Friday, November 30, 2007

I Can't Believe I Missed This?!

I just found out this evening that the creator's of Futurama actually released a movie this week (see above). It's a straight to DVD movie, however this is something I've heard rumours of off and on for quite some time but never believed it would really happen.

I have no idea who I missed hearing about this until after the movie was released. Mind you I'm only 3 days late since it was released on November 27th, but still! I'm a huge Futurama fan and I've been hoping against hope that they'd bring back the show or make good on their promises for a movie.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Day is Over

I'm mentally exhausted, but the day wasn't as horrible as I had envisioned it would be. Actually, I consider myself to be quite fortunate in that I have a really great group of students. I have some seriously awesome kids and it was nice to have a little one on one time with them to figure out some things and just get to know them as people and not just as my students. It was interesting how many of them have given me unsolicited compliments or encouragement on how I've been running my tutorials. Apparently my laid back style is working, and I am getting through to more of them than I first thought.

It's days like these that make me believe in what I'm doing.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Busiest Day of the Year

Tomorrow will be one of the most hectic days of my semester thus far. I have an 11:30am French exam and then from 12:00pm until 4:00pm I have back to back meetings with students on the half hour. This is all to go over their papers for next term. The worst part about it is I don't even have any cash on me to grab a pick me up coffee at the Tim Horton's during my afternoon slump. I'm going to try to get through it sans caffeine but I have my doubts.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Favourite Quote of the Day

My Mother recently gave me a book entitled, "Writing Your Dissertation in Fifteen Minutes a Day" by Joan Bolker. It's a great little book for any person doing graduate work in any discipline.

I was reading it this afternoon while I was waiting for a couple of students to drop in to discuss their papers and came across one of the best quotes from someone named Don Graves:

"You have to be willing to be a professional nudist if you're going to write."

It was on a section in relation to sharing your writing, particularly early drafts and unfinished work with others to receive constructive criticism and support. I think this can be true of any writing though because if you write anything that someone else is going to read you are laying yourself bare in a sense. It goes hand in hand with's "Writing Well is the Best Revenge" t-shirts. Graves' quote made me smile on a pretty bleak day when I was beginning to hit the wall and feel completely exhausted.

Monday, November 26, 2007


My mother has been going through all sorts of old family photos in the last couple of days for a huge family tree project being co-ordinated by a few of my great-aunts. She's been scanning some of them and emailing me periodically with her finds. I had forgotten about some of them, but a lot of them have some pretty happy memories for me. It makes me intensely home sick unfortunately and I miss my brothers something fierce, especially after she sent some pictures of us joking around and being silly as kids.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Grinch?

I'm trying so hard not to be a Grinch this year about Christmas. Generally speaking I don't like Christmas. I like aspects of it, but in general I hate the unrealistic expectations of Christmas and the unnecessary family pressure. I feel like I'm losing the Grinch battle this year and it's not even December yet.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

I Want You to Want Me

I know it may appear like I love sex and I’m insatiable. Like all I want to do when I’m with you is get you in bed with me and spend all day there. The reason’s I love sex are not what you think. I haven’t even been able to orgasm during sex with you for months and it’s a rare occurrence anyways.

No, I love sex because it means that you touch me. You put your hands all over me and hold me close. You actually look at me and for that brief moment there is nothing else in your life aside from me. For that brief moment I feel like you might actually care about me. And then we part and instead of caressing me and whispering sweet nothings you roll over or move away so we’re not touching anymore. It breaks my heart when all I want is for you to touch me, hold me close and make me feel safe. It’s even worse when you wait a minute and then run off downstairs for a smoke, or to make a phone call or to get ready to go out to where ever you have to go.

I just want five minutes of your life so that I feel reassured. That I don’t feel like I’m being used even if you are my boyfriend. On the worst of days I fall asleep beside you in tears or cry in the car on my way home. On the best of days I feel hollow and alone. I hate feeling like my desires are unreasonable and that because I want to be close to you I’m an attention whore. I hate feeling like I have to beg for your attention. I hate being rebuffed. I hate feeling like I need to try harder and maybe you’ll eventually respond in kind. I hate feeling like I never have your undivided attention.

I hate how you laughed in my face and expressed supreme doubt when I said that sometimes all I want is to be held. If you wonder why I can’t ever seem to be able to talk to you. If you ever wonder why I’m sad. If you ever wonder why I look at you like that, with the serious face and deep in though. It’s because I just want to be held without sex clouding everything. For once I want to feel like you can’t get enough of me and just want to be near me; that you crave my touch as much as I yearn for yours. I want to feel like you want me.

Friday, November 23, 2007

More Vanity Plates

On my way to campus yesterday I was following a car with the plate, "DR JAYNE". It was no surprise that I followed her all the way into campus.

Walking to class I also saw another vanity plate that made me laugh. I didn't get a good look at the driver, but now I wish I had:


Thursday, November 22, 2007

Essay Proposal Time

My students are starting to pick topics for their major essay. For the next week and a half I'm meeting with all my tutorial students, about 25 in total, to go over their chosen topic and discuss possible thesis statements, sources and how to approach a historical essay in general. So far I've been properly impressed with most of my students in general. Obviously the really keen students would pick meeting times in the first week instead of waiting until the last possible moment to see me next week. That being said I'm happy with the variety of topics they've chosen so far. The last thing I want to do is mark 25 papers of around 10,00 words each on Conscription in WWI, or the Quebec Separatist movement come January. While both topics are engaging in their own rights there are only so many papers with identical arguments a person can read before you begin to go a little crazy.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Christmas Planning Already?!

I got an email from my oldest brother about Christmas. He and his wife are already thinking/worrying/planning for Christmas and it stresses me out. They're trying to come up with ideas for a gift for our parents. I really dislike going in on a group gift since I'm the one who usually plans and buys the gift and then has to chase down all my siblings to pay up. I've been burned too many times for me to want to participate in a group gift.

I'm thinking of getting my parents one of those digital picture frames. My mom got a digital camera last Christmas from my Dad and has yet to print out a single picture from the past year. She's taken some really great pictures of the grand kids and her own children that really should be displayed. I still need to mull this one over though.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

This is a day I'm glad is over

Today was the Monday from hell. Except it wasn't Monday, it was Tuesday and the day never seemed to end. I'm happy that it's now time for me to crawl into bed and forget this day ever happened.

From my car not starting this morning, to being late from catching the bus, having a crisis of confidence in the academic arena and finding out it's going to take a couple of hundred bucks to fix my car it all just kept going downhill in a thousand little ways. There was a small glimpse of some good things this evening when I went out to Trivia night at the grad pub with my former room mate and some of my fellow graduate students in the History department. Even still there were just too many negatives for the few positives to offset them. I'm looking forward to a nice long sleep and a fresh start tomorrow.

Monday, November 19, 2007

More of the Parure

I knew I had saved a picture of the matching pin for my new parure. I have everything except the enormous brooch. It's not something I think I'd ever wear since it's pretty big and gaudy, but if I do find it the value of my set increases exponentially.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

More from the Collection

I purchased this lovely in the spring at a steal. I was also able to get the matching necklace, but have yet to find the brooch to make it a grand parure instead of the full parure I now currently have. It's a fairly rare set to begin with and I've only ever seen the brooch once on a collectors website so I have a feeling it's going to be a long search to fill out this set.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Some Lines Are As True Today As They Were 412 Years Ago

Recently a line from Romeo and Juliet keeps running through my head. Mostly it is when I'm feeling intensely frustrated or hurt by the behaviour of Candidate #2. I don't even remember what it was that first made me think of it, but it's a line that has become more and more persistent as of late.

"O, wilt thou leave me so unsatisfied?"

I question so much of our interaction lately and wonder at what point is the breaking point for me. At what point is this relationship doing more emotional damage than providing benefit in my life?

Friday, November 16, 2007

Will it never end?

