Tuesday, December 27, 2005

'twas a few days after Christmas...

...and all through the house, all the crap's disappearing, even the mouse! (the one that doesn't work... crappy thing, anyways!!)

So... it's December 27. The Christmas rush is over, the panic is stopped and most everyone I know is in that lull between Christmas and the New Year. Some, like S. are changing gears, ready to take on the regular routine again - of course including everything a New Year brings with it. Others, like A. are snapping photos, freezing moments in time for all to see. I, the Turtle, have been cleaning out the shell. The space in here is far more important than the stuff that accumulates! As I get older, I like to think - wiser - I find myself less and less attached to "stuff". Space, neat, tidy and uncluttered is massively valuable and brings a smile to my face. Not to say I'm going to neglect paying the bills so big men come and take my furniture, but I definitely believe now that "less is more"!

As the New Year approaches, I'm looking forward to a much simpler approach to daily living - both personally and professionally.

May your soul be at peace in what ever you decide to pursue.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Christmas Eve warmth

Approaching 8:30 on Christmas Eve - just a few words of warmth for the day...

I spent a most wonderful day - full and rich - with family and friends, including the girl from my theatre post last week. Lots of warm, wonderful feelings today, and a chance to really appreciate some of the closest people to my heart.

Wherever you are, whoever you happen to be spending your time with, I send blessings for a most happy Christmas. May it be full of love, joy, warmth and good cheer.

Yours in the spirit of the season,


Wednesday, December 21, 2005

While we're on the topic

Memories. I have some wonderful memories, and I have to admit not a whole lot of bad ones. Perhaps it's because I choose to focus on the good ones long term.

I was in the Scouting programme and remember two particular camping experiences. One was dead in the middle of winter - coldest weekend of the year. The plan was to build snow shelters, alas we had enough snow on site for but one. Being probably the least-robust of anyone there, somehow I ended up in the only snow shelter overnight because... well, someone loved me. I dunno really... good favor I guess. I remember that was the time I learned that if you coated your pot with dish soap (on the outside) before placing it over the fire, the black soot would wash off much easier than if you simply didn't.

The other camping experience was a two-day hike in, camp on site for 3 and another 2-day exit. It seemed we hiked FOREVER and I remember whining... rather... bitching about the duration - that I didn't have the stamina - I didn't this, I didn't that... All my advisor said to me was "When you look back on this, you're only going to remember the good stuff... all the blisters, sore knees, wasp bites (because as we marched down the trail we somehow upset some ground wasps... that was curious...) are all going to fade away. You're going to have fond memories. Yah... OK, explain THAT to the 13-year-old who sees nothing past the here-and-now!

Know what? He was right. Somehow, all the crap faded away, and I really have to think hard to remember how difficult it was for me to survive those 7 or 8 days. I was cold, tired and mostly home-sick. But when I think about these camps I think how rich an experience they both were and how fortunate I was to experience those people at that time and in those places.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Happy Birthday, Monarch Music!

Monarch Music

What a blurrrrrrrr this weekend has been! I just about got to the end of my day without realizing it's my company's 19th Birthday - today! December 19, 1986 was the day I DJd my first event for professional pay. Let me take you back...

I was... 16? Yes, 16. At the time, I owned very little by way of sound equipment, lighting, music or really anything that could be considered business related. I landed this job playing the music for a Christmas party at Mewatta Armourie - one of Calgary's military posts - still used by the reserves for training and recruitment. We were in the Jr. Officer's Mess... up two flights of very steep stairs. I had rented a sound system from a fellow who had it posted in the paper for sale. Crafty me, I talked him in to allowing me to use it "cheap" because I was interested in purchasing the system. He even allowed me to use the music library - in those days recorded on 60 or so 90-minute cassettes... yes, you remember cassettes, don't you? I remember going over to view his system in his parent's basement. He openly admitted - being a geology major at the U - "I can tell you anything you want to know about rocks and dirt, but when it comes to this stuff, you probably know way more than I do... all I know is: you hook it up, it works!" What an ego boost to a 16 year old kid! The party was a blast, but what I remember most about the evening was taking the system home to my parent's place with the intention of staying up all night COPYING the music library! My friend N with whom I was "partners" in this endeavour and I were taking the sound rack down the stairs at my parent's place (about 2AM) and lost our grip on the box, putting a huge dent in the drywall. Is this going to wake anyone up? You betcha. Mom was soon to appear at the head of the stairs... OOPS! N ran off to fetch some late-night snacks while I began the task of ripping off the music! (call a spade, a spade I figure!) Soon back, N was sporting ham and pineapple pizza and egg nog. Excellent!

