Friday, February 29, 2008

Friday Smile

It's been a rough day. Nothing really major, just lots and lots of annoying little surprises, and I'm too tired and achy to deal with any of them. Finally, I decided to go on my lunch break with Christine, and I grabbed the Free Press to read in the lunchroom. Adding to my day of surprises... Renee (the old friend I wrote about yesterday) was in a giant picture on the front page.

I immediately burst into tears. It was just so unexpected. I'm not really sure why this news has affected me so much - it's not like we were best friends or anything, and we've barely talked in the last couple of years. In any case, I cried - and I made poor Christine cry too.

When I calmed down a little bit, I picked it up and I started to read. It was a beautiful story. It captured pieces of what I remembered about her and the kind of person she was.

By the end of it, I was smiling - a big 'Friday Smile'-worthy smile. Because this girl who would have told you that she was nothing very special is being honoured in such a big way. A Winnipeg woman quietly losing a battle with leukemia in NYC just isn't generally front page news. She wasn't here for very long, but she made a huge impact.

Makes you think, hey?

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Thursday, February 28, 2008

Latest Favourite

When it comes to music, I'm sometimes a little obsessive. If I like a song, I'll listen to that song on repeat - much to the annoyance of Geoff or whoever else happens to be spending a lot of time with me.

This week, for some reason, I rediscovered this great Leona Lewis song - and it's been on repeat in my car all week.

Click and enjoy this amazing diva voice and a perfectly written song... I linked to the UK music video, because it's a hundred times better than the US version. Trust me :)

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Saying Goodbye

I know that I've commented before about how strange it was to hear that an old friend was getting married or having a friend on Facebook. Here's a new one for that list. This morning, I received a Facebook message to let me know that an old friend had passed away.

I met her at camp when I was 16 years old. She was a couple of years younger than me (my brother's age), but I liked her immediately. I felt like I'd known her forever - and I secretly thought that she was maybe a little bit like what I imagined my mom had been like when she was that age, both in looks and in personality. We kept in touch by email for years and years after that summer, and she always made me laugh. It's really only been in the last couple of years that we hadn't emailed as often anymore.

She was quirky and funny and definitely her own person, but in this kind of unassuming way that totally surprised (and delighted) me. I half-expected her to be this good quiet little church girl, and she was... But she also packed this wicked sense of humour and drama. I remember cheating at a camp game with her and hiding out of bounds from the campers in a campers-vs-staff game of hide and seek. We hid out in the trees with a couple of other girls and laughed until our stomachs hurt. I still have pictures of that adventure.

We found each other again on Facebook a few months ago. She'd been working in Vancouver, and I mentioned that I'd be there again in June - and I'd been looking forward to reconnecting with her then.

I got a message this morning that she died on Tuesday night. Cancer. She'd been in treatment in NYC for months. I understand why I didn't know, but I am so incredibly sad right now.

Please keep her family in your prayers. I can't imagine how much they're hurting with this incredible loss.

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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Monday Secret (slightly belated)

This secret made me think about our rousing game of 'Would You Rather?' - a game that Amber brought along to Girls Night on Saturday. It's funny how something that most people assume would bring stability and hope and happiness can accomplish none of those things.

I don't think I'd want to know either.

But it makes me think about other unknowns in my life. I worry about whether I'll ever be healthy again. I worry about whether my career will go the way I want it to. I worry about how - when we decide to start a family - we, like anyone else, is not guaranteed smooth sailing. I worry about losing people who I love.

But maybe I don't really want to know any of those things either. Maybe it's all just better left in God's hands. And I'll just worry about today and live my life in the best way that I know how.


Monday, February 25, 2008

Pics from the Oscar Party

The lucky couch dwellers

The rest of the gang

Em's having fun :)

Rocky's all over the dessert potluck concept

Lindsay's camera gets kidnapped

I decide to join the couch people

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Pics from Cocoon Girls Night

The gang's all here!

Asta demonstrating her signature pose

During our game of Truth or Dare Jenga (yep, it's a real game!), Amber is lucky enough to get to blow in my ear...

...and Asta kills me in an arm wrestle


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About the Death of Customer Service

On Sunday after lunch, I dropped Geoff off at home to get some more sleep, then I set out for Polo Park - I had decided to tackle our wedding photos (we only have our giant proof book right now, and really - no one loves us enough to pretend that ALL those pics of us are interesting). I had the right attitude going in, and the proper gear: lots of time and a grande skinny cinnamon dolce latte.

Well, friends. All of these good intentions fell to s^!t after 10 minutes in Black's. First off, the store was absolutely empty for the first 30 minutes that I was there. And not one salesperson bothered acknowledging that I was there. In fact, all three of them were behind the counter, discussing which Oscar-nominated movies they'd seen (and their wish that it would stay slow so they could clean up and close early) - rather loudly and obnoxiously.

