Sunday, January 29, 2012

Fifty Three

A little message found in the sand at English Bay Beach yesterday. Seemed made for me.

A quiet birthday, but just what I needed. Here in Vancouver on a respite/vacation break, staying at a friend's apartment in the West End while she is away travelling. Same building as my sister Carol lived in 30+ years ago, same suite layout, oddly comforting. Yesterday I went out for breakfast, walked by the ocean, had a nice tea, did some healthy things for me - then came home for a nice evening at 'home'. My best friend Kelly came over to visit. We ordered in Greek Food and enjoyed a bunch of wine and gabbed away the night.... Not as exciting as 51 up the Eiffel Tower, or 50 in the Big Apple, but perfect for me right now.

Looking forward to a new year. The last one was a wee bit rough, or perhaps I should say had a few rough patches, but it's all a process.

Last night these words fell out of my mouth, and I've been doodling around them, and want to capture them here:
Some people need roots... I need wings.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Library Respite

Tonight is another respite break, and I am at the local library with my sister. She is looking at books, and I am settled into a study nook with my laptop. I originally thought I might work - that's what I did the last time we were here on a similar break - but I feel like I have done enough on that front today, so an opportunity to blog.

After an hour or two, we will go and grab something to eat. This is amusing, as Patti gets a full meal, and I get, well, mush. Might be pasta tonight. One night it was mashed potatoes. Always with some soup. What's a girl to do?

I had dental surgery 8 days ago. I was playing up the 'dental surgery' bit to play a sympathy card, but I really thought it was no big deal. Wrong! I had 2 teeth extracted, and it hurt like hell afterwards. Then, despite being totally "good" (no booze, no red bull, liquids only then soft foods, and all the rinsing stuff...), it got infected. Sigh. So now I have antibiotics on top of the Tylenol 3s. As you might guess, I have been a bit of a zombie, lots of sleep, dozing off at inopportune times, and such. Yesterday I went for the gusto and spent pretty well the entire day sleeping. Made quite a difference. But long from being over the hump.

Interesting, I wrote for a whole 5 or 10 minutes without it being about mom. I'd say that's healthy. So, rather than rock that healthy boat, perhaps I'll not focus there....

I am looking forward to a great respite break later this month when I go to Vancouver and stay at a friend's apartment in the West End while she is away. Heaven.!! I don't care if all I do is sleep.... but I do hope I get out for some nice long walks. Hopefully I can drink by then (!) and can chill and have some good eats. May do nothing, may do something, will make zero plans. This IS my vacation. And boy, do I need it! [A note to my Vancouver friends: I don't expect to use this visit for socializing, so don't be offended.]

So, if I don't talk about mom, and I don't talk about respite, what do I talk about? Aside of dental pain and mushy foods, that is?

Honestly, I can't remember.

Maybe work?

I am doing two things. Can't recall if I have blogged on them before.

One is a short term contract for 4 months. I am a junior member of a 12 person team putting together 70+ elearning modules for a provincial government initiative. Interesting to have a side role, rather than being in the thick of things, but it fits me perfectly at this time. I have committed to the equivalent of 2 days a week as a minimum, and I do more when I can. I can only do this because my sister has come to help with my mom. And I enjoying it more than I thought! I'm am not really a government girl, but with the role I have carved out for myself, its working out fine. And the team is great! Only occasionally get together for face-to-face meetings; we do a daily scrum by phone and Live Meeting and the rest of my work is remote. Although I am not using it directly, I have been exposed to Articulate (I like it), have fallen in love with Dropbox, and am learning the ins and outs of Sharepoint. It's been good for me to dust off some of my skills, and spend time working with current tools. Yada yada yada....

That one is good for my brain, and my pocket book, and making local connections - but I love that it is for a finite period.

My other gig is the one that I am most excited about: since September I have been a travel researcher for IHateTaxis.com. First thing everyone asks is the story of the name, so you can read about it here. I work for the two brothers described in the story. And I LOVE IT! I started out at 10 hours a week, now up to 15 hours a week. And I am loving a steady ongoing gig that I can do anytime of night or day. It fits me like a glove! I also Tweet for them, which I enjoy tremendously. BTW, you can follow us there @ihatetaxis. Lots of cool stuff is in the hopper and it is great to be working on such a small team, as my voice, and my work, makes a difference.

It's funny, it's a way in which I am still traveling, or traveling again, without getting out of my pjs. I have learned so much about so many places by not only updating airport ground transport information, but by researching and writing about layover options. And by tweeting about travel related stuff. I'm a bit of a planespotter, so being hooked into airports is also kind of cool. If I think of places I've "touched" just this week, my 'journeys' have touched on Sicily (Mt. Etna was spewing this week!), Berlin (new airport coming!), Iceland, Dublin.... Other recent places have included Dominican Republic, Rome, Hamburg, Geneva, Hawaii, South Africa, Washington DC, Dallas Fort Worth, Winnipeg (new airport!)... and so much more.

