Signs, Signs, Everywhere There’s Signs

I’ve started paying attention to signs. Not just road signs, but clues or meanings that trigger directions for me to follow or messages I am suppose to be aware of. Usually they are verbal but every now and then they are words I read. Over the past 7 days the message I have received loud and clear is, if you want something bad enough, say it out loud. Tell people you desire this.

It all started last week in my Qualitative and Quantitative Research class. My Professor gave me an article she found on LinkedIn. It is called,

Four Ways Women Stunt Their Careers Unintentionally  by Jill Flynn, Kathryn Heath, and Mary Davis Holt, you can read the blog here.

Essentially, The article tells women to be proud of their accomplishments and say so. Don’t assume the people in power know what you are capable of, tell them. Be assertive. Men typically do this all the time. When women do it, they are looked at as bossy or pushy. Have you ever heard the old adage, the squeaky wheel gets the grease? Well, it’s true.

My mom and I had a sit down the other day talking about selling yourself. My mom is likely the best sales person on the planet. She can sell ice to Inuit. She maintains that if you can’t sell yourself to a company you want to work for, than how can you be expected to sell anything once you work for them?

Good point mom. I also know if I sell myself too hard, than I risk being shown the door. I’m okay with that. I am confident enough in my own ability that finding a new opportunity down the road is possible. The bottom line is, I know what I want, I can see it clearly. I am taking steps that put me in that direction. I have told people what I want and I am 3/4 of the way done in terms of furthering my education to get me that position. Today I had three separate conversations that pointed back to that sign.

The first conversation was with a person who just finished the very same degree that I am currently working on. We were chatting about the Master’s program, when she commented about my skill and mentioned that I may be a good candidate for a future endeavor. I replied, that’s the plan Stan! I told her I think it’s important to share your plans. She agreed, she said no one gets ahead by staying quiet about their intentions. EXACTLY!

The second conversation was with a new employee who has her eyes set on a brass ring. I can see the hunger in her eyes. She also is telling everyone who will listen her ambition. Good for her, I like her tenacity.

The third conversation was with a dear sweet friend. We were talking about personal goals, not work related ones. She had mentioned that she was interested in running the half marathon with me next August. I said it’s a date! Meanwhile, I mentioned that I had hoped to run the Donald Duck half marathon January 6, 2012. I was currently training for it and if all went well, I would be there because it is the 15th anniversary of the race. I was told there would be a bit of fan fare surrounding it! She asked me what was holding me back. I replied, CASH. School is expensive and that is my priority right now. She reached into her bag and gave me $5.00! She said if everyone who read my blog gave me $1 than I could go easily. She is right,and I would have money left over for a big donation to Make-A-Wish too. Before I left, another friend over heard our conversation. She gave me $5.00 too. So now I have $10.00 towards my flight! I have taken some Face Painting jobs this Christmas, so that will cover half my flight. This no longer sounds crazy! Okay, it sounds crazy, even to me.

I do however, come with a set of beliefs and values. I believe that no good deed goes undone. So… I am not going to ask you for a donation to send me to Walt Disney World in January. If you would like to contribute, THANK YOU!! But that sounds selfish. I am going to ask you to think about giving $1.00 to your charity of choice instead of me. I am not a charity – as much as I like to think I am – but I do believe in giving of yourself and money.

I will be optimistic and say WHEN you donate to a favorite charity because you read THIS blog, please tell me and I will write the amount on a piece of paper and put it in my fund. You can email me:

you can tweet me: @edmontontourist

You can Facebook me: The Edmonton Tourist

AND of course you can comment below!

I want to see the generosity of people, of my readers. I want to know how much – I’m asking that you give $1, your morning coffee costs more…just saying, and where you give it.

As for my fund, If I don’t raise enough for 2012 marathon it’s okay, I KNOW I will raise enough for the 2013. Any extra will go to the charity I will run for, Make-A-Wish foundation. I will run for them, because I have been lucky enough to have my wish come true, Make-A-Wish gives kids a chance to have their wish come true. Dreams that come true are the second best feeling, making someone elses dream come true is the best feeling.

Thanks Laurie xoxo


Show of hands please, who wears their jammies all day?

Dear Facebook,

Today you told me to buy this:

You thought I might enjoy a plus-size corset from  Facebook, take a good look at that gal…She is NOT A PLUS-SIZE Model! If I looked like her I would think about indulging in prettier underthings. I double dog dare you to squeeze me into that facebook. As it stands facebook, I have limited options. Granted, I wouldn’t spend serious money on it now because my sizes keep changing regularly. Besides, that is not the point.

