Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Why It Doesn't Feel Like Christmas

Let me first wish you all Happy Holidays - whatever you might be celebrating - and a Happy New Year.

I will definitely not be updating until the second week of January.

I am spending a week in the south of England with D's grandparents for a traditional English Christmas - crackers and all.

Then, us "jetsetters" fly off to Tunisia, Africa for an all inclusive week long holiday and to celebrate the New Year in the desert.

Let me leave you, though, with the thoughts that floated around in my head as I tried to find something interesting to leave you with for the next few weeks.

Why It Doesn't Feel Like Christmas...

1 - Because there is no snow. And in place of snow there is not even real rain but the misty pissy kind that hardly justifies an umbrella but gets you wet just the same.

2 - I have not bought my family any presents specifically because my favourite part of Christmas is watching them open up that perfect gift that I have found for them. That and shipping them from here would cost more then they are worth.

3 - Because the presents I have bought were thoughtful but I know I will not get the reaction that usually comes from my family members about their presents, at 7 am, in our pjs, Christmas morning.

4 - Because I am packing stuff for the beach !! and flying out to Tunisia in a week.

5 - Because I am trying not to think about how much fun my family will have on Christmas without me there so why not pretend...it's not even happening!

6 - Because I have been so extremely busy flitting around Ireland promoting books that I don't actually even believe its December yet...where did November go?

7 - Because even with all the Christmas lights that line the Belfast streets, the decorations and wrapping paper that fill the shops, the people that buzz around, in a frantic panic, as though the world will end on Dec. 25, it is still not home.

Missing you all and thinking of you this Christmas

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

What's that number again?

When dialling any number over here, you usually have to remember city codes, country codes and international codes.

I think North Americans forget that all they have to enter is "1" and then they can dial the number anywhere in the big wide land mass that is North America.

I was chatting to my mom on Sunday - our usual gab fest that usually includes what's new with me, what's new with her, what's new with our jobs, what's new with the rest of the fam, what is the plan for chatting next week?

I was giving her the number to D's grandma's - where we're going for Christmas - and was explaining that she needed to put the international code in front and drop the regular '0' that you would usually have when you dialled the number.

Then, I proceeded to explain various scenarios where the numbers are different, such as calling the republic of Ireland is like calling another country however if you are calling from the republic to the north of Ireland, you need only dial the same number of digits you do if it was local - simply change the 028 to 048.

And you will know, if you're calling from the north, that if you have to dial "00353" plus "1" then you must be dialling Dublin however if there is no "1" then you are either dialling a mobile number OR a number somewhere else in the republic.

And that if you're in England and want to call Belfast, it's local. But if you in England and want to call Dublin, its not.

She stopped my rambles,

"Oh my god, I would not be able to survive over there. All those numbers!"

So dramatic, yes, I know but I had to smile. For the past few years, my mother has struggled with remembering multiple numbers. She does not know my number off by heart, even though I have had the same mobile for 2 years.

Picturing my mom over here, with the phone, trying to figure out which number to dial and which country she was in made me laugh.

I also had to laugh at her adoration of me being able to remember numbers and explain it to her as well.

Who knew THAT would be the part of my adventure she would be so amazed by?

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Remebering

http://traveldreams.blogspot.com/2003_12_14_traveldreams_archive.html

There is not a week that goes by that she doesn't cross my mind.

Hope you are soaring, my fellow travel chick:)

Monday, December 13, 2004

Old Scars

No matter where I go, no matter what I do, I don't think I will ever forget him.

No matter how well things are going in the here and now, I will always think of him.

I can't figure out if this is a good or bad thing.

Hard to Believe

It's hard to believe I have neglected this for over two weeks. What is the world coming to?

Things I have thought I want to write about:

Christmas shopping

Highshool nostalgia

Being a patient

Awaiting holiday

Happiness

I hope to have time to write more this week at home so I can actually post them during the day.

Hope all your houses are happy during the holiday season.

Friday, November 26, 2004

All I Want for American Thanksgiving

Not being American, I suppose I shouldn't be asking for something for this holiday however since I have relatives that live in the States and are celebrating, I figured I could state a few things I'm thankful for and a few things I would be REALLY thankful for.

I am thankful for my health, for my little flat, for my accent - whichever it may be, for the adventures I've had across Europe, for the adventures I'm having in the publishing world, for the Sunday afternoon chats with my mom, sisters and friends.

Most importantly for my super duper extra wonderfully talented D who without, I would not eat, have clean dishes, laugh on a daily basis or sleep slumberly.

And I would be very VERY thankful, Internet World, if you could all cross fingers, toes, arms, legs, eyes and anything else you can cross for a big break for the guy. It's close enough we can taste it, but it's not quite tasting as good as Thanksgiving turkey yet.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Reasons Why Bridget Jones is a REAL Love Story

1. Because the movie men don't cover up her zits.

2. Because yes, she does show her stomach 'pudge' which we all have and all try and hide and pretend not to have because in most movies the heroine DOES NOT HAVE PUDGE.

3. Because she makes the same mistakes I do - ladies, who hasn't been running late and put make up on in the car?

4. Because I can't stop getting giddy every time dreamy Darcy or dirty Dan says something romantic to frumpy Bridget

5. Because I love that she also has trouble picking outfits, not of which actually look like a designer.

6. Because in the end, with all her faults, she still gets her man.

**********

In honour of love, I got some fantastic news the other day.

A very special congrats to another truly wonderful person, my highschool-Bark-Lake-student-council-cottage friend TLO and her dreamy boy K who got engaged over the weekend on the beach at sunset.

When I was in highschool, I had this running joke where I said I had no tear ducts because I never cried. TLO however was like Niagara Falls.

At camp one year, at our closing ceremonies, we decided our group would get everyone to sing "That's What Friends Are For". I was to stand up with TLO as she knew all the words and well, I was sure I would not shed a drop.

Now, I cry at the drop of the hat. Commercials. TV shows. Kids sayings. Romantic gestures. Clean laundry. A pile of ironed clothes.

It was her fault, then, that the flood gates were opened because when we stood up to sing, it was me who burst into tears and her that held it together.

TLO has always held it together. You can always count on her with a gentle hug, a kind word, a thoughtful phone call. And she always let you know how special you are to her. I frequently get complimentary emails, which make me beam across the big pond.

If there was anyone more deserving of happiness, it is TLO and her K. My heart smiles thinking of them and their big day.

I am going to do my best to make it to this one. Tear ducts and all.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Way to Go

You get about 10 minutes after a successful 'thing' to appreciate the success of it.

Then, you're bombarded with 10 questions about the success of the other things.

The amount of effort you put into each thing is about 100 times more then the amount of time left to enjoy their successes.

Whinge. Whinge. Whinge.

Friday, November 05, 2004

Another Reason to Go to Work

I went for a walk by the sea today.

I heard the gulls calling each other, watched the long grass swaying in the seaside breeze, stop to view the magnificent Cave Hill from across the water, listened to the waves lap against the shore.

I breathed in the fresh air. I briskly walked along the path. I stopped to see the glorious view of houses, water and mountain terrain.

On my lunch break.

Friday, October 29, 2004

Who's That Girl?

I have wore eyewear since the age of 3.

My mother tells stories of her heart breaking when we would go to the eye doctor and he would put the "fuzzy drops" in my eyes.

The eye doctor said this helped him to see my pupils better. I think that's just something they make up in eye school so that they can get a chuckle out of people having fuzzy vision for 4 hours.

At 3 or 4, I didn't understand what was happening. I would grab my mom's arm, cuddle my face into her arm, while clutching at her elbow with my little hands. I would look up at her, clearly trying to focus but unable to, and then mash my face back into her arms in the hopes that when I surfaced again, things would stop being fuzzy.

Four hours later, it would be over, but to hear my mom tell it, it sounds like it was an eternity. Now that I'm older she laughs at it but I'm sure going through it, she remembers feeling like I thought she was torturing me.

I just remember the ice cream.

I also remember going to pick out glasses. I would always find the frame that was the most expensive and proceed to not want to try on any other. Considering my persecription should actually read "thick coke bottles" instead of the eye-dude language, the expense of the actual lenses were what the majority of the money was spent on.

I always bought coloured rimmed glasses. My first pair was an Annie pair - how cool was I? There were a couple of navy blue rims, a couple of maroon rims and the ultimate in funky, pastel pink. I think those years put me off pastels all together.

My childhood best friend L came up with the idea to paint her rimmed glasses. She used nail polish and would change them weekly. She was always so cool. All I had were my Pink Ladies.

When I hit highschool, my mom would tell me how much her work insurance would cover and I would go and pick them myself. I ended up only doing this once and probably made the biggest style choice of all.
The problem started when I invited my high school sweetheart A to come along and help. The intention was good - he would be able to tell me what looked nice.

What I should have also banked on was his stomach or more specifically his hunger.

By the time we got to the shop, he was starving but conceded to stop by to pick the glasses so that we could leave them at the one hour place while we ate and then pick them up afterwards.

I decided on a change - I would try wire frames.

I don't even remember trying that many on but I do remember A saying, "Ya, they look great, get them".

At this point in my life, I was wearing contacts on a regular basis so the glasses were purely for "emergencies".

I picked them up an hour later, put them on during the drive home and asked him what he thought.

"Uh, well, they don't really look that good".

I was stunned.

"YOU HELPED ME PICK THEM OUT??!!!??"

And there it appeared, his little whoops-i-did-it-again grin

"Well, I was hungry".

One of the many reasons we never made it past university. That and the fact he frequently walked into my work place and asked if I had any money for him. What was I thinking??!!

