Thursday, April 30, 2009

Kind eyes...

Last night I met a friend for coffee. It's been a while since I've seen her. We had a funny heart-to-heart chat. She makes me laugh. I got to the coffee shop first. My stomach was upset. I wasn't really in the mood for coffee, but didn't think it was right to sit in the store and not order something. I opted for a brewed iced french vanilla. The coffee shop barista was very sweet and helpful. I was glad I gave her business. My friend and I chatted for two hours. Over the course of our visit, I had about two sips of my coffee. My stomach just wasn't up for the caffeine. Being the coffee lover I am, I'm not used to turning down coffee. My friend had the rest of my drink. I think she liked it, so at least it didn't go to waste.

I'm back to my regular coffee addiction today. I have been to Starbucks this morning and enjoyed a tall pike place roast. It went down easily. The day I can't enjoy coffee will be a sad one. As I often say, we only live once, so that means enjoying the simple things that make us happy.

Earlier today, I was struggling to open a package of gum. Getting the plastic off was challenging. After fighting with it for a few minutes, a man pushing a stroller with a baby inside asked if I needed help. As a person who is naturally skeptical of strangers, I normally say, "No thanks." This time I said "Yes" because the man had kind, trustworthy eyes. I knew he genuinely wanted to help me. He took the wrapping off, handed me a piece of gum, put the package back in my purse, and told me to "Be safe". Before thanking the helpful gentleman, I asked him if he wanted a piece of gum. He told me he was "going to have tea." I thanked him a second time and should have said, "Enjoy your tea." The man had the same kind eyes as my father, the Observer, my psyiotheraphist and my brothers. They are the eyes of men with kind hearts. I have learned to spot them quickly, because I am blessed to have such men in my life.


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Snapping out of it...

Today I am short tempered. Little things are annoying me. I am impatient and irritated. My attendants seem slow and sloppy today. Part of me wants to scream, "Move along" Maybe I just need sleep. My apartment was cleaned this morning. The air smells fresh and the floor looks clean. I am trying to focus on how they cleaned up rather than the fact that there are still coffee grinds stuck to the wall...those grinds have been there for a while. All I need to do is ask for them to be wiped. I don't know why I haven't yet.

Yesterday I met the Observer at the mall. As always, seeing him was fun. When he arrived, I was drinking a chocolate raspberry coffee. There is a small pastry shop that sells flavoured coffee. One of the store's employees is very helpful, so I try to give her my business whenever possible. She takes extra care to ensure she puts the right amount of milk in my coffee, helps me get my change, and carries my coffee to a table without being ask. People who are kind and brew great coffee deserve my business. The Observer and I sat and chatted. He asked me the name of my favourite TV documentary. After thinking about it for a while, I couldn't give him an answer. There have been many documentaries I have learned from and loved. I'm still trying to think of an answer...

I stopped by Rabba Fine Foods and bought broccoli, lettuce and a lemon earlier today. The wind was a bit chilly. Rabba is convenient for me, because the owner knows me. He laughs at how I always buy lettuce. Lately, I've had a penchant for lemons. The fresh and sour taste is refreshing. Anything bright appeals to me. When I was leaving, the owner said, "Will that be all, darling?" I smiled. Hopefully he didn't sense that I was grumpy. Maybe he thought I already sucked on a lemon.

Just as I was about to leave my apartment, the new song Please Don't Leave Me by Pink came on the radio. I cranked it up and laughed. If all it takes is a good song to brighten my spirits, life is going pretty well, I'd say.


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Right now...

In a busy part of the city, I ran into an old friend yesterday. We met as crazy, sensitive teenagers and were on the brink of maturity. We thought life was mostly fair and that we would be OK. Seven years later, we are OK, but we both realize that life can suck. My friend is sweet, reserved, and funky. He's the kind of guy you could bring as a date anywhere and have a great time. My friend is gay, so there's no ulterior motives to hanging out. We don't see each other much. He's busy and so am I, but when we do, I enjoy it. Years ago, our close mutual friend died. Somehow I told my friend about his passing over the phone. I remember hearing his voice crack and he told me he had to go. We have never spoken about our friend since. It's too hard.

On the crowded street yesterday, I saw him smiling at me as he pushed his wheelchair up a curb. He asked me what I was doing. I told him that I was going to the library. My friend was on his way to a patio to read and have a beer. I told my friend to have a great night and to enjoy his cold one. We didn't promise to see each soon or say that, "We must get together." We just talked about the present and that was enough. Much is different about the people we are now as opposed to the people we were. We still care about each other, but our lives grew with us. I'll see my friend around. When I do, I'll ask him how his day went, because that's really all that counts.

It's raining today. My glasses are spattered with raindrops. This morning was a bit rushed. Thankfully my attendant was diligent and got everything I needed quickly. It's always a bonus when mornings go smoothly, especially when we're under time constraints. I wanted toast with cream cheese for breakfast. I like my toast almost burned. Since the same people have made toast many times over the years, they are good at knowing how I like it well done. When the toast popped up out of the toaster, there was steam coming off the bread slices and I could see it was very burned - just how I like it.

Minutes later, we noticed smoke around the living room. Neither my attendant or I thought the toast was burned enough to produce such an amount of smoke, but I guess the bread got torched. My attendant opened my balcony door to let some smoke out. I decided to let my place air out and left the door open when I left. Hopefully the pigeons on my balcony don't decide to check out my apartment. I could come home to flying visitors. I'll worry about my guests when they are sitting on my couch. Right now, I am thinking that I need another coffee and that can't wait.


Monday, April 27, 2009

A travel-family- food- fun-filled day...

I''m exhausted today. I couldn't sleep last night. I stayed awake feeling hot, sweaty and frustrated as the hours ticked by. Luckily, Mondays are the morning where I get to sleep in the latest. It's beautiful outside. I got some bus tickets and stopped for a cup of frozen yogurt not long ago. I am still tired, but my spirits are a little brighter. It's hard to stay miserable on a day when everyone is out smiling.

