Friday, November 30, 2007

i'm writing you now just to see if you're better

I am EXHAUSTED. The show I'm directing goes up in less than two weeks and these final rehearsals are killing me. They're so long and tedious and tiring and boring that I feel like screaming by the end of them. I know a large part of the problem is blood sugar levels because I don't bring enough food for lunch and snacks to keep me going. I'll be so glad when this is over and I can go home at 3:00 like everyone else.

Meanwhile, of course, I am worried and stressed out about all the zillions of things that should be done and I'm not sure if they are or not.


Yesterday's conference was interesting. I learned a lot about how bullying tactics differ between girls and boys and ways to help kids cope with internet harassment and other forms of "technology based" bullying, like text messaging and three way calling and so forth. It was all a lot to take in and surprising to see how many different ways kids have come up with to torture each other that I'd never even heard of.

The best part was spending time with colleagues that I didn't know well and learning more about them. They invited me to join their book club. I've been so antisocial for so long since the last time we moved that it's exciting to be making friends again.


Tomorrow Little Puppy is going to the vet again to see if we can get more information about why she is sometimes not interested in eating and sometimes throws up. She has to have blood taken, which always upsets her (and therefore me) so I am hoping this test will provide the answers we need so we can stop searching and start treating.


I got an email from T yesterday, a cheerful email with news about Christmas and photos of her family, and nothing in it whatsoever about chemotherapy, radiation, medication... I hope I hope I hope this means that she's winning the fight and able to enjoy some good things in life right now because she certainly deserves to. I responded with the same tone she used. Maybe we've talked enough about death and disaster for a little while. Maybe a little levity can help with recovery.


Wednesday, November 28, 2007

postcards from further away

I attended an information session tonight about the Masters program I want to do. Immediately before leaving the school, I received a fax from The Powers That Be informing me that even with a Masters degree and two undergraduate degrees I would still be unqualified to maintain a permanent teaching certificate in this province. Absurd, but I am not surprised. I am thinking I will do the upgrade their way and still do the Masters degree too. So there.

Taking this program will hinge upon the sale of our house back home which has been sitting on the market for two months now with no bites. The market has cooled down considerably and while we are supporting two mortgages simultaneously and buying a new roof and a new kitchen... there just isn't money to live like this. So we'll see.

In the car on the way to the information session I made a decision to be un-neurotic at this meeting. Behaviour is habit-forming, for me, right from the start - and when I start something off the wrong foot it usually feels impossible to change that midstream.

Throughout my last Masters course, although I was enjoying it and learning a lot, I was extremely quiet. I didn't ask questions, I didn't speak up much in big group discussions. This behaviour is something that I have to actively to avoid, because once I spend the first class in a session being quiet, it becomes hard to speak ever again. And not speaking comes easily to me.

So I decided, in the car, that I was going to speak tonight. No matter what, I would ask a question or make a comment or say something to get myself going in the right direction. And so I did. It's astonishing, to me, how once that first hurdle is jumped, the rest becomes so much easier.

My close friends who know me well find it hard to believe that I could ever be shy, and still be a teacher, an actress, and an occasional loudmouth. I find it hard to understand myself, that I can be both. Speaking tonight was something I felt was a bit of accomplishment. Which makes me laugh.


Tuesday, November 27, 2007

take me with you

Winter is mild here and this mildness of weather seems to bring with it a new mildness of spirit that I am unaccustomed to experiencing at this time of year. I found winter difficult, painfully so sometimes, at home. The skeleton trees and the stark white of the snow and ice, the wind, god the wind. Coupled with the darkness, sometimes winter was nearly impossible.

There are ways to make the best of things, like gingerbread lattes and Christmas lights and warm fireplaces... but in the end, I don't believe I'm going to miss the harshness of winter on the prairies. Here, by the sea, winter is different. It's fresh, there's a snap in the air and some frost in the mornings, but it warms up enough to melt during the day. There is no wind that blows through the fabric of my coat like I'm naked. My eyelashes don't freeze together.

