strung out

there's a feeling one gets when one knows one is being strung along. it's a kind of heaviness, due mostly to all the humiliation one carries. even when it's unintentional on the part of the stringer, the niggly feeling is ever-present for the stringee. the worst is when one is aware of the stringing and Chooses (take that, dr. phil!) to remain strung all the same. the longer this nonsense carries on, the worse one actually feels. it is possible, even, to find oneself in fact lying a wee bit, to self and planet. truths become blurred, what with all the disingenuousness floating about. often, stringer and stringee become so tangled in the dysfunction that they actually convince themselves the fuckery is healthy.

one is hard-pressed to find a situation more demoralizing on the spirit than the feeling of being mislead, exploited. let us be clear and not confuse this with being taken for granted, different in that it lacks malice. stringing is a sober thing. it is selfish. and pity not the one who over time winds up covered in said silly string, not unwittingly. for the self-pity is more than ample on its own.

oh, sorry, did you think i was talking about a boy? no stupid. this is between me and my realtor. so there.

and also, the stupid election has begun and obviously i have a few things to say about that. but not now.

can i get an amen?

we somehow made it through the first day of this national plenary called "how nac relates", a bizarre gathering of an ecclectic bunch of feminists. we may be a bit stunned, but slink to sleep relatively unscathed. notwithstanding frustrations about format, process, and content at the meeting, we think our humble panel about "engaging younger women" went fairly well. and a few other women did too. i bit the bullet and spoke my truth. it was one of the most thought-out presentations i believe i have ever done. i chose to forego my usual list of bullet-pointed key words and a wing-it approach for a texty batch of notes. i gave consideration to tone, timing, and the ordering of things. i took some risks and even cracked wise a few times. i tried to strike a balance between respect and reverence for the foremothers and strong articulations about the challenges faced by young women vis-a-vis the traditional women's movement. at the risk of over-analyzing the thing, i was glad to have been asked, and i'm SUPER glad it's done. i'm not really upset by the few women who openly expressed disagreement, if not opposition, to positions (truths) we raised [sounded much like Who are these women you have encountered that made you so discouraged, i mean WHO ARE THEY?? my group has ALWAYS included and supported young women, so what the hell are you talking about??]. my heart is more interested in hugging the enthusiastic support from the precious few who dared to stand up and shout You Go Grrls! Brilliant! You Inspire Me! -- those sistahs i believe really DO got my back. testify!


away we go

so the coffee is being brewed and in a few minutes, audra and i will shove off to aforementioned nac meeting. it's either like lambs to the slaughter or heroines to the disciples. hmmm ... i wonder.

in earnest preparation for today, late late last night i was trying to jot down the highlights of all the brilliance that had been swapped on my sofa. i kept asking audra for 'recaps' and she'd giggle. then she told a profound story, something about the deaf teenager she had signed for in annapolis royal and having to distill rambling information to its essential nugget in order to offer him the most concise point. translation: don't worry about notations, let's deliver those women the Essence.

hope i find it before 3.


tangled webs

oh what a web we weave and blah blah blah, but listen to this. audra - co-panelist with me at the aforementioned nac plenary, moderator of babble, boss lady of this neat-o firm, AND delightful woman in general - has posted Very Nice Words about me on her personal blog, thus inspiring someone to already pop over here and comment with more Very Nice Words. web of love, this crazy cyber world can be.

but wait, there's more. talk about cool creepy crawly coincidences. turns out audra has guest contributed to one of the sites i list here, which happens to be run by the same peeps who steer this other fave site of mine. these are sites that tickled me even before i developed my big blog-crush on wendy, who i came to know thanks to those infamous weight watchers cards. so anyways, wendy also contributes to those same sites. i have long had a niggly feeling that i once knew one of those peeps back in the day, back home. so i asked audra about her and she said Yeah, tara's from regina. and i pissed myself. because i have no idea how, i just knew i knew her. i'm thinking from either a creative writing or swimming class.

none of this has anything to do with the feministy topics audra and i spoke of today, such as this, but makes me say wheeeeeeee all the same. i mean, c'mon ... who would have thought all cool web threads lead back to regina?

ready for this jelly?

