Friday, October 26, 2012

Kicking leaves down the hill.
Kicking leave up the hill when he scoots in front of me.
I try not to begrudge my aching arms when I scoop him up. He absently pats my arm and I imagine he means "good job, mom".
He sighs and rests his head on my shoulder. He smells like the shampoo I used for his bath last night. It's not baby-down anymore, it's little-boy hair.
It's still hard not to worry all of the time. I guess it never goes away, the roar just gets louder and softer sometimes.

Last night I think he really understood that there was a person behind my eyes for the first time.
I scooped him out of the bath and he did his usual, wiggly, giggly dances. When I finished pulling his pajamas over his head he laughed and looked at me. And then he stopped. He stared, pressed his chubby-little hands into my cheeks and pulled my face towards him. His little brow furrowed as I watched him examining the strange windows. "Hello", I said. He tentatively extended a finger and tried to gently poke it in my right eye. I laughed, he laughed, and we went back to business as usual.

But since then, a couple of times today, he'll do the same thing. We'll be playing with his numbers or reading a book when he'll stop, get a quizzical expression, and carefully examine every part of my face.
He's trying to figure it all out.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

I would like more dancing to happen.

I've been listening to some new albums and I feel like one song in particular has crawled into my bones. I wish I had more time to practice. This writing program has completely taken over my life, which I love and has been so great, but I still ache for other things.

Ah, well. Short term pain, long term gain and all that.

While we're on the subject, my instructor wrote me a couple of days ago to say that she was "so impressed" with one of my editing projects that she wanted my permission to teach with it. And she gave me 100%. Her email came after a long day of grinding away at my practicum work, so it was just what I needed. It's nice to have some validation on things you pour your heart, sweat, and tears into.

Just over two months left in this program and then I'm thrown back into the big wide world. Here's hoping the job prospects are better than when I graduated with my BA.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

I feel like, at this age, life keeps giving.

In your teens and early 20s, it's all about waiting; everyone daydreams about the things they want, who they want to be with, where they want to go. And it feels like a million years away when you're 17, under your parent's roof, and you haven't really figured out who you are.

Now I'm 27 and almost every day I hear about someone getting engaged, or having a baby, or buying a house, or starting an awesome job. I know artists and world-travelers and some really amazing people and it makes me so happy to see them receive good things. I'm a sucker for these optimistic times.

Because, I know, statically, that it can't all last. Some of it will crumble. That's life. You don't get everything, all of the time, forever. Every day I try to hang on to little bits of the good things -- I'm sure I hug and kiss wee man a hundred times a day. I tell my cats I love them. I try to memorize my husband's hugs.

The other day he (husband) came into the room and said he was a bit worried.
I asked him why.
He said that, since the seven-year anniversary of the two of us meeting is coming up, he has a superstitious paranoia that his luck is going to run out. What if he's only allowed seven good years? He's just been too lucky, he said.

I assured him that I'm not really some kind of devil-person who has been playing a ruse that will evaporate after seven years (he seemed oddly reassured -- haha). Then I said that the best thing to do is focus on being grateful instead of being worried. If we only get seven years, they've been seven lovely years.

And the things I see now are lovely.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

It's been one year now and little bits of homey feelings are starting to creep in. I still compare most everything to Newfoundland, but now I've started to wonder what I'll miss about Ottawa when we're gone. And I wonder when we'll go (we still haven't given "if we'll go" much weight).

We're making friends. Fella has some guys in his program that share his passion for comics and borderline OCD obsession with completing collections. They took an afternoon off a few weekends ago to go to some "it" comic book store out of town and they were so excited. One of these guys just got engaged and I really like his fiance. We've bounded over wryly poking at our academic partners.

Academia is a whole world onto itself. I'm sure it's irrational, but sometimes I worry that I'll completely lose my husband into it; that I'll wake up one day and the books will have eaten him. There's just, so much. He's reading his comps list now: 70 books in a few months. He reads all day, it's a full-time job. Stories and perspectives that are getting crammed into his brain that I never see. Activists and theorists and dead poets.

We went to a board game night tonight with his (our?) program-friends and one of the board games was about naming authors/titles of books: you read out the first line of a book and one team has to guess the author or title of the work. He and the other Ph.d. students hummed and hawed about whether a sentence sounded Modernist or Romantic; Keats or Crowley. Fella knew so much. I guess I just hadn't realized how smart he has gotten. Well, he's always been smart, but he's also always just my husband to me. It was just a little tweak in perspective, but when you've been with someone for seven years, even little shifts can be startling. His journey in school became a little realer to me.

 My program is going well. I've just started my last semester.  I love the work; it's creative, but structured and seems like something I could do. I've been getting all As. It just fits. I've informally promised myself that I'll stop talking about the things that I want to do and I'd just do them, so I'll spare you all of my ideas. But yeah, it's going well.

Wee man is awesome. We have "terrible twos" days, but not as many as I was worried about. I feel like we've moved beyond the bewildered "holyfucki'maparent", past the "bonding", and into the "form a relationship" stage.

He gives a lot of hugs, they're the best.

We're still trying to do it all, and it's going pretty well.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Little Dalia

A day late, but here she be. Some details have been changed to preserve anonymity.

Little Dalia

Our plane banked towards the farmland knitted below, "We'll be in our new home soon."
I was surprised at the amount of pasture so close to the city; Ottawa. A far cry from Newfoundland, the origin of our journey. The weight of our angled approach pushed me into my window while my son squirmed uncomfortably on my lap.

"Look, there it is" Alex, my husband, said. Gray blocks crawled towards us and roadways fingered through a surprising amount of greenery. It was bigger than St.John's. This was our nations captial, and I wondered if I had been expecting a swell of nationalistic pride at the sight of it. In truth, I was uninspired and distracted. I needed to call Falaise Animal Hospital, now to be my hospital. I was a Veterinary Receptionist and I had a job lined up.

As our plane took its final swaying moments in the sky, I rewinded  the moments leading to Ottawa; our goodbye parties, Alex's Ph.d acceptance letter, skype interviews. I kept going back. The day Henry was born, leaving my hospital for maternity leave, telling my boss I was pregnant. My first day there. My first day at a vet clinic seemed like a million years ago, the actual year was 2009. 

In those three years I had seen death and joy. Pets on the verge of demise who rallied. Animals who died in their sleep. Downy puppies and kittens who galloped in greeting towards me; I saw second chances for abused hunting beagles and abandoned barn cats. A lot of misery came through our doors, but we also granted a lot of peace. I had been in the gateway between our clinic and the wide "out there." This was a new "out there."

Rubber bounced on the tarmack and I shook out my day-dream. Ottawa. Here we were. This was it.

The first two weeks jarred by with the typical duties that accompany a move to a strange city. Matt and I picked up our keys, signed our lease and wrote a lot of cheques. On a bright morning, Henry flirted with his prospective babysitter at a table in Tim Hortons and we decided that we liked her. We screwed together more wooden Ikea furniture than either of us would ever care to see again. We bought groceries, unpacked our bags, and smiled at our neighbours in the elevator when saw them. We were building what we could.

