Reality check

As I trundle through every day, trying to keep my head above water, I will occasionally stop and wonder  what the hell I’m doing. I talk to my classmates every day, and am active on the social media boards, but every now and then it dawns on me… Holy crap, I’m in school and learning a whole whack of new stuff. (No wonder I nap when I can.) I just finished a project that had me create a website without touching existing HTML, and using only CSS code. I hated it, and then I loved it. I know I got help, but I keep bringing it up on the screen and I can’t believe I did that. Even my prof liked it. I thought it was simplistic, but he saw it as artistic. That made me happy.

On a personal note, I’m still happy. It’s weird. Yesterday, I stood in the arms of a man that I have fallen in love with, and was fascinated by the fact that this person exists. As I wrapped my arms around his waist and held him, I couldn’t help but marvelling that he was real. Flesh and blood. Free will – and he chooses to be with me. And he thinks I’m perfect. I still question his sanity, and double check how much he’s had to drink when he says stuff like that…

But, of course, the universe has to keep me humble. I’m now mortally wounded again, with the second sprain of my left ankle in three months. I’d love to say that I was battling zombie garden gnomes – because that has happened before, only that resulted in a fractured nose and concussion. It has been suggested that demonic possession could have been the source of my fall. I think that has a far more adventurous ring to it than “I missed a step”…

Time flies…

Going back to school is a funny thing as an adult. This week has been reading week, which means it’s almost half-way through my first term of college. When I went to university the first time, right out of high school, reading week meant travelling home and hanging out with my parents. When I went to university the second time, it meant being able to ONLY work 40 hours per week and not have to worry about going to school at night. Now, I’m back to being a full-time student as a 40-something person, and it means soooo much more. And there’s a lot of napping involved.

I went from no hope, and a scary future, to learning all the new things, and still a scary future. My brain has been in overdrive since January 5th. I’m still terrified that I’m not going to do well in this course, despite the fact that my lowest mark is 89%. I’m convinced that the professors will see that I’m just treading water right now, and take bets on how quickly I’ll sink when I get tired. I’m afraid that I’m not good enough, and that I still won’t be when I’m done. I’m terrified that I will have lived on less than minimum wage, sacrificed too much, stressed over every bill and expense in order to get this degree, and that I’ll still not find a job in September.

I’m trying really hard to change my thinking, but I’ve spent 40-something years thinking negatively. I’m surprised by what I’ve done… Every now and then, I stop and think about it, shake my head, and think WTF? But on the other hand, it doesn’t feel weird. Going back to school, and wandering the halls of academia still seems like the natural thing to do. So, I guess I’ll keep treading water, and hope that no one notices that I still have no fucking clue what I’m doing…

For the love of everything sacred, not again….

I’ve been pondering my head lately.

Having had three (that I know of) concussions, I thought their stories might be worth sharing. The first was in land, far, far away. Well, actually it’s only an hour from me…. but I digress.

When I was 12, I was an avid horsewoman(horsechild?!?). Like most girls, I loved horses and begged my parents for riding lessons. For my eighth birthday, success!!! I was not a girly girl. I didn’t want “equestrian” lessons and had no desire, whatsoever, to ever use the word jodhpurs, let alone wear them. I wanted to ride western. I wanted to be a cowgirl. I was a natural, I was told, and after my ten lessons were up, I pondered my future in the world. Luckily, my mum bonded with the family who owned the ranch in question, and they agreed that if I wanted to help out around the ranch, I could continue lessons for free. I mucked out stalls, cleaned bridles, fixed saddles, and shovelled more shit than any other kid I knew. And I grew up in the country! Fast forward four years later, and I was still there. I was now a terribly experienced horsewoman (oh hell yes) to the point that I was now officially a trail guide. That meant that I was considered more experienced than any of the people wanting to rent the horses and go for a trail ride. Every ride had to have a guide.

