeling like a turtle with a broken neck. That is to say, I seem to have stuck my neck out so often lately, it won't retract any more, and I'm left unprotected at my most vulnerable point. Mostly I've been wanting to draw back deeply into my protective shell, not let anyone at my soft underside, and move *very very slowly*.

The closest thing I have to any kind of a shield is knitting. Today, being wracked with flu and general ickiness, I've been knitting scarves. A big scarf for Kia, a little scarf for Marjorie, and a mini-scarf for me. The mini-scarf is selfish knitting, something I am not good at doing. I'm forever **starting** projects for myself, but they are almost always set aside in favour of something for someone else. Today I knit for others for the morning, but my afternoon and evening knitting is this wee little rainbow scarf for me. Something bright and warm to wrap around my neck, and hopefully it will protect me next time I foolishly stick my neck out.



Where am I going?

2010-10-20T05:32:40.124-04:00

I woke up at 4:30 again this morning. This is an hour before I need to be awake, and it's been happening frequently lately. I don't know if it's the change in season, or that I'm going to bed earlier, or if I'm somehow connecting with my late grandmother, who was an early riser all the years that I knew her. Whatever the reason, rather than bemoan the hour, I'm getting up and getting at my knitting.Today, I listened to an old episode of Cast-On (episode #69, to be precise), while I sipped my coffee and worked on the sideways scarf for Marjorie. Brenda Dayne - whose voice I adore and whose shows always make me smile, and think, and just generally relax - Brenda said "Where am I going, that I have to knit things quickly?" This in reference to a sweater she was making for herself. And that question caught me. Where am I going, that I need to knit quickly?Well, the past few years have brought home to me the reality that people die - suddenly. And while this is inevitable, it's scary and I have this fear of leaving things unfinished. I don't want to leave Phae with a basket of half-knit projects to sort through, and I don't want to let down the people I have promised to knit for. Maybe it's mostly the latter, as I don't THINK I'm about to die suddenly. But then, no one ever does, do they?Enough on death. Where am I going. The past couple of weeks, there have been some changes at work. We had two people in full-time salaried positions leave the store, and one of the positions has been filled (beautifully, and I'm so happy for the person who now holds the job!). The other, I've applied for. It's something I think I would be good at, and I've been led to believe that others agree. In fact, I've been more or less "acting" in the job on an interim basis, but not officially. And this is starting to irk me. Yes, I said "irk." I feel at loose ends, because one thing I don't deal well with AT ALL is uncertainty. Am I getting this job? Are they testing me to see if I can do it? Apparently "someone else" has also applied, and I've been wracking my brain trying to figure out who - if it's one of my teammates, or someone from another store - and to tell the truth, my confidence (which was at about 90% certainty) is pretty low right now.The funny thing is, I really like the job I have. I'm not sure if I really want the change. Sure, it's a promotion, but that will change my role in ways that I am not at all certain of. Will I be spending less time with my team, and with my customers? Will it really improve things if I'm "in charge" of our department, rather than in the trenches getting things done? I honestly don't know if I'm cut out for a supervisory/management role. I tend to be blunt at times, and it's been pointed out to me more than once that it's not fair to hold others to my standard of work. But what else is a person in leadership to do, but try and encourage people to do their best work? I try to lead by example. I've trained a few people in "the ways of the Force", as it applies in our store. But I've also made some serious missteps, overstepping authority I don't actually have, and I don't want to cause conflict or tension. I also don't want to have titular authority, but no actual respect from my team. As Yul Brenner said in "The King and I", it's a puzzlement.So with all this buzzing through my mind, I'm knitting like a fiend these days. I have a whole stack of projects to finish before the cold weather sets in hard, and it's getting colder every day. The added benefit is that when I'm knitting, I (mostly) don't think about other things. It is a steadying, calming thing - what I used to call an island of stillness in a river of crazy, back in the early days when I started this blog. I need this island, and this stillness. I need it to be here, no matter where I'm going.[...]



I'm tired of death

2010-10-13T17:08:05.349-04:00

Today, a dear friend (who I've never met in person, but that's beside the point) became a widow. Brutally, cruelly - her husband collapsed and could not be revived. She is far away from me and all I can do for her is send love by way of electronic communication. It is inadequate and frustrating.

