Thursday, October 13, 2016

Roger Waters Made Me Cry

Actually, I don't think Roger Waters made me cry but something he did definitely made me cry.

Today Roger announced a new tour and there is a new album on it's way.



From the day I met Mark in August of 1999, he spoke almost daily about a new album from Roger.  Amused to Death had been released in 1992 and Mark very impatiently waited for new material.  In the last couple of years before Mark died, I know that Roger had teased snippets of lyrics, released as poems but you knew that they were going to end up in songs.  Occasionally new stuff came Mark's way.  In 2004, Roger released the To Kill a Child / Leaving Beirut single.  2005 saw the release of Roger's opera, Ca Ira.  Hello I Love You from "The Last Mimzy" was a lovely surprise in 2007.   It was all okay but Mark wanted an album.  He wanted another "Pros and Cons" or "Amused" - a total Roger package.
After the Wall tour ended in 2012 (and Mark was the first show of that tour in Toronto in 2010 and at the last show of the tour in Quebec City in 2012) talk began about a new album and a new tour.  When would it happen? Was Roger in the studio again?  Mark and the other guys on his Floyd fan sites were making themselves go mad from the speculation.  Mark so loved that Wall tour and he couldn't wait to see Roger again.  I'm so grateful that we were able to get to Toronto in September 2014, PICC line in his arm and everything, and see that Wall concert film at TIFF.  I never thought that it would be the last time Mark would be in the same room with Roger.  I thought for sure that when the next tour came, Mark would be there, like he had for decades.  Whenever Roger was touring, Mark was there.

As I watched the promotional video Roger released today, I sobbed, silently (I was at work).  I was sad and really angry that Mark wouldn't get to see this tour or hear the new songs that were promised.  It broke my heart a little that I wouldn't get to see Mark's eyes light up as he watched the video, over and over again (and he would have, trust me).

That this was announced on the same day that Bob Dylan won a Nobel Prize in Literature is interesting.  Mark loved Bob too, I would say that both men were heroes to Mark.  Days like this, I really miss him and wish that he was here, to read all of the stories and hear all of the songs and feel all of the feelings that really loving music can give you.

Try as I might, I can't get my head around the idea of a Roger tour without Mark.

Roger Waters - The Wall - 2012

Thursday, September 29, 2016

random thoughts on Thursday

Continuing in my theme that I write about "nothing in particular" I'd like to begin by saying that there are a lot of perfectly good things to have with your morning coffee.  May I be so bold as to suggest that you have a healthy dose of Laura Nyro with your coffee?  Any day that starts with her sweet voice in your ears is automatically a good one, regardless of what follows.

Having said that, I was absolutely hopping mad on Tuesday evening to learn that a breed ban had been passed at the Montreal city council meeting.  These bans are bad for everyone - they punish perfectly behaved, loving family dogs and the folks who love them.  You want to crack down on "dangerous dogs" try cracking down on the pond scum who betray these beautiful animals and allow them to be in situations where they are reactive and "dangerous."  There is no such thing as a dangerous breed but there are dangerous, ignorant people.  They should not be allowed near innocent animals.  I'd like to encourage you to sign the petition below and ask that this ban be overturned before dogs in sheltered are killed for no good reason.

Montreal, I love you.  I love visiting you, I love waking up in you, walking your streets, listening to your music, eating your food, meeting your people.  You are one of my favourite cities.  I'm sure I'm not alone in saying that until this stupid ban is overturned, I'll not be visiting you.  C'mon Montreal, wake up and smell the kibble!!


Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Missing Joe - 10 Years On

It was 10 years ago this week that we said good bye to Mark's dad, Joe Collis.  He wasn't a Joseph (despite my dad really wanting to call him Joseph!), he was "just Joe." He used to his joke that his parents couldn't afford to give him a middle name.

JoeI met Joe the week after he had buried his lovely wife Ida.  He was pretty much shattered by her death.  Joe's body was beaten up from the many months of taking care of his Ida while ALS ravaged her body.  That first time I met Joe, he was pretty frail and still in shock over Ida's death.  I was pretty nervous about meeting him, not just because he was Mark's dad but because the meeting was happening so soon after the death of his wife. Mark's niece and nephew were there (we met for dinner) and that helped break the ice and put us all at ease.  About half way through dinner, Joe leaned toward Mark and loudly whispered, "I don't think she's Jewish."  I smiled and pretended not to hear.  Mark just glared at his dad and then we both laughed.

Even though I was a shiksa, Joe accepted me and we developed a friendship.  He allowed me into his life and accepted that I was in love with his son and was probably going to be around for a while. 

