Sunday, April 29, 2018

been forever, yeah?

I'm at the lake with the Plett seesters, doing a Read-a-Thon.

Last time I was here with them, I blogged about it here.

(If you're too lazy to click, there were beads and babies in addition to books and snacks.)

THIS TIME? Different baby and more beads. (The baby is a boy and the beads are red.)

This time?
I haven't read a single book.

I have things to do.
So I made lists, in my head, of things I should be doing.
And then I took a nap.
And then I took another one.

I'm sucking at adulting today.


Seeing I'm out of blogging practice. I'll just jump all over the place. Put on a neck brace so you don't get whiplash as I zip from one topic to another like a kid who lacks focus or mom with raging ADHD.

Might as well work backwards. Start with today and see how far back I can go til my memory blanks out.

Sisters. Reading. ^

Boy Baby. Jumping. And jumping. And jumping. SUCH a happy jumper. Like, amazing.

It's a spider. Getting embellished with red beads. ^
And a baby spider (below):


On Thursday night, Anne, my friend/assistant at work (the one from France) taught a few of us how to make meringues stuffed with chocolate ganache. Such a sweet evening:

Sophie just had a baby, so we passed her around:

Shelly, our host for the evening, had just endured retina re-attachment surgery a few hours before we arrived; hence the shades.

Cece, by the way, is three weeks old. And watched everything so carefully, I'm sure she'll be making ganache stuffed meringues on her own next week.

So many grandmas in the kitchen... ^

Sisters (below)

(Between them, these two have SEVEN children.)

Adding the ganache:

Ta Daaaahhh:



It was 29 degrees on Thursday, so I took the day off. I'm not planning on travelling this year, so I'll be using my vacation time, one day at a time, to spend outside on a lawn chair, reading under the sun.

A couple weeks ago, we watched a video in devos about burn out. I should find a link to it. And post it here. It's an old one, and only lasts a few minutes, but it was enlightening. Or maybe I'll just use words...

Yeah, I couldn't find it.
So, the illustration was a container that had a spout at the bottom. We are the containers. We all have things in our lives that drain us. Not everything that drains us is bad or to-be-avoided. Some of those things are inevitable; they're just part of being in the workforce or being part of a family. So we often willingly pour into the lives and circumstances around us.

But we can't give to others if our tank is empty. So we have to make sure we fill that container often.

And here was the big question: What are the top 5 things fill you up? What are top 5 things that drain you? 

(And if you're married, the suggestion was to ask your spouse for their list, and give them your's. Then make room in each other's lives so you both can do those filling things. And be around to support each other when you're both in a place of doing draining things.)

ANYWAYS, I was struggling to come up with 5 filling things. What fills my tank? Everything I came up with (and the list was not long) had a counterpart of guilt attached to it.

I was chatting with a friend at work about this, and next thing I know, (a few days later) she walks into my office with this:

It's a beach/book bag. And the tiny background print? Is from Outlander:

SO thoughtful.
And kinda perfect.
She wanted to remind me that I love reading in the sun.
Also, but unrelated, she reminded me that I love going to concerts.
And to let me know that the things I love doing, are the things that fill me up.

SO it was with her words in mind, I took Thursday off work to sit in the sun and read.

Two things:
1. I need to find a deck that faces south or west. SERIOUSLY. The cabin deck faces east, so the sun is gone by 2 pm. And my mom's house's deck faces north, so the patch of sun it gets, moves around as the sun journeys across the sky. I will whine about this forever.

2. My friend Jenn wrote Sleight. It's a young adult novel that held me captive for 4 hours. SO good. (And I'm not just saying that because she mentioned me in the acknowledgements.)


On Wednesday, I gave a presentation at work to the whole staff team entitled: What Jane Does.
Interestingly, about a month ago, I asked on Facebook, "What topic could you speak on for 10 minutes with no preparation?" The responses I got were fascinating. And my reply was, I could talk about Project Management and Basecamp, the program I use to keep organized.

I was given about a week's notice.
And it took me about ten hours to prepare for those ten minutes.

Because? My job is pretty boring. And I couldn't imagine anyone wanting to listen to me go on and on about lists and quotes. So to add some punch to the presentation, and to make me look far more important than I am, I likened my job to that of an air traffic controller.  (We both have projects/planes at various stages of lift off and landing... ) To support this analogy, I looked for  images of a control tower, gate, runway, planes taking off, planes landing to use in a Powerpoint presentation.

