writers reading their writing

First of all, what up with this whole David I can’t spell his last name Petreaus thing.  I could look it up, by why.  I think iti s Petraeus.  I wasn’t really paying attention but apparently it is blowing up into hugeness.  Petraeus had an affair with the woman who wrote a book about him.  And now the society woman who i think outed all this is claiming she got harrassing e-mails from the high level military official she had a fling with and he has resigned too.


So I walked to my local library tonight and found the latest issue of the Walrus! and a couple of other things. I also heard an author talking about her first book, Nicolaii’s Daughters.  Stella Harvey is the author”s name. The little room in the basement of the library was packed with listeners – she knew most of the folks but not all.  And darned if the great Vancouver writer who I vaguely worship, Caroline Adderson, was in the crowd.  She seems to write mainly teen fiction now but I’ve enjoyed her adult fiction.

So I felt vaguely inspired to write my way out of a bored coma.  But I NEED PEOPLE AROUND ME.  Sheesh, I say.  Sheesh.

The Mormon blog comment section has gone boringly silent for the moment.  I realize that it was incredibly arrogant of me to say that I feel intellectually superior to the Mormon commenters.  Yeah, true enough, that is so arrogant.  But I mean check this out – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6udew9axmdM  Someone got secret footage of Mormon temple ceremonies.  The Mormon Church had them taken down, calling it ‘hate speech’.  Guess that got overturned.  Fascinating really, very masonic some say.  The fellow who writes the blog is actually pretty smart and as a Mormon he would believe and have participated in some of those ceremonies.  Uh huh.  It is arrogant as heck of me though to think that my mocking little comments will cause some of these LDS-ers to think, ”oh my gosh, some of my beliefs are crazy! I didn’t even realize I believed them.  I just always believed what I was told and I have a great community of people who believe the same thing.”   Yes, that is wrong of me.  Many religions have some wackiness to them but it’s when they are secret that make me go hmmm.


Oh, how fun is it to be living off of my savings.


must go read something now.


oh here I am after almost a month!

No excuses really.


Hmmm, seems wordpress is demanding some kind of upgrade and that upgrade costs $.  Hmmm.

Anyway, a quick update.  I finished my teaching gig at the icky school on October 26th.  PHEW.  I shall leave it at that but really, PHEW.

Of course this means I’m unemployed again and that is not phew at all.  I’m bored, unstructured and broke.  No more EI so I’m living off of my savings.  Eeek, is all I can say to that.

I’ve done a tiny bit of subbing up at UBC but that isn’t often and not regular.  So there you go.  Nothing much happening out in the work world and it’s November and raining and cold.  Oy.

I did decide to start my distance ed. Masters in TESOL and have decided to take one course at a time.  The class, such as it distance is, officially started today.  There will be discussion forums, an essay and a test as evaluation.  Eeek.  I like learning though so it is good.  If I keep doing it one course at a time, it will take about 2.5 years so I’ll see.  Financially and intellectually, one course at a time is good for now.  Will any of it help me actually get a job?  That is unknown really.  So, uh, yeah, that is where I am at.  Unstructured and broke but taking a distance ed course.  Not all bad.  EI come back!  Not too happy living off of my (dwindling) savings.

I’ve been attempting to keep up the exercise in order to somewhat counteract my major bouts of lying about.  Went to the gym today for a little stationary cycling and then stretching.  Wowza the little community centre gym was hopping with people not working due to the Remembrance Day holiday.  Then I went to Michelle’s and lost a little Scrabble and Backgammon.

It is actually supposed to be sunny on Wednesday and Thursday.  yeehaw!

