Friday, June 30, 2006


I just want to get laid. To anesthetize the feelings that are overwhelming me. Mindless fucking until I stop seeing your face in my mind and feeling the ghost of your touch on my body. Until the last whispered breath in my ear is silenced. Until the memory of your eyes drinking me in are no more. Until I stop waking up in the middle of the night expecting you to be beside me. Until I can just be.

But I know when it’s over you’ll still be there, in the shadows of my mind and I will not have found any more peace than before I fell into the arms and bed of someone else. No matter how hard I try or how many days have passed you are still there. Permanently etched into my memory, for better or for worse.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

A Series of Unfortunate Choices:

1. Decide to give up coffee a week before you have to start pulling 18 to 20 hour days in order to finish your thesis on time.

2. Make the executive decision not to buy gas on Monday night while you were out and the price was 94 cents a litre, figuring it might go down more. Tuesday morning discover that prices have soared overnight to 103.5 cents a litre only to remember your car has less than a quarter tank of gas and you must drive to work.

3. Forego buying groceries for an entire month in an effort to squeek by on the remaining money in your bank account. Consume just about everything left in your freezer, pantry and fridge until your left with condiments, some frozen bagels your mother gave you and some canned beans your room mates left, which you despise and would never eat.

4. Decide to drive to the local Starbucks on the misguided notion that they have free wireless after you can't handle not checking your email and favourite websites for 24 hours straight because your ISP decide to randomly quit on you. Discover said wireless is indeed not free and are thus forced to drive to campus to access the internet- something you were hoping to avoid to save gas, time and money.

5. Realize once you reach campus that you've forgotten an important document you needed to photocopy, a graph you were planning on scanning to include in an appendix and that list of articles to collect next time you hit up the campus library.

Taken this morning from my brother's garden, because it can't always be about the angst and the depression.

Monday, June 26, 2006


Patience is a virtue. It’s something that I can have in spades at one moment and absolutely none in other situations. At the moment I’m feeling incredibly impatient with Constable Neil and the pace of things. It just so happens that we’re both at a time in our life and career’s that is incredibly intense, time consuming and leaves little time for a social life. While I’m finishing up my thesis, he’s completing his police training before joining a force in a town over from the University town. Incidentally his graduation from OPC and the completion of my thesis will coincide in the same month and the pace of life will slow down a bit, but not completely abate.

Right now the only time we see each other is on the weekends, and only if we both happen to be in my hometown on the same weekend. Lately it hasn’t really worked out that well for us. We’ve been emailing back and forth, but he only replies once or twice a week if I’m lucky so it’s a bit frustrating to say the least. There are so many reasons for me to just walk away and forget about it. It would be so much easier to remain as casual friends, and yet there’s a part of me that doesn’t quite want to give up just yet. I’m just not used to having a man who’s interested in me act so disinterested to the point where I feel like I’m an out of sight, out of mind girl to him.

Besides, we have some unfinished business between us from this night. I have yet to cash in on my winnings from one of the games of poker we played. I’m hoping I’ll get a chance to collect this coming weekend, and if I’m still not really feeling it between us after that I’ll make the decision.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Commuting to Work

Prior to this summer I have never had a job where the drive in was more than 5 or 10 minutes depending on traffic. Transferring locations this summer meant a commute for the first time in my life. However, it quickly became a non-issue since it’s only 20 to 30 minutes and I was pleasantly surprised to find it a good way to relax and decompress instead of the chore I thought it would turn out to be.

I take the back roads to work and it takes me through some of the most picturesque countryside. The drive takes me past rolling fields of corn, soy, sorghum, and the occasional pasture of horses or cattle. Being so close to the country was one of the attractions to my University town. I liked being in a city, but close to the wide-open spaces and farms I find familiar and comforting.

After a two-week hiatus from work to complete the research on my thesis and get some solid writing under my belt the thought of returning to work was anything but comforting. I find it difficult to switch gears and get my head out of my thesis and into the necessary mode for the job. The two are so completely unrelated that the transition can be a bit jarring, especially after having been away for close to 3 weeks when all is said and done. So I wasn’t exactly in the best of moods driving in earlier this week. It was hot, humid and the air conditioning in my car had decided to crap out on me earlier this spring, so driving with the windows down was a necessity not an option. Even the relatively peaceful drive in wasn’t enough to change my mood. That is until I drove past one particular farm.

