When it rains, it rains

Yesterday there was sun and some warmth.  A little context:  this has been an odd winter with an unusual amount of snow and now mainly and only rain, rain, rain.  Heavy rain, light rain, heavier rain.  Etc.

So yesterday was the first sunny day in weeks.  I rode my bicycle for the first time in five weeks to Stanley Park to meet R. for a rather spontaneous park in the sun situation.  Lots of joggers catching up on their jogging.  Lots of families and prams, cyclists, dogs, cats, emus, donkeys and the like.  The weather forecast said that this was to be the one sunny day for a looooong time.

R. and I walked and talked -we both live alone and so quack quack quack when we get together.  So much talk wants to get out of my head.  We sat on a bench and it clouded over.  I had a hotdog.

R. went home a bit later and I rode my bicycle around the seawall and popped in to see C., L. and eventually J.  That was nice.  Then I grocery shopped and cycled home.

That was a lot of cycling after a long winter of none.

The rains are back today and are to hang around for the next four years – that kind of a thing.

Today I am free till three when I am going to a wee pop up study at Christ Church and then may stick around for the service after.  There is an hour in between those two things but I seem to have a lot of experience with split shifts.  Ha.

My UBC gig is done – I managed once all was said and done, to work three weeks and a day.  Yup.  My Langara gig is also done – it may run again at the end of May which of course would be at the exact time of some possible UBC work.  Tis how it goes.

I have 3.83333333 hours at the downtown school this week and should be getting both of my tutees back.  I haven’t seen my high school tutee in over a month – I was sick, working, and he was away for spring break.  I hope he remember we are meeting – I have lost his phone number and can’t text him.  Eeeek.  So this week there will be a lot of sitting around in the rain kind of a thing.  As per usual I guess.  That doesn’t seem to get easier or more productive or any of that.  I have a bit of E.I. for a few more weeks so that will help to calm the nervous system.  September is the time again I will really have to get thinking again.  September is dead everywhere and 3.833333 hours is not going to cut it.

Oy, I am bored with the whole thing.  Bored bored bored and finally, bored.  A few folks I worked with at UBC are going (separately) to Europe – Northern Spain, Morocco and such.  Envy envy.  Although I wonder if I am too lazy for travel now – are we done yet? Ha. Eeek.

Surely there is a narrative other than my down and out-ness.  Surely.  Hey, don’t call me Shirley!  Nothing wrong with it – it’s just not my name.

Ha ha.

Ninety minutes of my 3.833333333 hours are at 8 am tomorrow morning.  Uh yes.  Tis okay, I am used to getting up early again (I think).


My frustration is not new.  Boredom, isolation, blah blah blah.

Oh it is my birthday this week!  Hurrah – March 30th.  The year unimportant.  Ah heck, 51 years ago my (now departed, still miss her) mother was very pregnant.  In those days, she had long told me, they put her under and she woke up with a baby yet it was not a C-section.  Not sure how that worked.  Maybe they twilighted up the mother so that they wouldn’t remember the incredible pain of it all.  Mom was 35 years old, downright ancient for having a baby in those days.  My sister was 3.5 years old at the time.  I seem to have popped out quite cute with a head of dark hair.  I’m sure I looked around right after birth and thought, “I’m bored!  I’m isolated!”  Wah.

This 51st birthday shall be gently celebrated at Ye Old Spaghetti Factory for reasons I am not sure of.  I couldn’t think of a place that had disco dancing in the early evening so, well, the factory.  I think I went there a lot in my 20’s when I first moved to Vancouver. Nostalgia kind of a thing.  And the bread!  Is the bread not great there.  Garlic butter!  Salad!  Spaghetti!  Ice cream!  There is a factory in Winnipeg and I’m sure I went there growing up although Salisbury House is a place I remember more.

Fifty one!  Lordy be.  Nine years to sixty.  Now, now, enough of that.

Let me try to jolly things up a bit here on the old blog.  There is a woman in her 30’s who lives in my wee building who, when I talk about something from the 80s, always makes it a point to point out that she was either not born yet or very very young.  I now apologize to people I did the same thing to when I was in my 30s  and they were older.  Ha.  But yes, I get it, you are much, much younger than I am.   A lovely and talkative young woman and her partner is pretty cool too.