But when we closed our eyes at night, a hollowness echoed through us. We sank into Newfoundland fog and smelt the sea; the sing-song of constant wind, scraping tuckamores and lumbering moose. Steamy sweet teas, crusty toast and thick jam. Dusty cabin beams through laughter that pulled our sides in hazy evenings. Shadowed hills and ice and damp with accents that pierce your ears and your hearts. It was in our souls and we were far away now. When we opened our eyes each morning, loss rolled in our stomachs. 

So I launched myself into my new job. Falaise was a small practice, only one Vet worked on any given day, and my adjustment was easier than I imagined. My first mission was claiming the front desk and organizing outdated leaflets. On my second day, Rosie, one of the three technitions, approached me:

"So. You're a Newfie?"
I straightened, "Yep."
"How do you like it here so far?"
"Ottawa is nice. It's a bit lonely, though."
"You'll make friends." she said,  "Let me know if you need help with anything." and she returned to the treatment room.

The door bell chimed. I scanned my appointment list. This must be Dalia Hall. A lady in a gray  sweater approached my counter – she had a small calico cat wrapped in a blue blanket "Oh! Hello, you must be new!" she said.

I smiled, "Yes, I am. And this must be Dalia."
"The one and only."

Dalia looked up at me from her nest with green moons. Her fur looked like an orange, black and white swirling marble cake. She was very pretty. I reached over my counter and scratched behind one of her ears, "Hello, Dalia." Her skin was thin and barely covered the bones of her face. She closed her green moon eyes and buried her cheek in my hand. A rumble erupted from her chest. "Sweet girl," I said.

I led the pair into consulting room one and  closed the door behind them. I grabbed Dalia's file and flickered over the notes. There was a diagnoses: Kidney Failure. Dalia had been in three times a week for the last week for subcutaenous fluid treatments. Poor girl.

A few minutes later I heard Dr.White open the door to the room and beckon for Rosie. They were starting Dalia's treatment. Ms.Hall drifted back towards Reception.
"Is it okay if I sit here while they do this? I'm squeamish about needles." She was still clutching the blue blanket.
"Of course."
She smiled, "So. Are you a student?"
"Oh, no. I've worked in a vet clinic before. I just moved here from Newfoundland, actually."
She brightened, "Oh, I love Newfoundland! I went there last summer. To St.John's, it was beautiful."
A bit of sweet melancholy swelled up my throat, "I'm from St.John's."
We smiled at our connection.

A few moments later Rosie brought Dalia back up front – her moon eyes were still shining, but she now had a slightly mishappen lump between her shoulders where fluid has been injected. Ms.Hall held out her blanket and cooed, "come here, girlie."

In the weeks that passed I got to know many other clients and their pets, but I always found myself with shifts that were scheduled during Dalia's treatments. Every appointment, little Dalia came to the counter for her squinty, rumbly, ear-rub and then was whisked away while Ms. Hall waited deligently. When I wasn't busy checking in other appointments or running tasks for the doctors, we talked.

I described my rugged island home and suggested all of the places she could visit the next time she was there. Ms.Hall talked most about Dalia; she shared when she had had a good day and when she had had a bad day. As the days passed, there were more bad days, her heart grew heavier and I offered what little comfort I could.

The first day it snowed, Ms.Hall told me about how Dalia had been a mother. Ms.Hall found her fifteen years ago, in the snow, with five little kittens. She adopted the whole family, but three of the kittens died. In her story, Ms.Hall kept repeating that it must have been some kind of mistake. Because, surely, no one was so cruel as to abandon a pregnant cat in the dead of winter. I didn't want to tell her how heartless some people could be. I didn't want to say how many people wouldn't care about a little cat momma and her tiny babies. So, when she'd finished, I simply replied " I bet  Dalia was a good mom. She must have chosen you."

Ms.Hall didn't say anything, but she nodded.

Dalia continued to waste away. She continued her treatments, but Dr.White looked grimmer after each visit. One evening, Ms.Hall called me "I know we're scheduled for tomorrow, but I think I have t-" Her sentence broke. She couldn't finish. Without checking our appointments, I told her we'd  see her at once.

Dr.White was running a bit behind when Ms.Hall arrived, so she stood at my counter with her girl in her arms. Little Dalia looked up at me with her moon eyes; they weren't shining as brightly as before, but, when I gave her her scratch, she still managed to lean so forcefully into my fingers that I was worried I might hurt her.
"Sweet girl," I whispered.
 "She is," Ms.Hall breathed.

We were both still looking down at her softly purring form when Dr.White rushed towards Ms.Hall and apologized for the delay. She ushered them gingerly into the room. I watched as the gentle, moon eyed, marble-cake cat turned the corner.

The phone was ringing. I shoved my palms into my eyes and tried not to think about what was unfolding as I jumped back to my duties.

The rest of the appointments passed and, once things were quiet, Ms.Hall reappeared. She held her empty blue blanket in her hands. Calico strands still clung to it. 

We stood together as orphans for a moment.

She spoke first.

"Thank you for everything"

I knew I wouldn't see her again, at least for a while. My friend who loved Newfoundland.
I filled with love and pain and yearning. The loss that had been rolling in my belly threatened to crash and pull me apart. I wanted to hug her and cry for our gentle, green-eyed girl. I couldn't.

I said.

"You're welcome."

There was a moment of silence and Ms.Hall nodded. Then she zipped up her coat. She turned. She left. 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Creative Nonfiction Longlist

the Canada Writes Creative Nonfiction longlist came out today. There were over 2100 submissions and 30 made the longlist (a small percentage, for sure.) 

My piece didn't make the cut. Statistically, it isn't all that surprising, though it's impossible not to be a little disheartened. I keep telling myself "well, this is part of it." ("it" being writing).   

I had a little chat with the Fella about it. It's hard to talk about disappointment sometimes without sounding like you're making excuses, "well, it is difficult to write something compelling in 1500 words...", "there's no account for personal preference...", but I didn't want to make excuses. Excuses don't do you many favours in the long run.  

One of the judges posted an update on her selection process. She said one of the biggest factors for a winning submission was an economy of words. It makes sense, and I knew this, but as soon as I read it coming from her I realized that there was a pretty large section of my submission that could have been revised and edited out to make way for some of the more important parts. I had never noticed it before, Mr.Fella hadn't noticed it when he read it over, but it stuck me plain as day as soon as I read her suggestion.

So I feel a little better.

I have to run to get the wee man from daycare right now, but I'll post the original submission here later tonight. It's on my external hard drive which is lurking, um, somewhere. 

Friday, June 22, 2012

I'm supposed to be writing an article - instead, I've decided to download Irish music to make myself homesick. Ya know.

The Irish, they get longing.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

No matter how tardy I am about updating, eventually there's that little pull that brings me back here. I'm just a journaly, bloggy person - sooner or later.

In all fairness, I have been writing. My program is more intense this semester than last and I'm still writing the article. I've reduced it to two-three articles a week now, so I can keep up with my school work, but it's still happening. I'm trying to crystallize the plans for my pipe-dream which is a novel. I talk to my husband about it. I try to pick his English PhD brain apart for ideas that make a good story. Even if it never happens, I like the conversations we have about it. I get enthusiastic, he smiles. It's nice.

