First blog post of 2013

Yeah, I got quite uninspired.  It is actually easier to surf the internet all evening/day/morning/afternoon than to write in my wee blog it seems.

Alas, not true, not true.

As of this writing, a. I am hungry even though I just ate.  b.  I am still unemployed.  I worked up at UBC in February for four weeks (lovely) and teach an evening Business Writing (super high level ESL immigrants – LOVE IT) once a week for 8 weeks, 3 times a year.  Other than that, not a blessed thing.

After a bit of finagling, I have about 10 weeks of E.I. to get me through to May I think.  It’s not much but it beats dipping more into my savings! No more EI after that though.  My savings will get put to work (as much as they prefer sitting in a bank account, earning just a tiny tiny bit of interest.)  Uh huh.

The busy ESL summer season should be kicking into gear soon but it is much slower this year.  As such, my many resumes have gone unanswered.  “Well, just go into the schools and show your face,”  say some of you.  Yeah, no, that’s not how it works in the ESL world.  I can’t believe I’m applying to icky downtown schools again, but you have to do what you have to do.  You just have to.  So far though it’s been the sound of crickets.

“You need a new plan,” my Aussie friend (via FB chat) tells me.

Hmmm, I’m back around to that am I?

“Go see an employment counsellor,” suggests someone else.

Okay.  Even though I know that not much goes on at WorkBC because I wrote that terribly dry yet informative article (mainly re-written by the editor but why quibble) for “This Magazine” last year about how the government of BC is downsizing their employment counsellor helping people and programs.  But heck, I thought I’d try again.

“Oh,” says the receptionist, “Well, your employment counsellor is in the process of quitting.”

“Another one,” I say, “She’s only been there, what 3 months?”

“Well, she’s been with the government much longer; she’s going to work for the Ministry of Children and Families.”

“Oh,” I said.  My previous employment counsellor worked two days a week, had a voice like a chain smoker and told me she had to have two other jobs to support herself.

Turns out quitting counsellor will be there for four more Wednesdays. “Can she call me tomorrow (a Wed.),” I asked.


She didn’t, so I called today.

“We were wondering why you didn’t call us,” says receptionist.

“You said you would call me.  I’m clear on that.”

“Anyway,” says receptionist.

She gives me an appointment for two weeks from now with the new counsellor who will be, well, new.

“Let’s give her a few days to settle in first,” says receptionist.

“Well, hopefully she won’t quit before I get there,” I say.

“Anyway,” says receptionist.

The employment counsellor will show me the computers, the photocopier and look at my (very good if I do say so myself) resume.  She will not a. give me leads to a job b.  Help me to figure out a real solid plan.  I know these things because a.  I wrote the dry article b. I’ve seen these folks before.  Oh and she can also do a little rah rahing.  “Go, Karen, you can do it, you can do it!”

Uh huh.

Here’s the thing – I need to get teaching through the summer because in September the ESL students go home.

I’m frustrated and rightly so.

I’m not spending any time writing really. Oh!  I got an A in my first Masters of TESOL course, which may be useless for me to get but why quibble. I’m now doing the second course and in this one, the prof. doesn’t really exist.  He pops by once in a blue moon.  I’d been warned about him.  But no nevermind.  I read the material and more, absorb and spit back out in the form of five essays.  I hear tell he is not only invisible but a hard marker.

Uh huh.

My frustration is frustrating to some and concerning.

“Maybe you should see someone,” suggests a friend.

“But all of the shrinks are busy shrinking other people in this town,” I say.

But it is true; I could use the support.  My friend T. sees a shrink twice a week lucky thing.  Her shrink is old and paralyzed from the neck down which I find fascinating.

B. wants me to stop posting about my chipping teeth on Facebook.

“Oh I’m on to new things,” I say, “I’m onto my frustration about not getting work.  So, you know, re-subscribe to my feed if you like.”

“Okay,” says B.

I’ve been playing Scrabble some Tuesday evenings at a legion about a 15 minute walk from my abode.  The Scrabble organizer/leader is on disability, spends his days looking for new places to play Scrabble and can’t stop talking nonsense with some factual information in there.

