Half a century…

me and my cake croppedFifty years old. I’d counted ahead years ago and knew it was going to happen in 2020 but that seemed so far away… sometime in the distant future. It was so unreal, I couldn’t wrap my head around it. To be honest, I never thought I’d make it this long. And here I am, halfway to a hundred.

Fifty doesn’t feel like what I thought it would feel. I don’t feel that old. My shoulders hurt occasionally but that’s it for pain. I love to go for hikes. And if my local mall ever offered a slide as an option instead of stairs I’d be first in line.

But little things trip me up. I can’t believe 1990 is 30 years ago. How did it get so far away so fast? And I’m finding techy things more and more confusing, which feels weird as someone who once worked in technical support. I don’t own a television and have no clue how to operate modern remote controls. I don’t even know what half the buttons are on my microwave.

My birthday was yesterday and I had my parents, sister, and nephews over for dinner. We had curry, pizza, and vegan cheesecake then opened presents. It was a lot of fun and so nice to have everyone over. My place might not be large but it’s welcoming and I think that’s more important.

The presents are put away, the couple of cake slices are in the fridge along with the last serving of curry, and the wrappings are down the chute. My celebration is done for another year. Now it’s time to get on with life and living. I’ve got another fifty years to work on!

Bon Echo…

We camped the whole time I was growing up and much of those summers were spent at Bon Echo. My parents had a tent trailer, which fit us three girls just fine, and we brought along our friends’ three children (which warranted a tent). Plus our neighbour across the street camped at the same time with their three kids and often brought another neighbours’ two girls. It was a lot of kids and we had a tonne of fun. Swimming, biking, exploring, roasting marshmallows, singing campfire songs, getting lost and finding our way again… all of it was an adventure.

I took my own kids camping. We went to campgrounds closer to home and I loved them, especially Sibbald Point, we had so many great trips there. But Bon Echo was special.

My sister Jen takes her boys to Bon Echo at least once a year and often goes with our cousin Greg, his husband, and a whole bunch of friends.  They’re there right now and, on July second, my parents and I went up to join them. It’s not a short trip, it takes three hours each way, but it’s well worth the drive.

We crunched down the familiar road past two cabins then the scent of pine and camp smoke brought me right back to thirty-five years ago, jumping down the benches of the amphitheatre, positive I was going to fall any second yet somehow managing to stay upright. Walking along a rock strewn path to the point while the waves lapping the ground beside us. Hiding in an old, spider filled change room during a freak thunderstorm.

And then we were at the site, meeting everyone as they got back from a long hike. It was time for a swim on the beach where we always swam at while growing up, the beach that wasn’t the day beach. I like it better because it’s far more scenic with its backdrop of a stories high cliff. This beach is less popular because of the nearness of the underwater drop off. No one wants little Junior to go from chest height to 40ft deep in one step. This year it was more popular than usual due to social distancing. We spread ourselves out as far away as possible from the crowds.

Sometimes time creeps up on you, other times it smacks you in the face. My kids are no longer cuddle bugs snuggling up for bedtime stories, my Dad is no longer young and strong, and we will no longer run through the woods of Bon Echo seeking adventure. That mantle has passed to other children.

We left at dinnertime, saying our long winded goodbyes, and I was grateful to leave. I don’t think I could camp for even one night. I’m not sure I’ll ever camp again. But I’m so glad I went up for the day with my parents. I’m so glad I got to experience that sliver of Bon Echo.

cliff1

Saying goodbye to a decade…

Kathleen and Kait 2009It was 2009. I had a 14 year old and a 12 year old. Both seemed so old then and so young in retrospect. That New Year’s we went to my parents’ house for a family celebration that including a bonfire and cousins running everywhere.

