Friday, November 22, 2013

People magazine has named Adam Levine the Sexiest Man Alive. For years now I have hypothesized that People uses a forgiving, perhaps even dubious definition of the word "sexy". And now I realize they do for "man" as well.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

That feeling of dread.

It's that time of the year. Supposedly the most wonderful.

I've been at the mecca store which is filled to bursting with people buying things no one needs, trying to shop off a list that is sometimes too specific, sometimes too vague:

princess sticker book - check

20" plush tiger wearing apron - ?

oven-to-table corningware - check

something that will really knock his socks off but cost less than $50 - ?

A chunk of my life I can never get back floats by. I am at the densely-packed front of the store, my cart heaped with things I'll question later, trying not to maim anyone with unwieldly tubes of wrapping paper. I pick the line that seems the shortest but takes the longest. I have ample time to read all the headlines, resist all the impulses, and check out the latest in gum. I am overheating in my coat, and trying to keep my scarf out of the puddles melting off other people's boots.

I reach the cashier with time. She is wearing a vest, and weariness. Palpable weariness that smells like canned soup and cardboard. I don't mean to make her bad day worse, but the little slot in my wallet between my license and my points cards is empty. I perform an archaelogical dig down to the bottom of my purse, and then back up again, all to no avail. My card is missing. Heart in throat. People in line behind me look on with about as much sympathy as Kanye feels for the papparazzi.

Today I am that woman.

Annual holiday tradition of losing my debit card - check.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

I did a dumb thing.
I was driving in to work when a heard a weird noise that I supposed was coming from my own car.
I immediately turned down the radio and diagnosed the noise as "not enginey".
I slowed down a touch but the noise seemed to increase. I wondered if perhaps the passenger door wasn't closed tight.
Then I felt my car pulling slightly to the right, hard little tugs on the wheel.
Uh oh.
I slowed down, way down, put on my four-ways and crawled along, unable to pull over because I was on the parkway, basically a shoulder-less miniature highway, but desperate to pull over because now I was hearing a metallic scraping noise that I further diagnosed as "not good" and "possibly the muffler?" because I know 2 things about mufflers: they fall off, and when they do, shit gets loud.
I pulled over as soon as it was humanly possible and called Sean.
"My car is fucked. It might be the muffler."
I was so proud to offer this little tidbit.
I got out of the car and went around the back to see if I could see anything metallic and draggy.
New diagnosis: "It's the tire."
It was TOTALLY the tire.
It wasn't flat. It was just a flabby piece of rubber that no longer had a relationship with the rim. None whatsoever. It has completely shredded and separated from the rim, and that's what I'd been driving on. I'd left a trail of rubber pieces behind me. My tired was now a one-thousand piece puzzle.
It's the tire! And no, this isn't even the dumb part. Stay with me.

I called up my lawyer and told him I needed a tire change, and even though he's usually a desk guy, he came and got dirt all over his good pants. He changed it in record time too - probably because he had a crowd of onlookers, the kind with gray hairs sprouting out of their ears, who had lots to say about the whole rigmarole. Spare tire on, I was able to finally get to work, testing the big yellow warning sticker that seemed to be under the impression that doing under 80km\hr was a good idea. Bah.

Anyway, turns out the rim was amazingly undamaged, but because the universe doesn't really work that way, I had damaged both the emergency brake line, and the plastic casing on a shock. So into the shop went my car. A couple of days later, I ransomed her back for about a grand. Happy (enough) ending.

Sean drove me to the mechanic where we picked up my car and then each drove home separately, me in a hurry (because without a big yellow sticker, I could drive like I had a pulse, and also because I had to pee. Bad), Sean in a more meandering way since he had a couple of errands to run.

I got home, and as usual, I parked in the garage. The only time I don't park in the garage is when I'm low on gas and I leave my little Ruby in the driveway as a friendly reminder for my live-in gas attendant to go fill'er up. Since she had a full talk, I pulled Ruby into the garage and scurried into the side door, trying to decide if it would be quicker to run down the stairs to the downstairs bathroom, or up the stairs to the upstairs one. But wait! Foiled! Garage door is locked! Garage door is locked? This never happens. This never happens because I leave out the garage door in the morning, which means I unlock it but only close it behind me. I don't even know if we have a key that unlocks the garage. Today was an aberration because I didn't leave by the garage door - Sean and I had to carpool in, and he always parks in the driveway. Shit. I back my car out of the garage, and walk up the porch to the front door, which is also locked, of course. So begins the big search through the big purse. Root root root, no key. Sit down, take things out of purse, no key. Unzip zippers, turn out the lining, no key. When have I last seen this key? No idea. I never unlock anything. Sean has a key, I have a Sean, plus a garage door. What do I need a key for? Now that I think about it, I'm sure I never transferred my house key to this purse. But I don't remember seeing it in the last purse. So the last time I even had a key on me was at least 3 purses ago at the very least.