Jollying it up.

I will end with this oft-quote from my father:  “I am too light for heavy work and too heavy for light work.”  Indeed.



Back for a visit

To the blog.

I wish I could say that the return means I am writing, writing, writing.


I am bored, bored, bored.

I have been home for several days with an annoying virus that is mainly now a bad and annoying cough as well as general malaise and some weakness.  Back to work tomorrow after a bloody well week  (weak) off.

Even I am tired of the topic since it is all I am on about in my head – I do not do being sick well at all or sitting around on my own for lengthy periods of time.

For two months I’ve been excited about my four week teaching contract at a local university’s  ESL department I have been doing these for years on and off. ELI has four or three week short program in Feb./March and in the summer.  Sometimes, I am needed, sometimes not.  This year March is the time.  I was excited and anxious about it.  I went up a few times even before the four weeks started to pre-prepare.

I enjoyed the first week – it was exhausting but good – but bam, as of Sunday night last week, I was hit with an odd virus.  I thought at first I’d only need the Monday off and said as much which left folks in a bit of a lurch when I had to phone in again on Tuesday morning.  It started as a really odd and bad sore throat before morphing into the teacher’s nightmare of laryngitis and a cough.  I sounded and felt terrible.  There was scrambling to get subs both at the university and my evening job which has a few weeks left.  So annoying as I get paid for nothing when I am not actually working.  So I’ve lost I’d say about $1200 from this delightful seal bark cough.  Had this happened last month or even next month, it wouldn’t have mattered.  But boom bam right in the middle of my contract.


I’m sure there are deep unconscious reasons why I get sick at the worst possible times.


So there’s me not eating much, ears plugged, seal bark cough, lightheaded, sitting around obsessing about all of this and worrying about going back tomorrow still feeling rather lousy.  It is a full day shift – a couple of teaching hours, a long break and then 2.5 more hours.  I will also be working more full on later in the week to make up a bit of the time I missed.  And then one more Langara class (I have given the other one earlier in the week to the sub who we were very lucky to find).  On and on.

I went up to the university yesterday to do some preparation and that felt good.  It was good to get out and good to get ready – copies made for the first couple of days, that kind of a thing. I had the staff room and copiers all to myself.

My cough is just so bloody bad – I will bring up lozenges and water and and and but only so much I can do.  I do know that sitting around another day is not an option.  As I say, this much alone time while feeling lousy is really lousy.  Oy.

My anxiety around the whole thing is through the roof as I say.  Does it help to write about it?  Yes, because it gets it out of my head.  I know this about being sick – it is nearly impossible for me to deal with or so it feels.  On and on.


So hopefully I will make it through the week of work without too much embarrassing damage – coughing myself into a tizzy or feeling weak and freaking out and having to leave (yes, my thoughts, my thoughts). GAH!!!!!!!!!

Oooh, I am just hearing on the news that the Canada Revenue Service has had to temporarily shutdown their internet filing due to potential for hacking.  Glad I got mine in and refund refunded. Phew.

I am trying to think of something relaxing to do this afternoon-evening that will help promote calm in my soul and in my body – that feels a bit far away right now.

Breathe Breathe Breathe.





and a month later

Well, almost a month.

First, RIP all of the celebrities (and others less celebrated) who died in 2016.  I’ve been watching a lot of Carrie Fisher pieces on youtube and her ‘Mindful Drinking’ one woman show is quite fabulous.  She delves deeply and edgily into her whole rather messed up life – the chart she used to explain her parents’ many marriages and children is worth the price of admission alone.  A funny and intelligent woman.

And Debbie Reynolds – are there any idols from those days left?  That was some Hollywood – Jimmy Stewart, Bette Davis, Clark Gable, Cary Grant et al – imagine growing up with those movies.  My mom would have but I don’t know that she had ever actually been to a movie theatre.  I’m sure I would have had posters of the greats all over my walls – if that was done in those days.  Hmmm, I guess Doris Day is left.  She must be what, 110?  120?  Oh and let us not forget Katherine Hepburn.  I guess Jane Fonda although she was later.  Oh Warren Beatty and Shirley MacLaine.  Is Mickey Rooney dead?

