Apr
8
2011

Day 3

Laundry, delightful Virginian family, Montparnasse or Montmartre (it`s all a blur) St Denis again for shopping. Concierge says its the whore district. Its like finding totally cute shoes in Surrey! Now, shower and out for dinner with photo a day peeps. There may be some wine.

I could not live in Paris, but visiting is like having a torrid affair, but without the infidelity problem.

Apr
7
2011

Day 2

Browsing markets, out to Chartres. Main dish of HOLY CRAP with a side of humble pie. Yoiu guys know how Gothic architecture makes me cry? Yeah. Abbot Suger was a genius with that whole anagogical method stuff. Back at hotel to drop off some purchases and then out to make some more. Now I cant find the apostrope on this keyboard.

Apr
6
2011

Paris Day 1

OK this will be short because I cant work the keyboard. So far: Notre Dame, St. Denis, shopping, haircut. Men checking me out like I am a hottie or something. Also one guy making kissy noises. Bread. Cheese. Wine. Am out now to drink wine in the sunshine with new hair. Details to follow.

Mar
16
2011

That Was Easy.

So. Only working three hours a day leaves a lot of time. I could be gardening and sewing and whatnot. I’m sleeping. Then I’m endlessly on the Internet.

I keep riding past cars thinking, “It’s gotta be almost time for Buena Vista to come in. Oh, wait. I don’t do that anymore.” “Hey, Kits Beach got a new scrape. But! Not my problem.” It’s weird. Responsibility is my default state.

I also keep browsing Craigslist and I’ll be happy to get whatever job I get, but, really? Those jobs look boring. I’m custom-building jobs in my head: Training octopi. Designing summer reading assignments for teenagers. Teaching underprivileged people how to bake artisan breads. I could do anything.

It’s made me wonder about what, exactly, my dream job would be.

Mar
11
2011

I’m Out.

I tendered my resignation to the Co-Op today.

Tendered is probably the wrong word. I wrote and paced and muttered and edited and wrote some more until I had something that Rachel and Arwen both liked (thanks for being my sounding boards, both), and did not contain the phrase ‘sodden pile of wank’.

It was time. It went from being the best of jobs, even in the pouring rain or free-skating around jackknifed B-Line buses on black ice, to being something I dreaded. The fault lies solely at the hands of Tech Boss, and I made that abundantly clear in my letter.

Management probably won’t care. They didn’t care when Rock Boss was driven out. But I don’t want to work for a company that doesn’t care about me, a company that doesn’t acknowledge its mistakes. A boss that has cut my hours by 85%.

I am worried about money, but I’m optimistic that something will come along. I’m not that niche. I can teach, but I can also drive, pump gas, write, fold clothes, work a cash register, interpret animal behavior, answer phones, navigate the city, cook, grow plants, shelve books, and make investment strategies simple to understand. And that’s just the stuff I can think of right now.

Unlike Tech Boss, I can also punctuate correctly, and spell and choose words with precision.

The Co-Op just lost an astonishing asset. Too bad for them.

Mar
4
2011

Unexpected Can Mean Good, Right?

I am not good at dealing with unexpected change. I wish I was. I wish I could just embrace the change. Go for it. Become spontaneous. But I can’t, especially when I perceive that the change is negative.

See that ‘perceive’ up there? That’s me trying to bend my thoughts around from fleeing like roaches away from change. I have to understand that not every change is bad. Not even when it looks bad.

Sometimes, unexpected change brings wonderful things: Love. Opportunities. Friends.

You see, unexpectedly, I am facing my second week of having no Car Jockey work. Tech Boss is so efficient, he has rendered jockeys useless. Until when? I don’t know. But I need that money. I’m using that money. That money tops up rent. It pays student loans. It buys toilet paper. And if I don’t have that money, I don;t have anything to even wipe my ass with.

So I may just unexpectedly bail on Tech Boss and feel, you know. Employed.

That would be good.

Feb
15
2011

Adjusting

I haven’t been writing here. I can blame February, or I can blame my own laziness. I’d like to say I’m channeling my energy into my photos, or writing stories. Sadly, no. Mostly, I just have no energy.

It’s been a weird couple of weeks. I’ve been working through some feelings about car jockeying. It’s still driving cars listening to rock and roll. But Tech Boss’s sincere speech about how they’ll always need jockeys may have been just so much hot air. The work he sends me amounts to between a quarter and a third of work Rock Boss gave me. I’m underutilized. I take cars to the garage. That’s it. No checking on glass chips. No ICBC trips (I miss my buddy Wing Wong and how he likes to explain damage). I haven’t seen the glass guys for months. When I went into the body shop for the first time in months to drop off some paper, Jake and Brian and Steve hailed me like I’d been lost at sea and presumed dead.

