so many books

Book Reading List 2021

Book Reading List for 2021
- - - - - - -
(date finished)
* = first time read all the way through or never been read before
- - - - - - -

1. In the Café of Lost Youth by Patrick Modiano, Translated by Chris Clarke (13 January 2021) *
alice cards attack

suppose there were some words.

07 January 2021 @ 12:30am

Monday, January 11th, 2021.
I know, I know, I haven't written in awhile. I gave myself an extended vacation. I checked out for a time period there, though I didn't really. I've been tuned in to events and my personal life has it's moments too but I did not want to type any journal entries until school started again. The holidays are not a good time for me and I didn't want to write about it. I might start doing that - spilling all of it everywhere on here - but I think it's going to take me some time to get to that point of openness with any online platform again. I've been closed up. The good thing is that I started to write in my paper journal again - just a couple entries so far but that's a start, right? I want to write every day but I also want to shut down and go into complete silence until I am on the edge of bursting with prose and poems. I waited for that to happen, maybe, and noticed how if I don't write, the words don't get written, so why am I waiting? Gotta work it.

30 December 2020, used paper journal collection.
used paper journal collection

Today was the first day of class. It isn't just the first day again but the first day of SECOND Term. This is the first time I've been able to complete the entire first term without dropping out. A+ in every class which gives me a 4.0 GPA for the First Term but alas, the cumulative GPA from my previous attempts at the program when I dropped after the withdraw without penalty dates - well, my GPA needs some hefty work done on it to bring it up to show what I am actually capable of accomplishing academically. It was a bummer when I realized the damage but I shouldn't let that take away from the achievement of Fall 2020 Term and how well I did. I'm sure my GPA will come up some more if I apply myself as well this Term and the next one and maybe another one after that if it is available and helps me get closer to reflecting what kinda good marks I can earn.

I doubt I'll be able to actually enrol in any program right away after this anyway. I'm trying to think of what I'll be up to by this time next year but I should take it one day and one week and one term at a time. I had this idea that I would pursue further education but I don't know if that's what I'll end up doing. Money, acceptance, circumstance all come into play. We'll see what things look like when the time comes. I intend to put full effort into this program and earn the certificate, if but to show myself that I can do it, and also to occupy myself with something that is helpful right now. Also, thinking back on all the years in between my first time trying this program and this current time, I remember how I wanted to finish it. I have this chance to do so and I won't let it get away from me. If I end up moving away or not able to stay in the city or in this situation, I want to at least have done this, this program that I feel is quite unique with the courses.

It's hard not to feel discouraged or a bit lost about what I'm going to do later on given that I've applied to so many jobs (and even received call backs! and interviews that went fairly well!) but no, nothing. I can't help but fear that as I get older and the great chasm on my resume between when I had continuous employment expands further, that I will eventually have no chance. It's depressing to know that I am capable of so much in many ways but the years have their consequences, don't they? I was not idle. I have been active of mind and involved in what I could be. But I also have been limited by the lack of a higher education and the various job prospects that were not available to me due to my workplace injury of so many years ago. The secondary one has only added to it in a way that has deeply subtracted from my independence and autonomy financially. Sure, there was the gig work I could do but for one thing, there is a pandemic going on, and secondly, this is not the place, and thirdly, I have detached from that part of myself on all levels. What even is desire anymore?

Aside from the impact of world events and how I could write about them, the ongoing stress it has on daily life, I've brushed up against some close calls for myself with an emphasis on my heart and emotional collapse. Not to mention the anxious habit that began in the past month or so where I seemed to have picked at my arm in my sleep in such a way that I wounded myself. That's a new one for me. I told my doctor over the phone at the end of a rushed call and he basically said it's a symptom of the anxiety condition I have. It's reminiscent of when I was not on medication for a long time (by choice and due to financial reasons, when I wasn't covered because my claim hadn't been settled yet) and I wanted so badly to be med-free. I did okay but my hands were shaky and it was not withdrawal as this was about a year of no meds at the time or something like that. The doctor had said that's my anxiety condition without meds. He was right. It felt like a bit of a no-win for me. I don't get healed magically being on meds but I'm apparently worse without them. Now, with the pandemic, the added stress, the worry for our lives, I have different things happening that are scary. I was in fight or flight and be resilient mode for many years before this happened and now it's a common shared experience with more people - to feel anxious - and instead of that making me feel better, it's just worse.

