So many emotions!!!

It feels like it was weeks ago but it was only yesterday that I got the call. A stranger introduced himself then explained he was with the housing department of CMHA (Canadian Mental Health Association). Was I interested in an apartment? It was a new unit in a building that wouldn’t be completed until July or August… in Bowmanville.

I was all yes, yes, yes until he got to the town. Bowmanville is two towns to the east of us. We used to pick apples at a farm there that was surrounded by fields then and is surrounded by houses and big box stores now. That’s all I knew about it. A quick look at Google Maps showed me I’d be able to walk to the farm but I needed to know more than that.

I love Google Maps and used them so much before Colin and I moved here. And now I’m using them again. There’s a Wal-Mart and a Superstore (a Canadian grocery store) within walking distance… and a Dollarama. I need to have a Dollarama! I didn’t bother looking much further because stores can change so quickly. My Mom and I will drive up there soon enough and we can see what’s local.

There’s a gym a fair hike down the street and a COPE office right near my place so I might be able to go on the walking track and in the pool there and I might be able to join some groups through COPE. That’s too many “mights” for me but I should have answers soon.

And, finally, the bus. I’ll be able to take the bus westward to visit the kids and my parents and to the east to visit L. And I’ll still have my relatively cheap Access Pass to visit them with.

It all sounded good so I called the office this morning and told them I was taking the unit. Then Colin called disability to ask if he could get a form to claim obesity. If you’re fat they’ll give you $50 a month to improve your diet. Colin’s hoping he qualifies because $50 more for food would be a huge help. While he was on the phone, he mentioned that he was looking at the building behind our current apartment because it’s only $895 for a one bedroom. And he was quickly informed he’d get kicked off disability if he moved there because he’d be paying too much for rent and wouldn’t have enough for food. Which doesn’t make sense to me because if he got kicked off he’d haveĀ no money for food at all.

So now we’re taking up juggling. We need to save for moving trucks and last month’s rent while finding an affordable but clean unit for Colin. He’s already planning on asking if he could get into my building, even though I’ve explained it’s all subsidy and the people on the list will get spaces first.

I hadn’t expected to be moving this quickly. I was told right after Christmas that I had about a two or three year wait, which would have given us plenty of saving time. Now we’re really going to have to pinch pennies and each as cheaply as we can. Lentils, pasta, and I are going to become really well acquainted.

August will arrive in due time and I’m sure all these issues will long be sorted out by then. But, until then, I’ll be a bit of happy, excited, nervous, and antsy while I juggle agencies, finances, apartments, and moving dates. The next few months are going to be interesting.

 

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A boy went past me today and said, “Hello Mrs Rainbow Lady” I certainly can live with that as a name!

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A simple act of kindness…

I noticed his eyes first, rheumy blue with a vacant gaze. The bright orange safety vest was obvious, I’ve seen several seniors wearing them lately. Then I noticed the cane he clutched with both hands. With that, I turned my attention away, back to my conversation with Kait.

A few minutes later, the man across the aisle from me crouched down on the floor in front of the senior. His shoes were untied, something I hadn’t noticed. The man tied them both neatly then the senior looked down at his newly tied shoes and gave the man a shaky wave. And that was that.

Several years ago I was on the bus going to work. It was pitch black outside and freezing. My main goal was to warm up beside the heater. The driver stopped at the bus stop and I looked up, noticing a car in a nearby parking lot with the indoor lights on. An elderly man emerged, briefcase in hand, and started running toward the stop just as the last person boarded. Then it happened. His feet hit an ice patch and went right up in the air before he crashed down hard. I lept from my seat and yelled to the driver to stay and that a man had just fallen.

The man was obviously sore but just wanted to get on the bus. I tried to help him up and couldn’t. Thankfully a big, heavily tattooed man got off the bus and came over to help. Between the two of us he was lifted to his feet and (thankfully) he was able to walk to the waiting bus.

Random acts of kindness happen all the time. Lifting a row of seats up so a passenger in a wheelchair can board the bus safely. Paying a teen’s fare. Helping carry a senior’s groceries to the car. Our world is made more beautiful with each act.

