Monday, January 26, 2009

Monday Memory - Lareta

Yesterday I have to say in all honesty was a crappy day.. can I say that out loud without it being a swear word? As the day progressed it got worse and worse. Just when I thought it could not get worse I thought I had "lost" 6 out of our 13 airline tickets. I had gotten an email from the travel agent last week with the numbers but never really looked at it. Yesterday I get an email from one of my daughters in law asking for the itinerary so I opened up the file. That's when I realized I was short. Quite short. I started panicking checking our receipts to make sure we had actually paid for all those tickets but of course I can't put my hands on it as we had paid for them before I went in for all my surgeries and Christmas. I am really freaking out.

At one point I asked Keith to check the airline site on his laptop as his has a larger monitor and I thought maybe I couldn't see a "NEXT" button on mine but he couldn't see it either. After a couple of hours of sheer panic I realized that the rest of the family were under their own name and not our last name. DUH! I had assumed that I had booked the flights, paid for the tickets that all the reservations would be under one number under my name. What can I tell you. I use small town logic.

By that time I had such a nasty migraine I told Keith I was going to bed even though it wasn't even 10 at night. I lasted in bed tossing and turning for 2 1/2 hours then thought this is insane, I needed to shut my brain off somehow that I needed to relax. Then I thought of my daughter Lareta. Which is where today's memory is coming from. When we lived in Regina, Keith worked out of town a lot. Lareta started sleeping with me from the time she was a very little girl. It was our special bonding time. Living in a house with 5 males and raised toilet seats didn't give us much alone time just for girls.

After we moved here, Keith still ended up working out of town, not nearly the amount of time that he used to but still did enough. In Lareta's last year of high school, she started going through periods of really bad dizzy spells and ended up having to do some home schooling with a tutor. But on days where it was just us, we would lay in bed till very late at night propped up on a bazillion pillows reading books. We are both avid readers of everything and anything and would just lay there reading. Of course which meant we HAD to sleep in till noon :) If it was the weekend we would stay in our jammies all day, push the couch up closer to the tv (this was before we got our 50"), curl up under a blanket each and watch movies!

She made this wicked cooked butterscotch pudding and I make the best homemade hot fudge sauce and we would alternate these eating them ;) YUM! After she got pregnant the first time, we would go for a walk every day, well ok I walked she waddled hehehe, but we would walk to the mall and go for lunch then walk back. I remember telling her that this would all change once her baby was born and she would say no way Mum, we will always be able to do this. I would tell her yes we would but it wouldn't be the same.. there would be babies and diaper bags, car seats, strollers etc.

Mum was right of course. Now at times, by the time we load toddlers and babies in car seats, throw 2 strollers in the trunk and get our bags in, we are ready for a nap and we haven't even gotten out of the yard yet! I wouldn't trade any of my grandchildren for that one on one time with her from the old days but I have to say I miss those days. As I thought of our times together, I got sleepier and more relaxed. One of my last thoughts was to thank my Father in Heaven for giving her to me. I have told her a thousand times over the years that He knew I would only have one daughter so he sent me the very best. I smiled as I kept her face in my mind as I drifted off to sleep. I can honestly say that my best girl friend that lives here is my daughter Lareta. And that memory will remain with me till the end of my days.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Parking near water's edge can be tricky :)

Thought some of you in a deep freeze on the prairies might find this funny :)

Friday, January 23, 2009

Debit/Cash user inequality

This week I had to go downtown Vancouver for a doctor's appointment. By the time I had walked 8 blocks towards the skytrain station I was freezing walking so decided to cut through Pacific Centre Mall to warm up. I stopped at the food court to get some lunch. I handed over my debit card to pay for it and get told that there was a charge for using my debit card. As I am waiting for my food I see a sign on the cash register that says "To keep costs fair for all our customers there will be a small charge to our debit customers". WHAT??? How is charging ME being fair to ME? I am part of "all our customers". How is charging me being fair to say cash users? Well ok I can see how cash users would think it would be fair to them if I get charged rather then them being charged. Why are cash users not penalized for say the staff having to count all the cash at the end of the night? I should get a reward for not paying with cash in that respect.