And this makes me feel different about the changing seasons, as though there's something to look forward to in every season here instead of dreading the abrupt change from one extreme to another with only a few weeks to brace oneself in between. I think what I'm saying is that I like it here.

(I booked my flights home for Christmas.)

Monday, November 26, 2007

how can I fall?

Staff meeting today after school. Wow, why are staff meetings always so insipid? Listening to people bicker over things that don't pertain to me or interest me in any way does not inspire me to feel more a part of the community or more ownership over the final decisions that are made. And because I teach Drama I can't even bring my work with me and mark during the meetings like other teachers do.


The vet called to give me some results from Little Puppy's blood work and urinalysis. Some of the numbers were a bit out of whack, which isn't surprising given the symptoms we have concern over, but there is no definite diagnosis at this stage, just a direction in which to move with more tests. I am fervently hoping that whatever is going on, it can be managed. I want her to be healthy.


I am considering enrolling in a Masters program again. The last Masters coursework I did was interesting and definitely lead me to want to do more of it. This time I want the whole program, though, not just a course. The frustrating thing is that because certification works differently here than it does at home, even completing another degree might not satisfy my "outstanding course requirements". Strangely enough, in spite of having two undergraduate degrees, this province thinks I need more education to get a permanent certificate.

Well, the MUST part of it annoys me because I've successfully taught for eight years without it - but taking courses is something I enjoy so that part of it is just fine. It's just that I want to take courses I find interesting and not the boring stuff I'm told to in this letter.

I'm writing to them for approval on my Masters courses, but I have my doubts that they will consider them acceptable.


Many of my students are Sikh and I am interested in the history of the dastaar and have been reading about it. I am surprised by what I have learned particularly where the technological/scientific reasons for it come in. I find religion fascinating.


Sunday, November 25, 2007

a touch of grey kind of suits you anyway

Today I feel pretty. That's something I sometimes almost feel ashamed to say, because I hate vanity - perhaps because I was trained to hate it - but it's still something I'm trying to reclaim. Not that I want to spend enormous portions of my life worrying or wondering or obsessing about appearance. Just that I want to be able to feel pretty without feeling guilty about feeling that way at the same time.

It's something that Shawn and I talk about a lot, because I have a hard time both with accepting his compliments, and with not getting complimented. What it means is that if he says nothing I will feel that he is saying nothing because I am unattractive to him, and if he says something nice, I will immediately feel bad for enjoying his compliment so much. So no matter what he does, he's wrong, and either way I'm struggling.

Ridiculous. I know these neuroses are small and moderately inconsequential in a world where people are unable to leave their houses or are afraid to use public washrooms, but why not try to improve the things about ourselves that need some work? Why not get healthier wherever possible?

Last weekend I sensed that C was almost pleased at how much I've changed since we used to spend all our time together, how much more neurotic I've become. Back then she was the one who was odd, who needed someone to drag her out when she was being a shut-in or insist she wash her hair. And I was carefree, brave and always filled with energy to do things. Enough energy that I had some left over to make her do things too.

I confessed to her that I dread talking to strangers now, that I sometimes feel a strange fear before calling to order a pizza that the person who answers the phone will be annoyed with me for disturbing him or her. I could tell that she liked this very much. I don't blame her for feeling that way; it's comforting to see our reflection in others. However I always saw my reflection in her, even when she was at her worst.

Sometimes I think it's more about aging than anything else, that I've already enjoyed more than a decade of uninterrupted socializing and philosophizing over pitchers of beer. I've become disenchanted. I'd rather invest my waning energy in those I already love than spend any more time seeking new people to love.

It's both neurotic and sensible, depending how it's explained and described. I know it's both, and that I will continue to swing back and forth between the two.


Saturday, November 24, 2007

too late

We took Little Puppy to the vet this morning. Of course, having made the appointment at a time when we were concerned because she seemed ill, she has been perfectly fine the last few days, full of energy, and eating well. Perhaps the key to keeping her healthy is to keep threatening her with trips to the vet.

