a few odds and ends

and oddness.

First, of all, I shall promote my own youtube channel! http://www.youtube.com/user/middlemarie

After much encouragement from my writing group, I’ve decided to record some of my short stories.  Wait!  I can hear you starting to snore.  Nyet, say I, is it not like that!  Nada, nein, non and etc.  Anyway, I have recorded the first story in three parts.  The story is called ‘Squeeze’ and it is the first story in a whole series that I call, “The Georgia Chronicles.” Fiction but of course, any resemblance to me is, well, there, but it is not me!!!!!  Georgia is a mixture of, well, me, my imagination and someone I used to know.  She is in her late 50s in this first story and ages out appropriately from there.  I have, I don’t know, 30? or so Georgia stories and she evolves quite a bit but remains rather hapless with craziness always seeming to happen around her while her own life remains rather tedious.  So, hopefully, enjoy.

What else?  Oh I have FINALLY stopped commenting (but not stopped reading) the dang Mormon blog.  Have I mentioned this all ready?  It was all just becoming too depressing.  I mean seriously, there is this underlying encouragement on the blog (and the baby blogs) for gay Mormon men (often desperate young men, terrified that they are gay in a church that says neigh to the gay) to marry straight women.  They go all shucks and try to deny this but the message is there, loud and clear.  And no one seems to care what effect this will have on the straight women.  YUCK.  It’s kinda gross and misogynistic.  Did I spell that right?    Yikes, say I, yikes.

Oh!  Saw M. today who is in from Ottawa visiting her parents.  We had a nice lunch and chatted and such.  I had social contact today!

Watch my youtube stuff if you will.  And watch out for the Mormon missionaries, they are everywhere!

where God

by Elie Wiesel

One day when we came back from work, we saw three gallows rearing up in the assembly place, three black crows. Roll call. SS all around us, machine guns trained: the traditional ceremony. Three victims in chains— and one of them, the little servant, the sad-eyed angel.
The SS seemed more preoccupied, more disturbed than usual. To hang a young boy in front of thousands of spectators was no light matter. The head of the camp read the verdict. All eyes were on the child. He was lividly pale, almost calm, biting his lips. The gallows threw its shadow over him.
This time the Lagerkapo refused to act as executioner. Three SS replaced him.
The three victims mounted together onto the chairs.
The three necks were placed at the same moment within the nooses.
“Long live liberty!” cried the two adults.
But the child was silent.
“Where is God? Where is He?” someone behind me asked.
At a sign from the head of the camp, the three chairs tipped over.
Total silence throughout the camp. On the horizon, the sun was setting.
“Bare your heads!” yelled the head of the camp. His voice was raucous. We were weeping.
“Cover your heads!”
Then the march past began. The two adults were no longer alive. Their tongues hung swollen, blue-tinged. But the third rope was still moving; being so light, the child was still alive…
For more than half an hour he stayed there, struggling between life and death, dying in slow agony under our eyes. And we had to look him full in the face. He was still alive when I passed in front of him. His tongue was red, his eyes were not yet glazed.
Behind me, I heard the same man asking:
“Where is God now?”
And I heard a voice within me answer him:
“Where is He? Here He is—He is hanging here on this gallows…”

I have to believe in God because 20 little children were shot several times each to ensure they were dead.

Because two young BC teachers – a married couple, the woman seven months pregnant, died when their car careened off of a ravine.

Because of a nurse who hanged herself in England, leaving behind a young family.

Because of a young mother struck down and killed on her way home from work.

Because of my university friend who died with her baby in a float plane crash 3 years ago.

Because of the millions stories from around the world that I don’t hear about.

And so I have to believe.



Turn that frown upside down or sideways or I don’t know, Anderson Cooper is so cute is he not?

Wow.  Seems Anderson’s daytime show has been cancelled but it is going to keep filming/airing until next August.  That seems odd.  It’s like they’ve told Anderson, look,  your show is cancelled but you’ve got to keep working at it for another 8 or 9 months.  Hmmm.  Will he get E.I.?  Nah, he’s got other work and his mom is that Vanderbilt woman.

Speaking of Andersons, this cute sincere young man from Brazil (although is accent doesn’t sound typically Brazilian nor does he look Brazilian, so, you know,, confusing) has started coming to my wee wee wee church of mainly old people.  He is so sweet and sincere.  He wears a tie to church most weeks and is so sweet that I just love him.  His husband is apparently Jewish and German I think.  I haven’t met him so maybe I made that German part up in my head.  Why would I do that?  No, i think he is German.  I like Anderson – it makes me happy happy to see him at our wee wee wee church.  Very wee my wee church.

“We haven’t figured out how in this century to have a sense of community yet without something like a church,” noted my friend, H.

True, I said. Well, the army is apparently promotes quite the lovely feeling of belonging but you also have to kill people so that’s not so great.

Hmmm.  The part-time Saturday teaching job I’d applied for – I didn’t even get an interview!  And I am uber qualified!  AAARGH.  This Vancouver job market is crazy, as I keep saying over and over and over.