This is discrimination. Yup yup yup it is and I am going to take this to the higher court then the food court.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Life in the fast lane

Well I just want to go on record to say that way back when computers first came out I said they would be the root of all evil. I said it over and over again as my husband and 5 teenagers tried convincing me otherwise. In our family the rule had always been majority wins when things came to a family vote (unless it was something I wanted then I overruled everyone..hey I'm the mom it's in the mom rule book I can do that)and I was outvoted. So we got a computer. It was used for mostly word documents and for the kids to use for typing papers. Then our typewriter (remember those?) broke down and I had to do some typing so one of the boys taught me how to turn the computer on. Don't laugh!! This was serious business. Now this was back in the days before you even used a mouse and had to use the F keys to do things with.

But over time I got the hang of it and actually got to the point where I could whip my way around it. At one point I became a property manager and managed an apartment building among other things and wanted to use the computer to do spreadsheets etc to make my life easier. So I took a correspondence course and part of the course was putting a computer together from scratch. I passed the course with flying colours.

Then the Internet came around and now the roles were reversed. Keith kept saying no no no we are not getting it, it's not going to be good etc etc.. but one of our sons and daughter in law had moved to Alberta and all our family were across country and I needed to be able to contact them without waiting for snail mail to get around to me. So I overrode him and got it. Then slowly he got the hang of it and away we went.

Part of my job as a hotel controller was keeping track of everything financial and my days of learning spreadsheets came in handy and I whizzed my way around everyone. I loved it. (Yes Kim, I actually knew how to do them before you hehehe). My life revolved around my computer. Not very often did I need to have someone come and fix something and most of the time people came to me to help them with their computers.

I learned how to scan pictures which now made my life as a grandmother so much easier and fun. I could make videos and my scrapbooking took off. I have always been a fan of family history and my file holds probably close to 5000 names and tons of information. I backed things up with regularity knowing I never wanted to lose any of this precious cargo.

Then Fibromyalgia kicked in and remembering how to do things became a chore. Things that had been once so easy for me became a struggle. I mean how do you go from being able to make up formulas for millions of dollars to not being able to remember how to use the calculator on the computer? Hardly a week can go by without a message to our son Kim that begins with "Kim are you busy? I ned help."

Another nice thing about the Internet. You never see your kids roll their eyes at you and your requests hehehe. A couple of years ago I decided to write a history book for my dad's side of the family including pictures etc. I sent out numerous emails to my aunts and uncles asking for updates of pertinent information and current pictures of their families. This all got stored on my hard drive.

Then I got the job as Director of a family history centre and started to work on new programs etc. I finally got new flash drives and started sorting through my massive amounts of information that was on my computer. My plan was to have one flash drive for my work, one for just pictures, one for my personal things, one for my family history and one for my book I was writing.

Then the cancer came and the multiple surgeries with recuperation. It took all my energies just to keep up with the basics. At the back of my mind I kept thinking I have to start transferring all this onto my new flash drives but I was always ending those thoughts with "as soon as I am done this". The FM took care of the short term memory losses and when I did have the time to do it I just never remembered to do it.

The last couple of months my main computer started getting slower and slower. I tried doing everything I knew to do to try and locate the problem but nothing ever showed up as the cause. I asked Keith to take a look at it but he would get so frustrated every time he went near it as I would sit beside him asking "why are you doing that, why is that necessary, what does that mean, how is it coming along" etc etc:. He would ask me what I had done and why did I have so many programs and I didn't need this or that and I let the kids on the computer too much instead of making them use their computer (which was an old one and too slow for them they liked mine way better). It just became a bone of contention between us. I kept explaining to him that he needed to explain to me why he did what he did and how he did what he did so if it went down again I could fix it on my own as he was always at work etc. But he kept taking it as I didn't trust him to fix it.