Today, the Make-A-Wish Foundation brought a child with terminal cancer into our store for a shopping spree; this was her wish. She got scrapbooking supplies, enough to preserve a lifetime of memories. Except she won't have a lifetime. Her family was gathered around her, presenting her with ideas and options, and I followed along, mostly silent, taking the items and offering a few that I thought might appeal to her. It was heartbreaking.

Today, I am tired of death. Tired of loss, of pain, of the suffering of those who are left behind suddenly and those who are waiting for the day they will be left by the ones they hold dear. I am tired of how death paralyzes my emotions and makes me full of fear and dread for the time when more of the people I love will also leave me.

Intellectually, I know death is a certainty. It's unavoidable, regardless of who or where you are. Death does not discriminate on any basis whatsoever; to believe that death chooses and punishes with malice is to believe that there is an alternative. A fool's belief. Today, I would like to be that fool.



Lest I forget

2010-10-12T04:11:43.031-04:00

My grandmother's obituary; she died last week. I have no grandparents left alive.


Jean Lownds

1919-2010

-90, Halifax, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, October 5, 2010 at Glades Nursing Home, with her family by her side. Born in North Battleford, Sask., brought up in Saskatoon, Sask, she was the daughter of the late Leonard and Theresa (Adams-Adair) Charlton. Jean was a loving wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and a wonderful friend to many. Jean was the last surviving sibling of her family. She was a graduate of the Ottawa Civic Hospital in 1943 (B) and became a devoted RN. More than 20 years later she attended Dalhousie University and received a Diploma in Public Health. During her many years of nursing she worked in several hospitals across Canada and also with the VON in Halifax and Dartmouth. Throughout her life she volunteered with schools, Guides, the 4H Club, the Dartmouth Seniors Citizens, and the Metro Food Bank. She loved to travel and explore, including many drives with her husband Harry that could take them anywhere. She is survived by her loving son, The Rev. Jon Lownds; daughters, Sandra Thurber (Arden); Terri Batt (John). She will also sadly be missed by her grandchildren, whom she loved dearly, Richard, Elizabeth, Karen, Beth, Kathy, Sarah and William; and her great-grandchildren, Michelle, Anthony, Taylor, Gloria and Abigail, as well as many nieces, nephews and cousins. She was predeceased by her loving husband, Harry, and her parents. Cremation has taken place under the care of JA Walker Funeral Home (2005) Ltd., 149 Herring Cove Road, Halifax, NS. No visitation by request. A memorial service will be held on Wednesday, October 13, 2010 at 11 am from the funeral home chapel with interment in Mount Hermon Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations in memory may be made to the Canadian Diabetes Association. Words of comfort can be sent to the family by visiting www.walkerfh.com.




4 a.m., coffee and cats

2010-10-12T04:06:36.676-04:00

I keep waking up ridiculously early. I'm talking about wide awake, no chance in hell of going back to sleep. Today it was 3:30 a.m., which, given that I went to bed at 9:00, is 6 1/2 hours sleep. Maybe that's enough, but I prefer to get at least 7 or 8 hours. I definitely prefer to not be wide awake hours before I have somewhere to go or something to do (other than mess about on the computer).

Today when I woke up, Mok was head-butting my foot and prowling about, insisting on cuddles and scritches. So adorable, how can I ignore her? So, cuddles for the kitty and then downstairs to put coffee on and look for something quiet to do for an hour or more before Phae wakes up for work. I suppose the upside is that I can get some housework done once she goes; I have laundry to put away and the kitchen needs cleaning after yesterday's spate of baking. But for now, a nice cup of coffee and perhaps some knitting and Youtube videos. Although I do have several new books to get into, also... hm. I guess there's lots to do at this ridiculous hour, after all!



Days of knitting, guilt-free

2010-10-04T16:14:58.170-04:00

The various benefits of gallbladder surgery keep surprising me. First off, of course, no more gallbladder attacks. This means I can eat what I want, when I want, without fear of that horse-kick-to-the-chest pain waking me up at 2 a.m. (The fact that my acid reflux and IBS have their own triggers is completely NOT taken into account. We're talking gallbladder here). The second benefit is the incredible amount of rest I've had in the past week. True, not all naps were intentional, nor was I able to fall asleep some times when I wanted to. But post-surgery, rest is a priority, and I've indulged in it shamelessly. Third (and note, these are not in order of importance, but just as things come to me), is that I got to spend most of a whole week with Phae. Time with my honey is precious, and having her at my side (or within text-for-coffee range) for seven whole days was utterly priceless.

