Doing the same thing over and over

And expecting a different result is a definition of insanity – so said whoever is the latest person that that quote is attributed to.

As the joke goes, if there were a picture beside that quote it would be this one:


Caption:  person who does the same thing over and over and expects a different result.

I wasn’t able to see this with any sense of humour yesterday – golly no (remember how I am trying to incorporate the word golly more into my vocabulary.)

My experience in the ESL industry: “You are great!  What a great teacher you are!  We want to keep you forever.”

“You are the anti-Christ!  Depart from us!”

And that, well that says it all.




Snapseed if you will

UBC with a little drama

A colleague at the downtown school (of which there is drama) told me about Snapseed last week.  It is a free phone app. that can be used to edit photos.  He also told me about Lightroom – an app free for the phone but not for the computer.  I love both – up above is a picture out at UBC today and I used the ‘drama’ setting.  The app. does all of the work for me and I am quite delighted – and I never use the word delighted -with the results.  I think if ever I were to be manic I would see the world this way – very sharp, very bright, kind of manic.  Lightroom is even more fun because you have more control.

Why I am just waking up to editing tools now I am not sure. Heck, almost 25 years ago (ACK!!!!) we used the ancient Pagemaker to adjust photos but not to change or sharpen them.  Just basic cropping with a cropping wheel and all.

I am, in fact, ancient.  As I’ve mentioned before, my body this past several months during the rainy season, has decided to expand quite a lot.  I mean things have gotten bigger and wider in a bizarro way.  That is the 50 year old body I guess.  Doesn’t keep me from obsessing about it though.  My upper arms flap and I am just, well, wider.  C’est la vie I guess.

No matter.

I have a couple of students right now who are 18 and 17 I think.  They are tiny, tiny people.  Two and a half of them makes one of me.  Like that.  They have no body fat in case there is a famine!

Holy cow look at that blue sky.  I have resumed bicycle riding for the season – on Tuesdays I work until noon only – no split shift or what not – and I have started using some of that time to ride a big (for me) ride.  Today was up to UBC; last week was out to West Vancouver.  The ability to do that came rather quickly,  thank goodness.  Today’s huge hill up to UBC (beach way if  you know the area) was a challenge for sure.  At the same time, it is good in many ways for my mental health.  I am constantly roiling internally about my precarious job situation (part time at the downtown school is always teetering on the brink of not being there – students who rule the roost in privately run schools, sometimes have ‘issues’ with me.  I speak too fast, I am not this, I am not that.  I have all ready been put into teaching only higher levels.  And still, complaining.    I have come to dread e-mails from my boss and the inevitable inevitable.  It all makes me rather sick.  Seventeen years in this business and I am still at the mercy of some young folks.  I am not handling it well to put it mildly.  And this is work without sick days, without vacation (vacation pay is included obviously), without benefits.

Like that, yeah.

If I could jump out of my skin, I would indeed.

I haven’t had a vacation in awhile really – I mean because my work is so odd I either work or I don’t but no real it is okay to relax now time.  I had briefly entertained the idea of going to London at the end of August – I very luckily and blessedly have two friends out there to stay with – one right in London (and she is a bit of a bigwig at St. Paul’s Cathedral!) and one just outside of Brighton.  I’d have to book my ticket now but I can’t seem to.  Very lucky to have accommodations while there – but still, flight and all of the rest, expensive.  And I don’t know that i am much of a traveller anymore – travelling can certainly and has been exciting but there can be a lot to push through, especially these days.

I am a split shifter – at the downtown school and/or tutoring a couple of Chinese teenagers.  Those teenagers will stop seeing me at the end of June which is okay because I shall spend July in the sunshine I hope.  One is going to Paris as part of a hugely expensive but awesome school thing and one back to China.

I feel afraid almost all of the time – hard to explain to folks who aren’t.  Fear, isolation – in a way, London might push me out of my rut or not.  Not sure.

I am really enjoying watching Lisa Kudrow in her series, “Web Therapy.”  If you haven’t seen it, maybe download it or if you have Apple TV I think it is on there.  Lily Tomlin shows up as do a slew of other celebrities, including Meryl Streep.  Kudrow plays a non-therapist therapist who does three minute web sessions – her theory is that the 50 minute hour is a waste of time and that hearing about people’s dreams and anxieties is a waste of time.  It is hilarious at times and quite improv-ed I think.

Now that I am a photographer (hee), I have taken to taking out photography magazines from the library.  I enjoy looking at pictures people take and reading about cameras I cannot afford.  This is almost as calming as reading Soap Opera Digest.  Lord have mercy.

Hmmm, my eyebrows need to be waxed.

