Tuesday, October 29, 2013

a party? pour moi? why, yes please.

Every now and then you find yourself in a good place in life. It's the kind of place where all the other stuff, the stuff that sucks, is made okay because you're in a good place. And by good place I mean people. Because you are surrounded by good people, all the stuff that sucks is made better.


You do, right? You totally know what I mean, because I explain things so succinctly that you instantly know what I mean.

If you don't, then allow me to paint you a picture.

I am struggling with my little friend Gemma right now. She has a bee in her bonnet about something and she won't divulge what.

Like how I incorporated part of the name of this blog just there?

I am a wordsmith.

Anyway, I am not here to talk about Gemma today. I will discuss her when I am feeling less like stabbing her in the eye.

Today we are talking about the good people that live on the periphery of all my crap and make it all bearable. It's actually pretty bearable anyway, don't get me wrong.

But these people, oh these people, how I love them so.

Over the last few years of my life I have found myself intertwined with some amazing women who have become my dearest friends, my entertainment, my sounding board, my complaints receiver, my antagonists and my happy place. The diversity would blow your mind. It blows mine, that's how I know.

These funny gals tried, and for awhile succeeded, in attempting to mastermind, behind my back, a surprise birthday party for my 40th. (As a belated birthday gift from me to you, I am giving you commas, because I don't care what they say, the comma is way underused and one of the most powerful grammatical tools of our lifetime. I use it freely here on my blog because at the university the jerks we call professors frown upon such awesomeness as the comma.)


My friends. They tried to throw me a surprise party. A party whose plans I foiled by happening upon the man receiving a strange text, over his shoulder, bless him, he tries so hard, that had both my name and the initials SOA in it.

Well, this cannot be tolerated.

While the man slept that night I rummaged through his texts and screen-shotted the one in question and sent it to my friends. What is this? I cried. What could be happening here? I cried. Wouldn't you have it? They were the culprits behind it. I should have known better, but it didn't even occur to me.

Cover. Blown.

I could have gone along with it but Gemma would have none of it. I became a woman obsessed with knowing the truth. Silly girls tried to have the man in on it but we all know the man is incapable of keeping secrets from me.

It cannot be done. Trust me, he's tried.

So, my wonderful friends threw me a wonderful party. We all dressed up like biker chicks and piled on the makeup and hairspray and tattoos. They showered me with a day at the spa and for that I will be forever grateful because, well......because it's a day at the spa.


If you are wondering where the pictures of me are....there are none. None that turned out even half way decent. But that's okay. Look at that cake!

Monday, October 28, 2013


Life is so busy and exhausting and things are getting pushed to the wayside. Like this here bloggy blog.

Sorry bloggy blog, I don't mean to neglect. It's me, not you.

I promise.

Anyway, it's not like I'm not writing entirely. I write papers and tests and cheques. And then more cheques. Until I have no more money. But this is not the point.

I also write over here.

I usually get to write about the experiences the volunteers are having with those inflicted with the C word, but this time I got to write about a special patient and her unique experience. What a pleasure it was.

I would say 'enjoy' but that just doesn't seem like the right word.......

P.S. Also, please remember this is me writing on behalf of someone else. Don't be the smart alec who texts me asking if I have cancer.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

the 40's are lurking

Well, there is less than 24 hours left of my thirties. I honestly don't know how to feel about it. I mean, I don't feel bad about it. Or afraid, or anxious or upset. I just feel like I should be.....

feeling something? I don't know how to describe it. It seems pretty monumental to me. To be turning 40 and still feel like I am only 28 seems monumental to me.

No? Well, okay then...

Tomorrow I will be 40. I will not be in my 30's anymore. I feel like I've been in my thirties forever. I hope my 40's take forever too. Because to feel like I am 28 for 10 more years sounds pretty wicked, if you ask me.

And you should be asking me.

Because tomorrow is my 40th birthday.

This is HUGE!!!

I am still in the planning stages of my 40th birthday day. I want it to be a good day. It should be a good day but it doesn't have to be epic. I mean, it could be epic. Maybe it will be. Maybe tomorrow, as I run about doing all the things that didn't get the memo that it is my birthday and therefore did not declare themselves closed on what should obviously be a national holiday, something epic will happen. Like my hip won't hurt as I powerwalk on campus to class. Or I will be filled with vigor, which is the complete opposite of how I have been feeling lately. (I  know I said I still felt 28 but you should know I was very tired when I was 28. Very very sleepy) Or maybe dinner will make itself and the trip to Walmart I must take won't suck. Or maybe Crave cupcakes will move into my kitchen and make me delicious and rich, yet fat free and zero calorie cupcakes all day.