We went, on recommendation, to the same vet that Shawn's dad and stepmom go to with their dog. I liked her better than the one we went to last time for everyone's booster shots, and she told us she has whippets, which are a similar breed, so I am thinking we may stick with this one. She took a blood draw and then sent us home with a cup in which to collect some urine whenever Little Puppy should next feel the urge.

Of course there was no way on earth she was going to allow me to hold a little cup underneath her while she peed, so instead, we set her up purposely to have an accident on the floor and then I got down on and hands and knees and picked it up with an eyedropper. Hehe, the things we do for love.

I told the secretary, when I dropped the sample off, that she ought to warn the people at the lab about the way this particular sample had been collected, lest they become terribly concerned about the fact that this animal seems to be excreting crumbs (or any other kitchen debris) in her urine.

I am keeping fingers crossed the results show that nothing is wrong and she has a sensitive tummy. At least if there's nothing seriously wrong I can stop feeling so frightened every time she throws up.


The roofers started working on our house on Thursday and we now have part of the roof re-shingled, and we also have zillions of ripped off shingles lying all over the yard and tarps and plywood everywhere. It doesn't look too nice right now but I think I will enjoy the sound of rain drumming on the roof a whole lot more when I can stop wondering if it's going to start leaking at any moment.

The next big project will be the kitchen which we decided to push back to January to avoid having a longer wait over Christmas break without any kitchen counter tops. At best, it sounds like it's going to be four weeks between the installation of the cupboards and the installation of the granite. Sometimes when I think about how often we eat sandwiches or cheese and crackers for dinner, it seems insane to go to all this trouble to remodel the kitchen.


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

i told you

Today I feel better. I think I feel better because Little Puppy seems better. I can't even tell if anything is ever really wrong with her or if I'm just worrying about her because it's become habitual to do so. But yesterday I felt like something was wrong. She wouldn't get off my lap no matter what, she had no energy and was completely listless. She even ate dinner lying down (at least she ate, right?) and whenever I tried to put her down to do anything she would beg to be picked up again. Little Puppy is always a snuggler, but this was excessive. Today (and last night) she has been more normal again, chasing the boys, exerting her bossiness, and being more independent. And that makes me feel a million times better.


Monday, November 19, 2007

quiet now

I've been having one of those inexplicable blue days. Maybe it's because I'm tired, tired from a busy weekend and needing a little more rest before returning to work. Maybe it's the anticlimactic feeling that comes after something really exciting. Or maybe it's because I'm worried, as usual, about Little Puppy, who has seemed strangely lethargic recently. Or maybe I need to eat more vegetables, exercise more, quit wasting money, and do a better job of keeping the house clean. Maybe it's all those things. I don't know. I just feel kind of down.



Sunday, November 18, 2007

You might have succeeded in changing me; I might have been turned around

I remember once reading an article about blogging written by a woman who is semi-well known and makes a living selling advertisement space on her blog. She said not to write laundry lists of things you've done because people will find that boring.

It is boring. Yet I've never felt like trying to change what I write about here to make it more interesting to anyone else, because I am not trying to attract a readership or to sell space. I'm just saying things so they won't take up so much space inside my head.


Yesterday at the aquarium, we noticed a little girl running back and forth near the front entrance crying and calling for her Mama. She was a tiny little thing, maybe two years old, and I got down low to look her in the eye and said, "Are you lost, sweetie?" and she screamed like I was a terrible monster and ran away from me.

I stood back up to and looked over to ask Shawn what we should do next, when I suddenly noticed that the little girl was flanked on all sides by people who were staring at her (and at me, for having tried to interact with her). Someone had already alerted the staff about the little lost girl (who, it turned out, spoke only Spanish, which I hope is why she found my question so alarming and not because of my face) and while waiting for a translator to show up who could talk to her and help her find her Mama, a small crowd had gathered around the girl.

