Thursday, December 31, 2015

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Focus on Fun

Ick! Snow, rain, gloom.


I'd rather focus on the fun times I had last week.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Winter is COMING!

Actually, winter is here!

The cats are dealing with the sudden change in weather by snuggling up together on the bed.

And I, putting the cold, blustery snow storm outside, choose to direct my attention towards working on my art.

Sunday, December 27, 2015


My internet is finally working again!  Yay!  I suppose that all of the people on their seasonal holidays have found other diversions to amuse themselves rather than surfing the web.

 Now, unfortunately, I have a different type of problem with which to concern myself.  The person who was supposed to come for the night shift never showed up!  I really hate it whenever this happens!!!  (Fortunately, it doesn't happen very often.)  I feel anxious, upset, and very vulnerable. I also feel extremely sad, because it makes me miss Rob more than ever!   He was my husband, best friend, lover, clown  ...  and my safety net.

Everything has worked out, thank goodness!  I texted Marjie about my predicament, and she came as soon as I she could. Thanks, Marjie!

Now, however, I need to do my duty as the boss and talk to the worker who didn't show up tonight.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas Eve 2015


I was going to write a lllooonnnggg post. but my internet keeps cutting in and out. 

So, I'll write to you tomorrow, everyone ....

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Both Emotionally and Physically Tired

I'll write tomorrow ....

          Right now, I'm going to finish my steak dinner, watch Scandal on Netflix, and doze on and off until  bed.

ZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz ....

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

A Fun Afternoon

I had fun this afternoon/early evening.

After dinner at Hard Rock Cafe, I went across the street to H&M and bought a few items for myself.  (I'm finished all of my Christmas shopping, so why not, right?)

And then, I met Marjie and helped her choose a new cell phone.

As I waited, a woman who was rather patronizing towards me (she kept patting my head like a dog!) and obviously intoxicated, gave me a decorative metal star.  (I'm not sure what to do with it ....) When I mentioned to her that I was an artist and gave me a set of acrylic paints.  I'm very pleased with the latter acquisition!

Afterwards, Marjie and I shopped at a small craft fair, where I bought four packages of incense.  This turned out to funny because Marjie's Christmas gift to me was another package of incense!

However, having two cats in my life, I can use as much incense as possible ....

Monday, December 21, 2015

Neither a Window Licker Nor Super Woman

You know, dear readers, just how much I love going to Starbucks.  A day without at least one Peppermint Mocha Frappuccino is like a day without sunshine.

For the most part, the people at Starbucks are super nice and respectful to me. However, one day, about two weeks ago, I was in line with Alana to put in my order for my frappe. The person who served me smiled and asked me how I was. She then turned to Alana and said, "It's so nice to see her out and about." I think both Alana and I were taken aback by this comment aimed at me. The cafe was crowded so we couldn't get into how offensive that comment was, although Alana did say, "Oh, you have to be kidding! Anne rarely stays home!"

Two things went through my head during this exchange. The first was, Oh my god! She thinks I'm a window licker! She thinks I'm a bloody fucking window licker! (For those who don't know, "window licker" is a derogatory term for a person with a disability. The gist of the meaning is to imply that the person with a disability in question has no meaningful life and just sits by the window.)

I felt very insulted and angry!

I also felt very sad. In my mind's eye I could see my mom listing off all my accomplishments to the server. Mom was always my biggest and best publicist.

(I miss you, Mom!)

 I hate it when people underestimate my abilities! It infuriates me! It is probably why I'm an anal over-achiever. I have this need to prove that I'm just as good as anyone else despite my disability.

The other side of the coin, of course, is when people expect too much from me. Sure, sometimes I joke and say I'm Super Anne, but even I have my limitations.  

I was invited to a party this past weekend and I really wanted to go, but it was being held in Scarborough and I would have had to go on Wheel Trans, which I hate because some of the drivers are ableist schmucks. Plus, my wheelchair is in pretty rough shape, so I'm nervous about travelling long distances. And, because it is a long distance and I would have had to stay at the party for at least four or five hours one of my employees would have had to be willing to come with me . However, because of the Christmas season, a lot of people have gone away.

The people who invited me should have understood and tried to see things from my perspective, but instead they tried to guilt me into going. And when I mentioned that celebrating Christmas made me extremely depressed, somebody actually said, "Well, maybe you're just going through 'the change."

Maybe I am Super Anne, but people need to understand that even I have my limitations!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

So Many Emotions

Sadness.  Anger.  Frustration.  Guilt.  Regret.  These are the feelings I've had swirling around in my head all day long.

I'll explain tomorrow ....

