Half ‘n Half

My dreams are gonna be the death of me. The past week has been nuts. Really nuts. I wake every few minutes thinking surely it’s time to get up now, after I’ve just had a super long dream. I look at the clock and can’t believe it’s only 5 or 10 minutes since the last time I looked. If I’m really lucky 20 minutes will have gone by. I mean who gets into dream sleep so quickly!? Most of the time I’m in some half ‘n half state, still here, but also there. It makes for one freaking long exhausting night I tell you. I lie there singing, “The night’s too long, it just drags on and on, and then there’s never enough, that’s when the sun starts coming up . . .”

My dreams are all over the place. Some make me laugh, others make me sad, some are puzzling, and some frustrate the crap out of me. Luckily none have been too frightening. It’s exhausting just having the dreams, but having nightmares on top of it would be too much. So I’ve been feeling a little out of it, a tad foggy in the brain. Still getting stuff done though.

Going up home this weekend. Spend some time with the pooch, maybe play some guitar warz, see the kids, watch a movie, get away from the computer and everyday life. Haven’t been up since Christmas and it could be awhile before I can take time again. Lots on the go! Lots of new things coming into my life on all fronts–work, personal, and creatively. So far 2008 is a proving to be a pretty fantastic year for Kellie!

Mood: a little worn and worse for wear
Drinking: oj and instant coffee, cuz i’m too lazy to clean out the coffee maker
Listening To: No Love Lost, Joy Division
Hair: seeking professional help

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Yesterday I broke down and vacuumed. I actually don’t mind vacuuming, it’s sweeping that every strand of my DNA opposes. The only reason I don’t vacuum more often (like every second day) is because I only have carpet in the bedrooms and it likely scratches my floor more than cleans. Also I understand how thin the floors and ceilings are, that my vacuuming sound might as well be in my neighbour’s apartments, above and below. Still, every now and again I vacuum. And sometimes I force myself to sweep. Other than crumbs inadvertently being swept from the counter to the floor in the kitchen, my floors don’t really get that dirty. Dust bunnies tend to grow, but not much by way of sand or dirt. So yesterday as I was vacuuming, hoping I wasn’t interrupting anyone’s nap or drowning out their television program, I thought to myself there has to be a better way. There must be a way I can continue this gliding across the floor motion to pick up the dust bunnies in a non-motorized more ear-friendly fashion. And suddenly an image of my mother swiffing her living room popped into my head. Eureka! I need a Swiffer!

I immediately called my mother to see if anyone was coming into town shopping. Because it’s been really cold. Because a Swiffer is kind of long and awkward to carry from downtown to my apartment. Because secretly I also wanted to look around for a bookcase. She told me my sister and brother-in-law were coming into town but to pick up pellets for their stove, so they would be removing all but essential seating from their van. Oh well, I shrugged. I’ll just add it to my list.

Lucky for me (not so lucky for them) the pellets were sold out so they didn’t remove their seats and came to pick me up instead. I came home armed with the Dollar Store version of the Swiffer, which I’m told is just as good as the brand name. We shall see how it works out. I couldn’t find any bookcases that I loved, which was kind of depressing considering I looked at Renaud’s, Kent’s, Zellers and Wal-Mart. There are not a whole lot of places left on the river to buy such an item. Perhaps Staples? Lounsbury’s? Canadian Tire? Home Hardware? Bargain Giant? Okay, maybe there are still a lot of places left to look.

I bought some cheapo dvds at Zellers and when I got home, after I had supper, I pretty much just got into my jammies and went to bed with dvds. Watched one, which totally awakened that urge to go to Italy. Started to watch another but was too tired to keep my eyes opened. Fell asleep shortly after 11, woke up at about a quarter to five. It was frigging cold in the room, took me until around 6 before I could convince myself to get out from under the warm covers.

Last night I dreamed we were having a party on the shore out by Howard’s field. There used to be a lane that went out, not the lane to Howard’s trailer, but another one down below that the sports would use to get out to their trailers. Not sure if it’s still there or not. In the dream it was overgrown with switch grass. It was late summer, kind of damp and cold, coming on dark. Me, Stacy and Carol were walking out to meet everyone for a party. It got dark as we were going out the overgrown lane. We could hear a car slow down and turn into the lane, see the headlights, so we jumped off to the side so the vehicle wouldn’t accidentally run us over in this tall grass. It was Jenn and Jason in their van. They couldn’t see us as they drove past. We came back out on the road and kept going down the hill, then another vehicle came and we went off into the woods. This time it was Gary, Sherry and kids in an extended cab half-ton (not Dad’s, but navy coloured). Gary had his window down so I think we must have sung out to him because for some reason they noticed us and stopped where Jen and Jason hadn’t. The three of us climbed onto the back and road out to the party.

