Monday, November 27, 2006

385 Younge Street, tunes, and fig cookies...

I need to remember 385 Younge Street. That's where I need to go on Wednesday. I need to book my ride tomorrow and I can't forget....I can't forget 385 Younge Street. I keep typing this address, so it doesn't leave my brain...385 Younge Street.

My Dad has an ipod. He's pretty hip, my Dad is. I listened to his ipod today. It's pretty cool. I liked the tunes he downloaded. There was Pete Yorn, The Beatles, Tony Bennett, Van Morrison, Alan Jackson and a whole bunch of other good stuff. I laughed at his wide selection because he likes a lot of the music I do. When I commented on the variety of his music choices, Dad told me this quote from Elvis: "We can all enjoy a range of music, but it must have soul." I might have misquoted the king, but you get the drift...

I miss my Dad. I just left him. We went for our usual coffee at Tim Hortons. It was nice. Tim Hortons has these pretty holiday cups now. They've been around for a few years. Seeing them makes me excited.

Yesterday I visited the Observer and had lunch/dinner with him. His Mom made these Italian fig bars that are a tradition at Christmas. They have a special name. I can say it, but there's no way I can spell it, so I won't. The Observer doesn't like his Mom's fig cookies, fish, or wine - all of which are staples in Italian culture. He likes many Canadian meals like stir-fry, hamburgers and restaurant fare. I enjoy wine, fish and, now, fig cookies. Maybe our taste buds got mixed up somehow. Fortunately the same can't be said for our hair growth - the Observer is bald! What he lacks in hair, he makes up in heart.

I'm getting tired, but I haven't forgotten........385 Younge Street.


Goodnight world. Thank you for Dad, Mom, Tim Hortons, the Observer, the Observer's Mom and Dad, Italian fig cookies and my home. Lastly, please help me remember 385 Younge Street...

- OCG

Saturday, November 25, 2006

The boy who's missing a party...


The Observer is missing a party tomorrow because of me. He says no, but I know he is, not to mention his family.


It's a long story, but I think the Observer doesn't want me to feel bad, so he's stretching the truth.......the truth is, he's missing a party.


We went to see the movie Fast Food Nation. It was interesting, disturbing and graphic. The message was clear: the fast food industry is corrupted AND burgers contain fecal material. There was some sex in the flick too, which did nothing to add to the overall message, except to point out that it's another tool to manipulate, threaten and hurt the vulnerable, but didn't we already know that? We left fifteen minutes before the movie ended. I had enough meat, murder, and sex for my liking. The Observer was intrigued but decided to leave with me. That guy...


I am craving, chocolate, french fries, red wine and coffee. I think it's my time of the month. I had a chocolate craving so severe it was embarrassing. The Observer got some of his Mom's yummy cookies from the freezer. I felt so much better after they went into my tummy.


The Observer must want to strangle me sometimes or at least wonder what planet I'm from. He never really complains. He's very sweet. He's even missing a party tomorrow. I better go call him. I want to tell him I love him and not to eat hamburgers very often. Oh, and...it's not too late to change his mind and go to the party.


- OCG

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Small things in a big world...

My stomach hurts.

I try to start each post with something positive, but I'm not feeling so cheery.

My stomach hurts.

Today I was in the grocery store. I was in line to pay for my Sunlight dish soap and lettuce. This 25-year-old girl walked past me and tripped on my wheelchair. She yelped like a puppy and looked up at me, stunned. I think she thought I kicked her. I can't even walk lady. How can I kick? She just stared at me frozen for a few minutes. I think she mumbled a sorry. I did too. I hope she's OK. The whole incident was pretty embarrassing for both of us.

On my way back to my apartment, I saw a little girl who lives in my old building with her mother. She's the kind of girl who isn't afraid to find out your business and tell you hers at the same time. She's cute. She recognized me right away and threw her arms around me. It was sweet. Little people rock. She made me forgot all about the lady who tripped.

We saw Borat yesterday. I did laugh a lot, but it was a guy's movie all the way. The Observer LOVED it....that's what counted. He needed his spirits lifted.

