Taxi! – vvp39

Welcome back to another episode of Valerie’s Variety Podcast, V-Squared and a secretive recording of a taxi ride I took recently…hope you’re okay with a little eavesdropping. I’m usually quite chatty with my UBER or Taxi Drivers – insert annoyance here. BC doesn’t have UBERS – would you please get with the times!! Anyway, here’s a story about an interesting Taxi Driver –  yes he’s from Pakistan, money conscious, doctors for parents, arranged marriage and more…

Take a listen…

Collection of Pakistan images

His parents are both doctors – his home food is better than any food in a restaurant – don’t we agree with this? Village food is so natural and good – he even said queen elizabeth never has never been luck to have this food.

Huge family but he’s the only one here in Canada – he feels lonely. He’s a people person as you can tell he’s very friendly. Never liked firing people – always felt bad and didn’t like this part  of the job wanted something more. He wanted freedom.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pakistan

Pakistan is the 6th  most populous country, along the Arabian Sea and Gulf of Oman, in the south it’s bordered by India and to the East, Afghanistan to the west and Iran to the southwest and of course China to the north

insert this at 269

Benazir Bhutto Benazir Bhutto (Sindhi: بينظير ڀُٽو‎; 21 June 1953 – 27 December 2007) was a Pakistani politician who served as Prime Minister of Pakistan from 1988 to 1990 and again from 1993 to 1996. She was the first woman to head a democratic government in a Muslim majority nation.

lady priministor in pakistan

Insert at 363

to travel from Pakistan to England for Higher Studies it’s an 11 hour plane ride, one would travel Start: Pakistan, fly over Turkmenistan, over Turkey, Over the Urkraine, over Poland and then land in England.  From Pakistan to England

Insert at 393

Never allow him, I wonder what this would be like to be not allowed to practice medicine because your Grandfather said. If I was a doctor and not a overworked project manager – my grandfather would have said – get to practicing!

Insert at 404

Don’t pay? what a humble way to run a practice how kind is this man? A dental practice here in Canada and especially Calgary have some of the highest rates in dentistry, if you couldn’t pay you likely cannot go to the Dentist.

Insert 428

Don’t we all feel like this growing up? Compare this moment, and what he said to your life? We think our parents make money but why can we get all the things we want when we are kids. I know when I grew up with a single dad money was tight altho my dad worked two jobs and went back to school when we were just young kid – so he could earn more. Reflecting back now money can only go so far and needed to be put to bills and groceries first then the more fun things in life came after the priorities.

Insert at 438

doctors become brutal Raymond says,  60% of women in Pakistan have caesarean operation, doctors become brutal who give them that. Research shows this is a global problem or assistance depending on which way you look at it. Is much more common even in our country to be scheduled for a c-section, it’s planned, the date is provided, it’s on the doctors scheduled. a natural birth the date, time and doctor is out of our control.

Insert at 461

Not sure where he got this information but According to April of 2018 BC tops the country in caesarean birth – TOPS the country. He was leading me to believe that they were low, I know Calgary is on the rise from going through the birthing  process myself having a natural birth  and seeing my sister deliver her to babies – they pressured her to deliver by c-section in both cases and we had to to support and fight against it as both mother and child were not in distress – this was purely out of convenience to the doctor.

B.C. tops country in caesarean-section rates: federal report

https://www.cihi.ca/en/c-section-rates-continue-to-increase-while-birth-rates-decline

Interestingly giving birth remained the most common reason for  hospitalization in Canada with 366,000 people giving birth in recent years, the next most common reason is pulmonary disease (heart problems). WOW we hear about our hospitals and emergency wards being inundated with people who are abusing the systems but really it’s the mom’s having babies.

Insert at 469

This is my perspective of BC – with adoration i feel like this is truly the way things are, growing up in the mountains in Jasper and travelling through BC on vacation we get a sense they are most connected with mother nature. Mid-wives and duals are becoming more common here and there. after educating myself more about these statistics we are relatively close in our birthing practices – in the end we want healthy babies and healthy moms.

Insert

to clarify, this is also the decision of some moms out there, they want this process to be set and organized, booked not and organic process.

Insert at 564

in 1947 13.5million people fled from one side of the British colony to the other side – a new border, millions didn’t survive and came to a violent end. The direction they took depended on their faith Hindus and Sikhs came together and separated from Muslims. This partition gave a new hope with a new nation, Pakistan.

https://www.cnn.com/2017/08/08/asia/india-pakistan-independence-timeline/index.html

Insert 612

Male Nurse, trade, upgrading their education, spending years to better their education and now they end up in Flin Flon practicing medicine. Laboratory technician in Flin Flon Manitoba only 5 muslim people living there – they are the smallest little muslin community in Manitoba.

Insert at 752

Find a partner? The pakistanies still have arranged marriages, semi-arranged marries to this day, they sometimes take a year or more to be established. And it’s between the families and not just the bride an dgroom, this starts at the age of 20. I met my husband when I was a waitress at a local golf course and he was having supper with one of my work mates. Arranged no, but 17 years later it was a good night, beef dip and all.

Insert 783

Yes you heard that right his wife stays at home and takes care of the kids for the last 10 years and has has 2 bachelor degrees 1 masters degree, 1 diploma. Umm what? She could be working here, have a nanny for her kids until they are old enough for private school and have a sense of empowerment here in Canada. Start student of the University.

Insert at 821

Hmm do you think she’s really happy at home – sounds a bit like she was a career student with this much education under her belt and being a star student at the university – now she’s home all the time taking care of her kids. This taxi driver sounds like he’s supportive of her going back to school and upgrading her education so she can if required work here in Canada.

Insert 861

isn’t this amazing that someone – a stranger saw something in this cab driver that he wanted to teach him how to drive taxi and find his way around the city – over the phone. Teach him how to deal with impatient caucasian men – this is a whole other schooling lesson in it’s self.

insert 872

this stranger gave him his number and made jokes about losing his fair due to training this stranger to him – isn’t this a nice story about paying it forward, one man changed another mans life? His very first day was really good on the job – 7 years later he has such a good disposition, very happy and content to be doing his job and how friendly is he?

I hope you enjoyed getting to know my Taxi driver Raymond. i always find this interesting getting to know someone in this short drive and how much they are willing to share with you and open up with you about their life. Im a big believer of being open to the world and the world will be open to you – it’s a serendipitous moment you will have. We are all connected. So the next time you jump into a taxi or an UBER get to know your driver and you’re world will be brighter for it.

Thanks for listening, do you have a taxi ride experience you’d like to share – please drop me a note/text or email to valerie@valeriemoss.ca as I’d love to hear your story.

The intro and outro for this podcast is recorded by London Moss, the voice recording is by me from the Vancouver Airport to my hotel inCoast Twassen Inn at Delta BC, the music I chose for this episode is through GarageBand

  • Indian Rajah Sitar 30
  • Indian Rajah Sarod 15
  • Crying London is recorded at London actual birth day
Thank you to:

cnn

Vancouver Sun

Google Maps

Wikipedia

 

TmTs: Concrete at The Glenbow – vvp38

Two Minute Tuesdays Cover Art…

Todays Two Minute Tuesday we are looking at Calgary Street Art. Welcome back to Valerie’s Variety Podcast, with your host me, Valerie Moss todays show is short and sweet. I’m calling these Two Minute Tuesdays or TMT’s. As I’ve been doing more and more research for my episodes and working full time, it doesn’t leave enough in the kitty to record and produce timely, so instead of releasing less often I’ve decided to do these short spurts in between the full episode segments. Let me know what you think. My focus as always will be Calgary, this great city, and all that’s captured within it.

