Saturday, October 31, 2009

Coffee with the ex

I'm getting together with the ex for coffee this morning.

As you know from a previous post, I'm trying to be friends with him. It's a bit of a challenge.

I make a point of calling him once a week to do something with him so that he has some social interaction with someone. Suffering from a lifetime of depression and having no friends is a bad combination and I don't want him to spiral into a worse place than he's already in.

The thing that makes this challenging is that he never calls me so I don't actually know if he wants me to call him, if he wants to get together with me. I've asked and he is noncommittal. So I'm not sure. Our conversations go something like this.

Me: How are you?

Him: Some days are worse than others. I try to get out on my own.

Me: If you want to do something, give me a call.

Him: I keep thinking that I want to go to Bearlys**. It's supposed to be friendly and the music's good.
**Bearlys is a blues bar one block away from my apartment.

Me: If you want, I'll go too. I can meet you there.

Him: Yeah, I try to get out of the house a few times a week.


Living with him was a lot like living with my mother, the woman I raised as best I was able. My mom says things to me like: "Oh, is that new eye shadow? Makes you look tired." Or this week's comment about my weight loss: "I've heard the first twenty comes off really easy and then you plateau." Like 1) I didn't work at it and 2) that's as far as it's going. Thank you, Mom.

The ex was the same. About my first stab at a manuscript that I'd handed to him in terror that he'd hate it, he'd gotten through half of it before I was in complete neurotic meltdown. "What do you think of it?" He'd blink at me owl-like: "I'm not finished." "Yes, but it's been a whole day and this is the first time anyone's read my stuff and I'm dying to hear something from you." And he said: "It's short." When my mouth would drop open, he'd say nice things. His comment on it being short would have referred to a passage that needed more detail or a slower pace. It didn't matter how often I'd ask him to read something, he'd keep me waiting for hours or days and then the first thing out of his mouth would always be negative. Every single time. Yet, we'd go out with friends and he'd brag about how great my writing was -- despite me asking him not to discuss my writing with others. ARGH!

Or he'd go along with me on some outing and I'd find out months later that he didn't want to go. Or I'd cook a new dish and ask him if he liked it and he'd say: "I never would have thought of making it this way." "But do you LIKE it?" "It's fine." I'd get dressed up for a swanky evening out and he'd tell me I looked "comfortable." That was his highest praise and exactly the look I was going for: comfortable.

So, we're heading out today for a coffee and I have no idea if he wants to spend time with me or not. I do it for his mental health yet have no idea if he's hating my calls. I guess all I can do is keep reaching out.

As long as he continues to accept my invitations I'll keep making them.


Friday, October 30, 2009

The 30-year struggle of the Lubicon Cree

WERE IN THE WAY"  Lubicon Chief Bernard Ominayak, quoted
in Last Stand of the Lubicon Cree, John Goddard, Douglas & McInttyre, 1991 

This blog wasn't supposed to be political. I had another blog for that. One I gave up because it took too much time to research and write. But there are some things that piss me off so much that I have to give voice to them. This is one of them and it's so important though largely ignored by most Canadians. I hope you'll take a second to read, to visit the Amnesty website and respond.

If you'd rather watch a video, here's a link. There are four- and 20-minute versions. Take your pick.

Here's an FAQ about the struggle of the Lubicon Cree written by Amnesty International.

The 30-year struggle of the Lubicon Cree

Unrestrained oil and gas development has all but destroyed the traditional economy and way of life of the Lubicon Cree, plunging their northern Alberta community into extreme poverty. The federal and provincial governments have done little to help the Lubicon cope with the harm that has been done. The Lubicon don’t even receive the basic services that other people in Canada take for granted such sanitation and safe drinking water. The Lubicon have plans for rebuilding their community and economy, but so far have not been unable to negotiate the needed compensation and legal protection for their land rights.

