Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Thirty of Thirty: I made it!!!!

When I signed up for this challenge, I wasn't sure I could do it - but I did. Yay!

Although the challenge (for me) ends today, I will keep blogging, although probably less frequently, depending on how busy I am.

In the last few days editing has taken my attention as I prepared images for printing for clients.
Like this grad photo, for example:
And, this equine portrait:

I love my job!

See you next month.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Twenty-nine of Thirty: The penultimate post

It's hard to believe that I actually had the discipline to post every single day. Some posts were, perhaps, more eloquent or interesting than others. But, I did it and will have one more to create tomorrow.

That said, it has been a rewarding experience and one that I hope to continue. I may not be quite as rigid in my schedule but I will definitely be making much more use of blogging.

Since today I am not feeling very well, this one will be short but I'll try and make up for it tomorrow.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Twenty-eight of Thirty: Sanctuary - the book and the place

I haven't written a book review since grade school. And certainly, this is not a formal one for sure.

But, I just finished devouring Deborah Carr's book "Sanctuary: The Story of Naturalist Mary Majka". From the Preface to the Postlude and Acknowledgements, I was captivated by both the story itself and the voice of the narrator.

Mary Majka's story is a fascinating and inspiring one. Deborah did her justice in the narration, drawing the reader in to the tale and developing a relationship with the forceful characters. Perhaps because my families hail from Albert County, from Alma to Shepody and beyond, I was absorbed in the story and graphic descriptions of flora, fauna, wildlife and shoreline of the area I visited several times in summer as a child - but less often in recent years.

Although the story is the biography of an amazing woman, it is also a chronicle of life in the rugged coastal Albert County on the shores of the Bay of Fundy. This book and its story are also important as an historical record of the evolution of environmental awareness, not only in Albert County and the tiny Province of New Brunswick, but in Canada and around the globe. Mary Majka and author Deborah Carr have proven, by their individual actions, that change is possible, even probable, if one person at a time takes action.

Thank you both for this amazing story that brought me to tears at times, laughter occasionally, and stimulated my soul.

My son, his wife and my grand children live in Vancouver. He has now lived there longer than he lived, growing up, in New Brunswick. Books like this one, given as gifts for birthdays and Christmases, help me to know that he and his children will remember their roots, their east-coast families, and the place I call home.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Twenty-seven of Thirty: Over-estimated

I think I over-estimated what I could accomplish in one or two days of office tidying. However, I do see light at the end of the tunnel.

This morning I am playing with my friend's daughters, taking them to dance class while she's busy elsewhere. Then, after lunch it's back to "the office". I know there's a floor in here - I just can't see it. So, I will set up my box of accountant files and start recording and sorting the small mountain of receipts and get them off the floor and into some semblance of order. Once that is done, the office will be completely tidied and, I hope, more functional.

After Christmas I'll start reorganizing my two gear storage areas - but at least they are out of sight and I know where things are and can access them. It's just a bit crowded but I can fix that soon!

And, I still have the project organizing system that Elaine taught me a few years ago, so I'll keep that up and going into the new year.

So - no before and after photos yet. I took the "before" photos and then stashed my camera where I couldn't get at it without finishing the cleaning (had to trick myself). So, once the receipts are handled, I can reach my camera and record my pristine work space for all to enjoy. Yay!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Twenty-six of Thirty: Progess

There IS hope. Yesterday I emptied the office and dismantled the old desk. It only took Joel and me four hours to assemble the new, smaller and more compact one. At that point I was too tired to continue on with the great office clean-up.

But, early this morning I was at it again. I set up the computer, printer, external hard drives and other paraphernalia. Then I tackled the bookshelf. If I hadn't read or used something as reference within the last three years - out it went. I made a huge dent in the overcrowded shelves and found room for the things I use regularly (proud of me, Elaine?).

There are still other things to be done - like entering and filing a small mountain of receipts into my bookkeeping program - but that is scheduled for Monday. I hope to finish the general tidying up today and then, perhaps tomorrow, have 'before and after' photos to post. It was a massive challenge. But, I am nothing if not determined!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Twenty-five of Thirty: True Confessions

Dear Office,

You have been sadly neglected. For months now, 'stuff' has been piled into you, making closing the door more and more difficult. I gave you a desk that was much too large for your miniscule space and now even that surface has disappeared under an ever-growing pile of papers.

