Thursday, August 30, 2001

Scary Clowns
That wedding on a farm sounds lovely. I think I would have been sorely tempted to go on the pony ride, even if it would have meant smelling like a stable girl for the rest of the evening (the newest designer perfume--Night at a Stable!). But I can truly relate to the kids' reaction to the clown. I've always found them a tad creepy. I'm glad to know I'm not alone, though. Check out this gallery of scary clowns. Yeeeeesh.

Wednesday, August 29, 2001

In Dina's absence, why don't we do as she requested and talk about our weddings, or tell good wedding stories? In will get us in the mood, if we aren't already, to heartily congratulate D & S on Saturday.

My own wedding was in May 1995. It was a pretty simple affair, done on the cheap (about 800$ total). We had the ceremony, then a restaurant lunch for which the guests paid 15$ each. Then we went back to our house for drinks and music and hors d'oeuvres supplied by my sisters. It was a good way to do things, I thought. We didn't expect gifts from our guests, and my husband chides me about that to this day (everytime we wish we had a food processor). I was very untraditional in my invitation list. I only invited people with whom we had a real relationship, so no aunts from Timbuktu or second-cousins from Ireland or whatever. I think I might have offended some people, but it was the only way to keep it small and intimate. It was just a fun day with good friends and close family. My biggest regret (besides Dave's suit) was the fact that none of his family came over from England for it. His dad had just been diagnosed with Alzheimer's and everyone was too shocked and scared to leave him or travel with him. TheAnyway, that's the story.
Need a blog fix....

With our main bloggette (?) Dina on vacation this week, the blog is a little flat. Okay, it's boring without a daily entry to look at. Two things I do every day, I reach for the newspaper and then head to the blog. Yup I'm an addict, and the blog goes well with a cup of strong coffee.

So while Dina continues getting ready for her wedding, let me share something with you. Elizabeth has already "heard"a part of this story, but I think it bears repetition. There are no bats in it though, but it is supposed to entertain at my expense.

Yesterday, August 28th was an auspicious day of sorts. It was the 10th anniversary of my employment at CDS. Major anniversaries entitle an employee to a lunch and a token of recognition--a company pin and a gift. I received neither yesterday and I didn't even hear from my boss. However, I did discover that I work in Toronto (even though I am here in Montreal). I was getting ready to post our internal newsletter on our Intranet and I scanned the anniversaries for the month of August and there it was, Kathy Mosher CEO office Toronto. (My boss also proofread this newsletter!). So I fired off an email to my boss asking her if I had been cloned and was in fact in the Toronto office. Apparently not, I am here and yes, this would have to be corrected. That was the extent of her reply to me.

Our CEO however, has been here on an extended visit in Montreal to talk to the troops here in the office and do a bunch of other things. We had our big meeting with him in the morning (which went very well). So once he'd delivered his message and done the yak, yak with all of us I figured that was it, I wouldn't be seeing him until at least October.

Of course, it didn't turn out that way. I really have to learn to keep my shoes on. Later in the afternoon as I was snacking on the juiciest peach I have ever eaten and throwing juice all over myself and my computer, didn't our CEO come by, this time with his wife and kids in tow? So here I am barefoot, my shoes under the opposite side of my desk from where I am working. Of course I have to get up to shake hands with juicy fingers but not before doing a pirouette to scrunch my bare feet into my shoes. And hastily wiping my hands on my clothes (no towels paper or otherwise handy). Luckily his 8 year-old son noticed my 3 fish tanks on my desk (that's another story, which I'll save for another day) but not before our CEO made a comment about catching me without my "boots" on.....Needless to say, I was shall we say somewhat abashed and turned a bright shade of pink? In the vernacular of any teenager "I just wanted to die" Now how's that for creating a professional image?

So that was the day of my 10th anniversary here. It makes me wonder whether I'll get to see the next one.

Monday, August 27, 2001

Thanks Elizabeth. That site looks good.
Keep up the countdown Dina! It's just getting to the good part! I went to another friend's wedding this past Saturday and had the best time. It was out on a farm and there was a pony for the kids, and a clown who scared most of them. The ceremony was so emotional and from-the-heart (all written by the bride and groom) that it made me want to go back in time and change my own wedding. (While I loved my wedding, I felt that we didn't put enough of ourselves in the ceremony). I'm looking forward to this weekend's nuptials -- woo hoo!
Hear, hear, Kathy. What is it with people who can't even be happy for a colleague who's getting married? Get a life is right!

A site worth checking out: Rebecca, this Canadian site was mentioned on the DigitalEve list I belong to. It's called EstrogenMusic and it's for indie female musicians. It has some sound clips on it. HTH.

Friday, August 24, 2001

Having a Life

Tell your colleague to stick her head in a bag. I'll bet she's not married (no surprise with that attitude), if she is married, want to take bets that she won't stay that way? Anyway, stay oblivious...that will tick her right off....
8 days
What a crazy week! I am so glad that it's almost over! I've had work up to my eyeballs and the person I work with seems to think that vacations are not necessary and has now started trying to make me feel guilty for getting married and taking two weeks off. Of course, she obviously has underestimated my capacity for obliviousness....foolish mortal! I have told her point blank that I am not working on my vacation other than going on the two training courses and yet she has insisted that I do a presentation to the company on the Friday after I get back! Ugh! Caroline is coming today and I am psyched! Kuan is also coming in tonight, I didn't know that she was making it in for the shower! What a gal!
Everyone stay tuned for a shower update and probably even pictures!!!!
Heigh Ho Blog neighbour! A return "Howdy" to Chris Bates who also has a coffee-titled blog, without coffee, I have no personality at all

Thursday, August 23, 2001

Day from Heck (ruled, as we know, by Phil, the Prince of Insufficient Lighting)
So yesterday everything that could go wrong did - but without any actual disasters worthy of genuine fear and trembling. Just one annoying pitfall after another.

