Posts categorized "Gainful Employment"

Restored

A last-minute decision to take a longer-long weekend was just the thing I needed. This summer has been a different one for me. Due to some obligations at home (teens need a lot of chauffeuring to their commitments) and work (where I'm filling in for someone on sick leave) I just didn't get to do the things I normally do: Like swimming in a lake, relaxing on the weekends and beating the heat by doing more than hiding in my air conditioned house.

When my brother and sister-in-law told me that no-one was going to be at their cottage Labour Day weekend, I leapt at the chance to be by the lake doing those things I love. I took the Thursday and Friday off and up we went to just do a whole lot of nothing. 

I drank beers with my legs in the lake. I sat watching the water with my coffee and reading in the morning. I read a whole book. Xander and I hunted Pokemon until we ran out of cell signal.

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I finished the pieces on my summer sweater (which I wasn't rushing to finish because even a summer sweater was too much to wear this year) AND wove in all the ends on the baby blanket on the outside table with the lake in view to make the job easier.

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We played board games at night and I discovered Xander is a kick-ass Scrabble player. I ate PopTarts and too many Oreo Thins (which are delicious). And I went paddle boarding and didn't fall in the lake.

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Yesterday while I was in bobbing in the lake, it hit me. I feel good. I feel like my old self. It's been a while and I took a few seconds to lament how challenging the last few years have been and how much being in a bad work situation really messed with me. Now that I've been out of it for two months, I see how feeling down-trodden and angry all the time really colours everything including my time not at work. And while I'm fortunate to have a good-paying job in a great place, that's not enough to sustain me. 

Having this little rest (and another one coming very soon--we're taking a 3 day canoe trip in Algonquin Park next Friday) really have restored me. Now I need to work on my strategy to keep things this way.

 


Since I last Blogged

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Attended lots of year end school things for the kids including Emma's fabulous school dance night:

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And Xander's music night and honour roll night and volunteer recognition event:

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 Untitled

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Then Emma performed in her musical theatre show.  She was Maisy from Suessical (here she is with her besties--she did all their makeup):

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Then more work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work until I started to get grumpy.  

I did sneak in some knitting, but sometimes not for days at a time which makes me kinda sad because knitting is a thing that makes me happy and when I'm really busy, it slows me down.

The good news is, on my birthday I unpinned this scarf from the blocking board.  It was a treat for me purchased at the Toronto Knitter's Frolic (after a week of 15 hour days!).  The yarn is from Shirley Brian and it comes in a plastic take out tub.  It's a four ply cotton and at intervals, one thread is swapped out for the next colour giving it the nice striped effect.  I knit the pattern that came with it--Mariner--and it was just detailed enough to keep me awake after all the work work work work work.

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Perfect for summer (I'm on a navy kick so it works with my wardrobe nicely).

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Will work be less crazy this month?  Hopefully.  It's summer and I want to enjoy it.


Challenge and Reward


I had a challenging week. The good kind of challenging where I got to stretch myself, try new things, learn stuff and remember that I really like my job. But it was also a sixty hour week where I was ON for three days and I was exhausted at the end.

I dragged myself to The Knitter's Frolic and I'm glad I did. Being around knitters and the yarn was restorative. I got to see my knitting peeps and get inspired with new yarn and projects.

I'm sorry if I didn't chat very much when I saw you. I was seriously done with being social. I actually used up all my extroverted self (and if you know me, you'll find that staggering). We should get together and knit some time and I'll make it up to you.

My favourite purchase was a Tornadoz gradient box from Indigodragonfly.

The colours glow. I started an easy cowl and am in the second colour already. I needed a new project to celebrate Spring and getting through my challenge. (It doesn't glow in the dark though--trust me it's beautiful.)

 



Re-entry is a cruel bitch

I'm back at work after two weeks of summer fun.  Relaxing summer fun.  It was sublime.

Sadly, I didn't win the lottery, get an unexpected inheritance or rob a bank so I'm back at my desk and life is crazy.

Craig started a new job in July, after a long period of unemployment and this is the first week that everyone needs to get going and get out of the house without that nice hot breakfast and pleasant morning that having a parent at home facilitates.  It's been a bit rough.