Staying up all night was profitable. We skimmed the music to get a GOOD 10 tapes worth of material out of the 60-tape set. If I remember correctly, we grossed $99.00 for the dance, paid out $30 for the system rental (like I said, I turned on the charm!) $25 for the case of blank tapes, $15 for pizza and nog and we split the remainder between us... thinking we were making good money!

The first day of a near-20-year career was both fun, new and exciting. Over the years it's been all of that AND a bunch of not-so-good stuff, but over all, satisfying. As for NEXT year, I plan a monster-embarrassing blow-out... and if I can swing it, at the Jr. Officer's Mess at Metwatta. As for the next 20 years? Only the Shadow knows!

Theatre with the girl

I'm going to post about my weekend experiences, but I thought this story would be a fun and refreshing one to share. Turtle Guy had a date on Sunday. Still rather blurry-eyed from the intense weekend, it was a last minute discovery: no good CLEAN clothes!! This will not do. Cannot meet the girl inappropriately dressed for the theatre! The timing for new additions to the wardrobe couldn't have been better. I'd worked hard, reaped some financial reward, and part of achieving balance is to enjoy a portion of the spoils! So, I set out to spoil myself. There is a men's clothing store close to where I live and a fellow there who has been a fairly good resource to me when in need. All available sales associates were busily helping customers, so I browsed. I found a few items of interest, and eventually this fellow passed by, recognized me and indicated he would be with me as soon as he was finished with his current client. Time went by. I had to be dressed appropriately, but late for the girl - unacceptable. I was approached by another salesperson who appeared to have some time to help. I accepted, feeling a little uncomfortable about not keeping my loyalty to my regular sales fellow... however, we're all busy, I was sure he would understand. Turns out, "Jane" (not her real name) was dealing with three clients simultaneously. I found a sweater I just LOVED, so we started there, matched some pants and so on. The sweater was large enough for two of me, and with no smaller sizes available I felt somewhat deflated. I waited for Jane to return from her rounds. She offered a number of other sweaters, but I really did LOVE that particular one. She convinced me to try a turtle-neck style (not sure if she was aware of my turtle-status... but perhaps she knows people who know people...) The neck really bothered me, but I thought, just to give it a fair shake, I'd hang for a bit and see if it would grow on me. Meanwhile, off Jane ran to tend to other clients. Found a coat I loved too, much like a balloon on me and so once again, deflated. The sweater wasn't doing it for me either. By this time, Jane was at the cash with her two clients and the two other sales associates - my regular guy included - were standing at the till talking. I waited. And waited. Finally, feeling there was really no selection of anything I LIKED and was in my SIZE, I then became frustrated about the lack of service. Jane had disappeared, and the boys were still at the cash. Noticing the time, (mindful of the girl, of course!) I decided to move on. I got as far as the door - suddenly the guys at the counter SPRINTED over to me... at that point, the answer was "no, you can't help me - nothing here fits!" I decided not to get into the service issue, but may still if I feel motivated.