The biggest pain was computer-related. I have now been converted to the paranoid mindset and firmly believe that my machine is trying to kill me, and its method of choice is a series of minor heart attacks at random intervals.

I must admit that the computer is not entirely to blame – in an attempt to relocate some of my more important files to a “safe” drive on the networked, where they would be well-cared for and backed-up every night, I moved a whack of files. Unfortunately the moving van was redirected enroute, and said files are now floating somewhere in the ether, never to be seen again.

So, I unwisely reasoned, a nice spot of lunch will cheer me up and the afternoon can only get better….
Ha! Lunch turned out to be heckish in its own right. Our waiter was in training. What they neglected to mention was that he was actually in training for pole-sitting or some other motion-free, meditative activity. We waited 45 minutes (!!!!!) before we even gave our orders. Suffice it to say lunch was not nearly as relaxing as I had hoped.

A Little Pampering
Okay, I thought (when will I learn not to listen to me?), at least I can relax this evening while my wonderful manicurist treats me to a little pampering, and I can gaze adoringly at my freshly groomed hands for the rest of the night and just forget about the almost-hideous day so far…

My manicurists other client, a stunningly beautiful 24-year-old hairdresser, and I had a pleasant conversation. She was having her nails done for the first time, and watched every step of my manicure with fascination. She asked what polish I had selected, and I told her I almost always got a French manicure. I told I had tried a few more ‘unconventional’ air brush designs, but they really weren’t my style. To which she responded – wait for it – “I guess those are really for younger people.”

Needless to say, I swiftly garrotted her, and mailed her still-beating heart to her parents, COD.

She did qualify her remark by saying she meant adolescent young, but let’s face it, the damage was done.

The one nice thing about a day like that is that no matter how dull and dreary, the next day is always better! Or so one would hope…..
The World's Biggest Food Fight
We're talking about La Tomatina, naturally. This event sounds like the most fun you could ever have in public after mudfights at the beach. But do you get to lick other tomato-slingers clean afterwards? (only the cute ones, of course....)
Ack! We are almost off the Blogs of Note list......sigh, it was good while it lasted I guess. If anyone has anything they want to share with our fellow bloggers, better say it now before we're shuffled back into anonymity...
9 days
Am I nervous yet? Nah! I went over to Maggie's house last night and hung out there and had a good time. Robert has realised that it's hilarious to get his hands really sticky and then chase me with them and Colin's coping with his stitches very nicely. We had supper in the backyard on the new patio. The guys from France showed up while I was gone and were fast asleep by the time that I got home. I met one of them this morning and he seemed very nice. We have one sleeping in the livingroom and one on an air mattress in the diningroom. The tournament starts Friday, so I doubt I'll see much of them or Steve all weekend. I went out and got a box of hair dye last weekend, but haven't had a chance to do my hair yet. Perhaps tonight or Friday, it's just my usual reddish colour, nothing blue for the wedding (although it could be the something blue....).
I have so much work! We're getting rough ideas of what the specs may look like for the releases at the end of September and ouch! I don't think that there's any way that they're going to be able to complete that much work in so little time......but if they do, we're going to have to work around the clock to complete the manuals.

Wednesday, August 22, 2001

The blog wave gains momentum
Clickz magazine has an article on blogs today. Apparently, companies are discovering blogs as an informal way of reaching out and conversing with their clients. Hmmm, I suppose it will only work as long as the desire to dialogue (as opposed to just market products) is sincere and actually interesting.

Interesting sites: Haven't forgotten about your request, Rebecca. It's just that I don't surf with sound, so I wouldn't know if anything I could suggest would have a sound clip for you. But I did mention a couple of amazing ones a while back and will try to hunt them up for you (great music and awesome visuals). Are you looking for anything in particular (e.g. women's sites) or just unusual or beautifully done sites?
We got our wedding bands at the same place where we bought our engagement rings on McGill College just below Ste. Catherine. It's a tiny store, called Bijouterie Emeraude.
That's different, weighing your rings to figure out how much they cost (or was I born 100 years ago?). That's almost as good as the Commensal weighing your food to figure out what to charge you. But at least now you have them and they will be ready on time and that's what counts. Where was this jewelry store?
10 days....
We have our rings! They are very nice indeed! Ok, we don't have them yet because the store is going to engrave them gratis. We can pick them up on Friday. They're 18ct. yellow gold with a slim edge of white gold. I think that they gave us a very good price, about 50% off what they were originally asking, and of course still making a profit. The weird part was that after the jeweller weighed the rings to give us a price, he handed them back to Steve and we realised that they fit exactly one inside the other! A perfect fit?? Hmmmmm..... So that's one more thing off the list:
  • dress/suit
  • rings
  • invites
  • pay everyone
  • pick out music
  • buy wine & beer (the beer is arranged-thanks Dave & Rebecca!)
  • go over ceremony with chaplain
  • make stole/shawl thingie
  • make Steve's tie

Work is very busy, I have a ton of work to finish before Friday, but I'm having so much trouble concentrating. Today is Steve's last day of work before the wedding, the French gaming guys arrive tonight. I'll probably have about 30 minutes to tidy after I get home!

Tuesday, August 21, 2001

Bill just sent this to me, I thought that our bat was a harrowing experience... Family flees after bats invade city home
Ring day?
Depending on when the jewellery store closes, we may get the rings tonight! If not, we may try to get the wine tonight. I seem to be running out of energy for work. Last night we watched the last half of Junkyard Wars and the two teams had constructed siege weapons to hurl cabbages and turnips at each other's castles. My folks called and told me that my brother isn't sure that he's coming, why do members of my famly have to be so difficult? My folks really want to do something for the wedding, so on Sunday I asked them if they would mind making sure that we have enough coolers for ice. It seemed like a simple enough request, find 6 coolers and bring them into town on the wedding day. My folks called later on Sunday to discuss what we would put the keg in and last night they discussed the coolers, when they should bring them in, how they would be transported, where I would get the ice, whether they should try to get the ice, etc.... Who knew that coolers would be so difficult? They also picked up a few bottles of Zinfandel so that Lynda and I and the rest of the untrained palletists have something to drink. Never did get in touch with my brother last night, I can't believe he's trying to back out now...... ugh!

