Archive for October, 2009

Seen on Saturday

October 24, 2009

Can we really blame advertising for our lack of critical thinking?

This could be a good thing – as long as there’s still a choice.

Since a doctor’s “note” is usually something illegible scrawled on a prescription pad, for which you pay an extra $25, it’s about time someone said something sensible.

On Labour Day weekend, I experienced bumper-to-bumper, no-one’s-moving traffic between Toronto and Oakville. Turns out, there’s a lot worse than that.

Pedestrian living

October 22, 2009

Life without a car continues without incident – and the bus ride today wasn’t so bad either. No cell phone talkers, no Sudoku-playing drivers, and it wasn’t raining. I am shocked at the sudoku thing – I can neither drive a bus NOR do I understand Sudoko, so while being mildly impressed at someone who can do both, I do think it a stretch to even think about doing them at the same time.

There have been four major car accidents locally in the past week, and that’s not including what I’m sure are numerous fender-benders that go unreported. It’s a week when, after perusing the daily headlines, I’m awfully glad to be “off-road.” There have been fatalities, which is tragic – there have also been stupidity-behind-the-wheel type things, like the inebriated driver that took out four parked cars and someone’s fence on an otherwise deserted street in the wee small hours.

Seriously people, don’t drink and drive. Not even a little bit. If not for your own sake, then for everyone else’s.

The only recent drawback to not driving was passing up the sale for bottled water, 99 cents for 12 bottles. I had other purchases, and just couldn’t face hauling water on foot as well.

Of course, it still hasn’t snowed yet, nor has the sporadic cold weather occurred when I needed to go somewhere, so stay tuned.

Just like starting over

October 21, 2009

I have never understood people who say, ‘Oh, I hardly ever check my email.” This past week, I’ve come to realize, more than ever, how much I relied on my email as an integral tool in the work that I do.

In addition to losing the phone # and addresses of professional contacts, I’ve also lost any sense of what was sent where, and when. And I’ve had to learn to write an email query all over again, having lost the convenient examples of past successes that I could merely copy and paste into a new message. I’ve lost subscription records and passwords. I’ve lost things that were sent TO me, things that needed to be followed up on or responded to. I’ve lost cherished “conversations” , leaving me no record of who I was or how far I’ve come.

It’s 2000 all over again.

So, it’s been a busy week. Anyone know the email format for Readers Digest Canada?

One foot in front of the other

October 11, 2009

It’s now been almost six weeks since I went car-less, and so far, it’s been pretty tolerable. Irony – I’ve had two weekend trips in excess of 400 km round-trip since then. Thank goodness for friends and their willingness to loan their car!

Walking has been okay, as has the bus, but of course, it hasn’t snowed yet. Nor have I been required to go anywhere in a nice autumn downpour.

Things I am noticing: I think things through a little more. I have fully embraced reusable shopping bags. And I’m much less prone to feeling like I have to rescue people. As in, “I have to go to…” and I’m not jumping up and saying “I can drive you!” ‘Cause I can’t. Also, I have no idea what the price of gas is on any given day.

Also, people need to not have cell phone conversations on the bus. The other day, Mannerless Maisie boarded the bus, sat down in the very front seat and proceeded to Make Calls. Call #1 was to someone she hadn’t seen in a while, what’s going on with you, yada yada. Oh, you’re coming over tomorrow? Sure, I’ll be home all day, HERE’S MY ADDRESS. Note: Woman was not talking in a hush hush voice. I hope Back Row Creep wasn’t noting her address with intentions to go and axe murder her tomorrow.

Call #2 was leaving a voice mail with someone, including the phrases, “you know who this is, let me tell you something, knock off the crap, stop trying to make trouble for me, leave me alone, I know where you live and if you don’t knock it off I’m going to come over there and THERE’S GOING TO BE TROUBLE.”

Also at a volume level of Top Of The Lungs.

A few more calls ensued, while I tried desperately to read my textbook and tune her out. Then Tactless Tess got on the bus already talking on HER cell phone. She sat across from Mannerless Maisie and I watched/listened to several minutes of She’s Making It Hard For Me To Hear So I’ll Talk Louder And Then She’ll talk Louder And Then I’ll Talk Louder complete with glares between them. Tactless Tess finally got up to switch to a seat further away still talking and between her purse, the phone squeezed between her ear and her shoulder and the potholes, she just about ended up in my lap.

This is rilly rilly starting to bug me. For crying out loud, don’t these people have homes where they can carry on their social conversations? Or books to read on the bus?

Oh, and thanks to the Two Chatterers, the driver didn’t hear the bell ding when I pulled the cord and I got dropped off two blocks past my stop. Although it might also have had something to do with the earbud trailing from his ear.

Irony: In my class earlier that day, we’d seen a presentation about summer work placement where the recruiter actually felt it necessary to remind people that when they do their phone interview with the company, they ought not to be in the bathtub or on the bus, etc.

