Saturday, December 31, 2016


Yesterday I went to the DMV to get my drivers' license renewed.  My drivers' license, it turns out, has been expired since the beginning of March, making it nearly ten months since I have been a legal driver.  Fortunately this discovery was not made in any of the terrible possible ways it could have been.  It was made when I was renewing my car registration and the agent asked to see my license.  (I  only remembered to renew my registration because Shawn said so.  When I was single, the registration used to lapse too.)

The agent at the DMV was quite surprised to see how long I had been driving illegally and she reminded me how lucky I was not to have been caught.  I was halfway expecting her to demand I take another road test, but she didn't.

This probably has something to do with the fact that I rarely open my own mail;  like a fifties housewife, I assume all the official looking pieces of paper are for The Man of the House and don't trouble myself with them.  I suspect the DMV sent me some sort of reminder in the mail, but who knows.

(Note to self: renew passport in nine years.  Yeah right.)


J has been with us over Christmas, which has been fun.  We went to high school with J, and he lived with us for about a year during his divorce.  He is our friend, but he is also our fledgling who we encourage to fly when he can.  (But we let him back in the nest when it gets too cold.)  Like me, J thinks himself in circles about his own behaviours and asks himself why he does everything he does.  He is both exasperating and charming (perhaps this is a self-reflection) and yesterday I was ready to strangle him until he told me I reminded him of Leslie Mann which startled me because lately I have been reminding myself of a Garfield cartoon... eating and sleeping and doing absolutely nothing.

J would like to be a photographer.  He takes pictures of everything we do, which is difficult for a self-conscious person like me, but over time I start to forget he's doing it.  A nice thing about J is that he makes me look better in his photographs of me than I do in real life.  And that must mean he is good at what he does.


Which reminds me:

On Christmas Day we went to my sister-in-law's new place with all of Shawn's family.  His family is fun to spend time with - and drink with.  I drank a lot of wine.  Near the end of the evening, his beautiful twin sisters cornered me in the kitchen and demanded to know if I use Botox.  They seemed skeptical of my drunken denials, which is funny because I am always (only half-jokingly) telling Shawn I should use Botox (he thinks not).  They told me that they both do (they are only 30) and they thought I had been using it for years and they wanted to exchange information with me about where to go and blah blah blah.  I had nothing to contribute and they were disappointed.

I think this is a generational thing, the different views people take on Botox and things like it.  Or perhaps it is about how we have been raised.  Wherever it comes from, my sneaking feeling is that people who indulge in cosmetic alterations are shallow and vain - and therefore I try to pretend I don't think about these things, lest I be perceived that way.  The thirty-somethings don't feel that way.  They think they are brilliant for outsmarting the aging process and why shouldn't they share that information with anyone else who might benefit from learning about it.

So when I woke up the next morning feeling both hungover and vaguely insulted that my sister-in-laws thought I was a Botox user, I needed to remind myself that they thought it was a compliment.  Not only to my face but to my brain for figuring out how to be so clever.


Sunday, December 18, 2016


There has been continuous snow for ten days now, and the result has been the best bird show my yard has ever seen.  I think I must be the only person in the neighbourhood putting out bird food, and the poor things are cold and hungry.  We have several hanging feeders with various types of seeds and suet, and I always sprinkle seeds and peanuts at the base of the trees for the squirrels and shy birds who won't come out to the feeders.  Shawn has rigged a heat lamp close to the hummingbird feeder to stop it from freezing.  The yard is teeming with wildlife.  Squirrels, raccoons, wrens, starlings, finches, bushtits, jays, crows, redwinged blackbirds, spotted towhees, sparrows, Northern flickers, downy woodpeckers, and more.  They visit all day long.  And I take my job seriously.  I go outside regularly to refill the food.

