Sunday, August 19, 2012


I had a Bad Sleep.
On a Saturday night--which is my most treasured sleep night. Meaning--I don't crash into bed after a day of 'oh my god how am I gonna get all this done on time', stuffing my face with a dinner I barely remember eating, say good night to Mike on the phone and then fall into bed, face down.
On Saturday, I read a bit longer. I light a candle. I fall asleep slowly, reviewing the day that was all mine.
Not last night.
Last night, the college, whose back-end I face in the courtyard of my condo, had a delivery truck dropping off goods AT MIDNIGHT. I awoke, groggily, to the sound of a truck beep-beep-beeping, backing up. Thought I was dreaming.
I wasn't.
I have to say, with all the stress impinging on my life right now, I came right unglued. I seriously did.
I got up.
I put on my robe over my pajamas (striped bottoms, long, and a cute gray and white tank.) Put on shoes. Got my keys. My phone (for the camera). STALKED across the parking lot, vibrating with rage. Snapped some pix, to make sure I wasn't hallucinating the sound, or having a vision.
Luckily, I did not run into anyone on my way in/out.
Came back inside. Uploaded photo. Banged off an absolutely furious email to my property managers, cc'ing our condo board (I'm on it. I'm royally pissed).

Tossed and turned, but got myself back to sleep. Fitfully.

Fast forward: Sunday morning. 7:15 am. I hear beeping. I wish I was kidding. I look out the window, having been awakened from some weird dream where alot was going on (my power was also off, I discovered, when I looked at the clock to reference the time of this beeping. I knew it was 7:15 because I picked up my phone and looked at it. And LOOKED AGAIN, blinking incredulously that I was actually hearing a delivery truck at this ungodly hour. ON SUNDAY.

Repeated routine of the previous night, except this time, I completely lost it on the hapless chef (I live behind the cooking part of the school). Something about "Do you know what time is it for the LOVE OF CHRIST?" while he simply shrugged. Really, how seriously could he take me? A woman, hair dishevelled, taking pictures with her phone, in a robe and pajamas, yelling almost incoherently on a sunny August Sunday morning.
I go back inside. Repeat email procedure. Like, a really unhinged email about how upset I am and what are they doing about this and blah blah blah...and yes: I TOTALLY 'sweated the small stuff' in a big way this weekend.

I will say this:
Work has been inhuman, my family obligations are beyond what any normal person could handle, I'm at my wits end being without my husband and I'm done mentally.
Just done.

It's Sunday night, I was grumpy all day from my broken sleep, I just worked on a file, and since I nagged the hospital endlessly, I now have my second CT scan tomorrow first thing. Monday morning, the day where I normally hit the ground running at work. Instead, I'll be on a table having another stupid procedure to tell me what exactly? I'm not happy. With any of it. Not running (I didn't run today. Ran yesterday. It sucked. Royally). With the summer I've had. With being so whiny and feeling so goddamn overwhelmed at work and just bitchy at life in general.
I'm doing the "okay just three more days of work, you can do anything for three days, but sometimes I just have that feeling of "f(ck it I can't".
But then I clean the kitchen, organize paperwork, fold clothes, eat dinner, and just..breathe.
That's all I've got for you tonight. No glossy words of wisdom, no answers, no positives.

I'm going to bed.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

80s Playlist

Because it's Saturday.
Because I'm a smidge hungover (early birthday dinner last night with my two best friends. Yes, there are photos. I'll dig them up at some point).
Because I'm 3 work-days away from vacation.
Because I'll always love 80s (guilty pleasure!) music.
Because you want to know what's on it, I know you do.