Enjoy the episode.

Cement Art @ YYC

http://www.avenuecalgary.com/City-Life/A-Brief-History-of-Calgary/

Did you know the concrete murals on the side of the Glenbow museum facade are by artist Robert Oldrich. These are made of cast cement. The thoughts behind these are reflective of our city, cowboy hat, oil derrick, and our infamous chinook arch. Robert came to our great city and mixed his sand and water creations for us to enjoy, more of his work is plastered on other buildings like: Bishop Grandin High School, the previous location of the Calgary Central Library and others. He immigrated to Calgary in 1951 from the Czech Republic he past away in 1983 in the USA leaving many pottery, printmaking, mosaics and sculptures behind for all of us to enjoy – thank you Robert.

Thanks for listing to our TmTs on the Vsqared podcast. the intro and outro for this podcast is recorded by London Moss and the music I chose today is true Heart Procussion…if there’s something about Calgary or someone in Calgary that you’d like to know more about send me a note text or email to Valerie@ValerieMoss.ca

Government of Canada

https://app.pch.gc.ca/application/aac-aic/artiste_detailler_bas-artist_detail_bas.app?rID=12320&fID=2&lang=en&qlang=en&pID=786&ps=50&sort=AM_ASC

Avenue Magazine

http://www.avenuecalgary.com/City-Life/Detours/Work-of-Art-Concrete-Murals-Untitled-by-Robert-Oldrich/

Loco Parentis: Student vs Institution – vvp37

Loco Parentis

School Cases in court. I’m going to highlight a few stories that have resonated with me over the last few months. I recently attended a safety discussion at my daughter’s school. This discussion once completed brought a few other schools names and how safety played a big role along with the trust we put into the education system to keep our children safe. The amount of responsibility we put onto this institution these teachers without really realizing it. Loco Parentis meaning the teachers take the place of the parent. Now would a teacher dive in front of a bus to save your child maybe but not likely however this does mean the teacher would protect the child from bullies, assist in making the right decisions, properly assisting them with risky manouvers, etc. They are in place of a parent at school or institutional setting, looking out for the best interest of the child, your child.

Story One

June 22, 1981

Myers v Peel Country Board of Education, Ontario

Erindale Secondary School grades 9, 10, 11, 12 is part of the Peel District School board. There had been a number of the students in the gym during the regularly scheduled physical education class, there was an adjacent room setup for gymnastics and the kids in this room were trained specifically for gymnastics using the equipment that was setup. There usual teacher was away sick and the substitute teacher in the main room and approx 40 students at the peak time with class crossovers. One student trained in Gymnastics asked if his friend – not trained in gymnastics could play in this specialized room. There was approx 8 kids in this unsupervised room training gymnastics maneuvers for grade marking. The student un-trained proceeds to try out a gymnastics tactic on the rings and – succeeded. Then he tried an exceptionally hard backflip dismount and landed improperly – inadequate mats, inadequate spotters and inadequate supervision ensued.  Due to the added disadvantage of poor training he was severely injured and as a result became a quadriplegic by a broken neck. There was no teacher present nor did the friend teach the kid what he needed to learn – in this short amount of time – to follow through with this exercise properly and safely. The trained friend didn’t know what the un-trained friend was about to try out so he couldn’t a) warn the kid and b) provide proper spotting.

During the court hearing it was discussed that the trained student was 20% liable and the un-trained now severely disabled student was 80% liable. This is showing ownership is put on the person who committed the fault- torts-Negligence; tort meaning suing for personal damages and negligence meaning no deliberate action but failed to act as a reasonable person. There was also discussion about the mats used – were these significant to soften the landing and prevent the injury, no. If a teacher/supervisor had been in the room would this have stopped the injury, possibly by stopping the tactic move. The discussion of ‘prudent parent’ also was disected – let’s walk through this, if a parent was in the gym and their son, knowing they haven’t been trained for this manouver wanted to test it the parent would likely say ‘no’ and rovide the proper spotters, trainers and insight into this more diligently.

In the end the school was not found liable but the students appellants were found at fault.

I would accordingly allow the appeal with costs to the appellant in this Court and in the Court of Appeal, and restore the judgment at trial, leaving intact the finding of contributory negligence against the appellant, which is well supported in the evidence, the apportionment of damages, and the disposition of costs at trial.

https://scc-csc.lexum.com/scc-csc/scc-csc/en/item/2521/index.do

Story Two

April 25, 2008

R vs A.M, Ontario

St. Patrick’s Catholic High located in Sarnia, Ontario. This High School’s principal at the time had an agreement with local police to bring in drug sniffing dogs at random and convenient to the police service to search the school. The school had been known to have drug problems on the school property as well as off school property. This intuition asks the question that the principal was onto something. The police did not have any knowledge of drugs being on the school at the time of the unscheduled search.

Here’s how this story went…all kids are in class, some have  left their backpacks in the gym lined up along the wall. When the police showed up one random day – the principal at the time made an announcement that they were conducting a random police investigation and students should remain in their classrooms. The police started throughout the school ending up in the gym and the sniffer dog ‘chief’ immediately indicated to a backpack. The dog handler gave said backpack to another police officer and it was searched to find:

including five bags of marijuana, a tin box containing a further five bags of marijuana, a bag containing approximately ten magic mushrooms (psilocybin), a bag containing a pipe, a lighter, rolling papers and a roach clip.  A.M.’s wallet, containing his identification, was in the backpack.  A.M. was charged with possession for the purpose of trafficking marijuana and possession of psilocybin (mushrooms)

The argument from the schools side is they were not involved in the investigation besides this announcement that was made to keep students inside the classrooms. The total investigation took approx 1-2 hours. This was during class time during the day at the school.

This A.M. Student was then charged. Could this have been handled another way? What about if the principal found this marijuana and drugs would it then be his/the principal’s responsibility to call the parents and have a meeting to review these items? Involve the police? What if another student found the drugs and ratted the kid out to the authorities? A.M. Student was brazen enough to bring his backpack to school full of drugs and his ID – good thing he had this on him? Then proceeded to leave this in the school gym unattended.

If your child is attending this Catholic school would you feel like this is an invasion of their privacy? Or all kids privacy? OR would it be searching for the few that may get caught keeping the rest of the student population safe from drug dealers in the school? You know a few innocent kids are made to feel uncomfortable for the whole of the population to be safe and not have drugs at the ready!

I think he shouldn’t have left his bag unattended – like ever! this kid made a decision to bring illegal drugs into a school, a government institution with intention to sell and use – he had papers, roach clip and lighter with the rest of his stash.

In the end it was concluded that the principle in good faith acted in the best interest of the school and under the convenient timing of the police for the search. And the charges stood against AM with posession and trafficking on school property.

https://scc-csc.lexum.com/scc-csc/scc-csc/en/item/4628/index.do

Story Three

December 3, 1993

Bain v. Calgary Board of Education et al, Calgary

Twenty five years ago this case was decided in the Court…that puts me right at the same age as the students in this story at the time this story made it to Court…where were you in 1993 let’s get some perspective around this story. in 1987, A grade 11 teacher took 5 students on a forestry trip. The students convinced the teacher to allow them to climb a mountain. The teacher at time told them to ‘be back before dark’ the student with friends proceeded to trek up the mountain (not in the plans and in an unfamiliar area) and one student fell causing brain injury. The teacher-student relationship was breached when the teacher failed to accompany the students and supervise their endeavour. The teacher was 75% to blame and the student was 25% to blame.

