another new post!

Stop the presses and etc!

First, I would like to thank Maggie May and Rev. Beth for taking my numerous calls and texts today.  Boredom breeds me calling a lot.  You two were always kind and never once said, “PLEASE STOP INFLICTING ME WITH YOUR BORED AND NIHILISTIC COMA.  I HAVE MY OWN LIFE.”    Very kindly.

Well, there was that moment of sun earlier so around noon I thought I’d better get outside and do some exercise. If I didn’t, I knew I would laze around and play internet backgammon all day.  Not that there is anything wrong with that.

Out came my bicycle.  I headed off, not really knowing where I was going. I ended up on the walking/bike path to Stanley Park, which was of course a whole lot less crowded today than it was on Saturday when there was something called sun.  Twas windy!  I’m still not back in tip top shape so I was huffing and a puffing.  I decide to bike to Denman and Georgia,, then catch the bus to North Van and yes yes, the North Van library.  Well, might as well use March’s bus pass I say.  I thought that the #240 to Vancouver smelled of alcohol but when I was in the library, I realized that for some reason I smelled of alcohol (interesting, as I don’t drink.  Shame, really.  That would fill the days – drinking and then say a little AA).  So I was standing by the new arrival books sniffing my jacket.  Let me just say this, people, a little more deodorant on long bike ride days would not kill me. 

I took out four books, all non-fiction sadly.  It’s been difficult to find fiction that I like lately.  Hmmm.  One of the books is by the wife of that soldier who 6 years ago got axed in the head.  It’s about his recovery, which I’ve seen on The Fifth Estate.  These books are generally ghost written but the quality of the writing is usually not that great, but the topic is.  TIt for tat or some such.  I also got, ‘The Science of Empathy’ by Sacha Baron Cohen’s brother, who is big in the field of autism.  And one on the 2008 mountain climbing tragedy on K2 and one on modern day India, written by a young fellow who went there to do his research and worked at a call centre. Interesting.  This should do me for the next day or so.  That would be an impressive reading speed but I think it just means that I don’t have enough to do! 

Took the bus back and was pleased to see that my bike hadn’t been stolen.  Oooh, the ride home was difficult!  Many uphill situations.  I often shout out,”Aaargh!!!!!!”  I had to stop at Starbucks for a cookie. Had to be done.  I really should stretch now.

Tonight, I have my wee bible study at my wee United Church.  This is the bible study taught by the Hebrew scholar who doesn’t in any way take the bible literally.  I haven’t gone for a few months but I do enjoy it.  I’m always the one repetitively saying, ‘and you study this book why?”  I find her knowledge fascinating and quite challenging intellectually.  Fascinating to know the contexts and the original meanings of the words.  My friends find it all rather hilarious, as I tend to rail against Christianity when given the chance.  “So you are an atheist who goes to church?” queried one.  Well, no, not an atheist.  On Sunday I was late to F’s birthday park afternoon because I’d been signed up to read the scriptures that morning and I’d skipped so much I was trying to have a shred of integrity.  “So you are going to be late because you need to go to your wee church and read from something you don’t believe in and make way too many cutting comments about that are hurtful to some?”  Well, that isn’t an exact quote but gives the general idea.  I realize there is the she ‘doth protest too much’ argument but that is not the case here.  Anyway, yes,a wee bible study.

I can tell the owie bike ride has invigorated me since I seem to have much more to write.  I just wrote a ‘hello’ note to the head of programs at ELI and she wrote back that they can only guarantee me August work and won’t know about June and July until the beginning of May.  No problem!  I said.  Realistically, I can’t sit around for April, May, June and July doing nothing but I told her to pencil me in for August.  I suspect something may come up ahead of that and that she is being extra cautious as you have to be. Either way though, nothing would get under way until the end of May and I’m not thinking I can wait that long either.  And then it will all wrap up in September.  So, hmmmm . . . . I do note that things pop up at times that I least expect them to (as the most recent UBC gig did) so that’s good too.  Realistically, of course, I can’t continue to  live in the most expensive city in Canada without work.  But I don’t want to move – my people are here!  And as you get older, people are harder to find. I have long standing friendships here that mean a lot to me and for someone with my brain, really keep me going, not to put too dramatic a point on it.  I’ve of course lived in different cities and all sorts but I’m not really eager to again.  Last time I mentioned this, some suggested I move to Ottawa.  I’m still thinking not on that one.  I do love Vancouver, as much as I complain (me? never) about the constant rain.  Tis my town, Vancouver is.  If I can make it here, I can make it anywhere.  It’s up to you, Vancouver, Vancouver.

