Saturday, March 31, 2012

Happy Birthday

Wasn't sure how to write today about your birthday.
So, I dug into the archives for this poem.

Happy birthday my friend. We miss you so.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Journal 153 TGIF?

I'm home, it's Friday night, the evening lies ahead of me like an unknown road that beckons.
Friday at work means loose-end-tying-up, means leaving a bit early after stockpiling a bunch of hours throughout the week. That's what I did today.
I was on the phone with my mom in the car on the drive home, thinking about making it to the St. Lawrence Market before closing time, thinking of marked-down sushi, flowers, and lettuce, when  I felt around in my purse, mid-drive, for my ipod.
No no no no  I did not leave this treasured little music square at work.
I told my mom. As I cried in the car in frustration. But I moved fast, turned right at Sheppard Avenue near Fairview Mall off of Don Mills--reversed myself, heading back north instead of the way the compass in my body was pointing: south, south, every way south, back to downtown, to the city, away from my suburban
I got back up to my office in record time, and there were a number of cars in my 'fleet' that seemed to have a real sense of urgency going on too.
Pulled into my office parking lot after one thousand intersections (yes I exaggerate see yesterdays' post about "so not a morning person" and then feel free to cut me some slack), parked my car, darted in my office, up the stairs two at a time and into my darkened office. Rescued one lonely ipod.  Need this for not just the drive home, the walk to St. Lawrence Market, but more importantly my long run tomorrow, my musical inclinations tonight, my sanity.
My sister rationalized that sometimes we forget items because fate is directing us away from harm ( I do like this concept, but I can tell you, as I crawled back home in traffic circa 5:45, having left work at 4:30, I was in no mood to address "the bright side of life").

I made it home.
Made it to the Market.
Had my sushi, on the cheap, and true pink gerberas are re-blooming in a purple vase on my dining room table.
Emailing friends, hair up in a high bun, wearing a hoodie and pajamas, chardonnay poured in a Riedel glass, one that my sister bought, my favourite, stemless and at-hand.
Blogging. Listening to reggae on the ipod, on the ipod dock.
A serious, solid week of work making me tired but relieved, and ready to go to bed early.
Duties fulfilled.
It's funny how sometimes those times in life, which can last a long time, where most of your life is "have-to" rather than "want-to" hone your skills on training your mind for something better. Strength? Individuality? Quiet perseverance? All, I like to think.
Tonight, I'm going to start re-reading Blue Nights. I've had a couple of months of book-fluff (and a library strike that has not allowed me to borrow new books). Anyway--I want to see, again, 'how it works'. How it's put together. And escape out of my world into Didion's, of late sixties' California, of timeless New York City, of a different age.
Happy weekend....

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Journal 152 Event-ful

It's been a long, grinding week, work-wise. Life-wise, nothing much has happened other than the following:
Get up early for work.
Drive to work.
Get to work.
Work some more.
Leave work.
Drive home.
Get home.
Forage for dinner.
Lazily read/watch tv/get ready for bed.
Go to bed.
Sleep (fitfully. Stressed about work).
Wake up intermittently.
Wake up in the morning.
Repeat whole exercise all over again.

Nothing has really varied from this list.
I did have dinner with two good friends one evening.
I did have a therapy appointment where I looked at the carpet a lot and off into the distance (pure exhaustion) and I did manage to get all tax stuff together, mail it off to the accountant, and
be done with it.
All the things in the week add up to me having to think alot, 'exercise my brain' as work piles up and people need decisions made that they cannot make themselves. It's been a lot of very long days and for me, the ultimate-non-morning person (truly) it's had a tiring effect on me.
So last night, when I had to attend a short work-event (an opening of a new site) I was particularly exhausted.
I drove west to the location, on auto-pilot really, prepared to make a quick entrance and exit, show my face, and be done with it.
I arrived, parked, got out of my car, and then froze.
The glass-fronted room where the opening was taking place was packed with people. A faux-red carpet led up to the door, and all could see who was going in and out.
I am not kidding, a wave of shyness overtook me, in my ballet flats (I've been trying to not wear heels that often as my feet suffer for running when I do), my black pants, flared cut with a cuff, and my bought-in-Ireland-lends-me-credibility raincoat, and cashmere gloves (I noticed, en route, that a slight worn patch on the right thumb had now, morphed into a true hole). I almost turned around. Lots of people, a hum of conversational noise, how tired I look(ed), and how little make-up I was wearing.
But I had to go in. I had to see the kitchen I designed. I had to say hello to my clients. I had to make an appearance. My boss was on his way. We both had to be there.
I walked in, alongside a couple of strangers. Almost immediately I spotted one of my clients and quickly said hello, making my way to the back of the room, where the kitchen was, where all the samples I'd helped choose were laid out. In the company of cabinetry, I felt the pull of the familiar.
A waiter, dressed all in black, offered me a smoked-salmon-something. I gratefully accepted, took the small morsel of food, and took my time chewing it thoughtfully, while walking around the small, crowded space. Another waiter. A mini-burger. This was harder to eat, but I did it, self-consciously, and then finagled a glass of champagne from a tray in the kitchen I'd designed. I thought it funny that a tiny condo-sized kitchen was being used as a catering base-camp for an event that was over-flowing to well over fifty people. A second client, this time with a camera, my photo snapped.
I kept walking around until I ran into a woman with a hand-bag so delectable I had to compliment her on it. We struck up a conversation, easily, and I congratulated myself on my networking skills. We talked for a bit, my client came over, and I had another conversation to start.  We concluded.
I hung around for a bit longer. I thanked my clients for the invitation and gave them a sincere compliment on the space, the event, the turn-out.
Walked back to my car, still shy.
Drove back home to downtown.
Proud of myself.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Journal 151 Yawn

As in..this blog.
As in...lately.
As in.....nothing to report.
If I could I would tell you how it feels to arrive at work with an email threatening legal action over something trivial to do with a material item (oops I just did).
If I could I would discuss in detail how truly irritating some peoples' personalities (or complete lack thereof) are (did it again).
In the interest of reminding myself that many many talented people are currently unemployed, and that despite Canada's denial (Ontario?) of recession, that terrifying word, the situation does not appear to be improving.
Rather, it seems to be changing, shape-shifting, morphing. The world of work as we know it.
As I know it.
Everything I read points to massive upheaval.
Resumes can now be viewed on Pinterest. I saw a Twitter posting on this today.

I read this with a mixture of fascination and horror (I know. Oh so original to write that).
But I did. I still do.
I can't decide what this represents. The resume was, and I found myself wondering if this guy is a genius or a teenager.

The other was a jaunty little G&M number about interview questions, their validity, and what you really want to know about an employee (can you tell I have work on my mind?)
While I agree the term "five-year-plan" makes me want to leap off a burning building, what I do Sunday afternoons can be remarkably un-telling. (re: read. blog. run. socialize...sometimes. roof-top. stress out. no I don't volunteer at an animal shelter. no I don't shuttle kids around from one activity to the next. I'm sorry. I'm selfish. And, on Sundays, often: lazy. {read: TIRED}.  I don't do group activities. We've talked about this, yes? No?).....

This bothered me too (what the hell Toronto? What are you doing? WHAT?)

Give me the neighbourhood pub, the corner place with something I love.
Is TO turning into a city I just don't like anymore?

