Annual Checkup


Last weekend didn’t turn out as scheduled. I spent a lot of Sunday walking around and running errands on foot with the dog. For me, it seems like a waste to go walking and not bring the dog, so I packed up a water bottle and a dish along with this reusable shopping bag that I can throw her in when we go into stores and off we went.

 Of course, no walk is complete with a visit to the park to chase squirrels.

 
We were probably out for a total of three or four hours…and Maggie has her winter coat because…well, it was winter until last week.

 
We would stop every so often and I’d give her a long drink of water, I’d dump some water on her, and off we’d go.

Monday – lethargic Maggie. Fine with me.

Tuesday – sick Maggie. Not cool.

Wednesday – perking up, but not her usual self…

 
Thankfully, Thursday was her annual vet check up (did you guys all know that dogs need to go once a year? I thought you only took them if they got sick….).

 
I came home last night, picked her up, threw her in the back in her little harness thing (she used to sit in the front, but she doesn’t weigh enough to set off the sensors to disable the airbag, so she’s been since moved into the back, complete with harness and little dog seatbelt). 

 
Anyway – in the backseat, she’s chilling, and as soon as we pull up to the vet, she is like, all, This is my place, man!! Let me out!!! She runs up to the vet, all excited, scratching at the door to get in. Never have I seen a dog so excited to go to the vet!! She’s such a little attention whore and all she remembers is that she gets a treat here and that there are other dogs. She doesn’t remember that she gets needles and stuff.

 

We walk in, and she’s so patient and TOTALLY putting on a show for the ladies there. She works it and she knows she’s cute.


She got her blood taken.

 

She waited patiently.

 


 

Her vet confirmed that I basically overheated her….and I remember last year buying some ice packs for her little “bag” so that she could sit and cool down in the summer. Oooooopps. Dog owner fail.

I found out that Maggie’s birthday is June 4th and she’ll be NINE!!! Wow, she has the energy of a much younger dog.

We also spoke a lot about her teeth….they are in rough shape and need cleaning….but I’m too scared to get it done…but this year is the year. I can’t wait any longer.


 
She got her vaccines and then left happily.

 
I knew she was hot and thirsty so we stopped in and got some ice water. She shoved her face in the cup…(this is a “small” from McDonalds’ to give some perspective of how little she is!).

 


I couldn’t be a prouder. She has seriously changed in the best of ways. She used to be high anxiety, had all these odd behaviors (she could only drink out of HER water dish that had to be inside her cage and she had to bark for ‘permission’ to enter) – and now she’s rocking the city life, friends with everyone (unless you’re a big dog…she’s still a little weary…), and so much calmer and cuter!!!
 

So happy to have this little thing in my life!!

Random encounter ♥♥


Thank you…for meeting me in Starbucks today.

I was behind a big, tall guy who was probably about 75 years old, not looking a day over 65, just like you. He was there with his wife, tall like him with silver hair. They were pretty cool grandparents ordering at Starbucks. Well, an iced tea and a coffee anyway. I don’t know many people that order a hot coffee when it’s +29*C, but you did.

He made some friendly chit chat with me at the creamer station, and then as I accidentally bumped him with my purse, he apologized along with me, and then winked at me and told me I must have done it on purpose. He smiled and held the door for me and wished me a nice day.
Just like you would have, if you would have found yourself wanting a coffee in the afternoon, except you would most likely have McDonalds coffee, not Starbucks and certainly not Tim Hortons.

It’s nice to finally, finally feel a bit more at piece and feel grateful for these moments that remind me of you.


YOW bound

Finally, FINALLY a post where I'm travelling.

It's a long weekend here and I've been pretty anti-social....so I decided to visit the girl that used to be my first neighbor in Madagascar. She JUST moved to Ottawa and I needed something out of the regular....so tomorrow Maggie and I are off to our nation's capital for the weekend!!!

Road trip!!!!



 

My own pics to follow. Wish me luck...it's my first real social outing in a very long time.


April Update


I’m not sure what caused my random word dump of yesterday, but I’ve stopped writing in my blog because I felt it was getting too somber.

