Archive | September, 2014

Square one and bars of chocolate

30 Sep

For some reason the word square always makes me think of chocolate bars that are in little squares.  Go figure.

So I’m at Hillcrest Library (29th and Ontario) killing time-ish until I teach my evening class (49th and Ontario.)  I’d had an appointment at VGH and didn’t want to cycle all the way home and then bus or cycle all the way back.

Still though, a few hours to kill here.  Days like these I wish I had a car . . . . That would be much zippier.  Zip, then zip and zip again.

But alas, not.

Besides, gas is expensive and etc.

Yeah, that’s it.

I’m not a fan of cycling home in the dark – I won’t be doing that too often.  I’m mainly avoiding Car-2-Going.  If I have my bicycle then I can’t use the Car 2 Go expensive situation.

This is important when one is only making a limited amount of money.

Two evenings a week at Langara is okay – and a bit of money.  The slow ESL season has kicked into, well, high gear (or perhaps low gear that should be).  I could sub a whole 1.5 hours a day for four days next week if I like.  November-January will be dead, said sub coordinator.

Fabulous.

This I knew.

Oddly, I’ve made the minimal amount of money that I needed to make this year – it means I have to live off of savings but those are savings I saved this year, or something like that there.  I think it was because I had a regular job for the first three months and then another month what with vacation pay and pension fund returned to me in the form of a small direct deposit.  Twas one year ago today I started the church job.  Does not time fly.      Was the day the minister told me, “I will never upbraid you in front of others.”

I remember thinking, uh-oh.  Why would he upbraid me at all and why is he using that word, odd.

Uh well.

Moving on.

Sometimes I feel like I’ve moved back to square one.  Despite the pretty cool work I’ve been doing with the A.T. and getting more perspective than I’ve ever had in my life really .

But then, something happens whatever it may be, and I feel like I’m back to square one.  I react or overreact or what have you, my anxiety shoots up and the voices in my head tell me, hey, look there is square one.

Not necessarily true though.

One step forward, a few steps back.  Indeed.

I am easily rattled, tis true.  I don’t like that about myself at all.  Mind you, that doesn’t change the fact.  Rather, it just adds to the problem really.

See the great Rumi  poem, “the Guest House” for more about welcoming everything in laughing.

Indeed.

That was a rather profound philosophical change for me.  But, as per always, I want that change to change, well, me.

As we can all tell, wee wee fan base, I’m having my usual load of unstructured time to obsess.

I should check out another film at the Vancouver International Film Festival.  I’m being careful of course since the films are pricey.  I saw a documentary with F. last Saturday that was overly long (so also said the critics) but had its interesting points.  I have forgotten the title (like I forgot a baked potato in the microwave the other day) but was about the Maha Kumbh Mela, the world’s largest religious festival where millions of Hindus descend upon the Ganges River to take a Holy Dip.  The filmmaker followed certain people around the festival – including “Baba Yogi’, an elderly man who had renounced the world (as the Baba’s do) but who ended up raising a toddler he had found abandoned as a baby.  Touching stuff.  It is truly a bizarre festival to my Western eyes – the scene that neither F. or I will ever get out of our heads is where one of the pilgrims, folds up his private bits on like a stick and then attaches bricks to that stick.  The scene went on for a bit.  Yogi Baba decided one day to take the Holy Dip and spent what seemed like a good number of minutes getting to the water while his body was in the position of his legs wrapped around his head.  He had to keep stopping; his adorable toddler telling him to hurry up.  I’m impatient and wanted to shout out, ‘get in the damn water. ‘

Not so patient am I.

A fellow just sat down beside me at the next computer.  He is singing an (East) Indian song and has  the most tremendous body odour.  Lordy, I hope I adapt.

Judge not, judge not.

So, yeah, maybe a film.

Luckily, I had my once every three weeks visit with S.T. today and I talked about my square one.

Sunny days today and tomorrow they say, with rains coming after that.

I’m a trying.

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Well not great timing on that

24 Sep

My laptop, my only computer, had been acting up for awhile.  I preferred to approach the situation with denial.  Who can afford a new computer?  Not me.  Well, updates weren’t configuring and also my antivirus wouldn’t work.  Other things.  Blah blah.