Or am I doing that "pull" of sensationalism that I've been warned against?
I'm tired.
It was a longgg ten-plus-hour-day, my computer is rebelling here at home, and it's already well after ten and I need to be at work early tomorrow.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Journal 150 Whirlwind

I know the months (!) are flying by.
Tonight, Monday, (last Monday of the month) is my condo board meeting. They seem to creep up so fast, at the end of the month, and it's how I remind myself, Oh yes, this bill is due and the mortgage payment is coming out and even though I just brought the car in it needs brake work and I still have friends who I need to see at least a couple of times  a month, even if we can't spontaneously meet each other for weekend lunches or coffee for the most part (little ones), we try to either do Friday nights (I prefer) or the odd odd weeknight (tough for me but I do make exceptions).  And family of course. I am proud to say I had dinner with my mother three times last week, and with my sister and the kids on Saturday night, a great respite for both of us.
Yes, you can see, my LDM is in full effect.
It's been a tough first week being apart, I'm not going to sugar coat it. We've had some truncated phone conversations (this is how it goes: "I'm calling to say I can't talk right now" no joke..I have to laugh. I maintain a schedule that is almost military in its strictness, ie, an alarm bell goes off deep inside my head when 5000 kilometres tick off on the odomter on my car--no I don't wait 8000 kms...Virgo, remember? I get oil changes every 5000. I buy groceries at certain times when I am guaranteed to have the least amount of crowds {Thursday nights}, same with gas and car washes {Friday nights, go ahead, test this out. ESPECIALLY when it's a grey day).  Whereas Mike takes a more laid-back approach to life, one that I wish I could learn to adapt, to some degree. So I can pretty well tell him what I'll be doing for the next week to month, and he goes not even day by day, more like hour by hour.

Went by fast. On the upside, I invested in some "me" time-- a haircut (love it) a pedicure (not that happy. Wore my running shoes there. Wrecked it when I put said shoes on. I calmed down quickly. I'm pretty good at touch-ups, I'll deal with it. Thankfully it was glove and closed-toe shoe weather today, so that helped).
Had a lovely Sunday brunch at my sister's for my mom's birthday, the three of us, some prosecco, bacon, baguette, salad, and eggs (the eggs for them, not me of course).
Saturday was clean, clean, clean, finally doing the front entrance of my condo, where several boxes of 'nothing' have existed for the last month; I cleared them out, stuff from my old room in my parents now-sold house, and kept only my yearbooks and some trinkets from my childhood--when my niece and nephew came over Saturday night I gave them the two shoeboxes of stuff to sort through (keychains, stickers, etc.) and they went crazy with happiness. They were occupied, leaving my sister and I eating sushi peacefully, for over an hour.
One thing that did NOT go well this weekend was running. I blame myself.  I had soup and salad for dinner on Friday night, with my mom. I wasn't overly hungry and this dinner seemed fine. After all it had been hot all week, it had bothered me, and I was ok with a light meal.
Bad decision. I started my twelve k on Saturday morning after a healthy portion of Starbucks, and broke down about 3 k in. I mean, unable to go any further. But I did. I just walked it. And it was okay. I walked, I observed the sights, I listened to my ipod, and I didn't beat myself up. After all, as my friend L. and I were saying on the phone Friday night, our version of slacking is not even close to it. Just wayyy too hard on ourselves (hello, we're women...). So I let myself walk.
Then the haircut, then I bought wine, and enjoyed my Saturday.
Sunday after the brunch and the pedicure found me anxiety-riddled again (just after the dinner hour, what is it about that time of day for me?) and I admit, I took a nap to escape it. Just conked out on the couch for about a half-hour. And I'm not a napper. Weird.
It's almost tax time so I also spent a bit of time organizing it all for my parents and myself. I just addressed the envelope to send off to the accountant.

So Monday work-day is over, and my condo meeting looms. After that, some dinner, some downtime, then get up early and do it all over again.
Yes, my weekends are pretty standard most of the time, especially when Mike is home and I don't do get to do couple-dates with him and watch movies and just....stop.

That's all I can tell you, nothing exciting, nothing earth-shattering.  I'm nothing if not consistent.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Journal 148 A bit more...

Funerals can often feel like camp singalongs — all glow, no shadows. The nice things are all said out loud, the rest brims in people’s bowed heads.

This is a quote from the Shelagh article that I wrote about on Saturday, having read and re-read it, criss-crossing the writing from a 'how it all works' kind of standpoint, something that, as I read this year, 'real' writers often do. How it's all put together, this stringing along of words, and more importantly, how those word-strings make one feel. How they can wring you out, create an image in your mind, and off you go. Off I go, anyway. That's how it all works for me.
This one sentence, so poignantly true, left me agape after reading it. I also couldn't quite memorize it at first (something else I admit to doing as I re-read. It's strange, I know. But I like to carry words around in my head, not just my own, but writers whose writing I love and admire--I break them out at the times I can't think of much in my own head. How I admire The Prophet for this. Always giving me something that I can refer to when my own emotions are over-loaded. Also--when I'm running and need a new thought-thread, I spool along this kind of phrase--loaded with meaning, and go from there).

"The rest brims in people's bowed heads".  Not only at funerals. This can happen, this brimming, in your job, with all its machinations that you hold on to to better your life. It can happen in some friendships or relationships where you're left, wondering sometimes, how a situation all went down.
It can happen when reading an article like this one, where the reactions can swing the pendulum.
I received two separate, and equally amazing emails reflecting on this article this week.
I'm not going to go into terrific detail about them--they're from dear friends, and our correspondence is sacred, but rest assured--it was a reminder of the connections we make, how necessary they are to our well-being and our idea of self, our own development, looking at ourselves through a different lens,
as friends allow you to do.  Family and husbands let you see yourself in that 'unconditional' light, but friends, to me, for me, shine a different kind of light on you, look at you, as I mentioned, with a different lens. One that you have to be present for, one that you get to look back at toward them.
Anyway, both friends shared how the article affected them, most specifically aiming at their memories, as the article did to me, as well, taking me back to other obituaries I'd read, of people I've known and loved, the thoughtfulness bestowed upon the last formal piece of writing about them, the obituary I wrote for my own father, and how magically we can sometimes use a small paragraph to neatly tie up a life that spilled out of a package, certainly, a life that was cherished, that mattered, because I think the message of the Shelagh article is that we all matter, our lives matter, and for some reason, some of us are able to 'show' that more, 'feel' that more--not that we don't all have that intrinsic knowledge, it's just that some of us are able to exclaim about how we missed someone--right to them, and some of us give out hugs and re-assurance easier than others.
I muse about this alot when I look at how differently my sister and I deal with our mother in this first year following my father's death, our lopsided little family--she is good at outings, lunches, driving here and there. I tend to be my reticent self--phone calls, banking, government, hammering out details when selling the house. Whatever, it's all a contribution, which is how we need to look at our connectedness. I like to write here. I like to send long messages via email to friends, and sometimes I don't feel like talking on the phone after a long day at work. But I also think of people, up in my head, and it might be time for me to get that thinking more into 'doing' as Shelagh demonstrated. I'm an introvert, I've mentioned it before, but it doesn't mean I can't sit down tonight and send a hand-written note to someone who needs it, or go and visit my mother and spend that time just 'being'.
I've also been taking real time and care to apply this at my workplace--really listening. Not running about in the mad dash of deadlines (and the deadlines are still there, don't get me wrong) and missing the whole point of it all: we need each other. And believe me, there are times when I think who ARE these people, locked up in a boardroom on a sunny afternoon, the only child-less person for miles, listening to stories about double-A hockey games and suburbia and yes I want to run screaming, but I remind myself--live and let live.

