Pregnant

Late last year, we had a miscarriage and I blogged about it. In that entry, I said that the next time, I was going to share the news of a new pregnancy right off the bat, because, well, in the event that the pregnancy didn’t make it all the way through, I’d want to blog about it anyway.

And then Julie got pregnant again, but then she wasn’t after a few days, before got the chance to make an entry. A month later, and the same again. The truth is, over the last year, Julie has been pregnant more often than not. The first time, I didn’t blog about it because I didn’t get the chance. The next time though, I wanted to wait and see.

Julie is pregnant again. I am not announcing that with the confidence and certainty that I’d like to, but that’s because I am neither confident nor certain. Experience has shown me that early pregnancies don’t always pan out. In our case, it hasn’t panned out yet. Right now, we’re on week seven. We haven’t been this far along since the miscarriage in the fall. That experience really took it’s toll on us, so it’s hard to feel excited, because I know the more excited I feel, the harder it will be if things don’t go how I want them to. Still, I am very hopeful.

It’s an odd quandry. I decided I want to tell the world about the big news when it came a few months ago, and now it’s here. I don’t like keeping secrets at the best of times, let alone when it’s something big like this, something that I really want to happen. I want to process this experience with others. It’s in my thoughts all the time.

But you know what? I haven’t hardly told anyone. Last weekend I was in Vancouver, and I saw many of my nearest and dearest friends, and I didn’t mention it to anyone. I thought I was waiting for the perfect moment to mention it, but then I saw a few moments like that come and go in conversation, and I chose not to say anything.

For example, I had breakfast with my usual buddies on Sunday morning. I am very comfortable with these people, I’ve known everyone at that table for at least 8 years, and some for nearly 20. I was talking enthusiastically about my new apartment. Someone asked about what we’d do with the second bedroom. I said, “We might use it for a little one, if one comes along”. That’s where I could have mentioned that “little one” might already be on it’s way, but I didn’t. Instead that theoretical “little one” just hung in the silence for a little too long, then the subject changed.

Here’s why. It’s because I am ambivalent about our current pregnancy. I am totally excited and really want it to work. I am trying hard to put good vibes out there, and to have faith that good things can happen, that this time it all might work out. I am, at the same time, worn down. We’ve had a lot of ups and downs in this process, and while we’re hopeful, the end is not yet clearly in sight. After nearly a year on this rollercoaster, I am starting to get a little numb.

The few people I’ve told were aware of our miscarriage last fall, and so when I tell them we’re pregnant again, I can see that they are trying to figure out what to say. It’s a bit awkward. I can also see that they are trying to gauge where I am at, to pick up a hint as to how they should react. I think my ambivalence is apparent, and it makes an awkward situation more awkwarder.

So, now I am putting it out there. Read it as you will. Now it’s not a secret, and for me, that’s a relief. Whatever your persuasion is on things mystical or religous, any good thoughts aimed in our direction are appreciated.

I’ll keep you posted.

This is my Baseline

Are you familar with the video blog of Ze Frank? There was one entry that resonated with me that you can find here. In it he talks about how it’s a good idea to check in with yourself and figure out which version of you showed up today. He calls it finding your baseline, and I need to do that today.

My apartment is messy and yet unpacked. It’s frustrating trying to find a place for everything. One of our goals is to not own anything we don’t have a place for. Right now, I think things with places are the exception, not the rule. It’s getting better, but I wish the progress was faster. Moving really makes one understand that ownership of something is not always an asset. In fact, it is frequently a liability.

I walked to work today. Since moving, I walk to work most days. I think I’ve only driven 2 or 3 times so far this month. Weather is getting nicer, and the walk clears my head before the day starts, not to mention the obvious health benefits. Yesterday I woke up, trying to figure out what that feeling was in my lungs. I couldn’t place it. It felt familiar and good. My lungs feel bigger. They feel more like they did when I was younger.

I spend about $5 every day on coffee. That adds up.

Work without travel is starting to feel normal. Projects I take on now aren’t necessarily bigger, but they do tend to be longer. The urgency isn’t there to meet a hard deadline fast. I have more concurrent projects, each taking up less attention. The good news is I’m finding it easier to leave work at the office when I go home at the end of the day, and that is what I really wanted to accomplish. I’m sitting at my desk right now, thinking about the first step in managing the concurrent projects I have. I am looking forward to narrowing my attention to one of them for a while, before I meet a milestone and switch to the next.

I had my best tax season ever. Not that I like paying tax, quite the opposite, but this year my accountant told me I was the first to get all my stuff to him, and that never happens. I dislike “doing” taxes more than paying them. It’s one thing to have to pay a big bill. It is quite another to spend days and weeks trying to get familiar enough with a very complicated system to feel confident enough to apply your interpretation of it to your specific situation. That houseplant you bought for the office but then took home, is it an office expense, office supply, or neither? It depends on your interpretation, like how the meaning of an interpretive dance does. Over the course of the last year I made it my goal to make the whole process of taxes as easy for myself as I could. When February rolled around, I already had pretty much all my documents sorted and ready to go – this was a first for me and now I’m all proud of myself.

I’m healthy. I’m frustrated with my never-ending move. I’m settling in to a new strategy with my business, but still a little rattled by the change. I’m on a self-esteem high because I managed my tax challenge effectively. I’m in the mood to focus on work and get lost in it for a while.

This is my baseline.

The Pattison Show

I wrote this originally on March 14th, behind stage at the Pattison Conference this year. I just found it as a text file while cleaning up my PC desktop.