First I found images. (Thank you, Google.) Then I had to figure out how to use Powerpoint. Well, actually, I had to figure out how to get Powerpoint onto my personal laptop. I have a new laptop. Clint ordered it for me. It's tiny and sexy;  which are important apparently. He chose the features and colours (white interior keyboard etc with a rose gold exterior.) And I THOUGHT I had purchased and downloaded Microsoft Office properly but obviously not. Very thankful for Gemeresh in Japur, India who walked me through the process at 3:42 am.

As I was putting the presentation together, I realized it was still boring as bricks, so I googled "Air Traffic Control Humor" WHICH IS A THING and I interspersed humor amongst my slides, as a thank you to the audience for listening attentively.

OK, maybe not so very funny. But a bit of a break from tedious 'this is what a Basecamp thread looks like' slides.

At one point I was going to include some thoughts on the constant stream of last minute requests I get for 'emergency creative projects' but decided, instead, to demonstrate this by having my clients interrupt my presentation with requests for help with important, unexpected creative projects.

By Tuesday afternoon, 20 hours before I was to share, I was done.
That evening (Tuesday), I went for a walk with a friend, in White Rock.

Me: What've you been up to?
Her: Hours and hours at the dentist.
Me: WHAT? ME tooo. Hours of appointments this month and next. What did you have done?
Her: Caps on the front top teeth.

Her: I was out for dinner with my daughter, and my top teeth just broke. I went to the dentist and had temps put on.
Me: I'm wearing temps right now! Top four teeth. My appointment last Friday afternoon was pure hell. The freezing wore off twice during the three hour appointment. So many hours of grinding and drilling. SO much pain. Oh my goodness.
Her: YES! And then a few days after the temps were in, I was in my classroom, reading to the kids, when THE TEMPS FELL OUT.
Me, aghast: WHAT WHAT WHAT? They fell out?
Her: Yes. And the kids were stunned. And I was traumatized. I went back to the dentist and had them re-attached. AND THEN THEY FELL OUT AGAIN WHILE I WAS EATING LUNCH WITH THE KIDS.
Me: THIS? These words that you're saying? Are my worst nightmare.
Her: I know.

So, anyway, she now has her permanent caps in, but those students, for years, maybe forever, are going to remember the year they had Mrs N as a teacher and her front teeth kept falling out.

The only reason I mentioned this was because it was on my mind on Wednesday just before I gave my presentation. Because, if my temporary top teeth were going to fall out at any time during the week? It was going to be when I was standing in front of everyone I work with giving a riveting talk about what I do all day.

So, in case that was going to happen, I was going to be prepared. I had one of my designers make my slides looks more professional and less like a mom made it at 3:42 am, then I gave him a copy of my script, along with a the scheduled random interruptions and asked him to be the clicker-holder while I spoke. If I ran off-stage, unexpectedly due to a dental crisis, he was to carry on where I left off.


In case you're a teensy bit interested. here's a sneak peek at my script:

My title is Manager of Creative Production which is like being the Air Traffic Slide Air Traffic Controller of the Second Floor. From where I sit, in my ivory tower, I overlook three gates and five runways, and manage the take offs and landings of hundreds of projects/planes.

This presentation is likely going to be about as dry as dirt, because all I do all day is make lists and get quotes, so I looked online for Air Traffic Control humor – which is a thing – and will post jokes throughout the next 5 minutes of my talk so pay attention. Joke Slide - Wendy Interrupts

I think of each project as an airplane. Plane slide Each has its own characteristics, destination, design requirements. Some are boring, no they’re not, some are smaller, some are huge. Gate slide The gate is the creative department where the plane is filled up with content and images and the spark plugs are checked and I’ve gotten quotes from vendors about costs to print, fulfill, mail … A large plane spends about two weeks at the gate. Joke slide  Laura interruptsI have three gates. A gate is an editor/designer team who work together to make sure that plane is in perfect flying condition.

My teeth did not fall out.
The presentation went well.
And I was so glad I was taking the following day off, because while I know I'm capable of speaking in front of people? And I know that if I'm prepared it'll be OK? It exhausts me.


