siglinde99: (Diane and Joy)
Tomorrow my big project will be discussed by Cabinet, so today I had to go to Parliament Hill to do a run-through as I'll be flipping the slides for the Minister's presentation. I haven't been there in ages and much has changed. After the shooting a couple of years ago security was tightened considerably. Instead of walking in through the front door, I had to go to a basement entrance and go through screening. Then I was given free access to go to the Cabinet room, which is weird. I expected I would be escorted. Mind you, there were many security guards everywhere.

The run-through itself was fine and I took the time on the way out to appreciate the architecture. It's a beautiful Victorian building with heraldic carvings and gargoyles everywhere. Even walking back down the hill and across the lawn to find a taxi was nice. In the good old days, you could call a cab right to the front door, but now they aren't allowed on the premises.

When I first started working for the House of Commons as a secretary (back in 1989) things were even more relaxed. My very first day of work someone hijacked a Greyhound bus and drove it onto the lawn. Before that, you have to go back to 1966, when a man accidentally blew himself up in a public toilet in the Centre Block instead of "exterminating as many Members [of the House of Commons] as possible" according to a note found after the incident.

My view today was a bit snowier:

This is the main entrance area. It leads to the absolutely gorgeous round library overlooking the Ottawa River from atop a cliff (the only part that survived a huge fire in 1917). It's what I took a few minutes to admire today:

And although security is much tighter than it was a few years ago, it's still a very popular place. Yoga on the lawn every Wednesday at noon is de riguer for trendy fitness folks: . Of course it is THE place to be on Canada Day (I avoid it after about 11 am because the entire downtown is crammed with tens of thousands of visitors, even though there are amazing live performances during the day and evening, and fireworks I can see from my house at night). When I worked downtown, I always tried to be outside at noon so I could hear the daily mini-concert by the Dominion Carilloner, playing the bells in the Peace Tower.

Some days, I have a pretty cool job.
siglinde99: (Default)
"You are what you condone". I just heard Sally Armstrong say this in an interview. Sally is a Canadian journalist who focuses on women's stories from conflict zones, and trying to bring to light horrible cases of systemic discrimination abd abuse. I first became aware of her work when she wrote about the plight of women under the Taliban, back in the 1990s.

You are what you condone. I have always believed this, but now I have a succinct way to express it.
siglinde99: (Ballet)
Last Monday I headed to El Salvador for a few days. It was lovely except for a few hitches.
1) On the way to the airport, I tidied up my knapsack and managed to leave my phone charger in the taxi.
2) I made my connection in Chicago, but my luggage did not. Luckily I had some essential clothing and supplies in my knapsack, as I didn't see my suitcase again until late Wednesday night. My colleague was not so lucky, as he forgot his wallet somewhere in Chicago or on the plane. It still hasn't shown up as far as I know.
3) I had bought a replacement phone charger at the Ottawa airport, but left it behind at my hotel in Usulután on Tuesday.
4) I didn't lose anything on Wednesday or Thursday, but I did forget to pay Clara back after she accidentally covered the cost of our hotel rooms on Wednesday morning. I'll need to mail her a cheque tomorrow!
5) Having managed to get my phone recharged thanks to one of my friends at the Embassy, I misplaced the phone on Friday morning. I had it in my hotel room just before leaving. I opened my knapsack in the car to take a picture of bunnies on the side of the road when we stopped to investigate a leaking tire; the phone may have fallen out then. Tomorrow I'll be putting in some calls to see if the phone showed up in the car; if not, I'll be getting my friend at the Embassy to see whether it was turned in at the hotel. Hopefully she will be able to mail it back soon.
6) The flight from El Salvador was delayed by an hour when two people decided not to travel at the last minute and their bags had to be retrieved. As a result, I missed my connection in Toronto and lost another hour in travel time. We won't even discuss how much sleep I lost during the week, staying out too late and getting up too early every day.

In non-lost news, El Salvador has made huge progress since I was last there. There is an impressive road network, the quality of houses and cars has improved significantly. I didn't see a single person selling fruit or other goodies on the street. Tourism is way up, according to the locals. There is still poverty, but nothing like when I lived there, except in very remote regions like the ones I went to visit.

Skraeling Althing bunnies are everywhere! These fearless fellows were on the side of a four-lane highway.

El Salvador 2014 093

Francisco, Sara, me, Esly, Karla and Romeo - all former colleagues at the Embassy.
El Salvador 2014 090

Proud graduates of the baking, construction and literacy courses in Ilobasco, partly funded by Canada
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A few of the grads in the literacy program. These ladies studied reading, writing and practical human rights skills for a year. The lady in front just turned 75. The one directly behind her broke into a dance upon receiving her diploma.
El Salvador 2014 081

Processing coffee beans in rural Usulutan. This project was born following land reform that gave landless peasants small plots of land, many of them with ageing coffee trees. Now, thousands of farmers in 13 communities have improved varieties of younger trees (with more on the way), and a guaranteed market for their beans. The same project has fair trade shops in all the villages so that farmers have access to essential goods and a place to sell their produce. The shops are run by community youth, who now are willing to stay rather than taking their chances with illegal migration or a move to the big city.
El Salvador 2014 044

Traffic jam in San Francisco, Usulutan
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View from my hotel room, Usulutan
El Salvador 2014 027

siglinde99: (Fancy)
S started on Tuesday, and so far it is looking okay. After much agonizing over the summer, it is looking quite possible that she will do a co-op at the vet clinic down the road. This would be most convenient for an early morning co-op, and would be a reasonable compromise for someone who had her heart set on working at a barn. Will find out more tomorrow. The other courses all seem to be going well, and she is being disciplined about the homework. No visits to Fancy since Monday, though :(.

