Saturday, February 28, 2009

Not again.....

Well, the biting cold is back....grrr. Hopefully it won't last long. Maybe winter is giving us time to say goodbye. wishing the season well wouldn't take me long. Id say "Thanks for Christmas and a few pretty days. Take your time coming back next year, please."

We saw He's Just Not that Into You last night. It was a typical chick flick - cute and predictable. There were some major A list celebrities in the cast, which probably upped its appeal. I realized that if any relationaship has too much drama, it's not healthy. I feel blessed to have such a calm relationship. Steady and peaceful is how I like it and not too cold.

- OCG

Friday, February 27, 2009

Windy Friday...

It's a windy one out there. The morning didn't feel too cold, but all of a sudden, the temperature seemed to drop. The forecast said it would, so we can't be too surprised I suppose. We had a heads up, which should be "hold on to your hat". My mittens blew away before I could stop them. I looked up only to find them way down the street. A family friend gave them to me for Christmas years ago. They were green, fuzzy and warm, so I am a bit sad that they are gone, but I did get a lot of years of warm hands from them. I have many pairs of mittens, so it's not like I'm deprived. Watching something of mine blow away is a little sad, but my mittens will go on a new adventure that is probably more exciting than sitting in my apartment or warming my hands. Who knows where they will go.

I felt really awful last night and had to get to bed quickly knowing I was going to faint if I didn't. My attendant was helpful, but it was a yucky experience. Going to bed so early sucked, but at least I got there when I needed to. Like the night before, I watched a lot of TV. I tuned into The Food Network, Frasier, the News and Scrubs. Scrubs is new to me. It's a quirky, comedic, medical drama. Having only watched one full episode, I liked what I saw even though some parts seemed silly. I didn't get much sleep, but I am feeling OK. Maybe being out in the wind rejuvenated me.

The Observer and I are seeing a movie tonight. I'm excited. I hope we see a light, funny film. I need something happy and carefree to carry me into another world, but now I know to hold onto my mittens.

- OCG

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Sleepless, buzzed, and bulgy...

Before going to bed last night, I drank a cup of berry flavoured back tea. I had a hankering for it. I ought to have known better. Tea has caffeine just like coffee. It was 4 a.m. before I fell asleep. My head was buzzing. When I'm like that, forget sleeping. My past-time for insomnia is watching TV. I did a lot of that. Oddly though, I can't remember what I watched very well. I remember seeing the finale of Top Chef. I wanted the sole female chef to win, but no such luck. There aren't enough female professional chefs. I was watching Iron Chef when my eyes started feeling heavy. The secret ingredient of the battle was organ meat which grossed me out and intrigued me at the same time. To my knowledge, I've never eaten any type of organ meat, but if I have, I'm glad I don't know about it. My brother in law told me that squirrel meat is gaining popularity in British restaurants. The notion turns my stomach, but I guess I shouldn't knock something until I've tried it.

For Christmas, Mom bought me a new pillow. It's been sitting in my room for a few months. Yesterday I used it for the first time. The thing is huge. It's the thickness of three of my pillows. I'm a two-pillow-a-night user. One is used to cushion my head and neck while the other goes between my legs. I knew if I used Titanic pillow for my head, I'd have a major stiff neck in the morning, so it went between my legs. Looking at me lying there, you'd think I had the genitalia of an elephant, because there was such a big bulge poking from under my covers. I wasn't too uncomfortable, but sleeping with my new pillow did feel different. I have to work it in sometime, so I might as well do it now. After some good use, the pillow should sink down. I learned last night that not everything that is new works perfectly from the start. Some things in life need time - whether it's waiting for caffeine to wear off or pillows to be broken in. While we wait, it's a good thing there is enterainment like TV and that it's possible to see the humour in life. After all, when will I ever look like I have elephant genitalia again?

- OCG

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The calm after the storm...

The sun is shinning today. The air isn't too cold. It's a pleasant February day. I feel like a whole new person. I was so stressed out for the past few weeks. . I felt like I was in the center of this storm and all I could do was sit in the middle and wait for the calm. Having so little control over life can be frustrating. There are so many people that come in and out of my life. Sometimes I want to tell them to be quiet or leave me alone, but I need help to function every day, so I have to be kind or hold my tongue. Sometimes that is all there is to do. After a few sleepless nights, I have been getting some top-notch rest and woken up refreshed.



The Observer's parents left for Italy yesterday. I know he is sad and worried about managing on his own. I am confident he will be fine. I wish he believed in myself. I believe in him, but he needs to. Italy isn't down the street. I think having his parents so far away makes the Observer nervous. I'd be nervous too, but there is lots of help around. All he has to do is ask. Being very close to his Mom, it's obvious that he misses her. I know she misses the Observer as well. I am happy that his parents are getting the chance to go to Italy and see family. I am even happier that the Observer is being self-sufficient. Though he is worried and wouldn't choose to stay at his apartment for two weeks straight, doing so will show him just how strong he is.

