Friday, January 23, 2009

One day....

I read Zoe Heller's Notes on a Scandal again yesterday. I read it last year, too, and was amazed not just at the characters, at the wonderful way Heller created such interesting individuals, but at the way she wrote about loneliness. To me, that is the best part of the book: the way it explores how it really feels to be lonely, and what that feeling does to people.

"People like Sheba think that they know what it's like to be lonely. They cast their minds back to the time they broke up with a boyfriend in 1975 and endured a whole month before meeting someone new. Or the week they spent in a Bavarian steel town when they were fifteen years old, visiting their greasy-haired German pen pal and discovering that her handwriting was the best thing about her. But about the drip, drip of long-haul, no-end-in-sight solitude, they know nothing. They don't know what it is to construct an entire weekend around a visit to the laundrette. Or to sit in a darkened flat on Halloween night, because you can't bear to expolse your bleak evening to a crowd of jeering trick-or-treaters. Or to have the librarian smile pityingly and say, "Goodness, you're a quick reader!" when you bring back seven books, read from cover to cover, a week after taking them out. They don't know what it is to be so chronically untouched that the accidental brush of a bus conductor's hand on your shoulder sends a jolt of longing straight to your groin. I have sat on park benches and trains and school room chairs, feeling the great store of unused, objectless love sitting in my belly like a stone until I was sure I would cry out and fall, flailing to the ground. About all of this, Sheba and her like have no clue."

Maybe, one day, if I'm really really lucky, I'll write something that good.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Potayto, potahto

Yesterday my friend who teaches cooking here at school had an Iron Chef competition with her grade 9 classes. The students had all kinds of goals to meet, and the cooking took place in class time. Their assignment was to create delicious and well-prepared dishes with potatoes. A, the teacher, had asked staff members and teachers if they would be judges, and (never one to look a gift meal in the mouth) I accepted immediately, if not sooner.

I expected that I would be asked to cross the hall to the cooking room, where I would gaze at a number of elegantly composed dishes (snort) and take delicate bites here and there, closing my eyes and murmuring appreciatively. The reality was a little different...

Dear reader, yesterday morning between 10 and 11, I ate 6 plates of potatoes.

The cooking was great. There were scalloped potatoes, lemon roasted potatoes, sweet glazed potatoes, chicken and potatoes, and (my favourite) gnocci. (Seriously. Grade 9s made gnocci.)

Even I, however, can only eat so many potatoes.

Lunchtime did finally arrive, and that is when I made one final realization. I had packed my lunch as I usually do, taking leftovers from the fridge and jazzing things up a bit with a crusty roll and a bit of cheese and fruit. There, lying quietly and blamelessly in the bottom of my bag, was a tupperware container of food just waiting to be heated up and eaten.

Yesterday for lunch I brought leek and potato soup.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

It'll work out.

My internet thingy still isn't sorted out (Hello! Shaw cable? CALL ME.) but I'm back at the library downloading music and surfing the web as I procrastinate.

What am I putting off? Well, lots of stuff, actually. Like, for example, I have grade 8 French first period on Monday morning and not the FAINTEST IDEA what we're going to do. The rest of the day is looking like that too. But oh well! It'll work out. (Famous last words.)

I'm also procrastinating about knitting -- my holidays were a bit worrisome, so I've been knitting up a storm in order to ease my anxiety. So much that I think I'm getting a repetitive strain injury -- I have pins and needles like crazy in my hands.

Also, I have to call the builders and ask them to please do something to keep the fancy-pants Swedish washing machine (I call it Bjorn) from rocking right out of the cabinet during the spin cycle. We are approaching the scope of the famous Pants Emergency of 2007, and laundry must be done. Soon.

I also need to call my former landlord and get my damage deposit back. This is getting ridiculous.

BUT I got the best gig EVER. The school board has asked me to review books for their selection department -- that means they send me reading material, which I read (duh) and then write little reviews about, so that school libraries and teachers can look at the review and decide if the title is right for their collection. I got four books in the first go-round, and the reviews are due... soon. (I actually lost the instructions for the reviews when I moved, but I'm sure that too will work out just fine. For such an obsessive worrier, I'm sure not good with keeping track of things like this.) The only down side is that I can't keep the books, but seeing that I won't be getting my bookshelves in the new house for the foreseeable future, this is maybe not such a bad thing.

So that is what I'm putting off right now. I have less than an hour to go, and I'm updating the blog instead of writing pithy and eloquent reviews. Oh well. It'll all work out. Right?