Friday, November 23, 2007

Am I a Literary Idiot?


Perhaps.

It's apparent here and there in my writing class that I'm not on my third year of an English degree. Everyone is always quoting authors and the odd literary term I've never heard in my life.

It was never more evident than during my presentation last week when I asked the class if they thought a particular section of the reading was an example of "stream of consciousness". The teacher called me out on it, saying "You just need to read more." At which point a few people in the class snickered. I thought it was a legitimate question. Why not explore if a passage is or isn't stream of consiousness--unless it is oh so blatantly obvious to everyone else (and I don't think it was). I thought that's what education was for.

My only consolation is for what I lack in literary knowledge, I make up for in life experience. One of the students in the class had to look up the ten most popular drinks on Wikipedia just so he could reference people drinking in a bar "properly". Add to that, his character is a taxi-driver, but the student has never ridden in a taxi--he had to ask us what it was like to ride in a cab so he could capture it "accurately". But I'm the ignorant one.

Another student made a reference to a character smoking "the green". At the end of the discussion, someone asked, "What's 'smoking the green'?" Seriously.

Unless all that really means is I've smoked pot and gotten drunk regularly enough to write about it "accurately".

Which still makes me a literary idiot.

: (

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Get Over It


Being sexually abused as a child by two different people in my family has created a button of rage within me that is always half pushed. The button represents being a victim. The second I feel attacked and powerless to retaliate or defend myself, I react unpredictably and sometimes alarmingly. It's not a conscious train of thought that leads to the button being fully pushed, either, it's an emotional overreaction which stems from an instant sense of victimization.

A woman once deliberately splashed water in my face at a public pool. She was upset I didn't know how to swim "properly" in the lane with her. It didn't matter to her she came into my lane to do her laps, even though there were other completely empty lanes she could have swam in-- she maintained "we should all know how to swim together properly." The lifeguard who witnessed this altercation excused the woman's behavior saying the woman was "schizophrenic". The lifeguard further qualified this with, "She told me she was sorry."

My reaction was to go home in a rage (across the street), grab a hammer (just in case), and head back to the pool to wait for this woman to leave. People can do whatever they want to me without repercussion?! If I were schizophrenic, could I get away with whatever I wanted?! Would I then be able to treat people in any manner on impulse?! When she finally came out of the main doors, I said to her, "You never said sorry to me." After which I slowly, and anticlimactically, followed her home (it turned out she lived across the street in the same apartment building, making it a short walk).

While driving home the summer before last, I had the car window down to enjoy a warm breeze. It was a beautiful day, music was playing from a local radio station, when I felt something hit me in the side of the face startling me into swerving my car. Someone from a group of kids passing me in an SUV had thrown a bag of candy at me through my open window.

This could have caused an accident! How dare someone do this to me! This is unacceptable! Could I get out of my car at the next stop light and open their door for a confrontation?! Could I get out at the next stop light and hit their car with my softball bat?! Am I just supposed to sit here and take whatever someone throws at me?! (In this case, a bag of fuzzy peach candy--I hate peaches!)

I looked around my car, desperate for anything to throw that might cause damage to their vehicle, and I spotted a green votive candle. The candle from my friend's bridal shower which used to have nice little ribbons tied around it attaching a silver colored heart inscribed with "love". Without hesitation I scraped off the ribbons and sped up to the vehicle while I leaned my left arm out and threw the candle with all my might. It bounced along the road uselessly and my teeth clenched in response, my knuckles white on the steering wheel.

My foot pressed down on the gas peddle and when I finally came up beside them, I veered my car close into theirs, twice, before punching the gas peddle and speeding away.

After many such scenarios, I've come to the conclusion the feelings caused by life or people acting upon me freely while leaving me powerless will always be the most challenging for me to over come. But over come them I must, because things will always happen which

I

can

not

stop.


No one ever said life was supposed to be fair. And there is no such thing as "should".

The reality is, while I can not control anything that happens to me, I can control my response to it. I just haven't quite mastered the space between action and reaction, and at times haven't even recognized such a space exists.

But knowing all of that and understanding all of that has not eliminated my button or caused it to be any less pushed.

That is my reality.
Does anyone ever really get over anything?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

An apple a Day


Oh, that's to keep the doctor away. What do you eat a day to keep the dentist away? No, don't tell me to brush and floss everyday, because I already do that.

I was going to write, "I don't know what it is about going to the dentist that makes me miserable," but I know exactly why I feel miserable after going to the dentist. Usually I'm told I need extensive work which insurance is not going to cover (like the time I was told I needed something like 3 crowns, which insurance doesn't fully pay for and runs around $800 a pop). Or maybe it's the times I've gone in for emergency appointments to get teeth pulled, or root canaled, only to discover the dentist did the wrong tooth. Or maybe it was when I burst into tears after hearing how much work needed to be done and the dentist suggested I see a therapist. It could even be the time my Mom didn't realize the extent of our dental coverage and instead paid out of pocket for me to have a tooth pulled (which dentists loathe to do).

Mmmm...

Granted, times have changed for the better since then. Today's appointment revealed no cavities and elicited the comment, "Your bottom teeth are absolutely excellent." I need four old fillings replaced, however, but after that I should be good to go for years to come. I had most of the work done over the last two years (yes, all the root canals and crowns which were deemed warranted, as my dual coverage then was so fantastic, I had to take advantage of it before it ended). And my current insurance will cover everything needed this time around (which I can hardly believe).

Then why do I feel so moody?

It could be simply sitting in the dentist's chair makes me feel like an out of control child who has shitty teeth all over again. Or it could be the dental hygienist asking me today if I'd gotten married because of me changing my name on file (for what should be the very last time). Seriously, if one in two marriages end in divorce, should you not be careful about assuming there's been a happy communion which has resulted in the name change?

Mah. My head, jaw and shoulders ache, and my teeth hurt from the cleaning. Plus, I just realized I don't get paid until tomorrow.

Poor, poor Tiffy. : ) Why is it no one ever feels as sorry for me as I do?

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Meeting the Parents


It's Thanksgiving weekend and Rob's parents are in town. They are considering moving to Kelowna and decided to come check it out, along with visit us. Like any future daughter-in-law, I've been anxious about the impending visit. In reality, it's been rather pleasant. Now that I'm here to stay, there is a certain freedom in knowing I can just be myself; Rob has already chosen me--and no one else gets to weigh-in on that decision.

Is that an odd way to think about it?

I've been analyzing why I feel so relaxed, because the only thing stressing me out is watching Rob interact with his parents. What is great is I'm not yet part of the dynamic, so I get to stand outside their relationships and observe how they function. Which is fascinating.

Of course, what child doesn't at some time feel stressed out being around their parents? The parent/child dynamic at one point always regresses back to the initial relationship of parent teaching child, which usually includes what the parent perceives as the "right or wrong" way of doing something.

What some parents don't always understand is there are many "right" ways to accomplish things. I'm sure every child has a memory of an experience where they were doing something in front of their parents, trying to show them we knew what we were doing--which is what all children at one time or another strive to do--and the parent is instead trying to teach us the "correct" way. And what child doesn't want to feel proud they have met their parent's expectations? So, when the parent is not recognizing we learned what we were taught, how does that make us feel?

Having said all that, I realize I love my parents now more than ever. I finally understand they did the best they knew when they raised me. And I can clearly see how much Rob's parents love him. It's very obvious to me, but I recognize it being expressed in different ways. Which reminds me of how every child starts off the same way with every parent.

Typically there is joy when a baby is born, and the new family member is celebrated in many ways. Think of all the love you typically see new mothers showering upon their new babies.

At one point Rob's parents were that way with him, and at one point my parents were that way with me. What parent hasn't looked for every smile, until smiling became second nature (which some argue never happened for me), wished the baby laughed spontaneously, watched for first steps, listened for all the first words, and at some point didn't ooh and ahh over our cuteness? Seriously.

So, keeping that in mind, it's not as though parents ever fall out of love with their children. That's not how it works. And if you think of that when you're interacting with your parents, it reduces frustration. Now I understand this basic dynamic between my parents and I, and I don't take everything personally. My Dad instructs me how to do something "better", and it isn't about me doing it worse. After all, I'm the one who decides if it truly is "better" (and that's what being an adult is all about).

