Thursday, June 28, 2012

(Embracing the) Surly Thursdays

I am not a good person. Oh, I'm generally nice and polite to everyone, but this is only because I suffer from an unfortunate surfeit of empathy, and if I was mean or rude to anyone I would just have to experience the tiresome effect of being able to vividly imagine how that made them feel, and it's just not worth the effort. And sure, I adore my family and friends and I would do anything to help them out or make them feel better, within reason, right after The Vampire Diaries, but I'd throw them all over for a guaranteed extra two or three good hair days a month.

But I'm not a good person. When I'm alone and driving around, I'm filled with rage and hatred for all the stupid drivers who don't have the good sense to just get the fuck out of my way. And man, there are a lot of stupid drivers. The ones who won't pull up far enough when they're stopped at a red light to let the right-turning people turn right (see, I always pull up far enough, because otherwise I just have to vicariously experience the vein-throbbing head-explosiveness going on in the car behind me). The ones who gaily swerve from lane to lane because look! A rainbow! A cow! The ones who come to a full and complete stop, which hey, I respect, because I've been doing the full and complete stop ever since this post, BUT then after they've stopped, they don't just go. They inch cautiously forward into the intersection as if some purple-motorcycled freak is going to appear out of nowhere and plow into them. Because yes, I do mean when the intersection is COMPLETELY EMPTY.

I had to pick my Dad up at the hospital after his cataract surgery on Monday. I know this is a tired subject but why, oh why, do they make the place you have to go when you're sick, already ill at ease in the world, and prone to disorientation and confusion, so completely baffling and forbidding? I mean, in this situation there was no dire illness or fear of death, and I STILL came out of it feeling like I'd run a marathon through a forest fire.

Tuesday I went to the mall because Wednesday was Angus's grade 6 leaving ceremony (isn't that a weird thing to call it? I respect that they want to get away from the 'graduating from everything' wave, but it makes me think of those science fiction stories where everybody on the planet has to die at the age of sixty or something. If they started putting wreaths of flowers on their heads I was grabbing my kid and getting the eff out of there) and we realized on Monday that, although he had a number of nice, presentable shirts and a roughly equal number of nice, presentable pairs of of shorts, none of said nice, presentable items looked remotely un-idiotic when put together.

I hate the mall. By the time I left there were (I can hardly type it)..... sweat marks on the back of my shirt.

Wednesday was the leaving ceremony. More on that later.

Last night I was reading the paper. There's a column in our paper written by Craig and Mark Kielberger (I'm not googling anything about this for spelling or accuracy, read with extreme skepticism), who have been activists for world peace and justice and clean water in Africa and stuff like that since the age of three or something. For all my snark, we must all agree that these are good, good people. So people write in and ask them stuff about activism and social causes. The letter I read last night was asking if edgy campaigns such as the "I love boobies" bracelets (one of which my son got for his birthday - not from me - and wears proudly_ and the "fuck cancer" t-shirts are effective, or if they put people off. Craig and Mark talked a little bit, in a fairly measured way, about the woman who started the fuck cancer t-shirt campaign. But at the end of their column they said they thought 'messages of hope and inspiration' were the best way to go for social causes.

And now I want to bitch-slap Craig and Mark Kielberger.

Not a good person.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Suppressing the Surly

You have no idea how ready I am to move on to Surly Thursdays. I am forcing myself to recall my week-end, which was filled with largely pleasurable events, rather than wolfing down my entire chocolate stash and listing my largely petty but nonetheless stabifying grievances.