Yesterday we had a quick visit. My rides got shortened, but at least I had the chance to talk to the Observer and catch up. Today I miss him. Hopefully he is having a good day.

A loud, angry person of no fixed address caused a scene at the library. He was denied a library card and got VERY upset. His yelling made me nervous. Life is rough for all of us, but for some, their struggles are very evident. I haven't had an easy time lately, but I have a home, safety, love, my health, friends, self-respect, family and support. That's a lot when some people can't even be trusted with library privileges.

- OCG

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Here I stand...

Well, I am breathing easier now. the policy that was causing me such stress has less of a hold on my daily life. It has been deemed safe for me to stand on my own two feet. Yay! My physiotherapist saved the day by speaking up for me. There were so many people that i felt very intimidated. everyone was friendly and helpful and had my best interest in my mind, but what a big deal for little, old me! If nothing else, I learned the importance of speaking up for myself. When it all became too much, I asked someone I trusted to speak on my behalf. I learned to rise above policies and let companies deal with rules that impact their staff, not me. I learned that some people will take complete control if we let them. We need to say no when something isn't right. People aren't rules. Everyone is different and ought to be respected for his or her differences.

I am a lucky lady who has a new appreciation for the ability to stand on my own two feet. Stand tall and proud wherever you are. I am going to do the same.

- OCG

Monday, February 23, 2009

Policy stress...

The snow is back in flurries. The streets look lightly dusted. It’s still February, so I guess the weather shouldn't’t be a surprise and I have no right complaining. After all, I am living in Canada. Today started off late for me. Thursday mornings always do because I sleep in. I like that part of the day, but some of the people I deal with are challenging. At least I know when to expect them. Being aware of who or what is ahead seems to make life more tolerable....sometimes. In other ways, being “blissfully unaware” is a blessing. We are forced to deal with any circumstances that come our way regardless of what we expected from life.


I had trouble sleeping last night. This week has been stressful, especially with policies and procedures related to my life every day changing by the minute. I’m trying not let politics bog me down, but when they impact every part of my day, how can I “go with the flow?” The person who helped me to get ready for my day this morning seemed agitated over policy changes. She is the person who is making my life the most challenging. I am not the one who requested all of this upheaval. She did. I need what I need. I will never be able to walk, shower, get to the bathroom, or change positions independently. Therefore, I need help. If that help can be offered to me in the simplest, safest, possible way, I’m all for it. Don’t, however, make my life and that of everyone who is paid to help me unnecessarily complicated. Life is complicated enough without willingly adding stress. When the person assisting me today started to complain, I tried to stay as quiet as I could. What do you say when you want to do is ring the person’s neck? There is nothing to say.

I am getting tired of gossiping, living in the center of a battle and constantly having to defend my rights. I just hung up the phone with the manager of my attendant care. He told me that “everyone gets a turn to fight their own battle and now just happens to be yours,” keeps ringing in my ears. He’s right, but I’m ready to give up my turn.

- ocg

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Let us eat cake...

This morning my mind was all over the place. I couldn't decide where to go or what to do. I kept changing my mind about going to the grocery store. I left my apartment and came back two seconds later only to ponder for another few minutes and leave AGAIN. Sometimes I waste more time trying to save time. The Observer and I went out to dinner last night. I had to pick-up a gift for my sister, so while I shopped, he went to the movies. After getting some help from a employee to browse through the sale rack, I decided on a pink dress shirt. I'm not sure if it's my sister's style, but there is a receipt if she wants to return it. The whole time that I was in the store deciding on my sister's gift, I kept worrying that the Observer was waiting and wondering where I was. Luckily, we met up shortly after his movie ended and I had my sister's gift.

Our original plan was to go back to our favourite Italian restaurant. Our delicious Valentines Day dinner last week had us both craving their authentic food and romantic atmosphere. Once we both get a hankering for food, it's hard to shake. The weather wasn't on our side. Hearing about snow coming our way, I thought it would be smart to make reservations at a closer restaurant near the movie theater and mall. I'm glad we did. We were a bit late getting to the restaurant, but they held our table. The place was packed, so we got lucky. Being so busy, our food didn't come for a while, which gave the Observer and I time to chat. Though seeing a movie would have been fun, sometimes I don't mind hearing a critique from the Observer. Our waiter was running off his feet. He apologized for the slow service. I liked him after that. The Observer had a cheesy garlic bread starter, pasta with chicken, and chocolate cake. He enjoyed the pasta and cake, but the starter was a disappointment. I had pasta with tomato sauce (loaded with Tabasco) and a sundae. The pasta was yummy, especially with all the hot sauce. My palate accustomed to heat now. The sundae cooled my mouth off, so my dinner tasted balanced.

