Is Confliction a word?

ClearBlue says NO
--and most of me is relieved.
Part of me isn't.
I guess that lamb just really smelled bad!


Beauty is as Beauty Does?

Walking along the street I saw the most beautiful girl in the world: a mane of auburn hair, eyes that contained the ocean, oval face too big for her lithe body, just a bit of a bum, and an air of melancholy I could feel from 20 feet away.

My first thought was that THIS is the kind of face men would start a war over--

--and my second thought?

I would rather merely have my beautiful moments, because beautiful doesn't mean the person you love notices all the things you want them to. Is it possible to be too captivated by a face?

So I tucked my fingers more tightly into my pockets and hurried home to the promise of a budding something that has little, if anything, to do with my face.


I bring my work home with me.

We both woke up this morning just after 5 am, spontaneously, bolt wide awake, staring at eachother, and in the shadows he said "you have pretty eyes" before rolling back over and trying to make his body behave the way it's supposed to that early in the morning.

I plumped my pillows up, smiling to myself, and started to drift off again, and just before my brain succumbed to complete fantasy-land I caught it thinking "I wonder how I chart that?"

I almost laughed out loud, but I didn't want to wake him up, so I just hoped I would remember to write it down.


The People on The Bus

This morning, sleepy headed and dreaming on the way home (having domestically picked up milk at that tiny corner store that sells the weird childrens' hats) I had just enough time to wonder about the People on The Bus. Where are they all going? Are they happy to be on their collective way somewhere, or dreading the end of the journey?

And then I was in the door, out of my boots, and greeted with kisses and toast, hot chocolate and Pushing Daisies, and I barely had time to wonder at all until just now, when I nearly beat C's score in Tetris and finished, proud of myself, my brain empty--and suddenly I wondered where they are now.

And did they wonder about me?


This Music

I'm bouncing on my ball
Tapping my feet
In my head, visions of far-off lands
And a grungy stage, rowdy crowd
Bobbing their heads along to the Irish lilt.

Bed is made (blanket over the dirty spot)
Pillows plumped
Toilet cleaned and sink scrubbed.
The mirror shows my face
Instead of the spatter of toothpaste.

And I am waiting for a friend to call
Watching him draw by the window
And thinking my life might be perfect
To the soundtrack of this music.


Woman in the Mirror

This morning at 2 am, in the bathroom at the hospital, I looked in the mirror and saw myself as exactly who I want to be. It is exactly who I am. We are the same, and I am happy.

I wonder how long it will last? 6 months? A year? 5 years? 50? At almost-79, will I wake up to pee and find myself looking at the me I want myself to be?

I think it might be fleeting--one of those proofs that only shows up when you're least expecting it and disappears just as fast. Proof that I am loved, loving, and doing what I enjoy. Proof that I am worth the unexpected compliments I sometimes get. Proof that, my hair amess, I am still the Queen of Everything.

So I guess I'm lucky I happened to look in the mirror at 2 am and notice there was something different about the woman in the mirror.


He makes the bed (a work in progress)

This house is a disaster,
But he makes the bed.
We can be a war zone,
And he makes the bed.
I'm sleeping...
He still makes the bed (over me).
I do the laundry,
And he makes the bed.
We get up in the morning
He still makes the bed.
We roll in the hay,
And he makes the bed around us.
Safely tucked in.
He makes the bed.

David Usher and OH MY GOD I'm old!

So tomorrow night I'm heading to the Mod Club (seriously? that's the best name they could come up with?) to see David Usher in Concert for what is not the first time--and won't be the last. Pretty excited! He puts on a great show. Plus, with that scar on his belly from the shark...well...yum. Could be taller, though.

Anyway. I realized that it was almost 12 years ago that I saw Usher play with Moist in Prince George, BC--I was 17 and it was my first "road trip" (a 90 minute drive to stay in a pretty good hotel that my father paid for--thanks, Dad!) with my sister and a few of our friends.

Wouldn't you know it, I backed into a bus full of basketball players on the way to the concert and the guy driving ripped me a new asshole. Never heard from him again--probably because my friend and sister spent the evening hanging out with the players while I slept and had nightmares about my father finding out.

Funny thing is, when he did (I told him, I'm a wuss that way) he didn't care. Then again, this is the same man who laughed until he cried when I drove our car underneath an entire Dodge on my first day with my learner's permit. Not so stable, my family.

But yeah. I'm old. It's official.


The Interview.

Where to start? The beginning, maybe.
-The beginning of what?
Go as far back as you can remember. What do you see?
-Stars, and the earth from a distance.
Well, maybe not that far back. Start with August--maybe early September.

