Sunday, September 8, 2013

Work bag Inventory

Each shift when I'm packing up my lunch I wonder how can my bag really be so heavy? There's not that much in my lunch really. Then tonight I really thought about the items that have permanent residence in this bag. And I'm compiling a list. Mostly for my own Bag inventory status, but maybe someone else will relate. 
This bag, from Under Armour, has a lifetime guarantee. I'm not sure who's lifetime exactly, but in haul trucker land bags get pretty beat up. I purchased this one in 2008 when I was at Aurora with 501. People used to always tease me about it. Whatever. When it's fully loaded, like right now, it probably weighs a good forty pounds. I should weigh it...
It has a big main compartment and three auxiliary compartments. 
In the main compartment I pack up a cooler bag with my lunch. Tonight I have packed: 
Thermos with energy smoothie and straw
Thermos with lemon ice water
Thermos with ice
Bottle of gingerale
2 slices donair pizza
Spinach salad with strawberries, onion, celery, donair sauce
3 celery
Baggie of vitamins
I just realized I forgot a fork for my salad. I have been known to use coffee stir sticks as chopsticks when this happens.
On top of the cooler bag I pack in my activity baggs:
2 ziploc bags with a sketchbook, note pad, graph paper, blank paper, 12 sharpie markers, 2 black pens, one blue pen, 3 pencils, 6 highlighters, 6 sparklie pens. An eraser. Tape. Fluorescent orange post its. 
Also I packed in some Voltaren, Advil and a facecloth with ice cubes and lavender. This is the pain and fatigue care package. 
At the last minute before leaving I tossed in a third slice of pizza and the bag of lime tortilla chips. What!?
Already you can see the bulk of the weight of this bag!
I'll try to finish up quick. One outside aux space holds my coffee mug, a French press coffee mug with ground coffee (both stainless) a jar of honey, and a toiletries bag. This bag holds a toothbrush, toothpaste, bobby pins, a mirror, tweezers, lavender essential oil, and chewable pepto bismol.
In the other end is the second aux space where I have shoved an extra tshirt, keys, socks, earbuds, charger, arm Warmers and Puffs. 
Last! There's a side aux compartment where I stash my glasses, extra safety gloves, ear plugs, FLRA forms and a flashlight/clock combination. Right now my new team long sleeve shirt is also shoved in there. 
That's a lot of stuff! I compiled this list from memory so who knows what I haven't included.
Eleven and a half hours is a long stretch. I come up with my best ideas, plans and lists during this time. 
If you had to pack for a shift this long what would you bring?

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

How to De-Suckify your J.O.B.
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Pottery Verve mug o'  SHINE! 
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We all have days or nights when we claim to "hate my job". The thing is, for many of us, without a J.O.B. there are a lot of things we would not have access to.  
I personally enjoy the freedom I have to be able to pay for things without having to worry about how I'm going to pay the rent. I came to Fort McMurray for the simple reason that I believed it was a good way to fund my career as an artist.

Leonie Dawson
Eckhart Tolle 
My J.O.B. is not only a good source of artistic funding! I am also paid in "days off time"! There are many things I have to be grateful for with my J.O.B. even though sometimes my attitude is all negative and hangry and I think I hate it.

(me sometimes. in the morning. mostly every morning)

A while ago I asked myself what I really wanted and then devised a plan to help me keep a strong, positive attitude at my J.O.B. 
Tiffany Han

My J.O.B. experience has improved exponentially! I still have freak outs and scowl, so it is an ongoing practice. Being aware of your attitude is the first step! Taking responsibility is the next. Then the three golden habits I practice the most are acceptance, tolerance and surrender. I compiled a checklist for my self, that I wrote out by hand. And there are tasks on the list that I do every shift, some I only occasionally do, and two that are not negotiable.

Here are the two things that are integral to accepting J.O.B. These are non-negotiable habits that will help you set your attitude for the day!

1. At the beginning of your day, write down 5 things you are grateful for. 

Writing down what you are grateful for sets in motion, with very little effort, a very positive vibe. When you express gratitude you can only feel love. I often refer to my gratitude list through the shift as a reminder of "why I'm here". I truly believe when we are expressing gratitude, and therefor love, we are in the moment. And when we are in the moment we realize we are exactly where we need to be right now. 

2. Eat healthy, nurture your body and drink water. Non-negotiable. I have another blog dedicated to this!

The following list of options are for different times during your day. Eventually you will create a habit of doing these things as part of your day. You will become aware of how easily your day goes.

1. Meditate for 5 minutes
2. Do 20 jumping jacks in the bathroom or lunchroom.

3. Sing. It is absolutely, positively, impossible to be contrary if you are belting out the lyrics to Footloose. Not kidding. Old version or new version. (Ok try whatever song gets you singing and emotional. That's the point here dude.)

4. Make a small prayer for the people who are negative to you. When you ask the universe to pay attention to another you are creating positive energy for that person. Even if you are particularly unfond of the person. In fact it is essential that you share positive energy with people you are unfond of. This is a universal truth. When you do this it is possible that with time that person will not behave negatively to others because they won't have a reason to. They will feel positive. This works. I have tested it. 

