I am a big fan of Stuart Mclean and The Vinyl Cafe. I love Stuart’s gift for storytelling, the way he uses his natural folksiness and love of the small moment to tell a story that we feel we have already lived ourselves. His appreciation of Canada, of small towns, and most importantly humour. In some of my blogs you can hear my tone mimic his – but Stuart’s voice is uniquely his own.
I’ve been putting off this post for 3 weeks now, because I’ve been trying to get to the end of April before my lead is completely eaten way by my husband’s miraculous biological predisposition to fluctuate his weight.
As the celebratory dinner at my husband’s firm wound down, the IT team lingered. You might think those who remained as the party dwindled were enjoying each other’s company and you’d be right of course. As there is nothing like alcohol and a completed project milestone to raise camaraderie amongst a group. And as these fellows – who had gathered from the offices from across the country to finish the Vancouver project – moved into later night, words began to slur, the laughter a bit more raucous. The movements a little less sure, the declarations of a job well done and a good team more emphatic.
And the sloshing of red wine.
People who are managers are given a responsibility of those who report to them and caretaking of the organization. You wield power over a large aspect of most people’s lives. You have the ability to inspire, encourage, coach, direct, and critique. Being a manager with direct reports is a heavy responsibility, not the glamorous job you thought it was going to be in business school. To be a good one, you need to be good leader, to be a great one, you need to be great person.
As the cost of Metro Vancouver storage climbs, I’m facing the challenge of ensuring we are storing only what we must. I spent several days – with my mother’s help – going through the last 7 or 8 boxes of “stuff” that has survived the multiple moves from address to address.
Of all the unlikely places to join in a crowd waiting for something to open is the Vancouver Public Library. The central library does not open until 10 am on week days and I each time seem to get there 15 minutes before opening. It’s a mix of people waiting to get in the door – students, seniors, people who didn’t have somewhere to stay last night, the unemployed, and people trying to figure out where to return their books prior to opening.
I like the feeling of standing in this crowd – it isn’t Black Friday and waiting for an off-brand 42″ screen TV at Walmart – we are all equal here and not in a competition all waiting for the same thing. Free knowledge, refuge and belonging. New thoughts, old thoughts, new loves, old loves, beginnings, endings – there for all of us.
Once the glass doors roll back, the crowd doesn’t push through, but instead waits for the official announcement that the Library is open. By then, the crowd numbers more than 100 people, and we stream in – like a river and its tributaries quickly permeating each stack and floor.
I like the library. I feel that I need to be hushed and respectful in my visit. I get the same feeling in shrines, church, and temples. It feels warm and comforting, with possibilities of new worlds, thoughts, waiting for me. Perhaps I will find a new author that tells engaging stories like Maeve Binchy, or business book that has a new message. I can brush my fingers across realization of the hope of authors – a published book.
The March 21st Extra-Ordinary: A rainy day, a warm blanket and a new possibility to crack open.
I had coffee with a stranger today. Well, actually, tea. And it was agonizing, my stomach was in knots, I kept checking my phone (before hand – hoping that it might be cancelled and I could go home), and am utterly exhausted now from the effort. A 30 minute tea at Starbucks.
I am bold, brash, and brave, and shy, vulnerable and anxious. Once I am comfortable and you get to know me – I tell it like it is, I call you out on bullshit, and I am usually the one who speaks up when no one else does. But if I don’t know you, or am not comfortable in the situation, I am crippled with anxiety, I start to sweat from my right armpit in particular, and I miss opportunities.
This is a “reverse bell curve personality” – there is no middle ground me with. I do have a psychology degree, and so therefore pretty sure this is not a clinical or recognized diagnosis (especially as I made it up). It doesn’t appear to be treatable except with more stranger tea. But I am sure I am not the only one who suffers from it – though the right armpit thing seems weird to me.
I’ll have to get comfortable and ask someone about it.
March 14th, 2016 Extra-Ordinary: I didn’t die. I guess I have to do it again. Urg.
I’ve been up since 3:30 am because I went to bed at 10 with a little help from Happy Hours.
I was invited out for an Unemployed Person Pub Crawl last night that started at 3 pm and covered 3 bars and eventually my house.
There was a spreadsheet schedule and everything. No, I didn’t make it. Yes, I know – strange- I didn’t make it.
