Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Nothing to do?

Could it be? Am I really bored? It happens so rarely of late that I don't know what to do. I guess I could work on school work and I will later. Jason's at Bon Jovi -- Ha ha ha! Emily's at Auntie Sandra's and the other three are watching Billy the Exterminator after jumping on the trampoline almost endlessly. It really ended when they started wrestling a little too hard. Then Livi hurt herself and Omi jumped off the trampoline to me -- when I wasn't looking. It all went to pot from there so I had them come in. I feel guilty about this until I realize that they had swimming today, played outside at the Sandra Schmirler park for a while and jumped on the trampoline.

Wow, my kids are getting so big; other than nighttime, they are potty trained. Yeah! I spent almost nine years changing diapers and I can't say that I'm sorry to be done with babies. Don't get me wrong; I love my kids lots.

Oh yeah! We got passports today! Or at least we began the process; hopefully the rest goes as well as the first part did. What a lot of work!

My life really isn't interesting enough for a blog. I'm done reporting for the day. I'll do some work now...maybe.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Still here; not doing laundry

Yes. I'm still here. Though "here" has changed for a while. We are visiting Mom and Dad for a while which is why my title is "not doing laundry" unlike one of my previous titles. It's nice to be here where I have less responsibility. (Yes. Mom even does some of my laundry. I DO NOT ask her to just so you know. And I DO help out around here.) Our summers in Regina include swimming lessons, shopping and running errands so I am still busy.

I really have little to say. In fact, this fall, I may convert this blog, or create a new one to use as a parent-teacher communication tool because I will have little time to do anything other than school work or care for my own family. Jason didn't think that my suggestion to rate the student's behaviour on-line for all to see would go over well. Hmmm...

Jen, if you're reading this, it doesn't surprise me that you think the character "Dwight" is funny. In my head I can imagine the three of us driving down the highway, to or from Kindersley, laughing at Dwight's antics. I'd write LOL but I'm really getting tired of that acronym. In fact, I think I'll make my own up to replace it. I'll get back to you on this one.

I'll have to quit writing for now because I have nothing else to say that could possibly have any relevance to anyone.

Au revoir!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Maybe finish these thoughts

Well I haven't been here in a few days because I got tired about talking about my current topic, The Office, and really saying nothing at all. Here on the home front the girls' two rooms got painted by my mom and dad (I'm spoiled; actually it was a gift to the girls with matching comforters), some of the gardens and flower beds are less weedy and I've done a little more school work.

Now let's finish these this business about Jim and Pam and their office cohorts. Meredith, could anyone be that inappropriate at the office and not be fired? Well, Meredith can. My favorite episodes that, for me, exemplify her behavior are as follows. In one episode, Meredith the alcoholic lights her hair on fire at an office party and is too drunk to notice. Michael, later in the episode attempts to drag her, practically by the hair, to a rehab centre only to find out that you can't drop someone off their. I think he comes in to tell them that he has a "deposit" or something. Second, in the episode where they have casual Friday, Meredith the inappropriate wears a very short dress (which is probably just a skirt). When Toby asks her to pull it down to extend the length the result is not pretty. Actually, I assume it's not pretty because the top half of her is blurred out.

Angela, conservative, right wing, Angela. Her office parties are about as lame as mine, though I do not share her obsession with "The Little Drummer Boy."

Hey, The Office is on right now!

Anyway, I watched an episode the other day where Angela said that the clothes at Gap Kids were too racy so she goes to a doll store to order clothes for large, colonial dolls. I am a pretty conservative person myself and this seems a little over the top even to me. Her conservative nature takes a little holiday when it comes to Dwight.

I really wanted to save Dwight for last because he is the most exaggerated of all the characters in the office but everything I write about Angela leads me to him. Angela might have great lines about colonial clothing, but Dwight's dead-pan one-liners really top anyone else's in the entire show. One of my favourites occurs in the episode where Dwight shows the audience all the weapons he has hidden around the office and says he thinks it is "better to be accidentally hurt by someone you know than to be hurt on purpose by someone you don't know." I relish Dwight's "wisdom." I think I already mentioned the episode where he lights the office on fire to teach the office workers a lesson about fire safety.

