Monday, November 30, 2009

No shrinking violet

Today is the final dance class before the gala. I'm mildly freaking out. I don't exactly have the choreography memorized. I know what moves go to what segments of music. I don't remember the order of the music segments, so after each one is done I have to pause to hear it. This is not good. I've been practicing in the living room like on of those joggers who jog on the spot, only with belly dance.

I also stayed up all night last night to correct what has been becoming a growing problem. Staying up just a wee bit later and sleeping in a little bit longer, over the course of time. This Sunday the Dude and I slept in until 1:00. It was unprecedented. I haven't done that since... actually I can't remember, though I know I often pulled it off in my teens.

I spent a large portion of the evening doing this. Oh yes. It's so nerdy I could die. But due to practice I can now name 150 countries out of 195. Have you heard of Benin? Slovenia? Nauru? Now you have.

I spend the rest of the evening making excellent headway on When Everything Changed. Seriously, holy shit. Now, I've always considered myself a feminist. I know it's not fashionable to call oneself that, but I don't care and I've never cared. A feminist is someone who believes in equal opportunities and rights for women. I've found it very difficult to understand why any woman would not openly express solidarity with that.

And reading this book and seeing in black and white the history of it all actually makes me mad that today's women don't want to own this title of feminist. It somehow seems like a way to appear more demure for the benefit of men. Because what woman in her right man would not be in favour of the rights she enjoys due to feminism?

1960:
Women cannot obtain credit without a male cosigner.
Women cannot obtain mortgage or apartment lease without male cosigner.
Women can legally be fired for getting married or pregnant.
Child support and alimony are not enforced laws.
Employers can legally pay women a fraction of what they pay men on the basis that they're not the breadwinner, even if they're widowed mothers or divorcees with children.
Employers can legally sexually harass their female employees.
Women can be denied entry to university programs for medicine, law, engineering and business.
Employers can post help wanted - male and legally discriminate against hiring women.
Funded sports programs in school for women don't exist.
Dress codes required girdles and high heels in many jobs that were female friendly, such as teaching and nursing. (I own a girdle, which I occasionally wear. They're wildly uncomfortable.)
Rape cases can be considered invalid if the woman was not a virgin prior to the assault.

And due to a strong fight for decades to bring about change, these are no longer our realities. I'm 27 and cohabiting, a college graduate, childless and working in a career I enjoy. I've obtained my own credit card, signed my own lease, wear what I want, have a sex life and practice birth control outside of marriage. I've been able to make these choices independently, based on my own ideas of what will bring me happiness and where I want my life to go.

Thanks to my mother's generation of amazing women. You're damn right I am a feminist.

And with that rant, I'm going to get back to practice my choreography-- which is a dance that would never have been available to me to learn without feminism opening the doors for female expression of their own sensuality.

PS: Latvia, Tonga, Lithuania, Malta.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

One of a kind

Today I am going to the One-Of-A-Kind Craft Show. Score! I've been once before, and I've always wanted to go back. Things I'm hoping to find are gifts for two aunts and possibly some original Christmas cards.

I've been wanting, actually craving to make my own cards this year, but honestly I have no idea how to go about it without winding up with something akin to the type of macaroni on paper shit I made when I was seven. Where do you start? Scissors, glue, paper, envelopes that are pre-made to fit the size of cards you want to make... glitter? Pretty paper? I really have no idea.

I want to make it more Christmas-like around here. I have all of one decoration that I've never taken out of the box. The Dude has found our tree. You can buy it at Urban Outfitters for $20. So there's a plan. I've tried to send out Christmas cards in past years and this time I really want to kick it up a notch.

It's so easy to let it slide, and resort to grabbing a few gifts for those who you're closest to, make travel arrangements and call it a night. I want to feel the season and the spirit of the holiday. The more I think about it, the more important it is to break up the year, which is full of responsibilities, the job, housework, and so on.

I also think a few years ahead when I likely will have children. I don't want Christmas to begin and end with whether or not there are kids present. The Dude feels strongly about that sort of thing, and living vicariously through his nieces and nephews as they get excited about Santa. Me, not so much. Granted, it's sweet and endearing and there's nothing like a wee child putting out milk and cookies before bed, but I don't want the season to be just about whether or not there are kids to make it a valid holiday celebration.