This pissed off a number of adults, but it was quite entertaining the number of times I had to come to the rescue, at the tender age of 12. And I garnered a fair amount of respect the day that one of the bitchy horses (I still remember her name. Colby.) turned around and bit my leg instead of the horse I was riding. As big, strong, adults pried her teeth from my 12-year-old leg, with me cursing instead of crying, they stopped questioning if I was up to the task. In that time, I was pretty impressed with myself in general, because at 12, I had a regular paycheque. I was also pretty proud of the fact that, since I was responsible enough to take care of the urban adventurers, I was also responsible enough to go out alone. *insert dramatic music here*

It was a beautiful day. I was riding one of my favourite horses, named Sundance. He was a strawberry roan, so pretty, with a wonderful personality, and jeepers – could that horse run. 🙂 We weren’t even 1/4 of the way around the trail when it happened. A bee got caught underneath his saddle pad. I didn’t last long on his back. I was bucked off, got my foot caught in the stirrup, and was dragged for some distance until I was dislodged on a pile of rocks. That’s pretty much all I remember. Apparently, the alarm was raised back on the ranch when Sundance returned, sans rider. A search party was mustered, and apparently I came to half-way back. The owner sent my mum off to the hospital with me, with her promise that she would bring me back. I was, quite literally, going to have to get back in the saddle that same day.

I returned – victorious from the hospital – bruised, concussed, and still bleeding a little, but ready to get back onto a horse. They put me on Tag. She was 29 years old. Safest horse on the ranch, I was assured. No problem. I was 12, but I was stubborn and tough. We got 3/4 around the trail when we approached the back of what was then known as Bell Northern Research. It’s a nice part of the trail, a good open spot to run, with a forest up ahead to slow down and cool down through. On the other side of the fence was a baseball diamond that the BNR employees used to play softball. There was a jovial game going on that day. A few smiled and waved at us on the horses. And then it happened. No one expected a home run. The ball actually hit my horse on the ass.

Have you ever seen a 29 year old horse panic? I have. She tore across the field at a speed that only racehorses might be able to muster. Did the forest stop her? No. Did she follow the path? No. She found the path of most resistance, which included a number of buckthorn trees. If you’ve never seen a buckthorn tree close up, they have thorns on them that can reach 4 inches in length, and are strong enough that they can pierce a car tire if run over at just the right angle.

20 minutes later, I returned to the ranch, still concussed, still bruised, and now bleeding profusely from so many wounds that it would have been counterproductive to even count. The owner’s daughter had been my companion through this romp through hell and attempted to explain my condition. The owner shook his head, looked at my mother and was about to speak when I slid, bloodily off my horse, and promised to return the next day, so long as he didn’t send me out a third time.

For the record, I was back the next day…

What the hell?

Okay, it’s bad enough that a whole new year snuck up on us, but how in the hell is it already the end of January?!? Valentine’s Day is not yet here, yet the Cadbury bunny is already laying eggs on television. The February thaw, followed by a deep-freeze from hell, has yet to happen, yet the spring clothing line is emerging in stores. On Facebook, some are posting that it’s only 52 days until Spring, while others are posting that that’s it’s only 47 weeks until Christmas. Incidentally, I want to smack the latter.

I often find other people’s priorities askew, but then again, who the hell am I to question them? I’m not a fan of winter, so I’m all for anyone who posts a countdown to Spring. I’m not a Christmas person, but I’m exceeding giddy to think that it’s only 277 days until Halloween. The events I tend to base my life on usually revolve around the Pipe Band world. Parades start trickling in at the end of June/Canada Day, the Maxville Highland Games are the August Long Weekend, from mid-August to the end of September we are busy, and then from the week before Remembrance Day until early December, we are absolutely insane.

This year, I’ve added school and a significant other into my life. I have a strange feeling that I’ll be wishing everyone Happy Christmas in a matter of (what seems like) weeks…

I’ve been remiss…

My apologies for my absence and silence… I’ve been having a very difficult time lately. Being bitchy and sarcastic is so second nature, and I’ve not been able to create a post worthy of my reputation… That is a very unusual state for me to be in.

2015 has turned into quite the year, thus far. To recap on 2014 (we won’t even go into 2013, that was way too bloody) I spent all but 2 1/2 months of it unemployed. Those 2 1/2 months were fantastic, I was doing the job of my dreams; I was researching history, death, funerals and all the things that I hold dear. But alas, I was screwed about by dishonest people. I applied for 307 jobs between mid-June and Christmas, with nary a call-back. It was not a good year. With Employment Insurance ending in early January, 2015 was looking terribly ominous.

