Sunday, May 31, 2009

The little bits of sweetness that matter...

Today is windy. Outside looks sunny and warm, but it's cold out on the streets. I'm a bit of a sourpuss right now. I woke up at around four 'o clock in the morning with a gassy, gurgling stomach. Having loaded up on laxatives, I can't say I was surprised by this, but it still wasn't fun. My attendant last night was a person who I don't see often. She is sweet, attentive and wants to do her job right. People like her have my respect. My attendant took her time ensuring I was comfortably positioned before she left me to fall asleep. When my caregivers realize the importance of me feeling comfortable (or anyone else who can't turn themselves over in bed) I really appreciate their concern. Being stuck in an awkward position and not being able to move is frustrating beyond words, especially when valuable sleeping minutes are ticking by. My night was rough, but at least a compassionate person helped me out.

The Observer came to see me yesterday. I enjoyed our visit. We both had to go and buy bus tokens. The cashier I purchased them from was very helpful. I was nervous as I have met a persnickety, frowning cashier at the same grocery store many times. For a while, I stopped shopping there just to avoid seeing her. Thankfully, I didn't need to kill the cashier with kindness yesterday. Maybe it was her day off. Store employees like the cantankerous cashier make me appreciate the smiling, accommodating workers. It takes all kinds to make the world go round, right?

After we bought our bus tokens, I stopped by the dollar store to buy gum. Lately, I've been addicted to assorted fruit flavoured Chicklets. They are sweet and colourful. Our original plan was to see a movie. Since the Observer and I hadn't spent any quality time together in the last week, I suggested we go to the Pickle Barrel for dinner. The Observer LOVES the Pickle Barrel and I knew dinner out would give us time to catch up. We didn't have to wait long. The restaurant staff recognize us which must help speed up the wait. Service at the Pickle Barrel is always first rate. Having eaten a big lunch, I wasn't very hungry. The Observer ordered his favourite appetizer - spring rolls. He loves the TeX Mex kind, but ordered avocado spring rolls instead knowing I liked them. I was touched and my spring roll hit the spot. The Observer's main course was beef and mushrooms on a bed of root vegetables. He enjoyed his healthy, seasonal meal. I had lemon slices for dessert and they satisfied my sweet tooth.

Of course, we HAD to visit Starbucks. Our dates wouldn't be the same without a visit to the bean brewery. I ordered a decaf thinking I would get a better sleep. No such luck, but tonight will be better. The coffee the Starbucks bar employee brought me was frothy and smooth. I commented on how yummy it looked as he passed me the cup. The Observer teased me, saying I was flirting. Yes, the Starbucks server was cute but any guy, attractive or not, who can serve me a coffee just the way I like it deserves credit. Where there is good coffee, there is joy.

Our last stop was the drugstore where the Observer needed cranberry pills. At dinner, I asked him to slip packets of Splenda and Equal in my purse. If we're paying for our meal, what's wrong with taking a few little packets of artificial sweetness home? He looked at me coyly and asked "Where's your purse?", as if we were about to rob a bank. As soon as he said it, we cracked up. Maybe you had to be there, but it was funny. I suppose the Observer feels naughty stealing sweetener, because he bought me a whole box. I started tearing up. He's the best.

Last night I watched a telethon talking about children with cancer. It was so sad. My stomach hurts today, but it will pass and my coffee was extra sweet this morning. Compared to the stories of the children on TV, I really don't have much to complain about, do I?

- OCG

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Simply delicious...

Last night I watched the movie Serendipity. It's an old romantic comedy that always lifts my spirits. The film is about a couple who meet for one night, realize they share a deep connection and decide to leave it up to fate to bring them together or allow them to continue their current relationships. The film is unrealistic and slightly cheesy, but I love it. The Observer gave me Surendipity for Valentine's Day, which makes me love the movie even more. Serendipity means "leaving life to chance" or "trusting fate." The word is also the name of an ice cream shop selling frozen hot chocolate sundaes in the film. The Observer loves frozen hot chocolate from Second Cup. Maybe there's fate stepping in here. Actually, perhaps frozen hot chocolate is simply yummy and I enjoy the odd chick flick. It's OK to analyse life, but not all the time. Sometimes we need to let life be or take things for what they are. I'm quite certain that a frozen hot chocolate sundae is delicious. It doesn't matter why or how we eat it - the dessert is a beautiful invention. Isn't that the only thing that really matters?

- OCG

Friday, May 29, 2009

Happy day....

The sun is shinning. It's Friday. People are smiling. Life is good. This morning I went to the St. Lawrence Market. I wanted to get a few loaves of bread and some bagels for my family. If I'm being totally honest, I also wanted to make the trip because it's fun and I always try a different food each time. My sister got me drinking coffee from a store run by these kind, helpful people. The coffee is imported from all over from Europe. Of all the different types, my favourite has to be from Peru. Now, I've had my share of coffee over the years. I enjoy almost any kind, but this coffee rises to the top of my list of favourites. It's rich, dark, and bold. It's a crowded little store, but the cashier helped me get my money and coffee. She was sweet. I enjoyed every sip of my coffee. It tasted like gold as it filled my mouth. I spilled a little on my way out, but I drank most of it. My jeans smell like coffee, but it's OK.

Fresh figs were on sale at a bulk food store. I bought four. They were sweet and chewy. Figs aren't a fruit I grew up eating, except in fig newton bars and that isn't really a true dose of the fruit. I started eating them thanks to the Observer's family as they serve them for dessert when they are in season. I like to buy foods that are a bit of novelty at the market. There is so much to choose from that it would be silly to try the same food twice. Coffee, however, is an exception. All be back from another cup of Persian java next week. If it spills on my jeans again, I won't mind. There is no better perfume than the smell of coffee.

The Observer is spinning the tunes at a youth dance tonight. He is nervous, but he always does an awesome job. Music and people are his two passions and he merges them well. Hearing the Observer talk about his love for tune spinning reminds me that if we love what we do, those around us benefit too. Hopefully he'll look around at the roomful of happy, dancing, adolescents and give himself a little credit for organizing a fun night. He deserves props. There's no tune spinner like the Observer. Happy spinning!