Saturday, December 19, 2015

More Cheerful, as Promised

It was a good day.  It was very busy at the market, and I made many sales.  My customers were friendly, cheerful, and appreciative of my work. One of  my regular customers told me that she would try to get me a teaching job at the Haliburton School of Art.


My cousin Brandon and his girlfriend Michelle came for a nice surprise visit.  That made me happy!

I'm sore and worn out now, so I'm going to bed ...

on my new bedding, kindly given to me from Maria.

Thanks, Maria!

Friday, December 18, 2015

Hum Bug!

Grumble, grumble, grumble ....

Bah hum bug!

This is just how I feel this evening.

I'll try to be more cheerful tomorrow ....

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Slowly but Surely ....

Things are getting done. Things are being organized and sorted out.

With a little help from my friends, I may survive this Holiday Season yet!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

A Night Out

After an afternoon of emails and doing boring financial stuff, I'm happy that Maddie is popping over for awhile - I haven't seen her in ages! It'll be good to catch up.

And then, after dinner, Lucy's taking me to Remington's.  Woo-hoo!

Pictures to follow  ....

Monday, December 14, 2015

A Lot Has Been Done

I bought and wrapped Christmas presents.  I'm 75% finished now.

I put new merchandise up onto both Cafepress and Etsy.  Much more has to be uploaded and fine-tuned.

A mug has been packaged up and addressed in preparation for shipment.  I'll pop into the post tomorrow; there was no time today.

A lot has been done today.  A lot still has to be done.

Sometimes it feels like my work will never end ....

Sunday, December 13, 2015

So, About Yesterday ....

Yesterday morning, I looked bright; cheerful; Christmas-y;

                     and SEXY!

Unfortunately it was dead at the market.

So I invited Motria over for pizza and a giant cookie! We watched 'A Very Murray Christmas', so that was fun!

After Motria left I worked on the payroll 'till maybe 1 am.  

All in all, not too bad of a day.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Words Tomorrow, Promise

So tired and worn out from a long day.

ZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzz ....

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Good News!

I'm so happy!  I had an appointment with a dentist.  For months, I've been worried about my teeth. Because of my disability, I have ground my teeth involuntarily for years.  My teeth, especially the bottom row, have been terribly eroded. 

I wasn't sure what, if anything, could be done to fix the problem.  I thought maybe tooth implants or crowns, but I was doubtful. 

However, my doubts were for naught.  The dentist told me that it was entirely possible, albeit very expensive, ($40,000!) to build up my teeth by using implants; crowns; fillings; and root canal.  When I brought up the fact that I live on a fixed income, the dentist told me that there were programs at dental school offered reduced rates for people like me.

I'm so happy! Sure, I'm worried about how I'll afford it all, but I'm hopeful and happy!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Best Laid Plans of Commissions and Canvases

Yay! I put my plexiglass cover on top of my kitchen table, and it looks fantastic!  Now Rascal won't be able to claw up any of my tablecloths ever again.

Just as he promised, Jeff came over to hang out; eat pizza; and, take pictures of my artwork.  That was fun! 

I answered my texts/emails, mailed a letter, and did some on-line banking.

Unfortunately, when I went to get set up for painting, I discovered that I didn't have any 16x20 canvases, the size I need to do my next commissioned portrait.

Bloody hell!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Getting Things Done Today!

A lot of things got done today.  Or, if not getting done, then being sorted out.

The Plexiglas covering for my kitchen table arrived today.  Yay!  I haven't put it on yet.  Maybe tomorrow, if I have time ....

I called the lawyer about helping me draw up a will.  He, unfortunately, told me he couldn't help me until February.  Maybe I'll look for a different lawyer ....

I wrote three important emails, and I instant messaged Jeff and arranged for him to photograph my newer pieces of art tomorrow.  We're going to order in pizza too.  It'll be fun!

I was going to paint this evening, but I've felt ill with stomach problems.

Maybe tomorrow ....

Monday, December 7, 2015

Pain and Tiredness

Pain and tiredness
Tiredness and pain
These are the reasons I cannot write today
But tomorrow I will write again!

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Early Christmas Family Get-together

Today I met my brother Bruce, niece Michelle, and nephew Thomas at the Old Spaghetti Factory for dinner.

It was so good to see them, to catch up, and to exchange gifts.

I was 99% happy and pleased to see the three of them.  And yet, that tiny 1% made me  sad and regretful.  There's no halting the passing of time - I just wish Mom was still here to see the unfolding of events ....

Friday, December 4, 2015

Important Emails


I need to focus upon composing two important emails tonight.

