Monday, December 23, 2013

Jasper plays Fetch

I've been telling my friends for years that I have a crazy cat that likes to play fetch.

Here you are.  For your Christmas enjoyment.  Jasper playing fetch.

If you listen you can hear him "talking" to me.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Fluffy Thing Fridays - Christmas Trees + Cats

Hey all!

It's been crazy the past few weeks.  Work has been so busy and tons of people I know have been sick.  The time has just flown by.

I seriously can't believe that it is Christmas next week.

So in honoring the tradition of cute things and Christmas I present to you, the reason why I can't put up a Christmas tree anymore.

Yup.  I'm sitting in your tree.

So cute....but so evil.

Bottom line.  Cats + Christmas Tree's are a bad idea. Remember this?

So yeah, we don't have a tree up this year because Jasper would totally electrocute himself.



Friday, December 13, 2013

Holy Shit-balls Batman....Apparently it's Friday the 13th!

In lieu of our usual Fluffy Thing Friday.

Today I'm going to do a bit of an ode to the Tech Gods who decided to take a big ole crap on me this week.

We rarely do big printing jobs for our clients anymore.  It's a waste of money and not great for the environment.  Not to mention, nobody wants to lug around a 200 page PowerPoint presentation.

But this week, one of our teams decided that they wanted to print and bind their fancy final report.

Ok no problem.

We have 2 fancy Xerox Colour Copiers.  I had the supplies.  And I had 3 days.

Noooooooo Problem.

That was of course till 3 copies in, one of my copiers started getting streaks.

I replaced out all the parts that you can replace and it was still streaky.  I'd switch to my back-up machine but it's a lower quality and not suitable for this level of job.

I called Tech Support.

No problem we'll send some extra parts and someone will be there between Wednesday at 3:30pm and Thursday at 10:30am.

Not the end of the world.  That still left me a day and a half.

10:30am on Tech Guy.

11:30am on Tech Guy.

I called back.  "We'll send him an emergency page and get an ETA for you.  Someone will call you ASAP."

12:30am.....NO TECH GUY.  And no telephone call.

I call back.

"We'll page him again for you.  I'm so sorry, the supervisor for the department will call you in a few minutes."

1:00pm.  Supervisor calls me.  The girl at dispatch thought she was working West Coast Zone and slept in so none of our calls were getting sent through to the Techs.


1.  Not my problem.
2.  I get that shit happens, but how did nobody else at dispatch figure this out and pick up the slack.
3. How come nobody told Tech Support because they just kept saying....someone will call you!!!

So finally at 1pm a Tech Guy is dispatched, parts are ordered and he'll be on site mid-afternoon.

Secretly I say, YEAH RIGHT.  I'll believe it when I see it.

4:36pm.  My Tech Guy finally shows up.  He's here for over an hour but finally gets the machine up and running.

I left the office at about 6:00pm thinking....I'll just go in early in the morning and get the printing started early.  It's FINE!

7:45am on Friday.  Not only is my primary machine giving me an error message and saying "Contact Administrator"  but so is my back-up!!  So I couldn't even print lower quality if I wanted to.  Add on to that, WE ONLY HAVE THE TWO COPIERS.

At this point I say fuck it, I'm going back to parchment and quill.  I'm DONE.

I call Tech Support.  He tells me that my service window is 3-5pm.


I put my foot down, I haven't had a functioning machine in 2 days and I have already had one service call.  I need you to do better.

How about 1-3pm.  Better but can we escalate this?  I'm usually very laid back about the whole thing but I've got a deadline to meet.

How about 9am to 11am.


I pride myself on being polite to the Customer Service guys because honestly, I've worked retail.  I get that it's not their fault.  Yelling at them doesn't fix anything.  And honestly, it's not going to make me feel any better. 

The good news is that it's just after Noon and I'm back up and running.



This is for all the people today that asked me "When are the copiers going to be fixed?"

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Where the hell did the time go?

I started off the 2013 holiday season with a plan!

Unfortunately that plan went to shit some time back in November.

I was going to make some crafty gifts for my friends.

I was going to do my Christmas shopping EARLY!

I was going to mail all of my cards by the 15th.

I was going to help mom decorate the tree that we actually can't put up because my cat is insane.

I was going to do all of this because I wanted the week before our office closes for the holidays to be as calm as possible.