I think back and I can see that overall I am coping better with things than I would have before. I'm making it through without resorting to self-destructive behaviours (although they are a bit tempting at times) and I'm self-aware of the moments when I know I am close to seriously considering opting in to doing something harmful to myself to cope with whatever pain I might be experiencing. I would give myself more pats on the back for this if I weren't having to face so many old wounds, mentally & emotionally, and finding myself just broken into pieces by some of it. I want to do better, ya know?

& then I think, I'm trying to survive in a pandemic. I'm a high risk and I'm staying inside and I'm doing the best I can to stay alive. I'm not letting this take me out. I've survived too much. I've had surgeries and blood transfusions and before that, suicide attempts and traumatizing relationships while navigating the monstrous bureaucracy of the w.s.i.b. - even to this day with that last one, this morning in fact - but yeah, I don't want to die after all that without doing more to show that I was here, to leave something behind that is good and beautiful. The writer in me wants to be seen. It feels important.

The cats keep us grounded because we have to take care of them. They take care of each other but they look after us. They show concern when I am in distress and they have their way of being there for him too. When I've gone through scattered periods of wanting to run, wanting to move or whatever it is that I'm doing when I am scouring rental listings here, there & anywhere - I get that one moment where I look at the view while standing in the living room. I stop and feel thankful. Grateful. If there is anywhere to be during these times and if being shut in and on lockdown has to happen, it could be worse than up here with this city skyline, the lake, the buildings with their windows in the distance, the lights.

03 January 2021:
standing in the living room, in the dark, looking out the window.

Evictions are happening during a pandemic in the very same neighbourhood that I live in and I am thankful that we are able to work from home. I can be in class and he can be at work. I don't like being holed up with someone 24/7 but we're making it through this. It's strange to be in this place of scraping by with no cushion and nothing to save us but at the same time, be able to keep the roof over our head and to have what we need. It's a mix of gratitude that leans toward fear at times. It could be us. It's not. It's not fair that anyone should have to worry about having a place to live or basic needs met during a pandemic. Then again, it's never been okay for any of us to have to worry before either. So many people are experiencing what I have dealt with much of my life - illness and the instability of income and the isolation - oh the isolation - and it's stirred conflicting feelings in my body. I wonder if they will remember how this felt - the ones who never felt this before - or if they will forget when they feel they are living under "Normal" once more? Or those who are still not bothered by the whole thing that we are living through now.

This morning when I woke up in the middle of the night, I made a note in my phone at 12:13am:
Write about the farmhouse
How it is in dreams
How I remember it and what I remember

I dream of the farmhouse my mother and step-father rented from a pig farmer who had them pay very little rent in return for inhabiting a house that was on land in between two fields he had (one corn, the other beans, rotated seasonally for the soil) and the old pig barns at the back of the lot. I used to write in my paper diary / journal about it as it was happening (I have kept sporadic journals since age 11) and so there are some in real time thoughts and experiences from living there recorded in my handwriting in those tattered books. The farmhouse shows up in my nightmare dreams from time to time more frequently in recent years even though the place was levelled years ago - I never saw it though. I haven't decided to analyze too deeply why I dream of that place though I can guess if I explored my thoughts and feelings about it deeper. It's clearly connected to the relationship I've had with that set of parents and also with the concept of when I lived in what I thought was home for a short time period. Now that so many years have passed, I can look at all the things that happened or the way people were - all three of us - with a different view than I had at the time, another angle or two. It's weird to dream of places that actually existed in my life, to be back there and have the awareness and life experience of now and be looking at what is there in the dream with some amount of lucidity. I don't want to think about it too much but I do think that I could write some interesting bits of prose based on the farmhouse - set a timer for myself and see where it goes. Not tonight, but sometime. Maybe in some free writes.

I typed over 2000 words tonight. That's enough, eh?

