Saturday, January 27, 2007


Saturday mornings are the best time when the whole weekend is still stretching out ahead, unwasted. (Is "unwasted" not a word? The spell check kindly offers me "untasted", "unpasted", "unwanted" and "unwashed" as more viable options.)

Saturday mornings are the best time when the whole weekend is still stretching out ahead, unwashed.

Much better.

I can't remember what I was going to talk about anymore.


Matt was an actor.

One morning when I pulled up outside Matt's house, he opened the car door, tossed his coffee cup in the cup holder, changed my radio station, and began rehearsing his monologue without even saying good morning. All before I pulled away from the curb. Sometimes Matt was so obnoxious that I wanted to choke him. Instead I offered to drive him to and from work for two weeks.

A few minutes later he finally deigned to speak to me. "Watch out for the roads here; they're treacherous."

I looked at the span of road ahead of me, which was straight and completely clear as far as I could tell.

"What do you mean, treacherous?" I asked him.

Instead of explaining what was treacherous about the roadway, Matt took a condescendingly patient tone as though I was three years old and began to provide me the definition of the word treacherous.


I drove Frank to and from work a few times as well. Frank was a lighting technician.

The first thing Frank said was, "Thank you for the ride." The next thing was, "Why do you have an egg on your ceiling?"

These are the kinds of things that techies can't understand. "I ... drew it..."

"Yes, I can see that. But why? And why is it on the ceiling? And what's this?"


"You drew that too."


"And coloured it."

"Um. Yes."

"And taped it to the ceiling of your car?"


"So that means that this here is supposed to be toast?"

"Toast, yes."

"A full breakfast."

"Right." I thought he was starting to understand when he realised it was breakfast but the slight frown didn't leave his forehead.

"So... thanks for the ride."


Saturday mornings are the best time when the whole weekend is still stretching out ahead, unpasted.


Tuesday, January 23, 2007

will you still love me tomorrow?

Walking into a job where the expectations seem to be loose and and undefined is not as relaxing as one might think. Instead, I feel a bit overwhelmed by the idea that not only do I have to fulfill the (invisible) expectations, but first I have to define them for myself.

I'm not ready.

It annoys me that there is NOTHING written on paper to prepare me, and that instead it was presented in an uninterrupted flurry of verbal instructions with no time to process or use the information before a new piece was presented. My brain doesn't work like that. I haven't retained much. I'm not ready.

Not only am I not ready, but having planned to spend my evening preparing myself, I completely forgot that I'd agreed to attend a jewelry party with one of The Wives. Why is it that wives always want to make friends with other wives? Why can't we just leave each other alone? I don't want any jewelry. I don't want any friends. Why do I always accept invitations to do things I don't want to do with people I don't want to know?

I hope they're selling those pendant/stopwatch things at this party that are used to stop time.


Sunday, January 21, 2007

i turn my collar

The delivery men who brought our new mattress yesterday astonished me by saying that the foam was frozen solid from sitting in their warehouse and that it would need an hour to thaw before it would be flexible enough to bend it and drag it up the stairs. Rather than risk breaking our new bed, they left it sitting in our foyer, assuring us that it wasn't "that heavy" and that we'd have no trouble moving it upstairs ourselves once it warmed up.

A hour later we decided to go ahead and give it a try. It's a wonder that neither of us was hurt. The mattress had no handles or anything to grip onto while lifting it, so pulling it with any real strength was nearly impossible. Shawn did the heavy work - and I did the steering. It's unfortunate that no one was around to videotape the performance for the humour value because I'm certain we would have scored highly on the Laugh-o-Metre. By the time the wretched thing was in our bedroom we were ready to lie down on it and go to sleep.

It seems funny that we decided to get a king-size bed - since we ended up sleeping together, touching, in the centre of it. But it was comfortable. Once the bed frame is delivered we will be like real grown ups.

Our Friday night dinner with G&R was cancelled, and sadly I took some real pleasure in that. They were given free tickets to a hockey game and wanted to go. They invited us to come with them, hoping the Canadians could explain the game they were watching - but pro-sports don't interest either of us so we begged off and promised to get together another time. Yay. We are still having dinner tonight with K&R but I actually enjoy being with them more and find them easier to talk with.

Tomorrow is my last day before the contract starts and I'm thinking of booking the day off so I can enjoy one last day of freedom. So selfish and lazy I've become.

