Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Papa don't preach....I might laugh way to hard!

This morning my Mom surprised me with a catch up call!

As you know, my folks are lounging away in the Southern parts of the U.S. of A. It seems Mom had a break from boccie ball, swimming, lawn bowling, exercising and all that stuff and because she loves me, misses me and I make her laugh, she decided to reach out and touch me! I couldn't have been more pleased. It seems they are enjoying themselves, keeping busy and definitely doing some soul searching. My guess is her call was to put me in the right frame of mind for the emails she would send me next.....

As my Dad grows older there is no denying that he is mellowing. He has moved from the staunch, opinionated, conservative banker that he once was to a much more laid back, still opinionated, still conservative (or so I thought) kind of guy (and I use this term loosely!) that my Mom is enjoying retirement with.

Apparently, he left as my Dad and will come back as......
Edna From Big Blonde and Beautiful (Hairspray)

Mom hasn't confirmed it but I think I shall still call him Dad...I hope the change doesn't require too much counselling for the grandkids. I mean my girls will be accepting they are older....

Not too sure how the little neices will react!
Monday, February 26, 2007

Weekend Update

Hi Everyone....hope your weekend was a great relaxing time! We used the time this weekend to catch up on family stuff. Specifically our long list of tv shows that we all hadn't watched. We whittled it down quite a bit.

On Friday night we called the police and had them come over to fill out a police report on the whole phone harassment thing. It started out good and then Mr. Police Officer decided it was time to play Good Cop, Bad Cop all by himself and ask some very interesting questions. Now don't get me wrong....I understand the purpose of this type of interrogation but as a pretty responsible parent..."Don't you fricking think that I asked the same questions before calling the police into this??" He asked the standard, "do you have any idea who's calling you?", "did you have an argument with someone at school and this could be them getting back at you?" Then he asked what school she went to, Bri's school is divided into 2 campus'. The one campus is traditionally focused on all things academia and the other campus is purely a trade and tech campus that has a high rate of kids that are on their final chances at any kind of schooling. Bri attends both campus'. When he got this response his eyebrows raised and I had to jump in and remind him that harassment really had no basis in grades! DONKEY!
Mr. Police Officer advised Brianne that this was not a joke, when he found this young man....criminal charges would be laid for criminal laughing matter. Brianne told him that she hoped she found him. She remained calm and composed and I think he finally realized that she was really frightened.

Harassment continued through the evening but the call at 3am sent Hubby over the deep end when Phoneboy advised Bri that he was around the corner with his friend.

Hubby did what no police officer could do, he offered, the option of stopping, to this boy with the promise of losing of everything he loved if he continued to call and harass is daughter. I think he mentioned to the young man that he really didn't know this family well or our total focus on accomplishing what we set out to. He was advised that Hubby would hunt him down and shove the phone in places that would be quite uncomfortable if he continued on his present trajectory.

Apparently that was sufficient information as Bri's only had one phone call since. I guess we'll see what happens this week.

Bri and I decided that it would be a waste of time changing her phone number if she was going to continue to share her number.

We'll see what happens this week.

Hoping you all had a great weekend!
Friday, February 23, 2007

What to do when the world is a scary place???

Yesterday Bri woke her Dad up at 3 in the afternoon. This is unheard of, as usually we toss a coin for who has to go wake him at 6 or 7 his regular waking time for my night shift man. Bri was scared shitless and she was crying desperately. Frankly, it scared the shit out of Robbie as well. He had NEVER seen his baby so scared!

A year ago we bought Bri a cell phone. No judgement please! I never would have thought that my 16 year old needed a phone. For me, as a parent it enabled me to keep tabs on her. She's the type of kid that usually tells me where she's going but I don't know her friends that well. Her sister's always brought their friends home...Bri chooses to go out. I digress....back to the original story. We bought her a phone and yesterday she received numerous calls from someone. She did not know this person, she asked him politely to stop calling her. Still he called. She told him not to call...still he called. She stopped answering her phone when his number came up. The calls continued. After awhile they stopped. Then he called at home. Bad choice Pal! He called so many times that it freaked her out! Robbie called "Ma Bell" and explained the situation. The number was not even a number that was recognizable to our fine lady of phones and they suggested various ways to stop the harassment. When he called the next time Hubby actually took the phone, that didn't stop him either!

