The Daily EO: July 2nd, 2013

My mom called to tell me she was coming to visit sooner than expected – on Thursday!

July 2nd, 2013 Extra-Ordinary:  So good to be close so she can visit more.

The Daily EO: June 17th, 2013

I cried at my desk today.

I had a very important all day customer visit and audit happening that we had been prepping for months for.  So much so, that I was sick of talking about it.  Sick of the action items, just sick of it.  But finally, the day had arrived.

My grandfather was the former Superintendent of the City of Burnaby Waterworks.  He started his career working for the city and retired from the city 49 1/2 years later.  I’m so proud of the man he was and what he did.  I am proud of the man he is.   You don’t spend your career in sewers and waste management without becoming an expert.  So, when we had our little flood over the weekend, I told him about it because I knew it was something he could relate to.   I can’t claim the same expertise with plumbing and sewers, so I could only tell him what was happening – not the cause or resolution.

When Grandpa went to bed Sunday night, he didn’t know why the water problem was a problem, or what we were doing about it.  As I spend my entire day touring and meeting, and quickly checking emails in between meetings, my grandfather pondered the situation at my work.  Was it a break on the city side?  Did we share the building with someone else?  Was there a blockage?  Is a pipe broken?  Has the issue been resolved?

So, he began calling me.

I will tell you this.  When either my grandpa or grandma calls, I answer it no matter how tired I am, or what I am doing.  I answer that call.  But today I could not.

And so, because I wasn’t answering the phone, grandpa started to get a little agitated.  Wanted to know the situation.  What he could do.  Did we find the entrance to the tank?  Could we get the right wrench to get the bolt off?  Were the sump pumps running?

But I wasn’t there to answer the calls.

I don’t find it funny or cute that my grandpa was so intent in getting the information that he wanted.  I saw the man he was – the capable and strong one that could have helped his granddaughter’s company deal with something that is his expertise.   But instead he couldn’t help, he couldn’t get in his car and drive over like he would have years before.  He just wanted me to answer the calls and tell him exactly what was happening.

And so, when I finally had a chance to check my phone and see all the calls and messages, the tears came.  Stress of the audit, not enough sleep, too much work, worry?

I think it is because I didn’t answer the call.

June 17th, 2013 Extra-Ordinary:  Answer the call.

The Daily EO: April 19th, 2013

I’ve touring retirement residences with my grandma and aunt of late.  My grandma is going through a 3 year journey where she is recognizing the increasing problems walking are not likely to change.  She has lived with the hope that her problems in her legs were strictly due to a lupus flare-up and would improve with time.  Nobody – including me – was to keen on telling her that although the lupus causes some problems but it was more likely due to a combination of age and lupus and was not going to get better.

She’s leaned on my aunt’s arm and life for almost 3 years now, struggling to accept that grocery shopping, taking care of everything herself and walks on her beloved quay boardwalk are no longer easy or always pleasant tasks.

So, when she had a bit of a melt down with me one day during the simple discussion of a birthday present, I knew something else was really the root cause of her upset.  When she told me “that we don’t do things like that in our side of the family” – excluding me from my her and my dad’s side – I knew she was fighting anger and frustration and sadness and despair in the realization that things were not going to get much better.

Fortunately, I recognized that instead of her meaning that I was out of the family – she really needed direction on how to start considering other living arrangements.  And being the direct type that I am – I told her that it is time for fact-finding – not decisions – just facts.  Then she could start crystallizing things in her head.  As I always say – “Have a plan – you’ll feel better.”

So, we toured two places – Thornebridge and Mullberry – both within 15 minutes of where she is living now to see their offerings.  The first day was quite emotional for her and “simply overwhelming”.  But she was “impressed”.   The second tour was less emotional, and different and “closer to her doctor” of whom she doesn’t like much (Um?  Okay Grandma).

When I called her today to see how she was doing, she was fixated on whether the first place has window coverings included in part of the rent – as they can be “quite dear”.  And also working on cleaning out her filing cabinet because its “much too big to take”.  This is a step forward from pondering how it could be possible to get her bed out of her condo as it was so big “it was terrible to get in”.