That would be amazing, wouldn't it?

I'm sure we can make the dinner making itself thing happen. In fact, let's make that happen, shall we?

So, two days ago, one of my dreams came true. Well, part one of one of my dreams came true. I received a juror summons in the mail.

Now, most people will tell you what a horrible thing this is but I am here to tell you how for the last 22 years of my life I have been waiting, ever so patiently, for this to happen to me. And thank heavens it happened in my 30's because can you imagine?? Nick of time, I tell you, nick of time.

Kidding. I will hold out hope it will happen again and it could easily have happened in my 20's. It may have been easier to accommodate in my 20's but right now? In my very early 40's? It can't happen now because who the heck has time for jury duty?

For my 40th birthday I would like someone to make time for me to be on jury duty so I can fulfill part two of one of my dreams. And that is to serve on a jury. And on a super cool jury too. One that gets sequestered and goes on and on and the case is something the movies are made of.

This sounds like heaven to me. Totally awesome, and this is not even remotely sarcastic. (Sometimes I feel the need to clarify when I am being sarcastic because people just assume that if my lips are moving then I must be being sarcastic, and I'm not. I am dead serious, people.)

Dead serious.

Oh well, I filled out the part of the form that asked why I thought I could not serve on a jury. It may have said something like "six kids" and "university student" and "you're on crack if you think I have time for this". I may have sealed the envelope with my tears and sent it back today.

Bucket lists can be harsh, cruel reminders of all your dreams not coming true.

So, in closing, I will tell you that this will be my last blog post of my 30's. I feel like it deserves a hot bath and a massage but it won't get one because I've been naughty. I have been too busy foiling surprise birthday party plans and offending siblings to draw a hot bath and book massages.

Shamefully naughty, I say.

Hmmmm, I wonder what kind of trouble I can get up to now. I do have about 8 hours left to roll out of this decade hard core.

Maybe I should go rob a bank before I am considered too mature for such a thing...

Fare thee well, thirties. You were good to me and I loved you very much. But now I need to move on, and I promise I will remember you fondly. And often.

Just like it was yesterday...

Monday, October 7, 2013

my siblings are teachers and so i am wrong.

I have four siblings. Four intelligent, highly educated siblings whom are extraordinarily opinionated. I am the least educated of all of them but it doesn't seem to affect my opinionation. Which is not a word and I am educated enough to know that, however, on this here blog I tend to make up words that I think should already be words and I also think that it's stupid they are not.

But that's just my opinionation talking.

But what do I know? I don't have a doctorate, or a masters in education or a law degree. Or any degree, for that matter. They like to remind me when I whine about being the dummy in the family that I have a diploma. Or as I like to call it, the "participation award for two years of working my bum off in a field I would never ever work in again".

Thanks for coming out.

Whatever, I am getting a degree now and that has got to mean something to someone somewhere sometime.

Anyway, I'm sure it's just me being oversensitive because I am not the fancy pants my sibs are with their hoity toity degrees and such but when we get together and debate things such as religion or parenting I often leave feeling frustrated and way under appreciated for my thoughts and opinions. I'm sure they do too.

Actually, I am sure of no such thing. 

To witness a debate amongst my siblings and /or spouses is fun, so says the man. But, to be a part of it can either leave you feeling exhilarated, like you just took part in something intellectual after you consumed too much food and pop, which is truly an astronomical feat. Or it can leave you feeling beaten and unheard and, well......just not very smart. Like when we talk about the infamous Calgary Board of Education.

Ooooooh, the heat is on. And this is why.

I have a brother who is an Assistant Principal for a school in the the CBE. I have a sister who also taught for the CBE for many many years. So to argue with them about the CBE is like arguing with them about whether it's okay or not to live. They say live this way. And you say I want to live, just not like that and maybe I would like something a little bit different. And they say too bad, you have to live this way or you're not living right.

They are both of the opinion that they are right. So, if they are right and you don't agree, then you must be wrong.

See how that works?

Yep, that's how it is in my family. We either agree or we don't and if we don't then someone is wrong, because heaven forbid someone should just be different, and if you're wrong then there is no ending to the letting you know that you are the one wearing the wrong shirt. 

Which is neon. 
And blinks.
And honks. 

WRONG WRONG WRONG. Honk honk honk.

Yesterday, at a fun filled family lunch we got into it over the fact that I refused to pay $40 last week for one field trip for my son who is in grade 9. He also never brought home the form so I am basing this off what he told me. And I said, in my head, I just paid $55 for two other ridiculously over priced field trips this week and because I feel like being a jerk I'm not paying for this one too. 

