apjournal

Amateur philosopher, deep but impatient thinker, not much time on my hands, exremely opinionated on certain subjects (America, dog food, pharmaceutical companies, lawyers, math education ....)

Friday, April 22, 2005

A Quick Update

Thanks for all your kind words, blogger friends! It means a lot to me! I am feeling much better. MD says it's just the muscle in the hip (thank God, no joints) and just have to stay the course: stretching, chiropractic; she said yoga will be really good for it. So things are better.

I am composing up a storm. I have a song now about half finished, another two sort of started. My music instructor gave me lots of advice and ideas when I saw him last. I will start posting my music once I figure out how to do it! and when I have my piece completed; it is tentatively titled "April Rain" (though we've had almost none).

Nothing else to report. Mr. P is waiting for me to watch cleopatra; we're about 2/3 of the way through. It's pretty good. My goodness, Elizabeth Taylor was beautiful in her youth. Can anyone think of another actress who has achieved her level of success?

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Not superwoman after all

Sorry for the long delay between posts. My back (actually my butt/hip on the right) has been giving me no end of trouble and I have finally learned the meaning of the phrase "taking care of yourself". It was one I pretty much ignored, figuring I was superwoman. It's true that for what seems like my whole life I have managed to juggle impossible schedules and diversity of demands. Yeah. I think I hit the wall. Left quite an impression too. Now I'm picking bits of brick out of my skin. Not fun. I know the problem comes from sitting so much, exacerbated last week by a gruelling work schedule (Friday was the killer) in which I sat for 99.9% of the day. I've missed my contact with you all, but I have really avoided sitting at all costs over the past few days. I am now employing (or beginning to employ) a plan, which includes a team of specialists, to put me back together again (I feel like Humpty Dumpty who ran into the wall, instead of falling off the wall).

I start yoga and massage therapy next week. I have an appointment with my GP this week. I am wondering if she might recommend physiotherapy. I am looking for a housekeeper. I may have to place an ad in our local community newsletter as by word of mouth I'm having no luck. Housekeepers are hard to find. I'm willing to pay them reasonably well, and I'm looking for someone to come in one half day per week. But they have to be a good housekeeper (obviously), trustworthy, careful (one scratch on that piano and they'll be sorry they set foot in the house; sorry, but that one's under the zero-tolerance rule); dependable and if they're friendly, that wouldn't hurt either.

So that's the news. Oh, on the piano I've mostly been composing!!!! I never expected anything could be so satisfying and rewarding. I have three pieces on the go. One's a sort of lullaby; the other two, don't know yet what form they'll eventually take. I'll figure out how to post sound once I have something "finished".

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Snow Shovelling

..... Well, not quite. But it is sleeting and the forecast is for periods of snow flurries. Ahhhhh. Only in Calgary. A few days ago it reached 24 degrees Celsius (that's about 72 degrees F); today it is snowing.

Okay, you know how dreams are so weird? Well, they say it's because it's all the things in your brain that are connecting together in non-cohesive ways (I'll say!) and it comes out all in a jumbled heap as you sleep. I used to dream much more than I do now, but when I do dream, it's still in glorious technicolor, with intricate plots and so forth. Last night I had a doozey. It would take more time than I have to recount it, but for once it didn't fall into one of the many theme dreams I seem to have. About 90% of my dreams have storylines that occur along similar lines, or themes. A sampling:

  1. I dream of needing to move, or having moved, or being in the middle of moving, but never, ever wanting to. The packing is always either not even started and it's moving day, or I suddenly remember that place under the stairs or in the crawl space that is stuffed full of junk that I haven't even looked at yet. There is almost always sadness and anger accompanying these moves. For example, I dream of having to go back to Vancouver (I grew up there, but I don't want to go back there. Calgary is home. Or when I was living in the country and thought that was where I always wanted to live, I imagined having to leave my chickens behind (I was fond of my chickens; they were cool) and who was going to feed them? They'd die without care, without food & water.
  2. I dream of losing my truck (where on earth did I park it???). This from someone who has NEVER had a vehicle towed.
  3. I dream of deciding to walk to a place that is miles, miles, miles away. On route, I end up running so fast, my feet hardly seem to touch the ground.
  4. This one's weird: I dream of a run-down old hotel in which for some reason I have to live; once my parents had to live there because they were bankrupt and poor (this is not likely to happen). But this run-down hotel is really quite filthy and yucky. Still, I have had to live there many times (i.e., many dreams), and it is always the SAME hotel. The SAME room.
  5. I'll spare everyone the details of my bathroom dreams. Suffice it to say I am looking for a bidet and cannot find one suitable to use. I finally connected this with waking up and having to release the glass of water or can of pop I had shortly before bed (duh!).
Though I don't believe that dreams are all Freudian-style messages of our deep inner longings, true shortcomings, and real desires, I do wonder about dreams whose themes are the same and occur again and again and again. Anybody out there have similar recurring dreams? Anybody have a theory as to what they mean?