Clearly I was delusional.

I'm not done my Christmas shopping.

I'm not done making my crafts.

Shipping Internationally is insane.

The tree isn't up because yeah, my cat's crazy.

Oh and work is so incredibly busy right now that I'm lucky to find time to pee. 

Exhale Ash.  The holidays are FUN remember?

Does anyone else find the holidays incredibly stressful?  It can't just be me?

And is everyone on track with their shopping/decorating etc?  Feel free to rub it in if you're on track and I'm not.



Friday, December 6, 2013

Fluffy Thing Fridays - For the love of Kittens

Hello all,

This week has been insane at work.  December always is because our clients are trying to wrap up projects and blow out budgets before year end.

Also, this week has been a klutzy one for me.  I'm pretty accident prone as it is so once you add snow and ice into the mix, it's a disaster waiting to happen.

We had our first ice/freezing rain on Monday and I fell flat on my ass, as per protocol.  It's not winter till I've fallen on my ass.  Just sayin'.

Then to top it off when I was digging in my trunk to get my ice scraper, the weight of the ice on the trunk slammed it down onto my arm.  I have a huge bruise now and why is it that the second you realize you have a bruise you're constantly bumping into things!!!!

So to distract me from this, I've been going through the cute pictures people have sent me.

This week's themes is kitten.  Because seriously, kittens rock.

That and it was my furbaby Jasper's 4th Birthday on the 1st so I'm in a kitten loving mood because I'm reminiscing over when Jasper was a baby.

He's learning to poop in his litter tray!  Pooping has never been so adorable.

So pretty.


Look at that little grump!

Look at that tail!  That tail could be a model!

  So much floof!



Here's a picture of Jasper the day I brought him home from the shelter.  He was about 8 weeks old.

Now 4 years later, he rules the house.  Although apparently nobody told him that he's actually supposed to go INSIDE his new house (That my parents got him for his birthday.  Clearly they want grandchildren.)

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

2013: A Year in Review aka. It could have been a hell of a lot worse

Every year, as I approach my Birthday, I take some time to think about what I've accomplished, or in some cases not accomplished.  What I've done to get closer to my goals.  Who I've met.  How I've lived my life.

This year my review has been particularly difficult.  I'm turning 30 in a few weeks.  For the first time in my life I have felt utterly out of control.  My job has been crazy, and oh yeah, my apartment burned down.

But despite the chaos I've accomplished a few things.  They may be small but amid the craziness of my life these past months, those small accomplishments have been so dear to me because honestly, the way things have gone?  It could have been a hell of a lot worse.

Last year was "The Year of Therapy".  Despite losing my home and living in a situation that is not the most emotionally healthy, I'm not nearly the mess I could be.  No joke.  Yes, I've lost some of the progress I have made but I'm still in a better place psychologically today than I was before I began Therapy.  Despite my mother's efforts to the contrary.

My insomnia is all but cured.  I don't want to say totally cured because one I get back to a normal work/travel schedule it may go to shit again but for now, it's more common for me to get 6-7 hours of sleep a night than 3-4.  It may just be because I'm travelling so much more for work that I'm exhausted but I'll take it.

I've made an effort to talk to more people.  Yes, because of the fire and my moving out of the City, I've lost touch with some people.  But I've reconnected with others.  And the people I've been in contact with most have been incredibly supportive and I appreciate them every single day.

The biggest of all for me has been a direct result of the fire and has truly been a blessing in disguise.  A year ago I was stressing about money because I was turning 29 and was still looking at $17K in Student Debt.  I felt like the money I was putting onto my debt wasn't truly making a difference because I was paying disgusting amounts of interest.  If I put too much money on my debt, I found myself running short at the end of the month and relying on my Credit Card.  It sucked.  But living with my parents for 9 months has allowed me to all but eliminate it and I'm hoping to have the rest paid off within the next 3 months.  When you've been paying off a debt for almost 8 years, being this close to debt free is huge.  I mean HUGE!!!

So despite everything, 2013 hasn't been all that bad.  I mean I totally could have gone my entire life without losing my home to fire but you know what?  It's going to be fine in the end.



Friday, November 29, 2013

Fluffy Thing Fridays - Goats!

