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

september adventure

Yoshi sees ducks

Hey there, Internet! I have had an unusually active and adventurous September this year. Considering my Septembers have been purely school-focused since 2012, this has been a pretty fun break from the norm. One of the courses I was to take this semester was cancelled, so instead of having two six-week classes, I only have one – and that one starts on October 24!

This has left me to enjoy the end of summer, and beginning of autumn, and really appreciate these weekends and all they have to offer.

I did something crazy and exciting earlier this month РI sang with a band! In front of real, live people! What? Only something I have dreamed of doing since FOREVER. Seriously. It was awesome. I even developed an appreciation for Country music (which I always just blanket thought I disliked.)

Strings Attached at GPK Family Fun Day

September 17, 2016 @ Greenfield Park

My brother-in-law, and his uncle asked if I’d like to participate in a group to sing at a Family Fun Day fundraiser for local elementary schools. At first I was hesitant, and shy, but as I went to the practices I started having a lot more fun than I thought I would have had. And it was a nice change from focusing on school work yet again. I channeled my inner Jem and sang my little heart out. I wasn’t even nervous, which surprised the heck out of me. It was the first time I’d ever performed outside, too. It was a challenge, but we survived the wind and weather. And I’ll be honest – I miss my band mates. I miss the weekly practices, though I’ll be happy doing them on a non-weeknight if we do something again. I am not a person who is good at being awake after 8pm. ūüėČ

This past weekend, Shawn and I took the dogs and drove to visit my parents in Kingston. My parents weren’t able to make it to the band performance, so I said I would come visit them. We had a ton of food, and walks along the water. And I love the area that my parents are in so much. I will move out there one day. I will.

 

parentals

Shawn stayed one night, and came home by train the next day. I drove myself and the dogs home on Monday. ALL. BY. MYSELF. I’m so proud of me. Thopse of you who have been driving since you were teens are probably scoffing at me right now. But you know what? I don’t care. =P I’ve only had my license for¬†five years, and I don’t do much of the driving at all. Last year’s jaunt with Yoshi to a dog show in Cornwall was the first time I’d ever a) driven that far b ) driven that far BY MYSELF, and c) went on a trip by car without another human being. So a four hour drive home, with two dogs, was a Big Deal for me. I even learned how to use Cruise Control! Who says you can’t teach an old dog (40-year old Cat) new tricks. [Side bar: WHERE HAS CRUISE CONTROL BEEN ALL MY LIFE??]

This weekend I’m off an yet another adventure to visit my cousin Sheryl in New Brunswick! I was finally able to find some way to redeem my Air Miles (before they expire in December. I’ll not get into how much that makes me do a Very Grumpy Face. Nor will I get into how DIFFICULT it was to try and redeem any of my miles. Ugh.) So I’ll be visiting for a short, whorl-wind weekend, where we will celebrate our 40th years together. (Birthdays long past, but still in the right year!) I haven’t been to visit Sheryl since 2008OMG 2007!! –, and that trip was cut short because I was still so sick all of the time.

This time around, I’m flying both ways, and I am trying to not think about how terrified of flying I am.

So, I’ll just leave this photo here. One that I took on Saturday night, near my parents’ place. Because it’s gorgeous. And peaceful. And I love it there.

tree

And I will fondly remember this September full of adventures. So many new things I accomplished, or tackled. I think I’m doing 40 ok.

when the flame goes out

I was sitting at my desk yesterday, counting down the minutes until it was time to go home, when a friend came over, in tears,  to see me.

Bad news is never expected. Bad news comes out of nowhere and punches you in the gut.

A mutual friend of ours, someone I had worked with myself and adored, collapsed at work that afternoon and passed away. Sudden.

I couldn’t breathe. As I made my way home, I began to shake. I was numb. In shock.

I haven’t worked with Shane in 10 years. But when I was at the bookstore, he was one of my favourite people. He was one of My Shippers. I loved the men in the shipping department. They were my gang of protectors. They came to my wedding. They joined me for my Birthday Bowling Extravaganzas. Every time I’d see them at a union meeting, I’d always go over for hugs and gossip.

Shane was always someone I could count on to make me laugh. He was never a doom and gloom guy. Not a chipper, cheerleader fellow, but someone with a sharp wit and sarcastic streak, and someone who always had a joke, or comment to make me laugh.

