Wednesday, March 21, 2018


In the last 24 hours in Lisbon I have been offered cocaine and hash more times than I have been offered these things in the whole rest of my life.  I am pretending in my head that it is because I am on a working trip that I have declined everything offered to me, but the truth is that it is mostly because the great risk-taking days of my life are done anyway.  My wild nights now in Lisbon consist of sneaking a few glasses of wine and some cigarettes at the end of the day.  It does not make me sad to find myself more interested in getting six hours of sleep than in testing these waters.  It probably makes RW a little sad; I have accepted the fact that on these trips I am the voice of reason.

Being the voice of reason is not my strongest suit, but I recognize that I choose my people this way.  I choose people with good boundaries who say no on my behalf and make it easy for me to shrug and tell myself that I am far more exciting than I really am.  In this way RW is a terrible match for me because I think he would prefer me to say yes on his behalf so he would have someone else to blame when things go crazy.

I do not accept that there is something about me that attracts these offers.  I believe the 82 year old grandmothers received the same invitations I did today. Truly.

Monday, February 19, 2018

sooner than you think

Not to jinx it but today I managed to set my own schedule at work and to catch up on some paperwork because there were no crises.  None!  Only one small panic attack and a complaint about a stressful weekend with family members fighting.  Beyond that, I did my paper and got caught up.  I'd be bored if it was always that quiet, but today I was very grateful for the time.

The one who had the bad weekend... he told me that his stepfather calls him "Nips" in reference to the fact that stepdad thinks the kid's nipples are inordinately large, and humiliates him about it at every opportunity.  Hearing this kind of thing makes me so angry.  How can an adult person think this is an acceptable way to treat a self-conscious, shy fourteen year old?  Does he want the child to hate his body?  Does he want the child to hate him?  Why would anyone do this?

In the big picture, this isn't a big thing.  I have kids in foster homes, and kids whose parents are drug addicted and physically violent.  But it still makes me mad.  I want to meet this stepparent and figure out what he's most self-conscious about and mention it loudly until he slinks away in embarrassment.


Saturday, February 17, 2018

tu me manques

This is C, who wears this shirt to staff meetings and professional development activities as a form of sarcastic protest.  His name tag says Beta4, which is in reference to a stupid team building game we were made to play.  I think I love C because I was afraid of him for several years when we first met, and in my twisted world this kind of fear dissolves and funnels itself into respect and eventually adoration.  Now I call him Prickly to his face and pinch his prickly face, but I like the fact that I'm still slightly afraid he will snap and bite me.


Friday, February 16, 2018

that's all i'm qualified to be

There was a strange period of time in my life that I seemed to have the power to conjure up people by talking about or thinking about them.  It worked on former boyfriends, former teachers, former colleagues, and strangely enough it even once worked on a celebrity.  That is to say, I mentioned him and then suddenly he was there, in a Pub in downtown Winter Prairie.  My friends were super impressed.  This was how it worked on all of them.  I would say something like, Remember so-and-so, how they used to do such-and-such?  And then right after I said it, so-and-so would show up, just like magic.  But I only possessed this magic for a short period of time, about six weeks one summer, around 1998.  The power went away before I could use it to try and summon Chris Cornell.  (If you didn't know me and you read this you would think I had delusions of reference.)


B did not stop texting me, and I did not stop responding.  I have gone back to thinking he just wants a friend.  And I can be that.  Maybe he wants to be my work-husband, which is a platonic position.  My first work-husband was Dodo, and I can never really replace him.  But maybe B would like to be my second most loved work-husband.


Tuesday, February 13, 2018

We'll do it together, Morris.

I used to have a t-shirt that read, "Lord Jesus, your sheep have sharp teeth" across the chest, and there was a picture of a cute lamb with evil looking vampire teeth.  I had no idea what this meant, and I also have no idea what happened to that shirt.  I liked it a lot.  It is possible that I was wearing a doomsday Christian message, much like the man on the corner of 152 and Fraser who wears a sandwich board, "Repent, Jesus Comes", and didn't even know it.

Today I am skipping work because I intentionally scheduled a dentist appointment in the middle of the day, which allows me to take the whole day off without feeling like I am doing the wrong thing.  My first "sick" day this year.  I messaged T to let her know I would help her with her purchase order later and she responded, "We'll do it together, Morris." Autocorrect slays me sometimes.  Shawn and I went for breakfast and sunrise walk on the beach.  It helps me envision retirement.  Shawn found a phone on the sand; the owner called it an hour later, and now they are meeting at a coffee shop to hand it back.  These kinds of chance meetings fascinate me.  Who is she?

B stopped texting, which probably means he picked up my (subtle?) hint.  I don't want to hurt his feelings but isn't it more hurtful to encourage him to think something that isn't so?  I can't remember how to do this; it has been a long time since I have been in this sort of a situation.


Saturday, February 10, 2018

may your heart always be ardent

It is possible that B thinks we are dating.  (Is that really possible?)  It may be my fault; I asked him to go to see Paul Simon with me - mostly because I want to see Paul Simon but also because I like B, and largely because I am exuberant when I am drinking wine.  The next day he asked me to see another concert with him, a band I do not know.  And now he has begun texting me things throughout the day, innocuous enough... but I am unsure how to respond.

Through most of my twenties and thirties I drove Shawn mad being that girl who never thought anyone was hitting on me, that everyone was just friendly.  And now in my forties - my sensible-slash-paranoid decade when no one should be remotely interested in hitting on me at all, I am picking up something that feels a bit strange.  Like, I think B is testing the waters to see what I might do.  He's a sweet guy, quite shy, rather introverted, and I do not believe he will try anything.  But I do believe that he is waiting to see if I have enough wine if I'll accidentally fall into bed with him.  And that makes me nervous because I am always quite likely to have too much wine, and I prefer being able to rely on others to have clear boundaries when mine get porous.

Will I have to go to these concerts sober?  (!!)  Being in a crowd of several thousand people without a buzz seems implausible.


Friday, February 09, 2018

it's not the band i hate, it's their fans

Sometimes we struggle as a nation to define our sound, to find our voices, to speak our truth.  Or at least to make a clean apology.  We may not know exactly what it is we're sorry for, but we certainly do know we are sorry.  But that is only because we get stuck with sounds like Nickelback -that do not accurately define us the way we want to be remembered - which is why I recommend going back to the cassette tapes and having another listen.  It makes everything that much clearer.

I means yes.  There are bigger ones.  Our Lady Peace.  Tragically Hip (of course).  Blue Rodeo.  Cowboy Junkies.  But there are better ones.

(But I mean, whose voice represents yours best when your throat is all closed up with tears and you cannot speak at all?)

Weakerthans (Winnepeg, oh, one great city)
Grapes of Wrath (Kelowna, home of the houseboat and unlicensed teachers, haha)
Sloan (they say they're from Halifax, but let's be honest, I think they're actually from Truro)

My city's still breathing, though barely it's true, through buildings gone missing like teeth.  The sidewalks are watching me think about you, all sparkled with broken glass.  (In dreams this is how the world talks to me; orgasmic poetic easily swept away awash in words.)  It does not take much wine for this sort of clarity.

In five weeks we are leaving for Portugal, cities I have never seen...   Lisbon, which Lara says is the most perfect place in the world.  She is the most well-travelled person I know, and so I listen when she tells me things like this.  Last time I brought her maple syrup and jade.  Perhaps this time I will bring her Canadian music.  I think this could be a valuable gift.