Sunday, September 27, 2009

You just don't love me no more

I have been unfriended. I've read a couple of articles about this phenomenon and am working to analyze the experience and categorize it appropriately. For example, I read about a father whose daughter unfriended him to punish him for grounding her. I read about Burger King's viral Sacrifice a Friend promotion. (You unfriend 10 people and Burger King sends you a free Whopper, and sends your ten unfriends a note informing them they've been dumped for a sandwich.) I've read people who say they need to prune their lists periodically and remove anyone with whom they no longer feel connected.

At this point I'm thinking I fall into that third category, although I haven't read extensively enough to figure out how many more categories I don't yet know about. I know I didn't DO anything to my unfriend, who I've not seen in a few years, or talked to in a few months. I don't post obnoxious political propaganda messages, nor do I update my status to inform the public what I'm eating, wearing, thinking or doing from one moment to the next. So I'm ruling these out as reasons to curb me.

What I also don't do is "comment" or "like" very much. I'm a slacker. I surf around when I'm bored and log out. I don't keep in touch, much. I don't send out a lot of virtual love. So maybe I've just become irrelevant.

My other thought was that my unfriend doesn't like my friends (ie: her ex-husband). But he says they're still friends. So that puts me back in the irrelevant category, I think.

I've laughed at unfriendships in the past and marveled that there were people in the world who'd A) unfriend, and B) care about being unfriended.

Now that I've been unfriended I see that it's a bit more disorienting than one might think, and my own theory is that it's troubling because of the fact that we are using the word "friend" as a verb.

If I knew that N had "unlinked" from me that would seem less of a rejection than being "unfriended" seems. Because what are you if you are not my friend? Unfriend? Are you my enemy? It's sketchy social ground.

Does this mean I am no longer welcome to send her a Christmas card? (I never sent one before, but now I'll miss not doing it.) Does this mean if I run into her in the real world I am to pretend not to know her? Does this mean she hates me?

There's no closure when you are unfriended.

In fact, I'd never have noticed except for the fact that another mutual friend pointed out that she had been unfriended by N, which led me to check and find out the same thing. There is no notification to tell you that you've been dumped (unless Burger King sends it). There's no final farewell goodbye message. Just silence. It's a cruel imitation of reality where friendships grow quiet and dissolve. But this makes it so much more concrete. Why didn't I feel an empty space in my chest the moment I was deleted? When was that moment and what preceded it? What was she thinking about me when she made the decision to relegate me to the recycle bin?

I'm fascinated.

And I'm far too late to experiencing this strange digital phenomenon to have anything original to say about it. I've just joined the masses of the unfriended, the Unfriends.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

honest eye

Argh. Things are nonsensically busy the last couple of weeks with something going on every evening after work. It's been hard to keep up with the homework, but right now I'm actually caught up. (It's a miracle!) I'm going to struggle with staying that way over the next few days because have guests coming to stay from Thursday through Sunday. That means getting anything done is going to be a real challenge. But I'm not going to fall behind. I'm NOT.

Little J decided, out of the blue, to try out for the school volleyball team today after school. I was astonished as she has done nothing but complain about how much she hates Phys. Ed. since school began. I hope she makes the team! Someone in this family might as well be athletic.

Little J and I will be playing hooky on Friday so we can entertain our guests. Not the example I'd really like to set for her, but since it's the first time in a year that I've allowed her to stay home when she's not sick or required to go to a medical appointment, I don't think it's too horrendous. Hopefully this won't leak to Child Protective Services, hahah.


Monday, September 21, 2009

I've got a notch for your safety pin

Having had my ring taken down three sizes from what it was when we bought it, I think it now fits tightly enough not to slip down the garburator anymore. I hate that my other ring, my real ring, is gone. Though the new one is beautiful, I just miss the old one because it's special to me. But now the new one will be special because my husband should have been mad at me for grinding up a diamond ring but instead he got a new one.


