Sunday, August 13, 2017

This afternoon I went to the Coop to buy goat cheese.  They have tiny packages of it for five bucks but it's worth it to have on homemade pizza.

I didn't wear a sweater, as it is 21 degrees today, in an uncharacteristic hot spell.  Accompanied by the smoke from the NWT forest fires and no wind.  The Sir Wilfrid Laurier - a giant coast guard icebreaker - has dropped anchor in the bay, and it hums all night so last night I slept at the cabin.  The night before I watched tv in the middle of the night and cursed Sir Wilfrid for his humming.

These things are related.  Really.

The reason for my insomnia seems to be the sudden change in my hormonal balance - long story short I am no longer subject to the whims of nature in that way and it seems that the last couple of years of let's-have-a-period-every-twenty-days was incredibly draining.  So now after three months without my visitor, I'm feeling very strong and apparently I don't need a lot of sleep.

So I went to the Coop in a t-shirt and my hiking pants.  Something I don't normally do, as when I was 13 I started the habit of covering up my femaleness when out in public.  But something about this phase of things feels very much like the opposite of 13, back to 10 or 11, where my body is my own and doesn't do things I don't want it to.

There is a girl in town here who reminds me of me.  At about 15, she is shy, I think, but she's out there working all over town, as I did - but when you look at her, her gaze slides away.

As I was walking out of the Coop with my tiny package of goat (and some chocolate, naturally), she was walking in.  She didn't look at me.  She doesn't actually know me, but seeing that she was wearing a sweater and her usual sideways look, I know her.  And I wanted to stop her and say, "It will get better.  You will get out of here, if you keep working.  And later on it'll all be worth it".   I'm not going to tell her not to wear a sweater, though.  I wouldn't have listened if anyone told me that at fifteen...

Sunday, August 06, 2017

Walked out to the cabin this afternoon.  The weather cooperated, and people driving by are getting used to me walking that road so now they just wave rather than stopping to ask if I want a ride.  I was thinking about how much more understanding about a place you get from walking rather than driving...  Psychogeography.

Friday, August 04, 2017

Well so it turns out that doing this research for the PhD is hugely addicting and time consuming.  Or maybe it's just that I'm obsessive.  Or both.

I have a huge database put together now, and I'm starting to run it through its paces which is fascinating and I can lose hours playing with the statistics program.  And trying to get my head around what the statistics mean exactly.  Not sure I'm there yet.  Sent the whole thing off to my supervisor for review, and in a couple of weeks I'm having a holiday, going to go stay at my cabin for a few weeks and pretend the world has ended.

Went to Taloyoak again this week, it's a beautiful place in the summer, and enjoyed wandering around in the hills behind in the evenings.  The course I was teaching was a bit longer than the time allotted so it tired me out but I'm home now.

Also in news, haven't smoked for almost five months and have stopped wanting to off myself.  Good news really.  So on we go...

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

As it turned out, I had used up all my luck...  Flew off to Taloyoak, spent the week there teaching and working on the last task task for the 1st year of my PhD!

Friday at lunchtime went to the airport with the detachment commander, we walked in and there was no-one at the Canadian North desk.  Taloyoak airport is two tiny check in desks, about ten chairs and perhaps 20feet by 20feet of floor.  Inquiring at the First Air desk produced the information that Canadian North's plane to Cambridge Bay was cancelled, they had transferred all the passengers to First Air and then gone home.  The friendly First Air lady checked me in.  I asked her, "Where am I going?"  "Yellowknife" she replied, handing me a boarding pass and taking my suitcase.

Ok then.  That was not the plan.  However, it worked out ok as one of my Cambridge Bay friends was also stranded in Yellowknife and she was at the house of another friend who used to live in CB.  There was wine and it was just like old times.  In the morning, (Saturday) back to the airport, with my friend and her new kitten-in-a-bag, at which point we flew round and over CB because the runway, when the plane approached, was unfit for landing.  Back to YK.  Cat was unhappy, and meowed her displeasure.

Yellowknife again.  Sigh.  Night in a hotel, nice dinner out, shopping at Wal-Mart, then Sunday we flew again and did land.  However, arriving at 2pm meant that I had 3 hours until I needed to be back on a plane to  Kugluktuk.  Just enough time to stuff all the dirty clothes in the washer and dryer, buy more food and repack everything, much to Mulder's disgust, then barrel out to the airport so the First Air lady could laugh at me (didn't you just come in???). Off to Kugluktuk.

