Follow up poster

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Just sent my husband down to post this follow up poster.

Lost and Found

Last night we went out to my in-laws to celebrate my father-in-law’s birthday. My husband had made a cake and we were lugging down a cooler with ice cream and plus all of the baby stuff, we had to use our “granny cart” to bring down all of this stuff (including the baby).

The red shopping cart that we have is one that my parents gave us when we first got married. My mother had gotten it from another woman from their building who wasn’t using it anymore. There was one screw that was missing, and when I told my dad that I could really use it, he went and fixed it with this ridiculously long screw, fastened it with a nut, and then bent the screw down so it looked like it was saying, “Take a right turn here.”

This sentimental cart wasn’t there anymore when we came home from our visit. We probably leave it in our parking spot at least once a week and have never had a problem before. Probably my fault for being a little too trusting.

I was sad about my missing cart and thinking about how our life is going to be a lot more inconvenient because I now am without my cart. Sure, it’s just a cart, but we use it a lot and with my husband’s bad back, that means I will have to carry even more stuff (including the baby).

I decided to fight this problem with a little bit of graphic design.

I woke this morning, threw a little poster together in ten minutes and at 9:08 posted it downstairs at the elevators in the basement level and posted one also in the laundry room (where I suspect someone would even try to use my cart), then started hoping.

I went to pick up my glasses that were in for repair, at around 10:30. Picked up my glasses - look good as new! and then headed home. As you probably guessed, this story has a happy ending: 11:15 my cart was sitting back at our parking spot. Something ACTUALLY got returned to me when I asked for it back. That is a crazy happy feeling. My face wouldn’t stop smiling.

A good day has three things

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

I often think about how people accomplish in varying degrees in life. Some people accomplish a ridiculous amount in a short 35 years of living. They are influential, have great ideas, possess wisdom, read people well, lead people who lead other people... Then there are others who have lived the same 35 years, but because of different circumstances, different upbringing, different experiences, different priorities, different choices they are still figuring out basics like paying bills, how to act appropriately in an awkward situation, just realizing that they should move onto the next stage of life where his mother isn’t doing his laundry.

I am in the middle there somewhere. I’m not an overachiever. I am mostly happy where I am in life. I am happy that I have a great husband, a happy, healthy daughter, nice living space, a wonderful family, a job where I feel fulfilled everyday surrounded by wonderful co-workers... Life isn’t perfect, and of course, it isn’t always easy, but I’d like to say that I am doing alright.

However, I know that there are spaces in my life that remain stagnant. Stupid stuff like the pile of magazines that sit on my dining room table that I intend on tossing. Nagging stuff like getting exercise into my weekly routine. I know that I drag my heels on so many things that probably won’t even take me that much time. Sure, those things might have semi-importance, but things that make me even more disappointed is stuff like I want to get a gift for my pregnant neighbour and it’s been in my head for at least two weeks... I could be making a friendship, but it’s still in a theoretical state.

So, I’ve been thinking how do I get out of this? I know that I am better than I ever used to be, but frankly, I am just slow. I also like thinking ahead - trying to see as far as possible based on what I know now. If I draw a straight line between today and the 15 years from now that I want to arrive at, what do I have to do?

Well, that straight line is made up of 5,475 days. What choices can I make over and over again that help me get as far down the road when I arrive at day 5,476?

I think that I can include three things in every day to start with:

1) Organize what I am going to do today. The best thing my former boss ever told me to do when I couldn’t get my act straight at work, he told me to make one to-do list. I used to keep notes on post-it notes all over my desk, computer screen, and corkboard, to remind me what I had to do. It only just made a visual reminder of how screwed I was. How everyday I came to work and I was increasingly drowning in my tasks. Once I organized all of these same notes to myself on one sheet of paper, my stress went right down, my focus narrowed in, and I started plowing through stuff.

2) Get stuff done on the list. Sure, that seems obvious, but there are days that make a wonderful list that I intend on doing, but I get so distracted that I don’t get a single thing done. Some times there are great reasons - other times, it’s just a waste of time.

