31 December 2004

Happy New Year?

I am absolutely blasé about the fact that tomorrow is 2005.

I'm going to a party at Andy's house tonight, but ultimately, I think I'd rather stay home and go to bed at a reasonable hour. This could have something to do with The Cold That Will Not Attack. I've been cowering for weeks now, waiting for the full force, but instead, it teases me with alternating symptoms; stuffy nose, sinus pain, hacking cough, fatigue.... But never all at once. I'm getting tired of this game. I just said to Rooster that I probably wouldn't drink tonight, since alcohol tends to make whatever illness I have worse, but I might change my mind. Maybe it would help speed up the onslaught so I can just be miserable and get over it.

Phil is getting married tonight. Actually, the deed is probably done. The wedding was at 6. I RSVP'd my acceptance to the festivities, but spontaneous car trouble (how many 28 month-old cars just seize up like that?) is keeping me in the city. I can't risk the 2 hours drive only to have to pay hundreds of dollars to get towed back. I'm sure you all know how disappointed I am.

Okay, fine. It's not all doom and gloom. I just don't like when I'm disenchanted with events that would normally have me up at 5 am for the excitement of it all.

Good things about starting 2005:
  1. I have goals. First on that list is paying off a sizeable chunk of my student loan, followed shortly thereafter by getting my own apartment (or condo...).
  2. Lots of exciting things in store for my friends: Lew's getting married in September; Foo may get to start her Master's, as might Rick; Jenn is having a baby. Those are the monumentals, other people will have different triumphs.
  3. I'm going to take more risks. That's not a resolution. I don't think I've made one since New Year's Eve 2000, and I'm waaaay too embarrassed by it to repeat that mistake again. The closest I get is, "Be Happy." It's the one thing that I have more control over than anything else. And it works better and better every year (except maybe in 2003). It's also not based on some guy's arbitrary decision to make January the first month of the year. The risks include personal and professional. I have a plan to sit down with my would-be boss and have a serious discussion about why I'm being offered full-time contracts but not full-time employment. I'm feeling stifled and impotent. I want to work (despite my life-long yearning for retirement) and I'm frustrated that it's not enough. If it's something I have to do, I want to know what that is. My first opportunity to do that will be next week, which just happens to be the first week of 2005.

Good things about ending 2004:

  1. Actually, I'm having problems with this one. 2004 has been a good year. I'm really reluctant to see it go. And while I know that there isn't a cosmic shift that happens at midnight in every time zone, that it's symbolic, everyone else is determined to make 2005 completely different, and I'm not convinced that's a good thing. I'm going to miss 2004. It taught me so much about myself.

So, a toast to 2004. She was a good year. Here's to hoping that 2005 isn't much different (for me). And here's to every year getting better and better.

Cheers!

26 December 2004

A Dogless Christmas & Chrono-biology

So, I survived. My first Christmas in 15 years, sans puppy. I was surprisingly okay. The hardest part was when I remembered saying last year that I just needed one more Christmas with my dog, and how I got that. Maybe I should have needed two.

But I've been lucky this year. It may have been a shitty start, but 2004 has been a great year. Not an easy year, but still great. I'm even getting used to not having Tripper under foot all the time. The not getting up at 7 to feed him and put him out was pretty easy to adjust to, as was being able to leave the house for more than 4 hours at a stretch. But the important parts of having a dog have been awful to get past. I still look at the top of the stairs as soon as I open the door. I can't count the number of times that I'm positive I saw a little dog curled up in the kitchen. And for whatever reason, I was reduced to tears the night of the US presidential election because he wasn't with me.

I have surrogate dogs in Lucas and Jesse, but it's not enough. I'm still thinking of a time when I'll have my own dog again. My parents don't want another dog because they don't feel they want the responsibility again, so I know I have a long wait ahead of me. But having survived Christmas, I think I can be patient.

I'm more worried by the past two days of baby-immersion. Our friends brought their 20 month-old to our Christmas Eve shindig, and then to Christmas dinner yesterday. I had mild "I want a baby" cravings. Mostly I was having fun playing with her. She's mobile enough that I don't feel like a pram, but dependent enough that I got to be her world for a while. Maybe it was just the fact of being adored. Luckily, it didn't last. I got over it promptly when she got fussy and cranky and started screaming. That's when I remembered, "Oh, right. They're only cute when they're smiling. The rest of the time you have to feed them and change diapers and listen to them whine and cry." Hmmm. Maybe not.

Still, it was rather frightening to discover that I have a biological clock. I always thought of it as a social construct, ingrained by years of brainwashing à la fairy tales, Harlequin, and Hollywood romantic comedies. But BOOM, out of the blue, there it was. I plan on surpressing it long enough to acheive maximum selfishness and independence.

Then I'll get my dog.

My surrogate daughter Posted by Hello

24 December 2004

Christmas with the cranks

So, it's that joyous time of year again. In the next 24 hours, I foresee many fights with my mother. I have no idea why she insists that Christmas is the Devil (ironic, eh?).

Alors, until 3 and a half minutes ago I thought I had all my Christmas shopping done. Then I remembered.... So now, Oops. Shit. I hate the mall.

But, I'm soooo excited about Christmas!! I'm excited for the party tonight (annual C.E. shindig), and I'm excited that my brother and grandfather are here. Except for the part where I rarely spend more than 8 consecutive minutes alone in a room. Other than that, it's cool. I put a lot of work into presents this year. And by work I mean thought. And waaaay too much time spent in big box stores.

No time to put into this now. There's gettin' ready to do, and Psycho-mom comes out if you don't jump on command. The higher you jump, the better Christmas she has. And, consequently, the better Christmas I have.

Merry Christmas, and Happy Festivus.

16 December 2004

Ode to Daphne (in prose)

I'm missing Daphne beaucoup today. This happens occasionally. I so desperately want to communicate with her, but she's so far away, and it just feels futile. A phone call is to expensive, an e-mail goes unanswered. And the fun thing is that I know that she occasionally has the same spurts as I do, but feels just as ridiculous about breaking the silence.

It hard because I want so desperately to be part of her life, but that requires transcontinental relocation. Looks unlikely for the time being. On both ends.

She always seemed so stable. To me, she was. For the longest time -- 7 years, to be precise -- I had no idea that, underneath it all, she was possibly as neurotic as me. She just had clever devices to hide it. Cigarettes and marijuana, mostly. Occasionally, beer. But she is still my French voice of reason. In some ways, no one understands me better.

When I saw her in July she said that I seem much more centred than I ever did before. I told her about my year. Two years, rather. The sum total of my B.Ed., complete with insanity, ecstasy, intoxication, heartache, and rebirth. I'm glad she could see what I'd already been feeling for a while. I used to feel like such a wreck that I couldn't imagine being any other way.

She doesn't believe in God or the Devil. Or Heaven or Hell. She believes that people are inherently good, and that the bad ones are just misguided. She constantly reminds me that everyone has something of value to contribute, even if you don't like it or see the value.

She has an amazing ability to cut through the crap and get to the point. She is generous, adventurous, caring, fascinating, and comforting. If she were a blanket, she'd be cashmere.

She buys almost everything at second hand stores, and I marvel at her ability to always find something that fits. Everything she wears looks like she was born in it.

No matter how much time passes, she will always be there for me. She will put me up if I need a place to stay, and will put up total strangers on my word. She will show me a world that tourists never see, and still indulge my touristy desires.

More people need their own Daphne. Mine's a lifesaver. We all need those sometimes.

13 December 2004

Explanation-free!

No, I'm not going to fully explain what my previous blog was about. Suffice it to say that I was Pissed Off. For those who weren't involved in the Drama of the previous 72 hours, you'll have to deal with it. I spent a long time yesterday analysing, overanalysing, and reanalysing. Many tortured hours later, I feel satisfied that things are resolved to a degree that is comfortable enough for those involved. Maybe I'm wrong, but I'm not feeling angry or hurt anymore, and I can't make up problems to solve for other people, so I'll deal with anything as it arises. I think that laying it all out here is just wallowing in what happened, and not wallowing is one of my more successful efforts this year.

It's too bad that Amy decided to remove both her comments. I didn't get to read the second one, and I'm curious to know what it was about. I can only figure that she somehow felt that it was inappropriate and didn't want people (read: me) to see it.

In other news:

Happy 26th Birthday, Lew!!

12 December 2004

Non-violent Protest

Clarification:
"He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone" -- John 8:7

10 December 2004

No redudancy here

So, I was going to continue my tirade from Robyn's blog, but decided against it as you can read the whole sequence fo events for yourself, including comments.

