Here there be dragons...

"I'm telling you stories. Trust me." - Winterson

New Year, New Job ;)

So now that it's been officially announced at work, I can announce it here too -- I have a new job!  Woohoo!  lol starts on the 29th.  The super fancy title of Senior Manager, Transformation -- which is a lateral move for me, but I'm still pretty excited about it as it should definitely be more interesting and enable some career growth.

It's a comparatively tiny department, unfortunately much more formal in both dress and in complete lack of work from home.  *sigh*.  To be honest, I'm dreading having to go back to commuting every day.  Really hope it's worth it ;). But I really like the people I've met so far, and the job has the potential to be really cool.  So yeah, pretty excited.

Also, unrelated, I've started volunteering with Triac -- which arranges professional mentoring for newcomers to Canada.   These are people who were professionals in their own country who are either unemployed or underemployed, having trouble finding employment in their field in Canada.  Things like cultural expectations, unspoken rules of job shopping, interview skills, etc.  I met my mentee a few hours before my job announcement came out on Friday :).  It was an interesting day.

I'll miss moments like this when I can't work from home anymore :(

Skiing: the art of catching a cold and going broke while rapidly heading nowhere at great personal risk.

I am the snow plow queen!   And not in any useful way -- like as in being able to effortlessly remove snow from your driveway.   No, my talents lie more in the completely talentless skier category ;)

So let's recap -- since I'm not riding right now, I'm once again in search of a hobby.  But preferably one of the once/week variety as opposed to the all-consumingness of riding (cause let's be honest, I've proven I can't do that on any casual level).  I'm not quite sure why skiing popped into my head but I did some googling and found reasonably affordable lessons at Glen Eden on Tuesday nights.  Perfect.  Timing works with my work and teaching schedule, location is half hour from home, and while not cheap, is still less than I'd budgeted for riding.  And, better yet, Laura was in for joining me.  Sweet.

However, then reality reared its ugly head and let us know lesson spots were already taken.  Being the adventurous sorts we are, we deemed this sort of irrelevant and decided to go anyway.  Lol I figure it's been almost 20 years since I've skied and Laura is slightly better off at closer to 10 but figures just as long since any regular skiing.  So really, lessons probably would've been a wise life choice ;)

For perspective -- once upon a time we used to do family ski trips; I suspect inspired by the fact that Mum loved to ski.   So when I was a kid/teen I was a reasonable intermediate skier.  I was never brave enough to be interested in even trying the moguls or black diamonds (although I believe my brothers played that game), but I could certainly handle anything blue easily, ski consistently in parallel and under control.  I was never good, but I was competent.

Tuesday rolls around and off I head to Glen Eden.   It's quite the hike from the parking to the skiing but sobeit.  I was moderately amused that the baby hill still has the fence at the bottom before the road.  I vividly recall crashing into that fence on a day trip with school when I was in grade school ;).  Lol it still serves its purpose.  Got through the rental area with no line and no issue -- yeah perfect timing!  Skis are now significantly shorter than they were twenty years ago.   Lol I knew that intellectually, but the reality hadn't quite sunk in.   Also, ski helmets are now a thing (probably for the best!), and they're actually incredibly comfortable; I was quite pleasantly surprised, although I did have issues with the helmet pushing my goggles down *sigh*.  That's a bit of a pita.

So through the tiny tunnel, up the stairs and good to go.   Except Laura wasn't there yet.   So I read the ski map and took a picture and generally just appreciated that it was absolutely perfect weather and didn't seem to be particularly crowded.   Any other day I would've just skied till she got there, but for the first day, I figured it might be best to wait.
We did Escarpment and Quarry all night ;)
Soon enough, it was time to go.   We headed over to the chairlift and made it on with no drama.  Woohoo! And even better, we made it off with equally no drama :).   Win!   Lol first hill of the day accomplished (seriously -- when you haven't skied in forever, the getting-off-the-lift hill counts!).   There's a nice green route that goes across the hill (almost as much XC as downhill since there is definitely a slight up section!) and then cruises gently down the far side.   This was our objective.  And with a  whole lot of hesitation and some confusion, we made it!   Lol.  Mostly we just didn't go down any hill steep enough that your skis could point out over it ;).  Seemed a wise life choice.  We did miss the turn back to the original chairlift so took a different chairlift up -- but this one put us half way through our lovely green route so the next trip down was shorter.   Just as well as we were still getting our ski legs ;)
No.  Not now.  Not next week.  Not even on horseback.  Just no.
Over time and multiple runs though our confidence started to grow and we weren't nearly as painfully slow getting down.   Even had some moments of picking up speed :).  However, this does make the run significantly shorter *g*. I'd forgotten just how small Glen Eden really is *sigh*.  Ah well -- it'll keep me amused for this year.   We spent the whole time on that run and by the end were starting to feel a little more okay.  Don't get me wrong -- embarrassingly bad.   Snowplowing most of the way, and the few feeble attempts at making my skis align in a parallel fashion had them more than hip-width apart.  Nobody was going to be mistaking me for any degree of competent!  Lol BUT there was no falling, diving, starfishing, somersaulting, or splits.   So the complete lack of gymnastic displays we're calling a win.   Of course, Laura raised the valid point that it's only once you start to feel confident that that kind of stuff comes into play ;).  So we'll see next week.

