Monday, April 30, 2012

Monday Morning Meltdown

A few weeks back Amanda had a key cut for her apartment door for me.  It's just for the interior door, not the exterior door to the building.  Her idea (and it was a good one) is that if I didn't want to leave for Tumbler Ridge at the same time she had to leave for work, that I could lock her apartment door on the way out, and the exterior door would lock itself.

So far I haven't used it for that purpose.  I leave when Amanda leaves because I really have no reason to stick around.  It's not that I don't like her apartment, but if she's not going to be there, I might as well just leave when she does and start the drive home to Tumbler Ridge.

With about three or four minutes before Amanda had to leave for work, I had to use the washroom briefly and ended up taking longer than I expected (my hair was a mess this morning -- Amanda's been telling me it's time for a haircut again soon, and she's right).  When I came out of the washroom, she was gone.

It was silly, but I panicked a little bit.  I rushed to grab my stuff and hoped that I was just a minute behind her and could catch her before she left.  I didn't want her to be late for work, but really wanted to say a proper goodbye to her.  So I rushed out her door and, while fumbling for my keys, saw her coming back into the building.

I was really relieved.

So we locked up her apartment, walked outside, and said goodbye properly with a long hug and kiss, and I left feeling much better than I would've without saying goodbye to Amanda.


Sunday, April 29, 2012

Stop the Presses!

Amanda and I have talked and joked about it for a long time, but we finally took a proper photo of the two of us in front of the Daily Herald-Tribune office.  Sadly, I did not hear what I was hoping to.  There were no excited shouts of "Stop the presses!"  or "The Kissing Couple of Grande Prairie is here, taking a photo!"


Instead, it was very quiet and we took this great photo where the framing worked out perfectly -- my head *just* blocks the entirety of the word "Daily".  We were very happy with the result!

Amanda and I didn't take many more photos this weekend, but I will have more to talk about in the coming week!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Muddy Waters

Hi everyone!

Amanda and I are having a fairly quiet weekend, and we haven't taken any new photos so far.  Tomorrow will hopefully be another story though.

At any rate, this is the final photo Amanda and I took last weekend.  We had walked over to Michael's to pick up some sock yarn for Amanda (which she wouldn't have needed if her birthday yarn had arrived in time), and a set of double pointed needles so I could start sock knitting.

On the way back, we wandered aside from the trail to a lookout at the creek that flows through Muskoseepi Park.  There are piles of mud in the water, and a nearby sign commented something about how eventually it will pile up and fill in.

Amanda and I admired the view for a bit and then decided to take a photo together.  This photo is an *excellent* example of what our photos together should be.  We're both fully in the frame, Amanda is more centered than I am, and we're tilting our heads to the left.  I even had the camera more or less straight!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Elton John Was Amazing

After Amanda returned home from work and showered, we drove to Mr. Mike's to meet up with her sister for supper before Elton John's concert.  To ease the parking issue, we decided to drop off her vehicle and drive together in mine.  So the three of us and one of our would-not-be camerawoman's friends piled into my small car and parked a few blocks away from the concert hall.

The line stretched quite a ways down the block and we had to wait.  It was chilly and drizzly, but Amanda and I kept everyone's spirits up by taking a photo!

Amanda was dressed in layers -- her t-shirt, hoodie, and the outer shell of my winter coat.  The barbed wire fence behind us is not a prison -- just the parking lot for the Telus building downtown.

Once we made it inside and found our seats (34th row on the floor), we decided to try for another photo while waiting for the concert to start.

...this is one of only two decent photos we took out of a dozen attempts there.  Either I was wholly in the frame and Amanda was hidden, or the entire photo was out of focus...

The concert started right on time at 8pm without any opening act.  We were fully expecting to have an opening act perform for an hour and only seeing Elton John for an hour.  ...We were *completely* wrong.  He performed for over two hours, and the concert was absolutely incredible!


  • Rocket Man (my mouth hurt afterward from smiling so big for so long)
  • Crocodile Rock
  • Songs from The Lion King for his encore
  • Lengthy piano riffs
  • Far too many people with active cell phones
  • Too many people getting up and down in the middle of songs
Elton was incredible, he certainly knew how to put on a show, and it was an amazing evening all around!

