Thursday, January 31, 2008

just can't remember who to send it to

Today we found out that the bank made a mistake on one of our mortgages and hasn't been making deductions the way the should have been because they got our account number wrong.  Good thing Shawn caught it now, because as it stands, we already owe almost $4500 in missed payments.  Blech, not good news.  Tiling the kitchen may have to wait a little longer.  Fortunately, because it was their mistake and not ours, there are no late fees or credit rating issues.  Phew.


I'm starting new courses in March to get ready for my Masters program  -- to get a couple of missing prerequisites.  I'm excited about working on my Masters degree again.  The problem now is that I am actually registered to work on two different Masters degrees simultaneously, and this is not something I am crazy enough to actually try and undertake.  So I'll need to drop the one that I registered in first, now that I've figured out what I'm actually interested in doing.


Today I went out for lunch with people from work.  It's funny how I feel excited about making new friends the way kids do.  They invited me to join their book club and to go for dinner and movie night next week.  I know it's silly, especially in light of how antisocial I generally tend to be, but it's nice to be liked.


Wednesday, January 30, 2008


I think that when something bad is coming, and you know it, you start the grieving process in anticipation of the event, so much so sometimes, that by the time the bad thing actually happens, you're already almost finished with it.  I think this is the case for k.  When I spoke with her today, she was doing well.  Dealing well.

My mother was like this.  

Some people have good coping skills.  

I am fearful about what will happen to e.


I went to the gym during my lunch break today, and spent the rest of the day reading.  Semester break is tough work for English teachers, who have hundreds of exams to mark.  For Drama teachers, who've already done their penance earlier, it's a vacation that lasts too long.  


F told me that Allah likes me because I have been kind to his daughters.  It was during my time at the adult ESL college that I first spent significant amounts of time with people who prayed to Allah.  And sweetly, many of them told me they were praying on my behalf, praying for babies, praying for blessings, praying praying praying.  And though I've had no babies since then, I feel I have been blessed many times over.  So perhaps Allah does like me.  I rather hope so.


Tuesday, January 29, 2008

in the end, you naturally start thinking about the beginning

i called e today, meaning to ask her a question about real estate, and was patched through to her cell phone.  when i told her it was me and asked how she was doing she immediately started crying and told me that her daughter died early this morning. i was completely taken off guard.  why did her secretary patch my call through to her while she's going through this?  what can you possibly say to someone who has lost a child?  no matter what you say, nothing is good enough.  i said i'm so sorry oh my god i'm so so sorry and then ran out of things.  is someone with you?  you're not alone, are you?  and then what else can you say?  since then i can't think of anything else but what she must be going through and wondering if there's anything in the world i can do to help.  k always said this was going to happen, and e probably knew so too, but it doesn't make it easier, it really doesn't. 


Monday, January 28, 2008

really love your peaches, wanna shake your tree

A long day today.  Senior students are writing exams, and juniors aren't.  Since the school system here has them all together in one building, it means that someone has to entertain the younger ones while the older ones are being tested.  In the morning I was lucky and was scheduled neither to invigilate exams nor to entertain juniors, so I had three whole hours to work on getting my report card marks finished.  Hallelujah for that.  In the afternoon, I was stuck with thirty grade eights for nearly three hours.  We watched movies.  (Lazy.)


After work, I raced over the YMCA to work out, wanting to beat the late afternoon rush.  I arrived in time and could see that there were many free machines as I walked through the entrance.  And then, once in the locker room, it occurred to me that I was at the gym without any running shoes.  I had left them at home by the door.  

So, with no other choice, I packed my stuff back up into my gym bag and came home.  It crossed my mind that I could grab the shoes and drive back to the gym a second time, but that just didn't appeal enough to follow through with it.  I comforted myself with a lemon cranberry scone.  


Sunday, January 27, 2008

you know that can't be bad

We got a new smoke detector today to replace the one that was here when we moved in... replacing it because it's so choked with cigarette dust from the 25 years of living in a smoky house that we wondered if it would actually be able to detect real smoke at all.  Unfortunately, the new alarm came with a nearly-dead battery, and the smoke alarm, being a modern and sensitive guy, feels the need to inform us every ten seconds or so that he has a nearly-dead battery inside him.  Chirp!  2, 3, 4, 5........ Chirp!  This necessitates another trip back to the hardware store to buy a nine-volt battery, and the hardware store is far enough away that I suspect we will be forced to live with the chirping awhile.  Ugh.