- OCG

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Thank you...

About an hour ago, I got hit by a car. I am OK, but a bit shaken. I was crossing the street and a jeep started backing up. I must have froze or things happened too fast for me to react. The jeep banged into the side of my wheelchair. There was a loud thud. No part of the jeep made contact with my body - only my wheelchair. I am a very lucky girl. I stuck around to let the driver know I was alright. He took a few minutes getting out of his car. He was kind and asked why I was wet. It's been raining all day, so I thought it was a strange question. I told the man where I live, so he knew I came a far distance. Maybe he was in shock like me.



Everything happened so fast. I saw the truck coming my way and then I got jostled. My power wheelchair is easily two hundred and fifty pounds. When I'm sitting it, my wheelchair is probably unmovable. I think that's what saved me. I am grateful I didn't tip over onto the sidewalk. I would have been injured for sure. I am grateful that all I got was a good shake-up. Many of my friends in wheelchairs have been hit by cars and haven't been so lucky. God must have been watching over me. Thank you. I am glad to be alive. I am glad that I told my Mom and the Observer that I loved them this morning. I am glad that I listened to good music on the radio and that I thanked my attendants for their help. I am glad that I enjoyed my coffee. I am glad that I waited to speak to the driver of the car. I am glad that getting hit by the jeep has made me more cautious when crossing streets. I am glad that I won't take safety or time for granted. I am glad that I am able to write about getting hit by the car and that you are reading my blog.

- OCG

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Lonely, but grateful for peace..

Well, I don't have to worry about going to the dentist for another nine months. I love that! There are a few wee cavities in my mouth that will be watched, but no reason for fillings yet. Here's hoping my teeth behave. Cross your fingers - or maybe I should say, grit your teeth. Lying in the reclining dentist chair was oddly relaxing because I am exhausted. Being the first night that my brother, his wife, and their golden retriever, Brophy moved in, no one slept well. The two dogs of the house had trouble settling down for sleep. They hissed, howled and hopped most of the night. I know my parents' dog, Riley will adjust. She needs time. Everyone does, but it will be OK.



The Observer surprised me with a silver necklace with my name on it yesterday. He's something I tell you. I joked that, when he is eighty years old and forgets my name, I will point to the necklace to remind him who I am. Who knows? Maybe that will actually happen. Thinking about it makes me laugh.



I am a bit sad to be back at my apartment alone. On the upside, I am tired and at least I won't have to listen to the dogs work out their differences tonight. Being the sole lady of the house often means a peaceful sleep, which is a bonus.



- OCG

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Smileless for today...

I am a bit grumpy today. I feel like staying quiet because I have nothing pleasant to say. There is no reason for me to be unhappy. I just am. The Observer and I are meeting in a few hours. We will probably run into mutual friends. Once I am around friends, my mood will lift. That's the beauty of friends. They bring out the best in us. The sun is out, but it's a bit chilly. I got up a little earlier than usual this morning. My attendant was kind. I don't like how she did my ponytail. She left these annoying little wisps of hair hanging down. Oh well, hair is not a major problem.

My brother, his wife and their big silly dog, Brophy move into my parents' for three months starting tonight. They bought a new house, but it's not ready yet. Everyone will need to adjust, but I think Mom and Dad will enjoy the company. Having two dogs and a cat in the house will be different, but my family loves animals, so it should work out. I will get to see the big, happy, extended family since I am staying at my parents' house tonight so that I can make a dentist appointment tomorrow. I'm not looking forward to going. No one likes visiting the dentist, do they? At least I will have some shinny white teeth and maybe, by tomorrow, my smile will be back.

- OCG

Monday, May 25, 2009

A happy tired...

Well, my weekend was jammed with friends, family, laughing, celebrating and lots of love. My sister's bridal shower on Saturday was a big hit. Mom looked beautiful and such a proud mother of the bride. Hosting the shower was a big job for her, but she enjoyed herself. The night before, Mom looked exhausted, but was up at the crack of dawn to get ready. I had trouble sleeping from all of the anticipation, so I can only imagine how Mom felt.



Hiring a caterer was a big step for Mom. All of our close family and friends agreed that it must have been a tough decision for Mom, but one that was best for her in the long-run. The food was fresh and dainty just as Mom wanted. Shower guests went back for seconds which was a good sign. I had a third helping, but don't tell.



When it came time to open gifts, I was a bit nervous. My sister is very uncomfortable being the spotlight, but she was calm and gracious. We presented her with money to help buy a patio set that she wants. Shower guests were asked if they wanted to contribute and many were very generous. Handing her the financial gift, I told her that she could sit on her patio and remember all the kind people who attended her shower and helped her savour the sunshine in style. I know my sister will.



Later in the day, Mom drove me to my sister's bachlorette party. Mom's close childhood friend came with us. Mango margaritas were on tap. Sipping a virgin cocktail, Mom sent me into a crazy laughing attack when she said, she couldn't "get it up." We offered her a straw shaped like male genitalia, but she didn't seem to want one.



Exhausted from no sleep the night before, I left early before the party moved to the bar. Hopefully my sister understood. My sleep was five star quality. I didn't want to wake up the next day, but was looking forward to seeing the Observer at a 50th Wedding anniversary for someone in his family. Dad dropped off my clothes early. In all the activity, I forgot to get them packed. Our visit was short and sweet because the taxi was waiting for me. I had time to kill once I arrived at the Wood bridge transfer point, so I had a coffee and woke up. It was relaxing. The taxi came a bit early. When we pulled up to the banquet hall, I got nervous when I saw a huge flight of stairs. Thankfully, there was a piece of plywood that served as a makeshift ramp. It was rickety, but it worked. As the first guest there, I met the family hosting the event and did my best to help. As people arrived, I introduced myself and was greeted with the same sweetness my own family shows. The gentleman celebrating fifty years of marriage came to me and said he thinks of me as family, because I am so important to the Observer. How sweet is he?

The Observer arrived right before the meal was served. I think he was worried that I would be uncomfortable, but I have been around long enough to know people. We sat with the Observer's cousins and their children. I love the cousin I sat beside. She's sweet but has her own mind - like me. The food was yummy. I ate like a horse. The entree included sweet potato, which is not customary at Italian weddings. The change was refreshing. The Observer's favourite cousin travelled from New York and the Observer loved seeing him. Those times make huge gatherings of family matter.