This is interesting as I remmber being 16 and supervision by teachers wasn’t as engaged as it is today. Kids were still scene and not heard. Teachers weren’t as fully trained and acting as a parent in the school institutional capacity as today.

This student and his family were compensated almost 6 years after the incident, why would this take so long…the damages far outweighed the question surrounding the case.

The next time you have to sign a form/waiver for your child to attend an ‘off site’ event like a Calgary camp and sign a form/waiver to absolve the entity like the City of Calgary or Winsport or a recreation facility – sign it – don’t sign it this waiver could potentially be held up in court and scrutinized in all these cases the fault or negligence was shared. Loco Parentis is one of the key deciding factors. When a teacher at the school is put into the position of caring for and supporting our kids – their students, when they the teachers do not have children of their own is an entirely different position for the teacher if they have kids. One will never know the feeling of having the utmost guttural sense of protection of this small person when it’s not their own. We truely believe as parents that these teachers will do whatever is necessary to keep our kids safe and we are most grateful for this. Thank you!

Thanks for listening to the show today, for those of you who have kids, neices, nephews and have attended an extra curricular activity and had to sign a waiver instead of dismissing this pay attention to what rights you are potentially signing away. Also, give that teacher an extra pat on the back to taking care of your small person in your absense. If you have a story about a Calgary School that you want to share with me please do so and send me a note/email or text to Valerie@ValerieMoss.ca and let me know.

The intro and outro for this episode is recorded by London Moss, the theme  music is Tascam 40 by Jason Schnell and some GarageBand loops I’ve chosen today are:

  • School Bell Ringing
  • 80s Classic Lead Synth
  • Rose Slow Jam
  • Dogs Barking
  • Dogs Wine 01
  • Clapping Crowd Studio 01

 

TmTs: Calgary Scottish Roots – vvp36

Todays Two Minute Tuesday we are looking at where Calgary got her name.

Two Minute Tuesdays Cover Art…

Welcome back to Valerie’s Variety Podcast, with your host me, Valerie Moss todays show is short and sweet. I’m calling these Two Minute Tuesdays or TMT’s. As I’ve been doing more and more research for my episodes and working full time, it doesn’t leave enough in the kitty to record and produce timely, so instead of releasing less often I’ve decided to do these short spurts in between the full episode segments. Let me know what you think. My focus as always will be Calgary, this great city, and all that’s captured within it.

Enjoy the episode.

Scotland Castle

Recently the place at 142 years old, the home that gave Calgary it’s name has been sold!  This castle stands proud surrounded by the lushest forest enveloping it’s firm stone beauty. The grey fortress, boasting 10 bedrooms, and gothic looking windows, has a medieval look to it. A large inviting white door and beautifully kept vibrant green lawns surround the 11 hectare property. There was a bidding war across the globe as the property’s asking price was a merely $700,000 euros approx $1.2 million, however it went for higher with interest from some tire kickers here in Canada but ultimately europeans won over the property.

Q: What does “Calgary” mean?

A: Calgary is named after Calgary Bay on the Isle of Mull, Scotland. It was originally thought to mean “clear running water” but has since been defined as “bay farm”. Gaelic words Cala-ghearridh meaning pasture by the bay.

Calgary Sun

https://calgarysun.com/news/local-news/the-scottish-castle-for-which-calgary-is-named-has-a-new-owner/wcm/107ed967-93be-4e0d-8b5e-ab4763d01c0a

City of Calgary

http://www.calgary.ca/CA/city-clerks/Pages/Corporate-records/Archives/Historical-information/Historical-Information.aspx

Local Histories about Calgary

http://www.localhistories.org/calgary.html

Colonel James Macleod originally from Scotland

http://www.avenuecalgary.com/City-Life/A-Brief-History-of-Calgary/

Thanks for listing to our TmTs on the Vsqared podcast. the intro and outro for this podcast is recorded by London Moss and the music I chose today is water works synth to reflect the water surrounding the old Calgary Castle in Scotland…if there’s something about Calgary or someone in Calgary that you’d like to know more about send me a note text or email to Valerie@ValerieMoss.ca

Mental Health Podcast Challenge – vvp35

Welcome back to a special episode of Valerie’s Variety Podcast a sensitive episode where I discuss Mental Heath…enjoy the episode

Mental-Illness-Podcast-Challenge

emotional person

wear my heart on my sleeve

lost friends and lost family to cancer

had a breakdown in my kitchen when work got too stressful

love things and people more than I should

When I was in grade 5 just 12 years old I was living in a rough area in Edmonton with rough people. I watched my neighbour take acid when I was 11 years old and have an episode. I watched my other neighbour have an epileptic attack grande mal seizure while me and my sister plus other neighbour kids were around – I remember being so scared and curious that I couldn’t look away or leave but too scared to get to close to this moment

Watched my grandmother die of cancer, lost my grandpa from my moms side he fell off a roof and had a heart attack, found by neighbour kids the same age as my daughter is today.

I have immediate family members that don’t respond to my calls, texts, emails, they aren’t around for important moments, they’re invited, they’ve been reached out to, they’re very important to me, they are included but don’t  respond. They suffer from mental illness – they are crushed by their own sense of sadness and loss and can’t find their way out of it to reach out or connect tot he people that love them the most.

Watching my friend struggle with her job and her personal life at the same time. We need balance, if work is difficult your home life needs to be solid.

Sadness envelopes me when I think about my family as a child and miss everyone my heart swellsand biomes heavy – not because they are gone and don’t respond but because of the time we had together as a family – those days have passed.

Becomes heavy when I was 37 years old my husband had open heart surgery, I was looking at being a window at under 40, I was fearful my daughter would grow up without her dad

I have people in my life that are unkind, unkind to the people I love deeply – these people are mean spirited and passive aggressive and cross the line too much to count and as such I choose not to include them to save my heart from further pain.

Mental illness to me is all of these things and if we allow ourselves to be crushed by sadness, hope, disparity, strength….this will happen, mental illness will set in and conquer our lives. What we need to do is to embrace it, live it, let is fester for it’s time and then forgive it leave it by the curb and become more whole than you ever have as this is now part of you. the heavy ness of this moment, this person, this loss, this love. I have my moments, with Christmas just passed and not seeing my mom for another Christmas. BUT reaching out to the people who matter, and who you matter to is the most important.

BUT i have friends that fill up my days, and I’m open to trying, buying, eating, drinking, talking, playing, being together – saying yes when asked. Being the Asker because I need to be purposeful and fulfilled. Love life more and be better, do more and be stronger for it.

Mental Illness is our cognitive thinking skills, can we presume we know what someone is thinking, yes of course, is it accurate to the depths we want to perceive it to be, likely not. It maybe close but it’s not the everything.

For me I need to be with people, from what I know about M.I. is that it’s a lonely spot to be in, it’s cold and isolated. When you’re with people you feel warm and cared for – this matters. You matter. we need to matter to people and to the most important person – ourselves.

I lost one of the most important people to me a year ago and I have this whole in my heart even when I write this – no tears now as time has healed this emotion of breaking my barrier of tears BUT I feel sad that she’s no longer in my life, I feel like a void is truly there – she was a friend, a dear sweet, non deserving friend to be taken by cancer…BUT i’m stronger for knowing her, perhaps better to as she taught me to have more fun in life and enjoy life just a bit more.

