a stone, a leaf, an unfound door

Saturday, April 28, 2007

I've Lost My Mind

I just came on to blogger to write about something, but then I got caught up in the whole changeover to google thing, and in filling out the registration forms, I forgot what the heck I was going to say in the first place.

Well, I guess I'll talk about my gaffa del dia. (That's spanglish for screw-up du jour, which is franglish for my dumbass move of the day). I received one of those meme type e-mails today from one of my oldest friends. We've known each other for 25 of my 37 years or so. It had 20 - 25 personal questions that you answer in the spirit of getting to know your friends better, or some such thing. Since I hadn't done one in years, and I was sipping my coffee on a Saturday morning, I thought "what the hell... nothing better to do." That and I was avoiding doing the grocery shopping.

So I filled out this questionnaire with somewhat bizarre answers, but totally honest... and I chose a few select friends to send it to. As it turns out, hotmail goes all wonky and sends it to everyone on my hotmail friends or contacts or whatever list. So that personal questionnaire went to my 11 y.o. step-son, my grandmother, my parents, my uncle, my realtor and a few of my co-workers. I'm afraid to know the others it went to. Oh well... at least my answers weren't *that* bad, but still not stuff I'd normally share with some of those people. I'd post it here as a laugh, but I didn't even bother to save it (and I'm too scared to look into my inbox to see who's replied).

I guess I'll check back here in a few days and post the stupid thing, if I'm brave enough to ever check my hotmail account again.

Monday, March 26, 2007

I feel so bad

Here it is March 26... and I just had dinner with my step-daughter under the influence of at least four shots of vodka and a few glasses of red wine. I would say that I'm drunk, but I'm probably just tipsy. I wish I could just be happy.

It's that week

So here it is... my birthday week. I don't know why I get so depressed each year around this time. I guess I should think less about the things that I'm not doing and take account of what I have.

I stayed home from work today, with vacation hours. I haven't been sleeping well lately (it's been about a week with no good sleeps), and I just didn't feel like lying that I was sick. I mean, I'm not 'sick' sick... but I didn't feel like I was up to using the whole brain today. And lately, going to work means balls to the wall running from beginning to end. I'm tired of this oil-fuelled growth here, and of the election year.

But, where I would have played hooky a few years ago... today I just called and said 'look, I'm just not up to it today'. I'm sure my boss will understand. Plus, all the night meetings I've been going to will provide me with lots of overtime to use.

So here I am... 36 for two more days. I decided to make a meatloaf today for the family (the stepkids are coming over for dinner tonight). I've never made a meatloaf before. I figured I should do it before I hit my late-30s. Weird, I know.

I cleaned out the garage this weekend, and came across a bunch of my brother's stuff. I miss him a lot, but I didn't get all weepy and stuff over it. Funny, though... because today it's hitting me harder.

I'm glad summer is finally coming around. Man, I was getting sick of winter. It's hard to wake up to snow for 6 months in a row. I know global warming is occuring... but it's hard to believe it here.

I bought three bottles of wine this weekend. But I only drank one bottle... that's not bad.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Crazy 2007

It's been a crazy 2007 so far. I'm sure any Canadian knows the insanity going on here in Alberta. It truly is too much to keep up with some days. Especially if you are working for a city in the development biz.

I've been totally incensed lately by the Alberta government, when I see places like Fort McMurray struggling to keep up with service demand and housing. Oil companies and mining companies in Africa build hospitals, schools, housing, etc., and we can't even get basic infrastructure here in Alberta. Hello, Alberta?... the third world is getting a better deal from the oil companies than you are!

I've been really busy so far this year, and I rarely get time to myself (especially time alone in front of a computer!) Now that my stepkids are 11 and 14, I pretty much have to arm wrestle them to use the computer... so blogging has been temporarily put on hold for the most part. Right now, I'm at my work computer waiting for a City Council meeting to start, so I actually have a few minutes to myself.

So I came back to this blog tonight, and lo and behold it was filled with spam. Ugh, that makes me mad. So I apologize to anyone that wants to comment in the blog, because I had to turn on word verification. It was sad to see my blog all slimed up that way.

So a big apology to all of the people I used to visit (and who used to visit me)... I didn't mean to drop off the face of the earth! I promise I'll try to poke my head in here from time to time.

Monday, September 11, 2006

For the fallen

Today is a day to remember all of those that put themselves in harm's way to save others. Whether or not you agree with anything that America has done in the past five years, there are hundreds and thousands of people that put their own lives on the line that day, and every day since. We held a small memorial in St. Albert today, but it was good to remember and respect those that have fallen.

Thank you to all emergency service personnel, you're job is so important... and appreciated.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Deleted post

I just realized that over 100 people have visited my blog. All of a sudden, I figured out that I really should keep certain things to myself that may affect my job (well, until I figure out the settings on this thing). So I ended up deleting one of my posts, or at least saving it to an internal file and deleted it from public view.

