Saturday, May 31, 2014

Reunion Day at the Market

 I love days like this one.  The weather was perfect: sunny, cloudless, and temperate.  And, the market was busy enough so that I made over $80.00.

But the really cool thing about today is that three people from my past came to see me (and my artwork) at the market.

The first person (as shown in the picture above) was somebody I hadn't seen in ... umm, about forty years.  Wild, eh? So many childhood/teenhood memories came flooding back..  Good old Blue Mountain Camp ....

The second person I saw had been in my business course thirteen years ago.  It was good to see her again and to catch up!

And then then there was Ian.  Ian isn't from my distant past; I hadn't seen in approximately six months.  Also, unlike my other two friends, I had asked Ian to come to the market and to bring me some canvas prints of my artwork for me to sell at the market and online.

I thanked him profusely and suggested that we go out for a drink sometime - my treat!

All in all, it was a pretty good day ...!

Friday, May 30, 2014

Way Too Much Work

I'm overwhelmed with all the work I need to get done!

I'll write more tomorrow ....

Thursday, May 29, 2014

A Good and Thoughtful Day

I feel better today, both physically and mentally. My osteopath came over and gave me a treatment this afternoon. My arm and neck are much better, and my groin is a bit better.

I got a lot done today, like emails and updating my finances. Plus, I started putting pictures of my artwork on I've been meaning to do that for ages. With the St. Lawrence Market becoming less secure for its vendors, I've felt like I need to cover my ass and find alternative ways to sell my artwork.

All day in the back of my mind I've been thinking about my counselling session yesterday. I'm trying to give myself permission to have mixed feelings about both Rob and Mom. It doesn't mean I don't love them the same amount or that I don't still yearn for their presence, it just means that having such an intensely close relationship over so many years people are bound to have a few crumbs of anger or resentment.

Mostly, though, I feel love for them both, and that's what I need to focus on.

My counsellor gave me "homework" to do before my next visit. I'm supposed to recognize and stop myself from feeling responsible for everything. That's going to be hard. I want to help everyone I love and be super human at everything I do. If I fail at any of these things I feel terribly guilty. However, I'll do my best to start to take a deep breath and let stuff go.

The latter thing is going to be hard, but I'll try, I'll try!

As I write that last sentence I can hear Kryptonite in my head ....

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Feeling Raw and Tender

Today was counselling again, and for most of the rest of the day I was emotionally feeling raw and tender.

And yet, doing a little retail therapy and getting a hug from my niece Michelle made my mood much brighter!

Sometimes the little things are what makes life worth living ....

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Remembering the Truly Hungry Days

I've finally finished the paining of Rascal today.  People say they like it and that it's really good.  I think I like it too, but it's one of those painings where I keep thinking, It could be better!  I'm sure a lot of artists go through the same kind of mental torture. As an artist in this situation, you have two options: toss it into the garbage, or, after hours and hours of trying to "make it right", step back, take a deep breath, and tell yourself, It's good enough. Walk away before you destroy the parts of the painting that you do like.

 I've written in several of my previous posts about my chronic pain. It's troublesome and annoying ... and sometimes scary.

Yesterday and today my right arm (the one I use to do practically everything) has been unusually painful, especially when I'm painting or driving my wheelchair.  If I move my arm a certain way, I get this terriblely sharp pain that is accompanied by a cracking noise.

I've had this same pain in my right arm for approximately fifteen years.  It varies in intensity, but, like a pest you just can't get rid of, it mostly hangs around 24/7!

I know when/how the pain first came upon me. Rob and I had just moved downtown and were finding it impossible to make ends meet on what little ODSP gave us every month to live on.  At first, in desperation, Rob sold most of record albums, and I sold my books; jewelry; and (my most precious possessions because Rob had given them to me on our first Christmas together), two Royal Doulton figurines.  Unfortunately, after awhile, there was nothing left for us to sell.

So, I simply decided to make note cards from my artwork and start selling them instead.  I sold my cards to the stores in Eaton Centre, College Park,  and all throughout the underground mall.  A lot of people were kind and generous (some to the point of pity!), but others were cruel and judgemental, finding joy in humiliating me.  I sold my cards to people on the street, those who stood, sat, walked their dogs, read books  -  it didn't matter to me, I just needed their money in order to survive!

In extreme cold or heat, close to home or far away - I did it all on my own!  (Well, Rob did cut; fold; and, packaged up the cards for me.)  I didn't even book Wheel Trans to take me anywhere because I never knew where I'd end up on my daily journey.

Driving my wheelchair long distances in extreme weather conditions and having long conversations with customers who had little or no experience interacting with a person who has a communication disability - this, I believe, is how I damaged my arm!  Repetitive Strain Injury; that's what it's called.

