Thursday, June 29, 2006

Rainy days.....

It rained today.Not a torrential downpour, but a nice summer rain,blowing just enough to feel it on my skin as I sat on the front porch.I was enjoying my new book (last weeks birthday gift),in a little wicker chair that I bought so long ago that I'm surprised it's still holding (my) weight.
My angry dog was with me,blinking into the wind and enjoying the summer smells.That's when I realized,I am, right at this momemt,blissfully,completely happy.
What a good day.Hope yours was,too.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Starting Over,1985

This is a post that I wrote several months ago, when I was new to blogging. It answers some questions that my Bestest had about my time in Nova Scotia. I have decided to post it again, mostly because I'm feeling lazy, but also because this was one of the best times of my life. I hope that it doesn't bore you, and you'll indulge me just a little bit.
I spent 18 months in Nova Scotia, which may very well be the most beautiful province in all of Canada.I was sent there for a "visit" to stay with Betty, my bio mom, and my step-father,Stan.I hadn't lived with Betty since I was about 4, I don't even remember her ever being in the same house as me.She had moved out East about 5 years earlier,afterStan left a very lucrative job with a consulting firm inToronto.They left it all behind for the wilds of Cape Breton,surviving on about $300 a month.They were so far out that you had to step out of the woods to go hunting.Betty and Stan had neighbours with out hydro- sort of .They had hydro in the horse barn.
Luckily for me, by the time that I moved in, they had relocated to Dartmouth, a short ferry ride away from Halifax. I was 15, knew it all, had a bad attitude, and was resentful as hell. My parents had sent me away before I had a chance to write my final exams, meaning that I had an automatic fail in math and science.
I arrived on June 6,1985, 20 days before my sweet sixteen. That summer was brutal. Betty sent me to the library to make friends. She made me talk to every human being between the ages of 12 and 20 that came across my path. I even had to pay the paper boy.(Thanks for that one, Mum). I made a couple of friends, got drunk for the first time(since I was 11), and had an otherwise uneventful summer. About 6 weeks in to my"vacation"- which, incidentally, was my birthday gift-I phoned my dad and asked to go home. I magine my surprise to find out that I WAS home. My 4 parental units had decided that it would be "best" if I stayed in N.S.
So, Betty took me to the local highschool to register me. I had just finished grade 9 in Ontario.
The news was NOT good. It seems that in N.S.,highschool actually starts in grade10. Since I had failed two of my core subjects, Iwas destined to repeat the 9th grade.
The first day of school dawned bright and beautiful. I trudged to the new school, miserable. I was in 9B, Mr.Mac's class. The boys were all rockers (grebo's at the old school), and most of the girls were rocker chicks. They were all enthralled by the girl from Toronto, which was where you from if you came from Ontario.
Then it hit me. This is the chance of a life time! Nobody knows me, there are no preconcieved notions or ideas about me. I'm not so and so's sister, or the nerdy Sunday school teacher. I am BIDDIE,from T.O., cool girl, party animal, trend setter. That's when everything changed. For the better.
I made friends easily. This was when I was only shy, and not crippled by my depression/anxiety/bi-polar disorder.The girls all wanted to be me, and the boys all wanted me.It's true. I can hardly believe it myself, but it is true.
C.J. was my first friend. Shy and introverted, she came alive when we were at the shopping mall or listening to tapes in her basement. And go to the mall we did. It was at the mall that I first met Him, my 1st love, the boy of my dreams.
I didn't know his name, but he had a loppsided smile and sparkling blue eyes.He was everywhere that we were. If we were in the food court, so was he.If we were in Sobey's,the pet store,K-Mart, so was he.C.J. didn't know his name, but she knew him from the mall. We both wanted him. We both got him.
After a shopping trip with C.J. and her sister, Ann, we saw him, again. He was standing there, on the street corner,with 2 other guys,whistling at us.Me,actually. Ann yelled at Him, cursed Him out. His reaction was to laugh. He called us over. We went. He introduced us to his "crew". His name was Shane, his friend was Mark, and the other guy was his little brother,Percy. He smiled as he spoke, the same loppsided smile that I had seen a million times in my dreams. As we spoke we forgot about those around us. We laughed like old friends. I was smitten.
Shane told me that he and his brother had been watching me at the mall. They thought that I was beautiful,with gorgeous blue eyes and radiant skin.I couldn't believe my luck!This was great! He liked me. He really, really liked me. I thought that he was perfect. Then he told me about his brother,Blaine.His twin brother, the other brother, the one that loved me from afar.
I thought that he was full of it.OH, please! A twin brother!Why hadn't I ever seen them together?Liar or not, I wanted to know more, get to know more about him, the mysterious Shane.
It was right about this time that I realized that I had to go to the bathroom,desperately.This being November, I wasn't about to squat behind a tree. I needed proper facilities, now. Shane pointed to the bungalow across the street, a quaint house with white siding and huge bay windows,nestled in a quiet spot beside the neighbourhood duck pond.I didn't know this guy, not really, but I HAD TO GO. Bad. So, I followed Shane(if that really was his name) in to the unknown.
"The bathroom is down there", Shane told me."The door closes kinda funny 'cause we had a flood last spring.But don't worry, no one's home 'cept Blaine, and he's asleep."
Right. Blaine,again.
Shane went back back upstairs,and left me to my business. The door didn't close all the way, but I had nothing to fear except the fictional sleeping brother. I leaned back and closed my eyes, enjoying the warmth and the lemony smell of the soaps in the dish.I was sitting back on the toilet, smiling like an idiot, when the bathroom door flew open. There stood the fictional twin brother,mouth agape. I jumped up from the toilet, dropping my pants all the way to floor, completely exposing myself.
And that my friends, was how,and where, I met the 1st great love of my life. Blaine. The indentical twin brother of Shane. He later told me that it was love at 1st sight.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Things my Mother Taught Me

