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Archive for June, 2008

6am. Awake on a Saturday morning.  I am still smiling from last night, but I’m groggy from a serious lack of sleep…

Last night was a blues dance night and for the first time in probably 2 months, I genuinely had a great time.  I dragged myself there, but loved every minute of it. My dancing was chaotic but I had fun. I even felt like I was being asked to dance because the leads wanted to dance with me and not just because they’re my friends and they’re concerned and know how stressed out I’ve been about my personal life.  I had a memorable dance with a close friend of mine — I always enjoy dancing with him, but this one in particular made me go ‘wow’. I don’t remember the song, but I will remember the dance.

I left at 1am (this dance goes until 3am). I was happy to leave on a high note, with not a moment of frustration at the dance, but I was also sad to leave while I was in the middle of having fun dances.   But I had to go, because I had to get up around 6am today.

6am. Awake on a Saturday morning. I am still smiling from last night…

My automatic coffeemaker has brewed my coffee, and I take my breakfast and coffee onto my balcony. The sky is perfectly blue, not a cloud in sight. The weather has a cool warmth to it. The kind of weather that is nice, comfortable at that moment and speaks volumes about just how hot it’s going to get.

There is not a sound. Even the birds are sleeping in. No cars, no people. Nothing.  It is a moment of peace. I have time to reflect on last night, and how happy I am that I found something that I’d lost a few months ago.  I feel like myself again.  My smile isn’t forced, and I want to weep with the relief that, for a short moment at least, I am not carrying a heavy weight.

It is a morning of peace.  Slowly the coffee kicks in and my brain wakes up. I get dressed and begin to make final preparations for the exam.  As I putter about, accomplishing nothing at all, I cherish this moment. Not rushing off to work, or to a weekend morning run.  Soon my email ‘you’ve got mail’ sound rings, and the exam begins.

I work on the exam with the least stress I have ever had. As a perfectionist, that is saying quite a lot. This whole morning feels like a new beginning. I don’t know if this exam will lead to anything career-wise. I don’t know, yet, if I want it to. But today feels like the beginning of enjoying the ‘now’. My backup plans are in place, I don’t have to worry about “what if”.  Without trying I’ve got two “what if” options available to me.  Somehow this helps to make it easier to relax in the ‘now’ – where I work, what I’m doing.

Yes, I do wonder if anyone who knows me through work has found this blog. But I’m okay with that. In reading my blog I hope they see that I truly enjoy where I work, and that in building back up plans — without really trying on my part — I am protecting myself from going through another 18+ long long months of not working full time.  I still wont let search engines pull up this blog, but I do hope my friends, family and strangers who have found this blog will keep reading. I welcome you and I hope you leave comments, they make me smile.  As much as I dislike making myself vulnerable, perhaps this is an important step to take.

So I am still smiling after a morning of delight and beauty and I look towards an afternoon that may involve, beach, BBQ, bicycles, but definitely finding pleasure in the beginnings of summer.

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As I went about my day today, I began to wonder how I felt about having my blog available to view. Somehow, I’ve always felt ‘odd’ about having the link to it posted, say, on my facebook, or in my signature. But, I was okay with strangers — or those who are ‘unknown’ reading it.

Today at work, my boss asked for a meeting on Monday. She’s mentioned in the past that she wants to meet with each of us on a regular basis, one on one to chat and make sure the lines of communication are open.  Which, I think is a great great thing.

And I’m having no ‘warning signals’ in my gut. So I’m not concerned, all was normal. But, it did get me wondering who can see what I write here? I don’t plan on making everything passworded, but I know that if you read a couple of my stories you could probably figure out where I work and who I am — if you don’t already know me and if you work with me, for example. Even without me stating lots of details about work, or about what I do. And that makes me wonder because I have commented about school, and even though I’m not going, and that’s all deferred, I wouldn’t want my employer to think I’m dissatisfied or planning on jumping ship anytime soon. Far from it, in fact. But especially now, after so long not working full time, I don’t want to be caught off guard again. I need to not burn any bridges, at least for a while.

Anyhow, so I am curious. For those who blog frequently, how do you decide what is appropriate to share and what is better to be kept private? What is your rule while blogging? What types of things don’t get said?  I have my thoughts on that, and on my old blog site, I had certain subjects I just didn’t bring up.  Some things that I was vague about and some that was, well, ‘fair game’ as it were.

So as I move my blog fully to this site (at least mostly — for those who are reading this from my previous blog, that one will be topic specific but still active), I’d love to hear what you think about this whole subject.

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Now that I’m working, I seem to have options for other opportunities sent my way. There’s the school option, multiple interview options – often with recruiters who I’ve worked with in the past – they all seem to have the ‘perfect for me’ job. There’s the test, too.

