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Life in Vancouver

I have been SO bored this week. That’s what happens when you don’t have voice lessons for 2 weeks – you have no goals, and therefore, no motivation to do anything. At least, that’s what happens to me. So, thank you to Joel who let me talk to him for 3 hours yesterday on MSN. Joel, you really are a saint for putting up with me for 3 whole hours while you were trying to write your essay!

Two things before I get to my “rant of the day”. (boredom does that to me – I get “ranty” – more time to think of things that annoy me I guess…). First of all, God must be laughing at me today. Laughing hard. And in good fun. Yesterday I ranted about how tired I was of being approached by Greenpeace and Amnesty International people. Well, today there were anti-abortionists on the corner of Granville and Broadway, right in from of Chapters. And the protesters were men. None of them said anything to me, but if it hadn’t of been raining buckets and if my $40.00 Strauss book hadn’t been getting a little wet, I would have stopped and given them a little piece of my mind. That’s the way I feel today – confrontational. God has a lot of fun with me somedays! Secondly, why must women who wear $500 shirts have such bad hair and makeup! Not that I’m Charlize Theron or anything, but people, that money is being SO misplaced! And thirdly (I said there’d only be 2 things, didn’t I?), I dinged two people with my new Claude Monet umbrella today. Heather bought me my Claude Monet umbrella as a late birthday present, and I love it. But it’s bigger than my other umbrella, and therefore, I need to learn how to maneuver it.

Okay. The main topic, and as reason of some distress in my life: the NHL lockout. I haven’t said much about it yet, but enough is enough people! Thank you to Mike Commodore of the Flames for finally saying something of value this week! I am so fed up with the owners and multi-millionaire players. I’m a little angrier with the players these days, even though the owners are to blame (don’t ask me to explain). Just give me hockey!

I have no reason to look at TSN.ca these days. Their CFL coverage isn’t much because there isn’t much to report on that front. Other than that, the NHL is why I go to TSN.ca. During the hockey season, I can spend hours on that site, looking up standings, schedules, statistics and all of those things that make me a source of completely useless information. TSN.ca is where I check for Leafs scores night after night, silently screaming when the result is unpleasant, realizing I’ve lost money. And the NHL lockout is impeding on my income. After a record number of wins in the betting department last year, I was hoping to carry my momentum into this season. And now that momentum has been crushed. No $20 bet with my Grandpa. No Senators/Leafs or Canucks/Leafs bets. Probably no playoff pool. This lockout has really sucked some of the excitement out of my life. Does Trevor Linden, President of the NHLPA, realize that? I don’t know. The players say they are sorry that the fans are getting the short end of the stick here (another merciless pun – sorry), and the NHL front office is playing upon that sympathy and trying to turn that sympathy into anger against the players. The truth is, neither side cares about the fans. Each person in this situation cares only about himself. Such is the way of human nature. And this lockout won’t end until each person’s “Me and only Me” ego is satisfied. And that won’t happen for a long time, folks (ooh, that sound Bushian – scary, but just in time for Halloween! I’m not funny at all, am I?). It’s going to be a long winter with bad Saturday night TV. I think this thing should be settled by a mediator, with the mediator being Don Cherry. What do you think?

So, in the meantime, TSN must figure out new ways of employing its hockey personalities, CBC has to play crappy movies, and I need to find another source of income. Karaokee contest, anyone?

I hadn’t driven a car for almost 2 whole months ’til yesterday. Yesterday I made my Vancouver driving debut, and I drove out to Langley, which is a good hour’s drive east of Vancouver, more if you get stuck in traffic. I was a little leery of driving out to Langley for Molly’s birthday party at The Olive Garden (mmm…), as we left at 5:00 (prime rush hour time), I hadn’t driven a car in 2 months, I’d never driven in Vancouver before, and I was scared that I’d hit someone with Heather’s very nice Mazda Protégé. But as soon as I got behind the wheel, all was well. I’ve never driven a car with so much pick-up. But anything has more pick-up than my little Buddy who’s in the garage in Rosthern (Buddy is the name of my maroon Mercury Sable with the ripped fenders which are not my fault!). I miss Buddy. He was a good car…

Anyways, the traffic actually wasn’t that bad going out to Langley once we got in the HOV lane. What the heck is an HOV lane? you ask. HOV stands for High Occupancy Vehicle. Any vehicle with 2 or more passengers can use this lane, and as in rush hour most of the cars only have 1 passenger in them because they’re people trying to commute to either Burnaby, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Delta, Abbotsford, Surrey, New Westminster, or Langley (I’m getting pretty good with the geography out here, aren’t I?), being in the HOV lane is a good thing. So much so that Heather keeps commenting on how happy she is that I’m here so that we CAN use the HOV lane. It’s my function in life. If I don’t find a job, I might just hire myself out to drivers who want an extra person in their vehicle so they can get in the HOV lane. Anyhow, the trip went well, minus a few sharp lane changes (my depth perception needs to improve).

