home alone

the music i sometimes play at my desk distracts me in very physical ways. like just now, i broke into clapping and swaying like ray frickin' charles up in here on account of this track by mary j blige . i got all caught up in it, rode it to its glorious end, then calmly returned to writing letters to certain caucus critics for the ywca event.

sometimes it amazes me that i don't have to go Out There to work. mostly, it doesn't really occur to me - the madness of my lists means i dwell less on environment than predicament. but every so often, it hits me: this is where i work. on my terms. i don't have to get up at the crack of dawn, primp, combat traffic. i don't have a ridiculous ID badge dangling from my belt loop or a special card to wave robotically in front of the black access panel to make the elevator go. i don't have to navigate parkades or security guards or beige mazes of cubicles to get to my desk. even better, my soul isn't being gradually sucked out of me by shitty fluorescent lighting, recycled air, and petty office politics.

there is a sheer joy that comes from knowing my entire awake period is like a piece of clay that i can knead, sculpt, or squish between occasionally idle fingers however i so choose. best (or worst?) of all, i don't have to worry about this weirdo-ness affecting other people, which is, as martha says, a good thing.


small talk

actual notes passed back and forth between me and others during union, feminist, or otherwise high level political meetings, as evidence of the forcible intellect we bring to the table:

if i was high right now, would this presentation be more or less interesting? / less UNinteresting.

let's find a yarn store after this and pick out some yarn for your legwarmers - i will NOT be able to get through the next two days without knitting. / good idea, and those needles will poke my eyes out rather nicely in a pinch.

worst lyric ever? / i wanna lick you raw like sushi.

sweet lord almighty, we need to help people learn how to self-censor. / ya, and how to gauge a room, discover intonation, and use a comb.

that woman is very judgy - you're not allowed to shoot me any looks for at least 10 minutes so as to avoid me laughing so hard i spew this putrid babyfood-like soup all over her suit.

whaaaaat?! a banana is NOT 8 ounces! / yu-hunh, sho nuff.

it downright chokes me that we have to endure this bullshit AND have to drink coffee that tastes like ass, as if one of the two isn't torture enough. / it's free and it's a stimulant, so drink up and look perky, goddammit.

whose wardrobe would you like to steal? / queen latifah's, pre-dr. bernstein phase.

for the love of god, must you be all big loopy lettering and flashing neon with these notes? / oh shut up and stop avoiding the question - what's your fave sexual position already?

do you think older women have given up on us? / no, but as a 'constituency', we sure as fuck confound them.

stop being a masochist. / i like being a masochist. / i love you.

when i was on the board, none of those women had ever seen 'friends'. / hmm... no wonder we feel misunderstood.

least fave parliamentarian? / elsie wayne - omigod those sweaters!

i once spent a night on a wiccan lesbian vegetarian feminist separatist farm - i wanted to die. / fascinating. i'd kill a man in cold blood right now for a lychee martini.


the duff

i was just now scratching an ill-placed itch near the middle of my back with a ballpoint pen and its cap came off while i was doing so and proceeded to get inaccessibly lodged in the back of my sports bra and it became this whole big thing. but never mind that for now.

for reasons best attributed to the twisted manner in which my brain works, the pen cap mishap reminded me of a story that recently sent me over the edge. 2 women i used to know are best friends. those 2 women have sporadic contact with my Best Girl back home. stay with me on this. one of those 2 women is what you'd call petite. the other is a woman of size. the petite woman disclosed to my Best Girl that she did not ask her best friend to be her maid of honour because she is "fat" and therefore, would not look pretty in a dress and would ruin such things as photos and ambience. she chose, instead, an estranged friend whom she had recently said mean things about openly to all kinds of people. but in that the estranged friend is pleasant to look at, she was indeed a preferable choice.

here's the thing: whether you're a fattie or a waif, if you're at all normal or sane or decent, you don't bounce back from a story like that. you just don't.

here's what's worse: the bride holds a master's degree in women's studies and has worked in the union movement for over 10 years.