I hope I never have to do that in order to survive, but if I ever have to face hard times again it's good to know that I'm gutsy enough to go through it and come out the other side.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Beautiful Day for Painting

Gorgeous and productive day!  I mailed my membership packages, bought cat food and art supplies.

Now, I'm going to touch up my painting of Rascal ....

Yay - beautiful hot, sunny weather!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

A Lazy but Productive Sunday

I got up this morning, had my breakfast, and decided that I needed to go back to bed for a 45 minute nap.

First, I had to get Rascal to scootch his furry little butt over so I could get into bed, though ....

And then, both of my boys were napping with me, which felt very cozy and nice.

I felt well-rested after my sleep - rejuvenated, even!  So, I cleaned and straightened up my apartment; got my Dandy Membership materiaal all set and ready to be mailed out; updated my finances and my employees' schedule for this pay period.

I ordered pizza for dinner, and watched Jeeves and Wooster and House as I ate.  It was a Hugh Laurie kind of day.

I was going to put the finishing touches on my Rascal painting this evening ...

... but I have too many important emails to write before I go to bed.

Such is life.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

A Beautiful So-so Day

What can I say? It was a beautiful so-so kind of a day.   Nothing out of the ordinary happened at the market today.  Nothing exciting nor thrilling in any way.

Nothing bad happened either, although some people thought they might be coming down with a cold and fever.

The Spaghetti Factory was the place for Bruce, his kids, and I to me to meet.  We were supposed to sit, chat, and leisurely eat.  Our plans went awry, however, and now I'm hoping that the next time we get together it'll be with the same kind of weather.

Not to be undone, Brittainy and I went to the Spaghetti Factory anyway and had some fun!

Why am I rhyming everything? I don't know.  The first few lines rhymed, so I decided to go with the flow!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Fun Day Out

Simone and I spent most of the day out and about today.  We took the subway to Bloor and Landsdowne to see the brilliant and thought-provoking photography of Jeff Bierk ( )

Jeff is Simone's boyfriend, and together they arranged to carry me down the steps of the gallery and onto a borrowed manual wheelchair.

Me, Jeff, and his portrait of Derek
Soon, the gallery was filled with people.

                                                 Simone's parents ...

                                                                         Jeff's family too ...

On our way home, we happened to meet her sister-in-law and nephew Riel.

A little way further, we ran into our mutual friend Gavin and his dad Earl ....

All in all, it was a very fun day ...!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Doug Ford and the Group Home

When I was growing up, my brother Bruce and I played with the other kids in the neighbourhood.  Nobody treated me any differently or teased me about my disability.  I was simply Bruce Abbott's kid sister Annie.

In my late teens, I remember Mom telling me that Mrs Betz (the mother of Terry, Greg, and Douglas, who lived across the street from us) told her that she had been very glad that her boys had grown up being friends with me. Mrs Betz thought that it had made them more understanding and accepting of  the fact that everybody, despite their diffeences, had value, and thus, must be respected.

I felt angry and hurt, and yes, even a little scared when I heatd that Doug Ford had made a public statement that he thought a Rexdale group home for kids with autism and other developmental disabilities be shut down because it was damaging the value of the property in that area.  ( )

Councillor Ford went further and said that the group home and its residents (only two residents live there at the moment, with the capacity of a whopping huge number of five!) were "ruining the neighbourhood" and that if it were possible to do so he would buy the home just so he could evict the people who lived there. Saving the property value, in Ford's eyes, is much, much more important than connecting with these kids and helping them integrate into society.

Of course, there is no mention of what would happen to the residents if the group home were to be closed down.  I have visions, however, of these people being shut away in an attic, like in  the Victorian era. Or worse, being put in institutions.  Out of sight out of mind, right Douggie  boy? Anything you don't understand, or fear, or lowers that precious property value simply has to go!

It really upset me when I learned about Doug Ford's callous comments regarding the group home residents. However, I was truly horrified to hear that there were people calling in to CBC radio who actually agreed with Ford's perspective.  Where were these people's compassion and empathy for their fellow human beings?  Was it really just all about money now?

I need to believe that this is not so.  I need to believe that people still care about othes. If not, my worse fears will come true.  Institutions that have recently been closed down due to yeas and years of abuse will be re-opened. People potential will be lost, never to be imagined because of the mentality of  "We are we, They are they."

As I read about Doug Ford's plan to close the group home, I could hear in my head Scrooge saying, "Are there no jails? Are there no work houses?"

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Doug Ford Rant Postponed

I was going to rant about Councillor Doug Ford's group home comments today, but I'm almost finished my painting and my focus is upon the task at hand.

