Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Numbering My Thoughts

Thump. Thud. Thud.

Those are the early morning sounds that woke us up a few days ago.
The energizer bunny had rolled off the bed.
I grinned in the dark and sang to dearest one, "They all rolled over and one fell out..." We giggled and went back to sleep, once the energizer bunny was safely on the bed again. Yeah, I know, there is a kennel in our room just for the Pugs. It's doing duty as a table for a laundry basket at the moment.

Speaking of numbers, you know the all in that little ditty up above, when you count all my posts this one is numero eleven hundred.
Which is cool, eh?
Except eleven hundred sounds weird.
One thousand and one hundred doesn't roll of the tongue well, either.
Some days most words sound weird.
Does that ever happen to you? You write a word out and think to yourself it can't possibly be spelled that way even though another part of your brain is telling you you've been spelling it that way for decades. I wonder why words look or sound so alien some days.

I had something interesting happen today.
Well, let me back up a day.
There's a person in my life who I instinctively don't trust.
Passive aggressiveness is hard to pin down sometimes.
I tried earlier this week but the person smoothly side stepped my bluntness.
Wriggled right out of my question.

I've been known, in my former life, to grab people by the shirt, just under their throat, and threaten them. There is nothing passive aggressive about that but I don't recommend trying it. That was before I knew that I have a voice for a reason and it's much better to use my voice than my might. Anyway, I just was irritated all the day long by my inability to make her own up to something she did that crossed one of my boundaries. I do get tempted to grab people by the shirt now and then but that day wasn't one of them. Mercifully. Making amends keeps me from reckless behaviour more often than not. This morning I prayed that there would be a time lapse between my impulses and actions.

Yesterday I was talking to God and saying that if only I knew a little something about this person who I don't trust, something that would put a human face to her, it would help.
Today a little tidbit of info came out of her mouth and I asked her about it.
Within 5 minutes there was enough humanity spilling out that my heart softened.
I still don't trust her, and that is just fine.
I can trust my instincts.
But it is nice to know there is a soft heart underneath the hard exterior.

Next post will be eleven hundred and one.
That sounds better.
Thankfully there are only two pugs in the bed.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Ranting Heckler

Sometimes, when I write a post, like the one I did yesterday, I get the urge to delete it after a day or two. I try not to rant on this blog. I don't rant much in real life, either. Not even in my head where there is only me, myself, and I. I used to rant all the time. I had a fix for everyone and everything if they would only let me be in charge! Friends call dearest one and I the diplomat and the heckler. Diplomat I am not. It took getting sick to lessen my desire to rant. Ranting takes precious energy and when you only have a few spoons it's a shame to use them that way.

Only daughter and lover boy are here for a visit. I am having a hard time enjoying it because I already feel sad at her leaving tomorrow morning. Just typing that makes me teary. So I'm going to sign off for now and go give her a hug and spend the day in her company. She's only heard me rant once since she got here and it was so mild compared to days of old, she might not have even noticed. That's progress.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Within Me

"I'm going to have a stupendous, wonderful, incredible day!"

We're standing in line at the checkout counter as he tells me this and I look at him while thinking a rather sarcastic, "I'm happy for you."
There have been wind warnings for days now
and windy weather makes my lungs hurt.
My shoulders haven't stopped throbbing for 48 hours and my fatigue level is off the charts. I cannot seem to muster a good attitude, or gain perspective, I simply want to sleep.

He'd asked me earlier how I was and when I replied that I was tired, it was windy out there, but otherwise okay, he had countered with, "It's a beautiful day outside."

I look outside at the 50km/hr wind gusts and think rah, rah, rah.

I paid for my purchases and we parted ways.
I sat in my car feeling irritable as hell.
I watched him walk to his vehicle and get on with his stupendous day.
In all the time I have known him
we have yet to have a conversation
where I felt like we related
as one human being to another.

I put my car in gear and get on with my day.
This time, as I'm heading into the next store,
I see someone who is dear to my heart,
who has been pivotal in my journey.
Someone I believed who was placed in my path
several years ago by God, for my good.
I haven't seen him in nearly six months.

We ducked out of the wind and chatted. I told him about my summer, the stress, the emotional pain, the incredible opportunity for growth and change. He looked at me and said warmly, "It's exciting, isn't it?" His question caught me off guard and I stopped to think about it. I told him I would never willingly sign up for that kind of pain again
and I was continually humbled by the opportunities presented to me for growth.
Tears threatened to overflow as gratitude washed over me.

As we parted ways I told him that on a day like today, when it was so windy, I was grateful for warm house to go home to. He kind of harrumphed at me and I had to chuckle at how my irritation had faded.

