The Blue Bowl

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My mum had this blue bowl.  She loved blue and naturally, her dishes would be blue too.  This small blue bowl was used so many times in her cooking, it was our dog’s water bowl when he visited her and when she died, I couldn’t let this blue bowl go as I could her other blue dishes.

I used this blue bowl in so much of my dinner prep – many times with her recipes.  So when hubs accidently broke this bowl last week, I felt heartbroken.  I know it was a total accident and he felt horrible.  Honestly, I’m surprised it didn’t break sooner – especially during two moves!

As I took the dog for a walk, I shed a tear for this blue bowl.  Why?  Well, simply put it was my mum’s.  It was also the last thing I packed up when we cleaned out her apartment as our dog, Cassius, was still with us at that time, and it was also tied in memories to Cassius. I also knew I was a bit more sensitive because it was in and around her birthday.

My brain knows that I don’t need a blue bowl to remind me of the memories that I attached to it.  Those memories are imbedded in my heart and brain.  They don’t disappear because a bowl broke.  It’s just my attachment to the bowl that is now broken.  Just like a smell can remind us of a memory, so too, do objects.

When I searched more about this, I found A LOT of psychological studies.  Too many to read just for this little blog post.  The long and short of it though, is that our brains attach to items, scents, sights to highlight a specific memory in our life.  It sorta comes naturally, in a way.  I’m sure this is a very simplistic way of describing this however, for this blog, it works.

So, when I think of the blue bowl, I smile and chuckle to myself – how a little blue bowl can do so much more than just food preparation!  There’s no replacing it and there is certainly no loss of the memory brought on by this bowl.  It simply no longer is needed to highlight the memories associated with it.

Until next time…you know the rest!


Fifty Turns Around The Sun

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“There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of the people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.” ~ Sophia Loren

It’s been a while since I’ve written a blog post.  I know it goes against all “shoulds” on blogging however, I haven’t always been known for following the norm!

I’ve been toying with this one for a bit.  Around my birthday or end of year, I tend to find myself contemplating on the what’s next, the goals or intentions.  This year I didn’t really find that.  You see, I turned a half century a couple of weeks ago.  Now, I know that age is truly just a number, it’s all the other things that count.  Somehow though, I kept thinking, “Holy sh*t! I’m fifty!”

Thinking back to all the “milestone birthdays,” this particular one seemed really far away – like really far away.  Then in a blink of an eye, here it is.  I don’t particularly feel old (someone needs to tell my body that some mornings lol), and I work with seniors who tell me I’m really young (compared to their ninety something).  I guess it’s that something inside me thinks I’ve now passed a threshold of sorts.

When I googled turning fifty, here’s a few things that popped up…

  • You’re less fearful
  • You care less about what others think
  • You have an appreciation for life
  • You tend to be less critical of yourself
  • You embrace your imperfections
  • You’re a bit older and wiser

The list goes on.  These are just a sampling and I’m pretty sure I didn’t need to turn fifty to think like this.  Other lists told me what to worry about as I get older, what I should be doing (well, we know what I think of those lists)!   Of course no list would be complete without checking into the “woo woo” side of things! So on that note, in numerology, the number 50 is associated with the vibration of completion. This is a time for you to celebrate all that you have accomplished in your life thus far! The meaning of angel number 50 signifies midlife growth and new beginnings. 

At the big bash I threw for myself (yes, I planned my own party – once a planner, always a planner), a friend asked what big goal I set for myself this year (or something like that).  I laughed a said nothing since the last two years we’ve lived proves planning means nothing lol!  I knew what he meant.  Honestly, the only thing I have really planned for this year is to enjoy life. From the small moments to the unplanned moments, life is truly short no matter what my age.  Each moment from the shell I find on the beach to the hug from a friend to watching a sunset with M, I intend to enjoy every single f*cking moment!  In doing that, I know that this year’s big spin around the sun is going to be pretty amazing!

Until next time, be grateful for the small moments, the big moments, the funny and the sad moments. Find joy in the smallest things that make your heart happy and of course, a chance to discover your 2.0!

My Year To Restore

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As each anniversary of my mum’s death approaches, various things “show up” for me.  Obviously, the year of firsts was a big thing.  The subsequent years have brought up different memories such as the sugar spill, the extra grief and other stuff.

Six years on, and life sometimes still feels heavy and I feel oh so vulnerable to my grief!  I know enough to let this flow through me as needed.  I’m also very grateful to many friends and my counselor for continuing to have my back and give me the support I need when I need it.

