Monthly Archives: February 2002


Just a quick note today; I’ve been up to my freshly-auburned head in stuff to do. Thank goodness the show’s over next week! I also learned at orchestra last night that there’s no rehearsal next Wednesday, as it’s March break and the high school we rehearse in will be closed. As much as I adore orchestra, it’s an attractive concept: every night off for one full week. Glorious!

I missed two weeks of orchestra due to one of my trademark migraines the first week and then the Vinyl Cafe show the next, so I haven’t touched my cello in three weeks. I’m rather proud of how well I did. I sight-read L’Arlesienne Suite by Bizet (ugh – mostly tenor clef) and Schubert’s Fourth Symphony, (“The Tragic” – in E flat again, sigh). I dreaded going while I was at work all day, but I enjoyed myself immensely when I got there. I have to keep reminding myself that I joined the chamber orchestra to make sure that I played at least once a week. I feel simultaneously impressed with how I keep up and ashamed of myself: if I can hold my own (barely, but I do) with little to no practice outside rehearsal, how good would I be if I practiced for at least an hour a day like I used to?

If I had my druthers, I’d read a lot, write a lot, and play my cello at least three hours a day. I’d also sit in the park. Now, if I could just get someone to pay me for doing all of that so my moggies could be kept in the style to which they have become accustomed (i.e., in kibble), I’d have it made!


Insanity! Unnatural m�t�o! It�s going up to 10� C today, and we�re over halfway there!

I went out this morning to take a walk to the pharmacy, and it�s warm � windy, but warm. You can smell that Spring smell in the air- the damp earthy odour, the aroma of dead grass� but it�s more than that. There�s a sense in the atmosphere, in the air that you breathe into your lungs, that your alveoli recognise and send the news racing through your cells to inform your whole body that in case it hadn�t noticed, the season has changed: rejoice! The sun now stays in my living room more than forty-five minutes at a time! I can leave the windows open again! I can wear shoes outside instead of boots! Soon I shall be able to wear my little fox-red corduroy jacket again!

Not that these events were far off the recent reality of the situation. (Except the sun staying in the living room.) We actually hit a high of 6� C in the city yesterday. I�m not certain if we�re setting records or not. I do know that it didn�t ever really feel like Winter for more than a week at a time. I have a sneaky suspicion that our average temperatures this month are hitting the standard March averages instead. I tremble to consider what our Summer might be like.

That, however, will be then. This is now, and I�m rather enjoying it! The unnatural weather this winter had me on edge � it was just wrong � but it�s the end of February now, and I�m more than ready for buds and the first signs of green, thank you very much. I suffer from a touch of seasonal affective disorder, but apart from that February usually has me fed up on several other fronts as well. Bring on March, say I!


Fool�s Errand, by Robin Hobb
The first book in a new Farseer trilogy called The Tawny Man. This is pulling me right the way I need at the moment! It�s told in the first person, a departure for Hobb�s work, and it works surprisingly well. I�m possibly enjoying it more than I enjoyed the first Farseer trilogy. I�m much too near the end for comfort. The problem with reading newly released hardcovers is that you have to wait for the rest of the series!

Olympic Pride

The Olympics are done and over, and we�re coming home with a record seventeen medals, coming in fourth overall. That�s quite the haul! Of course, the sweetest medals were our two hockey golds, and the gold awarded belatedly to Sale and Pelletier; but every medal is sweet.

What�s not so sweet is the destruction visited on public and private property in the wake of the men�s hockey victory. As we were driving home last night we passed several cars with Canadian flags waving madly through the windows, bearers thrilled that our car sports a Canadian flag license plate in front. We passed people on foot with painted faces and flags as well. In our own living room window, my husband had already hung our huge Canadian flag in celebration. There�s nothing like citizens deliriously happy that their country has won a major victory on the field of honour.

That was in NDG, however. In downtown Montreal, the fans poured from sports bars and clubs, rioted, hijacked a city bus, stopped traffic in the centre of town, and generally made nuisances of themselves. I have never been able to understand why a significant hockey victory is the siren call of idiocy and destruction. Particularly in this case where every Canadian was proud to have stuck it to the Americans, who we�ve always considered slightly less cultured (come on, deep inside you think it too). A pity that the next act was to display boorishness, lack of respect, and vulgarity.

And what�s with the high of 4 degrees C today? It’s still February!