Well...I don't even know where to start today.Friday was such an incredible day,unbelievable,really.
My aunts memorial service was pretty much what I expected...stoney silence from my Mum,crying relatives,and many fond memories of the best aunt a kid could ever ask for.
When my little family and I arrived, the first head that we saw was....Betty.She barely acknowleged our presence,nodding slightly and then turning away.
Man.It really stung, I gotta tell you.Everyone else hugged,consoled,and reminiced with us.Not Betty.She glared across the room at me,and watched my every move,not even reaching out to her granddaughters.This went on for over an hour.
After the service, there were refreshments in another part of the home, set up with photos of Josie over the years.Betty set herself beside the dessert table with my stepfather.Honestly.They took two chairs and parked their asses right there.Awkward much.I couldn't avoid them.I needed coffee-bad.All 7 of the remaining sisters did their best to convince Betty to comfort her youngest.
Finally after my 18 year old telling her Nanie to grow up,I went to Betty.
I did. I told her that it was time to start over,that I loved her, that we've wasted too much time.Long story short?Betty wentt home on Sunday without another word to me, even though today is my birthday.
I don't know what I expected.What I didn't expect was for me to feel worse.Why do I let her get to me?When will it get better?What if it doesn't?
An unexpected bonus was the afternoon spent with my extended family,aunts,uncles,cousins, and dogs.
My aunt Molly came from Cape Breton.She entertained us with stories of her travels on the train,and the locals back home.My favourite story was the one about the visitor to aunt Molly's house that didn't speak a word until he started to drink.Then "it was like he was vaccinated with a gramophone needle."It was great fun.I don't remember the last time that I laughed that hard.It felt so good that I nearly forgot my own Mum was standing beside me,pretending that I wasn't even there.
Saturday was a much happier occasion.I decided to forgo the party that I had planned,and opted instead for a quiet evening with my dearest friends.We sat in my backyard,discussing everything from TMOC to Betty,kids and recitals,to our highschool days.For the second time in as many days,I laughed.Alot.
Even though I 'm missing my aunt,hurt by my Mum,and yearning for a place in the extended family, I gained a realization,maybe even some inner peace.I have MY family,TMOC and Lucky, and two of the best friends in the entire universe.
I guess that it's been a preety good 37th birthday afterall.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Hello, Betty, Good bye Josie