My jeans are tight today. I'm not surprised. My wider girth bothers me, but I am determined not to let it ruin my day. My family is celebrating my sister's birthday tonight. I am looking forward to going home. My brothers will probably tease me about "putting on the pounds". It's OK. I know they love me regardless of my weight, so I will enjoy the occasion - cake included. If there's cake, why not eat it? I will eat healthier this week, but my sister only gets one birthday cake.

- OCG

Friday, February 20, 2009

Getting older....

Someone I saw and heard talking today reminded me of my grandfather. He had the same, low, soft, slightly gruff voice. My Grandpa can be pretty easy going about some things especially stuff that is new to him like technology. I suppose when we get older, we accept that we're out of touch with parts of the present. Grandpa's Alzheimer's seems to be worsening. He rarely recognizes my family. It's been a while since I've seen him. My Grandma is looking into getting live-in help. She thinks hiring a full-time care-giver would be very expensive.Thankfully however, money isn't an issue in their lives. If there is ever a time to make good use of our savings, isn't it when we're old and need care? If we don't enjoy the fruits of our labour in our golden years, when can we enjoy it? I am still young, so maybe I can't be empathetic. When I'm eighty, perhaps I'll understand.

Tonight I am meeting the Observer at the mall. I'm excited to see him and go out. It's been a long week. He's been a great listener.

It's cold outside again. For a while, I forgot it was winter. It only takes a little snow to remember. Yesterday was my sister's birthday. She turned thirty-one. We are celebrating on Sunday with a family dinner. Now is an exciting time in her life. Her wedding is in six months and she just moved into a new house. Life is being good to her. I am glad. Hopefully, by the time she is Grandpa's age, she'll look back and agree. When I'm eighty years old, I hope I live somewhere warm where there is no snow in February...

- OCG

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Thursday's trails...

I slept in today. My morning was pretty quiet. I saw attendants who I wished I didn't, but it was ok. I was polite, even though I was frustrated. Why be rude? What does that accomplish besides causing me to feel bad afterwards? I am getting tired of being smack dab in the middle of a political battle that has very little to do with me and is all about rules. As I do every day, I talked to the manager. He told me that every one has a time where the heat comes in their direction. Now just happens to be my turn. He's right. I'm ready for someone else to have a turn.

I saw my building superintended tonight. We stopped to chat for a while. She is very sweet. Being around her reminds me of being home. It's safe and comfortable. She told me that I'm young and the world is at my feet. It is. I only wish I didn't have to step on so many roads to find the right path. Maybe finding our way must involve getting caught in the bushes a few times. Today feels like there are shrubs in my face, but I'll push them away.

- OCG

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Enjoying the day for what it is...

There's some yucky weather outside. It's half raining and half snowing. I guess you could say that it's "snowaining". My day has been good so far. No major troubles or complaints. People have been friendly, kind, and accommodating, which is always refreshing. The damp weather makes for a grey, sleepy day, but it's better than a big snowstorm. Last winter, the city got an influx of snow. We have had some this winter, but it's been spaced out. I think we had more freezing temperates this year.

While in a store today picking up some chocolate and computer supplies, I met some very kind strangers who helped me get things that were too high to reach. The cashier was very patient too. The grocery store was packed last night. Every line-up seemed to go on forever. There was nowhere for me to park without being in the way. Shoppers kindly told me to go on ahead of them - a gesture I appreciated but couldn't accept. Waiting is a way of life for me. I can be patient, so whenever possible, I try to practice behaving so.

I miss the Observer. We haven't seen each other in a while. With all the changes, phone calls, letters, meetings, reports and research surrounding the policies involving my care, social activities have gone on the back-burner. We could have seen a movie today, but I wasn't sure if I'd be free. It turns out that I am available, but it's too late now. This weekend will be fun as I get to see the Observer and my family. Hopefully the rest of the week goes by quickly.

Do you ever notice that when you have a good day, part of you wonders if the next will be bad? Isn't this thinking kind of sad? Shouldn't we enjoy good days for what they are? Why must we think ahead? Today I have seen such kind people who were both strangers and people I see often. Tomorrow morning, an attendant who has made my life very difficult will help me get ready for the day. Her presence in my home makes me want to scream. She is acting fake and sweet because she knows I am upset with her. If we have nothing nice to say, we shouldn't say anything at all, so I stay quiet. Silence can speak louder than words. I have no idea how tomorrow will unfold. Today turned out well, even without the sun shinning. If tomorrow isn't the greatest of day, maybe the sun will find me. I hope it finds you too.

