Saturday, May 19, 2007

So Weird

The moment of anticipation. Last night was the best of it, with that sense of having time to relax and yet imminently about to leave for an adventure.

Today is different. My flight leaves late... almost midnight. I've got tons of time to relax still, but can't. Today is the day I fly! I've got to leave from here to the airport. And even though the leaving part is many many (like 8) hours away, I can't relax the day I have to fly.

I'm making lists and checking them thrice. All the important stuff got packed days ago but what of the little things? Should I bring a spare X? How much do I want to carry on my back to avoid overweight charges? Is everything packed so it's safe from drops and breakage?

My mind is buzzing at a time I should be sleeping. I hoped to sleep late and "store up" as much sleep as possible before the nightmare flight. (The flight is almost 10 hrs long and drops me there at 4am.) But I'm awake. Wide awake. And with hours to go before my flight. Uhg.

See you in June!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Paradigm Shift

Things have been unusual lately. I'm moving through the world just slight (ever so very slightly) out of phase with the universe around me. What had appeared to be stable is changing. I'm experiencing a paradigm shift in my reality.

And I'm very excited!

About a year and a half ago, I set some goals for myself, and I started taking little steps. Now, I look behind me and realize I've come so far, I'm in completely uncharted territory. It's scary, but mostly exciting. I feel a sense of disjointedness from the world around me because I'm no longer taking steps. It's more like I'm being carried by a current. A current that is flowing more swiftly all the time.

In October 2005 I took my open water scuba diving course. Yesterday I went to the local dive shop and replaced the wetsuit booties I bought during that course. They have worn out insoles, "just" 127 dives later.

I need the booties for my Instructor course, which I'm leaving for on Saturday. Of course the goal is to instruct! And before ever leaving for the course I have my first job opportunity. The manager of the local dive shop wants me to drop by after my course to talk about work. So my summer could easily be filled with weekend after weekend of underwater fun!

And that's just exactly what I need to get me through office life during the week. Two more friends leave the company this week. People are quitting and changing jobs all around. It's a fun place with nice people, but the people are changing so quickly that I realize my "joie de travail" is itself an unstable and temporary thing.

And yet if I'm going to be spending my weekends working as a professional diver, building experience for my eventual transition to a tropical abode, it will all be good. So I drift by strangely unaffected by things around me.

All that I know is every thing is changing. I'm not sure where it will end up. But I feel good about the direction it's going.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Home Sweet Home!

This is becoming a recurring theme in this blog. I'm home!!!

Yesterday was a long one! The foundations started Thursday after work. One of my students took me out onto the town after our day of teaching. I had just wrapped up the last formal day of training, and within ten minutes of the intended time. So a weight felt as though it had been lifted. I'd delivered all the training material, and while there were glitches and bugs and flaws and problems throughout, it was done.

So when offered a third and final look at Stockholm (the centre of) I simply said," I'm buying the first round!"

And thus we ended up sharing 4 rounds in four different (and all excellent) places in the city. From a crowded cafe bathed in warm sun and cold breezes, to an incredible lookout over the city from an ancient fortified hill, on to places with the most trendy and beautiful; it was a great tour!

But it left me back at the hotel in the mood to blog and email, but not pack. This meant that Friday morning started with a slightly dry mouth and a hotel room full of stuff to pack. I raced around, skipped breakfast, checked out, and made it to the office only a bit late.

Our Friday went well. We had a list of problems from the previous days, and on Friday we played with updates, configurations, etc. and got all three students' computers working to the same standards. A series of successes all day long. Engineering, rather than teaching.

There wasn't a rush to the airport. I had plenty of time and took the train. Nice. Alas, I got there and checked my ticket. I wasn't leaving at 8pm. I was leaving at 8:40. Even after a rather long wait in the check-in I still had two hours and it turns out Gate 11 was the first gate on the other side of security. Dinner, a beer, a lot of reading. The bar tenders at the airport kept practicing their bottle throwing techniques. One was learning, the other a zen glass-throwing master. He would do things like grab a glass with his right hand, throw it in the air behind his back, catch it with the left hand then pour from a bottle which has just done a triple back-flip on it's way into his free hand.

All airport "excitement" aside, flights are never exciting. Mine started with a 20 minute delay (while we sat in the plane) and a cabin seemingly filled with infants. But the flight went quickly, the children didn't scream, and in spite of the fact that the guy beside me was Dutch, he didn't keep fighting to control the armrest.

