Monday, March 12, 2012

Everything is beautiful at the ballet. . . .

March 12, 2012


First day back after the March Break.

Break may be open to subjective interpretation.

Which results in something more like the Week-in-March-where-you-do-all-the-things-that-you've-put-off-doing.

And none of them involve work.

Even if they were supposed to.

In my case it meant replacing my all of a sudden disappeared into thin air Medicare card.

And taking Mum for a visit to the optometrist.

After her fall, which left her looking like she'd gone a round in the WWE ring, she noticed that her vision was blurry and she was unable to read with her glasses.

So I did the only thing I could.

Made an appointment for both of us to have our eyes tested. 

Luckily, there was no damage to her eyes as a result of her fall.

But, she did need new glasses.

For reading only.

Apparently, her progressive lenses, coupled with her posture, has made it impossible to read.

When her glasses come in, she'll have two pairs and she has to wear the progressive lenses all the time, except when she is reading.

And just like when I was a teenager, and HATED wearing my glasses, I had to say the same thing to her that she said to me. 

Now Mum, you have to wear your glasses ALL THE TIME. Except when you're sleeping.

She nodded that she understood. 

We'll see.

She has a rebellious streak.

After the eye exams, selecting new glasses, getting them retrofitted so I wouldn't have to take her to the optometrists again when her glasses arrived, we were starving.

Of course we were.

It was lunch time.

Luckily, there was a Swiss Chalet just minutes away.

And my mother loves Swiss Chalet.

As we were perusing the menus, I asked my mother what she wanted for lunch.

French Fries was her automatic reply.

I looked at her and asked, Mum, when we were kids, and asked for French Fries for lunch, what would you have said?

No, she replied.

So we compromised. 

French fries and a bowl of chicken corn chowder. 

Stephen and I had salads.

Don't think that the glasses and lunch mean my mother and I have reverted our relationship where I am the parent and she is the child.

It isn't like that at all.

More like she is almost 72 and will wear her glasses if she wants to and eat whatever she chooses.


Most of the break, I spent reading, sleeping, walking the dogs, going to the opera, having dinner with friends.

One of my students gave me the first book in The Hunger Games trilogy.

Big mistake.

Because it meant that by the end of the break, I had read the entire Hunger Games trilogy.

And have moved on to another series of books, recommended by a friend.


All set in a dystopic society where people are separated into the Uglies and the Pretties. At 16 you have surgery that moves you from an ugly to a pretty.

Non optional from what I can understand.

Very interesting books. 

The opera was the encore production of The Enchanted Island.

A baroque pastiche, combining Shakespeare's The Tempest with A Midsummer Night's Dream.

With a little Tinkerbell thrown in for measure.

I loved it.

In Review Enchanted Island HDL 1 312

Visually stunning, costumes gorgeous and Placido Damingo as Neptune.

Who wouldn't want to see it!

Here are some clips:

April 2, we will be seeing Ernani.

I can't wait.

And this Thursday Stephen and I are travelling to Saint John's Imperial Theater for the ballet Ghosts of Violence.

I won the tickets simply by listening to Connections with Olga Melosevich on CBC Radio 2.

And being the first caller from New Brunswick.

I didn't think we won as the call didn't come in until Sunday afternoon.

Opera and ballet!

What more could you want???????

Other than perhaps finishing all the marking I was supposed to do over the break.

And finally, we booked our two weeks at Murray Corner. 

Not the same place as last year.

They only had one week available.

I was sad, because I really liked the cottage.

This summer Stephen found a place across from the beach and behind the cottage, three acres for Frankie and Fynn to run and cavort their little hearts out. 

Something to look forward to. 


Title Lyric: At the Ballet from A Chorus Line

Sunday, March 11, 2012

With which nothing planned. . . .

March 11, 2012

I was gone for a while.

Wondering if I would ever return to blogging.

I was/am so hurt.

Feeling so betrayed.

Ambushed quite frankly when my defenses were down.

Time was needed to address issues, begin to sort things out. 

More time is still needed, but I think I can return to writing now.

Not writing was very difficult.

I would lie awake at night and compose blog entries in my head.

All the things I wanted to write about falling into place, natural, flowing, more poetic than I can ever seem to manage in my actual writing.

We'll see how things progress.

