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

- OCG

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.

- OCG

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?

- OCG

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.

- OCG

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.

- OCG

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.


- OCG

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Warm and peace...


The weather was alright today. It wasn't too cold which is fine with me. The roads are wet from rain just like last night. When the daylight is gone, a little moisture doesn't bother me. The street looks a bit shiny. Rain is a good natural cleaner.



This afternoon I was early for an appointment so I went to Starbucks and got some coffee. There were no free tables. Drinking coffee outside on a cold day seems pointless to me. The cold will cool down the coffee before I get a chance to enjoy it. I am only speculating, as I have never risked the enjoyment of a cup of coffee in cold temperatures. Maybe I should try having a cup outside. Smokers stand in the dead of winter holding a cigarette in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other, but they are feeding two addictions, which gives a pretty strong drive. Instead of heading outside, I went to the rear of the store and drank my coffee holding it on my lap. No one said I was in the way. When a table was free, I read my book. It was a peaceful hour. How could I have felt this if I were out in the cold? Perhaps I would have had a peaceful few minutes, not an hour. Peace of any kind is good, but to feel it, I have to be warm...



- OCG

Monday, November 24, 2008

Freezing and reading...


I haven't been outside today. Before the night is over, I may venture out. It's damp, cold and dreary. A look out the window tells me so. The roads sound slick. I see a few people out. Maybe the rain is clearing up. Most of my day was spent reading What Looks Like Crazy On An Ordinary Day by Pearl Cleage. The novel is about a girl who is HIV positive and finds happiness and love in her hometown, a place full of rebellion and violence among teenagers. I am really enjoying the story, but I can tell that the ending will break my heart. There are too many bumps and rough times the characters face for the ending to be different. I know I sound pessimistic, but it wouldn't make sense any other way. Happily-ever-afters do exist, but there are usually lots of challenges behind and in front of them for all of us. Life isn't always rosy, and it's important to remember, but also find the good in the process.


For the last few nights, I have been freezing in bed. Having the heat on dries my skin out and feels odd, so I leave it off. Instead, I wear flannel pajamas and recently started covering myself in a big, green fuzzy blanket Mom gave me. Hopefully tonight I'll be warm. Life can be chilly too, but beautiful in the winter. I need to keep reminding myself this, or else the winter will be long.

- OCG

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Bold, sweet and hot...


I had a good Sunday. The Observer and I met at the Pickle Barrel in the mall. We ate around three 'o clock, so it was breakfast and lunch combined. (dunch). The restaurant was busy. Everyone must have been Christmas shopping and stopped for a bite. I was a little annoyed at the hostess. She wouldn't let me order from the kid's menu. Being mad, I was tempted to only order water, but then I realized that I was actually hungry. Just because I wanted to eat like a kid didn't give me the right to act like one. Our waiter was very helpful. My anger at the hostess disappeared as soon as I saw his kind face. I ordered bruschetta, one of my Pickle Barrel staples. It's presented with bread pieces arranged like a tower and tomato salad in the center. I enjoy dissembling my tower and drenching each bread stick in Tabasco sauce. I am addicted to heat in my food.


We ran into an old friend of the Observer's who we have been trying to connect with for a long time. She is such a sweet person. Of all people to bump into, I'm glad it was her. We chatted for a bit. My mouth and throat were on fire from the Tabasco sauce I had with my meal. I was trying not to show that I was burning up inside. Hopefully I hid it well.


The hostess didn't need any hot sauce. She was bold enough, but at least our waiter was sweet. We need all kinds of different people to season the world, just like food.
- OCG

Saturday, November 22, 2008

An afternoon of Dirty Dancing...

Baby, oh baby, my sweet baby, you're the one
- Love Is Strange (Dirty Dancing)

Today the Observer and I saw the play Dirty Dancing. Set in the summer of 1963, it tells the story of "Baby," an optimistic teenager who finds love and a passion for dancing. Times are revolutionary, and young people are realizing their power to change the world.

