Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A miffing miss...

Tonight the Observer and I went to see the animated movie Igor. Movies at Woodbine mall on Tuesdays are only $4, so if there is a good choice, we go for it. Igor was my pick and unfortunately, it wasn't all that appealing. It is the story of a hunchback trying to prove himself in the science world by creating the most evil creature around. Igor is the classic tale of good and evil with a few modern twists. There was quite a lot of violence and evil activity. The Observer nudged me halfway through the movie and said that most kids under 12 would probably be scared. I agreed. There were only a few parts that made me smile. The female characters made the movie and that's always refreshing.

The Observer "missed" his ride home from Woodbine. He was waiting at the right spot at the right time, so how could he miss his bus? The bus company sent another ride, but he was very upset and rightly so. When we do all the right things, follow all the rules and still end up in a pickle, how can we not be upset? I just hung up from talking to him and he's still angry. Having "missed" my bus before myself, the frustration does take a while to subside. "Missing" a wheelchair bus sucks. It's not like there is the option of hoping on another one. Now that the Observer's maddening ordeal is over, I tried to optimistically point out that at least his second ride arrived quickly, but he's still annoyed which and that's understandable. The Observer is so good natured most of the time that I think he has every right to be frustrated now and then. If we can't be fed up when we miss a bus though no fault of our own, when is it acceptable to be miffed?


Monday, September 29, 2008

Smelling my best...

Tonight I watched the season premier of ER on tape. I shed a few tears. The season started off sad with the death of a main character. The show is not returning after this spring. It's a worthwhile show, but I think it's time for the curtain to close for good. There are no plots left to write. ER is one of the only shows I watch that often makes me cry. Any book, show or song that brings me to tears must do something right. I don't cry for just any story or piece of creativity.

Tonight I went to Shoppers Drug Mart to stock up on toiletries. A store employee who looked my age offered to help me get me what I needed. I told her that I was looking for Dove Body Wash. There is a whole row of different scents of Dove Body Wash in different colours made of different things. When she asked me what kind I wanted, I told her that it didn't matter. She smiled and said "Of course it matters, you have to smell your best." I laughed and pointed to the bottle I always buy.

I hope I thanked that employee. In our three minute interaction, I knew she was kind and down to earth , the kind of person I look for as a friend. I could also tell she takes body odor control seriously and that she probably smells her best.


For the love of living...

I made a spur-of-the-moment decision to go home on Saturday. I am glad I did. Going home is always a wise choice. My parents are the only people I know who are happy to see me anytime. Well, maybe the same can be said of the Observer, but my parents and I have a longer history. Sleeping in and seeing Riley the puppy was fun. She is growing and is so sweet. Her nose often nudges my arm to say, "Hey, please give me some loving." I felt a bit sad saying goobye to my family, but I will be home again soon. That's the amazing part of any home; if we're lucky we can visit often and it doesn't change much.

On Saturday I went to the Observer's parents' house for a visit. Seeing the Observer's Mom and Dad feels similar to seeing my own family. They are warm and I feel safe in their company. We watched Smart People and most of Run Fat Boy Run. We were eating during while watching, so I missed some parts of both movies, but I still enjoyed each. Run Fat Boy Run looks to be the lighter, funnier option, though I think they are both good choices depending on one's mood.

One the way home from the Observer's parents' home to my family, my taxi driver had to pick up another passenger. The driver is my favourite. He is kind and wise. He warned me ahead that the passenger he was about to pick up was a very large lady. He was concerned that she would have trouble fitting in the taxi. I saw for myself that the lady was big and my heart went out to her when I saw her oxygen tank. Her quality of life can't be very high. Being one person in the world is hard enough. Imagine taking up the space of two people but only being recognized as one person. No one wants to live this way. Just as I knew he would, the driver did his job beyond what is expected. He made every effort to ensure that the lady made it to her seat and was comfortable without making a big deal about her size. She was quiet, but I could tell she was friendly. Hopefully I'll see her again, because I had the hunch that she has an interesting story. Travelling on a bus is an opportunity to hear stories we might not otherwise.

I ate too much this weekend. In two days, I ate double the amount of food I usually do. Some of my choices were wholesome, comforting foods and a few were purely greedy. Last night I met the Observer for dinner before making the trek back downtown. We went to Boston Pizza and he ordered a chicken wrap stuffed with chicken and noodles. After eating half, he decided it didn't taste good and pushed away his plate. Wasting food bothers me, so I finished his wrap, even though my stomach was comfortably full. I knew the Observer didn't have much dinner, so when he suggested going to a favourite restaurant nearby for dessert, I agreed. We shared the peanut butter brownie sundae, a dessert I like to call "heaven in a bowl." I wasn't hungry, but I enjoyed sharing the chocolaty experience with the Observer. I know I gained weight, but sometimes a girl needs to let go and eat.


Saturday, September 27, 2008

A night on the town...

It's a dreary, gray, rainy, Saturday. The weather reminds me of before fall when things start to cool off and the leaves are becoming pretty. Today isn't cold, so I'm not complaining.

Last night the Observer and I were out on the town. Whenever possible now, we try to take advantage of being able to go out easily, because this won't be the case when winter arrives. The Observer is a big fan of Pizza Nova. I have only had pizza from there a few times. Between the two of us, he's the pizza expert, which makes sense given that he's Italian. There's a Pizza Nova near my apartment building that we decided to try. Once we got there, we realized there was a big step. I am always surprised to learn that common public places are still inaccessible. After living my whole life dealing with steps, stairs, bumps and barriers, you would think I'd be accustomed to the odd road block. Maybe I give society the benefit of the doubt.