We had dinner with the inlaws last night for Shawn's birthday, and breakfast with them again this morning.  I always thought we were the kind of people that didn't enjoy hanging out with family much, but now I think we were just the type that didn't have any family to spend time with.  Because we enjoy Shawn's dad and stepmother very much.


We decided to get a membership at the YMCA near our house in an effort to combat the middle-age inertia that has been bearing down on us.  Though I really enjoy using the exercise equipment we have at home, the treadmill and the elliptical machine, Shawn is someone that needs a reason to work out beyond just doing it for its own sake.  He needs the competition of a game of some kind, and the YMCA provides that.  All kinds of court sports are now at his disposal.  (The women in Kenya thought it was hilarious that I would want to run for exercise - though I couldn't in the heat - because they all got so much exercise just doing the things they had to do every day.)

I know I will continue doing my own thing alone, because that's the way I am, but I'll be glad to see Shawn getting some exercise too.  And now I'll be able to do some weights as well as cardio.  Maybe I'll grow huge, like Hulk Hogan, and crush tin cans on my forehead.  Probably.


Saturday, January 26, 2008


My senior class ended up getting second place in the play festival, and being invited to compete at the provincials.  This was surprising news, because I assumed they'd be disqualified since they refused to follow the entry rules.  However, artists being artists, the judges decided to bend the rules and let them go anyway.  Good news for all of us in that it's a great opportunity to see other actors perform, showcase some talent, and be a part of something exciting.  It also impresses the administration to be able to brag that our school is running a successful Drama program.  Maybe it even helps strengthen my grip in trying to hold on to this job at the end of my contract.  (Interesting that I've come to want a teaching job again after two years away from it.)  The bad news is, of course, that attending the provincial festival will undoubtedly require me to give up another weekend that I'd rather spend with my family.


The kitchen is coming along... but never fast enough.  The cabinets are all installed now, and they look amazing.  The electrician is here today, working on giving us power to various lights, the garburator, the dishwasher, and so on.  The countertops are still being cut and polished, a process which apparently takes several weeks to complete.  Once these things are done, we will finally be able to get the plumber to install the new sink.  The sink is definitely the part of this process I am looking forward to the most; I grow weary of washing dishes in the laundry sink.


Tuesday, January 22, 2008


I had a dream last night, and it's the second time I've had this dream. It's a closure dream, where things that never got resolved in reality get sorted out in my mind. When I'm dreaming I can make people say or do what I want them to, or at least, what my subconscious suggests they might. I feel like these kinds of dreams should be more satisfying than they actually are.


I don't write the most important things. I never can.


Monday, January 21, 2008

fair's fair

I started to type things, my laundry list. "What I Did Today". And then I thought, who cares?

Today is like all the other days.

Today is sunny though, a rare and special difference. When I see people outside golfing in January with whitecapped mountains behind them on the horizon, and the ocean just minutes away... I think, I can't believe I live here.


The cabinet installer is here, working in the kitchen. He's listening to his radio and singing along. His singing makes the pups bark. The pups barking makes me laugh. And when I laugh, the cabinet installer says, "Beg pardon?"


Saturday, January 19, 2008

if I'm buried 'neath the sod but the angels won't receive me

The play festival was good.  Seeing what teachers across the city are doing with their drama classes was interesting and the adjudicator was gentle with everyone, which was nice.  (Sometimes I think it's more important to be kind than completely truthful with children.)  My kids performed well and held their own.  And the bonus of the day was that we finished much earlier than anticipated, so I was able to get home by 6:00 instead of 8:00.


I have been reading a lot lately, finishing books far too fast and being left with nothing to read.  Fortunately, I just remembered that I had started, but stopped, reading A Thousand Splendid Suns just before Christmas, so I had somewhere to go after Lucky.  It's a really good book when I'm out in the world wanting to get home so I can read it.  That's how I feel about this one.


you'll have to excuse me, I'm not at my best (I've been drunk for a month, I've been drunk since I left)

I'm spending my Saturday with students; sometimes I'm not sure why I do stuff like this.  I want to stay home with Shawn and the pups.  I have to leave in an hour to meet four of them at the school and drive them to the theatre where we will meet the rest - and they perform at 2:30.  It's nice that they get to do their show early in the event ... if only it meant that we could leave immediately afterward.  I'd actually like to sneak off and not watch the other schools' performances, but that wouldn't exactly set the right example for people I'm supposed to be teaching about theatre etiquette.  And it would leave kids stranded without a ride home.  So I'm in for the long haul.  Goodbye Saturday.

