Friday, November 21, 2014

So, a lot can happen in a year!

I'm at home today, sick tummy, you know, the "I'd better not stray too far from home" sorta tummy.  And I thought that I'd spend some time looking through my pictures.  Well I couldn't find what I wanted and I remembered that I'd posted some of those pictures on my blog ... go blog!  I've never really looked around behind the actual posts, and today I see that 41 people have visited my blog, just today.  Whaaaaaaaa?  So I decided to post something new ... actually it's a bit of old and new.

So, it's been a bit of stop and go with my layouts.  Admittedly, I'm overwhelmed with the amount of stuff I want to do.  After a bit of messing around I decided to stick with one sketch only and play with it ... so I choose one of my favorites from the old Sketch Support days ... 2 Page Sketch #6.  I've got 6 layouts on the go with some pretty interesting variations.  I'll finish 3 of them on the weekend and post them.

And I've wasted a ton of time looking for stuff ... the electrical cord for my Cricut, the plates for my Cuttlebug, my sanding block.  Then I ran out of adhesives.  I went looking for inspiration at 2Ps and to my horror, it's gone!  So, in time I'd like to have a gallery on my own blog ... that's for another day.  I headed over to Scrapbook Generation.com to look at their site for sketches and hey, they have a hole new monthly magazine ... CREATE.  That was a very happy surprise.  I have not looked at them all, but I will.  And each month they have free sketches, so I'm going to do some of those soon too.

But right now I'm going to go back a year ... to last fall ...

Oct 2013

Well, as I said in an earlier blog post ... I worked throughout the summer to move our pilot plant, labs and offices to another building.  I took 2 weeks off in October.  On the 2nd, I celebrated my 51st birthday.  Steve gave me different card than the usual, not the flowery, wifey-type birthday card, but this one .....


... I loved it ... but rumours of another deep layoff were circulating at work, and I wondered ...

Well, I enjoyed my vacation at home, spent largely in my gardens.  My order of bulbs came from Vessey’s.  First the garlic, Jean and I worked some organic matter and fertilizers into our old potato patch … and then we planted more than 200 garlic cloves!  Truly a labour of love!  Then I planted more butterfly weed roots, hosta and bee balm into the back gardens.  Finally I planted dozens of tulip bulbs, daffodils, foxtail lilies, crocuses, dwarf  iris, dwarf blue iris and something called glory in the snow into the front garden.  OK, Jean helped.  It was a lot of digging.  We covered the entire garden in chicken wire to protect the bulbs from hungry squirrels. 
 
And when I returned to work, well … the rumors were raging!  Some went so far as to say that everyone would be let go … and still I wasn’t too worried.  That is, until our Department Head called a meeting to confirm the rumors.  Yes, more layoffs were coming and they would be just as deep as those in June.
 
After the meeting the speculation began again … who would get chopped this time.   We figured that our department would lose at least 3 more people, out of 9 left. 
 
You know, I love my job …. I’m good at it, and I work with some really good people, but the constant fear of layoff, it isn’t good for us, it’s not good for productivity either.  I started looking on the internal posting board … something I had never-ever done before.  It was time for me to jump, while there were still jobs to jump to.  But there was nothing.
 
I worked to get the lab up and running, and then ran some priority lab tests.  My new office was huge, and I had more than enough to fill it … but I had no time to unpack, there was so much to do in the labs.
 
I let the stress get to me, and having all that Halloween candy around didn’t help!  I started to gain weight …
 
November, the Next Adventure is Revealed
 
Well, at least we didn’t have to wait too long; on November 7th the axe fell ... again.  This time, I was on the chopping block … but not really. 
 
Thankfully I was given a ‘heads-up’ a couple of hours before it actually happened.  My Department Head showed up in the lab and asked to ‘chat’ with me in my office.  I looked up and asked outright, “Are you going to fire me?”, and marched to my office.  We sat down, and he told me that later in the day I would be escorted to the HR offices and that I would be offered a transfer to Long Harbour, Newfoundland.
 
Whew … dodged that bullet! 
 