I have been preoccupied these past few days.My mother is in town.Maybe you didn't hear me....I said "my Mum is in town."
She's here for the funeral of her sister, my Aunt."Betty" and I haven't spoken in 4 years, I don't even know where she lives.Somewhere out East, near a lake, in her dream house, is what I've been told.I haven't seen her yet, the service is on Friday.I know that she's out there, somwhere, waiting.I 'm terrified of running into her at Sobeys, or Wal-Mart,or a Tim Hortons.What will I say?What if she pretends not to see me, or worse, tries to hug me?Do I hug her back?
I hate this, the feeling that I get deep down inside.The feeling of dread, the sweeping nausea that envelopes me when I think of her.How did we get here?How did this happen? I could point fingers, but I guess that the how and why don't matter as much as the hurt.
Doesn't Betty miss her youngest?Doesn't she think of her 3 grandkids?The last time that she spoke to any of us, KC was starting high school.She graduates in a couple of days.
I wish that I could bridge the gap, take back the last 15 years or so, make things relatively normal.Lucky says that her magic wand is broken.She should know.She's got her own stuff going on that I wish that I could fix for her.
Sigh.......Where do we go from here?I guess that the only answer is to the funeral on Friday.Wish me luck.I have a feeling that I 'll need it.

Ten things I Hate About You...............

I have been inspired, by a friend, to write a list of 10 things that I would never say(out loud).
#1 If you hate me that much, then you should've told me: BEFORE I named my baby after you
#2 I love you, but I don't love your behaviour or the way that you treat my children- who's the adult, for crying out loud!
#3 It's not my fault that you married my Dad.It's also not my fault that he won custody.You are wasting precious time with your anger, and resentment.Get over it.You've been divorced for 30+ years.
#4 You bailed on your kids.It's YOUR fault that they don't want to spend time with you.Your step kids are brats and you put above your own flesh and blood.Stop pointing fingers at everyone else and take some responsibility for your actions.
#5You are a despicable person.You lied to your husband, made him promises, and broke them all after he passed away.The money that you are spending on your new boyfriend was money that he intended for his grandchildren.You are cold,calculating, and not the good christian that you claim to be.As you have reminded me time and time again, charity begins at home.
#6 I'm sorry means nothing coming from you.
#7 I am not going to be your punching bag EVER again.I am not 17 anymore and I will protect my family from you.Believe it.
#8 We both know what you did.You took advantage of a little girl.You stole a piece of my childhood.Don't smile at me and pretend like it didn't happen.
#9 Stop making up illnesses to get attention.You are not diabetic, you do not have a tumor, and someone with asthma can't smoke like a chimney without an oxygen tank nearby.You have an extra vertabrea?My god, what are you?The missing link.Yesh.
#10 Even though I am nearly 37, I still seek your acceptance.It breaks my heart that you can't see me for who and what I really am.Sometimes funny, sometimes manic, loyal as hell to those I love, a good person, with a few flaws.I wish that you loved me, unconditionally, like you love TMOC and Lucky.I know it'll never happen and a part of me hates myself for not coming to terms with it.It's your problem not mine, but it still hurts like hell.
Whew! That really felt good.This is probably boring as heck to all (3) of you, but it really helped alot .Thanks for listening...............

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Goodbye, Pussycat

Tomorrow is father's day and I was going to write about that.A tribute to Dads everywhere, blah blah, blah.Then something happened.My favourite aunt died.I just found out a few hours ago.
This wasn't some elderly relative that you were obliged to visit.On the contrary.I looked forward to our time together,and spoke on the phone at least once a week.She was a handful at times, outspoken,loved Elvis, rye-and-pepsi,and her family.She had 2 children, a boy and a girl, and 2 grandkids, a boy and a girl.They were her pride and joy, every visit was another opportunity for her to brag about them.
She didn't get out much,so we tried to come to her.It wasn't easy without a car, but even the cold winter breezes weren't enough to deter us from the long bus ride.I loved her for so many reasons.
I am completely estranged from my Mum, Aunt Josie's sister.My relationship with the rest of the family is strained, at best.Since my parents divorced when I was so young, and my dad got custody,I didn't see much of that side of the family.Except for Aunt Josie.She babysat me.She made a point of staying in touch, even when I was too young to appreciate it.Aunt Josie and her kids, their families, made it a point invite me to all of their get togethers.Without her, I would have been lost.She has been a second Mom to me.
I had no idea how much our visits meant to her until this afternoon when I spoke to another aunt.She told me that my aunt loved our time together, bragged about my kids, bragged about me.Me!Can you believe it?Me!
I will miss our phone calls, her laughter,her bad jokes.I'll miss the way that she would tell it like it is,even if it meant pissing you off.
I will miss you, Aunt Josie.Thanks for everything.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Banana Creme Pie, and other reminders of my youth

