Thursday, August 28, 2008

What is it, Vacation Day Five memories?

August 24, 2008

My legs caught a break today.

I’ve been staying up until 2 or 3 a.m., and then sleeping in until maybe 10 a.m. This morning I was up at 8:30 though, so I made breakfast and hauled it down to the beach to eat it there.

Today was supposed to be the hottest day of my visit, but it was cloudy and windy all day. I geared up for a walk on a nearby trail, but on the way I stopped at a beach a bit further up the lake than I usually went. I decided that while it wasn’t exactly sunny, it was still rather warm. So I abandoned the walk and returned to grab my bag for an afternoon at the beach. The water was too cold today to swim, so I just sat with my feet in the water and read.

The owner came by tonight. Last time I was here, I didn’t meet him once. His wife did everything. Which leads me to believe his wife isn’t around this time. Maybe any more. I could speculate scandalous reasons for her absence. But I digress. He stopped by to give me a birthday cake, complete with flowers and a candle. Really very thoughtful and pretty. Perhaps his wife is somewhere around after all.

Tonight I’m in the house alone. More spooky than I would have thought. I think I’ve watched too many horror movies – and am currently watching Silent Hill. I don’t know why. Sean Bean sucked me in, and now I’m just trying to wrap my mind around what the !&@%#&%!@ is going on. Oh, now that’s over, and I’m watching Secret Window. What is wrong with me?!

And I can’t stop trespassing. I recalled from the last time I was here that the owners usually don’t lock up. I was given a key to the suite, but told with some derision that “it’s usually you people from the city who insist on locking doors.” (I didn’t ask what city we people were supposedly from) So, knowing that the only other tenants who were here today left this morning, I decided to take a look around the other suites. Did I remember this before the sun set? Of course not. So I took my flashlight and went into the two other suites to take a peek. Nice. I still prefer my suite.

So that was my vacation. I'm back home now. Still staying up late and sleeping in. Meeting friends for lunch. Life is good.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Vacation Day Four memories

August 23, 2008

Today was a day of relaxing. I had to go into town because while I have 72 double-A batteries for my camera at home, I neglected to bring even four with me on vacation. Which brings us to why I have 72 at home. I’m always forgetting to bring any of them with me, so I always have to buy them when I’m out of town. But I digress.

Into town for batteries, and I stuck around for some window shopping (which netted two pairs of earrings, a watch and a vanilla iced coffee) and lunch. Then back to the beach to read by the water and a little swimming. Well, dog-paddling really. It seemed more prudent, being in the water by myself, to stay close to shore in one spot that was a few inches from where I could stand up. In theory. In reality, waves have their own plans. I’d dog paddle a few minutes, then have to swim back to where I wanted to be. Paddle a bit. Swim a while. Today was supposed to be about giving my over-walked/hiked gams a break ... maybe tomorrow.

But I did fit in quite a bit of sitting by the water and reading. And watching the sun set from the shore.

Once it was good and dark, I sat on my balcony to try to catch a glimpse of the bats I knew nested nearby. I think I saw a few. There were these quick black blurs that whizzed by me a few times. I assume they were bats. Then I went out on the other side of the house and stared at the stars in quiet contemplation of how I wish I knew astronomy. A very relaxing day.

Vacation Day Three memories

August 22, 2008

So. Dead. I did the Marten Mountain hike. Yikes. It took about an hour and half to do the 2.8 km trail. A muddy, rough, steep incline trail that hardly even looked like an official trail for about half the length. (Now my pants are truly done for. And guess what happens to sneakers with a hole that lets sand in when they meet mud?) I considered turning back about six times. Stopped at this bridge to catch my breath and take off my shoes lest my feet burst into flame.

(no blisters though! Bonus) What kept me going forward was the promise of an outhouse on the map. I reached the lake – no frickin’ outhouse! Still, the lake was nice. Not 2.8 km trek nice, but nice.

I just wanted to be done the hike, so my exit was as hasty as I could make it without my heart exploding from my chest. I had to stop considerably more often on the way out, but I made it. I’m glad I did the hike, but I would never do it again “for fun”. It was like when we were kids and I’d let my sister haul me onto the rollercoasters she wanted company riding. I was scared out of my pants the whole time, but at least when I walked away I could say I had done it.

First thing I did when I got back to the guesthouse was throw on my bathing suit and go stand in the cold lake. Ahhh. That’s what my feet wanted.

When I came in for dinner, I considered going to a movie. Well, the movie. Slave Lake has only one theatre, and it shows only one movie. But first I checked out what movies were on the movie channel on the tv tonight. Over the Hedge. We Own the Night. No Country for Old Men. Alright! I’m staying in!

p.s. No Country for Old Men sucked. Maybe I was just tired. But it ended, and I couldn't tell you what was the point.