The weather is lousy today, and though I freely admit my definition of lousy has changed significantly since we moved here, I am not excited about driving in it, especially with students in my vehicle.  My father-in-law just called to ask if he could offer me his CRV in exchange for the Element for today, because he's worried about me driving in the snow and the CRV has all-wheel drive.  It's so nice to have family here.


Yesterday was crazy in the world of trying-to-have-a-kitchen-again.  They were supposed to phone us early in the morning before we left for work so they could be let into the house.  But, as we are learning is typical, they didn't call until long after we both had to leave.  

I arrived at school to find that the other Drama teacher was "sick" (again) and an administrator was filling in because there was no substitute teacher.  He begged me to fill in even though it was my free block - and I agreed.  Partly because people who are trying to get a permanent contract don't say no to requests from administrators, but mostly because I am a person who has trouble saying no to anyone about anything. 

So I was stuck looking after this class of kids with no plan of what to teach them, and a million other things I had planned on doing instead.  Like sorting out how to let in the cabinet installers, and preparing for round two of my teaching evaluation.

I ended up showing a movie to these poor kids whose teacher isn't coming to school much these days - and made a zillion phone calls to the installers and to Shawn while we sorted out what to do.  Was the alarm set?  Was the door locked?  

Finally I took matters into my own hands and raced home to disarm the alarm and unlock the door so the installers could get in to the house at their leisure; leaving the house unlocked makes me extremely nervous.  But I didn't really have any other options.  I did this run while I was still supposed to be teaching.  Fortunately, I live close enough to the school that I could manage this disappearing act in a class that was absorbed in a movie and actually not even have them notice I was gone.  Thank goodness nothing went wrong.

Next block, I stumbled and stuttered through an evaluation I felt completely unprepared for - but the evaluator seemed pleased with it.  I haven't received the write up yet, so I could be wrong, but I think she liked what she saw.  Does lack of preparation work in my favour?  Hah.


When I got home at the end of the day, the installers had managed to put down most of the subfloor and had started moving the bottom cabinets into place.  It's not a kitchen yet, by any means, but I'm finally starting to be able to see, at least, something that helps me see where we're going.  I'm not a person who look at a drawing on graph paper and envision what that will look like in real space.

After an hour at home to feed the pups and play with them, it was time to go back to the theatre for our tech rehearsal.  So I lost my Friday night to the kids too, soul-sucking little creeps.  I guess I must love them.  Sigh.



Thursday, January 17, 2008

a rough estimate

Last night I chaperoned at the winter dance.  It's amusing to see my students in the evenings, all dressed up in their fancy clothes and looking completely adult and beautiful - while remembering that these are the same people, earlier that same day, from whom I confiscated McDonaldland toys and had to say things like, "Will you please stop wrestling while I'm trying to talk?"

I remember being seventeen.  I remember stealing Kristin's shoes in French class, and thinking it was hilarious that I could fit them on my feet over top of the shoes I was wearing.  I remember dancing up and down the aisles of the French class while Kristin chased me, barefoot, and Mme. looked at us in amazement.  

And I remember the dances.  I watch them and I remember so clearly it hurts.  I relate to the girl in the pinchy shoes, hobbling around like a new baby deer and wondering how other girls make that look so easy.  I relate to the girls hanging around in the bathroom, finding each other's company more pleasant and less threatening than that of the boys in the hot gymnasium.   They don't really want to be there, but they're afraid that they'll miss something important if they go home.  I also relate to the girls caught up in the moment of being paid attention to by a cute boy, acting stupid and losing herself in being the object of his momentary interest.  I've been all these girls.