Here's what I think the problem is: Everyone is so wrapped up in their own beliefs that that can't bother to look at the underlying issue dear tricky is trying to explain: Feminism used to be a movement for equality, but it is now associated with marginalized extremists.

Sound familiar? What's your perception of Muslims and Islam? Is it of a hate-based group of people who want nothing more than to destory "freedom" in the West? Or is it of a reasonable religion with specific tennants again murder, and the commercialzation of society?

I guess that depends on whether you take your definition from the media, or go and take a look at the ideology for yourself.

Please don't send mail bombs, I'm just making the point that while words and definitions change, it's not always for the better, and sometimes we're right to lament how things get twisted when ignorance is allowed free rein and a large bank account.

07 December 2004

Idiosyncratic?

Boy, am I cranky a lot lately. I'm not sure if I should blame the lack of sleep, the illness that refuses to take hold and knock me out properly, the cold weather, or the newly out-of-whack hormones.

Possibly a combination.

At any rate, I'm a now a big fan of staying in bed as long as possible in the morning and showing up at least half an hour late for work. I'm sure that looks great to my potential full-time employers.

Frankly, I'm a little disappointed in myself. I had become quite adept at getting up when I needed to.

Flash of brilliance: Today my body could possibly be reacting to the lack of sugar. A quick web search has further convinced me:

"The symptoms of sugar withdrawal can include headaches, fatigue, depression, drowsiness, skin eruptions, and mucus or throat discomfort. Some of these symptoms, especially the mood swings, fatigue and drowsiness, can occur on a daily basis as the blood sugar rises and falls on a high-sugar diet." -- http://www.stress-free-weight-loss.com/February-4-2003.htm

I spent the better part of two days indulging in pretty much everything that came my way. And since I spent the better part of two days next to a dessert manufacturer's display/sample booth, plus an afternoon at a baby shower, you can probably imagine where my lack of self-restraint got me.

I'm trying to be good today, even though I know that I'm about to go down and buy a sugary coffee-like drink from 2nd Cup, and will probably indulge in some organic chocolate when I get back.

I'm allowed to cut back slowly, right?

Incidentally, "idiosyncratic" is a synonym for "cranky". Which makes cranky not necessarily bad.

Excuses, excuses....

02 December 2004

Partial Retraction

After much consideration and some gentle nagging, I've decided to amend what I posted yesterday.

In retrospect, Elton John wasn't really the target of my anger, but rather the incompetent reporter who couldn't be bothered to write a real story, and as such, is the actual sexist asshole. His story was mostly conjecture. Only twice did he actually quote EJ, and neither quote was especially inflamatory unless read in the context of story. The reporter probably made a lot of shit up to sell a story.

However, Sir Elton is still partially to blame for discussing his friends' private lives with reporters. For shame.

01 December 2004

The following is rife with sarcasm:

Today I'm having an angry feminist day.

I read in the paper that Elton John blames Victoria Beckham for her husband's affair.

Excuse me?!?!

I'm not concerned about this on a celebrity level. I didn't know that the Beckham's were having marital issues. I don't care that that they are/were.

What pisses me off is Sir Elton's decidely sexist view of marriage. According to the report, Victoria didn't move to Spain with David when he was traded to Real Madrid; she stayed in England to work on her (disappointing) signing career. And it's because of this absense that David felt he needed "companionship", and had an affair with his personal assistant (I wasn't aware of that part of the job description -- where's mine?). So, because Vistoria didn't support her husband by moving to Madrid for 6 months of the year, it's her fault that he couldn't contain himself.

Um... hello? As my fabulous former English teacher said, "Hasn't he heard of self-service?"

Besides ingnoring the fact that it was Mr. Beckham who had the affair, it also absolves him of any responsibility for his actions. Apparently, it's the wife's job to sit by her husband 24/7 and make sure that he's faithful.

Thanks very much Mr. John. Thanks for clarifying marital responsibility for me. Now that I have a clear view of my potential responsibility, I can take that into consideration before I make any decisions.

Oh, yeah; and fuck you.

I'm so annoyed. That some man would have the gall to lay the blame for an affair on the absent wife. That's disgusting.

So rest easy, men! Go on business trips and sleep with co-workers or complete strangers to your heart's content. Elton John says it's okay. And it's your wives' fault.

19 November 2004

Quandary

What does one blog about when so much is happening that one can't reveal for fear that the wrong person reads the blog?

That makes life difficult. Especially when one has spent the better part of the past few weeks thinking about, talking to, and spending time with said person.

At least I can say that, mentally, life is exciting.

Excitement of the week: Went to w/v to visit Robyn & Kurt. Had an awesome day of cheese, beer, and (best ever!), Quantum Leap. Found season 1 on DVD. Watched pilot. Happiness and bliss.

I've been back teaching in the past couple of weeks. My other job stopped (sadly) and I needed another way to pay back my loans. Of course, teaching is what I spent the big bucks to be able to do, but I really like that Events stuff. I'm on contract now to do some research stuff. But I don't know what will happen after Christmas. I do know that I need the money, though.

The teaching is generally going well. It makes me tired in a way that officework doesn't. And I get so tired of yelling. But I do like the kids. They're great. Even the ones I don't like aren't terrible. Actually, I find it hard to say that I dislike any of them, really.

In other news, I'm sort of writing again. My last post was an example that no one really seemed interested in. But I also found a story that I started a few years ago. 2001, I think. I wrote about 18 pages, and when I read it, it wasn't crap. I also had Foo look over it, and she agreed. She suggested some changes, which I agree with. Since then, ideas have been popping into my brain. But, as usual, not chronologically, and not when I have the opportunity to actually work on the story. So I now have 2 pages of disjointed notes. Once again, if I could write by osmosis, my life would be easier. Maybe not osmosis, but something that arranged the words on the page as I thought them. I could have written entire novels by now!


I've decided to encourage reader feedback. Dear reader, if you could do anything in the world, what would it be? My clever response would be Philanthropist, because, in order to always be giving money away, I would have to have a TON, and I'd be able to fulfill all my other dreams, too. Alternatively, and on a slightly smaller scale, I'd like to find a way to make people happy. Hmm. Maybe that's not so small after all.

05 November 2004

Untitled

I remember that poem I wrote when I was pissed off. No. In love. I thought I was in love. I wanted so badly to be in love that I wanted to write a poem about it. I wanted to be mysterious. I wanted you to wonder what I was doing.

It worked. I left a message just cyptic enough to get your attention. You bit, which is what I wanted. Later I wanted you to be pissed off. But at the time, I just wanted you to want me. That worked too. For a while.

Meeting you was like meeting the part of me that I always wanted to fight with. Only, instead of fighting, I wanted to make peace. I so desperately wanted to put that part of me to rest. So I dived right in.

Do you remember when we met? I do, but just barely. I remember looking at your friend that night, and thinking, "How old is he? Is he younger? He must be younger." But he's not the one who invited me out. You were.

Then there was that song. It haunted me. But it wasn't the song, it was you singing the song. You wanted me to like the song. Even though I'm not sure I heard the words.

I took a chance.

You were the only person who saw that poem. You asked me to write out a copy after I e-mailed it to you. I lost it, and now that one piece of me is floating out there in your world. I'll never get it back.

Remember when we'd go for coffee? We'd sit in that Tim Horton's for hours. I think maybe you talked more than me. You liked to talk. You liked to hook people. I remember how it made me feel like I was special, like you were letting me in on a secret that you only told certain people. Maybe you did. Or maybe that's what you wanted me to believe. And I wanted to believe it too. I wanted to believe that it was all I wanted. So I did.

And that's what landed me here.

03 November 2004

Pop goes the bubble

I find my ebullient mood waning. After a glorious, fun, fantastic, exciting, crazy, wonderful, amazing weekend, I'm just tired.

My brain tells me that this is a temporary feeling that (more than) a little sleep will rectify. My heart is aching.

I'm disappointed with the US election results, as many non-Americans are, but I can't bring myself to be overly heart-sick about it. They made their own bed, and now they have to lie in it, as the expression goes. It's just too bad that they force the rest of us into the same room to listen to them snore.

---------------------------

I had previously written about 20 minutes of stream of consciousness, but it has since all gone missing.

I can't write anymore. It feels futile.

31 October 2004

Okay, let's get this over with once and for all. Or: Chapter 4: Conclusion

Are you all as tired of waiting as I am of procrastinating? Let's dive right into it!

