Cycling shape I am out of

Goodness lordy in his Mormon heaven, I am out of cycling shape.  I took my bike up to the bike shop for air and  I couldn’t do the really steep hills;  no I could not.

Just a brief pause here:  when do you use a semi-colon I ask.  I know the answer but it’s like a little quiz.  That question could indeed cause my blog to go viral.

Speaking of viruses, many folks seem to be getting sick with the dreaded stomach flu.

The bike shop is great – they for free fixed up a few things that were apparently so dangerous I could have died.  Good job, bike shop.

Hmmm, the futon frame is kind of broken again.  Well, nothing lasts forever.  It still looks better though and people can sit on it but not like a hundred people that would be too much for it.  Gack.  Frustrating, I plunked down on it and out of place it went again, even with the bungee cords holding it in place.  As such, the art books are back under it again.

Oh and the carpet stains that are still there are there for good it seems.  The carpet boys (not baggers) didn’t seem too pleased to schlepp back to tell me this.  Uh well.

Ooooh, oooh, in real excitement, the Glenda had an old bookcase in her garage and we schlepped it up here together and it replaced my other one.  It is very sturdy as they used to make things back in the day.

I’m not sure if I can actually get back into cycling shape or not;  it feels harder this year.  Well that’s because you are one year closer to fifty there, Karen.  Oooh, that hit me where it hurts.  Fifty!  Not yet, not quite yet.

I was grieving quite intensely this weekend, especially Sunday.  I think it is when I have a lot of time alone that it is worse.  In discussing this with C. who has grieved, it seems that grief is so deep that whatever else you got down there so deep that is painful also kinda gets touched.  Very true that.  And I got me a whole lot of pain down there, like many.  But it seems a fact that crying and getting to that level of pain is kinda beneath anger and even anxiety so that is, for all the pain, rather interesting in its way.  Sometimes there is a certain level of calmness in grieving, not always as I was quite anxious in the morning and tried to sit through a service at Canadian Memorial United but finally had to leave due to antsyness and anxiety-ness (not a word, not a word).  Then I went grocery shopping and just kinda hung out in my apartment.  I did have plans but they got cancelled and it was cold and rainy and windy and etc.  So that was that.  I do see how being kind to myself could help this whole process quite a lot.  As could disco dancing but where can you do that anymore and it has to be early evening as I do not stay up late as we know.

Oh, grief.  It’s hard.  I will just say it is hard. 

In other news, it is sunny and mild here today after that horrible wind/rain storm of last night. Phew, a bit of a relief really.

Tomorrow bright and early I have the first of eight zillion performance reviews; this time with all four members of the ministry and personnel committee.  Oh happy days.  I think I am repeating myself on my blog, eeek.  I shall obsess about that for sure.

I was forced to listen to the Olympics this morning as CBC Radio was broadcasting women’s hockey – I believe Canada ended up with silver.  They’d be commentating all calmly and then suddenly, ”she scores!” and I’d jump out of my church worker seat.  Couldn’t the commentators be like in golf, whispering, “oh look, she has scored.  Nice.” and then there’d be quiet applause.

I should stretch the cycled muscles before they get so tight that I can only walk with the aid of my futon or something.



green and purple

Do they match?  I’m not sure.

So I had insomnia last night for the first time since I think before mom died.  Amazing really that I went almost two months sleeping pretty darned well.  So I’m a bit of a mess today.  I fell asleep fine but then woke up at 4 am and that was pretty much it.  Ugh.  Insomnia does not help my cheese stay better on my cracker, that is for sure for sure.

and for sure.

I’m hoping it’s a one time thing.  I feel no need to get back into that habit again.

Today has been a lot of on the bus so far with more to come tonight when I make the epic trek to Langara College to teach my class.  Early this morning I had a doctor’s appointment in the middle of somewhere, and then I two bused it back to work where I stayed longer to make up for the lost hours.  Fascinating.

There seems to be more action at the church in the afternoons so they might want to change my hours up a bit.

Speaking of which, I have the opportunity again to teach at UBC for three weeks in August but and alas, that is a busy time at the church and they may well not let me do it.  Eeek.  I need it financially and also I love those three weeks and the students, etc.  So we’ll see.  I’d rather do that than take actual holidays – this way I’d have the chance to make money and also to keep my teaching skills in tact somewhat.  UBC pays so well that those three weeks would help me to earn enough overall in the year to (just) survive.