You can find yourself in this crowd.  You can find a million versions - but there's one who's almost an exact replica of me at that age.  The one who has long hair, sort of stringy and unkempt because she doesn't know how to do her hair, doesn't have anyone that will tell her how.  The one who's afraid to go and ask someone to do her hair because she doesn't want to draw that kind of attention to herself.  She is walking from one side of the gym to other.  The purpose of the walk is to survey the surroundings, to see if there's anyone there that cares she's there, to see if anyone will call her over to join their group.  She has to make the walk look intentional, though it's just wandering, because she can't look like she's waiting for an invitation.  She wants to look like she already has one and is on her way there at this very moment.  When she reaches the opposite wall, she arranges her face in an expression that indicates she heard someone call her on the other side of the room, or perhaps just remembered that she is supposed to be somewhere else, and then purposefully strides off in the other direction.  Back and forth, wishing it was over, bored, and yet, still desperately hopeful that someone wants her.

I saw that girl last night and I remembered being her so sharply I almost gasped.  Seventh grade.

High school is so strangely adult and juvenile simultaneously.  I don't think I'd be willing to do it over again for anything.


I won a prize in a free scratch and win thing at my local grocery store.  It's a weird thing; some people think they're lucky or unlucky where it comes to stuff like this.  I've never thought of myself as either because I generally just don't participate in them.  I never buy lottery tickets or anything of the kind.  Frequently, when I receive these free scratch and win things I forget to scratch them and they end up in the garbage, unchecked.  

The one at the grocery store this time is a thing where you open a little cardboard window that reveals whether or not you have won a prize.  I have a little more patience with this particular thing because it's fast and doesn't require me to get shavings under my nails and all over my car or house.  So I opened the little window and saw a thing that said "Winner".  This was several days ago.  

I wasn't really convinced at the time.  I thought it meant I had won the right to participate in a draw for the prize, or something like that.  Something designed to get my address and information with which to pester me with junk mail.  In fact, I almost threw it away.  Shawn said he thought it was actually a prize and that I should take it back and ask at the store.  

Today I went back to the store to buy green beans for the pups and remembered this thing.  I didn't have it with me because I'd left it at home - but I thought I'd ask at the customer service desk if what I had meant I'd actually won something or not.  When I described the ticket, the woman behind the counter got all excited for me and effused that it really was an instant prize with a value of nearly $4500.  I was truly amazed.  

Here's the catch though.  The prize is a "diamond tennis bracelet".  First of all, what's a tennis bracelet?  Beyond that, who in the normal workaday world goes anywhere that a $4500 bracelet is appropriate jewellry?  What on earth am I going to do with this thing?  Somehow I don't think the grocery store will give me cash for it. 

Apparently, I have to bring in the ticket and fill out some paperwork.  After that, it takes a few weeks to arrive.  So that'll give us some time to think about what to do with this surprising windfall.


Tuesday, January 15, 2008

nothing can hold me when I hold you

Shawn's getting a new car and he's so happy about it.  His father is selling him his old car - which is not an old car at all - but has been driven for only three months.  It means being able to get a new vehicle without having to pay the huge taxes... so it's a good deal in the long run, but not something we would have been doing right now if things hadn't worked out this way with his Dad wanting to sell immediately.  Officially, we don't take possession of it until after we sell the house back in Alberta... but in fact, his father wants us to take it this weekend.  Shawn is nearly dancing with glee.  I'm glad he's so happy, but I cannot help but feel some misgivings over seeing my old car be so joyfully abandoned.  I don't know why I'm attached to the old beater.  Maybe just because it's my first car.  I think we'll donate it to a charity - or perhaps even give it to a single mother who's friends with Shawn's stepmother.  Maybe I'll feel better about saying goodbye if we do something nice with it like that.


Kitchen renovations are once again stalled.  We found out, in the middle of the installer doing work to install the new cabinets, that the tile we chose for the floor is too heavy for the current subfloor and requires a new subfloor being put down.  This, of course, means the cabinet guy cannot install the cabinets until the new floor is in place.  So, we're back to being stuck again.  No progress.  Sandwiches for dinner again.


Round one of my evaluation went well.  I got to read the write up today and it was very positive, the best part being that she said she declined to write anything in the "Areas for Improvement" section because she thought there was nothing that needed improvement.  I was happy with that - but disappointed to learn that this is a three part process (I had been thinking only one) and that I get to do it all again tomorrow and again on Friday.  From a purely procedural point of view, it's the right thing to conduct more than one evaluation knowing that you can't get a "whole picture" in just one class - so I understand it.  And yet, I'd been looking forward to being done with the stress of being evaluated.  I guess I'll have to wait a little longer to relax on this score.