(we are still good friends but just more proof two Geminis can be disasterous)

And so, these were the glasses that I was stuck with. Not for just two years, but 10 years. 10 YEARS.

I just never got around to ordering any more. And all of the allocated money for eye wear, I would spend on my contacts.

Until this year.

D has always said how ugly the glasses are and he's right. They're big. Clunky. Make my eyes look like saucers.

And this year I decided I would splurge on a trendy pair of frames with the best lenses for my eyes.

I just got the lenses fitted last Saturday and picked them up last night.

I'm wearing them right now.

Frames from Canada, lenses from Belfast - worlds colliding one might think. Funky square rimmed, back to my maroon-style colour and very...well, very book publicist, if I do say so myself.


Now, I just need a few more outfits...


Thursday, October 28, 2004

This Sucks

Listen Fair-and-Equal Gods, I need your help.

It is a travesty that I, being so picky and precise, have found my dream job when D, who is open to any industry, is having such difficulty finding something.

The irony, I suppose, makes you chuckle in your Fair-and-Equal homes in the sky.

I need you to sprinkle some of your vibes down on the owners of establishements in Belfast. He is a smart, dedicated, extremely fast worker who deserves a break - any break - here in this fine city.

I will have trouble singing its praises much longer if all the doors that seem open to him continue to close.

It is very hard, Fair-and-Equal-Gods, to watch someone you love put themselves out there only to be disappointed again and again.

It hurts my heart to see him struggle, especially when he has come so far and done so much since the moment I met him.

Find it in your heart of hearts to help him figure something out.

I know you Gods help those who help themselves and considering the effort he is putting in, he is certainly following the God-helping criteria.

You are not just crushing one spirit - you are beginning to crush two.

Belfast Bits

There is a tower clock by the waterfront that has stood for years and years. It was built by Queen Victoria for her husband Prince Albert (I think). It is Belfast's leaning tower. Built on what used to be underwater, the soil is not very good for a large tower like statue. They spent millions of dollars to fix it. It will no longer sink into the ocean. But it still leans.

Craic (crack) has nothing to do with white powedery stuff and I partake in good craic quite frequently. A Belfast boy we met learned a hard lesson when visiting Canada when he asked a Canadian policeman "What's the craic?" sadly, in front of an actual crack house. Thrown against a wall and searched, he was able to mumble out the meaning. And learned the lesson "When in Rome..."

The sky may be gray to the left and it will be pissing on you but you can see blue sky to your right and the sun peaking out.

If you are a lad it's not cool to bring a brolly. Many many soaked rats wandering the streets of the city.

Saturday is shopping-for-going-out-outfits - especially with your 7 children, in strollers or holding onto handles as you bark loud "Shut it" and "You'll get a smack" while trying to keep them under of control. I sit on my couch on Saturdays, with a nice cup of tea, my book and classical music.

Sunday shopping has only been around for a couple of years and the shops don't open until 1pm and close at 4pm.

Belfast has the lowest petty crime rate in the UK and is said to have the 2nd lowest crime rate in the world. Translation: Tourists, never fear. This is a city for you to enjoy, not worry about security.

By the time winter hits, people in Belfast will be going to work in the dark and coming home in the dark. I am already having trouble getting up at 7:20 am.

If you are a pedestrian, be very very afraid. Cars..do..not..care. You..are..actually..in..their..way. Can I TELL you how much this bothers me??? Unfortunately for me, this also falls under the "When in Rome..." category. Crossing a regular street at in intersection is like taking your life into your hands. You are only safe at "zebra" (say zEbra not zEEbra) crossing - with lights and large white lines. This is a pedestrian's revenge because a car can be speeding at 100 mph towards you and will screech on the brakes as soon as you step one foot on the white lines. And yet, everywhere else, the drive as though they don't even see you there.

Its "quarter past" not "quarter after". It is "half 12" not "12:30".

If you can't wait at a bar for 5 minutes waiting for your Guiness to settle, you don't deserve the Guiness.

It is time for me to get back to the blissful chaos.


Monday, October 25, 2004

It's a Canadian Thing, Eh?

My mind was wandering this morning as I was cleaning the house. Partly procrastinating, partly disinfecting a much needed rat hole which had not been cleaned in...well..I confess I've turned into a neat freak and it probably could have gone a couple more weeks my old standards but this morning, well, it was just driving me nuts.

I'm not sure whether it was a train of thought that started with me thinking of D out with Australian friends - because he was today and I have found LOADS of things to keep me busy, many of which involved talking to myself but this, you see, is really nothing new.

Or, it could have simply been a train of thought of holiday because housework makes my mind wander and the first thing I'd rather be doing is probably being on holiday.

But I was suddenly thinking again of an extrodinary week that would not have been had it not been for one simple decision.

To be honest, it was pure laziness. We had arrived in Faro, Portugal, around 9 pm, after sitting on a bus from 2:30. We were trying to get ourselves to Lagos, what we had been told was one of the most romantic, relaxing places in the south of Europe.

We had just finished off 4 nights in Seville, which were spectacular unto themselves but now, we were gearing up for a much anticipated visit to the seaside.

When we piled off the bus, so too did a few other tourists. One set was a couple from British Columbia. They had their Spain and Portugal book and were taking 3 weeks to travel around. She must have been 6 months pregnant and I couldn't help but thank the fertility gods that they had spared me the strain of lugging a backpack around with a KID IN MY GUT.

There were also 4 young, blonde, cute and friendly Aussies who were geared up to get themselves to the final destination - Lagos.

From where the bus dropped us off, it was a 2 minute walk to the other bus station which would provide buses that would take us to Lagos.

D and I pondered. Should we or shouldn't we? Pregnant couple was finding a place for the night. The Aussie girlies were heading to Lagos - hell or high water, they would be hammered with other young tourists in the sea side town by midnight.

We decided that we would see if there looked a suitable hotel along the way and if not, then, get on the bus and head to Lagos.

It was dark and nothing was really going on in the city at this time but in the short walk - about halfway - we saw a hotel. I went up to the deskman, got a good rate and our fate was sealed. With two little beds - extrememly comfy I may add - a TV WITH CABLE!!!! and an DIVINE showerhead, we decided this had been the right decision.

And so, up in the morning, we took the first train to Lagos. It was pissing rain.

Perhaps that was why, when this slim, tiny Porteguese woman - with a car, I might add - approached with "ah Canadians!" and offered us a room at her hostel, we had no choice but to accept.

Being a bit apprehensive about going with a stranger, it eased my mind a bit when a Kiwi decided to join us.

The car ride, she went on about Canadians, Aussies and Kiwis, how she loved to have them stay at her place and that at the moment, there were a ton of Canadians staying there.

It only struck me later on one of the most important things she said. There had been an Australian couple, who had ended up staying for a month, that had only just left that morning and that is why we were able to have their room.

The "hostel" ended up being a room in a condo building, with a kitchen, bathroom and four rooms with various capacities. One room was a single with an ensuite, two had 4 beds - one for boys, one for girls and the final room was a double bed for couples.

The majority of the visitors were Canadian. We hadn't yet met any Canadians on our travels. It was already starting off to be a good one.
We went drinking together. Wandered the beaches together. Swam in the freezing-night water together. Even had our own wine and cheese party together. We were from all parts of the country. British Columbia. Alberta. Ontario. Nova Scotia. We had all come from different walks of life and yet, being Canadian was the one thing we had in common.

It was the American couple that pointed it out.

"You Canadians have a weird sense of humour."

We all kinda looked at them and then looked at each other. There were knowing nods and small smiles. It was like they had pointed out something we hadn't even thought about but made so much sense. Why was it that after 4 days, we were still getting along? There were still things to joke about? There was this comfort level between all of us, for no real reason at all.

That was the best social time we had on that first trip. It was also the first time I really understood what it was like to be Canadian. That there is a subtle difference, from us and the rest of the world. That as much as we go on and on about wondering what Canadian culture is, it's simply deep in who we are. Perhaps it was the sense of humour, I don't know. But we did all fit in together. Some how.

It was only because there was a hotel in Faro that was on our way to the bus stop. If we had arrived in Lagos that night, we wouldn't have been able to stay at the hostel with all the Canadians - our room would have been full.

Another lesson, taught by fate.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Calling all Boys

Girls: Please do not be offended. I am a girl and know how I can takes things too much to heart, misinterpret people's meanings, go a little overboard on my reactions. But please please don't. Just hear me out.

Boys: If you're out there, use this to open your minds.

For most of my adult, independent, from-university-until-now life I have had either male friendships or female ones that felt like male ones.

I would usually get together one on one with my female friends, frequently discussing how we would fix the world if we were elected president. That or how many countries we would travel to and what type of things would be the best to pack.

I have not ventured out in big groups for girlie nights, discussing shoes and jewelry and lip balm. I have never been one to dress up and take 3 hours to get ready and go dancing.

So, realistically, I shouldn't expect to go out with the above company and a) have anything to talk about or b) have a good time.

I like conversation. The girls that have taken me here and taken me out are lovely people. Sweet, funny. They may even being interesting conversationalists. But it just seems we never go out for chatty events.

My old work ladies rocked. But getting all 12 of them together for a chatty night out is proving to be more difficult then moving across the ocean.

There are girls that I know - mostly those that are NOT single - who I find I have something in common with. But at this stage in their lives, they have their own friends. I don't think it's that they don't enjoy my company, it's simply that I'm not on their radar when they're organizing an evening out.

Which brings me to my most comfortable situation - chillin with the boys.
My dilemma is this: the boys I meet are either D's friends or want to get in my pants.

As a girl, I cannot meet new boys on my own without them wanting to go further. And it's not the same hanging out with boys D knows because then I'm just the tagging along girlfriend.