These people were all keeping their distance so they wouldn't frighten her, but each one was doing their part to make sure the girl didn't leave the vicinity and wasn't picked up by anyone who wasn't clearly "Mama".

It was really rather heartwarming to realise just how many people were a part of this operation, how many people had taken note of her distress and were all keeping an eye on her, and each other, to ensure this ended well.

Shawn said to me, "Poor little thing. She's so scared... but look, she's probably never been safer in her entire life." Sometimes people are more good than I think they are.


Tonight I was supposed to meet C so we could go to a play. Due in part to my dawdling, and in part to traffic, I was later than I was supposed to be and I arrived with only seconds to spare, rather than the half hour we'd planned.

Fortunately, C had read some information and discovered that the play was going to be three hours long plus a twenty minute intermission, and wasn't in the mood to sit still for that long. When she said that I was completely relieved because I don't think I could have stayed awake that long sitting in the dark after the busy weekend we've had. At times I realise that I'm not as much of a theatre lover as I pretend I am.

Instead we went to a restaurant. I had a glass of ginger beer (which is not beer) and she had Yardie Fries which are made with yams. Yuck.


Something I admire is people who are able to dedicate their lives, or even just a significant amount of time to a cause. I don't really understand how anyone has the attention span to stay focused on one thing for a long time like that. It sort of bothers me that I feel that in spite of feeling passionate about many different important things, I tend to get distracted and flit from one thing to another so much so that I probably don't make any real difference to anything or anyone. I get worked up about a particular issue and do a whole lot for a really short period of time, and then move on to something else. I think that I'm probably wasting my energy by operating that way. But I have no staying power. I want instant results, like most of our wasteful North American society wants them, and when I don't get them I give up.

This is why I will probably never write a book or become very good at playing my guitar. Because I don't have the patience that is necessary to invest significant amounts of time in practicing and honing a skill. I just want things to happen fast.

If I spend my Saturday handing out hot chocolate and dry socks to homeless people, I want to see less homeless people on the street by next weekend, and the ones that are left had better be wearing my socks and be giving me high fives when I walk by. Eight weeks in Africa really ought to be enough to change the world.

Sometimes my brain doesn't work like an adult's.


Some say

Yesterday we spent the day at the Aquarium. After five hours there we were wet from both rain and whale splash, and completely exhausted but simultaneously awed and filled with
wonderment at all we'd learned and seen and done. The best part of the day was when we got to go and help prepare a meal for one of the whales and then go in to the enclosure and feed her with the trainer, and have her kiss us and splash us and let us touch her. There are, of course, no photos of that part of our adventure because they don't allow you to bring your cameras into the enclosure, but we are promised to receive a CD with photos they took for us within a week or so.

The other exhibits were incredible and though my camera (and skill) aren't impressive, I am posting some pictures of a few of the things we saw.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

A little fall of rain can hardly hurt me now

I'm excited about tomorrow. I have family coming to visit. I was finally inspired to clean up the guest bathroom and bedroom, put up some pictures, make the bed, put out towels and candles and make it feel like home.


Monday, November 12, 2007


Remembrance Day used to trouble me. I was never sure whether I wanted to close my eyes and remember because remembering with too much fanfare felt like glorifying something I disagree with. I didn't know how to reconcile the importance of remembrance with the importance of the statement I wanted to make about war being wrong.

Then when I started teaching, the Remembrance Day assembly became one of my jobs to take care of, and suddenly I had to figure out how to say what I wanted to say really clearly so I could live with it, and live with the fact that I was taking a class full of kids through the process with me, and an entire school through the discoveries I made about my own feelings on war and remembrance.

Each year it became more difficult to find a veteran of World War II who was healthy enough to come and speak to a gymnasium full of children who knew nothing of war except what they learned from their Playstations. And each year I managed to find one, I listened even more carefully to what was said.

And remembrance doesn't mean we say our soldiers were heroes any more than any other country's soldiers. They were young boys who trusted and believed. And some of them got to come home and try and start a new life, and some of them never did. And we remember the tragedy of what was lost because remembering that loss of life, and that loss of innocence, is supposed to help us do better in the future.