The biggest surprise benefit though, is that in the time I am convalescing (and awake), what I do with my time is basically up to me. I want to geek, I can geek. I want to watch silly movies, or play WoW (surprisingly rarely, that one), or read books or magazines, I can. And I can KNIT. Knit knit knit knit knit. I've got a whole stack of projects on the go, and am switching betwixt and between them with no guilt whatsoever. Here's what's currently OTN:

  1. Mom's Christmas sweater. Most of the back is done, it's easy knitting in 4x4 rib, and I enjoy how the variegated yarn is complementing the pattern.
  2. Phae's hoodie. Realized yesterday that this has been OTN for over a year, but it's pretty and soft and when I work on it, I knit some extra love for my girl into every stitch.
  3. Bespoke knitting. I am making hat-and-scarf combos for a friend and her family, and each hat and scarf will be unique and personal. It feels good to knit for someone who will truly appreciate the outcome of one's labour.
  4. Charity knitting. I have a random-stash-toque started for when I don't want to pay attention to any of the various patterns I'm working on. It will go to a person who needs it, and that need will be soon, because we had frost last night and winter is on the way.
  5. Selfish knitting. I'm making a wooby wrap for myself. That's right ALL FOR ME! It's chunky yarn, garter stitch, and soft. It will sit around my shoulders through the winter whilst I'm knitting away on other things.
With the exception of the wooby, all the current projects are worsted weight. It's probably my favourite weight of yarn to work with; fine enough to give lovely definition to the stitches (and not excessively heavy), but substantial and warm enough to do the job of keeping my knit-ees cozy.

Yesterday and today, I've spent the majority of my knitting time listening to old Cast-On podcasts. I turn to Brenda's show when I'm literally down; I think the last time I had a binge of Cast-On listening was when I was laid up with my messed-up leg. The current show on the iTunes is from early 2008, but like most good creative works, it is still timely and relevant. And soothing. Brenda has a lovely smooth voice, selects interesting music, and gently keeps me company while I knit.

Day after tomorrow, I go back to work. I'm looking forward to it, because I do adore my job and miss my work people. But for a person who is generally work-driven, like I am, and has inherent guilt over excessive leisure time, this past week has been a luxurious and pleasant surprise.



A gathering of Knitters

2010-10-02T19:06:04.070-04:00

(image) There are 3 things essential to a good party: food, friends, and fun. This afternoon and evening I was so fortunate to be visited by all three! We ate, we laughed, we watched a great movie, we knit. One of the best Saturdays in recent memory.



My blog, my turn to whinge.

2010-09-30T14:51:30.606-04:00

Kit's being whiny today, but kind of justifiably so. I slept 3 hours (poorly) last night, have been nauseous and achy all day, worried about dad since noon (his prostate removal is happening right now) and mom called to say that my grandmother (her mom) hasn't eaten for 2 days and has been totally unresponsive to the nurses at her home for 24 hours. So, family drama llama time all over the fucking place, and I can't do anything about any of it except be supportive over the phone (mom) and FB chat (my sisters). Mom doesn't want anyone to come over. One sis busy with neice. Other is probably still at work and doesn't even know what's what.

Poor Phae doesn't know what to do to help - not that it's a help-able situation, really. The women in my family are stoic to a fault and fall apart when it's feasible to do so. Yeah I'm a little weepy but mostly just frustrated. I want to fix it, to make it all better. We all do. None of us can. And that sucks, tremendously.



Useless organs which cause pain

2010-09-22T06:06:01.566-04:00

5 days from today, I'm having my gallbladder removed. It's been causing me pretty nasty pain since June; I was fortunate to get a surgical referral and a quick surgery date. Sometimes these things can be left for a year or more - ugh!