I wish winter would end. I'm tired of the cold and the dry dry dry air.


Friday, January 19, 2007

paint your palette blue and grey

Having a lie in was decadent and delicious. I woke up feeling good except for my jaw, which has been sore lately. I clench my teeth while I sleep and sometimes wake up with headache and jaw pain. This would be remedied by wearing that thing my dentist made me but it doesn't fit properly anymore since Big Puppy got hold of it a few months ago and chewed it. I should probably get a new one before I push my teeth back into my gums.

Having the morning off is going to work out well for me, and I've decided to take the whole day at home and finish the edits to my commissioned scripts. I don't think it will take long, but it's something that gets harder to do the longer I put it off. It's easier to make edits when the client's comments are still fresher in my brain. Assuming I finish early enough I'm going to tidy up the house. Shawn will be pleased.

Our new mattress is being delivered tomorrow.

Tonight is date night. I'm not certain where we're going or what we'll do... but I'm looking forward to it. Tomorrow night we're supposed to have dinner with G&R and on Sunday night we're supposed to go out for dinner with R&K. I'm going to try and enjoy being social.

I spent some time this morning reading articles about the "invented spelling" that I wrote about yesterday, because I was so outraged by it. Frankly I was hoping to find a scholarly article that said my feelings about it were backed up by scientific research. Apparently not. Having read some arguments in favour of it and against it, I think I need to revisit my opinion a bit, or at least qualify it. I agree that it's okay for children to use invented spelling as part of their process of learning to write and that teachers and parents should encourage all attempts at writing to make it a positive experience they will want to continue. I still have a problem, though, with the teacher modeling invented spelling when she's writing for the class because children, especially very little ones, tend to think that adults are "right" about things. I think we can applaud a child for writing "kulerful" - coming up with letters and syllables that follow the rules and are easily understood - while still modeling correct spelling ourselves. That's what I think- balance.

The nap index is high today in spite of sleeping in, so I'll have to get started on Things I Must Do before the couch and fleece blanket grab me by the ankles as they are wont to do on cloudy grey mornings.


Thursday, January 18, 2007

Do you imagine a familiar light

We've decided to sleep in tomorrow. I like it that I have the kind of job (non-job) that allows me to decide when I'm going in and when I'm not, even though I can't get a root canal if I want one. (I rarely want one but I might get a hankering again one day.) So I'm booking off the morning and Shawn is going in late. I think I like sleeping more than is healthy. I mean, I'd like to sleep ten hours a night if I could. More in winter.

I went over the details of my month-long contract tonight. I'm going to go in on Tuesday to watch how the job is done, and then start on Wednesday. That isn't much time to learn - and I'll be all alone right from the start. But usually that's how I learn best. When I get too much help, I tend to let other people take over and I do nothing. I'm better on my own; a sink or swim kind of girl.

I watched a teacher teach grade one the other day, and she was teaching them a writing class in which they used a method called "invented spelling", something I'd never heard of. It was extremely strange. The children learned basic English rules and then applied them to spelling words, and as long as the rule was applied correctly, it didn't matter if the word was spelled wrong. And so the teacher wrote on the board that they were using a "karat" for their snowman's nose, and "stirofome" balls for his body, and "kulerful" ribbons for his scarf. It made me twitch in my chair.

I wonder what happens to kids like me, who learn through memorization. I didn't learn to spell by sounding out words so much as I learned to recognize/ memorize words by seeing them over and over again. Through the process of "invented spelling" (is it the same as phonics?) I would have been completely bewildered to find out that the spellings I'd memorized were actually incorrect.

I know educational theory and practice evolves and changes... and surely the literacy issues we face in all schools tells us that something needs to be done. But I found this bothersome. Doesn't it make more sense to learn how to do something "right" the first time? Well, maybe I'm just too rigid.


Wednesday, January 17, 2007

in case you think you love me

* I need more than eight hours of sleep in order to feel okay.
* I drink more coffee than I should.
* I am addicted to aspartame.
* I brush my teeth too hard and make them hurt.
* Sometimes I pick at my cuticles until they bleed.
* I never lie to other people but I lie to myself all the time.
* Sometimes my desire to be liked keeps me from saying things I should say.
* When I don't say things I should say, I think mean things.
* I can be very oversensitive and emotional.
* I get lost easily when I'm driving. I get lost easily in my head too.
* Being tidy does not come easily but I feel upset when things are messy.
* I don't like being corrected.
* I tend toward obsessive compulsive behaviour and thinking patterns.
* Sometimes I cry for no good reason.
* Sometimes my good reasons for crying aren't really good reasons to anyone but me.