Once I got home, I called my best friend. I've been meaning to call since learning her mother was in hospital. My friend sounded so drained and worried. Her mother's troubles are still undiagnosed. I tried to listen and be encouraging, but I wish I could make it all better. My friend said I sounded tired. She was right, but unlike her exhaustion, mine was happy tired. I hung up grateful to be fatigued from too much fun, and not stress. I wish my friend and I could trade places just for a day. She needs a break. My shoulders are broad. I can carry a heavier load, especially for my best friend.

- OCG

Friday, May 22, 2009

A party-packed weekend ahead...

Remember how I went to the St. Lawrence Market yesterday? Right in the middle of one of the city's busiest intersections, I noticed a GO Transit truck that looked an awful lot like the one my Dad drives. For the past few years, he has worked as a courier for GO Transit. The truck stopped quickly in front of the intersection and for a second, I thought I would get hit. Something felt odd about the whole encounter, but I shrugged it off and went home.



After lunch, I got a message from my Dad saying he saw me on the street while driving his truck, but he couldn't stop and chat because of all the people. His message made me smile. We live in a big city, but coincidences like those make it feel smaller.



Tomorrow is my sister's wedding shower and bachlorette party. Mom is hosting it at our hose. She has done most of the work. I ought to have organized more. She is an expert hostess. I think she has enjoyed planning the shower. I am a bit worried that the whole celebration has been stressful on her, but she seems to be holding up OK. Mom hired a caterer to make fancy finger sandwiches and fruit and vegetable trays, so hopefully that will relieve some of her responsibility. My sister is reserved and likes to have a modest presence in a crowd. Since the shower is in very familiar surroundings, I hope she feels comfortable. Her bachelorette party is right after the shower. Everyone is meeting at her house for dinner and drinks. Mom is coming too, which is sweet. The plan is to head to a bar later. I'm not sure if I will participate in the bar component, but I'm keeping an open mind. Drinking isn't something I do often, but I do enjoy celebrating special events, especially for those I love.

On Sunday, the Observer's family has a 50th wedding anniversary party in Woodbridge. I was invited, and will be celebrating with them. It's a big weekend for parties, but it's fun. As an old lady, I'll be grateful for this weekend of special memories. Maybe part of the reason I don't drink is so that I can remember these times and smile.

Here's to living, loving and making the most of each celebration.

- OCG

Thursday, May 21, 2009

sunshine...

The weather outside is wonderful again. I'm digging it! This morning I went to the St. Lawrence Market to buy bagels for my family. When the weather is right, the market is the first place I want to go. I wandered around for a bit before going to the bagel kiosk. Being lunch time, there were lots of students and people sitting on the patio outside. The market has a kiosk that is famous for Italian sandwiches and I see half of the crowd eating them. They must be something. The market has vendors selling funky coloured clothing and jewelery. Ironically, those vendors don't draw as big of a crowd as the ones selling food. I suppose our noses burn a whole in our pocket when it comes to food. I bought myself a blueberry bagel along with the two dozen I purchased for my parents. It was sweet and wholesome and didn't make a mess. I think I got sunburned coming home, but it was worth soaking in the sunshine.

- OCG

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Naughty shopping on sunny city streets...

I took advantage of today's beautiful weather and wandered around the city for the afternoon. My sister's bachelorette party is on Saturday, so I wanted to pick up a few fun and naughty favours and games. I stopped into The Stag Shop on Younge and bought some dirty straws, a keepsake book, and a "How Well Do You Know The Bride Game?" We probably won't use everything, but at least it's there. Being in a store where shoppers must be at least eighteen years of age was a new, embarrassing experience for me, but I did it for my sister. I asked the owner what games and toys are currently popular, so she gave me suggestions. Part of me thinks that she ripped me off because she said there was a "buy three items, get the third one free" deal. I bought four items and nothing appeared free on my bill. When I tried to return one game, she told me there was a "no return policy." My mistake was not inquiring about returns before buying the things I did. Oh well....my sister is only going to be married once, so it's unlikely that I'll have a need to venture into that store again.



As I left with my naughty purchases, I had a craving for frozen yogurt. I tried green tea flavour. It was a pretty sage green colour. The taste was slightly bittersweet and refreshing with a hint of vanilla. The employees were helpful. Eating my frozen yogurt took so long, but I enjoyed every bite. I could never order a large cup, because the yogurt would melt before I finished. After the experience in the Stag Shop, I needed to cool off.

- OCG

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Love in digital....

Well, May 2-4 long weekend has come and gone quickly. Long weekends often seem shorter. Maybe it's because we are expecting them to feel long. My parents came to visit me yesterday. On Mondays, I sleep in late. When the phone rang just before I was due to get out of bed, I almost didn't answer, but something told me I should. I'm glad I did. It was Mom calling to say she and Dad were on their way to my apartment to drop off laundry. When my attendant walked into my apartment, I gave her a heads up that Mom and Dad were on their way. We were finishing up drying my hair when there was a knock at the door. I felt bad for my attendant who had to rush. After introducing her to my parents, they seemed to enjoy chatting. Mom finished drying my hair when Dad dissembled my end table. A few weeks ago, I accidentally knocked off a table leg, so the table was a bit off balance. Dad put it in the closet until he can find another leg. Without the end table, there is much more room in my apartment, but now it almost looks too empty. For Christmas, I got a digital picture frame from Mom and Dad. Since I had a lot of presents to bring home after the holidays. I held off taking the picture frame because I knew that it needed to be set up. Dad brought it and set it up in my sun room. He organized the pictures to include just the right mix of family and the Observer. It meant so much to me that Dad took the time to think about what pictures I would want on the frame. I loved watching them all. The Observer commented that the frame is a good reminder of home. He's right. The digital picture frame includes everybody and everything that matters to me.