My "boys" back home would make puking noises if anyone suggested I might actually be dating one of them. This is what I'm looking for. And sad to say I know this is not possible.

It's hard to explain to boys that I am actually used to their conversations about how hot that chick is that just walked by or do-you-think-Brittany's-are-real? type debates.

Boys are straightforward. I have never wondered what they thought. They will tell me if I look stupid, said something ridiculous or am being a drunk crying girl idiot.

I like this honesty. Girls - myself included - have difficulty being honest face to face. In some twisted way, we don't want to hurt people's feelings. We think that by keeping our emotions from them or talking behind their backs, they will be "less-hurt".

This is not really meant to be a complaining post. More an observational one. More a coming-to-terms-with-the-moving-away-from-everything-you're-used-to type post.

I remember going through this in first year university. Dating D and chatting to guys in bars. I thought I was making friends. He had to explain that boys don't go to bars to make new friends.

I have to decide whether I can put up with the somewhat superficial entertainment I have partaken in as of late or I can put up with not going out.

Both make me feel lonely. One saves me more money.

But if you're a boy in the Belfast area and don't want to snog me or use me to hang out with my boyfriend, I do hope we meet someday.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Little Mr. D - Letter to the Kid #2

(readers: do not be confused. not MY D but E's D)
Well mister, aren't you cute? Your mom sent me the second picture I've seen of you today. Pretty sharp looking.

It was a bit surreal when your dad jumped out at the page. I kinda wondered who I would think you looked like when I first saw a picture of but your birth-day picture just didn't show either of them.

This one - you're definitely your father's son. Oh dear. I knew it - you are totally NEVER getting in trouble! Just give a smile and a wink and she'll melt...for sure...

It's a good thing your dad practised telling me to "Go to your room" and "Get a job" when I stayed with them. He'll be all set to tell himself where to go.

You were even smiling a little bit in the second picture. Was that because of all the fun fresh air you get up at the cottage? You know, I love the cottage too. Your mom and I sat for a couple of days planning my Europe trip, talking about life, dreaming about the future. And look at that, there you are.

I heard you chatting to me in the background when I talked to your mom a couple of weeks ago.

Yes, I know you may be pissed we haven't met. And no, I hadn't yet sent you your present but it's on its way now...as long as Royal Mail doesn't lose it, which I have no control over and one day you'll learn that when you grow up that sometimes, you are at the mercy of the postal system. And yes, I WILL be calling again and you will have to be patient in the background while me and your mom catch up. Be sure to give me another shout out.

Tyeger - I can't wait to meet you. I won't be offended, however, if you cry when I try to hold you because that just happens to me when I hold kids for the first time. I inherited it from my mother.

I also think it's kinda cool that when I get into work, you are probably waking up for one of your early morning meals. Be nice to your mom that early. It's WAY TO EARLY for your Aunt A and you're a lucky dude someone will get up in the wee hours of the morning just to make sure you get food in your gut.

I know you will be getting cuter and cuter over the following months. You will also be getting bigger, turning into a real person.

Crunch on my heart, I know I will miss all this. But hey, you won't remember anyway will you?

Perhaps I'll be better at teaching you the "in-your-20s" stuff anyway. You're gonna need a place to stay when you decide to travel the world aren't you?

Friday, October 15, 2004

Rage

The people that have known you the longest can make you rage more then you ever imagined possible.

Perhaps intentionally. Perhaps unintentionally.

But it is so hard not to react. Especially when you know what's coming.

And you are helpless to stop the actions. And you're helpless to stop the way you are going to react.

At least I am. But sitting with this rage is much better then expressing it because the outcome will end up worse then the one I have right now.

It's still annoying. The control some people can actually have over your emotions.

Nothing a glass of merlot can't fix.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Perspective

The internet cafe I frequent happens also to have a shop in the front.

I never really pay attention to what kind of stuff is sold but most of it is electronics hence, the internet cafe theme.

I noticed a couple of weeks ago that, yes, they also sell guns. I assumed they were BB guns. Not being American, I am not used to seeing guns in my local Wal-Mart.

You see, I have never actually held a gun. I have never seen someone hold a gun, except on TV and in movies but that doesn't count because it's on a little box and not live, not real.

Today, as I was tapping away on the machine I'm sitting at, I heard this clicking.

I turned to see a kid - probably in his late teens - sqinting his eye, looking down the barrel, straightening his arm and shooting a gun. No bullets in the gun but shooting it none the less.

Right. At. Me.

Pointing it right at my face, about 15 yards away, testing his 'piece'.

In. My. Face.

I didn't do anything but I think my face said it all. That disgusted, shocked, nose scrunching, eye bulging look that I get when I can't believe my eyes.

His friends laughed, noticing my contored face was obviously not enjoying have a gun it in.

And I just was more disgusted. I turned my head back to the screen, but all I could do was hear the clicking.

I looked again, he was showing off. Point at bits to his friends, who were now doing a bit of a nervous giggle thing.

I tried to focus on anything else but the clicking. I just couldn't believe the ignorance. The arrogance. Because he was obviously quite proud that he could not only shoot a gun, but shoot it many times, and point out its pieces and also not even be aware that he was pointing it in someone's direction and maybe, JUST MAYBE, pointing an unloaded gun in someone's face, even 15 yards away, may actually just make them feel uncomfortable.

And suddenly I felt very lucky. That I made it to 28 years of age without a gun in my face.

Because there are people all over this planet that hardly make it to their first year in general, let alone without seeing a gun.

And so I stop grimacing. Because, really, it's not that bad

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Writing

I have written three separate long winded blog entries in the last week but have not posted any of them.

I get these ideas for short, quirky, mild interesting thoughts to share and suddenly they turn into the War and Peace of the electronic diary world.

As much as I always complain about being hormonal, I find that much of my soul searching words are written during a period (no pun intended) of pure reflection.

I need to perhaps go back to words and do a bit of editing.

I like having the option of simply writing at home. What's even better is that I'm not scrambling in an internet cafe to post something that is completely out to lunch.

Of course, that seems to be what I'm doing now. And so, this is short. And not at all inspired. And really, more just procrastinating.

Because there are other things I need to be doing at home today.

Off I go. Losing more and more readers by the minute, I know I know.

Be patient. I'll get back into my groove.

I promise.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Fantastic

This is a whole new world I am so excited about.

This week has been zoomy and exhausting, exhilarating and uplifiting, neat and fun.

I will write more later but I just wanted you all to know, my head space is in cloud 9.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Employed Blogger

So how does this work? I have never been an "outted" blogging employee, especially one that works in the writing industry.

I have learned many a lesson from Dooce and am not really looking to get myself canned over my words.

I guess this really will become a place where I share my outside-of-work stories.

I just don't want to start self-censoring because I'm worried what my boss will think if he reads that I'm PMSing.

Do we live in a society that separates personal from work life?

Perhaps my boss will enjoy my insighfulness at this page. Perhaps it will give him a little too much information into who I really am.

Because who are you really at work? Are you really you? Do you really show everything about yourself? Your dreams? Your hopes? Your fears? Your frustrations?

I know I don't.

So tell me, HOW DOES THIS WORK?

The only bloggers I read are pretty much self employed and so I don't really have any concrete examples of how it works.

I just picture in an important meeting:

"We need to decide the blah-di-blah about whosy-whatsit and thingymagig. Oh, and by the way, A, great blog last night about your cramps. My wife can really relate."

There are just some worlds I don't really want to collide.

The bonus is I can force myself to get back to travel writing. I have many stories to share and I should use this space to do so.

That way, keeps me removed from work but allows me to keep writing...which was the whole point of getting this type of job anyway.

I simply remembering being so anonymous when I first started this journey. I had the full time job and wrote cryptically.

Now, I'm a little bit more out in the open and I'm just not quite sure where to start.

So, how does this work? Thoughts? Comments?

Monday, September 13, 2004

How Do I Write This?

Since Thursday, I have been trying to figure out the best way to write this entry.
I have spent the last 3 days calling all the important people, drinking copious amounts of alcohol and sleeping away the stress.

I have come up with various scenarios, cute jokesy blog entries, long sappy ones, metaphorical far-too-deep ones, even short and sweet ones.

It seems I have been trying to think about it for so long that I have thought my way out of actually writing anything clever.

What I can say is: Be picky. Don't settle. Follow the little voice in your head. Go with your gut. Really believe it. Believe in yourself.

About a year ago, I decided I wanted to work in the book industry. I didn't care in what capacity. Writer. Marketer. Editor. Event Admin Assistant.

If I had been given them all on a platter and asked to choose, it would have been marketing because then I could have the best of both worlds. Continue doing the marketing tasks I enjoy - event planning, web content, social networking - while also surrounding myself with people who love books.

I also wanted to do this in Belfast. Something about this city sucked me in and hasn't really let go for over a year and a half.

It was very specific and I can't tell you how many times I was told to broaden my horizons a bit.
But what did I have to lose? I had already given everything up to come across the ocean, not to simply figure out what I wanted to do but to start doing what I really really wanted to do.

It's still very surreal but it happened.

As of Monday, I will be the publicist for a publishing company.

I'm still waiting for someone to pinch me.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Water Cooler Chats

It feels like it's been a very long time that I have been self conscious when I first speak to people at work.

It feels much longer then almost 2 years.

In Canada, I was the friendly communications girl, who doubled as an HR person when new people arrived in the building. I was always the one who would be super-smiley, starting up a conversation with anyone who happened to be in my vicinity.

I always tried to remember something about everyone, so that when I saw them again in the staff kitchen I had a "topic of conversation" to spark up with them.

I can't do that here.

I couldn't do that in Leeds.