Here it is (I may even run to it today):

1. Self-Control--Laura Branigan (reminds me of my twenties, when I had none. Self Control that is.)
2. Big in Japan--Alphaville (most people know "Forever Young". Big in Japan is a pop-y, wake-up song. Choppy background).
3. Edge of Heaven--Wham. Laugh if you will. Wham was my whole life in the 80s.
4. Hey Mickey--Tony Basil. Great workout song. Remember that video?
5. Love is a Battlefield--Pat Benetar (life is a battlefield too).
6. What is Love? --Howard Jones I never get tired of this one.
7. Turn to the Sky--March Violets. Extra points if you know what movie soundtrack this is from..
8. Personal Jesus. I wish I still had the black Violator t-shirt I had from their 1988 CNE Grandstand show. Yes. I was there. I was fifteen. I was a bit mod-ish. My mom called my outfit "obscene" as I left the house. My dad said it was fine. (it was a short black flared skirt, a long-sleeved white top, a swing-out-sister haircut, and black knee socks. In short: it rocked).
9. Lips Like Sugar--Echo and the Bunnymen (I love Coldplay's cover of this.)
10. Bang a Gong--Power Station
11. Cruel Summer--Bananrama
12. Let's Go Crazy--Prince
13. Just Like Heaven--Cure
14. Love My Way--Furs
15. Original Sin--INXS
16. Nowhere Girl--B Moive (love this song--I used to stream internet radio at work, and this was from a station run by "Java Jane" who was 80s OBSESSED. She was amazing...)
17. There Is A Light that Never Goes Out--Smiths ('take me out...tonight.....')
18. Black Metallic--Catherine Wheel
19. Planet Earth--Duran Duran
20. Sweetest Taboo--Sade (my mom calls her "sad" as in pronounces her name like that...)
21. Don't You Forget About Me--Simple Minds
22. Is Your Love Strong Enough?--Bryan Ferry&Roxy Music
23. Candy--Iggy Pop
24. It's My Life--Talk Talk (my friend L.'s theme song)
25. Money Changes Everything--Cyndi Lauper
26. Mirror in the Bathroom--English Beat
27. I'm So in Love with You--Erasure
28. Is it Like Today?--World Party
29. This Monkey's Gone to Heaven--Pixies
30. Dead Man's Party--Oingo Boingo

All right, rounding it out at thirty (there are ALOT more)...
Enjoy your Saturday.
It's a beautiful day.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Reading in bed

Well, as you know I'm a reader. An avid one. Some would say voracious.
And it's been a few weeks of off-the-charts working, out of my head with the craziness that calls itself my career on a good day, add a dash of my own insanity, rebelliousness, and never wanting to quite conform all the way, and you've got yourself a molotov cocktail. One Restless Soul.

One of the by-products of having a job that forces me to engage my mind is that often, after hours, my mind ('my' being a strange way to describe it somehow) will not dis-engage. As in, it won't turn off. Wine helps. So does running. Which is why I do it alot (running. and hell, drink wine too. Not at the same time, obviously.)  My next addiction is not television--far from it. I've never even seen an episode of Dexter, Breaking Bad, and I turned off Lost. I prefer the visuals my own mind gets from books (see, told you, it won't turn off). My addiction is reading.

And, as if sensing my cerebral/neuro-neediness, this summer, the library, my second home, has not disappointed. Earlier this year, in the spring, they renovated their small space. Renovation is a nice word for saying they re-organized the bookshelves, put in automated-check-outs for the books, and thought up new ways to display books, like in the bookstores where all the 'popular' books (the ones I usually blow right by) hang out in front, showing off, begging to be bought (there are exceptions to this, I bought Wild, didn't I? you say, but remember--I was blogging about Wild in March. Go ahead. Look it on up.)

So it's been a banner summer for reading. I've been reading two, three a week (Mike's in  Maine) and it's my downtime on the rooftop on the weekends, and my downtime after work in the evenings.

I will come up with a short list of the loved and read-in-under-ten-hours soon (Wild is on there, as is Blood, Bones, and Butter; add Audience of Chairs, a memoir by Stephen King, Still Alice {just finished this one last night, stayed up way too late reading it, and crying, about alot of things}, and you have a smattering of the seriousness of the material. Heavy. And it's SUMMER.

