Wednesday, June 30, 2010

I'm still standing, yeah, yeah, yeah!

OK, this isn't about standing but as I was typing "I'm still walking" that Elton John song popped into my head.

Anyway, I gotta say that I am pleased with myself today.

No, nothing spectacular happened.

It's just that I'm trying to continue walking as much as possible rather than being lazy and grabbing the car every time I have to head out.

As you, dear reader, know, I picked the car up on Friday, ran some errands out in the boonies then returned home and the car stayed parked all weekend! Of course, that would not have been the case if the weather had been nicer because then I would have driven to a beach. But that's the sort of excursion the car is for, right?

Today, I had errands to run downtown and I walked to them all. Bank, bank, post office, drugstore, video rental place. A total of 2.6 km. Not far, I realize, and it would be a bigger pain to drive everywhere and have to search for parking, but still.

Not to mention -- but I will -- that I almost walked right into a guy with a walker urinating on the sidewalk. It was outside Starbucks at the corner of Spring Garden and Queen, for anyone interested. It's that sort of quaintness I'd miss if I'd been in a car. Sort of like walking around with an iPod permanently attached and missing the sounds of life around you.

So yay me for not getting lazy and missing what my city has to offer!


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Provincial silliness

Queen Elizabeth is here for an international review of warships resulting in dozens of them being anchored in the harbour. It's so weird seeing all those grey ships just sitting there with smaller boats zipping around between them. The tourists line the roadways and shorelines snapping photos while RCMP guard the bridges, the LG's residence and protect Her Majesty's motorcade.

Sort of gives me the creeps. The demonstration of our ability to annihilate one another.

On the way home, after dropping my daughter off at work (which I can now do thanks to new, shiny car) the afternoon announcer on CBC was comparing the security in Halifax for the Queen's visit to the security in Toronto during the G20.


They just can't help themselves. If there is a comparison to be made with Toronto, they have to make it no matter how lame it is.

It was so more peaceful here than the events in Toronto.

The undertone was that it must be because Nova Scotians are more civilized than Ontarians.


It wasn't more peaceful because say, it's the Queen and no one much cares that she's here? That there isn't much to protest about with the Queen other than the use of fur in the guards' hats or the redundancy of the monarchy. That issues like poverty, labour issues and women's rights aren't going to land on Her Majesty's doorstep.

No one gives a damn that ships were inspected by an octogenarian highness. Many do care that the environment isn't top of the government's agenda.

Crappy service and this ongoing pissiness about Ontario are the two things that make NS extremely annoying to me.

Nova Scotians: You have a terrific little province. Be happy that such beauty surrounds you and quit knocking everyone else. You don't need to compare yourself to others. Travel once in a while. See the world. Enjoy it. Enjoy coming home again. Be generous in your compliments and sparing in your slights. Ontario is a beautiful place, a large place. It exists beyond the boundaries of Toronto and, believe it or not, people there are just as friendly as you are.

I'll be glad when the ships are gone and these silly comparisons stop.


Monday, June 28, 2010

First the good news

I am often at a loss as to how business in this part of the world operates.

This afternoon, I received a call from a building manager where I had applied for a three-bedroom apartment.

"You've been approved," she said.
"Great. I guess you'll want us in to sign some paperwork. What day is best?" I responded.
"The apartment's taken."
"You just said we were approved."
"Yes. We have a two-bedroom coming available in August. Would you like that one?"
"No. I want the three bedroom. Didn't you just tell me we were approved? Are you sure the apartment hasn't been takem by us?"
Shuffling of paper can be heard.
"Is your name Wilson?"
"What apartment was it? Number 111?"
"I don't know the apartment number. It was the three bedroom on the first floor. The one you just told me we were approved for."
"Was it 111?"
"I don't know the apartment number."
More shuffling of papers.
"Didn't you just call me to tell me that we were approved for the apartment we applied for?"
"Yeah, but that's taken. Do you want the two bedroom?"

I couldn't make this up.


Saturday, June 26, 2010

Warning: Whining ahead

I've been quiet of late... as the one's of sevens of you (phrase stolen from my son) who read this will know.

It's been a rough month. Hmmm, year, actually.

I've been flailing about, trying to figure out my life and what to do with it. Ideas are plentiful, yet it seems that as soon as I reach for one, my fingers fasten around nothing more substantial than a puff of air. Ability to create something concrete eludes me. Most certainly, my innate fear of commitment contributes to this lack of direction.

If it wasn't for the realization that I'm running out of cash and racking up credit card debt, I'd love my life. I get up when I want, go to bed when I want, write almost every day, walk, do volunteer work, and hang out with friends and my kids -- actually, one kid now, but we have established long-distance family chats on Sunday nights to replace Sunday dinners.