At the shore there was a spot about the size of a queen-sized bed where the long grass had been flattened. This was at the edge of a small drop (maybe 4-5 feet) right into the water. The water was high, dirty and rushing like there had been a lot of rain. I was terrified of the girls falling in. Jenn and Jason weren’t out there, we were the first to arrive. Gary put on a small fire in the centre and we all sat pretty much on top of one another as we opened drinks. I drank wine in a long-stemmed glass. We were chattering and talking and the kids were bored because it was like a party you’d go to when you were a teenager. There were no wienies to roast, no marshmallows. We had nothing for the kids. Gary was getting upset. Because his girls were getting upset. Because the space was so small. Because we were all drinking and chattering about silly gossipy stuff like we hadn’t a care in the world. Finally, he threw up his hands and lit into us, “You’re not seriously going to sit here all night and drink like this are you?!” Etc. Etc. And the more he ranted, the more he paced in our little area. Sherry didn’t seem to understand why he was upset. She was all like, “Oh my God, have I done something? Are you mad at me? What’s going on?” I could see Stacy and Carol rolling their eyes at one another as if to say, “Men! They just look for any excuse to ruin a good time!” I was watching Gary pace and saying, “Be careful of the edge. Be careful. You’re gonna fall in.” But nobody seemed to even hear me.

Sure enough he stepped back too far and dropped into the water. He didn’t fall down, but kept his footing, though the water was up to his thighs. Then everyone laughed, including him, and we decided maybe we’d rather go to their house and hang out instead.

And such is the way of dreams.

Mood: giddy
Drinking: coffee
Listening To: snowmobiles on the river
Hair: needing something, but I’m not sure what

Uptown Girl

Parts of the internet seem slow and unwieldy today, mostly related to email but I’ve noticed a few websites I frequently visit have disappeared altogether in the overnight. Not sure what’s going on.

Had a pretty good day yesterday. Got over 10,000 steps, wrote almost 250 words on personal creative writing unrelated to BnM, did two loads of laundry, did all the dishes, got to watch an episode of Nip/Tuck and Coronation Street, nailed down things for April WFNB weekend, stayed up all night until 5 this morning working on the BnM stuff, slept a few hours without too many crazy dreams (still crazy, but no Dr. Phil or Vietnamese hitmen, so I was thankful), am up and at ’em having enjoyed coffee and pancakes, sun hanging in the sky, and I’m happy.

Rolling right online.

Mood: productive
Drinking: coffee, black
Listening To: everlong, foo fighters (acoustic)
Hair: greasy

All You Need is Love

Having a crazy full moon week. Not very frigging productive, I gotta say. Dr Phil celebrity guest starred in one of last night’s dreams. Just when I needed him! It was an odd sort of dream. I had been chosen to participate in some sort of an intelligence contest, like an IQ thing. Sherry had also been chosen from our school, along with about four other kids. We were whisked away to someplace way up the Howard Road to be sequestered until the competition. Dr. Phil seemed to not like me much. His favourite was clearly the little girl with the blonde hair. I was very near disqualified for doing something not just so, but since the little girl with the blonde hair had committed the same faux pas, he couldn’t very well kick me out and keep her in. So we went to the school gymnasium to begin this competition and I waited for the rules to be explained to me, but somehow I wasn’t told what I was supposed to do. A display of playing cards and designer bags was put in front of us and everyone immediately went to work solving the puzzle. I had no clue! And I was pretty pissed about it, complaining to Dr. Phil, who just smiled smugly and said, “How’s that working for ya?” I could see Mom in the crowd, cheering us on, mouthing at me to step up and do something. The others were shifting cards and grabbing purses, opening them to find prizes inside. Sherry had jewelry, some of the boys had collected gift cards from Rogers Video, and the little blonde haired girl had a rhinestone tiara and cash totaling over a hundred dollars. I was flabbergasted, so angry that nobody would tell me how to play this game, what the rules were. Then I woke up, thankfully.

