Thursday, August 30, 2007

This is where we used to live

I'm not sure what I meant when I said I would start my new job on Monday. Monday is a holiday - Labour Day. The kids arrive on Tuesday, but that day is just an organizational kind of thing, and though I will be present on Tuesday, I will, undoubtedly, be just as confused as the students if not more so, and therefore will not begin doing anything particularly useful or productive until Wednesday.

However, I started this week. I attended both Wednesday and today. On Wednesday morning Shawn and I had an appointment with our lawyer to sign final papers to take possession of our house on Friday. My boss said it was fine to come in to work after that was done, which I did. I arrived around 10:30 and got to participate in most of the professional day which was focused on teaching adolescent boys. Interesting topic, interesting presenter. I'm not sure if my positive outlook is the result of my extended break from this profession or if it really was better than the professional development activities that I have grown accustomed to, but I feltl like it was a useful session. I also got to eat lunch with staff members and meet a few people, and most of their names immediately fell out of my brain.

Today was good too. This day had a departmental focus which meant I got to spend time with the Art, Band, Dance and Photography teachers. I also got to spend some time in my classroom/theatre getting organized and familiarizing myself with the space. It's nicer than any teaching space I've had before and I am feeling positive about what is to come.

The man whose name is still officially on this job may return, apparently, in January, so it remains to be seen whether or not I will get to keep this job, but it seems quite possible that he won't be back. However, it is also entirely possible that he will return and bump me out of the position. The good news, however, is that whether or not he returns, by the time January comes I will have been teaching long enough that the school board will be obligated to find me a placement somewhere, so if I want to work, I will work.


Tonight we are taking Shawn's dad and stepmother out for dinner to thank them for their help and hospitality toward us and our pupfamily. Tomorrow Shawn and I will be getting the keys to our new home at 12:00 noon.


Tuesday, August 28, 2007

filling every void

Shawn arrived home at midnight on Thursday and got to sleep in his own bed for one night before it was taken away.

Friday was a long day. The same cute movers from Thursday arrived at 8:30am to move all the packed items into the moving van. During this time, Shawn and I went to the bank to sign mortgage papers for the other house, the one in which we will never live, and it made me feel sad to sign things that stated I agreed I would pay all kinds of horrendous penalties if this mortgage is canceled before five years have passed, knowing full well that the plan is to cancel this mortgage as soon as possible. Once the movers were done (they were fast!) we spent the rest of the day cleaning the house with the help of Shawn's mother and her partner. In spite of our frustration with the new owners regarding their insistence on expensive and unnecessary documents, we cleaned the house properly and thoroughly. Karma is important. We did a good job.

Once we were done that, the realtor came to pick up our keys and do a final walk through to ensure we hadn't stolen any appliances or fixtures that were supposed to be part of the sale. He seemed enormously pleased that we had left partial rolls of toilet paper behind in all three bathrooms for the new owners. I wonder if it is common for people to take these with them? Again, it seems to me that it would be unnecessarily mean to leave the new owners without TP on their moving day. Karma.

We had planned on spending Friday night sleeping on an air mattress and then making the drive in the morning. However, by the time everything was said and done, we were both so wired with adrenaline and anticipation that we decided to just go ahead and drive through the night. We started out at about 10:30. Around 3:00, Shawn decided he would take some caffeine pills to help him stay awake. He wanted to drive the whole way himself and would hear nothing of my thoughts on the evils of caffeine pills until about 4:30am when he suddenly pulled over and asked me to drive.

I expected him to start sleeping at this point, but instead he sat in the passenger seat with his eyes wide open but looking like a zombie. A pale green zombie. This went on until about 5:30am when the first morning light began to reflect in the Rockies, and I pulled over so Shawn could throw up caffeine pills on the side of the highway. After that display, and more retching than I have ever heard in my life, I continued to pull over every couple of hours so Shawn could continue throwing up. A few times I became too sleepy to keep driving and we had to stop on the side of the road so I could walk around and wake myself up. As we got closer to Vancouver Shawn started to feel better and resumed driving.

We arrived at the inlaws' around noon on Saturday morning feeling exhausted. Shawn threw up a couple more times for good measure. Then we brought our meager belongings from the car to the house and had a nap.


Sunday we drove to the ocean which is literally ten minutes away, and walked along the beach and on the pier and had lunch in a cafe looking out over the water. I felt like we were on our honeymoon again. We looked in an art gallery on the beach that was so inspiring to Shawn that he suddenly wanted to start painting again, something he hasn't done in about ten years.

Monday morning Shawn went back to work and I started applying for jobs. Amazingly, Monday afternoon I got an interview, which just happened to be at a school that is about a seven minute drive (or twenty-five minute walk) from our new house. The job is all Drama. NO Social Studies, no English, no Health, none of the other horrible things that I keep getting roped into. All Drama! Here in BC, there is no such thing as "junior high" and secondary schools go from eighth to twelfth grade instead. Even better. I raced to the mall to buy something to wear to the interview as I had only packed jeans and t-shirts for my week of basement dwelling, and began learning my way around my new home.

The principal called to offer me the job on Monday night. That's right, I'm about to rejoin the workaday workforce. By choice, no less. I start on Monday.

Starting on Monday, unfortunately, hinges upon my ability to sort out my horribly confusing transcripts which state that I have "transfer credits", giving the impression that I have attended another post secondary institution which I have not. These credits, rather, have been transferred internally because I was given permission to take a course without the prerequisites and received credit for them without taking them. This is causing great confusion for my employer who seems, currently, to be under the impression that I am hiding something.

After sitting on the phone half the morning (long distance!) waiting to speak to a person at the registrar's office, I finally hung up and tried a different tactic, bothering people in my Faculty. It took awhile but I finally convinced the secretary to let me speak to a real live person, one who promised to send a letter to my employer and to send me email confirmation of such. Three hours later I have still not received this confirmation so I am holding my breath and hoping that it really does get done.

Lastly, my employment also depends upon my getting hold of a letter from a doctor stating that I am physically and emotionally able to undertake the work. I cannot fathom how a doctor could possible sign a piece of paper that states anything about my emotional state based upon a fifteen minute chat, but I guess as long as I can keep from bursting into tears or shouting curses I should be okay. The physical part shouldn't be an issue except for the fact that every time a doctor presses a cold stethoscope to my chest my heart begins beating about 200 times a minute. White Coat Syndrome. I don't know why I'm so afraid of doctors, but I am. Just thinking about them gives me butterflies. I have no choice, however, and will try to find one to sign my release paper tomorrow.

So that's it, that's Life updated to Tuesday, August 28th. I'm excited, exhausted, exhausted, and exhausted.


Thursday, August 23, 2007

This is it; make no mistake

There are now two young cute guys in the lower level of my house packing boxes. They are both named Mike. These two look incredibly clean cut as though they aren't really movers, just a couple of university students earning some money for school. The last guys that moved us were in their forties, unshaven with long hair and raspy voices that sounded as though they spent every penny of their earnings on cigarettes.