Amanda, best Valentine's Day gift ever!  <3

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Elton John

Amanda and I *just* got back from the Elton John concert.

One word review:  Wow!

I'll post more about it tomorrow with some photos we took together.  Until then, just know that the concert was amazing, we thoroughly enjoyed it, and our ears are still ringing.

Technicalities and New Beginnings

Hi Everyone!

I made it to Grande Prairie around 10:30 last night and (unfortunately) had to wake Amanda up to let me into her building.  I encouraged her to go back to sleep while I put away my things, but instead we ended up talking while I did so.  I wasn't quite ready to sleep (it was only 9:30 Tumbler Ridge time, after all), but decided to join her in bed at least until she fell back asleep, and then get up and write a blog post on her Macbook.

...I woke up about a half hour ago at 3:30.  Why is this important other than me needing to go back to bed so I'll actually be awake to go to the Elton John concert tonight?

It broke my streak.

For the past three weeks or so, I haven't missed a day of writing on this blog.  Granted, there were a few days with extremely short posts, but on the whole I've been fairly consistent.

As far as the official record is concerned (and what my blog post dates are), the streak is broken.  But by posting now, at 4am, I'm hoping that the majority of our blog's readers will check for an update in the morning, and it won't seem like it has been.

Now, it's not one of Amanda and me kissing, but I do have a photo to post.
The great experiment has begun!  Amanda is teaching me how to knit socks, and that photo represents the first step towards a pair.

Anyway, I should return to bed.  Sir Elton won't appreciate it if I yawn my way through his concert later tonight.  I'll be back later with another post and (probably) the final photo Amanda and I took on the weekend.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A No Frills Kiss

Amanda and I drove to the No Frills store on Sunday to do some grocery shopping.  On the way out, I suggested we stop for a quick kiss in front of one of their very yellow signs.

So we stopped for a quick, but fun, kiss, and it ended up being very emblematic of the store itself.  Because we had to hang onto our cart, hold the camera out, and get ourselves into position near the yellow sign, the kiss didn't get to be super-elaborate.  In many ways, it was a no-frills kiss -- no hug, no special photo composition, no spiffy scenery behind us.

...but it was really good anyway!  :-)

Monday, April 23, 2012

Kissing Couple Restaurant Review - Tito's Bistro and Cafe

Amanda took me out for lunch on Saturday at Tito's Bistro & Cafe.  I'd never been there, and Amanda commented that the place and its menu seemed interesting to her.  I agreed that it sounded like a good idea, and off we went.

I had beef shawarma and Amanda had beef souvlaki and a frappe, and we both also had rice and caesar salad.  I really enjoyed mine -- the shawarma was hot and tasty, and the caesar salad was fresh.  Amanda enjoyed her souvlaki but thought the rice wasn't incredibly exciting.

The decor of Tito's was attractive, and the staff was friendly enough.  We did have to wait for Amanda's souvlaki (I chose to wait for my lunch with her), but to be fair, we were both really hungry so it probably seemed like an even longer wait than it was.

It cost us a little over $30 for the two of us -- more than we would've spent for lunch at most of our usual haunts, but we did enjoy ourselves and our lunches.

The only real downside to Tito's is that it's not very close to most of our normal places of visit.  It's downtown, but still a few blocks away from anywhere we visit downtown on even a semi-regular basis.

Will we return?  If we're downtown around lunchtime and hungry, I could see us returning to Tito's.  Do I see us going out of our way to specifically eat there again though?  That's a good question.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Amanda's Birthday Cake

(Sorry folks, the restaurant review will be delayed -- we had something else that Amanda encouraged me to write about and a photo she suggested I post)

On Friday afternoon, I had an idea.  I was wandering around Save-On picking up a few groceries to make supper and thinking about Amanda's birthday.  I debated buying her a cake, but decided it was kind of impersonal and chose not too.  Then I saw birthday Oreos and thought that they might at least be funny, but I decided against them too.

So I wandered down the cake mix aisle, picked out a cake, some icing, and some candles, with the intent of baking Amanda a birthday cake on Sunday night.  When we were out today so Amanda could buy some groceries, I also bought some sprinkles and coloured icing to decorate with.  I joked with Amanda that I'd draw "What Amanda *really* needs" in the style of the whiteboard drawings I do at the library, and she encouraged me to grab a large squeeze tube of decorating icing.

