Sunday, February 7, 2010

Do you draw the line?

You love him for the droopy eyes he gives you while you scold him. You love him for the howls he lets out in the middle of the night, alerting you to strange noises. And, you love him for unconditional love he shows you when there's no one else around to see your tears and hear your sobs. He is your best friend. He is your pooch.

Pets are our child-raising tests; they are integral members of our families and once we have 'em, we can't imagine living without 'em.

So if that's the case, how do you make the decision to put your pet down?

For some, the decision is a little easier. They've had Charlie for 16 years and he's developed cancer throughout his body. He's starting to feel the pain and his quality of life will rapidly decrease. The family knows Charlie will be better off. They hug him, kiss him and hand him over to the vet.

For others, it is far more difficult. Chance is two years old. He's been in an accident. His hips are broken, he has a collapsed lung and his eye, permanently damaged. Chance's mom and dad are living pay cheque to pay cheque, barely getting by and are devastated when the vet says it will be $11,000. Do they put it on their credit card, or do they ask the vet to put him down? They have to make a decision fast.

When Brody and I got Barkley, we struggled. That dog has put us through a lot in his four-year life span. I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with him, but when it comes down to it, he is a part of our family and he would be missed if we didn't have him around.

When we first went into puppy training, I received a piece of advice from a trainer: you have to draw a line in the sand. Before you find yourself in an emotional situation, sit down and decide what your number is. What can you afford? What is the furthest you'd be willing to go to save your pet? If you have the number in your mind before something tragic happens, it may help remove some of the emotion from the decision.

It is a valid question. If you can't afford to foot an astronomical vet bill, is it worth it to put your financial well-being at risk? A $500 bill, for most, is do-able. $5,000? A stretch for some, but not for others. $15,000? A stretch for many, I would say. You would be tied to that decision for quite some time.
We never did draw our line in the sand, but I am wondering just how far I'd go to save my pet.

I don't know what the right answer is, but I pray I never have to ask myself that question. Like Kelsey says - our pets will live forever. She has already read the riot act to Rocky: he is not allowed to pass away.

Here's hoping none of you ever have to make that really tough decision.

Back in time

Today my co-worker and I were sitting in a meeting room--two of only a spattering of people in the building--on a relatively balmy Saturday in Fort McMurray, when I looked at her and said: "Think back five years ago. Who would have thought this is where we'd be?"
She laughed...and agreed.

Picture from here.

While I pictured myself working in a corporate environment, likely in oil and gas, I don't think I ever would have pictured myself in Fort McMurray. But, I can say this has been one of the best decisions I've made.

I have formed some of the greatest friendships here that I never would have had an opportunity to form if I'd stayed in Vernon or moved from Vernon back to the city of Calgary like I thought I might do. Truly, I have formed some of the greatest friendships since being in this quirky city.

While I was in school, this particular coworker and I were classmates. We were acquaintances, but certainly didn't have regular interactions and we were never placed on the same project team. Five years later, I sit beside her in meetings and consider her one of the most savvy and smartest people I know.

Beyond being coworkers though, she truly is a friend. We vent to each other when we have a rough day at the office and we indulge in a glass of wine (or two) when it's time to set the computers aside and enjoy a little social time. I stayed at her house and watched her dog as she and her now-fiance vacationed in a tropical locale at the end of last year and I would trust her to do the same for me if I ever needed a similar favour.

It's funny how you grow as the years pass by. The qualities we admire in people and look for in friends change. I recently received a handwritten note card from a close friend back home who said she missed our "car rides". The same car rides we would take, just the two of us, to talk about what was going on or seek advice from the other when we needed it.

It's an interesting place to be as I form friendships with new people and have a chance to reflect back on the friends from elementary and high school years. No one will argue the fact that those friendships of the past have changed. We have all grown up, we have changed, we have fallen out of touch and each of us has had experiences that have re-shaped our outlook, feelings and beliefs.

But, there are still those old friends you know who you can always count on when you're feeling sad...or mad...or glad. I am grateful for them, especially for those with whom I've had some chance to start rebuilding a close friendship, and I'm thankful for the new friendships which have brought new perspective, knowledge and outlook to my life.

Saturday, February 6, 2010


This is counting for a post, regardless of whether or not it's after midnight. This has been a brutal day and my mind feels like mush. I think I've used up all my brainpower for the rest of February.

This, unfortunately, does not bode well for the miniscule readership who take 30 seconds or so out of their days to check in. Only 23 more days of mushy brain posts for you to read.

Image shamelessly borrowed from here

After getting home from work at 10 o'clock tonight, I proceeded to play about three hours of Super Mario Bros. on the Wii with my sister.

Now, all I can hear are the bloop bloop bloop noises from sliding down tunnels (or green garbage cans as I used to think they were) and the profane sentiments Kels and I were tossing out as we fell victim to sneaky ghosts, bony fish and ticking timebombs.

For the record, I don't recommend taking the "just one more level" approach if you're sitting down to play Super Mario Bros. Three hours and several brain cells later, I'm hitting the sac.

Tie a bow on me, I'm done!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Resolution update

My goal for February: do not miss more than two days of half-marathon training in the entire month.