He lived hard. He played hard. He was Shane. I always thought of him as The Fonz of the group. He was the Cool Guy. Listening to the rock station (always on in the shipping department). He always put a smile on my face.

I went looking through all of my bowling party photos from the early 2000s (I don’t like saying early 2000s! Wasn’t 10 years ago the 90s??) and it seems like I don’t have any photos of Shane’s FACE. Just the backs of his awesome bowling shirts, or him in a group shot with a bowling ball in his face. But then I saw the photo I used for this post, and it was just…so very Shane. The flames on his shirt. So him.

He was a bright, fiery guy. He was flames. He was fire. He was fierce.

And now he’s gone. And I can’t get my head around this fact.

I was just talking to him about a month ago, when we were voting on our new contract at work. I saw My Shippers and went over for hugs and gossip. I hadn’t seen them in too long and I felt sort of guilty about not having stopped by to visit. I had a difficult year, so a lot of things fell by the way-side (like socializing). We talked about the number of years left before retirement. Of My Shippers, I believe he had the most years left.

And now he’s gone.

I can’t even imagine the bookstore, and shipping, without Shane. Shane, Bernie, Sean, Che… they are My Shippers. And I have a huge space in my heart for them. These guys are part of what makes my time at McGill so amazing. I loved spending time in the shipping department. No matter what I was going through, they made me laugh, and feel like I could get through anything. They were like a gang of big brothers who looked out for me.

I love My Shippers.

And my heart feels a little less full with the loss of one of them. Though my heart is full of grief, and love, for my friends at the store who were with him when this happened, and who have to go into work today without him. I am covering them all in love right now.

Your flame was bright, Shane. The world is a little darker without it.

 

remembering – 2015 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

~~>–<@>–<~~

In 1994, I was 18.

As of tomorrow, I’ll be 3 months away from¬†my 40th birthday.

Something about today was nagging at me. I couldn’t believe that October had vanished in the blink of an eye. I don’t even remember it starting (likely because I was out cold with a flu and fever the first two days of this month).

Today we went out to lunch with a friend who had worked her last day at her current job, and was about to start a new job next week. She’ll be working at a stable, with horses, on the South Shore.

When I got back to my desk, and half way through a task it hit me. Today (and tomorrow) is the 21st anniversary of losing one of my best friends, and her mother because of a car accident. They were on their way home from a riding lesson – horses, south shore, and October.

I often feel like I’m still 18. It’s difficult for me to get my head around the fact that I’ll be turning 40. Having worked in a school environment for so long has added to that baffling concept I am sure. I still think of time in form of semesters.

I will never be 18 again, but Erin will always remain 17. Twenty-one years separates us now. That’s old enough to drink the US. That’s considered adult. An entire lifetime has happened in the years between the accident and today. ¬†It’s mind boggling.

I will always miss Erin, and her mother, Heather. Though I think I have let go of the anger that I carried with me for so long. I think this because I don’t watch the calendar for these two days to approach in October anymore. Now the anniversary sneaks up on me and I remember, fondly, the times we had together. Back then those years felt like forever together, only now am I realizing that more time has passed since the accident than the amount of time we knew each other.

But as always, I remember. And I will always honour that remembrance with this post.

of teen me, and summer, and nostalgia

It is extremely rare that it happens, but¬†occasionally I will have a moment of wishing I was Teen Me again. Trust me when I say that it is extremely rare, because even when I was Teen Me, I couldn’t ever understand why people thought being in their teens was a good thing. I was not a happy teenager. I may have looked it on the outside, but on the inside I was a dark, angry, ink scribble mess. I was shy, depressed, anxious, and was filled with the fear of people not liking me, or hurting me.

But when that rare occasion that I wish I was Teen Me again crops up, it will happen during the summer.

Sunbathing with Lady at Marine Village circa 1989/1990

From the age of 9 months, until I was old enough to be stupid and want to stay HOME, we spent every summer a Marine Village on the shores of Lake Champlain in upstate NY. All. Summer. My mother didn’t work, and my grandparents were retired. We started out just renting one of the cottages there, and then in 1988 my parents bought us a trailer, and my grandparents switched to renting a mobile home. Once we had our own place, we’d open it up over the May long weekend, and spend every weekend there until school was out. That’s when my mum, sister, and my grandparents, would relocate for the summer until school started again after Labour Day. My dad would come down on weekends, and use his vacation time during the summer.