I hated asking him to check on it as he was always so tired by the end of the day with his own work to do. But eventually it just got slower and slower. And then the big day came last week when I decided ok this is it, I am NOT doing another thing till I transfer all this information onto my new drives. I went to pop a cd in the drive to listen to some music while I worked and noticed it never came on. I pulled the cd out and put it back in thinking I hadn't inserted it properly. But same result. So I checked the properties and it didn't even show that drive at all... groannnnn now what.

I called Keith and asked him what to do and he said just turn it off it might just need to be rebooted. So I did. Except that when it went to turn back on it now said it would not reboot and I needed the start up cd to boot it. GREAT. When Keith came home he took a look at it and said he had no idea what had happened and that he didn't have a start up cd for it as it had come already installed when he bought it for me 3 years go. He could tell from the look on my face this was not what I wanted to hear. To say I was feeling stressed was to say the least.

All I could think of was that I was in the middle of writing a book and everything was on that computer. Everything. Many many hours worth of writing and drafting. Hundreds of hours of putting pictures in proper order never mind having scanned so many of them. All my contact information was on there. The only thing that wasn't on there was all my files for my work. That was on one of my flash drives but only cause I had to be able to take it to work without hauling the computer with me so thank goodness I had the sense of transferring my files for that. But that was not what was on my mind at that moment. All my files for Hawaii was on the laptop so that was fine too. But what I needed the most was my book.

So on Monday I happen to go visit a friend from church and happen to mention what was going on. She said oh by the way her husband is a very skilled computer specialist. That is his job and he does everything from building computers to writing programs to everything in between and would I like him to come take a look at it? What? Are you kidding me? Would I want to? YESSS!!! DUH!!

So last night he showed up with his tools and some other kind of program the he could use to test things without having to use a boot up cd. It didn't take more then a few minutes before he said that my hard drive was just old. OLD? it is like 3 years old. Well apparently in computer lingo that is old. He said it is just like any other commodity. At times you can buy a new thing even a new car and drive it for years with no problems. Other times you buy a new car and you have nothing but problems almost since day one.

He did a little of this and a little of that and every now and then would come out into the living room to ask me a question. I was a very good girl and stayed out of my office the whole time to give him some room. It was very difficult though. This was my baby he was working on.. and Keith was talking up a storm with him all the while I am thinking they are talking about me, they are comparing notes on women and how they know nothing.. which of course they weren't.. only in my overly imaginative brain they were.

After 3 hours he finally delivered the news. My drive was deader then a doorknob. I needed a new one. He said he was going to take it home with him and see if he could get a program that would work at being able to transfer everything over to a new drive. At that point I started to hyperventilate internally. You mean as in take it out of the house? As in my computer now has a hole in it? As in I have no files? What other options do I have? Well.. back to the drawing board for the men.. Keith uses an external hard drive for his work as he stores blueprints and a lot of very large files from his work computer at his office and is able to bring it home to work on his laptop. So they decided that he would try and transfer my files from my computer to this new drive so that if my hard drive was just too dead I at least did not lose my files. Then when we get back from Hawaii I wll have to get a new drive.

Ok that worked for me. So the tech worked on doing that. After he was done he did one more thing before he left and then asked me what my admin code was so that he could reboot it from his place...uh... I have no idea.. I gave him the code I always use when I start my computer up but it wouldn't work. He said I needed the admin code that I had set when I first got the computer.. uhhhh that was 3 years ago... you know I have literally very little short term memory right? You want me to remember what I entered that long ago? So my homework is to try and figure out what I would have used while he works on it.

