i'm darkness and light, bubbles and faerie wings.
i am sparkles and glitter, shadows and clouds.
i love purple, and faeries, and books, and music.

Ramblings by Category

Ramblings by Year

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!

the year of lost things & found things

Every year, as the end of December closes in, I feel as though I am reaching the finish line staggering, and out of breath. The last handful of years, I see the start of a new calendar year as a refresh, sort of like clearing your browser history and cache. I have felt alone in my struggles through each year as I look around at others’ recaps. I miss the days when I used to read (and enjoy) blogs. I miss the days when friends I made through blogging used to blog. I would read their summaries of the year that ended and feel as though I was alone in having a difficult, struggling year. I gave up hope that the next (new) year would bring about more happiness, because things always just tended to pile up on top of what was already a suffocating weight on my shoulders.

However with the end of 2016 I can finally say I am not alone. I don’t know what the heck was going on, but I don’t believe anyone had a good 2016. I’m not talking about the astonishing amount of celebrity deaths (of those there were way too many), but my own friends and their personal struggles, the rest of the world and all of the horrid, awful, evil things that have been going on. Loss of innocence, and hope, and a general loss of positive anything when you look online.

I left facebook for a while. I left twitter for a while. I went back on both, but I have very limited access because I removed apps from my phone. I mostly update facebook through instagram – the one social media platform that brought me joy. Until it didn’t – when they removed chronological order for posts. I don’t get that AT all. I don’t browse it as much anymore. I just post my own photos.  I like their filters at least.

And I was struggling myself. Between all the negative in the world, and bad things happening to good people, and not being able to fix problems of others with a magic wand (I wish), I was drowning in an ocean of grey, and apathy. I was fading as a person. I was questioning everything – who I was, why I should live, why hope for anything.

And I couldn’t stomach that feeling, or those questions anymore. I knew I needed to do something. Anything. I needed to finish this story and start a new one.

And so I did.

I held my breath. I took a leap. I took a chance. And I was suddenly less lost than I was earlier in the year. And you know, using the leap/jump metaphor isn’t an easy one for me. But I needed to associate leaping off the edge of something with thoughts that were less horrific than a man jumping off a building and almost hitting me. I needed to associate taking that leap with something positive, and courageous. I quit my job because I couldn’t find ME anymore within the walls of that office, or cubicle. I have been working at the bookstore for a month now and I can’t recall when I was last happy like this.

Leaping is now about courage, and passion, and realizing dreams, and less about death and trauma and fear.

I don’t want to go into 2017 holding on to the fear that has been surrounding me the past three years. I want to start 2017 with the joy of sharing my joy with others. And this is what I found with the scary, difficult decisions I made in the fall.

I was so lost, but I refused to stay lost. In taking chances, and making life a little less comfortable financially, I found myself again and I feel as though I can finish putting the still broken parts of myself back together.

I have zero idea what 2017 will bring. I am not convinced that it will be a better year than 2016. It does have the added bonus of not being an even-numbered year. (You all know how much I do not like even numbers!) There is still so much lost out there, and I think that perhaps the world needs a little more courage to take the leaps it needs to take to be found again. Cheesy, I know. But I think more people need to focus on what can make themselves, and others, heal and find their paths, rather than settle for what is taken for granted as “well, that’s just how it is.” Life isn’t like that anymore. Life isn’t something you settle for. You need to take your leaps and find your answers. Spread happiness. Spread kindness. Spread joy. It might mean you won’t feel as lost as you thought you were.

—–

In 2016 –

I didn’t read nearly as much as I thought I would. 45/50 books in my challenge. Many of those in December were picture books, or early readers.

I quit my job.

I got a tattoo.

I decorated my Happy Planner every week since the end of June. I took an hour or two every Sunday to update the week ahead and used colours that I was feeling at the time. It was a healthy dose of crafty therapy that I desperately needed.

I went back to therapy.

I sang in a band, in front of people. It was amazing.

I blogged more than I had in the past, but still not very much. Turns out I didn’t blog at all in May.

I lost two friends too soon, who made the world spark. I could only go to one memorial.

We moved Jinx’s Garden and grew our first ever watermelons. It was nice.

I got a bird feeder and watched birds in my backyard.

I turned 40.

I realized I needed to change my life or I would drown.

I changed my life. I started a new story. I ended the year happier than I have been in a long time.

—–

Happy new year, internet. I hope it’s a better one than the one before.

My Happy Place

Find your happy place.

remembering – 2016 edition

erin walker 1977-1994

erin walker :: august 6, 1977 – october 23, 1994

when i close my eyes

she’s too young to be forgotten
her world has only just begun
her future is an empty slate
waiting to be filled
and i see her
standing there
when i close my eyes

dancing in the sky
over moonbeams, around clouds
starlight in her eyes
angels in her hair
and i see her
when i close my eyes

child of the sunlight
daughter of the day
sleeping on bed of roses
with flowers in her hair

the wind it softly kissed her cheek
the raindrops fell like tears

and i see her
when i close my eyes

a thousand white candles
their flames dancing with the air
as rocks play tag with ocean

she’s fast asleep
never to be woken

and i see her
when i close my eyes

© catherine healy
October 23, 1994

~~>–<@>–<~~

I have been reflective on October 22 and 23 for twenty-two years now. I have been blogging about this memory since 2004 (sadly the first posts were lost on a since-deleted blog). Whenever the dates fall on a weekend, it’s harder.

I remember sitting in the Church, during choir practice, waiting for Erin and her brother to arrive. We’d just seen each other the day before at school, and I was ready to start gossiping and giggling about all sorts of things in-between songs. But they didn’t show up.

It was a rainy, miserable October day. Just like today. The Church was damp, humid, a weird combination of too cold, and too warm. You can’t dress comfortably for this kind of weather. The sky was dark, grey. The day was gloomy and glum. Just like today.

I often see women around campus who remind me of Erin. I remember one year there was a student in my Faculty who looked so much like Erin, and whose name was Erin, it made my breath catch. I take the bus home to the South Shore from in town and I think about how Erin did that every day while in high school. A time I rarely ventured into the city. And I remember her, in her school uniform, talking about the bus, and the commute, and how confident she was about the trip. I was terrified of public transportation back then. Sure I would be mugged or worse. Always afraid of the people around me. But Erin was fire. She was flame. She was a spark that would shine bright and confident, even if maybe she didn’t feel that way all of the time. I admired her. I envied her. I loved her.

When you lose a friend while you are still young yourself, I think the loss and emotions stitch themselves into your entire being. Right into your bones. I have lost many others since 1994, but the loss of Erin and her mother are possibly the biggest imprint on my life. I can still vividly recall the smell, sounds, sight, and atmosphere of the Church that Saturday. I can still see myself watching the front doors, waiting for the arrival of my friends. I recall the whispers, the anxiety, the feelings that I can almost taste in my mouth.

And so this weekend, I remember. And I mourn. And I fondly remember all the laughs and good times. Because life is short, and you want to be a spark in the gloom. Remembering Erin always makes me remember to be that spark. For others. For myself.