Tuesday, January 16, 2007

the warming and the drying

Last night we took Little Puppy to her first RallyO class. I was relieved to see leashes and a small group... but everyone was so interested in competition! We have no interest in teaching her to compete, only wanted her to socialize and and get over her timidity to some degree. There was a lot of time spent discussing judging and points and all kinds of things that mean nothing to me.

Little Puppy was scared. She kept trying to climb my leg and for the first half hour wouldn't even look at the treats we brought her. The ladies running the class didn't understand us at first - apparently they don't remember our conversation (or email) about wanting her to have fun and socialize as opposed to competing in this as a sport. I tried to explain that her breed is renowned for refusing to sit on hard floors and the they wouldn't listen at first. I said I needed to put a blanket down on the floor to get her to sit and they immediately went off on how I would be disqualified and blah blah blah.

Apparently my own emotional state was only a notch better than Ophelia's because I had a very sharp comment on the tip of my tongue that wanted out, but instead I just said, "Well maybe we're in the wrong class," and looked to Shawn thinking he would say, "Give us our money back, we're leaving."

But instead Shawn explained (again!) why we were there and suddenly the lady was fine with our blanket and our silly needy baby and her silly needy mama. She even turned up the heat in the room so Little Puppy could stop shivering. Shawn's better at explaining things. When I'm flustered I just want to run away.

It all made me realise that I'm responsible for this behaviour, this timidity and neediness. Because I encourage the constant snuggling because I love it! -and in the process I've made her a nervous wreck. Sigh.

Anyway, we decided to stick with the class after all, and I hope that Little Puppy and I both learn something.


Friday, January 12, 2007

fallen from grace

Sometimes I let myself get so tired that I can't go to bed. That's the kind of tired when you fall asleep on the couch and start drooling and you hear a little noise that makes one of your eyes open halfway and you realise that it hurts your neck to sleep like that but you're too tired to stand up and brush your teeth and put on your pajamas or even to pull the blanket over yourself. Sometimes I let myself get that tired.

When I'm tired like that I think it would feel good to be picked up and carried to bed and tucked in. I can remember watching my parents do that with my sister when she was small. I would close my eyes and pretend to be asleep too in hopes they'd carry me in as well but I think I was too old for that by then because they would tell me to wake up. It's too bad that by the time you're old enough to understand how sweet it is to be carried to bed, you're already too old for that.


Thursday, January 11, 2007

you wake up

I have cried more in the last nine weeks than I have ever cried in my whole life. I have cried every day. Crying to relieve the internal pressure is different than crying in frustration over something you have the ability, but not the power, to change.

I remember in mid-June of 2005 I suddenly decided I wanted to make a Father's Day gift. It didn't matter that I had no one to give it to. I wanted to paint a picture and I went into the office where we were planning on tearing up the carpet anyway, and painted in there, not caring if the paint spilled or dripped while I worked. I was painting a sailboat. I don't know why I wanted to paint a sailboat but it was clear in my mind exactly how it should look. It wasn't so much the boat itself I was interested in painting as its reflection in the water and the bleached rotten wood of the dock it was anchored to in my mind.

And it was a poorly done painting. I couldn't get it right and it didn't look the way I'd imagined it either. About halfway through the painting the fire inside me went out and I stopped. It was a good intention that turned out bad - and it seemed like the most appropriate gift I'd ever made befitting a non-existant Nobodaddy. And it struck me that I couldn't send my half-finished good intentioned piece of garbage even if my pride had let me because I'd torn the pages out of the address book with the address and phone number I needed -- to stop myself from doing something just exactly that ridiculous.

And I went to bed and cried my eyes out. And wished that I wasn't moving and that I didn't have to pack and fix the house by myself. And wished that Shawn would come home and wished that I didn't have to leave my job and my friends and my family. And wished that I had somewhere to send my ugly half-a-picture that I painted for a figment of my imagination. And that was one of the most lonely times I can ever remember in my whole life until now.


"There are only two things in life for which we are never truly prepared..."

Today is a special day. A special friend is experiencing a special event. Hooray for January11th.