I looked up Shelagh's obituary on line  to find out what struck the author of the Star article to dig a little deeper. What struck me immediately was the 13th date (it seems to be a pattern for me with this number-what does that mean?) and as mentioned by the Star journalist, the first line is 'our world is a little smaller' and the last line, this one below, I wanted to memorize, to take with me on a long run someday soon:

"And I feel above me the day - blind stars waiting for their light, for a time, I rest in the grace of the world and I am free."

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Journal 149 On the subject of

One of the better issues of O Magazine was February 2012--I am just reading it  now, in depth, and I now understand how a friend of mine spent 3 days on vackay reading it.
My fave article so far (after all the de-cluttering ones) is the Katie and Meredith go to Mexican boot camp story....
I am paraphrasing (this came to me today as I shuttled from a meeting downtown where I was stuck in traffic, under a bridge, then back into the sunlight, watching streams of people, all dressed for work, traipse by me) this line from one of the girls in the article :

"What struck me was I never split a bottle of wine with a friend anymore.
Even before my schedule crossed over to "death-wish" territory, I'd
spent the last decade struggling to pay rent {been there}, get promoted
{yep} and still fit into my college jeans {hmm}. But at what cost?"
I truly teared up reading this. Who CAN'T relate?

I went to get coffee after my meeting and saw people with laptops dotted about the Second Cup, doing whatever they were doing (working remotely, perhaps job hunting remotely), some were having three-person meetings (the Second Cup was in the foot of an office building) and I did have a sense of momentary calm--I had somewhere to go where I was expected (my office, for the rest of the balmy spring day ahead) and I had just finished a positive meeting, one that resulted in me having
alot of work to do, but I can handle that; and knowing what I had to get done ahead of me, at least for the next few days/weeks, helped me feel "ordered" and routine.
And after reading the recent news about our 'city under siege' and provincial cuts (dreadful), I felt very lucky. (I read the paper in the waiting room of the company I was meeting with. Mistake. As Deepak Chopra says in Oprah, avoid the pull of bad news and sensationalism.  Oh so true. It just invades the peace and erodes the inner life more and more each time I let myself get 'pulled'.
Lately I've felt pulled, too. And I've noticed alot of other people saying the same thing. An over-packed schedule, for me, is a death-wish. I need so much downtime to wind off from a high-pressure job.
And I need to stop apologizing for needing this time.
I also need solitude. Mike is not here, I have to digest it and I need time to do it. I know that what it often seems like is that I am being anti-social, but I liken it to anyone whose gone through a change in their life, be it a parent's death, having kids, moving--you need time to re-adjust, and sometimes things fall through the cracks.
Taking a look around my loft the past little while, I realize just how much "survival" went into the last year.  Things are dusty. They are a little worse for wear.  I haven't been as hyper-organized or super-driven since last spring, the spring before even, when what I like to nickname the 'tailspin' began.
I ambitiously took out some spring/summer wear this morning, with the ironing board, to begin ironing a bunch of t-shirts, pants, tops, etc., to have some nice, neat outfits to weather out this heat-wave, and realized my iron no longer worked. I have no idea when it stopped working. I just know I haven't ironed a very very long time. (my fall back is to throw a damp towel in the dryer with said wrinkled clothing. I know. Terrible for the environment. Anyway...I digress. I need an iron).
I cleaned out the fridge and freezer last night, am planning on some dusting as soon as I finish writing this, and I have to tackle my bathroom and its plethora of products soon. This was in the Oprah mag too. About how some women buy sooo much extra products they wind up forgetting they have them, and buy them again (guilty).
Ok, my hair is now coloured as of last night (nice chocolate-y shade) and I booked a cut for Saturday.
My weekend is all sewn up with "me" type plans, and I've been eating leftovers, no joke, all week.
Other good things: My office was freezing today (I loved ) and I drank cold coffee while designing the afternoon away.

Someone send me a girl scout badge.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Journal 148 (Attempt Three) Six-Word-Sentences

I had always found 'six word Saturdays' on a writer's blog I liked, and I will find the link and post it here;
but my friend H. sent me this link that was featured in the National Post, he has books he has themes...he has it all.
List-making has longgggg been my writer's block cure (I have it now...can you tell? No blog in 3 days, 3 failed attempts, and last night I opened up the fawn-lark journal--I needed some outlet, the real truth, the things I sometimes can't even get into on this blog, much as I'd love to. Nothing earth-shattering--just sometimes more about work--stress, personalities, etc. Just trying to be ever-professional...).

Anyway. I thought of some scrambled six-word sentences since I read this a few minutes ago. The challenge at the end of the article, oddly, was to write a six-word-memoir about work--Oprah did something similar in her magazine a couple of months ago. I know--I don't know the exact issue, because, as advised in the de-cluttering one I'm currently reading, I recycle magazines by trading with my mom and sister... are a few:

On work:
Putting out fires, email by email.
Meeting many deadlines despite endless meetings.
Blogging is often my preferred work.

On Mike going home:
Up half the night, missing you.
Ate dinner standing up, with wine.
Alone in my apartment. Feels wrong.
Even traffic is okay witih you.

On the state of my condo:
There are alot of things to clean.
Summer clothes, not quite ready yet.
Ironing, dusting, cooking, cleaning, By myself.
Air conditioning in March. Pre-something?

On Monday:
Dinner at my Mom's Felt mothered. :)
Driving home, no traffic. Bad hockey.
Can go to bed early, but can't.
Flossed my teeth. Does it matter?

On Tuesday:
Meetings, afternoon traffic, work at home.
Piles of paper on my couch.
Sunshine.  I avert my eyes, hiding.
Waiting for my show to come on.
Dinner: leftovers, micro-waved, nothing new.

So...that's my breaking of writer's block tonight.
I know...nothing to 'write home about' but at least it's something. My fawn-lark journal entry can go up here at some point, I guess, but it needs editing.
Right now my dishes need washing and my hair needs drying (cool-down shower. I'm way over-heated in this weather, it's really weird. I don't like it).

Okay...more tomorrow.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

For me

This is the blog title I thought up in my head last night in bed (and somehow remembered).
As in, not the shoe, but the feelings, all over the place, that come with a long-distance-relationship-turned-marriage.
So that's what I'm going to blog about over the next few dys... my place tidied, all of Mike's belongings gone home with him, and the tides of emotions--the constant threat of tears when I think of all the thousands of happy times of the last few weeks, since we got married, and before, and how much I miss him as the weather turns nicer.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Six-Word Saturdays, revived

This is Thing One, enjoying autumn.

Journal 147 Stopped me in my tracks

....this article did. Two friends separately, unknowingly, sent it to me.

I've been in a 'spring depression' (I am not kidding. I was emailing my friend L. yesterday about how I've started to hate spring, I know, I lost an hour's sleep this week, that's enough to make anyone crazy, but really--there are people EVERYWHERE on the streets, the weather men and women can't stop crowing about the record-breaking weather {somewhere inside myself I am trapped in March 2011, endless days of rain, that final pronouncement at the hospital of: no hope}).
So I remind myself, as my friend A. always does, to be gentle right now.

Reading this link was an amazing experience in doing just that.