Life after SSHRC - Fella and I spend our days together - he reads, I write, we make tea. I ask him for help with grammar structure. He reads out the interesting passages in the work he's reading. Wee man is still in daycare four days a week, though we usually pick him up early (I think he has a little girlfriend there. It's very cute). It's like another world. We don't have to worry about making payments, buying groceries, flying home. We aren't rich, but it's just - easier. We can start to save for the house we've never let ourselves think about just yet. I think we're both still holding our breaths in hope that the other shoe doesn't drop. The first few months here were so hard.

But no errand shoes yet.

Ottawa gets so much sun. Would you hate me if I complained that it was too much sun? We've gone through two canisters of sunscreen this year already and it's only halfway through June. In Newfoundland, I'd buy a can of sunscreen and it'd rust past its expiry date in my medicine cabinet. Our entire little family gets up every morning to coat ourselves in SPF 60, but we still show the evidence of  exposure. My makeup doesn't match my face anymore -- I'm going to have to buy new stuff. I put foundation on this morning (I don't wear makeup every day) and I looked like a geisha. I have more freckles on my arms than I have since I was a kid.

I complain now, but I'm sure I'll miss it. I do like the walks. I walk at least an hour every day. 20 minutes to daycare, 20 minutes home. Usually 10 minutes to the store and back. Yesterday I put wee man in his red wagon and we walked for two hours. I bought him a fruit bar and he picked a dandelion for the ride. I'm sure I could walk to China and he would sit in that wagon without a peep. He loves it.

I understand now why a lot of people have their second baby when their first child is two (no,we're still not having another). At two, they're sleeping through the night (probably), they're feeding themselves for the most part, they walk, they climb, they communicate a little and, by and large, they're really frigging adorable. Wee man is going through a "hugging" phase. He wants to hug everyone. He hugs me and his father a dozen times a day. He tries to hug the cats. He hugs his stuffed animals. It's just - love. He can really show you love in a meaningful, independent way. He climbs onto my lap, I tell him he's a good boy and the contented cuddled smile he gives me is enough to make my heart explode. I caught him singing a tender song to his stuffed animal the other night. Everyone talks about how awesome and amazing a baby's first smiles are - but I was never really convinced. How things are now, this is it for me. This is the why.  

You spend the first year of a baby's life giving so much - hoping you're doing it right, never really knowing if you are. And they start the blossum so much - it's a flash. And they love you and you love them and it's all so much easier.

I'm sure this is all coming to me now because A) it's Father's Day and B) wee man's birthday was 10 days ago. His first birthday, it was like "Yay! We survived!" but at two, he's not a baby anymore - and I'm getting some major nostalgia. Can you get nostalgia for two years ago? Well, I do.

The day before wee man's second birthday, I saw a very pregnant lady at the grocery store and I filled up with tears. At that moment, I missed being pregnant more than anything, and I SWEAR I almost ran up and hugged that woman (thank God I didn't, eh? Probably the last thing she needed). You think you'll remember what it feels like forever; the little kicks and baby stretches and hiccups. It becomes so ingrained in your body -- it literally leaves marks, but you start to forget. You lose the shape, your stomach shrinks, the marks fade and your body goes back to ignoring that part of your physiology.

The first night after he was born I found it hard to sleep without feeling him there. It might sound crazy, but after having constant contact and feedback from a wiggly little being, it's lonely without them. For about a week, I'd wake up in a panic because I couldn't feel him before I'd remember that he had been born. Now he curls up on my lap and I worry about what I'll do when he's too big for cuddles. I whisper "you know, you still have to give your mother hugs, even when you're all grown up." My husband assures me that he will, but I worry.

Anyway, this entry has gotten rather lengthy and there's no real, um, point. I guess. I just felt like writing something that wasn't an article or a technical writing proposal.

We're coming back to Newfoundland for two weeks next month. A month from today, actually. That will be nice. Very nice. We're looking forward to it.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


When I was little, my Grandmother kept hanging flowers -- 5 or 6 baskets, in a row, every summer in front of the windows of her dining room. They didn't smell like much, but the hummingbirds fought over the red ones. Tiny, squeaking, angry hummingbirds dive-bombing and racing in front of the glass. We'd watch them for hours. By the end of summer her entire yard was covered in petals. Red speckles on grass and concrete.

I've never had live flowers in or around my place. Between the basement apartments, struggling university lifestyle and general short-seasoned-ness of Newfoundland, it's just never happened.

A few months ago I noticed a hook outside our balcony door. "We're getting a basket of flowers", I said.

As soon as the closest garden center opened, the Fella, Wee man and I walked down to investigate. The store was still unloading inventory, so their hanging plants were tucked away in a corner. I saw the same familiar red petals, slightly wilted, behind a tall pylon. In an attempt to move said pylon, I looped my fingers into its top hole and immediately pierced my hand on something.
Blood ran down from left middle finger.
"Are you okay?", my husband asked.
"Yes. I'll get it, let's go." and I kicked the pylon aside.

I told the boy at the counter to "never mind the blood." He looked at me, but didn't say anything. The basket's handle was stained the same colour as the flowers it supported.

For the first few days, our little plant continued its sad appearance. I'd go out, water it with an old wine bottle and prune its dying blooms to make way for the buds. I wondered if hummingbirds would fly up to the fifth floor of an apartment building. And, little by little, our flowers recovered.

Last night, while we were watching t.v., I looked through our living room window and noticed an eruption of extra petals. The foliage must have started growing, as well, because the greenery began to really hang over the edge of the bowl.

"Hey", I said to my husband.
"Yeah?" he responded
"I'd like to have flowers for the rest of my life. Okay?"
He looked up at me and smiled "Sure. Flowers. We can do that."

Monday, May 7, 2012


Week two of writing articles every day. The words are easier coming now. I guess, like anything, it's a matter of practice and habit. Deadlines help to motivate my sorry ass, haha.

I don't know if I mentioned this before, but Mr.Fella had applied to a pretty sizeable SHRCC grant a few months back. The past several months of our lives were consistently framed with "well, IF we get a SHRCC... IF we get one..."

Well, he got it. It's $35,000 a year for three years - not including the funding he already gets for his TAship. So, given our current status, it's pretty life-changing. The letter came while he was finishing up with a meeting and he had me read it out to him on the phone. We both cried, we couldn't believe it. The little guy was confused by our hysterics.

But it takes the pressure off the both of us - we don't have to worry so much about being able to keep up with daycare costs, trips back home for Christmas, that sort of thing. I can focus on the writing projects that I really like, and that'll really help me go where I want to go. I've been thinking about a novel for some time and I might give it a go, or at least get it started. I ordered some research material for it yesterday.

It'll be about Newfoundland. And being brave (don't worry, it won't be autobiographical - a blog is where I draw the line for my ego-centrism.)  Things are happening.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

I think I've reached my first ethical dilemma as a writer.

I've been taken on to write daily(ish) articles on various industry sectors. One of the sectors is energy and it's becoming difficult to find energy companies that I feel comfortable writing about. The impression that I get from my editor is that these are supposed to be business oriented columns. As in, "what can we learn from these businesses," sort of thing.

Well, I'm not sure that I really want to present a "what can we learn" piece on BP (remember that giant oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico? Wasn't that fun?)

