Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Fella: I have to go to the washroom, BRB
Me: Cool, once you're done, I really have to go.
Fella: Goes to washroom. Pees. Proceeds to take shower.

Monday, February 27, 2012

6 months. And aging (unrelated)

As of March first, we'll have been here 6 months.
We still miss our Jellybean city very much.
The dirty hills, cracked roads and salt-caked everything. I even miss the wet, lack of sunshine. Yes, I'm nostalgic for two-weeks of an over-cast sky.

For the first time, in my entire life, I have dry skin. Bumpy, itchy. I didn't even know what to do about it, Mr.Fella had to show me the best moisturizers for arms and hands.

I'm convinced it's because this is the furthest I've ever lived from the ocean in my life. My body is rejecting it.

Mr.Fella had some relatives who were visiting and they kept asking us for directions to different parts of the city, but we couldn't tell them much. They thought it was weird that we didn't know more. Our scope here is still so limited. Ottawa is almost ten times as big as St.John's, but it feels smaller.

I'm going gray.
No, really, like, pretty gray.

I've always said that I'll let my hair go gray; I've always subscribed to aging gracefully. But, now, at 26, facing streaky silver intruders along my temples every morning, it's the first time I've ever really had to think about it.
I think I'm still going to let myself go gray.

I like the idea that my body is a historical record of my life. It's not supposed to look like it's 18 forever, or that it's never done anything. It's not a project, or a shame, or a show-piece. It's where I live. It's me. It's my life.

I like my crooked thumb (I crushed it when I was 10)
I like the scars on my palms (I tried to rescue a cat from a dog when I was 7 and it freaked)
The cigarette burn on my arm (self-inflicted from a stupid, drunk, teen-aged adventure)

Maybe that's why I like tattoos, so much. They are permanent little windows of time. When I look at the one on my back, I always see myself, at 18 years old, skipping class to get it.
The one on my foot reminds me of the overwhelming haze of new motherhood.
They're so different, but they're so me.

The rest of me tells a story of a lady who's had a baby, is a little active, but likes to eat too. Comfortable, I think. Gray says I've seen some things. I think I'll come to like it, too.

On a somewhat related note, I posted this link to my husband's facebook wall today (yeah, facebook, how romantic). It's a photo project by a photographer named Lauren Fleishman. Each of these couples have been married at least 50 years. I think they're all beautiful.

Friday, February 17, 2012


- I did submit my Creative Non-fiction piece for the "Canada Writes" competition, but the short list doesn't come out until June. That means that I'll be able to post it here June at the earliest, July at the latest.
- That little kitty I talked about a few weeks ago passed away. It was very sad. But she made it through Christmas which was lovely
- Still haven't heard back about the Research Assistant job. Hopes fading.
- Yesterday I worked my first shift since I gave my notice to the vet clinic. I was greeting with a "hey, Traitor" by the first co-worker who saw me. Yeah. My last shift is tonight, but it's only two hours.

I can tough out pretty much anything for two hours.
Then, I'm going to leave.

I've worked at a Vet clinic since June 2009. This will be a big change. I'm going to miss seeing the little critters.

But I think it's for the best.

Monday, February 13, 2012

One o' dem days.

I did some testing for a job last week and I'm really not sure how I did; it was for a Research Assistant position, which required me to use SPSS software for the first time since I used it in my sociology methodologies class. I was thrown into a room with a data sheet and told to create a graph, a table and a meaningful written analysis.

On, yeah, and to do it in less than 45 minutes.

I cranked something out, but I have no idea what kind of standards they were looking for. This testing was at one of my current jobs, so, since then, I've been forced to walk into work, past the mysterious section of our office where all of the cool stuff actually gets done, and wonder if the position I've tested for has been filled.

I saw the guy who interviewed me today. He sort of glanced at me.
I don't even know if he recognized me.
It's the weirdest thing.

Today I also, finally, gave my notice for my vet clinic job. This leaves me feeling conflicted, but largely relieved. I don't want to do too much mud-slinging, but I wasn't happy there. I wrote the partners and the response I got was pretty "oh well". The one who wrote back actually said "no worries, we'll be fine."

Which, I guess, is a good thing, it re-affirms my feelings that my presence there didn't really matter. Just a Newfie ghost, passing on by.