So to make a very long story short, remember way at the beginning of the post when I said computers were an evil thing? Well see? I was right!!!! This living in the fast lane really sucks. This would never had happened with my albums of pictures and my notebooks of writings for my book. It wouldn't have happened either with my old typewriter.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Monday Memory - Flying old vs new

Again I am one day late with my Monday Memory but I have had so many problems with both my computers lately that I can barely get my emails read and some of them answered before it shuts down on me. Good excuse huh?

So my memory today has to do with flying. On airplanes flying not on drugs flying :) I remember in my good old days that when I would want to go somewhere I would just call the airline, tell them what I wanted and then show up on flight day with payment in hand even if it was cash.

Times have changed a lot. After just booking flights for 5 from Alberta to here and then 13 flights from here to Hawaii I have come to believe that things are not made to help with customers. The bottom line is how much money can we make off these people that want to get from point a to point b at the same time do it with the least amount of amenities.

We used to always get a snack AND a meal if your flight was more then just a short jaunt. You could also bring these on board with you to eat/drink. Blankets and pillows were free for the asking. Headphones were free. There was room for your legs to move. Staff worked at getting your business and keeping it.

Now.. this is what I get. There's no longer free checked luggage. You have to pay for each bag you check in. If it is one pound over the limit you pay dearly. You no longer get a free meal. Your snack where once was a muffin or cookies or fruit with cheese and crackers etc is now a small pack of overly salted pieces of cardboard. You no longer can even bring a bottle of water through security with you. Oh but you most certainly can buy bottled water at the airport kiosks and food to take on the plane with you. Yup at 4 dollars per small bottle of water, you really want to jump at those prices.

I worked my butt off to get gold status with my airmiles over the last couple of years as I knew I would be booking a lot of flights. When I went to use them to book I was told I could not use my status for this flight from Alberta to Vancouver. Why not? I am supposed to get 40% off the airmiles needed with gold status. Well yes I am told... but only on pre-selected flights. Well so then why did I work that hard for to get the status in the first place????

Not only that but I am limited to one flight each way. One is at 5am. Ever try getting a family of 5 ready to get out the door to be at the airport that early in the morning?? Why do you only have 1 flight? Well cause there are only so many seats per flight used for airmiles the rest are for regular fares. Ok well let me use a different airline. Sorry nope can't do that for you either. There is only 1 airline and that is Air Canada. But I can use West Jet with my airmiles. Yes you can but West Jet doesn't fly to Lethbridge. Groan.

Ok fine... do I have a choice? So let me see if I have this right. I can't fly on the days I want cause you have no seats available even though I just checked with Air Canada online while you had me on hold and saw that they had plenty of seats available, I have to get my family at the airport at 5am plus have to transfer in Calgary, they can't bring their own water on the plane, I can't get 40% off because that is only available on flights YOU tell me I can use it on, they can't go home on the day they need to be back for the same reason that you already told me do I have it correct? Yes I am told.

well obviously I need them here and have no choice so fine book it.. ok that will be $691.97. Uhhh no I am using my airmiles.. yes we know but these are for taxes. WHAT?? What taxes.. GST and PST do not add to that. Well no but there is airport improvement fees, other airport fees as well as fuel surcharges. WHAT? Are you kidding me? Do you realize that gas is down 50% in the last year? Why have the fuel surcharges not gone down? I don't know ma'am.

I get the information about Sea-Tac airport to find out what is admissible or not and it has taken 3 of us to translate their terminology into plain English so that we could understand it. But I can almost guarantee that we still are going to have to throw something out that we brought with us cause we understood it to be fine.