Wednesday, January 10, 2007

the more I see the less I know

Right after I said all this, I got an "out" job. Because of the horrible weather it took me nearly two hours driving each way, which kind of made me wish I'd declined the offer, but the day itself was pleasant enough. With no one around, I did little office jobs like sharpening pencils (whrrr whrrrr) and shredding paper (grrrr grrrrrr). The day was not taxing and I did not have to think at all. (Thinking's for suckers.)


But you can't predict the weather, Ms. Jackson

I've been working from home so far this week. I was kind of hoping today would be an "out" day, but I don't think it's going to be after all. I suppose this is for the best given the driving conditions. Last night we were hit by a blizzard and it is now -25° C and there's a foot of snow on the driveway. My poor little car is probably happier in the garage, and truth be told I'm somewhat happier myself at home with the fireplace going. But it still makes me feel like something is missing.

I did manage to get my six articles written, and a bonus seventh, which means I'll get paid - but it seems like something isn't right when I'm home so much. Especially on the heels of a holiday.

Yesterday I spent most of the day cleaning up the house for the realtor so he could come and take tantalizing photographs of it. Our house is so sad. Because we decided fairly soon after moving in that we were going to move again, we never put up any pictures on the walls, never decorated anything. It's just bland sea of beige. The realtor thinks this is terribly exciting - I guess bland seas of beige are a hot sell. But in the new house we're decorating and I don't care if anyone but us likes it. Anyway, after cleaning all day long the realtor called and said he needed to reschedule the house's photo shoot, so now we'll actually have to KEEP it tidy. This is surely a blessing in disguise, particulary if he takes a few weeks about it.

Last night I yelled at Shawn. Probably I was grouchy from cleaning all day (and cleaning someone else's stuff is always extra annoying) but I felt yukky about it because I almost never yell and when I do it makes me feel sort of sick. My response was kind of a reaction/overreaction to something he said. It wasn't loud scream-yelling... but it was definitely a raised voice and I don't like myself that way. He helped me to calm down, though, instead of yelling back, and that made me feel better. I must be really hard to live with sometimes.

My knees have begun to hurt again since I got back on track with working out. I hope I don't have arthritis. They aren't really bad, just kind of sore, but I should probably go to the doctor eventually and find out why. I hate getting old.


Tuesday, January 09, 2007

things I wish I'd said to my mother

Sometimes I think things are about me when they aren't. Like if someone sounds terse I feel that they are angry specifically with me. I wonder if that's being vain to assume people spend time thinking or feeling things about me when they don't.


Sunday, January 07, 2007

space age foam

We went the 'Sleep Country' today to price out mattresses, knowing we are going to need to get a new one in the next few months for our new bed frame. We had no intention of buying one today, just wanted to get a feel for prices and types of mattress... but once we found what we were looking for and realised it was a discontinued product we decided to act fast before it was too late.

We got a Tempur-Pedic foam mattress, something we've talked about for awhile but never done anything about. It came with a free pillow and a free teddybear made of their foam (how useful). Thank goodness work starts again tomorrow and the spending spree is coming to an end. In the spirit of returning to Reality we are going to eat leftovers tonight instead of eating out or ordering in.


Saturday, January 06, 2007

A Message To You, Rude ~D

and i will bear my soul in time when i'm kneeling at your feet

Our vacation is nearly over. We've spent the last two weeks living a different lifestyle than we are accustomed to. We've eaten out constantly, we've made large expensive purchases, we've laid in bed until ten o'clock. We haven't done any laundry. We have been self-indulgent lazy wine-swilling chocolate-eating piglets.

It's nice to live like this for a few weeks a year. It gives us something to look forward to throughout the daily grind - and the daily grind makes being self-indulgent feel special.


Friday, January 05, 2007

no song unsung, no wine untasted

This afternoon I was sitting on a bed in a furniture store waiting for Shawn to come back to me after going off in search of a salesperson.

While I was sitting there an elderly man came to me and told me he thought I had beautiful eyes. He didn't stay to talk, he just said so and touched my shoulder and ambled away. I wonder if I imagined him.

It briefly made me vain, blink blink. When I told Shawn what happened he said, I tell you that all the time. Why are you surprised?

The reason I am surprised is that I often think of compliments that come from people who love me as being obligatory. But a compliment from a stranger who has no apparent motive for crossing a room to tell you a lie is a different thing altogether. Shawn rolled his eyes at me.


