Friday, January 11, 2008

I'm no longer an unemployed bum!

Yes, the rumours are true. I have a job. And not only do I have a job, but I have a job that starts on Monday. (I was given a tentative job offer just before Christmas, but didn't get the actual paperwork with the offer in writing until earlier this week. So it's not a complete surprise. To me, at least.)

I am going to be a reference librarian with the Library of Parliament, Law & Government Division. This is actually the second time I have applied for this job (and, incidentally, the second time I've been offered it, but I had to turn it down the last time around). It's only an 8-month contract (filling in for a librarian who's been seconded to another government department), but I've been advised that, due to various reasons, there is a good chance of another position being available for me, either in the Law & Government Division, or elsewhere in the LOP.

Don't know exactly what the job will entail yet. The Law & Government Division has about 25 or so people in it, four of whom are librarians. (Although there's only three of us right now - long story.) It's a research division providing support to Members of Parliament on questions specifically related to law and government. Some of the other members of the division are lawyers, but not all of them.

I've only ever worked as a librarian in an academic setting, so this will be quite different for me, I think. I suspect I'm going to miss the one-on-one reference sessions with students (not to mention teaching, which I miss already!), but there will surely be many challenges for me to tackle and new things for me to learn, and I doubt it will be nothing less than quite interesting.

But please, hold back your congrats on my going to work at the most beautiful library in all of Canada. Those of you not interested in libraries may not know that the Library of Parliament underwent a massive renovation a few years ago. It's the only part of the original Parliament buildings left standing, built between 1860 and 1876. In 1916, a devastating fire burned the Parliament buildings down to the ground, with the exception of the library, which was saved, at least in part, by the heavy, closed iron doors that stood between it and the fire-gutted Centre Block. Anyway, the library is gorgeous, like something out of a movie set:

However. I won't be working there. (I wish!) No, my division of LOP is off-site (as much of its divisions are), in a nondescript building near O'Connor and Queen, a good five or six blocks away. My workplace will likely look more like this:

Do you suppose I could negotiate to have Ron Livingston visit me once in a while? He can even have my stapler.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Someday, I will show this to his girlfriend and embarrass him

Rion, in his shiny new raincoat, over top of his winter coat, complete with booties, ready for a walk on a rainy, but snow-covered January day:
Someday, I will show this to his girlfriend and embarrass him

Once I got the jacket on, however, I realized it was no longer raining, so off it came:
Looking more dignified

We've had weird weather here. I fear the Rideau Canal is not going to be able to open anytime soon. It was icy-cold and blustery and wintery through the last week of November and most of December - we had a number of really good winter storms - but the last few days in particular have been quite warm. It was 10 above yesterday, and today it's probably about 5 above. So everything is melting. Which might make some people happy, but it makes my dog sad because he really does like his little booties.*

If anyone is interested, I put up a few more pictures of the snow around our place over the past few weeks.

* OK, maybe "like" is a strong word. But he seems to appreciate what they are for. Before we got them, a few years back, walks outside lasted no longer than 5 minutes, because his paws would get too cold and he'd want to be carried. Now we can be outside for 15 minutes or even longer (on a semi-nice day). He loves to plow through deep, fluffy snow, his head down like a snowplough pushing through the layers. That doesn't work so well on days like today, when it is all slushy and half-ice and wet.

Monday, January 07, 2008

A resolution or two...

So seeing as how it's the New Year, a good time to take stock of one's life, I thought about whether or not it was worth my while to make any resolutions. Is there any point in trying to improve perfection, I ask you?

But what could I possibly resolve? I couldn't resolve with a straight face that I'd start going to the gym, since I already am going to the gym, having taken out a membership at my local Goodlife back in early November. And I've been pretty good about going since then, with the exception of the past few weeks which were largely spent traveling here, there, and everywhere.[1] I in fact like going to the gym and I will go again. Tomorrow.[2]

Other ideas that crossed my mind were: travel to an exotic land, learn a new language, search out old friends now lost. But you know what? 2007 was a good year. I traveled to Japan and a myriad of other exotic Asian countries, I at least pretended that I was learning Japanese (that one could perhaps use a new resolution), and I reconnected with a bunch of folk from high school and elsewhere thanks to the wonders of Crack -er, Facebook. On a related note, I might take a trip to Quebec City later this year - that's pretty exotic.[3]

