Monthly Archives: September 2009

Family Values

Today some of my co-workers and I were discussing how families and family values have changed over the years. I’m not that old (even if my nieces think otherwise LOL), and I have noticed a huge difference in how families operate these days. When I was growing up, we had supper together every night, at the table. Not in front of the TV, not reading a book or the paper, not in our own rooms. We ate, we chatted about our days at work and school, and we shared clean-up duties.

I see a lot of families now that eat on the run, eat in front of the TV, or that eat on their own, independent of each other. How on earth can that foster communication between family members? How will you know what’s going on in your parents’/kids’ lives otherwise? Too many kids seem to be adrift in society . . . no anchor in their home life to keep them stable, and no values coming down from parents.

I’m not a parent, so commenting on parenting techniques is just going to sound lame and out of place. I get that. But it drives me crazy to see kids (of all ages) hanging out at bus stops, in parks or at the mall. No supervision, and nobody to answer to. Kids texting frantically, desperate for the next piece of gossip or celebrity news. Why aren’t they at home, learning about household chores or spending time with their family? What good can come from hanging out with no distinct purpose?

You know what scares me? The fact that I’m a young person and yet most people would think that I sound ultra-conservative and like a fuddy-duddy. It’s so frustrating!

And that’s my rant for the day 😉

Goodbye

Today has been a tough day . . . I got woken up with the news that my Grandpa Fred had passed away in his sleep. My mom was taking it very hard, and I think I kind of went into shock. It’s not like it was unexpected – he’s had Parkinson’s Disease and Alzheimer’s for years, and has been in a long term care facility for the past 8 years. Still, he’s been a fixture in my life for 31 years, and I guess I kind of thought that he’d always be around. Ya know?

Tuesday we head out for the funeral (it’s an 8 hour drive each way). The two younger dogs are going to a local boarding kennel, and the old crankpot will be staying with a good friend. We’ll be home either Saturday or Sunday, depending on what’s going on at the farm.

Hug the ones you love, and always tell them you love them.

Small Step For Me . . .

HUGE step for Jack Jack! I hope this brag isn’t premature, but Jack Jack has had an excellent week, in terms of other dog encounters. Jack Jack is a sensitive kind of guy. So sensitive that the idea of coming face to face with another dog scares the dickens out of him. Normally he gets very reactive – barking (sounds almost like a shriek), lunging and hackles raised to the sky. We’ve been working diligently on this for months, with little apparent progress. We’ve taken to walking along the fence outside of the dog park, to avoid these stressful (for both of us) encounters.

Tonight after supper I took Grace and Jack Jack for a walk. I don’t know why, but I decided to walk through the dog part, with the dogs off leash. The few people (maybe a dozen) with dogs that were there were clustered on the other side of the park. Immediately Grace and Jack Jack took off running towards the group of people and dogs, so I called Jack Jack back. He turned on a dime and came towards me (MEGA praise!). We walked about halfway through the park, past a big stand of trees, so he couldn’t see the gathering. Once we got past the trees, I noticed that a dog was closer to us (had crossed roughly half the distance) and Jack Jack saw the dog once I did. He peeled away at top speed.

This was the moment of truth. I called him. He stopped and looked over his shoulder at me. I could literally see the wheels turning in his head, weighing his options. I called again, in a happy voice, and he turned and came to me. He didn’t bark, jump or react to the other dog at all, even though he got within about five to six feet of it. WOW! WOW! WOW! This is huge for him!

Earlier this week I was walking Jack Jack (left Grace at home) and we went around one of the outdoor ice rinks. I didn’t see the lady walking her two small white dogs until we were almost face to face with them (well, about five or six feet apart). I started talking to Jack Jack to keep his attention, and he walked with me past that lady with her dogs without acting out at all. I was thrilled with that! It’s a big step forward for my little dude.

I sure hope this is the beginning of an upward trend. He’s such a sweet dog, and I think he’d be more fun to walk without the reactions and freaking out.