They are going to let me know but they seem to be leaning against my doing it. They’d only have to pay me for two weeks of it, dang it.  Hmmm.

Time will tell.

Eeek, my insomniaed brain is not firing on all of its usual cylinders.  Teaching will be a challenge tonight although I enjoy the students a whole lot. 

Vancouver’s weather is rather icky – lots of low cloud and rain and cold.  It’s almost like winter. Spring needs to get its butt over here.  I hear tell it is even snowing in Virginia.

Just so you feel that reading this blog today was worth it, here’s a great website with great creative non fiction writing:

I think I need to try and start another book club.  Last time it involved strangers who only wanted to read Janet Evanovich and also to tell the group why their lives were awful.  They wanted to do that and cry and sob and it wasn’t even me being socially inappropriate!  I mean I’ll read anything in a book club but the crying and sobbing and carrying on didn’t seem to fit into the model of it I had in mind.  Also, people had a hard time committing to an actual time.  And being Vancouver, people wanted to see how many other people were coming first.  Meh.  Meh.

I’m trying to build up my lacking social life.  I have great friends who would (and have) totally sit with me in the ER and a few of them even let me call them sobbing about my newly passed mom.  But they are busy with their, well, social lives. Fair enough but alas, I’m feeling quite socially isolated.  I want to start and fix this problem so that I have less time to sit around and obsess about this problem. 

In other news, the Olympics are of course on.  Skiing is an interesting one to watch, especially when they are flying up into the air and turning around and upside down and cooking a meal in the air and shooting a gun in the air and changing quickly into their swimsuits and swimming down the ski slope.  That’s kinda cool.  I also like the event where they build ice sculptures and the one that looks the most like Erik Estrada wins the gold.  Go Canada!

without my wee fan base, it’s more like a journal

And maybe that’s okay.

Nah – writers generally want readers I think.

Being able to see reader stats on this blog is but of course a blessing and a curse.

“No visitors in 649 days!”  I think my high of all time was 110 views on some random January day a couple of years ago.

The goal perhaps is to go viral – that’s what happened to the gay Mormon man who is married to a woman – he came out a couple of years ago and whammo!  Viral!  And before he knew it he was on Nightline gingerly stepping around the fact that he feels that God feels that gay relationships are icky and wrong.  He’s since tried to go back to more laidback, funny posts but the commenters seem to keep trying to drag him back into the gay ring.  And he recently got cyberbullied on Facebook!  Let this be a lesson that gong viral can have painful consequences.

It’s been a long weekend here in B.C. – ‘Family Day’ was instituted a couple of years back to give a holiday in between Christmas and Easter.  Long weekends are both a blessing and a curse for me, that’s for sure.  Nice to have paid time off and yet all of that unstructured time.  Ugh.

According to the hospice counsellor (who I vaguely worship but that will fade in time to more appropriate levels) suggests that I have complicated grief due to my pre-existing anxiety and blah blah.

“Be kind to yourself,” she tells me.

“You are saying what?” I ask.

Right after mom died, I was so consumed with the whole thing that my pre-existing levels kind of got nicely overshadowed.  Now – I don’t know, it’s all back and more.



and finally on that topic, oy.

I’m now in the sixth of ten weeks of my creative non-fiction online writing class and I’m enjoying it.  The instructor is very good and really knows his stuff and so his critiquing is very helpful.  He tends to get very behind – two weeks at this point – on his critiquing unfortunately.  Nonetheless, it is a very good course.

This week, the lecture (written) was on the difference between memoir and therapy.  Basically writing can be used as therapy but if it is going to be CNF, then it has to be polished and actually well-written.  Good point because otherwise it is just so much navel-gazing.  I read through a few of my posts from a few years ago and yeah, navel-gazey.

Okay, so my new goal is for my blog to go viral. As such, I will have to write about something controversial.  Let’s see:  Tom Cruise is a scientologist!  John Travolta is gay!  The Olympics are in Sochi!  Getting older means you aren’t as young as you were before you got older!  The pope is Catholic!  Stephen Harper!  Endless nattering!  Justin Bieber sucks!  Mormonism is a cult!  There’s no time like the present!

There, my blog shall now go viral.