Some people resolve to get a better job. Well, seeing as how I've been unemployed for over 5 months now, I figure almost any job is a better job, if of course you subscribe to the silly notion that sitting around at home playing with the dog all day is not a job.[4] At any rate, I already belong to the best profession in the world, and couldn't ask for a whole lot more.[5]

I entertained the idea that I might give up, once and for all, procrastination. But, you see, I've worked it to somewhat the level of an art, and would feel bad giving it up now. Maybe next year.[6]

What else? I already cut my hair short (what? I didn't mention that?), learned to knit, take the dog for daily walks, read as many books and watch as many old(er) movies and play as many boardgames as I possibly can, and am in the process of memorizing all the words to all the ABBA songs ever recorded[7].

I decided, then, to make two simple resolutions:

1. I will drink lots of water, somewhere near the recommended 8 glasses if possible.
A weird resolution, I know, but something that is recommended time and time again by doctors and nutritionists and healthy people. I did it for a while a few years back and I felt great. But all too often, I spend my days nearly dehydrated. So look out toilet! I'm going to visit more often.[8]

2. I will learn to cook.
Of course, I know how to cook. I even enjoy cooking once I get down to it. However, my repertoire is rather, shall we say, limited. I have 7 different variations of pan-fried chicken[9], I can make mashed potatoes and rice[10], I am locally acknowledged as the maker of delicious hot dogs, and I did fry up two hamburgers the other night, but really, there's a wider world of food and cooking out there that I want to discover. I've had some really good cookbooks on my bookshelf the last few years, and I plan on using them. But I'm slow as molasses about getting anything ready, and I don't try new things. Maybe I will occasionally share some of the cooking successes (and/or disasters, since it's possible there may be more of those) on this site.

And on that note, since Randal had his first day back at work today, I'm going to look into making some dinner. I think I might try a soy-simmered chicken, though I note I have neither star anise or cinnamon sticks- Do people really keep those kinds of things in their kitchen on a regular basis? *sigh* I have so much to learn.

[1] Also known as Toronto three times and Winnipeg once.

[2] Or maybe the day after. I mean, today's almost over, which means tomorrow is almost here, which means I need tomorrow to do the things I was supposed to do today.

[3] There's been rumblings of a 15-year high school reunion back at QHS. 15 years? Yikes. I'm sure I'm not old enough to be attending that.

[4] 'Course, I don't get paid for it. I should really try to negotiate that.

[5] Someone actually pays me to sit around with books all day long, research interesting topics, help people find what they are looking for, and even teach. Well, when I'm actually employed, that is.

[6] It also occurred to me that such a resolution might entail the inclusion of timely updates of my blog and my photos on Flickr. I just can't espouse the adoption of a resolution that I am inevitably going to break, and in record time, too! But you know what? I'll try to be better.

[7] OK, that's not true. I in fact am fiercely proud of being, perhaps, the worst person in the world for singing along to songs for which I have absolutely no idea what any of the words are: "It had to be you, it had to be you, dee dee blah blah blah, something something blah blah, no matter whooooo..."

[8] On that note, don't ask me how much water I've had today.

[9] With soy sauce, with mustard (preferably dijon), with honey and cayenne pepper (my favourite), with Thai chili sauce, with beer (I love cooking anything in beer, actually, since you then have the "excuse" to drink the rest of the bottle), with hoisin sauce, and with apple slices and white wine (OK, I've never done that one - I needed to come up with a seventh - but it sounds kinda good, no?).

[10] Not together! Those are two separate entities. I haven't mastered the art of noodles yet; they scare me.

To my adoring fans...*

I'm working on it. Yeesh.

* Namely Mark. Even my mother has stopped harassing me about when I'm going to next update this blog.**

** Speaking of which, I did write some new book reviews on pixxiefish in the stacks, so you could go read those in the meantime. In particular, Mark, you will undoubtedly enjoy my oh-so-critical review of Anil's Ghost, a book of which I know you hold nothing but fondness in your heart.