Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Good tunes...

Last night I popped Van Morrison's greatest hits into my CD player. I love his music. Listening to him makes me think of my Dad. It rained off and on all day. Given the gloomy weather, I needed something both calming and edgy to listen to. I love the song Moon dance. Brown Eyed Girl is another classic that I can hear any time of day. Van Morrison has such a mellow voice that I can the volume way up and my music isn't too loud. One of my attendants who is often grumpy and finds any reason to complain saw the Van Morrison CD in my CD player. She's quite the busybody too, it seems. She asked me if she could turn it on while she did my housekeeping. Of course I agreed. Anything that keeps my attendant quiet is good. She was swaying her hips which made me laugh. Even the most uptight people will loosen up with the right song.



At Starbucks last night, I sat and eavesdropped on conversations around me. I got a bit cold so my coffee was soothing. A girl who ordered an iced coffee really wanted a seat. When she walked in, she asked me if the chair beside me was free. It was, but by the time she returned with her drink, the seat was taken. I felt bad, but she was a stranger. It didn't take her long to find another seat. I like coffee shops, because they are a place to be around people without having to say much. I stopped by a pharmacy that I just stared using to fill my prescriptions. They charged me a drug dispensing fee. My old pharmacy never charged me a penny. I was a little upset, but then I though about how lucky I am to live in a country where I do not have to pay the full cost of my medication. Yes, we have harsh winters, but at least we get a break when we get nasty flues and viruses.

- OCG

Monday, June 29, 2009

Not to worry...

I have goosebumps. It's not too hot outside. It's been raining off and on all day. The sun has peaked from the clouds, but not much. I enjoyed visiting my parents. There is a vibe of wedding anticipation in the air - or maybe I'm the one getting excited. Dad and I went shopping and picked up my sister's guestbook. Surprising, it was hard to track down. After a short search, we found a fancy-looking notebook at a card store. The shelf had a few different options. One book was very plain black and white and another had a bit of an edge with a pair of shoes drawn on the front. I picked the book that had a bit more life. Hopefully, my sister will like my choice. A guestbook isn't really serious business, but it's still something I would want if I were the bride. It's a job that I was more than happy to look after for my sister. Some people will sign and others will forget. I will write something. Written memories are important on special days of our lives. When our ability to recall events fades, at least we have some recollection of the past.



Mom showed me a written report from her visit to the cardiologist. In a few places, it said she "is doing quite well." I was glad to read that. There was the word "degenerative" in there that made me feel sick. I know what that means. My former boyfriend had a degenerative disability and he died at twenty three years old. Mom and I talked. She explained to me that, since her heart attack, she has developed complications from heart disease. Obviously, such news is upsetting and worrisome. Mom has made her health her top priority and she looks very healthy. Thinking about that report makes me sad. It sucks that Mom has heart disease. It sucks that she can do all the right things and still be developing heart trouble.



At home and in bed last night, the reality of that report seemed too much. I want my Mom to be one hundred per cent healthy. Every one of us wishes the same for our parents. The thing is, my Mom is one hundred per cent good. I have never met a more amazing lady. She loves us with her whole heart, so why can't her heart be healthy? It has to reach out to a lot of people.



I understand that it's useless to worry about the future. To worry about tomorrow even seems silly. How do we know what lies ahead? Would we even want to know? When my Mom's health is involved, how can I not be extremely concerned? My Mom is my world. I feel my world tilting. I try to live for now, because it's all we really have. Life ticks by in seconds, minutes, hours and days. I will not worry about what may be. Now is here. I love Mom. She knows I do. That's all that matters...

- OCG

Sunday, June 28, 2009

thank you...

the observer and i saw the hangover yesterday and some of the proposal. i thought the hangover was pretty dumb, but the observer enjoyed it. he couldn't stop laughing. all was not lost. halfway through the proposal, nature called. i was not able to answer the knock and was so uncomfortable, i left the theater. the observer sweetly waited with me and called to see where my taxi was. once home and close to a bathroom, i was fine. the proposal looked cute, but i couldn't enjoy the movie as i was going to burst. i felt bad for the observer as he missed the movie. *thanks for being so sweet observer. the next time you have to pee, i've got your back* i went home to my parents and was happy to see them. i am a very lucky girl to be loved by such amazing people...

- ocg

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Pride and a waffle...

The Observer came to visit me last night. He arrived later than usual because he needed to make a trip home after work. All day I looked forward to seeing him. It's Pride Week in the city and this weekend is the grand finale of all the festivities. I live in the "Gay Village", the city's most accepting and diverse area for people who live alternative lifestyles. My neighbourhood is busy and colourful year round. I've seen many unique looking people in winter, spring, summer and fall. During Pride Week, the city's diversity is showcased. The main street in the village is set up to resemble a carnival. Loud music plays into the wee hours of the night and people crowd the streets. It's fun at first, but after the first night, I am wanting peace.

We didn't venture too far into the hub of Pride Week last night. Since I am around lots of action all the time, the novelty of the crowds isn't there. Lots of Micheal Jackson music filled the streets, a fitting tribute in light of his death. We met lots of people who seemed to have drank a few too many beers. Where there are crowds and lots of people, there is bound to be drunkenness. We saw a guy exposing his assets wearing leather chaps. I had to smile. Though chaps aren't an every day sighting in my neighbourhood, they are wore by confident men in hot weather. Sexual orientation aside, I suppose the saying, "If you've got it, flaunt it" applies.