As I have in past years, I take her anniversary as a day off from work to do something to honour her.  She died of breast cancer so mammograms often happen around this time and so do lunches, beach therapy, baking therapy and most definitely a counseling session.

This year my guiding word is RESTORE. From the loss of my mumma to the recent loss of our pooch to restoring life post pandemic, this word offers so much.  It gives me permission to go forward in life and make this life incredible.  It’s short and we only get one shot at making it great – even if we have to restart or pivot throughout.  The biggest feel with this word is “it’s time!”  Time to let go pain that aches throughout my body both physically and mentally.  It’s time, to let go of some of the guilt that comes with grief.  It’s time to allow myself to simply restore and let some much needed healing happen.

By no means, does this mean I won’t cry when I think of her or wish she was here to tell her what was happening in our lives. It doesn’t mean I don’t long for her to hug me again or to hear her voice to tell me: “everything will be okay.” 

So, as this year’s anniversary comes, I know she’ll be looking down and happy that I have decided to RESTORE.

Until next time, may you find love, peace, gratitude and simply finding a moment to restore!

The Echo Of A Tail

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As a kid, I was always scared of dogs.  Each time my step father would help me muster the courage to pet a dog, it would always sense my fear then bark and lunge at me.  Each time, I would end up crying, upset and even more afraid.

As a teen, my BFF had dogs. After school, I’d often go there while waiting for my bus home.  We laugh now at how I was so standoffish about those dogs.  I’d pet them on their head begrudgingly then go wash my hands.  I remember us watching a movie where the main character wanted to save the dog first, I think I rolled my eyes and said, “Who does that?”  My BFF replied, kinda snarky, “Someone who loves dogs!”

Fast forward to time with my ex.  He wanted a dog.  It HAD to be a Rottweiler named Harley! My first reaction was, “as long as the house doesn’t stick, the dog can stay.”  In hindsight, it was the ex that stank! 

Anyway, we got that Rottweiler named Harley.  We had a few growing pains that boy and I! From a chewed up couch, flooring, drawers and shoes to knowing how to open a closet door that wasn’t quite closed and tearing up whatever he could and then some!  Eventually, that Harley sure broke me down and got me to love him.  He was a visiting dog in a senior’s home too – passing that test with flying colours! I’m pretty sure he saved my life during a divorce and loss of a friend. Bone cancer got him in the end.  Saying goodbye to my “first born” was the most excruciating heartache I had experienced at that point in my life. 

Harley knew how to smile for the camera

Soon after, we welcomed Cassius. He was many things to us – stinker, pooper, little man, a destroyer of most toys and a true companion to hubs and I.  Thank goodness I worked from home with this guy – shoes & a bed were really the only casualties.  After my mum died, he was my saving grace.  Him and I had a chat after she died in 2016, I told him my heart could not handle two broken hearts in the same year and I needed time before I had to say goodbye to him.  He gave me that ask, and early November 2017, my heart broke once again when we said goodbye to our “little man.”

Cassius – always up to a good stick find!

Life went on to include a big trip, 3 moves and new jobs however, we knew our house was empty.  After taking care of a friend’s dog for 2 weeks, we decided we were ready to welcome another pooch into our hearts.

2019 brought us the gift of Ronan, the rescue dog!  While I’m not sure who rescued who, I’m glad he found us!  The night we brought him home after an EPIC road trip, he wondered through the entire house only to walk downstairs, climb up onto the couch with all four paws in the air – as if to say, “ahhh, finally, I’m home!”  We learned very quickly what it meant to have a dog with a tail – one needs quick reflexes!  Ronan was the biggest love.  He melted pretty much every human he met.  He taught those afraid of dogs that not all dogs are created equal and melted their hearts too!  So, when we found out about his cancer last fall, we were devastated!  Both hubs and I felt ripped off in so many ways.  Third dog, third cancer. That comes with some pretty big F-Bombs!

Ronan knew how to use his good looks!

His cancer was obviously much farther advanced than any vet or us realized and on this past Christmas Eve morning, we said a very painful goodbye.  The dog with so much to say, now, could only look at us as stoically as possible. When I told him it was okay to go (although we both knew it wasn’t), he looked at me with eyes that said “thank you” and then nuzzled in for one last cuddle. I thanked him for the time we had together, including the amazing day prior (that was his gift to me) and told him to go find his brothers, a couple of awesome Aunties and two Grandmas that would fight over him for cuddles.