Speaking of pennies, when I was trying to get organized yesterday, it came even more clearly into focus that Shawn has an infuriating habit of taking pennies out of his wallet and leaving them around the house in small piles. It isn't like he puts them in a penny jar which would be annoying enough; instead he leaves them in various locations all over the house. On every surface. On the kitchen counters, on the bathroom counters, on the plant stands, on the computer desks, on the bookshelf, on the coffee table, on the dresser, on the nightstand, and so on, and so on. By the time I was done collecting them all we had enough pennies for fair sized penny jar, and a penny jar is something I do not aspire to have. Pennies, and money in general, as we all know, are filthy. If I roll a thousand pennies and get my hands covered in that filth and bacteria, to me that is simply not worth ten dollars.

When I receive change I put it in my wallet, not anywhere around the house. And then, the next time I buy something, I try to use that change when possible so my wallet doesn't get heavier and heavier. When Shawn asked me what I did with my pennies and I told him this, he seemed startled as though he had no idea that pennies were money and could be spent. I have told him that if he brings any pennies into our new house I will kill him. Kill. Him.

Something that I do collect that I ought not to is old clothes. I don't know why I don't get rid of old clothes but I almost never do. I have far too many pairs of jeans with no knees left in them, and sweaters with the sleeves unraveling. As well, I simply have a lot of old clothes that are in good condition but I just don't wear them.

Last night I decided that before the movers arrived I would go through my clothes and get rid of the least reputable of the falling apart things, and donate the things that are in good shape but not being worn. At Shawn's request, this meant getting rid of a good number of things that are too big for me because I have this idiotic habit of buying my clothes too large. I dropped a very big bag full of saggy-butt jeans and oversize t-shirts in the donation bin near my house this morning before the movers arrived, and it was kind of nice to see them go. (Of course if I keep eating takeout food like I have been lately, I will regret this.)

In the evening when Shawn phoned to ask how I was doing, I grumped at him about his pennies and about the fact he wasn't here to help me with the sorting. He said I should relax and just let the movers take everything and then we could sort it together when we arrive in Vancouver. Somehow I couldn't let this happen, though, because the idea of moving boxes of junk and garbage and having to contend with them later was something I couldn't bear the thought of. So I sorted all night. I still think we're moving things we don't really want, like the bag of caramel strips for making caramel apples that Shawn bought in 2001 and is preparing to take on the Antique Roadshow. But it's better than it was before.

This part of the packing isn't so bad because the guys are downstairs and I'm upstairs and we're not in each other's way. Once they get up here and I have nowhere to go it seems like it will be more uncomfortable. Every so often one of the dogs emits a loud bark to alert me to the fact that there are strange men downstairs stealing our dishes.


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

for what it's worth, it was worth all the while

I feel like crying. Moving is so stressful, even when things are going smoothly. Though most of this move has been fairly smooth so far, I have trouble when we hit the hitches and snags. Today I have made about a hundred phone calls to deal with lawyers, realtors, bankers, brokers, and various utility and service providers.

Tomorrow is packing day. The movers are going to come here between 8:30 and 9:30 in the morning, and allegedly pack up my whole house in the matter of three or four hours. I wish Shawn was going to be here for this step because I feel sure I'm going to forget something important I was supposed to remember. I know he's been doing a million things to prepare for the move from his end in BC, but I feel (unreasonably) mad that I'm doing this part alone.


more tangles

The lawyer's assistant called me this morning while I was meeting with L. and left a message on the machine. When I called her back, she told me that the other lawyer, the one who is representing the people that bought this house, is insisting we provide an updated "Real Property Report", a document that will cost us, oh, only about six hundred dollars to get a hold of.

We have an outdated one, outdated by the fact that our next door neighbour has added a fence to the property line between our house and his. Of course this was a perfectly reasonable thing to do, on his part, and I hold him in no way accountable for this problem, but I really am having trouble understanding how we can be responsible to provide a new report for changes that he makes to his property in the interim between when we sell our house and when the purchaser takes possession of it.

Of course this is one of those stupid situations where we aren't allowed to talk directly to the purchaser, and instead our lawyer and their lawyer and the real estate agents are supposed to bicker and barter it out. But from the sounds of it, we may be on the hook for this thing which basically just sucks. It's hard not to feel angry and vindictive and want to let the puppies pee all over the carpet to welcome these people to their new home. Sigh.


The meeting with L. was good, which the meetings with him always are. I don't know why I dread them so much. It's just my antisocial nature.

Today I need to spend the day sorting and setting aside the things I don't want packed. This job might not be as difficult as I feel it might be, but right now it seems daunting and I just want to curl up on the couch with a blanket over my head and forget about all this stuff.


Tuesday, August 21, 2007

a cheap lesson

I was an hour and a half late meeting my parents for lunch because there was a horrible accident on the highway ahead of me. It was only a few minutes ahead of me that it happened (I didn't see it, thank god) and the road was completely shut down while people were cut out of mangled vehicles. I was without my cell phone because Shawn has taken it to BC with him, and had no way to call the restaurant. I wasn't sure my parents would still be there by the time I arrived but they were and had heard about the accident on the radio so knew I would be late.


L is back from holiday and has phoned me five times since Monday morning. I think it's because I feel more confident communicating in writing, when I have time to think about what I want to say, that I am frustrated by the fact that he calls so frequently to tell me things he could easily send me a note about. To top it off, he wants to meet face to face tomorrow to discuss one of the scripts. I feel sure this is something we could have managed through messages (or even on the phone) but had no really good reason to say no, other than the fact that I prefer wasting time in my pajamas.

He asked when I was available and I decided to ask for his first spare moment in the day, which happens to be at 8:00am. This means I'll need to leave by 7:30 and be awake by 6:30 in order to have time to feed the pups first. I could have met with him later in the day, but I wanted to get it done and over with so I'd have time to do the rewrites before day's end and still do the sorting that needs to be done before the movers arrive on Thursday to pack up my house. The other benefit to getting up this early is that it will force me to get back on track with my sleeping habits that have slowly been becoming more and more like a sixteen year old's.


After the second phone call with L, I went to pet store with Puppy D to find two more travel harnesses. Unfortunately, they only had one in the right size, and so I was forced to purchase a different one at a different store, one which turned out not to fit anybody. This gave me the opportunity to take Em for a ride to return the bad harness, and later in the day, to take Little Puppy out to the other branch of the store I like to find the harness I wanted. It was an eventful day to be a dog.

And when I went through the Starbucks drive-through, they gave Em a milkbone that was almost as big as his head. He was delighted.


Tomorrow bodes busy. These things are always worse in the anticipatory phase than they are in reality. I just want it all over and done.


Monday, August 20, 2007

the treat you can give often

Last night I had dream in which I was in a play and had somehow not bothered to learn my lines or stage directions. So when opening night arrived I was taken by surprise and huddled under a blanket on the stage in the dark (from beneath which I was supposed to emerge at the start of the show) trying to read a scrap of paper on which some of my lines were written. I couldn't really read them in the dark, of course, and what little I could make out didn't even make any sense so I couldn't even understand my own lines.

