Wednesday, April 25, 2012

You know you are tired when you lay in a hotel room in Washington DC and swear you can hear spring peepers.

Lessons Learned While Packing 2006 version

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

As I begin to wrap my mind on the next move, I give you this post - From June of 2006. We moved from our lovely cottage on Bow Lake to the Big City. Fourteen years worth of Stuff had to be sorted and discarded. I hope this move isn't nearly as painful.

*cough* I can say with certainty that I have far more shoes than pictured in 2006. And I kind of miss those cassettes. Especially the hand made mix tapes with the groovy art.


I can stop buying floss for awhile. You can see by this that both Terrance and I are chronic flossers. We stash it all over the house, and car and in the pockets of coats. (This is So for you E.)

Um. I'm a little "anal" about the shoes. These are just the ones in the boxes.

And here are the J Crew boots, and strappy wedges...

If you no longer own a cassette player, then it is time to give up your collection of cassettes. Yes, I know that these represent the 80's and 90's for you, but let it go, baby, let it go.

Now I must go untangle my bizarre love for saving National Geographics.

Bitter End

Sunday, April 22, 2012

I am down to the dregs.

The editing the writing,  the re-editing. The trying - in vain - to find how APA dictates I block off text boxes of transcription (um, they don't) and figuring out the asinine heading systems.

The table of contents has yet to be written, although the abstract is complete and sent off for French translation.

The figures are mostly numbered and labelled correctly - and referred to in the proper places in the text.

I am tired. So incredibly tired of looking at this document. The urge to send it off half-finished and just say: "Come on. It's good enough" rises up in me, only to be squashed back down by my perfectionistic streak.

I decide I hate my data and that frankly I am full of shit. Maybe none of this is there at all. I am just weaving a good story out of gossamer and fairy lights.

The rabbits are fighting, the cat is meowing piteously. The child sulks. The spouse mopes.

"How is it coming?" he asked tonight.

I glare. Balefully.

Almost done.

let the circle be unbroken

Thursday, April 19, 2012

I was in my grandmothers bedroom two nights ago. I was sitting on her side of the bed - near where she kept her jewelry box and sewing machine and books she was tackling at that moment. It was her room as I recall it in 1975. I wasn't a child, I was the adult Dawn, but I felt at ease somehow.

When Terrance woke me up, I said, "I was with my Grandmother." He looked at me and said "I 'm sorry I disturbed you from that."

My grandmother died last February. If there was one person who could have gotten me to cross the fear of returning to the place of my birth, it was her. I did and saw her to her grave, not unlike she saw me from the cradle. I have always seen myself as an extension of dreams she couldn't attain as a woman in the 1940's. She was whip smart. She knew and remembered tons of information, most gained from her reading books, which were stacked in massive piles all through the house. My aunt and mother told me that shortly prior to her death, they were watching Jeopardy and my grandmother whispered out an answer to a plant name in Latin.

Such a Dawn Move, that. I am dying but here is one last piece of esoteric knowledge I can throw into the universe. The genetic line is displayed in shocking clarity through that moment.

Being in her house after the funeral was disconcerting. She hadn't lived there for easily six months, as she had been in the hospital and then my aunt's house. I had not been there for well over 27 years. Not only was I returning as a Giant in Lilliput, but her essence was distilled. There were some stacks of books, but it was not my grandmothers house.

I walked around the yard for awhile. Even though it was February, there were some peeks of green trying to push through. I took pictures of some of the irises that were making an early run for it.

The funeral had been hard. Not only for the obvious reasons, but because my family is such a rag-tag group. Believe me when I say I wouldn't want it any other way - it was from this crucible that I emerged.

My uncle with schizophrenia looked awful. He has been on medication for a decade or so, and while it helps control some of the mental health issues, it takes a terrible toll on his physical body. I can still see him in there, and his voice sounds very similar. But he is slipping away. He recognized me before my mother did, looking up through red, tear swollen eyes to say "Hello Dawn Ann."

My other uncle, the youngest of the family, looked the best I can remember in ages. As a result of his last suicide attempt ( which I would be remiss in not mentioning that while it was indeed horrible, the attempt, I can not lie to say that I laughed my ass off through the whole terrible description of him trying to knock himself unconscious with a rock while he stood in a pond, hoping he would drown) he was finally on medications. At 49, the man was finally on medication. He is, of course, bi-polar.