Munich was an experiment in extremes. After 9 days in confined spaces with my family, I LOST IT.

We were driving toward Munich and I was supposed to be navigating. I was trying really hard, but that's difficult to do from the back seat where you can't see any of the road signs. My brother started to criticize me from the FRONT passenger seat and I FREAKED OUT. I have never been so close to an expletive-laced tirade at my family than I was in those two hours that we drove around, lost. I gave up when my brother made a comment about how it was "only stupid directions, you're not talking someone out of suicide." AAAARRRRRGGGGGHHHHH!!!!!

I can still feel the rage, deep down. At 28 and 25, respectively, I thought that maybe my brother and I could behave like adults. I shut down until we got to the hotel. Then mom tried to talk to me and I (somewhat hysterically) explained that suicide was not a polite metaphor for navigating.

Mom intervened. Michael apologized. I accepted, but was still angry. And... here comes the migraine!!!

It wasn't all bad, though. After some laid-back shopping, I had a rest and felt better. We went out for Thai food (I swear, Europeans have the best ethnic food).

The next day was fun! We went to Legoland!!! We had to drive an hour to get there, but it was great. No Disneyland, but still a lot of fun. Mostly, it just looked cool. There were Lego statues everywhere. Everything was constructed to look like it was made out of giant Lego blocks. It was awesome.

We drove back to Munich, changed and went to the Haufbrau Haus -- one of the more famous beer gardens.


"Nothing like sharing a litre of beer. Wait, make that 4 litres...." Posted by Hello

After another HUGE meal, and laughing at the accordion/guitar duo, we made it back to the hotel (somehow...).

The juxtaposition of extremes continued with the next day's trip to the Dachau Concentration camp. It was the first "political camp" under the Nazi regime. It started filling up after someone burned down the German parliamentary buildings and a bunch of laws that sound eerily like the Patriot Act were passed. The horrors mount from there.

It's hard to talk about. It was really upsetting that people could do that to each other. Everyone needs to go to one of those things to realize that there's no way, under any circumstances, that that treatment can be justifiable or acceptable. The Germans have living reminders through these memorial sites. It's so easy to forget about it over here, where we consider such treatment to be so extreme as to make it nearly impossible in this setting.

I could talk about this for ages. The documentary I saw on site, the "shower room", the crematorium, the pictures, the towers.... It's awful. I don't know how people live in that town and drive by it every day.


Summation: We drove from Dachau back to the Czech Republic. We stopped overnight in a small spa town called Karlovy Vary. It took us forever to find our hotel (again), but we took it easy when we found it. We wandered around a bit, took in some supper, watched as the English Channel was dumped on the town in a fury of thunder and lightning. The next day, Mom, Dad, and I went to one of these mineral spas. All the water is mineral water that bubbles up from below the earth. Wherever there was a natural spring, they plopped a spa down on top of it, and they do fun treatments with the water. I had my gums irrigated, and a water massage. Soooo relaxing. Michael took in a movie at the international film festival that was taking place. We saw John Cleese and got a picture with him. Then we drove back to Prague where we slept and boarded a flight back to London.

In London, I split from la famille and took a plane to Paris, while they went home. I spent ~5 days with Daphne and had a great time. It was relaxing after all the previous running around. I went to the Musée d'Orsay, did a Bateau-Mouche tour of La Seine, saw but did not go into Le Moulin rouge, and climbed a thousand steps to tour L'église de Sacré Coeur, and did some mad shopping.

All in all, it was a great trip. It wasn't always easy, and there was sometimes tension, but I actually enjoyed spending the time with my family. I really enjoyed the experience and seeing all the cool things there were to see. I'm so glad I got to do it, and I'm sorry for those of you who had to wait so long to hear about it in its entirety.

That's the end. Now I can blog about real things without impunity. Like tonight's Matthew Good concert.

25 September 2004

Hiatus

I know this is taking an inordinate amount of time to talk about my piddly three-week vacation. Some of you might be wondering, "Does she not at least have a personal life to blog in between episodes?"

Well, there lies the problem. LIFE is happening. And it's tiring.

To use a catastrophic example (as is my specialty), I spent 36 of the past 60 in crisis-solving mode, and before that was suffering great and bountiful physical pain.

I'll start with the pain. My uterus hates me. It is a loathing that stands the test of time. Think Bush-Hussein level hatred. Multiply by a factor of 23. Thus is my pain.

I spent 40 of the past 45 months on Depo-Provera, a progesterone-only contraceptive injection. It's motto, "4 times a year" was a God-send. Not only was I relieved of the horrible pain associated with my menstrual cycle, I was also relieved of the cycle itself. Period-free living was my personal salvation.

Unfortunately, one of the side-effects became a rather nasty cystic acne problem that also resulted in much of my time on Depo running with a concurrent course of antibiotics.

In consultation with my gynecologist, I started an alternative therapy of continuous birth control pill (for those who don't know, one normally takes 21 days of pills, and then takes 7 off for "mother nature"). But, after more thought, I decided to give it a try. My first period in 3.5 years.

What a mistake. I spent the better part of 36 hours doubled over in pain; unable to to move, needing Extra-strength Tylenol just so I could get to the bathroom.

Finally, I called my gynecologist in tears, wailing, "I can't live like this!" She said to start the pill again immediately, and ordered an ultrasound. Good news, the pain might be due to something abnormal and there could be a cure. Bad news, my body could actually hate me this much. In either case, there will be serious discussions about natural body function + optimal pain mangagement.

(That was supposed to be the short story, so I'll wrap this up quickly.)

The 36 hours of crisis-solving included a dear friend of 11 years who is in an abusive relationship with her boyfriend of 5 years (the physical abise being only 4 months old). She almost found the courage to leave him yesterday, and if it was for the damn post-hockey game traffic, I might have been able to solidify her resolve. Unfortunately, my herculean efforts to get to her before her boyfriend tracked her down meant that he had a chance to talk her back before I reinforce her decision.

It might not have been that easy, but I would have loved the chance to try.

The result is that the emotional roller-coaster of thinking that she might do right by herself coupled with the disappoint of her not, has resulted in extreme fatigue for me, and a couple of sleepless/restless-sleep nights.

Coupled with this is growing disenchantment of the teaching system, mad desire to have my "summer" job turn into something concrete, lasting, and ambition-satisfying; plus many happy days of the return of Foo, and a feeling of general contentedness that I am an agent of my own life.

Some draining days make me appreciate the sane friends I have, and quiet time in between.


Note: The next couple of weeks involve me working 12 days straight, and the a break for a wedding before making a trip to Toronto to see Nayana off -- from the country. No blogging guarantees, but I make mental note that it would be nice to tell about Munich before Toronto (finish blogging about one vacation before taking another...).

13 September 2004

Chapter Three: Salzburg

Back to a beautiful city!!


Panoramic Salzburg Posted by Hello

I loved every minute of Salzburg. With the exception of any time we spent in the hotel -- pile o' crap.

We drove from Vienna, through the Alps, to Salzburg. The drive was beautiful. The view of the mountains was generally obstructed by trees or 10-foot walls. Funny; they don't seem to want you staring at the view when you're barrelling down the Autobahn at 140 km/h.

We drove into Salzburg and promptly got lost. In the process of being lost, Dad manage to leave a chunk of paint on a guardrail. Consider it our gift to the people of that fine city.

We were only in Salzburg for two nights and I had to see EVERYTHING. I made a "must-do" list of important sights and started as soon as we unloaded at the hotel.

We started with a river-side picnic. The weather was warm and beautiful. The sandwiches were self-made. The Pepsi tasted like home. Michael was bitten by something, and Mom walked through poison ivy. Good times!

Then the blitz began. The Fortress, MozartPlatz, the Dom, river tour (one of the best of the trip), Amber museum, Mirabel Gardens, etc. Bang, bang, bang! Done! Awesome views, awesome sights, awesome EVERYTHING -- even awesome sushi!

That night, Greece won the EuroCup. I was happy for them, sad for CR. It was a good game.

Day 2: Hellbrun, where the original Captain Von Trapp lived with his brood (not where the movie was filmed). I saw the "I am 16 going on 17" Gazebo -- you're not allowed in it anymore, since some octogenarian broke her hip prancing on the benches. We toured the trick fountains enstalled by the archbishop who origianlly owned the estate and got really wet. Michael and I took glass blowing lessons and made plant-waterers for Mom & Dad, and I did a tour of St. Peter's Cathedral, where Mozart first played his Requiem.

After some shopping, we took a drive out around the beautifdul countryside. Everyone was cranky, though, so we didn't get many pictures.