So. The reduced paycheck is a bitch. But when Rock Boss left, he left me wide open for Tech Boss to take away the biggest balm against stinging winter rain slashing across my face: The smiles of my friends as I worked through my day. I miss Rock Boss, but I also feel like Tech Boss just told me I couldn’t have any friends.

I realize I am a drama queen with this. Many of my friends are unemployed, or underemployed, and here I’m bitching about something so small. I apologize for that. I also wonder how bad I’d feel if I quit and did something else.

Maybe not that bad.

Feb
3
2011

Olive My Face.

Hello. Yes. January was about three months long. Getting up at 6AM to drive cars in the dark and then spending 45 sodding minutes getting from the garage to teach for three hours, and then 45 mins to get back to driving the cars back to their homes and going back to teach was grueling. I’m happy with the garage, but the location licks donkey dongs. I almost quit car jockeying and might still, although, as I told my dad, it’s not a decision to make at 6:30AM when you’re shivering in the rainy predawn blackness at a bus stop. I’ll wait until I’ve had at least a month of getting up and putting on a tank top and going out in the sun.

Somewhere in the second week of Interminable January, I looked at my face at 6:45 PM when I came in from work and thought, “Christ, I look haggard.” Leeched of colour, my face was starting to develop wrinkles at an alarming rate. I could attribute the defeated look to exhaustion, but what’s with the face? All of a sudden I’m 50? I knew I had laugh lines, but what’s with the crepey stuff under the eyes?

I marched into Shoppers Drug Mart the next Saturday, intent on purchasing a miracle, and left empty-handed. I wasn’t going to choose between going to Paris and face cream. Fricking forty dollars for skin cream? Nope. I can’t pronounce half those ingredients, either. Plus, what the hell is alcohol stearate? But olive oil has been good on my dry scalp. Hmm.

I’ve been moisturizing my face with olive oil for about two weeks now, and I really do think it’s made a difference. I no longer look 50. Heck, I don’t even think I look 38 right now. The lines and wrinkles around my eyes are softer. My skin feels softer in general. All I do is pat a few drops of extra virgin olive oil around my eyes and then the rest of my face after I’ve washed it in the morning.

I’m interested to see how this goes. I may yet find a way to compete with E’s naturally great skin.

Jan
16
2011

Memorial

Harold Brown died early this year at the age of 94. This is one of his proteges playing at his memorial service today.

I was raised Unitarian. I often joke to people, “It’s a lentil-based faith”, but the term ‘faith’ is too tidy, really. Unitarians can be Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Muslim, Rastafarian. Anything. Growing up, this was both confusing and delightful to me.

With my church-that-was-not-exactly-a-church, Harold Brown’s piano playing sounded like real church music. Sure, we had orange vinyl padding on our Scandinavian-minimalist pews. We had those wall hangings at the front of the sanctuary with the sewn-on things I am still sure are marrow bones. We had Conference, where, twice a year, teenagers gathered to change the world. Hippies, yes. But Harold Brown’s music made services in the sanctuary holy for me. His weekly playing (I think Debussy was a favourite) made valid my faith and my credo.

Thank you, Harold. You were a kind, funny, gentle genius in life. I hope that wherever you are now has a perfectly tuned piano, beautiful acoustics, and a cozy, well-lit place for you to read. We will miss you.

Jan
5
2011

Epiphany.

Hello. You know how I said I was going to take more time for myself? Not in January.

Briefly, I thought I had been decommissioned by the Co-Op, which was fine, because I am teaching an ESL class in the morning throughout January, as well as my afternoon classes. Then I would have found something else. But it turns out New Boss just forgot to send out the list of cars. Cheers, New Boss.

So now I am waking early, jockeying, teaching, jockeying, and then teaching again. And then finishing up any leftover cars. I think I’ll have time to go pee sometime after January 28.

Also, it’s the fourth year for me of Photo-a-day, and this year (get me!) I’m a moderator in the group. Seeing that funny little M beside my avatar sort of brought home for me the fact that I have had a LOT of practice taking photos. That’s what has made it so easy to make the jump to the DSLR. I was worried that I’d have a hard time adjusting, but I already think that I’m taking better photos than I was with the P&S. I know the composition I want. Now I have better control over depth of focus.

Four years ago, I couldn’t have written that last sentence, because I didn’t know what it meant. Now, I do. See?

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