Monday, December 31, 2007

bat country

Even amid the drywall dust and chaos, I am so happy to be home.  We are largely confined to the living room, and with that in mind, Shawn bought Christmas presents to make spending time there fun.  He bought us a Wii game system and also got me a laptop (is it called an iBook?  or an iMac?) that is wireless so I can play with it while sitting on the couch.  The Wii is hilarious - you can download old games from when we were kids, oh nostalgia!, and if there's anything funnier than watching a grown man play "Dance Dance Revolution", I cannot possibly think of what it is.  And the laptop is amazing; small enough to take to my meetings with writing clients, small enough to slip in a cupboard, and yet powerful enough to do the kinds of things I do.  He's a smart man, that husband of mine, and I don't think I have ever been spoiled so much in my life.  The best part though, is just being here at home with him and the pups and having another whole week of holidays ahead of us.


Before dinner tonight I managed to do half an hour on the elliptical machine, a feat performed amid boxes of coffee cups and roasting pans which threatened to catch my feet with each revolution.  It was too rainy to run outside.  I feel good about getting back to taking care of myself better.  I've never been much for making New Year's resolutions, but in that vein, I want to continue looking at health from a mental, spiritual, and physical perspective.  

I know it is possible, I know there is time, to take care of all these things when I am organized enough to do so and don't get too obsessed with one area at the cost of the others.  This is a good goal for me, continuing to seek more and more balance. 


Sunday, December 30, 2007

i won't lie - i did it all for the nookie

It feels like a camping trip, but without the fun parts, like the campfire songs and the beer and the sleeping bag sex. Our kitchen is totally gone. No sink, no counters, no oven, no nothing. Just empty space. Nowhere to prepare food, nowhere to cook, nowhere to wash dishes, nothing. Shawn's Dad has been taking good care of us - tonight he brought us soup in a Tupperware container that we microwaved in the living room and drank out of coffee cups. It's going to be a long time before these renovations are complete.


I went running today and really noticed how my cardio has suffered through lack of exercise recently. Time to get back on track. The fact that we are now fortunate enough to live somewhere where it's actually possible to run outside all year long will be my motivation.


I'm supposed to be working right now, writing a design document about mortgage fraud. I wonder if there's anything more boring in the world. Like exercise, these things are always more difficult to think about than they actually are to do. So it's time to get down to it. Lisa needs a new kitchen sink.


Saturday, December 29, 2007

Just Whistling Dixie

This morning when I woke up in my own bed for the first time in four days, I opened my eyes and reached for Shawn, who smiled at me and said, "Hi Medusa."

Three nights and days away from home is too much, and yet it's difficult to justify the cost of flights for much less.  At this point I feel like I don't want to go there ever again, not because they're bad people or because there's any one specific problem; it's just that the anxiety and discomfort grows in me steadily so that by the time I get home I feel this melodramatic sense of relief that convinces me I've made it home from war.  

Every year I have Christmas with them, I feel disappointed.  And this disappointment isn't like a kid's, who wanted a new sled and didn't get one.  It's something different, but maybe just as selfish.  It's about the fact that the gifts they offer always show me that they don't know me at all, haven't paid much attention to anything I've said or done in my entire life.  And instead of feeling grateful (or perhaps in addition to feeling grateful, because I truly do try to focus on the fact that I'm lucky lucky lucky to have a family and to have Christmas with them at all) I feel sad that they don't know me and don't seem to take in any of what I offer of myself.  And I also wonder if I just haven't offered enough.

I spend a lot of time, when I'm there, trying to protect their feelings.  It's a strange thing, this, because it works in a cycle that leaves me hurting and leaves them oblivious to everything.  Like this:  1.  One of them says something that I find hurtful; they don't realise they've hurt my feelings.  2.  I feel sad, hurt, etc..  3.  I try not to act sad, hurt, etc., because I don't want to make them feel uncomfortable over the fact that they've hurt me.  4.  They have no idea any of this is going on and the cycle repeats itself forever until I am back home.  5.  I resolve never to go there again.  6.  Until next time.

J was here when I got home, and had been staying for the last two nights.  Unfortunately, most of my time away overlapped with his visit here, so I didn't get to see much of him.  We all went for breakfast together and then to a movie.  He told me about his two recent dates, which was awfully surprising coming from one of the shyest people in the entire world, and it was nice to hear that he's recovering from what happened with his marriage and is able to feel, once again, optimistic about relationships in the future.

J spent some time in university studying world religions, and he is someone I always enjoy talking to about God, and god, someone who doesn't claim to have answers but who knows a lot of facts and can weave them together for me, sometimes, into something I'd like to wear.  Like me, he finds God where he looks in places  like quantum physics, as well as in Yoga and at the pancake house and in his centre.  He hears the voice too.  The inside-you voice that keeps you on the rails.