I didn't find out anything about this until this morning. Thursdays is the day that I go without seeing anyone in my family (except Aimee) for almost a full 24 hours. Up in the morning, out the door to work...after work, directly to pool and usually pool lasts till 11pm or later and by the time Aimee and I get home...everyone is in bed. Friday mornings we catch up.

I can only tell you that I'm disturbed. Deeply disturbed. We have requested that Bri ask a neighbour boy Serge to walk her to and from school for the next little while. Tonight, I'm changing her cell phone number. We've advised her that she's not to be alone at any time and she must be diligent about locking our doors at home at all times! If he tries to break in, our girl Kilo (pitbull) will definitely have something to say about it. Hunny will warn us that a stranger is around and Kilo will take care of the rest.

In the meantime safety is our main concern...lots of evil strange things happening in our little community. One of our friends is keeping her kids home from school today after the threat of violence at her kids high school. Same community different neighborhood.

What to do...what to do?
Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Me too!

My friend Colleen did this little test and clearly we are very alike!

You Sometimes Hold a Grudge

You aren't exactly vengeful, but you're not going to forget when someone wrongs you.
And while you'll forgive the small things, you don't hand out too many second chances to people who really screw up.

My guess is that is why I can easily close the door on some people! You know who you are....and my guess is you are alot like this as well!
Monday, February 19, 2007

Working at the car wash......yeah

Yesterday Hubby and I took a drive to Dundas to pay our respects to a friends father who's life was claimed in the Valentine's Day snow storm in Hamilton. His passing was sudden and we believe that it had something to do with all the snow that required shoveling. He was very young, in his 60th year.

It was all very sad and I could only think that I was thankful that my own parents were all cozy and warm in Florida, the Sunshine State.

On our way back we decided that it was warm enough that I could give the baby a bath! My girl was so full of salt that the mere thought of a bath made her shudder!

Picture this....the sun is shining. The temperature is not quite above 0, but it's nice enough that a car wash could just be exactly what the Doctor ordered. Clearly we weren't the only ones that thought so. When we arrived there were 9 cars ahead of us. Hubby and I took the opportunity to sit and talk and try and take our minds off the sad events of the day.

What happened next was like a car wreck....I just couldn't leave, couldn't avert my eyes! As we sat there we watched a Toyota SUV pull into the wash bay and just sit, waiting for the water to wash away all the dirt of this past week of snow and salt. There it sat for minute upon minute. Next, the doors of the car wash open and a horn starts blowing. What was happening? Nothing....nothing was happening and clearly the SUV's occupants were getting pissed. No water....why oh why after waiting in line for a minimum of 1/2 hour was this happening is clearly what was on his mind. What happened next threw me for a loop. Out of the car wash bay comes this young boy of about 16. His Dad had sent him on a mission to try and get the gas station operator to fix the damn car wash. Hubby and I sat in line with 6 cars ahead of us and 4 cars behind us waiting for this guy to get his damn car washed and get out of the way so that we could all get to the business of getting our vehicles clean. Out of the gas station comes a young girl, phone in hand. She runs towards the car wash bay, phone to her ear. Man in SUV gets out of his vehicle and starts talking to her animately. His car door is wide open and Hubby and I are just waiting ......let the water swart to flow was all we kept saying. 10 minutes passed, the water never flowed. Every one of us sat and watched the flailing of arms, imagining the conversation that was happening, wondering if we would get our turn....

The answer was nope...not today! After 25 minutes we finally resigned ourselves to the fact that there was nothing to see. It was time to pull out of the long line up and come back another time.

Fast forward to today after's even warmer. The sun is not shining but I have to use my car wash pass or get it extended. So this warrants a trip to the car wash.

When I arrived, I was pleased to see, that the car wash bay was open for business. Unfortunately all those other cars were ahead of me again and this time I only had my thoughts for company. I sat patiently waiting for the cars ahead of me to go in dirty and come out their original colour. Suddenly I look up and a van is pulled up to the bay door, the lady is out of her van yelling into the intercom. Oh no not again! This time a young gentlemen appears, the lady pulls into the bay and pulls right out again. It appears as though in her haste to take her place in line.....she forgot to go into the gas station and pay for a car wash. Paying for the car wash is the only way to get the code to turn on the water!

