Blogs

Me good work internet.

  • Posted on: 19 June 2013
  • By: Michelle

Uh, sorry. I was on my way to post, and I got distracted by my iPhone (formerly known as Rufus, then Prinz, then Geoffrey the gay butler and now Vera). And instagram. And Buzzfeed. And Snapchat. And What's App. And Vine. And my iPad (word from the wise: don't take one of those things anywhere near your bed - I haven't sleep in 6 weeks, 4 days and 14 hours. Coincidentally, I have owned an iPad mini for 6 weeks, 4 days and 14 hours. Weird. Although I am very good at Angry Birds Star Wars. That's golden resume material right there.)

I forgot I had a website.

But then I remembered.

So, it's all good, now.

Rolling, rolling, rolling ...

  • Posted on: 2 April 2012
  • By: Michelle

Two weeks into bank teller training and this is what I've got to show for it. Well, this and I can now recite the four essentials of client care, the five foundational values of my organization, the eight guiding principles underlying those values, the four tenets of client priority, the three main steps of the money laundering process, the three components of a negotiation triangle and the reference number for the form that needs to be filled out when you are resetting your bank card pin.

But you can be rest assured ... I AM AWAKE.

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Bed you can't guess what I got this weekend!

  • Posted on: 1 April 2012
  • By: Michelle

This is my friend Adam. Or Atom. Which sounds so much more unique and enigmatic.

claire

I met him when I was working at MEC last fall – he used to chase me through the backstock area telling me obscene jokes, and the only reason I ever added him to Facebook was because he promised me a bottle of his homemade Baileys. Which I am still waiting for.

claire

He's as much trouble as he looks – I didn't rip up cardboard and place it in my hood just to look good you know. Adam.

But he does have several good characteristics. First, he comes in handy at boring parties, where with access to a simple drinking straw, you can dare people to sip their beverage of choice by means of said straw inserted through any one of the various man-made holes in his body. Second, he helps me out with pretty much anything. If I feed him, he might even smile while helping me.

So, yesterday, with the promise of fine dining in an upscale Swedish establishment, Atom drove me to Ikea, waited the one-and-a-half hours it took to make a decision (at which point he helped inform me of the decision I would be making), stuffed several 8-foot long boxes into his Toyota Corolla and, wooed by a few slices of traditional Neapolitan pizza from "Pizza Bobs," helped me assemble a full-sized canopy bed in my bedroom-of-limited-square-footage at 1 a.m. on a Saturday morning.

I have been sleeping on a mattress on the floor ... or on a couch .... or on a mattress that doesn't fit in the bed frame ... or on a mattress on top of a makeshift bed frame built from 12 Rubbermaid containers and two doors ... for the past decade. And I've been complaining about my lack of an actual bed for equally as long. So, now that I have been gainfully employed for, you know, two full weeks, I thought that I would finally get myself a fancy, grownup bed.

claire

From Ikea of course. And don't go telling me that Ikea is college kids' furniture, because we all know that you actually need to have completed a university degree to put a Flärsknäädlestrüt together.

claire

So, I picked a bedframe I have been eyeing for years – it was one of the rare Ikea items that isn't made of plastic or fibreboard or a soft metal that bends when the house temperature increases, so it was always out of my price range. Seriously, I've hmm-ed and haaaa-ed about it for so long that it is now discontinued – Ikea had them marked down so low that I couldn't say no.

Even though an 8-foot tall canopy bed doesn't exactly fit in my dropped-ceiling hobbit hole ...

claire

But don't worry, with the help of my two university degrees, the single miniature hex-wrench that Ikea provided, some ingenuity and complete disregard for common sense ...

claire

... we made it work ...

claire

No. No, we totally did not put the headboard on backwards.

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I'm a CSR and that's OK! I sleep all night and I work all day! I cash your cheques, I wear high heels, pressed blouses and a skirt! Wait. What?

  • Posted on: 20 March 2012
  • By: Michelle

claire

Well, it's official. I can no longer go out gallivanting on saddle shopping sprees to Claresholm.

Today I tried out this new function on my phone, called ... uhhh ... A-L-A-R-M or something. Don't know, never used it befo... OH MY GOD WHAT IS THAT NOISE? WHY IS IT DARK? WHERE AM I? WHAT IS GOING ON? What do you mean people do this every day? Who does this every day? EVERYONE IN THE WORLD DOES THIS EVERYDAY? No wonder the psychotherapy industry is going strong.

So, today I started my training at RBC as a Customer Service Representative. Which is like a garbage man telling you he is a Waste Disposal Technician, or a janitor saying he is a Sanitation Engineer, or a cheerleader saying she is an Athletic Support Liaison. It's bank teller training. Sheesh.

And the answer is yes, this is totally what I planned to do with two university degrees, a college diploma, three languages, two pilots licences with five flight ratings and my Red Cross Certified Babysitter designation. No, no I totally haven't made several dozen job applications within my career fields over the last six months. Mostly I was just doing magnetic poetry and burning grilled cheese sandwiches. And practicing my sarcasm.

I owe RBC a heap of gratitude and appreciation for taking me on, and giving me a casual position that works with my always changing, unpredictable schedule. Especially because the last course I took that was even distantly related to banking and finances was my Grade 10 economics class, where I believe the currency of the day was "widgets."