Why is the Lubicon situation a human rights issue?
The right to culture, the right to health, the right to an adequate standard of living and Indigenous
peoples’ rights to land are all human rights recognized and protected in international human
rights standards. All of these rights have been compromised and violated by the massive scale of
oil and gas development taking place on Lubicon lands without the consent of the Lubicon people.

Don’t the Lubicon have a treaty?
No. In 1899, the Lubicon were overlooked when the Government of Canada negotiated a treaty
with other First Nations in the region. The Lubicon have never given up their rights to their lands and
resources. At the same time, their legal rights have never been formally recognized. This is what they
tried to negotiate with the federal government. The Lubicon have no reserve and have been denied
any say in the management of their territory.

In a recent statement to the United Nations, the federal government claimed that Lubicon land and
resource rights were all surrendered in the negotiation of the 1899 treaty – even though the
Lubicon were never part of those negotiations and have not received the benefits of that treaty.
Claims that Lubicon rights could have been "extinguished" in this way are contrary to
fundamental principles of law and justice. The fact that the government would make such claims
before an international human rights body is further indication of the need for public outcry.

What is the province of Alberta doing to protect the rights of the Lubicon?

In 1988, the Lubicon and the Government of Alberta reached an agreement known as the
Grimshaw Accord. The province has honoured the agreement by not allowing any new development
on the portion of the traditional lands that the Lubicon have designated for a future reserve.

However, the provincial government continues to license oil and gas development throughout the
larger traditional territory of the Lubicon Cree with little consideration for the impact on Lubicon
rights. United Nations human rights bodies have repeatedly stated that until the underlying land
rights dispute has been resolved there should be no new development anywhere on Lubicon lands
except with the consent of the Lubicon Cree.

Why have negotiations between the Lubicon and the federal government not led to a settlement?
The last round of negotiations broke down in 2003. There were two main issues that the Lubicon and
the federal government couldn’t agree on: the powers that the Lubicon will exercise to govern
their own community and the amount of compensation needed to overcome the harm caused by decades of human rights abuse. On both issues, the government of Canada should be working cooperatively with the Lubicon to ensure that any settlement is consistent with the highest standardsof human rights protection. Instead, the Government has taken an aggressively adversarial approach that has little do with rights, or justice or fairness.

It’s worth noting that the federal government has repeatedly been criticized for the way it handles
the resolution of such disputes. Instead of working collaboratively to improve the living conditions of
Indigenous peoples and address the injustices of the past, the government typically to deny the
existence of Aboriginal rights and to make as few concessions as possible in order to minimize
federal obligations.

What are the responsibilities of governments compared to those of the oil companies?
The federal and provincial governments are responsible for the failure to provide legal protection for Lubicon land rights and for allowing oil and gas development to go ahead without such protection. But corporations also have responsibilities. Corporations have a responsibility to uphold human rights, even when working in
jurisdictions where local laws and policies violate these standards. In other words, just because the
federal and provincial governments are ignoring Lubicon rights, doesn’t mean that corporations
should also ignore these rights. Until the land dispute is resolved and Lubicon rights are protected in law, Amnesty International is calling on all corporations working in Lubicon territory to maintain an open dialogue with the community and not to proceed with any new development opposed by the Lubicon.

In what ways is the Lubicon experience similar to the situation of communities facing poverty and human rights violations in other countries?
While every situation is unique, the situation of the Lubicon Cree illustrates some of the common dimensions of the human rights abuses that drive and deepen poverty around the world. For many communities, and especially for Indigenous peoples, secure access to the land is essential to meeting the basic needs of daily life. However, communities are often left without adequate legal protection for their lands. And existing legal rights
may be ignored or treated in a discriminatory way in order to benefit corporations and other private interests.

For more information on Amnesty International’s work in collaboration with the Lubicon Cree, please
see: “Land and life under threat,” Amnesty International 2008 campaign digest on the Lubicon Cree.

Lubicon Cree member Cynthia Tomlinson, April 2008


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Canada and Green House Gas

The Syncrude oil sands extraction facility is reflected in a lake reclaimed from an old mine near the town of Fort McMurray in Alberta. AFP/Getty Images
***From a news report in the Globe and Mail.

