Tuesday, April 2, 2019

March 2019 - Week 14

It was Jule's birthday on Monday.
(Julie is my sister. Somewhere along the way she went from being Julie (which I personally feel is the most beautiful, most feminine name ever invented) to Jule. (Which is nice too, but about as interesting as "Jane".)
I didn't do anything.
For her birthday.
I suck.

But I will say this; as far as sisters go?
She is the best.
I have not met a more selfless, faithful, committed person.
Nor a more hardworking one.
And she's a mean cook and an outstanding baker. Turkey dinners, steak BBQ's, grilled chicken, AND ALL THE FIXIN's ALWAYS. Everything that comes out of her kitchen tastes delicious.

Their house sold this week, so Christmas 2018 was our last one in their love-filled home. So many memories there. Thanks Jule (and Daryl) for hosting All The Family Events for the past decade. Love you x 1000

Mondays in general, are challenging. THIS Monday was even more so.
I realized I'd left my curling iron and make-up bag at the lake.
So I scooped the last drops of foundation from an old container with a q tip and smeared it on the most important regions of my vast face. Then I found a black felt pen that I used for eyeliner and mascara. My hair was just. You know. Just. Hair.

My first email of the day was, "Jane? Uh, there's been a mistake ..."
And my first activity of the day was to attend my first ever Management Team Meeting in the Boardroom for 1.5 hours with 18 other managers. (Yes, you remembered correctly. I am an introvert. In fact, if you'll recall, I am SO introverted,  I hug the Introvert Line on the Extrovert/Introvert grid. SO YES. This activity was a stretch. I was so ready for a nap, in a dark, empty room when we were done.)

And then, seeing we don't have an HR department, my activity of the afternoon was to prepare for a couple meetings I'd be in charge of on Wednesday; interviewing applicants for our Sr. Designer position. In the past I've simply attended these interviews/meetings with someone from HR hosting the 1.5 hour conversation. This time, I was to do it. Why is it that I don't accept new challenges with enthusiasm? Haha. It felt like I was preparing for an exam. Reminded me of being at BCIT, getting ready for a presentation. Regardless how I felt about the course, I was still determined to get an A.

I never did get around to doing any of my real (project management, list-making) work, but DID resolve the crisis of the morning satisfactorily. Everything is still on time and on budget, despite 6,000 letters being printed incorrectly. (THAT error took place last Tuesday afternoon when I was chasing the sun around my mom's back yard.)

ALL THAT TO SAY, by the time 5:30 rolled around, I was spent.
So I went to KFC and finished reading the final chapters of our Book Club book while eating greasy food dipped in gravy.

(I am consistent in my bad food choices.) 

A quirky, fun, mystery novel that I enjoyed.
Light reading with a storyline that combined typography, writing, Google and book selling - all good topics.
At 7 I met my book loving friends and chatted about Mr. Penumbra's 24 hour bookstore for a few hours. THE BEST WAY TO END A MONDAY.

My mom had an eye doctor appointment on Tuesday morning, so I took 2 sick hours (Sick hours can be used by younger employees to stay home and look after sick kids. And us older employees can use our sick hours to take our parents to their medical appointments) and drove her to her doc. After I dropped her off, I went over to McDonalds to pick up a muffin and spin some Pokestops. I multitask like a boss.

Some days I, too, can't believe how mature I am.

After work I drove out to the lake. (Because a person really can't put too many miles on her vehicle.) I made a vegetable laden meal (because I was craving broccoli something fierce) which I ate while watching Netflix with Jenn who was still working on the final edits of her book. A lovely relaxing evening which, I warned her, HAD TO END AT MIDNIGHT (not 4 am as per our usual habit).

Wednesday morning I was up at 7:30 and out the door at 8 and at work at (roughly) 9.
I will never live an hour away from my job.
That morning commute is so tiring. I yawned the whole drive in.

Then I hosted the two interviews. And the debrief afterwards. Sadly, neither candidate was a good fit, so we're back to the drawing board. IF YOU KNOW A GRAPHIC DESIGNER with print and web experience, please send them my way. Job description is here. 