I need to turn my frown upside down.  I always remember and love this thing that the shrink on the TV show MASH said about the character of Hawkeye (does anyone else remember MASH, I am really dating myself here!): “Anger turned inward is depression.  Anger turned sideways, is Hawkeye.”  Awesomeness, AWESOMENESS.  It is hard not to be even more self-focussed because of all the time I spend alone.  Today I worked a bit on my essay and then rode my bike in the cold up some (and then down some) punishing hills.  I hadn’t felt like it but I did it.  Because too much sitting around without a break  = uh oh.

Why am I bothering to pursue a Masters in TESOL in this job climate?!!!!!!!  Sorry, that just slipped out.  H. suggested I find an exciting place like Thailand to teach in the winter and live in Vancouver during the spring and summer months, where there may actually be work.  I really don’t have a desire to do that – and I’m not allowed to sublet my place and I don’t want to lose it – but you  never know.  not this winter anyway but maybe next winter if the straits are still so dire.  The good thing is,my Masters courses are entirely online and I can do them from anywhere.  But, I’m a homebody really, even more so the last while so it’s hard to know just what to do.

Bored coma.


An excellent documentary

I saw this excellent film last night –http://www.worldbeforeher.com/.   It follows the lives of girls in India.  Some are being trained for the Miss India beauty pageant and some are being trained for the militant fundamentalist movement.  But that brief description dosn’t begin to describe how incredibly poignant it is and so so sad.   Fascinating.

Hmmm, seems like another cloudy day in Vancouver today.  There is talk of sunny breaks this afternoon but then it is supposed to be dark and rainy for the next week I think.  Hmmm.  Hmmm indeed!  Oh, the Vancouver winter.  And isn’t the shortest day of the year coming up?

I’ve decided that I really do need to start volunteering somewhere – but it needs to be somewhere that isn’t tying me down to certain days as I need to always be available to sub, athough the subbing has really not been happening but  you never know, you know.  I’d like it to be somewhere I can basically drop into on certain days – that would be ideal.  Any ideas appreciated (er, realistic ones).

What else?  Not much.  Not much. And finally,  not much.

So just a super short blog entry – go  watch The World Before Her if you can.

A Karen with unstructured time: an example

1.  Slept somewhat poorly so didn’t roll out of bed until 11:45 a.m.  I wasn’t sleeping that whole time, mainly reading and trying to sleep.

2. Eat toast, an egg and a soy shake (banana, soy milk, frozen berries).  This is very detailed and there is no particular reason for it.

3.  Sign up on Meetup.com to go to the award winning documentary, “The World Before Her” with an international film meet up group that I haven’t met up with before.  Vaguely dread but also feel eager to meet people new to me.  Buy ticket (cheaper on Tuesdays!) online.

4.  Surf the internet for way too long – e-mail, Facebook, Lainey’s Entertainment Gossip, The Guardian, the blog of the young paralyzed woman, the Mormon blog comments. Make a few Mormon blog comments and find myself still stunned at the rationalizations of  its extremely racist Mormon past.  “He did not say that! (of a Mormon leader who did too say that) “Well, it wasn’t official doctrine so it is okay that he said that!”  “I won’t talk about this anymore.”    This is all exciting unnecessarily my frontal lobe.  Hmmm.  Seriously, ain’t no one can rationalize like a Mormon (er except perhaps for JW’s and Scientologists).

5.  Spend a little while working on the terrifying academic essay for my course.

6.  Call pal Tracy and tell her that her asthma is really acting up and making her sound terrible and like she can’t breathe.  “That’s because I can’t breathe,” she says.

7.  Work on essay a bit more or try to.

8.  Look in the mirror at my double and aging chin.  Pluck a few chin hairs.

9.  Watch the Waltons while surfing the Net.

10.  Look on the Net for any upcoming ESL teaching positions that wouldn’t make me want to pull my hair out of my head.

11.  Check to see if the $200 textbook I accidentally spilled my water bottle on is drying at all after a week.  Not really.

12.  start to feel physically quite antsy.  Do some stretching.  Don’t want to go outside because it is pouring and cold and I’ll be walking to the movie theatre later.

13.  check to see if I have any mail.

14.  Watch Ricki Lake – transgendered children.  Watch a bit of Katie Couric interviewing Jane Fonda and get bored because Jane, you’ve talked about your father 800 times before.

15.  Work a bit more on the essay.

16.  take a shower and a short bath.

17.  surf internet

18. vacuum a bit

19. feel antsy

20.  text a few people.  set up a hanging out situation for Friday.

21.  Think about meatloaf.

This is repeated several days a week although I do try and add exercise in there more often than not.  Doing nothing for the aging double chin though.



When 4 weeks feels like a job

hmmm.  Well, I may have four weeks of work at UBC in February.  At first I was very excited because I was hoping that this would lead to 4 further weeks in March, when there is another short program.  But it seems like not – it will be, if anything, just 4 weeks in February.  I’ll find out about Feb. for sure in January.