And maybe someday, when I am feeling less hurt, betrayed, raw, I'll be able to talk about what necessitated the break in the first place.

If that day ever comes. 

Title Lyric: On Returning by Wire

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Wake up in the morning, feeling shy and lonely. . . .

February 16, 2012

Another day where my circle of constant companions has shrunk to one. 

Not being able to manage actually getting up and doing everything that needed to be done to go to work, let alone stand in front of  three classes while trying to keep my lungs withing my body, and not being able to stand the walls of our bedroom for a second longer, I trudged downstairs to the kitchen to nosh on some homemade chicken soup and read second year book reviews of Sudhir Venkatesh's Gang Leader for a Day.

Of course, my little shadow, Jasper, has been with me literally every. single. second of my convalescing. 

Including any and all trips to the bathroom. 

The above is his take on the critical thinking exhibited in the second year book reviews.

Imagine what scathing comments would emerge if he could speak.

Or worse, write????????

Pookie Flu, Pookie Flu, how I'd like to kick you in the ass.

Once you're finished kicking me.

I was sad to read on that Wheels from Degrassi Junior High and Degrassi High passed away. 

He's the one wearing the glasses.

Neil Hope, left, is shown with Pat Mastroianni, centre, who played Joey Jeremiah and Stefan Brogren, who played Archibald (Snake) Simpson in a scene from Degrassi.  Hope apparently died five years ago without any public announcement.

5 years ago.

For whatever reason, news of his passing remained silent until now.

He was 35 when he passed away.

I have no trouble admitting that I LOVED all the versions of Degrassi.

Growing up in a small village in rural New Brunswick, Degrassi was my way of connecting with the world outside our little hamlet. 

Issues like teen pregnancy, sex and condoms, teen suicide, abortion, drug use, bullying, dating violence. . .Degrassi was the way I was introduced to many of these issues.

I still remember sitting on my mother's bed, watching as Spike gave birth to her daughter, and wondering how any 14 year old could raise a child.  

On occasion, I wondered what my mother would say if I wore my hair the way Spike did. 

She was the most rebellious character I had encountered. . .at least at that point in my life. 

And how long would it take to get your hair like that??????

Sick or not, tomorrow I have to leave the house.

Before I hurt someone.

Or they hurt me. 

Plus, there are meetings I can't miss.

Faculty Fund applications are due.

Stephen has to be home to supervise the installation of a new downstairs bathroom toilet.

A replacement that was not a part of our fiscal plan until at least the spring.

But some things simply must be addresses asap.

So Em and Mer are off to the airport to collect Grandma.

Pookie is otherwise engaged in a commitment he could not get out of. 

The girls will, I am sure, find unique and creative ways to entertain Grandma until supper time, when we will go out for dinner and drink wine and catch up.

Me holding onto my lungs. 

Still, I am looking forward to her visit.

Just because one marries an idiot, does not mean that one cannot maintain relationships with his family.

All of whom are wonderful, caring people.

When you think about it, I am very blessed.

I remain a part of a wonderful family and I married into a wonderful family.

Not everyone is so lucky.

Title Lyric: Degrassi Junior High Theme Song 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The sharpest weapon she has is her tongue. . . .

February 15, 2012

Thank you Pookie.

Your extended sojourn last week in your Man Cave has resulted, by means I simply cannot trace, my own body being invaded by viruses and germs.

To the point that I have actually had to cancel my once a week, three hour seminar class. 

With the understanding that this does NOT mean I'll be cancelling classes tomorrow.

But right now, my hair hurts.

My joints hurt. 

My throat has become a repository of mucus. 

I feel like Sheldon Cooper. 

Let's just hope I don't act like him. 

Hope being the operative word. 

The day will be one of bed, work, bed, work, eat, drink, bed, work.

A vicious cycle that makes me angry, frustrated, annoyed because it completely annihilates my much needed and carefully choreographed routine that keeps me, and those around me, sane. 

Em always states, most honestly, "Mum, when you're sick everything is screwed up."

Simple, yet elegant and not all that true. 

Wait until they hear that the three of them, alone, will be collecting Grandma from the airport Friday because I have two back-to-back meetings I cannot get out of.

That they, and they alone will be responsible for entertaining G-Ma (as Mer calls her) for the afternoon.

