Tuesday, October 30, 2007

making room for the girls

Today was the last day of the Pumpkin Patch... until next year. (Insert photo of a tractor-drawn wagon receding into the distance, which I would have taken if I hadn't been a flake-ass about bringing my camera along). I know some people were happy to be done, but I'll really miss it: the camaraderie and the cash. It was a lovely group of folks this year, and I'll certainly miss the constant performing, which fueled my outgoing, slightly wacky side. Now I'm back to being serious-and-sober Stage Manager me, with a grim hint of Retail Me to come, unless I land a more interesting job soon.
In fact, the Pumpkin Patch job literally takes years off my age, as witnessed by several of my co-workers there who were convinced I was 28 at the oldest, and more likely 23 or so. (The fact that I wear no makeup there and my hair's all over the place and I'm acting like a 23 year-old probably has a lot to do with this misconception, but still.) I don't know whether to be flattered or horrified.
I hung out after work with a very sweet girl who worked there this year and wants us to keep in touch and hang out. Part of me was so thrilled- a new girlfriend! I hardly ever make new girl-friends! And part of me was cynical- she's 21. And young for her age- in a good way, but still. Will we be able to bridge the age gap and be friends? Nothing makes me realize how much I'm not like a 21-year-old than hanging out with a real one. But actually, it was fun to sit at East is East with her and confess our mini-crushes on various Pumpkin Patch guys (sadly, the pickings are slim, ladies) and just be girls. Not something I get much chance to be these days, given that my two closest friends are my 60-something mom and my very manly man. And any other girlfriends I have are married, mostly with kids, which cuts down on their ability to cut loose.
I really miss the days when I was young (did I really just type that? I didn't mean it like that!) and had girlfriends. Not 'meet me for coffee once in a blue moon' friends but friends who lived in synch with me, knew the in-jokes and giggled hard at them, friends to whisper secrets and crushes to, friends to be cruel to and make up to. Problem is, these friendships are so often edged out by lovers, spouses, long-distance moves, kids.... I envy the closeness of some women, and I wish it could be me. I feel as if I don't know the rule, am missing the secret password or something. I move in a male world- I like hanging with guys; the comfortable closeness of the ones who are like brothers and the edgy flirty friendships that feel slightly dangerous. It is so damn hard to make room for the other girls. And if I make room, will anyone let me in?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

full days

My admiration for people who can write eloquent, witty and sometimes heart-rending blog entries during exhausting times is now boundless. I get busy, and all I want to write, when I want to write at all, is: Aaaaaaaaargh.
What to say, really? I love the Pumpkin Patch; the folks out there this year are especially awesome and help me get through the busy days when I'm literally singing my head off for 5 or 6 hours at a time. "I'm my best self out there," I said to J. recently. "Hardworking, don't complain, funny, outgoing..." It's true, too. Even on the rainiest days, and we've had some doozies this year, it's almost always fun, with a strong pinch of we're-all-in-this-together thrown in.
Rehearsals are...hard. I find that the way I work and the way that this company works don't necessarily gel, but I am learning so much and I will come out of this stronger and wiser. And that, my friends, is the upside to contract work: I will come out of it. The end is in sight, and I will move on, though to what is unclear as of yet. Joblessness lurks perilously close these days as my theatre contract ends November 11th. There are many things to worry about, but at least the good thing about being busy is that I don't have much time to worry, and when I fall into bed I sleep almost immediately.
Enough moping. It's a perfect Autumn night out there: clear, windy, cool, with lovely scattered leaves underfoot and a haunted moon overhead. I'm home from rehearsal and I need to get out into the night air and head over to Mom's to pick something up. I'll let the night clear my head.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

at home, putting off studying by blogging.

