Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Tuesdays and Sundays

I walked to the grocery store tonight to buy chocolates for the teachers I've been working with the past six weeks. Tomorrow is the last day.

It was snowing. Ordinarily it's difficult to appreciate the beauty of snow at the end of the season, but March is already roaring in her cage waiting to be unleashed and in the knowledge we are not there yet it becomes more possible to stop and appreciate where we are.

The snow is light but each individual flake is big. Cold enough that they don't stick together when they land and instead make a sparkly carpet of dust on the pavement, and glitter like tiny diamonds as they are caught in the streetlights briefly before landing in the ends of my hair where they become droplets of dew.

Sometimes, even with my eyelashes freezing together, I can appreciate the beauty of winter in the North. Sometimes when things are so beautiful it almost hurts to look. But I need that kind of ache because it inspires me to write. It inspires me to sing. It inspires me to breathe.


Sunday, February 25, 2007

goddamn right, it's a beautiful day


I realised the other day that I haven't been singing/guitaring for weeks and weeks and weeks. I haven't even called to tell them where I've been. I think we've mutually left each other. A painless breakup.

There are only three days left in my current teaching contract and I think I am going to be very glad to leave these little ones behind me. Though they are interesting and funny and I've begun to enjoy them, they are also exhausting and germy. The new contract starts the following week, but only two days a week. I think I'm going to love having only two days a week of planned work and having the other three flexible. Seems like such a nice balance. I hope it feels right.


Somehow I managed to choose the busiest restaurant in the city last night. We arrived at 6:00 and weren't seated until 7:00. It took another hour from the time we ordered for our meals to arrive because the kitchen was so busy. In the end it was a wonderful meal but by the time we got home we were both feeling a little green from eating too much rich food, having overindulged after allowing ourselves to get so hungry.

I'm repenting today with chicken and broccoli. Shawn is being dragged along for the ride in spite of the fact that he just asked me if I wanted to order a pizza tonight. Shawn is a very bad influence when it comes to eating healthy food.


My birthday is looming ahead. I spent another confused week thinking I was turning 34 instead of 33. I don't know why my brain keeps doing that, trying to age me faster. But, it's such a nice feeling to suddenly come to the realization that you are younger than you thought. Ever since we started talking about the possibility of having a baby one day, time seems tight. And seems to be moving along faster than ever.


We went to peek at our new house again today and found that the builders have finally locked the front door. Presumably this means they are making progress or at least have done some work worth protecting. By peeping through the hole where a deadbolt does not yet exist, we could see that insulation has been added and sheets of drywall are lying around waiting to be attached. Progress!

It seems ridiculous that we should be considering moving to another city (let alone country) while we are the process of building our dream home. And yet the possibility exists. If only we could take the house with us. It's certainly not the city I've grown attached to... just to my dreams of a jetted hottub, high ceilings, and beautiful hardwood floors. I wonder when we became so greedy.


My "walking" pneumonia is receding. The cough is not so deep, the fevers have stopped. Energy levels are becoming normal again. I haven't been so sick in a long long time. The antibiotics, in spite of being the same family as the erythromycin that I am allergic to, seem to be helping and causing no allergic reactions. I feel less and less like hurling myself out the window with each passing day. Things are looking up.

Friday, February 23, 2007

what dreams may come

Last night as I was drifting off to sleep and very nearly there, I was suddenly and abruptly certain I had heard Shawn whisper something in the dark. It frightened me.

"Did you say something?" I said, quietly in case he was actually asleep and I was losing my mind to fever again.

"No." He said this too quickly, with too much conviction, and with a voice that wasn't even slightly sleepy. He was lying.

"You did too," I said. "I heard you. What did you say?"

He hesitated. Finally, "I said, whyyyyyyyyy." As soon as he said it, I recognized it as the exact sound I'd heard from halfway into sleep.

"Why? Why what? What did you mean?" My brain, no longer half-asleep, began to finish his thought. Why did I marry this woman? Why is she so weird? Why doesn't she greet me at the door naked with a martini in her hand?

"Not that kind of why. The other kind. Like ayy-- eee-- aii-- ohh--yoo- ... and sometimes whyyyyyyy."

A pause when I tried to understand that.


"I'm trying to make one of my animations talk. I was moving my mouth to try and figure out how the vowels are shaped. I didn't mean for the Y to be out loud."