Ah, maturing, becoming adults.

The double edged sword. 

Title Lyric: Double Edged Sword by Horizontal Orange

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

You can't run away

February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day, Shmalentine's Day.

Anyone who knows anything about Valentine's Day knows it has NOTHING to do with hearts, chocolates, or love.

Just ask Sheldon:

Plans for Grandma Weekend 2012 are shaping up.

15-20 cms of snow predicted for the day she arrives. 

It's always like this.

As soon as someone from away comes to visit us, there is always some sort of weather weirdness. 

Like the Thanksgiving Stephen's parents and Aunt came to share in our bounty and it rained the entire three days there were here.

The sun only making an appearance when they were on their way back to Montreal.

There's a metaphor in there somewhere.

The last time Grandma was here was when she and Mer arrived at 5.00 am.

She went back to Ontario.

Mer did not.

And we all know how that's worked out.

Keith was home all of last week.



Burrowed in his man cave as the sickness invaded his frail self, an immune system that couldn't fend of a gnat let alone an airborne infection so severe I was worried his lungs would decide to live on the outside of his body.

I am coughing, scratchy throat, mucusy.

With no man cave thank you very much.

I have a Meredyth waiting to be picking up for dinner.

Lucky me.

Title Lyric: Valentine's Day by Outkast

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Peein' in the woods and my home's far away. . . .

February 12, 2012

Stephen is most agreeable about taking the dogs out.

Agreeable and getting himself ready to go are two very different things however.

We made our arrangements for dog walking in the snow yesterday and it seemed as if he understood what we were planning to do.

And then he started the usual Stephen-stuff.


Pottering around the house.

Stopping every once in a while for a spot of tea.

So when he was finally ready, coat, hat, mitts, hillbilly boots on, I knew I had to leave asap, because he could change his mind and be undressed at the drop of his hat, his standard, "oh-since-you're-not-ready-I'll-do-this" line and two hours we're still waiting to go anywhere.

I was out of the house, ready to go faster than you could say Stephen Pidwysocky.

The falling snow, the mild temperatures, the plowed roadway, happy puppies gambooling about made for a lovely walk.

However, I was slightly aware, at the point where we exited the car, that there was a pressure in my bladder indicating that I needed to pee.

No problem.

We'll be at the end of the trail and back again lickety split and I'll use the bathroom at home.

Halfway through the walk, it was very apparent to me that this was not going to be the case.

My bladder had no such intentions.


I think not.

Which is how I found myself on a snowy afternoon, squatting just around the corner of the trail, past the gate, with my pants hauled between my legs in a valiant effort to prevent them from getting wet, back cheeks open to the falling snow and curious dogs, Stephen standing guard against intruders into our bizarre tableau, having a pee in the wide open wilderness that is the farm.

And not IN the woods either.

On the trail.

The edge, mind you.

But the trail nonetheless.

Normally, I would have had no problem trekking into the woods, but the snow was very deep and I just didn't want to chance losing my footing and plunging my ample ass in a snow bank.

A frostbitten arse, one that may prevent ever knowing that you're fully on the toilet seat because you can't actually feel it is not on my list of things to experience in the near future.

Most problematic were the dogs.

Frankie in particular.

Who thought this would be a wonderful opportunity to get to know the rest of me.

And of course, my faithful guard, lookout, "watchqueen" finding this predicament more than entertaining.

At which point I reminded him that it wasn't my fault that I couldn't just unzip and aim the way he could.

Yet another example of how women's anatomy is far, far crueler than that of men's.

The walk back the car, some 90 minutes later was not as pleasant.

Snow falling faster.

More dense.

Us unable to even see the tree line signaling the gate at the farm.

Hence my concern that Em was going to be driving home, a week old official driver's licence in her pocket and no winter tires.

Which, when I was actually able to speak with her, cause some "words" between us.

And those "words" angered me enough that I was faced with the decision to eat a half a box of President's Choice Decadent Chocolate chip cookies, or, shovel the driveway.

Shovel the driveway it was. 

And for an hour and a half I was out there moving snow here and there, hither and yon, cleaning a wide space for our now two car family.

All the while contemplating the vicissitudes of raising a newly licensed teenage daughter. 