Hollywood seems much more of a cesspool now but maybe it always was.  There seem to be no stars comparable to what there was before during the studio system.  Rita Hayworth, more names keep coming back to me.  Rock Hudson – so handsome.  I really should check into those old movies again.

I have not been exercising at all – partly due to feeling unwell and partly too lazy to venture out into the cold and snow and ice.  I am limited in what I can do at the gym – the bicycle mainly and some weights.  Swimming is good but lazy lazy lazy.  I walked to Costco today and maybe I will walk to Australia tomorrow, who knows.  My jeans have gotten tighter. Go figure.

Sigh.  The downtown school said to me (not the building but the boss) okay, you can do marking, clubs and intake.  Marking and clubs are gone due to some changes and intake is 1.5 hours a week.  Uh huh.  Craziness. I get about four hours there a week.  I’m back to tutoring this week my two students which is good.  I have them I think until spring break and then my main one, D. is off to Japan until the summer.  She said she will be done with her tutoring life then as grade 12 will be too busy for her.  Just as well, we don’t have that much to do.  My other student is come and go kind of a thing.  So, you know, no security there at all.

I will be working at UBC’s ELI in March – they had thought maybe February too but turns out no, I am not needed.  So that is very very good.  Great pay and great support – both administrative and by the head teacher.  But even there we are now told that the student customer is king.  Things are tough everywhere.

I have applied for EI – not sure if I will get it as I am still employed by the three places I got ROE’s from but I am drastically underemployed so that should help one hopes.  Having been on EI so much – I know it will take its time investigating.  Should know more in four months or so.  I wouldn’t get much and not for very long (the minimum is now 14 weeks and you need 700 hours of insurable hours).  We shall see.

Gosh this is a tedious job entry.

Because of UBC, I can put off looking for further work until the end of March. Hurray, hurray.  So that is, let me see, well seven weeks.  That seems a bit long and broke.  Hmmm.

Still tedious, let me think.

I got nothing.  Nothing have I got.

Y’all, back to Hollywood maybe?

Nah, I got nothing.




Bi-monthly update

Well, darned it if hasn’t been two months since last I updated.

Wee fan base!  Have you missed me?

What is new?

It is cold here in Vancouver now – brrrr.  Some snow and going down to -8C here tonight. Balmy compared to every other province but it is a wet cold.  Yup.

As such, my regular bicycling has gone out the window.  Too icy out there.  I’ve gone to the local recreation centre a couple of times to ride the indoor bicycle but I haven’t been consistent.  I am walking a lot so that is good.

I look forward to cycling season again – it is supposed to warm up considerably next week so that might help de-ice things.

Work?  You ask.  The boss at the downtown school – she who won’t give me classes but will throw me say seven hours a week – just sent the most passive aggressive e-mail.  She had wanted volunteers to help chaperone the downtown school’s  xmas party.  She had wanted teachers to volunteer.  Three did (one of whom, like me, has been shunned and is getting few hours.  Heck, maybe she’ll get more now).  So she just sent out an e-mail saying thanks so much to them for their team spirit.  It is hard to express adequately how much of a ‘to heck with those of you who wouldn’t come and help for free” was oozing out of that e-mail.

Anyhoo.  Blah blah.

So,  yeah, I’m not really working at all.  My Chinese teenage tutees have stopped until mid January and my most consistent one, D, will be completely done in April when she goes to Japan for the rest of the semester on a student exchange.

I could have had six weeks of work at Langara College in Feb. but had to turn it down for various reasons.

Blah blah.

I am so so tired of my unemployed story!  I don’t really have anything new to add about it.  I have thought many times about simply quitting the downtown school – I am hanging there by my fingernails and it is draining and humiliating really.

La la.

Oh I tried to be a closed captioning transcriptionist today but that didn’t work out too well.  That is a lot harder than you would think! Uh well, I gave it a try.

Those of you who have followed my blog here for awhile may note that I have been writing it for more than five years, since I first became unemployed. And here we are – going into the sixth year of it all!  I have survived doing this and that but really, hmmm, feels like enough.