I digested this. He wasn't lying. He's just crazy. It's easy to tell the difference.

"A, E, I, O, U..." I said.

"Right. And sometimes Y."

"Whyyyy..." I said.

"Whyyyy..." he said.




Thursday, February 22, 2007

telling my life

The last couple of days have been heart wrenching. I'm not recovering from my heartsickness like normal people do. The car crying has started again. And the shower crying. And the crying-before-Shawn-gets-home-from-work. What's wrong with me? Why aren't I getting better after all? Why did I think I was?

I feel like I'm living a double life. There's this normal, controlled, semi-organized, reliable, pleasant professional person who goes to work (when she doesn't have pneumonia). And there's Crazy Lisa. She cries all the time. She feels irrationally upset; she is a drama queen. Privately.

In fact there's even a third girl. Because there's the girl that lives with Shawn too. She's mostly nice. She's loving and patient and vulnerable and mostly pretty sane with his help. Shawn doesn't get subjected to Crazy Lisa very often. I try to keep her in the car as much as possible where the rest of the world doesn't have to try and accommodate her frailties.


Wednesday, February 21, 2007

losing ground

I have pneumonia.

I think it's finally getting better. I have been sick for a long time. I think I made things worse by continuing to go to work, thinking whatever it was would eventually go away. It didn't go away. It just got worse and worse.

Tomorrow I am supposed to return to work on the condition that I make it through a 24-hour period without any fever. The timer is set.

This experience has really made me realise just how much trouble our healthcare system is in. When I finally broke down and went to the doctor, we had to go to a walk-in clinic because it was a weekend and the regular doctor's office wasn't open. Upon arriving at the clinic we were told it would be about a two hour wait to see someone. Enough time, it turned out, to go back home for a nap, and return just in time. It was fortunate Shawn convinced the receptionist to let us do this; if I'd been required to sit in that crowded waiting room for two hours I probably would have given up and gone home unseen.

The doctor ordered a chest x-ray, which required going to another location. Fortunately, this place wasn't nearly as busy but the experience was strange. After providing the proper requisition forms and papers, I was moved from the main waiting room to a back room where I was sent into a cubicle and told to take off everything from the waist up and don the paper gown that was waiting for me. I was wearing pajama bottoms and a sweatshirt, so after completing this request I looked like a little swami. Having done so, I was expected to go and sit in the back waiting room with other patients who were also wearing paper gowns!!! It was totally bizarre. Because I was feverish and weak I didn't put up any fuss and got x-rayed quickly and sent home, but I think if I'd been feeling better I would have been rather distressed by having to lounge around in a paper shirt in front of other people. I might have argued or made trouble. I guess it worked out better that I was too sick to fight it - but the fact remains that someone should tell these people that their system is insane.

I'm missing Shawn. He's been home taking care of me for a long time, but it's not only the excellent nursemaid service that I'm missing. I've become one of those women who gets lonely when she's alone. Pitiful. I hope it's just the germs and that I can recapture my independence when the antibiotics are done.

It's snowing again today. We have an enormous amount of snow again and no one has been outside to shovel because of Pneumonia and the Nursemaid. I feel sad, I think, that it's still winter. And sad that it's going to be spring, that the seasons are changing and I am still feeling the way I do. I should be changing too.

This is the second time I have asked for an illness in someone else's place, and the second time it seems to have happened. Only the first time I felt as though I was helping because she was still alive, and maybe it really could have eased her suffering if I was taking some of it inside me. This time it's only made me feel terrible to think this is probably how he felt the whole time he was dying.

I really hope I can go back to work tomorrow. Being home like this, too sick to work but too well to sleep all day... leaves nothing. It's depressing watching the snow come down and hearing the television drone about Britney Spears on every channel as though her hair was of some kind of international import.

I wish I was tired enough to sleep.


Tuesday, February 13, 2007

you always come around

It's 8:20. According to the original plan, we were supposed to meet at 8:30. I know I'm not going to be across town by that time, but he still hasn't called. Waiting waiting. I could definitely have afforded to sleep in today.

I wonder if my obsessive thoughts about sleeping have to do with the new bed or if I was always like this and just forgot. I just love sleeping. Love it. I love the free pillow that came with the bed. Fortunately Shawn doesn't think it's so great - which makes it mine. Ahhhh... I'd like to go lie down right now, but I don't want to show up for this meeting with bed head.

