Monday, April 30, 2007

place all items

I expected my morning to be easy and smooth. It wasn't.

At the first school, D needed a venting session. He wanted to tell me about the things that had been annoying him for the last five weeks culminating in the final evaluation. By the time I got to him, he and K had already hashed it out and come to some agreements, but he still needed some decompression. I listened. I soothed.

At school 2, N wasn't finished writing her evaluation. S invited me to sit in the staffroom and wait. Small talk, chit chat, smile, giggle, nod nod, wink, laugh. Then N appeared to tell me she was nowhere near finished and wanted me to come back later.

On to school 3. At school 3, A needed to talk about how her evaluation was received by The Most Difficult Student Teacher in the History of the World. Apparently TMDSTitHotW was quite bullish about the whole thing in spite of having shown no signs of life up until this point. She, A, simply wanted reassurance that she did the right thing in sticking to her guns. I assured her she had. She thanked me. She gave me a card and a coffee card. Sweet thing - I wanted to invite her for beer one day, but decided to wait until the term is over and I am no longer in this role.

School 4. Two out of five had not brought their evaluation forms to the office to be picked up and this necessitated the secretaries harassing them in their classes. One in particular (the same irritating man who was late with his evaluation last time) hadn't done it whatsoever, claiming he was unable to access the password-protected document. Of course this would indicate he'd only started to write his evaluation that morning and hadn't bothered to read his email for the last week. Sigh. It was agreed through gritted teeth that I will return to school 4 again tomorrow to retrieve the errant evaluation.

This means my job is not quite finished, but I'm a whole lot closer. All told, these events took about three hours.

I expected the afternoon to be harrowing and tedious. It wasn't. I finished both documents before Shawn finished work for the day and am prepared to carry on tomorrow where I wanted to be.

Strange how these things go.

And now it's time to go get Shawn from work, get some dinner, and go to the dealership to look at cars. Stupid cars. Heh.


Friday, April 27, 2007

if you feel faint during the following, please place your head between your knees

Tonight has been a gong show.

Shawn and I decided to go buy birthday gifts for my family because we are (were?) planning to go home to visit them tomorrow for Dad's birthday. Then we went into the shoe store to see if they had the shoes Shawn has been searching for. No, they did not.

That was when we got in the car and the starter went kaput. That's the thing about starters. They don't warn you when they're thinking about going on you. They just go.

So we went back into the shoe store (I had conveniently left the cell phone in my coat pocket at home) and called R who graciously came to pick us up and drove us home, leaving our car abandoned at the shoe store.

Upon arrival home we started searching the phone book for towing companies and also rental car companies so we could get the dead car resuscitated and rent another one in the meantime. It was, of course, at this moment that the company that is responsible for our phone, internet and cable television, decided to go on the fritz. At least the lights stayed on.

After digging up the cell phone, we managed to find a tow truck to take our car to the dealership - but they wanted us to leave the keys to car for the tow truck operator.

This necessitated calling another friend (R2 this time, to spread out the love) and beg for a ride BACK to the shoe store to hide the keys on top of one of the car tires. (It's not like it's easy to steal a car with a broken starter anyway, but it's a Neon. I don't think we could convince anyone to steal it.)

The internet finally returned and we were able to book a car (online) for tomorrow, which means that if things go according to plan we will still be able to go to visit my parents but later than expected. This necessitated calling my mother, and while I was talking to her, of course the phone company started having problems again. I could hear my mum saying, "Hello? Are you there? Helloooo?" but she could not hear my intermittent Yeses.

I think things are back under control (to some degree) including Shawn having arranged for G to pick us up and drive us to the car rental place tomorrow morning. I'm so glad when I don't have to handle these kinds of things all myself.

The upshot of all this is that Shawn is now campaigning more than ever for a new car, this being further evidence that the time has come for him to go shopping.

I'm thinking it makes more sense to wait until the mortgages are settled, decided, and signed before doing anything besides sticking some duct tape on the Neon's starter. Hopefully nothing else will fall apart in the next few days.