Alone in bed this morning I was thinking about Mr. Intellectual. It’s been 3 years and change since we broke up but I still think about him almost every day and it hasn’t abated with time. Lying on my side, curled up in bed I thought of all those nights we spent together at his parents house spooning on the couch. The way he’d hold me and always wanted to be near me. I miss that closeness and security. I miss feeling truly loved. I miss the way he’d challenge me intellectually and how my mind would work over time when we were together and discussing our work. There has been a huge hole in my life since he left and so far I have yet to find a man who can fill that void. Maybe I’m asking for too much, but I want someone who fulfills me emotionally and intellectually and there just hasn’t been anyone who’s been able to do both and be available to me. I wish I could stop thinking about him though, since I know he’s long since gotten over me and I’m sure doesn’t give me any thought any more since we stopped talking over a year and a half ago.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Another one of my Pieces

I bought the bracelet for my brother's wedding two years ago. After I saw this book piece and realized there was a matching necklace I knew I had to have it. After months of searching and losing it once at auction on ebay, I finally won my necklace. I also managed to snag the matching brooch after coming across it in my searching. It is beautiful and I can't wait to wear this necklace out some where special.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Le peu de temps que j'ai eu

I have a French exam tomorrow. Unfortunately I am cramming because I've been very bad at time management lately.

The one good thing of the day is that my Wednesday group of students actually talked without prodding in seminar! I'm shocked. They have been a very quiet group and it has been painful to get through the hour with them. It has been worse than pulling teeth to make our discussions last the full hour. I hope that next week continues on this positive note. I always knew they were bright students, but for whatever reason's they haven't been good at facilitating discussion on the material. What's interesting is that my Tuesday group who are usually awesome fell totally flat and didn't really engage the material or sustain discussion on it.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Diva Cup

About four months ago I discovered an interesting alternative to tampons and pads. It came about at a time when I was pretty receptive to alternatives after a couple of bad periods, health issues and some general discomfort using tampons for the entirety of my cycle. Like most women, I assume, I had grown to dread and hate my period while wishing the week away when it was around. I was feeling desperate for something, anything, better. Enter The Diva Cup.

The Diva Cup is a relatively small silicone cup that once inserted catches menstrual fluid without drying like tampons and upsetting the pH of your vagina. I really wanted to love this product since it seemed like the answer to my prayers. After some intense research and reading from a very helpful livejournal group I went out and bought my own Diva Cup. I was actually excited for my period to see how well it actually worked for me. I really wanted it to be great for me, but the first day wasn’t so great. I had some extra cramping, minor discomfort bordering on painful, and one heck of time trying to fish around and remove it the first time. Some deep breaths, more reading on the livejournal site and giving myself time to adjust to something so different meant that it went much better. By day three I was in love with the Diva Cup, despite its corny name. There were absolutely zero leaks and I only had to change it once in the morning and once before bed. By the end of my cycle I could leave it in longer without worrying about it and I could forget about panty liners. I even went to Spin class and worked out with no problems. Once in and properly placed I forgot all about it.

My second period with the Diva Cup was a little more difficult. I had some issues with leaks and proper insertion that would mean no leaks. The same thing has been happening this time as well. When the Diva works, it is fantastic. When it doesn’t work it can be a bit of a pain in the ass, but I’m giving it time because I do love it. It’s fascinating to be able to be more aware of what goes on in your cycle and I no longer find the whole thing so icky. On my third go around, despite the leaks, I’ve been trying to find the proper insertion that works for me without leaking. I think what it comes down to is taking my time and being patient instead of rushing myself in the morning and assuming I have the technique down already. I know it will take a few more cycles before I will get it down easily and quickly, but I’m more than willing to give myself that time.

The Diva Cup’s main attraction was the health benefits, but an added benefit is the environmental factor. By using the Diva Cup I’m not throwing away all that non-biodegradable waste every month, so it’s very environmentally friendly. There also isn’t the monthly expense of all those tampons, pads and liners since the Diva is reusable and can last up to 10 years or so. So in addition to the environmental factors, the cost effectiveness and the health benefits it is definitely something I’m happy to use. I also like that it's a Canadian made product from a small mother daughter company. I think it’s a product you really have to want in order for it to work for you in terms of the patience it takes to learn how to properly use it. There is a learning curve and it takes some time in order to gain a certain level of comfort using it properly. Even with all that, I still recommend it or a similar type of product. I wish I had known about it years ago since it has made my life so much easier.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Guilty Secrets

One of my secrets is that I love watching America's Next Top Model (or any other NTM version) and keeping up with celebrity gossip on dlisted. I guess after a long day flexing my brain I like to just veg out for a breather and ingest something mindless. After that I'm ready to go again with the intellectual pursuits. It's good for me to do something so completely different from the school work, however it is definitely not a habit I publicly admit to.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Yes, I am Lazy.

Sleep deprivation, no inspiration and spending the whole weekend at my parents house with my family has meant that I have nothing to post today except this lame apology. Next week I'm going to try to get some quality out here.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Halloween, 2007

These are the pumpkin's my now former house mate and I carved this year. It was the last night I spent in my old house before moving out. Thankfully we had fun carving them in the afternoon and then handing out candy in the evening to some pretty cute kids. It helped ameliorate some of the bad feelings I had about the house.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Graduation Day

Back in June I graduated from my Master's program. At the time I wasn't exactly sure what I was going to wear. Eventually I found a pair of leopard print pumps at 9 West and knew I had to have them and the outfit would take care of itself. I wasn't sure however, if I was going to be able to snag a pair off season and on short notice. I did, and they are fantastic. Here's a little picture of me in my shoes on graduation day.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Fall in Ontario

This is the view from the back deck of my new place. It feels more like I'm at a cottage from this view than in the middle of a city. Unfortunately my window looks out on the street. Spending a summer here is going to be easy.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Illicit Posting

The only reason I'm on today and posting is because of the NaBloPoMo. I'm at Candidate #2's house and usually wouldn't be on my laptop at all. I know that by getting involved with him again I am playing with fire.

Oh, and I was right about yesterday. Today was not a very good day and it's sliding into quite bad.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Too Good to be True?

Today for a brief moment while driving home from spin class I felt free and happy. It's a feeling I'm not used to, and it usually proceeds a big crash. It scares me, and at the same time I hope it means I'm turning a corner. Only time will tell I suppose.

Monday, November 05, 2007

This & That

My Mother is in town today and tomorrow for a meeting. This is the first time she's been to my new University town in many years, and the first time she's been up to see me here. We went out for dinner, had some amazing steak at this cute little restaurant and talked a lot. It was really great to spend some one on one time with my Mother. It's funny but over the years she's become my best friend, my academic adviser, and my mom. It's nice to know she's there for me no matter what.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

"Fun Size"

I'm sitting here eating leftover candy from Halloween. I am officially stress binging and having this much junk in the house is not helping my cause. We didn't get as many kids out as I anticipated and now I'm wishing I had gotten more variety. On second thought I wish I had just bought less, and handed out more to my students instead of banking on lots of kids in my young subdivision.

As for the marketing- who is the guy who came up with labeling teeny-tiny chocolate bars, and miniature packages of M&M's (wherein you receive only five peanut M&M's), as "fun size". It's a brilliant marketing ploy, but I'm not thinking they're all that fun when you eat 10 in a row because they're so small, and honestly who is satisfied with only five M&M's?? I'm bringing my extra candy back to school this week to hand out to my tutorial students before I ruin all my progress from spin class.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Day 2 of Seriously Crappy Internet

It's day two in my new place with the bad internet. I actually haven't spent a night here yet, but tonight I will be staying instead of avoiding the house. I have a lot of things to do this weekend to finish moving in and be ready for school on Monday. Instead, I'd rather just crawl under the covers and disappear for a while.

Right now I feel overwhelmingly sad. I don't know if it's the sleep deprivation, not eating properly or the stress of moving and not being impressed with a few things at the new place. I was thinking about all the moves I've made since starting University and realized that I've moved 8 times in the past 8 years. Technically the number could be 12 since I moved into my various University residences in September and moved out again in April for all four years of my Undergrad. It's no wonder I feel like an unsettled nomad. I'm thinking I'll be looking for an apartment again for this Spring. Living with people and not being in control of things is starting to take it's toll on me. In the meantime I need to figure out how to make this house and my current situation work for me.