This week, I thought I'd finally made two decisions. I leased a car (goodbye car-lessness!) and met with a broker who seems to think I'd make a good real estate agent. He and I had chatted over a year ago and he's kept in touch since. I attended one of his staff information sessions on new construction and got a good feeling, so thought I'd take the plunge.

It seems I can't.

At least not yet.

And so goes my thinking... I'll do it. No, I won't. I will. I won't. Ugh! I'm driving myself -- and likely those around me -- nuts.

I apologize to all of you. You know who you are.

I've even been to a guy who reads cards. I mean, really. This has become my method of a good life plan?

He did suggest that I take stock. It seems like good advice so that's what I'm doing. Right now. Today. As soon as I sign off.

I'll let you know what I've come up with.

And for anyone wondering where my weight loss progress is at: Over the past five weeks, I've lost and regained -- thank you, Ben and Jerry's -- three pounds three times. I finally smartened up and have lost an additional two, bringing my weight loss total to 61 pounds. And, even though I have a car, I remain committed to walking anywhere within a reasonable distance.


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Big Republican Conspiracy

I love American politics... hilarious. The Dems are blaming the GOP for the selection of the SC Dem candidate for Senate -- an unemployed and uncommunicative guy who lives in his father's basement.

John Stewart


Friday, June 11, 2010

Girlfriends Part Deux

I went out to dinner last night with two dear friends, C and N. They were taking me out to celebrate my empty-nestedness.

N is an empty-nester herself as well as having been widowed; C is a partial empty-nester and is in the process of completing her Empty Nest badge.

It was great to talk about the unexpected heart-break of it with two who know what it is. I say unexpected because the heart-hurt is exactly the same hurt as the end of a relationship. The sudden welling of tears, the ache in the middle of one's chest. I though there would be a different quality to it but pain is pain, I guess.

Once we finished discussing my son's move, we too moved on. From dinner and margaritas at Mexis to dessert and coffee at Salty's on the harbourfront to drinks and gambling at the casino. We had so much fun in spite of the fact that I've never been a fan of gambling. The morose faces of the denizens remind me too well of the seriousness of their game.

But we three with our penny and quarter slots played our $20 or $30 and cheered when we won $1 like it was a fortune. (I played with $30 and with only 20 cents left won back $20 making the evening feel quite successful.)

Good times, indeed. It was the first time I'd been out of the house in four days.

Yes, I know. You don't have to tell me. Hibernating is not a good thing when you're feeling mopey.

So, tonight I'm having dinner with another friend, Sunday is an Amnesty International workshop on the Demand Dignity campaign and on Monday afternoon my writing group will meet at my place.

Hopefully, this will kick me back into gear.

Thank you, dear C and N for getting me out of the house. I always have such a great time with you both.

And the sun's out! What could be better?

Thursday, June 10, 2010


I've been hibernating over the past few days, eating ice cream and watching early seasons of Sex and the City.

I was never part of the SATC herd. I only watched the movie (the first one) after it hit cable. It was lame yet oddly compelling. I began watching the seasons in reruns and then bought the seasons that I'd missed. I've now gone to see the second movie. (Save your money -- it's pretty bad.)

What the heck is it about those four women that has us entranced?

With the exception of the lead character, the women are largely one-dimensional. They fall in and out of relationships with an alacrity that astounds even me -- a serial monogamist. They fall in love with fashion with greater intensity than with the men with whom they have sex. (Maybe not such a bad thing.) They drink too much, don't do a thing to improve their community, are often selfish.

So why do women like them?

There are the fantasy angles: the ability to have access to and to afford high fashion along with the unending stream of men who are attracted to them and the cool jobs they have that never seem to affect their social lives. (This seems particularly unrealistic given that one is a lawyer and one is in PR. As a long-time PR practitioner, I can attest at having had nearly every vacation or night class and many dinner hours cancelled due to work.)

All of this has its appeal. Fantasy is like that.

But I like to think we are drawn to the story line more so because of the women's friendships. Through thick and thin -- men, arguments, divergent points of view -- they remain best friends. This is the lynchpin.

We've all been there. We start seeing a new guy and the girlfriends fall into secondary importance; we stop seeing the guy and, suddenly, swoop back into our pals' lives, hoping they'll pick up the pieces of our damaged hearts. We swear we won't do it the next time, but we do.

The guy always comes first.

I think this is changing with younger generations, but for mine, our lives were never considered as important as they would be with some man's attached to it.

When I watch SATC, the ultimate fantasy is about friends. Keeping your girls close and your time spent with them sacrosanct despite anything and everything else.

I guess that's why I've been indulging in some couch time with the four girls. I think it's fulfilling some need of mine to have my closest girlfriends with me when they are, in fact, very far away.

