ups, downs, every which way

“Is this your laundry?” inquires W.M.  She lives in my building – a beautiful mansion from 1911 divided into twelve suites.  We share a washer and dryer in the basement.  Just one, but it is included in the rent which is lovely, so no coins needed.  There is a schedule of who can wash and dry when, and she has hers on Monday.  She has been known to flip out on people who do laundry at her scheduled time and I can hear the edge in her voice ready to flip on me.

“No,” I said, because it’s, well, not.  I was downstairs to put my laundry basket in the queue for the afternoon free time.

I could see her shutting off the dryer and taking out the laundry of the poor soul who had put it in there.

I almost wish it had been mine as my displaced anger needs a place to go, as per usual.

As per usual.

Yesterday was a pretty good day – I went to the Vineyard again – they’ve moved farther east as I’ve mentioned so a much much longer schlepp on my bicycle, including a near 90 degree hill near the end (or so it feels).  It was okay – a few more folks I know and many I don’t.  But there is a general relaxed feeling there for me;  a kind of deep memory I guess.  There was the usual ‘god told me in a dream’ kind of stuff – but as people have told me and as I know, I don’t have to believe everything.

“If it fills even one of your needs,” suggested T., “Keep going.”


After that long service (it is so long it is almost cult-like I helpfully inform G., the pastor.  I know, I know, said G.  Might want to shorten up the length of your preaching there because people can’t focus after like 20 minutes.  Thanks, Karen, he said.  More likely thinking, don’t go coming back after 13 years and telling me how long I can talk for.  Indeed.  I sent him a little apology FB message.

“Just be careful that I don’t start thinking that talking about a dream is a god dream is just something that I accept,” I say to T.

“God, no” said T.

I had cycled over to T. in Strathcona after the Vineyard.  She is never home but her daughter had thrown up after some suspect chocolate so was upstairs taking a bath and watching Netflix.  Tracy was downstairs, her voice quite weak after injections of Botox into her vocal cords.  Not vanity of vocal cord, more that when her asthma acts up, her vocal cords close over and she can’t breathe. Ambulance and the like.  The last time she had to call an ambulance (last week?  the week before?), she couldn’t speak much because she couldn’t breathe and her vocal cords had closed over.  They kept saying, ‘oh, asthma,’ and she kept trying to tell them, ‘no, listen to me, it’s my vocal cords closing over.”  She said that another ‘special’ ambulance turned up and she had to go over the same spiel.  Finally at the hospital they figured it out.  “Vocal cords first and then asthma!” shouted the special ambulance paramedic.

Thank goodness.

We mainly lay about having a laugh or two.  Super lovely.  Then the next thing I know I’m colouring (Tracy is an artist and her daughter, Zoe, 11, likes such things as well) and Tracy is colouring and then there is beef and pasta and lying on the hammock outside reading a book.

Then a bicycle ride home.  Overbiked but of course but that was fine I think.

Now it’s Monday and I have no job on the horizon (wayward e-mails and such).  I am subbing for four hours tomorrow at UBC – won’t pay my bills but gets me out in the real world for a few minutes and pays for a session with the A.T.  I’m no longer used to getting up early of course.  Nonetheless, I am looking forward to it.  Weeks and months can and do go by without any subbing gigs and that is not a good thing obviously.  I’ve e-mailed (in some cases re-emailed) a few places that I have worked before.  So some of this is waiting.  And waiting.  This doesn’t get easier and sometimes I feel like the okay-ness of yesterday gets wiped out by the unstructured unworked-ness of today.  Not true of course but that is new for me to think that way.


Just heard about the Spirit of the West’s 51 year old lead singer having early onset Alzheimer’s.  And he is in remission from colon cancer as well.  He’s still performing for now – just without the guitar and with an I-pad so he can remember lyrics.  Really sad that.

So tonight is writers’ group – I will be picked up in six hours – or a bit more.  Eeek.  Might go for a swim at Kits. Pool as it is closing in six days, sigh.  A bit chilly but the sun is coming out a bit.

It’s hard this unemployment.  Up and down and down and up.

I’m hoping that the Vineyard continues to be a source of yeah, not so bad and doesn’t get overwhelmed with the stuff that caused me to leave in the first place.