The Final Report on Economic Study on Greenhouse Gas Targets and Policies for Canada has just been released and the heading on today's Globe and Mail article suggests that Canada can meet its emissions targets if western Canada foots the bill.

I don't think anyone is surprised that the Tar Sands project would have to pay big for its emissions. Nor should it surprise anyone that western Canada would be helping out the recession-hit central provinces. Since the dawn of equalization payments -- where rich provinces provid money to poorer provinces -- and prior to the recession, Ontario and Quebec paid the bills. Now it will be the West's turn. Why is this a problem?
Isn't that the way our country is supposed to work?

In terms of gas emissions, however, Canada has missed the leadership boat. According to the Globe article, the government's targets of 20 per cent reductions by 2020 are considered less-than-adequate by environmental groups  yet even these won't be reached unless Prime Minister Harper undertakes substantial interventionist polices NOW. Policies that aren't planned for. Like reaching emissions targets is something new that our government stumbled -- rather than stomping -- upon last week.

"Meeting the more stringent standards recommended by environmentalists and many scientists would impose even more onerous burdens. Nonetheless, the report stresses, both sets of goals could be met while still preserving economic growth throughout the decade.

“'While addressing climate change in Canada is certainly not going to be as easy as changing our light bulbs, it won't be as bad or economically difficult as some fear-mongers have been saying,” said Pierre Sadik, director of government relations for the David Suzuki Foundation. And it pales, he said, in comparison to the environmental and economic impact of unchecked emissions growth'"
 So, we can do it. But we have to get started now. Canadians are used to the idea of a little pain now to stave off a lot of pain later. Remember how we got behind deficit reduction -- that terrible time that put us in good stead for today's recession?

Maybe before the stimulus money is all gone we could spend a little more (read: divert huge amounts) green development and R&D. What do you say, Stephen? Please. Pretty please. You can do it. The left is so splintered that even if 65 per cent of us don't vote for you and you loose some of your base, you'll still win the next election. And just imagine, if you do well enough with the environment, you might even win a few of us over.


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The War on Terror

I am officially the most naive person on the planet.

I walked over to the school where I teach to pick up my backlog of mail and with it a few back issues of Maclean's magazine. The Sept. 7th issue has an article about Pakistan and its relationship with al-Qaeda et al. (Is Pakistan Winning? by Michael Petrou.)

I got as far as paragraph two when my brain came to a standstill.

"In November 2001, as the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance and their American allies closed a net around the collapsing Taliban regime in Afghanistan, Pakistani planes flew into the Taliban stronghold of Kunduz and evacuated hundreds of Pakistani intelligence officers, Taliban commanders and al-Qaeda personel.

"This was after then-Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf had pledged support for American's efforts to destroy al-Qaeda and overthrow the Taliban. The United States knew about the airlift and allowed it to happen. Reasoning that it was better to maintain the fiction that Pakistan was wholly on its side and to cajole whatever assistance it could from Islamabad, Washington declined even to monitor who disembarked from the plane when it landed safely in Pakistan. 'It is believed that more foreign terrorists escaped from Kunduz than made their escape later from Tora Bora,' writes Pakistani journalist Ahmed Rashid in his 2008 book Descent Into Chaos, referring to Osama bin Laden's mountain stronghold from which he safely fled in December 2001."

I know that I am going to appear to be pretty stupid, but WTF?

And we have men and women dying over there and killing innocents?

It's not like I thought Pakistan was an ally. We all know that they take US aid in one hand and support extremists with the other. But that this happens with US endorsement is mind-fucking-boggling.

Though things in Pakistan seem to be changing of late, how is it that those who decide to through away the lives of soldiers and civilians can allow the "evil" to escape?

I just don't get it.


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Technology and writing

Seth Godin has an interesting blog post on Kindle users and why publishers should be embracing new technology.

