Happy Days!

Putting yesterday's negative post behind me, I can now easily say -- Happy Days! :) See! I'm pretty happy.

Now why am I so happy today? Although today is Thursday, it is my Friday of the week! As of 5:00 today, I am officially on holidays from work and don't have to come back until September 8. Again I say, Happy Days!

My boyfriend (let's just call him C) and I don't have any big plans this time, but I think that's the most exciting part about this time off. Besides some plans we have for tomorrow and Saturday, we are just going to take each day as it comes and decide what to do that particular day when we wake up. I may get some much needed painting done in my house tomorrow, but it's not a for sure thing yet. If I don't feel like doing it, then I won't! :) Saturday we are making a small day trip to Toronto (it's only 30 min away on the GO train) to visit with my brother and his fiancee and soak in the ROM. For those who don't know, the ROM is the Royal Ontario Museum. I am a complete museum buff - LOVE history (I did get my degree in Classical Studies), so I am super excited to go for the afternoon. I haven't been for a couple of years, so it will definitely be time well spent. Spending time with my brother won't be too bad either. ;)

I am hoping to be able to make some plugs on this beloved blog of mine here and there and post some pics that I plan to take with my brand spankin' new camera (given to my by C). But, if I get too caught up in what I am doing and decide to take a break from my computer, I will be back!!! Do not fret! :)

Is This What You'd Call Extreme Customer Service?

To begin, I just have to say that this probably isn't want you will expect to read when you first read the title of my post.. BUT after reading my post, you will know that it is fitting.

In attempt to stay as anonymous as I possibly can, I will just say that I work as a project coordinator in a crazy business. My company supplies certain lines of product to customers such as contractors and I run big projects. We do projects with many different companies, but none compare to this certain man and his company. Let's just call him customer/company "X".

Company "X" gives us a LOT of business, and it's hard to say but in these tight times, if it weren't for company "X", I might not have a job right now. "X" has always been known as a player and will do what he can to ensure that he makes the most money he can possibly make. Up until two years ago, he had his moments, but he was manageable and things were good. "X" is getting much older now though (ie. I should have retired several years ago) and in his older age, he is getting harder and harder to deal with.

This past year has been the worst for me so far. In the past, I had always dealt with the girls who work for "X" and would never actually hear from "X" himself. If something was really wrong, he would just go up the ladder. Things have completely changed this year though -- perhaps in the past 6 months to be exact. Phone calls from "X" have become a daily occurrence and I am always finding myself dreading them. I can honestly say that "X" has absolutely ZERO talent and manners when it comes to telephone conversations. He calls all up on his high horse, yells at me, puts me and my company down and darn right brings me close to tears every time...He even swore at me before! It has gotten so bad that I am afraid to answer my phone sometimes and just let it go to voice mail.

I have spoken to my boss about it, and he understands how I am feeling. The yelling from "X" is not only something that I get to experience, but everyone up the ladder gets to hear it too. The worst part is that he never even has justifiable reasons for yelling. He makes up different stories for different people in attempt to make our company look bad and in the wrong. It frustrates the hell out of me. We can't stop him from calling me unfortunately because he is our customer and as mentioned before, we make a lot of money off of him. If it were different times, my company would probably just fire him as a customer because things have gotten so bad. Unfortunately, we're already at the point where I, along with all of my colleagues have to take 1 day off per month with no pay in attempt to avoid any more layoffs.

I've tried to avoid writing about "X" before as I have been trying to fluff him off and just feel sorry for him and the type of person he has become. But this morning I had the pleasure of receiving another voice mail of him yelling at me about BS. I had asked for a simple piece of paper with his signature waiving approval for something that he had asked me to get shipped to him. (normally we need approval from engineers) His response, a yelling voice mail saying my company is useless and threats to take away orders.... It's just not how I'd like to start my day.
This is one of those days where I absolutely HATE my job and so wish that I could make money training horses/ponies! Thank goodness Friday marks the start of my 11 days off! Thanks for reading my rant!

So You Think You Can Dance Canada!!!

Tonight is the big night! CTV will be airing the first top 20 performance show of So You Think You Can Dance Canada Season 2! The talent here in Canada is incredible and it should prove to be a pretty amazing season.