29 December 2020, the balcony view, city skyline, the moon.
alice lost in labyrinth

Book Reading List 2020

Book Reading List for 2020
- - - - - - -
(date finished)
* = first time read all the way through or never been read before
- - - - - - -

1. A Whore’s Manifesto An Anthology of Writing and Artwork by Sex Workers Edited by Kay Kassirer with a forward by Clementine von Radics (28 January 2020) *
2. oliver a lover all over by Maranda Elizabeth (29 February 2020) *
3. My Art is Killing Me and other poems by Amber Dawn (30 March 2020) *
4. The Color Purple by Alice Walker (07 June 2020)
5. Resilience is Futile The Life and Death of Julie S. Lalonde by Julie S. Lalonde (20 June 2020) *
6. PERSONALS poems by Ian Williams (21 June 2020) *
7. Memoirs and Misinformation a novel by Jim Carrey and Dana Vachon (27 September 2020) *
8. The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin (18 October 2020) *
9. The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide To Personal Freedom A Toltec Wisdom Book by Don Miguel Ruiz with Janet Mills (23 December 2020) *
typewriter keep typing

the eve

Thursday, December 24th, 2020.
It's starting to snow a bit. Finally getting the snow that we didn't see in recent days. People will wake up to snow in the morning here in Toronto, I believe. It's been late in falling and for anyone that went to bed early tonight, they wouldn't have seen any snow but I can see it starting to settle on the ground and on the balcony table, though not covering it yet. I hope it will look fresh and beautiful when the sun comes up. A bit of that seasonal type of feeling that is lacking this year.

Speaking of this year, this one is different than the previous because husband is actually home. We're together with our cats in the apartment during a pandemic. He watched a couple of Christmas movies today while I was playing the video game (for far too long a time) and as I listened to 'Home Alone', I realized that part of the music had a bit in it that reminded me of part of the theme to the first Harry Potter movie. I don't think I would have noticed that if I had been watching the movie instead of listening to it, eh? And on the topic of Christmas films, he's got the Alastair Sim version of 'Scrooge' or 'A Christmas Carol' all ready to go on the television through one of the streaming services we have. That's one that I enjoy seeing on the Eve of Christmas Day because of how I'd watch it on CBC television on my own over the years when living alone and also memories of when my Mom would watch it. She's influenced my most favourite film - 'Aliens' - so I'm not surprised she impacted this as well. Yeah, I'm thinking of my parents right now. I hope they're all okay through this time period. There are a lot of people who lost people this year and again, I think the impact of that will be more noticeable as the year turns over to the next. I'm not looking forward to the new year because it seems, from the way people keep traveling lately, that cases will be devastating. In our province, it seems the stupidest thing to shut things down the day after Christmas. I just hear the ambulances go by on the highway heading toward a hospital and shake my head.

Look, we're all struggling. I may have written about how I'm actually doing pretty well during this time period but there are definitely stressful moments. I am fine to stay inside but I am definitely antsy. I wouldn't have changed the bookcases around if I wasn't. I would like to not have the worry of whether we'll be okay in all of the ways that one has to be concerned about during this. It's been since March of early this year that things got real here. Since then, we've had varying degrees of lockdowns and shutdowns and advisories to stay home and now more of an insistent plea. I know my immune system is not so good and that I'm at risk if I get it. I'm trying my best to keep that in mind when I start to think of how I'd like to go out wandering. I know that some people are doing it and that they are fine but I can't chance it. I'm not the main income earner but I help and I keep things together in a different way. He does a lot. I help give him a reason. The cats need me.

I'm thankful that we're okay. I'm grateful for shelter, food, cats are safe, we're inside. I'm thankful for my books and long sleeps as needed and music and yes, even the gaming that I do too much of, the shows I watch and YouTube videos that take up my time when I should be reading instead. I'm grateful that we have food to eat and that he's a good cook. I'm thankful for the internet.

Holidays tend to be difficult - even before pandemic - and I am used to them being disappointments and of isolation and sometimes the aching loneliness. It's not just this time of year. It's many holidays, birthdays, anniversaries of sorts. I'm not looking to feel sorry for myself. I'm simply trying to say that I am okay with this feeling today because I know it well. That doesn't mean I always want it to feel this way. I hope for more moments of celebration in my life. I have thought for several years now that I need to make my own traditions and practice them. I need to celebrate my life and what makes it worthwhile - whether it is a holiday or special day or not. Each day is a chance. Each night is another. I have counted blessings in my typed words without spelling them out. It's a little more difficult to feel as happy at a time like this when someone else's sadness or frustration is in the same room and affects the energy and emotions but I get it, I understand. I know loss. I know.

I think about all the people that have each other right now. Whether far away or together, they have one another. It gives me hope. There are people who are so resiliently thankful and content. I know that we all can't be that way and certain days can be more difficult when grief accumulates, when it wears heavier on you as the years go by and the losses add up, but still - those brief moments when you catch a moment of happiness or peace - makes it worthwhile to keep going.