At that point, a few other people came into the store, and one couple pulled up a stool at the kiosk next to mine. Three kiosks, two stools - another irritation. It was an irritation that became a ginormous pain in my ass when 45 minutes into my visit, one of the salespeople who'd been previously ignoring me came to let me know that she needed my stool for 30 seconds to take someone else's passport picture. Awesome. Her 30 second photo shoot actually took closer to 10 minutes - after which she pushed the stool over to the far empty kiosk and returned to her movie talk. Argh. I retrieved my stool and went back to ordering my prints. Finally, I was done. I checked the clock: 4.50. Sweet. I could still get my one hour photo done before they closed at 6.00.

Except that the couple who'd been at the kiosk beside me finished up 30 seconds before I did and brought their receipt to the counter. They'd never been to Black's before, so the salesperson spent 10 minutes explaining all the different prepaid options, finishing choices, account set-up, and on and on and on... I waited in line behind them while the other two employees kept yakking it up. Finally, I made it to the till. It was now 5.03 and - so sorry - they would no longer be able to offer one hour photo because it was only 57 minutes until close.

Oh. My. God.

The snotty little girl behind the counter declared - quite self-righteously - that I could return at 5.00 on Monday to pick them up. I asked what time they opened. She told me they opened at 10.00. I asked why my one hour photo would take 7 hours and 57 minutes. She looked at me, confused. I tried again... If it's one hour photo, can't I come back at 11.00? Finally, with a promise that they'd TRY for 12.00 on Monday, I took my receipt and left. Particularly irritating, because I go to Black's SPECIFICALLY because they're usually the best at service. Grrr.

On my way out of the mall, I picked up a few things at Safeway. The cashier didn't look up or say hi. She didn't ask for my Club Card or my Airmiles. She didn't thank me by name (which annoys me, but they're SUPPOSED to do it!). She looked absolutely miserable and sullen. I wanted to kick her.

I miss proper customer service. I'm one of those people who straight-up expects it. I go out of my way to shop at places that offer good service. And I'll avoid places that don't. As a person who works in the retail industry, it's pretty much the entire point of your job to make / keep me happy and help me spend my money in your store.

That should be so simple. I don't know why it's so hard.

How about you guys? What places do you frequent or avoid because of service experiences?


Weekend Update: Fun and Games Edition

FRIDAY: Okay, so Friday wasn't so much about the fun and games. Geoff came to pick me up from work, but I got stuck in a meeting - so he wasn't really happy. Then we had to rush around to get him to work on time for his night shift - so I wasn't really happy. This unhappiness was cured by a quick stop at the mall, where I found the most perfect pair of black dress pants. Three cheers for retail therapy! I finally got settled in at home around 8 pm and worked like crazy to get a bunch of client work done (see previous post). Up too late, but very productive - so that was okay.

SATURDAY: As per usual when Geoff's working a weekend full of night shifts, I slept in a little before tiptoeing out of bed and getting ready for my day. I spent the morning and early afternoon running some errands, then returned home and made a late lunch for both of us. The Boy and I spent a little quality time cleaning up the house, then he left for work - and I had all the Cocoon girls (and the boys' significant others) over for Girls Night. We laughed and talked about played board games and ate too much food. Very good times.

SUNDAY: On Sunday morning, I attended the International Church of Lindsay - I just wasn't in the mood to haul my fabulous self to church. Instead, I made a cup of tea and settled into my favourite (slightly ugly) reading chair with a very good book. Happy sigh. It was exactly what my soul needed. I woke Sleeping Beauty from his slumber and we headed out to meet my family for lunch, in honour of Jessica's recent 20th birthday. From there, I had a little bit of an afternoon adventure (see my next post). And then - it was party time again! A bunch of friends came over to watch the Oscars and we had a GREAT time. More very good times.

And with that... The weekend was over. Lots of fun. But I'm glad that I have five days to recover before the next one :)

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Friday, February 22, 2008

Friday Smile

In preparation for the Oscars on Sunday night... :)

View the entire collection of snarky Oscars ecards here.