3) Learn something today. Life isn’t just about accomplishing tasks, that with each task you move forward. Life is about growing; expanding our knowledge, our worldview, our capacities for love, and there are many areas that we can be growing. Every day we should be feeding ourselves by spending time with books, with websites, or with friends. There are many ways we can be growing.

A good life is full of good days. Every day is full of habits. If each day is full of good habits, how can I not make the most of my life? I don’t intend for the above to be the magic formula to the perfect life, since life is full of things that we cannot control but I am writing about the things that I can control, and I know that this is definitely something that I can take into my hands and do.

And on top of that....

Sunday, January 25, 2009

In my new working-mom weekly routine, I run out and prepare for the week by planning our menu and going grocery shopping on Sunday morning. This morning was going well, the stores weren’t busy, and I was just about to head on down to bank to get my card replaced. However, I forgot to buy my husband’s cereal at my first supermarket so I headed back. There was a car parked in my usual spot, but the spot in front of it was free so I backed into it... and backed right into the concrete base of the light post. I was relieved when I figured out that I didn’t hit the car behind me, and went into the store deciding to check on the damage later. With the speed that I was going I couldn’t have done more than dented the bumper.

Yup, you read that I was horribly wrong.

I come back out and check on the bumper - there is hole punched into it and the whole right side is cracked. It shattered like it was a clay pot. Seriously. I think because it was super cold outside this morning. Maybe that had impact on how shatter-able it was. RIDICULOUS.

My spirit sank some more. But I feel better now. I went to church tonight where we had “Cathedral” - our worship night. I’m not really a big worship concert kind of gal, but there was a lot of sincere worship going up and I felt my mood lift too. It’s great to be reminded to keep my eyes off myself and my situation and focus on the big God that holds all of my life in His hands.

On another note - so the compromise on the debit card back on Friday was wider spread than I imagined. I was chatting with the lady who was helping me out at the bank, and she had $1,000 taken, and also her co-worker. She said a lot of the employees also had their cards compromised, and that every other person that came into the bank was asking for a replacement card. Crazy. Well, somehow that makes me feel better.

Well, on to this week! Please pray that my husband’s back gets better. I feel badly for him.


I was just checking my balance online just now and discovered that apparently I had withdrawn $500 from my account yesterday. I thought to myself, “Really? I don’t remember doing that...” I NEVER TAKE OUT THAT MUCH CASH OUT. My heart sank and hit my stomach, rock bottom. My legs feel weak... and I’m sitting down. I can’t believe that this is happening...

I called the bank immediately and reported that my card was stolen... at least it was virtually. They’ve cancelled my card and assured me that I’ll have my money reimbursed to me within 5 to 10 business days, or if it’s something that they’ve already figured out that has happened to many other people, they’ll reimburse me directly to my account sooner.

I have just such a sick feeling in my stomach. The good thing is that there are good systems set up by banks and credit card companies, that when these kinds of things happen, their clients are protected. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be in business....right?

Still, it’s that 1% chance that I won’t be getting my money back that makes me feel horribly sad. Or...wait - no, it’s not it that makes me sad; it makes me sad that another human being would take something from me. I earned that money. I worked hard for that money - waking early and sleeping late, caring for my daughter, caring for my husband who is on sick-leave from work. I feel a bit stretched.

Well, I’m finding out who I am when the pressure is on. That is for sure.

13 Months

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Sofia just went to her one-year check-up. She got her measles-mumps-rubella shot today. Dr. Chin said that she took it very well. Regarding her reaction, he was almost like, “That’s it?!” Yup, that’s my tough girl.

So, apparently, even with all the food that we give this girl, her weight percentile is dropping. She’s following the curve well for her height and her head circumference (Dr. Chin, “Oh, Dr. Chin measured your head wrong... uh no, Sofia, you just have a big, big head.”), but her weight has dropped to the 50th percentile. I fed her so much dinner tonight, you should have seen how big her tummy got. She kept opening her mouth though.

What’s up with her now?

  1. Kissing. Sofia used to run away from kisses, now she’s doling them out like she’s a bankrupt store having a closing sale. The great thing is that she has learned now to close her mouth. The funny thing is that it comes with sound effects: “Muahhhhhhh!”