5. Read positive and inspiring books. PM me for a list. You could even
start with Oprah's list.

6. Forgive yourself for freaking out. Let's be honest. We all freak out. It is ok. It is part of the process. Notice the energy you expelled when you freaked out. How did it make you feel? Was it worth it? Did it help you? Then imagine yourself asking for forgiveness either from the situation, the person, the phone, your shoes, the upside down or empty toilet paper holder, the rock you tripped on. Whatever it was that you believe made you freak out, ask for forgiveness. You deserve it.

7. Thank the universe by taking 10 minutes to be aware of the beauty around you. 

Even in the dirtiest haul truck with the most worn out struts on the roughest haul road in the ruttiest, shovel pit going to the softest dump and getting stuck, there is beauty all around. The berms covered in snow in the sunlight have a wondrous paisley type pattern on them that makes them look like upholstered furnishings. I have come to love the color of dirty Cat yellow. When the dusty haul road gets a sprinkle of water that collects it reflects the blue of the sky and reminds me of my glaze called "Denim Blues". The sun shining after a fresh blanket of snow is the most bedazzled sight. Sun dogs. Ravens. Coyotes. Trees. Coffee. Smiling faces. If you simply look without judgement these things are the inherent beauty all around you. 

8. Learn one new thing by asking someone. This is a form of surrender. All too often we have this expectation of ourselves that we are required to be perfect at all times. This is bullshit. We are not perfect. It is ok to not be perfect. Ignore your inner perfectionist and ask someone, maybe someone you are not so fond of, a question. 

9. Journal 
I always have an assortment of colored pens, markers, pencils and a journal or sketchbook. Actually, I have giant ziploc bag with all of the above and then some. I journal. I have idea days (that's how I made this list!) I make lists. I make lists of lists. I draw. I collect stuff off the ground. I write plans. I write down songs I hear. I write down things I want to google later. I scribbledoodle. Putting your mind's eye down on a permanent record makes you get shit done. Not joking. I promise it will change your life. 

10. Ask yourself to be kind. To yourself. To Others.

11. Focus on your breath
Yoga can be done any where, any time. Because it is all about the breath. Take a long, deep breath in and exhale as slowly as possible 3 times. Especially when you are starting to feel exhausted or anxious or like you might punch someone in the throat. You will feel better. It will also give you time and space to find calm and think clearly about your next action. This is a form of surrender.

12. Investigate what it is you are learning during an adverse situation. You have manifested your reality. What is it you are about to learn? How are you growing in the moment with the lesson you are being presented. You may not get an answer. You may have an a-ha moment. Most important is that you create an awareness about the moment.

When you accept that you are exactly where you need to be right now, your attitude about J.O.B. will be positive.

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Sunday, July 21, 2013

Glitterbombed Energization List! (no need to call the Power Rangers)
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Today's blog comes to you from the front porch,                      
                in the shiny sunlight,                                               
                                           beside my best companion!

Things That Get Me Energized! 
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"My Relationship With Nature"





Good books:

"Idea day" (another post)


Good conversations!
Art galleries



NEW!! Swimming

     Self guided retreats                 Art supply stores                     Hardware stores

My "How to DeSuckify my J.O.B." list (a separate post!)
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Things that de-energize me:

The extreme heat and humidity during the last half of my Ontario trip knocked me on my ass and but for a few hours I was sick in bed. 
To turn this negativity around I:

1) Finished my novels
2) Made idea day lists, read favourite blogs and Pin bombed 
3) Had facetime with my partner and my dog 
4) Ate my mom's homecooked meals. She makes the world's best butter tarts. Not exaggerating!
5) Booked the airport shuttle to make the commute easy, swift and air conditioned
6) Called my partner's parents to pick me up at YEG as I boarded my plane at YYZ with a migraine
7) Slept in luxury at the 'rents rather than my original idea of driving all night back to YMM
8) Expressed gratitude to all of my family and friends who were both a part of and not a part of my wonderful vacation

I have been practicing the fine arts of surrender, acceptance and tolerance. I have discovered that in most situations one if not all three of these character traits are very useful!

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Tuesday, June 4, 2013


Blog Soundtrack #1-Max Tailor "Ungodly Fruit"

Today's blog is brought to you by the word:

Last night I brought my Shimpo VL Whisper to my camp room. It is set up so that tonight I can use my short change to throw some cups. Long overdue special order cups for a very lovely and patient friend. 

After all that was in my room I realized I had not packed my pottery tool box. I hunted through the paraphernalia in the van for "make my own" tools. I came up with a spoon, a plastic pallet knife and a lace from my hiker. These three objects represent my basic throwing tools: The Wire Tool, The Metal Rib and The Wooden Trimming Tool. 

This morning, because I set my intentions to Shine, I was rewarded with an abundant Idea Day. I wrote out my ideas and lists, journaled and day dreamed. An idea for another wire tool came to me. Earplugs on a string! The next visit to the wash car had me treasure hunting along my walk. 

Here are the discarded and environmental rubbish items I found and gleened to "make my own" tools with: a leather glove, a piece of stake, a hunk of rope, a zip tie, a knotty root, a piece of lumber. I will post an informative video when I repurpose them. No earplugs on a string though. The discarded ones grossed me out. I'll find a fresh pack tomorrow. 

Here's me worshipping the sun while I was waiting for the shuttle last set. And chugging free coffee.