 

Here’s what’s been going on in the last couple of months:

 

Work
Work has generally been good. It seems I’m on exciting projects about 80% of the time, which I think is a pretty good deal. Yes, as I wrote about yesterday, there is ONE problem at work and that’s a colleague that has a problem with me and refuses to just agree to disagree. I’ve talked to my boss about it and while she sees it, she’s not sure how to handle it. Some days I don’t even think about it, some days it keeps me up at night (depending on what happened). I’ve been handling it A LOT better than I was in the beginning days, where I was completely freaking out because:

a)      He took me by surprise and was SUPER confrontational in a bizarre way

b)      That’s what I do best. Freak out.

 

Otherwise, I’m going to the USA next month, which meant renewing my passport. My old passport had several run ins with several water bottles in my purse so it had to be destroyed. I’m pretty sad about that. It has visa’s and stamps that….well, it just felt like it contained years of memories. But it’s a piece of paper. And like I’ve learned with my marriage certificate – a piece of paper means nothing.

 

Oh, did that sound bitter?

 

The Divorce

Basically – there is no news. Everything has been signed, sealed, delivered and I’m almost not yours (or his), but the documents are in a long line of divorces that can take up to six months to be finalized. Cool, hey? Turns out I’m not the only loser who’s getting divorced. The city is overflowing with us.

 

Emotionally – I range from complete mess missing my ex and the girls to Superwoman ready to take on the world in my new life and my new apartment. Moving on.

 

The new apartment
is super cool but I feel like it’s weighing my down financially. Fridge/washer/dryer/oven/oven hood….I thought about buying used but it seemed like a lot less work to go to The Brick, pay $149.99 + Tax and pay off new ones with guarantees and such over 36 months (interest-free). Everything is grey/stainless and the basic model or whatever was on sale. Still, it’s a nice $5k that I didn’t really like parting with. Such is life.

 


My mood
has been….an issue for me. Missing my ex, feeling guilt/sadness/EVERYTHING about the loss of my grandpa, working with that confusing person at the office, figuring out how to live solo again – like totally solo, well, it’s overwhelming. And while I certainly have the option to not live solo and to be with someone special – it’s not going to happen for me right now. And there’s nothing wrong with that. I tend to freak out from time to time….I have always wanted to have kids…but not just to have one….and I don’t know if that’s going to pan out. I’d like to just be happy with what I have….instead of wishing for something that might not come true. Life hands us what it hands us. I meditate. I workout. I try self-reflection/acceptance, [insert other shrink words here], and it’s a work in progress.

 


The mutt
Which brings me to my three kilograms of sheer joy – Maggie. When my ex first spoke about a divorce. I think my response was like, “Only if I get the dog”. This was pretty bold since the dog was a gift to his daughters years ago… but I had been the one taking care of it, paying for her dog walker….developping….well, developing kind of a special realtionshpi with her because I was alone so much. While I regret the pain this may have caused my ex/the girls in any way, I don’t regret taking her. On bad days, I tell myself, “Just go walk the dog”. 99.9999% of the time, I come back a lot happier, feeling a lot lighter, and usually having had a laugh at some sort, because what isn’t funny about a 3kg dog that is full of joy, love, and poop? I am totally in pet therapy. I know that I give Maggie a home where she has more attention, gets more stimulation, and as a result she is farrrrrrrrrrrrr more braver and less anxious than the dog of a couple of years ago. But…I don’t think I’ll ever stop wondering if the girls miss her.

 

 

Hoe down
So, nothing too exciting on the horizon except for my trip to Georgia. A town in the middle of nowhere, where the 5th best restaurant in town, according to Trip Advisor is Arby’s. Yeah. The town has a population of 16,000 and the average income is somewhere in the high $20k. Yowsa. I’m pretty pumped to go for the cultural shock.

 


Until then, I’ll continue to try and to my best. Be my best. Try to find some more joy in life….and try to quit being such a hard-ass on myself.

Much needed vent.

I need to ramble.

It's been a long time since I've just rambled, and maybe I need to do more of it on a regular basis, because I have neglected the blog when I need it the most.

The last few months have been total shit. Don't get me wrong. I laugh. A lot. I see the humor in every day life and I have a pretty good group of people surrounding me. But they aren't my close friends. They aren't my family. They aren't my expat family. They aren't my....ex-family. They aren't my Alberta friends (although I have one very, very special person that is there. A lot. But, my brain isn't sure how things work out with that. That's for another post).

I just don't get - and I'll never get - but it's also unlikely that I will never stop trying to get - why people can be so incredibly fucked up.