  2. Mobility. Sofia is still reluctant to stand without support, and therefore to make any attempts at walking. She’s cruising like crazy, crawling at warp speed and has learned to ride her little plastic car. Doctor says she’s fine babies these days tend to walk between 13 and 15 months. We’ll see...

  3. Words. In the race to see which parent Sofia would call out to first, Sofia has learned to say “Dah-ddy” over the last couple of days. It actually makes me happy that she said Daddy first... it’s a nice encouragement while he’s here at home off of work with his back problem. Sofia still says “beh-bie” to everything, which I have figured out is that she is expressing what she wants. It’s like, “Baby wants to go over there” or “Baby wants to eat that.” “Beh-bie” is Sofia. She has started to say “Hi”. These are coming along slowly. She expresses a lot in other ways - the made up sign language is working for her. Like dropping her mouth wide open and then saying, “Mmmmmmm....” when she wants to eat something.

  4. Comprehension. She understands a lot. It really surprises me because it’s hard to know that she understands me when she says so little. She can look for her bellybutton when I say, “Where is your bellybutton?” She looks in Daddy’s direction when I say, “Where is Daddy?” Points to her mouth when I say, “How do you brush your teeth?” So fun!

  5. Food. Everything. Minus peanut butter and other peanut products. I have even started giving her dessert whenever we eat dessert (just a little) because I don’t want to end up with a kid that eats sugar in secret because we held out on her. My parents never had much junk in the house, but when there was junk, we were allowed to have some. Now, a bag of chips, or a package of cookies will go stale on our shelves. Just doesn’t have that hold on us.

  6. Fine motor skills. Sofia might not be walking, but she’s really good with her hands. She’s learning to open packaging. The other day she got into the diaper bag and found the Penaten. A few minutes later, Gonzo found her with Penaten all over her face and hands. Sometimes I even have trouble opening that tiny metal case.

Next month, Sofia will have another cousin. She won’t be the youngest anymore. It’ll be fun to see how Sofia treats the next little one. Sofia will be younger than Elizabeth when Sofia was born, but only by a few months. She really likes playing with Marcus (even when Marcus doesn’t want to play - he’s a four and half month old of some friends of ours).

I am so excited about Sofia’s new cousin. Some people like their family small. Give ‘em to me big!

Fun and free things for your (Mac) computer

Saturday, January 10, 2009

My computer seems to be a lot better. Mind you, I haven’t tried working with Motion since I visited the Apple Store Genius. I am planning on trying out again tomorrow. But, right now, it’s performing like it should be. Streeessssssful.

Right now, I’d like to share with you some stuff that I’ve found on the internet that has helped me with enjoying 1.) my computer better; 2.) organizing my personal finance better; and 3.) using dashboard again.

1. For enjoying my computer better. One of things that I love finding is awesome desktop wallpaper. However, what I don’t enjoy is LOOKING for awesome desktop wallpaper. There is so much out there that is digitally rendered sunsets and dolphins, space themes or half-naked ladies. I want wallpaper that is designed well to inspire the graphic designer in me. I found a pile! One useful place is Flickr, and search for wallpaper. You’ll find a lot of gorgeous ones - but yes, you’ll still have to wade through a bit in order to find those special ones. Another place that I found today, which is really the jackpot for me, is at, a stock photography website, but they have a lot of interactive features on there. Yeah, you have to sign up for a (free) account, but it’s totally worth it. Then you’ll have to visit their wallpaper area. Lots of clever stuff!

2. For organizing my personal finances with joy! For the last couple of years I’ve been recording how we use our money in an excel spreadsheet, but frankly for the last few months I’ve stopped using it ‘cause, well, it’s a hassle. While managing personal finances will always be a hassle, for people like me, if it’s got a fancy interface, graphical reports and uses colours for categories, sounds like fun! I have been researching the internet up and down for a good and free program (for Mac OSX), and after a couple of days, I found it! iCompta is good and pretty simple (you’ll have to orient yourself a bit). You can set your budgets, enter recurring bills and income, export and import files among others. We’ll see how it goes over the next few months.