Make life easier on ourselves and our best people. Think of these best people and why they are important, how they make you feel – why they are in your life and cherish these moments with them.

Reflect on Mental Illness, use these life trials as a ladder to build up our character, get that fodder in our lives for us to share amongst our best people at the dinner table to better our friendships. you never know who is going through these moments in life so give someone just a bit more patience do a little better to make life easier for someone else. and remember you are not alone.

thank you Valerie Moss, Valerie’s Variety Podcast

Mental Illness Podcast Challenge

  • stop the stigma

Thank you for listening taking a spot out of your day to be with me and to give me your time, I truly appreciate it. Think about your friends and family who are going through some hard times, give them a text, email or a call to say hi and check in – they may not respond but you can guarantee they loved hearing from you. Thank you to River for putting this Mental Health Podcast challenge out there , thanks to my friend Amber for editing this episode. Thanks to London for the intro and outro. Please share your thoughts with me…in confidence if you have a story you’d like to share about mental illness, I’ve love to be your support to hear your story.

 

 

 

 

Friends – vvp34

FRIENDS

Building Friendship, Having Trust,
  • what does this mean, trust
  • Being in the moment, always 

What does it mean to have a friend to have trust?

Since living in Calgary for the last 20 years I look around and feel totally amazed by the people I’ve met. Friendships that I savour. So many people impact me on a daily basis. Recently I went on a trip to Vancouver. The night before I left I got to enjoy my friend’s company. This friend isn’t like just any friend. She’s my best friend. When I think of her and be with her there’s usually tears. Happy and sad. She’s a deep thinker she’s sensitive and grounded. She’s empowered more now then ever. She’s the kind of friend who When you reach out to her no matter what time/day or moment she’s there. I adore her so. Amber. 

Friends on a different level
Friends since we were teens…

This evening gave me reflection on the beauty of this friendship. 

I want to know about your friend. 

Who do you have in your life, the guys listening to this – who do you truly connect with? Colleagues? Your kids? Wife? Ladies who do you have? Tell me your story about your friend that you cannot live without. What’s different that stands out that makes this connection between you two – a string that binds your souls together? That person.

Moving to Calgary and Chestermere where I became a mom surrounded by a group of women going through the ins and outs of being a new mom, parent to this little perfect being. Having this group to share our moments with in a safe place environment with each other is our moment. I’ve met people that have moved me to my core. Things that people have done these little things that have made my heart redder and fuller. I love how life introduces us to these moments that when they happen you are different maybe smarter maybe prouder maybe better perhaps. 

The older I get the more I look for the deeper meaning of life – no this isn’t a country song – not quantity but quality. I love things and I’m passionate excitable heart on my sleeve – all the time. I love silly moments. Drinking to much – sewing all night long. Getting lost in music for hours. Having dance parties. Being girly and pretty with my daughter. Karaoke-ing with my dad. My husband means more to me now then yesterday and even when we met. He gets me and makes me feel amazing. I hope I return the sentiments as deeply. 

Trust is where this lies for me. It’s my measuring stick. Trust is it. You betray my trust and I can’t forgive you. It’s not that I haven’t tried it’s that it’s broken forever. That twig has snapped. the last 5 years has put this trust module /tactic / bad sore to the test. What do you measure this with. What’s your sizing chart? What’s your breaking stick?

You know when you lean on people for direction and leadership and they betray you? I am always shocked by this how can they do this to me? They are selfish or pull this rug out from under you and you are once again in your own two feet- it’s you in the end. Trust yourself first. 

While listening to A Star is Born Soundtrack with the sun on my face sitting in seat 10 a the mountains couldn’t be clearer. Love Calgary for this Dec day that’s sunny/ Chinook in the horizon and being lucky enough to be travelling to Vancouver to celebrate another Christmas with this company. My seat mates are headed to Maui. 

Calgary feels betrayed by Canada. Calgary has done so much for this amazing country. We-Calgary gives back like no other province. We are the givers and have always been a ‘have’ province. Now, I’m not the one who talk politics, talks government but I have come across two amazing write-ups lately that I wanted to shares with you as the timing is incredible for our Calgary and our world. 

The first is written by anonymous my friend from junior high Shawn shared this in fb and I wanted to pay it forward as I think it sums up the betrayal Calgary and Alberta feels from Canada. In terms that are sharp and to the point!

by Anonymous

As we stand tall in yet another bust where the layoff papers again start to roll out. People watch the pumps dip below a $1.00 yet again. With the excitement of cheap gas without a care as to what’s happening behind that dollar.
We watch those rigs get stacked and trucks head home and the people of this province again can do nothing but watch as the government holds the men and women of this province at a hostage state.
No pipelines they said. No rail cars they said. No coal they said. Thousands of people laid off, and downtown Calgary sitting at a 50% vacancy rate.
Some people across the country far too satisfied at the thought of the energy sector being shut down. Yay solar panels and windmills.
Well I hate to bring the bad news Canada but windmills won’t be paying you $19 billion in equalization payments.
Some of you may not understand what an equalization payment is so I want you to think of it as child support. Alberta makes more money than the rest of the country. So we pay you child support so your province can do just a little better in life. We take care of our “have not” children. That’s right Quebec… you should really rethink the divorce as you see about 62% of that number alone.
Alberta has carried this country and many of the other provinces for years.
Now, as Alberta struggles no one is around. Not even the government that has cut off our ability to transport but has said they will not revisit the equalization payments.
So you want Albertas tax payers to pay about $3 billion towards equalization payments… on unemployment? Because that’s the reality. You will not be getting $3 billion from tax payers to hand over to the provinces who so terribly voted red when no one has a damn job.
You will not be seeing anything but Alberta crash and burn just a little more. No pun intended but hey while on that topic, thanks for the help on the Fort Mac fires! 🙄
If that is satisfactory to you and if the number at the pumps is making you happy, well just wait because as we have seen time and time again the energy sector is just the first domino. It will travel down, and soon all industries will face difficult times. Every single person across this country will face the reality of Alberta struggling.
When you face a lay-off, when you face the choice of food or electricity, and have to turn to social assistance for just a little help along the way… just remember Alberta was there for you.
Where are you?

…..

Barack Obama written by R.K. Burrice

The second is one of London’s reading books. She’s in grade 2 and it was my time to pick the book and read. I chose Barack Obama written by R.K. Burrice.. By the end of the story I was choked up. Here’s what I learnt about Barack Obama: he’s kind to the core. His mom is white and his dad also named Barack left when he was young. He was raised by his grandparents from the age of 10. He went to Harvard to become a lawyer so he could help change laws. Volunteered to help people learn about jobs- street people low income people – all people, he was collaborative and positive. He wanted to empower people – everybody he worked at all kinds of charities donating his smarts and his personal time. Did I mention he’s kind to the core? He’s always smiling. We miss you Obama. London asked me why this made me have an emotional reaction – hmm how do you explain this one to a 7 year old. I just said he was a kind man and the current president is very different. How would you have answered this?

In closing, Be someone people can trust and Rely on.  have integrity – be a good person even if no ones watching or measuring. Be that best friend! I’ve been reading this book called Skeletons in my closet it’s written by a Calgary Detective Dave Sweets. He wrote don’t be average be a bit better than average – a bit better is easy. A bit better doesn’t take much effort but the results will show ten fold. 