When we opened our restaurant in Kingston, named "Ida's Kitchen" to honour his bride, he was thrilled.  We even had Ida's Kitchen business cards made up for him (her face was our logo).  Joe and I had long conversations in the years that followed about their love story (Ida was 16 when they married and they needed a special document signed by her parents to give them permission to marry)  and their wonderful life together (winters spent in Florida, summers in Belle Ewart, cruises, trips, every day things...).  He never got over her death and I know he believed that they'd be reunited when he passed away.  I don't believe that but I'm so glad that he took comfort from that idea.  After almost 60 years of marriage, he hung around for another 7 without her.

About 2 years after Mark had moved to Kingston, Joe decided to make the move too.  We were really happy to have him close by.  Mark and I wanted to be able to help him out and keep an eye on him.  Looking back, I'm so grateful that we had those years together with Joe in Kingston.  I really got to know him and love him.  Mark and Joe always had a tense relationship (Mark was much closer to Ida than he'd been to Joe) but I know that they both loved each other even if they didn't like to talk about stuff like that.

I miss Joe a lot.  There have been so many times over the years when I have thought, "boy Joe would love that!" and I have to remind myself that he's not here.  It makes me really sad to think that Joe and Ida and now, both of their sons are all gone now.  10 years is a long time.  It's longer than I even knew Joe. He really was one of the good guys and I'm sure I'm not the only one who is missing him and remembering him this week. 

Thursday, September 15, 2016

hiatus and a new year

Wow.

So, I guess I took a hiatus.

It wasn't planned, it just happened.  In many ways, August was really awesome and it totally sucked at the same time.

I had three weeks of "stay-cation" in August.  I spent time with people I love.  I laughed, a lot.  I cried a shit load (mostly for a couple of days in mid-August).  I enjoyed good music.  I floated in a big ass swimming pool on multiple occasions.  Had a couple of small solo road trips (the adjustment of being the pilot after so many years of being the navigator is easier than I thought it might be).

I realized that going forward, the actual day Mark died is not the one that is going to gut me but the day before he died.  That last day we had together.  I relived every second of that day in my mind again this year.  It felt like it was all happening to me again.  I hated that.  A few days later I was okay but boy, at the time, it was hard to see the forest for the fucking trees.

Tweed Fam JamA couple of days earlier, I'd spent a deliciously cool (temperature and otherwise) and soggy day with some of my cousins in Smiths Falls.  We attended the "Front Lawn Shindig" that had been hosted by the wonderful folks at Tweed.  We sat in our lawn chairs, huddled under umbrellas while a desperately needed rain fell on us.  Soaked to the skin but smiling, we listened to music and laughed and just enjoyed being together.  It was a fantastic day.  I got to see all of my "Forbes" aunts and uncles and a good number of cousins and my brother was even there for a bit.  Family.  Mine is the best.  They are the shit I tell you.  Love love love them! Oh, and the Joel Plaskett Emergency were awesome too (thanks to my sweet cousin Kelly for the fab photo of us).

And now it's September.  Frosh week is folded up and put away for another year. Students are in class (and in the stores and bars and coffee shops).  We've seen the long awaited return of cool nights and sunny warm days.  I love this time of the year.  I'm having fun and I can go for several days now without having a little cry.  Progress is a beautiful thing.

January is officially the new year but I feel like my new year begins in September.  So far it's off to a great start.  Chaos may swirl around me but I don't get pulled into it anymore.  I'm not sweating the small stuff.  I'm fresh out of fucks to give about things that really, at the end of the day, don't matter.  As Joel Plaskett says, everything'll work out fine.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

11 Months, John Lennon and Spoiler Alerts

Canadian friends, if you are not up-to-date on Coronation Street and/or Eastenders, you may want to skip this post until you are!

Over the weekend, on Saturday actually, it was 11 months since Mark died.

11 months.

In less than a month now, he'll be gone a whole year. 

A year. 

365 days. 

8760 hours. 

Almost completely unbelievable.  I see photos of him, and I'm so glad I took so many photos of him, and I think, well that wasn't so long ago.  And really, it feels like 5 minutes and a million years all at the same time since he died.

This past month, I felt a lot better physically and emotionally than I did last month.  I've been really busy over the past few weeks.  When I moved into the house in January, I left a lot of stuff in the two spare bedrooms and knew that eventually I would get around to sorting them out.  Well the time for sorting, or at least organizing the piles, finally arrived.  I found a roommate, someone to rent out the extra space I wasn't using.  This meant a lot of boxes needed to be either unpacked or moved to the the basement.  A good number were unpacked, some were moved to the basement and a whole pile of stuff was removed from the basement and shed and carted away by a junk dude.

It felt good to start the purge.  While there is still so much to do, I've made a really good start on it all.  The activity was probably good for me too. The distraction of it.