Tomorrow, however, I'll put my full attention upon that mean-spirited, narrow-minded, ableistic person!

Oooh, those Ford brothers make my blood boil!

Monday, May 19, 2014

A Very Happy Victoria Day

It was a very happy Victoria Day ....

I spent the morning with Laura, which was so nice because I haven't seen her in awhile.

In the afternoon, I met Yuula at Starbuck's for a snack.  We went to RBC to deposit a cheque, and then we bought necessities at the Drug Mart and wine at the Wine Rack - also very necessary!

Motria came over for dinner and a visit.  We ate pizza and drank wine, and we watched a couple of episodes of Mad Men.

Since Motria's departure, I've been working of my painting of Rascal.

It's really coming along, don't you think?

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Photos of My Victoria Day Weekend

On Friday, I did more work on Rascal's portrait.

Saturday at the market was pretty good. People gave me chocolates, pastries, and even money - fancy that!

Wishful thinking: Johnny Depp in an alleyway. Sigh ...

Steak dinner at Hot House.  So BIG it'll last me several days!
Toasting witth a Maple Manhattan! Happy birthday Dad!

"Hmm, I don't remember inviting guests over, do you, Rascal?"
Susan came over to get me to sign some papers to finalize the sale of  Mom's condo. Susan, very kindly, also brought over some of Mom's cleaning supplies.
Tomorrow (the actual Victoria Day), I'll write more and post more pictures too!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Remembering My Dad

It's early morning at the market as I begin this entry.  I'm tired, and I'm debating whether I have the beginning of a cold or just allergies. Allergies, the lesser of the two evils, is winning out. I think I'll feel better after I have my usual coffee and banana-chocolate-Peanutbutter crepe. I'm starving!

Before starting this post, I glanced at the online Star and saw the date. May 17, 2014: my dad's birthday. He would have been 87 today.

A large, stoic man, Dad loved to play tennis; take photographs; and, smoke his pipe 24-7!  He was meticulous in everything he did and in his manner of dress and appearance. Because Dad was a quiet,  reserved man, it was a treasure and surprise whenever he let his hair down to make a joke and share his great booming laugh. 

I love you, Dad, and miss you!  I'll toast to your memory tonight with a Manhattan or two ... or three.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Cinderella-ing Myself

I'm Cinderella-ing myself this evening.  I want to go to a friend's 60th birthday party, but I have to:

  • Work on my employees' scheduling and upload their payroll to my bookkeeper
  • Edit note cards online and order them for my Dandy Cards members
  • Send/reply to emails
  • And paint!
Hey, Fairy Godmother, if you come this evening and turn six mice into coachmen, do you think they could stay here and just finish my work (except for painting, of course!) while I go out and played for awhile?

Just a thought ....

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Bad Dog!

PrivDog needs to be sent to obedience school.  Sure, it protects me from big bad viruses, annoying ads and pop-ups - but it goes too far! It's like having a pitbull pet growl menancingly at guys you really like.

Down, boy, down - and stop sniffing their crotches!

I  have a subscription to the online Star because I like to know what's going on in the world. Until yesterday there was no problem but then it kept saying you only have one more article to read, and PrivDog wouldn't allow the sign in window to appear so I couldn't proove that I was a subscriber.

And, just now, when I tried to sign in at blogspot to write my post there was no sign in window. So, I had to go back into the program and re-teach the dog. I repremanded him and then gave him a pat on the head.

Good dog. Please stay like this or no more dog biscuits for you!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Or Not

First the rain came ...

                                and then more ...

                                                     and more ...

                                                                     and even more!

I really wanted to go to the OCAP potluck, but I was worried that the rain would damage my wheelchair!

Plus, I began to realize that my counselling had left me feeling slightly depressed and angry.  Not a good combo for a meeting/party.

A better idea was to smash a chocolate bunny into smithereens!

I also decided to devour the destroyed bunny,  drink a Rusty Nail, and scratch some lottery tickets.

And, you know what?  I feel much better now!

Day Off

I'm tired, slightly depresssed from counselling, and I have a chance to go to a potluck party at OCAP and forget about everything for awhile.  I'm going for it!

Talk to you tomorrow ....

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Happy Birthday, Rob Warenda!

I wrote the following on my Facebook page this morning:

Happy birthday, Rob Warenda!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I love & miss you sooooooooooooooooooooooooooo incredibly much!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! In your honour, I'm going to watch The IT Crowd, The Andy Griffith Show, listen to Frank Zappa, KIM MITCHELL, ACDC, drink coffee, beer, Scotch, order KFC... and remember all the fun we had. I'm sending you an infinite amount of hugs & kisses & love, Sweety!