So after he left, I sat in my messy office … unpacked boxes stacked 4 high all around me … and I felt strangely calm.  Eddie, a long-time friend, poked his head in … he had also been given the ‘chat’.   He wanted to know my plans.  It's a funny thing, in just a few minutes I had decided on my path forward.  I had until the end of the year to transfer, and I was going to stay right to the end … December 31st … but with my outstanding vacation my last day of work would be mid-December.  Eddie too had made his plans, he was going to leave in a month for Newfoundland.  We chatted about moving our families and animals.  And we both lamented that our colleague Danijela was terminated, not transferred.
 
While I waited, I called Steve.  He was shocked, and really angry that I was transferred … and that upset me.
 
So, as promised I was called into HR, escorted by my Department Head.  It was awful.  All the offices were in use, and a line had formed … A LINE!  Not everyone would be given the chance to transfer and people were upset, and yes there were tears.  Finally I was lead into an office.
 
Now that the moment was at hand, and even though I thought that I knew what was to come, my heart started pounding, I worried that I would have a heart attack right there!  I didn’t expect the termination letter, but apparently that’s how it’s done!  First the termination, and that was a shock, and then I was given a second letter … an offer to transfer.  I wanted to talk to Steve before I signed, but I left with the promise that I’d get back to them the next day.  Meanwhile, more of our friends were terminated and left that very day. 
 
I sat in my office … truly it would be a relief to get out from under all the responsibilities, all the crap.  Steve called me … he had given it more thought was he was OK, he understood that it was a good move for me.  I turned to the boxes piled all around and spent the rest of the day unpacking and getting rid of files that I would no longer need and filing the files that would be needed by my replacement.
 
That night, while the dogs enjoyed the snow outside, I told my friend Jean, she wrapped her arms around me and we both cried and cried.  When she finally released me from her embrace, she laughed and said “What am I going to do with all that garlic!”
 
Long Harbour Operations … I know many of the people there and I’ve worked with them many times over the years, in fact I had a hand in training some of them.  The Plant Managers were very happy to take me … saving a job in research for someone else.  The next day I signed the offer making it official.
 
So, we needed to move to Newfoundland … The Next Adventure!  Geez I hated doing that to Steve, and our pets!  Newfoundland … in the winter!  Figures. 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Hurricane Gonzalo - our first hurricane

We were a little nervous last night.  We even tied the BBQ to the deck.  The Weather Network had predicted that we would start feeling the effects sometime between midnight and 3 AM.  I was up at 3 and at 5, when Steve put the pups out to pee, but ... nothing.  Then at ~5:30 the rain pounded on our skylight.  We made coffee and sat down in the living room.  We could hear thumping against the house, but we waited until sunrise before we headed out to investigate.  Up and down the street we could hear the steady thud of thousands of chestnuts falling onto roofs, decks and cars from the hundred year old chestnut trees that line the road  It was fairly warm out, and the front porch was sheltered from the wind, so we brought our coffee out onto the porch to watch.  Waves of wind and rain.  Then we decided to head out to Mad Rock to see what the ocean was doing.

Mad Rock juts out into Conception Bay ... not out into the open ocean, so we didn't see the waves that the news was currently reporting.  Steve is a real weather junkie, so he walked to the point to feel the wind.  I sat warm and dry in the car and took his picture.  He was soaked when he got back inside.  We watched for ~30 minutes and then headed home.  By the time we got home, the rain had stopped and the sun was shinning.  That was it, 3 hours of rain and wind, and Hurricane Gonzalo raced away into the north Atlantic.

Steve at Mad Rock
I spent hours yesterday and today working on my scrapbooking.  I was nowhere near ready to start!  Oh, my scrapbook papers, my tools, my desk ... they were ready.  I had downloaded all my pictures from my camera, and scanned all my sketchbooks.  I edited my pictures to fit the sketches that I had decided upon ... and then ... no photo paper.  I still had not unpacked my photo paper.  So ... I am delayed, but I'm gonna post a couple of teaser pictures anyway.

We live in Newfoundland!!!!

Clowning around!

I'm ready for my close up!
 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Hey, I'm baaaaack!

Well, I'm going to keep this short. It has been a very busy year for Steve and I ... and I did indeed keep a journal, so I'll be able to share some of the highlights here. But for now I'll say that the biggest news is .... we now live in Newfoundland!

