Last night, I experienced the sort of revelation that Thunks you between the eyes like a wet fish. I was sitting in Beer Brothers with Amy after a fun, impromptu and childless night out, when a complete stranger came up to me saying she wanted to tell me how much she liked this blog! Well, that completely threw me. I had no idea how to react! It was a shock even that she’d recognised me (though I guess with the additional volume that comes with beer drinking, my accent is quite noticeable!). But honestly, I write this stuff safe in the knowledge that few people outside my close friends and my Dad bother to even skim through my stream-of-consciousness drivel, and they only do so when I nag them. I certainly don’t plan, draft, and edit these posts with an audience in mind, so having strangers read it feels very odd indeed.
My fan, if that is the right term, said she liked hearing an outsider’s view of Regina – well, that I certainly can offer! Even after 18 months here, I am still discovering new things to do, which is great. Amy and I were having a drink after going to see the Regina Symphony Orchestra at the Connexus Arts Centre. She and her hubby go quite regularly, but he is sadly suffering the same daycare-plague that Carl and I got the other week, so I got to gatecrash what would’ve been their date night! We saw Tchaikovsky’s Sixth, and Amy gaily filled me in on the stories of cholera, suicide and scandal surrounding the gay dead Russian’s final work, which only added to the experience. I am by no means a classical music aficionado, but I really enjoyed it – very different, and I’m glad I got to see something that it wouldn’t even occur to me to try without a friend waving a spare ticket at me.
Our other recent adventure was going out to Pilot Butt(e) for the Amaizing Corn Maze! Not as sunny as last year unfortunately, but we dutifully got lost and had a lot of fun jumping in hay and rolling around in the pea pit. You also get a nice view of the city from there – you can see my new work! – and I heard The Best description of Regina ever the other day:
The SGI building is the second tower block in from the right on this photo. The only other blog-reader that I know of (who I daren’t actually call a “fan”) has been asking for an update on The Job. So for her sake, “the Job goes well”. It is not the most fascinating role ever but I am confident that it will get more interesting eventually, but even in the meantime it is such a relief not to have to count hours and worry about whether I have enough shifts to survive the month, and it is considerably easier work for more money that spending 8, 9, or 10 hour shifts on my feet making soy crappycinos for rude vegans. SGI really look after you – there’s all sorts of complicated health and insurance benefits which I’ve never had before, plus a random day off every two weeks (which is lovely!), and even the Timbits fairy who delivers deep-fried sugary goodness fairly frequently to our office. We’re on the 6th floor and the views are pretty good (except my desk is facing out over the railway tracks, not the prettier downtown side) but the cafeteria on the 18th floor has a stunning 360 degree view of… flatness! I can’t quite make out my house, but I can see the Cathedral so I can work out where our street is at least.
I do get myself up there as often as possible to remind myself that there is a world outside the scanning room, where I am currently stationed. I do have a proper desk too which I have been adorning with photos of Miranda, and then more silly clutter like a china moose riding a purple scooter, and I have an official SGI notebook in which to write daily Scanning Room Haikus. The whole office is now covered in Halloween decorations – NOT instigated by me! and I appear to be working with a trekkie (who ordered herself a lifesize cardboard Karl Urban…), a fellow Whovian who also happens to “try and bring cake at least once a month”, and someone else who owns Rammstein’s entire discography. So, I am amongst friends!
We had a staff meeting the other day, and us new folk (there’s four of us) had to introduce ourselves. I did my best but Jim followed up my comments with “and I’ve just learned that Annabel has over 1000 twitter followers, and one of them is sitting in this room!” – yes, thanks for that! Gulp. Another new starter happens to follow me on Twitter, and recognised me from there even though I didn’t recognise her until she told me her name, or at least her twitter handle. Regina is a small town really… (I found out over the summer that statistically, I am the 177th most influencial twitter user in Regina – out of 21000, which is kinda cool, and kinda scary! I think I should have that on a rosette!). I had at least noticed that I’d hit the Big Four Figures on Twitter, but really, folks, why do you follow me?? If you think this blog is pointless, I can assure you my tweets are considerably worse… I think the real reason why the realisation that people actually read my crap is so uncomfortable, is that I am now immediately starting to self-edit, and self-censor. I’m quickly becoming far more conscious of what and how I write (the preceding sentence is grammatically terrible, for instance!) and now it’s all awkward. So, thank you all for reading, but I am now going to try and pretend you don’t exist so I can carry on churning out carefree psychobabble.
I got another amusing message on Twitter recently from Mark and Ange back in Darlington, warning me that my other, old twitter account had been hacked and was sending out spam to people. The other account is @thetinycheese – actually, Miranda’s account from when she used to want to bash the keyboard with Mummy in my cafe, aged about 10 months. I haven’t used it in ages, since Miranda got big enough to actually damage my keyboard! Apparently, people still follow it, but I’ve forgotten the password so I can’t get in to it and get rid of the spam, sorry folks!