Except for drinking beer and Scotch, which I'm about to do now, I've done all of those things.  I've also listened to one of my favourite podcasts of  Rob's:

And, a video tribute to Rob, which a few of my friends made for me:

I didn't have a party for Rob this year; remembering him in this way was enough for me.  And I allotted some time to be by myself to feel sad and cry for awhile. That felt right to me too ...

I love you, Rob!  You will always be the love of my life. 

Monday, May 12, 2014

My Day Through Photos

In the morning, both Hershey and I noticed what a beautiful day it was!

The rest of the day was pretty damned excellent as well.   Sarah and I met at Starbucks, and she treated me to a HUGE Peppermint Mocha Frappuccino in exchange for a roll of pennies for her penny loafers.

And - ta-da! - the three wheels for my commode came today.  I no longer wobble!

And tonight, I'm continuing painting my sweet Rascal.

Hopefully, it'll look like this when I'm finished ... or, a reasonable facsimile.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

A Lot of Things to Think About This Mother's Day

About seven or eight years ago, I wrote about a realization I had during a party.  The party had been at my friend Nina and her parents' house. Their home reminded me so much of the one I'd had the pleasure of growing up in. 

I wondered what had happened to my life, that I had started out from this kind of middle class, well-off family and slid downwards into poverty.  Once I left home and went on ODSP, the descent was fast and inescapable  ODSP had trapped me into poverty.

I remember letting my mother read what I had written, and, much to my surprise, she was very upset by it.  She thought that I had been somehow blaming her for being poor, that she and Dad had failed to provide for me.

My mother was the most kind, loving, giving person I had ever known.  She loved and supported me all through my life, in good times and bad. I certainly did not blame Mom for anything!

ODSP, on the other hand, was, and is, squarely to blame, not only for dragging me into poverty (and keeping me there!) but also for doing the exact same thing to countless other people with disabilities.  Since Harris made drastic cuts to the program in 1993, people with disabilities have been living below the poverty line.  It is truly shameful!

Shameful, that's the word for the treatment of disabled people, not only by our government but by others as well.

When I heard about the British government considering cutting the Independent Living Fund I was horrified! That funding is to assist people with disabilities and their families to hire "carers" (we call them attendants or assistants here.) It would be like me losing my Direct Funding, I couldn't survive without it. As you can imagine, I'm very scared that this might happen here in the future, the way things are going. My imagination runs away with me and I can see all disabled people being placed in institutions. I shudder at the thought! Hopefully it is just my over active imagination....

I'm tired and stressed out tinking about it so I'm going to go to bed and, hopefully, dream about simpiler times like when I had a boo boo and my mom would kiss it all better.

I love you, Mom!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Good Day but Tired

Last night, I was feeling pretty rough and I was doubtful if  I'd make it to the market today.

Miraculously, I woke up feeling much better and ready to take on the world ... or at least the market.

It was a pretty good day.  Almost immediately, I sold a painting.  (Yay!)  Plus, it was one of those days where everybody seemed super stoked about my artwork, which was really great for my ego! (Why can't it be like this all the time, instead of people walking away after a moment's glance?)

I bought a Frank Zappa album from the vendor beside me.  It'll be wonderful to listen to it on Tuesday for Rob's birthday!  Rob loved Zappa so much ....

After the market, Brittainy and I had dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe.  Dinner was delicious, and atmosphere and company were fun!

And ...

I bought this hat.  Cool, eh?

I'm home now.  I'm tired and extremely sore - but happy!

Friday, May 9, 2014

The Independent Living Fund

Rascal, my politically well-informed cat, thinks that British Prime Minister David Cameron should keep his paws off the Independent Living Fund!
Hmmm, I was going to elaborate on Rascal's fury and disgust regarding this controversial issue, but I'm suddenly feeling very ill ...

However, I will say this:  Ableist bastards!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Not Perfect, but Better

I received the new wheel this morning.  Yay!  I can finally shower and perforrm my daily bodily functions with ease.

Unfortunately, because the new wheel is a quarter of an inch bigger than the three older ones, my commode/shower chair now wobbles!

Three more new wheels have been ordered and, hopefully, will arrive soon.


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Necessitty is Truly the Mother of Invention

I like the colour red and I like [duct] tape (as you can see from the way I've decorated my commode/shower chair) - but I HATE the tangled and messy red tape of bureaucracy!

As you can imagine, last night I was so upset and fretful about the situation with my broken commode/shower chair - I had visions of  my employees holding me suspended over the toilet to do my business!

