A Money Coach in Canada

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2090171272_4ce1516f42Photo Credit: preciouskhyatt This is a photo outside my work building, on a warmer day.

H-Frack -30 is cold! Those of you who have lived in Edmonton, Winnipeg, Minnesota, I bet you know what I’m talking about. The kind of cold where you unconsciously walk-run. The kind of cold where you go a block out of your way just to cut through a mall to get the quick reprieve you need. The kind of cold where your forehead feels seized up, your eyes glisten and your legs get numb before you realize you’re cold. For a brief moment I even considered walking through a car’s exhaust just to warm my legs!

My darling daschunds refuse to even step outside. Full stop.

Thankfully, I was gifted with a beautiful fur coat. I wouldn’t normally wear fur for all the usual reasons, but this is something very special. It was handmade by an Inuit woman in Tuktoyuktuk back in the 40s or 50s. It’s stunning, and it keeps me toasty. I feel honoured to wear it.

Yep, it’s cold. But then there’s the northern lights. The vast silence of miles of snowy land. The brave, brave ravens, those characters, who fluff up and squawk at you from the lamp posts which warm their feet. There’s lots to love despite the cold.

Many things have struck me in my first four days, but none more than how active this community is. How’s this for my social schedule?

Saturday, my first evening – coffeehouse fundraiser for Amnesty International
Monday – open-to-public planning meeting for Yellowknife’s 75th Anniversary celebration this summer
(remind me to tell you the stories of the first barges of the spring bearing beer, back in the 40s).
Tuesday – shrove Tuesday community pancake supper at the United Church
Thursday – cinema politica, “screening truth to power”
Friday – live concert, baroque music

politics. arts. food. It’s all good 🙂

If the rest of the week’s events are like the events I’ve gone to so far, there will be a healthy turnout to these events.

So, that’s my first post from Yellowknife, NWT!

My next posts will go back to money coaching, and my header image will change, but I wanted to relay my initial impressions.

Readers: Any Canada-Cold stories to share? How did you survive?

At the Edmonton Int’l Airport enroute to Yellowknife, and want to give a quick shoutout to Westjet.

Anyone with pets will understand my anxiety – my 2 goofy, beloved weinerdogs were travelling with me in a crate, plus I had 3 big suitcases, plus 2 carry-on bags. Since Westjet and First Air don’t have an agreement, I would have to collect my luggage then check in again with First Air- with a 4.5 hour wait here between flights. Of the entire move, this little segment was the most anxiety making.

Would the dogs be freaked out? Well treated?
And how was single Nancy going to navigate 4.5 hours, 2 dogs, 5 pieces of luggage and a dog-crate?

Westjet staff were fabulous without me even asking them. My dogs were well-cared for, with an attendant waiting by the crate for me to pick them up. Somehow word had gotten out, and I kid you not, another westjet employee had collected all my baggage and put it on a cart. The employee then accompanied me to First Air (making kind commentary about the cuteness of the weinerdogs, always a good way to win my heart), ensured I got my luggage checked in to First Air even though it was 3 hours early, and warmly wished me a good flight up to Yellowknife.

Is that above-and-beyond, or above-and-beyond?

Westjet, thanks for knocking my socks off!

1451038457_e9f2a06106Photo credit: RBerteig
I remember in my right-wing days smugly stating that if there wasn’t work where a person lived, they should just move to where the jobs were. Just like that. I was young, and had little concept of community, extended family, roots. “Just pick up, and move,” I thought.

This question of moving for work may become increasingly relevant to all of us. As jobs are eliminated and new ones created in new locales, Canadians may need to contemplate uprooting for the sake of a job.

I’m doing it. I’m moving from Vancouver to Yellowknife. The new job is exciting and personally relevant to me, but it’s hard leaving 20 years of experiences and networks, close friendships and my gastown neighbourhood (not to mention my little loft itself!).

So readers: here’s a question for you: Under what circumstances would you consider a move, for a job? Would you ever do it? Have you done it? Regrets or glad you did so?

Books yesterday, other items today.

A few items I don’t want to take up north.   It’s yours for the asking, except I do need a commitment that you’ll come get it either tomorrow (Fri), over the weekend (Feb 14, 15) or very early next week.

Wood bookshelf, deep brown paint.   Decent shape, solid wood (not ikea – this will last and last).  Could use another lick of paint but not bad.    48H,  46 W, 9 D    4 (built in) shelves, including bottom.    Sorry, no photo.

condo-022-desktop-resolution5 Drawer stainless steel filing cabinet, piles of character.  I hand scrubbed it with steel wool to get to the stainless steel, but the fronts of the drawers are still beige.  Solid piece of furniture – would look esp. great somewhere funky/industrial.  Note:  I haven’t looked at the back in 3 years.  Not sure of condition, but should be fine.  68inches H,  28 Deep, 15 W

Night Table (or whatever they’re called.  The things by your bed you put books (et alia)  in, and lamps on)

Oak.  Mid-brown stain.   24W,   16D,    22H.      Sorry, no photo.

Martini Glasses – 6, Glass.

Water Fountain, Indoor – pier 1 imports.  Really pretty bronze/Mexican motif.  Think Pier 1 style (it is). 12 inch diameter.

TV.  JVC, 13 inch, the old fashioned kind.  Remember those?  Good for those who want one, but without it dominating the room.

Piano Books, Royal Conservatory, various grades and Theory Rudiments (basically unused).  Collections of Elton John sheet music, Andrew Lloyd Weber.   May be convinced to part with the Bach/Beethoven/Chopin books too.

Mac Wireless Keyboard and Mouse (@brianleroux, you were right when you said I’d never use them)

Interested?  tweet me, facebook me a msg, leave a comment or e-mail me at n g z c a (no spaces)  not at hotmail, nor at gmail, but the other oldy but goody  dot com   (sorry to be cryptic.  don’t want robots to spam me)

Canadians, certainly Vancouverites, will likely recall the appalling story of the homeless panhandler who beat and robbed an elderly gentleman who had regularly given him some money, outside Holy Rosary Cathedral.

Here’s the extraordinary update on the story, courtesy of a newsletter from City in Focus:


I was struck by a story in the Vancouver Sun Editorial back in March. A drug crazed homeless man named Darcy, who had been on the streets since dropping out of school in grade 6, attacked and robbed a retired 81-year-old doctor. The attack was videotaped inside the Holy Rosary Cathedral, a downtown church. The victim was a kind gentleman who had often given money to Darcy, a vulnerable individual who was known by many in the congregation because he hung around the building

At this point the doctor and the church had a choice – they could direct their anger at Darcy (and justifiably so!). Prosecuting this chap would be met with great public agreement. The other option (and the one the church members took) was to channel their anger in to a search for understanding and ultimately a constructive way to help this person.  They connected him with a Catholic transition home, Luke 15 House, located in Surrey. By the time of his court appearance, Darcy had been clean for 6 months and was preparing to join the church of the very member he had robbed.

Anger evolved in to courageous choices. The church community stepped up to offer forgiveness and aid to Darcy. But Darcy also had to make a choice to dwell or move forward. Coming from whatever place of pain and dysfunction he resided in, he had the courage to take the opportunity to become healthy and begin the road to “make things as they ought to be.”

It’s a perfect model for us as we face issues in 2009 where we are at a crossroads. Like Holy Rosary Cathedral we may need to choose forgiveness. While like Darcy, many of us may need help to move forward. Whatever our situation is, the important thing is that our anger is not just venting but indignation that propels us to courage. Our frustrations at how things are needs to be a mere stop-over, a motivation point for change.