To my American readers ... Does any Canadian television air down in the US like US stations air here???? If so, and if you are a fan of the American version of SYTYCD, I highly suggest you check out the Canadians tonight! It's going to be AMAZING!!


I am happy to report that my horse show on Saturday was a success! The little pony who I've spent the last 9 months training, proved to be a little superstar and the best she could have possible been! Out of 8 horses competing in both of our classes, we managed to come home with a first place and a second place. I couldn't be happier with this little diamond in the rough who we found dumped at an auction last fall.

What A Storm

When one hears warnings of tornadoes on the television and radio, you would think you were listening to news pertaining to the southern US. Perhaps in states like Texas, and Oklahoma. I know I certainly wouldn't expect to hear such a thing for here! In Ontario!

On the morning news yesterday, there was talk about a big thunderstorm in the afternoon and evening hours on the day, but even the weather men and women did not expect what unfolded. As of this moment, there have been 2 confirmed F2 tornadoes in the town of Durham, ON and Vaughan, ON. However, there is visual proof of at least 5. One little 11 year old boy in Durham sadly lost his life, and many people in Woodbridge and Vaughan lost parts of their homes.

I was hearing about all the damage that had occurred while driving home from work yesterday. It's about 5:20 and I'm driving along the 401 with the sun shining over my head. (I live just east of Toronto) I get home, and start bbq'ing my supper right away. Honestly just in maybe a span of 10 minutes, the clouds came. I still figured we were just going to get a normal thunder storm, but boy was I wrong.

We left the house just before 7pm to meet my parents at their puppy's graduation from puppy school. By 7:30 the thunder was going strong and the power had already gone out twice, thus cancelling the rest of puppy graduation. I honestly have never in my life seen clouds like the ones I saw last night.

The power was out all over when I was trying to drive home making it a long drive with having to attempt to get through the intersections which were now 4-way stops. The storm was moving faster than I was in the car and the clouds actually looked like a tidal wave barrelling over top. Lighting surrounded us from every direction, and then the rain came. And with the rain, came the wind. My car was getting bashed around as in inched closer and closer to the intersection. I'd be lying if I didn't say that I was terrified! It just got so dark, so fast!

My drive home took about 25 minutes, and it usually takes only 5. But.. I made it home safe. Thankfully there was no damage at my house, or in my neighbourhood. The only downside was the power outage. It went out around 7:30pm and did not return until almost midnight when I had already gone to bed.

I turned on the news first thing this morning and all I saw were images of destruction. I feel so absolutely horrible for those in the towns where the tornadoes hit, but at the same time am thanking my lucky stars that it didn't hit as hard here.

I definitely think this is going to be the storm of the year.

Stepping Back Into the World of Horse Showing

If you have not done so yet, take a look to your right and you will see a photo of me on my horse, Chelsea. Putting everything aside, riding horses is my passion and has been since I first began riding at 9 years old. As a kid, and then throughout high school, I lived for riding with the goal of competitions in mind. For years, I spent my entire summers horse showing practically every weekend. It was my life. Well, until I went away to university that is. As hard as the decision was to stop showing when I went away to school, the decision also came VERY easy to me. I had two choices - sell my horse and not really do any riding at all while in university, OR keep my horse, but not have the extra money to show her. I obviously chose to keep my girl. I rathered having the option to keep riding when I could over not being able to ride at all.

Throughout my four years at university, I managed to fulfill my passion by going home most weekends to get a few rides on Chelsea. Then, on winter and summer breaks, I was in my normal schedule of riding 5-6 times a week again. I still really missed the competition aspect of my riding though and that is when I looked to the good ol' world wide web and discovered the IHSA (Intercollegiate Horse Show Association) in the USA. After several emails back and forth with the head of the IHSA zone nearest us, and organization on my end at my school (University of Guelph), I, along with a couple other girls, managed to get the University of Guelph signed up with the IHSA. So for my final 2 years of university, I was privileged enough to get to compete on this team down in New York. It was a great experience that I will never ever forget. **here's a photo of me competing at Cazenovia College; I won 2nd place in this class!**

It has been 3 years now since I completed university and I have not been to a horse show since my last one with the IHSA team in New York. Until now! :)

This Saturday, I finally get to compete at a horse show! Not with my horse unfortunately, but with an absolutely ADORABLE pony that I have been training over the past 9 months. We bought her from an auction (so basically rescued her) and we quickly gave her the name Daisy Duke. She has been an absolute joy to train and is one of the most affectionate little ponies I have ever met. She seems very appreciative too, which is fantastic. It's not much, but I will be showing her in two little classes on Saturday and couldn't be more excited! She's just a completely different pony from the one that was brought home last fall, so I'm looking forward to showing her off. Wish us luck!