After catching up at home, the Observer and I went to the mall where he helped me with banking. He's good to me. There is a small, inaccessible waffle store close to the mall. Months ago, the owner sweetly gave us free samples of waffles. I was so touched that I vowed to come back and give the store business. When we passed the store, I bought a chocolate dipped waffle for the Observer. Since we couldn't go inside to order, the man behind the waffle iron had to step down and take my order. A kind lady who was in the waffle line-up helped me get my money and handed it to the waffle man. Though it was a bit challenging to buy the waffle, I wanted to prove to myself that it was possible. The Observer enjoyed his waffle, but said he would order one with strawberries next time. I'm not a big waffle fan, but when faced with barriers like steps, I am driven to somehow overcome them. I'll be damned if anything will keep the Observer or myself from the simple pleasure of trying a waffle store from just as any city goer would. We have rights as humans and one that I take very seriously is the right to enjoy dessert.

- OCG

Friday, June 26, 2009

Remembering...

Michael Jackson, 50, and Farrah Fawcett, 62, both died yesterday. What a sad day in Hollywood. Michael Jackson's death at came as a huge shock to the whole world. He's the king of pop. No one has produced more hit songs and been so prevalent in the news for his music and lifestyle. Micheal Jackson was larger than life, but fell from grace as he got older. Maybe that's the tragedy of having too much too young.



Farrah Fawcett fought long and hard since she was diagnosed with anal cancer. She chronicled her cancer treatments in a documentary. Being a celebrity means personifying ones self to make one's presence known. If we spend a lifetime selling ourselves by playing different roles, I guess at the end, we want to show the world that we are just as human and vulnerable as everyone else.



One of my favourite songs is Black Or White by Micheal Jackson. Anytime, anywhere, that song makes me smile.

I took my baby
On a saturday bang
Boy is that girl with you
Yes were one and the same
Now I believe in miracles
And a miracle
Has happened tonight
But, if
Youre thinkin
About my baby
It dont matter if youre Black or white

The colour of Micheal Jackson's skin has always been a mystery to me. Was he black or white ? I guess he had it right. It doesn't matter. Music and movies are beautiful legacies to leave for all of us. Both Micheal Jackson and Farah Fawcett gave the world so much entertainment. I pray they are both watching us from heaven and knowing how much we appreciate their talent. Being famous has a price, but it's a gift too. Let their movies and music play on...

- OCG

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Dinner with a bald guy in a wheelchair...

Just before noon today, the sky opened up. Rain came down in buckets. All of a sudden, the sky turned very dark, cloudy and gloomy. The air felt eerie. There was thunder and lightening as soon as the rain came. I don't mind summer rainstorms, especially during the day. Maybe it's because during daytime we are more likely to look out the the window and appreciate the weather.

Last night I met the Observer and his friend at a restaurant close to my apartment. When I got to the place the Observer told me to meet him, there were a few restaurants where they could already be seated. I took a chance on one restaurant and asked if they had seated "a bald guy in a wheelchair and a blond girl." The hostess said, "no," so I asked the same question at the restaurant beside them. This time the hostess nodded and led me to where the Observer was sitting with his friend. I felt a bit rude referring to the Observer as "the bald guy in the wheelchair" but at least I found who I was looking for. Seeing the Observer and his friend was a fun way to spend the evening. They treated me to some greasy, buttery garlic bread. It is very unhealthy, but such a worthwhile splurge. The Observer's visit was short, but it was still great to see him. His friend is super sweet. She reminds me that good, positive people exist.

I watched an old Oprah episode called The Faces Of The Recession. I've seen it before. Watching it a second time around, I was struck by the number of homeless people who said they missed having a shower and turning on the bathroom light. It all seemed so simple. I guess it's the little luxuries we miss most. Being homeless and stuck in a rainstorm like the one we had today would have sucked. People would have to spend the entire day in wet clothes. I felt extra grateful to shower this morning.

Coming home on busy street last night, a lady on a corner looked at me and said, "Hi Beautiful. God Bless." Unlike many unstable homeless men who talk to me when I pass by, she seemed genuine and kind. Maybe I'm wrong, but I looked her in the eye and thanked her. Whoever she is and whatever her history, I hope she gets a little perk soon - like a shower.

- OCG

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

To strips, health, and sunshine...

I am wearing a new stripped shirt today. I like it. I feel good. Being a big fan of colour and clothes with funk, I wear a lot of stripped shirts. I've often heard people say that strips make a person look bigger and wider. Maybe so, but I still like them.

This morning I drank Kleen Prep - that salty, chalky laxative that I mix with diet Kool-Aid. I downed three and a half big glasses, which worked out to a liter and a half. I'm not usually a big drinker, so for me, it felt like a lot of fluid. You'd think after all that liquid, I'd be bursting to pee. Funny, my bladder was no more active than usual. Since I drank a laxative, I guess all the fluid went to work in my belly. This time I didn't have as much trouble choking the stuff down. If I know doing something unpleasant produces the results I want, I guess I am more likely to do it. My attendant was cheering me on. I appreciated that. I wish I could have drank the entire two liters, but maybe next time. The Kleen Prep worked before lunch-time which made me happy. Sweet Lord of Pooh, thank you!

Isn't it a bit sad that my twenty-six-year-old self blogs so frequently about bowel movements? I think so. Just to clarify: I do have friends, a boyfriend, I work odd writing jobs, I read, watch TV and enjoy listening to tunes. My life revolves around more than my bowels and the washroom. Lately however, I have been struggling with new routines, because my old one was leaving me sick and unable to function. Not good. When we don't have our health, nothing else really matters. I'm still learning what works and keeps me on track. Most days I feel good. I am so grateful to be feeling more like my strip-donning self.

