Tuesday, December 25, 2007

my kind of christmas

Josh picked me up outside my apartment in his police model sedan.

"Are you practicing to be a Zeyde already? You are only 36, correct?"

But really, I am 33 and have never owned a car, so who am I to judge?

He greeted me with a kiss. I proudly handed him a birthday card with the message written in Hebrew. I didn't know I still had it in me, but the hebrew cursive just flowed. My hebrew school teacher would have been even more impressed than Josh was.

We drove down a deserted Yonge Street, the line that runs from the north suburbs, south to the downtown core, dividing the city in half. He lit a cigarette.

"Seriously? You are going to do this to me again?"

He laughed.

"Is it really funny to smoke cigarettes in a confined space with an ex-smoker?"

"The window is open."

"Still, I am inhaling smoke. You realize your killing me." I stuck my head out the window like a golden retriever, only not to feel the wind in my...fur.

He was not impressed.

We arrived at the theatre to see Kite Runner. I treated us to VIP tickets, which turned out to be not nearly as cool as I expected, attracting mostly the octogenarian set. It was a small theatre and the heat was on too high. Partway through the film I left to go to the washroom. When I came back I realized how stuffy the room was, smelling of an odd combination of drakar noir and farts. And yet the movie made it all worthwile.

For dinner we went to Chinatown and ate Vietnemese pho, which reminded me of the days when we used to go to chinatown after the bars closed. It would be 3 AM and we would order, "cold tea" and eat entire drunken meals. I wonder if they still serve cold tea anywhere. These days I'm lucky if Josh will leave the suburbs let alone stay out late. Tonight we had ordinary hot tea and I ordered rare beef pho with tons of chili sauce. It was delicious as always.

Now I'm home and packing for London. The Queen [but mainly my sister] is awaiting my arrival. Cheerio.

Happy Christmas as they say in England. Happy New Year too. May the new year bring us all much happiness.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

eye to eye

It always amazes me how people can see things so differently. Most of the time I am thankful for it. This world would be boring and even more competitive if we all liked the same things.

I've been to see a few movies lately, two of which were excellent and two of which were bad. So bad.

Interestingly, the common denominator in all four is that they were well received by reviewers. I just don't get it.


(1) No Country for Old Men
(2) Juno


(1) Lars and the Real Doll
(2) I'm Not Here [the Bob Dylan movie]

No Country for Old Men was fucking scary. The desert backdrop was unbelievable and the silence was a powerful tool to create tension. The bad guy was so scary I still cannot get him [or his weapon] out of my head.

Juno was 'Superbad"-funny, but with heart, and best of all it was not predictable in the way that so many movies are.

Lars and the Real Doll was a waste of my time. Harry spent two hours throwing popcorn at me. I have a high threshold for slow movies. I have what you might call movie-patience. I am known to reserve judgment until the end, always in the hopes that a movie will bring it together or redeem itself in some way. Lars and the Real Doll was a challenge, and inevitably a disappointment.

I'm Not Here was just trying too hard. Most of the acting was mediocre. More than that, I found the characters blatantly annoying. I didn't even think Cate Blanchett did such a great job. It was just eh.

Monday, December 17, 2007

'they' can piss off

Patting myself on the stomach, I wonder how long it will take me to undo the damage I've inflicted on myself. In line with my decision to cut myself a little slack lately, I refrain from thinking too hard on it.

I have added chocolate and too many refined carbs back into my life. I feel obliged to mention my addiction to lasagna. I have even occasionally replaced my morning yogurt and blueberries with a muffin [gasp].

If you eat a muffin you might as well be eating cake, they say. "They".

Fine then. So I've been eating cake. And I haven't been spending much time at the gym. My foot is much better, and I can ride the stationary bike no problem, but I just do not love it like I love other things.

I spent the summer and the fall running outside, down maple-lined streets and ravine trails, and playing tennis on any public court we could find. In the past I have turned to spinning in the winter and have been a big fan, but I have not been ready to go back this year. I feel too delicate somehow for the loud music and the instructor yelling into his microphone. I do not crave that kind of motivation.

I guess I fell in love with being outside this year and I have yet to come to terms with the winter. I can still see the freckles on my shoulders if I look close enough.

Now being outside, trudging through the December snow, the cold is almost painful. I want to grow a love for that too, but I can not quite find the right angle. I never have. Even my rasta-hat that I bought back in August [which Harry calls my babushka] is not enough. Close though. Good intentions. So help me I'm trying.

Soon I will be away, out of my element [and 'the elements', hopefully]. For now I permit myself to take it easy. Maybe today I will go to yoga.

I can see something on the horizon. Can not yet make out what it is.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

i've got moves you've never seen

I recently discovered something on the interweb that could pull anyone out of a funk. Better than prozac.

Everyone is doing it.

You can too.

PS: Seriously? The kid in the front row in the ballet class? He deserves some kind of award for enthusiasm.

PPS: Bonus points for anyone who knows where the title of this post came from without googling.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

belle ville

I sink deeper, until the water is just millimetres from grazing the phone.

"How do you spell his last name?", Lana asks.

"Colville. C-O-L-V-I-L-L-E. Like Belleville."

I can hear her typing on the other end. I sink a hair deeper.

"Lana....I'm sinking....", I say in a faraway voice. "In case you don't hear from me again, thanks for being such a great friend."

"Are you in the tub?"

"Uhuh". I slide back up a little. I feel like I'm seven.

Silence on the other end and then after a little while she let's me know she's still looking.

"Luke", I say in deep voice. "I am your father."

She ignores me.

Like every time I get in the tub, after only minutes I'm antsy. The water line tickles my forearms. I cradle the phone in my neck to scratch.

"Alright. Sounds like you're not finding anything."

"Yeah, nothing."

"Ok, gotta go. Talk to you tomorrow."

I put the phone down on the toilet seat cover and I sink under the hot water, my long hair circling like sea grass.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

one last game

I just logged on to blogger and noticed I've had 666 posts. The number of the beast. I also missed my three year blogging anniversary, which was the other day. I love this blog. I love having a space to put myself and the opportunity to share with people now and then. Thanks for reading!

It's Saturday night, and I made plans with a friend of mine to go to a movie. I tried to call her this afternoon, but there was no answer on her cell, home, or her blackberry. I hope nothing bad happened, but if nothing bad happened, I'm going to be pissed. I turned down other plans and now I am sitting at home watching Bones. Ok, I'll be honest. I like sitting at home. More than I should.

I ordered pizza and ate too much and now I'm eating chocolate chips. I feel sick, I've eaten so many, yet I continue. I have my annual physical this week, which means getting weighed. I haven't been running for over a month because of my foot, so you would think I would try not to add any more last minute pounds on.

At least my foot can tolerate the bike, so that's what I've been doing. This morning I met Harry at the gym and then we spent the afternoon together. We played pool, and he was totally kicking my ass. It got so bad I swear I almost broke the cue over my own head. Then I tried a little reverse psychology. I proposed one last game.

"The winner of this game will be the queen of all pool", I suggested.

It's really win-win for me. Either I win and nullify all of my previous losses or Harry wins and I can call him the "Queen of all pool".

He said yes, but then I upped the ante, because my plan was to make it seem subtly deliberate. You see, since he had never played with me before, if I managed to win the game, he might think I'm a pool shark, which is better than thinking I suck. All of the previous losses would have been strategic rather than a result of a lack of skill.

"Hey, why don't we make this one a little more interesting and put some money on it?"

"Ok. Sure", he laughed. "How about whoever wins pays for the pool?"


Truth be told I hate spending my money losing a bet, but I sucked it up in case I got lucky.

The game began. He broke, and right away he pocketed a couple of low-balls, but then I came back [or rather he started to miss and I managed to steadily sink my balls until I had only one left on the table besides the eight ball].

The whole time I had a calm about me. I somehow knew I was going to win, even though he came back again at the end. When I sank the eight ball, I came close to scratching and so my only regret was that I squeeled, "don't go in, don't go in, don't go in!!!". That sort of took away from the overall objective of looking cool.

When I regained my composure I turned to him. "You've been sharked by Gold". I strutted to the rack to put away my cue.

"Yeah. You got me", he said, his expression flat. "You deserve an Academy Award. You really had me fooled. You were so incredibly convincing as a terrible pool player. You're a regular Jack Nicholson of pool."

The waitress came up to the table.

"Is everything ok over here?"

"Yeah. I kicked his ass", I answered.

After Harry payed the tab we walked out into the cold and he turned to me.

"Remind me to play competitive sports with you again real soon, okay?"

"Good game", I said, offering him my hand.

Friday, November 23, 2007

the danger of dishes

Before I forget, I should let you in on something I discovered this morning. If, like me, you do not have a dishwasher and you wash your dishes by hand in scalding hot water, I do not recommend washing dishes naked. I've had to learn this the hard way on more than one occasion.

My intention this November was to write more often, NoBloMo (or whatever it's called)-style. I had no intention of making it official, but I wanted to use it as an excuse to write more.

And so there you have it. I didn't say I would write better. Just more.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

things I need to keep

I have not needed you like I did
But there were times
When pretending you were next to me
Was the only way I could fall asleep.
I hate that it is one of the few things I have never told you.
But there are some things I need to keep for myself.

Sitting across from you I focus in on your socks
Or your hands
The way you run your index finger
Along the inside of your thumb.
Your expression
When you stumble onto something good
Or I have captivated you.
Made you laugh.