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Gardening

It's time! I'm going to go outside now and turn over a few clumps of dirt. I can hear the birds singing, and if I don't get outside now, I won't have the chance again today.

I have a sad feeling today. I don't know where it's coming from. Perhaps I'm just a bit overwhelmed; a bit burnt out. Time for a holiday, but I have to wait another good two months before the tutoring wanes a bit.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Marriage

An article in our Calgary Herald today mused on how marriages last. It says, don't look for the right parter, be the right partner. It says that if you marry and then later decide you chose incorrectly, you'll part ways, find someone else, and you'll have new things to contend with. Apparently, every half of a couple has 10 irreconcilable things about their spouse; trade the old spouse in for a new one and you'll have 10 new things. I HONESTLY don't believe I could come up with a list of 10 things; maybe three or four. And since one or two people I know read this blog (including Mr. P., on occasion), I cannot, in good conscience, start a list about him. It would seem like a betrayal. However, all you blog-readers out there, feel free to post or comment with your list (short or long).

Dead, Deflated Reindeer
There is a house in our community, right on the main strip, whose owners always decorate like something out of A Christmas Vacation (Chevy Chase). There are 30-foot inflatable snowmen, reindeer pulling a sled, stuff on the roof, in the trees, a virgin Mary scene; massively huge plastic candy canes, enough lights to light up, oh, I don't know ... Rhode Island. This year, it was mid-February before they STARTED taking them down. This is just weird. If it were my house, I'd be embarassed to live there. I'd duck in my back door hoping no one ever saw me coming or going. Now all the Christmas decorations are gone, except for one dead, deflated reindeer on the roof of the garage. I think it's a sad statement on Christmas and on living in suburbia in general.

DVD Update
We are currently watching Elizabeth R. Glenda Jackson plays Queen Elizabeth. I would have to rate this BBC miniseries with an enthusiastic two thumbs up, a 10 out of 10. It is so good. The acting and costumes are incredible. A must-see for the history buffs out there. I'm not sure if it's better than I, Claudius. The jury's still out, but it may be.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

I Shall Burn in Cholesterol Hell

My diet today:

Breakfast: Bacon & eggs
Lunch: Pizza
Dinner: Turtle Cheesekcake with coffee

Now I'm eating an apple in an attempt to get at least a little nutrition out of the day.

Tomorrow, back to healthy food, I promise!

Saturday, April 09, 2005

I don't know which is sadder ....

... the pope's funeral, or Prince Charles's wedding.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

I should have known better

My hairdresser is obnoxious, opinionated, loud and crass. She swears too much, has little class, and laughs at all her own, crude jokes & comments on life. I am so tired of it. The whole business about being opinionated might not be so bad except that when we differ in opinion, it's usually a huge difference in opinion. And, not only does she express her opnion freely and loudly, she also refuses to acknowledge or respect another person's point of view. Hers is the only opinion, and that's that.

Steam ....

I have had dogs my entire life. Since I was five. She has her first dog now at the age of about 35. She NEVER fails to mention how dogs who are "intact" get beat up when they are at the off-leash dog park. For reasons that are none of her business (I certainly don't need to justify anything to her) we have decided not to neuter Sam. I made the mistake of mentioning how I was at the dog park earlier this week and Sam was playing with a cute little 8-month old Jack Russell pup. I should not mention my dog to her. It never, ever fails. What does she do? She tells me about an intact border collie male that got beat up by a bull terrier-type and how her dog would have beat up on it too, had she not fixed him with an electrocution collar. I told her, once again, as mildly as I could muster, that we have decided not to fix Sam and that we have never had any problems (this is the truth) with him at the dog park with other dogs. She said, in her loud voice, edged with sardonic humor, well, don't be surprised when it does happen, cuz it will! hahahahha...

