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Category Archives: in the trenches

When necessity is the mother of…

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I am being pushed into activism. I’m OK with it, but I confess it’s never been a “me” thing. I have always thought the little guy needed more of a voice but I only used to watch in chagrin when yet again as Goliath put the screws to David. There seemed to be a torpor within our government and a social collective that seemed to stand idly by time and time again. There’d be that “treehugger” that would literally stick neck and limb out to voice what no one else would. Government would use their political might to shut that voice up but didn’t seem to do anything to protect the rights of those and that. 

It seems it all comes to the bottom line. Whatever happened to building a citizenry and society that included all of those and treated all of those equally? We’re not even going to break it down into particular issues. We all know what they are. Rights are being clawed away or denied outright still and always and nothing ever gets done. Do it the right and polite way and no one even notices. Make a stink and people dismiss you. So dear citizenry, how do you suggest a person proceeds. There is so much riding on everything, our heads our swivelling trying to keep up, but that’s because it was allowed to devolve into a society where the almighty buck really does rule the day.

I can’t sit idly by anymore. I am going to pick up the mantle and run as fast as I can with what I have. It may not be much. I’m a follower not a leader. I don’t even know how activism is done. Is that ridiculous or what? I’ve grown a bit of a voice lately. Sure, it’s mostly beaking off on #twitter or a strongly worded email trying to get a product replaced but so what, that’s a start right? Call me a shit disturber, call me a harpy, call me what you will. I am not going away. 

getting into the swing of it

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i am beginning to get into the swing of things; develop a morning routine. this is not to say it has been easy. i am not a morning person. in the dusky early I wake up before my alarm, sigh, in the realization that another night of dreaming has ended and the day has begun. i close my eyes and attempt steal another small handful of sleep before it bleats at me again. 


after that, every minute counts or i could possibly be late. any idle moments can cause inertia and that could spell disaster. maintaining continous motion around the house and take care of morning business is difficult. most everything has to be done the night before because the 45 minute choreography doesn't leave a moment to spare.  I'd prefer to leisurely ease into my day. wouldn't everyone, I suppose.


I pack my bag with my assorted necessities and bric-a-brac; fill my travelling coffee mug and walk down to the end of my block to catch the bus that will deposit me at the skytrain at about 7:33am. i feel a strange sense of community among the regulars i recognize that board the same bus, though no one speaks to one another. on my way into the station i grab a 24 and every morning i say thank you and wish the vendor a good morning, even though i am generally not convinced. i am going to work, afterall. i move up the escalator to a specific spot on the platform so that i will board the car that will let me off right at the stairs on the other end. 

it's not so bad to have this routine that determines my days. one could say it is better than to be entirely aimless and without purpose. i am doing it and that is all that matters. i am not being paid handsomely or even particularly well. and i don't like my job but it is a job. i'm out of the stall, on my way, and that's all that matters.

travelling and moving

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on the days when i am not reading i watch the scenery pass me on the train. every day it is the same but the aspect different depending on where I sit on the train. as i catch fleeting glimpses of the country side i create brief little stories to go with the images as they pass, or i simply think hmmm…
today the snippets i catch: a doghouse with a big metal bar attached to it in a neglected yard that is a mix of concrete and scraggly grass;stairs that lead from a roadway above down to the side of the busy highway, presumably to a sidewalk, that isn’t there; the point of the sign thanking everybody of the new condo development for…. buying there? the neighbourhood for simply being there? the quaint shopping centre that is never busy, but the only obvious stores around that i can see.
i can imagine myself somewhere exotic or compelling, as i often do when traveling on a train, even if the destination of this trip is not glamorous, i can remove myself for awhile. it’s always been that way with me and trains.
today is one of those i'm scrounging for work when normally i'm trying to figure out to way to cram all that i need to do into the day. is this the working condundrum.? when it rains it pours and there’s seldom a drought. i'm happy for the money, even though it isn't exactly making me rich. if i had the imagination and the will perhaps i could figure a way to work from home and make it pay. because, i could think of any number of places I’d rather be right now, namely home and bed. insomnia is my friend again.


loving a rainy night

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i went out after dinner and dawdled back. it's
raining, but i don't care. i'm just glad not to be working anymore. this is the longest week i can recall in recent memory, though i know i've had my share in the past few years having climbed the steep curve of learning in a few different jobs.

the sweet relief of not having to rack my brain to find some elusive missing iota of information is incredibly liberating.  it's not that i learned how to launch rockets or anything, but this
past week has proven challenging to say the least. if the possible side effect of cramming too much stuff into your head is a giant headache, i experienced it; with tertiary symptoms of feeling extraordinarily obtuse and dense. to be honest, i really don't want to do this job, i am simply compelled by financial desperation and need, so from the corner i will attempt to work out to a better place.