I know you better than I should
And often when I am with you
I am aware of my heart.
Not in the sappy way
But rather
Where it sits in my chest.
Clumsily clenching and releasing.
[I hope].
[to be sure].

And here I lie
Like the princess and the pea.
My specialty.
Not pain, exactly.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

buying the killers

I spent the morning cleaning, my afternoon at the gym, came home with my toes painted Malagra Wine red, and stocked the fridge with Stella, only to find out that the guy who has yet to be named even though he's been around long enough that he probably should be, called and canceled. He was supposed to come over for dinner and a movie but he has a bad case of the "shanghai flu" [aka a hang over].

I work a long day at the hospital tomorrow, so on the bright side I will be well rested...as well rested as you can be when you have to be up at 5 AM. And I have a sparkling clean apartment.

Speaking of the bright side, The Killers new cd is great. Just got it today. Me likey.

Friday, November 16, 2007

how getting a rim job can pay off

A friend of mine works for RIM, the makers of the blackberry. Last night they had a surprise concert for all of their employees. Each was invited to bring a guest. Lucky me, I was a +1. Turned out to be the Tragically Hip [one of my all time favourite bands] and Van Halen! What a great show.

The only weird thing was that usually when you go see a show the audience is made up of fans. There were definitely pockets of fans among the 15,000 people in attendance [lucky for me the biggest VH fan who was borderline belligerently drunk and who knew every word to every song, was sitting on my right], but there were clearly a lot of people in addition to myself, who didn't know anything beyond 'Panama' and 'Jump'.

The Hip really don't need flashy lights and props so their lack of stage presence didn't bother me. I got the feeling Gord Downey wasn't so happy to be playing to that crowd, and who could really blame him, but I loved seeing them and hearing them in person. I will always be a fan.

In contrast, the VH production was as polished as a U2 concert and they sounded just like they always have. They were a little heavy on the solos, but that's the genre I guess. David Lee Roth was kind of sexy with his high kicks and his leather pants. Also, I should mention, I love drinking beer out of the Air Canada Centre sippy cups, just like when you go see the Raps. I don't even like beer and I love the way it tastes in those cups.

It was so much fun. All I could think was, ‘how cool is this’, and ‘I have never seen so many glowing blackberries in one audience in my life. The ACC was lit up like a planetarium.

Monday, November 12, 2007

skin on

I left work early today. It's so grey and damp outside. On the way home I did errands, wandering the aisles of the grocery store, list in hand.


I love a good grocery list. I stifled yawns, maneuvering my cart around other customers. I wasn't in the mood to browse this afternoon. Often I am. I'll walk up and down every single aisle, lose myself in the groceries. I found a sale on bags of yellow, orange and red peppers, 4 for $1.99, so I bought two bags. It's the little things that make me happy and inspire me.

I make my own version of Israeli salad using anything I feel like using, as opposed to just tomato and cucumber. The trick is to dice it as small as humanly possible, which tastes so much better for some reason. I do it in either a fresh lemon and olive oil or a balsamic vinaigrette.

Today when I got home I made the salad with lentils, the multi-colored peppers, english cucumber [skin on], tomatoes, julienne of carrots, and hearts of palm. It is truly beautiful.

Friday night I went out with this guy again. We've been out a number of times over the last several weeks. Sometimes we have a good time together and sometimes it's just ok. Before I left I had a feeling that it was going to be our last date and I was ok with that. The last couple of times we've gone out I've left feeling unsure. I talked myself out of cancelling altogether because I'd had a really long week and I was in the mood to go somewhere and have a couple of drinks.

On the way to the restaurant I witnessed a terrible thing. A man in his thirties had apparently fallen down the subway stairs. He looked like he had been shot in the head. The whole side of his head was a mess. It wasn't just blood. I could see tissue. One man near me on the subway grabbed his son to cover his face.

The paramedics were already on the scene. The man who fell was conscious, but it looked really bad. In my line of work, I've seen things that could make just about anyone squirm, but this one really bothered me. I almost turned around and went home.

I was still shaken up when I got to the restaurant. We met at an asian-indian fushion restaurant I had been wanting to try. I don't even think I looked around the place when I got there. I was flustered. I told him the story while I scanned the drink menu. I just knew it had to be a sign that things weren't going to go well.

But I guess nothing is ever predictable when it comes to this kind of thing. Maybe it was that the pressure was off but by about midway through dinner I realized how much fun I was having. The night sort of came together into a haze of red wine and music and crowds of people.

Sort of like how my upcoming trip is saving me, I so needed that kind of a night.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

he's my mother

The carpets in his office have been replaced. I can smell it even before I open the door.


"I've been witness to two new sets of carpets now. That doesn't bode well for my progress. Have I really been here that long?"

He smiles.

"I could just leave", I tell him. "I was doing really well when you were on vacation. I'm starting to wonder...", I trail off.

He raises his head ever so slightly to let me know he's listening.

"Well, I could just say today is my last day."

The air is thin suddenly.

"Any thoughts on that?", he asks.

"Maybe I shouldn't leave yet. Maybe I'm not ready."

He waits for me to continue.

"But then maybe I should. It could be that I'll never be ready."

"Instead of talking about whether you should or shouldn't, why don't you talk a bit about what leaving means?"

There was a long silence where I could come up with nothing. I couldn't even visualize the kind of thing one might say in response to the question. On the surface it doesn't seem like a tough one but it was like nothing else existed. All I could see was the should/shouldn't argument. It was as though my vocabulary had been cut down to a handful of words and so I was very limited in what I could think or say.

Strangely, Silence of the Lambs came to mind.

"Hey", I asked instead of answering his question. "What would you do if I started only referring to myself as 'it'? Like, 'Ok, well it has to leave now. It needs to take the subway home so it can eat dinner.'"

He tries not to laugh.

"Seriously, what would you do? It wants to know"

Now he starts to laugh full on, shoulders shaking, his face red. I allow myself a moment of pride before I realize the self-defeat.

I'm writing this out, swallowing a fist-full of vitamins at my desk, because I'm thinking the second or third time around I might be able to find my insides. It's somehow important to me to quell the panic rising from the idea that I could actually be devoid of a soul.

I am determined to answer this question. So here you go Doc:

Leaving means I'm alone. Ok, but I was anyway. We all are. Even the people surrounded by loved ones and family and children and pets. We think we aren't but we are.

The thought of leaving you breaks my heart. I think I have always loved you; or at least I love you for caring for me like you have; the real me, or as close as I could possible get to it. Your goodness, effort, reliability, and authenticity have never failed me. You've brought me closer to myself than I have ever been. You always take my side, even when I try to present you with my faults on a platter. You are for me. I've never had that before. If I let you go, how will I ever find it again?

There's also the fantasy, in contrast to the previous point, that maybe leaving would make you angry. Not because you will miss me but because you will miss my reliable body in that time slot. And maybe you will miss having an informed and cooperative patient who puts up with your wild interpretations and has enough insight to see that you are good at what you do.

If I leave it means that there is nothing left to be done for me, which means it may never be better than this.

I'm not leaving yet, but I had to prove it to myself that I could answer the question.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

taking a breather

I invited him back to my place. We'd just seen a depressing movie and I knew it might be a hard switch into what a fourth date might involve.

I turned on a good playlist and took out a chilled bottle of white.

"I feel bad that you're opening a whole bottle."

"Don't feel bad. What's a bottle of wine for if you don't open it? Speaking of which, are you any good at opening these?"

"Yeah, I can do it."

"Oh wait. Never mind. It's a screw on."

"Screw on cap?", he laughed. "Only the best...?"

I held my tongue, but I wanted to say, 'Hello!? Are you new?'

That wine comes from a winery I visited in Napa. It was more than I normally spend.

It's one thing not to know much about wine. Frankly I don't either, but it is a whole other thing to not know much about wine but pretend like you do.

Maybe he's just nervous, I thought. He's human, right? I let it go the same way I convinced myself I was mistaken when I thought I saw him stick his gum under the table on our first date.

"I love this song", he told me when November Rain came on. "They played it at my budddy's ex-girlfriend's funeral though, so now it's all my friends and I can think of whenever we hear it."

I took a slow sip of wine, remembering the song they played at Toby's funeral.

He looked up at my. "Now don't start getting all morose and telling funeral stories. I shouldn't have brought it up."

His tone startled me. I'm not sure if I would have said anything about Toby. I doubt it, but there's a chance I might have. Either way I came out of that exhchange feeling cheap somehow.

"Hey", I said, "you're the one who brought up funerals and picked a depressing movie that made me cry."

"You cried?"

"Well...yes. A little. It was incredibly sad at the end. You didn't notice?"

"Not a thing", he lied grinning. I got the sense it wasn't to protect my dignity, which might have been endearing.

A few minutes later he moved toward me on the couch. He pulled the elastic out of my ponytail, letting my hair fall across my shoulders. Then he kissed me, leaning me back against the couch.

I expected that I would warm up to it. I tried to let myself go, but soon it was clear to me that I wasn't feeling it. Yet had I not come too far to be considering my options now? I tossed that around, but finally I pulled away from him.

"Are you ok?"

"I'm fine.", I told him, kissing him gently one last time, a hand on either side of his face.

I sat up and reached for my wine.

"I just need a little breather."

He stayed a little while longer.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

the instillation of fear

I dropped a make-up brush in the toilet.
About the size of a pencil.
I put on rubber gloves to retrieve it
Which only pushed it down further.
I could no longer see it
So I did what I thought was the next best thing.
I flushed.