Now, when we come home to an empty house or look to Ronan’s spot or something else that might remind us of him, all we can hear is the echo of a tail.

A Lesson In Receiving

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A little over a month ago we discovered something in our dog Ronan’s nose. How you ask? Well, when one is on their back stretching on the floor, you find yourself at a dog’s level. His face hanging over you with a look that asks, “Whatcha doing?”

Ronan, shortly after we brought him home

A vet visit and biopsy surgery discovered he has a malignant melanoma in his nose. There’s no surgery to remove this and since the type of cancer he has is aggressive – the least done, the better. We were devastated to say the least. Third dog, third cancer journey. Insert giant sigh and a lot of tears here!

We opted to have a consultation with an oncologist to figure out our options. What would be our best and worst case scenarios. After weighing our options – long chats, some alcohol and some tears. We decided to go for one of the treatment options.

How I saw it was like this: Harley (our first guy) had bone cancer and by the time it was found, it was too late to do anything. We spent a week loving him up as much as we could before saying goodbye. For Cassius (our second guy) we gave it all we could right up to the end – including a wheelchair – which had been donated by an amazing organization, Gunnar’s Wheels. Now, here we are again with Ronan. We only adopted him in January of 2019 – I know it will sound selfish but I feel like we need more time with him or at least give him a fighting chance for as best a life as possible.

And here it comes, how were we going to pay for this??? YIKES!

I was sharing our news with a couple of friends and telling them of our struggle with our decision – cost, Ronan’s age and our own selfishness. Both friends said the same thing in a couple of different ways. “Why not ask for help” they said. “Your friends won’t necessarily know how to help you” was quoted too. “Let people feel good that they could do something for you.” I choked on all those rational statements. Why? Because I could hear the voices in my head saying, “You can’t ask people for money.” I heard my mum’s voice “You can’t talk about money like that!” And my personal favourite, “You can’t let people know if you’re struggling financially.” On and on they go! I’m not kidding when I say this went on for a few days!

Then, I told the voices to be quiet. I stopped dithering and I totally went for it. I actually asked for help! Let me tell you as one who thinks nothing of helping my friends, this was one of the hardest things I have ever done!

I created a gofundme page. Funny thing is, it took me two days to publish and share it with everyone. I didn’t even want to “look” greedy (again the voices) and I asked for only half of what this was going to cost us.

And wow, just wow, our friends and even some strangers heard the call and donated what they could to our cause. As I write this, the tears flow down my cheeks at how overwhelmed I feel. Because I had the courage to actually ask for help, we were able to pay for 3 of Ronan’s treatments. There’s still more treatments to be had however, the burden is lighter. My hope is that our Ronan is part of that high success rate and the treatments (all non invasive and it doesn’t have any side effects), will slow down the growth of this cancer and gift us with just a little more time.

As I think about the generosity of people, I realize that this is more than just helping Ronan or friends or donating to a cause… it’s been a lesson in receiving. I understand a little better now that receiving is just as important as giving. And for this I am truly humbled and filled with so much gratitude.

“Just as you cannot receive without giving, so neither can you give without receiving.”

Until next time, I wish you love, joy and peace. Find something or someone to give to and enjoy the beauty of receiving.

The Regrets Of Grief…

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No regrets.

It’s something I’ve said often to myself. I’ve always tried to live with no regrets.  Honestly, for the most part, I truly don’t.  I know that if X had not happened, most likely, Y wouldn’t have either. 

Yet, somehow as looming dates move in closer, I find myself navigating through grief (again)! It feels like a never ending story. 

What has come up this time around is what I consider regret.  The regret in two conversations – the one I had and the one I never had.

I feel haunted by the conversation I did have and feel guilty that it even happened.  My ego stood in the way of a particular conversation.  I know I need to work on forgiving myself for this.  Perhaps the guilt sits easier than the forgiveness does, perhaps I’m using the guilt as punishment or the most likely answer is both.  I guess this is one more thing to work through with my counselor (she says with a chuckle & a bit of a head shake)!

Then there’s the conversation I wish I had done. I’m sure it was avoidance and denial leading me down that road.  This one is a bit harder to reconcile – though in time, I know I will.   