After work? I did laundry. Like a normal person, who does chores and doesn't spend every single night out. However, like an abnormal person, I tried to access a British show. (I'd figured out how to watch the first episode last week, and ALL DAY LONG I was looking forward to watching the second episode.) No matter how many ways I tried, I just couldn't get it to work. At about 11 pm, I discovered an app that'd allow me to watch it on my phone. My phone which is 4 years old. Has never been updated. And hasn't got a drop of storage left. Did that deter me? No it did not.

When I ran into trouble, (as expected, given that I was dealing with an antique brain and antiquated equipment) I contacted Apple's chat line and was connected to Ernest, The World's Most Patient Tech Support Person EVER in the History of Chat Support Persons.

He was friendly, kind, not condescending, not once did he call me stupid, and not once did he indicate I was unfit for this century. His mother has done a wonderful job raising him.

(I felt I needed to let him know I was old and non-techy, as he'd likely be frustrated with me.)
(I'd had an unfortunate conversation over the weekend with someone I'd given birth to. I was told "you don't even know how to learn", which, to be honest, stung. I do so know how to learn. I just happened to want him to simply tell me what to do about a cursor getting stuck in the second screen.)
Ernest was lovely. So I tweeted this, then sent him a screen cap of it.

He was delighted.

We chatted for an hour, and by midnight, I was watching my show. On the world's smallest screen.
(Sadly, today? It's not working again. Now I can't access it on my laptop OR my phone. Someone in the UK, or maybe God (?) does not want me watching.)

I've started an email conversation with the app people. Simon is trying to help me at the rate of one email per day at a time. (I miss real-time chatty Ernest) Seriously. I should just move to England next Wednesday.

Also on this day?
My Max recognized his 8 Years Clean Date. His Facebook status:

"Today marks my 8th year of being clean and sober. This last year has seemed to be defined by a lot of drastic changes happening every few months, but the people that I met early on in the whole recovery journey remain a solid foundation of support that I can turn to when things get bad or to celebrate with when things are good. I don't have any deep insights or advice to leave here, and hope I don't come across as some sort of braggart, but I am very grateful for the ability to live my own life, something that seemed impossible so long ago."

I am so very proud of him.
Those seven words are inadequate. They don't capture my heart.

When you hold your soft and smiley baby boy with his big brown eyes and dimpled chubby thighs, you can't imagine that he'll be a teen with a drug dependency.

When you drop that super cute, loving, gentle, excited little boy off at kindergarten for the first time, you can't conceive that someday he might smell like weed and spend his weekends drunk.

When he graduates from middle school so damn happy to be surrounded by all his best friends, it doesn't cross your mind that in just a few years, his high school graduation will be in jeopardy because he can't keep his shit together.

When you celebrate his baptism at age 16, you have no idea that within a year, his life will become unmanageable, and the boy you knew, raised and loved has disappeared.

Hell on earth is watching someone you love be replaced by a stranger who lives for his next hit.

I know this is Max's story, his journey, his life. His telling of those years would be different than mine.
But no man is an island, so those of us who love him ended up tagging along on his ride.

His decision to get help ranks up there as one of the happiest days of my life.
Which is not even a little bit of an exaggeration.

The night after I dropped him off at The Door, was the first time I'd slept peacefully in years. It was such a relief to know he was in a safe place with people who understood and were committed to helping him get clean.

I am so proud of him for sticking with the recovery plan they established for him. It was hard work every single day. I am so thankful God had provided him with a set of quality friends who walked alongside him.

I am so grateful for the man he has become. He is principled. Hardworking. Wise. Witty. Focused. Kind. Still cute. And clean.

If someone you love is struggling with addictions, I'm so sorry. It's hard, isn't it?
Don't be afraid, embarrassed or ashamed to share your fears with some close friends. Let them love, support, and pray for you. It's hard, and you don't have to walk this path alone.

I hope Max's story encourages you. And gives you hope. Some of the chapters in our stories are filled with angst and fear and pain. But later chapters are filled with peace and sparks of joy. Hang in there. Don't stop praying. God loves your kids even more desperately than you do. He's on it.


Thursday morning I bought a million donuts and asked Google Maps to direct me to one of my suppliers. (My way of saying Thank You for their help on Monday.) I drove on roads I'd never driven on before. Which is kinda exciting, no? I've lived in the lower mainland all my life, and there are places I've never been. (!) It was like going on an adventure. (!) A Spring Break adventure, (!) through the cedar mill district under the bridges. It smelt like sawdust and looked like a movie set.