I had my acupuncture treatment tonight, which I have grown to love, and I came home with that peculiar residual feeling it leaves me with--a mixture of calmness and alerted-ness, and I had a couple of sandwiches for dinner because I didn't want to do dishes later. I experienced pangs of guilt after seeing a man at my local grocery store who looked hungry and probably needed food. I always get that urban guilt. Like, would he have been insulted if I handed him ten dollars? Probably not. And I could have. I should have. I will.
So I'm home here, reading again, up too late, buying myself roses to look at and washing down Imnovane with Gatorade and I am reading a cracker-jack type of book, one that just kind of came home with me from the library, with a cover I can't even conjure up in my mind even though the book is a few spare feet away from me right now, on my bed, and I am convinced: This book is here to help lead me somewhere. Somewhere important. Yes, some would say it's a book about romance, about men, about self-control. And they'd be right. But it's the self-control thing that's getting to me. That part about 'their lies becoming your truth' (thank you L.). Because I've been letting that happen wayyyyy too much in the last few months, and my head is hurting because of it. 
It happened again today, that feeling of being a piece of gum on a person's shoe, of being poised outside an office door, notepad in hand, pen at the ready, I had an echo of 'shabbily-treated waitress', a memory of past profession, coming at me in waves. And I added a dash of salt to this wound by winding up with a saccharine "Is there anything else?" (with that look that you use, as the expression goes, when you don't have a knife handy).  And then I retreat. And I puzzle. And I think about the nature of work, the nature of some to talk about doing it, and the nature of others to actually fucking do it. And I sit down at my computer and a little bit of my soul, right here, right now, gets restored back to me. The compass inside me resets.

I'll leave you with one line that I am absolutely making into my personal mantra (in my head) for the next little while, from Tracy McMillan's (so far) ass-kickingly awesome book, "I Love You, But I'm Leaving You Anyway":

"Your rules don't apply to me, and by the way--fuck you."


Sunday, August 12, 2012

Dreams and rainbows

It rained yesterday--hard at times, gently at others.
I was caught in a furious downpour running from my car to the bottle store at about 7pm. Then, again, as I picked up the Indian food my sister and I were having for dinner.
The rain when I picked up the food was 'cats and dogs' type of rain, however, the sun was shining as it pelted down.
I was driving along Queen Street when I told myself I'd love to see a rainbow. Come on Dad, I thought. Can you send me a sign? Something? I tried to make a left turn at the next light to avoid some construction ahead but couldn't. I had to make the next left, not at a light, then make a quick right to get where I was going. I made the left, then waited at the stop sign for the right, craning my neck to catch sight of cars coming along, waiting for a break in traffic.
That's when the clouds cleared to the east for a second, revealing the wide arc of two rainbows, the first one perfectly outlined, with its double a fainter twin. I stared. I smiled. I snapped a quick pic with my phone (car was not moving, I promise.)
I know it's a chemical thing, I know that when sun and rain mix that rainbows can happen, but at that moment, after my beseeching, silent request, I felt the rainbow was just for me, just like the one I saw the day my dad died, the same sun/rain equation, the same resulting elation.

Later, I dreamed.
I was late for a work meeting, I was trying to park my car, and suddenly, there was my Dad, in his familiar spring jacket, the tan one with a red stripe in the middle of it. I'd forgotten about that particular jacket until I saw him wearing it. He was trying to park his car too, but his currency was not one that could be used. I tried to help him. He looked directly at me, so familiar, so real. 
"How are you, Carolyn?" he asked me, his voice so clear, no trace of the raspiness of those last months. When he still had a voice.
I replied, still in my work-frazzle. "Busy. It's just been a long day..." I trailed off. I was realizing, even mid-dream, what that question really meant. are you? How are you doing, how are you coping, are you okay, is everyone fine?
Yes Dad. I'm fine.
I don't let the little things bug me the way they used to.
Situations don't make me fall apart the way I used to.