What I really feel like doing is going to London again for a visit.  Alas, no money of course.  I wonder if the government would sponsor me to go there?

Also, I keep meaing to write the premier as she seems to be promising all of these jobs.  I want to ask her where my job is.

The giveaway is still on.  Let’s make it happen, people.


I woke up this morning and it was just raining and raining and raining and grey.

It is easier to be unemployed, I find, when it is warm and sunny.  It’s windy but the sun is (temporarily) poking through so I may get out on my bike (cold though).  I’m spending a lot of time, again, lying around- reading, sleeping, all that knd of thing.  Need to get the body moving.

Yesterday, I went downstairs to my bike and it had a flat front tire.  So I walked it over to a bike shop at Vine and Broadway.  They’re great and have changed my tube before.  Not only did he do that, but he put oil on and most importantly, fixed a problem I didn’t even know I had.  The back tire wasn’t true and the right handlebar, well, handle was all wonky and somehow this all made the brake wonky.  He fixed this.  All for the $12 price of a new tube and installation.  Now both tires are inflated nicely and the back brake works so much better.  So they have my loyalty, I gotta say.  No fuss, no muss and I was in and out of there quickly. 

I don’t cough through the night which is good.  I called pal Glenda earlier and mentioned I was so bored but didn’t want to spend any money.  “Make a series of doctors’ appointments about your cough,” said she, “It will keep you busy and you’ll have people to talk to.”  Good idea, the Glenda.  Glenda doesn’t get bored, which I admire.

What else?  Oh!  Maggie’s toddler is out of the hospital, phew.  She’s not a hundred percent yet but getting there and the baby is doing much much better as well.  Phew. Maggie said this virus has been affecting her daughter on and off for three weeks now. Poor little one. 

I have literally absolutely nothing going on and I seem unable to be as entertaining (ha) as I normally am.  Goodness.  Goodness. 

Thank god I read obsessively, gives me a reliable thing to do.  Oh and online backgammon! I think I noted this before but it is so so so addictive. 

I’m applying for jobs, of course, and I’m sure something will come up at sometime, somewhere, doing something.  Reader and commenter Thomas is adopting a new approach – he’s going to get out there more in person,, show his face.  I think that is a great idea.

Tomorrow at 5 pm I’m going to the BCIT downtown campus for the open house on part time computer courses, you know, that one I wanted the advice about.  I’m  not so keen on taking it anymore but I’m hoping they might offer a refreshment or two.

sigh. I’m such an extrovert and need people to talk to!

Hmmm, I think my last few posts are kind of depressing/depressed.  Hang in there, wee wee fan base.  Things will come around.

A new low I have sunk to

Wait for it.  I was reading People magazine at the Granville and Broadway Chapters today.  Head hung.  Hung head.  And I had to get it from the main floor and bring it up to the 2nd floor where there are chairs. 

Two days of unemployment, people, and I have sunk to this.

Sink.  sinking.  sunk.

Uh well.

Unemployment is so odd.  It hasn’t taken me long to get me back into the mentality, whatever that is.  When I was working at the worshipped UBC for 10 short! weeks, I would sometimes get home, at least in the last four weeks, say about 2 pm.  So I’d be bored but somehow employed bored so it was vaguely better.  Uh well.

COUGH.  So annoying.

What else?  I rode my bike to meet B. today at Starbucks at 7th and Granville.  Prior to that, I was early, so I went to Chapters and read said People magazine.  It was nice to see B., has been awhile and very nice to chat with someone!

Hmmm.  Sorry, quite uninspired today.

Have Oprah behind the scenes on.  Oprah often says something like ‘your purpose in life is to find out who you really are.”  Perhaps,I guess.  If you have like a job and food and stuff.

Hmmm.  I’m trying to think of something more interesting and upbeat so as not to scare the wee fan base away.  Seems I had 44 views yesterday!  Woohoo!  There is something to posting every day after all.