It's Saturday morning (the sun is not, contrary to all reports, shining) and I'm sitting in the dim light coming through the window, in my pajamas; not at the dining room table, but on the couch. My car place called this morning at 8:30 am (I dropped my car off for routine service on the way home from work last night to avoid the early-am-Saturday thing) and they wanted to confirm what they were doing. I'm glad--to get things like this, car service, a blight on my existence like tax time and rrsp season, out of the way.
I checked my emails, my friend L. sent me her usual neatly-paragraphed summary of the last couple of hours (which for her, in her NY-city-life, contains ALOT of activities), and my sister sent me something about happy people (me, to her, in an email back: If being happy means I have to wake up at 6:30 am, like it, do yoga and eat granola, I'M OUT), but I digress. I AM happy, I know I am.  In every single aspect of life? No, of course not. But overall, it's good.

Reading this article, which was facebook-messaged to me by one friend (yes, I lower-cased facebook. It's a whole new world ovah heyah), and then posted on my facebook wall by another, was a reminder, to me, of a number of things:
One--respect for the sometimes brevity of life, and even if it is not that brief, respect for the tides, the twists, the bends in the road. It's nameless 'spring depressions', it's gaining-five-pounds-over-the-winter-ness, it's way of speeding up, warping the view, as you put another year under your belt, and another, and another.  Respect for its absolute finality in the no-turning-back-the-clock on every day in your life. As they say: no dress rehearsal.
Two--the commonalities of all of us, our connection to one another, the things we sometimes never so much as whisper to each other--fears about our future, doubts about our ability to find work, imaginations of tragedies and how we would cope--these things bind us all. Some of us more than others, and this, to me, explains how we bond with some (for me, a select, unique group, ever-intuiting things in me I didn't know I revealed)  and never quite click with multitudes of others--despite this, we remain--neighbours on this revolving-door planet, the point of the revolving door being that it never quite closes firmly shut.  You have to lock it closed, and even then, it has spaces, openings. You can't get into them all the time, but they're there. You see?
Three--it does seem to take less energy to be happy, it really does.  To be kind rather than rude. To be friendly and helpful rather than blustery and cold.  A good reminder for my too-reticent-Virgo soul sometimes: stop being so wrapped up in yourself, Carolyn.

I liked learning about Shelagh. It fed my never-ending appetite for reading about (and into) other people's lives, the way I love to read other good blogs. I want to know what Reagan does to help her over-loaded schedule become more manageable (because her way will be kookier and funnier than mine).  I want to see Julia's next photo and imagine the story-behind-the-story, because something tells me that sometimes, she's just scratching the surface, and it leaves things up to my imagination. I want to hear about Meg's rejection of a pass made by a married man. I want to cheer as she clumsily rebuffs him and is disturbed by this turn of events in her life.
So I sit on Saturday morning, one of my favourite times of the week, (please neighbours: stop slamming your doors), and look at the grey sky, and listen to the garbage truck of the cooking school that my apartment backs on to, and I, to coin a phrase from my favourite poem, 'praise the mutilated world'.

It's all we've got.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Journal 146 Thursday, better day

I heard Baker Street by Gerry Rafferty on the drive in this morning, you know things are looking up when.... (aside: for some reason this song will forever remind me of driving from Maine to Toronto with Mike, last winter, still hacking up a lung, day two of the drive, a gorgeous January day that turned into a snowstorm just outside of Buffalo. And that was when we heard the news on the car radio that Mr. Rafferty had died. Same age as my Dad).
Also, upon waking, sky was dark blue again (grey by the time I left the condo, dark rain falling), but as I awoke, the in-between state, I thought it was Wednesday and was mentally reviewing my workday in my head. Then it hit me it was Thursday. Birds sang. (well, not really. A truck started backing up, that beeeep-beeeep-beeeep sound that I SWEAR has become an ear-worm for me).
So things have been better.
And then it hits me.

Mike's leaving soon.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Journal 145 Just me, complaining again

"Indeed, expectations and anticipation can create stress. So a suggestion is to stop them in their tracks. Welcome future situations with a clean slate."

This is an actual line from a counselling tool I found on a government website about dealing with stress.
As in, this is for real, by the Canadian government.
Are they serious?
I was incredulous reading their take on how to help people deal with stress in the workplace. No wonder these services are free.

On another note, Softron Tax emailed me today. That's the place I used to go to, for many years, to get my taxes done. I stopped going after 2010 when a screw-up by them cost me money. If I wanted my taxes to get screwed up and then owe money on them, I'd do them myself.
This is the actual tagline from their ad, sent via email blast:

Do you feel like you have to be a rocket scientist to get your taxes done? It's not surprising, taxes can be extremely confusing, and the rules and forms change every year.

Yes. I DO feel like I have to be a rocket scientist to get this done. So I pay someone to do it.
I paid YOU, Softron. Gawd. So when I first got the email from them 'reminding' me to come and get my taxes done, I explained the whole situation, eff-bombing my way through, and I asked them not
to contact me again because when I tried to get a refund from their services, I got the perpetual run-around, and nobody seemed willing to help. So I just backed off.
And now they are offering to "look into it". Look into it all you want people. I have a REAL accountant now.  And who's kidding who (oh an overused phrase I know but I KNOW) I'll never hear from them again.
Day passed quickly, as I had tonnes of layouts, spreadsheets, annoying calls, and things to do that are not remotely my job. That's how time passes so fast.
It looks nice outside, but I don't care.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Journal 144 Stress and Sadness

It's almost 10:30 my bedtime.  The little blue pill that promises to pull me deep into the land of sleepy-time has been ingested.
I didn't leave the house today (at all). I didn't want to.
I saw hours last night, 3, 4, 5, 6, and when 7 came, with a pounding headache I said, no ... can't.
As in : face the day with all its insanities and it's unkind people, and its misunderstandings, and the feeling of "it's all on my shoulders", atlas-like, and made the decision.
Work from home, only half-broken at this point.
Called my therapist's office to wrangle an appointment. No dice. Had to duke today out by myself.
Worked on one design, service people calling. Installers calling (ReJect). Heart pounding. Head pounding. One day away won't fix it all. Will fifty? Emails with coworkers. With clients. With important clients. Phone tag with my boss, another thing that only I can fix.
Heart still pounds with anxiety.  My head swirls with leftovers I can't be tied to.
I haven't left the house today, just picked out my bag from my car, this morning. to fill in my work journal. The to do list was a full page.  My feelings didn't get that much air time but here they are:
working alone among others,

It's now bedtime, I'm tired and sad, and tears have been threatening all day,
The dishes are done, I have a sacred few minutes to let my loneliness in, and then I have to re organize it for another time.
Things I want:
To sleep thru the night, all the way thru.
For someone to deal with this immigration stuff for me.
For my coworkers to try and help with my un-ending stress connected to my job and all its facets.

To be free, to do what I want to do, when I want to do it, and go to Maine whenever I want, because I want to go there now, please.


It's been nine months for my dad today. It took my mom to point this out, the '13' hadn't branded itself on me yet.
Is that the melancholy? The mental prep work for "oh yes, this is where I was last year.." and it works its way in, the bad hospital coffees, the hand-sanitizing, the rural-ness of the town where the hospital he stayed at was.

OK. Good night.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Journal 143 Sharing for a Monday

Had to share this today....thanks for posting L.

