Hair Today! Gone Tomorrow!

I am exhausted. Beyond exhausted. My fingers are killing me. But I just might catch my train. I won’t go so far as to predict that I won’t forget anything, but still . . .

Removing the countdown now. Next time you see me I’ll be a good 10 pounds lighter! (and wouldn’t you know it, my hair actually did good things today . . . still, I remain firm.) Blogging will be non-existent for at least one week while I journey the wilds. Ta ta for now!

Mood: jublilant
Drinking: coffee
Listening To: airplanes? thunder? rumblings in the clouds
Hair: hah! sucker!

If I were Stewie . . .

My fingers are going into that horrific gnarly arthritis stump thing that I dread. Especially now! Bad timing. I’m into the under 24 hours til departure phase with much stuff to do. Much computer stuff to do. Rain, rain, go away! Come again some . . . NEVER COME AGAIN! DAMN YOU!!

Mood: in pain
Drinking: tea
Listening To: rain, rain, rain, and more damn rain
Hair: cannot get thee to the scissors fast enough

What Was I Thinking?!

It seemed like a good idea at the time.

Mood: burning in my fingers, damn rain, damn arthritis, damn computer work that NEEDS to be done
Drinking: coffee, the instant kind, blech!
Listening To: some crazy twit of a bird peep peep peeping outside my window
Hair: TWO MORE DAYS!!!

All Mighty

Last night I watched Bruce Almighty on ASN. I had never seen it before. It’s typical, but there are some funny parts. When Jim Carrey says yes to everyone’s prayers giving them exactly what they want, chaos overtakes Buffalo. There are riots in the streets and the city falls to pieces. I got to thinking about how true that is, if suddenly everyone’s prayers were answered and they got exactly what they wanted, the world would break apart. This fits in with something I’ve been thinking about lately and talking over with my sisters–that often when we pray we ask for the wrong stuff. We ask for money or good health or for this to happen or for that to happen, when really what we should be praying for is the strength to handle whatever comes our way. That’s all any of us really wants anyway. We just want to know that we’ll be okay, that we’ll get through it, whatever it is.

I didn’t always get this, it was a long time coming and I’m not sure what was the final thing that gave me the a-ha moment, but it’s been a few years now of relative peace and calm as a result. I have been through the wars–emotionally, physically, spiritually–on all planes. And I’m still here, still chugging along. Yes, I get stressed out by stuff, but it’s different kinds of stuff now it seems. Most of my stress results from the fact that I’ve taken on too much, it’s impossible for one person to finish it all. My stress (just like yours) is self-induced. I’m still working on achieving a balance so I don’t have too much going on and I’ve got just enough in all the key areas to bring joy into my life. This is all stuff in my power, I have total control over this and I can work it out.

What I don’t get stressed about anymore is the stuff I have no control over, the stuff that depends on other people. Because I can’t control other people, no matter how much I might like to or how much smoother I think things might run if they’d just let me pull all the strings for awhile. For the last few years (you know it may have happened when I released my father issues, which after a lifetime of agony was solved in seconds with a simple flick of a switch in my brain) whenever something happens, or threatens to happen, something I don’t want, something that hurts, whenever I get that old familiar feeling of heartache, I will cry my guts out. And I mean REALLY cry, Oprah’s ugly cry, with sobs wracking my ribcage, the snot dripping off my chin, burning throat and eyes, blinded by big old tears, no subtlety whatsoever, let it all out kind of cry. I release every ounce of crazy irrational hurt and emotion into this cry. It lasts no longer than 5 minutes usually, many times it’s all over in 1-2 minutes. It doesn’t take long at all to get it out of me.

As the sobs subside and my vision clears I start talking to myself. And I tell myself only one thing. “Trust yourself. You are strong enough to handle whatever happens in this situation. You’ve come through worse and you’ll come through worse again. No matter what happens you can deal with it. You are a strong independent woman. You can handle anything that comes your way.” I keep saying this kind of stuff over and over in my head, sometimes out loud. I don’t know why but I usually sit indian-style and weave when I’m doing this and I’ll gradually start to calm down, my heart will stop pounding, and I’ll find it difficult to keep up with the self-talk because all these ideas will start to form, start intruding on my conversation with myself, all these things that I can do, that I can control, things in my life that are going very well, things I’m thankful for. It all happens very quick. Within 15 minutes I make the transformation from crushed sobbing broken women to strong determined woman with a plan, a destiny to fulfill.