Monday, August 20, 2001

Middle earth gamers, Dina? Could your life get any busier or stranger these days? We'll just have to tune in regularly to find out...

As for the garter belt, I wouldn't go for it myself. I find the symbolism and ritual surrounding it a bit of a turnoff. But maybe that's just me.

Training: thanks a million for the training ideas, Maggie. I like the integrated approach of using several media to present it to clients, especially via the newsletter, Web and ad. Sounds like your company has a clear idea of how to use several complementary media to reach its clients. I've even seen video short clips on Web sites in which companies present their training and facilities. I doubt we'll have the resources for that, though. I'll keep mining for ideas and let you know what we end up doing.
12 days
It's less than two weeks now! I found out on Friday that I'm going to an all-day Dreamweaver course on Aug 31, that should distract me nicely. Steve's only working until this Wednesday. He agreed to billet a couple of gamers coming in from France for a Middle Earth tournament that he's helping to set up. The gamers are coming in Wednesday night, so Steve doesn't want them to be all alone. Luckily, they will be out gaming most of the time otherwise I would have killed Steve for letting them stay. It's inconvenient, but he told them that they could stay early on and we probably were not thinking clearly. We still have a ton to do.....
  • dress/suit
  • rings
  • invites
  • pay everyone
  • pick out music
  • buy wine & beer (the beer is arranged-thanks Dave & Rebecca!)
  • go over ceremony with chaplain
  • make stole/shawl thingie
  • make Steve's tie

Lots of stuff that's still on the list, and of course I forgot about a garter, still not positive that I want to do that. We're probably going to get the rings Tuesday night, the wine sometime this week or next, and the stole and tie will get done next week when I have time to break out the sewing machine. The gals are going to take me out to get my hair done the day of the wedding, it will be a good way to relax a bit on our busy day.

Caroline is coming to town! Caroline is flying in on Friday! I'm so psyched!

Sunday, August 19, 2001

I've only ever been to two weddings in my life and at the second one, I missed the ceremony because my then boyfriend was late - a sign of things to come. So, the first wedding that I ever went to was Maggie's wedding and was it ever lovely. Maggie wore a beautiful wedding dress with a fitted top and long skirt, she looked fabulous - and so did Andrew (he was wearing something else though). The bridesmaid's dresses were also really pretty. The wedding was held in the town close to where I grew up, the Knowlton United parents also married there, I believe. Anyway, lovely ceremony. Maggie's dad and another guy played the guitar and flute, Kuan Yin and Alison sang a song. Maggie's little sister burst into tears as she hugged Maggie after the ceremony while pictures were being taken on the steps...I still get teary when I think about that. The reception was also great; it was out in the East Bolton (?), super location. Disposable cameras were available and everyone wandered around taking pictures. At one point, I wandered into a little barn hehind the hall and found inside the most gorgeous little kitty cats. Man, they were cute! We had a lot of fun dancing too, especially to the Village People's YMCA. The dinner was fantastic and we enjoyed super MC'ing by Terence. A great success.

Actually, oddly enough, the most recent "wedding" experience I had was one hot and sunny Sunday afternoon a couple of months ago: a wedding procession was passing by as a couple of friends and I were strolling through our neighbourhood. I decided I wanted to see what the bride was wearing, so I craned my head for a look into their car, saw the wedding dress, the happy bride and groom (complete and utter strangers) and the next thing I know, I'm crying right there on the street. Hm. So I had a creamsicle.

[Caroline's entry, posted by dina]
For whom the wedding bell tolls
I am getting married in 13 days....I still don't think that this has sunk in.
As a preface to this event, the coffeeringers are each contributing an anecdote from their wedding or a wedding that they attended.

Friday, August 17, 2001

I have a request for the CoffeeRingers too, although it's a little late. I've been doing a press review on the radio every morning this week, and at the end of each one I try to give the listeners a fun website to check out. It has to be sound-related or at least have good sound on it, because I take a clip and it has to be interesting or funny. Anything you have bookmarked that you'd like to pass on and share with the English-Montreal community? I won't be doing the review again for a while, but I'd like to have a list for when I do.

Dina, fire that DJ! There are so many out there; surely you don't need him. I've turned into a bit of a witch since I fired my notary. But really, if you;re paying, why should you wait and waste your evening? Although the kitty does sound super-cute, and I'd love the name of that ice-cream shop to do a radio story.
The Bat, Part II: Okay, maybe I'm overreacting, but as Douglas Adams once wrote, just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you. The news this morning included an item about TWO, count 'em, TWO rabid bats in the area, one in Laval and one in Pointe Claire. The 'authorities' (for lack of a better term... perhaps batmen?) are urging anyone who's come in contact with a brown bat in the last three weeks to visit their local clinic. Bat handlers (no euphemistic intention) may have to undergo rabies shots!

Training: Are you limited to one method of dissemination, Elizabeth? Because we've recently introduced training (albeit for non-destructive testing people, who are, shall we say, a different breed) and we attacked a variety of venues. We began with a detailed article in our client newsletter, which is linked from the web site, and followed with direct mail, which was pretty successful. We're currently working on a magazine full-page ad that will address training along with other client services we offer. I like the idea of an interactive presentation - almost every office computer features a CD or DVD-ROM drive now, so if the resources can be allocated, a CD presentation could be the way to go. Part of your strategy, naturally, depends on the product - if the training is directed at newbies, perhaps a CD presentation will be intimidating.