I bring the hummingbird feeder in at night to prevent it from freezing, and turn off the heat  lamp.  And then bring it back out in the morning before first light, which is when the hummingbirds start looking for it.  This morning I must have been five minutes late with the feeder because the hummingbirds were already out there.  I could hear the buzz of their wings.  To my complete amazement, a hummingbird landed on it while it was still in my hands and began to drink from it.  I thought he would be nervous, being so close to a human, but he did not seem to be concerned in the least.  He stayed for several minutes, inches away from my face, so close that when he flew away I could feel the breeze from his wings against my cheek.  This was a beautiful way to begin the day.

I am grateful to live in a beautiful place where I have enough land of my own to have some distance from my neighbours.  This distance from them allows me to be closer to other things that matter to me and bring me a fulfillment of spirituality.

Sometimes people ask me about my job, how it is possible to spend so much time up close and personal with other people's pain, and not absorb it.  But that isn't my nature.  My nature is to reflect upon the beauty of my own life by contrast, and remember how fortunate I have been.


Thursday, December 08, 2016

annual emissions.

Today was exhausting.  I had a student throw a continuous temper tantrum from 8:15 in the morning until he went home at 2:45.  I took some breaks from his tantrum (short ones) to deal with other students.  During my breaks from him, he considerately moved his tantrum into the Counselling waiting area.  And then when I was done, he would bring it back into my office.  This is just the beginning of my Counselling career so perhaps it is lack of experience speaking, but this surprised me.  I was surprised by how long he could spin round the same issue without having any new insights, without having any breaks, without budging even slightly from his belief that the world had conspired against him and he had no part in landing himself in a difficult situation.  I was surprised by my inability to get him to move at all.  He cried, he punched walls.  He punched himself in the face.  He cried more.  I took a lot of deep breaths but couldn't get him to take any.


I spent Wednesday night cleaning my sister's house in my dreams.  I did this a couple of times in reality too over the years.  If you saw my sister's home you would probably assume she was a hoarder, but I do not think she truly was.  Her home was buried in junk, to be sure, but it wasn't the purposeful collecting that I associate with hoarding.  I think it was more like a symptom of her other illnesses.  Her depression, her drug addiction, her borderline personality disorder.  Garbage took over, but not because she hoarded it, more because she was uninspired to remove it.  And we could all be buried in garbage this way if we never had the energy to take our garbage outside.  Couldn't we?

I look strangely forward to Garbage Day because I like getting clutter out of my house, and out of my life.  Clutter makes me feel suffocated, which certainly does not mean I am a good housekeeper, but I do make a regular and concerted effort to move garbage from my house to the curb as often as the city is willing to take it away.

There was no progress made on the hoard where I wasted my night working.  The reason for my participation in the project (again) was unclear.


By tomorrow evening we are meant to be buried in snow.  This city does not manage snow well because snow is somewhat rare.  And it is a different type of snow than the type with which I grew up.  Prairie snow is light, dry, and dusty, and drifts and swirls around the edges of the highway.  It accumulates, of course, because it is too cold for it to melt, but it remains powdery, ashy almost, and does not stick to itself or much else.

Coastal snow is heavy wet sodden dropping ice bombs off bridges and choking traffic, clogging the sewer system and suffocating the roadways.  We are frozen, but we are not frozen solid.  We slide, we collide, we lose control of everything.  Schools, however, never close.


Tuesday, December 06, 2016

stop trying

In the last two weeks, two of my three administrators have told me that I am wonderful.  I want to tell them that I have worked here for nine years and I have always been wonderful - and what has taken them so long to notice?  But instead I say thank you.  Because that's what you say when people say nice things to you.  And I do appreciate that they have noticed the wonder that is me.  (Except that third one.  What's her problem?)


Monday, December 05, 2016

to apply

It does not seem long ago that words were like toys, fascinating toys like puzzle pieces that could fit together a million ways to create a million different pictures.  There was joy in stringing them together, stretching the string and watching it snap, feeling their reverberations bounce off my throat.  Mixing and swapping words, testing different combinations and using them to change tones.  Playing with their subtlety and brutality.  My ability to command them has slipped lately, and they have become utilitarian, meant for giving instructions or responding to instructions, conveying meaning rather than feeling, and I have not missed (much) their other uses.  Why?  So many words go in but not many come out.  I think instead.  In pictures.


