What Next?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I haven’t posted in awhile and I feel it’s time to get back at it.

I’ve been working but my six month term ends the end of this week. Now I’m back to what next? This has really been what’s taken over my thoughts for the last few months of the year. The good news is that I have choices, there are several paths I could take but which one?

I could sell everything and travel. Awesome! How awesome would that be? The problem is what comes after the money runs out? I feel I need a better plan. There is also the possibility of moving somewhere warmer and avoiding another Calgary winter, very appealing but where? What do I do when I get there? I could even go back to school but for what?

I have possibilities flying around in my head and am now resigned to just getting through the next week. Then I am going to visit a friend in Mexico! There I can step back from my life and take a look at it. I find that often when we’re living in the familiar, everyday routine, it’s hard to get the big picture. Going to Mexico for a week I am hoping for a revelation or a good dose of common sense. Either way we hope to come home with a more concrete plan.

Life is full of possibilities and keeping an eye out for opportunity. In the next few weeks that is what I will be doing. Thinking of possibilities and looking for opportunities, who knows what could pop up when actually paying attention and not just walking along grumbling about the weather.

Change, even good change is stressful and thinking of making a big change is scary but what is the alternative? I’m not so sure I like the status quo and if I don’t make a leap now then I probably won’t. The plan now is to instigate change but also to know what I’m leaping towards. That is the answer I’m hoping to find. Perhaps the universe will throw me a bone and give me a clue as to the path I should take.

New Black Boots!

New Black Boots

Yesterday I wrote about the demise of my favourite black boots that had taken me everywhere. It was like the end of a relationship and looking for new boots I realized I wasn’t really ready to move on. None that I looked at seemed right. Too shiny, didn’t like the buckle, the sole didn’t look sturdy enough, the heel was wrong, the leather wasn’t right, they weren’t lined, they had too much lining. Plowing through the stores I dismissed one pair after another to the chagrin of the sales lady. Who kept looking at me like I was a looney, after all I was the one who had declared that I NEEDED a pair of boots NOW.

This was true, I did need a pair but I needed the right pair. Boots are not cheap and didn’t want to replace a pair of “I guess they’ll do” boots.

She pointed out one lovely pair after another but many knee high black boots are not made for walking long distances, they are made for show. To look nice, to get you from car to office or for strolling through the mall or whatever people do in pretty black boots. Or you can get the really beautifully made ones like Frye but they aren’t lined and the soles are terrible on ice. I wanted a really pretty pair of functional boots, they are hard to find.

Then I saw the new ones, at first I wasn’t sure. Did I want the zipper up the side? Would they go with everything? They were lined. The sole looked like it could handle walking. The leather was soft and not too shiny (shiny dies quickly with the salt on the roads and shows scuffs way more than a matt black pair) and as I kept looking at the others the I knew weren’t right I warmed up to them. Okay I’ll give them a try.

The wonderfully patient sales lady at Arnold Churgin’s went to get my size but they didn’t have my size which is 7.5, they don’t come in half sizes. Okay so she brought me a 7 and an 8, it was worth a shot.

I tried the 8 on first, I could only try the right one on because with the zipper broken on my old boots if I took that boot off I would HAVE to buy a pair of boots because I wouldn’t be able to get the zipper done up again. The sales lady was really nice and understanding. I liked her. The 8 fit perfectly. I was wearing thin socks and they were comfortable but there was easily room for a thicker sock for colder days. If wearing boots in the cold you must be able to wiggle your toes or they will freeze. The calf fit no problem, zipped right up! I once had a problem with boots that when zipped up were so tight my feet would fall asleep, they looked really good but I couldn’t wear them for long periods of time and they never broke in as the sales person had promised. I tried, oh boy how I tried to break those boots in. Now my boots or shoes must fit from the moment I buy them, I’m not falling for the “they’ll stretch” or “they’ll soften up and give” arguments. In my experience this is generally not true.

Although I do have some beautiful bottle green penny loafers that while comfortable with socks took a while to break in enough to wear them without socks but they were still comfortable with socks when I bought them and they were BOTTLE GREEN PENNY LOAFERS!!!!!!!!!!

I still love those shoes so much and the leather did soften, conform to my feet and now I can wear them with or without socks. The girl who sold me those had a pair on and told me it took her a month of wearing them with socks before she could wear them without and I would say that was about right.

