Wednesday, May 30, 2012

New Ride!

On a whim, I jumped in the car Sunday around 2:00 pm and headed to Buffalo. My mission? To buy a new bicycle.

I had heard from my ex-husband that he got a good deal on a bike for his son and that if I wanted one, it would be worth the drive and time because the deals were very good.

After looking at Wal-Mart, K-Mart and Target, I decided that he was right. I didn't think I was going to do it this weekend though. I was thinking I would go maybe next weekend or the weekend after that, and then suddenly it dawned on me that there was no reason to delay and why would I put off something that will ultimately get me moving again?

So that was all I needed to convince myself to get off the sofa and hit the road. With the sun roof open, the tunes blasting, I felt like a free bird. It was exhilarating.

I went to the K-Mart right across from Walden Galleria and in no time the Manager was packing it into the back of my car. Because it was the last one there and had suffered a few scratches, he knocked another $20.00 off the already reduced price.

It's a pink Schwinn, Ladies, Windwood Model. It's a pale pink with flowers on the frame. Nice wide seat, lovely high handle bars for upright riding and matching fenders!

I got back home at 6:30 PM, pulled it out of the trunk and took it for a 15 min spin around the neighbourhood. I couldn't believe how much energy I had to put into it because it is a single speed. I figure it will be better for me, since my goal is to lose weight.

The time went extremely slow all day at work while I waited to get home and take a spin. I just got back and managed to do 20 mins tonight. I'll just keep at it until I can do an hour. 

There are so many places to explore with my bike. The city looks different from a bicycle than it does from a car and there is nothing like the wind blowing in your face.

I hope to get to know my bicycle very well this summer!

Sunday, May 27, 2012


"You're different", he said, in a matter of fact tone of voice.

I stood looking at him with a pain in my heart like I've never experienced before and I thought but didn't say, you think?  The tears hadn't started yet.  I had held it in for the arrangements, the writing of the eulogy, the actual memorial service and we had just come back to the house from the funeral.  I was standing in the kitchen trying to figure out what I was doing.  Was I putting the left over booze in the fridge or taking it out to the garage?  Where would I put all this food? Why in the hell did my mother have to die?

He was asking me questions about my future.  Questions I hadn't had time to consider or think about yet.  Questions that I didn't want to think about, a part of me still in denial of what had just happened.  Questions that would have to be answered, but later.  Much later.  I needed to cry first.

I didn't know that those questions, the ones I couldn't answer would be the beginning of our end.  I couldn't know that then, in my numb state.  I didn't have one ounce of emotion left for anyone or anything.  I was robbed of all my energy and just wanted to crawl into bed and sleep for a long, long time.  The six weeks sleeping in the hospital at my mother's side had taken a toll on me.

I didn't care at that moment that I seemed different.  I was.  I had just lost one of the most important people in my life and I would forever be different because of that.

But I didn't believe that after all the support and care I had given to him over the past 10 years that he would not be there for me.  I couldn't imagine that he wouldn't be patient and allow me the time I needed to sort through my new reality and come to terms with my loss.  That's why I didn't force myself to try and answer his questions, or comfort him and make him know that it would be OK, because I couldn't.

And because I was so low, I started to stay home on weekends, sorting through the belongings and trying to put order in my house.  I thought, we are both adults. People who love one another understand and will wait patiently.

I was wrong.  Or maybe I was right, and it didn't happen that way because there was no love on his part.  I didn't stop loving or caring.  But I was neglectful.  I wasn't doing the things I used to do.  I wasn't pushing myself to do all my chores after work and before sleep so that I could be available to go to his country estate on the weekends.

Instead I was sleeping in my own bed and laying in late every day, even work days.  I was struggling with all the basic things in life, such as the following:

  • getting out of bed
  • getting dressed
  • eating
  • focusing on my job
  • not crying 
  • keeping my voice strong when some caring soul asked how I was doing  
  • cooking 
  • cleaning 
  • leaving the house 
  • paying my bills
  • and just living
We were in touch every day by telephone and more often on weekends.  It was a big change for us both.  So we tried to stay connected as much as possible.  I tried to go to the estate when his son would be there because he is like a son to me and I didn't want to disappoint him.

