29 February 2008

Chuffed, as we say

Well, I survived the event and even felt a wee bit hot (I’ll reserve the two-tees-in-hot-blogger-special for another day) if I do say so myself (I just did!).

Today everyone is feeling a bit less than ritzy though, and I’ve a lot of work to keep on top of and grumpy faces to keep from shouting at me.

Nonetheless, I wanted to post some photos so that my mother* can see what our new flat looks like. We found exactly what we were looking for, in the very posh Muswell Hill area, and will be moving to our new digs on 1 April.

Check it out:




The living room comes with more furnishings than depicted, with a gigantic bed and wall of wardrobes in the bedroom, so now we can save up for dream furniture at our leisure, rather than splash out on top of a terrifying deposit.

And that garden back there? That’s not shared! Meaning we can have nude garden parties! How about it, Shhh?

So it’s goodbye troubled Bermondsey, hello Muswell Hill (and poverty) (hopefully not too much poverty) (or nudity)!

* I assume it’s her, so am writing freely about my drug addiction on a different, secret** site instead.

** Wouldn’t you like to know.

28 February 2008

I feel pretty

Last night I went to buy a new dress for a fancy dress work thing. What should have been a relatively simple exercise - given that I found the dress within an hour of looking - ended with Bruce waiting miserably by himself amidst lingerie while I stood topless in a change room trying desperately to make something of the strapless bra-of-many-straps puzzle I’d been handed by the sales girl.

Let this be a lesson to you, ladies of fashion – if you buy a backless dress with a peep front, well. You’re a bit stupid then, aren’t you? Especially if you’ve been wearing the same cotton casual under-things since about twenty years ago, when you hit puberty and vowed never to let a stranger follow you into a cubicle with a tape measurer ever again.

That’s not to say I wasn’t using the power of my mind to try and will the sales girl to ask if I needed help so that I could reach through the curtain and drag her in and make her show me how to build a backless bra using two cups, three long straps and a short elastic bit (she didn't). But sales girls are not paid enough to know anything at all about what they are selling in this country. She was kind enough to let me sneak in a few more garments after the shop had closed, though, so I forgive her.

And now I’m stuck with this dress that looks fine from the front (peep peep!) and slightly ridiculous from the back. I paraded around in front of sales girl number two asking “If you were a girl and you saw someone in a backless dress with her bra strap showing like this, would you think it looked stupid?”

“No, it looks not stupid” she said in near-perfect English. Then she smiled reassuringly, as if to put a finer point on it.

Which at half eight on a Wednesday night was good enough for me. I’ve got a cardigan anyway, just in case I can sense mirth from the other, more sensibly dressed women at the event. Though I am hoping someone shows up looking like a chandelier, because that always trumps a visible bra strap.

Oh, and remember when tights used to be really itchy because they employed some type of unconditioned wool, but you weren’t allowed to take them off because then your legs would show and godforbid you show a little leg at age five? Well now you can have that itchy-legged feeling all over again, as a full-grown woman! I don’t know why fashion has to hurt, but it does.

And that’s all I have time for today, because I’m doing a few more hours work and then I have to go to the toilet and grapple with ten tiny buttons and a sash.

27 February 2008

A New York state of mind

That badge up there was given to me by the lovely and prolific Lass, a freelance writer from Texas who subverts any notions I may have held about Texans and their penchant for fried chicken, Richard Nixon and the electric chair. (I said may have.) She is one classy lady, with the same cheap taste in sweets as me, and I’m tickled that she chose to include me as a member of her online posse.

Earlier this month, I was recognised in a similar vein by Quelle Ergsome, who I’ve been following across the internet for years like some awe-struck little sister who goes Aw, I want to knit a pair of socks in less than a week and make tasty-sounding vegetarian dishes and have a party for all my friends too! and then stomps her foot and runs off to her bedroom to disembowel some Barbie dolls.

The fact of the matter is, I’m always touched and not a little surprised (so A LOT surprised then) when fellow bloggers shine a spotlight on me, partially because it can be such a solitary exercise and I assume that mostly stragglers skim to find out if I’m losing my marbles again or a banjo star or in a family way or divorced. And partially because I’m not used to kindness of the no-strings-attached sort, which is why my husband sometimes wants to shove me in the washing machine, turn the dial to WOULDJA CALM DOWN ALREADY and hit START.