i make no apologies for holding educated so-called feminists, or any so-called progressive, to a higher standard. i do apologize, however, for being so fucking gullible as to think that one day, the shocking examples of hypocrisy actually might stop. over the last while, i have been re-visiting the notion of "should know better". where politics, straight men, the left, friends, journalism, and even mothers are concerned, i've been struggling to let go of "should know better" because no one actually ever does. are we all fallible? yes. do we slip up from time to time? yes. but must we all be raging ass holes all the time? um, no. the hypocrisy is what makes me fantasize about picking up and moving to a trailer park, a place i've come to romanticize as having no pretense, where people are who they are, don't care who you are not, and don't fumble around with reconciling the walk and the talk.

my disgust around this story is not just on behalf of the duffs. it's on behalf of humankind, or basically anyone with a soul. this story is almost unbelievable. it hurts you in the guts.

what i know is that me and my Best Girl - a petite former ballerina better-hair-than-me knockout in her own right - will never ever ever ever discuss whether or not i will stand at her wedding. whether i'm so large that i have to fashion a gigantic industrial tent like a toga from which would be exposed my hideously puffy limbs, triple chin, and tree trunk shins, i would be at her side to hand her over to the goon and that would be that. some might consider her noble for that, but then i guess that would make them bigger shitwipes than the hypocritical bride who started this whole mess in the first place, so WTF.

why do people suck?


easter shmeaster

warming weather has revealed the annual shame that is my yard. whereas normally i would put off the clean-up until near the fall, the house being on the market requires a more urgent approach to exterior maintenance. am still wondering how i missed getting the gene that makes one actually give a shit about the state of one's lawn.

i've been responding to "how are you" with "fine", but embarrassingly, the long weekend has had almost a valentine's effect on me ... another occasion when other people scurry around to be With Loved Ones or, at least, someplace else. even with so many tasks to occupy and distract, there's still that calendar-forced reminder of what you lack. which is pretty much a constant low-grade underyling irritant for me, so it wasn't the main attraction of the weekend. i could say i did not slip into periodic catatonic states contemplating the ongoing mess of a private life that i can't seem to yank out of the quick sand. i could say that at no time did i return to fantasizing about a great escape (like, if i'm selling the house, why don't i just grab the opening and run away? i could be like the littlest hobo or that scott bakula character, nomadically roaming from one town to the next, as mysterious myself as the problems i attempt to solve along the way).

as for how the fuck to redesign my approach to time management in order to accommodate this new free-form work life, i went in search of the button the other day and came home with a couple of big dry erase wall calendars and a 3-in-1. these purchases, along with a pending consultation with a life coach, might be just what i need to really soar, to unleash my full potential, to truly achieve my dreams. ha! all this time spent on the therapist's couch, and i didn't realize it was that easy.

this morning, i heard from a former dance teacher and mentor, an amazing woman who was been a major influence on my life - her call was eerily well-timed. now i'm blasting charlie parker and chris botti, working on the media relations plan for the launch of this ywca report, and seriously trying to re-surface. the cruddy lawn can wait. priorities.


the mighty

ok, i met her and liked her and have been cultivating a little somethin'-something' with her, but holy bajesus, the internet sure loves audra. i don't think i realized to what extent her popularity has reached iconic proportions. it's super moving, of course, but also, err, a bit creepy. someone has even created a website for her, a cyber pep talk, as it were. my god.


dear internet

i've been thinking about you lately, wondering if i had a second to chat, where would i even begin? late last night i was thinking of confessing to having gotten totally fucking shit-faced on saturday night in trois-rivieres, first at the 5-a-7 that followed our meeting, then in my roonm here where laura and i hosted the mother of all hospitality suites: constantly stocked bar, packed room, three warnings from hotel management, and in the morning, one fully clothed corpse in the spread eagle position amidst the kind of disaster zone that would make a rock band proud. as for me, i surely made an ass out of myself in front of ndp colleagues and i'm pretty sure i said things that were really really stupid, inappropriate, suggestive, slurred, what have you. at least whatever shit people may now have on me, i sure as shit retained some stuff on them. let the negotiations for our dignity begin.

i also thought i might provide a status report on the sharks we'd been anticipating in the lead-up to the council meeting. in fact, they turned out to be less offensive than the general displeasure that emanated from the membership for most of the meeting. it led to heated discussions, as well as feelings of deep demoralization among certain people i care about. blame the cacophony of misperceptions and rumours out there that have led some folks to suspect a clique of pure evil inside the leadership. not that this clique - whom i deeply respect and back wholeheartedly - does not wish to be challenged. thankfully, integrity is intact where all this fuckery is concerned. it's particularly painful, though, when those challenges are laced with the kind of disdain that can only come from the misinformed. how disheartening it was to witness such a profound lack of political sophistication amongst the very membership on whom we are counting to build this thing into something viable.

