Tuesday, July 31, 2007

i don't have to decide anything

Only a few more days until Shawn comes home for the long weekend. I want him home now.

I still can't quite believe that we're going to have to live in my in-laws' basement for a week when we first arrive. Living with the inlaws is the kind of thing you always think will never do under any circumstances no matter what. The same goes for living with parents. It's just not something you do when you're my age.

Yet, they're helping us out tremendously because the day we give up this house and the day we take the other house don't quite match up. If we didn't have their basement to live in we would have to pay for a hotel and find one that was welcoming of little doggies who like to chew things. So I'm trying to temper my horror with gratitude.

Meanwhile, there are Things I am supposed to be doing here in preparation for the move. Like sorting through my books and getting rid of everything I don't want or need anymore. Mostly, that will mean finally letting go of all my old university textbooks which are so outdated now that I can't imagine they'd be of much use to anybody. The same should be said of my clothes, both that I need to get rid of things I don't need or want anymore, and that they'd likely be of no use to anyone. No matter, I'll donate them all and let others decide what their value is. Sometimes I like other people's junk, so maybe someone would like mine too.


Yesterday I got almost exactly the message I've been wanting from C. The one that says she never stopped thinking of me as a friend and wants to spend time when we arrive in BC. I sniffled over it awhile and then wondered if she'd somehow been reading my blog. (C, are you here?) And then wrote back to say that I couldn't wait. It's true. I really have missed her. I really hope that it's possible to rekindle the old friendship - or to forge something even better and new.


Sunday, July 29, 2007

you were always on my mind

Argh it's so hot. It doesn't help that Shawn keeps calling and telling me how lovely and mild it is in Vancouver. Even the insatiable-for-snuggling puppies are too hot to sit on me. Thank god.

I miss J. Maybe I miss her more because we're moving and I know I'll see her less often. The house seems empty without her. I feel empty without her.

I miss Shawn too. Being apart so long is the pits. He's coming home next weekend... and I hope I can make him forget to go back.


Friday, July 27, 2007

really love your peaches, wanna shake your tree

I finally told GDJ that we're moving to Vancouver. I had delayed talking about this with him because I was afraid he wouldn't want to employ me anymore, not that it should make any difference when I'm working from home where home is anyway, but I was concerned that it might make me a less desirable employee since I'd be unable to attend meetings with his clients that live and work here.

Instead, he seemed pleased that we were heading West because, according to him, the company is expanding in that direction and having someone out there who is familiar with the company and the business could work really well. He wasn't ready to talk about contracts and deals and any of that yet, this being new information, but it sounded positive. I guess he'll talk to his business partners and get back to me. I like the idea of being able to bring in a full paycheque right from day one. No matter how I enjoy the idea of being taken care of, there's something that my mother instilled in me that rejects it and requires that I earn my own way through the world.


I realised a few weeks ago that the book I have imagined one day gathering enough self-discipline to write, has already been written by Julian Dibbell - and with more authority and panache than I can ever hope to manage. Perhaps my more sloppier writing style will work to my benefit; maybe it means there is still room for another book on the subject in the world, since it will be so different. Accessible, mayhaps, to the mentally handicapped, unlike Dibbell's work.


I lost my temper with a stranger the other day. I was out walking with the dogs in the neighbourhood when we were suddenly attacked by an off-leash dog whose owner showed strangely little interest in helping to resolve the problem. While his dog chased my dogs around in circles, causing them to wrap their leashes around and around my knees, he stood calmly on the other side of the street calling his dog halfheartedly as though he didn't expect his dog to listen to him. Unsurprisingly, it didn't.

My dogs were frightened and panicky and barking their little heads off as they tried to escape, and I was helpless to do much of anything, being tied up as firmly as I was. I tried to reach for the other dog's collar to hold him off, but couldn't get a grip on it. And wasn't even able to pick up my own pups to keep them safe. The whole thing was terrifying for all of us and when the man across the street finally decided he'd better come over and retrieve his dog, he had the nerve to snarl at me something about his dog being harmless as though we were being stupid for reacting in fear. How am I, or the pups, to know if a strange dog is friendly or not?

I confess that I responded angrily. I shouted at him, and called him a name, in fact, because I was brimming over with so much adrenaline that I was tempted me to follow this man back to his house and kick in his front windows. I didn't, but I really wanted to.

After the man retreated back into his house with the dog (shouting at the dog as he went, as though it was the dog's fault it wasn't leashed, rather than his) I calmed down and felt thoroughly astonished with myself. I am, honestly, a person who rarely loses my temper, rarely shouts, and never curses at strangers.

There is only one other time in my life I can remember speaking to a stranger that way, and that was when a man approached me in a bus station and said something chummy to me about how us white folk needed to stick together in this part of town where everyone was wearing a turban. Only that time when I cursed, I did so very calmly, and invited him to F-off in the same tone of voice I would use to ask the for the time.

The other voice, this demon-voice, that emerged when I responded to the Dog Man was brand new. There is no Lisa, only Zuul.


Thursday, July 26, 2007

in theatres now

Last night I took J to see "Walking With Dinosaurs", and it was amazing. I have never seen anything like it. I wish Shawn had been with us.

Tonight after her day camp is over we are going to go to the Science Centre to see an Imax movie and Star Show and just to wander around and learn and touch and play.

I love doing things like this - and doing them with a child makes them more exciting. Her wonderment becomes mine.


Little Puppy's dental check yesterday was very successful. Dr.S. told me that her teeth look great and that there's nothing to be concerned about. I was overjoyed, truly, so much so that I nearly wept in the office, but struggled not to be ridiculous and brought Little Puppy home to celebrate with crunchy cookies.

I have become even more (if that's possible) protective of her, and get distraught when I think of anything bad happening to her. It makes me foolish in terms of seeing the vet far more often than I need to because I'm constantly scared something is wrong with her. But I'm trying to get over that fear so we can both enjoy her life.


Shawn found someone to replace the rotting roof in our new house. In fact he found two different guys to do estimates and we were really surprised to find the price difference between them was enormous; one was almost double the other. And the more expensive one was going to charge extra to reseal the two skylights and to clean the gutters, while the other guy was throwing those things in free as part of the job.

Again, this goes back to feeling like I have become part of the mob or something, because the roofer is yet another friend of Shawn's stepmother, who seems to be connected with every business in town. She's already told Shawn not to go and buy his new car without her. Heh! I'm so glad to know someone who actually enjoys bartering because I absolutely hate it.


My long-lost friend, C, the one who is now in Vancouver, has written a few times since I first contacted her. When I commented I couldn't believe how much things had changed, she replied that in spite of a few details she was basically "depressingly the same". I found that interesting in contrast with my other friend, T, the one who is fighting cancer, who seems to feel that motherhood has changed her completely.

I wonder which way I would feel.