The rest of the night was spent running around downtown Toronto trying to escape from two Vietnamese hitmen. The dream lasted for hours and hours, through multiple wakings. Through movie theatres and restaurants, on the PATH, on the street, in highrise buildings. I had a little dog with me, a little brown fuzzy that I could carry in my arms. It was exhausting trying to get out of the Eaton Centre and out of the downtown. I couldn’t believe how difficult it was to lose these guys. Finally I ran down the stairs into the subway at Queen, the train was just coming in heading south. I thought for a split second that maybe I could get on, get to union, grab a train. I could hear footsteps running down the steps. Instead of getting on the train, I hid in a garbage bin. The men ran down just as the train pulled out and they radioed their accomplices that I was on my way south, probably to union. Then they got on the next train to union, and I emerged from the garbage bin and headed north to Bloor.

This is the kind of weird stuff the full moon does to me.

Mood: sleepy
Drinking: coffee
Listening To: End of the Innocence, Bruce Hornsby
Hair: neglected and forgotten

Yesterday

Saw a deer on the road, somewhere around McNamee. He came over the bank and looked like he was about to cross. Judy tooted the horn to scare him off in the face of oncoming traffic.

In springtime at the club I would look out the window and not be able to count all the deer in the field. Mornings I would sit on the step and smoke and watch for hours. So peaceful.

When people find out about those years spent in the club and the wild way I lived, they will often say about all the stories I must have accumulated, fodder for fiction. And I’ll smile and say yes that’s for sure. I saw a lot. I heard a lot. I did a lot. But the truth is I don’t seem to have very many stories from then. At least not many I’m ready to tell. When I think back on that time in my life, all I can remember and feel is my overwhelming sadness.

I understand now that I was running. I know why and what from, but understanding hasn’t made it any easier to revisit that time in my memory. My sadness is still too much. More distance is needed.

You don’t see a lot of good in people when you’re behind a bar. People tend to reveal their very worst self. It can shake your whole faith in the human race. My faith was beyond shaken, but trampled into the ground. I doubted whether I would ever get it back. But I have. It’s taken time. It’s taken surrounding myself with the very best people on the planet. But I have faith again. Good people exist. I spent time with several of them yesterday.

Mood: undecided
Drinking: coffee, instant, with skim
Listening To: just me, reading aloud and yawning
Hair: seriously getting on my nerves

Road Trip

Heading to Fredville in the a.m. for official WFNB business. Had planned to leave today, wine all night, but plans snowed out. Oh well, hopefully in the morning travel will be easier. Moonlight overhead now. Fluffy clouds in shadow. Steady stream of traffic crossing the bridges. Snowmobiles breaking trails on snowy river ice. Buddy takes his dog out next door. Dog loves the snow, runs round and round circling the back yard, plowing through the drifts. Playful. Last night I dreamed I had to put Nick to sleep. He was sick. Mom insists soon enough this will be true.

Mood: jittery
Drinking: water
Listening To: socializing happening below
Hair: getting too long and thick

Ordinary

Every once in awhile I remember that morning. I’m not sure why. Maybe the memory is triggered by a smell or a light, a temperature or a sound. Maybe it only happens when I’m hungry or sleepy or both. All I know is that every now and again that morning pops into the top slot of my brain and I find myself back there not understanding why I’ve been summoned. It wasn’t an unusual morning. Nothing particularly exciting happened. It was just an ordinary day, like so many other ordinary days that never demand my memory’s attention. A day like hundreds of others. Yet for some reason I remember it.

A few of us stayed at the club after closing. We listened to music, played pool, bullshitted and drank until morning. Late spring/early summer, maybe May or June. The sun was fierce slicing through layers of dust and cigarette smoke drifting round the rafters. We laughed so hard our cheeks hurt, each word out of our mouths adding to the running joke. We drank everything I had and were waiting for the liquor store to open. It opened early, 7 or 8 a.m. I drove the truck out the road, four in the cab, because I appeared to be the most sober. Me, the girl with no license, always the soberest of the drunken drivers. It was me also who would go into the store and buy the liquor. Because I was the most sober. Because I had money. Because I was the one who shopped for liquor on a daily basis, filling big orders to stock the bar. Because he wouldn’t feel right about it, if I didn’t do it myself.