Friday night was my end-of-the-year book club meeting. We went to the Foolish Chicken again (half-racks all around, cue the boob jokes now). I got there at seven, and five minutes later was really afraid that my friend Sharon was having some kind of stroke or a small psychotic break because ohmygod, the loud and the belligerent and the sudden violent gestures. Happily, I found out that she had had many beers before showing up at the restaurant and was just very, very drunk. Tanis emailed our book list for next year to the waitress from her iPad, after we noticed that she was writing down titles in between serving us. Then she mentioned that she had just read A Confederacy of Dunces, which is Sharon's* extra-special favouritest million-times-read book EVER, and Sharon almost leapt over the table and swallowed her whole. I think we're still welcome there. We went to some pub after and Sharon groped the waiter a little, but he seemed okay with it. At the end of the night we were walking back to Tanis's house so I could call a cab. Sharon turned off to retrieve her bike, and we yelled at her to bike slowly and not get her dress caught in the wheel. She said she'd tuck it into her underwear, and flashed us her black panties, which was probably meant to provoke hilarity and exasperation, but instead just generated extreme envy. (*No names have been changed to protect anyone. They're not that innocent anyway).

Saturday night was apparently National Barbecue Day (I don't know, I got some press release about it), so we celebrated by going to our friends' house and watching a Big Jesus Hunk 'o Pork get grilled real good. I made mojitos. Many, many limes were harmed in the making of this pitcher of drinks. 

Sunday was Susan's birthday party. I went with Eve because the boys (see under: Goddamned Baseball etc. etc.) I knew theoretically that there could be a lot of people there, and since I only know Susan through Patti, if there were a lot of people there there would be a lot of people I don't KNOW there. The theoretical reality of this, it turns out, is much different than the real reality of this. When Eve and I tried to open the front door, some kids' shoes were blocking it - it was like the house was rejecting us UPON OUR VERY ENTRANCE. I stepped into a room full of people I didn't know. I started to hyperventilate a little. I looked to the left and saw Susan in the kitchen. I waded through the crowd towards her, hoping she would say something comforting. She gave me a hug and said "you have to take off your shoes".

Fortunately, Helen was at the stove. I met Helen through Patti too, and she's a whole pile of awesomeness too (I'll happily give her her own blog post someday). She has an adorable five-year-old daughter who adores, and is in turn adored by, Eve, so they too off and at least that was taken care of. I put my giant basket of strawberries (for which I had made chocolate dip) on the corner, grabbed a cutting board and knife, and turned my back to the room chopping strawberries, while imploring Helen to stay close until I stopped shaking.

It was a fun party, once my hysterical fight-or-flight impulses stopped firing at full thrust. On a few occasions it was hard to decide if I was talking to a friend or relative of Susan's or a slightly deranged homeless person who had wandered off the street, but that sort of just added to the charm. There were a couple of fun quotes, like "I'll show you where it is as soon as I find a googly eye to stick on my sparkly orange fish painting - I just sold it to John", and "Didn't I meet you at one of Jeff's sweat lodges?" People were artistic, and musical, and spoke French, and were freakishly tall, and were gorgeous but still didn't want to have their picture taken, and owned wine bars, and were worried that they had Lyme Disease. Also, Patti's daughter Olivia came in and when Patti told her to go out and play with the other kids she said "they're all playing volleyball". I said "Eve's here, and there's no way in hell SHE'S playing volleyball, why don't you go find her?" and she said "yes she is", and she WAS. Weirdest party ever.

MEOW Book Club List 2012-2013:

The Dominion of Wyley McFadden by Scott Gardiner

Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones

The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt

The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy

Just Kids by Patti Smith (non-fiction)

A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan

Quiet: the Power of Introverts in a  World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain (non-fiction)

South of the Border, West of the Sun by Haruki Murakami

Friday, June 22, 2012

This post is about an entirely theoretical couple, NOT US

The Wife is having a fairly non-productive day, fooling around on the computer and trying to clean all the crap off the dining room table, which is really frustrating and depressing because there isn't a good place for all the crap to go, and it only highlights all the other things that still have crap on them, so she gives it up as completely futile and goes out to garden. She starts to put on sunscreen everywhere, then realizes it would make more sense to just put sunscreen on the ridiculous square sunburn she got while watching her daughter horseback riding, to perhaps marginally lessen the freaky embarrassing tan lines for when she goes out tonight.