Wednesday, April 25, 2007

what else I could use

Last night Shawn talked to a mortgage specialist and it looks like we might be able to keep both houses after all. We're only at the "pre-approval" stage, which means (I think) that we have to produce papers to prove that everything we've said is true. At that point I guess we'll need to decide whether this is a good idea for us and whether it's something we want to take on.

In some ways it seems like such a great idea, like a forced savings plan. And in a way it strikes me as a lot of hassle to deal with all the details that will have to be attended to: tax forms, rental agreements, management and legalities...


A woman I work with at the school asked if she could recommend me as her replacement while she's out on maternity leave next year. I told her yes but I'm not sure I meant it. I'm not totally convinced I want to teach Humanities instead of Drama, and what's more, I'm not sure I want to teach in this community. It's not that I only want to work with "perfect" kids, but it's really emotionally exhausting working full time with kids who are so difficult. My current assignment of two days a week has made it possible to be a better teacher because I am not as tired or impatient as I would be if I was there every day.




While you are in a relaxed, quiet, open state, visualize the symbol, and internally say the affirmation.

One time is enough, but please feel free to print out this page for your records.

This will help you let go of your resistance to feeling the perfect health that is already yours. This process will hold your attention on nonresistance


I choose to experience my wellness from anxiety by vibrating in harmony with the number 51.


Tuesday, April 24, 2007

tie it up

Today is the last day of observing student teachers in their classrooms. In fact there's only one left to go and she's the one I am most concerned about. More concerned, even, than I am about scary I-See-Dead-People Girl. This one is perhaps the most ill-suited person for a teaching career who ever lived.

I have been trying to understand why she wants to be a teacher and I cannot figure out where she's coming from. I've been waiting for some kind of revelation that might make things clear but so far nothing is forthcoming. She is a completely closed book. Not only closed but padlocked and not with one of those little diary locks that look easy to pick or break or smash. A big old steel padlock you'd use to lock up an outdoor shed.

This girl is beyond shy. In fact I relate to her in a rather uncomfortable way. Sometimes she makes the gestures that I have struggled over the years to suppress. The ones that show that a person would rather being anywhere on earth right now than sitting here having to talk, be personable, and make conversation. The gestures that mean Don't look at me. Don't ask me questions. Please don't look at me. The eyes that are looking for the door, the hands that disappear into the sleeve ends as if to show as little of the "self" as possible...

In light of my own discomfort in social situations and how I am aware that has, at times, especially when I was younger, impeded my ability to communicate, I am trying to give this girl the benefit of the doubt, assuming that there is more to her than meets the eye. I am hoping, and trying to believe, that she will learn to make eye contact, she will learn to smile spontaneously, she will learn to hold her head up and she will learn to say Knock it off right now when some kid gives her attitude. But it's uncomfortable trying to pull her along in that direction, not knowing for certain whether anything I am telling her is getting through. I had hoped her "reflective journal" would provide me with some insight... instead it provided me with lists of her daily activities, step by step by step.

Fortunately for her (and for me) the teacher she is working with is both kind and patient.

At any rate, today is the end of it. The practicum is nearly over. I'm glad, not because of this girl, but glad in general because I look forward to having a lazier schedule.


Monday, April 23, 2007

from Tolstoy to Tinkerbell

Puppy D and I went for a half hour run outside this afternoon, his First Ever and my first of the spring. Technically, one isn't supposed to "run" for sustained periods of time with puppies because it jars the growth plates that aren't finished developing. However, lucky for Puppy D, his mama isn't in very good shape anymore after a few months of Stationary Sad and so he wasn't taxed much at all by my efforts. I don't think he ever actually felt he was "running" and was probably not terribly impressed. We came in at a pretty lazy stroll, in fact, and while I was managing to move faster I made sure his paws were hitting grass rather than pavement.

It was definitely work for my body but the emotional, spiritual, and mental healing that came from it was overwhelming. Sunshine and cool air... it clears the mind.