- OCG

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Starting fresh...

Family Day was great. Riley woke me up by attacking me with kisses. I couldn't stop laughing. She loves salty fingers and sweaty feet. She took advantage of both on me. My brothers came to visit with their dogs. Between all of my siblings and our pets, we kept my parents' front door busy. My sister-in-law stopped by. Her hair is growing back and looks darker now. People who have gone through chemo say that hair changes when it grows back. She looks like herself only with a chic, dark brown bob.

I have been eating like a horse. Seriously. I consumed more food yesterday than I usually do in three days. I feel bigger, fatter, and my face looks wider. I ate....and ate....and ate last night. After coming back to my apartment from being home, I was sad and worried about the troubles with the new policies and how my care is affected. My home doesn't feel comfortable anymore. Every time I need help, I hesitate to ask. That's not a good feeling.

I don't know why I kept shovelling in food. The more I ate, the worse I felt. I am trying to start fresh today by eating very fresh, healthy food, but I still feel bad. I will be OK. I am healthy, the sun is shinning and life is calm. I overdosed on candy and cookies, but today is a new day.

- OCG

Sunday, February 15, 2009

I keep reminding myself that...

* I will never be deprived of care

* Sometimes the only way to fight a battle is to sit right in the middle of it

* Company policies aren't personal

* People aren't trying to be mean.

* I have kind souls on my side

* The sun always comes up

* I will be OK

* Every day is different now, but I am still around to live each

* My integrity is worth persevering, no matter how frustrated I feel

* I am healthy and happy

* I am learning how to advocate for myself

* I am worth fighting for

- OCG

Nothing says loving like...

The Observer spoiled me yesterday. As always, he went way overboard with gifts. We spent the afternoon talking and listening to tunes. It was simple and sweet. One of my gifts was the He's Just Not That Into You Soundtrack. The album is a mix of mellow, eighties tunes. It's a happy CD. There is one song by James Morrison called You Make It Real To Me. The second I heard it, I loved it. The Observer put the track on repeat, so after a few plays, he must have been sick of hearing about "making it real". I gave him a classic white dress shirt with black strips. Hopefully it fits. He's not a big clothes lover, but I buy him a shirt once a year. Selfishly, I feel proud when the Observer looks good wearing something I picked out for him.

Our dinner at a favourite Italian eatery was romantic. The music was jazzy, soft and sweet. We were seated in secluded room with only a few couples around us. I liked our spot. Thankfully, the restaurant always serves a big loaf of soft, crusty bread before our meal, because the Observer was starving. I had eaten a big lunch knowing that, when I'm hungry, it's not easy to be around me. I enjoyed watching the other customers order the Valentines Day special, a prefixed multiple course gourmet meal. Eavesdropping on conversations was fun. I ordered gourmet thin crust pizza with hot peppers, pineapple, and mushrooms. I couldn't believe how big the pizza was. I ate every bite. The Observer ordered gnocchi and loved it too. For dessert, I had vanilla ice cream and the Observer had molten lava chocolate cake. I was stuffed, but very satisfied. Leaving the restaurant, my stomach began acting up. I had a very hard time driving my wheelchair home. I was bursting to answer the call of nature. The Observer was very patient and sweet. He encouraged me and waited even though I know he was freezing. I was so slow due in part to my wheelchair not working at one hundred percent, the freezing weather and feeling like I was going to explode. When the Observer and I get through tough times, my faith in us is strengthened. Finally getting home, I relieved myself and the Observer and I were laughing over the smell I produced. No one smells like roses in the process of answering nature.


There were many great moments yesterday that made me laugh and feel loved. I think the Observer summed it up best when he said, "Nothing says loving like the smell of your ____________.

Thank you for a wonderful day Observer.

- OCG

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Have a little faith in me...

When the road gets dark
And you can no longer see
Just let my love throw a spark
And have a little faith in me

And when the tears you cry
Are all you can believe
Just give these loving arms a try
And have a little faith in me

Have a little faith in me
Have a little faith in me
Have a little faith in me
Have a little faith in me

When your secret heart
Cannot speak so easily
Come here darlin
From a whisper start
To have a little faith in me

And when your backs against the wall
Just turn around and you will see
I will catch, I will catch your fall baby
Just have a little faith in me

Well, I've been loving you for such a long time girl
Expecting nothing in return
Just for you to have a little faith in me
You see time, time is our friend
cause for us there is no end
And all you gotta do is have a little faith in me

I said I will hold you up, I will hold you up
Your love gives me strength enough
So have a little faith in me

Happy Valentine's Day!!!