But today I will rescue you. When this blog is done I am turning the computer off and disconnecting it. Then, I am sorting and filing the mountain of papers in preparation for doing my year-end bookkeeping next week. That will be followed by dismantling the computer, printer and many other electronic devices and hauling them all into the other room briefly.

The too-big desk will be dismantled (thanks hubby) and a smaller one assembled and installed. THEN I'll re-assemble the electronics and try to start over.

If I'm not heard from in 48 hours - check under the piles, please?

I really do like you, little office. I'm sorry to have been so neglectful for so long. REALLY, really sorry because now I have to fix this. Oh dear.....

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Twenty-four of Thirty: Fall is struggling to hang on

Late yesterday afternoon and throughout the night torrential rains fell in southern New Brunswick. Today the temperature has been dropping steadily and the residual showers turned first to large flaky flurries and, more recently, to wet snow. It's technically still autumn but she is fighting a losing battle against winter's onslaught.

I'm not a winter person. I no longer enjoy outdoor winter sports like skiing, skating and toboganning. I hate feeling cold and damp and my arthritic joints protest loudly to anyone within earshot. So, since I live in the northern hemisphere the annual question becomes, how to survive another six months?

I've stocked up on long underwear, warm socks, sweaters, cozy boots, and the gas tank for the fireplace is full. Armed with good books and lots of tea - I'm taking a leaf from the big bear's notebook and hibernating as much as possible.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Twenty-three of Thirty: A tribute to a brave friend

When I answered the phone yesterday I had no idea how much my friend Fran's call would rock my world. In the last several months she has battled lung cancer, and survived; a seizure that nearly took her life, and survived; brain cancer, and survived. Fran is a fighter and she's proven it time and again throughout her life. She flaunts her chemo-induced baldness like the badge of honour it is - no wigs for her.

Despite a litany of hardships, Fran raised two sons who've gone on to raise families of their own. She's made friends and given back to each of them, including me, ten fold. She says what she means, and means what she says - a rare trait these days.

So, when she called yesterday to say that her latest CAT scan results weren't good, it was a shock. She said it very matter-of-factly. Where they thought there were three brain tumors which might be operable, there are six - and they are not operable. She's been given a time-line that is finite and short.

She has lived her life so far on her own terms, and she plans on living what's left the same way. She said her "affairs are in order" and she's spending her remaining time living every day to the fullest.

If it were me, I don't know if I'd be that courageous. I heard no bitterness in her voice; just resignation and acceptance. She wanted no pity - just the comfort of talking to a friend who'd care about what is happening.

When the inevitable happens, she doesn't want a mournful funeral. She wants a party - a celebration of her life, her family, her friends and her art. And so she shall have it. No tears - except those shed softly at the loss of a special person and in the joy of having known her.

In the meantime - here's to ya, Fran! Let's soldier on and have a good time while we can. I'm here for you whenever and however you need me to be. Cheers!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Twenty-two of Thirty: A lovely pre-winter morning

After yesterday's nasty cold temperatures, this morning dawned as welcome relief. It's not nearly as cold and there is no wind. I glanced out the window to see a hot air balloon drifting slowly above the winter-white landscape and rushed to grab my camera. If this was all there was to winter, I could handle it. Sadly - there's more brutal weather to come in the next few months.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Twenty-one of Thirty: Age is a state of mind

Somehow someone defined the stages of life by the number of years one has lived. That's a fallacy. What is old? A number of birthdays? The ability, or lack thereof, to do certain things? Who knows?

I know many people who are chronologically relatively young, and yet they act 'old'. They have shelved their dreams; stopped doing things because they are 'inappropriate' for someone of 'that age'. And there are others who seem perpetually young despite a vast number of candles on their cakes.

I went home shopping with my mother today. Some would say, "why would a lady of her age want to buy a home?" while others, including me, say "If it makes her happy and gives her something to do - yahoo!"

