Saturday, December 31, 2011

vanity, thy name is woman

The first thing that bothers me about this quote is that I want to argue about vanity as it pertains to womanhood.  The second is that it is a misquote.  (In fact Shakespeare wrote, Frailty, thy name is woman, which is also insulting but for completely different reasons.)

My mother impressed upon me from a very young age that vanity was not only an undesirable quality, but a loathsome one.  A woman could be smart or beautiful, but probably not both, and smart women did not waste their time trying to be beautiful.  Vanity was repellent.  I grew up thinking any efforts directed toward improving appearance were signs of weakness.  I locked the bathroom door when I was brushing my hair so no one would see me being vain.  Of course my mother did not mean we should not care at all, should not make an effort to take care of ourselves and enjoy our femininity.  She meant we should not become self-absorbed, should not pour our money into the cosmetics industry rather than having bank accounts.  She was teaching me feminism, I think now, though at the time I experienced it as shame.

So I grew up eschewing pretty clothes and make up and dresses and anything remotely frilly or fussy because I was afraid it would give me appearance of having tried to look pretty.  (It wasn't your fault if you just happened to be pretty; it was the trying that was the shame.)  To this day I still cannot comfortably apply make up in a public mirror.

It is only recently, at the ridiculous age of thirty-seven, that I have begun to shake off my fear of vanity.  I have begun to shop differently, with intent to find clothing that is for flattering rather than for hiding.  I have been developing a fascination with shoes.  I've been letting J paint my fingernails.  I have been wearing eyeshadow.

I asked myself what this was about.  Was I finally falling into the shameful spiral of vanity my mother warned me about?  Was I become self-obsessed and shallow?  Maybe.  Or maybe it just means that it took me thirty-seven years to think I deserved pretty shoes.

Firmly I believe that at my age I should be taking responsibility for my own choices, weaknesses, and strengths.  And so I'm not blaming this one on Mum.  I'm just saying it's interesting the way things can be misconstrued, the way I took her affirmative message and made it something to have internal fights about.  It makes me want to examine, more closely, the things I say to J, and to watch what she does with them.


We went to CC's house this morning, J and I, for a visit.  CC, in spite of having told me yesterday she would expect me at 10:00, had completely forgotten I was coming over and was in her pajamas when I arrived.  Her husband answered the door after the third round of knocking, laughing and telling us he was afraid it was the landlord at the door looking for the rent cheque. Their house was, as always, like something out of one of those reality shows where families have to intervene to convince hoarders to clear out some space in which to live.

When we leave their house, J always asks me questions about their world.  Why are they so messy?  Why are they afraid of their landlord?  Why so many things.  And I try to answer objectively, without imposing any value judgment on the response.  They are very different from me and Shawn.  They value different things.  They make different choices, they want different things.  They find their happiness in different ways.  Different, not wrong.

But in these exchanges I see a million openings where I could squeeze in a little brainwashing, push a few of my values upon her.  Over and over I fight the impulse.

Then I ask myself if that's right.  I'm teaching her, I hope, to be openminded and accept people as they are.  To understand that there are a million different ways to live life happily and as long as we aren't hurting others, it's okay to be different.  Then I wonder if I'm missing opportunities to teach her other things I believe in.  But it's triage, I guess.  I teach her the most important things first.


Friday, December 30, 2011

they build buildings so tall these days

I always underestimate how long it will take to complete a do-it-yourself type of project.  J's bathroom has been halfway finished since summer when we finally pulled out her old cracked bathtub and replaced it with a shiny new white one.  Since then, I've meant to tile around the edges of the new tub to cover the seam, find some way to finish the seam between the edge of the tub and floor (which currently shows a half inch gap of plywood), find some other way to finish the edge between the stucco part of the ceiling and the smooth part of the ceiling (also currently a gap that shows insulation peeking out from the attic above), and to repaint the walls, window sill, and ceiling.  The bathroom, in its current condition, is completely useable but rather unattractive.

She has been gone for the past nine days, visiting my parents in Winter Prairieland, and I am due to pick her up at the airport in three hours.  During this time, in addition to drinking a lot wine, I had imagined myself completing all these tasks with time to spare.  Cheerfully.

With only three hours left before J's return it is appearing increasingly unlikely the bathroom will be done by the time she gets here.  I did manage to paint the walls, and buy a new shower rod and curtain which is currently lying on the floor looking excited about being hung.  I might put it up.

I also didn't come close to drinking as much wine as I would have liked.


Thursday, December 29, 2011

i hate winnipeg

Last night I finished reading Self, by Yann Martel, which is about the only worthwhile thing I have accomplished during my vacation from work apart from contemplating repainting J's bathroom.  (Not actually doing it, but thinking about it is exhausting.)

I'm confused by the book and have read a few reviews, which sometimes helps me figure out what I think.  Sometimes when I am too stupid to come up with my own opinion or interpretation, reading someone else's gives me a place to start.  It seems the reviewers are a little confused too, and Martel himself, allegedly, says the book is terrible.  I didn't really find it terrible, but I was definitely perplexed.

What did resonate enormously was his descriptions of the prairies, the prairies where I lived for thirty three years and where I still feel the strongest feelings when I visit.  There's a vastness you cannot experience anywhere else, I suspect, to the same degree you can on the open Canadian prairies where the sky is so big and the horizon is so flat you can actually see the curve of the earth that proves the world is round.  I always used to imagine if I took too deep a breath, took in too much of the sky, I might slip off the earth and get sucked up into that great big sky, and go hurtling into outer space.  I think Martel captured that feeling better than I do and I can forgive him for observing similar things because he gives me a sense of companionship in the ache the prairies cause in my chest.  (And I forgive the Weakerthans for One Great City!.)  I am going to start Beatrice & Virgil tonight to demonstrate my good faith.


Monday, December 26, 2011

Here comes the neighbourhood

Blegh, I drank too much last night.  It's very juvenile of me to drink too much as though I am still 22, but I find myself more comfortable chatting with the family (and the extended family) when I have had three glasses of wine.  We ended up walking home from the inlaws' place since neither of us was in any condition to drive.  J is away for the holidays with my parents this year, which has made it too easy to overindulge in her absense with no one for whom to set a good example.

My stuffing was good, my devilled eggs were good.  My gravy was weird.  That is, it tasted fine but it looked peculiar, an odd colour that I had not anticipated.  I was expecting the standard dark brown gravy, and mine was very light coloured, almost yellow.  It was mostly made of chicken stock which is why.  But what makes gravy normally look so much darker?  It really did look strange.

