RIP Bhutto

by , on
December 27, 2007

If I were still a journalist

by , on
December 12, 2007

(Well, to be fair, I probably am really. I don’t happen to work in the field at the moment, but I certainly still have my journalistic mind).

If I were a journalist, and I happened to be working for one of the Quebecor papers, with my work posted on, I would be extremely frustrated with the web people. Reporters have consistently had problems with layout people who write the headlines. Sometimes the story is misunderstood and the headlines is out of whack with the actual news hook. Sometimes the reporter has gone out of their way to be careful not to libel anyone and the headline writer (sometimes a trained journalist, sometimes someone who just doesn’t know any better) manages to bring on a lawsuit all on their own.

When I was working in Northwestern Ontario we often had a problem with the web people teasing a story with both a headline and a photo that was completely unrelated because they just didn’t bother to read past the headline or the lead in the printed paper. Of course, this can take a more serious turn.

You have web people who are probably not trained journalists, and may be called upon to write a tease to a story. This morning broke one of the basic libel laws in their naming of the charges and the charged in the same sentence, thereby linking the two in the reader’s mind even though the charged is innocent until proven guilty.  Click on the link and the story itself does no such thing – in fact, the lead doesn’t mention the names of either the victim or the charged person. The question becomes who will get named in the lawsuit?

I need a job

by , on
December 12, 2007

I spent my day today baking and cooking and knitting (first pair of socks – woo), oh, and I did my routine check of all the job sites that I know. I’m getting very tired of sending out applications and trying to pretend that I have any confidence left.

I leave in a few weeks. I spend most of my days trying to survive the highs and lows. I search for jobs, nap, watch talk shows, cook, eat, knit, take baths and read, clean and pack. I try to feel normal, but I’ve never been very good at that and it’s getting more difficult day by day.

I’m trying to ignore the migraines I’ve been getting lately, and the circulation problems reminiscent of my grandmother’s. In the past stress has played nasty games with my body. At one point in high school I was on pills to calm my nauseous stomach and pills to control my headaches, and when I stopped taking both medications the ailments went away.

I’m trying to pack as much stuff as I can – and purge as much as I can – so the eventual move, however that happens, is easier for my husband, as silly as that sounds. This isn’t going to be easy for either of us. Right now the plan is in flux – my flight is booked, but the husband has a job interview on Friday that could change that, because he could end up coming with me, and we could end up in Saskatoon instead of Regina.

I’m trying to control my wants, but failing somewhat. It helps that I’m essentially broke, but I really just need to stop leaving the house. I could just go out without my debit cards. I did managed to control myself at the mall the other day by reminding myself that the last thing I need is more stuff to pack, but I still bought a couple of things. Buying clothes makes me feel better about myself because I am suddenly able to put myself together and feel new. I have discovered that the most important thing for me is to get dressed every morning, and not in sweat pants, but in actual clothes. Clothes that fit my body and make me feel good about myself and remind me that I’m a human being and not a sloth.

On the plus side, I was reading a magazine the other day and found out about a website,, which allows you to search volunteer opportunities that you can telecommute to. This could be great for me – there are non-profits looking for help with their websites and newsletters, which would give me something to do and look good on my resume.

I need to feel good about myself again, I need to start believing that I might eventually land a job and keep a job and love a job. I need to start believing that I will do some good in the world and that I won’t be a failure for the rest of my life.

At a loss

by , on
December 7, 2007

I am currently in one of those downswings in my moods where everything feels like a mistake. The job postings in Regina are going from few to nonexistent and, once again, the husband has managed to get an opportunity he doesn’t really need right now while I flounder.

We’re supposed to go to a Christmas party tonight, but I’m having trouble getting up the courage to meet new people and hear the questions “So what do you do?” twenty times or more. I do nothing. I sit around the house and pack, bake and watch television, I search through job websites and apply for anything that I might possibly be considered for, I knit and read and take baths and naps. I feel lost and guilty. I panic about the problems I’m causing, the bills I have to pay and a future that, once again, is undetermined.

For years I have been starting and stopping, starting and stopping. I have yet to get the real opportunity that will launch my career path, I have yet to have someone take me under their wing and tell me that they see a real potential. I have potential and skills out the wazoo – it’s experience and opportunity I’m lacking.

It’s not pleasant spending your days surrounded by piles of stuff, doubting the future as it approaches ever more quickly. I take off in less than a month.

Nothing but uncertainty and ever-failing confidence awaits.

"Reality" TV

by , on
December 3, 2007

I am a fan of Project Runway, though I have no real concept of the fashion world – in fact I think people are pretty crazy (and I’m not the only one). For some reason watching the challenges every week and the same sort of in-fighting that you see on America’s Next Top Model (and don’t get me started on Bianca’s mistreatment of Heather), but between people who clearly have some sort of talent and creativity for something makes me feel slightly less bad about myself for watching it.

And then there was this week on Project Runway Canada. The challenge was to base their designs on a theme of different classic time-periods in fashion, the designs being bathing suits – one for their regular, model-sized model and one for what the world calls a “plus-sized” model, that being a normal-sized woman.

I was shocked that most of the designers on the show had no concept of how to make a normal woman look attractive. Not only that, they made them look fat and dumpy in some cases, and complained the whole time about not knowing how to fit a plus-sized model and why did they have to do this.

I am amazed that any young designer thinks they can survive in the industry without having a product that will sell to women that make up the overwhelming majority of the market. In some cases, they almost seemed disgusted with even the thought of having to fit a normal, healthy body (not that no model is healthy, I know that’s not true – but I think back to TLC’s ‘A Model Life,’ where they actually evaluated the health of each of the models present, and the most unhealthy one was the one the agency liked the most, and the only one who’s weight suited her height was the one the agency told that she wasn’t going on any castings until she lost weight).

I am glad that I am the kind of women who can watch this type of show and get mad about the mis-representations. When I was 19 and working as a coop student in the university athletics department, one of the male athletes complained that girls are never comfortable with their bodies – I raised my hand and said that I was – I saw no reason not to be. I love my height, my weight is what I make it, I have great legs, nice hands and I’m fairly proportional. I know that I can dress it to make it look better, and that I don’t always do that.

I also know that I am the exception and not the rule, and that sometimes I am only telling myself that I’m comfortable in my skin, when I’m actually not at all. When I was diagnosed with poly-cystic ovarian syndrome three years ago and told that the only way to get it under control (and avoid a future of infertility and cancer) I had to lose weight and get my hormones under control – and I tried and nothing was working, because, through some horrible irony, PCOS makes it much more difficult to lose weight, and my endocrinologist kept testing my blood and telling me I had to lose weight – that was when my body image went down the tubes. My body was telling me that my body was a problem.

When I finally listened (really listened) to what my GP was telling me about weight loss, and when I finally told myself the truth about what I was actually doing, that’s when the weight started to come off, and my body image started to come back.

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