Friday comes again.  I have finished teaching.  I am ready to go, packed and prepared.  Flight gets cancelled again.  For weather.  What weather?  I can see the islands out in the bay.  The consensus at the Kugluktuk office was that I was probably the only person wanting to fly from Kugluktuk to CB on a Friday (hey if you're going somewhere on a Friday it should be Yellowknife).  But this time after numerous phone calls it was determined that I was rebooked for CB for Saturday....  And I did get home.  But I was tired.

I have the preparation aspect of Northern travel down to a science.  All necessary food plus some extra just in case, comes with me, with the stipulation that it's microwaveable as kitchens may not be available, but all the detachments have a microwave.  Also my pillow and a blanket in case of inadequate bedding/heat (the water did run out in Taloyoak, and as the heating boilers need... Water... It was chilly one night.  I was glad of my extra blanket).  I take instant coffee and tea bags, sugar and candy, and books to read in case there's no tv/Internet as there sometimes isn't...

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Working on ethics resubmission.  Procrastinating.

Things I did today:

Got up at six.  Slept on the couch for half an hour.  I was dreaming I had triplets.
Had a meeting with my PhD supervisor at 7:30 AM.  (2:30 in England, one of the drawbacks of distance education).
Forgot to put the chicken in the crockpot for dinner.

Went to work.  Signed numerous documents for folks.  This notary gig is almost a full time job now.
Court files.  Court is done.
Didn't get to the fingerprints again.
Printed out materials for the course I'm teaching next week in Taloyoak.  This is an exceedingly painstaking process.  Trying to get files off the internet up here is like sucking elephants through juice box straws.
Texted Rachel.  We discussed Ian's theory that Donald Trump is actually Bill the Cat.

We got a new photocopier at work today.  It's been sitting around in three boxes since Tuesday, when the police plane dropped it off.  The stupid one we had was running all the sheets through crooked so they came out like badly ironed shirts.

So the three boxes moved into the other side of the office, today, where the guys sit, with promises that they would put it together.  I have a nice little glass box to sit in, remnants I think of an old radio room but it means I can play my music endlessly without disturbing them.  Although they do sometimes come through to put things in the filing cabinet and say "are you listening to...  Eminem?  Justin Timberlake?  NWA?"  Yes to all the above.  At 3 o'clock I decided that if I didn't do something about it, the boxes would still be sitting there on Saturday when the boss comes back from his holiday.  So I got out my penknife and started opening the boxes.  Pulled out some bits and put them together.  In the end though the largest part was too heavy.  At that point the guys came back and ripped the box apart and heaved the machine onto the base I had constructed.  Then we spent about twenty minutes trying, all of us, to figure out how to get it to take legal size paper.  I mean, it has to.  You can't print legal forms on 8andahalfby11 paper.

Eventually Brandon figured it out.  He said, what if we pull the drawer out from the front.  And we had to tell him he was right.  Which he insists we need to tell his girlfriend, that he was right once.  Although it's the ugliest thing, with the legal drawer sticking out, it works.

Came home and found Miguel was making something else with the chicken.  Yay!
Watched more Vikings.  I like it that they haven't killed off Bjorn yet.
Continued the Marxism / Wages for Facebook discussion from yesterday.
Worked on the ethics.  Sigh.  I suspect they're preparing to squash part of my research.  I plan to fight.
When I could no longer think, watched the season finale of Hunting Hitler.  A guilty pleasure.

Sunday, January 08, 2017

I come and go, I know.  Been to Hawaii, and Winnipeg.  A bipolar holiday.  Winnipeg is not my favourite place on the planet, but there was a conference on Arctic research that I've been to before, and so Winnipeg it was.  Hawaii was much nicer.

I'm going back to England at the end of February, but for now I'm here.  Back in the cold and dark, with my dog.  Week after next will be Taloyoak, week after that Kugluktuk, to run some courses.  I enjoy the teaching, which surprised me.  The travelling is a bit hairy, in the north, woke up in the morning I was supposed to leave Gjoa Haven to pea soup fog, which stops the planes here, as does the brewing blizzard on the day I was supposed to leave Kugaaruk.  But both times the planes came in and I left, a good thing in Gjoa Haven as the hotel was booked up for the weekend and I'm not sure what I would have done.  I worry I've used up my luck and will get stuck this time round...