 

Maybe it’s just me but I find that how things are now feel like forever, as if nothing’s going to change. And yet it does. Sometimes glacially slow and sometimes in the blink of an eye. Colin and I moved into what was my dream apartment (complete with pool) and he finished high school after many years of turmoil, mostly involving pronouns, his stims, and his love of math. Kait started dating her boyfriend and eventually had a baby with him. Kittens were adopted and adult cats grew older. The kittens did too but they’re still young. The adults are getting elderly.

I went to a friends’ apartment today and we were talking about the next decade and how old we’d be when 2030 rolled around. Sixty seems so far away but it’s coming closer in increments. Most of our time was spent chatting about happier things, stuffing our faces with food, and singing karaoke but sixty tugged at my brain. I’ve never pictured anything past 2020 so sixty is a novel concept and a not entirely welcome one. I can barely wrap myself around turning fifty.

I mentioned a few of my goals in an earlier post. Things like exercise three times a week and try to make friends. I want to get back into writing. I miss writing. I miss having a brain with an attention span too. I will definitely have to write in shorter chunks. And I need to make at least one friend. I don’t know how. I’m good at chatting with strangers but don’t know how to bridge the gap between chatty neighbour and friend. And I want to get back into cooking. Colin keeps putting stuff on the kitchen counter, which makes it difficult to prepare food. He has a lot of stuff, none of which belong there.

It is going to be so odd moving into an apartment just for me. I have never, in almost 50 years, lived totally on my own. Will I still be there on New Year’s Eve 2029? Who will be with me? Oh my goodness, my tiny toddling grandson is going to be in late elementary school! Our lives are going to change so much.

I’ve already had my New Year’s Eve celebration so I’m going to curl up in my swing chair and read a Patricia Briggs novel. Happy New Year to you all and I wish you all the best in 2020!

Kathleen, Allison, and Sean

Myself, Allison, and Sean about to sing karaoke

The Ten Year Challenge…

Lately my Facebook newsfeed has been filled with photos of my friends from 2009 to today, leaving people to see the differences. I added mine but felt so much was missing, namely the history going along with the first picture and the growth leading to the last one. They say that a picture’s worth a thousand words but I think some words can really round out the story.

10 year challenge

In 2009 I’d just finished a job working at a call centre representing Sympatico, a Canadian internet company. I started off in the tech support department and moved to billing after half a year. The job paid good money (compared to minimum wage) and came with benefits. The downsides were leaving a 12 and 14 year old home alone until dinnertime. I couldn’t even call them until 5pm. And the extreme pressure. One pressure was time. Three minute bathroom breaks (even if you were on the far side of the building from the washrooms) and getting written up if you were 30 seconds late from any break. The second was also time but phone time. You had to clear security, fix the problem, and make a sale in 15 minutes for tech and ten for business. That had to include any phone calls to other departments, bill adjustments and, for tech support, getting people to unplug every phone jack, except for the one they were calling from *click*. Yeah, quite a few people disconnected the phone.

That summer I got a job at Tim Hortons, a Canadian doughnut store chain, it was still fast paced but not nearly as fast as the call centre. I quickly made friends and got to know the regulars, some of whom came in two and three times a day, every day. The constant movement helped me drop a lot of the weight I’d put on at the call centre (the weight loss was after this photo). I was extremely lucky that my managers were willing to work around my quirks (later diagnosed as autism).

We also lived several blocks away from my parents and sister in a three bedroom apartment in an apartment complex. It wasn’t the best place to live but it was convenient for transit and shopping.

Fast forward to today. I’m about 40 days away from moving into my tiny home and I got to see pictures of one of the units. It looked gorgeous. A spacious kitchen and laminate flooring. I’d hoped to see more of the living room but the two pictures were backlit by the patio doors so all I could see was a wall and the flooring. I won’t see my own place until I move so it was great to get a view of what it will look like.

I haven’t worked since 2016, the year I became suicidal, and am now on disability. It’s hard in some ways. The friends I made through work have faded away but I’ve made new friends in my groups. I’m lucky enough to live in a community with lots of supports and, even though I’m leaving some of my supports behind, I’ll have new supports where I move to.