Write to you all tomorrow ....

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Another Painting Completed!

I finished this painting this evening.  One down, two more to go!  I'm sure that I can get both done by Christmas.

I just won't sleep very much.  Sleep is over-rated anyway.  I'll sleep when I'm dead ....

That reminds me, tomorrow I need to contact a lawyer tomorrow and get my will officially sorted out.  I've been too busy to actually put things into motion, but it needs to be done because you just never know when the other shoe will drop.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

My Speech for Today

I'm tired (exhausted, actually), but I'm happy, too.

Apart from doing my regular shtick (emails; writing cheques; updating the employees' schedule), I gave the speech I was supposed to do last Wednesday at U of T today.

Here's my speech:

  Hello, my name is Anne Abbott and this is my communication assistant Marjie.  Marjie will read a speech to you, which I wrote beforehand. Afterwards, if there’s time, I will show you a 12 minute video and then answer any question you may have.
  I was born with Cerebral Palsy, which left me unable to both walk and talk.  However, perhaps it was because I was born with these limitations that I didn’t view them as such, only as obstacles to overcome. It could perhaps also be due to the type of person I am. My mother often told me that even as a toddler I showed signs of great determination.
  I was a social, outgoing person, even as a child. I always wanted to interact with people, to connect with them, to share with them. I wanted desperately to communicate with my family and friends.  Before I learned how to read, I used hand gestures to try to convey to them what I wanted or how I felt.  It was like playing charades 24 hours a day, and this form of communication was, to say the least, very unsatisfying.
  When I learned how to read at the age of seven, a speech therapist had the bright idea of giving me a "speech card", which was a piece of cardboard with the alphabet written on it, so that I could point to letters and spell out words and sentences.
  This type of communication was definitely an improvement, and I took to it like a duck to water!  Admittedly, there were a few drawbacks to this method, though.  For one thing, I wanted to use big, important words like my older brother and parents did, but I often misspelled them.  Needless to say, by trial and error, I became a good speller in spite of myself.
  Great lovers of books and word games, my family had no trouble communicating with me with the speech card.  My closest friends learned how to communicate with me this way too.  Some of them had no problem figuring out what I was trying to say, while others stumbled over words, forgetting what letters I pointed to and in which order.  I learned how to be patient with people, to spell out the same words over and over for them, and to rephrase what I was trying to say if they just couldn't grasp what I was spelling out.
  It was strangers with whom I had the most trouble communicating.  Whenever I'd go into a store at the mall, a sales person would usually come up to me and ask what I wanted, could they help me in any way?  When I signaled to them that I wanted to spell out words on my speech card, they would give me blank stares or call another sales person over to help them figure me out.  As if they thought I was hearing impaired or not quite right in the mind, they would then discuss between themselves how terrible it was that I was alone, that nobody was with me to take care of me.  Was I lost?  What was wrong with me?  Feeling rather frustrated and humiliated by this, I would usually end up by giving up and leaving the store.
As a young woman, I yearned to be more independent.  I wanted to do my own banking, to purchase food and clothing by myself, to be able to travel on Wheel Trans on my own.  I just wanted a chance to lead a "normal" life like everybody else.
  To be able to do this, I felt, I needed a different method of communication.  I had seen Stephen Hawking on TV demonstrating how he communicated with his speech output device, and I longed to find a way to get one for myself.
  I went to see some people at the Bloorview MacMillan Rehab Centre in Toronto and asked them if they could help me with my problem. Unfortunately, they told me I was too old for their program.  They suggested that I buy a child's toy called a Speak & Spell from Canadian Tire and use it as a communication aid.  It didn't say the words, they told me, but it had a screen that held eight characters at a time so people could see what I was spelling out to them.  Better than nothing, I gave it a try.
  A year later, the Bloorview MacMillan Rehab Centre contacted me and told me that they had lifted their age limit from their program, was I still interested in getting a speech output device for myself?  I gave them an emphatic "YES!"
  Since then, I've had six different types of speech output devices, including three laptop computers, all of which gave me a lot more independence than ever before.  Finally, I was able to get my own apartment, do my own banking; and go out shopping for things I needed.  In fact, when I got married 19 years ago, I used my speech output device to say my own vows.
  Unfortunately, there are many drawbacks to using a speech output device.  Like everything mechanical these days, they seem to like to malfunction at the damnedest times!  About 15 years ago, at a conference in London, Ontario, I had programmed a speech into my speech output device and just before it was my turn to speak, it suddenly decided to die on me. I, of course, had to ask someone to read my speech for me instead.
  Another problem with speech output devices is that some of them don't pronounce words very clearly.  For instance, if I spelled “buses” the correct way it would pronounce it "boosus".  If I misspelled it on purpose by adding another "s" -- "b-u-s-s-e-s" --  it would pronounces it correctly.  Sometimes, however, even creative spelling doesn't work.  I used to spell the word "loonies" every way I can think of and it still sounded strange to me.
  The mis-pronouncement of certain words and phrases used to land me into a lot of trouble over the years. There was one time, in Loblaws, for instance, I was doing my shopping and had several packages of meat in my lap, and I wanted someone to help me put them into the bag on the back of my wheelchair.  I caught the eye of an elderly gentleman and spelled out to him on my speech synthesizer, "Can you please put these things into my bag for me?"  Somehow he thought I meant I wanted to be lifted further back into my wheelchair.  I shook my head adamantly, trying to signal to him that this was not what I wanted.  He didn't seem to understand this, however, and kept trying to grab me under the arms and lift me upwards.  A crowd soon formed around us and some of those people joined in to help the elderly gentleman.  Finally, I broke free of their grasping hands and repeated my message.  Fortunately, someone in the crowd with good ears understood my message and helped me put the groceries into my bag.
  I must admit that of all of the communication devices I’ve had throughout the years – both high-tech and low-tech - I really prefer using my simple yet multi-faceted communication board.  It was custom made by me, with all of the words and phrases I use most often. It is also waterproof, lightweight, and very durable. This means that I can go out in any kind of weather without fear of it getting damaged by the elements. And, if my communication board ever did get damaged, it’s easily repaired or replaced quickly. I remember the times when I had high-tech speech output devices and the would frequently break down, it would take weeks if not months to have them either get repaired or replaced.  As you can imagine, this used to be very frustrating for me!
  Over the years, people have tried to persuade me to go the high-tech route again, but I remain firm. For me, using a speech output device takes a lot of energy out of me (even with word prediction software), while using my communication board to interact with people takes less time and effort because all of my speech facilitators are so well trained and know me so well they almost read my mind.
  They are my word prediction software!
  Thank you.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Nothing Better Than a Cat in a Box and Netflix

