Dear umbrella

I lost an umbrella today.  But I don’t feel like talking about it right now.  So instead, I thought I would post a poem that I wrote two years ago about a different umbrella that is no longer with me.  I’ve had many umbrellas over the years.  Some have had tragic ends, and others, I know not what fate had in store for them.  This poem is a reminder and dedication to all the ones I’ve lost, and all the ones I’ve yet to lose.

dear umbrella,

i’m sorry i had to leave you outside neville scarfe
i did not want to
but i had no choice
for you were broken.
it wasn’t supposed to happen this way
i forsaw a good future
filled with rainy days
and you there to protect me
i wish i could say we had a good run
but there was barley any time
damn those ubc winds.
when you turned inside out i knew there was no going back
i tried
i did the best i could to make you better
but to no avail
you were broken
you opened up
and there you remained
unable to close
i could no longer take you inside
i had to leave you in the rain
you’re not the first i’ve lost
and you won’t be the last
but you were a favourite of mine by far.
i know not whether you still lie there
or whether somoeone came to take you away
either way
i miss you.

Advertisements

I’m a terrible shot

A couple months ago, I went to the shooting range in Port Coquitlam.  Why so far?  It was the only one I’d heard of.  And my friend offered to drive.  And we felt like shooting something.  So why not?  Also Friday is ladies night, so they waive one of the fees.  It was my first time going there, although I did go to the gun range in Vegas a couple years ago.  But what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas, so I don’t think that time counts.  And it all happened so fast that time, I barely remember it.

It was a little crowded, since it does get busy on ladies night, but the wait wasn’t too bad.  We got to choose from a wall of targets as to which one we wanted to shoot at.  I wonder if anyone’s ever tried to bring in their own target.  Like a picture of someone.  But I’m guessing they don’t condone that sort of thing.  The ones they had included a basic body shape, zombies, a butcher, a killer dog, and of course, Hello Kitty.  Because why would you not want to shoot Hello Kitty?

So many targets to choose from

But I noticed that they had special targets on promotion where they would donate the money to the BC Cancer Foundation.  So obviously we chose those targets, that way we weren’t just shooting in vain, we were actually helping a good cause.  It’s like we were shooting out cancer.  And that beats shooting zombies any day.

Shooting away cancer

We then noticed that the target itself was also an ad for the movie One for the Money, which I hadn’t yet heard of at the time.  I’m sure some of you still haven’t heard of it.  It’s a Katherine Heigl movie, so don’t feel bad.  When my friend realized it was a Katherine Heigl movie, she was all the more determined to shoot it.  But I think she reluctantly ended up seeing the movie the very next day.  Go figure.

It's a Katherine Heigl movie, I have to shoot it

Before going in, I wanted to be good at it, but knew full well that I would suck.  I lack coordination and aim when it comes to pretty much all sports, and shooting is no different. I mean I’m even bad at darts.  Hell, I was even bad at pin the tail on the donkey.  So yeah.  Not that I completely missed.  I just missed most of the time.  This is one of the reasons I’ve always stayed away from those carnival shooting games they have at fairs, so as not to throw away money.

It was still fun though.  And somehow I managed to get one shot right in the middle of the target.  I’m pretty sure that one was a fluke.  But if anyone asks, I’ll just say it was all skill, and the reason I missed the other times was because I knew I couldn’t get a shot more perfect than that anyway.  I also managed to get a few shots in the head of the target.  My friends were better than me.  Which I fully expected them to be.

I didn't suck that badly

For the most part, I was in total awe of how good of a shot my friend is.  Seriously.  It scares me.  She tore that target apart.  It made me feel completely inferior.  What’s the female version of emasculated?  I sort of felt like that.  Think of that episode of Modern Family where Gloria finds out that Claire spends time at the shooting range to relieve stress, and then tells her it’s sad that she goes so often and that’s the best she can shoot.  And then picks up the gun and shoots a perfect shot.

