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Monthly Archives: February 2005

Oy. This morning was early.

6:00 early.

Way too early for me.

I hate getting up that early in the morning. Especially when I only get 5 hours of sleep. I tried going to bed at 10:00. I tossed and turned until after 12:30. Fun, fun, fun. But it is amazing to me how many people are on the buses at that time in the morning. And it was weird that I was one of the crazy fools that was with them.

Work today wasn’t too bad. I got a lot of reading done. Reading for work that is. Each client I work with has a thick binder full of personal information that I need to familiarize myself with. I got through 1 1/2 today. They’re that thick. I was also sworn at today. It’s been a long time since that happened. How sweet it is to be working again…

This weekend has been very busy. And the next couple of weeks up until Easter aren’t any better. I’ve got 4 evenings of scenes, plus a couple of performances of “Suor Angelica” in there. Plus teaching in Coquitlam. And then teaching in White Rock. Plus work. And then a two day Non-Violent Crisis Intervention training in New Westminster. A get a little scared when I look at my schedule for the next two weeks. I keep thinking: when in the world am I going to get my recital repertoire ready? When, when, when?????????!!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

And now for a word or two about Henry Burris: See ya.

Well, I’ve got to get to bed. Tomorrow I orientate out in Coquitlam in the afternoon and then have rehearsal in the evening. Which means that I’ve got to go to school and practice early tomorrow morning so that I can get back home in time to catch the bus to get the SkyTrain and yadda yadda yadda yadda. After being dis-oriented today, it will be weird to be re-orientated tomorrow (and I know they’re spelled differently and mean different things…). Whatever…

I hate orientating. I hate it because it means that I’m starting at the beginning again and have to learn everything all over again. Today I orientated at 16th House, a group home for 5 disabled adults. And it was okay.

I always fear what new clients will think of me. Will they like me? Will they try and manipulate me? How can I be firm, but fair, nice, but still lay down the rules? What if they hate me? What if they never open up to me? More excessive worrying by me – I’m very good at it. I had some good conversations with some of the clients today (I hate calling them clients, but it’s the only term there is. If I knew them better, I’d call them “my guys”. I’ll get there. Eventually…). It’s hard going into someone’s home and saying, “I’m going to work with you, and you don’t have a choice. Get to know me because I’m going to be here whether you like it or not.” So, endearing yourself to them – and not ticking them off – are the first steps. I think I achieved them. It’s funny how most of them remind me of the guys I worked with back in Saskatchewan. The home is run much the same as I’m used to back in Rosthern (yeah!), but getting to know the routines of the house and the little things about the clients will take time. But like usual I’m impatient and want to be the best residential care worker ever right now. “Patience, Nicole. Patience.” So much easier said than done…

But the good thing is that I’m making money! Woo hoo! Starting wage out here for care workers is $13.87 an hour. I made a whopping $9.62 when I left SK, and that was after working 1000 hours (that’s 1 pay raise). And coupled with my teaching gig on Fridays in Coquitlam, I might actually be able to make some decent money. And hilariously, Chapters called me this week, asking if I was still looking for a job. I said, “Sure!”, not sure how this whole casual thing with the group homes in Burnaby would work out. Plus, I want their employee discount (there’d better be one!). In other words, I’m trying to make myself as busy as I was in Regina, and that was insane. I’m well on my way to getting back to that level. I can’t wait!

It has been sunny here for almost 2 weeks now. I can’t believe. The weather couldn’t have been more perfect for my Mom and sister to visit me this past week. And that is why I haven’t written anything lately, Ariann – I’ve just been busy. I guess I was angered into silence a little bit, but, we’ll go with being busy. 😉

Mom and Shelley arrived Tuesday morning bright and early at 8:30 am. We spent the day traipsing around the city, as I had an orientation to attend. So, they hit the mall. The next day I had to teach in Coquitlam, so they went to the mall for another couple of hours again. And then we went to the Olive Garden in Langley for supper and waitied 2 hours for a table. Oy. That’s way too long to wait for food – even if it is the Olive Garden. On Saturday I had rehearsals, so they went to Granville Island. And on Sunday we walked around Stanley Park. Monday saw us going to Gastown (which has the coolest little button shop), to North Vancouver and the Lonsdale Quay on the SeaBus and then out to Metrotown to find Michelle a grad dress – and lo and behold, we were actually successful! They left on Tuesday morning at 7:00 am, which required a wake up call of 4:30 am. Oy again. We had SOOO much fun. It was so nice to have them here. Michelle had never been out here, so it was fun to watch her react to the flowers and all of the little things that are different out here. I miss them already…