Next stop was my home group AA meeting.
Just before the meeting started,
another group member came in.
He took one look at me and said,
"I'm going to give you a hug."
I told him I was really tired
and he told me with a measure of compassion
that the tiredness would pass.
It was comforting to be treated
with kindness.

Three different encounters,
two felt life giving and one soul sucking.
Although it hasn't escaped my notice
that's the second time in less than 10 days
where someone's happy, happy outlook
has gotten under my skin.
Oh, don't you just love it when you realize once again,
that the problem lies within you, not within them?!

Here's hoping I wake up rested and pain free tomorrow.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Getting To

When I left big city far away on Wednesday morning I
was hoping to beat rush hour traffic.
Six lane freeways are busy at 6 AM.
I feel all panicky until I successfully merge onto the freeway
without either hitting someone or they hitting me.
Then I give a big sigh of relief and go on my merry way.
It's a stretch to go from driving in a city of 50K
to a city of over a million.
But I did it.
I only got lost twice this time around.
That's progress!

The upside of leaving so early is that
I saw a beautiful orange sunrise
with everything in the foreground still black.
I normally always marvel at sunrises and sunsets.
That one was extra beautiful.

Last night I stopped on my way into the house
and looked up at the starry night sky, soaking it in.
I don't remember a clear starry night
when I didn't stop and take a few breaths
while I marveled at the sight.
I can see the big dipper out my bedroom window
for part of the night.
It's a good night when I don't see it
because it means I'm sleeping
while it passes by.
A few nights a year the moon
shines right onto my face,
through my other bedroom window,
waking me up.
I feel kissed by God when that happens.

I feel very grateful for life this morning.
For the ability to do lots of things
that weren't possible several years ago.
Even though I am rarely rested,
I function at a much higher level
physically than I used to.
I was telling both the geneticist and the cardiologist
this week that sometimes in the midst of a cold winter day,
when I am getting ready to go for a walk in -24C weather,
dearest one looks at me and asks why in the world would
I do such a thing.
I tell him it's because I can.
I had too many years when going for a walk wasn't an option
and I never want to take it for granted that today I can.

Maybe I'm warped but you know on days
when it is windy, cold, rainy,
and I am outside
I think about how nice it will be to get inside,
have a cup of tea,
warm up, and sit on the couch wrapped in a blanket.
I feel grateful for the little things
like slippers for my feet
and it makes me all happy inside.
If I never felt cold I would never appreciate
how nice it is to get all warmed up.

One of my favourite childhood memories
is of going into my grandparents' home
on a cold winter day
and putting my hands over the woodburning
cookstove and warming up.
It was always a bonus if my grandma
let me lift the little round lid and
throw my kleenex into the fire.

It's not winter here yet
but this morning there is frost on my windshield.
In a short while I will be getting in my car
and driving to see Fr. Charlie.
It's another one of those days
when I'm not thinking along the lines
of "I have to..." but rather
"I get to...."
Just by being alive we get to do so much.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Doing A Happy Dance!

Saw both doctors today.
No heart surgery required.
They were both so supportive of all my lifestyle changes
and so happy with the results that I don't have to see them for 3 years.
Stuff they wanted to give me pills for
has resolved itself by lifestyle changes.
How cool is that?

Monday, September 21, 2009

A Guy Named Bob

I'm in a city far away this morning.
Yesterday I arrived here at only daughter's empty apartment.
A place to sleep while she is away.

The walls are paper thin.
I heard someone's alarm clock beep at 5:30 AM.
Someone else's shower go on.
Someone else coughing.
In hockey season you can tell who they are cheering for
and which game is being shown on TV.
It made me hesitant to blow my nose
for fear of wondering who I might be waking up.

I'm sure they wouldn't be impressed with my morning routine
if I lived here full time.
Yoga at 5AM. Complete with occasional swearing at
the Biggest Loser trainer Bob
as he tells me you are almost finished, don't give up now!
while my legs feel like they are on fire
and I am going to be frozen in place forever.
Some days I tell him right where to go and how to get there.
He has the most annoying voice.
All chipper and you haven't seen anything yet
while I am pouring sweat and dying over here.

I always thought I could be one of those contestants on his show
that could suck it up and rise to the challenge.
Which I could.
But not without some hissy fits.
Some whining.
Some get out of my face moments thrown in.

If I lived in this apartment
soon my neighbours would wonder
why I kept putting up with
a guy named Bob.
Or he with me.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Mental Gymnastics

It's been a good weekend.
I've never been to an AA Assembly before.
I kept tearing up
when I looked around the room
at several hundred fellow alcoholics;
feeling overwhelmed with gratitude
for my sobriety and theirs.