To finish the day, Michael treated us to dinner at a nice Italian restaurant that we found by accident when we got lost (as usual).

We hit the hay early.

We wanted to make the most out of Munich.

28 August 2004

Chapter Two: Vienna

How can I put this...? Oh, yes:

Meh.

That was my reaction to Vienna after seeing Prague.

On Canada Day, we piled into the rental car and made our way south.

We took a side trip south-east to a little town called Kutna Hora. It's an UNESCO World Heritage site for two reasons. Firstly, one of the oldest standing cathedrals in the world: Chrám sv. Barbory or St. Barbara's cathedral. So old, that it still boasts original frescos (albeit, faintly) from the middle ages. I was awed at the amazing work that people could do 1000 years ago, without the advances of mechanics. Think of all the neat tools we have, and the crap buildings we throw together.


St. Barbara's Posted by Hello

Then we go take a look at the Sedlec Ossuary. Basically, about 600 years ago, a bunch of monks went to build a church. But when they started digging around, they unearthed some bones. The bones of 40,000 humans remains. Geez, what's a guy to do with all these dead people. Well, if you're these guys, you build things out of them. Like giant chalices, and a chandelier, and a huge coat-of-arms wall hanging. It really highlights the futility of everything we waste our sorry existence doing.

After breathing 600 year-old bone dust, we headed off to Vienna. We crossed the border from CR to Austria with no problems, drove into Vienna, and then spent the better part of 2 hours looking for our hotel (this was to become a theme).

Funny, when you spend hundreds of years trying to ward off intruders, you don't build friendly streets and avenues with square blocks and crossroads.

We discovered that great European city phenomenon know as the "Ring Road." It's a fun road that loops the entire city (Munich has one too), with poorly marked exits to let you off in the district you need to be in. In our case, it was the Museum District. Finally, through some ingenuity and a helpful hotelier, we managed to find our hotel.

It was late, so mom and I stayed in and ordered room service, while Michael and Dad went out to an Irish pub for supper. I watched CR get smote by Greece in the EuroCup. Sadness.

Our time in Wien was frustrating. It wasn't nearly as beautiful as Prague. The buildings were more ostentatious than ornate. The river tour of the Danube highlighted the hydro station and the garbage incinerator (which was decorative, as it was designed by some famous Viennese architect).

We went to the Museum of Natural History, which was awesome -- probably the sightseeing highlight of Vienna. I got to gorge myself on real Vienna Sausages!! Trust me, they taste much better than the ones in the can. We took a bus tour into "the mountain" -- which is where the Alps begin in the east -- for a panoramic view of the city.

We ate at an amazing Italian restaurant. The chef was Austrian, but his wife (the owner) was Italian. Awesome food, and they were so excited to get some friendly customers. She even went out of her way to write up the names of some nice places in Northern Italy that are must-see! We had to go back the next day for a drink. They were awesome.

Finally, we ended our tour of Vienna with an evening at a Viennese wine garden. They make some great wines in the eastern foothills of the Alps. Tasty! And the food! Holy crap! There was a buffet, or you could have a wine-maid bring you food. We opted for the latter, assuming it would be less. WRONG. I don't think the average person is supposed to eat a plate of deep fried vegetables and beef tongues and porkchops and schnitzel and sausage, plus condiments and 4 kinds of streudel. One each for everyone.

We went back to the hotel very bloaty.


Next stop, Salzburg!

07 August 2004

Ch. 1: Praha continued

See Chaper One below.

Our first foray into authentic Czech food wasn't too scary. The Bohemians were one of the originating cultures of barbequed skewers of meat! Who knew?! It was a ton of food, but sooooo good!


"Original Presentation" Posted by Hello

On my insistence, we did a boat tour or the River Vltava (or as the English pig-dogs call it, Moltava). It was a beautiful night, and we saw so many sights. Our tour guide that night kicked ass. She was smart (spoke 6 languages!!), and could fill in all the touristy tidbits with details about the Velvet Revolution, the oldest continuous Jewish community in the world, Communism, Nazism, etc. She was fantastic.

On our last night, we ate at a beautiful French restaurant (chandeliers, an army of attentive waiters, and -- for ambiance -- a little boy peeing in the street...). We went to the Municipal house to see a performance of Mozart's Requiem. Pretty awe-inspiring for one with little to no knowledge of classical music.

It's hard to talk about Prague. Much like the entire trip, there was so much to do, and so few words to explain it. We were constantly on the go, constantly in sensory overload. The pictures are amazing, and there are so many stories. But memory isn't linear.

I'm going to work on getting all my pics posted by midweek, either on MSN, or a larger server. The website will be posted here. Eventually.

I hope this tides all three of you over.

Chapter One: Prague

What a beautiful city! I've never seen anything like it! Prague is full of history and architecture. There was nothing about Prague I didn't like -- with perhaps the one exception of the language barrier. As one guidebook put it: Forget everything you know about speaking English if you want to learn to speak Czech.

We were the for 4 nights. Our flights were all late on the way from Halifax, so we missed a grand opportunity to acquaint ourselves with the city before we started out sightseeing.

We started our trip in full force (and barely let up the entire time). First we wandered a main shopping street in the old part of the city and found a tour guide depot.we booked a tour for the afternoon so we could learn more about the city. It wasn't a great tour, though. Our guide was DULL. A 1980s talking computer program has more inflection than this guy had. It was like, he had the tour memorized, and nothing was gonig to distract him from that (a major contrast with some later experiences). We saw Prague Castle and St. Vitus' Cathedral (pictured below), learned a lot about the city's 1000+ years of history, and got oriented a little better.



Beautiful Prague Posted by Hello

03 August 2004

Calm Yourselves

Not that anyone other than Brandon has been complaining....

I'm a terrible blogger. Deal with it. I now work long hours. In fact, I'm working 2 jobs during the same hours. It's great. As a result, I can't be arsed to sit down and regale ye with tales of EuroTrip 2004.

As a solace, I offer up Matthew Good's highly informative and entertaining blog.

I'll get to my own someday....

19 July 2004

Home for a Rest

I'm back, but I'm not ready to blog. I'm still processing, recovering, and having the (as Matt C. called it) the post-vacation blues.

30 June 2004

No blog for you!!

I'm in Europe for 3 weeks. I'm in Prague now. Yea!!

Blogging won't happen. See you in July!

24 June 2004

Bush questioned over CIA leak

In the words of that genius songwriter, Matthew Good: About time.

19 June 2004

Okay, here's the deal....

I'm tired of stupidity. I've never enjoyed it, but lately, I've been downright loathsome of it.

I'm guilty of it too. I've been absolutely horrible to myself as of late. I think it stems from a recent, rather rapid and untimely (is there ever a convenient?) weight gain. Not a ton. But enough so that most of last year's summer clothes don't fit, and my regularly baggy pants are baggy no longer. I had to dispose of my favourite pair of nice pants because every time I put them on, my mother would ask, "Are they ripped?" because of the way the zipper was stretched across my pelvis. Of course, I'm unemployed, so I can't go out and get new clothes at whim, because there will be no paycheck to pay off the credit card bill. Vicious cycle ensues.

But, as was pointed out to me by a family friend, I'm not fat. I don't look fat to the general public. I may have the odd little fat roll, but I don't have love handles, or saddlebags, or spare tires, and it's nothing that a diet and exercise adjustment won't fix.

I heard a woman on the radio yesterday talking about body image. She's a belly-dance instructor. She said that we are the shape we are. And that's about the extent of it. Going on a diet is not going to make my thighs disappear. I'd better get used to them.

This isn't an epiphany, just a some self-affirmation.

I've also been angry about my lack of regular employment, and my inability to secure any. I hate the hiring process. I have to wait until thousands of other teachers decide what they're doing for the year before I can even compete for the slim pickings that remain. I don't know if I should leave the province for work, or if I should tough it out. Should I look for something in an unrelated field? I have two degrees. Someone must consider me qualified by now.

I'm going to try harder to just be content. There's a lot to be said for a simple change in mindset.

On to others' stupidity.

I'm mad at people who make choices they can't handle. Specifically, one person. It's frustration, really. If you haven't properly thought out consequences, then you have no business making decisions. It's like the abstinence argument: If you can't handle having a baby, then you can't handle having sex; one is a possible side effect of the other.

I might explain that one in less-cryptic terms later.

Other stupidity is sporadic and not as affective. I can generally avoid, or dispell the rest.

In other news....

