In the Last Two Months

A lot has happened… and nothing has happened.

KRH was in the hospital at the end of January, which threw us all out of our element for a few weeks. He’s doing fantastically now, has had a couple of all-clear follow-up visits, and is eating and growing like a weed (he’s somehow put on over a kilogram – 2.2 pounds – since mid-February) and he’s walking and talking and leaving our worldly possessions in a stream behind him like a toddler tornado. He’s so much fun right now. I’m really enjoying the (somewhat scarce thanks to the day job) time we spend together, even if I often find myself longing for bedtime to come after an hour or so.

That’s more because I’ve been exhausted lately. I did whirlwind of a two day field visit in early January that, combined with the hospital visit shortly thereafter, has left me a bit ragged. I have a vacation coming up and, I’m hoping some R&R will improve things.

Because of the exhaustion, I haven’t accomplished much in the creative department. I’m knitting very little (see my aforementioned suspected RSI, which is slowly getting better), though I have picked up an old cross stitch kit that’s been languishing for a while. Writing has been happening very slowly, if at all. Running also hasn’t been much of a thing lately, and I’m sure I’d feel better if I got out and got moving. I am slowly picking my way through some household things that need to be completed, but I’m really hoping I’ll return from a slow, relaxing vacation in the warmth feeling renewed and energetic again.

Anyway, Daylight Savings Time started yesterday and it’s “late”, which means I should probably move in the direction of something approximating sleep. We fly out on Saturday, so there’s the added pressure of laundry and packing and errands and so forth, so this is going to be a busy week. But hopefully a productive one!

A New Perspective

Being back at work has been interesting and enlightening. I come to my day job with a new perspective and a fresh eye and it’s serving me well right now.

The project I’m on was having some struggles and I was added to the team with the explicit goal of helping. It’s not been easy, because the project has been ongoing for quite some time and I have to get up to speed quickly. I’m trying hard not to step on any toes and be supportive and people seem appreciative of it. But it’s all just a matter of having the time and space to apply some tricks I’ve learned over the years.

It’s also really nice to just sit down for two or four hours and put on some music and really focus on something, without worrying about KRH or whether the dishes are done. I feel much more energized and productive than I was, and I’m even getting some writing in on the bus (I’ve edited 81 pages so far this month, which is the most I’ve done in probably two years)!

We’re still looking for ways to simplify and improve our life. Many of them are deceptively simple! My favourite was going out and buying all new socks. I know that sounds crazy but hear me out! I used to have about eighteen similar, but slightly different pairs of black dress socks. They were a pain to match after doing laundry and rarely ever matched. They were also wearing out and getting holes. So I tossed them all and bought eighteen pairs of identical socks! Now, when I’m rushing out the door and we haven’t folded laundry yet, I can just grab two pairs of clean ones from the basket and be confident that they match. Simple? Yes. But anything to reduce that mental clutter!

I love you, and I forgive you…

On February 24, I had the rare pleasure of listening to Neil Gaiman speak (the event was free, but required tickets and it “sold” out in under a minute). Fortunately, I have a Mark who loves me and managed to get us two tickets. You know it’s true love, because he gave me the first one.

I’d never heard Neil speak before, except on videos on the internet, and I was impressed at both how good a speaker/reader he is, and how funny he is. He read three short stories and three poems, all with a rhythm and fluidity that made me want to listen to nothing else forever (if only his stories weren’t so far onto the side of creepy, I would happily listen to him reading me bedtime stories every night). It’s a style that I aspire to at some point in the future, because it was very easy to listen to.

That being said, some of the best parts were not what he had prepared, but his reaction to audience questions. The one I enjoyed the most was about the second best question he’d ever been asked (the first being “did you ever burp so hard that it hurt?”) by a young child a few days previously. I don’t really remember his answer (it was over a month ago), because I was laughing so hard at the burping. A great deal of what he said had me nearly in stitches, and I wish that there was a recording so I could re-live the event.

Something else that he said resonated with me, though. He had stumbled across some poetry that he had written when he was sixteen, and told us how laughably bad it was. He didn’t share it, but he did say something that stuck with me. He said: “I love you, sixteen-year old Neil. I love you, and I forgive you.”