I've been using the username nerudite for awhile and, with a few exceptions, most of the sites on the internet with that nickname are mine. So even though I don't state my real name here, there are a lot people that could easily figure out who I am.

So I realize I'm not anonymous. And I should keep that in mind I suppose. Bummer, how easy it is to spy on someone these days, and how narrow people's views can be when it comes to what they read.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Vote or shut up

So I'm leafing through my mail-in voting pamphlet, and the candidates in Washington State that I have to choose from are growing ever more pathetic. I'm starting to understand why voting turnout is so low these days. But I've always held that if you don't vote, you can't complain. I mean, if you don't say anything when you have your chance, then just don't bother saying anything at all is my philosophy.

Opening up my ballot information package, which is starting to look like a small-town phonebook with all of the ballot measures in Washington, there isn't any really easy candidate to choose here. I used to vote, for the most part, right down party lines. I mean in the U.S., at this time, you really have two parties. So it's really tearing me apart that Maria Cantwell voted for the Iraq occupation, and continues to vote in favour of funding the operations overseas. So sorry, Maria, but I'm going Green this year. You really lost my respect, Maria, so I'm voting non-Democrat for a Senator for the first time ever. Way to go.

Luckily, I still have a groovy Representative in Brian Baird. He voted against the original Bill for funding the operations in Iraq, and continues to voice his concern about the war. And he generally votes in line with my way of thinking on most issues. So at least I'm sticking with him for now.

For anyone that is interested in researching their candidates a bit (for the U.S. elections, of course), I find www.vote-smart.org really easy to use. You can look up issues by keywords, or go straight to a specific bill or resolution. Do your duty America! Otherwise, don't come whining to me later.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Countdown to Freedom

Okay, as an American, I guess I am technically 'free' (or supposedly so). But for the last five years I've been living in Canada under a work permit, which makes you anything but free. In less than one week though, I have my final interview for permanent residency and once that is issued, I'll be truly free (at least in the eyes of Canada).

For you see, for the last five years, I have had to endure horrid stress over the whole work permit thing. I'm married to a Canadian, but for any reason if I lost my job, I would be kicked out of the country on my arse. I've had to update everything annually, and everything is tied to my work permit. For three years in a row, despite how early I turn in my paperwork, my work permits have lapsed because of how long they take to process. I've lost my health insurance, couldn't renew my driver's license or vehicle license, couldn't leave the country for awhile... it's been a nightmare.

Oh, and under a work permit, you can't even take a freaking training course. My job keeps growing at my workplace, but I haven't been able to take any training (outside of conferences or in-house offerings) to even address any educational shortcomings that may make me a more effective employee.

Alberta, as anyone in North America should know, is one of the largest sources of oil in the world and is currently booming in a way that makes my skills particularly valuable. But the hoops you have to jump through to move up here permanently are insane. Here's a little rundown of what you need to do to become a permanent resident:

  • I had to list every house I ever lived at (including addresses and dates) since the time I was 18;
  • I had to list every job I have ever held (with dates and addresses!) since the time I was 18;
  • I needed to list every person I ever lived with in a common law way, and state their whereabouts and whether they knew I was up here;
  • I needed to list the dates that my husband met my family and friends and when I met his (with photos, if possible);
  • I had to provide photos and details of my wedding (and shower), including reasons why certain family or friends could not attend;
  • I had to provide photos of family vacations, as well as details as to where we went and when;
  • I had to have expensive medical exams (including an EKG and x-rays);
  • I had to get my criminal records (or letter stating lack thereof) from every state I ever lived in AND the FBI (which meant I had to get four sets of official, original fingerprints taken); and
  • I had to supply proof of income and still have someone (my husband) sponsor me in case I lose my job.

And actually the list goes on and on, but I won't dull everyone with the details. The processing has taken almost one year since the time I mailed the application, and in the meantime I had to fight to get my work permit renewed, my health insurance reinstated and my driver's license renewed. I even contacted the Minister of Immigration over the problems, and have yet to hear back from their office (and it's been over seven months).

In a province that desperately needs skilled workers and professionals to deal with this insane pace of growth, I find it so incredibly ironic that they throw so many roadblocks in your way to moving here. It's been really disappointing to say the least.

I guess I shouldn't be too negative (or vocal about my negativity) until I actually get that permanent residency card in the mail (or at least until after the interview). But I am actually excited to get this whole thing over with. I can't wait to actually go to training sessions again, or maybe even (*gasp*) take a real university course. It's the little things that count and make you feel like you are 'free', and I have a renewed appreciation of the ability to do what I please.

And of course, not getting kicked out of the country for any little lame excuse will be a bonus.

So here's to six days and counting! Don't let me down Canada, because other than your crappy immigration process, you really are quite cool!