I am off to enjoy the sunshine! What's better than that? (Well, maybe a good internel "clean- out!)

- OCG

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Tardy girl in old jeans...

Last night I met a friend for coffee. We're always later showing up at the coffee shop than we plan. I am late and she is too. Since both of us are late, I guess we really can't get mad. She's a funny girl. When I got home, my bladder was going to burst. I guess you really didn't need to know that, but I was just so happy that I made it home dry. I watched a taped Oprah episode on how to find the perfect jeans. I'm not usually into those shows, but there wasn't much on. I'm wearing old, comfy jeans today. They probably aren't the right style for my body type, but I like them. Mom just bought me a new pair of jeans. I haven't tried them yet. Maybe I'll wear them tomorrow.

It's another beautiful day. I think I got sun. I drove my wheelchair to an appointment. Again, I was late - just like last night. This time I was delayed because my wheelchair got stuck in construction. A policeman kindly helped me. I almost asked him if he knew my brother, but I was in a rush. When life gets busy, don't jeans and fashion get a little shafted? Sure we pick clothes we like and ones that fit, but does the average person scrutinize other people's clothes? Today my doctor probably didn't care about the jeans I am wearing. She was probably glad to see me and my late bottom.

- OCG

Monday, June 22, 2009

Valuing Dad and simple things...

It's a sunny, bright Monday. I'm not sure why I didn't spend the day outside. Do you ever think back to what you did in a day and it feels like nothing? I showered, drank coffee, listened to music, and talked to my Mom and the Observer this morning. I know that a good song called Don't Go Out With The Boys Tonight came on the radio. As I leaned over to turn up the volume, I knocked over my coffee cup and spilled coffee grinds ALL over my pants. It looked like I threw up all over myself. Gross, isn't it? For a second I was upset until I realized it just isn't worth the energy. I was able to wipe almost all of the brown, sticky mess up. I was pleased with myself. I know I ate melon for breakfast and salad for lunch. My itinerary sounds pretty boring, huh? Oddly, I enjoyed the earlier part of my day. My attendant was sweet. She can be a little strange and in her own world, but her heart is in the right place.

Father's Day dinner with my family was fun. My Mom was a bit stressed as my sister was late arriving. All of our barbecued food was ready and Mom was anxious to start. My sister and her fiancee knew Mom was upset, because they said they would be on time from now....We'll see. No one really intends to be late, but things happen especially when we have a lot going on. Being such a beautiful summer day, we ate on our back deck. The wind kept blowing my hair. Eating outside is a refreshing change, but I wouldn't want to do it every day. The Observer is not one who enjoys outdoor dining, which is fine by me. I thought my sister's wedding would be the talk of the night but it took backseat. We agreed that my Dad is an (almost) perfect father. I'm glad I went home and got to pay tribute to Dad. He's one of a kind. Dad taught me to enjoy people watching in public places, nature walks and old music. He showed me that we can enjoy the simple pleasures of life without much effort. All we need is time. Maybe that's why thinking about my uneventful morning gives me a sense of peace - not boredom.

- OCG

Sunday, June 21, 2009

I love my Dad because...

- Dad is kind and doesn't take things to heart

- Dad is hilarious

- Dad has kind eyes so I learned to find people around me with the same approach

- Dad showed me how to appreciate the simple things in life

- Dad showed me what a good man resembles so I could find one too.

- Dad loves Mom

- Dad is my hero.

HAPPY FATHER'S DAY!!!!!!!!!!

- OCG

Coffee canuntrums...

The Observer and I went out for coffee last night. I ordered a large decaf. I asked for my coffee with skim milk and two Splenda. The girl behind the counter said, "So you want double, double?" A double double is a coffee with two creams and two sugars. That's not what I asked for. I corrected the order, but the coffee did taste extra creamy. It drives me CRAZY when people get my coffee order wrong. Granted, I have had bigger problems, so coffee mix ups would be a pet peeve. Halfway through my coffee, a server approached our table and told me the freshly brewed pot of decaf was almost ready. Confused, I told her that I already had my coffee and double checked that it was decaf. The server was friendly and reassured me that it was. Not quite trusting the servers, I triple checked with another server and she said, "Yes, it's decaf" in this annoyed tone. Maybe I was being slightly paranoid but sleep is important to me. When I don't sleep, I am not a happy chicky.

After finishing my coffee, I noticed that I was talking faster to the Observer and my heart seemed to be beating quicker. Funny, that only happens when I drink coffee with caffeine late at night....hmmm. The coffee date I had with the Observer was fun. We talked about my sister's wedding. Every day is one less sleep. I joked that I would talk about the short period my sister and her fiancee broke up a few years ago. I could say something in my speech like:

After ten years of dating, how would have thought this two would officially tie the knot? Well, it's ten years unless you count that rough patch they went through...I'm really glad my sister took her finance back after he begged and pleaded. At first, I thought, See you later sucker! You blew it, but after seeing my Dad so sad to not have my sister's finance around, I softened. So, I guess we all make mistakes, but history says a lot. Hopefully yours will serve you well."

Of course I will NOT say any of the above, but it was fun to daydream. I promised the Observer to keep my speech wholesome.

I couldn't sleep at ALL last night. That was some decaf coffee....my mind was buzzing. Today is Father's Day. I have inherited a lot from my father - including a love for coffee. Thanks for everything you have taught me Dad. Well, maybe not for the coffee addiction today.

- OCG

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Real matters...