I’m poking around Facebook and looking at photos of people I haven’t seen in years.  So interesting really. 

Anyway, I shall post something vaguely more interesting later perhaps.

The giveaway is still on

And will remain on until I get 15 comments on one post.

Come on back, wee wee fan base.  The wee-ist of all fan bases.

Oh, I have to say, that my birthday is on Friday and I am accepting all presents.  Nothing is too small (or large).  No one will be turned away at the door.  It’s very Jesus like really, my acceptance of all gifts.

Well, today was my first day back in the ranks of the great unemployed.  But not the great unwashed. As an unemployed person, I actually shower more often and take more baths.  As in,’okay, I’ve had my nap (which by the by, really messes up my sleeping at night) so now I shall take a bath lasting between one and six hours.’

I’ve already proven today that whilst unemployed, I spend more money.  I had to go over to Broadway and Commercial this morning for an appointment.  After the appointment, I walked down the Drive, planning to get some fruits and vegetables.  That is a good use of money as produce is cheaper on the Drive than in my neck of the woods. And heck!  I have the time.  I also got some great Havarti cheese.  Anyway, I just popped into a used bookstore where I usually don’t find anything but I found a few things . . . Yes, yes, I know, I know and finally, I know.

As a side note, I just want to say that MY COUGH IS BACK.  What the heck!!!!!!!!!!!  Aaargh so annoying and annoying and annoying. As such, I’ve made an appointment with my GP for next week, the earliest she can see me.  I never ever see her as she is way the heck out in North Van.and it is actually impossiblle to get a new GP in this crazy town.  My cough may be gone by then but I have a few prescriptions, etc.She is actually more of a pregnant woman/baby doc but years ago I knew her sister and so got in that way.  She’s not a bad doctor but wowza you usually have to wait at least an hour past your appointment time.  Uh well, it will be a lovely day trip next week.  I think her sister and I kinda fell out.  Yes we did, years ago come to think of it. Plus, our lives were so different. She has four (almost grown now) children, is quite conservative, likes suburbia,is quite religious etc. 

I’m going to try and continue to get up fairly early (i.e earlier than 10 am) because wowza it took me about two weeks of working at UBC before I wasn’t exhausted.  That said, I’m not sure what I will do with the extra time.  Hmmm.  I shall write in my blog.  I shall exercise.  I shall apply into the cyberspace black hole for jobs.  I shall cough.  I shall read.  I shall play online backgammon (so, so addictive).  I shall visit Maggie May in North Van. It’s hard for her right now – her two babies (one is 2 years, one just 5 months) are both sick with the intestinal flu and the older one is actually in hospital for two days to get her electrolytes and stomach acid re-balanced.  Poor little girl!  Poor Maggie. Sniffle.  Today apparently though the two year old is perking up and smiling and such but they are keeping her I think one more night as a precaution.  Sniffle.

The thing is though, I can do all of those things I listed and watch The Waltons even if I get up uber late. Oh boy.  Oh boy.

And finally, oh boy.

The weather, after a gloriously sunny weekend, has returned to rain and cold.  Sigh.  Well not super cold. 


Oh!  After a working leave of absence where I go to bed ridiculously early, I am returning to my writers’ group tonight!  And I’m reading. Eight years ago I began a series of short stories built around a character I’ve named Georgia.  She is based (name changed of course) on a roommate I had in 2004 who was eccentric and we fought and fought and fought.  To save money, she and the other roommate would not turn on the heat in November. It was a cute little house (since torn down and re-built) in East Van.  The lack of heat got to me. She did have a great line once though and I used it in one of the stories.  Our roommate, I’ll just call him Fred, was odd as well.  He had a weird girlfriend who was creepy and all sorts.  Once, when she was in the shower, she told the roommate I write about to ‘call her a cab.’  So enraged was my roommate that she shouted through the door, “You’re a cab.”  I tell you, you can’t buy this stuff.

  She would steal from her ESL workplace those big industrial one ply toilet rolls, that kind of a thing.  In my writing, she is a mixture of the roommate, me and my imagination.  People in my writing group keep commenting that ‘no one could really be that neurotic and selfish.”  Ha!  Ha!  How little they really know me.  I keep putting her in more outlandish and surreal situations and it is fun and makes me laugh and some folks are entertained.  Others can’t stand the character.  So interesting.  So I shall cough at my writing group.

