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Ramblings by Category

Ramblings by Year

about last september

It’s a year today that my father passed away. I never did write about any of this, and I kept meaning to. But I still have thank you cards to send out to those who came to the funeral, or sent sympathy, and honestly? I haven’t been able to do any of that.

We’ve had our full Year of Firsts. First Thanksgiving, first Christmas, first birthday, first wedding anniversary, first father’s day. First of a lot of things. Sometimes I catch myself holding in a breath and thinking, “oh my god, my dad’s gone”. It hits at weird times.

I don’t remember much about last September. I pretty much lost 2 weeks of work in a job I was just learning. The week I spent with my mother (after my father – in true Impatient Healy Fashion – passed away the morning after he spoke with everyone he needed to speak with, rather than sticking around for the few weeks/months the doctors thought he had) went by in a blur. I was so thankful that I was there, speaking with my Mum, when my father passed. I was so thankful that I could stay with her that week and (try to) get things done.

I am so thankful for family, and friends, who were there for me through everything.

The last year has been a roller coaster for many reasons. I get motion sick so easily, that it’s been difficult to process. When things change drastically, they seem to all change at once. For better, or for worse, the changes come and you adapt, you deal. You make the most of what you have in front of you, and try not to dwell on what was lost.

And I miss my Dad. And I love my family. And I am bracing myself for new adventures. And. And. And.

And now we’ve reached the first anniversary of the passing of my father. Full circle. It doesn’t make it any less sad, nor does it make it any more sad. It will continue to hit me at random moments. I will have jolts of sadness, and jolts of laughter. My sister and her family were there when they put him in the wall at the cemetery (ok, enterrement…but technically it IS just putting his urn in a wall!), and he’s at peace and no longer in pain. My mother is thriving in her new city, and we are all coping. And we have each other.

But wow, do years fly by in a blink when they are so full of emotion.

I love you, Daddy. I hope you’re surrounded by flowers and butterflies. I hope you’re happy. And I truly hope you’re at peace.

the year that fell apart

I can count on one hand the things that went according to plan this year. Not that I had grand plans or anything, but if something could go wrong this year, it did. At full volume.

Three and a half months ago, my father passed away. I wish I could say that was the worst thing in the entire year, but it wasn’t. By mid-September I was so emotionally drained that when my father passed away I was simply too numb.

Normally I do an annual recap for the last post of the month. There’s very little about 2018 that I want to remember. It was a year filled with way too many hospital visits, health scares, financial distress, anxiety, and loss.

At Christmas last year, my father let us know his cancer had come back, and at some point in the coming year he’d need major surgery. In March my Dad turned 70, and four days later ended up in the hospital. The cancer was more aggressive than at first thought. So plans had to be cancelled and surgery was pushed up.

Early in the year, I was balancing working at the bookstore, and suddenly back at my old place of employment two days a week. I was helping with a transition due to staff departures. For a while it was fine. I knew I didn’t want to work back downtown, and the extra money was nice. Minimum wage isn’t a liveable wage. By March, with the extra stress of my dad’s health, I was burning out. I had to make a choice, and I let go of the job that wasn’t paying me enough for me to have financial stress on top of health and family. So at the end of March 2018, I said goodbye to Indigo.

I didn’t know what I was going to do next, but I had the brief respite of working three days a week back at the university, and the flexibility of when I was working so that if I was needed by my parents I could go. I also had the bonus comfort of being surrounded by people I’d worked with that I missed terribly, considered family, and who CARED about me. It was a surprise to me how much I needed to be where I was when everything was falling apart around me.

April and May proved to be a nightmare of anxiety, health scares, and more. And the more that got thrown at me, the less I felt I could breathe. I didn’t know what my future held. I didn’t know if everything I knew was over, and a lie, and how I was going to survive. My Dad was now on dialysis, my husband wasn’t well, jobs changed, my idea of how the year was supposed to pan out was erased from existence.

I was asked to consider staying on at the faculty. I was encouraged to apply for my friend’s maternity leave position. It would be a year. I’d be in a different department than the one I left. No matter how often I told people, “I already quit this job, I do not want to come back” the more they’d try to convince me I should come back. And in the end, I’d made a decision to test out this contract. It’s at the opposite end of the floor, it’s a completely different beast of a job, and I have been loving every second of it.

And as I hovered in “my dad isn’t doing well” limbo, I was again surrounded by people who cared deeply for me, and my family. Who understood the stress I was going through. And who understood that I might have to leave suddenly, but I couldn’t say WHEN. And then, on September 12 when my Mum called to say the doctor thought that we should visit that weekend because my dad wasn’t doing well at all, I knew that I could focus only on my grief and my Dad and not worry about any ill will from my office.

And my father, never a patient man, decided that after he saw both my sister and I, talked to his priest, talked with the grandkids via skype, talked with our husbands…simply passed away the morning after he’d seen us all. No one was expecting that. They were hoping to get into palliative care on the Monday. But while I was chatting with my Mum by phone, trying to see if I could stop by once more before I went home that weekend, he just…left. He didn’t have an easy night. My mother didn’t have an easy night. But I think he knew he was finished with what he needed to do and there was no reason for him to suffer any more.