Mum and Dad are in Australia with Graeme.  Roy's thinking about moving to Vancouver Island.  Ian's got a job, he starts tomorrow at the psychiatric hospital in Edmonton, and is packing to move closer to work.  Rachel is coming home, end of April, to live with us again.  Eric mutters about going back to school in the South, Kirsten and Jorden are contemplating a move to BC.  Everyone shuffling around.  The house in Edmonton will get sold.  Time moves on.  I'm finished a year of my PhD.  Amazingly I've managed to meet all the goals set for this year, academically, and should be able to start the process of data collection and analysis this year.  Historical child sexual abuse interviews by the police.  And that's a conversation stopper, let me tell you.  People ask, "what are you studying" and I tell them, and they don't know what to say.  I think (as another sexual assault researcher said) that they'd rather I said "freshwater trout" or "boreal ecology".

The sun will be back soon.  I miss it.  There was a tiny sliver of reflected light from below the horizon, today right at noon, but it will be showing above the horizon on Thursday.  Probably be cloudy.

Thursday, October 06, 2016

Went off to Gjoa Haven to work for a while.  Apparently Kugaaruk is now jealous so I will probably have to go there, too.  I like going to Kugaaruk, they have a cute little apartment at the detachment and I take my school work and hole up for a week.  Really wish I could go have Thanksgiving with the kids.  Miguel will be there, but I'm up here.

However.  I did acquire a turkey today.  There was one in the freezer downstairs but since Patti has been inviting random people it was looking a bit small at 10 pounds.  Co-op actually had some, so I bought one when I went to the post office this afternoon, and then took it back to work.  Sat it on my desk, since it needs to thaw anyway.  Nathalie who's currently doing our cleaning came in and dusted it.  Eric came in and hugged it.  Jean-Guy (new boss) said, "Do you know there's a turkey on your desk?"  At 3:30 I told him my turkey was bored and wanted to go home, so I should take it, but he just laughed at me.

So the plan is that Gord cooks ham, I cook turkey and Patti invites people.  Good division of labour.

Cool thing today - 18 days since I had a cigarette.  Honestly, I seem to be really good at quitting but also really good at starting again.  Not sure what that's about.

Ian is in Spain, doing the Camino.  I'm following along, remembering all my fun.  He's currently somewhere past Carrion de los Condes, I'm thinking headed for Astorga.  Then up into the hills.  

Monday, August 22, 2016

There aren't any words, really.  Just a lot of love and not enough time.  Like life in general.

Took Ian and Rachel to the Hip concert in Edmonton - the extreme nosebleed seats were awesome, a small block of chairs up under the roof, surrounded by grandmas and bikers and teenagers and dads and little kids (wearing industrial headphones like workmen wear when jack hammering) and it was super loud and we were so elevated that we had a bird's eye view of a bird's eye view.  (I promise, that's the only lyric reference for this one, but it came into my head when we sat down and watched the stadium fill to ultra-capacity.)  I had to close my eyes, at one point, partly because they were filled with tears and partly because I wanted to feel the music in my body, hand over my heart, so close to them inside.

It's the music of my adult life.  I first heard Boots or Hearts when I was 21, walking on the estuary behind our trailer, and fell in love instantly with the music, Gord's voice, the line about fingers and toes.  In a way Gord Downie and the Tragically Hip have been like a bubble around me, my second self, in parallel to the first, whispering and shouting in my ears through everything that's happened to me in between, and I colour and filter all my experiences through them.  Driving down the steep road from the spiral tunnels, shouting the words to Smalltown Bringdown with the kids, dancing in the kitchen with them to Fireworks (they always called it the 'hockey song'), Wheat Kings the story of my high school reunion, Cordelia of course, Bobcaygeon and Nautical Disaster for late night depressive episodes, and going to two spectacular concerts that were peak experiences leaving me deaf and with new admiration...  I love how they play a song live and it gives you a new take on it - Long Time Running at the Queen Elizabeth theatre, Bobcaygeon at BC Place, Membership in Edmonton (I needed more concerts. Never got them) and you carry that along with the recording.  The words, the key shifts and tempo changes that I know off by heart, the changes in the lyrics when Gord is performing, the ecstasy that I can't explain to anyone.  Serendipity.

And I don't care that so many other people in Canada love them.  I can share.  I'm not jealous with my  bubble.  Everybody in Edmonton that evening was in the same space, both physically and emotionally.  How must it feel to have 20,000 people chanting the words to your songs?  I don't care that it's probably not cool to be 'their biggest fan' as Miguel described me the other day.  If you think less of me, so be it.  