It's funny how about only four weeks of being a real teacher again, I'm back in anxiety mode at the thought of someone else subbing for me. I'm worried about what terrible things they'll do while I'm gone. And it's not even really my job. (Some people like to borrow trouble.)

We did end up skipping the Rally class again (two weeks in a row). Seems a waste to pay for a class we're not taking, but I feel less guilty now that we have everyone in Obedience instead. At least Little Puppy is going out and socializing and becoming braver. It shouldn't really matter so much where. I just get guilty easily.


Monday, February 12, 2007

memories like fingerprints

Today was hectic. I had a dispute with a Ritalin-soaked nine year old about doing homework before playing football which resulted in him having a small meltdown. I hate stuff like that because it invariably starts as something moderately minor and fairly unimportant that escalates into something major that has to be dealt with. Little do these kids realise how fundamentally non-confrontational (lazy) I really am; how much I would truly prefer not to deal with things. But once he'd crumpled up his papers and thrown a tantrum I was forced to do deal with it. Sigh.

With that all behind us, I went to the skating rink with the kids for Phys. Ed. where a girl promptly had her neck cut by skate blade. Not enough to be anything serious, but enough to warrant some loud sobbing, lots of concerned rubbernecking, a phone call home, and an accident report filled out in triplicate. Sigh.

I was glad to come home at the end of the day. And it's still Monday.


Tonight I'm supposed to take Little Puppy to Rally class but I don't want to. It's horrendously cold out... it's snowing... and we have Peanut Butter cups in the cupboard. How am I supposed to go anywhere? I wanted Shawn to help get me motivated to go... but instead he said Do you want me to make hot chocolate? I'm pretty sure we're staying in tonight.


Tomorrow morning I have a meeting with K and a client for whom I am writing some scripts. This meant having to take the morning off school - and then I'll have to return for the afternoon. Today I learned that I get one half a day's sick leave every nine days. It seems excessive... but how nice to know I am a real person who can get ill once again! K and I are meeting for breakfast for a pre-meeting meeting. He says he'll phone when he gets close to where I live. I wish I had a more precise start time to my day.... I could be wasting valuable sleeping time.


Today when I got home I found that my complaint had been addressed, even though no one had actually taken the time to tell me so. So I don't know if the decision was made by the owner or by the author. And I guess it doesn't matter. I'm just glad it's done.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

we have something here

We are making a habit of taking the dogs to various pet stores on the weekend; pet stores because they are rare places where pets are welcome shoppers. Stores, in general, not because we need to shop so much as because we want to socialize the dogs a bit, help them to become less timid around people and other animals. It seems to be working. With each outing they are a little less frightened and reluctant and walk around. So we did that.

Then we returned the relieved puppy to his home and went out to look at antiques and to find some lunch. Looking at antiques is a hobby we thought we were going to become interested in. However, upon reflection, after spending the last three weekends looking, we've accepted the fact that it really isn't. Most shops that advertise themselves as antique shops also sell "collectibles", which is a fancy word for yard sale. So looking for beautiful and interesting antiques among the flea markets is a far more challenging task than we expected it to be. I understand why people enjoy it; it must be exhilarating when one manages to find something rare and lovely among the trash. But it turns out we just don't have the patience or the skill to make the distinction. So much for appearing on the Antique Roadshow with a gem of a find.

After admitting to ourselves that we just aren't as artistic as we believed we were, happier rather to settle for furniture that is new, boring, mass produced and predictable, we decided to celebrate with lunch at one of those wonder artisan bakery type places that serves breakfast all day long on freshly made bread. Fabulous. I left my wallet behind when we were done.

Discovering this as we were almost home, Shawn turned around the car and I used the new cell phone that I thought would never be useful to call and ask if anyone had found my wallet. Hallelujah, the sweet waitress who had served us our meal had found it and put it aside for me. (Thank goodness we'd left her a generous tip.) When we returned I was really pleased to find my wallet behind the counter with nothing taken and all the cash still inside. I left the waitress some money to thank her for her honesty.

Later in the evening I drove to the school to meet and discuss the Future of Education for grade four students under my tutelage. It appears their curricular expectations shall be met after all.

It's felt like a full day. It's only just past nine thirty and I'm going, now, to get ready for bed. Yawn.


all along the ocean beaches stares up empty at the sky

I used to hear my mother's music floating down the hall on Sunday nights. She did aerobics in her bedroom. She did aerobics for hours and hours and then she ran up and down the huge flight of stairs so many times that by the time I started running there was a deep path worn into the carpet.