Steve and I moved 3500 kms from Ontario to the east coast of Canada. And now, I finally have my scrapbook supplies unpacked and somewhat organized!  I have so much stuff! I've taken thousands of pictures since we got here and I'm looking through the Scrapbook Generation Sketchbooks for ideas. It's going to be a stormy weekend here on the Avalon ... the first hurricane since we moved here, Gonzalo, is set to sweep past the island in about 24 hours ... so I'm hoping to spend the weekend sitting at my scrapbook desk, working on my first scrapbook layout in 18 months!

Oh .... sigh ... So hard to decide what I'll do first ... should I do icebergs or whales or puffins ...

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Catching things up - Summer 2013

To celebrate the start of the summer, Steve and I organized a pot luck dinner with our close neighbours.  It was a smash-hit.  Good food, beautiful weather and even better people, it was so much fun.  Here's a look at some of the food.

Lobster tails and crab legs .... mmmmmmmm
There was chicken done 2 ways, and even BBQ ribs ... done 2 ways.  What a feast!

What a spread!
And the gardens bloomed!

Japanese Maple and Peony

Baby Plums
Sunshine Rose

and Sydney, Tucker and Alfie were there too.



At the end of June, the axe fell at work.  Layoffs.  Research lost ~25% of our staff.  I think that most of us were in shock when it happened ... and with texting, we all got a blow by blow report as our friends lost their jobs.  The very next day, the head of our division brought us all together.  We were no longer "Research", but now would be known as the "Technology Excellence Center" or TEC.  The cuts were deep, but it was done and we would be safe from future cuts.  We all breathed a little easier after that.  But in order to cut costs further, they planned on selling the building that I worked in ... the building where the pilot plant was located ... and the labs!  So for the rest of the summer we all worked to decommission the circuits and the equipment and prepared everything to be moved.  Some went to storage, and some was sent to our new location.  We packed up the labs and our offices ... and by the end of September we had moved everything, well mostly everything, and we were settling into the new labs.  I really hate moving!

The summer issue of Canadian Scrapbooker hit the stands, and I was pleased that my layout was selected as an "Editors Pick".  One of two ... and they sent me a nice prize!

It's out!
Meanwhile, at home my garden grew and grew.  I enlarged my butterfly garden and planted more butterfly bushes.  Funny thing ... only a few butterflies visited my yard, and I saw only a handful of honey bees.  But the garden was busy with bumblebees and hummingbirds!  Oh ... praying mantis too.

Really hard to see praying mantis

Bumblebee on a blazing star

Bumblebee on Honeycomb Butterfly Bush

Bumblebee on bi-colour Butterfly Bush

Hummer feeding from Purple Butterfly Bush

Another hummingbird

and another
Every Saturday morning Steve and I enjoyed our coffee out in the garden watching all the hummingbird action.  But I missed the butterflies ... I only saw 4 Monarchs all season.  They had a bad year in Mexico last winter, freezing temperatures killed millions of them.  So Jean and I devised a plan for next year.  We collected seeds from several milkweed species:  Common, Swamp and Tropical.  Next year we'll plant them everywhere!

We had plums all summer.  Our tree has 5 different grafts ... oh so juicy, the juice would spray out and down our chins.  Oh, just look at them!





And our veggie garden thrived, the plants heavy with fruit!

Peppers

Tomato Patch

And because our summer pot luck went over so well, Jean planned a summer picnic ... right in our own back yards!

What a spread!



Games too!

Tossing Washers

Watching the game ... so serious!

Now Dora, that's cheating.

I just love my neighbours ... what a great place to live!  And to make the yards even better, I planted 4 new trees:  A beautiful little white spruce, a while pine that softly waves in the breeze, and 2 sugar maples.  I also planted 2 new gardens.  One under the huge cedars ... a woodland garden filled with hosta, astilbe, columbine, ferns, bleeding hearts and primulas.  Out front I planted a more formal garden with Japanese painted ferns, hibiscus, iris and autumn splendor ferns ... and I ordered a ton of bulbs from Vessey's:  tulips and daffodils and crocus and garlic!  This will be my "Year of the Garden"!

As the summer came to a close ... I began to plan some long overdue scrapbook pages, scrapbook season is almost here!