What else?  Oh geez, I’m still commenting on the Mormon blog!    Hey, I’ve gotta do something on these long days.  No, no, I don’t want to become Mormon.  Rather, I want to debate with the Mormons because of a) my fascination with cults b) I’m bored c)I get to feel intellectually superior (having written that, I am aware that there are intellectual Mormons, just not on the site I am commenting on. d)I’m bored x 2 e) I forget f) it gives my jaw a work out dropping so much at some of the comments g) I’m not that nice a person really and so there’s that.  h) weirdness i) how dare I j) if I can’t beat Michelle at Scrabble or Backgammon, I need to feel smarter somewhere k) cause l) oh my gosh I need a job and structure m) if Mormon missionaries ever approach me, I can just say, ‘go see my comments on the Mormon blog I am obsessively commenting on and then you will never darken my door again n) I hear Utah is really beautiful with the Badlands and all o) I’m bored x 3  p) etc.

Hmmm, what’s up for tomorrow?  Well, I shall continue to apply for jobs that don’t exist.  There’s a little mindfulness meditation at 11:30 for 1.5 hours (the actual meditation is about 45 minutes.  Then there is discussion of Buddhism that I’m not that excited about but the room is small and the group is small and it is impossible to just actually leave and no one else does and what else do I have to do and one day there might be cake.    Then I need to come home and comment on the Mormon blog, perhaps shower, stretch, read, look at the phone and shout ‘RING’.  Stretch some more.  Look at my teeth.  Watch ‘The Talk.’   Do a little reading for my course (although I am well ahead).  Check to see if I’ve gotten any mail (The New Yorker!).  Nap.  Take a Tylenol if I have a headache.

Tuesday evening at my local 15 minute walk away library there is an author coming to speak!  At my local library and not way far away at the downtown one!  Never heard of this writer (it’s her first book so I think that may be why she is consigned to a smaller library for her reading) but it is a reading at my within walking distance library so I shall go.

Oh, I spent two hours looking at youtube clips the other evening of people with early onset Alzheimers.  you can see why I might just need a hobby.

I shall blog more but not much of anything is happening in my brain or in my life so not sure what I have to say.  But I must and I will!

Welcome, commenters from that blog that I don’t really agree with

Well, I’ve unanonymoused (not a word!) myself from the comments I was making on another blog.  Some of the other commenters were getting all snippy-ish about anonymouse commenters and I thought, ‘hey, hey now, I can get more readers to my blog! if I unanonymousize myself.’  Gotta get those numbers up.

What else?  Hmmm, still teaching two whole hours a day which I stretch into about four or so hours as I come in early and stay after to prep.  I’ve got a bit over a month left there and the two hours increases to three hours next week.  Woo hoo and etc.

Seems the one evening a week Business Writing for ESL course will be running at Langara starting Oct. 3.  It will run for eight weeks. 

All of this part timeness at various places still leaves me broker than broke and unemployed again come the end of October.  Eeek.  I am proud of myself though – there was a book I really really wanted to buy but it is expensive as books are, so I have not!  And yes, it is on hold at the library.  But me, I’m all about immediate reading gratification in my OCD way.  But the simple fact is, I need money for like food.  And pants, I desperately need a new pair of pants!

Oh and I have the official interview this week to see if I qualify to pay $200 to train to be an IELTS examiner.  I know other people who’ve taken the two day over a weekend course and it is brutal, they say.  Many people fail and don’t get their money back!  And even if you pass and can be an examiner, it is said to be tough tough.  Oh and it is all supposed to be hush hush, kinda like being an undercover detective

The Masters applying has hit a snag and USQ seems to not be getting back to me.  I may have to call in a few days or weeks ahead but calling to Australia is a little pricey. Oh wait, I’ll get a phone card.  Oh that’s okay then.  The deadline isn’t until October 29th but really USQ, get back to me with my important questions.

So it sounds like a lot is happening but really, not much is happening!  I still seem to be wiling away hours and hours doing just about nothing.  Hmmm.

I read on another blog (not the one where I have unanonymoused myself) and the writer was saying how annoying it is when job ads say ‘salary based on experience’ or something like that.  She went on to say that this usually means they pay crap and she is right!  This is the case in ESL anyway. 

So I veer between being terrified of running out of money and being unemployed forever, to quite excited that I’m getting some direction to enjoying napping in the middle of the day (which really messes up my night time sleeping so then I nap again and oy, the vicious circle).  November and December and probably January seem like pretty dead work months though.  Hmmm.