And so I stayed with my mother that week. Shawn went home and came back the next weekend for the funeral. I had to buy clothes since I’d only packed for 2 days. And for once in my entire life, I didn’t OVER pack.

And health things, and more things, and so much sadness and negativity. And it’s been such a rough year. And it started last Christmas when my bank account was hacked. And it just kept going on and on and on.

I know we aren’t the only ones who had an awful year. I know too many others who also seemed to have an exceptionally bad year. I don’t know what it was about 2018 (other than it being one of those blasted Even-Numbered Years. Grrr.) but I am so ready to see another number on the calendar.

There were some good things though…

I am extremely lucky to have the love and support of my friends. Without some of them, I don’t know how I’d have gotten through so much. Monkey, especially, is possibly the best anchor a person can ask for. When I am not ok, she’s there to tell me that I will be, and that my head can lie. There were a lot of times this year when I wasn’t ok. I didn’t think I’d ever be ok again.

But I’m getting there.

And I made the right decision to take the job at the university. It’s been a huge learning curve, but fascinating, and very helpful at keeping me focused when everything outside of the office was going up in flames. And I felt so comforted and safe back with people I had grown to consider family in the 11 years I WAS there. And this new job is different enough that there’s nothing about it that triggers any PTSD reactions from being back downtown and across the street from that infernal building that caused me so much trauma. And I have felt so loved and welcomed (back). And I made a new friend, who was new to the faculty, too, and she has been a blessing to me this year.

And my Mum. My Mum is going to thrive. She’s sold the house, got herself her first ever apartment, and has been back here twice since my father passed – drove herself! We got to have a visit a Thanks Giving – always a family holiday in my family. And it almost happened that she wouldn’t be able to make it for Christmas as planned, but in the end she was able to drive here on Christmas Day and spend it with her grandkids and then stayed with us for a couple of days before heading back (before the freezing rain storm!) My sister and niece went out to visit her this past weekend to help her get her unpacking done and organized – and were there to celebrate her 70th birthday, so she wouldn’t be alone.

Lost jobs, lost health, new jobs, health learning curves, and all that. It’s been a roller coaster of a year and I don’t think I can put the pieces back together. I am hoping that 2019 sticks together better and then I can just sweep the shards of 2018 out the door and be done with them.

I don’t know what 2019 will bring. I DO know that I don’t have any ideas or plans for the year. This current year taught me that it’s simpler to just live each day as it dawns and go from there. No need to think about what might happen in May when I don’t even know what will happen by the end of the week. I’ll just deal with things as they happen. That seems to be the safest course of action. Here’s to rolling with it, yo!

through the thorns, to the stars

There’s not a whole lot in 2017 that I feel I need to look back upon. I’m not the only one who felt it was kind of a bummer of a year, but…

2017 was an interesting year for me. It was a year I needed. To reset myself. The first year in a long time that I didn’t work in an office, instead I went back into retail.

I needed that reset in my life, but I’m ready to move on again. I feel more centred, confident, less willing to take crap, and ready to tackle new challenges.

2017 didn’t end on a high note. All things considered it could have been worse. It wasn’t. I am thankful.

I made decisions this past year that made things better for me. I distanced myself from many things that were drowning me in negativity. I am on social media a lot less than I was. I barely even check twitter. I understand that people have strong opinions about things, especially political, but I chose to block a lot of that out. The world is becoming a little too toxic. You may choose to crusade one way, but I choose a different path.

I spent more time in my craft room this year than I have in the past. Part of this was because I had more time to do so. Part of it was because the crafting helped me in many ways.

I am not hopeful, or rather, full of hope, going into  2018. If I’m being honest I think I lost the ability to be  hopeful years ago. I know that sounds sad, but it’s true. Hope just manages to get you high enough to hurt more when you are let down.

I feel mostly anxious and uncertain as this year begins. I know I want change, but I don’t know what I want to change. I do feel like there is a lot of change to come this year. I am tired of feeling trapped, so this year I want to shake things up and make sure that change does happen.

Work-wise, I don’t particularly want to go back to what I was doing (though I miss the people very much), and I know I am ready to move on from where I am now. Finding a happy-medium in the workforce will be difficult. But I’m ready. I will look. I will try new things.

I want to create more this year as well. I started learning  watercolour painting in November and made all my christmas cards. They aren’t perfect, but I loved every second of that painting. I want to draw and write more, so I started a bullet journal so I can draw my own planner every week. And add colour, or illustrations as I please.

I want to run a 5k this year. FOR REAL. I don’t know when the snow will go away  (I am thinking, late April)  but this year I am feeling ready for this. I have been dreaming about it. Once I dream things repeatedly I know I am ready for it.

I am in this forever search for happiness. There is a lot in my life that makes me happy, but I want that happiness to spread into every part of my life.

