March 4, 2017

Dear Residents of Manitoba,

How the hell do you do it? And by “it” I mean, how do you survive winter after winter of snow and cold and brrrrrr?

This winter in Vancouver has been challenging for us West Coasters. We are, as you know, complete light weights when it comes to cold weather and snow. We don’t know how to drive in it and we don’t know how to deal with it.

You do it every year. Every year. How?

The past two or three months I have spent most days counting the hours until I could (without judgement) put on my fleece pjs and crawl under my feather duvet. Time not day dreaming about this is spent surfing the travel websites in search of a super deal to a beach vacation spot.

So, is it alcohol? A sun bed in your bathroom? On line shopping? Do you have heated underwear? What keeps you sane during those frigid months?

The forecast for the next three days in the Metro Vancouver area is snow.  Sure, it will probably be less than three inches. But for us that’s the equivalent of three feet for you prairie dwellers.

The Best Thing in Life is that all my flannel pjs are clean and ready to go.

January 23, 2017

The evolution of the job interview?

My last two job interviews have taken place in coffee houses, in casual dress and with not an HR person in sight.  One opportunity was found on Craigslist and the other through word of mouth.  Is this the evolution of job search and interviews?

To be clear these are interviews for positions in small, locally owned companies and are by no means for any C level positions.  None the less, they are jobs that require skills and a fairly high level of trust on the employers part.

I’m pretty sure neither employer has ever checked my references.  When I asked them, one of my interviewers said.  “No, you look like a pretty normal person.”   Score one for looking normal.

I’m not sure if this is indicative of how the job market is changing or of it simply the opportunities that I am finding attractive.  I think that employers are looking for ways to cut some costs today and perhaps attract people like me who like a more laid back work style.

The Best Thing in Life is that it totally works for me.

 

 

 

January 16, 2017

I love where we live. I love that I can walk out the door, choose a trail and be out in the wilderness within minutes. I love that a thriving cosmopolitan city is only a fifteen minute drive away. I love that in the summer we go to the beach and in the winter we go skiing.

Do you know what I don’t love?

Raccoons who use our roof as their personal litter box.

Raccoons notoriously return to the same spots most times to…ummm….do their business. These particular raccoons have chosen a very dry, cozy spot.

Under the eaves directly outside our bedroom window.

As I lay in the dark last night listening to the rain I suddenly realized that the rain was making a new sound. A heavy, trotting kind of sound. Damn. I grab a flashlight and open the blinds.

Three sets of eyes peer back at me. If they could talk they would have said.

“A little privacy please.”

The Best Thing in Life is having something to throw at those little stinkers.

January 6, 2017 – A Canadian Sister’s Perspective

I feel a bit like the younger sister who has gone to a party with an older sister and suddenly realized that things have gotten out of control.

When we decided to go to the party we knew that it might get a bit crazy. We were nervous but optimistic that everything would turn out all right. You hear things but never really know how these things are going to go down.

So now the party is in full swing and my sister is getting scared. There’s a guy my sister met who keeps telling her what to do and when she doesn’t do it he gets angry at her. She’s looking around at me and her friends hoping that somebody is going to step in and help.

The problem is that there really isn’t much we can do. We can make suggestions and give advice. We can be sympathetic and comforting. We can tell the guy to stop, behave himself and act like a gentleman.

Ultimately though, my sister has to be the one to stand up and make herself heard and tell this guy that he can’t treat her that way. It’s the only way to make it stop.

I love my sister and our relationship has always been close.   If I could, I would step in and make the guy go away.

It’s a Beautiful Day in The Neighborhood

As I headed out on my morning run the words of the iconic Mr Rogers echoed in my head. It was a beautiful day in my neighborhood. The sun was shining and it was cool. Perfect day for a run. It wasn’t just that though. As I ran on the streets and trails I passed people out enjoying the good weather. Without fail I was greeted with a smile and/or a good morning. The older gentlemen engrossed in their own conversation, the mom chasing her toddler on his run bike, the couple with their dog and the elderly lady with her walker coming home from the market. Everyone friendly, warm and inclusive. So how is it that this friendly and open neighborhood is embroiled in controversy over the proposal of a recovery house for addicts being built in the area?

The reason most of us chose this area to live in is because it has such a community feeling to it. Great schools, rec centers, soccer fields, skating rinks, pools, beaches, a ski hill and locally owned businesses all within a half hour from downtown. Residents take pride in the homes and gardens and are often heard bragging about the lifestyle we enjoy. Sure, it rains a great deal out this way, but you do get used to it. Oh, did I mention the two golf courses where you can often see bears, deer and coyotes sharing space with the golfers. Deep Coves charm is a huge draw for not only locals but day trippers too. Ever had a Honeys Donut after a hike to Quarry Rock? There is no denying that it is a great place to live and raise a family but really it’s the people who live here that make it a community.

It’s not all sunshine and rainbows though. Tragedy has struck our area many times in the past few years. Young and old have lost loved ones and struggled with unimaginable events and without question the people who live around them have rallied and supported them. Last year a young boy died tragically in the park close to my house. The school that he had attended and the neighbors did everything needed to support the single mother. Raising money, arranging meals and helping out with the sibling left behind. Nobody thought twice about helping her out. Less tragic events have also brought out the best in our community. A friend of mine got separated from her dog while biking on the trails of Mt Seymour. Within hours word had spread on social media and anybody heading onto the mountain was looking for Skya. Doing what they could to help out somebody they didn’t even know. Fortunately the smart puppy had already headed home to Lynn Valley.

I like to think it’s pretty safe to say that we embrace a widely diverse group of people in the Mt Seymour area. Young and old. I can’t go a mile without seeing a new mom out with her baby. Probably heading to the drop in baby check at Parkgate Rec Centre. A few years ago a new Seniors housing apartment was built and that has brought a whole new population segment to the area. The residence of the Tsleil-Waututh nation comprise a good portion of this community and their traditions and influences are everywhere. My daughter goes to school with kids from Japan, China, Korea, Venezuela, Mexico, England and Scotland. Our kids never question where somebody is from or why they speak a different language. They are all just fellow students. I love the outdoors and take full advantage of all this area has to offer. Bikers, hikers and runners share the trails. But if you don’t like mud and steep hills we won’t judge you.

I personally know alcoholics and recovering drug addicts that live in our area. You probably do to. You’ve probably met them. They live in your neighborhood. Your kids go to school with their kids. You just don’t know that because these people are trying to heal and publicizing their struggles isn’t something they find helpful. Most of them have used a facility like the one proposed for our area at some time in their journey. So why is that we can’t open our hearts for these people who only want to improve their lives? Why can’t we be inclusive of them the way we are inclusive of so many others?