Thursday, January 26, 2006

Fortune Cookie Fun

For my Grandparents 60th Wedding Anniversary earlier this year, the entire extended famly all went to a really great chinese restaurant to celebrate. After dinner we were presented with fortune cookies, as is the custom. Mine read as follows:

"You are an interesting and attractive subject."

This was three days after I had to call the police to escort the man who was stalking me off my property and out of my life. I just laughed.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

A Time Before Television

Have you ever wondered what people did with themselves in the evening before the invention of the television or even radio? While doing some research I came across this article in the "Children's Corner" section of an 1889 magazine called The Farmer's Advocate. This picture is from the December issue, and it accompanied a rather lengthy article on how to put on your proper shadow puppet theatre, including various sound effects aimed to please your younger siblings.

The caption reads, "Fun for Christmas Evenings." So, I'm guessing that this was only done as a special treat? The shadow puppets are labeled from top left to right- The bird on the Wing; Pussy-cat; The Wolf; The Angry Swan; The French Soldier; The Jockey on Horseback; The Greyhound; The Soldier Laughing; The Elephant. I have no idea if some of these configurations are even possible.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Depression and Maintaining a Relationship

I know that when I’m in the midst of a bout of depression I have difficulty maintaining relationships of any kind whether it is with friends, family or a significant other. In the end, as difficult as this is to admit it was my depression that effectively ended my marriage-bound relationship with Mr. Intellectual. It was like getting a divorce after that many years together and the division of property and emotions that resulted from our dissolution of the relationship was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. I still have lingering questions and wonder what I could have done differently to stop it from happening. In the end after he moved into the same University town as I was in and begun dealing with me and my depression on a daily basis it quickly became too much for him. The realization of this hit me like a cold hard slap and I slumped into a deeper depression for the next few months while I tried to wrap my head around that knowledge. To say that I was disappointed was an understatement.

After a few months of struggling through an increasingly worsening relationship I ended it with him. That night is like a blur in my head and still brings tears to my eyes when I think of it today. The memory is still too painful and raw to write about yet. I couldn’t be with a man who resented my depression and had a look of resignation in his eyes when he looked at me- not love. I wanted to set him free to find someone who could show him a full and healthy relationship, free of the torments of chronic depression. I wanted him to be happy and I knew that wouldn’t happen with me. So, as much as I loved him I let him go. I think he’s happy with his new girl, but I guess I’ll never really know what happens between the two of them since outward appearances can be so deceiving.

The end result is that I’m afraid to start up a relationship with someone new. I’m afraid of their reaction towards my depression when it finally emerges and the possibility that they too will feel deceived- that the depression wasn’t part of the initial deal and they will not want to take that on. I don’t ever again want to look into the eyes of a man I love only to see rejection where love once was.

Knowing all this, it was with trepidation that I accepted an invitation for drinks on Friday with a man whom I’ve hung out with casually for a while now. We get along really well, but I have that nagging doubt that this too won’t work out when reality makes its appearance. He’s kind, sympathetic and clearly wants to be with me, so much so that he’s actually driven almost 100 miles just so that we could have lunch together before driving all the way back home in time for work. He has put himself out for me already and is looking to move our friendship to the next level. I feel like at this point I’m stable and secure enough with myself and being on my own that I can enter into a relationship without looking for the other person to make me happy, but I’m wondering about the wisdom of this? Have I put Mr. I. and what we shared behind me enough that it won’t interfere with something new? More importantly though, is it really fair for me to ask a man to take me on knowing that even though today might be a good day, the depression is definitely going to be back no matter what, over and over again…

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

A Snow Day

It was snowing. Those great big white flakes that lie heavily on each individual tree limb and etch their form against a steel grey sky. You were a gentleman. And I, I was at ease with you like I have not been with any man in years. We talked while the snow swirled outside, oblivious to the storm. A cup of coffee snuggled between my hands and the width of a couch between us, but the warmth of a smile bringing us closer.

We walked slowly through the snow and I showed you the changes in the landscape since you had been here last. I’m not sure how much of it you actually took in, but I know you did not miss a smile or a single stolen glance. You were complimentary and inquisitive and I wanted to take your arm as we strolled through the freshly fallen snow, but I demurred. Unsure of how the touch of my hand on your arm would be received, I put the thought out of my mind and we continued on.

In a dimly lit pub, almost as old as the city itself you shared bits and pieces of your life with me over drinks and lunch. Surrounded by rough-hewn wood beams and fieldstone walls you opened up to me. Soon our time together drew to a close as the commitments of real life pressed down on us, and our stolen moment was savoured for just a few minutes longer.

We promised to meet again soon and as I walked off alone into the falling snow I knew it would never quite be the same as those few borrowed hours.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Occupational Hazard?

Early last week I was working from home trying to get a few things done in anticipation of the start of the Winter Semester. At one point I leaned over to pick up a textbook from my floor and somehow, either through the weight of it or my awkward one handed grab I managed to pull a muscle in my shoulder! The whole incident would have been hilarious if it wasn’t for how tragically pathetic it is, compounded with the annoyance that a week later I am still in pain over that book. Despite the fact that it probably only weighed in around 5 pounds or so, the shoulder must have been wrenched worse than I thought since I’m having problems working at my desk for extended periods. I’m guessing it’s a combination of shoulder injury and poor posture that leaves me hunched up in pain. As a grad student it’s my job to lug around books and I can’t even seem to do that properly!