It's not because I'm now aware that the American-Canadian "way" comes off as a bit fake to the dry-wit Brits. I am not afraid to continue being me. There's no reason to change my personality just because I've changed my postal code - er postcode.

And yes, I still make sure every person who serves me, opens the door for me, takes my bus fare, even smiles at me, knows I want them to "have a nice day." All UK-ers: I really really do. And as I've said in the past, when we say it at home, we really really meant it.

It is because I am fully aware that as soon as I open my mouth, I will get a strange look from whomever it is I have just spoken to. I will take them aback. I cannot have a casual exchange with anyone. My accent gives me away.

It's not that I blame them. Looking back, if I was squishing out my tea bag into my large mug on a Monday morning back in the tiny staff kitchen in my Toronto workplace and some one came out with, "Ah, I'm knackered today. Need to wise up and stop going out on a the lash on a Sunday night," I think I would do a double take as well.

You see, culturally, our conversations are different.

What I would want to say to someone would be this:

"Hello there! Good morning Bob - How are you? How was your weekend? Back to Monday morning eh?"

I might manage to get it all out before confusion set in, however people are creatures of habit. If you come across someone you don't know in the office, you at least feel the one thing you will have in common is language. And you'll be thrown if you're hearing words that don't normally come into small talk conversations.

And even if people can hear past the accent, the words will be odd. The phrases are different.

It's no longer a casual encounter. It's a chance-foreigner meeting. One that compels people to say things like "you're not from here" or "so, where are you from?"

In no way am I saying I don't enjoy people's curiosity.

It just means that my interaction with them cannot be your average morning coffee/tea kitchen conversation.

But I also know that I have changed my habits, words and phrases to the point that I probably won't be able to have an average one with anyone from home either.

Not necessarily a bad thing. Just something that hit me on Monday, when I was so knackered from the drink and the craic on the weekend that the kitchen made me ache for a fry...

Monday, September 06, 2004

Quiet

I have been quite silent I realize.

And as usual, quite cryptic.

My "one shot" went really really well on Thursday, so well that as much as my heart will explode with joy if it continues to go well, I am really really satisfied and feel that there is nothing more I can do to make this one happen.

Entertaining my university roomate from home on the weekend. It's been fantastic. I love being a tourist in my own city. And I love dishing with a girl that I don't feel uncomfortable around.

I hope to have more words next week but my fuzzy party brain is simply concentrating on getting through my Monday.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

One Shot

"You better move yourself in the music you...you better never let it go. You've only got one shot do not miss your chance to blow cause opportunity comes once in a lifetime" - Eminem (sorta - to be honest, these are the words I hear in my head, they may note be EXACT but today, they motivate me)

Today is a day of opportunity. It feels like a one shot day. Bull by the horns. Caution to the wind. Cliche day.

Fingers crossed and fulled speed ahead.

*******

If you want to read something a bit less cryptic, our SelfAcceptance issue of Mosaic Minds has gone live! Lots of good pieces put together by busy people who were working over holidays:)


Monday, August 30, 2004

NOT a slacker

I've been quiet because there are some exciting things going on here and I just want to wait until their all settled.

It's hard to simply write as though nothing spectacular is happening so I'd rather just be fairly silent until at least I get through til the end of the week.

I know I know, I have the laptop. Couldn't I simply spend 10 minutes coming up with something?

Perhaps since my Olympic flame has been extinguished for another 2 years.

But then again, they've just started showing the new episodes of the O.C. here...

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

It Actually Worked

To my surprise, when I got home from work yesterday, there was a message on my answering machine.

I panicked for about 7 mintutes while I tried to remember my password because I never check it because no one actually ever seems to leave us messages.

But somehow I just knew.

When I finally got through, I squealed at the sound of the voice. It was E's mom, letting me know I was one of the first people she called.

Mr. T.H. was born around 7:00 EST Tuesday morning, August 24, 2004.

The same time I was writing him his letter - 12:00 GMT.

What a weird cosmic vibe it was that flew from my fingertips, across the ocean and into the hospital delivery room.

Welcome to the world, tiger.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Letter #1 to the Kid

Kiddo:

It's time. It's really really time.

It does seem like yesterday I had this phone conversation with your mom, E, my very best friend from high school:

Your mom: "Well, I have something to tell you."

Me aka Aunt A: Oh. My. God.

Your mom:

Me: Oh. My. God. Oh. My God.

Your mom: "I'm pregnant"

AHHHHH. In that one sentence, our entire friendship flashed before my eyes. I suddenly realized that we were onto the next level. We were becoming, eh-em, the OLDER generation.

My excitement was more then I could contain. I was screaming with delight. She was laughing on the other line, saying she couldn't wait to tell me because she knew my reaction would be the best.

I wanted to run to her house. Give her a hug and make her some broccolli. You will like broccolli won't you? Because it's quite good for you. All that folic acid and stuff.

(And if you don't like red wine, well don't blame me! I tried to tell her it was good for you but...)

I'm not quite sure what you're waiting for. I could not think of two cooler people to be parents.

Your dad D is a basketball fanatic. He's also a fantastic coach. I felt bad when I laughed at him when he suggested he was going to run for town council.

You can probably make fun of him about it because, well, dads are nerds and geeks and say really embarassing things so I'm sure him being a councillor will be totally embarassing but you'll learn to deal.

I only laughed because I remember your dad in high school and not the man he has turned out to be. He is a dedicated member to our Small Town and it would be lucky place if he put his energy into making it better. Once you become a teenager, though, you will probably most definitely think him un-cool. That means he's doing a great job at being a dad.

Your mom is a person who is instinctively a mom. So responsible. So caring. So attentive.

She listens. You can ramble on for hours - drunk or sober, although I would not recommend getting drunk in front of your mom until you're AT LEAST 30 because well, just leave the drunk rambles to me - and she will sit there, with a sympathetic face, just hearing you. When you finally finish, she will say something that just makes it all better.

She gives advice. But not the kind that makes you want to freak out because someone is telling you what to do. Just real honest advice. And you find yourself taking it, because it just always makes sense.

Makes tea. First lesson: Tea really does fix everything. Period.

She makes cinnamon rolls for goodness sake. Will you not be the hippest dude on the block? Chicks will also dig it but again, no worrying about them until you're at least 30.

She's totally laid back. I doubt you'll get in trouble, like ever, especially if you're cute, which I have no doubt you will be. I've never seen her yell at anyone, although you may want to check with your dad about that one.

Most importantly, whatever life event/adventure you decided to embark on, she will always be there for you.

No. Matter. What.

She will always be as excited as you are. She will always take the adventure "with" you. She will never be jealous or envious. She will just always be happy for you.

I don't think you realize how set you really are.

So the reason why I'm writing to you today is that you're almost a week overdue and my head is going to explode soon if you don't hurry up and make an appearance.

Your mom and dad have been very patient. Your grandparents have also been very patient. Your Uncle M and Aunt R have been waiting. You big bro C the doggie is waiting to leap on and lick you.

Your Aunt A has also been patient. She has missed your growing She has missed your mom also growing. She will also miss your arrival. All of these things tug at her heart to the point that she thinks of busting out the plastic and getting a cheap flight home just to see your tiny, newborn face.

So, before I sink myself into further debt, please appear little dude.

And don't think that's the last bossy letter you'll ever get from me.

It's only just begun.


Friday, August 20, 2004

Perfect Creativity?

I used to relish methodical work of updating content on web pages. Zoning into the screen. Clicking, almost rhythmically from program to program, Ctrl C, Ctrl V, watching it all fit into place.

It was just text. Simple text in notepad or the text module of the content manager. Just letters, 26 different ones mixed up in millions of different configurations, to make up what looked like a screen of a foreign language.

I could work for hours, just highlighting...copying...switch programs...pasting, getting lost in the monotony but taking great care.

Because anyone who has worked on code knows that one little character in the wrong place and it will all go haywire.

But it could be a hidden mistake, one that you wouldn't notice until you were brave enough to take a look at the graphical masterpiece the letters had created...you had created.

Preview...launch browser...voila.

And there it was, suddenly, all the letters made a beautiful piece of work, that came alive with colour and texture. A 6 digit sequence created vibrant tones. Such a satisfying feeling.

More so, I think, than perhaps the creating a drawing or a painting. You begin to see these pieces of art unfold in front of your eyes. You can see the beauty, perhaps, before you are finished.

But a webpage, well, you can wait right until the end to see the masterpiece you've created. You can fiddle away with numbers and letters in a simple text document and then, have an unveiling of all your hard work.

And there's enjoyment - similar to that of a treasure hunt - when you're challenged to find what is making the border go wonky or the code appear on the page. What tiny character have I misplaced? What digit is not in exactly the correct position?

This exactness, the absolute intolerance of the code for variation, this is my math. The creative world's answer to having a definite way to create.

Part of me likes the chaos of creativity. The other part likes the certainty of web code.
Create to perfection.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Love of the Laptop

For the first time in a few months, D headed to bed before me. We tend to make it a habit to always go to bed together at the same time. And, while he wasn't impressed that I was not following our cute routine, I had to confess that I was having an affair.

I needed to stay up with my beloved laptop. The machine that allows me to write away, organize files, schedule tasks.

It even allowed me to write a blog entry. Of course, when I read it this morning, it seemed a little too much for the blog. I think perhaps I'll keep my thoughts of body image, fad diets and healthy lifestyles to myself. (It didn't seem controversial at 11 at night however, the morning has brought some clarity)

Ideas are racing through my head and now I have an outlet. I am so happy. So so happy. I am so ecstatic that it's only a little thing like having a new love in my life can turn my productivity around.

My long term goals don't seem that far away any more because I have the power of the keyboard, WHENEVER I LIKE, to kick my butt into gear.