What's really not working for me at the moment is how terrible the internet is. I don't get a signal in my bedroom, and on the main floor I get a strong signal, but it takes forever to load even the most basic page, like google. Trying to pick up my email or even read the newspaper online is bringing me to tears of frustration as it times out, doesn't load and eventually, maybe if I'm lucky, it might give me something 5 minutes later. I have yet to get my msn messenger to log in, or facebook. I get the feeling I'll be living on campus from now until I find a new house, since I can't function without my internet.

Friday, November 02, 2007

I Foresee A Long and Difficult Month

Upon moving into my new house, I quickly discovered how painfully slow and unpredictable our internet is. To say I'm upset is an understatement. We're getting new service next week, but I'm not holding my breath because it is only one step up from dial-up, and that doesn't address our poor wireless signal in the upstairs of the house. As someone who lives on and for the internet this is a disaster. The internet is my lifeline, my entertainment, my research tool and academic lifeblood. Without reliable, quick internet my job becomes that much harder. It's also going to make daily postings for NaBloPoMo that much more difficult. As if it isn't hard enough to come up with something to write about daily, now I have to fight the internet as well to make sure I get something posted every day.

I'm going to have to figure out something here, even if it means living on campus for better internet or pirating a neighbours signal. Unfortunately I haven't yet picked up any good signals from the neighbours. I think our subdivision is too new and there aren't as many students around here as in my last neighbourhood.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

It's That Time of Year Again

I think I might be a glut for punishment. It's NaBloPoMo time again, and I've signed myself up. I think it would be a good incentive for me to start writing again, and get back in the habit. Or to at least start getting my thoughts out of my head and on to another medium. For the past month or two I haven't written in my journal and I haven't really posted here which isn't that good for me. Writing things out is the only form of 'therapy' and one of the only outlets I have for dealing with my internal struggles. So for the next 30 days I will be posting something (I'm not promising quality) every day.

Today I'm moving and I hope I can get my internet working at the new place by tonight.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Guilt Roses

During the last dying gasps of my relationship with Candidate #2, I was struggling to cope with the start of school, failing to meet expectations and not having assignments completed that are now almost a year overdue. I also had some unexpected financial worries and health concerns that are still ongoing. I was trying to distance myself from him and trying to figure out how to end it all amicably. I've always been bad at ending relationships and they usually wreak havoc on my emotions even if I want out because I hate hurting people.

It was an especially bad week, and I was just waiting for Friday to roll around before breaking up so that he'd at least have the weekend to mope around and deal before showing up at work again. He decided to surprise me and unexpectedly showed up at my place on Thursday evening with two dozen red roses. Apparently it was the first time he had ever done something like this despite being 33 and obviously having had several serious relationships in the past.

He wanted to give me something to smile about since he knew I was having a bad week and wasn't myself. From anyone else and under different circumstances it would have been an exceptionally sweet gesture. Instead I ended up feeling guilty and the roses bought him an extra two weeks since I couldn't bring myself to be so cruel as to break up with him the next day. They were beautiful but in the end there were just too many things that were very wrong with that relationship to save it.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Going Through the Motions

Jane Canuck, Wellbutrin, 10/09/07

Some days are easier than others. I’m under closer observation by my physician and my medication has been increased, but it’s not really any easier. I don’t feel like I’m drowning, but I also have a difficult time finding value in life.

I wake up and focus on getting myself out of bed. With Daylight Saving being extended this year I’m finding it especially difficult to get started in the morning when it’s still dark as night. My day seems to be focused on the next meal, the next commitment I can’t back out of and just getting through the day intact. Every night while I struggle to fall asleep I fervently wish that tomorrow will be better. The thought of continuing on indefinitely with seemingly little purpose begins to choke me. I feel like my existence serves no purpose, like I’m not doing anything or contributing anything and I will just grind through every day, going through the motions of a life, until one day it will all stop and nothing will have mattered.

The things that use to matter to me hold little interest now and I wonder if they ever will. I know that I used to love photography, needlework, reading fiction and expanding my mind through education. Now I look at those things with a disinterested eye and it evokes no emotion. It is hard to find beauty in a world that has become so emotionless for me. Sometimes I force myself to do the things I used to love, but I can’t concentrate for very long, and going through the motions is not like actually enjoying yourself. Doing something for the sake of doing it does not imbue value in that activity. Mostly I try for my Mother. I understand her worry and the desperate desire to make it all better. I see the feelings of hopelessness in her eyes and I want to tell her it’s ok. I want to tell her that sometimes despite a person’s best efforts there is nothing they can do, and that really is ok. I’m not going anywhere. I will go through the motions for you, and maybe one day I really will be ok.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Starting Over

Last night I went for a run. I’ve said for years that I can’t run to save my life. The last time I remember running for anything was playing tag in elementary school and the gym class I took in high school where we played field lacrosse and baseball among other things.

Last night I had to be alone, I had to be outside in the dark. I felt the walls closing in on me and I needed to clear my head. A walk just wasn’t going to cut it. And so I ran. I ran until my throat started burning and my legs were sore. I ran until I stopped thinking about him and what happened. For someone who’s never run in her life before, I don’t think I did too badly. I need to work on my breathing, but I’m proud of how many kilometers I ran versus how many blocks I walked.

Yesterday my doctor told me I needed to be selfish and start looking after myself. It’s not something we often hear as a woman. We’ve been raised to nurture and consider others, to always be polite and think of the other person. Selfish wasn’t really in my upbringing as my mother modeled absolute selflessness in regards to her family. Being told to be selfish is somewhat unusual, and yet she was right. I don’t look after myself, I don’t eat properly, I don’t exercise regularly and when I’m with a boyfriend I usually put myself second. Last night I thought of myself and went for a run.

Today is a different story. I’m back to being confused and wondering if I did the right thing, puzzling over the ‘what ifs’ and feeling hurt that he appears to be getting over me so quickly. I want to talk to him to clarify things in my mind, but I know I should just leave it alone. I feel like I want to spend one more night wrapped in his arms while I sleep, and then in the morning we smile as friends and go our separate way. That’s the idealist in me. The realist knows I can’t go there and what is best for both of us right now is for me to give him space and leave him alone completely. I did the right thing and there were so many reasons why we never quite fit together but that doesn’t stop me from missing things about him.

It’s time to start over and get reacquainted with myself. It’s time to think of what is best for me and to get a little selfish for a change.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

You tell me you love me, but you don’t show me. I tell you I can’t do this anymore and you ask for a couple of days.

“We deserve that at least?” You say.

“That’s only fair.” I reply.

But inside I’m screaming and outside the tears are running down my cheeks. I feel sick to my stomach and I know that you don’t really get me. I feel like I can’t be myself around you and you’ve never really listened to the words that come out of my mouth. Like almost everyone else I’ve ever had a relationship with you only seem interested in what my mouth can do while it’s wrapped around your cock.

You slyly denigrate my work- the very essence of what I am. It’s all I have and right now it is slipping out of my hands and you have no idea.

I wake up every morning and I’m angry. I go to bed every night and I want to slit my wrists, and somewhere in between there I lose myself a little bit more. It’s time to get out before I lose it all.

“I’m speechless. I don’t know what to say right now.” You whisper.

“It’s ok,” I say soothingly, “You don’t have to say anything.”

And just like that I’m once again thinking of someone else’s needs instead of my own, regardless of the consequences to myself. Tomorrow I call my Doctor to up my meds before I do something ridiculous.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Writers Paralysis

I haven’t written a single thing for my degree in almost 4 months. It’s a bit of a shocking realization, and yet not a complete surprise. I’ve worked myself up into a complete state of writer’s block, and worse than that paralysis since I can’t even open up a word document to try to peck away at it, let alone sit to write an entire paper. My mother is beyond concerned but there’s little she can do to force me to finish my two outstanding papers. The consequences of having an incomplete course that is now almost 1 year old is something I don’t really want to think about at the moment. It only fuels my paralysis and feelings of panic.