Smells like teen spirit.

Hmmm?  What?  Huh?

There was a woman on the bus tonight talking to someone on her cell phone.

Well, she said, well yeah.  When she gets anxious she loses all control.  I looked at her.  You talkin’ to me?!??!?!?!  Ha, I did not actually say that.

Student D. came back from the downtown library’s washroom during her break.

“There’s a homeless guy talking to people – right over there.”

“Oh, yes,” I said.  Not sure why she was just noticing that tonight.  Many times when we are in the public area on the third floor, some street involved men start screaming at each other or the air or whatever until security (usually a short thin guy or a tiny woman) comes over and tries to calm the situation down.  Usually it inflames it and there is screaming and I have my rights! and all sorts.

Yes, yes, I know, we are all just one pay cheque away from being a homeless man screaming in the library. Also, I am aware that not all homeless folks are screamers and not all screamers are poor.Some have nice cars and such.


That last one I screamed there was a favourite saying of my father’s, the kingpin of all anxiety.  The godfather of nervousness and essential tremors.  The pope of freak outs.  The man who knew for a good cigar.  He had a great career – he was a math teacher and then a vice-principal and then a principal.  Has a nice pension that covers his expenses at the Ottawa assisted living home.  I guess he would have started his career in the 1960s.  Students seemed to love him and always seemed envious of my being his daughter.  I was always like, really? Is he not the kingpin of all anxiety and anger at school?  Go figure.  He was able to retire in his early 60s.  I hasten to add that his anger has mainly morphed into his anxiety and old broken down man-ness now.

So I’m like him but I can’t seem to hold down a job which is frustrating beyond measure.  I think if I could scream in the library about it sometimes that that would be helpful.”WHY DOESN’T LEMONADE COME OUT OF THE WATER FOUNTAINS HERE?!?!?!”

So much to shout about.

My hairdresser de-bigged my hair today.  It needed this de-bigging.  Did I have the day off, he asked, forgetting our earlier conversations.  No, I said, remember, I don’t ever really work in that regular way that people have.  He looked confused.

Mainly I scream in the library.

You can do that, he asked.

Kind of, I said.



This blog still gets updated

Even though I have been updating my short story blog http://www.thegeorgiachronicles.blogspot.com more frequently. Although not as much of late.  I get these ideas and do the thing and then run out of steam if it doesn’t seem to be working out – that kind of thing.

Often, I said to my 50 minute hour this week, it feels like my head is encased in molasses.

Good description, she said.  I was pleased that I had impressed her.

I often don’t find much else pleasing in this 50 minutes – there is a lot of staring or so it seems to me.

It is classic psychoanalysis, something I don’t think I’ve ever really had in my zillion years of various therapists. Think Freud in an updated, young woman with two small kids and an oncologist husband version.  That’s her.  I trust her and I don’t as per usual.

The rains have come to this fair city and they don’t plan on leaving anytime soon.  Monsoon-esque. Power outages, etc.

My work life consists of inconsistency and chronic insecurity.  The downtown school gives me about 12 or 13 hours a week, spread out over five days.  Sometimes 1.5 hours a day which is crazy but not illegal.  Go figure.  There is chronic humiliation in this that would only make sense to another ESL instructor.  I FBed last week about bailing once and for all.

“But a shitty bird in the hand is still worth more in none in the bush,” an FB friend messaged me.

Yes, there is that, I said.

I combine the downtown school with one evening a week at Langara – this goes for another five weeks only.  And some tutoring of Chinese teenagers.  I work six days a week really but generally only a few hours a day.

“So whatcha gonna do?” people ask me when they hear me complaining.

Not much really.  I will have to keep up this keeping up for as long as I can.  Sucks.  Draining.

I’m at a friend’s house now writing – M., 27, is new to my writing group.  I could be his mother had I procreated at 23, entirely possible.  M. is gay lest you think there is some May-December stuff going around.  He is tortured by some of the same things I am – intense self doubt, dislike, self-consciousness, impatience.

I thank the gods for M. because as we know as we know, my social life dribbles along.  Great friends, great friends, all of whom I seem to have to chase around the block to see.  No slight on them (really!) but I’m frustrated.  There is only so much block chasing you can do.

