Sunday 16 July 2017

Life can be unpredictable; but sometimes it is not.  Such are the recent changes in my world.

John had asked why my manager would change my workload when I'm nearing retirement.  Well, in fact, it was my choice to make a change....though I didn't quite get what I wanted.

I have been saying for the past year that I wanted someone else to take over my group at least a year before I retire.  My rationale is the work we do is somewhat unique and it takes a little while to get one's head wrapped around the concept.  I know I really started to feel comfortable a year in, so my thoughts were I'd still be around to help the new supervisor.

So when we were asked by our manager and her boss, how we envisioned the office reorganization, I made several recommendations, and at the same time requested a change.  We're in the midst of hiring, the first we've done in nearly 5 years and I was hoping to be given a group of new hires to train.  That's not what I got though.  Instead I have a group with three different workloads AND a project.  

I have lots to learn as one of my staff will be retiring in December.  I'm hopeful we'll be able to train someone to take her place before then, but if not I'd better know how to do her job.  As well, I have some new systems to learn so I can work with the other people in the group.  I'm certain I won't be bored!

And then there is the project.  I've been challenged to create a program to assist the new hires in their learning.  I won't go into the details but over the last couple of weeks I've created a plan that requires the approval of my manager and her boss, discussed with my peers what the program might look like and discussed it with several existing staff who I think may be part of the program.  

In the meantime I've been kept busy with my current group and have been helping with the process to bring in the new hires.  I like being busy and the time has been flying by.  

The other big change, that was not entirely a surprise, is that my daughter has left her boyfriend and moved back in with me.  Now, she did this at 2 a.m. on Friday a.m. so the timing could have been better.  I woke up to the front door opening - my first thought was why was my son coming home so late as I knew he had to work that day, when I called out to him, I was surprised when she answered.

She showed up with the baby and most of his stuff.  Yep, she'd packed the car with his swing, his clothing, diapers, and toys.  She left Eli with me, went back to the house to get another load, as well as her bank card and other set of car keys.  I got the little one settled and back in bed, before I crawled back into my bed.  I was certainly glad I didn't have to work that day!

Later that day, she went back and brought back Sheldon.  As you can see he's a wee kitten, and just a little cutie.  J had threatened to put him outside and let him fend for himself.  While I've never been J's biggest fan, this even further reduced his status in my mind.  

So far the other cats want nothing to to with him.  They will tolerate his presence in the same room, so long as they can watch from afar.  Heaven forbid, should he come within a paw whap away.  I was playing with him on my bed yesterday, when Sami jumped up.  Sheldon did the sideways hop with his best floof on - Sami hissed and let him have a paw.  Then she ran away.  We've been keeping them separated most of the time, Sheldon has D's room, but whenever the other cats are all out in the sun room, we let him out to run and play.  The cat tree, kickaroo, and several of the other neglected toys have been getting quite the workout.

And of course, this means I get to spend more time with Eli.  

He's now four months old and his little personality is really developing.  He's a happy little boy (though he often appears serious in his photos).  He wakes up happy and greets his mom (and grandma) with smiles.

He loves to play on his mat, either on his back or his tummy, and is trying very hard to get himself to a sitting position.  He likes to spend time in his jolly jumper, bouncing and squealing checking out the baby in the mirror we have leaned against the wall opposite.  

He's a lot of fun!  But lots of work.  Between feeding, diaper changes, baths, playing and cuddles he keeps her busy.  He does have three naps a day and sleeps well at night.  Last night he went down at 8:30 p.m. and didn't wake until 3 a.m.  It helps that he has his own room and she doesn't hear his every move.

I'm finding (just 2.5 days in) that I'm missing my "alone" time.  I do retreat to my bedroom or outdoors when the chatter gets too much and, of course, I'll be at work for the next few days.  I know we can't live like this forever though, so have agreed to help my daughter find a place of her own in the next few months.  However, while she's here I've set some ground rules - she is responsible for all the baby's needs (care, food diapers, etc.), must keep their spaces tidy, and pay a small amount of rent to cover the costs of extra groceries and utilities.  

So life has gotten a whole lot more interested/complicated, both at work and at home.  The next few months will be a time of learning, patience, and likely compromise.  

In any event, I have my September cruise to look forward to - today marks 9 weeks to sail-away.  I'm definitely going to be ready for a vacation!

I'll end with a couple of photos from this morning's walk.

Momma duck watching over her babies as they nap by the side of the pond.