And as I delve into the biggest energy companies, I'm finding similarly unsavory histories. I feel like I'm supposed to ignore the social/environmental context for everything I'm talking about and focus on the rich white guy who was able to create an empire because, surprise surprise, he was a rich white guy. And I'm supposed to pretend it was due to some romanticized notion of entrepreneurial "captain of industry" type stuff. It leaves a bit of a bad taste in my mouth.

Soooooo. I'm still going to write. I have other projects. I just think I might need to change this particular arrangement.

- P.S. This is why I'm going to school to write manuals! Unless someone tries to hire me to write a guide on "how to torture puppies", I'll probably be clear of this sort of stuff!

Saturday, April 28, 2012


April, it would seem, has become the month of visits in our little apartment.
Parents, friends. My cousin, the comedian and film maker, six years younger than I am.. I hadn't spoken to him, really, in years. He's all grown up now with wild woolly red hair.
My husband's best friend - highschool friend, was here last week. We hadn't seen him in a year before that.
He spent 8 months in Ghana, but they talked about their high school calculus.  Throwing them back, back to nostalgia.

Sometimes, when you talk to someone from your past, you look across the cavern of time and experiences and strangers that make up their life and you still see them there - standing on the other side - across a great stretch of change, but still, in essence, who you remember.

And you smile at each other.
Send smoke signals.

And maybe you'll never stand on the same ground again, but it's nice to see them there and remember.

And sometimes you look across the abyss and they're gone. The horizon has taken them.
And it's sad.
They could be sitting right across from you: in a chair at a coffee shop, or at a bar.
But they're lost.
And you both wonder when the other finally slipped from view.

I think a lot about these things. I have a lot of figures lost away.
Houses in towns that neither of us live in anymore.
Basements where teenagers hang out; on couches claimed from damp sidewalks.
Shag carpet.
VHS movies.
Collectives that will always exist, but don't seem to bridge the gaps anymore. Little gaps in our brains. Our lives are filled with gaps. And some of them swallow people.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

something old, something new, something (maybe) overdue.

So I did that thing that you're not supposed to do. Whatsit? Right. Quit my day job.


Remember that lull in my work that I spoke about a few weeks ago? And that article contract? Well, apparently, when you have enough free time and energy and motivation (read: dislike for structured office work), apparently, sometimes, something can happen.

I wrote my beauty article and got really encouraging feedback. They want me to write three more articles. I also got signed on to do some course content/editing for a company that specializes in mortgage licensing prep.

Then another (trial) article for men's health blog. All paid. Not spectacular pay, but nothing criminal or slave-wage. Paid to write. And, more importantly, paid to build a portfolio.

Then, on Friday, I got a voice-mail from my old research firm. They had a new contract lined up and they wanted me to start coming in again. They were looking at starting me Tuesday (today) and they wanted to know by Monday (yesterday) if I was interested in coming back in.

Pretty short notice, but it always is; causal position.

I hummed and hawed and looked at our calendar. I asked Mr.Fella what he thought I should do. He said we could use some (somewhat) steady income, but that the decision was up to me.  Hum - haw- what to do.

And then I said "Fuck it". If I'm going to do this, I might as well do this. I'm going to school to write. I need the practice. I need to be able to manage clients and contracts and my own shit in some semblance of on-going professionalism. So many times, I have writing projects that I want to do, but I have to squeeze them in between a day job, my family and school. I only have a finite amount of energy.  

So, I called the research firm and told them that, I was sorry for the short notice, but I wasn't coming in again. Ever. And they could mail me my last cheque that I had failed to pick up last week.

They called me back and said that my cheque was in the mail.

So. Here I am. I woke up this morning and worked for two hours on mortgage law in New York. I had my lunch and I'm thinking about the research I'd like to do for the men's health article that's due tomorrow (on Botox - ha!).

It's scary, because if this doesn't turn into something, I don't know that it ever will. And it's all on me. I can't blame a shitty office, or a shitty boss or any other shitty limitations. I'm on my own now and I'm responsible for what happens. I need to find a way to harness my flighty, random, spazzy focus into something productive on an on-going basis. I've stopped talking about what I'm going to do, and I'm trying to do it.  Scary stuff.

So, in the back of my whirly brain I'm also planning on starting a professional writing blog at some point. It'll have a different tone from this one, obviously (less swearing and slandering). I'm not sure what's going to happen to ol' Ottawish. I'll keep you posted.

Well, well, here we go.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


I've secured my first freelance writing contract today! It's not much (a 400 word article), but it feels like a pretty big accomplishment to me. I've been writing and putting things "out there" for ages with little result.

I see glimmers of a future I like.

The article is on beauty/fashion and I get to write pretty much whatever I want, so that'll be fun. I'm excited. And determined. I have to keep up this persistence.


Saturday, March 31, 2012

Sooooo, there's been a lull in my casual employment situation which means I haven't been working for the last two weeks.

Which has actually been pretty good, because I've been bogged down with school work and I don't even know how it would have been possible to finish it all if I had been working. Even a little.

But now things are wrapping up school-wise, and I still haven't gotten a call about any upcoming projects. So, as much as I hate job-hunting, I started perusing the job bank boards.

Annnnndddd wouldn't you know, I just applied for another Veterinary Receptionist job. BUT in all fairness, it's only for 20 hours a week, which is perfect for my life right now. And I need something to keep me going while I finish this program. It might as well be something I like.

So there's that.

Oh little critters, how I find it hard to stay away from you!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Latte had to pee

Hey! Someone reached my blog by googling "latte had to pee".

Gentle reader, I have a lot of questions for you. Except you're probably some kind of internet bot. Maybe. I like to think of you as a kindly latte drinker who really had to pee and then panicked.
So that's what you'll be to me.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

I'm doing a couple of presentations for my program and we have to open "with an anecdote, rhetorical question, or joke."

I kind of hate it. It feels hokey and sets an eye-roll-worthy feeling for the whole thing. Considering my presentation is pretty technical, I don't even know how to go about it.

"Hey, hear that one about the endovascular abdominal aortic graft that walked into a bar? No? Yeah. Me neither. Now that I've destroyed all credibility. let's continue."

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

"I've come to believe errors, especially written errors, are often the only markers left by a solitary life: to sacrifice them is to lose the angles of personality, the riddle of a soul" - Johnny, in House of Leaves

This is kind of my personal motto now. It's my permission to error. Not that I really needed it. But it's nice.  

In other news, one really bad crunch-time week in my program can take my - otherwise very balanced and "me" eating habits and turn them into super-binge a la whole toblerone bar, entire bag of ketchup rice crisps and a poutine. I've only recently realized that I'm a bit of an emotional eater, and it's not good. Because, I don't mind eating yummy things when I'm, oh, I dunno, actually hungry, but crazy binges are actually a bit freaky because my brain takes over even though I know that I should feel satisfied, but I don't. I'm all like "I just ate 800 calories, wtf, why aren't I full yet?" and my brain's all like "BECAUSE STRESS. and I hate you." 

Off kilter. 

Don't like it. 

So you can take that little tid-bit and add it to my whole "how I relate to body-image" spiel. Thingy. If you like. Or not.

In other, other news (you'll notice I use this transition a lot. I estimate that I have typed this phrase approximately 2,000 since I started writing dumb blogs on the interwebs. Seriously. That's my actual estimate.)

