Frustration tis true

I can’t find a job!  I FB to a very patient listener.

Get a job, she types back.

Yeah, even the long suffering amongst us are frustrated.

There seemed to be a glimmer of hope with a Chinese cram school that would pay decently until I figured out that they have no idea how to run the adult ESL classes they seem to want to run for the parents of the cram school children.  And out went that idea.

The downtown school still has no classes for me – bizarro land for sure.  Sometimes they use me for 1.5 hours a week to intake new students.  This was the case early this morning.  Some of the students were 16 years old and travelling internationally on their own for the first time.  Another woman in her 30’s looked at me and said, ‘no English.’  Poor dear, she was quite nervous too.  I asked a couple of basic questions and then figured out she actually had as she had said.  She was an easy level to place.

Tomorrow I am subbing for the first time in like eight months up at ELI at UBC.  I shall ride my bicycle up there I think.  Given that the bus loop is a 15 minute walk from ELI and the bike ride 45 minutes or so (hmmm, big hill), the bike ride may be prudent.  I shall have to avoid seeing who gets to work the short programs this summer since it isn’t, well, me (except for three weeks in August). My usual reaction is despair but I’ll see if I can wonk that up to despair-lite.

Ha, I like that despair-lite.

Where did my tutoring student go?  He said he was sick and cancelled on Saturday and then he disappeared.  Oddly typical.  This is why one can’t count on tutoring as a viable living.

The Glenda (she who gets her full first name printed here) picked me up after my 1.5 hour day and we went to Costco.  She needed to buy whole raw chickens (a rather stomach churning sight at 10:30 am) to make dog food for, well, her dog.  We enjoyed a Costco hotdog and pop, although disturbingly the rootbeer wasn’t working – had to settle for the lemonade.

Then we went to hers to get her set of Ikea allen keys (who is allen and why are keys named after him) and we came back to mine and finally, after years of brokenness, got the futon frame hole back in the correct socket.  Hallelujah!  The socket is a bit worn away so we put books underneath it all to help relieve the pressure (books are, after all, good at relieving pressure).  The futon looks infinitely more even now.  Of course I don’t sit on it often due to the lack of television but still, good good.  I am so used to not wanting to put pressure on the futon due to the left side suddenly falling down, gromp, that it will take awhile to learn to trust it again.

“It could pop out of the socket again,” noted Glenda.

“I shall not live my futon live in fear,” I said.

Thank goodness I got that retro cheque from the government a month ago or I would be (more) hysterical at not having worked in two months.  It really is a boring, frustrating topic.

I was very pleased to see that my cable bill (I still have internet) has been cut back nicely.  Phew.

The beach has been lovely and the smoke seems to have mostly cleared and so the sun is shining again.  Very good.

Lanes of Memory

mominthe50sThat’s my mom there on the right.  Late 1950s I think and it looks like they were or were going to be doing a little travelling.

My cousin, L.G., one of the children of one of my mom’s (many) brothers, scanned photos that mom had under the coffee table in the living room.  I hadn’t even realized she was doing this until my sister forwarded me the scans – all neatly arranged in numerous categories in DropBox.  It is amazing that she did that.  She is very much the historian of the Berard’s – she has in the past shared some film her father had shot back in the 50s and 60s.  Little clips that she converted to whatever one converts old video to and added a little music (no sound in the videos).  Those are also amazing to watch – lots of the Berard family dancing, eating, and having fun.  Later ones show my dad and my sister as a baby.  I find it all remarkable and it all puts a lump in my throat.

At mom’s funeral, L.G. gave my sister and me DVD’s with the clips on them.

The memories gotten from pictures are a visceral thing really.

I had a lot of big hair and bangs in the 1990’s, along with being kinda fatter and wearing a lot of sweats for some reason.  I actually like my hair better now (minus the gray perhaps) and my general body composition (minus the sagging chin of course).  I also felt a certain relief looking at the photos that some of those time periods are over.  Not sure what that is about.