My legs are sore from sitting too much today. Got to move around a bit more. I remember laying on the floor in my book nook earlier in the day. The floor is heated and it was warm. I had a pillow. My books around me. I lay on the floor the way my dad used to on the carpet. I wonder where he got that from. I have sometimes found it easier to sleep on the floor or to feel safe that way. I can't explain it. Maybe it's a family thing.

I've typed enough. I'm tired. I hope this find people well. I hope that people didn't risk their health or others for one day when there are so many days to be together, to think about, to experience. I hope that people are feeling thankful when they see the morning.

eve of eve of

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2020.
It's the Eve of Christmas Eve. No snow in sight. It's mild. Bit warm in here, really. I was thinking about how I haven't used this break I have in between semesters to my full advantage yet. I've played the video game too much, even when not enjoying it as much as I'd like. That's something I liked about when I was immersed in school work - I gamed less and so when I did play, it was usually more fun. Now that I'm turning to it more often, it's hit or miss far too much. My absence from the game makes people fonder of me, I think. So, I'm looking forward to when classes start again. I'll be busy then as I don't want to mess up after such a strong start with the first semester. I want to do my best. I read a bit today but it tired me out more than I would like and I ended up napping. What's that about, eh? I'm going to keep trying to read more until it becomes the habit I turn to more than the video game. That doesn't mean I still don't love imaginary racing - it just means I want to put more time and effort into other things that matter to me. I think the upcoming meeting for the virtual book club is foremost on my mind - more than the Christmas holidays, especially this year - and I hope I can host the event well enough that people will want to come back the next month. First meetings, the first venture into the realm of hosting a book club - it does feel a bit intimidating. I say this as I'm surrounded by books, with experience in hosting things before.

I think of going for walks outside. People go for walks and get exercise and fresh air and it's even advised that we do that, for physical and mental well-being. But I can't justify it to myself right now. I find it hard to think that it's okay to just go out there and ignore the case numbers, the death numbers, the rising cases during this time period, the fact that it's a pandemic happening. I'm not shaming those who do go out for regular exercise. If anything, I think of it too and would if I didn't have the anxiety I've experienced for years. In a way, I'm thankful that I'm used to this isolation (is anyone ever, truly?) because it's easier for me and I'm reducing risk. But I also think of the water. Of the paths. Of the streets and laneways and buildings. Of what it looks like right now during these times. Of the photographs I could take. Of documenting the time period through my lens. But I can stay inside. I can stay here and do my best to make sure hands get washed. Contact is minimal save for deliveries and rare outings on husband's part for necessities. Gratitude for the big living room window and doors. The bedroom window view too. The cross breeze. The view. The up here distance. The corner apartment at the end of a hallway. Who would have thought years ago when we got this place that it would be a good spot to hunker down during a pandemic, despite the obvious downside of it being in a large building where there could be multiple chances of exposure, in a neighbourhood that is struggling as well, but still? We're okay.

It's been stressful. We're both like children wishing for that Christmas time wonder and delight. Then I think of how we are here. When so many people have or will lose so much this year and in the new year, we're still here. It's been a scary time economically for awhile now and so gratitude for current circumstances isn't a big enough word. Yet, it isn't complete relief. Nothing feels stable. How can it? There is chaos in politics, in the public discourse, in the way things are and have been, the uncertainty of what happens next impacted by the looming losses and the suffering. Even when distracting one's self or going about counting the blessings like you'd count the stairs, there is a fear somewhere behind all that. Behind the denial of it. You push it away to keep on and be thankful, like you're making a wish and casting protection spells around your space and loved ones.

Strangely, I'm one of the people doing well during this. Years of isolation, poverty, separation from society, estrangement - all these things seem to have made me able to function through this. My grades were stellar in first term, though not perfect. I completed NaNoWriMo with well over the required word count. I'm feeling more ambitious about creative projects. I think about future possibilities. I try new things and even look at things I'd put off - like learning how to belly dance - and I go for it. I'm not a success story in this. I know that people are struggling to focus. I am too. But something about all those years leading up to this - well, not much is different for me, except that now many of the things I would have nightmares about, are true. Some of my worries, are validated. Some of the struggles from isolation, I've got decades of that. During this time, I've experienced more compassion for some and less for others. More awareness of issues that society let slip (and will likely allow to once this is over if more isn't done) and evidence that those at the top don't care. I have no doubt that the impact of this pandemic and all the ripple effects from before it started and the tides that brought shipwrecks to shore (a metaphor) will affect us for generations. This is a generational wound time during a time when we are being asked to address generational wounds.