Thanks for listening to the podcast today which as produced and written by me, Valerie Moss, intro and outro  recorded by London Moss. Music for this show is provided through GarageBand and today I chose:

  • Reflection Apreggio
  • Deep Connection Percussion Snaps
  • True Heart Plucky Synth
  • Free Fall Snaps 01
  • Record Player Scratching
  • Airplane-134 and Airplane-204 (recorded by me on my flight to Vancouver)
  • Truck Engine Pull Away 02
  • Recollection Plus Melody
  • Tascam 40

If you like this podcast and have a second to give me a rating on iTunes or your podcast app to provide me some feedback I’d love to hear from Leave me a comment on my blog or join my facebook group at Valerei’s Variety Pod – https://www.facebook.com/ValeriesVarietyPod/ or send me a text/email to Valerie@ValerieMoss.ca – I would love to hear from you.

Thanks for listening.

 

TmTs – Pure Vietnamese Kitchen – vvp33

Welcome back to Vsquared and this weeks TMT episode, we are reviewing a fabulous Vietnamese restaurant. The food here is likely the best Vietnamese we’ve come upon and this is with us searching hard for the best spot.  I’ve been under the weather with a head cold and always need a nice bowl of chicken noodle soup – preferably my dads soup but..in a pinch this one works great.

Chicken Soup from Pure…mmmm

The place is call Pure, Contemporary Vietnamese Kitchen + Bar located at 815 – 8 Avenue SW

Parking

To get to this downtown spot, there generally plenty of street parking 0 but Parking was a challenge on this day and if I was driving, I would have given up, but since Jeff was driving and wanting to keep his wife happy – we persevered. Finding parking a few blocks away and walking into this great place was worth it!

Starter

We started with an appetizer, the salt and pepper squid – lightly fried with a medley of peppers sliced just so, and other spices sprinkled on top the 3 of us gobbled this up!

Soup

I ordered the Chicken Noodle soup, now when you think of this soup you picture Lipton – red and yellow box from when were were kids likely, but this soup is filled with medleys like green onions, friend dried onion, cilantro, mint and more, plus sprouts already placed in the soup and a separate dish of crispy chicken, with a side of pea shoot salad topped with a light airy sweet dressing , it’s so good. London and I shared the soup.

Lemongrass

Jeff ordered the Lemongrass Shrimp vermicelli bowl, lots of bits of nuts, seasoning, fresh lemon grass, mint and cilantro sprinkled throughout, a single vegetarian spring roll cut diagonally on the side topped with carrots julienned amongst other vegetables. Truly a work of art on his plate.

Dishes

Love the dishes here, they are all pottery style with beautiful shapes and colours, they split up my soup into two gorgeous bowls for us to share, matching side plate for the chicken. Charming dinnerware, makes it feel more like home when you eat off of dishes that are so pretty.

Thanks for listening to this TmT segment and this quick restaurant review, enjoy your time when you stop in and eat here, it won’t disappoint. Let me know how your experience was. Where is your favourite Vietnamese place and why? We are always searching for the next best eatery – so please let me know.

Thanks for listening. The intro and outro for this podcast is recorded by London Moss, the music I chose for the background is call Pure Love Synth 01 nicely reflecting the name of our chosen restaurant today, the bubbling soup is also recorded by me Valerie Moss.

Vegas Baby!! – vvp32

 

Secret Speak Easy – invite only hidden gem in Vegas
The Commonwealth, home of The Laundry Room speakeasy
The Commonwealth, home of The Laundry Room speakeasy
typical table ends at The Commonwealth…great atmosphere
Take a spot upon these ‘tuffets’ order your pre-prohibition drink and enjoy the music coming through the sonophone.

 

Welcome back to Valerie’s Variety Podcast and a special episode about a recent vacation we went on…we, not long ago celebrated our 17 wedding anniversary (ep 19), my husbands milestone birthday and we did this in the best known adult playground…Las Vegas Nevada…

We showed up in Vegas at 10pm, which if you haven’t been there, night time is the best time to arrive, this is the city that doesn’t sleep…I mean never sleeps. Constant goings-on all the time! The amount of people in Vegas on a Friday night (when we arrived) is incredible, there are hundreds of people, driving walking, dancing, partying and  seeing shows and so many more things. One thing Jeff and I like to do is people watch, and in Vegas this never disappoints.

DING DING DING GOES THE SLOT MACHINES

GUYS PEDDLING SHOWS ON THE STREETS WHEREVER YOU GO

BACHELOR AND BACHELORETTE PARTIES GALORE AND I’M PRETTY SURE THEY ARE NOT ASSOCIATED

THERE’S THIS PLACE AND THAT PLACE TO EAT AND DRINK AND SHOP

YOU WANT TO, LET’S SAY TAKE A HELICOPTER AROUND THE STRIP – DONE

GET A TATTOO, YEP YOU CAN DO THAT ANY TIME OF THE DAY OR NIGHT

and on and on it goes…well we were up for it all, well as much as we could do stamina wise and as much as we could do interest sake, you see, this was our first vacation without our daughter…she’s 7 that’s quite a few years to go through the beginnings of new parenting, settling into our parenting roles and how much we changed as people within this new family dynamic and then the following months and years getting easier and easier as most of us parents know, the older the baby the easier life gets for responsibilities every single minute.

We booked ourselves into a couple of shows ahead of time as we wanted to see a cirque de sole show.  We’ve both seen them when we have done other trips to Vegas with work or personal but not together…so we chose ONE the Michael Jackson https://www.cirquedusoleil.com/michael-jackson-one

Michael Jackson One

experience…it was incredible and…I bought the T-shirt! Michael Jackson was my very first record I own yes an LP, mine was the thriller album, which my dad still has BTW and it will hopefully be worth some money one day…do you think the Happy 7th Birthday Valerie written in pen will add value to it?…maybe not. But the Vegas show was a must see for me..

Did you know the Cirque shows originated in Canada, in Montreal actually. They are a circus type of show with incredible talent, circus themes and apparatus’ as well as the most in credit ideas. One of the skits for the MJ show…they were dressed in awesome suits and everything glowed in the dark. Acrobatics were happening all around us, another part was snow coming down from the ceiling…and to give MJ honour they had a memory box with his signature glove (which came to life), his hat and shoes…all of these items had dance moves all on their own. A worth it show. totally awesome.

<insert clip here>

Another show we wanted to see was just opening up when we got there,

The Mob Story

https://www.plazahotelcasino.com/entertainment/a-mob-story/

told real accounts from mobsters that made Vegas. A truly remarkable story of love, and impenetrable loyalty. This show also boasted some great talent and theatre performing dancers. We were sitting in a half moon shaped banquette, alone, in real style with small lamps on our table. Our waitress wasn’t great, which kind of sucked BUT the storey sure made up for it. Held at The Plaza hotel which is down in the old vegas areas off Fremont Street, in the original vegas stomping ground, it was worth the trip. We then spent time on fremont street, enjoying the craziness. There’s the almost nude (not the attractive type) peddling a few things here and there. We saw a mother-daughter team lock dancing to a great beat!, then we cam upon a wall of people, I mean a wall, people were stuck there, the music around us was so loud – we later find out once we escaped from the crowds that it was RAT from the 1980’s playing. Pretty cool..

