Saturday, November 30, 2013

Uncle Norm's Memorial

I went to Uncle Norm's memorial today.  As memorials go, it was sad, sweet, and, at times, very funny.

Aunt Joyce & Me

Thomas, Bruce, Michelle

Cousin Sue & Me

Me. Bruce, Ivan

Honestly, at first, as Brandon (my cousin Lesley's son) led the way down to where the memorial was being held, it took all my strength and willpower not to turn around and start bawling my head off. Memories flooded my mind of the day when I took that same route and went into that same room to marry Rob 17 years ago.  This overwhelming feeling of sadness stayed with me for quite awhile, until I asked Kelly to give me a Lorazepam with a wine chaser.  That helped! It also helped to grab Kelly's arm occasionally and repeat to myself, It's November 30th, 2013. I'm here right at this moment in time, and nothing else matters.

As I started to mellow out, I started to enjoy myself!  It was great to see all my relatives  - some of whom I hadn't seen in ages!

And, as the crowd thinned out, my Aunt Joyce invited me up to her place to meet the newest addition to the famiy.


She showed me a seven month old kitten named Daisy-Mo, who was so adorable she could melt the hardest heart. I'm very glad my Aunt Joyce got this kitten, it will help her with her grief. A kitten may not be a perfect substitute for a husband you've had for 55 years, but a kitten may help soothe your ravanged soul all the same.

R.I.P. Uncle Norm.We will all miss you. If you see Mom, Dad and Rob please say Hi and I love them ....

Friday, November 29, 2013

A Varied Lifestyle

So, today I got up, had three bites of  breakfast, got dressed and ran over to MMP Glen Murray's office with my OCAP friends to have him sign a document saying that he would promise not to support the merger with ODSP and OW.  Mr. Murray wasn't there, but his assistant assured us that he would get him to contact us.

After that, Yuula and I went to Curry's to buy art supplies. And then we went to the Wine Shop and had a couple samples, and I bought a few Christmas presents there. After that we had a snack at Starbucks. I was starving! We bought groceries and cat toys too. After dinner Motria came by to visit me and buy some Christmas cards.

Now I'm going to paint!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Here and Now

I had another one of my grief counselling session today.  I told my grief counsellor about the dreams I've been having all week about my mother and Rob.  I remember a tiny sliver of one sweet dream, where I kissed my mother's soft cheek and told her that I loved her.

Two out of three dreams were about Rob, though.  The one I remember most took place in a hotel room.  I was trying to tell Rob something, but he wouldn't listen, so I got mad and pissed off.  However, as in real life, Rob made me laugh, hugged me, kissed me ... and I forgave him.  Of course I did!

The dreams have been wonderful.  It's those damned songs in my head that have been driving me to distraction!  On Monday, after I had that nice dream about Rob, I had the song by 3 Doors Down Here Without You in my head all day long. It made me sadder and sadder as the day went on because it mirrored my own emotions, knowing I could only dream about the people I love. And yesterday I had a song by Frank Zappa called I'm so happy I could cry, which either makes me very happy or very sad. There's a part in the song about waiting for the guy she loves at her front door, that always gives me a mental picture of Rob standing at my parents front door waiting to take me out for the day. (I was explaining to my counsellor that this was one of the happiest times in my life because my relationship with Rob was brand new and this was before I knew about attendant abuse or poverty.) And then today I woke up with Tragedy by The Bee Gees in my head. However, just before I left for counselling I suddenly had Trains & Boats & Planes by Dionne Warwick in my head. And this is so odd because I haven't hear or even thought about that song in maybe 26 years.

I told my counsellor that what I think is happening to make me dream of Rob and Mom is that 1) Christmas is approaching fast and 2) I'm going to my Uncle Norm's memorial on Saturday - the same place where Rob and I got married! Hearing my greiving relatives cry and tell stories about my Uncle Norm would probably bring back memories of the memorials of my Mom and Rob.

My counsellor gave me a good suggestion for when I'm somewhere and I'm feeling overwhelmed. She said I should grab onto something and think to myself It's November the 30th (or whatever the date is) and I'm here right now, and nothing else matters except what is happening at this precise second. 

I like her suggestion and I'm definitely going to try it out. It will probably be helpful for non-grieving experiences too.

Living in the here and now, what a good idea!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Beginning of the Bears

I'm painting a picture of the very first gift Rob ever gave me: two teddybears. I named them Rhett and Scarlett after the aliases we had on the FAN BBS.  Well, I also loved the book and movie Gone With the Wind.

I'm going to paint now and then go to bed. 

After all, tomorrow is another day!

Monday, November 25, 2013

I'm Painting Again

I'm seriously, heavily into a new paining I've just started.

I'll write tomorrow ....

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Productive Sunday

Unlike my lazy cats, I had a busy, productive, and fun today.  I wrote emails, designed and ordered new cards and mugs.  Yuula assisted me in doing a major clean-up of  my apartment. It makes me so good when everything is clean and organized!

Motria came over and we ate pizza and Caesar salad, and shared a bottle of beer between us.  Also, we watched several episodes of Law & Order on Netflix.

Not a bad Sunday, all in all ....