The Wife is back inside and checking twitter, when The Husband comes home early from work because he was miserable at the office and thought a change of location might make him less ineffectual for the afternoon.

Since she needs to shower off the sunscreen at some point anyway and the husband being home makes watching Luther less fun, The Wife decides she might as well go for a power walk. She tells The Husband this, then walks upstairs to the bedroom and starts stripping to put on walking clothes.

She pauses and thinks, "wait. Need exercise. Husband is home. Kids not due for a couple of hours. Most of clothes already off. When was the last time we..." and yells down the stairs "Hey! Wanna have sex?"

The Husband (who has arrived on the bottom step with admirable speed) says "Uh...well if... are you... is it.... sure!" (which is smart, because sometimes he totally shoots himself in the foot by saying stuff like 'well I thought you were tired' or 'are you sure?' in which case The Wife says 'okay, you're right, never mind').

The Wife gets some exercise and the sunscreen gets showered off. The Husband doesn't get any work done for the afternoon, but is fairly satisfied with how things work out nonetheless.

Life with kids. All romance, all the time. Theoretically. Just what I hear.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Unsolicited Glowing Review of HeronCrest Stables in here somewhere


Feeling blah today. The temperature outside is incompatible with sustaining life, but I didn't have to go anywhere, so I can't blame it all on that. Small irritations: I screwed around on the computer for too long before drying my hair so it came out frizzy and weird, which it probably would have anyway because, hello, eighty-five percent humidity?: my knee hurts, because I'm old and creaky: I spent upwards of three hours staring at my latest assignment in complete and utter incomprehension, feeling like a dumbass loser, before realizing that I was trying to apply the first set of instructions incorrectly and applying them correctly made everything really really easy, which should have made me happy, but instead I just felt even STUPIDER. 

You know what? I AM going to blame it all on the weather. Forty degrees with the humidex. Jesus, how is that even real life? 

Small funny things: Angus's teacher emailed me to say that they had been discussing plans for the last week of school and talk of a potluck came up (prompting flashbacks for both her and me of the meatball incident) - she wanted to know if Angus told me that he had volunteered to bring in flaming shish-kebabs. Okay, that's only one thing, and I can't think of any more because I'm stupid because of the pills that I'm almost not taking any more and did I mention the weather?

On Sunday, my friend Janet and I took our daughters to HeronCrest Stables in  Smith's Falls (about 45 minutes from Ottawa). I had seen a Dealfind voucher for half-price riding lessons and I knew that Janet's daughter loves horses. As for Eve, since she was one and a half, every time we're at a fun fair or anything that has pony rides, she's grabbed the nearest parent's arm and not let up until her tiny butt was on one of those ponies.


Does she look smug or what?


So we snapped up two of the Dealfind vouchers and then I suddenly thought - shit, she hasn't been on a horse in six years and she's afraid of a bunch of stuff now. She won't even ride a bike and somehow I was blithely confident that she would be okay riding a horse?

Cue buyer's remorse!

Happily, she seemed pretty excited at the prospect, so we booked the lesson for Sunday.

Diana, the owner/manager/coach, was amazing. I think she sensed that Eve was a little nervous and Caitlin was a little hyper, and she was calm and matter-of-fact with both of them, which made Eve braver and Caitlin quieter. She had them groom the horses beforehand, and taught them the proper names and purposes of all the equipment. Anything that they could safely do on their own, she had them do, without hovering or micro-managing.

Rosie














Slick:

Hoof-cleaning




No hands! (Eve was not initially impressed with this at all).

Look - it's running! You can see the dust!

It was hot. Really hot. Once the girls were out in the paddock I realized that we had litres of sunscreen in the van and none on us. I got a ridiculous square-neck sunburn. Eve stayed lily-white - apparently you can't get sunburned while horseback riding. Also, we discovered that Caitlin is viciously allergic to horses, so if you go, bring Benadryl.  But on the whole, it was totally freaking awesome. Unlike today, which has now given me a headache. It's probably the weather.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Can You Hear Me Now?