No, I really do hate being the centre of attention. I hate being put on the spot; I�m uncomfortable being lauded and pointed out. I like being honoured and told one-on-one that I�m a wonderful human being with things to be proud of, but throw a surprise party for me or tell a bunch of people in my hearing how terrific I am, and I cringe and want to die. I have this weird thing about birthdays � surprise parties are such a bad idea, but at the same time I�d like to have someone else organise a quiet and casual get-together for me without me knowing. Even better would be a surprise casual get-together for me not around my birthday! (This year Tara and I have agreed to organise parties for each other. That kind of deal I can live with.) I�m quietly upset if no one cares, but if everyone goes all out and makes a huge fuss I�m horribly embarrassed. (Reported back to me last year: Taras: �Hey, it�s her thirtieth birthday! Let�s organise a huge surprise party!� Marc: �Wow, my Bad Idea light just came on.�)

I�m certain that part of this arises from the self-effacing guilt that wells up from the tiny �I�m not worthy� gene buried deep inside me. Intellectually I know that I have a lot to be proud of and that I�m a decent human being with a few really good points. However, my heart can�t understand why so many people like me this much. I�ve been shy ever since I started school, and I�ve always been the sort who prefers books to baseball, and opera to club-hopping. I have problems with large crowds and I�m very sensitive to large, aggressive personalities too. I work on intuition a lot, and if someone walks in whom I instinctively draw away from, I�ll find it very difficult to be around them. Even worse, if I do get to know someone enough to relax, open my heart and be close friends with them, if they do something to abuse that loyalty and trust, I�m scarred for life and I�ll never be able to talk to them again. (Fortunately this has only happened three times in my entire life.) I don�t hold grudges; I just moderate future behaviour in order to avoid being hurt again. I wish those three people well, but they�re no longer a part of my life. It�s not by choice; it�s simply the way I work. Trust me, I wish I weren�t like this; I wish I were gregarious, and not this sensitive. My husband has pointed out to me on several occasions that if I were as I wished to be, I wouldn�t be myself, and people wouldn�t like me as much as they do. It�s an annoying point. I hate it when he�s right like that.

One of the things I thought would be difficult about being married (and I was right) was the drastic challenge to my solitary tendencies. I warned my husband before we married that I require huge amounts of time on my own, and he told me that he didn�t have a problem with that; in fact, he needed a lot of time by himself too. Well, I think he got more than he bargained for: a little while ago he admitted to me that he�d underestimated my extensive need for solitude. Now, before you get all riled up about how marriage is about being a couple, let me explain our concept of marriage. Marriage is two individuals coming together to pull evenly in the traces, and not a complete submersion of your identity in someone else�s personality. We�re two different people with different likes and dislikes, need and wants. A lot of those likes and wants coincide, and we happen to like each other as people a lot. We�ve taught one another lots of new things, introduced one another to new ideas, and exposed one another to experiences we wouldn�t have had on our own. He now likes wine, pumpkin pie and light opera; I now drink Scotch, watch television, and eat turkey stuffing. We each have traits and habits that drive the other up the wall, and preferences and friends that the other will never share, but all in all, we�re good friends who love one another and enjoy life together. However, one of those things that we don�t share is a love of people. He loves crowds and going out, meeting new people and finding out what makes them tick. I�d rather stay home with a book and a cat. A little of that comes from the fear of the unknown, and the overly sensitive streak in me.

The best party I�ve ever had was our wedding; everyone was there to celebrate us, and I enjoyed myself thoroughly with no embarrassment whatsoever. Everyone else enjoyed themselves too; we received several reports that ours was the best wedding many people had attended. At the other end of the spectrum, however, two or three years ago I organised a pub night for my birthday and only three people showed up; I felt resentful and stupid at the same time. I�m so shy that I didn�t tell people it was for my birthday, and no one remembered. I hate being put on the spot so much that I didn�t want to make people feel like they had to go because it was my birthday celebration, and as a result I had a horrible night. I�m fairly certain that when people found out they felt awful too. I just can�t seem to hit that comfortable point between saying �Yay me!� and being self-effacing. It�s why I can�t stand taking off my make-up after a show and going out to meet friends and family who have been there and receive their praise and hugs and kisses, and why I flee the stage as soon as the curtain closes so I don�t have to receive those two-cheek kisses and congratulations from fellow cast members either. I can�t wrap my brain around it, and neither can other people. Including my husband. He just makes sure he has my coat ready and gets me out of there, which I appreciate more than he�ll ever know.

