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Showing posts from May, 2004

I Say Umbrella, They Say Brolly

Summer is over here in Belfast. It's pissing rain.

Walking from the bus to the office this morning, I made a decision.

I have now lived in the UK - on and off - for about 17 months and I have yet to own a very important piece of equipment.

It's time to buy a "brolly".

When we left Canada, D's mom bought us these AMAZING raincoats. They were perfect for our first batch of travel around France, Spain and Portugal - especially when we found where the "rain in spain" does actually fall - not sure if it's "the plains" but when we were in Cordoba, it didn' stop. But I digress...

Living in Leeds, we were able to use the raincoats for the shower days. In an effort to save money and cut down on the number of items we were collecting, we did not buy a "brolly" because we had our lovely raincoats.

(I might add here as a side note that we were stupid enough NOT to pack them this time. I was more concerned with the number of fancy tops th…

The New Palm Top

When I got my first "real job" out of university, I decided to treat myself and bought a Palm Pilot. My funky boss - the late Thea - had gotten herself one and I was so excited about all the cool things it could do, I just HAD to have one.

And it wasn't just the calendar and the contacts and the fact that you could BRING YOU COMPUTER DETAILS WITH YOU!! It was also the writing possibilities.

I used to use the Notes feature to transfer work from my work computer to my home computer. I could just as easily emailed it to myself but really, would that have been as fun?

I had often imagined myself using it for a more creative purposes - sitting on a park bench with a strong Starbucks coffee or Second Cup coffee, strength number 4, watching the world go by and recording it all using not a pen and notebook but a stylus and a Palm screen.

It got even better when I discovered that Palm(R) made a mini keyboard that folded up to the same size of the Palm. I would have no excuse abou…

Beautiful Biscuits

Sitting in a meeting today, I was surprised to be interrupted by a fellow co-worker to find out "what we wanted for tea?". I can't imagine a Canadian company employee stopping a meeting for that.

Here, they take their "tea time" a bit more seriously.

First faux pas - tea time is not actually tea for many people it is actually "dinner" or "supper" or the "evening meal". If you have someone tell you they will "call round" at "tea time" this is not for a warm drink, it is for warm food.

So, they would be called "tea breaks" or at least that's what I
always hear and what will continue to call them throughout today's entry.

Tea breaks are an important part of breaking up of the day. The
morning one, affectionately referred to as "elevensies", happens
around 11 a.m. In the afternoon, it's usually around three and there doesn't seem to be a clever name for it.

In our offices, w…

Flat Ballooned

I always thought the word "flat" sounded very posh. Over here, I heard it used for "apartment" all the time but it just seemed to have a much nice ring to it.

So, when we moved into our place in Belfast, I was so happy to give our address because I was able to tack "flat" at the beginning of it.

I proudly wrote it on all applications. In e-mails to friends, I made sure to write "flat", using the excuse that "that's what they call it here" when really, I was just so giddy to be using the quaint little word.

I am always getting "caught out" here for using the wrong word for the wrong thing. I've written before about the blank stare I frequently get from people. I always panic wondering if it's my accent or the actual word that people are not understanding.

I routinely get frustrated but not in an arrogant-tourist way just in a tired-I-live-here-we-speak-the-same-language-and-you-STILL-have-no-idea-what-I'm-sayin…

Just Dream It

Do you notice if you wake up in the morning and then fall back asleep, you have the craziest dreams?

This morning, I was getting married. Well, I should say, I was in my wedding dress, preparing to get ready, when I realized that I had not made any preparations.

My hair was not done. I did not have a make up appointment. And I was freaking out.

My bridesmaid E was there and she was all dressed up ready to go. She was calmly explaining to me that this was not a big deal. She had been through it and it would simply work itself out.

Part of me was so excited to think that this was my big day. Part of me was upset that I had missed out on everything leading up to it. That I was just suddenly thrown the day without the highs and lows of planning. (I'm sure there's some dream analysis here, me being torn by my Gemini twins as to which type of wedding I really want - a big pouffy one or a small elope-y one - but I am much more intrigued by what happened next.)

I suddenly realized I w…

Birthday Pact

At D's first job after univeristy, he worked on his birthday. He came home so depressed that he vowed he would never work on his birthday again.

He said it just felt like he was robbed of 'his day'. That after the initial Happy Birthday was over with, he still had to do all the crappy things that he did every day.

I had never thought about what your birthday means as an adult until that day.

Although it is meant to signify another year gone, a new one ahead, as we get older birthdays should also be taken as a day to do whatever you want - it's your day. The one day out of the year that the universe has dedicated to you. Well, and probably thousands of others but you usually don't know them and they don't know you so no one is the wiser.

And so, I have vowed to do the same thing.

There are so many holidays that we have for many reasons - religious, ceremonial, important people's birthdays - and we take time to celebrate them in a variety of ways.

But there s…

What is the Point?