I have been waiting for something in C's letters to affirm me in some way. Something as blatant, perhaps, as "You are still the best friend I ever had and of course when you arrive here I will want to pick up right where we left off."

Of course she doesn't say things like that. Neither do I. I can't even remember if we ever talked like that when we were together all the time. I don't really think so.

She told me that A is still drinking, which I was disappointed to hear. Somehow I'd imagined that since so much else had changed that maybe that could change too. She said he's better, less out of control than he was before, when I met him, but that he still has problems with it. I had refrained from asking since he had really been the only source of angst between us, and had tried to respond positively to all mention of him, "How wonderful that he's selling his art now!" and so forth. The thing is that she didn't fall in love with him when he was well and then stick by him as he grew ill. She fell in love with him this way, a half-blind stumbling alcoholic.

I don't really understand it - but it's not mine to understand. She knows much more of him than I ever did, and has obviously found redeeming qualities that add up to make the other difficulties worth enduring. After her latest letter in which she said he is still having trouble with the drinking, I apologized for being judgmental of him back then and said I really just hoped she was happy no matter how.

That was true. Very true. It was true back then too, although back then I was under the impression it was only a matter of time until she would come to her senses and be rid of him, and thought that staying away until he was gone would just hurry the process. It didn't really occur to me that instead she might run off and disappear with him and we wouldn't talk for six years.

One of the gifts that aging brings is the ability to see things less black and white and to be softer in dealing with that fact.


Tuesday, July 24, 2007

You will find it

I picked J up from camp yesterday afternoon and was regaled with stories of catching water striders, eating honey from a real beehive, and making bird feeders with seeds and corn syrup and pine cones. I'm so glad she enjoyed herself. She reminds me of myself at her age. When I drop her off at camp in the mornings, she is partially looking forward to the day, but there's another thing in her eyes that I recognize as feeling insecure and shy being outside her comfort zone. At those moments I know that if I said, "Would you like to skip camp and stay home with me today?" she would say yes. And so I don't ask her that. Because what she gains from being with children her own age and learning from the camp instructors is something I want her to have, in spite of those moments of reluctance.

This is another thing that helps me to see my own childhood in perspective. I was such a shy child, and there were so many times my parents forced me, miserable or even in tears, to take swimming lessons or whatever. And at the time I felt they were very cold to ignore my pleas to just be permitted to stay home and do nothing. I thought they just wanted me out of the house and away from them so they wouldn't have to be around me. Perhaps, of course, this was true to some degree (because I imagine most parents long for some time to themselves) but I missed the part where they probably also wanted me to become less shy, less inhibited, more comfortable in the World. J is not as shy as I was, I don't think, so it's not as difficult to convince her to get out there and enjoy herself.

We have made plans to go to the movies tonight where she will choose between Shrek and Harry Potter and various other films... I always love going to the movies with her because she holds nothing back in terms of laughing, gasping, and screaming right out loud. That kind of full immersion in an experience is so wonderful.


Lots of work to do today again before going back to pick her up. Scripts are waiting and so is the carpet, currently strewn with stuffing-guts from a little teddy that was beheaded and shredded by naughty puppies. I would rather taste honey from a hive or chase water striders. Or curl up in a blanket on the couch.


Monday, July 23, 2007

inspired by you

My little niece is here with me for the week now. She's ten years old and doesn't know if she wants to play with dolls and toys and catch bugs, or put on makeup and go shopping for clothes. Kind of like me.

She's going to day camp during the days, which means I have time to get the work done I need to get done, but will still have enough time to spend with her in the evenings to shop, play, see movies, see theatre, go for walks, and all those important things.

In her I see a beautiful resilience, ability to flourish in difficult circumstances, and the sensitivity, that dreaded sensitivity, that will result in painful heartbreak - but also, I pray, lead her to experience deep joys as well. She is absolutely darling. I wish this world was a gentler place for her to grow in.


Saturday, July 21, 2007


anyways, when i e-mailed you i was semi-hoping you were already pregnant and here's why: right after we had t----, my only regret was that we didn't have her sooner! lisa, there's never enough money, security, or a good time to start. like you, i never really wanted a baby to begin with. i didn't think the world was a good place to raise a baby. b----- and i compromised and i said i'd have one, just one. then after t----, i found myself doing the math to see how many i could fit in before the age of 40 - it was nuts!!! i can honestly say that nothing will touch your heart as much as your own precious little baby. motherhood is an absolutely amazing experience that you should venture into. lisa, you would make a wonderful mom.

My friend wrote back to me tonight and somehow this letter, more so than the first, made the gravity of this situation hit me. The truth is that she might not live through this. The truth is so scary.

Last night there was a huge fire a few blocks away from my house. I heard the explosion (it was a generator) and smelled the smoke, and then, somehow, fell back asleep. And then didn't think about it again until I went running tonight and saw the massive damage and the people gathered around on the street looking at it all. No one was killed, thank god, but many people no longer have homes.

Sometimes the world is so goddamn cold.


summertime and the living is easy

A girl I used to work with has breast cancer. She wasn't just someone I worked with. She was a friend. Close enough to have gone for drinks with a few times, close enough to have been to her house and had her to mine. Not a close friend, but a friend.

She wrote to me yesterday while I was away, telling me of her situation. She had a mastectomy on Friday. She starts six months of chemotherapy in September and then five years of hormone therapy after that. As if that isn't bad enough, this whole situation prevents her and her husband from having the baby they'd been planning on during this six year time frame as chemotherapy can destroy eggs and hormone therapy prevents pregnancy. They have invested in freezing embryos in hopes they can find a surrogate mother to carry their baby.

She has asked if I would consider it. Carrying their baby. I'm stunned. Not just by the request, but by the whole situation. It's a reality that we are reaching an age where things like this will happen, and yet it somehow seems impossible that mortality is rearing its ugly head already.

I talked about it with Shawn and found him more open than I expected. When I told him about it, the first thing he said was, "And what do you think about that?" Not, "Wow, that's crazy," or anything like that. I told him I didn't know what to think about it. We've been thinking of having a baby of our own. Obviously we can't let this stand in the way of us doing what we need to do for ourselves. But I couldn't dismiss the idea outright, either. I feel unsure.

I wrote her back quickly, not wanting to leave her dangling while my mind was churning, and told her very directly and straightforwardly that I wasn't sure, that our own plans might not make that possible, and that I couldn't make a promise. I told her to continue seeking other options but not to completely write me off either.


The trip to Vancouver yesterday was pleasant. Waking up at 4:00 was not pleasant, but I found the puppies surprisingly amenable to eating breakfast at that hour and managed to get through the morning routine with no hitches (or power failures) and to catch my plane in time.

