Damn you shiny distractions!

I had big plans, BIG PLANS for what I was going to write for this week’s blog post, but some shiny things were waved in front of my face and I succumbed to their wiles as I waved a dismissive hand at my blogging responsibilities.

Sorry ’bout that.

But I think it’s good every once in a while to give myself a break from the extreme pressure I put on myself to write a blog-worthy post *cough* and churn out a piece of tripe.

So here it is.

I have finally been making some headway as far as work is concerned. It felt like I had been lagging behind since the beginning of December, but after working some overtime a couple weeks ago, I’d say I’m caught up to about March now. Huge, HUGE relief. (I hate being behind, but sometimes with my job it cannot be helped.)

This reduction in my stress levels allowed me to actually focus on relaxing at home in the evenings instead of trying to plan out the next work day in my head, thinking of everything that needed to get done. It was in this relaxed state that the shiny things took control.

I paid for a month-long subscription to Ancestry.ca and couldn’t stop clicking through all the hints that had popped up since the last time I subscribed to the paid content. The first night, I stayed up a little later than usual just clicking through immigration records and photos of gravestones. I mostly worked on the part of my family tree from the U.K. and got as far as my 4th great-grandfather and grandmother. I also found out that one of my ancestors baked a birthday cake for a member of the royal family back in the day. Very cool! I used Google Maps to help me plot my places of origin — all of which are close to London!

I heard that Netflix added some new content recently, so I spent some time browsing through their new additions. MISTAKE! Soooooo much good stuff! I had to add the new Louis C.K. stand-up 2017 to my list (sorry, but I’m a fan) as well as 13 Reasons Why (have you watched it? I’ve heard really good things so far!) But I have to say, if you are waffling on what to watch next, watch the BBC drama series Thirteen. It was amazing! But I will tell you right now that there are no plans for a second series, so enjoy the five episodes you do get. Just… wow. I’m not saying much because I really want you to see it for yourself… then we can discuss it once you have!

Photo credit:  BBC

Like I said, I had big plans for a great blog post that obviously didn’t happen. But I only work three days this week then I get a nice five-day weekend, meaning I will have time to type up a super spiffy post for you!

Then we’ll be about square. *draws a square in the air with her right pointer finger* ;)

2016: A Lethbridgian Review

I’ve only been blogging on a regular basis for the past four weeks, so it may seem a little silly for me to write a year-end review. But I assure you, it can still be done!

I’m going to fill you in on what I was doing before I came back to the blog in November.

January

2016 was going to be the year I would finally lose weight. Forget the past nine or so years I have been saying it, I was actually going to accomplish it this year — and I did! Most of the kudos belong to my treadmill (for getting me off the couch) and my Fitbit (for helping me track my progress). I still have a little more weight to lose, but I have formed a pretty solid foundation as far as my eating and exercise habits go, so I just need to keep going strong into the new year and I may finally reach my goal in 2017. I can’t wait!

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February

For the first time since I don’t know when, I experienced true tranquility when I visited the feature pyramid dedicated to the Year of the Monkey at the Muttart Conservatory in Edmonton. Something about the sound of trickling water, the feel of cool air on my skin, and the sights and smells of the surrounding plant life made me never want to leave. The sense of calm I experienced actually brought tears to my eyes. After coming home, I knew that I needed to see the garden one last time before it changed over to a different theme, so I dragged my family up for a day trip on the final day. The trip was exhausting but worth it.

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March

This was my third year dancing in the Ammena Dance Company‘s annual show, An Explosion of World Dance & Music. I chose to be in a circus-themed burlesque piece set to Circus by Britney Spears and Applause by Lady Gaga. I wore a ringmaster’s outfit as my costume, and was thrilled to learn that this piece would open the show. It was A LOT of fun!

(photo credit)

April

This year marked 15 years since I graduated from Catholic Central High School (feeling old, now), and since plans for our 10-year reunion fell through, a group of classmates decided to organize a 15-year reunion at Average Joe’s instead. It was a night of drinks, appetizers, and a lot of catching up. Unfortunately, not many of my high school friends were able to attend, but I enjoyed seeing everyone who could.

May

There is not much to note from May aside from finally being given the go-ahead to move my desk at work to a new area. My new space is larger and has more natural light than my old desk. Plus I get to look out of a huge window every day. Not too shabby!

June

My husband and I got to dress up all fancy and attend a ball to celebrate our 9-year wedding anniversary. We clean up pretty good, eh?

July

For most of the first half of 2016, our daughter was obsessed with the children’s show Peppa Pig. My husband’s cousin tipped me off about a Peppa Pig meet & greet happening at West Edmonton Mall, so we decided to plan a whole trip around it. In addition to waiting an ungodly amount of time to meet and have our picture taken with Peppa Pig, we went to the World Waterpark, Galaxyland, the sea lion show, and observed the marine life at Sea Life Caverns.

August

For some reason, I thought it would be a good idea to take our daughter to Calaway Park during the August long weekend. Nope, not doing that again. But I felt the need to have her experience a right of passage of almost every child who grows up in southern Alberta. She had a blast, so that’s all that matters. Not the line-ups, or the expensive food, or the heat, or all the walking you have to do, or…

September

Another first that our daughter got to experience this summer was her first ride in an airplane. My sister-in-law was getting married just north of Vernon, B.C., and we decided to skip a lengthy car ride in favour of an hour-long plane ride and a little bit of driving. This was one of our smarter ideas out of all of our summer excursions. I’m happy to report our daughter is a natural flyer who enjoyed every minute up in the air. It was nice to be back in B.C. again too since the last time we were both there was shortly after our wedding in 2007. Beautiful, as always.