Miranda is slowly settling in to her new daycare, but it has been very hard on her, poor baby. I was really pleased that we managed to get her in to the one we wanted – it’s very close, run by a very friendly woman who seemingly has infinite patience and energy, Miri can carry on going to her preschool too, and best of all, our neighbours’ daughter goes to the same daycare so Miri has her big friend Abi to play with there! I know full well she enjoys it really, but she is not remotely impressed by having to get up so early in the mornings now, and we are officially The Worst Parents Ever when we have to shove her through the daycare door and run off quick before she can follow us to work. She’s got quite clingy to Mummy now – probably as a result of having spent the last 6 months with me all day every day, and now barely sees me at all apart from in the evenings when she is already exhausted. I miss her too!! Staying home with her this summer was far, far more demanding and tiring than going to work in an office so in some ways, going back to work is a big relief, but it is very strange not having my big baby around all the time. Waa!
Anyway, November is looking to be a busy month – we’ve got big Halloween plans as always, it’s Nanowrimo, I’ve somehow naively got myself a stall at a craft fair mid-month, so I have to Make Things to sell on it, and I’ve still got lots to learn at work. Oh, and I’ve got my first ever driving lesson (on the wrong side of the road) this week! So, I better get on with things and stop just writing about things, I reckon!
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 6,400 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 11 years to get that many views.
Ok, so my last post was typed without use of the space bar, thanks to my dearest darling daughter. This post is written entirely on my phone, (testing the ‘post by email’ function on the blog!) also due to aforementioned daughter *breaking my entire laptop!* I am
internet-less. This also means i am TV-less as i can’t play dvds let alone stream anything, i am skype-less so i can’t talk to Carl and i’ll have to become anti-social(media, that is) too! Waa!
People tend to bemoan my lack of transport rather like i moan about their internet usage – what do you mean you’re not on twitter? What do you mean you don’t have a licence? Etc. I for one would much, much rather be without a car than without my computer. I think i would probably even choose it over Yoshi the bike. There was an article in the metro the other day singing the praises of some bloke who spent a month only shopping in ward 3 of regina – pretty much the area i live in. Oh wow. He shopped *local* and this is newsworthy?! I’ve been doing that since i got here – and he was still using a car too. I think he should try it without the car, restrict his shopping to what can be carried by hand, balanced on a pushchair or tied onto a bike and be forced to take am uncooperative toddler with him at all times. In fact, screw that, just let me write the article next time, ok? Rant over.
Anyway, shopping aside, for the sake of my new bosses’ peace of mind, I have acquired an official Saskatchewan learners’ driving licence. i had to take a written theory test. Again. This time i got 28/30 – not bad since I was having to constantly rotate all the pictures in my head so i could figure out which side of the road i was supposed to be on! It’ll be a while before I can take my road test – 4 different people told me 3 different, contrasting views on whether or not they have ‘reciprocity’ with the UK about swapping licences over, whether this applies to learners licences or whether i have to wait nine months on one sort of licence before I can upgrade to another… Gah. It is so needless complicated and it’s not like I even want to drive anyway! Still, at least now I can legitimately get some practice in, i hope.
I wouldn’t be so laid back about driving if it wasn’t for the thought of Carl arriving soon, and because I have Yoshi the bike.
Unfortunately, you really do need to drive in this city. I am lucky in that the Cathedral area is about the only bit you can walk around, and where it is pleasant to do so. Everything else, supermarkets, restaurants, cinemas etc require a car to get to. The downtown area is mainly pedestrianised, but that is confined to two streets. There is no concept of a town centre or even a high street that you can amble round aimlessly. It all requires a specific destination and intention, which is far too much like organisation to me. An alien concept of town planning.
In this sense at least, Yoshi is wonderful, especially as Miri’s trailer has a lot of space for shopping in the back of it. The other week i navigated all the way down to the blueish hell-hole that is Walmart on it, and got a whole week’s worth of food, and Miri, on to the back. Unfortunatelly all that weight made the back tyre go flat. I naively tried to fix it myself, and broke the pump, bent 2 spanners, covered myself in bruises and oil and got throughly cross with it. It was then i learned a great deal more about my neighbourhood. A few weeks ago, I optimistically attended a “bike maintenance” class at the library – which served to teach me how i *could* have fixed the bike if only i possessed a 12mm socket wrench. By fortuitous accident, I ran into the bloke who ran the class, coming out of Safeway the day after the flat tyre occurred. I explained my woes, and he offered to fix the bike – for free! But with the condition that I brought Yoshi along to an art gallery just a little bit outside comfortable walking distance. Comfortable distance or not, I didn’t have a choice: i couldn’t ride Yoshi, neither could I find anyone to look after Miri while I got on a bus with the bike, and I certainly couldn’t afford to pay the bike shop to fix it instead. So i walked 11 blocks, pushing the bike with Miri in the trailer on the back. And we got completely and utterly soaked. First proper Prairie thunderstorm I’ve
experienced! It hit us about the halfway point so there was no point in turning back, and Miri was OK in the trailer, laughing at Mummy dripping wet…. There were hailstones and everything!
We eventually arrived to find that this bloke was also an artist, and he had an exhibition of paintings and sculptures based on the theme of a workshop – a giant roll of duct tape and the WD40 label done in oil paint and so on – and he was sat in the middle of it all, fixing bikes actually as an art installation!! Bloody brilliant!!
So, Yoshi became a work of art for the evening, and I got a new inner tube, the brakes tweaked and the gears fixed, AND a free shower…. I was seriously impressed and very grateful. But the whole adventure taught me a great deal about this area. Only in Regina….?