An acquaintance of mine from the old University had a similar problem in that she was having issues committing to a topic and writing anything coherent. She finally went to the graduate coordinator to explain that she was having significant difficulties and to seek some advice. This is the gem that the grad coordinator left her with:

Grad Coordinator: “Simply stop talking about it and get some A/C.”

Her: “You think I should get air conditioning?”

Grad Coordinator: “No, you need ass on chair. Start writing.”

Funny, but in the end not the most helpful piece of advice. That being said, I’m trying hard to commit to some “ass on chair” time to hammer out these two papers hanging over my head. To say they’re dragging me down is an understatement. I haven't been able to even write out an opening sentence, let alone an opening paragraph.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

An Inauspicious Beginning

School starts again tomorrow and I wonder how I got to the place I am right now. I wonder how I’ll manage to dig myself out of this hole, or if I even can? I think about packing it all in and going home. Of sleeping away my days until everything resolves itself. Yet I know that I’m on my own now and it’s my problem to fix. It is my mess to clean up as best I can, and face the consequences if I can’t.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Celebrating a Milestone

In honour of the 40th anniversary of the unveiling of the Big Mac I did the unthinkable. I usually avoid McDonald's like the plague, but such a momentous occasion deserves to be celebrated. So, I went and had a Big Mac for lunch in honour of its birthday.

I haven't had a big mac since high school. I wish I could say it was as good as I remember it from back then, but sadly some things are not as good in reality as they are in your memory. I'm thinking it'll be another 10 years before I have another. So until the 50th anniversary, congrats on becoming an icon of American culture Big Mac.

Friday, July 20, 2007

The Plot Thickens

With more facebook creeping I have now discovered that the reason Mr. Intellectuals parents have sold the childhood home and are moving is because they're getting a divorce! I always knew that their relationship wasn't great, but they had their moments and you could tell they did love each other on some level. As the years went by things between them were deteriorating, especially during the end of Mr. Intellectual's maternal grandmother's lengthy illness and after her death. I always thought that perhaps they'd get a divorce, but it was one of those things that I never really expected to happen.

His mother is moving around the corner to a semi-detached house, a definite step down, with Mr. Intellectual's younger brother who is 21. I haven't been able to find out where his father and he are going. I suspect Mr. Intellectual will move in with the current girlfriend, or continue renting wherever it is he was renting during school. The younger brother will have little to do with their father since he has always been his mother's son to the core. It's definitely a shock to me, and I want to reach out to him, but I know I can't.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

He's Moving!

I found out through a little bit of facebook creeping that Mr. Intellectual’s family is moving from his childhood home. As of August 14th they will no longer be in the house where I spent so much of my high school days and my early twenties. I’m not sure why I feel so upset about it since I haven’t stepped foot in that house in almost 2 years. They’re essentially moving around the corner, probably into a smaller house, but it’s not the same. All my associations with that family, all the memories I have are wrapped up in that house and how I know it is laid out and decorated. I lost my virginity in that house, made my promise to Mr. Intellectual out on the back patio, laughed and loved in that home. I could just cry now that it’s all gone.

Up until now I’ve resisted the urge to drive by the house to see how things are. This past weekend I was driving past his neighbourhood and despite the strong urge to make the turn onto his street I resisted. I’m not sure what I’m hoping to see when I have that desire to do a drive by. I think it’s the nostalgia perhaps, and missing aspects of him and our relationship. I still think of him often, although it’s not every single day anymore it’s still a couple of times a week or so. There are so many associations wrapped up in that house and once they move, that connection will be gone which makes me sad.

I think that I will go past there one night, sometime before they move just to say my good byes to it all.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

The Lows of Dating

I've discovered that Candidate #2 has been logging into his online dating profile on an almost daily basis. Shortly after we started dating I deleted mine, and he told me he had suspended his. I don't know when he reactivated it. I thought he was different and trusted him so I never really checked up on it- despite the fact that my two previous boyfriends continued to log into dating sites after we had become exclusive, or so I thought.

So far I have been unable to confront him about it, and it is tearing me up inside. Especially since lately he's been really great and we seem to be getting closer. Now I'm questioning it as a decent distraction so I won't suspect what's going on.

I don't know what I should do.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Algonquin Weekend

Tea Lake, Algonquin Park

Algonquin was beautiful. Unfortunately it was only really nice for one of the 3 days we spent in the park. However, that one glorious sunny day more than made up for the two rainy, cold days we spent huddle around the fire, cursing our luck.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Ontario, Yours to Discover

Tom Thomson, Northern River, 1915

I’m going camping this weekend in Algonquin Provincial Park. I’m not a big camping kind of girl and have never been to Algonquin before, despite it being one of the treasures of Ontario. At well over 7000 square kilometers it is a huge expanse of protected wilderness and the inspiration for one of Canada’s darlings- Tom Thompson, and later the Group of Seven. Tom Thomson’s fateful love affair with the park in the early 1900’s ushered in a new era in Canadian art. He and the Group of Seven would go on to created some of the most iconic images of Canada and helped forge a nascent Nationalism in our young country. So it’s only appropriate that I’ll be celebrating Canada’s birthday here this weekend.

Tom Thomson, The Jack Pine, 1916-1917

Despite having a minor in Art History and having studied Canadian fine art and the Group of Seven in particular, I’ve never felt the yearning desire to go where Tom Thompson went. It is only Candidate #2’s unbridled passion for camping and the wilderness that is drawing me up north this weekend. I am of course apprehensive, since I’m always a bit timid when it comes to the unknown, but at least I have confidence in the experienced group that I’m going with.

Tom Thomson, Sunset Sky, 1915

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Last Night...

Last night you held me in your arms.

Last night, instead of rolling over to our respective places you held me tight and stayed close by until the sun came up.

Last night a shift in our relationship occurred.

Last night in the whispered silence you came to understand a part of me I hide.

This morning I wonder if you will treat me differently, as a flawed and fragile being.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

101 Things in 1001 Days

I've found myself bumping into this concept all over the internet lately and it's been growing on me. A quick Google search led me to lots of websites, with a lot of different ideas of what people wanted to accomplish in 1001 days. It appeals to the "5 year plan" side of myself, and seems like a pretty manageable time frame- a little over 2 1/2 years. At some point today I'd like to sit down and put together my own list of 101 things with concrete steps follow in order to achieve the more complex items. I like that the list might force to step out of my comfort zone and finally do some of the things I've only dreamt of and then put aside.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Trying and Giving Up

Trying in a relationship shouldn't feel like this. It shouldn't feel like you're gasping for breath. It shouldn't feel like the burning sting of a whiplash on exposed flesh. It shouldn't feel like sleepless nights and restless dreams. It shouldn't be a mantra repeated over and over in your head until it becomes a scream.

I'm trying.I'm trying.I'm FUCKING trying!

And every time you leave the threshold of his door, you suck in your breath in pain and feel hollow inside. Numb and alone, there doesn't feel like there's anything for you there and you wonder why you keep coming back. Do you thrive on feeling alone and unloved within a relationship? Or is it that you hate being proved wrong, yet again?

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Pillow Talk

Candidate #2: (groans as he tries to crack his lower back).

Me: Still hurting, eh?

C2: My back has been killing me all week.

Me: Too much sex, eh?

C2: (laughing) I guess...

Me: (Deadpanning) Don't worry, I'll fuck you limber yet.

C2: (stunned silence before breaking out into a huge laugh) You need to put that on a t-shirt.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Stopping to Smell the Roses

I desperately needed something to lift my mood, even temporarily. So, I went and cut a single bloom from our rose bush out front to put on my desk. It provided a temporary respite from the darkness and smells so amazing while I'm working at the computer. I do need to find a proper bud vase though, since all I had that was small enough was a shot glass.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Another Day in Paradise

I am homesick. I ache for the quiet, green spaces of the farm. Taking my morning tea on the back patio, in the silent, dappled shade and drinking in the tranquility while I contemplate life and watch my mother’s gardens grow. I find a peace here inside myself that eludes me anywhere else I go.