The confirmation reception I went to yesterday was fun. Everything worked out smoothly with transportation. I had just enough time to grab a coffee between catching buses. I was the first person to arrive at the banquet hall. The servers were kind and kept offering me beverages. I arrived holding a Tim Horton's coffee. Hopefully they were OK with that. I met the girlfriend of the brother of the Observer's cousin. (What a complicated explanation!) She came without her boyfriend and I thought that was funny. Personally I'd never go to a function for the Observer's family without the Observer. Italians treat most friends like family, which is wonderful. The Observer's cousin who was confirmed looked beautiful in a long, white dress. She had a blast playing with her cousins. The food was amazing. Each course was better than the one before. I ate everything except steak. The Observer's mother made this intricate mini cupcakes that looked too good to eat. She is an amazing baker. we received little white dishes for bonbonaires. I put the dish on my living room end table and will remember the day years from now.

Exhausted after coming home, I called my brother and wished him a happy birthday. I missed seeing him. Choosing between seeing two amazing families isn't really a hardship; it's a double blessing.


Saturday, April 25, 2009

Two special events...

Spring is in the air today. People are wearing shorts and are out and about on the street. For a Saturday, it's a good deal. I went to the drugstore to buy gum. I'm trying new teeth whitening gum. I'm not sure if it's possible for gum to whiten teeth, but what harm could it do, right? So far my teeth don't look any whiter, but I've only been chewing the gum for a week. It tastes like regular gum. We'll see if it works like it too.

I couldn't sleep last night. After five cups of coffee, I shouldn't be surprised. I was having one of those days when I needed coffee. Since my friend's Mom had surgery, I have been wanting to get her a small gift to let both my friend and her mother know that I am thinking of them. They like good quality, fresh products, so I picked up some bagels from the St. Lawrence Market. It's hard to go wrong with top-of-the line bagels, I figured. As I always do at the St. Lawrence Market, I took my time looking around. I sampled peanut brittle and jam on crackers. The vendors who sell their products at the kiosks are very friendly and helpful. It wasn't long before I ran out of time and headed to Union to meet my friend. I wanted to get flowers for her Mom but wasn't sure if they would survive the trip, so opted to wait. Once at Union Station, I bought my friend's Mom a single white rose. Hopefully it survived the trip home. Too bad flowers aren't a bit more portable. I would buy them more often if they lasted longer.

My evening with my friend was fun. I was glad to see her. We went exploring around an underground shopping mall where we sampled free chocolates from Laura Secord and Godiva. Both stores make delicious products, but Godiva has the upper hand if you ask me. We had Subway for dinner. Just to mix things up a bit, I had a salad with ham. The change wasn't wise. I love salads from Subway, but the ham made it too salty and processed looking. If I'm going to eat a salad, I like it to look and taste fresh.

Once home, my mind was buzzing. Before bed, I also had a cup of tea, which probably didn't help calm. Though I missed the Observer, I was glad I got to have a heart-to-heart with my friend. Tonight I am meeting the Observer and his friend. Later the Observer will come over and we'll probably watch a movie. I'm looking forward to hanging out with him.

Tomorrow I am going on an adventure. It's the confirmation of the Observer's cousin. The reception is in Woodbridge - or as I like to call it - "Italian Town." I am taking two buses to get there. I've never crossed those two regions before, so cross your fingers that everything goes smoothly. It's the same day as my oldest brother's birthday dinner. I am missing the celebration, which makes me sad, but I committed to attending the confirmation first. If I miss a bus or end up on the other side of town, I'll know it's fate remembering me to always make family my first priority. Most times I do, but the chance to see the Observer and have this adventure is too good to miss. I'll miss my brother of course. If only I could be in two places at once. I suppose it's a blessing to have too many places to go rather than too few, especially when both events involve eating cake with great company.


Friday, April 24, 2009

He's my brother...

Two young boys walked into a pharmacy one day, picked out a box of tampons and proceeded to the checkout counter.

The man at the counter asked the older boy, "Son, how old are you?"

"Eight," the boy replied.

The man continued, "do you know what these are used for?"

The boy replied, "not exactly, but they aren't for me. They're for him. He's my brother. He's four. We saw on TV that if you use these you would be able to swim and ride a bike. Right now, he can't do either."

Friday with friends...

Today it feels like I swallowed a frog. My stomach is making loud, gurgly, gassy, noises. I'm grown accustomed to these sounds. Lately, I've gotten a bit of a break. It's been great. Talking to the Observer about my break from stomach troubles last night, he pointed out that nothing lasts forever. He's right. Feeling well is a blessing. If all I have to worry about is a frog in my stomach, I really can't complain. I downed two cups of coffee this morning, so the frog has lots of liquid to swim.

Have you heard the song Kiss Me Through The Phone by Solider Boy? I heard it a while back and it has a catchy rhythm. I'm not usually a fan of pop, boy band type music, but I like this one. For a while I've been meaning to tell the Observer and finally remembered last night. He laughed. When it comes to music, the guy is an expert on the most recent music. Out of all the people I know, he had to have heard Kiss Me Through The Phone. It's easy to tell friends that we favour a certain genre of music, which almost everyone does. Our tastes tend to gravitate to one style, but every once in a while, a certain song will appeal to us that doesn't fit into our typical taste. When I enjoy a pop tune, I am reminded that when it comes to music, we are free to enjoy whatever sounds good.

I miss the Observer today. If I could, I would love to hang out with him tonight. Earlier this week, I made plans to meet my best friend at Union Station. Her mother recently had surgery and she could probably use a good listener. My friend gets hurt if plans change. She is super sensitive, so I know I need to honour our plans. The last time we talked, she said she was exhausted from doing all the household work her mother normally did. My friend is also looking after her Mom while she heals. I think my friend was letting off steam. Her plate is full right now. Part of me wanted to tell her how much I wished I could take care of my Mom following her heart attack. Watching Dad and my siblings hold down the fort, how I wished I could help out by doing a load of laundry or running the vacuum. I decided to tell my friend to view now as a gift. She needs to feel grateful that she can care for her Mom and that her Mom is in a position to accept help. Hopefully my friend understood what I was trying to say.

It's beautiful out. The Observer is spending time with friends today. Though I wish I could see him, I know he will have a fun evening. The sun is shinning on his side of the city too, so that's what counts.


Thursday, April 23, 2009

Late tulip admirer on bed bug alert...

I met a friend for coffee today. I was late getting to our spot. My attendant was chatty. I kept looking up at the clock to try to let her know that I had to be somewhere, but she wouldn't take the hint. It's alright. Someone friendly and talkative is better than someone who is stone silent. When I got to our meeting spot, my friend was nowhere to be found. I took a chance and checked out the closest coffee shop. Sure enough, I found my friend visiting with another acquaintance of ours. I'm glad they kept each other company while waiting for my tardy self. I hate being late, but sometimes it's inevitable.

