The Daily EO: July 28th, 2012

Kids, young Adults – don’t count on the world keeping its promises.  Chances are, at some point, the world is going to screw you.  It’s going to set up you and then when you think you’re riding high, or well protected, suddenly you will find yourself saying “What?  That wasn’t the deal!  This isn’t fair”.  It will happen.

So, I offer some advice for those times.

1.  Wear sunglasses all the time – they were protect your precious and susceptible eyes and although you may feel like your 55, your eyes will never show their true age.  But no sunglasses inside unless you’ve just had cataract surgery.  Inside makes you look ridiculous, pompous and vain.

2.  Get as much varied experience as you can.  Trades, higher learning, different industries, varying cultures, etc.  So when you think that your extensive experience and education in your chosen field is enough – and it turns out not to be, you’re ready with a back-up plan.

3.  Don’t rely on retail as a back-up job.  It’s thankless, boring and the pay is crappy.  If you love it, okay, otherwise, stay away.  And this advice should certainly be considered when you’re shopping at H&M.  That kid who is doing an okay job finding you your size 10 pants doesn’t have the best employment.  Give him a break.

4.   I hate emergency funds – they don’t make sense to me.  But make sure you can handle a fluctuating income.  Have credit, a rich relative, valuables to sell, whatever, just count on needing money than planned at some point.  Chances are you will.  But spend it too – what are you saving it for?   So maybe One Day you might do something?  You’d better do it now – things changes and opportunities disappear.

5.  Consider trade school or consider taking some years off to decide what to do.  University is great for some people, for others it is a waste of money.  Consider where you are trying to get, what you are trying to do.  Don’t just go to school because you think you should or someone else thinks you should.  Really think about – don’t tell you’re parents that you aren’t going to post secondary school because some random blogger told you not to.   Think about it, what do you want your life to be?  How are you going to get there?  These aren’t easy questions to answer, so it’s not a weekend process.

6.  Don’t listen to me.  Don’t listen to anyone if it doesn’t jive with what your heart is telling you.  Don’t wear sunglasses, let your money slip through your fingers, go to university for a women’s study degree that means nothing to you.   One day you may wish you listened to me, but hey, you’ll have some good advice to give first hand (if you can still see to type through your sun damaged eyesight).

 July 28th, 2012 Extra-Ordinary:  Doing my part for the next generations.


The Daily EO: July 14th, 2012

(in Cranbrook, BC)

Stereotypical Jewish mothers want their sons to be rabbis or doctors, or their daughters to marry rabbis or doctors.  I wouldn’t recommend either in a husband.   I mean – doctors, what tradeable and practical skills do they have?  I guess if you need someone to drive all night on a road trip.  But it’s not like he can simply pull out a scalpel and remove your appendix at home.  Do you want your husband telling you what that bump on your back could be?  And a rabbi would be useful for a direct conduit, but it’s not like that gets the roof repaired.

I married well.  I thought ahead, considered my and my loved ones’ needs of the future and set out to land me a computer expert.  It took me five years, but I finally got that proposal.  And what has that gained me?  A fully integrated home network, friends who believe they owe us a favour because of a computer fix, ultimate employability, and barterable skills.

Mothers – tell your daughters to look for the men who can do things – plumbers, electricians, hairdressers, carpenters, drywallers, computer technicians, landscapers,  golf course back shop managers, mechanics, car painters, etc.  It really will make life easier later.

July 14th, 2012 Extra-Ordinary:  A new computer for my mother built by my husband.  No maternal guilt on this trip!

The Daily EO: June 8th, 2012

Late one night I was driving home from a 12 hour shift from work to my house in Midland.  I was tired, but my pockets heavy with tips.  My trip was about 20 minutes and required me to travel on Highway 400 and Highway 12.  Highway 400 runs from Toronto to Parry Sound and has 4 lanes with exits with huge overpasses, etc.  Highway 12 is smaller with only 2 lanes and if you want off, you just turn.  I started our on Highway 400 at my usual 110 km/hour.

Shortly after departure, the car started making a weird noise – kind of like a grocery cart with a wonky wheel.   I slowed a bit, but other than the noise, all seemed okay.

I hate to contribute to the cliché of females being car ignorant, but unfortunately I must admit I am not particularly car knowledgable.  I own a 2007 Honda Fit with standard transmission – good on gas and fun to drive.  I am a pretty good driver, I like to drive and I like to drive fast.  Emile taught me the four strokes (intake, compression, um .. .  power, and exhaust) against my protests.  I know enough – keep it filled with gas, oil and wiper fluid; how to change a tire (thanks mom and Emile) and that when it starts making weird noises, listen.

I pulled over to the side of the road to examine the tires.  All four were fully inflated, no sticks in the wheel well, nothing looking out of the ordinary.  Hmmm.  Well, carry on then.  I called Emile to get him to listen to the noise over the cell phone.  Shockingly, he could not identify it.  He told me to come on home, but to drive a little more slowly.  By then I was on Highway 12, so I slowed and counted the minutes until I would get home.