Today I'm going in for the 'presurgery' appointment - blood work and some other odds and ends of medical prep/info, I suppose. Mainly I get to find out exactly where the hospital is, because I'm having the surgery in Arnprior, rather than here in Ottawa. I feel very comforted by this. I feel a smaller hospital generally provides better patient care (the ER at Winchester, for instance, there is NO waiting time and the nurses actually take the time to treat you like a person. A scared person in pain. They're awesome).

I've heard all manner of anecdotes about this particular surgery. Some people have had a breeze, no complications, up and around in 2-3 days. Others have had loose stones floating around which cause all kinds of secondary issues. Still others have had infection, extreme pain post-procedure, and more. I figure everyone is different with these things, and going in with a positive attitude and high motivation to recover quickly (but safely) is my best bet. It also helps that I have great confidence in my surgeon, who has performed over 4,000 of these procedures!




Housekeeping

2010-09-20T06:56:33.825-04:00

In the real and the virtual sense, I'm doing housekeeping today. There is a mountain of laundry to be put away, and here on the KnitSpot I'm figuring out what I want to link to, list, etc. So things are a bit scatterdash at the moment.



The Zombie post: Blog Back from the Dead

2010-09-20T06:36:23.978-04:00

I realized this morning that I used to blog here ALL THE TIME. It was intended first to be about my knitting, and then branched out into a general "life, the universe, and everything", and then... well, I basically stopped. Things got busy, or maybe I just didn't have much to say. I think spending a lot of time on Facebook and Twitter may have had something to do with it. Really, how many places do I need to share my silly thoughts, odd events, and general ephemera?

But I miss being able to muse, and rant, and generally spew my verbosity. It's for me - if others read or not, it's not really important. The insecurity of needing to be validated by comments or whatnot has passed.

So - for me, I am back to the Blog. There will be knitting, and writing, and general silliness. There will be family, and friends, and work, and all the things that make up my life that I am willing to put "out there". Ravelry is not my blog. This is.



Spoiled!

2009-04-07T10:17:06.951-04:00

Monday. It's cold, it's snowing, everyone's grumpy and wishing it were Good Friday already. Skip over the details of the workday (more of the same). Go home at the end of the day. Open the door.

Smell of fresh-baked cookies. Fire in the fireplace. A freshly-brewed mug of tea is ready and dinner's on the stove.

This is one of the MANY reasons I love my husband.



Recipe: Lazy Sunday Soup

2009-03-29T13:47:42.957-04:00

This is a perfect Lazy Sunday. We've got good new books, lots of fresh coffee, fire in the fireplace, blankets and kitties for coziness. It's raining just hard enough to want to stay inside in PJs for the day. The ideal lunch? Lazy Sunday Soup. Here it is.

From the freezer, take 1 pound diced chicken breast. Throw in the microwave to thaw and have a cup of coffee.

In a medium-size pot (cast-iron is best), pour a good splash of Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Heat on high.
When oil is hot, toss in your thawed chicken. Stir-fry a few minutes to coat and separate the pieces.

Add 1 pouch of Lipton Roasted Onion and Garlic dry soup mix, stir well to coat the chicken. Pour in a good healthy bit of Soya Sauce. Stir and stir - everything should be dark brown and smelling yummy. Add a handful of crushed chillies/dried red pepper flakes.

Pour in 4 cups of good Ottawa tap water. :D (or whatever water is handy). Add three or four handfuls of commercial dried soup mix (beans, peas, lentils, rice, etc.) Bring to a boil.

Once boiling, turn the heat down to low and cover with a lid. Simmer for a good hour whilst you read your book by the fire (with more coffee, or a nice glass of wine if you prefer). If feeling particularly energetic, you could start your homemade bread at the same time, it will finish its first rising just about the time the soup is ready.

Ladle soup into two soup mugs, being sure to evenly distribute chicken, beans, broth. No sneaking all the chicken for yourself! Serve in lazy-boy recliners, by the fire. There will be enough left over for two more bowls - once it cools a bit, divide into two freezer containers and freeze for lunch later in the week.

That's it. It's easy. It's good. It makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Go make soup.



March is nearly gone!

2009-03-27T05:22:55.961-04:00

Wow, this month has flown by. We are all well over here at the little slice of heaven that is our home. Mok went to the vet a couple weeks ago to get fixed (she pouted for about 4 hours when we brought her home, then was totally herself again). She and Squeeky are both shedding like mad with the warm weather coming on so there is a low-level cat hair cloud in the house at all times. Can't wait to leave the windows open!