-Okay. But I'm not going to make this one of those sappy, non-specific meanderings I'm usually prone to. *smirk* I've decided I have enough substance to write something a little more interesting. Or remember something more interesting to write, anyway.


-September 1st. It was warm. The movers were late at least a couple of hours and we had practically done their jobs for them by the time they got there. Ended up being pretty cheap, really. The Romanian one was slightly attractive, in a moving-boy kind of way, and we talked about guitars while he loaded up our stuff. I felt bad, for a minute or two, not helping them out more, and then I thought fuck it, I'm paying them for this. So I watched.

By the time we got all our boxes moved in and paid the guys it was after noon, and then they closed the door and we were standing there in the middle of all these boxes and all I could think was that I couldn't wait to be unpacked but I didn't know where to start. He suggested, in a very practical manner, that we put the bed together first, and that's what we did. There was sun coming in the balconette and breeze blowing through the house; it was hot but beautiful and I started to get excited about starting over again. The starting is always what gets me really excited. Maintenance is something I'm still working on--but starting, man, that's the part that makes my heart dance and my eyes sparkle. I wonder if that's why people lose it after a while, no new beginnings.


Anyway. I can't even remember that first week. Lots of boxes, he folds them up neatly into packages and squares and puts them all where they fit, behind the recycling bins in the front yard. I am happy to watch him do it, something methodical and planned and calming about someone who is precise. I am not precise. I am rarely methodical or planned. Yang to his Yin in this regard. Will his rituals rub off on me? I wonder, and then the moment passes and we tumble to the couch and I wonder where he learned to kiss like this.

I still can't quite figure out what turns him on. Something about randomness and the unexpected, he kisses me breathless and then goes back to his work, ignoring the stunned look on my face. Or we wind up in bed and when he moves over me and his eyes meet mine I sometimes wonder what he will look like at 35. Only mostly I don't think at all. He is learning me slowly, and we are now unequal: I cannot quite figure him out and so feel selfish. I take more than I give in the bedroom. He says he doesn't mind, and we try not to talk about it.

This trip away has been a bit of an eye-opener for me. I am capable of being away from him without constantly wondering what he is doing--this is a good thing, considering the summer and how it almost went. Did go, for a while. Capable, but he is a shadow next to me because I turn around to tell him things and he's not there. Pick up the phone to dial and then remember that he worries when I call him too often. Shadows of the past and all that jazz. I tried reminding him that we're in a different place but after a couple of phone conversations where he sounded panicked and hemmed in I stopped calling. It's only a week. Although sometimes I wish he were the kind of person who would just be glad that I was calling, happy to hear my voice, instead of imbuing it with meaning. I have a hard enough time, myself, not imbuing everything with meaning. I certainly don't need his help second guessing my own motives. Maybe he's just worried I'll turn out to be someone different than the person he fell in love with. I wish I could tell him I won't, but I might, so that isn't fair, really, is it? Everyone changes.

What about work?

You mean the "job" that I do? I don't really think of it as work. It's more like a very, very intense and scary vocational calling. I didn't expect to feel this way about my first job. It makes me slightly terrified that I won't ever want to work anywhere else. What if I end up stuck in Toronto forever, unable to leave the first truly inspiring place I have ever worked? I don't really want to think about it.

But I envy them, these new parents I spend time with. Especially the first-timers. I don't necessarily envy the physicality of having a baby for the first time. I envy them the experience of having something be infinitely more important than self or partner. There are exceptions, of course, but that mother who cries when she touches the crowning head of her child, and then pushes with renewed energy just to see her baby that much sooner--the father who whispers we've been waiting for you for a very long time as he looks into his first daughter's eyes? They know something I don't. I am not part of the club. For now I feel lucky to be able to witness the intiation, so to speak.

See? There I go. Sappy again.

Tell me about your friends.

Oh, I have them. They're around. Mostly we're in touch on the phone, by email, by Facebook. Somewhere along the line I became a very solitary person in some ways. Not many people know me well at all, now--at least not people I see in person. I miss that, in a way, but in a way I am not capable of expending all the energy necessary to forge new ties. What I did have in way of expendable-ness he's taken up and I don't grudge him the cost. And, really, I don't think I'm at my best at the moment. Struggling, really, to make sense of it all. I was much more carefree in Europe. *laughs* I think everyone is more carefree in Europe. I am embracing the challenge of bringing "Europe" home with me.

I do miss them, though. Especially the ones who have known me "ever since" and with whom I've managed to stay in touch despite everything. Miraculous, really.
Yeah, I miss them. Being here the past week has reminded me of two things: it is never possible to lose a true friend and a true friend picks a spouse you will learn to adore. At least, all of my true friends have so far. I just wish it hadn't taken me so long to get to know them, you know? Bits and pieces are not enough.