After that the toilet acted up.
Sometimes it just flushed slowly.
Other times, the water level rose
Instilling that sort of toilet water rising fear.

For a while there was this fantasy
That it would fix itself.
But after a while
I relented and called the plumbers.

The next morning there were two at my door
They took out their tools
Removing the back cover of my toilet
Heads bent together
Discussing the matter in hushed russian.

"Water pressure is low", the tall one said to me with finality.
"Are you sure?", I asked.
"Because sometimes it rises like it's going to overflow."
I tried to sound like I did not already have the answer.
He furrowed his brow, eyed his partner and turned back to the toilet.
I could hear the tools clinking against porcelain.

The shorter heavier set one came into the living room sipping a 7up.
I stopped dusting the bookshelf
Braced myself and waited for the verdict.
The tall one slipped out the front door.

"Have you dropped something in toilet?", he demanded.
"Me? No...not that I can think of."
I tried to sound surprised at the question.
"Mmmhmm...", he frowned.
"Ok. We get snake."
I frantically pieced together an explanation
In case the brush came back up.
Something about babysitting someone's toddler
Who may have thrown a thing or two in the toilet
Like the baby in 'I'll love you forever'.

Finally, after some time, the two men emerged
Red-faced, glistening with sweat.
"Toilet fine now", the short one said out of breath.
For a moment I waited for him to go on
But he said nothing else.

I thanked them and double bolted the door behind them.
I stood over the toiled and flushed.
The water rushed down with urgency once more.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

listen all y'all it's a sabotage

Lately I feel as though I have aged 10 years, but yesterday I got a few of them back in just one click of a mouse. I booked a trip to London. Spending that much money and making a spur of the moment decision right now was difficult, but as soon as I did it I knew it was exactly what I needed to do.

In making that move something else came to me. I have two jobs. One in academia and one in a hospital. I don't talk a whole lot about my work here, especially the academic position— the one I've been in for several years—but what I will say is I haven't been getting enough out of it for a while now and something happened recently that closed the deal for me. On the one hand it was a, 'great, just icing on the shit cake that has been my life lately'-moment, but on the other hand it was an invitation to freedom.

And that's just it. The way that booking this flight made me feel also allowed me to see that the life as shit cake notion is really just a point of view. I'm not talking 'the secret' or some other Anthony Robbins self-help motto. I am merely saying that if a click of a mouse can reverse time for me or relax my ribcage to allow me to breath deeper, then shaking up my perspective a little more often and pushing through the discomfort that comes with that is worth it.


As I prepared this to post I found myself humming "criminal mind", by Gowan. Humming is a good sign. I'll give myself a break on the choice of song.

Which reminds me, last night a girlfriend of mine came over and we ordered sushi and drank wine and she showed me that my cable package provides free karaoke. Nothing like becoming the Beastie Boys over some good food and drink to wind down the day.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

lunch with my father

My father left me messages trying to track me down, asking if he could stay with me. The father that I barely know. He said he was having a hard time finding a hotel.

I live in a very small space. I've told him 'no' on a couple of previous occasions for that very reason, among others. As a 'father', why would he ask me for things he can see make me uncomfortable, forcing me to say 'no'? Why would he choose to do that?

Before I callled him back I found him a hotel. He took it fine. Sometimes he reminds me of one of those blow-up punching bags weighted in the bottom so they keep popping back up. We made plans to meet for lunch. We grabbed sandwiches and sat down in a food court. I didn't have a lot of time before my next meeting. I don't remember how we got on the topic, but I he mentioned he had never had a colonospopy. He's 60, so he should have by now, which is what I told him.

"Nah, my doctor will make sure I get what I need."

"But Dad, everyone gets them after the age of 50."

"As far as I'm concerned, if you worry about cancer, that's when you get it."

Of course that annoyed the shit out of me. So I made a comment about how ridiculous that head in the sand attitude is and he interrupted me, putting up his hand,

"I heard you the first three times. Stop repeating yourself."

The blood drained from my face.

If he was my 'Father' in the capital 'F' sense of the word, he might be able to get away with that, but this is the father that has not been in my life, that pretends to try, only to fufill his need for an audience, a therapist, a personal medical professional, and a topic of which he can engage others on to demonstrate to them what a great job he did 'raising his children'. He has not earned the right to snap at me.

I placed my sandwich down carefully. "This is not going to work."

He looked up, confused.

"Yeah. Not gonna work", my voice thin.


"You can't speak to me like that. You haven't earned it."

"What are you talking about? You were repeating yourself. Don't make a big deal about it."

"No. Let me tell you something. I'm in no mood for this. I have a crazy week ahead of me and you just drop in and think you can snap at me like that. No. Just no."

He was caught completely off-guard. Looking back now I feel terrible for this one part: that I could see him visibly shaking. I did that to him. A 60 year old man. My father.

"Rachel, why are you always angry?", he asked quietly, looking around to make sure no one could hear us. "Why can't you just let it go. I did the best I could, you know. I was there for you. I always loved you guys. Just ask your Mother. I did the best I could."

"I guess there are some things a child doesn't understand", I said looking down so no one would see the tears.

"Well you're an adult now and it's time to act like one."

Not a good thing to say.

He did love me and he tried to be there, but there are some things the kid's brain in me can not get past. Like the fact that he did not give my mother one fucking cent to help take care of my brother and I. He left my mother to take care of us alone, on a receptionist's salary. My father, the accountant, the MBA, never gave us a cent. He said he could not afford to take care of us, but he married someone else and had four more children. As a kid I could not process that and it left a wide rift.

I told him that, which was much more than I ever imagined I would say, especially in a crowded food court.

"As an adult I still find it hard."

"But Rachel, I was suffering from depression. All those years."

"And you were suffering from depression because of the things that happened to you when you were a child."

"That's right."

"And you still are."

"Well, I...yes, off and on."

"I am not about to tell you to grow out of it or snap out of it. It's just not that easy. As an intelligent adult, I understand that it is not possible."


I went through the rest of the day like a zombie. Late that night I called my brother.

"Where are you?"

"Anatomy lab, slicing the dead."

I felt like a cadaver.

"At this hour?"

"Gotta fit all of it in somehow. What's up?"

I told him the story.

"How did you end it?"

"I don't know. I guess it was smoothed over somehow because he was drawing me business diagrams again by the end of our lunch."

"Aaah, the old 'inverted pyramid?".

"Yep. That's the one."

Thursday, October 25, 2007

nail biting

Like holding smooth stones in my mouth
I envision biting off the end of my own thumb.
Opening up the back of my throat.
Swallowing it whole.
Suspending the connection between the sensation
And the idea.
I've always been good at that.
So many things I have become good at over the years.
Surely there is a good use to which I can apply these skills.
A way to use them to live a good life.
A happy one.

Monday, October 22, 2007

escape plan

Struck with a terminal fatigue, I left for home on this beautiful October Monday, did two loads of laundry, ate a cadbury premium dark chocolate bar and did not go for a run. Sometimes you just need time to recover.

I think I'll go to work tomorrow, but I leave the window open a crack to the possibility that I won't. I won't if I can't. But I probably will.

My muscles are sore from playing touch football on Saturday in Trinity Bellwoods Park with a group of my twenty-something friends, fueled only by a giant keg of beer. It made me feel simultaneously old and young.

Lana is stuck somewhere between the santa ana winds and The Fire, on "vacation" with her 8 month old. Sitting inside all day in Southern California, smelling of bonfires was not a part of that plan, but at least they are safe. I hope they stay that way.

It's 9:15. I am going to sleep it all off. The last fake summer day of the Autumn has ended. Despite not seeing enough of it today, I was able to really take it in yesterday. And it was splendid. Every single moment of it. The smell of the air, the drying fallen leaves, running past a young hipster family in the park who were singing, incidentally, Fallen Leaves, a great punk rock song by Billy Talent, with their two small children who knew every single word; my kind of family.

I've been running with Harry lately. Spending time with him wasn't the plan, but he's been consistent [or persistent] with his invitations and phone calls and I lost interest in saying no, and since I've been dating again it's been easier for me to be around him and he's been even more...consistent. Whatever. It's nice to have someone to run with and he makes me go faster.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

on repetition

When you do not know what else to do
You make people hate you.
It is what you knew first.
Your default.
The place you are most comfortable.
And so I hate you.
I fall for it every time.

Friday, October 19, 2007

still the same Lauren

"So how was your night with Max?"

"It was good. I had a lot of fun with him."

"Still feeling the chemistry?"

"Yeah, actually, I do. He's very cute."

"Did you get a chance to feel his dick yet?"



"How old are you?", I counter, the pot calling the kettle black.

I can hear her husband in the background, "Oh come on Lauren!"

"What?", she says to him, and then turns her attention back to me.

"So when do you see him again?"


"Good. Well let me know how his dick feels."

"Alright then. Call you later."

Sunday, October 14, 2007

where not to stick your gum

It was my turn to pick the place.

"Name a couple of restaurants that you keep meaning to try", I asked a few of my friends.

If there is one thing this city has a lot of, besides the homeless, its restaurants. It seems like every time I want to try something new I can never think of anything. I end up coming up with same names: Xacutti, The Drake, The Rushton... So this time I got a couple of ideas from other people, one of them being an Italian place off Bloor and the other a new Asian fusion restaurant on Spadina. I gave the guy I was going out with these two options and he chose the latter.

