Monday, November 29, 2010

Puppy Bruises

Its snowing outside. I'm telling you this because I just went on facebook and it seems like its snowing around the northern hemisphere today. Well snow is being proclaimed in Ireland, the Netherlands and Spain (and Vancouver!) which is basically the entire northern hemisphere wouldn't you agree?

Basically its cold. Not helping the situation is the fact that The Boyfriend's parents took off to Mexico yesterday. We dropped them off and everything. So while they are drinking fancy slushy drinks and lying in the sun reading, we are taking care of their dog and freezing.

She's very adorable- she's only 7 months old and she's a chocolate labrador. You just can't get more adorable than that. But she has some bad habits. She's a mouther. It was worse when she had sharp little puppy teeth because my arms were scratched up and bleeding, but now that its been downgraded to bruising, its not that much better.

She sleeps in the bed. I've never had a dog sleep in bed with me. It seems wrong. I mean she was very cuddly but I like to have space you know? And she snores. I'm a pretty heavy sleeper so it doesn't wake me up but The Boyfriend will wake up to the sounds of a butterfly's wings gently scraping past the window. I already know that I have a tendency to snore when I'm really tired or sick (and waking up at 5.30 to drive to the airport, spend the day looking after the needs of a puppy AND dinner at my parents' definitely qualifies me as being tired) so as The Boyfriend so astutely put it this morning "Now I got 2 b*tches snoring in bed."

That was after he hit me.

He meant to hit the bed to scare the dog from the mouthing she was doing, but I was still in bed and he slammed his hand down on my knee instead. My bad. I should have got out of bed.

A pretty eventful morning so far and its only 9.25. I should get up early more often, might get more stuff done. Or not. You never know. Besides the job searching, I would say that today's flurries call for reading and tea.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Temporary Situation

Yesterday I temped.

When I got laid off the Temps in our office were all about me temping going forward and I'm pretty sure that I said something like "I will never be a Temp". When I went and talked to my recruiter, she asked me if I wanted to to temp and I told her that I wasn't interested.

Well never say never folks. It was the recruiting company and it wasn't really a choice. I'm not sure how I got mixed up in their temporary files but if it means that they think of me when something real comes along, I'm glad that I did it. But yeah, they basically called me with an address, a name of someone to report to and the hours that I would be there. I had to cancel plans that I had already made (Anna, Gloria, I'm sorry. Seeing you doesn't make me money though does it?) because there really was no choice in the matter.

It was just a reception thing. For the quietest office ever. The people were pleasant, but no one really stopped to chat did they? What's the point? I'm there for a day. Even though I'm lovely and wonderful (and the old men especially realized this) I will be gone tomorrow.

There was a measure of comfort in the fact that nothing's really changed since I've been in an office. Oh I know, its only been 3 months (ish). But when you do nothing with your days, 3 months feels like a year. Christmas parties are still being planned, HR people are still letting you know about the availability of taxi vouchers and Secret Santa still happens. Except that in my old office we did Secret Santa for ourselves, going with that whole theme they had their of being selfish a$$holes. In the office that I was in yesterday the HR lady went around with different kinds of toys the Christmas Bureau wanted so that the staff could go out and fulfill the wishes of some poor kid on Christmas morning. That's how you do Secret Santa people.

The office yesterday was down the street from where I used to work, so one thing I was looking forward to was some international food court lasagna. Anna, Gloria- you know what I mean! Well I got there at 1 and there was one more piece of the greatest lasagna in the world left. So I asked her for it, only to be told that it belonged to the guy in front of me. Lasagna Lady, your lasagna is amazing, you need to make more! She always does this, she always runs out. So then I asked for fusili (easy to eat with plastic cutlery and while reading) but she doesn't have that either. End up with spaghetti. Which is great, but it was messy with a plastic soon and fork.

So that's what I did yesterday. And it looks like yesterday was the right day to go downtown because today, the snow that they said was over, is coming down and covering everything. I really wanted to go to the library today so we will see.

