Monthly archive for January 2009

To sleep, perchance to … well, you know

I love to sleep.  In fact, I love it a lot.  I wish it was a real, tangible, living thing because I would bake it a cake and buy it a puppy.  A little over a year ago, I had some problems with insomnia and I spent a few months in a miserable stupor because I couldn’t sleep.  I still don’t sleep well, but at this point it’s certainly not as bad as it used to be, except for the fact that when I do sleep, I am inevitably plagued by extraordinarily vivid dreams that at best are just a little off-putting and at worst are pretty horrifying.

There are a few recurring themes, which I suppose is kind of comforting, because at least it eliminates the element of surprise.  There’s the one where I dream I’m exhausted but my alarm goes off and I force myself to get out of bed (this usually happens a few minutes before my alarm actually goes off, which means I get woken up to the bad news that I am still in bed and have to do it all over again).  There’s the one where I get to spend a few short minutes with a loved one who in my real life is either no longer alive or who I will likely never see again, for whatever reason, and I feel compelled to make those last few minutes count, both in their eyes and in mine.  There’s the one where there is some sort of attack or natural disaster and I am responsible for the safe evacuation of a bunch of kids that I don’t know.  And there’s the one where I am horribly unprepared for some major or minor life event, like an exam or a youth group event or a wedding, and I realize it is 5 minutes to the event and I have never studied or attended class, or I forgot to book the bowling lanes, or I never did order my bridesmaid dress.

Sometimes, though, I think my dreams are my subconscious just checking to see if I’m paying attention.  Last night, I dreamed I was on a humongous cruise ship at the turn of the last century.  For some reason, I was hanging out with the captain.  A crew member came in to let him know that we were approaching an area that was rife with icebergs, and the captain laughed derisively and responded with:  “Smith, we’re a big sturdy ship.  Why on earth are you worried about a tiny little iceberg?  Leave me alone.”

Thankfully, my alarm went off at that point and saved me from a nocturnal overdose of dramatic irony.

Anywhere but here

Have you ever played Anywhere But Here?  It’s a very simple game – the only rule is that you have to name a place you’d like to be right now, and it can’t actually be the place where you are when the game is played.  I think I have the Cabin Fever; I’ve been staring out the window at the snow and playing it in my head all morning.

So, let’s have a game of Anywhere But Here.  I’ll go first.  I’d love to be in the little cottage we rented the last time we went to Maui.  Sunshine, warmth, a view of the ocean, and air that is fragrant with the plumeria bushes on the property.

Your turn …

Writer’s block

Except … I think they only call it writer’s block once you’ve started and can’t get any further.  I’m not sure what exactly they call a total dearth of ideas.  Regardless, a weird thing happened yesterday that has made me think I’d like some ideas, so eventually I can get to the place where I throw up my hands, trash my desk, and curse the lack of creativity in my writing.  Right now I’m just cursing the lack of inspiration in my life.

So, yesterday.  I tagged along with Chris to the first meet-up of the Running & Reading program happening at a local school.  There are 20 (I think) similar programs happening in Canada under the R&R banner, and basically it is a two-hour-a-week program that helps kids in schools located in lower income neighbourhoods develop their literacy skills and fitness levels.  It is run entirely by volunteers, supported by donations from companies by Reebok and Scholastic, and from what I could tell is met by an incredible amount of enthusiasm from the students who have chosen to participate.  (more…)

Two topics, between which there is little to no connection

Topic the first: I used to wear a lot of brightly coloured clothing.  In fact, I once had a coworker comment to me that she didn’t recognize me because I was wearing a black & white sweater paired with black pants and she was used to seeing something more colourful on top.  The year I spent working in a marketing department really did my wardrobe in.  The other day, I put in a load of laundry that was entirely composed of black clothing.  (For those keeping score at home, the fact that a load of laundry was so precisely sorted means that Mike was very much involved.  He doesn’t approve of my laundry sorting process.  And by “process” I mean how I gather up an armload of random items of clothing and toss said armful into the wash.)