Then after work, Heather and I drove west into the sunset.

She'd just arrived home from her Hawaiian Spring Break adventure, which had less sawdust and more beach than mine.

We needed to catch up and catch Pokemon.

Errrhm, yeah. I haven't been to the gym again this week. HOW DO PEOPLE DO IT? EVERY DAY?  Arrrgh. I suck at gymming.

I'm gonna have to come back to do this walk again during the day. These flowers are probs pretty spectacular when the moon is sleeping.

On Friday I hosted a GLS lunch with my team where we watched Juliet Funt talk about communication in the office and how to work smarter. She, as per usual, was funny, articulate, professional and entertaining. I love those Global Leadership Summit presentations. I always learn something. SO glad I get to share them with the Creative team.

And after work, I headed east. Friday was the 88th Day of the Year - also known as National Piano Day, and I was going to celebrate this day with Val, the Musical One. 

When I got there, she had noodles waiting for me. She listened to me debrief my week, then she soothed my savage soul by playing the piano for me. 

My view from the comfy chair in her music room. 
I've never done this before, just sit and listen to her play. 
It was so very perfect. 

I thought I'd leave Val's by 9, but I missed that target by a couple hours. I arrived at the lake after 11. It was super quiet and a tad cold. Haha. I HAVE AN APP that allows me to turn on the thermostat before I arrive and I almost always forget.

Saturday was all bright and sunny so I put on some pajama shorts and a 25 year old tank top and found a slice of sunshine in the back corner of the yard.

It was perfect.
The was a teensy issue.
The baby flies.
Who dive bombed my head like it was a game of Red Rover, Red Rover.
For one hour I swatted the air around my head like a crazed woman.

Finally I got myself another chair and set it up in my neighhour's yard and left the first one for the bugs that were bugging me.

No one followed me.
They tanned on their chair, and I on mine.

I spend the afternoon reading and underlining large sections of two books:

Interestingly, (non-faith-based) best hospitable business practices look alot like (faith-based) good marriage practices. I'm halfway through both and highly recommend them. (If you or someone you love is in a difficult marriage, please consider this book as a great resource.)

On my way to back Abby on Saturday evening, I stopped at the 'I love Endives' field where daffs were in full bloom.

O God.

Thank you.
Thank You for seasons, especially all the ones that come after winter. Thank you for blue skies, even though, artistically speaking, the grey ones are more dramatic. You chose a lovely shade of blue to paint the sky with; so bright and happy. Thank you for warmer air and longer days and rays of sunshine that make you squint and give you eye wrinkles.

Thank You for deciding that families were the best way to grow people. Thank You for my family. Thank you that they're all back in Canada. Thank you for Spring Break vacations, for safe flights, for homes to return to. 

Thank you for Max's internship opportunity. For Clint's new office space. For Drew and Dani's warm home, filled with kittens and love. I pray your hand of protection on them all. May they find favor with those they work with and for. Please open and close doors of opportunity according to Your will. Please fill their lives with good friends; people who journey alongside, people who love and challenge them. People who learn and grow with them. And I pray You would bring into all of their lives role models and mentors who inspire and care for them.

God I pray they would know You better, lean on you harder, pray to You more often, and trust You more fully. I pray Your will be done in their lives; right this minute and every minute that comes after. 

Thank You for inventing marriages. Thank you for the solid, loving, happy marriages around me. Thank You that there is help for those who have difficult and damaged marriages.

God, I pray for those couples who are hurting, hope-less, and hardened. Please direct their paths to counselors, resources, therapists, friends, books, anything that can help. Please repair, rekindle, rebuild those marriages that are deeply in trouble. God, give us wisdom and patience.

Thank You, God, for AA, NA, The Door, and other agencies that help those with addictions. God I pray for those who are struggling with drug and alcohol dependencies (and their families) ... PLEASE bring them to rock bottom, then meet them there. Provide them with options. Enable them to accept help, stir in them the desire to get well. Hold them close. Give their mom's peace-filled nights with good sleeps.

God. Thank you for babies. Such a good idea. Thank you for their cuteness. Their softness. Their sweetness. I pray for those babies who aren't born yet. Give their mom's peace and a sense of awe about their pregnancies. Surround expectant moms with supportive, happy, partners, friends and family who are delighted with the exciting news. I pray for healthy pregnancies, and easy deliveries.