Going to the Royal Alexandra Theater was fun, especially knowing that the show was going to be upbeat, exciting, and nostalgic. After seeing the movie many times, I wondered how the play would compare. The story was almost identical, but with some added music and scenes. If I am going to be watching something for a few hours, a substantial plot is a must. The person who portrayed "Baby" was a satisfactory actress, but the rest of the cast made up for her. Melissa O'Neil, the 2005 winner of Canadian Idol, had a small part where she sang a solo. I thought her voice was stronger than "Baby's," but I suppose she isn't an actress.


I found myself grinning during most of the show, which makes me think it was good for my soul. The Observer is a big Dirty Dancing fan and knew many of the songs. He got right into it, clapping and cheering. I'm not quite as outgoing in an audience, but I think we balance each other out.

I haven't seen many professional plays, so it was a refreshing way to spend a chilly afternoon. Dirty Dancing will make you smile. Go see it if you can!

- OCG

Friday, November 21, 2008

tired, oh so tired...


i had a sleepless night. today was ok. i read and got some work done, but i am tired now - very tired. here's a confession: i told a friend i was planning to meet for coffee that i wasn't feeling well. i'm not sick, just tired, so it is a bit of a stretch. she's sweet, and i'm feeling guilty. in this mood, i doubt i'd be good company. plus, it's cold and dark and i don't feel like going out. my mind is fuzzy and, in the dark, that's not good where i live. being out at night means being awake or it's dangerous. i hope my friend isn't mad. i don't feel like coffee, so i must be really, really, really tired. tomorrow it will be the first thing i'll want in the morning. it always is. i'll always be hoping my friend isn't upset. hopefully some top notch sleep is in store for me. i feel like an exhausted, bad friend. isn't it better to be an awake friend wanting coffee?




- ocg

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Crystal perfect...


Now I've looked in the mirror and the worlds getting clearer
I'll take what you give me.
Please know that I'm learning
So wait for me this time

Time (Chantal Kreviazuk)

Well, I went to the Swarovski Crystal Tree unveiling at the mall tonight. It was everything I hoped it would be. The tree is beautiful. My heart was beating faster as it got closer to the first sighting. It's thirty five feet tall. I sat beside a sweet little boy and his Mom. The best part was hearing Chantal Kreviazuk perform. Some of her music is excellent and sounds amazing live. Seeing her play the piano is something. Being in such a big crowd was very fun. The tree unveiling put me in the Christmas spirit.

The weather outside is cold, but I wore my mittens and a winter coat. Winter isn't so bad if I dress for it. I stopped at Starbucks for a coffee on the way home. It was warm and frothy, just the way I like it. Sitting there sipping coffee and watching the city move out the window, I felt perfectly happy. Every day isn't the same way, but I'm glad today was fun.

- OCG

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Hello snow!


The streets have a single layer of snow. The roads sound slick as the cars slide by. I hear a whooshing noise. It looks a bit like the streets were iced in vanilla frosting like a cake. There are only a few people on the streets. Maybe it's too cold to be out long. This afternoon I went shopping and it was chilly. My hands turned red.


Every Christmas, a beautiful crystal tree is unveiled at the mall. It's a major holiday attraction. One of the main reasons I went shopping was to see if the tree was displayed. Once in the traditional spot, I saw a big tree standing, but it was covered in a purple sheet. The tree gets unveiled at six o'clock tomorrow. I may go to watch if I am around and it's not too snowy. Watching the sheet come off in a big crowd would be exciting.

I bought my first Christmas present for a close friend today. I give her a book every year and another small gift. It's fun to pick them for her. Hopefully I chose a book she will like.


My body feels relaxed right now. I'm tired and feel cold. Maybe Christmas shopping stole my energy. It was worth it. As much as I complain about the cold, I can't imagine Christmas shopping when the weather is warm. It's like juice and coffee. There are good separately, but don't mix well.