There was in information session this morning about a new procedure system they are putting in place here at my work and I had another one of those relfective moments.

As I sat watching the man in the front, with his tie and notes, clicking through his powerpoint slides and pointing with his red laser (which, by the way, could have only been invented by men who were little boys when Star Wars came out) I had to think, what's the point?

Not just about the new system but about the big picture. We all file into work and sit at our desks and tap away on Stuff and is it at all relevant? Or is it just made up because other offices need Stuff that we do for when they go into their offices and sit at their desks and do Stuff.

But I guess the Big Guys at the Top need the Stuff to show off to Other Big Guys at Other Tops and the more Stuff they have seems to help them climb the ladder to the top of the Big Guys with the Most Stuff.

And then there's the sharing of Stuff or Knowledge. Or …

Feel the Rhythm

Longtime readers will know of my recently-newfound love for step aerobics class. It's a tough cardio workout, it strengthens all your muscles and it's fun - like dancing.

So, I was happy to find out that I squeezed into the step class night at the busy gym.

The teacher was a little Spanish man who I think was very in touch with his feminine side. He was so cute and smiley. But I was sure his accent was going to throw me off. Spanish and Northern Irish? I was going to have to concentrate on what he was saying.

But, I was ready for the usual move callouts.

Basic left. Basic right. Over the top. Lunge. Hobby horse. Knee lifts. Arabesques. And so on.

"If you have taken step before you may notice that I have my own style"

Fair enough. Most people do. But the core steps are the same.

And then he started. The next 40 minutes went something like this:

*insert any aerobic 4 count music here and play in your mind throughout*

"March. Okay March and step like this".

L…

Get in Gear

Get in Gear

I'm doing it again. Procrastination is getting the best of me and it is also getting me down.

I can't believe I'm going to admit this. It's almost easier to have it in my head. But I figure if I post it out then perhaps I will be further inclined to get my butt in gear.

Am I kidding myself? I don't know but here I go.....

I have not yet sent out anything to prospective employers. I have researched. I have called for email addresses. I have written and rewritten letters and resumes. I have browsed websites. I have read the magazines.

I don't know why I do this. I have been like this my entire life, I'm just not sure that I can tell you when it began. But it seems, whenever I really want something, I can always find a reason to not take the biggest step.

In fairness, I do honestly feel that I am preparing myself for the dream job. I am researching so I score in the interview.

I could not do any more prep work. I need to just send them off. Get …

A New Beginning

A New Beginning

It's almost a week until my birthday and so I decided to have a bit of a spring cleanup.

That, and Blogger posted all these new templates that I liked so that's as good a reason as any.

I have been blogging now for 2 years. It's seems like longer. But so does everything here for me lately.

While thinking on the bus...

To my Fellow Irish-people - as I do have a passport and also, I live here so I consider us to be "fellows".

When I say "Have a nice day" I really mean for you to Have a Nice Day. I am not being fake. I'm am not being "American" as you like to call it. I am simply being polite. Continuing to use the manners that I was brought up with. Wishing to pass along good thoughts and tidings to my fellow-people in the hopes that I can brighten their days.

And you can be sure, you won't get any sympathy from me if you start mocking the phrase.

When I say "Thank you very much" I really mean I do appreciate it…

People-Watching

Most mornings, I fill my time on the bus by reading a book. The ride tends to be between 20 and 30 minutes, depending on which bus you take and what time you leave. Usually I'm happy for the time - especially if I'm really enjoying my book. (I'm reading the Da Vinci Code at the moment and am REALLY enjoying my book)

And occasionally, as I sit, perched in my favourite bus seat, my eyes will wander out to the sidewalk, watching the people walking into the centre as I'm going out.

Today, I shared a moment with a young lady and she didn't even know it.

She was dressed in a convenience store outfit with a fleece overtop to keep her warm on her walk.

She had her brown hair tied back, with little or no make up on but a great clear complextion. Probably in her early twenties.

I'm guessing she didn't have children because she didn't have that tired, haggard look that young mom's seem to get. Her face was bright, glowing even and held up high as she strode al…

Fashion Ugg

Fashion Ugg

Is it just me or are fashionable clothes getting uglier?

We are going out on Saturday night for a bit of a big party and I realize that I need a good "go-to" top to wear when invited to such events. I have jeans - which are the bottom-of-choice - but it's more the upper regions that I seem to be struggling with.

D knows the people from work so I'm showing up even more blind - not quite sure what type of outfits will be about.

My problem has always been I am one of quite a conservative nature. The nicest clothes I have will be in black or blue, although my other Gemini counterpart does tend to make sure "we" buy a lot of orange as well.

And you would think, after all this time of having a minimal wardrobe that I would relish the idea of actually getting a new shirt for the occasion.

If the 5 shops I went into at lunch are any indication of what is out there, this will be as enjoyable as getting my wisdom teeth pulled.