I'm ready to start running regularly again now. I'm determined to give Puppy D a run for his kibble.


many things

Things are finally winding down with the university and their practicum term is nearly over. That means soon I won't need to go a'visiting on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays. What will I do with all my time? Maybe I'll start packing for the move.

The move is starting to seem a lot more real. Yesterday we did a walk-through, legitimate this time, with the guy who sold us the house. They haven't started the finishing work yet so is still much to be done, but he says he thinks it's down to two months or so now.

We celebrated that by going and picking out our new appliances. I was amazed to see how much more ridiculously fancy appliances have gotten since we last did this. I hadn't expected them to change so much in such a short time... but they really had. The dishwasher is my favourite, because it has two completely separate tiers that can be washed simultaneously or just one at a time. Perfect for the two of us because we don't really make enough dishes to run the whole dishwasher sometimes... but this way dirty dishes don't stand around so long. I love it. (Wow, how greedy. I washed dishes by hand for so many years I would have laughed at this girl getting excited over dishwashers...)

Shawn is suddenly thinking he might want us to keep the house we live in currently and try to rent it out rather than sell it. I can definitely see how this would be advantageous in the long run, but the idea of sorting out all the details to get it set up makes my brain hurt. He's calling our mortgage people today to find out if it can be done. I'm not sure what I'm hoping for.

Today I have only three students to visit and lots of script work. Time to get dressed. It's been a great luxury to stay pajamaed this morning until 8:10.


Saturday, April 21, 2007

Ode to Gorilla Glue

versatile, ideal
for most building projects
wood stone metal ceramic
& more
you are waterproof
and incredibly strong


Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Canada's Conscience

I'd written a small tribute to June Callwood before the "session ended" abruptly and unexpectedly. I thought of rewriting from the scraps of my memory but it seems so insignificant in light of who she was and all she did. It isn't apathy. It's just a case of being awed almost to paralysis.

As far as inspiration goes I rate her up there with Tenzin Gyatso in terms of what I believe and what I value. The nation, and the world, has lost a living saint.

Monday, April 16, 2007

I am doll eyes

Last night I talked to my parents on the phone for a couple of hours. Most of the time was spent talking to Mum. We've started talking about some of those things that we Never Talk About, and it's been more productive than I ever believed it could be.

We've all been emotionally guarded for the longest time, each half-expecting the other to take a chomp while the jugular is exposed, and therefore saying nothing of much substance. Nothing that exposes much.

But lately that's been changing. In our mutual concern and love for J, The Past has slowly worked its way up to the top of pile for discussion... and for the first time we're doing it.

In doing it, all the things I've been afraid of are coming true. It's scary, it's heart wrenching, it makes me cry, god it hurts.

It also helps me to better understand why things were the way they were. It helps me see childhood from the perspective of parenthood... it helps me to replace the belief that I wasn't loved with the understanding that I was loved by people who were coping with an ongoing tragedy that prevented them from having the patience and time and serenity that a parent ideally possesses.

It helps to talk about the things I remember feeling guilty about, the times I was intentionally hateful in my anger, the times I was thoughtless or not gentle with my words. It helps to know they forgive me too.

We've been talking about babies again.

Though Shawn's not ready for a family car, he seems to be getting close to being ready for a family. Meeting all our friends' kids affected us both deeply.

I have some things I want to accomplish before that time... but I feel like that time is going to come much sooner than I used to think. Especially when I thought the time was Never. I wonder if healing my own childhood through my relationship with Shawn as well as through my parents changes what parenthood means to me? Somehow it must. Somehow I am falling in love with the idea of conceiving Shawn's baby, carrying his baby, holding his baby, nursing his baby, loving his baby, raising his child ... ... it all seems so much more beautiful and possible than is used to.


Simultaneously I am longing to go back and finish my Masters degree. I talked about my idea for a thesis with CH from the university last week and she said it was "cutting edge". I'm not so sure it really is cutting edge, or if it's just a notion that's not very popular right now, but in either case, having her professional opinion and feedback on it made me feel like I wanted to dive back into it.

It's inconvenient that I should be simultaneously feeling the desire to do both these things, as it really wouldn't be ideal to be managing both at once.