My friend had the stomach flu in the middle of the night. She looked a bit pale this afternoon. Seeing her was fun. I hope she feels better soon. Our visit was short and sweet.

Outside reminds me of fall. It's a bit windy and chilly, but bright and sunny. I put on my coat that I wear between seasons and I'm glad I did. Spring is hinting its arrival, but it's not quite here yet. There were some beautiful yellow tulips blooming in my neighbourhood today. I had to stop and admire them.

Last night I watched a taped episode of W5 on people who fall through the cracks while living in subsidized housing in the city. The show featured tenants who had psychological and physical issues. Due to my physical challenges, I would fall under this category. There were people discussed who lived and died in squalor and many housed in apartments infested with bed bugs. I don't have bed bugs....yet. One blind tenant said he didn't realize he had bed bugs until they landed in his coffee...ugh. Going to sleep last night, I couldn't get the show out of my head. Since I am physically challenged and live in subsidized housing myself, I couldn't help but think about how easy it would be for me to end up in a similar situation. Hopefully I would notice bed bugs before my apartment ever became infested. I know my family would help me out if I ever needed anything. Maybe being aware of people who deal with such sad circumstances will help me have greater compassion for those more vulnerable than myself. We never know what the future holds. I suppose that's why I make a point of stopping to admire the yellow tulips. Similarly, perhaps I should avoid watching shows that talk about bed bugs before going to sleep.


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A few pills too many...

My Grandpa has Alzheimer's. There is little he remembers. Sometimes he remembers his name and where he lives, but not often. My Grandma hired a full time caregiver to look after him and do whatever she needs around the house. Having someone live in their house all day/every day has to be an adjustment. Like any woman, my grandma has her own way of doing things. Living with someone both she and Grandpa only know as a stranger has to be hard. The caregiver is a thirty-year-old male who is new to the country. He must be going through quite an adjustment too.

A few days ago, Grandma gave grandpa his usual, prostate, memory, and heart medication. She has gone through this ritual for years. For some reason, Grandpa's caregiver took it upon himself to give Grandpa a repeat dose of all three of his medications. Grandma realized the mistake half an hour after Grandpa swallowed the second dose. Not wanting to over-panic, she called my Mom who was at work. Since my grandparents live in the country, Grandma quickly realized that it would be fastest to drive Grandpa to the hospital. By now he was starting to complain of feeling dizzy. No wonder...poor guy.

At the hospital, Grandpa was closely watched and monitored for six hours. He was sent home with strict instructions not to take any more medication and to ensure he takes the right dose. Grandma was very worried. She was also upset at Grandpa's caregiver who has never been asked to give Grandpa his pills. I understand her feelings. There is a big difference between taking it upon oneself to clean a house or going ahead and giving someone you are caring for pills that affect his or her life. Had the mistake been realized later, the consequences could have been horrible. Should Grandma and the caregiver establish a more clear routine of how is responsible for giving Grandpa his pills? Is the mistake too significant for Grandma to forgive giving her grounds to fire him? It's a tough call. Everyone makes mistakes. Some are bigger than others and hard to forget. Grandpa forgets the whole ordeal, which is probably for the best. Ignorance must really be bliss sometimes.


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Moms, mexican, and mobile devices...

I had a GOOD sleep. Everything is better with rest behind us. Yesterday was a productive day. My transportation worked out well. Less stress is always best, especially when travelling. The taxi drivers were all kind and happy to see me. I was pleased to see them too. Since I don't travel to my parents as often, I don't get to see the drivers either.

While waiting in my doctor's office, there was a pregnant mother trying to keep her two-year-old son occupied while her other son was being seen. The two-year-old had the flu and was understandably fussy. His mom distracted him with toys, pictures on her cell phone and trips to the water cooler. He was cute. His Mom seemed to know how to entertain him. When her other son came out of the office, she helped put on his jacket and bend to give him a kiss. The whole exchange was so simple and sweet. The woman was so busy, but knew the importance of taking a second to show her son that she loved him. Honestly, I don't envy that she has two little boys and one more on the way. I wouldn't even be able to handle one child. I have to hand it to the woman. She is a good Mom. During the fifeteen minutes that I watched her care for her son, I knew that.

The later part of my afternoon was spent drinking coffee and eating cake with Mom and Dad. My brother-in-law stopped in and my brothers and sister called all at once. My parents said they hadn't been so busy in weeks. We must have all been missing Mom and Dad. In the midst of my choking production yesterday, I forget to take my laundry home. I was too worried about not missing my bus and clearing the coffee from my throat. The Observer and I are meeting today. He lives close to my parents' house, so I will give my laundry to him and they will pick it up from his apartment. I wish I had remembered to bring my laundry yesterday, but there is always a way around things.

Mom had a craving for Mexican yesterday. We were going to get take-out from a new place in our area, but they were closed. Since Mom's heart attack, she is very conscientious about her diet. She thought Mexican food wasn't heart healthy. I try to show her that most food can be made healthier with simple substitutions. I was looking forward to Mexican too, especially hot sauce, but it wasn't meant to be. Dad picked up chicken salads from our other favourite local restaurant. As always, the salad was yummy. I felt good about meeting my goal of having salad every day.

Today I miss Mom and Dad. I won't see them this weekend. My cell phone is missing. I think it's at my parents' house. I miss Mom and Dad more than I miss my phone. People are more important than things.


Monday, April 20, 2009

Remembering good things...

The attendant who woke me up this morning and helped me get ready for today was very sweet. As she was leaving, I was taking my pills and drinking coffee. She asked if I needed anything else. I tried to say no, but I swallowed my pill and coffee the wrong way. A big production of me coughing and sputtering everywhere followed. The whole incident was embarrassing. My attendant felt bad and so did I. Seeing her was a bonus. When I'm choking, a compassionate person is a plus.

Today I have a doctor's appointment. Somehow I got the time mixed up and booked my ride an hour later than I should have. Over the weekend I called the office and tried to explain on their machine my mistake and see if they could fit me in early. The secretary called early and told me that the doctor could see me early. I got lucky. Flexibility is such a blessing. Life isn't always bendable, but I appreciate when it is.