I couldn't always do that though, because to pretend that I was happy and cheerful was too hard.  It was something that I couldn't muster and I didn't want to bring everyone else down, so some weekends even when he was there, I stayed home.

I did get there for bf's birthday weekend and brought my friends along to celebrate.  I made a big deal of it and it felt good.  I was also available for his son's birthday, even though it was the day after my mother's and it was the first birthday without my mom, I didn't let that spoil his day.

He had informed me in March that I was not his gf.  I thought he was just angry because of my absence.  I still didn't have the energy to do what I needed to keep it together.  So I accepted that it was over, but deep down inside, I thought that once I got myself together, we would possibly be able to fix things.  I would be able to dance again, just as fast as I once did, and he would be happy.  He continued to call me on a regular basis and invite me to dinner with him and his son.  It didn't really seem like anything had changed except that he didn't talk to me as much on weekends anymore.

I thought that in my absence, he would have time to reflect on our relationship and in the end he would realize that he had a good thing.  I never really felt appreciated or loved.  When he called on Tuesday night and started to tell me what a wonderful person I was, I thought that I was right.  I have a hard time accepting compliments.  It makes me uncomfortable.  I'm more at ease, giving than receiving.  But I listened to it.  My face blushing and a smile from ear to ear, until he touched my heart with how much he misses me.  Then I started to cry.  I miss him too, but I can't see any other way right now.  I have to get my house in order.  I have to prepare for the possibility that I may have to rent a room to hang onto it.  That means sorting and getting rid of boxes that my mother and I had been carrying around with us for years.

He continued with the touching words, telling me how much his son loves me and that he hopes I will always be in his life, no matter what, and I started to cry even more as memories of his son and I snorkelling for hours in the shallow waters looking for fish and treasures flashed through my mind and the thought that I would not have that anymore seemed unbearable.  He knew I was crying.  I couldn't hold back the tears any longer.  He kept telling me that he hoped I would feel better after we talked.  He said that more than once, and I couldn't understand what he was about to tell me that would make the pain I was experiencing disappear.  Then he told me that I am a great catch and that he hoped that one day some man would fall madly in love with me and treat me like the Queen I was.  

I'm not sure what was mentioned next, but I mustered up a question.  I asked if he had told his son.  He said he had and then he moved right into "I'm seeing someone else".  I almost didn't hear him.  I was thinking about what his son's reaction was.  I had to confirm that I had heard right.  

"Did you just say you are seeing someone else?"

He said yes, and then let me know that he had already introduced his son to her and that he didn't really like her.  I was stunned.  No I was floored.  I was in his life for a few years before I ever met his son, or he met my family - because it was casual in the beginning.  

Of course my mind jumps to when did he start to see her?  If he is already introducing her to his son he must be serious.  He must have been seeing her for quite some time.  Maybe that is why we were having such a difficult time of things for the last year.  

I muttered that I thought he had been seeing someone and he said, I knew you did.  I asked the question.  As hard as it was, I needed to know.

"Did you start seeing her before we broke up?"

"No.  It's not serious, it's really just to get over us."  

I guess that last comment was meant to make me feel better.

Not sure what his date for our "breakup" would be.  I know for me it wasn't officially over until this phone call, but I realize that for him, it could have been when I was staying with my dying mother, or maybe just after she passed and I wasn't available every weekend, I'm not really sure but it doesn't matter, it's over.

And so another new beginning.

Monday, May 21, 2012

I Had A Dream...

Last night I had a great dream.  I always ask my mom a question before I fall asleep.  I tell her that I love her and I hope she is happy and well in the afterlife and then I ask her where she put her will.  The accountant insists that it will be easier to deal with the tax agency if I can find it but other than that, I don't really need it.