If you're wondering: yes, this is the dumb thing.

So I can't get into the house. Fine. I can sit and wait in the car.
Except there's still the matter of me having to pee.
Can I pee in the garage?
It's private and it's warm, but it's also the garage. There's a drain, I think, but it's basically an extension of the house and it feels a bit weird to just pee on the floor. And then I'd have to hose it down. There's a recycle bin in the garage, maybe I can pee in a jar? But I don't want to go dumpster diving, blue bin or no. And then what do I do with the jar? I guess then it would technically be half-recyclable, and half-compostable. I guess I'd just have to go dump it out in the backyard...
Maybe better to cut out the middle man and pee in the backyard. It's fenced, I'd be more protected and there's no danger of Sean pulling into the driveway and the door lifting up to reveal his squatting, trickling wife. And no need to aim for the tiny opening of a Snapple bottle.
I let myself into the yard by the gate and begin to rethink my logic - yes the yard is fenced, but the houses are built on hills, and multi-storied, so if you're on the top floor, you've actually got a great view down into the yards, fence or no fence.
But there's no time to reconsider!
Pee. Bad!
So I wedge myself between the hot tub and the house, as sheltered as it gets, and let go. Ahhhhhhhh.  People are probably too busy making their dinner for a prolonged look out the window anyway. Right?
Figuring I was half naked anyway, I thought I may as well pass the time until my rescue in the hot tub. Which was a swell idea, daylight nakedness notwithstanding, for the first 20 or 30 minutes. But then between the heat and the sun, I soon because to realize I wasn't so much "relaxing in the hot tub" as "slowly simmering". Thankfully, just as I was leaving grape territory for raisinhood, my saviour with a key ring arrived and we all lived happily ever after.

The end.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

The absolute most terrible thing is to be hit with insomnia just as you've gone to bed drunk. You deserve to pass out, but you don't. You just lie there, motionless and spinning, slowly trading the dizziness for a hangover inch by agonizing inch, tormented by the events that blacking out usually permit you to forget.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Adventures in Disturbia

This weekend, the little girl who lives next door was learning a song on her recorder. You know, those plastic flute thingies that cash-poor schools pretend are musical instruments? Her parents quickly grew annoyed with her and told her to go practice outside. The common outside. The outside we share with birds and trees and the childless couple next door who might want to enjoy their margaritas without the jarring accompaniment of the same 3 flubbed notes over and over. Note to parents: if you can't stand the noise your child is making, probably not a good idea to inflict her on the neighbours.

But this is a blip in what is otherwise a pretty decent neighbourhood. We don't even have much in terms of neighbours to contend with, as we have a protected forest in our backyard (which can never be developed, thanks to a certain species of bird who dwells there and sings ALL THE GODDAMN TIME) and in front of our house is an undeveloped piece of land that the builder who sold us our house told us would one day be a park We thought Oooh, park, some nice benches, a swing set, maybe a climbing structure if they were going the ritzy route. But for 2 years it's remained a fairly inoffensive pile of dirt. Until last week, that is,  when they started digging what looks to be so far a big concrete hole.

Dum dum dummmmmmm...

Yeah, we're hoping it's not a pool, but it's looking like a pool. Maybe it won't be a pool. It could be something else. Like anything else. Just not a pool. Please god do not let it be a pool!

Because the childless couple who don't really care for recorder rehearsals probably will also object to you know, 50 or so kids lined up and screaming for their turn on the diving board, the scent of chlorine and pee and popsicles wafting through the air, bunches of bicycles parked haphazardly across the road, swim lessons splashing away at 7am, children screaming from scraped knees and sunburns. And we can't even use the stupid thing. A grown adult simply cannot frequent a public pool without a child and not be labeled a pervert.