In 2009 I was positive I was straight; any thoughts to the contrary were quashed immediately. I’ve spent the last five years learning and understanding my sexual orientation. 2009 me would have been both shocked and scared to find out I’m a panromantic asexual and, for a short time, had a girlfriend (who I’m still friends with).

I now have a 22 year old, a 24 year old, and a one year old grandchild, none of which are moving with me. I’m facing my first move alone (well alone with five cats). Colin was supposed to have a meeting for moving options on Monday but it got cancelled at the last minute. He has another meeting tomorrow. And Kait has her own tiny home and family now. It’s her turn to experience childhood second hand.

I’ve been exploring my new community along with my Mom. I’ve done a shop at the local grocery store to see if they have everything I need (they do). I’ve registered the cats at the local vet and myself at the local dentist, both right across the street from my new place. There’s also a pizzeria and a pub which has karaoke. It looks like a good place to settle down.

So much has changed these past 10 years, more than I could ever have anticipated. I can’t help but wonder what my life will be like in 2029!

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A filtered phone taken from one of the trails where I’m moving

My life…

by Colin Davidson
(the views of the guest are not necessarily the views of me)

In my life I’ve had many ups and downs but I guess that’s life. I guess I should start with the thing that took up most of my childhood, which is school. I can’t remember a lot about elementary school but the stuff I can remember were not the best times of my life. I’ll start with the positives, the breaks (aka lunch and recess) were nice. I was able to hang out with my friends and just chill out. But that’s all that I can remember about the good parts of school. The bad parts were weird. I remember my teacher just never helping. I was never able to learn fast, obviously, because of autism. I probably should have had someone sitting next to me, telling me what to do but I remember having my hand up for thirty or forty minutes at a time but no one would actually help because, I’m assuming they thought I knew how to do it. And whenever I got upset at the teachers they’d put me into the kitchen with a desk and a chair and that was it (Kathleen ~ he was supposed to be the snoezelen room but they saved that for good behaviour, which is not how it works).

High school was another thing altogether. My school life went from bad to worse. But I should start with the first high school I went to. I was able to make friends in the class, pretty simply, and it felt like the teachers were actually listening. They weren’t teaching, at the beginning, as they should but I could tell they were making an effort. The only thing I can say about that school was they should have taught math more but, when I told them I felt uncomfortable eating in the cafeteria that found me a safe place to eat.

The second high school was worse than the first. It actually felt like the teachers actively didn’t like me and made it their mission not to let me do what I wanted to do. I would sometimes bike to school, without my Mom’s permission, so she wouldn’t call the bus company. Some days I’d arrive five or ten minutes late. Well math would be written on the board. And the board is supposed to be this almighty powerful thing that dictates the entire day. But come second period, when math was supposed to be taught, they’d pick something else. I’ve had days where I’d come back to school after a doctor’s appointment or something and the class would be talking about how they did math the day before. I’d always want to do math but it never happened. It always felt like I was being singled out. We’d always have talks when we came back to school after the weekend or holidays where we talked about what we did. She’d let different students talk for more longer so I always kept an eye on the time, like every second when I was at school. So I always knew how long most people got. One person in the class always got like thirty minutes. Everyone else who would actually talk, got like five. And the teachers themselves got like thirty minutes. It wouldn’t abnormal for the class, when we got back from break to have the talks go until lunch. So me and the other students she didn’t like would get like five minutes. I honestly think that teacher should not have been in a special ed class. She would do things like just talk to the EAs and help no students who needed help. Any time I pointed out to her that we needed to learn basic math, she’d get upset. She wanted everyone to be on the same level of education, but no one was at all. I was in times tables with math and there would kids in the class who could barely do addition. They couldn’t do subtraction. And there was a kid in the class who couldn’t tell time off an analogue time at all. It was weird when I got onto the bus going home. I actually had comments from people on the bus saying it was weird I was taking the bus home because I was sent home that much. I have a disagreement with the teacher, I literally asked for math like ten to fifteen times. Now, in the winter they were more hesitant to send me home and to be quite honest, I regret not calling the police that day. It was -20C and the only thing I had to wear, which the school knew, was a long sleeved shirt. I only had a shirt because I always forgot to grab a jacket. After that day I didn’t forget my jacket.

