Monday, July 16, 2012

If We Started From Scratch

In June, we took a trip to BC, Seattle, and California (I had a conference in Nanaimo, and my sister-in-law lives in Cali, and since we were effectively in the same neighbourhood by being on the same side of the continent, we took a jog south to visit her. Seattle was coz I'm curious.) It was great. While we were in California, I drove into L.A. to visit a friend from high school for the evening. The drive went kind of like this:
  1. "California drivers aren't bad. They're kind of like Ottawa drivers."
  2. "L.A., I can totally handle driving in you."
  3. "OMG it actually took me an hour and fifteen minutes to drive two miles because that exit is closed."
  4. "Where the **** am I?"
  5. "SERIOUSLY? Phone, you won't connect to any US networks? Seriously??? You're supposed to be smart!"
  6. "Can't turn around. Liz will think I'm dead."
  7. [Visit]
  8. "Holy hell. I managed to get lost again."
  9. "This is sketchy. Must get back to the highway so as not to die in L.A."
  10. "Welp, this is definitely not where I thought I was going and it will seriously extend my drive home, but at least I know where I'm going to end up."
I got back to my SIL's at 3.30 in the morning. Suffice it to say that's not how I had envisioned my evening. I put it down to bad, bad, BAD highway signage, and poor street design. And it got me thinking - we keep building roads the way we do because we've got to work with that's there. The existing infrastructure constrains subsequent development. But what would highways look like if we were starting from scratch? The way we design things, or are complacent in accepting previous design, has a serious impact on the way we live. (Is an area pedestrian-friendly or pedestrian-unfriendly? Is that a bike friendly road?) As a visitor to L.A., I felt distinctly unwelcome because of how hard it was to navigate. Seems that the roads in L.A. are built for those who already know where they're going.

Highways. Everywhere. This was about how much traffic there was at 3 in the morning though!

That train of thought then brought me to work. What would it look like if we remade the library? (That gets talked about a lot.) And when can we do Information Management differently, please? Because what I see now isn't working.

The hard part is that the current reality not only limits our future actions (it's easier to build on it than to scrap everything and start again, even if we don't like the way things are), it limits our thinking. I don't know what a new approach to information management would look like. I can make suggestions, but to tell myself to start with a tabula rasa and build it from the ground... eeesh. I don't even know where to start.

But that trip got me thinking, and now I have a metaphor for things that are bad, and that should be rebuilt. I know that driving in L.A. is lame, and I'd love for it to be different.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

So, I disappeared...

... stress, trip, nasty summer cold that's turned into a lingering cough, but is getting better.

I disappeared.

And I'm about to do it again - but for a good reason this time (cottage trip. Yes please!), and it's only temporary!


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

An Exercise in the Ridiculous

So, this happened last-last Friday (the Friday of the May 2-4 long weekend, aka Victoria Day weekend for my non-Canuk friends). Sorry for taking so long to share it with you... I hope you find it as amusing as I did. Coz I really did (thanks goodness, or else I would have been mad, mad, mad!)

That morning was just ridiculous. I took the day off to paint the guest room (in-laws visited, and then my Mom stayed with us). Realized Thursday night that I needed another gallon of paint. No worries, Rona is open at 7am, I can go before the hubbub has to go to work.

I get up Friday morning, head out about 7.20. Have a bit of a hard time starting the car (weird), but then it starts, I head out. Plan: get paint, get Starbucks, go home, see hubs off to work, paint. I get the paint, go back to the car, and it won't start. And won't start. And won't start.

Now, last summer we had an issue with the microchips in the keys, so I was wondering if it was the same problem. I call the hubs, he says he'll bike over (the Rona isn't far, thank goodness!) with his keys. I head to Starbucks (and they take their sweeeeet time). I get back, hubs has arrived, he can't start the car, thinks the battery is dead. I find a very nice guy with a giant pickup who agrees to give us a jump (thank goodness we have jumper cables.) Hurray! We can start the car back up, and hubs can go to work!

Except the car won't start. The engine isn't turning over, even. So it's not the battery. The nice man wishes us well and we release his vehicle. We now suspect the starter. We're right near a Canadian Tire, but hubs wants to take it to the dealership instead. Okay, fine, I guess that will, except for the car not starting thing.