there's the faint aroma of lilacs in the air…….my favourite. nature's aromatherapy…

the pit-pat of droplets is comforting and i take the long way back. down the street, bypassing the crosswalks, opting for the corner and the streetlight. i don't trust drivers at the best of times. 

i ponder again the empty lot on e. columbia and think to myself that a community garden would be perfectly suited for the spot. loads of room. put that on my long list of things to do. how does one make that happen?

a young man startles me from my reverie as he passes on my left. i have seen him around and on the bus. he's got a startling handsome face; lightly flushed, all angles and perfect stubble. his hair is cut fashionably  long, deliberately studied and messy. most women would kill for that head of hair. i had made the assumption that he worked as a mechanic or some similar profession judging by the coveralls he's in the habit of wearing, and has on again tonight. they seem distinctly at odds with his bearing. he is carrying a giant sign that boldly states simply "hello you chicken faced c***" or a sentiment very similar. the c***is covered haphazardly by a piece of paper, but since he is carrying it upside down the message is easily read. as he carries on down the street i wonder who the recipient of this rancor might be.

a softball game of intrepid players is taking place on the soft carpet of emerald in the park. a flash at the top of the steep incline of the road catches my eye; a cyclist is aggressively pumping his arms in the air as he begins to gain swift momentum.

Day in the life of a (p/t) working girl

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Dinner is going to cook while we are at work. I did the prep the evening before, but the last stages of prep; browning the chicken and assembling it in the cooker, still chew up too much valuable morning time.

What to wear? I washed my preferred trousers and neglected to iron them and now it is not an option. I could wear the pants that are too long, listen to them drag as I walk or the pants that are a titch too short, a pet peeve of mine. I loathe the whole "business casual" office repertoire. Mostly because I can never find anything that fits or flatters. I pause and imagine what sort of
office I’d rather work in; contemplate yet again the sort of work I want
to do, not in an office or someone else's office. Or one with a dress code.

I tussle with my contact lenses to get them in. Why today? I'm already running behind. I'm wearing them out of vanity (not entirely) but of convenience. It's a hassle pushing my glasses up my nose over and over again as I squint over papers.

Breakfast is a hastily prepared smoothie, gulped quickly in the few minutes I have before I need to get out of the house. Lunch will be a similar affair; I'd meant to prepare something the night before and came up with
nothing. I end up grabbing a packet of
carnation instant breakfast and tossing it into my bag on my way out the door.

I sprint out of the house into the crisp morning air. My eyes are assaulted by a blinding sun slung low on the horizon. The morning air bites hungrily at my fingers. It's a rude awakening. Even though most mornings I am out of bed at this hour (my new habit so as to discourage sloth), I am rarely outside. There was a time when I went for life affirming brisk walks first thing. Not anymore. Why the glow went off it so quickly, I don't know. Maybe because even though I strode with purpose it was like I had none.

The train seems full, but I find a seat shrouded by the figure of someone standing in front of it. Why the kind stranger couldn't indicate this fact rankles me a bit, but that's just the way it goes so.I manoeuvre around him, settle in and throw open my book, eager to jump back in where I left off. I don't normally read in the mornings; merely plug in and tune out, but I've only got this book for 14 days and I am captivated by the story.

It’s one of those magic mornings where you might imagine what you would do next if you were on holiday. I am striding down the hill from the
skytrain to my workplace, pulling in deep inhales of the cool and fresh air; blowing out plumes of steamy warm air. I am working out the math of the trip length in my
head. And I marvel, how can it be that I left the apartment at 8 and waited almost 10 minutes for the
bus at the end of the block to take me to braid station and still arrive only 10 minutes later
than if I had left at 10 to eight and walked the 8 minute walk to
sapperton and took the train directly from there? I’m baffled. But first things first. I skip across busy Grandview and retrieve a Tim horton’s Coffee (my second coffee of the day) and a banana from the gas station. This will be the highlight of my day and will sustain me until I take my customary later lunch.

On the return trip, I notice the cost of gasoline and marvel at the cost of gasoline. 112.9 …That’s what? $4.50 a gallon. How does anyone afford the cost of driving? I remember when we heard that gasoline in Europe was less and everyone thought that it was scandalous.
I knock on the side door of the building until someone hears me. The woman who generally answers sits closest to the door and is always chirpy and friendly. I hang up my jacket and notice it smells of fried something. I can't stand that; another of my pet peeves.

I turn on the computer and go off to fill up my water bottle while it lumbers to life. I settle in, take a few sips while I check my email. None of it pertains to me. I get up go right to work and my back protests with pain after just a few minutes of bending and stooping. Again comes a moment of decisiveness that I have GOT to get a glimmer, a clue and some motivation to get onto a more desireable career path. A little more stunning clarity wouldn't hurt.