I saw John Shurniak and his girlfriend Rebecca yesterday as well. They’re here staying at Rebecca’s grandparents. So, we trekked down to Granville Island and then walked over to Vanier Park. We had a great time, catching up and reliving old memories. It seems that things have changed a lot back at Luther, some good, some bad – like usual.

Going back to being angry, I still am. I’m still mad there’s no hockey, especially after hope was revived of a season this past weekend. And then Henry Burris. I just don’t know what to say anymore. I just don’t know. My Mom and I constantly checked for info about him on the Internet every spare moment of the day when she was here. If Henry really wants to be apart of the Riders, he’ll come back. If not – I don’t really want to think about him in a red and white uniform.

Other than that, things are speeding along here. I’ve almost got my recital programme figured out, I start orientating at my new job tomorrow and there seems to be lots to do. Finally. How wonderful it is to be busy again!

Let’s start with some random thoughts about this thing: 1. Glenn Healey needs to get kicked off TSN. I would rather watch SPORTSNET and NICK KYPREOS for crying out loud. Hearing his yelling and ranting about the league is just childish. 2. Pierre McGuire telling everybody to quit acting like children was, well, he should have said it 2 years ago. 3. Bob McKenzie looks much better in a black suit than in the blue suits he always wears. 4. Brian Burke should be running this whole league. And he should be the GM of the Leafs. 5. Have you ever noticed how high Bob Goodenow’s voice is? It’s higher than Gary Bettman’s!

Okay. Deep breath in. Deep breath out. Expel the toxins that this lockout has caused. Breathe in the reality that there will be no hockey this year. Grab a hockey stick and smack Bob Goodenow and the entire NHLPA upside the head with it. And let women take over the whole league. We would have finished this deal long ago. Except for Condoleeza Rice. She’s kind of confrontational. So is Sheila Copps. But I don’t want to get into gender issues here.

I woke at 7:00 am (because I couldn’t sleep anymore – I tossed and turned all night wondering about what was happening with the NHL and Henry Burris – sad? Yes. Very) to find that my sports world has crumbled. It lays in a pile of rubble all around me. On one side is what was the 2004-2005 season. On the other, the Riders, sans Henry Burris. More about Smilin’ Hank later. I am depressed, angry, incredulous, and – well, a lot of words that aren’t very nice.

The real tragedy in all of this is: the Tampa Bay Lightning get to be defending Stanley Cup Champions. We go through all of this and the Cup stays south of the border?!?!

Seriously. The sad fact is that a lot of people have lost their jobs today. Referees are installing kitchen cabinets to make ends meet. Arena employees are having to find third and fourth jobs to feed their families. Team employees are finding pink slips in their mail boxes. Fans are turning away in droves.

Who do I blame? Everybody. The situation we’re in now is the owner’s fault because of their constant caving to player demands, but the cancellation of this season – to me it falls on the players. If I was the wife of an NHL player, I would be threatening divorce or kicking the crap out of him right now. Listening to Cory Cross take on Mike Toth on Sportsnet yesterday was enough to make me wish that guy had never been a Leaf. This guy is a number 6 defenseman, and he has the audacity to declare that he deserves to make more money than you and me because “I’m special”. “I’m in an elite league”. And those are direct quotes. Who died and made you king? Marcus Naslund – stay in Europe pal. I don’t need to hear your crying and moaning and groaning. And to think that I thought you were the cutest guy in the league. You’re at the bottom of the list pal. Well, you’re above Cory Cross, so, 2nd last. Chris Chelios – see ya. Trevor Linden – you really are a jerk. Billy Guerin – why the heck are you on the NHLPA board? Daniel Alfredsson – don’t even get me started.