I went to the Observer's niece's first birthday party this past weekend. She's so cute! Sitting in her high chair, she daintily licked off the icing of her first piece of chocolate cake. Realizing how good the cake was, she picked up the whole piece and shoved it in her little mouth. We laughed and laughed. She just kept eating. She probably thought we were crazy. Whenever I see her, I'm amazed at how she grows and explores everything. I, like her whole family, have a strong urge to protect her from anything unpleasant or uncomfortable. She's so small, and the world is so big.

I guess we all start out small and slowly grow more able to cope with life.

My stomach hurts, but I'm big enough to live with it.

- OCG

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Falling upon good books and (almost) out of chairs...


I can't stop reading my new book. It's called The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards. My sister gave it to me for my birthday. It's about fraternal twins and the girl has Downs Syndrome. Due to her condition, her father (a doctor) wants her away, so he tells a nurse to take her to a home for disabled children. Instead the nurse keeps the disabled baby and moves away. Meanwhile, the baby's mother is told by her husband that their baby girl died at birth. He think he's saving his wife from heartache.

It's twisty, and believable, given the story is set in 1965.

I started reading the book three hours ago and I'm on page 83. I wish I could do reading for school so fast. I'd be so much smarter.

On another note, you know how you want to laugh at something, but it is considered rude in some cases? Like when someone slips and falls flat on his/her bottom (and isn't hurt?)

Today one of my very big (and annoying) attendants went to sit on a small, slightly rickety chair. I wanted to tell her that it might break, but couldn't be so blunt. Thankfully she realized the potential danger herself and didn't sit in the chair, telling me she didn't trust it. I laughed just a little, only because she is lazy, rude and intimidating. If she were nice, it wouldn't be funny at all.

-OCG

Good Thursdays...

Rain, rain, go away! Come again another day!

Well, the rain is here. It's a dark, damp day. On the upside, it's Thursday!

I love Thursdays because:

  • Friday is the next day.
  • My two favourite shows are on TV.
  • I usually get to see the Observer the next night (which means a glass of red wine and some "quality" time.)
  • I often have one more sleep until I get to see my family.
  • I get to sleep in.
  • I have (mostly) good attendants.
  • I usually eat a yummy, dinner because I have more time for it to be cooked.
  • I always have a long, hot shower in the morning.
  • I am usually free of my frequent tummy troubles.
  • Sometimes I go to bed late.
  • Lots of people seem to call, making me feel important.
  • I never feel rushed.

I was in a bad mood yesterday. I'm glad that changed. I like myself better today. Isn't that weird? Oh well, I'm not going to question myself. I'll never find the answer, so I'll just be happy.

- OCG

U & UR HAND...

Check it out
Going out
On the late night
Looking tight
Feeling nice
It's a cock fight
I can tell
I just know
That it's going down
Tonight
At the door we don't wait
cause we know them
At the bar six shots just beginning
That's when dickhead put his hands on me
But you see
CHORUS
I'm not here for your entertainment
You don't really want to mess with me tonight
Just stop and take a second
I was fine before you walked into my life
Cause you know it's over
Before it began
Keep your drink
just give me the money
It's just you and your hand tonight
Midnight
I'm drunk I don't give a f**k
Wanna dance by myself
Guess you're outta luck
Don't touch
back up
I'm not the one
Alright
Listen up
it's just not happening
You can say what you want to your boyfriends
Just let me have my fun tonight
Aiight
CHORUS I'm not here for your entertainment
You don't really want to mess with me tonight
Just stop and take a second
I was fine before you walked into my life
Cause you know it's over
Before it began
Keep your drink
just give me the money
It's just you and your hand tonight
Break break
Break it down
In the corner with your boys
you bet up five bucks
To get the girl that just walked in
but she thinks you suck
We didn't get all dressed up just for you to see
So quit spilling your drinks on me
(You know who you are High fivin, talkin shit, but you're going home alone aren't cha?)
Cause I'm not here for your entertainment
No
You don't really want to mess with me tonight
Just stop and take a second
(Just stop and take a second)
I was fine before you walked into my life
Cause you know it's over
Before it began
Keep your drink
just give me the money
It's just you and your hand tonight
(It's just you and your hand)
I'm not here for your entertainment
No no no
You don't really want to mess with me tonight
Just stop and take a second
(Just take a second)
I was fine before you walked into my life
Cause you know it's over
Before it began
Keep your drink
just give me the money
It's just you and your hand tonight
(PINK)

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

A day of zero until tomorrow...