And all those little secrets I'm still keeping I'm still waiting to hear back from. I got up the courage to contact a few people that could give me answers, only to hear that I still...must...wait.
At least I have the love of the laptop.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Very Very Bad

I now have a laptop. I have no excuse. Except, perhaps my Olympic Fever.

I promise to stop making excuses about writing and just write....

But I'll just watch these Gymnastic trials and then...

Monday, August 16, 2004

Olympic Fever

It is quite odd to be watching the UK footage of the Olympics.

For as long as I can remember, I have watched from the Canadian perspective, including interviews with Canadian athletes, stories of their triumphs and struggles, pictures of them suited in the red and white maple leaf attire.

This year, I have no idea who is actually competing for my country.

For the first time in a long time, I watched the Opening Ceremony from start to finish. I just wanted to make sure I saw the Canadian team and all the flags in the stands.

I have been pouring over the TV guide, making sure I know what time the events are on so I can make the most of the Olympic Games.

This is also the first year that I have actually been to the venue. Athens, a city that I did not have much to write home about, really does seem transformed. Although most of the wide shots are of the Acropolis, you can tell the visitors are impressed. I, like many who have been to Athens pre-Olympics, was so skeptical as to how they were going to pull it off.

Even as late at May 2003, I was shaking my head and wondering how this city of grime, pollution and construction was going to turn itself world class in just over a year. Sounds like they've made it.

I am exhilarated to be watching for the next two weeks. By simply competing fairly, citizens of the world are respecting and accepting each other, no matter their race, creed, nationality, sexuality. Everyone is equal. Everyone is given a chance. And everyone is permitted to celebrate their country pride amongst others who are as equally proud of their way of life.

Living abroad you learn to accept the way things are done and respect the differences. You appreciate your home, your way of life. But you also respect the differences and embrace them as simply another way of life.

The Olympics allows people to sit in their homes and get a small glimpse into the many different nations of the world. Amongst all the war and destruction that goes on, at least we can all pause for a couple of weeks and celebrate all of humankind.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Words to Live By

Having an amazing break. Seeing family get excited about a place you feel at home in is such a liberating experience. You don't need their approval but it helps to let you know that you did make such a fantastic decision.

I'm saving my writing for the next issue of Mosaic Minds, which we're busy writing away on, but I just wanted to share this post because that Alex the Girl always makes heaps of sense.

I'm with ya sister

Something else I've been thinking about: Don't be afraid to change your plans. Life really is the journey and not the destination.

Friday, August 06, 2004

Maxxing, Relaxxing and Leaping

I'll be away from blogging for the next week as we're having our SECOND VISITORS to Belfast! D's parents will be staying for the week and I'm more excited then I can share. It's so wonderful to be able to show your life to the people you care about.

Plus, could use another break for the brain. I seem to be needing a lot of those lately. Just want to keep my motivation up.

And I can't think of a more fitting post to be on the site while I'm away for a week.

I read this on a blog today (Sunday August 01 entry).

"A ship in a harbor is safe, but that's not what ships are built for"

Way to go Penelope. No matter what happens, you will never regret this.

I'll never stop loving leaping stories. Brings a smile to my face, a tear to my eye and a hug on my heart to hear people "living it".

Thursday, August 05, 2004

No Word

I haven't heard back yet.

I'm just waiting.

I'm too chicken to call and find anything out.

Especially since D's parents are coming for a visit this weekend!

The last thing I need is to be feeling rejected when they're around.

Still feeling positive about things, although it's a bit scary how September looms and we don't seem to be any closer to the "place" we wanted to be here in Belfast.

Once the summer is over, we will have no excuse. Perhaps then it will be scarier.

Not as scary, though, as the fact that my current contract will probably run out in October. I can't believe I might have to start up another temp job, put all the effort into understanding a business and the people in it for a temporary period.

A sudden change of plans, perhaps somewhere in the Medeterrainean might be in the cards.

Yum. Greek food for eternity.

Monday, August 02, 2004

Holy Guacamole

Is it possible there are angels or beings or aliens above that have decided to wind me up?

Is it possible that on Friday I saw a job advertised that was the job I said I wanted last year while working in Leeds?

The actual OLD THING that I was originally excited about having but then felt like it was weighing me down and now that I maybe am okay with the OLD THING not happening the powers that be decide to dangle it right there in front of me?

AM I DREAMING???

I hate to not post it - because it really is killing me that I haven't been able to make public my other two gems - but I think this route seems to be bringing me the opportunities that I keep dreaming up in my head.

What the freak is going on???!!!???

Could someone please pinch me or smack me or throw water all over me just so I know this is actualy happening???

I'm really nervous and excited and scared and shocked. How is it that the universe has dropped yet another golden egg in my lap and said, "Here you go, here's your chance"?

Do they not understand that I am still tense with anticipation for the other two exciting adventures I'm still waiting to hear back from? My heart cannee take it!!! It WILL explode!!!

They're asking for a resume and a cover letter. A LETTER???!! That's all I get. I don't even know where to start.

I'm am on cloud 9 and perhaps because nothing has yet come back as a definite "NO" so I think it might have even been easier to take if I could have at least had one of my creative journeys resolved but at the moment they're both hanging in the air and now...now this!!!!

I am by no means kicking any gift horse in the mouth. And I haven't even applied for this yet! My optimism sometimes gets the best of me as I'm already planning what I want to wear to my interview.

I never thought I'd say this but:

Good things come to those who wish.

Friday, July 30, 2004

Happy Wedding Day

One of my oldest friends, K, is getting married to her dreamy boy R today.

I have known him as her beau for many years (I think we're even talking over 10) and I could not picture a more perfect guy for her to be marrying.

If I was at the wedding - which I desperately wish I was - I would want to say this:

Today is a dream realized from years past
The white dress, the wedding cake, the promise of a love that lasts

Today is the beginning of a journey the two of you now share
The vow to love, honor, and cherish now seen in the rings you wear

But tomorrow, tomorrow you will wake as husband and wife
Where the person next to you is yours for life

And so my wish to you both is that when you wake each day
You will turn to each other with the same look you share today

I wish I could say I wrote this but I didn't. I just thought it was so lovely and sweet.

To another friend, taking the leap, towards eternal happiness.

Thursday, July 29, 2004

ANYTHING Else

Raspberries remind me of picking them in my grandmother's backyard when I was small. She would ask me to help her gather them and the intention was to make jam. If I didn't eat all of the raspberries, we would occasionally get a jar or two and then we'd eat it all up over the two weeks I was visiting her in the summer.

Buying berry fruits reminds me of being an adult. The independance to go to the grocery store and stock up on treat items like strawberries and blueberries and raspberries and blackberries and the non berry fruit melon and not have to worry about how much I'm spending on them because I won't have enough for staples like milk and bread.

Fall reminds me of piling into the family vehicle - either the station wagon or the van - and venturing out with everyone to the apple orchard to pick apples, swing in the trees and ride on the old style horse wagon. At the end we'd gather in the converted bar for some warm hot cider and apple pie, made fresh from the trees we had just been swinging in.

Snow reminds me of trekking out in the woods to get the perfect Christmas tree with the entire family, all of us kids going "dad, what about this one?" as he skeptically examined, saw in hand, each and every suggestion before choosing one we could all agree on.

The power of memory.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Yay for Evening Primrose

EDITOR'S NOTE: Girls will probably appreciate more. Boys will either go "ick" or "huh?" but it's just something I wanted to share.

****

After 10 plus years of dealing with hormones, I think I have finally figured mine out.

As teenagers, we have them raging through our bodies. When we become adults, they tend to settle a little however there always seems to be a certain time of the month when they bring on ... well... let's just say "different" emotions.

I've also been quite verbal about my "crazy week" as I like to call it and no, it's not the "friend has arrived" week, it is the "friend will be here next week" week.

I always get very melancholy, introspective, melodramatic, mopey, irrational and moody. I cry often. Once I cried at a milk commercial that had high school football players in it because I thought their wholesomeness was just so cute.

Over the years, I have begun to spot the week. Sometimes, it sneaks up on me and I will get emotional and not understand and why does my life suck and oh wait....(a little bit of math) and the numbers match up. I smile to myself and think, "This is definitely the week before the week".

About 3 years ago, I decided to go on the pill for the first time in an effort to help balance out the whole "week" thing. Plus, I had quit smoking and "everyone was doin it" so wanted to see what the fuss was about.

After gaining about 10 pounds - (stop yourself if you're going to give me the "but the pill doesn't make you gain weight" lecture because technically YES IT DOES. Anything that makes me HUNGRY-ER and crave CHOCOLATE, CHIPS, CANDY AND MORE CHOCOLATE is directly the reason for gaining the weight)  - and also experiencing nasty mood swings, I decided it wasn't for me after all. Pill got 6 months. Then it got the boot.

A couple of month's ago, I started taking Evening Primrose every day. I didn't notice any "craziness" so I figured hey! this is working!

Except, "it" never came. Which was slightly alarming for a few reasons but then I realized, the Evening Primrose MUST have been messing with my hormones. Back to square one.

Sunday - I noticed the weepy feelings coming on. So I took an primrose pill the next day. And the next day. And I am feeling quite happy and motivated, I must say.

Without going into too much details (too late) I have figured out when to stop taking them so that nature will take it's course.

And now I can live a fairly stable horomonal life - EVERY week of the month.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Gulp

I am very afraid of failure. I realize this is stating the obvious. Who isn't afraid of failure?

It's just, I feel that I haven't really failed for a long time. And I don't mean that in a conceited arrogant way. I just mean I feel as though I'm putting myself out there right now more then I have in a really long time.