Once again, I'm supposed to be writing.  I promised to have the newest draft of the documents in everyone's mailboxes first thing in the morning, which means I need to send it out before I go to bed.  The smart thing, of course, would be to be doing it right now, but I don't want to.  I want to do nothing.  

I had a conference call this afternoon, during my lunch break, with all the clients, and got the idea that they want some fairly major changes made quite late in the game, so it's not like it's a five minute thing.  It's big.   But I don't want to do it.  I feel sleepy.  And lazy.


During my lunch break (and during the conference call, in fact), three girls came into my classroom to rehearse their directing project.  Somehow through the course of their rehearsal, two of them ended up getting into a huge argument that escalated into name calling and cursing and door slamming.  It was rather frightening, actually, and talking them back down to rational was no mean feat.  

One of the girls, of course, was the one who'd been gunning for me earlier in the year; she's a girl who seems to thrive and delight in conflict.  I had a hard time working up any sympathy for her tears in the aftermath of that fight, but maybe that made me a better mediator since I wasn't feeling emotionally attached.  

When things like that happen, I always feel confused.  I cannot imagine being so volatile or feeling so uninhibited about exploding whenever I felt like it.  It's always shocking to me that there are people in the world who do it.  Even people who it with regularity.  I wonder if they find it cathartic or if they feel bad afterward.


Sunday, January 13, 2008

While I'm gone, everything's gonna be alright

It was one of the books by Lucy Maude Montgomery in which Anne of Green Gables met a woman, I forget her name, who she found terribly romantic because she lived in a lovely house in the woods alone, nursing a broken heart.  And the woman told her that a broken heart wasn't nearly the excruciating unbearable thing that most poets described it as, but rather, more like a toothache, dull and nagging.  Worse when you think about it.  Always bearing down on you but allowing you to survive the days, allowing you to function.  Just always hurting, never giving you relief from pain.  Sometimes I think about the things that I feel have broken my heart - and the time I had a toothache - and agree in some ways that this is true.  Except the toothache grew progressively worse and the broken heart does not.  Thank goodness.

Some say broken hearts get better with time.  I'm not sure mine has, really.  I've continued to cry every day (which may be a good thing, this steady release) but have also continued to function.  To go to work, to talk to friends, even still enjoy the things that are meant to be enjoyed.  For more than a year.

And so maybe what I have isn't a broken heart.  

Except that it is.  

Broken heart means something different than I thought it did.  I thought it meant never being able to be happy again, or never able to love or to feel good inside.  And that's not what it is.  It doesn't mean life is bad.  It means you never quite completely forget the Sad.  And maybe it means you appreciate the good things even more with a newly acquired sense of how fleeting they may be.

It doesn't make one a better person.  If I could reverse it I would do so without hesitating.  I'd give up everything.  

So what is it, exactly?  I'm not quite sure, except that I feel like I understand it more than I ever have in the past. 

A smart woman once talked to me about the compartmentalization of emotions, how a person can trap feelings in small sections so they don't permeate other parts of the psyche.  This keeps you safe, and it keeps you numb.  And when she said this I knew exactly what she meant because I could remember so many times in my life when my eyes were crying but my brain was thinking about something else, as though the two were completely disconnected.  I was writing grocery lists and tears would hit the paper.  "Lettuce" (drip), "olive oil" (drip), "crouton" (sniffle drip drop).

And this particular broken heart was some kind of destroyer that ripped out all the barriers between compartments and suddenly every feeling that had been neatly stored in tupperware broke free and became Real.  I could feel them all.  And then I couldn't write grocery lists anymore because I was curled up in a ball crying all the time, and my god it hurt.

So maybe for me a broken heart is more about broken barriers between my heart and my brain, my feelings and my thoughts, a free flow from one to the other.  Which is painful when it's new, or maybe everyone else finds it painful too, new or old.  Sometimes it's sharp; that's when I start the crying again.  But lots of the time it's not sharp.  It's a dull heavy thing that you grow weary of carrying but can't put down -but you grow so accustomed to it you almost forget it's there.  And then it lets you be normal for awhile.  