He still doesn't know exactly what his future plans are, and this in itself seems like healing when it comes from a man who likes to plan out everything in minute detail.  He's going to Europe in the spring, for an indefinite length of time.  And then when he comes home, he is probably going to move here, to Vancouver.  And stay with us while he looks for a job and a home.  His sister, he hastens to add, also lives here, and he plans to lessen the burden on us by staying with her some of the time too.  He still has trouble believing we want him here.  But it's true.  And we won't stop telling him so.

Dear Dixie, I've been thinking about you this morning.  Thinking started in bed, just before Shawn called me Medusa, and it might go on all day.  (It could you know and it just may.)  I think about you often, actually, about how things were and how things are, and mostly I just send you my warm thoughts, hoping you catch some of them when you're outside in the yard and notice that the sun is pleasantly warm even in the winter. 

I feel like I've been travelling a long time and arrived home after a long journey.  My life is good.


Saturday, December 22, 2007

on a tour of one night stands

Tonight I decided to stay home while Shawn went to visit his Dad.  It was the first time since we moved here that I've done that, in dramatic contrast to how I used to stay home all the time when Shawn went out anywhere.  I've been making an effort to be more sociable and it's actually been nice.  But tonight I wasn't in the mood.  So I asked him to please go without me and let me have some time alone.

I went for a walk in the new snow for about an hour, and then spent the rest of the evening hanging out with the pups, who agree with me, that home is best.  I haven't been alone for a long time.  I forgot how much I liked it.


Monday, December 17, 2007

ghosts and empty sockets

This is from Eat, Pray, Love and I think it's hilarious and tragic at the same time because the woman being described sounds so much like me, a version of me anyway, that it's like I've been spied upon.

"Addiction is the hallmark of every infatuation-based love story. It all begins when the object of your adoration bestows upon you a heady, hallucinogenic dose of something you never even dared to admit that you wanted - an emotional speedball, perhaps, of thunderous love and roiling excitement. Soon you start craving that intense attention, with the hungry obsession of any junkie. When the drug is withheld, you promptly turn sick, crazy and depleted (not to mention resentful of the dealer who encouraged this addiction in the first place but who now refuses to pony up the good stuff anymore - despite the fact that you know he has it hidden somewhere, goddamn it, because he used to give it to you for free.) Next stage finds you skinny and shaking in a corner, certain only that you would sell your soul or rob your neighbors just to have that thing even one more time. Meanwhile, the object of your adoration has now become repulsed by you. He looks at you like you're someone he's never met before, much less someone he once loved with high passion. The irony is, you can hardly blame him. I mean, check yourself out. You're a pathetic mess, unrecognizable even to your own eyes.

So that's it. You have now reached infatuation's final destination - the complete and merciless devaluation of self."


I got home from work today before 3:00. I don't think that's happened since September. I changed into my pajamas immediately.


After school the cast and crew came by to strike the set. It was an easy strike because the set was so simple and it didn't take long. But it took longer than it needed to because the kids were socializing, of course, more than they were actually doing anything, and making a mess with their pop cans and chip bags in the process, thereby adding the mess at about the same rate they were cleaning up.

When the strike was finally done, one of the girls told me I should have had them clean up first and then handed out the food afterward. Then it would have acted as a motivator to finish faster, and they could have eaten it elsewhere and not messed up the room while they worked. Brilliant wisdom. It's funny how I still make mistakes like that after nine years of experience, how I need someone else's bird's eye view to bring things into focus like that, even though I think I do a pretty good job of mentoring other teachers. It's like those athletes who are better coaches than players, or artists who are better directors than actors. Those who can't do, teach, is what they used to say. And those who can't teach, teach teachers. Hah.


Today I got a Christmas card in the mail from T. It had a photo of her and her husband and their little daughter. It was a strange relief to me to see that T still looks like herself in the photo - not the way I feared she would. She looks happy and healthy and though the hair is obviously a wig (only obviously because it's much longer than her own hair would have been right now) she looks normal.

She looks like a woman who can kick cancer's ass.


Sunday, December 16, 2007

love actually

Tonight we drove to the ocean to have dinner in a restaurant overlooking the water. It's wild and windy outside and the sea was crashing hard into the shore. The pier was covered in Christmas lights, as were the trees along the boardwalk, and the view from our dinner table was absolutely beautiful. I was falling in love all over the place.

On the ride home, Shawn abruptly stomped on the gas to get some acceleration to get over a steep hill, sending my styrofoam container of leftover tortellini alla panna off the dashboard and into my lap. I rode the rest of the way home with cream sauce in my shoes and dripping down my legs.