It's all good, one less car to worry about and my shining girl is in the driveway!
Wednesday, February 14, 2007

YUCK 2007

I think this says it all!

Yes that is a car under that pile of white crap! One of the girls I work with had the good sense to take a picture of her vehicle before she started shoveling!

Mine wasn't quite that bad but still YUCK!

Happy Valentine's Day

So today is Valentine's Day. Not a normally celebrated festivity in our house. It has always been my opinion that Hallmark sucked the romance out of the occasion and therefore why bother.

In accordance with what all parents are supposed to do....I bought the cards so the kids could distribute them to their little friends in school but once high school hit and the romances became more serious...I opted out and the girls were on their own!

Brianne is still very young at heart, her 16 years have not taken her sweetness away. She still romanticizes about the whole occasion. If only she had a boy that could steal her heart and kisses and ply her openly with expensive gifts and dinners out!

Aimee shares my opinion of the hoopla and pays no nevermind, but suddenly finds herself in dilemma world having a new man in her life. When she stated she "didn't do Hallmark holidays" he firmly stated "too bad, I do!" So poor Aimee is in a quandry...what to give a guy that although she's liking him more and more each day (that's Mom speaking) what the hell do you buy?

Jenny, ah my sweet Jenny! She is truly the romantic in the family. This morning I awoke to 3 feet of snow on my van and Valentine's Day gifts on the dining room table for everyone! She bought everyone a small gift and a card! I got cinnamon hearts, probably my most favoritist candy in the whole wide world!!!! Jen's gifts are always thoughtful and sweet. I'm not sure how she got to be this way, but I guess they say that you either become your parents or you become the exact opposite. Jen is my opposite...she is everything I am not on many subjects. Our main values of trust, caring and respect of those around us are the same...some things are just way to important! On trivial issues such as Valentine's we are exact opposites.

From Hubby this morning, I got the rest of the driveway that Aimee hadn't already shoveled done and a kiss. No card, no gift.....why you ask?

BECAUSE HE LOVES ME EVERYDAY! and he shows it as well!

Happy I Love you EVERYDAY Husband!!!

To the rest of you that celebrate this Hallmark tradition....I hope you get everything you expect!!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Point Break

I haven't posted in a while, partially because I didn't know what to say without swearing and partially because this whole thing has made me cranky.

So here is the update.....

Shortly after receiving the news of the new boss.....they delivered what I considered the final blow. The blow to end all blows. This was my Point Break.

Rewind to Wed Jan 7th @ 1:44 pm. email that announces that effective the 9th, I no longer have an office. My nice office space is being given to a new person and my coworker and I are being moved into matching cubicles (that I can literally touch the outside walls with my outstretched arms) that they are setting up in the darkest corner of the office.

Thankfully for me, I was in a meeting and my coworker responded first. Her argument was that #1 this place was not suitable for two people that spend 2/3 of their time on the phone and quite frankly we are both loud. She reminded them that they had ordered us laptops and should reconsider the idea of a home office. She also asked if Seniority counted for anything with this company as quite honestly both of us have more than 7 years of service.

When I read this I saw RED! I quickly responded that I agreed and would not be happy with this environment.

This led to some very quick changes in the decision process and we were quickly told that not only could we work from home, they would provide us with installation of a phone line, they would provide us with the required tax forms and along with all of this an apology for their lack of insight into how this would make us feel.

"Nice!" you know you are saying it! I can hear it.

Well let me tell is the 13th, still no laptop, no work order for the new phone line and I am currently in the darkest depths of the office in my new pink cubicle with no working telephone!

Some things are slow to change and others never do!!

I'm still not a happy camper!
Tuesday, February 06, 2007

What am I doing wrong?

It's been one week since I've been back and what a week! A relaxing holiday away led to a roller coaster ride back in the real world!

My first surprise was that I now have a new boss....not a problem. The young man that is now my boss is very unassuming and although I 'm not expecting much in the way of guidance and won't be bad. No problem, except that I feel the deep need to know..."Why wasn't I considered for the position??" Aside from the fact that we don't have the same physical qualities and this is a "boys" type of industry, I really don't know how this happened!

