Friday, August 31, 2012

Weather report

I remain, for the time being at least, somewhat gainfully employed. This is good, I guess.

I don't know what else to do, so I'll just do whatever shows up. My old job has shown up, so I roll with it.

I'm having one of those "invisible symptom" days.

I've either got cog-fog or I'm falling down tired or some combination of both.
I've got a spasm in my third toe of my right foot.
I've lost all feeling in my second toe of my right foot.
My right index finger is particularly numb yet tingly.

It took me three attempts on each of those sentences above (and now four on this one) to put them in English. Writing is difficult when you can't think. It should not be this hard.

I think I'm going to go slam back a Red Bull and hope for the best.

Thursday, August 30, 2012


For the past couple of months I have gone walking on weekday mornings between 6:10 and 6:30 am. I walk the same route each day, for the most part because I walk for time  (not speed or distance) and I know that I can generally get around that route in my allotted 15 minutes. Almost every morning I end up interrupting the work of one of my neighbours.

She's an older Chinese woman. I hesitate to pin her age down any more than that because she could be anywhere from 50 to 90 and I could not tell. She's less than five feet tall and always wears a blue plaid lumber jacket just like we did in the grunge era.

When I say that she sweeps her sidewalk, that is understatement. She details those eight or so linear feet of concrete slabs with first a push broom, then a corn husk broom that has been worn down to a nub, then one of those little sweeper brushes that comes with its own little dust pan. She then trims the blades of grass that grow up to the walkway with a small pair of scissors.

And she does this every day.

I have no idea how the walk to her house and the public sidewalk out front of it gets so dirty every day, but evidently it does because she's there every morning shortly after 6 AM sweeping and sweeping like there is no tomorrow. She even gets down on her knees to use the little sweeper and dust pan.

At some point during our trip her next door neighbour took it upon themselves to tear their house down and pour a new foundation for a new one. There is topsoil, sand, gravel, bits of construction debris and other leaves and yard waste *everywhere* around the west side of her house.

She was sweeping the walk closest to her house on Monday when I went by so I didn't get to see how she would deal with all this destruction around her home, but when I went by on Tuesday there was a clear demarcation line on the sidewalk between the two houses.

Wednesday I caught her trimming the grass at the property line. This morning she was scrubbing the concrete  closest to the next door property with a bucket of water and a bristle brush.

I don't know that I have ever had that kind of free time.

PS: I up my walking time tomorrow to 20 minutes a day.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

I have no word for "entrepreneur"

I really don't like working for the man I work for.

There, I said it. Out loud and on the internet.

It's not that I don't like the work. I'm good at the work. I am asked to do all sorts of things I like doing on a daily basis.

I just work in an inefficient way, using obsolete tools to produce material that looks dated and out of fashion.

And that makes me sad.

But what I do like is paycheques. Paycheques that are demonstrably larger than the EI cheques I was getting in June. They do things like pay the rent, allow me to put food in my belly, get my hair did and buy new sheets all the while keeping my husband able to get his second degree at university.

The Predict-a-Pen at Chapters told me that I should do the work to become a personal organizer before I do the writing classes. The Magic 8 Ball app I added to my phone confirmed the answer. So as soon as I know if my current job is permanent, I will start that process.

In the meantime, if anyone in Vancouver has an organizing job they would like free help with on an evening or weekend, let me know. I need some portfolio material and I'll work for free and in my spare time until the end of the year.

Huh, that's a decision I apparently just made. Weird.

Anyway... I don't know that I want to be self-employed, or at least not right now. I just know that I want desperately to do what I am good at for a living.

"Begin at the beginning...

... the King said gravely, 'and go on till you come to the end: then stop."
The King of Hearts - Alice in Wonderland 

The thing of it is, figuring out where the beginning is.

I still don't know if I have a job this coming Tuesday. I don't know if I should take writing classes or professional organization classes first. I don't own a Magic 8-Ball to help me with that decision.

Though, the Chapters around the corner from my work has a magnetic decision maker, so maybe I'll ask it when I'm on my lunch tomorrow.

Hell, maybe I'll buy one.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Home again, Home again, fiddle-dee-dee

Two weeks of travel, family obligations and a little bit of touristy activity has left me exhausted and in love with my own bed.

