Saturday, March 31, 2007

for a place where awkward belongs

We did some cleaning today. It's funny how cleaning never fails to make me think of my mother. It's not the little daily chores like wiping counter tops or unloading the dishwasher that reminds me. It's the bigger jobs, like vacuuming, like mopping, like dusting. The ones we don't do as often as we should and that my mother did all the time.

My mum used to say, when I was a child, that the state of a person's home reflects the state of their life. She said this in an ominous way meant to imply, I believe, that the disorganization that was always pulling at my ankles would probably end up ruining my entire life if I didn't learn how to combat it more effectively. It was never clear which part of the warning was the cause and which was the effect. That is, I'm not sure whether a messy house was a symptom of a messy life, or whether having the messy house was actually the cause of the messy life. I'm not sure my mother was clear on that either.

I know that her house reflected her life. It was spotlessly clean. Rigidly clean. There was no junk drawer and there were no Saturdays off.

I have inherited some aspects of her personality, some signs of her OCD. I wish, however, that mine was as productive as hers. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder doesn't have to be debilitating. For me it's like an inner fire that gives you energy when you're tired and keeps you moving even when you want to stop. An inner fire that would drive me to do a better job of keeping the house clean would be far more useful than an inner fire that urges me to pick my cuticles.

It didn't turn out that way for me. The disorder is diluted, perhaps, from one generation to the next. If I have a child perhaps she will have thoughts of picking her cuticles but be too lazy to actually do it.

Once I start cleaning, though, I understand the obsession. There is a kind of simple peace that comes over me when things are ordered and tidy and clean. It makes me feel in control of my life, and I imagine it's why my mother was so addicted to it. It feels good to be in control. Once I start I feel like I don't want to stop.

So we cleaned today.


Being able to look back on one's childhood from an adult vantage point is a blessing in my case. I know this isn't true for everyone. But in my case when I put aside the childlike feelings of rejection I am able to see that they did their best. This, above all, is what matters to me.

On the phone last night my mother talked about the way things were when I was a child. She said that it may have been wrong.

It may have been wrong.

It probably doesn't sound like much of a concession to anyone who doesn't know my mother the way I do, but to me it was the kind of revelation that makes your head swim. My mother never admits she might be wrong. Never never never ever.

And being able to hear that admission through adult ears is healing. Perhaps it even filters down through the layers to the inner child who still just wishes she felt loved by her mummy.

What's most important, though, isn't anything I am given externally. It is the growth beyond the limited vision of a child and the ability to look back and remember without judging them or feeling angry anymore. Because I have the adult ability to forgive them for making mistakes and to empathize with how difficult things must have been for them as well.

For me these are confident steps forward.


Friday, March 30, 2007

Seven makes a complete set

Our coffee maker died yesterday. I'm not sure exactly how old it was, but I know it was really too young to die. When I told Shawn the news, he was so pleased at the prospect at having yet another appliance to shop for that I have become suspicious that he may have killed the coffee maker. It has always irked Shawn that the coffee maker was white while the rest of our kitchen appliances are stainless steel. It seems like the shag carpet one-bedroom apartment with harvest gold and avocado appliances existed in another universe. He wants things to match. It's odd that a man who occasionally wears his underwear inside out and doesn't notice should be so concerned about matching appliances, but he is. Now.


I spent the last few days with my niece who makes the most fantastic little house guest. She is always polite but never false and happily decides what she wants for dinner without any, "You decide," "No, you decide," "Whatever you want is fine with me". I clearly recall Shawn asking her what she wanted for dinner when she stayed here last summer and him being startled when she wanted brussel sprouts and peas for dinner. This time she wanted brussel sprouts and corn. We added some chicken to the menu for Shawn's sake. Sometimes I wonder how it's possible for a little girl who has had such a tumultuous life to be so stable and well-adjusted. I think she is really rather magical.


Monday, March 26, 2007

in which I am thoroughly incensed

On Saturday night I went to G's "stagette" party. Yuk. I don't know G very well. As she is a newcomer to Canada I have been trying to make her feel welcomed and at home. However, the more I get to know her, the less I want to know her. I am making a solemn promise to myself to never EVER attend one of these types of gatherings EVER again unless I do so because I WANT to and only because I ADORE the person being honoured.