I want the season to be about togetherness, and about the family you do have. I don't have much in the way of an immediate family, and that's something that grieves me. I have my brother, and I wouldn't trade him, but he's in another city and a man of few words. I'm more than blessed in the extended family arena, though. And so that's what Christmas means to me, being with those people who I don't see often enough and counting myself lucky to have them.

And so today is the first day for me where I am going to begin my ascent into the Christmas spirit. Someday I'll have children for whom I'll shop for toys. Until then, I'm enjoying a more adult version of the season. This, of course, shall include alcohol, festively served and loudly appreciated.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Passivity

It's 1:08 a.m. and I want to do something more with my life. Not right now, but generally. I've been peeking through my calendar and have realized I don't have enough going on. Except today. Today I had a dentist appointment and had to buy groceries. This overlapped plans I made with a friend, who called me and I felt like total shit. I rarely ever forget plans. I forgot to write it on my calendar, hence, going to her place disappeared from my mind. My calendar is the only thing that keeps me on track with anything.

I also use it to write down what I did on various days, because I can never remember and sometimes that stuff is important.

But this all leads back to looking it over, mostly to see what I need to remember to avoid standing anybody up, and I saw I had a very fluffy schedule: movies and dinners with friends, dance class, bill payments... things that matter, sure, but as a compilation, not all I want going on for myself.

I would like to do more beneficial things, like the ovarian cancer walk I did in September. I looked into volunteering at Planned Parenthood. It's something I feel strongly about, especially lately when I hear about the anti-abortion add-ons to the health bill being passed to the senate in the states.

I also have thought about the humane society. I love cats. Love cats. But it seems like a terribly popular volunteer option and perhaps like Planned Parenthood there will be no spots available for some time. I have to check back with PP in July next year. That's pretty much forever away.

I need to give this some more thought. I'm turning 27 in less than two weeks. I would like this next year of my life to mean a little more, be something better than what I've been doing.

I've been thinking a good deal about death in general lately. More and more I doubt the existence of an afterlife. I really want to believe there's one, but somehow it seems implausible. I mean, we're human beings, intelligent animals, a species on Earth evolved over time who have managed to gain dominance over the planet.

When I was younger I thought God devised evolution as a way to watch the world unfold because eternity was a long time and he would need something to watch. And I figured we were his intended end result.

But why dinosaurs? Why make them and wipe them out or design a system that would take them out and make room for us? Doesn't really fly, somehow. So these days I figure we're all accidents, miracles of nature, and there is no plan or design and we better take care of the Earth because our legacy is all we got going for us in terms of living past death.

Pessimistic? Maybe. But the idea of doing more with my life comes from that idea. It's easier to do less if you believe you have all the time in the universe to exist. If you have at best another 60 years if nothing goes wrong, you ought to get an idea what you want your life to mean.

I'd like to be a bit more serious about my life's direction. I think I've been too passive.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

New Moon

I have plans to see the New Moon movie on Sunday. I'm pretty jazzed about it. I'm going with McPal's boyfriend, but not McPal. He's not into chick lit or the like. Another friend is supposed to come, but we'll see.

I keep seeing and hearing a lot of slagging on the Twilight series. I've written about Twilight before, comparing it to True Blood. And I do see the inherent silliness of the series. The book's writing is poor. The plot is unoriginal. The female lead is wimpy. But so many other things that are so much worse are way more popular. Uh, NASCAR anyone? There's a waste of time.

I keep reading articles about how awful the series is for teen girls and how it doesn't prepare them for real love. There are all kinds of points and lists about how unreasonable and unrealistic it is.

I dunno. I like to leave people to their fantasies. Teen girls like to imagine a love that lasts forever with someone stunningly good looking and generous and ought-to-be unattainable. Let them have it. Reading about it is the only way they're going to get anywhere near such an experience. Just like I'm never going to live on New Moon farm with Emily Starr, or have super powers and a cool backstory like Sailor Moon, or marry Mr. Darcy like Elizabeth Bennett.

All the hubub about Twilight giving girls the wrong message about love, I think Disney already covered that for me, when Ariel married a man she only knew for three days, Belle married a man whose name she didn't know other than "beast" and who was verbally abusive to her, and Snow White ran off into the sunset with a man who put the moves on her while she was sleeping.

Then there are all the romantic comedies that let me know that getting off to a bad start with a man means he will fall in love with me; remind me that only if I totally devote myself to a career and alienate my friends will a man come in and save me from myself and make me fall in love. Then the romance dramas about all encompassing love that lasts across time and space, over land and sea, perfect and undying.