The world is still in a right bloody mess really.  Here in Vancouver, some folks are sad because they cannot afford to buy a bigger home.  Awwwww, I say.  We all (me too, me too, me too) get so trapped in our own little own little that we can’t seem to see that desperate sadness over not being able to afford a larger home in one of the most beautiful cities in the world may not be that much of a thing.  Or maybe it is.  My world and the world of most of my friends does not include what homes we can’t afford – we can’t afford any!  I think I need to develop some sense of compassion for those who can’t afford mansions in this city.    So many of us here are just clinging to what we have and looking for long term housing stability.

Yikes, I am maudlin.

I think I want to start saying, ‘oh my golly.’  I am going to add that to my repertoire.  “So, Karen, blah, blah, blah and etc.”  “Oh my golly!”  Hmmm, maybe sometimes just ‘golly!

“So,  yeah, transit is on strike (why is no one talking about Thursday’s strike vote?!?!?!).”  “Golly!”

“The dog barks at midnight.”  “Golly good golly!”

“I love the smell of napalm in the morning.”  “Good mercy golly be!”

“The duck quacks at midnight.”

“Heavens to golly!”

Okay, probably enough practice for now.

Okay one more – “Donald Trump is going to win the Republican nomination!”

“%%$%^ to golly!”






Gilberte (Berard), Rosari Roy 1966

Sorry the photo is so big.  Limitations on my patience in fixing it.

My mom had 13 brothers and sisters.  They all grew up on a farm in Manitoba;  a town called St. Joseph to be exact.  Mom was the fourth oldest I think.  Let’s see, Charlie, Lionel (or Lionel, Charlie), Gilberte, mom and then a slew of others.

In the photo above is Gilberte (Gail to the English only speaking amongst us) with her husband, Rosario and me.  Me the baby not me the woman with the odd hat.  1966.  Rosario (Rosie)  died at 41 in 1973.  Gail outlived him by 43 years, dying yesterday. She died filled with dementia at almost 87 (no Berard  has ever lived past 87, my Aunt Emma was said to have said recently)..  True that.

My grandfather also had dementia and died in 1985.  I swear this story will get cheerier.  I will make it so.  Gail always feared she too would develop it.  Seems those fears couldn’t keep it from coming true.  She’ll be more at peace now, I think.

She was always kind to me – my godmother she was.  She  and my mom hung out- she was often over to our house for this holiday or a chat and etc.  I have a flash image of everyone smoking –  this is what was done in those days.

For a time, I thought of her as kind of glamorous – I swear I thought she was kind of a hot mama with her long black hair and kind of sultry presence.

I left Winnipeg in 1987 to make my grand fortune in the wilds of Vancouver.  I didn’t see her much after that.

I did see her at my mom’s funeral in Dec. 2013 – this was amazing – her son, Denis, and his wife, Kathy, brought her.  There she was, an impossibly small woman in a wheelchair.  I went over to her at the reception, looked into her face.

I have another cousin who really should be Mormon she is such a good keeper of old photos, videos and the like.  About a year ago she scanned and organized all of the photos my mom had kept over the years, going way back.  I love old photos anyway and when it is family, holy smokes.  I tear up at most at it still because my mom has passed and even though she would be 85 years old now she was not meant to ever ever ever ever die.  Come back!  You’ve been gone long enough.  Anyway, I especially like the photos of mom and Gail from the 1950’s – wild and  partying women of their day.


I was most lucky to have gotten together with Denis and Kathy in Vancouver the night before Gail passed away.  Her health status, rocky for so long, was never certain.  It  was the same with mom for a time – the doctor says it is time but really it is not time and on and on it goes.  Anyway, we had a lovely dinner and a walk on the beach and I was so thrilled and touched to be meeting with family (I hadn’t seen them other than at mom’s funeral in more than a quarter of a century) that I wanted everyone I knew to walk by on the beach so I could say HERE IS SOME OF MY FAMILY.  We had a chance to reminisce a bit and here is the shocker – they smiled at some strangers in Vancouver and THE PEOPLE SMILED BACK.  This ain’t no friendly Manitoba, people.  “People are friendly here!”  “No,” I said, “Really it is a cold town.  A town of ice.  People are icy here and do yoga.  They do ice yoga.”

They were RVing it around in their amazing RV that they are able to sleep in because of heat being involved and holy cow ingenuous.   They have inflatable paddle boards!

So of the 14, four remain I think.  I was trying to remember last night the number.

And so let us lift a glass to Gilberte Berard Roy.  My head doesn’t believe in a literal heaven because reality but my heart likes to think Gail is up there chatting with her parents, with my mom, Liliane, and their siblings.  Oh and also Uncle Joe (their uncle).

jusqu'à ce que nous nous reverrons (I hope google translate translated that correctly)