Archive for April, 2010

for kirsten on OC transpo
April 22, 2010

Hi K,

If you’re reading this, you’re on OC transpo. In Ottawa, enjoying the dedicated transit lines that move you from city hub to neighbourhood homes at like, a gazillion miles an hour.

How lucky you are to live in such a beautiful place. The first impression that Ottawa made on all of us when we first got to university stuck with you best. You’re there. While we only remember with fond memories the time that we spent on Thompson 6, at Father’s & Sons, for the beer before bed at the Equinox, at the By-Ward Market. What you call home, we call the good old days. I’ll always wonder what life would had been like for us had we stayed. And after a day like today, I wish I had.

In my neighbourhood, things are 99% good. Then, on days like today, major 1% trouble. A child, in trouble. A flight or fight situation. An acknowledgment that life is not easy. The emperor has no clothes. That something is rotten in the state of Denmark. A to be or not to be moment. How I wish you were here. To help me know that I made the right decision. That it might actually make a difference. To get perspective. To make it right.

To match our socks and get on with the day. I miss you. You never ride alone. This blog post is for you, ma belle.

Loulou

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the not so perilous side of good advice
April 8, 2010

It’s true that it’s easy to give advice. It’s much harder to take, that’s for sure. But lately I have been thinking back to some sage old advice from people I knew who are past old – and indeed past – may they rest in peace – as well as some other people who are thankfully, still part of my life.

Everyone has a hidden agenda.
My GrandMaman used to say  that everyone has an “agenda cache”. And she would know. With 14 kids, a fair shwack of daugthers and sons in law as well as dozens (literally) of grand children, if she wasn’t an expert in human nature, I don’t know who could have been. As a mom myself, I’ve come to learn that my kids have expectations and  aspirations. The trick is being present enough to figure them out. Same goes for friends, neighbours and colleagues. If you care about people, you have to take the time to figure out what they need. Which brings to mind the ever present SmartCentre development in Salmon Arm. For or against, we have to figure out what each of us needs to make community work.

If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.
On the english side of my family, my Grandmother used to say that if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. That’s a big order for a French Canadian like me. The threat of assimilation means  you never stop speaking out lest you be muzzled further. Which might help to explain why the Bloc Quebecois says so many seemingly dumb things in the English media. But on second thought, I think my Grandmother was right. And believe me, she could have said plenty of nasty things in her depression era patriarchal society days. But she didn’t.  Because it’s less about what you say (there we go with the hidden agendas again) and more about what you do. And she did her fair share of doing, of that there is no doubt.

Sports Metaphors
My Dad enjoys a good sports metaphor – something Vinny Testarverde legendary QB for the NY Jets said will often come up when he’s dispensing fatherly advice. Don’t forget. Don’t forgive. Do Something – or something along those lines. Also good advice to take. Especially the Do Something part. I think many of us tend to dwell in the world of “if only” when in fact, the mere act of starting somewhere, or beginning anywhere provides great momentum.

Clever Comebacks
My Mom is the queen of clever comebacks. Regardless of the situation, she always has the perfect jab if needed. Like a fencer (not the kind that sells peoples stuff – though she does like a good flea market) – she has great instinct about what will happen next (when I’d ask how she knew what I didn’t think she could possibly know, she always says a little birdie told her… that’s some birdie). My favourite is a catch all piece of advice that is the “little black dress” of any tricky conversation – and here it is –  I won’t hold that against you.

– Try it next time someone tries to lob a supremely lame excuse at you. I won’t hold that against you.
– Try it next time someone starts bragging about a recent expensive purchase or exotic trip. I won’t hold that against you.
– Try it next time someone genuinely feels bad about what happened. I won’t hold that against you.

It works in most every scenario. It gives responsiblity back to its rightful owner, it’s humbling and oddly compassionate.

So next time someone sends some advice your way, consider taking a bite or two. But if you don’t, I won’t hold that against you. 😉

so now what?
April 1, 2010

So here’s a question. How do we decide that enough is enough? How do we decide that what we’ve been doing is no longer what we should be doing? When does one thing stop and another thing start? In case you’re suspecting a tale of love gone wrong (and if you know me personally, you’re not even thinking that), don’t. This is about work. How we make our living. How we step from one thing to another thing. It’s an interesting consideration. If you look at most people’s careers, you couldn’t script them if you tried. They saw an ad. They met someone at some place. They heard a story. They got a phone call. They made a choice. It’s the mundane that sets us on courses that we couldn’t have imagined. But how long can you stay on a course and not wonder if another would be a better one, or more precisely, the next one?

Take me for example. How did a girl from small town Ontario end up here in Salmon Arm. First, it was an PA annoucement on a typical high school day to apply for the Parliamentary Page Programme in Ottawa. Like I’d get in. But I did. Then, it was a “go west young people” movement (not unrelated to a big recession in Ontario, btw) – which I joined (and by joined I mean what the H-E – double hockey stick choice did I have, really?). Then, it was an ad in the paper for a publishing job “why not” moment that, well, worked out. Then, a few years later, another ad for a Masters in Publishing at SFU. Like I’d get in. But I did. (sound familiar?) Then it was a “hey come to Salmon Arm for awhile and see” like I’d like it – but I did.  So here I am, ten years later. And I feel like it’s time for change again – or it could just be spring… Come to think of it, it’s probably overdue. In my little life, this is the place I’ve lived the longest (10 plus years) and the job in which I’ve gone the furthest as the owner of Mediability. So is that it then? I don’t think so. This town is so stuffed full of talent, I can’t help but think there are many exciting things yet to do. But what? And for whom? And when? I have a few ideas. More than a few really. I just need the universe to unfold as it should. So if you’ve been having “now what” moments, let me know, maybe we can share travellers’ tips. Because I’ve always been sure about where I want to be, I’m just not always so sure how to get there.