What a time to still be alive. What a time.
alice light on the subject

every story

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2020.
A few things happened today that I can make note of and while I will be doing so in the 'One Line A Day: A Five-Year Memory Book' after I'm done writing this, I want to mention a few things from today right here in this journal post. By the way, this is the last year for that particular book.

I think it's a great idea for writing a few brief sentences to remind yourself of the day and to be able to see each year on the same page, to see if there are patterns or just to notice things - but alas, my first attempt to keep this kind of book was not a success. It is full of crossed out days where I was playing catch up in it - writing the date and a crossed line through the space for writing - it felt terrible to see so many blank days. I thought that I'd be sharing this book with the person I live with. I thought we'd do it together, ya know? And there were times when I would ask him to send me a sentence or two for the day - he'd send them by text message - or he'd write in the book himself. But for the most part, it was a neglected book. I'm taking it up as we near the end of it, trying to write these days, these last days of 2020, and then with some kind of hopeless optimism, I'll be starting a new 5 year 'One Line A Day' book when the new year arrives. I'm going to see it more as a me project but ask for him to contribute to it whenever he wants to or when I think it'd be especially good if he would - maybe he'll even take it upon himself to write a few lines on his own, though that seems unlikely given the way this current book went - but I am going to set out to keep it up to date on my own and that means the responsibility falls on me to fill the pages. I want to include whoever and whatever is in my life and I know that even when it seems like nothing happened that day, it is sometimes the most tiniest of details that matter or can have meaning.

This morning, husband had baked banana bread (vegan!) with the ripe bananas just in time. Two loaves of banana bread and he tried a different recipe where brown sugar was like a glazed topping on it. Very lovely. I think that his cooking and baking skills are amazing. I always seem to find or turn men into great cooks. I know it's for their survival but I think some of them, or, at least this one, said he cooks because he wants to make good food for me. Not that I need to be fed well but I am. I'm thankful for that. I honestly have not got that kind of interest in that stuff at this time. I'm not saying I never will or that I could never cook - I have and I would - but if I don't have to, I don't. I appreciate it though. It was really when we were getting those globally local meal kits back when we lived in my hometown for a few years there that it really up'd the quality of food. Lemon pasta? Insanely delicious. So many good things came out of the decision to eat dairy & meat free for me. Now, during the pandemic, a favourite comfort meal has been ramen with cubes of tofu and veggies put in with it. It's like a gourmet meal. I didn't expect to say yes to ramen, ya know?

11:33pm Good mail arrived today! That second volume of 'One Line A Day' and a book that was a recommendation from the writing class teacher - the second book I got because of this past term because she mentioned it a lot and I would have picked up more if I could have afforded it. Then, to balance that out, I received a FREE book because of the 'From The Margins' Book Club at the college. I'm still working on reading the previous two that I got from them and I can't wait to get into this one. I'll have to prioritize this new one so that I'm ready for the next book club that discusses it. Plans to read a lot more during the rest of this break in between Semesters - yes, I'll be prioritizing words over gaming.

On the subject of Book Clubs, the first meeting of the Silent Book Club - Toronto Chapter (Online) will be on the 27th of December at 7pm EST on Zoom. I'm nervous and excited about it. I'm not sure who will show and what will actually happen but I'm hopeful that it will be a good experience. New things can be intimidating but I know that a virtual reading group where we bring our own books and read silently but also have some carved out discussion time is a good way to socialize and appreciate books. There are things I need to learn and I think I can get better as I have more experience with it but wish the best because I truly do want it to be a good virtual space.

I've exceeded the minimum 750 words required to continue the writing streak. I didn't quite mention everything that happened today even though not a lot happened, if that makes sense? One of the big things was that I had it in my mind to move the bookcases around again. Poor bookcases. Also, the change of how I rearrange furniture is a bit distressing for the other human in the house but I know that I needed to move things. This has me nestled safely in my book nook for using my computer and for where I'll be concentrating on school and for the various meetings. I know that I need to get another bookcase but until then, I'm going to have to do some dusting and straightening up a bit if I'm going to be surrounded like this. But it's so comforting, honestly, to have my books like this. If I could have all of them around me, I would. Some shelves are a bit further from where I'm at but enough are near me that I could grab a big pillow and sleep on the floor over here, safe. Even have the string lights above my head again in the way that is much like a fairy hideout spot. Hey, just trying to survive.