I'm visiting with my parents after my appointment. It will be great to see them. My mind is trying to ignore the reality that I ate too many cookies yesterday. I was tired and wanted to eat sweets. I did, but I didn't need to stuff myself. I am trying to focus on seeing my family, the kind attendant and accommodating doctors' office. It's rainy too, but why say much about yucky weather? The last few days were enjoyable. Maybe I'm heavier, but life goes on. It's a bit like how the rain may come, but sunshine always returns, right?


Sunday, April 19, 2009

Underneath it all...

There's more sunshine today! Bring it on! Bright days make me so happy. Spring is the greatest, but summer is too. I went out right after breakfast today and bought a phone card for my cell phone. Having just switched over to a pay-as-you go-plan, I wasn't sure what my best option would be. I chose to buy one hundred dollars worth of airtime that won''t expire for a year. Hopefully I made the right choice. Cell phones and I don't really mesh. I'm not a heavy user. If I'm out, talking on the phone feels like a distraction from what is going on around me. My cell phone is handy for emergencies though.

The Observer visited me yesterday. We met for an early dinner at our favourite restaurant. There weren't many customers dinning. I think this was due to it being after lunch-time and too early for dinner for a lot of people. The Observer tried a new dish called Veal Marsala. He enjoyed it. That restaurant can't seem to go wrong with their food. Like our last visit there, I had a garden salad with shrimp and lots of french bread. My shrimp salad was as yummy as last time.

We came home and watched Murder ball on DVD. I thought the Observer would enjoy the film and he did. Since I cried the first time I watched it, I had a hunch he would shed a few tears too. He did. The Observer related to much of the unfairness the players felt over their disabilities and having limited freedom. Whenever we can relate to a movie, it's a worthwhile watch.

We ended the night by going to Starbucks. We talked about what could be underneath our individual "issues". Everyone has "issues" or things we focus on because we perceive them as problems. We often blame our frustrations on our issues when we are truly upset about deeper, less obvious matters. My issue is my weight. I tell myself that I'd be happier if I was skinny. Truthfully, if that was the answer, I would have achieved thinness a long time ago. Maybe I wish I was different or don't feel good enough. Whatever the reason, deep down, I know dropping a pant size will do little to change my deep-seated feelings of inadequacy. I need to do more than eat less, but I'm young and I have time to sort all of this out. For now, there's a beautiful day to enjoy. It doesn't matter what issues we have - it's ours.


Saturday, April 18, 2009

Fake laughing and fiber...

Not long ago, I felt a raindrop. It was a little one, so maybe it's not actually raining. The air feels humid. My attendant this morning has naturally curly air and it was a bit frizzy. I didn't tell her, but she must know. Hair or any observations about appearance are often not worth pointing out, because it's stating the obvious. If something is visible, we usually don't need to be told about it. There are rare times when we can't see what is right in front of us. In those instances, stating the obvious can be helpful, but it's hard to know whether or not someone already knows what we are about to tell them. For example, do we tell someone that he or she has left the window open? Do we remind a person that he or she needs to put the water jug back in the fridge? I guess it depends on what obvious matters we are referring to. If something involves one's safety or well-being, I wouldn't hesitate to mention or remind a person to do something like making sure a stove is turned off before leaving home. Frizzy hair is different.

On the bus yesterday, I met a passenger who told simple jokes throughout the entire trip. He found his own humour hilarious. I found it annoying, but tried to be polite without encouraging him. Our taxi driver kept saying how funny the passenger was. "Speak for yourself sir," I was thinking. It doesn't take much energy to fake a laugh. Since it made the joker feel good, I did. His heart was pure. Corny jokes aren't the worst thing to endure on a bus ride.

Last night I met the Observer at the mall. For the second time this week, we planned to see a movie, but it didn't happen. By the time we ate, all the films playing in our time frame passed. We browsed through the mall and went across the road to the grocery store. We had fun shopping. The Observer bought pure cranberry juice and Coke Zero. A good chunk of our shopping trip was spent in the cereal aisle. Seeing breakfast cereals we ate as kids was nostalgic. The Observer loves Frosted Flakes. I'm a Shred dies, Cheerios, or Life fan. I like bite size cereals that are easy to pick up. Nowadays, I eat All-Bran for the fiber benefits. The Observer surprised me with a box. I was touched. Fiber matters.

I was thinking of calling Mom and saying, "Guess what the Observer bought me? A diamond ring! Just joking...he bought me a box of All-Bran!" I'm not sure if she would find my joke funny. I do, but I learned on the bus yesterday that just because I find something funny doesn't guarantee everyone else will.


Friday, April 17, 2009

Splendid sunshine...

It's a GORGEOUS Friday. Spring is here. I went shopping yesterday. The second I came through the doors of the Gap, I saw a brown and pink shirt I really wanted. It was on the sale rack, which is an extra bonus in my books. The shirt wasn't in my size. I asked a salesperson to search for me, but no luck. I didn't really need a new shirt. A bought a birthday present for my brother. He likes shirts, so I bought him a gray-pull-over button down top. He'll like it, I think.

After breakfast this morning, I wheeled to the St. Lawrence Market. I picked up some discounted bell peppers and a Jamaican spicy beef patty for lunch. It's the first time I've ever had one. They look better than they taste. I won't buy one again, but I'm glad I fulfilled my curiosity. There are so many things to try at the market. It'd be silly to buy the same thing twice. It's a bit like the shirt I almost bought; I loved it, but I have enough shirts.

wherever you are, happy sunshine!


Thursday, April 16, 2009

In good company and mediocre food...

My head feels foggy. Maybe I need a coffee. It's my answer to most problems. Half the time, coffee cures all my ailments, so those odds are pretty high, right?

Last night I met the Observer at the mall. Our plan was to check out a movie, but I wasn't really in the mood. There were no movies that really appealed to me, so I suggested we go out for dinner. The mall has an old restaurant inside that serves mediocre pub food. It's been years since either the Observer or myself has been there. I figured it was a quieter place to sit and chat than the food court. Seeing as we were the only people in the restaurant, it was quieter at first, but not for long. Our waitress was sweet. She kept suggesting menu items and offering to help us. Bless her heart, but part of me wanted to scream, "Please leave us alone. It's not our fault that you have no other customers to keep you busy." I kept quiet. The Observer kept telling her to "take care." I had to smile, because I knew he really wanted to say "buzz off please sweetie".