The Good, The Bad - And No Ugly

How's my week going? Thanks for asking. It's 12.34 am and I'm taking a break from working on writing a massive annual media strategy for one of my clients. That's how my week is going :)

Let's see how efficiently I can catch you up, so that I can get back to my fun (I'm only being half-sarcastic for once... I actually really like writing these suckers. It just takes a heck of a lot of time that I seem to be sorely lacking lately):

- New herbal meds are rough. I feel icky on them. I'm taking half doses right now to try to ease myself onto them.
- I am NOT sleeping well this week (as you can tell!). Monday, Tuesday, and tonight were/are all bad nights where I was up really late. Last night, I CRASHED and actually slept for 8 or 9 hours. But now it's back to bad sleeping. I really need to fix that, and fast. I know how important it is.
- Just kind of generally feeling tired. No, scratch that. I'm exhausted. No big surprise given my first two points here, I guess :)
- My pain levels are inching back up, which I was expecting. But I'm still allowed to be a little bit frustrated, I think.
- Lots of work stress this week. Changes and decisions and all kinds of things that just kind of generally make a girl feel slightly on edge. I know that at the end of these transition periods, you always look back and are grateful that things are constantly evolving. But I still hate being in the middle of them.
- Lenny Kravitz is sick and has postponed his concert dates for Canada. I'm not changing my ticker on the side of the page here, but I will as soon as the new date is announced. It's just too depressing to take it off.

- My nails are pretty again. Don't underestimate how much better that can make you feel!
- Although Geoff is working nights all weekend (that's not on my good list or my bad list - it just IS), I've planned a bunch of fun things: Cocoon Girls Night here on Saturday, and an Oscar Party here on Sunday.
- One of my suppliers surprised me with a Starbucks gift card this week. He certainly knew the way to my heart... The skinny cinnamon dolce latte was already guilt-free from a caloric perspective, but to also remove the financial guilt? Coffee has never tasted so sweet.
- Lots of emails from friends this week. The kind where you know that you're somehow just in tune with each other, because they came at EXACTLY the right time and said just what I needed to hear. I feel so lucky to be surrounded by all the amazing people who are a part of my life. This last week or two in particular, I really felt encouraged by Alison, Mel, and Emily. And - as usual - Baden managed to distract me from my own woes by dishing about his :)

It's officially Friday. So that's 'good stuff' too!

And I think that I finally decided to like my haircut. It's never taken me this long to adjust before, but I'm starting to really love it. DEFINITELY a case of better late than never. I liked it for a day, then I HATED it, then I was kind of indifferent. And now it's all good. Other than Saturday mornings when I would seriously kill for ponytail-length locks, just for an hour or two. Don't pretend you don't know what I mean.

Okay. Forget this document I'm supposed to be finishing. It's so close. And I will finish in the morning. It's time to drag my fabulous, beautifully coiffed self to bed. I'll thank me for it tomorrow :)

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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Weekend Update: Long Live Louis Riel Edition

I don't know about you guys, but I'm fast becoming one of Louis Riel's biggest fans. I was ALL OVER the idea of a February long weekend. Though I honestly don't understand why we couldn't just have Family Day like Alberta and Ontario. Us Manitobans, we're *obviously* not followers. (Laughing to myself...)

You know about my weekend up until Saturday afternoon. On Saturday evening, I was emotionally exhausted and still processing everything I'd heard at my appointment earlier in the day. Geoff came home from work, and he helped me process - which was kind of nice. On Sunday, he did even more research at work.

Sunday morning, I got up EARLY to drive The Boy to work, then headed back to bed for a while before I got up for real, made myself presentable, and met Emily for church. It was a good morning - the whole service was really a learning experience about prayer, and I liked what the pastor had to say on the whole issue of faith and healing. I've been to so many churches that aren't scared to say that illness - or a lack of healing - is evidence of a lack of faith or of sin in someone's life. And I'm not scared to say that's bullshit. This guy talked about the verse where it says that you should pray with faith if you want to be healed. And he talked about how that faith is not necessarily the faith of the person who's sick - but the faith of the people who are doing the praying. He also spoke about how God doesn't make his healing decisions based on faith alone, which is something I believe very much. I just thought the whole morning was super-encouraging, especially given my day on Saturday.

And I was encouraged enough to actually let someone there pray for me... If you know me at all, you know that's pretty huge. But all my philosophies on healing are changing and growing. I no longer carry around the expectation that I'll experience an on-the-spot miracle (though I know that God is capable of that) - instead, I'm starting to think that the healing comes from what it does inside of me, to open myself up to share openly about my struggles and to allow my disappointment and hurt and frustration about the whole situation just gradually start to fade away.

Em and I went for lunch and spent part of the afternoon together, then I spent the rest of the day reading a book - awesome.

Yesterday was pretty quiet too. Geoff had been scheduled to work, but had his schedule changed at the last minute - so he ended up being off, which was a nice surprise. We slept in (I honestly don't remember the last time I didn't set my alarm... amaing) and had brunch, then ran some errands in the afternoon and spent a totally lazy evening watching more 'It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia' reruns.