I remember walking into the Metro. It was quiet. We’d missed the early work crowd, arrived before the nine-to-fivers. One girl behind the counter. One customer playing the machines. It was cool in the store, the sun hadn’t come around to the big windows yet, the lights weren’t turned on. In the liquor store part the lights burned bright and the gush of the cooler seemed deafening. The girl behind the counter followed me round while I grabbed a case of beer, some rye and Coke. “How are you, Kel?” Meaningless chit-chat about last night’s non-existent customers, weekend plans, the weather, idle gossip. Always the same thing. Only I thought it was odd for me to be doing this kind of shopping on a weekday morning, and I did it all the time.

Boots clacking along the pavement, I remember exactly what I was wearing as I carried the provisions and loaded them on the back of the truck. Blue jeans faded nearly white, black cowboy boots, black belt, shirt tucked in, sleeves rolled up to my elbows, jean jacket over top of everything because of dampness in the morning air. One of the guys bailed while I was in the store, walked home. The owner of the truck decided he’s sober enough now to drive. I squeeze in between the two burly men and straddle the hump in the middle, while he drives to the other guys house where we’ll drink the rest of the liquor.

The house is just off the beaten path a bit. No visible neighbors. No view to speak of, back off the road, not close to the river. The sun higher and hotter in the sky. He has a pool table downstairs and we try to get a game going but nobody’s into it. We sit outside on the deck listening to the birds and the bees and Led Zeppelin streaming out the patio doors from the stereo inside. I shed my jacket as it’s too hot. Conversation lulls. They smoke a joint. I have many vices, but smoking joints is not one of them. First one and then the other excuses himself to the bathroom and doesn’t return. Their snores soon mingle with the music. One guy crashed in his own bed upstairs. The other downstairs on the leather couch beside the pool table. I’m welcome to sleep too, I’ll be safe here, but I can’t. I take so many drugs to stay awake that sleep seldom comes. My heart races in my chest. My mouth goes dry. My ears ring. My hair stands on end. My hands and legs fidget. My eyes turn glossy. My pupils dilate. But my lids rarely close.

There’s something unnatural about seeing day when you haven’t slept, when you’ve been drinking for a long time, but you’re not drunk. The world is brighter, brassier, louder. You notice tiny cracks in things that normally you would pass by without a glance. You wonder about blades of grass and dragonflies. You ponder dandelions and swallows. I sit on the deck all by myself, drinking beer, smoking cigarettes, growing increasingly more hot as the sun comes around and late morning turns to afternoon. After a couple of hours I decide I can’t stay there, my skin is too fair, and like the vampire that I am I retreat into the dark coolness of the basement. He’s still asleep on the leather sofa. In the bathroom I spend 15 minutes studying the red blotches on my face and wondering whether I’ve really sunburned or if it’s just the wrong side of the day for me. I wander around the basement poking through musty old boxes, flipping pages in photo albums, reading random passages in books, playing records, smoking and drinking beer.

Late in the afternoon his eyes open and he asks what time it is, how long he’s been out. It’s after 4, I tell him. About time for me to make a decision. Will I go home to shower and change before I open the club at 7. Will I go to his house, shower, put on some of my same clothes, borrow some of his, and go without make-up or hair. Will we wake buddy up, see if he wants to come with us. Will I call home and see if somebody else can open for me tonight. Will I just say screw it and not open at all.

We decide together. We’ll let him sleep. We’ll both go home. We’ll see each other later after I open.

I arrive home right at supper time. I don’t eat but have a cup of tea and smoke while I catch up with my mom about who was around last night, where I’ve been all day. I lay down for 20 minutes. It feels like a lifetime. Then I shower, do my hair and make-up. I have more tea while I sit in my house coat, looking in the mirror at myself as I get ready. Another pair of jeans, another top tucked in with the same black belt, the same black cowboy boots. I sling my jean jacket over my shoulder, grab my money bag and I’m off.

The sun is setting as we arrive at the club. I unlock the door. Raise the bar window. Put the cash in the register. Load the coolers with the liquor order we picked up along the way. I feed loonies to the jukebox and select my favourite songs. I grab a beer, twist the top and wash down two more pills as I settle onto my stool for another work night. I sit there for an hour before the door opens and someone comes in to save me from my loneliness. I serve. We chat. He tips.

Much later, after I turn off most of the lights and flip the sign to closed, a few of us will linger, drinking and bullshitting until dawn.

Mood: nostalgic
Drinking: chocolate chai tea
Listening To: refrigerator grumble
Hair: out of sight, out of mine