Sitting around an apartment all day with little to do can age anyone.

So - she found a cozy little mini that is just perfect for her, complete with a 'verandah', - and she'll enjoy it all, I hope.

Congrats, Mum!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Twenty of Thirty: Ten Days to Go and Snow is Falling

This was the view from my living room window this afternoon. Must be mother nature's way of engendering that Christmas spirit, right?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Nineteen of Thirty: The Time Has Come

I am NOT a well organized person. Just ask anyone who knows me. Things get done despite my lack of skills in this department. Papers are rarely truly lost - just misplaced for extended periods of time. I hate filing and anything that even smacks of it.

Nevertheless, it is important and it's time to do something with the space I euphemistically call an office. At the moment it looks more like an abused storage facility, with a chair and computer wedged into the middle. But, today is the first day of the rest of my life, right? So, this is the day where I take those piles of paper up off the floor, sort them, file or toss them. Those that are financial in nature will be duly recorded on the computer and filed - the rest dealt with.

When it reaches the point where I can't stand it, it's truly awful. So, I'm shutting down later on and tackling the mountain. Period. Wish me luck organizational goddess Elaine!

If I'm never heard from again - please come looking. I may be in the office somewhere....

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Eighteen of Thirty: The Joys of Shopping

No, dear friends, I have not completely lost my mind. Those who know me know that I generally LOATHE shopping, particularly in malls, despite a lengthy career as a property manager in various retail malls in the province.

I spent several hours today in Moncton doing some early Christmas shopping. While looking for gifts for others it wasn't too bad. Then I went on the hunt for a few things I wanted for myself. THAT was another story. I quickly became a total curmudgeon and beat a quick retreat back to the little town of Sussex that I call home. There, in the relatively small crowds, I did, indeed, find exactly what I wanted.

Who needs to travel to shop? not me. If it's not here, I don't need it (or the headache of finding it elsewhere).

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Seventeen of Thirty: Working on that Christmas spirit

I've always loved the Christmas season. Twinkling lights, the smell of the greenery, ribbons, bows and bright wrapping paper have always triggered that deep sighing contentment that we associate with Christmas.

Now that there are only two of us at home (with the cat and dog, of course) and no small children or grandchildren to wake up, excited, on Christmas morning - somehow it's a little harder to get enthused. I know that the significance of Christmas Day is the celebration of Christ's birth; but it's so much easier to celebrate when there's family gathered around to share the moment with.

This year my husband is scheduled to work Christmas Day. That means we'll have our dinner, gift exchange etc. on another day, depending on his schedule. Somehow it's just not the same.

But, that said, it's time to look forward to decorating inside and outside; finding or making just the right gifts; and getting into the spirit of giving, sharing and celebrating. Too soon it will be over and we'll be stuck with three or more long, cold months of winter. So, for now, let's smile and enjoy the season.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Sixteen of Thirty: Patterns in Life

Have you ever noticed that certain things are inevitable and beyond your control? Sure, there are the usual suspects like aging, death and taxes. But what about those other, more trivial, events?

As Hoover and I 'enjoyed' our morning walk in the cold November rain, I realized that, once again, I have an appointment to have my hair done this morning - and it is raining. According to my calendar diary (I keep track of such phenomenon) it has rained EVERY SINGLE TIME I have gone to the hairdresser for over a year.

So, if you are planning any major outdoor events, forget about checking with The Weather Network or the television weather forecasters. Just call me and double check my hair appointments. It will save you a lot of grief!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Fifteen of Thirty: Half way there!

When I committed to daily blogging for thirty days I was concerned that I wouldn't find enough topics to comment on and that the time would drag by - dreading each daily reminder on my calendar.

Au contraire, mes amis. I have found (and am still finding) no shortage of topics. Those who know me know that I can be opinionated - so that hasn't been an issue either :)

In today's fast-paced society, one of life's conundrums is the endless amount of waiting we all do. We wait for the coffee to drip, the appliances to do their tasks, the phone to ring, the computer to boot up (or shut down). But the most exasperating wait of all is the wait for someone else to do something.