That's about it, other than a series of five EXTREMELY ANNOYING wrong-number phone calls that I received between 04.30 and 05.00 this morning... Ugh. Not impressed. Let's hope that wasn't indicative of how this week will go, because I'm determined to make it a good one.

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Monday, February 18, 2008

Monday Secret

That's the thing about people who used to be important parts of our lives... If we *truly* loved them, we are incapable of anything but hoping for their happiness and success. Sucks, doesn't it? :)

I know it's been a lifetime already... But I still pray every day that you'll find those things that can make you happy, and that you'll fill your life with them - full to overflowing. I understand why we couldn't be together anymore, and I can honestly say that I'm grateful things ended between us when and how they did. That push forced me to find myself, and I think you knew that's what you were doing. Keep figuring that out for yourself, because that person you're capable of being is so beautiful. And be safe.


Sunday, February 17, 2008

Counting Down

The Lenny Kravitz concert I've been obsessing about is now just ONE MONTH away! And the new CD is amazing. I love the sound, I love the vibe, I love the message.

So in celebration of this most auspicious occasion...

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Saturday, February 16, 2008

Up Close and Personal

Today (after spending an hour or two at the office being productive this morning), I had my blood analysis appointment. Emily graciously volunteered to come with me - these things are always a little easier when you have someone else there, and I knew from last time that they'd be throwing more info at me than I'd possibly be able to retain on my own.

It was an interesting day, that's for sure. Every medical-type person I've ever met with has a theory - whether they 'believe' in fibromyalgia or not. Today's theory actually made a little more sense than usual. Basically, they believe that all the NSAIDs and steroids I've pumped into my body since I was 10 years old have managed to eat away at the lining of my intestines, my stomach, and my bowels - resulting in a body that lets bad things 'leak' into my body and letting some of the good things (minerals and nutrients) escape. In short, my blood was a MESS. And that mess reflected a pile of issues that all added up to fibromyalgia in my case - and the list of common symptoms read like a summary of my life over the past couple of years, *exactly* all the symptoms I've been dealing with. Weird.

Anyway. I paid my hundred thousand million dollars to the nice people and went home with a new little sack of goodies - acidophilus-bifidobacterium, cat's claw, chlorophyll, marshmallow and pepsin, LB-X, vitamin D, and magnesium. Yummy.

My next appointment at the beginning of March will address any diet changes that need to happen - in the meantime, I'm keeping up with my journaling.

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Funniest Video Ever

Former American Idol contestant Kellie Pickler is lucky she's pretty and has a nice voice... Because she's pretty much too dumb for words.


Friday, February 15, 2008

This Hits the Spot

From my Starbucks cup this afternoon (mmm... grande skinny cinnamon dolce latte...):

In a world where celebrity equals talent, and where make-believe is called reality, it is most important to have real love, truth, and stability in your life.

- Bernie Brillstein (Film and Television Producer)

Friday Smile

It's been a discouraging week, to be honest. My pain levels have been slowly creeping up again, and I'm fighting with myself daily about my upcoming appointments - knowing that the people who I'm trusting for treatment now are expensive, and their therapies are not covered by either of our health plans. It's sometimes hard not to pick up the phone and cancel them. I value my health - a LOT - but these things have been adding up over the last few months, and with few results. I really feel like I'm on my last-chance effort here, and that is terrifying to me sometimes.

On to happier things...

Last night was pretty close to a perfect Valentine's Day. Nothing over the top, but we picked up sushi and some cheesecake from Baked Expectations, and then watched a movie curled up on the couch. Exactly my speed this week.

A few days ago, The Boy surprised me with these amazing tulips. They were just buds, and they've made me smile every day while I've checked on them and watched them grow. They're currently living on my dining room table. And in the office, I have a vase full of daffodils that I bought for myself last week.

Spring is coming, friends... First to my home, and soon - everywhere :)

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Thursday, February 14, 2008

For My Valentine

Every time I look at you the world just melts away
All my troubles all my fears dissolve in your affection
You’ve seen me at my weakest but you take me as I am
And when I fall you offer me a softer place to land

You stay the course you hold the line you keep it all together
You’re the one true thing I know I can believe in
You’re all the things that I desire you save me you complete me
You’re the one true thing I know I can believe

I get mad so easy but you give me room to breathe
No matter what I say or do ‘cause you’re too good to fight about it
Even when I have to push just to see how far you’ll go
You won’t stoop down to battle but you never turn to go

There are times I can’t decide when I can’t tell up from down
You make me feel less crazy when otherwise I’d drown
But you pick me up and brush me off and tell me I’m okay
Sometimes that’s just what we need to get us through the day

You stay the course you hold the line you keep it all together
You’re the one true thing I know I can believe in
You’re all the things that I desire you save me you complete me
You’re the one true thing I know I can believe

- Push (Sarah McLachlan)


Happy Heart Day

I'm so skeptical of this holiday... It seems so fake and offensive when people pretend to be super-romantic and thoughtful just because they're socially obligated. Doing something special for people you care about is totally fine, but only if you do special things for them throughout the year.

