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Archive for the ‘Rants’ Category

This may be a bit of a rant, and perhaps it’s a good thing that I no longer have regular readers — sadly the only people that seem to come to this blog are those who find it from an online search that happens to pull up a particular post.  Perhaps I should start publishing posts to my facebook and twitter. I’ll think about that for a bit… Step one is getting back to posting regularly…

So on that note, onto the topic at hand. Potluck Etiquette…

I have noticed in recent months, when a potluck food party is being planned and the ‘event’ is posted on Facebook there are comments posted such as…

“this house is now gluten free, please plan accordingly” … or …”guests, X, Y, Z are following the paleo diet so please only bring food sanctioned by that diet”… or … “the host is lactose free so please don’t bring anything with lactose”…

 

Now, I want to note, I am not discussing this from a perspective of whether a host should have alcohol or not at a party. That is their prerogative.  Alcohol is a controlled substance, and there exists legitimate addiction to this substance.  I am also not talking allergies, legitimate allergies, that is!  If a person’s allergy is so severe that they experience an anaphylactic reaction, then I am all for keeping them away from the product!  If their reaction is so severe that they cannot be in the presence of the item, then let’s keep it out of any house they visit.

 

What I’m talking about are those people who are choosing to follow a particular diet, or who choose to cut out a particular product from their diet (perhaps due to preference, a sensitivity or intolerance or even an allergy -YES, allergy – that they only experience if they eat an item). I certainly believe that it is important that they be given the information they need to make appropriate food choices – so let’s plan to label food we bring to potluck items so people know if a product contains meat, diary, wheat, eggs, soy etc…

 

But with the caveats I have mentioned is it really necessary to limit your guests when it comes to what they bring to a potluck? Sure, for balance it’s nice to make sure not everyone is bringing a dessert, but is it really necessary to state that for all items that are being brought said food must be wheat-free, or dairy-free, or even meat-free? I’ve been finding that most potluck-related invites I have seen lately have been that way.

 

Conversely, When my family has our annual family christmas gathering, it’s potluck and there is all sorts of food there. DF (who doesn’t eat red meat) doesn’t request that everyone avoid their favourite red-meat recipes. Rather, he sees that there is (for example) meat in the chili and when he finds out that it is beef, he just doesn’t take any, and reaches for the chicken instead. Likewise for the meatballs.

 

Yet, I’ve seen invites where people will post “I have a dairy allergy, please don’t bring dairy” and another person “I don’t eat wheat, please don’t bring wheat”.  Are people okay with this? Is this the new normal? Again, I can understand “I will have an anaphylactic reaction and will not be able to breath, please don’t bring nuts anywhere near me”, and I can understand “I am allergic to dairy, please label your food with an ingredient list so I can see if it’s safe to eat”.  But to put an all out ban on something for a large party? That seems a little extreme.  If I am cooking dinner for DF, myself and another couple and the other couple is vegetarian, I am not going to make a roast chicken.  Likewise I wouldn’t use dairy in a similar context. But if I am having a party with a group of people, I think it’s fair to make sure there are alternates arriving that everyone can eat (by perhaps having the people with food restrictions bring food that they are able to eat) and to ensure people are prepared to write up a little note card outlining what’s in the item.

 

I was invited to a party recently where wheat (actually, all grains containing gluten), diary, eggs and meat were on the “do not bring at all” list.  So, fine, we can respect that but it made me realize how odd it was to watch as different people piped up with their food preferences and how that increased the ‘do not bring’ list.  So my proposal is this: Let’s have a ‘potluck item labelling station’ and a party where anything goes for food.  Anyone with a specific diet restriction can plan to bring something that fits in with their diet plan, and those who don’t have restrictions will do what they like and we can all just enjoy ourselves.

 

And for the record I have a bona fide dairy allergy. It’s been tested and documented and it isn’t just me choosing to have a food restriction because it seems to be the cool thing to do. I hate this allergy, LOVE dairy, and am terrible about limiting dairy, so I face the consequences on a daily basis.  ALSO, I never expect that anyone will cater to my diet needs. Good grief, I don’t even expect DF to avoid having cheese in our home just because I *SHOULD* avoid it.  I am an adult, I can make my own choice about what I eat, no one forces it down my throat.  If I am at a party and the cheese looks amazing I choose if I take it or skip it, and if there is pasta with a cream sauce I say ‘no thank you’.  I never expect that anyone will set up a party that is 100% dairy free just for me.