I really am okay.
I am. 
I will be.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

What can I say?

In the time it took to sip on one (larg-ish) cup of coffee, the sun has hidden itself behind the clouds.
I'm just sitting here, stretching out Saturday morning as I usually do, thinking about something that has plagued me the last couple of weeks:
what to write?

I've been a bit hard-up for topics lately. I've been working (work-work as I always refer to it) like a fiend and it's taking up all my time and energy. That doesn't leave much time for free-thinking, where I dream up all these blog-worthy spouts. I haven't even been falling asleep with words in my head. Just...blankness. Or thoughts of files.

My friend A., in the course of a long phone conversation the other night, listened to me whine, for lack of a better term. At one point I was near tears of frustration just talking about work, about family, about support systems. She brought me back to earth with two simple concepts:
One--Burnout (this concept, to me, needs no more explanation. But, like depression and anxiety, it is a specific goal I can work against, once I know what, exactly, I'm up against.)
Two--our general impatience with the universe. I have been mightily guilty with this one of late.
I will sit, at my desk at work, literally itching for the days to speed up and let me out (let me off!) of my 'cell' (office) into the greener pastures of Vacationland (aka Maine). Also, I want time to speed up to that magical place where Mike and I are together, together-together, all year long, none of these (seemingly) endless separations and opposite-schedules punctuating our newly-minted marriage.

So there they are. Pretty simple aren't they? And yet, the two, combined and intertwined, can create such negative angst it's almost unbearable.  They can dominate my thoughts, reminding me of an article I once read by a writer I admire, Abigail Thomas, about this longing we have. We long for things. For achievements, for milestones, for recognition, for feelings of value. When one longing is met, the feeling of longing does not go away. I had an epiphany when I read this article years ago. Okay, I thought--that means that I don't have to feel secretly guilty for 'wanting'. For setting those often crazy, way-out-there goals. I can have them in the background while I continue to live life, ie, live in the grind, the same one that plays out with all of us: work, worry about money, look for love, find it, don't find it, work to keep it, marry, think about marrying, children, no children, new work, money again, aging, our parents' aging. Then, death, grief, more life, picking up the pieces, re-building, re-building, re-building--for some of us, a process that mercifully doesn't happen often. For others, it's a function that comes to almost form a theme for life.

Last night, I had a quiet night in (the whole weekend is going to be full of this, I'm loving every second). I finished reading A Circle of Quiet, this magical, forgotten book that I'm convinced is going to become a kind of 'handbook for living' for me. Despite the author, L'Engle's, complete opposite-ness to me in every way, her words are so pervasive and ...sensible, I found myself reading her book over a number of weeks, savouring it, rather than finishing it within days.  Unusual for me.

So, it's Saturday, I haven't really written in a week (I took Hiatus down, I'll revive it later, I took it down for me, and my loyal readers already got to it and have taken it in--if you missed it, email me and I'll send it to you) and I've been fretting about not giving enough airtime to my thoughts, to this blog, but here it is. Another entry, even if it's filled with the detritus of my tiny mind.

I leave you with some L'Engle to mull over  for your weekend (truly, I read these lines following my conversation with A. and I was, as I always am, over and over, convinced about the true nature of order, fate, the path);

"...we do hurt ourselves when we try to take short cuts to find out who we are, and what our place in the universe."   p. 225, A Circle of Quiet, Madeleine L'Engle, (c) 1972

See what I mean?

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Such was the quote I read in The Circle of Quiet last night, winding down at the end of my day.

I read with interest when people (other bloggers, etc., what have you) decide to unplug and free-fall head-on into their lives.