Looking back to last month again, I felt physically ill and emotionally drained around the monthly marker of Mark's death.  This month, that didn't happen but I had a couple of really sad moments over the weekend.

This is where the spoiler alerts kick in - if you're a fan of Corrie or Eastenders and are not up to date with the UK broadcast dates, stop reading now!!

Kylie and David

I knew that Paula Lane was leaving Corrie.  I didn't actually care.  I have never really liked her, well I'm sure she's a truly lovely girl, I didn't like the Kylie character.  No amount of late-breaking redemption was going to change that.  David I've never ever liked.  I'm not supposed to, I know that.  The two of them together just grated on me.  I had read that there was a plan in the works to kill off poor Kylie, I just didn't know it was going to happen on Friday.  I certainly didn't expect to happen in a quick(ish) and violent way.

I sat in front of the TV with the dogs, shocked when I realized that the end was close.  As she lay on the cobbles, in front of the Rover's Return, struggling to breathe while she bled to death (from a stab wound in her chest), she had an opportunity to tell David all of those things that you hope you'll get to say to your loved ones before you die.  Now, after losing Mark last year, I know better than to wait until I'm on my deathbed to tell the people I love exactly how I feel about them.  I tell them all of the time now.  You don't always get an opportunity for a dramatic bedside goodbye.  I know we didn't. 

Watching the scene triggered something inside of me and I started to weep.  I cried hard.  A fucking ugly cry.  I didn't realize I was doing it until Gracie started scratching at my leg but I was actually wailing out loud.  At one point, after the paramedics arrive and pronounce her as well and truly gone, the camera pans over her face and they have one of those plastic breathing tube things in her mouth.  That took me immediately back to the emergency room, Mark had one of those in his mouth when they let me in to see him after he had died.   Watching how calm David was as he walked away from Kylie's body, reminded me so clearly of how numb I felt... of how calmly I walked away from Mark's body and out of the hospital.  You are in shock, I know that your body does that to protect your brain from just exploding.  The whole scene was really well done and after the episode was over,  I had a horrible headache and felt completely spent, drained, cried out. Gah.  Television is supposed be an escape, right?

Phil Mitchell

For those of you who watch Eastenders, you'll know that they recently killed off beloved landlady and Mitchell Family Matriarch, Peggy Mitchell.  Phil came back to the square for the funeral, looking jaundiced and frail.  His liver is failing and the research that they have done on what that looks like is spot on.  It has been increasingly difficult for me to watch Steve McFadden sit, crumpled on the sofa, holding tissues to his face while his nose bleeds.  Mark suffered with horrible nosebleeds during the last few days of his life.  I know now that it was caused by his liver shutting down but at the time we thought (and were told) that it was a side effect from the steroids he had been taking to try to help him feel better before he started chemo up again.  Again, watching this made me cry.  Not as hard or as ugly as when Kylie died but it was really hard to watch it.  It just seemed unfair that my attempt to clear my head and escape for a little while, just bit me in the ass, hard.

John Lennon

Everyone who knew Mark also knew that one of his heroes was John Lennon.  Since Mark died, I've had a really difficult time to listening to John or the Beatles. Sometimes I can and sometimes I can't and until just this weekend, there were certain songs I couldn't hear.  They just reminded me too much of Mark.  I had this old playlist I was listening to on the weekend.  It was something I hadn't listened to in a long time.  In the middle of it, was a chunk of John songs. 

Mother came on, I listened to it, didn't cry.

Isolation started up, I let it go and got through the whole thing.

Working Class Hero, God.... Gimme Some Truth, was able to listen to each song, in it's entirety and not have to flick it off or grab a bunch of Kleenex.  This was huge to me, massive.  It felt really good to be able to enjoy the music and think about how much Mark loved those songs and just be peaceful, not sad. 

That is progress my friends.  I've learned that baby steps will get you where you need to go, it just may take you a little longer to arrive.




Wednesday, July 20, 2016

self preservation

I made a conscious decision a few months ago to actively avoid the news (when possible) on the weekends.

I felt like it would be better for my mind and my soul if I allowed myself a break from bad news.  More often than not lately, the news isn't only bad, it's heartbreakingly sad.  I frequently find myself at a loss for words, incapable of understanding the gruesome hatred that boils inside of people. 

I don't understand how someone can drive a truck into a crowd of merry-makers on a joyous national holiday.

I don't understand why the police in the US can't stop murdering black men (and women).

I don't understand why in this day and age, women still feel unsafe going places alone... why we still are so hyper-aware of our surroundings at all times and need to be super vigilant about protecting ourselves.

I don't understand why evangelical christians in the US (or elsewhere) think that they have any right to tell any woman or girl what she can or can't do with her body.