I know that owners have other ways of making money. They all have other businesses and interests, but franchises should not be losing money. Why? It drives us ticket costs for you and me. It causes a team to have a limited payroll and therefore trade away star players for 5 minor leaguers who may never get off the farm team. It limits the product available. It causes THE TRAP. Why? You don’t have enough skill or speed to score goals because you can’t afford skilled players, so you do everything to stop them. These things are bad. These things make bad hockey. No wonder no one in the US wants to watch it. Poker is a faster game these days.

Yes expansion was bad. Stupid. Shouldn’t have happened. But it did. And we’re stuck with it. Was it really that bad for the union? It created more jobs – they’d rather sit out another 5 years than have their “brothers” have their livelihoods taken away. But then again, maybe they wouldn’t care. The NHLPA has flip-flopped as much as John Kerry on the war in Iraq. Not an impressive distinction.

The players have to suck it up and realize that getting 5 million instead of 4 million really isn’t a big deal. If they truly care about the game in North America and the fans, and apparently they don’t because they’re all over in Europe (and if I was a player in Europe whose job got taken away by Dany Heatley, I’d be ticked. Those guys should be back over here, fighting their “battle”), they would have said they’d take a salary cap in September. Or they would have agreed to the NHL’s final offer. But they didn’t. And they are all now considered spoiled brats. Why couldn’t you guys have met with Arthur Levitt? The guy only ran the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

The players have taken complete advatage of the last CBA and are now crying because the owners say no more. Who runs this league? The owners. Who thinks they run the league? The players. This season cancellation might show them who’s boss. Maybe not. But the truth is that the last 10 years have brought a quadrupled average salary, arbitration inflations and a great number of other pluses for overpaid boys. I still maintain that boys play sports – not men. They need to accept that in order to fix the NHL and its state of affairs, they’re going to have to help. Otherwise, Edmonton and Calgary will be the next NHL teams to go south of the border.

And that’s what I don’t get. If you’re a player in the NHL, don’t you want fans to have access to the sport in Canada? I guess not, because all you want is money. Money, money, money, money. This league survived 2 World Wars, a Great Depression , a Cold War and September 11th. The only time Lord Stanley’s Cup hasn’t been awarded was during the 1919 season because 70 MILLION PEOPLE DIED due to an influenza epidemic. It is ridiculous, disgusting, silly, stupid, and ludicrous that this season was cancelled because a bunch of whiny, overpaid boys were mad that they weren’t going to be making the 6 million they were expecting. Boo frickin’ hoo. I feel so sorry for you as a student in debt. One who is struggling to make ends meet. Who has a whole $9 in her pocket and literally nothing in her bank account. You guys get to live every Canadian kid’s dream. And it’s not enough for you. You want more, which is human nature, I guess. But for once in your lives think about something other than yourselves. Think of the good of the game that has now officially died in the US. Think of the fans who pay a good chunk of your salary. Why should I spend my very hard-earned dollars to watch YOU play? Why shouldn’t I just stay home and read a book? What is going to make me want to pay to see you play after the way you have treated me? The answer is simple: I’m not. Unless someone pays for me to go and see a game, I’m boycotting you. I’m not paying to see you play.

That’s it I’m done. I could say so much more, but for what reason? No one’s listening. No one cares. And I’m getting more and more ticked off the more I write. So enough. I’m laying this to rest. I’m going to move on with my life and focus on more important issues: Henry Burris.

And now I’m even more ticked off…

First off: the NHL and NHLPA are driving me nuts. And so are Henry Burris and the Riders. The former: either deal or don’t. Even of this “let’s one up the other guy’s proposal just to show the fans that we’re trying”. Whatever. According to what I’ve read, you guys are just trying to plug legal loopholes to declare impasses down the road. Thanks. Henry Burris: if you have any brains at all (and I’m still not convinced you have many after you bolted to the NFL two years ago), you’ll sign a contract with the Riders. Come on – Calgary’s rebuilding, the Eskimos are evil, and why in the world would ANYBODY in their right mind go to Hamilton? If Matt Dominguez can be a Rider, so can you. But I’m not going to grovel at your feet. If you actually think you’re worth $300,000 (remember these important facts: you’ve won ONE playoff game and ZERO Grey Cups, and you’ve lead your team to the playoffs ONCE) then go find some sorry sucker who’ll pay you. We’ll save our cash for Ed Hervey, giving Nealon a couple of phenomenal receivers to throw to on the run. If not, I welcome you back, and will forgive you for your brain cramp and see you in Vancouver in November.