So I’m an asshole and I forget to give props to those online writers who have no idea how much I rely on their openness, honesty and genuine insights into the human condition, because sometimes I forget that I’m not the only person in the world who feels anxious or irrational or oversensitive or un-fabulous. And that it’s okay to have the opposite of these feelings too.

I can’t pick only ten, because half of them are locked and half need no introduction, but you know who you are. So have an E, guys - it’s on me.

Alright, enough with the group hug. Let’s move on to…

Work! I had such a good day at work yesterday that I’m coming down a little bit and don’t feel like doing anything now. That’s the way I function though: up, down, up, down, round and round forever. I think I might also have a natural Extreme Happiness Inhibitor (EHI), which prevents me from overreacting to positive situations on the off-chance I get crushed.

No, I’m much more comfortable hovering inches above misery’s ocean floor, bumping heads with the small blind creatures that live in its perpetual darkness. It’s much easier to just hang about until I’m needed rather than wait for someone or something to dump me there from a helicopter.

I think my inner voice must belong to an angry taxi driver living in New York, as I spend my morning walk to work having thoughts like:

Jaysus Christ, you’re practically a giant and you can’t walk faster than a shuffle? Whatsamadda, you got your head caught in the Goodyear blimp or something? MOVEITBUDDY!

Look lady, don’t punish ME just because YOU decided to put on stupid shoes this morning.

Aw fantastic, now I godda walk behind these assholes. Why do suits always godda walk so goddamn slow when they get together? Mother of Christ, I just want to make that green light oh great now it’s red THANK YOU! Thanks for nothin’.

Meanwhile, my iPod is shuffling undecidedly between Bjork and Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, singing me ever closer to a neurotic meltdown. My walks to work are never boring, I’ll give them that much.

I saw someone on a motorbike who had pulled over to the shoulder and was now trying to decipher a road map. The motorbike was an EMT-issued vehicle, and although I felt really sorry for whoever was on the receiving end of that service, I couldn’t help wishing I’d brought my camera.

26 February 2008

Where I complain about the Oscars and other oblique issues

I’ve found a new and improved way of living, which leaves very little room for anxiety. Basically, you put your overstuffed iTunes on shuffle and stop worrying about who made tea for whom and who should you make tea for today?

Am I on the tea train? Am I not on the tea train? Who cares! I’ll make a cup of tea for myself when I feel like one or, hell! I’ll make everyone a cup of tea! Hey! You over there on the south side! You want a cuppa too?! O! Kay!

And then you stop worrying about what everyone thinks of you and just do your job the best way you know how, and if they don’t like it, well, stuff ‘em, hey?

Easy fucking peasy.

Yesterday I felt like Carrie Bradshaw in the opening credits of Sex and the City – walking along the city sidewalks, very much in my element, feeling sorta fabulous, when all of a sudden: WHOOSH! A bus flies by, flinging muddy puddle water at my designer pink chiffon dress, rendering me decidedly un-fabulous.

But then I got over it, because know what? Once you’ve hit your stride in life, a little bit of mud doesn’t make much of a lasting impression. Cover me in the stuff and I will still be fa-bu-lous. Oh I’ll cry a bit! But not for long.

Can I complain for a few minutes though? Okay good thanks.

So what was up with the Oscars? I mean, I know what’s up with the Oscars – they take an okay film, clock it on the head with a gold-painted statuette and raise it to the height of the Mother Theresa of all filmmaking, whilst giving nary a hat-tip to anything worthwhile. But what was up with the nominations, even?

Once There Will be Blood flickered up onto the big screen, it took me nearly forty-five minutes to catch my breath. I mean, wow! Wowowowowow! This is not the type of film critique that won me awards back in University, I know, but I have no other words! I was completely mowed down by the film in general, and the one thing about it that struck me the hardest was the soundtrack.

Did anyone notice the la-la-lackadaisical tippy-tap of the score in Atonement? Me neither!

But There Will be Blood has replaced The Conversation for me as the ultimate film soundtrack (barring any soundtracks containing pop tunes I might actually play at home), because, better than the cinematography, better than the mis-en-scene, this element exemplified the queasy ignorance of the period and the crushing impassiveness of the setting. It reminded me of the way Wisconsin Death Trip made me feel as I was reading it. Really, you couldn’t ask for more from a soundtrack.