My sorrow at this time is shot through with joy, that they were in my life all this time.  That I got to see them again through some amazing act of God.  Ian said he lost count of how many people said, "HOW did you get tickets?" and he said, "My mom got lucky."  I totally did.  For 28 wonderful years....  

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Two weeks in the south...  Busy weeks, getting ready for the wedding, gardening, walking with kids and dog (took Mulder, he needed a holiday too), then Roy, Robyn, Luci, Mum, Dad, Paul and Karen came to the wedding so lots of visiting.  The wedding was well-planned before I got there, Kirsten is very thorough, but running around to do as she worked right up to a few days before the big day.

All the groomsmen boys came down from Cambridge Bay to be in the wedding, so we all hung out at the Edmonton house and it was just like old times, boys playing video games, rummaging through the fridge, laughing in the background.  Like taking a holiday in the past.  I think we may have alarmed the nice people at the Devonian Gardens when we went to rehearse, though.  The wedding patio features a bridge that the bride walks across.  Kirsten (in her ripped jeans, her hair loose, looking fifteen) wandered across the bridge, dutifully rehearsing.  The Devonian lady said, "Have you decided on a song for her walk down the aisle?"  As she reached the far side of the patio, the boys on Jorden's other side started singing the Star Wars tune.  She laughed, kept walking.  About half way down the aisle, accompanied by her baritone a Capella choir, she said, "That sounds really good, I might have to go with it".  Jorden found an instrumental version of a piece of Star Wars music, nice strings, and afterwards Roy said he was listening and all of a sudden he thought, hey, wait a minute, that's Star Wars.  Which was exactly what the kids wanted so...

It's hard to believe she's old enough to be married, to change her name and be Jorden's wife, but she was beautiful and composed all day and I enjoyed the whole thing.

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Went to England again, last week.  No, wait.  Week before last.  Good conference, stayed in a hotel on the beach in Portsmouth, presented my research, got to hang out and be a student for a while.  Came back to piles of work, but oh well.

John and Jill live near the conference venue, so John came and got me on the Friday afternoon and took me back to their place for dinner.  We discussed Brexit.  No-one I met in England was for it.  We also talked about me leaving England for Canada when I was in elementary school, and how that affected my life.  It occurred to me, while I was wandering around listening to my music, on the waterfront in the rain, on the way to the university from my hotel, that my life would have been very different if we'd stayed there.  I'd maybe feel a sense of belonging, at least in one of the countries.  But as I get older I find that I don't have the self-consciousness I used to have, I don't hear my accent as different, I say what I think and then grin and mostly people deal with it.  I don't want necessarily for people to think I'm English - I am what I am now and whatever they think is not really relevant.

Having said that, I got up at 5am the morning of my presentation and paced around the parking lot at the hotel, rehearsing it out loud.  It went well, I managed to say everything I needed to say in the 15 minute time slot, my slides all worked, and the audience said nice things afterwards.  The students I travelled up with told me I didn't seem nervous, but I do have a poker face when I need one.  

Thursday, June 02, 2016

I have, of course, acquired, with much cursing at Ticketmaster, three tickets to the Tragically Hip in Edmonton on July 28th.

But first, I would like to point out that the universe is inherently lacking in fairness.  Why does the dangerously cheesy Donald get to continue to deposit slime on the world stage and Gordon Downie gets a brain tumour?  Who decides these things?  I'd like a word.  Selfishly, I need Gord to live forever and continue to sing the contents of my thoughts to me, the thoughts I didn't realize I had until he growled them.  Which, i believe, is the real purpose of poetry.

Years ago, when the kids were very little, I went drinking with Graeme, between Christmas and New Year, in Lake Louise.  It was a good night, with an excess of beer.  Something the bar under the Lake Louise Inn specializes in:  surfeit.  Graeme and a girl (I'm sorry, it was a long time - I forget her name.  Hopefully she's forgotten mine.) were walking behind me, and I shuffled my feet through the snow, that sparkled unbearably under the streetlights, over the tourist bridge behind the Post Hotel, after last call, singing Cordelia at the loudest possible volume.  I remember feeling the song with my whole body - "Just to see how alive you really are..." and in that moment, being elated and sad at the same time...  Graeme and girl were laughing at me.  I didn't care.  I sang all the verses and didn't get arrested.