Sitting around a restaurant with fourteen other women I don't know and trying to make polite smalltalk until the bill comes (and fuming silently while they divide it fourteen ways regardless of the fact that Hilda and Tessie at the end of the table each drank two bottles of wine and ordered steak and lobster while Minnie and Teenie had salads and water) makes me want to die. No, kill. I hate this kind of event. I felt terrible for K - the only person in attendance I both know and like, who was so painfully careful to order a small meal, avoid the wine, and make sure her fifteen dollars would cover her night, only to have one of the Bossy Ladies announce, brandishing her cellphone-slash-calculator, that everyone was to cough up thirty. I'm not really the type of person to keep quiet in a situation like that, but with G sitting right beside me, I opted for the path of least resistance. It's not the money that rankles. It's the forced gaiety and the obnoxious disregard for other people's situations.

I received a chipper thank you note (via email) from G the following day, along with a request to exchange emails with all the other ladies we'd dined with so we could do it again (hah) and a link to G's online blog on which she had posted photos of all of us without asking permission. Infuriating.

I am no longer going to be "nice" and attend social functions I want no part of. I'm drawing the line right here.


Thursday, March 22, 2007

Hello Friday

My weeks end on Thursdays now. I like that.

On Mondays and Tuesdays I visit my student teachers and deal with university things.
On Wednesdays and Thursdays I teach junior high.
On Fridays I work on scripts at home.

Friday is a nice day to work at home. I plan to stay in my pajamas until 11:00. Then I'll get dressed and take Little Puppy to the vet.

It's spring break here now. I will not be using this time to go to Fort Lauderdale and flash my breasts at strangers. Instead I will indulge in things like sleeping in, extra cups of coffee, and afternoon naps.


Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Life could be a dream sweetheart

Sometimes I believe that my dreams overlap with reality. I want to believe that, which makes it easier. Some religions say this is true.


GDJ isn't taking income tax from my paycheques. I guess that makes it my responsibility to keep track of my invoices and pay my taxes later. What a nightmare. I can barely keep track of things from minute to minute. I don't want to have to be organized. But I guess it's better than going to jail for tax evasion.

In the new federal budget, the Finance Minister announced plans for a new rebate for people purchasing fuel efficient vehicles. There will also be a penalty for purchasing gas guzzlers. I wonder where my little car would fit in this scheme if I was buying now. Shawn, of course, sees this as yet another reason that we ought to buy another car. Shawn loves buying stuff. The expression, "You can't take it with you," was written for Shawn.

On the weekend he bought an XBox 360 which now makes three game consoles in our house. He's been using it a lot this week but I am anticipating it joining the console graveyard before too long. Shawn, of course, says he needs these consoles for his career. Hee.


Monday, March 19, 2007

see what's become of me

In quantum theory there is a belief that time, being an imaginary construct anyway, is flexible enough to flow in multiple directions. Not only can it flow many ways, but it is not limited to flowing in only one direction at a time.

What this means, simply put, is that some quantum theorists believe that at every crossroads there is one "me" who makes the choice I am currently living out, but simultaneously there is another "me" who made the opposite choice. At every crossroads, perhaps, we split a million times and live out an infinite number of possible outcomes.

I love this idea. But I don't understand how come I have to stick with only one path, especially if I don't especially like the one I am on. Why did my consciousness choose the path where something bad happened, instead of choosing the one where it didn't? And why can't I travel backward and undo it? I've been scrabbling at time for five months now and it still hasn't turned backward for me.


Sunday, March 18, 2007

If I wash my hands in your dirty water Will your religion make me clean?

Last night Shawn and I went to the movies to see "Zodiac", a movie I would not normally have been interested in seeing. Although true crime interests me in a morbid kind of way, I've always preferred Bill Curtis' documentaries to reenactments and crime dramas. However, with an indie heavyweight cast consisting of Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo and Robert Downey Jr., I found myself compelled. Whoever put those three together could have been reading my mind. I'd like to say my own directorial experience would lead me to making similar casting choices, but in my case the decision making process would have all boiled down to lust.