The interview was good, overall, and the interviewer told me that he was going to recommend me for a position (which does not guarantee I will get one as this is still dependent upon the needs that arise in the system) in spite of my tendency to talk very quickly. I was a little startled by this as no one has ever told me I talk fast, and I was left to wonder whether:

a. I do talk fast all the time and the rest of the world is too polite to tell me so.
b. I only talk too fast when I am being interviewed because I am nervous.
c. That man is crazy.

In any case, he didn't seem to think it was a debilitating condition and said he hoped I would find a placement soon. I do too.

After the interview, Shawn took me to the new house and we got to walk through it and see where our new life is going to take place. Exciting. It's a lovely house, with an even lovelier yard. Shawn had stacks of magazines in the car showing pictures of all the renovations he's been dreaming of.

Shawn's plan to come home for the weekend was derailed by his nonsensical decision to put his wallet in my bag while we were in the house, resulting in me bringing his wallet home with me when I flew back. Without any identification he was unable to catch his own plane later that night. Instead, he changed his tickets to two weeks from now, and I mailed his wallet back to him. Thanks, Purolator, for your 24-hour service option.

I'm disappointed, of course, that he's not home with me now as he was supposed to be, but am pleased that his decision to come home in two weeks means he'll be able to spend three instead of two days. It's a long weekend for him, due to some statutory holiday that exists in BC and not here.


I am concerned that Little Puppy may be having tooth issues again. The last few nights when I have brushed her teeth, she has reacted as though she finds it painful for me to brush her back molars (the two that are left) and there has been a little blood on her toothbrush. Sigh.

We are scheduled to see the vet on Wednesday. I'd hate for her to lose those teeth as they are her only chewy teeth left and she loves cookies so much.


My niece is coming to visit on Sunday and to stay for a week. She'll be going to summer camp in the daytime and spending her evenings with me. I have great plans for us.


Thursday, July 19, 2007


Last night I tried to go to bed earlier so that I would feel good getting up earlier today in preparation for tomorrow's waking at 4:00am for my early flight. It was a good plan but for some reason I couldn't sleep last night.

I was thinking a lot about my old friend and rerunning scenes through my head of hundreds of different things that happened, editing them and rewriting them in my mind, and starting over again. It was after 2:00am when I finally fell asleep.

I had planned on getting up at 6:00 but when the alarm clock rang I just couldn't drag myself out of bed. It was closer to 7:30 when I finally surfaced and I'm feeling exhausted. I'd like to fast forward through this day so I can just go back to bed.

And yet there are so many things I need to do before the day's end. Sleeping will have to wait.


Wednesday, July 18, 2007

I could follow you

Today I contacted an old friend, someone I was very close with but haven't talked with in about six years. It seems like yesterday that I saw her last; time goes so much faster now than it did when I was younger.

I stopped talking with her about a year before Shawn and I got married. She was dating a guy who really bothered me. He had tried, on several occasions, to kiss me, touch me, and grab me, when she wasn't around. He was a heavy drinker and had a bizarre habit of going missing for weeks at a time, leaving her frantic and terrified while she waited for his return. He really bothered me and as they grew closer and I grew more frustrated with watching him hurt her, we stopped talking. There was no big fight, no final scene or anything. We just abruptly stopped talking, after years of talking almost every day and seeing each other several times a week.

As time went by I heard she'd moved away to live with him in Vancouver and eventually I stopped thinking about her (much) and figured this was just one of those things you have to let go of. Recently I'd started thinking about her again, probably because our upcoming move, but maybe just because sometimes I do that, think about people who have been important in my life, and wonder where they are and what they're doing. And suddenly I decided I was going to try and find her.

I "Googled" her, as is apparently one of the easiest ways to find someone, but she wasn't there. That is, some of her writing was there, but no way of contacting her. Finally I found both her brother, and another of her friends, and emailed them both asking them to forward my contact information to her. The friend did.

She wrote back to me this afternoon. She is still with the guy. And they have a two year old daughter! I really hope this means he has changed, grown up, whatever, and is now a good partner and good father. She seemed happy to hear from me, which I found uplifting, and I wonder, now, whether we could become close again.

After her mother died, I promised her I would be there for her as long as it still hurt. And when we stopped talking, that promise haunted me because I knew it hadn't stopped hurting. I know it probably never will. And as much as you just say things like that sometimes, especially when you're young and silly, it was a promise that meant something important to me. I wanted to keep it. And maybe I still do.

I find myself impatient, now, to hear from her again. I want her to tell me that the guy has changed and is good to her now. I want to hear that he is a wonderful father to their girl. And I want to have, again, that friendship that was once so dear to me.


We're made out of blood and rust.

Every night for the past week or so we have had a power failure. Sometimes I sleep through them and just wake up to the telltale evidence of digital clocks flashing the wrong time. Sometimes I am woken when I notice the sudden absence of sound as the fans stop whirring. I assume the power failures have something to do with the electrical storms we've been having, but perhaps they're more directly related to the construction in the neighbourhood and tearing up of the roadway a few blocks over.

Today's power failure took place later, around 8:30am after I was already awake and out of bed. Really, a power failure when you're sleeping anyway isn't much of an inconvenience, other than the endless resetting of the clocks. But a power failure when you are awake and trying to DO things is difficult.

It's astonishing, when I really take notice of it, how dependent I am on electricity and for how many things. I have been making plans to buy a little battery powered alarm clock to make sure I don't miss my flight on Friday morning, and while trying to get my day started today without power it suddenly occurred to me that if the power is out on Friday morning, waking up is only one small issue that will have been handled. There's the whole matter of showering in the dark, trying to dry my hair without power, applying makeup while unable to see, finding and putting on clothing, gathering necessary papers for the interview, finding my car keys, being unable to turn on the coffee maker, having to open the garage door manually in the dark while avoiding getting chain grease on my interview clothes, and so on and so forth. It all makes me afraid to go to sleep at all. I wonder if I should get showered and dressed the night before and sleep standing up by the back door. Or better still, maybe I ought to sleep in the car in the driveway.


Tuesday, July 17, 2007

you're breaking up

The Heat has Returned. Gah.

I am trying to teach Puppy E that it is unnecessary to scream bloody blue murder while I prepare his breakfast in order to ensure that I do not forget, once it is prepared, to deliver it to his house. So far I am not successful in this endeavour. In fact the screaming seems to be escalating. This morning we engaged in an hour long standoff while Puppy E screamed and I ignored him and pretended not to hear him in hopes that he would soon be quiet and I could deliver his breakfast. Instead he screamed louder and longer and hurled himself at the sides of his house. Puppy E is a man who likes to eat.

I forced myself out of bed early this morning in spite of not having fallen asleep until after 2:00am. I am trying to twist my schedule in time for Friday's interview such that when it is necessary to wake at 4:00am to catch a 6:00am flight, I will have previously enjoyed at least six hours of sleep.