Even if I do it my Dad's way in front of him, I am still going to do it my way later. And my way may actually be better, because I learned how to make things better from my parents. Which is exactly what I'm going to teach my child.

: )

Friday, September 21, 2007

In that case...


Assorted students and parents litter the Registrar's office foyer. Clusters are in line to take a ticket, others are clamoring to ask staff if they really need to take a ticket, and most are sitting waiting for their ticket to be called. So far the wait is upwards of an hour and a half. Today is the last day for students to add or drop courses and pay their fees for the Fall semester.

Current excuses for not taking responsibility include: "Can I get my fees deferred because it's the University's fault I grabbed the wrong loan application?" Right after telling me she knew it was last year's application but figured that would be alright because it's the "same information" (which it isn't). Clearly it's our responsibility to try and stop every student we might see with a loan application and verify if they are indeed applying for Spring/Summer loans (the reason the old applications would still be out on display), and inform them the new application isn't available yet (or it would be out). We must assume the student is a vegetable and therefore can not call the government to double check, nor simply verify the info on their website, and the least of all, not simply ask a staff member. Well, in that case...

"I don't have time to go get sixth course approval. No one told me I needed it." Oh, I didn't realize every staff member who was in contact with a student (instructors included) should be going over every single possible scenario and every policy as it might possibly affect the student at any given time with whatever it is they are trying to accomplish. I didn't realize the student had absolutely no responsibility or accountability as it related to their own registration and education. Well, in that case...

You've got to be kidding me. I recall getting two parking tickets in one day at Red Deer College. It was during the summer and I parked at a meter for the day (which is typically not permitted beyond a few hours during the regular school year). Earlier in the week I was plugging the meter for a quick stop in at the library after work and a commissionaire waived me off indicating I should not continue feeding the meter. Great, I thought, so, the meter policies are relaxed during the summer, excellent!

Two parking tickets in one day later, clearly this was not the case. The next day I approached the commissionaire who issued the tickets, politely introduced myself and asked him if I could possibly have one of the tickets revoked (because of the above experience). I said I now understood what I perceived was not accurate, and I was willing to pay the ticket, but was there any way to get the other one revoked? No demanding, no blaming, no avoiding responsibility--just, could you please consider my scenario? I was also prepared for rejection.

I'm sure it was due to my manner, but the commissionaire revoked both tickets and I never made that mistake again.

As for the students...we even have a paragraph in the academic calendar and the registration guide stating:

"As a student you are responsible for the accuracy and completeness of your own registration, and for fulfilling the requirements of your degree program. Therefore, it is essential you play an active role in obtaining the information you need to understand your requirements and to keep that understanding up to date. Specifically, you share the following core responsibilities with the university advising team:

- Take responsibility for your own development and decisions. Advisors are one of the many resources available to you, but the decisions and achievement are all yours.
-Consult an advisor regularly and play an active role in the advising process. Listen carefully, ask questions, and ensure a clear understanding of the information provided while communicating any unique interests or circumstances.
-Use a variety of tools (unviversity calendar, degree navigator, website, advisors, etc) to obtain and verify information, rather than relying exclusively on one source. Knowledge is power.
-Know what can realistically be expected from various kinds of advisors and advising in general. Getting the best advice possible means going to more than one source to take advantage of any unique expertise."


Accountability is truly a misapplied concept.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

At Wits End


Seriously. When I came home from my second class in Fiction Writing 1 last night, I really didn't know what to say to Rob. I was basically listless.

For three hours we presented our character outlines to the rest of the class. So far there is a former millionaire homeless man who lost his money to gambling (when his wife left him), and now every penny he makes (when he "stoops to begging") he donates (except when he buys deodorant). And he has dementia which he sometimes "sleeps off". Okaay...

Then there is the "hot" native drop out teenage street kid who left her perfectly fine foster parents to go in search of her drug addicted homeless mother, Nadia. Alright... Add to that another character who has "bi-polar psychosis 1", takes anti-psychotic drugs (or is that another character?), but has remarkably never lost a job due to this mental illness as her employers have always been "understanding". She also currently attends a university which she sometimes has to leave for months at a time because of these "episodes". MmmHmm.

Many of the characters parents were killed in car crashes (including mine), and none of them are married, but many are "amicably" divorced. Much of the incidental details were created on the fly by the writer(during a question and answer period), and I can't wait to see how many discrepancies arise as a result of one of us pointing out an inconsistency from when we were first introduced to said character. Currently there is only one character I would consider writing about because she's almost a dead ringer for what I was like as a teenager (no I'm not going to expound on that).

Over all, I'm not sure I would have signed up for this had I known what to expect. And once again, my expectations are getting me down. This is a senior, University level writing class--I expected the level of talent to match accordingly. Yet, I feel as though I'm faced with the same people who I took a writing class with at Red Deer College a few years ago (which required no portfolio or pre-requisites, and for goodness sake that was in College). : )

Sigh.

So, if this bunch is the cream of the crop out of 40 portfolios, what the hell were the other portfolios like? I'm not saying I'm a superstar, stellar writer by any means. Some of my character's flaws were obvious last night, and I'll endeavor to eliminate some of the cliches I perpetrated, but still.

Today I looked around at other classes online, but none really can compare to spending your time writing about imaginary people and events (with no final exam), not to mention no studying.

Fine, fiction writing it is.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

School's in


My first lecture in Fiction Writing 1 was last night. Unlike the first day of past writing courses I've taken, I didn't feel enthusiastic or excited after it ended. Of course it's hard to say if I'm just exhausted from work right now, as we're working scheduled over time every day until the end of September. Not to mention how trying it is dealing with some of these students (and their parents). Sigh.

A 25-30 page portfolio was required to get admitted into the course, and out of 40 possible students only twelve of us were selected. Although I truly expected to be chosen, I now feel a little unsure about what I've gotten myself into. The evening was mainly spent going over admin type information like expectations and assignments, etc. This is a full year course and the first half will be taught by one professor, while the second half will be taught by another (which is not typical). Each professor also has different expectations, so in the end we'll be receiving a combined grade from both (also unusual).

After the admin stuff it was our task to come up with a town, city or society which all the semester's short stories will be based on. I suggested a travelling carnival troupe called "ok carnival", and despite vocalized interest from a few classmates, we voted for a neighborhood called Greystone Heights in a fictional place called Loxley, Saskatchewan (patterned after Saskatoon, but the class didn't want to be hampered by the reality of Saskatoon--why, I don't know). Our neighborhood is comprised of a mixed class, mixed race group of people.

From there writers will each create a character and for the rest of the term we will write about any of these characters only in this neighborhood. I'm not sure if all the students realized how limited we would be in having only a neighborhood to write about (as opposed to a city, which was where my vote went), but we'll have the option of at least choosing from any of each others characters (as long as we don't stray from the character type established).

Our other rules include no violent criminal acts, a character can not be killed off, we can not magically alter time, and there are no fairies, elves or fantastical creatures allowed (unless we are writing "magical realism"--which the professor explained, but has such specific parameters I'm sure will prevent me from attempting the style). So far, only one student seems crushed about the forced non-inclusion of fantasy, but the teacher reassured him our characters could be delusional or insane, so there are ways around it.

I'm torn as to whether I should create an entirely fictional character, or one based on a real person. I've read that good fiction writing is based on either real people situated in fictional events, or fictional characters based in real life. Hard to say, but the woman I have in mind used to buy a stack of harlequin romance novels from me every couple of weeks, then sit outside the bookstore reading them while eating potato chips and drinking chocolate milk every lunch hour. I used to wonder what she would sound like if she spoke. Would she come across as dull and simple as she appeared? I think one time she even grunted during one of our transactions.

To use this person as a character model might be quite intriguing and challenging. What motivates a person to live in such a manner? What indeed.

Either way it's going to be an interesting and intense year of writing. : )

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Wedding steps


I have one thing checked off my wedding "to do" list--I bought a dress! Well, my mom dragged me out dress shopping, and it was surprisingly successful, so she actually bought it. : ) I say "surprisingly" successful because I already had a dress (which she was apparently horrified I was considering wearing).