I thought the movie was interesting and I thought the acting and direction was excellent. It's not often than I can sit in a movie chair for two hours and forty minutes (plus previews!) without wanting to walk around or else drifting off to sleep.


Shawn is still sick although he's gotten well enough to put on clothes sometimes. It seems this pneumonia (or whatever it is) has an even tighter grip on him than it had on me. However, this morning I caught Shawn eating a piece of licorice for breakfast so there may be a rational explanation. I'm urging him to stay home from work again tomorrow but he's feeling determined not to miss any more time since he's missed about six days. Sometimes I am jealous of the fact that he has a job where he can miss work and not have to make plans for someone else to do his job while he's gone. Of course it means all the missed work is waiting for him when he returns.


This morning I woke up with what my father would call a "mouse" under my left eye. I'm pretty sure that one of the dogs scratched my face last night when we were playing but it didn't hurt enough for me to remember which one to blame for it today. I hope it looks less scary by tomorrow so I can go visit my student teachers without them wondering if I am a battered woman.


JM sent me some of her poetry to read. She's been writing a lot of poetry lately for the writing class instead of stories. I love reading poetry written by people I know. I guess that's because poetry is so often so intensely personal- and through it she tells me things she hasn't told me in our conversations, as deep as those go. It's like she's trusting me with a document filled with secrets. (Dear Dixie - my favourite poem by you is about God.) JM is coming here for her spring break to visit her nephew, which means we should have some time to get together for bookstore coffee, one of my favourite things in the world to do with JM. She asked me if she should invite Kat too.


I need to sort out my feelings about Kat. Kat has been one of my closest friends for many many years. We went to university together, we worked together, we traveled together, we performed together, we lived together... and by god, we drank a lot of beer together. I adore her. And yet I seem to have lost track of who she is and I don't know how this happened.

Since I moved, she's spending all her time with B - who's nineteen... and a former student. I know things aren't simple but I have trouble with the fact that she was his teacher in ninth grade and now they're drinking and smoking pot together. It doesn't make sense. It's not that I'm judging the activities because I can't claim not to have indulged in either of these activities myself - but I don't understand doing them with someone for whom you were supposed to be a role model.

As far as I can tell, B is a pretty typical nineteen year old, experimenting with drugs, getting drunk a lot, going to parties, and thinking he's too deep for the rest of the world. Standard nineteen year old stuff, at least it was for me. But Kat. Well, she's my age. Thirty three. I just don't understand how, at her age, these kinds of things still hold any interest for her. Maybe I've just become old and stuffy. But I don't get it anymore.

When JM told me that Kat and B had been doing cocaine together I felt sick. When Kat told me that B had "decided to quit" as though it was just that simple I wanted to choke her. She's not this stupid. She knows it doesn't work like that.

When I look at it as calmly as I can, I tell myself that the changes in her life shouldn't stop me from being close to her, shouldn't stop me from loving her and trusting her as much as I always have. But there's another part of me that is uncomfortable. It's like I'm on the edge of a forest, the same one that I know swallowed up Jesse and swallowed up my sister... and Kat is just playing along the edge of the forest and I'm scared because I know that something in there is going to reach out and grab her and drag her in.


I've written a lot today. Sometimes writing like this, the kind where there's no concern for grammar or rhythm or beauty, is a form of personal therapy. When I write down what I'm thinking and feeling it starts to make sense. Metacognition through journaling. I understand myself better. Sometimes.


Saturday, March 17, 2007

nouns and books and show and tell

I never really sucked my thumb as an infant. My mother says I sometimes made a fist and drooled on my knuckles but that this phase was short lived and not a habit I was terribly attached to. Because I never was a thumb sucker, it was with some consternation that my parents received the news that I'd begun to suck my thumb at school in second grade.

I think it's a shame, really, that no one back then ever thought to ask me why I had suddenly started sucking my thumb, though perhaps if I'd told them they would not have believed me.