This is not the first time that I've been overlooked (read completely ignored!) for positions that have "Director"or "VP" as part of the title. It's kind of disconcerting.

I asked someone in the organization to give me their thoughts on why I keep getting NOTHING!

She responded by telling me that it was my approach. That I had never approached the people in the organization with the plan that I had for my career.

In retrospect, she's probably right! Here, in my position, I've always provided great ideas on how I think things could be improved, changed etc. I've always approached my concerns with a solution at hand. I do my job very well and it is recognized that I do it well by the fact that I manage some of the largest accounts our wonderful company has. When it comes down to it...I wouldn't have wanted my new bosses job! BUT, I don't know why I wasn't asked!

I love my job! I just need to know how to carve out my perfect little piece of heaven right here within this organization. I want to be acknowledged by more than a pat on the back and a paycheck. I need to feel respected and I would have liked the first right of refusal on that position. I think that's what has got me feeling unappreciated. I don't think I was ever considered for the position and frankly....I didn't think I needed to hang the flashing neon sign above my desk that says "Linda has ambitions!".

So let's hear it...what would you do? How would you approach this type of thing?
Monday, February 05, 2007

Dreaming of coming in out of the cold....Cuba part 2

In order to get some relief from the cold, I'm retreating into the confines of my holiday memories to continue the sharing of my Cuban retreat....

After our days at Matanzas City, Bellamar Caves and a relaxing inebriated day at the beach, we loaded on the sunscreen and headed out to sea. Our vehicle of transport was a huge catamaran that took us (and 65 other voyagers) away to Cayo Blanco (White Beach). The Catamaran was very cool! The sun was shining, the music was blasting and the drinks were flowing all the way to our first stop where we put on the flippers and snorkel masks to view the depths of the ocean off the coast of Cuba. The water was only 3 metres deep. It was so clear we could see the bottom without the snorkel masks. We saw live coral, colourful fish and sandy ocean floor! Very cool!
We hooked up with this catamaran to get a cooler of lobster tails that our hostess grilled and served as appetizers to those that wanted on our catamaran. After we had partaken of the lobster we headed out to Cayo Blanco for some island fun and lunch.

The guy holding up the world was a big attraction for the women to the island....okay maybe it was just me...he was anotomically correct from both views, so I made hubby take pictures for me! He loves me, so he did it! Beer flowed freely on the island as well and although I didn't take a picture....Shortly after the picture of Dawn was taken, well let's just say she had to nap and try and regroup! TeeHee! The beach on this Island was incredibly white and you could walk out into the water for what seemed like forever. The water was warm and we had a great time chatting it up with a couple from the Okanagen Valley in B.C. Simone and Gary. Then back to the Catamaran for more partying, sailing and a return trip to the main island to see the dolphins at the Dolphinarium.

After this it was back to the resort for more drinking, dinner and then bed, to rest up for our trip to Havana the next day.

On Wednesday, we got up and had a quick breakfast and were loaded on the bus at 8:20 am for a 2 hour drive to Havana. Our guide was fabulous. During our trip there he explained about Cuban culture, different sites we saw along the way and what we could expect to see in the wonderful city of Havana.

Havana is deeply embroiled in their history and is spending millions of dollars to restore the facades of the old buildings to their original beauty. I took more than 200 pictures of neat buildings, streets and people. Although I would love to share them all with you...well you understand, it's just not possible. So here are a few of my favorites.
This is one of the Squares in Old Havana. It's a good example of the refurbishing that they are doing in an attempt to restore things back to what they used to be like. The only thing is...the refurbishing is only happening on the outsides of buildings and therefore often as you walked down the streets and looked inside doorways you could see walls falling down and people still living in the ruins.

This lady was trying to make some extra dollars by dressing up, smoking huge cigars and hoping that some tourist would pay a peso to have their picture taken with her. There were men , women and children that would do just about anything to supplement their income. I did not pay for this shot as she was totally unaware that I was taking her picture.
This is a picture of the street that led to this beautiful Cathedral. It's interesting that in the bottom right hand corner of this picture is a group of men playing dominoes. When they aren't working the Cubans seem to party and play as hard as they work!

This Cathedral was absolutely stunning. The picture does not really do it justice. It has beautiful stained glass windows, huge hanging chandeliers and beautiful paintings on the walls inside.