If what he says is true, that those who purchase electronic readers purchase more books than non-Kindle readers, the writing community really needs to figure this out. Ours is a notoriously traditional (read: stuck in the dark ages) industry. We still have those who insist on calculating word count at 250 words per page for heaven's sake as though we don't use programs every day that give us instant and precise numbers.

Last spring, I attended a workshop at the Writers' Fed on contracts. The woman who ran it was extraordinarily knowledgeable having worked in the world of contracts for a good many years. She provided us with a sample contract -- one she had created that she felt was fair for both writers and publishers. There was a section on electronic media but, she explained, it wasn't as sophisticated as the rest of the contract. Why? Because the publishing industry hasn't got this figured out yet.

I don't know about the rest of you, but I've been using a computer for my work since 1991. I handled the promotion for the first (as far as we knew) practical use of the Web (online learning programs for physicians and surgeons) in 1995.

That's a few years ago.

It seems to me that we (the writing community) have to move a little faster to sort out how we want the world to handle our work or we are going to have it handled for us (as is the case right now with Google publishing out-of-print books.)

I admit that I am very behind on this myself so as I criticize I must also accept my own culpability for not keeping up-to-date on how technology will affect my work. Any number of articles I've written are available all over the Net. If I were to land a book deal, why would I expect that to be different?

But this electronic reading technology, which I have eschewed, could be a lucrative one for us writers and for publishers. And while talking money is foreign to some, where are we without it? Writing for art's sake is lovely and should remain a goal for those who have it in them. On the other hand, if no one makes any money, the industry dies and art will die with it.

As books are marked down in the large stores and less money is made, how can we continue to have a print industry? (Who was the genius who decided Dan Brown's new book should be launched at 30 per cent off? Wasn't that book a sure-fire seller at any cost? Why race to the cheapest price? And on day one? I'd like a word with you -- you are killing us!)

Could it be as simple as having a group (like the Canadian Writer's Association et al) hire a few tech gurus (to explain what the possibilities on the horizon are) and lawyers (to put together the legal wording) to help us get a toehold in this new world of electronic publishing? I suppose that's if the problem is that we just don't get it and are playing catch up. So, while this is an oversimplification of a complicated process, I suspect that our behind-the-times attitudes are at least part of the problem.

For me, I am going to educate myself as much as I'm able so that when the book deal comes (just read all that positive thinking!) I'll have a clue, if only a small one.

Now go buy a book -- full price.


Monday, October 26, 2009


I had the treat of borrowing a car yesterday in hopes of catching Whip It with my kids. (It was playing in a theatre out in the big-box store area that would take us about an hour to bus to.) It's rare that we all want to see the same movie so I was pretty excited. My mood was dashed when I discovered that the only showtime is 9:50 by which time I had to return the car. Damn.

Still the car allowed me to do a large grocery order and for my daughter to haul all of her laundry here and back again. She couldn't have done that on the bus easily.

The kids and I have made a pact to get together every Sunday for dinner. Again, it's not that I don't see them individually (I live with my son after all) but that they don't see each other. We had dinner then watched The Devil Wears Prada. My son was definitely in lets-humour-mom mode because I was so disappointed in not getting out to the movie we had planned on. I've booked them both to watch it with me when it launches on Pay Per View or is released on video. (On a side note: Everyone involved with TDWP should be giving a cut of their salaries to Meryl Streep. It would have really sucked if she hadn't been in it. She is a god.)

In other news, I've lost 20 pounds in six weeks and have been making good progress with my latest manuscript including writing a synopsis for it that will become part of my grant application next month. How rare of me to get anything done ahead of time!


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Get moving

Yesterday started with some good news. I'm down 19 pounds since Sept. 8. How great is that? I even had a dessert last week. Of course other than that I am only eating one meal a day -- but it's whatever I want minus dessert and a slightly smaller portion than I would have eaten previously. The rest of the day is yogurt, berries, cereal, raw veggies, that sort of thing. Along with a bit of walking, it seems to be working just fine. I'll switch things up when I hit a plateau.