How does one work through this and get to the other side?  I’m not sure however, when I do, I’ll let you know. I sense letter writing and burning coming my way!  I know this feeling serves no one.  I can’t change what did or didn’t happen.  I can only be gentle on myself.  I’ll work on that forgiveness.  Maybe it will lessen the hurt or ache I often feel.  Maybe, just maybe, I’ll be able to look back and say, “No regrets” once again.

So, until next time, may you be filled with love and kindness.  May you be able to confidently live with no regrets.  And, as always, may you discover your 2.0.

As The Forty-ninth Year Turns…

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As my forty-eighth turn around the sun comes to a close, I’m baffled that I am not contemplating the past year more.  I usually get a little soulful around now –for some reason, not so much this time.

Maybe it’s because 2020 was what is was or that 2021 doesn’t really seem that much better.  Either way, maybe that’s the lament. 

When I think back nine years ago, I had a lot of hopes and dreams for my fortieth decade.  What’s strange is that I don’t think I’ve done that much.  Don’t get me wrong, a lot has happened, mum died, Cassius died, closed a business, went to Nicaragua, moved three times, hosted international students, mourned the loss of two truly amazing friends, and found my really great “for right now job.”  Yeah, so nothing much in the last nine years.

So, how do I want to complete this final year of a decade?  To be honest, I have no effing clue! I’d like to say that I’ll make some amazing memories, cherish moments with my two guys, and maybe one or two things that make me say “wow!”  That last one would be really nice. 

If the last year and half has taught me anything, it’s this: no matter what my intention board says, no matter what I smudge away and no matter what I dream, the universe has her own plan and my job is to simply embrace it and to be grateful of every day that is gifted to me.

So, whether or not I embrace it, curse it, welcome it or want to toss something at it, I am giving my best and really, that’s all any of us can do.

Here’s to year forty-nine – may it be more than I can imagine!

Five Years

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”And when great souls die, after a period peace blooms, slowly and always irregularly. Spaces fill with a kind of soothing electric vibration. Our senses, restored, never to be the same, whisper to us. They existed. They existed. We can be. Be and be better. For they existed.” – Maya Angelou

5 years

60 months

260.887 weeks

1,826.2125 days

43,829.1 hours

2,629,746 minutes

157,784,760 seconds

Over the years, I have always found it interesting what pops up for me as I approach the anniversary of my mum’s death.  The firsts, the seconds, the sugar spill, the drive to try and get there on time. This year, it was the numbers.  I had been wondering how many months, weeks and so on – I’m not gonna lie, my math sucks – thank goodness for Google!

However, you count it, five years has flown by.  I’ve been thinking of all the “things” I’m hoping she’s watched from wherever she might be hanging out – two moves (soon to be three), a dog named Ronan, laughs with friends, tears with friends, the loss of friends (which I certainly hope she’s been able to give them giant hugs), the closing of a business, three jobs, a trip to Nica, many celebrations which somehow, I have managed to bring some of her traditions to and so much more.  All these “things” prove life still wants me to keep moving forward – no matter how hard or how much I’d rather not carry on some days, or how much I miss her.

So, this year, as Tuesday comes, I’m going to honour her with the words below by Merrit Malloy.  And one day (hopefully sooner rather than later) when it’s acceptable to let hands touch hands and bodies touch bodies, be forewarned my friends, the hugging and loving may get really awkward!

By Merrit Malloy
When I die
Give what’s left of me away
To children
And old men that wait to die.
And if you need to cry,
Cry for your brother
Walking the street beside you.
And when you need me,
Put your arms
Around anyone
And give them
What you need to give to me.
I want to leave you something,
Something better
Than words
Or sounds.
Look for me
In the people I’ve known
Or loved,
And if you cannot give me away,
At least let me live on in your eyes
And not your mind.
You can love me most
By letting
Hands touch hands,
By letting bodies touch bodies,
And by letting go
Of children
That need to be free.
Love doesn’t die,
People do.
So, when all that’s left of me
Is love,
Give me away.

So, with that in mind, I give you simply love.

A Note To My Friends…

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“Friendship isn’t about who you’ve known the longest. It’s about who walked into your life, said ‘I’m here for you’ and proved it.” ~ Unknown

The last little while has certainly brought some heart aches in this household.  The loss of two great friends in as many months has been very tough.  Processing this loss along with everything else going on around me certainly makes me feel overwhelmed.