Anyway, that's my insight for the morning. Back to the grind....
DJs suck
Ok, they probably don't all suck, just the one that we didn't see last night. I left work early, went and picked up Steve and fought traffic to get across the bridge to Longeuil for 6pm. He had asked us to be very prompt because he had something to do that evening. Well we get to the office where we're supposed to meet, it's a photography studio that he works out of. We were there a bit early, so we waited.....and waited. Finally, this guy shows up and let's us in and starts getting information from us and whips out a binder of photos. It's the photographer, and he's mistaken us for his 6:30 appointment and we've mistaken him for our DJ. Turns out that the DJ was sick and he didn't call us to cancel the appointment. That was our evening wasted!
Highlight of the evening: While we were waiting, we went and got ice cream (twists dipped in chocolate) at a little place across the street. It was actually an ice cream and piano bar, bit of an odd combination. The place was covered with pictures of Celine Dion, from her early beginnings with the really bad hair and clothes to present, shots of her wedding, etc. A few of them had the same guy posing with her, so he probably owns the place. Anyway, we got our ice cream and went and sat outside where we were joined by an orange and white cat (looking very much like Oscar, Caroline). He sat between my feet and waited for ice cream and chocolate from the chocolate dip to fall and ate it. He was very cute.

Rain!After 35 consecutive days without rain, we received a sprinkle early this morning. We're supposed to have more rain today with maybe a thunderstorm, woo woo! Everything was dying, so I hope that the gardens and the lawns spring back to life. My tomatoes could certainly use a boost. I water them everyday, but it's not the same. I'm looking forward to some fresh tomatoes in a couple of weeks to go with my fresh basil.

Thursday, August 16, 2001

Any ideas?
So your DJ's in our hometown, eh Dina? C'mon over for a swim and a beer if you can take the time out from your whirlwind schedule!

Now for a question for you all. I've been asked to think about how we can introduce a training program we're setting up for our company. My focus is not the training per se, but rather the way it's presented to our clients, whether by way of an e-mail campaign, interactive presentation, interesting ad, fun direct mail package, nice certificates attesting to the training, whatever. If any of you have seen some training presented in an engaging, fun way, I'd really appreciate it if you could give me the URL, contact information or the actual package, so I can get a few ideas on what's being done. Even better, if you have an idea for something like this, don't be shy about passing it on. If you'd like to see what we end up doing, I'll send you the final package. I figure with the number of born communicators among us and the importance accorded training by so many companies, some of us are bound to have seen some great ways for presenting it!
We've started getting invitation responses back! We got emails yesterday and reply cards/ I sympathize with Caroline's dad for not wanting to rip it, but I do have LOTS of extras, so rip away! Tonight we are going to see the DJ. He's in Longeuil and we have to be there for 6, so I'm not sure that I'll make it through the traffic on time.I'm still tired, we did some cleaning last night, Steve did most of it while I wandered from room to room wondering where to start. It's always hard to get going after you've worked all day. Perhaps I'll try to work at home tomorrow and take cleaning breaks. I'm swamped at work, there's so much to do that I'm wondering how I'm going to get it done and take two weeks off! I"m sure that it will happen.

Wednesday, August 15, 2001

And in the end
Isn't it about becoming and being decent, intelligent and kind human beings who can make choices and be ultimately responsible* for the consequences of them?
Good choice of articles there Elizabeth, especially the one by Jennifer Foote.

*Responsible implies the ability to choose a response as in response able--as opposed to being a victim. Note that one uses the active voice whereas the other one usually implies having things inflicted on you and you therefore you are not response able....
I Do or Do Me? How about MYOB?
Hi all! That sounds like quite an experience you had at that intersection, Kathy. I'd have been badly shaken myself after that. I've had some scary experiences following vehicles seemingly driven by someone who was drunk, only to pass them asap and see them yakking on the phone, completely oblivious to what's going on around them on the road. All the more reason to ban cell phones while people are driving...

Quick change of topic: there are two interesting articles on Salon today about feminist camps and their take on weddings. I particularly liked the second article by Jennifer Foote Sweeney, editor of Salon's Life section. Basically, she just argues for respecting other women's right to choose whatever they damn well please for themselves, without passing judgment on who's a real feminist or who's setting back the cause of women because they opt for a traditional arrangement like marriage. Makes perfect sense to me. As she so eloquently argues, there are enough pressing issues (poverty and workplace equality, to start with) for women to fight for without worrying about trivial things like weddings or makeup. And here I thought feminism was about freedom of choice...
Some good cheer
Hey Dina, my mum just called and said she and my dad LOVED your wedding invitation! She said it was absolutely beautiful and unique. Well done! And my dad, of course, didn't want to do the tear-off thing because it was too nice to damage, so he told mum to email you later. He's going to keep it somewhere in the family archives, I think. Be prepared for him to ask you how you did it. He really likes that kind of stuff, actually. And of course, he always liked you. Anyway, they were pleased to receive the invitation and are really quite happy for you. Yay! :-)
I'll say he's lucky, but I'm not sure wearing his helmet would have saved him from being hit by a mini-van considering that he ran through the stop sign. Your description of his injuries do not include anything about a head injury. If that's the case, I don't know how his helmet would have helped him. I think if he had been using his eyes, that would have been better.

So, while I agree, leaving his helmet on a bookshelf was a dumb idea, I think it was even dumber and even more irresponsible not to pay attention to the traffic and not regard his bicyle as a vehicle and drive it accordingly.

So tell me, how would his helmet have helped?

And more on the how stupid can you be while operating a vehicle...Last night I was driving south on St. Charles and the light was green. Some little voice in the back of my head (I was helmetless), told me to look to my right and slow way down before I crossed the intersection. Some stupid woman in a mini-van (no doubt a soccer mom) blew through the red light on her side all the while yacking on her cell phone. I honked my horn several times and couldn't get her attention. The person behind me was just as angry (I thought initially he was mad at me for stopping.) However, when I got to the mall, the person behind me, got my attention as I go out of my car and I thought, hoo boy, case of road rage here...But, no the driver appreciated the fact that I had stopped and honked and made it obvious I was furious at this woman. (He had a kid in the front seat and had I not stopped, his kid would have been seriously injured if not killed.) In any case he thanked me. Too bad that she was oblivious to everything except her phone call. I hope for her sake she wears a helmet when she's out in public, because she is likely to get hit over the head by some angry baseball bat wielding drivers. If you want to stay alive, stay alert!