Anyway back to the boots, they fit they had a bit of bounce when walking, didn’t slip at the heel and looked pretty great. The zipper blended in, instead of standing out.

I said I thought they were the ones and asked if I could return them for a different size if when I got home the other one didn’t fit but I was pretty sure they would be fine. The sales lady made me try the 7 on just to see how it fit.

Terrible, it was tight across my foot, the arch hit at the wrong place and the calf was so tight I didn’t think I would be able to get a pair of jeans tucked into them. I’d been down that road before so they were a definite no.

When trying on shoes or boots in my experience you know right away if they are right. Trust your instincts and don’t listen to the sales person trying to make a sale. They may look great but if they aren’t comfortable you won’t wear them, it’s not worth it.

When I got my new boots home I tried both on, after cutting the zipper on my old ones so I could take the left boot off. So sad, good-bye old boots.

I tried the new ones on with the dress I had worn to work, perfect. I tried them with jeans and they zipped up no problem! They even had enough room so that I didn’t get the balloon effect where the jeans bunch out over the boot, again perfect. I put the jeans over the boot and liked the way that looked, although knowing me I’ll always tuck them in. I tried them on with thick socks and again, perfect. Then I sprayed them with protector and put boot wax on, a clear wax that protects them way better than the spray against the salty, snowy roads and keeps the leather soft.

While I am still sad that I had to say good-bye to my old favourite stomping boots, I am warming up to the new pair.

Tomorrow morning I will head off to work to try them out for the long haul for the first time, 5km at seven in the morning.

It is what I hope will be the start of another beautiful relationship and I wonder where these ones will take me.

R.I.P Black Boots

Old Black Boots

I hoped, I prayed and I tried to make my favourite boots last one more season.

Today they officially died, R.I.P wonderful loyal black boots.

It’s harder than you think to find a good pair of plain black boots that are good for walking and these black Mephisto boots were AWESOME! I’ve had them for almost 4 years and last year I knew the end was coming, I tried to find another pair but none of the boots I tried seemed right. Oh there were beautiful boots that looked great but didn’t seem good for walking long distances. There were boots that seemed okay for walking long distances but didn’t really look as nice as I would like. I’m very picky about my black boots apparently.

The Mephisto boots had been perfect and today I could almost cry at their demise.

This morning I went to change out of them after my walk to work and realized the zipper had broken, I couldn’t unzip them. I got part of the zipper to work again but there was a small section half way down that wouldn’t cooperate. So I would have to wear them all day, if I took them of and killed the zipper completely I wouldn’t have boots to walk home in. It’s a five kilometer walk home, I need reliable shoes/boots and most give out around the 3km mark and start getting uncomfortable. It was while I was wiping them down, to make them look as respectable as possible at work that I realized my toe was about to go through the leather as well. This is how much I have worn them, they have probably cost me pennies per wear and oh I wish I’d bought four pairs years ago when I found them but actually they were the last pair, found on sale half price in the spring. We were meant to be.

They have been with me to Ireland, to London, to Paris, to Prague and to Budapest. They have gotten me to work, to shopping to wandering around aimlessly without ever complaining.  Faithful companions always comfortable, always up for a long walk. I could wear them with socks or without, they went with jeans, pants, skirts…….. everything. I could wear them indoors quite comfortably and they were good to about -10 for a long walk outdoors, they were good in the fall, they were good in the rain.

They were the perfect boots.

R.I.P. my wonderful black Mephisto boots, I will miss you and now I must find a replacement.

No Stop! Or Are People Still Playing Death Race 2000?

No StopThat seemed to be the theme tonight as I walked home from work.

We had the looking for cars coming and not seeing the pedestrian guy, who seemed to get  mad after I clapped and made him notice me. Umm I have the right of way and I walk quickly, so I get to go first. Clapping is a habit I picked up years ago after almost being hit by a car turning, I figure it’s more polite than an air horn but I might ask for one for Christmas. HONK, HONK ……. HEY I’M HERE! Then I would also have to learn how to do a fancy shuffle across the street, if you’re going to be loud might as well do it with style. Maybe a little tap dance across with big arms flailing, then I could blow them a kiss.

Then we had let’s run the yellow light, oh nope we’ll stop, nope we’ll speed up again and go for it now that the light is RED and the pedestrian has stepped out. If you’re going to run the yellow, run the yellow, trying to decipher what an undecided driver is going to do is frustrating and potentially life threatening. If you want to be confused and indecisive do so at the Starbucks and annoy the people there.