Happy Valentine's Day! In the midst of all the changes in my life recently, I almost forgot that today is for love. Remembering made me smile. I have always looked forward to February 14th, even as a single lady. Any excuse to honour those we care for in either a romantic, family or friendship sense should be celebrated. I am going to have a quiet dinner with the Observer at one of our favourite Italian restaurants. We often go in warmer weather, so it's been a while since we've visited. Outside is cold, but not freezing, so the trip there should be okay. My parents are celebrating their 34th wedding anniversary today. They say it was a coincidence that they married on Valentine's Day, but I'm not so sure. They usually celebrate shortly after the 14th, because restaurants are so busy. They were talking about seeing The Sound Of Music. I think they would enjoy the show.

Yesterday I met the Observer at his favourite Toronto mall. He loves going there because there are many stores, restaurants and a movie theater. To me, a mall is a mall. We had sandwiches for dinner and caught up over coffee, which is always fun. He treated me to a butter pecan coffee. Yum... It smells amazing. The Observer tried a sip, which impressed me as he is not a usual coffee drinker. He didn't like it, but at least he tried it. Our coffee server was a very sweet, helpful guy who was worried I would burn myself if I carried my coffee. I respect people who are kind and care about others like himself.

Seeing the Observer made my not-so-great day better. I love him. Drinking coffee is heaven to me and having his company like himself reminds me that life, though it isn't always fair, is pretty sweet. Enjoy your day. Show some love.

- OCG

Friday, February 13, 2009

I am grateful for...

* Being able to move in my wheelchair

* The new movie He's Just Not That Into You.

* That I get to see the Observer

* Shannon, my physiotherapist

* That I get to spend Family Day on Monday with my family

* The book Marley and Me.

* Diet pop

* The show Private Practice

* My family

* Knowing my rights

* The way Riley paws at me for attention

* Weekends

* Being young and having time on my side

- OCG

Everything...

The sun is out today. I'm trying to focus on that. It's a reason to feel happy. I wish I did. Sleep didn't really happen for me last night. I did more watching TV than sleeping. I was wide awake as soon as I went to bed, so I knew it was going to be a long night. The new policy that my attendants must follow makes me sad and frustrated. My choices are being taken away. How can I be happy about that? Tasks that used to take half an hour now take an hour. How is that fair? I feel more like a patient than a person. It sucks. I'm tired, which makes everything seem worse. I am trying to be accepting of new rules, but part of me wants to scream, "This is ridiculous!!!!!!!!!!" You are making things WAY more complicated than they need to be. Why are you taking away my physical ability? Do you not understand how important it is for me to stand on my own two feet? Do people matter more than policies? When did my life become regulations? How can you not look at me as an individual person? Don't we all deserve this right?

I don't want to be difficult. It's not me. However, I can't just sit idly by and take whatever comes my way. My independence is worth fighting for. What is more important than freedom in life? I am trying to be smart, but I am getting fed up.

An attendant who I thought was a friend seems to be showing one face to me and a different one to her boss and colleagues. I am sad about that. I did see signs that maybe she wasn't completely trustworthy, but I didn't think she was playing both sides of this issue. I am not looking to win supporters, only to give attendants choices. Clearly, this particular attendant doesn't feel comfortable being honest and that is unfortunate.

My wheelchair is driving with a swerve since it was repaired yesterday. I'm a little nervous driving on the streets. Thankfully I haven't hit anyone. I am glad to be able to move around. Some things are looking up. A good friend pointed to a sign hanging in my kitchen that I printed in purple crayon on a bad day last year. It says "Everything passes!" I nodded. Sometimes we need to be reminded of the truth, even if it is directly in front of us hanging on our refrigerator.

-OCG

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Stuck and saved...

If there's one lesson that I have learned in the last three days, it's that we never know what each day will bring, especially when we are dependant on technology or equipment to function.

I awoke on Tuesday morning with big plans to go to an important doctor's appointment close to the Observer's old stomping grounds. I had rides booked in different regions and got up earlier than usual to make it. After showering and dressing, my attendant informed me that my wheelchair wasn't moving. Being an optimistic, I told myself she probably had to move it a few more times with different maneuvers. Not so. The thing wasn't going to budge. I was stuck with no way of moving. I only have one electric wheelchair. Calling the repair company, I tried to plead my case, saying I was stuck. I didn't get much sympathy. I was told the technicians were swamped. I wanted to say, "How would you like being stuck in one spot?" I didn't. Sometimes I think it's best to stay quiet.