The test I’ll take, that could set me up for a job a year, two, down the road. School I am relieved to point out, I can defer. I had to write a letter making my request, and I have to wait for a response – which will take a few weeks. But, they said it’s usually not an issue. It’s especially fortunate that I am, quite honestly in the throes of family crisis, so my excuse is very very real. Ironically, today’s the day that I finally managed to speak with people (we’d spent the last 3 days playing telephone tag).  I get home and what do you know, another recruiter I’d worked with in the past calling to catch up.

Tonight was another dance night. So far, since moving my blog to this site, my dancing’s been highly ineffective. I always seem to be posting about unsuccessful dance nights. Well tonight, I was in a good mood, relieved over the school deferral, and ready to dance. I get down to the beach and there were one or two other dancers there but no DJ and no music. I know these guys so I call them and they’re having dinner and will be there after. No worries, I had some journalling that I needed to get done, and was hoping for time to do that.

But, they ended up taking an hour. Or more. A lot of people were there, waiting for them to show up. I suppose they eventually did, but I left before they got there.   The thing was, I was feeling in such a good mood, that I felt like I had the energy and strength to make a call to one of my family members. This is someone I love dearly and in my necessary hiding away as I process and sort through ‘stuff’, I miss seeing them.

So, while heading to the beach I gave this person a quick call. Left a message. And while I was waiting to dance, they called me back. Questioned why I’ve been hiding and what was going on, and when I explained it, spoke up with fears that I have about my hiding. I’m sure that makes no sense at all to anyone reading this, but it suffice it to say, it really stressed me out. Do they think choosing to hide is easy on me? The easy road for me is to not hide and to not deal.  But I’ve learned that I need to take care of myself or I wont make it with my sanity intact (no comments from the peanut gallery!).  If I’d taken the time I needed 6 months ago (though I know I wasn’t ready in some respects), perhaps the situation wouldn’t be what it is. But it is. So I am. Hiding and dealing.

But it did stress me out, and since there wasn’t music yet, I had no way of distracting myself (and it meant I heard my phone ring in the first place), and I was really hoping to be distracted. So I tried journalling, that helped calm me down – mostly, but not enough to hang out. I just wanted to go home and ‘process’. So I did. Sadly, I handled it with my favourite inappropriate way to handle stress. I should have gone for a jog instead. Oh well, next time.

So yet another unsuccessful night of dancing. OR not. Next week, I hope to get my dance back. When going about my day to day life, I’m feeling like ‘me’ again, and I want to have fun doing ‘me’ activities. Like dancing. I miss it.

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I don’t have children – yet (and it’s a long way off in the future when I do). I have babysat a lot over the years, and I’ll admit that I do occasionally look after my friend’s son – though I enjoy spending time with both of them, so more often than not it’s the 3 of us, or perhaps just my friend and I if my friend’s taking a break for the evening.  But occasionally I will babysit while she goes out.

Tonight was one of those evenings. Her son was finished his dinner, so we played, he showed me his firetruck, a car, we played with the kitty (or she hissed at him and glared at me, rather), read a lot of books, played with a wooden puzzle with sea creatures, and played with the big soft blocks (fun involving me stacking them on my head until he knocks them off).

Then Bedtime came. So I started the bath but was sensing some resistance.  However, I got the bath going, and when her son didn’t want to take it, I gave him a choice: bath & play a bit, read more then bed, or just PJ’s and read then bed.

He chose the PJ’s. So we read lots of books, said goodnight to everything in sight even had an easy teeth brushing (though not in that order…). Then when it came time to put him into his bed. He SCREAMED. He. Had. To. Have. A. Bath. And of course there’s no reasoning with a 2.5 year old who’s upset.

I hope he remembers the fun we had playing and not the ‘bath no bath issue’.  Thankfully he fell asleep before his mom got home – by the end of things he was gasping ‘I <gasp> Need <gasp> Mommy <gasp> <scream>’.  I managed to get him lying down and then I rubbed his back until it was just cries and then I left him alone and he fell asleep soon after.

Otherwise, a fun evening hanging out with my friend and her adorable son (both of whom I love to pieces), though I did manage to miss Blues at the Yale. Again. I had every intention of going, but some things are not meant to be, and this was definitely the right choice for this evening. Next week, though, I’ll be there. And I’ll stay for all 3 sets. Having a STAT holiday the next day helps in that respect…

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Last night I had the hardest time getting to sleep, but such has been the case of late. It was mildly frustrating though because I knew I was getting up at 5am to eat properly before today’s half marathon.