I think it's time to rain. Our brains and clouded and we're not seeing straight anymore.
Cheating the big guy
Our friend Dave is a lucky, lucky guy. He didn't stop at a stop sign while riding his bicycle Sunday afternoon, got hit by a minivan, wasn't wearing his helmet and lived to tell the tale. We saw him last night. He has no skin on his arm and he's kind of beat up, but otherwise ok. He broke the windshield with his shoulder, ouch! Apparently he tried to stop at the last minute, but forgot he was on a bicycle and tried to break as if he was on his motorcycle-doh! We are very glad he's ok, but think that leaving his helmet of the bookshelf was a really dumb idea.
Didn't get too much else done last night, which is a drag because there's a ton to do and we have to have the place in shape by Sunday.... ack! I also heard on the radio that we are finally going to be getting some rain! We haven't had rain in ages and we're all tired of brown grass.....

Tuesday, August 14, 2001

Dunno what it is, but there's just something that weddings do to families to crank the emotions right up to collective hysteria. My normally rational folks engaged in what vitually amounted to emotional blackmail for seemingly trivial issues. My sympathies...

As for directions, just put a homing device in your dad's car and have it emit gentle, encouraging sounds like "You're getting warmer... warmer..." as he nears Ste. Helen's island. A sort of Dina and Steve Satellite Tracking System that doubles as Dad-soother.

I really have to check out Junkyard Wars now. It's my dad's fave show!

Parents. They never change, do they? Combine that with a wedding, and people seem to lose their minds. Just remember to laugh; things will work out. Your dad is pretty funny...he's probably just getting nervous or something, poor thing. You're his baby, after all. It'll be okay! thi
Canada Post woes
So we finally get the wedding invitations out last week and now I'm getting grief about receiving the invitations! Well, not grief exactly, but guilt at the very least. All of the ones to be mailed were chucked into the same mailbox, at the same time, no exceptions. My folks, aunt and cousin all got their invitations yesterday, my grandmother did not. This wouldn't be a big problem except that my grandmother lives with my aunt and cousin. My folks asked if I sent one and why it didn't arrive at the same time. Apparently, I have some secret control over national mail delivery that I didn't know about. Steve's grandmother got hers (in BC-that was fast!), but his aunt (they also live together) did not. Anyway, I ignored my folks, but felt kinda bad for my grandma. The only reason that she's coming to the wedding is because we guilted her into it because Steve's grandma's coming from BC and mine didn't want to sit in the car for two hours. I know that she's not a spring chicken, but if she can go to Magog with my folks (1 hour each way) and then wander around Zellers for a couple of hours, she can make it to my wedding. She can take a nap in the afternoon, sleep in the car, enjoy the wedding, and leave around 9 or so when she's had enough. My aunt has another wedding reception to attend that evening, so she'll take grandma home and move on. Also, my dad claims that he doesn't know how to get the wedding despite the fact that I've included a map with the invitations! Maybe I should hire a family sitter. Ack!

Love the free cable No one's turned our cable off yet, so I'm still in the throes of tons of tv! I've become hooked on Junkyard Wars. They give two teams something to build in a set amount of time using parts and scrap that they find in the junkyard on the set. It's very amusing and you always learn something. Last night they had to make dragsters. It will be very sad when they take our cable away....

Monday, August 13, 2001

I went to the English home page of Elizabeth's vacation link. Elizabeth, maybe you can trade a long weekend for a job editing their translation job.......La Pineraie - Home page
I'm Back!
And from the sounds of it, have I ever missed two tumultuous weeks on the blog! Glad you've emerged relatively unscathed from the carnage at your company, Dina. I've never heard of layoffs being conducted in such a horrific manner. I suppose nothing will surprise us in the workplace in a few years, unfortunately. All the more reason to keep one's resumé polished and ready to go any minute.

On a lighter note, I just got back from two weeks on a time-honoured tradition, the family vacation. It got off to a weird start, when we arrived at the Cottage from Hell and had to explain to the astounded owner that no, we did not think that miserable little hut by a mudhole was worth all that money and no, we did not feel safe having the kids around her "petting zoo" enclosed by electrical cattle wire. (And yet... her Web site made the place look wonderful. Damn those marketing people!)

After that initial unpleasant experience, however, we went on to spend a lovely week at a beautiful place on Lac Simon called Auberge la Pineraie. The next week, we stayed at a nice cottage on a lake near Mauricie National Park, which is really beautiful and has lots of pretty sandy beaches for extreme sandcastle builders like my bunch. All in all, it was relaxing and very enjoyable, although I now have a healthy respect for camp monitors and daycare educators--it takes real energy to keep up with small kids!

I'm also happy to say I have joined the ranks of Harry Potter enthusiasts. Camille and I got our daily dose during the holidays and both agreed that the series is the best thing invented since Fudgcicle ice cream. (For the uninitiated, that's an absolute 10 on Camille's list.) Long live Hogwarts and its ever-fascinating crew!
Wedding stuff left to do:
  • dress/suit
  • rings
  • invites
  • pay everyone
  • pick out music
  • buy wine & beer
  • go over ceremony with chaplain
  • make stole/shawl thingie
  • make Steve's tie

Why am I always so wiped on Mondays?
Ok, dumb question... Stayed up late last night playing Bohnanza at Maggie and Andrew's, it's a fun card game involving bean planting. It wasn't too hard to learn and there was lots of trading. Friday night we went out for a surprise dinner for Andrew's birthday and Saturday night was Dave L's birthday party, both were a lot of fun. We got some stuff moved around in the apartment this weekend, the dining room has less junk in it, but now the livingroom's a bit of a disaster. We'll get this straightened out this week. Sunday afternoon, the STC executive board is descending on our place, so it has to be very neat and tidy by then. This Saturday I may participate in a garage sale! We have lots of junk to get rid of and my old neighbour wants to get rid of a lot of his stuff too. There's always a lot of work involved in getting things cleaned up, but I've been putting garage sale stuff away in boxes as I'm going through it. We can always use a few extra bucks for the wedding as well.
We're going to meet a DJ on Thursday...chicken dance anyone?

