Sunday, December 30, 2007

Moguls made of powder puffs

Okay - so I'm from Alberta, right, and there we get snow. Snow deep and thick and dense - compressing like layers of sedimentary rock. However, for as much snow as I've seen in my life, I've never skied snow like the powder of Silver Star on December 28th. Fluffy, dry and malleable - gently forming new deep, thick moguals with each one of our voracious turns. This snow was pure alliteration: fresh, forgivable and fantastic!!

(Front to back: Nicholas, Jodie, and Jeremy - Photo credit: Bruce Handcock)

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Cross-Canada Crazy Adventure

Well, the $137 price tag was appealing... and I romanticised the distance by imagining the oodles of free time to be singularly productive and to take in the wonders of this great country, but in the end, 48 hours on the Greyhound is as bad as it seems.

Highlights: Snow, snow, and more snow! Like I've never seen before. 24 of the 48 hours were spent heading north through Ontario and on the Saturday morning, I went for a quick run across Thunder Bay, where grated snow sliced in thick layers as tall as my waist cut a narrow path, opening up the sidewalk from the surrounding white landscape.

Lowlights: No surprises here - the inability to get any real sleep on the bus. That, and an extremely irate bus driver who threatened to kick me off "at the next stop - don't care where you're going" because, apparently, if you spend more than a minute in the bathroom, you must be sneaking a cigarette. Try convincing him you were doing stretches!! Definite lowlight.

Although Greyhounding it across the country was an adventure, I will, from now on, gladly take my free package of nuts and security check-in hassles of flying over the trials of 48 hours and the lure of a $137 cross Canada bus trip.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

CAN-BIKE Romances?

Upon checking my CAN-BIKE junkmail box, this letter jumped onto the screen:

Hello Dear!

How are you? I hope that all good for you and you will read my letterwith a interest. Ok. I got your e-mail through internet datingcompany. I want to arrive to USA and I have good chance for this.I need only man who can meet me in USA and probably we can to developour relations.

Ok. My name is Alina. I'm from Warszawa, Poland. I'm 26 years old. I am ready for creation family and want it very much.I cannot find the man in Poland for myself because it very hard in Poland.I want to create family and to live in your country because the government to care about people. I want to live and be sure in the future.In Poland it is not possible to live easy.

I want to tell about myself a little. I live in city Warszawa. It's capital of Poland.My city is very beautiful. I work as the seller in shop home appliances.I'm cheerful woman who like to go for sports and do all what like are usual peoples.

My history: I'm with my girlfriend were going to go in your country as tourists for search of men for serious relations.But my girlfriend could not go with me. She had problems with your family.But very soon I will receive visa and I don't want to lose a chance toarrive in your country. I will receive visa in 7 days for your country.Now I'm waiting for reception of my visa. It willbe great if you can meet me and we can to have relations with you. I'munderstand that it very strange, but probably it's desteny for you andme. I understand that you will ask me "Where did you get my e-mail?"I'm right??? ;) I got your e-mail through internet dating agencyin my city. I gave them my letter and they told me that they will sendmy letter.

And I will be very happy if YOU will answer to me.I will be very happy if you will write me and we will have our meetingvery soon. And it is possible we a meeting in 7 days because I can arrive to you. Please tell to me about yourself a little!

What is your full name?
Your age?

I hope that you will answer to me back...I will wait your answer so much...Write to me on e-mail

Yours Alina

I have to wonder the legitimacy of it all: is there really a poor Alina in Poland, waiting with baited-breath for CAN-BIKE's response?

Lane Rights!

Triumph, really, is the only word to describe the sight of this sign.

("About time!" would be two words.)

Unfortunately, I have yet to see it on an actual street... just in a powerpoint presentation from BTAC (the Bicycle Trade Assoc. of Canada).

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Domestic wonders

So, I tried picking up this little trick a couple of years ago, after purchasing a ridiculous 'house-keeping from the pros' book, but understanding the written instructions for folding a fitted bed sheet seemed beyond me. With a toss of the book, the sheets - and the dream to have rows of them perfectly folded, were put on the back shelf.

Until tonight, when I had two of them to tackle and the thought sprung to mind - youtube!

Yes, I looked up 'folding fitted sheet' on youtube... no - not dorky at all... 6,902 people watching it means it's definitely not dorky.

The first one is waaaay too professional and quick, causing me to hit pause a dozen times and curse a wee bit. Then I tried this video by a bloke just doing it from home, and he explains it quite nicely.

Happy folding!