when i set out to waste an entire day fucking the dog, i do so with gusto. with fierce conviction did i set aside all sorts of to-do lists today in order to accomplish precisely nothing. i am curled up in a catatonic state with season three of sfu instead of working. i should be creating the outline and schedule for the womyn's voices e-zine. why? because i'm five days behind. i should be making plans for our next election planning committee meeting. why? because monday is going to be one crazy muthafucka. the government is set to fall that evening. i should be making nicey-nice notes about my thoughts on the women's movement. why? because monday afternoon, i am scheduled to make an ass of myself in front of a room full of feminists.

fellow panelist
audra describes how she was cut off at a recent feminist gathering for perhaps not speaking their language. and it reminds me of how frequently i have described my entire experience with the women's movement as one huge cut-off.

i've ranted before about my love-hate relationship with feminism. i've beaked off about the so-called waves that came before me. and christ knows i've had a thing or two to say about nac over the years, not just to various dinner companions but even to Very Important People. now i've been asked to pull all of that shit together into a pithy 3-5 minute presentation under the heading "Engaging a Diversity of Equity-Seeking Women's Constituencies - Younger Women". listen, i don't want to get all semantic-y here, but i will: the session title alone implies two things that i pretty much reject: 1) that i have any claim whatsoever to speak as or on behalf of young women (let's not EVEN talk about how old i feel most days), and 2) that younger women require discussion about being engaged with, as if we are some curious unattached entity worthy of microscopic examination by other women, and as if we aren't engaged our own damn selves. furthermore, i get tired of reprizentin' (negotiating for) the even younger women who the movement stalwarts have an even tougher time understanding... those radical grrlz who do and view things way differently and of whom the foremothers are actually kinda afraid.

but i digress.

this gathering may be of some historic significance: a national plenary called "how nac relates" that follows a year of x-country consultations about the state of the women's movement and nac's place in it. seems the time has finally arrived when believe it or not we might once and for all come to a fucking decision about nac. a number of people have heard me describe this as an org in a persistive vegetative state - the canadian women's movement is like the fractured grieving family, some arguing vehemently for pulling the plug while others agree only in sheepish silence. then there are the precious few who growl like guard dogs around the body. i have said things about the anger and fear that surrounds this issue ... things about how vicious some can be to anyone who dares suggest an end to the trauma. it has been painful to witness the discounting of women as disrespectful, as in How dare you dishonour this profound life? do you have any idea how much she has done for you? she dedicated her life for you! how can you be so callous?!

for several years now, nac and any discussions about her feels like the feminist equivalent of an electrified fence. there is something fiercely guarded there, and to tread too close is to risk the shock of your life.

anyhoo, today i was going to sit down and contemplate what i really want to say, and what could be at stake if i do so... politically, professionally, personally. individual people have long encouraged me to be my big purple self, but when they all get together, sometimes it's not safe. never mind that i still recognize these women as part of one webby tentacled potential employer. to be clear, i am not afraid of these women, nor am i afraid of how i feel. i just wonder if it will be anti-climactic somehow, and how inconsequential it may wind up being. these are women i have worked closely with in the past, who i likely will work with again, many of whom i deeply respect. but i'm not sure how much they really want to hear the truth from young women, let alone mine. they may think they want the input and leadership of young women, but when it's really GO time, i'm not sure they can handle it.

i am tempted to borrow a line from ruth: you're on your own here. i'm out of control.


buy, sell, rent

i was extremely disappointed to read stephanie zacharek's review of rent at salon.com this week. i've been totally looking forward to seeing it. having never seen the stage production, i was excited about finally getting to sample what for nearly a decade has seemed to me to be this generation's answer to hair, the show that influenced and spoke for so many of our parents (ok, and for me too, but much later).

zacharek shit all over the film. and i hate that i read it.

because i guess i hope the film will resonate. i'm not living the bohemian lifestyle of a struggling artist in modern nyc, and lord knows i'm not hanging with taye diggs, sadly. but there are times i imagine the artist and the activist life to bear strong resemblance. i wonder what rent would be like re-conceived as a bunch of angsty semi-professional politicos living as capitalians here (or as capitolians in dc). what the fuck would we sing about? i suppose the infamous title song would be "how do you sell a campaign, when the sentiment seems so feigned, like fiction everyday, coalitions -- manipulations, blow my mind" ...