- Nancy has returned from Immersion!
- Foo is reachable by phone!
- Nayana's boyfriend has arrived!
- Mo is back in the country!
- Nina is back in the province!
- Happy birthday Nikah (and possibly congrats on wedding?)!


Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former. Albert Einstein

06 June 2004

Picking up....

Another update of my life:

1) Substituting. It has happened. I've had a total of 12 days so far, and one more booked this week. Other than that I have to wait for the 5:30 am phone calls.

2) Europe trip. Confirmed a journey to Europe with the family. Prague, Vienna, Salzburg, Zurich, Innsbruck, and Munich. Then, on the way home, I'll split from the family and spend 5 days in Paris chez Daphné. Tres excitant!

3) Called Daphne. Some of you may recall that I recently lamented her absence from my life. It is, at least temporarily, reaffirmed that she is part of my life. And the trend continues. We generally talk about an hour for each 6 months that go by without contact. So it stands to reason that we talked for 3 HOURS! Picked up where we left off. It was a great conversation. I've missed her so much. It seems like we're both getting our lives in order, and it's so great to be able to share that. I'm really excited that I'm going to see her.

4) Lonely me. Things have been sad on the friend front. Most people are away. Nancy and Steph are (separately) in Quebec, Nina's in Germany. Lew was in Montreal (back now, but has been spending time with her fiancé, and is now in CB for a few days), Jenni is working in B-water so out of reach, Katie's in France, Mo's on her way home from LA, but stopping in T-dot, Nayana's boyfriend just moved from Dubai to be with her, so she's "busy", Robyn's in W/V and gas prices are too high to drive down. Basically, I've been left with Lani, and Rick. Rick was working all the time, and I haven't been able to connect with Lani much (although we did watch some hockey last night. I have managed to scrounge together some social time. Mostly with Jillian, and Andy. With Jillian it's been drinks and a play ("Cats"). With Andy, it's been BBQs, camping, etc.

5) I saw Matthew Good in concert!! He was in town for 2 shows. I went to both. I was a crazy fan. First night I went with Jenni (I'm try to convert her); second night I went with Kris. The first night I was stunned and enthralled. I spent the concert sitting in a chair, staring. After the show, I went out to his bus where he was signing autographs and posing for pictures. I was a moron. Conversation went like this:

Me: Hi.
MG: Hi.
Me: (pause)
MG: Nice to meet you.
Me: Yeah! (pause)
MG: What's your name?
Me: Christine.

I handed him a CD to sign and said, "I'm being a moron. I'm just really excited to meet you." Yes, I said that. How embarrassing. I then babbled on about how I flew out to Vancouver to see him in concert a few years ago (leaving out that I was visiting a bf at the time). He knew which show I went to, and he then offered to sign all my CDs.

MG: You have them all there? Want me to sign them?
Me: You'll do that?
MG: For sure.
Me: If it's not any trouble. There's a line.
MG: (as he's signing, says something about how it's cool that I have them.)
Me: I think I'm going to come to tomorrow's show, too.
MG: I hope you do.

I managed to tear myself away and give Jenni a chance to get her Post-it note signed (all she had in her bag). We then beat ourselves up over how stupid we sounded, and for lack of a camera. I reaffirmed my desire to go back the next night.

Which I did. The concert was awesome. This time I stood in the crowd. He did another kick-ass show. More of the people there were hardcore fans (it being a Sunday night), and fewer drunks (which equals more general courtesy and more audience participation).

Went out to the bus again after the show. Had my other CD, his book, and my ticket stub from the Saturday show. Waited for 30 minutes or so. He came out and I was first in line. He remembered me from the night before, but I managed to redeem myself with some articulate conversation about the corruption of the music industry, the ineffectiveness of MuchMusic, and how he should play more shows in Halifax, with which he agreed. Kris took a picture of us, and I went on my merry way. Of course, I gushed all the way home about how great he was, and went to bed with a smile on my face.

Last point:

6) How shall I word this...? The drought ended. This might simultaneously come as a surprise, and no big shock to many of you. It's pretty much been in the works since New Year's. Don't really know what to say about it that doesn't sound completely stupid in type. It happened. It was great. Best I've ever had. Hands down. I was comfortable, not self-conscious, sober, and we could laugh about it while it was happening. It was about as good as I could have hoped.

The fallout? None, as of yet. Had a slight crisis of conscience a couple of days later. I read a NY Times article about teenagers and casual sex and was disgusted. Realized the hypocrisy of my disgust, and felt bad. I thought I should somehow feel bad or empty or something, but I don't. I'm okay. I'm just sailing along with no expectations, which seems to be the way to go with this.


If you have time to browse, click here for some pics of my life lately.

27 May 2004

California Dreamin'

One year ago I boarded a plane returning from Los Angeles.

I've been plagued with LA memories for the past two weeks; Wango Tango, Universal Studios, DisneyLand/Disney's California Adventure, The Shelter, the kids, the SUN.

I've been desperate to go back ever since I left, and now Mo is heading back north, and I'll never have a free place to stay again. Sigh. Vacations there will be much more expensive. Don't let me fool you, I spent enough as it was, I just can't afford the extra $150/night for a hotel room + transportation.

I love travelling so much. I wish I could do it whenever. Scheduling vacations and not having unlimited funds puts a damper on things.

I will not lament too much, though. The family vacation is forthcoming, and while that may not sound overly exciting, stay tuned for location revelation. You'll understand.

I had a facial today. It was heaven. Sweet, sweet heaven. I fell asleep during it, I was so relaxed. My face is in bad shape, apparently, so I have to start working on that. I booked two more and bought product. Maybe I'm a sucker, but I'll be a sucker with good skin. :P

25 May 2004

Change is good

I tweaked my blog slightly. I was having some problems and I wanted to... simplify. Like it or lump it. Just be sure to comment!

News: Have been teaching. For real! Well, substituting. I've worked 6 days so far, and have 2 more booked. I really love the anxiety of going to bed every night wondering if I'll get that 5:30 a.m. call to go to some unheard of school to babysit 30 kids from anywhere in the 5-18 range. Yes, that's right, welcome to my life as a glorified babysitter.

In other news: the Vic-Day weekend camping trip was a bust. Fun while I was there, but the opportunities did not all present themselves as I would have liked. I got sick, there were unhappy incidents, I left early. Not the love-in I expected. But it never is when I have expectations. As Nancy says (sort of), "Expectations are for chumps". But someday I will be a born-again hoochie. I have a goal. To paraphrase the great Wayne Campbell, "It will be mine. Oh, yes; it will be mine."

What else? Nothing off the top of my head. I'm in "lay low" mode. I don't foresee any great opportunities, so I'm just going to roll with it for a while. I'm trying to work some Paris time into my Europe trip. That would be fabulous. Daphne thrives, and I would love to see her. It's not a done deal yet, but the possibility of it only being 6 weeks away is enough to make me squeal.

Scratch what I said earlier. There are tons of things going on. I just can't pin my brain down long enough to turn any into blog-worthy stories.

I'll try harder next time.

Until then, your comments are welcome.

12 May 2004

Okay, a new post.

Here we go:

#1) Finished practicum. It was awesome. We went to DramaFest. Took a Directing workshop. Learned quite a bit. Kids did their shows, and they were awesome. I was so proud. Finished May 1, and got the hell outta Dodge.

#2) Crappy birthday party. Went to a nice restaurant and invited many people. Asked for RSVPs. Most did. Many couldn't even be bothered to decline. Only half the RSVPs showed up, although I must make allowances for Nikah, who did show up, but at the wrong place, on the wrong day. My bad. The others who did come were great. We did have a good time, but I don't think there was a single one of us who wasn't mostly exhausted and ready for bed by the time we left the restaurant. Thanks to those who did come.

#3) Spent most of the week running around and doing errands. Had big fight with Mom, as major stresses over lack of job and income finally broke the camel's back. Explosion!! Followed by a relatively rapid extinguishing. They're loud and I cry, but they never last long.

#4) Spent an evening with Andy, watching hockey (Leafs lost - boo!) and a great British series called "The Office". Hilarious. But as Andy says, only if you watch it like a documentary, not as a sitcom.

#5) My dermatologist told me that she has no problem with me refusing to put antibiotics on my face every day. How generous of her. I've moved onto a new BCP to see if that helps, and a cream that rips the dead skin off my face. How pleasant. The burning doesn't hurt. Much.

#6) Confirmed a couple of sub days. Whoo hoo for potential income.