Belonging to the other side of Shawn's family feels a bit like what I imagine it might be like to belong to The Mob. Shawn's stepmother would not tolerate our realtor not returning our phone calls immediately and phoned him at his summer cottage to make sure he understood that we were waiting. He called back sheepish and apologetic. She could not believe the price that the roofer was quoting us for a new roof and put us in touch with a friend of hers who roofs for a living and forced him into offering a price she approved of. When Shawn suggested that we could give away the old appliances or take them to the EcoStation, she said that was nonsense and she would sell them for us. Upon hearing of my upcoming interview she went to work connecting with family members who work for the Board so she could acquire the list of interview questions for me to study from. And on it goes. I think that having her on the right side can be extremely beneficial but I am suddenly frightened of what she might do if she ever decides she doesn't like us after all.

I woke to find a message from the client I've been working with asking me to phone him as he would like to offer some suggestions about the script I've been working on. I am feeling very reluctant to talk to him right now as the coffee hasn't really taken full effect at this point. And yet, the longer I delay this the more time the dread will have to build. I dislike social interaction to a point that it's truly odd. I have often said that if it weren't for having a job, I would become so filled with social anxiety angst that I would end up refusing to set foot outside. And so in spite of disliking talking to people, I'm glad that I am forced to do it enough that it remains possible. Socializing, for me, is the same as exercising. It's something I don't want to do when I imagine it and prepare for it and think about it, but when it's actually happening, it's never so bad, and sometimes it's even enjoyable.


I called. It wasn't bad at all. He pointed out a couple of typos and chatted and joked with me a little. He's a nice man. I don't know what's wrong with me.


Monday, July 16, 2007

I was hoping I could just blame you.

Tonight, after the heat wave broke and a prolonged period of sluggish lethargy lifted, I decided to go running.

It was an unsuccessful experience from the start. I had a strange feeling as I prepared to step out the front door and, overcome with a bizarre mix of paranoia and stubbornness, I removed my engagement ring, my wedding ring, and my birthstone ring. I was imagining that if I was going to be mugged I'd be damned if they got anything more valuable than my running shoes.

This isn't a great mindset to start a run in the dark at quarter past eleven, but as I said, I was also feeling stubborn and determined to do as I'd set out to do, even if I was feeling some trepidation. Besides, it's been too hot to run in a very long time and I've been feeling stir crazy between bouts of paralysis.

Immediately upon reaching the end of my street I was startled by a big white truck (always reminds me of O.J.) that suddenly pulled a U-turn directly in front of me and squealed its tires taking off so fast. This only heightened my paranoia and I decided at that point that I was going to take a different route than I usually do since my regular route takes me into an area that is sort of country-ish without streetlights and where the houses are quite far apart.

Instead, I stuck to the main road and promised myself to go nowhere there weren't plenty of houses and streetlights. After a few minutes the same truck roared up behind me and flashed past going way too fast for a residential street. I imagined I was being followed and crossed the street so that I would be running in the opposite direction of the traffic enabling me a faster escape if anyone tried to abduct me. (And still, the stubbornness would not let me go home.)

I hadn't gone far before my body began to object. In spite of the fact that the heat was significantly less today, it's still damned hot out there, and my body didn't like it, especially in light of the fact that I've been eating like bird for a couple of weeks as it's been too hot to turn on a stove, or even to move for that matter. I started to get cramps in both sides, which is the first place my body always feels uncomfortable if it's going to when I am running. Other people get shin splints or sore knees or painful arches. I get cramps in my sides. When I'm in good shape the cramps are rare, but I don't think I'm in particularly great shape at the moment and somehow the whole running experience just seemed doomed from the start.

Having gone for fifteen minutes in one direction, I turned around and headed home, making the run a total of half an hour (with several walk breaks), just over half of what I have been trying to do lately. Not very impressive.

Of course a swarm of mosquitoes followed me in the front door when I turned on the light, and the house seemed to have gotten hotter in my absence. A check of the weather station reveals that it is 21°C which is a full two degrees hotter than it was at noon. This strikes me as very odd since it is now nearly midnight.

With this delightful experience behind me I am thanking my lucky stars that it was paranoia I was experiencing and not psychic premonitions. And going to hit the shower, read my book, pout, and go to bed.


everyone try to look normal

Yuk. Tonight I made breakfast for myself for dinner, and it turned out really icky. I'm not a very good cook. I've eaten a few bites, but the rest is going to have to go down the garburator. Blech, what a waste of time and of food.

Today was a better day in terms of productivity. The heat let up a little, allowing for more focus and concentration as well as making it possible to sit at the computer without sticking to the chair. I got a fair bit done and plan to spend some more time on it later tonight. I hope the heat doesn't return before I get through the modules I need to finish writing.


I talked on the phone with my mum for a couple of hours tonight. Her mammogram turned out okay and she was told there was nothing of concern to the doctor. Great relief.

Things are getting better in my relationship with my parents, especially with my mother. The moment when it clicked and I realised that I had to make the first steps, the first moves toward her, things changed. We've been getting closer and talking more often. And when we do talk, we talk more about real things instead of just making chit chat.

Somehow all this has made it easier to empathize with what it must have been like to be a parent, a mother in particular, raising children in the seventies, trying to prove that it was possible to maintain a full time career while having babies, keeping the house clean, and making homemade meals while keeping the cat's-eye eyeliner looking perfect. Heh. What I mean is that I think I can understand better now than I ever did why she wasn't always so easygoing.

What's more, listening to Shawn describe life with his father and stepmother and half-sisters, underlines the thing my parents believed in; children do have to be taught to be self-sufficient. Shawn's sisters have been raised by parents who dote on them, chauffeuring them about willingly while they were younger, and buying them new cars when they turned eighteen, paying for their entire postsecondary education, and so forth. These girls, at nineteen, have become unbearable to live with, ungrateful for all the gifts their parents have bestowed upon them, and helpless to do anything for themselves. At nineteen, their mother still does their laundry and makes their lunches and neither of them knows how to take a bus.

I didn't always like the feeling of being left to make it on my own, but I am glad for the things that it taught me. Like how to earn my own living. How to be resourceful and how to take care of myself. Somehow there has to be a good balance to strike between leaving your children to the sharks and making them into invalids.

In the end, will children all still blame their parents anyway?


Shawn's stepmother has several sisters who teach in Vancouver in the same district in which we will be living. They seem to think I won't have a problem finding a job once I get through this initial screening process. I hope they're right.

I have found a program at Simon Fraser University that could allow me to teach and work on my Masters degree simultaneously. I have missed the deadlines for application this year, which is probably for the best, but if all goes well, I could apply for the following year and be done in two.

That puts ??babies?? on a three year schedule, which would make me thirty-six. Seems kind of crazy to be making babies so late in life, and yet it seems like every year that passes puts things more in perspective that makes the possibility of not completely ruining an innocent little human being more likely.