I sometimes change my perspective on that but mired in head molasses, I flip back to being all kinds of frustrated.


So M. has come along at a good time for me.

I let most of my frustrations out on FB.  This in itself is frustrating – but FB is good for that kind of a thing.

“Are you okay?” FB queried another new friend of mine, R.

“Frustrated,” I said.  I was touched by his concern.

People mock and deride Facebook but hell, it works for me on many levels.

Back to work stuff.  Difficult – I basically work three jobs and don’t make enough to live on.  No idea how that works.

I walked in the pouring monsoon to M’s this afternoon – wearing jeans is often the mistake I make in these kinds of rain situations.  But I needed a bit of exercise – I don’t ride my bicycle in this weather.  My body needs the movement –  I  have to get some of my nervous energy out somewhere at some time somehow.  I  am now wearing a pair of M’s sweatpants and socks and hoping my jeans dry a bit for later when I venture out again.  It is warm out kind of – warm and dark.  I am sitting in a lovely recliner chair.  M. is listening to music and writing and writing.  It is actually very very warm in here.  Good though.  Good good.  A lovely apartment in the West End where he is staying for awhile until he gets his own place again.  Last time he came to mine to write.

I am struck by how much my brain/heart want to survive despite my regular battering of them both.  That sounds dramatic I am sure but our brains do that, that drama.  I don’t mean I physically batter my heart although I am sure the constant adrenaline can’t be that good for it. Hence physical exercise.  I am verklempt that cycling season is wrapping up for awhile anyway – the leaves on the ground combined with the constant rain do not make cycling a possibility for me.

Isolation can make things seem surreal sometimes. Don’t know if you’ve ever experienced that.

I watched the documentary on Amanda Knox the other evening.  I hadn’t thought I would but, alas, bored.  What always strikes me is the ultimate and absolute lack of concern for the victim of the crime.  Knox comes off not great but having a selfish personality doesn’t make someone a killer of course.  Then last night I went all spontaneous like to a documentary, part of VIFF, called, “Tower.”  Devastating and very very well done.

I keep hoping to be dramatically unmired – maybe more realistic to hope for a small unmiring.

Who knows.

The rains in Vancouver are much like the rains in London, England although in London you also have a whole lot more to keep you from going batty.  I could spend a month in Foyle’s books and then another going to plays.  Museums, etc.  Living there as I know from those who do is of course a whole other ball game.  It ain’t easy living in London. The living there is not easy.  I like to slide in as a tourist.

I am suddenly craving chili.





Why does Gretta Vosper get under my skin

Article here about  the United Church’s decision on atheist minister Gretta Vosper – https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2016/09/11/flock-sticks-with-atheist-united-church-minister.html

Gretta Vosper annoys the heck out of me.  I had a brief e-mail discussion with her last year.  Meh.  I was rude at times – my bad.   I found that  Vosper was dogmatic about not being dogmatic as another United Church minister said.  Our e-mailing didn’t last too long.

She was defensive all over the place.  I understand that – obviously lots of people are asking her questions or criticizing her and etc.

And yet.

Psychologically, Vosper annoys me because I intensely dislike it when someone thinks they know and they know oh so much better than anyone else knows.  Vosper is pleased that she is ‘irritating the church into the 21st century’ (as per her webpage).  Vosper is going to be outspoken and going to stay in the United Church because she knows the Bible is all a horrible fairytale and that is where the church should be heading- out of the concept of a spiritual being and into let’s all just love each other.    I am oversimplifying, something I accuse Vosper of.  Meh, tit for tat.

She also claims that many, many other United Church ministers feel the same.  She speaks for them – they are too afraid to speak out (lest they lose their jobs and pension I imagine) and she is groundbreaking, she seems to think.

I have YouTubed her quite a bit – and made my brain calm the heck down when I did so that I wasn’t merely looking to be irritated by her.  What she is saying is that church is about community and she wants to build that community.  Her congregation – other than those that left when she came out as an atheist 15 years ago – are one hundred per cent behind her.  Many folks are on her side.  And as I mentioned, I imagine more than a few United Church ministers are quaking in their boots at the thought that they too could lose their employment and their pension – I  have never been able to find the part where Jesus had a pension and his cell phone bill paid for.  Hmmm.  But I digress.