This is another statue of some local hero....again like I said before....Everyone is a hero in Cuba it seems!This is an apartment building right across from the Cuban Capital building. On the balconies, people were doing their laundry, washing themselves and cooking dinner...very odd assortment of things to be doing right downtown it seems to me, but for them, this is where they live and where you live is where you do those things!
This is one of the buildings in Revolution Square. The metal structure in the shape of a man is Che Guevera. Che is a revolutionary that is honoured all over Cuba!

We went to a Cemetary where they also charged you for taking pictures. I took most of mine from the bus as it passed through but you will see that they have some amazing monuments!
This particular monument is of the first divorced woman in lady!

Apparently, no one gets buried in Cuba. Everyone is entombed in these types of cement graves and every 7 years they open up the tombs and put your remains in a smaller container till you are all gone. I don't know how true this is...but this is what we were told. Apparently there are two million people in the cemetery we visited in the middle of Havana.

Our day trip to Havana City was a long one but very interesting. If I ever return to Cuba (and I would go back in a heartbeat!) I would spend more time in Havana. So much to see!

On Thursday, our last full day in Cuba, our intent was to get burnt and suffer the consequences back in Canada. We had all been very careful about lathering up. Unfortunately, it was not to be. We woke to what turned out to be the only overcast day that we had on our entire vacation. Not to be disuaded...we spent the day at the beach anyway and there we saw what we can only imagine to be a wonder of the Cuban world.....two white full moons over the ocean in mid afternoon!
Thursday, February 01, 2007

Sometimes you must take time to describe the goodness!

We're back and I must say we had a fabulous time. On the 19th we left chilly Toronto for the sunny warm beaches of Cuba.

When we arrived in Cuba we were greeted by laid back friendly people, offering us a beer, as we departed the airport to get on the bus that would take us to our resort. The beer was cold, the sky was blue and the air was warm! Immediately, there was a feeling of calm and relaxation.

We had heard really mixed reviews on the resort that we were staying at and we were pleasantly surprised at what we found when we arrived. The staff were friendly, the lobby of the resort was definitely beautiful

Hubby in the front Lobby of the Coralia Club, Playa de Oro

View of the multi level lobby and 24 hour bar at the Coralia Club

After checking in we walked through the lobby and this is what we saw.

This is the view from our room. The room was clean but very plain. When traveling to a third world country you need to remember that 4 Star means something very different than 4 Star in Canada. The room was probably equivalent to a Motel 6 or Holiday Inn without the carpeting!

We planned our excursions with our tour operator and began our week of fun in the sun.

Trip # 1- Bellamar Caves and Matanzas City

Formed 300,000 years ago, the Bellamar caves are made up of three caverns that were one whole cave in ancient times: Bellamar, El Jarrito and Soto Jíbaro.

According to legend, the caves were discovered by accident in 1861, when a slave working in a Matanzas quarry lost its working tool in a hole in the ground, where later excavations unearthed a true natural treasure.

In Cuba there is a charge for everything, there was a $5 Cuban Convertible Peso charge to take pics in the caves so Mark and Dawn brought their camera in and we left our in the tour van. I'll post those another time as they really are spectacular!

After we left the Cave, we went to Matanzas City.

The city of Matanzas (founded in 1693), land of poets also known for its many bridges that enrich the area, is also known as the Athens, and the Venice of Cuba. Right there, next to a wonderful bay, we met the town drunk that Husband nicknamed "The Mayor of Matanzas.

This is the Mayor, paying homage to one of the many heroes of the country...and don't ask me which one, because frankly the Cubans have a statue of someone in every square, on every corner! It's absolutely crazy! They pay tribute to everyone and anyone that made a mark on the country.

An evening of good food and drink followed that afternoon of exploring and that was followed by a wonderful day at the beach!

Yes, this is a real picture that I took! Not one dragged off some website! The beaches were spectacular! The sand was like powder and the water was blue, clear and warm for a long way!

We had lunch at the beach restaurant called the Ranchon to the sounds of live Cuban music!

We returned to the beach, drank some Mojitas, Rum Punch, Pina Coladas and of course more BEER!

More to follow another day....must return to the real cruel cold world!