There was another moment where he realized my grandfather had forgotten the final payment for the funeral and was very concerned that they weren't going to bury my grandmother.

In my own attempt to be both practical and funny, I made mention that I figured it happened a lot - I mean otherwise they would have dead people "stacked up like cordwood in the back." I am not sure if he found it as funny as I did.

Both of my uncles live at home with my grandparents, now simply with my grandfather. Looking at the lot of them after her funeral, I wondered how they were going to manage - Like tame ducks set free in the woods. Not helpless - but disoriented, vulnerable.

My grandfather died a year later. He had wavered in and out of knowing who I was during the funeral and afterward. At one point he looked at me and said "Were you the baby that lived here?"

Yes. Yes, I was that baby. From 40 years ago, I was that baby.


Monday, April 16, 2012

I've taken a position. An ECE professor position.

I'm terrified and ecstatic.

Moving On.

Easter Basket Blues

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Another holiday come and gone and we find ourselves befuddled by a culture that is so much like ours...and yet is so not "ours".

Easter. In our non-religious household, Easter is about the Easter bunny. And the Easter basket. Wooo-Hooo! The haul of the Easter basket! Well placed between Christmas and late Spring Birthday's, the Easter basket represented a mid level gift giving holiday.

My own Easter baskets as a child were filled with candy, bubbles, new jump ropes, chalk, silly putty and various other fun outdoor toys. I mean - EASTER! We can go outside and play with those bubbles!

This tradition has passed to Emily who gets a plethora of fun things in her Easter basket.

This years haul included:

Playmobil Easter Bunny School Set
Peter Pan DVD
New fancy sparkly jump rope
a magic stapler
A sparkle baton
scented bubbles (3)
Bath salts and bath bombs
glue sticks
colored sidewalk chalk
silly putty
Stickers and fun notebooks
scented gel pens
a festive easter snowglobe
a few pieces of good chocolate
and some other things I am surely forgetting

She is an only child , and yes - gets more than she probably should - but I love to see her find the basket and the contents.

When she went upstairs to give the neighbors some easter chocolate, she discovered a ( to her) horrifying fact.

THEY DON'T HAVE EASTER BASKETS! Sure, they got some candy - but there was no massive haul, as indicated by her life experiences. This was confounded further by the invitation to participate in their egg hunt in the front yard.

By all external indications, they celebrate Easter - but No basket? There was a two year old with NO BASKET? What kind of sick world is this when the Easter bunny clearly stops downstairs and fills and "almost nine year old" girls basket chockablock full and ignores the 2 year old upstairs?

So we started asking people here- Did they get Easter baskets? And we began to find that No - most of them didn't. Sure, they got some easter candy - but no massive basket filled with goodies. Heck, most got no gifts on Easter at all.

I am finding that living in Canada is like this. So many things are the same. Mirror images of our life in the States...and then something comes along and I realize we are not IN the states anymore. Our cultural identity - our cultural habits are just that - bound by the culture we have grown up living in. I realize that we are Americans living in Canada and that we are obviously different.

That is a strange feeling.

April 2007, Gimlet Eye

In the last stretches here folks, Dissertation has to be handed in within a few weeks and I am running at a breakneck pace to try and figure out how to simultaneously edit, write, and format this behemoth ( I suspect the final edition will clock in at about 180 pages) - while coping with a job search ( it looks like I will be employed after all!) and your normal every day sensitive Cat with bizarre rashes, rabbits who demand obeisance,  Teen daughters with hormones run amok and 50-year-old husband who dances in front of me despite the obvious baleful glares shot at him over computer screens. 

All in all, exhausting - but oddly familiar. Thanks for bearing with me through this.


A Cautionary Tale

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

-Montreal, Canada

Yesterday morning a Pair of shoes was spotted and declared "the most evil shoes to ever exist". This declaration followed the assertion by a male parent that a "type" of shoe needed to be worn, since Gym was one of the subjects on the school schedule.

The victim stormed through the house, shouting loudly that other people didn't need to wear Gym shoes to Gym...that her friend "X" wore Crocs all YEAR through gym last year and "never fell or hurt her self or anything". Following this shocking revelation, an argument ensued about the relative physical fitness merits of Ballerina flats in pink camo with glitter on the toes.