I recently reconnected with an old friend.I haven't spoken to her in 12 years, it's been 13 since I've seen her.I found her on some cheesey 'take-your-money-to-find-a-friend,'site.
We were the best of friends.Sleepovers,prank phone calls,bike riding, and sun tanning were the order of the day.As we grew, she became my sounding board,my therapist, my safe place.I got sent away to another province(for my own good, of course), and things inevitably changed for us.
I had my first daughter at 18,Kimishka went to college.She studied business, I studied the business end of my baby girl.She bought a house,travelled, took classes.I took the bus,paid my rent,and once, 12 years ago , took a very informative flower arranging course.
We are so far apart now.She works full time,does creative work on the side(remind me to ask her what that means),spends weekends on her boyfriends parents dairy farm.
I drink milk.Sometimes.
She even takes salsa lessons(the dance, not the condiment).
What will we talk about?The Pirate Movie?Harrison Ford?(she used to send him b-day cards), the A-Team?Maybe we'll talk about soc hops at our old high school.(dancing in the dark , I melt with you,In a big country)...........
Will I even recognize her?Will she recognize me? I'm so nervous. Maybe we have nothing in common anymore.
I guess thst it's a chance that I'm willing to take.The older I get, the more I realize how important the people that helped to shape my life really are.
So here's to you, Kimishka.Can't wait to see you again.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Birthday Blues

My 37th birthday is quickly approaching,and I'm not sure how I feel about it.The truth is, I'm looking at my 30's through a rearview mirror.I didn't do ANY of the cool things that I once dreamed of doing.I didn't meet my teen obsession,Christopher Atkins.I didn't backpack around Europe,or become the journalist that I always imagined myself becoming.
I got married at 20-seperated at 23.I walked the aisle again at the age of 27.That went bust before I was 31.You would think that would sour me on marriage.Not at all.I am planning another wedding, maybe this summer.
I've got 3 great kids.I raised them mostly on my own, and sometimes, it sucked.All I remember are the good times.The first time my girls said'I love you',or the Mother's Day card from myy then 12 year old daughter, that still makes me cry.There was my middle daughters grade 8 graduation,just last year.Yup, I cried.My littlest one cut her own hair-2 days before her 1st Communion.You should see the photos of that day.
I worked at the city morgue for a short time, helping with autopsies.No experience needed,just a willingness to work hard- and a strong stomach.
The friends that I've found along the way have been incredible.I went back to school at 34, and graduated with honours, 2nd in my class.
As I look back on my life, the good and the bad, I realize something.Who I am is nothing close to what I imagined in my youth.
It's better.

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Life, or something like it

Iam doing this for one reason, and one reason only.The voices in my head.Ok, two reasons-my best, dearest friend,hickchic.I secretly suspect that she is sick of being my shrink.She has been with me for all of it:2 ugly divorces,3 babies,the death of my Dad, an impromptu'vacation'complete with padded rooms and room service in the form of angry nurses passing out unspecified pills.The end result for Hickchic, is that now she has her own shrink.Hmmmmmm......
It's not all depressing.Not by a long shot.I have a very INTERESTING family,had an odd job or two, spent 18 months in the most beautiful province of Nova Scotia,raised 3 daughters, and laughed a lot along the way.
Maybe one of the most interesting person in my life is my male relative, sometimes referred to as The Mayor Of Crazyville.
TMOC came to stay with us(2 teens,15&18, our11yr.old, my construction-worker hubby-to-be, and me)in November.He was here to spend time with a terminally ill relative, & I knew that this visit would be more business than pleasure.What I didn't expect were late night black outs, midnight bleach burning,and cockatiels dressed in long johns.
The voices in my head may not be exclusive to me.Hubby got up one night, to use the bathroom.He came back into room laughing,and advised me to check on said Mayor. What I found was this:TMOC, in the kitchen stirring a large stockpot.I asked"whatca doin',TMOC?"
I continue on into the livingroom, where I find my birds' cage, wrapped up neatly- in Hubbys new long johns.Uh huh.
Back into the kitchen.TMOC, is still stirring his...What the hell is it?I peer into the steaming stinking mess to find boiling bleach, the dogs water bowl and ... Hubbys expensive adjustable wrench.Of course.
And I was worried about the voices in my head?