Saturday, November 26, 2016

let me down gently

On Thursday afternoon one of my students was arrested by police and taken from the school in handcuffs.  Details are sparse, but it appears he made a threat to his previous school, the school that expelled him for bringing a knife to class.  This is a troubling thing, particularly troubling because we knew that this was likely to happen.  We knew he presented a danger.  We knew he was mentally unwell.  We rang the alarm bell and nothing happened to prevent it anyway.  Because we live in Canada, it is more difficult - but not impossible - for a teenager to get ahold of a gun, and I have no doubt that if he could have found one, he would have used it.  In our debrief of this incident, I wonder if this will come up as part of the conversation, the fact that we knew this was coming, and were powerless to stop it anyway.


My family has left me alone for the weekend, and I am enjoying the quiet.  Although I no longer enjoy extended periods of aloneness the way I used to, I do enjoy a few days to myself with no one to comment upon my quirky eating habits or to suggest I put on clothes instead of spending the whole day in pyjamas.


Tomorrow I am volunteering to serve breakfast at a local shelter.  I have to be there at 7am, which is not particularly early for me, but will be painful for the students who are coming with me as they are accustomed to an 8:30 start.  I appreciate their spirit of outreach, a spirit that I do not recall possessing at seventeen, at least not in a way I could turn into action.  My seventeen-year old outreach involved making what I thought was meaningful graffiti, and protesting animal cruelty by (timidly and halfheartedly) mumbling comments at people wearing fur.


Friday, November 11, 2016

indulging in my self-defeat

This morning I started out with a plan to walk but could not stop my feet from running instead.  It was a victory celebration of long weekends, dry sidewalks, and of fully caffeinated coffee.  Joie de vivre.  Things will be fine.


Saturday, November 05, 2016

something to see

Physiotherapy stirs up the vertigo ad spins it around a bit, so it can settle back in a tidier way.  The sensation is slightly anxiety-provoking; I tell myself I should drink more wine to increase my comfort with dizziness.  The physiotherapist laughs at me.  This was an inside thought that escaped.


We went for lunch with B and N at an Indian restaurant.  Most of the time I think food is for keeping me alive, but Indian food is for loving.  I make a terrible lunch companion because I am focused on the food rather than the company.  (If you want my full attention, invite me out for steak.  I'll talk to you the whole time and you can take home my meal in a doggie bag.)


Shawn bought an enormous kayak.  I still don't believe it will fit in the garage.  He has big plans for us this summer, which I find hard to imagine as it has barely stopped raining the entire last month.


A. sent me a message on behalf of C.  He does that when he is drunk and I hate it.  I do not like being told to contact her.  And I do not like A, not even a little bit.  His Colin Farrell thing is revolting.  I keep trying to like A. and it won't take.


Saturday, October 29, 2016

falling all over myself to lick your heart and taste your health

It has been nearly a year and a half since my first episode of vertigo and it has settled down signifcantly since then.  I feel normal during normal activities.  Sitting, walking, standing, even running.  No problem.  It is the less common head positions that have remained problematic.  Dentist chair tipping, sleeping on the "wrong" side, and of course the dreaded yoga inversion.  These kinds of things leave me wobbly.  But why?  After so much time, why?

I went to see another physiotherapist yesterday.  (My first one was yummy, and perhaps this allowed me to not notice that he wasn't fixing me.  Instead I was taken in by his deep brown, almost black eyes.  His accent.  His stories about his country.  Maybe.  Maybe not.)  The new physiotherapist is younger, with red hair and thick glasses, horrifyingly crooked teeth and man-boobs.  And still, by the end of the session I wanted to cuddle with him.  I think it was because he is so smart.  He had no distracting stories to tell me about India (because he grew up in Richmond) but he knew more about vestibular disorders than anyone I have spoken to so far, including the Ear/Nose/Throat doctor who was supposed to be god's gift to vestibular medicine.  (Nope.)  (It occurs to me to note that the ENT probably knows more but he articulated nothing.  And surely that matters at least as much, if not more.  What good is knowledge if one does not use it to educate others?)