Off to store #2. The malls this time of year are just crawling with mad Christmas shoppers - a breed all their own. I arrive - a little worse for wear, but in one piece - to store #2. started browsing - quickly. Immediately I had a fellow at my side asking if he could help. ABSOLUTELY! I told him my story of woe. He said "How about if we find you everything you need HERE, and quickly?" I liked him already. Told him I was off to the theatre and needed something appropriate. "With a girl?" he inquired. "Yes, as a matter of fact, a very special girl." He immediately tuned in. A sweater caught my eye, so I decided to start there. We matched a shirt, pants AND an outdoor jacket. I scored. It was a 10 minute decision... just the way I like to shop. What's that? About 2 minutes per item? Then of course there's the issue of the hemming. The pants needed to be hemmed. How long? "Oh, about an hour should do it." An hour. Checked my cell phone. It was ringing! "Hello, David speaking..." It was the girl. The most helpful sales associate stood in waiting. Now I had a hard and fast deadline. "An hour, hey?" "Well, let me see what I can do... I'll be right back" He returned with a smile on his face and said "I had a chat with them about your pants. They said since it's for a GIRL, 30 minutes." Excellent! Seems if your cause is noble enough, forces will unite! Again, I was impressed.

I went for a walk through the mall to spend my 30 minutes browsing. On my return through a large department store I realized I was missing a glove... one of a pair I purchase not two hours previously! MY knee-jerk reaction? Panic. Where is it!! I retraced my steps, no glove. I figured for the $7 that glove was worth - assuming the other one was also worth $7 - the stress wasn't worth it. I'm two stores away from store #2 and happened to notice a lady walking the other direction - talking to another lady pushing a stroller. "Oh, look, someone must have lost their glove!" As she points to the floor against the wall. Wouldn't you know it, IT WAS MY GLOVE! I immediately held up the matching glove "Wow, that's my glove! Thank you! Thank you! My thank-yous thank you!" We had a little laugh about it and moved on.

Sure enough, all was ready for me at store #2. I made it to the girl's place on time AND appropriately dressed - to the point of some very sweet compliments. The theatre was wonderful -- Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" and to top it off, a lovely dinner with the girl to follow. A dinner, might I add, graciously offered by the girl. Dare I say, a keeper!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

my thursday

Well, here it is... somewhere between 8:30 and 9:00 PM Thursday. The day has just vanished, and I know I promised two posts ago to write on giving and receiving, however this is my blog and I can deviate whenever I choose. So I will. Besides, I'm doing some really mindless but necessary stuff in my office at the moment - very much related to Elliot's topic of audio today - and so I thought I'd share with you how my day went... full and rich as it was!


Worked through some financial stuff which, now that it's dealt with, has brought a wee bit of comfort to my soul.

Returned rental lighting to Aaron, had a wonderful visit and got a copy of his most impressive business card! It's literally a piece tin. Black on brushed aluminum... very cool.

The "excitement" in my day is that this weekend is the busiest of the Christmas season for us. With two parties on Friday and 6 on Saturday it was looking to be rather exciting - not to mention profitable! Yesterday I phoned a Friday client to confirm details. He phoned back today to say he was really looking forward to SATURDAY'S party! Well. What do I say to THAT? "Your kidding. Your contract states you've booked for FRIDAY. (hoping, of course he simply wasn't thinking straight and said Saturday when in fact he MEANT Friday... no such luck.) As it is, under normal circumstances, we can comfortably take 5 parties on any given night. In the real world and in actual fact, these days we can really only EFFICIENTLY take 4. So... already booked at 6, and need another body. What to do?! Sparing you the frazzled part of my day, it's under control staff wise. NOW I have to make sure we have enough of the OTHER resources to make this work! Hence, I'm in the office late tonight coordinating music, equipment and all the bits and pieces tha will hopefully bring all of this together. *sigh*

Sunday can come only too soon. But hopefully not so soon that I'm not prepared for Saturday! Ah, the joys of self-employment... or middle-management, really. UPPER managers would simply deligate the crap to someone beneath them... seeing as I'm the ONLY manager here, I often feel rather... "middle" in the corporate view of things.

I have had a great deal of good fortune this week and I anticipate the weekend will bring with it its own good fortune. I've noticed as of late that I have been on the receiving end of a wonderful amount of good stuff. Time to think about what I might do to... give back. Considering a bit from one of S's previous posts... perhaps I could find someone who feels they're alone - and convince them that they're not.