The Venetian

We stayed at the Venetian Hotel, we wanted to splurge a little and in comparison we think we did pretty good on our choice. https://www.venetian.com

This hotel is one of the staples of Vegas, it’s noted as one of the most romantic places to stay in Vegas..well well, we thought so. When we walked around this lovely place, we stopped outside the Dorsey nightclub entrance and someone famous was there, as there were camera men following people around. The entrance to this place has approx 10 claw footed bathtubs and there’s girls sitting in the tubs surrounded by flower pedals – just to look at as your gandering by.

The food in vegas is truly exceptional. Everything tastes good, and you need to shell out, it’s not cheap but it’s worth it the value is attractive.

Did we shop? Not really, like I said earlier bought a T-shirt, well a hoodie from the MJ Show.

Jeff and I are all about the food and drinks. We spent quite a bit of time (2 full nights) downtown on Fremont Street

The Vegas Experience

https://vegasexperience.com

There ziplines, running the length of this area approx 2 – 3 city blocks above everyones heads, you hear them wizzing by and screaming – what a rush this would be. This is Vegas. Above the Ziplines is a dome shaped LED light show and display, every 20 or 30 mins all of the hotels and stores go dark and this LED display lights up the night by performing a light show to music above your heads – it’s incredible.

As we walk along we come upon this small art gallery with a variety of unique items. there is a soldier combat fighter, and other items that don’t really impact me as much as this totally intense piece of artwork: approx 30’ or more tall, towering metal, robot doll, dress with a halter tutu and panties on (basically your are standing below her say beside her feet) her tutu style of skirt is kind of slightly blowing in the wind, she’s part of an abstract yet grouped objects within a small intimate exhibit, outside, surround by a picket fence. She’s connected by cogs and pull lies along with metal contraptions, her eyes are OPEN big and wide, she has short almost a china doll hair cut. and She’s still like a statue but you know she might just come to life. We find a small table at the restaurant just beside this “art gallery’ and proceed to order a couple of drinks, we’re sitting outside at a small table for to along the perimeter small fence of this neat restaurant. The hosts/and hostesses are really inviting and entice you to come in and enjoy. There’s a man with a really large dog, sitting just around the corner from where I’m sitting, he’s bellied up to the bar, his large dog is laying down, with his broad heavy collar on, it’s extremely fluffy and looks tired, he precedes to laydown with his tale just shy of where all the foot traffic is walking by…any minute someone will step on his tale – it never happens. We hang out at this place for a prolonged time just taking in the experience. The Vegas Experience. 

I see something move above me kind of around the corner of the bar where the dogs tale is still safe, and here’s the giant little doll, she’s moving. and Blinking her eyes, she’s lip syncing to some song in the background and moving her feet, walking like but strangely not making any traction. I feel sort of intimidated like a peek into an unusual episode of chucky maybe I’m not sure. This what I’m seeing tho isn’t normal, large robotic baby dolls are not supposed to do this. Everyone is watching though and it’s like a car crash you cannot look away…doesn’t last ling, the pulleys pulling and the metal gliding, the arms and eyes moving, then the music slows down, the eyes close and it’s all like it was before it started…

Clothespin invitation to The Laundry Room – Vegas Style

While sitting there we got to know our waiter, Mike, great guy and very easy going…he’s been here a while, know the chaos that ensues on a Friday and Saturday night down town old Vegas, he’s not really phased by any of it – takes it in stride…he squats beside our table (like an Earl’s waiter stance) and removes a small clothespin from the pocket of his blue shirt, then places said clothespin onto the corner of our bill…on this pin has a phone number etched into it, or sorted burnt into the wood of this tiny messenger. The number reads 702-701-14xx… Mike proceeds to tell us that this place he works at owns a Speak Easy club called The Laundry Room nestled within the Commonwealth an old hotel turned swanky cocktail bar in the fremont downtown district in Vegas. This is an invite only place, you cannot walk in off the streets or wait in line, or pay a cover charge. This place people know about by the people who have gone there before or rumours.

First, you need to text the number on the clothespin, dress appropriately, make a reservation be 15 minutes early, then you go to the address and meet at the red door, a man will greet you – yes he did, You walk into pre-prohibition era design that is incredible, this my friends is the waiting area – the night we were there it was empty but completely furnished just waiting for the party to start…you tic tic wait, admire the paintings one of a small clown boy with a red hat and oversized eyes and face…almost pouting, the tuffets scattered around the floor are inviting to sit on, the old fashioned base board heaters that are holding up the long elegant table as ends…the walls covered in decoupage of black and white individual photographs. and you wait. I’m pretty sure part of the waiting is to build excitement. It worked.

A door opens up and a mysterious women comes through dressed in approx 1920’s to greet us by name and review the rules with us…no phones, no loud talking, keep to your own table, enjoy yourselves. We go through this first door (which is blended into the decoupage wall) and into a man trap type of transfer – then we enter the room, it’s quaint, very small, this was the old laundry room.

They cleaned Liberachie’s ties and Elvis’ be-dazzled suites back in the day – 17 people is all that it fits…no pictures allowed inside this place as…it’s an unrevealed place, we asked around, people have heard of it, people have received the phone number from their friends to check out and people have been invited like us with a little clothespin, holding firm to the corner of the bill…our curiosity was piqued and captured, great enjoyable evening, 3 hours felt like minutes, the pricing was average and the experience was like non other.

In Vegas there’s a Farris wheel that has a revolution one every half hour, you can see the entire strip while encapsulated within it’s tiny pods, it runs continuously, each pod holds 40 people…so let’s say you each weigh 120 pounds, that’s 4800 pounds of people it holds plus everything else – you pay your ticket and you get unlimited drinking with Bar tender for the entire ride, DJ etc. all in! – we didn’t try it but we saw it and checked it out, WOW this is spectacular.

When you go to Vegas you are stimulated by the sheer magnitude of the hotels, architecture, lighting and stimulating surroundings – all your senses are assaulted continuously. The creativity around you is dazzling.

Thanks for listening to the episode today just a few things I wanted to share with you about our trip and experience in this great city. Have you been, what was your favourite part – do you love or hate Vegas, tell me send me a note about your Vegas story? A friend of mine recently says she hates it but…I bet she hasn’t gone with the right people. The people make Vegas and Vegas changes the people. You’re out of your shell, you’re trying things, your open to the extraordinary, this way you have the Vegas Experience.

———

Credits to Pictures taken by me…and Jeff Moss – with his amazing eye at capturing the experience.

Want to check out the video I took of the first point of entry into the cocktail room at the Commonwealth before we entered The Laundry Room, check it out on my website…very cool

The podcast is written and recorded by me, Valerie Moss, thank you to London Moss for the Intro and Outtro, Jason Schnell for Tacam 40 my theme music. The GarageBand tunes I chose for this Vegas themed episode are:

  • English Number 07
  • Helicopter Engine
  • Tattoo- originally recorded when in Vegas
  • Record Player Static
  • Club Dance Beat 063
  • Arena Crowd Cheer
  • 44 Street Medium
  • Lounging Piano
  • Classy Change Layers
  • Zipper Bass
  • Techno Synth 02
  • Wind Up Toy Topper
  • Wide Eyed Beat 02
  • Recollection Pluck Melody
  • Colossus Vox Patterns
  • Soul Vocal Topper
  • Telephone Number Change
  • Dialings Echo
  • 44th Street Long
  • Clock Wind Up
  • Bassa Lounger Medium
  • Club Tropicana Topper

Merry Christmas – vvp31

Merry Christmas, love Valerie

Welcome to A special Christmas episode about a girl who grew up in a small town east of Jasper Alberta who now lives in and loves Calgary. What or who brought you to Calgary, why do you love it here?