...The cake was too warm, and the icing too cold, and the cake tore somewhat when I was trying to spread the icing over it.  I had no good ideas for a drawing, and when I started trying to write Happy Birthday, it was coming out horribly.

Then I had my second idea.  Amanda bought me Plants vs. Zombies for my DS for my birthday.  I finished it last week, and Amanda and I have spent all weekend singing "There are zombies on our lawn" to each other, even while playing Plants vs. Zombies against each other.

So I drew a pea shooter.  Then a sunflower.  Then a very sloppy sun falling from the sky, and then an *extremely* crappy looking zombie that was originally intended to look like the drawings of my stand-in on the library's whiteboard.  Finally, I wrote the word "BWAIN" on the top -- how Amanda says "brain" when we're playing against each other and she's in the process of beating down my plants.

It was sloppy, ugly, and the cake looked like it was the sole survivor of a lawn-war between plants and zombies.

Amanda loved it!

Saturday, April 21, 2012


If I'm in Grande Prairie for the weekend and I drive out Friday night, Amanda and I typically end up going for breakfast at the Mason's Hall.  Amanda knows some masons, and we're always welcome for breakfast (though we still have to pay for it).

So this morning after we got up, we dropped Amanda's car off to have her summer tires put on her rims, and drove up for breakfast.  We beat nearly everyone there.  The two men who usually cook were there, as was one other mason Amanda and I both know.  We visited for a while, and then Amanda's sister (the would-not-be camerawoman), brother-in-law, and niece (among other people who I know less well) all showed up to join us.

Even though I come to Grande Prairie to see Amanda, I do like seeing her family and friends -- they're all basically good people.  That said, the ones I've asked haven't been willing to take photos of us for the blog, so they might not be *that* good...

Anyway, on the way out of the Mason's Hall, the sun was shining, Amanda was looking very cute, and it seemed like a really good time for a photo in a location we'd never taken one before.  So I grabbed Amanda, grabbed my cell, and took a photo of us.

The result?

It turned out pretty good!  My hair is a mess because it was fairly breezy, and I like the golden glow on the top of Amanda's hair and the sunbeams/wanna-be-lens flare streaming down from the top right corner of the photo.

All in all, it was a great morning!  We did take another photo later in the day at a local restaurant, but I'll be saving that for tomorrow for a Kissing Couple of Grande Prairie Restaurant Review!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Failed photo...

Hi everyone!

I'm at Amanda's, enjoying some quality couch time with her.  I realized I haven't been posting many photos lately (in part due to Amanda's illness last week), so we decided to try taking a photo with Amanda's Macbook.

She had some Twizzlers handy, so I suggested getting a photo of a Twizzler kiss -- almost a lady and the tramp moment.

But when we took the photo, it came out very muddy and we had very odd expressions on our faces.  Ultimately, I made the hard decision and deleted it...

But I'm here with Amanda, the weather is supposed to be good, and hopefully we'll have lots of opportunities for great photos this weekend!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

T-Minus Twenty Hours...

It's just twenty hours now.  Twenty hours until I see Amanda again.  I haven't seen Amanda since April 9th.  I know it's a small amount of time in the grand scheme of things.  There are plenty of people who don't get to see their wives/husbands/girlfriends/boyfriends for weeks or months on end while they're away at work.

Still, it has seemed like a long time.  I was sort of at loose ends last weekend, and wasn't quite sure what to do by myself.  I knitted, read, and played a bunch of Minecraft, but my place seemed really empty without Amanda here.

So in twenty hours I'll be in the parking lot of Amanda's building, watching her step out of her car, just back from work, with a *huge* smile on my face.

...Twenty more hours and counting.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

What is a picture worth?

If a picture's worth a thousand words, what is a picture made up of a thousand words worth?

A lot, as it turns out!

A while back I used Wordle to put together a tag cloud for the library.  It was neat to do, but once I finished I put it to the side and didn't play with it again.

Today I updated the library's website to add our tag cloud to the front page (because we don't have any incredibly important news to post right now), and it occurred to me that posting a word cloud of the blog posts I've written would be really neat!