It was a nice visit with Shawn's family, and his crazy step-Auntie sat beside me and whispered rude comments about her sisters (who weren't there) and made racist remarks about Asians.  I had had enough wine to find this hilarious instead of infuriating, and was happy enough to laugh out loud at her instead of waiting until we home.  She seemed to take this as encouragement, so it all worked out fine.  When I told her I was partly Egyptian, she said, Oh that's why you have that hole in your nose.


Are you familiar with eBay?  If you hated shopping as much as I do, you would be.  I like eBay.  It means I can shop for things without having to go into malls, and I hate malls.  And rather like a friend who really gets you, sometimes eBay makes friendly suggestions based on, presumably, your past purchases or searches.  It's a well meaning friend, and sometimes it really has the right idea even though it doesn't totally understand that size does matter.  So it was with some consternation that I viewed eBay's most recent recommendation for me:

I can't fathom what made eBay think that this was the kind of thing I'd really go for.  Maybe eBay just has a sense of humour and wanted to make me laugh.


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Lisa is busy nerding

I've decided to make more of an effort this year to participate in the Christmas dinner preparations.  When we lived close to my parents and did Christmas with them, we, my sister and I, would each choose a side dish to bring.  I always brought the mashed potatoes.  Because they're easy to make.

Now we live close to the inlaws instead, and Shawn's Dad likes to make everything.  Or so he says.  They always ask us to bring wine, which is even easier than potatoes.  But this year I feel compelled to try a little harder.  I'm making stuffing, which I have actually never done before.  And I'm making gravy.  And devilled eggs, an appetizer.  I don't really have any concept of how much food to make (there are fourteen of us altogether, I think) having never cooked for such a large group.  But I'm going to try and figure it out.  Because I feel tired of being lazy. Wish me luck.


I'm trying to get my mojo back where it comes to running because I have had quite a bout with laziness there, too.  I blame the Drama production, which saps me of energy so that at the end of the day I just want to laze on the couch and watch vapid television programs.  This has been going on for several weeks.  But now it's vacation time, which means I'm getting enough sleep, and not feeling anxious.  So I've been running a lot in the last four days.  Four consecutive days of running an hour each day, which has left me sore and tired, but feeling much, much better.  More clear-headed.

I've been hanging out in the sauna too, which is one of my favourite places in the world.  I really enjoy being in there.  And I like sending text messages from inside the sauna to Shawn to tell him that I'm naked.  Except yesterday afternoon I was one button-push away from sending that message to my mother-in-law by mistake.  So glad I caught it in time.

I am completely inept with text messaging.  I always forget to look and see where I am sending my message because for some reason I expect my phone to know who with whom I mean to communicate.  And most of the time I only text Shawn so I always expect it to go directly to him.  Once I asked someone (not Shawn) if he had remembered to make an appointment to have my dogs' anal glands expressed.  And another time I accused someone else (not Shawn) of having stolen money off my bedside table.

The reason I nearly sent my mother-in-law a text message to tell her I was naked in the sauna was that I had texted her the day before to ask if I could drop Shawn's Christmas present off at their house because he is terribly good at spoiling surprises and I wanted to surprise him.  The text messenger just assumes I'm sending my message to whomever I spoke with last.  (I got Shawn a surround sound system for the television; I hope I got the right thing because I actually know nothing about things like this.)


Friday, December 16, 2011

I've got nothing to do today but smile.

There's an autistic boy in my Drama 9 class this semester.  The autistic spectrum disorders interest me, in particular, because they create such quirkiness, a quirkiness that I often find delightful rather than alienating.  B is a savant, or what was once called "idiot savant", the type of autism that comes with gifts.  He has a math gift and a brain calendar such that you can tell him the date of your birth, for example, and he can tell you what day of the week on which you were born.  He can do this trick with dates in the infinite future too.  But he has disabilities as well, mainly the lack of social connection with his peers.  They find him amusing, interesting, likeable even.  But not relatable.  He's so very different.

He chooses to sit right beside me at the start of every class when they gather in a circle for instructions.  Maybe he likes me.  Maybe it's safer near the teacher.  I'm not sure.  But he sits there every day, always on my right side, and as he pulls his chair up close to me he always says, "Hello Ms. P.  Don't touch me, don't touch me, don't touch me, don't touch me."  Always four times.  I've never touched him.

I asked him the other day why he always tells me not to touch him.  He told me that touches feel like electric shocks on his skin.  I keep thinking about that, how that kind of overstimulation he described is probably what other less verbal autistic children experience when they are overwhelmed by light, or noise, or other stimuli in their environments.  Like being shocked with every touch.

Last year another autistic boy came to me for counselling.  He told me he had a recurring headache.  I asked him what the headache felt like.  He said it felt like disappointment.

Does it seem odd, I wonder, that I find these verbal autistic kids so very relatable?  That oversensitivity, I get it.  It's not my sensory reality, but it's my emotional reality.  I get the prickle of electricity when I see a facial expression change in a specific way.  I get zapped in those moments of awkward silence that briefly crest in noisy conversations.  And sometimes when things get bigger than that I feel completely electrocuted.

And I've had a headache that feels like disappointment.


I called social services today.  A girl told me her father beats her.  He punches her with closed fists.  She crumples on the floor gasping for air and he kicks her while she chokes for breath.  She is a tiny, hundred pound girl.  By law I must call protective services when children tell me these things.  But my heart struggled with it.  Not because I have any doubt that she needs protection, but I am breaking her trust in telling someone what she told me.  And I greatly fear that the social workers will aggravate rather than alleviate an already terrible situation.  My distrust of social services comes from my negative experiences when trying to access help for my niece back when her mother was still alive.  (I called because I was concerned that my sister was passing out while smoking in bed, with J in the bed.  They told me they could do nothing until the danger was more immediate.  I sarcastically asked if that meant I could not call until the bed was actually on fire, and the social worker said - without a hint of humour - that yes, that was the appropriate time to call.)  I hope this girl is safe over the holidays.


It's the holidays now.  My show closed last night to a huge happy audience that laughed at everything.  Parents brought me homemade Christmas treats and said nice things to me.  The kids gave me flowers.  It was the way closing night is supposed to look and nearly never does.  It would be a good way to finish my career in theatre this way.  I am ready to move up into the counselling office, but I'd like to look back on these years as having finished strong.