I never realized how under-qualified Kevin was for his position until lately. I heard the other accountants speak of his inadequate numerical intelligence but in one episode, Michael intimate that Kevin actually came in to the office looking for a job in the warehouse but Michael saw potential in him, apparently a lot of potential because he hired him to work in the book-keeping department on the spot. There is the episode where someone convinces Holly, a replacement when Toby takes a vacation, that Kevin is mentally handicapped. Let's just say it's not really a stretch for her to believe it.

Finally (I think) Andy, I sort of understand Andy and I actually think that he harmonizes fairly well which is sort of lame on my part but I spent a lot of hours in the "music hallway" at school in position as one of the school "artsies" in high school. So what, I had some musical talent. I'm no American Idol but .... He's really over the top and proves so in a dance off at Jim and Pam's wedding when he severs his nether regions when attempting a "banana split" move. His obsession (at his age) with his college singing group is a little weird.

Maybe these things happen in real life. Maybe office employees could be this strange or this stereotyped. All in the same office? In reality would a boss really hire someone to work as an accountant when they have no training? Could someone really be the quality assurance manager when their own quality is not assured? Would someone start the office on fire and only get reprimanded and lose his position as safety manager? Could a boss, oblivious to his own racist, sexist . . . attitude, actions and comments really run the most productive office in the entire company? Perhaps, but I contend that most of the characters are exaggerated versions of the real life counterparts that give us the ability to laugh despite the fact that in some small and weird ways ways they resemble people with whom we work, live or spend time.

Except for Jim and Pam.

As major characters, their lives are rather ordinary. They live. They work. They fall in love, despite the chaos of the office and the small disturbances of the office employees in the wedding plans. And, like many of us want to, they escape everything to be by themselves and to get married in front of strangers in the presence of a boat Captain, next to Niagra Falls. Then they share their second wedding with the friends and family. I cry every time.

And then I laugh when everyone dances up the aisle, Kevin knocks over the flowers and Dwight kicks a bridesmaid in the face.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Toby, Ryan and Kelly

I will have you know that I usually try not to live my life vicariously through characters on television. I am really perturbed by people who talk about Brad Pitt, Cameron Diaz, Angela Landsbury or other famous persons as if they are best friends. (Just kidding about Angela Landsbury! Yeah for Murder She Wrote on at 5:00 on Vision TV! I've trained my kids to like it but I digress. Anyway, I write about this television show (The Office) just because, because well I don't know, it just cracks me up (like in Parks and Recreation when Leslie Nope calls the bathroom the "whiz palace" when she is nervous- ha). If you have any thoughts that might enlighten my own, please feel free to comment. Oh yeah, today more exercise, more weeding, more work for school, more blogging, less excitement!

So where was I? Toby Flenderson. Micheal's nemesis. Perhaps nemesis is not quite the correct word but anyway could any boss hate an employee quite so much just for existing. Granted, Toby's name, like Jim and Pam, depict his non-committal, pansy character, and like other characters Toby's whiney characters is written and portrayed to the wimpy limit. Part of me feels sorry for the poor guy and the other part of me is disgusted that he doesn't just "take the bull by the horns" and assert himself. Does every office have a person like Toby? See, this is the thing with the characters, they portray normal, yet stereotyped office characters so that watchers can identify with the work place to some extent but still laugh because the extra-ordinary characters are usually above and beyond the norm.

This brings me to Ryan, the temp, who seems relatively normal. He is the young, assertive, aggressive office worker striving to climb the corporate ladder. Michael realizes this, perhaps to some extent, because he presents himself as a "mentor" for Ryan. Any "Office" connoisseur must recall the episode where Michael visits Ryan's business class, playing a Robin Williams, Dead Poet's Society role, ripping pages out of (expensive!) books and telling the students that they will learn more from life lessons than from books. My favourite part is when he "pumps up the jam" with his "boom box" as he walks down the classroom aisle. Needless to say Ryan is unastounded by Michael and unaccepting of his help with proves intelligent as he climbs up the corporate ladder. But as most characters, Ryan is exaggerated in his character who does not hold onto his position because of a small addiction to drugs and success. Equating success with sales he logs in all sales twice, spiralling him back down the ladder back into Michael's accepting office. Now, Ryan is mystifying me with his new nerd persona; I'm no really sure what this is about.

If anyone is reading this, do you notice that I use the word "really" quite often?