Friday, August 10, 2001

Whew! That's a bad week behind me! We're still standing around at work trying to count up who's gone on our fingers. We had a department meeting to discuss it and ask questions about where the company is heading. Nobody's talking about more layoffs, and I found out that the other writer and I are getting the software that we need for the online help (Webworks) - yay! Obviously, there's a priority to the product and user assistance is an important part of the product. If the product documentation wasn't so terrible, perhaps one of us would have been chosen. I guess it's that feeling of powerlessness, like the green aliens in toy story "the claw decides who will stay and who will go". If the climate ever gets better, contracting is definitely a way to avoid these situations. Anyway, I"m at my desk this morning, sitting in my crappy chair that hurts my back and I realised that many people have really nice, new chairs. I did it, I admit, I scavanged a chair from one of the empty desks and wheeled it over to my own. It was a true vulture thing to do, but my back is feeling so good now....

Tying the knot, literally -Invitations! Maggie met me at the door last night with the goodies. We (Steve, me, and Maggie) assembled and addressed and got them out! I tied almost all the little knot that keep the invites together. Some will be delivered today by hand. We had way too many printed, I mean WAYYYY TOOOOO MANYYYYY! You'll be seeing them again and again as coasters, gorcery lists, kindling and flyswatters. We also thought that maybe they'd come in handy for a renewal of vows or anniversary somewhere down the road. Thank you Maggie! Ok, so they're done and out, now stop bugging me already!

Thursday, August 09, 2001

The layoffs I've experienced have ranged in company-wide layoff and the resulting fallout was worthy of a "Dallas" or "Dynasty" episode. Remind me to tell that story sometime. The "easy" layoffs were in the smaller retail companies or newspaper that I worked at; quite straightforward, and actually, not surprising at all, or really upsetting. Things only started getting bizarre once I started working in corporations. One involved a process similar to Dina's and Kathy's, except that literally months of rumours and non-productivity led up the final meeting. At that point, I was pretty happy to be laid off. But then, people discovered the company had incorrectly filled out the Termination forms for Revenue Canada...they marked the code that the employee quit, not that they were laid off.
At the next company I worked at, the layoff came a week after I had already handed in my resignation, but I was told to attend the staff meeting anyway. The company president basically blasted the former president, said he was fed up with wasting his money, had gotten no return on his investment and basically, he was shutting down the company and therefore every single employee was terminated, effective immediately. Bam, about 100 people gone, just like that. (He was ok, because his company owned the company he was shutting down.) The shock was horrible to watch on people's faces. There was a bit of enlightenment too: just before the meeting, the system was acting one thought much of it, but once the termination was announced, another announcement: everyone was to get their belongings and return immediately to the boardroom to get their cheque (not company cheques, mind you, but non-addressed personal account cheques - that didn't go over well with the bank, we had to return and get them stamped by the office manager - who was in a really bad mood) and leave the premises one was allowed to touch their computers (but they were all locked down anyway by system adminstrators during the meeting (they were the only ones not laid off - yet), which was what was happening when the meeting was called.) Needless to say, they didn't add that yes, everything you had worked on up until then was lost to you.

Anyway, I agree with Kathy's assessment (and my gawd, that CDS thing...awful, awful, awful, and actually wrong maybe?...what would the labour board say to that, I wonder?). And boy, God help you if you protest. Off the top of my head, they could also have told the individuals being laid off at the end of the day (e.g., supervisors tell the employees), and then, since it was such a big layoff, hold a meeting the following morning for all remaining employees to address the issue. I don't think it's realistic anymore to feel secure in corporations, especially software companies (though I guess the reality is that you can expect varying levels of security?). Especially these days. At the very least, always stay one step ahead, and keep money in the bank if you can. And yes, look out for number one - you. No matter what they say, there's always that bottom line. And don't lose perspective. And don't take it personally.
What is the "best" way to lay people off? Perhaps the "best" way is for senior management to call a meeting of their managers and tell them that they will need to make some reductions effective date supplied and supply those managers with targets. Then the managers would have to go back to their units and figure out what (functions) they can cut and who they keep.The managers should probably tell their units that cuts are coming and that there may be some hard choices but they (management) will keep you informed. They submit their list and then what would happen is you would have HR or equivalent with the area executive/director break the news early in the morning to those who are going to be released individually. I wouldn't send those who are staying behind home. I would let people talk to each other for the rest of the day, because that way they start to come to terms with what is happening and they will feel less isolated, alone and vulnerable.

So what if they want to get rid of a manager, well, simple, get the manager to make the cuts, then the next one up on the food chain can say, okay Henry, now it's your turn. (This too happens alot).

I am a manager and have seen and heard alot, but what transpired yesterday is certainly a unique approach. I would love to know what the theory was behind that. I am sure there is one--Check the Dilbert website, I'm sure it's there.= : - )

A comment, Dina, you did remark when you interviewed there that they seemed to be a bit strange there. I wouldn't be surprised at anything they do. I would view this as an interesting...(even if a little frightening) slice of corporate life.

Then there's the CDS way, in June we had a big announcment which basically said that every employee is to expect a letter next January informing us as to whether or not you will still have a job at the end of 2002.(We are also told in that same announcement what the company has committed to for severance). If you are among those selected to leave, your severance amount will be confirmed based on the formula that the company committed to and when you can expect to leave. If you try to leave of your own accord before your specified release date, you won't get your severance, you will be deemed to have quit period. You might not even get a reference. How's that for an approach? Any comments out there?

Bottom line? Look out for yourself. (Nobody else will.)
What's the best way to lay people off? I'd like to hear some management brainstorming on the subject. Although not a manager myself, I think about this kind of thing a lot and invariably come to some (probably naive) solution that's better than anything I've seen.