I feel somewhat embarrassed to admit
that I also kept tearing up during elections.
I kept sensing that there was Something much bigger
at work than any of us and that was humbling.

It is a wonderful experience to hear the Serenity Prayer
said in unison in such a large group.

I also sat there and periodically thought
about whether or not I'd like these people
if we were all drunk.
Some I would probably like more
and some less, no doubt.
Some I could not picture drunk.
They did not fit my stereotype.

In treatment we were given an assignment
about what stereotype we had of an alcoholic.
The stereotype we kept alive
so that we didn't have to face
that we had a drinking problem of our own.

One of mine was that because I wasn't
in the neighbourhood bar
getting pissed with the neighbours
and going home with them
I didn't have a drinking problem.
Somehow I thought getting pissed at a bush party
and leaving a 2 year old and newborn in the car
was normal,
just don't get pissed in the bar
and sleep with the neighbours.
The mental gymnastics one does, eh?
Absolute insanity.

Thank God there is a solution.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Push Button Perfection

"There is no future."

Sigh. It's after the meeting and we are cleaning up the tables. I had shared in the meeting some feelings of fear about my health. In addition to the heart stuff some new issues have cropped up. Could be serious and could be simply a blip on the radar screen. Time will tell. Yesterday I wanted to get the swirl of worried thoughts out of my head and onto the table. When people come up to me after a meeting and say things like the above statement I know they mean well. They want me to have peace and not worry. I know that. Sometimes in reply though, I want to tell them to fuck off and mind their own business.

It wouldn't be so bad if I didn't have my own decades of experience in telling people just exactly how they should think and feel so that life would be perfecto. Trying to fix their lives when they haven't even asked me to. When I do that it's really been about my uncomfortableness with being human and how that means having a multitude of feelings. I've put a lot of energy into dismissing people's very real and understandable feelings when life isn't turning out how they had hoped and the circumstances are out of their control. I didn't want their pain to touch me.

It's hard to know how to navigate it when someone tells me the answer to my problems as if there was some magic switch to turn on and all would be roses and glory. For me to be honest and say, "I'm scared" is such progress. To have someone basically tell me there is only today so don't worry, be happy feels like I'm not allowed to be human. Most of the time I can take comments like that in stride, knowing their reaction to my share is their issue. And that my reaction to their reaction is my own. Yesterday it was a little harder to do.

I suppose really it's about my ego. I sometimes get caught up into wanting to be the poster girl for AA. Look at me and my perfect program where nary a thing bothers me because I just give it all to God and presto, I'm good to go. The program isn't about perfection. But, because sometimes I still chase after imaginary perfection I don't share that I'm scared, I'm worried, I'm, I'm, well, human, just like everyone else. And so is the person who tried to make my world all better yesterday. Imagine that. Sigh.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

I Will

"Will you marry me?"

Not many women can say they've been asked that
27 times in their life, but I can.
Before the day is over I will add one more to that number, making it 28.
Twenty-eight years ago today dearest one asked me to marry him
and he has repeated the question every year on this day ever since.

For the record, I've always said yes.
Sometimes that yes had been very faint in my heart,
and sometimes a little stronger,
and sometimes downright enthusiastic.

I've not always meant it.

While I can't imagine life without him,
some of the past 10,000 days (I counted)
I couldn't stand life with him, either.
I think those feelings,
both of them, are mutual.
Such is married life.

There is also something very comforting
being married so long to someone
who has known me at my best and at my worst
and is still here.

Even on the worst of days,
for more years than I can remember,
I rest my head on his shoulder
before we go to sleep.
I try not to take that for granted.

This past year has been the hardest
of all our years together.
I had not a clue what commitment looked like
when we married.
I'd seen my parents
treat their marriage commitment lightly.
I didn't know what it looked like
to treat it seriously.
Nor did I really know 10 years in, either.
Not even 20 years in.

Because of this past year,
I do now.
Learned it in such a painful way, too.
There have been several times in the past 28 years
when either one of us
could have walked away
with very good reason.
Reasons that no one would blame us for.
But here we are, still together.
And for that I am really grateful.

When I got home from town today
dearest one parted the drapes in the bay window
to show me a beautiful big rock with the word Hope
engraved in it.
He had gone into the flower shop this afternoon
and it was sitting there right in front
to greet him
so he said he just had to buy it.
It's just the kind of thing I would have bought
had I seen it first.

