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Oct. 13th, 2012

janey

winter is coming

There is frost on the fields. Frost on the fields, hard frost on the grass, each blade bowed, silver-white.

There is frost on the tracks. The steel should be dull but it glistens; the cold catches the light before the sun hits it, melts it, ends it.

There are geese in the sky. They're up before the sun, dark grey flight against the pink. Their wings lift, but not lightly. The chill weighs them down. The ground calls them home.

I am awake, but barely. I am sliding into morning. The light builds outside my window, the day stretches ahead, but right now, hibernation has its appeal.

Oct. 10th, 2012

janey

i am woman, hear me blog in point form

1. I really, truly, deeply resent the way that the seemingly endless electoral campaign to the south has raised questions about women: what they're like, what they want, and what they are allowed to do. This offends me in my soul. The fact that these questions are raised at all, and not their competing answers, is why we need feminism.

2. I recently read Caitlin Moran's How To Be A Woman. I can't decide if I liked it or not because I'm still too busy thinking about it. Two things I do know: I disagree with her position on Lady Gaga, and this was the best-titled book I've ever read. If I ever wanted to figure out how to be Caitlin Moran, this book would help me do it. Slightly less helpful when it comes to being me. Even if the parallels were occasionally illuminating.

3. More men should read Arthurian legend. Or at least The Canterbury Tales. Figuring women out isn't all that hard: just ask yourself, "What do women most desire?" The answer is always the same: "Their own way."

(...oh. Sorry. Typo in 3. For "women," read "people.") (Same fix for "men.")

Oct. 8th, 2012

janey

on demand

Gentle readers: I have had a request for a post about hydration. Specifically, about the latest in a series of attempts by friends, colleagues, and other well-meaning individuals to have me increase my daily water intake.

I'll admit they're not looking for much this time: they simply want me to go from a level near zero to something very slightly above that. But I don't really want to and I can't see the point and the incentives are completely misaligned here, because it's been suggested that I will "feel better" but how the hell am I supposed to know if I'm feeling better when I am so goddam grumpy from lack of caffeine?

See, your stomach only holds so much liquid at any one time, and that is space that I NEED to fill with COFFEE and now it is full of WATER instead. I have a withdrawal headache and I feel groggy and I am REALLY disgruntled, because ultimately I'm sure that they will be right and I will be wrong, and also that they care far less about the whole thing than I do, so why am I doing this, exactly, if all I get at the end of the day is the minor satisfaction of having risen to a pointless challenge and knuckle skin that doesn't ridge when squeezed?

I don't know. But I suspect that if I had more coffee, I could probably figure it out.

Oct. 5th, 2012

janey

i know more than i knew before

Sometimes, all the threads of your life just come together. There's not a loose end to be seen, because every strand lies smooth and flat, occupying its own perfect space in a tightly woven tapestry, over and under and over and under its neighbours, unfurling before you, a perfectly planned, almost preordained pattern.

And sometimes, all the threads of your life snarl up into one big, untangleable ball. There are loose ends everywhere, but not a one worth pulling on. The nitpicker in you may be desperate to tease them apart, but they're stubborn. There's no admitting light or air to that mess, no sir; it's like necklaces snarled at the bottom of the jewellery box or the worst rat's nest at the back of a four-year-old's head. There's simply no way out, no way in, and no discernible order to the mess.

It feels like I've been staring at the same set of problems for the past four years. I thought I was smart enough to work them out, but every move I made seemed to roll them up just that much tighter. It was a Gordian knot, and now I know better than to try to untie it: just bring me my sword. It's time to cut the whole damn thing in half.

Oct. 3rd, 2012

janey

flap

How do birds navigate? They have no rules of the road, no signposts, no lane markers to guide them. They wheel around in packs--expanding, contracting, making sharp turns on impossible angles--all going somewhere, together, but where?

I once saw a run-in between flocks. They were heading straight for it, I could tell, but neither was prepared to veer off. They merged in a flurry of wings: two scatterplots colliding, feathered points of data with no line of best fit. The birds around the edges stayed the course; there was a churning at the centre while the others sorted themselves out, and then they all flew on together, paths maybe slightly altered, but really, who could tell?

Sep. 28th, 2012

janey

bad medicine

Two weeks ago, I took a bad bounce and caught a softball with my leg, instead of with my glove, as the sports gods intended. You'd think I'd walk away with an ugly bruise, like most people would, but no: seems it was my turn for broken skin and a raging infection.

Fine. You play, you pay, or so the saying goes, and I'm a grownup with healthcare and 25 bucks to spend on a prescription. Sure, it seemed weird and kind of random, and it made me feel a bit precious, but whatever. After a decent period of polysporin, I gave in and doctored up.

I took all the pills. I took them on time. I took them with food when I remembered, and I took them without and rode out the nausea when I forgot. I avoided alcohol. I drank water. I didn't poke at it any more than necessary. I relaxed, tried to forget about it, waited it out.

Yesterday, I ran out of pills, and I looked at my leg. It's hardly changed.

It's a little less red around the edges, sure. Slightly less raw-looking. But it's still there--red, swollen, warm to the touch, with a faint, dark line running straight through its heart.

I don't get it. Why did it happen in the first place? Millions of people play ball every year--thousands every day, I'm sure. So why did this happen to me? Okay, so I tried my best to catch and I had some bad luck. Sometimes that happens. But c'mon, sports gods. This really feels unnecessary. I did everything I was supposed to do, and I still end up like this?

I guess I had it coming. Why do I keep trying sports, when I know how they turn out? And I know I heal slow. I know I do. My skin is cut with old scars, dark with old bruises. Why did I think this time would be different? That I would bounce into the Appletree, take my meds, and find myself unblemished ten days later?