I don't understand how Canadians can feel so smug about how we treat each other (compared to what's happening in the US) when we have historically, and systemically treated our indigenous peoples as "less than"

I don't understand how in some places, it's perfectly okay for a father to sell his pre-teen daughter into marriage to an old man for a few cows.

I don't understand what has happened to the political system in the US ...is it going to eat itself? what will happen to us if a reality star actually gets elected President?

I'm fairly well read, moderately intelligent and I cannot for the life of me figure out any reasonable answer to any of these questions.  Sometimes I feel like I need to pinch myself and make sure that it's not a dream or a weird movie. 

When I'm on my self-imposed bad-news sabbatical, I listen to music and send silly messages to friends on snapchat.  I read things that are enlightening and I hang out with my dogs.  The break allows me a bit of perspective and reminds me that all is not bad in the world.  It's just really easy to forget about the good things when you're bombarded with bad news all of the time.

If you're looking to start a little soundtrack for your own little news sabbatical, I can suggest including some Camera Obscura.  I have been revisiting them recently and full on binged out last week.


Saturday, July 16, 2016

roomies

New buddies. Sam is slowly warming up to his new roomie. #dogstagram #eskie #shitzu #americaneskimodogSo Sam and Gracie and I have a couple of new roomies. 

One of the roommates is Kealey.  He's an 11 month old shitzu puppy.  Sam is very very slowly starting to adjust/warm up to Kealey.  Gracie so far is being cautious. 

Puppies have a lot of energy.  Sam and Gracie will both be turning 9 next month. They are not quite seniors yet but I can see it's going to take them a little while to get used to having someone who just wants to play, around all of the time.

It's actually pretty adorable to watch Kealey. He follows Sam around and wants to be everywhere Sam is.  Sam is not too thrilled about it but he's getting used to it.  When Sam growls at Kealey, Kealey mimics it back to Sam.  Pretty sure Sam thinks that Kealey is being a smart ass but I think he should be flattered!! Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery after all, right?

He's going to have to, I don't think Kealey will be going anywhere for a good long while.

Friday, June 17, 2016

bigmouth strikes again

It occurred to me this week that it's been 30 years since I've been to Peterborough.  I only realized this because I'd read that it was 30 years ago this week that The Smiths "the Queen is Dead" album was released.

That week, we must have been finished school already, or had a day off in our exam schedule, we got into the car with my mom and dad, probably the green Buick Century, and took a little road trip together.  I know we drove through Havelock, to Peterborough (to see the lift locks!) and eventually ended up in Oshawa.  The Oshawa part is important.  We went to the mall, the Oshawa Centre probably.  My dad and my brother went to a movie and my mum and I shopped. 

I don't remember much about what else I bought or looked at but I can recall, very clearly, clutching a copy of "The Queen Is Dead" in my hands for the drive home, anxiously, almost breathlessly, waiting to run to my room and put it on the turntable.  That's right kids, this was 1986.  Your choices at the store at that time were vinyl or cassette.  I always chose vinyl for a couple of reasons.  First of all, the artwork was always better and secondly, I had a turntable.  I also could make a tape copy of the LP and listen to it on my walkman.  How many times I listened to that album, hundreds probably.  I loved the Smiths, so much, still do. 

They really spoke to me and a year later, when I got my first apartment, the first poster I hung up in the living room of my brand new apartment was of them (I also had posters of Bruce Cockburn and the Communards in the bathroom but that's another post).

Everything about their lyrics resonated with me and there were only a couple of people amongst my wide circle of friends who even knew who they were, much less loved them like I did.  I remember my mum telling me to "turn that down! he can't sing!!" - that always made me laugh.  You could like his voice or not but the words were poetry, no argument.  I spent a lot of time and probably too much money tracking down 12" singles and imported versions of albums I already had.  There was no such thing as too much Morrissey and Marr for me.  Even now, all these years later, I still keep The Smiths, and solo stuff by Morrissey and Johnny Marr in regular rotation.  I never grow bored of them.

Admittedly, this week has been pretty rough for me, I'm feeling a lot better about things today and listening to Big Mouth Strikes Again, surprisingly, is helping.


Thursday, June 16, 2016

10 months and my body's in trouble


Mark’s been gone for 10 months…

He died 43 weeks and 4 days ago…

For 305 days I’ve been on my own, navigating through my life without him.

Most of the time, I’m okay.  I get up every morning and feel positive about the day ahead.  The past few months have been really good I have to say.

This week though, my resistance is low, my ability to deal with things seems lacking.  Maybe it’s the Orlando shooting (I’ve kept sort of quiet about it because if I think about it at all I start crying and have a really hard time making myself stop).  I think I’ve had a bug or some kind over the past week or so too. Yesterday I stayed home from work to nurse a horrible headache and ended up sleeping the day away.

