A Quick Update

I haven’t been writing for awhile now.  Most of the time, I’m just trying to focus on job hunting.  Some days it can be challenging and that mood can linger for days and weeks. There are also good days and I suppose that helps balance things out.  Most of the time,  my volunteer work puts me in the right frame of mind.  The other week, I spent a bit too much time looking at hot Asian men with chiseled bodies, sly smiles, pearly white teeth and piercing eyes. Then I look at my own body.  Oh boy… what a contrast.

At the library, my student started drawing a cat.  I encourage her to draw and tell stories although most of them sound a bit morbid (the characters usually die).  The cats’s ears look like horns and the cat’s head fills the paper.  I tell her I like cats.  She looks up smiles and writes my name on top of the cat.  Then she draws a pig’s snout over the cat’s nose.  “This is now a pig, not a cat.”  Sigh… (how ironic, I taught her what sigh meant a couple of weeks ago)

It’s Sunday morning now.  The dishes are done and I cleaned the sink.  I just did a load of laundry although there are 2 loads of clothes that need to be folded and put away.  There’s some jazz music playing in the background.  There’s still a pile of chores to do before I head out for dinner tonight.

Christmas is a time for celebration and joy.  But it can also be a very stressful and tough time for many people.  Look out for each other.  A small gesture of kindness can mean a lot.





Public Transit Life

I take public transit regularly.  I’ve seen my share of weird stuff.  The other day, I noticed something moving by my feet.  It was a pigeon walking up and down the train.  There are more pan handlers now.  Most just walk around asking for money. A few weeks ago a couple of younger guys were playing accordion and after awhile, one of them walked around with a coffee cup looking for change.

Then there was a guy who got on my bus, sat down and started to pick his nose.  Then he placed his hand right on the stop button.  Gross!!!!  There was also a woman who was organizing her purse.  The subway train wasn’t crowded although there were a few people sitting near her.  She shuffled a few pieces of paper and then started to count her money.  It was well over $150.  She continued to count and recount her money.  She would then put it back in a side pocket on her purse and then take it out again.  She did this a few times before finally stopping.  Maybe she noticed all those people staring at her.

A few months ago, this young Chinese guy came on the bus with another guy.  They were both wearing white shirts with a name tag, black ties and black pants.  I knew right away they were Mormons.  I looked away so they won’t sit near me.  But the Chinese guy headed right to me at the back of the bus while his friend took a seat near the front.  He didn’t say anything for awhile.   Then after a couple of minutes, he greeted me in Cantonese.  I told him I don’t really speak Cantonese that well (it’s true).   He told me he’s from Hong Kong.  So between my fractured Cantonese and his broken English, we managed to chat for a bit.  I learned he was from Hong Kong. When the conversation strayed towards religion, I told him I don’t go to church anymore.  He was polite and didn’t pry.  Once I got to my stop, I shook his hands, wished him well and went my way.




Rewarding Story

I was playing a board game called Maask with my student the other day.  You need a combination of memory and luck to win.


Source:  Bestbuy.ca

You roll 2 dice and try to find the colored pins which on the dice.  The pins are covered by the hollow spools.  If you uncover the right ones, you get to keep them.  If not, you just cover it back. The best way to win is to remember where the colors are when you or your opponent uncover them.  The board game we had was missing 1 pin so instead of 12, we only had 11.

As he starts to play, he announces to anyone within hearing distance that he is the best player in the world.  And it would be a disaster, a shame of historical proportion, if he lost to me.  There’s just no way in the world he could lose to me.  And sure enough, he wins the first couple of games.  I chuckled as he start to feel like he was the king of the world.  In the next game, I managed to win on my last roll.  But he grabbed his pins and declared a tie. Hmm… I knew I had 6, which means he only had 5.  Is this little guy trying to cheat?  I just let it go.  He proceeds to win the next few games until it our session was done.

As we walked backed to his mom, he said something to me but I didn’t hear it.  I leaned down and asked him to repeat it.

He said “Do you remember when you thought you won a game?”

“Yes, why?”

“Well, you did win. I just didn’t show you what I had.”

Wow.  The kid has a guilty conscience.  I was about to praise him but he added “But I won the rest of the games so I’m still better than you!”

Oh well…

There’s another part of this story.  He picked a book that was over his reading level.  It was also longer than the other books he read.  He counted the number of pages with words and seemed discouraged.  I offered to help share the reading and to give him extra stickers.  He stumbled over a lot of words.  I corrected him along the way but tried not to lose his rhythm.  About halfway of the story, I would read a page and he would read the next.  When he finished, I congratulated him not giving up even though there were a lot of hard words and the book was long.