I make it sound like there was a huge group of us – but there were only 2. Until the employed people showed up – they had to wait til they finished work. Whatevs.
I have some advice.
- Don’t text and drink. This is not unique nor uncommon advice, but I just want to say that to bring the message really home. I did send a very nice picture of my eyebrow to Alison. It was looking particularly well groomed, I’m sure she appreciated it, looked in the mirror and wondered how she could get a brow like mine.
- Don’t drink with sales executives. They can beat us all – its their profession.
- Don’t answer someone’s phone when it rings. It causes chaos, and you can’t hear them anyways in a bar.
- Have some movies ready to go. By 8:00 am I have already polished off Fast and the Furious 6 (which I also figured out how X character died in Tokyo Drift and still managed to appear in 4, 5, and 6) and Safe. I love Jason Stratham. That man can do no wrong – and he is a killer. But an honest one.
- Do not discuss potential employment with anyone during bar crawls. Just. Don’t.
March 5th, 2016 Extra-ordinary: Happy Hour is cheap. (and expensive).
Today I walked to a chiropractor appointment, Granville Island and back again to Gastown. If I had just walked to the appointment and back again, it would have been about 6 kms – an early morning walk on a gorgeous day (is 8 am early to people? – I’m unemployed, its early to me). Instead, the walk was about 11 kms because I needed a chai tea – after an embarrassing incident at one of our Starbucks (without any caffeine) about their lack of chai tea bags. (manage your inventory Starbucks – isn’t there a million stores in the city? – walk down the street and borrow some tea bags).
I was on Broadway about 5 blocks from the Granville Street bridge when I realized that I could get the best chai tea served in the city with a walk down to the Granville Island Market. What am I doing futzing around with Starbucks when I could go to the Granville Island Tea Company for a Masala Chai tea with ginger and cayenne?
And as I left the house prior to feeling like eating, I knew the perfect pair with a masala chai is a traditional Jewish farmer’s cheese bagel from Siegal’s Bagels. I even bought 2 extras for “later” and a smoked meat stuffed bagel for Emile.
In the nearly empty market – and that doesn’t happen often, loving this freedom – I watched the boats and water drift by, only leaving after getting attacked by a flock of bold pigeons (people! – stop feeding the the bloody birds!) That 5 km detour was so worth it.
February 25, 2016 Extra-Ordinary: That Bright Spot, just starting to illuminate the dark.
*quote by Anne Lamott
Tears gathered in my eyes and streamed down my face.
“What is wrong with me?”I thought as cast my mind back to the past week. I’d had many emotional experiences in the last week. I’d been offered a temporary position while I looked for something permanent, LinkedIn keeps sending me the job posting that essentially replaced me, I spoke to a recruiter who referred to me as “high caliber”, I attended a Yuology YuLounge seminar focused on me (quivering nose and flushed cheeks in front of strangers is not usually my thing, but I left feeling lighter)
But what was affecting me now?
I continued to reflect upon the journey I am on (without sounding like a Biggest Loser contestant – you know “This journey is such a gift, I’m getting my life back, I will never go back to how I was before. sob.”). I know there are going to be up and downs, but never have I stood in my kitchen and had tears start unexpectedly except in the darkest moments of grief.
I don’t particularly feel sad today, in fact, I feel pretty good! The sun is shining (every outside wall we have in our condo is a window), I spoke with a friend this morning (Hi Nancy!), I noticed on my run this morning that the cherry blossoms are starting (I love living in Vancouver), I had a pleasant lunch with a friend (we both could not read the posted menu because we neither of had our corrective lenses with us – ended up pointing at the display case), and then I spoke to a recruiter about future options (“high caliber” Yep, that’s me.)
This is a good day, right?
So, why am I moved to tears while making baked beans? Am I cracking up?
February 22, 2016 Extra-Ordinary: Onions.
It costs me $.75/day to wear daily contact lenses. Trying to be cost focused in my unemployment I’ve been only wearing them occasionally (using squinting and glasses). I forgot that cutting onions while wearing contacts protects your eyes from making sulfuric acid from “onion gas” and tears. So, when you don’t wear them, lots of tears.
So, I am fine, everyone! I’m good, everything is okay! Carry on! Nothing happening over here!
God, gotta wear those contacts – I could’ve ended up with fish for lunch, and therapy. . . .