How could I mention Ryan without Kelly, his on-again, off-again, on-again, off-again girlfriend. Honestly, she treats the office like a grade eight classroom with all the drama and no offense to grade eighters, immature make-out sessions that come with the territory. Besides treating fashion magazines like her bible, Kelly is a notable character because of Michael's attitude toward her Indian heritage. He frequently brings up religion, instead of avoiding it like the plague as most offices do. Michael singles out people because of their religion.

In fact, Michael likes to single people out because of their race, religion, sexual preference, thinking that he is creating an inclusive office. On television, this is funny but in reality, he would not longer be the boss. Remember when the new office workers came over from Stamford and Michael made a rather large gentlemen climb onto a chair on top of a table. Michael was trying to make them all equals. He ignores the person who points out that he is raising the new workers on a pedestal.

I feel like all these paragraphs are filled with nothing but mindless chatter. Really, I am getting to something. These characters are realistic yet unrealistic, except for Jim and Pam, a calm reality and normality in the centre of a storm of unreality around them. Tomorrow, I continue.

Goodbye and goodnight! Okay, not goodnight yet but goodbye.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Same Old, Same Old and some other thoughts

Really, I should have been writing more but there is so little to say. Does anyone really want to know that I have been cleaning my house, weeding our many gardens and flower beds, working out and desperately trying to find time to prepare for the next school year. Sometimes I get so overwhelmed when I think of everything that needs to be done and I'm really only okay when I take a deep breath and keep doing a little at a time. Sometimes, I find myself improving at letting things go; I mean at not trying to do everything. I get up in the morning and pretty much work until bed time with few breaks; this is normal, I suppose. Does anyone else feel that if they stop doing "stuff" they will get so behind that they will never catch up. I feel more calm when I am accomplishing a task on my list than I do if I take a break because I know that everything will be there for me later. Crazy, I know!

Anyway, back to The Office and back to Michael, the best/worst boss in the world. If I was doing this properly, I would cite quotations from the show but really that is something that I do not have time to do (see above)! Consequently, I will just roughly summarize situations that I remember from the show. I was considering the hyperbolized personalities from The Office the other day and I realized that some of the personalities are directly due to Michael's treatment of them: Oscar, and Stanley, Ryan and Toby to some extent. Then there are the others Angela, the conservative lady; Phyllis, the sometimes gutsy, sometimes meek "chubby" salesperson, Kevin, the underqualified, larger than his IQ personality; Andy, the classic artsy singer, somewhat akin to some people I knew from my days in the music hallway; Kelly, the girl whose maturity level never progressed passed grade eight, Meredith, the office alcoholic with "loose morals shall we say"; and Creed, oh-my-gosh I can't believe he just said that. Though I am leaving out many other minor characters, I think that covers all of the major characters, excepting of course my all-time favourite funny-guy: Dwight.

Contrary to my training in the English Language Arts, I am going to begin with Creed instead of the first person on the above list because Creed cracks me up and I'll forget what I was going to say if I don't write it quickly. I love the episode where Ryan is explaining how he set up a blog (ooh, meta-blogical; I'm writing about a blog in a blog!) for Creed. Really what he did was open a word-processing document that Creed thinks is on line. Ryan comments that what he read of the material would be questionable, even for the internet. And, from his other "I can't believe he said that without laughing" comments about his "cultish" and wacky activities from his life previous to working at Dunder Mifflin, I believe Ryan. Creed is the token creepy guy: Creed --> creepy! Interesting.

Anyway, Oscar, the token homosexual with a much mentioned Mexican heritage gives Michael multiple ways to be unknowingly rude. Michael goes out of his way to explain to everyone that Oscar is gay, trying to be helpful and un-homophobic when really it is quite the opposite. Really, Oscar is one of the most normal guys in the office but Michael's treatment of him as the only one in the office with a different sexual preference makes him stand out as different from the others.

Stanley, because of Michael, stands out as the token African American. I find it quite hilarious how Michael assumes that Stanley spent part or most of his childhood on the streets. Stanley, whether out of exhaustion or hilarity goes along with this, answering Michael's questions and comments as if he, Stanley, had been part of some sort of street gang. This similar stereotype of black people occurs again when another employee is found to have a previous criminal record. He is African-American and Michael assumes he his felon, hardened by his life behind bars when really he did some easy time for a white-collar crime. The funniest part of the episode is when Michael is trying to convince the other office employees that prison is horrible by becoming "Prison Mike." If you haven't seen the episode, you should.

