Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Fogged in

This is the view that met me this morning when I walked out of the house to water my containers.

The fog matches my current state of mind.

I'm struggling these days to keep myself on track.  I'm tired, often cranky, and forgetful.  Frustration is my middle name.

At work, management would say I'm not engaged.  They'd be right. These days I am either sitting staring at my computer counting the hours to the end of the day or in a total snit about something stupid someone somewhere in our organization has done.

I'm not sure which state I prefer.  Though being in a snit does makes the day go faster! :)

It's not as though I have no work to accomplish, because there is always something needing to be dealt with. The issue is that there is no longer any trust at any level and everything must be scrutinized by someone higher up. For example, recently a peer and I revised an internal document; it's not meant to be used by any other office or area, and is simply a "cheat sheet" if you will for our employees and supervisors to use as a reference for performing a specific and infrequent process.  The goal was to give them the information so they wouldn't have to contact one of three of us who have significant experience with the process.

We sent it off to our managers to review, requesting approval to provide the information to the staff and supervisors.  My manager said okay, mostly because he's less than two years from retirement and is in coast mode, so he really didn't read or review the document.  The other manager, an up and coming individual returned it to my peer because......it didn't meet their senior manager's formatting standards.

WTF?  Apparently we're not the least bit concerned about the content, but heaven forbid if a margin is an nth of a centimeter too wide or narrow, a comma is missed or out of place, or the section headers are the wrong font or incorrectly spaced.  Thankfully my peer is willing to revise the document once more because my immediate reaction was to tell that manager (and senior manager) to stuff it someplace uncomfortable.

We're also taking away the capacity of people to think and creating mindless robots.  On Friday I got a piece of correspondence that's been floating around for about a month.  Actually a month is pretty good.  It was passed from an office in Ontario to one in B.C, then onto Alberta and finally landed on my desk because, besides my regular duties, I've been tasked with this workload.

When I looked at the document, I realized it should never have come to me because it didn't fit the criteria.  So I sent off an e-mail to the three offices to ask where it should be sent to be completed since it was not something within my purview.  I received two e-mails, both indicating they were simply following instructions to send to the next place.  NO ONE had looked at the damned document, because if they had they would have realized it was not what they thought, but instead they had blindly followed instructions.  So now apparently it is my problem, even though it's not my problem.  As a result I'll handle it because someone has to, but I've sent an e-mail off to my senior manager to express my concerns.

When an immediate issue is not causing me frustration, I'm dreaming of early retirement, voluntary or otherwise.  The lottery has to come through soon, right?  Or maybe management will get tired of my rants and ask me politely (and with a large final cheque) to move on?

Now that my daughter has moved out, and my son knows he's next, I've even thought about downsizing and moving into a smaller place.  I could find a job that pays less (with less stress perhaps) and still manage.  The fly in that ointment is a smaller pension.

What is really frustrating is that work is spilling over into my personal space and time.  I find myself dreaming about work.  The other night, I was meetings all night, trying to help the staff explain to management the impact recent decisions have had on morale and productivity.  Just like the real thing, I woke up knowing I'd not gotten anywhere.

I know I'm neglecting all the things I like to do, like this blog, my yard work, and spending time enjoying the outdoors. (If only the housework could wait forever, but when the dust bunnies are bigger than the cats something has to be done).  And yet, like tonight as I write this, I feel an ease of some of the pressure.  Simply writing it down really helps.

Thanks to all who have read this through. Knowing you are there reminds I have supports in my life.

Like the fog, this too shall pass.

Most definitely in four years, 7 months, and 30 days.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

What a weekend

I had a nice weekend out at the farm, though I did a lot of driving.  The farm is about a 1/2 hour drive from my home; I made three trips out on Saturday, back in on Sunday, out later that day, back in on Monday, then out to the vet's office, and back on Monday evening.  Lots of miles....I'm not sure how my brother and his wife do it on a daily basis!