Every morning I expect to wake up with the information and each morning I feel as though I may have received something but I can't remember.

This morning I woke up with my head full of details.  It was so clear in my mind I could close my eyes and see it just like a photograph.  I'm sure it was from my mother.  Before her passing, one of our favourite topics of conversation would be about our dream kitchen.  We have talked about it since we moved into our new home 5 years ago.  

We had most of the details figured out except one area that we did not agree on and the solution came to me in my dream.  It is the best of what my mom and I had envisioned.  It was a complete melding of both of our ideas and it would be perfect!

I live in a townhouse.  The building is about 40 years old and the kitchen is quite small.  That doesn't bother me but it is closed off from the living room/dining room except for the two entrances.  Why you would need two doors into such a small space is beyond me.  My original idea was to open the kitchen completely to the dining room by removing the wall that divides it.  My mom wasn't convinced of that.

She dreamt about having a counter with upper cupboards on the other small wall that opens to the living room.  

In my dream, instead of removing the wall to the dining room, we closed the doorway in halfway up and then opened a section in the middle so that there was a generous cut out, overlooking the dining area.  A bar on the dining room side with a couple chairs and a nice bar top.  The sink would be repositioned underneath the cut out so that the dish cleaner would have something to look at.

There is a wall of counter and upper cupboards to replace the current blank wall.  The stove is closer to the fridge, where the current sink is.  Of course, the dishwasher would move under the sink or beside it.  All the cupboards, fridge, stove, and flooring would be replaced.

Task lights are strategically placed around the perimeter of the workspace so that the light is where you need it and there are separate switches so you can have them all on or just a couple.

It's white and the counter top is dark but I am not sure what material it is.  I guess I shouldn't have said that all the details were provided because I can't remember the flooring or the countertop.  However, I do remember that I have a baking area, with drawers that hold all the baking materials with additional drawers for pots and pans.

Everything has a place and it is perfect!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Weight Game

I already mentioned that this is a new chapter in my life and as with all new chapters, they begin with change.  I get inspired by change.  I always have.  So my new inspiration for this journey is finally tackling my weight for once and for all.  I am like any other addict, I try to stop, am successful for a while and then fall down.      The amount of time between falling and getting back up can be as short as a day or two or as long as 5 years.  There is no telling how long the fall will be.  It doesn't matter.  What does matter is that I never give up.  I will win this game.  I am determined.  And just like when I quit smoking, this time feels like it is IT!

So I joined Weight Watchers Online, again.  The last time I joined it was a half -hearted attempt at getting on track.  Mentally, I wasn't there and I thought that if I went through the motions that I would suddenly be struck with the inspiration and I would be off to the races.  It didn't work out that way.  A year later, I was heavier than when I started.  I decided it was not financially responsible to pay to gain weight so I quit.  That wasn't the brightest idea either.  I slowly managed to gain enough weight to make life difficult.  Climbing up and down the stairs was an effort.  Walking a short distance hurt my knees.  My fat was getting in the way of life.  I wanted to get out and hike to take some pictures but I knew that physically I would tucker out before the shot I was looking for would be found.

I didn't want to get together with my distant friends, who were calling because then they would notice how fat I had become.  I was embarrassed with the way I looked and tired with how I felt.  So finally, I did the right thing and got back on the weight watchers band wagon.

I totally love the online tools.  I can't believe how much they have improved their site.  The best tool though is the recipe builder.  You can enter three ingredients you have in your fridge or cupboard and it will present you with a variety of different recipes along with the nutritional values (points).  It couldn't be easier.

So this is a warning to anyone who stumbles upon this blog.  It used to be just a rambling of random things that I found interesting or funny, but now it is going to shift into events that occur on my path to a more fit Suzy!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

New Chapter

2011 was a nightmare.  A living nightmare.  My dear mother was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer at the end of January and optimistically embarked on the radiation treatment band wagon.  We were certain that she was going to rally and continue on for a few more years.  She was such a fighter.