The Observer came over later and we went to the Pickle Barrel. Before we left for dinner, I was very hungry, so I ate salmon Mom left in the fridge. Once at the restaurant, I wasn't too hungry, but I still ordered a warm spinach salad. It was yummy and I wasn't overstuffed. The Observer had mini hamburgers as a starter and beef with rice and buck choy as an entree. The soy sauce in his entree stained his mouth, which made me smile. The weather was a bit cool, but still enjoyable. Our waitress was very sweet. A kind waitress has as much or more of an impact than the food when it comes to an overall dinning experience if you ask me. We went to Starbucks and an off duty coffee server kindly helped us out.



I hope the Observer is happy in our relationship. Lately I am wondering if he would rather be friends and that he is afraid of hurting me. He said he feels like we are stuck. Hearing that makes me sad. I love the Observer. We have such fun together. Imaging things changing between us is very painful. The Observer is my best friend and the middle of my life. All I have to do is turn on my digital picture frame to know that. Since I do love him, I want him to be happy. When it comes down to it, love is wanting the other person to be happy.



- OCG

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Wedding tales...

Tonight I went to a wedding with the Observer. His long-time co-worker tied the knot. The groom is Portuguese, so there was tons of people, loud music and lots of food. The groom was glowing with happiness. The Observer had a great time. He always enjoys himself around his crazy, fun co-workers. They are a wild bunch, but I always have a good laugh around them. The wedding menu included fish, which I loved and the Observer skipped. As the non-drinker in the crowd, I was outnumbered, but the Observer drank enough for both of us. Hopefully, he isn't sick today or tomorrow. He had fun and we only live once, right? Maybe he'll regret all those rum and cokes later, but he was smiling when I left...we'll see how high the Observer's alcohol tolerance is. He's tall, so here's hoping height saves his stomach.

- OCG

Friday, May 15, 2009

Home for a bit...

Right now I'm visiting the Observer at his apartment. We're watching the Cosby Show on DVD. It's clean, classic comedy at its best. We had dinner. The Observer sweetly had soup, crackers and fruit ready. He knew that I would enjoy the light super. The fact that he planned dinner to suit my preferences means a lot.

I stayed with my family last night. Watching TV with Mom is always special, even though she usually falls asleep. I like being near her.

This morning I had my hair cut and coloured. I don't feel much different, but it takes a few days to notice the change. Mom and I went to a Mexican restaurant for lunch afterwards. The food was OK, but it was more important to me to spend time with Mom.

I'm running out of steam. Tonight I am going back to spend the night with Mom and Dad. I don't often spend so long at home, but it's good to see Mom and Dad. Watching the Cosby Show and staying with my parents reminds me that there's no place like home.

- OCG

Thursday, May 14, 2009

A not-so-great night turned around...

Last night was not my best. By afternoon I felt yucky, tired and out of sorts. My energy was depleting. July 11th is my sister's wedding, so I spent some time looking at bridesmaid dresses online. There were lots of choices and many I liked. I am relieved. It's better to have too much to chose from than too little, right? The style of dress that I wore for my brother's wedding made me feel very pretty, so I'll probably go with a similar type. It's not often that I feel beautiful, but when I do, I don't forget it. My sister wants the bridesmaid dresses to be black and white. She's all about classic looks. Being classy herself, this only makes sense. Her wedding will be a bright spot in the summer.

After dinner I was craving an apple. I had bought a huge, premium, imported, juicy red one the night before. It was juicy and delicious. The price was $1.50, but it was worth every penny. Since it had been so good, I wanted to buy another apple for dessert. Going back to the same market, I saw the same cashier from the previous night. This time, however, I went with a golden delicious apple. It cost half the price of the first apple and was half as delicious. We get what we pay for, I guess.

Coming home and needing cheering up, I turned on Oprah watched her show featuring Dane Cook, Monique, and George Lopez. Since all three are comedians, they did make me laugh, especially George Lopez. The guy reminds me of my Dad, which puts him in a stellar league. Right before bed, my body gave me trouble and my wheelchair stopped working. My attendant was very understanding, but I still felt awful. Knowing I needed a functioning wheelchair in order to head home today, I was worried. I couldn't sleep. The Observer called at one 'o'clock. I thought something was wrong. He gave me his expert ear and was empathetic. I knew he understood my frustration. Though I was not happy, I'm glad his voice was the last I heard for the night.

The repairmen came today. I'm moving and fixed up. He was kind. I said, "Thank you sir" and he said that if I didn't call him by his name, I'd be stuck with a busted wheelchair. I smiled. I am grateful that he rescued me early on. Sitting in one place is no fun. Mom had an invasive heart exam today. She won't know the results for weeks, but my fingers are crossed. Exhausted, I am glad to be going home. It's sweeter than an apple any day.

- OCG

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Taking chances over coffee..

I am still having stomach issues, but I knew I would. Somehow being prepared for what lies ahead makes it easier to handle. The weather is beautiful, breezy and sunny. I'm trying to focus on good stuff.



Mom called this morning while driving her best friend to an appointment for a colonoscopy a very invasive and uncomfortable bowel test. I've never had one but I know people who have and everyone says they are no fun. I'm glad I have never had to endure a procedure that so many people agree is awful.



Yesterday afternoon I stopped by Starbucks to get a coffee. Feeling uncomfortable, I wasn't sure how long I would last before needing to get home to the washroom. Sitting at a table with my coffee, I couldn't overhearing a middle-aged man and woman on what sounded like their first date. The more I eavesdropped, I learned that the two had been chatting online. The woman was Scandinavian and had broken English. She was leaning in close to her male companion. Maybe she liked him. Both talked about coffee, work, their heritage and families. I had to rush home before seeing how the date ended. Call me nosey, but I wanted to see if there would be any physical contact between them. My stormy stomach wasn't going to cooperate. The gentleman seemed kind and thoughtful and the woman didn't say much. Personally I am not a big believer in online dating. In my experience, searching too hard for something or somehow doesn't bring what we are hoping for. If we are meant to be with a person, we'll find each other without the use of dating services. Hopefully the two who met in Starbucks had an enjoyable date. If nothing else, they chose a shop that serves great coffee.

- OCG

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Spring and stomach troubles...