I am writing this from behind stage on what will likely be my last time here at the Frank Sinatra compound as a Staging guy at the Jim Pattison Partners in Pride Executive Conference.

This is a very bittersweet time for me. This is my 10th year on this show, and I really like working with the crew, and the delegates of the conference.

Including myself, 3 of the 6 crew here in 2008 were there in 1999 on my first show. Several others have come and gone in that time, and I have made great friendships and contacts with many of these folks.

And, it’s not everyday a guy like me gets to rub shoulders with the presidents and executives of companies like Ripley Entertainment and the Overwaitea Food Group. I’m now on a first name basis with Jim Pattison, the owner of this conglomerate which is now the 3rd Largest Private company in Canada, and his executive assistant of 45 years, Maureen Chant.

Every even year, like this one, the conference is a little smaller, and is held in a tent on the tennis court at the former estate of Frank Sinatra, which Jimmy acquired in 1995. It’s always a bit of a surreal experience, and this year is no exception.

Jimmy likes to have personal contact with us. He’s come backstage and to our lunch table and regaled us with tales of hosting Oprah Winfrey and Steadman on his yacht, and what the corporate culture is like at Wal-Mart. Apparently, they have over a dozen jets, but as part of their lowest-price cost cutting creedo, executives pack their own brown bag lunches when they fly on them, and their are signs in the hallways of their offices that warn potential suppliers that if any offers of perks in the form of gifts or entertainment tickets will result in the termination of their accounts. “They practise what they preach” said Jimmy, “They are in the news a lot, but they are good, good people”.

He was pretty excited about his magazine distribution company, The News Group, into Wal-Mart’s stores. They have been working on this for the last 10 years. The News Group’s calls weren’t returned for the first 5 years, and for the second 5, the calls were returned but they always declined. When they got the job, Jimmy told us there were three reasons they got the business. Persistence was first, and the deal they offered was second. The third thing they said was that the News Group’s behaviour was always professional. Jimmy remarked that in that 10 years, they did not once disparage their competitors, but instead just focussed on their strengths.

This gig has been a part of my life for so long that this year, I got to enjoy February in a whole new way. I wasn’t very involved in production of the show like I usually have been. I really only contributed about 18 seconds to the 15 minute show, of which 12 seconds made it in. I worked 40 hour weeks, meeting my other client’s needs, not th 60 or 70 hour weeks exclusively on this show like I have the past. I even had time to take a woodworking course over the 6 weeks before the show. That was pleasant, but it felt a little strange. February is normally a dark month with less daylight in this part of the world, but I actually got to see the sun occaisionaly for the first February in a while.

So I am sitting backstage right now, passing time while Jimmy’s latest acquistion, Guinness World Records, is giving their presentation. Tomorrow I’ll do the awards show like I usually do, then I’ll fly home on Sunday on Jimmy’s private jet After a few days of recovery, I’ll start to work on the several web related projects I have lined up for the last week of this month, and start packing to move in to our new home at the end of this month.

The move and the decision to stop travelling mark a commitment to a big change in my life. I think it’s positive – we want to start a family and I don’t want to be out of town for that, and we want to be in Victoria, and we like it here. That said, any change to something new involves some separation from what there was before, and there are many things about the Pattison Show and life in Vancouver that were really great, and I am going to miss dearly.

I never thought I would have said this a few years ago, but the Pattison Show is very much one of them.

Oh ya! I have a blog!

It’s been a while.

I don’t know why.

Been busy, been moving, bla bla bla. For whatever reason, I haven’t been blogging. I keep wanting to, but I think I start to forget how.

I keep thinking, I need to write an entry about this, or about that, and then I think about how it could be a great entry, and then I think about how I am not up to writing a great entry right now, and then another day goes by.

So I am writing this entry, I think, to prove that an entry doesn’t have to be great to be written. I can just sit down and start typing and lo, the blog lives.

And now that I am doing it, I remember that it is comforting to sit and tap at the keyboard. It gets the wheels turning. It gets me to start thinking about stuff.

Like, how since I last wrote, I’ve changed a bunch of stuff in my life. Notably, I we have moved. I am really committed to living in Victoria now. We bought a home. This was a big dream of mine for a long time, and I am really happy we did it. I feel differently, and better, about the place in which I live.

I also worked on-site at a corporate show in a remote place for the last time. This is something I had been talking about getting out of for a long time, and now I am out of it. This also feels good, mostly, but I already miss the camaraderie I used to share with the great people I used to work with. I’ll retain friendships and business relationships with many of those folks, but hanging out in a living room or restaurant or working on something over the phone and via email in my office is just not the same as being present, with a team, under pressure, on site at a corporate show.

So much of change, and it’s all good change, but any time one starts something new, it usually means a loss of something old, and regardless of how good the change is, there is a part of you that mourns that loss, just a little.

So it turns out I do know why it’s been a while. Things have been changing. Life has been up in the air, and the blog fell by the wayside. I think the fact I am sitting here typing now is an indication that things are settling down. That feels good.

And I remember now that an entry doesn’t have to be great to be written. It’s not why I have this blog. I remember now now why I do this. It’s because I like to write little tidbits like this one every now and again. So whether it’s a great entry or not doesn’t matter much to me – it’s really just the process of putting thoughts down on paper. Or on screen. On the web. Wherever. Just not in my head anymore.

I can’t seem to do without an audience though. Thank you for reading this far!