Vosper had written a few books outlining her critiques of the Bible – I read one of the books and there were interesting points in there although none of it was new or radical.  It has all be said before – just not by a United Church minister.  I sometimes attend a wee Bible study in my neighbourhood which is led by a United Church minister who is now on disability.  She studies the Bible much like Jewish rabbis do – taking it apart piece by piece – debating the points, always open to hearing people’s views.   She is a Hebrew scholar and has a great and vast knowledge of the Bible, so much so that I often feel that I am drowning a bit.  She doesn’t take it literally and has a depth of understanding of the context, the time and place, and the original Hebrew and Greek.  I imagine she is smarter than Vosper, although that would be hard to prove of course.  No matter. For reasons I don’t completely understand, she, unlike Vosper, hasn’t seen fit to throw out the Bible or the concept of God.  Be she ever so humble.

In listening to Vosper, she vastly oversimplifies what others believe about God – she seems stuck on the notion that other people believe in ‘daddy in the sky’ (per her the National interview that I couldn’t get through I admit). That simplification is to her detriment, I think.  It oddly enough shows a rather black and white thinking that she looks down upon – Christians in her view all believe in a literal father in the sky.  She has no room for nuance it would appear.

I imagine her church and congregation are quite loving and supportive – it sure seems that way.  That is what she wants to nurture which is a laudable goal.  She completely dismisses the concept of any spiritual being – of anything beyond her plane, as it were.  She talks about how she was diagnosed with a deadly form of cancer which was later found to be wrong – she turned out to have a much more treatable kind.    If she believed in the concept of god, she said, she would then have to believe that this god chose to heal her from some divine reason.  Again, she seems to assume that that is what all Christians would think.    That gets under my skin because it seem so bloody arrogant.  Life can be random and awful and many people die no matter how much people are praying for them.  Some don’t but many many do. Cruel, awful.  I don’t believe that god chooses to heal some and not others.  Etc.

I have been following some discussions about all of this on Facebook.  United Church ministers getting all commenty on this article of faith and that article of faith – it all seems to me as a clergy outsider to be office politics on a large scale, jargon included.  It all seems so so far away from any kind of spirituality and rather a closed club of clergy (ccc?) a. fearing for their own jobs b. trying to reconcile whether the atheist minister should be kicked out of their denomination.  That gets under my skin too.  Perhaps the United Church should be dismantled – if it becomes more about who gets to keep a job or this article of faith and that one – what is there really.  But then again, I don’t really believe this to be the case.  I have had tremendous support at various times from a United Church or two – and their liturgy is not to be scoffed at.

Hmmm.  It is hard for me to write more coherently about this – my emotions get in the way.

Deep breath.

Ooops, need another deep breath.

For Vosper to dismiss the role of a spiritual being in the lives of others strikes me as arrogant.  Her position on the bible is no different than what millions of others think and what many others have expressed more intelligently.  I don’t find that there is anything new to be learned intellectually from what she is on about.  Emotionally, it seems she has taken her journey and come out the other side not believing what she used to believe.  She has found others (followers?) who believe the same as she does, who are relieved that their minister can guide them in this new belief.

Her folly is in deciding that her belief is new, radical, and needs to be incorporated into the United Church of Canada.  Rather than wrestle with the bible – which I find exhausting at best I must admit – she has taken what seems to be an easier route – dumping it completely.  She vastly (arrogantly?) oversimplifies the beliefs of other Christians in order to support her narrative.  Christians can indeed be darned self-righteous but ironically so is she.

Vosper has been invited by Unitarians to join them – and for sure their ideas align much more closely to her own.  Yet she won’t because she believes it is her mission to bring the United Church into the 21st century.  I suspect she will stubbornly hang on like a dog with a bone.  She is all ready booking up speaking engagements.  The American daytime talk show The View wants to have her on.  She wants her voice to be the voice of the United Church of Canada.

Were she to humble walk away of her own accord – maybe continue ministering (hmmm, wrong word) to those in her congregation in some way – that would seem to be divine intervention, yes?