Tomorrow morning, I shall return to the morning to early afternoon mindfulness meditation.  Well, depending on the coughing.  And in the afternoon I’m hanging a bit with Barth.  Remember Barth?  We were unemployed together for awhile.  Now he has a job he loves but he works about a half hour/45 minute walk from me, so that’s good.  But he works right near a Chapters and we all know of my OCD reading habit and spending habit because it makes me feel good during the terror of unemployment.  Yup.

I’m back to blogging daily.  I’m sure the wee fan base will jump right back up.  Yup.


wee fan base?

Well, I received a couple of pieces of advice about what I was asking in my last post, so thank you!  I think my fan base has shrunk though, so it is time for a giveaway!  Okay, so the first time I get, hmmm, 15! comments on a post (and real! comments, indicating the commenter’s complete and utter understanding of the inner workings of my brain), I will hold a draw from those comments.  The winner gets – wait for it – many back issues of the New Yorker! (Well, whatever issues I have finished since I started re-subscribing in January.  But since I think 15 comments might not ever happen or may happen in about a year, that could be a whole lot of issues!)  And I shall mail it, postage paid, to anywhere in North America and maybe the UK and parts of China.  And Russia.  And Italy.  It is a great incentive, people, so tell your friends, relatives, colleagues (even those you may not like), people you meet on an airplane, in jail, walking down the street, in Home Depot, at Ikea and etc. 

Alrighty then. Well, I am now firmly rooted back in the ranks of the unemployed.  My last day was fine – long though as there were 11! ‘final performances’ from the different classes.  On the last day of the session, each class performs a song, etc, to the others. We were all jammed tight into a room at Pond Cafe at UBC.  There were about 170 Japanese students,2 Chinese students, teachers and other staff.  The performances are at lunchtime followed by, well, lunch.  So yes, there is such thing as a free lunch  My class had combined with another and they practiced singing and dancing to “Party Anthem” by LMFAO all week.  I had never even heard of this song before this but then again, my preferences run to ABBA (whose music most of the students know!).  Luckily they didn’t sing all of the words nor understand them (good thing, yikes!) but they had fun. The dancing included flips and such.  In another group, one young man dressed up as a woman – dress, make-up and all, while they all sang a ballad type thing.  The students went crazy for all of the performances so that was nice.  Afterwards, there was sobbing and hugging and “I miss you” to each other and all sorts.  Sniffle.  I was very very proud of my 16 students- I had them give little speeches after I gave them their certificates (in the class earlier).  A couple said they were very shy but that their classmates had really helped them to come out of their shells.  They really, really bonded in the 4 weeks – constantly going out together on weekends and after school.  It was amazing to see as none of them had known each other before.  This particular group was not at all into learning in the classroom and some would fall asleep if I talked for longer than three minutes (well, yeah).  We were to focus more on activities, contact assignments and field trips because what they really want is to get to know Canada.  We had themes each week of course and also many in class activities.  But lots of field trips – Science World, W. 4th Avenue, etc.

They all very sweetly signed two Vancouver postcards for me and my favourite comment was this:  “In my image, you’re soosoo much talking!  You look like strong mother.  Thank you!”  And this one.  Apparently what he means by ‘tension’ is like high excitement but really, it works either way (ha):  “Your tension was always high..  Your class was funny.  Thank you.”

Those kinds of things are priceless and I save them.  Oh okay and this:  “Karen!!!!!!!  I had a great time in your class.  You are sooo funny and soo kind.  Thank you so much!  I love you!!!”

I think that this is the kind of feedback that we all need.  Wouldn’t it be nice if your boss wrote you a note – “You talk so much!  You must be a strong mother!  Thank you!” “You are so kind! You are so funny!  I love you!” 

That would be awesome.

Teaching ESL is interesting because you can also get other kinds of comments like:  “She terrible teacher.”  “I learn nothing and hate the very marrow of her horrific being.  Why does she exist on the earth other than to torment me?”  “I want to take a box of cereal, open it and dump it on her head.”  Now, for my more literal thinking of the wee fan base, these comments never actually existed but serve as examples as to what can happen.

