26 April 2006

Natuzzi, seriously

After last Sunday's Sun Run and dimsum with friends, Ed and I headed out to Coquitlam to return the swatches we took home and possibly, to order the sofa and loveseat that we liked. (see this post)

During the drive to Coquitlam, Ed and I were working out our negotiation strategy and how much discount we wanted to get. Based on what Yvette and Brian told us about their shopping experience at this store, it’s possible to lower the price by as much as 15%. I’m not a very good haggler but I felt better because we had a plan.

I’m happy to report that we managed to lower the price by 15%! We got the Natuzzi set in micro-fibre (we chose a mushroom type of colour), instead of leather. Unfortunately, with cats in the house, leather was not really an option. We get our sofa and loveseat in 4 to 5 months. I guess they have to go grow the trees they need to build the thing in Italy.

We are officially Natuzzi owners. I feel so grown up. No more Ikea, just Natuzzi. Seriously!

23 April 2006

Sun Run

After 12 weeks of training, I’m finally doing it for real. My first 10K run, ever! How exciting. I am nervous because I didn’t get a full night’s sleep because we attended Rosanne’s wedding last night. But I’m sure adrenaline will get me through. Plus the sun is shining bright; the weather could not have been more perfect.

Ed and I meet up with the rest of the Navarik crew in our office, then we make our way downtown. We managed to scoot in (more like scale the wire fence) just east of Burrard St. Over 50,000 people are participating! There are people lined up along Georgia St until the eye can see. It is an amazing sight.

At 9am we start inching our way towards the start. I try to catch a glimpse of my co-worker, Derek, whose band, The Neurotics, is playing on a tall platform just before the start line. As we approach the start line, Ed gives me a kiss and says “see you at BC Place” then runs off. I turn on my iPod and I wish both him and me a good race.

The first part is really easy! It’s all downhill towards Denman St and it was a good warm-up. Having so many people around me, passing me, is a little unnerving. As we head into Stanley Park, the run becomes work - just what I expected it to be. I keep breathing steadily, swinging my arms comfortably, just pacing myself. I try to enjoy my surroundings especially through Stanley Park and English Bay but it’s difficult to do so. I am watching for slower runners and walkers ahead of me while trying not to be an obstacle for those behind me who are faster. Plus there’s the nagging “pace yourself, it’s a long run” thought in my head.

I am running along when I see the 3 km sign. I check my timer and see that I am on pace to finish under my target of 65 mins. That is a big boost. But I can’t help but think “3 km? That’s it? I’m not even halfway yet?!?” Arg!

The climb up Hornby St and Burrard Bridge is where I slow down quite a bit. I do my old lady run - little steady steps - to keep my heart rate steady during the uphill run. I just don’t want to burn out. We reach the end of the bridge and get onto 4th Ave and I realize I have to run all the way to Cambie Bridge. Ouch! That’s when the mental battle starts. “I can walk for 1 minute, I’m sure that is fine”. “No, just keep running. Don’t walk!”. Back and forth my thoughts go, like tennis players hitting the ball from one end and back. I fight the urge to stop and I keep swinging my arms, urging my legs to keep going, too. Keep breathing, I remind myself. And then a man in a fat ballerina sumo wrestler type costume passes me. Great, just the boost I need right now. I keep checking my watch. 20 mins left; 15 mins left. I keep wondering if I’m going going to hit my target time. I really have no clue if I’m on pace or not.

I make it to Cambie Bridge and surprisingly, running up the bridge is not as hard as I thought it is going to be. I paced myself well. Then I see the 9km sign. I check my watch and I have around 8 minutes left on my timer. Oh yeah! I’m going to make it! I push myself to pick up the pace. Down the bridge then across the finish line. Check timer. 62:29! Woohoo! I did it! 2 mins 31 seconds below my target time. Yay! I’m so proud of myself. I can’t help but have a big smile of my face.

Ed did the race in 51:24. That is a good time and I’m really happy for him.

I am so glad I did the Sun Run. Getting into running has its difficulties but all in all, the last 12 weeks have been very rewarding. I can run 10km without passing out and still feel pretty close to normal the next day. Very cool indeed!

Everyone in our Team Navarik did really well too. Kevin finished in 42 minutes! That’s insane! But he’s also 26 years old. hehehehe I’m very proud of everyone who participated.

Will I keep running? Yeah, I’m pretty sure I will. I think this warrants a reward, though. Like a new pair of running shoes, perhaps???

20 April 2006

Think about it

More changes in Navarik. Dono is taking a break from his duties as CFO and will be heading back to university to obtain a degree that he didn't get to finish 14 years ago. He did three years in UBC then went off to work in the accounting field. Dono is one of the founders of Navarik and I've been working with him since Aug 2000.

When he told me the other day of his plans, I was both surprised and not at the same time. Last October, when the decision was finalized to proceed with hiring a new CEO, everyone of us in the executive team was asked to think about what role we want to have in Navarik. And bigger than that, we were asked to think about what we actually want to be doing.

The previous five years have all been about survival. All of us have taken on roles that needed filling, not because we necessarily wanted the roles but because it needed to be done. My different roles in Navarik have certainly not been due to any grand career plan. I just always stepped in where there was a need to lead and take charge of things. Because taking charge is what I naturally and usually do, especially at work. I have always felt an ownership over Navarik and what we were building that I felt compelled to act and help in any way I can.