If you're American, Happy Thanksgiving. If you're a teacher in the Lower Mainland, happy snow day! And for the rest of you, tomorrow is Friday. You can do it!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Jealous Of A 14 Year Old

You know, I have to say, I definitely thought that I would have another job by now. I definitely envisioned some time in between jobs, but not this much.

My 14 year old sister and I are currently in the same boat. I know, at 25, I didn't really think that I would have anything in common with a 14 year old either, but I also didn't think that I would be unemployed into November, so you know, nothing surprises me anymore.

So my sister. I feel like she should have a name...Oddball. Don't be offended. She's not awkward or anything and the nickname has far less to do with any characteristic of hers and more just something I started calling her when she was little and...well here we are. Now she's famous.

Anyway. Oddball and I are both currently at a crossroads. My crossroads involve my previous employer treating me like sh*t before finally losing my job and the future when I will hopefully have a job that I enjoy and be embarking on the beginning of a career or some sorts. Oddball's crossroads involve dreams of going abroad to be an au pair and live a glamourous life for her future writing career and fighting my mom to please let her get a job now.

Yeah, you read that right. My 14 year old sister is begging my mom to let her work.

The funny thing is, my mom totally gave me permission to work when I was 12. It was a real store and everything. But now, 13 years later (Lord I'm old in this context) she won't do the same for Oddball. And Oddball wants to work badly. So badly that she has enlisted my help to convince Mom that she should be allowed to work.

And I am doing my damnedest! I totally think she is old enough, and responsible enough, to go work at a movie theatre or a book store.

What do you think? Is 14 too young to get a job? The legal working age here is 15.

Aren't you jealous though? I mean she's 14, she literally has her whole life in front of her and she knows it! She knows that she can do anything she wants to, that she has endless possibilities for her future. The au pair thing is less something she wants to do and more something that she is going to do.

Meanwhile I spend my days in a half-a$$ed spare bedroom praying I find work before Christmas so that I can participate in the season instead of leering at people filled with joy from the sidelines. Drunk.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Abandonment Issues?

Since I was away all last week I'm sure that you are expecting me to come back here with some awesome stories of all the awesome things that I did instead of blogging for you.

But you would have really high expectations and unfortunately I don't seem to be in the business of fulfilling expectations these days. I just spent a lot of time running around last week, getting up at the completely unreasonable hour of 9am to spend days outside of my apartment, getting things done. Such a glamourous life no?

Alright fine, here are the highlights of my week spent neglecting you.

1. I learned how to turn on the pilot light in our fireplace. I'm pretty sure that this was something that The Boyfriend already knew how to do but he was at physio when the gas man came to the door to turn it on (I suspect that it was already on but what do I know?) and he asked me if I wanted to know how to turn it off and on so that I could save $8 a month in the summer (I think he thought I lived alone) and hey, I'm not exactly in a position to be spending money willy nilly now am I?

2. I thought that I would try to jumpstart my interview energy by going out and buying some more professional looking interview wear. Turns out that its impossible to find a blazer if you have big boobs. What a shock. Instead of jumpstarting my interview energy I spent a frazzled Saturday surrounded by early holiday shoppers and teenagers, thisclose to having a meltdown. In the end I semi-won. I walked away with a new blazer but we all know that I settled in order to have something

3. I read some more books and developed a sympathy for Eva Braun. I read a biography about her (The Lost Life of Eva Braun by Angela Lambert) and it turns out she wasn't a heinous b*tch despite her terrible taste in men. I even cried when I read the part where she died. I'm not sure what this says about me actually. I mean I always assumed that Eva Braun was a terrible person (I mean come on! Hitler?!) but it turns out she could have been any 17 year old girl that fell for a guy with a lot of power. Anyway if you get the chance, read the book. It was fantastic.

4. I woke up early on Thursday so that my friend could make me breakfast. We were going to go out for breakfast but then she wisely decided that it would be cheaper if she made it for me and like I said before, I'm not in any position to be turning down cheaper options. So while you were in your office listening to your idiot of a boss tell you what to do, I was eating homemade waffles with fresh strawberries and whipped cream, chatting with a very good friend in her spacious new home. 