I took the steps at Pizza Nova as a sign that I was meant to eat something else for dinner. My stomach led to Subway where I ordered a vegetarian sandwich. The Observer and I met up at the pizza shop where he was waiting for his order. I'm not sure weather it is okay to bring food from a different restaurant into another one, but the girl at the counter just smiled.

After we ate, I wanted to try a new coffee shop nearby. The high end equipment and classy atmosphere catches my eye every time I pass the place. As soon as we stepped inside, I know this was a place that made coffee the way God intended. I noticed an expensive espresso machine on the counter which is always a good sign.
I ordered an Americano, a shot of watered down espresso. The barista was cute and funky. When I gave the specifics of how I like my coffee, he asked if I wanted my skim milk heated. I knew then that my coffee would be delicious. It was foamy, hot, smooth and sweet - everything I love about coffee. I will be back to that coffee shop.

The Observer and I went to a busy music store. There were upbeat tunes playing and my insides still felt warm from my yummy Americano. That's what I call the good life.


Friday, September 26, 2008

Funny sweetness...

I lost the remote control for the TV in my bedroom. It's nowhere to be found. If it were any other remote control, I wouldn't be too worried; I could easy still flip channels using the buttons on my TV. However, this isn't possible when I'm in bed. I need to the remote to turn the TV on, adjust the volume, flip channels, and turn the TV off. Without it, watching TV means watching one channel until someone comes and turns the tube off. I watched the Slice Channel for a long time last night. Most of the shows are good. By the time someone came to help me reposition myself, it was around 4:00 am, I had been drifting in and out of sleep, but didn't get any high quality sleep. Oh well, I will sleep tonight.

I am in a bit of a fog today. I am not quite sure what to do with myself. I went to this underground food court that has a grocery store. I bought some grapes for a snack. As I opened the bag to begin eating, an older lady stopped and asked if she could help me by "getting a knife to cut that." I know she was only trying to help, but I have never heard of green grapes needing to be cut. Maybe she didn't see what I was eating and her biggest concern was helping me in whatever way she could. I am choosing to believe that, but it is funny to think of cutting green grapes. What a slimy, green, juicy mess that would make. Maybe, like me, she didn't sleep well. None of that matters though. What does matter is that the woman was kind and made me smile.


Thursday, September 25, 2008

Coffee for two and dinner for one...

Grey's Anatomy is on. It's the season premiere. I'm watching it, but it's a two hour episode and the second hour is not as good as the first.

TV is enjoyable now because there are new seasons starting. I don't watch many shows. Oprah and Grey's Anatomy are my favourites. ER is good too. Before hitting the sack last night, I watched an episode of Oprah that made me cry. It was about a Mom who contracted flesh eating disease and lost all four of her limbs. Throughout her ordeal, her main focus was always on going to her small children and being their Mom. She was inspiring and the story had to be special to bring me to tears.

I had coffee with a friend this afternoon. We had a long, happy talk. My coffee was good, but the person who poured it left the cup a quarter empty. Call me cheap, but when it comes to coffee, I don't like to be short changed.

I did something tonight that I've never done before. I went out for dinner. Alone. I was longer at the coffee shop than planned and missed my scheduled time with my attendant. Having eaten candy today, I wanted a wholesome dinner, but wasn't in the grocery shopping mind frame. Why not? I ordered a garden salad with grilled chicken and water with lemon. Being a new experience, I wanted to take my time. How could I decide if I liked dining solo alone if I rushed through my meal? I stabbed and ate the tomatoes in my salad first, then used my straw to apply pressure to the lemon in my water glass in order to release the lemony goodness. I took my time sipping. Moving on to the chicken, I cut it with my fork since the pieces were stuck together. I ate the chicken pretty quickly before eating the rest of my greens. At the end, I finished my water and found it refreshing. Salad always takes me a while to eat; that's why I ordered it.

I asked to see the dessert menu, but I knew I wasn't going to order anything. It was fun to look. Dining solo was OK. My meal was basic - maybe because I was only hanging out with myself and that's not too exciting. If I were with the Observer or a friend, I might have looked more closely at the dessert menu. After all, sweet endings rarely involve just one person.


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

All for a bit of nicotine...

Another beautiful day of sunshine and breezy weather is nearing end tonight. Please let tomorrow be as pleasant. Last night I was at odds for how to spend my latter hours before sleep. I decided from the looking out my window that it was too pretty of an evening to waste thinking about what to do. I wandered the streets for a bit of people watching and eavesdropping. I wandered past a "men's bar" and saw a drag queen with white hair wearing a sparkly dress. Living in the gay village, it's no surprise or unusual sight, but I sped up. The "lady" was all dolled up and looked almost freakish. Her wardrobe and characteristics were pronounced in a way that made me nervous.

Every night around this time, I hear someone retching. Loud, violent spurts of choking and coughing grab my attention. At first I felt sorry for whoever was making the sounds. The noise didn't sound healthy and no one likes throwing up. Poor soul. After four nights of hearing the same rattling episodes, I knew it was more than someone with a bad case of stomach upset. After some investigation, I learned that it's a guy in my building smoking. He's disabled and must have trouble inhaling and exhaling. He's eccentric, rude and known for his reckless ways. Poor vomitting soul? I think not! Anyone willing to go through all that disturbance in the name of smoking has issues. I wasn't trying to be a busybody with my inquiry of where the noise might be coming from, even though I felt like one. After knowing the story behind the loud, disturbing production, it sounds like my neighbour is the one who needs to butt out.