I long for the warm embrace of family, the little arms of a toddler squeezing you in a hug of pure joy and excitement to be with you. The way she giggles and squeals when you push her higher on the swing set. His slow, shy smile bursting into a grin when you tease. The littlest one asleep in my arms, content and oblivious as only a newborn can be.

Instead I’m filled with a silent rage, trapped in increasingly inhospitable surroundings. I feel impotent to change anything, so I sit seething in frustration and dreaming of what I miss most.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Student Email Bag

From: First Year Student
To: TA Ms. Canuck
Subject: Course Requirements
Date: 2 weeks into the semester

Ms. Canuck,
I was just wondering what would be the least amount of work I could do and still pass the course?

- Student.

I was cleaning out my inbox from this year and rediscovered this gem. Usually I get emails from students after a test or paper has been handed back and they realize they haven't done as well as planned. The requests are usually for ways they can improve or do work to bump up a low grade, but never something so blatantly unmotivated. I'm guessing Mommy & Daddy wanted little Billy to have a University degree and he could care less about being here.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Dress for Success

I decided to look around on the Nine West website to get some inspiration for a possible graduation outfit. Given that I'll be wearing a longish black robe, and the fact that my feet will be eye level with the audience when I ascend the podium to be given my collar and parchment I thought it only appropriate to select footwear first. I fell in love with these shoes immediately, and an ensemble was born.

After all the problems and heartache I had completing my Master's degree, I decided that some irreverent footwear was called for. It's a reminder not to take myself, or my education, too seriously. It is just a degree. I'm going to pair these Nine West "Angeni" leopard print pumps with a form fitting black pencil skirt, a white button down shirt and a string of pearls. It's all so very 'naughty librarian'. I know that graduation is usually a fairly solemn and serious occasion, however, for me it is anything but. I feel like much of my MA was a joke- particularly my relationship with my advisor, and how things were done in regard to my thesis. It may be too late to change all of that, but this will be my final statement when I finally become a Master of the Arts.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Time Management

Motivation and procrastination have been two of my biggest problems in the last couple of months. I decided to check out a book from the library on time management in a post-secondary setting in the hopes of either spurring on motivation or garnering new tips to stave off procrastination. Although I'm only half way through the book I've realized that I slowly lost so many really great time management skills, techniques and methods from my undergraduate. Once my days and weeks lost the more rigid structure that course work provided and I was left to my own devices to come up with a manageable plan of study, it all went downhill. Some of my most consistently productive semesters came out of my undergraduate, and it took reading this book to realize it.

I know it's going to take quite a bit of effort to work back up to my former level of organization and productivity, however, in the end I will have to surpass it in order to finish my Ph.D in the allotted 4 year time span. Considering the fact that I'm still on the fence about whether or not I even want to be here and do a doctorate, this seems like a monumental task.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

The Graduates Dilemma

Spring Convocation season is here for every University and College campus, mine included. Next week I finally get to pick up that piece of paper that signifies I've completed my Masters. It's anti-climactic, and yet when I think of all the sleepless nights, tears, anxiety, frustration, personal trauma and set backs that went into acquiring that piece of parchment I know I should feel more than what I do. Sure, it's an achievement to say I completed a Masters degree and yet it's left me feeling less educated and academically aware of the world than I did prior to entering into the program.

To say I've become jaded and slightly bitter with the institution is an understatement. I love education and learning new things, but at the end of my 2 1/2 year stint as an MA student academia has lost its lustre for me and I keep trying to grasp at straws to regain my motivation for a Ph.D. It doesn't help that for the past year I've been going to classes where I have yet to learn anything new- it's just jumping through hoops until I've satisfied the requirements that allow me to do what I want with my research and time. This is not how I envisioned a Ph.D.

Despite all of this I have a graduation. The first dilemma is whether or not to actually attend. Having been there once, I'm not enamoured with the prospect of sitting through several hours in the hot, humid June air to receive my parchment, along with several hundred undergraduates. My parents, however, would be upset if I didn't attend, especially after everything I've had to overcome to complete my degree. So the second dilemma is the eternal question of what to wear? I know I've done this once before, and yet I feel like this time I need to one up myself. Last time I wore a smart white skirt and black and white mod looking top. I have a BCBG dress very similar to this, but in chocolate brown, however I feel like that might be too much cleavage for a graduation. It's too hot for pants, and I have to be careful of the colour I choose to wear so it doesn't look mismatched with the robe and collar. I'm dreading going to the mall to look for something to wear, but it looks like that's what will have to happen after all. It's tempting to just go naked under that robe like so many cliched Hollywood movies.

The key, however, is not so much what you're wearing, but the shoes you choose. For all graduates, when you step on that podium to receive your degree your feet are generally at eye level with the audience and that is what everyone notices. Avoid flip flops and running shoes, do get a nice pedicure and heaven forbid you clomp around like a work horse.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

The Date with Candidate #2

Shortly before my birthday I agreed to go out on a date with this guy. Originally we were going to the drive-in on a Saturday night, but my nerves and his work schedule put an end to that idea. He was planning on being back in town mid-day Sunday, at which point he was going to call me and we’d figure out something to do together that afternoon. I figured a walk or going out for ice cream, or something equally easy going and spontaneous would make for a decent date.

The Date: He ended up heading back to my university town late Saturday afternoon and called me up on his way home. Candidate #2 asked if I was available to go out for a drink that evening with him since business wrapped up earlier than expected and he figured why wait until Sunday to meet up. I was feeling pretty spontaneous and tired of being cooped up at home and agreed to the short notice date. He would call me back to confirm a time once he got into town, so I had a couple of hours to get ready.

On his way to pick me up before heading out to the local Irish pub, he got a call from a group of his buddies who’d been drinking all afternoon and on the spur of the moment decided to go to the exact same pub as he had suggested we go to. I found out later that these guys rarely go to this bar, and prefer the cowboy bar on the other side of town as a general rule, which is why Candidate #2 suggested the Irish pub in the first place. This put him in an awkward position- he could take me somewhere else and run the risk of having me think he doesn’t want his friends to see him out with me, or he could just say fuck it and hope for the best from his rowdy friends. He decided to tell me what was up and left it in my hands.

Lucky for him I hadn’t been out in while and felt up for some mischief, so I agreed to just keep with our original plans. At the very least it would be entertaining and I was curious to see him amongst his friends since that’s the quickest way to get a reading on what kind of a person he is. It’s easy to act a certain way on a first date, but it’s pretty hard to be someone else when you’re around good friends who know better and would probably call him on it.

Driving out to the bar the conversation was fairly natural and easy going. There was very little tension and nervousness between us, and no awkward silences, which is so rare in a first date. We were able to get in half a beer before his friends showed up and the gong show began. They were an absolute riot and just what I needed at the time to get my mind off things. After a couple of hours on the patio at the Irish pub we all decided to head over to the cowboy bar. Candidate #2 was pretty sweet and attentive the whole night and rarely left me alone with these guys, probably for good reason since the stories were getting pretty colourful and they were getting flirtier. At one point while he went to the bathroom I was left with one guy who was seriously hitting on me while mildly trash talking my date. It was all in good fun since they genuinely like Candidate #2 and were happy to see him with some one for a change- although they thought he was a bit of an idiot for bringing me out with them on the first date.

Shortly after 1am Candidate #2 decided he should get me home and away from the boys. I would have been fine staying until close, but figured there were reason’s why he wanted me to leave before them. At some point in the few weeks we had talked over msn the subject of first kisses had come up, so I was aware that he was a bit timid when it came to making the move for a first kiss. After pulling up to my place we just sat in the jeep for a bit talking about things and flirting some more.

I’m not sure exactly how it happened, but soon enough I had leaned over slide a hand behind his neck to draw him closer and gave him a kiss. I think it shocked him a little bit, since it was unexpected and pretty forward. For the next 20 minutes however, we made out like it was high school all over again. Don’t ask me how this happened but at one point his hand found its way to my breast, and he claims now that I whimpered and didn’t move his hand so he continued what he was doing. In all my dating life I have never allowed a guy to grab the girls on the first date, especially not during a good night kiss! To say there was chemistry between us was an understatement. Despite having the house to myself that night, I did not ask him in, even though the thought had crossed my mind. So, we left it at that and I went inside to bed while he went to meet up with the guys for one last drink and greasy food.