when i think about my contemporaries in the field, i see so many people whose fire-in-the-belly is down to embers. through various quirky paths, we now populate the ngo landscape as senior level campaigners or researchers in a myriad of well-intentioned organizations wherein we hope the zeal won't get dampened. but it inevitably does. i can't help but wonder if it has more to do with the new industry of social justice than just our own damn chronology. reality is, most of us are in that 30-something zone where it's getting tougher and tougher to sell it because we're not even sure we buy it anymore, at least not wholesale, and not all the time. they warned us this would happen (remember? if you're not a liberal by the time you're 20, you have no heart; if you're not a conservative by 30, you have no brain) and we told them to go fuck themselves. but now it's like we're fruit connaisseurs at a produce stand fondling, squeezing, and sniffing all the fruit, scrunching our noses and muttering where's all the good stuff? what is this crap? i'm not spending my hard-earned money [read: energy] on this - it's not what i'm about.

sometimes, when i find myself in a particularly cynical mood, i wonder how much i ever really believed in this shit at all. maybe i was just an overly energetic and uppity youngster who got lucky thanks to her proclivity for coloured pens and organigrams and strategy documents. but i know i DO still believe and that i have something valuable to contribute. i know i do wish that the frustrating inner-workings of the orgs - our potential employers - were not so disheartening. i know i do want the industry of good works to not grow so cold and clunky that it winds up squashing all the possibility out of the dream. the very nature of our ideology requires open spaces and nourishment to survive, doesn't it? why should people like me climb into our 3rd decade and quietly get comfortable with all that's not right? i'm really fascinated by how one can preserve the best parts of one's truest self, the feisty, fierce, and energetic self, while coming to some sort of terms with the realities of the game. cuz we do know it's a game.

and by the way, no matter how caricaturized it has become, i still find poignancy in the question How Do You Measure A Year In The Life? i have this ridiculous image of a rag-tag bunch of jaded progressives a-wailing 'five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes' in a musical number played out on the tabletops of darcy mcgee's or down the halls of the west block or somewhere inside one nicholas street. i think it's a question me and my colleagues don't look at. we convince ourselves we're too busy to think about it, what with all the presentations to standing house committees and racking up of frequent flyer points on trips to coalition meetings. and now people are getting caught up in baby-making and mortgaging and the kind of life-living that doesn't allow for meaningful reflection about the work we do, how we do it, how much we compromise, or how it might be dousing the very flames that once made us an infectious up-and-comer who danced boldly through the door in the first place.


award this

somebody told somebody who told somebody who just informed me that this blog is listed as a nominee for best personal blog in the 2005 canadian blog awards. i have poked around the awards site and have come to learn that nominators are advised to advise nominees of nominations, a step my nominator apparently missed. to whoever you are: jesus, how embarrassing. and gaawlee, thanks.

the goal, criteria, and judging of said awards are rather unclear. it all seems rather arbitrary and without point.
as for the award makers, i suspect their idea of 'personal' is a bit different than my own. but here and there i am, out and proud. just puttin' my shit out there, quietly. i guess it's nice that somebody noticed enough to tell the big black screen red font people.

also, kudos to miss v for being all the fuck over those nomination lists.

free fallin'

this link featuring a floppy dubya has been winding its way through the e-networks. i find it amusing in a kind of a sad way. because except for the freakish flexibility, it sorta reminds me of me. we've all felt like this, i'm sure. if only it were as simple as being pulled around an obstacle with the click of a mouse.


little imprints

someone i know acquired the private cell phone number of this pretty important deputy leader. i won't say who or how, but let us all agree that it is a very big deal. she called me all a-fluster on friday to squeal about the find and to ask the ominous question, Now What? thus ensued a cumulative 20 minutes of prepping for the call, me sprinkling corny words of encouragement amidst instructions about hard-line communication tactics. she was primed. she was pumped. she made the call. she spoke to peter himself (someone who, i had to remind her, despite his frou-frou political title, is just a guy's guy who loves soccer and his mother, jerks off every morning, and cries sometimes too).

so anyways, she just called to tell me that her exhilerating phone call to peter's personal number has, in fact, yielded a meeting for her organization. a confirmation from his office in this short a time is, by ottawa standards, nothing short of amazing. she called, rushedly, all the way from halifax to gush the news because, as she put it: "it's all thanks to you!", claiming that i'm "brilliant" and that my coaching and encouragement were to thank for this. and as she gushed, i instinctively rolled my eyes, as many of us do when this woman is being her usual over-the-top self. but then i got to thinking, maybe i need to take more notice of this wee effect i apparently had on her.