Nestled between a bush and in innocuous looking field of weeds and some indistinguishable green vegetation sat a small white shack and several cars. It wasn’t until I drove past the field that I realized what it was. The heavy scent of ripe strawberries in the warm sun wafted through my open windows. Memories of home and the farm flooded my mind. The memory of picking strawberries with my Mother and brothers in the early summer as a kid, bent over the plants in the beating sun and starring down endless rows of fruit willing my carrier of quart boxes to be filled so we could go home. The hours spent cleaning the hulls from the fruit and watching as my mother turned that fruit into jam, the heat of the stove and the scent of the pureed fruit boiling from her biggest pot filling our kitchen and house. The neat rows of jars filled with freshly made scarlet red strawberry jam lining the kitchen counter to cool.

Driving past that strawberry patch in the late afternoon sun I inhaled deeply and closed my eyes for a brief moment to savor the memories that only that scent can bring. It was a completely unexpected experience and caught me off guard. I had driven past this field for weeks without realizing what it was until it blindsided me. The scent only lingered for a moment before I had driven past the strawberry patch and the normal scent of the country returned. It made me homesick for the farm and my family, but it also brought a smile to my face.

While my school friends spent their summer days watching tv, playing video games, swimming or going to camp I was working side by side with my family on the farm. At the time my feelings towards it wavered on abject hate or patient tolerance of the work. As an adult I appreciate the lessons I learned, the work ethic I gained and the memories I created with my brother’s that no one else can fully understand except for them. I thought of all these things and where we all are now with a smile on my face for the rest of my commute.

Later on that night I came home and made myself a peanut butter and stawberry jam sandwich. There is nothing like the taste of my mother's jam and knowing the effort that goes into making it, makes it taste that much sweeter.

Friday, June 23, 2006

The Good & The Bad

The Good:
Thus far today has had several high points. I got a free coffee out of campus Hostility Services (hospitality services). While getting said free coffee I discovered that the ice is back in at the arena after being closed for several weeks worth of repairs and renovations. That means that there’s open public skating over the noon hours again, a definite bonus for me. Skating is one of the few things I do for exercise and it’s a good way for me to clear my head before hitting the books again. Now, if I can get a hold of Constable Neil tonight after I get home from my late shift that will have rounded out the good to three. All things considered, I’d say that’s quite a respectable number.

The Bad:
Work on the thesis is grinding along at a snails pace and it’s starting to cause me grave concern, but I’ll persevere and really start to worry if I haven’t completed my chapter by Monday. In other avenues the PTSD is back. Actually, it never went away but in my awesome skills of repression I had managed to push it back down for a bit and completely ignored everything to do with it. The police report I had requested is in at the station and I haven’t gone to pick it up, even though they called over 2 weeks ago to say it was ready.

Last night I was in bed thinking through some things before I fell asleep and the familiar feelings of panic slid over me. I tried to quickly stop thinking about the Stalker and the train of thought I had been on, but the damage was done. I had reopened that door and it’s not so easy to close it again. That feeling of free falling out of control is now hovering in the background and I’m quite concerned that once the thesis work is out of the way I’ll have a big crash. The stress of finishing off the master’s is the only thing keeping the PTSD at bay right now. It’s like watching an accident about to happen and being completely powerless to do anything.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Drunk Dialed

I awoke with a start from a shallow slumber, the ring of a phone echoing in my subconscious. I flicked on my bedside lamp and groped around for the offending cell phone with the fleeting thought that it wasn’t that long since my head had hit the pillow. As I groggily answered the phone I glanced at my clock- 2:24 am.

It took me a few seconds to register the voice on the other end of the line and I had to start laughing. Fortunately for the offending party I hadn’t been asleep for very long and I was still feeling surprisingly awake. It was the interim goalie Constable Neil, home from the bar and intoxicated enough that he found the courage to call me, “to say hi.” We hadn’t seen each other in two weeks and despite some flirting at hockey and online we had only hung out alone once, with nothing happening.