Vacation Day Two memories

August 21, 2008

So. Tired. I geared up for a long walk along the lakeshore. Long pants, t-shirt, fleece jacket, hat, camera, binoculars, map, water and some snacks. I was off at 12:30 p.m. I was supposed to be able to find a trail to the east of the guesthouse that would take me along the shore back to a picnic area of the provincial park. I most assuredly did not find the trail. I abandoned plan A by 1:00 p.m.

But I was already packed to the ears for a long walk, so plan B had to be formed. I hopped in the car and drove to the picnic area – if I can’t walk to it, I’ll walk from it. (I also start from the finish end of puzzle mazes that stump me and work my way backwards to the beginning.) By 1:20, I was on the path.

And by path, I discovered that I mean large stretch of sand dunes. Hard to walk on soft sand dunes. I also discovered under those conditions that a hole in my sneakers let in soft sand with impunity. So I veered off “the path” and took to walking on the hard packed wet sand right by the water.

I looked up and down the shore ... and decided the first order of business was to take a picture of where I had parked so I could find it again. Luckily someone had created a branch “sculpture” that would be relatively noticeable, otherwise I don’t know I’d have a clue where to return.

All told, I strolled, inspected the beach, watched the water and explored for three hours. The weather was overcast and windy, but not exactly cold. Perfect, actually. Halfway through the walk I realized I was unprepared if the skies were to open and dump on me. Luckily it didn’t come to that. I also realized I’d like to learn animal tracks. I’m relatively confident these are not dog tracks.

I’m suspecting something mid-sized like a raccoon. I’m not saying I’m thinking raccoon. I’m saying I’m thinking racoon-sized.

I saw this house from the shore, and at first thought it would be a wonderful place to live – but when I looked closer, I saw the windows were shattered.

I walked closer, and saw there appeared to be no furnishings. Ah, an abandoned house. That requires exploration. As I climbed the stairs, I had a fleeting thought that this is how horror movies begin. (Luckily I wasn’t sneaking away from my camping cohorts to get a little nooky from a hunk of a teenage boy toy with the washboard abs. Might have saved my life.) Didn’t stop me from trying the door, though, and peeking in when I discovered it was unlocked. (insert theme from Halloween here) After all the times I rolled my eyes at the movies where the dumbass girls poke their noses where they don’t belong and then scream when the psychos come after them, I discovered I’m a dumbass girl. Who knew.

When I got back to where I had began, I didn’t want to just leave without seeing what was on the other end of the shore if it were, so I headed off the other direction. Less simple. I fought my way through roots and trees in my quest to go as far along the shore as I can. Had to throw in the towel when I hit this area.

Well, didn’t have to, I suppose. In fact, I really was tempted to power through a little further in order to reach this beach just on the other side

but I had noticed the water was rising and waves were more aggressive. I was finally able to convince myself that even if I reached the beach, I may not be able to return. So the towel was thrown in and I called it a day.

I got back to the guesthouse at a quarter to five. And sat on the couch until maybe 9:30 p.m. before getting back up again.

A good day. My plan to walk the shore on a weekday in less than stellar weather worked out perfectly. I only saw two other souls the whole day. The first was a park ranger near where I had parked. The second was someone passing by as I was coming down the stairs from my not-really-break-and-not-completely-enter of the spooky house. And yes, I ducked back behind some trees to not be noticeable, and I don’t think the person saw me.

So, tomorrow’s plan is going up to Marten Mountain for another hike. I’m not sure my sneakers can take it. I know my pants can’t. Well, they can but they shouldn’t. They look like they took the walk without me and just dragged themselves through the sand, water and vegetation on their own. So I need to quickly drive up to the mountain and get myself on the path so that if I come across anyone it will look like I ruined my pants that day on the path, and not that I put dirty pants on to go out in public.

Vacation Memories

I didn't have internet access on my vacation at the lakeshore -- so let's look back on the past five days spent in Lesser Slave Lake together:

August 20, 2008

Happy Birthday to me! =)

I really quite enjoy the drive up to Lesser Slave Lake. For one, unlike Highway 2 South, I have not driven this route about 472 times already in my lifetime. The overcast weather wasn’t even dampening my enthusiasm, because quite frankly that is the perfect driving weather. I was hoping that I hadn’t over-inflated my memory of the suite where I was staying – but as soon as I walked in the door, I knew I hadn’t. So extremely cozy, quaint and with a beautiful view. Immediately I looked forward to the next morning when I would eat breakfast on the balcony.

Quite the bonus discovery – the owners have put in satellite tv since my last visit. Two summers ago, my choices were a somewhat passable CBC, a fuzzy CTV and a Global that could be watched if I took off my glasses and pretended that was the problem. The lack of TV Guide makes this discovery short of perfection, but I’ll try to see the glass as half full here.