So he didn't go.

And now I am a bad parent, an unsupportive parent, and apparently a giant pain in the ass to every single CBE teacher that has ever taught in the history of the CBE school system.

Whatever, I don't buy it.

"You don't realize how hard teachers work to provide these super amazing teaching opportunities for your kids" So, because I didn't pay for one field trip I have no realization about what teachers do? Ummmm....

"You have 6 kids, it's your fault your life is so expensive." Right. So, I guess I missed the part in child birth classes where they tell you to start saving up for field trips. Again, my fault.

"I don't know what your problem is, you have no issues dropping $25 to see a movie whenever you want." Okay, so since I can afford the field trips I should be happy to pay for a $40 walk in the woods? No see, that's not how I operate. Just because the funds are in my bank account doesn't mean I have to be happy about the cost of field trips. It's the principle of the matter. It's too expensive. I didn't say it's too expensive for me, just that's it too expensive. 

I get that as teachers, they have a level of empathy and understanding for teachers and the crap they put up with I will never have. This is fair enough. They are both amazing educators so there is no question as to how hard they work to provide a quality education for their students and also their own kids.

Neither one of these siblings has a child over 8.

So, this is where I say I am entitled to my disdain for the over priced field trip by reminding myself that I have been doing this for twice as long as them. And that when my kids were their kids ages I was paying $6.50 for a field trip. I can remember when $12 was a really high end field trip.


Well, you might knowwhatimean, but my brother and sister sure as heck don't. And they never will, because they are teachers. And parents who will have $40 field trips be their norm. It is not my norm and I don't like it and because I don't like it I am going to say it out loud every now and then and that does not make me wrong. It doesn't mean that I am never going to send my kids on field trips, because I am, and I do, but that also doesn't mean that I have to like it every single time. Also, not wrong. And while I applaud teachers and all they do and one hundred percent recognize I could never be one, I also am painfully aware of my siblings inability to understand the mentality of the sweepingly generalized "ignorant parent".

People like me. Unless I am the only one. In which case I am a total jerk. I accept that. 

I refuse to believe, much to their anguish and dismay, that if they weren't teachers, they'd be totally okay with the price of these trips. I also refuse to believe either one has spent as much as I have on any one of their kids trips this year thus far. They'll argue me to my death on that, because that's what they do, but it doesn't change the fact that I still don't believe it. And another thing I don't believe is that I am the only parent who cringes when their kids hand over field trip notices. 


And also, when my siblings, or their spouses, accuse me of doing things I don't do my britches light aflame like no other. But I'll save that for another day.

For what it's worth, since I have written this post, I have happily paid another $48 for two field trips. That's a total of $145 in the past 11 school days for 5 field trips for 4 children. According to my teacher siblings I should be rejoicing in this glorious opportunity to spend money on an education I already spent money on, but apparently I didn't?, when I wrote those gigantic cheques not even 7 weeks ago.

Yesterday, at lunch, at my teacher brother's house, his wife shut this debate down with a well practiced evil eye and a pointer finger before I was even remotely near done and so I dedicate this post to her. And her wicked looks. And that wicked pointer finger. And her punctured uterus....which isn't supposed to be punctured......but is....because doctors are jerks and maybe this can be the topic of our next family debate.

The end.

Friday, October 4, 2013

walt whitman said what now?

One of the classes I am taking at the university is all about literature written mostly by dead white guys. There are some Chinese fellows in there and this semester there are even some African writers thrown in. But mostly it's white guys like Galileo and Locke. Hobbes and Thoreau. Goethe and Rousseau. Whitman. Who doesn't know Walt Whitman?? Someone has determined these writers to be awesome enough to have their writings compiled in a text book and studied by many many many a poor fool.

I pity the fool.

Actually, I seriously love this class and that is no word of a sarcastic lie. And, really, who am I to decide who is awesome enough to be studied billions of years later? I am thinking, though, that the criteria for being awesome is being confusing and really hard to understand, even though your native tongue is the same as mine.

Whatever, this is the class and I have to take it and I am okay with it. Even though it seriously cuts into my reading for pleasure time. Again, I love the class. I really love it.

I really do....

This week, we did a plethora of readings commonly referred to as poetry. I am super awesome at poetry. Poetry is my my jam.

Let me show you...

I will speak to you some poetry and whilst doing so I will offer up my interpretation of said poetry. My interpretation will be in italics. Here we go...

Two together!
Wind blows south, or winds blow north,
Day come white, or night come black,
Home, or rivers and mountains from home,
Singing all the time, minding no time,
While we two keep together.