When we got there we discovered it had already shut down. So much for my plans. We ended up at, hands down, my favourite thai restaurant in the city: Salad King. Even thought it went through a funky Yabu Pushelberg-esque transformation a few years ago, it's still get in/get out fast service, yet cheap and delicious. It reminds me of those communal thai and indian restaurants my sister took me to in London. It was quick and good and that left the rest of the evening free to grab some drinks. We ended up in the Annex, drinking cheap wine and listened to some great music.

It was a breath of fresh air hanging out with this guy for the most part. He's a writer, totally down to earth, and the conversation was great, but a couple of odd things went down. After they brought over the wine, I am pretty sure I saw him stick his gum under the table. I kept trying to convince myself that I was mistaken, but unfortunately I don't think I was, and because we were having such a good time, I wanted to pretend it didn't happen so I didn't say anything. Who does that after the 6th grade? When he's at home does he pick his nose and wipe it under his couch cushions too? I mean really.

Later on we ended up in a used book store that was open late and I found a hand-written note in the European History section that someone had accidentally left on a shelf.

"Oooh, look what found", I held it up for him to see. I guess I got excited about it. I love finding shit like that. It's my voyeuristic side.

He gave me a funny look.

"Yeah...I'm sure you'll find the answer to all the world's problems on that piece of paper."

His tone caught me off guard; a bit of a buzz kill I must say. It wasn't a light sarcasm. It was kind of cold. I looked down at the paper trying to think of how to respond.

"Nah, turns out it's just the measurements for a tablecloth or something. No such luck."

He made another strange comment on the way home. I pointed out this place that I want to try called Black Camel, well known for it's slow cooked meat sandwiches. I had pointed out the new Mark Thuet restaurant that specializes in southern barbecue earlier when we walked by in the Annex.

"Wow, you seem to be a real expert in pulled pork." Also sarcastic.

I don't know why it bothered me. I don't even eat pork, let alone "pulled" pork. But mostly it was how he said it. This time I let the silence kick in. I didn't give a shit. I don't give a shit about too much these days so I let him sit in it [the silence that is]. He quickly jumped in to fill it, but my guard was already up.

When he pulled up to my apartment, he kissed me goodnight. It was a nice kiss too.

I don't know what all that was about, but whatever.

And in other dating news I let the south american go. It wasn't pretty, but in the end he emailed me a quote he once saw written in a school yard, sadly the coolest thing he had done so far and simultaneously the lamest quote I've ever read. Something about how beautiful life is if you don't let it pass you by. Blah.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

sitting in the dark

I just got home and it is a rainy October night, already dark. I lay here on the couch in my underwear, hands still dirty from the subway, and I know if I turned on the lights and washed my hands I would feel better than I do, but I wait a few more minutes.

I am reminded of when I was in grade school, waiting in the old lady's parlor for my piano lesson, hearing the sound of my mother's car pull away. There wasn't enough light in the house, especially as it grew dark earlier and earlier. There I would sit in that musty room, watching the grandfather clock, bone tired from a long day at school, stomach growling, dreading the angry old women with the rooster neck skin, knowing I didn't practice enough—I never did—and just waiting to pay the price.

Even then I was depressed I think. Right now I can't remember a time when I was not.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


I carried my tennis racket
And walked as fast as I could.
I was ok for the moment
With the next few hours planned out
Like kindergarden.

I walked past a man and two kids
On a porch on Palmerston
Shading their eyes and pointing up.
There in the deep grey sky sailed a navy blue blimp.

This morning when I sat down at my desk
There were responses to two emails
From the night before
I could not remember sending.
Maybe it was the sleeping pills.
At some level there was relief that even the drugged up me
Knows how to toe the line.

I'm trying to remember when all this started.
Maybe the spring?
No, earlier.
Probably in winter.
Winter strips everything to the bone.
But in the summer you rot.
Blimp, blimp, blimp.

My therapist doesn't think it's depression
As much as it is 'the verge'.
The verge of breaking away.
Of being myself.
Of living my life.

"Once you got a taste of it", he told me
"It was impossible to settle for anything else,
And that's where you are."
So apparently there aren't any pills to fix that
Other than those ones he gives me to sleep.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

sounds like a plan

I've had a headache since Thursday. I still managed to make an appearance at Shoshanna's dinner party, despite the fact that I was the only single person in attendance if you don't count babies. I've also managed to keep running, bathing, and shaving etc... Maybe I don't need to be medicated afterall.

I went out and bought a pair of shoes I will probably return, which is somehow more satisfying than buying nothing at all. I've been relatively content to walk the city on this dreary october Saturday, an americano misto in hand, silently swearing at fat nerdy families and annoying tourists slow-walking, blocking sidewalks, and gawking and photographing stupid tourist things.

I've been dodging the south american for the past few days. At first I told myself it was because I was depressed and that it must not be the right time for me to be dating someone, but the truth is, tonight I have a date with a guy that Lauren managed to set me up with [while sitting shiva for her father]. Maybe I'm just not that into the south american.

I wanted to find something to buy to wear tonight but nothing jumped out at me. I also meant to go to yoga this morning but it started at 10:30 AM and I woke up at 10:15 AM. I need something to make me feel myself again.

So this is my plan. I will get my ass off the couch right now, go for a run, take a long hot shower [can you believe that just typing that made me feel guilty, like I am the sole reason for the collapse of the world's water supply], and then I am going to find something great to wear. By the time I meet up with this guy, I'll be a new woman.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

maybe everything happens

I guess I took it pretty hard when Lauren's father died, but it was before that too. It's been a while. I startle easily lately. I mistake specks of dirt or a fallen leaf in my peripheral vision for a cockroach or some other dire threat. When PMS starts two weeks early and lags two weeks after, it's time to ask some serious questions. Even with my game face on, I'm hanging by a thread.

"Let's talk about the thread", he said.

Maybe the thread is what people expect of me. Maybe nothing happens when the thread breaks. Maybe everything happens when the thread breaks.

"Anything more on that?"

I am one thread away from never getting out of bed, never shaving, never washing my hair, never running, never putting on my make-up, and never answering the phone again. It seems to me that whatever is going on here is time-limited; not in the way that it will go away on it's own, but in the sense that I can't keep it afloat much longer. I am starting to think about doing the one thing I said I would never do again.

When I told him that he said, "You see everything as a struggle between good and evil".

That's how it has always been for me.

"There are things in between. We still have work to do here. Just because I'm not normally a medication kind of guy doesn't mean it doesn't have a place."

"I don't know what to do" I told him. "I said never again but I can't just keep feeling like this. I don't know what to do", I started to crumble. "Just tell me what to do. Please I need for you to tell me what to do." I paused for a moment but there was nothing.

"I need you to tell me what to do, but you don't. You never do. It's so easy for you to take that stance. To use your therapeutic approach to excuse yourself from asking any of the right questions or taking anything on yourself." I couldn't stop trembling. "I need you to tell me what to do".

But he left it at that and I left with my sunglasses on again, tissues balled up in the palm of my hand.

Monday, October 01, 2007

brackets I ain't in

I woke up early, straightened up the apartment for the cleaning lady, went out to this fine linen store Shoshanna sent me to, under the premise that there was an amazing sale, which turned out only reduced the price of a set of sheets from $475 to $300. I can't imagine being in that kind of a sheet bracket. I'm not sure how Shosh is, but needless to say I didn't spend much time there. I ended up getting a set of white on white striped sheets in an entirely acceptable thread count and material for a more reasonable price to go on my amazing new bed, which is set to arrive this week. This is going to be a dream bed. I did not skimp on the bed.

And in further news, I applied for a job. A really good job. Really good. When I put the resume in, I thought they would chuckle and think, 'aw, how cute she applied for this way too important position', and would promptly recycle the paper it was written on, but instead, they emailed me the next day to set up a preliminary interview. Over the next few days I started to think about it. I started to see myself in the position.

So I had a phone interview. Normally I give good interviews, and so it came as quite a shock when I realized, about 30 seconds in, I was completely bombing. I had prepared well and I was still terrible. As it was happening I was thinking, how the hell am I going to survive this? I wanted to jump off my balcony. Every question they asked was completely inapplicable to my experience. Normally I would make my experiences fit, but it was impossible!

What it comes down to is that they were looking for someone else. I didn't have the experience they wanted. As much as I can rationalize it, it never feels good to sound as stupid as I sounded today, and the worst part about it is that I have to go back to work tomorrow knowing that there isn't this great opportunity waiting for me around the corner. It makes me want to leave. It makes me want to call in sick and move to the burbs to stay with Lana, her husband, and the baby for the rest of my life. It makes me want to go home to my Mommy.

In less humiliating news, I've been spending time with a certain South American guy. The weather in Toronto has been great. I've been running every day. I feel amazing other than the breast tenderness, exhaustion, occasional bouts of nausea, and random food aversions.

Unless someone slipped me a roofie, I'm not pregnant. However Shoshanna just told me she is...three months pregnant...with twins! For the love...

Maybe it's sympathy morning sickness. Naw, not even. Maybe it's PMS.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

about face

I've gotten to the point where I can be honest with myself. Most of the time I can be honest with people around me too, even when it would be easier in the moment to smooth things over. I used to do that to save face or save feelings; mostly feelings.

I've always been a bit of a hot-head, but now if I feel slighted, instead of internalizing it or displacing it on some innocent bystander, I usually say something, albeit diplomaticallly. Usually. But sometimes I just can't be bothered and I think that's honest in another way.

