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.