My only oops was when I did this once as I was starting to get brave *sigh*.  BUT, I recovered it ;)
We ended before we were really done because we wanted out before the school finished.   Next time we'll go earlier and give ourselves a little more time.  Also, I think both of us were ready to try a more interesting run -- it might be for the best that we ran out of time before doing so ;).  Next week, blue it is!  I'd like a little less dramatic snow plow, and maybe to pretend my skis are both controlled by the same brain.  I feel that'd be a good goal.  Except I think I'm working late next Tues so next week may be a fail *sigh*.  Adulting sucks sometimes.   But we'll see.

Today I expected to be very sore, but wasn't at all.  I did, however, sleep incredibly well last night.  A sport that I come home from grinning and excited, sleep unbelievably deeply, and wake up not sore?!?!   That's all kinds of awesome.

So yeah -- it was perfect weather and uncrowded.  Not sure how long fair weather me will last in real winter.  But for now, it was a blast :)
The girls who lived :)

New Year, Similar Randomness ;)

So I definitely had a blank moment trying to remember my work password on Tues. That tells me that I did actually completely disconnect over break. For the win. Better win – I remembered said password before locking myself out ;)

I have been slightly amused watching people in the office today as at about 10 to the hour about half a dozen or so within sight stand up and go for a walk. I’m gonna go ahead and guess Santa delivered each of them a shiny new Fitbit ;) But that’s exactly why it’s good so more power to them :)

Work is deserted this week – it’s an odd vibe. People are still relaxed from vacation and half are still away, but also back already into heads down mode. So very quickly I get back into doing stuff and then suddenly somebody I need something from isn’t here and there’s that abrupt reminder that only a couple days ago I too was still on vacation. Amazing how quickly you fall back into the routine.

So I decided not to continue with the part-board I had on trial in December.   Which mostly tells me I'm not as dedicated to riding as I once was since it was a good deal and involved all kinds of lessons (which I really miss).  But after 3h of commuting in a day, driving out to the barn and back 4 days/week was just pushing my commitment capabilities.   That and I'd like to see my husband once in a while ;)

However, with that gone, I find myself, once again, in search of a new hobby.   Am still super disappointed that adult gymnastics got cancelled.   Realistically probably for the best.  So instead, she who hates winter, is going to embrace it and take up skiing.   Yeah -- adult gymnastics suddenly doesn't seem like such a bad idea eh?  lol.  I haven't been on skies in, oh about twenty years.   So Laura and I decided we'd sign up for weekly lessons.  Yup -- I'm not going into this insanity alone ;).  Except, lessons are sold out.  Fail.   So being the brilliant souls we are, we've decided to just go at the same time.   That starts next Tues (hopefully the deep freeze will be over by then -- I would pick the most wintery winter we've had in ages for this).   Stay tuned *g*

And continuing the exercise trend, Nicole and I have taken up 21 Day Extreme.  I tried this once before and failed horribly because I had a very low tolerance for the person leading it, but the workouts were good.  So hoping with an accountability partner it may happen.   I was destroyed by the first workout.  Didn't seem particularly hard as I was doing it, but it's now four days later and those muscles are *still* sore.  This has also encouraged me to do entirely too much research on recovery supplements ;).   That first day was plyo -- so essentially entirely butt muscles.  Followed by upper body that completely spaghettied my arms; fortunately they weren't too bad the next day although definitely still feeling the chest muscles.  Pilates was easier than the core workouts in Core de Force so not terribly impressive.   Leg day today...   Well suffice to say I won't be going down many stairs tomorrow ;).  It was my favourite one so far.   The one thing I don't like is that they use the same set of weights for all exercises.  Easy enough to alter though, I use several sets in each workout depending on which muscle is involved.   Cardio, and a couple full body ones still to go.  Then rinse and repeat.  We'll see.