It's not the first time I've had this dream, the one of being in some kind of play and not knowing my lines. I think it's pretty much the same as the old "out in public in my underwear" dream - an anxiety based around lack of preparedness. Very fitting. I don't really think this dream has a secret deeper meaning. I think it just means I'm scared I'm going to forget something important. Because I am.


I am driving to a neighbouring town about an hour and a half away to meet my parents and niece for lunch today. We are meeting here because it is halfway between our homes and therefore reduces the amount of driving one person has to do. I was surprised by their suggestion that we do this because in the two years that we've lived here my parents have never once offered to drive in my direction and, in fact, have never seen my house. I hope the fact they're starting to try means good things for the future.


Sunday, August 19, 2007

hear the wind sing

When I was an adolescent I belonged to a "Junior Achievement" group, a fact which is somewhat bewildering in and of itself, though I joined specifically and only because a friend of mine did and then found it to be enjoyable on a social level in spite of the fact I had no interest in any of the educational objectives of the program.

One night a woman entered the building at the end of the evening's activities, and I heard someone say, "Lisa, it's your mother." The woman was not my mother; my parents, in fact, never had anything to do with dropping me off or picking me up from the program. I always got a ride with the friend's parents. So for some reason I made the assumption that since the woman wasn't my mother that she must be the mother of another girl in the program whose name was also Lisa.

And I went down the hall to tell that Lisa that her mother had arrived to pick her up. I didn't know this other Lisa, just knew her name and felt mildly irritated with her for having it. I called across the room to her, "Lisa, your mother is here."

And she snapped back, "My mother is dead." I don't know what it was that made me think she was kidding, but I did. Partly, I think, because I thought she was being dramatic, the way someone might say, "Henceforth you are dead to me!" and probably more because I was still in that nice place where no one I knew had ever died. Anyway, my impression was that she was using some kind of strange black humour on me and so I laughed.

My laugh caused her to toss her long black hair and stare at me with one of the darkest looks I've ever seen, and she said, "What's funny about that? She's dead."

I was totally stunned and didn't know what to do with that. And so I turned and left without saying anything else, leaving this girl, no doubt, with the impression that I was some sick weirdo laughing at her pain.

There were lots of times after that when I wanted to approach this girl and tell her I was sorry and explain that I had misunderstood her but I was afraid to. It's hard to define exactly what it was I was afraid would happen if I apologized, but I just didn't know how to approach this hard angry girl that I barely knew and tell her I hadn't meant to laugh at her. Instead I avoided her and tried to pretend it never happened.

If I knew her now I would tell her I was sorry. I would find a way. Since then I have learned how important apologies are when you're in the wrong.

i still believe

When I was so clever and productive yesterday, doing all that grocery shopping, somehow I forgot that I would want to eat things for breakfast. So when I woke up this morning the first thing I thought about was the fact that I have no milk for the coffee and nothing breakfast-y to eat. For some reason all winter when I'm getting up at the crack of dawn the very idea of breakfast makes me nauseated, but in the summer when I wake up later breakfast is one of my favourite things.

I decided to go and buy a couple of muffins (as well as some milk) and took Little Puppy with me in the car. I tried out the new seatbelt harness on her which is a contraption I bought to keep Puppy E from climbing up my face when we're on the road. It's a vest that the dog wears and it has a loop in the back that you string the seatbelt through, effectively forcing puppy to sit or lie down in the seat instead of having free roaming capabilities. Because Little Puppy is so little, I've never allowed her to roam freely through the vehicle when I'm driving anyway. A little tap on the breaks would send her flying. So she normally rides inside her crate.

Em and D, however, have been given this free roaming privilege at times and it hasn't been very successful for Em. D is very polite for some strange reason and sits nicely on the passenger seat and doesn't move much. Em, however, is a nightmare. He runs from the front seat to the back seat over and over and over again, from window to window, from side to side, climbing up my arms and face when he feels like some attention, and generally making it hard to keep the car on the road.

When I took Em to the dog food store the other day he made such a nuisance of himself that I bought the harness for the ride home, and found it was quite wonderful. Not only did it stop him from buzzing all over the place inside the car, it also seemed to help him to settle down emotionally. He is a very nervous dog and perhaps having limited options makes him feel safer. I resolved to go back to the store and get two more harnesses for D and Little Puppy. D doesn't require one in terms of managing his behaviour, but it would be safer for all of them in case of an accident.

So as a trial run this morning, I put Em's harness on Little Puppy and went to the store to buy a muffin. She wasn't pleased, particularly, but she was no less pleased, really, than she is when I put her in the crate inside the car. She simply doesn't enjoy being in the car because, I suspect, she probably associates it with going to the vet. For that very reason I have been trying to take her other places in the car where no one pokes a needle in her when she arrives or removes some of her teeth. She cried a bit, which is typical, and then forgave me as she nibbled bran muffin crumbs on the way home.

Long story. No point.


I'm starting to feel a little bit panicked about the fact that men are coming to pack up my house on Thursday and that Shawn won't be here to oversee it and make sure I don't make some sort of fatal error that results in something essential being packed away where we can't get at it, or forgetting to pack something beloved and enormous that won't fit in the car and will therefore have to be abandoned on the side of the road.

If there's anything negative about having opened up with Shawn to do the degree with which I have, it's that I sometimes feel that I have lost some of my confidence where it comes to dealing with things on my own. It's not often, anymore, that I have to manage independently, but when I do, I don't like it.


Saturday, August 18, 2007

same small hitch

This day has felt more productive than any in awhile. Being lazy makes me feel sad. And I guess being alone (lonely?) makes me lazy. Today I tried to focus on getting things done. Like grocery shopping, and cooking a proper meal with vegetables in it, and working out. And getting some scripts written. All of that makes me feel better.

Some days I think I have body dysmorphic disorder. When I eat badly and do nothing I feel like I'm 500 pounds. On days when I eat well and exercise I feel like a supermodel. Realistically I know I am neither of these, but it doesn't matter when you feel that way. So it's important to do the things that make me feel the way I want to feel.

Another thing that feels good is knowing that it's less than a week now until I'll be with Shawn again.



I am sore this morning after last night's run. I think I was a bit too ambitious for someone who has been so lazy for so long. I need to get back on track... and sometimes sore muscles are motivating to me for some reason.

There is no food in the fridge anymore except dog food, thanks in no small part to my recently acquired habit of ordering take out food all the time. I remember when I used to be health conscious. Hah. This morning, once the dogs have finished their breakfast, I am going to send them all to jail so I can go pick up a few groceries. There's still a week that I need to survive before the fridge can be left empty.

Early this morning, maybe around 6:00am, there was a little bit of a storm. I could hear the rain pounding down and wondered in my half-asleep state whether I should get up and close the front windows... but didn't move. And there was thunder. I wonder why it's so rare to hear thunder during the daytime. It happens every now and then that there's thunder and daylight at the same time... but most of the time it seems like it only happen at night.