Anyway. I'm lucky because The Boy loves to surprise me with little things - things like occasional flowers, making my lunch, starting my car when it's cold, or driving me to work. I don't take that for granted at all.

And on this overly commercial, silly day - I want to send this valentine to all of you, my loyal blog readers. You wade through the contents of my life and have invested so much in my very ordinary story. I think that's so cool. Thanks for your words of encouragement and the little comments you leave that make me laugh out loud. Thanks for filling up my inbox with the comments that were too long or too personal to leave in my 'comments.' And thanks to those of you who are brave enough to blog what's in your hearts too. I love and appreciate every single one of you.

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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Fun With Words

I don't usually encourage email forwards, but I got this one today that made me giggle.

Here is the Washington Post's Mensa Invitational which once again asked readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new definition.

A few highlights...

Cashtration: The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period of time.

Ignoranus: A person who's both stupid and an asshole.

Intaxication: Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you realize it was your money to start with.

Reintarnation: Coming back to life as a hillbilly.

Bozone: The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.

Foreploy: Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of getting laid.

Giraffiti: Vandalism spray-painted very, very high

Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.

Decafalon: The gruelling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you.

Beelzebug: Satan in the form of a mosquito, that gets into your bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.


My Little World

Lots of tiny changes going on in my little corner of the universe lately. Nothing earth-shattering, just lots of small stuff.

The first is that I seem to be doing a lot more copywriting at work than usual lately. And - to my surprise - that's not a bad thing. In fact, it's kind of calming and a little bit fun, even though it's making me busier than usual. I missed using my words for good, and stretching that part of my brain.

I've also been doing my best to track my daily meds, sleep, food, exercise, and just kind of generally how I'm feeling. It's been kind of scary, because I'm sick of writing that I'm tired and hurting. But the good thing is that I've been forcing myself to record one thing every single day that I did for ME - things like going for a massage, meeting Emily for a movie, meeting Geoff for lunch, and other things that make me smile. It's just funny when it's 9 pm and I'm looking frantically around for something that I can do for myself so that I don't have a blank section in my journal! I'm sure it will get easier and easier.

I know that people grow in itty bitty little baby steps that are probably intangible unless you're far removed from it. But every so often, I have a moment where I think - WOW, I've grown over the last couple of months. I feel like I'm becoming a more honest person. Not that I wasn't honest before, but I used to be much more concerned about hurting people's feelings or disappointing them. Now I understand that I need to take care of myself, because no one else will ever do that for me. It's a good thing. But it's not a conflict-free road, and that's taking some adjustment. I absolutely HATE conflict, and I'm usually that person who will say anything I need to in order to make things okay again. I'm becoming that person who will stand my ground when it's important and make sure that I walk away with what I need in order to be healthy and happy.

So that's about it. I've been working hard, and making time for some fun stuff in between - a chick flick with Emily on Monday night, and a massage and lots of time with The Boy yesterday. Oh, and avoiding going outside as much as possible!

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Monday, February 11, 2008

Weekend Update: Cold and Lazy Edition

It was a long, cold weekend in Winnipeg... Nothing like snow, wind, and temperatures under -40 to make you feel absolutely crazy for living here.

FRIDAY: Friday night was pretty much the definition of low-key. Geoff picked me up from work and had made dinner (!) so we got home and literally crashed on the couch and watched reruns of 'It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.' It's a crazy-funny show. If you aren't already a fan, you must become one. In between, I felt guilty about sitting there and doing nothing so I managed to unpack a bunch of stuff from the basement and cleaned the office.

SATURDAY: Someone must have been gunning for some bonus points, because I woke up to a husband cooking breakfast. That's always either (a) a good sign, or (b) a very, very bad sign. It was a good sign.

We headed out to run some errands and pick up groceries. And then it was another do-nothing evening, which was absolutely fine with me because I was not feeling anywhere near 100%. I watched the Dixie Chicks documentary 'Shut Up and Sing' - another must-watch, if you haven't already. And we finished cleaning the house. Then I baked brownies while I caught up with Mel on the phone. And then I fell asleep while Geoff was on the phone. We are SO fabulous and exciting...