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

How long do we stop and chat?

The sun is out today. It's a bright fall day. Weather like this always makes me happy. I wish I was in better spirits. My stomach is upset. Since it's often unsettled, I don't see much point complaining. Things could be worse....

In Shoppers Drug Mart this afternoon, I couldn't find what I was looking for. The head on my cleaning mop is worn out. Whenever it gets used, little mop bits come off on the floor, which kind of defeats the purpose of cleaning, right? Well, after wandering around for too long, searching through each aisle, I decided to ask for help. The girl I asked was kind and gladly located a mop head. Why didn't I ask an employee to me help right away? I do enjoy browsing. I bought two packets of individually portioned rainbow coloured twizzlers that were on sale for forty cents each. Looking at the bright colours made me want them. After eating one packet, I discovered the licorice tastes funky. Now I know why it was on sale.

My last stop was the dollar store. My trips there rarely involve a purchase. It's fun to look at all the little nick nacs that I would never need. There was nothing that caught my eye. As I was leaving, I saw a friendly neighbour from my building. We always stop and chat. I said hello and he joked with me. I thought he had to get going, so I told him to have a good afternoon, but I think he wanted to say more. Next time I will take his cues. When we see someone in passing, how do we know how long to stop and chat without appearing rushed or rude?

I am sitting here typing with one summer sandal in my lap. A few minutes ago, a big, long, brown big with lots of feelers ran across my window ledge. He just fell to the floor. Once he makes his way back within my sight, my sandal, the bug and I are going to have a quick chat. I know it won't take long.


Monday, September 22, 2008

A long way for coffee...

Today I was late for a coffee date. I hate being late. My friend had an appointment near a trendy part of the city. There are coffee shops within steps of each other. Since I used to live around the area and enjoy going there any chance I have, I offered to come to her. Well, remember how I have been referring to wheeling to my old neighbourhood lately? I did just that. It took longer than I expected, so I called my friend to give a heads up that I would be late. Her voice sounded agitated on the phone when she told me that she was already at the coffee shop. I tried not to let her tone get to me, but it did. I was stressed and tried to speed up. Five minutes from the coffee shop, my phone rang again. My friend wanted to know where I was. Once inside, I looked up and saw stairs. I don't do stairs, but either does my friend. After consulting her, I found my way to the coffee shop and my friend. Thankfully she warmed up to me as we chatted and sipped. Coffee does that.

My friend didn't know that I wheeled from apartment to meet her. She would have thought I was crazy, but maybe she would have better understood why I was late. When friends are late to meet me, I try not to get too upset. There may be reasons for their lateness that I don't know or, in this case, distances they travelled to see me.


Sunday, September 21, 2008

A wise change of plans...

I love to plan. It makes me feel safe and gives me a sense of control. Well, I learned that sometimes modifying a plan is a good thing. My original idea was to go home yesterday for the afternoon, come back to my apartment for the night until noon today, and go back home for dinner tonight. Yes, it would be a lot of going back and forth, but it keeps life exciting.

My Mom and Dad thought I was silly to travel so much in two days. Maybe they were right, but my space is important to me. After some persuasion, I decided to stay over at my parents' house because a major highway leading into downtown was closed off for repairs. My Dad encouraged me and he's hard to turn down. We went grocery shopping and I helped him find hoison sauce and sesame oil, two things he had no idea where to locate. After shopping, we went to Tim Hortons, one of my favourite rituals with my Dad. I spent the latter part of the day reading magazines, chatting with Mom while she cooked dinner and eating sugar snap peas. My brother and sister stopped by for a nice dinner.

Spending the night with my family did minimize my travelling and was logical. More important, I had the chance to hang out with my parents and that's always special.


Saturday, September 20, 2008

Bless my cell phone...

Caffeine induced insomnia hit me last night. I had a feeling it would, so I really have no one to blame but myself. The coffee I drank after dinner was butter pecan flavoured. I loved every sip and kept saying how good it was. As tired and puffy eyed as I am today, I would still say that coffee was worth a night of little rest. Sounds like the true words of an addict, right?

This morning I had a different attendant helping me with my morning routine. She is very sweet and when I see her, I feel calm and relaxed. She is a very conscientious worker. Somehow before she left, I asked for my purse, because maybe in the back of my mind, I was thinking of going out. She left and as soon as she was gone, I realized my wheelchair was on manual. I couldn't move. My cell phone inside my purse saved my life. I used it to call the attendant care office and ask for someone to come and rescue me. Without it, I would have been staring at my steaming coffee unable to do anything for an hour and a half. I am not a big cell phone user, but today I am so grateful I have it.

The Observer sent me a text message saying he arrived in Montreal safely. Hopefully he is having a good time. I will text him back later.

I am going home for a visit today. My Grandma is returning from her trip and is picking up my Grandpa. I am looking forward to seeing my family. I have wanted to bring home a sticky bun for Mom and Dad. If I feel ambitious, I am make the trek soon. The sun is shinning, so maybe going outside will wake me up. I feel draggy, but don't want to waste a good day dwelling on tiredness. There is too much to be happy over.


Friday, September 19, 2008

Travelling without going anywhere...

