27 April 2008

Green Thumb Sunday - Spring is Possibly Here

My body knows it's spring when I turn down the street heading towards home and I can see the yellow of the forsythia blooms. The forsythia, and this particular one, is perhaps my favourite spring shrub. Maybe because it's usually the only thing in bloom in my garden at this time. I love the way it seems to glow at night under street light. I love the way it looks at dusk after it rains.


Soon after the forsythia bloomed this week, the first batch of daffodils bloomed. These are my first daffodils ever. I can't even remember what kind they are, but I purchased a bunch in the fall. I'm enjoying them so much that I've made a mental note to ensure that more daffodils are on my fall purchase list.


And this is what the daffodils look like up close. Flecked with dirt.

daffodil up close

The first tulip of the year to bloom were these lovely red ones with great foliage. I have no idea what these are as we inherited them with the house.


The biggest disappointment of the year goes to the rock garden tulip - Tulipa violacea 'Pallida' - which was supposed to look like this. I splurged on three bulbs in the fall because these were supposed to be white tulips with blue centres. Only one has come up thus far and imagine my surprise/horror when the leaves unfurled this afternoon to reveal a yellow centre. I don't imagine the yellow will turn to blue. Right now, I just feel ripped off.

rock garden tulip

In the veggie garden, I have my very first shoot. Only peas and spinach are planted outside in the side garden right now. And, here is the spinach.


You have to love that tax refund season coincides with the start of gardening season.

We were at Home Depot last weekend to purchase the hedge pruners and a new composter. On a whim, we took a rest in a outdoor furniture set. Wifey was smitten.

To make sure she was truly in love, I made the whole family drive from store to store to try out and assess the style and comfort of various patio furniture. The winner was the first set we sat in and we welcomed it home this weekend. The only draw back was my naivety that this wouldn't have to be assembled with an allen key. But, it's together now and with all the crap hanging out back there it looks as if it has been ours for many a summer.

outdoor furniture

That funny paper lantern like thing to the upper left of the photo is a faux wasp nest. We've had really bad issues the past two summers, and in Wifey's course of research, this is supposed to fool the wasps into thinking other wasps have already built a nest in that particular place. I suppose it's better then Wifey running around the yard armed with the can of raid as she chases wasps around.

green thumb sunday

Gardeners, plant and nature lovers can join in Green Thumb Sunday every week. Visit As the Garden Grows for more information.

20 April 2008

Green Thumb Sunday

I finally decided to do it. I've joined Green Thumb Sunday as my obsession with working the soil is at an all time high this year.

As the sun kicked into high gear, the snow rapidly melted. The first bloom of the year goes to a little white crocus. It appeared this past Thursday.

crocus #1

As a joint Christmas gift, Wifey and I had Santa Claus (who we actually call Mommy Claus in our house) put a Nikon D40 under our tree. We purchased the lens the white crocus photo from a friend - I believe it's a macro lens. It takes pictures really close. The only problem is around the fact that you have to manually focus. You actually can only use manual focus. And, I've never been able to focus a camera.

Although, I have to say when I was with a photographer on a shoot for work a month ago and I was talking her through my issue she noted that it's nearly impossible to manually focus with a digital SLR. Thank made me feel a little bit better.

On to the only other thing blooming in our garden. More crocuses. Only these ones are purple.

purple crocuses

The unseasonably warm weather has given us a huge start on garden clean up. The front garden is raked and cut back. I purchased a hedge trimmer on Friday and cut the cedar hedges - when I wasn't looking, Wifey went and cut them again to "fix" my attempt.

We cleared out more junk left by the previous home owners.

And, my little man helped me dig in some organics to one of the raised beds and helped to install a trellis in preparation for the forthcoming sowing of peas.

little garden helper

You can see the butchered hedges in the background.

Today, it's off to fix the composting situation, perhaps purchase some comfy patio furniture and bikes for the kids.

green thumb sunday

14 April 2008

Career Change #1

I read somewhere, some time ago, that one can now expect to experience 7 or 8 different careers in a single lifetime.

I've been in marketing and communications for nearly 8 years. For most of those years, I've somehow managed to work at the manager/director level.

I suppose that happens when you work in small-ish non-profits where you can easily expect to post the director title on your nameplate or email signature because you're the expert in the organization. Mostly you become the expert not because of this experience you've managed to amass over a number of years in your profession, but because you are the only person with any iota of knowledge on staff. You often work on a team of one, this one does include yourself, and there's no one to challenge your self-proclaimed expertness.

