Some of you have noticed that I am using del.icio.us to collect and automatically post the contextless links around here. There have been those that donâ€™t like it and those that enjoy the extra tagging options that it gives you as a reader to discover other cool stuff. You can let me know what you think in the comments.
Personally I donâ€™t actually enjoy doing it, I prefer to collect and post the links as I find them during the day but I no longer have the time to do this any longer. Especially over the last week. In the last seven days I have had two different variations of the stomach flu and had to sleep through my one day off because of a high fever and I was just sick. That had the secondary effect of really messing up the diabetes medication which means higher blood sugar levels which means I am absolutely drained. By the time I get home, eat, spend time with Mark and Oliver, I am ready to go to bed. I hoping I feel better next week and my energy comes back. The plan is do a lot more walking next week which often regulates my body and gives me more energy.
Work has been okay. We just wrapped a week of being audited which was a surprisingly positive experience. I walked away with the knowledge that my department is pretty tight and I got some good tips from the auditors of stuff that is being done at other Centreâ€™s that will actually make life easier for us. We had a couple of discussions that could be summed up as a â€œphilosophy of accountingâ€ which helped me understand the kinds of checks and balances that I will need in any organization. One of them even helped us decide what kind of television to buy for the guys. The bad part of the week was that because they were there, I needed to be there in case they had questions. I made it through the week but just barely.
On top of surviving the auditors, I have been helping a family stay off the street. I donâ€™t think one realizes how hard it is for people when they have no home, to even find an apartment, pay a $25 fee just to see the apartment (yes I know that is designed to discourage those on social assistance to move in), convince landlords who are biased towards certain socio-economic classes to rent to them, and then make it livable. The good news is that we do have a partial solution to this problem that should be a reality in early 2009.
On a positive not, we did manage to do some Christmas shopping. The advantage of living in Canada is that we donâ€™t have any Black Friday type events so it is relatively quiet. We are done shopping for Mark and Oliver and I am pretty much done shopping for Wendy. Since I coordinate all of the Christmas shopping, Wendy just has to shop for me but really struggles with it. She is in denial over it but I will get a copy of Larry Lessigâ€™s book that I donâ€™t think I want and a book on the emerging church that I wonâ€™t read (she just read this sentence and just grunted in reply). I have been trying to explain that good gifts donâ€™t require money, they require insight and thought. Weâ€™ll see how she does.
I haven’t had much time to write much of anything other than the occasional tweet on Twitter from my iPod Touch lately.Â Some have said that Twitter is ruining my blog but the bigger issue is that I don’t have uninterrupted time to write.Â If I had time to write, this is what I would be talking about.
- I recently considered two job offers.Â One in a church and the other one in a more beauracratic setting.Â Both were in some ways tempting but in the end I realized both were not what I was passionate about.Â Turning down the one job was hard because it appealed to my ego and the fact that the chances of going home smelling like urine are absolutely zero.Â Turning down the pastoral position was really tough because it made me really examine what was a strong pastoral calling in my life.Â At the same time something that Leonard Sweet said on Twitter has been tormenting me. “…but musing about how I am SO tired of the church viewing the world more as a market than as a mission.”Â That clarified a lot for me (and cost me a lot of money) as despite using the language of mission, the church sees the world as a market (and I wonder if a lot of pastors see the church as their market).Â Anyways it helped me realize that I didn’t have the passion or energy to lead something that saw the world as a market and for which I wasn’t sure if it wanted to see it as a mission.Â At the end of the day I realized I had more in Saskatoon that I wanted to accomplish.
- Speaking of church, I haven’t darkened a church door in a couple of months.Â I have been working nights on the weekends while I tried in vain to find the right staff person.Â Along the way I found another outstanding person for the Centre who is great but not the right person to fill the night shifts.Â Last week I finally found that person which means that this could be the first time that I will be in church in a long time.Â Wendy has been attending the Saskatoon Free Methodist Church and Lakeview Church but until next weekend, I am the father and husband who never attends church (feel free to judge me in the comments).Â I don’t know what is wrong with me but when I was 24, I used to be able to stay up all night and function the next day.Â Now that I am 34, I can’t stay up 24 hours straight (while working 16 of them), go to sleep for five or six hours, work another graveyard and function at church in the morning.Â I have great intentions but they fall apart as soon as I stop moving and sit down in the morning.Â Then I find myself worshipping at the Presbytry of the Pillow.