Maybe every one of us has a broken heart and maybe I'm just waking up to what's been going on around me all my life.  It isn't anything to do with becoming pessimistic, it's not.  If anything, it makes you gentler inside when you realise everyone else is hurting too.  Makes you handle people with a little more care.  

Carrying heavy things is supposed to make you stronger.


Thursday, January 10, 2008

spinning in infinity


Thursday.  This week has felt long; it's hard to go back to work after time off, getting readjusted to early mornings and earlier bedtimes.  Tomorrow I get my first evaluation in the new school system, my opportunity to prove that they should continue to renew my contract.  It's weird, having spent so much of last year providing evaluations for other teachers, to be back on this side of the process again.  I'm feeling fairly calm and confident, however (unlike the last time I was evaluated... eight years ago) because I know what I'm doing now, and feel much more prepared to handle situations as they arise.


Yesterday I was thinking about D.A. and the situation he got in to in '06 - which led me to look that up and see if the records existed online.  They do.  And, interestingly enough, he is mentioned by name in several other places -- like online blogs.  There is no privacy.  Not that he necessarily deserved any, or that it was wrong for him to be named ... not in the public records anyway.  But maybe he didn't deserve the blog insults.  At least, that's what I think.


I still don't know what I will be doing next semester, and next semester begins in just a couple of weeks now.  My principal has set up a position for me so that I can keep a job whether or not JT returns to work, which is very sweet of her, especially in light of the fact that I have yet to be evaluated.  The details of the job will change depending on what he does - the worst case scenario being that he could actually end up sitting in my class for several weeks watching me teach in a phase in/ phase out kind of process that I find astonishing.  But that's worst case and I'm not going to worry about that until it happens.  And keep hoping it doesn't.  Life is always interesting.


Wednesday, January 09, 2008

not normally the one at the desk

I get to have my teacher evaluation on Friday, which is lousy timing considering that I feel so completely emptied out of creative ideas.  Now I have to think of something clever to do that day.  Bah.  No putting on movies for me, no sir.  Creative and energetic to the finish line.  Blech.  I have been picking the internet's brain for ideas, but haven't come up with anything particularly useful yet.

I miss being past this stage of my career; starting over is a pain.


The cabinet guys dropped off the cupboards today but didn't start the installation.  So, we have cupboards randomly scattered around the kitchen, which is a nice start but not exactly what I was hoping for.  The guy who organizes installation is sick, so our kitchen may continue to look like this for awhile.   I have unfulfilled dreams of forks and spoons in drawers instead of lying on the living room carpet.


Tuesday, January 08, 2008

the phone never stopped ringing

I have large amounts of writing I need to do tonight.  I don't wanna.


The plumber came here again tonight to take out the pipes that were sticking up through the floor.  Tomorrow, rough fitting begins on the new cabinets.  At least, we think it does.  The kitchen place hasn't called to confirm this and we've not been able to get hold of them.  Wouldn't it be marvelous if we've gutted our kitchen and the company responsible for the new stuff disappears?


I'm feeling sleepy and unexcited about being back at work after the holidays.  I have to fill three more weeks with thrilling Drama games and activities before the semester changes over and I can start reusing old material.  I feel like I'm out of ideas. 


Sunday, January 06, 2008

earth shows its bones of wind-broken stone

The soup was good.  I know the same soup would have tasted better to me if someone else had made it, because I'm like that.  But it really was good.  Shawn said he liked it too, but he seemed dubious about the lack of meat.  I haven't figured out how to adapt this for carnivores - because to me, when you mix carrots and tomatoes and red peppers and ginger... there is no meat that works with that.  Maybe I'll ask C.


For some reason,  I own a hair straightener, which is weird because my hair is naturally stick-straight.  This afternoon I used it to iron the sleeves of a shirt that had come out of the laundry looking a little wrinkly.  It specifically says not to do this in the instructions, as though someone from the "The Beauty Connection" was looking over my shoulder and anticipating my every move.  Those clever women.  The name makes me laugh.  I imagine myself phoning the number in the instruction booklet to confess to The Beauty Connection that I have used their product for a purpose for which it was not intended.  They purse their voluminous lips and shake their shiny, super-straight hair.  I'm not sure what happens after that.  "How does it feel to be one of the beautiful?" I inquire.  There were no dire consequences to my using the straightener as an iron, at least, none that I have discerned at this point in time. 


going home

Last night I went to C's house for dinner.  A few observations:
Her daughter brings out the best in her.  
I like the way she explains things to her with truth even when the truth is too complicated for a two year old to completely grasp.
C no longer wears long gowns as standard daily wear.  She wears jeans.  I never saw her in jeans before she had her daughter.
C is still odd, quirky, neurotic, etc., but she is simultaneously managing to raise a daughter who is happy, well-fed, inquisitive and friendly.  This is enormously encouraging.