**photo of me on Daisy Duke earlier this summer**

Let's Talk swagbucks!

Being very deep into the recession, I am sure many people are looking for some easy ways to get some extra money or free stuff. I am/was one of those people. Earlier this year, I just happened to stumble across an amazing site that has since allowed me to purchase some of my luxuries (ie. books and cds) for $0 cost to me. This site is called swagbucks.

Search & Win

So now you're probably thinking, "What is swagbucks?" In it's basic form, swagbucks is a search engine. It's powered by google and ask.com, so your results are usually pretty good. When you use swagbucks to search the web, you have the chance to win your very own swagbucks. Once you win a certain number of swagbucks (or SB), you can cash them in for many many different prizes. Personally, I have been using them to cash in for amazon.ca gift cards. 45 SB can get you one $5 gift card for amazon.ca -- and you get this for free!

Search & Win

Now you might be asking, "Why does this sound so easy? What's the catch?" This does sound easy, because it IS easy. And there is no catch. I have been searching with swagbucks since the end of March and have won a total of $150 in amazon.ca gift cards so far. I have purchased 4 cds and 3 books at zero cost to me and I am now saving up for a digital camera and am almost half way there! Seriously people, this is not a hoax. If you're looking to win some extra cash to use towards buying some luxuries in these tough times, I definitely recommend you give swagbucks a try. There are many tricks and tips I can give you to earn more faster, so if you have any questions, feel free to ask!

Feel like joining? click one of the swagbucks images in this post!

And the GTA Summer We've Been Waiting For Has Arrived

So the big talk on the town this past week has been the weather. After months of what has been dubbed "the summer that wasn't", this past week summer weather has seemed to make it's debut in the GTA. And how has this conclusion been made you ask? Well, in just the past week, temperatures have soared into the high 20's with humidex well into the 30's and you know what? It's bloody HOT!!!!! (And for you American readers, don't forget, we go by Celsius here in Canada.) Now, yes, I admit when I do the conversion into Fahrenheit, 30 degrees Celsius is only 86 Fahrenheit and it doesn't sound that hot... and us Ontario folk are just babies right? But you forgot to factor in the lovely humidity and smog!!! I went to L.A. one summer when I was in high school to visit family and it was 103F when I was there and that 103 did not feel close to being as hot as 30C does here! The humidity and smog here is crazy!
So many people around here are so happy that summer is finally here and that we're having hot sunny days, but really Mother Nature, does it have to be THIS hot??? Ugh.. for my lifestyle, these soaring temperatures just don't work well. I am out riding my horse about 5-6 times a week and doing it in temperatures like we've been having just is not fun for me or my poor horse. I was actually really liking the summer we've had to date with temps staying in the low 20s!
I certainly don't want winter to come yet simply because the -20C temperatures are just as bad in my opinion, but dare I ask - is it fall yet??

A Good Read

I've just finished reading "The Glass Castle", a memoir by Jeannette Walls and I must say that it most definitely deserves to be on the Best Sellers list. What a great read. You really never realize how lucky you are until you read about something like the childhood Jeannette had. If you're interested in a heart-warming story, I recommend you pick this book up.

The Amazing World of Online Communities

Take a moment and think back about 15 years. Now with yourself in this place, how do you see the Internet? Are you on your computers for hours a day? Are you sharing some of your deepest secrets with people you only know through a virtual world?

When you really take the time to think about it, it's crazy to see how far the online world has come in only the past 10-15 years. I have been Internet-savvy for as long as I can remember. I remember creating my first 'homepage' when I was only 12 years old and in grade 7. It was all about horses, of course. Over the years, I had flipped back and forth through various bulletin boards and such, and now that I am in my mid-twenties, I can honestly say that I am now a proud member of two very wonderful online communities.