When I regaled my hockey team with the tale over post-game drinks at the local bar I was heckled for obvious reasons. I’m now accepting applications for a research assistant, namely someone to shuffle my books too and fro for me so I can avoid any more injury. Any takers?

Friday, January 06, 2006

2006 World Junior's

Congratulations boys, you've earned it. Thanks for a great game.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Life is Annoying

I woke up this morning to the sound of the garbage truck on my street. Before I could register that yes, that is indeed the garbage truck and no, I didn’t manage to put out my garbage last night, it had moved past my house. By the time I bolted out of bed and down to the front window to see if maybe they were just starting my street, the truck had bypassed my empty driveway in favour of my neighbour’s house. I definitely did not want to be that woman on my street who chases after the garbage men in her pajama’s with a severe case of bed-head, garbage bags in tow. I avoided the humiliation and ambled back to bed, cursing silently for missing pick-up. I’m still new to the neighbourhood and trying to figure out the pick-up schedule with the Holiday’s thrown in is not coming easy. I’ll just have to live with an extra bag of garbage and recycling in my kitchen until next week as penance.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Fingerprints of Influence

Spending a significant amount of time at my parents place is a lot like regressing back in time. After three consecutive days in my old bedroom long forgotten memories of high school and my early childhood come creeping back in, some unwelcome but others treasured. It’s not surprising that this should happen since nothing significant has changed in my room since I left for University about 6 years ago. All the same pictures are still up including the painting Mr. Intellectual bought me for our second Christmas, which is hung above my bed, and the picture his father took of us before we left for his high school prom, which sits on my dresser. I thought about putting them away but just couldn’t bring myself to alter my childhood room, even if those pictures serve as a constant reminder of what isn’t in my life at the moment. The pictures that cause the most painful memories are tucked safely away in a drawer.

Seeing these things got me to thinking of him, the time we spent together and how much he has shaped and influenced the person that I am now. I feel like he has left invisible fingerprints all over me that I can’t always see, but are there. Places where he has pressed softly into my skin with a single finger, left an impression, and unalterably changed me. At times the recognition of one imprint of influence appears to me in a most surprising way like my desire to get a miniature schnauzer one day soon, while other fingerprints are intrinsically known to me, like my passion for history. It all began when he encouraged me to take that course in Modern Western Civilizations in my final year in high school despite my avowed dislike of all things to do with history. It would take me almost a year in University to figure out that I really wasn’t cut out for my degree in Psychology and that the siren song of a History degree was calling out to me instead. It’s a choice that I have no regrets making, and in the end it was one of the best things that he has brought into my life.

Mr. I also broadened my literary horizons by introducing me to books that I otherwise would never have given a chance. While I am an avid reader I’m also cautious about new authors, especially if it means purchasing the book since I’m much more careful with money than he is. He threw caution to the wind and bought new books with a sense of abandon that I envy, since I always want to make sure that each book I purchase will be a loved edition to my library. In the end it was I who benefited the most since he introduced me to books on political commentary, philosophy, humour, all time periods of history and obscure writers of the most amazing fiction I had ever read. I still appreciate when he recommends something new to me, although at one point in our relationship I resisted and ignored his choices since it was such a one sided tutelage that I grew to resent.

I realize now that when we met at 17 I was a sponge, hungry for knowledge and open to be influenced. So, I soaked up his musical tastes, favourite books, passion for movies, interests and just about anything he could teach me. He on the other was very much closed off to any influence I may have had on his life and at times openly resisted it. I look at the man he is today and wonder if there are any lasting imprints made by me in our six years together, or if like water off a ducks back I am just a passing memory. I remember the way he would mock my musical choices, deride the fiction I read and turn up his nose at any movie selection I made to the point where I started to shut down. I became more passive to avoid argument and deferred to his choices because it was just easier than standing up for my personal tastes. There were so many movies that I chose that he turned up his nose at but resignedly went to see with me, only to love them later often without telling me until much, much later. It was infuriating and hurtful and rankled with me because I didn’t understand why he was like this.

In the end I know that he is the one that missed out, and my life has been enriched by the new influences I found in him. However, that doesn’t stop me from feeling a profound sadness when I examine him now, only to see a blank slate where I expected to see lasting impressions of my influence over his life. When I look in his eyes I don’t see mirrored there a love of fine art, an interest in photography or the desire to collect antiques. Instead I see nothing of myself or what we shared together beyond the memories we hold in common and although I may be the person who knows him in the most complete sense because of our 8 years of close friendship, I still know so little about him and he seems to know almost nothing of me.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Happy New Year

Happy New Year to my regular reader's, all two of you, and those who happen by. Santa brought me the flu for Christmas so I took a few days to recover from that. I'll be posting more regularily I hope in the new year. Happy 2006!