When faced with dual parents declaring that YES, she would wear these shoes for gym, the wily victim changed tactics, declaring the gym shoes "Too small" and "Hurt her feet". Upon closer examination, it was revealed that the shoes in question had very recently been purchased and  were, in fact, fitting perfectly.

Denied the opportunity to go to gym with either the glitter pink Crocs or the glitter camo ballerina flats, the victim sulked the entire walk to school, dragging her feet dramatically to show her deep and heartfelt opposition to this demonic and oppressive footwear.

Children should keep alert to any and all practical fashion choices which deny them the chance to break their ankles during gym, a claim which the victim decried as "impossible and stupid".

"My life is ruined", the victim was heard to say as she entered the school.


The offensive shoes pictured above. Beware.

Sept 6, 2007 Gimlet Eye

Adventures in Travel

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Dear Travel Gods,

Well played, you. I only lost one item, but it was a very important item. I see that you are paying me back for the several near misses.

Baleful Regards,

Dear Seat Mate on my Last Flight,

Your constant dry heaving and noises of distress worried me mightily. When you began to pull out the air sickness bag and open it while holding it up to your mouth, my distress increased exponentially. As I plastered myself into the wall of the aircraft in an attempt to keep whatever was causing you such tumult to be passed to me, I engaged in a moral struggle over whether I should offer you some kind of comfort and/or aid. On the one hand, I felt like I should inquire as to your overall health. On the other, you were such an overall douche before we boarded the plane that I almost felt justified in pretending to sleep, while attempting to draw all my flesh into the smallest space own octopus in a jar trick.

You never vomited...and I never inquired. Let's call this a moral draw, shall we?

Baleful Regards,

Dear Super Shuttle Driver,

I really appreciated your prompt arrival at the hotel. I had just finished my conference talk and had to be at the airport for the final leg of the journey.

However, the dispute between you and central dispatch? The one that went on for a full hour plus? Oh, that was very very worrying. Perhaps, in the future, you could avoid using phrases like "Are you going to hurt me" when addressing the dispatch gentleman who is demanding that you come back to home base immediately after dropping us off.  Switching tactics and pretending to not know who was speaking with you (With the phrase "Who is this?") was no more helpful.

Just drop us off at the airport and go back to face the consequences of whatever you have done. I suspect it includes driving about aimlessly, as I certainly noticed that you Literally drove in circles for 30 minutes.

Baleful Regards,

Dear TSA worker at Washington-Dulles,

Your ignorance of the "trusted traveler" program is no excuse for the way you behaved towards me at the security checkpoint. As I patiently attempted to explain to you, this program is designed for people such as myself who cross the border frequently. The Nexus card includes a background check done by both the US Homeland security and Canadian security forces. I also had to undergo bio-metric eye scans and finger printing before the card was issued.

Therefore, your loud demands for "American ID" not only annoyed me, but most likely scared others in line.  You asked for a driver's license and (again loudly) exclaimed that my Quebec driver's license was not "American" and you couldn't accept that.

It was at that juncture that you pulled me out of line and stood me in front of the other travelers. The added touch of the officer stationed next to me with his hand resting on his gun was special.

When your supervisor arrived, I began to express my concern that TSA agents had NO IDEA what a US government issued Nexus card might look like..and your supervisor began to Yell, "MA'AM! I UNDERSTAND THAT YOU ARE ANGRY!"

I attempted to iterate that I wasn't angry, but merely discomfited at the ignorance of my ID, when the supervisor yelled that "THEY DON'T SEE THESE VERY OFTEN SO THEY DON'T KNOW WHAT THEY ARE".

I don't envy your job and I wasn't trying to yell at you. However, if the US Government has issued this ID - with standards far above a driver's license or even a passport, may I suggest that you and your agents get on the fucking ball and learn to identify a Nexus card?

Baleful Regards,

Dear Loki-the-cat,

Nice losing a patch of hair on your leg from the stress of me being gone. Now you have the husband convinced that you have ringworm...and by extension HE has ringworm. Which neither of you do. You are just a cat with terrible separation anxiety, and he is a hypochondriac.

Baleful Regards,
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