Two examples:

First, one of my dream destinations is Morocco. Lana knows that very well. I've talked about it a number of times. Recently she was invited to travel to Chile with a group of girls. Since that trip she is talking about doing Morocco with the same girls, Even though she's heard me talk about it a million times she never thinks to invite me along.

Second, recently Harry showed up at my birthday dinner like he was doing me a big favour, making sure I knew he had to cancel his hockey game to come and had to leave early to go to practice etc... He arrived with a birthday card that had a photo on the front of a naked man with a massive erection. The card read, 'something to remind you of me'. You probably know me well enough to know I'm all for cock jokes, but when I opened it at a table with 12 of my friends, I had to force myself to laugh about it. Cocks don't offend me but my heart is still a little tender from being stomped on. I felt he was kind of rubbing it in my face, for lack of a better description.

I do believe that there are times you need to pick your battles. Is that really honest, you might ask? Well, I think it is; honest to my own needs. Rather than hang on to a relationship that doesn't truly exist or rather than try to turn Lana into the person I want her to be, I can let it go. When I'm honest with myself, I don't need to stick it out and I don't need to displace the hurt feelings.

I think Harry and I are coming to the end and I think Lana needs to be a follower. It's so much easier for her to go along with other people; to be one of the group. She isn't comfortable initiating anything. I still love her and except her, strengths and weaknesses included. Besides, I don't really want Morocco in that way. I always imagined I would go there with a strong, handsome man and I would have to pretend he was my husband so we could share the same hotel room and then we'd have scandalous non-married sex.

So am I a coward for not giving people like Lana and Harry a piece of my mind? It's not about saving face as much as it is about saving my energy. If they asked me how I felt, I would tell them the truth, diplomatically, but without hesitation, but being honest doesn't mean fighting every battle. Sometimes it means asking myself a few strategic questions and then moving on.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

in the company of men

That guy I grew up with—the one I went sailing with a few weeks ago—called and left me a message before I went away, asking me if I wanted to get together. I had given him a copy of a mix cd I made this summer and he said he wanted to 'meet up to go over the playlist' so he 'could add the songs into itunes'.

Initially when he invited me sailing I was worried he would think it was a date. I'm not interested in going there with him. If I was I would have no problem making that clear. Not that there's anything wrong with him. In fact, maybe if I met him now, as an adult, I would be able to see him as the successful intelligent person he's become, but I only see him as that cute chunky goofy kid.

I meant to get back to him before I went away, but I was busy and then Lauren's Dad died. So when I got home I emailed him the playlist. He emailed back right away and told me he's leaving for some work in South America in a couple of weeks and asked if I would like to get together and catch a movie or a bite to eat before he goes.

The thing is, I would like to do that. I've always loved the company of guys. I was always the girl with two or three male best friends hanging around. I guess I like the testosterone. Lately Harry is pretty much off my list and Josh lives in North Toronto [which might as well be Quebec City for the frequency of visits]. All of the other friends I have in the city are girls. So many girls. Too many girls.

I have to remind myself that it's ok to hang out with someone who might have a feeling or two for me. Sometimes you just have to trust that people can take care of themselves. Sometimes you just have to do what you do.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

night call

The phone rang at 12:03 AM.

As a reward for cleaning the apartment spotless and getting my packing done I was sitting on the couch, watching Medium and taking my first bite of a dark chocolate bar. As soon as I saw her number, I knew something had happened.

I was leaving the next morning. Lauren and I had coordinated our trips home for the holidays this year. Originally she was thinking to come home for Yom Kippur but when I told her I already had my flight for Rosh Hashana booked she changed her plans. It was going to be like old times, we'd laughed.

But it wasn't going to be anything like old times.

"Rachel, my Daddy's dead!", she sobbed through the phone.

No, this isn't happening, I said to myself.

"My Daddy's dead! Rachel! He's dead. Oh, G-D, not my Daddy", she wailed.

Lauren is my oldest friend; my fourth grade 'bff'. It was only a few weeks ago that I went to Western New York for the weekend to meet her.

Lauren has many friends, but I am the one who pretty much grew up in that house. I am the friend who saw it first hand. Who knows how very much her father was her world and she, the apple of his eye.

When she got her period, it was her father she told first.

"He went right to the drugstore and bought me tampons", she told me proudly. I tried to imagine how it would be to have a father like that.

Or the time when Lauren woke up in the middle of the night with the stomach flu in university. It was her father she called.

"Daddy, I'm sick!", we could hear her on the phone in the next room.

Lauren's father was the kind of man you thought would go on forever. I see him cruising the stretch of sidewalk outside his office, buying homeless guys a coffee and a sandwich. If you were in the area you were sure to see him. He'd always have a sly grin and a joke.

"Did you hear the one about the rabbi and the priest..."

He was a fixture in the synagogue for as long as I have memories. He practically ran the place, walking the aisles, flashing Lauren and I dirty looks when we talked too much, which was pretty much always, or making us lead the congregation in Aleynu. Lauren's uncle told us he loved Jewish tradition so much that as a small child he would roll up a towel and pretend it was a Torah. Lauren's dad was 64.

So that was my vacation. It was heartbreaking. Now, one week later, here I am, back on my couch. I'm tired. I'm scared of the people I love dying. I'm scared of dying. I had to take an ativan to fly for the first time in a long time. It wasn't the flight so much as the fear that when I said goodbye to my family before going through security, it could be the last time. These moments make you forget how to live with that possibility.

What if my father dies and I have shut him out all of these years. How will I live with that? What if my mother dies? There are days when we barely tolerate each other even though I love her more than anything. How would I survive?

Lauren asked me over and over how she would ever feel ok again. For the first few days I wasn't so sure she would, but in her strong moments she has already begun to find meaning. I guess that is how it happens.

And here I am, home, on the couch, eating the chocolate I had been eating that night when the phone rang.

The chocolate I thought I would never want to taste again.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

least resistance

I would never do anything
That would put
Between us.
I've never been convinced
Anyone would
I've perfected
The technique of
Removing obstacles.
Greasing the way with
My dreams.
Making sure
I am the path
Of least resistance.

%$#%$# @#%$*&@!

Have you ever had insomnia, despite sleeping pills, straight vodka out of the bottle you keep in your freezer, hot flashes, an inability to sit still for more than 10 seconds, and a complete fucking temper tantrum after three hours of trying to sleep that had you throwing things and screaming words you could never begin to think about sharing on your blog?

Yeah, well...neither have I...

Monday, September 03, 2007

varsity view

Lately I've been craving sashimi. Or ceviche. I have this thing for raw fish.

Speaking of fish, I had a great time sailing today, although once we got around the island airport the water got choppy and it left me feeling a little queasy, but it was really fun. I steered the boat and pulled the sails up with the ropes. I did all kinds of things I barely understood, but I've always been good at following instructions.

Last night I met the argentinean for drinks and then we walked around Yorkville. Later we got coffee and I took him to sit at one of my favourite spots, outside varsity arena, overlooking the track with the University of Toronto and the city skyline in the background.

He brought me a belated birthday present; a mix cd of latin music, which I thought was very sweet. For two people from very different places in the world we have quite a bit in common. Of course there's the religion for one, but we both come from big families, we both have baby brothers exactly eleven years younger than us, and they even have the same name! Of course, these are all surface commonalities, but it makes the world feel smaller somehow.

Tonight I have another date, but this one's with a physiotherapist who works at the hospital. We are going for drinks in one of my favourite areas in the city; king and jarvis. That's one of the areas I would like to buy a condo.

I have a big day tomorrow. I'm running a meeting to wrap up the program I worked on all summer. After work a girlfriend and I are going for a run and dinner. Wednesday I have to take the day off to drive to a small town a couple of hours outside of the city for the funeral of my friend's father who died suddenly. She had to fly home from overseas. What a horrible long flight that would have been. I imagine those are some difficult hours.

Saturday I fly back to the coast for a vacation. There are going to be a lot of family gatherings and big dinners because it's Rosh Hashana. I just hope I can resist the tempation to eat my way through the holiday and I can keep up with the daily running. I haven't felt this physically fit...ever.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

never mine

In an email to Harry, I Freudian-typed "never mine" instead of "never mind". I mean seriously, no matter how I swing it, I am transparent. I used to get so angry at myself when I let my cover slip. Not that I really knew it was a cover in the moment, I was just angry that I was not who I wanted to be. But I have come to a degree of comfort with the truth. I am no longer frightened by the repercussions. What have I really got to lose outside of the dead weight I have carried around with me for no other reason but for old time's sake?

My therapist has been on vacation. Before he left, I wasn't sleeping, I wasn't coping, I was miserable, staying home too much, and avoiding my friends. My anxiety level was through the roof and I was starting to think it would never get any better. While I do not know that anything has fundamentally changed, it is like I have taken a vacation from myself right along with my therapist.

So far the only time I have even cried was this morning, watching Cold Case. It couldn't get much more cheese but I liken this particular cry to the chopping onion effect; a bit of a mechanical cry. The episode was about two secretly homosexual cops. One of them was killed and when the mystery was solved, the surviving police officer, now an old man, went back to the scene. The ghost of his dead partner appeared and they held hands for a moment before he disappeared again forever. It is the only time in the whole three weeks that I have shed a single tear and it hardly counts.

And no, I don't think the conclusion to be drawn is that therapy is not helpful. I do however think that it's nice to take a break from yourself.