With that being said, the pandemic rages on. Christmas is around the corner and the only thing I can think of is how there will be unnecessary case spikes and deaths because people don't seem to comprehend what a pandemic is and why it's such a serious thing. I don't want to hear anything about "but what about how isolation is affecting..." yeah, well, that didn't seem to be high on the priority list for people when it wasn't affecting them in all the years prior, eh? For gosh sake, at least use some common sense when it comes to the concept of how pandemics work and that if you have the ability to minimize risk, for yourself and others, do it. Freedom and rights have nothing to do with a virus that is killing people.

One thing I did today was finish up watching the RBG documentary on Netflix. Now I comprehend the extent of why people were so upset with her passing and what happened shortly thereafter. I get it now. I wish I had been more informed about her impact on law in the United States. People can be amazing and interesting and make such an impact. Even with all that, unless we're made aware, we may never know about it. And I suppose that's how it is for most of the people that are all of those things and more. There is so much to learn about ourselves and the world and all the stories contained simply in the window of the timeframe of our lifetime, let alone the years before and all that comes after.

Every story matters. Every story.
we are all mad

winter solstice blues

Monday, December 21st, 2020.
I don't have anything to share about today, as in, nothing happened? It was the Winter Solstice though but I wasn't awake when it began. Then, later in the afternoon, there was the loud jackhammering on concrete happening across the street with the sound seeming never-ending until well after dark. No snow where I am and the weather has been mild. It did not feel wintery. I realize that the weather doesn't always go with the seasons but it just doesn't feel much like winter here just yet. Perhaps by Christmas? The sky had a lot going on with planets aligning or getting close with one another for the first time in hundreds of years but I can't see that from inside the apartment or maybe I could but I had no desire to step out onto the balcony tonight. I'm near the window though, as usual, when at my computer. The sky over the buildings in the distance seems to allude to some kind of snow but it's not. It's light rain and not near me, only suggested by the way the sky looks, somewhere over there. I do like when the solstice occurs though. It feels right when this happens, that it should, that it moves us all forward.

Earlier today, I was reading a book and then set it aside, turned over and slept on the floor with my head on the pillow, near the bookcases, the poetry book collection, the classics. Just a spot to toss and turn on the floor in daytime nightmare dreams. I've been tired. I think I also had a nap at some point in the bedroom but it wasn't as deep a one as that. I remember that my morning wake up from dreams involved my going over the NaNoWriMo agoraphobia writings. I was trying to read some "good parts" from it but that got exhausting, trying to read those out loud to people, figuring out what parts to read, trying to find the place, thinking about it far too much. Interesting that it was on my mind. I considered, during that time of not being quite awake when in the bathroom, of how I should work on that and do the 'glimpse through the fog' method on all of those words but I didn't. Not today. I'm going to leave it a bit longer. Still considering writing it another year or two (another year or two of Novembers) to see what changes in that time.

I know that I should have more to write about but I've left this far too late and I'm tired.

Still been thinking about possibly moving sometime and then I reconsider it and think that I should stay right here. See if I can do further schooling. I'll continue with this current program and hope to get into another college program. Very interested in getting into University and taking English. And so many other things. I would like to learn. I wish I knew more about how it will go, as in, will it be financially possible or will there be barriers? I don't know. I want to be able to do this and it would hurt a lot to get into it and then be halted by the fees. I hope that there is some mentors that help guide me through this education process. I've never had any help with it and I don't know what to expect or how to do this. I am going to be asking a lot of questions while in this program and accessing what assistance and counsel they offer for academic goals. I don't want to stay behind.

The lockdown happening the day after Christmas where I live makes no sense at all. Isn't it kind of late then? Doesn't seem to be about health concerns. Then again, financially, people would have been taken care of and we wouldn't have people worrying about housing or any of that if people's well-being were ever a priority. Much of this isn't new to those of us who have been on the fringe or outside of the mainstream for various reasons. It's just still such a big disappointment when I think about how we actually used to think that if there ever was a pandemic, things would be handled differently. It's also sad to see the predictions I had for how things might play out continuing to occur. Keep hoping they'll do better but alas, no.

