Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Gifts

A ringing phone woke me up at 5:30 this morning. I stumbled around for a few seconds, not sure if it was my cell phone, or my house phone doing the ringing. It was Allan, the ever faithful night auditor calling to tell me that he couldn't connect to one of the servers on the network thus preventing him from updating our key numbers. I pulled on my favourite pair of track pants and my new John Deere shirt and ambled down the stairs to gather my keys. As I jumped in my truck, I turned my wipers on to remove the dew from my windshield, thinking that in my sleepy state I'd have to watch for deer crossing the road on my short trip to the spa. 4 weeks and 4 days ago my good friend and I/T superstar turned in his keys and said he was done. Done with these early morning calls, done with the emails and voicemails complaining about lost connections, sticking keyboards, missing messages, done with me trying to grow him into more responsibility as a property manager. He was suffering from all the classic signs of burnout. I've seen it before when someone who works tirelessly behind the scenes to provide hours of reliable service just gets fed up with hearing about all the things that aren't working, and never hearing about the millions of things that are working. I'm hoping that he'll be back soon, but I'm also thankful for the gifts that his absence has brought me. I've been forced to relearn skills that I'd long since forgotten, simple things like resetting a password, deleting a voicemail box, troubleshooting technology, but more importantly I've learned to appreciate the value of one of the many people who make a place like Ste. Anne's function day in and day out. Allan the night auditor, Jane the morning waitress, Debbie the gardener, Steve the mechanic, Tyson the morning chef, and this morning I was treated to a breathtakingly beautiful sunrise and the opportunity to reflect on the mystery of morning, so dependable day in and day out. Who would we call if the sun didn't come up one day?

Monday, July 14, 2008

My Blackberry and The Mourning Doves

Even on the gloomiest days, the world is full of promise, joy and new beginnings. Just next to the spot where I park my truck, there grows, despite all odds, a blackberry bush. Each night when I get home, a few more hard red berries have been ripened to a deep black juicy state offering themselves up to me as delicious sustenance. This is my idea of a useful blackberry. And then, just outside my office window, hidden in the gnarly limbs of a scraggly old scrub is a little nest. A few blogs back I wrote about the 3 mourning doves that appeared to be checking out this little piece of real estate. (No worries about sub prime mortgages and opportunitstic bankers with this group.) I've been keeping a close eye on developments in this happy household, and as you can see above, much to my joy, new lives have been nourished and launched. It's so funny to watch as the relief sitter comes in to take over. I'm not sure what his (or her) relationship is to the main layer, or to the eggs for that matter, but the bicker free teamwork is a sight to behold. I hope you don't have to look very far in your world to find bicker free teamwork, joy and inspiration.

Monday, July 7, 2008

The Warkworth Rodeo

A few weeks ago I noticed an ad in the local paper promoting the Warkworth Western Weekend. Since taking up horse back riding again, I'm feeling a little more drawn to all things western, so I made a note of this event in may PDA. THe weather on Saturday was just perfect for an outing, so I loaded up the truck with Dave and my dog and arranged to meet sister Marijo in Brighton. Friends Dan and Rebecca also thought this was a good excuse to get out on Dan's motorcycle so we all met up at the Warkworth Liquor store at high noon. I failed to notice that the rodeo didn't actually get underway until 2:00, so after conducting a quick tour of the show grounds decided to head off to Oak Heights Winery for what turned out to be a spectacular lunch. If you like wineries and have a healthy appetite, this place is a must see. We arrived just as a seniours tour bus was preparing to pull out on it's way to Westben Theatre. I overheard more than a couple of seniors complain that this outing involved a little too much walking for their liking (they were talking about the walk from the dining room to the bus - about 20 metres), but for the most part they seemed pleased with their experience. The rodeo itself was more fun than I expected, lots of hooting and hollering around the events dripping with testoserone, (both from the cowboys and the cowgirls). The video clip is of the barrel racing - which the horses and their riders make look so easy. I can't even stay on my horse trotting in an oval, let alone around 3 barrels with lound music pumping and a cheering crowd. No animals were harmed, and infact they seemed to be enjoying themselves, especially the angry bulls who got to throw their pesky loads off in a matter of seconds, and then turn around and stare down anyone who dared remain in the ring. I'm still working on my western look - my head is already big enough without adding a wide brimmed hat to it. Not sure what to do to get that Brad Pitt look going. All in all a fun and sun soaked day in the beautiful Northumberland Hills.