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Cold Weather, Cold People

The market started out painfully slow, but at the end of the day I did pretty good day.  I was so tired, though, because I hadn't got enough sleep. (Don't you hate it when you keep worrying that you'll miss the time you're supposed to get up that you jerk awake every hour?)

The ride back home was unbelievably cold and windy, and when I arrived I almost immediately felt nauseated.  Yuck!

What I'm trying to say is, this won't be a long post.  I'm beat.

There's one thing I need to get off my chest.  You see, about three weeks ago, several of the vendors I'm friends with told me that the management of the market had made a new rule saying that everybody had to come and set up their booths by 5am.  This is ridiculous! Nobody shops in the south building at 5am; it's completely dead at that time!  Sure, people to the farmers' market in the north building to ensure that they get the freshest food, but there's no big rush to buy artwork and crafts. And, to enforce this new rule, management comes in at 5am and takes pictures of empty booths and then hands out reprimands to vendors who didn't (couldn't) show up at that time.  How draconian is that!

I hear that they're doing this to force vendors out so they can put in bigger, more well-known stores in.  Hmm, I wonder if the management would tell H&M or Starbucks to start work at 5am .... Probably not!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Busy Busy Busy and SORE!

Damned damp weather!  My neck, shoulder, back, and groin have been killing me all day!  OW!

I'm going to put a couple more things on Etsy ...
( )

and then chill out with a peppermint mocha frappuccino and a chocolate caramel muffin.  After that, Brittainy and I will watch The Walking Dead.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

A Good and Busy Day

It's been a good and busy day.  I worked on the employees' schedule, wrote emails, chatted with my friend Roger, and got the pay cheques for my employees.

And then, I went out and got some necessities: groceries, a sub for dinner, and a prescription. I also picked up pictures from Japan Camera.  (They're from my dad's old slide collection of 1977.)

Since then, I ordered (drumroll please!) a fold-out bed from Sears.  Some of my employees are too tall for the couch I have.  I hope they'll like it!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Speech for This Evening

This is the speech I jus gave at the Town Hall:

As many of you know, I’ve been a disability activist for many years.   I joined DAMN (Disability Action Movement Now!) around the same time as I joined OCAP.   Like ADAPT of the USA, where members got out of their wheelchairs and crawled up the steps of the Capitol Building to demonstrate the inequality; segregation; and inaccessibility within their country, I was drawn to DAMN’s mandate of direct action to evoke positive change.

Especially in recent years, people with disabilities have had to speak louder and demonstrate more to make the government recognize that we are here to make them accountable for any type of unjust, bureaucratic garbage they try to throw at us!  And believe me, the government has thrown a LOT of garbage our way!  They’ve scrapped the Special Diet, only to reinstate it and forced people to reapply.  They’ve cut the funding to the Community Start-Up Program.  They’ve kept people on ODSP living below the poverty line for way too long! And, if people on ODSP ever do go over the poverty line, even by just a tiny bit, they are penalized for it by having their already meagre funds cut!

I’ve been on ODSP for most of my adult life, and let me tell you, it’s extremely demoralizing!   People simply want enough money to feed themselves and their children, to pay their bills and rent, and to stay healthy.  Isn’t that a reasonable ideal to have?  We don’t want caviar or diamonds, we just want enough money to put food on the table and to be able to survive in this world.  That’s all!  And yet, ODSP gives people barely enough to live on.  Most months, for many people, it’s a hard choice between paying rent or being able to eat.  Do ODSP workers care about how people struggle?  No!  They sit across from recipients grim-faced and judgemental, poring over bank statements and looking for the tiniest discrepancy that they can pounce on.

Things for people on ODSP may be about to get even worse if the government goes through with their plans to merge ODSP with OW.  I remember when the government brought back the Special Diet funding, they forced everybody to reapply and in doing so they weeded out a lot of people who both needed and deserved the money. If ODSP and OW merge, you can bet your bottom dollar it will be made mandatory that everyone must reapply. If this happens, we will most likely end up in the same horrible mess that Britain is in.  Because of the deep cuts to Britain’s social programs, disabled people are dying by the thousands from starvation.  They are being put out on the streets because of being unable to pay their rent.  Things are so bad in Britain right now that the UN is trying to step in and put things right!

 We can not let things get that bad here!  We can not let the merger of ODSP and OW happen!  The MPs must be persuaded not to vote in favour of the merger and be made to understand that this would be the worst thing that could happen to the disabled people of this province.

Thank you.

People liked my speech, which was gratifying.  I really liked other people's speeches, too, and found what they had to say to be extremely interesting! For example, there was a guy from a group called ODSP Action Coalition and he said something that really surprised me, and that was that there were some members who were actually ODSP workers - and they were dedicated to promoting positive changes for recipients!

(Who knew that not all ODSP were grim-faced, judgemental creeps?!)

Mostly, I feel happy and hopeful about the outcome of the meeting.  There was an air of optimism and determination.   I could almost hear Twisted Sister singing "We're Not Gonna Take it Anymore!"

Finally Finished My Speech

Hooray!  I've finally finished my speech!  It feels like a good one too.

I'll post it after I come home from the Town Hall ....