I am VERY wet. I picked the worst time to leave my apartment. My clothes are soaked in rain. My hair is wet and I just feel as though I went swimming. Well, it is almost summer, right? It's always more exciting to be out enjoining life than to be stuck inside. I'll dry off...

Yesterday I met the Observer and our friends at the hotel where their wedding reception is going to be hosted. They are a great couple and I'm so excited for their big day. We checked out the room where the reception will take place. It's spacious and classy. The coordinator of the hotel's responsibilities was very positive and accommodating. I don't anticipate our friends having trouble with her.

Later we checked out rooms at the hotel. Our friends will be guests and the Observer and I were offered a special rate. We may take advantage of the deal and have a mini holiday. We need to arrange our attendant care before we can commit to a room though. Getting an "inside look" into the wedding reception was fun. I'm excited for their wedding, but need to get through my sister's wedding first.


Having so many weddings ahead, you'd think I would be thinking about my own wedding someday. A few thoughts do enter my head occasionally, but I just don't feel ready to be a wife. My values about marriage are strong and if it happens, I want it to be the right timing. I love my boyfriend, my relationship with my family and my independence. I'm still learning about myself and how to speak up. I guess I am learning to be OK with me. It's taken growth and I'm not totally where I need to be yet. Getting married is a step that I am far away from. I don't dream of wearing a white dress and seeing my prince at the end of an aisle. It's not a realistic fantasy. Instead I think of building a strong relationship and making the most of every day. Someday maybe I'll be a bride, but for now, I'm focusing on pooping regularly.

After checking out the reception and hotel rooms, we had dinner in a bar attached to the hotel. The Observer treated me to dinner, even though I put up quite the fuss. I love that he is so generous, but never want him to feel as if he is obligated to pay for anything. I was starving. The food was OK. Being so hungry, I would have eaten wood. We were treated to complimentary appetizers which was a pleasant surprise. One starter were chicken quesidellas and the other was a cheesy dip with salty chips. I had most of the chips. I loved them, but I felt like someone poured salt into my mouth. I drank lots of water. My glass fell on the restaurant floor and shattered to pieces. I was very embarrassed. My arms are so clumsy.

While watching for my bus to head back into the city, I stopped by the coffee shop across the road and picked my Dad up a gift card. Tomorrow is Father's Dad. While there I drank a small decaf coffee. I always struggle with my Dad's gift on Father's Day. I KNOW he uses coffee cards, so I think I am safe.

Once home, I got a message saying he had used his key to my apartment and came to fix a piece of my equipment. My Dad rocks. I hope he knows how much I love him, not just tomorrow, but every day...

- OCG

Friday, June 19, 2009

A minute or two...

I'm tired. It's only noon and that isn't a good sign. Do you ever feel off for no reason? I guess we all do. I was feeling hot in my apartment before bed, so I turned on my air conditioning. Once I was in bed under my down filled duvet, I started getting goosebumps. When we are trying to sleep, our body temperature has to be in balance. Now I know how my Mom feels when she suffers from hot flashes. I look at her and feel such empathy. I read somewhere that "getting older is not for sissies." It's true.



Last night I was on my way to the drugstore and ran into the superintendent in my building. She is such a sweet lady. We talked about her children, especially her daughter who is the same age as me. The topic turned to how much the superintendent loves her husband who helps out around the building. They are a beautiful, loving couple. She has met the Observer and we agreed that he is a great guy too. The superintendent advised me to "Be good to each other and keep it light." I trust her opinion. She knows about love.



This morning I saw a young woman wearing dirty clothes with a head full of knotted hair yelling in the middle of a busy street. She was saying, "What the **** is your problem?" I wanted to say, "I don't have one, but you obviously do." I kept quiet. Hopefully she'll be OK.

The ten minute conversation I had with my superintendent brightened my evening. It's those little interactions that help me remember what matters. Perhaps the girl on the street this morning didn't have enough kindness in her life. Who knows what leads up to us falling off the deep end. What I do know is that I need more coffee...

Happy Friday!

- OCG

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Complications of moving with four wheels...

Today is drizzly outside. It's not pouring like yesterday, but it's still damp and a bit gloomy. My morning started off on a positive note. I was greeted by one of my favourite attendants. She's friendly, intuitive, soft spoken, sensitive and helpful. If I were an attendant, I would hope someone would describe me this way. She doesn't work with me often, which is unfortunate, but maybe I value seeing her more because it's a novelty. My attendant helped me shower. I felt very refreshed. It's an excellent hair day if I do say so.



I have been sleeping like a baby for the last few nights. My goal has been to cut out coffee after lunch. Instead, I have raspberry herbal tea. Of course the tea doesn't taste as good as coffee, but in my books, nothing does. A good sleep makes the world look softer - or maybe less intimidating.

I'm happy with my life. I wish I were thinner, but that's my issue. I can control my weight.

Last night the Observer asked me if I find it easy to live my life using a wheelchair. I don't find it easy - either does he. A major challenge such as not being able to walk poses many complications. I need help moving from my wheelchair to the shower, the toilet and bed. People are in my personal space helping me with very private tasks. That sucks. Sometimes I feel like my life is on display. That sucks. I am dependant on help to honour the call of nature and that restricts when I do. That sucks. People get uncomfortable around me and ignore me. That sucks. My digestive system is my only major health concern due to a lazy bowel and not walking. That sucks. Every day is pretty scheduled because I rely on help from others. That sucks.