Today was my third time running the Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon and it was a bittersweet day. Other than not sleeping well, I awoke feeling ready to face today. I had my usual pre-race breakfast of oatmeal, a banana and yoghurt.   I spent the rest of my time puttering about and getting ready for the race. All those last minute details — gels, keys, sunglasses.  Paul, my running group coordinator, picked me up at 6am and we were at the start line at UBC at 6:20am with a vanload: 8 people and a large boisterous chocolate lab.

After a final pit stop, losing each other a few times and general chaos, we were at the start.  I was over the start line about a minute after the gun went off, and started off nice and steady.  I found my breathing was really laboured today, probably some effects from some sort of allergy that’s had my congested and sneezing and coughing all week. Also, my heart rate shot up and stayed up the entire race. The first 8k were around the campus and is generally full of small rolling hills that until you run a race on them, you don’t notice.  Then we headed down the long hill at NW Marine DR and along the beach. I knew by the time I reached 8k that today wasn’t going to be any PB, I just wasn’t feeling great. So I settled into my, slower, full marathon pace and decided to enjoy the morning. It was a gorgeous morning! 1000x better than last year! For anyone who ran the race last year who is reading this, you will remember feeling like an icy drowned rat. It was wet and cold. I was so wet last year I had to hold my pants up to keep them from falling off, they were very heavy and saggy with water.

Not this year. I couldn’t ask for more perfect race conditions, it makes me wish I was having a better race day. It was overcast when I woke up but the report said no chance of rain. So I dressed quite lightly and even by the time we were waiting at the start it getting brighter and brighter. But it was still with high light cloud, which is really great because it meant I hardly needed my sunglasses, and we weren’t dying from the heat as we were in the 2006 race.

By the end of the race, I just pushed myself to finish. I wished I had a runnig partner with the same goals as me so we could commit to working towards the goals together, I usually find that when I run with a partner we push each other when we each need it and we both run faster, and more consistent together than alone.  Not long now, though until my running partner’s baby’s born. I know she’ll need to adjust and recover, but I hope she’ll soon be back in running form. I miss her particularly on days like today.

Crossing the finishline was good. I was glad to be done the run, this route is one of my favourites, and I certainly run it for pleasure when I go out for runs! But, how I was feeling at today’s race made me sigh with a bit of frustration at how I was feeling. That being said, checking my time compared with last year, I am about 1min faster this year than last year, so it’s a course record for me. So that’s positive. But it’s also about 5min slower than my PB, and it’s about the same time as my marathon split, so essentially not that long ago I was able to do the same thing as today, but twice. Yikes.

Looking at my Garmin data, I can always tell when I’m struggling — my average HR was quite high, and didn’t ever drop. That’s always a sign that I’m not doing well physically. Last time that happened on a run, I ended up with bronchitis for 2 weeks and I ended up starting my new job with no voice.  So tonight I start ColdFX to help make sure I stay healthy.

So my plans:

1. DO YOGA! I really feel stiff, inflexible and sore, so I need to get some yoga done. I’m going to see if I can find a Saturday morning class on Granville Island so I can still meet up with my gang post run.

2. Train for the OIM (Full — Canadian Thanksgiving) with my running room running group (Sunday mornings).

3. Find a bootcamp that runs 3x/week for August and likely September.  I really need to get some cross training in.

4. Think seriously about repairing, or replacing my bicycle so that I can cycle commute to things more.

5. Find a half to run for around the end of August.

After the race was over, we hung out and cheered everyone on and flaked out wrapped in the thermal blankets.  Then one of my running buds and I went to Kits pool and sat in the shallow end to help our legs.  It was very soothing.  Not quite an ice bath but it was relaxing. After the pool we met the gang for our traditional post-race lunch at Milestones and then went to a beach BBQ where I’m afraid I wasn’t very social. By this time it was hot and gorgeous so I flaked out on the grass and napped in the sunshine. Unfortunately I missed another event I was supposed to attend, but I was so wiped I just needed to nap.  And that’s just what I’ve spent this evening doing. Napping. So now I have no food for lunch tomorrow, so I’ll likely have to buy something. But I’m feeling refreshed and ready to re-vamp and change my training for the rest of this year. Who knows, maybe I’ll get my goal PB yet in 2008.

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Perhaps a slightly odd title, or rather two.  Friday was a day where we were short staffed and it was just the other newbie Tech Support Rep and I on occasion. So even though we aren’t completely at the point of being ready to answer the phones, I “learned to answer the telephones” on Friday.

But office supplies.  I have a few things that I need but aren’t in the supply area: a stapler, a calculator, a cork board and a footrest. The footrest was ordered without any hitches. The cork board needed longer approval but it’s on it’s way too. The stapler and calculator were interesting.  My colleague and I made our choices fairly conservatively, certainly fairly inexpensive, the two items were less than $30 combined.

