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How Sweet It Is … Your Guide to Alternative Sweeteners July 12, 2007

Posted by Anna Vincent in Let's Eat!.
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I recieve a regular email from Wild Oats, and they contain fabulous information. Here is a link to an article that helps you learn about alternative sweeteners. (White, refined sugar is POISON).

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Back Home and Shopped Out! June 23, 2007

Posted by Anna Vincent in General Musings.
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I spent 5 days in Minneapolis this week. 2 days for shopping, and 3 days for meetings at West Edmonton Mall‘s sister mall, Mall of America. I am not a big shopper, but I made sure I had money to spend while I was there. My first purchase was 3 pairs of shoes…..the first 3 😉

I thought that Minnesota would be similar to Alberta in terms of weather, but the moment I stepped out of the airport, I felt like a huge blanket had been thrown over my head. It was hot and HUMID.

Just some other general findings about Minnesota:

1. There were no mosquitoes. All that water, and no mosquitoes? WTF?

2. It is hot and HUMID. I don’t do humid. My hair doesn’t do humid. I hate being in a constant state of sweat.

3. When you pay with your debit card, it doesn’t ask you which account to take the money out of. For all I knew, I was paying for all my new shoes from the wedding fund.

4. There are digital gadget vending machines at the airport. You can buy an iPod from a vending machine!

5. The people there are amazingly nice. Who knew?

6. People are allowed, by law, to carry guns, unconcealed. I didn’t see any, but was told about it. Very disconcerting.

7. The Mall of America is NOT bigger than West Edmonton Mall. Is it prettier though.

2 Days off, and busier than ever! May 23, 2007

Posted by Anna Vincent in General Musings.
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My bosses are Jewish. Today and tomorrow are considered ‘special holidays’ at work, so I get 2 days off, in the middle of the week. I wish I could just spend these days relaxing, taking things at a slower pace, and enjoy this special treat. Nope, not happening. I’ve crammed reflexology, doctor, mechanic, and vet appointments, lunch with a friend, and a wheel alignment into today and tomorrow. I have to take advantage of being off during the day, and get things done that I’ve been putting off, or would otherwise have to take time off of work to accomplish.

I’m going for my first ever reflexology appointment today. I have no idea what to expect, but I’ve heard it’s awesome. The only drawback: I have extremely ticklish feet, and usually can’t stand them being touched. While getting a pedicure a couple weeks ago, I had to warn the girl that I might kick her, and I have no control over it! Will have to report back on how it goes.

The wheel alignment is the last work I hope that I have to get done on my car for awhile. The Golf Pro’s brother was super nice enough to replace my front struts, and I had to bring it into a shop to get a wheel alignment. That was it. Well, two days before I was supposed to bring it in, I got a major flat tire, and had to drive on my little donut tire for 2 days. So, brought in my damaged tire, and asked them to fix it for me. While dropping off my car, it turned out to be: ‘well, since I’m here, let’s do this, and this, oh! and my brakes are sqealing..let’s do that too!”. Turns out my flat tire was beyond repair, and it was recommended that I buy a new one. Since I was now getting new tires, the wheel alignment didn’t get done. Well, you can’t buy just one tire…you have to buy two. Extra money that I wasn’t expecting to spend, but it had to be done. So the next day, went to the tire shop, and ordered new tires. But, instead of getting two, I bit the bullet and got a whole new set. So, today, I finally get my wheel alignment! And, I’ll have to spend the next couple weeks replenishing the wedding fund 🙂

The weather here in Edmonton has been miserable. It’s been cloudy, windy, rainy, sometimes the sun pokes out, but that always happens when I’m stuck in the office.

We’ve been seriously considering moving to Vancouver Island. There are little pockets about the island that have dirt cheap real estate. Well, two years ago, I wouldn’t have considered it dirt cheap, but compared to the prices here (which are ridiculous and getting worse every day) it’s certainly more affordable. Besides the affordable housing, the golf courses are open year round there! That is good for the Golf Pro Here, when it’s winter, he’s stuck doing office work, and practicing his golf swing in our living room. We’re going there for another vacation this fall, and he will be bringing his resume. Sure, I’d have to give up my very nice paying job here, but I’ve been heard saying that I’d work in a grocery store if it meant living on the Island. I’ve also been heard saying that the first thing we’d do is buy his and hers kayaks….on credit if we had to!