And for some reason I have been showered with gifts this Christmas.  Not the case every year.  I'm not sure if I have more thoughtful kids this year, wealthier kids this year, or if, perhaps, I have just been more likeable this year.  But I have more chocolate and cookies and treats than I can believe.  I will be twenty pounds heavier by the end of the holidays.

Tonight I had homemade Nuts & Bolts, homemade chocolate toffees, and red wine for dinner.  Danger.


Friday, October 14, 2011

1. Ebbinghaus retention function can be partly reversed, with resulting increases of conscious memory over time (hypermnesia).

2. Intentional avoidance of memories results in their progressive forgetting over time.


up a lazy river

There are simple things I would blame for insomnia, and when I use the word I do not refer to a clinical case, just a persistent annoyance.  Simple things like racing thoughts, incomplete lists, obsessive compulsive tendencies.  But there is a more complex underlying cause - which can also be simplified (as quantum physics) - which not only keeps me awake, but wakes me up early, makes me late for work, stops me from leaving work, and steals my sleep right from beneath my eyelids while I dream.

I think about the Large Hadron Collider, and the god particle.  And I think about the multiverse, the potential for time to flow in different directions simultaneously, the possibility that water moves with my kinetic energy, the fact that light is (obviously) not the fastest thing.  And if these things are true, then what.  It does not mean I genuinely understand any of the things I am thinking about, but they are still interfering with my sleep --  which makes them Real even if it does not make them True.

The PhD is officially underway (nothing whatsoever to do with quantum physics), and I have accomplished, at this point, absolutely nothing.


Thursday, October 13, 2011

I should not be sad this is over.

So I found my car,.. parked 4 blocks from my place with an empty tank and the extra keys tossed into the glove box.

I honestly pity the next victim(s)... T is a very happy boy now.
Like · Comment   · 5 hours ago

  • 2 people like this.

    • Glad you found your car. I will say you are a calmer man then i would have been.
      5 hours ago · Like

    •  whoa
      5 hours ago · Like 

    •  i do hope you took the opportunity to say dude where's my car
      4 hours ago · Like

    •  I texted that,.. she didn;t answer lol
      4 hours ago · Like ·  1 person

Thursday, October 06, 2011

if my eyes don't deceive me, there's something going wrong around here

T tells me his ex-wife has stolen his car.  I know this isn't meant to be funny but something about it makes me struggle not to giggle.  I hide my mouth behind my cup.  He is annoyed but not nearly as angry as one would expect a person to be in this situation.  There is weariness as he relates the story.  I have the distinct impression that she does things like this all the time.  When I feel more in control of my mouth I come out from behind the cup and ask him why he has not contacted the police.  He says that if he does he will never get to see his dog again.  I hastily retreat back behind the cup.


Monday, September 26, 2011

Last night I ran out of shampoo and used some of J's.  The label said it was intended to "maintain blond highlights and tone down brassiness".  I don't have any blond highlights, but my hair is decidedly red, so I thought reducing my brassiness seemed like a fine idea.  To my surprise the shampoo was bright brilliant blue.  This should have stopped me, but whatever.  I was already committed to the experience by this point.  What I have learned is that when you use blue toner on red hair, you get purple hair.  And I have to give a workshop this morning.  Sigh.


Saturday, September 24, 2011

Friday, September 23, 2011

And waiting for the world to come along

Monday is a professional day with a focus on team building.  I loathe team building, which is sort of funny because when I took my hiatus from the world of education I used to get a lot of contract work going into corporations and leading team building activities.  The idea of team building appeals to me in theory -- I just find it exhausting to spend a whole day rah-rahing about things that do not really interest me.  Monday the staff is going to some kind of obstacle course.  It's like I can break myself in half, mentally, and see both versions of myself at once:  me at 26 rocking the obstacle course and being the best damn cheerleader in the whole wide world because I am so so so excited about life.  And me now, hiding the yawn behind my hand and peeking at my watch, counting how long until I can go home.

I was wondering how I could get out of this when I was phoned by the district and asked to put on a workshop for elementary school teachers who want to "infuse Drama into curricular teaching".  Perfect.

I'm not exactly excited about this either, giving a workshop.  I do not like posing as an expert, and I definitely do not like being the centre of attention in a roomful of people who expect me to say something intelligent or useful.  (I used to act in a theatre company that once performed in a stadium in front of 2500 people and was less anxious about that than I am about giving workshops to groups of 30 people.  It's weird, I know, but it's completely different.)

So I don't really like it...  but here is the math:

Staff team building goes from 8:00am-3:00pm = 7 hours.

The workshop is from 10:00am-12 noon = 2 hours.

I can be bored for 7 hours or I can be in a state of high anxiety for 20 minutes followed by an hour and 40 minutes of habituation.  This wasn't an impulsive decision.  It's less painful to give the workshop.


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Last night I dreamed I was sitting on the couch eating a box of crackers.

The excitement contained in real life is sometimes difficult to contend with, let alone the wild things my imagination is capable of when I sleep.


Friday, September 16, 2011

we never did too much talking anyway

I like watching B drink.  Like many Asian men, he gets the glow.  The flush starts below the line of his collar and spreads upward into his hairline.  The vessels in his eyes dilate and the irises turn black and shiny, no differentiation between pupil and iris.  His eyes look like Smarties.  I think about licking them.  Another asahi and I start making visual threats.  Because he was a friend I can threaten to lick his eyes without being misunderstood.  Because we slept together - just once - he can say something about my boobs, and it makes me laugh.

T, on the other hand, is complicated.  Or maybe it is me who is complicating things.  He orders a girly drink and offers me a taste.  I tell him it is too sweet.  Too sweet, I am flippant, do you not remember me at all?  I don't like sweet drinks or sweet boys.  Haha.  And he is hurt, morose.  I apologize; I should not make this kind of joke.  Because we once were in love.  And it is not funny.  He has questions about things I do not remember.  I promise him, lightly, I would have fucked it up anyway if he hadn't, but I do not think he believes me.


Sunday, September 11, 2011

she acts like we never have met

The seals poked their little heads up out of the water to see who was there, and then floated effortlessly alongside the kayak watching us.  I was fascinated by their whiskery faces.  Every time I reached for my camera they disappeared below the waterline.  Camera shy.

We spent two hours on the water; today my arms and back are sore.  The good kind of sore, deep muscle ache that means you really moved.  I wondered what it would be like to live on the tiny island with the herons and the seals.