I’m a bit teeter.  I need the love, people  Or without the comma I need the love people.  Where oh where are they.

continuation of the bored coma.

Seriously, seriously.


I’m trying, I’m trying.

Sometimes I can get so bored and on my own that things start to feel surreal but perhaps not the fun surreal.

Anyway, talking to people snaps me out of it but it can take awhile, depending on the extent of the bored coma.

Complain, complain, even  I’m tired of complaining!

My hairdresser, god bless him, de-bigged my hair today.  Lots of chlorine damage, said he.  Yeah but just for another week, I said.  Then Kits. Pool closes.

I bobbed a bit just now but it was a bit too cold for that although outside it is hot hot hot.  Renewal of tan and such.

My hairdresser is semi-retired and leaving town until near Christmas.  After that, he’ll be gone till May.  That’s a long stretch of hair bigging that is for sure.  Big and unruly my hair gets.  Kinda grateful though as it is nice and thick.

Come to think of it, my aged father in hospital still has a head of hair.  Mom did too until all of the chemotherapy but at the end some had come back and it was grey, of course.  She had never allowed her hair to go gray before that ; she had it touched coloured every several weeks at the hairdresser.  Like that. Sniffle.

The hairdresser, A. and I had a nice chat, once I was able to emerge from the bored coma.

“Keep moving forward,” he suggested.  Indeed.

I’d cycled up to the hairdresser.  This involves three rather large and punishing hills.  They went past a church that was having a yard sale.  Lovely older folks selling their wares hearing me swear as I got to the top of the hill.

I find that hills on bike don’t get easier.  Mainly I’m happy if I finish them.

“You are in good shape for someone your age,” FBed D, my Australian friend who I haven’t seen in person in almost 25 years.  She is my age and has six kids and works as a nurse in an extended care home.  One of her children has a profound intellectual and physical disability – it’s rare and I can’t recall the name of it.  Her plate if full to overflowing.  The last time I saw D. she had just started dating M, the father of the children and her husband.  Time flies.

After the hair removal,  I headed over to the yard sale where I knew a couple of people.  I chatted their ears off or something.

Biking home is better, downhill.  Woo, etc.  I was past there on Friday I think or Thursday, no matter.  There is a private school there (tis a rich area) and while all of the public schools are on strike, the private school was overflowing with students. And parents, every one of them in an SUV, picking up their kids.  Is the root of all evil rich parents with SUV’s?  I sometimes think so in a hugely judgemental way.  I’m sure if I could afford an SUV, I’d have one.

The strike continues unabated.  Not good, not good.  There is a bit of an information night/rally by my MLA.  I’m going to go.  Kind of like a town hall meeting really.

There is not a cloud in the sky.

Might return to the Vineyard tomorrow, even though it has moved even farther east.  This will involve either a 45 minute bike ride or a 45 minute stop start bus ride. I shall see.  It would help with the bored coma.

Well, Joan Rivers.  I think it’s weird when some people are like, wow, her and Robin Williams must be up in heaven telling jokes.  I don’t think it works that way.  I mean it’s a lovely sentiment but . . . . no.

Joan Rivers could be hysterically funny and also hysterically cruel.  I also recommend watching a documentary made about her a couple of years ago – it really highlights her talent and her insecurity.  Can be watched for free (in Canada) on The Passionate Eye.

I’ll find out in a few weeks if either or both (unlikely) of the two eight week one night a week evening classes I teach at Langara are going to run. No students so far.  If both classes ran, that would be awesome.  Pocket money and all sorts. A vague once a week schedule, that kind of thing.

I’m thinking about books, as per always.  I’d lke to say again that K.D. Miller’s ‘All Saints’ book of short stories is really great.  At the library I’m sure.

At the yard sale, I picked up (for $2) the Oxford  History of Art’s “Imperial Rome and Christian Triumph.”  I got it for the pictures of ancient sculptures and such.It is quite remarkable.  For the same reason I picked up a book on the Haggia Sophia in Istanbul.  I’ve been there but didn’t really know what was what or who was who or when was when.  It is a remarkable building.  I envision doing some sort of a collage with the pictures from these books.  Once I learn, well, how to do that.  I remember going to Aya Sophia with the lovely M., who’d seen it a zillion times before.  I find it all fascinating, would love to take like a history of this kind of art or something.