Sunday, July 15, 2007


Last night we had a crazy electrical storm, due, no doubt, to the incessant scorching heat. Although the power was knocked out repeatedly, stopping the fans from pushing hot air around the room, the storms never came close enough to bring us much rain or to cool things down in the least. The long term forecast seems to suggest that this is all we can expect for the rest of our lives.

It would have been hard to believe in February, when it was so cold outside that cars were stalling all over the roads and my eyelashes froze together just walking from the car to the front door, that it could ever be this hot. Or that I wouldn't like it.


Saturday, July 14, 2007

Saturday again

This heat wave is deflating me. I'm shrinking and shrinking, melting into a puddle...

Little Puppy doesn't mind the heat. In fact I think she likes it. I haven't seen her shiver in many days and Little Puppy always shivers when her toes touch the kitchen floor. Lately the kitchen floor has been hot enough to fry eggs. Boy dogs don't really like the heat though. They try to play their puppyish games, chasing each other half-heartedly, and then end up flopping down on the floor with their tongues lolling out. Last night we all ate ice chips as a bedtime snack.

I have accomplished very little in the way of work in the last few days and though surely some of this is due to procrastination, I am also blaming the heat. I don't know how a person can think while they are boiling. And what I'm supposed to be working on right now actually requires me to think a little. I'm hoping to get some done this morning before it becomes to hot to breathe.


I am reading Alias Grace, by Margaret Atwood. Atwood, though hailed as a great Canadian author, received mixed reviews when you ask those Canadians who were forced to read her in high school. I frequently confuse her with Margaret Lawrence and counted myself among her un-fans until Jenny convinced me to give her another try. I read The Edible Woman and The Handmaid's Tale and agreed they were both very interesting.

On to Alias Grace. Historical fiction based on the life of Grace Marks, a Canadian scullery maid who was convicted of helping her lover to murder their employer in the 1840s. Much like in Lizzie Borden's case, the public had trouble believing a woman to be capable of such a ghoulish crime, and Marks was sentenced to imprisonment though her lover was sentenced to hang. Book reviewers compare Grace Marks to Karla Homolka, but thus far, Atwood has been more generous that that.

I didn't used to like boring things like historical fiction. I seem to be aging again.


My mother-in-law called me this morning just to say hello and ask how I was doing. She's struggling, I think, with knowing that we are moving further away from her and closer to Shawn's father. These two years we've spent living out here in the prairies have allowed us more time to spend with Shawn's mother and to get to know her partner too. We're going to miss them when we're gone.


Thursday, July 12, 2007

best in show

Crazy puppies. They've become quite well trained where it comes to using their "litter box", and now they're so well trained that when I take them for a walk outside they hold it until we get home and then race each other to the box. Lunatics. I hope they will learn when we get to the new house that going outside is preferable.


I lost my mind tonight and went shopping for interview clothes. It was preying on my mind. Shopping stresses me out. I don't like fancy clothes; I don't look right in them. I always look like a kid playing dress up and I can never find anything that I could be comfortable enough in to give a decent interview without pulling at my neckline or itching or squirming. And so the thought of needing to do this was bothering me until I finally just decided to go and get it over with.

Something was different this time when I shopped. Strange how that happens once in a blue moon. Most of the time I hate fashion and everything I see that's trendy and current and cool just looks like something I would never wear. (The last time I can remember being in fashion and liking what was in style was in the late nineties during the Seattle garage band grunge era, when wearing plaid workshirts and heavy boots was the thing to do.) But somehow tonight I wandered into a store that actually had clothing in it that fit me and was comfortable and which looked professional enough to wear to a job interview, so much so that I actually couldn't decide which of several items to purchase. Very strange.

It was probably because the store had marvelous air conditioning and it's five squillion degrees outside and in my house, so being in the store seemed pleasant by comparison.

At any rate, I found some interview clothes that I think I will still like tomorrow, and if so I'm going to go and have them hemmed. I am always too short for my pants. (I wonder why women's clothing stores don't alter clothes as part of the deal the way they so often do in men's stores.)

Shawn wants me to go through my clothes before we move and throw away all the jeans with holes in the knees and sweaters with the cuffs unraveling. I'm not sure that's something I can do, as these are the clothes I love most.


When shopping was done I came home and took the pups for a walk in the dark. Finally cool enough to step outside. Unfortunately the mosquitoes were in full agreement and feasted on our blood.

When we finally got home, two mosquitoes followed us in as well as a huge grasshopper. Yet another reason I miss Shawn - when I am forced to do battle with insects. The mosquitoes wouldn't have been so repulsive if they weren't filled with blood (who knows who it belonged to) that splattered on the floor and wall when I smacked them. And the grasshopper I pushed out the door with a big pad of paper that had mosquito guts on it. Shiver. Sometimes I think I'm an outdoorsy kind of girl, and then I realise that I'm not. No, what I am is a great big baby.


Bleh. It occurs to me that I need to buy an "interview outfit" before next Friday.

Shopping, yuck.

This is one of those times when it would be nice if I had bothered to make some girl friends here. I need help.


when you showed me myself i became someone else

This morning Shawn called and said he's going to come home next weekend. He's lonely there and wants to be with us. Yay!

Almost immediately after he hung up the phone I received a call from Vancouver inviting me to come for a job interview next Friday morning.

I talked to Shawn again, booked my flights, and it looks like he will be able to pick me up at the airport to take me to my interview, drop me back at the airport afterward, and then follow me on a later flight that same evening. And the pups will only be alone for a few hours.


I spent most of yesterday thinking it was Thursday, and all of Tuesday thinking it was Wednesday. This meant a few things:

1. On Wednesday, I sat around waiting for the conference call that was scheduled for Thursday and wondered why I was being stood up.

2. I really didn't miss garbage day when I thought I did, because when I was thinking I'd missed Wednesdays pick-up it was really Tuesday.

3. I missed garbage day *again* because although I could have put the garbage out yesterday morning, I didn't, because I thought it was Thursday.


The conference call really did happen today and it went on for nearly two hours. That's a long time to be on the phone. My ear hurts. And I feel as though I've gleaned about ten minutes worth of pertinent information.

Happily, L continued to express interest in me to facilitate the instruction of this course. I can't guess at what it is that I have said or done to inspire his confidence in me to this extent given that at every meeting I have had with him I have felt completely vapid.

I wonder if it will be possible to do both things if I manage to find work in Vancouver.


Wednesday, July 11, 2007

I can hold my head still

The home inspection went well. Hallelujah. The roof needs replacing straight away but otherwise things look to be in good shape and we won't to do much else immediately. The rest we can do at our own pace. It's nice to have this all settled. Makes it easier to breathe.


a promise made

I'm waiting for Shawn to call. He's meeting with the home inspectors this morning and then calling to let me know what they perceive as deficiencies in the house. We are anticipating the need to put up a new roof, and probably a new furnace. This is fine, as Shawn wants to install air conditioning anyway, and he wants to replace the hot water tank with some fancy thing that heats water instantly as it goes through a pump, eliminating the need for a tank at all and saving, allegedly, gobs of money on water heating costs.