The physiotherapist conducted all kinds of tests I have not yet had, and what was more than that, he asked me a lot of questions that no one has ever asked me about what happened.  After all of this, he concluded that my vestibular problem was probably more complex than had been diagnosed by my doctor (who conceded he knew very little about BPPV), and therefore requires a more complex course of treatment.  This could be distressing, but it isn't because I have had no treatment at all, and been left alone to try and sort myself out for the last year and a half, and having someone tell me he has ways to help is actually highly encouraging.  This physiotherapist sent me home with homework, and a new hope that one day I will do yoga again without being afraid of falling over.  And this makes me glad I decided to give physiotherapy another try.


My new job is a huge job.  It wrings from me things that are frightening and heartbreaking.  Some days I go home and think I am a terrible, useless counsellor.  But it also allows me to shine in ways I have never done in my other job, to be creative and smart and helpful - and when I recognize - or better, when someone tells me - I have done well, I am elated.

At the start of the year I registered a new grade twelve student who was part boy, mostly turtle, tucked so far into himself I could barely see him.  I enrolled him in his classes and wished him a happy year, and gently reminded him that counsellors were also for counselling, should the need ever come up.  Just saying.  And miraculously, he did come back.  And we have been working together since then.  And he's getting better.  He really is.  He is smiling now, he is forgiving himself for a million human flaws that used to fill him with self-loathing.  He has friends.  He is flirting with a girl in the library.  These small successes, although they belong to their owners, spill over onto me and fill me up to almost exploding.  

In my other job, I did these things too, but I did them off the side of my desk.  Now they are my main purpose, and being paid to help people feel happier and better about themselves seems impossibly too good to be true.  So when I fuck up someone's schedule from time to time, I will forgive myself as lightly as I can.


Thursday, July 28, 2016


In the summer I throw things in the garbage.  I eat blackberries and I clean my drawers.  I scrub floors I sweep I vaccuum I organize.  And I eat berries, a lot of berries, because berries help me clean things.  I found the program from Lison's funeral with CC's poem on the back.  I tried to throw it away but could not quite.  But threw away all the empty shampoo bottles, the little vials and wrappers and tubes that somehow collect.  How can one person use this many products?  Only half of each one before moving on to another.  I threw them away, I threw them all away, scrubbed the counters, folded the clothes into pretend file folders standing upright so I could see each one waiting to be worn.

I watched my hands cut avocados, I watched my hands turn into my mother's hands.  The way she peels an avocado makes me angry, as if she means to make me angry, as if she wants avocado pulp under her nails.  As if there isn't a better way to do it.  She knows there is a better way to do it because we have told her; she is being perverse.  I cut the first one her way, I cut the second one my way.  They both tasted the same.  I wonder whether I admire that kind of stubbornness, if I like it in myself when I catch it.  I wonder if she reflects upon these things as I do when she cuts avocados.

Tomorrow Shawn will be home.  He has been summoned to head office to solve Problems, and so he has solved them, while I have eaten berries and trimmed trees and thrown a lot of things in the garbage. I eat better when he is away.  I clean more.  Because I miss him, and I have grown dependant, I must do more with myself to compensate for his absence.  I went to yoga, I walked the dogs.  I collapsed the cardboard boxes and made them all so flat.


Tuesday, July 12, 2016

a chase would be nice for a few

R phoned me tonight to ask about the potential for an investigation.  The conversation was very one-sided.  It was interesting to listen to him talk, mostly to himself, and rewrite the facts.  He retold me a story that we both know is not true, but I found myself unable to dispute it.  And it made me wonder if he has forgotten that I know what really happened, and if he has convinced himself that the new version is the real one.  It also makes me wonder if it is possible that I am the one who does not know the facts, and if it is at all possible that I have remembered things incorrectly.  In any case, I said very little because I was listening carefully.  If there is an investigation, I wonder if I am permitted to refuse to participate, having no interest in getting anybody into trouble, and wanting only for the victim to be safe from further humiliation.