This is such a long way from the girl who used to lie to her mother, telling her she was going to a party with friends, so she could be alone, turn off all the lights, load up the jukebox with gut-wrenching songs like You Must Love Me and The Dance, lie on the pool table bathed in the soft blue glow of the jukebox to wallow in self-pity and loathing, and drink until well after dawn. That girl is dead. This other girl didn’t just happen overnight. It took a long time. When I first started doing the self-talk I didn’t even believe it, but I did it anyway. And I kept on doing it, until one day I did believe.

Yes, I still have blue days. Yes, I still wallow from time to time. Cocoon. Stay in bed much too long. Turn the phone off. Not answer email. But oddly it’s never about anything big anymore. The big stuff I’ve got covered. I can handle it. Most of my blue days are hormonal-induced. I can plot them on my calendar, you can set your clock by my cycle. Yes, I’ll feel down, weep at every show on television, feel lonesome and sad, but it’s more of a general depression, with no root cause. . . other than the hormones. I’m not pining over a boy. My heart hasn’t been broken. I’m not afraid to move forward. I’m not having a fight with anyone or facing a huge life decision or questioning my spirituality or wondering how I’m going to pay the rent or losing someone I love. Nothing big, nothing life altering. My blues are chemical, physical, cyclical and I’ve got the big stuff covered. I really can handle it, whatever it might be. And so can you.

I mean think about it, people survived the nazis, they came through the concentration camps having seen terrible things, having lost their entire families and they went on to live, to do things, to have moments of joy, to create something new. Everyday the human race endures. Family members are murdered. Children die. Incurable diseases are diagnosed. Horrible crimes are committed. Unthinkable terrible disasters happen. The inconceivable happens. And people get through it. They handle it somehow. And they’re not special, not unique, no different or stronger than you or I. It’s the human code, it’s our make-up, we can handle the worst that is dealt to us and still persevere. That’s just the way it is. You can witness it on the news everyday. Every minute of every day somebody somewhere is getting through something so rotten we can’t even imagine.

And this is not in any way trying to diminish whatever it is that’s going on in your life or mine. Nowhere in my self-talk do I say I have no right to feel this way about something so insignificant when compared to what’s happening to people in other parts of the world, the kind of stuff you see on the news. Because the things that happen in my life are important. They mightn’t be important on the world-scale, but they are damn important to me. Nothing in my life is insignificant or diminished because it’s not going to make the six o’clock news. It’s real and it hurts and for me it might be the most devastating thing I’ll ever have to endure. Everyone has their own journey, and some are more radical than others, but none are insignificant. The point of bringing the world’s devastation into the discussion is just to show that we’re a species of survivors, not to make light or diminish my rent worries or broken heart by comparing apples and oranges.

And the big point is that once you believe (and I mean deep-down honest to god truly believe with every fibre of your being) that you will be able to handle anything that happens, that you will get through no matter what, that you will be okay. Once you believe this, life becomes a little bit easier, and more peaceful perhaps. So the next time something’s going on in your life, instead of praying to win the lotto or that the boy will like you too or the test results will be negative or the vote will go your way or whatever, pray for the strength to handle whatever happens. Then trust that your prayers have been answered.

Mood: philosophical
Drinking: coffee, the super cheapo stuff, with cream . . . look for black and instant tomorrow as I clean out my pantry in preparation for trip departure
Listening To: rain thrumming on the skylight
Hair: thinking it should do before and after shots for the blog this thursday

May Two Four Annis

One year ago today I moved to Sackville. It seems longer. It seems like yesterday. What a crazy year! I feel like I’ve spent too much time away, not enough time here. It’s because I went to the Maritime Writers’ Workshop last summer. It’s because Grammie died. It’s because I started giving workshops at the Access Centre and took workshops at every opportunity. It’s because I went to things like tastings and readings and launches and art openings all over the province. It’s because Stacy got married and I was maid of honour. It’s because we went to Toronto. It’s because I had to go to meetings.