So I checked out the website, found out that I could just put in the address of our blog, and made this word cloud tonight.  I assume it just uses the most recent blog posts that are available to an RSS feed, as some words are really overrepresented, and it surprises me that I don't see others.

I may do one of these word clouds now and then as a visual to show what the blog has been about recently.  That said, I may also stack the deck a little:

Amanda Amanda Amanda Amanda Amanda Amanda Amanda <3

There we go.  The input text for the next word cloud is off to a good start!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Kissing Couple Book Review - The Magicians by Lev Grossman

In my sickness-induced Amanda-free weekend, I had the time to re-read two of my favorite books that were published in the past few years:  The Magicians and The Magician King, both by Lev Grossman.  It occurred to me that we haven't written a restaurant review in a while (we missed a good chance to do so last weekend), so I decided to write a book review to fill the gap!

I stumbled into The Magicians by chance when we ordered it at the library.  The book looked interesting, and I gave it a try.

It was amazing.  The Magicians follows a boy named Quentin who stumbles into a magical college.  His life there is everything he hoped for... at least for a while.  But he makes a mistake that proves that magical life isn't perfect.  And then another.  Finally he thinks he's found what will bring him true happiness, a trip to a fantasy world he'd read and dreamed about since he was a child.

The book is interesting and is great to read as a counterpoint to Harry Potter's magical world where everything is black or white.  It feels less magical and more real, especially in how the main characters are portrayed.

The sequel, The Magician King, takes things even further.  It starts off as a fairly light hearted romp and becomes darker as the book progresses.  Quentin and his friends learn the price of seeking power and adventure, and the ending was very approriate.  The two books stand on their own fantastically, but if Grossman ever decides to write a third, he's certainly left enough room in the world he's created to finish a trilogy.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Just another Scenic Sunday

This is the final photo Amanda and I took last weekend.  We took it during our walk to the movie theatre on Sunday.  We've really been enjoying the spring and being able to get out for walks together.

I'm currently chatting with Amanda, and it sounds like we both had a similar idea today.  Amanda went for an hour and a half walk, and I walked the five mile loop in Tumbler Ridge, which took me...  an hour and a half.

Anyway, it's more fun wandering hand-in-hand with Amanda and talking with her.  With any luck, the weather will be nice this weekend and we'll be able to do a lot more of it!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Progress, or lack thereof...

My knitting isn't progressing very fast.  When I was under the gun before Christmas, I churned out three bulky ribbed scarves in a little over a month.  The scarf I'm working on now is made from the same yarn, done in the same style (though slightly wider), and I started just after Christmas.

...I'm not even halfway done.

The scarf is looking great, and I'm really excited about what the final product will be!  ...I'm just not as motivated as I should be to put my nose to the grindstone and plug away at it.

Part of the problem is that since I started working on this scarf, I've obtained all sorts of neat yarn.  Amanda bought me some at a yarn store in Prince George on our way back north after Christmas, and I've since ordered some from Knitpicks.  I've got about a dozen things I'd like to be working on, and instead of just starting on them and indulging my craving I think "Nah, I should probably continue working on my scarf if I do any knitting."

...but then I don't do any.  I may need Amanda to give me a pep talk (or a marine corps drill sargeant "motivational speech") to get me moving on my scarf again.  With any luck, it'll be done by next winter.

Saturday, April 14, 2012


As I type this blog post, I'm teasing Amanda via text messaging.  I've made a few comments about her birthday gift that I ordered a few weeks ago, but *just* shipped out, and she asked me for a hint tonight.

So I told her that one of the gifts I got her is something she mentioned to me.  Then I told her that I got her something that she didn't know existed.

Amanda's birthday is in just over a week, and I'm really looking forward to her reaction.  That said, I anticipate an interesting discussion about how truthful my latter statement was.  :-)

Friday, April 13, 2012


Amanda's recent (and sadly, ongoing) illness and my trouble sleeping last night (woke up at 3am, couldn't return to sleep until after 6) got me thinking.  There is a major gap between how the world works and how the world should work.

Let's look at sick days for example:

How the world works:
You call in sick, deal with a potentially unhappy supervisor, and lay at home feeling bad, and feeling worse when your next paycheque is short as a result.  The other option, frowned upon by most employers, is working through your illness so your paycheque isn't affected, though the health of your co-workers and customers is.

