Wednesday, December 31, 2008


It's so cold outside. The wind is bitter and hits your face in a freezing flash. It took my breath away. I went quite far to run an errand at a grocery store. I'm not sure why I picked one of the most wintery days to go a distance. Sometimes I don't think. I shake my head at myself. My purse fell to the ground a few times. Luckily, kind people were passing by and retrieved it for me.

On my way to the grocery store, I passed by a homeless shelter and some of the residents patted me on the shoulder and wished me a happy new year. I don't know why strangers, especially homeless feel free to touch me. When they do, I cringe. I am not a doll. I have never confronted anyone, but if they ever do more than pat me on the shoulder, I will give them a piece of my mind. I was so cold that I spent an hour in one spot trying to warm up. My arms and legs felt numb. My winter coat and mittens couldn't prevent me from freezing. The longer I was outside, the harder it was to drive my wheelchair. Snow started blowing making it hard to see. I was so happy to make it inside. The heater was jacked up. I usually leave it off, but I needed warmth. I told myself not to be adventurous and travel too far in cold weather again. I am deterred until the end of this year.
Happy 2009! May you be healthy, happy, and balanced in the year ahead.


Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A movie you best watch holding tissue....

Tonight the Observer and I saw Marley And Me, the movie based on the best-selling book about a fun-loving, crazy, Labrador retriever who captures the hearts of a young couple (Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson) Anyone who owns a dog or is a lover of animals will be able to relate to the film. There are many realistically funny parts and others that show the challenges of marriage and parenthood. The ending is a bittersweet reminder that no pet (or living thing) lives forever. When the saddest part was coming, I knew I was going to cry from the inside of my soul. I tried to save myself and leave, but I couldn't push the door open with my wheelchair. I saw enough to begin sobbing until the Observer got some help with the door. After kindly following me out, I told him to go back and watch the end, because I needed to be alone. He understood. He always does.

If you've ever lost a pet, Marley and Me will hit home. Seeing Marley in the end of his life brought me back to the heartache of saying goodbye to a beloved dog. It's one of the most difficult things I've ever done. How do you say goodbye to your best friend forever? How is it fair that you have to?

Any movie that impacts me in this way is worth watching. Tears are part of life. Marley and Me got me thinking about my two other amazing dogs who are up in heaven. I miss them, but the pain of losing both was worth every second of happiness they brought me.

It's snowing now. The streets are getting whiter. My radio is playing upbeat tunes. I'm happy. I hope you are too....



enough money within her control to move out and rent a place of her own, even if she never wants to or needs to...

A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE ... something perfect to wear if the employer, or date of her dreams wants to see her in an hour...

A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE ... a youth she's content to leave behind....

A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE ... a past juicy enough that she's looking forward to retelling it in her old age....

A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE ... a set of screwdrivers, a cordless drill, and a black lace bra...

A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE friend who always makes her laugh.. and one who lets her cry...

A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE .. a good piece of furniture not previously owned by anyone else in her family...

A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE ... eight matching plates, wine glasses with stems, and a recipe for a meal, that will make her guests feel honored...

A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE ... a feeling of control over her destiny...

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW... how to fall in love without losing herself...

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW... how to quit a job, break up with a lover, and confront a friend without; ruining the friendship...

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW... when to try harder... and WHEN TO WALK AWAY...

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW... that she can't change the length of her calves, the width of her hips, or the nature of her parents...

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW... that her childhood may not have been perfect...but it's over...

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW... what she would and wouldn't do for love or more...

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW.... how to live alone... even if she doesn't like it...

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW... whom she can trust, whom she can't, and why she shouldn't take it personally...

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW... where to go... be it to her best friend's kitchen table.. or a charming Inn in the woods.... when her soul needs soothing...

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW.. What she can and can't accomplish in a day... a month...and a year...

- By Maya Angelou

Monday, December 29, 2008

A little cream...

I am very, very tired. My eyes feel heavy, my thoughts are muddled and I'm not making much sense. Is that how it feels to be drunk? Last night I was feeling sleepy too. Night-time is as good a time as any to feel sleepy I guess. All I really did today was putter around. My attendants were all friendly and helpful, which always makes my day better. Just before it started getting dark, I felt a sudden need to get out of my apartment. After a few minutes outdoors, I thought it would be smart to go somewhere close. I headed to an underground shopping center that is perfect for winter days. Needing a pick-me-up, I ordered a small decaf coffee with milk. The woman behind the counter gave me a medium. When I corrected her size mistake, she waved it off and only charged me for a small coffee. I appreciated her kindness, but have a hunch that my coffee wasn't decaf and that there was cream in it, not milk. Whatever. The lady who served me was friendly. One coffee with cream isn't going to kill me. Sometimes life, like coffee, doesn't turn out the way I would "order". However, I try to remember that, as long as it's the way I like it to be most of the time, I can let a few things slide - like cream instead of milk in my coffee.

When I can't sleep tonight, because the same lady gave me regular instead of decaf coffee, maybe I won't be so forgiving. My thinking will be along the lines of: "This girl needs sleep! Get it right lady."

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Flubbed up...

My plans for today got flubbed. Let me rephrase: I flubbed up my plans. The Observer and I were going to meet in his neck of the woods and check out Marley And Me or The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button. Remember how I barely slept the night before last? I booked my bus leaving from the wrong place. If you book wheelchair transportation wrong, you either go to the wrong place or you don't go anywhere. I stayed home like a forlorn, lonely, downtown city goer. I was mad at myself for booking my trip wrong. I do it on an automated system and one wrong button is all it takes to end up on the opposite side of the tracks or to be going nowhere fast. I guess I was more tired than I thought. The Observer didn't point out that I made a mistake. I guess he thought that was a given.

To be honest and very personal, I spent most of the day on the toilet. If I did go to the Observer's neighbourhood in such a loose state, things could have been ugly. I am "laxified" (loaded up on laxatives) so I guess they had to kick in sooner or later. Maybe there was a higher power at work trying to save me from a messy day.