Now it's pretty grey and dark outside, and I'd again like to stay in my pajamas all day, but I'm feeling too hungry not to go and find something for breakfast.

I think I want to take some pictures of my house before it's not mine anymore.


Friday, August 17, 2007

look at me like i'm already gone

Last night I ate four slices of pizza and a bag of wine gums for dinner.

Tonight I decided to atone by going running. I've been so lazy lately it's appalling. I went for a really long one tonight, more than an hour, but I took a different route than usual so I could avoid going down the road that has no streetlights. Running on a Friday night can be problematic since there are more people in cars heading out to bars and feeling jocular, enjoying shouting things out their car windows as they blow by... but tonight things seemed pretty tame. Or maybe my music was just loud enough to drown them out. I don't run with music when I go down the street with no streetlights because I want to be alert. But when I go down the well-lit streets I can do this.

I feel so much better when I exercise. I wonder why I sometimes eat four slices of pizza and a bag of wine gums instead.


a little bit of bourbon

Today is our anniversary. Five years of being married. It really doesn't seem that long; time goes by so fast. Shawn and I started our relationship when I was fourteen years old, in ninth grade. After that, we broke up and got back together probably a dozen times. Some of them were short breakups and only took a little cooling off to work through. Some were longer. During one of the longer breakups, between my nineteenth and twenty-second year, I actually had another fairly longterm relationship with a guy named Tony. Shawn dated other people too. Throughout most of the time we weren't a couple, we were still friends. Sometimes very close, sometimes only in touch occasionally.

When Shawn asked me to marry him, it was completely unexpected. We were living together in a little house I had purchased by myself, but which he had helped me select. He had his own room and was living down the hall from me. We were living somewhat separate lives, sort of like roommates. We'd agreed not to bring other people home to the house to avoid making each other uncomfortable, and we'd begun to slip back into being a couple without really having any kind of spoken commitment. We were grocery shopping together, which seems about as together as people can be.

One evening, just as I was on my way out for drinks with some girlfriends, Shawn said he wanted to show me something. He said he'd "picked up a couple of things" for me. These were things I'd been mumbling about needing. He had a grocery bag and unpacked his gifts on the table for me: garbage bags... toothpaste... light bulbs.... oh, and an engagement ring. I was totally stunned. Totally taken off guard. I burst into tears, and let him put the ring on me, and then went out for beers without even answering him.

When I got home he was in his bedroom. I climbed into his bed with him and told him I would marry him. And that seems like it all happened just moments ago.

Now we've been married five years and spent three out of five anniversaries apart! In 2005 he was in Montreal. In 2006 I was in Kenya. And now, 2007, he's in Vancouver. The apart times have always been difficult. But the together times have always been sweet.


Thursday, August 16, 2007

it overheats and breaks

My step-mother-in-law called me last night. When I saw their number on the call display I picked up assuming it was Shawn, but fortunately didn't say anything naughty by way of greeting, which I sometimes do. She was calling to let me know that if things fell apart with the mortgage on the new house that we could live in their basement indefinitely.

As much as this was a very sweet thing for her to think, and to even make the effort to tell me so herself rather than through Shawn, the idea of that struck a note of horror in my heart. I don't even want to live in their basement for the necessary six days that we have arranged for.

Shawn spoke with our broker again last night and apparently he assured Shawn that there was nothing to worry about, that he would definitely be able to get it sorted out. That made me feel better, but really I need to put my signature on a piece of paper to feel totally relaxed about this. It's been scary. Scary like living in my in-laws'-basement for all eternity.


My step-mother-in-law and my mother-in-law don't get along. This isn't unusual, I'm sure, but the reasons behind it might be. Shawn's father remarried loooong after he and Shawn's mother split, so it's not like the stepmother interfered in their marriage or anything. And Shawn didn't live with his father then, either, so the stepmother never had any hand in raising him or anything that trod on his mother's sense of motherhood.

It all has something to do with another marriage in their respective families, because Shawn's parents aren't the only two people from those two separate families that married. One of Shawn's father's sisters also married one Shawn's mother's uncles. I think that's how it goes. These two, apparently, are still together after many many years, so I'm not sure why there's this angst, but my understanding is that somehow there has been infighting between the two families surrounding this marriage. It results in the two mother-in-laws not particularly caring for each other.

I am determined not to be involved in it.


Wednesday, August 15, 2007


Things are frustrating. I went to the police station to get my criminal record check. They said it will take about four weeks to be returned - which means that I won't really be eligible to work until mid-September. This is a minor concern only, but frustrating nonetheless.

We've been working on getting home owners' insurance sorted out for the house we bought here but are going to be selling. The insurance company doesn't want to insure a house that has no one living in it. We have to arrange to have someone check on the house every other day and arrange to have some kind of cover put up over the windows in order to qualify to be insured. Again, not a big deal, but frustrating because we are trying to avoid having to fly back here during the sale of this property, and arranging these things long distance is a pain.

Lastly, the mortgage is becoming problematic. Because we are buying the Vancouver house BEFORE the sale of new house here, we will, in essence, be trying to carry two mortgages at once. Even though the other house is supposed to be sold minutes after it becomes our property (in an ideal world), the bank doesn't like the look of the two simultaneous mortgages, and has suddenly expressed concern. This is odd because we were upfront about what we were doing from the very beginning and never tried to conceal any of this. The mortgage specialists said it would be fine.

So, this problem has gone to our broker. He says it won't be a problem, just that we won't have second mortgage through the bank we'd initially expected to. He says he can work it out and plans to have a new set of arrangements made shortly. Still, it's nerve wracking to be dependent on someone else this way and to have extremely important financial arrangements fall apart without warning. It seems to me that the first bank should be liable to follow through with their promise to carry both mortgages, but I'm talking about "right and wrong" and "keeping promises", while they're talking about magical formulas that somehow no one bothered to work out until now. It's absurd. The mortgage broker says it's nothing to worry about but I won't really be able to take a breath until he lets us know what's he's figured out.

I'll be so glad when everything is settled and finished and we can recommence normal life.


in defense of sketching

A bad thing that happens in summer is that I start, slowly, five minutes at a time, staying up later and later, which requires me to sleep in later and later. Normally, when I don't have to worry about going to work, my body feels best when I get up at 8:00am and go to bed around 11:00pm. That's nine hours of sleep, which is more than I'm supposed to need, but I feel best with nine hours.

Throughout the summer, though, somehow, the schedule slowly starts to creep to being later and later. Generally I blame Shawn for this, because he's a night owl, but since he's not even here right now, I guess I do it even without his influence. It just takes longer. This morning I didn't up until a few minutes before ten which is really rather ridiculous since I am no longer a teenager.


I have been offered a substitute teaching position, which is, I suppose, better than not having one. But it's hard to get excited over a job that requires such a high threshold for tolerating abuse. The only reason to do this is in the hopes that it will lead to something permanent, which is funny because I don't know if I want something permanent. Yet, I have no reason not to be working full time other than utter laziness.