Peter's been working a different shift the past couple of weeks which leaves me alone with the fuzzy children in the evenings, but it's not too bad. As always, any change in routine throws us all loopy for a bit but now we've adjusted and it's all good to have our together time, whenever that falls. And honestly things have been so busy at work lately that I've been pretty much falling into bed after dinner anyway. Not stressing, just BUSY and the days are full so at night I'm trying to empty out my brain and rest.

Brain... knitting! Not a lot of that lately, more's the pity, but a couple of projects underway. I started the Pembrokshire Pathways socks and really love the cable & rib pattern - it's slow going but very very pretty. Also a WoW - inspired baby bib for a friend's about-to-be-born-any-minute-now grandbaby (the parents play WoW, they'll get it!). Did get out to Knit Nite on Wednesday and got a few rows in on the Globe sock whilst chatting with the girls. So nice to be out and sociable now that Spring is here!

This weekend we have a visit from Peter's brother and sister-in-law, who I adore, so tomorrow is going to be all about tidying up and some Spring cleaning. The last bits of random boxes and whatnot from the move are going to be dealt with and I'm really looking forward to that. After nearly 4 months in the house, it's time to finish unpacking. Maybe we'll even finish hanging pictures!

Happy weekend!



The right tool for the job - when it works

2009-03-09T11:00:46.409-04:00

Ok, quick late-morning gripe. I've been trying to do the simplest thing in AutoCAD all morning, and the bloody program keeps locking up on me every blasted time. This is a function that is one of the basic tools and for some reason it Just. Won't. Work! And of course this is a rush priority.

Argh argh blast and damn. Not a good way to start the work week. Grr.



Thoughts on the Economy and work

2009-02-26T18:31:13.084-05:00

For months now we've all been inundated with "The Economic Crisis" here, in the States, in Europe - everywhere, I suppose. Some are flying in the face of it with a "live life today, for tomorrow you may die" approach, others are taking a bunker mentality and hoarding cash, food, and likely weapons against the looming End of the World as We Know It. Most, as far as I know, are taking a middle ground. That's where I've been.Today, my employer laid off 22 people. This represents an incredibly small fraction of our total workforce, but it is still jarring. The first response was "Well, it's not me. My job is safe." Then I thought, "too bad for those people, I hope they find something else soon." THEN I thought, "Everyone has to make tough choices in business, and if this is what needs to be done to make the business succeed, it's the right thing to do."Then I stopped a minute. And it occurred to me that I, like so many people (I suspect), are pretty darn passive about our employment, and the success or failure of our employers. It is far too easy to say: "I put in my hours and do my job, what more do you want?", but then is it right to say: "I put in my hours and do my job, this company OWES me my job!" ? I don't think it is.To my way of thinking, if you want your job (career, if that's what you prefer to call it) to continue, and especially to thrive, you have to take responsibility not just for your personal tasks but also for your employer's success in general. You can't say, "Not my department, not my problem." You have to look for that little extra bit that can make things grow and succeed.Call it what you want - networking, promotion, corporate pride, "pimping the brand" - whatever. If you are proud of your employer (and if you're not, you should be working somewhere else), you should be walking your talk and talking your walk, every single day. You should - no, you MUST - get to know your coworkers, and take a moment to not just acknowledge them, but to really connect with them, every day. People are PEOPLE, not positions or email addresses or files. Have coffee. Have lunch. Tell a joke, bring donuts. Learn about their kids, their pets, their hobbies. Show them you give a damn what they think and feel.The other thing is the old "Continuous Process Improvement" jazz. The funny thing is, it's not just for managers and consultants and MBAs. Don't just DO your job, look for little (or big!) ways to do it better, faster, more environmentally friendly, more CONNECTED to the big picture. Change is scary sometimes but it can also be exhilarating. Stop a moment and really THINK about the possibilities. See the opportunity, take the chance, offer the opinion. Just as there are no stupid questions (no, really!), there are no bad ideas - just ideas that may not suit the situation. But you have to keep thinking, and thinking beyond "my job". Because your job depends on the success of your employer, and their success depends on every single one of their employees doing their very best.There's a classic movie, "The Bridge on the River Kwai". If you haven't seen it, check it out. It's a World War 2 story about a Japanese POW camp full of British soldiers, who are forced into labour to build a bridge for the Japanese that is critical to that war effort. They resist - naturally, who would want to help their enemy? But the leader of the British troops, he turns it around. He makes the bridge THEIR bridge - a proper bridge, an historic bridge, built by the best efforts of his men. He inspires p[...]