Shoot, I forgot to make a grocery list for the way home. And I can't remember what I was planning for dinner.

Blow! blow! blow!
Blow up seas winds along Paumanok's shore;
I wait and I wait till you blow my mate to me.

Toilet paper!! I keep forgetting to buy some toilet paper. Dang it. Why do we go through toilet paper so fast? I do believe it is unreasonably fast...

Listen'd to keep, to sing, now translating the notes,
Following you my brother.

I'm hungry. I wish I had a banana with me. I sure do love bananas....

Low hangs the moon, it rose late,
It is lagging -- O I think it is heavy with love, with love.

I am so tired, I can't believe my life right now. Kids, so many kids, and all needing to be somewhere. It is making me tired.....Reallllll tireddddddd....

O night! I do not see my love fluttering out among the breakers?
What is that little black thing I see there in the white?

Speaking of love...I feel like I haven't seen mine in forever. Oooooh, we should go to a movie. I love the movies.....I wonder what's playing right now....

Death, death, death, death, death.
Which I do not forget,

That was a lot of deaths. 1-2-3-4-5 deaths, good grief....

That strong and delicious word which, creeping to my feet,
or like some old crone rocking the cradle, swathed in sweet garments, bending aside,
The sea whisper'd me.

Hmmmm, I do believe I just read a 20 page poem. I do believe I have no clue what just happened here. I am awesome at this book learning stuff. Banana. I reeeeeally want a banana. Right now. Where can I get a banana from?

And that, my friends, is how Catherine Dabels does poetry. I should do really well on the paper associated with that poem......


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

things i learned at university, part 2. and my birthday month

Okay, all right. Okay, all right. Okay, here we go...

It's October!! I know, I know. October happens every year. But..... it isn't every year that I turn 40!!!


In 9 days I will be FORTY years old. I simply can not believe it. I remember when 40 was old. In the olden days. My olden days. When 40 was old.

I know, I know, I don't look a day over 26. You're so kind.

Stop it!

I had so many plans for my life that included a due date of 40. Not all of them happened. It's okay.

It's gonna have to be, isn't it?

I don't think I'll spend too much time on this blog post since it's making me ponder my life and I don't really think I want to do that quite yet. It does make me feel a little anxious though thinking about all the things I still want to do and have. Or maybe that's just me coming off anxiety meds, which, by the way, turned me into a homicidal, apathetic maniac for about 10 days. I'm good now, though.

That's a different post entirely.

So, my 40's should include things I've never had before. Like a career. And maybe a few less kids. And maybe even a grandchild if Cicely follows the same road I did.

HOLY CRAP!!! Did I just say grand kids?? Whoaaaaaaa nelly.....this post is done. There are not enough anxiety drugs in the world to process that.

I wasn't even thinking about grand kids when I started this stupid post.

Talking about stupid, let's talk about university and some of the things I witness while I'm there. The other day I went to class. It was paper handing in day. So I handed in my paper and took a seat. Then a line of students formed to hand in their papers. A girl got to the front of the line, looked at the prof in the eyes and said this, "Do you have a stapler?"

Now, maybe it's just me and my abrasive personality (the man told me once that I have an abrasive personality. Nice) but "do you have a stapler?" Really?? Did you just ask the professoress if she was carrying a stapler around the university on her VERY OWN person?

I was agog. I was aghast. Could Marius be in love at last?

Whoa, I just went into Les Mis mode there for sec. Excuse me, I apologize.

Maybe my brother Paul can weigh in on this issue, since he is a university professor and probably sees all kinds of stupid on a regular basis. The issue is this: how ridiculous is it that a student would bring a paper to class NOT ALREADY FASTENED?

It's not just me, right? Surely this isn't just me.....

So, while I was giving my own head a shake because it's either that or smack some poor young adult for being generally not bright, the professoress began a lecture on why it is not her responsibility to provide the fasteners for our papers. She may have said things like "this is a 500 level course" and "it might be good practice for you to carry your own staplers" and "at some point you need to think about this stuff for yourselves. At home. Where your stapler is" and "how is it that your paper is not already stapled?"

All the things I was thinking as I was shaking my head. I felt closer to her in that moment.

Anyway, while she ranted away something happened. Something I, to this day, still can not believe. A young man reached the front of the line and when the professoress took a breath he chose that precise moment in time to ask a question.

"Excuse me, do you have a stapler?"

**this is a true story. The events of this story have not been altered in any way. And no, the professoress did not murder this brain dead child. And against every fibre of my being, neither did I.