The Olive Garden. We had a good time. Molly, who is friends with my cousin Heidi, and her family, some work colleagues (teachers from her school), Heidi, Heather and I attended the birthday celebration. Heather and I bought Molly helium balloons which we promptly tied to her chair at the restaurant so all would know it was her birthday. I was introduced to Melanie, who sings, but on top of her regular day job, who proceeded to harass me the entire evening. I, unfortunately, couldn’t really come up with any killer quips, but I made her laugh a few times. But Melanie got her “just desserts” when our waitress spilled a glass all over her…and me. I was at the head of the table, and Melanie was to my left. Because of the mishap, which our waitress felt so badly about (I felt more badly for her!), Melanie and I both got free dessert. But we couldn’t get the desserts we wanted because they were “out” of them. Their supplies truck didn’t come in this week, and the nearest Olive Garden is in Bellingham, Washington, and they don’t borrow supplies from them because that means crossing the border and things being inspected and yadda yadda yadda yadda. So, I settled for Raspberry White Chocolate Cheesecake. A very good choice in hindsight, I’d say. I’d gladly go back to the Olive Garden and have water spilled all over me again.

This has nothing to do with the above story, but I must rant again. I want those Greenpeace and Amnesty International people to LEAVE ME ALONE!!!! Almost everyday I’m bombarded by them, no matter how hard I try to ignore them and hide under my umbrella (I’m short you know – it kind of works…). All they want is my credit card number so that I’ll give them money. I’m not giving it to them! Whoa, I just saw a black squirrel. Have you ever seen one? Anyways, I would listen to Amnesty International and Greenpeace if they didn’t pester me every day! I want sound environmental policies, and equality for all, too. And I know that I live in Vancouver, the “green city”, where tree-huggers and granola-crunchers abound, but LEAVE ME ALONE!

That felt good. And I’ll feel even better once I find a new route to school…

I’ve been so lazy lately. Honestly. Enough is enough here! All I wanto to do is stay in my PJs all day (or as much as I can!), curl up with a good book, and read. And read and read and read. I’ve done that as much as possible the past week, resulting in a conquest of sorts. I’ve finally finished the “Anne of Green Gables” series. And as my Mother says, “Your life can now go on.” I would like to say, for the record, that Walter should not have died. Una was never given the chance pronounce her undying love to him; it was completely unfair. I will try and move on.

The excitement of my week occured on Thursday night. Heather and I attended a banquet/auction for the Big Sisters of the BC Lower Mainland. Heather is on the Board of Directors and brought me along. The event was held at the Pan Pacific Hotel, a big hoity-toity hotel located on the downtown seafrontand we were served a meal of pan seared sablefish, roasted butternut squash soup (yummy!), focaccia croutons, and New York cheesecake for dessert. But the best part by far was the 5 firefighters whose sole purpose was to flirt with all of the women, consequently getting them to bid on anything and everything. There was one firefighter, named Cal (who was very good looking I might add 😉 ), who kept following Heather around. I was impressed with her flirting abilities; she did it in a sarcastic, strong-willed, “I-am-woman-hear-me-roar!” sort of way. She didn’t ask for his number though, for which I told her I was slightly disappointed (like I should talk!!). She introduced me to him after I jokingly reminded her that she had introduced everyone else at the table to Cal, and not me. I got introduced all right – the only embarassing moment of the night. Then the firefighters were all auctioned off. A woman (or possibly a group of women) paid $1700 to have 5 firemen come into their home and cook dinner for 8 women. Not the best ratio for that kind of money, I’d say. For $1700 it had better be 1:1 and a massage thrown in, too. After the auction, Heather said goodbye to Cal, and that was the end of the minor excitement in our romantic lives.