We love the neighbourhood for the exact reasons we sometimes roll our eyes at it - the parents accompanying tiny power wheels parades, the shy kids in unfathomable costumes at Halloween, the hectic games of street hockey, the little girl who rings our bell and asks to "check" our dogs. We're glad to live in such a vibrant, young neighbourhood. We just wish the kiddie pool was across from someone else's place. Fingers crossed. Will keep you posted.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Adventures in Suburbia

My life looks a lot different than it did back when I started this blog a million years ago.
A lot different, and a lot better.
Not that this is always apparent to me.

Just a couple of weeks after our return from our honeymoon, we packed up our downtown apartment and moved out to the suburbs where almost immediately I fell victim to a severe crisis of identity.

It did not feel like my home. It did not feel like it ever could be. It was so opposite to all that I held dear - the opportunity to go out, a diversity of experience, the busyness of life, the company of other people. And now here I was, in a beautiful and comfortable home 40 minutes from work where my dogs could run free but my spirit felt stifled.

I panicked.

I would wake up in the new house feeling disoriented and alien.
I could hardly remember the time when on a whim just 2 months earlier I'd actually thought that buying a house was the right and grown up thing to do, couldn't remember feeling like this house, perfect as it seemed in all its newness, was a place where I could really be at peace.

But here we are, 2 years later, and we've just spent our weekend doing what homeowners mysteriously call "working on the house", a time suck impossible to avoid. I could not have imagined that instead of hitting up some boutique shops in advance of a pitcher or two on a patio followed by a night out of breaking in my newest pair of shoes, I'd be weeding flower beds in my little gloves.

We live straddling the city and not-the-city, with a wooded backyard, which runs into marsh, which runs into a nice little bay, which runs into a much bigger river. I like riding my bike around the quiet streets of our neighbourhood, where people wave as they do the same. We play basketball in the driveway and volleyball in the back. We splash in the pool to cool off and fire up the built-in gas oven from Italy when we're hungry. We have more bedrooms than people and a wine cellar in case of emergency. This is who we are now.

The panic attacks stopped. The house became my home. I still love nights out (although not the $60 cab ride home), but I also love a quiet weekend ensconced in front of the fire with a cashmere throw and a glass of wine. Even as we signed our names to the mortgage I never really realized that this part of myself existed. The part that prunes trees and collects paint chips and loves loves loves the dishwasher.

Did our house become us, or did we become the house?

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Learn Truth

The world is a sad and dangerous place not only because of the guys who bring guns to work, but because of the people who knew there was a threat and didn't do anything about it.

So fucking tired and frustrated.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Scar Tissue

It's been a shade under a year, but if you saw the scars that fleck my left side, you might think I've had them forever.
I haven't.
I've had them ever since I was unlucky enough to be t-boned on the driver's side on a dark and rainy night but lucky enough to live. Arriving on the accident scene too late to see me, the state of my blood-splattered car had Sean seriously doubting that I had.

I had left work early, but not very early, probably just a half hour or so, because I'd had a headache. Had I toughed it out at work, I would have missed my own brush with death. Sean was already in bed because he had an early meeting the next day. It was early June, and if it hadn't been raining, I might have had the top down on my Beetle convertible. But it was raining, so top was up, as were my windows, and the air conditioning was on.

It was elevenish at night and I was about halfway home when some jerk in a cube van sped through a red light and hit me, hard. He was so big and quick that my little car didn't stand a chance - I got shoved right through the intersection for several meters and ended up jumping a curb and finally released from the van's front grille, my car (I called her Emma) landed on a traffic island.

When I came to, I couldn't fathom where I was. I knew I was in my car, and there'd been an accident. I felt pain in a vague and persistent way. There was smoke, and a smell. Acrid. I spit glass and blood out of my mouth but the taste and the grit remained. I saw long grass on either side of me and had no idea where I was, and couldn't work out how I'd gotten there. I saw the tail lights of the van who'd hit me drive away.

When I came to the second time, my instinct was to get the hell out. I unbuckled, felt around blindly for my purse, and tried unsuccessfully to open my door. I realized dimly that my window was completely missing, and even that some of the missing pieces were now sticking out jaggedly from my arm. I tried to reach to open the door from the outside but my body responded with shooting pain enough to paralyze me.  A man with an umbrella, who as far as I was concerned had just appeared out of nowhere, told me not to move.  Another man was on his cell phone, talking to a 911 operator. A third man was telling me he was a first responder, and asking if he could help.