Hopefully nothing else too major is wrong with the house, though I do have some concern about the small holes in the wood in the section of cedar outside the house by the master bedroom closet. Replacing a few cedar panels won't be too costly, but if this is indicative of termites or some other beasties, that could be a major thing.


My parents are going to the Galapagos Islands soon. I'm so glad they are enjoying their retirement in this way.


I have been working this morning for the first time in a long time. That makes me feel better about submitting the invoice on the 15th. At least I'll have something to put on it. We are also having a meeting with the client and all the developers this afternoon. I find these meetings difficult because everyone else is in the same room while I am on a speaker phone and can't see what's going on. I also find it difficult because I truly don't feel competent to offer much in terms of opinions about the plans for the project, being new to and inexperienced with this kind of work. I feel silly if I just sit and listen and don't contribute, but I find it hard to come up with anything intelligent to add.


Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The future of our space and time

Our realtor here called to ask if the new owners of our house could send their contractor over to take some measurements to get an estimate for the completion of the new fence. It suddenly seemed weird to remember that while we are looking at photographs of our new house-to-be and thinking of all the things we'll do to make it home, someone else is gazing lovingly at the pictures of THIS house and picking out their paint colours, or stranger still, thinking how much they adore beige.

This home, in spite of its blandness, has been a good home to us. We have been comfortable here. We have been warm. And mostly, happy.


If you weren't real I would make you up

Wednesday. I missed garbage day again. It's seems a trifle cuckoo the way that bothers me - but missing garbage day feels symbolically pathetic. I missed the opportunity to have all my garbage taken away from me and so it has to linger another week in the garage. I hate that.

This morning I went downstairs to the kitchen to make coffee and toast, taking Little Puppy with me because I prefer to keep her in my sight when the boy pups are free. Sometimes they are too bouncy with her. So I closed the baby-gate that keeps them upstairs and went to make breakfast. I was only gone ten minutes but by the time I returned they had managed to steal a tube of lip gloss from the top of my desk and smear it all over their blanket and consume enough to give them both fantastically shiny dog lips.

I've canceled my newspaper subscription. Otherwise I would have rolled up a paper and swatted myself on the nose with it for leaving that out for them to get at. They never miss an opportunity. It's me who's not so sharp sometimes, especially before the coffee is ready.

This morning the home inspection on the Vancouver house is taking place. I'm really hoping for good news. My parents seemed to think it was a bit crazy to buy a place with such an enormous yard; crazy, really, to buy a house based on what the dogs want. But what the dogs want is important to me. And even without dogs, I really can't imagine anything nicer than looking out the windows and seeing trees and grass instead of other houses. So my fingers (and their paws) are crossed that this home inspection goes well.

I have this idea in my head about building a koi pond. Seriously. With a little bridge and a waterfall and koi fish swimming. Not this summer; it will be too late by the time we arrive. But next summer, maybe. My father in law says people have tried this and learned that raccoons will hunt for koi in their gardens, but I think they've simply built their ponds too shallow with a ledge for raccoons to hold onto. A sharper drop and deeper water should alleviate the problem, I think. In any case, I'm going to do some reading and planning and see if it's possible. If not, just a water garden. With water lilies.

I'm also thinking a lot about all the tulips and daffodils I am going to plant. Hundreds of them, literally. Maybe thousands. I guess I'll have to put all the flowers in the front yard so the dogs aren't stung by wasps when they play.

I've been looking at all the photographs of that soaring wooden ceiling and growing more and more in love with the log-cabin feel of the place, the wood burning fireplaces, the strange mix of modern and quaint. Unlike the current house, swathed in white and beige, this new house is busting with character and personality.

When we moved in here we knew we weren't staying. Of course we assumed we'd be living in the other new house, but the point is that we knew we were leaving this place. And so we never painted it. We never put our pictures on the walls. All my paintings are still wrapped in brown paper in the basement. I haven't seen them in two years now. Living in all this blandness has had a strange effect on me. So much so that when I first looked at those gorgeous wood ceilings I thought they were kind of awful and wondered if they could be painted white. I'm starting to remember now, that I actually like colours and natural wood and stone. I'm just starting to wake up to how beautiful this house really is on the inside and how much potential it has to be the house we live in for the rest of our lives. There are, of course, some things that we will want to change. Like getting rid of alllllll the carpet and linoleum and putting in hardwood floors and tile. And swapping out the light fixtures and kitchen appliances. And painting.

But how I could have considered painting natural wood ceilings white is symptomatic of living in a monochromatic sea of beige for two years, and a true sign of how ill I really became. The fact that I looked at the real stone, wood burning fireplace and thought it was strange instead of beautiful is bizarre. (My current fireplace is framed in beige ceramic tiles with a painted white mantle shelf.)

Shawn says I'm not supposed to get excited about this house until the home inspection is complete but I'm finding that hard to manage. I like myself better with enthusiasm.


Monday, July 09, 2007


Shawn started his new job today. That means he's not able to hang out talking on the phone with me all day the way he did the last few days. Makes it seems more like he's really gone.

The home inspection is set for Wednesday morning, so I'm hoping we'll have some definite answers and decisions made by the end of that day. It will feel better to have things more certain.


I have work to do again, thank goodness. I've been trying to think of something I could be working on so that when I submit my invoice it won't say please pay me for being me. But I don't really know enough about the project to direct myself this way and I've been in a state of confusion feeling at loose ends, but not really wanting to do any work, yet wanting to have some reason to ask for my pay. This is where being on salary is an incredible thing because I am certainly not earning my keep.


Sunday, July 08, 2007

try to figure out what all this is for

I'm holding my breath now while we wait for the home inspection to be done. I think we have until Saturday to get things in order. Financing is already settled - but the home inspection has to be reasonable before the transaction is complete. I'm a little frightened there could be something horribly wrong with the house that would make it not as good as it seems. And while we're prepared to do the kinds of repairs that are necessary at the twenty year mark (roof, furnace, hot water tank, etc.) as well as some pretty major renovations (like replacing all the icky carpet with wood and putting in new kitchen cabinets and appliances) , a major thing could still nullify the deal. I don't want that to happen. I want this yard. I WANT this yard. (So do the puppies; they told me so.)


Saturday, July 07, 2007

if you're being loved you're not doing anything

Well, things are semi-settled. That is, we've made an offer and they've accepted it. All this is subject to proof of financing and a good result on a home inspection. The only thing I'm not so pleased about is that these people really want a possession date of August 31st, while I was really hoping for August 1. The realtor says he's going to keep pushing and see if he can get us in earlier, but it looks doubtful.