All of these challenges are a direct result of my disability. I get frustrated. I wish I could move independently, had more privacy, could answer the call of nature, and hat strangers treated me like anyone else. I wish I didn't have such a stubborn digestive system and that my life were more spontaneous. Sometimes I wish I could run. Honestly, I see no point in wishing I could walk. It will never happen, but I still get frustrated by all of the obstacles of not walking.

I can't control not being able to walk. So no. I don't find it easy living my life in wheelchair, but who would? I went to the St. Lawrence Market again today. For lunch, I had a chocolate chip bagel and a fruit cup. The lady at the counter gave me an extra bagel for free. I smiled and thanked her. I'm looking forward to having that bagel for dinner. I'm easily pleased, even if things feel complicated now and then. We all have struggles, but some are more obvious than others. We're all different, but more alike than we often realize. We all need respect, a home, love, food, family, water and a sense of purpose. We all need to laugh and appreciate little bonus - like a free chocolate chip bagel. Who wouldn't????

- OCG

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Party in the sky, my apartment, and my mouth!

It's raining out. The sky is having a party on all of us. My pants are very wet. Ah well, a girl has to go out, right? The sky looked grey this morning, but I couldn't resist going to the market. The wind made me shiver or maybe it was because I wasn't wearing anything but short sleeves. Being mid June, one would have thought I would be OK. The market wasn't too busy. I bought bagels for Mom and Dad. Hopefully they still enjoy them. I don't think they would pretend to like them if they didn't, but who knows. Parents can be surprising. I couldn't resist buying myself a fresh fruit salad. It's so fresh and such a good deal. Every time I visit the market, I HAVE to buy one. I bought discounted bell peppers too. There were too green and one yellow in the pack. I'm not big on the green ones, but they have a nice crunch. For the next three weeks, I'm going to eat clean, fresh food. My face looks rounder and it's bothering me. My weight always bothers, but I feel pressure, especially now that my sister's wedding is approaching. I am getting nervous and excited. The Observer is going to be groomsmen. He is going to look so handsome in his suit! We are going to be smoking hot......

I wish I could have seen the Observer today. I miss him. He makes any rainy day brighter. I had a good day, but it's always better when I see people I love. Soon I am going to crank up the tunes and have a party for one....I will brush my teeth to the rhythm of the radio.

Good times!

- OCG

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Wedding countdown...

There's no better feeling than knowing we look good. I knew I looked pretty when I tried on my bridesmaid dress yesterday. It's beautiful. The dressmaker is the same lady who made my dress for my brother's wedding. She took the dress I wore for his big day and made this one. The top of my new dress is a very tight, white strapless tank and a long black skirt. My Mom had trouble doing up the top, but the dressmaker helped her. I know I have gained weight since my brother's wedding two years ago. I can see it in pictures. I know the dressmaker can easily let out the top, but the fact that my dress needs those alterations bothers me. Weight gain is like the end of the world. Call me vain. It has less to do with my physical appearance than my self worth. I am complicated. The way I see myself is a bit off....



I have eaten like a pig for the last few days. I know hearing about my food intake is not the most exciting topic, but I am stressing. What if I am too fat to fit in my dress on my sister's wedding day??????????? The more I stress, the more I will eat, so I need to relax. My plan from now until the wedding day is to eat three meals a day and try to make them as healthy as possible. My focus needs to shift to the day being about my sister, not about my weight. Marriage is sacred and no one will care about my size except me. I may be a bit heftier, but I still looked pretty. In my moments of panic during the next three weeks, I will keep reminding myself that I am going to be fine.



The weather was sunny, summery and bright yesterday. I enjoyed visiting my family. When I first arrived, I was pretty grumpy, but I brightened after a coffee. I think I was going through caffeine withdrawal. The up I get from coffee is serious. For dinner, Mom made me a big chicken salad and I ate zucchini, and a pound of grapes. Everything was healthy, but it still felt like too much food. My parents' puppy, Riley has learned that she is the perfect height to steal my plate when I am eating meals. She stands propped on her four legs and tries to quickly pull my plate over with her paw. She's clever that puppy. When we got home from my dress fitting, my sister-in-law used her espresso machine to make me an Americano (A Canadian version of Italian espresso) The coffee was frothy, smooth and delicious. It had some creamy top that I loved. There's no coffee like the one made with an espresso machine.



It was midnight before I got home. Earlier in the day, I spoke to the Observer and told him I probably wouldn't talk to him again until later. I never got a chance to call him. I came home to ten messages on my answering machine. Nine were from the Observer. I had to laugh. He's as anxious as my Mom. When I am an old lady, I will be thankful that someone wanted to talk to me so much. I was tired but happy that I got to see my family and excited for my sister's fast approaching wedding day. I am so happy for her. She deserves every bit of the joy we all dream of on our wedding day. Hopefully her wedding will be one of the best days of her life. I don't know much about marriage, but I hope my sister's first day as a wife is as bright as all the days ahead.

- OCG

Monday, June 15, 2009

Comforting traditions...

I met a good friend at Union Station yesterday. It's been a while since I have seen her, so I was really looking forward to catching up. Her mother has been in hospital and life got busy for us. Thankfully, things are more steady for both of us. It's weird how saying goodbye to each other feels a little sad. We never really know how long it will be before we see each other again. Now that my friend and I are older, we also realize how quickly our lives can change for better or worse. As usual, I was a little arriving. My friend commented that there was a strained look in my eyes. I wanted to say that I was worried about being late, but I kept quiet. She knew I was late. Why point out the obvious? We chatted over sandwiches and coffee. My friend is confused about a guy. Listening to her was challenging because I had to resist giving her advice. My friend will do what is right for her. My only job is to be her friend.