I am truly pushing my own boundaries and I'm afraid of falling flat on my face.

I just had a little panic flicker that went, "what are you doing?"

Feisty does this great bit about Fear stalking her and how she's always tried to push him into the closet so Confidence can stay for awhile.

I am missing my Lady Luck.

I have always been someone who believes that most of the things that happen to you, happen to you because you worked hard.

But then again, some of the best things that have happened to me is because of Lady Luck.
The most obvious being meeting D - he was never supposed to live in the same residence I did and happened by a weird course of events and we have both pointed out that we were so day and night that if we had only met in journalism classes we probably would have never talked to each other and it was only that in our small residence we were the only two journalism students - Lady Luck to the rescue.

And in meeting him I was given the chance to not only quit a draining job but also travel Europe AND live abroad with someone as wonderful, adventurous and stable as him - Lady Luck pops her head in again.

I got the job at canada.com because Thea thought my cover letter was clever. I had sent a similar cover letter attached to EVERY resume I sent out during that time. Lady Luck picked the right lady to appreciate it.

My partner-in-crime when I worked in communications turned out to be one of the most movitational people I have ever met. From her I learned the importance of good management, good processes and a good laugh. Lady Luck plucked her out of all the other candidates and plunked her down beside by desk.

And when I was at a very low point during our first couple months here in Belfast, Lady Luck dropped 3 beautiful ladies, who embraced me with open arms and included me in a way that I thought was only possible within my own circle back home. Saying goodbye to one of them this weekend - she's headed back to Oz - was much harder then I expected.

Lady Luck can't help me with this one. It's gotta be all me. And maybe that's what's scarier. That I don't really have anything to pin my failure - or my success - on.

At least it's a chance...which is much more then I had a couple of weeks ago.

Monday, July 26, 2004

By the Sea

I know I live by the sea because of the seagulls.

They float around in the sky, swooping up and down past the clouds.

I see them outside my balcony window.

I know I live by the sea because I can hear them. Groaning and moaning. Screeching. Wooo-ahhhing at each other.

The screaming children I see being dragged about from shop to shop must have learned how to squawk from these seagulls because it's hard to tell the difference.

So many times, I stop, mid-sentence, mid-walk-in-the-bedroom, mid-making-tea, thinking someone is torturing a child outside.

I hear them when I'm in that slumbery place right before dawn breaks.

And I start to dream about fighting people, screaming children, angry angry birds.

In Leeds, the traffic outside my bedroom window sounded like the ocean. Sometimes I would imagine that if I lifted the cutains, there would be this magical landscape of rock face, foliage, sand and sea. The beaming sun would peek out from the clouds in an almost blue sky.

I have always wanted to live by the ocean.

But I never thought I would enjoy the "fake" seaside sounds of the traffic over the "very real" seaside squawks of the seagulls.

******

Very creative, reflective weekend.

I was pleasantly surprised at my enjoyment of a task I was never expecting to enjoy.

I'm not holding my hopes up for anything.

And for once, I will simply let fate deal with this one.

I've worked as hard as I can and there's no more I can do on this project.

So of to you, Destiny.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

When it Rains...It Pours

Ooooooooo - another twist in the plot.

I got a letter today from a place I applied to awhile ago.

It's not exactly part of the new thing. It's actually completely new altogether.

Hmmm.

Be careful what you wish for.

If it's clear as mud to you well then we're definitely in the same boat.

My mind still spinning a bit.

A step towards a success. So many opportunities.

So cryptic. But I'm enjoying this secret to myself right now.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

The Tea Fairy

Every night before I go to bed, I set out a tea mug with an Earl Grey tea bag in it, a cereal bowl, a large cereal spoon, mulivitamin jar and the cod liver oil jar.

I am usually quite comotose in the morning, so these small tasks make it easier to cope with waking up. I don't have to fiddle with the cupboards - I simply have to click on the kettle.

And so, in my morning state, I did what I do every morning. Go and turn the kettle on before I get in the shower. Then, when I get out of the shower, I can go and fill my mug and let the tea stew while I get dressed.

By the time I dressed, the tea is usually done and then I can remove the tea bag, add the milk - or the soya milk that I'm attempting to like but it is so difficult - and eat my cereal - which I don't really like but I know is good for me and therefore will eat.

But this morning, for some reason, I was too asleep and forgot to turn the kettle on. I was dressed before I even made it into the kitchen.

And so, I turned the kettle on. Left the kitchen to get my bag ready.

I came back to the kitchen to fill my tea mug when I realized that there was already tea in the mug. I had to stop.

Did I already do this? Was I so asleep this morning that I actually already made myself a cup of tea and totally forgot about it?

And then it hit me. He has been doing things like this lately for me.

Filling up my water glass that has lime and lemon that I like to keep in the fridge so that when I open the door, there it is. Full. Ready for me to drink.

Putting away my clothes on my side of the bed and making it because I am in too much of a rush - and usually still half asleep - in the morning to do so.

I have always joked with him that just because he doesn't drink tea (or coffee or pop or juice really - it's either water or beer) doesn't mean he couldn't make me a cup once in awhile. He would always laugh and tell me that that would never happen.

But this morning it did. Just because.

And there, in my sleepiness, I smiled and beamed.

Love makes you do things for no reason at all. I can't believe after almost a decade that I love him more then ever.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

CH-CH-CH-CH-CHANGES

It's happened. It took a whole year but it has finally happened.

It's something I was quite worried about. I wasn't expecting to feel fine about the whole thing if it happened. I was expecting to feel more like a failure.

I was proud that something had stuck in my head for so long, that I had been focussed on one goal. That I was beginning to "find myself" and know exactly what it was that I wanted to be. Really be

And yet, there is an enthsusiasm, mixed with calm, mixed with relief. But there is definitely a wind of change.

I hate to be cryptic but I'm just not quite ready to announce my new "thing" to the world yet. It's simply that I am excited that it is a NEW THING. It's not even that anything has moved forward with it. It's simply that it's a NEW-THING in my head.

Something else to try. A modification due to circumstances out of my control. A "seen the light" kind of moment, because if my Belfast life had worked out the way I planned, I would never have thought of this option. And yet now, I keep shaking my head wondering why I've never thought about it in the first place.

Since I was 8, I wanted to be a reporter. I wanted to be that until I was 23. Since I was 23, I kept changing what I wanted to be.
Until last year, when ONE-THING just kept coming back into my head and I never strayed. It just stuck there, like gum on the bleachers, relentlessly stubborn and arrogantly grounded. Just knowing that nothing else would push it out of the running.

Last year, I liked that. Liked that it seemed as though I had defined what I wanted and where I wanted it to be.

But it was becoming a heavy weight. Like a ball and chain around my ankle, tying me to this ONE-THING that I decided I should be. And it was getting me down. Making me angry and frustrated and annoyed. It was actually the ONE-THING that was making me feel like a failure.

Mind switch.

I'm not actually veering that far off my original course. But I think I've just realized I just can't ONE-THING it. It's just not in me.

I think I've also just realized that it's always going to change. I don't know why it took me so long to accept it. Perhaps I am so committed to a plan that sometimes, I force myself to stick to something even if it the situation has changed, I still view my plan as being the same.

I've always put myself down, as though I've given up on things and not given them 100% and that's why I have had to changes plans in the past - because of my own failure to commit.

I've decided to stop beating myself up.

This may be a bit bold but perhaps I'm OVER-committing. Forcing a plan that will never pan out because too many circumstances surrounding the plan have changed.

I've never really been good with change. And I've been ignoring it, calling it failure, lack of discipline, laziness.

Perhaps I'm giving myself too much credit now, I don't know. What I do know is I'm going to ride this positive wave for as long as it goes and deal with the aftermath of impulse later.

What a difference two days make.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Two Days

For the past two days, I have been letting my brain re-energize.

I chatted with so many friends and relatives over the weekend.

I did a lot of thinking.

I watched the entire first part of the Anne of Green Gables triolgy - three and a half hours - in my pjs, with tea and popcorn. All that before noon.

I realized that the only days I want to sleep in are the days that I have to go to work.

I tried very hard to put my life into perspective.

And I realized, I need "change my mind" as the song goes (and I really wish I could remember who wrote it)

I am not impatient. I am ambitious.

I need to rework the way I am used to working.

And so, I will be putting in place a new schedule for myself. I'm sick of coming off as a complainer and not a do-er.

Give me a schedule and I'll stick to it.

Wish me luck.

Friday, July 09, 2004

A Break

I will have two full days off next week. To myself. Dreamy D is stuck at work and I am privelaged enough to be given the July 12th and 13th as a public holiday.

Next week will be SO SLOW in the office as I think I am the only person NOT going away somewhere.

Well, I do exaggerate. There will be 3 of us in our department.

I just hope I'm not bored.

But then again, I could always write.

And I think I will see enough excitement this Monday to give me the inspiration.

There will be lots of bands and parades out in the city. It will be interesting to see. Everything kicks off with a huge bonfire as well. I'm not sure, though, that going too close to the fire party will end up being such a grand idea.

My first July 12th in Northern Ireland. It should be interesting.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Thinking

Never compare yourself to someone else's success, not matter how
much your competitive spirit wants to get the best of you.

Everyone is in a different place, a different phase, at a different time.

This is not school, where activities tend to correspond to ages.

This the big real world.

You cannot live to be someone else. You must always simply live to be yourself. It takes you long enough to figure out who that is, you might as well stick with it.

And most of all, be happy for those around you who are finding
happiness. Don't let your fears and anxieties take away from the joy they are feeling. Experience it with them.

Monday, July 05, 2004

MORE FANTASTIC WORDS!!!

