Monday, August 29, 2005

where to start?

I'm behind on so many messages/emails to so many people, it's surprising that they're not used to it yet. This is why I'm such an advocate for blogging: I'm lazy!!

Crystal: Welcome back! (almost) I have to admit I've been so busy I haven't kept up with your journal, but hopefully I'll get to see you before I leave. As I've mentioned earlier, I'll be in Edmonton at some point - I'm just not sure when yet. Will you be on campus at all? Are you getting a job right away? What's happening with your life after you get back to Canada?

Jenn: It would be great to see you again & meet your fiance. My life is pretty hectic, but after this weekend with the double move I should be more available - especially if you two like coffee. (I mentioned I was working at the Braeside 2nd cup, right?)

Chandra: Thanks! I'm so excited too!! How did your courses go this summer? Are you back to teaching for the year, or are you still a student for now?

Caitlin: I'm going to Chiba university (Chiba is about a 40 minute train ride NE of Tokyo), and I do have tons of questions about what to bring & where to go. For instance, Dad & I will be touring the main island for 2 weeks before school starts, but should we try to make it up north? Is there a lot worth seeing in Hokkaido, or should we focus on the Tokyo/Kyoto region and save Hokkaido for another time?

Ellen: I'm going to be at Chiba University for a WHOLE year!! Ueno isn't that far by train, is it? An hour or so, I'm guessing? We should definitely hook up - does this mean you're staying in JET for another year? It would be great to have someone close by to reminisce with.

Patrice: You crazy kid, that email does not get you off the hook - I was Europe details, and I want lots of them!! When did you get back, what's happening with school this year, how are things between you & mom, you & Richard, you & all the folks back home (which home, you might ask? Edmonton, of course). Will you ever be back on MSN? I miss you dammit. Come visit me in Japan.

Lisa: Thanks again for lunch today, your pictures were fun and your China trip was obviously awesome. Keep me up-to-date with your HUB contact info & Sinh stories this year. It will be strange not having you in any of my classes, but I can still harass you for help with Japanese. Say hi to everyone in the department, and when you think of me, think of me shopping on the streets of Tokyo. (mwu-ha-ha)

Mindy: Skype is an internet telephone company that allows peer to peer phone calls via computers. In other words, it lets you call people all around the world for free and all you need is a microphone & speakers of some sort. The software is all 100% free, and the connection between computers in my experience is always clear & without any lag. Download it!!

That goes for all of you!

Kristine: Your new site is pretty, but I'm still trying to figure out how to navigate it. I can't wait to hear about your new classes & which ones you'll be skipping on a regular basis, not to mention your post-graduation plans. Are you in school for the whole year? or just one more semester? Will you still go to the Japanese conversation club even if your not in 301/302 this year?

In other news, I had a dentist appointment last week. It was just a routine cleaning & check-up like I've gotten every six months for the last 24 years or so, but this time, my dentist had some exciting news. I have a cavity!! - I know, you all think I'm crazy, you're thinking he's already given me the laughing gas or something, but really - I'm excited. I've never understood why people get so scared going to their dentists, or how anyone can claim that it is a painful experience. I had no idea I had a cavity, and now that I have it I still have no idea where it is. There is absolutely no pain, I can't see it when I examine my teeth in the mirror, and getting a filling will be a new eye-opening experience. Anyways, the whole thing goes down on August 12th, at 9:30 in the morning. I guess I'll find out then what all the fuss is about, but until then, the score is now Cori:23, Plaque:1. Lets see what happens after a year abroad.

Friday, August 19, 2005

one month left and nowhere to go

As September 20th gets closer, I realize the growing number of things I need to figure out before I leave. Simultaneously, my work schedule seems to have exploded into never ending afternoon shifts (11am - 7pm), which mean my days both before and after work are pretty much useless. I was originally going to make September 15th my last day, but I don't think that will leave me with enough time to be prepared for Japan.. especially if I have to make an impromptu trip up to Edmonton for a bris*. Marnie's baby is officially due on September 3rd, but rumour has it that the baby dropped early and she'll most likely give birth some time this week.