The weather outside is sunny and spring like. The streets are filled with people hanging out. It's sweet. My stomach is upset right now. It's making gurgling, angry noises. I needed my digestive system to start working. Well, now it has, and here I am complaining. Being happy and content often means we are balanced and my stomach operates in extremes. My discomfort follows a distinctive pattern, so at least I know what to expect. Health surprises aren't always welcome.

I am sad that I had to cancel plans to hang out with the Observer tomorrow. Knowing the usual pattern my stomach follows, I had a hunch that going out probably wouldn't be smart. As much as I'd love to see the Observer, being away from home and physically not being able to get to a toilet is not fun. With repeated horrible experiences, I have learned to avoid any chances this may happen. Sometimes I miss out on dates, but what can I do? Life's not fair and nature doesn't call me all that often. When it does, I must honour it, or there's trouble....Hopefully nature will give me a break tomorrow. Then again, I'll be a bit frustrated if I feel great because I'll have missed an opportunity to see the Observer. A girl can't have it all, can she?

- OCG

Monday, May 11, 2009

Creepy, funny, sad and a lesson...

Remember how I was so grumpy yesterday? I think I needed to sleep. I was out like a light within seconds. Today i am feeling more like myself. Now I understand how extreme cases of insomnia or exhaustion can lead to insanity. Speaking of psychological problems, Dad and I went by the Queen Street Mental Health Clinic last night. From the outside, the place looked just like psychiatric hospitals from years ago with bars on the windows and all gated up. The building gave me the creeps. Dad said it didn't look like there were many patients left. The trend is to deinstustionalize and use community support systems. I suppose there will always be people who need twenty-hour supervision where a psychiatric institute is the only place they can live. I found it both intriguing and scary to pass the Queen Street Mental Health clinic. I think that was my first time which explains my interest.

Our Mother's Day dinner was just as enjoyable as I knew it would be. Mom and Dad picked me up. Right before they were due to show up, I decided to pick up some flowers for Mom. Naming flowers and knowing how to care for them is not my area of expertise. I buy flowers that I would want people to give me. I told the florist at the grocery store that I would buy a "white peony". She corrected me saying that what I wanted was actually a white hydrangea. Mom liked her flowers and that's all that matters. I'm not a big flower lover myself, even though they brighten a room. Coffee is the way to my heart. Everyone is different, I suppose.

My brother missed dinner because he is on vacation with his new girlfriend. She's very sweet and LOVES to talk. Every second sentence out of her mouth is a compliment about home decor, delicious food or how special it is to be included in our family. The girl is naturally high on life. Though her presence is positive, her constant chatter dominates the dinner table. Our family must be very quiet. Without my brother's girlfriend at the table last night, there was a lot of silence. My other brother did an impression of her that cracked me up. It went like this: Oh My Gosh! I absolutely love what you've done with your new house. The lighting, the painting - it perfect! What a beautiful living room and the table is just the right size for all of us. We couldn't have asked for a better Mother's Day. These shishkabobs are amazing! I can't believe how much I've eaten! It's all so yummy!

Everyone at the table roared with laughter. My brother knows how to get a laugh. I'm sorry the Observer missed our dinner, especially the impression. Our teasing was all in fun. My brother's girlfriend is good for him. She's also easy to miss.

Sadly, a family friend just learned today that she is facing a third round of her battle with cancer. Her prognosis is poor. I grew up with her daughter and my heart goes out to their family. I'm glad they learned such devastating news today and not yesterday. Hopefully my friend loved her mother up yesterday. I learned from such tragic news that Moms are too special not to honour every day.

- OCG

Sunday, May 10, 2009

A day for Mom...

The Observer came to see me yesterday. We went out after the rain ended. I had a craving for vanilla frozen yogurt. The shop in my neighbourhood is a convenient, refreshing distance away from my apartment. Getting there takes just enough time to know whether I really want frozen yogurt or I'm being over-indulgent. My first cup was so yummy that I had another. For the price of two small cups, it would have been cheaper to buy a large serving, but I didn't know I'd enjoy frozen yogurt so much. The Observer had chocolate. Personally, I believe nothing beats vanilla. I met a close family friend on the way, but I couldn't stop to chat. I think she understood.

Later, we stopped by the drugstore. The Observer bought me tropical flavoured gum. It's fruity and refreshing. A store employee asked me if I needed to use the washroom. Surprised, I told her that, "No I was just opening my gum." I've been asked many questions in stores, but never if I needed to use the bathroom. She must have been confused...

For a long time, I have been meaning to buy a restaurant gift card for my physical therapist. He has helped me out a lot lately, so I wanted to do something to thank him. He's a foodie, so the gift card couldn't be for just anywhere. There's a high end Thai restaurant in my area, but I couldn't find it. Yesterday I decided I had to get the gift card. The Observer and I wandered around until we got cold and desperate for any gift card. I chose Baton Rouge. Hopefully my therapist will make use of the card and enjoy a yummy meal. Though I wanted to buy him a gift card for an ethic restaurant, I feel relieved that his gift is bought and in the mail...done is better than perfect. I appreciated the Observer coming with me.

We were both a bit hungry, so we stopped by the Pickle Barrel. I had water with lemon and the Observer sweetly shared his garlic bread. Needing a coffee, I was happy to oblige when the Observer suggested a stop at Starbucks. En route, we saw a couple having wedding photos taken right at a major intersection. I joked that we probably couldn't push our way through. We both had a good laugh. He treated me to coffee. I am a lucky girl.

Today I am grumpy. I haven't had a good sleep in a while, which could explain my moodiness. My family knows I am miserable. Being Mother's Day, I am trying to make an effort to snap out of my cloud of hum drum thinking. Mom deserves a special day, even if I'm tired.



Though I am a bit cantankerous, I am looking forward to honouring my Mom at a family dinner hosted by my sister at her new house. I love her new house, even though it's actually an old house. There is character everywhere. My sister and her soon-to-be-husband give excellent dinner parties. All the decor is warm and cozy. Their style is simple and classic. I admire my sister's eye for effortless flare. Just like her home, she cooks using fresh, basic ingredients and all her meals are vibrant and colourful. A dinner cooked by my sister is a reminder that healthy food need not be bland. Hopefully my Mom enjoys herself today. She is my best friend, so here's to you Mom. I love you.