I’m often hungry in the bored coma.

Carry on, wee fan base.

A word or five about soap operas if you will

The sun came out and then the sun went away.

So it’s a cool fall day but Kitsilano pool is still open. Will think about this.  I don’t enjoy swimming outside when it is cold out.  A plus is that there won’t be many people there – too cold and too middle of the work day situation.  Oh work by golly, work.

Starting Monday and for two ‘trial’ weeks I will be teaching part-time at a downtown school.  I don’t want to say too much due to fairly legitimate fears of someone reading this who, say, works there.  You never know.  Suffice to say it is a downtown school and what they want to see is that their students love me.  They have the kind of students who gang up and hate you.  It has no teachers’ union which is a good thing, the 25 year old director of studies told me, because then teachers the students don’t like can be fired easily!  She didn’t say it exactly that way but  y’all get the point.  Anyway, two weeks of a routine!!!!!  Hurrah!  I need me a little routine. As for after?  Who knows, who knows.  What I need to do is keep looking whilst at this little job-ette.  But as we know there are not a lot of jobs out there right now.

“Where do you normally work in the winter?” asked the 25-year-old.  Good question.  This all started three years ago.  In 2011, I was happy to take a bit of time off and hopefully figure things out. Hmmm.  In 2012, I was at the horrifying school briefly – the one where the high school aged students growled at me.  In 2013, I was the church secretary – yup.  And now, I am wandering aimlessly through a thing here or there.  Good question though.  What do I do in the fall and winter and early spring?

Craziness.  If this wee job could last a few months that would be good.  It’s not enough to live on but enough to pay the rent and keep a few wolves at bay.  I’d need another part time job or two which I might be more inspired to do once I am actually working.  Who knows? I’ll report back on that more next week.

On to soap operas.  After my barium meal this morning (yum, yum), I went to two libraries on the North Shore (thank you public transit and the great 255 bus that goes from North Van to West Van).  Got some good books that I’d had on hold at VPL where there are more users and thus a longer wait list.  Hurrah.  Hurrah.  And finally, hurrah.

Schlepped home and put on the TV.  The Talk was a repeat!  Geez, Sara Gilbert.  Channel surfed briefly past Days of our Lives and General Hospital.  Mom loved GH, sniffle.  My thoughts on this are that:  a. soap operas provide work for women over 40, 50 and even 60 and gives them a chance to be divas and sexy and good acting is not a requirement b.  soap operas get a lot of their drama from cattiness between the females.  That is unfortunate.  There’s no sisterhood on soap operas – all catty, all the time.  This still seems to be the recipe to hook its audience though.  The story lines remain ludicrous and the acting over the top.  Some actors eventually make the leap out of soaps (Kevin Bacon, Meg Ryan, Julianne Moore, Marisa Tomei, etc) but I think if someone is on a soap for a long time, they must have a hard time not overacting in other roles.  Apparently there is a real prejudice against soap actors who try to get nighttime roles.  It’s not fair!  They shout.  Apparently they learn like 80 pages of dialogue a day.

Rumour has been for awhile that soaps are on the decline.  Several have been cancelled in the last few years and actors from those end up popping up on the remaining ones in a kind of constant rotation.

I think a lot about this.  They heyday of the nighttime soap is gone too – remember the good old 70s and 80s of Dallas, Falcon Crest, Dynasty and Knots Landing?  Having said that, Dallas has been resurrected and is said to be doing quite well even though JR and his portrayer are, well, dead.  In the 80s, whilst my sister was out doing wild things, I was at home on a Friday night eating potato chips and watching the Dallas/Falcon Crest marathon.  Saturdays were Love Boat/Fantasy Island.  This is still the case actually, except replaced with Netflix.  That’s like a routine!  Phew, comforting.

Uh, yes, the sun has returned. Phew.  The dark clouds of Vancouver hang low and hang around way too long.  A bit too cool out to go for a swim but I think I will.

Craving meatloaf.  Barium flavoured meatloaf.

My niece is having a bit of a rough adjustment to living away from home – I suggested she colour.  A.T. will be proud when I tell her that.  Sniffle.

bored comas and the like

Gack.  It is still the Labour Day long weekend and I am all ready in a bored coma.  I sleep too late in the morning which is a part of it too.  Just a general . . .  blah.  Blah blah blah.