My sweet wise Somalian ladies advised not to wait on anything. "There never will be a right time." I know this is true, but I am impeded by my practical side in many ways. Though I can be terribly impulsive at times, in the bigger picture I am a cautious person. I want to do a good job of my life.


Saturday, April 14, 2007

I want to be the girl with the most cake.

It's starting to look like we're not going to move anywhere after all, at least not as suddenly and abruptly as it was beginning to look like. After lots of looking at the options and considering various minute details, it seems like staying right where he is will work out best. There's nothing like job offers in other places to make one's own company show a little more appreciation! Although I was somewhat intrigued by the idea of moving and exploring a new place... there's another part of me that's really pleased that we will get to use our new jacuzzi tub after all and enjoy all the beautiful things we picked out for our new house. Leaving that behind was a big minus on my list of reasons not to go. The builder is way behind in finishing our house but this, too, has turned out to be a good thing as the cost of our new house remains locked and the value of the one we're selling climbs 5% monthly.


On Thursday night J called to talk to Shawn about his upcoming divorce and plans for the future. Listening to Shawn talk to him somehow made me fall in love with him more, if that's possible. He was so kind and genuine -- but at the same time, managed to tell him the truth, that we've all been concerned about J's drug use. It's a subject no one has wanted to broach, and hearing Shawn do it with such gentle concern and honesty made me feel one of those enormous internal swells when you know that you're in the most right place with the most right person in the whole universe. I think that J appreciated it too in spite of it being difficult to hear.


Yesterday I was driving like a maniac. I took a U-turn in front of a school so that I could park out front rather than going around the back and stomping through the mud, and because I was looking at the school rather than the road, I bit the curb as I came around and gave the car a flat tire. Sigh. I was enormously fortunate that a kindly bus driver came to help me change the tire because I'm moderately certain I would not have been successful at loosening the bolts on my own. Although it was an irritation I had not anticipated for Friday afternoon, I felt awfully lucky to have demonstrable proof that the world is home to Good People.


This afternoon we went to dealerships to look at cars. Shawn is in love with some Acura that has a voice activated navigation and GPS system. Sometimes Shawn is soooo male. I give him credit, most of the time, for being more highly evolved than most, but when it comes to cars he is all about testosterone.

Practicality, safety, fuel efficiency, price... I can say these words until my throat hurts. These things don't matter. What matters is what's cool. He's drooling over leather seats with seat warmers and electronic gadgetry.

I think it'll be awhile before we actually purchase a car. Time in which he will be trying to convince me that his dream car should be our dream car. I already know that just the same way we ended up with kitchen appliances that have higher IQs than many people I know, Shawn will win this debate because he actually cares what kind of car we drive. And while I'd rather we bought something more practical, I don't really care enough to stand in his way. My apathy works against me when it comes to getting "my way". But it stops me from developing ulcers.


Wednesday, April 11, 2007

we can work it out

It seems like ages ago, now, that we went home to visit. Seeing M & C's babies looking all grown up was so weird. Hard to believe we've been here so long that we could have missed so much. T and M were also there with their baby; again, it was with disbelief that I looked at this little person realizing that the last time I'd seen these people there was no baby. No plan for a baby. No hope for a baby. A was there (as usual) and J-without-N the way things are now. He looked so tired and sad. No hug could be long enough or big enough or warm enough. But I wanted not to let go of him. I wanted to bring him home with us.


Shawn is receiving job offers from various companies around the world. He's just listening to the offers right now ... and then we'll decide whether we want to go, and if so - where, once all the information has been presented.

I'm greedily imagining myself enjoying life in a climate where puppies can walk outside year round... and puppies' Mamas can jog outside even in January. A climate where margaritas are always a good idea.

I love Canada. But I could definitely enjoy some serious travel.