Instead of asking, they assigned a school counselor to talk to me and find out what the source of my anxiety was that had suddenly prompted me to regress. It was assumed I was having trouble making the transition from first to second grade, and in fact this was most certainly true, although it wasn't the reason. I remember that transition being both frightening and traumatic. I think this is exactly the reason that children are no longer "skipped" ahead in school, but back then it was fairly common practice to move children up a grade if they seemed intellectually ready. Emotional readiness wasn't really considered, and I was not emotionally ready.

I know I was asked if I wanted to go to grade two and I don't think that I really had any idea what I was agreeing to when I said I wanted to go. I know that when my father asked me I had the impression that he might be disappointed if I said no and so I said yes because I wanted to make my Daddy proud of me.

The adjustment was very difficult. I was a shy child and I struggled with not knowing the other kids, not knowing the teacher, and not knowing what we were working on. I distinctly remember Mrs. Robertson asking us to take out our Social Studies duotangs, and I, not having a Social Studies duotang and in fact not even knowing what the word "duotang" meant, burst into tears. I also remember her being exasperated that I hadn't simply asked her - but this wasn't the kind of child I was. I did not possess the ability to ask unfamiliar grown ups for help.

But this wasn't why I was sucking my thumb.

I remember the school counselor asking me a lot of questions. One of them was about my reading level. She asked if I knew I was a good reader and I said I did. She asked me why I was too good a reader to belong in grade one anymore, as though I had done something naughty and I knew I needed a pretty good explanation for my behaviour.

The problem was that I didn't know why I was a good reader. And so I made up an answer. I told her it was because my parents both worked all the time and had no time to read to me and so I had been forced to learn to do it by myself. In actuality, this was probably almost the exact opposite of why I was a good reader. I'm sure I was a good reader because my parents valued literacy so much that they read to me constantly from a time before I could talk. But the counselor moved on to the next question and so I felt I had satisfied her. In fact I had created some concerns for my welfare that were inaccurate. My mother was far from perfect but one thing she did, and did consistently, was read to me.

Another thing I remember the counselor asking me was to draw a picture of my friends and family. I can't really remember the drawing I made but I do remember being embarrassed trying to explain it to her because I knew my skills as a portrait artist were weak and felt that she would judge the quality of my friendships and family relationships on the strength of their artistic value.

I don't know what the outcome of these tests and interviews was. They went on for several weeks and eventually stopped. When I asked my parents about it they said it was because of my thumb sucking.

I was startled to learn that anyone was aware of my thumb sucking. And I was embarrassed.

The reason I was sucking my thumb was because Cindy, another girl in my new grade two class, sucked her thumb. While I wasn't astute enough to figure out how I'd learned to read, or to ask Mrs. Robertson for a duotang when I didn't have one, I had figured out that Cindy was pretty and cute and well liked by other kids in the class. And so I spent a lot of time observing her and trying to pinpoint what she was doing that I wasn't that might help me to fit in better. My brilliantly overdeveloped seven year old brain had narrowed it down to thumb sucking. Cindy sucked her thumb during story time, and so I decided I would suck my thumb all the time and out-Cindy her at her own game. A recipe for social success.

So perhaps it's a good thing no one ever asked me directly what was behind my regressive behaviour. Perhaps the truth would have alarmed them more than their preconceptions did. In a lot of ways it makes more sense to believe a somewhat neglected child who has been moved to a new class would seek comfort in reverting back to an infantile habit than it does to think that a disoriented and shy child would imitate the unacceptable behaviour of another child in order to gain social acceptance.


I typed this memory while buried under thirty pounds of canine. I have found acceptance in the dog world at any rate.


Wednesday, March 14, 2007


Hi Geese. Welcome home.


Tuesday, March 13, 2007

XTreme Transcription

Today has been a whirlwind of doing.

I visited student teachers in the morning. I wrote a 22 page design document in the afternoon and evening, and between bursts of writing I attended a university meeting. This is why I believe I can do two full time jobs in the time it takes to do one-point-two. On days that I can manage my own schedule I am able to accomplish so much.

However. For the next three days I'm back on school board time.

In some ways school board time is frustrating because I want to get things done fast fast fast. In other ways, school board time is a relief. It's a chance to take six hours to do one hour's worth of work.


