Saturday, May 24, 2014


Twitter confuses me.  It is not that I have anything to say that needs to go out to the universe.  I just want to read what is being said about job action, because all the people with the reins are "tweeting" rather than talking.  The union tweets, the government tweets, the journalists tweet.  And I don't understand how to use it.  It is maddening.

Zuckerberg, any thoughts?


pseudoscientific discourse

One of those dreams again, those dreams in which I abandon good sense and succumb to seduction.  I never know if I am doing the seducing or being seduced.  (I never did then either, although you blame me.)  It alarms me how real these dreams feel, how long it takes upon waking for pulse and breath to return to stasis.  The ending of this one was different though.


Wednesday, May 21, 2014


"That night I lost you, I lost something inside me.  Or perhaps several things.  Something central to my existence, the very support for who I am as a person."
- Haruki Murakami, IQ84


Monday, May 19, 2014

in preparation

Miriam Toewes has written another book:  All My Puny Sorrows.  I keep a list of books I want to read in the "notes" section of my phone, and sometimes I take photographs of book covers when I am at the bookstore, and store them.  I like this method of keeping track.  I used to write myself scraps of paper and then lose them, or store notes in my brain where they were even more likely to get lost.  Miriam Toewes is a very interesting modern Canadian writer.  I like her enormous East of Winter Prairies wheat fields, and her great big skies; they remind me of mine.


Shawn and I had a final discussion with the Island Opportunity folk this morning at 7am, which is too early to be discussing finances, honestly, but it was necessary.  We have decided not to move to the Island now, now that things have worked out for me at the school, and while J is in transition between high school and post-secondary.  Maybe the Island is a better place to vacation than to work.  We are going next weekend to look at it again, with other ideas in mind.  Summer cabin?  We said goodbye to our Island connection (for now), which was sort of difficult, but we left a stopper in the door so it wouldn't slam shut completely.


A former colleague contacted me asking for help.  Help was to come in the form of a letter attesting to an incident I witnessed last year, an incident for which she has been suspended from work.  I thought about all those people who promised to help me out with my problem at work, and then chickened out. And then I wrote the letter.  I am not going to be one of those people who is afraid to speak out for what is right, even when it puts me on the wrong side of the administration.


The play wrapped up on Thursday night and the kids were great this time, cured of last semester's case of diva-ism by my temper tantrum, perhaps?  Or maybe they've just grown up a bit since then.  They gave me an engraved picture frame containing a photo of all of them, which was a brilliant gift, the lead actor and actress gave a short speech about their appreciation of the Drama program, and they all choreographed and performed a hilarious dance for me at the end of the show to "I Had The Time of My Life".  A much better note on which to end.  I experienced a restoration of faith in the goodness of teenagers.


Saturday, May 17, 2014


Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking.  I read this book because it was recommended by a colleague who did not know he was recommending it to me.  He mentioned seeing a former colleague out in the world one day, and although he only said hello to her, he returned with all kinds of opinions about how she was doing and what was happening in her life.  I told him he could not possibly know these things, and he told me that according to Blink, he certainly could.  So I read it.  It was interesting, and made some sense of inner feelings that I have thought of as hunches, inexplicable knowings.  There is a science to this stuff, which pleases me, as I like science very much.

Now I am reading The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, which is also nonfiction, a genre I have mostly neglected but now read with increasing frequency.  Henrietta Lacks is about genetic coding and DNA and cancer, and the life of a woman who was exploited by the medical system.  Also very interesting, recommended by my mother, who no longer reads books, she says, because she prefers sudoku.

The sudoku thing troubles me, somewhat, because my mother is (was?) a serious reader.  Now she claims she cannot concentrate long enough to read a book, which is bizarre.  What is happening to her?  She has always had a fear of dementia, which she instilled in me, and when I was a child she asked me to promise I would poison her if she ever showed signs of dementia, rather than allowing her to live encapsulated in madness.  "Slip it in the tea", she said.  I would repeat it.  "In the tea."  Sometimes in public places we would see an elderly person mumbling to himself, drooling a bit, looking dishevelled and behaving strangely.  My mother would give me a pointed look, and remind me, "In the tea."  


Saturday, May 10, 2014

you can try to smoke an ounce to this

There is a secret I seldom share, but you deserve to know the truth about me.  I love love love...

I love Eminem.  And I love Public Enemy.  And Heavy D, and Busta Rhymes, and Ice Cube and Missy Elliot and Dr. Dre.

There.  Now you know.


sounds like

Ophelia is better again, running around the house, pole vaulting off the furniture, acting like nothing happened on Thursday.  I wonder if these episodes could be connected to the injections the vet is giving her to manage her arthritis.  Is that possible?  The attacks seem to line up with the injections, timing-wise.  Or maybe I am just looking for ways to explain and take control of the simple fact she, and all of us, are getting older and more frail.  In any case, I am happy to see Ophelia chomping on her treats, and barking at squirrels in the yard, and chasing the boy dogs, and being her usual sassy self.


