Sunday, January 3, 2010

A new year, hopefully filled with lots of new experiences

So it's 2010, and two days after the start of the year, I am sitting in the kitchen, warm slippers on my feet, wearing a thick sweater, enjoying that I am indoors on such a cold, windy winter day. There's a crazy storm pounding Montreal right now, I know because I've been out a few times to walk the dog and shovel snow. I was originally going to accompany my dad, sister and brother to the chalet for some snowshoeing. However, with the weather being a bit cold for comfort (damn wind) and my fighting something right now (I feel very tired and my throat has a tickle), I decided to stay home and have to admit that I'm glad I did.

A few changes in my life probably also help explain why I am feeling so tired these days. The puppy Jenna, even if she is great to have around, is a handful. She needs to be walked early in the day, usually between 6 and 6:30 am. That's my shift for now, as I started working in December and have to get up anyways. Brendan looks after her during the day, an arrangement we'll have to adjust when he goes back to work on January 18. Since my work hours are flexible, I will probably drop by the house at lunch time to feed her and let her out, at least until she is old enough to stay in her crate for 8 hours at the time. It's also hard to relax when we're always keeping an eye out for her. When she is not in the same room as us, we tend to regularly check up on her to make sure she is not destroying shows, walls, baseboard, or chewing on tea towels. Yes, puppies chew on everything, even when they have their own toys to destroy.

Work! Yes, I haven't mentioned work until now. I started a short-term contract with a non-profit organization led by a friend of mine. I am helping him figure out his business and technology strategy. A big part of the work being done by the organization evolves around a web-based community of members, so technology is a key part of their day-to-day concerns and it brings its share of trouble. The organization has pretty much set its strategic objectives, but it now needs to translate these objectives in concrete action plans, something else I am helping with. The contract was signed for two months, it might stretch a bit into February depending on the progress of various initiatives. I am not sure however that there is a long-term position in the works for me, so I am keeping my eyes open for other opportunities. Working a bit for a few months is really good for me, it keeps me busy and allows me to further develop a few skills. I am grateful for this opportunity.

Next week, I start school. I can't wait, I will be studying about a subject that I am highly passionate about. I made a large purchase in preparation for the semester: I bought a Mac Book Pro. I needed a laptop for school, to be able to take notes in class, and I only had a desktop at home. After researching the different laptop brands, I chose the Mac Book Pro. It is not the greenest laptop on the market, but it was designed with low energy consumption and recyclability in mind. The change to the Apple OS and software has not been too difficult until now, although I have only used a very small part of the available software to browse the Net and sort my pictures. I'll have to see how easy it is to work with the iWorks suite, and to convert some of my old PC files into Mac. I have to admit though that having a laptop has been really convenient. I can sit in the living room to work and I have purchased an adaptor that allows me to connect the computer to the TV to watch movies in high definition. Very nice.

Holidays were great this year, except for my grandma ending up in the hospital on Christmas day. She is OK now and under observation, but it is possible that she is no longer able to take care of herself and needs to be placed. This is not bad news, my parents have been worried about her ability to look after herself for a little while now. I will call her tonight to see how she is doing.