Tonight I met one of my best friends at Union Station downtown. I love hanging out there. Seeing all of the people arriving or leaving on all of the buses, subways, and trains excites me. In a way, I almost feel like I am going on a trip myself, because I pick up that travelling vibe. It only takes a few blocks of wheeling to get to Union, so I feel lucky that I won't have to go far the next time that I am up for a bit of adventure. I got to the Station early so I wandered off and got lost. I was in the corporate sector of the city where many banks and businesses operate, so I met a few helpful people who pointed me in the right direction. New Kids On The Block were playing a concert not far from the station and I saw many fans excitedly en route, including a high school friend. She didn't hide her excitement. There were even fans my age with a New Kids blow-up doll screaming. Nostalgia can sure be powerful. I liked New Kids On The Block when I was about nine, but not for long. I guess they had very loyal fans and still do. The girls I saw tonight were so happy, and that made me smile.

I enjoyed my visit with my friend. We had dinner and a long talk over coffee. Just as I was about to head home, I met another childhood friend who was celebrating her birthday today. I was glad to wish her a happy birthday in person and we promised to get together soon. I know we will. There is no place like a train and subway station, because there is so much happening and all one needs to do is be there to feel a part of the action. What more can anyone ask for?


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

To eat like a kid and behave like an adult...

It's a bit cold out. Listen to me. In another three months, I will be calling a day with temperatures like today beautiful. It's funny how we view changes. It's all relative. My hands are still cold from being outside a few hours ago. I better get accustomed to this, as it’s not likely to get warmer. I wanted to see if I could get a library card from my local branch. After doing a bit of investigating, I found the library, but couldn’t locate a ramp. I do think there is one, but I was overcome with the call of nature and thought it wise to head home. It turned out to be a good plan, because even waiting at the crosswalks was hard. I was wishing I was a male who could easily relieve myself in the bushes. When we’re desperate or our bodies are crying out for attention, it’s amazing where the mind goes. Once I felt relief, I couldn’t believe that I was actually wishing I was a male.

Last night I awoke to a baby crying. It was about 4:00 am. I love babies, but I felt sorry for that child and his or her family. Most babies have trouble understanding when it’s time to sleep and be awake. I have lived in an apartment for the past five years and that is the first time I heard a baby in the wee hours of the night. The noise wasn’t too disruptive, so hopefully the baby settled quickly.

My grandfather is staying at a respite home until Saturday. He has been there before. My Mom told me that he is a bit more of a challenge for the staff this time around. Helping him to get dressed in the morning is a challenge because he wants to leave his pajamas on. Grandpa would always talk about wearing his “long johns” (long underwear) under his clothes in the cold weather. He is always cold. Maybe he thinks his pajamas are long underwear. It’s hard to understand why he behaves the way he does. Fighting him seems to aggravate him, so sometimes I want to say, “Please, just let Grandpa be,” but I am not around him frequently enough to give my opinion. Maybe there are things I don't know. He is not the same grandfather I knew. I still love him. I tell him this and hope he understands.

The Observer and I had a chance to catch up over coffee and dinner last night. We both arrived at our meeting place at exactly the same time, which was a sweet stroke of luck. I thought I would be there much later, so I was pleasantly surprised. The sun was shining and the air was refreshing. I like to take advantage of good weather and I suggested we visit a coffee shop that I have wanted to try out for a while now. Having gone there in the past to find it closed, I knew that it ought to be open according to the “Hours of Operation” sign on the door. We made it there only to find all the lights off and a “Closed” sign on the locked door. Maybe they are out of business.

We went a restaurant that we both really enjoy. The food they serve is always of top quality. My usual dinner when we eat there is a yummy salad made with fresh, colourful vegetables and cheese and pecans. I also finish my meal with a spicy, yellow cornbread muffin. Lately however, I have been ordering from the kids’ menu at restaurants. The portions are more my style and though the choices are limited, I can always find something I want. I ordered a grilled cheese sandwich with curly fries. I enjoyed my meal. Grilled cheese sandwiches are my favourite type of comfort food. It’s hard to mess that sandwich up. Watching the Observer eat his fresh, healthy salad, I felt a pang of regret while nibbling my greasy grub, but it was too late to change my mind. I am going to try to eat more like an adult now. It's healthier The Observer bought me a coffee after dinner. The person who took my order put too much milk in my coffee and it tasted off. The Observer asked for a new coffee with less milk and the second one was stronger and hotter. To me, there is no point drinking a coffee that doesn’t taste right. Persistence pays, so I appreciated the Observer speaking up.

Both of our buses were waiting for us. The Observer is going away for the weekend. After last night, we won’t see each other until next week. I wanted to give him a quick kiss goodbye, but I decided against it since both bus drivers would have seen. I’m very shy with public displays of affection. I suppose I ate like a kid and most would not kiss a guy goodbye or drink coffee. I think I like my more mature lifestyle. Some things aren't worth missing.


A compassionate move...

A passenger exploded at my driver on the taxi this afternoon. She watched us pull up to her driveway and noticed there was another passenger sitting in the front seat. The woman had called public transit for people with disabilities and requested that it be documented that she must always have a front seat when riding a bus or taxi. Apparently, the woman had hurt her leg last night and spent the evening crying in pain. She told all of us and anyone who was within earshot in a loud, panicky voice. A friend of the woman heard and came to help. I felt sorry for the taxi driver, a friendly accommodating guy who sees many different people each day and was just trying to do his job. On another level, I felt sad for the female passenger, an older, struggling lady who was obviously frustrated. She calmed down once the driver gently coaxed her into explaining why she was so upset. The man sitting in the passenger's side offered to move, so she could have the space she needed. Once seated, I said hello to the lady and told her I was relieved that she made it to her seat safely and she seemed to settle down. Throughout her entire trip on the taxi, she talked about her ailments, her belief in prayer, and how she doesn't usually have an outburst. More than three times she thanked us all for being so kind.