- Some have asked how the emergency women’s shelter is going.Â Well it is a long process but it is still moving forward.Â We have operational funding in place, we have capital funding in place, we have identified a building and now we are entering a zoning process with the City of Saskatoon.Â Believe it or not I have read the 200+ pages of the City of Saskatoon zoning bylaw but I actually brought it with me to the cabin.Â That was some relaxing reading by the lake.Â Â We have a ways to go on it still but it is looking pretty good from here.Â I’ll save the entire story for the formal announcement
- I was going to do some creative campaign coverage of the election up here but Warren Kinsella started doing a lot better job of it than I could.Â Today he is writing why Stephen Harper is going to win the campaign.Â Â After reading Kinsella’s posts day in and day out and then watching some excellent W@AL videos, I realized that his coverage was going to be way better than mine and so I just kind of decided to be quiet about it and accept that some things (like medicine, mortgage backed securities, and brake repairs) should be left to the professionals.Â That leaves me with commentary on Survivor, Bon Jovi CD’s, what I had for supper last night, and the East Coast Hockey League (update: Wendy says that if I start commenting on supper, my life expectancy could be shortened).
- I have been meaning to blog about Sarah Palin but I’ll leave it at this, she probably is a wonderful parent, good neighbor (if you like your neighbors being Rovian), and decent governor of Alaska but she wasn’t prepared to be nominated by John McCain who is exploiting her age, sex, and looks for his own political agenda.Â Everytime I want to come out against this strongly, I think of Dan Quayle who was the male version of Sarah Palin.Â JFK disliked (even hated) LBJ but chose him to help him in the south so this isn’t a new or a partisan trend, it is just that YouTube makes it a lot more painful.
- Why is it that many sites equate being a social conservative with being a hunter.Â Are there no liberals who shop at Cabelas?
- After breaking up with hockey, I may be open to a reconcilliation this year.Â I am not sure I miss it but if we run into each other on a Saturday night, I may stay a while and chat.
- Forget NCAA cheating scandals, out of control Olympic games, crooked NBA refs, or even fact that the Toronto Maple Leafs are mathematically eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs, here is the real problem in sports, out of control marching bands.
In the most mediocre Canadian contest. I am serious. Join the campaign. It’s going nowhere that spectacular. Brent Gretzky is only mediocre because of his brother. Warren Kinsella has FOUR well known books and drives a nicer classic car than I do. Alan Thicke? Way, way nicer hair than any of us. He is a D list celebrity already. You won’t see me courtside at L.A. Clippers games, that is Alan Thicke territory.
I am from Saskatchewan. We define mediocrity. A 9-9 football season is a good but not great season for the Riders and that Grey Cup thing last year was only because we messed up and hired Eric Tillman as our G.M. Saskatoon, nice but not great city. My blog is good but not great. I define mediocrity.
Well today the residents of Sandy Bay left the Cosmo Civic Centre in Saskatoon, boarded three busses and started the 8 hour drive back home which ended the evacuation from the community. Before the busses had left the Cosmo Civic Centre parking lot, the Salvation Army Community Centre had packed up our stuff and were heading back to the Centre via a Tim Horton’s for some much needed vitamin supplement (vitamin: caffeine). Shortly after that I was back home taking a much wanted nap.
Since I last posted, a lot changed. On Sunday I got a call to be at the Centre for a meeting where I found out that I was taking over the food service operations at the Cosmo for the next seven days which was fine and dandy except I have never done anything like that and I don’t have my safe food handling certificate. The good news is that I was taking over from someone that was really competent and she gave me an amazing job description. With some help from the bulk of the staff and volunteers who were at the SaskTel Sports Centre (they had 590 people there), we made it through at Cosmo (we had about 120 people there). Thankfully a couple hours later the weather forecast changes, the fire and smoke had abated and people were told they were going to go home on Tuesday. That took the anxiety out of the whole place, from the supporting organizations to the evacuees and the end result was that everyone was in a pretty good mood. That mood was further boosted by Fire Creek Gas station brining in 160 large pieces of fresh off the grill bannock which was loved by everyone. I was persuaded to give bannock a try and I don’t think I had ever had it before but I liked it.
One thing to note. Yesterday I was wearing a green shirt and one of the kids runs up to me and told me I was a pretty big guy. He looked at my shirt and said, “You are big and green like Shrek!” His dad heard him and said, “That’s Mr. Shrek to you.” So for the last two days, every meal or snack time he would call me “Mr. Shrek”. Today about a dozen kids under five years of age were calling me “Mr. Shrek”. I don’t know if they got the reference, just overhead me being called that, or think I am an ogre but they were polite and solicited a laugh from whoever heard them so it was okay.
It was up at 5:30, at the site by 7:00 a.m. There all day until I came home around 11:00 p.m. I wish I could have slept when I got home but the neuropathy is killing me right now to the point where the Neuragen can’t deal with it. I know that the long hours make it worse but I think it is just another cycle of a lot of pain right now.
A quick list of what I learned…
- No matter how professionally dressed and educated, give a ring pop to a person who is overtired enough and they will put it on their finger and wear it as proudly as the kids. They also will lick it for the sugar rush.
- Coffee perks work better with coffee grounds inside them.
- Never carry your bottle of Aquafina into a conversation with public health officials. It just starts a long conversation about the commercialization of water that you may not want to have. My explanation of “I don’t like the way city water tastes” doesn’t really end the conversation either.