Every night when I turned it off and every morning when I turned it on 17 updates would try and configure but would not.

Figures.

Then I finally read the little blurb that popped up. Seems my hard drive was corrupted.  I don’t know much, but I know that this is not good.

Did some internet searching and talked to various and sundry.

New computer needed; my old computer was going down at any moment.

Gack.

I headed over to FutureShop on Sunday and got a decent deal – got myself MS Word 2013 as well.  The clerk took pity on my shaking and quaking self (oy, change.) and had the geek squad set up Windows 8.1 to look like Windows 7, had them do a recovery USB, and a few other things.  That way, when I picked it up five hours later, it was good to go.

I’ve backed up ITunes and such but can’t seem to transfer them onto the computer.  My other computer still works at the moment so that is helpful.

So yeah, that was an expense that I could not afford.  Really bad timing.  My old laptop lasted 3.5 years which is about average, said B.

Alrighty then.

It’s nice to be able to use the laptop keyboard again – my old one hadn’t been working in a long time.  I’m still using the external keyboard though in order to preserve said laptop one a bit longer.

Unexpecred expense.

I’m subbing mornings this week at a downtown school that is laying off half of its teachers come November due to low student numbers.  Yup, that is how that goes.

My two evening Langara courses are running starting next week for eight weeks.  That’s great- a little routine, some people, and a bit of pocket money and less out of the savings.  That’s good.  Yup.

“Wow, your personal life sucks,” e-mailed a friend to me.  Well, yeah, well, mom is dead, dad is indefinitely in hospital, and I don’t have a job and all sorts.

Oh and insomnia and nightmares (they do indeed go together) coming out of my ears.

But whatev.

Whatev.

I’m going to get off of the computer now because rumour has it that a computer at night can make insomnia worse.  I fall asleep just fine.  I just don’t stay asleep and when I do sleep it is very lightly and with nightmares.

Ugh.

The rains have returned to Vancouver which I guess is needed but really rather unfortunate.  Although the beginning of fall involved a 25C Sunday which was lovely.

My tan’s gonna fade.

Hmmm, maybe a warm bath.

Count sheep.

Don’t panic when you wake up at 3 am and don’t fall back to sleep for 3 hours and then have an hour long nightmare about TB and rejection.

Don’t freak out when you wake up feeling sick and shaky.

This Sunday (hopefully sunny) is the annual event at the downtown library where book and magazine people gather and sell literary magazines cheaply and there are workshops and speakers and all sorts.  It’s a day I like really.  Last year I stopped at the Christian Science booth and chatted with the Christian Science woman.

One of my writers’ group people, Raymond Nakamura, has recently had published (by a real publisher!  not self published) his children’s book called, ‘Peach Girl.”  It is a take on the Japanese story about peach girl.  He is also an illustrator but for this first book an illustrator was hired.  The illustrator illustrated peach girl to look quite a lot like Raymond’s daughter.  We are all very in awe that one of our own has been published.  He’ll be in two panel sessions at the library.  Check him out; maybe buy his book.

Every day of my life, practically every blooming hour, I think about my unemployment situation.  Doesn’t help really.

Be good to yourself, says A.T.  Oh A.T. that’s been much harder this week.

What else, what else.  I am not a rainy day cyclist so much. Too bad as that is what keeps me in shape.  I lost a little bit of weight this cycling season so I’m hoping the cycling season doesn’t have to end too soon.  There is the matter of wet leaves and such – one must be careful.

I did go to my writers’ group last night, despite being insomniaed and having to get up early in the morning to teach the three hours.  Good food as always – some homemade like macaroni with hashbrown type situation.  And other things.

The more you worry about insomnia the less you sleep I think.

After my mom died – I slept for two whole months without a single issue.

That was grace for sure.

Thanks for reading.  Making my way as we all are.

Langara comes through for pocket money and brain usage

17 Sep

So phew.  Enough students have signed up for one of the two 8 week once a week courses that I teach in the evenings at Langara College.  Phew.  Just one more student needed for the other course.  So that will either be two or one night a week starting in two weeks.