We tried samples of a banana vanilla yogurt smoothie from Second Cup. The new smoothie tasted clean and refreshing. Food and beverage shops seem to know the right beverage to promote for each season. Summertime is perfect for smooth, cool, yogurt drinks. The people at the store were kind and gave me two samples. The smoothie was delicious but I had to have coffee. No matter what, I need my coffee every morning, afternoon, and sometimes. It's an oddly comforting addiction. Later that night, I had some herbal raspberry tea. My friend's mom gave it to me. I'm not a big tea drinker, but I enjoyed the tea because it was given to me by someone special. Sometimes it's not the gift we receive that matters, it's the person who gives us the gift that counts.



- OCG

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Knocking, nudging, and knowing...

I can't seem to wake up today. What's my problem? This morning I drank a big cup of coffee, but it doesn't seem to be kicking in.

The Observer came to see me yesterday. His knock on my apartment door was different. Usually it's a faint, drawn out knock, but this was a louder and shorter noise. His knock sounded serious - like he had somewhere to go and wasn't going to let anyone get in his way. An acquaintance from my childhood moved into my apartment building. We used to be close, but as we grew older, we've grown apart. I feel as we value different things in life. It's not clear if she feels the same about me. I'm a bit worried that she wants to be social and go out. Since she is now living so close, I feel a bit apprehensive. It's hard to maintain distance from a person when he or she is a few floors away. When I heard the distinctive knock, I was worried it was my acquaintance, but was relieved to see the Observer. I'd prefer opening my door to him over her in a heartbeat.

You know how you sometimes get an instinct that something is not right? Well, for the past few months, I've been getting a nudge from a higher power. The Observer has a female friend who he has been seeing socially from work. He has lots of female friends. I'm fine with ninety four point five percent of them, but there is something strange about his contact with this friend. I'm not comfortable with his seeing or communicating with her outside of work. I trust the Observer. He would never intentionally hurt me. I know that. He's so sweet, good-hearted, and friendly that I worry something could develop between him and his female friend without the Observer's awareness. I was upset last night when the girl texted him during our talk in Starbucks. After calming down and explaining ourselves, we reached a resolution. I hope I didn't come across as jealous, but I couldn't ignore my discomfort. I have a six star boyfriend and I want to keep him. Hopefully he is OK with me sticking around.

Later, we ran into my acquaintance and her boyfriend. It was bound to happen. We made small talk. I'll be polite, but not too polite. Relationships are all about keeping ourselves the right distance from one and another. I guess the world is small so we don't smother each other and learn to share the same space.

- OCG

Saturday, June 13, 2009

A night of laughter...

The Observer and I went to see Russell Peters last night. He's a comedian whose work focuses on culture and ethnicity. He walks a thin thin between poking fun and being a racist. The tour is to celebrate twenty years of Russell Peters being in stand-up. Tickets to the Russel Peters show were a gift from the Observer to celebrate our anniversary. I am a lucky girl. Russell Peters is big in our city because he is from here. When someone local becomes famous, we have a lot of Canadian pride. I guess this is true of any country. I hadn't seen much of Russell Peter's comedy routine, but I knew he was a funny dude. Our city is very multi-cultural. There are people from all over the map here. Again, you could probably say this about any city, but it's noticeable where I come from. Multiculturalism has made the majority the minority. Russell Peters joked that "You don't see many white people around any more." He's sort of right. Instead we have a mix people from here, there and everywhere.



I laughed for the entire show. The Observer did too. There was a joke about Italians being dramatic and having a preference for dance music. The Observer LOVES dance music. My favourite jokes were about how women are constantly thinking and men are able to tune out for a while. I am a thinker, so I could relate.

Last evening was a fun night out. I had trouble finding the Observer and was getting very anxious becase I didn't want to miss much of the show. I would have felt horrible. Luckily the performance started late. I don't often go to comedy shows, so this was a happy event that will be a special memory. Joking around and laughing at things we can't help is a coping strategy for the Observer and I in our lives and relationship. The chance to see such a funny dude reminded me of how important it is to maintain laughter as we life, move and love. Russell Peters shows us all that regardless of where we come from, there is no shame in laughing at ourselves. Humor is healthy and makes life brighter. If we can't laugh at ourselves, who do we think we are?

- OCG

Friday, June 12, 2009

Out there living...

I am back to my old self. Amen! It's a sunny, warm Friday. I no longer feel trapped to the restroom and secluded from the land of the living. Phew! Good health is such an awesome gift. Freedom to come and go when and where I wish is another blessing.

I spent the day with Mom yesterday. She took me with her to get blood work, to buy supplies for my sister's wedding, and to buy groceries. We did a lot together. I enjoyed being out and about. I think it was a long day for Mom. I hope she knows how I won't forget our time together.

Though I miss my family, I glad to be back home and independent. I went to the St. Lawrence Market and bought myself a fresh fruit cup with melon, strawberries and grapes. I loved every bite. I checked out a bead stand. I liked the jewelry, but not enough to buy anything.

On the way home, a smoky, disheveled guy bumped into me. He looked like a shaky citizen. I was so glad to be out enjoying the sunshine that I asked if he was OK, smiled and kept moving. Life is bumpy, and I'd rather be bumped than letting it pass me by.

- OCG

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Home to my one and only Mom...