Rachel and Ian are coming with me to the concert, Kirsten will be on her honeymoon with Jorden.  Which I suppose is only right.  

Saturday, May 14, 2016

So in the middle of the night a couple months ago, I'm home alone and I can't sleep.  the dog and I are watching the Investigation Discovery channel.  which, if you've never seen it, is all true crime, all the time.  addicting.  anyway.  I quit smoking with Champix, which was amazingly easy and painless, with the added bonus that all the noise in my head tapered off and I was calm and even.  no problem.  didn't even want to smoke.  three months without smoking.  magic.

then the Champix had to stop.  and within a week, the stuff in my head came back, and having had a nice rest, it was raring to go.  middle of the night, as I mentioned, and my brain is suddenly in full-on 'you should kill yourself' mode.  I don't know why my brain is so bent on self-annihilation.  usually it takes a few months to get to that point, during which time I can get used to it, talk to it, tell it to fuck off.  use all my coping mechanisms - long walks to get physicality, music to get a bit of joy, dog cuddles, obsessive work...

anyway.  my response to the sudden rush of suicidal ideation was to get out of bed, go in the other room, find an old tin of tobacco, and make myself a cigarette.  the strong urge subsided to a manageable level.  I'm used to this...

in the morning I had a health centre appointment, a weekly bp check as they still don't like my numbers.  the nurse says to me, "how did you do with quitting smoking?"

I'm exhausted, reeling at my near-miss (or near hit?) and I say, unwisely, "I started again last night.  It was either that or kill myself"

how fast do you think I was seeing the mental health guy?

anyway.  long story short, the doctor is making 'you're bipolar' noises.  I've backed off.  I shucked my last appointment.  I don't want drugs.  (I won't kill myself.  Promise).

But the interesting thing out of all of this is that although I've known about the depression being a factor for so many years, it never occurred to me (and I'm bright, aren't I?) that the other side of it, the high points were also an altered state.

And I don't want to think that everything I am is attributable to some sort of brain chemistry imbalance.  awkward.  more obsessive rumination is needed.  In many ways, the depression aspect of me has driven a lot of the things I've done.  proving to myself that there was meaning in life, forcing myself to perform difficult juggling acts and get every last drop of work out of myself.

If I relax, how will I finish my Phd?  hahahaha.  I'm pretty sure that starting that was a definite sign of mental illness.  although I am enjoying it.

This week I'm vibrating a bit.  Just a mild undertone.  listening to X Ambassadors' Renegade on repeat.  talking too much.  getting the urge to write blog posts :)  wanting to go for reallllly long walks.  (dog doesn't mind this phase).  but that's fine, because I've got a presentation to finish for a conference in June.  and an ethics document to write.  which I should get back to...

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Last night I dreamt that the world had come to an end, that I was in a huge, ruined, pitch dark city, huddled in a dingy room with candles and the last of the food, terrified and alone, not knowing what to do next.

This morning, it makes sense.  Prince is gone.

It's strange, because David Bowie dying was a shock, I thought he was hyper-real and possibly alien and not capable of dying.  But Prince, he has always seemed to be on the edge of mortality, understanding that the line between here and gone is always moving.  Now he has stepped over.

When I was a teenager, I dreamt that I was folding laundry and he showed up, wearing his pretty clothes, and wanted to kiss me.  To do so, he was forced to stand on a box, and I dissolved into helpless laughter.  (please note, I am not tall enough for this to be true, I'm sure).  I hope he's forgiven me.  And that wherever he went, he knows we all loved him, back in 1984.  Everyone is quoting appropriate lines from his songs today, I won't do that.  I don't need to.  They are the soundtrack in the back of my mind always.  so long, sweet prince.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The road goes on. Upwards, apparently.  In April, I walked almost 400k around the coast of Devon and Cornwall, and I only got soaking wet two days.  Miles and miles of cliffside walking, punctuated by bed and breakfasts and a satisfying amount of fish and chips.  But it was good to get home.

In September we are going (Miguel and I) to Peru, to visit Machu Picchu.  We were told to be careful of altitude sickness, but when I looked it up, the top of the Lake Louise ski hill is higher than Machu Picchu so I'm hoping we will be ok...

Miguel is going to cook for a hunting camp next week.  Originally the plan was that I would go too, but in the way of things here, plans changed and there isn't room on the plane for me.  So I guess it's more working for me.  I'm sad, because I was really looking forward to it, but there will be other opportunities to get out on the land, I'm sure, and we're fixing up our new cabin...