i guess i've heard about them before, my little moments of influence, however inconspicuous sometimes. people have mentioned how my Being There or behind-the-scenes help has made significant impact. it's easy to brush them off as inconsequential or as merely the ramblings of a colleague/friend in need who really would have figured things out tout seul had i not been handy. my little imprints may not serve an obvious external path like - gasp, heaven forbid - a career. but maybe they matter in a much more important way. like maybe they're about character. integrity is, after all, doing the right thing even when no one is looking. and i have to believe that that'll take me farther than random calls to the cell phones of political stars.

not that i'm not happy for her. i'm just saying.


meme: 5th of 23rd

thanks to miss vicky for tagging me in the latest blog meme. apparently, we're to dig out the fifth sentence of our 23rd blog post. the next part of the assignment is unclear: either just post it (whoopdy-doo), or use it as the first sentence of a new fictional piece.

well, i found my 23rd post, but it's only 3 sentences long. and it inspires absolutely zero fictional possibilities, so i decided to just re-print it in its entirety. bet this is pretty fucking exciting reading.

ps: the link featured therein leads now to only a sort of 'in memoriam' ... the original site was really quite pithy.

pps: i've got no one to tag. the bloggers i could tag either don't have 23 posts yet, or wouldn't find this meme all that neat-o. too cool, or not that cool, or something like that.

anyhoo, here it was, just over a year ago:

what do you do if you hate dubya, you also hate the other guys, and you're a strategic voter. you spread your message with an atttitude. tell everyone you're voting for kerry, even though you think he's a douchebag.


o, just never mind

well, the ndp seems to be going another way. it doesn't look like i'm going to montreal after all. the Party i've been push-n-pullin' with all week, in it's wisdom, is looking to bring in someone from outside quebec to direct our election campaign. i've said all along that an ideal scenario would be a more experienced 'outsider' to fill the role, but when there was no apparent choice, we all started to get kinda comfortable with the idea of pulling from within our ranks. at the end of the day, i do want what's best for the campaign, but honestly, i resent having spent the week musing about my ambivalence towards professional matters and re-visiting questions about loyalty. what a colossal suckage of time and energy.

best thing to come out of this weird week is a resounding re-affirmation of why i vacillate so much about the party: it IS a Bad Boy who jerks you around, treats you like shit, then sidles up to you when it's most convenient and whispers,
hey baby, you're the only one for me, and you know you want some of this.

i really do have trust issues ... they extend well beyond men, and obviously, for damn good reason.

in the headlights

when you live near the country, as i do, you feel sometimes like you're in a scene from a disney movie with all the woodland creatures wandering about, including the occasional fox. so it was not that bizarre to see a spectacular deer just now, driving down a stretch of semi-rural highway near my house on my way home from cosmos and karaoke with c. but i came face to face with her. the rain is coming down fierce, so i'd dropped speed to navigate a curve ... and there she was, perched majestically on the shoulder, looking knowingly into my eyes. it was one of those instances when time slows right the fuck down and you feel like you're living an elongated eternity in just one fleeting moment. and in that surreal split second of locked gaze with this deer, i felt i truly understood her: beautiful independent creature. drenched. scared. alone. wondering where the fuck she was, how she got here, and where she's going. enough with the high beams already you crazy muthafucka, i'm just barely hanging on here trying to make my way to whatever's over on that side.

i feel ya sister
, i thought to myself.


party favours

in light of my last post, what i am about to say is likely to sound like ASS. but ass seems to be the order of my life. this week has seen a buzzing of opposition posturing to push the liberals into an earlier election, no thanks to our fearless leader and his so-called common sense compromise. so within the next few hours, i will perhaps receive a final offer and make a final decision about whether or not to work as co-campaign director of the quebec ndp federal election campaign. ASS anyone?

how did this happen. i am still unclear. not four days ago, i was on the verge of resigning from everyfuckingthing to do with the party. and now here i sit, poised to pack up my toothbrush and motrin to shove off to montreal for two months or more.

i'm thinking a lot today about whether the opportunity is titillating for the right reasons. whatever those are. i'm thinking a lot about fidelity. i'm pretty sure my interest in the job has nothing to do with party loyalty. there was a time that loyalty to The Cause was so powerful that i would hurl myself into flaming infernos just to do my part. but with age has come a decreased desire for self-inflicted burnout. that time has long passed. so then to what or whom do i feel loyal now? that's what concerns me about the right reasons. i wonder if professional malaise has left me void of the kind of challenge that conjures up a tingle in the depths of one's belly, that entices one out of a sort of slumber and says hey, yeah you ... sure you've been contemplating going ANOTHER WAY, but lookee here ... this just might be something that STIRS you ...