I watched a bit of The Sound Of Music, but wasn't intrigued enough to watch the whole movie. It's good, but I already know that the hills are alive with the sound of music. I tried to read The Choice by Nicolas Sparks. It's a light, feel-good romance that my Mom enjoyed. My gurgling, gassy, noisy, stomach made reading hard, so I gave up. I don't know why my stomach gets so loud. My insides often sound angry. One of these days, I am going to give birth to a frog. Such a weird miracle might explain all the gurgling. I don't know if I'll ever give birth to a child. Giving birth to a frog would be OK if it meant my funky noises would stop and I'd make a name for myself. The pregnant man would have nothing on the disabled frog mother.


Saturday, December 27, 2008

TV talk...

I fell asleep at three o'clock in the morning. I woke up at nine o'clock. So far I'm not too tired, but we'll see what the end of the day brings. Getting comfortable in bed was a challenge and I drank a big cup of coffee at dinner-time. I slept in very late yesterday, so all factors worked against me. There wasn't much on TV. The best I watched was a funny episode of Fraser. When Fraser was popular, I rarely watched it, but now that it's in late night syndication, I find it funny. The show is pretty wholesome, clean and witty. Shows like that are perfect to watch before bed, because they put happy thoughts in my mind.

Tonight I am going to sleep well. Coffee is delicious. I could never give it up, but sometimes I wish I didn't love it quite so much. My cup of coffee is the first thing I look forward to every morning and often the last thing I regret drinking when I lie awake unable to sleep. I suppose coffee and I have a love/hate relationship. Maybe we all have one with everything and anyone we feel passionate about.


Friday, December 26, 2008

A big day gone in little time...

Well, Christmas of 2008 came and went. It was such an anticipated occasion. The day reminds me of a balloon; we spend more time building its shape and in one minute, it can pop or deflate. Maybe it's the building of excitement that makes the whole holiday so special. This whole week is a fun, happy time.

Christmas Eve at my sister's house was very calm. Her and my soon-to-be brother-in-law are great entertainers. They do things with style and grace - much like their personalities. Candles were everywhere with soft music. The Observer commented that the air was "so romantic" which made us all laugh.

Christmas morning started early for me. Just like a little kid, I couldn't sleep and got up at 7:00 a.m. Mom was rushing around in an excited frenzy. I told her to "chill" a few times but I guess you can't teach a professional Mom new tricks. Our breakfast was a yummy choice of cinnamon buns, poppy seed loaf, muffins, and a club sandwich. I'm embarrassed to say that I sampled everything.

Opening gifts was great. Who doesn't love presents? My "secret santa" was my brother-in-law who me gave me two books, a colourful set of mittens, a scarf, a pound of coffee and double roll of toilet paper. I have a reputation for being "thrifty" when it comes to supplies, so the coffee and toilet paper made me smile. I could tell my brother-in-law put a lot of thought into my gift and I was touched. One of the books he gave me is called The Wealthy Barber and talks about living a full life and only needing a few simple things to be happy.

In the afternoon, I visited the Observer and his big family. We opened gifts, which was said and done very quickly. The Observer gave me three generous gift cards and a book that looks like one I will enjoy. He knows me very well. The Observer's parents got me a brown sweater that suits me and a Starbucks card. I am very excited to see Jersey Boys courtesy of the Observer's brother and sister-in-law. We go in a week or two. I can't wait!

Dinner at the Observer's house was everything I love about their family. The meal was yummy, loud and very elaborate. I ate everything including cannoli, cheesecake, and tiramasu. By the end of the night, I was stuffed and exhausted, but still smiling. I hit the sack at 10:00 p.m.

At 11 a.m. this morning, I woke up to the sweet faces of my parents. Riley bounded on my bed licking my face. I can't think of a better way to begin a day, even one like the day after Christmas, which can feel like such a let down.


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy holidays!

It's Christmas Eve Day! Already??? I don't feel ready for the holidays. Of course I love this time of year. I love going home and spending time with family and friends. Everyone is usually in good spirits and I feel grateful to have the life I do. This will be Riley's (my parents' dog) first Christmas. She is wearing a bright red ribbon in honour of the occasion. I can't wait to see her! Riley has been a bright spot in a challenging year for my family. She is a reminder that life is meant to enjoyed and not taken too seriously. Being around Riley tells me that it's easy to love anyone (or any pet) unconditionally if our hearts are open to accepting love. Riley's arrival brought my Mom company, a purpose, and showed her how much love she had left to give. I am so grateful for this little, black, energetic puppy. Going home and being welcomed by Riley is like getting a big hug. She makes me feel so special and I don't even have to say or do anything.

Tonight we are having Christmas dinner at my sister's house - a new tradition. I love visiting my sister and brother-in-law. Their home is stylish and cozy and they make me feel like an important guest. Seeing everyone will be fun and we will laugh.

On Christmas Day, I will have breakfast and open gifts at home. I always enjoy Christmas morning. It's a special time regardless of age. In mid afternoon, I will go to the Observer's family where their whole family gathers to open gifts and share a fest. It's loud and exciting and I feel like a part of their family. I am happy and blessed to belong to two amazing families.

It's hard not to think about how Mom had a heart attack last Christmas. It changed my whole family and shook us to the core. We almost lost the person at the center of our lives. Having someone who is everything almost taken away makes every day more important. Christmas is significant, but Mom reminds me that every day is too.

Happy Holidays!!! Tell your loved ones they matter.


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

White stuff again...

Something smells funny in my apartment. There's a musty, wet, dirty scent surrounding me that resembles a wet dog. It could be from my snow covered, melting wheelchair tires. I ran errands three different times today, so my hardwood floors got showered in slush quite a lot. Each time I came home, I would bring a trail of wet, dirty, ice with me. As I moved around, the ice would slowly fall on the floor leaving a black, gritty mess. The floor was mopped, but I guess there's a lingering odor. I don't like dirt or bad smells. No one does, but I have to go out, right?