Once upon a time there was a was a brown haired girl with green eyes who lived in a town with a quaint population. Her mom and dad were also both from this pulp and paper town. Surrounded by coal mines and mountains.

She, this small girl loved Christmas. Her large praternal family consisted of Auntie Cher, cousin David, Uncle Ron, Auntie Barb and cousins Abby and Katy, Uncle Derek Auntie Marg a x cousins Travis Russel and Jolene as well as uncle Murray (RIP) Auntie Laurie and cousin Kyle. And My dad, Michael comes next with me, Valerie and my older Sister Lisa. Then would be Uncle Darcy (RIP) and next comes Auntie Maureen, Uncle Al and their boys Ryley, Davis and Vaughan. Yes this is my family on my dads side. Amazing isn’t it.?  What’s does your dads side look like? How many people in your family on your praternal side? And this is before we all had babies…

We would head out to Folding mountain resort every year! This resort was owned and operated by my grandparents for many years and previous to that by my grandmas cousin. Nestled in the heart of a mountain names, Folding Mountain-a mountain that folded over a lake many crisp years before as well as other Rocky Mountains it boasts to this day a campground and cabins and condos  just East of the jasper gates in Jasper national and historic park.

There was very rarely a sharing of the holidays my gramma Swain won her family most of the time. Her family came home for Christmas. All the kids. Since my dad was a single parent she didn’t have to share us and I was thankful for that I think because she had mostly boys they all showed up for Christmas to be with their mother and of course my grandpa.

We would arrive a day or two before the specialist day and walk into a country home smelling of pies, all kinds of roasting foods like: of course the traditional Turkey and fixings as well as, other family favourites like sour krout soup and sausage stew, perogi and cabbage rolls, enchiladas, and abundance of salads to include traditional lettuce and sort of bean mixture. Plus an incredible array of desserts.

Funny story, when my dad and his brothers were young, remember  how many of them there were? My grandma would do her Christmas baking way in advance and freeze everything in the basement deep freeze. The boys would go in a sneak slabs of her Nanaimo bars and cakes in the night…the stash and supplies were mush skinnier when the time came for Christmas dinner celebrations…hmmm I wonder if Grandma actually minded.

Upon arrival all these families would show up in troves kids and food and pets lol along with presents and all the banter ‘oh Maureen I bought this dish back  I borrowed’ and Oh Michael here’s these pictures you wanted and ‘oh hi Auntie is so good to see you’ this took most of the day-evening just saying hi’s to everyone. Then the grandkids, Lisa, Travis, Valerie, Russell, David, Jolene, Abby, Katy, Kyle would go hunting with Grandpa Swain for the best Christmas tree, a real tree, picked right in our backyard, up the mountain. The tree could barely fit through the door. the decorating would ensure and Christmas was well underway…

You see our family was big and people were scattered all around the country. We had aunties and uncles in Ontario and British Columbia as well as when my family moved us to Saskatchewan and family in Edmonton. But we would all descend into our home town where we were all raised on this snowy snow capped mountain resort that was familiar and special to each one of us in a different or similar way.

this is my dads side

Her maternal side also lived in this area just East in a small town, still nestled in the Rocky Mountains, this is a town where People did not lock their doors the parents teach at the schools and work at the hospitals and for the town. This town started me, it showed me trust where kids played freely in the streets till past dark and it was safe! My mom Candace with us two girls she was the eldest with her husband Doug, auntie Janet comes next, then comes Auntie Kathy with Uncle Randy (RIP) – and her three girls Amie, Shannon and Tracey and the next comes Auntie Lana with her husband Dan and the last but not least is Uncle Glen and his long time girlfriend Jackie with their Son Jarvys. When we would arrive at Auntie Kathy’s she would always have some sewing project started, I’m making 7 matching pyjama bottoms – what Auntie it’s like two days before Christmas, she’d laugh and say I know…let’s get at it! I would come to expect these last minute late nights with Auntie always squeezing in one finally special gift and wrapping presents into the wee hours – this was Christmas.

and this is my moms side

Many Christmass’ were spent in Folding Mountain and Hinton Alberta, being at this place and the next, being surrounded by family here and there. The extra people who come to town are always welcome at this family or that. We have roots in this place, generations grew up here. Can you imagine being from a family that has 7 Aunts and Uncles on one side and 5 on the other plus all the cousins… it’s pretty fantastic.

These memories I hold very dear. Life changes and people grow up, move out, and spread out, I have 2nd cousins now and small people that call me auntie, my daughter has her own cousins and second cousins that are almost the same age. We have traditions yes, we have family around yes but nothing like when I was a kid…Christmas magic is different now, I setup my tree with my daughter and husband who always tops the tree with the angel. My mom and her husband live over there and my dad and his wife live the other way. My Sister and her new life live somewhere close-ish bye. It’s not the same. This is my new Christmas with my special people, it’s small and quaint but it’s all mine. I’m grateful for my life, we’ve made choices together, our family traditions are blossoming and our life is good. I’m humble and grateful. My husbands family is close by and we will see them, happy for my daughter to see her grandparents, Auntie Colleen and my nieces as well.

What are your traditions, what do they look like? Who do you miss this time of year, I’ve lost some family as you’ve heard who have you lost and how has this changed you? We tend to think about these people at this time of year, that special photo or blanket that you keep for this time of year. Where makes you feel the Christmas magic? for me, special ornaments I hang on the tree and recipes I’ve now made for years – just for this time of year.

Merry Christmas to all my family and friends, near and far, thank you for impacting my life and spreading your life lessons and nostalgic upon me. Your impressions have lasted and I’m truly thankful to have them.

Songs for this show are provided by London Moss, Oh Chistmas Tree and Jingle Bells and digging out our Christmas Carol book that holds our little Friday George..thanks to Jeff for adding the whistleing in the background, even tho I’m home with a cold I wanted to get this recorded and ready for the Christmas. As you can likely hear in my voice I’m a sensitive person and even more this time of year as I’m sure like so many of you. Hug your chosen few close and enjoy the moment capture it in recordings and songs for future people to enjoy. In this episode I chose the appropriately named Trading places beat 02 from the generations I’ve listed out and Lobby conversation that truly sounded like the family depended upon my former Christmas home.

Wishing all this next generation of Swains and LaPortes a very merry Christmas..

Jonathan, Makalay, Liam, Parker, Faith and Grace, London, and Landon, Ryley, Davis and Vaughan, Jasmin and Dylan, Avery and Graham, Landon and Jayden, Lilly, Grace and Taya, Owen and Winston and more to come…make your own memories, remember the ones your had and will continue to have.

 

SiGns SIGns evERywhERe is SignS – vvp30

Todays episode is all about Signs and what I as a PM/Site Superintendent  have to navigate daily to get our objectives met. I’ve worked on on larger signage projects. I am the boots on the ground, the service delivery in construction this person, this girl that takes the hits in the field, the main contact once it’s produced – I’m this person. Today is a story about my job, my project navigating skills my position as a female in this world of construction and a project that changed my life for ever.

8 million dollar job
Signs Signs, Way-Finding Signs

For those of you from Calgary I was the lead superintendent on the IFP (international Facilities project) at the Calgary International Airport. – for the signage installation program. This is the new international portion of the airport which opened Halloween night Oct 31, 2016. I was there this very night watching the first flight of passengers make their way through the terminal, what a moment. They were heading somewhere tropical and I was hoping the signage showed them their way.