After applying for 307 jobs in seven months, to no avail, I found an opportunity to be retrained. Through the Second Careers program, courtesy of the Government of Ontario, my tuition, parking, and basic (very – although I’m not complaining) living expenses were going to be covered to allow me to go back to school. So, instead of the fruitless and depressing task of applying for jobs that I might never be contacted about, I’d be going to College and upgrading my knowledge. I’d be given the chance to make myself marketable. Bettering myself. I found out on December 30th that I would be able to go to school on January 5th. What a way to start the year. And talk about last minute…

New Year’s Eve rolled around… I was dreading the night (keep in mind, I’ve been single for almost 11 years!!!). I was invited to two parties and I opted for the one that was most different than usual, and the one I was invited to first. I had no expectations. I figured I’d chat with people, drink a bit too much (hey, it’s New Year’s Eve) and fall asleep in my corner of the room to begin the year anew, as usual.

As I expected, it was a nice gathering. I was pleasantly surprised to discover a few people I knew in attendance, and I met a few new people too. And then, he entered the room. I noticed him immediately. As the night wore on, everyone else at the party disappeared. I don’t remember anything else from the night, other than talking to him. I have learned, since that night, that many people watched us all evening and noticed something happening. The night wore on, the party faded out…

The last 19 days have been the most blissful blur of my life. I have had physical, verbal and mental abuse throughout my history. I do believe this man may be able to make it all worthwhile. I don’t expect him to fix anything, but I think he can help me forget it and help me look towards the future, for the first time in my life. The past may very well become history, and for a history geek like me – that’s saying a lot! I put no pressure on him and I love the fact that he accepts my dents, my flaws, and my brokenness. He is everything that I (and even those around me) ever imagined possible. He’s kind, he’s caring, he’s romantic, he cares about how I feel – these all may seem like run-of-the mill attributes to most people, but I’ve never had them before. Most days I have to re-read conversations we’ve had, to make sure I wasn’t imagining or dreaming things. But I’m not…

The people I’ve told all these things too, and now you are in that realm, have told me to just enjoy it. That’s what I’m trying to do. I’m not used to things (let alone multiple things) going my way… But, somehow, I have started this year with knowledge and love. I could not be more grateful.

The set up…

There are few things worse than online dating… one is definitely the set-up. Especially when the set-up is by someone who hardly knows you.

“He’s awesome!”, “So thoughtful!” and “Such a nice man.” were terms thrown about by someone who is a friend of a friend. I’d been single for about eight years, borderline given up on online dating, so I thought “why not?”. hahahahahahahahah

I met this man at a local restaurant. My first impression was hair that hadn’t been washed in about four weeks, a turtleneck sweater that had stains on the neck and the arms, and his pants were pulled half-way up to his chest like an 80 year-old man. I smiled sweetly, and sat down.

Over the course of one glass of wine, I learned that this man wasn’t a friend of a friend, in fact, he was her best customer at the restaurant that she worked at – because he ate there every day! He was two years older than me. Not bad… He lived in his parents’ basement until he was almost 40 but it was time to move out. So he moved in with his brother. That turned sour when his brother actually met a living, breathing woman, and turfed him out after they got married. Where did he return? To his parents’ basement. I see a theme here. Apparently his mother wasn’t well. That would explain the stained and ripped clothing he wore for our first date.

Did we go out again? Um… no.

I don’t have children and I’m not about to adopt ones older than me…

Run away, run away!!!

Can you guess which one is not like the other?

Speaking of the joy and bliss of online dating, another story just occurred to me.

I met another fellow once… He was very nice, very down to earth, very gentlemanly. We went out a couple of times, actually. He held the door open for me, he bought me dinner, and he admired my shoes. On the third date, he invited me over to cook me dinner. “That’s a nice gesture.” I thought to myself. And how nice to find a man who can cook. That was rare, back in the day.

As the evening progressed, he got more chatty and decided that the night was ripe for honesty. So he showed me his closet. The man had spent more money on women’s clothing than I did. Granted, he was about 6’2″ so I would imagine his clothing came from a far more expensive “big girl” store… This also actually explained a lot. He had fingernails that went significantly father than beyond the tips of his fingers on both hands, and they were disturbingly manicured.

The other interesting revelation was that apparently after our first date, he had followed me through a mall one day, dressed as his alternate persona. How I missed the ginormous woman following me is beyond me. I must have been really focussed that day.