- OCG

I love my Mom because....

* She's the sweetest lady I know

* She knows me better and longer than anyone in the world

* She is the best at giving advice

* She is honest

* Her instinct is spot on

* She has a classy style

* I feel safe around her

* Her heart is huge.

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!!!!!!!!!!

- OCG

Saturday, May 09, 2009

A girls' night with Beaches...

I went to a movie night hosted by a young women's group last night. It's been years since I have participated in one of their events. After being away for so long, I was nervous about showing up. Luckily, everyone was welcoming and kind. I sat at a table with an acquaintance from my years at camp and someone I knew from school. I picked a table of young people. We chatted over a chicken dinner. The girl I knew from camp is looking to move out, so she is taking an inventory of the pros and cons of neighbourhoods in the city. I told her that I love where I live, but it's eccentric and not for everyone. Personally, I appreciate being so close to shops, subway stops, the Eatons center, the library, and Starbucks.



As dinner was finishing, we watched the movie Beaches. It's a classic, chic flick that I always enjoy. A few people cried. Having watched it before, I knew that the ending was sad, so I was prepared. There was a discussion afterwards that I thought was unnecessary, but it's OK. One woman couldn't physically speak. She was laughing and crying appropriately, so I could tell that she was very bright. She participated in the discussion and articulated well using a board and pointing to the words she wanted to use. I liked her. Hopefully I'll see her again and have time to talk to her.

I have never had much of an interest in activities exclusively for woman, even though I enjoy a good girl's movie. I decided to attend movie night because I was sure there would be new faces in attendance. I was right. I'm glad I gave the group another chance. Second rounds are often better than first ones. Like the movie Beaches, maybe having a heads up of what is ahead is helpful.

- OCG

Friday, May 08, 2009

Sunshine and the market...

It's a gorgeous Friday. The sun is out in full force. Summer is saying, "Hey, I'm here." This morning I went to the St. Lawrence Market and picked up bagels for Mom and Dad. The market was packed. Being lunch hour, I shouldn't have been surprised. There are often school tours when I stop by on Friday. The market is a pretty cool place to come for lunch. There is no shortage of food choices. Sometimes I get so overwhelmed with options of what to buy and eat that I end up coming home empty handed. Looking around is still a fun experience, especially on a sunny day. The kiosk where I bought bagels from always has free samples. Since I bought two dozen bagels, I figured that it was OK to take two bagel bites. The people selling bagels are always friendly, so I feel good about giving them my business.

Last night I had a good workout with my pysiotheraphist. I ache all over, but I know it did my body good. My pysiotheraphist kept asking if he was hurting me. At the time, I could tolerate the stretching, but a few hours later, I felt like a whiny, old woman. Complaining to the Observer, he probably couldn't wait to get off the phone with me, even though he was very sympathetic. I couldn't wait to go to bed. My sleep was five star quality. Our bodies sometimes do what they must. I am trying to remember that stretching so aggressively was good for me. It's a bit like me and milk. I'm not a big milk drinker, but I try to incorporate it into my diet because it's healthy. Unlike stretching however, there is no painful side effect, just a milk moustache. Who doesn't enjoy one of those now and then?

- OCG

Thursday, May 07, 2009

The good, the bad, and the busy-body...

The Observer and I hung out at the mall yesterday. We both had to get gifts for our Moms. I thought it was smartest to go to the stores where we needed to shop across from the mall first. Sometimes travelling takes longer than expected. By afternoon the wind picked up and the air was chilly. I was regretting my decision not to wear a sweatshirt. Since we are now between spring and summer, it's hard to know the right way to dress. After the Observer got his mother a gift card, we headed to a discount department store where I needed cleaning supplies. The bottles I needed happened to be higher up than I could reach, so I was grateful for the Observer's reaching capacity. He's helpful. We stopped at Starbucks. My stomach was upset, so I left my coffee unfinshed. Hurrying back to the mall, I searched for a new store called Bath And Body Works. It's part of an American chain specializing in lotions. My Mom is addicted to their hand soaps and shower gels. Since bath products are personal forms of self-pampering, I thought a gift card could be something Mom would enjoy. After much searching, I couldn't find the store anywhere. I had to give up, say goodbye to the Observer and catch my bus. The Observer found the store after I left and bought Mom's gift card. I must remember to pay him back.

When I made it home, I had huge goosebumps on my arms and finally got help to put a sweater on. I was still cold by the time I was in bed. Exhausted, I didn't get much bedtime TV watching in. I can't remember watching anything except a show on TLC called Mystery Diagnosis where patients have these unusual conditions that take a long time to name, because they are so rare. I find these types of shows interesting, because they help me feel grateful for my good health and ability to function each day.



This morning I saw an attendant who has a tendency to make a big deal of simple matters. If there isn't something wrong somewhere, the woman doesn't know what to do with herself. I am sad that she thrives on negative matters and can't enjoy a day free of issues. I opened my eyes and heard her grumpy, "Hello." Part of me wanted to say, "Please go away. I don't feel like dealing with you today." Though tempting, the reality is that I needed her help to get out of bed and face the day. Trying to be civil, I smiled and apologized for being sweaty, explaining that I went to bed cold and must have warmed up throughout the course of the night. She mentioned waking up warm in the middle of the night herself, but not before going on about how other attendants transfer me from bed. How other staff do things is none of her concern. Her habit of sticking her nose where it doesn't belong is not new to me - neither are her other irritating ways. All complaining aside, I still have to see the woman. It's better than staying in bed all day. I didn't say anything to her out-of-place inquiry of my care. I heard my mother's voice in my head saying, "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all." My attendant gave me a good shower. I feel clean and fresh. I could have done without her busy body nature today, but she gave me what I needed. She has shown me that nothing good comes from dwelling on bad, so I'm not going to waste time thinking about her.

- OCG

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Latte drinking old lady...

Today is another sunny day. I am happy. Last night I was exhausted. My attendant could tell that I was sleepy as she was getting me ready for bed. Sometimes I feel guilty when the attendants working nights get me all comfortable and snuggled into bed. When I'm very tired and all cozy under my covers, it's obvious. The fact that they do such a good job of getting me tucked in when they have to stay up all night seems unfair. Someone has to work nights though, right?