- OCG

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Movies in winter...


It's a cold out there. I guess winter has to start sometime, somewhere. Why does it have to be now? And here? Seasons changing are part of the life experience, so maybe I need to spend more time being glad I am here....to freeze. People are wearing heavier coats with mittens and scarves. That makes me a bit sad, because it's not like it's going to get warmer. Christmas lights and displays are out. Those make me happy and put me in the holiday spirit. Lights are a happy decoration any time of year, especially blue and silver ones. They are funky.

The Observer and I saw the movie The Secret Life Of Bees today. It's an intense sad, solid story with a well known cast including Jenifer Hudson, Alicia Keys and Queen Latifa. There were many tear jerking moments, but it's a worthwhile watch. The film showed that life is hard for everyone and we need people around us to be our family in whatever context that means. It's one of those films that would be good to watch on a cold winter day when it's too snowy to venture far. Maybe I ought to appreciate winter for affording me days to watch movies like this one.

- OCG

Monday, November 17, 2008

Freedom, sweet freedom...


I spent an extra day with my parents after we got home yesterday. They encouraged me, and it's tough to say no to them. The weekend was fun, but I am glad to be back. There's nothing like my own freedom and space to do what I wish. At the chalet, I used my manual wheelchair, which really restricted my movement. Every time I wanted to somewhere I had to ask to be pushed. There were lots of stairs on each level, so my brothers and Dad had to carry me often. This made me feel bad, even though I knew they didn't mind. I have a great family. I also have great independence and both are very important to me.

Today I lounged around in my pajamas watching TV and chatting with my parents. If I were in my apartment doing this, I would feel unproductive and lazy, but somehow when I do it around my parents, it's different. It doesn't matter what I'm wearing or doing, I'm happy to be with them. The past weekend was fun because I was with family, I only wish the chalet didn't have stairs. Ah well, we can have it all, can we?

- OCG

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Inside the chalet...




I am sitting here drinking pomegranate green tea and watching the rain out the window. The chalet is beautiful - bigger than last year. There is a very pretty view where we can see the other chalets. Everything feels rustic. All the tables are funky wood designs. The counter top is a bar with stools. I love that kitchen style. The living room has an electric fireplace that has warmed me up a few times.

Every dog belonging to my family is here, which means we have two boys and a girl who walk on four legs. There has been a bit of tension between the two boys, but after some growling, they seemed to have settled. Riley, the female, is happy to be around all the company. Just like people, I suppose there is bound to be conflict between male dogs and the girl is easily contented.

We have spent the day playing games. There is a new game on DVD called Planet Earth. It's multiple choice trivia. I am not very knowledgeable when it comes to nature and animals, so I opted to team up with my sister and her husband to be, who are well travelled and smart. We did satisfactory. My parents won. I can tell they are enjoying having us all together. When I return to the city, I will think back on this weekend and miss my family.

The wind is blowing loudly, but I'm listening to my brothers and Mom playing Monopoly. Their conversation is making me smile.

- OCG

Friday, November 14, 2008

Waking up with the world...


It's almost 5:00 a.m. The word is only partly awake. You could say the same about me. I hear a garbage truck unloading. There is no one on the street yet. Outside is dark, but not pitch black. There are a few taxis on the road.

I barley slept. I feel a bit off. I just ate salad and a cup of coffee. Some breakfast, isn't it? I will miss the Observer this weekend. Hopefully he enjoys his time off from work (and me!) I am sad that I will miss his niece's third birthday party. I love that little lady. She is a sweet, funny cupcake. I have been around since the Observer's niece was born. Watching her grow is amazing. We don't see each other as much as we used to, but when we do, I love it.

Well, I will sleep well tonight for sure. I am tired right now and that's not good. How will I make to the end of the day? There have been many days when I have wondered the same thing and somehow I have survived. I am stronger than I think. Everyone is.