Then I wrote something kind of stupid on Twitter. And someone called me out on it. And I felt stupid. Even though it's stupid that I feel stupid.

And I haven't done any of my chores today.

And I have an assignment that's due on Wednesday which I haven't started because I worked 9 hours today and was pre-occupied with trying to upgrade one of my jobs and quitting the other.

Wasting time on the internet has become a bit of a cure-all for my self-pitying ways, so I'll just write. A bit. Here.

In technical writing, they say, if you want your reader to read what you're writing, you should create sub-headings that draw the eye and alert them as to what's coming their way. People rarely read whole documents, so you need to allow them to find the information that interests them quickly and easily. You should also use "chunking" paragraphs. Pretty common sense stuff, really, but here you go.

Class Structure in Ottawa 

Since we moved to this city, I can't help but feel that there's a pervasive difference in how people behave here than in Newfoundland. This might seem obvious, because, well, it isn't Newfoundland, but it's been hard to put my finger on what exactly's going on.

I keep coming back to the idea that it's a class thing. Or a bureaucratic thing. Or a conservative thing. Or "nation's capital" thing. Or something. I don't know. 

Or maybe it's because this is the first time I've really had any contact with what could be considered the "corporate world". I mean, yeah, sure, I've had interactions with businesses and institutions and professionals. But giant, sky-scraper, suit-every-day, department-hierarchical corporate-land? Not so much.

So I don't know if this is unique to Ottawa, or if I'm just seeing a new part of the world, or if I'm just feeling sensitive because I'm away from home. Like I said, I can't quite put my finger on it. So let me tell you some impressions and I'll let you decide. 

Constitution Square 

One of my jobs is downtown. It is not in this building (or, rather, cluster of buildings), but it is very close and, when I'm heading home, I wait for my bus directly across from this building. It has usual officey-building businesses in the bottom level; a Starbucks, a sushi-place, a male dress-shirt store. People come and go and look oh, so officey. Fine, cool, whatever. 

There's a temp-agency that operates in one of these buildings. One day, I dressed up, ever so nicely, and went in for an interview. Up I went for an interview and, when I was done, onward I journeyed towards the elevator to come back down. 

It was lunch time, so I was joined at the elevator by a businessy man and a businessy woman. We all paused as the doors opened and the man, in what can only be described as total smarm, turned to me and the woman and flourished a "after you" to us both with a grin. 

Yeah, okay. 

We walked into the elevator and I noticed that the man "guided" his colleague by putting his hand in the small of her back. 

I spent the next few seconds hyper-processing every element of their body language to try and interpret whether this guy was a raging douchebag or whether there was some kind of legitimate office-chemistry going on between them. I wasn't getting "office-chemistry" vibes. 

In my, admittedly, quick-to-judge manner, I deemed him a Douchebag. 

"So where is everyone going for lunch?" Douchebag asked. 
"Oh, I think they're going to blah-blah-blah" (I admit, I can't remember where they said they were going. I was too busy singing the "you're a douchebag" song in my head)
"Oh, nice" Douchebag, replied
"Yeah, how do you want to walk there?"
This piqued my interest.
"I don't know", Douchebag said, "why?" 
"Oh, because, when we go with Dan, he doesn't like to have to walk in front of where the bus lets all of the people off. You know"
And then she made a face as though someone suggested they make-out with a Calcutta sidewalk.

Congrats, lady, you're Douchebag V.2.0.

And, may I just interject here, do you know what kind of people ride the bus in Ottawa? Fucking, normal as shit people. The people who ride the bus in Ottawa are about one million times more boring and less smelly than 99% of the people who ride the metrobus in St.John's. I don't know why. It's just true. 

And at that moment I missed my smelly-metrobus friends and wanted to show some BUS PEOPLE solidarity by saying "Hey! Assholes! I rode the bus here!" But I didn't. I just silently screamed on the inside until the doors opened and Male-Douchebag smarmed a triumphant "ladies first". 


I had a comparable experience in the same building a few weeks later. This time, in the Sushi restaurant, "Sushi Go". I was grabbing a quick bite to eat at one of their crammed tables when two lawyers sat next to me.

There was, what I'll call, "Sage lawyer" and "Noob lawyer." Sage lawyer was showing Noob lawyer "the ropes".