And a lone baby duck - his momma was quite the distance a way from him with several other little ones.
He was peeping like mad to get her attention.

Have a great week everyone!

Sunday 9 July 2017

Baby, it's hot outside!

We're into our second week of temperatures between 28 and 32C.  While I appreciate it I must admit I've been keeping on eye on the weather channel.  It would not be unusual for thunderstorms to develop.  But so far, the skies have been clear.

I spent this morning out in the backyard.  I got the lawn mowed, oh my goodness it grows so quickly, gave it a good soaking, did some weeding around the deck and sheds, and then sat and enjoyed the weather with a book.  I'm currently reading Lisa Jackson's "Never Die Alone".  It is a thriller, set in Louisiana, about the investigation of a serial killer who targets twins.  I haven't read her earlier books, but this appears to be the latest of a series of eight books following one of the investigators.  I've only read about 100 pages but it is definitely a story that is easy to get into - and so far, the gruesome bits have been minimal.  I expect that won't last.

This afternoon, I decided to head over to Winners/Home Sense for a wander. I really had nothing particular to shop for but I'm always happy to find a bargain. The first item that caught my eye was this little glass elephant.

At first I walked away from it, but soon came back because I realized it would make a perfect Christmas gift for a close friend.  She has quite a collection of elephants, but I've never seen a glass one in her home.  Score! One gift off the list.

I wandered around for a bit with this lonely item in my cart before making my way to the back of the store where most of the clearance items can be found.

Although their idea and mine of clearance pricing is a bit different, I was happy to find two of these towels at a slightly reduced price.  I love the colors and couldn't resist.  The colors in the main bathroom are grey, cream, white and navy so these add a little punch of color.  Plus who doesn't like new towels occasionally?

I checked for candles but none of them piqued my interest.  I'd got a couple earlier this year with a peony aroma, but of course, those have been sold out.  I did a walk through the furniture just for fun as I doubt anything would have fit in my car.  That took me to the Winners side of the store where I don't often have much luck; everything I like is usually the wrong size and since the store only carries one or two of each item I generally leave feeling frustrated.

Not today though.  I bought this dress a couple of weeks ago at, of all place, Superstore. It was inexpensive and I thought it would be a good piece to take with me on my fall cruise for evening wear. 

Since it is sleeveless I knew I'd want a sweater to go with it but there was nothing at S.S.  I took a chance today and checked out the sweater and there it was!  It's a light weight sweater with ruching at the shoulders and a nice drape to it.

It will go perfectly with other pieces I have as well.  I tend to stick to neutrals when I'm travelling so I can mix and match.  Navy, black, white, cream and greens are mainstays.  And of course, when one is packing light weight items are a must.  

I know it might sound odd, but I never wear dresses except when I'm cruising.  For work, I tend to stick to slacks and sleeveless tops under a sweater or jacket.  (Though I've quit wearing jackets as much and gone more to the sweaters, someday I hope to rid my closet of the jackets I've gathered up through the years, the sweaters are more likely to remain in my wardrobe).

It turned out to be a surprisingly good shopping trip.  I picked a couple of books, "Good Vibrations" by Mike Love of the Beach Boys, and "The Bridge Ladies" a memoir by Betsy Lerner.  I may give the first book to my older brother but haven't decided that as yet.  I've never been a big music buff, so my memories of the Beach Boys is limited but it looked like an interesting book and at $5 was the right price. The second book I've heard of but never read
; the author shares the story of reconciling with her mother.  I'm not sure when I'll get around to reading either of them as there is a stack in the bedroom I haven't started yet.  Good thing they don't spoil. :)

This little guy turned four months a week ago!  My daughter took him to the public health nurse for his shots on Wednesday and posted this picture on Facebook.  Check out those roly-poly thighs!

He weighed in at this appointment at 17 lbs. 1 oz., measuring 25 inches in length, and he handled to vaccines like a trooper.

Friday, D and I took him to his 4 month appointment with the doctor.  That day, he weighed in at 16 lbs. 1 oz, measuring 25 inches in length.  I highly doubt he lost a pound in 2 days, and it is more likely the nurse did not properly convert his weight.

I laughed, as he talked to the doctor through the entire appointment.  Happy talk, no tears at all.  When the doctor held Eli's hand, the little stinker pulled himself to a sitting position.  I think Dr. J. was slightly surprised and then he helped Eli to stand, a position he absolutely loves to be in.  Everything is good, he's healthy and reaching all the milestones expected.  Although this picture doesn't show it, he's usually smiling and is starting to giggle and laugh.  Love this kid!