Dina, your company's method sounds like torture. What the hell is that?
"Go to this room and you're laid off, go to the other and you're safe, but GO HOME QUICKLY AND DON'T TALK TO ANYONE!!" Jeez. -- Sounds like someone's played too many adventure games with secret envelopes and messages on which one's fate is inscribed.

Blog of note! What does that mean, exactly? Are we famous now?
By tomorrow you will start to feel a little better (the default setting of Friday usually helps.) Layoffs are conducted no later than Wednesday so that people have a chance to absorb it for the rest of the week so that it doesn't fester over the weekend. So the theory goes. I tend to agree with that theory having dealt with disasters and bad news on Friday afternoons many times.

Make sure that when you stuff the envelopes not to get poisoned by the glue...if you ever saw that episode of Seinfeld when George's fiancee dies from licking envelopes for her wedding invitations. (That would be worse than losing your job don't you think?)

It's interesting that this is a blog of note. Hmmm Maybe because it's coherent and you can follow what's going on. There is a story being told here. I think there's alot of incoherence out there. I've looked at some of them and lose interest almost instantly.
This is a tough day. I did not want to come to work this morning. I got in at my regular early hour and had a quick tour of the office. Many cubes around me are depressingly empty. Pictures of family, kids, company outings, favorite comic strips and stuffed animals and toys, all gone. The graphic designer and two of the Web site builders that sit around me are gone, it's an empty cube, me, empty cube. We had more meetings this morning that didn't make us feel better. Apparently, there will be no more cuts, but people feel unstable and there are gaping holes in the office to remind us of what happened.
We get the invitations tonight! Maggie's picking them up and then it's time to stuff and address, stamp and send!
Hey guys, we made blogs of note! Go to and scroll down. How about some writing people? It can't be my boring life that's made us noteworthy........

Wednesday, August 08, 2001

Holy cow, Dina, what a horrible thing to occur. IMO, that's a lousy and inappropriate way to handle a layoff. And way to boost morale: terrorize your employees. Jesus. Layoffs happen all the time now, but that kind of thing always pisses me off. Sorry to hear about that and losing contact with colleagues, that is very hard. And you sounded so excited about working there. As if working in software wasn't exploding-head-inducing enough. Good thing you're a smart cookie, eh? Good luck. Positive vibes heading your way...
And I thought that the bat was scary...
Today has been a very interesting day. I got to work to find out that my computer was still being worked on and I finally managed to get it back at around 11:00 or so. What a hassle! Of course I had to reinstall Frame and a few other programs, but the system is now close to being back to normal. The president of the company called a 20 minute meeting to talk about how we did in the first half of the year and where we're going in the next half. We assembled at 2:15 and he explained that our sales were up 110% from last year, which is great, but the economy is still slow and we're faced with the fact that a lot of companies just aren't spending money. He explained that we're spending about $1.30 for every dollar that we're making, ouch! Then he announced that because of this and the fact that we're probably going to be in this fix for awhile, that 17 people were being layed off. The room gave a collective mental gasp. In a company of just less than 100 employees, 17 people is a lot. My heart started fluttering and my stomach got tight. This is not the time to lose my job, and I felt for sure that I was going. The layoffs were immediate and the president tried to be sympathetic, but I didn't think it was handled as well as it could have been. We were told to go back to our desks where everyone of us had an envelope waiting. We were to open the envelope and go to the room printed on the paper inside and await further instructions. I was one of the lucky ones. The VP met us there and explained that in order to make this as painless as possible for the 17 other people, that we should get our stuff and leave immediately. The senior staff and a few other people were staying to assist the people leaving, but the rest of us filed out and headed for our cars and drove away stunned. I gave one of the sales women a ride to the metro and we were both relieved that we were still employed, but incredibly sad to lose so many friends. Tomorrow is going to be a very hard day when we realise who isn't there anymore. We're supposed to have a meetings first thing in the morning with our department heads. What a crappy day.

Tuesday, August 07, 2001

Invitations on Thursday!
Well, this working from home for a couple of days certainly has turned out to be very useful. Had a great lunch with Tamu and Maggie yesterday and also was able to walk over to the printer and approve the blueprint and make sure that everything was hunky-dory. Maggie has graciously offered to pick them up from the printer on Thursday afternoon so that we don't risk missing the 5:00 closing time. She's also going to help assemble them so that we can start getting them out there. Yay!!!
It's hotter than heck here, when I woke up this morning at 6:30, it was already 27C, uck!
I'm working on my report this morning and going over existing set up manuals for one of my projects. After that, I have to start my grand indexing plan. Currently, none of the manuals have indexes. I gave myself the mandate to index manuals this quarter (as well as my normal work). I like indexing, so I doubt that this will be a problem. The manuals aren't that large either. I have cracked open Elizabeth's style guide section on indexing and refreshed my memory on some of the dos and don'ts. I figure I can get most of them done by the end of quarter.

A very interesting evening...
Steve and I went over the floor plan for the wedding space and came up with a few ideas for placement for clear and wet weather. After this, we started picking out music for the evening. I walked into the livingroom, which we don't use much yet, to look for more cds. I flipped on the light and started rummanging through a box when I saw a shadow on the wall. I thought that it was one of those big moths that got in and turned around to find a bat swooping around the livingroom! Of course I screamed and ran out of the room. When I was a camp counsellor in New Hampshire many years ago, I had to deal with a bat in my cabin. The counsellor-in-training and I managed to trap the damn thing in a plastic bag assisted by tennis rackets, flying bathing suits, a few pairs of riding boots and 15 screaming nine year old girls (I had 16 girls, but one actually managed to sleep through the entire bat capture adventure). The bat was then released outside, well thrown really.
This time, I wasn't keen on doing the bat capture. We called my folks for ideas. My parents have rid their house of many bats over the years, although it mostly consisted of killing them until my dad realised that they ate mosquitos and now tries to lure them to the property with bat houses. After its brief swooping phase, the bat had perched peacefully on the ceiling molding and seemed quite happy there. Dad suggested the old stick-a hat-over-it-and-put-a-piece-of-cardboard-between-the-bat-and-the-wall-and-throw-it-outside technique. Brave Steve, in hat and gloves, performed this technique masterfully. There was a bit of panic in his voice when he said "open the door, open the door!", but he is definitely my hero and capturer of bats. It wasn't happy about being stuck in a hat and starting squeaking violently. Steve threw the hat and the cardboard (which turned out to be the calendar hanging in my den) outside and decided that he would leave it for the rest of the evening. We can only guess that our little furry friend got in through the chimney. Time to call the chimney sweep!