Today I feel groggy, hungover from the headache I think. I still feel exhausted, like I could sleep for days.

I hate feeling weak but that is how I’m feeling right now, in this moment.

On days like today, I feel like I’m confronted with grief triggers everywhere I go.  In a day or so, I know that this cloud of grief which is hanging over my head today will clear.  The triggers won’t be as powerful.  The tears won’t come so easily or with such violence. I will feel strong again, and capable again and happier than I feel right now.

Right now, I’m just holding on tight with both hands, white knuckling things I suppose,  until this passes and I can get back to feeling good again.



...sincere thanks to Mary Margaret from Margaret Mary... 

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

all of the laughs

Recently, I've been spending more time laughing than I can remember doing in a very very long time.

On the weekend, I got together with some girlfriends who I haven't seen together in ages (we used to get together once a month and haven't done that in a while).  We had such a good time that I had tears rolling down my face from laughter.  Fortunately, no peeing in the pants happened (hey, 3 women over 40 - could have happened!!).

It was so good for my soul.  These women are amazing.

Last night, I saw another old friend. We hadn't seen each other in at least 5 years.  Not only had we not seen one another, we'd not been in contact, at all.  Within 3 seconds it was as if we had never been apart.  I just love friendships like that.  The conversation was fantastic and again, so much laughter.

I am so lucky to have all of these gals in my life I tell you.  I love them like crazy.

Woke up this morning with Future Bible Heroes in my head. Hope this turns into a delicious ear worm for you.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

8 Months and Breakfast for Mimi

It was eight months ago today that Mark died.

Looking back on the last month, I can see that for me, something shifted and I'm feeling more at peace than I have in a long time.  After a long winter spent in a fog of grief, with too much time inside my head, I feel a bit like a flower trying to push through the soil in spring.  I can feel the warmth growing and am looking forward to facing whatever might be coming my way.

I feel stronger and happier than I have in a long time.  I'm starting to realize how much Mark's illness, and not just his death, affected me.  Going back 4 years to when he was first diagnosed with colon cancer, I started to live my life in fear.  I was desperately afraid that he was going to die.  Every time he would have surgery, I was terrified that he wouldn't make it through.  Funny thing is, he was never afraid of the surgery (one of the benefits of getting to sleep through it we would joke), he dreaded the treatments and I know his own personal idea of hell was a long lingering, painful illness. I continue to be grateful that he didn't have to endure something like that.

Over the past couple of days, I had the chance to spend time with some of my wonderful friends, people I haven't seen a lot of recently.  It was nice for me to be able to laugh with them, cry a little at times, and just feel reconnected to the world outside of my own four walls.

In addition to it being 8 months since Mark died, today is also Mimi's birthday.  Before there was a Mark and Peggy, there was Mark and Mimi.  As difficult as it was for Mark, I will be forever grateful to Mimi for leaving him. If they had remained happily married, I would have never had the opportunity to meet him.  For many years, Mark and Mimi "slung hash" side by side at "Mimi's."  She passed away suddenly in July 2010.  It was a total shock to learn of her passing.  She was only 54.  Today, Mimi would have been 60 and I know that for the people who loved her, in particular her life-long bestie Elaine, it's a difficult day to get through.  On April 16, 2011, in honour of Mimi's birthday, Mark cooked up "breakfast for Mimi"

I don't know if  you could even count how many breakfasts Mimi and Mark cooked over the years but I know that anyone who was ever fed by them walked away from the table very happy and satisfied.  As much as Mark was a culinary adventurer, he was never happier than when he found a really good version of bacon, eggs, toast and coffee.

Breakfast for Mimi

Thursday, April 14, 2016

They Say It's Your Birthday

Happy Birthday Mark.

You would have turned 64 today.  I never thought that I wouldn’t get to sing “When I’m 64” to you on your birthday this year (even thought it’s a Paul song).  We both knew that 65 might be a push and 70, well we didn’t dare dream that 70 was possible, but 64, that was a no-brainer.  I had already made plans for us to visit Montreal and you were so excited about that.  We would have left last night on the train (something we NEVER do – travel by train) and checked into John and Yoko’s room at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel.  We would spend the day wandering around in Montreal, celebrating your 64th birthday in style.

How I wish that could have happened.

Instead, today, I have plans to celebrate your birthday with some lovely friends.  I am even heading out of town to do it (the first time I’ve left Kingston since we took that trip to Brockville to have your PICC put in).  We will remember you and will laugh a lot and probably cry a little and talk about much we loved you and the joy you brought to our lives, not to mention how much better off we were for having you in our lives.

Happy Birthday Mark


Send me a postcard, drop me a line
Stating point of view
Indicate precisely what you mean to say
Yours sincerely, wasting away
Give me your answer, fill in a form
Mine for evermore
Will you still need me, will you still feed me
When I'm sixty-four?