Monday, November 18, 2013

On a Rollllllllllllllll

Sorry, folks, I'm on a roll writing my speech for Wednesday's Town Hall meeting.

Here are some pictures, though, for your viewing pleasure ....

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Lazy Busy Day

I woke up maybe six times last night stressed out about everything I want and need to do. I hate that! Sundays are supposed to be sleeping in and chilling out days.

I kind of chilled out in a way today, but not really. I stayed in my nightie and unwashed until 5pm. However, I sure wasn't idle! I finished the payroll, wrote emails, and sorted out some financial stuff.

This blog entry is short because I need to start working on a speech for Wednesday. I figure if I start it now, my mind won't give me a guilt trip at 3am!

Oh yes, and here are more pictures of Yuula's party:

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Pictures From Yuula's Birthday Party

Here are a couple of pictures from Yuula's birthday party.  I have more, but I'll post them later ...

Me, Seth, and Lucy

Bonfire ... and Yuula's Legs
It was so much fun!

Early Morning Blog

I thought I'd try something new and write my blog from the market.  It's going to be a busy day for me.  I'm going to sell my wares here, then leave early and go to Yuula's birthday block party at Kennsington Market. (It's going to be a blast!)  And then, I'll go home, unwind, cuddle my cats, and then work on the payroll and upload pictures of my new calendars, mugs, and cards to Etsy.  Maybe I'll update my website too, it's been ages since I've done that.

People are walking by Sarah and I with smiles on their faces. They can see us laughing our heads off, and I can imagine the thinking, "Awww, isn't it great that this disabled woman can still find joy in the world?"

Well, joy isn't exactly the word I'd use. It's more like embarrassed incredulousness over our mayor talking about "pussy" yesterday.  Sarah and I think Aaron possessed Ford, because Aaron was obsessed with pussy.  And I think Aaron and Rob are laughing their heads off about Ford's antics.

Thank god the city council has limited Ford's power.  Now if they could only just limit what comes out of his mouth!

Friday, November 15, 2013

At the Finish Line

The horse painting is finished.  Yay!  I' m so pleased with it - I've never painted horse before!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Back to Reality

I had so much fun last night! Fiver is a fantastic band, and Simone is super talented! I saw old and new friends, too, which was fun. And, Dobrila smuggled in a bottle of Crown Royal and spiked my drink of pop - she did it in the dark, so my drinks were very strong! I did my giggly, happy drunk routine.

Now it's back to reality. I had a nice treatment with Anita, she soothed my sore body, even though Rascal insisted she do a treatment on him. Other than that I've been working non-stop, emailing, getting stuff ready for the market, and trying to finish my horse painting.

I'm close - very close - I can almost smell the horses' manure!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


No time to write.  I'm racing out the door to see my friend Simone play in her band Fiver.

Yay Simone!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Burning the Candle at Both Ends

Growing up, my father always said, "Anne Abbott, you're burning the candle at both ends again!"  This meant I was staying up way too late and not getting enough sleep.  It's true!  Even back then I loved staying up late and working on my art, or writing.

Times haven't changed much.   I'm still burning the candle at both ends.  Most of the time I can handle it, but sometimes, like today, I say to myself, "Ok, Ok, maybe I'll take a nap and recharge."  So I did.   I took a nap with Rascal for two hours this afternoon, and now I feel so much better!

I went to an OCAP meeting, had a snack, and now I'm going to do some more work, but I'll try not to stay up till 3am.

I hope this makes you happy, Dad.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Back to Painting

I've been happy today and sad, hopeful and depressed.   I've laughed a lot and cried a little.

All, in all, I think it's a good thing that I'm going back to painting tonight. It's a good way to clear the cobwebs from my mind.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Movie Night

All afternoon I designed and ordered cards, calendars, tree ornaments, gift tags, and tote bags.

Now, I'm going to finish my dinner and go see a movie with Lucy and Yuula.


Saturday, November 9, 2013

Tired but Happy

I had a good day at the market today.

It wasn't spectacular by any means.  It was still painfully slow, and I had time to have my usual 30 minute nap.  People were nice, though, very friendly and chatty.

And - tah-dah! - I sold a painting!  It was one of my favourites, actually ....

I'm so happy!  And, what made me even more happy was the joy I saw on the face of my customer as she took the painting with her.  I always feel so gratified when people appreciate my art.

Now, I'm home, eating mini Aero bars, watching Breaking Bad, and chillin' with my cats.

I'm tired but happy ....

Friday, November 8, 2013

Taking a Break from Pain-ting

I did more work on the painting of the horses last night, but I couldm't finish it.  For one thing, I ran out of paint, and for another, I was in extreme pain!  Neck, arm, shoulder - a triathalon of pain endurance!  (Thank god for pain meds.)

I was going to do more on the painting this evening, but I've suddenly found myself swamped with other types of work.  Kelly helped me put my new Holiday Season cards into packs.  She took pictures of them too.  So, now I need to edit the pictures and then post them on Etsy, Facebook, and my website.

I also have a dozen emails to reply to, and I need to update my finances and my employees' schedule..

Like my mother used to say, "I don't have time to be bored!"