 

So, friends… for the next potluck party I am attending… if there is a unilateral ridiculous food ban (that isn’t alcohol or due to a severe anaphylactic allergy as some can be)… I may just bring an amazing-tasting item that contains whatever is the item of protest. It will be in my own serving dish – with utensils (so it doesn’t contaminate anyone else’s dish/utensils unless it’s by choice), it will be well-labelled and it will be up to each adult present to make their own choice as to whether or not they should choose to eat said item.  That is if I don’t just skip the event entirely out of the insanity of this trend!

<End Rant>

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Angry

Break ups, whatever the form, suck. And this one is no different. Each time I go through one, I handle it differently.  This one hurts, yes. I feel bruised, yes.  I’m hiding a bit because I’m not feeling confident enough to put myself out there right now. I’m back to considering online dating — at least I can screen potentials while in the comfort of my home.  But the weird thing is I haven’t really cried.  Nothing more than a few tears here and there.  I’m not saying I’m not sad. I really am.  But I’ve been expecting this and dealing with this idea for a while, so as much as I would have liked the chance to see where this could progress, I wasn’t hoping for it.  And, I haven’t cried.

But I have reached the angry stage.  I’m not angry at the distraction, he hasn’t done anything wrong.  He hasn’t lied to me, that I can tell.  But really, I am angry that he said that he doesn’t want to close the door to discussing ‘us’ in the future.  He made sure to say that he didn’t want to have me hanging on by a string because he didn’t know how long it’d take him for his life to stop sucking (it’s been crappy lately), and that if I’m with someone if/when he’s ready to explore something it’s his loss.  Later on, I commented that I was fine, because I want to be with someone who wants to be with me (essentially, attempting — along with the other things I’d said in the conversation — to convey that I get it, that he’s ‘just not that into me’).   His response? To correct me and say that I should be with someone who can give me what I want right now.

GRRRRR. And that’s what makes me angry.  As a friend was telling me last night (who, last night, also went through a similar break up for similar reasons), the guy she’d been seeing commented that the distraction just said those things because he didn’t want to hurt me. Confirmation of my thoughts.  And that makes me angry.

Why angry? Because, yet again, it’s the same situation as I’m always in. A guy who likes me but not enough.  And a guy who doesn’t have the courage to tell me the truth, cut the ties and then move on.  It makes me angry because we’ve always been honest with each other and I know that he has always tried to be honest with me.  Am I willing to trust, even in this, that he’s telling me the truth?

There is NO WAY I plan on going forward holding on to some vague ‘hope’ that he’ll change his mind and want to explore things again more intentionally once the hell he’s in the middle of calms down.  So, I’m angry.  I’m angry because I can’t forget that he’s said those things, but like the guy my friend was seeing, I’m also sure that he said those things to try and make it easy on me. In the moment, perhaps it does, but overall? NO it definitely doesn’t.  Why? Because regardless of my attempts I can’t forget that he said those things. And right now, if he came up to me and said that he regretted our conversation, I’d take him back.  Maybe in a month or two I wouldn’t.  But right now I would and that makes it harder to move on.

Definitely the easiest break up I had was when the guy said ‘when I break up I’m done, I don’t believe in back and forth, once it’s over it’s OVER’.  That was painful, but easy because I knew that nothing could or would change.  I dealt with it, moved on.  Ironically, he’s the one who did regret it and later asked to get back together (a few times), but I had truly moved on. I was done.

I’m okay with it if a guy really means it: that he needs space to deal with his own crap and, later when he’s able, may want to explore things.  But, DON’T say it unless you really mean it.  And I don’t believe any guy really ever means it.  Which is what makes me angry.

I have a friend who’s close enough to know what’s going on with the distraction and who knows that I’d like to know what’s going on (that way I don’t have any surprises to deal with).   If the distraction was just in some crazy way trying to be ‘nice’, rather than honest, and as much as I wouldn’t want it to happen, I do hope he gets involved quickly with someone else. That way my friend will let me know and I will have that severing that’s painful but that totally cuts ties.  Right now, the ties are cut, yes, but they’re not gone.

And the guy who confirmed to a friend my suspicions (that the distraction was just doing that to be nice and not hurt me)? When my friend and this guy ended things yesterday  (similar situation etc etc). He said the SAME THING!!!  ARGGGGGGG!!!!

Why do guys do this and what the HELL is wrong that I cannot find a guy who will stick around for a while?