#7) BBQ at Andy's house. Ultimate Frisbee, a hike to the lake, and a "lightning round" of Violence at Home. Fun game. Could explain, but won't here. Too many words.

#8) Convocation weekend. Michael surprised me by showing up Saturday night. Dad flew him home for Mothers' Day/my grad. I think that's the first time I've hugged him in, like, 12 years. We drove down to MB and went to the LYC for Mothers' Day brunch. Drove cross-country to w/v. Stayed with friends. Went to Grad Banquet, which was mostly crappy. Highlight of day, popping up to see Robyn & Kurt, if only for 30 minutes. Happy to see them. Don't do it enough. And with stupid gas prices, it's getting prohibitive to drive anywhere. Reminds me of that Chris Rock joke about how no one would shoot anyone if bullets cost $5000. It would really have to be worth it. Not that the visits aren't, they'll just take longer because the expense is greater. Quoi d'autre? Oh, yes. Convocation itself. Went to lovely restaurant with family beforehand. Yum. Went to pre-grad reception at School of Ed. Saw some people, took some pictures. The ceremony itself was painless. Seems someone has it down to a science, for minimal boredom opportunities. Even the reading of the names wasn't so bad. Especially with the Chancellor screwing up every few minutes. Made for some laughs. However, did feel slightly alienated all around because all the comments were made for people who've been there for 4 years, and I was only there for 2. Post-grad reception: more pics. Then booted it back to the city so Michael could catch his plane home. Overall: nice weekend. And the weather rocked.

#9) Completed process to sub. Waiting to appear on the list.

#10) Went for nachos, beer, and a walk with Nina and Nancy S. Had a great time. Stayed out later than anticipated. At the Deck, was accosted (in a nice way) by many boys from Captial O. Actually, they were all friends from Capital O, but not one was actually from there. They were all from all over the country. They decided to hop in a rented van and take a drive. Sounds like so much fun. Wish I had the moolah. Chatted with them for a long time. It was fun. A reminder that I can have a conversation with pretty much anyone. I sometimes forget that. Especially when I spend all day in my basement on the computer.

#11) Speaking of which, I DESERVE A DAY IN MY BASEMENT ON MY COMPUTER. I've been busy. And I can't work now, so I want a day to rest before the phone starts ringing at 5:30 every morning (hopefully) looking to give me work. However, it is sunny out, and now that I've satisfied my salacious readership, I'm going to shower, get dressed and enjoy the fresh air.

26 April 2004

Only slightly bitter

It must be nice for all of you who are done practicum, but I still have 5 days. And that's not counting today. So, pooh on all you. But I get to go to DramaFest! So, ha ha.

Birthday was Friday. Big 2-5. I don't feel any different.

It was a tame evening, except for the part where John Deg brought a friend of his to my house and it turns out that he's in high school. Where I teach. Impessed? Not at all.

The fun part was when I saw him in the hall today. Wanted to die!

Didn't bother to tell my co-op teacher about it. Figured it could only spur a lecture that I don't need to hear. I'm aware of why it's wrong to have students in your home, even if you don't teach them.

I was taken out to lunch today by some of the staff. That was fun and yummy.

Countdown to my kids' play. Thursday the 29th. Ask in comments if you want details.

20 April 2004

Easily replaceable.

That's me! Take me out, insert... anyone! Mom was right again.

I'm having a lot of fun on practicum. So much fun, in fact, that I have no interest in sitting at my computer like I used to. The two things aren't necessarily related. I'm just saying that I don't comp as much in general.

Milestone approaching. Not sure how to mark it. Accepting suggestions.

Stay tuned for details of my kids upcoming play. All are invited and encourage to attend.

Last thought for the evening. Amy has been much harassed on her blog, and I'm not entirely sure why. I don't really want anyone to explain, because I don't care why people I don't know vehemently dislike someone I do. I gots no beef with da girl. But what I wonder is why some people feel the need to spew logorrhea (it's a word -- look it up) in the general direction of someone in such a cowardly and juvenile manner. It happened to me a few months back, when a couple of former friends decided to use my comments link to crap all over me, when what they should have been doing was getting on with their own lives, and not reading my blog to see if they could pick out opportunities to kick me when they were down. Another reason this comes to mind is the behaviour of some of my high school students. These internet vultures remind me of some of my worse students who hide behind big words or gender ("You're lucky I don't hit girls") the same way Amy's hide behind computer screens and network cables.

What's worse is that some of my students are more mature than these (ahem) adults. I defer to Robyn's summary of people, as seen on one of her blogs (see link at right).

13 April 2004

Warning: School is bad for your social life

How was everyone's long weekend?

I spent mine writing a 2500 word poetry essay. Little socializing done.

Amanda spent another night here on Saturday. I'm getting used to friends staying with me. It's fun. Who's next? It's like a party every night. Only we go to bed early. And I'm always doing homework. And there's no food or booze. Okay, so it's nothing like a party.

I didn't mention that I had my last practicum supervision. My supervisor showed up unannounced and I didn't have anything ready for him. I did have a class planned, though, so it went fine. The kids didn't know anyone would be coming in because I had planned to tell them the day before he told me he was coming. They're smart cookies, and most of them figured it out, so they were pretty good that class (for them). Happiness is: mouthiest student in the class being suspended that day, so I didn't have to worry about problems with him.

I have to make up a test now. It was decided that I should torture the kids at least once while I'm there.

Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha!

09 April 2004

A new feeling of Empowerment

Yesterday my co-op teacher actually left me alone with both collectives and I got to direct some scenes uninterrupted and unimpeded.

First group; I didn't do much. Their piece is on Mental Health (which more accurately resembles discrimination against more broad-ranging disabilities and challenges than merely mental) and Millie is very firmly taking the lead on this one. I'm okay with that. I wouldn't necessarily be able to look at the piece without prejudice. Millie has been doing this for years, and I think she's more comfortable with the theme.

Second group; It's interesting because I'm simultaneously more familiar and less comfortable with the subject matter. The basic premise is what goes on in the school washroom. The secrets, the illegal activity, the fights, etc. It's a great premise. But I sometimes get a little uncomfortable with what the kids present. It's not ignorance, just wishful thinking that kids aren't that involved in the things they obviously know so much about. But they're comfortable with it, and I'm not going to stifle the creative process. And I did get to have fun with it yesterday. A couple of the girls were concerned with their only parts in the play as being too... pornographic. They wanted to add something else where they were victims/ could make people laugh. What we devised was a fight scene. Once the idea came up, it was easy to put the scene together. It was a lot of fun. Not everyone is gonig to like te scene, but Millie has given her blessing to the idea, and we're going to show it too her after the long weekend. We've made it fit into the whole of the play quite nicely, and I hope it'll fly. I'm really excited about it. I really felt like I took control to involve the students and help them with thier play. Empowering.

The karmic kickback, however, is 2500 essay-worthy words on poetry. Lucky me. So much for a relaxing long weekend.

Presently, I'm having a good chuckle. I'm listening to a compliation of Canadian music, and a song that once made me cry hysterically in the middle of a sad period (I think Mo may be the only one who knows this story, as she'd be the only other person I know who'd be familiar with the song), it currently sending me into fits of laughter at a) my past silliness, b) that 15 year-old boys could write a song that would move me to tears in such an instance. The Moffatt's Misery. Listen to the opening verse, and picture me sobbing alone, in my dark bedroom. Until the chorus starts and I realize what slop has moved me to tears.

90s pop music definitely deserves a special place in history. Give me the power-rock ballad any day. ;)

"It's kinda like a love song...."

04 April 2004

An Explanation

The feeling has dissipated. I finally managed to trace its roots to a longing for my puppy. When I got home that day, I'd was feeling tired, worn down, and in need of a cuddle, but the house was empty. The parentals took off on a luxury cruise, and I was feeling emotionally raw. Jenni was staying here for the week, but I couldn't explain how I was feeling. I felt pretty crappy, not being about to talk to my friend, but it took me a while to identify what was wrong.

Eventually, it all came out in a phone call to Robyn, and I felt much better. She let me cry for a bit, and then I had her distract me by telling me about her goings-on. I then lapsed into a sinus pill-induced sleep.

My first week of teaching ended up going quite well. I'm liking my classes, although they're really chatty. I don't have any "bad" kids; just boisterous, ebullient, and... enthusiastic. They're all fun (except for a couple I could do without), but I'd really like if I could give instructions without having to YELL AT THE TOP OF MY VOICE.

I'll probably have an evaluation-supervision this week. I don't know when yet. Waiting to hear.