I am so glad the driver was compassionate. If someone were yelling at me before I was even out of my vehicle, I can't say I would have behaved the same. I hope so, but who knows. I am grateful that the sweet Italian man sitting in the passenger's seat saw that he could lessen the woman's distress by moving to the back. I am glad that by saying hello to the lady, her focus changed from her troubles to myself and the other gentleman. I am glad she had a good friend close by and that she said she was sorry for her behaviour. Most of all, I am pleased that we all seemed to understand that the ailing woman needed us to do just that.


A sunny start...

The sun is really bright today. Sunshine makes me happy. I was exhausted last night. I fell asleep with the TV on, which only happens when I'm really tired. I remember feeling so sleepy I didn't think I could muster the strength to turn off the TV.

At around 5:00 am I woke to the sound of voices and thought for a second that there were people in my bedroom. As I opened my eyes, I saw the Food Network on TV. I turned it off and called TTC to try to fix my transportation for today. I made a mistake booking my trips for today. This afternoon I have a meeting for work and then I am meeting the Observer for dinner. When I have a few things planned, it's a bit unsettling to have transportation troubles. If one ride is not right, my whole day could be fuddled and that would be so frustrating. It doesn't take much to go from doing a lot in a day to doing nothing I had originally planned. Luckily today everything looks like it will be fine - although we never really know how a day will turn out. So far, all I can say for sure is that the sun is shinning. That is a good sign.


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Clop on the street...

I had a few errands to run tonight. At the crosswalk close to the store I needed to visit, I sensed something was about to happen. You know how you can "feel" the ground moving? That's what I experienced. There was a "clop clop" noise coming closer to me. I know that noise. It can only come from one beautiful animal. It was a police horse. There was a female officer on horseback. I know she knows my Dad. He worked on the Mounted Unit for twenty-five years as a trainer. How could this woman not know Dad? As I often do around police officers, I began to fidget nervously and prayed for the light to change quickly. Most of the time, when I come across a stranger who I know is somehow connected to my life or the people in it, it's easy for me to be friendly and sociable. When it comes to police officers, I turn into a silent, awkward, dumfounded lady. I get embarrassed drawing attention to myself in public. People stare at me often because I'm different. They stare at police offices on horseback because it's not something they see every day. I feel shy to approach an officer sitting atop a horse, as it may seem like an unusual scene to bystanders - two people who deviate from the norm. There's also the fact that a horse is huge and I'm lower than average because of my permanent sitting status. Talking to someone so high up would be awkward.

I turned in the other direction and hoped the woman didn't know whose daughter I was. I missed the chance to make a connection and talk about my Dad, which does make me a little sad.

On the way home, a tourist bus was unloading passengers and a slew of bags were in my way. The bus driver saw me and automatically moved the bags. I smiled and thanked him. I like to have a quiet presence on the street. Maybe one day I will work up the courage to put out my hand and stroke a police horse without saying anything. I'd like to do that and it would make my Dad happy.


Monday, September 15, 2008

A change of tune...

My arms and legs feel like jelly. My body is relaxed and lose. It's a rare and comforting feeling. My muscles and appendages are usually a bit stiff, but not today. I could be so relaxed because I am tired. For the last week, I haven't slept well. I have been drinking a bit more coffee than usual and this can keep me awake at night. It was worth it. Rarely do I complain about a symptom of mine related to drinking coffee. Some things in life are worth paying a small price.

I am listening to the Violet Hill album from Coldplay. The Observer gave it to me along with B Sides from Sarah McLaughlin in July. The B Sides album has remained in my CD player from July until today. I didn't listen to her CD every day, but when I felt like listening to something pretty or soothing, I'd press "CD and Play," which ended up being quite often. The Observer helped me out by moving my CD case within my reach on my kitchen table. I knew today was a day of change. I love Coldplay and Violet Hill is a beautiful work of art. I don't know the names of each track yet, if I end up listening to the CD like I did B Sides, I have a few months to learn the names of the songs. For now, I can only tell that the music sounds beautiful. For tonight, that's good enough.


The Falling Man...

Above is a world renowned photograph by Richard Drew. It was taken on September 11th 2001 and shows one man's journey. Is it right to capture this image? Is the photograph about living or dying? Is the man flying in the sky or is he falling from life? I don't know, but I do know that the picture is important.


Sunday, September 14, 2008

The world outside...

It's raining. Again. The day time was sunny so that is what matters. The air is muggy and sticky, but it's OK. Wearing weather appropriate clothing is a challenge of mine. I have a habit of picking the wrong clothes. Today, for instance, I am wearing jeans and a long sleeved shirt. Since yesterday was chilly, I thought it safe to assume today would be similar. Wrong. I ought to know better than to make assumptions based on unpredictable matters especially weather -given the effect of global warming.

I was quite toasty as I wheeled with the Observer to my old neighbourhood where we had reservations at an amazing Italian restaurant specializing in pizza. As we were making our trek, my nerves kicked in over the suspiciously cloudy skies. We weren't close to home and rain would mean a very long, wet trip back. You know when you feeling spitting outside but no full fledged rain drops? We both kept feeling sky saliva and praying that the rain held out. The restaurant was quiet and our waitress was very sweet. I'm not really a pizza girl, but this place knows how to make a delicious gooey, authentic pie. It's the only time I order pizza dining out. To go to this restaurant and not order pizza would just be wrong. Having never been to this particular Italian pizzeria, the Observer was impressed. The guy knows his food.