I always come home from BOLO on such a high that I think I'm going to post about it RIGHT AWAY and the post will magically and immediately capture and convey the warmth and intensity of the evening. And then I don't. And then I can't figure out how. So maybe just read Patti's post, which says everything I want to say about it anyway.

I brought a camera but totally forgot about it. There were some acoustical glitches early in the evening, which made me sad and panicky, because I COULDN'T HEAR the first few BLOGGING OUT LOUDERS, which meant I was just downtown drinking beer on a Thursday night, which just doesn't happen in my world without a VERY GOOD REASON. We were at the Arrow and Loon, and while the courtyard area was gorgeous and accomodated us all nicely, the high ceiling was capturing the words and keeping them away from everyone at the back. So around the first break I wandered down and sat on a planter (I would have sat in someone's lap or stood in the fountain if necessary) and then coaxed down the rest of my group and all was right with the world again.

Lynn (all praise to the Magnificent Turtlehead, who busts her ass to get this baby off the ground every year for nothing but our thanks and slavish adoration) let me go first last year because I wasn't convinced I would be able to go if I had to listen to any of the others (who are always fabulous). I was nearer the end this year, which I was okay with. Then, Thursday afternoon, Lynn emailed and said someone needed a last-minute schedule change and asked if I would mind being moved to last.

LAST. As in, after every single other fabulous person. As in, I'm going to read and then everyone is going to get up and leave (because the event is over, but still...). As in, I'm RIGHT AFTER PATTI, who is EXTRA-fabulous.

Well what the hell was I going to say? No, because I'm a cringing insecure little pussy?

I found out later that it was Nadine who needed the last-minute schedule change because the burlesque show she was doing after BOLO had been moved to earlier. Well shit, anything I can do to facilitate Nadine taking her clothes off is just a service to the good people of Ottawa, so I could only feel good about that decision.  And the fact that the microphone started crapping out two people from the end, and I ended up doing my post partly with and partly without it? Minor. I am assured that people laughed at all the right places, but honestly, once I was up there I didn't see or hear anything except the paper in front of me, my slightly shaking hand, and one very nice woman at the front who smiled encouragingly every time I made eye contact with her.

I'm sad that my three friends from book club had to leave early because they couldn't hear, but so grateful that they came out. I'm sad that I didn't get to talk to more people - I understand why it would be difficult to do the event on a week-end, but it always feels a little Cinderella-ish at the end, this big whirl of emotion and then suddenly you're all alone on the dance floor going 'where did everybody go?'. I'm happy I got to meet a few more people I'd only known online. I wish I'd remembered to take pictures.

I blogged. Out loud. Neat.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Things I'm running out of time to blog about


Eve's dance recital: This is our second year at Tournesol, with Hannah Beach, a woman there really aren't enough superlatives to adequately describe. She doesn't do any of the choreography - the kids do it all. The costumes are dirt-cheap stuff we get on sale at fabric stores or dollar stores. There was one duet that Hannah hadn't even seen before the show. She makes a speech before every recital urging everyone to adjust their concept of 'good' dancers and 'bad' dancers while watching. I could be sappy and insincere and say that they're all wonderful but honestly, it's not one hundred percent possible to suspend those evaluative faculties,  and at odd moments it's impossible not to feel your attention slip, or your eye start to roll, or an ever-so-slightly uncharitable thought about 'good' dancers and 'bad' dancers escape its confines.

But this is all just part of the softening-up process, so you're in a perfect state of susceptible complacency and suddenly a dancer moves a certain way, or freezes in a certain tableau, and the expression on their face and the configuration of their limbs presents such a pure, perfect moment of joyful simplicity that you are struck to the very core. And then you're sobbing like an idiot and remembering that last year you SWORE you weren't going to let this happen again.

One group danced while instrumental music played and Hannah read this poem. I can't even read the poem in my head now without weeping at the part about being outlived by our daughters and sons. One group passed out Lindt truffles and danced the taste of chocolate.