The night became significantly more exciting at around 11.30, when Geoff woke me up to take a call from my mom. Calls that late are NEVER a good sign, and this one was no exception: my aunt was being rushed to emergency with all the signs of a major heart attack. I didn't really deal with that news very well. She is incredibly important to me, and she just had to be okay. She just had to be. I didn't even cry, because I refused to think that way. Needless to say, my sleep while I waited for a follow-up phone call wasn't awesome. The phone call finally came, and she's okay - thank god.

SUNDAY: I went to church with Geoff on Sunday and helped him out with sound a little bit. It's starting to feel friendlier and friendlier there - people know my name and go out of their way to come and talk to me. When we were leaving, Katherine (Geoff's 'adopted' grandma) absolutely refused to let me leave without a hug and hearing about my week... So sweet.

In the afternoon, we hosted a joint Open House Extravaganza (exclamation point optional) with my cousins Jon & Tania. Not many people had seen where either of us lived, so we organized an informal little progressive family gathering. They had our grandparents and assorted aunts, uncles, and cousins over to their place for tea in the afternoon, then everyone came to our place for the evening.

A couple of highlights:
- Seeing everyone jammed into Jon & Tania's living room like clowns in a tiny little car (and taking an extra couple of minutes before I spotted Sam sitting UNDERNEATH their computer desk)
- Watching Mady try on ALL of my shoes :)
- My grandpa's comment about how our bedroom reminded him of their honeymoon suite... When I saw that he was going to keep talking, I quietly apologized to Geoff and then RAN downstairs to the safety of the kitchen
- Putting on 'Planet Earth' for the kids, and watching Sophie's face when the lions started attacking and eating an elephant... (Sophie: 'Um, what are they doing?' My Dad: 'They are killing and eating an elephant because they are hungry.')
- Anica keeping me company in the kitchen while providing a VERY detailed account of her recent class presentation on space, and why Orion's Belt is her favourite constellation
- The look on Sam's face when he saw the Man Cave

It was fun. I love hosting stuff like that, and I love having our house full of people. But again - are you noticing a pattern here? - I CRASHED after everyone left. Ugh. I am SO grateful for parents who stay and help clean up without making it seem like it's a big deal at all :)

Overall, the new meds are making me feel like of groggy and I swear I'm significantly more irritable than normal. Every little thing is seriously pissing me off, and I can feel myself doing it - and I HATE IT. I'm not noticing any big changes in fatigue or pain. By the time it's nearing the end of the evening, I'm really tired - that kind of nauseated tired where if anyone gets in the way of my pillow and my sleep, they do so at their own peril. And I wake up with pretty serious leg pain and shakiness.

I have a massage appointment after work tomorrow and a series of appointments with my herbalist this Saturday and next. So we'll see! I'm not giving up yet.

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Monday Secret


Friday, February 08, 2008

5 Random Things

I was tagged by blogging buddy Nicole, so in the interest of good sportsmanship - here you go!

Share five random/weird things about myself.
Share five places that I want to see or want to see again.
Tag five random people.

5 Random Things

1. I won't do or try something if I think it might make me look stupid. I wish that I didn't care, but I do. There's this old Friends episode where Rachel won't go running with Phoebe because she looks so dumb when she runs... I seriously relate.

2. I am the slowest eater in the world. We used to think it was because of my jaw joints, but now we all know that I'm just a slow eater :)

3. I never get sick of reading a good book. Some of the books in my library have been read 30 times, and it just makes them better and better. I just get in a mood, and I know *exactly* which familiar character on my shelf will make good company.

4. I have freakishly strong nails, and they grow super-fast. It makes other people hate me.

5. I have my dream job right now, but I think I'd like to teach communications or advertising at a post-secondary level someday. Either that, or I'll get incredibly brave and start writing for real. In another life, I would probably consider a career in law or politics.

5 Random Places

1. New York - I've never been, and I've always wanted to. I'm a sucker for big cities that are oozing with culture and museums and great food and amazing shopping.

2. Italy - I've never been, and it looks so pretty... But I'm more excited for Milan and Florence than for Rome and Venice - not sure why.

3. Montreal - I went two summers ago, and I had so much fun. There was so much to do, and I loved that I got to use the French part of my brain just a little bit. And it's on my life goal list to make it back to the Jazz Festival. Amazing.

4. Turkey - I got just a little taste on our cruise this year, and I would love to go back and explore Istanbul and the rest of the country. It's a gateway country to the Middle East, and I've love to see that part of the world but I'll admit that I'm way too scared. So it's a safe little taste without being seriously frightening.