Unfortunately, for myself and my family, she either didn't get her treatment quick enough (it managed to move to her brain, which meant additional treatments in the fall) or we were in denial about how strong she was because she contracted pneumonia in October and was not able to beat it.

For most of the last 17 years, my mother, daughter and I have lived together so her absence in our lives is huge.  We were in a groove.  For some, in particular, my good friend A., our groove was perhaps more like a dysfunctional rut than a groove.  Regardless, we loved each other and we had a routine.

Now my daughter and I are learning to live without.  For everyone that has experienced the loss of a close relative, you know what I am talking about.  It's a new chapter in our lives and as with all books, the plot and story is a mystery.

To keep some continuity and make the transition for us easier, I have chosen to preserve my mother's obsession of feeding the birds and have taken on her role as the neighbourhood wildlife caretaker.  I'm astonished at how much time this task takes.  I didn't realize that keeping up with our acreage would mean that I would either have to change my alarm for an earlier wake up in the morning, or that I would turn into a habitually tardy employee.  I really don't like getting up early so, now I have a bit of an issue with my boss.  He doesn't like people who are not punctual.  We'll work it out - somehow, but in the meantime, the birds, squirrels, raccoon and possums are all very happy.  Best of all, I am overwhelmed with a warm sense of satisfaction and fulfillment every time I look out at our garden and see the birds and animals enjoying the same gourmet offerings and they have not had to suffer the pain from the loss of my mother as we have.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to all the mother's out there.  I hope you have a beautiful day and that your children express their gratitude for all the sacrifices you have made.  My day has been exceptional so far and I am very lucky to have such a beautiful, caring daughter.  She gave me a heart-tugging card, a bouquet of flowers and prepared a three course brunch.  Blueberry scones, yogurt and fruit parfait, followed by a Martha Stewart dish of eggs and bacon baked in a muffin tin lined with bread and pan fried potatoes.

This is our first Mother's day without my mom who passed away on November 28th, 2011 and my daughter went above and beyond to make it special for me and as a tribute to her grandmother.

My mother was such a big part of our lives that it is very difficult to get over the void she has left with her departure, but each day we get a little bit stronger and I know she is with us.  I can't help but smile as I clean the bird bath and feed the birds about how much joy she got from having these things in our small backyard and I know she is very happy to know that I am carrying on her chores so that the feathered friends do not notice that she has departed.

I used to take great pleasure in teasing her about her obsession with feeding all the wildlife but I can't fathom not continuing in her absence.  In the days following her death, I wrote a eulogy in her honour and read this at her funeral.  I thought it would be fitting to share it with you today on Mother's Day.

3 December 2011

Eulogy for Mom

My mother recently ruminated about how she felt as though she had lived several lifetimes in the span of one.  She felt this way after sharing memories from her past with me.

That was an enjoyable afternoon.  It confirmed something that I have always known, something that my mother, herself, often forgot, and that is, that she was a very strong woman. 

Some of the events or circumstances that built her strength were:

·        Survived a difficult childhood
·        Married a disabled man
·        was a woman “bread-winner” during a time when women stayed home to raise their children
·        Decided to move her family, to Collingwood in 1967 to provide a better life, even though this meant moving away from her own family and friends
·        She was one of the first women hired by Goodyear Rubber in 1967 Collingwood; she worked alongside the men on the line, earning less than they did and without benefits
·        Worked two and three jobs at a time to provide for the family of four
·        searched and obtained affordable shelter when rent increases dictated another move – hence performing 10 moves by the time I was 16
·        She kept money problems to herself – we did not know how difficult times were for our parents.  We knew that we did not have the things that other children had and wondered why she always had to work but were oblivious to the stress she was under
·        Told a prospective employer that she was a bookkeeper and then studied accounting at night so that she could be proficient at her new job
·        She never bad mouthed my father when their relationship ended and remained amicable
·        Returned to school in her late 40’s or early 50’s to obtain her real estate licence and succeeded
·        Worked as a superintendant of a large apartment building in Oshawa which was a very physical job (mid 50’s)
·        continued on a trip by herself from Calgary to British Columbia when Melissa and I had to return home
·        Learned how to drive a school bus in her late 50’s and drove a rural route during hard winters in the Collingwood area
·        Went to work in the cafeteria at Goodyear just prior to turning 60
·        Lived with the pain of arthritis for years without being able to take anti-inflammatory drugs due to allergies
·        And in the end survived for more than two weeks without food or water, after making the decision that the cancer was stronger than her and requesting that treatment stop