ANOTHER ISSUE OF MOSAIC MINDS LIVE!!!!

Taking a break for about a week.

There doesn't seem to be any point in writing if I don't feel I have something interesting to say.

I need to rejuvinate my creative muscles.

Wednesday, June 30, 2004

On Hiatus

Not sure I will be able to post as regularly anymore. Seems as though Big Brother is alive and well within the tech team at my work.

And so, back to pen and paper at home.

I will try to update at least 3 times a week.

For now, enjoy your summer holidays

And of course:

HAPPY CANADA DAY!!!!

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Could I Be More Boring?

Apologies. I have written about it again. I don't really know why I feel the need to"alert the media" every time I'm feeling down in the dumps.

This blog is supposed to be about what I'm experiencing. I suppose for some reason, I feel the need to post at least once every couple weeks how depressed and sad I feel and then quickly blame it on "the hormones".

Then, I come back in the next day, shake my head in mild frustration and roll my eyes at my melancholy "oh-woe-is-me" posts.

This post is also meant to be about my creative journey. How VERY creative of me. Write about being angry and depressed.

D was sweet. He took me on a mini-date last night. And I felt a lot better. I always do. It always just turns itself around.

I don't like feeling sorry for myself because I don't feel I have anything to feel sorry about. I need to start getting into perspective everything I have been honoured to be able to do and not focus on all the things I am not doing.

But, as I've said a million times, I have no patience and want things to happen NOW NOW NOW.

This is very hard for me and I suppose I find this blog a theraputic way to express my feelings. But then I realize, this space is about what I can write. So, without further adieu...onto a story...

***

The Silver Case

Out with the German lady the other night - watching football - woo hoo Euro 2004 - and I went to the bar to get us a round.

You see, they do rounds here, much more frequently then I ever did at home. If you're in a big group. it might not actually be worth your while but with two, three or four people, it always seems to work out in the end. And it's nice because you feel like you've bought someone a drink.

I pulled my money out of my silver case, paid the man and slid the case into my back pocket.

Suddenly, my mind time-warped me back to the days of university. How many times had I been standing at a bar, with my case out, only to slip it back into my back pocket easy-peasy? How I would smile to myself, find it so clever that I had a cigarette case and the perfect bar wallet? One that was portable enough to carry in a back pocket without anything being crushed?

I used to fill half of it with cigarettes, Du Maurier Special Mild and the other half with essentials - drivers licence, bank card, credit card and money.

Not only was it an original wallet, it was also my very own for my friend JA that bought it for me had my last name embroidered on the front.

I smiled to myself, remembering opening it up, being so touched that my friends had been so thoughtful. At that point, I didn't even think about what I would do with it after I quit smoking. I was so thrilled to have something, so personalized, with my name on it.

And then, as I stood there in the Belfast bar, a gigantic smile appeared across my face, remember all the times that silver case had accompanied me.

Bar nights. Club nights. After work drinks. Road trips. Journalism classes. On my internship.

Right before I left North America in 2002, I went on a road trip with JA. She had just gotten a car from her mom and was eager to test it out.
We were on our way to Cleveland to visit my sister C where she was working at the time. Then, I was to catch a flight to Chicago from Cleveland, to see my parents for a couple of days before I was off to Amsterdam to meet D.

I had everything I could possibly pack in the back of her car. And we had a blast - as we always did - driving, laughing, listening to tunes. We had a great night with my sister in Cleveland and in the morning, she saw me off to airport.

It was only after I arrived at my parents' house that I got this frantic message:

"Dude, you've left your silver case in the back of my car. It has some cards in it and stuff. I can Fedex it to your parents..." and she began - as she always does - to come up with a solution to the problem.

I had to laugh. Her urgency was so real. And I felt bad, hearing her message, to realize that I didn't really need it for Europe - I had been planning to leave the case at my parents house.

She kept it for me. I can't remember now if I got it last June or this past December but she held onto it - even through a house move - she made sure my silver case would make it back to me.

It's moments like these I like. When my subconscious takes over and drags up memories, simply from a small action like paying for drinks in a Belfast bar.

JA keeps promising she'll get herself over here, if only for a short visit. My case and I will be waiting.

Monday, June 28, 2004

My Many Curses

I am a perfectionist who thinks and analyzes too much and has greater expectations than the world can seem to provide.

I am also a hormonal woman who tries very hard not to blame EVERYTHING on hormones however when the case of the blues hits out of nowhere, I can only conclude it must be because of some force beyond my control.

This could be my own coping mechanism, however, for rationalizing away why I am upset.

I really don't want to get into a philosophical converstation about my feelings I would simply like to stop feeling down, put out, hard done by, like I haven't accomplished anything and I suck and everything I touch sucks and I might as well just go lock myself in a room and watch Big Brother all day as at least their lives have some meaning - well, for now.

Or perhaps, as usual, I'm having a case of the MUndays.

As my wise wee sister would say: Oh gweat.

Friday, June 25, 2004

As the Years Go By

I'm not sure what is more disturbing.

The fact that I'm now 28 or that today, my baby brother turns 20.

The little buddy me and my sisters used to force to be part of our girl games, dancing around in the living room, twisting and turning him every which way.

The small dude who grew up being bossed by four mothers.

The little tyke who was always trying to grab at the camera for "his turn" instead of being in front of it. It's not surprise he's in film

The young lad who was mortified when he was dropped off on one of his first dates by all three of his big sisters and not only did they beam like proud parents, he could hear them "awwwwwwing" from the car as he walked his date to the door.

For me, he will always be 8 years old, which works out well because that would make me 16 and that wouldn't be a bad age to be right now.

Happy Birthday Ronens.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Canadian Connections

Last week, I was out with this German lady I have befriended, watching the first Germany match of Euro 2004.

Football Fever has hit the continent, you see, although I'm actually not a big fan of "soccer", I can't help myself when it comes to championships.

So, I was sitting there, trying to look really passionate about the game when all I could really keep my eyes on were the people in the bar (who were they cheering for? why did she choose that top? I wonder where they're from? did that guy just really spill his pint all over himself? what is the deal with the loud voice? oh right. football) when suddenly, I caught a glimpse of something red and white on a girl's purse.

She was a redhead - quite a full-head-of-hair redhead - and I thought she couldn't be anywhere but from Ireland.

But there it was, glaring up at me, all the points stretching up as high as they could as though to say "see me see me I am distinct"

It was a Canadian flag pin. On her purse. Whizzing past me as she walked to the bathroom.

Every Canadian who travels wears the flag with pride. And, yes, we have it on EVERY article we carry - bags, hats, shirts - if we can find it with a Maple Leaf, we buy it for abroad.

I was overcome with so much excitment! Because the pin was so small, I was unsure whether she was Canadian or whether she had visited and simply liked to have pins on her purse. I noticed 3 other pins but have no idea what they were as I was too entranced by the red and white.

I would ask her when she came back from the washroom - or toilet as they like to call it here.

I sat in such anticipation, I was surprised at even my own heart, racing, simply waiting to ask one simple question:

"Are you Canadian?"

When we lived in Leeds, I had only met one other Canadian girl. I had heard a lot about her through the people I worked with at the bar. She had been going to school in Leeds the year before and worked at the bar part time. I was nervous to meet her too.

But the first day she worked with me, she had a very non-chalant attitude towards the fact that I was also Canadian. She didn't seem like the friendly ones I know back home. And perhaps she was a bit "put out" that I stole her thunder. She was no longer a commodity. I was Canadian too.

It didn't help that I was very excited to meet her. I had been missing home, after being away for the first full two months, and I just wanted to chat with a familiar person. She was not it.

I did not meet any other Canadians after that day.

And besides Fitness Instructor - who actually would have been EXACTLY who I would have liked to have met in Leeds - I have not met any other Canadians in Belfast. I have heard of people how have relatives from Canada and neighbours from Canada but haven't actually "hung out" with any.

The point could be made: Why travel across the world just to hang out with Canadians? The short answer: because of the home-away-from-home feeling.

So when I thought this redhead, who looked about my age, might actually be from Canada, I was so overwhelmed that my heart was racing.

And my stomach kept flipping - waiting for her to come back through the door so I could ask her:

Are you Canadian?

And then, the moment arrived. "Excuse me.." I squeaked over the sound of the game.

But she walked right past, not hearing my request. I suppose "hey you" might have actually got her attention but my Canadian-politness would not let me get away with that.

I sat there annoyed, glancing over to where she was socializing with friends. Now what? Would I miss the opportunity to meet another one of my country-women? How was I supposed to concentrate on the game?

It didn't take long for her to walk past again - beer tends to do that - and so while I waited painstakingly again for her to come out of the bathroom, my jumpy stomach and beatin heart go all pumped up again.

This time, it was just "Excuse me" but also a pointing-come-hither hand jesture that made her first recoil in shock before approaching.

Out it came:

"Are you Canadian?"

A big grin grew on her face and next thing you know, I'm chatting about my small town! As if she would know where it was! What a small world. She's here for a year, her dad being from Belfast, just working and touring before heading back to Canada to do her Masters.

I was so happy when she walked away. I was able to watch the football with a overall feeling of bliss. I am always still shocked at how meeting Canadians can stir such grandiose emotions.

I felt so connected to this girl that awhile later, before we left, she came by our table again and I asked the question that I thought would be on any Canadian's mind this time of year:

"Do you know anything that's going on for Canada Day?"

She gave a bit of a shocked, blank stare.

"Ooooooo, Canada Day. When is that?"

WHAT?? WHAT WHAT WHAT WHAT? No, this can't be happeing. A CANADIAN not knowing when CANADA DAY IS!!!???