Last week of Mount class. Canada in the gold-medal final at the WWHC. 4-day school week. Parent-teacher interviews. Long weekend to come. Andy is home. The excitement never stops.

29 March 2004

Doom and Gloom

I don't know what's going on with me, but I'm feeling really strange tonight. I have this feeling. I don't know what it is. It doesn't feel like nervousness, or panic, or anxiety. I guess I'm feeling a little lonely, but that's not overwhelming. Something just feels wrong. I really don't like it. I'm not getting my work done. Well, I did it, but it doesn't feel done. I can't think. I'm distracted. I don't know how to explain it, but it's annoying and it freaks me out and makes me uncomfortable with myself.

I think I'd enjoy a chance to curl up in bed and not move for a few days.

Can't do that, though. Have to get up every day and be perky and teach!

New group of kids this time out. All new names and faces to learn. That's going to be frustrating. I'm definitely interested in what I'll be doing, though. I love Drama. I have to get back into the swing, though. I hate mornings. It's a learned hate, but I'm not ready to unlearn it.

I thought that a quick blog might relieve some of the mental and emotional pressure I'm feeling, but to no avail. Maybe what I need is another early night. And some Sailor Moon.

27 March 2004

Two days and many drugs make a big difference

I'm feeling tons better, but am still not 100%, and I know that I feel much more capable than I am. Case in point, went out yesterday to do many errands that were delinquent. By the time I got home, I was DEAD. The only thing that kept me up was the promise of a special Dinner Out with the 'rents -- a guilt-induced offering inspired by my illness, and their going on a cruise!

I'm back to teaching on Monday. I have lesson planning to do (excitement). Actually, I am rather excited to go back. I love Drama, and te school is pretty great too. My schedule is different, so I'm not going to be spending off periods with the same backwards group as last time. Okay, that's not fair. They weren't backwards. They were quite nice. But they were strange. There's a mental shallowness that permeates the group. I'm a little nervous about sinking myself into that again. I'm going to test this theory that I have more to do with people's weirdness than I previously believed. At least, in relation to me.

There is confirmation that I will be going to Europe this summer! I'm really excited! Details pending, but I'm stoked!

25 March 2004

Karma's a bitch

I spent too much time gloating about how I got an entire week off before practicum, and as a result, I'm sick. No fair.

I woke up Sunday feeling a little poopy. Overly tired, and sensitive to my environment. By Monday, the cough started, but nothing serious. By Tuesday, the snotty head invaded, too. Didn't go to my Lit class; instead stayed home and watched the live broadcast (lovin' technology). Yesterday, was relegated to spending entire day not moving. Sat on couch and knit for a while. Otherwise, spent day in bed, moaning.

Today, sore throat. Not getting better, getting worse. Managed to score face time with el doctor. He will determine whether the white spots mom identified are malignant or a reflection of the flashlight. Oh, goody. More antibiotics.

My favourite part, though, has to be the bizarre, drug-induced dreams. I have to take something at night to stop the snot, and knock me out. It causes some interesting neuron firing in my brain. Tuesday night, it was all about boys. But it's last night's that has me thinking. I had a dream about Daphne. I think it upset me a little. She was living with a couple of her friends from here, for some reason (although I don't remember if we were here or there). I was hurt that I hadn't been asked, and while I don't smoke the quantities of anything (cigs or other) that they do, I was just sad that I hadn't been considered.

I guess I'm missing her. She was a good friend for a long time. I think it's been over a year since I've talked to her. E-mails go unanswered, and phone calls are hard to make with a 5 hours time difference. When I do manage to call, there's no answer. I know I should just let it go. I know she's really busy with her program, and her life. I just miss the talking.

I have lots of great friends now. They all have elements of her. But every so often, I get that hankering for the original.

Especially when I've spent 3 days alone, in bed.

I hear it's sunny out today. Looking forward to seeing for myself.

Oh, and the exciting news: Got me a second interview with the London people! They're 99.9% certain that I'm what they're looking for. I have to peruse my portfolio at some point to make me look extra fun, smart, witty, and cosmopolitan.

Mail's here. I'm going to hoist my ass out of bed and see if there are bills for me. WHEEEEE!

18 March 2004

Things I miss:

My dog
My Grandmother
Fighting with my brother
Ally McBeal (Seasons 1-3)
My So-called Life
The easy way
Thinking I knew everything
Ignorance of how backwards people can be

13 March 2004

A boo-boo of epic proportions

Don't you hate when you write a really long e-mail or an essay or a blog and something screws up and it disappears? Yup. Well, that's what happened yesterday, so no one gets to read my epic story about The Date, the trip to w/v, the end of the strike, or my first "week" back at school. I wrote it all out yesterday, and it's gone. I had even copied it into the clipboard so I wouldn't lose it. But an internet spasm shut down my computer, and I lost everything.

So, too bad for you. And too bad for my lack of record of the events of my life. Guess I'll just have to use my brain.

04 March 2004

Self-fulfilling prophecy

I scared the shit out of myself last night. I decided that I would try some relaxation techniques. I need to get to sleep, I said to myself. I'm getting up early to go to the doctor, and I don't want to feel like ass and not get out of bed. What can I think about that's relaxing? Tripper.

Bad idea. Not only did I totally depress myself thinking of my poor puppy, but I was also struck by a bolt of rememberance.

I remember once saying to myself (and possibly others) that I didn't have time for boys and relationships because I was too busy loving Tripper. There wasn't room for anyone else.

Now, Foo just wisely pointed out that that was an excuse for not putting in any time or thought or effort into external relationships, but that doesn't fully satisfy the underlying fear. I don't care how much you want to believe that something is true, or how easy it is to make up excuses for why you say you want your life to be exactly how it is. You can't manufacture possibilities out of thin air just because you've hit the milestone you set for yourself. Sure, some people do, but I consider them grab-what-you-can/anything-at-any-cost people. I'm not one of those.

What's my point.

What I said wouldn't happen until my dog died (allow me the melodramatic emphasis), could be happening. How could I make that up!? I have it documented!

Now I'm scared.

This isn't like people who say they're going to have a terrible time at a party and then have a terrible time because they're predisposed to being cranky. This is my sanity! No, wait. It's not that bad.

This is something that I said years ago, when my dog was healthy and there was no pressure (not that there's pressure now.... WAAAAH!) What am I trying to say?

Okay, could an internal thought be so intense that you actually create the conditions for it to exist in reality?

Or, is it all just one big coincidence?

My head hurts. :(

20 February 2004

Buried alive

It's snowing a lot and the outside is off limits to the public. My first state of emergency. How exciting.

I finally cracked from the stir-crazies and Amanda and I braved the 6 foot snow drift and walk the 2 minutes to the mailbox so she could mail a letter to her sister. It's not like the letter will go anywhere, and the 2-minute walk took closer to 15, but it was so great to be outside. It's totally psychological. I probably would have stayed inside all day anyway, but because I didn't have a choice, I needed to go outside. It was actually quite pleasant. As nasty as snow can be, the nice thing about it, is that it needs a relatively warm temperature to form. So, apart from the wind, it was great out! And it was fun plunging through the drifts, and being out in the deserted streets.

Tomorrow is another day of seclusion. We'll have to shovel out the driveway, and I think Amanda wants to hit the road tomorrow, if she can. It is cozy, though. And it really makes me appreciate a warm place to live.

Mother Nature knows what she's doing.

16 February 2004

Appeasment... and vomiting

Again, Robyn has been complaining about my lack of blog. The rest of you have been quite patient, and I appreciate that. I have a couple of things to cover.

About 10 days ago, we had our Graduation Formal. It's early in the year, since graduation itself isn't until May, but once we all go on practicum, it'll be impossible to get everyone together again. Of course, not everyone went, but those who did had a great time. Here's the rundown:

Dinner and dance at the Old O. No date. Sat at a table with 4 other couples, but I didn't really want to go with anyone. Didn't want to be tied to someone all night, and I didn't want to bring anyone who wasn't going to understand the in-jokes of the Ed program. My thoughts were confirmed. Lani's date, and other "outsiders" had no idea what was going on. I'll admit, we're a snobby group. You have to be there to understand what made it funny. Anyway, dinner was good. There were mock awards (mine: Most Likely to get a bit-part on Sailor Moon), a guest speaker, a valedictorian, and some impromptu poetry. It was a lot of fun. Our MCs were a little unprepared, and that could have been better, but it was still a great program.