My original dress is a "clean" version of the corpse bride dress I wore for Halloween a few years back. I picked up two identical dresses on sale because they were so pretty. I had no intention of buying a wedding dress that day, but when I tried it on, it looked so nice I figured I didn't have anything to lose (except $20). The comment I got most as the corpse bride was, "That's really a pretty dress." And that was ripped, torn, and covered in oil and mud! Two years later, I tried it on again and still thought it was just as lovely (yes, I realize you can't really see the dress in this photo). : )

But of course I found something even more lovely. I didn't go to wedding dress stores the first time around, (I bought some kind of cream colored dress from a random store) so I was quite nervous. I even made sure to dress up a bit, lest I be treated as though I "didn't belong" in any of the dress shops (I have hang ups about growing up in a lower economic area of the city, and have always felt as though I was uneducated and uncouth). Add to that I've never had any exposure to wedding planning, and always thought actual wedding stores would be intimidating and out of my price range (I didn't realize there were all kinds of shops with all kinds of ranges). Considering my mom thought Rob's parents would see my original dress as a "bargain shop" dress, I come across some of my hang ups naturally!

Anyway, my mom was clearly in her glory pulling out dress after dress for me to try on, and we came across a hit pretty early in. It's a rather romantic dress, which is quite flattering (obviously), and is just generally charming. My mom made the comment I must like it the most as I had it on "longer than all the others", which I didn't realize. But not wanting to spend money I didn't have to, I wanted to bring out a few other people for a final decision.

The next day I took my original dress over to Suzy's, (one of my brides maids who has no socio-economic hang ups, is quite level headed and proudly bought her wedding dress for a mere $12) so she could have a frame of reference for when she saw me in the second dress. Suzy agreed with me about the first dress being quite pretty, but after seeing me in the second one, she hated to admit it, said it went against all her principles, but she thought I should buy it. So, decision made, we wrapped it up and took it home. I ended up trying it on again back at her place for my other brides maid, Amanda, and I think she even got a bit of a tear in her eye!

Of course, I couldn't escape wedding dress shopping without at least one classic mother comment, which I understand for the most part is rather common. Amanda's came in response to her questioning her mom about why she wasn't tearing up at seeing Amanda try on wedding dresses, to which she got, "Well, 1 in 2 marriages end in divorce, you know."

Mine came while I was wearing the dress in question (which has a small champagne colored band across the top). My mom was asking the shop attendant what she thought about the dress, as compared to another, and said, "You see, this is her second wedding. So, don't you think this would be more appropriate?" Gasp! I said, "Well, maybe I should just get a scarlet letter emblazoned on the back. That ought to make it obvious."

I suppose wedding planning would not be complete without at least a little drama.

Rob suggested I wear the other wedding dress out during my bachelorette party, which I didn't plan on having, but that's such a fun idea, now I must! : D

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Let the games begin


Rob was surprised I could still be admiring my ring after this length of time (this length of time being just over a month since the proposal). "Are you kidding?" I said. "This will carry a glow for me for quite some time."

Is this unusual? I go through different stages where I'm admiring the ring more or less depending on my mood and the day. Today I've been looking down a fair bit at my sparkling jewel. Is it because it's symbolic, or simply the fascination new jewelery generally brings? Or worse, am I just materialistic? Mmmmm... I've actually thought about this.

The engagement occurred quickly within the early stages of us living together; I thought Rob wouldn't get around to it until later in the year, especially with his new job (I thought he would be otherwise preoccupied with getting used to my crap laying everywhere around the house, and managing the stress a new job brings). When he proposed, I was a little surprised he didn't need more time to decide to spend the rest of his life with me. : )

When I look down at my ring, I'm reassured he's committed. I know there are never any guarantees, but I take the symbol of the ring seriously and I'm happy knowing he's in it for the long haul. I'm especially happy I don't have to worry about whether or not he's in it for the long haul.

Now we just have to plan the bloody wedding. Sigh. I'm not the kind of woman who's always dreamt of the "special day". It causes me a fair bit of stress and anxiety imagining everything that needs doing. But, I'd like a lovely day to remember (especially after all the regrets I felt after the first one), so I've decided I need to get the hell over it and get the hell on it.

: )


Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Times they are a changin


I'm really not a fan of change. I think some people truly embrace it, but I'm not one of them. Even the slightest of changes can cause anxiety to build in my stomach. When I was younger, I remember getting stressed out when my boyfriend wanted to sell his car. But let's be honest, there isn't much that doesn't provoke at least some level of anxiety in me.

This morning one of my co-workers announced she was being seconded (another dept takes the employee for a set period of time, with their original position being retained until the secondment is over--usually for some kind of project). Typically a secondment is temporary, but I have yet to see any of the Universitie's seconded employees return to their original positions, as invariably a new position gets created out of the secondment.

So, in the middle of the morning meeting-- I don't want to say I burst into tears, but the tears started and I was having a hard time getting my emotions under control. I was praying the meeting would end quickly and wondering what the hell I could think of to try and stem my feelings. For the rest of the day people asked me if I was alright (a few even hugged me), and the co-worker in question was a little awkward with me (not so hard to understand). Sigh. I'd rather it wasn't obvious I like some people much more than they might like me.

It's times like these when I wish I were a man. Could you imagine a guy bursting into tears when a co-worker announces their departure? I think I would start laughing out loud, it would be so ridiculous. This simply would never happen, not even with a gay guy.

And I can't tell if I'm just emotional, or really bad at goodbyes. I remember crying at the goodbye party for one of our managers leaving A.M.A, and I'd hardly been there a year and barely knew him. I also avoided going to my own farewell party at A-Channel, though I'm still not entirely convinced one actually occurred. Mmmm... I really didn't think I was such an emotional person (though when I said this to a friend she just kind of raised her eyebrows).

Rob was also having a hard time understanding how this co-worker's secondment affected me, but it's as simple as she is an excellent colleague and our department is rather unstable, so we need every anchor we can get. Never mind the other support she provides (that thought alone is enough to get my eyes welling again). She also started at the University not long after me, so I've been working with her almost my entire time here, which will be two years in ten days.

Of course it's a good opportunity for her, and very few people will remain in my department over time, but I feel quite affected none the less. With planning a wedding during the next year (possibly followed by a family), I'm not really on some big crazy career train. Inevitably I'm going to see many people come and go. And I'm clearly not ready for anyone to go (never mind her). : (

I could be hormonal, or even a bit tired, as I thought a burglar was trying to break in around 1am last night and had a hard time settling down after waking Rob up for us to search the whole house (we did not find anyone, but I think someone took their trash out and the garbage bin gates are jarringly loud).

Mah.


When one door of happiness closes, another opens, but often we look so long at the closed door we do not see the one which has been opened before us. ~ Helen Keller

Monday, July 30, 2007

Whew


I am finally emerging from under my summer cold spell. This morning was the first day in weeks where I haven't awoken in a drug induced fog, rushed to get ready by skipping eyeshadow and selected the easiest clothes to find and put on, then raced to work only to pay to park.

This morning I was up early, downloaded a few iTunes, ate breakfast with my sweet man, and got to work with plenty of time to walk in and even check email. I feel pretty damn good!

And I'm engaged! What fun is that? The proposal itself was perfect. My Robert was on bended knee on the dance floor of a Doc Walker concert during the Stampede. A D.W. concert was the site of our first date, and during one of the first two slow songs we ever danced to is when Rob said he hoped it would last forever. Then he told me he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me and suddenly he had his cowboy hat off, was down on one knee, and the ring was sparkling in the light upturned to me. The women around us had parted in a small circle and were screaming and congratulating us. Afterwards the guys from the band came out for autographs and we had our picture taken with them. What a wonderful, memorable night!



Now I don't have to worry about skating around all the taboo dating topcis, like kids. It's nice to be able to openly discuss our future together and everything that entails. It's also nice to simply know I get to "keep" my Robert, as I like to put it. : ) For as long as the fates will allow, anyway.

You'd think I'd be leery about going around this block again, but this time I'm going to do it right. I have more to offer as a partner, and I'm careful to absorb and appreciate as many happy moments as possible. There are many times when I bask in a shared moment with Rob and I'm thanking God all the while. And all the love and fun we have together will continue, that's the best part. This is what it's supposed to be like. Finally.


This is truly worth all the hell I've been through. I'm blessed and feel incredibly lucky.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Radio Silence

I really enjoy the image this term invokes. I have nowhere to be, no deadlines--no reason to talk to anyone. It's as though for a moment, I'm hidden and no one can find me. : )

I can't get Big Girls Don't Cry out of my head. I couldn't help singing along as it played through the radio while I reapplied +45 sunscreen to Autumn and Emma's already crimson shoulders. I applied it no less than four times myself, and still I burnt my knees. Of course I didn't bother using sunscreen on my legs, as they take forever to get any any color, and I figured if I burned it would be even. Not so. Now my knees hurt. I've already applied aloe but it isn't helping, and now I want to take a bath.