Later in the day I have a bit of a training session; for specific tasks beyond what I've learned already. I thought I had it nailed, now I feel myself begin to shut down; suffering a bit of information overload. I take copious notes but I can't read them within a few minutes of scribbling them down.

I leave the building, immediately feeling buoyant and relaxed. My evening is now my own. I see a train pull into the station, and know that if I keep walking this pace, I will only have to wait a few minutes for the next and there's no need to hurry. I decide I will take the train all the way to my stop and take the short hilly route home, instead of transferring to one of the buses that will drop me at the end of my block. 

I think to myself as I walk the short incline home, that it would be lovely if a person could sustain themselves on such a mere amount of toiling. I sigh and give my head a shake. My day isn't entirely over, there's dinner to prepare.



oh-one oh-four monday rainy monday

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january 4 of the brand new year.  monday. it's been raining with purpose for a few days now and today is no different. most people are grudgingly returning back to work after the holidays, emerging from an oversated state of sloth, getting back into the swing of it. me, i was no different but i never really stopped perusing the job boards and classifieds; sending out resumes. the pickings have been skint and uninspiring. i'm back at it with a vengeance, hoping that my persistence will actually pay off. so it is said.

the alarm rings and i am swing my legs out of bed, reluctant to push my body out of its inertia. whatever i was dreaming of was surely a better state than this. my list of household errands will keep me occupied well enough today. i've also got a long list of things to do, which only partially includes: scan 250 childhood photos of Matt; make a few phone calls (which will have to wait until after 6, if they can. they are inquiries mostly, information gathering), grocery shop, doctor's appointment, drop off and pick up library books, change my blog categories (as clever as those already created they seem rather lame and vague now), take a picture for the royal city 52 week photo challenge (week one is already over), ya-da ya-da ya-da. i can only do so much in a day, especially when travel is involved. i will open up my email and turn on my phone, see if i've managed to elicit any sort of response, from anyone. and carry on.

here's a p.s: i've started tagging my posts, which sort of defy a one or two word description for the most part, but i'm trying. reaching out my fingers out there to anywhere and see what i touch.

new day new new year new attitude….again…..

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this brief collection of words is the second rendering of the original blog post. i tempted
the fates by going into uncharted territories to a little
musical interlude to give my words some ambience. however, in the process the
obliterated. i've resurrected it, in a manner of speaking. the same but very different. enjoy the bit of music. the link is at the end. the musician is aaron cadwaladr a local
vancouver artist with
a smooth voice who pens a lovely tune and knows his way around a guitar–at least to my
unschooled ears. he's on facebook if you want to take another look in that realm. he might even come your way some day.

so it
goes. maybe it was a sign that i was waxing a little too philosophical.
the fates decided that it was better left unsaid. maybe.i
was banging on yet again at how i had assembled bits and pieces of blog
posts but had neglected to actually post them. you see, i am not so
busy to preclude it, i just don't. bad habit of mine. in the new decade
i am going to employ more follow's important. i do it in
other aspects of my life, but not the ones that mean more to me, and my
blog does. i was reading o magazine and some sage advice is to start
which is hardly a revolutionary idea, but in the cyberdomain you can
give yourself a little edge; at least so the short bit reads. the only problem with the assertion is that a blog is
hardly a baseball diamond in a cornfield; build it and they will come.
i've had my little bit of generalist prose here for some time and it
hasn't exactly landed me my dream job. my friends read sometimes. i get the odd lost person browsing through, but mostly it is more for my benefit. for the exercise, the discipline, which has been sorely lacking of late. one never knows. perhaps it will net me something interesting yet. i'll keep banging on and hope for the best. 2009 was easily the worst year on record in my adult life. there's nowhere to go but up.

Download 02 Cooling our Backs

got work to do

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i arrive home gutted after my day at work. didn't help trundling home on the train standing wedged in the narrow aisle, after hassling my way in, slightly damp but too warm. my wet weather coat is suited to much cooler temperatures.  i did have the presence of mind to plug my ipod in before i got on. i suspected as much. this is the drawback of travelling during "rush hour". last week i had to let a train go by.

it's just one day. i could not imagine having to engage in this every day. in Toronto i avoided the crush by walking to work; simply not an option now.

with some gritty determination, i employed some underused TO commuting skills to elbow past some oblivious commuter blocking the door. (sharp elbows and height are a definite advantage.) however, this behaviour is one i will never understand. we all would like easy unobstructed access to the door, but making like an immovable object when people are trying to get past you is simply the action of….a dunderhead, idiotstick, well somebody that complete lacks the inability to consider the needs of others.

i begged off cooking dinner and made for the sofa and the sweet relief of simply sitting down on something vaguely comfortable. i have no idea how i managed to attend to all the mundane household tasks (including cooking dinner) when i worked full time. it seems an impossibility now.