- OCG

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Leaving town...


My family and I are going on a trip this weekend. My Mom and Dad rented a chalet. Last year was the first time we went away as a mature family. They must have enjoyed the experience because we are going back again. It's good to spend time with them. We watch movies, read, play games, and chill. It's like going to a cottage in the winter when there are no bugs or heat. The chalet is beautiful and cozy. Unfortunately, there are a lot of stairs, so the Observer can't join us. I will miss him. It is refreshing to have a change of scenery and hang out with my loved ones. From last year's experience, I know that, by the end of the weekend, I will be ready to head home to my own space. To go from living alone to being around ten people and three dogs is a big leap. There were moments last year where I craved my freedom and sense of independence from everyone. That's always been something I have needed. Maybe it's because so much of my life involves needing help for physical tasks. Knowing that I am free to be who I am and do as I wish is important. I don't like being treated as though I am helpless. Most of us don't, but there are people who have learned to permanently act helpless, because they know no other way. That's sad.

I am worried that the weekend will be boring.

I will tell myself:

* I am lucky to be included in my family's plans
* The weekend is meant to be fun
* Enjoy everything and everyone around me
* It sucks that the Observer can't come, but he wouldn't be miserable the whole weekend if he were in the same situation
* I love my family
* My family loves me

When I am bored I will:

* Go outside
* Read a magazine or book
* Watch TV or a movie
* Write
* Think about the next time I will get to see the Observer

Hopefully we all have fun. Part of me feels guilty that I am not too excited. After the year my family has had, maybe a break will do everyone good.

- OCG

In the mood...

The Observer and I saw the movie Role Models. My stomach wasn't cooperating, so I found it hard to concentrate. I think the Observer enjoyed it, because I heard him laughing quite a bit. You know how when you feel off, nothing can be funny? Maybe I'll watch it again when it comes out on DVD. I saw enough of the movie to know that it was along the same story lines as Knocked Up, only Seth Rogan didn't have a part.

I hate being under the weather when I see the Observer, but having had stomach problems himself, I think he understands. When I am not feeling well, I don't like anyone touching me or talking to me. I try to stay quiet. The Observer knows when to leave me be. After three and half years, I am glad about this.

It's rainy and wet today, but the sun is starting to peak through the clouds. I am feeling so much better now. Last night, I would not have cared about the sun at all. When we feel good, we care about the good around us.

- OCG

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The free world...


It's been a good day for me. For the longest time, I have been wanting to get a tea cozy for my Mom. Do you know what a tea cozy is? It's a cover for a teapot to keep tea warm (or cozy) - like a blanket for a tea pot. Mom has a very old, stained, tea cozy. She needs a new one. I think so, at least. Hopefully her old tea cozy doesn't hold sentimental value for her. They are sold in a little store at the St. Lawrence Market. Having scoped them out in the summer with my sister and her boyfriend, I knew exactly where to find them. There was a big selection, but Mom likes neutral tones, so I had the choices narrowed down ahead of time. I think she will like the tea cozy I picked for her. The people at the store where I purchased it were friendly and helpful. I will probably go back.

In the market area, I bought yellow beans and lettuce. The people who sold them to me very kind. On the way home, I stopped at Second Cup for a coffee. My server was understanding and pleasant. A man in uniform walked into the shop with a friend who used the bathroom. He asked if he could sit with me while he waited. For a second I thought this was strange because there were lots of other empty tables. Why did he want to sit with me? He was a good person. I knew that right away. He only sat for a minute. We didn't talk except for when he stood up to leave, he said, "Thank you for your hospitality." That seemed funny and sweet, because all I did was sit there drinking my coffee. Saying thank you never hurts and hearing it doesn't either.

Once I was home, the new superintendent and her husband came by to fix the door in my front hallway. It's been broken for a long time. Now it's as good as new. We chatted while they worked and they are very friendly. The superintendent's husband met the Observer and I think they clicked. I mentioned that the Observer is Italian and they told me they are Portuguese. It must be a European connection.