The kids are coming in to work with me to attend daycamp and while I like their company and they like their camps, it's a LONG commute:

  • 10 minute walk to subway
  • 25 minutes on TTC
  • 35 minutes of walking around campus(kids are at two locations

And then I do it all again on the way home.

Yesterday's walk gave me a wicked blister.  Not so good (but did necessitate a new pair of awesome shoes). 

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Then on the way home, it rained.  Biblical, build an Ark rain.  Don't wear your nice new shoes rain.  Walk in your blister-giving crap shoes, then walk barefoot across campus rain.  Holy crap we're soaked rain.  We got home wet and blistery but still in an okay mood.

Then I discover one kid has lost a water bottle, the other goggles and Emma's good proper bathing suit is too small (really too small) and a bikini won't work for Aquatic camp.

Off to the store.  Bathing suit and goggles bought (next pair of goggles will be paid for by the child).  Lunches made.  In bed.

Up this morning feeling okay.  Until Xander tells me his head is very itchy.  I have a look. 

Lice.

Fuck.

Comb out hair as best I can in 10 minutes.  Make note to get lice stuff on the way home.  Put bandaid on blister and start the trek again.

Tonight will be filled with soccer games and lice combing.  Sigh.

There is beer in the fridge--thank FSM.  I think I'll book a pedicure for Saturday.


Wounded in the process of world domination*

Monday was not a good day.

I slipped and fell down some stairs at work.  I'm not sure how many.  What I do know is that I saw the toes of my pink daisy wellies and landed right on my ass on one of the stairs.  It was a slipped on a banana peel movie fall.  I landed hard enough that I didn't get up and had to yell for help.

Not the nicest way to meet people in the building.  Though I thank them for calling campus police and making sure I was okay.  

Luckily Craig had just dropped me off, so I called him and he took me to the ER.  Nothing broken.  Lots of bruises.  I feel sore and bleh.

But my bruises may inspire a new colourway* from Kim.  My bruised ass should be good for something.  Sigh.


The right project at the right time

Woooooooosh.

That's the sound of my last week going by.  I worked late almost every night, had lots of after hours commitments and was thankful I had a long holiday weekend to make it all feel like a distant memory.

I celebrated by starting a new project.  I loved Steph's Shawl That Jazz and dove into the stash to find something suitable (I wish to note publicly that I did not cave and buy the super pretty Puck's Mischief Twisted yarn; I am currently knitting from stash so I can buy fibre to spin).  Out came 1200 lovely yards of Briar Rose Grandma's Blessing.  It was a bitch to wind (because I'm so stubborn I wouldn't cut the yarn and make two skeins), but it's beautiful to knit and is emerging into a pretty shawl.


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I bet many of you are cringing at the idea of knitting a garter stitch shawl.  I love it.  Endless rows of mindless knitting.  I can do it in the car on the way to the cottage.  I can knit and talk with family and friends.  I can knit while almost napping (I tell you it was perfectly a lazy weekend) and today, I can bring it to the first of many many soccer practices. 

This photo was taken on Saturday morning.  I'm a good 10 inches in now, maybe more.  The construction (all short rows) now render it an unphotographable mass.  A pretty mass all the same.  Tonight it's me, Battlestar Galactica Season 2 and this shawl.  Hopefully all this mindless diversion doesn't make my brain leak out my ears.


Take our daughters and sons to work day

Today I took Emma to work with me for the University's Take our daughters and sons to work day. It's the first time I've done this (it's for kids in grades 4-9) and it was really fun.  The day started with a talk about micro-loans by a children's author and all the kids received a copy of her book--One Hen.  I missed the talk so I could do a bit of work and I'm sorry I did.  It sounded like a great discussion.

Then Emma and I went on a tour of the Architecture faculty (her choice) where we learned about some of the city's buildings, the faculty and the student projects, we met the Dean and then the kids got to make monuments with clay and other materials. 

Next was lunch which was another opportunity to meet other kids and their parents and then Emma joined me in my workspace to see what I do.