It wasn’t my imagination, I really did a lot of running around this past year. But I’m tired of it. I want to slow down. There’s so much happening right here that I’ve yet to experience. Plus I can’t afford to go galavanting all over the province anymore. I’m tapped beyond tapping. I need to slow down. People will have to come to me from now on. I’m not venturing forth unless it can’t be avoided.

The Keenans sent me a lovely e-card to celebrate the occasion. Of course, they remember the date, as they are the ones who helped me move. Jason assembled all my furniture. Jenn ended up having to drive the Sturgeon’s van because the brake line snapped or something when we were in Amherst doing the last minute necessity shopping (cleaning supplies, towels, face cloths, mop, broom, batteries, extension cords, etc.) so Jason drove their car home. We had take-out Wendy’s picnic on the floor for lunch. I nearly went insane cleaning for the next week, trying to make the place feel like my own.

Remembering another anniversary today too. Might not have been the 21st of May (I think 22nd for some reason, because things ALWAYS happen to me on the 22nd) but it was May 2-4 weekend, 1994 maybe? Whatever year I moved from Toronto to Moncton. I was visiting at my parents for the long weekend. It was a gorgeous Sunday afternoon and we were sitting around the picnic table doing the family bbq thing I think. I had a few beer that afternoon. Sherry and I decided to go for a walk to the store, get some ice cream before supper.

He drove by us a couple of times and then stopped, offered us a ride. He was drunk, had his sons with him, it was his weekend. We said no, we wanted to walk. I don’t even know how it happened. We were just talking and joking, hadn’t seen me in a long time of course because I had been in Toronto. He was teasing his oldest boy, who was maybe 15 at the time, teasing him about them taking me and Sherry out on a double date, making the boy blush. It was funny. Fun. We were all laughing. And somehow he said something about me and him going out later and I said sure, but I thought we were still joking around. I didn’t take it serious. I forgot all about it as soon as they drove away. And we went on to the store and got our ice cream and walked home and continued to sit outside, listening to music and drinking beer and likely vodka and 7. Other people came–uncles, neighbours, friends. It was one of those impromptu backyard sort of parties that used to happen when people would just stop in because they saw you outside.

And along about 6:30 or so the phone rang and it was him, calling to confirm our date, to see when he could come pick me up. I felt terrible. Because I hadn’t taken him seriously at all. And here I was, a little drunk on a Sunday evening and so not wanting to do this, but I felt bad for him. I felt sorry for him because his wife had left and he’d been serious when I hadn’t and his boys were right there in the room with him when he called . . . so I said sure. I didn’t see the harm in spending one evening hanging out with him . . . hah! But what can I say, that’s what I thought. My intentions were shallow, but good. One night stand, return to Moncton, hope the cutie patootie band boy from the stock room at work asked me out. And that’s how I felt at the end of our first date, all the next week in Moncton, and the following weekend when I arrived again at my parents because Stacy was home from TO for a visit.

But there he was, calling and dropping into my house, and just following me around in general . . . and he’d bought me a gift, a pin he thought I might like . . . and he just wasn’t taking no as my final answer.

And the cutie patootie band boy from the stock room never asked me out, but the married boss was taking me on business lunches where no business was discussed and planning to take me on business trips to exotic islands where there would be nothing fitting my job description on the agenda and soliciting my counsel on all matters of business regardless of whether it was my area of expertise or not in an entirely inappropriate manner. And I had this guy, this last guy I’d sort of had an affair with, who was calling me all the time and wanting to come visit and wanting me to meet him in Vegas for a vacation with his family i.e. parents, siblings, in-laws, etc. and behaving very creepily on the phone, to the point where Sherry lied and told him I had taken off and nobody knew where I’d gone. They suspected Halifax, but couldn’t be sure. He bought that because he hadn’t known me very long and I had just (to his way of thinking) fled Toronto on a whim.

Strange times. Long boring story.

Anyway, before I become totally lost in nostalgia, a funny thing happened. I was reading on someone’s blog I think about this movie from 1960 called The Apartment starring Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine. This was yesterday morning I read about this movie I had never heard about before and the guy said to rent it and I made a mental note to look for it and add it to my Zip List . . . Then on CBC Late Night what movie are they showing last night? The Apartment with Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine. It was odd, like I thought of it and there it was. That’s so funny when that happens. So of course, I can’t ignore the signs, obviously I’m supposed to watch the thing, there’s no other reason for this movie to suddenly turn up on my radar like that. It is a wonderful film. I love Jack Lemmon anyway and Shirley MacLaine too of course, though I’ve seen so little from when she was young and gorgeous, I tend to forget she wasn’t always the character she is now.