This morning I met with the student teacher I had so flippantly determined was crazy. She seemed to understand what I was telling her with regard to keeping her personal stories and thoughts separate from her professional journal and professional portfolio. I was really gentle with her. I told her how much I valued her allowing me to read about her personal experiences and that I fully appreciated how enormously a person's upbringing and childhood can bring richness to their teaching. I completely avoided talking about the dead bodies she's been seeing on the way to school.

She said she understood completely and agreed with me. She also said she was feeling ill and was planning to go back home. I offered to drive her (so she could avoid seeing dead bodies out the bus window), but she said she needed to do some work first.

Later in the afternoon my direct supervisor from the university called to tell me that the student teacher had called support services to report that she had been in conflict with her facilitator (me). She also said that the Director of Student Support has been counseling this student on many many issues for many many long forevers.

The lesson here is that anyone who doesn't love me is clearly nuts.


Monday, March 12, 2007

long haul

A man followed me around in the grocery store tonight. I smiled at him. My smile said I know you are following me because you don't look like a man who is shopping for bobby pins. I didn't feel afraid of him. He seemed like a nice man who just wanted some company for a few minutes.


I belong to another online community and it's about dogs. It seems like a weird kind of community to belong to but the people in it are really kind. They post pictures of their pets and say sweet things about how cute each other's dogs are. They ask for and give advice about training, feeding, health... all kinds of things. It's refreshing to belong to an online community like that.

One of the ladies there had a dog who died of stomach cancer. She'd been posting for a couple of months about how her dog was sick all the time and she didn't know what to do. Then she got the cancer diagnosis and was planning to pay for her dog to go through chemotherapy treatment which, apparently, dogs handle better than humans. But the dog didn't respond well and she had to make the decision to put her down. It was terribly sad - and I was so impressed with how beautifully the other people on the forum rallied around this woman and supported her and offered her advice for coping with her loss ... I decided to make an anonymous donation to forum as an "in memory of" for the sadly missed puppy. It's nothing much, but I liked how they added a little ribbon to her avatar. It's weird how people can be drawn together when the things they have in common are things they care about so deeply. No matter how different they really are.


This morning I was out doing work for the university and I called home to ask Shawn if he wanted me to get anything for him while I was out. Shawn is still sick. When I called, he didn't answer the phone because he was still in bed. But it didn't really occur to me that he might just be sleeping and instead I started thinking about what would happen if he was so ill that he died while I was out and I came home to find him gone. It was the most neurotic irrational line of thinking I could take off on... but it got me really scared just imagining it, even as the rational brain started talking me down off the ledge. The rational brain told me to stop being a lunatic and calm down - but the crazy brain wouldn't stop imagining my life without him and was terrified by the prospect. That's really the only real problem with love. There's always the possibility that you'll have to relearn how to live again without it.


Sunday, March 11, 2007

Unconditional love is not so much about how we receive and endure each other as it is about the deep vow to never, under any condition, stop bringing the flawed truth of who we are to each other.

-Mark Nepo


Thursday, March 08, 2007

Oh fab, I'm glad, there's lemon-freshened Borax in me

Dear Dixie,
I hope it's not too soon to say that I think I'm going to like my new teaching job. The staff seems really friendly and helpful. The kids are maniacs but I'm chalking that up to the fact that they have a first year teacher who's trying too hard to be both "nice" and "cool" and isn't giving them any boundaries. I'm planning to set some new standards for behaviour next week when I take over properly. I'm anticipating a rough couple of weeks until they figure out that I mean what I say. One of the nice things about being OLDER is that I am confident enough not to care if a thirteen year old doesn't think I'm cool. I remember once you told me that at forty I would undergo a second stage of puberty allowing me to become more assertive with salespeople. Perhaps this will be good practice.

I had a dream last night that M called to ask me to fill in for her on a ski trip and for some reason I felt compelled to go even though I didn't want to, am not a good (or enthusiastic) skier, and already had something important planned on that day. I have been feeling a time pinch again.

Shawn caught my illness and I'm hoping it doesn't become pneumonia as it did in my case, but so far it doesn't look good. He's lying on the couch sleeping, wrapped in the same quilt I spent a week and a half wrapped in. He's not even showing any interest in his video game and what that happens you KNOW it's for real. I made him promise not to go to work tomorrow - and fortunately I have a short day with my student teachers so I'll be able to take my turn being a nursemaid.

