November Update

Forgive me, it's been a month and ten days since my last blog post.....

But, I've been active on other areas of social media...Facebook, Instagram.....I just haven't felt like sitting down and writing. Although I miss it. I miss having something to write about and just opening up my computer and going.

I think I have a lot going on in my head lately....and it would do nothing but good things for me to sit down and write....but I just can't seem to get going.

I'll start with an update.

I had my 22 day vacation and I needed it. Badly.

For those of you that are lucky enough to not have gotten sucked into to opening a Facebook account, you won't know that randomly, Facebook posts memories and names them, "On This Day". They will post photos that you posted three, five, even six years ago. All I can say that 99% of these, in my case, hurt. A lot. I'm still not at the point where seeing a photo of my ex-step-daughters doesn't make my stomach drop. I go back and forth and question how I could have handled things differently so that they could have stayed in my life....and that's never a fun process.

However, while I was away, a photo of me popped up just before Halloween 2013. Three years ago.

Three years ago, I was going through our "first" separation, I was living in my cousin's basement. I was heartbroken, confused, completely lost, unhealthy.....

In the next three years that followed, I went through a "re-marriage" of sorts, a move across the country, adjusting to live in Quebec and commuted four hours a day for seven months, suffered the loss of my grandfather, went through a final separation and then divorce, moved twice more (once to Montreal and then to my new place), and went through two years of job uncertainty, broke my ankle (or whatever you want to call it - but that seems to be the easiest thing)....and that's not all of it.

So no freaking wonder I feel like a disaster zone.

I think of myself now - and I have my head on so freaking straight. I laugh, I have fun, I joined a choir to make different and new friends (and also now sit on the Board of Directors), I am able to do SO MUCH MORE than I ever could and I'm finally dealing with all of the "crap" that I carried around for twenty or thirty years. Life isn't perfect....but wow, it's a big step up from three years ago.

For once, that annoying Facebook "On This Day" was something that really made me think...and see that I am so much stronger than I believe myself to be, that I have had some amazing life experiences, and that I'm exactly where I am supposed to be.

Montreal is my home.

This doesn't mean that I don't miss my family and friends....I do. A lot. But I think that I'm starting to make some sense of life here. Yay.

Anyway, back to the vacation. Vancouver was cold, rainy, and I came in just as they had warned that a huge storm would hit. It ended up being more hype than not, but with my ankle....I wasn't able to do a lot.
Edmonton was busy, busy, busy....but I got to reconnect with quite a few people that I haven't seen in A LONG time. Like people I used to live in Madagascar with! It always sucks because I never get to see everyone that I want to....but I managed a fair chunk this time and finally I was healthy enough to enjoy myself and not just be stressed all of the time.

Hawaii was A BLAST. Yes, I went with my grandma and yes, STILL, it was a blast. She was very familiar with Honolulu, so she knew where to go and what to do and for the most part, I just followed. I didn't have to look at maps and try to figure things out and it was very nice. Plus, there was the fact that we could bob in the ocean most of the day and then still go out after (if we felt like it). Most nights were early and spent in our cute condo...but I didn't mind. I was there for the sun and the water and I certainly got that.

I wasn't sure how both of us would react to being in Hawaii....since the last time that both of us were here I was married and we were with my grandpa. Certainly we could feel my grandpa's presence most days...but, they were happy memories. He loved all things Hawaii and we each had a moment or two of sadness, but overall it was a wonderful vacation.

Returning to Montreal....sucked. I was sleep deprived, on the verge of being sick, and missing the people that I had just spent the last three weeks with. Loneliness set in...and then I ended up actually sick, and random job interviews were here and there....and I just didn't feel very well. I still haven't returned back to normal....but getting on with things, going to choir and socializing, and going through the motions eventually helped. Oh, and of course, Maggie. I can't forget Maggie. She missed me VERY much and has more more entertaining than ever. This dog gets crazier and funnier every month.