So it was not so bad. I entered Schiphol like a zombie, but it already felt good to be "home". A train and cab from there got me in late... around 1am. But I was home, and slept like a rock. Nice nice nice!

I'm sorry I don't really have an end to this story. I woke up and started blogging right away. And that brings me to here. No ending at all, but a pretty decent present.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Blogging in Swedish?

You may or may not know, but recently Blogger updated their service so that their toolbars show up in the language appropriate for the country you're in. Meaning to start this post I had to figure out what "New Post" looks like in Swedish. (It's "Nytt inlägg".)

I don't mind. Obviously it's very much cooler (no pun intended) for those living in Sweden. But it is a bit of an issue for travellers. Not that there's a lot of us on indefinite trips.

I wonder what happens when you log in from Switzerland? Are the toolbars in four languages?

I'm also curious to know how many more years it will be before U.S. I.P. addresses just automatically get served in Spanish? :-P I like the idea of Americans embracing Spanish. In the long run it will certainly take some wind out of the sails of French separatists in Canada. Not so special any more, eh?

Sorry, it's going stream of consciousness for me right now. I intended to blog about my day, but honestly, it wasn't so hot a day. Tons 'o technical problems. And I had the joy of teaching a man of didn't understand the phrase," I don't know." Should I have just started making up answers? (No, I'm not a salesman.)

I started physio last week and my doctor told me to lay off the weight lifting for a while. But today there was just no way! Firstly, the hotel gym is spectacular (for a hotel). Secondly, the gym is my primary source of major stress relief. When the cortisol levels get high I like to move large masses of steal around for a while. Endorphins make life okay again.

The food court at the local mall has food from Greece, Turkey, and Lebanon. Am I the only person who understands that these three cultures share 90% of their "traditional ethnic dishes"? Apparently. Pick the one with the shortest line. "I'll take a plate of the shaved meat with garlic sauce please... however you choose to name it."

The greatest problem with the technology of the blog sphere... you can't make comments in a deep "radio announcer" type voice to provide emphasis.

I feel comfortable in Sweden. I mean, for a place where nothing is familiar, I don't understand the language, and I've never been before, I feel really surprisingly comfy here. There's just something about it. A lot like Canada, but without the "we're not Americans" attitude. I haven't heard a single person complain about taxes yet. Surprising!

And that's about it. Like lifting heavy bits of steal up and down, I feel like I just had to ... well ... vomit all my stupid ideas into today's blog. It couldn't be helped. There is no structure or direction in my world today. Just a bitter memory of having to rise this morning when my alarm sounded, and an overwhelming desire to return to sleep.

What's a whelm? Honestly, I don't know.

Hey!!!! Interactive bog activity!!!! Quickly, run to the comments section (yeah, like any one read this far) and post a definition for "whelm" or "being whelmed". (Please, no actual answers.)

Oh, lastly, regarding the Swedish Chef from the Muppet Show... "hundy spurndy bourndon" isn't actually Swedish. I was SO disappointed!

Monday, May 07, 2007


Cool! I'm in Sweden! Stockholm to be specific. I had no idea it had so much water.

A palace of some sort. Not sure who's, but it's impressive!

And lots of old stuff. There's some really great views amongst the city center!

I also had no idea my new laptop had an SD card reader compatible with my camera. So this is the first time I've ever posted pics during a trip.

Saturday, May 05, 2007


After a lovely few months of 9-5 at the office, I'm beginning a flurry of travel starting tomorrow. I leave home at 9am Sunday to head off to Stockholm for a week of teaching. I return for a week and then leave for my vacation in Bonaire. Two weeks (and hopefully one instructor's certification later) I return home for a week then leave on my birthday, the following weekend, for a week working in London.

That takes me through to mid-June, by which point I should have arranged a trip to Georgia to meet my boss, for the first time.

And right now, after an evening and day of laundry, I'm packed and relatively ready. The toiletries get packed tomorrow morning. Sunday's clothes are laid out and ready to go. I've even remembered the camera with charged batteries. Now hopefully I "remember" to go to bed early tonight and get lots of rest.

A doodle a friend made on a bar coaster one day recently. Finally got round to digitizing and posting it.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Queen's Day Pics

Just a few pics I downloaded from a friend:

The canal boats fit under the bridge. The guitarists and drummer didn't.

This was a quiet street. The BIG crowds started one block further down the road.

Orange is the colour of the Dutch royal family. (Also the name.)