Thursday, May 10, 2018

Why (part one)

Wednesday afternoons are the times of the week that I like to go to Starbucks, the location in the Holiday Inn to be exact. The people who work there know me, are courteous and friendly towards me, and know how I like my peppermint mocha frappucinos. It’s my stomping ground, the place where I can get my bearings for awhile before I go get groceries and other essentials.

Today, however, as I approached the ramp to the Holiday Inn to go to the Starbucks inside, I stopped in my tracks and groaned. Not again, I thought. Not again!  The ramp had been sectioned off with yellow caution tape and some guy was scraping off the paint which had become weather beaten and cracked due to our cold winter.

I explained that I wanted to go to Starbucks and there was no other way for me to get inside. Grudgingly, the tape was taken off and I was allowed to use the ramp.  I had to drive over a pile of soggy paint chips; it seemed like too much trouble to clean it up for me. Sure, so what if I get paint on my wheels and then track it into Starbucks?

Despite the already bad attitude of the worker (and the manager of the hotel who had appeared) they were told by my assistant that blocking off their ramp could be seen as a fire hazard. If there was a fire on their premises, how could a person in a wheelchair who had booked a room escape the building?

Inside Starbucks,  I snacked upon a double chocolate brownie and a frappucino.  As I sat there, one word kept resounding in my head:  Why.

Why did the hotel have to strip the paint off of the ramp in the daytime anyway?  Couldn’t they simply do the work at night when people are less likely to be around? Why did the hotel keep re-painting the ramp?  (This wasn’t the first time I, and other people in wheelchairs, had been thwarted from using it because another coat was being slathered on!)  Why didn’t they use better quality of paint, something specifically for the outdoors? And, why did the bloody ramp need to be painted at all? I’ve never ever seen stairs being painted?

Most importantly, though, why do the Holiday Inn staff always go out of their way to make feel bad for using something that was especially put there  for people like me? Why don’t they respect people like me, or indeed, the Ontario Disability Act?  Don’t they want my business? And, don’t they want Starbucks to get my business either?

If you’re ever on Carlton St. in Toronto,  could you please ask the management these questions?  I’d love to know the answers.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

To All of the Cats I’ve Loved Before Part II ... Finally

This past Sunday was the one year anniversary of getting my newest cats Sherlock and Watson.  Happy anniversary, boys!  Thank you to Liz and her two sons for introducing them to me and for giving me this incredible gift of infinite cuteness and sweetness.

It has taken me awhile to post about Sherlock and Watson in my blog. At first, I felt conflicted. I felt guilty for not introducing them to my readers, and yet, because I was still heartbroken over the loss of Hershey and Rascal, l felt guilty for even considering to do so. It was as if I was betraying their memories somehow.

After awhile, however, I realized that I had enough love for all of my pets, both past and present  --  my dogs Tippy and Honey; my cats LuLu; Dandylion; Hershey and Rascal; and now, Sherlock and Watson.

Here are my new boys, everybody.  I hope you'll grow to love them as much as I do!

Friday, February 2, 2018

To All of the Cats I've Loved Before

To All of the Cats I've Loved Before


Who Came in and out My Door


I'm Glad You Came Along


You Always Soothed Whatever Was Wrong

(Hershey -
I can't believe it's s year today since you departed!)

To All of the Cats I've Loved Before

To be continued ....

Saturday, January 6, 2018

30 Years Ago

I found this old diary from 1988, the day when Rob and I met.  As I write this, it's thirty years later ....

In honour of my late husband Rob, I wore my Zappa t-shirt and his Mickey Mouse sweatshirt. Just like thirty years ago, when we first met, I had ice cream at Baskin Robbins. I wished with all of my heart that he could have been with me then to celebrate our anniversary. 

I bought Rob's favourite things: scotch, beer, and KFC.  I talked about him so much to everybody and anybody who would listen. I shed a gallon of tears, and raged against the Fates for taking him from me too bloody soon! Rob should have been here for our 30th anniversary, goddammit! Oh yes, and it's our 22nd wedding anniversary, too.  Weren't we romantic to have gotten married on the same date as when we met? 

Thirty years, forty, fifty, one hundred - for the rest of eternity - I shall always love my sweet, funny, weird Rob Warenda!

Monday, December 25, 2017


I have two new cats named Sherlock and Watson. I revel in their sweetness and cuddiness.  I do love them, you know ... They’re not Hershey and Rascal, of course, but no other cat could ever compare to them .

This month, I’ve been immersed into the busy-ness of my business. I paint, copy thie image, make tons of different types of merchandise. This cycle of my business provides a good distraction for my mind, especially during the Christmas season.

I went to a make strip club with friends last week.  That was a good distraction too.  I hadn’t actually felt in the mood for our yearly “Dickmas” excursion, but I went anyway. I ended up snapping out of my funk and enjoying myself.  Sometimes you have to fake it to make it!