I have to go to the police station this afternoon and give them thirty dollars to look up my files and certify that I don't have a criminal record. I can certainly appreciate that school boards make this effort to ensure they aren't hiring convicted felons, but it does annoy me how many times I've had to do this recently and I have to wonder why the various boards and departments can't talk to each other instead of making me do this over and over again.

When it comes right down to it, I guess what bothers me most is that I'll have to get dressed and leave the house when I'd really be more happy to just hang out in my pajamas all day.


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

i'll tell you one thing

This morning I think I may have broken the coffee pot. I did something extraordinarily stupid. I was low on coffee grounds, and only had enough for two scoops, though I wanted four. So I had this foolish idea that I could run the coffee through the machine twice to make it stronger. The first time, of course, was fine. Just normal coffee making. But then I poured the weak coffee back into the machine thinking it would run through the filter a second time and get strong enough to taste like coffee.

But when I poured the HOT coffee into the machine it turned itself off automatically in protest, and refused to give back the coffee. I pondered this while I made toast and by the time it was done, the coffee machine was ready to negotiate and it decided to give back my coffee after all but it did so complaining and spluttering in a way I'd never heard it curse before. The coffee was actually drinkable which was a small victory.

I'm not sure if the coffee maker is now broken or if it's just sulking. I might need to make alternate arrangements tomorrow morning.


Shawn's father told him that if we decide to have a baby, he would like to be our childcare provider when we are at work. Shawn's father is close to retirement and the timing would actually fit quite perfectly. As strange and unexpected an offer as this is, it really would make life a great deal easier to have this settled so simply.

There is a strange "daycare crisis" happening in parts of Canada right now. Unsurprisingly, daycare workers are hard to keep on the job because they are paid so dismally, and there simply aren't enough available spots for the number of people looking for them. In fact, people here put their names on wait lists the minute they get pregnant.

I wouldn't want a child of my own in daycare anyway. I base this opinion on two things: I attended daycare as a child, and; I worked in daycare to support myself throughout university.

My memories of attending daycare are truly miserable. The full time staff was comprised of middle aged bitter angry women who truly seemed to hate us. I was an overly sensitive child easily brought to tears - and spent my time in daycare trying to avoid attracting anyone's attention. The part time staff were young bitter angry girls who talked mostly to each other and ignored us except when it was absolutely necessary. I do remember, though, them picking on kids sometimes, almost as if it was a sport. It sounds wrong when I say it, or rather it seems not possible, but I'm pretty sure, in spite of the fact that I am remembering it through the haze of being eleven, that it really did happen that way. I think they sometimes took on the form of schoolyard bullies, circling around the weak, "Why do you always wear that shirt?" "How come your hair is so messy?" "What are you laughing at? Why don't you tell us all?"

There was a television at this daycare, and in the afternoons after "snack" we were supposed to sit on the floor and watch tv. This usually meant putting on one of the daycare's four movies, all of which we all knew every word to because we watched each of them every four days. We were not permitted to talk, not even to whisper to each other, during television time. After the movie, it was "Little House on the Prairie", a program I never enjoyed. I am sure I dislike that show specifically because of daycare because every other woman my age claims to have loved it as a child.

Working in daycare wasn't good either. I mean, it wasn't a terrible job or anything, but I could see it so easily through the eyes of those kids, and knew that there were a lot of them that were going to grow up with the same kinds of feelings about daycare that I have. Some of the women on staff even slapped the children when they were frustrated, targeting only the littlest ones knowing that they couldn't tell.

My favourite kid at the daycare centre was a boy named Cody. I liked him right away because he completely disregarded the "Miss Lisa" talking-to-grownups-like-I'm-living-in-Alabama-in-1850 protocol. Instead he said, "Hey Lisa." Often he dropped the A in a familiar kind of way, so it was "Lees". Cody was everyone else's least favourite because he was so hyperactive and busy, but that just meant he needed to be my favourite all the more. I happened to be the boss' least favourite too, I think, because much of the time I was relegated to washing dishes or mopping floors or vacuuming rather than actually spending time with the kids. Often, they would send Cody to help me to punish us both. Instead we had fun. I tied sponges to Cody's shoes so he could skate on the linoleum while I washed it.


Monday, August 13, 2007

bloody knuckles

This is the "sitting room" in our new house, a room which we are confused about in terms of how to manage the space.

To start with, it has a wood burning fireplace, something almost unheard of in this part of the world anymore. In fact, it is illegal to build new houses with these, though I am unsure as to whether this is because of safety issues or whether it has to do with pollution.

In any case, our house has a "grandfather" clause which allows us to use this fireplace in spite of the bylaw, because it was built prior to the bylaw's inception. I can't help but wonder if the people who lived here ever used this fireplace at all. It seems impossible to me to use a wood burning fireplace in a room with carpet. But maybe I'm just insane.

The cedar ceiling is mysterious and unlike anything I've ever seen before. I'm torn between finding it absolutely beautiful and wondering how to prevent this part of the house from seeming dark and cavernous. Shawn's stepmother suggests sanding it and refinishing it with a lighter stain, which sounds promising apart from the fact that the job itself sounds like hell on earth.

Personally, I don't really care for the three feet of useless railing to the left that is supposed to help, I suppose, make the room feel more divided from the dining room on the other side. Something almost exactly like this existed in my first house, and I tore it out to make the room more open, and loved it that way. Maybe I'll do that here too.

The kitchen has a few really nice features, and a few horrendous features. The cedar ceiling is continued over the eating area, which also has a small skylight (what fun!). The kitchen is quite large and has an island (not shown) and lots of windows.

This kitchen also has the same appliances that were installed with it when it was built (in 1987, I think) and they're looking pretty rough. Of course this is Shawn's specialty and he has already ordered replacements.

In my opinion, the biggest drawback of this kitchen is the huge overhead fluorescent light box, which looks identical to the one in the house in which I grew up (in 1987, also). I'm not sure how difficult it's going to be to get rid of that thing, but I'm worried it's going to be a nightmare. The linoleum is also rather revolting but I think that's a much easier fix and I might even tile it myself if Shawn will stop worrying and trust me.

I think that's all the house-dreaming I'll do for now, though I want to go through it all room by room, because I'm supposed to be inventing test questions for the safety course I'm working on. Heh. Back to it.


quality brand name samples

Monday. Weekdays seem to go more easily than weekends, mainly because on weekdays I am required to log into the workspace, type a few things, answer a question here and there. It provides the illusion of importance, of being part of something that is happening in the world, even if I only participate remotely. It's a strange kind of luxury to feel that somehow my brain is needed, a luxury, even, to feel mildly irritated that people ask me questions instead of trying to figure things out for themselves.

On the weekends everyone goes home to their families, and I wish I was with mine.