Now don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against anyone who likes to explore different avenues, but as he eyed the sweater I was wearing, all I could imagine was how stretched out it would be if he borrowed it…

Why online dating sucks

When I was younger, I was convinced that online dating was the way to go. I’m not one for bars, and I’m really more of a homebody than anything. At the time, I lived alone and worked from home – spending 24/7 within the same walls does not facilitate a fabulous romance. And, there weren’t usually a lot of eligible bachelors hanging around on the street, waiting for me to check my mailbox.

I had been on one unnamed website (Lavalife) for a while, when I started chatting with an interesting gentleman. He said he was 42, of average build and 5’8″. Now, to put things into perspective, I was 35, 5’3″ and perhaps a bit above average, but not too much so. When we did actually meet, it turned out he was 52, shorter then me and was so round he reminded me of a garden gnome. To make matters worse, he had a daughter only two years younger than me. We spent the entire dinner with him talking about his daughter, and me talking about my dad. Creeeeeepyyyy. Needless to say, neither one of us contacted each other again.

But the question still remains in my head… Why would you lie to someone about your age, height and weight if those are the first three things people are going to see? If you’re going to lie about the blatantly obvious, what else would you lie about?

It sure looks pretty…

Well that was a rather inauspicious first day of school…

I woke up at the crack of pre-dawn and managed to get myself out the door at the time I had actually wanted to leave. That was pretty impressive considering that I am not a morning person. I had cleaned the car off the night before from the day’s ice-rain storm so there was no scraping to be done. Or so I thought… Turns out I had forgotten the whole passenger side of the car. I managed to scrape a small amount off, enough to see out the window, but the rest of it was left as a sheet of ice. Who needs the passenger door when you’re by yourself?

The journey itself was uneventful until I got into the city only to be reminded why I live in a small town. I really don’t like the city and l like the drivers even less. After a few curse words and practically falling asleep as we crawled along at a speed I could probably outpace on foot, I arrived for my very first day of college. I pulled up to the parking lot and rolled down the window to get my parking ticket. No, wait, I didn’t. The window was frozen shut. No worries, I just opened the door and reached around. But no… somehow, during my 64km journey, my door had frozen shut. I double-checked that I had unlocked the door – because I have been know to qualify for the Midvale School for the Gifted – but no, I was trapped.

By this time, another car had pulled up behind me and was awaiting his turn to enter the parking lot. There I am, heaving my entire body weight repeatedly against the door to no avail. I doubt the man behind me was impressed when he saw me put the car in park and start crawling through to exit the passenger side. Thank god that side opened, which is ironic, since that was the side covered in ice. Around the car I go, gesturing apologetically and squeezing between the ticket machine and the car. A very pissed-off yank on the handle freed my door! Hooray! But, of course, I was too close to the machine to get back in that side. Around the car I venture again, giving the (I would imagine irritated or amused) driver behind me the thumbs up, and clamber back through the car. What a great day to wear a floor-length coat… But I digress… I got my ticket, whooshed through the entrance and quickly pulled into a spot where I could hide my embarrassment from the individual who witnessed this entire encounter.

Once I regained my composure I ventured into academia. The first orientation was a bit strange, but interesting. We were then fed pancakes, which was awesome. Following that was an orientation about the program itself. It was very informative and I’m officially both excited and terrified of the future ahead of me. After that, I got my picture taken for my student card and I headed back to the car.

I was almost back to the parking lot, walking a bit quicker than I should have been since it was bloody windy and cold, when it happened. I crossed the last road, stepped onto the sidewalk, and what did I find but sheer ice that had not been salted after yesterday’s previously mentioned ice rain storm. It would be interesting to note here, that I fell and sprained an ankle on Christmas Eve Eve. It is healing but at the moment I’m wearing boots a bit too big so my ankle is comfortable. These boots do not have good tread… I was propelled a good five feet, balanced on one foot (the bad one) as the sidewalk started to angle down into the curb. I angled with it, slid with as much grace as one can as they are pinwheeling, panicking and trying to protect a brand new laptop, and landed like a lead balloon on my posterior. Again, there were witnesses.

Needless to say, as I drove home, cringing and cursing at every pothole that jolted my newly cracked tailbone, through gritted teeth I repeated to myself “It sure looks pretty… It sure looks pretty…”