Wednesday, December 23, 2009

My son, my son

I'm late for work, but I can't move. My husband comes into the living room, smiling. My son is sitting crosslegged on the piano stool with his little knee sticking out of a hole in his stripey pyjamas, and he is making magic at the keyboard. It's a newly created version of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, and it's beautiful and amazing.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Dream a little dream

Last night I dreamt I was trying to light my cigarette, but the way they make matches now(in my dream, that is), in this era of non-smoking, is an outrage (in my dream, that is)! The main problem is that they didn't have enough of the red stuff on the tips, and the little bit that was there kept crumbling off.

Finally, I got the match lit, and the wind blew it out (obviously I was outside; no smoking inside, eh).

Eventually I got another one lit and to keep the flame going long enough to light my cig, I cleverly lit my fingernail, and used this as it burned, to light up. Ah, bliss (in my dream, that is)!

IRL, I don't actually smoke. Weird.

Speaking of weird, during my journey in to work this morning, there were three subway delays - As I ran down the stairs to catch the train, I heard the tail-end of the first delay announcement; then two more, both as a result of the "passenger assistance alarm being activated". What was going on? A band of ne'er do wells activating alarms in a synchronized attack?

Monday, December 14, 2009

Participate in P.D. Martin's new book

Imagine being a writer who's brave enough to actually take suggestions from her readers.

My friend P.D. Martin (I call her Phillipa), writer of the Sophie Anderson series of books, is conducting a very cool, interactive experiment - you get to influence the plot of her next book.

Check out her Welcome Page, work your way through, and vote!

Phillipa's a wonderful story teller, and you will love (or feel intense loathing for) her characters.

My review of Body Count, the first of (so far) five books in the series:

Man, the first night I was reading it, I was so creeped out I kept checking the balcony before I turned out the light.

There were so many things I loved about this book -- all the little character details that made me feel the characters were real people. And the dynamics of all the meetings were so true to life. And I also really liked the teamwork. You know, like, Krip's a bit on the lazy side, but not really a bad guy, and somehow I could just picture Cousins, and Sam and Sophie and Rivers and Josh -- and Darren Carter.

I just loved it that there wasn't just ONE obvious love interest. I don't think I've ever read a detective-type novel where a women protagonist actually might have some choice -- it's great! Oh, I also thought it was a neat and freaky detail that the killer cleans out all his potential victim's fridge's of past-due items. I also like how Sophie's uncomfortable and embarrassed about her visions and premonitions. She's not all caught up in her own fantastic mysteriousness.

It's a great, creepy story.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Just trying to do the right thing, whatever that is

A few nights ago, on my way home from work, I encountered an annoying fellow passenger on the bus home. I was in the back of the bus, with a whole bunch of other folks, and the fellow across from me said, "F^cking bitch", looking at the woman beside me.

My first reaction was my usual one - I thought maybe I didn't hear that right, while my adrenaline surged.

Next he muttered something similar, quietly, not attracting a whole lot of attention from anyone other than us at the back. Other than him, we were all women, except for a young boy. Some people reacted by steadfastly ignoring him. I sat there staring at my book, doing my best to assess the situation.

Meanwhile, the bus driver, being one of those cheery types with a great attitude about his job, announced to all of us that he hoped we enjoyed our ride, and thank you for taking the ttc, etc.

The fellow across from then put his fingers up to his forehead in an L-for-loser, again looking at the young, tomboyish woman beside me.

My survival instincts kicked in and I moved down to the middle of the bus, but kept my eye on the back of the bus. What if the guy was just being a dick to someone on his cell-phone-ear thingie? Wouldn't explain the L-for-loser. And I couldn't see if he had an ear thingie.

Along the route to my stop, it looked like the fellow wasn't doing much. Then, just before my stop, he started flicking the hat of the woman in front of him. I could see she wasn't sure if someone was doing it on purpose or not, since she wasn't facing him. She just straightened her hat a few times.

A woman who had got on the bus later, and sat down in my vacated seat, got up and moved.