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Not as adjunct or auxiliary or in any way lesser

I watched an hour or so of the inauguration coverage this morning on CNN.com and it made for some really great television.  It is kind of unfortunate how much more attention we pay to the politics of our neighbours to the south than we do to our own politicians and elections, but it’s certainly no surprise given the duration and degree of the spectacle that is the Americans choosing their next Commander in Chief.  Besides all that, Barack Obama is one heck of an orator with one heck of a team of speechwriters.  (“… people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy” indeed!) (more…)

Sssshhhhh …

I wish there was some way I could get the camera and snap a picture without disturbing him, but I think that’s pretty unlikely.  The “him” I want to photograph is Norton, our weird little black cat.  Mike is out golfing for the evening at the indoor golf place, and I’m hanging on the couch with the pet posse.

Norton is currently sound asleep on the big chair in our basement, wrapped up as tightly in a ball as he can get, with his paw covering his face as if to keep out the world.  He is perfectly asleep, perfectly adorable, perfectly content.

Evolutionary theory teaches us that we’re at the very top of the food chain.  I beg to differ.  If there was any creature on earth I wanted to trade places with, it would be with this cat, at this very moment.

Great Expectations

I had this really awful job, and I left it to go to what turned out to be a job that was even more awful.  I won’t say very much about either of them, for fear of future retribution (anyone who has known anyone in my family for any length of time has probably heard what we call “The Will Story”, in which a friend of my parents quit his job and told off his boss in that really spectacular way that everyone always dreams about, and at some point after he started his new job, the new company was purchased by another company, and his new boss at the newly merged firm was none other than his old boss, and he was fired pretty much immediately) but suffice it to say they were awful in a nice variety of ways.

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Baby, it’s cold outside

It’s no secret that I hate the winter.  December gets a pass because of the lead-up to Christmas, but I hate January and February with a passion that could probably power our car if we could figure out a way to harness it.  I hate driving in it, I hate walking in it, I hate dashing from the house to the car to wherever I’m heading then back to the car and back to the house.  I hate skiing and skating and snowboarding and tobogganing and I hate how people tell me I would learn to love the winter if I could learn to love one of its many enjoyable pastimes.

I hate the whole process of getting dressed to go outside and then getting undressed to be inside and how many layers do I need, will I be too cold in the car or too hot when I get there, why are my socks wet again, where are my freaking mittens and then *kaboom* my head has exploded from the coldness and awfulness and neverendingness of it all.

When we were in Australia, we spent a week with Mike’s aunt & uncle.  They live in a part of the country that does get “winter” but I do mean that with everything implied by those quotation marks.  One night while we were eating dinner, conversation turned to how we survive the long Canadian winters and, specifically, how we survive driving in the snow.  I remarked that just about everyone has at least one story of a near miss while driving in bad weather, an example of a time when their car hit a pole or spun 360 degrees or slid through a busy intersection.

Throughout the conversation, they seemed … well, mystified seems to be the best word to use.  Mystified about how we deal with winter and, more importantly, why we deal with winter.  They have been to Canada, seen how lovely it is in the summer and fall, enjoyed many things our great nation has to offer, and still couldn’t seem to figure out why on earth we would put up with months and months of everything winter entails when there are other countries out there that are very similar to ours but that enjoy more moderate temperatures year round.

And, you know, I can’t explain it but I felt compelled to defend my poor winter-stricken, snow-covered country.  I don’t think I did (at least not very coherently) because the fact is they’re not wrong, and I’d be lying if I said it had never crossed my mind to pack up my actuary and my laptop and move somewhere more temperate (or even tropical) but the thing about Canada is this:  it contains everyone and everything I love.  Some might say I lack a sense of adventure, but I just can’t fathom picking up my life and putting it down in a strange country, even if that country is averaging plus 22 degrees rather than negative 22 degrees right now.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I am going to go make some hot chocolate and pray for June.

Snowflakes on noses, and whiskers on doggies

There are a lot of good things about working from home.  Wearing your pajamas past 7:00 a.m., playing awful music really loudly, not having any coworkers who murmur “mmm hmmm” after every sentence they say … and being able to take 20 minutes to throw a ball for your dog in the back yard (and watch her lose the ball in the snow, and then find it again, and paw at it until it is covered in snow and lose it again, and then find it again).

And if you don’t have any coworkers, you can do this while wearing a sock monkey hat and not be embarrassed.  Or, you know, so I’ve heard.

For those about to comment, we salute you

Remember that time I picked a theme I really liked for its simplicity and pinkness, and I told everyone “Come on over, check out my new blog!” and then several people pointed out to me that you couldn’t comment on it?  Ah, good times.

That problem has been fixed with a new template, and I’m pretty sure I can never ask Chris for another favour ever again.