The sun went away which adds to the blahs but I hear tell it will re-appear for awhile on Wednesday.  Very good.  Very very good.  Every summer I seem to forget how low the clouds hang, how rainy the rain is and how blah the days become.  I keep meaning to get one of those ultraviolet ‘don’t kill yourself’ lights but never do.  A bit out of my price range at the moment.

So, yeah, I am actually now living off of my savings.  This is something I’ve managed to ward off for the last three years with different teaching contracts or even that church secretary job (which is no longer spoken of).  Employment insurance goes in there too a bit but that is done with now.  Remarkably, I managed to save a bit of money this summer which could tide me over until Christmas but I hate to see the savings go down.

Anyway.  ESL is in its dead season right now.  Well, July is the really busy season.  So, you know, 11 months of the year, dry season.

UBC was grand, grand I say.  Spoils me for anything else.  I think I have an interview tomorrow at a downtown school, for subbing I think.  Kind of unclear.  Well though, because there are fewer students in the fall, there is a lesser need for subs so not sure what is going on there.  But it will get me out and about.

I need a schedule tis true.  But if I get up at 7 am when I don’t have to, then it is an even longer day to fill type thing.  Blah.


And finally, blah.

The Buddhists in my life would tell me to feel the feelings but not be overwhelmed by them.


So dad is still in the hospital – in ER reassessment area says my sister.  When he is lying down, his blood pressure is fine.  When he gets up, it drops through the floor.  I’m glad this is finally being investigated.  He is apparently bored out of his mind and feels like ‘he is in a prison cell.’  I get that but as his friend B. said, it’s kinda like he brought this on himself because he didn’t do anything about his weakness/falling for months and months and months.  If they get his BP under control, his hemoglobin up and home care in place, they might send him home.  If my mom were still alive she’d be out of her mind with worry.  Hopefully there is an afterlife and she is up there sipping a little wine and thinking, ‘So glad I don’t have to deal with that s___ anymore.”

Hmmm, that is still a tender spot, nearly nine months on.  I keep checking to see if it is still a tender spot and alas, yes.

I might have an evening class to teach again at Langara College starting in a month but that is very very up in the air and not a great deal of money of course.

After years of sniffing around at another careers, I think I have to stick with this ESL teaching thing for awhile.  I may say differently in three months when I haven’t worked in, well, three months.  I AM ALMOST FIFTY (well a year and a half away).  How does that even make sense.

“You need to get into BC Housing,” says T, 800 times.

“You need to get on the wait list.”

Yes, yes, I say.  And I don’t, preferring to pay nearly a grand a month for a small abode near the beach.  Like I can walk to the beach, the beach, the beach.  Peaceful and such.

“How long will you be able to continue to afford living there?”  asked C.

“Three more days,” I said and popped an Ativan.

The thing is, here’s the thing.  Here is the thingy thing.  I could move to a ‘cheaper’ area but would only save about $200/month and then I’d have to consider the moving costs and the emotional distress and all sorts like that.  So, yes, BC Housing list I must get on.  I wouldn’t mind a place with a roommate but one must be careful.

I AM ALMOST FIFTY.  I called the barium meal people because I forgot the day of the barium meal (Wed, 8:30 am, friggin North Van.  no eating or drinking before).

“You are a 49 year old female?”

“FORTY EIGHT!” I shouted.

I sensed the woman on the phone was thinking, ‘Whatev.’

“What happens is we can do less and less as the years go by and then we go into a nursing home,” I said to M today. I happened to show up at lunch time.

“You know it is meal time when I show up,” I said.

“We are going to start eating randomly or things like lentil loaf and definitely more fish,” said M.

“Unemployed writer type people who colour in art therapy are often shunned where they live,” I responded.

Then Scrabble was played.

I played a kind of obscene word.

“I am so embarrassed,” I said.

“It’s a part of the human anatomy and I quite enjoy mine,” said M.

I lost both games.

Okay, so I’ll keep the wee wee tiny fanbase posted on:  a. the barium meal (really they call it that) b.  the father unit c.  my unemployment d. bored coma.

Oh and the BC teachers are still on strike.  The government is being evil about it.  So no school for public school kids.  As such, they will be more underfoot.  So be careful out there.