How to be happy when you're sick

2009-02-20T07:58:08.668-05:00

1) Have a fantastic day and evening on the day-prior-to-sickness.
2) Wake up feeling totally miserable but secure in the knowledge that your spouse is going to make sure you don't die.
3) Sleep. A lot. Like 20 hours out of 24.
4) Wake up day 2 feeling marginally less miserable but secure in the knowledge that your spouse is going to make sure you don't die (and will make you soup when asked nicely).
5) Realize that work things are not so urgent that they can't wait until Monday.
6) Rest, hydrate, geek a bit, and appreciate the love of spouse and kitties, who only want you to feel better.



Yes it's a holiday. Yes I'm at work.

2009-02-16T09:18:57.155-05:00

It's Monday morning, and while the allure of another lazy day (and the obvious temptation of a warm, husband-filled bed) was strong, the knowledge that I have a mountain of filing and organization to do at the office poked my "responsibility center" firmly and kicked me out of the house.

Surprise! All the feds are working today, so the building is pretty much full as usual, with the exception of our floor.

So, work before play, I have three hours to get 'er done, as Larry would say, and then back home for some afternoon WoW with the family and a leisurely evening. On the upside, if I hadn't driven into work this morning, I wouldn't have heard Van Morrison singing "There'll be Days Like This" on Radio Two Morning. I love that song. Love that show! In fact, today I feel like I love pretty much the whole world.

Happy Monday. The sun is shining!



Long weekends, laziness, and love

2009-02-15T16:55:57.893-05:00

It's a provincial holiday here tomorrow so we get a nice midwinter long weekend. The sun has been shining, though it's cold, and I have been having a glorious emotional rebirth. The past couple of weeks, I have shed a lot of negativity and embraced challenge, change, and stubborn optimism. There's a whole lot to this - some of it work-related, some of it personal - but it goes back to Ghandi "We must be the change we wish to see in the world." I must be the change I want to see in me!

Step 1: Decide what I want. Make a list. Discuss, debate, really talk things through with people I trust.

Step 2: Dive in. Start making changes, doing more, being more; I don't need permission but I do appreciate support.

Step 3: Stop and smell the coffee. Or the herbal tea, or the chicken curry or whatever. Do more living in the moment, and you know what? More moments get lively.

So I've been having a FANTASTIC week, and it's culminated in this weekend which is all about spending really close personal time with my spouse. Talking, not talking, being silly, being serious... just being TOGETHER in a way that the usual Monday-Friday doesn't always leave time and energy for. It's sheer coincidence that it's Valentine's weekend, because honestly I don't buy into that Hallmark-holiday stuff. And it's good, really good.



HAPPY DANCE!

2009-02-04T15:34:49.371-05:00

Sam is back! Happy day, happy day! Woohoo and Skip-a-dee-do-dah, Sam is BACK!


(I really missed Sam)



The other foot... or the truck, or whatever

2009-01-25T16:36:01.952-05:00

You know, it was just at Christmastime that Peter and I were reveling in our new home, jobs secure, finances in order, kitties and family happy and healthy. And I said, "I'm scared. Things never go this well."

I should have shut up. Less than a week later my Granddad died. The stupid bus strike goes on and on and friggin' on. Every piece of knitting I pick up, I screw up. And now, turns out we made a MAJOR oversight in our finances and things are going to possibly be very ugly for the foreseeable future. Frak.

The upside is that we still have secure jobs, our home, our kitties and family (one less family person, sadly), and our health. But the money thing - that was a real kick in the danglies, when we really thought we had it together. Argh argh frickin' argh.

Heh. The funny thing? I quit smoking 2 weeks ago. I could REALLY go for one now, but I can't afford them. Lucky thing hey?