I had my year off; a year I so desperately needed. I am reset. I am ready to ignite and restart.

I am going to make 2018 into a year I want it to be. It won’t be easy. It might be very messy, but I want to come out of this year knowing that I didn’t just settle because I had to. There are things I want to happen this year, and I will do my best to make sure they do.

I am 23 days away from turning 42  and I am ready to start this new 365 day story. Let’s do this.

per aspera ad astra
– through the thorns, to the stars

twenty

Twenty years ago today, the girl whose parents were certain they would have to sell with the house, moved out, and into her first apartment with her girlfriend.

Twenty years ago.

My parents sold that house almost 5 years ago. I didn’t go with it. In fact, I’ve never moved back home since I moved  out. (Ok, there was one week during a rough relationship patch that I went home for a “visit”. But that doesn’t count.

That first apartment was huge. It wasn’t  in the best part of town. It was actually a slum of an apartment with cockroaches, and an evil landlord. It had questionable tenants, one of whom tried to burn it down when he was evicted. That prompted a move to a new apartment less than a year into this first one. A  place we felt safer. A place I lived in for 6 years. A  place that had a possessed bathroom  that always had a flood. But my life changed, and grew, in those years. Relationships fell  apart, and new ones  were created.

Six years later I moved into a place with Shawn. We were robbed. We got married. Our place  burned down.

We lived for a year in my in-laws’s basement.

We bought a house. We had two dogs. We still own this house, but now have two different dogs.

In this home we own, we have had downs and ups. We have grieved. We have laughed. We have grown together as a couple.

I have a lovely new kitchen.

Twenty years ago, one month before I turned 22, I moved out of my parents’ home and began my own life as a  person.

I have made mistakes. I have learned so much. I have loved, lost, and lived.

This may seem like a trivial thing to most. An odd milestone to mark, but for me, a girl with anxiety so bad she couldn’t sleep anywhere except her own bedroom, this is an epic anniversary to celebrate. I still feel like a kid, scared of the dark, and the realization that 20 years have passed since I LEFT home is bewildering.

About two weeks after moving out we had a major ice storm here. Something that will also be celebrating a 20th anniversary soon. It was awful.  Everything was ice. People were without electricity for weeks (or  months!) And I survived that, as well as so much more in the past 20 years.

I do sort of hope that the next  20 years have fewer  challenges though. Fewer challenges, and more whimsy. That’s what I hope for!

coffee, sweet

I didn’t always drink coffee. I have never really cared for coffee. When I worked at the university bookstore, I’d have coffee during really busy, stressful times. People around me knew to avoid me when I was having coffee because I only drank it when I was in a bad mood.

Coffee isn’t a soothing, happy drink. If I want to be soothed, and happy, I’ll drink tea.

Anyhow, the last 10 years, I have become a regular coffee drinker. I used to have to drown the coffee in cream and sugar to cover the taste. And then I started dropping the sugar, and finally the cream. I have been drinking black coffee for a while. Every morning. Who am I? Eh, we all evolve. I happened to evolve into a coffee drinker.

But coffee is bitter, and I really only drank it because I was in a bitter mood. Well, at least to keep myself in a sort of stressed, on edge state, I guess.

But lately black coffee has been…wrong. I wasn’t drinking the cup I’d pour. And this past week I have started taking my coffee with cream and sugar again.

And that reminds me of my grandparents. I have vivid memories of them drinking coffee at McDonald’s. I used to get to drink those little cream cups that came with the coffee. I’d get to stir the coffee with that tall, skinny, brown plastic spoon with the M on top, and then I could put the spoon in my mouth. It was sweet, and bitter. It was creamy. It was a little bit of rebellious adventure since we weren’t allowed coffee as children. Really, I only started drinking coffee in my late-20s. Mostly in my 30s.

I don’t know why springtime always makes me miss my grandparents. It’s partly memories of how my grandmother loved the blooming lilacs and peonies. It could be because it’s the time of year that my aunt, grandfather, and grandgrandmother all passed away (May, June, and April). It’s ten years this month that my aunt passed away. Nine for my grandfather, and eight for my grandmother.

And something this week is tugging at my memories, and emotions, and I have these vivid memories of stirring coffee in styrofoam cups (oh, the 80s) at McDonald’s and getting to taste the sweet, creamy coffee on the tip of that stir-stick. And I feel… content? Nostalgic? Happy?

Happiness might be the closest. I am happy right now. I don’t feel stressed, or bitter, or anxious. I am in a very good place in my head, and I’m comforted by the memories of my grandparents, and their coffee. I don’t remember who had the sweet coffee – my grandmother? My grandfather didn’t like sweet stuff very much. I just remember getting to stir the coffee, and loving those little skinny stir-stick-spoons at McD’s.

I’m still not at the tea-in-the-morning stage, but I have started taking my coffee sweet. And as I drink it, I remember. I feel calm.

On a side note: I miss the pirate ship seats that McD’s used to have when I was a kid. It was the best getting to eat on a ship in the middle of a restaurant!