Also, according to the iReaditNow app, I read 136 books last year ;).  Only writing it here so I'll be able to find it next year and see the difference :)

Think that's enough babbling to ring in the new year.  Hope it brings everything you hope for.

When snow falls, listen quietly

Just took Sasha for the most amazing nighttime snow walk.  It's night, but not dark, as the Christmas and street lights reflect off the unbroken blanket on the ground and cause each individual falling flake to shimmer briefly on its descent.  Even the unlit path through the woods is bright enough to navigate easily.  The silence is broken occasionally by the sound of a far off car sliding, but otherwise is absolute.  The kind of silent that grants imagination free rein to wander as it will.

This is Sasha's favourite weather and she was super excited to be out in it, although sadly I couldn't let her play as when she plays she barks and it's too late for that.  So we just walked and I worked very hard not to accidentally kick snow in her direction as that is, in fact, her absolute favourite game and the fastest way to have a very loud, very excited, hiking partner.  And in the stillness of the night that energy would carry far, but is unlikely to make us any friends.

The stunning houses along the lake are that much more impressive decorated for Christmas -- sometimes outdoor lights shining through a filter of white, sometimes a tree lit up in the window.  A cat peers out, seemingly questioning our sanity.  He's not wrong, but the sane miss so many wonderful adventures ;)

As we return home, the prints we left on the way out have already vanished.  Sasha tries to convince me this means we haven't gone yet. Not a single person or critter have we seen, but a tree creaks ominously under the weight it now bears.

The child inside me chooses to build a snowman to stand guard outside our home.  Alas, while super willing to "help", Sasha also feels this is a full volume activity, so it must quickly be abandoned.  Perhaps tomorrow if the adult reality of shovelling doesn't steal the fun and romance from the scene.  We shall see.

It looks to be cold for the next few days, which any other week of the year would have me hibernating.  But right now it means we could very well have a white Christmas, and, well, that is where great stories begin.

Mistakes are proof that you're trying...

I'm so not even vaguely close to this yet.
My Spanish homework for the week was to write a story using a random collection of provided words.  So I wrote the story in English and then translated.  And yes, I know that’s not the way you’re supposed to do it, but it’s already super slow and painful – going directly to Spanish isn’t an option yet.   And the difference between the two versions?  OMG.   It was a random very short story in English, but at least it was a story.  By the time I finished attempting to put it in Spanish, it was a ridiculously bland, barely comprehensible, "See Spot Run" narrative *sigh*   Ah well.   

What impressed me the most – when I was typing in Spanish, my spell check and autocorrect were angry, but the punctuation adapted.  When I typed in an English paragraph I got normal quotation marks, and when I typed in a Spanish paragraph I got their double triangle things…    Now if only it was smart enough to switch autocorrect accordingly as well, I’d be set ;)  Of course, my phone (where I usually practice my Spanish) tries to do that and ends up doing part in English and part in Spanish – sometimes in one text ;)  Lol fun fun.

Today I learned I can't jump backwards...

Let's talk agility.  It would seem that despite excessive amounts of agile training, I have none ;-P.  Lol okay those may be two different takes on the word, but still.  It would be nice if they aligned.

So Nicole and I are into week two of Core de Force.  And we've chosen the "deluxe" version because, why not ;). Said deluxe version has several videos, mostly agility related, that aren't in the original selection and I've never done before.

Week one went reasonably well.  All the cardio was a bit of a shock to the system but my arms and legs are missing the weights.  All good - I'll do the month and then throw in another "hard labour" week.   In week one there was an agility video which used a ladder -- which I don't have.   Not a ladder you climb, rather one that lies on the ground and you step in and out of.   So I did the exercise without and then hit up Amazon.  All good right?

Suffice to say I do not look like this.   But it does show part of the ladder ;)
Then today's workout.  Ah today's workout.  First sign -- only six rounds.  Most are nine; I seem to remember some of the later ones are 12.   So seeing six, it isn't a "yeah this'll be easy" sign.  No.  Not new.  It's like walking into a jump lesson and seeing all the fences set at 2' -- you know the exercise will be nearly impossible.

But it gives me a chance to use my shiny new ladder, so that's exciting.  And this is where I learned I cannot, for the life of me, hop or jump backwards.  Lol apparently not a required skill in my world.  Because in the backwards exercises -- I wasn't even *close* to making it from one rung of the ladder to the next.  Nope, I moved maybe an inch?  It was really quite sad.  And frustrating.