Of course I always make sure I take my camera.  Here are some of the shots from this weekend.

On the lower part of the yard, there is the barn and an old train station.  My brother R has built a deck on the side (or the dance floor as it is more affectionately known). It's an awesome place to watch a storm in the distance, or the northern lights.

The station was moved to the farm site by the former owners.  It's most frequently used for birthday parties!

R recently created a 1/4 mile running path through the bush, up the hill and then back around for he and his children to use.  I didn't run it, though I walked more quickly than I might normally have because of the annoying mosquitos!

Above is part of the flower bed they planted a few years ago.  One of the neighbours was clearing out the bed and gave them massive amounts of perennials.  They've thrived in this environment.

The rose on the left, is a wild prairie rose.  These were on the side of the road, and I don't think there was a blossom without a bee.

I tried all weekend to get a photo of this little chipmunk, and with this exception he was too fast for me!

The horses didn`t realize I was taking a photo because I was across the road.

Of course the reason I was there was to take care of this lovely lady Hollywood.  For those of you who don't read the cats' blog, she had an eye surgery a couple of weeks ago and I had to give her meds over the weekend before she went the vet for her final checkup and removal of stitches.  All went well!

Finally, I leave you a photo of the quintessential Prairie view from the drive home to the city.  The weather was perfect!

Saturday, 19 July 2014


Aunt A, Aunt E, Mom, Uncle B

Friday morning, the last of my mother's siblings passed away.  Aunt E was a character, a cigarette smoking, beer drinking, strongly opinionated woman with a mouth to match.  Apparently she had a butterfly tattoo, something I never knew before today, but doesn't surprise me.

She married at the age of 17 by eloping with her high-school sweetheart.  They were still married at her passing but haven't lived together for many years.  Aunt E had a stroke a few years after my my mom's and was eventually moved to a nursing home in her hometown.

She and her husband W adopted a son about 40 years ago.  About 20 years later, they took in their grandson and were raising him when Aunt E became ill.  W took the child and moved nearer to their son, though I understand W has been back in their hometown for a few years.

In the early '70's they won a significant prize in the Irish Sweepstakes and used the money to purchase his family's farm and build a house on the property.  I recall it the entire interior was painted yellow and she had a sunken living room with deep purple shag rug.  It still looked the same the last time I was there a dozen years ago.

It was in this house where she had her first stroke.  Instead of calling an ambulance W dragged Aunt E down the exterior stairs, basically a ladder as the home's exterior was never entirely finished, and drove her to the hospital. Later when he took her back home, she was limited to the bedroom, hallway and kitchen as she was in a wheelchair.  He did, at least, build a ramp so he could bring her in and out of the house.

However, her health declined because she wasn't getting the care she needed at home and she had another stroke.  After a brief recovery she moved to an assisted living apartment and soon after to the nursing home.  I believe Aunt E lived in the nursing home for at least 7-8 years as she was a patient when Dad was moved there in 2006.

For years she ran the canteen at the nursing home. Everyday after lunch, she would pull herself along the railing with her good arm from her room to the little store near the front door of the home.  I'm not sure she made many sales.  Most of the patients were either non-ambulatory or unable to recall how to get there and her often grouchy demeanor was a bit off-putting for most people.

My mom, actually our entire family, didn't particularly like W and it only got worse as the years went on.  As a result, we didn't see Aunt E often, usually only on Christmas Eve.  She and mom kept in touch by telephone and when mom passed I think she felt very much alone.  By this point she and W were married in name only, her son was "away working", and she had no access to her grandson.

But she managed to thrive at the home, because she got the care she needed, as well as the social interaction with others. A friend of mine, told me on Facebook, "I liked her, we got along really well.  She always wanted a beer and a cigarette after her bath, and wanted me to join her too! LOL"

I like to think that she and her siblings are now together, Aunt E and Aunt A are having a beer, mom and Uncle B are drinking coffee, all four are puffing away on their cigarettes, and they're talking up a storm.