Last weekend was Clint's birthday.
(My sister texted me saying she was waiting for me to do a blog post about his birthday. Was I being lazy?)
No, not lazy.
We didn't celebrate it.

He worked at TED Talks (again) this year, and his birthday landed just as it was closing. He posted the stats on Instagram Story (WHY DO PEOPLE USE THAT FEATURE? Everything disappears after 24 hours) and from memory I think he said he walked 9385 miles, lost 6 pounds and slept 4 hours per night during the 5 days of TED. So we didn't celebrate his most recent trip around the sun.

Plus Danica was busy, she and her dad had a booth at the Vintage Barn Market on the weekend.

So proud of my very busy kids.

We WILL celebrate this Sunday, though.
Tickets to the new Avengers movie have been purchased.


One last thing before I sign off...

I had a winter hobby/project. 
It involved watching a new BBC series, being aired only in the UK, one episode a week.
After the first hour, I felt the need to 'talk' about it, but seeing no one in my real life could view it I started a new blog where I wrote one post a week about the episode I'd just watched. 

I realize now that I could never be television critic/reviewer nor a journalist/reporter. I take FOREVER to formulate thoughts. And even longer to write them down. As a war correspondent, say, the war would've been long over before I even got an introductory paragraph written. (I also realized I can't manage two blogs at the same time; Pixnprose was very ignored.)

I started a new twitter account to chat with the Brits (oy, so friendly) and share thoughts and OH MY GOODNESS - ACTORS, PHOTOGRAPHERS, PRODUCERS, SCRIPT SUPERVISORS, STUNTMEN all made comments or retweeted or liked my efforts. My little twitter account, with only 100 followers (all strangers) ended up getting 20,000 impressions one afternoon. Crazy, infectious, addictive fun. And an eye opener into fandoms and behind-the-scenes photography and script writing and fanfic. If I had a choice of jobs to end my career with? I'd want to be a still photographer in the movie/TV industry. 

Anyway, those 10 weeks/10 episodes are done. Winter is over and the sun is shining. 
That blog and that twitter account were a ton a fun during the long wet grey days of February and March when so many of my friends were being snowbirds in the south. 

Back to real life.


Three things to be thankful for:

1. Friends who like walking (and jumping) along the seawall:

2. Trips down memory lane:

This is the first house my dad/grandma bought in Vancouver:

Omi lived here for 40 (?) years; and all my childhood memories of her are tied up in this house. There used to be a flower garden where that patch of grass is. In my mind? That patch was about an acre. SO many flowers. And under the living room window (right side of house) was a rose bush with scented pink roses that reached up to the top step. I notice the door still has a little peep opening in it. Which was there because there was no way of telling who was calling...  There used to be a cherry tree (a gigantic ancient one) in the neighbour's back yard that towered over the house. That's gone. Actually it looks like all vegetation is gone. It looks a little unloved. 

The homes that I grew up in are all gone. The Coquitlam/Dawes Hill home has been demo-ed as has the house on the farm. One of these days I'll drive past the Harken Street house in Burnaby to see if it's still standing, but I have a feeling it'll be gone too. 

I went looking for my mom's parent's places. The beautiful brick house on 50th was torn down and two Vancouver specials put up in it's place. 

And over on Fleming Street? I could only find this house that looked like it might have been theirs:

It's the only one on the street that resembles the house I remember spending time at, but I thought the large window was on the right side (where the living room was) and the smaller window was on the left (where the front bedroom was). That, and I thought there were more steps. 

So if this isn't the house, that'll be another one from my childhood that gave way for something bigger and better. 

To be honest, it was a little sad to see both homes so shabby. Both neighbourhoods, once filled with proud homeowners and young families, have become quite neglected looking. This would not happen in Europe. They hang on to their buildings for centuries. 

Time marches on.

3. And the third thing I'm thankful for? 
Answered prayer. Friendly people. Helpful children. Acts of kindness. Evidence of love. People who still hold hands. 


1 comment:

ramblin'andie said...

Ahhhh readathon weekend <3 happy memories.

I too was at Cultus on Thursday. Sat on a bench in the sun at the other end of the lake - it was quite lovely.

If you find that thing on burn out, I hope you'll share it.