5. I almost feel like this shouldn't be a highlight because the dinner was to say good bye to a very good friend that has decided employment in Calgary is better than unemployment surrounded by people like me, but dinner to say good bye to my friend who is moving to Calgary was pretty fun. Even though it was cut a little short by the falling show (I live on a mountain, if its snowing below the mountain I can expect blizzard conditions at home) (also I'm a Vancouverite. Wet white stuff falling from the sky is reason to panic) it was a very enjoyable evening. Aside from the snow, the Greek food (just not a fan) and the falling down. Oh yeah, turns out that falling slush creates slippery conditions on the road and one is liable to fall when walking if extra caution is not exercised. S'ok though, I now have wicked bruises on both my shins to remember the occasion.

Bonus highlight: When I got back from the above mentioned good bye dinner it was snowing really hard at home and it was so pretty that The Boyfriend and I went on a late night walk in the snow. It was kind of awesome. 

Now you're caught up on what I did. What did you do?

Friday, November 12, 2010

So This One Time... band camp...

Sorry I couldn't resist. Its not going anywhere. Although if you keep reading there may or may not be a story for you. I can't vouch for its being funny (although later I sell it as being funny) but it has a beginning, middle and end and is therefore a real life story.

I finished all the books I got from the library last night. Turns out none of them was a very challenging read. However this did help me punch out books #56-60 for books that I've read this year. Which made me feel good. But now I need to go back to the library.

Who am I kidding? This is excellent news.

I thought maybe I could convince The Boyfriend that since I have been so good all week perhaps I should get a little treat from Costco when he drags me there this afternoon but its a no-go. I guess that's fair. You know, since I'm bringing in exactly no income.

Funny story. At the end of the summer The Boyfriend's parents came to stay with us. It was the first time they had seen our new place (they were impressed because its awesome) and the left some champagne behind for us to celebrate. At this point I felt like we were in our place long enough that the champagne could be used to celebrate when I got a new job. I was all optimistic that this would take no time at all because let's face it, I'm qualified to nothing specific and anything general.

I'd probably have a job by now too if I wasn't so damn picky.

But I digress. Last weekend, when going through the contents of the fridge to find something suitable to drink before a hockey game (at which I failed because there were only half drunk bottles of wine), I tell The Boyfriend that a stop at the liquor store will be in order because we have nothing to drink (seriously, this is unusual for us) and he says "why don't you just drink that champagne?"

Obviously he does not care to save champagne for celebrations. But I tell him that I don't want to use it because I'm saving it for when I get a job.

To which he replies, completely deadpan "you know that it has an expiry don't you?"

Nice guy right?

No it was hilarious. I laughed hard and long. You have to. You'd go insane otherwise. Because let me tell you, unemployment? Its tough. All of a sudden things that were in perfect working order when you were both earning money, decide to crap out on you (the TV and the car come to mind) bringing with them, visions of very expensive fixes.

Also the holidays are coming. Quicker than I would like. I haven't completely despaired of finding work before Jolly Old St. Nick comes to town, but with every passing day...well the chances become less. We'll survive but I'm going to have to tell the families that this year, only the children get gifts.

Do you hear me family?? Only the children!

Yeah I will probably have to tell them in person. Lame.

I'm going to conclude here. A wonderful post right?

Ah whatever, its Friday. Go enjoy it.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Crazy Dutch People

You know how when you have a job you leave the house every day and go to your place of business and give no thought whatsoever to what is going on at your house, aside from maybe some panic-inducing moments of "did I leave the stove on?" (I would never leave the stove on being unaccustomed to using it in the first place)

Well I don't leave my house every day. Which means that I have ample time to observe the idiots that stick around here each and every day.

Some might say I have voyeuristic tendencies. I would just like to go on record as saying, I'm Dutch and this is what we do. And let's just be clear here, its not about the people inside the homes, its about the furniture and the possessions. I'm not making this up. Have you ever heard of the book The UnDutchables? Its about all the crazy stuff that Dutch people do and are afflicted by. On page 41 in the section A Dutch Home: ...It is customary to leave the front-room curtains open day and night so everyone can look in and admire the possessions.