With that I must go and speak of the others later. Really, my posts on this subject are not quite as interesting as they seem when I mull them through in my head. So what. Don't read them if they are boring!

Bedtime for the kids. See you!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Why I cry every time I watch Jim and Pam's Wedding

For those of you who are English people (ie. English teachers and the like) we'll call this free-writing. Please do not expect any coherence or organization; however, I hope that the thoughts are interesting enough to have potential.

Anyway, every time I watch Jim and Pam's wedding (on The Office) I cry, and I actually don't cry often during movies. Of course, I rarely watch "chick flicks" anymore and really, why would I cry when watching Paranormal Experience? At some point I realized that Jim and Pam are everyday, ordinary people like most of the rest of the world and this allows me, and perhaps others, to believe that their cute little romantic life is not just a possibility in TV. I have to be careful not to insult my wonderful husband here: he is an awesome guy but never led me to believe that he was romantic before we married (so I knew what I was getting into) and this has not really changed. I'm sure he would concur on this point. He is beyond wonderful in many other ways!

Now that my apology to my husband is over with, I will return to Jim and Pam, whose names even depict their unoriginal characters. In fact, no one would even take such an interest in their lives so much if they were not juxtaposed against the extra-ordinary characters with whom they work. Jim and Pam are ordinary living in a an office full of hyperbolized, stereotyped extra-ordinary characters.

I must begin with Michael, the boss, and possible the most rude, crude, racist, sexist... boss there could be unbeknownst to him. He is rude beyond belief and gets away with his un-boss-like antics because it is television; really, the way he treats his African-American co-worker, Stanley, and his homosexual co-worker, Oscar and his Indian-American co-worker, Kelly would have gotten him fired so long ago and slapped with so many law-suits that even the job he would get at 7-11 would support his legal fees. I formally apologize to anyone reading this who works at 7-11. Where would I be without your Diet Pepsi Big Gulps? We'll return to discussion about Michael at a later date.

We'll have to continue this conversion at a later date; I should help Jason care for our children. If I remember, I will talk about each major character and then return to why Jim and Pam's wedding makes me cry.

If you have never seen the episode where Dwight lights the office on fire to test their fire-readiness skills and then pulls a "Silence of the Lambs," it is my favourite episode. I laughed so hard I cried!

Over and out!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Still Here; No Internet

Clearly, several days have past since I have taken the time to write.

We left Revelstoke and proceeded on to our last stop: Banff. I spent most of the time at a Music for Young Children conference. The conference was informative in unexpected ways. I found the National conference less intimate than our regular provincial fall and spring conferences, but this is to be expected. I had trouble with the internet at our conference accommodations so I didn't check email or blog.

Thankfully, I also had time to do a little shopping in Banff.

Because accommodations in Banff are so expensive, my parents agreed to bring their fifth wheel to Banff. The six of us and my parents stayed together. Unfortunately, several of the days were cool and rainy so while I attended the conference, Mom, Dad and Jason occupied the kids their large but still limited fifth wheel. They made it to the hot springs and climbed a small mountiain but we will have to take a trip up the gondola next time.

I now write from home. Ahhh...... The only bad thing is keeping up with housework and yard work that we left behind when we were gone.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Relaxing and doing laundry

I don't have much to report. Actually, for once, I am blogging two days in a row. Everyone except my oldest is asleep right now (or at least resting). We are doing laundry. I spent the morning exploring Revelstoke a little and here we are. One more night here and then we will set sail for Banff, sailing in our Grand Caravan of course.

I have a few other thoughts I may add later. I had thought that this blog could contain my musings about The Office, which I have surprisingly many thoughts about and not just that it is funny. This will have to be later because I need to go check our laundry.


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

This must be heaven

Wow, what a change from last night to tonight. Our second night of camping was okay but the kids kept waking up, partly because it was really windy above us, but not in the valley in which we were camping. The trees, however, swayed and made noise that made Emily anxious.

The kids had used the pool the night previous but it was closed for cleaning in the morning. We had showers--very cold showers and headed out. After a few stops, we found ourselves searching for a hotel in Revelstoke--well we really didn't find our doubles or anything like that!

