D’s Loquacious “Change of Season” Reads

Hey, peeps!

This was supposed to be my late summer book list. But as you may have read in the entry before this one, time hasn’t been my best friend as of late.

No matter. Here’s what I had managed to read before I had to put the books aside:

blubbercoverBlubber, Judy Blume

This is one from my personal collection, which I got in elementary school. Storyline is pretty basic: it’s a few months in the life of a fifth-grade class – chronicled through the eyes of 10-year-old Jill – who decide to pick on overweight classmate Linda following a school report.

The title, of course, is the cruel nickname they bestow on her. It’s a story about bullying. Of course, it doesn’t stop there – when the tables are turned, it’s really when the narrator’s eyes are opened to how people’s allegiances to their friends can change in the blink of an eye. 

Having re-read it as an adult, it just confirms for me that (1) I wasn’t really paying attention when I read it as a kid and (2) I appreciate it more as an adult. Kids can be cruel and can turn on you in the blink of an eye. Sadly in some circles, the cycle of meanness doesn’t really stop in adulthood – it’s just applied differently.

 

lambcoverLamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal, Christopher Moore

I saw a friend of mine reading this at the cottage a few summers ago; this summer, it finally was my turn to read it. 

As the title suggests, the novel is supposed to be the “lost” gospel of Levi, known also as Biff, childhood friend of Jesus Christ – and the “missing piece” of the puzzle as to what on earth happened to Jesus in the time between his birth and the beginning of his ministry, leading to his cruxificion.

As the author explains in his afterword, it’s merely a story – and a fun one at that. And if you don’t have a sense a humour when it comes to Christianity, you shouldn’t read this book. It’s got everything – spirituality, sex, violence … and a little kung fu.

 

optimistbookcoverThe Optimist: One Man’s Search for the Brighter Side of Life, Laurence Shorter.

I decided to change it up a bit and immerse myself in a little non-fiction.

I first heard about Laurence Shorter and his book after seeing him interviewed one late night months ago on The Hour with host George Stroumboulopoulos.

The basic premise of the book is what the title suggests. But beneath this quest for optimism amid all the bad news in the world, is Shorter’s own personal two-year quest to find happiness. And for all the dozens of people he talks to, the distances he travels, and the equations he tries to formulate to quantify the secret to true optimism, the answer he arrives at doesn’t seem to be the one he expects.

I love just the way the book is written, using Shorter’s quirky personality to move the narration along. It works. It’s one I’d recommend reading.

I’d hoped to have a longer list, but you know .. life happens. Enjoy and happy reading until next time!

Welcome to the Jungle

Hey kiddies,

Sorry I haven’t been writing as of late. I can explain …

My workplace started implementing the new changes it threatened said were coming our way, when they made a big announcement about it back in June.

And as I may have mentioned in previous entries, I got re-assigned. Twice.

Fast-forward three and a half months. I’ve been working at my re-assignment since last last Wednesday – a 10-day work schedule that, more than half the time, requires me to stay overtime.

The new me is crankier, often hungry and ready to face-plant on a dime.

So, as a result, the need to sleep has taken priority until my four days off, which are coming up this weekend. Hence the dearth of posts.

So forgive me if you only see new material coming in spurts. It’s nothing personal.

I’m just trying to get through the upcoming weeks and months without losing my mind. Or being killed off by swine flu. Or incapacitated by mono.

Watch this space – at least a couple entries will come down the pipe this week. Beyond that, I can’t really guarantee much … other than to give my pledge to try and write when time permits.

Thanks for understanding.

I’mma Let You Finish

letchufinishUsually, I don’t make a habit of talking about memes that last as long as it takes to heat up a bag of microwave popcorn. 

But to complement my buddy Phil’s (completely justified) rant about how Kanye West crowned himself King of All Douchebags at MTV’s Video Music Awards on Sunday …

And because this joke will be absolutely stale by Friday …

I could NOT let this day pass without posting the following links to these short-living blogs …

Namely this and this.