Unfortunately, last week my aunt's husband had a stroke and passed away shortly after. It was a very sudden event and everyone was quite unprepared for his death....but true to form, my family rallied and they arranged a funeral service in a couple of days. Everyone helped and chipped in...and while I won't be there, I know that it will be a very respectful and appropriate service. I somehow volunteered to make the programs for the ceremony - usually I'm good at these kinds of creative things - but I soon realized that it's much different when it's something that will be handed out at someone's funeral. I stayed up late two nights trying to get the template just right....and in the end I think I managed to make something presentable and sent it to Staples in Edmonton to be printed. Technology made this a lot easier....and at least I feel like I'm doing....something....

I know my aunt as a lot of hard decisions and changes to go through right now....and I know that we are all feeling that this is relatively close to the death of my grandfather....

I was rather numb about it until Friday....which may explain why yesterday I had one of the worst migraines that I have had in months or maybe this year. I just managed to finish the funeral program before crashing...

The funeral will be on Monday.

In potentially positive one week (Friday, I hope), I will know if I have a job. I interviewed with an amazing company (three times actually). I want this job. I feel like it's the perfect fit for me, my career goals, and my lifestyle. But there is another candidate. He interviews on Wednesday. I am trying not to get my hopes up...but I enjoyed my interviews, asking my (hopeful) boss many questions and learning more and more about the company.

The job market is slowly picking up - there are more opportunities now, which is good.It's funny, last year I was interviewing at the same time and finding the same thing - it's like end of November/early December people are hiring... but...I don't care because I just really want THAT job. I think that it would be a good fit both let's see. Send me good luck.

A friend mentioned that I should pick out what I'll wear my first day of work at that job to help keep me thinking that's where I'm at.

22 Days, Part 1 - Vancouver

Well, I've started my 22 day tour..

First starting in Vancouver, then Edmonton, then Hawaii, then back to Edmonton.

I hadn't been to Vancouver in YEARS and couldn't decide what to do based on a long list of options... I'd love to just walk around....but I have this thing called a F*CKED up ankle....which seriously limits my activity.

Today's step count is 3644. Seriously.

But, yesterday's step count was in the 7500 I'm paying for it today.

I'm very grateful that I'm able to walk's teasing me. I can do PIYO workouts 6 days a week (usually), but walking....KILLS me. I know that I've made a lot of progress, but I am so tired of not being able to do what I want to do.

I went shopping today for...maybe 45 - 60 minutes? My foot? Dead. In pain.

Not helping is that there's torrential downpour here. We had talked about visiting my grandma on Vancouver Island, I haven't seen her in YEARS, but with all of the storm warnings (that ended up being SO over kill), we figured that we'd just get stuck on the island or not be able to go at all. This is kind of a cop out for me...because I was pretty undecided if I was going to go or Mother Nature decided for me.

Tomorrow I'm getting my hair done, a pedicure and manicure, so I'm getting all pretty. Which is nice....because I feel pretty far from pretty.

I know that weight is just a number....and I know that I am VERY strong and in very good shape (minus the ability to walk....), but I'm also at the heaviest I've been....taking medication that makes it extremely difficult to lose weight....and I'm kind of just over it. I'd like to just eat right and lose weight.....but that's not going to happen anytime soon. So patience and acceptance with my weight.
Patience and acceptance with my foot.

And enjoy my surroundings. As rainy and cold and windy as they may be.

Happy Thanksgiving ♥

Wow, I think I was on an Adele high after my last post. I'm still singing her songs and so thankful that I hung out with these four great chicks.

But today it kind of makes me sad that I don't know any people like that in Montreal. I had a group of friends when I was working at my first job, and we've stayed in contact, but I don't have any true, close friends. (Thankfully my very best friend is now only a three hour drive!!).

It's great to have acquaintances and I'm certainly taking steps to make more friends, but Montreal really let me down today.

I hate starting a sentence with, "In Alberta", but in Alberta, it's been my experience that if you know someone that doesn't have any close friends/family in the area, you invite them to your Thanksgiving celebration.

I ate brunch with a girlfriend on Sunday and she had to leave to make her contribution to her Thanksgiving dinner...I felt a little awkward. And lonely. 