Sometimes bliss is just having the place to yourself and lazing around at not-even-7pm in your pj's!
I put in 5 hours at the patch today, and then took the bus to a training session for the Standardized Patient Program (a really good little moneymaker if you have a flexible schedule, BTW). Now I'm done, and much as I would like to join J in hanging out with some friends this evening, I have to buckle down and get some homework done- see, I can be responsible and have good study habits!
I actually feel sparkly and fun tonight, so it was a bit of a sacrifice to stay in; some nights it's all I want to do. I feel like doing some mad flirting, or going dancing, or... but no. Tonight I have a date with Jazz Theory and Arranging. I'm sure we'll have a lovely time. No, really.
I realized that I haven't said anything here for a long time regarding my stepmom and her cancer. She called me early this week and the old spark was back in her voice, the first time I'd heard that in a long time. She and my dad had been to see a First Nations healer, a woman that J and I met back in May when I was working in the Okanagan. We were drawn to her because of a sign promising Buffalo burgers, but she told us a little about her healing powers as we chomped her amazing organic buffalo. Enough to get me to take her number and pass it on to June a while later. Well, she got into this other alternative stuff and I figured that was that, but they finally went. And loved it. June said she was sure that this woman had done a lot of good, and they're going back this coming week. The thing I liked about this lady was that she was very no-nonsense and grounded, a very strong lady. And she hardly charges anything at all for her healing work. That sounds cheap of me, but the thing is that June has been paying and paying to go to this other clinic- even if it heals her she'll have no money left! Whereas this woman only charges the bare minimum, which seems much more honest to me. I have no idea if any of this will work, but to hear the energy back in June's voice was fabulous.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

a new low?

Yes folks, today was a special day. Today I made my debut as Polly the dancing pumpkin out at the pumpkin patch. I danced for about 4.5 hours, and my back will probably never be the same. Nor will I ever have warm, fuzzy thoughts about the innocence of children again. They mobbed me, punched me (luckily the costume is very round, so I didn't feel a thing) and pushed me around.
Actually, I had a lot of fun (I love to dance, and nothing gives ya more carte blanche to dance like a fool than a huge orange globe that covers your whole body!). My favorite quotes of the day:

1. Teacher: "Remember what we talked about, kids, about personal space? Well give the pumpkin some personal space, okay?"

2. Little girl, as I advance on her: "It's going to bite me!"

I will never complain about singing on the wagon again. I'll try and score a photo next time...

Sunday, October 14, 2007

tick. tock.

Reading some of my favorite blogs this evening, steaming tea in hand, I came across two references to Advanced Maternal Age. Yes, this not-so-magic number-35- is fast approaching, leaving me feeling like I did in school when homework was due that I'd left 'til the last minute (I always have been a bit of a procrastinator). The thoughts I'd have then are the same ones I have now: What, already? But I'm not prepared! Does this mean that what I produce won't be good enough? Maybe I should just not do it at all...
A co-worker at the Pumpkin Patch says I feel like I'm in this alternate world where everyone has a child. Funny, and true, because of course the patch is a place you'd probably only come to with a little one. So they're in my sights all day long and still I vacillate between want & don'twant, back and forth like the pendulum in my biological clock.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Life on the roll

"Awk! $#@* me!"
That's the sound of me trying to extract the roast chicken from the oven, always terrified that the dishcloths are going to catch on fire and I'll have to drop everything and flames will consume us all... I must have been burned in a previous life.
I'd forgotten how you can get just slammed out at the pumpkin patch on a good-weather day: people lining up from 9:30 until 4:30 just to get out there in the fields and pick some pumpkins. Forgotten how your voice can get hoarse after 8 hours of singing with-I kid you not- maybe 10 minutes' worth of break time the whole day. How you'll get home, shoulders aching from the accordion, mind spinning with the same 3-chord tunes, inner ear whirling from the constant rocking and rolling of the wagons which you've sat on all day. I couldn't do it for more than 3 weeks, but it's pretty fun, even though it drives you crazy: there's a feeling of cameraderie, we're-all-in-this-craziness-together that's quite a rush, even though it's brutal. Besides, even though the hours are long and the breaks non-existant, we're making good wages and it'll be over soon. over soon. over soon. over soon.
Must go and yank the chicken out again to baste it. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