These life events built her strength, but they also made her wise, gave her a wonderful sense of humour, and gave her compassion.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention at this point that my mother’s life was not all challenges and struggles.  She was fortunate to meet a wonderful man at my uncles wedding, Stewart Linton.  Stew and my mother married a couple of years after meeting and he provided a life for my mother that previously she only dreamed about.  Together they bought houses, new cars and travelled.  They spent a wonderful 20 years together before they grew apart, as many people do, but they never stopped caring for one another.  Stew ensured that my mother would never have to return to the worries or struggles that she lived through in the beginning of her life and for that, she was thankful, we are all thankful.

My mother loved animals.  We sometimes joked that the animals were more important to her than anyone else was and in some ways, they were because in her eyes they were helpless and needed her care.  My boyfriend’s son came up with the perfect nickname for my mother – “Mother Nature”.  It describes her to a T.  All animals in the Pinedale vicinity were well fed on my mom’s watch.  If a cat walked up to the door and meowed, she would be right out there with a bowl of water or food.  Moreover, she treated them all equally; the birds, squirrels, raccoons, possums, and skunks – she made sure there was enough food and water for all.

However, her caring personality was not restricted to animals alone, she became pseudo mothers to all my friends, my sister’s friends, my stepbrothers, my cousin and his friends, my daughter and her friends, my nephews and their friends and the people in our neighborhood.  She was never too busy to lend an ear and give you her opinion – but the opinion would be exactly what she wanted to say which was not always, what you wanted to hear.  She didn’t mince words.  She was brutally honest but not malicious and she spoke from her heart, which most people respected.

She could laugh at herself, which was one of my favourite qualities about her, and I took pleasure in teasing her and making her laugh.  One funny memory I have was when my sister and I were teenagers, helping my mother shop for new clothes because she was starting a new job in an office. 

We were upstairs of Geraldine’s, a woman’s clothing store in Collingwood.  The upstairs was a loft overlooking the store.  There was a change room located near the racks of clothes.  My sister and I both had our backs to the change rooms.  I’m not sure how long she was standing in the middle of the room wearing only her bra and underwear before we noticed her.  I told mom to get back in the change room before someone saw her.  Her response was, “Who’s going to see me, this is a ladies clothing store – I don’t care if a woman comes up here!”  I must mention here that her underwear had seen better days.  She was notorious for wearing her underclothes out before replacing because she thought there were uses that were more important for her money.  I turned to look towards the stairs when I heard footsteps approaching, my mother continued looking at the clothes, not worried.  I’ll never forget the look of shock on the man’s face as his eyes took in the sight of my mother, ripped panties, scraggly bra, holding up a dress trying to decide if she liked it or not.  He exclaimed “Oh my” and scurried back downstairs.  We were unable to contain our laughter.  We were practically rolling around on the floor trying not to wet our pants just thinking about the look of shock on his face and remembering how adamant my mother was just moments before that it was a ladies store and she didn’t care.  Debbie and I had to get outside in order to stop laughing and because we were so embarrassed.  My mother refused to show embarrassment and continued to do what she had come out to accomplish and that was to buy a new dress.

All I can say is thank you.  Thank you for being a kind, compassionate, caring, strong woman.  Thank you for giving yourself to those who knew you and thank you for being the special person you were.  You were loved more than you knew and we will truly miss you.