Candidate #2 called the next afternoon to ask me over for a bbq and a casual afternoon on the back deck with him and his best friend.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Morning Ritual

When you wake up more days in a row than you can remember with frustration and sadness it is time to do something different. Now to figure out what I need to do differently, short of moving out of here.

Thursday, May 17, 2007


I close my eyes and tip my head back as the tears start to fall. Pressing the palms of my hands to my eyes with the futile hope of pressing out the image of your face behind my closed lids. Those piercing, slate blue eyes. I choke back a sob, but it’s too late to rebury the overwhelming emotions. I miss you. It’s as simple as that.

Eventually every new relationship is unfairly compared to you and comes up lacking. Perhaps it’s my self-destructive tendencies that cause me to pick less than desirable men. A sadistic loathing of myself as a person motivating my actions. There are uneasy pinpricks surrounding the veracity of the new relationship with Candidate #2. Something is not right and I leave feeling more alone and isolated inside my head after being with him than before. Yet I come back for more, whether it is to clarify the problem or torture myself I know not. It is then that you come to mind, my safe haven in a confusing world.

You were always there, even if you weren’t. I desperately wish I could forget you and move on, to let go of you and find peace with our time spent together, and I think for the most part I have. Until I find myself in the arms of another man and I’m left feeling hollow and one-dimensional. I’m left to thrash it out on my own. Struggling with my internal demons and coming to grips with the choices I’ve made in this lifetime.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

A Happy Birthday

A few days ago I celebrated my 26th birthday. Candidate #2 sent these to my parents house to surprise me, and wish me a happy birthday- it was quite the surprise all things considered.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Candidate #2

Candidate 2: 33 year-old who works in sales. Single, no kids, no pets, no former wives, but he is a smoker who’s trying to quit.

First Impression:
Clean-cut, put together professional who’s not afraid to take charge of a situation. He’s also a great friend and very selfless in giving time to those in his inner circle, whether it’s a best friend or a family member. A touch redneck given his hometown and some of his interests but not overly so.

Second impression (from msn chats and a brief phone call):
A very warm and inviting personality. He’s got a lot of charm and humour, but knows when to keep the flirting light without crossing the line into pervy territory like so many other men I’ve talked to before. A gentleman, who’s easy going, driven, has goals and a plan to achieve them. The early impression of redneck is balanced with a surprising love of reading, photography, and a higher than average intelligence. Candidate 2 is also surprisingly patient and understanding of my work schedule and time commitments.

The Plan:
Originally we’d scheduled an off the cuff date for a double header at the drive-in after he learned I’m as big a movie buff as he was, but had never been to the drive-in before. My nerves and an overly cautious attitude changed my mind and we’ve decided on something a little less intense for a first meeting. He’s calling tomorrow morning and we’ll decide on an activity for Sunday afternoon depending on weather and our respective moods.

Pre-date feelings:
Cautiously optimistic. Although Candidate #2 is seven years older than myself, I’ve already shown a penchant for older men, to my detriment at times, which negates my initial apprehension of the age difference. I feel a lot better about this date than prior to Candidate #1’s, but I don’t want to get ahead of myself if the connection doesn’t hold in the real world away from the computer.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Pre and Post-Date Wrap Up, Candidate #1

Candidate 1: 34 year old former IT professional who created his own business in the recent past. Single, but shared custody of a dog from his last relationship of 3-years that did not lead to marriage.

First Impression: A nice, well-spoken gentlemanly type. Well educated, and shares several of my interests in common. Appears good-looking and confident with a great smile from his profile pictures, however these can be deceiving.

Second impression (from brief msn chats):
Repeats the following phrases a little too often- “I have a good feeling about you,” and “ Are you very affectionate, because I love being affectionate.” Our online conversations are a little stilted and short, and he also has a bad habit of saying he’ll be right back only to disappear for the remainder of the evening.

The Plan:
A 7pm meeting at a Starbucks. Our first attempt was cancelled just hours before hand for a “business meeting with an important client at 7 pm”. Our second attempt the following week was for afternoon coffee at Starbucks, which I cancelled last minute because I just wasn’t in the right frame of mind and I wanted to give him a fair chance. The third time the following week actually happens.

Pre-date feelings: Apprehensive. Candidate #1 is a little older than I’d prefer and I’m picking up some strange vibes from his comments and behaviour. I’m trying to remain open minded, but wouldn’t be surprised if he is the “touchy-feely” type and a little on the creepy side. I expect a civil date, but no sparks and most likely no second date.

The Date: He is pretty nervous, understandably, but looks like his picture, which is always a good thing. The only minor difference is I detect faint, but distinct features/scars from a cleft-palate, but it’s no big deal. The barista’s all know him and later he admits to coming to Starbucks 3-5 times a week and hanging out, which I find a bit yuppie, but each to his own, right? The first hour of conversation is a little more awkward than normal for a first date, and he is definitely your typical IT geek, but not in the “dungeon’s & dragon’s” sense- more like he spends too much time at work and hasn’t fully developed his social skills, as well as harbouring a few personality quirks. By the third hour he’s more relaxed and comfortable and I have a relatively good time. Thankfully he refrains from touching me or encroaching on my personal space and doesn't come across as creepy.

Prior to the date I had, for the first time in my dating life, developed an exit strategy with my roommates. Someone was going to call my cell phone just after 8 o’clock. If I wasn’t desperate to get out of there after an hour I wouldn’t pick up, but if I wasn’t feeling it at all I would answer and the story would be that my house mate just got off work, her car wouldn’t start and I needed to go pick her up since I was the only other housemate with a car. She called at just after 8 and I didn’t even hear the phone. Had I heard it I probably would have answered, not because I was having a horrible time, but more so because I was getting tired and I had to pull out the side-show of witty anecdotes and odd but interesting tidbits from my life since the conversation was flagging a bit and he wasn’t giving me anything to work with. When necessary I can really “market” myself well, but it's exhausting. It’s funny because at one point he said that he thought I was the type that could sell ice to Eskimos.

Oddities of the date:

- At one point he offered me a job in his friends business. They company was looking for someone to sell the product, something I know nothing about, not to mention that I’ve never done sales before.

- He discussed the “custody dispute” ongoing with the dog he bought with his former live-in girlfriend. It was a bit weird and he was obviously bitter and upset over it still. In January she cut off all contact and wouldn’t allow him weekends with the dog because she believed he was using the dog to get back together with her. I have no way to corroborate this, however he adamantly states that it was the dog he wanted to see, not her since it was his idea to buy the dog and he picked her out, cared for her and had a greater attachment to her.

- He brought up “the site” in a whisper that I didn’t catch at first, and asked how long I’d been online for and why I decided to go try a dating site.

- We discussed the myriad of coffee shops in our city and the pro’s and con’s of several, including those that have free wireless. He then proposed that one day we go to the free-wireless spot to work together since he could pick up his stuff and work outside the office whenever. He thought it would be great to work across from each other on our laptops, occasionally gazing over the screen at each other. While this seems cute, it was a bit quick for me to be envisioning any sort of long-term relationship that would have matured to the point where we work together at a coffee shop for a “date”.

The Verdict: It wasn’t horrible, but there weren't sparks everywhere either. However, I’d be willing to commit to a second date to see if there is any potential since first dates, especially blind ones, are not the easiest for seeing if the other individual is really compatible. My only caveat is the distinct impression I have that he's looking for a wife and chasing the white picket fence dream pretty hard right now. In the end I came home I fired off an email, thanking him for a good time and leaving the door open if he was interested in a second date.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Exam Hijinks

The course I'm a teaching assistant in had its final exam recently. My students wrote in a large auditorium that also had a science course writing at the same time in the front section of the room. As with any exam, we have to escort our students to the bathroom to ensure that no one is in there cheating, should they actually need to use the restroom. With 30 minutes left in the 2 hour exam a student on the far side of the room raised his hand and I headed over with the expectation that it was another bathroom run.