For example, today I am waiting for:
  • a friend to call and make arrangements for a long-overdue luncheon get together;
  • a repair person to call and schedule a visit to fulfill his 'to do' list;
  • a driveway asphalt company to either call or show up to finish our driveway (before winter, please);
  • a furniture company to call and deliver my two new chairs;
  • a client to call and confirm information for a project that should go out to the media today;
  • and so on. 

And that's just today's list of "wait for" items. Because of the "wait fors", we all revamp our schedules, practically on a minute by minute basis, to accommodate someone else's schedule. What is wrong with this picture? And more importantly, where is the mutual respect for others' time and convenience?

One thing I just noticed is that the topic of r-e-s-p-e-c-t seems to be creeping into several of my daily commentaries. Hmmmm. What does THAT say?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Fourteen of Thirty: Technology - the tie that binds

Canada is a vast land and families are often separated by thousands of miles, thousands of dollars and hours or days of travel.

I have one son, a wonderful daughter-in-law, and two gorgeous grandchildren - all of whom live on the west coast, about as far away as they could be while still remaining within Canada's borders. The distance, time and cost of travel is a prohibitive barrier for being on-hand for the major moments in life - at their end or ours.

So, to keep in touch we rely on technology - a few phone calls, the occasional text message and, for me to see my grandtoddlers at play - web cam visits.

It's not the same as touching, hugging, smelling and smooching - but it has to do for us as it does, no doubt, for many other families. But even so, when it is all over and there's no residual scent of the kids on my clothes, then the tears fall - grateful for the little contact that there is; sorrowful for what is missed on a day-to-day basis by virtue of time and distance.

I can always dream that the Star Trek teleporting device becomes reality - sooner rather than later. Then - it'll be "Beam me up, Scotty!" and off to the west coast I'll fly - without the inconvenience and discomfort of traditional air travel.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Thirteen of Thirty: Dogs are good for the soul

Every morning someone has to take our dog, Hoover, out for his morning 'constitutional'. Normally that's a quick tour around the yard - a quick 'scoop' - and back to the house  with the longer, more athletic perambulations happening later in the day.

This was a beautiful morning. As the sun rose slowly on the horizon, Hoover and I set out taking a new route. Walking with a dog brings new meaning to the term 'saunter'. Dogs have to closely examine every blade of grass, rock and poo pile (left by less considerate dog walkers) to catalogue who has passed this way before.

Hoover and I have a deal. On the way out we walk briskly, ignoring what Cesar Milan calls the morning newspapers of the dog world. On the way back, Hoover gets his way - sniffing and exploring, poking and prodding the detritus left by those who've gone before.

While he checks these things out, I have time to look around and make note of places that might make interesting photographs another time (when not accompanied by 'the nose'). I found three this morning.

In a distant field we sighted a herd of white tailed does, seven I think, grazing in the morning frost. It is hunting season right now, so they were skittish and some slight sound sent them bounding into the nearby woods.

I love those early morning walks with Hoover. But I dearly wish others would refrain from tossing broken glass, cigarette butts, empty beverage containers, soiled clothing and god-knows-what-else onto the roadside. There are better places for such things!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Twelve of Thirty: Before the Christmas Whirlwind Begins

Before the whirlwind of Christmas preparations begins in earnest, maybe we should all take yet another moment to reflect on the messages delivered yesterday during Remembrance Day ceremonies that were held from coast to coast. Veterans of all military actions and those currently serving are deserving of our respect, support and gratitude. Always remember.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Eleven of Thirty: Remembrance Day Reflections

My mother was attending school in England when WWII broke out. She was studying at the Royal Academy of Music in London. After she passed away in 1988, I found the diary she had kept during those years. Much of it recorded the tedium of daily living as a music student - piano lessons, violin lessons, harmony lessons, and the endless hours of practice. But here and there she recorded glimpses of life beyond the walls of the school.

Her diary actually started in 1938 before she left for England. She and her mother had moved from British Columbia to New Brunswick (my grandmother's original home). She ended up staying in Woodstock for a while and wrote, for example, (Monday, July 25, 1938) that she "went to the show (movies) and saw 'Rosalie' starring Nelson Eddy." Yet most entries continued to refer to her daily piano practicing sessions. Her career as a concert pianist, and later teacher, was launched.