My new classes are already leaving me feeling mildly panicked about keeping up. Maybe I'll feel this way for my entire graduate program and finish with an ulcer. On the plus side, I think I've thought of a creative way to arrange my practicum without having to cut back my hours at work.


Sunday, September 20, 2009

In the midst of writing rude things about caraway seeds, caraway seeds prevented me from accidentally ingesting a bug. I don't know whether to call it a maggot or a worm or a caterpillar, but it was in that family, tiny and white, crawling along the edge of my cracker as I tried to pick off the caraway seeds.

When I went to look at the box of crackers I found that a family of this creature were living inside the box, and not only that, but that there was an extended family dining on a bag of sunflower seeds, and another chowing down on a bag of flax seeds. Apparently we can't leave food in plastic bags in the cupboards because these critters aren't slowed down by plastic bags one bit.

So I take back all the cruel things I said about caraway. Thank you, caraway, for stopping me from eating worms, and thank you for leading me to clean my cupboards which were filled with them.


I'm seriously considering going to bed now.
I hate the taste of caraway seeds.

They're stuck to my crackers and I can't them off. How the makers of these crackers, or any other FOOD, could think that caraway has the potential to enhance the flavour of the food must be assuming that by tasting it next to something so disgusting, the eater will think the food tastes that much better.

Friday, September 18, 2009

with perfect regard for how cavalier we used to be


1. I got a rude email from the university demanding more money because apparently I didn't pay my Program Fee, a fee which I thought was a one-time thing, but apparently happens every semester.

2. A quite-famous band played at my school today because the school made an extraordinary contribution to a build-a-school project in Sierra Leone.

3. The cheque from my insurance company finally arrived and I am, at last, going to get my new ring. Engaged again after eight years of marriage.


Thursday, September 17, 2009

This week has been ridiculously busy with meetings and a multitude of commitments beyond the work day to keep me from being able to get home and relax and do the things I want to do. I'm hoping things will settle down as the school year gets going. I feel, right now, like I'm running as fast as I can just to stay in one place.


Sunday, September 13, 2009

bright like neon love

Shawn took Little J to the movies. I love it when he does this for a couple of reasons. First, I just love that he's willing to spend time with her, willing to give her the father figure she needs and deserves, and willing to contribute to her upbringing and well-being. Second, I love it when they both go away and give me a few hours of peace and quiet. Mostly I'm stuck doing homework during these brief reprieves from reality, but even still, I appreciate the chance to think, to get caught up, and to breathe. All in all, I'd have to say my husband-selecting skills are very very good.


Saturday, September 12, 2009

all getting habits

While I was sending out SOS messages to various psychologists in the area, I found a man who actually wanted to help me.

The sad thing is that with his help I've discovered that I'm woefully inadequate. To be what I want to be when I grow up. That is, my program doesn't even scratch the surface. I'd basically have to start over again if I really wanted to go down that road.

I'd happily stay in school for the rest of my life if I could afford it, but I can't. Shawn's said we can sell the house if I want to go to school full time, but I think we'd be nuts to do that. I don't know why he'd even say such a thing.

So maybe I'm going to be a timetable sorter after all.

I still have Thursday's meeting to look forward to. Maybe I'll learn something helpful instead of discouraging this time.


Friday, September 11, 2009

in the basement thinking about the government

I keep changing my mind about where I'm going with my Masters degree.

At first I wanted to be a school counsellor. Now that I've paid more attention to what school counsellors do, I've realised this probably isn't it. They spend a lot more of their time fiddling with class schedules and doing administrivia than they actually do with counselling people. I pictured it differently than it looks in reality.

Then I was thinking about other kind of counselling. Like marriage counselling. Like individual therapy.

But I'm not totally sure I want to do this either. I'm less sure about WHY in this case. Just that something about it makes me a little uneasy. Maybe it's all the contact with human beings.