Rich keep getting richer and the rest of us are further left to - well, the numbers show, don't they?
you are not your livejournal

took two days off writing.

Sunday, December 20th, 2020.
It's been a couple days, eh? I "scheduled time off" on the 750 words site which allows me to take a break while maintaining the writing streak. I figured that would be a little treat I give myself for having finished the first term - the first semester! - of this college program I'm in. The second term is in January and goes for fifteen weeks, lasting until near the end of April. I took five courses the first semester but I'm going to take six in the second. I feel ok about it and I'm sure I can handle it. I didn't drop any courses the first term and I stayed with it. I've got momentum. I was a little worried about this break but it's probably for the best because then I can relax. I told myself that I'd read books but so far I've played a video game too much. Ah well.

The other night there was a fire about a block over. From this high up, an orange light of fire was seen. Firetrucks a plenty hurried over and lined the street in between the long term care facility and whichever house it was that had the fire in the back of it. They put it out quickly enough but the row of red lights from the tops of the firetrucks remained for quite some time before they eventually dispersed. I looked for mention of it online in local communities that night but not a word about it. Not sure if anything has been said since as I didn't look. I took photos from the balcony because why is that the instinct when you're not close enough to help but close enough to witness? I don't know. Human behaviour is weird.

11:28pm A few packages arrived today. Two large boxes of cat litter, delivered separately because they were huge. Then later in the evening, a starry night coffee mug. It hasn't been opened yet because I want to save it for Christmas Eve at the earliest. I'm looking forward to using it for tea though. It says it's a coffee mug (two times in the name of it!) but I remember when I had a starry night tea mug and it was my favourite and I want to use this one for the same thing. I guess this one will be a different size though and not the same as the one I had before. I've had two memorable tea / coffee mugs that were difficult for me to have break - there was a black and white one and then there was the starry night one - oh and there was the Alice in Wonderland mug I had years ago - ah, various mugs have come and gone. It make me hesitant to use my favourite ones because I don't want them to break but then, if I never get to enjoy them, what's the point, right? I don't know.

Speaking of gifts, I received an unexpected and lovely one from Shannon Bannon Bo Bannon today. It was unexpected and wonderful and much needed. I was moved by the gesture. Sometimes the universe does listen. I feel a little better about how we'll get through until the 7th of January now. Thank you. The other part of the gift was her giving me some applause for completing that first term. Means a lot to me that someone sees I've followed through with it and done well in the courses too.

I'm hoping that a few more indicators occur to show that I should stay where I am and that further education is what I should do. Meaning, I am hoping for a volunteer and/or paid position so that I can help create more opportunities for myself to aid in my being able to pursue my education and to justify this. It's like, I am hoping that there is something good to happen that will help me feel that yes, I am in the right place and yes, this is for good reason and yes, it will help me do better.

I know it may seem ridiculous to some for a forty-something year old to be seeking validation and/or confirmation that they're doing something right but it's what I need. It's hard not to feel a bit doubtful with the overall lack of a support system. Then I think, for the most part, that's how it's always been. I know I have to find it in myself to do this for myself and I think I've reached that point, as evidenced by completing the first term.

For two nights in a row, or at least within a few days, I dreamed of a previous best friend. Sometimes I get to have conversations with her in them. Other times, she has some friends with her and they're in their accomplishment bubble, a clique of educated, cultured, interesting people who do not want to associate with the likes of me. Earlier dreams years ago were much more hurtful. Now, I just sort of accept the thin veiled blur of reality. It's not the first group like that but this one hurts most because of the loss. I wonder if, as I continue on my education journey, the dreams of her will be all the more vivid and reoccurring. I wouldn't be surprised if my brain has connected and intertwined the idea of her with my pursuit of education, education having been her thing. I miss her sometimes. I tried to do what I could but I was going through a lot without any traditional support. I'm surprised I survived it all. It's a shame I didn't know how to be better but we do the best we can at the time and sometimes our best is awful, horrible, terrible and not good enough.

The interesting part of these recent nights of dreaming is that apparently I've fallen into such a deep sleep that I've cuddled into my partner. Put my arms around him even with the pillow that I place between us every night, my barrier wall in bed. Unconscious, I am not as anxious, walls are down, I express the love and attachment I guess I feel that I push away in the day. We've been aware of this for some time. Years. I didn't used to be like this. With previous partners, I had no hesitancy in cuddling up or being physical. Things happened over the years that affected me to where I'm now almost untouchable depending on the circumstances. It's sad. It is likely temporary. It will take time, effort, more healing.

