Wednesday, June 28, 2006

and i guess that's what it takes

Tonight I talked to the invisible pixie. I miss her when she's gone. When she comes back I don't feel like being angry with her for being gone, I just feel like talking as fast as I can to tell her everything she's not heard in awhile, and listening as hard as I can to catch everything she might say to me.

This afternoon I spent time with my new friend, jw. When I talk to her I feel like I know her already although we are still early in getting to know each other. I trust her already somehow.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

round characters

I talked to Jones on the phone this afternoon. He said he expects one of two jobs to come through for me. This was reassuring, since I quit the college. Quitting the college was, perhaps, impulsive, but still, in the long run, a good decision. I'm in a new place where I don't have to be taken advantage of anymore just so I can make the bills. (Hooray for husbands.)

I don't yet know a whole lot about the new job, just that it seems to have some potential for flexiblility in terms of hours and locations (ie: the ability to work at home sometimes and at the office sometimes).

I haven't understood, yet, why J is so keen on helping me find work here. I write part of it off to his earlier proposition - that is, it makes sense for us to screw around together because since we're both married we both have the same amount to lose.

The rest of his motives are unclear, though they can't only be sexual, since I didn't take up on that offer. It's funny, the sexual proposition is easier for my mind to make sense of than trying to imagine that he's a good person who wants to help me... or that he thinks I'm talented enough to handle the job he's trying to create...

I think in some ways it's just easier for me to relate to men on that level. They want sex, and I understand that. When they want sex from me, I can take it as a compliment, they find me attractive. When they don't seem to want sex, I'm a little unsure of myself, particularly when they seem to want my company or approval anyway.

I thought I had J pigeonholed and it turns out there's more to him. Maybe. I find that a little hard to deal with.

Monday, June 26, 2006

a snapshot

Today is my parents' thirty sixth wedding anniversary. I sent them flowers.

My mother called tonight to thank us and told me about her day. She and Dad spent the day trying to find a leak in one of their windows. He stood outside and shot the side of the house with a hose while she stood inside and tried to see where the water was coming from.

Then they went for a walk and came across a dying pigeon. My mother (a reformed budgie-mommy) was tempted to bring it inside but was concerned about avian flu and parasites and other nasties. This reminded her of a time I came to visit them, leaving Shawn at home. When I called home to ask him how he was doing, (she recalls this better than I do) I hung up the phone seeming somewhat put-out. The reason for this was that after a quick question and answer period, it came to light that Shawn's bicycle was currently disassembled in pieces on the living room rug. While in the midst of this oily business, a bird had hit the window, prompting Shawn to bring it inside in an attempt to nurse it back to health. I could hear it cooing merrily in the background.

After all this information, my mother passed the phone to Dad. I asked him how his day was and he said that he and Mum and been to the travel agent to book a cruise.

He's always the romantic one. And she gets all the minor details right. They make me laugh.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

half the fat

I used to steal from my parents when I was a child.

I had no conscience about it.

I mean, I knew it was wrong, but I didn't care at all. I felt they owed me something. I felt like I deserved something from them that I wasn't getting. This may in fact be true, but the way I set out to settle the score and even things up is obviously and hideously wrong.

In looking back it seems unbelievable that this person was me. Now, I am a person who will drive back to the post office to return a pen I accidentally walked off with. I am a person who doesn't peek in other people's medicine cabinets when I use their bathrooms. I am a person who doesn't touch what isn't mine. Ever.

Quite an evolution.

It's not true that people don't change. I did change. And I'm glad.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

More about Mary

The answer to that question is no. I wouldn't tell her and there are a lot of reasons.
Father's Day. I'll focus on my father, the man who gave me life, the man who raised me. I love him dearly. Nothing more is needed.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

short love with a long divorce

I talk a lot about the things I love about my husband. But he's not perfect. There's one thing about him that drives me nuts and makes me want to scream. He cannot seem to change it no matter how much I ask.

He always puts lids and jars on too tight so I can't get them back off. When I want a glass of pop, I have to wait for him to come home because he puts the lid on so tightly that no amount of struggling, banging and running under hot water will help. One time he screwed the gas cap back on the car so hard that I couldn't get it off when I needed to fill up.

Today when I tried to use the "Spot-Bot" to clean up (yet another) puppy pee spot, I couldn't remove the cap on the solution compartment OR the water receptacle.

I don't know why he does this. I've asked him to stop it a million times.

So there. I don't like EVERYTHING about my husband.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

a tiger cub and a weather man

Dividing oneself up into compartments is still dishonest, isn't it? Though each separate piece is real and genuine and sincere, in separating them you take away the context, you don't show the big picture. Important information is lacking.

There is nowhere that I am all of myself. Except with Shawn, and even there, perhaps things are left out that I should share. Like how I miss Paul in a masochistic kind of way. And how Jones always asks me sexual questions when we meet to discuss work projects.