12 New Rules for Entering Alberta May 16, 2007

Posted by Anna Vincent in Funny Stuff.
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This was sent to me as a joke in an email today, and so much of it rings true:

Regarding the 12 NEW rules for entering Alberta:

  1. Bring your own house.
  2. If going to the Oil Sands, bring your own house, school and hospital.
  3. If going to Edmonton, wear your flak jacket. This is the murder capital of Canada.
  4. If driving to Edmonton, it is also the auto theft center of Canada.
  5. If you are bringing drugs, head to West Edmonton Mall, the drug capital of Canada.
  6. If you are looking for work, look no further. Minimum wage is $7.00/hour. The Alberta Advantage.
  7. If you work downtown, parking costs $5.00/hour.
  8. If you are able to buy a house in Calgary, why not spend the money on a 15 year holiday.
  9. In Edmonton we have 5 hospitals. 10 years ago we had 7. Don’t come here sick.
  10. In Calgary the population has exploded. The last road was paved 12 years ago. Calgary is a no parking zone.
  11. Remember Roy Rogers etc. beating the Indians? It is payback time. They own all the Casinos here.
  12. We even have a hockey team that was so bad this year that they took out a full page ad in the paper apologizing.
    No tickets were refunded.

Sunny May Day May 14, 2007

Posted by Anna Vincent in General Musings.
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I finally found somewhere to spend my lunch hours. Since I started my new job at West Edmonton Mall, I’ve been scouting out the area to see what there is for parks around here, where I can go get some fresh air during my lunch hour. Found it today, with the help of Google maps! Turns out there is a park with a little man-made lake just a few blocks from here. You have no idea how happy this makes me. I couldn’t stand being cooped up inside all day, breathing canned-air, especially when it’s been so nice outside during the day. So, I picked up a small lunch from the food court (yuck), packed a bag with a book and my sandals, and went outside! The only bad part is coming back to the office, and putting my nylon socks and dress shoes on. I’d rather have my bare feet in grass.

I went for a 60 minute massage on Saturday, and my upper back and neck are still sore. Not as sore as they were yesterday, but I can still feel them. I hadn’t been for a massage since November, and my massage therapist was not at all surprised when I told her I haven’t been keeping up with my yoga practice. It was definitely a tell tale sign of how much yoga really does help. She said that yoga is like a care taker for the body. You don’t notice all the good things it does for you until you quit doing it. Is she ever right!

I’m going to buy a 10-pass card at the yoga studio this week, and start going back. The first while will be tough…I’ll be sore and stiff from practice, but I’d eventually like to get back to going 3-4 times a week, in addition to my Tuesday BodyShop (strength training) class, walking, and biking. Once I can get into the studio that often, I’ll start buying the unlimited monthly passes, and yoga to my heart’s content! I miss the feeling of bliss and happiness after a class, as well as the awesome shape I was getting into. All that work from last summer is down the drain.

Times they are a changin….. May 10, 2007

Posted by Anna Vincent in General Musings.
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I’ve been MIA the past while. It’s not like I’ve been super busy…not since I quit my old job! Spring is here, spending more time outdoors, and trying not to live in front of the computer when I get home.

I’m now into my 4th week at my new job, at West Edmonton Mall. This is the job that I had the great interview for back in March! Yes, I got the job, and proved to myself that it is worth it to take risks, and step out of your comfort zone.  I’m in a management position in the I.T group, and will be leading a couple of intiatives. The biggest one is to implement a corporate-wide Intranet for both West Edmonton Mall and Mall of America, using SharePoint server 2007. I won’t get into the really techy-geeky details, but it’s going to be a challenging yet fun job. A more immediate project will be hosting Lunch and Learns to train our end users on Office 2007. I just used it for the first time yesterday, and it rocks!

The only downfall of working at West Ed is the shopping addiction I am forming. This is probably something anyone who works in a shopping centre has to deal with, never mind the biggest mall in the world! Don’t worry, I’m not going out of control, just getting the necessities for now 🙂

Golf season is in full swing here, and that means I’m a Golf Widow for the next few months. It’s really hard to get used to. I look so forward to summer, and being outdoors, but it always seems I’m enjoying it alone. I put my mountain bike in the shop last week, and got a major overhaul done on it. The Golf Pro and I went for a short ride on Sunday, and it was really awesome. We kept the ride short, knowing how much our bums would hurt the next day, and did they ever! It’s all worth it though. I’m going to get a computer for my bike. I had one last year, but it got damaged in a crash. I find it’s really motivating to see your speeds, distances, times, etc. Very cool stuff.

Also stepped my foot back in the gym for the first time since last spring this week. I feel I should be mixing some strength training into my “routine” along with the cardio, and occasional yoga. I picked up a couple of new yoga DVD’s last week, and have done a practice with both of them. Practicing at home just doesn’t have the same feel for me as being in the studio. Next week I’ll be picking up a 10-pass at the Ashtanga yoga studio near my house, and ease myself back into that practice.

About a year and half till the wedding, and I have alot of personal stuff to accomplish before then. I want to lose a good 30lbs., and keep that weight off. There is no way I’ll go dress shopping at my current weight and dress size. I’ve given myself alot of time, but I’m hoping to reach some temporary goals by the end of the summer.