But the Academy would still rather heap praise onto a conceptually uninteresting piece containing the innovative sound of…a typewriter. Because guess what. OMG she is TYPING the BOOK of the FILM we are WATCHING on a TYPEWRITER! *We faint at the ingeniousness of it all*

Meanwhile, There Will be Blood doesn’t even make the cut for notable soundtracks.

And that is the way of the world, good peeps. Mediocrity will rise to the top to sit upon the ornate heads of artists. It keeps the little guys feeling like big guys without ever asking them to lift a finger.

Whoops, and I’ve officially taken my complaint and upgraded it to a rant. Ah well. It's my soapbox, I can rant if I want to.

25 February 2008

Brave new self

My husband did some serious damage to his liver (and reputation as the most sober husband on earth) last night. And yet I’m the one feeling hungover this morning – why?

It’s becoming more and more difficult to rake back personal time at work. Everyone deserves a lunch hour, and everyone is responsible for ensuring they take one, but with the amount of work I do on a daily basis, I can barely justify doing no work for an entire hour, even to myself.

This morning I woke to the noise of birds, which was something I noticed a lot during that period of a few months when I was not well in the head. Their morning song seemed like a recording at that time; it was just another superficial element of a convincing backdrop concocted by the party (or parties) who were collaborating to keep me from understanding my predicament. Or so I believed.

I capitalised on the lucidity of this hazy recollection, extending the meaning to encapsulate what I find so impossible to nail down about my experience now. The only way to achieve continuity is to live without ever having to abandon your own foundational context. I’ve lost this context twice in my life: once when I went mad, and once when I fell in love (which is a bit like going mad) and moved away from home.

This morning, I had to concede that the life I experienced in the hospital almost six years ago is still the same life I lead now, in London. I won’t say there’s little difference between a mental ward and London, though I guess someone more cynical than me might try and make that comparison. But even though both experiences are vastly different in terms of what they mean, they share the same undigested quality.

The only way to measure experience is with the levelling tool of identity. Lose that essential component to life-building, though, and you’d be hard-pressed to understand much of anything. Okay fine, I’d tell my addled brain, Let’s regroup here on January 2008 at oh nine-hundred hours and assess where we’re at. Except that no thoughts resembling mine ever showed up to the meeting place.

Psychologists are forever telling you that it’s a bad idea to fracture identity, but when you discover something you find impossible to explain, the only thing to do is to stretch yourself until you can account for it. If not me, then some other self.

And this is the other me. The one who is not alone, bitter, narrow-minded and afraid. I can be all these things, of course, but I will never again be all these things, and only these things, all at once. These are the fragments of my identity that, compiled, would exclude everything I am becoming today, and that self is growing stronger by the minute.

But I’m sorry you had to weed through this to find out that none of it was about you. On the other hand, maybe you found yourself washed up on the shore of some brave new world too, in which case, I extend my hand across the divide to shake yours.

24 February 2008


"It was a tragic accident and very sad and should serve as a cautionary tale."

Paved paradise

Why is it that asteroids hardly ever stop by Earth for a bit of death and destruction on their way to final destinations anymore? Don’t get too comfy, peeps of divine faith, hybrid vehicles and peaceful Nations, because outer space steps aside for no planet.

Speaking of stepping aside, nobody in London will do that for you either. Shoulders square, opposing armies of shoppers march staunchly into enemy territory like matching Tetris pieces that interlock perfectly before passing straight through. It’s a spatial anomaly made possible only by the mad contortions of a single person who cannot trust the pattern, and so behaves as though she’s lost her right shoulder if you’re passing her on the left, vice versa on the right, until her husband gently suggests she retires from acrobatics and walks like a proud member of the two-shouldered species.

And that is when a good game of Tetris turns suddenly into Space Invaders and I’m body-checking men, women and children so that I might pass freely without having to gimp myself in the manner to which they’ve become accustomed. Is it worth it? I’m not sure, but I’m feeling a bit more limber today and that’s what counts.

