Tuesday, June 22, 2010

New faces and opportunities

Yesterday there were four new students who began their work placements at the centre. They're from the same program that I completed and I'll be the Practicum Supervisor for one of them which I'm very excited about. The student I'll be working with seems really nice and is very enthusiastic about being at the centre. She's already jumping right in by assisting clients and staff in the ERC (Employment Resource Centre) and by asking lots of questions.

This Friday, we'll be meeting to discuss her learning contract and objectives in detail. I have a few project ideas that I've already proposed to her that she seemed quite open to. We've also discussed opportunities such as observing workshops, counselling sessions and resume/cover letter critiques which are things that I found most helpful while I was doing my own placement.

Coincidentally, I'll be having lunch on Thursday with the woman who was my supervisor while I was doing my practicum (and who is now my mentor) so I can ask her some questions, if necessary.

I can't say how grateful I am to be working at this new location. I feel so fortunate to be there and to be able to partake in all of the opportunities presented to me. The days are full and go by quickly but I feel like I'm accomplishing a lot in the time that I'm there. I'm also learning and laughing and chatting a lot. :)

Monday, June 21, 2010

Happy Summer Solstice!

The weather today couldn't have been more perfect to ring in the summer solstice - it was sunny and hot and there were big fluffy clouds floating in the sky.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day ♥

Thank you for being such a wonderful role model and loving parent to H. We'd be lost without you. Love always. ♥

[And a Happy Father's Day to all of the other Pops and Papas out there (including my own Dad!). Have a great day! xo]

Monday, June 14, 2010


Can't. Speak. Still. In. Shock. Breaking. Bad. AMAZING.

[I ♥ Vince Gilligan]

Breaking Bad ♥

We're catching up on the last two episodes of Breaking Bad tonight. OMG. I love this show! At the end of the second last episode, J gasped so loud that it woke up our neighbour's baby downstairs!

If you've never seen the show before, you must! (You must, you must, you must increase your...oops!) Seriously, it is an AMAZING show. Please watch it.

Mixed Pickles

[“Mixed Pickles” by Victoria Alexandrina Anderson-Pelham, Countess of Yarborough (English 1840–?) & Eva Macdonald (English 1846/50–?) from the Westmorland Album, 1864/70 Collage, watercolor & albumen prints]

H & I had another busy day yesterday that began at the AGO (Art Gallery of Ontario) and ended with a celebration at Nathan Phillips Square with two friends and a crowd of my peeps.

The last time I went to the AGO was during the week it re-opened after the massive renovations. I remember waiting under newspapers in the pouring rain with a friend to check out what all the buzz was about. The lineups were long as you can imagine they would be when no admission is charged (a nice way to kick off the event!). I felt like I was in a different country that night as we entered the gorgeous new space. I experienced the same kind of thrill when I took H yesterday as we explored all of the beautiful rooms and halls which housed the amazing collections and exhibits. (Works included the likes of Degas, Chagall and Picasso.)

I have to admit, however, as a collector of ephemera and a lover of illustration, my favorite exhibit was the one titled, Playing with Pictures, which featured Victorian collage from more than 40 of the best albums selected. The pages displayed the witty sense of humour of the artists who juxtaposed photographs and illustrations that poked fun at the social classes and conventions of that time.

We stopped for pizza slices and ice cream before meeting up with friends at Dundas Square. A band was playing when we arrived, singing some very saucy lyrics which kept H giggling. We decided to head over to Nathan Phillips Square where a celebration was taking place honouring the independence of "my people".

I was amazed to see so many Titas, Titos, Lolos and Lolas in one place in downtown Toronto. There were all kinds of stalls set up selling treats such as ube cake, Adobo Cracker Nuts, pancit, skewers of sweet barbequed pork, Siopoa (complete with its distinctive pink dot), plastic cups filled with sago gulaman and cutchinta. There were also stands selling t-shirts emblazoned with declarations of patriotism but the best (read: wonderfully cheesiest) part of the whole event was the singing contest taking place on stage.

Winning-hopefuls belted out tunes from traditional Philippine ballads to rocking Elvis hits (complete with groin-thrusting...a bit disconcerting coming from a very agile 70 year-old Lolo). Always a crowd pleaser, Journey's Faithfully was met with loud applause and our little group began swaying from side-to-side. (I only wished that I had a lighter with me at the time.) We left as they were announcing the winners so we'll never know how "P-Elvis" fared.

Oh, I forgot to mention that we were also celebrating another special event at Nathan Phillips Square and that was V's birthday. I think the highlight for her was not the sampling of deep fried jackfruit or listening to the performances of eight year-olds who resemble fifty year-old jazz singers (weird) but rather, getting shat on by a pigeon. (J & I told her that this was good luck if it happened on your birthday. I think she believed us because it wasn't hard to coax her into buying a couple of lottery tickets...just in case.)

Happy Birthday to you, V. Wishing you a year full of love, happiness and adventures. xo

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Saturdays ♥

I love Saturdays, especially the one I had yesterday. It was jam-packed with all kinds of fun activities and finds including visiting garage sales, watching the new Karate Kid movie, purchasing colorful sundresses for $14.99 at H&M, picking up felt Japanese toilet seat covers, eating banchan and Korean bbq, drinking delicious lychee bubble tea, replacing my conked out Spectra Polaroid camera with a "new" one (found on Craigslist) and ended with seeing the Friends with You gang at Magic Pony. Oh yeah, we also saw a really cool ark in Trinity Bellwoods (part of Luminato).