Realizing my predicament and knowing that my wheelchair needed to get into the shop sooner than later, Mom and Dad picked myself and my wheelchair up. Bless their beautiful hearts. I thanked them a hundred times until I know they got sick of hearing me. I spent the last day or so hanging out with my Mom and reading Marley And Me. Though I would have preferred to be visiting by choice rather than out of necessity, everything turned out well. Any time I spend with my family is special. I have my wheelchair and freedom back, so life is good. The experience showed me that sometimes all we can do is accept what comes our way and be grateful for each day. Marley And Me is about a fun-loving, energetic dog who enjoys every bit of life. I don't think it's an accident that I picked up that book when I did.

- OCG

Monday, February 09, 2009

Weekend rewind...

It's an above seasonal Monday. The weather is beautiful. I didn't go out much today. Mondays fly by because i sleep in. I spoke with the manager about my transferring issues. He seemed to understand, but I don't know how much he can do. Rules are rules, which sucks. He is on my side at least, but I think his hands are tied. I would never want to be a manager. It would be far too easy to get caught in between battles when one needs to be neutral. The manager is a friendly, kind person, so I wish I didn't have to make waves, but sometimes we have no choice. He knows I'm frustrated at the situation - not him, so I'm glad. The world is too big to focus on one small issue and let it ruin a day, but it's tempting. One rule can impact my entire well-being.

My sister's new house is a beautiful....mess. I left out the "mess" part when she asked my opinion. Boxes, furniture, wrapping, books, lamps and equipment was everywhere. My family looked so tired when I visited them. They have been busy lifting, unpacking, organizing and cleaning. I brought my sister a plant in a funky looking pot. I don't know what kind of plant I picked; I liked the pot. My sister sad it will grown big and beautiful. I hope so. She put the flower on her mantle. Maybe she'll look at it and think of the day she and her soon-to-be husband moved in.

The Observer's dinner was fun. I hope he enjoyed the meal and company. We had yummy cannelloni, chicken, salad, fruit and a delicious peanut butter and chocolate cake. The Observer LOVES anything with peanut butter and chocolate. His mom is a baking suprema. She did not disappoint with yesterday's dessert. Sadly, she was not herself, as she had been up sick the night before. Even under the weather, she is friendly, funny and as sweet as her baking. The Observer's niece added her usual sparkle to the day. She reminds me to enjoy life. The Observer's godparents stopped by for dessert. He was so happy to see them, which made me happy.

After company left, we watched the Grammys. The performers were entertaining. I had to leave before most of the awards were presented. Sitting there with the Observer was relaxing. My favourite past-times involve him and I and our families. We both love our families equally, and I suppose that's why we mesh so well. Tomorrow the Observer will officially be thirty-two-years-old. I hope life is as good to him this year as he is to life.

Be happy Observer.

- OCG

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Sleepless on a family focused weekend...

I am hungry. I think. My legs feel a bit shaky. Maybe it's because I haven't been sleeping well. I am in a sleeping funk. It's frustrating. Eventually, we all get so tired that sleep has to come. The library is a bit warm. I suppose it's warm because our cold snap is over.....at least for now.

I am going home today. I am looking forward to seeing my family and relaxing. There really is no place like home. Classic movie lines are famous because they ring true to life. My sights are set on getting a good sleep. I am visiting my sister's new house today. She is so excited. I am happy for her. I need to pick her up a plant this afternoon. In winter, they have a habit of freezing in the cold temperatures. Hopefully my chosen plant will survive.

Tomorrow is the Observer's birthday lunch with his family. I miss him today, but at least when I see him tomorrow, I'll be well rested. The Grammy awards are on TV, so we will probably watch them. The Observer is a big of movie and music award shows. They are entertaining. I think the appeal of such shows is because they are on occasionally. Birthdays are similar. They only come around once a year, so we best celebrate as we want to. Each of us has a different idea of what a fun celebration means. The Observer enjoys lots of guests, food, music, and alcohol. I like smaller, quieter, more family-orientated events. The Observer gets to experience both kinds of celebrations, so he's lucky. I'm lucky that I am invited to attend both special days. There won't be as many people as last night's party, but they are family, so each is a very important person.

Happy (almost) Birthday Observer! I hope you are enjoying your birthday weekend.

xoxo

- OCG

Celebrating and the mysterious driver behind the wheel...

Today is quite mild outside. It's refreshing. A coat is still a good idea to wear but, for the first time in ages, I didn't need mittens and I wasn't wishing to get out of the cold. Hopefully the weather will stay this way for a bit. We never know in Canada.