Joanna Goddard, Blogger/Writer, A Cup of Jo

"When I was in my early 20s, I felt unmoored. After college, I moved to New York City by myself. My apartment had mice, I was very single, and I was so broke that I would skip getting tomatoes on my bagel because they cost fifty cents extra. I was trying to have my Mary Tyler Moore moment, but wasn’t sure how. Was this it?

"Then, one day, I magically stumbled upon the best advice I’d ever heard. In a blog interview, photographer Stephanie Congdon Barnes said: 'You can have the life you want.' It was just the encouragement I needed. You can create the life you want. You can figure out what exactly that means to you, and instead of getting caught up in an imagined rat race, you can work hard, grow in your career, spend time with your family, ride your bike by the river, eat too much spaghetti, have friends over for wine and cheese, go on vacation and take funny photos… I suddenly felt like it was possible. I could carve out the life I wanted. Ten years later, I remember those beautiful words almost every day."

Feeling unmoored is a familiar feeling to me, as I sometimes bungle through life, not unlike what Ms. Goddard describes here.
It's a grey Monday, I wore the black dress I wore to my father's funeral today to work, with weird stockings, I felt grey when I woke up, melancholy.
The morning was dark because of the time change, and the sky began to lighten as I brewed my coffee.  I looked out at the sky, a magical azure blue, but by the time I walked out to my car, it too had grey' match me? My mood? My melancholia.

I remain committed to creating the life I want, and many portions of that have sprung out of the ground, seedlings I planted a long time ago, over the last coupla' years. But I still have lots of gardening to do.

Oh Monday. Bye for another week.                                   

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Journal 142 Birthday

As in, my nephew's.
As in, his fifth.
I was just emailing my friend H. about my feelings of anxiety about spring, about all the memories surrounding this time, how last year, at this same event, the birthday, at the same place, with all the same people, except my Dad.  Because my nephew's birthday party, last year, was the last place my dad ever went, except the hospital.
The melancholy has been intense.
I hid it well at the party. But I feel it invading. Couple that with how work has been and I'm feeling a little inside-out right now. Exposed. Tired, definitely. Moving my mom. The house just ...gone.
And Mike packing up to go home.
So it sets things in motion--another year is marching along, the months passing, swiftly and surely, speeding up with every year I age, and I ask myself those serious questions. Is this what I want to do with my life? Am I living the life I want? I know the answers. And I know that one piece of the puzzle isn't with the others. The puzzle piece that is missing is the part that I already miss--Mike. Our long-distance-marriage. Adjusting to life alone again. And having no clue how to begin exploring the paperwork I have to do, the forms I have to fill in.
Okay, it's already one hour gone into my Sunday evening, and Mike is here, and I want to savour the time.
Here are some pics from today. As you look at them, imagine a soundtrack of a drum kit pounding in the background. Because my nephew has one, and every kid took a turn playing on it today. Watching them all, my nephew, niece, and all their treasured friends, I felt a wistfulness for my own childhood that was so strong I came close to crying. That simplicity.  And don't get me wrong, there were funny moments. The silence that took over as every kid inhaled cake. The tantrums, and how some kids didn't really want to participate in games, and hung out with Mike and I in the living room.  Laughing with my sister's ex-husband's sister about how we were the only ones there without kids.

these are just the shoes at the back door. the front door was
full of shoes too.

Anyway. Enjoy. The photos, your short and sweet Sunday night, and Life in general.



how the adults have fun.
the cake.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Remember Six-Word Saturdays?

Because I'm a runner, that's why.

Journal 141 Re-reading and Re-living

My friend H. sent me this link this morning.

I love the colour blocks (retro) that extoll the 'subtler' pleasures of re-reading different books.
What's funny is that I was thinking about this this morning in the shower, about Carole Radziwill's wonderful memoir "What Remains,"(it's on my top twenty-five pretty much for life), and re-reading certain parts of it (because I do that too--re-read a book in sections) because she was Carolyn Bessette Kennedy's sister-in-law, and as I was googling my own blog to get to the page yesterday, Bessette Kennedy's name came up in my google search (I'm not capitalizing google. I'm just noticing this--is it now part of our lexicon? Can I will it so? A verb, something one does. Yes...I think it is. It will be).  So I thought about Radziwill's wonderful memoir and about fitting in a re-reading.
Then I was reading March Vogue this morning (finished the Adele article. Brilliant), and there is always a section each month where they review a memoir, just prior to its release (that's how I first heard of Radziwill's memoir).  The reviews are excerpts really, I should clarify, with a background write-up, and this month features the book "Wild--From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail" by Cheryl Strayed, and the excerpt I read was well-written and plot-motivated. The premise is thus:  Strayed (aptly named, really) sets out to hike this trail, starting in California, the base of the Sierra Nevada, trekking north 1100 miles (multiply by 1.6 for the kilometres of this) in a time period of 95 days.  At the age of twenty-six.
By herself.
Reading memoir fascinates me, and almost more than that are the reasons behind writing memoir.  More often then not (I've noticed, over the last year or so, as this blog tracks) that the death of a parent is a motivating factor.  What is it about this specific event that has the ability to so blow-up a life?
In Caroline Knapp's memoir  "Drinking, A Love Story", (another one I've read and practically memorized, another fascinating, and deceased Carol(ine)yn--she died at age forty-one herself of lung cancer) was written after the death of both her parents, within a year of each other.  And as I re-read it last year, with my shifting circumstances, my age matching hers at her time of writing, I reflected on something her father said, shortly before he died (both her parents died of cancer, slower deaths, the kind my father had--where you get to say good-bye first, and you talk about death. It's ghoulish, yes, but it's a good-bye nonetheless. With accidents and heart-attacks, those swift, sudden deaths, you don't get to do that. Shivery, I know).
Her father wondered aloud to her if his death would be 'liberating' to Knapp, and she was horrified and upset by this. He went on (I should note he was an eminent psychiatrist and I do confess to writing about this from my memory, I'm not referencing the book directly--if I have made errors in my facts, forgive me) to say "The death of a parent is a life-altering event".  How very true, as she soon learned.  As I learned, too.

Just rambling on a Saturday morning. I started out writing about re-writing, got off topic onto memoir, and now I listen to Mike talk to his own parents on the phone right now about his grandmother, aged ninety-two, who is recovering from surgery (I am fascinated by people who still have grandparents as adults. All four of mine were gone by the time I was eight).  I imagine that the death of a grandparent, too, when you are an adult and have had more time to develop your relationship with them, is life-altering.
The life-altering factor seems to have a motivating force, that seems to be the commonality.
The perspective-forming.
The priority-making.
The re-dedication to living and loving.
This precious life.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Journal 140 When the stars align...

THIS is the phrase I thought of the other night in the kitchen! Yes...I remembered!
It's Friday, I just finished lunch, I have a meeting in three minutes, and I've started drinking my coffee at work BLACK. I know. It's that Via Instant Starbucks, Italian blend.
It's that good.
Ok. Just had to get that down before I forgot.
I will be back, after the workday, to talk about weekend plans, how things went at the bank, and why I thought of this little gem of an expression the other night.