I’m doing it now, so I don’t have a delayed, outburst of my own somewhere inappropriate (like work) next week.

Plus, if you don’t at least smirk at one of these, there’s a big, black hole where your sense of humour should be.

Thank y’all for your time :).

So Yeah, I Caved.

So, earlier this year, a friend of mine suggested I  join a dating site for “practice”. 

And, just shy of nine months later, I have broken down and joined one.

It was a bit of a tough decision. Ever since the early days of online dating, I have been DEAD SET against joining one. And you can bet I have been judgy about it.

I was – and still am – a huge snob because I like fan of The Organic Meeting – hanging out with people at house parties, social functions, sitting at pubs, on patios, whatever.

But it took hearing from friends about someone who is going through something similar, to make me realize that I need to get off the Couch of Complacency and actually explore the other side of singledom.

So after crawling out of bed Saturday afternoon, and puttering around for a couple of hours … I sucked it up, went to the Web site my friend recommended, and created my profile by early evening.

In the space of 16 hours, five people have e-mailed me – the first, a mere 20 minutes after I finished my profile.

It’s a bit overwhelming for me, to say the least – trying to keep up with all the e-mail correspondence, gauging whether or not to e-mail them through personal e-mail, and what not.

I’m also just trying to get comfortable with putting myself out there and answering questions asked by complete strangers. I keep having to tell myself, they’re just questions, they’re just trying to get a sense of who I am.

(And of course, also telling myself, stop judging their poor spelling and sentence structure – it’s the person behind the effort that counts.)

One guy I’ve been e-mailing actually asked me at one point, “Are you single?” (I’m pretty sure I selected “Single” on my profile … Hoo, boy.)

I mean, it’s only in the preliminary stages. For all I know, I could have a coffee date at the end of the week.

Or not.

I am also trying to prepare myself mentally for going on dates with people I may not mesh with.

I just want to go at a not-so-breakneck pace. Unlike some of the people on this site, I’m not going partner/spouse-shopping.

Perhaps I’ll meet someone cool in the process.

Or maybe it’s just good practice for when the person I really want to get to know, is finally free and clear … whomever that may be.

Return of the Cabbie

Early this morning, at minutes to 2 a.m., I was trudging up the stairs at Kennedy Station towards the taxi stand.

I’d had a great night, and so far a great weekend.

I also had $27 in my wallet and was hoping I’d get an understanding taxi driver. As I neared the front of the line, toward a mini-van taxi, I suddenly thought to myself, I really hope I don’t end up taking a ride from that taxi driver I ran into a few months back.

I approached the van, slid the door open and, as I sat down, came (almost) face to face with …

The Pick-Up Cab. (This is the point at which you click on the link to refresh your memory.)

Motherfucker, I thought.

“Hi,” is what I actually said. “How are you?”

“Fine,” said Mr. Pick-Up Cab.

I gave him the intersection where I wanted to go, and almost simultaneously, he said, “Yeah, I think I’ve driven you home before.”

Aw sheeit, I cursed silently.

“Oh, really? Yeah, probably … you kind of look familiar,” I said, none too convincingly.

As we drove home, he asked me about where I was coming from, where I worked (again), what I did, and asked whether I was just coming from work (although I’d JUST said I was coming from downtown from a social function.

He kept the conversation about work (except for the two seconds that he asked whether I’d always had braids), pretty much up until he pulled onto my driveway.

And as soon as I’d settled up my cab fare, he said, “Nice to see you again … even though you never called me.”

And then he turned and looked right at me.

Play me off, Keyboard Cat.

The Road Less Travelled

Last month, my blog buddy Thrill recently posted about an online piece he came across about random daytrips … and how cool the idea actually is.

That got me to thinking about how many places I HAVEN’T been in my own province … some of them only a couple of hours away. Others, a bit longer.