The good thing about going home is that I won't have to envy them their casual touches. They've seen eachother through things I haven't had to battle yet and it makes them reverent of one another in a way only hardship really inspires. Is it wrong to envy that? It's not that I want to be free of all things difficult--only that if I need to experience them, I want them to change me somehow, and make someone look at me with awe.

I'll miss the kook, though, and her kook baby. They make me happy to be alive.
It's a good thing he does, too (make me happy to be alive, that is). But I still want to move back to the mountains.

Did any of this make any sense?

If you like, yeah. I'll write it down. Don't expect it to be any good, though.


Tomorrow is today is tomorrow.

I've just finished packing my room--two and a half years in this place, and it's not very big, but so much STUFF! 4 garbage bags have been filled with things I don't need/want/use anymore, and are waiting for Wednesday's trucks to whisk them away into oblivion. My pictures, curtains, paintings--all off the walls, leaving them looking sad and expectant.

We are pseudo-adults, hiring a van and two movers to get our junk from point A to point B in the morning, going to look at flatscreen televisions this afternoon, planning a trip to Ikea next week for all the things we'll discover we don't have over the next few days.

Together we try to make sense of what it all means--silently, questioning one another with our eyes when those playful glances turn serious. It amazes me, the power of a true "look"--how much we can say without saying anything at all. We apologize for all the things we can't say out loud: I love you, I'm scared, I'm not sure but I'm excited. I WANT to be sure. I am trying to take this all in. I don't believe it will last, but if it does it will be the best thing that has ever happened to me. We still touch one another carelessly, aimlessly, surprised when those touches generate heat. Will I always want you this much?

Later on, looking back, we will laugh at our bumbling attempts to say what we both know: that this is a precious thing, simple and easy, but that does not guarantee success. We both know it. We don't care. The sex is too good. The laughs come too frequently. And if I fear that he tells me his capacity to be crazy about anyone is ruined just to keep me from wondering if his inability to be blown away by this has to do with me specifically, I keep my mouth shut. Time will tell.

In the meantime, I tape up my last box and hope for the best, for both of us. We deserve it.



So it seems my life as I know it is coming to an end--in more ways than one.  In about ten days I will move in with a man I am quietly becoming more and more sure is the person I will one day marry.  

We've found a little place of our own in Toronto--room at the front for him to draw, room at the the back for me to sleep, room in the middle for us to eat--and are plotting our master entertainment system, talking about buying household goods from the Blue Banana in Kensington Market and silently trying to wrap our heads around the ease with which we still come together.  He takes things logically, not looking too far into the future, and I let my brain run away with "what if"s and "one day"s and we meet somewhere in the middle, when I ask him for reassurance that this is what he wants, and he looks at me and smiles and reminds me that it is, indeed, the right thing for both of us right now.  More than that is impossible to ascertain, and he will not be pinned down.  I am proud of him and simultaneously terrified that he refuses to look to the future because he refuses to commit himself to me.  I wage war with my insecurity daily and somehow, I usually win.  

Ten days after we move in, I'll be on the schedule by myself, as an RN, working Labour & Delivery.  Responsible for handing expectant parents their child for the first time.  Responsible for answering the most mundane of questions: "how much do babies poop" and the most impossible of questions: "why did my baby die days before his due date?"  I will not return to school this September, will not worry about how I'll be able to afford rent and life in a city which grows more expensive daily.  I will not have four weeks off at Christmas, will be lucky to get either Christmas or New Years off; even more lucky to be able to go home and see my family.  This year I will, for the first time, have my own Christmas tree with the beginning of a family of my own.  I will enter the ranks of those who have 2 weeks' vacation every year.  

I am happy. 
I am afraid.  
I am growing up.  


Shedding Stones

It's been about a month since I last wrote anything--this is what usually happens: after I try my hand at poetry, I subsequently decide that there isn't any point in my writing ANYTHING anymore, because I'm not very good at poetry!

Anyway, my life is, on the surface, not much different than it was a month ago. I'm still seeing someone who amazes and challenges and compliments me--but it's the fact that he makes me laugh out loud when I'm not expecting to that makes me the happiest. I'm still in school--with five weeks left in my undergrad I'm starting to really think about what I'm going to "do" with my life. I'm excited about having a new job--and even though I'm a little nervous about the very first few shifts, I am REALLY looking forward to putting to use all of the things I've learned in the past four years. I'm doing crazy clinical shifts, getting my last few assignments out of the way, and working whenever I can (with the occasional call to the 'rents for what will probably be my last withdrawals from the Bank of Dad for a good long while, if not forever...*sniff*).