i haven't necessarily been bored. just un-stirred. like one of these. i've been relatively content to let stuff settle on the bottom. all part of the big fucking transition out of professional campaigning towards a life less strained, more creative, less politicked. and let me just say, i have made some real headway in opening up more space for creativity and new projects. not to mention feeling more peaceful about the shitty jobness from whence i have recently come.

these few days with the clc have not been shitty (yet?). so how can i walk away just two weeks into the contract? though if ever there is an employer from whom you can ask forgiveness for jumping ship to hit the ndp campaign trail, it's a union. on the other hand, i'm not sure what i might stand to lose by doing that. it's like being in a perfectly fine relationship, not a particularly sexy one, but stable. then along comes a Bad Boy and you find yourself seduced by the rush of an unpreditable and dangerous encounter, one that will almost definately lead to heartache.

so ass it is. in the morning, i shall hear from the party that has loved me, used me, abused me, and confused me ... asking me for another favour. what a strange relationship, worthy of doctoral level analysis. and i wouldn't be the only specimen.


it's my party

the party keeps interfering with my tiny attempts at having a life. last night, i gave up having long-overdue drinks with a precious carry-over from my carleton days in order that i may participate in a painful exec meeting by holding the grape phone to my ear for two excruciating hours. i had been "strongly encouraged" to join the call. much in the same manner as i am being "strongly encouraged" to attend this weekend's conseil in montreal, when i really should be attending the pancake brunch tomorrow to meet patti's new fiance and engage in conversation that actually has nothing to do with bylaws or ballots.

anyways, my party is pissing me off. i'm back in one of those recurring reflective phases about what the fuck i'm doing with it. not only because of my questions about the viability of the ndp project in quebec. but lately, it's more about the viability of my mental health therein. i'm not sure i'm staying involved for the right reasons ... not that i know what those would be. i'm thinking about relationships that would be less strained and less challenging were the shared ndp obsession removed. but is it an obsession? i'm thinking about whether there is some sort of sense of obligation here. and to who or what do i feel it. how was i able to walk away so cleanly from the party ten years ago in a fit of rage after that now legendary leadership convention when svend blew it and wrongly handed alexa victory for all the wrong reasons? for the next eight years, i didn't look back. i lived an existence outside that incestuous organization and i didn't implode. the world didn't collapse and life was ok. then along came jack with his cheesy moustache and seduction and suddenly i was carrying a membership card again - eight years after destroying my last one with a flaming match and a bit of dramatic flair in front of tommy douglas house.

so now i'm cussing colleagues and meetings and the whole damn thing. maybe it's because the internal bullshit is so disheartening. maybe it's because the ongoing lack of understanding and respect towards effective communications is so fucking frustrating. maybe it's because i still haven't claimed my well-deserved coma after last sunday's sickening loss. maybe it's because my vacuum is broken and therefore hardly helpful (when i'm stressed out, i'm like the nic cage character in matchstick men - just a-cleaning 'n smoking, cleaning 'n smoking).

maybe i'm definition #3 of a masochist. oh alright, a bit of #2 too.


faux fat

at first, i felt like writing something about it. then i decided not to bother at all, mainly because saying something would mean admitting that i had actually watched the show, an admission i thought would make me squeamish.

others may not feel much shame about having tuned in to watch a supermodel well up with tears and condescendingly paw her fat guests after having gone under cover in a fat suit to check out what life is like for a big woman. it was "one of the most gut-wrenching days i have ever experienced," she said. judging from all that empathy she displayed to the chubby guests - typical talk show experts, apparently - she must have really felt a great deal more than just suffocating heat in that get-up. and oowee! the indignation with which she declared her frustration for the horrifying discrimination that biggies face. you go grrl!

i wanted to write an hommage to tyra, to thank her for her courage and to acknowledge her dogged pursuit of sound investigative journalism. i wanted to ignite a collective shout-out to the woman who dared go where no supermodel had gone before. i wanted to start a chain letter of gratitude that would wiggle its way through ethernet cables the planet over, signed by the millions of people undoubtedly touched by her bravery, whose lives are now inextricably altered thanks to her ground-breaking expose.

i wanted to write in celebration of the fat suit: giving unfat people a secret glimpse into that shocking alternate universe. clearly, the fat suit is an extremely powerful tool, nay weapon, with which the truth can be pierced. i believe the fat suit will change the world, one attitude at a time. because viewers will come to understand the "painful world" as seen through the eyes of a supermodel through the guise of a fat suit. and that shit truly is painful.