Just a small note. It didn’t affect me too much but, at the time I identified as non-binary and the teachers refused to say my pronouns. It wasn’t the biggest deal for me because of all the stuff I said before but it was still a problem. My Mom brought in someone from the school board to tell them what they had to say and they still refused.

So it was obviously nice times I had with the family. They’d bring us to the zoo and we’d walk over to their place and have fun there. But there were also some things that weren’t great. One of the best examples is I had a skateboard I bought for myself. It was a Darth Vader skateboard. I spent extra for it because it was Darth Vader. I made sure not to use it too much so I wouldn’t mess up the picture. And then, I don’t know if it was me or my Mom but we left it at Nana and Grandad’s. I can’t remember if I asked where it was or they told me but my cousins were using it one day and they left it outside and it got stolen. They didn’t offer to buy me a new one, they just said “kids will be kids” and left it at that. But then there’s also the zoo trips were getting pretty repetitive for me. To this day, I can still tell you everywhere we went. We’d go to see the polar bears, the great apes, and we’d see the bats, and then that would pretty much be it. Every so often we’d do different things but it wasn’t that often. But now we’re going on to what happened at home.

There’s a lot of great things that happened at home. I don’t know how many DSlites my Mom helped me buy because I’d accidentally break them. I think it was five. I’d save up a hundred dollars and be all excited because I was buying a DS lite. And Mom would chip in probably a hundred dollars. But then there was stuff that weren’t the best things. To put in mildly, Kait was not gentle. I don’t know how any of our plates managed to get out of that apartment. One of the things that Kaitlyn would do is just grab plates and drop them out the window onto the roof over the entrance to our building. It was usual for me to wake up to Mom and Kaitlyn yelling. I remember waking up and not even thinking why are they yelling but, how long can I stay in my bedroom for because I have to use the washroom. Honestly the best times of my childhood has to be when Kaitlyn wasn’t at the apartment (Kathleen ~ they were the best of friends until Kait was a teenager and Kait’s issues started when her Dad tried to be more involved). She was taken away by the police twice because the police thought she was a danger to me.

Dad was an entire thing all on his own. I’m sure my Mom, if she hasn’t already, could write an entire blog just on him. So he did stuff like when Kait went over her maximum phone minutes, he’d tell her things like he’d never get mad, he’d just pay the bill. And then he’d make both me and Kaitlyn get upset at Mom and then say that, don’t worry, I’ll get each of you out starting with you Kaitlyn then I’ll get Colin out. He actually brought us to an apartment and said that, if he wins, he’d move us in there. He gave up trying for custody after he learned that the government money didn’t cover all of the expenses and him. That’s when he cut communication with both me and Kaitlyn. He’d often cut communication off with us. He’d constantly just stop talking to both me and Kaitlyn randomly.

Kaitlyn moved in to the place we’re currently living. So when this was going on, I was dealing with the second high school. So I was stressed out from school and stressed that Kaitlyn was here. I was optimistic. I thought everything was going to be fine (I’ll give you a hint, it wasn’t). The biggest regret I have happened and I’ll say first. If there was one thing I could go back and change from high school I’d change this. I was dating this chick in high school. We both liked each other. Every day though, when I got home from hanging out with her, I’d hear from Kait that I should break up with her. And eventually, just to have her stop saying it, I did. I guess I should have been more strong willed but I was dealing with high school.