This project started in Dec 2014, with 6000 signs to be installed. Starting with tidy little phases for completion to full-on mass change orders, adjustments, site instructions, more changes, adding to the sheer volume of delays. Taking the project from 6 – 9 months to 3 years. CCNs (contemplate change notice) – this is when a change is suggested, requesting estimates from all of the sub trades. The debate ensues if this is going to move ahead…some of these don’t get approved for several months (sometimes 9 months but you need to make sure you know about this change in the future for when your estimate is approved). This means if they are going to close up the ceiling or add/remove a wall you need to know about it – SO you can designate your area that you need your sign to go into or submit an RFI (request for information) as your scope has now changed – guess what there’s no wall!

Way-finding Signage, is the type of signage we installed into the airport way finding – this means signage specifically placed for people to find their way. We didn’t design the sign, we didn’t design the content, we didn’t pick the location as to where this is to be installed. Our scope, to build the sign as per approved drawings and to install the signage as per approved placement that is provided to us – that is all! Sound, simple enough?

There’s a process…we receive a signage package called IFC – Issued for Construction, within this package the signage is specified, there’s a drawing that is provided for each sign type (there was approx 170 sign types, we’ll get to these in a moment). This drawing indicates the material, the shape, the size how’s it mounted and a code for this which is something like A/B/C/D etc this means the type of signage like directional, identifiers like for amenities.

Then it’s our job as the signage company and to produce this to make a technical shop drawing that will be stamped by an engineer, it’s also our job to make an artwork package based on the artwork specifications that will need to be submitted to the consultant on the project (this person is hired by the owner).

The shop drawing and artwork specifications then get submitted to the GC – general contractor. The GC then submits to all parties that will have influence over our drawings, this could be another trade like the electrical or data sub-contractors, the clients engineers, the consultants, the architects – we wait, tic tic for all of these stakeholders to review and submit back to the GC, then they finalize and provide us the approved drawings. OR they provide us the drawings that note: re and re which means revise and resubmit. This process continues over and over again until all of the shop drawings are submitted to the GC and respective people. In the case of the IFP project we had over 170 shop drawings to submit as well as artwork packages.

The shop drawings are typical, this sign is installed in this fashion, like wall mounted or floor mounted. The artwork package is a little bit different we need a document called a scheduled which provide the content for each sign at each location. So if there’s 300 of sign type b there’s 300 artwork layouts for this sign as each one of these signs is different based on the areas it’s installed in. Clear?

This is a long process.

When we were submitting for the artwork portion of the signage for this particular airport project – all of the alarm bells started ringing. Why? Because the owner and the consultants were still debating the artwork. What?! I know this sounds crazy but it’s the truth. They weren’t sure if certain pieces of content should be included or a symbol should look a certain way.

So, we needed to make a decision as a team. Do we produce the signage without artwork, this means that it will be only be considered half done. Plus sort of around this time frame, the changes started pouring into the project, this effected us being the last trade in sequence we came after every other trades changes were approved by a financial standpoint and completed so we can get into this area confirm our location/position for the signage and proceed.

Who were some of the other trades onsite? When you think of construction you likely think of framers, borders, insulation, electrical – yep you are right, but there is also the power and data trade, ceiling trade, walls can be many materials like drywall, phenolic panels, glass, diamond mesh plating and more. There’s also trades like coring, welding, flooring, carpet, masonry, and don’t forget about painting – did you know some steel columns need to have a paint called intumescent? Don’t even get me started. All of these trades and more make up approx 1500 people on this job site. There was approx 12 women and I was one of them, pink hat an all. Working with all of these trades was very interesting, I learned a lot, and have a tonne of Fodder for years to come.

Have you heard of a scrum meeting? This is when your group or a group you need to work with has daily meetings to discuss what you are doing, waiting on and who this may effect. This is also to note what you didn’t complete from the previous day and why. Another trade maybe waiting on you and vice versa, I came last for completion, for the most part but the position of my signs required things like power, data, coring (through the floors) as well as plywood backing etc which interrupted other trades…These meetings were daily and for a specific area, constantly introducing the changes that other trades had as well as my own were also discussed at these meetings. Setup as a round table – leading with the superintendent from that specific area worker by worker until we hear from everyone who needs something. This could take a hour or more depending. These meetings were important and trying at the same time.

Comparing drawings from one trade to the next was always an interesting topic – what your drawing doesn’t show this? Playing a game of Janga to get all these pieces to sequence together without falling over or collapsing the schedule, scope, costs was my daily job of delivering and executing this project, with a positive attitude.

My job was to balance all stakeholders, from the Architect (should he be phoning my personal cell to discuss changes that are coming). To the sub-trades (what your sign is moving again based on this change order? I didn’t get a copy of this). To the general contractor – (when are your signs coming – oh don’t you remember you approved this change order, they will be delayed to capture this change). To the painters – (sorry Valerie you can’t install your signs because we have a change to re-paint this wall) to the coring guys – Valerie your sign can’t go here as planned because there’s a giant beam in the way of the cored locations so now it doesn’t abide by engineering).

This was the job that changed me, this is the project that I grew up in, this is the job that ended careers – once the job progressed to a certain point all of these workers were no longer needed, workers would be up on ladders doing their thing and it would be pay day – supervisors would be delivering pay stubs and good bye notes a the same time – done! People retired early because this was their last big job, the last feather in their cap, for me it was my first one!

7000 signs 200 sign types produced, shipped and installed, 168 Change Orders Executed, 1200 deficiencies solved, the job is complete!

This project was the biggest construction job in Alberta’s history and the largest at the time in Northern American starting at 2 billion. I was there for 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017. This is the project that taught me what the word deficiencies truly meant, I had 1200 of them to solve. This job taught me what it meant to spar with men! And trades, architects, contractors, stand my ground, reflect personalities. If they are rude be rude, if they are professional be professional – this worked for me and continues to work, thanks Steve for this incredible tip and great advice. This job taught me about really hard work, business IS personal and one of my biggest challenges came from another female who to had to make her stance, I still haven’t gotten over this one.

I’m contented about this opportunity. Being part of the remarkable venture for Calgary, Alberta Canada and this IFP certificate for completion – not an actual certificate but a lessons learned never to be forgotten place in my professional career position.

What’s the job or project that changed you – how did it adjust you to your core – why are you different because of it? What happened? Tell me, text/email me valerie@valeriemoss.ca and share your story. We all go through things like this in life that once that thing or event happens, we are not the same in our profession and maybe personal world anymore.

Thanks for listening to the show today, this was a story I pondered over on how to write to share with you, what I do as a PM – ServiceDelivery – in the construction world.  I hope you enjoyed this segment into my daily life and my career over the last 4 years.

The intro and outro for this episode is recorded by London Moss, the theme  music is Tascam 40 by Jason Schnell and some medley tunes I chose for this construction themed podcast are reflective of the content within.

  • Spooky Night Synth
  • Lobby Conversation
  • Pop Changes Layers 01
  • Drummer
  • Beat Machine (Anton)
  • Boomer FX 01
  • Construction Bot Topper
  • Record Player Scratching
  • Clock Wind up
  • Alarm Clock Bell
  • Waiting Room Topper
  • Cheering Crowd Studio
  • Skyline piano