I'm feeling childlike from spending the weekend with my nieces.

We had a pool party both Saturday and Sunday afternoon. My brother Kyle bought a 12' by 30" pool for Emma this year. It's large enough to fit two blow up floating beds (or surfboards, as Autumn calls them), two big blow up donuts, and people. One donut was pink, the other lime green. The bottom half of each plastic tube was a solid color and each top was clear with colored circles. They were even fun looking.

Kyle figured the beds would be for us, the donuts for the girls, but they snatched up those beds the moment they hit the water. I preferred the donuts right away, and was disappointed when I thought I wouldn't get one. I could float in them. Which is how I burnt my knees (with help from the +25 temperature).


That's my favorite part--floating. It's the same when I'm in any water, I love to float. A while back I posted a picture of me floating in our hotel pool in Cabo San Lucas. That was peace--feeling weightless and being totally relaxed, trusting the water would carry me if I simply laid back. Pure surrender. Then I typically think of God. : )

Rob is away. He took the red eye to Toronto last night. This is the first time I'll be alone in the house and it feels a little strange, like I'm not quite sure what I should do with myself. So here I blog. Along with my warm knees, I hurt most everywhere else. I went to the batting cage after the last pool party (I'm trying to go once a week). I managed to crank out a few and make solid contact with the rest. I felt solid bursts of aggression as I hit each of the first ten of twenty balls before I got tired. Clearly I need to get back to the gym. I've been slacking since our trip to California (my feet are still killing me from all the shopping, walking and site seeing we did).

The first thing I did when I got home from the cages is dump all my stuff near the kitchen on the floor, open some windows, turn on a bunch of lights and get a bowl for my cereal. I decided to have Honeycombs for dinner. : ) I've left a bit of a mess in each of the rooms I've been in, and later I'm looking forward to sleeping in the middle of our queen bed. I made sure to keep one of Rob's shirts to sleep in, though. I tried thinking of when I'd miss him the most, but because I'm still in the fuzzy love phase I can't narrow it down to missing him for just one moment.

I enjoy thinking of Rob when Fergie sings this part of the song:

"Like a little school mate in the school yard
We'll play jacks and UNO cards
I'll be your best friend
And you'll be mine, valentine
Yes you can hold my hand if you want to
'cause I wanna hold yours too
We'll be playmates and lovers and share our secret worlds

But it's time for me to go home
It's getting late, dark outside
I need to be with myself in center, clarity, peace, serenity yeah..."

Rob, on the other hand, thinks this song is "awful" and unchecked it immediately from his ipod after I purchased it from iTunes. : )

Go figure.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

It's time


for some good news...

I was accepted into the U of C! This Fall I'll be registered as a student in the faculty of Humanities working towards completing my English degree. : D

Now, part of me wasn't even fazed I was accepted (I truly would have been shocked not to have been), and part of me feels embarrassed I don't already have a degree (to which I justify with, "Um, I spent 9 years in the media--education included, so it's not like I wasted my 20's"). Sure, I made a life altering detour by marrying a jackass and moving to Mexico, but considering Rob moved here the same year my marriage fell apart, I was obviously destined for sunnier skies.

What will I do with an English degree? What the hell does anybody else do with an English degree? Own a used bookshop? Send stuff to Reader's Digest? I don't know. I've always had a passion for writing, but have no idea how to channel that and currently lack the discipline for writing fiction.

If I do ever get off my duff and carry on with my novel, I'm convinced it'd be a hell of a story (or so I've been encouraged by a few of my English teachers, anyway). Plus, I just spell checked this document and there were no errors! (and then it occurred to me a new feature of blogger includes automatic spell checking) Sigh. I recall a quote from a Matt Groening cartoon about the writer's neuroses, "Am I just a hack?!"

Anyway, I was accepted into year 3, which I understand is quite good. Basically I had a fair bit of credit transfer from my Broadcasting diploma, which is great considering it was completed over ten years ago. That means I could have my degree done in less than two years. In reality though, I get four free classes a year from working at the University and will probably only do that much, so it'll take considerably more time.

Isn't this where I insert the "it's about the journey" cliche?

I'm really going to have to do away with the cliches--if I want to maintain my straight A average which began with my English courses in Red Deer, that is. : D

At least I've already blogged more this year than all of last year. Although, I think there's a direct correlation between that and the notion I might have at least one reader. So, who am I writing for, really?

Who indeed.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Jonathan


It was brutal watching my oldest brother Darrin walk down that aisle Saturday morning. He looked the oldest I've ever seen him. Emotional lines cut deeply into his face--I know where that bit of writing comes from now. It was overwhelmingly sad. I didn't anticipate how much this would affect me-- I haven't had time. I was on holidays in California up until Wednesday last week.
I had just finished buying Darrin a birthday present at a music store in Westfield Horton Plaza, an outdoor mall in San Diego. I was amused because his birthday isn't until the middle of December, but I came across the perfect gift for him, at a good price, exchange included. I turned my phone on to text that to him (I keep it off because a phone rep once told me you can incur fees just from the phone being on roam). After it lit up, the dramatic chime played and I heard the sound I get whenever there is a message waiting. I'm always excited to get a text, but this time I was shocked when I read the message. "Oh my gosh," I said in one long exhale. No words would come to me and I could only turn the phone for Rob to read and comprehend my reaction.

Text letters on a green background, "Jonathan took his life last night and was pronounced dead at 10:45." I don't remember the actual time because I deleted the text message as soon as it occurred to me. I didn't want to keep re-reading it, wanting it to somehow explain why Jonathan hung himself, Darrin's step-son, Debbie's son. He was only 21.

Jonathan came from a blended family of four. Two younger brothers and one baby sister, Autumn, Darrin and Debbie's only biological child together. Jon's other step-father, Paul, immediately drove down from Edmonton after he found out, and was at the funeral along with much of his family. I only met Jon a handful of times.

The most significant thing he ever said to me was, "You must be Vicki's friend." He and I were randomly visiting my brother Kyle and his wife Vicki at the same time. The way Jon said it, all smooth, was clear he was trying to be charming. He was startled when I reminded him I was his Aunt, Darrin's baby sister. Vicki and I still joke about it. Jon seemed naive, and I always worried what he would make of himself, as he was mixed up inside and went down the wrong road often.

The ceremony was nice. There were quite a few people and lots of family I've never met. Littering the pews were a reasonable number of Jon's friends. My Mom bought one of the flower arrangements which sat on the pillar to the right of Jon's casket. There were several deep blue roses in amongst some white flowers I don't know the names of. The sounds of crying were all around; a girl behind me sang along to the odd sad song playing over us.

All good things come to an end, by Nelly Furtado, opened up the funeral. It was current and catchy. I think the lyrics explain everything. Jon sang it to Vicki weeks earlier, on several occasions. A certain catalyst of Jon taking his life was a batch of text messages sent back and forth between him and his ex-girlfriend, which lead up to him doing it. The only person Jon gave the opportunity to stop him was his brother's girlfriend, Rhianne. She didn't make it there in time. I think if Jon wanted to be stopped, he would have waited.

The pastor was very good. Of course he spoke about the standard Jesus stuff, how He died so we could live. How God sacrificed his only son so we'd be given God's grace forever. Then the pastor spoke of how one of his daughters was graduating that afternoon; he was full of happiness for her because her life held such promise. He asked all the young people to stand and then spoke of suicide. He pointed out how valuable they all were, and how they all had many possibilities to live for. It wasn't obvious to me if his words were effective. I worry anyone who knew Jon will use this as a springboard for doing something as devastating as what Jon has done.

The hardest thing for me is seeing the effect this is having on Darrin and his family, naturally. Even Rob cried when Debbie and Autumn were up at the funeral podium. It was heart wrenching. During the family viewing Friday night, Autumn said, "I don't think Jon would have done this if he would have realized the pain he would cause." She's eight years old. Still, we're told the hardest part is over.

I'm filled with sorrow when I think about how the rest of us will come back to our homes, experience grief, and return to a typical Monday. And because I feel so affected, I'm sad imagining how it's going to take everyone else a fair bit of time to process and accept this.