Sunday, March 24, 2013

ok, so it's that time in the essay-writing process when I've got a week before two papers are due and they are written but I've decided I hate them both and I'm going to just fail...  I feel like messing with them is just making them worse.  total drivel.  argh. blurgle. meh.

Miguel has gone off to Edmonton today, I won't see him again for 37 days...  but we've both got adventures to go on, he's going to Europe with the high school kids (shudder) and I'm going to England.

It's getting warmer, here, finally.  I'm looking forward to getting back and doing some more kite-skiing when my feet don't freeze off.  I managed this week to fall while kiting and get back up again without downing the kite, taking off my skis, and clambering to my feet - I just used the pull of the kite to right myself, which is what you're supposed to do.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

20-some-odd kilometre an hour winds.  But, I got the kite up in the air and kept it there for a while and skied across the bay.  In the other direction from last time, so a different view on the walk home.  When I am able to go upwind, the fun will last longer and there won't be as much walking.  But the flying bit is very fun.  Now someone has removed my legs and replaced them with gummy bears.  Using muscles I didn't know I had.  At one point I crashed and was lying on the ice totally out of breath, but perfectly happy.

Making banana bread this afternoon.  Someone (maybe me?) froze some brown bananas and they are happily cooking into a loaf.  House smells good.

Saturday, March 09, 2013

Indian food tonight.  Butter chicken and curried carrots and peas, and I made naan.  Haven't done that in a while.

Justin Timberlake is on SNL tonight, but I had actually forgotten that fact, because I was looking forward to Miguel coming home from Igloolik.

Court week is over.  That's the thing about court week.  Although so much of my workload is geared towards having things done for court, when it comes it just goes the way it goes and a bunch of stuff gets either withdrawn or adjourned and suddenly there is no point in some of the work I've done - transcripts for a matter that goes nowhere because witnesses don't show, and then it's over.

Rachel and I were talking about parenting, today.  She told me that we never grounded her.  Which is funny, I guess, it never occurred to me.

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Went to Rachel's grade twelve class yesterday and facilitated a consensus exercise.  Pulled Korinne's class apart and put it back together as a circle of chairs, just like AVP.  Told them they all had to participate all the way through or it wouldn't work - and they did.  I had forgotten how much I enjoy facilitating.  I really love consensus, I love how it looks at the end, when everyone is leaning into the circle in their chairs and they're in agreement.  Asking them how they felt afterwards they had some insightful things to say.

Guarded last night.  Nobody wants to do it right now.  But it means I can't get on the internet and I get more schoolwork done that way.  I'm just editing, both papers due at the end of March are written, and I'm editing them and adding bits.  Slow going.  My supervisor for my dissertation had an aneurysm, poor thing.  The lady they gave me in her place in the interim is very sweet but doesn't know anything about my topic.  (Interviewer skill and training in victim and witness statements....)

But I'm tired today.  Thinking about cigarettes.  Not having any.


Monday, March 04, 2013

The dogs are making dog noises at me.  Since they have both recently been outside I am ignoring them.  They persist.  Neither one is bright enough to be trying to warn me of some unspecified danger, so I am assuming sheer boredom motivates them.  Perhaps I should teach them to knit...

Watched the movie "We Bought A Zoo" last night, as I think I drank a cup of caffeinated coffee at 7pm.  Dumb, really.  Well, the movie was fun but the caffeine not so much.  Miguel didn't like my idea the other day that I was going to quit my job and start a hamster farm.  He says no rodents.  So tigers and such would be better, I'm guessing.  But the movie has an interesting piece of advice.

The father in the movie tells his children that in order to go and say something potentially embarrassing to a girl, all you need is 20 seconds of courage.  Which will launch you, apparently, into the middle of the situation, which will then play itself out.

I've always found, however, that this strategy works better in person, where the embarassee can see me grinning maniacally while I tell him or her the potentially embarrassing whatever.  Looking for jobs has a similar 20 second thing.  Or showing up for a dreaded appointment.  Generally, when all is said and done, it turns out the doctor/teacher/future employer already has an agenda and all I need to do is sit there and nod.

Someone called me at work on Friday, and when I answered, the caller gave an address and asked to be picked up.  I said, "Excuse me?"  Caller replied, a little annoyed, "I want a taxi at XX Arctic-Animal Street."  I said, "You've called the police."  "Oh, sorry, don't come pick me up..."