I'm surprised at how easy it's been to lose. I have hypothyroidism and am peri-menopausal -- two factors for a less-than-optimum metabolism.

I tried losing weight last year. I worked out hard everyday doing major cardio (for someone of my size) and watching what I ate. I lost about five pounds and stayed there. Increased my workout time. Nothing happened. I gave up.

One thing I had noticed, however, was that if I spent a day doing housework. Nothing major, just a full day of moving, I'd drop weight.

In addition, I figure there has to be a stress factor at work here. As in, I'm not stressed so my body isn't holding on to fat stores.

I'm not on a work-out regime, I have seriously cut calories and move more regularly. That seems to be it. Nothing spectacular.

Not having a car has really impacted my daily routine. Even if I don't walk far, I walk to everything and that's made a difference.

Pretty cool.


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sleep, perchance to dream

I think I'm learning to relax.

How hard could this be, you might be wondering.

I haven't done it in years and that isn't an exaggeration. I tend to sit on the edge of chairs as if I might have to spring off with only a moment's notice, worry about nearly everything, nag myself for lags in productivity.

Lately, however, I've noticed a change. I've been sleeping really well... REALLY well. Waking up late, lounging about the day, without a worry.

It's been a week since this phenomena began. Any fifty-year-old women out there? You know what I mean about the sleep thing. Baby, it don't come easy.

Regardless of the time I chose to go to bed, my pattern for the past number of years has been to fall asleep for about ninety minutes to two hours, wake up, toss and turn for two hours or more, fall asleep fitfully till it was time to wake up. A good night's sleep had meant waking up numerous times but being able to fall asleep immediately thereafter "without the awake for hours" part. That was considered good. Geez. It was so bad that I actually loathed getting sleepy because I knew it would only bring another round of torture.

So, this new-found ability is nothing short of miraculous.

A new bed that accommodates my crappy back, being on my work break, and being single are all playing a role.

While the medical world may not, as of yet, be able to discover exactly why we need sleep, I believe they would agree with me in the powers of a good night's sleep. I stand in awe.

No wonder women of a certain age look like they're a certain age, have a rep for cantankerousness, and have spotty memories. This sleep thing is really amazing. I highly recommend it.

I also now realize why numbers of couples choose to sleep apart. It's so they can get a solid night's sleep without listening to someone else snoring or being jostled about on the bed whenever someone else rolls over or being wakened when someone else has to pee. It's so you can maintain your own perfect sleeping temperature and light.

A good night's sleep or rather a series of good night sleeps also mean that I'm more relaxed during the day. There is less of that perimenopausal anxiety, less worry about what the day might bring.

If only I had the ability to write an ode to sleep. However Thomas Warton Jr. did. Here are the first two verses (the poem gets too gloomy afterward for what I have in mind today.)

On this my pensive pillow, gentle Sleep!
Descend, in all thy downy plumage drest:
Wipe with thy wing these eyes that wake to weep,
And place thy crown of poppies on my breast.

O steep my senses in oblivion's balm,
And sooth my throbbing pulse with lenient hand;
This tempest of my boiling blood becalm!
Despair grows mild at thy supreme command.

Ahhh.... beautiful sleep.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Nominations for the GGs are in!

From Wikipedia, here's the scoop on the Governor-General's Awards. This year's nominees follow.

"Since their creation in 1937, the Governor General's Literary Awards have become one of Canada's most prestigious prizes, awarded in both French and English in seven categories: fiction, non-fiction, poetry, drama, children's literature (one each for text and illustration), and translation. The awards were created by the John Buchan, Baron Tweedsmuir, himself the author of The Thirty-Nine Steps. The awards first honoured only two authors each year, and only those who wrote in English. Then, in 1957 the awards were put under the administration of the Canada Council for the Arts and a cash prize began to be awarded to the winner. By 1980, the council began to announce the finalists for the awards a month before they were presented in order to attract more media attention, and in 2007 the cash prize was increased to $25,000.