This romance is sometimes far too real.


Saturday, December 15, 2007

that's one way to lose these walking blues

The play is OVER. Closing night was a bit of a gong show in my honest opinion, because the kids were so excited and decided to try and do a little improvisation to show off. It wasn't particularly well done or clever - and they added a whole lot more kissing to the play than I'd choreographed! - but they were pleased with themselves and had fun and that means they got out of the experience what I had intended. They gave me some beautiful flowers and tried to convince me to come out for pizza and beer after the show (I made up excuses and came home and had pizza and beer with Shawn), and made a sweet little speech about me to the audience, which almost made me forgive them for messing with the script. I can't be too annoyed when I think about the fact that I once again will have my afternoons free to do things that pertain to my own life for a change. At least for a little while.


We went to Shawn's father's house for breakfast this morning (he made scones - yum yum) and Shawn's stepmother gave us a three-wick candle that we ordered from her a little while ago. It's gigantic! According to the leaflet that came with it, it must burn for ten consecutive hours in order to ensure the wax burns down evenly. It smells like Christmas.


And lastly, in Lisa News, this bird was standing by our front walk when we got home from breakfast this morning. I think it's a heron but I'm not exactly certain. It's hard to tell from the picture how big this bird really is... but I was really startled by it because I have never seen anything like this hanging out in a residential neighbourhood. When we lived in Alberta, occasionally deer or coyote would wander down our street and I always found that very exciting. Here, I frequently see raccoons. But this is the first time I've seen anything like this near home! I am hoping he'll come back to visit often.


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

just like going fishing

Opening Night.... is over. Hallelujah. Opening nights are always jittery and in spite of a few little glitches, the kids did a good job and I was proud of them. And I think things will get smoother each time. So one down and three to go, and only three until I'll be able to sleep again without hearing the Pink Panther theme music haunting my dreams, punctuated by cries of, "I can't find find my hat!"(da dum da dum) "I can't find my shoes!" (da dum da dum) "Who took my script?" (doo dee doo dee doo dee dooo dooo doooo dooooo ....)


After hatching a brilliant plan for Future Education, I faxed my coursework approval form to the professional association to ensure they would give me credit for the courses I wanted to take. And strangely enough, they faxed back a statement saying that the extra coursework they insisted I had to take within the next three years is suddenly no longer required. Weird.

Of course it doesn't change the fact that I still want to do the Masters degree, but it now means that I can study whatever I want to study instead of trying to squeeze myself around their requirements and make it look like I'm doing their thing while trying to do my thing. It means no brilliant plan needed hatching in the first place, which is nice.


This morning Shawn took the garbage to the curb in shorts and a t-shirt, and came back inside and bellowed triumphantly, "I LOVE it here!" It was -14 degrees Celsius back home today, which isn't even cold by Alberta standards. Here it was +4. I love it here too.

I'm astonished now that I am living it by how much of an effect weather really has on my mood. People said I would find the perpetual winter cloudiness hard to manage here, but so far, I would take a hundred consecutive cloudy days over that Arctic cold that burns your skin and makes your eyelashes freeze and break off. Here, even when it's cloudy, the grass is green.


Sometimes I still have moments where I think about what I miss. And I try not to dwell on those moments too long because they're unproductive. I don't want to wallow, and yet, meeting them with personal honesty has its value too. I am being honest with myself in admitting I think about the losses. I think about them. And then I try to remember what I still have.


Monday, December 10, 2007

I have promises to keep

It's only Monday and I'm feeling awfully wiped out. Didn't sleep well last night for all kinds of reasons. Of course the fact that we slept in a little on Sunday (8:00) made it harder to sleep that night, but more of it had to do with my churning brain which was busily sorting out props, sound cues, costumes, and light cues for the play. In between doing those things, I was thinking about the change I'm thinking about making in my plan for Future Education. Not sure yet whether my professional association will approve what I'm thinking so I won't bother explaining it until I know. Until then I am asking my brain to stop whirling so I can sleep a little.

Tonight's rehearsal was not great, and all that nonsense about bad rehearsals meaning good shows is just... nonsense. Bad rehearsals forecast bad shows. So... another unscheduled rehearsal has been added to the plan after school tomorrow. This means I'm going to have about six minutes after rehearsal to race home to feed the dogs and wolf down a granola bar before going back to school for the show. Gah.

Have I mentioned I'll be glad when this is over?


I have more things I want to talk about but I literally feel too tired to think.