All of this to say, is that I'm thinking I might be due for a career shift.

One of my longtime dreams has been to work as an executive director of a small, non-profit organization. My organization of choice would be this one or this one. I'd even consider working for this one (which just posted for an ED but with the current family situation I felt I couldn't give it what it would need, so I opted not to apply), this one or this one (but who knows what I could ever do here).

I've been thinking that I'd like to work in camping. I could work here or here, but neither of these are based in Ottawa. I don't really think I'd like to work at the direct service delivery level. But I enjoy supervising staff and ensuring that the resources and systems to run and support the organization are in place.

Given my new interest in gardening, I'd love to work somewhere where I could acquire new knowledge like a sponge. I was thinking something like a gig at a garden centre or landscape company. Only, I don't think I'd be so good at the manual labour side of things. I'm good at coordinating and planning. I'd be good at cultivating customer relationships. And, I'm good at project management.

There's just so much that I'd like to do, I just don't know what it is that I want to do. All of these decisions need to keep in mind that I can't earn less than I earn right now - and now, I'm more underpaid than I've ever been.

I'm just tired of facing the same battles wherever I go.

It's exhausting having to create an argument and buy-in about why branding is important. I work in organizations with cultures that revolve around leaving everything till the last possible minute to get done. I hate that everyone thinks that the marketing cure-all is to simply create poster or that marketing begins one week before you launch a new program. I hate that no one realizes the amount of time it takes to craft text or design a project. The amount of review and revision that has to take place for 1 page to 20 page documents. I hate that I have to write/re-write everything produced. I hate that we never get past the we-have-to-market-right-now-or-it-will-all-be-over mentality that we never get to planning, strategic initiatives or simple communications with our members or staff. I hate that if no one can figure out where responsibility should go in the organization than it must be a marketing issue - from uniforms and signage to office supplies and mail.

Work makes me grumpy.

But most of all, I don't love it anymore. And that is a sign that I should start thinking about career #2. Suggestions? What would you do if you got to choose another career?

07 April 2008

Throwing Resolutions Out the Window

Nearly three and a half months ago I made a resolution. This is a resolution I made around the same time that the majority of humankind, or at least cultural artifacts like blogs and newspapers would have you believe that this is so, make personal pledges for the forthcoming year.

The year started off promising on certain fronts. One of those fronts where I didn’t quite achieve success was on the blog resolution. I had whole-heartedly resolved to blog at least once a week. Every Sunday night. I idealized the thought of curling up in our bed with a cup of tea, the laptop and just making some mundane event of my week amusing through words.

Well, the first week passed and I missed my Sunday writing window. I probably had a good reason that I could rationalize back then. Something like the first Sunday of the first complete week of the New Year would be when this commitment would begin. Then the second Sunday went by and I still hadn’t written anything. I probably came up with a pretty good reason as to why I couldn’t keep my resolution that week either. Then the third, fourth, fifth and so on Sundays went by.

A whole lot of Sundays, with no action, just left me feeling a little disenfranchised. And guilty. I like goals, because I like to achieve them. I don’t take them lightly. And, I’ve really not done so well on this one.

But, who cares? This is a blog after all. It’s not supposed to be a chore. It’s supposed to bring pleasure. I’ve forgiven myself and will be back to writing in keeping to whatever irregular schedule I should choose not to schedule. Things are much simpler that way. Write on impulse.

Life has been a little bit overwhelming. From Bubaloo painting the principal’s office with Elmer’s glue, to having Wifey need to put on my pants because I threw my back out, to the school suspensions, the over-the-top acting out, the loss of after school care, a car accident, the adoption finalization, discovering you don’t really like your children, to the mess of work, social workers judging your parenting skills, to it all. Life hasn’t been easy. It’s been a struggle. And, I’ve spent much of the last two months wondering what the hell I’d gotten myself into by becoming the adoptive mother of two children.

I felt trapped in the obligations of being a parent. Trapped in the obligation of having to pay a mortgage. Trapped in the need to have a job to pay the mortgage and put food on the table. Trapped in a job that’s not the job I initially signed up for. Trapped in the trappings of adulthood. Trapped in the life I created for myself. Trapped in the life I created with Wifey for the two of us.

Now, in this moment, I don’t feel so trapped. A little perspective shift reveals that these aren’t my burdens. They’re my gifts. I choose not to spend my time dwelling in the “what if” hypotheticals of different choices, as these are the choices I made, and will make peace with that.