I'm sure it'll get better in time. That's what's supposed to happen. And yet. I want it to be better now. I know dwelling on it won't help, but still: why won't I heal? Why won't I heal, why won't I heal, why won't I heal?

Sep. 26th, 2012

janey

rise and shine

Half of my breakfast is in my stomach. Half of my breakfast is on my carpet.

I'm a big fan of sharing, but until my carpet joins me in my early morning workouts, it can find its own damn cereal.

Sep. 24th, 2012

janey

de retour

Nothing says Monday morning like a spider in the bathtub.

And not one of the tiny plant-dwellers, either, the hardly-a-spider-at-all!s. No. A big, black, prickly bastard who arrived, fully equipped with eight spiny legs, from God knows where to lurk in my bathtub on a morning I'd specifically eyeballed to start with a good attitude.

Well, fuck my good attitude. There's a spider in my bathtub.

My nice, clean bathtub that I scrubbed out with Vim on Friday night, in spite of hating that particular task more than any other household chore, and in spite of the fact that I was supposed to be getting dressed up to go to some cops-and-firemen social. But it was pouring rain and I was tired and the bathtub was really dirty and the last cop I met socially had the most ridiculous email address I've ever encountered (involving both The Wizard of Oz and his birth year, and hosted on hotmail, of all things), so I decided to stay home and give myself a migraine with the one household cleaner guaranteed to do just that, every time.

So my bathtub was clean. And then it had to get a spider in it.

Did you know that Tilex doesn't kill spiders? Well, it doesn't. What it DOES do is make them spread out all their legs, spread-eagle-style (assuming an eagle had an extra set of wings and legs, I guess), and then run furiously around the bathtub. If you then run the shower on top of them, it makes them do all of these things in the far reaches of the bathtub. And if you try to use the shower curtain to push them toward the drain, then you are a fool with a Tilex-soaked spider on your shower curtain.

Eventually, of course, the litre of Tilex I'd poured into the tub slowed him a down a bit. Because if it corrodes human flesh, spider skin can only hold out so long, right? And then he curled into a little ball, and that's when I redoubled efforts to float him toward the drain. He slipped past the hole with the tiniest of final struggles, and then I ran the faucet, full strength, for a solid ten minutes to push him down as far as possible.

That, so far, has been my Monday. At least I know his has been worse.

Jun. 6th, 2012

janey

charity begins at 5 AM

Disclaimer: I realize that I'm about to quibble with the practices of a charitable organization that is already doing more than its fair share to take all the work out of giving. Honestly, there couldn't be many things easier than looking around your house, identifying items you no longer want, putting them into boxes or bags, and then dumping those bags in a convenient location for collection. So why is it so hard?

Here's how it usually goes down: I check my voicemail to find a robocalled announcement that a pick-up has been scheduled for my area. I delete that announcement, along with several others about the national economic crisis, measures to address my (non-existent) debt problem, and free cruises. Several days later, I start to wonder whether I have any items that could be donated. I start to assemble a bag full of clothes. In another few days, I'll be leaving for the gym and notice a pile of bags set out for collection. I'll remind myself to finish off my donation and call it in. I tie up and label my bags, then leave them in my spare room for two to three weeks. After deleting a second robocall, I'll keep my eyes peeled for the next pile of bags. When I see it sitting in the lobby, I hustle back from the gym to put my things out with the rest.

But by the time I get the bags downstairs, the pile is already gone.

This happens ALL THE TIME, and it shouldn't be a surprise: the donation information clearly states that items should be out for pick-up by 7 AM. But why so early? Where's my buffer? And what delivery organization has EVER respected the start of a window? So how do these guys manage it every single time? Just this past Monday, I came home at 10 PM to find a pile of stuff sitting out. At 7:15 the next morning, I shuffled downstairs to add my bags. Gone, as if removed by some kind of charitable ninjas.

I'm sure there are solutions to this problem, like putting my things out the night before. But I don't exactly live in the best neighbourhood here, and if I wanted to donate my old skirts to local residents, I could probably just interrupt them when they're shouting outside my window or trying to high-kick passersby in the shoulders and fork over the goods, rather than invite them to rummage through bags in my lobby at 2 AM, you know?

Or maybe I should call the charitable organization directly and arrange a suitable date for pick-up, rather than assume that I can piggy-back on the arrangements of more organized individuals.

Or, if I'm going to be a charitable jerk, I could just bring my things down with me when I leave for the gym in the first place.

Fine. I get it. I'm the problem. I guess I just wish it were be possible to be both charitable and lazy, that's all.

May. 29th, 2012

janey

thunder, stolen

A mere six or so chapters into The Bloggess' new book (Let's Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir), I find myself dismayed.

Instead of laughing or being mildly grossed out at her father's strange antics, as per the rest of my book club, I found myself nodding in recognition, then kindling back over to 50 Shades of Grey (which, for the record, is terrible, and not even all that hot. so there.).

Texas? Saskatchewan. Pickup full of roadkill? Bait left in the fishing pail for a week. Home butchering? Home filleting. Taxidermy everywhere? Pike hung from our front mailbox. Wild "surprises"? Various critters brought home from the service station in grimy jam jars or coffee tins (often, giant spiders, which: GAH). "Magic" squirrel? "Chicks" hatched in our oven.

So it's settled: since she got there first, and better, I'll never write a book about my childhood. In some ways, it's a relief. I've come to enjoy having friends and fitting in. (I really should have taken that pike off the mailbox sooner.)

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