Hmmm.  Unemployed again.  Here we go.  I am now, however, trained again to wake up early, so this could mean even more of the day to have to deal with in an unemployed way.  Sigh.  The weather is thankfully turning and becoming nicer but I do hear that it is to rain all next week.  Hmmm.  Of course I am looking for work and the like but that doesn’t take the whole day.  I shall go back to Tuesday morning/early afternoon mindfulness meditation, to my Monday evening writing group and etc.  But still . . . eeek.   I was luckily able to save a month’s worth of rent during my UBC time, so that is nice.  But eeek.


So, I shall also return to updating the blog more regularly.  Free New Yorkers people!  Tell your friends!  Oh and in the latest issue, there’s a great article on how Rihanna’s music comes into being.  It was fascinating to learn about what others bring to her music (the lyrics, the sound, the everything) before she even sees it.  A ‘top-liner”, in Rihanna’s case, a young woman who comes up with the lyrics, does nearly all of the work.  Now this young woman wants to get her own music out there but apparently that is uncommon and difficult.  She came from poverty and now makes millions as a top liner for Rihanna and others but may never be able to make it on her own.  Times have changed!  I’m pretty sure ABBA wrote all of their own music.  This New Yorker could be yours!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Icky. ick. ooh, ick.

Small tiny diminishing fanbase!   I need some advice.

First, I am still very much considering looking into a distance Masters in TESOL through that university in Australia (yes, accredited!).

But, shorter term goals first.  Now that my job is over in less than 48 hours (have I not mentioned that 800 times? OCD-ish, really),and I’m unsure when they will call me back (or if and etc),, I’m having to think again about what I should do.  Let us remember that I do not like administrative work, no, no, no I do not.  No.


But I also need to eat and the like.  Sigh.  Sigh.  And after four months of applying into the great cyberspace black hole for communication/writing type jobs, I realize that that is a bit of a dead end.

BCIT is offering a one night a week MS Office Suite course but it is fairly expensive – $500 plus tax and books and a two zone bus pass (eeek).  And it’s out in Burnaby but that is more easily bus-able than I originally thought.  After this course, I imagine I’d be more administratively employable.  ick though.  Ick.  But I’m hoping employable not just in the secretarial sense but also in the higher up type sense.  Hmmmm.

I also know that if I take something that I don’t like that I may not excel (ha!  a little MS Excel joke there).  And my experiences thus far with Excel have taught me that this is not so much my area of strength.  (‘Put the Excel down and walk away’ is pretty much what was said at the awesome church secretary subbing I did back in January for 12 hours.  I was better suited to eating the free lunch the church kindly provides for the neighbourhood once a week.  Come to think of it, I may have mentioned that a couple of months ago pal Fiona and I were downtown on a Saturday waiting to see the ‘pay what you can’ play at the now desperately sadly defunct Vancouver Playhouse.  We went to the nearby VCC to see if they had any food for sale.  Darned if it wasn’t there once a year turkey dinner and all the trimmings for the folks on the Downtown Eastside. Next thing we knew, we were chowing down on potatoes and turkey.  But I digress).It kinda makes me sigh to think that all my great writing skills (hey, now, we don’t need that kind of cocky talk) are being wasted as I try to square my circle into more administrative stuff.  I guess my hope would be that the UBC in house temp agency would then notice me.  I just e-mailed and asked if such a course would help them notice me but I betcha they don’t answer.  It’s just that the darned job market is not welcoming my skills.  It is welcoming those with newer and better education, darn it.  I can freelance once in awhile but that ain’t putting the Mr.Noodles on my plate anytime soon.

And for me, as I say $500+dollar is a lot.

Advice please oh please.  I don’t want to play in the pink ghetto but if I have to, I want to make sure that this course will help me.




I am often bored, tis true.  And bored and me, hmmm, too much time for my brain to latch on to whatever it wants to latch onto..

This upcoming week is my last at UBC, sniffle and such and sniffle.  I’ll be on their sub list which is nice but that is rare and random apparently and also apparently isn’t the best paying.  Uh well.

I’ve been hearing from a few former colleagues that they are on or have had interviews, etc, to sub at different downtown schools.  Rumour is that sometimes no lesson plans are left.  And the teachers only call you back if they ‘like’ you so i.e. if you complain about the lack of a lesson plan, then you won’t be called again.  Yuck, popularity contests.  I could actually feel my stomach turning at the thought of it all.  Physically repulsed, pulse quickening, yuck, yuck, yuck.