The Observer's party went well yesterday. I hope he would agree. Surrounded by friends and laughing, he looked pleased. I travelled out of the city at rush hour, so I was late catching my buses, which shouldn't have surprised me. Such as life when we come from the city. By the time I arrived, most people had already eaten and were leaving. The Observer sat beside me, which made me happy, as I didn't know a lot of people. I was a bit shy to ask for a menu, but I was hungry. A girl's got to eat. I ordered a kid's cheese pizza with a salad. Sometimes restaurants let me order from the kid's menu, but not always. I wish they didn't discriminate against those with smaller appetites. My pizza was yummy and the perfect size. The Observer had a yummy piece of gooey, rich chocolate cake that looked delicious. I think he enjoyed it. Our close friends moved beside us as people left. They are two of my favourite people. Another former co-worker of the Observer's arrived later with her husband. She is very sweet. I was happy they came. Looking around at the six of us, I was struck with the thought that sometimes those who matter safe their arrival until later. Maybe I am sounding conceited. I enjoyed sitting in such a small group of good people. To me, it's not quantity that matters with friends, it's quality. I hope the Observer liked his party.

My bus driver who took me home was a funny, favourite transit worker who I hadn't seen in ages. He told me that I looked "quite healthy." Instantly, I assumed he meant that I gained weight. I know I have, but he was too polite to elaborate. The driver was diagnosed with diabetes and lost a ton of weight. I wanted to say, "I've gained what you have lost," but thought it might make him uncomfortable. I stuck with a safe, "You look very fit." He told me how he's taking much better care of himself and how he feels better than ever. Sometimes things have to get worse before they can get better. When my bus driver dropped me home, I said that I hoped to see him again. He pointed out that often on public transit, we won't see someone for ages and than we'll see them two or three times a week for a while. Life's strange that way, but it keeps us pleasantly surprised.

- OCG

Friday, February 06, 2009

I am grateful for...

* Fresh starts

* Feeling well rested

* My usual wheelchair repairman

* My red mittens

* Sunshine on cold days

* Coffee

* That my sister is moving into a brand new house today

* People who "see the forest for the trees" (have common sense)

* My family

* When people hold the door open for me

* The ability to undo my seat belt

* Being here to celebrate another birthday with the Observer

* That even though it's cold outside, it's still quite easy to move around

* My new pillow

* Weekends when I go home

Happy Friday!!!

- OCG

Caught between policy fire..

Yesterday was not a good day. There is a new policy in place for the organization that provides care for me each day. I am able to stand, bare my own weight and transfer with help when I need to move. It has never been a big issue for me or those who work with me, but I was just informed that transferring as I do is against company and health and safety regulations. These new rules mean that my care will take longer as a lift will be needed. Most of my attendants have no trouble transferring me themselves as we are both safe, but now they are left with no choice except to use equipment. I think having choices taken away is not fair. Choices mean flexibility and freedom and who wouldn't want that? On the other hand, I understand that my attendants must follow rules even if they would rather not. Rules are frustrating when they don't mesh with real life.

In the meeting yesterday afternoon when I learned about needing to use equipment instead of being manually transferred each day, I was surprised. Once that subsided, I was frustrated. I told the right people how I thought it was unfair to slap a general policy into my life when things were safe, comfortable, and OK for everyone involved. I said that standing on my own two feet is important to me. It's a physical ability that I will loose if I stop practicing standing. We all need to be able to stand on our own two feet - physically and in spirit. My arguments seemed to be understood, but no one had answers. They kept going back to policy. I think policies are useless if they cannot be applied to real life.

I am not a patient. I do not live each day feeling confined. Choices matter. Everyone deserves them. Safety matters too. I understand. There are going to be changes to my routine. I accept that. I don't like it, but as long as I get what I need, I suppose I shouldn't complain.

I tried to assert myself yesterday. I felt compelled to speak up for myself. Had I stayed quiet, I would have felt pushed around. Hopefully I wasn't rude. People who were around for the meeting could tell that I was upset and understood why. Maybe that's half the battle. Nothing is resolved, but today is a new day. It's Friday and there is a dinner for the Observer's birthday. I am looking forward to seeing friends and having fun. Life is for living, not dwelling on rules I don't have the power to change. Bring on living.

- OCG

Thursday, February 05, 2009

The Reader: A movie of many questions...

The Observer and I saw the movie The Reader not long ago. It was one of those films that I kept thinking about afterwards. Any work of art that has such an impact has to be worthwhile. The Reader starts off with some intense, intimacy scenes that are slightly awkward to watch in a public movie theater. However, before long, our attention shifts to the steamy, dysfunctional, affair developing between a woman and a much younger teenage boy. It's a weird relationship and we aren't sure whether to support the characters or feel repulsed by their unconventional relationship. We learn that the woman commits war crimes partially due to her low self esteem. As a grown up, the male character suffers socially and morally because of being sexually active so early in life. Both the male and female lead characters seem lost. We are left unsure of whether we pity them or disrespect their choices.