So the truth is that, yes, while this wasn't exactly a planned stop on my career path, I am grateful to be employed, respectable of the kick in the pants, and genuinely open and interested in learning the ropes of a field that is completely foreign to me.

And when I say foreign, I mean like my international-student-orientation-welcome-to-America-we-will-now-demostrate-the-use-of-a-toothbrush foreign. Except here, I'm the kid who hasn't been exposed to toothbrushes. Seriously. No, wait, I don't mean seriously about not knowing what a toothbrush is. I do. And not because of my university's international student orientation - I knew before that too. And I'm not making fun of the students who didn't, it was just an analogy ... oh forget it.

When the financial advisor I met with today asked if I had any capital, I was like, weird, but okay - there's a big 'M' in front of my first name, and a big 'B' in front of my last name ... does that count? She checked the box next to no. RRSPs? And I was like, oooohhhh a party? Liabilities? Well, I can sleep pretty much anywhere.

So. That probably explains why RBC decided to start me out as a CSR and not a financial advisor.

But it's not the assets and markets and equity and interest rates and prime this and global that and TFSAs and RRSPs and RESPs and RSVPs that freak me out. There is really only one thing, beyond all others, that seriously frightens and concerns me about taking on this job.

clothes

To be continued ...

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Well, that wasn't weird* at all

  • Posted on: 18 March 2012
  • By: Michelle

* If you are a performance artist, or if you are Claire, anytime I say weird, I actually mean engaging and thought-provoking. Obviously.

This is my bohemian-hipster-artist sister Claire.

claire

She says she isn't a hipster. Which is what makes her a hipster. The mustard-coloured corduroy pants, vintage no-name sweaters and her mittens with stupid strings qualify her as bohemian. She is an art student at a bona fide art academy, which makes her way weirder* than an art student at a public university. She's also a Bartleman. So, that about sums that up.

claire

Claire was in cowtown for the past two weeks for a performance art seminar. Don't know what performance art is? Let's put it this way: even the art students at bona fide art academies think it's weird* ...

The workshops finished up this weekend with a show at a gallery downtown, so I called my friend Erin, to see if she wanted to go with me. I warned her that it was going to be weird*. To which she replied "I grew up hanging around your family. How much weirder could it be?"

Erin, the flier advertising the show has a picture of a lady combing a stuffed orangutang holding a furry umbrella. Remember the time my whole family was lying on the kitchen floor staring at the smoke detector and reciting lines from Wayne's World? I am pretty sure you will think of that as normal after this shindig.

When we got to the gallery, I asked the greeter if the duration pieces were still going on. She said "Yes, you can hear one happening right now." Echoing up the stairs we could hear this vague, wheezing sound. "We are just hoping that she doesn't pass out."

I turned to Erin and said, Yep, that's my sister.

claire

We walked down the stairs and were greeted by a pile of clear plumbing hose connected to party noise makers, and every 10 seconds or so they would inflate and deliver their iconic kazoo sound. It was kinda reminiscent of a birthday celebration at an old folks home.

Down the stairs, around the corner and at the end of 80 feet of tubing, you could find my sister, sitting on stool, blowing into into the hose. You know, for two hours or so. Then she cut through the hose with a pair of scissors.

claire

As far as I can tell, this piece symbolizes the preciousness of breath and how it navigates the channels of our lives, represented by the clear tubes, and splits off in various directions, bringing energy to circumstances and experiences that are spliced into our existence, and that the hose could be cut at any time, and the effect our breath has on whatever it is connected to immediately ceases.

Yeah. Actually, I totally made that up. I'm pretty sure she just wanted to see how much tubing it would take before she couldn't get the noise makers to inflate. The answer is 81 feet and a flight of stairs.

claire

In between wondering when my sister was going to lose consciousness and marvelling at the amount of spit that collected in the tubes, we watched a girl scratch the bare chest of her partner and then drench him in honey, and another guy make a big flower with pillowcases, then draw on himself with oil pastels and light a bunch of candles.

claire

Which made my sister seem so normal it was almost boring.

Jesting aside, while I am not a huge performance art fan, what makes it interesting is not what I think about the piece, but what the piece thinks about me. When you look at a painting or a sculpture, you think about it, and judge it and criticize it and admire it, but you don't consider what the painting or sculpture thinks about you. But it is nearly impossible to interact with another human, no matter the circumstance, and not consider your perceptions of each other. When you walk down the stairs and see just the tubing and the party noise makers inflating and deflating and making their comical, wheezing sound, it's easy to watch it, laugh at it, judge it and walk away. But when you turn the corner and come face to face with another human who IS the art piece, it is not so easy. You might want to watch, laugh, judge or walk away, but you can't do so without considering yourself now. Without wondering what the "art piece" thinks about you. Am I allowed to laugh? Is it awkward if I just stand here and watch? Is it rude to walk away? Am I allowed to think it's weird*? This is what makes performance art actually engaging and thought-provoking - it's not a one-way medium.

Oh, don't get me wrong. It's still straight-up weird* with a side of Huh?. And this coming from a Bartleman.

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