Some of the ladder exercises were super fun, and I was so entertained by them I didn't really notice how gross the puddle of sweat by my feet was becoming.   But the stupid hopping backwards *sigh*. And the one with the twisty hips???  Honestly, I suspect I look very much like a drunk angry squirrel *sigh*.  
You can find anything on Google ;)
While I sometimes wish there was a mirror in our workout area so I could see what I'm doing, in the agility routines I'm very glad there is not.  In my imagination I'm a fighting machine!  Lol I don't want to ruin that with reality.

Reality check ;)
Overall though, I'm really enjoying this series.  Lots of variety, the exercises move quickly, and many of them are entertaining.  I am missing the weights (who knew?) but I certainly still feel like I'm getting decent workouts.  And having a workout buddy is awesome!

I'm sorry, did I roll my eyes out loud?

Under the "once a barn girl" category -- shower this am got cut short when the hot water disappeared rather instantly; sadly this happened just after thoroughly lathering shampoo.  Ugh.  Fail.   So had the pleasure of dunking my head in the ice cold water to get the suds out, but there was no way I was doing the conditioner thing under those circumstances.

No big deal right?   Definitely very much a first world problem (my favourite kind ;).  However, my hair is very fine, very long, and there's a lot of it.   This means that without chemical assistance it's nearly impossible to get a comb through it.  hmmmmm other options?   Show sheen!   Lol well not quite, but the puppy version.   Yup, Sasha's leave-in detangled worked wonders on my hair.  For the win.

Nicole and I are starting Core de Force tomorrow -- if you've any interest in joining us, let me know! Anyone welcome!   To kick this off, I did half an hour on the rower this eve -- I should be sufficiently sore to start tomorrow.   Lol ah well.  Not my best plan, but it's the kind of mindless exercise I wanted tonight.

Finishing out the week

So just to finish off the story -- I did, in fact, complete the "Week of Hard Labour" successfully.  The 3rd day was core, and I really didn't think too much of it.  Compared to Core de Force or P90X type core workouts it didn't seem nearly as bad.  Until the dreaded day after the day after.  OMG.  I literally couldn't sit or stand straight.   It wasn't the usual muscles, but the ones on the side.  It was like they just collapsed in so all of me wanted to curl into a ball or slouch in a chair.   Absolutely brutal.   Was three - four days before I felt like a functional human being with reasonable posture again ;)

This was followed by an arm day, and then "full body".  I'm not actually certain which of the two did me in, but the following day I was trying to talk on my phone, and after about 30 seconds was having trouble holding it all the way up to my ear.   I also couldn't handle washing my hair after the full body workout.  So yeah.   The workout itself was incredibly boring and repetitive -- if you're going to try it, have a TV or something playing for background interest.  It's certainly not like any of the others I've done where you have to pay attention to keep up.  But it was very definitely effective.

Since then I've done a couple X3 videos but nothing serious.  I'm thinking maybe I'll finish out the remaining weeks of X3 and then decide what I'd like to do next.  May try 21 day fix extreme again -- I liked those workouts just not the trainer...   Alternately Core de Force.  Or maybe a mix of week of 1, week of the other?   We'll see...

Today's dose of psychobabble...

So years ago I did the full on Myers Briggs thing and was INTJ. The only things that stuck of that assessment was that the I was Introvert (lol no surprise there) and that it was supposedly a fairly rare combination (maybe I’m not imagining it when most people don’t seem to see the world the way I do?). The J stuck with me because young me didn’t realize how judgmental I actually am ;) Slightly more self-aware me acknowledges that’s actually pretty accurate ;-P I remember nothing of the N or the T other than that they were the letters assigned.

I know that given time, it’s been mostly shot down and promptly replaced with other equally shoot-down-able theories ;) People do use it at work though – I’ve been asked a few times if I knew my letters and what they are. Lol regardless, yesterday this random quiz popped up on my FB (you know how reliable those are eh?) but it was super short so I figured I’d give it a go, and sure enough it gave the same combo of letters. Hmmmm okay. I didn’t agree much with the description though so I went digging through old stuff and Google until I found a more in-depth review which is so many ways was bang on. And the ways that weren’t at all a fit (specifically – I’m known at work for my people skills, but it’s decidedly not a trait of this type) I realized after thinking about it were things that I worked very hard to cultivate and mostly learned the hard way – not things that necessarily came easily.