When I stopped at the Chinese market on Granville on my way home from school, I bought sour cream and cottage cheese. Why? Because I’m going to make a cheesecake for my Mom and Michelle when they come on Thursday. The cashier lady asked me why, too, and when I told her I was going to make cheesecake, she insisted that I write the recipie down that instant. I tried to remember it as best as I could. So there I was in a crowded little Chinese market on Granville Street, writing out a recipie for cheescake in some woman’s day planner. Odd. I then explained it to her, because her English was a little broken. When I got home, I checked my recipie to see how far astray I led the woman on her quest for a cheesecake. I forgot to put sugar in the crust, mixed up the number of egg whites needed in the crust vs. the filling, and forgot vanilla for the filling. And I messed up the oven temperatures. Badly. I told her I’d come back and check to see how it turned out. I’ll have to go back and apologize for my incorrect measurements and temperatures. Hopefully she’ll forgive me…

How do you like the alliteration in the title? What can I say – I’m me. Once again, this is the 2nd edition of this post because my ability to screw things up is quite impressive. I deleted this column, and then spilled red juice on a white carpet – yes they’re both Valentine’s Day colors, but, did I really have to do that? Anyways, here goes…

Some people are useless. This has nothing to do with Valentine’s Day, but it was just something I had to get off of my chest. Done. Moving on…

This Valentine’s Day was very different from last year’s. Why? First of all, I’m in a location. “Well duh!” you tell yourself. But I was in a different COUNTRY last Valentine’s. I was in New York, New York! I don’t remember much of it – I’d have to consult my little daily travel log which is back in SK. I think we took a bus tour of Manhattan that day, and then we went to a movie at a theatre just off Times Square in the evening. What movie? I can’t remember and it’s been bugging me for about 24 hours now. Tara – what movie did we see??

Anyways, today was a beautiful Valentine’s Day. I thought I’d be totally bitter about being a singleton for the 22nd year in a row, but I haven’t been. It’s all been okay because of something I read. Valentine’s is about love – yes. But it’s not just romantic love. I am loved much more than I deserve by my family who supports me no matter what (even through this crazy opera thing). I have a great network of friends who make me laugh and let me pester them. I am truly blessed. Awwww…

So what did I do to celebrate this day? I went and sang at the German Canadian Care Home, but is next to the Icelandic Care Home, which is next to the Finlandic (?) Care Home – seriously. I’m not making this up. I wish I could make this kind of stuff up. Anyways, I sang with a guy from school named John (who’s 6’3″ – what’s with all of these tall guys in Vancouver?!?!), and we were accompanied by our conductor, Frank, who’s not 6’3″. We did an hour program – a “Happy Hour” program to be precise. And I mean “Happy Hour” in the true German sense: beer was flowing. This is a nursing home. People are on medication and can’t drink alcohol. Apparently the people gathered in the salarium could – or at least I hope they could. It was one of the funnier things I’ve witnessed out here. The other funny thing was that there were dogs wandering around. There are 2 dogs that live in the home. And one of them was sniffing up my skirt while I was singing – a totally new level of concentration had to be achieved in order to get through that aria! It was a lot more fun than I had envisioned beforehand, and the people truly appreciated our music. Plus, it was a great opportunity to get to sing some repertoire in front of an audience.
Tonight I watched “Bridget Jones’s Diary”, one of my all-time favorite romantic comedies, and that was my Valentine’s Day. Nothing terribly special, but good all the same.

I swear you’re all going to think I’m bi-polar. I’m honestly not – as far as I know! After my rant, something wonderful happened: I got a job! Back in November I applied at the Mainstream Association for Proactive Community Living, and I had an interview in January. And today I called them back and they told me that they’re hiring me! WOOOOOO HOOOOOOOO!!!! I will be a casual working between two group homes and an adult life skills program; the first two are self-explanatory, and the adult life skills I’m just not so sure what it all entails as of yet. And then I phoned my Mom and Dad to tell them I got a job and I talked to my Dad for a long time, which was great! Yeah me!

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