And Twilight is going to ruin young girls for real love? Ohohohoho. No. Everyone else has taken care of that already. And anyways, when our men disappoint us, and they do, we need a small escape. No harm, no foul. Plus, topless men with nice abs are sexy.

Monday, November 23, 2009

I say yes, you say no, I say pelvic ultrasound, you say go-go-go

This entry features smatterings of TMI, FYI.

So today was an exercise in patience. Everything seemed to be on track until about 10:30. I arrived at 9:30 for my ultrasound appointment. Was all good and pumped for the pelvic one, which is no small thing.

I started off asking the ultrasound lady if the gel was going to be cold. She said yes as she gave it a hefty squirt all over my tummy. It was mildly uncomfortable, but whateves. It wasn't the bad part so I went with it. Thing is, though, she told me to get dressed after.

Me: I was told there was going to be a pelvic ultrasound.
Her: Nope.
Me: They wanted to check for ovarian cysts.
Her: No. Your pain is in your sides. That's the kidneys.
Me: They scheduled me for it. They're going to want to see results.
Her: There's nothing I can do for you.
Me: But--
Her: No, that's all there is. Get dressed.

*Sigh* She was all assertive and stuff and I wasn't wearing pants, so she won. I got dressed and told the people downstairs that I didn't get the second ultrasound. And then there was running around and questions and eventually I was told to wait in the waiting room.

Two hours and change. Then they have me move to... another waiting room. I'm not sure how long I was there exactly. It was marked "Interview" and had calming colours. At first I was freaked out because it looked like a place you tell people bad news.

But when 15 minutes passed and no one came, I figured no news was good news so I took a nap in the chair. I briefly woke up to see a nurse walk past and shake her head at me.

About 1:45 I was sent up for the pelvic ultrasound. Same woman. I wanted to say I told you so. She noticed my small scars from when I had my appendix out a few years ago. She asked about them and I said they were from an appendectomy.

Her: Oh! (Laughs)
Me: Uh yeah, hahaha? (The hell?)

I dunno, I didn't get it either. Didn't think I made a joke. She wanted to know when my last period was. I thought about it and said Saturday.

Me: It's one day
Her: When was the first day of your last period?
Me: I think it was Friday or Saturday. It's over now. It lasted one day.
Her: Is it your 10th day into your cycle?
Me: No, my period just ended. It started Saturday. It lasted one day.
Her: Last Saturday?
Me: This Saturday.
Her: Are you having your period now?
Me: No. It's over. It lasted one day.

And this is where she brought her fingers to her forehead and furrowed her brow, because clearly it was I who was giving her the headache. Eventually she grasped what I was saying.

Her: Your period lasted one day? It was this weekend and it's over.
Me: Yes.
Her: Is this normal for you?!
Me: Um... yes? (Why is she mad at me? Jebus Murphy)

This dialogue went on with accusing questions about how I could let myself have such strange menstrual cycles for so long. It's not like I've never mentioned it to a medical professional before. I have. They all say "Lucky you!" I dunno. It's very convenient and I haven't been inclined to see if I can make it longer again. God hands you so little favours, why look a gift menses in the mouth?

As predicted the whole magic wand in the hoo-ha procedure was a little icky and unpleasant. I don't recommend it if you're looking for a good time. But rather than wait this time, I took matters into my own hands. See, I hadn't had anything to eat or drink all day. I also only went to the bathroom for the first time at 2:00 pm. I was pretty much done.

So I walked into the clinic area and said if they had any news for me, I'd like a phone call because the time I had left to stick around was limited. And just like that, within 20 minutes I saw a doctor, got my results and was out of there, but not before someone made me change into another hospital gown for no reason.

Diagnosis? None. My ovaries both apparently have quite a few follicles on them, and the doctor took a stab and guessed one had grown into a cyst and burst, causing my pain. He recommended Advil. Huh.

So I guess I'll take my results to my family doctor for her records and see what happens. I feel like I went through a lot for very little gain. Last time I went to this Urgent Care Centre they couldn't find anything wrong either and within a week or so I had to have my appendix out. So I don't entirely have the same faith in them as I do, say, Toronto Western ER. But anyway, the day is over. That's all that really matters to me. I'm going to have some hot chocolate.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

To be a woman.