At work, I refrain from explaining that I love red wine and have piercings below the neck.
When I visit my parents, I don't swear and I don't sing made-up songs the way I do when I'm alone. When I go out with K, I push forward the part of me that can laugh and be carefree and sublimate the boring girl who would rather dissect poetry. It's all really me. And yet, by itself, none of it is.

I told Dodo once that I have no personality of my own, that I just bend to the will of whoever is the strongest influence nearby. If I'm next to Magic, I smoke and drink beer and play pool. If I stand near Cy I become ultra-academic and ultraclean. Dodo said I was wrong. He said I have a strong personality. I wish he was still nearby. Perhaps his influence on me was self-defining; I think he is the only close male friend I have ever had who didn't once cross any line. Even when we talked about sex, somehow, it never crossed any kind of boundary. I don't know how he made that possible.

At the staff retreat in 2003, we all drank a lot and built a fire, and then PB asked me a question about my sexual interests. I remember hearing the answer in my head, the exhibitionist in me warmed up to hold an audience (of men) in the palm of her hand. And then I just met Dodo's eyes and that unhealthy impulse went away, even though I'd had enough to drink to tell it all.

I said, there's no reason to answer that question because you cannot use that information for any reason. You are married. I am married. The answer to that question is only useful to my husband.

And I remember Dodo nodded in agreement and that might be the only time in my life that I can remember feeling a lot of self-respect for making a good decision where it comes to keeping my mouth shut about private things, even if it took a second-thought. At breakfast the next morning I could look everyone in the eye.

Huh. This post was supposed to be about what's real and what's honest. And it's turned into an Ode to Dodo. I miss him.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006


I gave my notice. There was no drama because no one was there. Instead of any of the drama I had steeled myself for, there was a dark office and quiet. I taped my letter to the door.

Now I have only to work until June 30th and then I will be gone. It's odd that I've been focused so much on what happens before I go and what happens when I get back. Trying to imagine what happens while I'm gone frightens me somewhat. I haven't travelled alone before.

I haven't told my students, yet, that I won't be back. Barb's last day is the same as mine, and so we decided to tell them at the same time, pull the bandaid off with one sharp tug. Better to adapt to all the changes at once, perhaps, than to hear about them slowly one by one. There will be a lot for them to get used to. New teachers is only the beginning.

S and I are a taking a running class. We signed up with the Running Room to do their "Learn to Run" program. This might be wasteful in that I have in fact been running for a long time... but I've never had any instruction or coaching, so it is my hope that the class will be able to teach me how to run better. As well, the fact that S agreed to take the class with me is kind of shocking. He hates running. In an ideal world, he learns to love it and starts running with me all the time. I don't expect it, but I hope it. It looks like it's going to rain. How apt. Might as well make it a challenge.

I'm hoping that running will burn off some of the nervous energy that's been eating at me today. I think I consumed too much caffeine. Maybe I'm more stressed that I realise. Today I feel shaky.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

one by one

I'm quitting my job tomorrow. That is, I'm giving notice tomorrow (2 weeks and a couple of of days) to say that June 30th is my last day.

It's been a nice job, to be honest. It's only been half-time and pretty low stress for the most part. It was never meant to become a career and in fact I never thought I'd do it for six months, but I did.

I took the job back in January, when I realised that I was going a bit batty being at home all day by myself. It was more about getting out, doing something, feeling productive, and being around people. And I enjoyed it for the most part.

But they're changing the rules on me. Effectvely, the changes will quadruple the amount of unpaid preparation time I have to put in to get myself prepared to teach every day. So it's not a little change. It's a big change.

I talked it over with S and he said I should just go ahead and quit.

It's a new thing in our lives for me to be able to do this. Throughout his education and getting-started times, I supported him. That was a lot of years. Sometimes it was kind of awful feeling like I had no choices.

But finally the sacrifices we both made, living on one income, living apart for months at a time, scrimping on things... finally this has paid off. He has a good job. And that means I can quit if I want to.

It changes the whole dynamic of working, knowing you can leave if you want to. It means you don't really get upset about things. It means you look at a job differently. When I went to work these last six months, I didn't think, I have to do this so I can pay my mortgage... I have to do this so I can pay my bills... No, instead I saw myself as a student through teaching, learning from my pupils, expanding my life experiences and spending time with people I would never otherwise have come to know. It was almost like a privilege. Knowing I was underpaid wasn't really even at issue.

And in the end, it means it's fairly easy to walk away feeling thankful for all I got from the experience.

Oh yeah, and the point. The big point I wanted to make was that it also changes us. When I was supporting us, the dynamic between us was different. He feels stronger. He feels more viable. And that's probably the best part of all.