How the world *should* work:
When you call in sick, your supervisor encourages you to stay home and get better soon, and reminds you that you'll still be paid.  If you're sick on your days off, you receive normal working days off to compensate for it.

Or what about sleeping problems?  What if on a particular night you didn't get nearly enough sleep through no fault of your own?

How the world works:
You go to work exhausted and struggle to stay awake by consuming generous portions of caffeinated drinks.  Your work suffers, frustrating your co-workers, customers, and supervisor.

How the world *should* work:
You arrive at work and your employer notices the bags under your eyes and sends you to the back office couch for a two hour nap.  Instead of producing eight hours of poorly done work that may have to be redone, you produce six hours of your normal quality work with a much better attitude to boot!

I know these ideas would lend themselves to widespread abuse.  I also know that employers, particularly small ones, can't afford to pay their employees to be sick or sleep on the job.  But in my pie-in-the-sky world as it "should" be, they make a lot of sense!  :-)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Loud Sigh

If you heard a loud sigh a half hour ago, it was probably me.  Amanda's not feeling too well, and I told her the exact same thing she told me when I was sick a while back.  I told her that unless she's feeling absolutely 100% perfect, that we should cancel our plans for her visiting Tumbler Ridge this weekend.

I'd much rather she was at home in bed recovering rather than driving three hours in each direction to see me.

Some of you reading this might ask "Why don't you drive out to Grande Prairie then, Jake?"

There are a few reasons.  First, I work Saturday this week.  I have gone out on my short weekends before, but by the time I drive out after work, we basically only have Sunday together.  It's still worth it to see Amanda (I *did* drive eight hours for our first date due to a washed out bridge, after all!), but the impetus to go isn't quite as strong.

Second, I don't really think Amanda wants to infect me with whatever's ailing her.  I'd like to be there to cheer her up, stock her up with sickday-related stuff (chicken soup, juice, ginger ale, etc.), and generally take care of her, but I think Amanda would feel really guilty if I ended up really sick next week as a result.

Finally, there's a bit of a financial reason.  I was in Grande Prairie last weekend, and will be out there for the next two (the first one is close to Amanda's birthday, and the second is just after the Elton John concert Amanda bought us tickets to as my Valentine's Day gift).  I love Amanda, and I want to see her, but driving out to Grande Prairie four weeks in a row isn't incredibly kind to my bank account balance...

So I'll miss Amanda this weekend, but her staying in Grande Prairie is probably the right decision.

...a few weeks back I had an idea for a sick day kit for her.  Now I *really* wish I'd finished it and given it to her.  :-(

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Long Distance Relationship

Amanda and I took this photo on Saturday on our way out for a walk.  This phone booth is located on the outer wall of a nearby convenience store.  We walked past it, and then I grabbed Amanda and asked her to come back to get a photo in front of it.

I joked, much as I did in the title of this blog post, that a phone booth was the perfect symbol for our long distance relationship.  Occasionally there are busy signals, but overall we have a really good connection.

As a fun side benefit of this photo, Amanda's brother-in-law works for Telus.  So I can claim that he endorses and supports this blog now by virtue of his company's logo appearing in it!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Illusions of Height

I took this photo of Amanda and me on Good Friday.  We had headed over to the Prairie Mall, not really expecting it to be open and/or busy, and did some wandering around.  We stopped at Coles and a few other places, and took this photo near my car.

It never occurred to me before, but I must hold my phone at about 30 degrees from horizontal when taking these photos...  You can clearly tell by the background of this particular photo, but also by how close Amanda and I appear in height.

Amanda's reasonably tall, but I'm still about five inches taller than her.  In that photo, it looks like we're only about an inch or two apart.

Illusions can be interesting...

Monday, April 9, 2012

Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall...

...who's the fairest of them all?


Yup, the weekend before last we continued with my obsession with reflection photos.  Amanda and I took this photo in my bathroom.  I'm wearing the Starman hoodie my brother gave me for my birthday, and Amanda is wearing my infamous pink hoodie.

