Archive for January, 2010

Sleep deprived

When I arrived at work on Tuesday morning, I opened my bag to get my water bottle. It wasn’t there and I thought that I‘d have to go downstairs to buy a water bottle at the Dollar Store. When I closed my drawer, there I found my water bottle on top of my desk where I have placed it just a few moments earlier.

On Wednesday afternoon, I heard the two ladies sitting next to me at work talking about falling asleep on the bus. “Have you ever missed your stop because you’ve fallen asleep?” asked Lady Number 1. “Yeah,” replied Lady Number 2. “Sometimes I fall asleep, head lolling from side to side.” “I do that, too,” I interjected. “I mean, missed my stop.” And then I continued, “I remember this one time. I dropped the book that I was reading on the floor. I fell asleep. I looked at the guy sitting across from me to find out if he saw that. It didn’t look like he did. But it was kind of embarrassing.” Lady Number 3 who was listening to our conversation said, “Oh that’s funny.”

When I woke up my youngest son on Thursday morning before I went to work, I told him, “Ryland, don’t forget to make your sandwich for lunch. You forgot to do it last night.” He said, “No, I didn’t.” What? I didn’t see his sandwich when I took out the juice boxes and my water bottle out of the fridge and put them on the kitchen table. And then I started to rattle my brain. Oh yeah, of course, I took his sandwich and juice box and put them on the table. And then I went back to the fridge to get my lunch and water bottle and I forgot that his sandwich was there and I thought that he forgot to do it the previous night.

On Friday night I was trying to watch one of the TV shows that I taped earlier. I have fallen asleep a few times while watching the one hour show and I kept rewinding the tape and finally I just gave up and went to bed.

I was scrubbing the shower at around 5:00 this afternoon and I felt so tired and sleepy. Like I was about ready to go to bed. Good thing I didn’t fall asleep in the shower.

And here I am at 10:30 on this Sunday night still blogging when I should really just go to bed early and bank some sleep time for another busy week ahead of me.

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January 24, 2010 at 10:43 pm 5 comments

Berry unfair

I was looking at the newspaper after breakfast when my 11-year old son, Ryland said, “Oh, I know her.”

“That’s Storm from X-Men,” I said.

“Oh, no, wait. She looks different,” he said.

“She changes her hair a lot,” I said. “Sometimes it’s long, sometimes it’s short. I don’t like her white hair when she’s Storm.”

“She looks old?”

“Eh, it just doesn’t look good on her.”

I told him what the newspaper article I was reading is about. The title, “Cop feels Berry special, helps her jump queue.”

Me: Halle Berry was at a Canadian airport and she got ahead of a long line. She got special treatment just because she’s a celebrity. That’s not fair. Right?

Him: Where was she going?

Me: You see, she’s married to this French guy. He’s Canadian. Maybe they were visiting family. It says here they were at a Montreal Airport. She’s American, see. Maybe they’re going back to the U.S.

I continued reading the article.

Me: Oh, let’s see. It says here that it was an hour long line. If I was in that line I’d probably get mad if they got ahead of me.

Him: But that’s just one person.

Me: I know, but let’s say there’s about a hundred people in that line that has been waiting for an hour, and then here they come and they get to the front of the line. That’s not fair.

Him: Yeah, but that’s just one person you have to let in.

I was thinking, my son isn’t getting this? How am I going to explain this to him?

Me: You know how at Superstore when there’s a long line and I have to wait? Oh, remember that one time at Sears? I was waiting in line for a long time, and then there was this lady who tried to cut in front of me? Well, she didn’t know where the line started. But I felt that wasn’t fair. Well, I didn’t really get mad that time because she was an old lady. But you know what I mean?

Him: Wait, were they paying at the airport?

Me: No, but at the airport, they have to check your passports and your identification and your papers and all these stuff.

Him: Oh, now you tell me this. (Lightbulb moment, finally) Were they saying anything bad about them?

Me: Well, not exactly, it just says here that people saw them get ahead to the front of the line.

Him: Were the people waiting in line mad at them?

Me: Well, no. But if I was one of those people, I think I might be mad?

Him: If it was Michael Jackson, would you be mad?

I started to laugh out loud.

Me: Ha ha ha. That’s a good one, Ryland. You got me there. No, I don’t think I’d me mad. I’d probably be too excited to get mad. I might even take his pictures.

Him: But he’s dead now.

I’m shaking my head now.

Me: That’s a good one Ryland. No, I don’t think I’d be shouting unfair if I was there and if it was Michael Jackson or some other famous celebrity. You got a good point there Ryland.

How about that? He got me really good there.

January 10, 2010 at 5:11 pm 2 comments

Running With Augusten Burroughs

Let me just finish writing about Augusten Burrough’s memoirs before I forget what I’ve read.

