A Money Coach in Canada

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I don’t want to be all melodramatic and OMG, but living in Yellowknife does have its unique moments.

On Sunday I popped by Yellowknife’s largest grocery store, to discover this:

and this:

Organic skim milk? I couldn’t get *any* milk!

And gas? This, via twitter:
LizHargreaves @tundrabunny just spreading Facebook gossip! @ekda1961 just posted that 1 station still has gas

Here’s what’s going on. There’s one road in and out of Yellowknife and that involves a ferry trip at about 3 hours outside of Yellowknife over an arm of the Great Slave Lake. Usually timing the phase between when it’s too icy to truck stuff over the ferry and when trucks can drive over the iceroad (yes, really) is down to a science. Stores and gas pumps stock up, and some food is chartered in. Usually within a short time, we’re all back on track. This year, mother nature caught us off guard. And we’re kinda stranded for a bit.

Don’t worry. I’ll be fine. But please. Send food.

ps: and of course (!) (of course!) I am in no way comparing this little quirk to places and people who truly have no food, either in an ongoing way or because of an emergency. In fact, why not pop by your local food bank to help folks for whom finding food is a true hardship.

Network Hub (rent by the hour or day)

This is not my office. This is the co-working space, The Network Hub, in Vancouver that I rented during my working-holiday in October. More on it later.

My actual office in Yellowknife is grey. Grey walls, grey carpet and no windows.

It’s a funny thing about offices. When I lived and did business in Vancouver, I rented from Workspace and I was In.Love.With.It. Most interesting thing about it? It wasn’t an office. We all rented… well.. space! There were simple tables we could use, and four small rooms if we needed to meet for an hour, and a coffee bar. But mostly, we rented space. You can get a bit of a sense of it here:
Good Ideas in Media
or here:
Workspace Photo Shoot
or on a busy day (Barcamp. Go look it up if you don’t know what that is. It’s worth knowing!)
BarCamp Vancouver 2007 - 51 - PhotoCamp

Having an office per se soon became meaningless to me. It was far outweighed by the sense of zen and spaciousness and the way in which the open-ness invited collaboration. Offices were a thing of the past to me.

So when I moved up to my new job in Yellowknife and there wasn’t office space available at the time, I didn’t blink an eye. I attempted to continue with my paper-free lifestyle and a clutter-free desk. Except – People.Kept.Asking if Didn’t I have any work? and over time I began to re-associate an office with status. And worry that folks would perceive me as low on the totem pole (a silly construct I’d happily let go of just months earlier!) since I was sans bureau.

Now I have an office. And I hate to admit it, but I think my nose would be out of joint if for any reason I had to give it up. Or move to a cubicle (a fate worse than hell). Even if it is an office, it’s *my* office, grey walls and all.
Do I do better work than I would in a cubicle? I imagine not. But I would feel less a valued part of the team and more a drone without it. And that could well lead to a lower quality of work.

My point is this: our work-spaces inform so very much more than you’d think, don’t they?
Readers – care to share what your work space is like? Do you like it? Does it contribute to working effectively? Does it lead to collaboration or isolation? To what extent is it a status symbol?

And if you are traveling to Vancouver and want a place to try out co-working, I recommend The Network Hub pictured at the top of this post. Lovely, is it not? Oodles of character. The rates are crazy-reasonable and the service is friendly. And if you see my pal Raul, please give him a Hi from Nancy.

Photo Credit: Vanou


I took a taxi from #yvr into downtown Vancouver last evening. The fare came to $38.70. I wrote the total as $43.70 thinking to give the guy a $5 tip. Am I cheap? (I never mean to be.)

I’m asking ’cause I ended up filling it out wrong and the guy had to rewrite it — and he put the total as being $45.70.
I’m not sure if he was being a lyin’, cheatin’ badass taxidriver, or if he transposed some numbers by accident, or figured I had been cheap and was giving me the hint.

What *are* we tipping taxi drivers in Vancouver these days?

Since being once-and-for-all put off the Mass Meat Industry after seeing Food Inc summer ’09, I’ve made an effort to mend my meat-eating ways.

I’ve ordered 1/4 pig and 10 chickens from a free-range organic farm in Alberta. And I committed to learning to fish..
I haven’t made much progress on this. To date: I went fishing with some friends and a guide last summer and literally prayed I woudn’t catch a damn fish and thank God I didn’t although every other person did and at least the guide was very quick at bonking the flopping living things swiftly so they then became very dead but still it was hard to eat the meat even though it had been deliciously panfried over an open fire and everyone else was pretty much having a fish-eating orgy but I wasn’t.

And that’s as far as it went.

So for 2010, when the opportunity arose to learn how to fillet a fish (bring your own knife; dead fish provided) I thought I should take it to the next level.

I learned a few things.

1. It’s easier to eat a fish that looks like this:

Mouth of a jackfish / northern pike

This friends, is what is derisively term a Jackfish, but we prefer to call it Northern Pike. It abounds up here. They are tough-spirited fish, and check out that set of teeth.

2. The steps to filleting a fish are:
a. Cut just behind the gills
b. Cut along the spine, from neck to tail
c. I forget how to get the side of the fish completely off next (I looked away)
d. To skin it, place your knife flat between the skin and the flesh. Keep your knife relatively motionless, but tug the skin towards you. You can cut a hole in the skin to put your thumb through (extra tugging power).

Learning to fillet fish

3. The stomach is apparently a delicacy. (I think I threw up in my mouth a bit) (probably politically incorrect)
Fish (northern pike) stomach

So here’s what money’s done to me: it’s so disconnected me from the primal life-and-death biology of FOOD that even something as basic as fishing and filleting (we’re not talking pretty goldfish here, much less gentle cattle or smart pigs) has me all disoriented. Pathetic!

In contrast, our instructor was completely at ease.

Learning to fillet fish

Do I have any readers who fish?

If so: I wanna know – how did you get past all the squeemish stuff?

Give me a fish and I’ll eat a meal. Teach me to fish and I’ll save a lot of money, eat more healthfully, and live more sustainably. If I can keep it down.

After convincing myself for over a year that handwashing my dishes isn’t bad – and even an opportunity to practice some zen – I’ve given up.  I’m going for a dishwasher.  I’d been eye-ing Danby’s Countertop model and before shelling out the $300 thought I’d do some product review research.

What I found on youtube was the most New-York-ish, what-I-needed-to-know review I’ve ever encountered.  I could only *wish* all reviews were this forthright, funny (headsup: there is one vulgar moment in it part way through) and used the same kind of real terminology (this thingy. WhateverThisIs) you and I use.  My favourite part is when the vacuum cleaner comes into the Danby Dishwasher review.  It is SO what I can imagine myself having to finangle.

And if you don’t laugh at some point … I don’t know what to tell you.

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