So, to my best, best pals, B and L: this week we're being played by Carrie, Miranda, Samantha and Charlotte, as I fantasize about hanging out with you and drinking too much and eating too much and talking about everything.

Here's to best friends. No matter how far away we are or how long it's been since we've seen each other.


Monday, June 7, 2010

Empty Nest

Hey there! It has been a while, hasn't it?

I returned home on Saturday after helping my son, L, move to Toronto. We stopped in Eastern Ontario for a few days to visit family and friends. It was so good to see everyone -- or almost everyone, but I digress.

We left at 4:15 am on the 30th and arrived in Cornwall at about 6:30 pm. It was a long though surprisingly agreeable drive. I'd been afraid of driving through Montreal -- anyone who has been through there will know why. Think bumper cars on speed with construction and off-ramp vagaries thrown in. It turned out to be simpler than I'd remembered and I gained a new appreciation of drivers who leave the passing lane for people passing. Imagine!

We spent a day with my Mom and then we were off to Ottawa to meet up with friends. I, of course, remembered none of the reasons why I'd wanted to move from there in the first place as I sat in the park with a good friend, inhaling the scent of mowed grass and listening to the breeze in the leaves.

Although we moved almost eight years ago, most of the restaurants were the same. Certainly, the buildings hadn't changed. It was just how I envisioned it. And I got nostalgic.

The next morning, we set out on the final leg of our journey to Toronto arriving there mid-afternoon.

L's apartment was a bit of an oddity. A basement apartment in Little Portugal with a separate entrance that was built for gnomes. The interior floor was almost a foot lower than the exterior walk so bending was required to turn the door knob. Low ceilings, uneven floors and some missing construction (like rods in the sole closet) greeted us not too happily.

The bachelor apartment had been cleaned so the kitchen and bathroom were spotless, but the floor was a disaster, covered with fine dust from sanding the walls. Three washes later, it's still not great. The screen and filter over the stove required two-and-a-half days of scrubbing to rid them of years of grease build-up and the washer smelled of old water. Only one window had a screen and none of them had been cleaned in some time. I screamed as an arachnid resembling a dock spider scuttled past.

That first night was dismal.

Sears had delivered two mattresses instead of a mattress and box spring combo, most of the furniture needed assembly, and we couldn't unpack clothes due to the missing closet rods. And, despite paying $100 for a five-block delivery, the bed frame had not arrived. We ended up walking in the rain to fetch it.

After at least an hour on the phone with Sears, trying to get their mistake straightened out, I wanted to go to a hotel and tackle the mess in the morning. L talked me out of it. He came up with the brilliant idea to keep one mattress in its bag and to lay the other on top of it to create a temporary bed.

I was delighted to have washed the bedsheets at home so we could make the bed and have something clean and fresh to sleep on.

L was feeling anxious about his move. His eyes were larger than usual, his mouth tight. Was this going to work out all right? God, how I wanted to hug him to me and encourage him to move back home, but I didn't. I told him this was his time to try it out, to follow his dream, to be in the city for film. I hope I sounded sincere. The desire to be selfish and supportive were definitely crashing together in my brain.

The next morning we started work early and by the end of the day had a rather funky looking bachelor pad to our credit. It's amazing how furniture placement changes the look of a place.

L had a job within 24 hours of arrival. He is back to working at Cora's Restaurant after the recommendation of a former co-worker who had moved to TO ahead of him. He is happy to be able to work three days a week only to cover bills, etc, while giving him time for his writing. Gotta love the service industry, so much more lucrative than retail.

On Friday, we hit a nearby WalMart and No Frills to buy the last of the essentials (like an ironing board and coasters) and groceries.

That night we played cards something that we usually do with much hilarity but I was somber knowing in the morning I'd be leaving my baby behind. L admonished me to relish my new, independent life which made me snappier than I wanted to be. Of course, I will enjoy it. I just have to get through the grieving part first. What kind of a mom would I be if I was happy to get rid of you, I asked him. I think he got it then.

I welled up a couple of times that night and in the morning, but am proud to report that I didn't lose it, didn't make him feel bad for his decision to move.

And then, with a final hug, I was on my way to drop off the minivan and grab a cab to the Toronto Island Airport.

With the exception of some knee-weakening turbulence over Ottawa, the trip was fine and dear friend N picked my up at the airport so I wouldn't feel alone.

My daughter, H, is staying over most of this week in part to babysit me, in part because she's picked up a second job which is easier to access from my place than hers. After leaving for work this morning, she sent me a text saying that she'd forgotten how nice it is to wake up and find me there.

So, although I am missing my son and there is a lump in my throat and my eyes are  moist yet again, it seems that the empty nest mightn't be so empty after all.

They do come back, don't they?