Thursday, 22 January 2009

I've taken up ice ballet

We had a warm spell. The temperature actually climbed up to nearly 4 degrees C -- that's PLUS 4 degrees, not minus 4 degrees which would be considered quite balmy for this part of the world in January. The first problem with an unexpected warm spell in January is the YUCKY result ...... of melting snow. What was once all white and pristine becomes dark and dirty. White snowbanks become SCHMUTZY snow banks (that's LD language for brownish-dirty-blackish-looking). The second problem with an unexpected warm spell in January is the fact that IT DOESN'T LAST very long, and then all that melted snow turns into ... ice. This is my driveway:Ice from one end to the other. The street at the end of my driveway isn't any better. Ice is ... in case you don't get to experience this weather phenomena in your part of the world ... VERY SLIPPERY. The king-sized bruises on my hiney will attest to that fact! This is inside the bus shelter at my bus stop:More ice. If you don't want to navigate your way into and out of the bus shelter, you can wait at this bench beside the bus shelter. Oh, wait ...... more ice! An entire sidewalk of ice! Entire sidewalks of ice everywhere in this city! I managed to do the most spectacularly graceful ice ballet in my driveway ... resulting in black and blue hiney on the left side ... on my way to the bus stop. Then I managed to do an even more spendidly graceful ice ballet ... resulting in further black and blue hiney on the right side ... on the sidewalk on my way home at the end of the day. Fortunately no broken bones. Since then, I've been very conscientious about putting my ...... Yak Trax on over my boots! They may look like putzy truck chains for feet, but I swear you could walk up a perpendicular glacier in them things! Now if the bruises would just hurry up and heal and disappear.

Despite my complaints about dirty snow and hazardous ice, the return of sub-zero temperatures brought great beauty to the city in the form of ...... hoar frost. The arctic air rolled in quite foggy, and the moisture from the fog froze and formed the most AMAZING ice crystals on exposed surfaces. I love hoar frost! It's got to be one of the Creator's most artistic gifts to humanity. So here for your viewing pleasure, hoar frost on northern Canadian shrubs and trees:

Monday, 19 January 2009

Trading Spaces ... Office Episode

So here's the before picture:My desk was composed of three parts ... one for each of three walls. The fourth wall was occupied by a one-part similar desk plus a door and window. As a result, I had a hell of a lot of desk SURFACE, but no practical space. Please bear in mind that I have a very SMALL office. (This was the tidy corner. The opposite corner of my office was where stuff got PILED 'cuz I had no storage places.) Since the desks had to come out in order for the new carpeting to go in, I figured it was a perfect occasion to make these nightmare desks DISAPPEAR. So ... abracadabra ...Desks be gone! (If only it was that simple ... that sucker was damned HEAVY to haul out of there!) And old carpet be gone. If you're thinking "hmm, those two walls are different colours" you're absolutely correct. Actually, all FOUR walls were different colours ... all variations of pink / mauve / blue. This picture doesn't show the areas where the previous resident painted AROUND furniture and bulletin boards. Once everything was out and the walls bared for all to see, it was pretty grim. As it turned out, somebody swiped a piece of new carpet from the sidewalk in front of our building ... the piece was already measured and cut for my office ... and I had to wait over a weekend for the carpeting store to order in another roll. So I took advantage of the carpetless floor and painted my office ... all four walls the same pale shade of orchid, kind of pinkish pastel mauvish something. Okay, so I didn't go out paint shopping. There was a whole gallon and a half of the stuff in a storage cupboard in the back room.Even if I might have PERSONALLY chosen a different colour, it certainly lightens and brightens my office! Not to mention covers up a lot of ink splots, scratches, stains, bad patch jobs, and previously unpainted areas. So are you ready for the official unveiling? Step right this way ... through this door ...I have a newer (although somewhat ... er ... EXPERIENCED) and smaller desk in this corner ...... which means I now have room for a bookcase and filing cabinet in this corner ...... not to mention an easy chair (which needs a good vacuuming after all that carpet-removing dust) in the third corner!It's almost TOO exciting! First chance I get, I'm going shopping for a nice friendly cushion for this chair. And a new end table. And a wall clock. And ... well, I don't know, but I'm sure something FABULOUS will jump out at me! Don't worry though, I didn't throw out EVERYTHING from the old look. I'm WAY too sentimental for that! My dancing chicken (who doesn't dance anymore because his batteries ran out) is still with me. He's on regular guard chicken duty from the top of my new bookcase.And my pastel picture ... which I've decided isn't so bad after all because it's a portrait of the downtown Vancouver waterfront. Recognize the sails? The seabus terminal? Well, maybe you don't ... but I do, and I have a few very pleasant memories about that part of Vancouver. When I'm lonely for the Big City and Big City friends, and hungry for some great sushi, I can look at that picture and remember ... imagine ... dream ...What? Where was I? Oh, the carpet? It looks GREAT! And NO DUCT TAPE to be found, or tripped over!Only one last problem. Rocco the (MY) fish is still living in the bathroom while my office staff and I haggle out a custody agreement!NOTE: before anyone thinks about reporting me to the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Fish, Rocco's water is NOT yellow. Our bathroom has weird beige walls and flourescent lights and consequently Rocco's water LOOKS yellow. But it's not. Honest. It's a bad room for lighting. Don't ever look at yourself in the mirror if you drop by to use our facilities! Oooh, what a good idea ... a mirror for my office wall ...