In the evening I met T and B for drinks, too many drinks, and today I find myself a little wobbly on the pins as a result.  But what other way is there to get through such a thing?  I haven't seen B since about '97; he is in town just for a week and staying at T's place.  I watched the arc of my emotional reactions to them both as the wine made its way through my blood.

Shawn sent me text messages throughout the evening to ensure I was okay, a sweet but completely unnecessary precaution.  It might be emotionally risky to do this kind of thing, but they intend no harm.


Friday, September 09, 2011

Well hullo there, lovely.  Beautiful out tonight, isn't it?  I have a blanket; pull your chair closer and share with me.  You seem like a girl who might not mind a little dog hair.

I don't mind the smoke.  In fact I'm always looking for a justifiable reason to take it up.  Being companionable is a good one, I think.  It would be rude for me to watch you smoke alone.  The first time I tried smoking I was thirteen and I did it because I was trying to impress a boy I liked.  He asked me why I wasn't inhaling, which tells you exactly how impressed he was.  When did you start?

After that I tried again in high school, when I was seventeen.  I thought it would make me more edgy.  I even learned how to inhale.  This proved useful later in theatre school where believable smoking was prerequisite to being cast in modern plays.  I developed a mad love for smoking, mostly because it gave me something to do, something to focus on when I was feeling socially awkward.  Somewhere to put my eyes and my hands.  I stopped because there came a time when I no longer had anyone that wanted to smoke with me.  Probably a good thing, really, but I still miss it.  

Does it feel good when you've done with the organizing and sorting?  Or do you just notice the empty spaces?  I feel so much better when my things are tidy and sparse.  Helps me think better.  But I hate the process of sorting and organizing.  I just want it done.

October is traditionally difficult but I think it could be better if I focused more on things like pumpkins and cinnamon and nutmeg.  There's a spice I like called Allspice, which reminds me of a mixture of all three of those.  I do not know how to cook or bake, but sometimes I carry the spice canister in my pocket so I can sniff it when no one is looking.  That's a little peculiar, isn't it. 

We see different stars this time of year where I live.  There's a constellation with the same name as someone I loved so much.  I always think of him in winter when the earth turns that direction.  He died very very young.  I like watching the stars but sometimes when I think too much about the vastness of it all it makes me feel a little more lost than I want to.  Lost enough that it becomes difficult to find my way back.

What kind of wine are we having?  I like red, very dry.  Do you?  It makes me laugh when it turns my lips purple.  Look, it matches your toenail polish.  It is a bit cool tonight.  Watching the seasons change is always beautiful and sad, but it feels less overwhelming when you have someone to feel it with you.

Your hair is pretty.  Goodnight, lovely.  Goodnight pup.


Wednesday, September 07, 2011

didn't mean to hit her but she kept laughing

Crazy Sue yelled at me today, the second day of work, first day of classes.  Crazy Sue is an art teacher.  Not your stereotypical mellow art teacher, sipping on a bong and going with the flow.  How can she be this stressed out already?  She apologized (via email) at the end of the day, but it was one of those apologies that reads like I'm sorry that you are so fucking annoying that I was forced to explode a head vein, but you're just so fucking annoying that I can't help it.  In all the time I have been working in the "professional" world, I have only experienced being yelled at twice.  And both times it was Crazy Sue doing the yelling.

I do not respond well to being yelled at.  It makes me feel like a child - in a powerless and unsafe sense -  and so my reaction is childish.  I want to yell back.  I get irrational and angry.

But I can swallow that now.  I don't yell anymore, not since I really was a child.  After I left that world I promised myself that yelling was over, and it is.  No one in my world yells anymore.  And neither do I, not ever.

Having arranged my personal world so selectively to exclude yelling, it is especially difficult to tolerate being yelled at, at work.  Crazy Sue just yells at everyone so I know I am nothing special to her, but she has no idea what goes on in my head when she yells at me.  How I struggle not to come back hissing and spitting like a cat.

What I do instead, what I have done both times, is turn my back on her and walk away.

I am not exactly proud of this reaction either, but it is the only one I can muster that is defensible later.


Saturday, September 03, 2011

An insipid television doctor announced the other day that it was in our best interest to achieve orgasm at least 200 times per year for optimum health.  A short while ago this same man suggested it was good to drink 1-2 glasses of red wine per day.  (I figure if I drink nothing Sunday through Thursday I can have 12-14 drinks on Friday or Saturday.  Will this same plan work for orgasms, I wonder?)  Normally television-doctor health advice goes in the same pile with the flyers from the Jovies, but I think I could get on board with this doctor if he keeps recommending wine and orgasms.


Reasons I hate driving Shawn's car

4.  He loves it outrageously which makes me frightened I will do something to damage it.

3.  He pulls the park brake up so hard that I need to use two hands to get it down.

2.  The clutch is so much more sensitive than mine that I accidentally rev the engine at every stop light, giving the false impression to people around me that I might like to race. 

1.  His car has been lowered so much that when I go over bumps I feel like I'm on a hayride.


Saturday, August 27, 2011

August, die she must.

Sometimes I really fight the part of me that wants to be a Redhead, the part that wants to have allergies and autoimmune issues, the part that likes to whine and wipe its nose on its sleeves, the part that longs to have blistering sunburns  and hay fever and grow buck teeth and be home-schooled and perpetually burst into tears.  (Because this is what Redheads do, you know.  Witches have red hair, you know.)  There is another part of me, Mousy Brown, that I want to be in charge.  Mouse is sensible and quiet -- but the thing about Mouse is that mice do not want to be in charge of anything.

Some people characterize Redheads as exciting, fiery.  They aren't.  They're just itchy from the allergies; it makes them moody.  On Wednesday morning I awoke with a mosquito bite on the left side of my forehead and another in the middle of my palm.  Both have become swollen red welts.  Allergies.  At lunch the other day T told me that I looked the same except my hair was less red.  I took this as a high compliment and surreptitiously scratched my forehead.


It was never so simple as I told myself it was.  Love does not just dissipate, not even when it has every reason to, not even when time has passed graciously and ground down everything sharp, not even when forgiveness is light.  Old love no longer pulls you down and smothers you, but it doesn't just dissolve either.


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Why don't you like me without making me try?