Sometimes I complain about being a woman. And rightly so, I think. I don't care what anyone says, having a female body, whilst beautiful and lovely and all that jazz, is a pain the cervix.

Risking TMI Land, and now that I've issued a warning I no longer care about causing offense, I have had a rough couple of days. It began with a moderate cramp in my abdomen, continued with a moon time that arrived a wee bit late, allowed me to pass through the day yesterday with nausea and blessed me, and especially the Dude, with severe moon swings.

I cried pathetically on three separate occasions. Something was amiss, that I know. Inside my head I was going, "WTF? What is wrong with me?" But on the outside I could not stop weeping.

So a call to Telehealth the night it began was in order, first off, and a nurse tells me I need to go to an urgent care centre in 24 hours. I wait 48. I have this paranoia that as soon as I get to the clinic, my symptoms will pass and I'll look like a faker who's wasting public resources and doctors' time.

So I get there at 3:45 today. They take my blood pressure, blood, urine, all that exciting stuff. They really seem to think I might be pregnant. Because my moon time is different this round, they think it might be a pregnancy symptom. So that's pretty much all I can think about for the next two hours. Turns out I'm not. Excellent.

I also must submit to two pelvic exams while I'm there. And this is why being a woman is ass. I don't care how medically necessary it is. I don't even care how many vaginas a doctor has seen. I don't give one sweet fiddler's fart how impersonal it's supposed to be. All that is irrelevant in the face of a strange man I don't know getting up close and personal with my box. Another woman in the room was all well and good, but it's just another witness to my discomfort and cringing.

They both praised me the way you encourage a two-year-old learning to potty and I got it over with. The doctor was able to determine that I was uncomfortable in my lower abdomen when his fingers were manhandling my special area, and that this warrants an ultrasound on Monday to check my ovaries. I don't know how that is not supposed to be uncomfortable, and what sort of test is that? Obviously it's going to feel bad. He wanted to know which pressure point was worse and I wasn't sure if it was the first shock of what he was doing or the second shock that he wasn't done.

Thinking on it, the only thing I'm happy about is that I'm a Canadian and I didn't have to pay for that experience. No, sir, here in Canada medical men will feel you up for free.

I'm not looking forward to Monday. It's to be a vaginal ultrasound. May God have mercy on my soul, and my junk.

The end.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

To tummy or not to tummy

The gala is about two weeks away. I'm nervous, I'm looking forward to it, and it brings out different emotions in me. I've never done anything that made me feel so beautiful or so self-conscious. And I've posed nude for artists.

And that was an act of bravery, yes. And it made me feel beautiful, sure. But not in a sexy way, but just as a beautiful human being who was fine just the way she was. I did it a number of times, but that's another story.

Belly dance is different. It's not exposing everything about my body. Rather, it's a showcase of my femininity, my curves, and hiding all the rest. But that in itself can be a problem because certain body parts don't look so great on prominent display. A bloated stomach, for example, looks a lot nicer on a naked body than it does stuffed into a hip scarf.

I have no problem with nudity. Granted, I wouldn't walk around naked in public or flash my breasts to my acquaintances or want my family to see my junk. But generally speaking, posing nude for art classes is a lot easier on my ego than, say, being in a bathing suit. Or wearing a cropped shirt onstage in front of hundreds of people.

Funny, not so worried about the choreography. That's more within my control than my tummy is, as I have no control around chocolate bars and cake.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

No heat = hibernation

I'm still writing my book. It's coming along slowly, but every time I take a go at it, I move the plot forward. So this is good. So long as it doesn't feel painful, impossible or stale to write, I should be okay. It's a huge project. I just need to stay on task. Unlike every single other time in my adult life when I've tried to complete a full work of writing.

I won't be writing today, however, because I'm overtired. I keep sleeping far too long and at the wrong time. The result is feeling like a lumbering groggy bear being disturbed during hibernation. Speaking in full sentences today is proving too much to ask of me. Also, it's chilly in this place. Had a conversation with one of the downstairs neighbours yesterday. She said she would address the heat issue at a later time.

There would be no heat issue if they would just come to accept the fact that the Dude and I are deserving of warmth in our own home. I mean, come on. It's November in Canada. There will be no more turning off the heat, I don't care how much money you'll save if I freeze to death during the day.