Lots of the word week there.

So it’s either 2.5 or five hours a week.  A great hourly rate of pay but alas, not enough hours a week or enough weeks a year!

But still something to a. relieve the pressure on my savings and b. get me out there in the world of people – via walking, bus, skytrain, walking but out there I say.

The class that is running for sure is on the same night as Centering Prayer which is too bad.  I went last night and really liked it as I did last spring when I went.

Uh well, I’ll be back there in two months.

No day jobs – even subbing – on the horizon unfortunately.  November and December are dead for sure so eeek and eeek.  And finally, eeeek. One downtown school contacted me but their starting wage, they informed me, for someone WITH a Masters (somehow they think I have this) is equivalent to what I made 15 years ago when I started out.  And it was only for a here and there for subbing.  I know, I know, beggars and choosers and such like that.  For sure, for sure.  And I’m sure in a couple of months I’ll be desperate enough.  Seems most downtown schools pay this wage now but there are a few that are a bit better.  I’m on the UBC sub list but that has slowed to a stop but of course.

I’m also applying for other type jobs but no luck so far.

Sigh.

Sigh.

Must breathe.

But hearing that the Langara course is running for sure was a bit of a boost.

Yup, that is how it is.

Day by day.

Met my friend M. (boss from Explore) on the beach yesterday when it was still sunny.  That was generally enjoyable.

Today it is cloudy but not raining too hard just yet.  I think I’m meeting C. for lunch but must confirm that situation.

I do know I need to get out of my apartment – antsy.

Tricky, this.

not great evening but then a nice afternoon

15 Sep

tracytentUps and downs.  As always, I am convinced that Vancouver’s hills go uphill no matter what direction I am coming from.  Hilly.

A bit of hills.

Hillness.

Hill yes.

So last night.  Last night I went to the ‘wrap’ party of the 2014 short programs at UBC (the ones I was teaching all summer).  As usual, it was held at the short program’s boss’ small abode.  SPB is about seven years older than I am and has a hot French boyfriend who is 14 years younger.

Anyway, the food was good (barbecued peach at one point) and the conversation nice and it was great to see some of the teachers again.

Some of the teachers brought their babies and partners and there was me.  Yup.

Got to talking and all of the teachers were talking about the great fall jobs they’ve gotten at other universities.

“Wouldn’t want to be unemployed in this expensive city,” noted one.

By the time flirt F. had two female teachers engrossed in his never ending tale of his high school years as a track athlete, I decided I’d leave.  Was my own thing – I was feeling insecure about not having a family and not having found a job.  I get insecure, which results in my becoming socially awkward(er), and I lash in and I lash out.  Unpretty for me.

“But we’re just about to have the cake!” said hot boyfriend.  Twas boss’ birthday the next day.

“Gotta go,” I said.

No one’s fault – my own insecurities and discouragement.  But it ended up just being unpleasant.  I got home and threw a few things at the wall.  No one was hurt.

The positive part is that I figured out my brain does all of that because of insecurity.  Well, I figured that out today whilst the pastor at the Vineyard was preaching.  Got it!  I thought.  A small thing, perhaps, but it shows me that I’m able to put a small space between my thoughts and my not-thoughts and observe.  After the fact of course but still.

Still.

The next step I think is learning healthier ways – kinder ways – to deal with this.  I feel like I should have learned this 30 years ago, 40 years ago but that isn’t helpful really.

After the Vineyard this morning, I once again lucked out – when I cycled pass Tracy’s she was there.  A few other folks were there too.  Some laughing and such, culminating with the photo above.  Tracy has a tent in her front yard and she and her daughter sleep there when the weather is warm.

Fun.

Tomorrow I’m subbing for six hours for two classes of Chinese immigrant women from Point Grey.  It’s in East Van-ish – the hip and cool Main Street.  Although you know, it is actually Ontario Street and not Main that divides east and west in this town.  It’s a one-off deal – I happened to send in my resume the same day a teacher had to go to a one-day training course unexpectedly. It’s quite the happening little neighbourhood house – seems to help a lot of poor folks in the neighbourhood.  The women I will be teaching, however, will be quite wealthy.  Multipurpose situations – the gym is used as a classroom on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.