I dropped in to dad's place tonight after shabbos dinner, and the basement is really coming along. Greg, the handy-man from the hotel, has been putting in tons of hours and has all of Stephen's room insulated & dry-walled. My room is about 1/2 done, and the main rec-room just needs the dry-wall put up. I think he's going to finish all of the dry-wall over the weekend and then work on the bathroom tiles while the dry-wall mud is drying. Dad's picking up paint tomorrow to start preparing the baseboards. Carpet is due sometime in the next 2 weeks, and then hopefully Steve & I can move in before Mom moves out of her place. Living out of 3 different homes is wreaking serious havoc on my sanity, but having to pack up my room at Mom's while I'm trying to organize my things and pack for Japan will not be fun.

Anyways, today was a long day at work & my back is killing me. I'm gonna crawl into bed and catch up on my DVD collection. Latest purchases? The Incredibles, Ocean's 12, The Bourne Identity, The Bourne Supremacy, Bowling for Columbine, & Apollo 13: the anniversary edition.

* a bris is a Jewish ceremony that takes place 7 days after the birth of a baby boy. It involves his circumcision (ouch) & official baby-naming (both english & hebrew names), and must be performed by a rabbi. When a baby girl is born, we have a baby naming ceremony that I assume is somewhat less painful.

Monday, August 15, 2005

a family affair: part deux

I almost forgot, but last night, after visiting with Sandy & Brent, I ran over to Dad's for a few minutes. It was so cute, I came in the front door and Karma gave out a little yelp from the family room. He's not much of a guard dog, but his barking woke dad up, who'd been sleeping on the couch in front of the TV. It was a good thing, because as soon as he'd woken up, the phone rang. I played with Brandy & Karma while Dad talked to Babi, and then he passed the phone over to me. She wanted to make sure I'd gotten all of the leftover's from Friday night dinner that she'd sent over, and to remind me that if I needed a place to stay between Mom's move & Dad's renos, she has room for me. After the call, Dad & I visited for a bit and then when he got his nightly call from Pitt Meadows (one of the Bad Ass franchisees) I ducked out the door to finally head home after a long day of work.

And what day of family visitings would be complete without another visit from the boy wonder himself? When Stephen got home from work, he immediately headed downstairs to see what was on my TV. He plopped himself down on the bed & got comfortable to watch West Side Story with me, which I've never seen before & he loves. He didn't make it through the whole movie, but was downstairs with me for at least a 1/2 hour. A fitting end to a rather unusual day.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

a family affair

Today was a day for family, and strangely enough, a rather pleasant one. My day began in the kitchen where Stephen & Mom were both in a pretty good mood. We chatted for a while and then after getting ready for work, Mom & I worked on today's sudoku puzzle. For those of you who don't know, sudoku is the Japanese version of crossword puzzles using numbers and logic puzzles. I've gotten addicted to them this summer and Mom & I usually race to see who can finish the puzzle first. Today's had a 5-star rating and was too difficult for either of us to finish on our own. Working together we got about 1/4 of the puzzle finished and were stuck. It was still nice to spend some stress-free time together.

At work, Tamara stopped by to visit. After working there 2 months, I suppose it was bound to happen, but I was still a little surprised. Tamara is one of my older cousins and she lives in a condo behind the complex that 2nd cup is in. Anyways, she dropped in to buy a coffee and say hello, and we ended up chatting for a bit. She told me that Becca (her younger sister) got a tattoo and that she just got back from Vancouver. Her older sister, Marnie (my Edmonton cousin) is due in a couple of weeks so I guess they all want to be nearby for the new arrival. Since cupville was pretty dead, I ran outside with her to get a look at her new car. It's a pretty sweet ride - a 2005 Hyundai Sante-Fe. We wanted to catch up, so she invited me over to her place for dinner tomorrow. She's been there for 2 years now so it will be nice to see what the place looks like finally.

After work, Mom & I went to look at another place for rent. It was a dump and easy to cross off the list, but afterwards, we had to run over to my Aunt's place. Sandy is the one who's husband is renting my place in Edmonton. Anyways, we dropped in and since I haven't seen her new place either, I was given the grand tour. My cousin Brent was there so I hung out with him while Mom & Sandy caught up. Brent's 18 now, just graduated high school, and moving out on Wednesday. He found a basement suite for 350$ a month and is starting a new job at a camping equipment store downtown. He seems pretty excited about getting out on his own (and who wouldn't), and as the older, wiser cousin who's moved out many times already, I decided to share some of my wisdom with him. Now, you all know my position on paying for public transit, but for those of you just tuning in - here's a recap.