I stopped by the grocery store mainly to get cash back from buying lettuce. I came home for a burrito and some coffee and then made my way to the bank. The trip was cold and snow flurries picked up. The teller who helped me once I made it was sweet and I wished the regular security guard a happy holidays. He responded with his usual "Be safe." It's comforting to hear and I know the guard means it.

Still in my coat, my phone rang. It was Mom asking if I could pick up some cashews for our potluck dinner tomorrow night. Of course, I agreed. My sister gave me the job of bringing salad, but it's a difficult dish to transport on two buses. My Mom kindly offered to put the salad together with its traditional poppy seed dressing, cashews, cranberries, pears and cheese. Since I am only bringing cashews, I picked up some nut and raisin buns that are my favourite grocery store find. They are small and make a yummy "slightly sweet" breakfast, but I think they'd be good any time of day. The grocery store wasn't as busy as I thought. Being five o'clock ("rush hour"), I suspected lots of people were picking up dinner or last minute Christmas dinner preparations. The place was busy, but not a zoo. In the bakery isle, I met a kind, older man who lives in my building. He seemed distracted and I didn't get to exchange holiday wishes before he took off. Hopefully I'll see him before I leave for home.

The streets are covered in white again, but it's predicted to be melted by Christmas Eve. Reports say this is the first "white Christmas" all of Canada has experienced since 1971. Last Christmas I learned that we never know what the holidays will bring. If snow comes our way, I won't mind because most Canadians will look out their windows to the same weather. I like that idea.


Monday, December 22, 2008

Finally free to roam...

I finally went out today! After three days of being stuck inside, the cold, windy air hitting my face was unusually refreshing. I was so glad to be moving and away from my four walls. I exchanged a present at the mall. There were lots of shoppers, but not the madness I anticipated.

The people at the store where I shopped were very helpful and accommodating. I love meeting employees who are understanding and are more than happy to help me. They make my life easier, but I think I learn more from those who aren't so helpful. People who lack that ability to see what needs doing or are apprehensive because I am different force me to assert myself. It's not easy to ask a total stranger to take money out of my purse because I physically can't do it myself or to pick up something I dropped on the floor. Admitting my limitations is a reminder that I am not physically independent in the way the average person is. As much as I'd love to be able to style my own hair every morning, my arms and hands won't comply no matter how much I wish they would.

It's frustrating to depend on people, but it's allowed me to connect with strangers, acquaintances, friends and family and shown me that we're all quite similar. Everyone wants to be safe, happy, loved, fed and clean. Everyone drops a thing or two on the ground occasionally and everyone needs to make an exchange on a purchase now and then. Everyone needs to get outside before too long or else they feel trapped. Everyone sometimes acts a little crazy from time to time, but maybe that's the common thread between all of us.


Sunday, December 21, 2008


The Observer made it to visit me at my apartment today! I was so happy to see him. It felt like a very long time. We hung out, watched some TV and had dinner. Catching up made me happy. The Observer is not someone I can be away from for too long. I feel like my life is balanced when I am around him. I guess that's a good thing.

Last year my family started drawing names for a Christmas gift exchange. To avoid over-spending, we are responsible for buying only a gift for the person we draw. We try to keep it a secret from our significant others. Being curious, I have known who the Observer has for this year and last. It's only fair that I tell him who I have too. Today we shared who we bought for. I have my sister-in-law, the same person I had last year. The Observer has my brother-in-law. Like last year, I bought my sister-in-law a gift card to Lulu Lemon, a store that sells high-end workout wear. It's kind of a boring gift, but I know she likes the clothes Lulu Lemon sells. A par of pants costs about $100 dollars, so my sister-in-law can buy "half" a pair.

When we first did the exchange, I was sure I knew who the Observer was "Santa" for and who my "Santa" was. It turns out that I had it wrong on both ends. Now that I know who the Observer bought for, maybe it's good that I don't know anything more. There needs to be a bit of surprise left in Christmas.


Saturday, December 20, 2008

winter, winter, please slow down!

all my lights are turned off. the only light i see is from my two christmas trees, the tv and computer. i'm watching miracle on 34th street. if there's a time for christmas movies, it's now, i think. the old, black and white version i watched was comforting. i have seen it before, but realized for the first time that william frawley from i love lucy has a small part. i am a big fan of i love lucy, black and white comedy at its best. i have the complete series on dvd and watched a disc yesterday. they make me laugh. it's the simplest show, but i think that's why it's so entertaining.

waking up today, my plan was to finish up a few errands. a few minutes trudging through the snow in my wheelchair told me i wouldn't get far. getting stuck isn't worth it. coming back inside, i felt a bit trapped. it's been two days of not getting out. i suppose i could look at the bright side - that i have a safe, warm home place to sleep and come and go as i please. i have warm clothes, coffee, books, music, movies, tv, telephone/internet communication, and most important, peace and freedom.

mom and dad made a spur-of-the moment visit. it was great to see them. we had swiss chalet and riley was licking her lips at the chicken. i felt bad that i had nothing to offer them. usually i like to get mom a flower. given the weather, i think they understood. seeing my parents lifted my spirits. they always do.

there is another storm coming tomorrow. the observer is supposed to come over but i am doubtful. i miss him so i'm a little blue, but what can i do? it's winter. i would love to see the observer, but not if the weather causes dangerous roads. if he can't visit, i have lucy and a new book. i'll be a bit lonely, but also warm and safe. the observer will be too, so we're lucky. maybe we won't see each other, but the storm will pass.

- ocg

Friday, December 19, 2008

Snow, snow, everywhere!

Well, the weatherman was right. It's a snowy wonderland out there. I see a few people on the streets and a handful of cars. Only really bad weather makes the streets so empty.

The fire alarm has been buzzing throughout the building for five minutes. I hear sirens headed to my building. A fire truck pulled up. There are red lights flashing and now there is another truck. The fire alarm seems to be set off in cold temperatures. Maybe the pipes are more fragile. Now there is peace.