Today you eavesdropped on my conversation with my pals. I was telling them about a snack time conversation I had with a FOUR YEAR OLD I had today. She asked me if I owned pajamas. You just couldn’t keep your comments to yourself now could you facebook? No, you could not. You didn’t even WAIT for me to give my friend an answer before you gave me options. Lets look at the options, shall we? Because as I glanced at all 4 of them, and facebook, you are getting to big your britches.

First of all, you suggested I purchase a Plus-Size corset. Then you showed me a picture of what I wouldn’t look like. Ouch facebook, ouch.

Secondly, you thought it would be fun for me to stay in my Pajamas ALL DAY and get paid to social network. Really facebook? Does Mark Zuckerman wear HIS pajamas all day? I don’t think so. People who wear their jammies all day tend to have labels attached to them, for example facebook, invalids, hospital patients, babies, Hefner, shift workers, Banana’s and apparently professional social networkers. I have a job facebook, and I quite like it thanks, AND I get to wear clothes to work.

Thirdly, you thought I might like to lose my belly fat. Again with the ouch facebook. In case you haven’t been reading my other updates, I will fill you in. I swam today for an hour. Yesterday I did 50 minutes of circuit training. I eat less and move more. Sure I have SOME belly fat left, but there is 4 clothing sizes less of me than there was at Christmas, so bugger off facebook. I refuse to pay you or your friends money so I can lose belly fat. That was a very low blow facebook.

The icing on the cake facebook was when you suggested. Lula Lu Petite Lingerie. One side of your mouth you are spouting plus-size and with the other AFTER I LOSE THE BELLY FAT, you want me in a -A cup size…NEGATIVE A?????  Have you seen George Clooney’s (my future ex-husband) girlfriends? They are NOT -A’s. They have CLEAVAGE. And thank you very much facebook, so do I. I wasn’t even a -A when I was an infant.

Facebook, I know you are lonely and want to sit at the grown-ups table for cool conversation. But this isn’t the way to go about it. Blurting out hurtful and impulsive things is just not okay. In my line of work when you do stuff like that, you get a time out. Is that what you really want facebook? Don’t MAKE me call your mom, because you know I will.

Are You Having Fun Yet?

Hmm… Are you?

Today I was in a session where we talked about a myriad of things. One being FUN. When I started my journey I knew I was lacking in the fun department. I set out to take risks and try new things. I forgot to add HAVE FUN. Fun and Funny are not the same thing. I make people laugh all the time. It is hard to make me laugh, and if you can, you are amazing… just saying.

Fun takes the chore out of chores. When big changes happened at work in November, I asked Mrs. Bosslady if the new person they were bringing in was fun. She wouldn’t answer that question. To her the important part was could she do her job well. I had years of people just doing their job well. I wanted some fun for a change dammit! Interesting that I inherently knew 3 months into my journey that I needed fun in spite of the fact I didn’t put it on my list. At work I had a few people who were fun but they were always just out of my reach. I could laugh with them sporadically but never got to work with them long term. FINALLY I have the opportunity to work with FUN people! WOOT!!! BOOOOYA! So, Mrs. Bosslady, are they fun? Yes ET they are fun! YIPPEE!  Check that off my list, work is becoming fun again…first time in decades.

Moving onto my day to day life…

Is that fun? Ummm no. Well, it wasn’t.

Chatterbox and I went out and tried new things, we had fun doing that. In fact we still do. Best of all, I know her so much better than I did before and an added benefit is she is FUN AND FUNNY! So random weekend things are fun with Chatterbox.

I met some pretty amazing people here on this blog, on Facebook and on Twitter. They are FUN and often FUNNY! So again, huge bonus because I get both for the price of one! I would chat with people, learned amazing things, found common interests, cheered for the same hockey teams, exchanged Disney Tips, I loved every minute of that. That for me was FUN!

Then I went off and met someone who told me I needed to nurture myself. That meant I needed to stop putting myself last on the list and start prioritizing FUN. Okay, I could do that…but I felt guilty. This person gave me permission to have fun, in fact it was Doctor prescribed. This is what they taught me:

  • Fun gives you more energy than it takes.
  • Giving up an enjoyable activity REDUCES your energy in the long run
  • Fun activities reduce stress and depression


So with her permission I went out and found some fun. I went to the Art Gallery, I went out for dinner a few times with my girls from work, I had friends over for a laugh, I watched movies curled up on the couch, I played rockband with my children, I swim – I swim and find that FUN! But tonight I have a new challenge.