But you know what, I’m okay with my lack of skill.  It’s not a skill I need to have.  I’m happy to not live in a place where everyone feels the need to own a gun.  And I hope to never find myself in a real life situation where I would need to use one.  Because if my life depended on my ability to fire a gun, I’m not sure if I’d survive.  But if such a situation did arise, I would just hope that my friend is there, so she could protect me.

 

I have a sore throat

I would like to apologize for the time lag between my posts as of late.  I let about a week go by without posting anything.  On here I mean.  I’m constantly posting on Facebook and Twitter, nothing can slow that down.  But I’ve neglected my blog a little and that’s unacceptable.  I remember a time not too long ago when I would write daily blog posts.  Now it’s more like weekly blog posts.  I fear at some point it will be monthly blog posts.  And then shortly after, the blog will just die.  Let’s hope that doesn’t happen.

In my defense, I’ve had a sore throat, so I haven’t felt like saying much.  And yes, I do realize that this should have no impact whatsoever on my ability to blog, as blogging does not require talking, only typing.  And I’m an excellent typist.  My throat is sore.  My fingers are fine.  I remember once my dad bought me this Mavis Beacon teaches typing thing.  No, that’s not what helped me.  That thing was bullshit, I hated it.  I think I acquired my superb typing speed from sending emails and typing on msn.  No, I don’t know how many words per minute I can type.  A lot?  I mean who actually sits with a stop watch and times themselves as they type?  Maybe I should do that…

I suppose the only way I’d be able to use a sore throat as an excuse for my lack of blogging would be if I used one of those voice activated program things to dictate what I want to say and then the program types it out for you.  But I don’t.  Or if I hired a stenographer for my blogs.  But I don’t do that either.  I just type them out.  And I don’t think out loud or say a word as I do.  So yeah.  The sore throat was not a valid excuse.  But it’s my blog.  So I don’t need a valid excuse.  I can use an invalid one if I feel like it.

But I suppose you could infer that if I ha a sore throat, I was probably a little sick, and therefore not feeling 100%.  Well technically I’m never feeling 100%, let’s be honest.  Does anyone actually ever feel 100%?  I’m usually 80% at best.  Okay, maybe 86%?  I’ll say that much, because in high school 86% was an A grade.  So yeah.  But right now I feel more like 70%.  I don’t know, I was never good at math.  The point is, I wasn’t feel that great, and therefore didn’t feel like blogging.  Because if I don’t feel good, how am I supposed to write a good blog post?  Well I guess I could just fake it and you wouldn’t know.  But I’d rather it be real.

So I guess I’ll start posting more frequently again.  Maybe.  We’ll see how it goes.  I’ll see how I’m feeling.  I could really use a manicure.  I always could, my nails are in terrible shape.  How do you suppose that would affect my typing?  Would that interfere with my ability to blog?  So many things can have an impact these days.  But as for my throat, I’ll take some Halls and hopefully it won’t be sore anymore.

My dream job

A few weeks ago when I came home, my mom tossed the Richmond Review newspaper to me and said “Here’s a job for you”.  I didn’t know what it was.  I thought maybe it would be some sort of joke thing, you never know with my mom.  But this is the article that she was referring to.

Of course I was intrigued, read the whole article and looked it up online and checked all the qualifications and instructions and deadline for submissions.  Tourism Richmond is hiring a food blogger to eat at various restaurants around Richmond and blog about it.  This is pretty much my dream job.  The only thing better would be if someone would pay me to blog about watching TV or riding public transit.

When I went to the online ad, it said they were looking for someone who was passionate about food and was constantly on Facebook and Twitter.  If those were the only requirements, I’d be a shoo-in for this.  But it looks like they might prefer candidates who already have their own established food blogs.  While my blog here isn’t solely dedicated to food, it seems like food is a topic that seems to come up pretty often.  I am passionate about food and it is one of my most popular blogging topics.

I update my Facebook and Twitter several times a day.  And everyday there is at least one status about food, usually more.  Either about food that I’ve bought, seen, eaten, or want to eat.  Or something witty about the various national food days.  For example, today happens to be National French Bread Day.  How do I know that?  I make it a point to keep up with all the national food holidays throughout the year.  My friend asked me if I have a food calendar.  I do not, but I would like one.  Do those exist?  If not, can I start making them?  I mean a calendar that lists the national food days, not a calendar made of food.  Although that sounds even more amazing.