It is so easy to fall into the trap of assuming that most of the world is filled with horrible people, even though that’s not the case. I think media plays a big role in this. Drama and shock sell so they write articles about things that are dramatic and shocking, which means that’s all people see and read. Then people assume that’s all there is out there. But it’s not.

We need to pay attention to what’s going on around us. The young mother interacting with her baby, the senior’s little dog who patiently waits for his owner’s faltering steps, even though it means taking a tiny step and waiting a minute. All the myriad of volunteers. This world is nowhere near as bad as we think. We just need to take the time to notice the good. We need to be the good.

be the good

Letting go of the past…

Head’s up: My ex and I have multiple friends together. I don’t care if you’re friends with him, best friends with him, or engaged to him. Congratulations on the latter. He’s a decent person who deserves friends and loved ones. I don’t want you to have to choose sides… I’d really rather you don’t. This is purely my opinion of my own relationship with him. Thank you for understanding.

It felt like we were perfect for each other. We both loved cats and each had three. We had similar tastes in music and veganism. In fact he converted back to being vegan while we were friends. We both loved to read and enjoyed Doctor Who. And we were both creative, me with writing and him with jewelry making. Several years went by as we slowly started talking more and more. By the time he asked me out as his girlfriend we were talking all day, every day, from the moment I got up to the moment I went to bed. The only time we weren’t talking was when I was at work and, even then, we talked at every break. I even messaged at family gatherings.

my-dressWe made our relationship Facebook official within minutes of deciding to date and had our wedding roughly sketched out by our one month anniversary, something I’d carefully recorded in my calendar. My dress was bought by our two month anniversary, a lovely pastel pink and gold one, with enough sparkle for me and room for my boyfriend’s lace butterflies. I bought tickets to go meet him for that October and started counting down the days with an app. He immediately bought tickets to go see Wicked in London and informed me he would be singing all the songs. I assured him that chances are I’d end up singing them too. I pick up songs very quickly.

I look back at that time and remember how perfect everything felt then. I wasn’t lonely. How could I be with a boyfriend I talked to all the time? One who knew all my secrets. And soon I was going to have a dream vacation, followed by a dream wedding, and a move to Richmond BC. Me, the woman who, other than my first two months of life, had only ever lived in Whitby and Oshawa. And now I was going to move across the ocean. It was going to be an adventure.

The adventure came quickly to an end the day after he promised he wasn’t breaking up with me and two days after I confessed I was suicidal. The words didn’t seem real for a moment. Then I couldn’t breathe. He was breaking up with me? But he promised he wouldn’t.

We went back to friendship but it wasn’t like before, even though we still messaged regularly, and he blocked me a couple of months later with this message:

Well, I told you. It was your self fulfilling prophecy and you were the one pushing me away for daring to grow and change, so now, I am done.

Even at the end he couldn’t accept responsibility for his actions. Instead he blamed it on me. I was hurt enough to archive his message thread so I didn’t accidentally find it but that also made it really easy to find. Several years later I scrolled through to find a bit of information and was floored at the gaslighting and manipulation. It was not a healthy relationship at all. It took a while longer for me to realize that messaging with anyone constantly throughout the day isn’t healthy and while the relationship wasn’t good for me, it wasn’t good for him either.

I blocked him on Facebook this week which is something I would never have believed back in 2016. Then I figured he’d unblock me within weeks, months at the most. At this point I’m reasonably sure he’ll never unblock me and I finally, honestly, don’t care. I wish him all the best in his future and am simply relieved that future will not include me.

not my baggage

Looking forward…

Today feels like it should be covered in glitter and wrapped in ribbon… like there should be a hint of magic along with the optimism a new year brings. Instead we’ve got rain and chilly winds. Not that it matters because I’m cozy in my home, wearing sequined slippers and taking breaks to cuddle with the cats.

This is a day of reflection about 2018 while planning for next year and thankfully my reflections are happy ones. Kait’s pregnancy and subsequent birth have brought the two of us closer together. It’s not uncommon for us to have three hour long phone calls now. And I have the most adorable grandson too. I love watching his eyes light up with happiness when he sees me. Colin’s slowly maturing and has expressed an interest in being more organized. He also wants to go out more and join some groups. And I’ve spent quite a bit of time with family and friends. Woo hoo… karaoke! I can’t forget L either. I’ve only seen her once but I’m seeing her again soon and really looking forward to our second date… considering our first one was great!