Lately I'm thinking I might want to be a school psychologist at the district, rather than school, level.

This would involve a little travelling. I like the idea of being paid to drive, short of being a trucker. It's nice being alone with the radio and my thoughts.

I also like the idea of working with clients one-on-one, or with small groups, like their families. I've come to learn over the past year the true significance of psychoeducational assessments, and I'm thinking this might be a good place to make a real impact. Maybe. But it's so hard to know. It's entirely possible that school psychologists actually spend more of their time Windexing the mirrors or picking up dog poop or something. There's just no way to know for sure until you follow them around for a couple of days.

I'm meeting with a district supervisor on Thursday, a fact which I find somewhat astonishing. I'm amazed that he's even interested in talking to me, actually. But I'm seizing my chance and going to find out if there's any advice or any pearls of wisdom he can offer me.

Meanwhile I'm continuing to ponder how I can pursue my career/educational goals and still keep helping with the mortgage, the child-raising, and so forth.

I want everything.


Monday, September 07, 2009

white knuckles on black and blue skin

Well, this is it. It officially begins tomorrow. Little J is nervous, of course, about starting high school. The next five years of her life depend solely upon choosing the right outfit to wear tomorrow.

I'm actually nervous too, for different reasons. I'm nervous about how I'm going to get through this first semester of teaching without a spare, and still get my course work done. I'm nervous about how my students will handle it when I tell them we're doing our production inside the timetable instead of extracurricularly.

But in other ways I'm glad we're getting back to the Daily Grind. It'll be good for Little J to have friends and homework and boys to think about instead of worrying about her crazy mother. I'm hoping the other things will become much more consuming.


Shawn, in his infinite greed, has decided he needs a "Google Phone", whatever that is. This means I get to inherit his cast-off, the iPhone I took with me on vacation which I used to write here and which kept finishing my words incorrectly. Apparently this is exciting. I've actually only owned a cell phone for one brief period in my life when I was substitute teaching and needed it so I could leave the house occasionally. And that phone was the lowest possible form of cell phone technology. No pictures, no text, no nothing. Just a phone. This iPhone is rather intimidating. But surely I'll feel more comfortable with it if I find it a pretty case. :)


This afternoon we went to look at a lottery show home that overlooks the ocean. We didn't buy tickets because we don't really do stuff like that, usually, but we had to go look at it because it's being talked about so much. It was quite amazing, but the thing that really struck me about it afterward, when thinking about what I'd seen, was the fact that it wasn't really the house that was so unbelievable. Although it was newer and fancier than my house, there are a lot of things about my own house that I like better. It wasn't the house. It was the view. This was a two million dollar view. And probably worth every penny, though I have to guess that if I had that view I'd never get my ass off the couch and go out into the world. Why bother?


Not only does teaching start tomorrow, but so does student-ing. I already have homework.


Sunday, September 06, 2009

shed no tears

Abruptly it seems as though summer is over. The furnace turned on last night. School starts on Tuesday which is distressing both to me and to Little J, although I'm trying to be upbeat about it for her sake. I've been tempted, while still on vacation, to take on the direction of a full-scale musical for my high school students. But now that the clock has wound down and I'm reaching the point where I'd have to start executing this plan, I think I don't have it in me.

I don't want to work off the clock. I've realised this about myself and am facing it.

I know a lot of teachers give their free time generously and happily just for the love of kids, and I absolutely see how that can be rewarding. I've done it too, especially when I was a new teacher filled with energy and enthusiasm, single and with no other responsibilities.

But life's not like that now.

The school work I'm doing for my Masters can be time consuming, and sometimes it's tedious instead of fascinating. And even at it's most compelling, it's time consuming.

I'm raising a twelve year old without having had the benefit of the last eleven years to train. It takes time and energy to do this.

I'm working full time with teenagers who are hilarious, insane, frustrating, loud, wonderful and exhausting.