Monday, December 10, 2007

The best ideas...

Soon after my big problem-solving blog post, I came across this little ditty from a City of Toronto lesson plan, describing the decision-making process surrounding bike safety for children.

I was amused with the simplicity of this process.

That is a great IDEA!

I Identify the problem
D Describe all the possible solutions to the problem
E Evaluate each solution (what is good or not good about each solution)
A Act on the best solution (choose the best solution and try it)

Sunday, December 09, 2007


Done it! My visa debt is now sitting at a sweet 3.99% interest rate - that's a lower rate then what you could get from any personal or student loan from a Canadain institution.

Ask your bank - these offers come around three or so times a year and they're good for four months. Why pay 19.5% when you could be paying 4%?

Cooking with fire

It's always a treat to discover that our government provides a support system or two for for budding Entrepreneurs. A few months ago, I came across a free Interactive Business Planner that enables you to bang-out a cookie-cutter business plan, which is a great place to start cooking, if you have no idea what ingredients go into creating a business plan. (Okay, enough with the cooking analogy.)

After you get the meat and potatoes of your plan laid out (ahh, couldn't resist!), then you can start looking around for ways to spice up your material.

Then you'll truly be cooking with fire!

Business Week's How to write a winning business plan was fairly inspirational.

It's a good time to be making your own dough around here.

Friday, December 07, 2007

I Googled

Once again, the internet has capitalized on its exceptional ability to vacuum up time you didn't even know you wanted swept away, and has created iGoogle, your very own custom homepage. (Okay - this may be old news for many of you...)

After a couple days of initial feng-shuiing the layout to include my horoscope, inspiration quotes from Dr. Seuss and Jane Austen, the latest news from Globe and Mail, a daily nutrition checklist, Toronto weather, currency converter - and much more - it's finally set up to reflect all the aspects of daily life important to me.

I've found it's actually quite functional for work, especially when I created a tab called 'Communications', where I can look for new mail in both my gmail and hotmail accounts discretely at a single glance.

Organising online has never been so fun!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Asking the Right Questions

I've been listening to that ubiquitous guru of personal success, Anthony Robbins during my 7- and 10-km runs these days, burning through his 26-day Personal Power "Transformation" mp3s in a couple of weeks. This means I haven't really been completing the 'assignments' he suggests, as I would have to stop and freeze instead of running warmly to work. All the same, I think I've been absorbing some of the stuff he says...

One thing he shared yesterday on Day 25: How to solve problems quickly and effectively that really resonated with me is how we ask questions of ourselves. Do any of these sound familiar?
  1. Why does this always happen to me?
  2. What's wrong with me?
  3. How come I can't do, or get, or afford.....?

Well, it seems that asking these apparently 'hypothetical' questions, your brain gets to work on finding answers - even - and especially if you don't actually want to know why! It'll search your databank of past situations to justify and explain why you once again have found yourself in a situation you don't want. If it can't find a reason immediately, it might even make up a ramdom one like, "coz your dumb."

These questions also presupposes some pretty limiting things:

  1. That this situation is part of a pattern.
  2. That there is something wrong with you!
  3. That you actually can't do, or get, or afford whatever it is you want to do.

By asking these limiting questions, your brain will always come up with answers - but not solutions.

So instead of asking questions that just make you feel bad about yourself or your situation, use these:

5 questions that will prompt your brain to find Solutions:

  1. What is great about this? (Or, what could be great about this?)
  2. What is not perfect yet?
    (The presupposition is that it's going to be perfect!)
  3. What am I willing to do to make things the way I want?
    (The presupposition is that you're already willing to make changes, and that you can!)
  4. What am I not willing to no longer do in order to make things the way I want?
  5. How can I do what's necessary to get this job done and enjoy the process?
So, by asking these questions, your brain will begin to search and find solutions for yourself - even if you don't want - or are unable to feel positive about your current situation.

Try it!

How fast can you break out of limiting patterns?

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Financial Literacy Part II

This financial planning stuff has got me really thinking. Last week, when I had a bit of time recovering from my accident, I laid out some ideas I'd been reading about into some concrete goals. When I came back to work, I shared my goals with a supportive colleague who inspired me to put these ideas into a workbook. I thought it would be fun to share it wtih you.

Here's a little sample:

Feel free to download the powerpoint presentation from the Widget Box on the right sidebar. Hope it gets you thinking too!

(If you do download it and find it useful, could you please give my google adds a click once in a while? That would be great!)

Happy Wealth-building!