I am disappointed that I didn't get to see the Observer today. I miss him. His test went OK this morning. Phew! I know he is relieved. I am relieved for him. He is on his way home on the bus. Part of me is glad I'm not out in the snow, but being inside is not exciting. My irrational, adventurous side wants to go to the drugstore up the road. I would be going only to leave my apartment and it's not necessary to go today. I know I shouldn't, that my wheelchair could get stuck, that it is cold and the streets are deserted, but part of me still wants to get out. It's crazy, and dumb, but it's my thinking.

I think I'll go watch Oprah on TV. Her shows can be good, though not always super exciting. At least I won't be cold or stuck watching her.

The snow is pretty from my window view. I dreaded winter's arrival for long. Now that it's here, it's not so awful, but we are only about six weeks into the season. We'll see what my opinion of winter is by the end of March...


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Snow around the corner...

Here comes the snow - or so the weatherman says. We'll see. My plan was to visit the Observer at his parents. The trip involves two buses, so I thought I best plan it safe and stay home. If it's fine tomorrow, I'll be disappointed. The Observer is having a test done. Understandably, he is very nervous. I will be thinking of him.

Today I had coffee with a friend. We went to Starbucks and the trip over was very chilly, but it was fun to sit and chat. It's been awhile since we've seen each other. My friend is very down-to-earth and positive. She makes me smile. People like her are good for my soul and life in general.

I'm tired and my stomach is yucky. I'm ready to go to sleep. When I wake up tomorrow, maybe they'll be snow....


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Hoping against the odds...

There is still snow on the streets. The wind is whistling outside my window. At this time next week, it will be Christmas Eve. Life moves so fast. I called one of my best friends today. Hearing her voice made me miss her. We made plans to get together after New Years, which sounds very far away.....

I watched a documentary about a Canadian solider whose head was smashed open by an Afghan enemy solider. Parts of his brain came out of his skull. Remarkably, the solider survived and underwent massive rehabilitation. The story ended with the solider finally leaving hospital and moving into a wheelchair accessible home with his wife and daughter. Near the ending, he asked a doctor if he would ever walk again. The doctor gave him a diplomatic "no."

The Canadian solider and his wife were still holding out hope that he would someday walk despite medical advice to the contrary. Is this good or bad? Optimism or false hope? Looking forward or being unrealistic? A motivational goal or prolonged disappointment? How can we truly be happy now if we are fixated on a future event that may never happen? Is this the same as faith? Believing our dreams will come true even if they don't is OK, right?

If we don't have hope, what do we have?


I'm grateful for...

* Songs by Pink
* That friends want to see me
* Accommodating attendants
* Positive documentaries
* The Observer (just because he's great in so many ways)
* The ability to stand on my own two feet
* The time I have to share and talk about books with my family
* That I don't have to pay for my medication
* My phone ringing
* Blue Christmas lights
* That I get to spend the holidays with two great families
* My Mom and Dad (always)


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The luxury to worry about surface stuff...

There is nothing like a good friend. I'm glad I went out today. It was another day of eating too much, but I will try again tomorrow. I have been filling up on nuts and chocolate these last three days, plus a bagel with cream cheese and two big cookies. Physically I know that I have eaten way more than I need. As most people do, I have gained weight. My face is rounder, my pants are tighter, and I feel bigger. I hate this, but it will pass. At Christmastime, I like to be fit, because I see lots of family and there is so much food around. I will be with family and that's what matters. The holidays come whether we are the size we want to be or whether we are ready for them.

Last Christmas I learned that having everyone healthy is the greatest blessing when it comes to loved ones. As soon as some one's health is in jeopardy, all the superficial issues get put aside. The self-indulgence of my weight/body image troubles seemed so silly and a waste of energy after Mom's heart attack. I couldn't believe that I spent so much time counting calories and worrying about weight when life could change so suddenly. Who cares what size we are as long as we're healthy, right?

Yet, here I am in a fat slump. I'm bigger than I was three days ago. Every nut and chocolate I ate caused it - I knew it would. I still ate. Even so, I am still OK. The snow is covering the streets. The roads looked like they have been neatly covered in smooth, creamy vanilla frosting. The world is beautiful and I am a part of it. You are too.

My Mom is healthy. Two days ago, we had a party to celebrate my sister-in-law finishing six months of chemo and radiation. She says that she is "in healing." I think she is free.

As I look out the window, the winter weather makes me smile. In my heart, I am sad that I gained weight. Part of me feels grateful that life affords me the time and energy to think about such a "surface" issue. There are people who are dealing with enormous problems. All I did was overdose on almonds and chocolate kisses.


Monday, December 15, 2008

I am still a good person...

Today I ate like a pig. I feel awful and fat. Yesterday I ate more than usual. Waking up this morning, I was still feeling bad about yesterday's over-indulgence. When I dwell on over-eating, it tends to cause me to over-eat again the next day. In the best-selling self-help book The Secret, it says "focusing on something causes it to expand." Maybe I was so worked up over yesterday, today was a feast too. Eating is such an oxymoron for me. I love food, but worry about gaining weight. I worry so much and stress out that sometimes (like now) I eat more than I need and do get bigger, hating every second.

Tomorrow I will wake up feeling horrible that it's been a three day eating marathon. I'll feel like a fat cow and want to stay in bed and not talk to anyone. I will get up and go shopping with a friend, because we made plans. I want to be a good friend. I will wash my hair and put on clothes. I will smile. I will talk to my Mom and the Observer. I want them to know that I love them. I will feel very fat and gross and maybe even want to disappear, but I will be OK. Life keeps moving.

I am still a good person, even if I gained weight. I need to believe it. I am still a good person, even if I gained weight. It's true. I am still a good person, even if I gained weight. I know it..........

Tomorrow is a new day. I am still me........


Sunday, December 14, 2008

Dear Ian...

Happy Birthday! You are twenty six today. You're as old as me, so I won't say too much. Don't dish it out if you can't take it yourself, right? I hope heaven is still treating you feels like you have been gone so long. I think of you whenever The Simpson's are on TV or I talk to someone from TIP.