A couch that turns into a bed! Exciting trailer times 1988

I want to go back and be Teen Me in the Summer because I want to tell myself that I don’t have to fear everything, and I¬†can have fun. I wish I could have enjoyed myself more and not look back at these photos and wish that I hadn’t been so reserved, so shy, so sad.

These were the days before internet, and before social media. You kept in touch with friends by writing letters by hand. You went to the payphone at the laundry-mat near the entrance to the camp and used a dime (!!!) to call your summer friends and see if they wanted to hang out.

Starting off our summer at Marine Village upstate NY

I was so insecure. I would hide away in the trailer and read, read, read, and listen to music and sing, sing, sing. So many summer friendships, summer crushes, summer days wasted because I was too shy to really participate in anything. I did, I just wasn’t really there in the moment. I was too busy inside my own head fretting over every little thing. “Did I do something wrong?” “Did I say something wrong?” “Maybe because I don’t like the same things, I’m not good enough.”

Pro Tip: Never get a perm when you already have naturally curly hair. 0.o

I was never a kid who liked to be with kids. While others my age were babysitting children, I was happily watching after people’s pets when they had to leave for a few days. I could spend my days in the water, on the docks, in the park, and be so happy just being outside. I would play with a few kids, but worry so much about what they thought of me, I never actually enjoyed most of that interaction. I long for those days now. I wish I could go back and just relax, and have FUN.

On the Swimming beach @ Marine Village, c.1992

I hated myself then. I see teens of friends I have now and envy their confidence and ability to have fun. I always wanted that, and I could have had it if I wasn’t so scared of being me, or scared of being hurt by people I wanted to like me. (Who did like me, but I didn’t believe it at the time.) I’m not saying that teens today don’t have the same issues that all teens have had, it’s just that I see kids having fun and not worrying too much about it, and I wish I had been able to find that in myself when I was that age. I thought I was ugly. I thought I was fat. FAT! Do you see me in these photos? Good lord! Fat. Teen Me you were a ninny!

my brief flirtation with trying to suntan. I must have blinded everyone around me.

Does that body look fat to you? I only wore that bikini a handful of times, and mostly kept a shirt over myself to cover it up. I didn’t think I was pretty. I felt alone. I wasn’t alone at all, but I felt it.

The older I got, the less I wanted to come spend my summers down at the trailer. What I FOOL I was. Imagine, having almost 3 whole months to do nothing but be in the water, and outside in nature. There was a dairy farm across the street. I would go sit and watch the cows for hours. I loved it there. But my friends back home wanted to do things, and I thought if I was away for too long, they’d forget about me and I’d be back with no friends. (Foolish Teen Me, yet again!)

Those summers at Marine Village were the best. Literally. Even though I didn’t truly believe it at the time, I made so many friends, and so many happy memories out on Lake Champlain. Like how Lady used to somehow slip out of her collar, while tied up next to us in front of the trailer, and suddenly end up in the lake. She’d slither on her belly away from us and we’d only notice when a neighbour would come up and say, “hey, is that your dog in the water?” She did this a few times. It was hilarious. Spending weeks with your family can be tough, but we all did our own thing. I love spending evenings playing cards with my grandparents on their screen porch. I’d do crossward puzzles with them while looking out at the water.

I’d spend so much time in the water. I loved being in the water. Until I got a little older and felt the need to cover up my body at all times, and suddenly became terrified of being eaten by some evil fish hiding in the shadows. Oh, me. On really hot nights we would run down to the end of the dock, and jump in the water to cool off right before bed.

I wish I hadn’t thrown away those summers so easily. Getting to spend months on a beach, in the water, bike riding, walking, playing basketball and tennis in the park….those were the days. Now I save up vacation days and take time off and do nothing. It’s too expensive for us to go places, and it’s not quite the same. I miss those summers of nothing, but everything. Bon fires. Roasting marshmallows. Late nights walking around with your summer friends and just talking and staring at the stars.

I wish I was able to have really enjoyed it then, as I know I did enjoy it now. I want to go back with my self-confidence, and happy to be ME  attitude, and let Teen Me in the Summer live her life to the fullest.