I know that Goats aren't traditionally cute but the last few years it's become popular to have Pygmy Goats as pets.  Come on, we've all see the YouTube Videos of them jumping around.

I mean for a furry little garbage disposal they are pretty cute.

OK does anyone use Argan Oil in their hair?  It's pretty awesome.  But do you know where Argan Oil comes from?   Basically the Argan tree grows in Morocco and the Oil is harvested from the undigested pits of the fruit that is left behind in the poop of goats that climb the trees and eat said fruit.

Let me's harvested from goat poop.  No joke.  I'd love to meet the guy who thought, hey, let's crush the goat poop and make an oil vs just picking the berries off the tree and taking the pits directly from the poop.

And goats climb trees?

WTF Nature.



Wednesday, November 27, 2013

What's With All The Babies?!?!?!

4 girls that I went to High School with have posted in the last few weeks that they're pregnant. 

For one of them this is their first child.

For two of them, this is their second child.

And for the final this is her THIRD CHILD.

I'm 29 people!!  These girls are 29 and 30.  And not only are they married but they're popping out kids at an alarming rate.

Don't get me wrong.  I'm not against the notion of having kids.  I just can't wrap my brain around being a mom 3x's over at the age of 29. 

This has nothing to do with the fact that I'm single.  It has nothing to do with the fact that I'm terrified of being a mom in general.

It's just that I can't comprehend being pregnant for a little over 2 years once you combine it all at this age.  That's a lot of morning sickness!!!

Am I the only one that's freaked out about this?

On top of the current pregnancies, 6 other girls I know have had babies in the past year.

I have a cat. 



Tuesday, November 26, 2013

A Mini Staycation

I took a little mini-vacation last week.  If my vacation you mean taking 2 days off to go to the bank (I needed to formally change my address on some of my accounts), the doctor (usual check-up), get my drivers license renewed (Woo hoo, I am officially 29 in my photo for the next 5 years), do some Christmas shopping (the rest is either handmade or going to be ordered online) and NOT wake up at 5am (this was the best part honestly).

It's all about perspective.

#10 will always be MY Doctor

I had a very productive day on Thursday while I got all of that done.  And then on Friday I did a whole lot of NOTHING.  Oh and I mean nothing.  I read (fluffy Chick Lit).  I watched TV (Doctor Who marathon in prep for the 50th Anniversary....and how EPIC was that?!?!?!).  I knitted (back to the handmade craft thing for Christmas).  I played with my cat (because he's my furbaby).  And I did it all in PJ pants (because why the hell NOT). 

Don't judge me.

It was fantastic. 

And it was exactly what I needed.

I had been battling a cold for a few weeks that refused to either go away or become a REAL cold.  Work had been insane, my boss had been crazier than normal.  I needed a break.  And I got it.



p.s. I didn't do a Fluffy Thing Friday while I was off so here's some cute stuff that has come across my desk in the past week.

Baby Moose!  LEGS!!!


Servers do always manage to ask this the second you put food in your mouth. 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

RIP eReader


I have some very upsetting news.

My eReader died this morning.  My trusty friend and home of my books.  My companion on the train to work and when insomnia has sunk it's claws into me.  Endless supplier of entertainment.
Kobo Aura

You shall be missed my old friend.

On a more happy note, I ordered a new eReader.  It's got a pink back, longer battery life and double the capacity of my old one (my old one held 1,000 books and I had cracked 860 so YAY for 3,000 book capacity with room to expand).  It also has a built in back-light.

I actually got a solid 2+ years out of my eReader so I more than got my money's worth out of it considering I read 2-3 books a week.

My first eReader died because my cat broke it but that wasn't a horrible thing because it was one of the first models to come out and had no features at all.

And can I mention YAY for next day delivery?  It should be here tomorrow.



Friday, November 15, 2013

Fluffy Thing Fridays - Happy Animals

I like to think that all animals out in the wild, doing their thing are naturally happy.

I get that it's probably not the same way we feel happiness but I like to think so.

Like, in my heart I like to think that my cat is happy.  He's fed, he's warm, he has toys, he gets cuddles and he purrs constantly.  I'd like to think that all means he's happy.  Not secretly plotting my murder, although if he runs in front of me while I'm walking up the stairs again I may change my mind.

That being said.  Although animals may not "smile", sometimes it really looks like they do and hopefully that means that the following, are a bunch of happy animals.