So to bring it all to a head:
Free flights with airmiles: free but pay taxes the cost of 2 full flights with West Jet
Free headphones for movie: no
Free blanket: no
Free pillow: no
Free meal: no
Free snack: no (salted Styrofoam does not count as a snack)
Free checked luggage: no
Free smiles on flight day: I'll get back to you with that one
Being able to go on a family vacation with our children and grandchildren: Priceless and still worth the hassle. But man I miss the good old days

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Lipstick and You

O while sitting at yet another Doctor's office yesterday I came across a magazine article on how the color of your lipstick will show others things about you. OK so I am bored and thought crap.. they were pretty accurate.. I will post all of the colors, their meanings and I will treat anyone to lunch who can:
1. Guess which lipstick color says the most about me

2. What color did I say I thought I was most like

If you love RED or BURGUNDY:
You're a clear thinker; Red is elemental - the color that literally makes your heart beat faster. So while wearing a red blouse means you want to stand out, wearing a red lip color means you are always willing to stand by your word: highly verbal and forthright, you think fast, churning out ideas with lightning speed. And if you're sometimes impatient with those who can't keep up: just remember not everyone can wear red lipstick

You're Curious!
Pink conveys a youthful, inquisitive nature. And wearing this shade as an adult indicates your enthusiastic, selfless outlook. "Friends find you so endearing because of your intense, genuine interest in them and their lives." And your passions urge you to try everything life has to offer so that whenever you return from ad adventure, you will always find friends and loved ones dying to hear your exciting stories.

If you are attracted to NUDE or COCOA
You're Elegant!
A subtle shade on your lips draws more attention to your eyes which makes perfect sense, given how much you can communicate with the single gesture. A woman of mystique, you have an unshakable but never off-putting confidence in yourself, preferring to make a quiet statement on your lips so that your talent does all the talking, whether you're saving the day at work with an original idea or serving dinner from an original recipe

If you go for PEACH or ORANGE TONES
You're charming!
A combination of sunny yellow and bold red, orange represents both optimism and strenght. Not as traditional a lip color as crimson or pink, peachy hues represent a unique woman who radiates innocence as well as strenght. No wonder people are drawn to your kindness and spunky sense of humour. Such a well rounded personality allows you to get along with almost anyone; and on the rare occasion when you can't, you're always able to say a joke, melting tension, and a few hearts along the way.

If you prefer PALE ROSE
You're Empathetic!
Soft pink is psychologically associated with the spring, and much like being attracted to a garden in bloom, you're drawn to people when they are "opening up". A great listener, you take pride in your emotional intelligence and know the right time to either give your two cents or quietly respect a person's boundaries. That understanding, non-judgemental side of encourages others to come to you with anything

So let me know which colour you think I am AND What color I said I really was.. Be the first one to be correct and lunch is on me :)

Monday Memory - Cypress Hills

OK I know this is one day late.. shoot me :) It has been a miserable last couple months with record breaking rain and snowfall out here on the west coast and going for my walk today I was thinking of summer and camping. Which brought me up to the memory of our week long annual camp that our family did when we were growing up to Cypress Hills Provincial Park ever summer. Now to those of us from a tiny town of about 500 people if you count numbers on a long weekend with visitors, going to a national park for such a long time and to drive such a long distance with 6 kids was a feat in itself!!

But it was the first of many vacations our family did together and it was the one thing my mother insisted that we go ALL TOGETHER including my father. The second thing that she insisted on was that he was not allowed to go to the bar while we were there. It was always an amazing trip filled with many many memories. One especially, my only sister Adele and my 2 older brothers, Dan and Claude and our parents gave us permission to take paddle boats out on the lake. We had never done this before or at least not to my recollection. We ran around ourselves in circles trying to get them to go straight so we could go from one end to the other but we couldn't coordinate it no how. But we laughed and laughed and splashed one another. It was a Kodak Memory Moment for that has shaped my idea and beliefs of family vacation to my life now.

Our parents were almost like real parents, letting us be kids, no fighting, no bickering, I mean they even went swimming in the pool with us!!! And now as I think of my siblings and our families I see the next 3 generations doing the same thing, as in camping together, forming new roots, forging new memories and that pleases me tremendously!!I'm glad they have kept it up. When we have our family reunion this summer I think we should have this HUGEOUS campfire that we can legally make without letting Keith or Claude anywhere near it with a gas can or anything that looks like a gas can!