In early August she and my grandmother took the train to Montreal - sitting up in the coach section all night. From there, they went on by train to Quebec City and spent the night at a YWCA hotel - site seeing and writing post cards. On Saturday, August 13th, 1938, they boarded the Empress of Britain, setting sail for England and life as a student at 2:p.m. that afternoon.

On the second day they hit a storm and spent much of the remainder of the voyage in their stateroom, apparently suffering violent sea sickness.

They arrived in Southampton on the evening of August 18th, 1938 and took the train to London. The rest of the diary for that year and most of 1939 recorded the minutiae of her days - studying, practicing, walking, shopping and visiting with friends for tea or dinner.

In mid-1940 the entries became filled with references to the war. She recorded getting fitted for a gas mask, that must have been a terrifying experience. In mid August, 1940, she wrote about the daily air raids, sometimes several per day, and hearing the warning sirens and planes overhead. She chronicled hearing the bombs fall, seeing flames from fires in east London, and being up at all hours of the night as a result. Interspersed with these records were her remarks about daily life - shopping, practicing and those rare occasions when she actually got a full night's sleep.

Despite all that, she completed three degrees and won gold, silver and bronze medals in performance from the RAM.

The entries stop on Saturday, August 31, 1940 when she went to the passport office and Cunards (the shipping line) presumably to book passage back to Canada - all while avoiding three air raids that day.

Alice May (Eccles) Wright
b: 1910
d: 1988

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Ten of Thirty: Freelancers are underpaid and undervalued

I, and many friends and colleagues, eke out a subsistence living as freelance writers and/or photographers. For those of us who supply content to various publications, the rates of pay (per word, per piece or per photograph) haven't changed in LITERALLY decades. Many publications, especially niche ones like equine magazines, frequently pay as little as 15-20 CENTS per word or $150 per article. They also pay anywhere from $10 to $25 per photograph.

Yet, these same publications charge THOUSANDS of dollars to their advertisers for space to promote their goods and services to the readers of the magazines.

Think about this. Why do YOU buy a magazine? Is it to peruse the ads? I think not. Most of us buy magazines in order to read interesting or informative articles about topics of interest to us - such as hobby related, home decorating, cooking, animals, sports, history, religion, and other special interest publications.

Publishers cry about diminishing returns, higher production costs, fewer advertisers, competition from other sources such as websites, e-zines and so forth. Yet, they never stop to consider the quality and quantity of the content in their magazines. Yes, ms. editor, you DO get what you pay for. Good, well educated and experienced writers, do their homework. We research our content for accuracy and authenticity. We write well. We know grammar and punctuation and will provide finished pieces that require minimal editing time.

Good photographers deliver high quality images that will augment articles.

But instead, many editors now seek out inexperienced (read 'cheap') writers and photographers, offering them a pittance in remuneration and the 'glory' of 'exposure' in a regional or national publication. Exposure doesn't pay the bills, folks.

But, as long as there are people out there willing to provide articles and photographs in exchange for ethereal rewards, publications will be happy to use the material, driving more and more professionals (i.e. people who make a LIVING from their craft) out of business and into other lines of work.

I find it laughable today when someone says to me, "you're so lucky. You work for yourself and can take time off whenever you want", etc. What that person doesn't realize is that, if you are a freelancer, you work 24/7. When you don't work, you don't get paid. If the level of compensation is too low, you can never afford to set aside money for a vacation, sick days, or even a normal couple of days off a week. There are times when working for someone else really appeals. Oh, and benefits? Whazzat? Medical insurance? Employment insurance? Not bloody likely.

So, being a freelancer is not for the faint of heart. Only the brave will go into the abyss hoping to survive and thrive.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Nine of Thirty: Rain, rain go away. Don't come back another day.

The incessant pounding of water on the roof, in the gutters and on the ground is enough to deter anyone from going outside unless it's absolutely necessary. I fully intended to go out and make photographs of the flooding yesterday but somehow couldn't bring myself to do it. Perhaps today I'll make the effort.