2008 was not the best year for my family. Mom had a heart attack on Christmas. Things took a bad turn very quickly. She pulled through and made it through a long, snowy winter. My family was so scared, but we are so lucky she is doing well.

Remember Shane's girlfriend, Katie? You liked her. Well, they have been married for a year and half. This summer, Katie found out she had cancer. After six months of chemo and radiation, she finished treatment on Friday. Both Mom and Katie remind me that life is good, even though it can suck. I said a lot of prayers this year. Maybe you have heard them. You are my closest connection to God. If you had an influence in making things turn out OK, thank you.....

I think of you often Ian. The world isn't the same without you. I miss your laughter.

Happy Birthday....


Saturday, December 13, 2008

Too much fun and caffeine...

I am over caffeinated. You know how you do something and realize instantly that it's a mistake? I am in such a spot now. I was craving diet root beer from A & W. I went to the Eaton's Center with the Observer where there happens to be an A & W burger joint. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I must have known this and that's how the craving grew. Luckily, the Observer knew exactly where to find the store. I am always getting lost - even in my own neighbourhood. It's strange though, because I can always find a nearby coffee shop. (Maybe because they happen to be on every corner!) I ordered a large root big. The thing was massive. I was so thirsty that I slurped it very quickly. While I moved out of the way and was balancing my cup on my wheelchair, it fell onto the ground when a group of teenagers bumped into me. They looked embarrassed and uncomfortable, but didn't say sorry. I asked them to pick up my root beer. They did, but still looked embarrassed. Usually I am sympathetic towards people who accidentally make a mistake, but these boys didn't bother to apologize.

On the way home, the Observer and I stopped at Starbucks. I didn't really need a coffee, but I really wanted one. I had a small decaf. When it's cold and I'm outside, my mind always wanders to coffee. Lately I have been ordering my Starbucks coffee with a shot of vanilla syrup. When I leave and go out into the coldness, there is such a sweet taste in my mouth. Perhaps that's part of the reason being outside makes my craving for coffee stronger.

There is a guy in my apartment building who the Observer knows from his teen years. They are the same age and grew up in the same community. The guy is gay and really likes the Observer. Whenever he sees the Observer, he smiles big and says hello. When I see the same guy in the halls, I get no reaction - just a blank stare. I tease the Observer about his "boyfriend" in my building all the time. When we bump into him together, I can't stop laughing. I lose my marbles. Today we ran into the Observer's "boyfriend" twice and both times caused me to be overcome with giggles. The Observer didn't think this was very funny.

I think all the caffeine I had tonight will make sleeping a challenge. When I have been over-caffeinated, I tend to laugh about the day's events while trying to sleep. The Observer and his "boyfriend" will be on my mind if too much caffeine should keep me from sleeping.


Friday, December 12, 2008

Home for some lovin' and touch-uppin'...

I have just returned from visiting home. I miss my family already, especially Mom and Dad. It's been awhile since I slept in my childhood room. My bed is so soft, warm and comforting. It's familiar and safe. Part of my bed's appeal might be that I know my Mom and Dad are sleeping nearby. I know admitting this is childish, but most of us do feel safe around our parents, don't we? If we don't, that's quite sad...

I got my hair cut and highlighted. I am very happy with the way it turned out. There are blond streaks in my hair that give me a bit of flare. My natural hair colour is brown, so the blond adds a bit of depth. My Mom treated me to the cut and colour. She is such a sweet Mom. As we were leaving the hair salon, I told her how much "fresher" I felt. She reminded me that, "true beauty comes from within." I agreed, but said, "A little work on the outside can bring confidence to the inside." There must be some truth to this, because how else are plastic surgeons and make-over shows able to make so much money? I am blonder now, so we'll see if I have more fun.....I am tired now, so I am going to get some beauty sleep.


Thursday, December 11, 2008

Spilling the beans...

My Mom says that I sound grumpy today. She could be right. The weather is OK. It's a bit gray but not too cold.

The Observer was having a rough moment last night. To brighten his mood, I told him what his Christmas/birthday present will be. Now I think it would have been fun to surprise him. It's too late. I spilled the beans. I knew the Observer was feeling down and that telling him what his gift will be would make him happy. It did. I bought him tickets to see Britney Spears on March 18th. I know he will really enjoy the show and that's what counts. Whenever I know I bought the Observer something that he will love, I have a habit of telling him what his gift is ahead of time.

For the Observer's last birthday, I told him that I wanted to contribute to the cost of a Serius Satellite Radio ahead of his big day. Having no idea of the type of radio the Observer wanted, I guess he had to be the one to choose his gift, but I could have waited until Christmas to tell him about the tickets. In the words of a certain famous pop star, "Oops! I did it again!"


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A foggy ending and coffee goodness...

Do you ever think about your day and not know how you spent it? That's how I feel about today. I finished reading House Of Sand And Fog last night. The ending was sad and believable, just like the whole story. I was disappointed as I closed the book. There was no real closure to the novel, only a succession of heartache and misunderstanding that all collided into one sad conclusion. I would have been angry had the author made the story into a cheesy, happily-ever-after book, so I'm not sure why I felt unsatisfied. Each character got what was coming his or her way all along and happiness can't magically come out of tragedy, so what was I missing? House Of Sand And Fog is a movie I might check out. I wonder if the film ends on such a sad note like the book. Nothing was resolved. I would say the last chapters were foggy, which explains the book's title.

I went to Starbucks this afternoon and my server (barista) was very friendly. He has served me on a number of coffee trips and is always a big help. He asked what I was doing for the holidays, which made me smile. Most people don't venture past the standard "How are you?" so I was touched. My coffee was extra good. It was probably because an extra friendly person made it. Other than the kind guy working at the coffee shop, my recollection of the rest of the day's events are foggy. Maybe my thinking is still on the novel House Of Sand And Fog.


Tuesday, December 09, 2008

A headache in the middle of fair weather conversations...