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Actual Sunshine

Hard to believe it but there is actual sun shining outside today.  After several days of weird snow and rain and generally gloomy skies, it's SO nice to see the sunshine this morning.  I didn't even mind being temporarily blinded by it while driving into work this morning.

In honour of this lovely sunny morning, I'm going to share some of my favourite sunshine related songs.  Enjoy the music and the bright, beautiful light!!


It's the sun



Blister in the sun




Here comes the sun



Walking on sunshine


Friday, April 08, 2016

Gracie's Mouse

So when you live in a house with a partner, or roommate, normally there is some division of labour, either formal or informal.  Mark and I didn’t have a formal arrangement but usually, we both stuck to things we were better at.  Obviously, he was better at cooking than I, I did a better job on the laundry than he would.  Some things though, neither of us were any better at than the other but somehow, one of us would do the lion’s share of it.  For example, I would clean the bathroom and he would kill critters.

huntersA couple of weeks ago, I noticed that Gracie was definitely stalking some prey.  She was bouncing around, a bit like a cat, near the bathroom door and then running down the hallway toward the kitchen.  I soon realized that she was after a mouse.  Imagine, a mouse in the house! This was the first mouse we’d seen since moving back into the house (a few years ago, Mark dismantled a mouse condo in the basement but that’s another story).  Mark believed that whenever we saw a solo mouse, in the daytime that the poor thing probably suffered from intellectual disabilities.  The next day I watched this silly mouse run around the living room, barely escaping Gracie’s reach.


Later that night, we were in the bedroom and she was growling softly and trying to squeeze herself in between the dresser and the wall (not possible).  Frustrated, she would pace in front of the dresser, growling, ears pointed high, tail up.  I didn’t see the mouse but I knew his days were numbered.  Fast forward to last Saturday.  I’m in the master bathroom and I can hear a mouse in the wall.  At this point, I’m pretty convinced that this is just one mouse. I had not seen evidence that there was more than one around and I think he probably got into the house via the doggy door and was not able to figure out that he could leave by the same route!

Again, Gracie was pacing and trying to find her foe.  I sort of forgot about it and went on about my day.  I ended up cooking some chicken in the crock pot.  When it was finished and the pot had cooled down, I was going to put it in the dishwasher.  I decided against it though because the dishwasher was empty and I wasn’t sure I’d not be using the crock pot again before I ran the dishwasher.  I put it in the sink and filled it up with hot soapy water.  Promptly, I forgot all about it and ended up going to bed with it still soaking in the sink (something I NEVER do).

When I got up on Sunday morning, I remembered what I’d done and turned the hot water on, grabbed a scrubber and started to clean the crock pot.  I kept feeling something brushing against my hand and I thought, “wow, that is a big piece of chicken I left in there.”  After a second, I saw a stiff mouse tail sticking up out of the water and realized that our mouse buddy had drowned in the soapy chicken water. 

Gracie’s mouse was well and truly dead!!  I showed her the mouse and she snorted and walked away.  Apparently, when we have to, we can kill the critters too!


Thursday, April 07, 2016

It’s getting better everyday

A few weeks ago, I posted a video of me in the driveway of our old house.  I was pretty upset and wanted to share that.  I guess I felt like if I shared it, folks would understand a little more about grief and quite honestly, crying is something we all do from time to time and I wasn’t embarrassed about it (nor should you, if you need to do it!).

happy procrastinatorAnyway, perhaps because the house was finally sold and for the first time since Mark died, I didn’t have some big, not in my control, thing hovering over my head, I sort of hit bottom.  All of the things I had been holding inside me since June 2012 broke out.  I spent the whole of Easter Weekend either sleeping or crying.  That was not my plan for the weekend, I had intentions of tackling one of the spare bedrooms and getting it into shape.  When it played out like that though, I just let it roll.  As I have gone through this grieving process, I have learned to just roll with things and to not be hard on myself.  Beating myself up isn’t productive or in any way useful.

At the end of that weekend, I felt rested and cried out.  Don’t get me wrong, I still have a little cry most days, but the horrible, ugly sobbing sessions that happened over Easter feel like they are gone.  I’ve been reading a lot about how other people experience and live with their grief, also, I listen to my wise and wonderful friends when they give me advice.  I don’t always follow it but I always listen to it.  All along, I have known in my head that Mark would be super pissed at me if I just sat around at home crying and feeling sad and lonely because he’s not here anymore.  The reality is that he’s gone, he’s not coming back.  My heart though, that’s another story.  My heart keeps thinking that I might wake up some morning and it will all have been a bad joke.  Like the worst joke EVER.  My head and my heart are starting to sync up finally. 

