Tuesday, November 23, 2010


I lived in the arctic for 2 and a half years, and I just don't get used to the cold!! Yesterday we got down to -28 with a wind chill of at least -32, and it is still friggin cold! I was so close to pulling out my massive NorthFace down-filled jacket, but I didn't. I do have my scarf, touque and 2 pairs of mitts though!
And with this cold cold weather, the roads haven't had a chance to get better. There is still ice everywhere, and the residential communities are skating rinks. I still only go 70 on the main roads, and even that is rare. This evening I worked at one of the local hospices and we were allowed to move our cars into the heated underground parking. My car was there for over an hour, and it barely warmed up and there was still snow on parts of my car. Plus, I stopped at Walmart on my way home hoping it was open till midnight, I turned on my internal lights to get my wallet, and when I got out and locked my car, the light didn't turn off. I thought I had left it on when I was looking for my wallet, but no, it was not turning off! Walmart ended up being closed though so I had to drive home with my internal lights on. I thought I was going to have to call my Dad in the morning as my battery would die from having the lights on all night, I even backed into my garage, which was a chore! However, after leaving my car in the garage for about 45 minutes, I checked in on it and the lights had turned off; *sigh of relief!
The forecast is for one more cold cold day, then it is supposed to get warmer, in fact above zero by friday! All I want is it to get warm enough to clear the ice off the roads. In fact, I like the snow, it is so beautiful! But, I won't be here for the warm weather as I head off to England tomorrow. Hopefully when I get back the more decent weather is sticking around and I can get back to enjoying the drive in my beautiful car :)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Winter Wonderland

Winter has arrived in Western Canada over the last 4 days. It all started Monday night, with rain, and as the temperatures dropped, the rain froze and we awoke Tuesday morning with 6 inches of snow, over top a huge layer of ice.
And as anyone can imagine, the drive into work that morning was, well, Hell. And of course I was super nervous about driving as my Mustang is rear wheel drive, and it is the first time I have driven this type, ever, let alone in winter. I woke up early that morning as I knew the commute was going to be long, and boy was I right. An hour and a half it took me to get into work that morning, going at a snails pace the whole way, and not even by choice, but because I had too. The roads were skating rinks and there was SO much traffic, that is just how long it took. It was backed up only a block from my condo.
It snowed for about 3 days straight, so the plowers and sanders have barely been able to keep up. Wednesday morning I had to drive up towards Mouth Royal College, and Deerfoot wasn't too bad, but Glenmore and Crowchild were horrible, lots of ice under a layer of thick snow. I had tons of people passing me but I refuse to let them get to me, and if I don't feel comfortable driving faster, I refuse too. Now, I am not going 10km/hr, I will go up to 50 or 60, but I still have people giving me looks. The way I look at it, if I do go faster, I am more likely to loose control and cause an accident, which I am not willing to risk!
Yesterday it stopped snowing so the commute today was only an hour, and the roads are slightly better, at least the main ones, however I still get extremely nervous especially when the lanes speed up. I feel OK driving in the communities and side roads, as no one is going very fast, and because of the rear wheel I am able to push through the snow and able to correct if I fish-tail while pushing through ice, especially when starting at a set of lights. In fact, coming into McKenzie town is horrible because there is so much ice everywhere, it is very slow going. It can take me up to 20 minutes just to get into or out of McKenzie town, this would normally take less then 2 minutes and I get very frustrated! However, when I can speed up on the main roads, because we have so much black ice, and even random patches of thick ice that you can see, I can feel my car pulling to one side and struggling. If I was front wheel drive, I would be okay, but not as confident (yet) with my rear wheel drive. I can easily see that if I get going too fast and hit an icy patch, my car losing control, fish-tailing and me getting into an accident. This is where I can feel adrenalin rushing through me, my heart rate rising and even my mouth getting very dry! Thankfully once the weather gets better, and the roads are able to clear and dry up, I will feel more confident, but for now, it is what it is!
Below are pictures to what I woke up to Tuesday morning:

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


A few weeks ago when I was alone at my parents house, I dog-sat Hercules for the night while Laura and Dan were out partying. Hercules is still very much a puppy and loves to chew, just like Sarah did, but at least Hercules leaves wires, cords, and Christmas tree lights alone - well, at least I think he will! However, by the next morning I had a toy cemetery. And this is how it went:

The cemetery - out of reach of Herc,

We have the fin-less Shark:

The headless Snowman:

The eyeless Whale:

The nose-less Garfield:

And last but not least, the eyeless AND nose-less caterpillar:

OH, the joys of puppies :)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

MY house!