I don't pay to use the LRT. I've heard so many stories of people that have gotten caught riding without a pass, and all they get is a warning. I've seen first hand people getting caught on the train, and they get walked to the ticket machines and shown how to purchase a ticket. So I figure, why bother buying a bus pass for 55$ per month when chances are, I won't have to spend a dime even if I get caught. Now, I know that it's always possible, and I have heard of others that have gotten caught and given a ticket. These tickets tend to run around 125-150$. Worst case scenario? Even if I got caught twice during the school year, the 300$ in LRT tickets would actually be cheaper than paying 55$/month for the 8 months of school (440$ !!). Besides which, I can't help but wonder how the LRT cops can even enforce their tickets.. I mean, if you got caught on public transit without a ticket, why would you give them your name, address, and any other pertinent information that could help them stick you with a 150$ fine? There's no reason why I would have to show them any ID, and I would probably not give them my real name. In fact, I'd probably give them the name of someone I couldn't stand, and their address, just for good measure.
After hearing my advice, I managed to convince Brent to stick it to the public transit authorities, despite sharing this story from the family vault about his older brother, my oldest male cousin, Josh. Apparently, when Josh was a bit younger, in his drug-using, alcohol-abusing days of yore, he too chose to ride the C-train for free. Unfortunately, he got caught. Three times. The first left him with a warning to pay "or else". The second time, he got a ticket. (I didn't manage to find out how much it was for though.. hmm...) Josh, always a rebel, decided to not pay the ticket. Unfortunately, he'd given them his actual identification, and months later, when he was caught a third time, his unpaid ticket landed him in a holding cell for 8 hours until his dad, a lawyer, came to the rescue. I wonder if it's ironic that one of my nearest & dearest had to be sprung from the joint for doing something I managed to get away with for nearly 2 years in Edmonton?

Sunday, August 07, 2005

garage sale hell

Well, Mom sold her house. It's conditional until the 12th (Friday), but I'm crossing my fingers for her. In the mean time, we've spent the last 2 days pawning off junk via the garage, drive-way and front lawn. My aunt even peddled 15$ for t-shirts straight out of her trunk. It's amazing what people will buy when they think it's a bargain. Anyways, between cleaning the house, keeping it clean, being kicking out at random hours throughout the week for realtor showings, work, preparing for the garage sale, running the garage sale and running over to Dad's to keep up with reno's at his place, I haven't had time to update, let alone think about it for a while now. If Mom's conditional sale goes through, the buyers take possession of the house on September 5th.. that means that we have less than a month to pack and move, and I will be homeless yet again.

Update on Dad's place: we've picked and purchased the carpets, they should be ready to install in 2 weeks (or so).. the bathroom is still under chaotic re-organizations, there is a new wall being put up, and old one's torn down to accommodate the shower being moved into the tub area. We have a new vanity to put up (a super nice one) but we haven't picked out the hardware (ie, drawer handles and door knobs) yet or put the unit together. Furniture for Stephen's room and my room (the guest room) is still in boxes in the garage, but since it's all Ikea stuff, it should be easy to assemble when the time comes. All the drywall & other construction materials are in the basement ready to be put up, but it still looks like it will take a few days before anything major happens down there.

As for work, Yuko quit, so no more Japanese practice for me over the summer. I'm trying to work on the last 3 chapters in my 301/302 textbook that we never got to in class, but it's tough without a decent dictionary. I think that will be the first thing I buy in Japan. I'm already looking forward to quitting.... 2nd cup is an easy place to work, but I forgot how much I hated cleaning up after other people. Why do customers feel it's necessary to pile all of their napkins and trash either inside a mug still full of coffee, or else to shred them and leave them sprinkled over the bench/table/floor? As if that isn't bad enough, last night when I went to clean the bathrooms, the women's counter had a styrofoam cup with a bubbly yellow liquid in it. My first thought was actually that it was the remnants of someone's italian soda, but I made Laina clean it up just in case. She wore 2 sets of gloves and dumped it down the toilet because we didn't want to wash the sink afterwards considering all the possible contents of the mystery cup. EWWWWWWWWW.