Then we have lets swing across a lane of traffic with barely enough time to not get hit by a car coming in the other direction and almost hit the pedestrian that is crossing the road. This one was probably one of the closest calls I’ve ever had. They hadn’t signalled, were not stopped to turn, they just swung across the lanes to turn left. They had been watching the cars coming in the opposite direction and hadn’t noticed me. If I hadn’t jumped back out of the way, the car would have hit me. She squealed to a stop just past me, then did the stupid smile and shoulder shrug while mouthing sorry. How sorry would you have been if you hit me? Do people know how stupid the smile, shrug looks to a pedestrian that you almost hit. Yeah that will usually get you a one finger wave and an avalanche of profanity that would make a sailor blush.

Most days it’s not this bad, today just seemed like it was a competition to get to where they were going as fast as possible and not look at who or what else was around. I even have a blinking light that hangs off my backpack to make me more visible, I try to pay attention and try to be courteous to drivers.

When out driving especially in winter conditions, please pay attention to not hitting the pedestrian, try not to hit the slush puddle and spray the pedestrian, don’t get mad at a pedestrian who you perceive to be in your way because they are crossing when you want to turn. OMG the NERVE of some pedestrians. Don’t pretend you’re participating in Death Race 2000. Watching the movie I laughed, yes what I find funny is occasionally questionable but in real life I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t be funny for anybody involved.

Get Well Soon My Love

Kingsley Love

That’s my boy, Kingsley, he’s not well at the moment. I’m missing him terribly.

I got a call yesterday that Kingsley wasn’t well and had to go to the vet today. This is the hardest part of sharing a dog, when he’s not well and I’m not there. I’d like to be there to assess his condition, give him cuddles and just take care of him.

I know he’s in good hands but the waiting to hear how the vet appointment went seemed to take forever. As it turns out he’s got a bad sprain, that’s why he wasn’t acting like his usual self, why he was limping, not sleeping and even his breathing was off. He now has medication, is back home and is cozied in on the couch sleeping and drooling.

Wish I was there but the next weekend I have him he’ll be getting lots of love and attention. I think a marathon basset nap will be in order.

Calgary Floods

This is a bridge that I have crossed so many times by foot, on my bike, walking dogs, hanging with friends that I couldn’t even guess how many times I’ve crossed it:

Sandy Beach Bridge 2012

Now it looks like this:

Sandy Beach Flood 2013 - 2

Calgary was flooded by the Elbow and Bow rivers, more than I have ever seen. Over twenty neighbourhoods were evacuated, somewhere between 75,000 and 100,000 people estimated to have been displaced from their homes. One friend cleared as much of her stuff as she could from the ground floor of her two storey condo, never really thinking that the flood would ever reach her place. It did. Thankfully her place is not too bad, considering.

A friend who lives in Bowness had their street turn into a river and the damage to their home is unbelievable. I am lucky, I live in Bankview. All I can do is offer help to friends who need it and also stay away from the affected zones so as not to make a nuisance of myself.  There are enough photo’s to be found online that I don’t need to go out and add to the problem.

I did venture out on Friday to Safeway WHOA, I have never seen the Safeway that packed. Like another friend who has a blog I also felt like maybe I should be buying water. (here is a link to her blog and she also links to sites if you would like to know how to help Girl In A Boyhouse ) Water seemed to be the item of choice but I had a lot of water at home after filling up some jugs and such. Still with so many buying water it makes you wonder. I was pretty sure I would be okay so I just opted to get some food, less than 15 items so I didn’t have to wait in as long of a line.

Then off to the gas station which was also lined up, so I skipped it and just headed home on my scooter. I was wondering if maybe I wasn’t taking this as seriously as I should? People seemed to be preparing for the apocalypse. I knew the flood was bad but did I need more than a weeks worth of food? I had enough pasta at home to last me for months if need be but then I would need water to boil it. Hmmm…. I decided to just assume I would be okay with what I had. Denial is my favourite state!

Then I pretty much sat around feeling helpless. There really wasn’t much I could do except stay in and out of the way. Watch the news and hope that my friends were all okay. I was suppose to have Kingsley my dog but he was on the other side of the river and so had to stay there. At least I knew he was safe and sound.