Well, it's now February 4 and I've missed three days of half marathon training. A great start hey?

In honesty, I could reduce it to back to two if I exercise on Saturday which is normally the only day off in the whole week, but for some reason, I just don't see that happening at this point.

I'm thinking I better create a new resolution for February.

For those of you who don't recall, I was struggling to come up with a single resolution for 2010. So, I decided I would create one resolution a month for the entire year. The idea is that whatever resolution I come up with for one single month will end up becoming a habit and follow me through the rest of the year.

A pretty genius idea, hey?

I would love to write more tonight, but my eyelids are falling over top of my eyeballs and my fingers are making way too many mistakes on the ol' keyboard.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Above and beyond? Or just the call of duty?

Today was a long day. A wake-up call at 5:30 a.m. was followed by a shower, make-up application, blowdry, straightening, dressing, accessorizing, and drive to work. I arrived at work just before 7 a.m. Then, it was a whirlwind of meetings, phone calls, and presentation creating and editing. The day ended at 7:15 p.m . with all four of us communication front-liners hammering out materials, updating spreadsheets and scarfing down a little pizza.

I know some of you who read this blog work 12-hour shifts and I want you to know I'm not complaining about pulling a 12-hour day. There are plenty of other people who work days far longer than 12 hours.

In fact, this post is just the opposite of complaining - I was actually completely okay with putting in a few extra hours. That's because I'm grateful to have an employer that allows me to enjoy a somewhat flexible working arrangement. Unlike other jobs, me and my coworkers are not completely tied to a punch clock. Plenty of days we're there before our official days begin and on plenty of days we're there long after the buses have departed with the rest of the workforce.

Are there times when we're out of the office at 4 p.m.? Or times when we have to zip out in the middle of a work day to get our braces adjusted? Yup, there sure are. But, those times are definitely balanced out by the time that we put in on call, going in early and staying late. Or, answering calls and hammering out presentations and project plans on the weekends.

To me, staying a few extra hours every now and again isn't really about going "above and beyond the call of duty", it IS the call of duty. It's not about counting hours, it's about getting the job done.

When special projects and tight deadlines require you to work a little harder, or a litter longer than normal, workers who feel loyal to their employer, engaged in their positions and who feel like they're making a difference won't hesitate to step up.

If you're a small business owner, think about the flexibility and employee experience you offer to your front line workers.

If you're a front line worker, are you concerned with the hours you put in every day, or more concerned about doing your job well to help your employer, and ultimately yourself, succeed?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Go together like a horse and carriage...

You know what I'm talkin' about. I can hear the Married with Children jingle dancing between your ears. Of course, I'm talking about Love. And Marriage. More about love though.

I couldn't let myself blog in February without dedicating at least one post to the topic that's been on our minds since the Christmas decorations at the local Wal-Mart were replaced with heart-shaped chocolates and red jelly beans.

This month longtime lovers will prepare to tie the knot as they become fiance and fiancee. Thousands of lucky girls will open little blue Tiffany boxes, wipe tears from their shining eyes and slip a perfectly round, diamond-adorned ornament onto their manicured fingers.Not that I'm jealous, of course. I mean who really wants a big, hardened piece of earth sitting on their finger taking up precious space? I personally love my fingers unadorned, chubby looking and not-so-nicely manicured.
Of course, I'm sassing. The Brodster and I have been in this loving relationship of ours for seven short years. We finished school together, moved to the Okanagan together, bought our first place together and bought our first dog (a memory I'd like to forget, but that's a whole other story), and then moved to Alberta.
We've been through a lot in these seven years. Ups, downs and everything in between. But, if I think back to the early days when we first met and got to know each other, I remember thinking there couldn't possibly be a person on this Earth more perfect for me.
He was sarcastic, loved softball and golf and hockey and baseball (just like my papa), made me laugh, and grew up with the same kind of lifestyle (small town, family close by). But, most importantly, he loved me.
Don't ask me how I managed to hook this guy, but some how it happened. Our first nervous meeting (after talking for weeks over MSN, e-mail and telephone) happened in Calgary. He was in the back seat of the car, I got into the front. As soon as we made it to the pub, it was like we'd known each other for years. We totally clicked.
And seven years later, we're still clicking. Or, clicking again. And it's good.
For now, I'll let the other girls wear their diamonds. I'm okay being a girlfriend.
Happy Valentine's month everyone. Here's me sending you diamond dreams and Tiffany wishes.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Attempt #2: NaBloPoMo

Throughout January I kept telling myself that February would be the month I complete National Blog Posting Month, or in simpler terms, write one post a day for an entire month.

Over at they assign a theme to help you collect your thoughts and hammer something out on the screen when you're faced with the inevitable writer's block mid-month.

This month's theme? Ties.

In February, I'm tying this blog to my ass and dragging it wherever I go. Whether I'm spending the week in Calgary, hunkered down in my abode here in Fort McMurray, or skiing the Rocky Mountain slopes, I will post every single day this month. Excited aren't cha?

I will also try incorporating some form of the word 'tie' into each post...just for a little splash of challenge.

And with that, I'm bending down to tie on my blogging shoes 'cause baby, I'm ready to roll.