And on the flip side we have....

Still adorable.  But in a grumpy way.



Thursday, November 14, 2013

Mind Over Matter

This morning I work up mentally charged and raring to go.

I have a full day ahead of me in the office with a pretty busy schedule and for once I had slept well and was totally up for the challenge.

And then I got out of bed.

Do you ever have those days where your mind and body just aren't on the same wavelenght?

I slept well but clearly I slept awkwardly because my neck is killing me.  I've got a bit of a headache and it feels like every injury I have is aching.

So while my brain is all "Hell yes!  Let's do this shit!"

My neck is whimpering saying "But it hurts!  Want a heating pad!"

And then the rest of my head pipes up and says "Quit your yelling, and can you turn the light off?"

Then so it doesn't feel left out my ankle starts complaining "I want to go back to bed.  The floor is cold and I'm feeling all stiff and achy."

Bitch bitch bitch.  That's what my body is doing today.

But I'm armed with Ibuprofen and Coffee.  And now that I'm up and going all is well.

But seriously.  Why can't my brain and body just get along?



Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Organized vs Productive - A Personal Balance

Once a quarter our company does a half day or full day training session.

Sometimes it's job related and the sessions revolve around research techniques, topics that relate to our industry or general buzz word kinda things that we need to deal with....professional development, feedback training, social media monitoring, millennials, BIG DATA!!!  Stuff like that.

But every once in a while they toss something at us that is more personal in nature.  Or stuff that's more geared towards that wonderful work/life balance thingy that people keep mentioning.  This year the company is taking this "Whole Person Develompent" approach.  They want to hold seminars and training sessions on topic that will help people not just in their professional life but in their personal lives as well. The goal is to have activities based on Physical Health, Mental Health, Social Health, Spiritual Health and Emotional Health.

The other day was the first of many of these "Whole Person Development" sessions. It was on Productivity.

Personally, I consider myself a productive person.  And part of that productivity goes hand in hand with my organizational skills. Ok, so I have a teeny bit of OCD.  But that's actually helped me professionally.  I live by my to-do lists, my color coding system for paper files and guess what? My electronic files and email is just as tidy.  Do you know what that means?  It means I work more efficiently.  I don't waste time hunting for things I need to do my job and it means on any given day I know exactly what I need to do.  And I LOVE crossing things off that list.

But it made me think.  Productivity and Organization don't necessarily go hand in hand.  I mean you could
spend HOURS organizing your email and electronic files and at the end of the day, all you've accomplished is that you've organized your files.  One of the people in this training session said that he likes to have his Inbox down to 20 emails or less by the end of the day.  Great goal.  But he said that he finds he spends more time focusing on getting it down to that arbitrary number than doing things that are truly productive.  So for him, his self imposed system is a distraction.

And this made me think again about having OCD.  And that fine line between your OCD being just part of your life and OCD ruling your life.  And yeah, it's a very fine line.  I've never been the type of person that has to wash their hands 4 times or flick a light switch off and on 6 times before leaving a room or extreme OCD quirks like that.  I'm the color coding, alphabetizing, likes things to be straight kinda OCD person.  You know the kind who will dump an entire sock drawer out because things are looking a tad messy.  Is that entirely productive?  Not at all.  And guess what?  Technology is one of the biggest detractions from productivity.  Say it ain't so Pinterest?!?! And apparently multitasking doesn't actually work because you're not putting 100% of your effort and focus into any one task.  But I'm getting off track.

It all goes back to the idea that the two ideas are connected.  Can you truly be productive if you're not organized?  And on the flip side, can overly detailed organizational systems detract from your productivity?



If I got anything out of the seminar it was the Pareto Principle aka. The 80/20

Think about it.  It how often to we spend large amounts of time on things on minor tasks?  And the 80/20 rule applies elsewhere.  We wear 20% of our clothes 80% of the time.  In business, 80% of sales come from 20% of your clients.  And in general, you get 80% of your joy out of 20% of your daily interactions.  

Friday, November 8, 2013

Fluffy Thing Fridays - Are You Mocking Me?

This week's post is actually a spin-off of last week's "Cat Haircuts".

While I was doing my image search, I came across a bunch of funny grooming pictures that I just HAD to share.