Halfway through our nachos, we ran into an old friend of mine. She joined our table with her friend. Seeing her was fun. I met her neighbour who also had dinner with us, so getting to know her was fun too. A friend of a friend usually turns out to be a good person. The Observer was very gentlemanly and tolerant of all the female company. The waitress kept insisting I wanted chocolate. I didn't but suggested the Observer order a waffle to quiet her. He did, but it wasn't very tasty. At the end of our low quality meal, the waitress said that she "hoped to see us again soon." No one said much. It was good to see the Observer, bump into my friend and I enjoyed meeting her sweet neighbour. Our waitress had a good heart, even if she was a bit flighty. People probably say the same about me. I don't serve food, which is probably a good thing.


Wednesday, April 15, 2009


It's a beautiful, sunny hump day. This morning I should have gone outside after my breakfast, but I got caught up listening to music. When we first started dating, the Observer made me a mix CD of my favourite tunes. It's his best work yet. I am bias, because the entire CD is totally personalized to my taste, but the guy does know how to put together a good variety of music. The CD includes Black Or White by Michael Jackson, How To Save A Life by The Fray, Catch On It by Destiny's Child, The River by Live and a whole mix of other favourites. It's a happy, upbeat CD. When I listen to it, I think of the Observer.

Last night I watched the movie Murderball. The film is a documentary following the American wheelchair rugby team. The film followed young players who dreamed of winning gold. Many of the men had acquired spinal cord injuries and talked about how they came to terms with their new lives. One guy talked about having a consistent dream where he is flying. We all dream of being free, but some of us more than others, it seems. The game of wheelchair rugby is rough, dangerous, competitive and captivating. Murderball shows us that every person has a drive to be a part of team, to prove oneself, and to win. In every player, there is a burning fire to overcome. Maybe the reasons and methods for doing so vary, but we all need to find our team and play. Whether or not we compete sitting in a wheelchair is irrelevant.

I saw an interview with Leonard Cohen on Newsworld last night. Cohen is a classic musician. Now in his early seventies, he has much wisdom on aging. In Tower Of Song, Cohen writes, I ache in the places where I used to play. Perhaps Mr. Cohen knew the importance of playing while we are young and strong, just like the guys in Murderball.


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Easter rewind...

I hope you had a wonderful holiday. It was over so fast, wasn't it? Easter was fun. I stayed with my family on Sunday. I arrived a bit later than I wanted to, but at least I got there. My brother's new girlfriend was just on her way to her own family dinner when I showed up. There was enough time for me to wish her a "happy Easter" so that's what counts. My favourite part of Easter is eating off of china plates and drinking out of china cups. Mom only brings her china out for holidays. It's white with little blue and purple flowers. I think all china is pretty. If I have my own china, I will use it every day. I know people don't because China is expensive, but we only live once, right? Shouldn't every day be a reason to celebrate? What's the purpose of owing pretty china if it stays in a cabinet and never gets used? We need to live for today. It's all we have.

Our dinner was delicious. Mom cooked a turkey and we had lots of fresh vegetables. My sister made yummy cranberry sauce. I loved it so much, I could have drank it. The Observer loves cranberry sauce as much I do. As I drenched my plate full of the red, sugary sauce, I couldn't help but miss him. The Observer had a great Easter with his family. I was sorry that we didn't see each other, but it's impossible to be in two places at once.

Both of my brothers had to work so we rushed a little. Saying goodbye to them made me sad. I brought two bottles of carbonated water to have with dinner. Mom doesn't drink wine. As the cook and host, I wanted to bring a beverage Mom would like and feel good about. Mom loves any fizzy drink, so the carbonated water was a hit. The Observer's family drinks a lot of carbonated water, so that's where I got the idea.

I ate about four times what I do on an average day, but it was a special occasion, so I'm trying to let it go. Yesterday I picked up my new glasses. I can see the world much clearer. I feel fat, but with my new perspective of the world, I'm encouraging my eyes to be forgiving.


Saturday, April 11, 2009

The center...

I'm having a quiet day. It's sunny and bright, but still cold. I think it's the wind that causes unexpected chilliness. Good Friday with the Observer's family was, well, good! I met the Observer and his parents at church. I arrived first and a church volunteer kept wanting to put me right in the front room. I kept telling her that I would wait for the people I was planning to meet. I'm not Catholic. I don't know all the prayer customs, so I would probably look very lost sitting in the front row. God would laugh at me fiddling with my hands. After three different tries, I finally told the lady at the church that I really wanted to wait for my company and I would call her if I needed her. She took the hint.

Church was crowded and hot. The Observer kept trying to hold my hand. Church is a place where we should keep our hands to ourselves, I think. I gently moved in the opposite direction. Don't get me wrong: I love holding the Observer's hand, but mostly when we're alone. If there are too many people around, it feels silly. In a crowded room or at a big gathering, I'm usually sitting with the Observer, so I feel close to him. Hopefully he doesn't feel offended when I gently don't take his hand. The guy loves holding hands or any type of physical affection. He'd hug the window washer if he respected the man. More people ought to be like the Observer. The world would be a much warmer place. I'm a girl whose all about timing and privacy. I'm shy and am comfortable with physical contact behind closed doors. Between the Observer's extrovert ways and my reserved nature, I like to think we balance each other out.

After church, the Observer's Mom prepared an elaborate dinner. She always makes amazing meals on good Friday. The highlight is fish. We started with pasta and peas, a comforting common dish at the Observer's house, followed by crab legs, shrimp, lobster and scampi. I loved it all. It's fun to listen to everyone crack open shells. There was also green beans, potatoes, artichokes and salad. I ate more than anyone at the table. Having had coffee early, I was badly in need of caffeine, so I slurped up my espresso quickly. Dessert was lemon tarts, apple cake and cookies - all made by the Observer's Mom. Of course I tried every sweet on the table. By the end, I felt like I was going to burst all over the table, but every bite was worth it.

The Observer's three-year-old niece did my hair. She asked me if she could all day. Finally, before our last course, she was lifted by her mom and took her time brushing my hair. She put it in a few ponytails. I was impressed. For a three-year-old, that little lady can work a hairbrush.