"Um, my cell phone is buzzing in my pocket and I just wanted to let you know that I'm turning it off, and not cheating."

"Ok, that's fine, " I said, as I watched him take out the offending cell phone and power it down.

"Oh, and I was wondering if I could have some extra time? I'm feeling really rushed on the last section of the exam and want some extra time." He said as he looked at me like I owed him something.

My left eyebrow raised slightly and I must have given him a look of contemptuous amusement when I replied. I had to hold back from laughing as I told him absolutely not in no uncertain terms. Clearly my answer left him unsatisfied as I heard the student bitching loudly to his friends as I picked up the papers after the exam how it was "bullshit" and we should have given him extra time.

Yeah son, I'll give you and none of the other 250 students in our course extra time because you haven't learned how to time manage during an exam. Unbelievable.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Candidate #1

I had a date last night with someone from the online dating thing I signed up for. We met for coffee at the local Starbucks. Candidate #1 is a 34-year old, former IT guy who now owns his own business, has never been married and has no children.

My students write an exam tonight and my own deadlines are breathing down my neck so there will be more details to follow when I get a minute.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Yogic Achievements

Today in Yoga I was able to touch my head to my knees- a pretty impressive feat if you ask me. Mind you it wasn't a comfortable stretch/pose, but that will take a little more time to achieve. I'm enjoying the yoga more than I thought I would, and I'm constantly amazed at how flexible I am and how much I'm improving in that area. The only downside is that in 6 weeks my study will end and if I want to continue doing yoga I'm going to have to find a studio. I've been looking around and it's pretty expensive on a students budget. I'll have to really think about whether or not this is something I want to pursue in the future given the high fees.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Small Town Success

The pinnacle of achievement in my hometown seems to be marrying young and settling down to connubial bliss. It’s the same in every small town on the North American continent. I had a hard time in high school, and really disliked a lot of the people I was forced to see on a regular basis. I never fit in anywhere in particular and had a small set of friends. My main goal was get out of town as fast as I could and academics were the perfect conduit. By maintaining high grades I guaranteed myself a spot in a University away from the hometown, and perhaps some scholarships or bursaries to help me out. I was pretty serious about my education and focused on getting the marks. In the end I graduated with a 93% average, was accepted into every university I applied to and netted some scholarships upon graduation. When I left that September in 2000 I was ecstatic and so excited to start fresh in a place where no one knew me and where I could be who I wanted to be and do anything I desired. I never really looked back.

Not too long ago I joined Facebook, and started looking back. Almost all my roommates were on it, as well as a lot of my friends and a few of my siblings and cousin’s. I joined out of sheer curiousity and boredom. Facebook really is the perfect place to spy on old housemates, classmates, friends you don’t talk to anymore and anyone else you feel like. I have mixed feelings about this “social networking site”. While it provides some good laughs between my close friends and I, it has also confronted me full on with the same people I’ve avoided since graduation 7 years ago. Discovering who’s married, who’s dating whom, who’s engaged or having/had a baby is disconcerting to say the least.

The downside of all this is that I have started torturing myself with this information. It doesn’t help that I know I would be married now had Mr. Intellectual and I stayed together. We had plans to get engaged during our Master’s and married shortly after the completion of our respective degrees. Instead I chose to pursue a Doctorate and a partner that would help create an awesome marriage, and not just an ok marriage. I didn’t want to settle for decent, I wanted extraordinary. So here I am three years later, alone and embarking on my Ph.d. He’s chasing that white picket-fence dream with some other girl and they’ve been together for almost 2 years now.

Intellectually I know how utterly ridiculous this is, but I feel like a failure. Like I’ve dropped the proverbial brass ring. I never cared about getting married and settling down immediately. Those small town objectives were never part of my persona or priorities. I was quite content to be on my own and if need be spend my life alone- I love what I’m doing, I have some great friends and my family is more than I could have ever asked for. While marriage and kids are a desire, I would still feel complete and blessed without them. I think it would be awesome to be “that Aunt”. The one who spoils her nieces and nephews and adopts them as her own, taking them on trips, indulging them on special occasions and when ever I feel like it, just because I can.

From the outside all these old classmates seem happy and stable with their lives. Who knows if that’s the truth or just the public fa├žade. Some of the pairings seem odd, and I have to wonder if the fear of being alone has forced some of their hands into an early marriage with whatever was available in the home town, instead of waiting. The girls who became baby-momma’s, while smiling and beautiful with their dimple-faced angels, give me a moment of pause. Children are a blessing, but their unexpected arrival and the complications that creates cannot be easy. As deeply sad as it makes me to look back and see what I don’t have, I know I am infinitely better off where I am. I’m following my dreams and passion’s with my doctorate. I’m unencumbered and free to do as I please and be as selfish as I have to be to get to where I want to be in the next few years. As much as I desire someone to share my journey with I understand the value of my freedom.

One of Vladimir Lenin’s famous quotes comes to mind:
“Liberty is precious; so precious that it must be rationed carefully.”
It is easy to take it for granted when you have lots, but for those who don’t have as many freedoms it becomes so important. The irony is that in my final year of high school, in the graduation yearbook, I used that quote in my profile. I also said that my future plans were to become a Doctor, and on some level I knew that what I was embarking on would be the path less traveled. Its also good to remind myself to take advantage of my liberty now and enjoy it to the fullest since soon enough I will have a lot less of it when mortgages, family, career worries and real life comes marching in.

So while I may have failed the litmus test of my small town, and I let it bring me down, in the end I wouldn’t change a thing with my life. I just need to keep looking forward.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Online Dating- Take 3

There's nothing quite as depressing as being rebuffed by a guy on an online dating site. It's awesome!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Jane on Relationships & Sex

Over the last few years since Mr. Intellectual and I went our separate ways I’ve dated quite a few men, and started up semi-serious relationships with a few. Over time I’ve noticed some interesting things about myself when dating or in a relationship:

  • If I split the cheque on the first date or pay for everything on the first date, there is no second date. I hate having obligations towards people I’d rather not spend time with, even if it’s something this subtle. So if I'm paying, it's not going well. Exceptions are for the rare first dates I initiate and expect to pay for, like drinks etc.
  • If I don’t want to kiss you after the first date, there will be no second date.
  • If I can’t look my partner in the eyes during sex and hold his gaze, the relationship is not for keeps and will only last a few months. To date, the only man I could have sex with and look at during the act was Mr. Intellectual.
  • If I can hold your gaze I prefer missionary or woman on top. Doggie style is the position of choice for every one else.
  • If I stop giving blow jobs and make a concerted effort to avoid going down on you, the relationship is over and I will leave shortly after realizing the change.
  • I won’t tell my siblings or parents about a person I’m dating, even if it’s for a few months, if I don’t think they’re worth the trouble. This type of relationship is relatively short lived and inconsequential.

I’m in a rut, so I have once again signed up for lavalife in the absurd hopes of finding someone compatible. This time I’m approaching it a little differently in order to not waste as much time. I’m actually going to put out some of my own cold hard cash for credits, post a picture of myself on my profile and not just in the back stage and I'll be a little more selective in who I’ll agree to meet with. This is the third time I’ll have tried using an online dating service since breaking off my relationship with Mr. Intellectual 3 years ago. To date I have never had more than a lot of first dates and only a couple of second dates from online men. The exception is the Jock, who was a “friends with benefits” turned relationship disaster.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Does 26 = Old Maid?

I'm still here, still depressed and still struggling to keep my head above water academically. I don't know what to write about these days without sounding like a broken record.

