What I’m Watching Wednesday: Orange is the New Black

I love this show SO MUCH. My sister recommended it to me because of our shared love of prison documentaries and even though I was resistant at first to jumping into a new series, I’m so glad I did. It’s great to see a diverse cast of interesting women. I’m just including the preview here (which includes one of my favorite Rilo Kiley songs ca. 2002), but you should immediately go to Netflix and start watching (all 13 episodes are available for streaming).



What I’ve been up to:

1) enjoying the beautiful weather.  Seriously, I don’t think we’ve had rain in over a month and from what I hear that’s very rare in these parts.  So I’m just trying to soak up as much sun as possible in anticipation of what I’m sure will be a long and rainy fall/winter/spring.  It’s supposed to rain this week but fingers crossed that it won’t last long.   

2) baking.  I made cookies last week and now I’m dog-earring all of my cookbooks and trying to figure out if baking 2+ times a week is a bit excessive.  I made two dozen chocolate-chip cookies five days ago and they are almost gone.  Between those and the Magnum bars we’ve become obsessed with, I think it’s safe to say this house is full of sweets.

3) looking forward to summer travel!  We’ve got a very special wedding in Big Sur coming up and then we’re off to MAUI!  The Maui part is a recent development and will involve a lot of bobbing in the ocean, eating, reading, and napping.  It will not involve snorkeling as I have a major fish phobia.  Go ahead and judge if you want.

4) reading reading reading.  I’m very into Karen Russell at the moment.  Almost finished with this book (probably be posting a review at some point) and I’ll be moving on to Vampires in the Lemon Grove shortly.  Looking for some easy beach reads for my trip.  Any suggestions?

5) enjoying the fireworks.  I thought the US was pyrotechnics obsessed, but Canada may have us beat.  This week is the Celebration of Light, which is apparently the biggest offshore fireworks competition in the world.  Three countries are competing: the UK, Canada, and Thailand.  Saturday was UK night and it was James Bond-themed.  Think glittery fireworks set to Adele’s “Skyfall.”  So awesome.

The Sound of Summer

I’ve been making playlists like crazy over the past few weeks. Songs for running, songs for driving, songs that capture memories of summers past. Just when I thought I had found the perfect summer jam (see Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” which was pretty much stuck in my head for two weeks straight), I found Foals (http://www.foals.co.uk/) via The Everygirl and now I’m hooked. Apparently they are on a North American tour right now but I don’t see any Canada dates 😦 Oh well, I’ll just have to watch this video over and over (and over).

Empty Rooms and Kitchen Cabinets

I have always remembered my dreams.  They are vivid and often leave me feeling exhausted when I wake up, like I’ve been living them out in real life rather than in my mind.  I don’t think I’ve had a good night’s sleep in years.  The only times I remember waking up refreshed are after taking redeye airplane flights and then passing out from exhaustion.

I could go into all the reasons for my lack of sound sleep, but I know no one really cares.  I also know that most people don’t care about other people’s dreams, but please indulge me for a moment.  Or feel free to skip this post, whatever is easiest.  

Lately, I have been dreaming about houses.  I’ve noticed that this happens in times of great transition for me.  The houses are usually big and empty, gutted even.  There is often a lot of concrete and moments where I’m running through each room looking for something or someone who never materializes.

In these dreams, I am always afraid.

I started having them a few years after graduating from college.  I was extremely depressed and found myself floundering in all areas.  I have always suffered from anxiety to some extent my whole life, but the depression was new.  Or maybe it wasn’t if I’m being honest, but it was the first time I acknowledged it and the first time I sought professional help.  I remember walking into my therapist’s office on Central Park West during my lunch break from a job that didn’t quite fit, sitting down in an old arm chair, and bawling my eyes out before I could even really explain why I was there.  I cried most of that session, but for the first time in a long time I felt alive rather than going through the motions and pretending I was fine.

Therapy taught me a lot that I won’t go into here.  We did, however, spend some time interpreting my crazy dreams.  My doctor explained that a house is often a symbol for the Self.  The abandoned houses that seemed to haunt me represented emotional neglect and problems I had gotten used to.  They were a sign for a desire for self-improvement.  I know dream interpretation may not be for everyone, but when I heard this something clicked for me.  The dreams were my mind’s way of letting me know that I was in desperate need for some self-improvement.  It was a long journey, but once I made mental health a priority the house dreams stopped.

But now they’re back.  I keep dreaming of this one kitchen in a house that’s for sale.  The cabinets are covered over with layers of contact paper, like the kind that lines drawers.  I know someone is trying to hide something by covering over the old wood and it makes me nervous.  There is something very ominous about this place.

I’m pretty sure that this is my brain’s way of telling me that I’m trying to hide things from myself again: that I’m not dealing with shit very well and that I need to take a good stab at self-reflection.  And I know from experience that self-reflection is hard.  

So here’s the truth: as much as I want to think that I’m coping well with life in Canada, I’m not.  I fill my days with “stuff”: cooking, reading, writing, walking the dog.  But the reality is all of that is just a mask.  During the week when J is at work and I am alone I realize what I have become and it terrifies me.  I am a housewife for the moment and while intellectually I know there is nothing wrong with that, this role feels wrong to me.  Inside I am frustrated and angry that we had to leave everything behind to come here.  

I am not in the mood to put a positive spin on this.  This is how I feel today, in this moment, and I think failing to acknowledge that completely hasn’t been healthy.  Tomorrow will probably be better, but tonight I am going to go eat a Magnum bar, watch bad TV, and wallow.

Tomorrow will probably be better.  Most tomorrows usually are.

Independence Day

I’ve been absent from this space for a while, mostly because I haven’t been in the mood to write.  My parents were in town and then we were off to Northern CA for the Napa wedding (didn’t pick any of those options, FYI, but instead went with this little polka dot number).  

I love SoCal with all my heart, but NorCal has definitely grown on me over the past few months. While I’m at a point where I can acknowledge that Vancouver is a great city, it still doesn’t feel like home.  Canada is fine, but I find myself feeling more patriotic than I ever have in my life for the US.  I know we have our problems, but now that I’m a resident of a country that is not my own I really appreciate America in a new way.  Today especially, as friends and family are celebrating our independence, I feel homesick for my homeland.

Searching for a job as a temporary resident of Canada has been harder than I imagined.  Most job listings flat-out state that preference will be given to Canadians and permanent residents (a status that takes 3 years and a formal immigration process to achieve).  I’ve also come across jobs with maximum age requirements (i.e. jobs held for people under the age of 30).  While I knew it might be tough to find full-time employment in a foreign country, I never anticipated it would be like this.  Perhaps I’ve been lucky in my past job searches, but I’m used to getting at least an interview.  At first I thought I was just going about my job search the wrong way, but in doing some research I’ve found that this is actually quite common here.  The unemployment rate among immigrants to Canada is extremely high.  I have the necessary work permits, etc., but that doesn’t seem to matter.  I just feel very stuck and miss living in a country where my citizenship status didn’t seem to color every aspect of my life.

I definitely appreciate the immigrant experience in a whole new way.  Politicians in the US are always running on platforms that keep American jobs for Americans and I never really thought much about that.  Now I understand just how difficult it must be for the thousands of people who move to the US in pursuit of opportunity and find it difficult to get a foot in the door.  I know I have it much better than most people in my situation, but it’s still hard.

Today is just another day in Canada.  I wish I was home to celebrate, but I guess that isn’t in the cards.  In the meantime, I hope all of you Americans have a great Fourth of July.  Watch some fireworks for me 🙂