What I'd like in the world is for everyone to ask themselves this question multiple times per day:

Does it cause me more energy to be a total asshole-spazz-douchebag and fret about a certain event/comment/whatever for an entire weekend?

Or does it use less energy to assume the best in that person that pissed me off, to spend five minutes to OPENLY discuss whatever offended me, and let it pass?

I deal with one particular person every day and this person LOOKS to be offended. He seeks it. I've pissed off my fair share of people and I've received emails from losers in red bold font (at work, of course), and I've managed to deal with it.

This particular person has some kind of issue with me....and it's freaking enough. If he has to go out of his way to be a jerk to me, to be offended by me, he will take the long road, instead of looking around and seeing that 99% of the people that I deal with at work actually ENJOY working with me...well, that's that. Some days I can let it go, other days, I'm just frustrated and....well, I know he represents a very small percentage of the population, but it just makes me question....some aspects of humanity.

I'm no saint. I screw up all the time. I'm probably rude at times and I've offended a gazillion people. But my heart is true. I may be a little messed up, I may have my ways about me, but I'm a good, nice person. I just want a freaking break.

And let's talk a moment about priorities. I try SO freaking hard to get everything done, for everything to be perfect, to get home at a decent time so that I can workout, get ready for the next day, get enough sleep for the next day, make my lunch to save money, have time to to meditidate because it's good for my anxiety (and a gazillion other things), walk the dog, do laundry, blah blah blah blah.

Tonight? I stayed out talking with that special person until 730. We sat on a concrete bench, just chatting about whatever. It was clear that he needed to vent/chat/enjoy the outdoors. But in my mind, I was like, crap I have to go home to get everything done so that I'm less hurried in the morning and I'm less anxious and blah blah blah blah.

Take a freaking deep breath. The workout - it's done. So I'm eating supper at 9pm. So I'll go to bed later than expected, I won't prep my lunch, I won't walk the dog (just take her outside to pee quick) and I'll be tired tomorrow. Isn't that what coffee is for and don't I freaking love coffee????

In this busy city lifestyle, I'm filled with number one top priorities....and for what? To make sure I get the recommended eight hours of sleep per night? (Ok, sleep is important. But once in awhile....).

Living by myself, I've gotten so much into MY OWN routine that I've forgotten that I used to live in a jungle where my routine was....well, my routine was to get up and go to work but I had to wing it. A lot. I need to take a deep breath. Remember what's REALLY important to me - which is to be nice and kind and thoughtful. And to HAVE fun and joy.

Ok, so the last few months or so I needed a routine so that I could figure my shit out learning how to live alone again. But now I need to start to let loose a bit. Go buy a Groupon to travel somewhere on a Saturday instead of spending it at home "resting" from my week.

I'd need a lot less "resting" if I just enjoyed life - instead of freaking out about it.

Sounds easy, hey?

I gotta go. It's past 9pm and I haven't eaten my supper. Or walked the dog.

For some reason I think that sun will still rise tomorrow.

Grief and stuff

Monday I took a taxi home from a cafĂ© after meeting with my new landlord. It was very cold, I didn’t know the bus schedule in the area, and my cell phone was dead and I couldn’t use my GPS. The taxi drive was from Haiti. But he his mannerisms and character reminded me of my grandpa SO MUCH.

He was mostly retired, but decided to drive a taxi for some extra money. I’m pretty sure my grandpa would have driven ANYTHING for some extra money.
 

He was "the driver" and I remember calling him for directions past my mid-twenties.


I was on a pretty big high because I had just signed my lease. So I shared my excitement with this friendly, joking man.


And then I tried not to think about it.
 

And since then, I have been struggling. Extremely anxious at work. Worrying about work. Worrying about non-work. I kept thinking to myself…What is going on with my brain? I have a great job. I’m doing well. I have a new apartment. I have the best dog ever. I’m getting some peace in my life. But I was angry, anxious, and not feeling well.