I was chatting with a mentor at work and she, having only known me for the last couple years, wondered if I’d actually get the same results if I did the test again. Well I’m not committed enough to go pay to do the whole intensive thing again, but I did find a middle-of-the-road freebie version; I think maybe 15-20 questions? I resisted the urge to tweak my answers and went with what actually was. And…

Yup, exactly the same result. The T/F is right on the borderline – which intuitively strikes me as correct. I could go either way with that one. I don’t remember the percentages I had way back when, so I can’t say if they’ve shifted at all. But still the same letter combo. Although looking at this chart – it has an extra random letter ;) Lol but it didn’t show in the results, so I guess they’re just expanding their analysis.

Some of my favorites from the description (which this site calls Architect):
  • Architects form just two percent of the population, and women of this personality type are especially rare, forming just 0.8% of the population” -- sweet, normal is boring.
  • “Architects are simultaneously the most starry-eyed idealists and the bitterest of cynics, a seemingly impossible conflict” -- I’m pretty sure I said something like this in the “This is Me” post a few days ago.
  • Architects are often given the title of “bookworm” as children.” -- ummm yes.
  • Architects radiate self-confidence and an aura of mystery, and their insightful observations, original ideas and formidable logic enable them to push change through with sheer willpower and force of personality.” -- I don’t know if this is true or not, but it sounds good ;)
  • Architects use their creativity and imagination not so much for artistry, but for planning contingencies and courses of action for all possible scenarios.” -- pretty sure this is my job description
  • Authority figures do not impress Architects, nor do social conventions or tradition, and no matter how popular something is.” -- This.  I always used “all the cool kids are doing it” as a sarcastic joke.   Until I became friends with someone who is the extreme opposite and hugely motivated by them; I will never be able to respect this, but I try to understand and trained myself to bite my tongue.
  • If something piques their interest, Architects can be astonishingly dedicated to their work, putting in long hours and intense effort to see an idea through.” Well.  Have you read the blog?  ;)
  • When presented with unfamiliar territory, such as alternate lifestyles, Architects tend to apply their receptiveness and independence, and aversion to rules and traditions, to these new ideas as well, resulting in fairly liberal social senses.” -- Yup
  • Architects will keep up with just a few good friends, eschewing larger circles of acquaintances in favor of depth and quality.”  Quality over quantity.  
  • And of course at work: “As their careers progress further and their reputation grows, so will the complexity of Architects’ tasks and projects. Architects demand progress and evolution, new challenges and theories, and they often accomplish this by pushing into more active strategic positions.” Lol says she who’s actively seeking a strategy position.   It also suggests PM as an appropriate role fit.
Anyways – just amused me so thought I’d share. Have you ever done one of these? How did it resonate with you?

May the odds be ever in your favour...

Yet another year that I am not planning to play the Nanowrimo game (National Novel Writing Month - to the uninitiated; it's pretty amazing).  It's the first year in a long time though that I could potentially have made the time to do so, so I'm considering that a step in the right direction :).  It's just that I'm choosing to direct that time to Spanish lessons instead.   And no, I don't spend nearly as much time on Spanish as I'd spend on Nanowrimo, but I spend enough time on it that there's no longer sufficient time left over for writing -- at least, not if I want to remain gainfully employed ;).  I will aim to up the blog posts and maybe get in a few flash fictions though in the spirit of the month.

Re Spanish -- I have a new teacher due to the fact that my previous teacher has left indefinitely to backpack around South America.  Lol he's super excited about it and has never travelled anywhere so I'm happy for him and appropriately jealous ;).  But it meant I needed to find someone new.  This was quite the search -- I'm amazed how many online instructors don't teach on weekends?!?!?   And most of the teachers in Spain are out because the timezones are prohibitive.  The teacher I have now does a much better job at getting me to actually speak Spanish (win!) lol but is not as good a teacher or as prepared for the lessons.  However, given that *anything* is progress given my current level, and they lessons are super affordable, I'm giving this brute force immersion method of learning a try ;)

Duolingo's claims are a little overambitious ;).
By 51% I'd expect to be able to have/understand at least basic conversations in Spanish.  Sheesh.
In unrelated news - I finished the Fusion Fitness program.   The last week wasn't nearly as exciting as the first three, but overall I'm glad I did it.   Was an interesting variety and I got to try some new exercises.   This week I'm doing the "Week of Hard Labour" -- which is entirely weights (no cardio) and with a different instructor.  I don't really like the instructor but it's only 5 days.  The exercises are all very standard type that you would find at the gym with the average trainer.  I figured that was an okay thing to do for a week.  Then I'll find a new insane program next week.   Debating between finishing the last month of X3 or doing something entirely different.  Lol stay tuned ;)

Hmmmm or on second thought, maybe I *should* do Nanowrimo....   I just looked it up and last time was 2010?!?!