Anyhoo, in other news (2,001) Husband and I are having some difficulty with our current daycare situation.I won't elaborate at present, but just let me say: if they continue to be dickheads you are going to have one deliciously ranty blog entry coming your way. 

If that's what you're into. 

Friday, March 23, 2012

I don't know if I've mentioned this before (here), but Mr.Fella and I are only planning on having one child. For a host of reasons. Very well-thought out reasons that fit our lives and our family.

We've been pretty certain about this pretty much since we brought Wee Man home. We've talked about it. We've told our family (with various levels of grumbling - and "you'll change your minds"). We haven't changed our minds, and now, almost two years later, we've only grown more sure that this is what we've decided. We are very happy with this! Wee man will be fine. Life will be good!

Another thing: I don't like hormonal birth control. I've taken it here and there, but I don't like it. Call it crazy and in-my-head, but I feel like it effects me in noticeable ways that I don't like.

So there's some back story. Here's the actual story (if you call it that).

Yesterday I had a run-of-the-mill check up with our new family doctor. In Ontario, it would seem, they like you get to a check up when you get a new doctor. We had our new doctor, so that was the obligatory check-up.

I really didn't have any concerns, so, after checking my blood pressure and other normal check-upy type stuff, she asked me about birth control. At this point I told her that Mr.Fella and I had been talking about him getting a vasectomy.

She looked at me: "How old are you?"
"How old is your husband?"
"How old is your son?"
"Almost 2"
"I really wouldn't recommend that. It's permanent. You're young. You could change your mind. I think we should talk about an IUD."

She said it in the kindest tone possible, and generally, I like our Doctor (she's from Newfoundland!), but I was pretty incensed.

Because you know what other reproductive decision is "permanent"? Oh, I dunno, having a baby, perhaps? Everyone was cool when I was 24 and knocked up - I got more questions about being married than I would have liked, but everyone seemed to respect "Hey. This is their life. They want a kid. They don't seem crack-addicted. Yay for them!" But now that we actually have experience as parents and some hind-sight - woah, woah, let's not do anything permanent here?

Is there some kind of baby shortage I'm unaware of? Who, exactly, keeps a vested interest in making sure my husband and I can or cannot reproduce? If we had 8 kids would we have gotten the same reaction? Or is it just because we don't have the "right" number of kids yet?

Isn't it my job, as an adult, to decide what permanent decisions I want in my life and which ones I don't? I mean, I got a tattoo when I was 18! When I asked for it in the shop, I knew what I was asking for, no-one gave me "hey did you know tattoos are permanent?" disclaimer. If a couple asks about information regarding a vasectomy, they probably know what they're asking for. 

It is simply not anyone else's job to worry about what I might change my mind about besides me.  And, in this case, my husband. Period. And, honestly, I've been pretty happy with all of our life-decisions up to date.

It probably didn't help that she went on to ask me "what I was doing for the acne on my face". My response was "I've had acne since I've been 12 years old and honestly, I don't really care anymore. I'm okay with it. I can put on make-up if I feel the need."

Again, if I don't tell you that I'm concerned about something, I probably don't care all that much. Is it really medically imperative that we have doctors pointing out fairly minor flaws in women's faces and asking "hey, are you okay with that?"

"Well, I was until you just pointed at it and asked about it, thanks!"

My little rant of the day.
I really do appreciate the medical community and I know they have a very hard job, but, jeez, help a sister out here.

Monday, March 19, 2012

So much sun reminds me of before Newfoundland.
Laying in a bed by a breeze that smells like grass, sun, dusty skin. Nestled far from the ocean, between apple trees and hills covered in manure.

After migrating so much, I'm convinced that every place has its own ethos. I don't know why. Whatever makes up the blocks of land and houses and weather and genetic history of the people creates a spirit in a place. It's one of those things that's hard to see if you've lived somewhere your whole life, but, if you've been an outsider enough, you get a sense for it. Little tics that remind you you're somewhere else - pinpoints in your heart that point in one direction or another.

The sun in Ottawa isn't like the sun in Newfoundland. It's like Nova Scotian sun. Valley sun, specifically.

I laid in bed this morning, awake, while my son was napping and thought about our home in Bridgetown ("our" being my parents and sisters when I was a child - not "our" my husband and son's). I thought about my room, on the second floor, and how it was perfectly positioned to take in the afternoon sun. So much sun. I can't remember what colour our walls actually were, but everything in that house feels white to me now; bleached by sun. Happy cracked windowpanes. White curtains, white bed, white floor, walls, clothes in omnipresent sun beams. Even at night, every night with the windows open, I could still smell the light on my skin.

And grass.

Not the rough, mossy grass that I found in most of Newfoundland (that I would also come to love in its own way). The grass of Acadians. Green, gentle; you could roll in it without getting wet or a stain. I don't think I ever wore shoes outside our Bridgetown house; feet in grass until something would upset me and I'd climb one of the tall slender trees in our backyard. I can't remember now what kind they were; elm or maple, maybe? I marvel now at how fearless I was, an 80 pound monkey, sitting in the tops of bending tree arms (Yes they were maple, I remember the leaves now: purples, reds, mosaic edges).

And I'd think.

Never about the future, the way that children never do, but about the world and how to touch it and share it in my limited capacity. How to reach into the whistling around me, wondering, but never quite figuring out how.

When I found out we were moving (again), I wrote on a piece of paper and slipped it into one of the cracks in the wall of my bedroom. I was desperate for someone, anyone, to know that I had been there and I had loved my bare-foot tree house. I had intended to write: "I'm a girl, I was here", but, being a poor speller I actually wrote "I'm a gril, I was here". Which is pretty funny.

I've done this in a couple of our houses, when we've had renovations, or I've found a hidden crook. Memos and notes to someone else about nothing. Just that I was there and I wanted them to know (I guess I'm still doing that. Hello, blog).

Another funny thing is that this particular bought of nostalgia compelled me to Google my old house and, sure enough, it still exists in the same place. And it is for sale. This is it.

True to form, it's sunny in the picture, but that's about it. It's just a house now and when I first looked at the picture I felt a little embarrassed at how I had blown it up in my mind. Not magic. Just a house.

I looked through the listing ; they had torn apart the bedrooms, resurfaced everything, painted the walls, covered any evidence of the previous owners - who knows how many. Like they would, I guess. The white, cracked, daylight breezes are gone and there are just pictures of rooms. Could be anyone's rooms. With small beds, small furniture, small dimensions. Dim features, not the endless hallways I remember. An old house, in a small town, somewhere far away.

Which would serve me right, I guess, for trying to resurrect a romantic child's-view from 20 years ago. Memories never seem to stay in the places you hope to find them.

Monday, March 12, 2012

I flew through our front door as Mr.Fella was feeding Wee man.

"Hey sweetie, I hate to come in and run, but I have a million things to do. I'm going to head into our room and try to get some work done. I have, like, 3 big assignments due next week. I have to write a proposal, and create a presentation and yeah - sorry - you won't be seeing much of me the rest of March."

Mr.Fella: "Yeah, uh, actually, I have a thing I have to go to tonight."