First off, everything is past…

Pints and Passions

Pints and Passions

Your memory works in weird ways. I had a flashback today of me sitting on the patio at the Red Lion in downtown Toronto, having pints in the sun and waxxing philosophical with my university friends.

We would often go there after class, in the evenings, on the weekend, when it was sunny, if it was raining - let's be realistic - did we need any excuse?

We would sit and chat - sometimes about our lives in our hometowns or funny stories about professors who just "sucked a lot".

Most of the time, in it would end up in heated debate about politics and history. We had so many ideas. So many dreams. And we were all sure that one day, we would change the world.

Just by knowing and having the opinions we did, we figured we could do it better then it was being done at the moment.

It was the power of youth. The endless possibilities. It was those wonderful years between being a teenager and becoming an adult where you realize the freedom of being on your own but ar…

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

Two things made this a turnaround weekend.

After much debate - and some luck with a discounted special - we got a gym membership. A little less than two for the price of one but definitely what I was happy to pay for two of us to "get huge", as D says.

It was almost like a dream, throwing my workout suit on, leaving the apartment, walking down the hall, leaving out the main front door, ascending down 9 steps to the sidewalk, looking VERY carefully - both ways - before crossing the street, taking about 5 steps, opening the door to the gym and flashing my fancy gym membership card to go through the turnstile.

It's not going to get any more convenient than this. It is literally like having a gym in your building but better because it's THREE FLOORS with a swimmig pool, sauna and tanning beds.

How can I be so excited? Because I'm getting nostalgic for that amazing feeling of being strong and in shape. Of not being out of breath. Of hav…

The Road Less Treacherous

The Road Less Treacherous

Outside my office, there is a large four lane road. You must cross this road in order to get to the mall so I guess it's your penance for shopping.

I say large because in Northern Ireland, they don't really get much bigger than four lanes. The most confusing part of driving would be the roundabouts and even once you get the hang of those, you're all right.

Every morning, I must also cross this road to get to work as the bus drops me off near the mall. I feel I take my life in my hands before I've even checked my email.

I have had trouble with this since we moved to the UK - this whole other-side-of-the-road thing.

I have trained myself to "look right", under the instruction on the pavement at many of the busy streets in Leeds. These written word - in white spray paint - we obviously for us dumb tourists. The last thing they need is us wandering out on the road getting killed. Bad for business.

And so, I usually wait until there are ZE…

My Energy Levels

My Energy Levels

All my current writing energy is being put into Mosaic Minds stories.

I have a lot of plans rolling around in my head as well that are preventing me from squeezing any more creativity that I already am out of my head.

I think I am in denial about a bit of post-travel depression. D reminded me last night that at this time last year, we were in the Greek Islands. I felt my heart sink into my stomach. I wasn't expecting that.

I need to remain focussed on the long term goal otherwise I may end up stuck and frustrated like I was 2 years ago.

It's not a place I want to be.

I know I will get out of this slump but there are so many things I want to happen LIKE NOW and have little patience.

Wish I could write something a little more upbeat but at the moment, my brain is sifting through the negativity to find the positive.

I am a motivated person. I am highly enthusiastic. I am just dreadfully afraid of falling back into old habits.

And so, my negative skeptical side mu…

A Bit of Sarcasm to Get Me Through

A Bit of Sarcasm to Get Me Through
(concerned that the written word will not project my true feelings, please note that most of this post is pure sarcasm)

I am a neurotic wingnut.

We have met people, had a great evening, made plans for another time and since I have not heard from them, I am panicking.

I am now, automatically assuming, if I go out with people and we set a date to do things, that if they have not called, they do not like me.

I am such an annoying, pathetic, irritating person that the thought of spending one second with me must revolt them so much to the point that they are refusing to call. Ever again.

It is not that perhaps they have other life commitments. Isn't everyone like me? Not knowing many people and going out simply to find friends and hang out with them 24/7?

It is not that people, in general, always make plans and then never follow through. When I was in Toronto I NEVER called last minute on a friend because of work or tiredness or just plain forgot to ca…

Not Much

Not Much

"It looks like an older Bob Geldof", D says as we wandered up Botanic Ave to get some chinese takeaway around midnight.

Oh wait IT IS Bob Geldof. Private concert on the big stage at city hall set up for a concert tonight. Pretty neat.

Can't believe that artists actually practice and tune up on the stage like that - we had an intimate and interactive almost with the famous Irish artist.

All we wanted to here was I Don't Like Mondays but the cold was getting to us and we figured he wouldn't give that one up for free.

So we were off, loving our little flat in the centre which allows us to stumble upon famous artists doing their thing.

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Done some Mosaic Minds stuff today and I find that I'm all written out.

However, need your help for our Online Outlook section.

Who is your hero or role model? E-mail me or go to the website to find out how to submit.

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More later... but perhaps not until Wednesday as I have training on Tuesday and and Monday is a h…