It�s something that�s bothering me more and more, and I�m really wrestling with it (as I�m sure you can tell). Maybe it�s the beginning of my mid-life crisis, along with trying to figure out what to do career-wise with the rest of my life�


As the morose tone of the last couple of posts has probably indicated, I’m in an anti-social phase. I had a dear friend’s baby shower to go to today which I was dreading a bit; I don’t fit in very well at all-female events. Anyway, it was just fine; turns out half the people there were hockey fans and we had the TV on watching the Canadians whup them American asses but good in the Olympic men’s hockey final while she opened her gifts. We even sang the national anthem and got all choked up when the flags were raised. I got a terrific photo (on someone else’s camera, alas) of the expecting mother opening a sweet card, surrounded by cheering women with their arms flung up into the air, half out of their seats.

My husband did the Trading Spaces test; he’s Genevieve. This surprises me not at all. Go run barefoot in a field, darling.


The shows have just become better and better, and the first week of the run is over. It bothers me how relieved I am.

See, in the seventeen years I�ve been doing theatre, I�ve lived this odd contradiction. I love working on a show, all the preparation, the evolution of the sense of identity that the company develops, the actual staging of the thing where there�s an excitement in the air as you give something to the audience, they transform the energy you�ve raised and give it back to you, and it snowballs into an all-around magnificent performance.

However, I don�t like working with people very much, and I hate being the centre of attention.

This confuses just about everyone I know. �You�re on stage singing alone in front of five hundred people!� they say. �How can you claim to not like being the centre of attention?�

Easy. I�m in character. I�m someone else.

The wonderful lie about stage work is that you are simultaneously someone completely different living the story for the very first time, and plain old you, focusing very closely on where you are onstage, how the audience sees you, how the audience sees the stage and performers as a whole picture, what�s coming up next, and how you�re sounding tonight. It�s like multi-tasking with personalities. I love doing it, and I do it well.

This year, however, I�m just not into it. We have a terrific cast, a chorus that ranges from passable to outstanding, two phenomenal directors, and a fantastic show. I�m not enjoying it, and I don�t know why. Not knowing why irritates me, and when I get irritated with no apparent source I get angry, and when I get angry I get very cold and don�t like to be around people even less that I do on a good day. During a show, everyone gets all jittery and excited and they do all the stupid theatre stuff that I tolerate on those good days but which is sending me right up the wall this year � such as the two-cheek kisses and the �break a leg� wishes, all from forty people whom I work with but don�t necessarily like. I usually go into what my dear friend Rob calls �show mode�, where I don�t chatter with everyone else backstage and try to be by myself so I can keep focused on the show and my character. The two mind-sets don�t mesh very well, and as a result I just know that people think I�m stuck up and don�t like them this year. In our current disastrous financial situation we can�t afford to go out with everyone after a show either, to the spontaneous parties or to the official planned ones, and that�s probably not helping the anti-social beliefs that are developing.

So, in other words, I�m frustrated. There are a few people who don�t rub me the wrong way this year, and I love them dearly � particularly Richard, Rob, Andee, Annika, and Tara – and they�re my saviours backstage along with Sarah, Kay, Helen, and Christina. It�s nothing personal against everyone else; it’s just that these people somehow know how to cut through the crap going on and touch me gently, to make me calm. I�ve been doing theatre with Annika since we began, seventeen years ago; we�ve lost count of how many shows we�ve done together. Rob is my chosen brother, older, younger and twin, and I�d be without an anchor in a show (and life in general) if he weren�t around. Richard is like a younger brother who I care very deeply about. All three of them understand how I can�t seem to connect with this year�s show, and have the same professional approach to theatre that I do, and they make this run okay somehow. They also understand that I�m not a people person, and they never make me feel guilty about creeping out of the theatre right after the curtain closes, or pressure me to go out partying.

Hence I�m relieved that we�re halfway done. I don�t know why I�m not enjoying myself, and that upsets me beyond belief. I should be having fun. Well, I am having fun, to a degree; but it�s nowhere near what I usually get out of it. If we weren�t doing Yeomen of the Guard in 2003 I�d quit the society based on how I feel this year, but it�s such an awesome opera that I have to try for it. With luck, everyone will remember how blown away the cast and audience were by Rob and I in Ruddigore and we�ll be able to play opposite one another again. If luck�s not with us, well� I guess I�ll be sitting on the other side of the curtain.


The Big U, by Neal Stephenson
Brr. Was university really that bad for this guy? Some really philosophical concepts, and some truly terrifying pranks. Stephenson wins the award for Obsession With Pipe Organs In An Author�s Books. Lots of themes that are further explored in later works. Interesting.