But she would do other things like, I paid $50 for her old smart phone. She originally said I could just have it and I didn’t have to give her any money and then she said she felt like she had to give it to me so I offered to pay her $50 for it. I left a video one because I was using the phone as a wifi antenna. I was listening to music at the time, in a playlist and Mom brought me over to Superstore and I left my phone at home. And I knew I’d left it at home because the computer kept playing videos 12 to 15 minutes after we left. I haven’t seen that phone since and Kaitlyn had been the last person in the apartment.

We had an agreement that she got the living room and we wouldn’t go in there at night. Well I’d have to wake up for school. I’d have to be outside at 8am and Kait would get upset at me because she needed to get dressed and ready to go. We gave her a large closet area to get dressed and leave, she was never meant to change in the living room. She only changed in the living room. So I was getting ready to run out the door and I would have Kaitlyn yelling at me that I needed to go back to my bedroom because she needed to change. I remember once, when this was happening, she pushed the fridge door at me, well what was I supposed to do? I pushed it back at her and she started screaming about how I’d assaulted her. So Mom was going to go out and buy ink for this printer that obviously was broken and I threw the printer on the floor because if it was broken, buying ink for it would be pointless. So I made everyone know it was broken because I wasn’t able to convince them. I threw it at my feet. Honestly I was slightly worried I was going to hit my own feet because I was that close. Kaitlyn’s boyfriend ran over and put me into the most violent hold I’ve ever been put into. And they were planning on leaving anyways so I told them to leave. Eventually they did leave but we continued arguing for an extra 10 or 15 minutes. At the time this happened I think Kaitlyn’s boyfriend was about twenty. I think he’s four years older than me.

Well that’s it for this one. Like, comment, and subscribe. See you guys on the next one. Generic YouTuber out.

Isn’t it ironic…

flat-blackieI was watching Blackie lie on my unmade bed today and marvelled at how flat she looked, as if she’d melded with the bed in some way. Then my mind wandered to an article I’d watched yesterday about a senior dog getting abandoned. I was on Facebook at the time, I scrolled once and there was another article about a 17 year old dog being abandoned because he was “too old”.

Pardon me but what the fuck?!?

I could write for a while about all the things pets do for us and it would all be true, but it’s not the important part. The important part is they’re our family and we don’t throw away family!

I know elderly pets aren’t always “convenient”. Blackie has accidents that have to be wiped up. She’s also lost a lot of weight so I’ve got her on wet food (another expense) and feed her when she’s hungry. Hello 3am.

Oreo’s getting senile. He’ll start howling on occasion, lost in his own apartment. Which means I have to go find him and carry him to my bed to sleep. He isn’t always sure when he’s done pooping and will leave the box too early. This means I’ll find a trail of poop from the box.. sometimes leading right to a peacefully sleeping Oreo, poop lying right beside his butt. He’s not exactly subtle. He’s also started wetting on the floor, I’m assuming because he’s temporarily forgotten where the litter box is.

Angel, the oldest, is doing the best. She has sore hips, which has me checking every cannabis store for CBD oil. So far I haven’t had any luck. So I make sure she has plenty of soft spaces… and she lies on Colin’s bed anyway. She’s Colin’s cat, she loves him dearly. He used to wear her draped around his shoulders like a scarf and she’d lie there, happy as can be.

Sure, there’s incontinence, anxiety, pain, and senility (and who the heck is throwing up) but there’s also joy and comfort. They don’t want to race around the apartment anymore. They’re not up on my bookcase knocking down the decorations (I see you Smudge) or crying because they’re stuck in the bathroom cabinet (I see you again Smudge). They are lap cats, content just to lie there and purr while occasionally licking your hand. They’re bed cats, content to snuggle against you for the whole night or, in Blackie’s case, snuggle under the covers. She likes the cave experience.

They are our family and, more importantly, we’re theirs. They expect, with the certainty of belonging, that they’ll be here forever. This is their home, their beds, their fuzzy carpets, their cat tree. No one say love was perfect or accident free. Love, in all it’s shapes, can be messy, glorious, painful, and poignant.

And it you’re dropping your senior pet off at a shelter, you have no idea what love is.