You look the same but everything else is different.  The air between us is changed.  There are things I have let go of, and in letting go of them they have also let go of me.  I cannot inhale what I am looking for.  I consider telling you that calling yourself a narcissist in a self-deprecating tone, small laugh, does not make narcissism any more palatable, but that feels like unnecessary roughness (and maybe I am talking to myself anyway).  I would also like to tell you that I missed you for years and years but I cannot remember what that felt like which renders this irrelevant.  I lean toward you and pretend that I still love you, I lean away and pretend I do not know you, and the transition between the two is seamless.


Friday, August 05, 2011

The funeral was enormous.  And there were a lot of other non-Muslims so I wasn't the only one in the crowd who did not understand all the readings or know exactly what was going on.  RH's little girl spoke in English.  She said that Daddy had tea parties with her and that he sometimes snuck her candies when Mummy said no.  And that she missed him so much.  She is only four.


say shut up and quit your crying, give it time and you'll be fine

It is tempting when I am on vacation to drink more or less incessantly.  But I don't, mostly because I want to.  So I wait for the weekends just like I do when I am working.  The other day J told me in utter horror that one of her friend's parents drank beers on a Wednesday.  This is the same child who watched her mother stuff a crack pipe and knew how to make a filter out of steel wool.  How things change.  (I think what I mean is that I am glad that today is Friday.)

During summer vacation it is also tempting for me to sit in the sun incessantly wearing nearly nothing, and I understand how stupid teenage girls became addicted to tanning beds in the 80s.  It isn't that I am interested in developing a tan, but it just feels so good.  How can something so bad for you feel so right?


I have to go to a funeral this afternoon.  I have never been to a Muslim funeral before.  I know I need to bring something to cover my hair, and I know it's Ramadan so there will be no food.  I like this part because it means it will seem less rude when I ditch at the end and do not hang around eating finger sandwiches and making small talk.


Wednesday, August 03, 2011

fixing a hole where the rain gets in

When Shawn said he was going to help me tile the dosseret,  I was a little concerned.  He doesn't have a lot of patience for imperfection -- and tiling, especially when working with marble and slate as opposed to ceramic, is rife with imperfections.  That's part of the art.  You make things look right by making everything slightly wrong in the right way.

But he was helpful, and didn't complain (much).  I drew lines on the tiles so he wouldn't have to measure.  He liked the tile saw.  For some reason, contractor math makes sense to me where the rest of it is meaningless.  I can measure things and predict angles without exactly knowing how.

We did the smaller section yesterday and the larger one today.  Now it all needs 48 hours to dry before I can start grouting.  I'll do that by myself.

I had not planned to do this work this week, especially in light of the fact that I am meant to be doing technical writing for GDJ, but I think I have a compulsion for tiling.  It's like building a puzzle.

I still did the technical writing, not as much as I could have if I'd not spent the first four hours of the day tiling, but enough to look as though I had put in a full day.  And this is the genius of working from home.  I wish I could teach from home.


T has been asking if I would be willing to see him.  T is an ex-boyfriend whose wife recently ran off with a man from Costa Rica.  I am trying to decide if this is a good idea, not because I doubt my own ability to handle it but because I am unsure why he wants to do this and I find the timing suspect.  Sometimes break ups make people think things that aren't so.

Though I am so often lost in nostalgia, where it comes to T I find myself rather unsentimental.  This is not a reflection on how I felt about him, because I loved him very much.  But somehow I stopped.  I do not always accomplish that so successfully when relationships end.


Friday, July 29, 2011

Give me a Leonard Cohen afterworld so I can sigh eternally

When GDJ first offered me a job doing technical writing for his company, he proposed that we also begin sleeping together.  Not, he pointed out, that one offer hinged upon the other.  He told me his wife cheated on him all the time and he therefore felt entitled.  He said I was perfect for him because the fact that I was also married meant that I had just as much to lose as he did.  (Flattering.)  I still do not really understand what he meant by that, but I did not ask him for clarification.  I accepted the job and turned down the affair.  He was okay with that.

Since then I have continued to work for GDJ off and on.  We used to teach together when I was about 24.  Now he owns a great big company with huge important clients and makes million dollar deals.  Since that first suggestion, he occasionally checks in to see if I have changed my mind.  He overpays me ridiculously, and I can never decide if there is something unethical about my letting him.  In any case the writing keeps me busy and prevents me from wanting to lay tile.


I am up to running an hour and a half again after several lazy winter months of half-hour treadmill treks.  Running outside is so much more fun.  I keep forgetting my watch, but I can figure out when I have to turn around in time to make it back to catch J after her riding lesson if I stop when I reach this strange structure on the beach.  I think it looks like a little boat made of driftwood, with a giraffe for a figurehead.

This afternoon, just after I turned around at the driftwood boat, I saw a crow on the path ahead of me.  At first I hoped it would let me get very close, which is what I always hope when I see animals when I am out running.  But then, as I actually did get closer to it, much closer to it, I started to be worried.  I was worried because I was pretty sure something was wrong with it.  It just isn't normal for a bird to let you get close enough, almost, to touch it.  I started wondering if it had a broken wing, because that's the worst thing I can imagine happening to a bird.  My heart started pounding fast, not just from running but the anxious kind of heart pounding.  It seems odd, in retrospect, that I was so worried about that bird, but I was.  As I was just about upon it, my mind filled with ridiculous and disgusting images of mouth-to-beak resuscitation, the crow casually hopped a few steps and then flew up into the lower branches of a tree where it sat looking at me.  I have heard that crows are very, very intelligent.  I wonder if this one was conducting some sort of experiment on me.


Friday, July 22, 2011

Fashion Blog Installment #1

This hasn't come out quite right as far as proportion goes.  It looks as though I have tiny boobs and enormous feet, which creates an amusing mental picture (and if you want the truth I have both small feet and small boobs but that's none of your damn business).  I am new to writing a fashion blog and so you should be patient with me as I learn how to do it properly. 

I have carefully selected these first three pictures to illustrate my amazing (and cohesive) sense of style.  The first picture is of my favourite shoes in the whole world.  Shawn hates these shoes so much that he has been known to put them in the garbage when I am not looking in the hope they will be taken away where he never has to see them again.  The only thing I think he hates more is my Joey Ramone tshirt that has become so thin that it is nearly transparent.  If you're the type that cares about price tags and brand names I will have you know these are John Fluevogs, $250 retail, which is not meant to imply that this is what I paid for them.  (They were given to me by someone whose husband hated them.)  I like to wear them with my Joey Ramone shirt and/or my Mexican poncho.