My smile now seemed like a goofy grin and my chuffed-ness seemed melodramatic. She was Canadian but she was nothing at all like the Canadians I know.

She attempted to recover by pointing out that it's been so long since she was home - she'd been here since November 2003. Mental note to self to check up on my memory of one of the the most important days in Canadian history - by the sounds of it I'll probably just start calling everyone American by this time next year. Canada? Oh, that sound vaguely familiar. I think I remember Canada...

So, reluctantly, I gave her my number, after she announced to my ute-self that we could have our own Canada Day party.

Needless to say, I'm not holding my breath on a phone call. At least not next Thursday.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

What If

The latest Mosaic Minds theme must be buzzing my head because I had a bit of a day-sleep-dream - for lack of a better word - this morning that had me thinking What If?

What If I moved back to my small town or the medium-sized city near it?

I had images of living in a nice little two story house, with a bulldog or golden retriever - (it depends, you see, on who wins the Type-of-Dog war - me or D).

I would wake up in the morning to see D off to his interesting and exciting marketing job, perhaps at Labatts or Kellogs. I would make him an egg white omlete or at least put out his vitamin in the morning before curling up back into bed for another half hour or so.

Or perhaps, I would stay awake, reading the paper and enjoying a good cup of Earl Grey tea in the sun room, watching out the back window into my well manicured garden - filled with sunflowers and gerbia daisies.

After I had fully woken up, I would head to the office upstairs, to begin my day. I would have a couple of stories on the go - one about the best resorts in Thailand, another about the city's tourism board's annual conference.

The morning would also be filled with phone calls - one from my book editor who had recieved the second draft of my Year in Leeds and wanted to suggest some changes.

Another from my event clients - because I would get bored just being a travel writer - I would also become an event planner for corporate events.

Around 1, I'd break for lunch. Some days, I would grab a salad or tuna sandwich. If I was busy, I wouldn't take a break in the day - simply going back to the computer to work or our for meetings to finalize party details or perhaps interviews with experts for my book.

Some afternoons I would head to my writer's group - all of us at different stages of the journey and - in my perfect fantasy world - there would be no competition between us. Simply supportive, innovative and hilarious people.

Other afternoons I would take an extended lunch to go visit friends. Hang out at the houses of my newly mothered friends - who would be in need of some help and adult company.

I would always try to get back before D was home and do some more work. By about 6, we'd be sitting on the couch, enjoying some wine and talking about our days.

After dinner - which we would both make - I would retire back to the office for a couple more hours of work, possibly most of my writing because of the quietness of night.

By 11, D and I would be in bed, reading our books, with our own little bedside lights on our bedside tables.

It wasn't just the one day I was picturing. It was the whole lifestyle package.

My parents would have moved back to Canada as well, to their little house on the Avon in Stratford. At least once a week, we would drive to see them for dinner. Sometimes, I would arrive early so that I could make them dinner. Or sometimes, they would simply come to our house.

My mom would be working for the theatre company while my dad would be a drummer in a band, his "retired job".

D's parents would still be in Oakville - not too far off - and we would usually go there for a Sunday dinner.

My sister C would be in Stratford as well, working for the festival and her and her husband K - for I'm sure when this story comes true they will be married - would come for dinner with our parents or sometimes, we'd go out for lunch during the week. We would also spend some time at K's cottage.

My other sister H would still be in the U.S. but would be a very successful professor and theatre school owner. During the summers, she would come and stay at my parents house, running acting and singing workshops for kids out of the local school in Stratford.

My film producing brother would fly in from time to time...on his own private jet...of which he would be a pilot.

At least once a month I would be gone "working", in some far away place. I would be exploring, observing, critiquing in places all over the globe - an African safari, a trek through Peru, the best spas in the Greek islands, the resorts of Fiji, the best cottages in the Muskokas.

And I would be so happy to come home, to D, who would have spent his evenings with friends playing ball hockey or watching sports or reading.

I would be happy to be settled in a place that had my bed, my chairs, my food, my dog.

I would be happy because I would not feel trapped. I would have all the people around me that I loved.

Talking to E yesterday, she asked me if "home" would ever inspire me again.

I really don't know. But imagining being there certainly stirred something.

Friday, June 18, 2004

Day to Day Love

I love the routine with D. It's like we're a tag team taking on the world. Sharing chores, planning strategies, working as a unit.

With all my frustrations and anxieties, I think I would be a miserable person if I didn't have him to share it with.

It's not simply the lovey dovey romantic stuff, although we are sometimes quite like high school teens.

It's more then that. It's a sharing of life.

Every Friday, there is a food and goods market that opens up near our house. Since D's work is 5 minutes from our house, it is also near his work.

In the morning he emails me to "send my order" to him of what I want. Salmon. Cod. Tomatoes. Chicken. Spinach. Brocolli. Cauliflower. Mushrooms. Peppers. Steaks.

On his lunch break, he walks to the market and gets our meats and fresh veg for the week. It's become one of the "things" he does around the house.

Every Friday, I go across the road to the huge Sainsbury's. They also have a large off-license, which is essentially a liquor store, although over here, you can buy booze in the grocery store, unlike Canada but like the U.S. Alcohol can get confusing.

Anyway, at their "offie" - as it's commonly know - they have a wide variety of wine. I venture over, buy 4 bottles - 2 red for me, 2 white for him - that last us for the week. This is one of my "things".

D really does a good chunk of the cooking, although I seem to be enjoying making a few dishes - like tacos, omlettes or the Sunday roast - but besides those dished, the kitchen really is his domain.

When he goes home at lunch, he makes sure dinner is taken out of the freezer.

He also does the dishes. There is a certain way dishes are done, he says, and so, I leave him to it. Whether out of frusrtations from his anal-ness or laziness on my part, I'm not sure. It just has simply become one of the things he does more often.

I love the smell of clean clothes so I have gravitated towards doing all the laundry. And the ironing because I love that too.

I am also a sucker for the "clean smell" and so I do all the cleaning. Our flat is literally two rooms so it takes me all of an hour, however it is also one of my "things".

He takes out the garbage, but only after I have tied the bag closed for him.

What I really adore is how easily we have both seemed to fit into these roles. There is nagging on both ends. He is always sighing in irritation when I don't scrape the plates enough - it will clog the drain, he says. I am frequently frustrated by his bathroom habits - water on the floor after shaving, the non-use of the toilet brush (enough said).

But the best part is I don't feel like the girlfriend who has to force her partner to help out around the house.

Perhaps it's because I come from the generation who's mothers - even mothers' mothers - had already really be liberated.

My maternal grandmother work all her life as a school teacher. My mother grew up seeing that and in turn, worked for the majority of time that we were all growing up.

I also grew up in a house where first parent home started dinner. Since my dad worked closer to home, he was frequently the one to get things going in the kitchen.

D and I seem to have really defined what we like doing in the house. I hate dishes. I'm not a big fan of cooking. And there's no way I could get to the fresh market on Fridays because it's no where near my work.

And D likes it because he's a sucker for a bargain. He likes to never spend any money, whereas I like to spend but on a budget, knowing exactly how much I can spend on what.

I make sure he takes his vitamin every morning and he does all the locking up at night.

It's like having a dream roomate - with benefits.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

I Want to Go Home

When I was in Grade 12, I was elected to student council as the Minister of Publicity.

At my school, it was a good thing to participate. I have had many discussions over the years with people about the "status" of people who took part. At other schools, they seemed to be considered the geeks. At my school, if you weren't participating - in drama, yearbook, sports clubs, spirit clubs, the Audio-Visual club, the fencing team, pretty much anythign extra-cirricular - you were the geek.

It was to become an interesting year as not only was every single member of the council in Grade 12 but we were all female and we were all friends.

There is a classic picture of us in the Grade 12 yearbook, in a hallway peering out through a railing, like caged animals, laughing and making funny faces as our staff advisor stood above raising a gavel over our heads, as if that could tame us. I remember when it was printed looking forward to looking back at it as one of the best moments of my life.

Our Prime Minister - C - was the most beloved person in the school. She had been dating the same guy since Grade 7. She was nice to every single person. I never heard her utter a bad word about anyone.

She loved our school. She loved putting things together for the students. The summer before grade 12, she rallied us all together to go into the school and paint murals all over to make it look for sunny. We also painted the bleachers blue with white lettering which read "Blue Bombers". You could see it from the cafeteria and the sky. It was our way of bringing the life back into the school.

I spent many a night with her at her house, putting sparklers on posters for events, preparing candy bags for prizes. I spent many a morning setting up tables and stations for the outdoor fairs or writing speeches for assemblies.

She was often the host of pool parties for our friends, Calculus tutoring sessions, informal school club meetings.

I haven't seen her in probably six years. But the oldest friendships never fade. My emotions today have proved that.

I got an email from her today that makes me want to run to her bedside, make her chicken noodle soup, do her laundry, create pretty pictures to put up around her room, be that smiling, shiney, upbeat beam of light she has always been for so many people.

She is having difficulties health wise - ones that were almost fatal - and I want to go home.

It's not a homesick feeling - one that makes you cry and want to see your mom. It's more just wanting to be able to go to her house with a bunch of flowers and a card, sit with her, chat to her, keep her company.

To be with my friends as we all try to figure out what we're going to do for C because everyone knows she would go to the end of the world for any of us.

And I want to be close to the people I care about so that I can see them after work, go round their houses for dinner, make plans for an afternoon matinee and shopping, watch my friends shop for wedding dresses or grow larger in the stomach in anticipation of wee ones, be there for people when babysitters back out or grandparents are busy or simply when mom just needs an hour or two to herself because she just can't take it anymore.

I don't want to go home for a funeral. And perhaps that's what her email made me realize.

That I almost did.