Meanwhile, the realtor says he's going to keep looking just in case he can find something we like better before it all becomes final. I think this realtor is pretty sharp compared to the one we hired to sell our place. Shawn says this guy is used to making multi-million dollar deals, so we're just small potatoes to him - but he's a friend of Shawn's father so I think he's doing us a favour by helping us out. I was impressed that he wanted to keep looking even though, as far as he's concerned, his commission is now earned.

This means we're in a nice spot because the place we like is being "held" while we take another quick look around. It means the worst we're going to end up with is something we're very excited about.


After waiting tensely by the telephone all day it was nice to finally have an answer. I went outside for a run. It's been a long time since I've been running outside. I've been on the treadmill and the elliptical machine, mostly, and I was sort of surprised to see that the sidewalk on last leg of my run has been torn up in preparation, I think, for a widening of the road. So I had to invent a new route at the end to avoid running through muck and construction materials. The new route took me down a street I'd never been down before, which was interesting. I wonder why I always go the same way.


I took Puppy E with me today to the store to buy dog food and chewy treats. It's advisable, I understand, to spend one-on-one time with each dog whenever possible. It's hard to do this sometimes and I find it difficult to leave Little Puppy behind. But I think Puppy E enjoyed riding in the Element, which provides all kinds of opportunities to run back and forth and press one's moist nose against glass. I think he also enjoyed the small crowd of admirers he found inside the store who all wanted to give him treats and flatter him.


Shawn doesn't like it when I run at night in the dark but there are many reasons why it is better than in the daytime. Most of all, it's not so hot. The streets are quieter and therefore, as I see it, less dangerous than they are in the daytime when there's more traffic. Running at night brings me a kind of internal quiet that I can never find in the daytime.

I'm going to bed now.


Friday, July 06, 2007

proven to lower cholesterol

I have spent the day going on cell phone photograph tours of houses with Shawn and I think we might have figured out which one we want. This is the front of Possible Future Home.

And this is the backyard, which is the main reason I like this house, and which hasn't got a whole lot to do with its insides. Shawn is going back there again tonight to have another look at it and get more pictures to help me "see" it better. And then, if he still feels good about it, he's going to make an offer. New house, is it really you?

colder than it looks outside

Shawn arrived safely, even though our old car had some trouble getting up through the highest parts of the Rockies. He said he had to turn on the heat at various points to keep the engine from overheating. I can only imagine how unpleasant that must have been, as it was 33°C yesterday.


This morning when I learned in conspiratorially to inquire of Puppy E as to whether or not he was hungry, he sprung straight up into the air in a leap of pure ecstasy, anticipating his bloody breakfast, and made direct sharp contact with my lip, splitting it open. I believe he meant to say, "Yes dear mother, thank you sweetly for asking. I could certainly enjoy a bite."


Shawn is going to look at houses this afternoon, and find out whether there's any chance of living in one of the houses I saw online that had quarter acres with them. I wish there were pictures of the inside of the houses - because I am nervous that they'll be outdated looking on the inside and Shawn won't see their potential. This way I am relying on his impressions instead of being able to form my own. Not only that, but he's looking at houses with his father who is notorious for wanting everything to be perfect with no appreciation for possibilities. I want to have more influence on the choosing of the future homestead than the father-in-law gets. So I'm glued to the phone for the afternoon, awaiting news and keeping my fingers crossed that the owners of one of those houses have done some fresh painting and a bit of modernization to make their house look pretty enough to appeal to Shawn's artistic senses. Unlike me, when he sees a fixer-upper home he counts hours of labour and dollars required, while I am excited about hanging around in coveralls for a few weeks. I love painting and doing (simple) renovations. Shawn hates it.


I think it's going to be hot again today. Yesterday was so hot it was hard to breathe upstairs. If it's that hot again tonight I think I will sleep on the couch downstairs instead of in the bedroom. I didn't fall asleep until after 3:00am and was abruptly woken by the phone ringing at 8:00. I thought Shawn was silly when he said he wanted air conditioning, but last night it would have been heavenly.


Thursday, July 05, 2007

To state so as to be understood clearly or accepted readily

Yesterday was so busy. So many last-minute things that needed to be done. An oil change for the car so it will get him safely through the Rockies, new clothes for his first week at the new job, laundry, packing, tuning up the bikes, grocery shopping for travel snacks to keep him awake, many phone calls to ensure realtors, brokers, parents, friends and family all know how to reach him, and a zillion other little details. By the end of the day we were all dog tired (especially the dogs) but couldn't sleep because it was so hot upstairs. I don't think we could have slept anyway, feeling the way one does the night before a big event, running mental checklists and wondering if the alarm clock still works.

When it rang at 5:30 I barely heard it. I awoke again at 5:41 and he was already downstairs getting coffee ready. Just time for a kiss goodbye and he was gone. Not enough time to cry. I stumbled back to bed and slept until 8:30. And then immediately phoned him to make sure he was still awake and safe and driving carefully.


I've been frustrated by the real estate market in the district of Vancouver we'll be moving to because it seems to be saturated with giant mansions that are designed to accommodate huge extended families who want to cohabit. Not only are these enormous houses completely ill-suited to our needs, they also seem to be somewhat shoddily built. And more than that, what has bothered me here and bothers me there is that newer houses are built so close together that one can almost lean out the window to nibble on the neighbours' fingernails out of nervousness caused by living in cramped quarters. I know it's nonsensical to feel cramped (if one is living in a 3800 square foot house) but somehow it seems as though we're all living in each other's hip pockets and it makes me want to scream.

The older I get the less I find I can tolerate people.

I am cranky and impatient.

I don't want to hear the neighbours' music. I don't want to see their beer cans glittering in the sun beside my window. I don't want their cigarette butts on my lawn. I don't want to hear their muffler-less cars roaring up and down.

I'm a miserable person. We have quite pleasant neighbours. I just don't like people.

Yesterday as we surfed through the MLS listings, a pastime to which we have become somewhat addicted lately, something new occurred to me.

What occurred to me as I looked and looked at MLS, trying to find a house that was small enough to clean and which had some distance from the neighbours... was that we don't have live in that kind of neighbourhood this time. We've been caught up looking at newer houses because that's just what we've gotten used to. But, if I look at a neighbourhood a scant four blocks to the west that's twenty years older, a lot of things are different.

These houses are still too damn big. But they're on plots of land that are between a quarter and a half an acre!

Suddenly moving looks a lot more exciting.

Shawn called the mortgage broker to tell him we needed to wangle a slightly higher mortgage. The broker says he'll work on it and call us back.

Shawn called the realtor and told him we need to look at properties in this area instead. He said he would arrange it.

And that was what precipitated the change in plans to get Shawn out there a day earlier. Motivated by greed we packed his suitcases with drool on our lips.

I am keeping my fingers crossed that our quarter acre is out there somewhere.


"You know what I've been thinking while we're trying to find our new house?"

"That you hate me for making you move again?"


"What then?"

"I've been thinking that we've really lost perspective."