OK, enough for now. bye bye

Sunday, January 01, 2012

New Year Reflections




Reflecting tonight on a few of the more memorable New Year's Eves in my life, not all good - in fact it was the memory of one particularly bad NYE that got me reflecting back - but it's all in the fabric of my life...

OK, out with it... let's start with the grim one. I was young. From my vantage point now I'd say veerrry young. That would be about 20 or 21. I had a boyfriend of a couple years that I was in the process of breaking up with. Correction: he was in the process of breaking up with me. We were living together, and the decision had been made a week or so before NYE, but I hadn't moved out yet. And we were "friends". Or so we thought. He was always a very kind soul but I guess so wrapped up in his own stuff about the breakup (or 'her' - the girl he had fallen in love with, that was at the root of me being asked to move out), that his thoughtlessness that night took me by surprise. He had made the arrangements for the night, so I put no attention to the evening, until we were ready to leave the house - and he grabbed a bottle of rum and said "this is what I am taking to drink tonight. What are you taking?" Of course, I didn't know that I should need to be thinking ahead on that count. And that was back in the days when you couldn't just go pick something up without planning ahead (liquor stores closed early on such nights, and were so busy you actully had to line up outside for hours [!]), so essentially I was left with nothing, aside of whatever I might be able to find in the cupboard. It was just so thoughtless, and it was a bad omen for the evening ahead. I had already said that I didn't want to go out for New Year's, considering the situation, but he said he still wanted to take me out (I guess he felt guilty about breaking up with me? and his new gf had plans?), so I acquiesed (sp?). My memories are actually very vague about it now, but I remember it being a night from hell. Being at some party and him kind of leaving me all alone for long stretches, ignorning me (or so it felt), and me just feeling totally awkward and uncomfortable. I just wanted it to be over. But it was something to just endure. And, there was no easy way to leave and get home. So it did need to be endured. And I was Miserable. I was broken hearted, felt unloved, definitely felt jilted, and the whole situation was just laid out in front of me: everything had come to this. And it sucked. I never was much of a drama queen, but that night probably did bring out the bits I did have: I was probably pouting and putting off some pretty 'woe is me' vibes. I am slightly amused now to think of it, but feel a bit sad for the younger me. And am also curious as to what he remembers from that night.

The "good" thing from that night was that I declared I hated New Year's parties, avoided them, and started creating new rituals for myself. Not that declaring all NYE parties bad was a good thing, but the movement to new rituals was a positive evolution for me. I must say I am still not all that fond of NYE parties, but they don't fill me with dread anymore.

Now, what other memories do I have?

I remember the year my sister Carol came and stayed with me in Victoria one New Year's. I was living in a lovely little attic apartment in a renovated heritage house, with a wood stove, skylights and a wee balcony with an ocean view. It had all these multilayered floors, and I had candles scattered about. We stayed in. I don't think she'd ever done that before! lol. It was quiet, but we had little rituals at midnight, wrote lists and resolutions, burned them, saved the ashes - and ate little treats. All stuff I had done alone for years since the NYE from Hell, and was sharing for the first time. Seemed very grand to be sharing it with someone else - and shockingly quiet for her (she kept talking like it was a novelty, I don't think she'd ever not partied).

Also in the low points category was the New Year's Day -- so not the night, but the day after -- where I had memories of some very painful stuff from my childhood come back to me for the first time. I was so shocked and confused. I remember the day because I went out walking in the morning, and there wasn't a soul around. So began a whole new chapter of my life that I have done a lot of work around, but have not written publicly about. But I do associate it with NYE.

In the bittersweet arena, there was the year Carol was in palliative care at St Paul's Hospital, and my sister Patti and I smuggled in champagne and snacks. We took over a wee room used for families and the chaplain - the irony wasn't lost on us - and chatted away the night like girlfriends. No, like sisters, sharing a 'normal' New Year's Evening. It was special. It makes my heart catch, as it must have been her last one....

Had a few memorable New Year's with a close close friend, her sister and brother-in-law. We'd gather at her place, and eat and drink and laugh and argue. I am not an arguer, but there were plenty of amusing moments with one of the trio of people I was drinking with wouldn't stop talking long enough to hear another persective so the only way to get a word in edgewise was to argue one's point. Probably doesn't sound amusing to read, but it is amusing to reflect back on. We also had a lot of fun. It was a ritual that got set aside when one of us diverted to a relationship, but still have surprisingly fond memories.

A definite highlight was 2 years ago in Athens, Greece which I wrote about here. Fantabulous!!!!

If you read that, you'll know why I was out trying to find a pomegrante (sp?) today....

Well, it's about time to clang pots and pans here...mom is up, watching Dick Clark (still alive!)... so will wrap this up. I am sure I have a few more memories that will come to me, and may add to this later.

But for now, let me say:

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!