Eve was a tree.


One kid was dirt. It really wasn't your average dance recital.


But that's good, really. She's not your average dancer.

Oh yes - I wore my awesome dress.


Also, no one took a baseball to the chest. It's a little thing, but it's a nice thing.








Monday, June 11, 2012

Evie At the Bat

Anyone who comes here regularly knows about my love-hate relationship with baseball. Well, Eve's relationship with it is possibly even more tangled and conflicted. Admittedly, we stuck her in it the first year because Angus had been in it for a few years, he loved it, Matt was a coach and by this point we knew how it worked.

I don't know that I can assess her ability with any kind of accuracy, considering my own ignorance, but I would say that, as far as skills go, she's a bit above average. There were girls on some of the teams that didn't get a hit the entire season, and she usually got a couple hits a game, except for the year that her coaches couldn't pitch for shit. She's not great at staying focused in the field, but when she gets the ball she generally knows what to do with it. She's by far never been the worst kid on the team.

I do sort of admire that she's as enthusiastic as she is about the game despite the furor and public adulation and newspaper article whirlwind that surrounds her older brother. I think if that was me as a kid I would look for something he sucked at and then make myself an expert at it.

So this year is her first in minor, which means it's the first year that the kids pitch. In indoor training all winter, she was a pitching star. She could balance on one leg while bringing the other one up while all the boys kept falling on their butts. The coach asked her why she could do this so well and she said 'duh, you pick a fixed point in the distance to look at - you learn that on the first day of dance'. Then all the boys looked really scared.

Unfortunately, there's a big difference between pitching in a controlled clinic setting and pitching in a game. And if you throw a perfect strike in a game and the kid hits it, and the bases are loaded and the other team gets a bunch of runs off of it, you feel like crap even though it was a perfect strike. So she's been struggling with that.

Then there's the fact that when kids start pitching, batters get hit. Quite often. According to Matt, who's coaching her right now, the girls get hit even more often - they don't seem to have the body-consciousness that the boys have that allows them to flinch in the proper manner to get the ball to miss them. When he first said this, I wondered if it was sexist or inaccurate, but I have seen a lot of the boys contort themselves in a mysterious, Matrix-like manner while the ball skims by missing them by millimetres, so maybe he's right. THEN there's the fact that she bats left, and lefty batters also get hit with the ball more often.

It all adds up to guarantee that, all season, she's been a ball magnet. Bruises everywhere. In fact, when the Big Exciting Event happened the week before last, she'd already been hit once that game, on the outer thigh. So she was a bit reluctant to go up to bat again, but when you get hit by the ball you get to go to first base, and she was their only run so far from her last at-bat, so Matt, to his eternal subsequent regret, prodded her out to the plate.

She took a ball just below the sternum. She got winded. She started crying and hyperventilated. She said "I can't see" and passed out. They called an ambulance (I'm kind of surprised they didn't need another one for my husband). Someone called her name and she opened her eyes and said "did I fall down?" They put her in the ambulance and checked her over and then the paramedic said to Matt "I am now obligated to tell you that you should go to the hospital" and then mouthed "DON'T GO TO THE HOSPITAL". Then he said "I am going to give you these forms and you are going to sign them saying you are not going to the hospital against medical advice (DON'T GO TO THE HOSPITAL)".

When she got a home she was demonstrably done with all the fuss ("I'm going to go upstairs and try to go to sleep now so if you come up and my eyes are closed I DIDN'T PASS OUT AGAIN"), and yet she couldn't stop talking about it for days ("Oh great. Someone fainted in this show. THAT brings back memories."). At the next game, Matt told her she didn't have to bat and she decided not to. The game after that we really encouraged her to try so it didn't become an insurmountable fear. She did bat, and she got one foul ball and struck out, and the team applauded her when she came off.

Angus has been incredibly, clumsily sweet with her. He fixes her socks before her games. He makes her try on his fancy new catching equipment. He gives her very helpful advice like "you know you're supposed to turn away so the ball hits you in the back right?", to which she replied drily, "yeah, I need to work on that."