We have rain instead of snow today. It's damp and gusty. The raindrops aren't too heavy. They fall and dissolve on winter coats before anyone can get cold or be too bothered by them. The cars are whooshing on the slick roads. Some people are wearing shoes and others (like me) have boots on.

I met an old friend at Starbucks today. She's what I would call a "fair weather" friend. My Grandma explained to me as a little girl that "fair weather" friends are around when they feel like it and things in their life and yours are good. When life is hard or it's not convenient for them to offer their company, they keep to themselves. "Fair weather" friends come and go as they wish. I would call the friend I had coffee with today a "fair weather" friend. She is smart, kind, positive and funny. We have a long history and I have realized that she is not completely trustworthy. I still enjoy chatting and catching up. We have funny talks and much of our lives connect, but I keep my very intimate thoughts and news private to be safe. My "fair weather" friend makes having coffee light and casual, which is refreshing. Life can get bold, heavy and serious at the best of times, so talking about surface topics like TV, family, boyfriends, pets, food, work and school is good for the soul. You'd be surprised how much ground can be covered.

I spilled my coffee all over the floor. The Starbucks barista gave me another cup free of charge. I was lucky.

My head started pounding on the way home. I picked up ibphofen from the drugstore and it worked quickly. I feel so much better. Headaches aren't the worst ailment to have when they can be so easily cured. They are kind of like "fair weather" friends - we wouldn't want those kind of friends all the time, but occasionally they can fit into our lives as long as we remember their place.
"Fair weather" friends make me appreciate my solid, top quality friends and headaches help me appreciate feeling well. Life isn't perfect all the time, but we have casual acquaintances and painkillers to deal with it.


Monday, December 08, 2008

A snowy, slow Monday...

I had a very unproductive Monday. The snow came down early and covered the streets quickly. I shouldn't be surprised. I decided to wait until it calmed down. I read and returned phone calls in between showering, coffee, a cheese sandwich, prunes, clementines and reading. I'm almost finished the book The House Of Sand and Fog by Andre Dubus III. At first, it didn't grab me, but after the first three chapters, I got sucked right in. It's a two dimensional story and I'm not sure which side I'm on. Maybe I'm not meant to be on a side. It's been an interesting, twisty, heartbreaking story that echoes real life and how we need to have compassion for one and another because we are doing the best we can.

I went to the mall and bought a cookie and a granola bar because I was starving. After eating both, I felt a bit like my choices were too sweet. Maybe I shouldn't have eaten both sweets, but I was very hungry. When I am starving, I will eat anything I see. I suppose everyone can relate to needing food. Hopefully we all can't relate to being famished too often. No matter who we are or where we come from, we all need to eat. It's what we choose to eat that makes us different. It's a bit like how today was Monday for everyone, but my day was probably much different than yours. That's a good thing, because if everyone had as slow of a day as I did, the evening news would be very boring.


Sunday, December 07, 2008


I am all charged up now - or I should say my wheelchair is all powered up. A technician dropped off a battery charger before I went to the party yesterday. I got lucky. He said I was getting pretty low on power, so I am grateful he came to my rescue. The party I attended was fun. There were a lot of seniors who enjoyed wine. (Some a bit too much!) By the end of the night, a few party-goers were very intoxicated and one or two were even belligerent. Too much alcohol does funny things to us - too much of anything does, really. Being older, I would have thought the crowd would have more self control over alcohol, but I guess it's tempting at any age. There were two bottles at each table. Our table didn't open our wine and it was being eyed by the big drinkers. A party organizer took it off our table. Sometimes removing temptation is the only way to beat it. I stuck to coffee for the night and enjoyed two tarts for dessert.

Speaking of coffee, I am over-caffeinated tonight. The Observer came to visit today and we went to Starbucks. I ordered our drinks, but got his wrong, so the barista sweetly made him his usual mocha frappuccino. She said we could have the one I originally ordered. I rarely have frappuccinos, but decided to drink this one. It was free, so why not? I enjoyed the frappuccino. It tasted more like a milkshake than an iced coffee, but I'm not complaining. After slurping it down, I felt a bit shaky and realized it was probably because I had drank a medium cappuccino before the large frappuccino. Starbucks is serious about their coffee and their drinks are very high in caffeine content. That's probably why I'm buzzing about. Hopefully sleep will come tonight. If not, I will remind myself that it's not every day I have the chance to drink a free Starbucks frappuccino. Some things are too good to pass up.


Saturday, December 06, 2008

'Tis (or 'tis not) the season...

Last night I watched The Grinch Who Stole Christmas starring Jim Carey and narrated by Anthony Hopkins. I have seen it before, but it always makes me smile. This is the best time of year for holiday films. I'm not one to watch Christmas movies all year round. I have to be in the festive, social mindset or Christmas movies lack appeal. This morning I saw the weekend superintendent wearing shorts. I just can't do that either. The season doesn't fit the look. Isn't he cold? I'm wearing a heavy sweater and heavy jeans and I'm still chilly. Whatever makes us happy, I suppose.

My wheelchair is having battery troubles. Somehow it's not holding the charge. At first I assumed the battery charger wasn't being plugged in correctly, but I made sure it was done right before bed last evening. Alarmingly, it looks low now. I called the wheelchair company and a technician is bringing another charger. We'll see if it's the charger or my wheelchair having issues.

Later today, I am going to a Christmas party with the Observer and friends. I hope my wheelchair cooperates. I'm crossing my fingers. If I run into trouble, at least I'll be inside. Getting stranded anywhere is not good - any season of the year.


Friday, December 05, 2008

A day of kind people...

Tonight my Dad came to visit. He has been sealing up the baseboards in my apartment should bed bugs visit. Dad looked tired. After we chatted over coffee, he slept on the couch. I was glad he got a quick power nap. My baseboards look cleaner now. I guess getting rid of little spaces gives baseboards a more polished look. Once Dad finished a few odd jobs, we went out for sushi to a place we know well. The restaurant is close, it's affordable and the service is friendly. Our ritual is to order two cucumber rolls, one avocado roll, and one tuna roll. When they bring the platter to the table, it looks like a lot, but we always eat it all. The servers bring spring rolls to start that are on the house, our entree, and sliced oranges for dessert. I like sushi places that offer on-the-house perks.