Steam Steam Steam Steam It was the first time I reacted. I said, quietly, but in a tired voice that implied I'd heard it all before, "Yes, C., I know. You've told me."

I can't handle it anymore. I think I need to switch hairdressers. i can't take it. I said to my husband this morning that I don't even really want to go. I mean, a trip to the hairdressers ought to be an indulgence, a treat, but mine are just stressssssssful. Yes. Must do something about this.

Unrequieted Love and A Theory of Human Evolution

Being somewhat of a dabbler education-wise, I know a little bit about a lot of things (in my defense, I have to point out that I also know a lot about a few things). Anyway, I seem to remember from either an anthropology or biology or psychology class that one of the theories of human evolution is that we were once apes (some of us still are) and that at one point we started standing more on our hind legs and walking more on our hind legs in order to see better across the vast African plains. I think this is a sound theory as theories go, but my own version is that humans evolved from Belgians Shepherds. My dog can stand perfectly vertical for at least five or six seconds at a time. He does this when he is trying to see another dog and there is a little hillock or tufts of tall grass in the way. This morning in the park he saw a man walking two little dogs a little ways off (and he didn't bark, good boy!) and after a bit he couldn't see them anymore and so, up he went on his hind legs to get a better look. What was really cute about all this is that the littler dog of the other two dogs did the same thing (only not as upright). He was like a little Norfolk Terrier, I think. So cute. So, there they were, the two of them, gazing longingly at each other across the grass, but not allowed to meet, not allowed to play. It seemed like unrequieted love. I could hear cheesy, forties-era love story music playing in the background a la Gone With the Wind.

Blonde Moments
Shortly, I make my way to my crazy hairdresser's for my every-five-weeks-on-the-dot grey hair reduction treatment. Blonde is good. I like blonde. What makes me mad is that my hair was white-blonde when I was a little girl, and slowly it turned darker and darker, until now (I think) it is a shade of brown somewhere between mousy and .... I don't know. Actually I really have very little idea of my actual natural color right now as I only get to see about 3/4 inch of it before I make it blonde again. Chemicals can be good, boys & girls, don't kid yourselves.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Happy Birthday, Mr. P!

Today is Mr. P's birthday. How old is he, do you ask? Why, 39 again, of course!

I tend to be a bit of a worry wart (I take after my mother in many respects) and sometimes, when my tutoring waiting list isn't ridiculously long, I imagine that the demand is waning. So, now I am happy again as the waiting list is growing. I have about 5 or 6 students on it now. Whew. Yesterday alone I received three phone calls for new tutoring. Again, whew.

Took Sam to the off-leash yesterday morning and he's still tuckered out. He plays so hard and works himself up so much that it usually does him for a couple of days.

Okay. I have to run. I'm off to the chiropractor this morning and I have my music lesson today as well.

One last thing: you HAVE to check this out. This is too funny. You've never seen anything like it. Look for the boobs. Thanks, Claudblog.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Monday, Monday

Well, I've had the dog to the off-leash already, worked out some calculus problems, done dishes, made lunch for hubby, done my daily bookkeeping and I still have half an hour to spare before my first student arrives.

Question of the day: Are you conscious of "class"? Do you find that those you choose to hang out with tend to be of the same socioeconomic background, roughly the same level of education? It isn't that we consciously choose these companions, it seems to me we are drawn to them, we gravitate toward them, without our even realizing it. Do we find (are we conscious of, if it is the case) that we don't warm up as quickly to people who would be of a different "class"? Or am I a snob? And, finally, what's your definition of "class"? In a woman? In a man? (Okay, questionssss of the day)

This business with Terri Schiavo is so hard to take a position on. Before she died, the letters to the editor were filled with letters for both sides of the argument: she should be allowed to live; she should be allowed to die. Now that she has died, there are no letters anymore from those that thought she should be allowed to die, only from those decrying the injustice and inhumanity of this entire business. I think it is sad, however, that her husband has so completely excluded her family from all the proceedings, and I find it somewhat suspicious, as well.