One thing I have to work on in January and February is my weight. I’d lost 10 pounds by the beginning of December then regained six. Christmas Crack is so yummy but it’s also really high in calories. And there were other snacks and treats as well. January is a fresh start. I’m going to make sure I exercise every day. There’s no real excuse not to. I have a membership to the city’s walking track, I can go downstairs for a swim or some time on the treadmill, or I can use the mini trampoline I have under my bed. Plus on good days I can go outside for a walk on one of four trails. I am sure that I can get into the 180’s before our Dominican Republic vacation in March.

I’d also like to work on my writing. I haven’t written so much as a page in my current novel over the last year whereas pre-depression I lived for writing and would write a chapter at a time. I read an article, via Facebook, that said writing in Comic Sans helps boost creativity and I’m willing to give it a try. It can’t hurt and it’s not hard to change the novel back to Garamond.

I’ve been enjoying hanging out with friends but I’ve got local friends who I only ever see on Facebook and we need to get together too. That’s something for me to try harder to arrange this year.

2016 was one of the worst years of my life, 2017 was an improvement, 2018 was great, and I’m hoping that 2019 will be amazing! Happy New Year!!!

Start your year off right

 

A week of contemplation…

The time between Christmas and New Years seems almost like a holiday, even though it isn’t one. It doesn’t feel like a busy party with presents and too much food but a contemplative party heading toward the birth of new year.

20181225_202409-01We opened all our presents yesterday and I got the gift I was hoping for… a new scale that says “You are amazing”. I need that daily affirmation, I think most of us do. I also got two pairs of slippers, one unicorn and one with mermaid sequins and two hot chocolate mugs, one with a unicorn that says “be magical” and one is a white cat with legs. Plus I got an ornament for my tree, a round, pink pig with wings and a crown. I knew they were sold out at every Pier One nearby, I didn’t realize my Mom had picked up one of the last ones.

More importantly was the time spent with family. Kait, her boyfriend, and their baby came over for Christmas morning, complete with stockings and cinnamon rolls. Then we all went over to my parents’ house for more presents, conversation, and yummy meals.

But Christmas is over and now it’s time to look forward to 2019. I have my main goal, I want to get on track diet wise so I can be a decent weight for our family Dominican Republic trip. I’ve slipped up this month and regained four pounds (arguably it could have been worse).

I want to spend more time with my friends and family. I’ve been enjoying Saturday karaoke nights with my friends each week and Sunday visits with family. I need to make it a priority to see Kait regularly too. I was going quite often when the baby was born and now the pendulum’s swung the opposite direction. I’d like to see her once every week or two.

I also want to get moving consistently. I don’t have to reach 10 thousand steps every day but I do need to get physical. It’ll help both my weight and my sleep.

My contemplative self wants a peaceful year. No worrying about trolls, whether they’re on Facebook or anywhere else. They can deal with their negativity on their own. And more connecting with my online friends. A message means so much more than a like.

The hardest one will be getting back into writing. I just don’t have the concentration I used to have. I read that writing in comic sans can help with concentration and creativity so that’s worth a shot. I can change the book back to garamond later.

This week will be spent converting our apartment back to it’s usual appearance. The tree will unravel back into plain green and the village will abandon it’s spot on the kitchen table. Soon they’ll all be tucked away in rubbermaid bins and moved into our storage unit. Recycling will be sorted and placed into the outside bins and our big garbage bag of gift wrap removed from our front hall. And, all the while, I’ll be ever so conscious of the new year looming ahead with it’s promise of a fresh start.

Hello 2019. I think I’m ready for you!

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Me at my parents’ house on Christmas evening

The Countdown to Christmas…

20181220_082144I think Christmas, for me, started on Thursday with breakfast in bed from Colin. He knows I always have an english muffin with peanut butter and a mug of hot chocolate every morning so attempted just that. As he was walking into the room he said, “I’m sorry, I added too much margarine”. That might be the understatement of the year. Then he saw me looking at my hot chocolate and explained the beverage exploded in the microwave, which explained both the half empty cup and the bits of cocoa powder all over the mug. Breakfast was still good though and it’s not often I get it served in bed.