Very consciously, I have decided to embrace happiness.  Fuck being sad.  I will always miss Mark and will love him until I draw my last breath but I need to have fun again, to be happy and to laugh more than I have been.  I need to honour his memory and what we had in a positive way.  I’m working on that every day.  I read on a Facebook post the other week that “happiness is a journey, not a destination” and that has stuck with me.   I can’t wait to be happy, waiting until I recover from Mark’s death would be silly, I may never recover from it.  Would that mean that I couldn’t be happy again ever?  Nope. Not happening.  The very worst thing that I could ever imagine happened to me last year and I’m still here.  I actually survived it somehow.  I’m battered and bruised but still here.  Fuck cancer and fuck sadness.   You both thought you had knocked me out but you didn’t.  We all know, life is too short to spend it being miserable.  I’m choosing happiness for myself.


Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Seven Months

I have been writing online/blogging since 2000. Videos and podcasts are not things I have a lot of experience with. Except for a review of a coffee maker I did over a year ago, I have never made a video of myself. I felt the urge to do this earlier this evening after I visited the other house for the last time (the sale closes tomorrow). I wasn't sure if I would share this or not. Mark would have encouraged me to post it so I will. It wasn't planned or edited so apologies in advance for the rambling. Thanks again to all of you for your patience, support, love and understanding over these past 7 months.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

walloped

So far this winter, thank goodness, the weather has been good to us.  Before I moved back into the city, there was only one day that was a little scary as far as winter driving went.  One day between November and mid-January?  I can't complain, and I won't.  Prior to this year, I had almost no winter driving experience.  Mark always drove when the weather was crappy, I know, I was spoiled.

Sam waits for something good to bark at #nofilter #eskie #americaneskimodog #ilovemydogsThis weekend, we got all of the cold weather (-26 on Saturday and -30 on Sunday) at once.  I had frozen pipes in my en suite and a frozen solid van.  Fortunately, by Monday, both had thawed out (with some help from me).  I really was caught off guard by the cold.  I knew it was coming and I did manage to fill up the van with gas and get groceries but beyond that, I wasn't thinking about it, I was distracted.

Over the weekend, I kept thinking about how on the 16th (yesterday), it was 6 months since Mark had died.  On Saturday I thought, "wow, it's been 6 months since we had to drive to Brockville for Mark to get his PICC put in."  On Sunday I thought, "wow, it has been 6 months since we spent our last evening together..."  Yesterday, I woke up and started getting ready for work.  A head cold I'd been fighting all weekend had developed early on Sunday evening and yesterday morning, it was not letting me out of the house.  We also had the first (only please?) big snow storm of the season.  In between naps I had to pull on Mark's giant snow boots and shovel the porch/steps and the deck (for the doggies).  I think that the fresh air probably helped me clear out my sinuses a bit, it didn't do much for my back but my head seemed better.

Between the cold/flu and the snow, I was distracted enough to keep on going yesterday and not get bogged down by the fact that it's been half of one year since Mark died.  I've had to do a lot of things in the past 6 months which include moving and getting the house ready for sale.  I've also had to keep the dogs on their routine and me on mine, working, seeing family and friends, trying to get back to normal, or making a new normal I suppose.  I've learned a lot of stupid things that I should have known years ago, like topping up the window washer fluid for example.

As far as my grief goes, I think I feel a little worse now than I did those first few weeks after he died.  I was a zombie those first few weeks, I was numb and didn't feel much beyond a deep sadness. I know that emotionally, I feel very raw.  I feel things very differently now than I did before.   I care less about little things and am not bothered by them.  Whenever anyone I knows has a death in their family, I almost freak out.  I feel so badly that they are going to have to experience this horrible pain that I'm going through and I don't want anyone else to have to.  I know that's not practical or rational but it's what it is.  Also, whenever someone I care about gets good news, I am so excited, like really excited.  Any and all good news is amazing to me, after having had to deal with a lot of bad news.

Another thing I have noticed is that I am kinder and more patient (I think so anyway) with folks I deal with, store clerks, people you see in the line-ups in the shops, drivers on the road, neighbours, etc.  It makes me feel better to do this.  If folks think I'm a crazy lady because I chat with them in the store, I don't really care.  I hope they start doing it too, it feels a lot better than being sad and angry and irritated.

Gracie hasn't quite decided if she is happy to be here but she has been closely monitoring my unpacking! #ilovemydogs #shetlandsheepdog #sheltieThe biggest thing that I've discovered since Mark died is how strong I am.  I always considered myself to be a strong person but I never realized exactly how strong until recently.   I'm quite proud of the fact that for the last six months, despite the fact that I cry myself to sleep almost every night, I still get up in the morning, feed the dogs, make coffee and start my day.  I continue to take each moment as it comes.