Remember how I was complaining about having to drink liters of a salty, disgusting laxative mixed with purple Kool-Aid? I drank two litters. Desperate to "move" myself, I knew the salty, gross stuff was my last resort. Mom came over to clean and cheer me on. What would I do without my wonderful Mother? As soon as I was showered and had drank the first liter of Kleen Prep, I went to the grocery store and bought Mom a bouquet of bright, mixed flowers. The florist who helped me advised me not to go with Mom's favourite flower as it was poor quality. I asked her what her choice of flower would be and she picked the mixed bouquet. Mom isn't usually one for bright flowers, but sometimes it's good to switch things up. When I got home, Mom was already in my apartment cleaning the cupboards. She gets right down to business.



After drinking some more nasty laxative and realizing that it wasn't going to work quickly, Mom suggested taking me home. Frustrated, I agreed. Going home is amazing. There really is no place like it. I love my family. Even so, I feel more dependant there. I can't move around as easily or come and go as I please. The whole world doesn't feel right outside my window as it does downtown. On another level, coming home to sort out health issues feels like a burden to my family. When I am around, they must provide me with basic stuff and help me dress and shower. I know they don't mind, but it's still work.



After coming home, Mom needed to meet my sister for a dress fitting. I was glad for some quiet time and that Mom was still getting to do what she planned. It must have been important to my sister that my Mom was there. While Mom was gone, the Observer and I chatted on the phone. He played me current tunes. My stomach started feeling strange and I knew the laxative was starting to work.........sweet lord of bodily functions! Sure enough, I started having results when Mom returned. She was so relieved. I was breathing easier too.



Mom made me a delicious dinner of soup, salad with diced egg, nuts, and cranberries, a whole wheat roll and a bran muffin for dessert. I was a hungry girl. We watched So You Think You Can Dance. I don't normally watch reality shows, but it was fun to hang out with Mom. I was surprised she stayed awake for the whole show. When Mom really enjoys a program, I guess her focus is sharp.

I went to bed thinking that my day may have started on a rough note, but ended with me feeling happier and healthier. Sometimes I just need my Mom.

- OCG

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Tales from a plugged up OCG...

Today is not one of my better days. I am trying to smile and look at the bright side of things, but it's taking a lot of effort. At camp my nickname used to be Little Miss Sunshine. Right now I feel more like Oscar The Grouch. My stomach is not responding to all the new methods I was told to try. Honestly, there is one that I gave up on before really giving it a go. I was advised by a gasrto specialist to drink a litre of Klean Prep, a nasty, salty powder mixed in water and diet grape Kool Aid. The concoction fills up two huge glasses. I tried to choke down the stuff last night. It was quite the production. Sitting alone in my kitchen, I was gaging and sputtering the drink. You know when you're so grossed out that you just have to gage? I couldn't keep my mouth from opening. I made it through one glass and half of another. Yes, I am being a big baby. I need to grow up and realize that drinking something unpleasant can benefit my health. It's only salty water. Drinking it won't kill me. Staying so back up in the gut could. I'm in the prime of my life. I want to be happy and healthy. I want to live long and prosper. So...I better drink up. Wish me a luck...

- OCG

Monday, June 08, 2009

A day well lived...

I spent half of my weekend at home with my family. Looking back, it seems like all I did was eat. Oh well, no point dwelling on what can't be changed, right? On Saturday night, my eyes never closed. I have no idea why I couldn't sleep. My brother and his wife temporarily live with my parents. My brother was working until three 'o'clock in the morning. When he came home, he got upset with his wife because he assumed the TV in their bedroom was too loud. It was the TV I was watching. He came downstairs and we had a special heart-to-heart chat. My brother is a police officer and told me how he had to carry a lady who was disabled down the stairs of her apartment building because she forgot to turn the stove burners off and the place caught fire. Some night. My idea of excitement in a night is turning up the radio and grooving to my tunes. Is that a little sad or ordinary? It's funny; my brother never mentioned that my TV was too loud. Maybe when we're married, we blame our spouses instead of our siblings. If these is true, I feel sorry for people who marry spouses from big families...

Yesterday felt as though it would never end. I was exhausted. Even so I had a family packed day. Dad I went to our neighbourhood Tim Hortons - our traditional coffee shop to visit and catch up for as long as I can remember. The store renovated and has automatic buttons now. I'm impressed. Over the years, that place has recieved a lot of business from Dad and I. The coffee tasted exceptionally good and Dad and I shared yummy peanut butter cookies. Dad has an ipod and likes to share his music with me. On the way home, I heard the old song When The Red, Red Robin Comes Bob, Bob, Bobin' Along by Al Jolson. I can't get these words out of my head:

Wake up, wake up, you sleepy head, Get up, get up, get out of bed, Cheer up, cheer up the sun is red, Live, love, laugh and be happy.

The song is a classic and has a basic timeless message. Good music has simple words, but we rarely forget them.

We celebrated my soon-to-be brother-in-law's thirty third birthday. Hopefully he enjoyed the evening. I did. A lot of the dinner-table discussion revolved around my sister's fast approaching wedding. Everyone is starting to get excited. Before I know it, I'll be writing about the wedding day. It will be an occasion to live, love, laugh and be happy, even if no red, red robin comes bob, bob, bobbin' along.

- OCG

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Up lives up...

Up is an awesome movie. You probably know that it's a 3D, animated Pixar film. I love animated movies. Call me a big kid. I won't argue. Up is a funny, uplifting, cute film with some sad, real-life issues about aging and loss. Any movie that can make me smile, feel empathy, laugh, and cry deserves a thumps up in my books. Movie goers got funky, dark 3D glasses to wear during the movie. I wear glasses at all times, so I wasn't too up for trading them for the 3D glasses. When the movie started, the screen appeared fuzzy, so I decided to try the 3D glasses over top of my every day glasses. Doubling up worked! The animation was very true to life. It felt like the characters were going to jump out of the movie and right into the theater.