We were told that the were going to replace the ones we ordered with ones that were part of the new ‘company standard’. A logical thing, I had no problems with it. The stapler came and we were bumped up in the world. I’d chosen a cheap stapler that was very basic. The ones we received were pretty impressive, and more than what I need. But hey, no complaints. The calculators on the other hand were these giant things with giant buttons. And no scientific functions. At all. Oh, but I could calculate taxes. Keep in mind, I am a biologist and in a technical position and use things like exponents etc. A key reason for having the calculators, in fact. So now I have a giant calculator that doesn’t do me any more good than the calculator on my phone. Oh, other than the buttons are nice and easy to use.  Anyhow, my manager was amused by this oversight, we’ve all had some good laughs and hopefully soon I’ll have a useful calculator.

After work on Friday I went to the event ‘Chip’s Not Dead Yet’ was something you had to see to believe. The link is here: http://www.chipsnotdeadyet.com/. I went as a bridesmaid along with my running partner who went as a shotgun bride (she’s 6.5months pregnant). Our friend were brides, a few didn’t get dressed up, we had rock and rollers and a couple of grooms.  Photos will be posted. I am afraid. All in all a great event, and the winner of the elites is going to buy his mom a house. And he donated $1000 back to the charity. After the race was over a few of us went to Ikea for ‘Midnight Madness’. It was a great promo but the sale wasn’t as great as it could have been. But I got some things I needed and others I just wanted…

Anyhow, I have stories of how I’m cherishing friends right now, Prince Caspian, random thoughts and other musings of today. But I’ll have to share those later, because it’s time I stop blogging. I’m getting up very early to run a half marathon. So I’ll post my race review later on and more thoughts. But for now, it’s time for me to attempt to sleep.

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Recently I posted asking the question: “a year ago could you have imagined where you’d be and what you’d be doing today?”. Now I’m truely faced with considering the reverse. Can I imagine what my life will be like in a year? Two? Five? Ten?

I’ve recently started a new job, after more than a year and a half of being without a career-related permanent position.  That brought me to a place where I never ever want to be again.  Stability in my employment has always been important and now, it’s even more important. The job I’ve accepted is stable. The company is not going to go under anytime soon, and I like my team. It’s nice to have a predictabe paycheque, and the work is intellectually stimulating.  But, they’re very conservative financially — the salary I accepted was much lower than other companies.  So that’s stressful because I’m trying to save, be responsible for preparing for retirement and doing what I need to do so my dreams of home and family in the near future are able to be realized.

But how do I get there? Where do I want my career to go? Where do I see myself? I’ve had a lot of rough things happen to me in recent months. To the degree that, to be totally honest, I’m afraid to think of the future. I’d rather life just happen. Every time I carry a dream it feels like it gets dashed, or somehow destroyed.

But it feels like I’m being forced to make decisions. I keep having opportunities forced on me. Not that I’m complaining, but I’ve had multiple offers for interviews.  It’s ironic because I was desperate for interviews and they were few and far between.  Now I’m getting calls, some I’m turning down, some, like the test I’m taking in a week, I’m pursuing.

But the decision I have to make, I have to decide in the next 2 weeks, or less. It’s to go back to school. Would totally change my direction. Would be secure, pay would be better, but my company may change the team’s salary structure.

I don’t know. I was asked where I saw myself in 10 years, and I could mention that I hoped to have kids by then, that I’d like to have a stable home, a life that I enjoy living, a good relationship with my family. Job-wise, I imagine myself in a position that challenges me intellectually, that has built my management skills, that allows me to problem-solve.

So what does that look like? Is it going back to Nursing school? Is it staying in Biotech? Perhaps moving to the government position in the future? It’s hard to decide as I’ve only been in my position for a short time. It’s still the honeymoon period, and I’m not yet fully trained.  So while I’m satisfied (in all areas except finances), is it right to give up school? Is School worth going into debt by thousands of dollars not to mention 2 more years of lost income? Would I be better off investing as much as I can in that timeframe for long term growth?

So much to consider. At least when I run my latest half marathon this weekend, I’ll have something to distract myself.

Tonight was a nice night. Though tough too. I cooked dinner for a good friend of mine (Warm Thai Chicken Salad) and we hung out. Chatted a little bit. He’s one of a number of friends who are keeping watch on me as I work my way through this very very rough patch I’m in. I think I have something like 5 movie dates booked and a few concerts and the like. I appreciate my friends. It’s nice to feel supported and cared for, even though I find it difficult to reach out and ask for it.  I then went and danced to a few songs. I’m into lindy hop, blues dancing, balboa and other dances in the broad genre of swing dancing. But I’ve been struggling to be inspired most of the time these recent weeks.

So I had some fun dances, but didn’t dance much. Watched. It’s an outside venue so the weather wasn’t the greatest, so I came home. And am now here hanging out and reflecting on life and decisions.

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