I haven’t applied for this job yet.  They give you all of March to do so.  I don’t want to rush it.  From what I’ve seen, there’s A LOT of competition.  And a lot of them are total foodies who have well established food blogs and lots of followers and experience.  Experience with what?  I don’t know, writing?  Eating?  But I think I have a lot of experience writing and eating as well.  And I have a lot of experience living in Richmond, so I know areas and restaurants and history.

When thinking about applying, this is what I came up with for the reasons I should be the food blogger for Tourism Richmond.

1) I eat food.

2) I’m a blogger.

3) I live in Richmond.

You can’t argue with that logic, right?  Although some would say it’s a bit of a weak arguement, I suppose.  But it’s true.  Then again, a lot of people can probably relate to items 1-3.  I guess I shall have to come up with more than that.  What about the fact that I really want it and it’s my dream job?  No?  Not good enough?  Fine.  I’ll think of something better.

The perks of this job are insane.  I had to read it several times in order to believe that this was an actual position.  They pay $50,000 for a year of work.  They pay you to eat out at restaurants.  They provide you with housing.  They give you a gym membership to help you work off the calories from eating out everyday.  What more could you ask for?

Of course with an insane job, there will be insane competition.  If you check Facebook or Twitter or just Google 365 Days of Dining, you’ll see how much hype and interest there is in this.  Obviously.  But I won’t let that discourage me.  I’ll accept it as a challenge.  One thing they want is someone who’s “open-minded and willing to try new things”.  There’s a lot of food that I’ve tried, and a lot that I haven’t tried.  And I think that’s a good thing, because it would give a new perspective for some things.

I love blogging and I love food and it would be so great to be able to combine the two and get paid for it.  I wish there wasn’t only the one position.  But alas, that’s the way it is.  And whether or not I qualify for this, I will continue to blog about food and I will continue to constantly overuse Facebook and Twitter.  It would just be a whole lot better if I was getting paid to do so.

 

The dangerous lives of altar girls

Altar serving used to just be for boys.  I remember my mom saying that one time she saw a girl altar serving and thought “Oh, they allow girls to do it now”, but then she realized that it was really just a boy with long hair.  But at some point they did change this policy and open it up to allow girls to be altar servers as well.  Which I suppose is a good thing, a step towards more equality between the sexes?  But personally I wish they had just kept it to boys only.  Or at least waited a little longer before allowing girls to do it.  This has nothing to do with sexism or anything.  But if they had left it as is, then I would never have had to be an altar server.

I don’t know why I was.  I was terrible at it.  Why did I sign up for it?  Did my parents make me do it?  I don’t think so.  They must have given me a choice in the matter.  But I ended up altar serving throughout most of elementary school.  Okay, it wasn’t that bad.  I mean really there was nothing wrong with it.  And it certainly wasn’t dangerous, as my misleading title would imply.  But somehow it just wasn’t right for me.  Or I wasn’t right for it.  Or a bit of both, I suppose?

When you’re an altar server, everyone can see you.  Because you’re up at the altar.  Sitting, standing, walking, holding a candle, pouring the water, holding the book.  All eyes are on you.  Okay well not really.  But people can see you more so than say, a random person sitting in the crowd.  And for an awkward and introverted kid like I was, this was unpleasant.  It’s not as if there was a lot that you needed to know, but I would still get paranoid about screwing something up.  Or tripping on my robe or dropping something and just being an embarrassment.  I worried about these things anyway, but to have to worry about them up at the altar was even more nerve wracking.