DVD Update
We finished watching The Six Wives of Henry VIII on the weekend and before we start the next mini-series (Elizabeth R), we decided to take a break from British-history-mini-series stuff and watch a movie. We chose Fargo, which we've not watched in a while. What a great movie Fargo is. Do people in that area of the US really talk that way? It's hilarious. I know that the movie was not meant to be funny; it is a tragic and very sad story; but somehow the writers made it almost a comic tragedy. Between the hapless and impotent planning of Mr. Lundegaard and the diction of the characters, there is a great deal of comedy. Francis McDormand is absolutely superb in her role of police chief, and I think one of the reasons I like this movie so much is because I love her marriage (Margie's) to Norm, the painter of mallards. Interestingly, the guy who plays possibly the worst baddie in the movie, Peter Stormare, also played Serge in Chocolat, another of our favourites. He was well cast in both roles. To totally digress, for lovers of Chocolat, I cannot recommend highly enough Bread & Tulips (in Italian with subtitles, but the subtitles do not in any way detract from the movie, for those not that fond of them).

I must go start my day now: happy Monday, everyone!

Sunday, April 03, 2005

The Real Beginning of Spring

It's Here! It's Here! Spring has sprung in Calgary. We saw our first Robin today, sitting high in the neighbour's tree. And, in true spring fashion, we are rearranging furniture, dusting, and vaccuming nooks and crannies, lightening up for the warmer weather. No other news, except that a trip to the furniture store is likely in order as we've just created a vacancy moving a never-watched-TV into storage. A nice black leather chair with ottoman which will make a great reading spot, right near the piano.

Friday, April 01, 2005

So much sadness

I think if my hopes for any sort of meaningful life were not possible, I wouldn't want to live. When I think of the millions that die all the time of starvation, even now, in the world; women who die at the hands of disgruntled husbands or boyfriends; children who die at the hands of their parents, I find it hard to muster a great deal of outrage over the Schiavo case: where is this outrage for the millions of "weak" who are not protected by the "strong" (George Bush's words)? The millions who die needlessly all the time because we all choose to look the other way. I'm as bad as everyone else. We are hypocrites, deep down. I just find this whole thing incredibly sad, and her passing brings no peace.

More Sadness
Yesterday I took Sam into the wilderness park across the street from our house. It was a beautiful morning that didn't require heavy jackets or big boots (spring is finally here!!!) so I was in a fine mood as I set off. There is a road that runs through the park. It is a small two-lane, 30km/h (20 mp/h) speed road. There is lots of wildlife in the park: coyotes, hawks, owls, deer (two different kinds), apparently even moose have been spotted. A car appeared on this road, going rather more quickly than the speed limit, I thought, but then it came into a parking lot and I heard the driver gun its engines and suddenly two Canada geese fly off. He actually charged them with his car. I was so angry, so furious and so sad. The driver parked his car but did't get out and I passed within about 150 feet of it. You never know with a person like that so I tried to glance circumspectly at the car. How do I know it's not a violent person who will get out of his car with a gun or knife, shouting at me, "what're you looking at?" My sense of self-protectionism shifts into high gear in situations like this. It is rarely worth getting involved. Why do people behave this way? Why do they think it's funny? What would have happened if the geese had not been able to get out of the way in time?

Violence Against Women
A few days ago our paper ran an editorial by a fellow named Jeff Gailus. He is a Calgary-based writer. In his article, he reiterated some depressing statistics on violence against women; how we have made so very little progress and how 98% of it is perpetrated by men. How men apparently are doing nothing to stem this trend and that though women work on the issue, it is not enough. That nothing will change until men change their attitudes towards women. I agree with all this, and I'd like to add that not near enough is being done to publicize the issue either. Back when the Scott Peterson trial was in the papers, an article appeared in our paper that mused about why this story, in particular, should so enthrall the public. The reasons she listed are unimportant to my point, but what struck me as horrific and appalling in this article were the following words: "Since Laci disappeared on Christmas Eve 2002, hundreds of women have been killed by their spouses or lovers across this country [the U.S.]". That this line should be skimmed over without so much as a by-your-leave, without so much as a nod, or comment, on the prevalence of violence against women, suggests that we just don't care enough. I would argue that even women tend to be mysoginistic in our society. It's all too sad.