It only took us a little over a year to discover the Canada Shop, just down the street from the Maple Leaf pub, and although its modest corner must fend off the more substantial stock of vegemite and Twirls belonging to its domineering Commonwealth brethren, I nearly wept at the sight of Jell-o powder, Kool-Aid and Robin Hood brand flour. O processed, innutritious chemicals of my environmental development, how I’ve missed you!

I’m not a fan of Jell-o or Kool-Aid (or baking) but you don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone, so I let nostalgia be my guide, picked up a few things that I may or may not use (Swiss Chalet gravy?) and felt instantly Canadian. Well, North American. There was no pemmican or bannock, curiously, but I’ll take what I can get (or get what I can pay for, anyway).

Oh, and I’ve discovered one less reason to move to Canada: Tim Horton’s coffee, at the Canada shop. Now all I need is a filter-drip coffee maker, which is not easily found in a country that likes its tea.

Some very important football is taking place this afternoon, and kick-off starts at three. I have a few hours yet to decide if I really want to sip soda with Bruce and his closest mates down at the pub, or if wrapping up on the sofa with a good book for a few hours is more my speed on a chilly Sunday afternoon.

21 February 2008


So, the Brit awards! Wow. Well, anyone who does sound engineering on the albums certainly deserves an award, because the live performances were all indisputably crap. I’m not sure how Mika manages an entire show, if indeed he does – even he was looking distressed by his own appalling vocals in the second song.

I perked up vaguely when the Arctic Monkeys - pissed as farts and wearing traditional English garb - came onstage for their award and began chiding the BRITs School kids (the UK’s answer to the Mickey Mouse Club). Sharon couldn’t keep her shit together either, which was fun.

Today I am having a good day, and will probably go to hell or wherever people stupid enough to count their hours before their day hatches like I did just then end up (if you can sort out that sentence then I congratulate you). But it’s true – work has been satisfying on numerous levels these past few days, and I think it’s because I’ve gained some small recognition from the heavies finally.

I’ve also discovered that if your plate is full, you only need to start feeding the choicest morsels to the dogs. Not that there are dogs under my desk or anything, but I only take ownership over things that are mine now. Easy peasy. You don’t know what I’m banging on about so I’ll switch gears now.

Bruce and I went to see a flat last night, and as we were descending the escalator at Embankment Station, the realtor called to say that it was gone. It’s just as well, because in retrospect, the flat wasn’t exactly what we’d wanted, and to be fair, we got a bit carried away too early on. We’re fairly sure that we will find just the right thing at a time that won’t cost us thousands of pounds in one go. Yes, whew indeed!

With work evening out (is that right? ‘evening’ out?), I can finally look ahead to happier things. In April we’re going to Norway for work (Bruce) and co-dependency pleasure (me), and then we’re setting sail for ATP in May. I’m hoping I will spend more time watching bands and eating pizza and having fun than last year, when I came down with the flu pretty much the first hour we arrived. Then Bil said something about Iceland and Bruce said something about Expensive and I don’t know who to believe, but that’s TBD.

My good friend Lizzie (I can’t seem to abandon her childhood moniker, even though everyone else has) is coming in March as well, and it sounds like we might be going somewhere? I dunno, we’re going to talk it out when she calls. She’s starting off in Manchester though, and I think she’d definitely planned on seeing Paris and Barcelona.

Good god, this could be a travel-heavy spring.

19 February 2008

The votes are in

For some odd reason I am not run off my feet today. So I’m stopping in for a proper update, for anyone still interested.

I don’t know if it’s possible to fall for a place, but if it were possible, then I think London might be the place for me after all. I admit that I found Vancouver’s superficial charms (trees, fresh air, mountains) rather titillating over Christmas, but complicated, smelly, cynical London is my one true love.

It’s difficult to explain because I spent so many weeks hating everything about it – the smells, the crowds, the attitudes (cultural and social) and the impossible great maze of it all. Even the loveliest things about the city seemed trite.

Once I stopped objectifying the experience and concentrated on living, however, I noticed how very attached I am to its unique attributes. I don’t think I can ever set foot in a venue for film or music that is older than a few hundred years, for instance. The funny, ill-timed lights and impassive pedestrians; the half-giddy stair decent while the bus is still moving; the unpredictable nature of a building’s insides, its fa├žade giving nothing away – I just couldn’t imagine a life without these things.