Dad set up a florescent solar lamp beside my computer. The lamp has been sitting in my closet for two years. A convenient time to get it going didn't come until today. I feel good knowing it uses less energy to burn and that it is supposed to mimic sunlight.

At the grocery store this morning, a very sweet cashier served me. She could see that I needed extra help and went out of her way to ensure I got what I needed. I picked up a carrot muffin for Dad and some vegetables. A little boy held the elevator door open so that I could get in while the adults with him kept walking. He really impressed me. He'll grow up to be very kind. One day he might do some little chores for his grown daughter and take her out to dinner. To me, that's what every good Dad ought to do, but maybe I am very lucky.


Thursday, December 04, 2008

Sweet tooth tiredness...

It's chilly outside, but not freezing. My eyes didn't close much last night. I watched a lot of TV. Today I am tired. I thought I would be exhausted, but thankfully not. While I wished I was sleeping, I watched the news. Our Conservative government is making history by narrowly prolonging a vote of non-confidence. Since we voted on our leader, I don't see how our Prime Minister can be sacked, but who knows. I don't spend much time reading about politics. Lately, I am intrigued because our government has never been under so much heat. They were granted time off until January to come up with a budget to handle the tanking economy. When did all of this happen? Things are moving fast. Did I miss something?

My sweet tooth was needing some love, so I used a gift card and bought a warm bowl of apple berry crisp with a scoop of french vanilla ice cream on the side. My all-time favourite dessert is apple crisp, but any fruit crisp makes me happy. It was yummy and soothing in my tummy. Oddly, I didn't feel guilty eating it - maybe because I really wanted sweetness and it tasted wholesome. When I don't sleep well, I'm usually pretty generous to myself and my sweet tooth. I dripped vanilla ice cream on my jeans, but some things are worth a tiny mess. I had a cheese sandwich for supper, even though I wasn't hungry. A little voice inside my head was whispering, "You'll get fat if you're not careful," but I am too tired to listen. I'll hear the same murmers tomorrow, but they can be quiet for tonight.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Tuning out and in...

I met a taxi driver who really enjoyed listening to music. Once I was secured in the wheelchair taxi, the guy, who looked a bit older than myself, turned on his tunes. I am not really up on ethnic music, but the lyrics sounded Indian. The taxi driver sang right along to the music and even mimicked the beat. He got louder and more excited with each track. There were some English words in there too and he kept repeating those even after the song ended. When he started singing, I thought he would soon stop. Turns out, the driver was just getting warmed up. He continued singing from the time I got in the taxi until the time he dropped me out at my building. When we picked up another girl, he toned down a bit, but kept a steady rhythm.

I am ashamed to say that the taxi driver's singing got to be a bit irritating. Lending his voice to a song or two would have been fine, but I think I listened to the entire CD once and another half of it before I got dropped off. It was a long ride. He wasn't a bad singer, but he was no professional. Personally, I get bashful if someone hears me sing even part of a song, because my voice is awful. I admire the taxi driver for having the confidence to sing so freely. He was clearly enjoying his music.

Today, while in the shopping mall elevator with a lady, I was checking myself out in the mirror as we were moving between floors. Feeling fat, I was being very critical of myself. As we were getting out, the lady turned to me and said, "Don't worry, you look good." Embarrassed, I thanked her. Sometimes strangers are very aware of what is going on around them and know just what to say.


Tuesday, December 02, 2008

There he is...

On my way home from shopping last night, I was about to hit my automatic door opener and let myself in when a friendly voice behind me said, "There she is!" Looking up, a toothless, dirty homeless man was in front of me waiting to be let in - or so he thought. He told me he had no key. Now, that was no shocker. I said I didn't have one either. (I have a door opener - not a key!) I turned around and went into the nearby drugstore until the homeless man was out of sight. He was clever to greet me in such a casual, acquaintance-like way. I know who I know and not one homeless person is on my list of buddies. He's probably friendly, but I didn't want to get too close and find out. When we struggle for the basics in life, I suppose we adopt strategies to get what we need and we pick our targets. I may look young and small, but I'm clever too. I hope that man last night found some warm place to go, and I'm glad it wasn't my apartment building. Safety isn't worth risking. The way he said, "There she is!" makes me smile just remembering how he sounded. I bet he was a funny guy when he wasn't so down on his luck. The homeless man is probably still funny, but he has to struggle for everything, which can leave no energy for humor. Wherever he is, I'm not there and I'm glad about that, though I wish him warmth, safety, and food and water.


Monday, December 01, 2008

Make time for Four Christmases...

The Observer and I saw the new movie Four Christmases with Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon. We both enjoyed it. The story was funny, lighthearted, and down-to-earth. The movie was about an unmarried, committed couple who went away every Christmas to avoid their family dramas. Watching it reminded me that thinking about the impending holidays with excitement and a bit of nervousness is common. I love my family, but holidays make me a bit anxious. It's important to me that everyone enjoy the time of year and being together. We can't control our families, which is why I get a bit apprehensive. Sometimes drama just happens in good and bad ways. After last Christmas, I am reminding myself to let everyone and everything be.

Four Christmas made me feel a surge of affection for my family and all of our dynamics. No one family is the same, but each one needs to be valued, and to do this, we need to give time to our loved ones. When it comes down to it, time is the only gift we can really offer one and another that doesn't cost anything, won't wear out, or get shoved in a corner. Time is the only thing we are born to give. Perhaps we are meant to dispense it wisely among people we love most, and movies that help us feel the love - like Four Christmases.


Sunday, November 30, 2008

I'm grateful for...

* The new movie Four Christmases

* Helpful strangers who ask if I need help

* The way the Observer listens

* Always feeling welcome at home

* My new sophisticated watch

* Running into friends at the mall

* Salad

* Christmas lights

* My green blanket

* Starbucks coffee

* My sister

* My humidifier

* Living so close to a drugstore and grocery store

* Sleeping in

* My attendant who was extra kind last night

* Mom and Dad for who they are

* Moisturizer


A sweet cake contest..