Recently, since I moved, I'm feeling more peaceful.  Moving back into that house where we were so happy was a good thing to do.  I know that Mark would be really happy to see the dogs enjoying the deck he built for them.  He'd particularly be proud of Gracie, she runs up and down the steps and in and out of the doggie door, chasing the squirrels and bossing Sammy around.

I have no idea what the next six months will bring but looking back to what I've been able to accomplish since August 16, I am confident that the decisions I've made have been the right ones to make for me and that Mark would have supported each and every one of them.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Reflections on a shitty week

I shouldn’t say that the entire week is shitty because it’s not over yet.  This leads me to wonder what next?  What other horrible news can I wake up to, tomorrow morning?  Which of my favourite musicians or actors or writers have died?  Which of my friends or relatives has been given a diagnosis of some horrible physical affliction?  Which group of innocent people who are just out in the world, trying to live their lives, will be bombed or shot at just because they are in the wrong place at the wrong time?

This week should have been good for me.  I’m getting ready to move and, for the first time since Mark died, I am feeling excited about something.  I’m looking forward, working my plan, getting things in order.  The only fly in my personal buttermilk this week was a small flu/cold bug which has slowed me down a bit this week. Stuffy noses aside, physically, I feel pretty good.

Emotionally, I’ve been all over the place.  Monday, I woke up and read that David Bowie had died.  How could he be dead?  On Friday, his birthday, I saw that he (or whoever looks after his profile) was active on Spotify, playing his new record.  He was all over the media, Angie was in the Big Brother house in the UK.  Surely this is a joke, the Onion gone mad.  Alas, it was true.  Several reputable new sources confirmed it.  My heart, once again, felt smashed.  Not broken necessary, but very badly mangled.

On Tuesday, I read Stuart Murdoch’s reflections on the death of David Bowie.  You can read it here:

http://www.belleandsebastian.com/diary/january-12th-2016-the-next-day

I left the following comment (although it looks like they don’t publish them) in response to Stuart’s great post:

Thank you for this Stuart.  Too often we do forget to count our blessings.  After we suffer a loss, we frequently focus on what is missing from our lives rather than what we once had.  Yesterday, I walked around feeling like I had been kicked in the stomach.  I lost my husband suddenly in August and learning about David Bowie's death dragged me back to those first few days after my husband died.  On very bad days, I sit on my sofa and cry and stare at the box on the mantle that his ashes are kept in.  On good days, I remind myself of how lucky we were to have had 16 years together when there are some people who never get five minutes of what we shared.  The same can be said for David Bowie.  He was always in my life, in the soundtrack of it, making me feel like I too belonged, that I wasn't alone on the planet.  You and I were lucky to have shared a part of our lives with David Bowie and we need to celebrate that once we've finished mourning.

This morning, I arrived at work and discovered that Alan Rickman, lovely, talented, amazing, best actor of all time, Alan Rickman, had died.  I was alone in my office and said aloud, “NO!” when I read it.  Again, making sure I checked several sources before believing it.  How cynical we are now that we can’t just read something in one place and believe it.  We’ve been lied to online so many times that we need to fact check everything.  I do anyway, I’m sure if you are reading this, you do that too.

The New York Times posted their obituary for Alan Rickman here:

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/15/obituaries/alan-rickman-dies-at-69.html

Again, I left a comment on their post which I will share here:

In the last 5 months I have lost my husband, David Bowie and now Alan Rickman to cancer. It's SUCH a thief. I have said this a lot since my 63 year old husband died suddenly in August, cancer steals those people we love from our lives. Alan Rickman had an amazing talent. I was introduced to him via "Truly, Madly, Deeply" and have followed his film career ever since. One of my favourite Rickman roles was as Metatron, the voice of god, in Kevin Smith's Dogma. If god did exist, I would imagine that her/his voice would sound like Alan Rickman's. Oh that voice... cannot imagine that it's now silenced. What a loss, for all of us. My deep and sincere sympathies to his family and friends.

Add Lemmy to the list and it’s been a bad month to be an artist of a certain age who originated from the UK who I respected and admired.  Who is next? What horrible thing will slap us in our collective faces tomorrow morning?  I’m almost afraid to find out.  I will though, wake up tomorrow to find out what it is.  As I promised myself when Mark died, I’ll continue to get up each morning and keep moving forward.  It’s not always easy but it’s something that I have to do.  Unfortunately, it’s something that David Bowie’s widow, Iman and Alan Rickman’s widow, Rima Horton will have to do too.  They, like me, have lost their lovely husbands far too son and have joined a club, a sisterhood, that they would have preferred to have never joined.  Trust me, I know I can speak for them on that because I have yet to meet a widow who was happy about it.