Oh and I was sad to hear that Bonnie Franklin from the BEST 70s SERIES EVER, One Day at a Time, has pancreatic cancer.  I loved One Day at a Time.  Was it not a classic?  Was it not?

So, welcome to some commenters from the blog that I don’t agree with.  And if you want to comment, you are welcome to.  Just not anonymously ironically enough.

A little part-time temporary thing.

I think that I  have to start thinking of myself as an, “ESL Teacher for hire,” for the next while.  This will not be terrible if I can make enough to consistently live on.  Not sure how that is going to pan out.

First, I went to the corporation the other day briefly to hang out with a former colleague (we left quite quickly and went to a coffee shop).  It was a strange feeling – I hadn’t been by in month and months.  It was a year ago almost exactly that I got laid off from there!  Time flies yet also crawls, go figure.  Seems the place has been spruced up with a bit of paint.  Students were swarming around.  We went up to the teachers’ room briefly.  It felt . . . familiar at first.  My locker is still mine and all of my stuff is still in it!  This is good actually as I may need some of it pretty soon.   And then I felt . . . bored.  That’s the only way I can explain it.  Nothing at all to do with my former colleague, we had a fun time catching up.  Anyway, interesting or, er, boring.  You can’t go home again it seems.

There is one school in downtown Vancouver, a university transfer school actually.  It has a tiny teeny tiny ESL department.  This school has always been in the back of my mind.  It is non-profit, which is unique in itself. Is it a perfect school?  No, of course not.  Does it pay a decent wage?  More on that momentarily.

   All in the timing.  I e-mailed out a resume there last week.  On Monday of this week, I got a call. On Tuesday, I had an interview.  On Wednesday, I was offered some very very part-time temporary work.  Two teachers are on leave and are comng back on Oct. 26.  So, starting tomorrow, I will be teaching two hours – yes only two hours! a day for two weeks and then three hours a day for the remaining four weeks.  It has been made very clear that there won’t be work after that.  Fair enough. 

Ok.  Almost every other ESL school in Vancouver pays between $18-22/hour for what amounts to part-time contact hours but full time work.  Prep. time is not considered and as a teacher, prepping takes hours and hours and hours sometimes.  This is part of the reason I don’t rush to take $20/hour jobs because it’s $20 x at most 25 paid hours but with 40 hours at least at least spent at the job.  You get the idea.  I’ve emphasized that a lot because I think it is so important to understand.

This college pays a very nice hourly wage.  If I worked there 25 hours a week on a permanent basis, I would be living nicely indeed.  At two hours a day it will keep my rent paid and a bit more.  And the four weeks of 3 hours a day? Woohoo!  Won’t have to dip into my savings!

I went in this afternoon and spoke with two other teachers who are teaching the same course and some of whose students I am getting (they needed to add a class as the classes were simply too big).  They helped me a lot.  I prepped for three hours and am ready for tomorrow, at least.   Phew.

More than that, it will, as pal Maggie May says, give me a consistent place to go five days a week for awhile.  This is true.  I’m going to try and ride my bike most days to save on transit costs.

Timing, it really is everything.

Now, I would love more job security and more hours and a permanent job and benefits and etc.  But, this is not too bad for now.  I have to say that I pat myself on the back just a bit that I held out and didn’t rush to the one other school that was offering a month’s worth of work at a bad wage and a not great atmosphere. 

Anyway, so there you have it.  And the class starts at 10 am but I’ll want to be there most days by 9:30 or so.  Not bad at all.  And when I do the three hours it will be 10-12 and 2-3.  Not bad at all.  Building the resume, building the plan.  The plan has well taken a few months to get going.  This was due to my attempting to get completely out of the field for several months.  That didn’t work, not in this economy or in this town.  So now, I’m trying to use the experience I already have to work in places that are not torturous.  And this is happening. Slowly, yes, so slowly that I go ‘EEEEK’ much of the time but it’s -a-happening. 