Monday, August 06, 2001

Got the dress!
Ok, who would have thought that the dress would perhaps be the easiest and cheapest thing to get? It was! Followed Rebecca's advice and went to the little, teenie store in NDG and found a beautiful RED dress and it was only $80! Actually, it was $100, but when I went to pay (cash, of course) he said "For you, $80", a little wedding gift no doubt. I'll be bugging the printer today and then meeting Tamu for lunch. Wheeee!

Friday, August 03, 2001

Not having your hair done on your wedding day is a crime against I don't know what, but it is definitely a crime. I can't believe you wouldn't be able to afford it. (Does everybody out there agree with me? Dina, you're not allowed to comment on this, it's your hair and your wedding, and you have no say on this issue... ; - )

Also, it is highly recommended that you wear some (not alot) of makeup. The reason is very simple...Pictures! Even if you're not using a photographer, being prepared for the camera is really important. Somehow if your don't at least do a little, you will look washed out and brides should never look washed out even if they really are. (I know, this was one washed out bride on her wedding day, but judicious use of makeup covered up how sick I had been for the 2 weeks leading up to the "best day of my life".)

Also, make sure that you have the following: Something old, (preferably not underwear), something new (your dresss I guess), something borrowed (a necklace perhaps?), something blue. (The blue thing is usually a garter if you're going to have one.). Then one last thing, which may be impossible, but if you are superstitious as I am, you really shouldn't see Steve on your wedding day before you arrive at your appointed destination to marry. It is bad luck. Is there any way he can be housed somewhere else? Also, hope that it rains sometime on the day (early in the day). That too is good luck.

There, I think I've covered the non-essentials....Oh yeah, have fun too! (essential).
Well, I noticed something else that you left off your to-do list, Dina. How about getting your hair done?

I'd offer to do it for you on the day, but of course, I will be probably be otherwise engaged. Boo hoo!

I suggest that you do get it done if you can afford it. I recommend Coiffeur Au Premier on Monkland. Having your hair done is a very nice little respite of calm and pampering in an otherwise crazy day. Also, I reiterate my suggestion that you take a look at dresses at that little hole-in-the-wall store on Sherbrooke, corner Hampton. They have very cheap, very nice dressy dresses as well as very simple things.
Friday!!!Ok, I think that I finally figured out how the font sizes work. It's not hard when you figure it out.
I talked to Caroline last night and we chatted about the wedding stuff and life in general. She seems very relaxed and prepared.

Doh! Good calls Kathy! The cake is covered by the caterer and I suppose I will have to get something small for Steve. Photography is just not in our budget, so we'll have to rely on people bringing their cameras.
I'm looking forward to getting back to normal next week and hoping to get some cleaning and stuff done on the weekend. Anyone who feels the need to vacuum can come right over.

Big deal on the Gazette We were thinking about getting a Gazette subscription for the weekends, but we were waiting for them to call us and offer a deal. Last night, someone called and offered us the Gazette everyday for $5 per month for 12 months. What a deal! I took it of course, I think that it's $200 off the regular yearly rate. Wheee! Not like it's a great paper, but that's a lot of paper for $5 per month. Perhaps I'll try my hand at papier mache furniture.......

Thursday, August 02, 2001

It would be great to talk :-), we will and am looking forward to it! FYI though, I'm off tomorrow and won't be near a phone most of the time and won't be at home this whole long weekend, and am house- and kittycat-sitting until the 20th, starting Monday night. So ask Maggie for the phone number where I'll be if you want to call and/or if I'm not at my apartment (it's in my email to her from today) if you don't hear from me first. Hang in there, things will get done, things will work out, and it will be a great time, no doubt. Good questions. And order of events?
Have a great weekend, all.
I got into the Blog just before lunch. But there was something doing all morning. I was able to go to just about any other web site I wanted. So go figure.

You didn't mention a couple of things and maybe you've already covered them.Photography. You didn't mention who is doing it. Is someone doing it for free? Wedding cake? Or is that part of your catering deal? Wedding present for hubby (besides you--the ultimate wedding present)?
Oh crap
The wedding is now 30 days away. Maggie's dragging my sorry ass out to shop for a dress this weekend, the bills are looming and so far we're not really freaking out. Heck, I have friends to do that :-) Maggie's handling the worrying about the dress, Kuan's worrying about the flowers (of course, she's doing the flowers....sorry Kuan) and Caroline is probably worrying long-distance about stuff too. Caroline, I should call you soon and chat about stuff. Looks like we may have a proof of the invites Friday and then invites themselves next Tuesday. Essentially, this is what we have left to do:
  • dress/suit
  • rings
  • invites
  • paying everyone
  • picking out music
  • buying wine & beer
  • going over ceremony with chaplain
  • can't think of anything else, but I'm sure there's something....

I'm planning on taking two days at home to decompress from doing two jobs. Of course, I'll probably work on stuff, but it would be nice to be out of the office.
Nothing like a little Daily Zen to clear your mind this morning.....

Wednesday, August 01, 2001

Well, I got the pre-flight from the printer and it looks alright, of course it was faxed, so it's not like there's colour or anything. I still don't know how badly I screwed up and they just fixed it for me. I hope that it goes smoothly and they can start getting going on the printing. That would be awesome! I have to get some elastic cord to put them together. Woo woo!