But now, with the new and more mature Navarik actually becoming a reality, I was being asked to stop and take stock of what I really want to be doing. I am in the enviable position of being able to articulate what I want.

“Think about it” sounds so easy but really, it’s not. There are always so many things to distract me - work, deadlines, staff issues, chores, errands, home life, my cats. Name it, it’s a distraction. And sometimes I think I do know what I want but a week later, I think I want something else.

I think the biggest distration is this - with change comes anxiety. And uncertainty. And sometimes, it’s just easier to not think about it. Just let things be.

So when Dono made a decision regarding what he wants to do at this stage in his life, I felt just a tad envious. I also felt very happy and excited for him. I felt sad, too. Dono and I have worked together for a number of years, we’ve become good friends, and I will miss having him around.

As for me, I know that I have to make a decision soon. Do I stay where I am? Or do I go for a change? What role do I want? Where does my passion lie?

I guess I have some more thinking to do.

15 April 2006

Hanging up the skates, for now

Last Wednesday, my hockey team got eliminated in the first round of our playoffs. We had an excellent regular season, even going on an 18-game winning streak. Then we started to not play well and lose our groove; we ended the season on a 4-game losing streak. Doesn’t bode well for the playoffs. Sure enough, we got eliminated in the first round. It was disappointing but all in all, it was still a good season and I’m quite happy with how I played throughout the season. Last night, especially, it was important that I play well. Mainly because I had decided when the playoffs started that I would be taking a break from hockey after this year. I don’t want to use the word retire - it just sounds so definite. All that is certain at this point in time is I can’t see myself returning for another season come this winter.

It’s been a good run, though. I started playing league hockey in 1998 when I joined a novice team called the Roxy Rockettes. Yes, very tacky name but we were sponsored by The Roxy. Then I joined a team called Hurricanes and we were together for a few years. I made good friends while on that team. The first few years, I was so into hockey. I remember telling Lizza that I can’t picture not playing hockey, ever. I was almost obsessed. I was getting better and better every season. I was climbing up the divisions. I played year round - winter and spring seasons. I regularly went to public skating to work on my skating. I went to hockey school, hockey camp, practices. Name it, I signed up for it. I watched NHL games to study how they played positionally. I even had a hockey net in my apartment so I can practice shooting while watching TV. Did I mention that I was really into hockey? Totally loved everything about it.

And I still do, just in a more subtle way. I can’t devote much time to it to get better. When I got to Div 2, playing with a team called Coyotes, I realized that to get better I had to spend a lot more time and energy to hockey. Due to a combination of many things, I decided that I was not going to pursue it. I was going to play hockey... just for fun. To be honest, it was frustrating. I have since realized that what makes a sport or any pursuit enjoyable for me is the process of improving my skills. Getting better made it fun. Not getting better was just frustrating.

But being on the ice was still one of my favourite things so I kept playing. But now, it’s time to stop. For now. Who knows? I may feel differently come September. I don’t think I will but we’ll see.

10 April 2006

More shopping

Ed and I went to Coquitlam yesterday to do more furniture shopping. We spotted this sofa in the Natuzzi showroom. Very comfortable, clean lines - we quite liked it! So hard to pick "the one" though because we end up liking something in every store we go into. Sigh... I need a decorator to just tell us which one to get.

8 April 2006

Double celebration

Group pic
Originally uploaded by Liezel.
To celebrate my sister Lory's birthday and our anniversary (we got married on my sister's birthday), my mom treated us to a delicious dinner at Mad Greek in Richmond. Thanks, Ma!

7 April 2006

Should we buy it?

Ed and I spent our Sunday afternoon running errands. The main to do was to order our fireplace mantle. The other to do was to check if an Ikea frame would fit a poster we bought at the National Gallery of Art last October.

We went to Ikea first but couldn’t find parking so we decided to head to The Finishing Touch instead. But as we left Ikea, I noticed a sofa store called Take a Seat across the street. Since we are looking for new furniture for our living room, we decided to go in and check it out. We ended up liking a leather sofa. We weren’t even shopping for leather sofas! Because we have cats, we have been advised not to get leather because the cats’ nails dig into it when they jump off. But somehow inspite of our earlier decision not to buy leather, there we were checking out this leather sofa from Italy.

Ed and I gave it the ultimate test - can we sleep on this comfortably? Lie down on your back, curl up on your side. Comfy? Unfortunately, it was very, very comfortable. Darn.

It’s on sale - 20% off. It’s priced very reasonably. It’s made in Italy (that means it’s well made, right???) and we can choose the colour we want. Should we buy it??? What if I get sick of the design after a few months? What if leather just sucks when it comes to cats? I wish I had a decorator who would just tell me what to buy.

Ed and I live in our living room. We watch TV, eat, work, read, sleep, play with our cats in our living room. I guess comfort should be the deciding factor. Besides, I just want the furniture to last from 8 to 10 years. I’m pretty sure I would outgrow this style by then and would want something new. That outlook does remove some pressure from the commitment of buying furniture.

Well, to satisfy my need to shop and compare, Ed and I will be hitting the stores this weekend. If in the end, this sofa is still the one we like, then we’ll go ahead and order it. Maybe I should just hire a decorator!