...speaking of Dr. Seuss

Seems the Doctor is a popular fellow!! My first Seuss book was "The Cat in the Hat... Came Back!" and it was quite a number of years before I even read "The Cat in the Hat". "Put Me in the Zoo" was my other favourite. Wednesday night (I guess that was last night by now...) I was at Edison Private School in Okotoks (http://www.edisonschool.ca/index.htm) I do the sound and lighting for it every year. The kids do their own PRODUCTION, but I do all the grunt work, if you will. My earlier post on Trust was the story of securing some rental equipment for this production.

Turns out Aaron, who runs UVS - Unlimited Video Staging is "Mr. Hopeful" from Trust. As soon as I walked in the shop I recognized him. I had provided "Mr. Helpful" (http://www.fwy.ca/) an amplifier for the Uptown Stage and Screen's Film Festival (http://www.theuptown.com/) at which we sat in for a beer with Aaron. Small world. Long story short, Aaron was MOST helpful and even had some extra gear available which meant I had one less stop to make. What does this possibly have to do with the Doctor? Read on!

The play production was in two parts - Elementary, and Jr. & Sr. High. The Elementary side did "How the Grinch Stole Christmas"... (see the connection?) and for super-amateur, these kids did a fabulous job!

Here's a question... and it's a lot tougher than you might think! What was the name of the very first Dr. Seuss book?

Tuesday, December 13, 2005


Elliot's line "Most people, as they walk, seem to just see their feet, of which they have both, or they see directly in front of them. That's all." was part of what prompted my last post, but I was thinking about it tonight as I was babysitting my nieces. We usually read a couple stories before lights-out, and today it was "The Foot Book" by none other than Dr. Seuss. Funny, but it triggered in my mind that quote from Elliot. Then I got to thinking - we've been blogging pretty seriously about the rights and wrongs of the Season. Maybe it's time for a little silliness.

I copied the text hoping to share it with you here, but somehow the attachment I sent myself from my brother-in-law's office never made it... probably met with the same fate as the two links that were supposed to appear in my last post as well! Maybe it's the electronic gods telling me I get enough mail from everyone HERE, I don't have to mail myself!

None the less, it was cute.

Up next: some thoughts on giving and receiving... and doing it year round.

Pillow time.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

"I wonder if it's the time of year that makes us see one another as human beings?" SEE, Dec 2005

A comment left at started my wheels turning.

I had posted similar comments to Elliot's at . I had observed that people in public places like the mall were in general very self involved. It seems to me that so many people live inside their own space and as Elliot has pointed out, "Most people, as they walk, seem to just see their feet, of which they have both, or they see directly in front of them. That's all."

As SEE has pondered, do we simply notice people as human beings at this time? And if we do in fact "see" them at all, what's with all the "barreling bodies, moving fast, with heads down, or with eyes straight ahead."?

I was listening to some music tonight and came across this Christmas tune - thought I'd share the lyrics with you here:

Where, oh where are all the things
that i thought christmas time was going to bring
last year i thought maybe this year i'd see
love and peace under my christmas tree
where or where did that dream go?
i guess it got lost in the deep, deep snow

I thought maybe people would change
but here we are - just the same

this is the time of the year when you hear people shout about peace and good will
shoutin bout peace and good will
well, it's alright to shout it, but what are we doing about peace and good will
we can shout it out:
we sing jingle bells, sing silent night,
get cheery-eyed over christmas tree lights

as our eyes fill up with joy
at the sight of kids opening some new toy
a brand new toy

guess that's christmas to some
but that's not christmas to me

where or where are all the things
that i thought christmas time was going to bring
i don't know, guess i thought i'd see
something else under my christmas tree

maybe if we could think about that first christmas night
when angels sang over all the earth
promising peace through the saviour's birth
if only people could see
maybe that's what we need under our tree.

Just some points to ponder... wishing your soul peace.

Friday, December 09, 2005


Yesterday I learned something about trust. My experience went something like this:

I took on a contract which required renting equipment. My regular supplier was unable to help - very busy as we all are. I approached another supplier who was able to supply everything I needed. I, however found his terms to be... stringent. He would require the bill to be paid in full THAT DAY, and a rather heafty damage deposit to be paid by credit card.