Yeah I have that book. Its really funny and explains a lot about myself.

ANYWAY. I'm here all day and even though I'm not exactly sitting at the window with a telescope or a set of binoculars, writing down everything I see, some things are worth mentioning.

The Gardeners. I live in an apartment building, about 6 years old with a very well run strata. One of the things that we noticed when we were looking at buying a unit here was that the strata fees seemed to differentiate quite a bit depending on the unit. Square footage was one reason, garden space was another. If you have garden space (we don't) you pay a lot more money to the strata. Apparently you can't do your own gardening. Its November now and definitely there are a lot of leaves blowing around and I guess this is the perfect time for planting bulbs for the Spring. But do the gardeners really need to be here every day? Trimming trees, blowing leaves, edging stuff? Every day? Sure, they do a fine job, everything looks very nice, but they make noise, they are in the way and every day seems like overkill. Maybe I'm just jealous that they seem to be gainfully employed with no shortage of work.

The Dog Walkers. Let's face it, I want a dog. We had houseguests last week (was it seriously only last week?) and they brought their puppy and I delighted in taking her outside for walks a few times a day. Some people (me) are just made to have dogs. Some people are made for cats. Yet these people still insist on getting dogs. There's one guy, a huge jacked up gorilla (thanks Snooki), who has a tiny little min-pin that he dresses up. Oh yeah, sometimes its a little argyle sweater, sometimes a vest, sometimes sparkly things. So wrong. Then there are the folks that don't feel like they need to pick up after their dogs. Sure, just leave it right there on the path with no lights. I'm sure no one will step in that when they walk here tonight. Just now in the courtyard a couple was "walking" their little dog (read carrying the dog to the middle to pee before they went back inside) who jumped out of their arms, sans leash, and narrowly avoided being hit by a car (who was speeding naturally).

The Up-And-Down-Stairs Neighbours. I'll admit that in our last apartment we were spoiled with our neighbours. They were a really nice couple with a daughter, who always stopped and said hey whenever we ran into them, held elevators, even looked out for our place when we would leave it. We did the same for them. They were awesome. We never heard anything from the apartments below or above us. We assumed it was because the apartments were so silent. Turns out it was because we had quiet neighbours. Now we don't. The woman below us enjoys sitting out on her balcony, smoking (which isn't allowed) while she's on the phone. She's so loud when she does this it sounds like she's in our living room. When she's not catching up with her friends via phone she invites 30 of them over to laugh and talk and scream on Sunday mornings. And when she prepares for visitors she cranks the base so that our apartment vibrates and cleans. I think the Upstairs neighbours have a large dog. Or a herd of buffalos. Maybe a gymnastics school. Something that causes them to make all manner of loud, banging noises on their floor. Sometimes there is running back and forth, that literally makes our apartment shake. I have no idea what they are doing. But it's loud. Oh and it takes them hours to vacuum. In the middle of the night.

I want to go back to an office!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Book Loot

I finally went to the library yesterday. This was the one thing that I told myself that I would start doing while I was unemployed to save money but it proved to be a lot harder to wean myself off of the bookstore.

And to be honest while I was at the library, I thought to myself a few times things like Oh man some of these books I really wish I could buy or The selection is better at the bookstore.

The second thought isn't so much true as that the selection at the bookstore is different. I mean the library as layers of books collected on its shelves, some more recent than others, some more widely-read than others but the selection is varied. I think maybe I'm just so used to the way that bookstores are laid out (brightly lit, buzzing with the sound of hushed conversation, books the publishers choose facing cover out, titles highlighted as must read, best sellers etc) that my immediate reaction in the library was to go to the bookstore.

But it was shortlived and before I knew it I was coming across too many books to take home. I had to be kind of selective. I'm going to try to read 75 books by the end of the year. I'm currently at 58. But we only have what? Seven weeks left of the year? I can't be squandering the time trying to finish the Hitler biography (as badly as I want to finish that sucker).