On my trip;

I went to a southern Baptist church for the first time.
Joe met two of my first cousins, my dad's older brother and his wife and my dad's first cousins and their parents for the first time. It was the first time I had seen any of them, except for one first cousin, since August of 2003. (Joe said his favourite part was the dinner and drinking "party" with my family. That made me happy.)
I ate half-runner beans for the first time.

I did not swear in front of my mother-in-law.
I went to the Neil Armstrong Air and Space Museum four days before he died. I got a pen and two post-cards.
I went to the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and the National Museum of the United States Air Force. I got a "Rosie the Riveter" lunch box and Space Ice Cream. I saw a NASA Super Guppy land to deliver some stuff for the museum.
I watched almost a whole Major League Baseball game without falling asleep.
I went to the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center and had a bonding moment with a middle aged black woman when we sang Soul II Soul's "Back to Life (However Do You Want Me)" together and she called me "sister". This happened when I was exchanging the t-shirt I bought the day before when it didn't fit right, 20 or so hours after I finished visiting the museum. We had this moment less than a day after I had been moved to teary-eyed silence over the endless ways humans have managed to create to do harm to each other. Visiting the Freedom Center made me want to be a better person.

I also got a new set of towels and two sets of sheets, the Martha Stewart Homekeeping Manual, a copy of A Modern Girl's Guide to Life, three white long sleeved tshirts and a new pair of yoga pants because I dropped a full bottle of Gem Crush nail polish on my old ones.

Again, I would like to thank everyone who knows where we live and knew we were going out of town for not breaking in whilst we were gone.

I am almost 100% certain that I have forgotten to mention a lot about our trip.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Favourite Things - Part One of an Ongoing Series

This product, my friends, made my busy week much easier to deal with. One of these whilst unwinding for the day has done wonders for my next work day.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


...Fail again. Fail better.
                 - Samuel Beckett

You keep showing up. That is huge. 
                - My friend Erin

I have never spent much time trying to be perfect. I have, however, spent innumerable hours just trying to be good at something. I don't need to be, and I'm pretty sure I don't want to be, the gold medal winner or the Oscar winner, or the Nobel Prize winner.

I just want to be good at something that matters to someone other than me.

I love the great projects and hate the daily maintenance. I love it when my to-do list is full of things I only have to do *just this one time* and start changing the due dates on the things that I do every day or are part of my weekly or monthly routines.

Routines are SUPER GOOD for my mental health, and when I get overwhelmed by what to do next my routine list is the place where I set order from my chaos.

But I rebel. I ignore it. I do something more fun.

I stay up all night 'net surfing for tiaras. I read entire websites on stain removal. I use the "Explore" function on Google+. I do anything to avoid the unpleasant or uninteresting.

EXCEPT when I am at work. I do the boring, unpleasant, routine stuff first just to get it out of the way. Also, there is WAY more boring, unpleasant, routine stuff to do than there is interesting, fun, new stuff to do.

Coming to accept that life is very rarely a barrel of monkeys has been especially hard to do since I quit drinking like an asshole 19 years ago. This is how I become a grown-up, I guess.

(Ooo... lights just flickered and there's thunder outside. My battery is charging, so I should bail.)

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Pride 2012

A giant Viagra pill during my WTF? moment at Vancouver Pride 2012 - image from The Georgia Straight

"Heterosexuality isn't normalit's just common.”
- Dorothy Parker

Such a good day, in the shade, beside the beach with my friend Sam. I had a cooling tie and a fabulous hat, and lasted the whole 2 hours on my feet without taking a break until I got a snack over at Gay Day on the Beach. It was a great afternoon in Vancouver.

I am a little tired now, but that could be because of the wobbly-pops I've had since getting home.

So many families today. So many hotties. So many fabulous young women.

One weird naked guy in a straw hat whom I can only hope for his sake is a "grower".

Photo - Reuters

Cool thing: Manny Malhotra of the Vancouver Canucks and Patrick Burke of You Can Play (and the Philadelphia Flyers organization) came out in support of gay athletes and the end of homophobia in sports. I love this group a lot. I will write more about them, their videos and their community involvement once (if) hockey season starts.