I spent the next 30 minutes laughing, flirting and having my arm twisted to show up at his place to hang out. Despite having been asleep in bed the clincher came when he said that he had to leave town early tomorrow morning and I wouldn’t see him until next weekend if I didn’t come out. I knew it would be longer than that since I wouldn’t be back in the hometown for the next 2 weeks due to work commitments. It was in that moment that I decided to do something stupid and spontaneous, since I had no idea if the window of opportunity for us would still be open 2 or 3 weeks from now when we had time to meet up again.

Twenty minutes after getting dressed and sneaking out of the house I pulled the car up to the curb outside his house and cut the engine. As I took a deep breath and got out I saw that he had been waiting for me in the dark, sitting outside on his front steps in the humid night air. As he stood up and walked towards me I wondered what it would be like to kiss him.

Monday, June 19, 2006

The Highs and The Lows

The 2005-2006 NHL season is officially over. It's pretty hard not to feel just a tad dejected at the loss by the Edmonton Oilers. Those boy's played their hearts out and to watch them after the game just broke my heart. While I don't begrudge the Hurricanes the win as a team, it is the city that I can't be happy for. When women's softball beats out the Stanley Cup playoffs in the ratings down in their market, you know that it's just a niche sport for them and not a way of life like up here.

My only consolation was watching 22-year-old Cam Ward win the Conn Smythe Trophy (pictured above). Awarded annually to the most valuable player of the playoffs, Ward certainly earned this one. I was continually amazed at his skill between the posts, especially when you consider that this is his first full fledged season in the NHL and he was essentially their backup goalie.

What I love the most about the Conn Smythe Trophy is the fact that with only two exceptions, the winners have all been Canadian. The two non-Canadian winners were Brian Leetch of the United States in 1994 and Sweden's Nicklas Lidström in 2002. So while the Cup hasn't been back in Canada in the last 13 years, I'm still incredibly proud of our record for consistently producing some of the best talent to set foot on the ice.

Only 2 months until the 2006-2007 season begins.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Crash & Burn

I was just looking over some things online in the History department of my Ph.D University. I stumbled across a female Ph.D studentv who is not only working on a dissertation that is eerily similar to mine, but also has a two year jump on me and a published article on the topic! Shiiiiiit. If I'm forced to change my thesis because of this woman I have no idea what I'll do. There isn't another topic I want to work on or even another area. This topic is the only reason I decided to go to grad school almost 3 years ago now.

I can only assume that her area of focus is European and not North American or British history. I guess I'll just have to wait to find out in September what'll happen to me. I can only hope I'm not DOA with my dissertation. The Horror.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

What a Goal!

Fernando Pisani scored the winning goal tonight. In over time. Short handed. If that isn't exciting hockey I don't know what is. Game 6 in Edmonton Saturday night. It's going to be good.

Mount Everest

On May 15, 2006 British climber David Sharp died 450 meters from the summit of Mount Everest. This was his third attempt at summiting the legendary mountain, and unlike his previous two attempts he successful reached the top. Also unlike his first two attempts he never made it down the mountain. On May 23, 2006 the controversial story of Sharp’s death entered the media.

I heard only the barest of details in passing that night since I was making dinner with the news on and only caught bits and pieces of various stories that evening. What I heard appalled me. I couldn’t understand how 40 climbers could pass the dying man on their way up to the summit without attempting to help him in anyway. Were people really that callous towards human life, or was something else going on here?

Over the next few days as more details emerged I became increasingly bothered by the story and all the unanswered questions I had surrounding it. I knew so little about Everest beyond the pop culture awareness of its history, so like a good historian I began to do some research. After watching a brief segment on Canada AM I was turned onto the book, “Into Thin Air” by Jon Krakauer. Both host’s of the show heartily endorsed the book as one of the best non-fiction books about Everest and what it is really like to climb the mountain. I ordered it from my University library and promptly forgot about it as my own life’s demands crowded out other lines of idle thought.

When the book arrived I devoured it. Krakauer was a journalist for Outside Magazine in 1996 when he made his summit bid in order to write an article for the magazine. What started out as a piece on the commercialization of Everest and the conditions on the mountain ended up becoming a book on the most disastrous day in its history, one that left 8 people dead. Written only months after his trip, Krakauer weaves historical expeditions of the mountain with his own trip and leads the reader through a detailed account of the events and factors that led to the expeditions horrible outcome. At times I had to remind myself that the book wasn’t fiction and this actually happened to real live people.