I need to name 5 activities that I use to enjoy but haven’t done in long time. This one is harder. I can think of fun things I want to do but there are road blocks in the way. For example: I want to have fun in New York City, but can’t do that yet. I want to go to a New York Ranger Hockey Game wearing a Mark Messier jersey, I can’t do that yet either. I want to go to Walt Disney World as a DVC member, can’t do that either. I want to have season tickets to the Oilers in a Sky Suite box, I can’t do that yet either. Wishful thinking is not getting me anywhere, I need to be practical.

Where was I? Oh ya, 5 things I USE to do that I found enjoyable.

  1. Air guitar in front of my mirror. Oh BOY that was fun for me! I could give that a try again.
  2. Go to a chick flick with a bunch of girls. I TOTALLY NEED TO DO THAT ONE!
  3. Talk for hours on the phone with my best friend…I should give that one a try too!
  4. Have a shopping day with my mom, gran and aunty. I would love that one too!
  5. Karaoke with my sister…HEY SISTA’ invite me over for Karaoke!!!

All of those doable, all of those are fun. I need to get started. What is your 5?

I’ll read your answers later, Billy Joel is inviting me over for a bottle of red and I need to grab my air guitar.

Who is the Coldest Canadian?

Oh Facebook, you are such a tease! Look at you suggesting I enter a contest proclaiming I am the Coldest Canadian so I can win a trip to New Zealand! I would love to win a trip! Not just to New Zealand but I would be happy to win a trip to Calgary! I just like to win. I am competitive that way.

I checked out this contest and it seems simple enough. I just need to video my self proving I am the Coldest Canadian, submit the video and get 500 000 of my closest friends to vote for me! Easy Peasy.

  1. I could sit on the patio at Starbucks drinking a Frap! That’s pretty cold.
  2. I could go for a Polar Bear swim at Lake Wabamum. There is open water near the Coal Plant cooling ponds, that is pretty cold!
  3. I could lay out on my lounge in the back yard in a bikini Athletic Tank Suit reading about polar bears in National Geographic with the thermometer behind me reading -32C
  4. I could shovel the walks in flip flops!

I watched some of the videos that were submitted by fellow Crazy Canucks, I voted for Lauren in Yellowknife. It was -34C with a windchill of -45C. She stripped down to her bikini and froze her patootie off amongst the ice sculptures. I lived in Yellowknife and I don’t care what anyone says, that place if freaking cold! Besides, she lives in YELLOWKNIFE, she deserves a vacation!

I am going to give this some thought. I want to go to New Zealand. What do you suggest?


Facebook is Bossy

Facebook is starting to annoy me with it’s bossiness.

I had a rough day, and so did the team. Then I get a text from the Honey that he is working late. Not that it is a problem, it is the time of year that he works late. I am use to it and it is WAY BETTER now that the Offspring can feed, bathe and dress themselves. (Three cheers for Teenagers!) I head over to Facebook to decompress and it is telling me I need to buy this:

Really Facebook? You think doing dishes in an ugly sink is what I need? Facebook, YOU do the dishes, I am knackered. I read Brown Road Chronicles today and I can really relate. He talks about a sabbatical. Do you hear that Facebook? A sabbatical, not doing dishes in an ugly sink. Dishes just bring me down. I have enough stuff that bring me down, I don’t need chickens in my sink too. Facebook, You should send me away for uninterrupted sleep, I would buy that! A Full nights sleep, a full 12 hours of sleep in this room Facebook:

Then Facebook, you should let me soak in this bathroom that my favorite designer put together:

This bathroom has all my favorite things Facebook, books, a terry chair, wine, a lock on the door, not shampoo bottles on the tub. Brian Gluckstein knows what I want Facebook. You should call him.

Then Facebook, I want this view:

Facebook, this is a mid-century modern home over looking the Santa Ana’s only minutes away from Disneyland. This is what you should tell me to buy Facebook. Not an ugly kitchen sink with chickens looking at me while I wash dishes. Not very funny Facebook.

My Ugly Shoes Weakness

Facebook wants me to buy these:

Really Facebook? You think I need those? You know I have a penchant for ugly shoes. Maybe that is the reason. Like many of you, I went through the Croc phase. I had a heel spur from wearing really cute shoes that RUINED my feet. I could hardly walk and Crocs saved me from a fate worse than surgery. My Friend2 (friend squared) often reminded me that my Crocs were hideous. I knew it, I did not care because I was secure in my comfort. Crocs came a long way from ” wow, those are super ugly” to “seriously, those are Crocs?”. There is even an enitre shoe store dedicated to Crocs on Whyte Avenue. I love Croc flip-flops, and have a special pair I wear for work. Those Crocs are suede. I know, how much uglier can I get in the shoe department? Crocs AND suede! My feet love me.