Ho hum music this year. I mean seriously, NO Gloria Gaynor! No Sister Sledge! Okay, there was some Village People, but it was the fucking *YMCA* who were playing it. The only time I heard "Born This Way" was when the Vancouver Gay Men's Choir sang it as they escorted Grand Marshal Bill Monroe:

Don't be a drag, just be a queen. - Photo Reuters

But I DID hear Flo Rida and LMFAO multiple times. Clearly the youth of today have no idea what good music is for a gay parade.

Pride goodies were also kind of lame. I only got:

  • 1 lubricated condom
  • a button demanding a freeze of tuition fees
  • a card demanding the immediate reversal of the ban on gay men giving blood
  • the best crowd-handout Pride flag ever
  • a button and a pen from the CBC tent
  • a 30SPF sunscreen towellette
  • 3 Trojan condoms that have some sort of additive that will make it more intense. (um, yeah, I've now looked at the intensified package... not sure that I'm letting something with ginger in it *near* my vag.) (Just saying...)
  • a promotional card for the, uh, marital aids that Trojan is now selling to *the ladies*
  • a bumper sticker for Pierced and Culture Craze, and 
  • a promotional piece for the Terminal City Rollergirls.
A disappointing haul as compared to previous Gay Halloweens along the parade route. But I guess the with economy being as it is Pride swag gets cut.

Also, the marshalling was *so* bad that at one point people left our area because nothing showed up for more than five minutes and all we could see was crowds of people coming from downtown. Then all of a sudden Hedy Frey and Co. rounded the corner whilst she sashayed 3 inches at a time in a mermaid costume.

The bonus part was we got to move in closer to the curb when so many people left.

Then there were times when there were five floats on top of each other and then nothing for five minutes, even after Hedy's wardrobe slow down.

All in all I'm glad I travelled the way I did (and I'm not telling because it was awesome, not crowded and got me to the part of the parade route I wanted to be at with little sun exposure or distance) and I'm glad I got to hang out with Sam.

Happy Pride Vancouver!

Bert and Ernie Love - Vancouver Pride 2012
Yes, that is Bert and Ernie. They announced their marriage today. - Bert and Ernie Love - Vancouver Pride 2012 by Petitecornichon, on Flickr

Friday, August 3, 2012

False sense of security

I've been doing well, both physically and mentally, for a while now.

I haven't used a cane in almost a year. I haven't overheated in the shower in almost two years. I have been able to run in short bursts, I only randomly lose my balance a couple times a day, and I can make it through 18 hour day without a nap.

Those are all really good things; things that I thought would be impossible three years ago.

In the grand scheme of all things MS, I'm practically benign. I don't do much of anything to help my condition except take vitamin D, do some purposeful exercise every day, and to eat and sleep well 80% of the time. I've been off Copaxone since April, I think.

I'm trying to make some goals and build a more fabulous life for myself, but the whole time there's this tiny voice whispering "Until you get sick again."

It's all a great plan "until I get sick again". Everything revolves around "when I get sick again".

Why bother starting? "When I get sick again" is just going to take it all away.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Elements of Style

I blog because I don’t have to be good at writing to blog. I don’t get criticized for how I write. No one cares about my run on sentences or that I type how I talk: ‘net shorthand, jargon and colloquialisms included.

I blog because it always surprises me who is paying attention.

I blog because I like hearing “yeah... me too. ”

I’ve got this idea percolating. I know that people will be critical of it, so I don’t tell. So I’m going to spend the next year sketching it out and we’ll see what it becomes. 

Trying not to plan the result is hard. 

Trying not to decide which designer I will wear when I get my first interview on The Daily Show is harder.

(The answer is Chanel, but we aren't going to talk about that.) 

 Joe has convinced me to take a six week writing course starting at the end of September. I have no fucking clue what good will come of that, but it's something. It will make me feel like I am doing something to get closer to where I want to be; even though I'm not sure "where I want to be" is. 

So in the meantime I will pull out my battered copy of Strunk & White and remind myself that...

Rich, ornate prose is hard to digest, generally unwholesome, and sometimes nauseating...
and try to keep myself from puking.