I found watching her make soup to be inspiring, much the way I felt after watching K paint.  That I could do that too.  K would slap colours down without much thought, swirling them around to make basic shapes.  No real preplanning other than a pencil line or two.  When I asked her how she could know that would work, that it would turn into what she wanted it to, she would say, "I don't."  And the response to, "What if you make a mistake?" was, "I'll paint over it."  And somehow her paintings always turned out beautifully.  It made me think I could do it to if I could just convince myself to relax and let go.

And watching C toss things into a soup pot, cutting vegetables in a half-assed way that defied my OCD desire to see them all be cut into equal sizes,  was much like watching an artist.  C isn't confident about many things but she knows how much garlic and how much ginger and how to fix it if it's not.  She is brazen about tossing in leftovers, knowing that even though the recipe doesn't call for it, it will work.  The soup she ended up with was nothing like the recipe, and it was absolutely perfect.  I loved it.

I was inspired enough to go out, this morning, to get a soup pot of my own and a pile of vegetables.  I chopped them with reckless abandon, paying no attention to the sizes or shapes (with a bit of effort) while listening to crazy Nova Scotia celtic folk music.  The puppies stared at me in bewilderment.  It's not often that I cook, and it's been never since the kitchen madness began.  Tonight we're having soup.  


Saturday, January 05, 2008


After two days almost entirely dedicated to laundry, I think I am nearly done.  There is a lesson in here somewhere but I'm not sure what it is.  :)


Thursday, January 03, 2008

of which I'll share with you

The Demolition Phase is done, at last, and we broke the drywall into small pieces for the garbage and took all the scrap wood outside to the yard where, I believe, it will make nice firewood for the outdoor fire pit in the summer.  I swept and vacuumed the floors which I hope will go a long way to reduce the amount of drywall dust floating through the house.  However, the film of white chalk still coats everything, including us if we stay still very long, and I think it may take the greater part of Forever to get rid of it all.

We went shopping for under-counter lighting (called "pucks"!) as well as a new kitchen sink.  The pucks are black, and so is the sink, a material they called "anthracite" in the store, but which I think must actually be a composite of anthracite and other materials, because when I told my father (the geologist) that our new sink is made of anthracite, he said, "But anthracite is coal.".  In any case, the fact that the new sink is black pleases me because, in theory, it won't require so much polishing to make it look the way it's supposed to.  It's not even a shiny black like a porcelain sink; it's a flat black.  So I hope my theories about flat black sinks hold true.

Next week, the Installation Phase of the kitchen project will begin, and this phase is much less our responsibility than Demolition has been.  So it should, therefore, be less exhausting.  And seeing things being built is always more fun than seeing things being taken apart.

We found some nice people who want our old cabinets for their house, which was also pleasant.  I hate to waste things like that, and I have no desire to try and collect money for things we don't want, so finding someone who can use them and likes them was good. 

The holiday feels like it's winding down now and there are only a few days left before the Return to Reality.  Holidays always go by so quickly.


Wednesday, January 02, 2008

love would never leave us alone

I dreamed I was jogging in a train yard, and there were many, many places where the asphalt path on which I was running was intersected by train tracks.  At the tracks, the safety bars would lower accompanied by flashing lights and warning bells, and then I would have to wait for the train to pass before I could continue down the path.

At each intersection, while I waited, I had to select two coloured cardboard boxes, each of which held a "thought", and those thoughts I selected, those were the only things I had to think about for however long it took to jog to the next intersection.

My mother was jogging behind me at one point (hip replacement be damned).  She was a distraction from my allotted thoughts,  a challenge to be overcome, but she also shouted encouragement at me to help keep me moving along the path to the next rest stop where I could choose new things to think about.