Catching things up - Spring 2013

Well it has been more than 6 months since my last post ... kinda sad really, I guess.  Truth is, I've been so very busy, and today I recovering from a bad, very bad cold and I thought ... no time like the present!

So I'll start with work ... my day job.  I always talk about how stressed-out I am, there is always something coming, something due and always rush, rush, rush.  This year started out the same way.  We had to get the pilot plant autoclave running ... and that autoclave had not been run in 6 years.  We put a team together, and I was the lead.  Thank goodness I had some good people to call upon, and we were able to put the circuit together and we ran the testwork without incident, on schedule.

And then, right after that finished we had to put together another circuit for some other rush job.  That work went off without a hitch, and ahead of schedule too!  And the whole time, the rumors circulated and grew and went around and around ... more layoffs were coming.

At home, I submitted several layouts for the summer issue of Canadian Scrapbooker, and one of them was selected for publication.  I was thrilled to be picked again!  So this is the layout ....

Whale Watching Adventure
I really love this layout.  This pictures were taken off the coast of Vancouver Island in the summer of 2008.  The whales were frisky, jumping, cartwheeling and breaching close to the boat!  And I got some amazing pictures.  I used a two page sketch by Allison Davis.

We were hit with a late season storm ... freezing rain!

Poor little bird - the seed is all frozen
And Steve and I prepared for the summer gardens, building new garden fences to replace the old rotten ones ... well they did last 10 years!  We had the potatoes and lettuces in the ground early, and our plum tree was absolutely covered in blooms!

Plum Blossoms

Preparing the garden

Lettuce and Carrots - Great new Garden Fence!

Potato Patch ... Nasty old garden fence works here.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

After the Storm

The storm was over ... and I put on my boots, coat, scarf and gloves ... I had to head out to clear the driveway and walkway so that Steve could pull in when he got home from work.  Resigned, I trudged out into the night ... and found that someone had used their snowblower to clear our driveway!  I don't know why I was so surprised, Steve always helps to dig out our neighbours ... but I stood there ... stunned!  All I had to do was clear the walk to our door!  In a better mood, I stood and gazed at the stars, bright in the cold night sky.  Life is good!

Since I was all bundled-up, I marched through the house right out the back door and played in the snow with the pups until Steve came home.  He was thrilled to find the driveway clear!

The next morning dawned clear and cold!  We opened the door and released the hounds ... and soon, little Bailey joined us.  Sooooooo, more pictures of the pups ...

Little Bailey  Hurray ... friends to play with
Bailey has a thing for Tuck ... she's like a tick ... she grabs hold, and won't let go ... Tucker's such a nice boy ... he's OK with it.

Bailey and Tuck
Alfie
The three amigos  Alfie likes to jump garden fences!
CRASH   Poor Tuck!
Tucker and Alfie race for a Toy ... and yes, Alfie already has one
While the pups played in the snow, we discovered that Bailey's dad, Joe did our driveway.  Such nice people, we're so glad that we can call them friends!

a Long Weekend ...

So, while the storm raged ... I sat up at my desk ... plows rummbled past ... and cars got stuck on the side street, and I scrapped 2 layouts.

Last week I printed a picture onto textured cardstock, and I really like the effect ... so I did it again.  This time, I picked one of my favorite pictures from our 2008 vacation ... Castle Mountain.  It had to be big, so I printed it 11.5" x 14", and it looks just like it was painted on canvas.  I really like the way this layout looks.

breathtaking Castle Mountain
Canvas Texture
and again, from 2008.  We were camping in Waterton Lakes National Park.  We could hear Cameron Falls from our campsite, so we walked over to check it out.  I'm a sucker for waterfalls!  A short trail climbs through the forest and up to the top of the falls, so I headed up, leaving Steve with Ruff and Gem ... it was just too steep for her ... almost too steep for me!  The view of the Lake was stunning, it sparkled like a green gem.  Wilflowers thrived in the spray from the falls!  I stood and watched as the river swept past me, leaping over the falls ... but the most awesome thing ... I was standing on rock as old as time ... 600 million years old!

Cameron Falls
Detail  Love the poofie white cloud
Not bad at all ... let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!