After their game on Thursday we were all sitting in the family room and the Jays game was on. Eve asked "do Major League players ever get hit by the ball?" and Angus said "ALL THE TIME. Well no, that's a lie.  But it happens sometimes" and at that very moment, the batter who was up, who was batting left, got hit in the EXACT SAME SPOT on the leg that she had.

She still says she'll probably play next year. Matt sings "What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stronger" to her at every opportunity. There was also the great conversation when they got home that went: "It was the first game we've won in forever too." "We won?" "Yeah, after you passed out we got a bunch of runs." "While I was in the ambulance?" "Yep." Is distracting the other team with an unconscious player unethical?

At least she's not playing summer ball. I'd probably need a much stronger prescription.
















Thursday, June 7, 2012

Very Slightly Surly Thursdays

If I didn't have this weather headache, it would be difficult to work up any degree of surliness at all. It's been a good week. Shelved books at the library, worked out with Pam, laughed myself silly trying to learn how to play The Pink Panther theme song on the piano with Angus, built a barn out of chocolate milk containers with Eve, and yesterday I had a date with Susan, who I'm borrowing from Patti. I met Susan because her daughter dances with Eve and Olivia, Patti's daughter. Susan has tornado/candy floss hair that makes her look like a nature goddess - like all her humour and creativity is constantly exploding out of her through her hair. Sometimes stuff gets caught in it, which I like because I say "something is caught in your hair" and then I get to fondle it on the pretext of taking the fluff out. Susan lives in a fairytale house surrounded by trees - you have to go through a gate in a hedge and I always expect elves to be on the other side. The house is sort of crooked and messy inside, and all the rooms lead to other little spaces, and there are murals and waves and dots painted on the walls, which reminds me that I always thought when I had my own house I would paint words on the walls, and write poems on beautiful paper and glue it up and paint over the edges so it blended in with the paint, and write the line about the silver apples of the moon and the golden apples of the sun around the ceiling, but I never did.

Susan is an artist, and I hadn't seen any of her work before yesterday, and I had no idea what to expect. I think if I thought about it, I expected pictures of flowers, which shows a sad lack of imagination on my part. I don't even know how to describe the actual paintings, except I think they look like some dreams I've had, where the whole world is a swirl of red/yellow/orange or blue/green/indigo/purple, and there are trees in the mist and beasts that can only be half-seen, and forests made of words, and everything is beautiful and mysterious.

This is the kind of visit that makes me feel sad and filled with longing for a little while, as if I'm living the wrong life, as if I lived in a crooked house with secret spaces I would be a painter with dangerous hair too. But I wouldn't. I would be me, living in the wrong house, complaining about the bathrooms, and my husband would roll his eyes and be passive-aggressive every time I tried to paint something on the wall, and my hair would still be difficult and uninspiring. I will just have to try to be me better, and keep visiting Susan.

Last night I picked up a book I've had from the library for weeks because I love the author, but for some reason I couldn't make myself start reading the book. Then when I started I couldn't stop reading it and I stayed up way too late until it was done. There were funny echoes of my day in it - an old house surrounded by trees; the man meets a woman who's an artist and the first time he goes to see her work he suddenly realizes he forgot to worry that it might be awful and he won't know what to say, but it's not awful. I don't know if the book was as riveting as it seemed, I think I might just be in a slightly manic episode; when I finally turned off the light and laid down, my thoughts kept bouncing around in my mind like popcorn.

Both kids have baseball tonight. Tomorrow I will tell you if Eve managed to bat. And also the story of why Eve is now afraid to bat.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Mondays on the Margins. Sort of.

I'm weaning myself off of my anti-depressant. People close to me have received this information with a variety of reactions verging from mild alarm to outright panic, sometimes accompanied by a subtle and polite edging away.