Well, after tasting the best pizza in town, not much could dampen our spirits. Unfortunately, rain did dampen our clothes. Thankfully, the heavy rain began falling close to my apartment. Phew! I could feel my hair start to get wet and the Observer's shiny head was glistening with moisture. We stopped at Starbucks for some shelter and a fuel up. Both of us were drippy. I had my usual house coffee. The Observer shook things up by swaying from his stranded mocha light frappuccino and ordered a chocolate iced beverage. I think he liked it.

A change now and then can be good, as I learned last night when I shook up my coffee choice too. I opted for a cappuccino. It was frothy, foamy, and soothing - everything I love about cappuccino. I loved every sip and felt warm flowing through me. As much I love cappuccino, I don't order them very often, because they are a sophisticated version of a beverage that I already drink regularly. If I order cappuccinos too often they may lose their novelty. Coffee is too sacred to alter regularly. If I lose my respect for coffee, the sophisticated or every day kind, I lose much. Just as I was enjoying my last bit of foam, a man who was homeless or obviously struggling walked into Starbucks. The Observer and I were sitting in a corner right near the door, so we were the first customers the pan-handler spotted. He quietly asked the Observer for money to "get home." The Observer nervously said he had no money. The man kept pestering the Observer for a minute as I quietly whispered "No" to the Observer, knowing he is very kind-hearted and this man could probably see the Observer's caring eyes. The Observer refused to give away his money for a second and third time until a Starbucks employee threatened to call the police. For a minute the pan-handler waited to see how serious the barista was about his threat, but when the guy left when he was told a second time that the police would be coming. I know the Observer was a bit embarrassed by the whole scene. No one likes to find themselves right in the middle of a conflict while trying to enjoy an iced coffee on a Saturday evening. Transients and other outcasts in the city do make me sad. Who asks for such a hard life? We all understand what it is to be down on our luck. I feel for many of the people I see downtown every day, but even so, I am glad pan-handlers are discouraged from frequenting Starbucks. I love coffee shops because they are a quiet refuge from the big, busy, scary, exciting world outside. Drinking coffee means having a chance to relax, reflect, appreciate where I am and savour the odd cappuccino. I care about homeless and poor, but please let me enjoy my coffee in peace. When we have a chance to collect ourselves, it helps us be more willing to listen and pay attention to the world outside a coffee shop.


Saturday, September 13, 2008

The sweet lady on the bus...

This morning I sat at my kitchen table and started reading Celebrity Detox by Rosie O'Donnell. It's a fast read and sure shows how gutsy and stubborn Rosie can be. That said, I still have much respect for Rosie and have always believed she is among the more down-to-earth stars. I loved her talk show growing up. It was an example of fun-for-all-ages, clean TV. Rosie never disappointed and I could always count on her for a laugh. Her appeal is that she is real, sometimes too real for some people. Realness is always a positive attribute if you ask me. I enjoyed myself as I read and sipped my coffee. It was hot and strong - just how I like it. Peaceful, low-key mornings with steaming coffee are my favourite kind. I think my start to the day was good for my soul.

Outside is grayish. I think it might rain. The Observer is coming over. I am looking out my window and see a Wheel-trans bus pulling away from my apartment. It's probably the Observer's bus.

Speaking of buses, yesterday afternoon I took the bus with a sweet Italian lady. It's not the first time we have met. She always gives the drivers a can of orange juice and apologizes that it is warm. She's the only person I know of who has given a bus driver anything besides a bus fare. She gave me gum, which I really appreciated. Just like all public transit, taking the bus means meeting all sorts of people. Some are OK, some complain, some are silent, and some are strange. Rarely have I met a passenger as kind as the one I bumped into yesterday. A can of orange juice and a piece of gum can mean a great deal when we are not expecting anything except basic pleasantries.

Rosie O'Donnell probably gives taxi drivers generous tips. In the life of the average person, a can of orange juice and a piece of gum ought to be equivalent.


Friday, September 12, 2008

Famous thoughts worth thinking...

You'll never change your life until you change your choices. If you want something in your life to change, then you'll have to change your choices and actions. That is because doing the same thing will never get you different results. In other words, what you do -- the choices you make, the way you treat people, the attitudes you have -- all impact your life. If, by your actions, you're sowing bad seeds, then you'll reap a harvest of those things.

- Unknown

There is always some madness in love. There is also always some reason in madness.

- Friedrich Nietzsche

Desire, ask, believe, receive.

- Stella Terrill Mann

Tomatoes and oregano make it Italian; wine and tarragon make it French. Sour cream makes it Russian; lemon and cinnamon make it Greek. Soy sauce makes it Chinese; garlic makes it good.

- Alice May Brock

The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed.

- Carl Jung

Family, sweet family...

I haven't been outside yet today. I have been having health issues. Nothing major, just things that need my attention before they turn into bigger issues. I'm all good now. I'm wearing brown pants and a brown top today. I hope I don't look like a big brown blob. I do have a pink shirt on underneath my sweatshirt, so hopefully that balances out some of the brown overload.

Tonight I am going out with the Observer and one of our favourite bus drivers. The restaurant where we are eating is not far from my parents. They both called to see if I wanted to come home afterwards. They are so sweet. Whenever they ask if I want to come home, I miss them and feel so loved.


Thursday, September 11, 2008

Staring at a computer screen with funky peepers...

