Wednesday, November 30

A Fitting End to November

My November had little to do with mustaches (except my last post) but a whole lot to do with snow.  Perhaps SNOvember would be more accurate (I'm sure that was highly original of  me).  To cap off the month we got 15cm of snow overnight.  Just the chance to test out Otto's new winter boots.  I was debating back and forth about whether he deserved/needed such extravagant footwear and today was a confirmation that I made the right grown up choice.  I had to drive out to a rural site 30 minutes away on a teeny highway and he gripped like nobody's business.  Plus, with the extra control, I had fun throwing out his back end around snowy corners at every opportunity (read:  without other drivers around to hit).

 Is it wrong to love tires so much?  I considered trying to get a photo hugging them but it is cold out and the angle was awkward.  Look at THOSE TREADS!!!!  LOOK!
Otto has a snowy smile.  Without the flash it looks like he's got a bit of Lindsay Lohan going on.

I have been doing all kinds of things that adults who own cars do:

-shoveling the driveway
-using a car wash
-scraping car windows (ALL THE TIME)
-parallel parking
-plugging the car in at night
-checking the weather report to know if I NEED to plug in the car the night before
-filling up the gas tank (wait...the guy who pumps the gas does that)

Also, when I went to drop off my car for the new tires I had to hand over my keys.  It was at that moment that I remembered that my keychain says "Pastors of Excellence".  Best. Keychain. Ever. I wonder if they noticed....

Saturday, November 26

Wasted Mustaches

I was on mustache watch today.  So many quality lip furs and I'm pretty sure the growers were not even aware of Movember.  The 'staches were a matter of personal style and most likely not going to charity.  The Innisfail horse auction today was prime upper-lip caterpillar spotting.  And it was pretty good for scoping out horses.  Every time I drive out to Innisfail - I cover the small hospital and longterm care facility there once a week - I hear this older gentleman rambling on the radio about coming on down to the Innisfail auction for "red geranium back heifers" or "1.90 calves for the best price all year" or whatever he is saying.  He is officially the worst person at making radio commercials.  Except that it worked and spent my Saturday afternoon at a horse auction.  It was difficult not to bid considering I could have gotten myself a mini horse for $100!  Plus, there was a real auctioneer with the fast-talkin and the deal-makin and the gavel-hittin.

This is Angel.  She is 10.  She was so sweet.  I believe she went  for $650.

Showin' off the horse skills.  Look!  You can even lasso a cow on this one!

Sadly, none of the mustachioed men made it into my photos.

Monday, November 14

Time for Bridge Nights and 4pm Dinners

Every few years I feel as if I have hit the "adult" phase of my life.  The first time was at the age of 12 when my mother would not let me do whatever I so chose and had to tell her where I was going and with whom.  How could she treat my grown-up self like that?  Then I moved off 8 hours away from my family to do my undergrad and, in my second year, rented a townhouse with three friends.  I was sure that I had definitely found adulthood - I mean, I had to BUY MY OWN GROCERIES and cook and manage my own time.  Clearly adult-like things.  Of course, those parents of mine were still more or less covering the bill.  Fast forward to the beginning of grad school.  Surely I was an adult now.  I was paying for my life with student loans and parental funds however funds to be repaid this time.

Negatory.  I am NOW an adult.  How do I know?  There are three main ways:
1) I make my own money and if I spend it all on a $200 purse before my next paycheck then I have to eat Ramen for the rest of the week.  Getting on my feet, even making decent dollahz, means that I am living more or less paycheck to paycheck.
2) A good chunk of my paycheck goes to lame things.  1/4 is auto-dropped down on loans.  Do you know how many new fossil purses I could be buying with that money?  Dresses at Anthropologie?  Tickets to Cuba*?
My car also sucks the dinero right out of me.  Thanks to the premature blizzards (november?! Really?!?) my car now demands expensive new rubber shoes with all kinds of special "grooves" and "treads" that I don't understand but apparently need.  Oh, and it needs a timer so it knows when to start heating up.  Oh, and I have to be an adult and go out in the cold to actually plug the car in.
3)  My conversations with friends involve lame things and, guess what, I enjoy it!  My time in Toronto with friends I haven't seen in way too long was spent talking about loans and saving for the future and down-payments and investments and the importance of 0% financing.  Don't worry though, I believe we still talked about bowel movements schedules being interrupted by new jobs.

How did you know you were an adult?

*Ok, it isn't SO much each month to purchase tickets to Cuba in the plural.

Sunday, November 13


After two packed years of grad school I am officially no longer a "Masters of Health Science" candidate but hold the official MHSc. paperwork.  To retrieve it I was fortunate enough to get three days off work (plus a stat!  Thank you Remembrance Day) which I used to fly out to the great Toronto.  How much I miss Toronto (Tronno) could be a whole new post.  It is a city that gets a bad rap around the country (and Mayor Ford is doing NOTHING to help this) but those people clearly have not lived in the downtown core and experienced all that the city can offer when one does not have the stress of driving in that monstrous videogame (10 points for the garbage can! 30 points for dodging that biker!).

For conVAcation on Tuesday evening my parents and two friends from home (plus their tiniest dude who turned one that very day!) made the drive to watch me wear a silly robe in front of over 1000 people.  I felt very loved.  Here are some photos of me becoming a master.

A gaggle of lovely classmates

Me and Obama

Introducing Hi-C, ShanWow and Katie V, MHSc. (all)

Thank you, UofT

Chilling with RoRoW and others in Convocation Hall

Overly intelligent people in silly robes 

Hi-C and the Golden Sceptre (possible children's book?)

Paddy - thumbs up to the crowds?

