Archives for December, 2010
I'm going away for a day. A "Be Good To Me Day" ~ we all deserve them. Not far. But light-years from my routine. So it's a virtual vacation... Being able to spend one day without my brisk mandatory sunrise, afternoon and midnight 45-minute walks with my dog Riley in the Arctic deep-freeze engulfing Toronto right now will be a true vacation for me. There are no breaks for me, when it comes to walking Riley. Rain, snow, sleet, blizzards, seven days a week, three times a day. And Lucy returns in a week. Oh, boy! When he has to do, we go... Not having to spend 20-minutes layering myself with acrylic active wear and lacing my snow-pant clad legs into my fake-fur lined Weather-Spirit boots ~ guaranteed to keep my toesies warm in up to minus 20 degree Celsius or -4 Fahrenheit degree weather, will be a real thrill. I need a break. Everyone does. So does Marty, from me.... Have I ever told you "I'm difficult"...? Well, I am.
Ooooops! I just hit publish by mistake, so I'm going to do some tweaking while this is up. Please be patient with me... As I was saying... To put it bluntly, I'm an old-fashioned-style journalist embracing the new media. So this week, I'm reflecting on the past while wondering about the present and where all this is going. After all, we're at the end of the first decade of a new century. And embarking on a new decade. I'm allowed to reflect... aren't I? I love blogging. I love the interactivity of it. The community. I wouldn't go back to print journalism if you begged me. It's too static. Too dead. Too one-sided. Too unfair. Everybody deserves a voice, not just me. I love you. I love hearing from you and listening to you and getting to know you. So, this week, I have an agenda in mind. I will roll-out my posts as quickly as I can write them while I do all the other things I must do.
I told this man I wanted to impress all about my psychiatric history ~ in point form ~ leaving no important details out. The clock was ticking... I was candid and straightforward. Quite matter-of-fact. It never occurred to me that I shouldn't be perfectly honest and upfront. Always was. Always had been. It never seemed to make a whit of difference... That's how I was raised. That's my history. My life. I was lucky. I told J. Douglas MacFarlane, I wanted to attend classes, right away. I told him about my recent hospitalization at The Clarke and why. It was an old story for me. I'd told it many times before. Then I pulled out two thick black bound hardcover scrapbooks bulging with clippings ~ mine. "I have to come to Ryerson," I remember telling him, passionately but not desperately. "I have to be here, where the action is. I want to write for a Toronto newspaper. I wanted to be a journalist." We discussed my psychiatric history. He seemed quite interested. And I had no secrets. So I told him...
I will never forget my first day of journalism school ~ which was the second day of classes in September 1975 at Ryerson Polytechnic Institute in Toronto. Now, Ryerson is a University and the two-year postgraduate journalism diploma course I was embarking upon ~ for students with university degrees ~ would be an M.A. degree program. A "beginning story" for the end of the year... I had just spent several weeks as an in-patient at The Clarke Institute of Psychiatry in Toronto ~ now the Clarke site of the Centre for Addictions and Mental Health a.k.a. CAMH. I had completed a degree at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, left my first husband after seven months of marriage ~ I now call it my "rehearsal" marriage.
Bingo! Dr. Bob just gave me a brand new onion to start peeling... Holiday Stress for the most part has turned into a media event. Great fodder for stories during those sluggish news days at this time of year. Charles Dickens can take some of the credit, too. Essentially, this special Christmas stress was and is all created to make you spend more money. More money than you have, often. All that spending won't change the stress you feel inside at this time of year. Or buy you lasting happiness. If such a state even exists and I have my doubts. All it will do is create hell when the bills start to arrive in January. And then there are all those pressure-cooker traditions and expectations, part of the stress story that are always a little unrealistic.
How are you? Oh, how I have missed you. Terribly. Well, finally, as of last night after midnight, all my grading is done, and today, my final marks went in ~ did I tell you my broken tooth was bothering me so much I missed my final exam? Oh, well, that's old news. All is well, thanks to my very compassionate and creative chair, Claire Moane, and my sensational students. Free at last... As of this morning at 12:00 noon, I'm FREE for the holidays until classes begin all over again on January 11. But now is what counts. NOW!
Whilst I research Emerging Adulthood for a new post ~ no easy feat, believe me ~ I urge you to follow the conversation, here, in our comments ~ if you do not already. We have a fascinating and very vocal, bright, thoughtful and caring community with loads of insights and a variety of experiences. And they love to share with us. With you! We all want to feel we're being heard... That is a truth, I think it's fair to say. There are many truths. No real absolute truth, except perhaps that one. :) We all have our own truths, too. Truths are relative, don't you think? Some truths? When it comes to interpersonal human communication, it is the feeling of being heard that counts the most. My dogs hear me, though whether or not they listen, is a different story. :) That doesn't matter, really. It's the hearing that counts, the special feeling you're being heard. That's what it's all about and that is why I love real life, real time communication. Talking. And listening. Actively. With your eyes, ears and heart.
This is going to be short and bittersweet. Right now, I'm going mad. It's end of term. Utter mayhem for teachers ~ especially college and university teachers. When will the stress subside? I just spoke to one of my students ~ for over an hour. He's missed a lot of classes and his final assignment, worth 30% of his mark, came in early and is substandard. I asked him to contact me and he did. It's obvious he has no idea of what the assignment demands and he has to rewrite, essentially start from scratch. So, now, he wants to meet with me ~ before our last class ~ tomorrow. What can I do? How can I re-teach the course in a 10 minute meeting? That's essentially what he wants. I know what many people would do without question ("Fail him!) But I simply can't turn a blind eye to him. So, I'll do what I can. Try my best.
Many of you have expressed an interest in my little Dandie Dinmont Terrier bitch, Lucy, and her three new puppies. So, here she and they are at one week old as of yesterday. They were born on Monday, November 22. Proud mummy and her pups... My breeder sent this over with the following update: "The puppies are filling out with lovely big tummies. Lucy gets three meals a day plus any dry food she wants to eat, which she did at first, but now she seems to have enough food to satisfy her. "The girl is the most orange of the three ... one boy is bigger than the other two. Lucy seems proud in this photo, doesn't she? She is very relaxed with them now." I thought you might like seeing Lucy's consort and the father of these puppies.