La la.

UBC only has about 4 months of short programs a year – last year I lucked out and got to work all of them.  This year, with student numbers down, I’ll be lucky to get the 4 weeks in Feb.  UBC’s ELI has to ensure work for its seniority teachers first and I am just casual.  My ever becoming a seniority teacher is looking less and less possible, unfortunately.  But who knows, things could turn around in a few years.


I’m less excited about it all now I must say.

What I would really like is a secure, permanent part-time well paid teaching gig so that I could supplement UBC on to it when UBC shows up.  And I could be working on my Masters at the same time.  A lovely idea.  Not happening at this point.

aaargh.  Aaargh.  Verklempt feeling.  aaargh.  crazy world.

Tonight at my writers’s group sort of Christmas party, some people were talking about the price of their homes and blah blah.  And I’m sitting there, enjoying my piece of raisin pie, thinking, gee, I hope I can afford my rent for the next few months.  So that was weird.  But it’s good for me to know the wealthier and the poorer than me I guess.  It’s just weird that I am in such a different place than anyone in my writers” group or most people my age actually.  Hmmm.

Hmmmm.  Although I’ve never really been that concerned about owning a home or material stuff (other than my book/magazine obsession!).  But I  probably should be- heck, I need to retire in 19 years!

This rather depressing blog post has been brought to you by – ‘hey, I’m up past 10 pm!’



So much time, so little to write. Waaah.

It’s my unemployment and I’ll cry if I want to.

I AM STILL UNEMPLOYED.  Sheesh, who’d a thunk that?  Well, it is winter and almost Christmas and blah blah.  I think I’d best (I’d best? who writes like that) be prepared to not hear anything about anything until sometime in the New Year.

Oh boy, oh boy.  If I knew when this would end, then I’d enjoy this unstructured, isolated, everybody else on earth is busy but me time much more.

Yesterday at my wee church two people were chatting during the tea and snacks! time.  There was just too much Christmas stuff going on, they told each other.  Just too much stuff even if it was good.  Overwhelming, they agreed.

I looked at them and thought, ‘tomorrow my plan is to trim my toenails.’

Well, I shouldn’t say that totally.  I did go to a pay what you can!  Handel’s Messiah last night – just the Christmas part plus the Hallelujah chorus so it was just over an hour.  That was nice.   I sat beside G., an 83-year-old gay man who sometimes comes to my wee church.

“A man I met on the internet is coming from Brazil to spend Christmas with me up here,” he told me.

“How old is this guy?” I asked.


“He likes old men,” I said.

“Some do,” he said.

Actually when I found out a few years ago how old George was, I was shocked. He seems late 60-ish at most.

George finds it much easier to find men than I do.  Last night  he had brought a friend.  The friend looked to be about 70.

“He’s straight,” he said by way of introducing us, “and Karen needs a boyfriend”

“I didn’t know you knew any straight men, George,,” I replied.  A love connection was not made but the music and the singing was amazing.

And tonight is my wee writers’ group wee Christmas party.  Then we won’t meet again till the New Year.  This seems to work well for everyone else who are all busy being overwhelmed with the positive Christmas things coming at them.

Nothing says, ‘hey you are in your late 40s and you have no family,’ like Christmas does.

My wee church’s minister gave me a bit of a financial gift on behalf of the church, due to my unemployment.  I was so surprised that I burst into tears.  “Waaaah, sniffle, sob, sniffle.” I went to the washroom and came back and thanked her and sniffled some more.

“This is what the church SHOULD be doing,” my friend Tracy said when I called her, sniffling and snortling. “Don’t feel bad,” she said.

“I am a charity case,” I snortled.

Today she is popping by any minute to give me some Irish stew that she made.  Nice.

Oh and Christmas presents of all Christmas presents!  The cultish Mormon blog is spawning baby blogs!  That’s right!  Gay men living straight lives and denying that it is a problem and their straight wives denying that it is a problem are setting up their own blogs!  That is Christmas, Easter, my birthday and swimming in Kitsilano pool in the summer all in one!!!!!!!!!!!  Now, worry not, I won’t mock the baby blogs in their comments section.  But I will read the blogs like I’ve never read a blog before.  I want to make up a tune: “The cultish Mormon blog is spawning other blogs,”  – that will be the chorus.  Or maybe it could be a rap. Or maybe Justin Bieber could sing it! 

Uh well, what are you going to do.  Seriously, what are you going to do.  WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO.

Oh Tracy has just reorganized my wee freezer so there would be room for the Irish stew and chicken soup she just gave me!

I have nice friends, yes?  I mean they don’t entertain me as much as they should but they haven’t completed training yet.

My online Masters course is going okay – I’ve started to write the essay that is worth 30% of the mark.  Eeek. A test is worth 40% and a reflective journal based on the discussion forums is the final 30%, eeek.