Apparently one of my former colleagues at the corporation got laid off as she wanted to be.  When asked why, she just said she’d had enough.  Good on her, I get that.  Still, brave of her.

long time no post I must say

I haven’t been super busy or anything, just haven’t been posting.

I have a little more than 2 weeks left teaching Explore at UBC and then right into the 3 week English for the Global Citizen at ELI at UBC. And then I’ll be done on August 24th, thrust again into the land of the unemployed.  I will be teaching a once a week evening Business English course at Langara College for 8 weeks starting in October, so that’s good. But other than that, no idea yet again.  ESL seaason is winding down but I’ve sent out my revamped resume to different places but who knows. I’m hoping not to have to live on my (small amount of) savings for too too long. 

A few of the folks I used to work with at the corporation – 3 to be exact – are now working at another downtown school that has the exact same initials as the corporation except for one letter.  Tis how international school works – most are blah blah international college, with the word college being used very very loosely. I was quite shocked that one of them has gone back to that world – she had vowed never to.  Uh well.  Luckily for me in a way, the international schools are wrapping up their busy season and laying people off so that I don’t have to live that particular nightmare again.  But I get why folks are choosing to go back – the need for a job, for routine, socializing, money to live on, etc.  I have the exact same needs of course if not more so – sitting around for me is so so bad.

The Explore program, I am not going to kid you, is most definitely not for the faint of heart to teach for many reasons none of which I will go into here!  Don’t want to be seen as anything less than super positive about teaching up at UBC.  But it is by far, by far, the most exhausting teaching I’ve done in 13 years.  But having said that, I still vastly prefer it to the radical boredom I came to feel at the corporation.  For me and I of course only speak for me, that radical boredom transfers to any downtown international school, and the pay would be almost non-existent.  At UBC, I’ve managed to save a bit for the next round of unemployment, which is nice but which, yes, will go quickly.  I’m also LOVING the building I am teaching out of – at UBC, you kinda get moved to whatever classroom in whatever building is available.  So for four of these five weeks it is at the Sauder School of Business – well, just two of the five classes of which i am one.  Swanky-o-rama.  Built in computer and two projectors and all sorts.  Well-modulated air conditioning and lots of windows.  Not bad, not bad at all.  Makes me feel like a professor.  The other four teachers are unfortunately stuck in the Math building which is apparently far less swanky.

I’ve been insomniaing again a lot a lot and such.  So today I went for a massive bike ride – first I rode to UBC and then after down to 43rd and NW Marine Drive and up hills and hills and hills and a few hills and back.  I may not sleep well still, but a few hours after I am SO MUCH calmer it is amazing.  When I used to jog that had the same effect.  I have to remember this and I have to do this every day.  Might rid me of the muffin top eventually too, though one can’t spot lose fat.

Have you ever seen yourself on video?  Yikes, that is terrifying!

My awesome 15-year-old niece, C, lives in Ottawa.  She is off this week with Global Expeditions Mexico Baja on a sort of mission trip.  I’m proud I have to say.  It’s amazing how emotions sneak up.  Global has a FB page and are posting photos of the kids (haven’t seen her pic yet) and each time I look I just cry and cry (not in a bad way!).  There are some things that are deeper than words.  It is a rare thing to find a teenager who will raise the money and head out on such an adventure.  She’ll never forget this and neither will I. Well, until my memory fails and I only remember that I like orange jello.

I need a job that doesn’t end!  Uh yes, that too shall come.

Overchipped, definitely over-Mormoned

I should not ever buy chips larger than one of those wee small bags.  Last week at Costco with The Glenda who has the Costco card, they had a darned two pack good price thingy so I bought a huge bag of Ruffles rippled and a huge bags of taco-ey chips.  I KNOW THAT THIS IS A MISTAKE OF EPIC PROPORTIONS.  This is a mistake of large proportions.