What a busy two weeks it has been! The weekend that I went to Edmonton to see my friends, I had my painter go in my house and basically paint my whole house, minus the basement. When I came home that Sunday, I had to go over and check out the colors and fell in love with it! I feel like it is more mine as I have chosen the colors to my liking, just making it feel more, like MY house. Last week was very busy cleaning, moving and cleaning some more. It is shocking to see how some people can live. There was dirt everywhere, and when I pulled out the oven, well, I have NO idea when it was last cleaned! I was probably the last one to do it, 4 years ago. I had the movers bring in my things so the only thing I had to do was unpack and move things over from my mom's house. I have had to do some shopping and am very scared to look at my Visa bill. I got an awesome deal on a Plasma TV, and have had to restock my kitchen as well as odds and ends. The only other big things I need is a TV stand (currently its on my end table) and 2 bedside tables. Those will be purchased when I get back from England! I had my dad help me hang up all my photos and help with other small things that I couldn't quite do myself, and it is truly start to feel like home :)
I've spent three nights here and apart from it being quiet, it has been great. And I think Sarah is getting used to the fact that this is our home. I feel bad as she is at home for so long during the days, but I leave her to have the whole main level so I think she enjoys that!

I have also started my new job at the Santauri Hospice located at the PLC. Yesterday was my first day and it was fantastic! I am so excited to start this new job and am honored to be apart of the opening of the new Hospice as it is going to be so unique to Hospice and the health region. All the nurses, attendants and staff will be contributing to so much of how the unit will run and I am thrilled to be apart of that. We get to help with the design of our own flowsheets, how things will run on the unit, and even the design and what gets put on the walls! It is such a different type of nursing and I can't wait to be apart of the Santauri hospice team as well as our residents' and their families during this special time of their lives. I will miss the last week of the units orientation and I will miss quite a bit, but I will be able to catch up when I get back and I will learn things as I go along. There is tons of support on the unit and they emphasize so much on working as a team, I don't think I will ever feel alone. Because we are our own entity, we will have our own social worker, spiritual care specialist, volunteers specializing in hospice and even our own dietary aide to deliver meals to our residents. Our educator is also amazing and has a ton of palliative and hospice experience. She is very gung-ho to educate us, and continue educating us during our work experience at Santauri. I don't think that it is going to be an easy job, there will be the ups and downs, but I am eager for the change and the challenge and can't wait to start my first shift at the beginning of December.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Moving things along

Wow, what a week it has been!
I get offered a part-time job on Monday, Tuesday morning I find out my tenants have vacated my unit, Tuesday I get quotes for painters, by the end of the weekend my house should be all re-painted and next Tuesday I have movers moving my things back into my house! Phew!
I was going to give my tenants there three month notice at the beginning of December, but I guess they beat me to it. Luckily they paid for October's rent, but they have left me high and dry for November so they won't be getting there deposit back, which is going to be going towards the painting.
It is going to cost a bit of money the next few months, with bills and all, plus Christmas is just around the corner; but over the last couple of days I have gotten really excited to move back in!
The house itself isn't destroyed all to bad, a couple things that need to get fixed, such as a hole they put in the linoleum to pull up cables (?????), and of course its about a foot and half from the wall, the main floor desperately needs to be painted, and the whole house needs a good clean! They also took off with my mail box key and my garage door opener, all which will cost money to change if I don't get them back, fingers crossed my lazy property manager can get a hold of him :)
It is going to be a very busy few weeks ahead of me as I am off to Edmonton for the weekend, then I need to have my place cleaned on Monday, my things to be moved in on Tuesday, and the following week I start my orientation for my new job, and the week following that I am off to England! Plus all the things I need to purchase for my house such as a vacuum, a TV stand, cleaning supplies and of course food, and to try and fit in a few shifts at the hospital next week. I have already purchased a duvet as I needed to pick a color for my bedroom, as well as a shower curtain so I could pick a color for the bathroom! I get exhausted just thinking about it, but I am still very excited and can't wait to fully move in.