E has asked me if I will read her daughter's diary and discuss it with her.  I said I would, although the thought is frightening.  I expect her diary will be painful to read.  And I want to help support E in her grief, although I am unsure if this is really a good way to accomplish that.  Sometimes people want things that aren't good for them.


Saturday, July 09, 2016

to taste life twice

I took a writing class, once, with a (semi)famous Canadian writer.  She said that she wrote a story about an abusive father; her own father had since passed away.  She said her mother chided her for writing this character, said her father was not so harsh, making the assumption that the character was based upon her real father.  And of course, he was.  But not entirely.  And that is the wonderful, terrible thing about publishing fiction.  People who know you look for themselves in your characters --  and are hurt when they do.

When my mother wrote her book, I did not have to look very hard for myself, because her work was categorized as non-fiction, and the character based upon me bore my name.  Memoirs (and memories) are strange the way they anchor themselves in the non-fiction section, but drift toward fiction in the bumpy parts.  The way we fill in the parts we cannot quite remember so seamlessly that even the writer does not know she has deviated from the facts.  The way no one can be sure they know the facts any more than anyone else does, no matter how clear the memories seem.

When I write, I do not publish anything using my real name.  I do not want anyone to recognize fragments of conversations we have had, or how my mind has dissected and reorganized these things.  I do not wish you to know that I was always thinking about your hands when you were talking to me.  I do not want you to know that I put my hand inside your coat pocket when you left the room for a moment - because I wanted to put my hand some place I knew your hand had been.


Tuesday, July 05, 2016

clearance event

Ellen found her daughter's diary, and has read it.  She says she wishes she had not done this; I wish she had not too.  She blames herself for her daughter's death.  She thinks she failed her.

I have tried to explain to her about diaries.  People who don't keep them do not understand how a diary does not reflect a whole person.  People think diaries are truthful because they are private ~ but they forget how we censor ourselves, even unintentionally, when we write them, because we write what is burning us, we write what is drowning us, we write what overfills and starves us.  But we almost never write, Everything is ordinary.  I have no strong feelings about anything.  It's all okay.  Those kinds of thoughts rarely inspire much writing.

Wrapped in the centre of my ache for Ellen is the growing awareness that I must do something about my own diaries.  Not that I have any plans of offing myself, but one never knows what unexpected things may happen.  If I should happen to be killed in a car accident or carried off and eaten by a giant bird, I would not like my diaries to be found by anyone who loved me in case they took them as truth.  The Whole Truth.  And blamed themselves for anything.

Loved ones, if I am dead and you are reading this, I implore you to stop it immediately.


Monday, July 04, 2016

Well that was disappointing.  BPPV is NOT over.  Very early in the series (pada hastasana) something shook loose in my ear and the dizziness came back.  Just like that.  So incredibly frustrating.  What happens now?  I'm not sure.  I tried to do the maneuvers to undizzy myself, and they didn't work.  (They need to provoke dizziness in order to correct it, and I could not get that to happen again.)

I think I need to keep going to yoga and see if I can push through this thing.  I cannot bear waiting for it to heal itself any longer.  I am planning to go back tomorrow.  And I am scared.


Saturday, July 02, 2016

I like the flower but not the garden

It has been fifteen months since BPPV first struck, rendering me dizzy and disoriented.  I wondered at the time if I was having a stroke, but my thoughts were so clear, it seemed unlikely.  The fact I could not walk without falling down was puzzling, however.  And frightening.

Months of physiotherapy and canalith repositioning maneuvers were nearly completely futile.  The good news is that is the body heals itself anyway, eventually.  It just takes longer than one would hope. It has now been nearly four months since the last episode of dizziness, the longest since it first began.  Long enough that I have begun to sleep on the "wrong" side again with no negative repercussions.  Long enough that I have repurchased my yoga membership because I feel confident(ish) that I can finally tip myself upsidedown without becoming unable to return to the upright position.  This is a test I will undertake on Monday with some trepidation - but I think it's going to be okay.