But the puglies?
They created a long and loud ruckus
at the sight of something so strange
sitting in the window.
They barked at it as if they had never seen hope before.
I am grateful, more than you could know,
that hope is as settled in my bones
as that rock is in the window.
I'm so grateful that hope
is no stranger to me.

We Have A Champion

Round Two: Humans.

They slept in the kennel without making a sound last night.
Except for snoring.
They may have me beat in that category
although I do give them a good run for their money.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Round One

Oh, the pitiful whine of a Pug in a kennel.
Dearest one was getting frustrated with them interrupting his sleep.
He got up at 1:30 and took the puglies to sleep with him on the couch.
Round One: Puglies.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Spoiled Rotten

The puglies have been sleeping in our bed ever since youngest son moved out 26 days ago. Twenty-six is the limit of how many nights I can share my bed with a dog. I decided that this morning. Two nights ago I slept on the couch, declaring to dearest one that I was sleeping wherever the dogs weren't. My bed is much more comfy than the couch. The only reprieve we've had is when youngest son has come home for night and the dogs go back to sleeping wherever he sleeps.

So this morning I cleaned the bedroom - finally found the floor after a six month disappearance - and made room for the kennel in one corner. The Energizer Bunny used to sleep in the kennel every night until Yoga Pup came along. I would tell her it was bedtime and she would reluctantly waddle down the hallway and into her kennel. Yoga Pup is not nearly so well behaved. I can already hear him whining pitifully at what he will no doubt think is unfair treatment.

The worst is that while I didn't give in to any of our children's pleas of whining might get me what I want tactics, I am not convinced I will be so unshakable when it comes to the toddler version of a Pug.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009


"I just wanted to wake up feeling rested."
It's nearing the end of the day and dearest one and I
are washing up the supper dishes together.
Tonigh I'm grateful that it will be a short work week.
I wake up feeling rested once every few months.
Sometimes, like tonight,
I have to admit that I have health limitations.
That's the short explanation of my sometimes lack of spoons.
The longer one wearies even me.
For the most part I try to take it in my stride.
Except when I get this tired.

Monday, September 07, 2009


Yesterday I spent the day in my pajamas.
I'd have the flu since Thursday night.
I ignored my pounding head and went to work Friday anyway
because I had stuff to do.
As if I was indispensable.
Ha. As if.

I kept trying to ignore the body aches and fever and headache
until yesterday when it became clear
that ignoring it wasn't going to work any longer.
So I stayed in my pjs and did nothing productive all day.

Doing so helped me see that I have been living a driven life lately.
Pressured by unrealistic expectations of myself.
I wasn't aware of that before yesterday.
I was too busy trying to get things done.
As if that is the only sensible way to spend a three day weekend.

Nine years ago I had a bout of Bell's Palsy.
It's never completely resolved itself.
Whenever my immune system is under attack
that side of my face goes numb and droops.
It feels similar to having been to the dentist
and leaving his office with a tingly face
that feels funny when you touch it.

Yesterday my face went numb again.
I can still feel the tingling as I type.
Right from my forehead to my chin.
My body tries to talk to me.
To get my attention so that I will take care of her.
Sometimes she has to shout
so that I will stop long enough to listen.

It's hard to let go of what seems
like a mile long to do list.
To do nothing on a long weekend but rest.
I thought I had learned through my years of spoon counting that being was more important than doing.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Doing My Heart Good

Some days I watch my favourite youtube videos because they do my heart good. The ones below are among them. Last night I figured out why I like them so much. First, their countenances are very appealing. You know what I mean? There is a joy, especially in the first two, that is infectious. The last man has a sadness that is understandable and a heart that is beautiful. I was in tears at one point watching his bit. They all have a humility about them that is beautiful to see. These three have such a cheerleading squad behind them, both family and friends, and by the end, the audience. They have people in their life encouraging them to reach for that which they were created to do. I sat here and wished that every person alive had one, too. Wouldn't it be lovely if everyone did? Enjoy.

The 6 minute version of the one above is well worth the watch. Embedding was disabled on the longer version so I couldn't post it here.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Paranoia Pays Off Sometimes

"Did I roll up the windows in the car?"

I asked myself that question as we were driving away from the parking lot at work on Thursday. Dearest one and I had taken two separate vehicles in because our work schedules conflicted, but by the end of the day I was just too tuckered out to be safe driving home. Do you ever do that? Ask yourself some question and then dismiss it because you think you're just being paranoid again? I do.