I need to practice my dance choreography for the student gala. But lately I've been too damn cold to get motivated. I don't want to be out from under the covers. Unfortunately, being cozy under the covers leads to falling asleep, and therein lies the basis for all my irritations today. Amazing what a little heat in my apartment would solve.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Mellowed

I think I'm at a point in my life where I want to keep things simple. I'm not entirely sure why that is. I used to get warm fuzzies over the thought of being made a fuss over. Not so much these days.

If I were to get married, I think I'd like to bypass a lot of the typical stuff and just get it done with some friends and family present. Maybe I've heard too much being made of the whole deal. It's not that I don't think marriage is important. It is. It's just that half the people who do it get divorced. And then they have second and third weddings and all with the same hooplah... it's just not that big of a decision, it seems to me, if you'll do it with more than one person and you can take it back later.

And for me, I've been living a la sin for two years now, just about, and taking that step wouldn't dramatically change my life, other than allowing for more future planning and some more merging of finances. I think I'd feel stupid throwing anything big. And that's odd because I never feel this way about anyone else's wedding, no matter how long they've been together, lived together, have had a child etc. Just me.

Same thing with a baby. Some women get pregnant and from that point forward they're showing every jerk in a three-metre radius their sonogram picture, throwing their own showers, doing up an expensive baby registry in one theme and taking back stuff purchased that does not fit that theme, Twittering their labour progress and update their Facebook statuses with diaper mishaps and about 500 pictures and inviting everyone they've ever known to baby's first birthday in a gift grab blaze of glory.

Not that I ever wanted anything like that, but the more I think about it, the less "stuff" you bring into the house and the less pressure you place on yourself and everyone around you to perform to these standards of giving and attention for this whole birth thing, seems the more joyful and less overwhelming the whole thing could be.

Then there are birthdays. I'm turning 27 in a few weeks. I've been accidentally calling myself 27 here and there for a month or so now, so this is not a big deal birthday. All I want is my friends and some good food. Whatever happens, happens.

Past birthdays were harder on me, and after several disappointments I started inadvertently measuring them as how loved or liked I was, which the answer seemed to say to me: not much. But the less importance I put on the day, the more I tend to enjoy it. This year the Dude is going to sort something out, and whatever it is, I'll be happy with it.

Funny. Maybe I'm getting old. Not like old-old, but mellowing out. And maybe that's a difference when you do things for the celebratory purposes and the fantasy, and when you want to do things because you want to actually go through with them. I think I'm at a stage where I'm ready to buckle down and actually think about these choices in a real way.

This isn't some sort of blogging announcement about my upcoming shotgun wedding and I'm due in March or anything. But I have been thinking about this change in me lately.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Baby number two

I'm home again from the baptism. The baby was sweet. She looks like a Cabbage Patch kid. Can't go wrong there. I was worried being around a sweet baby would speed up my desire to have one, but luckily no. So far only my friend's twin girls seem to have that power.

I was primed and ready for the questions surrounding me getting married and having kids. And they came on time and as predicted. I said we'll see. And it's true. We'll see.

However, I was spared further questioning on the subject due to divine intervention. A male cousin of mine, who I worked with for years and who met his wife on the job, is expecting a child. I noticed his wife was only drinking a gingerale and I was curious, but I didn't inquire into it. Her stomach was small and I thought if she was preggers, then it's only the first trimester. Maybe it was still a secret.

However, an aunt wanted the inside scoop and got it out of her. There was tons of congratulations (more questions about when it would be my turn), but I think this should really take the pressure off of me for another year.

I'm excited about this baby, though. Being in my hometown and the baby-to-be being a child of the portion of the family I'm closest to means I should see him or her more often. It's just nice that my family is expanding, and that I'm not the one doing it yet.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Work in the outside world

Today I ventured out to work for the first time in over a year. We had a meeting. It was a pretty big deal, actually, because this department of 20 people never see each other anymore. Everyone was very subtly different, mostly hair related, though a couple people looked more well rested.

We did a round table of a brief recap of how our year has been. There was a marriage, an impending move to Australia (Which may or may not open a new position at work), family changes, creative works completed, and all sorts of other little items of interest.

I didn't know what to tell specifically, so I mentioned that I had moved again for the fifth time in five years, that I had to send my fed-up family yet another new address for me, and that I now inject my cat Smokey with insulin twice a day and he likes it. I imitated him to illustrate my point and said, "Meow, shot, meow!" And then I retracted and said that my cat didn't talk to me, but that I imagine he would say something like that if he could.