 
I went for a walking lunch with my dear friend. Whom I got very upset with….well, for whatever reason I could invent….and then just broke down. I cried hard. I don’t think he knew what was happening, yet he knew that something important was happening. I continued to cry…I told him I took that taxi home on Monday. I had to stop talking because I thought that if I continued I would cry so long that I wouldn’t be able to return to work. But I cried and he held me, in the middle of a set of stairs, and I finished my story. I told him everything. How the taxi driver reminded me of my grandpa. How my grandpa would have been the best taxi driver in Edmonton. Or bus driver. How I was angry at myself because I wanted to be grateful for Monday’s experience. How lucky am I that I got to have such a nice taxi ride home with someone that reminded me of him? Instead I was just sad. I am sad. 
 

After gramps first passed, I had a few photos up, but I found it to be too upsetting. When I visited Edmonton, I was overwhelmed with feelings when I stayed at my grandma’s because he was everywhere. Not just in the photos…but everything reminded me of him. I knew that this would be a difficult visit because it was my first time back since the funeral…but I wasn’t expecting something so hard. I still don't have any photos up in my place of him. Hopefully….in my new place…
 

Even though every night I pray that he is safe and okay….I haven’t been able to accept that…the world moves on….without him. I would be able to display

I want to put up fantastic photos of him in my house. There are some great memories. I want to able to remember him and tear up as needed. But, my brain hasn’t….come to terms that the world didn’t stop turning when he took his last breath. 
 

To date, I have a few songs that I listen to while I’m driving that remind me of him. When they come on, I think about him as if he was in the passenger seat driving with me, wondering what he would think of this crazy Montreal place. Wishing that he was able to meet Maggie (he loved his dogs). But that’s as far as it goes. I’m stuck. In limbo of sorts.


I need to let go so that I can properly grieve. He wouldn’t want me to be this sad. But he would want me to remember him. And the memories. He’d want me to keep the memories close to me. I guess, that’s all I want to. I’m just not sure how to get there.

Signed and sealed

Last night, we celebrated as I signed my lease for my new apartment. Maggie is a little unsure of the staircases....but she'll learn how to climb them.


(And by celebrated, I mean: cook a spaghetti squash, brown some ground turkey, do my workout, and watch an episode of "Big Love", and then head to bed).


I met with one of my landlords (it's a husband and wife team) at a Starbucks that's on my way home from work and she is so so so so nice. It's obvious that they care for their assets and that they also want to cover their bases and ensure that they follow the rental/landlord laws, which I really like. (I've been asking my landlord to fix my toilet for over three weeks. He wants me to fix it myself...I'm not so interested in that...).


I was a bit concerned about my background/credit check. Just think how this sounds:

Well, I moved to Quebec after spending a handful of years working in Africa. But then I moved back to Alberta for a few months. Oh, last place of residence before this one? Um...living with my almost-ex-husband. Work history? Oh, a year at my previous job (that I lost) and before that more than a year of unemployment (combined with travel and many other things).

Doesn't sound very stable.

But, they are very understanding of....life, and my credit is good so all went well.


I really appreciated the time that we spent together chatting, because I think it's important to be on good terms with your landlord and neighbors - especially since we live one on top of the other. It's called a triplex - and in Montreal, they are stacked one on top of the other (as opposed to a duplex in Alberta where it would be side-by-side).


My neighbors are a family of three (with a new baby) and two serious students. I'm on the top floor.


I felt so good on my way home, but I also missed the only bus that I know how to take in the area and my phone was dead, so I took a taxi home. The taxi driver was so nice and we spoke about different cultures in Quebec. This is probably one of my favorite subjects that I don't often have a chance to speak about - but it's so interesting to me when I get the chance. The driver was semi-retired, from Haiti, and has been in Montreal for 41 years. It was a very nice ride home.


And still, I have a bit of a...brick that I'm carrying around lately.


While I know that the gesture would be a step backwards for both of us, I want to send an email to my ex. To find out how he's doing....to make sure the girls are ok....to let him know that I'm taking extra good care of Maggie and that I'm grateful for her EVERY SINGLE day. Multiple times a day. I know that he was called during my background check to confirm my residence...and I'm thankful that he was able to provide the information that they needed. I still worry about him, I still think about him and his family....and I know that we'll never be friends that meet up for coffee....but I can't change the past. I can continue to wish him well....in my own head....and keep on my process of attempting to move on.....which sometimes feel like it's a standstill process.


But back to the good parts. June 25th I'll move into my new place. My grandma and aunt are coming on the 30th. I'll have plenty of help to get my place up and running.


And life is slowly but surely moving on. ♥♥