G headed back to Halifax this evening. I wish I could have seen him more, but he is really becoming an independent adult. By independent, I definitely do not mean financially independent (my credt card is the witness on that!). I finally had a chance to look at his final grades from last term, and he surprised me with an A, two A-, a B an a B+. It's not that I didn't think he was capable; I just didn't think he would put the effort into it.

I have been back to work for two whole days. I'm pooped! It's official that I will be taking on a new team with at least 3-4 underperforming employees and no manager, while also managing at least three major calls for proposals over the next year. So far, it's not too too busy, but things are already picking up and I am not sure yet that I have the energy or desire to try and be my usual overachieving helpful self. I am sure I will not allow any more burn-out, though!
siglinde99: (Default)
Apparently, my Branch doesn't manage enough money any more, so I will not be getting my reclassification. I have the largest directorate, the most complex set of files, and the most direct reports, but will continue to be paid less than any of my counterparts. Because I am only a Director, I'm not entitled to a Director who could help me manage the workload. Because there is no DG, I have to do the DG job too - or maybe not. My boss keeps asking what my team could stop doing. Now I know. If all those VP and DG-level meetings are really important, he can go himself or send an actual DG. From now on, I'll be doing the work I'm paid to do anmd go home after 8 or 9 hours like the rst of the management team, instead of working 10-11 hours every day. I might even take lunch! Or at least get back into the habit of heating it in the microwave, instead of eating it cold at my desk every day.

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siglinde99: (Default)
Almost all the pictures are posted at I haven't posted these, though, as they don't quite fit.

Senegal and Sierra Leone 051
This is an altar support from the 13th C (I think). I liked that it was displayed before a mirror, so you could see both the front and the back.

This is a view from the train - I liked the funky stone houses mixed in with more modern architecture. Many had lovely little gardens, complete with arbours.
Senegal and Sierra Leone 099


Feb. 18th, 2013 05:48 am
siglinde99: (Default)

In the past three weeks:

I have visited three countries.

I have been to 4 airports (one of them 3 times, as I went out for the day while waiting, and returned home through it), plus a bus terminal.

I have slept in 9 hotels, 2 of them twice

I have visited three large cities, 7 smaller cities, and a suburban town

I have been to at least 36 meetings in and between the different towns (plus miscellaneous restaurants and one museum along the way), using 6 different trains, two boats and three different cars.

Throughout, I managed to hang on to far too much stuff, including binders full of documents, stacks of business cards, a bunch of borrowed electronics and literally bags of money

Yet somehow, I managed to lose my blackberry between my last meeting and the airport.

siglinde99: (Default)
Workload pressures and the emotional stress of starting a mediated process with my problem manager who is not on sick leave has left me so disinclined to look at messages that I am even ignoring my blackberries. Both of them, which if you know me at all means I am either near death or in need of therapy or an intervention.

It took two days of furious photocopying and a late night session of scanning, but I now have four years of detailed financial records ready for the mediator. I'll drop it off while ShuLing is at the orthodontist's, getting braces tomorrow. Hopefully that will go okay, since she has a cold and sore throat she has now shared with me. I have a ton of work awaiting me at the office, but I was looking forward to working from home while she gets used to the braces. Now I'll have to waste a sick day on being sick -what's up with that???

I'm hoping Geoff isn't getting it too, since he injured his pericardium playing rugby yesterday. He felt too sore to go to school, so I told him to get himself to a clinic. I felt bad about the pile of frozen snow blocking the driveway - that he had to shovel to get the car out - after he got sent to Emergency for an ECG. It's just bruised, not torn, which is a blessing.

Geoff has figured out a way to improve his math mark, which is required for his chosen university courses. He will be doing four hours two nights
a week at the adult high school, on top of a heavy course load next semester. I guess I should be pleased that he is finally taking responsibility, but I really wish he would learn from examples and listen to advice, instead of insisting on doing everything the hard way.

To end my day, I got to break out new sheets. The old ones had hairball residue, thanks to the cats. Oh, and the second time the dog broke into the garbage and composter, I got to see my neighbour's new little dog. I was putting the composter outside to preserve my cupboards from Kaboone's depredations, in my nightie, when the dog tried to run into the house.

My life has many stupid adventures. If they were more entertaining, I could write a movie script. I can't imagine who would play me.
siglinde99: (Default)
[Poll #1777360]Open to: all, results viewable to: all

How do you manage stress at work?

<input ... >I don't have a job

<input ... >My job is not stressful
<input ... >St John's Wort
<input ... >B vitamins
<input ... >Paxil
<input ... >yoga, meditation and deep breathing
<input ... >somewhat more energetic exercise
<input ... >stress eating
<input ... >alcohol
<input ... >guns

<input ... >


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