Here's what I came away with:

Losing Mum and Pup by Christopher Buckley. The story of how the author, his parents' only child, lost both his parents within a year. His parents were kind of a big deal and he had a good relationship with them and the last year was a tough one. But Christopher Buckley manages to write about them with humour, remembering their time together fondly. This is the book that I read yesterday. I laughed throughout the book- his parents were...well they were awesome. Of course by the end of it I was also in tears. But thats just the way it works with fantastic books.

Me: Stories of My Life by Katharine Hepburn. I love movie star biographies and I'm not sure that it gets better than when they write their own. I've read about Ava Gardner, Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn etc but I have always shied away from Katharine Hepburn biographies. Now I know why. I was waiting to find the one that she wrote herself. Katharine Hepburn telling you how it really was? Please. You can't resist that either.

The Quest for Anastasia: Solving the Mystery of the Lost Romanovs by John Klier. I think I was about 10 when I first heard about the assassination of the Tsar and his family and have been fascinated by them ever since. But usually I come across the story as a footnote to bigger things happening around them. The closest I came to reading the whole story was in Five Granddaughters about the 5 granddaughters of Queen Victoria who each became a Queen. Tsarina Alexandra was one of them. But here again, the actual assassination was mentioned in passing, how it affected the other cousins. I figure this book will be an excellent way to find out what really happened.

Spellbound by Jane Green. Oh come on, at least one of the books had to be an easy read. I'm expanding my mind with my other choices, with this last one, I needed something light, something to pad the reading numbers. I always come across Jane Green's books in the bookstore and I have just never taken the plunge, even though I suspect I will really enjoy them. If I'm right, the library has a bunch of her other titles for me to motor through. Oh right, the plot. Married woman, unhappy with her fabulous life, moves to The States into the house of a famous romance novelist, things get better or do they? Like I said, something to pad the stats. But I'm not-so-secretly looking forward to it!

What are you reading?

Monday, November 8, 2010

Extra Time For...Hitler??

Fall Back! Who doesn't love a good Fall Back?!?!

Fall Back is the single greatest thing to happen to our civilization since the wheel. Shows you how much I value my time to sleep doesn't it?

So the clocks went back an hour Saturday night- BAM! I get more sleep immediately. I wake up Sunday an hour "earlier" feeling rested AND productive (even though I promptly squandered the time by parking my butt on the couch watching TV and movies all day. Oh and reading. Food for the mind you know?).

Same thing this morning. I haven't been so stoked on Fall Back since...last year. But if you will recall, last year it wasn't all sunshine and roses owing to the fact that I still worked in a sh*thole with no hope of ever getting out. Fast forward a year and I'm unemployed, doing nothing with my life currently, but oh so much happier.

Man I love me some Fall Back. Especially this year since the Fall Back high I experienced on Sunday last year (and this year) is still with me on Monday morning. I feel like this is such a momentous occasion that I need to commemorate it with some kind of photo collage.

But I won't because I'm lazy and a photo collage sounds like a lot of work.

And now we have come to the controversial part of the blog today. Before we begin I would just like to say that the following is meant in jest and hope that we can all have a chuckle together at the f*cked up things my mind comes up with. Yes? If not, perhaps you should just skip to the end and leave me a comment that I can read later.

I've been working on reading Ian Kershaw's Hitler biography for over a year now. I agree, that does have to be some kind of a record. But have you ever seen the book in person? Its a mammoth sized book. It weighs a ton so its not exactly bus reading material you know (its over 1000 pages and it says HITLER on the spine. Taking it on the bus would be uncomfortable for so many reasons)?

Anyway, I'm making real progress. I've finally got to 1944 and have about 300 pages left. So at this point things are not going well for the Third Reich. They are losing left right and centre, the British are bombing the hell out of them, Hitler is working all the time, the people have lost confidence in him and he's falling apart.

Ian Kershaw is going on about how Hitler is working 24/7, how he is stressed all the time and starting to get really haggard looking. And I could relate. Before Hitler was a dictator he was a lazy artist. Well he pretended to be an artist. He lounged around Vienna, around great people and tried to do the least amount of work with the most amount of benefit to himself. In 1944, he has to work around the clock and he's sucking and he hates it.