I want the girl who looks happy in these photos to actually BE happy in those photos. I want her to fully enjoy the summer friendships, the summer crushes. I want her to take chances, and have fun. I want her to stop worrying about doing something wrong, and just live her life in the moment.

Because Current Me? Current Me remembers those moments as being the only ones where she was happy being Teen Me. And during the summer it’s the only time I ever think about wanting to BE Teen Me once again. I miss Teen Me sitting out at the end of the dock, looking out over Lake Champlain, and writing songs. I miss Teen Me riding her bike around the camp, and up and down the road to the dead end, or to the corner store (that burnt down. Twice.). I miss Teen Me hanging out with her summer crush and hoping to see him out in his yard while I was out at the end of the dock. (Perfect vantage point, yo.) I miss Teen Me just sitting on the dock, staring at the water for hours. I miss swimming. I miss my grandparents. I miss my summers at Marine Village.

Current Me wishes she could go back and tell Teen Me in the Summer to just breath, smile, laugh. Have fun. Enjoy every second you’re out here in nature, and water, because adulting is hard work, and to get those carefree days back, you need to make a lot of money. Growing up too fast is not worth it. Be happy. You are loved. You are pretty. You sure as hell are NOT fat. You’re awesome Teen Me in the Summer. Enjoy your summer. Be free.

the past is always closer and farther away than you think it is

On Friday, January 23, I turned 39. I am officially in the last year of my 30s. It’s strange to me. Last week when I was looking through my blog for a old photo in archives, I came across this post. I found it oddly time appropriate since the first item on that list was “10 years ago” and it was written 10 years ago from now. It made me sad, and nostalgic, and happy, and, well… wonder. Is it time to change the same answers on this list? Because they are awfully similar to what I am doing now.

So here goes.

10 years ago:
I was 29.
It was 2005.
I got married to my soulmate on July 2.
I was working at the University bookstore.
I thought I’d be moving on from working at McGill. Silly me.
I thought I’d be moving out of Quebec soon. Silly me.
I had amazing friends, but I still suffered from the insecurity that people didn’t really like me.
I had a learner’s permit, and never really practiced driving.

5 years ago:
I was 34.
It was 2010.
I had laser eye surgery. It took 3 years to heal. =/
I saw CATS at Place des Arts with my husband.
I was married for 5 years. That went fast.
I did have a new job, after the bookstore, but it was still at McGill. Now I’m an assistant to a Dean.
I still had my learner’s permit. Maybe this year?
I traveled to NYC by myself to attend Book Expo America.
I thought I’d be moving on from working at McGill soon. Silly me.
I thought I’d be moving out of Quebec soon. Silly me.

3 years ago:
I was 36.
It was 2012.
I was finally driving. Driver’s licence obtained September 2011. Go, me!
My parents moved out of Quebec, to Ontario. Before I did. Go figure.
I traveled to Quebec City with my husband. A short, weekend vacation.
I started Jinx’s Garden. He took it over after I planted it.
I was married for 7 years. That went fast!
I went back to school. First time in 17 years. Scary.
I thought I’d be moving on from working at McGill soon. Silly me.
I thought I’d be moving out of Quebec soon. Silly me.

1 year ago:
I was 38.
It was 2014.
We lost Jinx, unexpectedly and tragically. And we’re still trying to recover.
I shut down my book blog. A difficult but necessary decisions
I celebrated 13 years of working at McGill.
I thought I’d be moving on from working at McGill soon. Silly me.
I thought I’d be moving out of Quebec soon. Silly me.

Today: I am 39.
It is 2015.
I will be married for 10 years in July.
I am still at McGill. Still in Quebec.
I am still recovering from a trauma that happened almost 2 years ago.
I don’t know who I am or who I want to be.
I don’t know where I want to be in life.
I feel slightly broken, though happy at the same time.
I am ready for change. Ready for adventure.
I am very ready to get out of my 30s.
I am ready to leave McGill and leave Quebec.
I am ready for adventure. The good kind.

I might be stuck. I don’t want to be.

I am nowhere near where I thought I’d be ten years ago today. I don’t know where that is, but it certainly isn’t where I currently am in life.

I have no idea how 10 years have passed in the blink of an eye. I don’t feel like that much time has passed at all. Where did it go?