Now it is Sunday and as the water recedes Calgary doesn’t look the same and the magnitude of the clean up ahead is very daunting. I do have faith that everybody will pull together and help out. The City has been so good at this time. Mayor Nenshi has been great giving updates, wishing he could invoke Darwin’s Law for people who don’t seem to understand that the river is CLOSED. The police, firefighters and all other city workers have been working overtime to ensure the safety of the people of Calgary.

Thank you to all of them.

Now I will see what happens this week, how I can possibly help and feeling for all the people who have been affected by the floods.

Here are a few more pictures from Sandy Beach yesterday, the water levels are going down but the water is still so murky and rushing along:

Sandy Beach Flood 2013 - 3 Sandy Beach Flood 2013 - 1 Sandy Beach Flood 2013 - 4

OMG I’m Unemployed!

Lion

This is a picture of a lion that sat on my desk for over ten years. He was the one I complained to, thought of unleashing on engineers that were bothering me (and later project managers). I have a vivid imagination thinking of him doing the dirty work was able to keep my thoughts to myself, except for the eye roll (always had a problem suppressing that).

He was given to me in 2003 after Roy (of Seigfried and Roy) was bitten by Montecore, the “post it” says “Roy was delicious…..” He was given to me by one of my favourites who also had a slightly twisted (okay REALLY twisted) sense of humour. Now I look at him sitting in my living room and it still hasn’t sunk in that I am unemployed. I have no job, no benefits, no where to be, no deadlines I need to meet. Although I keep thinking of things that are due, timelines coming up and people I should contact. It’s a hard thing to shake.

I took a few weeks off from the blog because I was just tired, leaving as it turns out is exhausting. My head was partially thinking of everything I had to do at work, partially thinking of what I would do with my time off and partially thinking WTF have I done?

It was not a decision I came by lightly. I had been with the company and the previous one for fifteen years) Yes the last year had been hard and I don’t feel that I was treated fairly but that is not why I left. It had been building for some time that it was time to take a leap and try something new. Then a crappy start to the year, an ever growing feeling and oddly my horoscope all pointed to it being time. Both my Western horoscope and Chinese horoscope pointed to a year of change.

This is from my horoscope on my birthday, I had already given in my notice “In the year ahead, something you have been involved with for about nine years will end or diminish”.

The company I was with turns ten today. It has come to an end for me and the company. Ten years ago the company I started with merged with another. The former was a smaller company, run by the Irish and it felt like a family. The new company while there is still a lot of good people there no longer has that family feel. The supportive environment seems to be gone (in my experience) and so it is time to move on.

Now I can only think of the fun and crazy times I’ve had there. The number of good people who walked through those doors and the many that are still there. I’m not sure how it got so far away from where it started. Bureaucracy, people concerned with covering their asses and looking good on paper seemed to take over. I’m still trying to get back to centre after dealing with anxiety for much of last year and I realized I was not going to get better in that environment. On paper they wanted to be helpful but he actions didn’t match up.

So now I am taking the summer off, a gift to myself. Then I don’t know, I’m trying not to think about it right now. The realization that I don’t have a pay cheque coming in is freaking me out a bit. What I do have is time. Time to focus on what I want to do and taking care of myself. In the time off I am planning on doing yoga, cycling and writing.

No excuses now, if I always wanted to be a writer now is the time to put my money where my mouth is. I’m sure I’ll be writing a lot of crap but perhaps somewhere in all that I’ll find a gem or two. Maybe I’ll take those gems and incorporate them into an outline and develop some memorable characters. It is what I plan to focus on in the coming months.

Happy Birthday to me, one thing ending and an exciting new future beginning.

Even The Basset Is Tired Of Hearing About It…..

This is the look my dog gives me when I start to talk about work:
Basset Look

Yep, even he is tired of the complaining and the waffling. He’ll be happy to know that the talk about work will soon be replaced by something new to complain about. I mean it’s always something isn’t it?

Perhaps I need to read the yoga books again and get back to happy, positive thoughts but too many of those and my brain might explode. I’m actually not really a whiner but that shadow of doubt is there a lot. Time to pick myself up and think positively, come up with a plan and most importantly put in the work. That’s really the key, you can dream all you want but if you don’t put in the work then your dreams probably aren’t going to happen.

I’m starting with lists, I’m good at lists. A list of what I would like my life to look like, a list of how to get my life to where I want it and lists of tasks to do. Life becomes easier when we have a checklist. At least I think it does, then I have to stop making lists and start doing.