Have you ever been on a plane? Stung by a bee? Eaten squid? Written something that's been published? Taken the train? Had a near death experience?

I did very little today and none of the things I just listed of course. You know those days where you have really good intentions, but by afternoon, you know they sounded better than actual reality?

I couldn't sleep well last night. I was boiling in my bed. I have serious sweating issues. My whole family does. I LOVE to sleep with covers up to my chin, all snugly. It's very comforting. As I started to feel toasty and glisten in body juice (sweat), I told myself I'd cool down eventually. I was very wrong. I didn't cool down. I got even hotter. I was fantasizing about jumping into big, freezing pool of ice cubes. Brrr! My temperature regulated eventually, but I still couldn't catch any shut eye. It must be a Tuesday thing. Last Tuesday I stayed up all night. At least this time I was making an effort to sleep.

I estimate that I drifted off around 3 a.m. My eyes opened at 7 a.m. I dreamt that the Observer and I were having some type of crisis. I vaguely recall that he was "sick and tired of me being so bossy and critical" and said adios. It was weird and unsettling. I was going to call him early just to say hello, but decided not to.

Maybe I subconsciously dreamed about the Observer leaving because yesterday I was a little bossy. I have no trouble telling him what I think. I guess that's healthy, but he probably wishes I kept my thoughts to myself more. One of my goals is to let the Observer be. He is very smart and can function without my opinions all the time. Besides, the Observer already has the wisdom and guidance of his Mom; he doesn't need another one.

We are supposed to be getting a downpour of showers tonight. It might be rainy tomorrow, but I plan to go out and for some fancy coffee. One day of being unproductive is OK, but not two, especially when I could try some new and adventurous activities like taking the train or eating squid.


-OCG

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

An e-mail sent from Dad...

A girl asked a guy if he thought she was pretty. He said no. She asked him if he would want to be with her forever. He said no. She then asked him if she were to leave, would he cry? Once again, he replied with a no. She had heard enough. As she walked away, tears streaming down her face, the boy grabbed her arm and said, "You're not pretty. You're beautiful. I don't want to be with you forever, I NEED to be with you forever. And I wouldn't cry if you walked away, I'd die."

He ended with, "I like you because of who you are to me - a true friend."

Ice cream...

It's 12:43 a.m. I'm a bit tired. Not a lot. I am thinking about how I love my boyfriend. Everyone loves him. He's awesome. I know he cares about me. I can tell. He shows it often. I'm lucky.

The first time we went out he kissed my forehead. That's when I knew he was someone worth getting to know.

The next day I sent him these lyrics from If You're Gone by Matchbox 20:

I think we should try
I think I could need -
this in my life
I think I'm just scared -
that I know too much

If he didn't know I liked him before, he certainly did then.

Last year we got stuck in the rain and my wheelchair stalled. It was freezing. My boyfriend and I panicked. Once inside, he broke down. I was worried. Someone said to me, "He's OK. He's just worried about you." I learned that day that for a relationship to work, love has to be double-sided.

I know I'm not the prettiest or simpliest girl to be with. I know I am overly concerned with getting fat, but my boyfriend accepts my crazy self.

Last week my boyfriend put ice cream in my freezer for me. I can't really put ice cream away myself. He said something like, "Thank goodness you have me {to help you}."

At first I was insulted. I don't need to be reminded of things I can't do. Plus, I am not with my boyfriend to gain physical help. I took his comment as a put-down towards me and my physical limitations. I should have known better.

The right (and true) thing to say would have been, "Yes, I am lucky you're here. I love you."

There's a song lyric that says, Your love is better than ice cream......"

It's true, but ice cream lessons are important.

- OCG

Friday, November 10, 2006

Bugs in my bed... (Ewwww!)