I've thought about it. I'm not gonna lie. Especially after the debacle of last month with my friend, who, subsequently, wrote a very unflattering post about yours truly afterward. I didn't comment on it. Or text her furiously to take it down citing 'my privacy'. I also didn't point out to this same friend that she will happily tell strangers in line-ups at stores her entire life story--it just seemed kind of beside the point.
Because as much as her post was a slap-back, it didn't bother me enough to work up to the kind of anger that she had worked up to prior to writing it. I thought about how this same friend eschews social media at all costs but cannot put her phone down to stop texting, sometimes even during a quiet, serious conversation when someone wants to be heard.

So I did let it go.
For now. I have a trip planned, and alot of thinking to do, and I think I'd rather address it after I do that thinking.

But this hiatus thing. It intrigues me.
Tune in for more about this.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

A long week

It's been a week since I've written, (almost. Ok it's been 6 days. Who's counting? I am. I count).
It was an insane work-week, it's been insane for everyone, and tomorrow, (which is supposed to be, according to our weather people) a rainy day, I need to do some work-work here at home. That's how crazy work is right now. Factor in my vacation in less than three weeks (insert cartwheels and fireworks here) and I've got umm..alot to do and get done.

I saw the neurologist yesterday. And I tell you, with shy pride, albeit mixed with heavy regret, he seemed pretty fascinated with my case. With my crazy pupil. It's misshapen glory. (he confirmed it is now, in addition to being constricted, misshapen. I told him I was glad he saw it too because I thought that I'd started imagining things. He told me he wished he had a medical student with him).
Nothing really new except that my condition in terms of nerve damage remains the same. We don't know why yet. We will find out. After some other test that was described to me, one that I immediately forgot the name of. And, after typing out the whole series of events neatly for the doctor, along with a list of any and all medications and vitmains I take (I don't take any medications but I'm a vitamin junkie) I promptly also forgot to ask the one burning question I still have:


But it was not to be. What to be was that I got a tall Starbucks (there was a Starbucks right near his office), I made an awkward left turn while holding the phone talking to Mike in the car, and I spilled my coffee into the cupholder well. I was tense. And gunning to get to work. As I mentioned, it's busy.

Day passed by quickly.
I went home.
I went to my friend L.'s house to hang out and have dinner. We sat in her backyard, only after liberally spraying ourselves with mosquito repellant. The smell was the real repellant. 
I came home.
I went to bed.
I woke up early. AGAIN.

Oh well. I'm trying to look on the bright side (stop laughing).
1.  I've managed to clean my entire apartment (seriously, I haven't been able to do this in ages) and it looks neat and dust-free and all the dishes are put away and old magazines have been tossed, and the recycling has been put in the bin, and all the old mail has been ripped up and junked.
2.  I get so much done when I get up early. I don't know why. I'm not what could be described as even CLOSE to being a morning person. Never have been.
3.  It's a long weekend. There are no words.
4.  Even though I'm not allowed to run, I am going to look at this as an opportunity to walk, rest, and do other exercise (what is that I wonder?) and, pardon the pun, take it in stride.
5.  I had the chance to see the Olympic tennis on tv (women's singles) and watch Serena Williams deconstruct her opponent. It was beautiful.
6.  I finished reading "Blood, Bones, and Butter" by Gabrielle Hamilton, then read this amazing article, which summarized all my feelings about the last third of the book (the Butter part) and made me feel better about my insane curiosity about writers' personal lives. It IS warranted.

I'll talk more about Blood, Bones, and Butter in my next post but it did something that another book I recently finished, Wild, by Cheryl Strayed, another great memoir, did: It started out with prose and a storytelling style that I liken to sublime writing, all fuelled, as many of life's great achievements are fuelled, by struggle. And it careened along a crooked path to a sort-of disappointing finish. For Hamilton I hope the door was left open for a second book, and Strayed does have another one out now (not connected, but it looks like a good read). But it was an interesting parallel to read both these books in the same summer, weeks apart.

It's Saturday morning. My hair smells like mosquito repellant, I need a shower, and then I'm going for a walk. A fast one.

Happy (well-deserved) long weekend.