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EI Frustrations

Ahem. Please excuse me while I have a brief rant.  I’ve had a distraction this weekend. Unfortunately it’s not a pleasant one — not ‘the distraction’ I’ve mentioned in passing on this blog (unfortunately).  Last week I mentioned that I was being audited. From 2004-2006 I was working for a Clinical Diagnostics company — this is a company that provided diagnostic products to clinical labs.  It closed it’s office in my city in late 2006 and laid us all off.  For the better part of 2007 I was on EI (employment insurance) as a result of this lay off.

I didn’t feel right about just sitting at home and job hunting.  I’ve always had an independent spirit and a strong work ethic (when I’m dating a guy it even feels weird to have him pay for me all the time — I like it, but it’s still a weird feeling). Also, I was concerned about gaps in my resume. The other thing that bothered me was self-identifying with being ‘unemployed’ — to me that’s a significant statement to make and a VERY difficult one (as an aside, it also played a role in choosing to attend nursing school — it’s not the primary reason but it was certainly one factor).  So, when I had the chance to start teaching ESL I jumped on it. This particular position was not one that paid enough for me to even stop being on EI (though many weeks I received very little), nor was it one that met my career objectives, though it did mean that I could state that I was an ESL Teacher (rather than an unemployed scientist). So, I worked for the ESL School part time and continued to look for a career-related position (and found one eventually — the one I’m now working at a few hours each week while I go to Nursing School).

So what’s going on now? The method of reporting is so confusing that there is a huge complication between my records, my pay statements and what the EI people have on record, so I’m being audited and I’ve already spent about 6 hours on this audit this weekend alone, trying to figure out what was going on back then!!!

So why is this a rant and why am I frustrated:

  • I don’t have time to be dealing with this mess right now, I’m in a very intense program and my schedule is completely BONKERS. Even without this, my stress is high, and will remain high until the Christmas Break.
  • For the next 20 months I’m in school, hardly making anything, and if I can’t explain records from almost 3 years ago I’ll have to pay the EI people back. BUT I have no money so I will be paying the EI people with my Student Loans or a Bursary — if I win one. I suspect they wont defer the payments that long, nor would I want them to, this whole thing is VERY annoying.
  • As I mentioned, I have a strong work ethic an an independent spirit. What this means is I find handouts VERY difficult to accept.  So it bothered me that I was on EI, so I chose to work. Yet, had I not chosen to work, I would have received roughly the same amount of money per week (~$90 less per week since we could work a tiny bit without losing money that EI gave), but I would not be dealing with this stress now. So had I not chosen to work, the EI people would have paid me more than they actually did, as I would have used the maximum benefit available to me.

Why are they auditing me NOW after so long?? Why not while the EI benefit is being paid out? Why not as soon as the benefits are exhausted so that the records are fresh and so that the company still exists so that their records are more complete?!?! (It’s a very good thing I’ve kept in touch with my old boss — though she doesn’t have much information, it’s better than nothing)

So this begs the question and the rant: I understand wanting to make sure that people don’t defraud the system, but REALLY??? Could there be some published evidence that the EI people are auditing those that don’t work at all so that they can be sure that they were actually job hunting as they were supposed to be, rather than enjoying some time off?  That I’d like to see.

Grumble.  Okay, the rant is done and now it’s time for me to get ready for school and work tomorrow, so that at least I get a little bit of sleep.

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Crossing Borders

I have nexus. It’s a wonderful thing, I’m pre-screened which means most of the time I don’t get many questions, I breeze right through border line ups and it’s all good. This weekend, I went down with someone who doesn’t have nexus. So we went through the regular line up. I’ve had my trunk checked a number of times going into the USA, that doesn’t surprise me. What surprised me was when they opened up my spare tire well and looked in there.  The many odd questions were strange too.

On the way home, though, it was worse.  We had to pull over, we got grilled and they ripped my car apart.  They made me feel violated and guilty of something. Anything. I didn’t know what. I am always scrupulously honest about any declarations so I wasn’t concerned about things when they said they were sending us in to verify my declaration. But then to be told that they were doing drug checks??? WHAT??? Why not just use drug dogs, at least it would give them a good idea that there’s no drugs on my car.  But they tore my car apart, they searched my purse, opened my toiletries — and now know my preferences about personal items I carry with me. I felt dirty, like I was believed to be a criminal.  Perhaps the young girl who was working as a border guard didn’t believe that two women could go to the states overnight and not spend more than $50 between the two of us. Perhaps they were confused that a person with a nexus pass was not in the nexus lane (which seems weird since I’m not supposed to go in the nexus lane with a non-nexus person). Perhaps my friend, who is very well traveled, had some unique enough visas in her passport that it was flagged.