No subbing the rest of the next year that I know about yet anyway.  The Saturday night event deflated me more with, well, reality.

I’d like to go away somewhere this week that is cheap and fun and writer-ish – alas, no such thing comes to mind.  The weather remains amazing.

Luciano and Dale have offered for me to housesit their gorgeous new to them Brighton, England home when they go away for a month from mid-December to mid-January.  And cat sit.  Vaguely tempting but too expensive.

If I could get a random cheap flight out to London (not likely!) I’d fly out this week and invade their space. Randomly, Luciano Skyped me this morning which was awesome.

“Liking the five o’clock shadow,” I told him, “You are no longer a pretty boy.”

“You’re right,” he said, ” I am a man now.”

They have my heart, those two.

 

Edgy bored coma and sunshine and such

13 Sep

A beautiful, absolutely beautiful summer day.  I’m sure it was 25C today.  I cycled to a place I am subbing for six hours on Monday – that was an awkwardly worded sentence.  Took about half an hour.  I forgot the address and I hadn’t been there before.  I think I mentioned that in my bored coma I am forgetting a whole lot.

“Why is dad so weak?”  I e-mailed my sister.

“Because his hemoglobin is low.”

“Why is it low.”

“Because of his (rare blood) cancer.”

“Oh.”

Normally, I would have put two and two together but I was as if my brain couldn’t figure that out.

“Maybe write things down,”  suggested A.T.

“Oh, yes, good idea,” I said.

A.T. noted I was less quick.

“Bored coma,” I said.

We painted and such.  Her relentlessly compassionate stance is I think  something I am vaguely starting to internalize, much to my self-dislike’s despair perhaps.  It teeters though, in the massive amounts of amorphous time that I have.

Teeter, totter.

I got that word amorphous from S.T. I like it – I knew it but hadn’t used it as obsessively as I am now, ha.

Ha.

This summer weather is fabulous.  Tomorrow night my boss at UBC when I’m at UBC is having a soiree at her and her gorgeous 14-years younger French partner’s abode.  It would be two buses or a longish bike ride.  I’m not a fan of cycling at night but I think I will.  Last time I went to one of her soiree’s it was in March of last year I think.  I cycled home in the pouring rain and absolute darkness.  Not so relaxing that.

Sunday I think I will go to the Vineyard again.  I wish it weren’t so far but it is what it is kind of thing.  I’m not sure though.  I’m not sure I can reconcile myself to some pretty conservative bible thoughts.  There was a bit of Facebook back and forthing this evening on one of those thoughts and it just frustrated and saddened me.  I can present so forcefully that it naturally fosters a bit of debate.  So I just ended up taking my comments off and apologizing for bringing it up – my free floating anger likes to go there but it doesn’t help anyone, most of all me.

I don’t think I’m depressed as much as just very bored. Word on the street is that my dad – sequestered in a hospital room shared with a woman with dementia, is also very very bored.  They can’t seem to get his blood pressure up – he is now wearing pressure stockings from hips to below his feet.  Catheter might also be needed.  Walker.  That is a pretty quick downhillness really.  They will eventually let him out – his drivers’ license will be (phew) suspended, something he does not know yet.  This will cause him stress which may bring up his blood pressure one hopes.  Hmmm, that would be a good side of that.

Sister S.’s birthday is on Thursday.  I have something for her but have so far failed to make it to the post office – bored coma or something.  It might be late!

I appreciate the readership, wee wee fanbase.

WorkBC office and another day in paradise

11 Sep

Well, yeah, Vancouver in the summer is paradise really.  I don’t think I ever get used to the mountains, the ocean, the trees and the etc. but maybe a bit.  I knew that picture from the bridge yesterday was lovely but I think I forgot how amazing it is and that I live five minutes from the beach.

One forgets.

The rains from November to April-ish are also quite remarkable – unrelenting, low dark clouds.  Tis the price you pay I guess for the paradise part.