Saturday, 10 January 2009

Carpets of Snow and Snowy Carpets and Carpets

These are my front steps right now:We have snow aplenty here right now. I am NOT a fan of shovelling snow, nor a fan of blowing snow, nor a fan of snow filtering down into my socks because the piles of snow I have to wade through are higher than my boots. However, I AM a big fan of the beauty of snow. The other night, I happened to have my camera with me, and snapped a few photos of snow on trees and bushes as I walked home.
It was a such a nice evening. No wind. The smell of wood smoke in the air. Only minus ten. And fluffy white snow carpeting everything. How can anyone possibly seriously dislike snow when it's this beautiful?

I have had another type of carpet happening at work this week. Here's our hallway, looking from the back of our building toward the front reception area. Notice the boring dull sad old carpet ....... and especially the worn areas repaired with duct tape ... and the worn duct tape repairs repaired with ... yes ... MORE duct tape. No amount of carpet cleaning is going to help this sad floor!Here is one of the kind young fellas from a local flooring company removing the old carpet.Oh my gosh! Our hallway looks better already!Here's a shot of the new carpet next to the old carpet ...... wow! What a difference! We were convinced we needed to have the entire place painted too, but this new carpet actually makes the walls (which are a pale shade of orchid-purplish-pinky something or other) look brighter. We might not have to paint! Well, at least not the entire place.
We are using this intrusion to our routine to DE-JUNK. Everyone should have one of those days at least once a year, don't you think? Each staff member ... and yours truly ... has been busy boxing up old but important files, shredding useless stuff, and deciding which pieces of extraneous furniture to donate elsewhere. The fun part is each person rearranging their own space. Amazing how different your own office looks when you move your desk to a different corner or different wall!
Stay tuned for pictures of MY office transformation ...

Monday, 5 January 2009

Happy 2009!

Are the years speeding by faster, or is it just me? I swear Christmas 2007 was just a few weeks ago! Perhaps I feel this way because 2008 was very busy for me ... new responsibilities at work, starting graduate studies. Perhaps 2009 won't speed by at such a break-neck speed. I don't make New Year's resolutions (a guaranteed recipe for disappointments and guilt in my books!), but I do have every intention of slowing down and taking time to smell the roses this year!

But, of course, my success at slowing down and taking time to smell the roses remains to be seen. For the moment, I will share a little bit of my "crawl under a rock until the holiday fuss is over" vacation ... ten SNOWED IN days ...... getting to know one young fourteen pound cattus horribilis named Sylvester. Yes, that is a picture of the beast on top of the refrigerator! I finally put duct tape upside down on top of the refrigerator to dissuade him from jumping up there. He just doesn't take NO for an answer! (And you can certainly tell from his expression what he thought about being commanded to GET DOWN NOW !)

Sylvester also received MORE TOYS for Christmas than most human children!

Now ask me if he played with said new toys during the night?

Go ahead ... ask me!


He played "let's gallup around like a frisky Clydesdale then jump on LD while she's sleeping"!
Have you ever been jumped on in the middle of the night by a playful fourteen pound kitten? I don't recommend it ... especially when you're sound asleep!Sylvester is definately a brat cat, but he is gorgeous, and very very loveable ... especially when he's asleep! Aside from getting to know Sylvester ...
I spent lots of time relaxing and doing NOTHING. Well ... SORT OF nothing. I crocheted a bit (By the way, this is not me ... this is definately some stranger with way too many chins and a bad case of greasy bangs because she forgot to pack her shampoo!). And played crib. And drank wine. And drank some more wine. And played some more crib.
SNOWED IN, remember? Are you grasping the irony of that situation? I TRAVELLED FOR MANY HOURS SOUTH ... FROM UP HERE IN THE NORTH ... TO BE SNOWED IN!!!
All in all, I returned to work today refreshed, renewed, revigorated ... and just to prove it to my staff, I arrived at the office early enough this morning to make coffee, rearrange our lunch room, and post a list of chores for each person for the coming week.
My staff said they can't wait for my "crawl under a rock until the holiday fuss is over" two week-long vacation 2009 to start!