Rest in peace, Aunt E  Fly free, like your butterfly tattoo and give my mom a hug and kiss for me.

Monday, 14 July 2014

Time to compare

I know I said I wasn't going to post again this week, but I have to share these photos.  It's amazing what a difference lot of rain and some heat can make.

The earlier photos were taken around the end of May, the comparison photos were taken last evening.

I planted three petunias in each container. Perhaps that was two too many?

But I love how all the color brightens up the deck!

I couldn't find an earlier photo of this container of snapdragons and lobelia but I known it's gone crazy too.

I bought a mixed flat of the snapdragons thinking they were pink....not so much.  But I really like the color combination so maybe next year I'll use less pink in the garden and go with reds and yellows.

You may notice there is no photo of my front flower bed.  It desperately needs weeding and I'd be embarrassed to show what it looks like now.

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Weekend wrap-up

Where does the time go?  I keep meaning to update my blog and then days pass along with my good intentions.  So my new goal is to update this blog once a week.  it's funny how the cats' blog is easier to keep up with than my own!  Perhaps they have more to say. ;)

I spent the past week in Saskatoon working with my staff there.  Although we use e-mail and talk on the telephone often, I find it beneficial to have face-to-face meetings so we can walk through their workload together.  That way we're looking at the same information so misinterpretation or misunderstandings are reduced.

Having the opportunity to work in Saskatoon also means I get to visit with family and friends.  This week I went for dinner with my cousin J.  She's recently changed jobs, bought a new car, and her aunt (and my cousin) passed away so we had lots to catch up on.   I think I mentioned H's passing awhile ago.  J told me that H's husband D, had informed her father that only "immediate family" was invited to the service.  This meant M (J's Dad) was allowed to attend.  It has obviously caused a rift in the family and J was quite upset.  Understandably so!

Later in the week, I took my camera and went up to the weir on the river to take a walk.  It was a gorgeous late afternoon, one of the nicest days so far this summer.

The trail is in the center of the city, well-maintained and well-used.  There were families out walking, cyclists, and runners.

Saskatoon is known as the city of bridges here in Saskatchewan.

This appeared to be a walking bridge just north of the weir.  I didn't take the climb the stairs to the top. Perhaps my next visit!

There were white pelicans in abundance.  I assume they were looking for fish, but I didn't actually see any of them catch anything.

Part of the walking path was flooded.  The water levels are very high this year. 

There are actually several paths, this one led down to the river, another ran along the top of the river bank, and another was about mid-way up the bank.  There were benches and walls where one could sit, and look-out points to take in the view.

Along the paths were a variety of native plants. These are Saskatoon berries for which the city of Saskatoon is named.

I suspect once they are ripe, the birds and passersby will enjoy the treat!

Arriving home on Friday (and my apologies to those who read the cats' blog - this is a repeat) I had to deal with a broken window in the sunroom.  

My son had cleaned up much of the mess but there was still glass in between the panels and I made some calls to glass replacement companies. Unfortunately the earliest appointment I could get is August 6th.

After clearing up the edges of the window pane, I put the piece of cardboard as a temporary fix.

This window is sheltered by a three foot overhang, so hopefully even if we get rain the cardboard will stay in place until the repairs are made.

We still haven't figured out what happened.  I suspect something hit the window in just the right spot to cause it to shatter. There was no evidence though of a bird, branch or rock so it will remain a mystery.

The rest of weekend (including today) was and will be spent catching up on chores.  Laundry, vacuuming, scrubbing floors, cleaning cat litter, mowing the grass, deadheading the containers...all the usual mundane tasks.  Even though C kept the house tidy, took care of the cats, and watered the containers while I was gone there is always something to be done.

Maybe that is why I have such a tough time keeping my blog up-to-date.

Have a great week everyone!