And of course I'm sad because there really is nothing I can do to make this better for any of them. I know everyone says you can "be there" for someone, but it feels like a small thing compared to the enormity of accepting the loss of your son.

Like everyone, I wish I could understand what really happened and why Jon did it. Especially when I'm sitting in a room full of weeping people, people who obviously loved Jon. It's an unfair reminder how some people can't see what's around them. A person is in a dark place when they can't see how they are loved.

It's hard not to expect an answer when I ask God, "Why?" I always thought that was a cliche, and now it's happening to us. Another cliche.

Kyle said on Friday, "When did life stop being so carefree and start being so serious?"

I've read the response, "Who said life was going to be fair?" Where did we get the expectation life was going to be fair?

I hope long after this weekend is over, they are all able to get the support they need, for as long as they need.

I pray whenever I think about them, which is often.





Jonathan Roman Joseph Bazinet, October 22, 1985 - May 19, 2007


Tuesday, May 08, 2007

The telescopic tunnel that is the US


I had the pleasure of catching a bio on Gary Player, "Good Guys Wear Black", on CBS this past Sunday. You may or may not have heard of him, but according to Wikipedia, Player is "one of the most successful golfers in the history of the sport, ranking first in total professional wins, with at least 166, and tied fourth in major championship victories with nine. Along with Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus he is sometimes referred to as one of 'The Big Three' golfers of his era."

Here's where I take issue: "he is sometimes referred to as one of "the big three". Gary Player is not "sometimes referred" to as one of the big three, he IS one of the big three of golf. If you put "big three golf" in the Google search engine, the first two references are of the Big Three as being Gary Player, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus--it is not a perception issue. All three athletes were signed by pioneer sports agent, Mark McCormack, who promoted them by creating a made for tv event, "Big Three Golf" which launched the promotion of the sport and its players as a profitable marketing tool.

As a non-golfer, I have only been aware of Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer as being two of the great golfers of all time (aside from Tiger Woods, of course). I am extremely curious how I have not previously heard of Gary Player, considering how successful a golfer he was and how compelling his personal story is. Player came from modest beginnings in Johannesburg, South Africa, and rose up through the ranks of golf despite the shadow of apartheid and the resulting scrutiny. As a South African, Player was often criticized and threatened over his country's politics, despite not believing in Apartheid himself. Even with that kind of background, you'd think I would have heard the name Gary Player before.

I believe this is a US influence. It appears Gary Player's success as an athlete is undervalued in favor of recognizing and celebrating the other two US golfers. I would think the average person with as minimal golf exposure as I have would be as familiar with Gary Player's name as I am with the other two. In the television biography itself, some of the golfers couldn't come right out and say Player is one of the greatest golfers of all time, it was always he "might be" one of the greatest. I think there's a difference. And I think Player's record more than reflects his being one of the greatest golfers of all time.

Why does the US have such a hard time celebrating or recognizing anything outside their border? Jebb Fink, a local television personality, comic and former US resident, has joked about how biased the US Olympic coverage is in that as soon as a sport is finished, US media are immediately interviewing their athletes--regardless of how they placed, often in the the middle of the medal ceremony. "What's going on over there?" Jokes Jebb, waving an arm off to the side, "oh, some sort of ceremony, but here's our man Jeff who has just placed 166 in the Bobsled competition..."

The media bubble that is still in existence in the US is something which has bothered me for years. As Canadians we are so heavily influenced by the US, but it isn't reciprocal. I remember the US coverage of the 1995 Quebec referendum--it was marginal. Canada was on the verge of losing a province and I'm sure most US citizens couldn't tell you where Quebec was, let alone understand the effects of a Yes vote for Quebec sovereignty. But when OJ Simpson took off in a white bronco down the freeways of Los Angeles, the subsequent trial coverage was one of the most high publicized crimes in US history. This speaks volumes.

Enough said.



"For all we take in life we must pay." - Gary Player

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Wednesday


I really didn't want to get out of bed this morning... Sigh.

I had my first baseball game of the season last night, which was fabulous. I signed up for a singles group (meaning they put you with a bunch of other individuals who also don't have a team), and the team is great. Unfortunately, they made a tactical error in the bottom of the fifth to let some cute chick with Jackie O sunglasses stay on second after she ran past it and we tagged her as out (which would have been our second out of the inning). "I didn't know that," she pleaded breathlessly--chest heaving, "Can't we just let it slide as I didn't know the rule?" (rolling eyes) If you don't know the bloody rules, don't play the bloody game.

As it was, this ended up being our TSN turning point when they rallied right after and brought in a bunch of runs to tie the game. In our last inning we didn't manage a single run, after a frickin double play when one of our chicks was busy talking to the second baseman and "forgot" to run to third (despite magnificent coaching from the third base coach--me). Seriously. Can these women at least try not to be such a cliche?

My performance was pretty good. I cranked a few foul (which would have been beautiful had they straightened out), brought in a few runs, and made it on base all but once. I did have one error in the field (I play second base), but managed to get a few people out, so that was redeeming.

Overall, I think our team has a lot of potential. Though playing last night makes me want to play more (as it does every year), so I'll have to see what I can do about getting on some other teams. I don't play for the City TV Sunday team anymore, but it's their loss (and it really is. Yahoos). Luckily this is the Spring season only, so for Summer I can sign up for a few more nights. I don't know what it is about Softball for me, but when I'm out there it's so exciting and exhilarating.

I never participated in team sports as a kid, and now as an adult I realize just how much I missed out on. I will definitely be encouraging (forcing) my children into some sort of team sport. The confidence and social skills that result are invaluable.

And now the aches and pains set in. The day after the first game is always a bitch.

Thursday, April 19, 2007


Like many, I am saddened and sickened by the Virginia Tech mass murder. What is more disturbing than the incident itself, is the coverage the murderer is receiving as a result. I'm referring to the latest development, the gunman's manifesto received by NBC which has subsequently aired frequently in many reports.

Do we as viewers, family members or students need to understand in video or photo format just how disturbed this man really was? Don't the callous slayings speak for themselves? Isn't the airing of this footage glorifying the crime this sick person committed? And to a larger degree, does it not give others a fresh idea to add to any of their potential fantasies of acting out in a sadistic rage?

What I would have preferred was the anchor indicating that although NBC received such a package and immediately turned it over to authorities, they carefully considered the value in airing such a manifesto. That top executives at NBC decided not to air the footage or photos so as not to glorify and fulfill the last part of this perverse plan.

Describing this manifesto in words alone would be sufficient to get the point across (the point being how ill this guy really was). I can more than fill in the blanks as to how fucked up he was. To see him in all his glory on tv and hear his incoherent aggression only reminds me how much the media feeds off this sort of thing, and in effect spreads and fans the violence originally created.

Imagine the effect this must have on the victim's friends, family and fellow students. What must it be like for them to see and hear the last words from this disturbed mind? To see and hear a self-righteous "explanation" of the slaughters? In the midst of their grief, seeing and hearing from this sick mind could only add to the horror and trauma already inflicted. Hearing this bastard say, "This could have been avoided," is disgusting to say the least.

The loss of these individuals does not lose significance without video commentary. The effect of this crime is not any less profound without a picture. I imagined the horror well enough when I read how one girl played dead to avoid being shot, how others lay on the ground with their feet blocking a classroom door from the re-entry of the gunman, and still how another student tried to deny what his mind clearly recognized as the sound of gunfire coming from a nearby classroom only to finally realize fellow students were indeed being shot.

After working in the media for seven years, I am reminded again of my decision to leave a toxic industry and the people that continue to infect what we call "news". What will it take for networks and editors to make the right decision instead of a ratings decision?

While generally boycotting the news may make me less informed about current events, it also makes me less jaded and cynical about the world we live in. In the wake of such tragedy, all we can do is cling to the notion that the world and all of our existence is not summed up by one heinous act--even when it feels like it is.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Sing a song



Rob's birthday week was successfully capped off with an evening of Karaoke Saturday night. There is very little I wouldn't do for this man (other than sing, apparently). : )

He was pretty much the only person who sang from our group, despite the reasonable turnout of birthday revellers. Most of the singers in the bar weren't all that bad, only the odd singer was so atrocious one of our people left with a splitting headache. "Quinn", who seemed to sing non-stop, actually cornered Rob in the bathroom to make small talk and compliment him on his first song choice--You'll never find, by Lou Rawls. Coming from him, it was unfortunately not much of an inspiration. This guy was actually sipping tea for his throat at one point, and was by far the worst in the bar. Even Rob was substantially easier to listen to then Quinn (but I'm a little biased).