As another distraction, last night I had friends over for dinner and drinks and fun.  Today, Christmas Day, I’m having more friends over.

This month, whenever I was having a frappucino at Starbucks and a sappy Christmas song comes on (like Judy Garland's "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas") and I want to kill myself because of overwhelming sadness, I turn to the person with me and say, "So, how are you? What's new?"

Distractions and avoidance are the two ways by which I hold myself together during the month of December. You see, even though one part of me likes Christmas a bigger part dreads it because of all the overwhelming sadness it brings to me.

I miss so many people.  My mom, my dad and my best friend Aaron. Rob, of course, and Dandylion, and Hershey and Rascal. My Aunt Joyce recently died from lung cancer too.

This month has been particularly difficult for me. Thirty years ago, Rob and I started chatting through online bulletin board systems, which was pre-internet.  We started out as friends, flirted with each other a bit, flirted some more, and fell in love.

Thirty years ago. How can that be? It feels like I just saw Rob yesterday.  He should be here to celebrate this anniversary with me! Perhaps his spirit is here with me ... I don’t know. I know that I’d prefer him in tangible form to hold me and laugh with me.

I’m alone at the moment, listening to the ticking of the clock. It reminds me of the truth, that time marches onwards no matter what.

One wonderful and constant distraction from my sadness and the harsh realities of life is the fact that I have many cool, great, fantastic and brilliant people in my life. In fact, recently I’ve acquired several more friends, which makes me very happy.

So, Merry Christmas, everyone!

Or as my dear friend Aaron would say, “Fuck Christmas, have sex!”

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

To Rob

To my late husband Rob and the love of my life:

It's Never Really Goodbye

It's never really goodbye
Although sometimes I may sigh
Although sometimes I may cry
It's never really goodbye
It's never really goodbye

You're never truly off my mind
You’re never truly off my mind
Despite the passage of time continuing to unwind
You're never truly off my mind
You're never truly off my mind

You were always here to help me to face life's reality
You were always here to help me to face its harsh brutality
Now all I have are sweet memories to get me through
Now all I have are sweet memories of the life I once shared with you

Forever you will stay in my head
Forever you will stay in my head
Remembering the happy times we shared
In and out of bed
In and out of bed

I’ll never understand
No, I’ll never really understand
Why you had to leave
Why you had to leave
Oh what a sad tale the Fates did weave
What a terribly sad tale the Fates did weave


Friday, September 15, 2017

Analyzing My Dreams

For several weeks, I've been having very vivid dreams. What's new, you may ask?  Anne, you are always having weird dreams.  Yes, well, the most recent ones seem to be about specific themes: yearning for the past, and yet struggling to make the present better and less viotile.

In one dream, I was in a library in Scarborough looking at all of the different types of books.  Feelings of of nostalgia washed over me when I saw Pinocchio, Peter Pan, and Cinderella on the shelves.  They were my favourite stories as a child. And then, I saw a librarian I used to know and we chatted for awhile.  I felt happy. And yet, when I went outside I could see that the library was being boarded up, as if in preparation to be torn down.

Many of my recent dreams have involved my mother.  In one, I had this brilliant idea to buy a large condo and rent out rooms at a reasonable price to some of my employees. I wanted my mother to invest in this venture but she was doubtful. So, I went to Scarborough Town Centre (a mall that I used to hang out in when I was growing up) and stopped a fight between two spies in the food court. I screamed, "Why can't we all just get along?!" I then went outside and decided to go home - not to my current residence but to the house in which I grew up.

The weirdest dream I had was where I owned a large house in which both zombies and robots resided. Sure they were noisy, but I didn't seem to care because they paid their rent.  Suddenly, my Grandmother Abbott (who has been dead for 17 years!) knocked on the door and asked to see my brother Bruce.  One of the zombies told her that he wasn't there and she kind of grumbled and went away. I struggled out of my manual wheelchair (I don't know why I wasn't in my power wheelchair... or why my grandmother didn't ask for me... or why, indeed, she was nonplussed about a zombie answering the door) and crawled outside onto the freezing cold snow, trying to get to my grandmother and tell her that Bruce was coming soon - just wait! Suddenly, I saw my brother, not as he looks now but as he appeared as a teenager: long hair, platform shoes, and driving that beat up old blue van of his.  He got out, and I immediately yelled:  "Bruce David Abbott - where have you been?!"

Those have been a few of my most recent dreams, the more memorable ones at least ....

If I'm honest, though, it's not just trying to analyze my dreams that have been on my mind lately - it's the songs that accompany them in the morning.  A lot of times it's Stevie Wonder's "Don't You Worry About a Thing" that pops into my head.  It's a seemingly benign song, and yet sometimes it makes me feel like crying.  Both my mother and Rob would always try to soothe my worries away.  Rob,
especially would make me see how silly and useless worrying actually is. He comforted me, charmed me, and made me laugh.