And finally, yuck.

I”m hoping to be hired on to the ‘Explore’ program which all the universities run in the summer but UBC runs at the end of May.  It’s a month exactly and it’s for Quebec kids between 16-25 I think.  Wow, that would be . . . interesting.  But that would dovetail nicely into the nine weeks of the summer short programs.  Not sure though – one of the months in May was cancelled due to low enrollment I imagine.  And of course seniority teachers get first pick of all of this . . . Either way, come September (or the end of June if I get no work, tis my EI will run out) I’ve gotta once again, make some new plans.  Sigh.


My great UBC boss has had to go to Montreal as her father is very very ill so she won’t be around for the last week of the program.  I shall miss her this week – I always went down to her desk and chatted and what not.  And, she thinks me and my e-mails to her are hilarious so that is always good. 

I usually finish around 1 or 1:30 these days at UBC and that leaves quite a chunk of the day.  I know I should be spending it, say looking for work or writing or in some other useful and stimulating endeavour but in general I don’t seem to.  With the weather being a bit nicer – (fingers crossed for it remaining that way) I should be getting back to more cycling so that will be nice.  Otherwise, the days are long long and long.  If my job were permanent and those hours were permanent, I could get another job practically (although some days are longer with meetings and such) but in limbo, not so much. 

As I’ve said, it is hard to be unemployed again.  But, a new reference is great great and great.

Book Warehouse is closing!  Eeek! There are almost literally no bookstores left in Vancouver, except of course for Chapters.

Friday was a good day I must say.  The field trip was Science World and I basically set the students loose there for a couple of hours and then we all met up again.  I hadn’t been to Science World in years and years.  I found it interesting and of course, full of spring break children.  There’s a skiing machine thingy that usually costs but was free! at Science World (of course Science World itself isn’t free but twas in the budget so UBC paid.  Nice).  I couldn’t get on the skiing thingy though as children seemed to want to use it and I think it would have looked oddd if I had booted them off.  Ha and ha.  The wheelchair race was fun but we discovered that the yellow one I think is set much much harder than the red one.  Or is it the other way around.  I knew there was a reason I had handily beaten the 21 year old triathlon athlete cultural assistant.  I am so competitive.  “I BEAT YOU!” I shouted out, while the students took photos.

Took the great but lesser known #84 bus home (the #99 gets all of the attention) and the students went on the skytran to go downtown to a Greek restaurant.  I’m glad they are finally getting some decent weather.  They are only here for four weeks and three of those weeks have been cold and rainy, poor dears.  They went to Stanley Park the other day in their afternoon class and were quite cold.  Other students got lost looking for, well, Lost Lagoon.  We do actually teach the students in the classroom as well but there is a big focus on field trips and contact assignments with Canadians – UBC students or the general public.  It’s fast and furious and they are only here as I say for four weeks.  One of the afternoon teachers was doing very cool things like a tour of the Orpheum Theatre.  I wanted to go on that one.  This week we won’t have a field trip as we had two last week but I have a friend coming in next week to speak about food safety I think.  Guest speakers are encouraged as it gives the students other Canadian voices to listen to.  She is really going all out an prepping and making it interactive so that is great.

Then I rode my bike up to the awesome Glenda’s (well, had to walk it up the steep hills, way out of shape I am).  She was having two teachers from the corporation over for lunch.  Actually,, they were making it – lots of Chinese food from scratch – bean curd stuff, shrimp, rice bread (who knew?), miso soup.  I’d had a hamburger at the overpriced White Spot at Science World because I knew they’d be eating quite late and I was a last minute addition so wasn’t sure I should impose my appetite on them.  Anyway, they cooked and ate and we chatted for close to four hours.  Fun, fun.  Oh and Glenda had made these superb blueberry scones.

That evening,  pal Tracy and i went to Red Ginger at Oak and Broadway with a coupon! and had too much fake Chinese food (my favourite, I must admit).  Laughing and eating.  Fun again.

That was a full day for me!  I’m used to be much more hermit like, which is against my natural extinct.

All the bookstores in Vancouver are closing.  That is not a good thing, people.  Yes, libraries, of course and always.  They are sacred.