And each time I call her, she is deep into lists and and thinking things through, trying to figure out the best way to make her decision.  She asked me “What do you think of the second place?  But don’t you tell me what do to!”  Really, all things being equal for the most part (price, location, service comparison, etc), I thought the food and the servers at the second one was, well, wretched.  Well, the food was wretched, the server was okay.  My grandma said she didn’t like the server or food too much either, she thought the server at first place was much friendlier and better.  And just in case I didn’t know, she told me it doesn’t matter to her about “ethics”.  Which I took to mean that she believes all people – including those of different ETHNIC backgrounds – are created equal (both servers were of asian descent).

April 19th, 2013 Extra-Ordinary:  Grandma is finding her facts, and is doing much better thanks to having a plan.  And I’m back in the family.


The Daily EO: March 29th, 2013

Easter is early this year, and part of me wishes it was deeper into April – I suspect I am going to need a short week somewhere in there.  But nonetheless, we are not going to let this full day off work go to waste.

First Light
First Light
Old Family Recipe
Old Family Recipe
Gift from my mother-in-law
Gift from my mother-in-law


We all want to capture and keep Spring close
We all want to capture and keep Spring close


We also went for a run around the sea wall and Stanley Park and I did my first “10K” which is 1/2 walking and running, but the first time I ever did one at all.  So, my benchmark is 1 hour and 22 minutes, and I can target improvement each time I try it.  And I saw someone I knew sitting on a bench – I know people here!  And they saw me “being that girl” running through Stanley Park.

March 29th, 2013 Extra-Ordinary:  Sun on my cheeks, clean air to power my lungs, love in my family and chocolate to eat.


The Daily EO: March 7th, 2013

My mother is coming to visit on the 13th and it feels strange.  She was just here.  Just 2 1/2 months ago.  This is fast time between visits – as normally one of us would have to travel 4000 kms to see each other.  That tends to cut down on visits.

March 7th, 2013 Extra-Ordinary:  Two women with similar personalities (how do you think I got this way?) – I think 1000 kms is as close as we should get.

See you soon, Mom!


The Daily EO: October 20th, 2012

When I was a little girl, my aunts and uncles would visit us in Cranbrook often.  “Auntie Judi” came once a year and would take over my bedroom and I was happy to give it to her.  Judi was my favorite aunt – no, that’s not quite correct – she was the one who seemed to get me and she lead the life that I thought I wanted to lead.  She was single, laughed alot, had no children, travelled, and gave me attention.

What I remember most about those visits is hovering at the closed bedroom door wishing she didn’t always sleep in sooooo late and the painting of my fingernails.  Mom didn’t paint her nails when I was a kid – well, at least that I remember.  So when Judi came flying into town with her brightly coloured nail pots, I knew that I could be pretty and fashionable just like her.  And she just seemed to ignore my pudgy fat fingers.   Invariably, almost immediately upon completing my nails, I would smudge or chip them because I wasn’t a gentle or patient child.

Not much has changed in that regard – I still am restless and active.  Mom passed on to me working hands and working habits.  I can count the number of manicures I have ever had on one hand – pun intended – because it is pretty costly for something that last about 24 hours for me.   The wish be pretty and fashionable may have been created by society views girls and women – but it is still there.

When I was a teenager, Mom started getting gel nails which had its drawbacks.  First off, I did not have the income to support the maintenance cost.  Well. .. I guess that is the reason because as a teenager I didn’t really care about long-term consequences like nail bed health.  (and really does anyone stay up worrying about that?).  But the filling requirements, the worry of infection, the damage to natural nails. . . it wasn’t something that seemed like a good idea even when I got income to pay for it.

But a brilliant person – who probably could have worked on the cure for cancer – invested gel polish.  This being a cross between regular polish and fake nails.  Essentially, it is nail polish that is strong and durable.  It is painted on your regular nails but set with a UV light. ( I wonder how that ages your hands. . . Hmmmm)

As I explored downtown Vancouver Saturday morning, I ended up in Yaletown.  That is where all the beauty bars are kept I think.  And I found exactly what I was looking for – a small salon tucked into a Galleria with fading aging pictures in the window (I don’t want to pay for fancy storefronts).   They could take me right now.

October 20th, 2012 Extra-Ordinary:  Pretty and Fashionable.  That’s me.

Pretty Pretty. Now remember where we are starting from – short, chewed nails. They are only going to get better from here.