Kidding. Mostly. I'm not doing this lightly, or without consideration, or out of any misplaced sense of detoxing or anything. It's just that, when I finally reached a short space of calm and insight a few months ago, I thought back and couldn't really say with any confidence that I've been, on the whole, better on this medication than off it. I don't think there's any question that my brain chemicals don't always play nicely with each other, or with my other bodily processes, or with the way the world works. It would be nice to think that there was medicine that would help with this, and it's entirely possible that there is. I'm just not certain that I've found it yet.

Years ago, when I didn't really know what was wrong with me, and I was fast coming to the conclusion that I was probably just lazy, or unintelligent, or overly dramatic, or just a bad fit for, well, everything, I think medicating was the right way to go. But now that I actually know what the general problem is, I think I tend to have horrible mornings and better afternoons and evenings, and horrible winters and better every-other-seasons, and the medication doesn't seem to change that. Besides that, the medication makes it extra hard to lose weight, and I never want to have sex (sorry for the overshare).

Besides that, I have a somewhat simple wish right now to see what I'm like without it. It's been a good few years now, and every now and then somebody else mentions a side effect that they find they experience from their anti-depressants - memory trouble, or an inability to cry, for example - and I think, holy crap! My memory sucks and I hardly ever cry any more - I thought that was because of getting older and, well, getting older. What if it's not? I'm fully willing to admit that I might be mis-remembering how bad I was before, and if my husband is as bad at monitoring me for this as he was back when I tried that low-estrogen birth control pill we might all be royally screwed, but I can always start taking it again. Well, not this one. Another one. I really think this one sucks.

So anyway. I've been down from 150 mg to 50 mg for about a month now. I definitely feel more inclined to exercise and leave the house, but that could be because it's June instead of February. I don't think I've lost any weight - in fact, I had a total fat day today, but it didn't prevent me from going to the school library to shelve books, so that's good. I still have to go and talk to my doctor about it - I meant to talk to her before starting the Grand Experiment, but I think taking the pill actually made it impossible to pick up the phone and make the appointment, so I'm pretty sure I could make a case for the fact that I couldn't actually go see her until after I stopped taking it. Yes. I'm sticking to that.

For the past couple of days I've been in a bit of a reading rut. I still read, but when I get into bed at night I stare at the tremendous pile of books on my table and nothing really calls out to me. I have to force myself to pick something up. This always scares me, because when I'm really depressed one of the scariest things is losing the joy of reading. I've never been so low that my children don't make me feel better when they show up, but I have been so far down that books are suddenly a giant So What - and I don't want to live in a world like that.

So this is my Remedial Reading Program, beginning tonight:

Michael Chabon. Everything I've read by him, without resembling in the least any other book I've read by him, has proven to be surprising, insightful, full of wonder and sadness and incomparable delights. I've had this book on my pile for a while, but something keeps stopping me from picking it up. I'm sure if I force myself through the first few paragraphs, I'll be hooked. I will force myself.

Zombie stories. I really need to do a whole zombie story post at some point. For now, I just put this book on hold at the library.

Missed classics. I've always meant to read Trollope. I looked at a few message boards for recommendations on which book I should read first. I have to admit, reading the description didn't exactly make me giddy with anticipation, but if nothing else I'll get a certain sense of elitist satisfaction - oh, don't look like you don't know what I mean.

Re-reads. I suck at rereading. I always mean to, but then my ludicrously long to-read list stares at me accusingly and I plow on. I suddenly realized last night that this completely misses the opportunity to read something that I ALREADY KNOW I love - with the added bonus that the number of books I read and my crappy memory (which may be radically improving any day now, who knows, I'll keep you posted) still allow a sense of discovery, since many of the details will have escaped me since the first reading. So, this, this, and this have been placed at the top of the pile.

So yes. Please admire my brilliant plan. Replacing my present pile of books with.... another pile of books. I'm feeling pretty confident. Besides, if all else fails, I have a secret weapon held in reserve.

Regular Mondays on the Margins posts will resume. At some point. Probably a Monday, but really, who the hell knows.