I joined the Saucy Piaffe online community when it first began at the beginning of 2008. The site was started by an amazing woman named Liz. Liz had already begun her own stall plaque business for the horse world and was already fairly well known by horse people in the GTA. In attempt to break free from another very popular horse-folk online community, Liz decided to start her own. The difference with the Saucy Piaffe community though, would be that it would be based on the users common love of the horse, and knack at really being able to support one another in all of their endeavors with minimal negativity.

In about a year and a half, there are over 500 horse-folk who have joined this community and in my opinion, has become one of the most positive places for me to 'hang out' on the Internet. I have met some absolutely incredible people through that message board including my current riding buddy! We live in the same town, but would have never met if it weren't for Liz creating the Saucy Piaffe BB! Almost each and every day we hear stories about Saucies' getting together and meeting. We hear about everyone's ups and downs when it comes to their horses, and even their families and it has really become a great community - or dare I say, a family.

Putting horses aside, I have also recently found myself to be a member of the Smart Canucks online community. I really can't express enough how amazing it is to be a part of these communities where most people really are strangers but are so quickly able to welcome new members and make them feel like part of a family. This website is an amazing place to trade coupons, talk about different products and store experiences, learn about freebies available, and even just talk about anything and everything!

I first joined this site for the freebie section and never really ventured anywhere else on the monstrous bulletin board. Several months ago however, I discovered the area where people talk about everything. I still lurk more than I post, but I am still completely wowed every single day when I see how amazing this online community is. Everyone is so supportive of one another -- and this is where I must state again: and they are all basically strangers!!! It is so incredible to see how so many different strangers can come from so many different places and quickly become friends through the Internet. Smart Canucks is most definitely something special and I can only hope that I remain part of this online community for many years to come.

Face Lift Time!

I am the type of person who gets sick of they way things are sometimes.. let it be the layout or colour of a room in my house, the types of food I am cooking, the genre of music I am listening to, or even things such as the look of my blog. I was tired of how this blog was looking and decided that it needed a little face lift. So.... VOILA! Thoughts?

What are People Thinking?

So I'm driving back to work on the 401 today. **for any readers who don't know what the 401 is, it's basically the main highway/freeway here in Ontario** I drive this highway every day to work in the morning, then back to work at lunch time and tend to see stupid driving left, right and center. Never before have I seen what I saw today though! Over in the right lane, I see this white van - one of the ones that don't have side windows - and what do I see sticking out of the driver's window? His sock-covered foot!
This driver was actually driving with his shoe off and his left foot sticking out of his window! On the 401!! On what is known as part of the busiest stretch of the 401 at that! The traffic was flying today and jam packed. Oh I really don't get people sometimes... Here's hoping there was an OPP officer hiding out at one of the upcoming ramps. That person deserved to be nailed before he causes harm to someone else.

The New Addition to My Desk

Is it bad that getting a new stapler at work excites me??? In my job, I do a LOT of stapling when preparing engineer approval drawings for new jobs. The stapler I have is old and always jams and just plain doesn't want to actually staple sometimes. So I was finally able to put in for a new one! I was blown away with how many choices I had in the catalogue. Seriously, how complicated can picking a stapler get? Using my better judgment, I decided to go for the prettiest one! lol Alas, pictured above is my brand new Swingline Ergo Pro. I was so excited to get her out of her packaging, that I even got a plastic cut on my thumb! Oh how I lead an odd life sometimes..

A Vent About My Cat

I have never met such an oddball of a cat in my life! Meet Boo. I rescued her from the humane society in December 2007 when she was about 4 months old. Right from the beginning, she was the snuggliest and most thankful cat I have ever known. This cat loves people and just loves to be snuggled and hugged. She even greets people at the door like a dog would! So that behaviour alone shows she's quite unique. On the other hand though, she has this other side to her that absolutely drives me crazy!!! Plain and simple, she is a bitch. lol When I am not home, or when I am asleep, she eats all of my plants and spreads the dirt every where.. she takes my coasters and hides them.. takes my hair elastics and hides them.. she even hid my passport at one time!.. she climbs the counter in the kitchen and takes my sponges, garlic, seriously anything she can get her little paws on. It drives me nuts! To top it off, this morning I come downstairs to find my butter dish, which I store 2 shelves up above my counter top, broken in 2 on the counter! Grrr! Any tips on how to control this cute and snuggly little beast of mine?