And then I was reminded of why I sometimes miss my co-workers, because it's not every group of people that would hear such a loopy anecdote and laugh, never mind still want to talk to me.

But about this job opening, which may or may not exist depending on the powers that be who will decide if we need a replacement or not. If it were to become available, it would be a promotion/pay raise. And the only way to get either of these things in this department is for just such an occasion to arise: someone has to quit. And in the five years (Holy shit) that I've been there, I've only seen four people leave. Two were slightly involuntary, I think, due to company changes. Turnover is very slow. People generally love this job and grip on tight.

And I've reached the end of my pay scale. I'm earning as much as this job will pay, without moving up. And I'd like to move up in some way. I'm hoping this little window might be my chance.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Gaming For Dummies

It's Remembrance Day today. I posted one of my favourite Heritage Minutes. I miss those being on TV. "Doctor, doctor, I smell burnt toast!" Awesome. I spent an afternoon re-watching them all not long ago. Everyone remembers them, if not misses their charming little anecdotes. They were just lame, informative and endearing enough to become beloved by all Canadians. I wish they would go back on the air.

As for things on Facebook that I'm seeing all the time: applications for made-up fantasy lands. Never in my life would I have imagined that so many people I know or have met love these virtual world games. Cafe World, Farmville, Mafia Wars, Yoville... I play none of them.

Don't get me wrong. I play games. I play all kinds of games and totally waste my time with equally silly time burglars on the computer. I just don't do it with Facebook. Why? Why?

Because then I don't get caught, that's why. The Dude is yet to learn these lessons, as is my buddy, B. I discovered Dude's Mafia Wars obsession due to a congested newsfeed advertising all his Mafia Wars activities. I told him it was happening, he was sheepish, changed the settings and he thought he learned his lesson.

Not so. The other day when I passed a glance at him and asked if he was playing Yoville, he was surprised, had an embarrassed laugh at his own expense and then I let him know his newsfeed yet again exposed how he spent his time and it had been up for quite some time. Yoville being infinitely more effeminate than Mafia Wars, I wanted to wait for the right moment to tell him for my personal amusement.

Now he's Farmvilling. Everyone who gave me grief for playing multiple incantations of Harvest Moon are now on Farmville or Farm Town and raking in... I don't know, farm dollars? I suppose there's an interactive aspect to it which makes it more compelling. But I personally enjoy a level of privacy when indulging in my nonsense. What Farmville does is not only expose that you play, but how much you play. Therein would be the death of me.

But I'm not anti-Facebook games per se. They do offer me occasional moments of joy, such as when on Facebook, Buddy-B's girlfriend "liked" that he fed his Farm Town pig, and Buddy-B felt the kind of shame that his friends can delight in at his expense.

So farm away, Facebookers. I'll just run my burger shops, kill zombies with plants, build western towns, and operate my island resorts in secret.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Insomnia

I seem to be experiencing a small bout of insomnia. I've had coffee, and some amount of function is creeping in. I suppose I have too much on my mind. I don't have the fastest paced life, nor do I have too many responsibilities. But it's always so interesting that despite the relative ease of my life, there is always room inside of me for some inner conflict.

I'm ready as I'm going to be to face the day. Having not gotten any sleep, I feel disjointed a little from reality. I suppose the upside to this is that tonight I ought to sleep like a log. That's the hidden bonus to a poor night's rest: amazing sleep the night after.

When I was in high school I used to sleep during class. I fell asleep in every class I ever had, including gym. I was a champ. My reputation preceded me with my teachers, who'd tell me to wake up, even if I hadn't dozed off yet in their class. I had big things going on in my life, keeping me awake at all hours.

It's been a long time since I've had such a decidedly sleepless night. I can't remember how long. Now I have to work.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Fours weeks till showtime, and the ass is grass

I am still plugging away at my book, bit by bit. Sometimes just adding to it so the story won't get cold. Often if you take too much of a break, trying to get back into writing the same story feels like eating pizza that's been left out a couple days. Just not happening.

I've decided rather than trying to create a full story off the bat, I'm going to just begin a new chapter each time it feels right, even if it's just after a page of writing. I can beef up my details, dialogue, and descriptions on the second draft. All I need to do this first draft is to complete the actual plot. I need a skeleton before I can build a body. So far so good.

I have no personal deadlines for this project. But as far as other "projects" of sorts go, I have only four weeks until my student dance gala. That's only four dance classes to get good enough and organized enough and confident enough to make this happen. It's also going to require a lot of practice at home, and there's not a ton of room for choreography in this living room, or anywhere else in this apartment.