I felt an almost overwhelming sense of embarrassment over all the attention, and if I had been even remotely ambulatory, I might have just called a cab and disappeared. I remember wishing someone could just call my husband, and let him take care of everything. Instead they called an ambulance, and the cops, and the fire department, who arrived in that order.

A medic climbed over my gym bag in the passenger seat to put a neck brace on me and ask me questions about which body parts hurt the most: head, back, neck, chest, knee. As I named them and concentrated on them, I grew enormously worried. My heart felt like a huge weight was sitting on it and I found it hard to breathe. She found it hard to believe that I had neglected to mention my arm, which was hosting half a window but losing a lot of blood. And it did hurt, hurt quite a lot actually, but I could see why it hurt, so it didn't concern me a whole lot. It made sense. My heart worried me considerably more.

The medic reassured me that the smell was just from the airbag deploying.

The airbag!

I had registered the limp balloon spread over my lap but had no recollection of it inflating. Supposedly it was the airbag's punch to my face that made me lose consciousness in the first place. It also gave me a bloody nose and a black eye, but I have no memory of it hitting me whatsoever.

The medic held me upright and did what she could to stop various parts of me from bleeding so profusely while the firefighters got to work cutting me out of my car. The noise was jarring (and made me remember that I'd left work with a headache 30 minutes and a lifetime ago). Finally they pulled me out of the wreck and onto a backboard. The paramedics cut the clothes off me as the ambulance rushed me to the hospital, and the universe unmercifully kept me completely conscious for this humiliation, though barely.

I still have those clothes, somewhere. For insurance purposes, they told me, though the crappy no-fault insurance in Quebec has paid for little, and so far not for the ruined clothes that they themselves sent me the claim forms for.

The emergency room was a rush and a blur and the only thing I could think of was that I had not been in that hospital since I had watched Rory die in it nearly three years previous. A nurse very gently and carefully removed a necklace I was wearing. I went for several rounds of xrays and tests. The doctors scratched my face up something awful because I was covered head to toe in glass fragments, some the consistency of dust, and it got on their gloves, so they hurt me with every touch. They fed me info, in french and broken english, and I apparently responded back in french and broken english but retained nothing. I wanted to cry but wouldn't.

Pinned to the backboard, I was helpless and scared. My heart ached, literally.

Sean had arrived to the accident scene to see my crumpled car cut wide open, and was directed to the hospital where he was now waiting in a little room with some folks who were waiting for a loved one to die. He was not comforted by this.

When they finally let him in between procedures, I was not looking my best what with the shards of glass still hanging out of me and the blood soaked hair and the lack of clothes or dignity, but his relief and determination above all to appear cheery were palpable. I had to ask him to step back as he had put his face so close to mine that I couldn't even focus on it.

Someone came to whisk me away for yet another round of xrays and asked Sean along to help keep me on my side while they checked out the bruising and swelling of my heart. They pulled and pushed my gurney all over the hospital until nausea overcame me and the nurses had to flip the backboard on its side so I could vomit into a kidney shaped bowl without choking to death. I apologized through heaves but it didn't make me feel any better.

The whole ordeal is pretty hazy, except for the part where they vigorously cleaned out my wounds. That was abrasive, shocking, and worlds beyond painful. Some of the gashes were really deep but don't you worry because they have special tools for sticking in there and retrieving all matter of detritus. It was hell. Police attempted to get a statement from me somewhere in there, while I was still in the "emergency" part of my care where I was rambling quite a bit but not quite what you would call coherent.

I don't remember much. My memory is full of holes, not just of the accident, but of the few days after it. Concussion will do that to you.

I do remember the trip to the car graveyard to retrieve my things several days later. My car was flecked with blood, in strange and faraway places. A box of wedding invitations that I'd been working on had spilled its contents all over the place, and I later found myself scrambling with my one arm to remake them in a hurry. A hat that I'd completely forgotten I'd been wearing was crumpled and bloodied under the dash. It was the first and only time I'd worn it. I said goodbye to the corpse of my car, sad that Emma was gone just 11 months after I'd bought her, and grateful that she'd saved my life. I should have died in that crash, the cops and firefighters told me that incredulously, but those little Beetles are a hell of a lot sturdier than they look, and she allowed me to live.

I was sore, deeply sore, for days or weeks afterward, and covered in the kind of deep bruises that only things intended to save your life can inflict. I had dental surgery to recover my broken smile in time for my mother's wedding just 3 weeks later, and did enough physio to dance at my sister's wedding 6 weeks after that. It was rough, and in some ways it still is.