And that’s only the clockwork – I haven’t quite nailed down what I find so satisfying about the quaint conventions of shopping and cooking, or of restaurants even. No customer service is replaced by a sense of privacy, and that extends to social relationships. Do you ever get the feeling that you can almost see what any given friend might be up to at any given moment? Well I don’t – not any more. Your guess is as good as mine, and actually, I don’t even have a clear idea of my own spatial or temporal location. Spontaneity isn’t a way of life here, it’s pretty much mandatory.

Waking up in London is a bit like waking up in Disney Land, if you’re a kid, and you’re the sort of kid who likes entertainment parks. The basic elements are the same, but you can expect to have a very different day-to-day experience, no matter what you had in mind.

Another ex-pat and friend of mine once said that London washes over you – whether it’s in a good or bad way depends on your frame of mind. Before Christmas, Bruce and I had hit a wall here. We resented anything and everything that got in the way of our divine right to sit in front of the television, cuddling and eating sour Skittles. It was all London’s fault that we sometimes had to leave the sofa, and Vancouver became our Atlantis.

Then Bruce went to Jordan for work and I went through the motions by myself for a week. When he got back, we both realised how good we have it here, and that we stand an even better chance of doing the things we want to do by staying put.

So I guess we’re staying after all. I’m happy with that decision on a number of levels, the main one being that I think I could get to know myself even more, outside the context and constraints of ‘home’. More than that, I needed to choose this life with both options open, so that I could be sure it’s what I really want. And it is.

X365: 20 of 365 – Claire…

is awfully distracted by whatever hair accessory you’re wearing. Her eyes ping unnervingly between your face and your hair. Because she likes it? Or it’s an atrocity? Spell it out, Claire.

18 February 2008

As sick as I am, I would never be you

I’m nearly finished Submarine by new author Joe Dunthorne and can honestly say that it’s the most enjoyable thing I’ve read in several years. The voice is spot-on, the writing deft and uncomplicated, and my inner cynic has been trip-wired into laughter more times than it would care to admit. I looked at the inside back dust jacket and saw why – the guy is only 26.

Give someone a fresh pair of eyes possibly unclouded by stoic years of dense postmodern theory and they may not come back with the Gobstopper of all literary mastication. But then who really wants to spend a lifetime teasing out meaning from a single text? Dr. Who fans, that’s who. But who else? (James Joyce can go drown in a lake of his own tears, if he hadn't already expired.)

My parents rang up last night to say that they’d been busy - “With visitors,” my father said (“With realtors” my mother clarified) - but that they still cared. “We’re so pleased you two are coming, so pleased. Okay? Bye now!”

Apart from that misplaced postscript, I can’t say that’s been our overall impression of the situation. Even if it was, it’s becoming harder to imagine a better life anywhere other than right here. We are independently, carefully balanced on a self-actualised pinnacle that might as well be on the moon in zero gravity, for all its potential to be replicated any other where or way.

For the first time in my life, I do not feel like things are in the process of falling apart. In fact, things feel remarkably stable. I have a job that is tough but rewarding, a family that is close but not smothering, and friends that like and respect me. London used to frighten me with its indifference and warped architectural memory; now it’s begging to feel not only like home, but like some devastatingly beautiful and true ship that saved my moored and savage life.

I suppose you can guess the Captain.

17 February 2008

X365: 19 of 365 – Sandwich girl

You made me a sandwich, the day after Valentine’s Day. You’d been beaten up pretty badly. We cracked jokes. I couldn’t understand you because of your accent, and because you mumble.

X365: 18 of 365 – James Ash

I blame you for any subsequent upheaval in relationships that stemmed from a paralysing fear of betrayal, when really, I should blame adolescence. But every difficult lesson needs a poster child.

X365: 17 of 365 – Vicky M

You lied constantly; you hit me when we were friends and you put a cigarette out on my neck when we weren’t. I felt pity when you were ostracised much later.

16 February 2008

Not writing, but frothing at the mouth

I’m not sure if my mother is reading here, but I’m going to have to assume that she has more respect for my (publicly accessible) privacy than she did when I was fourteen. In fact, I’m sure she averted her browser the second she realised that this is the online equivalent of my bedroom and went off to make a sandwich instead.