Me, momentarily pausing in my flurry: "Oh? Cool. What kind of thing"

Mr.Fella: "I don't know. Some thing. It's a lecture, I think. The University puts it off every year and they always expect the Ph.d students to go. Apparently it's a big deal, and they keep track of who goes and who doesn't and it looks bad if we don't show up. They spend a lot on it, I guess. I pretty much have to go."

Me: "That's okay, that sounds neat. What's it about?"

Mr.Fella, shaking his head: "I honestly don't even know."

Me: "Is there a dress code? Are you, um, going to wear that?"

Mr.Fella looked down at his faded blue jersey shirt. "Um. no, I guess not."

Me: "You have to play the game a little, you know. When you're a big fancy professor, you'll have to schmooze at least some of the time."

He made a face "I don't have to like it."

Humble to the end, that one.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Mr.Fella and I are watching "Across the Universe"

Jude: "Hey, want to go outside and get some fresh air?"
Mr.Fella: "It'd be great if he named his penis 'fresh air'"
Me: " haha, yeah, 'fresh air? Anyone? Who wants some fresh air in this bar?'"

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

tingly fresh genocide

Tonight, side-by-side
Mr.Fella and I flossed
We brushed our teeth
We gargled
I said, "It is weird that whenever I use mouth wash, I envision a million tiny germs screaming as they die a million, tiny, painful, deaths?"
He jumped, "I do too! It gives me a grim sense of satisfaction."
In unison, we nodded.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Chubby cheeks and arms,
and a weight on my chest.
When you were very small, you used to whimper and frown in your sleep and you reminded me of a lost little alien.
I used to feel badly for you - missing a perfect, warm, complete home.
You didn't know you couldn't go back, and you'd cry for it.
All hours,
Till we stumbled round and stop-gaped the problem.
Appeasing our lost little alien.
It's been painful every way,
nothing is given.
Sometimes I still choke when I think about the things you will have to face.
Our Boy
I wish I could promise it will always get better and all you'll ever need is your little fuzzy duck and your pile of puppy games.
I wish dancing around corners would always make you forget every hurt, forever.
We're all little aliens, and sometimes we feel it and sometimes we don't.
But you'll always be the weight on my chest,
One way or another.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Fella: I have to go to the washroom, BRB
Me: Cool, once you're done, I really have to go.
Fella: Goes to washroom. Pees. Proceeds to take shower.

Monday, February 27, 2012

6 months. And aging (unrelated)

As of March first, we'll have been here 6 months.
We still miss our Jellybean city very much.
The dirty hills, cracked roads and salt-caked everything. I even miss the wet, lack of sunshine. Yes, I'm nostalgic for two-weeks of an over-cast sky.

For the first time, in my entire life, I have dry skin. Bumpy, itchy. I didn't even know what to do about it, Mr.Fella had to show me the best moisturizers for arms and hands.

I'm convinced it's because this is the furthest I've ever lived from the ocean in my life. My body is rejecting it.

Mr.Fella had some relatives who were visiting and they kept asking us for directions to different parts of the city, but we couldn't tell them much. They thought it was weird that we didn't know more. Our scope here is still so limited. Ottawa is almost ten times as big as St.John's, but it feels smaller.

I'm going gray.
No, really, like, pretty gray.

I've always said that I'll let my hair go gray; I've always subscribed to aging gracefully. But, now, at 26, facing streaky silver intruders along my temples every morning, it's the first time I've ever really had to think about it.
I think I'm still going to let myself go gray.

I like the idea that my body is a historical record of my life. It's not supposed to look like it's 18 forever, or that it's never done anything. It's not a project, or a shame, or a show-piece. It's where I live. It's me. It's my life.

I like my crooked thumb (I crushed it when I was 10)
I like the scars on my palms (I tried to rescue a cat from a dog when I was 7 and it freaked)
The cigarette burn on my arm (self-inflicted from a stupid, drunk, teen-aged adventure)

Maybe that's why I like tattoos, so much. They are permanent little windows of time. When I look at the one on my back, I always see myself, at 18 years old, skipping class to get it.
The one on my foot reminds me of the overwhelming haze of new motherhood.
They're so different, but they're so me.

The rest of me tells a story of a lady who's had a baby, is a little active, but likes to eat too. Comfortable, I think. Gray says I've seen some things. I think I'll come to like it, too.

On a somewhat related note, I posted this link to my husband's facebook wall today (yeah, facebook, how romantic). It's a photo project by a photographer named Lauren Fleishman. Each of these couples have been married at least 50 years. I think they're all beautiful.

Friday, February 17, 2012


- I did submit my Creative Non-fiction piece for the "Canada Writes" competition, but the short list doesn't come out until June. That means that I'll be able to post it here June at the earliest, July at the latest.
- That little kitty I talked about a few weeks ago passed away. It was very sad. But she made it through Christmas which was lovely
- Still haven't heard back about the Research Assistant job. Hopes fading.
- Yesterday I worked my first shift since I gave my notice to the vet clinic. I was greeting with a "hey, Traitor" by the first co-worker who saw me. Yeah. My last shift is tonight, but it's only two hours.

I can tough out pretty much anything for two hours.
Then, I'm going to leave.

I've worked at a Vet clinic since June 2009. This will be a big change. I'm going to miss seeing the little critters.

But I think it's for the best.

Monday, February 13, 2012

One o' dem days.

I did some testing for a job last week and I'm really not sure how I did; it was for a Research Assistant position, which required me to use SPSS software for the first time since I used it in my sociology methodologies class. I was thrown into a room with a data sheet and told to create a graph, a table and a meaningful written analysis.

On, yeah, and to do it in less than 45 minutes.

I cranked something out, but I have no idea what kind of standards they were looking for. This testing was at one of my current jobs, so, since then, I've been forced to walk into work, past the mysterious section of our office where all of the cool stuff actually gets done, and wonder if the position I've tested for has been filled.

I saw the guy who interviewed me today. He sort of glanced at me.
I don't even know if he recognized me.
It's the weirdest thing.

Today I also, finally, gave my notice for my vet clinic job. This leaves me feeling conflicted, but largely relieved. I don't want to do too much mud-slinging, but I wasn't happy there. I wrote the partners and the response I got was pretty "oh well". The one who wrote back actually said "no worries, we'll be fine."

Which, I guess, is a good thing, it re-affirms my feelings that my presence there didn't really matter. Just a Newfie ghost, passing on by.

Then I wrote something kind of stupid on Twitter. And someone called me out on it. And I felt stupid. Even though it's stupid that I feel stupid.

And I haven't done any of my chores today.

And I have an assignment that's due on Wednesday which I haven't started because I worked 9 hours today and was pre-occupied with trying to upgrade one of my jobs and quitting the other.

Wasting time on the internet has become a bit of a cure-all for my self-pitying ways, so I'll just write. A bit. Here.

In technical writing, they say, if you want your reader to read what you're writing, you should create sub-headings that draw the eye and alert them as to what's coming their way. People rarely read whole documents, so you need to allow them to find the information that interests them quickly and easily. You should also use "chunking" paragraphs. Pretty common sense stuff, really, but here you go.

Class Structure in Ottawa 

Since we moved to this city, I can't help but feel that there's a pervasive difference in how people behave here than in Newfoundland. This might seem obvious, because, well, it isn't Newfoundland, but it's been hard to put my finger on what exactly's going on.

