Tuesday, February 28, 2023

The anniversary of my mum's death almost passed without me realizing it.  Both of my parents died in February and it seems to drag me down.  Mum was a beautiful woman but even more importantly she had a wonderful sense of humour, something she passed down to me.  I don't pretend to understand my parent's marriage but they stayed together through thick and thin; their ashes both sit together at the bottom of Ladysmith Harbour on Vancouver Island.  Or more likely, their ashes drifted off, spread wide and far in the Strait of Georgia.

I mostly feel like crying.  There's a long list of things wrong with the world and I drag all of those things together, pile them up around myself, stare at all the pain and hurt in the world and cry.  My heart hurts.  Death and destruction in Ukraine, the same in Turkey and Syria (mother nature and corrupt builders this time), babies who won't know their mama's, the United States seems to be sinking into a dictatorship with the rights of women and girls being smashed under the boots of the Republican party, mass shootings (in the US), climate change and fossil fuels.  Closer to home Lucy is doing worse on the Lasix, her cough and breathing have declined and I realize how much I'll miss her when we finally have to put her down, and how do we decide that time?  And Jack, caught in the world of adults, he doesn't get a say in his life and that breaks my heart too.  He fights for control, all the time, I recognize it and feel the same way myself but it's hard.  And the insurance company is telling me that I can't work.  I hate being told what to do.  I dig in my heels and it brings out the worst sort of bitch in me which makes me sad too.

I just get so tired of feeling depressed.  It comes and goes of it's own accord.  I try to feel better.  I write, I breathe, I walk, I practice gratitude every single night, I take my pills and still it hounds me.  Depression is a life long disease that robs me of good feelings on a regular basis.  It is a bastard.  


Wednesday, February 22, 2023

It's bloody cold today, -36C with the wind chill.  Hopefully this will be the last cold snap before spring starts to slowly arrive.  I did wonder how Gracie managed to get Jack to daycare today with the cold.  I hope she took a cab instead of a bus.  I pick him up this afternoon from daycare and he'll stay with us until Sunday.

We're trying, actually Gracie's family is trying, to get Jack and Gracie back to living together.  I have my doubts but I guess time will tell.  I'm not getting fussed about it this time.  Everything seems to just follow the same old patterns, a stretch of no drinking or drugs, followed by a gradual decline which is then followed by a precipitous fall off a cliff. My son is no different, he's back in jail.  

I don't know how much help Gracie is getting from her sister this time.  The sister and her boyfriend had a very close friend murdered earlier this month.  Gun violence is not that common in Canada and when it does, it usually revolves around drugs or mental illness.  Their friend was gunned down on the street at 5:30 in the afternoon.  Not sure what their friend was involved in, or if it was a case of mistaken identity.  

I'm making progress on getting the condo ready for sale.  The ceiling will be painted for $1000.  The painter can do the walls for an additional $2000 but I'm far too thrifty to pay that much money for someone else to do what I can do.  It will take me a week to paint but I enjoy it.  The cleaners have been booked and the screen door will be replaced (the renter's cat tore a hole through it).  I'll be glad to have it sold and the money will go toward our mortage.

Yesterday was a down day, no car, nothing that needed to be done.  I cleaned the house, washed the floors, made shortbread and watched a movie that wasn't as bad as I had expected (Shotgun Wedding).  But I felt down all day.  Today is a better day, I have errands to run and things to do.  I do like to feel productive which is something I will have to deal with when I retire.  I will still work part-time I think, or volunteer, because I need a purpose.  Or maybe Jack will be living with us, I don't know.

Speaking of Jack, my hubby ordered glow in the dark stars for his bedroom.  So far I have put up stars in the shape of the big dipper (the only constellation I can recognize) and Orion.  I'll put up another one today.  I'm guessing Jack will love them.  Maybe this summer we can get him out to Elk Island National Park which isn't far from us, and is a dark sky preserve.

My ode to nursing, which I miss so much.