We purchased a bed frame in this furniture store. Long ago when we decided to have babies with long spindly legs it became necessary to take the bed off its frame and place the mattress directly on the floor so that the babies could get in and out of bed without hurting themselves. We complained about sleeping on the floor for awhile, and then forgot about it. And kept doing it for a long long time.

And then we found this bed frame, a strange bed frame unlike anything I've ever seen before. The wood is rough, just short of being splintery, just short of being ugly, managing somehow to be the most beautiful and interesting piece of furniture I think I have ever seen. And it's LOW to the ground allowing for long legged spider babies to get in and out at will, and still allowing mama and Daddy to stop sleeping like teenagers at a keg party. Huh.

The saleslady filled out the paper work (with the sad news that it could take up to four months to have this thing ready to come home with us) and then said that this style of funiture was something people either loved or hated. And I distinctly felt she hated it.

Then she asked us whether we wanted the free airline tickets to Jamaica, Hawaii, or Mexico OR the three night's acommodation in Las Vegas. We both stared at her; it did not compute.

She explained that the store was having this weird promotion and she wasn't kidding. I never heard of such a thing in my entire life. We decided to take the free tickets and she said we could decide on the destination later. She also said they could be transferred to someone else. I think in the end we won't be able to go on a vacation together because of the babies but the idea that one of us can go and bring a friend is kind of neat. And strange. (I wonder if they'd give us another set of tickets if we bought another piece of furniture?)

In general, shopping is just the worst way to spend an afternoon, but today's expedition was successful in many ways. I look forward to spending many lifetimes in my new bed.


Thursday, January 04, 2007

so many things I would have done but clouds got in my way

We walked out on a comedian on December 22nd. He told some jokes about how mean his wife was and the audience, largely men, seemed pleased. The comedian said, "I'm glad you like this. I don't really know what you guys are expecting from me, so I'll just tell you. I'm going to stand up here for about half an hour and make fun of my wife." People laughed again. Shawn whispered, Should we leave? I have never left a live show in my life.

I said okay.

It wasn't that he was offensive. It was that he was boring. Another sign of aging and imminent death, perhaps, that we no longer feel we have the time to waste listening to someone who bores us. It's liberating.


I invited him into my rough hewn dreams and hoped he would stay there forever. I haven't much hope he will but I wanted to believe he heard the invitation and knew I meant it.


Tamagi told me in front of a roomful of people that he thought I was the best listener he'd met. He was in his mid-fifties when he said that and I felt complimented but also, I felt like a fraud. I am good at making eye contact and nodding in the right places, a sympathetic smile well-timed, but I am not, in fact, always listening. Much of what I do listen to is not retained.


My memory was flawless at one time, when I was a child. When I use the word memory I think I mean "recall" because I do not mean I could remember to do the things I was supposed to do without prompting; rather that I could repeat back sections of dialogue word for word from conversations I had participated in or listened to previously. I think most children can do this because they have less useless information clogging up their synapses.

I used to remember people's names. Now I lose them seconds after they're given to me. And again, perhaps it comes back to listening. When I am introduced to a stranger I can shake hands and smile and say How are you? Nice to meet you. But I have said these things automatically and likely not listened to the answer.


But sometimes I listen carefully when what is being said is very very important.


There are times I am overcome by loneliness and it's important to remember this doesn't indicate a failure in my marriage or my friendships or my family or even inside me. It is just a part of how I am made and I think I have it in common with some others. It's incurable and precious and painful and sweet in its bleakness.


When Shawn and I look at furniture we are always drawn to things that look like other people have owned them and treated them badly. I wonder why we should both be attracted to that.


Wednesday, January 03, 2007

with your feet in the air and your head on the ground

it must be a sign of aging
and dying
that suddenly i should care about
things like koi fish
swimming on Japanese dessert plates
across a sea of antique black.


Monday, January 01, 2007

double 'o' seven

I got back on the treadmill today in a burst of cliché inspired New Year's Resolution type garbage. My lungs were a bit stunned but I felt my quads celebrating the rush of warm moving blood. Like coming back to life after a long cold winter.

I've felt so cold so long... maybe it wasn't so long. It has seemed long. So long.

It isn't a resolution, it's who I am. It's just a place to turn around and come back to who I've always been. It's a strange thing to lose track of yourself in spite of knowing you were right there all along. I can't say I like this version of life as much as I liked the other version but with Forward as the only option, I'm taking it out of pause mode.

We have another week's vacation ahead. This is the right way to ease into a gritty new year.