Where am I going with this?  It was two conversations with two different friends (and my counselor) that got me thinking.  Why do we feel that we can’t “bug” our friends when we need a little supporting?  Don’t get me wrong, I do it too.  The conversation inside my head goes something like this:

Me: “I really could use some support from this friend.”

Brain: “But they’re busy with their own stuff, don’t burden them with your stuff.”

Me: “Yeah, you’re right” 

And with that, I carry on without reaching out for the support I truly needed.

So my dear friends this note’s for you…

I want you to know, that I will always hold space for you – no matter what might be happening around me at the time.  You are an important part of my world and I am honoured you reached out for support. 

As I learned once in a workshop: I see you.  I hear you. I love you.  You matter and you are worthy of having all the support you might need.

I will strive not offer any advice, opinions or suggestions unless you specifically ask me for some.  I will do my best to support you in any way I can – whether that be a listening ear or food and treats dropped at your door.  I will not put you off for tomorrow or another day, for those might not come.  I will be honest and loving in the best way I know how.

We might not talk every day We may only cross paths once in a while and maybe we just like each other’s posts on social media, however, I will always be here for you – no matter what – because that’s what friends do!

Until next time, may you joy, love, peace and comfort knowing you have this friend’s support ready, willing and able.

Goodbye 2020!

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What will you remember about 2020?  Will it be the toilet paper hoarders, masks as fashion statements or will it be the wild fires, the protests or murder hornets?  For me, it will be all of the above and then some!

It’s sure been one hell of a year hasn’t it? 

I don’t know about you but I certainly did not envision 2020 ending up the way it has.  I really expected a lot more than what I ended up with.  The possibilities of a new decade seemed so exciting. The start of the year brought me great hope.  I chose my word for the year – THRIVE and I intended to thrive to the fullest!

Then… the world changed in a heartbeat…

Don’t get me wrong, there were some great moments of 2020, however, they tend to be overshadowed by the other moments.

2020 brought love, grief and a lot of heartache and not just because of a pandemic.

We went into lockdown, we saw no one unless it was six feet away or virtually.  We did a lot of baking, eating and I’m not gonna lie – a lot of drinking!  The girl who thrived on her connections started to fade.

I grieved hard for the life I had enjoyed so carefree.  I never thought I took my life for granted –  I sure did. I miss everything from hugs to our international students to hosting dinners with those I care about so much.  Fuck, my love language is acts of service and I can’t even do that! So many meals I couldn’t host or cook or enjoy with the friends I choose as family. 

Throughout all this, I landed a new job.  Thank goodness, I would have lost my other due to the pandemic.  Hubs kept his job – luckily, people need to eat and his company had food to deliver to the stores!  Each night, we still ended the day with something to be grateful for.  It has been hard some nights to stop and find that gratitude – it doesn’t have to be mind blowing, it can be simply that we made it through the day.  Some days, even that was a challenge. I stopped sharing my five things to be grateful for posts.

The pandemic kept going.  It stopped us again in our tracks.  Another lockdown, more time away from friends.

2020 seemed to take so much away from everyone, not just us.  This is where I struggle.  I know that hubs and I are lucky compared to some, however, we struggle too and somehow we get lost in all this because “we have it better than others.”

Still, I grieve.

I grieve because I couldn’t be the friend I wanted to be.  The pandemic kept me away.  You see, this year (recently), I lost one of my dearest friends.  I couldn’t see her the way I would have liked to.  I couldn’t spend time with her like I would have in a “normal” time.  I am unable to push past the time that others got to spend with her because they lost their jobs and I didn’t.  They got to be in her bubble, I wasn’t.  I feel guilty that I wasn’t there for her more.  I couldn’t speak with her the way I would have liked.  I couldn’t offer my ear or even hug her or offer comfort. Hell, she drove me to Vancouver the day my mum died.  She was there for me when I need her most yet somehow, I don’t feel like I did the same for her.  That chance got taken away from me.

So, as this year winds up, I am desperately trying to find my word of the year for 2021, struggle with setting an intention board and clearing the old for the new…

And still, I grieve.

I can only end with saying this:  Love deeply, love hard, never take anything for granted no matter how small, how trivial or how insignificant it might be.  That’s the lesson I learned this year.

I wish you health, safety and abundance as we welcome 2021.  May it offer each of us exactly what we need when we need it.  And somehow, some way, we’ll survive.   We’ll find our strength and we’ll hug friends again, host dinners and honour those we lost in person once again.

Until next time, may you find love, peace, joy, gratitude, health and so much more.