But other than that, it’s been okay. I don’t feel trapped, isolated or stranded. And I have a snazzy new coat and scarf, and feel very urban.

My Green Kangaroo is home for the holiday weekend, and it’s great. School seems to be really working for her, and I’ve promised to add her to my blogroll when I get around to making one. Meanwhile, it’s 4:30 a.m. according to my computer clock, which means it’s midnight-thirty, and time to call it a day.

I prefer to call it creative thinking

October 9, 2009

two-toed-slothAbout three weeks ago, I suffered some sort of email crash that may or may not have been linked to a virus, and could no longer access my Outlook. It was crisis time, and I cobbled together a solution with spit and baling wire, i.e. acccess email from the Web on my Mac, make great use of Shared Docs between the two ‘puters, etc.

Yesterday was finally time to bite the bullet and solve the problem. Which, as it turned out, couldn’t be solved. I was able to recover a small number of emails I had in folders – all of it stuff I could live without. The rest of it?

Contacts: gone. Subscription confirmations: gone. Emails saved for future reference: gone.

We’re talkin’ ten years of contacts. Several years worth of subscription passwords, etc. All gone.

Note to others: Don’t let your Outlook folders surpass 2gb. Think of it as piling papers on a shelf. Eventually, the papers get too heavy, the shelf collapses. That’s all I’m sayin’.

So yesterday I backed up everything else, and once again restored to factory. It’s a fairly simple way to clear your computer of any crap that’s clogging things up – the kind of crap you can’t necessarily see, or remove, any other way.

Today was rebuilding day. I spent the morning updating IE again, downloading the service packs AGAIN, etc. Found a real sweet deal on Office Ultimate 2007 too, thanks to a tip from The Man. If you’re student taking even one course at a college or university, you can get it now for $64 CDN.  Regular price is $600 plus. Go check it out, all you need is an educational email address.

So, after 9 years of getting major mileage out of my Office 2000, I’ve come out of the dark ages.

Anyway, for whatever reason, when my computer restored, it’s got the time set at 4 hours past the time it actually is. Every time I glance at the corner of my screen it bugs me. Bugs me buggy.

But have I changed it?

No, instead I do the math. And ten bucks says that five days from now I’ll still be doing the math, because sometimes, I’m just a little lazy.

If there were no rainy days, there would be no rainbows

October 7, 2009

When I was a very little girl, my Favourite Aunt used to abandon me each summer to go to this mystical, magical place called Forest Cliff. (it should be pointed out that Favourite Aunt was, at the time, a young single adult who dedicated much of her time and effort to making the world a better place) This mystical, magical place was a summer camp, and oh, how I longed for the day when I would be old enough to go to camp with Auntie.

And then, eventually, I was. And between the ages of almost 8 and almost 14, I got to go to summer camp for two weeks at a time, five summers. Unfortunately, Favourite Aunt was only there for two of them, but that’s ok – she got me there, and it’s an experience I’ll always remember.

Couple years ago, Favourite Aunt and some other Wonderful Ladies decided that Forest Cliff alumnae from “the old days” ought to retreat to camp again each year – take the chance to reflect, renew and refresh in that place that was so special to them and to me. And we got to bring our “adult” daughters! (most of whom never ended up going to camp there)

This year’s retreat was long anticipated. And then, just five days before Retreat, we got the word that our magical, mystical place would not be available to us after all this year. Much scrambling by people who aren’t me ensued, and alternative accomodation was found down the road.

Same air. Same lake. Same smell. But not the same place.

But we soldiered on. Camp, after all, is as much a state of mind as it is a place, and we were all bringing all the same baggage we would have brought anyway. We would just have to place it under different bunks.

And then, the weather. Cloudy, rainy, cold, more rainy. How would we kayak? How would we enjoy the trees, the sky, the stillness of the forest if it were all cloaked in a mantle of grey?

Never doubt that God knows what He’s doing.

Our speaker this weekend was just what we needed to hear. Sue Minns is  wheelchair-bound due to MS and a breast cancer survivor to boot. And she had us rolling on the floor as she regaled us with tales of the many blessings God has seen fit to send her.  As the parent of my very own PollyAnna (aka The Girl And The Knee Attached To Her), Minns’ message was spot-on.  You can choose to spend your life lamenting the fact that you can’t walk – or you can choose to embrace the fact that you can wear four inch heels all day without getting sore feet.

It rained off and on, stopping long enough to for the kayakers to kayak, and the walkers to walk. The weather meant we all spent a lot more time seeking out each other’s company instead of wandering the woods alone. And just as dinner was ending, the most beautiful thing happened:

100_2506I think the neatest thing was that we got to experience this as a group. Had we been at our original location, dinner wouldn’t have run a bit late. We would have  been scattered around, likely in a building whose windows didn’t face this direction, doing other things. And we would have missed this amazing view that was sent for us to enjoy together with our dessert.

Isn’t it wonderful that God gives us the ability to see a new perspective once in a while?