I know, I know, I've been away for a long time. I haven't posted in months and have made myself scarce on your blogs and I do apologize, but I was hit with a burn out at the end of August and have only really begun to feel like myself again for the pas two and a half weeks or so. I was taken off guard by the burn out as after my vacation in late June, I felt like I was ready to take on the world, but when I look back I can see now that my body was giving me some warning signs that everything wasn't quite right even after going back to work after my surgery in early June. Anyhow, I was hit pretty hard and was off work from lunch time August 22nd until this Tuesday. Burn outs are, as my doctor and psychologist both told me, not bad things. They are a sign something in our lives in unbalanced and in order to get well, we need to get that balance back. It took me the better part of the two months I was off work, quite a bit of lost sleep and a few tears to realize that what I really need right now is more time for myself so I can do things I enjoy and have not been able to do for some time, like cook and travel and visit museums and go out and take pictures. I also want to do other things professionally. I loved my job for the longest time and still enjoy it to some extent, I think I always will, but I have been giving tours at the same place for eleven years and have been working in the office for six and half of those years. I have the opportunity to work with my Sweetheart in his engineering firm, which to me seems absolutely fascinating. He is a civil engineer as I have mentioned before and often goes out of town on inspections and I would love to go with him. The only way I could realistically achieve this and have more time for myself was to quit my full time position and go back to work exclusively on call. It took a lot of courage, but two weeks ago I called up my boss and explained my situation to him and he was very understanding and appreciative of my honesty. I think most of the people I work with understand my decision and are even happy for me, but of few of them seem rather confused. I worked incredibly hard and had to be incredibly patient in order to get a permanent position at the Oratory and only got it in 2010. Before that I was working at the same job I have full time but for a much lower salary, which I was quite admired for. All I can say to really explain my decision is that my father dying flipped my entire world upside down and has made me see things quite differently. My father died much, much sooner than he should have and if he had not suffered from such crippling depression, I know he would have loved to have done so much more to enjoy life than he did. He would have traveled, and cooked, and played hockey, and cycled with my Sweetheart and I, and gone fishing with my grandfather and gone to Montreal Canadiens games with my brother and come to my choral concerts, and gone skiing with my brother and I and so many other things. Depression took all of that away from him though and I know that that upset him greatly. He wanted to get well, but he couldn't. I am well though and I have a unique opportunity to be able to do all the things I want to do but have not been able to, so I want to do them and not just for myself, but for my father as well and I want to think of him while I do the things I love and I want to think of him smiling at me as I do them.
On that note, here a few pictures of the things I enjoyed while I was off work, because one thing that both my doctor and my psychologist told me to do was to not sit around at home feeling sorry for myself. They told me to go out and do things I enjoyed and so I did. In September I went to see the international flora sculpture competition at one of my favorite places in Montreal, the Botanical Gardens. I took over 100 pictures and am still working them and will try and get some more pictures up when I have the chance.
I also went for another little road trip to Quebec City with my Sweetheart, that's him on the right taking a picture of the Château Frontenac. We had an amazing time and he won two contracts for his engineering firm while we were there. We also went for a drive around Île d'Orléans and went to a fabulous black current producer there called Cassis Monna et Filles. Go visit your website and go visit them if you are ever in the Quebec City area, they are totally worth the detour as is Île d'Orléans, it is a lovely little island with beautiful scenery. It's actually one of the places I want to go back and visit to take pictures, because we didn't have the time to take any while we were there!
And here, finally, a few of the long promised pictures of my house!
This is the front entrance on Halloween night with the pumpkins my Sweetheart and I carved. We had candy for ninety kids, but only ended up getting eight at our door! The weather was awful though, so we're going to try our luck again next year.
This is my library, it's been a favorite with everyone who has come to visit me so far.
This is my totally awesome eat-in kitchen. I have enjoyed many happy hours cooking in here so far and I actually enjoy washing the granite counters and island. The wall on the left has another counter and has storage all around it. I have so much storage in the kitchen that some of it is empty and every time I buy dishes or something else for the kitchen my Sweetheart teases me and says 'But are you sure you have room to put that away?' The door at the back leads out onto the rear balcony and fire escape.
This is the dining room. The table, chairs, dish cabinet and work of art (copper leaves) on the wall were my father. At my house warming I fit seventeen people around the table. We carted in every chair I had in my house and a few spares people had brought. My father's dining room table had never been used for a meal before (my brother played poker at it with a few friends once or twice), so it was so moving for me to see all my best friends sitting around the table with me having such a wonderful time.
Here is the living room, with Quinn lying on top of the radiator cover. My cats lover the radiator covers ever since I have turned on the heat! The couch and coffee table were my father's as well and the coffee table is actually also hidden storage space as the top slides back so you can store things inside the table. The door in this room leads onto the front balcony and there's a good sized maple tree in front of it which is great for privacy, I'm planning on putting a table and chairs out there next Spring.
And here, finally, is the office! It took me a while to set it up as I had to have a desk made to measure for it since the space it quite small. For months I had the chair, which I bought at an antique shop, but no desk! When the desk finally did arrive, it was quite something getting it home. It was all in one piece in a huge box which barely fit out of the back room of the store. The store owner and I then had to enlist the help of the men who ran the bookshop next door to get it into the back of my car. It fit perfectly (God bless my little red VW hatchback), but then I couldn't see out my back window. I drove all the way home that way and then my Sweetheart and I had to enlist the help of one of my next door neighbors to get the box out of my car. Getting it up the stairs and into the office was the easy part :)
So there you have it. I can't promise that I will post here very often because I am spending a lot of my free time with my Sweetheart and his family now, but I can promise that I will do my best, especially since I think I will have a lot of interesting things to share with you all in the coming months :o) Thanks for sticking around and I hope to pop back in soon!