Let me tell you, by the time I was finished shoveling the driveway, walkway, path to the birdfeeders, path for the garbage dolly and clearing the back deck, I was clear about the vicissitudes of raising a teenage daughter.

And the driveway looked damn good.

And will again.

Because I have to go back out there shortly and shovel some more.

I don't mind.

No one else will do it the way I want it done. 

Grandma is coming for a visit next weekend.

And the Clarke-Pidwysocky-Van Every household is all aflutter.

As is our satellite apartment wherein Mer resides.

The cleaning shall commence this week in a fury not to be contested.

ALL the rooms in the house.

Including Em's room.

Whether she likes it or not.

And in spite of the but-Grandma-doesn't-need-to-see-my-room rationale I anticipate from the mouth of my babe.

You're right.

Grandma doesn't NEED to see your room.

But she will.

Because I will show her.

Hence it WILL be cleaned.

And as for Pookie's under-the-deck activities?

I see them being put on hold.

Just another benefit of the visit from Grandma.

Whitney Houston died yesterday.

I have many fond memories of listening to her music, convinced my pipes were just as good as hers.

Ah, delusions.

Another example of how fleeting time is, and that no one lives forever.

No matter how wonderfully they can sing.

Title Lyric: Wait and Pee by Slipknot

Saturday, February 11, 2012

If you don't know how to do it, I'll show you how to walk the dog. . . .

February 11, 2012

Let me just say upfront that a snowstorm on a Saturday is a waste of a good snowstorm.

15-20 cms of snowy goodness that has the potential to close schools and provide a much needed lie in.

None of which will occur on a Saturday.

Stephen was in my office yesterday afternoon when I returned from the meeting that went on too long.

I was so very happy to see him.

Because I was so very happy to leave.

And when I walked outside, and felt how mild it was, the melting that had occurred, I knew that we were on our way home to grab the hounds, head to the wide open spaces of the far, let our boys run wild and free and rid our own selves of the sludge and slime of what was a long, arduous week.

A week of trying to explain how come Laud Humphreys' bias in his research for Tearoom Trade wasn't a bad thing; how come we cannot judge impoverished people's experiences from a position of middle class privilege; the role of theory in ethnography (or how qualitative research is not atheoretical).

Plus meetings, fundraisers, fathers-who-refuse-to-let-others-into-his-house-to-repair-his-computer, highschools who apparently move students out of their selected classes willy nilly and then take three days to sort out the mess, and one very sick Pookie who hasn't diverted from his bed-kitchen-livingroom-bed circuit in the past week.

(As an aside, I am just waiting to get sick. Just waiting. Wondering if Pookie germs have invaded my being, lying in wait for the opportune moment to launch their attack. Probably when I have the most work to do.)

Once we pulled into the driveway, two furry faces were glued to the kitchen window waiting to see if this was the day when Mum and Dad get out of the car, open up the back of the car, thus indicating that a run at that farm was in their immediate future.

And the back of the car did open, and they indeed hopped inside and off we went for our soul reviving trek.

We were not alone.

Within 5 minutes of our pulling in and unloading the dogs, another car pulled in and out came an 18 month old cocker spaniel named Sam and her owners.

Who joined us on our walk.

A lovely couple.

And Sam was a most entertaining companion for Frankie and Fynnie.

Soon we were joined by two other canines and two other people, thus rounding out our little group to six adults and five dogs, all running and leaping and chasing each other.

Owners talking, laughing, getting to know the other fanatic dog lovers in the area.

I was just happy Frankie was socializing.

He was actually comfortable around all those people.

To be completely honest, for all his issues, his bravado and tough exterior, Frankie is just a push over.

At one point, a dog half his size came running towards him.

Wanting the stick that was in Frankie's mouth.

Rather than run and chase, Frankie just dropped the stick and walked away.

That's my weenie baby.

Snowstorm or not, there are obligations to be met.

Bingo with Mum this afternoon.

Dinner with friend this evening.

Groceries to get. 

Quaker meeting.

Unless there is enough snow to prevent all things from happening.

Of course it's also Em's first snowstorm with a licence.

Meaning I am going to have to be the MOM and make decision I may not want to make and she may not appreciate in any way shape or form.

I see another soul reviving farm walk in my future. 

Title Lyric: Walk the Dog by the Rolling Stones