Thursday, May 29, 2008

This is not my beautiful house; this is not my beautiful wife...

I got the most bizarre letter today, in response to a job as a librarian for an employer who shall remain unnamed, more than 7 months after I'd been interviewed.*

Dear Ms. Lavigne:

After a careful assessment of the information you have provided on your application for the above-mentioned appointment process, the persons responsible for assessment have concluded that you do not meet the following merit criteria identified for screening:

Knowledge of the principles, theories, techniques and practices of library and information science related to the delivery of research and reference services.

Consequently, you will not be considered further in this appointment process.

As you can undoubtedly imagine, this comes as quite a shock to me since, with the exception of my recent stint teaching English in Japan, I have spent the better part of the last 5 years (and more!)** labouring under the belief that I have been, in fact, delivering research and reference services to others. But apparently, I was wrong.

It turns out the library in question hired someone for the position months and months ago, and it was only recently discovered that HR had never sent letters advising the various candidates. I suspect there was a scramble, and somewhere along the way, the wrong box got ticked off next to my name, kind of like when the JET people marked me down in their database as re-contracting, instead of not. I'm not looking for sympathy - I didn't even really want the job in the first place - and in fact, I think it's the funniest thing to have happened to me yet all year!***

* Surely the mention of the extreme time-delay has given the employer away as government. And to be fair, the letter came from the Human Resources section of the particular department in question - I like to feel that the librarians at the library itself would have never branded me in that manner.

** I first started working in law library reference services in 2000, so you do the math.

*** That makes my life sound boring. Make it "this week".

Friday, May 23, 2008

So what have you done with your life?

So. It occurred to me the other day that my life thus far can be largely packaged into 5-year chunks:

  • 5 years ago, I graduated from Dalhousie.

  • 10 years ago, I graduated from York U.

  • 15 years ago, I graduated from Québec High School.

  • 20 years ago, I graduated from Colonel John Stuart Elementary School.

In 1983 and 1978, I wasn't doing much of anything of any interest. Kind of, uh, like now, except now, I'm older, able to tie my shoelaces all by myself, and my mom doesn't tell me to make my bed anymore. Usually.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Finally, travelling...

So we are off in the morning for 4 days in Québec City. This is our first real trip since returning from overseas, unless you count trips to visit family in Toronto and Winnipeg. Though I guess our 3-day, cross-Ontario drive to Winnipeg and back last September shouldn't be so readily discounted. Fine. This is our second real trip since returning from overseas, and the only one that involves no family component whatsoever.[1]

Randal has never been to Québec City, so it will be fun to show him around. It won't be a total Greatest Hits of Julie's Early Adolescence, since, really, I'm sure he's not that interested in the church hall where I spent countless hours rehearsing with the Québec Art Company for their latest musical, nor in Place Laurier where I spent way too much time shopping with my girlfriends and dodging boys I had crushes on[2], nor even Jessica's old house where we whiled away hours and hours in the basement putting together the QHS Scoop newspaper or watching Guns N' Roses and New Kids on the Block videos.

[As an aside, click that NKOTB link for a good laugh. They're getting back together! And, well, they're just not as cute as they used to be......]

Anyway, where was I? Ah yes, the Tour of Québec City. We are staying at the Hotel Acadia, which I stayed at the last time I was in Québec City, about 8 years ago, back when it was called La Maison Acadienne. It's a hotel in a heritage home, and really, really nice. It's right in the Old Town, so we will be well-poised to visit all the Old Town sites. Don't know about a ride in a calèche, but maybe.

The ulterior motive of the Québec City trip, however, is to attend a reunion of sorts at my old high school. This is a muddled story, and it hasn't quite turned out the way I'd hoped, but oh well. See, 2008 marks 15 years since I graduated from high school. Originally, a small group of people were trying to get together some kind of reunion to take place in either Québec City or Montréal. But that fell through. Then we found out that the school itself was hosting a reunion for all alumni, Back to School 2008, as one of many events being held in Québec City over the next few months in celebration of the city's 400th anniversary. So I decided I would go, since it gives us the excuse to take a short vacation in a lovely city![3] The only problem is, now, I only know of FOUR other people from my year who are also attending. I mean, I guess there will be teachers there that I may know, and others may show up of whom I did not know they were coming, but generally, it's just not going to be the great "how-nice-to-see-you-after-15-years" event of the summer. Which, now that I think about it, is kind of okay, since I really don't want to be reminded that I am old enough to have been out of school for 15 years.

Anyway, that's where I'll be if any of you are wondering why this daily-updated blog is suddenly no longer being updated daily.