During her tenure from 1999 to 2005, Adrienne Clarkson made an effort to obtain for the Governor General's study copies of every Governor General's Literary Awards winning book from fairs and second hand shops. As of 2004 there remained only two titles unrepresented."



Michael Crummey, St. John’s, N.L., Galore

Annabel Lyon, New Westminster, B.C., The Golden Mean

Alice Munro, Clinton, Ont., Too Much Happiness

Kate Pullinger, London, England; originally B.C., The Mistress of Nothing

Deborah Willis,Victoria, Vanishing and Other Stories


David W. McFadden, Toronto, Be Calm, Honey

Philip Kevin Paul, Brentwood Bay, B.C., Little Hunger

Sina Queyras, Montreal, Expressway Carmine Starnino, Montreal, This Way Out

David Zieroth, North Vancouver, B.C., The Fly in Autumn


Beverley Cooper, Toronto, Innocence Lost: A Play about Steven Truscott

Kevin Loring, Vancouver, Where the Blood Mixes

Joan MacLeod, Victoria, Another Home Invasion

Hannah Moscovitch, Toronto, East of Berlin Michael Nathanson, Winnipeg, Talk


Randall Hansen, Toronto, Fire and Fury: The Allied Bombing of Germany, 1942-45 Trevor Herriot, Regina, Grass, Sky, Song: Promise and Peril in the World of Grassland Birds

Eric S. Margolis, Toronto, American Raj: Liberation or Domination?

Eric Siblin, Westmount, Que., The Cello Suites: J.S. Bach, Pablo Casals, and the Search for a Baroque Masterpiece

M.G. Vassanji, Toronto, A Place Within: Rediscovering India



Shelley Hrdlitschka, North Vancouver, B.C., Sister Wife

Sharon Jennings, Toronto, Home Free Caroline Pignat, Ottawa, Greener Grass: The Famine Years

Robin Stevenson,Victoria, A Thousand Shades of Blue

Tim Wynne-Jones, Perth, Ont., The Uninvited


Rachel Berman, Victoria, Bradley McGogg, the Very Fine FrogIrene Luxbacher, Toronto, The Imaginary GardenJirina Marton, Colborne, Ont., Bella’s TreeLuc Melanson, Laval, Que., My Great Big MammaNingeokuluk Teevee, Cape Dorset, Nunavut, Alego


French to English

Phyllis Aronoff and Howard Scott, Montreal, A Slight Case of Fatigue Jo-Anne Elder, Fredericton, One David Homel and Fred A. Reed, Montreal, Wildlives Susan Ouriou ,Calgary, Pieces of Me Fred A. Reed, Montreal, Empire of Desire: The Abolition of Time

Good books I've recently read

Shandi Mitchell's Under This Unbroken Sky: an emotional story about a family of Ukrainian settlers facing bigotry, inhumane laws and betrayal. If this doesn't win awards there is something wrong with the awards.

Miriam Toews' The Flying Troutmans: a dark tale about the impacts of mental illness and rebuilding life. Quirky, entertaining and a tad disturbing.

Wayson Choy's The Jade Peony: a story in three parts about Chinatown in Vancouver in the 1940s. This award-winner was published in 1995, when the author was 52 (nice to know some start later in life!), it gives us a look at children of immigrant families and the challenges of straddling two cultures.

I've read many others but only share the ones I've enjoyed. I figure writers have a difficult enough time of it without me (and who the hell am I anyway?) trashing their work. To me, a story must be compelling, of course, but also be written well enough that I don't focus on the errors of construction.

I hope you give these a try. They are worth your time and money.


Social media

Shel Holtz posted a good article on how some companies get social media and others don't. This is a real issue for folks like me in the PR world who have to convince our organizations that 1) social media won't bite them in the ass; 2) it is an interactive tool to build engagement (i.e. it isn't advertising); 3) it does take discipline and time to do properly.

Here's the link.

Thanks, Shel.


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Canada lags behind Palin

Just received this in my inbox from Michael Ignatiaff...