luckily for me, tuning in to tyra is part of wendy's ongoing gig with twop (what just might be my dream job, if only it paid). so she too was drenched by the tsunami of heartfelt emotion from post-fat-suit tyra. she encapsulates in this suitably supportive piece the relief of normally distraught and voiceless fatties everywhere -- rejected to rejoicing. it is one of those rare blog postings where the reader comments are in fact even funnier than the original post. thanks wendy, for once again putting it better than any of us could.


extra extra

the feeling of sadness with which i awoke today is indescribable. not just because this putz won and we lost the election. for so many more reasons. for myself. am hazy and heavy, now heading to a meeting when i should be in a thick coma for at least a week. looking for eye drops now. gotta run.

a loser, baby

alain lost. this sucks hard. the electorate is a gigantic dumbass. i am sorta drunk. that is all for now.


coming soon: champagne & cosmos

just took the "culture of entitlement" quiz on the ndp website. adorable exploitation of an obvious political moment, and for me, a brief and amusing distraction from all this last-minute campaign crap. i've spent most of the day engrossed in sexy tasks like preparing scripts and slips for use on e-day.

i have been popping motrin all day in an ongoing attempt to calm a dull headache hungover from my first ever sleepless night on this campaign. i wasn't tense about anything in particular, just held hostage by the mind-racing and check-listing that will play non-stop until i'm sucking on cosmopolitans sunday evening. the phone started ringing pretty early this morning - most of the national capital region awoke to aggressive winds which had apparently manage to batter several of our campaign signs. part of me cared a little, most of me didn't. i think i'm suffering from too much info in the brain syndrome. my expansive mental filing system has reached full capacity. names of intersections where signs are in need of a soldier with a nail gun are hard to hold.

i just hope i sleep some tonight. i imagine tomorrow is going to be a pretty strange day. things are fairly well organized, but i can't shake the feeling that i have forgotten something big. it's a niggling feeling like the one that tickles you all day while you wonder if you left the iron on. i know it will be tedious and mind-numbing to pull together all the zone lists containing the contact data for our supporters. i worry about the integrity of the phone numbers. i wonder if they will wind up properly organized, with the queries done the way i want. there is a simultaneous beauty and danger in successful delegation of tasks: you feel great that you found enough people to cover off all the various pieces, but you nurse a baby ulcer until those pieces come back safe and sound, handled correctly, with no need for do-overs. you worry about someone fucking it up - all the time wasted to fix it - double the time it would have taken to do it yourself in the first place. i am unapologetic about this kind of control freakiness. it comes from years of those aforementioned do-overs. but you delegate anyways, hope for the best, and try to navigate life with lowered expectations.

all of that to say that my day will be assaulted by lists tomorrow. i will have one final meeting with the team and we will go over the plan. i will do my best to get all the t's crossed and i's dotted. i will remind myself to maintain some perspective and not treat this, as i do every campaign, like it's the biggest deal in the entire fucking world. through all of tomorrow's inevitable fuckery, i will be buoyed by the faint taste of the cheap champagne that i hope someone will pour unceremoniously down my throat starting at 8.01 sunday night and that i will consume with reckless abandon, regardless of whether our guy wins or not.


moral dilemma

forgot to mention that yesterday marked a big first in my life: until now, i have never paid someone to clean my house, and it feels fucking weird. i'm conflicted about it. it's sort of a class thing and a pride thing and a whole bunch of other horseshit.

anyways, she is a very pleasant middle-aged woman who came highly recommended. what my neighbourly referrals failed to mention is that our house cleaner is a raving religious nut. my jaw dropped when i drove past her car after having briefed her on
my neurotic cleaning preferences - on the back of her car in practically flashing neon was a bumper sticker that reads "thank god your mom is pro-life". first of all, that kind of shit-flinging should really never ever be done from my driveway. but my more immediate thought was omigod, what DIDN'T i put away while i was frantically tidying up for the cleaning lady?! my mind was suddenly awash with visions of her accidentally knocking over my sandwich baggie of not-oregano and gasping "sinner!" or handling trojans with her face all-a-twisted as if they were dripped from the brow of satan himself ... i imagined finding a certain battery-powered device in my bedroom replaced with a statue of the virgin mary (a la magda on satc).