I'm planning on spending any free time I manage to find writing for the safety project. I feel like I'm falling behind. My wave of inspiration was short lived.


Wednesday, March 07, 2007

another ten minutes

Today my cell phone company sent me a text message to inform me that their records indicated I was having a birthday tomorrow and that in honour of my special day they will be granting me a day of free text messaging services. Strange, that. I don't remember filling out any forms that asked for my date of birth.


I spent the day at my new school shadowing another teacher to learn about the classes I will be taking over. She was very young and new to teaching. At one point she mentioned something annoying that the kids like to try with her, and followed that up with, "You're lucky you're older; maybe they won't try that with you." I was momentarily stunned. Older! It seems like just a minute ago that I was the youngest one on staff and being mistaken for a student.


Eevy's blog about egg babies made me laugh and made me remember. She said she accidentally cracked her egg baby's head and drew some hair on him to cover the damage. Suddenly I remembered being in seventh grade Home Economics class and having to make this stupid stuffed telephone from a pattern. I coaxed the girl next to me to do the machine sewing for me and then, where it asked me hand sew the telephone's numbers into place, I used fabric glue and then drew stitches on them with a Sharpie. My teacher, however, was not so easily fooled. I failed the assignment and was shortly thereafter switched into a Drama class.


Tuesday, March 06, 2007

a wavy line

Today I met a real live crazy person posing as a normal human being.

It's one of my student teachers.

At our morning meeting she made a big deal out of the fact that she didn't want to meet in the mornings because it was her "photocopying time". She also provided a lengthy discourse on how much she hated riding the bus to school.

When I read her "professional (PROFESSIONAL!) reflections" I found more venting about how much she hates the bus as well as,

"I will try to be more grateful for smelly mentally ill folk,"
"On my way to school today I saw a dead body..."

Her professional (PROFESSIONAL!) portfolio contained a eulogy which she said was what guided her teaching practice, knowing that if we are all the same in death we must all be the same in life. It also had a two page description of her poverty-stricken drug-addicted illiterate divorced parents who offered her no support and provided her with a reason to teach.

The school coordinator reported that she'd also been in to complain to him about the long bus ride she had to take every day as well as to complain that she wanted to teach a different grade level than she'd been assigned.

Oh my god.

What do I do?

I can understand a little venting here and there. I can fully understand being moved by poetry and by having a difficult past that inspires one to do better for kids.

But I don't understand not knowing WHO you should say these things to and who you shouldn't. And I REALLY don't understand, "On my way to school today I saw a dead body..."

I am at a loss. This girl doesn't need the support of a facilitator. She needs a doctor.


Monday, March 05, 2007

whistle while I work

I spent my day in a long meeting with GDJ from home, and A from the safety committee. It's so hilarious working with him and noticing the differences between A and L. In spite of being on the same project, they couldn't be more different.

A likes to get things done quickly with a minimum of discussion. He wants things to be straightforward and dead simple. He likes to stop for a smoke break every hour and a half. He wants greasy Chinese buffet food for lunch. He wears jeans and running shoes to work.

When the meeting with A was over, L stopped by a "minute" of our time.

L glides into a room and brings with him the distinct impression of having stepped out of the shower just a moment ago. He smells soapy and lotiony and pretty. He is wearing a silk tie and a silk shirt with carefully contrasting patterns, almost too loud but in a carefully stylish way. He uses words like "acquiescent" in regular conversation and talks with his hands. He closes his eyes when he's imagining something exciting, which is frequently.

I am unsure how I can please both these men being the same person and same writer that I am in both cases. And yet, it seems to work. A is happy that I'll work well with minimal supervision from him and get things done quickly. L seems overjoyed to see that I've put his own writing into an office template and made it look official. So far I'm doing okay.

Tomorrow I'm back at the University job, trying to make up for all the time I missed while I was stuck in the grade four classroom. This new schedule is going to require a lot of gear shifting. I hope I can keep up with myself.


