Getting started

Don't expect words of wisdom or earth shattering revelations, just my thoughts and observations about living in Ottawa, being a public servant and trying to live life every day to its fullest

Sunday, September 11, 2011


I am sitting in the sunshine on my deck, wondering what I have learned this week. And what a week it was! Among other things, I helped organize and facilitate a day and a half all staff retreat using  which went really well, and while this was happening my new windows came and I lost my voice. These last two should have happened a little earlier so that I could have brought them with me to the retreat.

Losing my voice sucks! I have never really lost it before. I can not talk, I can barely croak. I am not really in any pain and have no other "symptoms" that might suggest other issues, like the flu or something more nefarious. So I have to choose if and when I will comment on something and pick my words more judiciously. I am more deliberate with my methods of communication, something that we should all do more. Admittedly, I am sending more e-mails when I quick conversation might suffice, but I am aware of why I choose one mode over another - something we rarely do in a world that revolves around quick answers that are not necessarily thought out completely. I am also listening! That is right - Listening. Well, when you can't interrupt someone or add anything to the conversation because no one will hear you, you listen. And you learn from this.

The other big thing were the windows. All 21 of them - and how beautiful they are. The old ones were compromised and no longer clear, but the wood around them was rotting, so they were going. Windows are a way to see into / or out of something, but be slightly removed from the situation - to observe something. The new ones remind me to look carefully and appreciate when things are clear, and to know that something a surface "wound" can be symptomatic of something far deeper. And I am wondering if the windows had not come this week I would realise (or have taken the time to think about) what I have learned from a lack of voice. I also wonder if I would have lost my voice if the windows had not come this week.

If I had have learned these lessons before the retreat, I am sure I would have been a better participant and facilitator. I do plan on bringing them to future events. But until then I am putting out an award for the safe return of my voice. It was last seen heading South on vacation, possibly to the Bahamas. I miss it - although I have heard that people at work don't! Yeah; I heard you.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Curmudgeonly Bachelorette - As much as we like to deny it, everyone thinks in stereotypes. These help us gather information about people quickly and paint a picture which we can expand over time as we get to know the "real" person. An important part of the stereotype is how we choose to portray ourselves. We accentuate certain traits to either conform to, or challenge, people's assumptions about who we are versus who we appear to be. Even if we think we are completely original, we use stereotype to help define us and we let them ... we embrace it.

In my "youth" my stereotype was the fun-loving, easy-going, serial monogamist who was always in a relationship. I did lots of fun things without my insignificant other, but when push came to shove, I always had a boy friend ... and now without this crutch, I have had to find a new stereotype. Something that helps people understand who I am. I live alone with a cat, love working, am out all hours of the day doing interesting things or sipping cocktails, and like my space and alone time.

I am settled in my ways as the Curmudgeonly Bachelorette. And now that I know my stereotype, I feel like I have a bit of a reputation to live up to!

Or do I?

I am finding that my stereotype is starting to define me. I try not to let it - but when push comes to shove, I am happy to just head home with a good book and some Ben and Jerry's ice-cream. I am slowly learning that I am not as much as a people person as I used to be and that, in reality, not only do a lot of people actually piss me off, I am willing to tell them! 

When you start to live the stereotype, it can be hard to see beyond the finale that Disney has already written for you. Try as I might, most of the stereotypes about women who live alone are not good ones; the crazy cat-lady, the bitter slighted woman, the bitchy executive who will trample everyone getting ahead. Perhaps I need to work on that stereotype.