What is underneath the surface, though, is changing. It's been so subtle that I didn't notice it at first, but I am slowly getting back to that place in myself that is radiant, and joyous, and confident. I trust myself. I trust my emotions, and intuitions, but am becoming more and more adept at also questioning them and not letting them dictate my immediate reactions. I'm starting to communicate again--imperfectly, but it's still there. I don't feel the need to talk about everything over and over again to be comfortable with it. The last remnants of my last relationship are being shrugged off, as are the far-reaching effects of my experience with hormonal birth control.

What I am enjoying the most about this quiet transformation is my renewed ability to talk about theoretical ideas, to explore things which require effort from me--blogs and journals (my own and those of others), the Caveman's cartoons and some of the online comics he's interested in--(check out Sam and Lilah!)--
Sam & Lilah
which, surprisingly, I am finding myself relating to and really enjoying, books about ideas, books about spirituality--things that I did not, for the longest time, have the energy to immerse myself in. It's just in the past little while, looking back, that I have been realizing how much energy I was putting into keeping myself whole and "sane." All of my resources were directed to the task at hand: surviving my life. Now that I am beginning to move out of that portion of my life and into this one, I am lighter--almost as if I've been shedding stones from my pockets, a few here, another there, a trail leading back the way I came.

I am enjoying my journey again--hoping that it will allow me to travel beside the ones I love for as long as possible, but open to the possibility of those paths separating, hopefully to re-converge. I am hopeful for myself and my abilities, and incredibly happy that I have the resources, once again, to go outside of myself.

Funnily enough, I think that some of these resources come from the patients I am in contact with. Giving to them, making them comfortable, doing the best job I can in the time allowed, walking away from a day feeling like I gave the best part of myself--these things renew me. I am more aware of my self and my own needs because I have to be, in order to meet theirs. I challenge my own biases in order to provide the best care I am possible of giving regardless of background. In these moments, I am sure I have chosen something much greater than a career--in this phase of my life, Nursing is a calling.

Good thing, too.....


What's this? (For Caanan)

It's unrehearsed
And undefined
(And imperfect).

It's surprising
And yet, not,
(This is preferable).

It's presence,
Not Presents
(No tally, no score).

It's shaking legs
And shaking hearts
(No wonder!).

It's precious
And cynical
(Stay just as you are).

It's refusing
To be serious
(Oh, but when you are!).

It's something
I look forward to,
(Who could ask for more?).


The Birthday Bribe, and other Stories.

I'm usually pretty even-keel, and if I'm not, can convince myself to be, but occasionally my stupid, emotional, stereotypically "female" side takes over. Today was one of those times. As I just told my friend Sarah (on Facebook, where I update my status every other minute in a sort of "mini" blog), this is an attempt to write what Nursing calls a Reflective Analysis. The purpose of the RA (which is loathed by everyone) is to help one better understand oneself through telling a story about something that happened, and then picking it apart and using literature to make it relevant. I don't have any literature written about myself, so I'm going to use examples from my LAST relationship to generalize my reaction to THIS one.
Get it?


I bought the Caveman (names have been changed, obviously. Duh.) a guitar for his birthday, and even though his birthday isn't for another three weeks, I took it over and ruined the surprise today. I wanted him to have an extra three weeks to play around with it before he leaves (the leaving factors into this story later).

He, of course, was super excited and we tuned it right away and fiddled around with it for about an hour before deciding to go get some eats at the Gladstone (risotto balls with brie and butternut squash, deep-fried crust, by the way, is FANTASTIC).

Let me preface this entire piece by saying that I fall a little more in love with this man every time we spend time together. Really. I'm not just saying it. I love the way he touches me, and looks at me, and makes me laugh so hard I cough up loogies, and how we find the same things funny and don't care if people watch while we make weird faces and having staring contests in restaurants.

Anyway. One of the things that drives me crazy is that he teases me a bit. I'm fairly easily turned on, and he knows it, and takes full advantage. Maybe 25-30% of the time this leads to sex. The rest of the time he's just goofing around (I can usually tell, and STILL get turned on, stupid, stupid) and when the commercial break is over, so is the funny business. I didn't mind so much when we were honeymooning and having sex every time we looked at each other, but a run of bad cough/cold and flu symptoms and some other complications have slowed that down somewhat and for the past two weeks, we've barely even been kissing (there IS a physical reason for it, or I would be freaking out).

Preface # 2: Just because the sex is less frequent, doesn't mean it's worse--it's actually gotten better and better!