I loved A Wolf at the Table so much that I just had to get his other books. After searching the second hand bookstores in my area, I found three more of his books. What can I say? I love this guy. I was reading Dry on the bus when the young woman sitting next to me said, “He’s one of my favourite authors.” Actually, she said it after I closed the book. And yeah, now, he’s also become one of my favourite authors.

In Running With Scissors, Augusten writes about his painful childhood. In the first chapter titled, “Something Isn’t Right,” he must have already known at ten years old that there’s something wrong with his mother. She wasn’t seeing Dr. Finch, the psychiatrist, just because of her marital problems, but because she’s crazy, as in psychotic crazy. His father was cold and distant and by the second chapter, his parents are already divorced. It was an explosive divorce.

When he was 13, his mother left him to live with the Finches because she could no longer handle him. The Finches were an eccentric and dysfunctional family.

I could relate to Augusten’s story. I was twelve when my parents separated and it was also an explosive separation. I was 15 when mother left me and my sister to live with relatives. Also a dysfunctional family. I love them dearly, but that’s the truth. I grew up in a dysfunctional family and was sent away to live in another dysfunctional family. But when I say dysfunctional, I say it like it is a term of endearment. (Sorry, folks. But I do love you all.)

Just when you think that you had a tough childhood, you read something like this and you feel lucky that this childhood didn’t happen to you. And once again, here’s a memoir that relates about the pains of growing up, about one’s trials and tribulations early in life. And it was written so beautifully and injected with humour. I think there’s only a chosen few who can do that.

I’ve read quite a few memoirs already and I think that the best way to relate about a painful childhood or experience is to either write it beautifully or with humour, or better yet, both.

Just a few interesting notes that I like to point out after reading this book:

Dr. Finch encouraged his children and patients to shout, scream, confront. Because as he said, if you don’t let the anger out, it will kill you. I do agree that sometimes it feels better when you let off the steam, but I don’t know, a shouting family? Is that any healthier?

Augusten said that the Finches showed him that you could make your own rules. Your life was your own and no adult should be allowed to shape it for you. At one point in the book, Augusten said that while he was living with the Finches, he had freedom. There were no rules at the Finches’ house, yet he felt trapped. “I wanted to break free. But free from what? And that was the problem. Because I didn’t know what I wanted to break free from. I was stuck.”

When Augusten was still living with his mother and he didn’t want to go to school, she wouldn’t force him and she would let him stay at home with her. When he was also living with the Finches, he’d skip school and the doctor even helped him stage a suicide attempt just so he’d have a valid reason to stay out of school. But he had to spend a month in a psychiatric hospital. I know, that’s just sick and weird.

Augusten also wrote about how he’d rather stay at home and write in his journal. I wonder if all memoirists kept journals. I’ve always wondered how they can remember details vividly from their childhood.

In Dry, Augusten writes about his life in advertising and about his alcoholism. His co-workers did an intervention and he agreed to check into rehab. He became sober and attended AA meetings. In this memoir, we get a glimpse of the life of this gay guy in his twenties struggling to fight the urge to drink and let go of his baggage. He wasn’t supposed to date anybody in his AA group, but he became involved with someone in his group.

I found it interesting how he, a gay guy, describes his feelings towards somebody that he’s attracted to. It’s the same feelings and emotions that I have experienced towards anybody that I have been attracted to. Gay or straight, we’re all the same. In Dry, I like how he wrote about his sexual feelings. It was so sweet and he wrote about it in sort of a discreet way.

In Running With Scissors, I was shocked at how he described his first sexual encounter, with a gay guy. But he wrote Running from his point of view as a child. I guess, when you have been taken advantage of at age 13, it will stick in your mind as a nasty experience. And there’s just no other way of saying it.

Dry is written like a novel and I love how he wrote it with his self-deprecating sense of humor. In the book, he used the word riveting to describe one of the stories that was shared in his group. Riveting is how I found his story. This has been a page-turner for me.

Magical Thinking is a collection of true stories. Funny, amusing, entertaining, and just brilliant writing. A couple of memorable ones are the one about his cleaning lady who was trying to rip him off and how he outsmarted her, and the one where he tried to kill a rat in his New York apartment. Magical Thinking is also the title of one of the stories in this book. Magical thinking, he explains, is the belief that we can influence events by thinking about them. Like for instance, how he willed his partner to let him have a dog, or how at 34, he decided to stop being an alcoholic and become a New York Times bestselling author. And look at him now.

I believe my youngest son has this (power?) influence, too. On November 1st, he came home complaining how he was forced to sign up for volleyball. Now, I don’t really think that he was forced against his will. The good mother and motivator that I am, I tried to sell it to him. Oh, that’s a good activity for you. You’ll get the exercise that you need. Still, he complained and begged me to not let him go to the tournament that was happening at the end of the month. But what’s the point of all these lessons and practice? Just go, I told him. The night before the tournament, he got ill. He had a fever and he had to stay home the next day. Coincidence or magical thinking?

Read my movie review of Running With Scissors here.

January 6, 2010 at 11:45 pm Leave a comment