Oh and I got these magazine zipper up holders from the $2 Japanese store in International Village and what a great purchase that was.  I was able to put some of my magazines I obsessively have neatly under the bed. I must go back for more! Doggone fabulous.

Write, she told me

The Vancouver Hospice Society’s director and counsellor suggested I write again.  Who knew I could see a hospice counsellor but it turns out I can.  They don’t even ask for a death certificate or anything.  Fabulous.  I think she can see me a maximum of six or ten times or something.  Fabulous.  She’s an actual clinical counsellor with years of experience, woo hoo.

And she likes my sense of humour that comes out even when I’m talking about anxiety and depression; actually, it seems to come out even more then.

And she’s got a compassionate face.  Does her compassionate face make me want to puke, she asks.  Not really, I say.

I went to see her yesterday and there are no dying people in the house yet.  It’s freshly opened and they have to go through government approvals and etc.  It’s a beautiful house in a beautiful neighbourhood. 

Write, write, write, she tells me and this may help me she says.

Others have told me this as well.

“Perhaps I will reinvigorate the blog,” I tell her.

“Reinvigorate, yes!” she says.

Her compassionate face makes me cry.  Oy.  That’s the thing about compassion; it can make a person cry.  My brain is not very nice to itself and even less nice these days – it’s winter, mom died, I’m only partly employed and have a lot of time.  THAT is a huge part of the issue – the time.  Teaching on Wednesday evening was a bit of a revelation – I went in a bit early to prep and then, well, taught. I have 10 students who are all eager to improve their business writing – high level ESL students.  A nice group, quieter than earlier groups but such are classroom dynamics.  Sometimes I look out at them and they all have a vaguely confused look on their faces.  One young fellow has a rather aggressive way of expressing his confusion.  “You are not right!” he tells me when I mention that the present perfect needs to be used over the simple past in a sentence.  I explain.  “No, you are not right!” he insists.  Another explanation and he’s on board with it.  “Oh,” he says.

Another student – a young and sweet graphic designer – asked me a few times if it is unprofessional to use the word ‘been’ too many times in a sentence.  No, I say, been is simply the past participle of the verb to be.  “Oh,” she says and I can tell she is not convinced.  “Sounds strange to you?” I ask.  “It does,” she says.  She’s finding it difficult to put in writing what she needs to tell her clients. 

Most of the students are professionals – graphic designers, accountants, engineers and the like.  They know waaaay more about business than I do so I always make clear at the beginning that we I am teaching business English, not, er, business.

So anyway, the mini–revelation.  On Wednesday evening my mind was engaged and I was around and engaged with people.  Makes a huge huge difference for me.  My anxiety, well, calms a bit as I am distracted and not alone.  The negative voices in my head that are fueled by depression and anxiety – are reduced. Phew.

This wasn’t necessarily the case when I was teaching full time – especially over the time that mom was dying (more than four years in total). That was partly I think because I had been at that one school for so long and was bored, I  think.  Yeah, that’s it.  I really do miss the great lunch times I had there – lots of laughing and we’d copy the crossword from the Vancouver Sun and work on it together and just, fun. 

I’m such an extrovert I think –  and yet I’ve become more like a hermit.  Ick.

I’m trying to get back on my sub lists and I even applied at Chapters! It was an online application and I had to answer 73 multiple choice questions, mainly about the Chapters philosophy of life and such.  It was oh brother.  That would be a minimum wage job but it would get me out and around books.  We shall see.  I’m also doing things through – writing groups, Scrabble groups, walking groups and such.  And I’m thinking of going to a meditation thing tonight at the united church at the Canadian Centre for Peace – it is two buses away which has stopped my inert self before but hopefully not this time.  Hopefully my inert self can get off of my inert butt and out into the inert cold.  I do find my lack of connection to folks a rather desperate problem.

So here I am at my church job. .  Well, I’m waiting for the bulletin to be edited so that I can then change the mistakes and get it printed out.   It’s a huge deal on a Friday.  I apparently can be (sort of) working on a Masters in TESOL but the ins and outs of a bulletin flummoxes me every time.  go figure.  I can teach 22 unruly, hungover, opinionated but ultimately sweet Quebecois young people (Explore, 2012) but I face copying the bulletin with fear and trepidation.

but enough about me.  How are you?