The tape she played had a lot of songs on it but for some reason it's Jackson Browne's "Tender Is The Night" that sticks in my memory. I think it was cool down music at the end of her work out. I was a bit young to appreciate Jackson Browne. I didn't understand the lyrics then but without the benefit of understanding the words the song created an emotional response in me that was repeated every Sunday night. I didn't recognize it as sadness when I was a child.

The sadness is vague, not attributable to an event or problem or issue. I can't quite grasp the reason it makes me feel the way it does, so achingly sad and alone.

I heard it yesterday when we were out for lunch, playing in the restaurant. It's funny, I could hear my mother's breath in the chorus. When you're ready to surrender...


Sunday now. We're hatching small plans to give meaning to the day. But they're unnecessary. Nothing else is needed but time and his company.


We finally went back to the pet store to pay for the doggy sweater we accidentally stole. We explained how we'd given the cashier the tag thinking he would use the UPS code on it to charge us, while the dog stood directly in front of him wearing the sweater we'd meant to purchase. He seemed confused by our story and didn't know how to take our money without selling us something at the same time. (It was, of course, the same cashier who'd neglected to charge us in the first place.) Finally he had to ask for help from another cashier who was so intent on giving the puppy some treats and petting him that she couldn't seem to focus on what he was asking her either. Finally, forty-two dollars poorer, we left the store and discovered we hadn't been charged for the bag of dog cookies we'd purchased at the same time. This time we were still out front of the store and the situation was much more easily fixed. Sometimes honesty is more of a nuisance than it seems worth to keep one's karmic debt paid down.


I'm going to school tonight to meet with the teacher for whom I am substituting. Since he's staying on leave longer than planned, he will need to provide me with more direction on what to do with his students next. If he continues to provide as little help as he did at our first meeting, I am not anticipating this meeting being particularly helpful. I am frightened that by being there an extra two weeks I am somehow going to end up being responsible for report cards or parent teacher interviews or something else equally terrifying.


Saturday, February 10, 2007

i've looked at clouds that way

I don't like not having enough to do. I like to be busy. I'm sure it's a psychological problem (add it to the pile) indicative of a need to feel important or something. And since moving here, I've been madly scrambling for things to do, cobbling together several part time jobs in order to feel like I'm a contributing member of both society and our household. All of a sudden, where it comes to work, my cup runneth over. And over and over.

I've been offered a full time contract for writing which will extend to the end of August. A full time writing contract is absolutely perfect because (note the insufferable arrogance in my tone) I can do this full time job in fifteen hours a week. It means I can collect full pay for part time hours.

Meanwhile, the short temporary teaching contract has been extended (yikes) until early March, which means that for the month of February I'll be in the outstanding position of collecting two full time salaries. The strange thing about this was that no one asked me if I wanted to stay longer; I was simply told that I was staying. I'm not even sure what I would have said if I'd been asked. I know that it's the best thing for those kids not to have to go through another change... and it's definitely the best thing for our bank account. It's only laziness that makes me think finishing next Friday, as originally planned, would have been best.

As if two full time jobs wasn't enough, I continue to work for the university - and will need to conduct all my meetings via telephone for the next few weeks until I am free from the teaching contract. Immediately upon finishing that contract, however, I have accepted another one. This one is different though, because it's not a substitute teaching position. It's a real position, mine until the end of June. The best part is that it's only two days a week - but it comes with the real job perks, like paid vacation time and benefits and RRSP contributions. I feel so flattered that they were willing to wait for me to finish the other contract rather than hiring one of the other people they interviewed who would be immediately available.

Things will get more manageable after the short term contract is done - but right now it all feels daunting. I'm not sure how to manage everything. In fact, I simply can't manage everything for the next three weeks or so.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

be like water

The possibility of a quantum existence overwhelms me... "the realization that things may be happening simultaneously on many planes, encompassing all possible outcomes." When I think about this as science, or better yet as fact, I am swallowed whole.

Is it really possible to alter reality at an atomic level?

If energy becomes matter, then focus is everything.

I cannot afford to waste energy on negativity. None of us can.

There is so much more to understand than my mind can absorb, but while I'm not fully comprehending the finer points, I feel the message.

If molecules are affected by thoughts, words and feelings... then we are in control of everything. A weighty responsibility.