I gain a new perspective on the art of telling a story when I read this book. It makes me realise that I might be too tightly bound to the notion of making sense. Understanding the formula, as I recall, is merely so you can know what rule it is that you're breaking. Perhaps that makes it more fun. I wonder if I enjoy speeding more when I'm doing it with intent than when I do it unconsciously. I'm not sure, when I write a story, that I want to feel that I've gotten away with something.

But what is expected, of course, dictates to the greatest degree, what is put forward. Which means one must anticipate success to make the follow through possible.


There is only time, I think, to mow the lawn one more time before we move. It won't grow enough in that time to do it more than once.

When selecting household appliances, I stood by and sighed while Shawn insisted on self-aware machines that might overthrow us. The only thing I really bothered to fight for was the lawn mower. Shawn, of course, wanted a huge tank of a mower that was somehow light as a feather, refilled its own gas tank, emptied its own grass bag, and sent signals to aliens on other planets. When he was finished telling me why we needed this thing, I told him I wanted the push mower. No motor, no bag, no nothing. Just a quiet little blade that turns itself when you push, whhhshhhh whhhshhshh... and leaves the clippings behind right on the lawn to be cycled back into the ground providing natural fertilizer.

He gave in. It only makes sense since I'm the one who does most of the mowing anyway. Shawn only mows the lawn when it's necessary to prevent the neighbours from calling the bylaw officers. I actually enjoy mowing the lawn. At least, I like it when I'm using my little push mower. I like that it's quiet. I like that it doesn't blow hot air on me or gasoline fumes. I like that I don't have to empty a grass bag and that I don't have to worry about running over an electrical cord. I just like the simplicity of it.

Shawn has convinced himself that we'll need a rider mower in the new house because the back yard is so big. I have to agree that it's a lot more than I'm accustomed to dealing with. But somehow I have to think that since the very elderly woman who lives in the house now has managed to do it without a rider, so can I.


Sunday, August 12, 2007

these eyes are the eyes of the old

A little bit awash in spite of the dry, a few things have come together.

1).Moving is difficult even when it's more simple than moving usually is. I'm leaving behind someone I'll never see again.

2).Good writing reads smoothly in a way that leaves its reader with the impression of effortlessness, perhaps even instilling the (false) impression that the reader could write with just as much clarity and simplicity.

3).A plan to opt for "palliative" care should not lead to the assumption that the sufferer is going to die. It merely means that treatment is aimed at alleviating symptoms rather than aggressively seeking to cure. Palliative can still be used to describe the care for a patient who may be cured, or one who will live with a disease on a longterm basis.

4).There is much to be learned from animals in the ways in which they cope with disease, and the ways in which they interact with each other, with their own bodies, and with the world around them. They don't worry about whether or not they will live a full life; they just spend their time making sure each day is full.

5).It isn't the crying that feels good. It's the comparative internal peace that follows it.


Saturday, August 11, 2007

i need something to breathe

I think the fact that I neglected to mention it means I don't really care about it.
I am having trouble determining what is important to me.


prove powerful

I've been feeling... moody. A lot of factors are at work: I miss Shawn; I haven't been going "out" much and been spending way too much time in pajamas; it has been dark and cold and cloudy... but mostly I think it's about cancer.

I keep thinking about cancer and how it keeps on bursting into the lives of people I care about and changing them, scaring them, threatening them...

It makes me sad and being sad makes me angry. Moody.


I called Shawn's mother yesterday to wish her a happy birthday, and we made plans for her and D to come by on Sunday for tea. I'm really going to miss both of them when are living far away. The last two years I have gotten to know Shawn's mother a lot better than I have in the past, and though I've always loved her, having her nearby has been wonderful, and having D in our family is a blessing for all of us.

Not only does D take wonderful care of Shawn's mother in ways that her ex-husband never did, but she's also just fun to be around. She's funny, she's tough, and she's down to earth. And strong! Many years ago I made a tabletop from mosaic tile for the patio, and Shawn and I recently decided that we weren't going to take this table with us to BC... and when we gave it to D and Shawn's mother, we carried it out to D's truck together... and were astonished when she took it from us by herself and heaved it up onto the truck bed without any help at all.

We've loved being able to do things for them too, and getting them the new puppy and the backyard swing and a few other little gifts has been gratifying. It feels good to be able to spoil them a bit.


Friday, August 10, 2007

And summer goes, Falls to the sidewalk like string and brown paper

I've been getting email from Dodo, and that makes me crazily happy. I miss Dodo so much.

He was my best friend at work when I was teaching in Calgary. Trish and some of the others persisted in calling him my "work husband" which I think he found embarrassing, but aside from sex and the fact that we are both married (and faithfully so), my relationship with him was otherwise rather similar to my relationship with Shawn. Dodo was the person I confided in when things happened at work, and he was the person I told all my frustrations to. He was able to understand things that Shawn couldn't really understand because he knew all the same people I knew and understood the career in the way that others who don't do it, can't. Shawn loved it that I had Dodo to talk to about these things, I think, because it spared him having to listen to them along with all the necessary backstory to make them make sense.

The coolest thing about Dodo is that I truly believe he is the only close male friend I have ever had with whom I have never felt that there was some "crossing the line" going on. I never said one thing to Dodo that I wouldn't have said with Shawn right there beside me, and I know the same is true for Dodo and his wife. Somehow we were able to be real friends with total respect for each other's spouse and family. Just before Shawn and I moved away, the four of us (and their two children) had dinner together at Dodo's house. It made me wonder if we shouldn't have been doing that all along.

I miss Dodo hugely now. He's left the teaching profession and started a hockey school, a dream he'd always had since I first met him, and I'm delighted for him that he's finally doing the thing he wanted to be doing all along, the two things he loves doing the most: teaching and playing hockey. I believe Dodo would have made the NHL himself if he hadn't been so small. But if that had happened, all the kids he has mentored would have missed out enormously.

Dodo isn't much of a writer, though he's an excellent communicator face to face. I knew this already before leaving, because even when I emailed him at work to make lunch plans it was impossible to get him to type more than two words in his replies. More often than not he would just come to my classroom to respond. He hates writing. So I knew that when we moved we would be unlikely to keep in touch.

I've been gone two years now and I've received a total of four emails from him, each one comprised of four to six sentences. I consider myself lucky for having gotten this much out of him as I truly believe it might be a record. But the last two emails have occurred within a month of each other and in them he has actually not only answered the questions I asked, but also provided new information about his life. This is huge progress for a man like Dodo. I feel like dancing when I see his emails in my inbox.


I think summer has ended, just like that. After complaining about the heat for about three straight weeks, it's abruptly over. It's cold, it's dark, it's cloudy. Autumn is on its way already. Autumn is so short on the prairies; we snap without warning from summer to winter. I'm hoping it will have a little more time to unfold in BC. It will be like going backward through time and having the chance to gather up a little more of it.