Tuesday, June 28, 2016

public relations

Yesterday was the first time in my career I have entered a school during summer vacation.  Never have I been the sort of worker who is excited enough - or conscientious enough - to work in the summer.  But yesterday I did it.  With a can of paint, roller and brush, and a roll of masking tape, I snuck into my office to repaint it, breaking every rule I have had drilled into me in this province about how you cannot do a union worker's work without facing the Wrath of BC Fed.

But it wouldn't be summer if I did not paint something.

And my new office was disgusting.  Disgusting.  A counselling office should not look like the person who owns it is in the midst of a mental breakdown.  And that is exactly how it looked.  Papers exploded everywhere on the walls, haphazard and crinkled.  Pin holes everywhere.  Scuffs and dirt and coffee stains and chaos.  And residual sadness.

I had a plan to restore order, which is not generally my strong suit, but it is less precious to throw other people's memories and treasures in the garbage, and so I embarked upon it with purpose and clarity.  It began with paint, and culminated in ruthless weeding.

CM stopped by to see me just as I was finishing.  I was frightened to some degree, because CM has always struck me as humourless and severe.  But she has been different with me since January when it first came clear that we would potentially be working together in a different capacity.  She has occasionally treated me as though she can see me.  It has been unpredictable, off and on.

And yesterday when she stepped into my office and looked around, my heart stopped momentarily.  She took it all in, and complimented me on the cleanliness of the space.  But I could see her nose twitching like a bunny's, and I knew I was busted.  Finally she just asked, Did you paint in here?

I couldn't really deny it.  So I blamed Rick instead.  Which is absurd because Rick doesn't work here anymore.  She laughed (laughed!!!) and said that if I wanted to paint the conference room too she would pretend not to notice that as well.

If I tried this in another space, in another job within this same building, I would have been in trouble.  Moving upstairs means moving on up, and part of me finds this repugnant as hell, and part of me is just thrilled to finally feel some approval.  This is what would corrupt me if I became as frustratingly complacent as the rest of them.  Approval.  I want it.


Saturday, June 25, 2016

death doesn't make a sound but life is loud as hell

I dreamed I was standing on my old stage conducting a workshop on how to fly.  Ironic part was that I couldn't remember how to do it.


Ellen's daughter has died.  This information washes, overwashes like the incoming tide, and recedes.  Brackish words choke my airway.

I have accepted a new job.  This job has holes in the drywall and a stained carpet and expectations of unknowable heights, and I want to lead into it with HOPE.  The simple fact is that my entire perspective on everything changed in 48 hours.


There may be a requirement to participate in a workplace investigation, and I do not wish to participate.  I have no certainty of my rights in this sort of situation.  Can one refuse to give evidence against someone with whom one has a close relationship?  And should one do this?  It's positively Machiavellian.


Thursday, February 25, 2016

Big Apple

The thing that makes traveling alone difficult for me is not the isolation.  Being alone for a few days is not a problem.  The problem is the vulnerability, the sense of being at someone else's mercy.  When there is someone else to wait for you while you are randomly selected to win a free body scan with a side order of sarcasm, the vulnerability seems temporary and survivable.  When I do it alone I feel overwhelmed and must remind myself to not to hold my breath.  I taste blood from biting my lip.


Tuesday, February 23, 2016

You are the silence in between what I thought and what I said.

The grocery store gives you stickers, a number of stickers per hundred dollars spent.  You stick the stickers in the pamphlet so you don't lose them.  When you fill the pamphlet full of stickers you bring it back to the grocery store and give it to the cashier in the Customer Service booth, and she trades it for two beer glasses.  

W is a former student who works at the grocery store, and when we go through her line she gives us more stickers than she is supposed to.  "I'll hook you up," she says.  Our sticket pamphlet books are full, and full, and full.  Our cupboards are busting with beer glasses.  "At last," says Shawn.  "Your career is finally paying off for me."