Monday, February 20, 2023

Not much going on around here, some rough days for me mentally but things are back on stable ground thank goodness.  I'm still walking the dogs as much as I can, sometimes just Heidi, sometimes Heidi and Lucy.  Lucy is enjoying the walks a great deal and I'm walking slower to give her time to sniff everything.  Heidi will be eight this year and I've noticed that she doesn't run as fast with the young dogs as she used to, neither do I:)

My foot is feeling good and I'm still waiting to hear from my insurance company about the course that is vital to my successful return to work.  From what I can see, the company is more concerned with algorithms and ticking off boxes than individuals.  I have an appointment with my podiatrist on March 11th, so I'll give them until then.  Otherwise, my doc and I will decide what will ensure my successful return to work.

Jack woke up at 3:30am on Saturday morning and stayed up.  Saturday was a truly unpleasant day in which both nana and poppa said bad words.  Jack now points out to us when we say a bad word which is so helpful.  When Jack is tired he gets quite hyperactive and doesn't listen to anybody.  We had to leave swim lessons early and I carried a crying child past all of the other parents standing around, watching their children learning to swim.  It would have bothered me when I was younger but I'm old enough now to understand that every single parent watching me has dealt with the same screaming child.  He also didn't want to eat, although he did drink a lot of milk.  He was sound asleep by 6:30pm and everybody was so much happier Sunday morning.  

I'm reading another good book (there are so many good books in the world), "Breath" by James Nestor.  It's about breathing and breathing exercises which sounds dull but he's an excellent writer.  I've started doing some of the exercises and I guess we'll see.  I did manage to calm myself in the car yesterday when I had to drop Jack off with his mother but she was a no show and her phone was dead (a common occurence with her).  I ended up dropping Jack off with his grandma and then raced across the city to pick up Miss Katie, who was also having an off day.  The exercises are specific, which I need, not just breathe in and breathe out.  This exercise involves counting which keeps my brain busy enough to keep going with the breathing.

One of the people mentioned in the book is a man called Wim Hof who claims his breathing methods can cure all kinds of problems.  I was thinking about what I would like to have cured and I decided I would like to no longer have to deal with disordered thoughts and depression.  I would love to be able to trust my own thoughts, to not feel broken, to not have to work so hard to appear normal, because let me tell you, it's hard fucking work dealing with depression day in and day out.  

But everything is not dire and humour helps, always.

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

It's been twenty-three years since my dad died.  I used to think that he died on Valentine's day so that mum would never date again but now I think, maybe he died on Valentine's day because he loved her so much.  I hope so.

My dad was a very difficult man.  He was angry and built a wall around himself that only mum was allowed to pass through.  I think/know he had undiagnosed depression.  He grew up in extreme poverty with an alcoholic mother and went off to war when he was nineteen years old.  I learned many years later, from my auntie, that his best friend was killed beside him during the war.  He also told me once that he thought he would go to hell for things he had done during the war.  I told him god doesn't work like that.  His brother suffered from schizophrenia and ended up on the streets of Vancouver where he died in the seventies, beaten to death.  His was a tough family that came from the mines and poverty and addiction.

I was born when my sisters were almost sixteen.  There were five dead babies between me and my sisters.  A counselor once told me that I must have been so precious to my parents because of that.  Maybe I was, but that's not how it felt.  Looking back at old photos though I see my dad holding me and I hope I was precious to him.  I hope he let me pass through the wall when I was little.  I hope I gave him some comfort.

I didn't grow up poor but I didn't grow up well off either, working class I guess you would say.  My dad always worked at least two jobs while I was growing up, sometimes three jobs.  We never went without and always had a roof over our heads.  That was his way of showing us love; I just didn't realize that when I was young.  The hardest part about growing up with him as a father was his rage and his anger.  He never once hit me but he would shake with anger and that scared me enough.  He also sped off in his car when that happened.  I think now that he left because he was afraid of what he might do.  He was afraid of his own anger, just as I am afraid of mine.

When he left mum would always start crying and wringing her hands.  Dad never left for long and he always came home.  As I grew older I realized that dad could never leave us because he couldn't actually take care of himself.  My mum was his anchor and his support.  She saved him and he knew that.  There was also real love between them, although it was hard to see, especially as a child.

I wish I had the chance to talk to him again, with love, with understanding, with compassion.  I understand too much, too late.  But isn't that how life so often is?  We live it forward but only understand it backwards and maybe that's why grandparents are so important to children.

Sunday, February 12, 2023

I've been working on getting out and walking the dogs more frequently, to make sure my feet are good to go back to work.  Somebody carved two hearts into a dead tree.  I couldn't resist.