For the last week and a bit I've been having almost nightly dreams of Mr. Intellectual, which is a bit odd. I think I just miss being in a relationship with someone I love and who understands me. I'm frustrated and becoming increasingly sad over my current relationship status. I think it has to do with the fact that my 26th birthday is around the corner and in cliched girl fashion I'm fretting over the possability of a lifetime of spinsterhood.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Rose of Sharon Progress

Mirabilia, Rose of Sharon

Last year I posted a picture of the progress I had made on a cross-stitch piece I was working on. Here's what it looks like now. As of last Spring I really hadn't touched this. I don't think it even left my cross-stitch bag for over 6 months. I was too depressed to take any interest in my hobbies, and the weight of me thesis lay pretty heavily on me. After my thesis defence I dug this out again, and slowly started to work on it. I come back to it for a few hours at a time when the mood strikes and can find it very therapeutic.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

If You Think Writing Exams Are Bad- Try Marking Them

I'm marking midterms this week. One of the essay questions my students have is on the German invasion of Russia during WWII. I was sitting outside on the back deck, enjoying the sunshine and warm weather while I marked, since marking isn't the most enjoyable past time. Late in the afternoon I came across a student who's answer made me laugh out loud. The essay was decent, but buried in a fairly serious and straightforward answer was the following bit which I've copied verbatim.

"Ultimately, the Nazi's were too far away from home if you will, and it was impossible to continue through the harsh temperature. The Soviets successfully dodged a bullet (or several!) by abandoning and retreating as the invasion progressed. In essence, the Fuhrer rolled the dice, and fortunately for humankind, he crapped out."

I've started a little collection of quirky and downright wrong, but hilarious answers. I've even scanned some of them since they're too unbelievable to be true without the proof- like academic urban legends. I ended up giving this student a 7/10 for his answer, mostly because he broke the monotony.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Odd Things

I was checking through my StatCounter this evening since I haven't looked in over a month to see what was going on. One person stumbled upon my blog after google searching for "bmw ph.d pretty impressive too."

Whatever it was they were looking for, I doubt they found it here, but it did make me laugh.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

The "Drool Study" Begins

I signed myself up for a University study on the affects of exercise for those with depression a couple of weeks ago. After too many interviews and assessments to determine if my depression fits the criteria for what they are looking for, I finally started my sessions. This was the first week where I began my stretching group exercises, which are essentially a yoga and pilates routine with a small guided meditation at the end. I go three times a week for an hour at a time. For the most part there are usually only 3 people in the “lab” at a time- myself, another participant and the girl running the session. It’s a bit awkward at first since we both know why we are there and I’m guessing that like myself it’s not something they’re openly acknowledging to people.

This study has become known affectionately as the “drool study” in my house. The girls I live with know I joined up for a University led study involving exercise, however, they don’t know it’s for depression. One of the components of the study is that at various times during the 12-week intervention I’m required to submit saliva samples from 3 different times in an assigned day. This means that I drool, or spit, into a test tube through a straw. My samples are then frozen at home and brought in to my next session. The purpose of this is to test the levels of cortisol change in a predictable way throughout the day. Cortisol is the hormone produced in response to stress. Since I live with a bunch of Science major’s they have just assumed that the study is examining the affects of exercise on stress, which essentially is one of the aspects of it. The drool aspect has caused quite a lot of hilarity in the house, as well as curiousity. So much so that the girls wanted to take a peek at my frozen vials of saliva and where I was storing them in our freezer.

I can’t say that I feel any affects as yet, aside from a few sore muscles and my carpal tunnel wrist being aggravated. I find aspects of it calming and I do have hope that even this mild exercise will do something for me. At the very least the sun has been out more and the warmer weather has finally arrived. I’m still extraordinarily unmotivated, apathetic and I have had some really bad days in the last little while. Almost crying in seminar for no apparent reason is not a good thing.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Round Up

I took last week off from pretty much everything in my life- school, the blog, man issues, and worrying about the future. It was our Spring Break here at the New Uni, so I went back to my parents place to enjoy some peace and quiet on the Farm. I spent some quality time with my family, although I didn't get a chance to see the niece and nephew which was a bit of a disappointment.

I did however get to see my 92 year old Grandmother. I've been feeling really guilty for not seeing her in quite some time. This was brought home to me all the more strongly when she said that it was good I had come, she was forgetting what I looked like. I wasn't feeling all that up to the visit, but I'm glad I went. I know our time together is short, so every time I get to see her is special now. It was a good visit because I was able to get a few more pieces of information on our family history from my mother's side. The things my Oma has seen and done in her life time are extraordinary and makes me feel all the more blessed for living in a country like Canada.

I spent Saturday on a spontaneous road trip with my brother the World Traveller, his best friend and his best friends wife. We went looking for motorcycle equipment. Not that I have a bike, or a significant other with a bike, but it was a good chance to see my brother and something outside of school. The World Travellor and his best friend just traded in their sport bikes and bought BMW Tour bikes for their next great adventure. They're as excited as kids in a candy store and I'm happy for them. It's nice to see someone living their dreams and dreaming big. Plus, seeing the BMW showroom in Toronto was impressive, I'm not going to lie.

This week I had a psych evaluation to see if I qualified for the exercise and depression study I had signed up for. I just got word this morning that I'm in and I've been assigned to the stretching exercise group. As much as I would have liked to be in the cardio group, this is probably a better idea for me. I'm already pretty flexible and if this is a yoga/pilates type of program with meditation I will be able to do this on my own after the 12 weeks are done. I think learning a new way to deal with the stressors in my life is essential since I haven't been doing all that well lately.

After the psych consult I was asked if I would be interested in participating in other studies. The person administering the evaluation said that I was a perfect candidate for their work with depression and MRI's. I gave them my number and told them to let me know if they needed me. It sounds intriguing and I'm up for anything to help me at this point. I've had chronic depression for more years than I care to count and am willing to try just about anything at this point to help me out.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Getting Back in the Game

I’m trying really hard right now to re-engage in my life. The longer I sit on the sidelines, the harder it is to start because things keep piling up and minor worries become full blown anxieties as the problem compounds. I can be a very stubborn person, which can be a negative, but in this instance it really is a benefit. Through sheer stubborn will I drag myself through each and every day so I can be a semi-functioning depressive. Every small task completed is a victory for me- from brushing my teeth after breakfast, washing my hair, to getting dressed in real clothes, putting on make-up and going to campus. Anything other than lying in bed, sleeping, staring idly at a computer screen or out my window is a success.

It’s really difficult to fight myself all the time to do things which others find so easy and mundane. It can be exhausting. I lose more than I win on most days, but it’s a start. I know my behaviour is causing damage to my Ph.d and future success here. I haven’t been completing assignments on time. I haven’t been completing all my readings or even engaging the material. I haven’t met any of the other Ph.d candidates aside from the two who are TA’s with me. I should be lining up my summer reading course, investigating what I need to do for my comprehensive examinations next fall and working on my French. At some point in the very near future I need to successfully write a French comprehension exam so that I’m certified as bilingual as part of my degree. At the moment I am so far from being bilingual that it scares me. If I let things slide any more I risk either being kicked out or having to drop out; neither of which are an acceptable choice.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Jokes on Me

We don't have cable at the house here in my Uni town. We make due with the hand full of channels we can get on regular old-school television. I checked during the week to see if we got the Oscar's on one of our channels and I could have sworn we did. I come to find out tonight when I sat down to watch the pre-show that we don't get one of the channels televising the Oscar's! So, my plans of a quiet evening, curled up on the couch, critiquing the fabulous and not so fabulous gowns, have been thrown for a loop. I love watching the big categories and seeing if they match up with my expectations or not.

Plan B is to finally watch Babel. I tried to watch all the movies up for best picture. After watching Babel the only one I missed was Letters from Iwo Jima, which I will watch shortly. There's only so many hours in a day and I think I watch way too many movies and documentaries as it is.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

A Start

Someone on campus is doing a study on depression and exercise and I've signed up to participate. I have a meeting tomorrow with the person running the study to make sure I qualify and to give me more information on the project. If I make the cut I'll be put into one of two groups. The first group will do yoga/stretching for an hour, three times a week, while the second group will do cardio (cycling, rowing machine, treadmill) for an hour, three times a week for the duration of the study.

I'm hoping that this will help, or at the very least begin to pull me out of this. The next step is to ramp up my medication or try a new combination, which ever is more effective.