I have no control.  Yesterday here is what I ate: toast, an egg, an apple, strawberry shortcake with both ice cream and whipped cream (at the strawberry festival at  a seniors’ manor in the West End), potato chips, chips, chips, chips, chips, chips, leftover macaroni and cheese and a $10 salad from the box.  Last evening, shockingly, I was tummy upset and had to be you know, near the washroom. No idea why really.  none at all.

I had been overchipping all week.  At one point I’d even thrown the bag in the garbage but RETRIEVED IT LATER.

So today I haven’t eaten much but that messes up my blood sugar levels.  I am now making brown rice.  I know I must never buy chips.  I am temporarily sick of chips now and kinda temporarily sick.

Despite this, I am getting my swimming mojo back.  Had a lovely swim at Kits pool this afternoon and The Glenda was there.

Did she want to go for nacho (chips) after the swim?  I asked.  We eventuallly decided not to.

I think I’m happy to have this week off in between Explore programs.  I don’t go back until July 3rd.  I get EI for this week so while that is very little, that is still nice.  Then back for 8 weeks of work and then as I say, nadda, nothing and nyet.  Getting my savings ready to go and go and go.

Overchipped.  Way overchipped.

Also, the Mormon thing.  I am now having back and forth commenting on a Mormon blog. The thing is, Mormons seem so so nice and I think they are mainly because they don’t delve too deeply into what Joseph Smith really said and did and what their modern day prophets say and do.

I readily admit to having a form of OCD (not the obsessive cleaning one sadly) and also to being a contrarian.  It’s bizarre how absolutely obsessed I’ve become with expressing my opinions on this blog, even though I know no Mormon shall be unMormoned due to anything I say or do or think or write.  And still I keep going back.  I think my brain needs more intellectual stimulation really.

The weather is going to be nice tomorrow apparently so that will be good.  I’m actually going to go to my writers’ group tomorrow evening!  It’s at the Glenda’s and she’s making up some veggie burgers.  Thank you, The Glenda.

I need to widen my social circle, not really sure at all how to do that but I do know that becoming a Mormon is not so much the way to go, ha. Next up: infiltrating Scientology.

Oh and back to the Explore students – darned if thy didn’t make and give me a giant card that most signed except for the student who was so mad at me because he got zero on the presentation he chose to skip.  I was shocked by the card actually.  The students just seemed bored and vaguely ticked off all session but now I realize that most of that had nothing to do with me, something that boss M. had been telling me.  Now I know and next session should be much easier, me thinks.  Three of the teachers are either vacationing or going to ELI (I NEED A MASTERS OR TO BE WORKING ON A MASTERS TO BE DOING ANYTHING OTHER THAN THE SUMMER SHORT PROGRAMS) so we will be getting three fresh off the interview new teachers.  I think it’s not easy finding folks who will work for just 5 weeks.  Hopefully they will fit in as well as the others did.  I trust that M. will pick some good ones.  I trust him and I like his form of being a boss which is nice actually.

The last Sister Wives for the season is on now!  Oh yikes Meri is crying yet again.

I shall stop forsaking the blog

My fanbase has deserted me and I don’t blame you.

I haven’t blogged since May.  No!  No!  I say.

No excuses really.  I think my wee temp. job is causing me stress and this has somehow frozen me blog-wise.

Although the weather has been so bad in Vancouver that I could literally actually freeze.  Today is sunny and the first day that has been sunny in awhile.  Tonight the rains are a coming and it is to rain every day for at least a week.  Sheesh, I say, sheesh.

The Quebecois students in the Explore program I am teaching also say eeek.  They haven’t had any nice weather during their almost 5 week stay here.  This weekend they are all going to Tofino and it is supposed to pour, poor dears.  The next (and last for the year) Explore starts in July, so hopefully better weather for those folks.

A friend pointed out yesterday that I have a muffin top.  Sigh.  Well, the body it does change once one is say, past 40.  Sigh.  Sigh.  Do men have muffin tops?  I really do notice my body changes and even in my face, getting a bit jowly or some such.  The brain definitely stays younger than the body!  I find it all depressing but then most people do I imagine.  Men often age better although some bloat out (Al Gore, John Travolta) or kinda get frail (Bill Clinton, George Clooney a bit).  Women have a harder time of it.  Oh, the shallowness of it all but still something one does think about.    Especially when one is single.  Oy.