pensive pondering and wondering

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sitting in the sun with my coffee. 9 am. two crosswords down. contemplating. doing a lot of that lately. it's not navel gazing. it's serious soul searching. again. round and round. i've dispensed with my pride in favour of the sliver of hope that i might get any job. iga, tim horton's and the like. this is what i am reduced to. forget about aspirations of the future. here and now dictates that money's got to start flowing in. and right now we are talking about desperate times, and you know how that refrain goes.

i believe in myself and my abilities. i believe that i deserve to have better, but those offering the jobs and apparently the agencies–supposedly working on my behalf–think differently.

there's a columnist in the metro that writes pithy little blase articles about all that the potential employee might be doing wrong and thus their reason for lack of gainful employment. does anyone ever think to shine the light the other way, on the employer? i know they possess the jobs and it is there perogative to hire whomever they please, but did any of these outfits stop to think that perhaps they aren't playing by the same rules anymore. the playing field is not level. the tools at their disposal can lend a duplicitous aspect to the whole proceedings. all the electronic hr; the monsters, workopolis's et all, community bulletin boards chock-a-block with bulls*** ads that offer a screen for the less scrupulous of employers to hide behind.

even at the local beer and wine store a girl there was bitching about her long hours because of personnel problems. well, in the personality contest or out of sheer laziness you gots what you got. i hand delivered my resume with a dazzling smile and they even know me, but….

i wonder if ageism is beginning to creep into the scenario, lumbering around and obliterating the fact that i could be a fantastic candidate for even the jobs i am not fully qualified for. and for the ones i am, a summarized list of my accomplishments and skills are there in black and white. a not unsubstantial list. so what gives?

somewhere in the world it’s not monday anymore

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it's been so long since i posted anything, but what is there to write? my life is not packed with events or work hassles or much of anything at all but the crushing mundane of domesticity. take today for instance. so far i've:

– fed the cat
– drank my morning hot water and lemon
– worked out and showered
– had breakfast
– made the bed
– hung up some laundry
– sifted through email
– surfed some hostel and cheap accom sites for san fran (i am fretting a bit not hearing from jay)
– washed the dishes
– made some inquiry calls
– read the metro; contemplated doing the crossword, but didn't

….by the time i was about ready to leave the house to run a few errands i received a call from the place i was to go interview tomorrow. (don't ask me where it was. the craigslist ad was, as usual, annoying lacking in detail and company info, and the gent who called me didn't state the name of the company either.) his call was to inform me that the position had been filled. and it wasn't yet noon! i think i should have at least had a shot. but so it goes. perogative and all that.

it's the first nibble i've received in ages. part of my daily ritual involves the scanning craigslist–and as many job boards as i feel up to scanning–and sending off resumes with their attendant cover letters. i was beginning to think every one i sent was finding its way into junk mailboxes and not into the hands of the intended recipients, but i think that's just my weary optimism speaking. i notice a few listings that constantly recur. i've even applied for some of them and i often wonder. do they hire people and the people quit or are they fired? are they trolling just in case, to keep their options open? there's one in particular that irks me when i see it. the brief description is of a pub in kits looking for someone to count money and do some minor bookkeeping. this is well within my repertoire and i applied and got nary even an acknowledgement out of it. why didn't they just reply to everyone who responded so they could draw from a pool of personnel when these hirees tired of the job or the boss or was discovered to be a tyrant or the hiree incompetent. whatever the scenario might be. that would be the idle speculation portion of my day. then i:

– picked up some groceries from the safeway at sixth and sixth
– got my library card sorted
– cooked and ate lunch
– dusted
– watered the plants
– vacuumed
– did some recycling
– dropped off cans and bottles to the development bc box (cursed that i forgot my bank card because i meant to also pick up some cat food and litter in the same trip)
– grabbed a coffee
– now this here right now would be the somewhat uninspired blogging part of my day.
– i am going to continue to blatantly ignore my spendthrift blog because i've got nothing to contribute to it. and simply don't feel like it even if i did
– soon i'll cook dinner but that will be a mostly shared responsibility because there's a chunk of meat to be barbecued and that is shaun's milieu.
– sort through pics, correct and organize–post on flicker and on my blog
– later i intend to do a little yoga to augment the ea sports sweat session of this morning
– i also intend to finish a pretty good book i've had on the go for a couple weeks.

that should round out my day and it looks fairly substantial, but i know i could pack in more. like 15 minutes of some educational plinking on my guitar. that could be something done later instead of watching tv. but you get the gist.

this is not the stuff that makes people go ah. makes me want to yawn.  this what i do day in and day out. busy work. fooling myself that i am biding my time until i get a job; like some mythical creature i have yet to catch a glimpse of.

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