Sunday, March 04, 2007

silvery streams sacred when spoken

Breakfast was nice. They were awake when I got home and happy to have some treats. Shawn, especially, was happy to see Tim Horton's coffee. I swear, before I married this man I never even tasted TH coffee, and now I feel like an addict willing to go hours out of my way to get it. He's corrupted me.

This afternoon we went shopping and got some things to make the puppy apartments a little easier to manage. Right now the tops on the pens are trying to come loose. We're hoping the new idea will work better. As I type this, I can hear Shawn drilling and clunking around. He doesn't like being a do-it-yourself-er the way I do, but he also cannot abide letting me build or fix things while he watches. Hee.

After getting material for dog apartments, we went to the dreaded Mall. You can tell we were really hard up for something to do because neither of us likes shopping - but on Sundays things are pretty quiet, and getting out for awhile was pleasant. We went to the jewellry store to see if would be possible to have our wedding rings "dipped" to make the white gold more white again, as over the years they have begun to yellow a bit. The clerk astonished me with his honesty in looking at the rings and telling us that he thought the process would make the Gordian love knots around the bands less visible and that the rings didn't look particularly yellow to him anyway. So we left without doing it after all.

We looked at appliances for our new house. Shawn, of course, wants the most expensive and fancy things he can find. I can't imagine why a man who rarely even DOES laundry needs to have such a fancy set up... but he was excited about all the great new appliances we can get that make our already-too-fancy appliances seem outdated. I remember writing, when we first moved here, that I was vaguely frightened of my refrigerator that seemed a little too self-aware for comfort. Of course, since we bought this place and that fridge, they've come out with a newer version that's even closer to being alive. Shawn can hardly wait.

After dreaming of appliances, we dreamed over furniture. It's odd how our respective tastes in things like this have changed and become more similar. I'm certain there was a time when we were polar opposites. We've agreed not to buy anything until we're in the new house. Thank goodness.

At this point, Shawn was suddenly struck by a mad desire for new bedsheets. This was actually a sensible wish since we only have one set of king size sheets that fit our new bed. This has necessitated doing laundry in the mornings so as to have sheets ready for bedtime. Now we have TWO sets and can launder much more haphazardly! Hah, I can't believe how expensive sheets are and how ridiculous my husband can be over things like thread count. He briefly reminded me of Darren with his chocolate breath and American Idol gossip. (Well, not really.)

All the way home Shawn talked about wanting to get a new vehicle. My little '97 Neon has been a good reliable friend for the last ten years, but apparently Shawn thinks the time is coming that she ought to be put out to pasture. I'm not sure how I feel about that. Not that I'm terribly attached to my old car, but I like the fact that this vehicle has already been paid for.

Shawn is a man who likes to spend money. He likes to enjoy what he has. Somehow I have all kinds of money fears that stop me from being able to do that most of the time. I feel guilty when I buy myself things I don't need or aren't economical. Somewhere between us lies a sensible person. (not literally... wouldn't that be weird?)

Shawn is still drilling and I'm getting hungry for dinner. Think I'll take a stroll to the grocery.


people resourcing

Sunday. We were blatantly robbed when the weather turned from warm and slushy (Shawn even wore shorts yesterday!) to the cold icy grey day that presented itself this morning. Spring is not coming yet.


We saw a movie on Friday night called "The Number 23". I was expecting good things, having come to really appreciate Jim Carrey as a real actor as opposed to a face-making-clown after seeing "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind". In fact I was so certain it would be good that I pressured Shawn and his friend O. to see it instead of "Ghost Rider", a movie, allegedly, about demons that rode motorcycles. How could it be worse than that? I think it might have been. I'm not giving up on Jim Carrey just yet because I think it was the script and direction that were horrible rather than the actors... but I thought this movie was just god awful.

I hate it when a movie starts out strong and makes you interested and then slowly and painfully becomes increasingly stupid, boring, and insipid. By the time the last strains of melodramatic music floated through the theatre and the last tear stained actress had poured her heart out I was considering jumping out a sixth story window like the girl in pink. Shawn and O. were not pleased with me. Neither was I.


Shawn and the pups are still abed. I think I will go out and get some breakfast for them to wake up to.