October

I took a break from social media in October to focus more on myself. The steady decline in sunlit hours wreaks havoc with my mental health and I was not feeling great. I feel the need to take a break from social media every once in a while so I can recharge my batteries (hello, introvert!) and get away from all of the voices on my various social media feeds. It helps me retain my sanity, really, even though it pisses off my friends and followers when I disappear with no warning. But I think it’s better to go on a hiatus than to constantly post depressing updates.

Your turn!

What have you enjoyed about my blog so far?

What would you like to see more of in 2017?

e-Etiquette, or lack thereof

My first college experience started in the fall of 2001. At that time, you rarely saw a cellphone or mp3 player in anyone’s hands, be it an instructor’s or a student’s.

Nine years later, these devices are perma-glued to practically everyone’s hands or ears as you roam anywhere on the Lethbridge College campus or even at the malls or a street in downtown Lethbridge. There’s no denying or escaping the progress technology has taken in the last few years. Nine years ago, I never wanted to be known for owning a cellphone, but, alas, now I too can go-go Gadget iPhone.

If you attend or work at the college, there’s no doubt you’ve seen the off-limits signs for where you can’t have your phone turned on or are discouraged from using it in certain places. I’ve noticed these signs make people believe they are more like guidelines than actual rules you need to follow – but I wish people would. Places like the Information Commons in the Instructional Building or the library – a place you would think would be quiet by default – have been tainted by the beeps and boops of non-silenced cell phones and other electronic devices.

There was one day I was in the Information Commons for a couple hours catching up in one of my classes. Someone’s text alert went off. Thinking that the owner just forgot to silence their phone, I continued on with my work. The same text alert sound went off again two minutes later. Then again a minute later. I realized that this person, either illiterate or ignorant, disregarded the signs entirely and decided that knowing they had a new text message by an audible alert was more important than worrying about bothering others around them. I never looked to see who this person was for my back was to the sound, but I found it rather inconsiderate and very annoying. The signs that advise you not to use your cell phone in the Commons are posted on almost every pillar and wall, so there is no excuse.

This inconsiderate lack of e-etiquette isn’t constrained to the college campus, as I’m sure a lot of you have come across in your daily lives. One that surely bothers me has to do with being on the receiving end of rudeness as a customer service representative. I work a cash register at a local food establishment on and off many times throughout a shift. To properly take someone’s order, I’d love to have their undivided attention, and I believe they would like the same in return. I’ve had a few occasions where someone has come into the establishment mid-conversation with someone on their phone, but they would also like to make their order while doing so. They proceed to order in between “uh huh”s and “yeah”s, and when I read back their order they say all is fine till they receive their order and there is a discrepancy. I’m sorry, but I did read the order back to you, you just weren’t exactly all there at the time. You still aren’t since your “uh huh”s and “yeah”s have turned into low grumbles about how the “stupid girl” at the counter got your order wrong. (!!!)

Thankfully I’ve encountered others who also come in while on a call, but either tell their companion on the other end they have to go or to hold on a moment while they place their order and pay. These people, boy, these people I like! If I could give them freebies I would! I’ve seen photos on the Internet of signs placed at cash registers asking customers to finish their conversations before ordering as a sign of respect. I’d love to mention that to my manager for us to put up at our store, but then again people shouldn’t need these signs. It’s common knowledge, common decency… heck, it’s COMMON SENSE!

I have to agree with a wise, modern day sage by the name of Phil DeFranco: common sense is dead.

How I spent my Lethbridgian vacation

I’m sure I’ve had to write one of these essays a few times in grade school, but I think the excitement level here will be a little lack luster. Summer just doesn’t hold the same promise of freedom as it used to. I blame the fact that being an adult isn’t as nice as I thought it would be, what with all the responsibilities… blech!

So what have I been doing that has made me so busy and pulled me away from the blog? Last time we saw our hero (i.e. me) she was unemployed and searching for what to do next with her life. The last two jobs I’ve held were administrative assistant positions. I absolutely love working as an office administrator! Aside from the insane amounts of stationary I get to be around all day (for I am a stationary aficionado), I enjoy keeping order, doing data entry, and most of all I LOVE accounts payable work. When I was younger I never thought I would want to have a career where I had to use math, but office math I can handle… just not to the point where I’d want to be an accountant.

While unemployed, I would scower help wanted websites and the classified section of The Herald, and I kept finding myself feeling defeated since most of the ads I was attracted to asked for a 2-year Office Administration diploma as well as a year or more of work experience. I have the work experience, just not the piece of paper. Thus I have decided to go back to Lethbridge College and get that darned piece of paper and get the jobs I want!

I decided to work two jobs over the summer to save up a little for the two years of education ahead of me and then apply for student loans to help me with the rest. Between one workplace and the other, there wasn’t much time in between to devote the time I wanted to the blog — hence the hiatus.

With school starting for us post secondary students today, I thought I would come back and try to give a glimpse of a Lethbridgian going through college a second time.

Riveting stuff, I know.

Since I’ve been through the halls of the college once again, I can already tell you there will be differences in my experience now compared to when I started the first time 9 years ago. I hope to share all these new experiences with you as well as what I experience being a “mature” student.

Thanks for sticking around thus far. TTFN!