Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Happy Birthday

Today is my niece's second birthday.

She's eight.

I was there when she was born. We brought her home, set her on her blanket (the very first baby quilt I ever made) and she promptly rolled over ... except for her head, since she didn't have the strength to hold it up.

A couple of years later, I went to visit and every day she said "I don't like you anymore. Go back to Ottawa." The last day we were out on the front step and a plane flew over. I said, "See that? Tomorrow I'm going to be on a plane like that." She looked at me and said, "I miss you."

She came to visit three times before she was two, then she didn't come to Ottawa for a few years. I think she was five when she decided she liked my house and declared, "When our house gets too old, we will come and live with you."

She's changed her mind since. Now she is never moving to Ottawa ... but she'll come to visit so we can go to Calypso. (And, of course, to go on trains and boats. She doesn't get to do that much at home.)

She loves animals - so much so that she refuses to watch the movie Up (which she's seen once) because it was too sad when they caught the bird.

Right now, she's on vacation in Hawaii. Apparently she wants a monk seal for her birthday. I think that means I get the dog.

I asked her if she was going to go in the ocean. She said no, she was just going to go swimming at the beach.

I gave her my old boxing gloves last summer, and now every time I see her we have to box.

Happy birthday, monkey. Keep your wrist straight.

Monday, February 27, 2012

I Don't Know My Own Strength

In January, I went to tie my cross-trainers for boxing and one of the holes the laces were threaded through ripped.

These weren't old or cheap shoes - they're 6-month-old Nikes that I only wear once a week - so I was not impressed. I considered taking them back or complaining to the company, but I'm in a really good mood after boxing and never got there.

On Saturday, I went to tie my new Sorel boots (bought in January) on the way to boxing and the loop the lace was threaded through ripped.

Now, I don't recall becoming a superhero, so I don't think this is expected behaviour.

On the way home from work today, I stopped at The Shoe Company (which is where I bought the boots six weeks ago) to see what they could do for me.

They replaced the boots with ones that were supposed to be the same ones, but which are actually a little different. The stitching is different, the fur at the top of the boots are different, ... and the loops the laces thread through are now nylon, not leather.

The old ones are prettier, but I can tie the new ones, so I'll take it.

If it keeps snowing, I'll need them.

Monday, February 20, 2012

More baby quilts

When I first started making baby quilts, it was a big deal. I only made them for people I was especially close to.

Now, I'll make them for anyone. I've gotten much faster (or possibly, less concerned with perfection).

Here are some of my more recent ones:

Now that I look at this one, it's pretty clear that the bottom diagonal square is 90 degrees off. Oops.

My first rainbow quilt - a.k.a. a good way to get rid of lots of scraps. (Don't tell anyone, but the green checked fabric is an old tea-towel. The pink backing is left over from some pajamas I made my niece.)

A mixed-up rainbow quilt. This one is more square. The orange patterned fabric is leftover from my kitchen curtains, and the navy and white checked fabric is from an old dress of my grandmother's.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

I expect a giant snowstorm tomorrow

The light has changed.

I don't know how to describe it, exactly, but the sunlight seems sunnier.

The ice is melting. Around the edges of the ice on the walk or the driveway, there's a perpetual darkness from the water melting underneath. Some places even give a satisfying crunch when you walk on them. OK, the driveway is still a skating rink, but now it's a skating rink with a big spot of bare pavement.

Spring is coming.

Friday, February 17, 2012

The view is different from this side

As I said earlier, I started a new job on Monday.

Usually, when you start a new job, you get a few days to adjust - figure out how to login, find the bathrooms, etc. When you start a new job but sit in the same desk as your old job, it doesn't work that way.

I didn't get to do much of my new job this week. Not only was I still doing my old job, but I was also interviewing people for my old job. One of my colleagues and I did the first round of interviews. We had two yesterday, three today, and a couple more will take place next week.

We had a list of 21 questions and asked the same questions of everyone. (Of course, we also asked clarifying questions when necessary.)

It was an interesting experience. The applicants are people we already work with, so we know a little bit about them already. I'm kind of rooting for all of them.

Monday, February 13, 2012

The New Job

I started my new job today.

Well, actually, I started my new job last week as a contractor, but I didn't become a regular employee until today.

I still sit in the same desk and work for the same manager, but the name on my paycheck is different.

I was a little concerned that they'd cancel my contractor's badge over the weekend and I wouldn't be able to get in today, but that didn't happen. (I still have it, as a matter of fact. I assume I'll get a new one this week.)

My contract was supposed to be up on January 30, but it was extended while they did a background check (as my now-current job wasn't official until the background check was complete). The background check took two full weeks.

(I didn't really expect they'd find anything, but at the same time, the new job wasn't a sure thing until it was done.)

I'm in a slightly different role - one that involves being opinionated and telling people what to do, which are some of my main skills - and I have lots of ideas for how to develop this role.

And I can stop preparing for my contract to end every 2 months.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Level 5

This week was week six in boxing.

So far, I'm enjoying this new level - it's a challenge, and I feel like I'm working hard. Surprisingly, the hardest part is remembering what we have to do.

In every class, we do these stations:
  • skipping (4)
  • reflex bag (1)
  • heavy bag (4)
  • speed bag (2)
  • shadow boxing (1)

The heavy bag, shadow boxing, and reflex bag are the same combinations, which leaves me three stations I need to remember.

This week, here's what we did for the heavy bag:

  • Combination 1 - jab, right, upper cut, upper cut, slip, hook to the body, hook to the head
  • Combination 2 - jab, right to the body, hook, duck & rotate, hook to the head, upper cut, slip, hook to the body, hook to the head
  • At 30 seconds, hit & move

I can do all of that, my problem is remembering it.

I think I'm going to suggest temporary tattoos we can put on our arms so that we have something to refer to when we get to the station.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

What I did today

  • Put boots on
  • Took boots off
  • Put boots on
  • Took boots off
  • Put boots on
  • Took boots off
  • Put boots on
  • Took boots off

How long until spring?

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

On blogging

The thing I like about blogs is that it lets you really understand what it's like to live someone else's life.

If you want to know what it's like to be a nurse or raise 5 children in New York City or work in an inner city school, then change careers, there's a blog that can show you.

Of course, there are also blogs with a more specific theme - like job hunting/career advice, human resources, or genealogy.

There are dozens of personal finance blogs.

Need help figuring out how much money you need to buy a house?The internet has you covered.

There are pop culture blogs and fashion mockery blogs,

Some are professionally written, some are not, but they all open up the world a bit more.