I'm back.
It was one hell of a tiring workweek, one where, on Fridays, I am often "done".  I am right now.
I'm done solving problems, I'm done doing the jobs of others, I'm done listening to clients out-and-out lie about things that happen on jobsites (true story. I understand, as I get deeper and deeper into my full-time life, one that is coming up on fourteen years, how people have these 'breaking points' at forty and switch careers/run away and join the circus/start some incredible start-up and have it work: being a salary-slave ain't easy. The good clients make it great. The bad ones {don't get me started} make it agony).
And I'm in a tough industry, one that I don't get into too much detail with about on this blog, as I do have to keep my job--I have a mortgage, a retirement plan, dreams, and hopes. But that being said,
it's not been an easy workweek. Throw in the full moon, raging pms (the kind, as my friend L. and I describe as "making life un-live-able") and you can understand why, at 6pm on a Friday night, I am home, waiting for Mike to get back from his run, having some leftover gyozas I just heated up and nursing a glass of the leftover Chablis from Wednesday night. Oddly, even though I've had it 'up to here' with work, Mike and I are having dinner with my sole work "friend" and her husband tomorrow night.  I say sole because my workplace is competitive and female-filled, and sorely, decidedly un-feminist, meaning there is little cooperation and more under-bus-throwing than I would like, but it is what it is. My work-friend and I 'get' each other, as both of our life-experiences have played out to mould us into the life-first type of women we are today.
I endured meeting after dysfunctional meeting today, and at the end of it all, I asked myself, "am I in an insane asylum?" because that is how it sometimes feels, as I sit in a boardroom watching a parody of "the emperor's new clothes" and me being me, I just want to yell out "They're NAKED" but I keep silent.  Occasionally something is so ridiculous a smile plays at the corner of my mouth and I know I am bound for change. It just hasn't found me yet.

So. The stars' alignment thing. Mike was using it as a sports' analogy (isn't everything? I can't count the number of times I've noticed the phrase "At the end of the day" coming up in EVERYONE I knows daily speech) but in this case Mike was talking about how, for a team to win the big prize, the cup, the bowl, what have you--things have got to be just right. Luck is a factor.  And it got me to thinking about my cross-border marriage, and how the stars aligned just right for that too, and how, with this whole immigration thing, I have to let myself believe that two honest, hardworking people will be okay in the end to be able to live in the other's respective home country, go back and forth, and continue to work in their respective industries and flourish while doing so.

Anyway. It's dinnertime.
See you tomorrow.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Journal 139 Breakthrough?

Ok documenting a productive (uber) day at work:
Tim's latte. Hmm. Did this have something to do with it?
Breakfast. I keep reading the importance of this. I know water and vitamins are not
breakfast. But I keep doing that. You know me. I HATE eating in the morning. But
a sandwich in the car during a 40-minute commute can be a wonderful thing...
Wrangled an appointment at my mom's bank for tonight to sew up all this pesky bank-stuff. (UGH).
I'm loving the rain today. My hair is up in a fun bun and I'm defying the gray weather with a positive attitude and the knowledge that Friday is peeking out from behind the clouds (along with a full moon but THAT'S another story and gives alot of insight into the general pace of work this week {I'm exhausted...} and the ire of my clients).
The moon has looked great every night this week driving home, shrouded by said clouds.
I wish I could snap a photo but I'm driving when I see it best, in the east sky, as I head south on the DVP towards home and Mike for only a few more days.
I hate hate hate coming home from work once he leaves. I guess that's why I end up running so much. One of the many reasons I came up with the idea to run after work at my office was to avoid
the traffic, for one, but also to delay getting home to my empty condo. Once I've run my requisite 4km I feel entitled to wine on the roof with a book, and I'm not as hungry for dinner (no one there to cook it with....mmm sad) and I just shorten my night, running, reading, writing, those things I keep doing.

Just a lovely link I came across after finding this photo:

Without knowing the background of the blog post this photo accompanies, I titled it "lonely runner" in my archives, then went on to the blog to check it out and saw the title of the post.
I have read so few of these type of stories, it helps to know there are others for whom running is a solitary art.  I don't even really run with Mike, we usually run separately all the time. For me alot of this has to do with my go-go-go city-gal mentality to life, like "NOW must do it NOW" and his Maine-trademark-laid-backness, ie, "where is my watch, my shirt, those pants, my running jacket" and meanwhile I'm going mad with impatience. I do occasionally run with my sister but even then I'm distracted, trying to keep pace, timing with her, and generally not in my own head. I'm a solitary non-talker by nature, so the running alone suits me well. Check out the blog of this dedicated long-distance runner, though. It's very poetic, to be frank, and I like the poems.
I also appreciate how hard it is to do the short runs (it really is, it's weird) once you get used to the long ones, and then make them longer and longer.

All right, went completely (no pun intended) off track there.

Good night...

Journal 138 Another Idea

My God.
The ideas come, and the ideas go just as quickly.
As Mike and I were sitting down to dinner (late, like 9pm) I had a brilliant blog entry exploding in my head.
Dinner done, washing face, pajama'ed, and poof!--it's gone.
My nails are bare (bad before-bed polish, the move destroyed them, they are shot), my face is bare, my hair is up, it's close to 10pm (last night's bedtime) and American Horror Story is coming on in less than ten minutes.
So I'll make this quick.
I can't get the blog idea I had back (I tried re-tracing my steps, walked about the condo, it was a long title, it might return) so I'll just give you my randoms, as I sometimes do, my right-nows, the thoughts as they come...

I bought the Adele Vogue. I was reading her profile article while Mike cooked. I tore myself away from her lovely swearing-red-carpet-fearing interview to eat the amazing dinner Mike made, lobster pasta, some spinach, a bottle of Chablis. Truth be told I'm still thinking of the article, and all the delicious pages I flipped past to get to it. I read Vogue, when I buy it, which is when the person on the cover moves me or disturbs me, from cover to cover. Not for clothes (I don't care), not for make-up (I have my own formula) but for words, for interviews, for artful interiors, for photography, for book reviews. It's not trash, it really isn't. I know I want it to be, a bit, but it's not.

RE: Updates. I didn't 'distribute' Updates (my previous post) the way I normally do. There's a reason for this.  Sometimes I do a post just for me. This morning was just such a post.  When I mean 'just for me' I mean,  I write as a carthartic act, and the readers who want to read my sh*t can.  And sometimes, for me, healing involves ranting and being not-so-nice. I think that in Updates, it's easy to take the path of saying "ooohhh mean" but think of it this way: I didn't properly react at the time it all went down--very very uncharacteristic of me, as I am a person who doesn't lie down in front of the steamroller of life when it's coming down the road. At the time, it was like I had been lifted out of the life I was living, and placed in an alternate universe, one where I had to sort out my own home life (what was left of it), sift through the lies and deceit (and alot of the shame I felt. A sad sort of shame--that people knew, that kind of shame where you just know: You've been made a fool of, right and proper), and the eventual decision that I could no longer be at my restaurant job, despite the good relationships with people I had there, despite my high-standing as an employee with seniority, who got great customer feedback, and great reviews from management; and then the real kicker, the one that put all of those other things squarely on the back burner, and there they would stay: I had to face the fact that I had a gravely ill parent, something I hadn't counted on, and that was my focus, and it remained my focus, from the start, in May 2010, to the end, June 2011, and beyond. All else that happened was background noise, other than getting to know Mike, going to meet him in Maine, our New York and Boston trips, and our subsequent falling-in-love-ness. So I think, as this gossipy news continues to trickle out, I finally have thawed enough to feel it. And that rage remains, I have to say. So that's the grain of salt I offer for that--I believe people get what they deserve, and as the saying I kept taped on my fridge for most of my twenties was thus:
"Sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck".
It is something I knew, soul-deep, as life swirled around, at the time, out of control, and I was glad to have that solitary knowledge, that I could hold close to me, and take out from time to time as a reminder.