5. Places Unknown - I used to have such a safe, set little list of places I wanted to see. I've knocked off the big ones. And now I'm really not too sure. My list changes constantly based on books I read, things I watch, what's on the news, and just whatever I happen to feel like at the moment. I'm not as nervous about travelling to less comfortable places as I used to be. My list at the moment includes Brazil, Morocco, Germany, Spain / Portugal, the south of France, Egypt, Japan, China, Norway, and (yes, seriously) Antarctica. But ask again tomorrow, because I'm sure it will have changed :)

5 Random People

Gloria, Sherri M, Crystal, Marilyn, and Mom (leave your answers in the comments section if you don't have a blog)


Thursday, February 07, 2008

Keeping Track

I'm not really a New Years Resolution girl. It's mostly because I hate the feeling of not accomplishing something that I wanted to do. I tend to make changes instead of promises, and I tend to make those changes in February - when things are feeling a little closer to normal and I have a better feel for what I'm capable of.

I'm particularly proud of what I accomplished yesterday. For years, I've been wanting to do a better job of tracking my health - what I'm taking, what I'm eating, what I'm doing, how I'm feeling. I want to discover those subtle patterns and cues that will make me better at taking care of myself. And yesterday, I started.

This new project *obviously* called for a cute new notebook - and I found the perfect one at Chapters. (Do other people get as giddy as I do about shopping for stationery? It's absurd.)

I'm very excited about this. I want to get better at learning about my body, and how it works the very best. It will be an interesting journey, I'm sure.

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Wednesday, February 06, 2008

I'm Sensitive

I realized today that I'm a sensitive person. Actually, I'm not sure if today's the first day that I've realized that - but it's one of the first times that I'm comfortable acknowledging it.

My former therapist told me that I was very sensitive. I laughed at her. I told her that I was tough. And she said that may be, but that I was an incredibly sensitive person. She told me that I'd be happiest in my life if I could figure out a way to love and embrace that part of who I am - because the world doesn't have that many of us, and it's one of the most special parts of me.

And a few weeks ago, my chronic pain specialist looked up at me and stated very matter-of-factly that I was incredibly sensitive to medications. In fact, he started me on my current meds at 1/3 the regular dose, and he's convinced that it will work for me the way that a full dose works for others. He may be right, because I'm having side effects even at this ridiculously small dose. It's amazing to me that no one's picked up on this before. It definitely explains all my side effects over the past 16 years. But when he said it, I wanted to fight him on it.

I told Geoff about this little revelation of mine over dinner tonight. He smirked and said, 'Um, yeah.'

In my head, sensitivity equals weakness. But even if I put on my 'tough' mask, it doesn't mean that things aren't affecting me exactly the same way on the inside. And that causes me BIG concern... Especially as someone who believes strongly that whatever's going on inside (and is not being dealt with in a healthy way) has a funny way of catching up with you and messing with your health.

This week at work, instead of fighting and yelling and arguing someone into the ground (and I knew I could), I stopped and I let myself feel. It sounds so simple, but we're talking about a girl with a STRICT no-tears-about-work, business-isn't-personal policy. But when I really stopped and felt what was going on today, I realized that it IS personal. It's personal because - in my determination to do the very best work that I can - I bring ALL of me to the table when I'm working. And his words really hurt me. And so, I put words to my feelings - honest words like hurt and sad and disrespected and disappointed. And I communicated them in a kind and open way. And you know what? My words caused him to communicate his own kind and open words. Imagine that.

It was scary, absolutely. But it made me realize that being sensitive isn't weak at all. In fact, it's incredibly strong.

There's an old Jewel song that my mom used to say reminded her of me. I finally realized why today. Guess she knew all along.

I was thinking that I might fly today
Just to disprove all the things you say
It doesn't take a talent to be mean
Your words can crush things that are unseen
So please be careful with me, I'm sensitive
And I'd like to stay that way.

You always tell me that is impossible
To be respected and be a girl
Why's it gotta be so complicated?
Why you gotta tell me if I'm hated?
So please be careful with me, I'm sensitive
And I'd like to stay that way.

I was thinking that it might do some good
If we robbed the cynics and took all their food
That way what they believe will have taken place
And we can give it to people who have some faith
So please be careful with me, I'm sensitive
And I'd like to stay that way.

I have this theory that if we're told we're bad
Then that's the only idea we'll ever have
But maybe if we are surrounded in beauty
Someday we will become what we see
'Cause anyone can start a conflict
it's harder yet to disregard it
I'd rather see the world from another angle
We are everyday angels
Be careful with me 'cause I'd like to stay that way.
- Jewel, 'I'm Sensitive'

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Tuesday, February 05, 2008

A Happy Coincidence

Today was a low day. They just happen sometimes. I'm not really sure what to blame it on, and I'm not really sure that I want to.