I am still deeply disturbed by David Sharp and Jon Krakauer’s stories, but I found “Into Thin Air” offered me some sort of explanation that the mass media was unable to provide. Question’s had been answered in regards to Sharp’s death, but even more questions emerged. I had no idea how deadly a trek up Everest was, (even during the best season, 1993 with 129 successful ascents, for every 16 people who reached the top one person died) and that people paid upwards of $65,000 for the privilege. To date some 200 people have died making the journey, and conditions on the mountain are so difficult that most of the corpses have been left where they fell- some of them are easily visible from the standard climbing routes.

Exact numbers of the death toll are difficult to get a hold of due to a cloud of silence surrounding almost any death up on the mountain and those who die off the mountain from complications due to high altitude climbing. My sense of justice and decency was inflamed with this revelation. It is incredibly difficult to find any details of those who’ve died attempting to summit. What I did find was one or two websites trying to change this disturbing trend to shroud Everest deaths in silence, almost in denial that they even exist.

Only one website offered me any sort of explanation for the silence: "For years, ExplorersWeb have been fighting the silence surrounding some deaths in the mountains. Each time, we have been told that the secrecy is only a concern for the victims' families and we have no respect. Time after time, it has turned out that the hush has served much less noble agendas: To cover up foul play in mountains without law."

What I have found in my quest for answers has made me look into the greed, sense of entitlement and hubris inherent in human beings. Where amateur climbers believe their hefty fees and expenses have bought them a guaranteed trip to the summit and not just access to the mountain and the expertise of their guides and sherpas. The commercialization of Everest creates an interesting ethical dilemma wherein climbers can bypass a dying human being mere feet away from them and then justify their behaviour because they have paid so much money that ascent becomes more important than saving a life. Their rationale, while seemingly plausible on Everest since it is so difficult, would never be even remotely acceptable if the same thing happened on a city street.

Prior to hearing this story and reading Krakauer’s book I held no such notion of ever climbing Everest and now I have no desire whatsoever to get anywhere near the place- including base camp. “Into Thin Air” is such a powerful, raw and uncensored account of one fateful expedition to Mount Everest, that you’ll wonder why anyone even attempts it in the first place. There is no sugar coating or downplaying of the conditions on the mountain and it drove home just foolish we are to think it has been conquered with modern technology. I finished reading the book over 2 weeks ago, and I am still haunted by it.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

The Playoffs, Game 4

The Oilers are breaking my heart. While it is some of the best hockey to watch, it is also some of the worst outcomes as well. After Dwayne Roloson injured himself with 6 minutes left in the third period in game 2 everyone knew playoffs had shifted for the Oilers. You can’t fault Markkanen for the job he’s doing in his place- he is only one player on the team, but a loss doesn’t hurt any less.

I would love nothing better than to bring the Cup home again to a Canadian team this year. While I will admit that the Hurricanes are a deserving team, their city certainly isn’t. If they end up taking it in game 5 I will be upset for a number of reasons, one of them being that it ruins my chances of casually getting together on Saturday with a certain someone I’ve got my eye on. However, I will be a gracious loser if only because of the way Cam Ward has impressed me with his heart and tenacity between the posts. Just don’t let me see Brind’Amour hoisting the cup.

Come on boy’s, Canada’s behind you- Go Oilers!

Monday, June 12, 2006

An Anniversary

Today, eight years ago, Mr. Intellectual and I started dating. I had turned 17 a month previous and he would still be 16 for another four months. It seems like a lifetime ago, and yet it feels like yesterday. I’m still troubled by the way we parted ways a while ago, but I’m finding it hard to care when I have so many other things going on in my life that require my attention- like finishing my master’s, dealing with the PTSD and my newly developed financial concerns.

Mr. Intellectual used to write me poetry once in a blue moon when the muse struck. It was something I always treasured partially because of how rare an occurrence it was and partially because it was often a glimpse into his thoughts and feelings for me that he never shared. There is nothing quite as flattering as having a poem written about you.