And I didn’t like the robes we had to wear.  Especially in the summer, it was always so hot.  But we were told that it wasn’t so bad, as the priest had to wear even more garments than we did.  It was also difficult to get the size that properly fit you.  You didn’t want to wear one that was too long, because you could trip over it.  But you also didn’t want one that was too short, because then it would look bad and your pants would show.  We had a rope to tie as a belt, and I somehow wasn’t very good at tying it properly.  That was annoying.  The robes were also unflattering.  I mean, I wore a lot of ugly outfits at that age anyway, but in the altar serving robe, everyone could see me.  And I think I had an ugly haircut too, and a generic altar serving robe would draw more attention to my hair and my face which was not a good thing at the time.

I remember one of the priests we had commented to my mom one time that I was always so serious whenever I was there.  Yeah, I suppose I’ve always had that look about me.  But imagine a little girl sitting up there at the altar, looking angry.  Maybe I was angry about my bad haircut.  But yeah.  I’m pretty sure I looked angry when I wasn’t altar serving as well, but people were less likely to notice.

There wasn’t a whole lot to remember.  But being awkward as I am, I did screw up a few times.  I don’t think I ever fell down though.  Which is surprising seeing as I’m sort of clumsy and really don’t have the greatest sense of balance.  There’s a time during Mass when two servers bring the water and the wine to the priest, and he pours them into the chalice.  The altar servers then bow to the priest before walking away.  I’ve never been good at bowing.  How do you fail at bowing?  Well, trust me to find a way.  One time I just didn’t bow enough, so it was more like a quick head nod, and so realizing I hadn’t properly bowed, I tried bowing a second time to make up for it.  The result was a sort of double head nod bow combo, which I’m sure looked as awkward as it felt, possibly more so.  I seem to recall a few people in the pews who knew me noticing and laughing.

I also never learned the proper way to set the altar.  Only the altar server who was holding the cross had to do this.  The two with the candles were off the hook for this task.  But I reluctantly found myself in the position of the cross bearer a few times and didn’t really know what I was doing.  The napkin had to be folded and unfolded a certain way, the chalice put in a specific position, and the book placed in a certain way.  I was never sure of any of it.  One time I just left it as is, and let the priest rearrange it.  If I’d just done it how I thought it should be, he would’ve had to correct it anyway, so what was the point?

One time I forgot to help clear the altar after communion.  I don’t know why, it just slipped my mind.  Instead, I just went back and sat down, oblivious to the fact that I had not finished fulfilling my altar serving duties for the moment.  One thing I think I was good at was holding the book while the priest read from it.  I don’t think I ever managed to screw that up.  Except one time for some reason there was a bigger book and it was heavy.  But I still managed.  Good for me.

It was awkward sometimes holding the candles.  Because there are two altar servers who hold them together.  But I was always significantly taller than the other person.  So it looked odd when we both stood there, with the candles at different heights and sort of out of sync.  But what could we do?  I think I got roped into holding the cross a few times just cause I was tall.  And then I had to spend the whole time dreading the moment when I would have to set the alter.  It wasn’t fair.

I think my favourite part was putting out the candles when Mass was over.  I don’t know why, I just liked it.  Maybe because it was the last thing I had to do?  And it was just fun to put the candles out.  I can’t remember what that thing it called that we used to extinguish them.  No, it wasn’t an extinguisher.  It was this gold curved stick thing with a cup like thing on the end that fit over the candle so you could put it out.  Now that’s going to bother me.  Does anyone know what I’m talking about?

Even though I was probably a terrible altar server, I stuck with it throughout my elementary school years at St. Paul’s.  I suppose it wasn’t that bad.  I think they had an appreciation barbeque for us every year as well.  And I think I may have got a certificate or a card?  Or maybe not.  I’m not sure.  But in any case, our services were appreciated.  And I think we’re all really lucky that I never managed to burn anything by accident, considering all those candles at the altar.

I don’t have a Costco card

Yeah, it’s true.  Shocking, I know.  For someone who loves grocery shopping and food and good deals to the extent that I do, how could I not?  And wait a minute, did I not just go to Costco this past weekend?  Why yes, I did.  I don’t let lacking things that may seem like necessities hold me back.  One would think that the two essentials for a shopping trip at Costco would be 1) a Costco card, and 2) a car.  I have neither of those things.  But I have a friend who has both.