The day that Chretien told Bush Canada would not go to Iraq was a moment in my life that I can remember being proud of my country in a way I'd never experienced. Love for my country, yes. Appreciation, yes. But pride. This was new. I felt proud.

I'm not proud of all the decisions our politicians make, or the voting public as a whole. Not proud of many of the decisions Harper has made since then about Afghanistan. And I'm not proud of myself for not being nearly as politically active or even politically aware as I should be.

But I feel that remembrance is a step forward rather than back. It's like a prayer simultaneously for the Past and for the Future.


Sunday, November 11, 2007

one fish two fish

This is a painting that I started working on last week and then gave up when the middle fish refused to cooperate. I painted him in, then painted him out. And now he's a murky glimmer at the bottom of the pond who will neither surface nor swim away.

It's not a good painting. In addition to the middle fish refusing to look like a fish, the other two don't look quite right either. And the lily pads aren't very lilyish.

Basically, I never even try to paint anything that's real because I am not talented enough to reproduce things in ways that look very realistic, so instead, I try to do this stylized thing where they're recognizable, but not real looking. It's supposed to let me off the hook. But for some reason, where it comes to fish, it's not working. I asked Shawn to fix it for me and he said no. He wants me to fix it myself. Don't think that's going to happen.

Maybe Ivy can fix it.


you think we're here to play the game of who loves more than who

Thursday I followed the school buses up to the camp and spent the whole day there. I left just after dinner and went to work on Friday. Then I got up early on Saturday morning and drove back to the camp to spend that day with the kids too. The drive on Saturday morning was gorgeous; I was in the heart of the Rockies as the sun rose and landed at camp just as they were serving breakfast. I still have trouble believing, at times, that I live in this astonishing place.

The camp was beautiful and the kids were really great too. Each school in the city had brought their five (or so) best drama students, so the whole place was just busting with creative energy. To be honest, I enjoyed other teachers' kids more than I enjoyed my own - but I'm trying to remind myself that their lack of trust has to do with the fact that they've had a new teacher every year for five years, and not much to do with me.

I also enjoyed spending time with the other teachers and realised that if, at the end of this year, I end up being forced to move schools, it could be a good thing after all. Of course sameness is always more comfortable, but it sounds like there are a lot of other good options out there if it doesn't happen to work out that way. PL, the president of the association, said his partner teacher is retiring in the near future - and told me to come and meet his administrative team. The idea of having a teaching partner to work with instead of being all alone is rather appealing. If only I could find someone I liked working with and shared a vision with. I don't know PL well enough to know if he could be that person, but I liked the idea that it was possible. And that there were other options available.


Friday, November 09, 2007

I think that people who knew me before and after, both, can probably see that I'm not the same. I doubt that anyone has tracked why because you'd really have had to be paying attention and I don't think anyone pays attention that closely except Shawn. But I do feel different, even now.

I feel as though I made a lot of mistakes today. It's not like turning a bolt in the wrong direction or something so easily defined, just a general sense of not doing as well as I want to. Leaves me feeling uneasy.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

nothing and like it

My goal to take and post at least one picture every day is more work than I realised. It requires more thought than I sometimes care to extend myself to doing. So no picture today. I got nothing. But tomorrow (or maybe Friday) bodes well. I am going on a field trip tomorrow to a healing house for a camp with five of my students, and I anticipate beautiful grounds that will want their picture taken.

Because I am a miserable cuss I rejected the initial plan, which was that I was supposed to spend the night at the camp with the kids both tomorrow night and Friday night and come home with them on Saturday. I didn't want to spend the night with them, and I didn't want to spend a night away from my family. I'm gotten mighty fussy in my crotchety old age.

So I arranged to go with them tomorrow just for the day, drive home in the evening, have them mommied by someone else for Friday and then drive back up to be with them again on Saturday. It's not ideal, especially since it's a long drive, but I prefer it to the other alternative.