Dad came to my apartment while I was out and painted my apartment. Opening my door late last night, I could sense that he had been there. My walls look clean and fresh. Dad is the best. I ate my first artichoke on Good Friday. I enjoyed peeling apart all of the layers. As I got to the heart, I thought about how most of what is important in life finds a place in the center of gravity, so it grounds us. Family belongs at the center of any holiday. Closing my eyes last night, sleep came quickly, and I knew it was due in part to how much I enjoyed the day. My Good Friday was great.


Friday, April 10, 2009

Good Friday!

Happy Good Friday!!!!!!!!!! It's a sunny bright day. I'm waiting for a ride to hide to church with the observer's family. I'm tired, but still happy. i couldn't sleep well yesterday. coffee late at night is still a problem. I'm excited for this weekend, though all the food makes me nervous. it's meant to be about family, though, right? i'm going to keep saying that and maybe I'll believe matters.

We had a great anniversary night. dinner was delicous. i had salad with shrimp and french bread and then a smooth frothy coffee. the observer had potato gnocchi which he loved. we came home and hung out watching Oprah until we went to Starbucks. The food was yummy and the company was as good it gets.

Wherever you are, have a Good Friday!


Thursday, April 09, 2009

I'm Grateful For...

* A good breakfast

* My four year anniversary with the Observer today

* Sunshine

* A flexible life

* My physical abilities

* my best friend


Living life up...

Easter is coming up soon! I love Easter. I think knowing that spring is around the corner makes me happy. Plus, any reason to gather with family and share a delicious meal is a good time. Again, I couldn't sleep well last night. I don't know why top notch sleep is so hard to come by these days. I am drinking more coffee, so maybe that has something to do with it. Coffee is just so tasty though.

My best friend and I met at Starbucks yesterday. It's been a while since we've seen each other. She has been travelling through Africa and India. That girl doesn't sit still for long. My friend takes full advantage of every opportunity life offers. I admire that in her and she inspires me to do the same. We did talk about her travelling adventures, but mostly focused on our lives now. Seeing her serves as a reminder that I am not alone when it come to the issues I am grappling with. We always connect in a way I have never shared with anyone else. Each person in our lives serves a different purpose, I suppose. It will probably be a while before I see my friend again. Life gets busy, but we manage to pick up exactly where we left out. It's comforting to be able to count on that understanding, especially when my friend is halfway across the world.

My visit with my friend was short as I met with my psysiotheraphist. We did stretching and that always relaxes me. He wanted to do some work using the new pole installed in my bedroom. Me - not so much, but I wasn't going to argue with the guy. His job after all is to keep me in tip top shape. The pole forces me to use muscles I haven't used in a while. Physically, it's probably good for me, but it's hard to tolerate. My psysiotheraphist knows this and was understanding. Afterwards, he asked if I was tired. "Ya think?" I joked. Exhausted and hungry, I ate two English muffins and salad for dinner. My body was craving carbohydrates. Needing to do something relaxing, I watched the series finale of ER. It was as good as all the other episodes. The curtain closed in high style.

With all of that activity yesterday, I ought to have slept better. Today is the four year anniversary of the day the Observer and I started dating. We are going to share a special meal and spend time together. I'm excited. I miss him. Maybe I was too excited to catch some high quality shut eye. Special days like anniversaries and holidays are sometimes worth a little lack of sleep. Life is meant for living, loving and celebrating, so that's what I'm going to do. Wherever you are, enjoy yourself!


Wednesday, April 08, 2009

The basics of happiness...

I couldn't sleep last night. You know when you just can't settle down enough for sleep to come? My mind was buzzing with things to remember. My last coffee of the day was around 7:30, so maybe caffeine was still in my system. As I usually do when I can't sleep, I watched TV. I flipped between different shows and can't think of anything that really caught my attention.

Much earlier in the evening, I watched a taped episode of Oprah featuring a financial expert giving advice on how to survive the recession. People who invested and saved properly talked about how they found themselves on the brink of poverty. I found their stories so sad. Life can change in a second and so can any one's financial security. A retired reverend admitted that his faltering finances were causing him to lose faith. The financial advisor reminded the reverend that faith and security comes from feeling grounded and loved, not from money or things. I keep repeating a phrase the advisor emphasised that said," We must stop looking at what we had and focus on what is around us now." It's advice that can be applied to many aspects of life outside of money. I am guilty of dwelling on broken relationships from way back. Too often we get stuck on the past, which doesn't get us far. Financial matters are pretty black and white, so I can see how all the people struggling because of the economy could find themselves obsessing over what they lost.

A few reccent Oprah episodes have repeated the idea that perhaps the recession is meant to show us how little we actually need to be happy. Searching for meaning in tough times is healing. Maybe the recession is here to show us that the secret to happiness is simplicity, but deep down, don't we already know that? Think of how strangers walk slower and are more likely to smile on the streets when there is sunshine. Think of how amazing a hot bath on a cold winter day feels. When we're thirsty, there's nothing better than gulping down a cool, fresh, clear glass of water. Who doesn't love hearing a great song and dancing? Sometimes a hearty piece of warm, fresh bread with a little butter tastes delicious. All of these things are basic and cost next to nothing and they bring pleasure. Sometimes less is more. The size of our bank account has little to do with how much we enjoy each day - at least I think so.


Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Moods, picky kids, and meaningful minutes...

My cloud of grumpiness has floated away for today. Hopefully it stays away for a while. I think I was really tired last night. Lack of sleep can sure affect moods. There are days when I wonder if I have a touch of bipolar disorder. Often I'll have a day when I feel happy and everything is going well, but the next day is not as positive. My moods tend to swing back and forth from being content to unhappy with little middle ground. Do you know what I mean? It's not like I am depressed. There are good parts of each day that I choose to focus on including coffee, the Observer, music, chats/visits home, friendly strangers, my lively neighbourhood, helpful attendants and my freedom. All of these things make me happy. On satisfactory days, I try to remember them.

My former boyfriend had severe bipolar for the latter part of our relationship. One day he would be talking a mile a minute and the next he would be stone silent. Being around him was challenging and scary. I felt sorry for him because I knew he couldn't help his mood swings. My former boyfriend's depression caused distance between us that eventually led to us parting ways. It's difficult to maintain closeness with someone who has trouble talking. After seeing someone with such a severe example of moods, it's hard not to look for the same issues in myself. I know I am not depressed, but I try to keep my moods in check. Being in touch with myself is important. Moods do fluctuate, but I hope mine stay relatively stable.