It came up today at a meeting of our critique group, in relation to something that I started writing around that age, and how much it has changed and grown since then. And I kind of chuckled and self-depracatingly told sixteen-year old Candice that I love her and forgive her.

And it felt good.

It helped that the critique group agreed with me (nearly everything we do as a teenager that we think is great turns out to be laughably terrible), but it made me want to put that phrase on a poster somewhere that I will see it all the time. Because I’m unusually hard on myself, especially regarding past mistakes, but without those mistakes, I wouldn’t be the person that I am today. And that’s worth remembering, because (most of the time), I like who I am and who I have become. So why should I be so hard on the person who I used to be? She’s me too, if a less experienced version of me.

Candice - 18


And I love her.

I love you, past Candice. I love you, and I forgive you.


I am very fortunate.  Those of you who follow me on twitter are probably well aware from my retweets that there was something bad going on in my city.  I live in Calgary which is on the banks of two rivers.  On Thursday/Friday, both rivers experienced a 1 in 100 year flood.  The results are devastating and left downtown, our zoo, and the Stampede grounds completely flooded, twenty four (I think was the final total) communities evacuated for over 48 hours.  Mine was one of the communities evacuated and it left me three days to think several very long thoughts.


I am incredibly fortunate that I have so many people who love and care for me.  Mark and I stayed with his parents, but my aunt and uncle would have taken me in and I had three separate sets of friends offer their houses as a crash pad.  Mark’s parents were in the process of moving, and weren’t really set up for guests, but they made every effort to keep us comfortable and happily fed.  It was actually a pleasant, if busy, weekend helping them move.


I am fortunate that my house was undamaged and didn’t even lose power.  There are many people in my city that weren’t so lucky.  Mark, the cats, and I were all fine, but I worried all weekend that the aquarium would lose power or that my basement would be ruined (since insurance doesn’t cover overland flooding).  Some of my fellow Calgarians (and southern Albertans) lost everything.


I’m fortunate that I live in a city where people who wanted to volunteer had to be turned away because there were too many of them.  And supplies that were donated weren’t needed, because there were too many of them.  I’m amazed that, of the 75,000 people displaced, only about 1,500 needed to use the evacuation centres, because other people, sometimes complete strangers, took them in.


I’m fortunate to have been able to watch as Telus offered free local and long distance calls to victims, Shaw opened up their usually locked WiFi points so that people had free WiFi, UHaul offered free storage, and too many restaurants and businesses to count offered food to evacuees and clean up crew.


My city will survive, and so will the people in it.  As far as I know, nobody from Calgary was injured or killed in the flood and the emergency management team was amazing in ensuring that.  There’s still a lot of cleanup left to do, but with the number of people already volunteering to help, I think that it will take less time than they forecasted.  “Come Hell or High Water” the Stampede will start on July 5 and the city will endure.


And we are fortunate to be able to say that.

Hello world!

Hello everyone!  Here I am, writing my first ever blog post.


You are probably wondering a little bit about me.  Well, to start off with: I’m a writer.  I have been writing on and off for at least the last decade and, as I became more and more active with NaNoWriMo, I’ve decided to become a little bit more serious about my craft (more on that later!).  I love NaNoWriMo so much (both because of the enthusiasm and friendliness of the people there and for the dedication and focus it’s taught me) that I have volunteered as a Municipal Liaison in Calgary for the last two years, and am only enjoying it more and more every year.


Writing at a NaNo Event

In order to pay for a computer, internet, and warm home in which to work on my craft, I work full-time as an engineer with a small engineering firm in Calgary.  It’s interesting work, sometimes a stretch of my skills (and sanity), but I’m growing ever more confident and respected.  It certainly does pay the bills!


I am owned by two cats and one honourary nephew.  Most days it’s tough to tell who’s cuter.


Saffron (left) and Socks

That’s really about all that I have to share about myself (I try to save all of the excitement for my writing, after all), so I’ll be signing off now (and posting this, just to make sure it works!).


Stay tuned for much, much more.  See you again soon!