I ordered a latte from Starbucks yesterday. Feeling really tired and needing something sweet, I thought there was a good chance it would satisfy my sweet tooth and give me an energy boast. There were lots of different flavours, but I choose to go with an original latte. I was surprised at how hot the beverage was. I think this is because the milk is hot espresso is steamed. The latte was soothing, but I probably wouldn't order one again. Personally, I think lattes are over-rated. They taste more like hot milk than coffee. I like my coffee strong. I don't see the point of drinking it weak. Maybe I need to be in the right mood for fancy coffee. A latte might taste better if my stomach is upset and I can't handle strong coffee. Since espresso based coffees are more expensive, I understand now that I need to be in the mood for a milder, sophisticated taste. There is a time for everything - including coffee.

On the way to visit my family a few days ago, I took the bus with an acquaintance I have know for years. We grew up in the same community. She is friendly, but I have little in common with her and would not call her a friend. The girl has a slightly annoying tone and takes to me as though having known me for a while automatically makes us friends. Knowing a person for a while doesn't automatically mean we are connected - at least not in my books. She has weird ways and her personal life seems mixed up. All of these things made me decide to remove her from my Facebook friends. If I never plan on talking to the girl, what's the point of having her on my list? During our trip, she said she couldn't find me on Facebook. My name and photo is made private and can't be found during searches. I told her my computer hadn't been working and I never really bothered to set Facebook up again. It's true. My computer was down, but it works now. I don't go on Facebook as I used to - preferring to spend time writing personal e-mails or blogs. I didn't tell a total lie, but I didn't stretch the truth a bit.



There was an older lady on the same bus. Every five minutes, she would ask myself or my acquaintance where we were going. Stuck in bumper to bumper traffic and behind schedule, we were going nowhere fast. The older woman began repeatedly asking the bus driver when she would be dropped off. She said she wasn't feeling well.

Frustrated, the driver asked, "Do you need an ambulance?" The woman said no and that she wanted to go home.

"I haven't been stopping for coffee and I'm doing the doing the best I can. Let me know if you need an ambulance," answered the driver.

Looking at the frail woman, I felt for her. We've all been sick. It's awful. Being sick while travelling when we must keep going really sucks. As we pulled into her nursing home, I smiled and said, "You made it! You're home!" She didn't say anything.

Once the woman was off the bus, my acquaintance said she felt for the driver who could do little stuck in driver. I felt for both the woman and bus driver.

"Fifty years from now, we could be sick on a bus impatient to get home," I said to the acquittance," she nodded. Maybe by that time, my taste for strong coffee will have changed and I'll be drinking lattes every day. I have a long way to go.

- OCG

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

OCG needs coffee...

I need a coffee. My head feels fuzzy. It's beautiful outside, even though now it looks like it might rain. We can't have perfect weather. There has to be a bit of contrast so we appreciate the good. Don't you think? Today I wheeled to a doctor's appointment. It wasn't exactly across the pond, but being a beautiful day made the trek enjoyable.

I miss my Mom. Hearing her voice over the phone today made me homesick. It's been a while since I've seen the Observer. I miss him too.

This morning I evaluated a few of my attendants with the manager. I gave mostly positive feedback for all of them because I felt that's what they deserved. Some are different and annoying, but all that really counts is that they step up to the plate when I really need them and all of them have. The true taste of character is how we respond to those in their most vulnerable state, I think.

I am going to get coffee so that I can function. If I don't, soon I won't be responding to anyone.

- OCG

Monday, May 04, 2009

A cold girl with a changed Grandpa...

I'm freezing right now. There are goosebumps crawling up my arms. I was outside without a sweatshirt. Before I left, I was hot and a bit sweaty. On the street, that feeling disappeared quickly. The wind is chilly especially if you ask someone with bare arms wearing short sleeves. That would be me. Now I realize that summer isn't here yet. We still need light outerwear to cover our extremities. Tonight I wasn't as silly as when I don't wear mittens in the winter (or maybe it's just that the conditions outside aren't so harsh!)

Yesterday I couldn't stop staring at my Grandpa. There was something different about his face. The longer I looked, the more perplexed I got. His entire profile seemed changed - even his chin looked altered. I almost asked my Grandma what was different, but didn't know whether it was my place. I decided to wait and ask Mom in the car. This turned out to be a good idea.

Once we pulled away from my Grandparents' house, I said, "Mom, there is something different about Grandpa's face." Mom told me that Grandpa went on a new medication to help his memory and it makes him hungry. In the last five months, Grandpa has gained about twenty pounds. Feeling hungry more frequently combined with a less active lifestyle contributed to Grandpa going up two pant sizes. Mom said Grandpa didn't understand how to handle his increased appetite and was going and eating bowl fulls of cereal heaped with sugar. Poor Grandpa. Always very thin, it is a bit of a shock to see his bulkier shape. Yesterday Grandpa was quite happy and coherent, even saying "I've put on weight." Grandma put out an assortment of chocolate and shortbread cookies. After asking for approval from Grandma, Grandpa ate a chocolate biscuit. He seemed to enjoy it. At eighty three years old, now doesn't seem the time for Grandpa to consult a personal trainer. I say, let the guy enjoy his cookies.

- OCG

Kristy, Are You Doing OK?

There's a moment in time
And it's stuck in my mind
Way back, when we were just kids
Cause your eyes told the tale
Of an act of betrayal
I knew that somebody did
Oh, waves of time
Seem to wash away
The scenes of our crimes
But for you this never ends
Can you stay strong?
Can you go on?
Kristy are you doing okay?
A rose that won't bloom
Winter's kept you
Don't waste your whole life trying
To get back what was taken away
Though the marks on your dress
Had been neatly repressed
I knew that something was wrong
And I should have spoke out
And I'm so sorry now
I didn't know
Cause we were so young
Oh, clouds of time
Seem to rain on
Innocence left behind
And it never goes away

-- The Offspring

Sunday, May 03, 2009

It's a boy!!!