"When Canada spends less on renewable energy than the State of Alaska, it means Stephen Harper isn’t just behind Barack Obama on clean energy – he’s behind Sarah Palin."

How's that for context?


If you're interested, here's a link to his speech to the Vancouver Board of Trade.

Liberal Party of Canada � Michael Ignatieff � Speech to the Vancouver Board of Trade

Shared via AddThis

Ocean view

The leaves are falling before they've even turned red or gold. I now have ocean view beyond the charming tableau of the oil refineries at Eastern Passage.

Silver lining.


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Shouts & Murmurs: Subject: Our Marketing Plan:

OMG... writers of the world, you have to read this. LMAO

Shouts & Murmurs: Subject: Our Marketing Plan:

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Trying to be friends

My ex and I are trying to be friends.

Maybe it's too soon.

Yesterday, we went for a drive in the country hoping to catch some of the fall colours. We travelled to the Valley then south to Mahone Bay before turning home.

We conversed or stayed quiet; it was mostly companionable. We stopped to buy apples and blackberry jam, had lunch, and walked the length of Queensland Beach.

But there was another less genial side to this comraderie: the churning underbelly of anger, resentment and hurt feelings that individuals who were once couples share. We try to hide it by conversing about nothing personal and by biting our lips when the other does the things that made us crazy when we were together.

But then it happened. I got miffed.

As I exited the car, thanking him for a nice day, being as benignly polite as I could be, and he responded by not responding -- making me feel like he was doing me a favour by spending the day with me -- I replied mockingly on his behalf: "And thank you for a nice day too. It was a great idea to get out on such a sunny day."

So, he was angry and I was angry. Great.

I called him last night to discuss what had happened and we ended up talking for well over an hour.

The end result is that I think I'm beginning to understand him a little better. I think, is the key phrase. I thought I understood the degree to which a lifetime of depression has affected him. I have not, as it turns out. I have not understood the degree to which he has been incapacitated, frozen from action.

Those times when I cried during a sad movie and he didn't hold my hand, the times I needed a hug that he didn't give me, the times I needed him to help me with a decision -- all those things that, in my mind, added up to him not loving me, may have been his illness.

How can I be angry at someone who is ill? Someone who isn't able do something because he doesn't have the mental ability to do it?

I can't get angry if someone can't balance a cheque book or speak French so how can I be angry with him for not being able to do things if he was unable to do them just because I needed them done?

And maybe I have to find solace in the fact that maybe he loved me as best he could. It wasn't enough, but it may not have been as selfish as I've thought it was in the way that grabbing onto a life-raft isn't selfish when you're drowning -- essential for survival but not selfish.

If I was his life-raft, can I blame him for hanging on even if he nearly drowned me in the process?

I'll have to think that over.


Saturday, October 10, 2009

What I am grateful for this year

Despite a break up and reduced financial circumstances, I have so much to be grateful for this year. I know that sounds really sappy, but it's also very true.

My kids have really stepped up to the plate this year and been such terrific support. I couldn't have asked for more.

I am one of those moms who are really involved in their kids' lives, even though one of them is in her mid-20s and the other is working full-time and readying himself to go off to school. I help wherever I can and they count on me -- especially my daughter.

Over the past year, their very rocky relationship with each other has improved immensely and we can now enjoy time together. They were even able to partner to create a really thoughtful two-day long birthday for me. (It was my 50th and I'd just become single so it could have been emotionally rocky.) On one weekend that was particularly difficult for me following the split, my daughter showed up and we did things together all weekend turning it into a fun time. I regularly receive text messages from my daughter telling me that she appreciates what I do for her and that she loves me. My son compliments me on how well I'm handing the break-up and we have dinner together nearly everyday and talk about almost everything.

This Thanksgiving, they have invited friends to dinner -- friends who would have otherwise been alone. Tomorrow night, our little trio will swell to 10. To help with the preparations, my son baked two pumpkin pies yesterday; my daughter will be over early to help me make the meal.

Don't they just rock?