I don't feel like myself today. It's weird....my eyes are funky. Maybe I'm tired. Hopefully that's all it is. I did some work today, which I am pleased about. There's nothing worse than that nagging feeling that won't go away until I do what needs doing. I'm not finished, but I'm halfway there. Staying focused on a nice day is challenging. I know going out or doing something else would be risky, because once I turned my attention to other things, I would forget about my work.

Tonight I had a hankering to go out. It makes sense after staying in my apartment all day. I was starting to feel a little stir crazy. I went to the mall and wandered around until all the people and walls looked familiar because I was going in circles. On my way home, I stopped into Starbucks and bought a decaf coffee. The girl who served me must have thought I really need the buzz because of my half shut eyes. She was probably thinking, "Why isn't this girl getting decaf?"

Being September 11th, I hope that our world has learned from the past so the present is richer. May no one forget all we lost, so we can protect all we have. As I learned today, the simple freedom to go outside is a luxury we ought not overlook.


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Old age, love, friendship and coffee...

I'm sitting here listening to a song called Wore Me Down by Rachel Yamagata. I am impressed after my first listen.

The air feels even chillier. I wheeled to an appointment and had to go quite far. The way there seemed less chilly than the way home. The sun was starting to go down so maybe that's why.

A woman who looked about eighty years old came into the waiting room where I was also waiting. She struggled with every step and winced as she lowered herself into a chair. Watching her was painful. The receptionist approached and told her that she missed her appointment. (It was sheduled for last week, not today). The poor woman's face fell and she looked so frustrated. The receptionist was very terse and matter of fact. In my opinion, an eighty-something year old woman deserves a little sensitivity. After using her brain for so many years, of course her memory is a little rusty. Whose wouldn't be?

I bumped into a friend in the waiting room. She had time to kill so we went out for coffee. It was sweet surprise. My friend is "seeing" a friend of the Observer's. The whole circle of "connections" makes me a bit nervous. My friend was complaining about her new boyfriend, but I can tell she is smitten. Complaining is her favourite past-time. I think she even does it on Thanksgiving and her birthday. The fact that she spent so much time talking about the Observer's friend shows something. I tried to be a good listener and friend. Many of her "complaints" are issues that crop up in all relationships - no matter how good it is. I gently reassured her that, speaking from experience, there are some things we can't understand about the opposite sex. This works both ways. All we can really do is try our best to appreciate each other and accept our differences. If we are lucky, we find a man who sticks around when we are eighty and confuse our appointments.


Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Creeping goosebumps...

I just got back from running a few errands. It's chilly outside. There are goosebumps on my arms. I'm not wearing a sweater or anything, which might explain my chilliness. There is a wind in the air that has seeped into my bones. If there was any question that summer is winding down, today is proof. As I shivered in my short sleeves, I noticed most people on the street wore a jacket; that would have been smart. Today I feel for the elderly women and men I have met who complain that they are cold. When there is a heat alert issued and I hear an older person ask for the air conditioning to be turned off, I get confused. How can someone be cold when even the air we breath is hot?

In contrast, days like this one are cool - not cold, and not hot. We are stuck between seasons. No one is quite sure how to dress, so it's easy to get too hot or cold. Mornings are cooler: afternoons warm up, or so the weather usually goes. I like how we get a bit of fall in the morning and lingerings of summer in the afternoon.

I finished the book Water For Elephants tonight. I enjoyed it. As I near the end of a good book, I have a habit of picking up reading speed, because I want to know how the story ends. There is work I need to finish by Friday, so I felt a bit of procrastinator's guilt as I turned the last page, but it was worth it.

There was a single, crinkly yellow leaf in my wheelchair tonight. It probably found me today or at my parents' house yesterday. The beautiful yellow, red, orange, and brown leaves make up for any goosebumps that creep onto my arms.


Monday, September 08, 2008

Reflecting on big and small changes...

Being home with my family was fun, but I'm also glad to be back at my apartment. I miss my Mom already. I can't remember the last time I was home on a Monday morning. My sleep was top notch, which is always a great feeling.

The rain just started coming down lightly. I can hear faint tapping on the windows. We've sure had our share of rain this summer. I think it's been good for the grass, plants, and crops. Outside is getting progressively darker earlier in the evenings, which makes me sad. It means that fall and winter are coming.

My Mom and I talked about Christmas today. Since last year was so traumatic, we are a bit nervous about the one ahead. The plan is to shake up our usual traditions a bit. Whatever happens, the holidays will still be special, because we will all be together. No one will forget the shock of last year and maybe that's OK. For me, reflecting helps me realize how far Mom has come and how lucky we are that she is here to celebrate every day with us. I do have a habit of dwelling on the past, and that's not always healthy, but appreciating how life has improved is a good thing, right?

Last year at this time, my computer was operating on borrowed time. It was so slow and could only perform basic functions. My new computer is the Cadillac of the personal computer world, complete with all the bells and whistles new technology offers. I love it. A new computer is a bit of a materialistic improvement, but without it, how could I write about the things I am grateful for?


Saturday, September 06, 2008

In search of the perfect little presents...