maybe it's unfair of me to assume that a seemingly meek pro-lifer would be that judgmental about things in my house that are none of her business. not that i really care. i guess i'm feeling uber-judgmental about her. i actually feel like
she dirtied my space by cleaning it. this is a problem. i work and live here and happen to require a relatively clean environment. so the next time i have an emergency when my schedule is too crazy for me to be able to tidy up after furnace repair guys trapse across every square inch of my house in muddy workboots, will i be able to call the jesus freak? is our mutual passion for lemony fresh spic-n-span-ness strong enough to overcome the profound distance between us? i'm new to all this - do i have to respect the woman who scrubs my toilet?


dispatch from hq

i always say that a city becomes a totally different place once you have an address, and i believe the same can be said for the clc. i have been in this building countless times, but it all changes somehow now that i have my very own office with large windows overlooking the very glamorous riverside drive, a stone's throw from hog's back falls.

there'd have been lotsa changes around here if the results of the leadership race had been different in june. hard to say what kind of an impact carol could have had. there are things i notice now that i'm on staff. i'd like to think carol would have taken a hard line stance against the shockingly high use of comic sans as default font in email and internal memos. i loathe it - and i'm not alone.

as a long-time lackey for labour, though never a formal employee, i have a pretty good sense of how things work. and it's not always inspiring. the formalities and bureaucracies can make for a tangled and infuriating place for people like me who are used to handling everything in a job. i guess that's why they try to placate us with free coffee and apple juice, and the occasional spread of leftovers from a swank executive meeting, bruised and humiliated after the big-wigs had their way with it, splayed all sad-like on the board room table for staff to pick through.

this is certain to be an edifying experience, if not an eye-opening one. i look forward to the learning, to working with people i respect and admire, and to the chance to help advance some important files. but let's say it winds up being just awful. then if nothing else, three months with this client might be exactly the shove i need to make me realize i'm doing the right thing by pursuing less organizational and more creative paths. in the meantime, i'll claim a free flu shot, make spectacular use of the office supply closet (it's like my frickin birthday everytime i walk in there), and consume lots of complimentary beverages. nice work if you can get it, they say.


oooh, da balloons!

professionals have told me that i myself am not, but i sorta wonder if maybe my life itself is bipolar. sometimes it's really high, and christ knows it can go low. the highs are less about emotion and more about pace. i cope well with the stress of schedules. the frenzy makes me grateful for the distractions. not distracted like a baby gawking at shiny objects or bunches of balloons. more like an embalmer called away from the work table to tend to another task. then when life hits a low, i fall under the spell of a cocoon, revisiting things that never really went anywhere, just got compressed and distorted while being trampled under my busy feet. whatever.

so i'm overwhelmed with busy-ness. the days are jam-packed and i don't even have the time to consider whether or not i like it. with only five days left for the campaign, i've moved into that delicious pre-vote drunkenness that overtakes most campaigners. like an addict getting a fix. i'm of course more worried than ever about winning. we are pushing this beast as hard as we can, and with a bit more sweat, our guy just might win. if he doesn't, well, gosh darnit, that's just too unbearable a thought for the moment. so i'm begging the universe for this one small itty bitty seemingly insignificant victory - a whole lot of people could really use it.

a couple of small contracts are still dangling on account of my inability to tie up some loose ends. i'm eager to clear them off my plate so i can enjoy the new contract i just accepted. i wasn't particularly looking to work here, but it would be really stupid to pass up the chance to work in this department - i'll be doing some work on disability rights, the child care campaign, and follow-up to labour's involvement in these frustrating and questionable government consultations. this is a short gig, but a very lucrative one. so for financial reasons, and other noble motives, i said yes to the offer when she phoned on thursday. it happened pretty fast. i'm now pondering how this might fuck with the delicate mojo that was nudging me towards pursuing more writing. at the very least, i want to get my website up and running this month. with any luck, the clc gig will help me afford to pursue that goal without having to jump at contract offers that don't relate to writing. at least i'll still be writing part-time for this group's new "womyn's lives" project while i attempt to navigate the frustrating layers of bureaucracy that is the canadian house of labour.

more than anything, i feel pooped. times like these make me miss having a soft place to land at the end of a day. i wish i had my very own joe dubois... ridiculously understanding and supportive. someone who takes care of things while i run off in all directions to pursue a hunch. who holds me and strokes my hair when i jolt awake in the night, crying and spooked by yet another difficult dream.