I also don't have a top I want to wear for the performance. Last year I wore a halter with coins on it. It was fun, but it didn't expose much of my torso. And I don't have very much torso to expose. This is a small handicap for belly dance. On the video of the night, I saw myself and I didn't look... right. I looked rather squat, I think. To counteract that, I need to show more tummy, to elongate what I do have.

When I was watching the other dancers move, long stomachs exposed, and I could see an undulation wave down their abdomen, I felt envious. Though one woman looked like she was half an inch away from giving the audience a peep of her holiest of holies. I wasn't envious of that. Rather, that's my nightmare. I'm convinced if I tie a scarf too low on my hips or wear my skirt further down or something, everything will just fall off my ass. I've never seen that happen to anyone else, even women with very flat bums, but that doesn't mean it won't happen to me. Things like that have a way of happening to me.

Maybe I'll go practice now. I have a belly dance skirt and I'll wear it all low down, learn to convince myself my rear end will hang on to my clothes.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Writing For Realsies

I've started writing again (I mean, other than this blog). I think it's shaping up to be teen fiction. Maybe once I begin the second draft, it'll mature into adult fiction. But who knows. I have a habit of beginning a work of writing and then... quitting. Often it's because I get too overly focused on the details.

Like, making up a city that doesn't exist. I then have to imagine the entire infrastructure and then eventually I overwhelm myself. And if I place the setting somewhere I've been OR based on somewhere I've been, I start getting wrapped up in how close a resemblance a fictional place is to the real thing.

It's too much. I'm one of those writers who needs to write what they know when it comes to cities. So I'm basing this book on my hometown. Everything takes place there. I know it inside and out. And without that major roadblock, I'm able to be more creative with my plot.

When I was six I wrote my first "book" and illustrated it. It was about six pages long about a Halloween costume. It took me a few days and I was jazzed with it. I probably threw it out after about a month or so.

When I was in grade five or six or something I wrote my first comic book. It was about five friends and how their lives grew apart. It was a big undertaking and looking back it was total shit, but still. I finished it.

When I was 16, I drew up this series of anime-inspired magic girls and I think the best word I could use for it now was storyboards. Each large piece of paper was one panel and included all the dialogue. I did five volumes, plus a bonus epilogue. I finished that too and it was the last thing I've ever completed that had any amount of writing attached to it.

Short stories I've done, but that's the thing with a short story: it's short. In the amount of time it takes to write a first draft of a novel, you could be polishing your short story to a high sheen.

I was on the subway thinking about my life and my choices and what talents I have, such as they are, that are largely amounting to nothing due entirely to laziness on my part. And a second later I came up with an idea for a novel. I practically wrote the thing in my head as I walked home and spent the rest of the night at my computer.

If only every night were as inspiring and motivating. I never seem to get a second wind. I miss being a kid, or even a teenager, when I write. I just did it because it was fun. I never got bogged down by, I don't know, "facts" or "life". Creativity is a gift, and a part of me is worried that if I don't use it now, I'll lose it.

I really want to finish this story. I really do. Let's see how this goes.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

TV for me

I seriously don't know what people did before the Internet. Probably they had lives and went to bed at decent hours. But what's the point of a rich fulfilling life and sensible sleep schedules when you can stream episodes of Dexter online? The Dude and I are finishing season three. We've been dedicating nights to watching it.

And this has come after Lost, Curb Your Enthusiasm (This is more the Dude's thing. His ringtone is the Curb theme song), The Tudors (More my thing), Heroes, and next on my list is Mad Men. I don't care who knows it: I love TV. I really do.

And I'm utterly into Glee and The Office, but I wait for those each week and suffer through the commercials. They're worth it.

TV has gotten really awesome these past few years, too. The age of the formulaic sitcom has made way for the age of the drama. And probably about three too many detective/forensic shows. Though I guess it's counterbalanced by the reality TV available now.

I sometimes wonder how much the reality trash influences society, or if it's a reflection of society itself. Art imitating life imitating art, and all that jazz. Women competing in sexual desirability for one lame man who really doesn't seem worth the trouble. "Kids" barely out of high school on highly scripted dating shows making bold innuendos and getting naked with strangers. Contest shows essentially geared to someone getting a high profile job that's entertainment related, mostly a fame game.