A few of my friends noted how unfortunate it is Rob doesn't have more of a natural singing voice considering just how much he loves music (but his passion truly makes up for any lack in vocal ability). ; )

Rob indulged in no less than five karaoke songs over the course of the evening (more than a few in my honor, I might add), and partook in several cheap Long Island iced teas (much to his bodies dismay the next morning--he's not much of a drinker).

He worried whether I had a good time or not, but seeing him so happy really brings me much joy.

Tonight we're off to get a firewire for my video camera so we can upload a few of his performances to UTube (stay tuned for the link).

It was a grand birthday evening, indeed. "The best birthday ever." said an enthusiastic and inebriated Rob.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Complete


What birthday isn't complete by wearing a moosehat and having staff at a local restaurant clap and sing for you?

Indeed.

To top that off, I ordered a lemon gelato cake for Rob (his favorite). Damn, I'm a good girlfriend.

***

My boss left a Crave cupcake on my desk. As delightful as it was, I now feel extremely full and slightly ill (I'd advise not having a meal along with the cupcake, as I did. Ugh). Still, as a meal itself this might work.


***

Last random thought: the other night when I was setting up "my room", I was listening to my ipod. I was all excited to be listening to some of the tunes I'd downloaded from Rob's new ipod. Imagine my surprise when "one headlight" came on and instead of hearing Jakob Dylan of the Wallflowers, it was Rob (a very drunken Rob, I might add) belting out his passionate version.

I'll do my best to post it, as it's a rare treat indeed.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

There's always tomorrow


And thank God for that!

Today was a much better day than the last. I'm surprised I'm maintaining a good mood considering the weather, but I'll take it.

I think a few things contributed to today being much better than yesterday: I set up "my room" at Rob's place last night (aka the room I get ready in, have my vanity and clothes in, etc). Although Rob has a very large walk in closet, I have not yet had the urge to share it, oddly enough. I'm happy enough having a his and her closet and bathroom, that sort of thing. It's also nice to feel as though I have something I can consider "my space" (though it's really all our space now). And I don't think it hurts leaving some of his spaces unchanged, either. : )

The second thing contributing to my mood today is it's Robert's birthday! While he's not keen on raising a fuss over the day, I can't help celebrating the day he came into the world. My life would be so different without him! : ) Thank God for Robert. He was pretty sweet to me yesterday, as well. I really appreciate how supportive he is.



He considers this his official 36th birthday pic (which I think he took somewhere around 5am this morning while I was asleep). I'm fond of his hat because it features a red "r" on it and was a present from me.

Anyway, Happy Birthday Robert!

Monday, April 09, 2007

Mah


I said, MAH!

Do you ever feel like your existence is a burden? That's how I feel today.

Inner dialogue: "But feelings are not facts."

True me: "Screw you."

I actually called in sick today and then went in anyway (2 minutes late, mind you, but there none the less). Based on how the day is going, I should have stayed the hell home. My logic in going in anyway was I would feel worse if I stayed home.

Not so.

And every other student I'm dealing with today has a ridiculous request, and I quote, "Can you tell me what the totals will be on my T4A for the 2007 tax year?"

Me: "Screw you." (internally) What I actually did was sigh heavily, put both my hands on the back of my neck in a short impromptu massage, and phone a co-worker for emotional support (no, I'm not joking).

So far I've walked away from my front desk twice to "center myself", as a co-worker put it, and I've already cried twice (no, not openly in front of the student).

Sigh.

I guess I know what I'm doing when I phone in sick. But my boss and I are trying "creative vacationing" to plan for these types of days in advance, so I was hoping the long weekend would have carried me through to a couple of extra days off later in the month.

Alas.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Now that's a good looking couple...




A year ago today Rob and I met at a Second Cup. He was staring out at the front door waiting for me to arrive and I came out of the bathroom behind him. For whatever (unplanned) reason, I stepped up quietly and softly blew in his ear. I'll never forget the expression on his face when he turned around--it was a mixture of "who exactly is this woman, and why is she blowing in my ear" (it was actually quite similiar to that photo from when we were moving).
: )

We sat nervously across from one another sipping our hot chocolates, and made banal conversation. In the parking lot after we were doing the don't-want-to-say-goodbye-thing-while-freezing-our-asses-off, and I felt a real spark between us. He looked down and away and it hit me very distinctly in that moment. I've mentioned this before but afterwards when I got home, I sat in my car for a bit just listening to music and thinking about the encounter.

Our first date was a few nights later at a Doc Walker concert, and after our first slow dance, it was all over for me. : ) I remember the feel of him pressed up against me, the smell of his shower gel slightly teasing my senses, and the energy between us.

A year later, we consider Doc Walker "our" band, I often sleep in a Doc Walker t-shirt from one of their concerts, and we've just moved in together. We've shared a vacation together, a few anxious moments, and much laughing and love.

I thank God everyday for who Rob is and that I have him in my life. : )

What a wonderful year, indeed.

Monday, April 02, 2007

I like to move it move it


Actually, after fifteen odd relocations over the course of my adult life, I really dislike moving--I was simply looking for a catchy title. Or I wanted to get this song stuck in your head. : )

Regardless, insert the cliche-- I've pulled the trigger, shacked up, I'm living in sin, people (and I love it).

The day began at at 8am by picking up our truck from Budget (which ended up costing an unGodly amount, much to my dismay, but I was unwilling to give Uhaul more of my business after a particularly bad experience when I moved here and began using their storage facilities in 2005). The weather was overcast and glacial, with a penetrating wind that left me chilled and tired for much of the evening after.

My fabulous friends Jorgie and Mike assisted, along with my sweet brother Kyle--who have all seen and helped move me way too many times over the years. Actually, I think the only reason Michael participated was to make sure I would break a sweat (he maintains I slacked off badly during the last two moves while everyone else did the grunt work. Considering the last time I was hungover from an emotional night of tequila and granola bars, I can't necessarily argue. However, both of my previous relocations happened inside the space of a week from the initial decision to the actual move, so I think I have a defense).



Anyway, if Robert had little reservation prior to the day, he certainly looked stunned and slightly overwhelmed when he saw my storage closet jammed to its maximum capacity. In an effort to get as much in there as possible, it was a creative "tetris puzzle of packing" (to quote him). Even at that, I ended up with 4 or 5 car loads of stuff stored at my parent's over the past two years. As the day wore on we were lucky enough to get rid of a few things, but Rob still threatened to hang out in the back of the moving truck and throw out anything he deemed unnecessary along the trip (which would have been most everything, I'm sure).

What was worse is he had the opportunity to read each box as he moved it and probably wondered why I was saving and packing all that crap to begin with (such as "poker appy units", and "poker dishes and books", to name a few). Never mind that every other box was literally marked as fragile (so many so, I thought the label would start to lose its effect and marked newer boxes as "very fragile"). : )

Before ending up at Rob's place (a spacious townhouse decorated Santa Fe style), we stopped to pick up our new furniture from Bedroom Outfitters (our first purchase together!), which was very exciting for me. I'm also proud to say I did the driving (aside from any tricky maneuvers executed by Kyle), which was oddly empowering. I was a bit charged to be commanding a 16 foot truck down the Deerfoot and propelling my things towards a new beginning.

Our first official night was spent cooking dinner together followed by watching Rocky IV (I am now hooked on the series and disappointed it's coming to an end, believe it or not). Now that I'm here, I'll be spending my time not taking things personally and just recovering from the general stress that such a change brings on (regardless of how positive or thrilling).

But as I mentioned before, if there is anyone worth taking a risk with, it's Rob.

It feels a bit like the last Calvin and Hobbes comic strip:

Friday, March 23, 2007

You give Rocky a bad name



The other night I happened to catch an episode of Survivor Fiji in which one of the players is referred to as Rocky--I assume because of a slight resemblance to the illustrious Sylvester Stallone character.

Let me assure you, this is where any similarity ends. As the episode unfolded I became increasingly dismayed, which I think would go as far as leaving a bad aftertaste in the mouth of any Rocky fan.