Good Memory to be able to share with you even if it is one day late.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Out of the mouths of Babes.. AGAIN

All right here is the latest conversation between our almost 5 year old granddaughter Rosaleen and myself this week.

Me: Hey Rosaleen, guess how many more sleeps before we leave for Hawaii?
R: how many?
M: 19 and guess what else?
R: what?
M: In 18 more sleeps Uncle Kim, Auntie Mary, Sinead, Regan and Aisling are coming in on a big airplane!!
R: They are?
M: Yes and we will have a big family dinner with all your uncles and aunties and cousins then they will have a sleepover then in the morning we will go to the train station and get on a big train but not the skytrain (which we take all the time) to the hotel in Seattle
R: what's a hotel?
M: hmmmm well remember when Papa and Nana took you to Whistler?
R: Yes
M: well that was a hotel
M: Then after the hotel we will wake up have breakfast then go on a humongous airplane over the ocean to Hawaii

several minutes are spent nitternattering about the trip and swimming in the ocean as opposed to pools etc and having to explain again the difference between the skytrain which she knows by heart and this new one that has a restaurant in it. Then all of a sudden little lightbulbs start going off in my head.

M: oh sorry Rosaleen but Nana just remembered you will be going to the hotel with Mommy and Daddy in your car and we'll see you at the hotel
R: No I'm not going with them in the car, you said we were going on the train.
M: I know but I made a mistake. Papa and Nana and Uncle Kim and his family are taking the train and you and your family are taking your car.And Uncle Doug and Auntie Jen are also taking their car to the hotel
R: And Dallas?
M: Uh well no not Dallas, Dallas is coming with Nana and Papa because they don't have room in Uncle Doug's truck to go all the way to Seattle with him squished in the truck
R: Well I will be squished in my car seat
M: No you won't be you will be just fine
R: (thinks a few moments)so then all the children will be in the train with you and Papa except me?
M: (Inwardly groaning and knowing what is coming) yes Rosaleen but that is because Mommy loves you very much and really wants her family to be together to go to the hotel. We will see you there I promise. But your family is going by car
R: No we're not
(several more minutes are spent doing this yes you are no I'm not routine.I thought she was thinking she wasn't going to Hawaii so reassured her that she was still going just not by train)

R: We can't take the car it's impossible
R: Cause you said we have to fly over the ocean and cars can't go on the ocean just airplanes
M: Yes I know but you aren't driving to Hawaii just to the hotel. It won't take long and you will be there before bedtime.

Bottom lip starts quivering

R: Well it doesn't matter cause I won't go with you then I will go with Baby Aisling she loves me
M: Yes she does love you and so do we and that has nothing to do with it. Aisling is a child and children can not be responsible for each other on a trip. Only an adult can oh Uncle Kim and Auntie Mary can't take you either as they already have 3 children they will be responsible for (I knew she was about to say she would go with them)
R: (after thinking quietly for a few moments, the Harford chin juts out)Well then fine.. then I will go with Papa as he never says no to me!

man didn't see that one coming and boy does she have him pegged!!!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

2008 and 2009

Normally I do a write up of what I did the past year and what I am looking forward to or planning on doing the next year but I decided to do it a little different this year. I think everyone has heard ad nauseum what has been going on in my life this past year and I really would rather just put it all behind me and move on. Not counting the year I moved my family to BC this last one has to have been the hardest I have ever had to deal with. Not one I care to repeat. Ever.

So last night I had a thought when I couldn't sleep so got out of bed and turned my creative juices (ok so not so creative lol) to something a little more productive. I wanted to put more things but my scanner only does 8X10 sheets and not the 12X12 sheets of scrapbooking I normally use so I had to make do with some things.

Enjoy.. Wishing you all a WONDERFUL Happy New Year!! Or as we say in my mother tongue Bonne et Heureuse Annee!