I get to work yesterday, the morning after a severe thunderstorm, to be greeted by a coworker who told me that I might want to roll up the window on my car because it was starting to rain. When I told her I had left the car there overnight we both turned and rushed back out to the parking lot. I have no idea how my car stayed put all night. Why it wasn't vandalised or stolen. I figure a wet passenger side seat is a small price to pay for not listening to the voice in my head that wanted me to double check that I'd locked it up properly. I apologized to the car angels, if they exist, for tying up their time guarding my car when there is much more serious business for them to be doing.

Yesterday morning, as we were driving away from the yard, I thought to myself, I wonder if I unplugged my curling iron? That's a question I ask myself nearly every morning as I drive out of the yard. We have turned around, too many times to count, sometimes a mile from home, so that I can make sure I unplugged it. We have yet to find a plugged in curling iron waiting for my attention. So yesterday morning I dismissed that small voice and went on my merry way. Yesterday afternoon dearest one calls me and says, "Did you mean to leave your curling iron plugged in? Um, that would be a no. He tells me that when he walked into the house he smelled something hot and my curling iron was the culprit.

Do you ever wonder how to distinguish paranoia from the Holy Spirit's prompting?Sometimes they seem like a tag team.And those angels? They were probably sighing and rolling their eyes after I got my window rolled up because they had to morph in to house angels and go stand watch until dearest one got home to unplug the curling iron.

Friday, September 04, 2009


"I can't take in one more piece of information today."

My boss looks at me and doesn't quite know what to say. She's used to me making a note of what needs to be looked into with a quick turnaround time. I make the note although I know I won't look into it until the middle of next week. The moment she asked it of me I envisioned 35 other requests coming my way today and I just couldn't handle the thought of that happening. My comment was meant to stop all those remaining requests from being made.

Yesterday was both exhausting and fun. I love detail work that is methodical. I also like working with the public. Yesterday was full of detail work and the public. I went home last night feeling like I rocked at my job. Which I do. I am so grateful for a satisfying job.

This morning however, in the aftermath, there is so much paperwork to deal with that I am buried in it. My desk, normally organized and in place, is piled with stacks of paper. I am so tired that I've been working for several hours without attending to the stacks one little bit. My head is aching, the same weird headache I had last night, and I momentarily feel totally sick. The phone has rung constantly since I came in, there have been contractors in and out all morning, and I can't figure out what the next step is so that I can make order out of chaos.

My boss finds her voice and tells me that I should tell them all to shut up and leave me alone. Which isn't my style, so I don't. She does however leave me alone, in a good natured way, the rest of the day.

By the end of the day there is semi order and the stacks of paperwork have been sorted through once, notes made, although I still have to email the whole lot to the next person up the chain of command and then photocopy them all for my files. At least they are in an orderly pile on my desk for next week.

Next week.

When another batch of paperwork will be added to the pile.

Most of the day this song was going through my head:

I can't remember the last time I was so grateful for a Friday.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Random Emptying Of My Head

I am tuckered right out.
It will be an early bed time tonight.
I am so grateful for all that life offers.
So much opportunity.
I try to reframe things from "I have to" to "I get to".

I don't know how it is for you but so often for me
I delight, take great comfort, in those daily routines,
the little things.
For slipping my feet into my pink slippers every morning.
For throwing on my caftan and wrapping a blanket around my shoulders.
For my favourite tea mug that fits my hands just right.
I don't know why those things mean so much to me, but they do.
Ordinary moments of ritual that feel like such a huge gift.
Sometimes I look at people out in public
and think about how every one of them
has some such routine every morning.
Open the cupboard, take out the pot,
fill it with water, cook my cereal,
shake on the cinnamon, stir in the margarine,
thoroughly enjoy the eating.
Those kind of things comfort me on a daily basis.

I had the chance this week to take part in a workshop
where one of the facilitators took us through a simple
exercise and then really challenged us
to own our choices and our lives.
He had a great sense of humour and I could tell
that he longed for every person to grasp
how ownership of their lives
was not only possible
but the best choice one could make.
I loved watching him communicate
the truths that he had come to embrace for his own.

I made a decision the first week at my job
to have a fresh flower on my desk every week.
It doesn't have to cost much.
I have this wonderful swan vase
that holds a single flower.
Last week I got a beautiful pink rose,
complete with baby's breath,
for a mere three bucks.

Work is ridiculously busy right now.
I am normally pretty even keel and not much fazes me.
Tonight dearest one commented that
he wasn't used to seeing me be fazed by anything.
I'm not either.
When I get these next few days behind me, Lord willing,
I'll have a whole bunch of new experiences to put in context.
I am grateful for the chance to learn new things.
Lately I feel like I have been showing up for life,
fully engaged.
I am thankful.