Why don’t I just get a car and a Costco card of my own?  I don’t know if it would be worth it.  I don’t go that often.  It’s really just a once in a long while type thing.  Which is why I make such a big deal out of it when I go.  If I frequented the place, it would just be another random grocery shopping trip.  But I actually couldn’t remember the last time I’d been there up until this past weekend.  And so it was exciting.

The main thing I noticed when I entered, is how damn crowded it was.  I mean it was to be expected, as I know there exist many crazy people like myself who want their food and fast and in bulk and will not let anything get in the way of that.  I get that, I do.  But there’s no reason for shoving and rudeness.  I think I’m pretty good at masterfully maneuvering my shopping cart around the store in an efficient manner.  And I like that I’m able to do so without being overly aggressive, as some tend to be.  I’m not a professional, as I do not frequent the place, so maybe I haven’t quite learned the best tactics yet.  But I think I was too in awe of all my surroundings to behave with any sort of aggression.  I guess I would liken it to being a kid in a candy store, even though I know that sounds cliche.

One of my problems is I’m very indecisive.  Walking through the candy aisle alone could take forever.  I didn’t know where to go first or what I wanted to get.  There was so much in sight.  And then there were so many similar items, I had to defer to my friend a few times for her expertise regarding price and quality and taste.  I am so grateful that she was there for me in my time of need.

My major weakness when it comes to Costco, or any grocery store for that matter, is the baked goods section.  I could spend forever in there.  Debating what to get.  Trying to determine how much I can actually buy without worrying about expiration dates.  And also worrying about how much is too much for my family to consume, because whatever I bring home from there they are likely to eat right away.  For example, I bought one of those huge things of croissants.  How did they taste?  I don’t know.  I never even got any before my family devoured them all in less than two days.

Empty box of croissants which I did not get to eat

From the baked goods section, I also purchased blueberry muffins, apple muffins, white bread, whole wheat bread, tortillas, and cookies.  I would have bough strudel and pie as well, but there was only so much room in the cart.  I also don’t want to be responsible for my family ending up with health problems because I’ve constantly brought home too many sweet and fattening foods.

They have blueberries in them, so they're healthy, right?

I must say I was rather disappointed by the lack of samples.  I remember a time way back when Costco was filled with samples.  I mean wasn’t that the main reason some people used to go there?  But all I got in this trip sample wise was two small pieces of cheese.  I mean it was good cheese, but still.  I had to wait in lineups for it.  And the people who wait in line for samples can be very aggressive.  There was another lineup for some sort of oatmeal thing, but we decided against it.  Didn’t seem worth the wait or the agony of dealing with the other people who wanted it so badly.

One essential I had to buy there was potato salad.  I love Costco potato salad.  One time I was helping organize a volunteer event and the food came from Costco.  And one of the food items was potato salad.  Ever since then, it’s been one of my favourite things.  I could probably just eat the whole tub in one sitting if I had no self control.

It's really that good

I also bough two bags of Ruffles potato chips and a bag of Munchies.  Because I had to.  I’m pretty sure I spent way too long there.  When my friend suggested we head over to the checkout, I said wait, let me quickly get some chips first.  I know chips aren’t exactly most people’s idea of “grocery shopping”.  But whatever.  And before you call me a pig, remember, there are seven people in my family.  So don’t judge me.  I’m just trying being the wonderful daughter and sister that I am and bringing home food for the family.

It was a giant bag. I couldn't not buy them.

I also bought five pizzas.  I know that sounds excessive, but really it isn’t.  There were these large thin crust pizzas that were two for something.  So I bought two.  And then there was a three pack of Dr. Oetker pizzas.  So naturally I went with both options.  Why wouldn’t I?

It's spinach pizza, so it's healthy, right?

In order to counter all the unhealthy things I purchased, which also included some cinnamon bun strudel bars in a box, I did also make some healthy choices.  Yes, apparently I am capable of doing so.  I also bought almond soy milk, spinach, broccoli, strawberries, orange juice, yogurt, mulitgrain cheerios, and Kashi Go lean crunch cereal.  Granted, the juice and the soy milk are pretty much the only things that have been touched.  Although I did have some yogurt and add some spinach to my wrap.  So there.