SZ has gone to Korea to teach English.  She was a counselling project when I was a Masters student, a verbal sparring partner who told me I was not particularly helpful, and later I took her shopping to show her how an asexual person could dress for a job interview.  And now she writes to me when big things are happening in her life, like cutting off all her hair, or moving- indefinitely - to Korea.  My sense of what is healthy and what is functional has continued to evolve with her help.  She bakes me cookies.  I pick walnut shells out of my teeth and tell her I think she is perfect.


Wednesday, February 17, 2016

morning markets

Yesterday one of my grade ten boys asked me whether I considered him "sublime" or "ridiculous".  Fair question since I had recently told the class that their scenes ran the gamut from the sublime to the ridiculous.  (His was ridiculous, and I think he knew it.)  This conversation drew my attention to the fact that my reckless use of idioms might be confusing to my students who are still learning English.


Tomorrow I have taken the day off to go to a doctor appointment.  Another one of those five minute appointments that require me to book off a whole day of work.  This is a second appointment with the BPPV specialist, the point of which is unclear.  He says he can't do anything and that the problem will resolve itself, but meanwhile we should keep seeing each other.  Why?  Really, why?


Sunday, February 14, 2016

the best parts of lonely

On Friday, R mentioned that she felt something was up with BB because she has been extra vicious lately.  I said nothing but I know exactly what is up with BB.  She has been trying (unsuccessfully, so far) to conceive.  Apart from the fact that it signifies pain, I quite love it when BB is vicious.  There is a kind of vicarious satisfaction to be garnered from observing someone else trampling on delicate things that look too pretty to be useful or intelligent or real.  This is probably why reality television shows starring people who are mentally ill are very popular.  I hope BB gets pregnant but I am concerned that she won't, that the chemotherapy has done some damage.


I went back to Bikram yoga on Saturday at J's urging, and found it was completely possible to do the class without becoming dizzy.  It makes me wonder how much of my problem is psychological at this point, and how much is physical.  Fear has been preventing me from doing things that I can do.  This is important to remember.  However, I did not go back to yoga today, not because of dizziness but because I wanted to run outside in the rain instead.  (Sometimes I like that feeling of drowning a little from breathing cold humid air very fast.)


Thursday, February 11, 2016

season ending injuries

Sometimes I feel a bit betrayed when my regular news anchor gets a haircut.  Change is difficult for me.


RW is, I think, devastated that he will not be in Europe in March this year.  If I was RW's wife I could not help but be mildly insulted at how sad he is at the prospect of staying home with his family.  But I recognize it is not about them.  Unexpectedly I feel a little bit of it too.  This is the time of year when I am normally feeling wistful and slightly anxious about leaving my family.  To comfort himself, RW has begun to plan next year's trip.  If everything works out, we will go to Berlin next March.  Amsterdam.  And Paris.  I wish I could bring RW with me to New York in two weeks; he is a good travel companion.


Saturday, February 06, 2016

look for these titles

Sometimes "Linked In", in spite of the fact that I do not have an account, still invites me to reconnect with people I have forgotten.  Today it asked me to link with B, a woman who used to work with me before she left to become more important.  An edu-lebrity, a Ted Talk Queen, as if she wasn't enviable enough.  You know those types who post photos of themselves effortlessly hiking Machu Picchu when you're still trying to figure out how people remember to take their garbage bags outside consistently on garbage day.  I did not link.  Not out of spite, but because we are already linked in other ways.  (Linked enough for me to know about Machu Picchu.)  I have not yet determined why anyone wants to link with someone who works in public education as there is no networking involved in public service jobs, which is, incidentally, one of the main reasons I like this kind of work.


Wednesday, January 27, 2016

a new kind

It is only a month until I will be going to New York.  Travelling alone always makes me somewhat morose and turns what could otherwise be interpreted as adventures into missions.  Missions that require incredible resources of energy I feel certain I do not possess.  Every airport pat down leaves me feeling assaulted and small.  But New York.  Of course I am taking this trip.