I guess I’d been so busy in recent years exploring the world on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, the need to explore my own backyard’s been sorely neglected.

For example, I’ve yet to go to places like Elora, Kitchener-Waterloo, St. Jacob’s or Stratford. I only recently made it down to Windsor, but for the main purpose of attending a friend’s wedding.

But I wouldn’t mind doing something like that this fall … making plans to jump in a car with friends and drive somewhere … taking in the scenery and landscape as it changes from skyscrapers to crops and trees giving me the annual autumn show as they change their leaves. 

Another thing I’ve recently wanted to do more of is hopping state-side and visiting a couple of American cities. Last fall was New York. I’d love to check out places like Chicago or Vegas. Or Washington. Or Portland, Oregon. Or San Francisco …

Oh, I could go on. But I think I’ll stop here. It’ll only make my inner vagabond whimper with longing.

But she’s overdue for an adventure – even if it’s only a tiny one.

Losing A Friend

Monday morning.

I was walking to work. Sun was out. I had my headphones in, and was in good spirits. I was listening to a song I liked, and felt my skin get goosebump-y at the end of the song.

I’d just come off the best weekend I’d had in recent memory.

My worst week began about three minutes later.

Within moments of setting down my backpack, my boss came over. I remember frowning because I thought he was going to give me some task.

Instead, he told me a co-worker of mine – who’d just gone out to the east coast to work, just days before – had been run down in a hit-and-run accident on Saturday night, while crossing the street. She’d just been on her way back to her hotel room from a friend’s house.

She died of her injuries Sunday evening. And the person who did it was still out there somewhere.

I honestly don’t remember feeling overcome at first. I remember saying, “Oh no,” and then something inconsequential. I remember sitting at my desk, the words on replay over and over in my mind.

Mere seconds after my boss had told me, another co-worker senior to myself, came up to me and sombrely asked me how I was doing.

How can I possibly know? I was thinking to myself. I literally was trying to process what I’d just been told. Instead I said, “I’m in shock. I just found out.”

By the time I was in the restroom five minutes later, I was choking back sobs in front of another sympathetic co-worker, probably babbling incomprehensively about what I was trying to deal with.

I said very little in the time following. We had someone from our employee services department, who I guess was our grief counsellor, come in and talk to us, asking us if we wanted to share our thoughts about our newly-departed colleague.

I kept my mouth shut, clenching my jaw to stop the tears from flowing. I couldn’t talk, because I’d start crying and I wasn’t sure I’d be able to stop. I just wanted the immediate grief to pass.

It’s been about four days since then. Work has been better, and I can function more or less without welling up.

But I still feel at certain moments in my day as if I’m peering at myself, going about my  business, from a telescopic lense.

And the disbelief still hangs over my head like a fine mist.

I wish I knew how to precisely describe my work-friend. There’s just so many things to say.

She used a motorized wheelchair. But I didn’t really see it; I saw her.

And she was quite a lady. I’ve read things describing her as feisty and spunky, which are true. She was also unbelieveably hard-working, and ready to throw herself into the fray. She was outspoken, and as I found out – when it came to issues of accessibility – stood up for her rights, made a difference, and brought about change when opportunities arose.

I also remember overhearing her at work, talking about cooking, her dog, or good restaurants she’d been to … or even travelling. Chicago. I remember saying how much she loved Chicago. I’ve never been myself; but (before her death) I actually became more interested in wanting to go myself, because she’d talked it up so much.

And now, just like that, she’s gone.

It’s made me think about a number of things.

My own mortality.

How easy it is to take life for granted.

How complacent I’ve become, instead of making things happen like she did.

How I’ve never really fought for anything, mainly because up until now, I’ve never really had to.

She was larger than life. And now there’s a void where her sparkle should be.

She wasn’t just a consummate professional, but truly “good people”.

I hope wherever she is, she’s all right and being taken care of.

But for a lot of us down here, we’ll miss her terribly.

You can read about her here.