Then the dance started. Dance=drink. I was wild. And not in just in a fun way. I did let things get out of hand. I lost count of how much I had to drink, I was buying drinks for anyone who'd let me. I spent the night with different people than I normally hang out with. I was with Nina and co for a while, and then I ended up spending most of the time with Nancy G. and her date (who I actually knew in high school -- which is why I made the connection), and Adam, a guy I did a project with last semester. Nice guy. Pretty cute. And did I mention nice? And cute?

Okay, the bad stuff. I lost a large portion of the evening. I don't really remember what happened after the DJ announced last call at the bar. Apparently, I was a slobbering mess. I was crying about how much I was going to miss everyone -- well, the people I like, anyway. I puked in the ladies' washroom sink. That was classy. The sink then clogged and overflowed. Even better. I had to pay $50 in damages. I don't think that's unreasonable, though. It was a stupid thing to do.

Then I somehow managed to get to Robyn's where I immediately burst into tears at the sight of her dog. I'd already had a run-in with a classmate earlier in the evening, and he made a rude comment that upset me (this is where Adam stepped up and made me feel better). I was pretty fragile, and the alcohol didn't help. Alcohol + Grieving = Mess. I guess I calmed down eventually. Because the next thing I remember is going to the bathroom. Whilst sitting there, I puked in the tub (my grace is astonishing). Apparently I sat on the toilet for an hour and a half, declaring that I had to pee, but it took me that long to get anything out. Robyn lent me some pjs (I had changed for the formal at Steph's and my luggage was still there). I made my way into the futon, and I managed to screw up Robyn's offer of Advil or anti-nausea pills by drunkenly declaring that anti-nausea pills upset my stomach, but Advil was fine. It's the opposite. I wasn't in bed 10 minutes, when I was up with my head in the toilet. I think I set a record for use of bathroom receptacles.

I then slept soundly until 9 am, called mom to wish her happy birthday, and passed out again until noon. I woke up feeling far better than I deserved to (thanks to the gastro-intestinal acrobatics). I took Robyn and Kurt to the Big Stop for brunch. It was good and exactly what I needed. Despite the humiliation I've been suffering over my behaviour (words don't describe the half of it), I had a great night. It was a lot of fun.

I drove back to the city and went out for supper for mom's birthday that night. Dad ordered wine for the table. I could barely look at it without wanting to puke. I was so tired when I got home that night.

This past week was hectic, which is why I didn't get a chance to blog earlier about the dance.

Monday I was ill. Probably a bit of delayed hangover. I spent a lot of it trying to sort out the missing details of the end of the dance.

Tuesday was a job fair. I went and saw some presentations, signed up for some interviews, talked to some others, and went home. On Wednesday, I had an interview with the NYC school board, and a British supply agency that sounds like it has a great deal. I have some thinking to do about that.

Thursday I had to pack up again and I headed to the Island. It was a 5 hour drive. Very tiring. I was at the wheel, and by the end of it I was pretty cranky. 4 girls in the car; Lani, her friend, Jenni, and me. 4 girls in a hotel room. Room like an oven. No sleep.

Lani was really stressed out, and frankly hard to deal with. I took deep breaths and bit my tongue a lot, but Jenni found it pretty upsetting sometimes, because they'd never met before. Once the interviews and meetings were out of the way, things were fine. But it was rough for 36 hours or so.

I had an interview with the home board, and I've been approved to teach Core French 7 - 12. I've also been screened for the sub list, which means I can start applying for full-time and percentage jobs in May when the postings go up. I think I might wait and see what kind of full-time jobs I have access to, and then I'll make a final decision on the UK.

Other than that, it was just really nice to hang out with Jenni. She's in B-Water, all alone, and she has a lot to do with teaching and planning and marking... we don't get to talk much. Sadness. :( But we had almost 72 hours together in very close proximity -- same bed for 2 nights -- so that was a nice way to catch up.

We drove back to the City on Valentine's Day, and didn't get back to my place until 10 pm. Again, I was exhausted. I didn't sleep much better the second night. The bed wasn't comfortable, and I'm not that great at sleeping with someone else in the bed. I'm out of practice. Jenni and I watched Pirates of the Caribbean on DVD, and went to bed. No dates. I didn't care at all. I was so tired, and just glad to avoid all the hype and commercialism. I think it's the first Valentine's Day that I didn't feel even a little bitter. It didn't matter. Just another day. I had a good time.

So, that brings us pretty much up to date. Amanda is here now. She had to write a math exam today, and she has no family here anymore. I'm not quite sure how long she's staying. At this particular moment, she's having a nap. She didn't pass the exam, and she's disappointed, but she'll have another chance to write it in a couple of weeks. Tomorrow we're going to the province's most photographed locale (can anyone guess where that is?) so she can get some pics to show to her friends at UMPI (school).

I had wanted to go to T-Dot, but it's not a good time. Can't get a good price on a flight, and I don't think I should stay with Bro because he's having some problems and I shouldn't stick my nose in the middle. I hope it works out soon for him, though.

I think that's it.

01 February 2004

Ask and ye shall receive

Had some complaints about the glaring neon colours that rotated through my blog. Also, the flashing scrollbar was really pissing me off.

New template, new comment server. Go, me.

On another note, my dr. decided that I have a lung infection, even though I'm not hacking up technicoloured goo. He put me on antibiotics and a narcotic to "numb the cough centre" of my brain. Said narcotics came with dire warnings against driving and operating other heavy machinery. All false. I've never been so wired in my life. I was dopey, sure; but I didn't sleep for 2 days. Gave up on them myself, and when dear Mamma went to same dr. subsequently, obtained new prescription for innocuous Robitussin + Codeine. Now that's what I call a KO! Sleep has returned, although quality is lacking. Eye twitches constantly to protest.

Or that's the stress of having to write my first essay in 17 months. On my least-favourite topic to analyse: poetry. Wish me luck and not too many hysterics.

PS; Battle of dog grieving continues. And sucks royally.

17 January 2004

Getting by

This was the longest week of my life. And I'm not exaggerating. It wasn't like it felt like Friday, but it was only Tuesday. Every day had it's own special and specific length. There's were ups and downs each day. Some moments flew by, others were their own individual millennia. But with the first week behind me, I know I'm going to be okay.

I learned a lot about how supportive my friends are (thanks, Lew) and how certain people are only interested in taking opportunities where they can get them, no matter what opened the door (no names). Shame on those people. I don't wish them harm, though. I just lament that the same attitude is going to kick them in the face when they're down. Even the possibility should be punishment enough for their selfishness.

Biggest thanks to Lani, Robyn, Foo, Steph, and Andy for being right where I wanted when I needed you, and for being understand, amazing and existent. I hope I can be there for every one of them when they need me, like they were when I needed them. Even with their support, it was a long, lonely week. But I could count on every one of them for a laugh, a hug, a :), or a thought, even before I knew I needed it. I hope they all know what wonderful, special people they are.

Healing is going to be a long process. I think I can get through it.

On another note: Congrats to NAncy on running her half-marathon on Sunday. She had an amazing time, and I can already see how the experience has changed her for the good. She worked harder than she knew she could. I'm so glad she went. I did miss her company this week -- aside the above-mentioned -- but this was not her place. She had to make a difference elsewhere in the world.

12 January 2004

Words can't describe

I didn't need to make my own drama this weekend. It found me with a vengeance.

My dog, Tripper, died Saturday morning. He was 14.5 years old. I couldn't have asked for a better dog. I loved him so much, and I'm going to miss him. I can't even describe it. He was a part of the family, and watching him gasp those last few breaths was crushing. He'd been sick for a couple of days, but we thought it was just another spell. He sometimes went a couple of days sleeping a lot, and not eating much, but by Friday night, he wouldn't even get up to go the door. Dad put him out late Friday night, and he fell trying to get down the steps. I knew then that he didn't have much fight left. But I thought we'd have to bring him to the vet to.... He made the decision for us. He died at about 7:30 Saturday morning. I was with him, and so were my parents. He was home, and we were home with him. My brother was in Toronto, and didn't even know that Tripper was sick, so he's devastated. We didn't think to call him, because we never thought that there was much to worry about.

In November, when Tripper was having a spell, I said to Robyn one night, "I just want one more Christmas with him." He gave that to me.

I miss him so much.

04 January 2004

Politico

I don't often allude to my rampant and insatiable interest in the news, politics, and trivia, but I like to know things. If at all interested, check out this website by Foo's former roommate. He's an American ex-pat, currently living in Toronto, and I guess he got some funding to follow this year's US presidential election. I'm doing my part via "word-of-mouth".

Voices Without Votes 2004: