Friday, September 30, 2011

Odds & ends

* Dh & I went to see "Moneyball" recently, in which Brad Pitt plays the GM of the Oakland As baseball team. He's also the devoted divorced dad of a 12-year-old girl who plays the guitar. Gulp.

* Earlier this week, we stepped off our morning train in the city, & were almost immediately engulfed in a crowd of kids. Hundreds of them. (Including, I'm sure, many 12-year-olds.)(The NOISE!!) We couldn't figure out what was going on -- & then I saw someone's T-shirt, remembered a news story I had read, & everything clicked into place. They were all headed to "We Day" at the Air Canada Centre, the brainchild of Craig Kielburger of Free the Children -- which he founded when HE was only 12. Part of me wished I could go too. ; )

* My much-younger (30ish) boss is engaged & planning a summer 2012 wedding. Which means she'll probably be pregnant by Christmas 2012, right? Then, of course, she'll go on mat leave for a year... which means I'll have to get used to a new interim boss, again. I've already had three different immediate bosses in the last year & a half. I'm getting too old for this.... :p

* I know she's already got baby fever: I was standing in a group of girls beside her when a woman pushing a stroller with an adorable sleeping baby went by. "My ovaries hurt," she moaned.

* A coworker who's currently on mat leave dropped by today with her dh & their absolutely adorable 6-month-old daughter. I was proud that I felt only the briefest pang. I think I was too enchanted by those chubby cheeks. (Yes, I couldn't resist giving them a gentle pinch!)

* Another coworker's birthday is coming up soon & she's taking the day off. She'll be 26. In other words, I'm definitely old enough to be her mother. Erk.

* As if I needed to be reminded of that, she told me it's her mom's birthday soon too. Her mom will be 52. I'm younger than her mom -- but only just. Double erk.

* Suddenly, I press "publish" on Blogger -- and it actually works!! I haven't been able to do that in months.

* On the other hand, I can no longer get "preview," "link," bullets, boldface, or several other functions on the "compose" window to work now. Arrrrrggggggh. (With comments, it seems like I can comment on some Blogger blogs but not others, depending on how their comment window is configured.)

* All my problems with Blogger started earlier this spring, around the time my browser automatically upgraded itself to IE9. Do you think there might be a link there? Is there anyone out there using Blogger who has NOT had any problems with it over the last several months??

Thursday, September 29, 2011

30 years : )

The exact date is a mystery to me. I didn't realize until much later that it was a day that had changed my life.

But it happened 30 years ago, right about now -- late September/early October 1981. I was in the third year of my four-year arts program, and also my third year of living in the all-girls dorm on campus (which these days in now coed).

I think it was the night of the inter-residence social at university, which brought together students from all the campus residences. Before any big party, though, there was always a pre-party. The girls on my floor would get together with the guys from one of the guys-only floors in the neighbouring residence next door & get a (ahem) head start on the celebrations.

On this night, the party was in their building, in one of the beautiful old oak-panelled lounges with big fireplaces. The guys from this floor were a great bunch, and we wound up partying with them often that year. And I remember having a long conversation with a very cute, very nice guy -- a pre-masters immunology student from Toronto, of all places. That fact alone probably helped him stand out in my mind. We had lots of kids from Manitoba, of course, lots from Saskatchewan & Alberta, lots from Thunder Bay & other towns in northwestern Ontario -- but Toronto?? It wasn't exactly a popular place in western Canada in the early 1980s (& things probably haven't improved much since then). (I'm not sure there's an equivalent relationship in the States.) If someone had told me then that I would wind up living in Toronto, I would have never believed it. Winnipeg, certainly. Calgary, Edmonton, sure. Toronto?? You've got to be kidding.

Anyway -- I wouldn't say it was love at first sight, but we definitely made an impression on each other. I remember going over with some of the other girls to visit some of the guys on his floor that fall. Most of us would keep our doors open unless we were out, asleep or deep in studying, so I poked my head in his door to say hi. "Who's the hunk on your wall?" I asked, pointing to the rock star poster on the wall. "Bruce Springsteen," he said to me. I don't think the expression "Duuhhhhh" had been popularized yet, but he might as well have added it. I should have known -- his nickname on the floor was "Bruuuuucce" (most of the guys had their floor nicknames on the back of their official floor T-shirts, & that was his, & he had already explained to me why).

(Months later, when he went home for the summer -- &, as it turned out, off to do his MBA at another university that fall -- he gave me the poster. It hung on my dorm room wall the next year, & then was rolled up, along with all my other posters, & went into storage in my parents basement. For the next, oh, 26 years. I found it a couple of years back when we were cleaning out my parents' basement, still rolled up, along with all my other posters, in mint condition. I gave most of the other posters to my mom for her next garage sale, but put that one into a box of "stuff to keep." I'm going to retrieve it someday, frame it & hang it in our house.) ; )

But I guess he forgave me for my faux pas, because a few weeks later, at the Halloween party, he (wearing a lab coat) asked me (in a waitress's uniform, with fishnet stockings) to dance. At the Christmas dance, he kissed me under the mistletoe. Sparks were beginning to fly. He later told me he spent his Christmas vacation plotting his next moves.

