Monday, February 28, 2011


It rained last night. We thought we'd seen the last of the snow. When we got up this morning, the grass and the cars were coated with a light dusting of white. Oh well.

When I went outside to go to work, I realised that the "light dusting" was actually pebble-dashed armour plating of snow granules welded to the car by frozen rain. And the driveway, which simply looked wet, was a sheet of black ice. Oops. Looks like I'm taking the big car instead of mine. Better traction in slippy conditions.

While my wife shuttled back and forth with jugs of warm water to unstick car doors and clear windows, I got the car started. Just about to leave when a frantic signalling from the front door reminded me that I'd left my parking pass in the other car. Whew!

Thank goodness my wife and I watch out for each other. Between us we might make one whole functioning human being :D

Sunday, February 27, 2011

A sense of fellowship

It's no longer snowing, thank goodness, but it is still cold and wet out. So it's no surprise that when I took our dog for a walk just now that I only saw a few fellow pedestrians out and about.

It occurred to me, as I greeted complete strangers in the street, how different this was from where I used to live. There, you might get a mumbled greeting, delivered grudgingly as if you had both made the mistake of making eye contact and this was the only decent way out of that embarrassing gaffe.

Here, it would be considered rude to not make eye contact and exchange greetings. This makes me feel good. It makes me feel like a part of the community around me, rather than an unwelcome intruder in my own neighbourhood.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

A question of utility

Thank goodness for utility trailers.

We invested in one several years ago, just over a year after moving to Canada, when we planned our first family camping trip.

Since then, it has been loaded to the gunnels with camping equipment on many occasions, hauled yard waste to the tip, brought loads of gravel, soil, and mulch from the landscape suppliers (saving hundreds of $$ in delivery charges in the process), brought materials from the builders yard for many projects, logs for the fire, and many other uses I can't possibly remember.

This afternoon, my wife and daughter set off with over 100 girls and adults for a Guides sleepover at Vancouver Aquarium. I dropped them off at the ferry terminal...with trailer in tow heaped high with bedrolls from all the girls who'd gone on an earlier ferry.

What would we do without it?

Friday, February 25, 2011

Hello sunshine

I spend most of my working day lurking in the depths of a large building. Often, especially this time of year, I go through days on end where daylight is something barely glimpsed through distant windows.

So I feel blessed today to emerge, blinking, at the end of a long day, into blue skies and bright sunshine livening the crisp air and the pristine white that still blankets much of the city.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

It's a jungle out there

When I drive my son to music lesson, we always look out for deer grazing in the field where the road runs past the airport. None there today, probably hiding in the trees away from the bitter wind. But all the same, they are often to be seen.

Where I grew up, the largest wild animals around were seagulls. Land animals living wild? Maybe a few small mammals - things like mice and the occasional rabbit.

I love that my kids can grow up seeing larger creatures roaming wild: deer, eagles, seals, sometimes raccoons, and (just once) a bear.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Team spirit

Looks like we took the trailer cover off a week too early! Snow reached Victoria overnight. Not much, admittedly, but as this is such a balmy corner of the country even a few inches is enough to bring motoring chaos to the city.

I crawled in to work in an hour and a half, a journey that normally takes about 25 minutes. Many people couldn't make it because they're stuck on steep hills, and cars don't make for good bobsleds!

But times like this really bring out co-operation and understanding. Many folks were able to log into the network from home and carry on working. Meetings took place by email and phone. Anyone worried about the journey home was able to leave early. Life goes on.

Oh, and looks like the kids are now making their own model of Cypress Mountain out on the front lawn.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Not alone...

Another very tough day at work, makes it very difficult to stay positive.

There is one thing that came to mind along the way that I should be thankful for, though. I was reminded that I am not alone.

Many (most?) of my colleagues also feel swamped, overwhelmed, not positioned or equipped to succeed. In terms of work fulfillment, we spend most of our time right at the bottom of Maslow's hierarchy of needs. Doing little more than bare day-to-day survival, with no time or energy for looking further ahead, let alone planning to make real improvements in the workplace.

As a manager, this is exceptionally frustrating to me because thinking to the future is where I should be spending most of my energy. I'm not. But I know I'm not alone in feeling this frustration, and between us we might find a way to cut through the logjam.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Home comforts

It's been a tough day at work. I feel like I'm banging my head against brick walls all over the place, and taking at least one step backwards for every tiny step forwards.


I'm fortunate that my employer supports work/life balance. I've done as much as I can for one day and need to get home, and that's OK and understood. Unless something major happens, I can leave it all behind at the end of the day.

Sure, all the same issues will be lying in wait to do battle again tomorrow. But meanwhile, I can come home to a loving embrace, a crackling log fire, and a cold beer.


Sunday, February 20, 2011

Food for thought

The Peninsula Hike For Hunger today collected food for the local food bank.

It was 2:30 by the time we finished and returned home for lunch. Hungry. Appropriate. It reminded me how thankful I am that we had food to return home to, and that I have never suffered real hunger in my life.

As an aside, did you know that roughly half the food in North America goes to waste? And that the world easily produces more than enough food to feed every person on the planet, but the juggernaut of modern economics prevents it from ever reaching the mouths that need it most?

Another totally unrelated and random blessing: duct tape. Took the cover off the trailer today (figured we were unlikely to be in for any more harsh winter). There are a few rips where it rubs against sharp corners. Last year's duct tape repair seems to be holding up, so treated two new rips the same way.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

How this started

I heard from a blogger friend today, someone who's been quiet for a while now. Both she and her husband are out of work and life is tough, which is why she hasn't been blogging recently.

Her blog is bitingly funny, but focuses on the dark side of life. As she said, "Trouble tends to attract more of itself and I don't want to encourage it to stick around by paying attention to it."

Wise words. But it got me thinking, what if the opposite is also true? So I'm trying a little experiment. See what happens if I focus on the positive side of life. Does that also attract more of itself?

Let's find out...

The purpose of this blog is very simple: to celebrate each day things in my life that I should be thankful for. Not so much the big, sweeping, but rather vague things like health, happiness, and apple pie, but specific and tangible things that catch my attention each day.

So, here's a starter pack of random thoughts to get things going

A loving wife and two adorable children. Just had to get that out there first!

Having a job (in these uncertain times) and one that I can see is of immense worth to the public in this province. Had to get that out there too, given the inspiration for this blog.

Yes, all of the above drive me to distraction sometimes, but whenever I want to tear my hair out I must remember that I wouldn't be without any of them.

Living in a spectacularly beautiful part of the world on Vancouver Island, BC.

At the grocery store today, meeting the man from Island Farms who makes the Mint Moose Tracks ice cream I was picking off the shelf. This reminded me what a connected community this is.

Being able to make him feel good by expressing my happiness as a customer.

Also being able to suggest, to someone who might be able to make a difference, that it would be great if they could do a pistachio flavor.

Speaking on the phone to someone the other side of the country who just finished clearing ice from the gutter, while I gaze out at blue skies and bright February sunshine.

Oh, what the heck, let's throw pie.