After multiple days of continuously gray skies, the thought of more of the same is enough to drive even a sane person head-first under the covers on the bed. Everyone, including the cat, has had enough. It will take WEEKS for the sodden ground to dry up - time that we probably don't have before the onset of cold temperatures and winter weather.

Now, if only I could convince myself to use this time productively to purge my over-crowded bookshelves, read those books I've been meaning to spend time with, do my bookkeeping and file that small mountain of paper on the floor beside my desk, on my desk and on my shelf....

I doubt I could get close enough today to re-take this shot. I'm sure the river is well over the banks of the Kennebecasis River.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Eight of Thirty: Considering taking up ark building

It is STILL raining. Perhaps it will be the 40 days - 40 nights routine? There is a lot of flooding throughout the region and some people have been evacuated from their homes.

We currently live at the top of a hill, well away from rivers and lakes. Nevertheless, the ground is a sodden mess, super-saturated and unable to absorb another ounce of water.

For children it's a lot of fun, although patently unsafe, running through ditches filled with up to two or three FEET of water. Several kids wait for the school bus in front of our house where there is a very deep ditch. This morning I made myself very unpopular by refusing to allow them to play there - but it is dangerous and these are very small children. Should they be standing out there on the corner of a busy road unsupervised? I don't think so. But apparently their parents do.

This photo was from three years ago at the farm where we used to live. It was taken just after the crest of the "flood of the century" where the rushing river hid an entire 4' high fence line. I'll try and get back there today and see how it looks after this period of record rainfall.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Seven of Thirty: Rain, rain, go away

We have had a record rainfall over the past couple of days - in excess of 100 mm - and more to come today and tomorrow. The earth is saturated and incapable of absorbing any more water. People are feeling sodden and even the dog doesn't want to go out any more. Dampness makes you feel cold even when the temperatures are quite civilized - particularly for November.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Six of Thirty: A Tip of the Hat

Here's a tip of the old hat to those who still, despite their whirlwind lifestyles, find the time to show consideration to others. Those who offer a simple 'please' or 'thank you' for services rendered - even if paid for - are becoming increasingly rare in today's harried world.

Such little gestures of consideration can mean so much in someone's day. The waitress whose feet and back are aching but still smiles as she places your meal in front of you; the teller at the bank who greets you cheerfully despite his personal tragedies; the person who simply held a door for you to pass through - all are deserving of consideration.

So, if you do nothing else today, say 'thank you' to someone in an unexpected place and make that person feel appreciated and his or her day a little brighter. Their surprised smile will be your reward.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Five of Thirty: Thank you, Mother Nature

Taking a REAL day off is very difficult, especially if you are self-employed. When you don't work, you don't get paid. Period. No sick days. No paid vacation. Or so it seems.

But, if you do your planning right and define your 'desired' or 'sufficient' income, you should be able to take a sick day or some vacation time without jeopardizing the family home or the kids groceries.

Today, Mother Nature stepped in and is in the process of dumping a ridiculous amount of rain on our area accompanied by very high winds and unseasonably warm temperatures (the good part of this scenario). Even the dog doesn't really want to go out except for the necessities.

Prior to the arrival of the storm I, like many others who suffer atmospheric pressure induced headaches, was feeling ghastly. Now, the pressure remains, but the pain is gone. Since it is so utterly miserable outside, I designated today as an official "day off". No work will be done unless it pleases me to do so in a recreational frame of mind.

Instead, I've cranked up the fireplace, made a pot of tea, baked some lemon bread to go with it, and, when I'm done here, I'm going to curl up and read a good book. There'll be lots of time for work tomorrow, Sunday and Monday - and then, I may repeat this day off thing and take Tuesday off - just for me.

Thank you, Mother Nature.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Four of Thirty: Respect

Respect is a word that is often used loosely in a variety of contexts. We can show each other respect in a variety of ways, not the least of which is respecting others' time.