I follow this up, to be fair, with a picture of Shawn's favourite shoes.  I took this picture from their website because the picture I took made the shoe look brown.  It's a dark red mary jane shoe and I wear it when I'm trying to feel competent and brave and like someone that can deliver a workshop to a roomful of people that know more than me and are not scared of stuff. This shoe does not have nearly as high a heel as my husband would ideally like me to wear (I think it's 2'') so I think he likes it because it is red.  Red means sex, right?  

And last... the bra.  It is a rare item of clothing upon which Shawn and I agree.  We both like it.  Shawn bought this bra for me when he was working in Berlin.  (Who knew that Berlin was home to great underwear?)  For some reason he has no idea what size bra I wear and he thinks that I am whatever size the clerk is wearing, which is obnoxious and hilarious simultaneously.  Fortunately the clerk in Berlin does share my cup size and we have a winner.  I am absolutely positive that I like this bra for different reasons than does my husband.

Okay that's enough of this bullshit.  I hate fashion.  The fashion blog is officially over.  I'm gonna read a book or something.


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

i know what boys like

I took J shopping at the mall this afternoon.  There are a lot of concessions made in parenting, and for me going shopping is one of the biggest ones.  I cannot stand the mall, but J loves it so much that there is no way to avoid it all the time.  There was a wonderful moment, though, that made it all worthwhile, when she discovered the hooded Mexican pullover I often wear -- which she loathes -- is coming back into fashion.  There was a rack full of them in different colours and I had to point them out to her.  She was horrified.  I am so far ahead of the trends that I have been wearing one of these beauties for at least twenty years.

The poncho is the foundation for one of my best looks, the fourteen year old boy.  I rock that one.  I have also mastered the Olive Oyl, with K's encouragement.  (I have a couple of other signature looks but I don't want to give away all my fashion knowledge at once.)  The reason I am writing all this is that I have decided to turn this into a fashion blog in which I will provide daily reports and photos of what I am wearing, brag about how fantastic I look, and tell you how you, too, can achieve this look for only a modest investment of cash and time spent at the mall.  (Or by never shopping and just keeping the same clothes for twenty years.)  Stand by; my readership is about to explode.


Saturday, July 16, 2011

the light of the reason and the passing of the sky

In 1994, when T moved out of the apartment building across the street from mine, he left a plant in my care.  It was a split-leaf philodendron and I was meant to give it back after he completed his move.  I broke up with him shortly after that - partly because I was bothered by the amount of time and energy he put into doing his hair, but mostly because it troubled me that he had begun to bring out something unkind in me, some part of me that wanted to test him in a clinical and detached kind of way.  There were other, more complicated reasons of course.  Of course I still loved him, but I do not find that especially significant because there are many people I still love that I also left, or who left me.  It happens all the time.  Love comes easy to me, and I make a better memory than I do a roommate.

But houseplants, I believe, are like engagement rings; you should give them back if you break up.  However, I never returned the split-leaf philodendron.  It wasn't that I was trying to keep it from him.  There were things we did give back: he returned my raincoat (minus the hood), I returned his Roy Rogers guitar.   But the plant stayed with me for some reason, and seventeen years later I have it still.  It has lived with me in many cities, through many stages.  I became attached to it, not because it was T's plant, but because I like plants, and because it was hardy and did not easily fall victim to my mistakes the way the Boston Ferns always did.

Now I correspond with T occasionally, and almost always with a pang of something regrettably indefinable.  I still feel that I could injure him intentionally, yet just one sentence at a time.  (This is not his fault; it is entirely mine.)  I know I should return the split-leaf philodendron but I do not know how to accomplish this without his noticing.


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A couple, friends of ours, are in the midst of a family crisis over the fact that their daycare worker decided to paint their toddler's fingernails with nail polish without asking their permission.  They aren't just angry; they are hurt, goddamn it, at the violation of their trust.  The irresponsibility!  The travesty!  Should they fire the daycare worker and move their precious child somewhere else where her fingernails will be safe from future abuse?  Should they firebomb the daycare in protest, or should they just sue?  How could a daycare centre hire someone who would do this terrible thing to their child?  Why, o why, is the world such a cold, dark place?  I am on the verge of irreparably damaging our friendship by saying something poisonous.


Sunday, July 10, 2011

This morning we went climbing/hiking at Lighthouse Park.  While climbing a particularly steep rock, Shawn dropped my steel water bottle into the ocean.  Because it was partially empty it floated on the surface of the water, bobbing in the waves, where I could see it but not reach it.  Shawn said one day that bottle of water will save a shipwrecked person's life.  I do hope so.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

pour la dernière fois

Since I am staying here for the summer, I need something to do.  So far I have been cleaning, and that just makes me taciturn, but so does doing nothing.  We bought tiles today so I can tile the dosseret behind the counters.  (I know that space is called a backsplash but that's such a ridiculous word I want not to use it.  Some words are so disappointing.)  This kind of work makes me happy; I really should have been something other than a teacher, something to do with building instead.  We bought the perfect house for someone who likes these projects.  Shawn hates them which is good because I want to do this by myself.

My assistant principal emailed me something today about my next year's classes, something incomprehensible to which I did not reply.  This is the kind of thing to think about in September.  Now it is time to think about tiles.

I have been teaching J how to juggle and she is getting pretty good at it.  Juggling is an absurd skill to have and my favourite thing about it is when no one knows you can do it, and then suddenly an opportunity arises to begin juggling for no reason in front of people you have known for years who have never seen you do it.  I have explained to J that secrecy is the most important aspect of the skill set and she seems to get it.


Facebook sucks.  There is no such thing as a clean break anymore.  T writes to me now.  It will not last; these kinds of things never do, but for the time being it is a source of strange feelings.  I was involved with him for three or four years, and thought at one time I would probably be with him forever.  Je m'en souvendrai longtemps.  In the end I did not really know him at all, and I still don't, but for some reason now he wants to reminisce.  I do not know what this means.  He left his wife, he is lonely, he thinks his life could have turned out better.  It would not have turned out better with me, I can assure him of that, but it isn't what he wants to hear now.  I am not sure, exactly, what he wants right now.  I am only sure that I cannot provide it and that he will eventually grow bored of trying to find it with me, he will eventually grow bored of me.  Coincidentally, after much moving around the country, we live again in the same city.  But it is a very big city and I will probably never see him again in my life.