The multigrain version's actually really good

One thing that slipped my mind, was the fact that since I did not own a Costco card myself, I would have to pay cash so that my friend could make the purchase.  But I forgot.  And I never carry cash with me.  I had maybe $40 on me by fluke.  But I spent $180.  And Costco has the audacity to not take Visa.  Luckily, my friend had enough money in her account to cover it.  After that, we went to the bank where I withdrew the money I owed her.  I then handed her the cash and she stepped up to the machine and deposited the money I had just withdrawn.  It probably looked like some sort of shady drug deal.

All in all, my shopping trip was a success.  I was happy with my purchases, as was my family.  I don’t think I’m overly obsessive when it comes to buying groceries.  I just enjoy it more than the average person.  And I believe that the trip is truly a success when my shopping cart is as full as I can possibly make it.

Success

Why I hate alphabetical order


My last name is Vaz.  Which starts with a V.  Anyone else who has a last name which starts with a letter near the end of the alphabet will probably share my dislike of alphabetical order.  We’re always last.  And it isn’t fair.  I was last in enough things in school, like 3 blocks runs and being picked for group projects.  Did I really need the additional misfortune of being last for things simply because of my last name?  Apparently.

I’m taking a class right now at UBC, which is what reminded me of this today.  At the end of class, our assignments were handed back.  And our names were called out so we could go get our assignments and then leave.  And of course they were called out in alphabetical order.  What else is new?  And so I sat there.  Wanting to leave.  But unable to.  Because the people with C last names were still being called.  It was going to be a long while…

I’ve had to go through this in all my years of education, ever since I can remember.  When lining up for things, we would do it alphabetically.  Which meant you were always stuck in between the same two people in the line up.  And if you didn’t like those people, well, that was just too bad.  And sometimes that would be how groups or partners were assigned.  So if I didn’t like the kid who’s last name started with T, or the other kid who’s last name started with V, it didn’t matter.  We were stuck together.

When tests and assignments were handed back, I would always have to wait, much like I had to wait today.  And yes, people say that sometimes the teachers would mix it up and go in reverse alphabetical order instead.  But I feel like that rarely happened, if ever.  I cannot recall a time when it did.  Maybe my childhood memories are just biased and blocking out the few good experiences that may have occurred?

So I had to wait a little longer for certain things, so what?  Would I have really done anything important with those extra minutes that I spent patiently waiting?  Probably not.  But that’s not the point.  It’s the principle of the matter.  And sometimes it wasn’t just time that I missed out on.

In elementary school, we would have “hot lunch” every so often, maybe once a month?  This was basically when the school allowed us to order food, since there was no cafeteria or place to buy food and we would always bring it from home.  For hot lunch, we would have to bring in money and check off what we wanted days in advance.  They would order from places like Subway or Pizza Hut, or sometimes it was just hot dogs, catered from I don’t know where.  When the lunches arrived, guess what order they called them out in?

So I had to wait longer before I could eat.  But that’s not all.  You would also have the option of ordering a drink and a donut.  You could specify what drink you wanted, but the donuts were just a first come, first served thing.  And everyone wanted the long johns.  But there weren’t enough long johns to go around.  So when it was finally time for the girl with the V last name to get her food, there were only jelly donuts left.  And I didn’t like jelly donuts.  It wasn’t fair.

I suppose things could have been worse.  There were always kids with last names that started with W and Y.  But were pretty much in the same boat.  But at least since they were there, I was never dead last.  I guess at least that was something.  I think if I were a teacher and I was handing back assignments, I would just mix them all up and read them out in a completely random order.  That way no one is at a disadvantage.  Although then you wouldn’t know when to listen for your name.  At least alphabetically, you knew when it was going to be your turn.  Damn, I guess it is the most efficient way.  But still.  It wasn’t fair.

The things I missed out on.