In January, I became his neighbour for a week when several of us girls on the floor council traded rooms with the guys on his floor's council, & we bonded over a shared love of nightly popcorn. I actually had long had my eye on his good-looking neighbour -- but by the time the neighbour started showing some interest in me, I was already moving on. I danced with both of them at the Ukrainian Christmas social in January, shortly after my 21st birthday -- but I left with the nice, cute guy from Toronto.

Our first official date was Jan. 22, 1982. And we've been together ever since then. : )

*** *** ***

Sadly, the big, beautiful, 100-year-old residence where dh lived, with the beautiful old oak-panelled lounges, closed this spring. Kids today apparently don't like to share communal bathrooms, or bedrooms, for that matter, and the thick, concrete walls aren't conducive to easy wiring for wi-fi and all the other bells & whistles that come with 21st century campus living.

Happily, though, it will gain a new lease on life as the new home to the school of music. Those thick walls may not be great for wi-fi, but they are perfect for practicing musical instruments! And the auditorium where I attended so many dances & parties & movie nights (where, in the early 1970s -- before my time & before they hit the big time -- it's rumoured that KISS played at a dance), & first danced with dh, will be restored to its former glory as a concert hall.





Me & dh (ages 21 & 25), at our residence spring dance, March 1982. : ) My dress cost all of $19,99. ; )

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Lurking on my own blog

Hi, remember me? It seems like forever since I last posted (it's been 16 days), & it's probably a longer drought than I've had for awhile, maybe even ever. My excuse is that it's been a heck of a few weeks at work (& it's not even the REALLY busy season yet...). I HAVE been reading other people's blogs (catching up...!) & commenting, and I have had post topics flit through my head. I've just lacked the time &/or motivation to write them down & develop them.

I shall return... soon...

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Sept. 11th, 10 years later

I wrote a post a few years ago, essentially answering the question, "Where were you on 9-11-01?" I don't have much to add to what I wrote then. It's hard to believe that 10 years has passed, that the world has changed so much (and in some ways, not enough). I never would have believed I would need a passport to drive two miles over the U.S.-Canada border to visit the cemetery where my ancestors are buried. I sometimes wonder what my grandfather (born on a farm near that cemetery -- he used to tell stories about rum runners driving down the back roads at night, during Prohibition...!) would think of all this. :(

CBC has been showing a number of 9-11 related stories from the Canadian perspective. I know if sounds kind of weird to have a favourite 9-11 story, but Brian Clark's has stuck in my mind these past 10 years -- maybe because he's Canadian, maybe because it's such a great story, and maybe because, as the reporter (Alison Smith) says, he tells it so articulately and well -- & I am so glad they revisited him. I love what he says at the end -- essentially that life is a gift, that it can all change in an instant, that we need to appreciate and enjoy every day while we're here. It's a lesson that is familiar to anyone who has endured traumatic loss & grief of any kind, I think -- but it warrants repeating over & over & over again.

(((Hugs))) to all.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

It's a girl! : )

PNGD (daughter of PND) is (FINALLY!) here, safely. My parents called me at work this morning with the happy news, getting ready to head to the hospital. PND thought she was having a boy, but my whole family just knew (& even hoped) it would be a girl -- although needless to say, it is a bittersweet thing for dh & me in some respects.

I don't want to say too much more, because her story is not really mine to tell, but we are all happy & excited (& relieved!), and dh & I can't wait to meet her the next time we are there (probably at Christmastime). As I've written before (& as you can probably guess), I generally avoid Baby Gap like the plague -- but I made a beeline there on my lunch hour, lol. Didn't buy anything (yet) but actually had fun looking.

Thank you for all the prayers & positive thoughts while we waited.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Grade 8

Tomorrow is the first day of school hereabouts. It's been all the talk on Facebook & my non-ALI message boards, etc., and of course, you can't miss it in all the malls, stores, newspaper & TV ads, etc. etc. Adding to the fun (not), AF decided to pay me an early visit, just in time for this long weekend (impeccable timing, as always...!). My one reprieve this year: the annual Labour Day weekend get-together with dh's cousins was cancelled this year because of the recent death of dh's uncle, so I don't have to listen to all his cousins who are not just moms but also teachers.

Katie would be starting Grade 8 tomorrow. Grade 8!!! I remember my first day (and subsequent days) of Grade 8 very well. We had moved to a new town over the summer, so I was "the new girl." Ugh. Oh well, I survived. I like to think Katie wouldn't have had to go through that. She'd be turning 13 in November. A teenager!

At most schools hereabouts, Grade 8 is the last stop in either elementary or middle school (jr high) before moving on to high school. My understanding is that Grade 8 graduation has become almost as big a deal as high school. In some ways, I'm relieved I don't have to deal with that.

But it hurts too, thinking about how much fun it would have been -- having grad portraits taken & proudly handing them out to friends & relatives, shopping for a nice dress (& no doubt fighting over it, lol), giving her flowers from her dad & me, arranging for hair & nails to be done as a special treat, taking pictures.

I miss my little girl every single day. But tonight, it's hurting a little more than usual. :(

2010: Grade 7

2009: Grade 6