3. Dashboard widgets. When Mac OSX first introduced widgets, I downloaded a whole bunch that I thought were pretty cool, but they were more fancy than useful. Shortly thereafter I stopped using widgets. With my new computer, I decided I wanted a timer that was simple enough that I could use to track the time while I work at home. I was expecting a lot of interruptions once Sofia was awake, and I didn’t want to feel like I couldn’t get up from my computer to attend to her so I could get my hours in, but also didn’t want to feel like I was ripping work off by not working. ChronoTrack is nice and simple and easy to use. There were other ones that could track by projects, etc., but I just wanted to keep track of my day. I also needed a checklist to keep me on track as I am pulled in a thousand directions. Checkmarker is awesome. I keep multiple lists, prioritize some, and of course, check off tasks as I finish them. iCal events is nice; to show me a summary of my events for the next three or so days. Twidget is fun – keeps me updating, but doesn’t waste my company’s time by going to the Twitter website. Just get my thoughts down and go.

Hope you find something useful in there!

A Working Mom

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

I have now officially worked one week as a working mother. I feel a bit overwhelmed, but I know that this is because it’s an adjustment.

Some things that I have really enjoyed:

  1. Today, in the morning, I worked at home and then in the afternoon, we went to visit Gonzo’s parents, and I worked from there. And was still seriously productive. So, loving the mobility.

  2. Having that feeling of getting stuff done. Tasks. Done. Check. Awesome.

  3. Hearing over and over again, “Glad to have you back.” Who wouldn’t like that?!

  4. Being creative. Sure, I can do that at home, but I certainly don’t carve out the time to be creative like I have to be when I’m at work.

Some things that I have found a challenge:

  1. Staying on top of keeping a clean home. But that is always a challenge.

  2. Making sure we have something to eat at every meal, at home. Not eating out.

  3. Keeping my temper in check. When I am stressed I am also angry. Which is different than my dad: when he gets scared, he’s mad. Weird.

  4. My computer: it keeps crashing. Oh gosh, I know - a mac! Crashing! I’m not quite sure what is going on with it - when I use Motion, it crashes. Anyway, I have an appointment with a Genius on Wednesday to see what is up with it.

  5. My computer and the network at work. It’s not hooking up where as I had NO problem with my previous computers.

I know that the balance to strike between work and home is going to be something that I am always going to have to practice at. It’s an art, for sure. One thing that I’m trying to work out is all the ways I can save time and that is low-stress. Like:

  • Slow cooking. Looking for awesome recipes that are healthy and that can cook while I am away at work. It’s like a chef was working all day at home so I have a hot cooked meal when I walk in the door.

  • Going grocery shopping during non-busy times in the week. Sunday morning is a great time. You don’t have to wake up at the crack of dawn to get some good shopping done, and done fast. And then I’m prepared for the week.

  • One week down. I haven’t cried yet, so this is going pretty good.


    Sunday, January 04, 2009

    This has only happened to me twice.

    Each week, I must do a PowerPoint presentation for the weekend’s message. This was a very weird week: a work week chopped in half with a New Year’s Day holiday, AND it was my first week back at work. So, needless to say, I definitely wasn’t feeling like I was in a good work-rhythm.

    I arrived at Saturday Night Gathering tonight to rehearse with the band, and Matt asks, “Hey, did Jan get a hold of you? They’re looking for the PowerPoint.” I’m thinking, shoot, did I even do it? Yes, yes, I did. Uh, I think that I even checked the sent file folder to make sure that it went through. I went online to check my sent folder again so that I could pull the file off of there, but no, the email was no where to be found.

    I had to rush home and get the file. I had done it on my computer at home so it’s not like my dad (who was watching Sofia) could bring my computer when he came to church with her. I get home in record time (read: I was speeding), and I sat down at my computer only to remember that I had just deleted all my files for work off of my home computer this afternoon when Gonz complained that there wasn’t enough room on the external hard drive for him to load some video clips. I had moved my computer files on my work laptop earlier that week, BUT before I had created the PowerPoint file for the weekend.

    My stomach sank.

    Well, what could I do? Not much. So I promptly called Jan and she made one up in like thirty minutes so we’d have something for tonight.

    I just finished the re-do of it. Sucks having to do a job twice.