Other than that, this week has been good. I’ve picked up a new role in the opera scenes we’re doing, so I’m trying to learn that as quickly as possible. I’m also trying to learn Italian. This weekend we’ve hung out with some friends and family, and the weather’s been cold. Vancouver cold compared to Saskatchewan cold is comparing apples to oranges. Vancouver cold is this damp, bone-chilling cold that runs right through you. 5 degrees IS cold out here! I pray that I’m not turning into a weak, sushi-eating, granola-crunching, tree-hugging freak! Uh oh – I’ve already done 2 out of the 4. I’m half way there. Ahhhhhh!!!! I need to go back to Saskatchewan – and soon! I’ll be home December 17th; not soon enough. I’ll just have to hope I haven’t eaten sushi by then…

Karma sucks.

After posting those somewhat mean-spirited pictures contrasting the weather in Saskatchewan versus that in Vancouver, some weird things happened to me. First of all, I burned a pot of rice. And did I ever burn it. I had to scrub that pot for a long time until I got it clean. At first I had thought that I had destroyed the pot; I’ve actually done that before. Rice and I do not get along. I guess it doesn’t want me to eat it or something. Next, I walked to school (in beige pants again!) and when I got there, I noticed a large amount of blood on the bottom hem of one of my pant legs. On the way to school I developed a blister from my shoes that broke and put blood on my pants. And I had to sing for masterclass in a half hour! Luckily I had a Shout wipe in my bag and was able to kind of clean it, but there was still this ugly brownish-reddish spot on the bottom of my pants. Then, today, I spilt chicken noodle soup on the white carpet in the living room. I’m still working on getting that out. GRRRRR!!!! I promise I won’t make fun of the massive amounts of snow in Saskatchewan versus the beautiful, mild, and sunny weather in BC ever again – or at least until the next Saskatchewan snowfall…

This entry has been a long time coming. I’ve just had many more interesting things to say (well, interesting to me…) over the last little while, so I’ve bypassed the “fashion” subject a number of times. But the one tip I have for anyone coming to Vancouver: NEVER, EVER wear anything beige or white (particularly pants!!) when there is even the SLIGHTEST chance of rain, because chances are, it’s gonna rain. I learned this lesson the hard way a couple of weeks ago. I checked the weather in the morning, and it said that there was a 10% chance of rain in the afternoon. I thought, “Well, that’s a pretty minute chance (forgetting that weather forecasts are often backwards; sometimes a 30% chance of rain means 70%) and there’s not a cloud in the sky of anywhere, so I might as well wear my beige capris while I can.” By 3:00 the clouds had rolled in and the rain was coming down in sheets. I trudged home in my sandals and my no longer beige capris. Lesson learned.

Vancouver is quite the multicultural place, so styles vary from person to person. You have everything from your possibly pot-smoking hippie activist preaching the Gospel of Greenpeace on the street corner, to the woman with way too much makeup with an $800 pair of shoes, $300 purse, $500 jeans and $1000 blouse – not to mention the $450 sunglasses – to Muslim women whom are covered from head to toe. No melting pot here!

But the most popular accessory in Vancouver (minus the ever-present umbrella) is the dog or puppy. Everytime I see one I think of my little Sadie at home and I get homesick. Every second person in this city has a dog. There are your big Black Labs to your little Taco Bell puppies. And they’re all SO cute. Wait, I’m getting homesick again…

Granville Street, which I live one block east of, and except for Robson Street in the Downtown core, is one of the trendiest streets in the city. There are many little clothing boutiques, dress shops and designer shoe stores. I’ve slipped in Donna Karan NY just for fun. I found a pair of shoes on sale – for $300. Hmmm – plane ticket home for Christmas or a pair of shoes I can never wear in the rain, which nixes 364 of the 365 days of the year around here? And then there’s Aisha Mode (sigh…). Nothing in that store for under $800. And then there’s Bedo and Plum, my favorite stores. They’re much cheaper, but still good quality. There’s this jacket at Plum that I look at everyday as I pass by the store on my way to school. But it’s $220 – but I still have a whole lot of birthday money left…and it’d be a good investment. I tried it on one day a couple of weeks ago just to satisfy my curiosity; Heather and her Mom were along. They told me that the coat was perfect for me – the plums and pinks in it made my eyes pop. I was about to buy it then and there. But better judgement took hold of me – at least, for the moment. That coat still haunts me to this day, as it’s still hanging in the window at Plum. Tara and Kirstin, I wish you were here to see this coat! What should I do? But even with the coat I won’t be a fashion maiden. There’s no way. My 80 minute commute to school and back makes comfort the ultimate factor, though I still make the wrong decision somedays, like today. Man, my feet hurt.