The fact that she hasn’t called me since I posted about the possibility of her reading here isn’t very comforting, but nonetheless. Hello.

Bruce ordered an original Drowning by Numbers film poster from France the other week, and this morning it finally arrived in the post. He tore open the padded envelope and unfolded it once, twice, three times, four, five…I lost count. It’s in French, it smells musty, the art is expectedly cryptic and unsettling, and shares the surface dimensions of a king-sized bed. We had no idea! And now we have to find a home with walls that are big enough to hang it on.

I suggested we mount it and then hang it five inches from the ceiling from thin silver chains. Bruce said he would consider that. I’m not holding my breath on finding the perfect wall though.

Tonight three miracles took place consecutively. No, four!

One: I made pork medallions with fine cut runner beans and a balsamic reduction
Two: It turned out
Three: Bruce declared it my greatest culinary triumph to date
Four: I got him to watch The Darjeeling Limited and he did not hate that either

There is a fifth miracle but you will have to talk to us in person to find out. And even then, we may not tell you. Hint: it does not involve tentacles, not on any level.

14 February 2008

He loves me

Today has been the busiest day of my life. I’ve said that every day for the last few weeks, but only because it’s true! I spent two days away from my desk to help out at an event, and will be paying for it for the next year I’m sure.

Bruce sent flowers to work, but you have to actually pick them up from the post office – they won’t deliver them to you. So I went to the basement hoping against hope it wasn’t a mistake. Not because I couldn’t believe he’d sent them, but because it would be just my luck - to think I was getting flowers when really, nobody understands a word I mumble when I answer the phone.

By 5:20, I was still in a meeting with fellow inmates of the wawaweb, attempting to hurry things along psychically by swinging my leg impatiently in the direction of time moving forward. We’d booked dinner at a French restaurant, which was situated relatively close by, but only if I ran.

And ran I did! So fast and far from my desk that I forgot to bring the flowers with me, making me the Worst! Wife! in London! though Bruce was very understanding (he only looked vaguely crestfallen) and we had a lovely dinner anyway.

Life is moving far too quickly. I don’t know what to do about it sometimes, except move with it.

10 February 2008

Waiting for someone to come out of somewhere

And watching the BAFTAs.


We don’t own much, in terms of furniture. We have a small sofa, a piano, a television; we own a book shelf but we don’t own a bed, a writing desk, a dining table. We have those things too, but they’re on loan. Our new home could resemble a Rubik’s cube after some of its teeth have been knocked out.

Words like to tumble around, without cohesion mainly, so I don’t record much. It’s a good thing too, as this type of writing recalls that unsophisticated form of poetry they insist you try out in high school, where the lines break in such a way as to create a picture of what the poem is about.

You know.

...........is a poem..........
........that I've written........
...oh look, it is a pile of shit.....

I wonder if I will ever find the perfect time and place to sit down and write anything much.

If so, I’m guessing it won’t be here. Or now.

09 February 2008

Last Chance

Have you been lurking around this journal two-to-three times a day since my second-last post? Because even if you don't know your internet provider, surely you must know if you are doing that. And I'll tell you right now, Shaw, you're the only one.

Unless you say otherwise, I'm assuming you're my mother and I'm deleting friday films today. It's just not worth it.

07 February 2008

Where I use a big word, and it isn't falafel

Well if today isn’t your lucky day! I was about to get all philosophical on your ass but then I was sidetracked by work and now I've completely forgotten what I was going to say.

I’m having issues with work (again) (surprise!) whilst simultaneously torturing myself with that whole inner/outer beauty thing that is so (un)important to women and society in general, and do I have enough to sprinkle liberally onto the high-carb pasta of my excellent personality? Yes, even disestablishmentarianists worry about these things sometimes, so lay off would you!

And yet in spite of this familiar roster of pain, I am oddly at peace with the world. Probably because I’m just about to tuck into a falafel sandwich and berry spritzer from Pret.

I think I’ve solved the mystery of Shaw, all by my lonesome, because I suspect Shaw is in complete ignorance of its own IP address and broadband service provider. Which, fine! As long as you weren’t the one responsible for the self-esteem issues I developed in my formative years, you are most welcome to this page. One and all.