I have always hesitated when I wanted to post one of his poems. Out of respect for his creative privacy I always held off. I know when he gave them to me he did so with the understanding that they were for my eyes only- much like love letters. A part of me also wanted to continue keeping them as a private reminder of what we once had, however the time has come to let go.

By Mr. Intellectual, c. 2000

To sit where I can see your face
And hear your laughter come and go
Is greater bliss than God himself
Could ever know.

The bright dream carries me away:
Watching your lips, your hair, your cheek,
I have so many things to say
Yet I cannot speak.

I look, I listen and my soul
Flames with a fire unfelt before
Until sense swims and I feel and see
And hear no more…

Ah, my love, her form divine!
And in my breast, passion, so cruel
Burns brightly and to the fire she
Adds such fuel!

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Banff, Alberta

A hockey buddy of mine went out to Banff back in May on Victoria Day weekend and sent me this picture after he got home. It's currently my desktop picture on the iBook and I absolutely love it. As the days grow longer and hotter in Ontario, it reminds me of the winter to come and cooler days.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

The Cynic

I think I’ve become cynical towards love. I am an inherently logical person, and love has little to do with logic and critical thinking. I don’t believe in soul mates, or even love at first sight. I’ve never experienced love at first sight although I once thought I was with my soul mate. However, over time I’ve come to realize that I could be extremely happy and well suited to a number of individuals in this world, not just one “perfect” man.

I believe that love and a good relationship take a lot of work, and this work needs to be actively engaged in on a daily basis. Compromise, forgiveness and the ability to love unconditionally all go into the mix. When I look at my oldest brother’s marriage I realize he and his wife have achieved everything in their relationship because of the constant work they put into it. The Family Man’s relationship is rock solid and built on trust, understanding and a lot of compromise. They are the couple everyone envies because of how perfect their relationship appears. Even after 8 years of marriage they still act like newlyweds in public- holding hands, whispering secrets and genuinely enjoying each other’s company. It is only through candid discussions with my sister-in-law that I have come to understand everything that went into their marriage to get it to the point where it is now. Behind closed doors things were not all roses and sunshine. The good things in life don’t come easy and they’re proof of that.

I’m wondering if my cynicism is preventing me from even attempting to put the work into a relationship that I know is necessary to create that strong foundation for a long-lasting future. Or, perhaps it’s because I have yet to meet the man who makes me want to put in the effort and reform my ways. I know I’m not a hopeless romantic. Each serious relationship I have engaged in was approached with a critical look at the future and how I generally thought things would play out. I wasn’t all that wrong with Mr. Intellectual and I. All the problems and issues I envisioned before I agreed to date him happened, and in the end we weren’t strong enough people to overcome those issues like I believed we could.

The same could be said for my relationship with A. I foresaw a future of miscommunication, cultural differences, unsupportive behaviour and feeling alone within the relationship. In the middle of our first date at a horrifically expensive restaurant there was a moment when I knew that it wouldn’t work between us since it became all too obvious by reading between the lines of our conversation that we were two incredibly different individuals. Despite knowing that and feeling dismayed by it, I pushed down that revelation and allowed myself to be swept up by the attention he lavished on me, and the money he spent on our dates and being sweet to me in between. Being the logical person that I am I was conflicted for the last few weeks of the relationship on whether or not to cut it off or allow myself to love him. In the end my initial gut reaction was right and he took off on me before I really had to make that choice.

I have a bad habit of ignoring my gut feelings when it comes to men and this incident really brought that home to me. I could have saved myself a lot of unnecessary upheaval if I had just trusted my instincts- when I have they’ve never been wrong. At the same time I worry that those same instincts at some point will interfere with my ability to form a new relationship if I listen to all the apprehension and fears, warranted or not. So my philosophy has been to push them down and give the guy a shot with one date. A. was the only man in 2 years of dating post-Mr. Intellectual that made it past date number 2 before I decided to listen to my instincts and move on.

Knowing what I know about myself, and the baggage I now carry around I think it’s going to take an incredible man to take me on. At times I think it’s an unfair burden to hand almost unaware to any man, no matter how much he thinks he loves me. This has led me to avoid dating for long periods of time and to occasionally think about the idea of remaining single for the rest of my life. Spinsterhood served an important function historically, one that is largely forgotten in our modern era and it holds a certain appeal to me. My own Mother sometimes talks of her maiden aunt who was absolutely critical to her family’s ability to get by when she was a young girl. In reality I know this isn’t a practical solution to my issues, regardless of its appeal.