Thursday, July 07, 2011

It is cool outside today.  Dorian Gray decided he wanted to sleep in the laundry basket on top of the warm laundry that had just come out of the dryer.  Actually the reason for doing laundry in the first place was to get the dog hair off these things.  

Ophelia likes to sleep with her elbow inside my bra; it supports her bad leg.

In the afternoon J had her riding lesson.  The stable is located next to a delta that flows into the Pacific, and there is a gravel path alongside the delta.  Because it was cool, there was no one there today, which made it the perfect place to go running.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

FGT 45

The dogs have tattoos too.  Dorian's says FGT 45.  And this one of mine is a dung beetle.

silently for me

I decided to stay here for the summer.  Being here, compared with other opportunities, might seem boring, but it is what I decided that I wanted most.  Shawn and I used to live apart a lot whenever an interesting job contract was offered.  This year he turned down a beautiful offer in New Zealand so we could stay together.  And I am ready to welcome this new phase of our lives, where we prioritize this way.  


Monday, July 04, 2011

none of them can stop the time

Once, when I was probably about 21, I was out with girlfriends when it suddenly occurred to me that I hadn't spoken to David for a long time.  David was a close friend in my teens, but we drifted apart as we got older.  It might have been a couple of years since I had seen or spoken to him when he suddenly popped into my mind that night, and instead of thinking to myself that I would call him later, I felt like I wanted to find a pay phone and call him right that minute. This isn't really remarkable; I do things like this all the time.

Dave had a lot of problems, and sometimes he just made me too tired to be his friend.  But that night I felt like I had energy for him, and there he was, in my head, interrupting my time with my friends.  So I phoned him.  And interrupted him in the middle of a suicide attempt.

This part of the story doesn't mean anything.  I do not believe I have magical powers or the ability to see into the future or any such thing.  The problem is that now Dave does.  Fifteen years later or so, he still thinks I saved his life, and that there is something about me that equals redemption, salvation, something like that.  

There was a time when I would have thought it would be nice to be thought of like that.  But in truth, it's a nuisance.  I can't just say hello to David because he looks for deeper meanings.  I cannot touch him without it meaning that I am directing some divine force into his very soul.  It drives me crazy.  

Times like now, when he is caught in the eddies of his depression, he is particularly annoying because every time I speak to him he thanks me as if I have given him a great gift, tells me all the time how I continue to save his life.  Actually, it all kind of makes me want to kill him.


Thursday, June 30, 2011

You are predictable and incomprehensible like
Stephen Harper's Christmas sweaters,
banal smiles and Alberta French;
you are meant to practice but not understand
strategic voting and habituation.
I'm going to get better, Caelum, she said,
and by the time I stopped crying it was January.
She died. (You might not know this; junkies die.)
Or I could breathe --
adrenaline, endorphins, and fresh air.


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

David, I do not know how to help you.  I never have.


"All significant truths are private truths" - T.S. Eliot

Sometimes people think that I am shy.  And sometimes people think the fact I do not say much means I do not think much.  And I have been told several times that I give a first impression of being haughty.  I am none of these things, not timid or vacant or stuck up, but I think this is how introverts are often misunderstood.  Shawn says people form this last impression based on attractiveness, but he is supposed to think that for my sake, and I am not nearly as attractive as he thinks I am.

Introverts are allegedly only about 25% of the population.  Imagine how short staff meetings would be if there were more of us.  Sometimes I am so frustrated by the way people have to give voice to every single thought that crosses their minds.  I cannot relate to this way of being, cannot imagine what it would be like to say everything I was thinking.  Perhaps this is why I like writing, because it allows me to say more.  Shawn says saying less leaves people wanting more, but he is supposed to think that for my sake, and I am not nearly as interesting as he thinks I am.

Extroversion and introversion exist on a continuum, and I find myself moving more and more in the direction of introversion as I get older.  This is why I need to change careers.  This is why I have less friends, less invitations, and less concern about these things than I have ever had in my life.  If I keep moving at this rate I will be a hermit before I hit forty.  Being around people makes me tired, really really tired.  I get so tired of small talk, so tired of gossip, so sick and tired of meaningless noise.  Shawn says I'm funny when I'm tired.  I'm not.


Monday, June 27, 2011

report to members

These last days of work before summer holidays begin are drudgery.  To be honest, a lot of the staff sneaks out and spends the afternoons in the neighbourhood pub.  I'm not really that type of employee, although I would like to be, and so instead I spend my days hiding in my office reading books and sipping coffee and watching the clock.  This is just as useless as drinking beer down the street, but somehow I feel like I'm on firmer moral ground when I do this.  I wonder why I care about things like this when no one else seems to.

Something is wrong with my office computer.  It has been making odd noises like those that occur before an airplane takes flight, that whirring sound that gets louder and faster until take off.  Only in this case I suspect take-off will actually be a crash.  In public school, things like this aren't worth mentioning to anyone.  I can tell the tech team my computer is dead, but dying doesn't mean a thing.  (This is the same policy practiced by the Ministry of Families and Social Development.  You have to report that a child has been killed, not that a child is being killed.  They only act after it's too late.)

Speaking of too late.  The Awards Committee coordinator just handed out the program to staff with two students' names misspelled.  This means their names will also be misspelled on the plaques they are to receive tonight.  This kind of thing drives me nuts, but the only way to prevent it is to join the Awards Committee and I know better than that. 

I had a dream about Colleen on Saturday night.  She was a child, maybe eight years old, and she had a terribly high fever.  The family was gathered around her, and the fever was climbing so fast that it was becoming apparent she was going to die.  We were saying goodbyes when she suddenly seemed to spontaneously recover.  And then I woke up abruptly, first relieved that my sister wasn't dying, and then to a higher level of conscious awareness in which I remembered she had already died.  I think it is Awards Night that is making my mind play these games.  Her daughter will be accepting an award tonight, and Colleen should be there.

One of the school counsellors is bugging me.  Ever since I finished my degree, she keeps trying to foist her counselling kids off on me, without consideration for the fact that I still have a full teaching load.  I do not have time to do her job as well as my own.  (Especially not when I'm supposed to be drinking coffee and listening to my computer perform feats of self-immolation.)  And my conscience doesn't allow me to send crying children away because it's not my job.