Today I met so many kind strangers. Being Remembrance Day, perhaps I am being reminded of how lucky I am to have the freedom to be out and about meeting good citizens. The world may be changing, but there are still solid people living in it. I feel free to be me and what could be better?

Thank you to everyone who sacrificed so that people like me could be privileged. Your gift keeps giving.

- OCG

Monday, November 10, 2008

Stocking up...


My day was quiet. I did some writing and errands. There were big sales at Shoppers Drug Mart, so I stocked up on toilet paper, paper towels and shampoo. It's impossible to not need these things.

One of my attendants got under my skin. She is very innocent and acts without thinking. Her intentions are good, but sometimes she drives me crazy. Maybe I drive her crazy too. Some people just don't know better, so I guess the only thing we can do is forgive them.

My sleep last night was amazing. I went to bed with a sore throat and a gurgling stomach. The person who helped me that night was very compassionate and concerned. I wasn't in the mood for talking and I think she understood. Feeling a bit under the weather, I really appreciated her kindness. Opening my eyes this morning, I could feel the effects of such good rest. Being in a brighter state made it easier to handle the ignorant attendant this morning. Not everyone can be stellar material. When I first moved out and was adjusting to working with all different people, I would tell myself that a kind person was just around the corner. True or not, it helped me stay positive and still works. The world might be small, but it's full of every kind of person. As different as we are, we all need toilet paper and paper towels.

- OCG

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Porn at the movies...


The Observer and I just went to see the new movie Zach And Miri Make A Porno. It was light, funny, and surprisingly sweet. Seth Rogan always plays quirky characters with an emotional edge. His laugh makes me laugh. There were some hilarious parts, and others that were more substantial. On the surface, the film was about best friends and roommates Zach and Miri who were so broke that making a porno seemed like the quickest way for them to make cash. As the porno takes shape, both meet interesting adult entertainment stars and struggle to make ends meet. About to start filming their intimate scene, the implications of sex between friends rise to the forefront for Zach and Miri. They each do their part and realize that every story needs an ending. Will their characters live happily every after? Zach and Miri realize that sometimes we need to risk anything to have everything.

The film pokes fun at the pornography world and that it's all about fantasy. On the contrary, sexual experience in real life is about love and connection. For a comedy, there were some good laughs, but also some more insightful messages. Leaving the theatre, I saw someone with a box of chocolate covered almonds and thought they were a good metaphor for the film - sweet with some solid, staying power.

- OCG

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Hello, hello, is it you???

I watched Scent of a Woman with the Observer today. I can see why it's considered a classic film. It was deep, funny, and made me think. Movies like that are my style. The Observer got emotional and that's when I know he's enjoying what he's watching.

Do you ever notice that when you're waiting for a specific call, you rush to pick up the phone, and it's often someone else just calling to say hi? This afternoon I told the Observer to call me when he was close to my building because we were going out for an early dinner. Around his expected arrival, the phone rang three times. First it was an attendant, then Mom, then a friend. When I answered the phone again, I was glad to hear the Observer on the other end of the line. Hungry and feeling like company, I knew he would brighten me up. There wasn't much sunshine today, so the job went to the Observer. He delivered.

- OCG

Friday, November 07, 2008

Open sesame!


I am hanging out with the Observer right now. He's in the shower. Something smells fresh. Maybe it's the Observer, squeaky clean. Dinner was just cooked and put on the table, so it could a combination of food and soap.
My time with my doctor went well. It always does. I was sweating down my back. I'm not sure why. Hopefully, she didn't notice.

We watched Robin Williams Live In New York on DVD. He's a funny guy. I laughed.