I want to apoligize to all of the people who left comments and who I only found today in my spam folder.  My bad.

Jack is with his aunt and uncle this weekend.  They took him up to Lac La Biche for a birthday party thing, so we have time to ourselves.  It's weird and lovely.  I slept until 8am this morning.  Jack usually gets up at 5:30 or 6am, so sleeping in is heaven.

When I picked up Miss Katie this morning she had received a jury summons in the mail.  I had to laugh and I so badly just wanted to show up with her at the jury selection site, but I filled in the form online that tells them that she has an intellectual disability and that she can't read, write or speak.  Katie would have loved it.  All of those people to say hi to and to shake hands with, heaven.  This morning she met a seven week old baby at the mall.  She was over the moon and I thanked the mom for stopping to talk to Katie.

I had a couple bad days last week.  My stomach has been giving me a hard time, lots of reflux so I've been taking pepcid.  I was doing pretty good and I always get to a point where I think, okay, I can take this without my depression getting worse.  And then the next day I dropped into a dark depression where I thought about suicide, a lot.  At least now I know what causes it and I stopped the pills.  The worst of it was gone the next morning but I don't know what to do.  My GERD isn't going away, neither is my depression.  I'm sleeping on pillows piled up so I'm half sitting to prevent the reflux.  I also know that the reflux puts me at increased risk of esophageal carcinmoa.  What to do?

I met with a realtor last Friday, he looked at the condo with me.  My renter is moving out on March 4th and then there will be cleaning and painting.  I want to get the condo on the market asap.  My realtor asked me three or four times how people (my renter) can live in such filth.  I told him I had no idea.

I'm reading "Bewilderment" by Richard Powers right now (thank you Sabine).  It's a wonderful, heartbreaking book and I would recommend it.  I loved his last book too, "Overstory".


Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Heidi, Lucy and I had a lovely walk at the dog park yesterday.  After I picked up the big guy from work, we drove to the north end of the city and picked Jack up from his mama's daycare.  He was happy to see us and Gracie actually looked better than I've seen her look in over a year.  It was nice to see.

I'm in the process of trimming all the fucking squares for the quilt.  It's tedious work and a workout for my triceps.  Who knew quilting could be an arm workout?

I was sitting at the computer this morning and saw this.  I tried to get a photo of the flicker but of course it started to fly away just as I hit the button, didn't turn out too bad though.


We had snow last night, just enough to clean up the place and make everything look nice.  I'll take Heidi for a walk later while I contemplate life:)  Or not.

I saw this on facebook and loved it enough to steal it.  Apologies to whoever A. is.

Monday, February 6, 2023

I've cut and sewn 403 squares to make my daughter's quilt.  It is a monochromatic quilt which is what my daughter asked for.  I think about her as I make this quilt, wondering what the future will hold for her and her partner.  None of us knows, do we?

I spoke up with Jack's grandma, told her that we need help on the weekends.  Jack's auntie said she would take him Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, which is no help to us really and I said that.  He goes to daycare during the week.  We would like them to take Jack Sunday, Monday and Tuesday as that would allow Gracie to spend Sundays with Jack.  If she wants him back she actually has to take care of him.  She also has to be able to show that she can manage work and Jack at the same time.  On the plus side she is going to AA. 

This past Saturday, Gracie texted me and said she would like to take Jack to Millenium Place.  I said sure, is 10am ok as we have to pick up Miss Katie at 10:30.  Gracie said yes, I told Jack.  Then yesterday after probably 20 text messages I ended up dropping him off in Edmonton at a rec centre closer to her apartment.  There were problems with the buses, blah, blah, blah.

When I dropped Jack off and handed him off to Gracie she told me they would be a few hours and wondered when I was picking him up.  I told her that I was not picking him up, I had made plans to see a friend.  I told her to call her sister and she must have and they must have managed to sort it out because I didn't hear anything else from her.  That family, despite their protestations of we only want her to succeed, don't communicate with Gracie very well.  Not my circus.