Sigh.

But when I think about that and get disgruntled about the state of things, I just settle into some decent TV with creative plot twists and witty writing and rounded characters. Ah... bliss. Glee, even.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Baptismo

I'm trying to get the time off to go to my hometown this month. My cousin is having her new daughter baptized in a couple weeks. So far I've not heard a peep about whether or not I'll be able to go.

I'm pretty jazzed to see the new addition to the family. Out of about 11 grandkids, she's the only one who's procreated, and only one of two who've gotten married. The oldest of us is almost 40 and the youngest is 24. And that 24-year-old up until recently was the youngest member of the family. We're not the most prolific bunch.

Other than my cousin the new mom, I'm the only female on this side. Now, the aunts have teased the eldest cousin, a dude who's pushing 40 and likes to date 'em young, about settling down, but other than his mother, there's not a lot of concern there. He's a man. He has time.

I find there's a lot more concern directed at me about my future family planning. It's not an overwhelming thing, just a slow steady drumbeat of inquiry and questions about my marital plans in the future. This is part of what being a woman is: Fielding questions about the potential for new life.

The Dude's father cautioned him to hold his horses, get settled and secure first. And that's father-son stuff right there. Be a man, provide, offer stability. What women-to-women conversations usually involve is when are you planning to get married? When do you think you'll have kids? I'd feel bad about it, except I understand where it's coming from. It's my uterus, after all.

I wonder what my mom would be telling me. I don't have anyone suggesting I ought to have kids now or be married, only inquiries about when it can be expected. My mom, though, I think she'd have a more invested opinion. She waited. She was almost 32 when she had me. But she also married the wrong man. So who knows.

I like to think she'd be advising me to do exactly what I'm doing: waiting, working, enjoying myself. My cousin is in her 30s for her first. You know, it's entirely possible that she'll have two before I have one. And I'm totally okay with that.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Halloween

Last night I went to McPal's Halloween/birthday party. I was a bee, looking predictably cute-and-not-sexy as I normally do in slutty costumes. Sometimes I wonder how far I can push it, as when you don't have boobage, you can get away with a lot.

The Dude went as an insomniac and spent the evening coming up with back-stories: Kid from Nightmare on Elm street trying to stay awake, first stage of zombie infection, strung out on heroin, Christian Bale in the Machinist, etc... Next year we'll be more organized, though it was fun doing up his face with makeup. When I was done it looked like he'd never slept a day in his life.

I was thinking about the holidays and how some lose their magic when you're no longer a kid. Easter and Christmas being the big two. However, Halloween progressively gets more awesome. This is partly due to having total say in your costume.

When I was young, I wanted to be a genie or a harem girl. I thought they were pretty and had no problem with showing my stomach. Why would I? It was pre-puberty years so the thing was not on my radar and in any case it was flat as my 10-year-old chest. But that was a no-go. My mother was not the type of mom who allowed her "tween" daughter to sexualize herself. A lot of moms these days have no beef with their girls buying thongs and such, but I suppose the early '90s were a more decent time? Sounds ridiculous, but it's true looking back.

Anyhow, on top of modest costumes, being Canadian, trick or treating meant either wearing your snowsuit underneath or over top of your outfit. This one kid from California was in the neighbourhood for Halloween one year and was planning on going out in his T-shirt. We all laughed at him. He learned the hard way that night when he had to go home early.

Once in grade three, I was allowed to wear only a heavy sweater under my angel costume. I came down with pneumonia that year and was out of school for a month. Yeah. It's gotten warmer, though, these years and I haven't seen the snowsuits (or the snow) on Halloween for a long time.

Another reason Halloween has gotten awesome is having your own money, which means buying your own candy of your choosing without having to trick-or-treat for it. It also means having your own place, so partying at your leisure with booze and letting loose. Of course if you have your parents on Facebook and some indiscriminate friends, you may still be in for an earful, but otherwise it's awesomeness.

Finally, adult costumes are the shit. Between better craftsmanship, stronger creativity or plunking down the money on something bitchin', costume parties yield better results. Halloween is truly better when you're grown up.

I have some friends on Facebook who are new parents. The focus was naturally on their children's costumes. And that's to be expected. But it seems to be a circle of life thing, when you're old enough to finally do exactly as you please, you procreate and try to do what your kids want, while preventing them from doing it totally their way. Think I'm going to hang on to my freedom a little longer. There's more fun to be had.