I watched a interactive health show last night featuring an expert pediatrician. Parents called in with questions. One Mom complained that her two-year-old daughter was a picky eater and sometimes wouldn't eat. The paediatrician asked the Mom who currently held the power. The Mom said she held the power. The pediatrician disagreed and said that the daughter had the power right now. He explained that somehow the mother allowed the daughter to be picky by giving her the foods she knew the daughter would eat. After time the little girl realized that being selective paid off. According to the pediatrician, the mother needed to gain power back by letting the little girl sit at the table for about fifteen minutes. If she choose not eat at mealtimes, her plate would be removed until the next meal. If the daughter got hungry, she could have a nutritious snack. The doctor said that over time, the little girl would learn to eat what was cooked at mealtimes. He emphasized that children won't starve themselves. I liked the doctor's advice. If I am ever dealing with a picky little eater and they won't eat, I'll remember to not force the issue and have a healthy snack on hand.

My Dad called this afternoon. He was surprised I picked up the phone. We had a quick chat and he told me he missed me. I miss him too. I'm glad I picked up and it was his voice on the other end of the phone. Minutes later, I was crossing a busy intersection and bumped into a former co-worker of the Observers. Many of the Observer's co-workers are great. The guy I bumped into is very friendly. I always enjoy seeing him. He's just good. Since I was waiting on a light to change, we couldn't really stop and chat. He knew I was cold. Both talking to my Dad and seeing the Observer's old co-worker made my day. Both interactions were minutes long, but made the cold, gray day brighter. Maybe I'll be grumpy tomorrow, but I'll tell myself that it will pass. Everything does. We just have to wait. The little girl who is the picky eater will hopefully learn to eat what's in front of her or wait until she's hungry enough. Hungry doesn't wait.


Monday, April 06, 2009

Grumpy on a yucky Monday...

I feel a bit yucky. There's nothing really bothering me today. I'm just not the happiest of campers. It's wet and cold outside. My day was spent inside making phone calls. All day my attendants have been kind, which ought to make me happy. I have had two cups of coffee and Chai tea and enjoyed them all. All things considered, I have no reason to be grumpy. I just am.

Yesterday I started reading a booked called The Wealthy Barber by David Chilton. Chilton is a financial advisor who made a name for himself by providing practical money saving advice in the Wealthy Barber. I'm only on page five, but so far, it's a light story. Maybe I'll read more later and it'll talk about how nothing can prevent the average person from having the odd day where nothing is all that great. Every day is not destined to be great. Some days turn out horribly. That's not how today shaped up, so I ought to be grateful. It's Monday and a fresh start, which is OK.


Sunday, April 05, 2009

Bright bumps...

Today is sunny and bright. I finished reading The Shack this morning. Getting to the end took me a while. It was kind of mystical, deep and spiritual. I don't usually read those kind of books, but I stuck with this one. Mom loaned it to me. I thought she enjoyed it. Talking to her this morning on the phone, she confessed she couldn't quite make it through The Shack. I understood what she meant, but I'm glad I persevered. The story was inspiring, even though it was a bit hard to process. It's good to read books that are outside the realm of our usual choices once in a while. I like to think doing so stretches our brains.

The Observer and I watched the movie Changeling yesterday. The film is about a mother (Angelina Jolie) whose son gets abducted. A boy presumed to be her son, is returned to her care, but it is a different boy. When the mother tries to tell authorities the truth, she is placed in a psychiatric faculty. I won't say much more as I don't want to spoil the ending. It's an intense film with some disturbing parts. I left the room a few times, but saw the majority of Changeling. Angelina Jolie does a fantastic job portraying a distraught mother tirelessly searching for her son. She refuses to submit to authorities who insist they found her son and that she is unstable for not believing them. I enjoyed the parts not involving abuse or cohesion. If you are sensitive to violence, you might want to leave the room as I did. Changeling is an inspiring movie none-the-less.

After watching the movie, we went to the mall and had sandwiches. There wasn't any reason to stay at the mall, so we partook in our Saturday night custom of browsing the music store. I heard a pop, boy band tune that just isn't my style. For some reason, I had the urge to dance, so I moved my arms and legs around as best as I could. The Observer was laughing at me.

A new waffle store opened on a busy street. The intoxicating scent of homemade Belgian waffles drifts through the busiest area in the city. It's such a tantalizing smell. Unfortunately the waffle store is small and inaccessible. The Observer's friend told me they sometimes give out free samples. I begged the Observer to ask for some. With lots of coaxing from me, he did and the owner came out and handed us each samples. I got lucky and was passed two pieces of vanilla waffle. Not surprisingly, the piece of waffle I tasted was yummy. Truthfully, I'm not a big fan of dessert waffles, but I was touched by the owner's kindness. I am determined to give the store my business. They deserve it. I am going to call ahead and give them a heads up that I am coming and will need a waffle brought out and my money collected. I hope I see the same kind employee. I want him to know that I appreciated his going a little beyond the call of duty. He brought some sweetness to my night.

The Observer and I finished the evening with coffee at Starbucks. Saturday night wouldn't be the same without a stop there. The man who took our coffee order was very friendly. Just as we were about to go, a man approached me for money. Panhandlers in Starbucks are rare, so I was surprised. I sternly said no. I like having coffee in peace. The world outside the coffee shop is so full of people, action, noise, and life. If I'm going to sit and drink coffee, I feel being asked for money distrubes the peace I am striving for. Call me unfair, but it's how I feel.

Imperfection exists in everything. Books have good and bad elements, movies are both disturbing and inspirational, stores are inaccessible but offer exceptional products and service, and coffee shops are great places to feel peace with the occasional interruption. Life isn't a straight line. There are bumps, but we keep moving and find pathways and people to keep us balanced.


Saturday, April 04, 2009

A great night from start to finish...

A police officer just helped me get across the road. There is construction on a busy downtown street that I regularly cross. It's windy outside and my hands got very cold, making it hard to steer well. I had to go down a steep-looking ramp and didn't completely trust my new controller on my wheelchair. The officer was kind and I was grateful for his help. I was so cold, I could barely talk. Hopefully the policeman understood me saying, "Thank you." Normally I'd be embarrassed to be escorted across the road by a person in uniform, but I really needed help. Tipping over on a busy street is not worth it.