I want to be better at my life. I want to be a perfect wife. I want all my clients to be happy. I want my house to be spotless. I want my bank account to look different than it does. I want to like the way I look. I want to have more time for my friends. I want to find some time for me again. I want to care less about disappointing others. I want my to-do list to get shorter, not longer.

I'm incredibly imperfect, and I'm incredibly tired of hurting. And the latest, greatest solution that I started on this past weekend is making me feel fuzzy - lousy timing, because I have so many writing projects to tackle at work right now. Nothing like trying to be creative on a tight timeline when your brain feels like it's made of oatmeal and you're acutely aware of every muscle and joint in your body that hurts.

Alas, no rapid miracle cure again this time. I hate this sinking feeling in my stomach that maybe there's no cure at all. Maybe the problem is me, and the solution is to adjust to this new reality. But that means putting an end to all this fighting - and the fight has formed so much of my identity that it's not really an option to me at all. My tired, fuzzy brain today actually paused to wonder if maybe the fighting is making me worse, and not better.

I should be sleeping, but I'm to busy obsessing about all the things that didn't get done today. My to-do list for work tomorrow is scaring me, and the current state of my kitchen is embarrassing. It's that moment (you know the one I'm talking about) where I must decide where my priorities lie - with stuff or with sleep.

Ugh. I know the correct answer.

But quickly, before I do, a story from today that made me grin from ear to ear... One of my clients (one of my favourites... shhh!) approached me to help him develop a community relations campaign for a charity project he's tackling this coming year. I lit up for two reasons. The first is that developing these types of campaigns is absolutely one of my very favourite parts of my job, and something I don't get to do every day. The second is that he told me about this project of his - and he's doing Joints in Motion! After I told him the two-sentence version of my history with the program, we both laughed. It got even funnier when we discovered that the location he's picked is one that Geoff and I have shortlisted. And then I had the enormous privilege of hearing a little bit of his story about why he's doing this and who he's running for. It was just one of those moments that made me so sure that I'm where I'm supposed to be, and that there is so much good left in this world.

Even my fuzzy brain and my tired, hurting heart could see clearly that the fight is not over yet. Not even close. Not until the fat lady sings. And that's not happening anytime soon, because I need to start training for another race :)

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Monday, February 04, 2008

Weekend Update: The Country Mouse and The City Mouse(s)

Here's how it all went down...

Saturday started off busy. I set my alarm and got up to get ready and make brunch for me and The Boy. Anja came to pick me up around noon, and we set off for Elm Creek (and actually found it). The rest of the day was spent checking out Kari-Ann's steadily belly, her rapidly expanding collection of baby STUFF, and chasing around Winkler and Morden in pursuit of the perfect paint colours. In the evening, she threw together an incredible steak dinner (yep, that's right - steak for girls night) and Anja and I slept over. It was so relaxing, and during dinner we laughed for about three hours without stopping.

In the morning, we returned to the Big City - and Geoff and I bundled up and walked over to Cafe Kohler for lunch (yum). We ran a few errands, then it was another trip to the country, this time in the opposite direction. My whole family (minus Kevin, who joined us later) congregated at my parents' place in Niverville for the SuperBowl, which extended into also watching the So You Think You Can Dance finale. Lots of food, and lots more laughing.

We returned to the city pretty late, but I felt like I'd had a great weekend. Busy, to be sure. But great.

Last night, I started on my new meds. Didn't quite feel like myself today - and no noticeable change in my pain level - but I'm giving it a chance. Eventually, something's got to work. And in the meantime, I absolutely refuse to give up these little mini-adventures with the people I love.

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Monday Secret

My secret is that I got angry when I saw this secret posted on PostSecret's website. Because although this person misses what they used to have (and that's such a legitimate feeling), I feel like I never got a chance to try. After a few seconds, I wasn't angry any more - I was just sad.


Friday, February 01, 2008

Fun on a Friday

Geoff and I had a great time tonight, reconnecting with some of the Joints in Motion team from Athens at Pasta la Vista. Lots of laughter, lots of stories and pictures, and LOTS of motivation for me to get active again! Both Tara and Lana have tried to coerce me into trying out their gyms, and Lana was pushing hard for us to come do the Fargo half-marathon in May. UGH. I don't know if I'm there yet, but I'll definitely think about it. One of the great bonuses that's come from Joints in Motion has been exposure to these incredible people who live such amazing, active lives.

Back Row: Lana, Laura, and Tara (full marathoners), Geoff & Me (10K walkers represent!) / Front Row: Fred (cheer team), Julie (full marathoner), Lynn & Chris (trainers extraordinaire)

And... SURPRISE! In between work and dinner, I stopped in to see Kevyn and cut off all my hair :)

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Friday Smile

Rap Lyrics Explained. Laugh at more examples here.