Survivor Fiji "Rocky" pushes around tribe members he considers weaker, is obnoxious, lazy, and makes comments like, "No offense, I love women. But in this type of environment, this type of game, you don't need any stupid girl stories or distractions or anything stupid like that."

Now consider the story behind Rocky. It's really about about two things: love and a metaphor for how many times a person can get knocked down but keep moving forward. In Rocky III, Rocky takes Adrian all over hell with him--he's training in the slums of LA, he's got Adrian at his side; he's having a melt down on the beach, it's his wife who helps him work through it. When Rocky bails out his no-good brother in-law Paulie, who's angry at his lack of success, Rocky takes it in stride and invariably gives him a job. He doesn't try and teach him a lesson by belittling or shaming him.

So for this clown to refer to himself as "Rocky" (self appointed or not) and act like a jackass is quite disrespectful to the character that is Rocky. True Rocky fans enjoy the character and series because of what they represent: a triumph of spirit and will. I wonder if Survivor "Rocky" has ever seen the bloody movies?

I suppose I am to chalk yet another thing up to "missing the point".

By the way, Rocky enthusiasts will be happy to note that although the Rocky figurine may be difficult to find, they can get the meat fairly easily (seriously, you can buy the "meat" figurine from Rocky). It doesn't get better than this, people.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

What the hell?!


Seriously. If Mother Nature were a person, I'd phone her up and ask.

I know it's March, and I know all about the "in like a lamb..." thing, but enough is enough. There was a solid foot of snow on my car this morning! I paid for parking at work because I couldn't be bothered to walk through it...sigh. I'm ready for Spring. Oh, yes, I know it can be beautiful (but c'mon). My appreciation doesn't last beyond looking out the window.

***


Well, I've booked a moving van, people. March 31st I am out of my parent's and into Robert's. : D I'm rather excited! Although I'm often nervous he may have second thoughts, I've determined if he has, he can tell me so I can stop asking.

As a bit of background: the ex backed out of moving back in together three times over the space of two years, making my anxiety understandable and even expected. Yippee. It's become difficult not to expect the bottom to fall out at the last minute, to say the least. It was a June 19 when I got the "I want a divorce" phone call (yes, by phone, even)--11 days before we were to move in for the last time, and a day before we were to go out of town to celebrate our wedding anniversary (the actual day he spent in Vegas at a stag, only to later ditch the wedding reception to go drink with buddies).

Say it with me, "Jackass." No wonder I have issues. I'm surprised I've even entertained dating another man, never mind moving in with one!

What can I say? Rob is worth the risk.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Anxiety


Defined as: distress or uneasiness of mind caused by fear of danger or misfortune.

It's lame to begin writing with a definition (or rather very cliched). However, I'm dogged by this emotion and I wish people had a better understanding of what anxiety is and how much it can control you.

Scene one: My eyes flicker open. Daylight is streaming happily through my window, but as I take mental note of my various aches and pains, I notice a heaviness has settled in my mind. Frayed images cause an uneasiness I cannot put my finger on. My heart beat accelerates as my mind rushes to and fro in search of the origin of this feeling. I find nothing, but have awakened in a state of anxiety.

Scene two: A familiar thought crosses my mind, "Am I being lied to? Can I trust my perception?" I know now not to ask friends or family to ease my fears, but I don't know what I should be telling myself to ease this panic which has my stomach clenched in unknown anticipation. My breathing is shallow and I struggle to ease the tension now building in my shoulders and neck. My eyes nervously cast about my surroundings, looking for something comforting, familiar, but I find nothing except my anxiety.

I've been told I have a sensitive nervous system. Fantastic. That I should simply go for a ten minute walk when I feel it coming on. Right.

Where I have found some relief is in the form of my latest read, "From panic to power". I highly recommend this to anyone who suffers from even mild anxiety or simply wants to combat the odd anxious thought, which can clearly be avoided.

To say everything begins and ends in the mind sounds trite and oversimplified, but is absolutely true. Any time you find yourself in a bad mood, it's in direct relation to a thought you've had. Any time you feel you're in a state of agitation, if you go back throughout your thoughts, you'll find out what has pushed you there.

The key is in beginning to recognize the toxic thoughts you allow in, and making a conscious effort to not only stop them, but actually talk back to them. Nothing can upset you without your permission.

My biggest breakthrough in tackling my anxiety happened when I shifted from the paradigm of "I feel", to "I think". You cannot control your feelings, but as soon as you control your thoughts, your feelings change.

: )

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

My happy place



This is where I need to be.

As opposed to PeopleSoft hell (the software recently installed at work--with minimal training provided, and clearly user tested by a flock of seagulls). Mah! And I quote, "I hate it with the white heat of a thousand suns." This software is the least userfriendly, most non-intuitive shit I've ever used, to put it mildly.

If you put "I hate peoplesoft" into Google, it's interesting what comes up (kind of like smelling crap and looking down to find it on your shoe, interesting). : ) I suppose I should find some comfort in that I'm not the only one who despises peoplesoft, but I don't.

PeopleSoft is seriously compromising my job satisfaction.

Van Morrison says, "there'll be days like this." Sigh.

If it wasn't for concentrated sugar products, chocolate, and Rob--I don't know where I'd be. Okay, that's rather dramatic, I'm also quite blessed with fabulous friends and family (thank God), and they make a world of difference, as well.

Happy place, happy place...




Thursday, March 01, 2007

Van the Man comes through!



For me, anyway.

I have sympathy for the Brown Eyed Girl crowd (who may not be true Van Morrison fans), as the concert certainly wasn't geared towards you. What I mean by this is, I love Van Morrison's voice, not simply the odd hit single. : ) My concern prior to the concert was his voice might have significantly deteriorated with age, or might substantially differ from recorded. My fear was unnecessary; his voice rang true and clear for me. There were moments I closed my eyes and just listened--that's how much I love Van Morrison.
I was thrilled to simply hear the voice I fell in love with.

Some of my friends were quite disappointed with the concert (even angry), and I can't help but wonder how much of a fan they were to begin with (no criticism). What I heard from Van Morrison was exactly what I wanted and expected to hear. I could have cared less if Brown Eyed Girl was played, and yet found myself liking it for probably the first time when it was performed. Going into the concert, I knew Van wouldn't be a showman and there wouldn't be any bells or whistles (or even interaction with the audience, as a previous review indicated), so my expectations were in check.

Van Morrison was wonderful. The band was fantastic, and the only thing I would have done differently would be to hold out for better seats (the show actually would have been much better in a smaller venue as it seemed designed for an intimate setting). As for the cost of the tickets, they were expensive, but I believe Jerry Seinfeld tickets cost me more, and he may have performed for the same amount of time or less. It's all relative. A few years back, I was checking Van Morrison concert prices for New York, and they were over $300 a person, so I wasn't surprised the tickets cost as much as they did here.
My money was certainly well spent, and now I can happily scratch seeing Van off my "To Do Before I Die" list. : )

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Another weekend


I worked Monday, and now I'm on another weekend (I have today and tomorrow off). : )

Plus, Van Morrison is playing the Dome tonight. He'd better be good! I say this because I have a fear he will suck live and then the image of my favorite musician will be ruined for good. Is that irrational? I have not liked all of his discs (and I truly expected to). I thought when you loved someones music, you could buy any disc and love it by association--not so, especially not with Van Morrison. One of my favorite recent albums (by recent, I mean in the last ten years) is Back on Top. From this album came a few of my all-time favorites: New Biography and Reminds Me of You. However, I have not liked any of his music since, yet regrettably bought into the philosophy above and still purchased a few discs.

I read a review by Paul Frieson the other day which indicated Van Morrison is more than a bit moody; he used to leave the stage early if the performance wasn't up to par, and as such has a contractual obligation to now go for at least 90 minutes--which is apparently the most he'll play for. The article also mentioned how Van Morrison often avoids eye contact, preferring to sing with his eyes closed, and seldom says anything.

Sounds like a dream concert to me. Sigh. Not to mention our seats aren't so hot (Section 216), which I purchased in a pre-sale through Keystone Music. I didn't realize you can hold out and luck in to really good seats if you're willing to wait and keep checking. Alas. With the cost of the tickets alone, Van owes me a good show.