Speaking of exercise, I’ve been absolutely thrilled to be back at Kitsilano Pool, even though it has been cold!  The water is heated to 25C which is great.  It’s just the getting out that is chilly chilly and brrr.  I walk home in 8 minutes or so and then take a hot shower.  I look forward to the (hopefully) coming days of summer when I can lounge in the sun (or shade) afterward.  When first back, I was having trouble getting my breath and had to stop several times.  This is improving so that’s good.  Today I will definitely go swimming, yee haw.

I think I’m losing my blog ability or maybe like swimming it takes awhile to get it back on track.  Your patience is appreciated while I undergo construction.  We will be open for business during this transitional period.

So I’ve now taught 4 of the 5 weeks of the first of two Explore programs at UBC.  Next week is the final week, filled with tests, dinners, interviewing and evaluating.  Should be quite busy but two free dinners so really, not so awful.  Then an (unpaid) ten days off (due to the July 1st holiday it’s a nice stretch), then 5 more weeks of Explore, then 3 weeks back at ELI and then back to unemployment! Well, at least I’ll have had 13 weeks of solid work.  My EI is all but done so I’ll be living on my savings come August 24th.  Eeek.  I’m going to try and get a few irons in the fire before the end, as it were but the job market remains tight and ESL, the career I am still trying to get out of but realistically am still in at the moment,  gets a whole lot smaller come fall/winter.    Wow, the will be my second September unemployed!  Wow.  But what a tax return I will get at the end of the year!  That’s a good way of looking at it me thinks.

On the week off in between programs, I’ve already got a couple of appointments (non work related) set up and am hoping the weather is good for a lot of kits pool lying around (er, laying around?).   I don’t really need a week off seeing as I’ve had a bunch of weeks off over the last while but I will gladly take it.  Explore is intense – the students are intense, fluent and demanding.  Some are lovely, some are awesome.  ALL are demanding.  And it is some work developing curriculum from scratch!

But we’ve had three nice field trips – we are required to do three field trips per session, hopefully in something related to what we have been learning.  We went to the Beaty Biodiversity Museum at UBC – a fascinating museum that has as its calling card, the skeleton of a huge blue whale from PEI.  We watched a 45 minute film on how they got this whale from PEI to Vancouver -very interesting.  We went to Chinatown.  It was rainy and cold unfortunately but the students enjoyed it.  The big hit, though, to my surprise, was the CTV tour we did yesterday.  CTV isn’t giving tours at the moment due to massive construction but I know people who work there so lucky my students!  Apparently the CBC tour others did wasn’t so good, with a less than enthussiastic tour guide.  Our CTV tour guide was really great and the students LOVED it which surprised and thrilled me.  They can most definitely be a picky picky bunch of folks.  So, relief.  It was nice to be downtown again too, I miss the downtown vibe type thing.  So of course I went to Chapters and spent money and to MAC Cosmetics.  I rarely go to MAC and when I do the stuff I get lasts a long time.  Phew, it’s hard not to spend money when you get a paycheque, even though I know I need to be saving most of what I make for my upcoming rainy days. It’s kinda like a trick of the mind thinking I can actually spend money on something other than food, cable, internet,  transportation and hydro.  Oh and chips.

Today the students are working on their presentations and I am blogging.  The Wifi at UBC drops and undrops, kinda like a mystery.  I therefore learned how to download videos I wanted to show which saved a lot of stress.

These students are smart smart and most are having great fun with the weekend trips, the week night activities and club hopping.  They are exhausted though and most have caught rather vicious colds, which they gave to me last week.  No surprise there.  I muddled through until last weekend where I hermitted up even more than usual which I think helped me to get better much more quickly..  Achoo, etc.

What else?  oh geez I’ve been commenting on a few different Mormon blogs now – an odd obsession really.  I must stop picking on the Mormons!

More later.