And now, without further ado, I am off to watch Grosse Point Blank, the movie that has taught me everything I need to know about how to comport myself at such an event, only I'm not actually a professional killer, so when the guy comes to bump me off because I bumped off some other guy's dog (by mistake!), I may just beat him senselessly with my shoe and cry.[4]

[1] Well, sort of. I plan on going to visit my grandparents' gravesite, but that doesn't really count, does it?

[2] OK, that only happened once. And I'm sure Jen is going to whack me upside the head the next time she sees me, for the mere fact that I still remember this incident. Also, Place Laurier had this excellent hat shop that I frequented numerous times in the hopes of finding the perfect Debbie-Gibson hat. (Not the jacket, mind you. That would have been too uncool.) But, alas, it never happened, and thus ended my dreams of a musical career.

[3] i.e., a city that isn't either Toronto or Winnipeg, though both of those are lovely cities in their own ways.

[4] It was either that or Romy and Michele's High School Reunion, and I figure that I'd just never pass for a blonde bimbo. Besides, GPB has John Cusack, and what more could I possibly want in life? :)

Monday, May 12, 2008

The Incredible Pooperama

One of the big attractions of our new neighbourhood is the park across the street from our townhouse. It has a bunch of different areas - a soccer pitch, a small paved area with a basketball net, sand and a net for beach volleyball, a kids' playground complete with sandbox and swings. But our favourite part is the baseball field. See, the field is almost completely surrounded by a fence - otherwise, how would you tell that a home run has been scored, right?

We don't play baseball. But the fenced-in field means, in those times when the field is unoccupied, you can find a little white dog named Rion running free, off-leash, like a maniac, chasing his ball. We take him out there almost daily, now that the weather is nice again, to play ball, and boy oh boy does he love it. If we don't act quickly enough after returning home from a long day at work, he is bouncing off the walls[1] in anticipation of his expected walk. Woe to us on rainy days...

An interesting development, however, has been the slight expansion of Rion's ball-throwing circles. Every second time I take him to the park, or so, we are joined by one or two (or, as today, three) little kids who run over from the playground into the baseball field (usually as their parents look on trepidatiously[2]), shrieking, "Can I throw the ball? Can I throw the ball?"

As soon as we are joined by little churdlen, Rion becomes a show-off and doesn't want to give the ball up. But he eventually does, and then the child throws the ball a number of times for him[3]. He loves the attention.

Actually, as an aside, a funny thing happened the other day. I'd taken Rion out to the baseball diamond and we were throwing the ball around. Then Randal came by - I think he'd been at his swimming lesson so was coming home late. As he walked around the edge of the baseball field to where there is a small opening in the fence (along the infield, and we were playing out in the outfield), he was whooping and hollering to get Rion's attention. Rion picked up on the ruckus and starting running for Randal. Suddenly Randal is startled to see these two GIANT dogs barrelling at him from the other direction - a Saint Bernard and a Saint Bernard mix of some kind. He was swarmed with dogs. The two giants were lovely and gentle as can be, however, but it was pretty surprising, not to mention hilarious to see tiny little Rion next to these monsters. I wished I'd had my camera with me.

Anyway, today as we were playing with this boy, Tristan, who was about 11 and apparently plays football[4], and his two cousins, the younger cousin, maybe 6 years old, tells me that he wants a dog but his mom won't let him have one because "she says dogs poop all over the furniture - is that true?"

I had to play the adult card on this one, sadly - of course it's not true that dogs poop all over furniture, but I'm not going to have this kid report back to his mom that some lady in the park says she's wrong! So I mumbled some stuff about dogs being a lot of work, and you need to spend a lot of time training them and taking care of them and teaching them stuff, and that certainly not all dogs poop on furniture - my dog being a case in point - and that maybe some dogs do, but that it takes a lot of time and training to teach dogs where to poop and where not to poop, including the furniture, and not everyone has time to teach a dog these things. I mean, really - if you didn't teach your kid to poop in the toilet, they might choose the furniture to poop on, too, no?[5]

And now, I am going to go sit on my poop-free couch[6] and read my book.

[1] Almost literally. He is a Jack Russell terrier, after all.

[2] How do you even spell that word??? Gee, if only there were some technology or thing by which I could check the spelling...

[3] They also usually throw the ball better and farther than I do, the little brats.

[4] That's my excuse for why he was such a good thrower, actually. Don't ask about the other kids.

[5] I didn't actually share my thoughts on that very last bit just in case the kid decided to become a dog-pooping-rights activist and start demonstrating his ability to be poorly trained by pooping in random spots himself.

[6] Dog puke, now that's another story.