I wish I could have tomorrow off but I have to get some funding applications finished this week but it is off to the lake for a bit this weekend.
I haven’t been blogging that much because we have a couple of things going around here.
- I could be a father any day now. Wendy‘s pre-eclampsia is becoming eclampsia which means that the baby could be coming 8 weeks or so early. The baby is doing fine but mother is struggling a bit.
- I haven’t blogged about this but I am up my ears with trying to start a second women’s emergency shelter in Saskatoon with others at work. I can’t describe to you the amount of hours I have spent filling out proposals, revising proposals, realizing the proposal was flawed, debating flawed proposals, creating new proposal, wondering if old proposal was better than new proposal, more debating with co-workers, pacing outside office of other manager while he figures out if our business plan works, feeling pretty good when business plan works, tossing all night because I realized I forgot an expense, finding out in the morning that it actually was factored in, sharing proposal, getting feedback on proposal, taking feedback personally because that is what I do, stewing over feedback, accepting feedback, improving proposal, filling out funding applications, more applications, seeing even more applications on my desk, getting discouraged over the amount of applications to go, being encouraged by government officials, being put on hold by government officials, getting sent mixed messages, talking to real estate agent, talking to contractors…. the list goes on. This comes on top on top of my regular responsibilities but it has been an excellent experience and it will make a big difference in the lives of women and children in crisis which keeps me pretty motivated day in and day out.
- Right now we are waiting to hear back from a couple levels of government which means that I have time to focus on what is really important…. my office is being moved to the administrative hallway from off the chapel. It will make it easier to work but I lose my window.
- Lee is moving out. He found a nice apartment being redone in Lakewood. It means I get my basement back. Actually Mark gets my basement back. It has something to do with a new kid being born. Mark is quite disappointed in Lee leaving. Not so much that Lee is leaving, it is that Mark thinks he is ready to move out to his own apartment.
I found out about Cabela’s (via Jason Kottke’s blog) a couple weeks ago and ordered their catalog to take a look at. Cabela’s is a Sidney, Nebraska-based direct marketer and specialty retailer of hunting, fishing, camping and related outdoor recreation merchandise. Right now their catalog is the most widely read thing in the Cooper household. I got it before we were thinking of getting the cabin but since then it has been a lot of fun to look through. Our reactions go from “that would be so comfortable” on one page to “No. We are never getting elk antler chandeliers” when looking at the next page. We only got the Home and Cabin catalog, and apparently their full catalog is almost 1400 pages. Until then we will have to take our time with browsing their website.
For some reason I didn’t know they did retail shopping as well until a friend told me how cool their stores are. Take a look at this photo. Now I hate shopping but this looks okay to me.
They have moved into Canada and I hope the check out their Winnipeg store the next time I head east.
Technorati Tags: Cabela’s
I made some tweaks to the site that you will find throughout it. I have finally added a search box on each page from Google that combined with Google Sitemaps should offer much better search results. There is an improved navigational element which should make it easier to find stuff in the top left corner and some improvements in the bottom navigation as well. I know some of you hate the design but that’s okay…
- Last night Wendy, myself and some co-workers took in Perogy Fest III at the Manhattan Ballroom. There was five different varieties and over 12,000 perogies made in total. The event was a fundraiser for Nashi, which works to divert children out of the sex trade in Ukraine and the money from the perogy smorg and auction went to support these projects as well as fighting human trafficking world wide.
- I repaired a crack in my basement wall which isn’t that exciting but several people I have talked to about it have cracks in their basement walls and have been asking me about this. After reading all sorts of solutions, I took the advice from Ask This Old House and chiseled away any deteriorated concrete that I found. This enlarged the crack from quite small to about an inch across (not all of it was bad but it came lose while chiseling). After cleaning it all out, I decided to use aqua cement which is suggested for any cracks below grade, is waterproof (it will actually set in running water), and dries far harder than ordinary cement. While it works great, you really need two people to install it as it sets so quick. It worked well but I think we wasted about 20% because it dries so quickly. It also dries harder over a month. I’ll see how it lasts but I am impressed with the first couple of weeks. It has been a slow melt so I doubt I will see much water coming through it even if I didn’t patch it so we may have to wait until next year. Now I get to dig down and seal the outside of the wall this summer. One tip that I have is that since it dries so hard, it is almost impossible to finish so don’t fill the crack completely with it and leave a bit for standard portland cement to finish with. Using Weldbond will help with the bonding quite a bit as well. I discovered Weldbond this summer and it amazing around the house.
- I am reading The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William L. Shirer (Wikipedia has more and here is the complete text available online). After watching a couple of documentaries this year that talked about how Hitler knew the war was lost in late 1942 and 1943 as did many of his generals, I was interested to read more. Of course not so interested to do anything about it but now that I have a copy of the book, 1400 pages await me. Once I get this book done, I want to read a Russian telling of the Second World War. Does anyone have any suggestions for a good English translation that I can find? If you do, let me know in the comments.