Monday, August 31, 2009

Updating: Intro, Map Town, Quaker life

Hallo! Hi! Saluton!

It's been eight months since the last entry in this blog, and in case anyone is wondering, I'm still alive, and I do have got lots to talk about... it's just that during the past eight months life has been so full of adventures (ok, would you believe: work) that it's been really difficult finding time to share via this blog. Now before I start sharing thoughts about everyday events again, it seems sensible to bring readers up-to-date. I'm going to do this in three sections. First (today), I'm going to write a few paragraphs in English about what's been happening at MapTown and about my activities as a Quaker. Second (hopefully tomorrow), I will post a description of my Esperanto activities... in Esperanto, of course. Finally, I will attempt a description of my Schlaraffia activities in German.

Over the past eight months, my work at Map Town has become increasingly onerous. This is not so much because business has been booming - like most retail businesses in Canada, we have been affected by the recession so sales are down compared to last year. Slower sales, however, have resulted in staff reductions: part-timer Chris has laid off in October, continuing summer student Dean was laid off in November, and full time employee Dan was laid off in December. Furthermore, Ami, who has been looking after our wholesale division (Map Connection) for the past two years went on maternity leave in January (legally, she can demand her job back within a year of leaving, but it doesn't look like she's in a hurry to come back), and accounts supervisor Mona retired at the end of May. Ami's going on leave has had the biggest impact on my life, because I was tapped to fill Ami's boots ... while still doing a lot of my work for the retail side of the business, including ordering and receiving most of the travel maps and guide books. My new responsibilities include ordering and selling the Canadian aeronautical publications (new VNC and VTA editions as well as the cyclical IFR publications) as well as filling orders for all the wholesale customers - this includes filling enormous orders for Mountain Equipment Coop -, answering phone calls for Map Connection, and sifting through piles of spam coming to our email address for orders; this increased computer time is partly responsible for the silence on this blog - some people are apparently stimulated by computing at work to compute at home, but I'm not like that: the more computer interaction required at my workplace, the less inclined I am to mess around with a computer at home. Now don't me wrong: I still enjoy my work at Map Town, and taking on responsibility for Map Connection has presented new, interesting challenges. And I don't mind working hard: it's just that work has become more stressful, and working harder for the same pay isn't really very satisfying. Of course, I am grateful to still have a job - so many people I know have lots their jobs this past year, among them my wife Maria, my stepdaughter Agnieszka and my brother-in-law Steve.

Unlike my life as a Map Town employee, my life as a Quaker hasn't changed too much over the past year. As a conscientious member of Calgary Monthly Meeting, I try to come to Meeting for Worship as often as possible (lacking a car, this is not too often in winter when the sidewalk are covered in snow and ice) and make a concerted effort to attend all Meetings for Worship for Business). As clerk of the Meeting for Ministry and Counsel of Calgary Monthly Meeting, I lead meeting of our committee which tends to the spiritual life of the meeting: our most important tasks during 2009 have been organizing of the annual retreat - this year, at Kamp Kiwanis in Bragg Creek during the first weekend of March - and the writing of the State of the Society report. This spring, I additionally took on the task of compiling the Statistical Report for Calgary Monthly Meeting (forwarded to the Statistical Secretary of Canadian Yearly Meeting). In May, Maria and I attended the Spring Western Half-Yearly Meeting in Sorrento on Lake Shuswap as we have the past two years, and we plan to attend the Fall Western Half-Yearly Meeting near Saskatoon.

It's now one in the morning, and I need to be at work in eight hours. On this note, I will conclude this posting.

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