Little bits of random…

As far as I can figure, it started with accepting a friend request from a vocal Mom of a trans youth, someone well known in the trans community. She seems to have been the catalyst of a deluge of friend requests. I went to bed and my friend request box was empty. I woke up to twenty requests and they just kept coming. I weeded out a few. One immediately sent me a diagram of various sex positions. She helpfully noted her favourite was #5. I introduced her to the block list. But most were trans women just looking for an additional friend. Thankfully the deluge seems to be nearly over. I woke up to only three today.

There’s 132 days left until I move to my brand new (literally) apartment. My Mom and I drove past there on Monday and the construction crew were spreading concrete on the walls. We tried out a Chinese restaurant… once we figured out where the door was LOL. We parked at the end of the lot farthest from the entrance and tried the locked service door first. The restaurant was pretty good. The buffet looked good but they didn’t have anything vegan so I had a preselected menu option that was vegetarian and they swapped one item out for me. The staff were friendly and the place was immaculate. I’d just been craving homestyle bean curd and that wasn’t an option.

We went on a walk along a nearby trail and it was gorgeous. Luckily it’s not very far from where I’m moving so I can go down there as I choose. There’s supposed to be a conservation area as well and hopefully we’ll find an entrance to it soon.

And now comes my hard decision. Do I have a nap now or go for a walk? I am so very tired, like I keep pausing to rest from typing. But I’ve only been up for two hours. If I nap I will take a walk after I wake up. I flipped a computerized coin and am going down for a nap. Edited to add, The nap was wonderful and I got to see a deer on my hike, which was all kinds of awesome.

Oh and I used some filters on a picture of me I liked and now I absolutely love it.

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What makes a house a home…

Kait and Elmo

Kait sharing a laugh with Elmo

I was looking at my hutch and the wooden home sign on the shelf when I thought to myself, “What makes a house a home”? I’d always thought it was the people in the house that made it a home. Love, kindness, and shared connections. The bonds of family and friendship.

I spent 23 years raising my children and had no doubt our place was a home. There was almost visible love around us and kindness. And, of course, friends. Our home had plenty of hugs and kisses, plenty of listening, and lots of “I love you”. It was home sweet home.

Then I moved here with Colin. It felt different moving without Kait but, with Colin, it was still home. And now it’s me moving all by myself.

I can look at all the gorgeous things I’ve bought for this apartment. My bronze twig cutlery set, rainbow cups (one set from me and one from my parents), beautiful wall art. Everything to make my apartment more inviting. But items don’t make a home. Can it be a home when I’m by myself?

I’m going to have four cats with me to love and spoil. I have friends already talking about visiting. And I’m sure I’ll make friends there, especially since there are groups being held in the building.

Those are all good but my final thought was it’s what’s inside your heart that matters. If you enter and your heart feels at peace, you’re home. No matter who or how many people live there.

I’m not sure when I’m going to get there, the building is under construction, but when I arrive, I know I’m going to be at home.

Kait, Colin, and frog

Kait and Colin while camping

My tropical vacation…

Angel packing herselfThe month of February seemed to move with a glacial slowness. I counted the weeks down, then counted to the pedicure appointment, and finally started counting the days. My bag was slowly packed, sans cat, and my carry on bag was filled with necessities like my passport and chapstick.

And then the day came. We woke up early on a bitterly cold morning and drove into Toronto to meet up at a hotel near the airport. Then we got up at 2:45am to get our airplane.

I hadn’t been on an airplane in years, not since 2007, and the plane on our way to Dominicanfound it to be a shock. The plane was so small and my seat was the one just ahead of the middle doors so it didn’t have any windows… or leg space for that matter. I felt like I was in a tin can.