I missed my first wonderful photo opportunity. A gang of loons – quite literally – were cruising along the lake. I watched them for a while with my binoculars before it hit me to rush down to the beach to try to get a picture.

See the tiny specks in the water?


Oh well, at least I could go back to my suite and listen to their calls. I’ll be lying in wait tomorrow at about 5 p.m. to see if I can catch them again.

Lessee, tomorrow’s weather is supposed to be only 12 degrees with cloudy showers. Perhaps a walk along the shore with my umbrella and bright yellow raincoat. Maybe some window shopping in Slave Lake as a time killer. The owner of the guesthouse did a very good tourism pitch, complete with map and approximate distances from the guesthouse of a few worthwhile hikes and walks in clear weather.

Of course, this was after about a 15 minute pitch to me about what a fantastic mini-series the story of his father’s emigration to Canada would make. I kid you not. He asked what I did for a living, so I explained the day job had been government, but the dream is screenwriting. Then I nodded and “mmm hmmm”ed for about 20 minutes while he talked about the history of his father’s settlement of the area and how many stories there were in his life. “Of course,” he mentioned, “I could write it if only I had the time.” Yeah. Because writing scripts takes no skill, talent or knowledge. The only thing stopping everyone from writing a mini-series is time. Sheesh. People.

Tune in tomorrow to see what happens ...

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

My adorable feet need cute shoes

I was waiting at an elevator earlier last week and noticed an adorable dress on the young woman who was standing next to me. As I admired her outfit down to her shoes, I ended up having to stifle a laugh. This lovely, attractive young woman -- who was maybe five feet, five feet two tall -- had HUMONGOUS feet. Flippers really. I had to double check that she wasn't just wearing clunky shoes. Nope. Those dogs were all hers. Poor thing.

I think I have cute feet. Especially for a five-six woman who weighs one hundred and *mumblemumble*, wearing a 7 1/2 shoe is cute. So maybe I should be more into shoes. So today I went shoe shopping (you don't want to know how much money I have spent in the 4 days since I've quit my job ... but then you don't have to pay my Visa bill, so it's none of your business anyway).

(I won't post pictures of me wearing my shoes. Years ago I posted pictures of a friend who was wearing footed-pajamas. Some creepy guy emailed me asking if I had any other pictures of my friend, but closer on her feet. I asked my friend if she knew this guy. She did not. I immediately took down my pictures of her -- but the guy most likely saved the pictures already and who knows what he's doing with them.)
It started because the only sandal-like shoes I have are these:

Absolutely comfortable, which I would not have guessed. You know you can buy squishy sticky pads for your shoes that will cushion the balls of your feet? These sandals were great. Then I bought the sticky pads. Now they're awesome!

But they aren't good for walking in the rain, or across a sandy lakeshore, or just roaming to the store. I used to wear these for those occasions:

I bought them in Zambia about 10 years ago. Really great construction. It took them 10 years to start breaking down so wholly and completely that you can see the impression of my big toe there.

Apparently August is not the time to go sandal shopping though. Well, it is and it isn't. You usually can't find one damn sandal because every place is stocking up for fall. If you find sandals that are what you're looking for, they're probably out of your size. But if you are so lucky to find a sandal that is your size, it's probably on sale. So I got these on discount (after looking for sandals throughout Edmonton for about 2 weeks now).

In the store they looked kind of an off-tan colour. In the bright sun, they are mustard yellow. Bygones.

Again, though, not sandy rainy roaming shoes. So I did something I was so sure I'd never do. I bought Crocs:

Now I'm all ready for my vacation at Lesser Slave Lake.

Oh, since I'm posting shoe pictures, I bought these a few weeks ago.

I adore them. No clue where I would wear them, or what I would wear them with. I guess I'm becoming a shoe-person after all.

So far so good...

My last day at work was Friday. I know you're dying to know how it went. It went ... almost unnoticed. Man, my "boss" really has no managerial skills or knowledge. What might you do if one of your three-person office were leaving? Maybe ask the exiting employee where she keeps things? The status of her workload? The process to follow when the reports that need to be edited start coming in?

Nothing. Nada. Not one question. It was the end of the day on Friday, I had cleaned out my desk earlier in the week, and just had one small box of knick-knacks to escort home. I stood up and said "Well. I guess that's it for me." Not even a kazoo salute.

All this just confirms how much I should have exited. No one should have to work under someone who is this clueless. I have actually never quit because of one person before. Oh, I had been thinking of leaving for months now. Years now? Yeah, I was actually only there a few months and I started thinking of leaving ... and that was maybe two years ago. But obviously nothing was so bad it chased me away. Until the boss' boss gave the boss job to his daughter's best friend. Things became so very clear at that point.

Friday, August 8, 2008

P.S. Re: Frankenstein

(... just in case you are frantically scanning my blog, drooling "But what about Frankenstein? What happened in Frankenstein?!")