I saw my condo tenant on Saturday and picked up a set of keys from her.  Two weeks ago I gave my tenant notice that I am selling the condo.  I asked her when would be a good time for me and realtor to look at the condo and she said any day this week, before 2pm.  Yesterday I texted her and said, what about Monday (today) at 9am.  She told me that doesn't give her any time to clean up because she spends all day with her mom on Sundays.  I asked her again what was a good day and she said any day except I know now that she doesn't mean that.  I told her Wednesday at 9am.  This seems like it will be difficult, or perhaps just more training for me in setting boundaries:)  The place is filthy and I will need to hire a cleaner to make it look good enough to show but that money is coming out of her damage deposit.  Sigh.

I took Katie out by myself, hubby is sick again with a sinus infection, and we had a good time.  She just loves being at the mall with all the people.  OMG she loves people.  She loves people watching, waving at people, shaking hands with people, trying to connect with people.  There was a young woman at the A & W, in the food court, who asked me if I would buy her some food.  I looked at her, at the sores on her young face and at her teeth which were eroding, and said sure.  Meth is a horrible drug.  Katie didn't know what to make of the girl who seemed different; Katie doesn't understand high but she could tell that something was off.

Yesterday afternoon I made plans, and kept them, to go for a walk with a friend of mine from work.  She was kind enough to drive from the West End to Sherwood Park and walk with me and Heidi.  We walked around the dog park twice, talking the whole time.  It was wonderful.  We sorted nothing out, solved no problems, fixed nothing, we just listened to each other.  A very good friend.

And today, a warm day, the sun has come up and the sky is blue; I'll clean the house and then work on the quilt before taking Heidi for another walk.  Peace and quiet.  

Thursday, February 2, 2023

The lego is obviously getting out of hand around here.

It's bloody cold today, -20C this morning, but it's supposed to warm up today and tomorrow it's forecast to be 2C.  I see a long dog walk in my future.

I thought I was going back to work on March 1st but I heard from my short term disability insurance person and she said I need to take a six week course to help "ensure my successful return to work".  I hate being told what to do, hate being told what's best for me.  I asked what this course entails and she had no idea, it's tailored for me.  Oh yay.  They also won't be in contact with me right away, it may take up to a week, so now that's seven weeks away for a start back to work date.  I need to just let go and do this I guess.  Fighting it won't get me anywhere.

The other night Jack was looking at photos of his grandpa in his bedroom.  He looked at me and said, "Who shot grandpa?" (grandpa shot himself in the head).  I don't have a poker face.  I told him he needs to talk to his grandma about this, which is the first time I've ever not answered a question of his.  He didn't bring it up again.  I did let his grandma know and she agreed that eventually we will have to tell him about his grandpa's death by suicide. 

The other morning before Jack left for daycare, we were sitting on the couch, and he casually asked me who would die first, me or poppa.  I told him that I didn't know but told him that if we're lucky, we'll live for a long time.  He asked me if he was lucky.  I told him that he was a very lucky boy.

Jack continues to be high maintenance right now, wanting more attention than you can give, insisting we look at him, while we're looking at him.  I know it's a phase, I just hope it passes quickly.  He starts swimming lessons on Saturday which will give him another activity to use up some of his energy.  This morning he was up 5am, wide eyed and bushy tailed, talking a mile a minute.  I'm pretty sure he has ADHD but that doesn't bother me (there's nothing I can do to undo it). 

My son also has ADHD and learning disabilities; the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.  School was very difficult for my son and I do worry about that with Jack but things have improved since the '90s (I hope) and forewarned is forearmed (supposedly).

I have ADD as well but I've always found it to be a bonus, although not everyone would agree with that.  I'm impulsive, restless, a daydreamer, and obviously have trouble coping with stress.  I daydreamed all the time in school but still got good grades. I did learn to become organized and a planner which made life a lot easier.  I also can pay attention to more than one thing at a time which was a huge plus in raising Katie.  I also reframed how I think about some things.  Instead of viewing myself as a quitter (many people told me that when I was young, you never finish anything), I realized I like learning new skills but got bored easily and then gave up the "new" thing.  However, I still retain the new skills that I learned so I decided that was a bonus.  I also love learning.  I couldn't change who I was but could change how I viewed myself which just made me realize I can do that with other parts of my life as well.  Is this a breakthrough?

Otherwise, virtually nothing going on here.  Another day passes.  Dishes. Laundry. Sweep the floors. Make supper. Bathtime. Repeat.  I'm reliving my thirties all over again, although I must say it's easier with only one child, but that is offset by my age.