I'll end this post with a couple of photos of the containers on the back deck this morning.  Have a great week everyone!

Sunday 2 July 2017

Catching up

My poor neglected blog.  Here it sits, sad and lonely while I ....hmmm.... I'm not even certain why I haven't been here for awhile.  It seems time is moving more quickly each passing day.

Work has been incredibly busy.  Two of my work group announced they were leaving in the last few weeks.  In the hubbub that arises from reallocating work to the remainder of the group and taking care of the myriad of other details (equipment, paperwork, performance discussions, etc.) has taken up a lot of time.

AND then, although not entirely unexpected, I then found out I too am leaving the group. The changeover doesn't take effect until mid August but any change brings with it more work to ensure a smooth transition.  No, I'm not retiring early, :( but rather taking on a another group - this one comprising a couple of different workloads from anything I've ever done before.  It will be made more challenging, as I've been also tasked with a large project.  These changes will mean lots of things to learn and the opportunity to create something new in our office.


At home, things have been a little less hectic.  In reality it ought not be, but I've been slacking a bit.  However I have company arriving later today, the vacuuming needs to done before she gets here as the dust bunnies are threatening to take over.
I've got chicken in the fridge marinating to put on the grill this evening, and will cook up some potatoes and make a green salad to go with it.  I've been using a Kraft Italian zesty lime salad dressing as a marinade, very simple and very tasty.  The potatoes I'll cut up with onions and spices, pre-cook in the microwave and then toss on the grill in tinfoil for the last few minutes.  Dessert is also simple - cut watermelon.  

S will have been on the road for 7-8 hours before she arrives.  She called this morning to say she is stopping along the way to visit family, as an uncle's health is failing and they've called the family to say their goodbyes.  The trip S is on, will take her to Winnipeg, where she will wait with her daughter for the birth of her grandchild.  One life is nearly over, another set to begin.  

She'll stay with me through to Tuesday morning, then leave for Winnipeg when I leave for work that morning.  That's another 6-8 hours as she plans to stop in Virden to visit other family members.

I have been spending a fair amount of time on the Cruise Critic website, dreaming of, and planning for my next cruise.  Good thing too, as a fellow cruiser posted on Friday that Princess was offering up to $150USD onboard credit (OBC) in honor of Canada Day.  It wasn't clear if it was simply for new bookings or not, so I contacted my travel agent.  She made several calls as the line was busy, and was able to secure me an additional $100US OBC.  The $150 was for balcony guests only but it's free money.  The OBC can be used for excursion, specialty dining, for tips, and other onboard purchases.  I had already received $200 OBC for this cruise so this was a real bonus.  

I have booked one excursion thus far, a whale watching tour in Bar Harbor.  I may book an excursion in St. John based on the recommendations of fellow passengers on Cruise Critic.  We're still 77 days away from sail-away so I have some time yet to decide.

We also have a good group on FB, there are fourteen confirmed solos on this cruise.  Almost all of us booked in the spring when the sale was on but we've had a couple of drop outs since then and a few added to the list.  It's going to be interesting feeling like I know some of the people before I even get onboard ship.

Since this is a fall cruise, I decided I'd like to have a wrap for the evening.  I started this shawl a couple of weeks ago and it's working up really quickly.

As you can see, I'm using three shades of green.  My color choice may limit what I can wear with it but I generally dress in black for the evening, so it should work well. It's made with a medium weight yarn so should be cozy.  

I've been visiting my grandson and daughter every Friday for a couple of hours.  Things remain about the same with she and her partner.  Some days are good, others not so much.  I'm staying out of it as much as possible. No new photos of the little guy as I haven't had my camera with me.  

Speaking of my camera, I got a new zoom lens 75-300mm from Amazon.  I signed up with Angus Reid a couple of years ago; I get invites to surveys about once or twice a week and if I qualify I get points.  It took awhile but I was able to accumulate sufficient points to get a $50 Amazon gift card.  I used it to partially pay for the lens.  It arrived in the mail this past week, though I haven't had the chance to truly test it.  Perhaps S and I will go for a walk tomorrow and I'll take the camera along.

Well, that pretty much sums up the past few weeks.  The vacuuming is not getting done by itself so I'd best wrap this up and get it done.  

Have a great week (or two or three) everyone!