Anyway, I'm rambling.
It's now early early Thursday morning, I'm getting ready for work (my new wake-up times have me scooting to the laptop rather than tossing and turning, I might as well make use of this reverse-insomnia I've got going on, and truth be told I'm logging a good couple of hours in the morning before work with my writing, and that is all good--it's the practice Natalie Goldberg talks about, that habit that you need to get into with writing, just like running, until one day, you start to dream it {I have running dreams now} and then one day, you start to live it. It becomes as imperative as breathing.
The place I am in now is a good one, despite being in a LDM for which time living in our respective countries is enforced by our respective immigration laws, (thank you Canada and the U.S. for being so....ubiquitious...) and even though the rain is pouring down outside, the temps are in the double digits, and I know (I hope, I pray) that I am going to get to enjoy a calm spring, one where I run races, and spring-clean my condo, and re-organize closets and wall units, and write-write-write, and keep myself from the missing-missing-missing I do when Mike is away from me.
For now I'm coffee'ed (Tim Hortons makes a mean latte, yum, must be v. fattening!), I'm vitamin-ed, and despite the shortness of my sleeps, they're pretty solid. Dream-filled, active.
Moving forward.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Journal 137 Updates

I had (again) a whole lovely blog entry floating through my head as I drifted off to sleep last night at 10pm (I tried to move myself to turn on my night-table lamp, grab my fawn-lark journal, and at least scrawl down something, but sleep won).
So here is a snapshot of things I did (and didn't get done) yesterday:
1.  Got to work on time.
2.  Had sushi for dinner, the whole lot, Mike picked it up, and we normally reserve that kind of thing for weekends. It was a treat let me tell you. It made up for having to watch the Leafs-Bruins game. (Leafs lost again, fyi. No surprise ovah heyah to my Boston-New-England-devoted husband).
3.  Managed to watch 2 back-to-back eppys of Secret Diary of a London Call Girl, the second being the one where Bambi gets married, and Hannah/Belle exposes her dirty-scoundrel-lying-sob of a b.f. to his entire office with a chapter in her new book about his 'escapades with escorts' by sending an attachment of her missive on an email which she sends to ALL his colleagues.
4.  Speaking of lying s.o.b.'s (weren't we?) got the latest dish on my own douche of an ex (douche is Mike's favourite word to describe total ****s.  I think it's an American thing. I love it). Anyway, back to the dish: he is now living (keep in mind this is a 'man' {and I use the term loosely} in his forties) with his parents and can no longer work at the restaurant (that I felt compelled to leave after fifteen-odd years of service and damn good pocket change due to his shenaningans and the utter shame I felt), due to the fact that his gf, or I guess, ex-gf. now, got a restraining order against him. Me, in my head, "what-the-f*ck!!????" or that may not have been in my head. It may have been an incredulous text to the text I received. Then I laughed to myself. Almost as much as when I leafed through the gf.'s fb. photos, of her, thick-limbed and wearing a fascinator (I can't make this sh*t up) at some wedding she attended, the douche conspicuously absent. Hint; he probably didn't want to go because he was online dating while you were out, sweetheart.
I go back to this ( because I have truly never seen a karmic law laid down so swiftly, with such punitive force, it's forces bringing real harm, real change, and sweet, savoury justice.
5. Leafed through my old yearbooks from high school. My mom had a box of my 'stuff' from my old room in the house, and packed it all in one box for me to sift through, which I got around to last night.
Mostly it was old drawings and sketchbooks I had done, books (V.C. Andrews anyone?), a few back issues of "Sassy" (one with Kurt Cobain, looking impossibly young, with pink hair and Courtney on the cover) and some of another old favourite "Jane" which was my twenty-something handbook. And the yearbooks. Dear God. I laughed to myself and read the little blurbs about clubs, and sports, and teachers, and thought, why did I have to make it so hard for myself, with my shyness and trepidation? It could have been fun. Oh well.
6.  Commented on a good blog entry I read about being time-stressed (I felt her pain, this writer, yesterday, and then when I read some comments, I noticed the trend of how people make it all about them (yawn). It's so true what I once read in a manners book: people are self-obsessed, so stop worrying that they're thinking about you.
7. Had a client yell at me on the phone, then had a client's wife send me a thoroughly annoyed email. I sent one back. I hate my job sometimes (I know. No surprise to any regular reader here).
8. Went to bed, as I mentioned, at 10pm. Heaven. Am up, in my robe, today, now, feeling spritely, getting ready for work, the sun in shining and it doesn't winter. I know we have months more of Canadian teasing-type weather to come but today looks good.

Gotta go.
Hair, clothes, coffee, car, commute.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Journal 136 Conversations

As the saying goes, you can catch more flies with honey than you can with vinegar (and the antithesis of that is: if you pull their wings off, they'll eat whatever you give them).

So began my Monday morning today.
Tracking down the buyer's agent.
I found her on a typical realtor-roster website, and read her little bio here, looked at her fetching photo and thought, in my head, you liar.
My favourite is the "being honest and building trust and confidence..." ummm Miss:

I telephoned her office. She wasn't in. I think this was a omen.
I considered my next move.
I asked to speak to her boss, knowing that large real estate factory might have some sensitivity
to their reputation being sullied by an agent who sold a home to a family member, however distant or close, and then smoke-screened a financing issue, clouding a deal with doubt, and setting into motion a chain of events that nearly sent me right over the bloody edge.
Her boss sounds like a nice man. He stammered his incredulous apologies. I accepted them, gracefully.
I heard myself saying, in our defence, "We're a nice family, we're honest, we would have never done anything to tarnish the deal, we signed an agreement, and we understood what we signed".
I explained to him that this was a very emotional deal for us, my mother's marital home, my father's death. He listened. I felt heard, really only ever the most important thing.
We concluded the call. I thanked him, sincerely. He promised to follow up with her, his errant employee, and I communicated my appreciation.
I contacted my lawyer and tossed about the lawsuit idea. He said I would need actual damages to put a suit together (or if only Thursday and Friday could be translated into material measurements). I concurred. I thanked him too. He, along with his kind staff, made this deal happen when it almost didn't, as far as I'm concerned.

So technically, I've now done my due diligence. I've named her, I've shamed her, and I feel like that should be enough.
So why doesn't it?

Journal 135 Faith

113 Trinity Street.
I passed this little statue yesterday while running with my sister.
I drove by it on my way to work this morning, taking a different route,
to take this photo.
Note the significance of the address, the thirteen.
Note also one of the definitions of trinity:
 the union of three persons, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

I have been a bit godless lately, and after seeing the meditation book at my sister's,
and happening to take this random running route, I have to remember that faith and
spirit signs will often show up in random places, quietly waiting to be noticed.

If you click on the google map link above, you can see the google earth shot. It shows
a worn out front yard, temporary fencing, and no statue.
So, someone recently bought this gem, put up a beautiful wrought iron fence, and
this statue. The reflection in the glass on the front door is of a small historical building
across the street, a school belonging to the church, the Little Trinity Anglican
Church, that sits on the corner of Trinity and King streets.

I noticed.