I explained that the damage deposit would be a problem because I didn't have that much room available on my card. He asked who my client was. I explained it was a school. He offered as an alternative to the damage deposit, that he would allow the equiipment out if the school would "sign off" on the liability for the equipment. At first I didn't see a problem, so I agreed. Once off the phone I started to think about it. Why would he extend a "signature-only" option to the school and not me? After all, the school was second-party to the guy he didn't trust! The school was MY client, I was HIS client. In my mind, I extend "credit" or "trust" to the school believing that they will pay my bill. He should then extend credit or trust to me. After all, I'm his clinet and without people like me, he would not be doing business. The point really was this. I became upset. I took it personally that he didn't trust ME, but trusted someone one step removed from ME. I did a really slow burn about it all day.

I came up with some alternatives. I called a friend of mine who is connected in the industry. He said "who are you dealing with there?" I told him. He said "Oh, of all the people there, he's a real *****". My friend gave me the names of a couple firms to try - with the names of who to talk to. After dealing with MR ***** I had to take a breath. I called Mr. Hopeful. (my name for the light at the end of the tunnel). I mentioned I had been referred to him by my friend, "Mr. Helpful". He didn't have all the equipment I needed, but for a much reduced rate, he booked most of it. He ALSO said "since you know Mr. Helpful I'll knock the price down some more!" I asked about damage deposits and such because now I was in the know about these sorts of things. He said "We don't take credit cards. Do you have a company cheque?"

So on to the next supplier "Ms. Followspot" (because that's what I was short!) Ms. Followspot wasn't home. Her secretary, however, was MOST accommodating even when I didn't mention Mr. Helpful's name. Not only did they have a followspot for me, the price was cheaper than from Mr. *****. Again, no damage deposit, simply "what's your name? ...and your phone numner?"

Everything will be ready for me on Monday.

I called Mr. ***** to cancel my order. He was steamed. "Your order is already sitting on the dock - I've put a lot of time in for you. Your order is confirmed - you'll have to pay it." My reply? I figured the truth was the best. "Honestly, the whole credit card thing was going to be an issue, so I made alternate arrangements." He was not happy - nor satisfied. "I told you we could get around the credit card issue" To that I let him have it about how I felt where his trust was concerned. "You're willing to take nothing but a signature from a second party to ME, but I have to come up with a safety?" "Well, I don't know you." "You don't even know the school either." He was silent. "I suppose you found it cheaper from somewhere else?" "Yes, but that's not the issue." "Then I suggest you use your new supplier from now on." "and I will." "goodbye."

For those of you who know S, you know she's not backward about coming forward when there's an opinion or observation to be made. She pointed out to me that Mr. ***** had every reason not to trust me, he "doesn't know you from Adam". S also pointed out that schools are backed by a bunch of money and can take on liability with just a signature to ensure trust. And... "you took it personally". To that, could I argue? No.

S also pointed out that perhaps this was a good experience for other reasons. I have now made contact with two additional suppliers who will no doubt down the road be a useful resource. Also, Mr. Hopeful and Ms. Followspot seem to work inside the same "trust" parameters I do. Quite possibly the start of a couple mutually beneficial relationships.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

“How was your day?” “Great, it started with a haematoma.”

…that’s what I told my Mom when she called this afternoon. And it was true! This morning I slipped on the steps and landed on my right elbow. About half an hour later when I removed my jacket, I was shocked to see this huge bulge protruding where my elbow used to be! So, off to the clinic I ventured. The girl at the desk was most impressed with its size – obviously she hadn’t heard that it isn’t the SIZE that matters!

The doc said very matter-of-factly “I could drain it, but it’s only going to fill up again. It’ll go down in a couple weeks – you should be fine.” On his advice I accepted a tetanus shot and a band-aid for my boo-booed elbow. The nurse gave me the option – left or right arm for the shot – said it would hurt. I figured the right already hurt, so in my current quest for “balance”, I accepted the shot in my left. Funny, the elbow still hurts – I couldn’t tell you exactly where the needle went in.