so i could have talked about all that, as well as about the highs and lows of this freelance game, none of which i have a handle on. i might also have mentioned that the ongoing feeling of discombobulation where work and ndp is concerned has certainly not been helped by the fact that in one week, there have been six visits to my home. do you know what it takes to make a house 'presentable' for prospective buyers? much more than i have to give, i assure you.

instead, though, i'd like to discuss the firing of my new friend audra as babble moderator by the rabble "management committee". it all began with an email she received two fridays ago, one that stunned the stockings off her cuz of no apparent warning whatsoever. well stop the world, the locals began to riot. a shitstorm has erupted in the forums. it's turned into a virtual strike. threads are pretty much single-themed. people are pissed and are lashing out against rabble management. they've even set up an alternate babble that has garnered 139 users and almost 600 articles in barely one day. speaking of "management", the committee itself came out today with a response, one that appears to only have added fuel to the raging fire. even i couldn't resist posting a comment to that thread [just Ctrl-F for "pam" - it speaks for itself].

audra today blogged about how she feels. i dig it. glad she cited mr. magoo's suggested list of what her demands should be if she gets reinstated. thank you, mr. magoo, for preventing my head from popping off its neck while i was poring over the threads at babble about these shenanigans. i especially delighted in the tenacity with which you repeatedly treat the issue of unfinished paperwork - i seriously peed in my pants. thank you for being so fucking unable to get over that.

not unlike most of my real-life codependent relationships, rabble has crawled under my skin many times over the years and yet i kept going back. now our affair has come to this. i am so profoundly disappointed they've handled things this way. i guess i should be the LEAST surprised given how many times i've had a boot plunged into my ass by so-called progressive employers. but still, ya know?


stormy weather

until friday, i was drowning in fiscal year-end fuckery thanks to my role as project manager for the regional coordinating committee to end violence against women (rccevaw). i've also been juggling other regular work while half-assedly chasing potential new clients (it worked too - i'll be doing some media relations for the ywca and fafia has me writing more pieces for that pledge campaign, ya hoo). spent part of the weekend 'observing' the ndp federal council meeting at the glamorous marriott, which basically meant doing yogic breathing exercises while watching frustrated people try to move through an ill-planned agenda guided by a very weak chair. no wonder i've fallen behind on the election brochure for miss vicky.

now a shitstorm is a-brewing as we inch closer to this weekend's ndp qc council meeting in trois-rivieres. some of it bubbled up yesterday evening and i've had space for nothing other than ndp since, except for the respite (not) afforded by a 2 hour visit from my realtor today during which measurements were taken, contracts signed, and (gasp) an actual sign got plugged into my lawn. throw together the consulting, the listing of my house, and carving out of pieces of my soul for politics, and it would seem i am officially for sale.

about the panic attack suffered last week: i was editing the content of my own website for the 5th time and found myself staring down fears about my evolving persona (i was about due for an annual identity crisis anyway). a fatigue-induced craze led me to slice out an entire section of text about my background as a campaigner and grassroots organizer. and i freaked right the fuck out. it dawned on me that if i'm really going to self-promote as a freelance writer and communicator, it means moving to the background everything i'm confident about and putting up front everything i'm insecure about. and a writer must sell herself in brief, pithy, EDITED terms. i had to re-affirm that the campaigner me shall not get top billing on the site. so anxiety set in. i wobbled a wee while. and now things are on track again. or are they? i mean, have i the gumption to suggest to people that i could write their brochure? i'm about to come out as someone who believes she damn well could, and that's just weird.

oh, speaking of coming out, suspicion confirmed! i learned today that ivan, my agent is, indeed, gay, which makes perfect sense considering he's been staring me in the eye - knowingly - from the get go and seems quite eager for us to be best friends and today, was sorta all over me as the gay boys so often are. my fucking god, what is it with me and gay guys? i swear there's some kind of magnetic force at play.