It is becoming increasingly probable that I am sick.  Actually I think I am often sick in June, only I mistake it for hay fever because it is sometimes difficult to tell the difference, except that hay fever, unlike flu, doesn't actually come with fever.  I have to present awards tonight, which means I need to go home and sleep on the couch for a couple of hours between commitments.  I am feeling worse as the day progresses.  I wonder why I always get sick in June.


Friday, June 24, 2011

every way you look at it you lose

This time of year makes me tired.  So many special events to mark the occasions of commencement, graduation, and awards.  I wish we could combine these events into one interminably long evening and have it done.

I always attend commencement.  I want to hand out my own scholarships.  I want the kids to know I'm happy for them.  But I always sneak out of commencement after the grads cross the stage and the speeches start.  I leave because I want to get out of the parking lot before the 800 parents and friends try to do the same thing.  And because I do not want to pose for pictures when it's over.  And most of all because I want to avoid having to talk to people.

Tonight, however, I was one of the ones that had to make a speech.  I'm not much of a fan of public speaking, not really, although I have lots of practice at it.  I always make my presentations short.  Couched between two long long long speeches, I think mine seemed abrupt and odd.  Like me.  I snuck out once the valedictorian started.


Saturday, June 18, 2011

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Now how I remember you

There are choices to be made.  DD has offered me a job in Rwanda for the summer. Eight weeks with her counselling agency.  And BB has invited me home to work with his band.  I have literally almost no talent so it is an honour to be invited to help them launch their album.  The other possibility is that I will stay right here and do absolutely nothing.  I wonder which I will do.


It was when I was seventeen that I first left home.  I spent that summer in Invermere, British Columbia, living in a tent on the property of a friend's parents who owned a cabin on the lake.  That summer I worked on a construction site building summer cottages.

From there I moved to Prince George where I took up tree planting to earn a living.  I went back to my parents' home when school started in September each year because I had no idea where else to go.  But in the summers I found other places to be.  I planted trees, I lived in Red's summer home, I ate bratwurst and I mowed golf courses.

Here, where I live now, I smell the summer blow in on the ocean.  It's salty and sweet and this year it is very, very late.  But now it has come and I want to camp outside even though I no longer need to, because I want to lie down beside the ocean and remember who I used to be. Because I feel sure I have not changed very much, and because I would like very much to have time to remember.


And sometimes, sometimes when summer comes late, it occurs to me late that I do not have to go anywhere if I do not want to.  But the burn on my shoulders says I'm supposed to go, the smell of fire smoke says it's time to go, and the smell of the sea.  And I think I am meant to sleep on tent floors on the beach, I think my hands automatically make the shape of a trowel, I think I am meant to eat camp food; I think this ten-year tan line on my back means I am always going to plant conifers to make my living in this world.

And I think I am damaged by these summers beyond repair in ways I would never want to be fixed.  Jesus god, I love summer.


Friday, May 27, 2011

if i didn't i'm a fool, you see no one knows this more than me

I used to believe in Eddie Vedder more than I believed in anything.  

Sometimes I try to copy his hands on the guitar, try to pick the way he does.  I really can't do it.

Sometimes I try to count his breaths; Stay with me, let's just breathe.  Sometimes I can still tremble on the edge of that particular cliff like I was twenty-three and miss that specific kind of ache more than I have ever missed anything.  I have no idea what to do when that feeling overwhelms and then recedes, and overwhelms again, what to do with the brackish lines it leaves behind inside.


(i still want you.)

For the most part the seniors have stopped coming to school, although there are officially three weeks of classes left.  This morning in first block I won twelve dollars playing dice against the five kids who showed up for my Film Studies class.  That's twelve dollars represented by paper squares, not twelve dollars in cash.  I know these shady characters; they're not going to pay up.  But sometimes they bring me coffee when they're late so I won't mark it on their attendance records.  I'm a horrible teacher, I really am.

This is how I accidentally get mixed in with the cool crowd once in awhile.  I have a history of this kind of mistaken identity; although  I have a few things in common with the genuinely cool, these things are illusions, and cannot be sustained.  Or, in psychological terms, the fact that one suffers from Impostor Syndrome does not mean that one isn't a fraud.


Last night as I was falling asleep with Shawn's hand on my hip beneath the blanket, he said, This hipbone makes a good handle.  And I dreamed of myself with hipbone handles, perfect half circles like the handles on a sugar bowl, perfect for lifting and for pouring.  On this side of the veil my hipbones are more useful for steering than for pouring, but my mind liked the idea.  Still likes the idea of hipbones like handles.

I dream a lot.  Sometimes I dream more, I suspect, than I live.


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

if i should fall from grace with god

Blank page, blank look, shooting blanks.  Blank cheque, blank verse. Blank slate. Point blank range.


Monday, May 23, 2011

It is a long weekend and I received an email advising me that in honour of Victoria Day, Adult Sensations is having a blowout sale on sex toys.  I wonder what Queen Victoria would have thought of that.


Friday, May 20, 2011

i love the way you lie.

I decided to respond to T because I was feeling guilty.  And because, to be honest, I wanted to decide what to say for myself instead of letting him decide what Quiet means.  I talked about Topsy & Tim at the Seaside rather than about what he wrote to me, and this was one of those things that might appear quirky and cute but is really just a distraction from Things I Do Not Want To Talk About. 


This is my fourth year working at the school I'm at, and having invested enough time to earn a permanent contract for the first time in a very long time, I have also invested enough time to have infiltrated the Cool Teachers Club.  (The first rule of Cool Teachers Club is Don't Talk About Cool Teachers Club.  I might get kicked out for this.)

You know the Cool Teachers by the way they get to go on all the cool field trips, the kind of field trips that allow them to wear sunglasses and stick their legs in hot tubs laughing and talking to each other and ignoring the 100 teenagers they are supposed to be supervising.  You can tell them apart from the Uncool Teachers who do not get invited to go on the cool field trips, who instead get recruited to supervise the Kids Who Got Left Behind at School Club because they're allergic to bees, grass, peanut butter, sunshine, and fun. This year I was promoted; I get to supervise the year end water slide field trip.  Not sure what I did to up my status this year but I'm looking forward to taking my place in my new clique next to Playoff Beard, Tattoo Sleeves, Olympic Almost, Stand Up Comedian, and Smokes a Lot of Pot.  (My name will be Lawn Tractor.)

There are six teachers in the Cool Teachers Club, four males and, including me, two females.  It took them far too long to notice how extraordinarily cool I am, but I have finally arrived.  I wonder what more is left for me to achieve in this world.