...for your reference...

Main Entry: he·ma·to·ma
Variant: or chiefly British hae·ma·to·ma /-'tO-m&/
Function: noun
Inflected Form: plural he·ma·to·mas or he·ma·to·ma·ta /-m&t-&/
: a mass of usually clotted blood that forms in a tissue, organ, or body space as a result of a broken blood vessel

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Is what we're doing making us happy?

I was at the mall today. I don't usually spend a whole lot of time at the mall because I'm not about "shopping". I started to wonder about the people who visit the mall – what were they like?

What I noticed was that most of them were in their own little world - walking around with a self-involved glaze over their eyes. Of the dozen or so people I smiled at only about 3 made full eye contact with me. Some were a very quick "hi" as they half-looked-up at me, but really off to the side and down. One lady who actually took a moment to chat with me made a point of saying she was at the mall to pick up a gift for a neighbour and that it was a "have to" gift. She didn't get in to it, but when I pointed out that gift giving shouldn't be about "have to" and that "doesn't a real gift come from the heart?", she replied "not this one..." and carried on. What struck me as sad was that just by the look on most people's faces it seemed that not many of them were really happy - or at least they weren’t happy to be there. One lady who worked for the mall was pushing a cleaning cart around - trudging down the hall at a snail's pace. The look on her face was deadly. She was NOT happy... and it showed! Why don't we take more initiative to do the things that make us happy? I saw a sign the other day on a billboard at a church. It didn't say anything about God, church or religion. It simply said "what we do every day is how we spend our lives". As someone who enjoys a very simple day-to-day, it made me stop to ponder. I wonder if this simple day-to-day will equate to an extraordinary life?

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Feeling rushed

Is it just the way I've set up my life - or rather allowed things to unfold - or is it the society we live in? Over the last couple days I've felt an immense amount of pressure where managing my money is concerned. Everywhere I turn there are people driven by money, controlled by money, whoes social status depends on your money. Strangely enough, at the same time it seems that it really doesn't matter whether you "own" a million or "owe" a million. It's not "how much does this cost?" anymore, it's "how much A MONTH does this cost?" I'm as guilty as the next person of living beyond my means. I have a friend who for years consistently lived a $52,000.00 lifestyle on $50,000.00 of income.

I want to share with you my story - not for sympathy's sake - but perhaps as you read this, you may have some insight, some suggestions, some words to live by.

I've run my own business for years - full time since 1993. I've had to take risk, it's an inevitable part of running a business. Over the course of time I've been fearful of risk, not fearful of risk, proceeded with reckless abandon and been quite focused. One thing remains - my expenses have still outweighed my income. I'm taking all the steps you're "supposed to" in order to clean things up, but finding it very difficult to remain positively motivated where the business is concerned. I have this "cloud" over my head.

I've heard and been to seminars that drive home the tactic "take care of yourself first so you're in good shape to take care of your business". It's hard. Harder still is containing this post to a few paragraphs...

Three more points and I will close for now.

One. A very dear friend of mine has suggested I take in two books: Rich Dad, Poor Dad and Your Money or Your Life. Perhaps this weekend will see me at the library. I'm embarking on another read as well - "Becoming Human". Check out my other blog http://turtledave.blogspot.com/ on my thoughts and ramblings as I read... that is, if you don't mind my ramblings!

Two: My life is beautiful, everything is grand - what can I tell you? I have family and friends who support me - and understand when I'm not always "in the picture". I have a beautiful, peaceful place to live. I have food to eat each day and work to do. I have a new lady in my life who is, to say the least, supportive, insightful, precious and kind.

Three, and finally: I will ask you - respected reader of my blog - for your thoughts on some tactics to keep me focused, sane and happy while I attempt to disperse the "cloud". Even if they're just other things to think about.

About Me

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Calgary, Alberta, Canada
English student, Pottery enthusiast, Yoga novice and lover of all people. I make friends over a warm handshake and a beverage. I discover, every day, someone willing to help me along my path.