Both bus drivers I had today were friendly and helpful. Two in a row is lucky. One of my taxi drivers showed me the sweetness that can happen in life when we least expect it. Years ago, I dropped my automatic door opener to my apartment building in a taxi. The driver couldn't find it and I called the city to track it down. With no luck, my parents kindly paid for a replacement door opener. The new one only half worked. It would only open the door to my apartment, not the door leading in and out of my apartment building. At night this was a pain as I would be locked out after ten o'clock - not cool when it's cold or winter. I put up with inconvenience because a girl's gotta get in and out, right?

Today my taxi driver gave me my old door opener. He kept it for three years. He knew it was mine, because it has my name on it. Well, I thanked him over and over. I think I embarrassed him, but at least he knows I appreciated him keeping my opener.

Once out of the taxi, I tried using the old opener. It works perfectly on both my building door and my apartment! Isn't that exciting? No more waiting around for people to open the door! I am free!

- OCG

In the name of sunshine...

Today is full of bright sunshine. I'm digging this weather. I couldn't sleep well last night. It was around 4 a.m. when I dosed off. Argh! It was probably the diet coke I had with my dinner last night. After I gulped it down, it occurred to me that maybe I didn't make the best beverage choice.

I have a doctor's appointment today and then I am going to visit the Observer at his apartment. The day should be a fun one! Mom and Dad are going to stop by to do a few things, so it will be nice to see them.

I am wearing a new pair of red pants. Part of me is anxious, as they feel a bit tight, but I won't let that ruin my day. I am a little tired, but there is too much to do and tight pants are not worth dwelling over. Sunshine is.

- OCG

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Speaking smartly...


I am stuffed. Tonight I went to the Old Spaghetti Factory with friends. Seeing them was fun. I wheeled there since it was quite a warm night. Something tells me that I won't be able to do that much longer. My friend is usually late, but she was waiting for me. People can be surprising. Her twin sister, who is also an old friend, met us at the restaurant. I haven't seen her sister in a very long time and she is very sophisticated. She is doing her PHD and has a very intellectual vocabulary. Her language impressed me, but sometimes I wanted to say, "What are you saying, exactly?" Being smart is commendable, but if I ever become brilliant, I'll try to remember that not everyone speaks with such an academic edge.

That said, the company was bitchin' and the grub went down good.

- OCG

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Here comes the sun....for now...


Today was beautiful weather - the kind that is bitter sweet, because it will be one of the last warm days we have. In an effort to suck up all that sunny goodness, I made my way close to the St. Lawrence Market. Hungry and starting to feel a bit shaky, I stopped into a nearby grocery store and bought a bun. The grocery store is huge and has an upstairs where customers can sit and eat. It's quiet with lots of windows for sunshine. I enjoyed munching on my bun there. I came home in better spirits than when I left, which often happens when I get food and fresh air.

I came home and ate a bowl of bran as my second dinner course, two lollipops for a third course and a big bunch of romaine lettuce for dessert. It was good.

Mom went back to work this week. She hasn't said too much about it, because she doesn't want anyone close to her to make a big deal. Mom seems tired. I hope she OK. Throughout her recovery, I hope she learned that she needs to say when things aren't alright. Admitting things need adjusting or something is wrong sounds easier than it is. We get embarrassed or feel as though we are making a big deal. In reality, we owe it to the people we care about to speak up. Mom likes to make everyone happy, which is impossible. One day, maybe Mom will realize that she doesn't have to do anything for my family to be happy. We are happy because she is here.

- OCG

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Frank Franci...


There's nothing like having a coffee and chatting with an old friend. Today I met Franci, my friend from my old apartment building. Both of us have moved, but continue to talk and see each other occasionally. Franci is frank. She will say what she thinks. I respect her for being honest, because she isn't hurtful. Unlike my other friends, Franci isn't bubbly and extroverted. She is quietly sweet with an edge of sarcasm. There have been a few times where I have called her on being grumpy or negative and we're still buddies. Everyone is allowed to be grumpy now and then, but not for more than a day. When Franci woke up on the wrong side of the bed once, I let her be. The next day when she was still being a downer, I asked her if she was alright. She admitted she was cranky again. I told her to call me when she snapped out of her mood. She did.