Anyhow, we scored a suite at the Sandman Hotel and when I went to ask for a second night, the lady at the desk "oohed" at the rate we got, even she thought it was great. Apparently when Jason checked in he got the manager. What a blessing!!!

We now have a kitchen (not kitchenette), living area with futon, two bedrooms and two bathrooms!!!! Yeah! We used the pool this evening and will hopefully have several more chances before we leave. Two nights of being clean!! This is heaven for me.

Because we paid a bit more for the room, we decided to use the kitchen instead of going out. Not to worry, it even has a dishwasher. I sit here at the hotel computer (because their connection in the rooms is slower than the connection at the campsite!) and blog to you about the eventful, yet uneventful day. I heard someone at the desk ask for a suite; I guess there all taken.


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Camping with 6 people in a small tent

Well, we attempted (and pretty much succeeded) at stuffing our whole family into the small tent I bought when I was still in my teens (8ft by 8 ft). Actually, most of it was okay, though a little hard on the back considering we do not have mattresses.

Olivia tried every way possible to annoy everyone so it was an exercise in ignoring her so she didn't get the reaction that she truly wanted. The four girls are in the tent trying to get to sleep right now and she is doing the same thing. The other girls kept telling her that they will call dad to get her to stop and when they finally went to do it, Jason and I heard her say, "No, no, don't call Dad." She really tries hard to push everyone's buttons these days.

We left Nanaimo on Monday, taking the 8:30 ferry. Shortly after lunch we made it to the Vancouver Aquarium which the kids loved! I will eventually upload some photos but I am running on battery power right now! We saw the dolphin show and got splashed by the whales. The girls loved the other animals in their tanks and enjoyed the walk through the tropical habitat. We even saw a three-toed sloth hanging from the roof, free to roam (though very slowly)!

After dropping Jason's brother Rene off at a Hotel (so he could take a flight out to Europe the next morning), we spent most of our driving time exiting greater Vancouver. In fact, we spent a lot of time lost in Vancouver, after somehow missing the Lion's Gate Bridge, until we finally stopped at a market for a map of the city. Because they did not have any maps (apparently people that live there know their own neighbourhood), a helpful grocer gave us his.

Outside the city, we stopped at Bridal Falls to tent as a family of 6 for the first time. On my morning run I found the trail to the falls and ran up part way until I felt too uncomfortable running through the brush alone. Animals tend to be attracted to this type of quiet movement. I also ran over to the water park to see how much it would cost and later suggested to Jason that it would probably not be worth the $110 plus tax that it would cost us!

The campground, however, had a pool that was more reasonably priced: free with camp fees. We used these facilities until it was time to go and then hopped into the van to get groceries in Hope, B.C. Now here we are in Cache Creek, again at a site with a pool which we used to tonight and will use tomorrow morning, we hope. Hopefully the kids go to bed well tonight!


Saturday, July 3, 2010

several days gone by

Just as I thought. I don't know how people keep up with their blogs when there is so much to do in the real world!

We made it to Nanaimo safe and sound, bringing rain and cool weather with us as usual. The first time we made a trip out to the West Coast (Miriam was almost 1 and Emily almost 3) it rained wherever we went. This time, much the same. Consequently, the first day we went to Wal-Mart where the kids spent their gift certificates from Auntie Lisa (on things to occupy them!). In the afternoon we had a blast at the aquatic centre in the wave pool, on the water slides and getting caught in the "rapids."

Thankfully, the wedding day was beautiful in both the weather and the decorative location. We went out to Parksville to a gorgeous yard encompassed by rugged old trees. The deck overlooked a babbling creek. Chairs were set out for the actually ceremony and carried over to the tables for the reception. Two tents towered over the elegantly set tables and the tables were adorned with large glass candles (which made me a little nervous with four children). The bride, groom and wedding party entered the ceremony under a vine-covered walkway. The wedding was delightful!

The following day we hiked (an easy walk) out to a waterfall and had a picnic lunch. After this the older girls, Lisa, Jeff, and I shopped in Coombs.

Well, during the writing of this blog, and this blog only, I had to get up 5 or 6 times for one reason or another. I don't know how this work thing is all going to fit together. I know that I can do the work but getting it done with the chaos that surrounds me is yet another thing. Well, time will tell and I can judge the plausibility of such a choice in my 5 month position! I'm sure it will be fine in the long run.

So long, farewell!