Back in August I decided I needed to modify my style. Become an adult in the style department. Wear the things I like rather than things that are easy. Part of that was shoes. I love how great looking shoes make me feel. I have a pair of Cause and Effect Heels I wish I could wear every day. My job just doesn’t lend itself to heels. I need flat and functional. In my line of work, you never know when I may need to run down the hallway on a moments notice. Heels just don’t work for that. So I bought a pair of functional leather shoes that are not ugly. They certainly aren’t super cute, but they aren’t ugly. Then I went and bought Croc insoles! Take THAT Friend2, I am secretly wearing Crocs! Yay Me!

To update my wishes from August, I wear more black and less cartoon-esque colours. I wear nice shoes and boots when I go out. I bought a winter coat ( WOOOOHOOO!) that is black and not pink plaid! It was true about the clothes building confidence. I feel good. Yet Facebook still thinks I should own Five Finger shoes.

Facebook is right about other things I should own, like plane tickets to New York, Johnny Depp, and Facebook thinks I should go to Costa Rica. I think I should too! So Facebook, you are sitting pretty smug about thinking I need Five Finger Shoes.

Last summer I was sitting in Starbucks ( there is a surprise! I was in Starbucks!) and a women came in wearing the Five Finger Shoes. I had never seen them before. I thought they were pretty ugly, so of course I thought they were perfect for me. Hahaha – kidding! I was intrigued though. I asked her about them, because (who are we kidding) I am NOT shy. She said she ran in them and they were the most comfortable running shoe she ever owned. I must admit, my feet were jealous. I went to the web site and learned they are good for yoga, running, water sports and traveling – really, traveling? I’m sure there were some places I have been where they would have been frowned upon. Still, they interest me. I prefer my yoga barefoot. I prefer my water sports barefoot. That is the point though, they are barefoot sports. Therefor this shoe is suppose to be ideal.

It is ugly enough for me, but is it practical enough? Tell me what you think. I would love to know if you own a pair, or just what you think of then if you don’t own a pair.


So Where’s Your Snow Now?

Last week New York received a pile and a half of snow. It made international news. INTERNATIONAL NEWS! Yes there was a lot. Yes it was “coldish”. Yes it is WINTER.

This last weekend Alberta was hit with a TON OF SNOW. Did it make international news? I don’t think so. Was there a lot of snow? Yes. Was it cold? Yes it IS winter! It is always cold in winter. New York’s snow is nearly gone, it may be all gone, I don’t live there I don’t know for sure. The weather in New York was above freezing, and my scientific knowledge tells me snow melts when the temp is above 32F or 0C. Our snow wont leave until April – if we are lucky.

In New York, I learned on Facebook, that some people couldn’t make it into work, or didn’t even try because of the snow. Here in Edmonton, there is no such thing as a snow day. You have work? Better leave early. You have school? Better leave early. You need to go shopping? Be careful of the parking lot, you may get stuck.

My Offspring have been shoveling along with their Dad and every other citizen of Alberta the past few days. Chatterbox had to stop because she could no longer lift the snow OVER her head to store it on the lawn. I have good news for Chatterbox. The snow stopped and the sun came out! I have bad news for Genetic Offspring, there is more snow coming Thursday. Another 5″-10″ on top of the two feet we already have. Where are we going to put this stuff? The City hasn’t sent snowplows out to residential yet. Our neighbors all pitched in with shoveling the road so the cars wouldn’t get stuck. I think I need to buy a patio heater to melt the snow in my yard.

This is the view from my car window. I am backing out my driveway and looking to see if any cars are in the way. Can you see any?

This is the Snow Fort the Offspring made, the snowbank is nearly 6 feet high.

The view looking east at my neighbors garage – I can’t see it either.

The Sunset at 4:15 today looking out my window. This is why I live here. The amount of sunshine and blue sky is worth it to me.

Stay warm, have that shovel handy and keep your stick on the ice.  🙂


Baby Chicken Hawk is my Idol

I think I had a nervous break down today. I cried, I was cranky and…No – Wait a minute – I didn’t have chocolate!

I was watching Oprah tell Barbara Walters that Gail is the friend everyone should have. I don’t want to be Gail’s friend, but a friend like Gail would be awesome. Oprah talks to Gail everyday to debrief her day. They laugh and cry etc, etc, etc, bask in each others friendship glory and then move onto the next day.