My job is pretty boring to a 10 year old.  I do research and analysis on faculty life, help plan and coordinate workshops for faculty and academic administrators, do policy work and general academic hr (reviewing tenure and promotion files, appointment files etc).  It's a lot of "playing on the computer" and "reading stuff" as Emma would say.

I had her make me a file folder so she could use the label maker, fetch things from the printer and fill in a workshop evaluation form so she could see what we did with them (I'm examining last year's evaluations to plan next year's schedule).  The high point was when a co-worker took her for a coffee break to Starbucks.

Last thing in the afternoon was a big meeting with a Vice-President, an Assistant VP, and my boss (Assistant Provost) in the VP's office.  Emma got to attend.  I warned her to behave, because while they are three nice women, they were "very powerful people who could fire mommy" (Craig's words). 

So at the meeting, Emma pulls out her notebook to take notes (I said it would help her listen better) and she wrote across the top in pink marker: Meeting with highly powerful people who could fire mommy.  Then put in a line and wrote: I have no idea what they are talking about.

Luckily a) no one saw it and b) I didn't burst out laughing.

After the meeting, they asked her which job seemed the best and when she shrugged her shoulders because I could tell she had no idea who did what.  Then, the VP said: Be sure to choose the job that pays the most money.

Maybe not the best advice (though it is GOOD advice).  I especially liked that she could learned that some of the most powerful leaders in Canada's largest university were all women.


Zzzzzzz

I'm so tired. 

Friday and Saturday were the culmination of a big project I ended up coordinating--our office move.  I left a crappy, temporary, windowless cell and moved to a lovely bright, newly furnished (with a fab new Aeron chair too) space with a window.  I'm also in the same office with my colleagues, instead of in another room.  It's nice (even if these photos aren't so good at showing that).

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But getting there was very tiring.  The coordination of everything, the dealing with a cumbersome bureaucracy that comes from being in a large organization, those "little things" that your co-workers do that make you a bit crazy, being there on Saturday for the whole day to ensure the move goes properly and the movers don't break anything; even redoing your big boss' floor plan when you realize the designer was smoking something when they laid out the furniture.  It was stressful.

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Add to it, while you're packing on Friday, having your son fall off the monkey bars and banging his eye on the ladder, requiring meeting your husband at the hospital so he can get the health card and wait for 6 hours in the ER (where you walk over from work to visit instead of going home early when everything is packed).  Xander ends up with 6 stitches right below his eyebrow and you can see why I feel like I'm in a waking coma right now.

Then add in a cockamamie idea to get up today at 6am and do the Wii fit (Because I need to keep my flagging exercise routine going) AND my decision to ride my bike to work today for the first time this spring. 

Then I go to work and help unpack everything, receive the last of the furniture, deal with keys (yet again), log co-workers concerns and complaints and, and, and...

And I'm so dead I could fall asleep right now.  Except I want to watch more of BSG and drink a beer.  If I can make it to the tv by crawling.

Zzzzzzz


Job Opportunity for a Grad Student who's into blogging

I'm not sure how many of you are in my blog audience, but it is a neat research opportunity (something I would have done when I was a grad student).

Dr. Kim Bercovitz is looking for a graduate student with expertise in and passion for blogging and social media research. 

She is conducting a study on how cancer patients access online information and social support.  The student will conduct research by identifying the virtual landscape and the most popular sites/blogs/.podcast/on-line support groups and help conduct a discourse analysis of the various social media sites.  There may be opportunities to build and help maintain a blog.  Those that would like more information or to submit a resume may do so by contacting Dr. Kim Bercovitz at kim@thereserachdoctor.com.

That's all I know about it. Contact the email if you have other questions.


To my otherwise lovely cubicle neighbour:

Please stop humming.  Stop.  Stop.  Stop!  I gather you do this when you are thinking, and I do not want to impede on the complicated work you do (it really is complicated number stuff) but I will jump over the wall and strangle you if you do not stop. 

Sincerely, from the northern cubicle

I hate working in a cubicle.  I miss offices.  With doors.  Haven't had one with a window in a long time, but I hear those are nice too.  This is leading to a letter to the brain-wave who came up with the idea of the cubicle, but I've got to find my ipod to drown out my neighbour.