The topic of responsibility when it comes to war crimes added a human element to the movie. When we're already lost, do we follow whomever directs us, even if we know that what is being asked of us is wrong? Is a teenage male able to make sound judgements with respect to relationships? Is an older woman wrong to seduce a teenager? Do we ever accept mistakes of our past? What does making peace involve when human lives are lost? Is it okay to "follow orders" when doing so involves committing evil acts? Does justice mean that good conquers evil?



The Reader is a movie that leaves a lot of unanswered questions. My biggest question was: why didn't I buy licorice to munch on during the movie?

- OCG

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Goodness...

We are back in the Deep Freeze. Maybe this will be the end of cold snaps, but I'm not holding my breath. I saw my Dad yesterday. He went to the Maple Leafs hockey game with my brother and needed to kill time between work and the game. He has a key and let himself in. I got home late, so was glad to have a quick catch up. I miss him. I was exhausted last night. I ate too much and I think it's because my body needed to be looked after. It was at its wits end. I was finished too. After over-indulging, I felt awful. I hate being greedy and having too much. It doesn't matter whether it's food, money or anything. Balance matters. Today I am trying to put the whole "feast" behind me. I cranked up my music to tunes that are more dance sounding and focused on the beautiful sunshine coming through my window. Maybe I ate too much, but life is still good. There will always be sunshine. My feet are numbing out from being outside. They will warm up. They always do - just like I will survive eating too much. Life is good, even if I stuffed my face and it's freezing. Nothing stays the same forever. That's the glory of living.

- OCG

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Chilly, chilly, Tuesday...

I am very cold. There has been a chill in my bones all day. I had a sleepless night. My mind was buzzing. I think it was the coffee I drank late last night. I don't know why I drank it. I knew better, but still wanted a caffeine hit. It was warm and comforting. While sipping coffee, the taste is amazing, but when I am lying awake, the appeal is gone. Spoken like a true addict, I guess.

Well, I am about to brave the cold again. I haven't quite warmed up from earlier. My feet are still numb. My wheelchair needed major repairs today. I sat in the same spot for two hours. Luckily, the repairman was kind. He said the problems were from the snow. My wheelchair doesn't like winter - just like me. It's such a part of me that I guess this makes sense.

- OCG

Monday, February 02, 2009

Sweetness and the best of life...

I visited the Observer and his family yesterday. Seeing everyone feels like I am going to my second home. My buses were late and I held everyone up. They were hungry, so I felt sorry for them. When I'm hungry, watch out! I'll bite your head off....
Dinner was a yummy pasta with vegetables and shrimp. The Observer doesn't like seafood. I ate his share and mine. Whenever I visit the Observer and his family, I eat a ton. I think they are surprised at home much I can pack in. The wine and espresso are my favourite parts. I tried white wine yesterday. It was sweeter than red, but i enjoyed it. For dessert we had the Observer's favourite Italian sweet bread. Each season has a different flavour. The Observer likes the chocolate one at Christmas while I prefer the Easter sweetbread made with sugar, vanilla and almonds. Italian traditions are comforting, even down to the types of sweetbread for each season.

The Observer's niece came over. I love that little girl. She sang and danced the The Sound Of Music soundtrack. I couldn't stop laughing watching her. Every song came to her. We played and I realized that's all little people often need from us. They want our time and to enjoy life with them. My body was pushed too far and I had a messy, frustrating trip home, but it was still a special day. Sometimes there is nothing to be done with a fed up body, so I couldn't let it ruin my fun. The Observer's niece is too good of a performer to miss.

- OCG

Sunday, February 01, 2009

In the name of mittens...

Why do I dread winter? Why bother complaining? It comes whether we are ready or not. We need the seasons to change. Without winter, our climate would be unbalanced. I like going home to my parents and sitting in front of a crackling fire. Maybe one day I'll have a fireplace.

This winter I have been much better about wearing my mittens. In the past, I couldn't be bothered to wear them unless it was freezing outside, but after having frozen fingers and feeling the painful thawing out a few two many times, I realize mittens are useful. Plus, they look cute and add a dash of colour to our coats if we wish. I need help putting on my mittens and have found that security guards or anyone working with the public is more than happy to help me. I used to think I was bothering people, but now I realize that a girl has got to be warm. I think I'm becoming more outspoken. People have described me as "fragile" or "dainty." These adjectives don't particularly appeal to me. I'm just short and young looking, but I can hold my own. Sometimes people look surprised if I push my way through a line-up ensuring my place or if I double check a price. It's as though they don't expect me to speak up. It's weird. They soon find out that I have a voice and I will use it. We all deserve to wear mittens if we need them. There are good things about the cold - like learning that there's nothing wrong with speaking up for warm hands.

- OCG