"The Sound of Winter" by Bush is another one that likes to replay in my head, so many times I feel like I'm about to go nuts. I love that song, though, that's the funny part of it. I love the lyrics and the imagery within it.

Mind strong, Body strong
Try to find equilibrium
Head straight, screwed on
Been screwed up for too long
I don't want to lean on the waves
I watch the storm evaporate
I think of you in starry skies
I keep you so alive
Let's walk through the fire together
Disappear in the golden sands
It's all in your face
I see you break
It's like the sound of winter
The bleeding love, the silent escape
You've got to hang on to yourself
It's like the sound of winter
Medusa smiles, Judas lips
Open arms and finger tips
Love bites and recompense
I'll be with you until the end
Let's walk through the fire together
Disappear in the golden sands
It's all in your face
I see you break
It's like the sound of winter
The bleeding love, the silent escape
You've got to hang on to yourself
It's like the sound of winter
Hang on to yourself
Hang on to yourself

During these brutal and  uncertain times, remember to hold onto yourself and the ones you love. To simply yearn for the past and focus upon nothing else is a waste of time.  Enjoy the present, and try to respect and help one another.  Prepare yourself for the future - I think it's going to be a bumpy ride!

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

My Trip to England in Words

Time goes by so fast. It's hard to believe that only a little over a week ago I arrived home from a week's stay in England.

It was both a chance to display my artwork in the PARALLAX Art Fair and to take in some of the sights of London.

Back in April, when the opportunity to be in the art fair dropped into my lap, I was at a low point of my life.  The loss of both Hershey and Rascal left me utterly heartbroken.  And yet, just like the other losses I've experienced within my lifetime, the world incredibly carried on as if nothing had happened. Like a river, life continued to flow onward, never-ending.

I decided that I wanted to be part of that magnificent flow, be it calm or turbulent - I wanted a new adventure!

Except for a few hiccups, like the airline damaging two wheels on my commode chair and getting into an argument with the manager of the flat on the first day, England was brilliant!

I went to the Tate and Portrait galleries, both of which were fantastic - and free! Even on a dull, overcast day, the view from the London Eye didn't disappoint.

As I was going along the Ripper Walk I couldn't help but think that perhaps I should have been a CSI detective. Tales of blood and gore don't faze me, neither did the gruesome photos that the guide passed around. My only thoughts were: Why/how could this person commit such deeply warped and horrendous acts?  Who was Jack the Ripper? Would anyone know for sure?

I wish that I could go back in time, follow the clues and solve the case.

The PARALLAX Art Fair was amazing!  There were so many other artists there, all with cool and different styles.  I made a few friends and connections here.  One person was from Spain and had a 17 year old son who had Cerebral Palsy. We chatted for a bit and said we'd keep in touch.

I didn't sell any paintings, unfortunately, but I sold a lot of cards and prints. So, that was good!  My customers had many complimentary things to say about my art.  That made me happy. No, more than happy .... Of course, I've received praise for my art before throughout the years.  However, somehow this was different.  The customers at the art fair saw the hard work that had obviously gone into my art.  Sure, a lot of people said the usual things when they saw my body of work:  Your work is so beautiful;  I love your cats; Congratulations on your talent!  Some people, however, went further, saying that they liked the fluidity and depth of  my paintings, and could see how my process had evolved.  There were even a few who told me that they thought my artwork was the best of all of the other art on display.  Perhaps that was going too far ... Still, I felt truly valued and respected as an artist

All in all, I had a fantastic time in London, England - and I yearn to go back!

Maybe next year for my 60th birthday!

Thursday, July 27, 2017

My Trip to England in Photos

From July 17th to July 25th, I went on a journey to and from London, England with five of my friends. These are the photos we took on that trip.

In my next blog post I'll give a more detailed account with actual words.

Me at airport, going to London, England.

Snacking before flight.
Fake Flower in Flat

Tower of London Burger

Sitting in Soho Square, just like I did nine years ago ....

Sitting with Charles II in Soho Square, just like I did nine years ago ....
I love this bench and the song ... they bring back such bittersweet memories of nine years ago ...

Me at the Tate

I wonder if my friend Leon knows about this place. The food's yummy!
Pondering the past existence of Anne Boleyn.

Cool new shoes from Irregular Choice.

Cool new outfit!

Selling my art at the PARALLAX Art Fair. #1

Selling my art at the PARALLAX Art Fair. #2
One of my customers.
My dear friend Roger.

Inflatable wig!

Cool wigs from Tiger!

Beautiful rainbow!

Steak, Yorkshire Pudding, and Guiness

Outside of Paul McCartney's home/studio.

View from London Eye.

Morning preparing to go back to Toronto.

Back at Toronto airport.
I love my friends!