Last night I did not sleep.  Instead I decided to spend the night worrying about who will be hired to teach in my space next semester during the time I am counselling.  My administrators are not trustworthy where it comes to hiring my roommate and I am nervous about who I will be living with.  It would be difficult to find someone as horrible as Crazy Sue, but it could happen.  It could and it might. I will sleep when I have more information.  Perhaps on my desk.

This week classes are suspended for exams, a strange thing since the province is doing away with provincial exams leaving us with five open days and very very few exams being written.  We won't get away with this for long, but for now it is a sweet restful week of catching up with colleagues I have not seen in a long time, tidying my desk (ha), and making personal phone calls to manage my life - all things I should have taken care of long ago.  (It is possible that I am actually still nineteen years old.)

Although I remain employed at the current job, my mind has already begun moving me into the second job.  I have mentally moved my messy desk into the counselling office, and I have been spending a lot of (union) money on workshops and conferences in preparation.  They might be helpful.  If nothing else, they give me back the student feeling that makes me so happy when I can recapture it.  Perhaps this is why I work in a school.  The illusion of being a perpetual student.  The move to counselling could potentially force me into adulthood and that is worrisome.  People expect Drama teachers to be flaky which makes me look extra amazing when I ocassionally remember to do something.


BB is trying to get pregnant, the way some women do.  It is a complicated process, and expensive.  Our health plan covers only some of it.  I want her to be successful because it is important to her.  I want her to be happy because she is my friend.  This is interesting to me, the fact that I have friends again.  I have what I call a coven, three other women with whom I spend time at work, and even, sometimes, on weekends.  This is a new development, not really, but it seems that way.  Friendship feels foreign because I moved around a lot for a number of years and left friends behind until I forgot that friends mattered much.  I blame Shawn for being too comfortable and easy a friend, thus eliminating my need to seek outside friends. I did not put much effort into making friends, but I have made some, nonetheless, and I am sure Shawn is relieved that he is no longer entirely responsible for this aspect of my care.  My new friends are lovely.


Friday, January 22, 2016

fate and faith

I am reading Avenue of Mysteries; John Irving again.  Sometimes I think John Irving is done but he is not.  His books are ever longer, ever denser, and my early allegiance with Irving based upon A Prayer for Owen Meany means I keep reading without knowing whether I am enjoying it or simply experiencing it, the way one experiences daily life.  Brushing one's teeth and driving to work and boiling water for another cup of tea.  When you look back you cannot remember if you did these things or not, although you surely must have.  But there are brightly coloured moments I remember, the odd brightly coloured sentence.  Like this one:  Religion is somewhere between fear and sex.  (This sentence popped up from the page and poked me in the eye.)  I keep hold of them when I can remember to, if I can keep hold of them long enough to put them somewhere safe before they dissolve.


The world is watching Celine Dion grieve the loss of her husband and I find myself riveted by it because she is living my greatest fear.  I remember thinking, decades ago, about the fact she would outlive her husband by far too many years because of their age difference, and being afraid for her.  Though her music hurts my teeth, her heartbreak is now hurting my heart.  I wish the news would not follow her so closely that I can see her chin trembling.  Does it make her feel comforted imagining that the world mourns with her?  Or does she feel as though her blood is being drained?


Friday, January 01, 2016

So it shines when you finally come home

Grey pewter skies and drizzle have given way to an unexpected real winter.  Winter with treacherous icy driveways and feathers of frost growing from the green grass and leaves beneath.  Misty cold skies.  It wakes me up.  It makes me slightly breathless.  It prickles my lungs.

Jennifer died.  It doesn't matter, I want to say, because I do not really know her very well.  But it matters because she was not thirty yet, and people that young are supposed to be safe from mortality a bit longer.  She died of a pulmonary embolism.  Lungs again.


I used the cookbook LM got me for Christmas, which is uncharacteristic behaviour on my part.  Cooking, that is.  I made a Thai green curry which was actually quite good.  It made a nice change from shortbread, which is all I have eaten for the last fourteen days.