I think I might need to go to the doctor, but I'm not sure. Last week I hurt myself. I was at school for parent teacher interviews, and at the end of the evening I walked into my classroom to grab my coat. The lights were off and like a dummy, I stroke confidently (and quickly) across the room, thinking my path was clear, forgetting about the giant wooden drama box in my way. I cracked my shin and my knee really hard. Because it all happened so fast I'm not sure how I managed to hurt both, but I think I hit my shin on the box and then my knee on the floor when I fell. In any case, both turned all kinds of colours for several days. The knee seems much better, but my shin seems to be getting worse instead. The bruises are blossoming all over my leg and each time one part fades another part blooms into purple and blue colours, all the way from the shin to my foot. And the part where I struck the box is still swollen like I have a second knee. I showed it to the sports medicine teacher at my school and he says he thinks it might be a hairline fracture. (When Shawn said that to me last week, of course, I told him it couldn't be a fracture because I could walk on it. Hee.) So now I'm not sure if I should bother getting it seen to, or what. If it is a hairline fracture, what can they do for me? I really don't want crutches or any such cumbersome nonsense, but neither do I want my leg to turn gangrenous and fall off, or to become hideously deformed and crooked. I'm still in the mode where I'm hoping it will get better and the problem will be solved on its own without me having to do anything about it.


Today was "Bring Your Kid To Work Day", and I brought two kids to work. They aren't mine, but they didn't have any parents interested in bringing them to work, so we pretended.


Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Monday, November 05, 2007

love you to love me

Yesterday I planted things in planters. I've never lived anywhere where it made sense to plant things outside at this time of year - but here, it's common to put out winter plants and after consulting with someone at the nursery who knew things about what to choose for winter months, this is what I came up with.


Today was hard. And by the end of it all I just felt beaten up and wounded all over. I was glad things seemed to turn in the right direction by the end of it... but even having to confront people in the first place is hard for me. I don't like confrontation in the least - but it arrived at a point where I had to say something. So I guess it's good that I came out with what needed to be said, and it was also good (and surprising) to have support from people I didn't expect to have support from. I just wish it hadn't been necessary in the first place. And I really really hope it's over now. Because I'm getting weary.


Sunday, November 04, 2007

In the old place, I shovelled snow from October through April most years. Here, the challenge will be leaves. I don't really think I could be any happier about that. I love the leaves. I love yard work. Shovelling snow was something that had to be done in order to keep mailmen and flyer carriers from breaking their necks on our property, but raking leaves is a choice. And it's a choice I make happily.

The purply-red tree in the back yard has finished doing its thing, and now the yellow tree is at it, as well as a different red tree in the front. It's gotten cool enough now that the pups need to wear sweaters when they come outside to help me, cool enough that I'm wearing a toque. But the grass is still green green green. And I am told it will be all year long. I'm still amazed by that idea.

I'm delighted by the leaves here, and by the whole season. In Alberta, summer usually fades out into winter in a matter of a couple of weeks, so fast it's over before you really realise it's begun. And the leaves are all yellow because the trees are all poplars. Poplars grow well and survive the harsh winters and so every neighbourhood is busting with them and not much else. Here, every tree has changed in a different way, unexpectedly brilliant colours, and I'm completely thrilled by them. It's the way I always wanted autumn to feel.


Saturday, November 03, 2007

sunny days that I thought would never end

I keep trying to remind myself to take pictures of things every day - and forgetting. So I'm putting up an old picture of Little Puppy wearing her sweater. When we got her this sweater, at first we thought something was wrong with her, that she might be ill, because she started lying around on her back like this without moving, without getting up for any reason. We eventually discovered that when we took the sweater off, she would return to her usual bouncy self. The sweater, I think, is just too comfortable, and saps her will to move. I can relate. I have some pajamas like that.


Yesterday I wished I had my camera as I crossed the bridge during sunrise. What I saw before me was amazing: the bridge over the ocean, tall glass buildings in the distance reflecting the sunrise so much that they appeared to be on fire, and the mountains behind them, and the sky.