But eventually we landed and were instantly swarmed by people who wanted to help. There were airport volunteers who hurried over to take our baggage right to our bus, leaving us to find our seats. The countryside was very different from what I’m used to. The fields on either side were straggly and there were no crops, just skinny cows with floppy ears. Then we’d drive through a small village where beautiful homes with ornate bars across the windows and balconies sat almost touching tin roof shacks.

the pathwalkAfter several hours we finally pulled into the gates of our resort and up a long drive to the main building. There we collected our baggage, got our room keys, and climbed aboard a small, open bus to our rooms. It turned out these buses drove up the paths regularly, picking up pedestrians and driving them to their destinations.

The room was pretty standard, other than the tiled floor and we had a lovely large balcony. The bathroom was good too and wouldn’t be out of place in any middle class home. What made it weird was the sign saying “water not potable” and a request to please not flush the toilet paper. That was definitely not something I was used to and goofed more than once. I did remember not to drink the water.

The pool was gorgeous and quite large, just as advertised, and the kids loved splashing the main poolaround in it. My Mom and I tried to do aquafit with Super Sonic every day. and one day a bunch of us ended up playing volleyball, which was fun, even if I have a tendency to duck instead of hitting the ball.

The beach was gorgeous, huge and sandy, stretching out to the ocean. Mom and I walked it a few times, collecting shells and bits of coral. She’s making a fridge magnet with hers. I’m not sure yet what I’m going to do with mine.

beach

Our beach

The food was really good, not as good as homemade, but yummy and filling. I loved the caramelized pineapple at breakfast and the make your own tacos for dinner, especially with pico de gallo, guacamole, green hot sauce, and julienned tomatoes. I had no idea you could julienne a tomato. I’m not even going to try.

Caleton Beach fish3Then we went on an excursion. Our first stop was my Dad’s favourite, a boat ride through the Gri Gri Lagoon. Our next stop was the Caleton beach. The water was gorgeous and clear. Mom and I shared a swim mask and all you needed to do was stick your head in the water to see gorgeous fish. The reef was in walking distance of the beach.

Then we went to our next stop, the Playa Grande beach, considered the 15th loveliest beach inPlaya Grande beach waves2 the world. There we had a buffet lunch and walked past a slew of vendors to the beach. There was definitely truth in that advertising. The beach was beautiful and the water clear. We all loved jumping in the waves and laughing when we misjudged and got splashed in the face instead. Eventually our time was up and we boarded the bus again to head to our last destination, the Blue Lagoon.

Blue Lagoon1I had expected a lagoon the same colour as all the beaches we’d seen. Instead we went down a staircase to a little grotto complete with a half roof with stalactites and rock walls dripping with ferns. The water was azure blue and clean enough that we could see the bottom, even though it was quite deep. I loved swimming in there, surrounded by family, blue, and ferns. I dove down to the bottom and brought up a little rock to remember the lagoon by and was happy on the way out to get stopped to see the fish, pudgy and black, leisurely swimming beside the stairs.

Like all vacations it had to come to an end. Soon we were waking up at 5:15am to checkme in first class out and get breakfast and then we were boarding our bus to the airport. And then my Mom got paged on the overhead system. Dad and I went with her as we were all on the same ticket. Did we wish to get bumped up to first class? Oh boy did we ever! I had two windows on the trip home and a little bottle of spring water and a bowl of warm nuts. They didn’t have any vegan meals on board but the appetizer was a kale salad which my Mom didn’t want so I had two of them. And they came around with Miss Vickies original kettle chips an hour later. I finished my book then took a bit of a nap with the provided pillow and finally we saw land, which was green then slowly turned to white. That’s when I knew we were getting descendingclose to home.

Soon the plan started its descent and we were off the plane and shivering in the sudden cold of the tube connecting the plane to the airport. We went back to the hotel, stuffed the SUV with our luggage, and joined the tail end of rush hour to get home.

It was one of the best trips I’ve had. I think the best trips not only show us a part of the world we’ve never experienced before and and also remind up of how nice it is to go home again.

Goodbye Grand Bahia Principe. Maybe we’ll see each other another day!

our view from the balcony1

Our view from the balcony

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