I can’t believe how long it’s been since I last placed an entry in this blog of mine. I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving; we all have so much to be thankful for. There are so many things I could write in this entry, but I’ll try to keep it short.

1. The Riders: I have not viewed the whole Ottawa/SK game yet (I’m working on it), but one thing is apparent. Our guys need to learn how to protect the ball. We were lucky that there were a few early whistles in this game that prevented fumbles. But kudos to Smilin’ Hank for the game-winning drive. Could he finally be maturing into a REAL quarterback? On second thought, I’d better knock on wood…

2. Hockey: Today was to be the first day of the NHL regular season. I can’t see there being any hockey this season. It’s sad. I was so excited to start betting again, as I won every playoff bet I made last season (with some yet to settle…) including a playoff hockey pool (and you all thought I was nuts picking Eddie the Eagle, who then had, I think it was, what 3 shutouts in the first round?). I was ready to bet again and increase my winning streak. Sadly that will not happen. Stupid players. Greedy owners. At least the Riders are finally playing.

3. Thanksgiving: This was the first Thanksgiving I had spent away from home. It was weird. I have a lot of relatives out here, but I don’t know most of them as they are quite a bit older than me, and they’re from branches of the family tree that extend far beyond mine. It was nice to meet them and some of their friends, though. And wouldn’t you know it, the first relative I saw, Pat, said to me, “I remember the night you were born…”, and I was a stranger no longer. But did she have to comment on how I wouldn’t come out and they finally had to go and get me and how I made my Mom suffer because I wouldn’t leave the womb and how I was blue when I was born and how the first year of my life I wasn’t happy unless I was being rocked, held and sung to and didn’t sleep through the night ’til I was a year old? Like I said – a stranger no longer was I. There was an Iranian couple at Thanksgiving as well, and of course the whole “because of 9/11 do you not feel persecuted?” came up. But it was nicely handled by everyone. And my cousin Laurie’s husband works in the film industry. He’s working on “The Fantastic Four” right now, a film version of the comic strip, starring Jessica Alba, Michael Chiklis (from “The Shield” and formerly of “The Commish”) and Julian McMahon (“Nip/Tuck”). And then we started talking about how shows on HBO really aren’t that great anyways. We decided that “Corner Gas” was much, much better. I also saw more cousins throughout the weekend, and we’re having a big gathering here tonight, since Heather’s parents are here. So much food is all I can say…

4. Halloween: I really don’t like Halloween. I don’t like scary things. But I was surfing the Internet yesterday and came across this idea from the John Kerry site: host a “Bush Scares Me” Halloween party. Check it out at http://www.johnkerry.com/communities/students/. Sadly this is one of the better ideas the Kerry campaign has had. And I love how they refer to Bush’s presidency as “The Bush ‘Error'”. I didn’t see the Friday night debate, but from reading several blogs on CNN (yes, it’s a sad life I lead…) it sounded like Bush was the high-strung, high-on-drugs hare and Kerry was the slow, Muenster-like tortoise. And you know that the tortoise always wins the race. And kudos to Kerry for saying that we need to get back to reality. Unfortunately the Republicans will expose it for all it’s worth, but what he essentially said was that we need to quit fearing terrorists and move forward, not letting them hold us back. He called them “a nuisance” (not the word I would have picked, but oh well…) and said that Americans have more serious issues to worry about that affect many more people, such as health care, education and jobs. FINALLY SOMEONE WHO GETS IT! Yes Iraq is a mess, yes there are terrorists who kill soliders every day, and yes the threat of terrorism is still high. But right now the chance of an American getting killed by a terrorist is miniscule. You have a much better chance of being killed in a car accident or being struck by lightning than being killed by a terrorist, yet some people still drive without seatbelts, while drinking and some people go golfing in a thunderstorm. I know people in the US are worried about terrorists, and they have every right to be, but they need to realize that Bush hasn’t made them any safer, and all the while their social infrastructure is crumbling about them. And I think Kerry gets that. Not that I’m completely “pro-Kerry”, because out of a population of 300,000,000, don’t you think they could have picked someone else for the Democrat nominatino? But I maintain that most of the population is stupid, and it’s mostly the stupid people that vote. Nov. 2nd will be the test of that.

And on that note, it’s off to school. Only 68 days ’til Christmas break for me!

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