Of course taking pictures while driving isn't recommended and would have been unsafe, but had I brought the camera with me, I think I might have risked it anyway because I'm sometimes just irresponsible like that.


This morning we had breakfast at the inlaws' place. I am learning that at the inlaws', much like I have heard about being in Japan, one must exercise caution with compliments. If I tell them I like something in their house, they promptly box it up for me to take home. Today we came home with cheese scones (which I didn't feel bad about in the least) and several candles, which did make me feel a little guilty because by now I should be able to predict this will happen. No more compliments from me.


Shawn's Dad is coming over tonight while J is out. Shawn went shopping to buy a bottle of wine and some wood for the fireplace, and I stayed home to tidy up the kitchen. While he was gone I was thinking about our life. Well, life in general, too, the way I've spent a lot of my life looking forward to the next phase. In university I couldn't wait to be done with my education so I could get out into the workforce and start earning a living instead of accumulating debts. And when I arrived in the world of work, I looked forward to to a day when I could afford not to work and go back to school. I looked forward to Shawn finding the right job for him, and then when those things happened, I looked forward to finding work again. It seemed like we were always waiting for something to happen so something else could happen... always looking forward instead of living in the present.

And now I have this different feeling, like we've arrived at the place I want to be and there isn't really anything else I'm waiting for. Though I anticipate many more special events in our life together, I don't feel, anymore, as though I'm just getting through something so I get to the other side of it. I feel like this is right where I want to be. I want to live here, I want this job, I want this home, I want this life, this marriage, this family. I want what I have right now. That means anything more is just a lottery prize.

Shawn, when he arrived back home, put the wine and the fire logs away and then turned to me and said, "I like our life here."


Friday, November 02, 2007

the season's already changing

Part two of the conference was also good, though nothing really compared to the opening speaker. Having the chance to spend some time with colleagues was probably the most valuable part, and being in a position to help write some policy for next year is also a good thing as it might help to ensure that I get to keep my job. There is, of course, no guarantee of that where unions are involved, but it lines up the arrows in my favour.

The weekend has arrived and I feel like I'm coming down with something. I hope I'm mistaken about this, but I feel sort of icky.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

just can't remember who to send it to

I got lost on my way to the conference this morning and had the chance to use my cell phone for about the third time in my life when it was actually useful in a semi-important moment as Shawn was able to direct me back to the right place. It's beautiful here, but the roads are confusing. Where I used to live, you could tell when you left the city limits by all the cows and wheat fields. Here, the cities all seem to touch each other, and the only way to know you've entered a new one is by the sign welcoming you to it, once you're already thoroughly lost. Still, sometimes when I'm driving across the bridges I am so awed by how beautiful it is here that I almost can't breathe.

The conference was interesting. From a purely social perspective, I enjoyed getting the opportunity to talk to some of my new colleagues who I had not, as of yet, gotten to know. Look at me, enjoying people. Weird.

As for the sessions themselves, they were a mix (as is generally expected) of both interesting and tedious. The opening speaker was, for me, quite fascinating. I was really amazed to hear about the growing wave of psychologists practicing "hypno-rebirthing" in spite of the fact that research and empirical data shows that it accomplishes nothing. In fact I had a small private snort to myself because it struck a chord that reminded me of my own unsupported beliefs not so long ago, now debunked much to my relief. Just because something seems to make sense, or feels right, doesn't mean it is. Sometimes science proves that we fool ourselves into believing things that we just really want to believe.

The second session I attended was dull, and I blame myself because I chose this session based upon what the others from my school were going to attend rather than choosing what I, personally, thought looked interesting in the program.

When it came time for the last session, I toughened up and stopped acting like a teenager and picked something that I wanted to learn about for myself. And it turned out to be pretty good. But too long. Three hours of sitting in a chair is hard for me. I don't like not being able to move around. I don't know how I ever got through school.

I am attending the conference again tomorrow. And then it's the weekend. Yay.