I have AMAZING friends. I can call anyone of them up and ask a big fat huge favor and each and every one will say yes before I finishing saying “I need to ask a favor”.  I can call them for a minute and end up yapping for an hour or two – Gail & Oprah style! Just to have that moment in my day to debrief would be amazing. That would be huge! Seriously, who has the time? My schedule is tight. I need to fit sleep in there somewhere. I thought having my courses done for the semester would ease it a bit, but HA! No such luck. I am so incredibly thankful for Facebook! Facebook keeps me up to date with my friends, lets me know about the chaos in their lives, lets me see the MOST ADORABLE pictures of their kids, pups and vacations. When I say adorable, I really mean Baby Chicken Hawk. There was a picture today of her looking all ambivalent and with her fingers innocently arranged, flipping the bird to the world. The Babe is 4 months old and has serious ‘tude! This is THE BEST PICTURE EVER!

It is the best because A> She is EXACTLY like me – and when I say me – I mean my evil twin Chicken Hawk and B> She has no idea what it means, and by the look on her face she doesn’t really care anyways.

I want this picture to be my new Facebook Profile Picture. I want this picture to hang on my mirror to remind me about what’s important and what is not. I want to have this picture on my iPhone so I can remember to flip the bird metaphorically when I need to not care. This Baby is rocking my world.

Thanks Baby Chicken Hawk I needed this picture today. Between you, chocolate, coffee, my best girlfriends, my best guy friends and my family – I don’t think I need a friend like Gail.

Good News! It wasn’t a nervous break down after all!

Where is a Swat Team When you Need One?

I was standing in line waiting to vote today and I heard the instructions informing me how to fill out the legal declaration. These were the instructions from the incredibly nice and patient lady who met me at the door: Fill out your name, your address then READ this section and DO NOT SIGN! You may sit at the table over there and fill it out. Then proceed to the line and give the declaration to a person sitting at that table. This is a seven step instruction. Perfectly reasonable for an adult who can read English or French who has reasonable intelligence. No one of reasonable intelligence was in front of me, or possibly behind me.

I got in line AFTER filling out my declaration only to discover the couple in front of me had not filled their paper out. I heard the nice lady explain to them what to do then she asked them “do you understand” They both nodded yes. While standing in the line they were not suppose to be in, they were looking around and noticed people sitting at the table. The gal turns to me and says “what are they doing?” I reply “filling out the paper you have in your hand” “What paper?” was her reply. Seriously? Isn’t there an IQ test people should take before being allowed to vote? So they left. I moved forward towards the beginning of the line. Remember when the nice lady said “DO NOT SIGN IT!”?

The man in front of me signed it before he got to the table. Not the correct action for the task at hand. He had to re-do his paper. With ANY legal document, you need a witness to your signature or it is not valid. Secretly I was hoping for a swat team to sweep down from the ceiling at hold him at gun point for document violation. But I live in Canada, packing heat and asserting authority is frowned upon in a community school. I think I watch too much Hawaii Five-O. Book him Dano! They let the guy re-do his paper without much fan fare. I was very impressed the the patience the people have to be able to deal with the non listening voters. Kudos to the electoral officers! You have a mind numbing job.

Why is it so hard for people to listen to the instruction and then follow through with them? I must admit I will tune out people if they drone on about something I don’t find interesting. But I will say, “sorry I wasn’t listening because I am bored”. My Dad you just hand me stuff to figure out because “I can’t be bothered Rob, you are good at that stuff anyways”. Fair enough, at least he is honest! It really frustrates me when people complain about something then don’t offer a viable solution, here is my dad’s solution. Everyone receives an electronic bracelet at birth. The person giving instructions has an electronic device in their pocket that sends out a current that snaps the non listening person into attention. Problem solved. I really want swat teams to repel down packing heat. I know that is not a viable solution though. So here is my viable solution: It is as simple as consequences fitting of actions. Every time an adult does not listen to instructions given in public, they must give me five. If you don’t work in preschool or kindergarten you may not know what this means.

Give me Five

1. Sit criss cross apple sauce in the center of the room

2. Your hands are folded neatly in your lap

3. Your lips must be quiet

4. Your eyes must be on the adult giving instructions

5. You must use your listening ears.

Every 5 year old knows how to do this. They use it to hear multi-step instructions. If they don’t understand, they raise a quiet hand for clarification. Simple. You know this would only ever happen once, then the adult would start listening to instructions in public. We are an information society. You must pay attention to the world around you, it provides ques and clues to what you should be doing. Better yet, use the default and let your children listen for you. They are practiced Professionals and are quite capable. I know it is hard to release the power and give it to your children. I did it in Europe. I made Genetic Offspring be in charge of the map. It was a huge wonderful risk for me. One that I am going to take more often.