I was right. The narration folded back upon itself -- from the Monster to Frankenstein to the original Mariner.

(you can wipe your chin now.)

(p.p.s. do you like the new choice in font size? for those without my niece's eyesight)

Monday, August 4, 2008

Musings on a Sunday Evening

Want to know how crazy I am? I spent five hours today doing work that I brought home on the long weekend. Work. Even though I've given my notice, and deservedly so. Just can't brush off the work ethic, I guess. And in the scheme of things, I think that's a good thing. That even when I am in a job that doesn't appreciate me, I still try my best. It isn't about what "they" deserve. It's about the type of person I want to know I am.

At least I tell myself that while I'm working on a Sunday and knocking myself on the forehead to the beat of "Hel-lo!"

(this picture just amuses me. what are ya gonna do?)

Sunday, August 3, 2008

My Crappy Week: Part Deux

Or: What To Do Now:

So I didn’t get into the Centre. Crap. (which, coupled with my Monday afternoon car accident, made this a crappy week) I was quite upset and disappointed when I heard. Not so completely and wholly because I wanted to go to this school, but because I wanted wholly and completely to change my life. I know I still can ... and I still will ... but right at that moment, I was quite upset and disappointed.

Still, the rejection is not without some positives. I can hang the pictures on the walls of my new apartment that I had been putting off until finding out if I was moving (why mark up a walls that weren’t going to be mine for more than 6 months?). And buy a hot-air popcorn popper (why buy something I was just going to have to pack or sell again?). And since I don’t need the money right away for a move and tuition, I can take a bit of a vacation at that guest house on Lesser Slave Lake that I love so much (you all think that’s the lamest things you’ve heard – but I’ll post pictures from this vacation and you too will fall in love with the area. Just wait). Then, in September, I’ll find another job.

I have decided I am still going to move to Toronto. And I’ll either re-apply to the CFC, or I’ll try to get an agent. Or both. Before or after I move to Toronto, I’ve not yet decided. But first I will finish off my year as President of the WRSE Board. Which means now I’ll have time to plan the move properly, and not stay awake late at night wondering how in the living hell am I going to pull off picking up and taking off within the span of one month.

My Crappy Week: Part One

My crappy week started out okay. The flight to Toronto was fine. Nice fluffy clouds.
Toronto was kind of fun, actually. The minute I walked into my hotel room, I was excited. White comforter, white sheets, white pillows – no worries about cleanliness here.
Even the chair at the desk was leather. Very nice.
Pleased with the hotel. (don’t look at the window, though. Seriously needed a good scrub from the outside.)

The first day I just roamed around the neighbourhood and watched tv. Different only from a Friday night at home by the fact I roamed around the neighbourhood.

Saturday I got up late and met a friend for a movie. (Oh, did I mention my hotel was a few blocks off Yonge Street, and as such was only about 10 minutes away from a movie theatre? Can I pick ‘em or what?) Batman! ( Very awesome. Then we went to an ice cream place to chat about life and my impending interview the next day. That night I basically just stayed in and watched tv. My only complaint: I didn’t have a tv guide. How would I know what to watch? Really took away from the experience, I believe.

The next morning was the interview. I ended up extremely early, so walked around the ground for maybe half an hour first. So very gorgeous. The Centre is built on parkland in the middle of the city. Like Xavier’s School for the Gifted. I felt like an X-man. The interview itself was fine. I got some good feedback on my scripts and came away thinking I at least had a shot. But with 26 interviewees and only 8 spots, I did know the odds were against me. Still, the bursary I received covered close to all of my travel and accommodation expenses, so it was a good risk to take.

So basically my interview was over at noon ... and my flight didn’t leave until 10:50 that night. What would I do to pass the time? The X-Files movie (, of course. Still got to the airport at 5:00 p.m., though. I asked the ticket agent if I could possibly get on an earlier flight – got a very snotty “That’s not how things work” ... even though it worked exactly like that all the other times I got to the airport hours earlier than my flight. Bygones.

How did I pass 5 hours at the airport? Not that sure. A bunch of wandering around shops. Dinner at the Wolfgang Puck’s restaurant. (holy overpriced, batman! Good, but not so mind-blowingly delicious it warranted paying 9 bucks for an 8-inch spicy chicken pizza that I had to closely scrutinize to find a piece of chicken. Damn it was spicy though.) I bought a journal because of the quote on the front: “Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly.” Seemed rather on point.

Unfortunately I didn’t remember until 10 o’clock that I had my camera with me because I had an assignment for my photography class. By then the sun was down and the crowds had thinned out, and I just didn’t have that varied of choices for interesting pictures. Bygones.

I got back home at about 2 in the morning, and had to turn around and go to work a few short hours later. Quite the difference between where I wanted to be and where I had to be. Said the caterpillar.