I keep coming back to the idea that it's a class thing. Or a bureaucratic thing. Or a conservative thing. Or "nation's capital" thing. Or something. I don't know. 

Or maybe it's because this is the first time I've really had any contact with what could be considered the "corporate world". I mean, yeah, sure, I've had interactions with businesses and institutions and professionals. But giant, sky-scraper, suit-every-day, department-hierarchical corporate-land? Not so much.

So I don't know if this is unique to Ottawa, or if I'm just seeing a new part of the world, or if I'm just feeling sensitive because I'm away from home. Like I said, I can't quite put my finger on it. So let me tell you some impressions and I'll let you decide. 

Constitution Square 

One of my jobs is downtown. It is not in this building (or, rather, cluster of buildings), but it is very close and, when I'm heading home, I wait for my bus directly across from this building. It has usual officey-building businesses in the bottom level; a Starbucks, a sushi-place, a male dress-shirt store. People come and go and look oh, so officey. Fine, cool, whatever. 

There's a temp-agency that operates in one of these buildings. One day, I dressed up, ever so nicely, and went in for an interview. Up I went for an interview and, when I was done, onward I journeyed towards the elevator to come back down. 

It was lunch time, so I was joined at the elevator by a businessy man and a businessy woman. We all paused as the doors opened and the man, in what can only be described as total smarm, turned to me and the woman and flourished a "after you" to us both with a grin. 

Yeah, okay. 

We walked into the elevator and I noticed that the man "guided" his colleague by putting his hand in the small of her back. 

I spent the next few seconds hyper-processing every element of their body language to try and interpret whether this guy was a raging douchebag or whether there was some kind of legitimate office-chemistry going on between them. I wasn't getting "office-chemistry" vibes. 

In my, admittedly, quick-to-judge manner, I deemed him a Douchebag. 

"So where is everyone going for lunch?" Douchebag asked. 
"Oh, I think they're going to blah-blah-blah" (I admit, I can't remember where they said they were going. I was too busy singing the "you're a douchebag" song in my head)
"Oh, nice" Douchebag, replied
"Yeah, how do you want to walk there?"
This piqued my interest.
"I don't know", Douchebag said, "why?" 
"Oh, because, when we go with Dan, he doesn't like to have to walk in front of where the bus lets all of the people off. You know"
And then she made a face as though someone suggested they make-out with a Calcutta sidewalk.

Congrats, lady, you're Douchebag V.2.0.

And, may I just interject here, do you know what kind of people ride the bus in Ottawa? Fucking, normal as shit people. The people who ride the bus in Ottawa are about one million times more boring and less smelly than 99% of the people who ride the metrobus in St.John's. I don't know why. It's just true. 

And at that moment I missed my smelly-metrobus friends and wanted to show some BUS PEOPLE solidarity by saying "Hey! Assholes! I rode the bus here!" But I didn't. I just silently screamed on the inside until the doors opened and Male-Douchebag smarmed a triumphant "ladies first". 


I had a comparable experience in the same building a few weeks later. This time, in the Sushi restaurant, "Sushi Go". I was grabbing a quick bite to eat at one of their crammed tables when two lawyers sat next to me.

There was, what I'll call, "Sage lawyer" and "Noob lawyer." Sage lawyer was showing Noob lawyer "the ropes".

"Oh well, when you (blah-blah-blah lawyer document talk) you don't have to worry about (blah-blah) when you're dealing with foreigners. Because, you know, foreigners come in with documents, but they really don't understand how they work properly. And foreigners usually don't have the money to back up their claims in court anyway. Foreigners (insensitive bullshit) foreigners (haha, they're foreign and poorz) foreigners." 

I may be paraphrasing a little. But she seriously used the word "foreigners" about ten times in a 15 minute conversation.

Is that how people talk? Is that an okay thing? Is "foreigners" an acceptable colloquialism?
I don't even know, but, after my liberal arts background, it made me feel like I was on the surface of Mars.

And I swear Noob lawyer was eating that shit up. She didn't bat an eye. Just like Mr.and Mrs. Douchebag thought it was the most normal thing in the world to poo-poo the poor bus people in front of a complete stranger. 

Like, just, what the fuck?

Lebanese Treats 

I mentioned earlier that there's a Starbucks in the Constitution Square. I used to go there and, every morning, there's a hoard of bussinessy folk lined up out the door for their morning fix. Plenty of them are polite and orderly, but it gets busy and I've seen more than one entitled asshole flip out because his Cafe Americano only had one shot of espresso in it when he explicitly ordered TWO shots. (note: I really saw this happen). It's kind of intense. 

Across the street is a Treats. It's owned by a Lebanese family and I have no idea why everyone in the city doesn't go there. 

You can get an extra large coffee for two dollars. They have delicious apple-spiced muffins the size of your face. They have ample, spacious, comfy chairs, which you never have to fight for. The tone is just, leisurely. Even when it's 8:45am and there are people literally running all over the place just outside the door. I love it. 

It's owned by a dad and his three grown sons. They're there every morning, manning their stations. They don't offer espresso or steeped teas or a "blonde roast", but they know the acidity and caffeine content of every coffee they carry. They crack jokes with the regulars, they teach customers how to swear in Lebanese. They tell everyone to bring their lunches to share at their tables, "they don't mind". 

They've given me free muffins, they've given me two "loyalty cards" without prompting and, when I've lost those, they've said  "that's okay! We'll just remember, we'll give you a free coffee after you buy 7. You'll see." 

Starbucks is literally jam-packed and this place has, maybe, a dozen customers in it at any given time. Max. And they're literally 30 feet away from each other. I couldn't figure it out. 

Until I realized that the people who work in the building across the street might not even realize that there's a coffee place next door. The Starbucks has an entrance directly into their office. They probably get to their office, head to Starbucks and forget there's anything at all that exists outside. 

Or maybe they know about the Treats, but they're embarrassed to be seen heading over there. Maybe some of them make jokes about those Treats people. 

They're foreigners in every sense of the word. 
And it feels like a different world to me, as I sit in my comfy chair, stretch my legs and enjoy my 1/2 the cost-of-a-starbucks-latte coffee.
And I wonder if this happened in Newfoundland, but I just never saw it. I wonder if it happens everywhere, and if I've ever been one of those "Douchebags". 
I' m a middle-class, western, white-girl. I probably have been.
I'm overwhelmed by the urge to apologise to anyone who's been a victim of my past douchebaggery. But I can't. 

But, at least.
I can learn to swear in Lebanese. 


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

I know I keep changing the blog's look/layout. I'm a fiddly-fiddlier.

So, today's entry is brought to you by: Alogonquin College. Where all of your dreams come true!
Brought to you because: I got up at 6:30 am to come to school to finish my coursework for the week before working an 8 hour shift this evening and I finished everything a bit early so I have an hour to kill before I catch the bus downtown.

Run-on sentence. Can you tell I'm caffienated?

Well, I had an hour, but then I spent 40 minutes fiddlying around with the blog's layouts and whatnot, so now I have 20 minutes.

I was going to write a very grand entry about classism in Ottawa. It was going to beautiful, and thoughtful and critical. You should have seen it. Marx V.2.0, I was going to be.