Friday, March 02, 2007

i kept my shadow waiting down the road for me awhile

I did make dinner last night. Nothing special, just spaghetti sauce, one of the few things I can throw together fairly easily and do a decent (though not outstanding) job of.

As things simmered I spent time with the dogs.

At one point I went downstairs to check on dinner and to stir... and returned to find that Little Puppy's bottle of eye drops was being devoured with unparallelled canine enthusiasm and joy. Ugh! I called the vet who assured me that there wasn't enough there to poison anyone and sent out a new prescription to the pharmacy. Frightening. I was relieved nothing serious came of it. I was literally shaking while on the phone with the veterinary technician.


Yesterday afternoon I went outside to try and shovel the sidewalk, a job that has been sadly neglected during my pneumonia and Shawn's stint as a nurse. I had been thinking to myself that after shoveling, I might try to work out since I haven't done that in awhile for the same reasons. It turns out I'm not as over the pneumonia as I thought I was. Although I am now able to remain upright for an entire day and maintain a normal body temperature, my lungs are still weak. I was coughing and out of breath within a few minutes of picking up the shovel. I did finish the sidewalk (at a very slow pace) but decided to skip the afternoon workout after all.

I comforted myself with fruit flavoured jujubes.


I've actually got some writing done today due to the pressure I purposely applied to myself, promising the client to have some examples to show by the end of the day. I am learning that when you work at home on a salary you have to pace yourself. That is, you can't do all the work really fast and then have nothing to do, or else they can't justify keeping you on the payroll. Instead, you churn out a small bit each day so it looks as though you're working a steady eight hour day even though it's really only half an hour. In some weird ways it's like a dream come true.


Thursday, March 01, 2007

I must have done something good.

This morning I met with L from Safety. After six weeks of spending my days with nine year-olds it was incredibly refreshing to have a conversation that was mentally challenging. He went off on all kinds of tangents, stories, anecdotes, examples... Sometimes my brain had trouble keeping up.

I'm not a slow person, I'm not a slow thinker. But I had trouble, at times, finding the invisible threads of connection between the topic at hand and the tangents he went off on. Nonetheless, I enjoyed them. I enjoyed him.

I have had trouble for a long time being excited about my writing projects through this association. Though I care about language and care about communication, it's been difficult to muster a lot of enthusiasm for technical descriptions of heavy machinery and types of ladders.

Suddenly, talking to L, this changed and shifted. He told me he lost a brother in a construction accident and this was why he was so passionate about the safety project. And from him came the fire I needed to care about this project and do it well. It's strange, sometimes, how the human brain works (and doesn't work). All this time that I've been writing about safety my heart hasn't gotten involved in the reasons behind it. Even as I've typed the words "fatality" and "injury" and so forth, I haven't fully taken in how big a concept I was writing about and how important it truly is. Suddenly I had a human face and heart before me who knew firsthand the tragedy that could result from not implementing safety legislation, and suddenly I cared more than I have since this began. It makes this work have meaning. That was exactly what I needed.


In spite of feeling fired up about safety again, I have spent the afternoon procrastinating. This is typical of setting my own schedule and my own hours. I put things off until deadlines get tight. It's the way I work. Most of the time I need a little pressure in order to be productive. But it's what makes working for myself wonderful. The reward for working efficiently under pressure is enjoying all the time off that precedes it. If I could do things in reverse order I'd enjoy it even more but I still think I'm lucky.

At this stage, having a steady teaching assignment two days a week, writing to do at home on my own schedule, and university students to visit within my own chosen hours, I feel as though I'm walking a nice line. A good balance between stability and steady human interaction, and freedom and solitude. I value all these things and I get frustrated with too little or too much of any of them. I've finally got enough teaching hours to warrant full benefits, and enough freelance time not to feel chained to the school. Perhaps I've found the perfect situation. We'll see.


I'm thinking about making dinner for Shawn tonight. Sometimes I cannot believe how lucky I am to be sharing my life with him. My cooking isn't much of a treat, to be truthful, but I'd like to make the effort anyway to show him how much I've appreciated his help while I've been teaching full time again and also during my illness. He takes good care of me.