Thursday, August 09, 2007

show you what i can do

Today I bought a "Shark" steam mop. I went to Canadian Tire with the assignment of finding and purchasing an inflatable air mattress for Shawn and I to sleep on for the weekend that he's home while our furniture is simultaneously being shipped to our new place. We have discussed many different ways this move could happen, and in the end we just couldn't find a way to leave ahead of the furniture, or even at the same time. Somehow we have to spend another night or two in the house without it, with only the absolute necessities, things we can pack into the Element and drive with. Hence, the need for an inflatable bed.

After I successfully found the bed, I was distracted by a video being shown on a small television in the corner of the store. The video was of a man using a mop that looked like my old Swiffer WetJet, and experiencing the dry "wshhhdd wsshhhhddd" sound of an empty cleanser cartridge. There was something about this ridiculous commercial that appealed to me, probably because my Swiffer is out of fluid and has been for months because I keep forgetting to buy more.

Anyway, after watching poor Mister DryMop push his cleanser trigger in vain for awhile, then Mister Steam Mop suddenly whooshed onto the screen with his Shark mop leaving behind a trail of mysterious swirling steam and then... when the steam cleared... a sparkly clean floor. Mesmerizing. And before I knew it, I was shouldering another box and heading for the cash register.

I'm really not such an impulsive buyer, in general. I have a guilt complex when it comes to spending money. But we've been talking about wanting to phase out many of the various chemicals we currently use to clean the house, and finding safer and more environmentally friendly alternatives. So it wasn't like this was completely out of the blue. And what's more environmentally friendly and safe than steam, right?

So I steam mopped the kitchen floor tonight, and the hardwood in the living room. (I think it was the moment I realised I could use this thing on wood that I was completely sold.) And I was really amazed by how much dirt I picked up off a floor than I would have said was pretty clean.

Suddenly I'm thinking about handheld steam cleaners that can be used to clean countertops, toilet bowls, dog dishes, and other gross things that I currently use chemicals to clean. Imagine.

The weirdest thing was that I actually enjoyed cleaning my kitchen floor, because it was so neat watching the steam pour out and feeling the warm floor under my feet. Generally, while I am a person who loves for things to be clean, I hate doing the cleaning enough that avoidance often wins out. Steam cleaning could turn me into a different kind of woman. Maybe.


breathing his oxygen

This morning I made coffee and forgot to add any water. Doesn't make such a great cup of coffee that way.


We finally got a letter from the builder of our new house (the new house that is actually brand new and located in THIS city, and which we have to sell so we can afford to fix up the house in Vancouver). It said this house will be ready for us to take possession on September 25th.

I spent a bit of time organizing to have water, electricity, and gas run to the house - a necessity even though we never plan to live in it. It's very odd to discover that selling this house feels more difficult than I expected it to. There are a lot of happy memories tied up in this house even though we never even lived in it. We had so much fun choosing our paint colours and flooring and cupboards and countertops...

Selling the house we're living in feels weird too. We never did anything to make this house ours; it was pure spec from top to bottom, beige beige and beige. Monochromatic and neutral as can be, designed to appeal to the widest possible market. I don't feel attached to its beige-ness. But we've lived happily here. Yes we have. And the attachment I feel isn't to the physical, but to the memories.

Shawn and the Vancouver realtor have been blah-blahing about our house there, about how rare and amazing it is to find a house on a third of an acre, about how pieces of land like that don't exist anymore, how much it will be worth in five years or ten years or twenty. That kind of thing doesn't matter to me. The only time the dollar value of a house matters is when you're either trying to buy it or to sell it. The rest of the time it only matters how much you love it.


It's been raining a lot the last couple of days. Most of the time rain seems so refreshing and sweet. But for some reason it's starting to make me feel glum. I think it's just that I'm missing Shawn.


Wednesday, August 08, 2007

and cut

I subscribed to something called "Word of the Day". It doesn't actually come daily, and I can't really figure out what the pattern is. Sometimes I get a couple of them a week. Sometimes several weeks pass in between words. No matter, it's interesting and I enjoy it. Most of the time the words are things I've never heard of before, and I like the idea of learning new words, even though most of the time I forget them straight away because I forget to try using them.

Today, however, I feel ripped off. "Jeetchet" was today's word of the day, and as far as I'm concerned, "jeetchet" is NOT a word. According to the definition provided, the English language is filled with invented words like this, and that they become words strictly through use. Bah. I do not accept it.

Jeetchet, according to Word of the Day, is an English word that means, "Did you eat yet?" I strenuously disagree.


I attended a meeting this morning with GDJ and D as well as Art. Art wasn't wearing his standard Bill Cosby sweater; I suppose the weather is too warm in spite of the threat of rain. As always, the topics for discussion seemed to be mainly things that have nothing to do with me. I never understand why GDJ persists in inviting me to these meetings at all, except that perhaps he just feels he should see me and talk business since he's in town.

He did say, as we said goodbye in the parking lot, that he would extend my contract "in some form or another" at least until this project is completed. I didn't really know what that meant, not really knowing much about this project in the big picture. I'm really only aware of, and concerned about, my own small part of it, which is the script writing. After it goes off to be turned into video and animations and voice tracks and all that.... well, by then it's so far out of my hands I can barely recognize myself in it. So, how long I can continue to count on this job is completely unclear at this point.

He also mentioned last week that there should be work at his other office and that I should get ahold of the manager there. I did email that manager with my new contact information and said I'd be looking forward to doing some work. He responded positively, but also vaguely. I'm sure they're on break right now for the summer and I imagine that September seems a long way off.
I will be more than happy to continue writing articles for them if that is what GDJ has in mind, but there absolutely no way I will get involved in sales.


Now, to make some breakfast/lunch. I didn't "eetchet".


Tuesday, August 07, 2007

installation extra

Bliss. The weekend was wonderful. I have no idea what made yesterday a holiday, but whatever it was, I loved it. Having our visit postponed until this weekend was a wonderful thing in the end because it meant having three days instead of two, and now there are only two more weeks to get through until our family is back together again.

The only bad thing about it, of course, is that seeing him made me miss him more.

I did something really really really scary this weekend, took a huge step in opening up to Shawn more than I ever have, and it went really well. I can't really explain it all here because it requires pages and pages of backstory to make it fit in context, and also, well, maybe it's just too private. So I'm not explaining the specifics but I want to explain the feeling because it's something important for me to remember.

It came down to a choice of whether or not to share something that I've really never openly shared with him, and in fact have kept somewhat hidden for at least five years. And this weekend I decided to share. Trembling. The way he received this could best be described as lightly, as in what's the big deal, why do you even feel this is an issue?

And this is the exact kind of thing that you know, logically, in your head, is going to turn out this way, but your heart still feels scared.

And he made it okay. He made it safe and not scary and not a big deal at all. God I love him.


It's just that I've realised that this isn't something I really see as particularly healthy anymore.

I picture it as being a symptom of a problem.

So if an interest in it is a "symptom", to stick with the same metaphor, I imagine that indulging in it is like treating a symptom. Like taking an Advil for a headache. It makes me feel better but it doesn't treat whatever is causing the pain/problem in the first place. And when the Advil wears off, the headache comes back.