My friend Natasha thought her partner Zack could reattach the wheel, and then he thought his friend might be able to do it instead.  Sadly, in the end, nobody could reattach the wheel.

However, Lucy had a bright idea!  She found the actual manufacturer of my commode/shower chair on the internet and saw that they sell the wheels separately.  I was so happy and hopeful about this turn of event! Maybe I'd get a new wheel today or tomorrow, who knew?

In the morning, Yuula assisted me in calling the manufacturer right away.  The person we spoke to seemed very nice and helpful.  He was appropriately appalled when I told him that Motion Specialties said it would take three days for me to receive a loaner commode/shower chair.

 Unfortunately - and here's where the red tape comes in! - the manufacturer explained that I couldn't simply order and buy the new wheel myself (naw, that'd be too easy!)  I would have to contact Motion Specialties again and ask the people there to fax a prequisition order form to the manufacturer, and once they received that then they would contact a courier service who would then deliver it to me.

Don't get me wrong, I'm deliriously happy that I'll be getting a new wheel fairly soon instead of losing my broken-in, very comfortable commode/shower chair to Motion Specialties (for god knows how long!) in exchange for a loaner, which may be either fine or torturous!  I just don't understand why I had to play phone/email tag with these two companies instead of cutting out the middle man and buying the wheel myself! Sure, I had similar situations when I was on ODSP because the govermnet was paying for any devices I needed, but now I'm off ODSP and have to buy things myself. Will I ever escape the dreaded red tape when I need to get devices fixed or purchased?

Probably not.

Well, anyway I'm happy that soon I'll be getting a new wheel. And, I'm glad I have cool, great, fanastic and brilliant friends who think up ways o help me out of difficult situations!

Yes, Lucy, you are a genious for thinking of putting books under my commode/shower chair. Thank you!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

So Much to Do, to Say, to Think About Part 2

Well, I was going to talk more about the conversation I had last night with the woman from DPAC. I was going to talk about how we compared the terrible conditions for poor/disabld people in Britain to the terrible conditions for poor/disabled people in Canada.

Yes, well, this evening something happened to prove to me that the system sucks to the very core. My commode/shower chair had one of its wheels break off. As you can imagine I need this chair to take care of my daily needs.

Right away I called Motion Specialites and explained that it was an emergency, and I asked if someone could come out and fix it as soon as possible. They said that they would see what they could do. Three hours later I received an email saying nobody was able to either drive out to fix it or give me a loaner. They said the soonest they could come out would be Friday.

There was no tone of apology or even sympathy in the email, and this really made me angy. Couldn't they imagine how this would be for me without a means to go to the bathroom?

I know there's more pressing issues at hand, but not having a pot to piss in has to be up there!

Monday, May 5, 2014

So Much to Do, to Say, to Think About

I had an especially busy day today.  First, I went to the vet's place to buy cat food.

And then, I went to Loblaws to get food for me.  And, after that, I stopped in at Starbuck's for a quick frappuccino.

When I got home, dinner was eaten fast and furious - I had to go to an OCAP meeting/potluck/party at 6:00!

This particular event was interesting because people DPAC (Disabled People Against Cuts), an activist group from Britain, had been invited to tell us how the cuts are impacting their lives in the most negative and horrendous ways.

I chatted at length with one woman at length, comparing notes about how disgracefully and neglectfully our governments treat their poor and disadvantaged people.


I'll write more on this subject tomorrow ....

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Changes at St. Lawrence Market

Nothing remains the same.  This fact is both good and bad, sometimes a combination of both.

I know in other entries I've talked about the changes to the St Lawrence Market, like doubling the rent for the vendors and insisting that vendors come in at 5 am. It is also insult to injury that the management of the market actually comes in at 5 am to take pictures of the empty stalls and hands out warning letters to vendors who aren't there yet.

Yesterday, one of the vendors named Sandi came over to tell me that she wouldn't be comming back anymore. The new regulations had been too much for her and she was going to try to sell her artwork online. Well, actually, Sandi wants to enlarge her online presence because she already has an Etsy shop.

(Check it out: )

I have mixed feelings about this situation. Sandi seems happy and excited about trying this new venture, and I'm happy for her and wish her all the best. However, Sandi has been there since I've been there and I'm going to miss her. I also feel infuriated at the management for pushing somebody like Sandi out.

One-of-a-kind art pieces is what the Market is all about! Also, chatting with customers and giving them a personal touch is another great thing about the Market experience. All of this may be eroding if the management keeps going the way it is. Like I've said before, some of the vendors think the management is trying to weed us out and turn the Market into a mall, or worse, a condo. If this is so, I'm sure the management will view it as "progress" - well, I say, "progress my ass!"