Yesterday I spent most of the day hanging around the house waiting for the electrician to return and finish the job he'd started the day before. He didn't show up. Eventually I went to the company's office to ask what the story was and apparently he'd been scheduled to be someplace else yesterday.

Now, it's not his fault. But why would the company do that? Wouldn't it make more sense to schedule 2 consecutive days for a job, get it finished and get paid?

While at the company's office, I pointed out that I am self-employed. If I don't work, I don't get paid. If I don't get paid, neither will they! All it would have taken was a simple telephone call early yesterday morning to advise me that the electrician would not be arriving and I could have gotten on with my day. But instead, I wasted valuable time and accomplished little as a result.

He's here this morning and it's my sincere hope that he and his assistant are able to finish their job completely.

Then, there's the asphalt guy. His crew is supposed to arrive today to do the prep work on our driveway. I doubt if they're planning to actually do the paving though. Sigh. We'll see. There's a torrential rain and wind storm predicted for tomorrow so that would be a good reason to postpone the job, again. So far I've had no telephone call from that company to say whether or not the crew is really coming - but I'm here for the electrician anyway - at least for a while.

If I ran my own business this way; didn't stay on top of appointments for photo sessions or deliver articles and photographs to publications on time, respecting editorial deadlines; I'd be out of business in short order.

I don't care if someone is a nuclear physicist, refuse collector, employed, unemployed, self-employed, retired - it doesn't matter. Everyone's time has value and should be respected. That is an indication of how much you respect the person as well.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Three of Thirty: Getting Organized

The words "getting organized" don't often pass my lips. Those who've seen my office know that neatness and organization are skills that I'm sadly lacking - at least within the walls and behind the door of my work space.

I try not to let the worst of the mess flow out into the rest of the house - but I frequently fail at that, too. A few years ago - when I had a bigger room for my office - I engaged the services of a professional planner to help me "straighten up and fly right". With great patience she, and her associate, helped me through a drastic purge, labeled things, sorted things, came up with a filing system and generally had me on the right track.

Through no fault of theirs I 'fell off the wagon' rather quickly. Within a very few days my desk surface, once again, disappeared under a deluge of paper, pens and electronic gadgets. Shortly thereafter, the piles reappeared on the floor, on top of the filing cabinet and on every other available surface. It seems I can't function in an organized and tidy environment.  Unfortunately, I also can't function when I can't find things - like lost cheques? Not good!

Then we moved. My current office space is less than half of what I had before. It's a tiny, angular, more-or-less 8'x8' cubbyhole with a regular closet (jammed full with shelves and stuff) and a weird little triangular closet into which I stuff some of my camera gear, bags etc. (great, until I need the one at the back).

So once again I'm facing a dilemma. How to maximize the space I have to work with. I'd love to call Elaine and get her back to try again - but SURELY I learned enough to tackle this myself? Maybe?

Maybe not.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Two of 30: I owe my niece an apology

I make my living crafting both verbal and visual images. Years ago I was a school teacher despairing of ever being able to instill a love of language and respect for spelling and grammar in my disinterested students.

Yesterday I read a post on Facebook from my niece who was talking about seeking "shox" in the mall and that the product was out of "stalk" in the selected store. Being a 'good aunt' - I berated her for her (still) abysmal spelling in the hopes of enlightening her slightly. I was only partially right. It turns out that "shox" is a feature of certain Nike brand shoes. Really? So, for jumping on your head about the "shox", dear niece, I do apologize for being behind the times.

BUT - they are still out of "stock" at the store. They don't grow on "stalks".

Monday, November 1, 2010

One of thirty: Simple Pleasures

Yep - I said I would post something daily for the month of November to get in the habit of doing so. o, having made the commitment, now I have to live up to it.

I awoke this morning to see a light dusting of fluffy white stuff on the ground, the deck, top of the car and the roofs of houses all around us. Hoover, our dog, like a young child couldn't wait to get outside to sniff, lick, taste and play with the quarter-inch deep carpet of snow that was rapidly melting away. His apparent joy is something we could all emulate - taking great pleasure in the simplest of things. It would make our own and everyone else's lives so much better.

In the meantime, Hoover is waiting for the first 'real' snowfall....