We had such a fun afternoon, shopping, chatting, and sipping. Franci surprised me with a baby blue sweater. Every time I wear it, I'll think of her.

I was having a bad hair day. I felt off and like I didn't look my best. I asked Franci if my hair looked as ugly as I thought. She said no. I believed her. If my hair looked ugly, she would have said so. Isn't that what friends are for........sometimes?

- OCG

Monday, November 03, 2008

Don't let your back-bone slide...


Standing up for yourself isn't easy, especially if you're a kind person. Doing it well takes practice and a certain degree of self-confidence. We aren't born knowing how to be assertive. We need to be shown and given the chance to build that skill. Since I rely on others for help for some very important stuff every day, it's become very clear to me that if I don't speak up, I won't get what I need. In the end, I suffer.

When I was younger, I was pretty meek and mild. I had a hard time asking for what I wanted. Once I got pushed around a few times, I developed a thicker skin. My voice became stronger and more deviant. Now I still struggle to assert myself, but the more practice I have gained, the easier I find it to be direct. Hopefully I don't come across as rude. My goal is to show that I may be friendly, but I am no doormat.

Why all this assertiveness reflection? Well, today the Observer had to push for what he needed. I was angry that he was being forced play hard. He was asking for basic, important stuff. After a little pep talk, the Observer stuck by his guns and won. I am so proud. The Observer may not have any hair, but he has a back bone. Tonight he found it.

- OCG

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Fall back...


Today is "fall back", meaning we all get an extra hour of sleep. I love it. They are talking about leaving our clocks on fall time and not setting the clocks forward when spring time arrives. I am all for that. According to health experts, an extra hour of sleep is beneficial to our overall health. A study reported that less heart attacks occur during the fall and winter time change than when we set our clocks ahead. These could be loose findings and perhaps coincidental, rather than to do with an extra hour sleep. In the big scheme of things, does one more hour really make that much of a difference? If someone is going to have a heart attack, isn't it going to happen regardless of how much sleep he or she gets? Sure, overall health including proper sleeping patters helps reduce one's risk of complications like heart disease, but I am skeptical that one hour would make or break the deal.

I asked someone to set my bedside clock back before I went to bed last night. The person set the time ahead instead. I'm on it though. Time changes make me nervous when it comes catching buses. In the world of transportation for people with mobility issues, an hour is a big deal. Well, even five minutes can mean a missed ride and a flubbed day. A mistake of hour when catching a bus means any hope of salvaging the day's plans is gone. You're screwed. It's best to suck it up and get the time right next time.

Speaking of buses and time, I have a bus to catch soon. My family is having dinner, which is always fun. We haven't all been together in a few weeks. Sadly, the Observer can't come. Today is his father's birthday. I understand. We always live with value that family comes first. There are so many celebrations and so little time. Though an extra hour would be sweet, it wouldn't change that we can't do everything we wish we could. That said, life is for living and maybe a little extra shut eye would help us live better.

- OCG

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Tastes like sugar...


I am very tired. Lately, this has often been the case with me. I couldn't sleep last night. Again. Today I am a grumpy girl. My temper is short and I am spaced out.

My attendants were friendly and the Observer came over. We went to our favourite Italian restaurant, the place we have made our long weekend tradition. Tonight's trip was pretty frosty, so I think it will be our last until the weather warms up. I had a big cheese pizza. It was good but I am stuffed. I feel like a balloon.

We came home and got warm while watching a taped episode of ER. I was making silly jokes and laughing at nothing - a sure sign that I am overtired. The Observer bought me a box of Splenda. I will use a packet in my coffee tomorrow morning. Hopefully I will be more alert and happier. Maybe the Splenda will sweeten me up.

- OCG