I fully admit that when I'm having a stressful day in the office, stuff like this makes me giggle.

Notice a trend?

For anyone who has a cat or dog, go out and get yourself a Furminator.  No joke, every time I comb Jasper, I pull out enough to make a mini-Jasper because this brush is fantastic and gets down to the undercoat vs. just grabbing the lose hairs on the surface.

I'm typically very skeptical of Infomercials because typically the products NEVER work the way they're supposed to.

The Furminator WORKS.  Every time I comb him, I'm convinced he should be bald by the time I'm done.



Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Daylight Savings Time + My Cat = I need a nap

It's pretty common knowledge that babies and animals don't understand the concept of Daylight Savings Time.

I've seen a bunch of posts on Facebook this week of parents griping that their infant won't let them sleep.

Well I don't have a baby.

I have a Jasper.

Last night, my adorable furry demon decided that he would wake up around 3am.  Run around like a little psychopath on Red Bull and "sing the song of his people" at the top of his lungs. 

Till about 6am.

And that's when I snapped.

He was knocking things over, making racket and wailing.  He's not sick, he's no injured, we played before bed, he was groomed and then we had some cuddles before I went to sleep.

The only explanation I can come up with is that the clocks changed.  I mean it's not a full moon.  He's a fixed male cat so it's not like he can have PMS. 

Bottom line.  I'm TIRED.

Ironically, the only way I was able to calm him down and stop the howling was to lock him in my bedroom with me.  Then he turned into a purring little ball of affection.

And that's when my alarm went off.  So if I fall asleep at my desk today, you know why.



Friday, November 1, 2013

Fluffy Thing Fridays - Cat Haircuts!

I have a short haired cat, so thankfully (in Jasper's opinion) he's never had to have a haircut.

Secretly, I wish he was a long hair cat just so I could do THIS:

So pissed off.  But so cute.

Love that they left the cheeks floofy.
 How cool is this?!?!



Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Ashley's Adventures at the Genius Bar - A Tech Rant

I'm a bit of a Tech Nerd.

I can't help it.  I work in IT.

The plus side is that typically there's not much I can't fix when it comes to my own computer and phone.

At least that was true before I got an iPhone.

Don't get me wrong.  I like my iPhone 5.  I don't LOVE it though.

There's restrictions and limitations built into the Operating System, that as a user,  I don't appreciate.  I mean can't you and Google just GET ALONG?!?!?!

I also don't like that I can't do any repairs myself.

Back in the days with my old BlackBerry.  If I was having decreased battery life, I could pop down to the store, buy a new battery and install it myself.  With my iPhone?  Not so much.

So when I started having sever WiFi connectivity issues, I had a bit of a panic.

Thankfully, my phone was still under the 1 Year Limited Manufacturers Warranty.

Considering I had never dropped it, gotten it wet of abused it more than shoving it in my purse without a case, I was hoping that something like signal strength would fall under said warranty.

And it did.  Thankfully. 

Because if it didn't.  I would have had a very expensive paperweight that pretty much only worked as a telephone.  And at 11 months old.  That would have sucked.  Like seriously sucked.

How as consumers, have we reached the point where we accept products, (and expensive one's at that) that have such a limited lifespan.

I mean I'm locked into a 3 year contract.  If I had to replace my phone at 11 months because of a hardware flaw, I would have had to pay out somewhere in the neighbourhood of $400 to replace it.

How is that ok?  My first few cell phones had no problem lasting the length of my 3 year contract.  Except for the time that I lost my phone at a Christmas Party, I have NEVER had to pay to upgrade.  Hell, my old Nokia couldn't be killed!  Trust me.  I tried!

But nowadays, if you get 2 years out of a phone, that's normal.

A laptop will probably last you 3-4 years.  A PC you can push but that's presuming you can do you own troubleshooting and maintenance.

How is it that technology is getting better and better every day, prices are still going up and yet quality has decreased significantly?

And why are we ok with it?



p.s. on a side note.  I was worried about my appointment at the Genius Bar.  I was afraid that they wouldn't fix or replace the phone, that with my luck, my phone wouldn't display the same symptoms when in the hands of a professional.  Thankfully, the WiFi was going up and down while the guy was running diagnostics and their signal strength in store rivals NASA.  So my baby was replaced and seems to be alright.  YAY!