Today, H & I are going downtown to spend the day at some gallery or museum and maybe, meet up with a friend.

Hope you're having a lovely weekend. Talk soon. xo

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


I wish I had one (or more) of the treats pictured above. Don't they look delicious?! I bet they would taste good with a cup of Hojicha and an episode of Wipeout. If I had a choice, I would pick the one on the left filled with cream in the middle. Mmmatcha. :)

Rainy day

This picture has nothing to do with my post but I find it quite intriguing. As some of you know, I'm afraid of most (if not, all) members of the rodentia family yet like to look at photos and images of them (especially chinchillas and capybaras).

Anyway, it was a rainy day here in Toronto. The perfect kind of day for watching movies and writing letters. Still, I was glad to be at work meeting new clients and chatting with staff. Starting next week, the Employment Counsellors will dedicate one day strictly for drop-in appointments. This isn't to say that there won't be drop-ins any other day but for one day a week, we'll keep our schedules completely open to accommodate them.

Right now, I try to schedule three appointments a day. Of course, this can always change on a dime as people don't show up or they show up late or still, others wander in and squeeze their names next to your free time slots. It's very dynamic and I really love it. Part of my work also includes helping out with the ERC (Employment Resource Centre) which is manned primarily by the Employment Consultants but sometimes it gets so crazy busy that we all just pitch in when needed. I love it! The days go by so fast and you really feel like you've earned your pay, not to mention, did something meaningful that day.

It's such a privilege to hear the clients' stories and some of them are downright heartbreaking that you just want so desperately to find something that will help the person move forward and get closer to their goals. I love the challenge but still have so much to learn. I'm just happy to be part of the process and meet so many interesting people.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Hellloooo there!

Hello out there in Blogland! Remember me? I can't believe it's been so long since I've written a blog entry and touched base. How are you? Enjoying the weather? What have you been up to? Wherever you are and whatever you're up to - I hope you're doing well and having a bit of fun!

At the beginning of last month, I wrote about the closing of the women's program I was working at and some of the changes that were taking place in my field (and in my life). Since then, some exciting (and not so exciting) things have happened. Here's an update:

I'll start with the not-so exciting things...mainly, the fact that I've had this annoying and persistent cough for a few weeks now. It began while I was in Winnipeg with J+H visiting my family and friends. It was particularly annoying because I had all of these wonderful things planned while I was visiting such as shopping at my favorite vintage stores, catching up with friends over wine and attending family parties. Unfortunately, much of that was thwarted by the full-blown head cold which then turned into an ear infection and now is just a nasty cough that won't seem to go away. I've gone through a dose of antibiotics and even begged for more this past weekend (the doctor refused...hmph!). I can't wait 'til it runs its course and I'm feeling 100% again!

Moving on...the exciting things! Shortly after the women's program ended, I received a call from one of the Directors at the agency I was working for. "Would I be interested in a contract position beginning on Monday?" (She contacted me late Thursday evening just days before starting.) "Of course!" I replied and have been working with an amazing program ever since.

It's funny how you think that you'll only ever love one program or population to work with. It's not that I actually believed this entirely but when the program I was working for ended, I kind of romanticized it and was ultra sensitive to J's attempts at optimism when he said there might be other programs and populations that were just as fulfilling and interesting as the one I just experienced...and he was right.

I'm currently working as an interim Employment Counsellor at a centre which serves youth (ages 15-30) but are slowly transitioning into a new model which includes all ages. I am absolutely loving it!

There are two things that have made this experience incredibly enriching and rewarding: 1) I've never worked with youth before and 2) I didn't know much about the community the centre is situated in.

I've always been curious about what it would be like working with youth and if it was something I would enjoy. It's been such an eye-opener and I feel so lucky that I'm having this opportunity to see what it's like. I love the energy at the centre - it's busy, loud and full of activity! And I really like meeting all of the youth, listening to their stories and helping them with their job search or training needs. I love finding out what they're interested in and what they're hoping to do. I especially love sharing resources and information, as well as making recommendations that might be useful. It's been such a treat working with them!

As for the community the centre is located in - it's referred to as a "priority neighborhood" which I won't go into the logistics of nor will I attempt to give an accurate definition of. In very simplistic terms it's an under-served area which has been identified based on various factors (I know, vague) and which involves having priority for infrastructure investment (again, vague). If you want to know more about it, please feel free to google. In any case, it's in one of those areas that people (usually those that have never been there - maybe from deep in the suburbs) often have very strong and often negative opinions about to the point of fearing it. Let's just say there are a lot of incredibly ignorant views floating around, some of which are the result of fear-mongering. In any case, having the opportunity to work in this neighborhood and see how vibrant, diverse and community-minded it is has been amazing.

The experience has been really wonderful and I've been learning so much on so many levels. I feel energized when I'm there and like I get to use different parts of my personality that often get neglected when I'm in quieter surroundings. And I haven't even mentioned the staff - they're really great! People chip in whenever help is needed and there's so much interaction and sharing going on. People seem really happy to be there and there's a lot of banter and laughing going on. The director is also really fantastic and the staff obviously love her. It's a really nice place to be.

So, all this to say that I'm feeling good, despite this annoying cough. I'm just happy to have this experience, albeit short-lived. Who knows what's next for me? More exciting things I hope. If not, I've got a list of things that I can catch up on during the down time but more about that in a later post.

Take care and talk soon. It feels good to be back. xo