 

20181221_093339That day I bought myself a present of my own for Christmas. I’d seen it at Pier One and just had to have it. It’s the perfect reminder that I matter too and deserve to follow my dreams. It goes quite nicely with the wall art although if I’d known I was going to buy the metal word art I’d have put the sticker somewhere else.

I had my friends over yesterday for an afternoon of conversation, present opening, and Christmas Crack. Kait came over with the baby and we all got our chance to hold him. And, when he got a bit overwhelmed I managed to calm him down again with a lullaby and some rocking. I can’t share any pictures from the party because they all have the baby but I can share my present.

 

20181221_145910-1These slippers are just perfect for me. They’re mermaid sequins and are glittery silver when brushed the other way. Lara was quite interested but wandered away when she realized they a) weren’t doing anything and b) weren’t edible. They’re lined with fleece and are so comfortable.

After my guests left I went out with my Mom to finish up our grocery shopping. Now everything is full to the brim with food. Other than fruits and veggies I can’t see us needing to buy anything throughout January. Definitely a good way to start off the New Year!

20181222_154323Today was a quiet day. I talked to Kait for a while, which was nice and she shared some pictures of the baby via messenger. And I chatted with Colin while he worked on one of his computers. Then I wrapped the rest of the presents, with some help from the kittens, and called my girlfriend. That was a good conversation although it was pretty much my bedtime when we finished chatting. I wanted to write this blog too so I’ve swan dived over bedtime but I can sleep in tomorrow. The stocking stuffers are sorted out too for Christmas morning. I can’t believe it’s only two days away!

I’m looking so forward to Christmas! Colin and I are having a quiet Christmas Eve and then we’ve got Kait, her boyfriend, and the baby coming over for Christmas morning. And then we’re all going to my parents’ house for a big family dinner. I’m finding that the older I get, the more family means to me and I’m looking forward to seeing them all.

I hope you all have wonderful plans for the holiday, whether it’s with your birth family or chosen family. Merry Christmas!!!

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Making spirits bright…

20181212_180507-01My absolute favourite holiday is Christmas. I love the lights, the decorations, the time spent with family and friends, the music, the food, buying just the right present for someone, and wondering what’s been wrapped up for me. It is all glorious.

We are just under two weeks away from Christmas and this is the first year I’ve been behind. I usually have our tree set up in mid-November and the presents wrapped soon after that. Cards get mailed right at the end of November. But this year it’s changed. I just don’t have the oomph to do everything all at once. The tree got put up yesterday, the presents are unwrapped and I’ve only sent out half the cards. But I will get there and I’m sure the cards will be just as appreciated the week after Christmas as they would the week before. The important thing is things are getting done and it’s not draining me to exhaustion.

20181212_180552-01-1I am looking so forward to this Christmas, my grandson’s very first. He loves lights and I can’t wait to see his expression when he’s faced with the tree. And Kait loves cinnamon rolls, something I’m determined to bake for breakfast. I have a simple, vegan recipe and, if I give myself an hour, I should get them all done and ready for breakfast and stocking opening.

Every time Kait is asked for a present suggestion for her, she replies with a gift for the baby, which makes it really hard to shop for her. Luckily I’ve found something she should enjoy. The same with Colin who has so much stuff, it’s hard to figure out where he’d put any more.

20181211_161618One of my oldest friends got me a present for the tree this year, a little silver spoon with the words “Grandbaby’s First Christmas 2018”. It was totally unexpected and totally perfect. She gave Kait some absolutely adorable clothes too, all in larger sizes, which is good because the grandbaby is a big baby.

I am looking forward to a holiday filled with family, from Kait and her family in the morning, to everyone at my parents’ house in the evening. It gets crowded and a bit overwhelming but it’s still fun.

My wish for all of you is that you have an amazing holiday season, no matter what holiday you celebrate, and a fantastic new year!

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