Amanda was tired of wearing the hoodie she had brought to Tumbler Ridge with her, so I offered her the choice of my yellow one or pink one.  She didn't care, and we decided that my pink hoodie looked better with her t-shirt.  Of course, I wanted a photo of us kissing while she was wearing it.  My bathroom mirror was handy, and the photo turned out pretty good!

With that, I've posted all the photos from Amanda's last trip to Tumbler Ridge.  Tomorrow night I'll start with the photos we took over the last few days around Grande Prairie!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Quiet Evening at Home

Amanda and I had a quiet evening at her place tonight.  We picked up supper from Five Guys Burgers and Fries and watched Mad Men.  After logging in to type this blog post, I realized that I hadn't mailed any photos from my phone.  I could've grabbed it and done it, but my phone is currently charging.

So instead you folks are seeing a very casual couch photo taken with the webcam in Amanda's Macbook.  Enjoy!

Saturday, April 7, 2012


Here's yet another photo from last weekend in Tumbler Ridge.  To make up for the swing photo we *didn't* get to take in Grande Prairie the previous week, we stopped by the swing set at the elementary school for a few minutes.

It was incredibly awkward and I just about fell off, but I enjoyed taking this photo of the two of us!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Good Friday, Good Times!

Hi everyone!

I missed posting last night because I was on the way to Grande Prairie.  I left immediately after work (8pm) and arrived here shortly after midnight Grande Prairie time.

Amanda and I thoroughly enjoyed our day today, though we really didn't do much.  After breakfast we did some running around which ended up taking *much* longer than expected.  We both added detours to our route, and mine included a run to Future Shop to play with the new iPads again.  ...I think we were there 20 minutes.  Amanda played around with some games, while I toyed around with Numbers to see if an iPad would work okay for me to keep track of my spending and such when I'm on the road.

I was really impressed.  I was having fun with the iPad, and could imagine all the awesome things I could do with one.  I considered for a *long* moment, then asked Amanda to get me out of there before I grabbed a salesperson to sell me an iPad.

She (very helpfully) reminded me that I've got a stove to buy, and we escaped.  It made for an awkward afternoon though.  After *not* spending ~$600, spending money on pretty much anything with a two figure price seemed really reasonable in comparison...

I managed to restrain myself to a $2.00 purchase -- a discount book from Coles about the final days of Bear Stearns.  I think that's pretty good!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Sunny Days

Amanda and I took this photo on the way back from our walk on Sunday.  It's just below one of the lower entrances to the Rec Centre in Tumbler Ridge.

Here are some of the finer details you may miss in this photo:

1)  most of the snow on the ground (visible to the right of Amanda) has melted, but the ground is still wet

2)  Between my white hoodie and the shadow cast on my face, my stubble looks really bad in this photo

3)  Amanda's hair looks even more amazing in person

4)  The dark pole sticking up from my forehead is not, in fact, a unicorn horn.  It's a lamp post that was inadvertently caught in the photo.  Photo composition is kind of tricky when you're holding a camera out at arm's length and are focusing on other things.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Dangerous Walking

Tumbler Ridge has gradually becoming busier and busier since I moved back here in 2008.  The town is louder, busier, and quiet moments are harder to find.

...except on Sundays.

During our walk on Sunday, Amanda and I were crossing the street at a reasonably major residential intersection when we stopped and looked around.  Not a vehicle in sight.  So we decided to get a photo in the middle of the intersection.  We took our time taking the photo, and just after we finished and walked to the other sidewalk, a truck appeared in the distance.

I still really enjoy the quiet moments I can find here, especially when I can share them with Amanda.  Now all I have to do is have her out here on a Sunday morning in the summer so we can go for a walk at 6am.  I think that's pretty much the definition of quiet around here.

As an aside, I look pretty scruffy in the photos from last Sunday.  Amanda and I showered a little late and when I asked her if I should be Rugged Jake or Clean-Shaven Jake for the day, she chose the former.  :-)

Monday, April 2, 2012

Stopping at the Street Light

With this photo, Amanda and I have completed our set of photos near the street lights in Tumbler Ridge.  I'll admit that it's not an incredibly impressive accomplishment given that there are only two intersections with street lights in Tumbler Ridge, but I'm still happy to have completed the set!