“Mother Teresa wasn’t from Hungary,” I tell him.  “Armenia?”  “No, that’s not it,” I say.  ALBANIA, it hits me later.

One week the organizer came with the board but the Scrabble tiles had unbeknownst to him fallen into his kayak, which he keeps in the living room of his apartment.  So we played a Scrabble card game instead.  He felt so badly about it that the next week he brought pizza.  This particular legion – Billy Bishop in Kitsilano – is quiet with just a few interesting folks talking interesting things.

“He was a Columbian transsexual,” I heard one week.  I get myself a 7-Up (might be Sprite) on tap when I’m there and some chips.  A young couple fresh from England play too  He works for Amazon (who knew Vancouver had an Amazon office) and she writes, fresh from a Masters in creative writing from some small place in England.

“Alice Munro,” I say to her.  “Who?” she asks.  They are very sweet though and listen to the organizer’s stories patiently.

The weather – while bad tonight and into the weekend – has been improving.  As such, I’ve been back on my bicycle, over biking as I do.  I like it though, cycling.  my leg muscles get bigger, my muffin top goes down but my bye bye arms remain.  Can’t have it all.

My wee United Church has now moved to East Van and I’ve been trying to go, cycling when I can.  It’s about a half hour ride.  I’m pretty fair weather on the whole thing though.  We’re a tiny group of about I’d say 12-15 now.  I like the small sense of community that it provides.

I got an e-mail from Doug last night.  “David and I are worried about your employment situation and thinking about you,” he wrote.  “Come on Sunday.  Janice is leading and there will be Communion.”  And I will go too.  I’m very touched, I wrote back.

I had my birthday a few weeks ago.  There was a small party and people gave me books with the goal being 47 – since that is maybe just maybe maybe my age or something.  With a late entry by H. later in the week, we got to 25 I think which is pretty awesome.    Thank goodness for reading, I say again.

The excitement continues.  A couple of months ago I went to the opthamologist.  The deal is if you go to the regular eye guy, you have to pay about $90 for a check up.  So my doctor referred me to the opthamologist, which is covered by MSP.  Go figure.  I was the youngest person the waiting room by about 30 years.  The receptionists all spoke very slowly and the opthamologist seemed confused to see me.  They dilated my eyes as they do.  It was a rare sunny January day too.  Someone turn the sun down! I thought.  I need a new prescription but that will have to wait.  I don’t have to get progressives if I don’t want to, he said.  Some people never get used to them, he said.  Just use a magnifying glass.  Perfect, I said. Seems my ability to see far needs a new prescription though.  Must wait on that one.

I’m sure something fascinating has happened.

Once in a while I shower, bathe.

I’m still annoyed by the Mormons, who are I’m sure, equally annoyed by me.

“If you are  in a cult do you know it?” I asked a Mormon blogger.  “I think you don’t,” I said.

“You will never understand our Mormon ways unless you read the Book of Mormon,” he said.

“No thanks,” I said.

“This is why you don’t understand,” he said.

It’s entertaining.

Put it this way – Romney, who some thought would become the next president, believes that he will, by virtue of being straight and married with 800 children, get into the highest level of heaven when he passes from this world.  And that Jesus visited America of all places after he checked out of the Middle East.  Jesus was an American patriot it seems, even before America existed.

My FB friend Tammy got civil unioned with her long time partner, Joanne, on my birthday last week.  I don’t think they picked my birthday because it was my birthday.  They have just moved to Illinois from Texas because Tammy got headhunted to work in Illinois, so good is she at her job (what she does is a mystery – something about computers and security).  In Texas, no civil unions allowed and no rights whatsoever for gay couples even if they’ve been together 400 years.  To me as a Canadian, this seems surreal.  The U.S. is being dragged kicking and screaming into equality in this area.  Now if they’d just stop shooting those trying to get into their country, they’d really be moving ahead.  Also if they CLOSED GUANTANAMO.  But who am I.

I’ll leave it at that for tonight.

Welcome back,  y’all.