So Maggie and I went and had a day walking around, chasing squirrels (um...her, not me, yet anyways), and then had a coffee outside on the terrace. Maggie is the biggest NOSY people's fun to watch. I tried to make the best of the day...but I'm looking forward to having a break from Montreal.

In the meantime, Happy Thanksgiving. I have a lot to be grateful for.

On the Mastercard...

It's just after 11pm and I'm waiting for the subway.

The ticket machines are broken & I've had a glass or two of I hopped the gate (no idea that I physically could hop the gate!). If I make it home without getting caught....I can certainly say that I've had one of the bedayst nights of my life in Montreal.

The plans were simple: meet up with a long time friend that I had never actually met in person, walk around downtown shopping, then return home while they attend the Adele concert.

That turned into sparkling wine, a gin fizzy drink of some kind (or 2), poutine with duck confit for supper, and a last minute amazing deal on a seat for one at the Adele concert. I honestly think I had the best seat in the's my secret: wait until the hour before the concert & shop online.

The concert was easily one of the BEST concerts I've been to in my life. The fact that it was unplanned & the perfect amount of tipsy was the cherry on top.

Sometimes the best things in life are free, others....well.....aren't but are worth it ten times over.

The Flip Side of The Coin

The family of four might not be a thing...but I have a pretty cute/funny/loving consolation prize until I get on that family building stuff.

She never puts up a fuss no matter where I take her, even if its midnight at a pharmacy in a sketchy area because I forgot to refill my prescription. And forgot a bag to carry/hide her...

And end up chucking her in my purse...and having her wait patiently for 20 minutes because apparently that's the time to get your prescriptions filled in this area.

She never complains about my morning hair...

She "tries" to abide by the "no dog on the couch unless on a human's lap or a blanket" rule...

She poses in my amazing thrift store finds so that I can email photos to my mom and she'll have an idea of what size my mini leather ottoman is. 

She very politely asks me to put her to bed around 11pm. 
 She loves Starbucks too. And she tries hard to be good while I make my plans/to do notes for the week.
 She ADORES my boyfriend and loves to come meet him in the park at lunch sometimes. Even better is how she slyly won over his heart for her too.

And she supervises each and every single workout, waiting to attack me woth kisses when I'm finished.


My family of four ♥

Sad post ahead....

There has been a lot of progress on my beat up body this week....but I'm still not able to walk very long without pain and my mouth is still not back to normal after my surgery. I'm focusing on the positives on my foot because I've been granted permission by the physio gods to start using a stationary bike...which was pure heaven for me because until now I've been doing things like Pilates and weights....craving some cardio to just go, go, Go. 

Yet somehow this week, there has been so much talk of my previous life. A friend on Facebook asked a question about how they keep track of all of the paper in their house. I had a good idea that worked for me, and I started out my answer with, "When I was a family of four....."... and those words still haunt me.

When I was a family of four...I knew that one liked this type of yogurt and the other liked this type of bread....the tiny extra extra small ginchies belonged to this one and this one liked this kind of frozen pizza... Even in my worst days... I tried to take care of them in my own way....I looked out for them...

I remember we went to watch the fireworks somewhere and it was so busy... There was a sketchy looking homeless man and I put myself between one of the girls and the man... I remember being so angry at one of their classmates that had been super bitchy. I was so enraged at that classmate who was all of 15 years old... I was beside myself with anger.... 

I remember having an odd and awkward argument with one of the girls...and then having the opportunity to talk to her later, on our way home from the gym, admitting that I'm fumbling my way around teenagers and that I make mistakes all the time, but that I love her and consider it such a blessing that she was in my life...

I remember hearing one of them saying, "Oh, that's my step-mom" and bursting with pride. 

I remember the moments when all four of us were on the couch (five if Maggie was there....) watching TV.. 

And I never said goodbye. 

Things got so ugly and complicated with their dad, that I decided it was best if they just thought I was a screwed up jerk....and let them just be mad at me for stealing their dog....and then they'd be too angry to miss me.... 