something to think about

A comment on someone else's blog caught my eye today as I checked out my few faves. (It's a great way to start the day, this- switch on the computer and read blogs with a mug of hothot tea clenched in fist.) A blogger was commenting on what a terrible mood she'd wakened in, and how heavy her heart was, which is sad, because she seems like a great person and those black moods can be awful, whatever the cause. But someone had commented on this entry: "Thanks to Ambien, I no longer have nights like this..."
And I thought: I am so lucky. Because even though I can write every once in a while about feeling doubt, or pain, or even rage on occasion, anyone who reads this blog can see that I am basically a very happy, well-balanced person with a built-in optimistic nature. Because the only mood-altering drugs I have ever taken were the illegal, fun ones. Because even in the harder times I can usually see that cliched light at the tunnel's end.
I have huge problems with the amount of drugs that are peddled to us by pharmaceutical companies who convince us that we NEED them to live normal, "healthy" lives. Especially anti-depression drugs. But I have never known that total blackness of the spirit that can totally swamp a person so that maybe drugs are the only way away from sure suicide. And I pray to whatever gods there are that I will never have to know.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

because I am seldom houseproud...

...but I love, love, LOVE our new bookshelves! J bought them last night and by the time I got home from rehearsal was already knee-deep in cardboard, assembling them. I filled them with books and was done around 1am. Finally books can be seen in all their glory at our apartment!
I grew up in a household where books were always proudly displayed, never hidden away because they were "messy" or "didn't match the furniture" or other such twaddle. Over the last 10 years or so I've had an ongoing argument with J about the amount of room books take up in our place, which is too small for clutter. But I always held firm: no books of mine were ever going to live in a storage locker; books are to be enjoyed and always accessible, not squirrelled away. However, we never had enough shelving to make this look good: the books were all here but they were stuffed into such small shelves that they looked horrible and weren't used as often as they should have been. Now, they have pride of place at last. My fiction and music books rest comfortably near J's books on Zen, film-making, symbolism, and what I call the "Manly Arts" section: knifemaking, model shipbuilding, wilderness survival techniques and the like.
I don't consider myself that well-read, even after years of working at bookstores: I love fiction, travel writing, and a few other genres, but I don't range that widely, and I have a terrible habit of reading the same "comfort books" over and over (and over) again instead of trying something new. J, although he doesn't read much, reads very smart stuff when he does. But there is a quote from "To Kill a Mockingbird" that I've always loved: when Scout is having trouble at school because she is already a voracious reader, she says that she's never thought about whether or not she loved to read because: "One does not love breathing."
That's exactly how I feel.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

The Patch

So tired. Can't write in complete sentences tonight. Played at Ana Bon-Bon's cd release party last night with the Reptiles, got home by one, up by 7:30 AM!!! At the Pumpkin Patch by 8:30- played "You Are My Sunshine", "Oh Susanah" et al until 3pm, got home and got sucked into cleaning the apartment with J. Finally decided to lie down and read when J went out to a movie and I could hardly stand up due to fatigue. Best part of the day? Rev calling and telling me that the Patch is cancelled tomorrow due to heavy rain warnings. "You're ok with that? Not too disappointed?" she asked without a trace of irony and it was all I could do not to howl with laughter. Rev is a wonderful organizer who co-ordinates the Pumpkin Patch every year, finds stellar musicians, books the bands, etc, but she takes it all a leeetle too seriously. I had to laugh the first time I went out with a wagon today- we're supposed to say this shtick about this giant plastic pumpkin they have in a field called Percy that you pass in the wagons on the way out to the field. You're supposed to say something like: "...and if you look over there, you'll see Percy the Pumpkin. Percy is the oldest, biggest pumpkin in the patch and he loves this song..." and then you sing "You Are My Sunshine". Well, the weather this year had not been good to Percy and he looked as if he had leprosy as all his orange paint is peeling off. What with that and the fact that his grinning mouth is painted black with one tooth, Percy looked a lot like some disreputable wino you'd have arrested if he lurched anywhere near your kids. Oh, and it rained. All day. Ah, the patch! It takes a special kind of person to love it, I think I've mentioned that before.
On the (very) plus side, I now have a day off tomorrow! Jon & I are having his folks and my mom over for Thanksgiving dinner and I can get some homework done before they arrive. And our apartment looks fab, thanks to all the cleaning that J's been doing. I must say, now that he's finished that BCSA video, the man has been a star in the domestic department...