So now we are into the long weekend. This guy I used to go to camp for years with just called me out of the blue the other day and invited me to go sailing. At first I was not sure. I do not know how to sail. One of the girls at work told me if I go I have to wear navy blue and white stripes and top-siders. I know so little about sailing I almost fell for it. Almost.

Normally I would decline the offer and end up going to the gym, maybe getting my nails done, cleaning my apartment, and then complaining that there is never anything going on, but instead I am going. It is a beautiful blue sky day; a Donnie Darko day. I do not even know how to find out if there is wind, but I would be happy just to float around.

The hospital wanted me to work tonight. That would have been seven days straight, so I said no, I am going sailing. So three days off! I am so excited. I will go to movies, do errands at a leisurely pace, enjoy the sun, run, play a little tennis. I even have a date with a very handsome and charming Argentinean.

Buenos tardes, mi amigos.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

a stone or two

There's an old friend of mine who I recently spent time with, and I have to telll you, being with her is hard. We truly grew up together, best friends from the fourth grade on. We when through puberty together and through our rocky teens. We spent years obsessing over our bodies, our weight, and every single thing we put in our mouths. I was always the thin one. She was more of an average sized kid. At some point we stopped talking about our issues with food. Rather than growing out of it, I would say it was mostly that we grew out of talking about it. I know I never really got over it.

Over the past ten years, she's gotten thinner and thinner and I have most definately gotten bigger. We rarely see each other, So when we are together lately I am always shocked at her size. She doesn't eat a whole lot and I know her so well that I can see how controlled she is and I always end up leaving feeling like I weigh 300 pounds and that I lack self-control. I feel terrible about myself.

'You can do better than this', I tell myself. 'You'll be so much happier if you do.'

The last time we were together we were reminiscing about high school and she talked about this one girl she saw for the first time in years, who's put on weight. People who don't have discipline disgust her. I know this not because she admits it, but becasue it oozes from her with every word. She joked about how this girl looked like a 'big bag'a potato chips', an observation that was both mean and unfortunately astute. She really does kind of look like that; puffy in the middle and lumpy on the surface.

For days I couldn't stop thinking about it; the big bag of potato chips. And it occurred to me that perhaps I look like that to her. I sure as hell felt like it.

So I was torn. I don't want to be motivated by the same adolescent neuroses that ruled my teens, but at the same time I think I let myself get this way solely to reject those years. To make a point.

And I realized something else; a strange phenomenon. The people around me don't want me to lose weight.

"You look fine", they say. I tell them I may look fine, but if I lost 20 or 30 I'd look great.

"You don't have that kind of weight to lose", they say.

But the numbers don't lie. I think people are somehow threatened that I might look better than fine. They like me as their supporting actor. They like me in the periphery. And I guess I do too, to some extent. Something has kept me here for all of this time. Maybe it's the safety in never fully putting myself out there and therefore never running the risk of being left out in the cold. That feeling has always been a major limiting factor in my life.

I could have taken control back a long time ago rather than facing this now, in my thirties. I went from not eating in my teens to letting myself go, just a little. Just enough. While I'm not really overweight, in the last 15 years I've chosen to err on the side of average.

So lately, approaching my 33rd birthday, I've been running every day, playing tennis, eating less and I feel physically great. Even just a couple of pounds is enough to make a noticeable difference, but I'm working toward 20 for now; a birthday present to myself.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

I could care less

I'm not checking facebook. I realize I don't really care right now to see how other people are living their lives. I almost checked because for a minute I thought I cared, but I don't.

I care instead about getting a run in before I meet my brother for a movie.

I care that I played a decent game of tennis with my new visor, that keeps the sun off my face and my hair from getting in my eyes.

I care that I am eating less.

That I had a great day at the hospital.

That Harry, without intentionally being insensitive [and oh how insensitive it was], jokingly asked me to marry him three times the other night at dinner [long story] and I thought I would fall apart once I got home, but the crisis never came. I was fine.

I am fine.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

boob shot

I hurt my back at work last weekend and I knew I shouldn't be playing tennis so soon with all of the sporadic twisting, but it was perfect weather, I needed the exercise, and I wasn't going to sit at home and watch television, so I decided to give it a try. I warmed up and stretched carefully but as soon as I started, I knew I should probably stop. It was hurting with every swing of the racket. I was pissed, partly due to the discomfort and partly because I lugged my shit all the way to work and then to the court for nothing.

A few minutes in, I served a hard one. Lana was wearing dark glasses so I didn't realize she wasn't looking.

As the ball hurdled toward her she made no move to return the serve. It was too late by the time I realized what was happening, and the ball hit her square in her left breast.

"I'm so sorry", I called across the court. "Are you ok?"

Far from the kind of girl to lose her temper, I was surprised when she froze and then turned to me slowly.

"Maybe if I wasn't the only one picking up balls, I would have seen that coming".

This was in reference to the remark I made a few minutes before about how I was impressed she was actually moving her ass to pick up some balls as I usually have to feed them to her one at a time.

I felt bad that I hit her and so I was probably defensive. And my back hurt. And I knew I shouldn't have bothered coming out to play. I guess I kind of lost it.

"Are you KIDDING me? I just accidentally hit you and you're giving me attitude? You know what, I don't need your shit."

I zipped my racket up and started to gather my things. As I was doing it I knew I was being ridiculous, but I couldn't stop myself. She started to walk toward me.

"Are you really leaving?"

"Yes", I answered, but silently adding, 'unless you say the right thing, even though I should probably stop playing to save my back, and yet I want to play'.

I continued aloud, "I'm not in the mood for this. You would never have said that if it was anyone else."

She stood there for a moment, before she spoke.

"You're right, but that's because I feel close enough to you that I CAN say that. But I shouldn't have given you attitude. I was just reacting to getting hit."

"Well obviously I didn't do it on purpose."

There was a long pause.

"I'm sorry for hurting your boob", I said, unzipping my racket.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

I think my ipod hates me

The battery on my ipod died while I was on the treadmill. When I got home I took it out of my bag to re-charge it and on the screen, in an over-sized, uneven and entirely unfamiliar font, it was written,


Trampass? I know, it's hard to believe. You wouldn't expect such a strong opinion from an electronic.

Well, feast your eyes:

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

hope in a winter hat

I made my way into the bowels of the city. The subway station was lined thick with people in their business casual. I walked to my spot, not once taking note of a face. In my peripheral vision I saw two forms leaning in to each other, the girl standing on her tip toes, helpless, her forehead pressed into his chest. I closed my eyes, my back against the wall. The tiles were damp with humidity and it occurred to me how dirty they must be. I pulled away, standing straight.

The air was thick, even at 0800 hrs. A stout black women to my left fanned herself with a newspaper. She looked over at me and rolled her eyes, looking for someone to share in her distaste for the temperature.

But I'm not a part of this. None of it. I'm somewhere else.

You're not going to pin me down, I wanted to tell her.

Instead I looked forward and let my vision blur everything into a putty grey.

Later, on the way home I bought a winter hat. In August. A big cable knit rasta hat and I bought $62.34 cents worth of vitamins to ward off cancer. I almost laughed out loud in line at the pharmacy. All I am going on is a list I printed out from the internet based on [at best] loose evidence, but that's nothing. Where it gets funny is that in this state of mind, I'm buying vitamins.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

wild horses could drive me away

Why do the people in my building have to be such a bunch of losers? I mean seriously, it is a Sunday night of the long weekend, which is pretty much a Saturday night for all intents and purposes, and I [who I already know is a loser] sorted my dirty clothes and dragged them all the way down to the basement of my building only to find all the machines in use AND a line-up. At 10 PM. What the hell is wrong with you people?

The border was a nightmare. Almost three hours to get into the US, a solid hour out. The only reason Lana and I went there was so that we could spend the weekend with our girlfriend from NYC who was there visiting relatives. I can't believe that people go through that just to shop. Seriously? Too much.

Buffalo is a strange city. In an interesting sort of way. There were a lot of old run down brick buildings in the downtown core, some with faded advertisements painted on them. It's not beautiful by any stretch of the imagination but it is certainly interesting. My camera battery died before I got any shots of the city. I just googled it to see if I could find a good visual representation, but apparently few people are inspired enough to take pics.

So I leave you with a photograph of feral horses on the beaches of Sable Island, off the coast of Nova Scotia. Probably one of the more interesting places I'll never go. Not because I don't want to, but because you're not allowed unless you're a marine biologist or some shit.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

buffalo bills

I'm off to Buffalo. Gotta love Westeren New York. Try not to be jealous.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

a little Shoshanna

I recently read something on another blog that frightened me. It was how someday, eventually, someone you know is GOING to read your blog. The thought of that possibility horrifies me to no end.

It scared me so much that this afternoon I wanted to immediately remove my post from the other day; the one about the problem I have with my friend "Shoshanna". I wanted to go back into my archives and start clearing things out. I've wanted to do that a million times, but today I got the sense that I was on borrowed time.

Maybe part of it is that I'm not so anonymous anymore. At least not with my blogger friends. Another big piece is the reason I started this blog under an assumed name. I am a coward. Then there is the old saying, 'if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all' and I am a sucker for anything that plays on guilt. And so I feel guilty. A good person would not write things like that about their friends, would they? Probably not, but maybe my goal in life isn't to win The Best Girl in the World Contest.

But I imagine all of us say all kinds of things. Beyond those little nagging fears and insecurities I like to think there is a purpose to all of this. I think any kind of writing, without the veil of anonymity, is a brave act. Unimaginabley brave.