But now I've run out of time.

Well, I might have time for a muffin.

Are you enjoying my pointless posts about pointless things that I'm going to do? No? Probably not.

I also started a thought-provoking entry about body image. Which is something I planned to do when I had my other (Mommy) blog, but I'm not sure if I ever got around to it. Maybe I'll work on that one for a bit.

And have a muffin.

I promise the next thing I write here will actually be worth reading.

My apologies.  

Monday, January 30, 2012

I am in a grumpy mood.

Just let me say this, I have been working at my new hospital since September and I still feel like I don't belong.
I miss the girls who used to laugh and draw silly pictures and call each other "Peach."

There are no "Peaches" or "Loves" or "Duckies" here.
No one sings. There are whispers and I'm told about my mistakes, indirectly, down-the-line, through post-its and lists left for me and that's about it.

I used to work 50 hours a week and didn't mind it all that much. Now I'm working 10 hours a week and it's lonely.

One of those days.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

I finished my submission. 1500 words is practically nothing to tell a worthwhile story, but we'll see how it goes. I'll post it here once everything's settled.
Mr.Fella hasn't read it yet, so he's going to put on his editor/English Ph.d student hat and let me know what he thinks.

I am very sleepy.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A couple images of plus-sized model "Katya Zharkova" have been floating around Facebook for the last day or so. If you haven't seen them, you can find an article about them here.

For whatever reason, this one seemed to strike me the most.

Maybe it's because, at various times in my life, I've been the size of both of these women. Maybe it's the intimate expression on Katya's face, or the somewhat incising caption on the bottom. Maybe it's because right now, I'm somewhere in between the weights of these two women and my brain shouted out in recognition at the pull between two "forces". I dunno.

So, it being the internet and all, people who had plenty to say about these images.

You had your "We shouldn't be encouraging obesity" side and your "Yay! Love yourself no matter what" side.

I lie somewhere - well, I don't know.

I'll tell you why I don't know.

I think there's something dishonest about telling people - women, men, whomever - that they should always "love themselves". It's a nice sentiment and I get the motivation behind it; we need enough self-confidence and love to function in this world and far too often we're measured by qualities that really have nothing to do with the kind of person we are on the inside.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


A couple of months after Wee man was born, I joined a belly dance class in St.John's. I didn't really know what I was getting into, but I fell in love. I took classes for a year, took some workshops with some really great instructors (shout-outs to Vanessa PaddockHeather Labonte and Audra Simmons), I started a pretty heavy yoga routine.

Then we moved, I had to find a job(s) and I needed to reorient. I didn't get a chance to pursue much through the summer and this fall. I was distracted, but I think I felt the persistent loss of something I couldn't quite put my finger on.

Tonight I started classes again with Leslie. I thought I'd have to start my practice from scratch, but it was pleasantly surprising to see how persistent muscle memory is. She seems like a wonderful instructor, and the women I'm taking the class with all seem to be at very comparable levels to my own. It was exciting to be back at it, with people who love this as much as I do. All studios seem to have that same faint dusty/sweaty smell and walking back into one was a bit like walking into an old home. "Hey, I used to live here!"

It was good for my soul.

Friday, January 6, 2012

A brief outline of my "Canada writes" creative nonfiction piece has been sitting on my desktop for about a month.

Talked to Mr.Fella about a few ideas.

It's less than a month to the deadline.

Time to get working.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

I found this in a drawer the other day:

I consider myself a fountain of things that I do not understand.
And every word strives to reach you, past and through. Of your own.
        And I don't know what to feel to make it ours and not just mine, what to say.

So I think perhaps it would be better left unsaid.
       That is the least of it and I am spent with the feeblest of motions, breezes,
towards sun and thought and day and all. 
        And with these delicate wispy moments, clearly clear as air everything
 I see stills, frames, captured and darkened, exposed and spent, and left again. 
I know nothing. 

I tend to do this a lot; I write random little things on bits of paper and then hide them away, only to find them years later. Like little, forgotten time capsules to myself.

Hey, have I ever told you that when I was in Junior high, my (then) best friend used to say I sounded like an afterschool special? I tended to use a lot of grandiose, quasi-melodramatic language and he thought it sounded silly. It probably did.

That friend is an artist now, and he creates some really stunning work. I'm not just saying that because he used to be my good friend.

This one is my favourite.

Mike Gough is his name, by the way. He is a Newfoundland artist. Well, an artist from Newfoundland.

Sunday, January 1, 2012


Mr.Fella and I watched Rent tonight.
One of the lines from the musical is "the opposite of war isn't peace, it's creation." Mr.Fella turned to me and said "huh. That's right, you know."
"It is" I replied.

Before we moved to Ottawa, I took a year of belly dancing lessons. I needed something to get me out of the house while I was on maternity leave and it was a wonderful, growing, experience. There were many times when I thought "I need to keep doing this. I need to."

I hadn't been able to pursue it this fall, and it made me sad in a deep sense.

Sometimes I worry that I'm some kind of narcissist because I always seem to need to create something. I always need to write something. To paint something. To dance something. To say something (I talk so much sometimes).

Which is fine until I look back and think that my writing is pointless, my paintings are clumsy, my dancing is amateur and I need to learn when to keep my mouth shut. I've had my fair share of those experiences - I offended one of Mr.Fella's family members with my old blog, I've never been able to keep a single one of my paintings because they always make me cringe. Even right now I'm thinking about the fact that most of my entries seem formulaic. Maybe they are, a bit, but you know what? Life's formulaic.

And you're never going to do something that someone hasn't already done.

The vast, vast majority of us are not going to do anything that is even remotely close to ground-breaking. And if you care at all about being able to continue doing what you want to do, what makes you a better person to do, you'd better find a way to be okay with that.

Mr.Fella and I went to a Christmas party a few weeks ago. It was hosted by one of the grad students that Mr.Fella works with. He was from Newfoundland too, actually, but had been off the island for many years.

My husband and I arrove early. When we got in the door, we asked, "how are you doing?" and my fella's friend gritted his teeth and gave us an unconvincing "Oh, you know. Okay". My husband, always the listener, asked what was wrong and we poured a couple of glasses of wine.

"I'm dropping out of the program", his friend responded.

"Holy shit" Mr.Fella said. "Why?"

His friend then went on to explain that the program hadn't been quite what he expected. He had writer's block and he was a perfectionist about everything that he wrote. When he was accepted to grad school, he envisioned a lot of like-minded individuals debating the nature of literature and truth - the reality was that there was a lot more bullshit involved. The bullshit of deadlines, colleague politics, grading, dry seemingly irrelevant works.

He was dropping out and had a job lined up in construction.

Now, I didn't know anything about this guy's life - I didn't know what would make him happy. After the party, at the bus stop, I asked Mr.Fella if he thought his friend would be happy doing construction. "No, absolutely not." he responded.

And I could sympathize to the trouble of creating something you're happy with. And I could understand the troubles that arise when expectations meet reality. I certainly didn't expect to be a receptionist for four years after finishing university.

But that's life, I think. And that's the perils of the creative process - it's so easy to get in your own way.

And some days you just have to create shit, shit, shit until you start feeling better about it.