At the end of my work day I want to go home and be as alone as alone can be at this point in my life, which really means I have a twelve year old asking a million questions and four puppies jockeying for the warmest spot on my lap, but it's still a chance to unwind at least partway, and I want it. At the end of the school day I don't want to put in another ten hours a week for free. Which clearly means it's time for me to move over and make room for the new teachers who do want to do this because as the theatre instructor I'm supposed to be busting with creative energy and passion.

I'm ready for a new phase in my career, involving a quiet office and some individual time with students and parents. I'm ready to move past the roomful of thirty bad-smelling teenagers who all want (and need) my attention simultaneously. Unfortunately I have to do it for another two years anyway, because I won't actually have the qualifications to do what I really want to do until then.

Nontheless, knowing that I'm moving in the right direction is satisfying.

Meanwhile, I have to find a way to balance the demands and do a good-enough job of what I'm supposed to be doing excellently. Hurrah!


I'm worrying, already, about the practicum I'll need to start working on a year from now. I have no idea how it'll be possible to do a practicum and keep my job. I don't want to give up my job (well, actually I don't want to give up my paycheque) and I also don't see how it's possible to work full time and do a practicum simultaneously. I have to think. I have to do some information-seeking. Maybe some begging. Or maybe I'll just have to Do It Anyway.


The house improvements have been grinding to a halt. I find myself more energetic when I know there's lots of time left to relax afterward. Knowing there's such limited time now makes me feel lazy.


Friday, September 04, 2009

Sorry I can't take your call right now, I'm too busy raising your child to come to the phone.

C has been calling a lot, leaving a lot of miserable sobbing messages on the machine for Little J, begging her to call, reminding her of how happy they were together when Little J was littler, asking how she could possibly not want to talk to her own adoring mother.

I don't let Little J listen to the messages. I just tell her, "Your mom called and wants you to call back," then leave it to her to decide what to do with it. More often than not she chooses not to do anything at all. I wouldn't either.


A guilty pleasure:

A collection agency has been calling the house asking if I know how to contact C. Yesterday, in the spirit of returning the favour, since she's decided we should be bothered by Child Protective Services, I decided to go ahead and give the collection agency her number. Yeah, I'll probably have trouble defending that one when I'm accounting for all my earthly sins, but whatever. I deserve to have some fun once in awhile.


Thursday, September 03, 2009

In the last year or so...

- Big J came to live with us, rent free, while coping with his divorce, moving out about 8 months later
- Little J came to live with us, along with her cat and hamster, first with the notion she would go back to C after rehab
- C was kicked out of several rehab centres, we went to court to get legal custody of Little J and won
- we adopted P, foster pup whose mom was also in rehab, initially intending only to foster but falling in love
- we struggled to sell the old house as the market collapsed and got stuck paying 2 mortgages for almost a year, but finally sold it
- Shawn was laid off from Company R and had 4 months of unemployment until Company K hired him
- I was laid off for the summer from my teaching position, and rehired in September
- I started work on my Masters degree

In the past year, things have been difficult, off and on, in a lot of ways. Stress. Chaos, uncertainty, instability.

And we've come through. Shawn and I are close as ever. Little J is thriving.

There have been a lot more milestones than I've listed. Learning to ride a bike, learning to swim, making a permanent home out of the temporary space, making friends, becoming closer with family, travel...

In spite of the hard things, we're fine. We're closer, we're stronger, we're happy. When you get through hard things together you are pulled together in new ways.

Because we've been knocked around a lot, allowed weaknesses to show, and still survived, I have more faith, rather than less, in our abilities and our love for each other.



Tuesday, September 01, 2009

I'm so angry I'm vibrating.

We got another call from the Ministry. C has made another anonymous call about the danger we are presenting to a child. The woman who called to tell me about it said it was best if she could come over to the house to talk to us in person. I told her to come on over. She's going to be here any minute.

I'm so mad that I could kill.