I have never been east of Quebec (gack, I know) and I hear tell the east coast is also very beautiful.  Every time I leave Vancouver to go to say, Winnipeg, I remember how much I love Vancouver.   Nothing wrong with Winnipeg of course but for me, there is no comparison.  I remember times coming back from visiting my ill mom and the relief that flooded me when I landed in Vancouver.  It is definitely more my home than Winnipeg and I’ve also lived here longer.

Anyway, I am typing this from the WorkBC office in my neighbourhood (well a 1/2 hour walk or so but yes, in Kitsilano).  The wall of computers faces outside which is nice.  There are I’d say 10 computers and they are all filled up.  People are looking for work although the woman next to me is checking out her Facebook page.  Props to her.  The woman on the other side of me is looking at some page that says, ‘work for us.’  I’m not a subtle looker over so I’d better stop.

After having lunch and an outside sit down in a park with the fabulous Jane near here, I thought I’d pop in.  Do a little printing.  Be vaguely less isolated.  In general, this place makes me feel more nihilistic.  Not today. I don’t see my case manager around – hopefully she hasn’t quit.  I can’t imagine that she has but there was quite awhile where my case manager changed every three months.

J. is my case manager.  In general, she doesn’t respond to my e-mails anymore.  She’s told me there is nothing more she can do for me and fair enough I guess;  I do expect the moon.  I’m eligible for the targeted wage subsidy and re-training money, if only I could figure out what I wanted to do and jumped through several hoops. I would happily jump if I could figure out what I wanted.  J. had no more ideas.  I did get a book or two of bus tickets though so that was nice.

The downtown school I sub at has no need of subs at all.  “Maybe a bit in October,” said boss.  Sigh.  I am more and more regretting that wayward e-mail of last week.  That job wouldn’t have been great and wouldn’t have paid me much but it would have gotten me out of the house every day, given me a schedule.  Not having a schedule as I’ve said over and over and over and over (over) is really really hard for me.  Time become amorphous (credit to S.T. for that word use in this situation).  I’m in a pickle of pickles.  A veritable cucumber even.

I like visiting with folks and loved hanging out with Jane but I’m kind of done with that.

“Volunteer,” suggest a few folks.

Indeed.

Crap, now I am getting anxious thinking about my untenable situation – I thought I was far enough into my bored coma that that wasn’t happening anymore.

Shocking about Rob Ford’s tumour.  Awful.  I don’t want to take my own health for granted (well other than the usual mid-life complaints).  I saw an old video of Joan Rivers’ stand up and I figured out she was in her 50s when she did it.  She was full of energy and at her peak really.  I realize that in 10 years I may well lament not using my robust enough health when I had it.

Bored coma.

Who I’m reading lately is Laura van den Berg – I read her more recent short stories and now an earlier collection called, “What the world will look like when all the water leaves us.”  She’s quite good.

My short story writing god, KD Miller is coming to the Vancouver Writers’ fest so hurrah.

It is only 3:30 pm for goodness sakes.

I’ve mass sent out my resume to some more downtown (gack)  ESL schools and the ones that offer LINC.  I’m not expecting a massive response but we shall see.

I’ll find out by the end of the month if both, either or neither of my Langara night courses are running.  Doubtful, said my boss.  We shall see.  ESL seems to flood in and flood out – I figured out that for a few weeks there in the summer I was making quite good money working at Langara and UBC.  I’m trying to tell myself that that makes up for these lean times!

Oooh, just got an e-mail about subbing LINC on Monday.  That will be nice if it works out.   Just ironing out a few kinks.  So not a flood but a drop once in awhile.

Dad is still in hospital in Winnipeg.  They can’t seem to get his blood pressure up.  Gack.

Overcycling to relieve bored coma: doctors unsure of its veracity

11 Sep

036

Or something like that.  I cycled to North Vancouver today in part to hang out with Ma. and her almost five year old daughter.  The three year old daughter was in pre-school.  Ma. phone was on – if 3 year old pooped in her diaper, Ma. had to go and change that thing.

Fair enough I guess.