This weekend I am off to visit a couple of friends that I haven't seen in awhile. It is going to be a fun filled, drinking weekend. The plan, well, other then bowling Saturday night and maybe a golf game in if the weather is nice and we have time! All in all, it should be a blast!

Monday, November 1, 2010

I got a job!!

Last Thursday afternoon I received a phone call from recruiting who wanted to set up an interview ASAP for some of the positions I applied for on the new 20 bed Hospice unit opening up at the Peter Lougheed Hospital. She left me 2 messages, one on my home phone and the second on my cell phone in which she said "I am desperately trying to contact you to set up an interview.....", which seemed kind of strange to me as it was only the second message she left, and I was just out taking Sarah for a walk! She wanted me to come in for an interview that day, but I had to work evenings, so we settled for 0800 Monday morning.
I, of course, worked evening last night, and was up at 0600 this morning to make sure I had plently of time to get there. I did my best of the weekend researching common nursing interview questions and reflected on my nursing experiences over the past 6 years, as I knew I would be asked scenario questions. The interview lasted about 40 minutes, and she was very nice! She started by telling me about the Hospice unit, and that there was a days/evenings line that I was specifically being interviewed for. The interview itself went pretty well and she had positive feedback for me throughout the whole interview. At the end she said she would be back to me 'soon' and just as I was leaving I asked if I would know by the end of the week, and she replied "oh for sure". So I left with a smile on my face feeling pretty confident about the interview. After a short visit on one of the units I work on, I headed home, stopping for groceries first. When I arrived home there where 2 phone calls, and one was from the interviewer herself. I was a little confused, not thinking that she would offer me a position this soon, but I was wrong! I called her back and she said that things where happening very fast and she would like to offer me a .74 days/evening position! (.74 meaning 7 shifts in a 2 week period) My heart was racing with excitement and I had a huge smile on my face! I gladly accepted and we started talking about orientation. It made me think that I walked into the interview with the job offer practically on the table.
I start orientation on Nov 15th, and they will accommodate my orientation as I will be away from Nov 23-Dec 2 in England seeing Rob. The unit itself opens Nov 29th, and I will be provided with a couple buddy shifts on one of the hospice's here in Calgary before being thrown in on the floor. The nurse to patient ratio is, one RN for each shift, along with LPN's and NA's. The RN will over-look the whole unit, mainly focusing on the more complex and difficult cases and working with families. It is going to be a huge learning curve for me as I have never done a position like this, but I am super excited about it and can't stop thinking about it!
This also means I get benefits (YEAH! new orthotics!) as well as sick time, vacation time and a pension. I am very nervous as to who I will be working with, it sounds like they are all coming from different areas of nursing; within the acute care setting as well as the community. Another interesting fact is that the hospice unit is community based and has nothing to do with with Hospital itself, meaning no 'off-service' patients will come to us, only palliative and hospice patients. They will either be coming in from the community or the hospital, and if they do come in from the hospital, they are discharged then admitted to us, not 'transfered'. It is very exciting and as this is the first time a hospice has been in an acute care facility they are open to ideas to make the unit as comfortable as possible for the patients. I am sure there will be lots of changes and trials of new ideas as the months go on.
This also means that I will be able to move into my townhouse :)))) I will hand in my letter to my property manager this month for him to give the tenants three months notice for December 1st. Not the best time of year, however they do have three months, so the latest I will move in is March 1st, but I'm hoping for February 1st.
Things are just moving along very nicely!