I missed my stop; I couldn't leave. Nobody was doing anything. I went to the front of the bus, apologized, and told the driver I thought this fellow (the only person wearing shorts on the whole bus, so easy to identify) was bothering people. The wonderful driver pulled over, opened both door, as I got off - I had to get home, and didn't want to be the tattletale still on the bus - and went to the back to chat with the guy.

I still feel like I was cowardly. But I can't think of what else I should've done. In my old life, if I'd had a few drinks, I would've told him to stop, but I'm too scared to do that now. (In my 20s, at parties, I used to physically put myself in the middle of fights, to shock the participants into stopping; fortunately for me, it always worked; I hear from many other people that it's a freaking stupid thing to do.)

Monday, December 7, 2009

Writing backwards, Part I

Actually, it's more than just seeing all our old albums that's got me all happy and excited.

It's the moving of the furniture.

I used to have a bit of a "thing" - some of my friends might've called it a compulsion - whatever it was, this thing or compulsion used to make me rearrange my furniture. A lot. Like every two weeks or so. Usually in the middle of the night when I couldn't sleep, which was often.

It was like a mental itch, a feeling like I'd forgotten something, or something was slightly amiss. I'd try to ignore it, because part of me would be happy with my still-new furniture arrangement, and I also felt that moving stuff around that often was in fact a little weird. But then there'd be a night when I wouldn't be able to sleep, and the new plan would've been forming in my head the whole time, even going back to when I arranged it earlier, making mental notes for next time all along the way. Once I'd get everything rearranged, I'd rest easy - actually, just easier. I never rested easy.

In my defense, I'll say that it was the first time in several years that I'd lived in more than one room. So I had not a lot of furniture, and lots of space, and nice smooth old hard wooden floors. This gave me scope for a multitude of combinations.

It's true, I did need therapy. But two other changes in my life were what I needed to actually stop doing this.

1) I moved into a new career: editing, which allowed me to channel all this energy and control issues into my work. And
2) I moved to a new apartment. This one had a problem (which I'll go into later).

But now, today, here at my desk, I'm just worried that M3I and Charlie are at home rearranging the furniture without me. Cuz it's still MY thing!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Space, the final frontier

We've started clearing out the living room, and moving furniture around for the gang of 12 that will be coming for Christmas. Where to put the tree? At this point, we have no idea, and we still don't have enough chairs, though this is practically the house of chairs. Actually we probably do have enough, but while I want people to be able to sit, I don't want it looking like a yard sale in here.

There's now a huge space across from the piano - it's great. The bookshelves filled with our combined record collection is now in our bedroom. I was kinda against stuffing our poor bedroom with more furniture, but it actually works. And seeing our old albums again, with Guess Who records, and Prince and the Revolution, and Yaz's Upstairs at Eric's (horrible album cover) made me happy; it felt like M3I and I were moving in together again.

In other news: My father-in-law is in the hospital, with some kind of infection. They can't figure out what.

Friday, December 4, 2009

The wretched logjam is broken

I've had the weirdest experience here at the office this week, of having some stuff, but not really much stuff, to do. The effect is not that I suddenly have time to run out and do my Christmas shopping and get all my other errands done, but rather I've been getting absolutely nothing done. I've been rendered incapable of forming a sentence or a even an unwritten complete thought.

Until this morning - hurrah! I rolled in around 10:40, since M3I attended Charlie's parent-teacher interview this morning. And I got to sleep in and hang around playing cards with my boy.

And hurrah-hurrah!, the logjam broke. One of my colleagues gave me an article to input, something I haven't had to do for years. The act of typing it in turned my brain back on and I got the article input and the two other writing jobs done in record time. These couple of ordinary tasks have been flopping around driving me nuts for the past few days.

In other news:
I located some old university friends - and it's made me so happy. I'd previously only been in touch with one - Laura - and after she passed away there really was no one to mourn with. Sadly, I had to tell one of her old roommates about her death, and she's really really upset, of course. But hearing about my old pal's lives over all these years (close to 25) is wonderful.

One of these friends told me she was so happy to hear from he because she'd always been grateful for some encouragement (long forgotten by me) I gave her back then, that lead her to complete something she'd dreamed about. I am happy and humbled.