Friday, April 06, 2007

and every stranger's face I see reminds me that I long to be

We're going on a field trip tomorrow. We're going home. Just for a short visit... but this time we're staying a couple of nights instead of our usual day trip and seven hours on the road. We're taking the pups with us, which means all kinds of nonsense in terms of tearing down and recreating their world in a temporary new place. I offered to stay home with the pups so Shawn could go on his own and not have to deal with the hassle of striking and rebuilding Puppytown... but he said no. He said either we would go together for a day trip leaving the babies at home, or we would find a way to make a real visit together.

He talked to M; and M is a man who gets things done. And he said they'd build part of the dog kingdom for us at their place so we'd have to move less stuff. He also said they were planning a little get together for us with a group of old friends we haven't seen in way too long. I'm looking forward to that.

J called to see if the rumour he'd heard about us coming back to town was true... and told Shawn that he and N are talking about filing for divorce. They're in a trial separation now and deciding what should come next. I remember when I was a little girl I believed that there was always a good person and a bad person in a divorce situation. But the idea of J & N splitting up makes me so sad for them both. They're both such good people - and somehow so cut off from each other without a way back. I don't know how that happened, or if it was just always that way right from the beginning. I'm wishing for them both to be okay, whatever they decide.


To add to the graveyard of no-longer-loved video games, Shawn has purchased "Guitar Hero 2", a game that came with a small plastic mock electric guitar, complete with strap and decals. It's hilarious watching him play it, strumming and posing and pretending to be a rocker. I need to buy him a package of cigarettes and a bottle of whiskey. I need to take his picture playing it before he grows bored of it and it goes the way of all video games.


This afternoon the puppies were wrestling and running and then suddenly one of them screamed and then started whimpering. I'm not sure what part of him was hurting. I picked him up and held him and he settled down and then after he calmed down I put him down and started bawling. That sound makes me sick in my heart, that scream.

Shawn was good - he understood. He helped me through it.

It's not so late, but I'm tired. I'm taking Atwood with me to bed.


Tuesday, April 03, 2007

hand-eye coordination.

This morning when I was conferencing with one of my student teachers she started to cry because she thought she was doing a terrible job of becoming a teacher. We had a long talk.... I hope she felt better at the end of it. This is a part of my job that I haven't really had to do much in the past, having worked with student teachers who've all been pretty confident and comfortable with their skills. But I felt like I did alright at talking her through the experience and figuring out how to handle her feelings. I really want her to be successful.

It's been an unusually difficult term this time. Yesterday I met with another student teacher who was so shy she could barely look at me. And every Monday morning I meet with Ms. Angry who is always... angry. And then there's my girl who sees dead people. Whew. It's been a difficult term. Only four weeks to go.


I met Jenny for lunch just off campus. We had a nice visit, though they always seem so short. She's going home tomorrow.


When Shawn and I left home in the summer of '05 it wasn't easy to go. We were leaving behind family and long term friends. I was leaving behind a career. And a history.

Now we've been here nearly two years. In some ways this has become home, but mostly home is just wherever he is. Shawn's been applying for a lot of jobs, jobs that appeal to his sense of creativity. And I'm intrigued by the idea of travel, especially now while traveling is easy. If we end up moving from this city I'll be sorry to leave behind the pretty house we designed... but I think that no matter what happens it will be a great adventure.


Monday, April 02, 2007

through the letter slot

I've decided to give Atwood another chance. Not that she cares, I'm certain, but I feel a little guilty that I've mistakenly blamed The Diviners on her for so long. She was, however, responsible for Surfacing, an atrocity I was attributing to Margaret Lawrence, so perhaps it's a draw. It seems like the right thing to do, the Canadian thing to do, to give her another chance. I'm starting with Alias Grace, which Jenny says is written about me. I find that hard to believe since Atwood and I had our falling out. But it's intriguing when people say things like that; in an egomaniacal kind of way I feel compelled to read it. I've also got The Edible Woman and The Handmaid's Tale, both of which are on the Jenny List. Generally I trust Jenny until she starts recommending historical fiction.

I love it when Jenny comes here. I love having a friend with whom I can talk about books and writing and writers and books and never run out of new ideas and questions and exciting plans and creativity. It's strange and ironic that I see more of Jenny now that we live 300 kilometres apart than we did when we lived a five minutes away.