My TV in my bedroom was on all night. Going to bed, I was feeling pretty tired, so I should have switched it off when my eyes started feeling heavy. The second I got into bed, my phone rang. It was the Observer calling to tell me that there was a wedding cake episode of Food Network Challenge he thought I would enjoy. Famous pastry chefs made elaborate cake designs and a couple got to choose the one they wanted. They were all beautiful and had to be delicious. One cake was pure chocolate and took my breath away. Being so spectacular in design was one thing and being pure chocolate gave it one up on the competition. The chocolate cake was picked by the couple, which probably wasn't a surprise to anyone. No one at that wedding would be disappointed. You really can't go wrong with chocolate cake. It doesn't have to be beautiful, just yummy.

If we can admire our cake, and eat it too, that's a sweet deal.


Saturday, November 29, 2008

My friend (my orange coat!)

The Christmas shopping craze is on! The Observer and I went to the mall and it was twice as busy as usual. It's going to get busier from now until the end of December. Crowds make me cranky. I wasn't the most cheerful of the cheery shopping today. I didn't have the urge to "get out there and buy." I have picked up a few gifts, but still have the major, important ones left. Making decisions has never been my strongest quality, so I'll be scratching my head over the next few purchases.

On the radio this afternoon, I heard a commercial that was talking about receiving gifts and how people say "You shouldn't have." We hope that friends and family we buy presents for don't literally mean "You shouldn't have."

My Mom bought me an orange winter coat last Christmas. Being late winter, I didn't wear it much, but now, it's my favourite coat. It makes me feel happy. Sometimes gifts grow on us. I like the feeling of getting attached to clothing we already own. It's a bit like becoming really close to a neighbour. He or she is so nearby, that if we become friends, it's a bonus. I suppose my coat is like an old friend who wraps around me to keep me warm. How can that not be a good thing?


Friday, November 28, 2008

A cup of kindness...

The sun is nowhere to be found. It's a little cloudy and dark. Maybe it will change by the end of the day. I am hopeful, but who knows. Winter days get darker, not brighter, so maybe it's wishful thinking. There aren't heaps of snow on the ground which is good. I am not awake yet and it's past noon. My two cups of coffee haven't kicked in. I need to liven up.

At Starbucks last night, I ordered a decaf coffee with soy milk. The girl who served me asked if I could wait a few minutes while she brewed a fresh pot. I agreed and she told me to go over to the table and she would bring my coffee over. When she did, I passed her money and she told me not to worry. I started to insist on paying, but she said it was on the house, because I had to wait. I thought it was so sweet of my server to do such a kind little favour. I was touched and thanked her. Hopefully she knew I meant it.

I told my friend that accepting free cups of coffee isn't something I would feel comfortable doing too often. Too many favours and free things can make us greedy and presumptuous. My friend pointed out that I give Starbucks a lot of business. I do because I love coffee. Maybe that's why the odd free cup means so much.


Thursday, November 27, 2008

Room for coffee...

All this talk about an economic recession is pretty scary. Politicians and economists are painting a pretty bleak picture of the next few years. They say if we're not careful, we could be in serious trouble. On the news, I hear experts in finances mention how things took a downward spiral quickly. I know the United States wasn't in the best condition, so maybe I shouldn't be surprised that Canada isn't far off. We are being advised to carefully watch our money and cut out expenses we really don't need. To me, that's sound advice.

It's important to be aware of what's going on in the world, but I don't want to become too concerned yet. I have always been quite careful with my pennies, so things won't change drastically. Coffee is my major vice. Going out with friends to shops and chatting over a cup is one of my favourite past-times. I'm headed to Starbucks tonight to meet a friend. If things get really tight, maybe my friends and I will start going to visit each other at home for coffee. We'll find a way to chat and have our coffee. When things matter, there's always room for them. We only live once.


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Being festive, aware, and home...

My apartment looks festive and pretty now. I am happy about that. Mom and Dad set up two ceramic Christmas trees. I love them both. One is a fiberoptic tree with lights that change colour every few seconds. It's funky. I think I have mentioned the tree before in my blogs leading up to Christmas. The tree makes me smile and brings a little holiday spirit to my home in this loud, busy city.

Mom and Dad don't visit me often as it is pretty far for them to travel. When they do, I feel grateful they are such loving, helpful parents. Mom loaded my refrigerator with food, so I am set for a while. Dad did some baseboard cocking to deter bed bugs should they venture this way, which lessens my bug worries. I also had some minor painting and little odd jobs done. I always think that hardly anything needs work around here, but it's amazing what we find needs doing when we look. People talk about finding things they never knew existed only when their eyes were open to seeing. Maybe the secret to being happy is being fully aware of what is around us. I'm sure happiness is about more than awareness, but it could be a start. Mom and Dad brought a yummy dinner. We had fresh pasta with tomato sauce, bean salad and cabbage salad. The best part of the dinner was chocolate cheesecake. After two pieces, I was a satisfied lady. Knowing how to enjoy dessert is a major step on the pathway to happiness in my books.

Riley came to visit too. At first she was sniffing everywhere and trying to reach anything she could get her paws on. We're all a bit curious in new surroundings. After a while, Riley relaxed and dozed on the floor. She started to paw at my arms and reach towards me. It's like Riley is saying, "Hey, remember that I'm here, OK?" I like that Riley and I can be at the same level. Sitting down all the time makes this hard. I have sticky paper on the floor of each room to see what kind of critters are lurking. Riley lunged straight for it and she had paper stuck to her nose. It was funny until she started to cry....

I feel pleased when Mom and Dad see where I live. Hopefully they think I am doing okay here. It's taken a few years for my apartment to feel like home, but it does. I know where everything is and have decorated it the way I like. Each room is painted to my taste and furniture is where I like it. On a stressful day, my apartment feels safe. Maybe that's what being home really means.