In reality there is no "Shoshanna", but there is a little Shoshanna in everyone, which is the point of all of this I think.

Shoshanna is one of my characters, based on someone in my life. I imagine if she read my blog she would figure it out and she would be upset with me.

And I would like to imagine that I would be strong and brave enough, like so many writers I admire have, to live to tell the tale.

Monday, July 30, 2007

spring is here

The kitchen floor felt dirty under my feet
Standing at the sink waiting for the toast to pop.
I put down my coffee and went to the hall closet for the dustpan.
I crouched down on the floor to sweep.
There, along with some crumbs
Were two tiny black metal springs.
I live alone.
No one else has been here for days.
For the life of me
I could not imagine
Where they came from
These springs.
But then I couldn't help but wonder
If they weren't from me somehow;
Any way you look at it
It's evidence
That I'm losing it.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

never ask a question...

I'm starting to question the relationships in my life. There's one girlfriend of mine at the front of that line. We have known each other for years. We always moved in distinct but parallel circles growing up on the east coast, only developing a relationship when she moved to Toronto a few years after I did. We saw each other a few times when she was new to the city but she was in a relationship. She has always been the kind of girl who focuses all of her energy on one thing, and for her, preferably it is a man. That relationship did not last and we saw each other at a mutual friend's poolside barbeque a few summers ago and we started to spend time together.

We had very little in common outside of hometown, religion, and that our parents are good friends. At one point we started meeting for coffee, drinks, or even just hanging out in the evenings after work and watching television. The whole time I knew that we were filling in space for each other. There was almost this sense that I should be careful at how close I let us get. Like what my Mother would say when she used to take me along to William Ashley's:

"Don't touch anything. If you break it you buy it."

She is one of those people who demands a great deal of attention, whether she is saying her father has cancer or that she can not decide what color to put on her walls. It really makes no difference. Designed to give people what they need, I often find myself obliging, but I am exhausted when I leave her and always hungry for something, like we had gone out for dinner but there had been nothing to eat.

She is married now and she is always full steam ahead. I fulfilled my duties as her maid of honor, even though anyone who really knows me knows how I despise weddings. Especially elaborate, typical weddings. Of course that did not get factored into the equation when she was making selections, and it certainly did not sensor her grandiose ideas and expectations of the bridal party.

Right now her focus is on making a baby and it is all she thinks and talks about. I no longer want to be involved at this level. I want my own life. Only when they are mine will small details like this matter to me.

When she has things on her plate I never hear from her. When she is bored or in the mood to vent about something and there is no one else around, she hunts me down, literally. She phones, she shows up in my neighborhood, at work, she even waits outside my therapist's office.

Tonight she came by to borrow something she needed, of course right away. So it did not matter that I was cooking and that I was about to sit down to eat. She would not know. She did not ask. I guess it's just Rachel, alone, I imagine she thinks. She can't possibly WANT to be alone.

She called from the car. At first I offered to run it down to her and she accepted, but then she said something that made me realize she was in the car with her husband. With someone else in the care she would not have to park, yet she accepted my offer to come down to her without a word. I was sitting down to eat at the time and so I thought, why should I bring this to HER? I'm doing her a favour. She can come up. So thinking I was being very clever I called her on her cell and asked her to come up to my apartment. I told her I wanted to show her the new lamp I bought.

She came up, talked about how bad her week was. The cat is sick, her husband's parents are coming to visit, along with her grandmother, and then asked me, as an afterthought, how mine was. I lied and then directed her attention to my lamp.

I could immediately tell by the look on her face that she did not like it. She doe not try to cover anything up. I wished I had not asked.

"It's not really my taste."

"Ok, but it's not for your house", I said a little too harshly. I wondered if she even noticed. I softened my voice, trying to come across casual.

"Try not to think of it for your house", I prompted, my patience thin. "Given the style of the furniture in the room, objectively, what do you think?"

"I think it looks like something my Bubbi would have in her apartment. It's too ornate. Too grandma."

Keep in mind I bought the lamp because I liked it and I did not actually want or need her opinion. I only asked because I was sick of catering to her. I wanted her to go out of her way for me this time.

I tried to pretend it did not bother me. I thanked her and gave her what she came for.

"I hope you didn't mind hearing that. I figure you wanted to know the truth or you wouldn't have asked."

I envy her in a few different ways, but most of all I envy her in her obliviousness. It is unmatched.

I just wish I had the courage to tell the truth. My therapist seems to think it is as simple as that. He never tells me what to do or how to do it. He never gives direction, but I prompted him a little harder than normal and maybe he could tell how close I am to cracking lately.

"You could have said, 'Shoshanna, you're right. I did ask for your opinion, but you went too far. There are diplomatic ways to say things, but instead you chose to insult my taste. That is not a quality I look for in a friend. I certainly don't think I have ever been that kind of a friend to you.'"

Keep in mind the poor guy was a fish out of water telling me what to say, but I think it was a valiant effort and I got the point he was trying to make.

"But how can I do that?", I asked him, suddenly tired. "It would be uncomfortable".

"It should be", he shot back. "For HER. You can leave her with that. Why should you be the one left feeling uncomfortable when she's the bitch."

But then what, I thought? If that's the end of the friendship, so be it?

Monday, July 23, 2007

all on a private jet

I watched the You Tube debate tonight. Three things: I'm impressed with Hilary Clinton; I felt bad for Joe Biden when he mentioned that his wife and daughter died; and I love the format; everyone gets their opportunity to ask the candidates questions. That's really all I care to say about that.

I'm going to bed. I didn't sleep well last night. I played a solid game of tennis tonight [still had my ass kicked], had the most delicious split pea soup for dinner from United Bakers, my favourite dairy deli.

No matter what is going on, it is always the simple things that make me happy.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

the sound of smoke

He was out all night, he told me.
By morning he was still too high to drive home.
So he walked west along the water
As the sun came up.
He stood at the shore
The sleeping towers of the city at his back.
It was so quiet he could actually hear the sound of the water.
And he could hear the smoke
Rise up through the mouth of the smoke stacks
Like the sound of tearing paper.
He continued west toward Spadina
And there to his left
In the grey lake water
Was an enormous fish.
The size of these two tables, he said
Gesturing to the two-seaters between us
Pressed together to seat four.
The fish swam along next to him
At the same pace he was walking.
The fish at his side
In the dark water
And he on the cold concrete.
When he finally turned up toward chinatown.
The fish continued on its way.
And he knew it was a sign.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

black jetta

So I'm biking down Dupont east of Ossington this afternoon when these big dark clouds appear out of nowhere. Of course this time the shitty forecasters DIDN'T call for rain, but rain it did. All week they've been crying rain and all week I lugged my umbrella to work and back for nothing.

So I'm riding my bike and it's spitting and I'm listening to my new favourite metric song, the twist, in my right ear only [for safety], and this beater, a dull black jetta circa 1989 that looked like it had been hand painted, pulls over about 50 metres ahead. I don't really know what 50 metres looks like, but being Canadian I thought it would be a good descriptor. Lets just say a half a block. And I see this hand waiving madly from the driver side window. As I approach, the bald guy in the car is waiving me over so I slow down.

"You can't pass someone on the right side like that", he says.

"What?", I ask. I actually heard him but I'm buying time because I don't know what the hell he's talking about and I'm trying to remember if I did that.

"That car you passed back there. You're gonna get yourself killed passing cars on the right when they stop to turn."

I look over my right shoulder.

"You're going to get me killed by pulling me over in the middle of the road to tell me this", I say. "Other than that, I appreciate the advice."

I pedal away. He passes me angrily a few seconds later, his 1989 motor purring like a harley davidson.

Now that I think of it, if I did do that he has a point [and the fact that I can't remember means that either way, I need to pay better attention].

PS This house on an alley in the Annex is my dream home. It is so central, so urban, not excessive. I wouldn't even need the benz parked in the driveway. I'd bike everywhere. I swear.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


I packed my things for work, got my bike from the balcony, and headed for the door. I stopped in my tracks. Did I leave my stove on? I backed up a couple of steps and craned my neck to look into the kitchen. Stove not on. Something was not right. It came to me that I should call my mother. I leaned my bike up against the wall by the door and walked over to the phone and dialed.


"Hi Mom."

"Oh hi sweetie."

"What are you doing?"

"Just parked my car and I'm walking to pilates - running late. What about you?"

"I'm about to bike to work", I told her, standing there with my helmet on, waiting for something to click; to feel better.

"It's nice and sunny here finally. How is it there?"

"Sunny", I answer, mildly irritated by the small talk. I shift my weight.

"Well that's good! We've had terrible weather."

I don't say anything for a moment.

"Ok Mom. Have fun at pilates. I'll talk to you later?"

"Ok Rachel, ride safe."

I hung up and stood there. I felt like I just gave my mother the final conversation she would replay over and over again and I started to feel bad that I was short with her. I considered calling her back. A second try. Smooth it over, but I changed my mind. You can't keep second guessing yourself. But seriously, maybe I should leave my bike at home. Take the subway. I mean, why take the chance? But things happen on the subway too. A few years ago, a girl was pushed into an oncoming train at King Station by a crazy man. Trains get bombed. Train switches jam. Trains collide.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

the friday blues

So I pretty much met my entire blog readership on Friday night, which was great since I've known them 'computorially' for a long time. I couldn't pass up the opprtunity to put faces to font. I met JC, his cousin T of no known blogging address, Sunshine, and a special guest. They were as I imagined they would be, but funnier.