And God? I pray for all the families that have welcomed newborns into their lives this year. So. Many. Babies. !!! I pray for smooth transitions, gentle night feedings, supportive spouses, helpful grandparents, excited siblings, and a feeling of confidence for those moms. Fill them with peace, wisdom, and purpose about their role as mom.

Thank you God, for writers who write, singers who sing, actors who act, builders who build, farmers who grow things, stylists who do hair, bus drivers who drive, teachers who teach, editors who edit ... thank you God for All the Jobs.

For those who're looking for meaningful, life-giving work, I pray that You would direct their paths to job situations that You've hand-picked for them. Let it be purposeful work, with people they enjoy and a boss they respect. May they work for a leader who invests in them, cares for them, and is committed to their growth and development.


I met Maureen at Mill Lake at 7 pm. We walked and talked, as you do.
Then went out for something to eat.

Such a beautiful evening.

And on Sunday?
We celebrated Sue's birthday.

Happy birthday, Sue.

Three things I'm thankful for:

1. Daffodils, tulips and cherry blossoms. It's like they're shouting, "Spring is heeeeeere..."
2. Afternoons in the sun with a book or two.
3. Bubble baths.

  • Proudest moment this week: Being able to tell my 'client' that despite a (big) mistake, there would be no delays or additional costs. 
  • Most embarrassing moment of the week:
  • Funniest moment of the week: I watched this on my lunch hour of a challenging day and then reapplied my mascara because it was dribbling off my chin. 
  • Biggest achievement of the week: Haha - going to a party (wearing flips flops and having non-pedi'd feet, where there would be many people, all standing around talking, some of whom I won't know,) on Sunday night. 
  • Best moment of the week: Friday evening, sitting in Val's music room, listening to her play a song that made her happy. 
  • Best holiday memory of the week: Other than my 5 minute Spring Break cruise through the cedar mills under the Alex Fraser Bridge, there was no holiday this week. 
  • Best advice I heard this week
  • Most grateful for this week: Moments of perspective
  • Favorite family memory of the week: Insert sad face. I didn't see my family again this week. 
  • Biggest regret of this week: ANOTHER week that I didn't make it to the gym. I am going to have the worst doctor appointment ever. 
  • Best thing I learned this week: How to be chatty with tech support. 
  • Biggest change I made this week
  • Best gift I received this week: You might recall that I bought this exact same mug for Val last month, and gave it to her on her mom's birthday, filled with a purple plant. Hahahaha, she bought this one for me. And filled it with my fav chocolates. :)

  • New friend this week:
  • Most inspiring person this week: Jenn. It's hard work being a writer. In awe of her stick-to-it-iveness in getting her books published. This is not an industry for whimps.
  • Word to describe this week: Draining
  • Unexpected obstacles I faced this week: All of Monday was an obstacle. From no make-up to a project going sideways. Grateful that by Tuesday the worst was behind me.
  • Unexpected surprise this week: Seeing that field of daffs was a delightful surprise. 
  • Best place I visited this week: Mill Lake was lovely. 
  • New skill I learned this week: Nada
  • Biggest obsession this week: I gained 24 new friends (Pokemon) and as part of the game, friends share gifts with each other. Having an inventory of gifts to give my new friends has been an obsession this week. This will mean nothing to you if you're over 12. 
  • Best food I ate this week: Sushi for lunch. I love dynamite rolls. 
  • Best TV I watched this week: I enjoyed watching King Arthur (on Netflix) with Jenn on Tuesday night. Her husband works in The Industry (on sets, as a sculptor/artist) so she often has a running commentary of background info that I find fascinating.
  • Best viral video I watched this week:

  • Best movie I watched this week: No nights at the movies this week. Maybe next?
  • Best song heard this week: Arabesque #1 (Val assumed this would be familiar to me, but alas. It was not. I was raised on country.) This is what Val played on Friday night.

  • Most excited about this for NEXT YEAR:
  • New skill I want to learn NEXT YEAR:
  • Place I want to visit NEXT YEAR:
  • Something to try NEXT YEAR:
  • One thing to work harder on NEXT YEAR:

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