Thursday, October 4, 2007


It came from nowhere this afternoon, hot & choking. I'd had a good long sleep, was looking forward to my last day off in a while. Decided to go to VCC to get my student ID card. Looked around the apartment for my registration info & receipts...nothing. Started tearing the place apart, searching through stacks of papers, recycling, my files, everything...they were nowhere to be found. That's when the rage came, out of all proportion to the event- rage at myself for being untidy, rage at our place for being messy, rage (oh so much rage) at J, who was glued to his laptop and barely noticed my meltdown. I retreated to our bedroom and sobbed. Applied eyedrops and kept searching, even though I knew it'd be no problem to walk over to school get a duplicate from the registrar. J realised-finally-that something was up and began to help. But it was too little, too late. I knew I had to leave, and fast, before bile began to spill from my mouth.
Now I feel hollowed-out and teary, tired and toxic. The rage has abated but it leaves me shaken- it wasn't a good scorching anger that cleared the air but a foul wind that blew in for no good reason, leaving me wondering why. I feel pretty healthy, my job isn't too stressful, I've adjusted to school and work, J & I have been getting along fine...
I can't look at it and say I was mad at anything or anyone specific, that's the problem. Maybe I'm a bit more stressed about money and work than I've been letting myself feel and it had to spill out somehow. I just don't know.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Babysitting lessons

I had another day of childcare with my buddy Sebastien yesterday. It was so crappy outdoors, we ended up staying in all day, but we found lots of things to do. There was: splashing in the sink, piggyback rides, throwing a big blue ball and laughing hysterically when Alison pretended to fall over while catching it, and playing with Mom's tape measure (not such a success- I broke it). And, last but far from least, blowing bubbles on the balcony. (see above picture) This kid is nearly two, and his parents and babysitters have not exposed him to TV yet, which I think is awesome. He's trusting, funny, active, daring, affectionate, and learning so fast! We chatter in Franglais together because his mom is bilingual- it's very good for my vocab! I am also learning tons about toddler-wrangling, because he can be stubborn. He was very pissy when he woke up from his nap because he wasn't expecting me to be there- he was so outraged that it was funny (although not to him!). It was as if we'd played the worst trick in the world on him: "I went to sleep and Mom was here and I wake up and you're here? What the hell?" So far I find that it works to give him a big hug, let him know he's loved, and then ignore the sulks and redirect his behavior with distractions. This could potentially be useful in stage management as well- hmmm!

Monday, October 1, 2007


As some of you know, I am strangely attracted to Mama-blogs. Not in a creepy, lock-her-up kind of way, I'm just compelled to read them right now because there's this ongoing should-I, shouldn't-I dialogue in my head right now re. children.
Anyway, through these blogs I've learned about the whole Facebook controversy regarding pictures of breastfeeding and I have to say, I am firmly on these moms' sides! We can show all the violence in the world, but the sight of a mom's boob and wow, apparently some people get all weird.
So in honour of this cause I have added this Facebook Sucks button to the right. I am not totally ready to give up Crackbook itself, although I'm tempted because it's mostly so colossally silly and a big waste of time. Baby steps, people, baby steps.