Yesterday I met my good friend at Union Station. Upon my friend's suggestion, we broke our usual tradition of staying local and having coffee and sandwiches, and decided to check out a little underground shopping center. Being such an adventure seeker, I was excited to go exploring. It took us a while to find the underground mall, but once we did, we were pleased with ourselves. Most of the shops served coffee or were stores connected to a chain. We spent a long time in The Body Shop. Personally, I'm not big on creams and lotions, because I have super sensitive skin and experimenting with the wrong product could be bad. The Body Shop did have a new cherry body butter that smelled sweet. Body butter feels like you're slathering yourself in butter. It's concentrated, thick, goopy and greasy. It might smell good, but I don't enjoy using it. Butter belongs on toast or in baking - not on my body. The cherry body butter might have smelled good, but I knew buying something for the smell alone would be silly.

Visiting with my friend was fun. Her Mom is having an operation to remove a tumor from her abdomen soon. Understandably, my friend is worried, but didn't say much. If she wanted to talk about her Mom she would have, so I didn't say much about it. We wished each other a Happy Easter and exchanged treats. After saying goodbye, I took a chance and stopped by a restaurant where I knew the Observer was having dinner with his friend. As luck would have it, I bumped into the Observer's friend and I surprised the Observer as they left the restaurant. Everything fell into place. Maybe fate was apologizing for the rain all day. We all went to Starbucks and caught up. I was happy that the Observer got to have some one-on-one time with his best friend and that I got see them both for the end of their night which happened to include talking while consuming my favourite beverage. All good nights include stellar company and coffee - if you ask me.


Friday, April 03, 2009

April rain...

It's raining buckets out there. We're getting our fill of April showers. As long as it's not snow, I'm OK. A little rain is kind of refreshing. I am pretty wet, but I will dry. Driving my wheelchair in the pouring rain has never bothered me too much. Moving isn't too challenging - just wet. The beginning of my trip today was kind of fun. The feeling of rain hitting my face is a sensation that I haven't experienced in a few months. Getting soaked is not something I would want to happen every day, but once in a while, it's good for the soul. We have no control over the weather, so we might as well enjoy whatever comes our way.

Yesterday I had a pole installed in my bedroom. Let me be clear - it's not a stripper pole; it's to help me stand and transfer from my bed to wheelchair. My physiotherapist came to try it out with me. He brought a colleague who knows more about the equipment. Just like my physiotherapist, she was soft-spoken and sweet. The pole isn't quite ready to use regularly yet, but it should be helpful once it's all set. My biggest concern was being able to see the TV in my bedroom, because the pole was close to blocking my view. My physiotherapist moved my TV and tested out the view. I could see the screen easily last night. The angle is different, but I will adjust. If the pole allows me more freedom and mobility, a little change is my TV watching positing is worth it.

After my visit with my phsysiotheraphist, I went to Salad Creations, a new salad bar down the street. Customers can customise their salads and choose from about forty menu items. As a promotion, the store sent me a coupon for a free salad. I had a bowl of spinach with dried cranberries, sauteed zucchini, roasted red peppers and chopped walnuts with raspberry dressing. The salad was served in retro-style red bowls with bread sticks resembling chopsticks. The presentation of the salad made me smile. The staff at Salad Creations were helpful. I enjoyed my accessorized greens, but I know I could easily make the salad at home. Getting a free salad was sweet. I'm a salad lover, so the restaurant scored points with me for offering up that bonus. I'll go back because one can't go wrong with a good salad.

Hopefully the rain will quickly pass. I'm not complaining, but I hope we get a rainbow out of these showers.


Thursday, April 02, 2009

Hold my hand...

Today is beautiful, sunny and spring-like. If it wasn't such great weather, the computer issues I am having may be frustrating me more than they are. I spent the last hour working on my sister's wedding shower invitations only to find out that nothing I did saved. Oh technology! The good thing is, I can start again and now I have practice, but it's still a pain.

Dad came with me yesterday to pick up a form for new glasses. We went to a run-down government building filled with unstable looking people. I was glad Dad was standing beside me. We went to Swiss Chalet for dinner and had coffee back at my apartment. I enjoyed our visit and am now closer to getting my new glasses.

At the mall the other day, I was sitting in the food court waiting for the Observer. A baby that looked about two years old, kept crying. His wailing made me sad. His mother carried him over to me and said, "He just wants to hold your hand for a second." I took his tiny hand in mine and he stopped crying. The whole interaction lasted a minute, but I'll never forget that baby. I hope he grows up to not be too frustrated by computer files that don't save, that he enjoys beautiful spring days, that he gets to feel safe with his parents in places that aren't the safest and that his mom or dad takes me out for dinner and coffee. I hope all these things bring him the same happiness they bring me.


Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Damp, sleep, and a headache...

It's a rainy Wednesday. Outside feels damp, dark and dreary. We must be having pre-spring weather. My apartment felt humid when I woke up this morning. My bones feel a bit achy and sore. I'm getting old. Sleep was hard to come by. Maybe I had too much caffeine. Since buying chai tea, I've been having a cup each night. It's a ritual that I really look forward to, but maybe it's not worth losing sleep over. I discovered that the "sleep" button on my remote automatically shuts off my TV at half hour, one hour and two hour intervals. I've known about this feature for a while, but didn't utilize it until now. I feel better about waking up with the TV off.

I hung out with the Observer at the mall yesterday. Our plan was to see the new animated movie Monsters And Aliens, but timing and our transportation didn't correspond. We spent a few hours chatting. The Observer treated me to a coffee from Tim Hortons. Since it's Roll Up The Rim, I like to go to Tim Hortons as much as possible. My cup yesterday was not a winner, but my coffee was extra good.

I almost left the mall forgetting that I had the Observer's book and toque from our family dinner in my back-pack. The Observer remembered. The taxi driver was kind and helped us exchange the hat and book. The driver rolled down the window so the Observer could wave goodbye to me. He was thoughtful. During the ride home, a headache came over me, but I tried not to focus on it. By the time I got home, it was worse. I drank water, took ibuprofen, had some tea and yogurt, and watched TV for the rest of the night. I'm lucky that my headaches come on strong, but don't last more than a day. If we have to have a headache, at least some are short-lived. There's a joke that says, "Family members can be headaches that last for ages. Thankfully, I don't have those kind - just a little pain that can be easily cured with painkillers and rest. If only life's other ailments were so easy to cure...