So, what's with big, ugly bug, right?
It's a bed bug, a bug that is found in a bed. (LOL!) There are bed bugs in my building. Ewwwww! I HATE bugs! Just thinking about little creepy crawlies makes me itchy and squirmy.
A few evenings ago, I made the stupid decision to stay up all night. I was stressed out with work, school and life. I had deadlines and responsibilities. My mind was busy (muddled). I knew it wasn't going to slow down very easily for sleep and I knew I didn't have long to do that. I figured I might as well stay up all night. It seemed better than anxiously lying in bed waiting for the hours to pass.
I listened to tunes on the radio, wrote a long e-mail, brushed my chompers (teeth), opened and read my mail, and watched three hours of taped TV programs. Not a bad use of time, huh?
As I brushed my teeth, I noticed a wee, brown critter on the bathroom counter. My heart stopped. I knew it was a bed bug.
Trying not to panic, I busied myself with watching the prostitutes outside my window. I felt sorry for them standing there in the rain.
I forgot all about the little bug - until I saw another one. He was crawling around the table in my sun room.
I told someone I trust about my scary sightings. She told me to relax and keep my eyes (and senses) open.
Last night was the first night I slept in my bed since I saw the two critters. I kept feeling itchy, but maybe it was just in my head. Like most people, I like to sleep "unbugged."
I don't want to cause an unnecessary bug massacre, but one more sighting, and those suckers will be history!
I felt disgusting after my sleepless night. I couldn't keep my eyes open and was grumpy. I guess there's a reason we're supposed to sleep; maybe so we don't see the critters hiding between the cracks in our walls.
- OCG

Monday, November 06, 2006

Scarlet Ball speech...

Below is a speech I gave on November 4th at the Scarlet Ball in Toronto, a gala for Westpark Healthcare Center, a hospital that funds a transition program I participated in so I could live on my own.
- OCG

Hi, I’m *OCG*. Around the age of ten, my physiotherapist gave me some advice. “If you’re going to fall, try to plan your landing so that most of your body doesn’t suffer a large impact.”

Over the years, I’ve learned to apply this advice to other, less urgent situations.

I think we all reach that time near the end of our teenage years when we are itching to start building our lives. For me, this itch seemed more like a persistent rash. It only eased when I enrolled in university and began putting in place all of the pieces in order for me to live in residence.

As time drew nearer to moving out and starting university, I experienced a sick feeling in the pit of stomach. It wasn’t that I was scared of going to school; it was moving out and getting the right care that made me uneasy.

After spending one night in my residence room, I realized that I needed more care than attendants at the university could offer. Sadly, I had to move home and began a very long commute, taking two buses each way. The long hours of travel and trying to adjust to university took its toll on my energy. However, my failed attempt at independence took a bigger toll on my confidence. I wondered if I’d ever live independently. Having choices and control over my care and the ability to lead an active life wherever I lived was essential. I was unsure if my vision of independence could become reality.

Unwilling to let go of my plan for an independent life, I applied and quickly got accepted to the Gage Transition to Independent Living, an exclusive program run by West Park Healthcare Centre.

West Park’s Gage program is the only one of its kind in Toronto, helping young people with disabilities to gain the skills and confidence they need to live independently in the community. The program takes place in an actual apartment building in a great downtown neighbourhood. The Gage is one of few programs to highlight transition related issues in Ontario.

Looking around my apartment on that first night at the Gage, I could feel my life beginning. During my two years at the program, I realized that good care is a right, not a privilege. I was approached as an individual person, not a patient. I am a student, a daughter, a writer, a girlfriend, a sister and a friend. I realized that without consistent care, I could not be any of these things. Through my time at West Park’s Gage program, I learned to trust my instincts and myself.

I now live in my own apartment and am getting closer to finishing my degree. I have only made it this far because of the unconditional support of my parents. I also have a special person in my life named the *Observer* who has shown me that life is better when we’re together. Most of all, I have learned that I can count on myself, even when facing tremendous challenges. That, I owe to my experiences at West Park.

I feel extremely lucky to have been a part of the Gage program, where I truly learned what it means to be treated with respect and dignity. Never again will I doubt my dreams or my future.

West Park’s staff showed me that I am an ordinary girl blessed with extraordinary opportunity. I may have fallen, but I landed safely due to the many exceptional people who supported me. I am here tonight to say thank you.