Well, I should have pulled over.  I should have listened to my gut.  Because soon after the call, my front driver’s side wheel came off, leaving me to drive my car with only 3 wheels.  I am pretty proud of how well I drove that night to get the vehicle back under control and quickly to the side of the road.   Nobody was hurt, people stopped to help me and we even were able to find the seemingly perfect wheel in the tall grass.

You all know the rest of the story:  call home, call a tow truck, insurance claim, lengthy repairs, police investigation (as there was no physical reason that could be found as to why my wheel come off, they suspected mischief), etc.  I am thankful I had come of Highway 400, I had slowed down and that the wheel didn’t cause any injury to any other vehicle on the road.

Today I went for a run.  I tend to take my car to drive to a starting point because our street has lots of speedy traffic and limited shoulders.  I parked, hid my keys and headed out.  2 km out, 2 km back (record pace again!).  As I rounded the last bend, I noticed I’d left my lights on.  No matter, I can now run 4 km in 23 minutes.  Surely my battery can handle that.  No, apparently not.  I was a 3 minute walk from home, but what a pain.  Sigh.

I called Emile to confirm it was the battery (not the alternator, starter, etc) based on the noises when I turned the key (the guy really needs to get better at cell phone diagnosis).  He told me to turn everything off and let the battery rest.  Let the battery rest?  What kind of stupid advice is that?  Seriously man – the battery is just going to spontaneously re-energize?  Well, I guess I’ll call a friend for a boost.   Thanks a lot.  Honestly, like I’ll just sit here for 3 minutes and then miraculously turn the key and the car will start. . . Oh.  Well. . . look at that.

June 8th, 2012 Extra-Ordinary:  Batteries apparently need rest.  Emile’s advice is pretty sound.

The Daily EO: April 30th, 2012 (Fit April Results)

Any opportunity to catalogue my life, efforts and results is interesting to me.  To be able to take the chaos of life reduce it to a graph or chart makes me feel good – I have it under control.   So, this is bliss for me – I’ve been waiting to write this particular entry for weeks.

It was 5 weeks ago that I decided that I needed to deal with my Shrunken Shorts Syndrome and my husband needed to look at his Ski Jump Shirt diagnosis.  We committed ourselves to a month of exercise, healthy restricted calories and a 5K race at the end of it.  I’ll admit, we cheated a bit – we started in the last week of March.  We did consider having a binge instead, but we thought it would be too hard of a transition – and my pants were already too tight.  It became a common sight to see me in workout clothes and weighting out food on our scale.

I had challenges – a bag of marshmallows disappeared quickly at a campfire one night (and even the raw ones on subsequent days).  The Kitchener Food Show dessert samples slowed things.  Emile faced and won numerous food challenges at work – functions with chef made cookies, pizza and butter tarts.  There were days I just wanted to eat macaroni and cheese and be done with it.  And sometimes we indulged, other times we held out.  And we’re feeling pretty proud of ourselves.

So, if you want to a month of fitness (that will hopefully lead to another), here is my advice:

1.  Be obsessive about it – every calorie gets logged, every minute of exercise, and every day you weight yourself (with a digital scale).  Plan your days around food and exercise
2.  Brag about it – tell everyone you know this is what you are doing, so you have to deal with social shame if you don’t follow through
3. Create an outside force  – sign up for a class, a race, or target a wedding, or something to keep you focused for the short-term until your results are motivation enough.
4.  Find someone more committed than you are to share the challenge – my husband fit the bill perfectly
5.  Compete only with yourself.  You’ll always find someone healthy, fitter, eating more wheatgrass, but who cares about them.  This is about you!

And here is what we did in Fit April:

Susan Emile
Calories Consumed 31995 24516
Calories Burned 9008 9572
Distance Moved (km) 93.8 112.2
Fitness Minutes 1012 888


 April 30th, 2012 Extra-Ordinary:

Susan Loss: 10.2 lbs (Goal!)       Emile Loss: 21.2 lbs (What the hell?)

Susan's Results


Emile Results



















The Daily EO: April 23rd, 2012

We’ve all got people.  People who can do things for us, give us advice, and answer questions we have.  Some people have more people than other.  Some have powerful people.  You can live your life without people certainly, but they can smooth the way for us.  It’s a sense of security to say “I know a guy”.  I have people.  I’ve got a guy who paints my car.  I’ve got a different guy who fixes my computer (I had to marry him though).  I’ve got an HR professional on retainer.  Need food?  I got someone for that too.  It’s good.  I’ve need advice and questions and help, and have been able to turn to my people.

I’ve needed to turn to people for many things over the years.  Here are some:

What do I look for in a personal trainer?  How can I be a better manager?  What are the best vegetarian sources of protein?  Can you recommend a type of luggage?  What are the pharmaceutical manufacturing regulations in Canada?   Do you know any fantastic hotels that are “better than home”?  What is a haka?   Could you look over this resume?  What is the most professional way to resign from my position?  Can you link me to some connections to explore employment opportunities in the Lower Mainland?  Can you recommend a hairdresser in Huntsville?  My grandfather is aging and it is difficult for me, can you relate?  How can I make decisions for myself while taking into account what Emile wants?  How do I get the other Granville Skytrain station entrance?

April 23rd, 2012 Extra-Ordinary:  I have a person – just one, really – who answered all of those for me.  And I bet she’ll keep answering.  Thanks.