Monday, March 31, 2014

for all of us

Vandals have damaged the lions in Stanley Park, smashing off their faces.  According to the newspaper, it isn't the first time the lions have been attacked like this.  I try to get myself inside the mind of someone who makes the decision to do this.  Unlike going at a wall (or a statue) with a can of spray paint, this kind of vandalism requires more forethought, more planning.  Presumably it requires acquiring and lugging heavy tools to the site, and also, presumably, a certain degree of anger.  But why.

I vandalised a wall, once, when I was in high school, which is why I feel as though I should be able to understand the lion-smasher's motivation.  I took a thick, black marker and wrote in enormous block capital letters something I thought was profound and poetic.  Something I thought might turn the stupid world around and help it understand.  When I returned to the scene of the crime half an hour later (as criminals are wont to do) I was greatly disappointed to find my pain had been erased easily, without leaving the slightest trace.  A fuzzy cloth and a spray of some sort of chemical had taken it completely away.

So I see how a vandal chooses to make a bolder statement, a statement that is not so easily erased.  But I wonder if this statement is also poetic and profound, filled with pain and pleading.  Or is it just stupidity.


Saturday, March 29, 2014


Italy - Milan was beautiful, and Cinque Terre was totally unbelievable.  I believed I could live life at this pace, particularly in the off-season, with so few people around.  I could even climb 380 steps every day if I needed to, to get that peace, and space, and silence.

Monaco - Monte Carlo was simultaneously beautiful and disgusting, all that opulence and flaunting of money was a bit nauseating.  I enjoyed it thoroughly; I would never live there.

France - Nice was also lovely, more like a real city, busy but liveable.  I managed better here because I could speak the language and read the signs.  My travelling companions were less keen on France than I was.  Vence, in particular, was fantastic.  Living in a tiny, quiet, medieval village would be okay with me.

Spain - I loved Barcelona, loved the excitement downtown, the inexplicable parades, spontaneous protests and demonstrations, the gorgeous buildings, the cliffs of Monteserrat.  But Spain was cold.  And it was even colder in Madrid.  The Royal Palace was astounding, as was the Prado Museum.  Watching football at the stadium was like nothing I have ever experienced in my life.

Then Lufthansa went on strike and things went a bit awry.  But we got an extra free day in Madrid to see the Templo de Debod, an ancient Egyptian temple, and time to wander aimlessly sipping cappuccino and watching people.

The journey home was hairy as a result, a patchwork travel itinerary which landed us in the States instead of Canada, where my luggage went missing, and capped off with a three hour bus ride on a broken bus which honked every time the driver adjusted the steering wheel.  It was all worth it.


Sunday, March 16, 2014


Tomorrow we are leaving for Italy.  Then France, then Spain.  I have not packed yet, a problem I am dealing with by thinking about how I should have packed already.  But not, you know, actually packing.  I do not understand people who begin packing weeks before they go somewhere.  What makes people think they won't need their toothbrush or their blue sweater in the time before they leave?  I am a day of kind of packer.   When I am going far and going for awhile, I might be organized enough to make a list, but that's the best I can manage.


Friday, March 14, 2014


On the weekend I got a letter from M.  I haven't spoken with him in a number of years, not since maybe 2004.  So ten years, maybe more.  He wrote to tell me he had heard about my sister's death, and wanted to offer his condolences.  He wanted to tell me the things he remembered, the things he had thought about.  Back then, and recently too.

I met M at a time when things were messy.  But that thing psychologists tell you about how children do not know that their lives aren't normal because they assume everyone lives just the same way they do -- that thing is true.  And not only for children, for adults too.  At least for young adults.  So I met M at a time when things were messy, but I did not know that things were messy because I was accustomed to the mess.  I did not know I was a mess because I thought everyone was like me.

By the time I figured out what a mess I had been, M had distanced himself, which is only evidence of his good mental health and strong survival instincts.  He knew better than to latch onto a sinking ship, but he stayed in touch, just from a safe distance.  A letter here and there.  I do not know why, because I was obviously not good to him, or good for him.  And sometimes I appreciated it and sometimes I did not.

This time the letter came at a time when I could appreciate its sincerity, his sincerity, and the type of person he really was.  Is.  All of which I have rarely recognized.  And it makes me feel lucky that people like this still see me as being worth making the effort to communicate with.  And it makes me wonder why.


Thursday, March 13, 2014

tap in

So here's what happened, sorta.  I am a direct line from union to staff, meaning it is my job to deliver the union's message and help them interpret it.  (Sometimes the union is displeased with the fact that I take that second step because it means that people come up with their own opinions instead of my telling them what their opinions should be.)  Anyway, I wrote something to help my staff understand the latest, as we are poised to strike.  Somehow my written explanation got leaked to the press, and within 48 hours of my having written it, it was all over the news, being referred to as "the mysterious document".  Many people in grey suits had copies of it, and were discussing it in legislature.  Many news reporters had it.  Many many newspapers printed it.  All very startling.  Perhaps I am more naive than I think I am; when I wrote and distributed this document I really just thought I was helping my staff understand a set of complex issues.  Apparently I actually released a whole lot of terribly secret information.  Oops.


Went to the art gallery yesterday as a teacher chaperone - which was a very welcome break from the classroom.   I think I like Art students better than Drama students at this point in my career.  I feel as though I have lost control of my program because Crazy Sue is still entitled to her job, even though she chooses not to do it.  This means we MUST assign those blocks to a substitute teacher for eternity, or until Crazy Sue relinquishes them.  And that means I will never get to have those classes, even though I am more qualified to teach them than Crazy Sue and certainly more invested than any substitute teacher on a temporary contract.  And again, my union protects those who need to be snipped.


Only five days 'til Europe.


Sunday, March 09, 2014


I am still a bit nervous about the potential for getting in huge trouble for what happened, which is why I am not telling it - yet.  But let me just say I have never been in the news so much in my life, not even when I was doing a lot of acting and seeing play reviews in the paper fairly often.  But no one knows it is me, so shhhh.

Shawn got me an iPad for my birthday, which was sweet of him, so now I am trying to learn how to use it.  It is very intuitive, and my only problem so far is that that keyboard is so different from using a real keyboard that I am having trouble typing at my usual speed.  On a regular keyboard I am a fast, secretary fast, typist.  On the iPad, I am a plodding typist, forward and back, correcting and fixing all my mistakes.  I think there's an option to add a real keyboard, but once one does that, I wonder how is it different from just using my laptop?  We have a lot of gadgets in our house, more than we need, more than we can really use.

This weekend has gone  by so fast, mostly because it has been so busy.  Friday night my mother-in-law took me to see a show, and then last night we had dinner with the rest of the family to celebrate the aging process.  They insisted on telling the waitress (bleh) who made a big deal about how I look much younger than I am, which I appreciate, but of course she was working on her tip so I didn't take her too seriously.

Today Shawn and J have gone to a horse show, so it's just me and the pups.  And groceries and laundry.  Woohoo!


Thursday, March 06, 2014


maybe we'll talk about this later, when things have blown over.  Just in case.