She’s got some great lines in this one. I think I was supposed to watch this just to hear her say, “Some people take, and some people get took.” And on this anniversary weekend especially, that seems important. Cuz that’s how it went down. I got took. Just like Shirley MacLaine. But Jack Lemmon’s around here someplace . . . I just know he is.

Mood: happy happy baby
Drinking: water, in a clear plastic container with LOVE written on it
Listening To: is that cello? violin? musicians in da house
Hair: my good father, you don’t want to know

Slowing

I am a sleepy girl. Not blogging much lately. Lacking in focus. And energy. Series finale of Will and Grace tonight. Season finale of ER too I think. ER is always so gut wrenching. Don’t know if I want to watch, don’t know if I can look away. No rain today. Yet. Despite promises of thunder and lightning. The sky goes eery dark one minute and clear blue the next. It happens very quickly. A half dozen times at least I’ve battened down the hatches for rain, only to have the sun emerge within moments. Odd weather here sometimes. Strangely calm. I walked to post some letters and there was no wind. Rare. Sticky rice and beef stir-fry for dinner. Scooped from the freezer. Forgot to refrigerate last night’s nacho topping left-overs. No good today after 12 hours on kitchen counter.

When the boy started playing his drums in the yard earlier I had to wonder whether he really is Jesus from 15 years ago. Need a better look. Need a less awe-inspiring introduction. Need to work less and stalk more. How does one befriend one’s neighbours without seeming like the freak he/she really is?

Mood: brain dead
Drinking: light beer and water
Listening To: bongo boy
Hair: wet and stringy

Anything

The landlord gave me a summer book when he was here, Tom Wolfe’s I Am Charlotte Simmons. I’ve never read him before. Would never have purchased this book on my own. I’m pleasantly surprised actually. Not by the book so much, as my ability to read it. Yes, it’s sloppily done. Yes, there are pages and pages that could’ve (should’ve) been cut. But it’s not getting under my skin. It’s not annoying me to the point where I just can’t read the book. This is good. There is hope for DaVinci yet, perhaps.

Watched Breakfast on Pluto last night. Cillian Murphy is fantastic as the cross dressing terrorist, Kitten. A friend of mine recommended the Irish author who wrote the novel this film is based upon. Definitely got to look him up. Great stuff!

More new neighbours this afternoon. The wife of the current tenant and their other child . . . and a cutie patootie rock star type boy, complete with instruments. Think he’s the brother. Ontario plates on the car. I was so taken I even took it upon myself to journey outside, shake hands and do introductions. His name escapes me, but his handshake is very firm. Think Richie Sambora meets Jesus. Ha! And by Jesus, I mean Alex from days long ago. Tall, thin, long dark hair worn loose not ponytailed, short beard, john lennon glasses, long coat and hat . . . reminds me of Dave, a guy I used to work with at the recording studio. I have the urge to go sit outside and drink beer. But alas, no time for socializing, spying, or outright stalking. Maybe tomorrow.

Last night I dreamed I moved back to Toronto, but Kevin wouldn’t let me live in the house with MB so they moved me into a basement warehouse space MB had on Lakeshore. Bad area. No windows. Bathtub in the middle of the room. Only a hot plate for cooking. Bar fridge. Dirty. And Kevin wouldn’t help me clean, lift anything, nothing. He just dropped me off, told me to be thankful he’d even let me this far back into his life, and to stay away from MB and his mother. Not a good dream.

Just heard my brother-in-law’s union voted for strike. Crazy unions! Stupid people! What the hell?! You wouldn’t think you get so many stupid bastards assembled in one place. My brother-in-law did not vote strike. He’s a smart cookie. I’m praying the company offers to go back into negotiations, though it doesn’t look good. It’ll all work out. Somehow.

Mood: disoriented
Drinking: coffee, black
Listening To: I Want You to Want Me, Cheap Trick
Hair: low riding pony tail