I still have pain, of course. I may not fully recover but I am well enough to live my life, and there's a huge amount of wonder and gratitude at that.
I still have glass underneath my skin. Once in a while something will sparkle, and it'll be a tiny fragment working its way out.
My insurance tells me my scars are worth cash but so far I haven't cashed them in. It seems kind of degrading to have them assessed for a dollar value.

Sean replaced my car for me. I had bought Emma because she was to be the last of her kind. I could not imagine driving anything else, so Sean scoured the country and found me Ruby, my third Beetle, and she was there waiting for me when I finally got up the courage to get back behind the wheel.

Like I said, it's been almost a year. I'm still not over it. Perhaps the most lasting effect has been my fear. Sean drove me around for the first bit, and though he would have been willing to rearrange his whole life in order to do it permanently, I knew that wasn't really a good option. For the first month or so, I would drive to work a complete mess and then vomit in the parking lot. But as a therapist, I knew that I couldn't allow the fear to overcome me, so I persisted, and though I still get nervous if a car gets too close or if there are less than optimal conditions, I get to where I'm going, even if I avoid that certain intersection at night and continue to harbour anger toward cube vans.

Life is full of little miracles, and the fact that I am here to tell you that is one of them.
I am lucky. Absurdly lucky in so many ways.

 (Yes, Ruby is wearing eyelashes, thank you for noticing!)

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Needle and The Damage Done

Forgive me father for I have sinned.
It's been about 3 weeks since my last tattoo.
I mark the time not only because it's always been too long since my last tattoo, but because Canadian Blood Services requires 6 months between a tattoo and a donation.
I'm a card-carrying blood donor, and I used to be a regular donor, because I believed that this was part of good citizenship.
Apparently, though, there is no great need for blood in Canada.
We're fine.
Sure the blood donation clinics appear to be recruiting new donors constantly, and even send out blood mobiles so you can donate on the go. Because you might be thinking about potentially saving someone's life, but then decide the drive down the block is just too much. They claim that the greatest threat to our blood supply is the shortage of blood. There aren't enough new donors, and there isn't enough commitment among existing donors.
And yet.
I was a willing donor, albeit a difficult one.
Admittedly, I am one of those people who is hard to stick.
A regular hospital nurse probably can't get a needle in my vein, at least not in under a dozen tries, which is mercifully as many as they're willing to attempt before calling a more experienced technician from the lab.
I'm sorry.
I'm so sorry that my veins are not as cooperative as they should be.
Because of my hard-to-prickness, needles don't really make me flinch anymore. I don't enjoy them, and I come out covered in bruises, but I can take it.
Apparently the nurses at the donation centre cannot.
They have basically told me not to bother coming back.
I make their job hard.
According to them, the blood flows so readily in this country that they can turn away willing volunteers. I sort of thought that if I'm ready to be jabbed, they should be willing to do the jabbing. No?
Must be nice.
I only hope they're right, and not just lazy.

The sad thing is, mine is not the only blood they're turning away.
They also have a lifetime ban for all gay men, regardless of risk factors or relationship status.
They're banned just for having sex with other men, which is not only discriminatory, but also completely ignorant. Science unanimously agrees that the ban is without merit, every unit is tested for HIV anyway, and the fastest growing population segment in terms of new HIV cases is women, according to Canadian AIDS Society. Should we ban them too?

Well, this one already is.
It's fine.
You're probably not planning on getting chemo or having a car accident any time soon anyway.

Monday, April 22, 2013

The number you have reached is not in service.

I'm not a Luddite, I'm worse. I'm lazy.
I'll adopt new technology, but reluctantly, after a lot of foot-dragging and complaining for no reason. I want to keep my old crap forever, one, because I have an inherent distaste for technological obsolescence and two, because I have an inherent dislike for learning new tricks.
I am an old dog.
So when my blackberry, which was reliable and fuchsia, two of my favourite qualities in electronics, started to be not so reliable, I made some excuses for it initially.
I asked Sean to follow up texts with emails.
I told friends to expect up to 3-hour delays, so if something was time-sensitive, to just go ahead and drop a note in the mailbox and that way I'd be sure to get it.
And to be fair, I do spend a fair bit of time in a concrete box, which I hear is not optimal for reception.
And also, I knew how to set the alarm. I knew how to retrieve voicemails (whether I actually do this or not is none of your business). I had developed a pretty quick way of texting on the tiny little key pad and had the thumb callus to prove it.
Do I want a new phone?
No, I do not.
Mine still pretty much works almost most of the time.
And if it wasn't for the fact that my business card has "crisis" in the title, that might have been okay. My blackberry and I might have been buddies for 7 more years, or until one of us died, or until we were released from our cell phone provider's contract, which is more binding than any marriage.

I did it.
I traded her in.
I brought home a gigantic tablet-pretending-to-be-a-phone and despite the fact that I don't know how to use it, cannot even pick up a phone call with more than 50% accuracy, I do kind of love it.
Not wanting to just throw away a phone that's still got some life (not to mention some fuchsia) left in her, I put my old phone up for sale on Kijiji, thinking that someone might at least want it for the battery or the charger.

I did not expect to meet Larry David.
Well, okay, I did not actually meet Larry David, but I did meet his doppelganger.
Not-Larry David, as it turns out, has a real hard on for Blackberrys.
He's had his since the dark ages, like 5 years ago at least! His is still reliable-ish enough, but it isn't just his personal cell phone usage that has made him a fan. There's also the experiments he conducts in his backyard.

Not-Larry David builds trebuchets.
And if you know anything about men, give them a trebuchet, and they will launch shit with it. Like, all kinds of shit. Blackberrys, for example. And apples. And watermelons.

He takes a Blackberry, zips it in a baggie, and then stuffs it in a watermelon.
He does the same with an iphone.

Then he catapults them both up to 400 feet.

The blackberry, he tells me, fares much better.
Much, much better.

And I am inclined to believe him.
My blackberry survived 2 baths, and I'm talking total immersion, several feet worth of ker-plunk, as well as a semi-permanent residency in my nephew's mouth the first year of his life.

So now my cell phone is off having a glamorous second life as a test dummy.
My new phone is pretty cool. You can draw on it, talk to it, and take hand-written notation. It also knows way too much about me for me to ever throw it away, or give it to a Not-Larry David type. I think it knows this. This is not just a smart phone - it's a smart aleck phone. It corrects me. It suggests that it knows better what I'd like to eat than I do. It's constantly telling me a better way to get home. It gives me conflicting weather reports. It's the kind of smart that makes me feel like I'm living in a world foretold by Isaac Asimov. And it will probably never seen the inside of a watermelon,

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Winter That Would Not Die.

The weather network has issued a winter storm warning for tomorrow, this despite the fact that it's actually spring, and has been for several weeks.

What does it mean when the meteorologists can't even accurately predict the seasons any more?

Don't Look Back in Anger

The worst thing about having a blog is that you've put all your junk out there and now it's impossible to take it back. Not that I want to. Well okay, I sort of want to. You'd think the bits featuring ex-lovers would be the most distasteful to me, but I cringe more at bad writing than at bad judgement in who I fuck.


This thing goes back 9 years. 9 freakin years! Some of the things I wrote about are disturbing, but what is most disturbing is that some of the things I wrote about are completely unfamiliar to me. I have no memory of this mundane stuff, and it would have been completely lost had I not written it down. I also suffer from revisionist's history, and the temptation to delete delete delete is strong. I am resisting, barely.

I believe in the whole "my history has made me who I am" bullocks. No really, I do. It's all good, but I think it's better in broad strokes than the gritty details.

In a way I feel like an archaeologist, sifting through another lifetime. It hardly feels like mine. Reading about such ancient history is a bit like masturbating with your left hand.

But it's cool in a way, to know that I used to have a bumblebee jar, and that I used to love my ex-husband. I have written records of these things for where my memory has blanked, or balked.

Someone I met through blogging recently noted that I was very unlike the person she first started reading about so many years ago. She's right. Most of the best parts of my life are less than 9 years old. I've had to rebuild my life, and although the construction is new, I think the foundation is pretty much the same. I have not been static. I hope never to be. I hope in 9 years from now I'll have had less drama but just as much reinvention.

The best thing about having a blog, incidentally, is reading comments. Unfortunately, being nearly completely e-tarded, I lost the vast majority of comments when I converted from one platform to another, and anything collected on haloscan did not follow. That aggrieves me more than I can express because I value the discourse, and the community that was fostered through blogging. I still have a few left though, and it's almost mind-blowing to realize what a long history I've had with people I've shared such intimacy with yet never actually met. Maybe it's time to give the old goat a makeover, but I'm not ready to let go. Looking back, I can only conclude that writing here has been a valuable and enriching part of my life. And if, at times, it also makes me want to die of embarrassment, well, what else are diaries for?

Monday, April 08, 2013

Did you read Half the Sky?
If you haven't, you should.
If you have, I bet you still remember every single word.
It's one of those books that stays with you.
It's been several years since I read it and I remain deeply moved and impacted by it.
Today I am watching the documentary feature that is just as horrifying and inspiring and awful yet necessary to watch.
You don't watch a rape centre in Sierra Leone deal with literally thousands of victims, over half of whom are between the ages of 12-17, and a quarter of whom are under 12 - the youngest just two and a half months, and not come away a slightly different person. Less than 1% of these cases result in charges\convictions, in part because on the law books, you can only rape a woman - rape does not legally exist for those under 14, even though it happens every single day, and 90% of young rape victims wind up with sexually transmitted infections. Rape is a shame on the victim, not the perpetrator. Your heart will be broken. You will be filled with rage
And that's just the unit in Sierra Leone.
Wait until you meet the courageous women of Cambodia, the girls who are bought and sold as children, trafficked into brothels, held as sex slaves until they are no longer useful. When you see a little girl have her eye gouged out by a brothel owner but forced to continue seeing clients while still bleeding (and they're so drunk they don't care) and then recount barely surviving an abortion yet still have forgiveness in her's not even comprehensible. These girls, even rescued from the brothels, are still rejected by their families for being "bad". It is often their families who sold them in the first place.
And it goes on.
The aim of the book and of this film is to highlight the oppression of women right now, embarrassingly in the 21st century, to show the violence and discrimination that is gender-based, directed expressly toward women because they are women. There are victims here, but there are also heroes.

Friday, April 05, 2013

System Upgrade

When you've suffered the embarrassment of multiple marriages, it is considered uncharitable to compare one husband to another. It is gauche to say that the new husband is taller, handsomer, richer, and has a bigger dick, even though he does.

When my last fairy tale ended up in the psycho-horror section, it felt like I was destroyed at the time. It was impossible to imagine my life ever righting itself after such a devastating wrong. Such feelings are transient, things are never as bad as they seem and in fact it wasn't very long at all before I realized that this was a positive move for me, an upward move, an improvement. And just as I was finding out what a relief it was to no longer be attached to 200 pounds of depressed man, he was finding out that he was still 200 pounds of depressed man.

In short, he refused to grant me a divorce. I live in Canada, where I do not need his permission, but the courts do not make it easy and so of course neither did he. He hid. I sought. I was made to take out ads in the newspaper, contact his relatives, hire a private detective. Marriage, in the end, is just a piece of paper, but that paper meant something to me, always did, always will. I didn't sign my name to it lightly, nor did I seek to have it removed without the same amount of thought and gravitas. I wanted to be free, felt I had earned it, and so I jumped through hoops.

This of course took years. Years during which I struggled to find the perfect moment during a first date, or a second date, or a third date to drop the bomb: yup, still married. But very, very separated, I assured them all. Years during which I still carried his dumb last name hyphenated to my father's dumb last name. Years during which I rebuilt my life without him in it, without the stuff that he stole, knowing that whatever I amassed now could still potentially be his. If I had been hit by a car, he had the legal right to pull the plug.

And yet, I found happiness. Big, crazy, banana-split happiness. You don't realize how much you're sacrificing of yourself until you don't have to do it anymore. When I stood on my own, I stood so much taller. And then I met Sean.
I had never seriously thought of remarrying, in part because I wasn't divorced, and in part because I never thought I'd marry in the first place. I had learned to never say never, but I was still surprised at how quickly and deeply I fell. I fell hard.

Within just a few months we were living together and engaged to be married. Engaged to be married, and also married. To someone else. Not a winning combination.

Ex continued to pop back into my life on occasion - sometimes mutual friends would report on his condition (generally not good, sometimes more alarming), other times he would randomly find me online through an old account and want to show me his pet rabbit (I wish this were a euphemism, but it's not). Obviously his mental health issues were persistent, as was his conviction to never, ever divorce.

Luckily Sean happens to be, among many a splendid thing, a lawyer. My fiance convinced my husband to divorce me by talking turkey. When my ex saw dollar signs, he signed the papers. I was on vacation in Mexico at the time, a bit stressed knowing we were planning a wedding that may or may not turn out to be legit, but sunning myself nonetheless. And then a call came in with the good news: my fiance could make a dishonest woman out of me.

It's still a bit surreal to me, that whole period of my life. The terrible end has coloured my sense of the whole relationship. I find it hard to remember the good times, and there must have been good times. The bad times are so much sharper. My family will not say his name aloud. It's as if they've wallpapered right over that decade. I gave away the old wedding dress, and threw out all his pictures. I don't need to forget, but I much prefer looking forward.

I don't hear from him so much anymore - most recently I had an email from him in my business account. He was shopping for wedding invitations. Small world? I'd say so. I wish I could say that I was happy for him, but mostly I'm just sad for her, whoever she is, and achingly happy for myself. Happy that I got away. Happy in a better life.

Thursday, April 04, 2013

The Tingles

Do you want to sleep with me?

No, I want to stay awake all night with you.

Hotel Californication

 The difference between a regular hotel and a bed and breakfast is not so much the breakfast itself, but the fact of having to eat it with the other guests the morning after you’ve had loud, disruptive sex and kept them all from a good night’s sleep. A hotel’s relative anonymity means you might get some wall-knocks in response to your bed-rattling, curtain-swinging, sheet-crumpling session, but you’ll never have to face them the next day and ask them to please pass the jam.

Polly Pocket

Recently I bought a pair of pants without pockets.
I guess this is not blog-worthy news since upon reflection, I have many pairs of dress pants that have no pockets.
But these particular pants are jeans, and they don't not have pockets, they have mock pockets.
Mock pockets!
As in, there is a suggestion of pocket. Just enough of a hint of pocketdom for me to get them home from the store where I subsequently wore them, and when my fingers naturally found the lip of the pocket, they were shut out. No pocket for you.
Yes, it seems like there will be a pocket.
There should be a pocket.
But there just isn't.
However, they are decoratively pocket-like.
You know, for those times when you feel like the look of a pocket, but not the convenience of actually having one.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

I Dyslexia Heart

I have been learning-disabled my whole life, but no one bothered to notice until I was in University. As part of the psychology program, we had to take all of the tests that we would later be administering, and my faculty adviser awkwardly called me into his office to tell me the news that teachers and school counselors had been overlooking for the past 20 years of my life.

"Luckily" I was such a voracious reader that I had basically wired my own brain to compensate for most of my deficiencies by then - I do misread often enough, but instead of stumbling over these words, my brain very quickly forms an idea of what it must be, and I move on. Therefore I may have decided that a word is distinct when it is actually distant, and yes, that mean trouble but usually I'll figure it out in context.

For me, the biggest problem seems to be in transposing letters or mistaking blocks of sound. I often mispronounce words while speaking, vowels especially, and my friends and family have no problem about teasing me about it mercilessly. My common stumbling blocks include:

epitome - I know that it is pronounced eh pit o me, but I will almost always says eh pi tome, tome like the kind of book. That's what I see, and that's what I say. I also make a similar sound when I pronounce fathom - again, I know rationally that it should be fath-um, but I say fath"om" (like the tantric yoga sound that rhymes with tome).

Now, it doesn't help that I "learned" to read in french first, and taught myself to read in english based on french building blocks, which is enough to screw anyone up. Quite a few of my most common mistakes are because mix up grammar with grammaire. And yes, if you're wondering, I am fluently dyslexic. Je suis egalement dyslexique dans les deux langues officielles, et meme en certaines autres.

This morning I read Besnard Lakes but understood Barenaked Ladies. It was in a tweet from Rolling Stone, so I feel like it was just my brain doing the best it could. That's the trickiest part about my dyslexia - it's hard to know I've made a mistake when my brain doesn't produce a random string of wrongness, but a plausible alternative.

Well, okay, not always so plausible. I remember in Toronto, there was a church located smack-dab in the middle of the pedestrian commute between my house and my friend's house. I'd walk by it often, and though it called itself the Holy Rosary, every day it translated as Roly Hosiery in my head. And the thing is, I could picture those stupid nylons and the way they never stay up properly but just keep rolling down uncomfortably, and you have to discreetly readjust every so often. This loomed so largely in my head that I could never recover from Roly Hosiery even though I knew with all of Christ's conviction that no church would ever boast such a name.