In reality, I'll be happy as hell if he plays the song that started it all for me, I'm in heaven when you smile. I heard this song played in 1994 on our College radio station, CMRC, and for weeks afterwards I kept singing bits of it to anyone I thought could tell me the name of the artist. After that song, I was in heaven discovering song after Van Morrison song from Real, Real Gone to Ancient Highway (one of my favorite sad songs).

His voice simply takes me to another place.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Rascal Flatts' Concert



What a night! What a concert!

I knew from the moment I heard the announcement, I had to see Rascal Flatts live--they did not disappoint! My sweet man came through in ordering the tickets, and we had great seats. Sharing a concert with someone you love is rather special (or maybe it's just because it was with Robert). : )

to the show... it opened with Where you are, and at one point fireworks rained down in front of the band, which was visually stunning. The stage itself was fabulous with a plethora of mini-tv screens adding a spectacular visual element.
Just about all my favorite songs were played; Broken Road was sung to a dome filled with twinkling lights as fans were encouraged to wave anything emitting a glow. Throughout the crowd women wore a range of homemade shirts from, "I humped Gary (the lead singer)", to "I'll be the rascal if you lie flat".

A better time could not have been had.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Babel


I can't believe I'm about to plug a movie featuring Brad Pitt. Sigh. What has my world come to?

Before the movie started, I was debating if watching it was the equivalent of approving of poor moral behavior (yes, I'm serious). Could I really watch a movie featuring a man who left his wife for the other woman? I'm sure this seems like a ridiculous question to most, but the whole Jennifer/Brad thing took place during the breakdown of my own marriage; my ex also chose the woman everyone accused him of cheating on me to begin with. Since then, I'm quite sensitive to the issue and I've been re-aligning my moral compass by trying to make value based choices and decisions--which doesn't include directly or indirectly supporting anyone with lousy character.

Before I consciously made the decision, however, the movie began and I was quickly swept away. Now I have to say, Babel is fantastically written and shot, and I can't help but appreciate its quality. First of all, I'm a huge Cate Blanchett fan--she's a brilliant, versatile actress and I've enjoyed her in just about every role she's played. As for Brad Pitt, I was reminded he often chooses to play characters which are rarely typical or simply "pretty". In Babel, he plays an ordinary man embarking on a personal journey who gets more than he set out for (to oversimplify). It was refreshing to see him in a role outside of the one he's been assigned by the tabloids.

Babel is told from four viewpoints, which all tie together at various points and come together in the end. Certainly not a new concept, but done remarkably well. So, plug Babel (and Brad Pitt), I must. Although I should warn you, the movie is extremely intense.

My friend says choosing to watch a movie is not the same as endorsing the actor's poor behavior or character, but I disagree. Would I go see a play written or acted by someone who had done harm to my family? Am I going to buy the paintings of a proven pedophile? Of course not, so why would I put my hard earned dollars indirectly into the pocket of a potential womanizer or home wrecker? Yes, I know I don't know the whole story, but do I want to take the chance?

I think too often people are rewarded for having poor morals, or for behaving badly. There is little accountability in the world today, and I'm determined to hold someone accountable for their decisions. My friend is quick to point out people make mistakes when they get married, which makes divorce the only viable option. I suppose, considering my pathetic previous marriage material, but I still think couples have a responsibility, based on the vows they took, to do everything possible to live up to those vows. However, when I think of the wonderful man I'm with now, obviously some things end for the better. : )

None the less, since the Brangelina thing exploded, I've decided to boycott as much related information as possible, as I don't think there are enough repercussions for people with crappy character. You would think I, of all people, would have more understanding of the possible variables involved in the breakdown of a marriage. Right now I'm having a hard time seeing past the people who need to take more responsibility for their poor character. I'm having a hard time letting people continue to get by living their bullshit lies.

Luckily my therapist informs me this is natural (and healthy), at least for the time being.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Free Day


I found out yesterday I had today off. Nice. Although I'm sure a better day could have been assigned as off (with more notice), I'll take it. After yesterday's cluster using our new software at work, I could use a day off.

Now I feel as though I was given a mental massage (though my blood pressure seemed a bit high when I tested it at the Superstore...). Anyway, I saw my therapist this morning, conveniently enough, and afterwards I felt relaxed and reassured. To think at the beginning of our sessions I wasn't sure about him. Now I know he's the exact objective opinion I crave. I consider our appointments a mental calibration. Sometimes I brace myself to tell him something I consider revealing, but his response always surprises me. I expect an exaggerated gasp, or a horrified look, but he often tells me my behavior is not only normal, but expected. What a relief.

Because if I only had friends and family opinions to rely on, I'd be in trouble. : ) Not to knock my friends or family, but often people want what's best for you as long as it doesn't make them uncomfortable. When you're recovering from past trauma in any capacity, that schedule rarely conforms to what you want, never mind what anyone else might want.

I don't know how everyone isn't in therapy, actually. Is everyone else really so fantastic with their mental and emotional management? Am I the exception to the norm, which seems unlikely?

I don't know, but at least I'm doing fine according to someone, which will have to do for now. : )


"You don't know me, and you don't wear my chains."

"I think I need a sunrise. I'm tired of the sunset."

- Boston, Augustana

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Sweet Valentine



I'm sure there's some kind of etiquette regarding raving about how wonderful your boyfriend is on Valentine's Day, but when you get an email sent early in the morning titled, "Ten things I love about you", and it's not a canned message--clearly the whole world should hear how amazing he really is. I'd like to add, this is a man who does not "believe" in Valentine's Day, but understands "it's not about him". No, you cannot have him.

Anyway, this email was unbelievable. And it wasn't a bunch of random short bullets, either. It was a thoughtfully complied list of things he truly loves about me, and who can argue with that? Boys everywhere may be cursing such a man, but the payoff for this one day of romance can be long term (in my world anyway). Not that I don't appreciate how wonderful he is the rest of the year, but to discover such a man exists (and is with me), is fabulous. : )

I was all prepared to go on a Valentine rant about how men everywhere were against Valentine's Day and what a disappointment that is. I was going to further add that my couple's therapist from years back said he does things for his wife because he loves her, but she cannot expect him to always like what he's doing. AKA, Rob taking part in VD for my sake, but not being particularly keen on it. I was also going to go on about how I wasn't sure what I thought of this approach--did I think it was reasonable for men to participate unwillingly (as it tends to make us women a bit grumpy when you have your cake and don't like it too).

Then I got Rob's email.

Well, like it or not, he's done a hell of a job (and my expectations were quite low). Compared to any Valentine I've ever had (the last being a present two days later, literally thrown down on the table in front of me), he's the best ever.

But that can be said about Rob on every level. : )

Happy Valentine's Day, indeed.

Yes, yes, what am I doing for him? Plenty (even though he'd rather I didn't). I'm approaching it from a standpoint of what a man might like on such a day, as opposed to simply what I want to give. I'm hoping he might come around to see Valentine's day doesn't have to be exclusively about the women, cards and candy--a man can set an expectation for romance, as well (even if it isn't reasonable to expect us to enjoy it).

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

What a difference


a week makes.

Wow. I literally felt like a different person last week. Anxiety is a scary thing (or hormones, as it's hard to pinpoint the real culprit). By far it's the worst emotion for me, and it's taken me many years to even learn how to combat the typically negative focus and thoughts I am naturally bombarded with. While I acknowledge my progress, I can't help but worry over what I'll be like if I get pregnant. I'm actually quite worried I might experience intense emotions which I'll not be able to combat in any prescriptive sense. Yes, I know... I'm not pregnant, so why worry?

I'm sure this sounds weak, but after experiencing seven or eight days of intense anxiety, depression and irritability, it's clear to me it isn't simply "mind over matter". I'm the first person to accept your thoughts control your feelings, but if you are chemically or hormonally overwhelmed, there is a certain lack of control. Nothing I tried last week worked. I worked out, and afterwards felt more angry and agressive. Compared to this week, after I worked out last night, I felt great.

Now my brother says he has anxiety (rolling eyes). I believe he's a hypochondriac and has developed anxiety in response to another family member's current experience with the less than pleasant emotion. : ) The truth is, my whole family tends towards hypochondria. I suppose it's some consolation I come by it honestly, but it really dosen't help in my day to day interactions with people (who I'm sure think I'm a little more than unusual).

You'd think I'd be more sympathetic of my brother and his anxiety, but... no.
: )

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