Burn Burn - My Review

So my favourite band released their 7th studio album on July 21. I thought about reviewing right away, but decided that I really needed to give the album some time so that I could give it my true and honest opinion. I have literally been listening to this album over and over in my car since the 21st and decided that I really do love OLP's latest work. Many people are giving this release poor reviews, and I even admit that I was a bit skeptical at first. But after listening over and over, and really immersing myself in the music, I came to realize the poor reviews are only coming from individuals who really are not true OLP fans. They are not coming from people who have been listening to the band from their start in 1994.
One of the things that I have always loved about OLP is that every single one of their albums is unique in it's own way. You can hear a single and immediately place it to it's respective album. That is one of the main reasons why I think this band is so great. If you listen to their work right from the beginning, you can hear the growth between the members of the band over the years. "Burn Burn" is most definitely not like the album "Clumsy", but in my opinion, it's a different "Clumsy" for the band. "Burn Burn" is a more grown up and mature album written, performed and produced by men who have wives and husbands (as opposed to the 20-somethings who came out with "Clumsy").
Raine's voice and the tone of their songs just overall has a more mature and worldly feel. The sound of someone who is knowledgeable and has seen a lot. Aside from the one song Monkey Brain, the majority of the songs do not sound like what some would dub 'normal' OLP songs, but I think that's the true beauty of this album. It takes a lot of talent to write and release such a variety of music. Not sure where I'm going here? Look at the likes of Nickelback.. I couldn't even tell you how many albums/singles that band has released. And the main reason for that is that every single one of their albums and singles sound similar. They don't experiment or go off course to see what else they can do. They have their one sound, and that's it. In my opinion, that is not true talent.
Overall, I most definitely give "Burn Burn" a 10/10. It's different, creative, moving, and deep. I can listen to it over and over without getting sick of the songs. And in my books, you can only do that with the best.
Well done boys!

My Summer Vacation - Part 1

My boyfriend and I made the trek down the 401, up the 416 and ended up in our Nation's Capital. We visited with my brother and his girlfriend, did some shopping, LOTS of walking, and ate some great food, and I even got a parking ticket! (which with the help from my incredible boyfriend, was cancelled). In terms of food, I just have to say that I discovered Cora's for the first time and seriously, if you like breakfast, you will LOVE Cora's! Check out their website to see if there is a location near you! Unfortunately I was too hungry when my breakfast hit the table to take any pictures because the food was stunningly beautiful! ....But we were able to get a shot of me enjoying my afternoon snack!

Now, as awesome as the walking and the food was, that was not the main purpose for our visit to the great city of Ottawa. The main event and highlight of my summer to date, was to see my favourite band, Our Lady Peace, in concert at Bluesfest. I've seen them many times, and this was one of their best shows. The crowd was amazing, the weather was perfect, and the band... well, they still remain my musical heroes! I honestly wish I could see them perform every day.

I think the best part of the show would have been at one point, front man Raine Maida walked over to the side of the stage we were at. He then proceeded to climb up the scaffolding (something he tends to do a lot) to get a real good look at the audience. The look on his face was absolutely priceless and it just shows how genuinely appreciative he is of his fans 15 years after later.

After our visit to Ottawa, we ventured a little further east to our next destination - Cornwall. I was born and raised in Cornwall and we went to visit with my grandmother. Unfortunately the visit was not a casual relaxing one, but we went to work by helping her do some painting in her house. It was not a fun time, but that's what family is for right? :)
All and all, even though the last half of our vacation was definitely not as much of a vacation as the first, it was still an incredible week away. Definitely looking forward to Part 2, which begins August 28!

My Return

Time sure does fly by when you're busy doesn't it? I can't believe that I have not been able to find the time to dedicate to my beloved blog since returning from my holidays. Things just haven't really stopped let it be at work, home, or the farm. I am always go - go - go! Finally I have found the time to get back into the groove and get this baby updated!