A few years ago, when my daughter was going through her most difficult years (and, oh boy, were they difficult) no one would have guessed at how close we would become.

So, it will be my kids who I will be toasting this Thanksgiving, happy that we have survived and come together, confident that we can count on each other.

I wish everyone a very happy thanksgiving.


Thursday, October 8, 2009


Oh, and I've dropped 15.5 pounds in one month.

I feel good.... da da da da da da...


The places I've lived

From Becca's blog:

Here's where I have lived, in the order in which I lived there.

Concord, Ontario
Dundas, Ontario
Lebel-sur-Quevillion, Quebec
Pointe-Claire, Quebec,
Glen Roy, Ontario
Cornwall, Ontario
Ottawa, Ontario
Mississauga, Ontario
Cornwall, Ontario
Glen Walter, Ontario
Kanata, Ontario
Ottawa, Ontario
Kemptville, Ontario
Nepean, Ontario
Hackett's Cove, Nova Scotia
Hammonds Plains, Nova Scotia
Halifax, Nova Scotia

Witness protection's got nothing on me.


Canadian researchers make breast cancer breakthrough



Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Proper attire

Must remember... it is now autumn... rain gear is occasionally required especially when heading out for the day on foot and by bus and it's cloudy. Good thing C loaned me an umbrella. What was I thinking? Didn't even have a jacket on.


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Living downtown

I really enjoy living downtown.

Last night, I hoofed it up to Cobourg Coffee for an Amnesty International meeting. A nice 20 or 30 minute walk in the still-mild evening.

Today, I met with a friend for lunch, came home to do a few things and tonight will stroll a mere three blocks to the public library to listen to Wayson Choy read from his new book.

Tomorrow, I am meeting with two friends to go over our most recent progress on our current manuscripts. This will take place in the 'burbs so a bus will be involved, but, what the heck, that's not so bad.

Thursday, I 'll be back at the library for a lecture on Canadian Literature.

(I can't wait to retire and do this sort of thing all the time. I'm going to be one of those old ladies who does every free thing imaginable. And there's lots to do.)

When I lived in the country and worked in the city, I'd rarely attend evening events. I hated driving in twice in one day so I messed a lot of stuff. Plus, now I'm not ruining the environment with all my running around. Not too shabby, eh?

Living downtown also allows us to get together with friends more often. This weekend is a great example. My son has invited many of his workmates to Thanksgiving dinner. Since many of them do not own cars, they wouldn't have been able to come over had we lived farther out. Sunday is shaping up to be lots of fun. I am really looking forward to it and I'm not a big fan of Thanksgiving. Not that I don't like it -- who doesn't enjoy celebrating our people's rape and pillage of a land and near-decimation of another race? It just doesn't have much meaning for me. But this year's event should be fun.

I wonder if I can convince them to play Cranium after dinner?


Friday, October 2, 2009

The weight of the world... or my ass

The day is dragging, just like my backside.

It's not even three yet I've looked at the clock about a hundred times today.

Things started well enough. I woke before eight, showered, dressed and walked to my dispensing opticians to pick up my new specs. On the way, I realized I'd forgotten to bring some mail that should have been sent out days ago -- one piece being a query to an agent regarding my manuscript. I wonder what darkness in my brain has made me foot-drag on that?

Back home, I am having trouble seeing clearly with the new glasses despite having tried them out in the store.

I've been trying to write, working on the new story, and it's been painful. Slow, slow, slow. I decided to break away and get the mail out so I headed toward the grocery store. They all have post offices in them now, right? Wrong.

Doubling back, I walked to Dresden Row feeling like I weighed about five hundred pounds. My legs didn't want to carry me. I dressed too warmly and began to sweat. What should have taken me about thirty minutes took forty-five.

What's wrong with me?

My back's been stiff and sore so I haven't gotten out much since I've been back from the cottage. Could that be it?

Regardless of how much weight I've put on, I've always been able to walk long distances without any problem. This time, it's killing me.

Agh! That was probably not the best use of phrase.

I look forward to the day this walking thing is easy again.