They would all be happier without me...some kind of calm would come over their household now that one of the problems had left...and their lives would happily go on. I would be but a distant memory...

I rarely talk about my family of four. I made that choice to not continue my relationship with the girls...because I thought it would be easier for them if I wasn't in their lives...but maybe it was in part to protect me too....I was heartbroken to lose everything that came with a marriage - the husband, the in-laws, the mutual friends. Some days I still feel that heartbreak, even though I try not to dwell on the past.

I stumble across photos....never sure what to do with them...

I have all kinds of memories that are too painful to I block them out. And try to think of that as a past life...

May 2015. Just over a year ago. 

I hope that I'm right and that they think of me very little, that they are all very happy, calm, and living their lives to the fullest. I imagine them with a new bulldog that their dad has trained that both annoys them and makes them laugh a lot. Two growing girls and one dad...a family of three...that used to be my family of four. 

Falling forward (hopefully not down the stairs) moves on. 

Looking Better!

Wow! I just looked back at the photo I published last week of my face. I'm looking A LOT better. Most people that don't know that I had my dental surgery can't even tell that anything is different. It's still pretty sensitive, but in that area, I have no complaints. Especially when I see last week's, I look like a monster!!

This week has been pretty low key (as opposed to my mega exciting weeks that I usually have....), but I was pretty excited after my last physio appointment because I'M WALKING!!!!!!!!!!!! No crutches, no cane, it's not the best walk, but I'm able to be on my feet a lot more, with the help of a support bandage kind of thing. It was taped for a few weeks, but because this is the summer of hell, I had a pretty bad allergic reaction to the tape and had to switch. My ankle is still extremely swollen on both sides and now has a ring around it that looks like it was stung by 9000 bees. One day I'll look at this and laugh, yes?

In 9 days I have an MRI scheduled, and I hope that will show that I don't need surgery and just need continued physio. There are some days that I get really, really down because I can't really do what I want. If I meet up with a friend for lunch, I can't go grocery shopping that same day without coming home, resting, icing my foot, etc. My walk is still pretty weird and because of my injured tendons/ligaments I can't really walk uphill. Like, it's not that it hurts - but my foot doesn't move that way anymore. It's like there is a pin that prevents the movement. This is kinda scary, but what can I do but wait...

The cool thing is that I've been able to work out and do pilates and upper body weights, but yesterday was the first day that I was able to do YOGA.
(Still not able to smile completely but you can see that the swelling is next to nothing).

This is major league exciting because yoga is kind of my thing. Again, with my injury there are a few things I can't do, but I can modify.

In other big news, Maggie is also healing from her big dental surgery. Almost too well because she has sooooooooooooooooooooo much more energy and constantly asks me to play with her. Obviously, her teeth were really bothering her and I didn't know it. Because a lot of her front teeth are missing, she can't keep her tongue in her mouth all of the time....but I kind of thing it adds to her cuteness.

She's continued to master the "pretend that you're not here" in the reusable grocery bags that I take into the stores with me when I have her. I had to wait for a prescription at the pharmacy the other day and she was totally happy to just chill out in the bag and not peek her head out, once I gave her the command to "hide".

(I think she was more annoyed that I asked her to look at me so that I could take a photo of her).

The most exciting news is that I'm taking a bit of a North American tour of the West in October. I'm going to visit my mom and company in Vancouver, then fly to Edmonton, then fly to Hawaii for 9 days, then fly back to Edmonton, then fly back to Montreal.

I have a lot of bad memories in Vancouver and it wasn't until my mom visited me a couple of weeks ago that I realized it. It's been years and years that I haven't been, everything has changed, and I'm done living in the past.

I hadn't planned on taking a trip to Hawaii, but long story short - I needed a beach and my grandma did too, so we are staying in a one bedroom suite right on the beach in Waikiki. She's been there a bazillion times and I've been there once and we wanted somewhere with nice water and it's the wet/windy season in the Caribbean.

Well, I better get back to my project...I've taken up cross stitching while my leg is healing and I'm working on a little gift for a friend.