Who knows. All I know is that it made for a frustrating end to a drawn out weekend. It was a fun weekend, a good blues party, not epic, and made me miss my favourite leads.  But, I must say, this border crossing experience put a damper on my travel plans. I think I may end up traveling alone more to the USA. Friends are more than welcome to meet me in Blaine if they want to ride with me, but really, I don’t want to deal with this #$@# anymore when crossing the border. Which is unfortunate since I’m traveling more and more.  But if people aren’t willing to go through the process of getting security checked they can deal with this crap at the border. I’d rather not.  Sigh. For now, though, I’m going to sleep. Blissful sleep in my own bed.

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A horrible day… AKA: CAR RANT

This week has been nuts. Frustrating, exhausting. I have life direction questions. Dreams questions. Frustrations that I am where I am, stuck, alone and well, stuck.  I’ve  been frustrated with how things have been going and I’m trying to figure out how to change this.

Today was a horrible day.  Work was stressful all week, I’m weary and tired from that. Life and direction questions surround me. And I was spending money to fix my car. Never fun. I go to pick up my car to find out that I  had just spent $320.00 (incl. tax) — that I was told would fix my car’s sunroof — for a repair that did absolutely nothing. And if I wanted to be properly fixed that I’d have to give them an additional $150.00 at least to fix it. I didn’t yell, but I was unhappy and explained that had there even been a chance of it being more than that to fix it that I would never have authorized the repair. We debated about this and agreed to discuss it again on Monday.   Then I went out to my car, to discover that my stereo had been stolen. The lock must have been popped because nothing was smashed. I suspect an inside job. They took the stereo, the hidden faceplate and the remote! They knew what they were doing.

I went back in, quite upset — almost in tears — they felt terrible. At first the office manager said that they’d pay my ICBC deductible, but the owners of the shop were more understanding since my car wasn’t the only one that had been hit. So tomorrow I get to see what exactly they’re going to do about all this. I am NOT spending any more money and they had better replace my stereo with one that is equal or better than the one I had.  Because, reporting this to ICBC is pointless, my deductible is more than the stereo cost me, and it would just increase my insurance. I am TICKED…

Here’s hoping the weekend improves with The Insomniacs Concert…


UPDATE Feb 16, 2009: The shop has readily agreed to take care of the sunroof — free of charge. I think they feel terrible about the break in and are trying to preserve their good name. They said they’d be in touch tomorrow about the stereo. Here’s hoping they are going to take care of that too. They’d better. If they do, they will certainly get my recommendation — with this story told.

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Have you ever had a day when you wished you’d never gotten out of bed. Today at work was a frustrating difficult day. Work was annoying, and exhausting, my car is going to cost $200+ just to figure out what’s wrong with it (more if I actually need to get my sunroof fixed with parts).

I feel faced with that permanent question about what makes me happy. Back to that passworded profile. Is that me? It was honest but is it enough to flip my world upsidedown? Knowing what I really want, what’s the best way to achieve that?

I think I need a vacation.

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A Yale Story… Almost

Men in Vancouver are wimps. Call me traditional, but I expect to be asked out. I expect to be pursued. I expect to be approached, at the very least.  If you are a guy, sitting in a place and you find a woman attractive, you need to step up. Particularly if you’ve caught her eye. If you’ve caught her eye, it probably means she’s attracted to you too.  And maybe many women in this city would go up to you as you sit there drinking your drink, hanging with your friend — but most want you to approach her. Why? But I am worthwhile to be pursued. If you’re attracted to me, checking me out as I dance, you can get off your ass and walk up to me as I sit there alone listening to the band. Because you are not going to get anywhere if you don’t. I am beautiful, a good dancer and worthwhile enough to be shown that I am valued enough to make the effort — rather than forcing me to make the move just to meet a good looking guy in this bloody city.

What’s the worst that could happen? You’ll find out that a woman’s not interested. You will have flattered the woman, perhaps boosted her self confidence, but as long as you are not creepy and as long as you are socially well adjusted you will probably flatter her. Come on men in Vancouver! Play the game. Sheesh.

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