Acknowledging your faults and actively trying to change them are two very different things. While I readily admit my growing cynicism towards love and even dating in general, it’s another thing to halt its progression. I remember fondly the innocence and openness I displayed when Mr. Intellectual and I first started seeing each other. Neither of us had learned those life lessons that close up a persons heart and cause us to create walls to protect it. I should be striving to be more like the innocent and honest person I used to be with love instead of dwelling on the negatives I’ve encountered with various men. It’s all too easy to be swept up in my personal hurts and needlessly judge men based on the failings of others. I need to refocus my thoughts and attention on the positives of those past relationships or it won’t be long before I really am a hardened cynic beyond reform.

Monday, June 05, 2006


It’s been almost a month since my doctor’s visit and request for antidepressants. I already know that it’s working for me since I’m more even keeled and less irritable but I’m not exactly “happy”. I have to remind myself at times that the medication isn’t designed to bring me happiness but rather, to give me the clarity of mind to seek my own happiness. It is not always easy despite the medication.

Within days of beginning the medication Mr. Intellectual and I had a falling out that I still don’t understand and probably never will. In the middle of an msn chat I said something about the stalker that he apparently didn’t want to know about and signed off in the middle of a discussion. I found out a couple of days later through the help of that he had not only blocked my contact name but deleted me. I won’t lie- his behaviour hurt. It cut me to the core because his actions were an almost direct repeat of A.’s only weeks earlier. He didn’t bother to reply to an email I sent that same night asking what happened. I haven’t seen or heard from him since then and it bothers me at times.

While I keenly mourned the loss in the following days afterwards, I picked myself up and moved on. I could see the writing on the wall for several months now and knew it was inevitable. He never disclosed to his current girlfriend that he was not only still friends with me, but we were in contact almost daily- watching movies, going out for dinner, or just hanging out and talking. When I asked him why he didn’t just tell her since neither of us had any desire to get together again he replied that she was already “worried” about me (read: threatened) and he “didn’t want her to worry needlessly when there was no reason to.” Granted she has been over in Europe since September for school and the long distance thing is difficult, I know, but by not telling her would only compound the situation should she ever discover it. By keeping our platonic relationship a secret only casts it in a suspicious light if and when she finds out about it. If there was nothing to worry about, why keep it secret?

However I had always hoped, perhaps naively, that if and when the time came we could part amicably and wish each other well. From things he had said I knew deep down that we couldn’t remain friends as long as he was dating her since he chose not to be honest and upfront about our friendship. His choice to keep me a secret always bothered me since it spoke of how he valued me and even more so now after the way he chose to leave the friendship. With distance and a little more perspective I think my behavour at the time triggered issues or memories from our relationship that he either hadn’t dealt with or had forgotten about and for that I’m sorry. I also get the distinct impression that his emotional involvement with me, and my life scared him.

All I know for certain is that ever since he left in April for his month long tour of Europe with the girl he was different with me, in that there was a flip-flop of behaviour towards me that indicates some inner struggle. He’d also changed after I told him of my acceptance and scholarship into the Ph.D program at one of the leading Universities in Ontario. In a weird twist of fate it seems like our lives had suddenly been switched- I was the one now driven to achieve my doctorate and he was steering towards a comfortable life comprised of a career and marriage. Without the medication I would never have been able to look objectively at the end of my relationship with Mr. Intellectual and find some peace with it.

Within days of its end I stopped looking back and have started looking forward. Instead of being mired down with grief, self-doubt and unanswered questions, I’ve started to thread together a delicate happiness and planted my feet along a new path in my life. I can look at myself in the mirror on most mornings and not see a broken and hideously unworthy individual, but rather I can see a young woman with promise and hope. I also understand why Mr. Intellectual chose to walk away and I bear no grudge towards him, but wish him well and hope only for the best for him. There will always be a small ache from the void he has left in my life with his leaving, but I have loved and learned from our 8 years together and I will never forget.