It is a ride and a half there – lots of hills to the bridge on the causeway and then on the bridge and in North Van.  North Van. is really like one big hill.

Ma. and her daughter and I had a small amount of lunch.  While Ma. was paying,  I looked at her shy little girl.

“What is your favourite colour to colour with?” I asked her.

“Pink,” said she.

“Nice one.  I like green.”

“Yeah, ” she said.

“Is there any colour that you don’t like?”

She thought for a minute or two.

“I don’t like the one that doesn’t work,” said she.

“I totally get that.  Isn’t it cool when you put two colours together and they become a different colour?”

“Yeah,” she said, “You can do that with pink too.”

“You can?” I said, “I did not know that.  Colouring is awesome I think.”

“Yeah.”

That was sweet.

Ma. felt that the after lunch mints were off.

“Something wrong here,” she said.

“Yes,” I said.

Five years ago when Ma. was pregnant, we were in Istanbul together. We stopped for apple tea at a restaurant.  I didn’t have any.

“I think this apple tea has been poisoned,” whispered Ma.

“Ha,” I said.

“No, really.”  She threw it into the bush.

“Really?” I said.

“Can’t be too safe.”

We attributed that to hormones.

“Ma. I am usually the irrational one,” I said.

“Hey, I have anxiety too,” Ma. said.

No more apple tea.

After hanging out, I decided to go back over the bridge.  This is not something I usually do because on the way back is way more uphill and also the causeway is really dangerous because it is just sidewalk and then cars whipping by, no barriers at all.  A couple of cyclists have been killed this way as they fell into traffic.  But I really wanted to continue the overcycling odyssey and it was a nice day.

I stopped on the bridge to take the picture.  It was really windy up there and high up.  I could see how jumping would really, really hurt.  There is always that temptation though I find, especially when I look straight down.

By the time I got downtown (with about half an hour left to cycle) I had hit the wall.

“Vancouver’s hills only go up,” I thought.  I had to stop and walk for awhile, which for me feels like defeat.

“This feels like defeat,” I said aloud.  But by then I wasn’t breathing much so it was just as well.

Tomorrow will be an exercise rest day.  Maybe a dip in Kits. Pool (four more open days!) but that’s about it.

I’ve mentioned this before – but why are talk shows during the day – and thus aimed at stay at home women – so daft?  The Talk for example.  The actress Sara Gilbert started it with an aim to have the other hosts be moms.  Four seasons later, only two of the four hosts are moms.  That’s okay.  But the talk is well, all talk.  Celebrity gossip and mocking of the celebrities.  And then really dumb stuff.  Like each host was going to face their worst fears – Sara’s was to lie down on a bed of nails, have another bed of nails on top of her and then a piece of granite split on her stomach.  Turns out she can’t do this because she is pregnant.

It is all so inane – not Sara’s pregnancy, the show.  Other daytime talk shows – The View for example, are just as inane.  Katie Couric, quite a respected journalist, had a daytime talk show for two seasons before it was cancelled.  She went from exposing Sarah Palin’s lack of newspaper reading to talking about how to lose weight.  Meredith Viera, a former 60 Minutes reporter, did The View for awhile and soon will have her own daytime talk show.  Episodes on weight and botox await.

Today at Chapters in North Van (well,yeah) they have a magazine section called, “Women’s Interest.”  Not a political or educational magazine amonst them.  Rather, magazines about weight and fashion.  There was no men’s section.

Obviously, as an unempl9yed too much free time person,  it is up to me if I watch TV and what I watch.  But having so much time makes me think and wonder why ‘women’s’ talk shows are still so purposefully non-intellectual.  Sara Gilbert has always struck me as an intelligent and left-leaning kind of a person but none of that is in evidence on The Talk.  Maybe she needed a regular job.  Aisha Tyler is also on The Talk.  She is a comedienne but seems to dumb it down on the show.  I heard her interviewed by Jian Ghomeshi on CBC awhile back (during my tenure at the church of which we do not speak) and she was articulate, insightful and funny.  Sharon Osborne is another host on The Talk – not much to say there really.

Anyway, just daytime thoughts.

My muscles they are tired.