I'm not saying I'm a lazy artist or that I ever worked 24/7 but let me tell you, when you hate your job, it starts to take a physical toll on you. You look beaten down, exhausted and old all the time, just like Hitler did. You're irritated with the people around you and you take it out on you. Are you seeing the clumsy parallel I'm drawing here? I mean its not like my job required me to find creative ways of killing people (did you know that Hitler liked to use the guillotine? More people died by guillotine during WWII than did during the French Revolution!) but it definitely didn't do anything good for the world.

Now let's be clear here- I'm not saying I sympathize with Herr Hitler. He kind of brought it on himself by insisting on doing everything himself, despite having no idea what he was doing. But I get the feeling.

So that's that. We went from Housewives on Thursday to Hitler on a Monday. Backwards progress perhaps. But its OK. I have all the time in the world today.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Full Time A$$hole

Do you tell people that you're unemployed or that you're a full time a$$hole?

This is what The Boyfriend said to me the other night. And before you get up in arms, know that a) he was joking (duh) and b) that it made me laugh really hard. Mostly I tell people I'm unemployed but maybe I should change tactics. I am kind of making a career out of being an a$$hole.

So you may have noticed that I have been neglecting you all week. See above.

No, no, we had some houseguests and so I didn't have that much free time to come on here and complain about being unemployed. I was thinking about blog worthy posting all week though.

And now that I finally have the chance to sit here and blog...I can't remember a single one.

So I fear that today will be another collection of thoughts that pop into my head as I go. Can't be helped. I need to start writing these great posting topics down. Or stop lying about having great ideas for posting. One or the other.

I was just reading (as I do most mornings in order to wake up before the hard core job searching begins) and there was an article entitled Emma Bunton Expecting Second Child and I had to click on it to find out who it was because my first thought was "who the f*ck is Emma Bunton?" I feel like I need to turn in my Spice Girls Fan card. I mean they were only one of the most important parts of my tweens. They were only the greatest group ever. And what? I forget their names? What an a$$hole.

We got the Back to the Future trilogy on blu-ray the other day and finally watched it this week. You guys? Its life changing. I can't even describe to you the quality of the movies- its like it was filmed yesterday. And its so much more fun to watch the second one, going forward into 2015, now because its only 5 years away. Hilarious. And actually, Robert Zemeckis wasn't that far off. Have you guys seen this article? Also, there are a bunch of extras on the discs, including an interview with this physicist who says that actually time travel is possible and Back to the Future actually got the theory more or less right!

I've developed a shameful new addiction. Its so much worse than Days of Our Lives (which I don't really watch anymore). The Boyfriend is appalled at my lack of good television viewing taste. It started out innocently enough as a morning of theres-nothing-good-on-TV-itis. I thought I would just tune in and mock the show. I didn't think that I would become addicted. I'm talking about the Real Housewives franchise. Not just one series either. I'm currently watching D.C, New Jersey and Atlanta. I really want to see Beverly Hills (Paris Hilton's aunts are on it) but I think if I start recording anymore on the PVR The Boyfriend will have a stroke.

My very good friend Megara is leaving me. The jobs situation is so dire here in BC that she is going to Calgary. Obviously we're (I'm including you in this Record) happy for her that she found something, Lord knows its not easy. But we're very sad that she found something in Calgary. She'll be far away and I have no money to go visit (even though I currently have all the time in the world) and also Calgary isn't a place thats high on my list to visit anyway. Especially with winter coming quickly. Hello Canada? I live in Vancouver? I don't do winter. But like I said, congratulations to her for finding something related to what she ultimately wants to do!

That said, The Record and I are going to have to band together and really solidify our friendship if we are going to survive Megara's departure. First step? She invited me to go to the Canucks game with her on Saturday. We're best friends already.

Alright kidlets, I got Real Housewives calling...I mean I have job searching to do. This job searching kick is really getting in the way of my more leisurely habits.