Detoxification March 10, 2007

Posted by Anna Vincent in General Musings.
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Well, my job interview on Thursday went really well.  So well, in fact, that I had to celebrate by buying some new spring tops 🙂

I won’t find out for a few weeks if I got the position, as the company is waiting on upper management to approve the project. And, it likely won’t start up until April or May. So, I just need to be patient, and wait for that phone to ring.

My great Thursday was countered by a bittersweet Friday. Friday morning started out fantastic. I was basking in the glow of the Thursday’s success. Then an email arrived in my Inbox. It was from a manager from within in my group who has caused so many problems in the group; she has driven away and fired many many people over the years. She used to be my boss, but she was removed from the role, and moved into a position where she wouldn’t have control over others. Unfortunately, our current Director & VP have let things slide, and she has been on a rampage. The email I got from her was about a project I’ve been working on since beginning of February, all by myself, like usual, and is due to wrap up in the next 2-3 weeks.  She basically announced that she is heading up the project, and gave me a long list of (unneccessary) tasks that I have to do. My shackles were immediately raised, and I knew this was the day I’d be giving my notice.

I am just starting to get my life back to normal. Doing yoga more often, taking a meditation class, journal writing, all I feel which have to been recover from the great amount of stress I was under between November and January (working on a different project with the woman). I will not allow myself to be put through that again. Enough was enough.

So, I went and talked to my boss. Told him about the situation, which he completely understands. He has the same issues with this person as everyone else. I told him that I’d rather quit my job than work with her. Yes, she is that horrible. So, he started to come up with a plan for us to approach our Director/VP, and explain to him that the project is almost over, and that I am not comfortable working with her, etc. etc.

At lunch time, I took a drive down to a local park, and sat in my car, contemplating. The Golf Pro called, and we talked. By the time the lunch hour was over, I made my decision. So, back to my boss I went, and told him I was quitting; this was my unofficial 2-week notice. He completely understood, and knew it was coming anyways.  So, he asked me to write up  my resignation letter, and he would hand it in to our Director on Monday. 

I can’t tell you the feelings of worry I had for weeks, even months up until this point. I am not a big risk taker: I have too many bills to pay. My plan was to have another job lined up before I quit. However, my sanity and health are much more important to me than getting that nice paycheck every 2 weeks. It was a now or never moment. And afterwards, I can’t tell you how excited I felt. It was like a huge weight had been lifted off my chest. I’m free!!!!!!!!

I must say, I feel great today. I am not that worried about finding income to pay my bills if I dont’ have something else lined up by March 23. I am fortunate to live in Alberta right now, as there are TONS of jobs out there with the booming economy. They may not pay as much as my current job, but, I have come to realize something which I never thought I’d believe in: Money can’t bring you happiness. Sure, it pays the bills, and it would be great to have a bottom-less bank account, however, at what cost?

I am definately embarking on a new chapter in my life. One that is unpredictable, and will bring about change. I’ve been at my current job for 6 years, and I really did grow comfortable there. Why would I go elesewhere? Well, now I know why. This is a time for change, and a time for growth. Yes, it may be challenging, but  hey – I’ve been through worse. Way worse.

I have a great support system with my family, the Golf Pro and his family, and all our friends who are happy to hear the news, and most of them are saying “it’s about time”.

Standing on the Edge of Something New March 8, 2007

Posted by Anna Vincent in General Musings.
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Today’s horoscope totally reflects my attitude and plan for today:

You may feel as if you are standing at the edge of something new. You could, in fact, begin a most exciting venture now, for you have a good feeling about what is happening and you are ready to play your part. Be as adventurous as you wish. It’s time to live outside the constraints of negativity and have yourself some fun.

 I have a 2nd interview today with a company that is seeking someone with my expertise. Fortunately, there are not too many people who have worked with the same software that I have, so the competition is not too fierce. It would be soooo awesome if I could hand in my resignation to my current boss tomorrow. What a great feeling that would be!

How to Be Creative March 4, 2007

Posted by Anna Vincent in General Musings.
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I’ve been making an effort of blogging more, and even starting to write in my journal again. I’ve taken advice from my favorite podcaster and blogger, the Hip Tranquil Chick, and I went and bought a pack of colorful markers. As for what I’m gonna do with them, I don’ tknow yet…

I came across a really really good blog tonight: http://ebook-portal.blogspot.com/, and came across a ebook called “How to Be Creative“, which is presented as a free download.  I can’t wait to print it off and read it. It seems like a good, cheeky read 🙂

Yoga Humor March 4, 2007

Posted by Anna Vincent in Funny Stuff, Yoga.
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Hearing Voices: Office Yoga

Producer Rebecca Flowers Schamess of the Hearing Voices radio project offers a satirical look at how yoga might help relieve stress at the office. 

This is quite a funny listen 🙂