Here's the fun part: We have a standard. The parking lot is on a slight incline, and we're parked at the top. So hubs tells me to put the car in 2nd, he's going to push it down the lane, and when he says, I should pop the clutch and it should start. So I get in, he starts pushing to get the car out of its spot, and the steering wheel locks all the way over to the left and I'm going to crash the damn car. I gesture frantically, he comes over, points out that I still need to put the key in the ignition (DUUUH!!!!), and pushes the car back up the incline. We try again, get going, and START THE CAR!!! I didn't think it would work... it was awesome.

So I drive in a loop (thinking "don't stall, don't stall, this would be the worst time to stall"), come back to where he is, and we try to fit the bike in the back of the car. It won't fit. So I ride the bike home, he drives home and drops off the paint, and heads out to the dealership and then to work.

So I paint the guest room, love the colour, and all is well. Get a call from the hubbub that the dealership needs to order a part, so we're in a rental (paid for by them, hurray for the warranty) all long weekend. It was a Chrysler 200, and it sucked.

Ours was silver. And huuuuge. And unweildy. Thanks, Chrysler, for the image.
Tuesday they don't have the part. Wednesday they get it in (yay!) and on the way home from the dealership, hubub realizes the spedometer isn't working... and the dealership was closed. So we take is back again and they finish fixing it. Hurray for having our own car back!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Painting The New House

My project today is to paint the guest room. This morning was full-on ridiculous, and I'll tell you about that later, but in the meantime... I've only got one coat up, but I love it already. Check it out!

At first I was like...

 But then I was like...

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Safety First!

As we get into swimming season (it'll be here soon!), a brief reminder: Drowning Doesn't Look Like Drowning! Please take 5 minutes to read this article - it's an important issue that's near & dear to my heart.

Monday, May 7, 2012

New House = Super Busy

So, we got the keys to our new house on Tuesday. Hurray, right? Well, yes, but also a whole lot of this:
That's the hubbub, doing a great job taking down wallpaper
The good news is that all of the wallpaper has been removed, and the walls are washed - just a few spots need a second scrubbing. And, as far as wallpaper removal goes, it was probably actually a good experience (the paper came down easily enough - as easy as taking down wallpaper ever is...). I still agree with the hubbub's statement that "The guy who invented wallpaper needs to be punched in the balls" though.

Movers on Thursday. Which is awesome, but also scary, coz there's still lots of packing to do.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Have I Told You About Penelope Trunk?

I really like her blog. She writes about important career-type things from a very interesting perspective. Her most recent post, Your Biggest Career Decision Is Who You Marry, struck me. I agree with her statement "I think it’s mostly that people are happier when they put the requirements of being in a committed relationship ahead of the other aspects of their life. And a career would be the first thing I’d tell you to give up. You can get a lot more from loving and being loved."

That isn't necessarily a popular thing to say. But I agree with it. I think that may be part of why it's so hard to sustain a marriage if you get married young (stats say you're less likely to divorce if you get married over the age of 25) - your expectations for your career path are likely to change in your early to mid twenties. And you made an agreement with someone about how you'd live your lives together, changing career expectations can be a deal breaker. Whereas if you've over 25, you're more likely to have settled into your path, and can make decisions that are more likely to stick.

I had a conversation with a friend recently about how her husband (a grad student) is getting a lot of pressure from his parents to finish his degree (or quit) and make a professional name for himself. But that's not a priority for him, for her, or for them as a couple. It's more important to them for both partners to pursue their interests & passions - and for her her husband, that doesn't include making a professional name for himself in his field (at this point). I'm glad that they're self-aware enough to realize this - that their happiness is a priority, and won't be achieved through his career. Because since we've been told since we were little that "YOU CAN BE OR DO ANYTHING YOU WANT TO!", the expectation is that we will want to - to be the best cupcake-baker-in-space or whatever. And that we'll derive happiness from our career, rather than our relationships. But I don't think that's how it works. The balance between what you need from your career and what you need from your relationship is going to be different for everyone, clearly - but we need to stop saying that careers = happiness. They don't.

And let me be clear: I don't think you need to be married to be loved. Relationships with friends and family count.