Wednesday, May 06, 2009

random: the thinking girl's guide to coping with panic

This past week has been very stressful for me with work and with getting legal documents together.

I have had many moments mid-scrambling, where my usually effervescent personality and positive outlook have been challenged by all-too-human foible and circumstance.

I hate not having everything in order and not being prepared for things. I am a plotter, a planner, a to-do list maker.

On top of looming allergies and those horrible stress feelings you get when you find things are spinning out of your control, I have had to push through to get everything done and in order.

The week has been a bit of a blur. But, I realize in the midst of it, how fortunate I am. My job is high-pressure at this time of year but only because it needs to make a difference in literacy and I am grateful I work in a recession-proof area.

I have had boxes of gorgeous, shiny galleys show up on my doorstep and although an ARC by one of my absolute favourite authors will probably not be read until this scuffle is over, I recognize how fortunate I am to receive such lovely books from a range of publishers. (and I smile just itching to pick up my new ARC !!)

I had two wonderful laugh-til-you-cry conversations on Friday night: the first with my friend who I am in visiting in Boston next week ( she and I can laugh at anything and I couldn’t breathe I was chuckling so hard when I was yipping with her ) and the second with a friend here in Toronto: a giddy, late night conversation that had us in stitches.

I wouldn’t trade those moments for anything. My friends are my second family and few people are blessed with such a tight group as I am.

Though Saturday was spent plowing through work-ish things, I had a great night out on Saturday with another friend --- he and I just HAD to see Wolverine together. And had ice cream, too!

On Sunday I had brunch with a coworker and we caught a matinee of Earth: a movie that proved to me, beyond shadow of a doubt, that our universe and its creatures are spun into orbit by an attentive and loving God.

Book-reading was sparse but bookshelves were cleaned and organized and gave me a little happy hippity feeling: all those glossy covers waiting for their pages to be tilted back and their secrets to be revealed.

To counter the stress of this week, I have relied on some “in case of emergency” tactics. EVERYONE should have them for weeks like mine:

--the gym: it keeps me hopping and with a great ( albeit embarrassingly pop) playlist

--Road to Avonlea: this series is Canada’s Little house on the Prairie---poignantly nostalgiac and based loosely on two novels and an array of short stories by the subject of my thesis, LM Montgomery. The early seasons are charming and remind me of summer Sunday evenings in Goderich Ontario—where I spent my childhood)

--smarties!: Canadian m&ms

--phone calls to fantastic friends

--Villette: by Charlotte Bronte, this book is one of the most underappreciated over her works. It is a book which has that all-important familiar feeling. I like books that let me sink into them, recognize myself in them and take me to home. This is one such book

--The Blue Castle by LM Montgomery. As well as a few favourite Psalms, this book is my “panic attack” book. When things are seemingly unraveling at the seams, there is no book more empowering than Montgomery ’s fairytale of romance and emancipation. I think part of the book’s allure is its familiar setting. It is geographically positioned about ½ hour from the town where I grew up so Montgomery’s fresh, fragrant and poetic descriptions ( of which there are lots) remind me of the green and blue grandeur of home…. And the cottage in Muskoka where my family spent their summers. Add to that more than a dash of romance and an independent heroine and I am hooked. It is one of my favourite novels.

--BBC Miniseries: can anything cure any real life problem like a slip into the escapism of another time? This weekend’s pick was the most recent BBC adaptation of Tess of The D’Urbervilles. Of course, Hardy’s novel is full of pathos and tragedy, but it is beautifully filmed and I cried and cried.

I first read Tess ( I have read it numerous times ) in high school and I remember for the first time that I grasped the conceptualization of double standard.

I hope that you have a list of In Case of Emergency tactics to help you deal with any of the stresses that pervade our existence.

Happy Reading !

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