As I was writing this, I realized there was a subtle lesson for me too.  I shouldn’t give up even though the journey looks a bit rough.



I only have one interesting story relating to pot now that it’s legal in Canada.  When I was in university, I worked at the student pub.  One night, my manager asked me to take a student to the Emergency Room at a local hospital.  The student was having a bad reaction to pot.  I kinda gave him  “it’s not my job” look.  But my manager was a good guy so I did.  I walked him into the ER and he met with the triage nurse.  Since he wasn’t bleeding out, he was asked to wait.

All the seats were taken so we stood by the window.  I figured if he was ok, I would just leave.  But he was very nervous and anxious.  He told me his heart was just pounding.  Then he asked if I could hold his hand.  I grudgingly said ok.  So we held hands.  Everyone was stared at us.  I felt a bit awkward.

I don’t remember much after that, I think he stayed overnight at the hospital.

I doubt if I’ll be smoking pot.  I don’t like the smell and I don’t even smoke regular cigarettes.  But the medical properties of cannabis looks very promising.  I would consider taking them if it helped.


Woe Is Me

It’s been a rough couple of weeks.  My sleeping patterns have gone haywire again and it’s affecting my mood.  I was very late for a networking meeting last week to practice interviews.  Not only was I late, I didn’t do that well.  My partner did say that the questions I answered well very convincing.  The stock market, where most of my savings are invested in, have not been steady this past couple of weeks either.  At least my stocks are still paying dividends.  But still, I would have also liked to see some gains. I still own some stocks in my former company.  It hasn’t been doing well.  I had purchased them at a slight discount to the market through my employee stock purchase plan.

I just feel miserable these past couple of weeks.  Some days I don’t even leave the house.  I have problems with my feet which means I walk a lot less and have gained weight.  I’ll probably need new shoes, some cortisone shots, and orthotics which aren’t cheap.

Job hunting hasn’t been great.  Changing careers in this age of ATS (applicant tracking systems) is not easy.  I just have to be smarter and network even harder.  Want to know another depressing statistic?  Most hiring managers spend about 6 to 8 seconds glancing at a resume.  I could put down “male stripper” on my resume and no one would even notice.  Sigh…

What I’m going through isn’t the end of the world.  This is nothing compared to what others are going through. But the world just feels a bit dimmer for me.  I have to be careful not to let this melancholy mood take root.  Sometimes it can embrace me for a long time.





Wanted: Sleep

I finally slept around 5 AM the other night.  It lasted for 5 1/2 hours.  I managed to get through the day but it was littered with yawns.  I got home early, took some melatonin, and went to bed before midnight.  I didn’t want to take my regular sleeping meds because I have a lot to do today.

I woke up around feeling refreshed and my brain jumped out of bed before I did.  I looked at my phone and it was only 3:30.  I couldn’t get back to sleep.  But maybe this will get me back on a cycle of waking up around 6.  The past couple of weeks, I’ve been getting out of bed around 8:30 and sometimes even 9.

It’s just after 7 now and the night sky is slowly receding.  I think I’ll grab a quick walk and duck into a coffee shop.  I have to finish another job application today.  The pay is pretty low.  I applied to it a few months ago but didn’t hear back.  The company reposted it again.  I asked my contact about it and she hasn’t responded.  Oh well – just got to stay positive.


I only remember fragments of my dreams in the morning.  But most of them vanish later in the day.  Sometimes my dreams are reruns.  They are just repeats of the similar dreams. A common one I have is the inability to run.  My legs move in slow motion as if they are in a tub of jello. Sometimes it’ll be me trying to play basketball.  No matter how many times I try, I can’t seem to figure out how to dribble and shoot the basketball properly.  Although I have to admit, I’m like that in real life.

This morning I had a slightly different dream.  I was on a business trip with many of my ex colleagues.  Except I hadn’t finished packing and was still trying to get things ready by the time I got to the airport.  I didn’t have my passport. But it was a domestic flight and I had hoped my drivers licenses was good enough.  When I looked down at my shoes, it was a battered pair of faded leather oxfords.  Somehow my bagged got checked in before I did.  When I checked in, I was told the gate was closing in 15 minutes.  The gate was at the farthest point from the check-in place.  I ran for the gates and of course my legs moved in slow motion trying to move past the hordes of people.  I woke up before reaching the gate.

I’ve read that these types of dreams signify a test of some sort I’m going through in life.  And yes, I also have regular dreams about failing an exam.

Why can’t I have normal dreams?