My job is officially safe now.  My principal came to tell me after school on Friday.  What a lot of drama for nothing.  Apparently someone (don't know whether it was union or employer) convinced Crazy Sue to let go of her position at my school.  I think she gets a more desirable job somewhere else as a reward for cooperating, but about that I could not possibly care less.  As long as she is finally, and permanently, out of my hair, I do not care if karma manages to kick her teeth out or not.

This halts our discussions about moving and becoming Islanders - for now, but not permanently.  Eventually I think we will still make this move, but it will be nicer to do it on our own terms and our own timeline, as opposed to being rushed by things out of our control.

This should be my last post about Crazy Sue.  Ever.



I went to BB's house with another colleague last night, and we talked for hours and ate a lot of unhealthy things.  This was fun.  I wonder why I am usually such a hermit.


Thursday, May 08, 2014

miracles and fibrocartilaginous embolisms

My union representative phoned me today and apologized for her ineffective communication.  A miracle.  An apology and an acknowledgment of accountability from someone in the union.  It's practically unheard of.  She also alluded to the possibility that my job might be safe after all as there may be "some movement" on Crazy Sue's part in her decision to take a neverending medical leave.  She also told me not to celebrate until papers have been signed because Crazy Sue still holds the cards and can change her mind until she has signed.  (I am still going to celebrate the apology from the union representative, because that truly is something.)  We had a long conversation about union politics and union bullshit, and I learned that she is one of those people who is much better in conversation than in writing.  In conversation, she made more sense, was not abrupt and rude, and managed to leave me feeling like she was making an effort.  It's a shame I needed to throw such a tantrum to get this kind of reaction, but I am glad that I did, no matter the outcome.


Ophelia continues to have trouble with her back legs.  Sometimes they work, every once in a while they stop working.  Each time we don't know if they'll come back.  It's scary.  I hate watching her age.  (I hate watching everyone I love age.  I hate watching myself age.)  I do not know how long we have left with her, and it makes me terribly sad.


Monday, May 05, 2014


I am puzzled by my husband.  Sometimes I sneak peeks at him across the top of my book as I pretend I am reading, trying to figure out what happened, how I ended up married to him.  He makes no sense.  I am watching his hair turn silver.  (This surprises me too.  My own hair is not turning silver, rather growing platinum blonde streaks.)   His hair is short, his nails are clean.  He eats a lot of peanut butter.  He listens to terrible music composed by machines, comprised of thumping noises and electronic beeps. He says this helps him think.  He drives a stupid penis car.  He reads science fiction and fantasy books. He plays video games.

It doesn't make sense because he was supposed to be a poet.  Maybe a novelist.  I would have made a good wife-of-a-novelist.  He was supposed to be interested in growing organic vegetables in the garden and composting and composing.  He was supposed to have long hair and ratty facial hair and ink stains on this fingertips.  Wear some flannel, man.  And he was supposed to smoke once in awhile.  Not excessively.  But enough that I could get away with doing it once in awhile too.   And he was supposed to read and discuss novels with me, and enjoy coffee shops and want to build things in the garage made from reclaimed wood.  He was supposed to talk to me about sustainability.

I dunno.  When you try to decide who someone else is supposed to be you're probably wrong.  Maybe I don't even know who I am supposed to be.  Strange that this stranger fits me so well. 


Sunday, May 04, 2014

millers and mills

Around this time nine years ago, Brenda Miller wrote me an obnoxious letter complaining that she figured I had probably rigged the junior high talent show, thus preventing her daughter from winning the prize to which she was entitled.  When I received that letter, I knew I was leaving my school in six weeks and wouldn't be back, because we were moving.

Knowing that I did not need to preserve my relationship with Brenda Miller and her underappreciated, talented daughter, nor my relationship with my administration, I wrote back to Brenda Miller all the things I always want to say to parents who make these kinds of insulting accusations.  I tallied up how many volunteer hours (mine, other teachers, and students) went into creating the talent show so that her daughter could have the opportunity to perform in front of an audience.  I told her how to go about hiring better qualified judges, how to rent a venue, and how to put on her own talent show next year.  And then I mailed her back her two dollar entry fee.  It was very satisfying.

Now I find myself in the same boat with nothing to lose as the end of the school year approaches.  No relationships that need protecting.  And I have taken the opportunity to let my local union vice president know that she is unreliable, incompetent, and a poor communicator.  I have forwarded my observations to the provincial office.  This has also been satisfying.  It has also evoked a flurry of communication that everyone was somehow too busy to manage when I asked for it earlier.  Hah.