We have really lost perspective. I lived in a one bedroom apartment in downtown Calgary so small I had to use my boxes of books as furniture. And I felt like I had everything because I could see the Bow River through my window. I didn't dream of having more. I played my guitar and sang out loud to keep from feeling lonely.

Later, I shared my living quarters with various roommates, wonderful and difficult, and felt like I was on a great adventure. I stuffed a towel against the crack beneath my bedroom door to keep out the pot smoke while I tried to sleep. (It didn't work.)

When I bought my first home, I thought I'd probably stay there forever. It had a tiny yard, big enough for four patio chairs and a barbecue. I painted it and made it beautiful. A board of directors decreed what could be planted outside and what needed trimming. Once I arrived home to find one of my hedges had been chopped down. There was no say about things like this. The neighbours had a fondness for Cher on Sunday mornings. I was happy there too.

When we arrived here I was staggered by how different it was to live in a completely detached house. So many more responsibilities, and so much more autonomy. A sump pump. Rough grades and final grades and sod and fences and city bylaws dictating snow shoveling etiquette. (My god, we're going to live somewhere where people don't shovel snow.)

And still, even here, with all our space and freedom and choices, we suddenly found ourselves wanting things like a jetted tub, hardwood floors, vaulted ceilings... However did we get so greedy?

I look at the new house we're leaving behind and realise that although we never lived there, subconsciously we are still in the process of trying to upgrade from there. What's left to acquire? The answer is space. Distance.

If we had to go backward a few steps now we might be ungracious. We might feel ourselves deprived. And that bothers me a lot. We've been so lucky. I need us to remember where we started and to appreciate the wonderful life we have together. And how perfect each step has been.

I feel a little afraid that I might be a selfish creep for wanting to live on a piece of land that will give me the space and distance that I dream of. I always feel like I don't deserve good things.


I used to be afraid of making wishes out loud because I wanted disappointment, when it happened, to be a secret. I wasn't able to share that feeling with anyone. Felt like public failure.

And so when I applied for jobs, I never told anyone unless I got the job. When I wanted something I never mentioned it until it was already achieved. It was a way of doing things meant to protect me from having anyone know that things weren't perfect.

That's something in me that has changed. I have started to share my dreams more both with friends and with family. I've gotten better at saying, I wish. That means I'm less afraid of being disappointed. And more emotionally prepared to admit it to others, that disappointment exists. It's being more human, more vulnerable.


Shawn is deep in the mountains now. He just phoned from the cell phone and said,

"Brrr--ma--- annee--mot--hed--chchch--" before the service cut out.

Fortunately, he was able to call again a few minutes later to tell me he was alive and well before it cut out once again. He'll be in Kamloops soon.

I miss him so much already and he's only been gone five hours.


Wednesday, July 04, 2007

I've been thinking about the doorbell

I used to write about things I was feeling. Now, most often, it seems I am writing about the things I am doing. I don't know if this is about writing and The Writing Process, or if this is about me and being disconnected from feeling things. My own opinion about writing is that it's better (in general terms) to tell the reader what happened and how the characters reacted to it without describing feelings. Maybe it only works in theatre, but the theory is that the reader feels it because you've given them the information needed to do so. If you tell them what the character felt, they needn't feel it themselves because it's already been purged another way.

It doesn't matter because I am real, not a character. And this is not a novel or a play; it's just my little online diary with a readership of about three people who probably get bored with reading my To Do Lists.

I predict a big change is coming.

Shawn is leaving soon. Maybe tomorrow, maybe Friday. Probably tomorrow because we need to be able to put an offer on a house we like.

That's going to change everything. Being alone is something I have lost my knack for. I used to be quite excellent at managing living alone. I had Ways. In fact I had enough ways to make it work that I almost felt certain that I preferred it. In retrospect I think I am a person who convinces myself that I prefer whatever the given situation is because that's more pleasant and comfortable than always feeling unsatisfied. It's not exactly honest but it helps manage things.

When Shawn is away I am going to feel very alone. I am going to end up having to deal with things I don't normally deal with.


J spent Saturday with us. He arrived in the afternoon and stayed until Sunday afternoon. While J was here Shawn threw up his hands and rolled his eyes and pretended to gasp for air while being okay with it if J and I sat on the front step together to talk and smoke a cigarette once in awhile. We had three over the course of 24 hours. (It felt so decadent.)

The thing about sitting on the step and smoking with J was that it led to the opportunity to make a few things clear. Like, the fact that I love him and it doesn't change if he and N divorce. He is still family. I knew her better, but she has chosen to leave. He still belongs - even if she's gone. And he explained to me about the sale of their house and the division of property and pets. And how that feels. These are things he generally tells Shawn, and Shawn tells me. Often J and I communicate through Shawn - which is odd because I've known J longer than Shawn has. But being male, they've got some things in common I cannot possibly understand. Like frisbee. We've never been alone together much, J and I. And yet I feel the old closeness, the friendship that started in high school. At one time I was a little dazzled by the length of his eyelashes. Now I am more impressed with his taste in books and movies. I always wanted a brother.

Most of all it was important because I was able to tell J that I want him to move to Vancouver with us and live with us if he wants to, as long as he wants to, rent-free, with all the time he needs to decide what he wants to do now. These are things I know Shawn has told him already, but being able to tell him so myself was important. I wanted him to know how truly welcome he is in our house and in our lives.

He said he wasn't sure, yet, what he should do. He's lost. He doesn't have a home, he doesn't know whether his job is worth keeping. He's worried about moving and being far away from his dogs (this is the kind of concern I would, at one time, have found completely absurd but not anymore), he's worried that he could ruin any chance his marriage might have at being salvaged by not being there if she changes her mind. He's worried he could spend the next year begging and trying to change and ending up more trampled than he already feels.

He said he has to think about things.

Whether he ends up staying home or coming with us, it meant a lot to me that we got to talk about it directly rather than through Shawn. It made me think about when I was in a similar situation and K offered me a place, speaking on behalf of her roommate at the time. Even when I was living there I sometimes felt almost as though I'd moved in without knowing for sure if it was really alright with both of them. I wanted to make sure J knew it wasn't just alright. It is something I welcome.


We decided to try the pups on a raw diet. Allegedly this is healthier for them, allowing their bodies to use their natural enzymes the way they were meant to, digesting quickly and more completely with more available nutrition and less waste. (Literally and figuratively.) In theory, anyway, it sounded like a good idea.

In reality, cold raw bloody meat with bone fragments is a sight that turns my stomach when I have to handle it at eight o'clock in the morning, and I don't feel much more fondness toward it when I feed it at night. For a recovering vegetarian this is a pretty enormous leap.


Today's list of Things To Do is long and tedious and ever-growing. Preparing to live apart again takes some planning and organizing. The things we naturally do for each other will need to be relearned, once again, temporarily.