Well, the Observer has a new nephew! He was born just after noon today. I am so happy for the Observer's family. According to the Observer's brother, the baby has more hair than the Observer, but that's not hard to believe! The baby is named after the Observer's father (Paolo) and his middle name is Liam. The Observer was very emotional telling me the news and that made me cry too. Babies are beautiful.

I went out for breakfast with my family today. I had blueberry pancakes. I enjoyed them, but they looked better than they tasted. Being with my family so early in the day was a refreshing change. I was very full after breakfast but liked having the day ahead to let my meal digest.

In the afternoon, my parents and I visited my grandparents. It's been a long time since I've seen them, so I'm glad I did. They remind that life is sweet when it's simple. Both the Observer and myself were reminded of this today. He saw the sweetness of life in a young, innocent baby and I saw it through an old, gentle man.

- OCG

Saturday, May 02, 2009

It's not every day...

Well, the Observer's niece or nephew is on the way! I'm excited for everyone. The baby's gender is a surprise for the whole family. First my prediction was for a boy, but when I saw the Observer's sister-in-law last week, she looked more like she was carrying a girl. The Observer and most of his family think that a boy will be joining their clan. We'll know in a little while. At a family function last weekend, I put my name in a baby pool guessing the sex and birth date of the baby. I guessed that a girl would be born on May 3rd (tomorrow). Logic tells me that the baby will arrive today, but it's not like I'm speaking from experience. Hopefully the baby will be born today. A swift delivery is best for both mother and baby - or so I am told. As promised, the Observer called me as soon as he heard the news, which made my day. It's a special feeling to be around for a baby's birth from seed to a live, crying, beautiful little person. The Observer and I had been dating for six months when his first niece was born. It was a rainy Tuesday in November. My phone ran at seven 'o'clock and I heard the Observer's excited and tearful, "She's here! She's here!" I cried too.

Today the sky is gray and I felt a few raindrops. Spring is here. I went to McDonald's at ten 'o'clock this morning and got a free coffee as a part of their promotion of a new brew. The free coffee deal has been in around for two weeks, but I have woken up past standard breakfast hours before today. I asked my attendant as soon as she came through the door if she could have me ready in an hour.

"Do you have somewhere to go?" she asked.
"You could say so," I said with a smile.

A visit to a coffee shop isn't an appointment, but it's a place where good things happen. A weekend in the city where anything is free is bound to be busy. I thought the line-up would be out the door, but it was quite. By the time I left, McDonald's was getting busier, even though breakfast hours were over. Free coffee isn't worth the same to everybody, I guess. The coffee itself was OK. Since it was free, how can I complain?

I won't forgot today. Free coffee isn't available every day. More important, it's not every day that the Observer gets a new niece or nephew.

- OCG

Remember...

ONE. Give people more than they expect and do it cheerfully

TWO. Marry a man/woman you love to talk to. As you get older, their conversational skills will be as important as any other.

THREE. Don't believe all you hear, spend all you have or sleep all you want.

FOUR. When you say, 'I love you,' mean it.

FIVE. When you say, 'I'm sorry,' look the person in the eye.

SIX. Be engaged at least six months before you get married.

SEVEN. Believe in love at first sight.

EIGHT. Never laugh at any one's dreams. People who don't have dreams don't have much.

NINE. Love deeply and passionately. You might get hurt but it's the only way to live life completely.

TEN.. In disagreements, fight fairly. No name calling.

ELEVEN. Don't judge people by their relatives.

TWELVE. Talk slowly but think quickly.

THIRTEEN! .... When someone asks you a question you don't want to answer, smile and ask, 'Why do you want to know?'

FOURTEEN. Remember that great love and great achievements involve great risk.

FIFTEEN. Say 'bless you' when you hear someone sneeze.

SIXTEEN. When you lose, don't lose the lesson

SEVENTEEN. Remember the three R's: Respect for self; Respect for others; and Responsibility for all your actions.

EIGHTEEN. Don't let a little dispute injure a great friendship.

NINETEEN. When you realize you've made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it

TWENTY. Smile when picking up the phone. The caller will hear it in your voice.

TWENTY- ONE. Spend some time alone
.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Tales from the tired girl with the bunchy boxers...

I couldn't sleep last night. There was a thunderstorm in my stomach. Maybe my system got jealous of the weather outside and decided to mimic the action inside of me. Whatever the reason, I didn't enjoy the storm. Spasms kept me awake. When I finally felt better at 4 a.m., I wasn't in the mood to sleep. I watched the food network because I felt too nasty and was too lazy to change the channel. That's pretty sad, isn't it? Even sadder is that I can't remember much about the shows I did watch. My attention was too focused on waiting for the pain to pass. Thankfully, it always does. I do remember watching a show called Ace of Cakes. It's one of my favourite shows and follows the creations of a professional cake making company run by funky, yuppie artists. On last night's show, there was a cake featuring featuring the cutest penguins I have ever seen. Watching each penguin being created made me forget about my stomach. Later in the night, I watched Much More Music. The song Boom, Boom, Pow by the Black Eyed Peas was shown a few times. I cranked it up. The song All For Love by Serena Rider is another favourite of mine.



Tonight will be quiet for me. The Observer kindly let me borrow a documentary called the Bridge. I think it's about people who take their lives by jumping over a bridge in the United States. I could be wrong. Maybe I'll watch it. Since I am alone and very tired, it might not be the best choice for today. We'll see how I feel. There's always I Love Lucy or taped episodes of Oprah that aren't too serious.



My stomach is fine now. All I need is a good sleep. The Observer had plans to meet with friends from work. Unfortunately, they cancelled. Had he had more notice, we could have seen each other, but things happen. The Observer's sister-in-law is due to deliver a baby any day now. It's very exciting. Maybe she'll go into labour tonight. If she does, I have to believe a higher power was at work ensuring the Observer was home to receive up-to-the-minute news.



I am wearing my old, Winnie-The-Pooh boxer shorts because I ran out of clean underwear. They are a big and bunchy, but it's all good. A girl has to make due once in a while. It's time for a visit home. My heart says so, but more obviously, so does my uncomfortable bottom.



- OCG