I still find it hard to look at pictures of my mom;  I haven’t yet managed to put one back up that I have of her from the 1950’s in a bar with a friend.  I find those kind of time period pictures fascinating.  In amongst the scanned photos is bizarrely one of mom and two friends in black face and one of the friends is dressed as a woman and looking very cool smoking.  I know that my mom had a blast during her singleton years when she first moved to Winnipeg from the farming town of St. Joseph, Manitoba.  I’d asked her about it when visiting her in hospital almost two years ago to try and get her mind off of what was becoming some crippling anxiety.  Lots of dancing she told me – every weekend a French club with her friends.  During the days she worked at a bank and was promoted – she said that she loved the work.  Gulp, lump in throat.  I have a very very fleeting memory of being at the bank with her and being given a donut.

Lots of pictures with my parents and my now almost 19 year old niece, C.  Mom is so happy in those pictures.  When C. is young I am almost exclusively wearing sweat pants.  I no longer wear sweat pants!  I think I was ashamed of my body or some such or just didn’t quite get it.  Now, other than sagging chin and a protruding belly, I have fewer qualms at almost FIFTY.  Oh and arm flaps but that is what it is.  I was at the pool last weekend with my friend E, who is two years younger than I am.  “For women in their 20s we don’t look so great,” she said.  “But for our age, not bad.”  “You have great legs, Karen,” said she.  True that, ha.  No really.  I seem to have inherited nice calves and then built them up with obsessive swimming and cycling in the summer.

That was a tangent about my feelings about my body – looking at the photos brought it up.

Well, it has been a rather boring weekend I must be honest.  I must!  Thank goodness a bit of rain has come to hopefully help quell some of the wildfires, although much more is needed i realize.  I will go as far as to say that I am in a bored coma. I am going to see the documentary, Amy, tonight with my friend M.  This should be cheery, although we are both really looking forward to it.  Whenever I can get M. off of the North Shore I am pleased. My bored coma shall continue this week – I am working bright and early for 1.5 hours tomorrow (yup, 90 minutes intaking some students) and then subbing at UBC (they have not needed me in 8 months!) on Tuesday.  And that is it until the following Monday evening when I sub in North Van.  All very trickling in.  I’ve been painting a bit and enjoying looking at art work as well.  I bought some (very) cheap small canvases from the dollar store earlier in the weekend.  I have now painted one blue and one green.  This is kind of the extent of me but I think I can call it my green and blue period.

But the bored and lonely coma, that is a tricky one.  It usually takes me about half an hour to stretch out my brain and be able to be sociable again;  hopefully M. can withstand this.  We are getting to the theatre extraordinarily early because in the past tickets have been sold out and we have been traumatized.  It traumatizes us both at about the same level.

I have seen more bankers at more banks in the last two weeks than I have in my whole life.  The TD banker guy doesn’t really want to work with me to get more bang for my buck because  I haven’t reached the threshold where the bank works with people and cares that they exist.  But somehow they had called me in anyway.  I think it had to do with the $13,000 one time retro I received recently.    I have moved from J. at the bank to B.  Seems J. wasn’t told about my cancelling and was waiting eagerly for me on Saturday.  He called.  I felt guilty.  He’s a bit of a newby so I hope he didn’t take it personally.  B. is the guy now and he is at a bank closer to where I live.  But B. likes to get things done quickly and he is used to dealing with clients who have boatloads of money.  Thank you for working with me B, even though I panicked about moving my TFSA over to your bank.

“You are starting a bit late in life,” said B.  “But I tell you what, I know some people in your (very low income) situation who saved and got where they wanted to be.   You just have to want it.”

“B,” I said, “I will make about $600 in July.”

“Oh,” said B.

“Do I get a pen.  The RBC woman gave me a nice pen.  It had like a sheathe and everything.”

“No,” said B.


“Do you want water?”

“No, but I just want to know that I have the water option.”

I see B. again in about ten days.  I’m sure he is counting them down.

I thought I had a bit of a part time job opportunity iron in the fire last week but alas not.

Oh and the editor at the Vancouver Courier who took pity on my poor financials state and let me write a few things for them despite their no freelance budget is being promoted to a very different position.  The other editor just writes to me, “sorry, no freelance money.”

Uh huh.

I swam like a fiend today – lots of swimming folks there despite the clouds and rain.  Not as many kids but a few hearty souls.  My new interest in water makes it more interesting.  When I use the flutter board and get fairly even with the water, it is intriguing to look at.  I seem to swallow a lot of water this way but still, intriguing.

Thanks again to LG for the photo situation.  More than you can know it means.