11:54pm We went through some sad days recently. I was upset that there was no Christmas cheer up bonus. I am grateful for him having the job but I also felt like this was a company dropping the ball at a pivotal time. Pandemic + Holidays + workers putting in effort during this time period = an opportunity to have a donation + tax write off + raise worker morale + impress customers who would hear of this through local outlets and word of mouth. It was an easy decision. Basic organizational behaviour 101 in my books. I'm disappointed in that, while simultaneously grateful we're okay. It just - I see that this could be a moment where they may be on the brink of not maintaining the best employees if they don't treat them like the best. My humble opinion as someone who likely isn't alone in observing this. I'm cheering them on but this was a no brainer. Ah well.

it is the little things

first term complete

Thursday, December 17th, 2020.
Leaving this until rather late, aren't I? Distracted myself for hours of racing. Soon that will turn to hours of reading instead. Not that I'll stop imaginary racing on the video game altogether - no, I'll still do it - just not as much. I've cut back quite a lot from how often I would play the game before but I still let too many hours go by when I'd rather be doing something else. It's a choice in how I spend or waste my time and I want to make better choices. Not that I'm saying gaming is a waste of time - no - but I know that there are other things I want to prioritize.

Speaking of priorities, today was the last day of class for the First Term and yes, I made it to the end of it. I followed through. I think I got all A+'s although I will have to wait a few days for the final grades and that certainty I would like. But yes, I have passed all my courses in the first semester and I'm registered for the Second Term and I'm looking forward to it. I hope that I maintain high marks. I intend to put as much or more of my effort and attention into the learning process. I feel the momentum and I want to go with it. It would be a fantastic achievement to make it through the Program, to finally earn that certificate, and then move on to another college program. Maybe I wouldn't have to take a 2 year program to be ready for University - perhaps the 1 year one after this would be enough to prove myself and to earn a spot? We'll see what happens. I'm hopeful.

I received an email about the volunteer tutor position that I expressed interest in recently and I'm hopeful that they'll contact me in the New Year. I'd like to be interviewed and be able to participate in that. I think that I could learn a lot in the experience and also be able to teach with the love I have for books and reading, for writing and learning. It's in the community where I live and it would help to connect me to people here as I don't have that connection yet. I'd like to feel more a part of the community instead of just up here in this high apartment looking out and away.

11:31pm Monday nights are belly dancing lesson nights so I was thinking that perhaps I might start using that time of night most of the week to exercise. Too late tonight as I'm tired and will be going to bed after I post this but I wanted to write the intention down. Exercise at least three to five times a week would be a good start for me. I have the ability to do it indoors, although I often think of those long walks I would like to take sometime. Now that the cold has arrived and as the pandemic continues (not going to be a good few weeks or so, what with people shopping prior to the holidays and then what will inevitably happen after the holidays when people can't stay away from each other) and so it's just as well to stay inside. But I like to imagine myself being an explorer in this city again someday. Finding places to walk to, streets to wander and sights to explore, taking photos of things there and back again. (sigh)

The other plan I have for this break in between semesters of school is to dust my bookshelves. I could use another bookcase or two so that I can better organize and display the books but until that time, I have to work with what I have. I may not do much sorting honestly, given that I already have things arranged as best I can with the shelf space I have. But I do want to dust a bit. Take some books out and look at them. Read some of them. Maybe make some page flipping videos for my YouTube channel. Something like that. Oh! And I wanted to put my collection into a document, a database of sorts, but that's a project that would take me longer than the few weeks I have off, for certain. It'd be interesting to see just how many books I do have at the moment though. Even with the culling I did before moving here, I know that I've added several books to my collection since that time.

Seems I've kept the writing streak going after all. Good. I think that writing daily is helpful even if I'm not cracking opening up quite yet, or only sporadically going under the surface of it all. It's still about creating the routine, the habit, the challenge to show up. I wish I wouldn't wait so long though. To wait until I'm so tired I can't think of anything but going to sleep. That's not a good mindset for writing. I'll work on it. Still won't write when I first wake up. Dreams are there until after I've gone to the washroom (which is immediately after waking) and after that, I'm not in the mood, having been pushed into the waking world, shaking the debris of nightmares, to this waking life.