This morning I wandered around the drugstore unsure of what to buy. I need two small presents. One is for my family - the other for a good friend I am having dinner with today. My first thought was to wheel down to the St. Lawrence Market and pick up a sticky bun for my family. My Dad LOVES them, but I didn't think there was enough time to go that distance. My heart wasn't into rushing there and trying to get home so my attendant could help me get ready to go home. My friend and I are both big fans of candy and sweets of any sort. I spotted pink M & M's on the shelf in Shopper's Drug Mart. A few years ago, the same friend gave me a very cute white bowl with M & M characters painted inside. It's my favourite bowl and every time I use it while eating salad, cereal, crackers or popcorn, I have the sudden urge to call my friend. Hopefully one of these days I can find a gift for her that she is as sentimental about as I am about the M & M bowl. I decided against the pink M & M's because they were a little pricey and they probably don't taste much different from standard M and M's. Yes, the candy was cute, but in the end, taste matters more than appearance, at least to me. I have to catch my bus to go into Mississauga at a mall, so I think I will pick my friend up some Junior Mints. We both love anything mint flavoured, so I think I'm safe.

I picked up a health magazine for my Mom. I think it's a new one and it's affiliated with Reader's Digest, which my Dad enjoys reading, so maybe they will both make use of it. I wish I could bring my Mom a flower or plant, but it's challenging when going home involves two buses. Maybe I'll buy her a flower tomorrow. If I am ever a Mom, maybe I will tell my son or daughter how I used to wish I could buy my own Mom flowers more often. Maybe when Mom is a grandmother, she'll get even more flowers. I hope so.


Friday, September 05, 2008

I am grateful for...

* The Observer and how he is the sweetest guy I know

* My computer and the coffee house station Y! Music Radio Station

* Good hair days

* Raisin bread

* When the rain holds out until bed-time

* Being clean

* Having a Savings account

* Vegetarian sushi

* Living around so many stores, people and places

* The way it feels to sit in the dark and watch TV

* My Mom and everything she is

* Light entertainment

* That everything passes and each day is a fresh start

* My sister and how she is so accepting and accommodating when we spend time together

* The funky antique cabinet/radio that is in my living room

* When my Dad pays me surprise visits and helps me rearrange furniture in my apartment


Bank business...

The sky is dark and gray. Rain is coming. I just got back from the bank. It was my first time going to this bank. The Observer and I discovered it on one of our evening "adventures" downtown. The Observer tried to help me make a transaction, but the lower bank machine wasn't working that evening. I made a mental note to return during business hours and make use of the teller service. I always feel safest going to the teller, probably because I'm an easy target for fraud. Actually, my only option during after hours is if the Observer helps me with the bank machine. I am too short to swipe my card and push the numbers. The Observer is lucky that he is tall. If the Observer ever doubts how much I trust him, I hope that he remembers that he knows my pin number. Trust doesn't get much more concrete.

There was a security guard at the bank who used a cane and limped when he walked. As I struggled to put away my bank card, he asked me if I needed help. I said no. He held the door open for me and told me to "Be safe" on my way out. I told him the same. Being so much younger, I hope that my comment didn't come across as patronizing. We all need to be safe, no matter how old, healthy, big small, loud, quiet, fragile or solid we appear. I hope he knew what I meant. Maybe I'll see him again and I'll say, "Be happy" instead.


Thursday, September 04, 2008

Finding my way and a little spill...

There is nothing like feeling better after being under the weather. I am back to myself today. I am so happy to be free of stomach pain. On Thursday mornings I get to sleep in. I always look forward to those mornings, because I know I can watch TV late. My morning attendant is one of my favourites. Starting the day with a friendly face is always a bonus.

This afternoon I wheeled to my old neighbourhood. It's a distance from where I live now, but I've wanted to do it since I moved here. Once I reached my old 'hood, I had the sudden urge to yell "Yay me!" I did - just to myself. I was so proud of myself. It didn't take long for reality to hit me. Finding my way to my old 'hood is one thing; finding my way back is another. Fortunately, the whole route is 99% straight, so I didn't get lost. My only challenge was when a driver was blocking the curb cut with his car. Lucky for me, a friendly pedestrian offered to help by escorting me on the road and back on the sidewalk. I love helpful strangers, especially when it comes to road safety.

All in all, it's been a good day on my end. There is just one thing I would change. Remember the book I am reading called Water For Elephants? Well, tonight after finishing dinner, I knocked down a huge glass of water and it soaked the novel. I feel sad that it will soon be a crinkly book, particularly because it belongs to my sister-in-law. It is a little funny that there is the word "water" in the title and now the whole book is drenched. Maybe, deep in my subconscious, I really was trying to bring water to the elephants. It is a slight possibility. It's far more likely that I got clumsy.


Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Who we are..

Well, it's a beautiful Tuesday. The weather has been amazing. Someone referred to outside as being an "Indian summer day." Whatever it's called, I love it.

I had a relaxing visit with my parents and returned home yesterday. Nothing out of the ordinary happened. My sister-in-law stopped by and stayed for dinner. It's been a while since I've seen her, so I was glad to catch up. She is in good spirits and looks like her usual self - just a bit thin. Honestly, my stomach did a summer-salt the second my sister-in law walked through the door as I considered the following: What do I say to her? Do I joke or jump right into talking about cancer and chemotherapy? Is it best to "skim over" the cancer stuff? Do I appear emotional or breezy? Do I hug her? What if my eyes automatically focus on her thinning hair?

It turns out that my sister-in-law was the person she always is - only with shorter hair, tired eyes and a bonnier frame. She is no different, so things between us are no different. I wasn't going to treat my sister-in-law differently. I was only nervous, because I haven't seen her in a while. Perhaps the essence of who we are stays unchanged, even though turmoil. Things like our laugh, how we clear our throat, cough, wipe away a tear, our voice, our grin, the way we look around, the way we scratch an itch, or wave probably remain the same. This is good. I'm glad my sister-in-law is still the same person. I would miss her if she were different.