Basically, I guess my point is that it is a neverending hunger-loop and the more you feed it, the hungrier you get. It doesn't provide any real relief from what's hurting.

In the end, the ONLY thing that has provided me with real relief from that specific pain is actually going to the source of it.

That's where I am now. Easily accessible, but maybe a little further away.


Friday, August 03, 2007

lemme turn to you here

Shawn, as usual, is Right About Everything.

The lady from whom we have bought the new house in Vancouver is being a pest.

We've understood from the start that she didn't particularly want to sell it and move out of it. Her realtor freely confessed he was frustrated with her because she wouldn't budge on her sale price or conditions, in hopes, it seemed, that no one would want to buy it.

Today the realtor phoned to ask Shawn if we would consider changing the possession date. Being a reasonable and open minded guy, Shawn requested more information. His thinking, at this point, was that it probably wouldn't be a big deal if we were to stay with his parents for a couple more days.

She wanted another month. She hasn't started to look for a place to live yet. She hasn't started to pack.

Shawn said no way.

This is the same person who wanted a clause in the sale contract that said something along the lines of, "If the seller is unhappy with her new accommodations, she has the right to take back the house."

I truly do feel sympathy for this woman who loves her house and doesn't want to leave it. I've been in that boat myself, though under very different circumstances than I imagine hers to be. But I think her understanding of what selling a house means is rather limited. She doesn't seem to realise, at all, that if she stays there, or returns there, that makes us homeless.

When we first started looking for houses (and planning to sell ours), I asked Shawn why we couldn't just cut the realtors out of the deal and do it ourselves.

Shawn said he didn't want to take chances with things not going smoothly and making contract mistakes. Wow, was he ever right. If we hadn't had a legal contract in this case, that woman would probably be able to refuse to leave and keep on smoking in our house for as long as she wanted to. Don't tell him, 'cause he's already feeling pretty clever... but my husband is a smart guy.


holding people's hands while we explore their past

I found the books I wanted, which were both, unfortunately, still only available in hardcover. If I was patient and sensible like my Dad, I would have made a Note to Self to remember to get them later when the paperbacks are released, thereby allowing me to buy, perhaps, three books instead of two with the gift certificate. But I am neither patient nor sensible where it comes to books, and though I honestly do think I have managed to inherit a couple of my father's better qualities, books are a in a different realm. Sure, I can be patient and reasonable when it comes to dealing with teenagers, buying cars, or selecting a cell phone plan, but I cannot manage this when it comes to books. So I bought them.

I also drooled a little over Douglas Coupland's books, all of where were available in paperback, and managed to resist them - a feat I could not manage as it applies to the man, himself. I believe he lives in Vancouver, too, so I fully intend to purchase night goggles and begin chasing him through the city in the near future. (Of course, I'd planned the same thing for Brad Fraser while living here, and completely forgot to follow through. I'm a poor excuse for an obsessive fan.)

Speaking of stalk-worthy men, there are some simply delicious twenty-year old men outside with their shirts off, landscaping the neighbours' front yard. I wonder how weird it would be for me to remove my shirt too and offer to help with the shoveling.

Most of the time what attracts me to men is more intellectual than physical. I like funny men. I like smart men. That doesn't mean I don't appreciate physical attractiveness, but a trollish-looking smart funny guy has always stood a better chance than a boring Adonis. I think most women are like this, actually. And in general, I find older men more attractive than younger men, if I'm to reach outside my own age bracket. Of course, as I'm admiring my barely-out-of-adolescence shirtless landscapers, I'm not thinking of how well they would provide for me and my future baby farm, or what great, hilarious and witty conversation they would make. I'm just slipping into the fantasies of a woman whose husband has been out of town nearly a month.

He's coming home tonight!



Thursday, August 02, 2007

secrets to eternal life and a great chimichanga recipe

I started reading Haruki Murakami again. Short stories this time. I just realised that I am missing his most recent novel (After Dark) as well as his very first (Hear the Wind Sing). I think the first one was out of print for a long time because it was being sold on Amazon for about $2000, which was more than a tad out of my price range. Much as I love him, I cannot afford any signed first editions of his work. Besides, I want to read it in the bathtub.

I found it for $16 on eBay (of course it was a reprint) and bought it for breakfast. Now I just need the new one. And I still have a gift certificate for the bookstore from my birthday that I've been hanging on to, saving it for the best book in the world. I believe I will buy After Dark, and A Thousand Splendid Suns. And not sure what else. God, I love books.

Shawn would probably kill me if he knew I was buying books right now when I'm supposed to be getting rid of books to make the move easier. I do have a lot of books I don't need or want anymore, mostly textbooks. But I find it hard to part with novels unless I really didn't like them. I like the feel of books. I like arranging them in alphabetical order. I like having everything a writer has published. It feels complete.


My mum is going to be on tv. She is being interviewed as a representative of one of the local arthritis support groups to talk about her experiences with hip replacement surgery and about the kind of services the support group provides. She's also going to talk about active living with arthritis, and if there's anyone well suited for that role, it's her. She is incredibly active and I haven't seen her sit still my whole life.


Tomorrow Shawn is coming home. Yay!


Wednesday, August 01, 2007


Today started earlier than I'd intended it to. If Tenacious D hadn't decided to throw up remnants of last night's dinner in bed where I was lying, I'd probably only be waking up just now. Instead, I've already done two loads of laundry, put away the dishes, fed the dogs, and eaten toast and grapes. It's hard to find the upside to being barfed on in bed, but if there is one, it's the enforced running start to the day.


Shawn went to see our new house again last night. The woman who lives in it currently invited him to come and look at her furniture in case he'd like to buy any of it. Of course if any of her furniture was something we'd like, it would be a perfect situation for both us, she not having to move it out and us not having to move it in. Unfortunately, neither of us could remember liking any of her furniture at all (unsurprising that her tastes differ from outs because she is about fifty years older than we are). But, on the off chance there might be something wonderful, Shawn decided to go and have another look around.

The second look confirmed what we'd already suspected, that there was nothing there that we wanted, and though we wouldn't have really bought the stuff at any price, Shawn said he couldn't believe how much they (the owner and her niece) were trying to charge for things that were old and damaged, with prices as though they were in an upscale furniture store rather than looking at second-hand. As one who has furnished apartments entirely with Value Village cast offs and plastic milk crates, I had to agree with Shawn's assessment. I'd rather have NO dining room table than buy one I don't especially like just because it's easy.

So although the furniture shopping was fruitless, Shawn did say he was glad to go in and have another look around at the property. He also mentioned feeling a little bit cross that the lady and her niece were smoking like chimneys. Of course we have begun to think of this house as ours, in spite of there being another thirty-one days before that is the case. And imagine how many cigarettes may be smoked in thirty-one days! It's staggering. We've been making plans to repaint everything and to tear out all the carpets, and with luck this means all traces of smoke will be gone in short order.


Thinking about ~ again because of another conversation I had with a friend the other day. Thinking lots... but still not concrete enough in my head to explain what I'm thinking.