Journal 134 Awake

It's so so early and I so would like to still be sleeping, but I awoke at 4am, lots on my mind, and it stayed that way.
I was thinking about Mary Karr's wonderful book "Lit" (her follow up to "The Liars Club", her childhood memoir, Lit being her adulthood {thus far} memoir).
Her stories about her mother aging, about her sister and her taking care of her resonate to me, perhaps even more now, after the move, then they did back in August when I first read this amazing book.
Anyway, I was pondering the title, because after my mini-meltdown on Thursday night and the conversation with my lawyer on Friday morning, and after things got resolved (read about it all in this post from Friday, I had a thought:
that after the meltdown, and after the waves of sheer relief when things finally turned around, something became lit in me.
You know that sound of a match striking the matchbox board, the catch of the flame, that almost lightning-swiftness?
Well, that's what happened inside of me.
As if my grief-sleep, my inertia from all of the events, finally, finally, started to lift.
And I woke up again, more myself than ever.
Don't get me wrong; I'm still shaky. I'm still anxious, and I still have fears (lots of them), but something shifted in those hours, those moments.
I'm awake.
What this means is that I take with me into this new phase of my life all of the compassion, all of the dread, all of the extra-senses that accompany witnessing a life end, all the importance of what's really important, the crossing-off of the to-do list those things that do not fall into this sacred category.
I post the following poem, the first verse something that I tacked up on my office wall, behind my computer, years ago.
It's a great sentiment, and one that I can strive to insert into this crazy life I lead.
But there's one thing I'm gonna have to do before I am going to be able to live in faith that the whole world is on my side:
That the buyer of my mom's house, and her realtor are going to realize they picked the wrong family to screw over.
I promise myself, and them, of this fact.

Have a good Monday. I know I will.
I'm awake.
I'm alert.
And I am so so so f*cking pissed at these people.

“Promise Yourself 

To be so strong that nothing 
can disturb your peace of mind. 
To talk health, happiness, and prosperity 
to every person you meet. 

To make all your friends feel 
that there is something in them 
To look at the sunny side of everything 
and make your optimism come true. 

To think only the best, to work only for the best, 
and to expect only the best. 
To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others 
as you are about your own. 

To forget the mistakes of the past 
and press on to the greater achievements of the future. 
To wear a cheerful countenance at all times 
and give every living creature you meet a smile. 

To give so much time to the improvement of yourself 
that you have no time to criticize others. 
To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, 
and too happy to permit the presence of trouble. 

To think well of yourself and to proclaim this fact to the world, 
not in loud words but great deeds. 
To live in faith that the whole world is on your side 
so long as you are true to the best that is in you. ” 
 Christian D. Larson

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Journal 133 Little Nothings

For five to ten minutes just start writing in a “stream of consciousness.” Don’t edit your thoughts or feelings and don’t correct your grammar. Don’t censor your thoughts.

This is from that Tiny Buddha link I posted a couple' days ago.
It smacks of Natalie Goldberg's writing instructions of allowing yourself freedom to 'write the worst stuff in the world'.
I like these little journal tips. I like reading them, posting them, even if I don't always follow instructions. (I'm not an instruction-follower. I honestly have real trouble even READING instructions. I'm that "expressive driver" personality that needs to figure it out for themselves. I learned this doing personality tests at work. Although I didn't really need the test to know this).
Stream of consciousness, huh?

Here goes:

My sis sent me this someecard that I have to admit is true.
NONE of my exercise pants have ever been to, participated in, or tried, yoga.
ALL of my exercise pants have flared legs that are in tatters from running on pavement, year-round, in all weather, slush, rain, sleet, salt--they are in ribbons.
I love them all.

It's late Sunday afternoon and I ran, with my sister, what was for me a grueling 7-ish kilometres. Truly. I can hardly stand upright.
Note to self: Sleeping on floor, helping lift and move boxes, walking around the city, hill-running at night after said move, running in the wind, and another totally unnecessary run will guarantee pain at age thirty-eight. Also, today was f*cking freezing out. The wind seemed to be blowing in every direction all at once (right AT me) and it made the run almost unbearable. Except that I love to run. So I reminded myself of this with every single frozen step.
Came home, ate some sushi, drank a tonne of water, some tomato juice, and am now showered and waiting for my sister to come to dinner. Mike is at the store. This is the type of cold-Canada day he can't bear. I know if I'M cold, he's done. The heat is blasting in my condo.
Speaking of my sister, because I have been, she's been a huge help with my mom this weekend.  I think it's the parent aspect of her that allows to reason with my mother in a less emotional way than I do.
Or it could just be that I have had raging pms for about four days, coinciding with the move, the buyer's bullsh*t, and the general emotional roller coaster of the last few days.
Never underestimate the power of a good sibling talk, and my sister and I have managed to squeeze in a few in these last few days.
While over at her place on our way out to go running, I was waiting for her to come downstairs, kind of aimlessly walking in her living room, looking at her family photos (a nice shot of my mom and dad, 2007 I know, holding my nephew R. as a baby in our church--I know it was 2007 because that's the year R. was born. They both look so proud, my dad especially, handsome and healthy in a suit. How could we know we had four years left with him?).  I picked up another photo, a cute one of my sister and her two kids. Then my eyes fell on a book about meditation, with daily thoughts to ponder.

"When we die we do not go to sleep.  We move to a nonphysical reality where we are very much awake".  I liked this thought.

I flipped to the front of the book, which was inscribed to my sister, something I had missed when I so randomly opened it:
"Happy Mother's Day, 2011.  Love, Dad".

In my father's familiar hand, his last month on earth.
My eyes fill even now.

Where I'm writing from

It's Sunday morning, there are many projects on the go and coffee is being had, in this little guy below.
Running will happen within the next couple of hours.
I thought I would give a glimpse into the space where I do most of my writing (my dining room table. Oddly, not my desk.  My desk is usually for "real work" and I associate it as such.
I face the dining room window as I write, now flooded with light, and I often listen to music, on headphones if Mike is asleep, on my jbl dock if he's awake or out.
My tall sideboard holds some (not all) of my book collection, and what you see below is stacked two-deep on the shelves, meaning there is a row of books behind the ones you're seeing.

The title of this post is a play on the title of the book by Raymond Carver, "Where I'm Calling From" (see below).  I don't go in for many of the 'best seller' titles, and my appetite for memoir is such that I don't do too much fiction reading, but some of the titles on the shelves below are forever-favourites.

I've loaded photos, written text, and coffee is cold. 
Happy Sunday!  

Sunday morning coffee

The bar. A portrait of my Dad at 21.

Shot glass collection. First card Mike ever gave me
(it says "you are so very Super Fly").
Cover of the New Yorker, my birthday, 2009.
Pic of Mike, me, and L. on my first trip to NYC, 2010

What I glance over at as I write--my dining room 'sideboard'
for lack of a better description.
My vision board.
Photos of me and my sis..then and now.

Sideboard again. Candles, card, family photos.
My dad on crutches on the left there. 

Some of the classics, including my battered
copy of 1984 by George Orwell.

I am a bona fide addict of Alexander McCall Smith, the Scottish
writer of the distinguished No.1 Ladies Detective Agency
series, and the Isabel Dalhousie series.

More treasured favourites. All of the books
on this shelf are must-reads.

These are a mixed bag--alternately, some vacation reads,
and then some very serious fare.

Light and dark, together on one shelf.
"Instructions for your discontent" there on the end.
An odd little book I purchased in 2003, perfect for my
Carver "Where I'm Calling From", the title of this post
a nod to this great book of stories. 

Carver again. Some Marian Keyes.