Well, and that’s lunch people. It’s either a big long rant or I get a decent lunch from down the road and talk with my mouth full for a few minutes, your choice. (It’s my choice actually and today I choose lunch!) (And loads of exclamation points!)

04 February 2008

We interrupt this programme

I have been mindlessly writing in this thing (or variations thereof) for about five or six years now. It’s only been within the last year that the anonymity afforded me by a pseudonym was most likely breached by a family member or two (or three). Hence the new address.

But last night, after finding a suspiciously familiar IP address from Shaw that I can’t account for, I got to thinking that maybe my mother knows how to find things online by putting search terms into a browser after all.

I know! Where on earth do parents learn these things? It must be the other, more technologically-advanced parents who shoot their mouths off in the remote aisles of Safeway where our parents can overhear, because I sure as hell didn’t teach her that!

This got me thinking about the other people in my life I’d rather not invite backstage, where all the drama actually takes place. Which once more delivered me into the arms of an age-old dilemma belonging exclusively to private people who write personal information on a publicly accessible space: what am I doing this for?

The obvious answer is: I enjoy writing here. Coming here and posting something - anything at all - makes me feel as though I own a little piece of my day, which otherwise belongs to a job that is pretty intent on destroying my spirit. I do this job willingly (gladly, even) because I know that in the long run, it will help me to achieve some of the things we are very intent on achieving this year. This is a choice I’ve made, and I’m not going to complain about it (much) (overly much).

No, my real issue is with the people who come here to siphon off that last little sip of bliss in an eight-hour grind with their long-reaching straws so they can call me up out of the blue to find out if I’m still planning to move to Vancouver, mother.

Maybe I’m just being paranoid. But until I know who that Shaw address belongs to (and I hope you’ll just come right out and tell me that I’m off my rocker, Shaw), I’m not going to write a single word more - in this journal or any others.

I enjoy the spontaneity that online writing lends someone as fearful of literary permanency as me, but not to the extent that I could pull down the sheet and expose the real hands of this shadow-puppetry I endeavour to make for a modest audience of (I’m hoping) close friends and perfect strangers.

Expanding my soapbox any further than this makes me cringe, for a variety of reasons I’m sure I could work out with a therapist. But I’m hoping I won’t have to. C’mon Shaw, who are you?

03 February 2008

It'll only hurt for a lifetime

Oh nothing much. We had a gathering last night for the first time in ages. These fine lovely friends (and one without an online presence, as far as I'm aware) came around for games and food and far too many glasses of wine, and though I'm not feeling brilliantly, I think I got off relatively easy. These last few months off the drink have done wonders for my liver, on top of everything else (skin, weight, mood, etc.), and I think I might meander back in the direction of that wagon over yonder and have myself another sit-down on its kindly passenger seat.

Today Bruce and I were driven around Muswell Hill, a trendy suburb of North London, to have a gander at the properties and neighbourhood. The difference between there and where we live currently isn't so much night and day as it is used condoms and angora jumpers. You want the latter, come around our area, though I recommend you make the extra treck for the posh sweater.

We met briefly with an estate agent who was this close to getting dumped by my mistrustful-of-all-things-agency husband, though we will try and remain open-minded for the benefit of our future new home.

Meanwhile, we're moving ahead with the application process so that we have everything in place the instant we decide to give London the old heave ho and set sail for Canadialand. Land of the free, home of the large Tim Hortons coffee with Timbits, mmmmm.

I've brought some work home with me (well, the intention to work anyway, as the internet constitutes my workspace, wherever it lies) in the hopes that I can make this upcoming week slightly less hellish than it's going to be. So that's what I'm off (here) to do now.

01 February 2008

The cinematic experience

My mother used to say that writing comes easy if you start by getting down one true sentence. I can’t do that at the moment, so I’m calling it a day.

I didn’t know she couldn’t write, at the time I internalized that lesson. Or that writing has nothing to do with truth.

Did you know that the most worthwhile people on earth are those who do their best to dull the sheen of what makes them extraordinary?

Since I’m lying, I should tell you that the only thing that divides us from immortality is ego. You can live forever as an object. But as a subject - you’re already gone.

Either way, you should do what you want.