Wednesday, February 07, 2007

pants that don't fit right.

Seven days left. Tired tired tired.

Tonight we went out for dinner.
Tonight we wrote a letter.
Tonight we are drinking Neo Citran and going to bed early.

The weekend is coming soon. Good.

Saturday, February 03, 2007


I think most families have expressions and words that are only understood by members of that family. When I was a child, we called marmalade laddle-dee-dee because Uncle Stephen called it such when he was a child himself. Tuna noodle casserole was noona toodle casserole because Judy once accidentally called it this on her radio program.

In adulthood, I have had no need of any words for marmalade or tuna noodle because I no longer eat these things now that I have the freedom to grocery shop for myself. But in spite of our childlessness, Shawn and I have given birth to a whole new language that we are fluent in and which only makes sense to us. When we are alone together we don't speak much English. I like being able to meet his eyes across the table and mouth beeee jooo and have him know just exactly what I mean.


there will be an answer

Things are better for the most part. It's surprising how a decision to get better can make the change happen, if the decision is well timed. I decided to get better. That doesn't mean I'm all better, but it means I'm working on it. And not so sad anymore... at least not now. I decided to try and make the most of the good things, and make the sort-of-okay things better. I'm glad to know I can have some control over my feelings again.


We accidentally shoplifted today. We were trying coats on the puppy to make sure we got the right size, and when we found the one we wanted, we wanted him to wear it out of the store. So we pulled the tag off and brought it to the cash register, along with our other purchases. After we got halfway home, we realised that we hadn't been charged for the coat. So now we have to go back. Bleh. At least it's not too far from home.


Tonight we are going for dinner with R&G. We've made plans to eat with them so many times in the last little while, and something always comes up to prevent it from happening. G wants them to take us out to thank me for administering her exam for her - something I don't really consider a big enough deal to warrant buying us a meal... but it's a nice thought. Anyway, both Shawn and I have developed a cold (stupid kids) and were tempted to cancel once again. We decided against this, however, because we don't want them to start thinking we don't like them or something, when in fact we just don't like anyone. So dinner it is. We really mean it this time.


Thursday, February 01, 2007

a pocket full of rye

Tonight a woman left a message on my answering machine to tell me that my parents' cruise ship had been struck by two large waves off the coast of Antarctica. I was told to remain calm and was assured that no one had been seriously hurt, however, it had become necessary to seek emergency shelter. The passengers would receive medical care for minor injuries, the ship would be repaired, and the cruise would continue as planned. I was invited to call the ship if I wanted further information or to speak to my parents directly.

I was concerned when I received this message, even a bit upset in spite of the promises that there had been no serious injuries. My mind began trying to decide what a serious injury was as opposed to a non-serious injury. Could they have broken bones? Deep cuts? I was worried.

Then it struck me that my parents aren't on a cruise. Their cruise ended about three weeks ago. They are now in Arizona, where no large waves ever cause injuries, serious or non.

I called my parents to make sure that they were in fact where I believed they were. (One time I received a postcard from New Zealand, and hadn't been aware they were out of the country.) This time I was right.

The woman who left the message on my machine read from a script that had obviously been prepared beforehand. At the end, she finished with a little blurb about how the safety and welfare of their passengers was of utmost importance and top priority. It would sure help them to live up to that mandate to know who their passengers actually were.

I'm glad my parents are okay.


I am getting a cold, or some kind of bug. It comes from nine year olds, without a doubt. My throat is starting to hurt. I'm glad the weekend is nearly here; I need some sleep. When I'm trying to sleep I can hear their thin piping voices invading my dreams.

"Austin's finger was on my desk."
"Quintin said shut up."
"Alyssa is practicing her mom's signature."
"Jayson dropped paper beside the garbage can instead of in it."
"Fayed keeps singing while I'm trying to work."
"Leanda used my pencil sharpener without asking first."
"Tristin doesn't have his shoes on."

I think their regular teacher allowed them to monitor each other's behaviour this way, perhaps even encouraged them to. Maybe he did this to make them a responsible community... or maybe because it's hard to catch all the little things that are going on all by yourself... Whatever his reason, I just don't think it was good enough. It makes me want to roll up in a ball and stick my fingers in my ears. I keep telling them to worry about their own behaviour and to mind their own business and they keep on looking at me like I'm crazy. Maybe I am crazy. I'm certainly getting there.