Saturday, August 28, 2010

Out of Control

I generally try to avoid cliches, hackneyed phrases, complex metaphors and allegories in my writing (that is not to say that I'm very successful), but as I sit in the Vancouver airport watching the sunrise, I can't help but think, "Life is what happens when you're busy making plans."

This wasn't the plan. It never is, is it? The plan was to make casseroles, to scrapbook my photos, to clean out my closet, to sleep in every other day, to go for a jog in the morning and maybe even to get a puppy. The plan was to bore myself to motivation. The plan was to work and save and pay off debt and somehow fit in a visit to Nepal in between. The plan was somewhat unrealistic, but it was a plan.

And yet, here I am, at the airport again, where it always begins and and it never seems to end. My stomach is in knots and I'm exhausted, but I feel like I'm on the edge of something good. Because this time tomorrow, I'll be watching the sunrise in South America.

(And somehow, it all fits into the plan. It's just a different plan--30 countries before 30. Guyana is country number 20.)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Miss Universe Life Lessons

These are the following foods items we bought to eat while watching Miss Universe on Monday: microwave popcorn (with excessive butter and salt), Munchie mix, Swedish Berries, and Crunch 'n Munch.

Five minutes into the opening number it was clear this was a mistake.

A valuable lesson learned: never gorge on high-fat food while watching women with negative body fat values prance around in peacock costumes. Other important life lessons? In a swimsuit competition, a wedgie isn't necessarily a bad thing. Miss Jamaica got one, and she was one of the runners-up.

I'm in the Edmonton airport right now, waiting to board my flight to Vancouver. My left arm aches from my early morning typhoid vaccination and my bag is stuffed to capacity with anti-malarials. It feels like going home again.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Back. Sort of.

Don't worry, I haven't already abandoned blogging again. My Facebook status says it best:

"Jessica is back from Jasper. Back to Edmonton on Sunday, Camrose on Monday, Vancouver on Wednesday, Toronto on Saturday and. . .Guyana on Sunday. No joke."

In other words, I have limited Internet access (and time) until September 7th.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


The pre-application process for Miss Universe is surprisingly straight-forward: a no-brainer three-page application (the first page alone just asks for vitals--which, in this case, involves providing my shoe and bikini size), $30 and two pictures (full-body and facial).

Here are the pictures I chose to submit:

(Were they good choices?)

Today was my official last day at work. Funemployment begins! I plan on using all my free time looking for corporate jobs, with the sole purpose of eventually writing a bestseller; "From Grassroots to Business Suits: How selling my soul paid off my postsecondary debts." It seems like a pretty solid plan.

Until then, it's Alberta time!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Glamour Shots

When Sophie and I began our rooftop photoshoot Saturday afternoon, we didn't anticipate that there would be gawkers. They made me nervous. And rather than just focusing on grilling their sausages and turning a blind eye to the fact that I was vogueing on the windy rooftop in my Friday night best, they had to ask.

"What are you doing?" (Ugh. Nearly as bad as, "What are you doing next?")

I figured explaining was a fraction less awkward than trying to pose in the whipping wind without exposing my Jessica Simpson hair extension roots. (For the record, they were $25 at Winners--just in case the price actually justifies owning Jessica Simpson hair extensions. . .wait a second, why am I worried about being judged? This is a post about applying to Miss Universe Canada. Forget it. I bought them because I love fake appendages. Deal with it.)

"I'm 26. And being 26 means two things: One: the is the last year I can participate in Birthright. Two: this is the last year I can compete in Miss Universe Canada."

"Unfortunately, I'm not Jewish. I've tried to be, trust me. So Birthright, which was my first choice, is out of the question. This leaves Miss Universe. And I'm pretty sure I'm at least two inches too short, but it's my last chance, so I might as well give it a shot."

Based on height alone, I doubt I'll make it past the pre-interview stage of the application process.

Here are the smirk outtakes from Saturday's glamour shoot:

I've discovered that Blogger has changed a lot since I updated my templates with the help of a graphic designer in 2006. (I know. It's shocking that technology might change over a four-year period. But I'm the sort of person who, up until last week, still owned a Motorola Razr. Not exactly cutting edge, I'll admit.) So bear with me while it goes through another overhaul.

Update: I just realized that I deleted all my old blogroll links when I updated the template. If you were previously linked on my blog and would like to be again, please leave me your URL in the comments. Thanks!

Monday, August 09, 2010

Miss Layoff 2010

This layoff has been a long time coming. Four months in fact. Four very long, very awkward months.

Remember the feeling you got when you were 17 and graduating from high school and your mom’s co-worker and your sister’s friend and your father’s business partner all kept asking you, “So what are you planning on doing next?” Remember how it was the most awkward and redundant conversation? Remember how it got to the point that you would have preferred discussing your mother’s sexual preferences if it meant not having to listen to yourself recite the same bullshit about weighing your options?

Well, being laid off four months in advance is exactly like that. It’s awkward. Really awkward.

Not only are do you have to explain to people why you were laid-off (and you do have to explain—people always assume that “laid off” is code for “I got caught looking at porn at work” or “they finally realized I have no idea how to use the graphing functions on Microsoft Excel and as a consequence, that I clearly have no career ambitions”), and why it was four months in advance (no, I was not covering a maternity contract) and then listen to their story about so and so's boyfriend who was working for a charity and almost got laid off—you also have to answer the dreaded question:

So, what are you doing next?

When I graduated from high school, all the members of my graduating class wrote short speeches that would appear next to their portraits in the yearbook. I wrote that I was going to become a gynecologist. (The school administration later changed this to genealogist. Apparently, although they were able to recognize a sense of humour, they lacked one themselves.) I knew that whatever I wrote would never come to pass. And I knew that by telling people, and by enscribing it in a text as sacred as the yearbook, that it would go on to live as the very thing that I didn’t do.

(For the record, here’s what I did do: I worked at the Pita Pit. I traveled through Europe. I went to night school somewhere in between. I went to university and dropped out. I went to another university and graduated. I started to work in a field totally different from my expensive undergraduate degree. And then, two and a half years later, I got laid-off. It doesn’t exactly make for compelling grad speech fodder.)

And now, eight years later, I’m in that exact same position. Except this time, the inevitable minimum wage job rolling pitas has been replaced by the comfort and security of EI.

I don’t want to talk to anyone about what I’m up to, because anything could happen. Why limit myself? Why set myself up for failure?

Then again, why not just directly set myself up for failure?

So here's what I'm going to do next: I’m going to apply to Miss Universe Canada.