Sunday, December 09, 2007

Eat, Pray, Love

Sometimes I change my mind about things very abruptly. Moreover, I change my feelings about things, and that is confusing because feeling incredibly strong(ly) about something doesn't mean that I can't feel just as adamant about the opposite point of view in short order. And things can change without a reason, except perhaps the weather, or some commercial on the t.v. as I pass through the room, or the fact that my teeth are sensitive. That's how it is.

My feelings have changed about some things lately. It doesn't matter that they've changed because I don't have any power to alter the way these things have turned out, but it changes how I feel about that fact. Feeling like you can't change things doesn't matter when you don't care about the outcome, or better yet, are pleased with it. But feeling powerless when you wish you could change something - and you can't - is difficult.


I found the book for my new book club today. It's called Eat, Pray, Love and if it lives up to the unspoken promise in its title, it will be a cheerful light little read to enjoy over the holidays. I don't yet know exactly who belongs to the book club, other than the women who invited me to join, but I am assuming no men are involved based purely upon the list I've seen of their past and present selections.

I look forward to reading for pleasure again. I look forward to spending time with people for pleasure again too.


We got in line this morning at 10:00am with the idea that we would avoid Christmas lineups by being there when the doors open. Of course other people had thought of this brilliant plan too and it wasn't nearly as quiet as we'd hoped, but at least our jobs for the day were done early. Christmas shopping pains me immeasurably because of the crowds and the heat and the lines and the incessant holiday music and Salvation Army bell jingling.


Friday, December 07, 2007

I don't feel any pain.

Friday. The weekend at last, and forty-eight hours without any rehearsals. It's difficult to remember what life was like before this play.


Thursday, December 06, 2007

o sole mia

Today I actually signed papers to register in the Masters program. It begins in April, so allegedly two years from then I will have my Masters degree. Exciting. I know it's going to be a lot of work but it's something I've wanted to do for a long time.


The week's rehearsals have been truly exhausting and yet, somehow, not nearly as annoying as the rehearsals I went through at the other school back home. Probably because these kids are older they are a little more self-reliant. They still need a lot of hand-holding... but they seem more capable of independence in the long run. The show goes up on Tuesday. I'm looking forward to the end SO much.

This morning my principal asked me if I planned to use the stage the second week in February, which is when the school calendar claimed I was putting up a production. These dates, of course, were based on what last year's Drama teacher did and do not actually apply to me. When I told her so, she said she planned to use this as an excuse to contact the old Drama teacher who is away on a medical leave, and try to get more information about whether or not he plans to return. This was nice to hear because a large part of me wants to stay where I am for awhile, now that I'm starting to feel more accepted by the kids and enjoying getting to know the staff too.


Notes to self for the weekend:
- pick up front elevations from kitchen gallery
- change registration/ insurance to local
- dog food, dog snacks, dog vitamins, milk thistle
- drink red wine until stupor is reached


Monday, December 03, 2007

that you're relying on to lead you home

All that snow really did melt. It started raining last night, hard, slowly washing the snow down the storm drains. This morning the streets were a slushy mess, but by the time I left work at 4:30, all the snow and slush was gone and though the rain persists, it's strangely warm outside. It's so strange to be outside in December and not suffering from the cold.


One week until the show goes up. Our first full rehearsal was painfully long, about three and a half hours altogether. The show should really only run about an hour and twenty minutes, so there's a whole lot of time wasted in setting up, taking down, and other nonsense all the way through, but I am praying by the end of the week it will be running more efficiently. Today was an early dismissal day, so being there that long wasn't as excruciating as it otherwise would have been. And will be for the rest of the week if things don't improve. They must improve.


Shawn, much to my chagrin, has taken up snoring again. I'm not sure why he does this from time to time, but although he's usually not a snorer, every so often he decides to snore for a month here and there. It's been several weeks already and I'm losing sleep. He keeps offering to go sleep in the spare room but I don't want him too. I want everything my way!


Sunday, December 02, 2007

new words for old desires

Yesterday morning we woke up to snow, our first snow since moving here, December 1, and it wasn't just a little snow, but enough to bury the yard and the driveway and the car we'd left parked outside instead of in the garage. And still somehow for the first time I can remember I didn't feel any resentment toward the Northern Hemisphere for becoming cold enough for snow to exist because we'd actually experienced autumn, a gorgeous long autumn with beautiful colours and weather warm enough to be outside in it, and because this snow, frozen though it may be, is something I can participate in with gloves and a hat because it's not really so cold, only a couple of degrees below freezing, and the grass beneath it is still green. And because the weather forecast is hopeful for a melt in only a day or two.

Meanwhile, it's slippery outside. Which means we're staying home, with the fireplace going and blankets and slippers and tea. Just more reasons to love being here.