I joined them for drinks, served by a Julie Delpy look-alike, with a background of [apparently] slightly off-key blues/jazz. There were a couple of John Cusask look-alikes, an episode of neck picking, a tall man either drooling or lactating [no one knows for sure], the discovery that blue curacao [pronounced CURE-uh-sow] and rolaids combine smoothly, and that everything is funny when you're, "on advil". Finally, the consensus was reached that while it is acceptable to carry rolaids around with you, it would not, for example, be acceptable to carry metamucil in your purse. At one point there was a tree-falls-in-the-forest-argument presented, more specifically that if you didn't offer it around and no one knew, perhaps that would be ok, but in the end the line was drawn for an all-out ban.

So I expected that meeting this group for the first time would feel more surreal, strange, or uncomfortable, but it really didn't. It was great. I'm glad it worked out.

P.S. Your biblical reading material is in the mail.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

don't want to die living in a highrise

Working in the hospital again may not mean big money, but it sure puts me back in alchohol swabs. Man, did I miss those little individually packaged for convenience squares of antiseptic heaven.

Last night, after a great last training shift, I said my goodbyes to my coworkers and my many thanks and sat down at the front desk [always a mistake as you're a sitting duck] and checked my schedule. One of the staff docs came rushing over to me and asked me to transfer an unstable patient from another unit, by ambulance, to another hospital.

"I'm not sure I'm the person for the job."


"Well, first of all I'm leaving after 13 hours of work, and second, I'm still officially on orientation until my next shift."

"Well you won't have to do anything-"

Just then the nurse in charge walked up to us.

"What's up?"

Staff doc repeated his request. Charge nurse reiterated the reasons I wasn't going to be going. I kind of wanted to go, but to be honest, I had plans after work, I'd had a great run of shifts and wanted to end my orientation on a good note, and I figure there will be plenty of time to do interesting things. I've also learned, although it sounds jaded [maybe it is], that sometimes doing the extra—going the extra mile, which I tend to always do—only buys you a boatload of pain.

So I walked out into the unusually crisp summer evening, took a deep breath and smiled, put my ipod on, and walked to the subway to the sounds of the new Metric CD. Love it.

Friday, June 29, 2007

on the line

My training at the hospital has just about come to an end. I made it. It feels good to know that I can do this. I really love it. Now I'm a full-fledged part-time employee in the hospital. I bought my preceptor some great products from Kiel's and a round of cupcakes for the rest of the staff to thank them for making me feel so welcome and for patiently teaching, encouraging, and supporting me through eight [often] nerve-wracking weeks.

I spend so much time trying to avoid anxiety, I only hope that next time I'm avoidant I will remember this moment. It feels so good to meet it head on and survive. This is what living is. To do nothing is just that; nothing.

Now if only I could fall asleep. Sleep is still not always my friend. A little help here, a little help there... I'm using the time waiting for the 'help' to kick in, writing about all of this.

So I'll be back at my desk in addition to the hospital work now, running a research fellowship program this summer, among other things. I'm looking forward to that part too. Not only will reuniting with my girls be fabulous [the party is already in the works], running the program is totally up my alley. It's a little like running group therapy for these over-achieving student recipients [of whom I was one only 7 years ago] and I think I'm going to like it. Group process is my kind of thing. It's right up there with interpersonal process. There's nothing more interesting. I'd like to say it's titillating, but I hate that word.

I've also come to understand that attempting to venture out of my quasi-celibate safe-haven, even if it was to hang myself out on the line for Harry, has given me something else. It has reminded me that I'm human and I need not live like I'm not. I'd say it was a real indicator. I realize now that one part of the dissapointment in the aftermath was that I wasn't going to be getting any action. I'd kind of thought I was going to and for the first time in awhile, I was more than ok with that. What can I say? A girl's got needs.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

ruthless living

Not forced to fall in love or hate
But like.
Like butter.

Not pandering to every human moment
Or impending doom.

Sometimes I am afraid
I will laugh and cry
Unable to stop.
I fear exploding
From every orifice
Gushing from the weak points.

Not like my grandfather
Who tried to seal everything
Then leaked until he died.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

what luck, the nurse is me

Right before I left to go away to the wilderness for a few days [and by wilderness I mean large open-concept cottage on a river in the Kawarthas, deep in the forest, with a hot tub, fully equipped kitchen, good food, drinks, cuban cigars, multiple bedrooms and a great group of friends; my perfect wilderness], I was faced with my toughest day of work yet. While I can't go into detail, it surprisingly did not involve a dead baby or death at all for that matter, expect maybe the death of any hopes of perfection. It was a complex ethical dilemma, so to speak, as well as the building up of and possibly the inadvertant collapse of the trust of a patient. More than that, it was the simple heartbreak of seeing someone living a difficult life and knowing there is nothing I can do about the damage inflicted on them by others...by a whole lifetime of circumstances really.

It was excrutiating and I was helpess. I don't think you can ever learn how to deal with that and if you think you can, I pity you. Not only are there no level playing fields in life, the variations that exist are unimaginable to most. It's a fucking shame.

So I'm back from a much needed few days away, and normally I feel good after getting fresh air and sunshine, but my skin is bad from the heat and the chocolate [I ate crap for three days}, and I feel old suddenly. Maybe part of it is that in the morning I have another of the appointments I've been trying to pretend aren't happening. I haven't been dwelling on it, but I guess it's gotta be dragging me down a bit at some level.

The other day, one of the women I work with told me I looked like a flight attendant. She meant it as a compliment but it got me thinking. When I'm really invested in taking something seriously or when I care a lot about something I'm doing, I become stiff. I think that's part of what's been going on here. The more pressure I place on myself, the more seized up I am in life. That in turn makes the things I want out of life seem more and more impossible. I am going to make sure I don't lose myself like that. I'm sure the women that said that was mostly referring to how at work I tie my hair back neatly in a ponytail and how I often wear those librarianesque glasses, but her observation was a cue for me. The truth is I'm not stiff. I'm quirky, emotional, and sexual in addition to all of the other qualities I tend to value in making me a good nurse, friend, or catch. It's all important though and I have to remind myself of that.

I'm doing really well in my work at the hospital. I'm so glad I took that chance and stepped out of my comfort zone. On a more personal front, I have been and will continue to answer first to myself, and not be afraid of being vulnerable. I even have a couple of different dates in the works.

I am starting to get excited again finally; excited about the possibility of a yet to be determined future.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

in situ

My guess is that the curve of my underarm
Is just a little too deep.
So no matter how many times I run the razor over the skin
There are always one or two hairs left.
And so here I stand
At 5:30 PM
In front of the bathroom mirror
Getting ready for another night shift
Trying to tweeze this one lone strand
With shaky hands.
The first attempt misses.
Pinching the delicate skin.
Fuck, I say aloud.
The second gets a good grip at the base.
I pull, but the hair remains
In situ
Now curled tight
Like the tweezers were scissors on a ribbon.
Third attempt, success.
Lucky number three.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

money's worth

I’ve kind of let myself get lost in my days off. I’ve drifted along with the flow and spent some time out in the sun, getting my sweat on. Lately I’m all about hill and stairs-training. It’s killer, but it feels so damn good. The other day I hiked around Rattlesnake Point, an hour or so out of the city, with a couple of girls. I realize, besides my stint in SF, I haven’t been out of the core of the city since last December. That's too long. Another night I met friends for dinner and drinks in Kensington. After last week’s drunken disaster I thought I would never drink again, but you know what they say about saying never.

Today and yesterday I have plodded leisurely through the things I need to do in preparation for working this week, like laundry and groceries and food prep. I’ve kept busy, but at a relaxed pace. After this next stretch of work I’m leaving directly for a cottage to spend a few days with my Aussie friends who will be visiting.

The other night Harry called to ask me [again] to go out with him and his nieces. The original plan was for the four of us to spend the day together for lunch and then for a trip to the museum, but after last weekend I told him I wouldn't be able to join them. He said he understood, but he called me the other night, and asked me if I would at least come and meet up with them for a little while. I wanted to say yes because I love those girls and because I miss Harry, but it just wasn’t the right thing for me. I can’t just fall into the girlfriend role because it works for him in the moment or because it works for our little foursome dynamic. I don’t have it in me to be that for them after all of this and I kind of find it amusing at some level that, as smart as he is, he doesn't get that. So against my natural inclination to be what people need, I said no. Not at my expense. Sometimes you need to get your own money’s worth. Sometimes you have to let people feel the lack.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

that's for sure

I know I said I'd be gone for a few days, but I had a pretty good day at work and I feel better. It was a long day, but I learned a lot and I managed pretty well. I knew working would be good for me today.

More than that, I am so lucky and thankful to have such an amazing group of friends. Even the two with the babies dropped what they were doing, for me. Lana brought me over gatorade and food when I was imobile, Shosh forced me out of my apartment that night for a walk, and then Anna picked me up and took me home with her the next day to hang out, do yard work, and play with the baby. Her husband even took me for a spin and then through the car wash in his brand new convertible, which so reminded me of my Dad in the good times. And then there's my best guy Josh who always knows how to make me feel better, even if it's by phone. I have great friends.

Finally, thanks for YOUR kind words here and via email. I may have even received a video serenade from someone...not mentioning any names.

I feel better already and I have my friends to thank. All of you.