Flashback: sex petering out was the death knell for my last relationship, so even though I understand it from a logistical standpoint, this still scares the shit out of me on a purely emotional level and makes me a little panicky sometimes.

So: we're in Starbucks on our way back home after having a good meal, lots of laughs, blah blah, and I say something about the guitar, and he laughs and says "it's a big present, isn't it? you're probably hoping I'll stick around for a while" or something to that effect, and it's pretty funny, because he's obviously not going anywhere, but on the way home I get to thinking: I'm really scared that when he leaves in May he won't come back. And then I think: "did I really try to buy him into staying? Subconsciously, of course, but still?" And then: "maybe that's why he doesn't seem as keen to have sex right now, maybe he's not planning on coming back!"

Needless to say, I'm behaving like a complete moron at this point. These thoughts have no basis in reality, and my logical brain knows this.

The piece of me that's still raw and open and terrified from the last go-round, though, is pretty tough. She likes the drama, and tries to make herself cry about things that aren't even happening on a regular basis. Right now she's telling me that we're probably not having sex because he doesn't find me attractive anymore and is watching the free porn site I told him about (fun on your own, or with a friend!) instead. All of this because the last guy I fell in love with pulled that exact stunt (minus the me telling him about the free porn, he knew way more about it than I did) and didn't bother telling me until he'd already made up his mind we were over.

I guess you only find out which spots are still sore if you press on them a bit. This particular spot smarts enough to bring tears to my eyes, and the frustrating part is that it's MY problem, not his. I can't bring myself to talk it over with him because I know he's going to tell me to stop being a blockhead, and I'm sick of arguing with myself about it.

May, however, is much too close for my liking, and a big piece of me won't believe that this can work until the Caveman returns.


Some People Have Real Problems (and I'm not Some People!)

First off: this is a shameless plug for Sia's new album (Some People Have Real Problems), which is playing non-stop on my computer!

No, but really: the title applies to more than just a good songstress's latest batch of funky tunes. I'm not Some People--and lately I've been realizing it. Here are some of the situations that make me stop and think about how lucky I am:

1. Having to move a woman whose kidney transplant failed and had to be taken out, out of the room where those with new transplants rejoice.

2. Watching 4 families (and I'm talking LOTS of people, here, not just our typical Nuclear-Types) wait to be told who the 2 available kidneys were going to. And then watching the two who weren't compatible congratulate the two who WERE, and joke about how now, at least, they were at the top of the waiting list.

3. Getting a job offer for a position starting 3 days after my classes end! The contract is in the mail, and if everything checks out, I'll become a member of the Nursing Resource Team at Toronto East General Hospital on April 14th, 2008.

4. Hearing an elderly man talk about how his and his wife's failing health is keeping them from travelling to the West Coast to visit their only son and only (8 month old) grandchild and then heading to my aunt & uncle's to visit my grandmother, and hug her for a little longer than necessary.

5. Being in a relationship that stimulates and challenges me, and makes me excited to see what happens next, when I know so many people who wish they were in the same position....
This time, I'm in it for the journey, and not the destination.

Retroactive: Feb 12th, 2007

I wrote this on my last birthday--and am still proud of it :)

February 12th, 2007:
Waiting for public transportation is a funny kinda thing. It's kinda like dating in a way.

Take Friday, for example: I kept trying to time my departures from work, school, home to coincide with the transit system. It never works. It doesn't matter what time the schedule says something will pull up in front of you, it never shows up on time. Sometimes you turn a corner to see it pulling away from your stop--sometimes you wait...and wait....and wait...and wait.

I waited at the corner of Queen and Woodbine for 35 minutes in the cold. It gave me a lot of time to think about the time I spend waiting.

Usually it's for something headed in the right direction--and usually, as I mentioned before, that something doesn't show up when expected. I stand on the sidewalk and watch car after car heading in the opposite direction, empty and inviting looking. I wonder where they're going and what will happen when they get there. Sometimes I have an irresistable urge to hop onto one just for the ride--so I do. When it gets where it's going, or I feel like getting off, I cross the street to try and get back in the direction I started travelling in in the first place. Then a packed car comes along, and I disregard it in favor of an emptier car further back--only to find that I should have pushed my way onto that car because it was going exactly where I want to be and the emptier car is a short turn. Then I wonder why I didn't work a little harder to get on that first car and stay on it.
Trying to plan in order to get to a busier intersection with more connections rarely works--usually I end up waiting on a corner, frustrated, while buses and streetcars go in every direction except for the ones I want them to.

And sometimes I wait for so long that I just think "fuck it" and start to walk. Without fail, when that happens, I see my car go whizzing past me when I'm halfway in between two stops.