For a kids' movie, Up was filled with obvious humor as well as lots of wit. The human characters broke my heart and made me grin. The animated characters got lots of laughs from the audience. Their "voices" were diverse and edgy. The movie focused on Carl, an elderly man mourning his beloved wife and struggling to come to terms with getting older. He sets out on his lifelong mission to travel by tying ballons to his home. Once in the sky, Carl realizes he's not alone and ends up befrinding a ten year old boy who shows him that it's the simple things in life that matter.

Up had more substance than I thought. Then again, the film was made in 3D, so it's good that it lived up to showing how life has many dimensions. Up will leave you thinking and feeling uplifted. It's a five star experince.

- OCG

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Looking down and up...

My Mom saw her cardiologist today. The news wasn't great. There is more damage to her heart than expected. I could tell she was upset when she called. How wouldn't be? My Mom said she wanted to hear that everything was fine. I don't blame her. I reminded her that she did have a large heart attack and there is bound to damage when this happens. She is worried. I am too.



Mom looks very vibrant, youthful and healthy on the outside. It's encouraging and a relief to see. Part of me thinks her outside appearance is deceiving. You wouldn't think she had even had a heart attack if you saw her on the street. It's hard to tell this about strangers I guess. I applaud her for living such a healthy life. Mom is putting herself first now. She used to put the needs of her family before her own. I am so blessed to have her. She almost left us. Whenever Mom calls, I try to call her back right away, because I want to hear her voice. Sometimes I worry about a day when she won't be here. I know we are all going to die, but I can't imagine life without Mom. How would I breath?

It's beautiful outside. The sun has been out all day. I feel better physically than I have in a long time. Dad called. He advised Mom to "Look down at the grass and up at the sky and and say "Thank you". I did. Life deals us unfair cards, but we're here to enjoy it, so we best look up as high as we can as often as possible. To capture the true beauty of the sky and clouds, sometimes we have to look down at the grass first.

- OCG

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Cute and fresh...

I went to the St. Lawrence Market this morning. I wanted to get out and Mom and Dad needed bagels. It's cold. If you're wondering whether you need a coat on to go outside, you do. My goosebumps came out in full force. The lady at the bagel stand is starting to recognize me. I'm not surprised. She gets loads of business from me. My family goes through lots of bagels. I noticed small children using walkers and wheelchairs touring the market. Each had an adult with them carrying a book about a certain part of the market including the butcher, bakery, fish market or produce market. They were very cute.

I bought three bell peppers on sale. I think they are overripe. Hopefully they last. I bought a container of sliced fresh fruit and had it for lunch with pita chips. Food at the market is top notch. The people are friendly. There is a jewelry stand where I might get a necklace for my friend on my next trip.

For the last two weeks,I've been eating more like a horse than a human. My clothes are feeling tight, but I'm trying not to stress. I'll be OK. Life goes on - no matter how big I am. Hopefully my brain is the biggest part of me - not my bottom.

- OCG

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

A hard pill to swallow...

I went home on Sunday for a doctor's appointment the next morning. Going home is always a welcome break from all my usual stresses, including a chance for my stomach issues to be sorted out in the comforts of home. Having Mom and Dad around to help me is a blessing. No one knows me like they do. Hopefully most people feel this way about their families. I am extra lucky. I know that. Once I made it home, I was quite grumpy. My family had just sat down to dessert. Mom made rhubarb crisp - my favourite. At first I didn't want any, but changed my mind once I saw how good it looked with vanilla ice cream. I had two helpings. Not surprisingly, my spirits lifted. A lot of sweetness will make most of us smile brighter, I guess. Mom helped me resolve my stomach gurgles as best she could, but I still wasn't feeling a hundred percent the next morning. Ironically, I went to see a doctor specializing in stomach troubles. Maybe this makes sense - considering that I'm healthy aside from my bowel challenges.



I respect the doctor I see. He is an expert. When he says to do something, I do it. He is direct and tells me things that take a bit of time to wrap my brain around. Yesterday he advised me to change habits I've had for the last fifteen years. He also gave me a bit of warning about what next steps could be in my future. None of it was easy to hear. I wanted to yell, "Noooooooooooooooo!" I wanted to say, "This sucks. I don't deserve all of these challenges" but I stayed quiet. Mom was there. I was so glad. I needed her.

In the doctor's office, I noticed a gaunt looking man with a very bloated belly. Mom told me the man needed a liver transplant. A family friend had the same pregnant looking abdomen before his transplant. Thankfully he is doing well. I pray that man gets a transplant. Seeing him put my own struggles in perspective. Unlike that man in the office, I have choices and lots of time to make them.

My brother picked us up and drove us home. He commented on how quiet I was. I went into the bathroom, answered the call of nature and burst into tears. It felt good. Now, each time nature calls and I successfully answer it, I will be grateful. To be able to honour one's bodily urges naturally is a blessing.

Halfway back to my apartment, I got sick. It was gross. Dad saved my life. He took me home and got me cleaned up. What would I do without my family? Getting sick felt like a reiteration from above that I must adopt new ways of managing my health. Change is hard, but I'll be OK.

As I was tucked into bed at my parents', I thought about what a bad day I had. In another way, how lucky am I that the only real trouble I have revolves around poop? When I say, "I had a poopy day," I mean it.

- OCG