Sunday afternoon was a fantastic time to go for a walk with Amanda -- it was sunny and warm, and I thoroughly enjoyed wandering the streets of Tumbler Ridge with her.

I've still got more photos of this walk to share, and they'll be coming in the next few days.

Stay tuned!

I am not an "-er"

(This is going to be a little different than most of my blog posts.  I've felt like writing something about this for a little while, and the first sentence finally came to me.  If you're not so inclined, please feel free to skip on down to the next post, where there's a photo of Amanda and me together.  I won't be offended.)

I am not an "-er."  I generally don't call myself a painter, gamer, knitter, walker, runner, biker, programmer, designer, writer, or baker.

The definitions of most -er or -ist words are usually worded something like "a person who does X."  That may be the proper definition, but to me the -er words imply a certain amount of skill or talent.  A person who knits is someone who can use two needles and some yarn to make something.  A knitter is someone who can use the same implements skillfully to create an attractive and useful finished work.

That implied skill level is the reason I try not to refer to myself as an -er.  Stating one of my hobbies as a fact is one thing, but proclaiming in the same breath that I am very skilled at that hobby as well seems a little arrogant.  You can test this for yourself.  Imagine you've met someone new and are having a conversation when he/she says one of the following phrases:

"I paint."

"I'm a painter."

The first is a statement of fact.  The second comes across as an implication that the speaker is far more skilled than someone who merely paints.  It may be true, but shouldn't that judgement be left to an external audience?

I was lucky enough to see the reverse of this a week or two ago.  Amanda and I were in her apartment talking.  Amanda's been to art school, and I think she's fairly artistic.  In the course of our conversation, I called her an artist and she replied without any false modesty "I'm not an artist."  ...have I mentioned lately how awesome I think Amanda is?

So, my suggestion to everyone is to leave the -er and -ist labels behind.  Tell people what you do, and certainly show them your work!  ...just leave the labels for them to apply.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Library Adventures

I had to work yesterday.  Amanda walked me to work at 9, then headed off while I got ready to open the library.  She showed up again a few minutes after the library officially opened at 10.

Amanda told me she didn't really want to laze around my condo knitting and playing video games while waiting for me to get off from work.  She had missed me a lot last week, and I felt the same way.  We both knew that it wouldn't be okay for her to just hang out next to me all day (and in fact, during my eight month tenure as interim head librarian, I had to reprimand a staff member for a fairly similar matter).

So Amanda asked if there was some work to be done that she could do.  She thought, and I agreed, that if she was able to do some volunteer work and we made sure to keep our visiting to a minimum and *made sure* it did not interfere with my ability to help patrons, it would probably be okay for her to stay at the library.

I thought about it for a minute, then decided that I could work on adding DVDs to our catalogue.  Quite a few had piled up over the past few months and I hadn't been able to catch up with them.  So while I entered DVDs and created basic DVD cards to put on our shelves and in the DVD cases, Amanda worked on cutting out the DVD cards, attaching barcodes to the DVD cases, and applying our TRPL labels to the DVDs.

With the exception of the final task, Amanda was mostly doing work that I normally do.  So we plugged away at DVDs until lunch at 1, and then from 1:30 to 5.  I estimated that if I had been working alone, I would've only finished around 20-25 DVDs, and would not have cut out the to-be-laminated DVD cards or applied the TRPL labels.  Between the two of us, we finished up nearly 70, and all that's left is for the library's clerk to laminate the DVD cards, make spine labels for the DVD cases, and check-in the DVDs.

It's funny, but even though Amanda and I were only working five feet apart, we really didn't spend much time talking.  It was enough just to be near each other.  I got to be with Amanda all day, Amanda got to be with me all day, and the library had a ton of extra work completed.

Amanda later joked that she should submit a timesheet to the head librarian for the work she'd done.

Late in the day, just before it was time to close the library, Amanda and I took two photos.

Amanda took a photo of my working at my normal desk.

I took a slightly different photo of Amanda.  She was adjusting her glasses and was looking down her nose towards me while doing so.  It struck me that she looked vaguely like a stereotypical librarian at the time.  So I asked her to push her glasses down her nose slightly and hold her hair up in a bun so I could get a photo.

So I present to you Amanda the Librarian:

...that photo makes me happier than I can possibly say.  :-)