A Good Day

Have you ever had one of those days where everything just seems to fall into place at work? People come to you with questions or issues, and you can actually help them figure everything out? I had one of those days today. When working on projects, work days can be frustrating because nothing is the same from day to day. You can never really predict what people will need help with, or what issues you will be faced with. Today was NOT one of those days.

I was busy from the time I got in until the time I left. Not swamped, mind you. Just steady. I did stuff that I knew was useful and productive, and everybody was pleasant. The stars lined up perfectly, and I had a fabulous day. It was a good feeling to get stuff accomplished and crossed off my list, while still feeling unrushed.

Hope you had a good day at work too!

Beautiful Weather

At a point in time where we should be approaching fall in Northern Alberta, we are experiencing some glorious summer weather. And it’s about time, too! We had such a cool, wet, grey summer that it hardly felt like summer at all. I guess Mother Nature figures that late is better than never, and I can’t say that I disagree.

Saturday morning Grace and I had her third practicum visit for the therapy organization that we want to work with. She did extremely well (again!) and passed the evaluation with flying colours. She is so sweet, loving and even-tempered that everybody loves her – residents and staff alike. It’s like she was born to be a therapy dog, because it’s when she really shines. Now she’s officially a member of the Paws FM team. I am so proud of her.

Saturday night was the Opimian Society (http://www.opim.ca I think) dinner. The theme was South Africa – so all of the wines were from South Africa, as was the menu. And what a menu it was! The appetizer was braised python and tofu. The “salad” was arugula with octopus (not calamari, either – REAL octopus) that had been marinated in lime and red wine for three days. The main course was ostrich with a corn risotto. Dessert was an apricot malva cake that was to DIE for. I was nervous about this meal ahead of time (it’s pretty exotic, and I’m such a conservative eater), but it turned out to be pretty good. Python doesn’t have much of a taste – it seems to absorb the flavour of what it’s cooked with. It was kind of flaky, like fish. Octopus tastes like what it’s marinated in, and it was chewy, but not too rubbery. Ostrich was the biggest surprise – it was just like beef. So yummy and the risotto was the best I’d ever had. That apricot cake was unreal . . . soooo tasty.

Sunday was a quieter day for me. Hot again, so I stayed inside as much as I could. I gave Farley a haircut, ran a few small errands, and spent time online. Stupid FarmTown is sucking away my life LOL

Hope you had great weather where you live, and that you took advantage of it as much as you could!

AWOL

Okay, so I wasn’t really AWOL . . . I knew where I was, and so did almost everybody else. But I couldn’t come up with an equally attention-catching blog post title, so this is what you get.

Last week I was down south in Calgary for work. The project that I’m working on is getting ready to move into its next stage, so a lot of work is being done to optimize the current estimate and schedule. The working sessions were okay, but it was the after-work sessions that were fun. Monday night we had supper at a restaurant called Teatro, which was amazing. Gourmet food, and tasty too! The red wine wasn’t all that shabby either. Tuesday afternoon we did a group trip to Banff (yes, the mountains!). I spent some time in downtown Banff, and then the group met for supper at the Maple Leaf Grill. Another fabulous restaurant, and they could not be held responsible for the ensuing snafu. Due to a major electrical storm, the power at the restaurant went out. For an hour. Even the emergency lights. It was all very romantic, with red and white wine and flickering candles. Too bad I wasn’t interested in getting romantic with my co-workers. Still, it was an adventure.

Wednesday and Thursday nights I got together with some very, very, very good friends (you know who you are!). We had supper at Open Sesame one night, and The Barley Mill the second night. Both meals were excellent, and I highly recommend Fruli (strawberry beer!). We went and saw “The Goods” on Wednesday (cheezy, predictable “plot” but great laughs) and “500 Days of Summer” on Thursday. More of an indie flick, we all really enjoyed it. I’d highly recommend it!

My weekend was (predictably) busy. My mom and I ran errands on Saturday, and on Sunday I assembled our new computer desk. It was a monumental task, but I had no left over pieces (always a good thing!) and it looks beautiful. Monday I worked. Yes, it was Labour Day, so I laboured 😉

Hope everyone behaved while I was away!