More golden sceptre

Me and the padres.  Can we tell that it was humid in Toronto?  Point for Red Deer: optimal hair conditions

Sunday, November 6

I'll (not) Be Home for Christmas

See what I did there?  Clever, eh?  Even if the sentence becomes a slightly Brit way of saying things.  Moving way out here I had known that not going home with my family for the holidays would be a possibility this year with me being the noob at work I was not expecting first dibs on vacation time.  And I was right.  But not even that - this year we get 4 days off in a row due to when Christmas falls.  Knowing this I decided to at least TRY to get home.  This time it was the airlines that crushed my dreams.  Thank you Westjet and Air Canada for a lonely Christmas due to your greed.  To get my sorry butt to my parents's house for the big day was going to run me around $1700!  Yep, you read that right. To fly in my OWN COUNTRY.  Let me remind you that it cost me less to fly to Nairobi, Kenya just this summer.  Add to that kidney-punch of a price the flights are at the most inconvenient times giving me barely 48 hours with the famjam.  Let's break that down:  1700/48 = $35.42 per hour to hang out with my family.  If you include time wasted sleeping then it gets up to about $65/hour.  After a realistic and very adult conversation with my mother on the phone tonight we mutually agreed that, while sad, we would not be lining neither Air Ebeneezer's nor ScroogeJet's coffers this season.

Fear not, dear friends!  I had a few very kind offers from friends and co-workers in the area for some company over the holidays but the best offer so far has been to head over to Regina and spend it with my Aunt and Uncle and their 4 cool kiddos (shout out!).  So maaaaaybe I spoke to soon about where my money would be going but perhaps not.  Tickets are still pricey at about $800 (if I'm lucky) to do the Regina thing by air so my cheap cheap heart has been considering a $166 greyhound ticket.  I thought my bussin' days were behind me but that saved $600 could go to new shoes.....or my loans.  So looks like I'll probably be packing some good books and my ipod and hunkering down for a long winter's nap in a chair covered in stained 80s fabric.  

Saturday, November 5

Sneaky, Sneaky Chapters

So - I went to Chapters last weekend on a whim.  Not that big of a whim because I wander around that store rarely buying anything at least once a week.  So maybe it should read "I went to Chapters last weekend on schedule".  Set up near the front of the store was a table with a young dude and some books displayed in an obvious "I wrote this book and I'mma sign it for you" kinda way.  So I approached because I can't resist a book.  It turned out to be a graphic novel which is rarely how I roll but it got me thinking:  Hey, my sister likes all this jazz.  DING DING!  Christmas!  It was all dark and foreboding looking with a razor on the front and black used a lot.  I flipped through it and it had werewolves and guns and generally seediness and angst.  Perfect!  Sister will love it!  Plus the dude mentioned that it was already in the works to become a movie.  Not only would I be giving my sister a novel I think she would enjoy it was about to become extra cool and she could say that she liked it "before it was cool" which is what every hipster wants*.  Excited I texted her to say that I had found part of her Christmas gift and golly gee whiz would she ever like it.

Flash forward to this weekend:  I grab the book off my shelf to sneakily read a chunk and see what it is like when I spotted the dedication at the front.  "This book is dedicated to every soul still searching for the Truth, the Life, and the Way.  Oh no you didn't.  I quickly scanned my brain - there had to be some other reference that would use that line than John 4:16 (ie.  the bible).  But in my heart I knew.  I flipped through the book more carefully hoping to allay my fears but e'erbody be wearin a CROSS!  This be a Christian graphic novel.  My sister don't really roll that way (and we know from previous posts that neither do I).  Should Chapters not have to post some sort of warning on booths like this?  Or hide the table in the religious section?  I guess not in Red Deer you don't.

Thank goodness sister has a sense of humour so we had a good chuckle over text when I broke it to her that the "totally amazing and right up her alley gift" likely would not be all I had made it out to be.  She said she'd take it anyway - apparently a graphic novel is a graphic novel.  Plus I have to hand it to the dude - the drawings are pretty wicked.

*I should clarify that my sister isn't really a hipster.  But I think everyone appreciates being able to slightly arrogantly claim to have "known about [insert pop culture reference here] before it became cool" every once in a while.

Tuesday, November 1

What's In a Name

My given name is Katie.  I assure that that is my full name.  You can look at my birth certificate (although, let's be honest, if you were going to fake a form of Canadian legal identification this would be the one - it looks so easy!).  In fact, people sometimes have such a hard time believing that Katie is not short for anything that I have to whip out the blue-proof-of-my-existence just to shut them up.  So, to clarify, my name isn't Catherine/Katherine, Caitlyn (or any variant thereof), Kathleen or Frederick.  Just Katie.

It is a pretty solid name and I have no complaints but I do sometimes wish I had a longer, more sophisticated (read: grown up) name to fall back on.  With this in mind I had the epiphany that I could be whomever I chose when I moved to Red Deer so I set out to be Kate.  Just to test the waters.  To get a feel for the name.  When in social settings and at work I introduce myself as "Kate" and it is starting to feel less weird.  I even answer to it most of the time.  The plan hasn't been foolproof because my resume had said Katie and so my coworkers were expecting someone by that name.  Some have made the transition and others haven't but I don't correct anyone.  It is my name after all and I don't really notice.  And - woops - my name tag at work says Katie so it is about 50/50 what I will get called.  What feels the strangest to the point that I just can't really say it with a serious face is my full name with Kate instead of Katie (ie with my last name).  It just has a different flow and doesn't have the same ring that one feels after 26 years of using the same name.  So if you come to Red Deer you can still call me Katie but you might hear me introduce myself as Kate.  Who knows how long this will last. What I have learned so far is that I like using Kate at work when introducing myself to clients but that there really isn't anything wrong with Katie and I think I like my name even more now.

Anyone else ever try to transition to a new name (or variant of your given name)?  Whether moving to a new place or not.