"Oh well, when you (blah-blah-blah lawyer document talk) you don't have to worry about (blah-blah) when you're dealing with foreigners. Because, you know, foreigners come in with documents, but they really don't understand how they work properly. And foreigners usually don't have the money to back up their claims in court anyway. Foreigners (insensitive bullshit) foreigners (haha, they're foreign and poorz) foreigners." 

I may be paraphrasing a little. But she seriously used the word "foreigners" about ten times in a 15 minute conversation.

Is that how people talk? Is that an okay thing? Is "foreigners" an acceptable colloquialism?
I don't even know, but, after my liberal arts background, it made me feel like I was on the surface of Mars.

And I swear Noob lawyer was eating that shit up. She didn't bat an eye. Just like Mr.and Mrs. Douchebag thought it was the most normal thing in the world to poo-poo the poor bus people in front of a complete stranger. 

Like, just, what the fuck?

Lebanese Treats 

I mentioned earlier that there's a Starbucks in the Constitution Square. I used to go there and, every morning, there's a hoard of bussinessy folk lined up out the door for their morning fix. Plenty of them are polite and orderly, but it gets busy and I've seen more than one entitled asshole flip out because his Cafe Americano only had one shot of espresso in it when he explicitly ordered TWO shots. (note: I really saw this happen). It's kind of intense. 

Across the street is a Treats. It's owned by a Lebanese family and I have no idea why everyone in the city doesn't go there. 

You can get an extra large coffee for two dollars. They have delicious apple-spiced muffins the size of your face. They have ample, spacious, comfy chairs, which you never have to fight for. The tone is just, leisurely. Even when it's 8:45am and there are people literally running all over the place just outside the door. I love it. 

It's owned by a dad and his three grown sons. They're there every morning, manning their stations. They don't offer espresso or steeped teas or a "blonde roast", but they know the acidity and caffeine content of every coffee they carry. They crack jokes with the regulars, they teach customers how to swear in Lebanese. They tell everyone to bring their lunches to share at their tables, "they don't mind". 

They've given me free muffins, they've given me two "loyalty cards" without prompting and, when I've lost those, they've said  "that's okay! We'll just remember, we'll give you a free coffee after you buy 7. You'll see." 

Starbucks is literally jam-packed and this place has, maybe, a dozen customers in it at any given time. Max. And they're literally 30 feet away from each other. I couldn't figure it out. 

Until I realized that the people who work in the building across the street might not even realize that there's a coffee place next door. The Starbucks has an entrance directly into their office. They probably get to their office, head to Starbucks and forget there's anything at all that exists outside. 

Or maybe they know about the Treats, but they're embarrassed to be seen heading over there. Maybe some of them make jokes about those Treats people. 

They're foreigners in every sense of the word. 
And it feels like a different world to me, as I sit in my comfy chair, stretch my legs and enjoy my 1/2 the cost-of-a-starbucks-latte coffee.
And I wonder if this happened in Newfoundland, but I just never saw it. I wonder if it happens everywhere, and if I've ever been one of those "Douchebags". 
I' m a middle-class, western, white-girl. I probably have been.
I'm overwhelmed by the urge to apologise to anyone who's been a victim of my past douchebaggery. But I can't. 

But, at least.
I can learn to swear in Lebanese. 


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

I know I keep changing the blog's look/layout. I'm a fiddly-fiddlier.

So, today's entry is brought to you by: Alogonquin College. Where all of your dreams come true!
Brought to you because: I got up at 6:30 am to come to school to finish my coursework for the week before working an 8 hour shift this evening and I finished everything a bit early so I have an hour to kill before I catch the bus downtown.

Run-on sentence. Can you tell I'm caffienated?

Well, I had an hour, but then I spent 40 minutes fiddlying around with the blog's layouts and whatnot, so now I have 20 minutes.

I was going to write a very grand entry about classism in Ottawa. It was going to beautiful, and thoughtful and critical. You should have seen it. Marx V.2.0, I was going to be.

But now I've run out of time.

Well, I might have time for a muffin.

Are you enjoying my pointless posts about pointless things that I'm going to do? No? Probably not.

I also started a thought-provoking entry about body image. Which is something I planned to do when I had my other (Mommy) blog, but I'm not sure if I ever got around to it. Maybe I'll work on that one for a bit.

And have a muffin.

I promise the next thing I write here will actually be worth reading.

My apologies.