There's nothing better than a cat in a box, binge-watching Netflix ...

... and getting back to painting.

I'm feeling much better today!

Monday, November 30, 2015

Taking it Easy Tonight

My throat still hurts a lot. I thought it was from having a scope threaded down into my gullet at the hospital. However, it's been four days since the procedure and the pain isn't lessening at all.  Oddly enough, my ears both hurt too.

I hope I'm not getting sick.

                             I hope I'm not getting sick.

                                                    I hope I'm not getting sick.

                                                                               I hope I'm not getting siiiiick!

Best medicine:  watching Doctor Who and Hemlock Grove with Brittainy while drinking a frappuccino.

Ahhh ....

Sunday, November 29, 2015

I Now Return You to My Regularly Scheduled Life

I'm back.  Writing emails/texts and doing the payroll. I'm sleeping well in my own bed and cuddling my two boys as much as possible. And I'm eating goddamnit! I'm eating everything I want, even cheese! Sure, smaller pieces of cheese, but I would have done that anyway without the doctor instructing me to.

And now, after I scan some slides I'm going to paint again.

Thank god I'm home!

Saturday, November 28, 2015

A Nice Funny Dream

So, I woke up from a nice funny dream this morning. I was a child on holiday with my family.  I suddenly saw through a window an advertisement for a movie about Lawrence of Arabia.  For some reason, I  had to see this  movie, so I talked my family into seeing it with me.  Two days later, (according to my dream this was how long it lasted) I could my big brother Bruce say, "Boy, that movie was long!"

And then, suddenly, I was an adult and Rob was pushing me around in my manual wheelchair.  We came across an exhibit of Johnny Depp's memorabilia. Without a word, Rob took one of Johnny Depp's hats and put it on his own head.  I tried to protest by saying, "Hey, put that back!"  Rob just shrugged and ignored me.

Rob and I carried our little jaunt in silence.  A few moments later, who appeared out of nowhere but Johnny Depp demanding his hat back!  Rob simply grinned and told Johnny that he liked the Kim Mitchell hat that he was wearing.  So, the two men traded hats, and they both seemed pleased with themselves ....

Friday, November 27, 2015

I Hate Hospitals!

Ever since I can remember I've had trouble with getting food lodged in my esophagus. It's annoying, sure, but it's just something I live with. 99 out of 100 times it's no problem. I drink Coke or tea, but for more serious times I drink apple cider vinegar or oil and water. Most of the time it works to push everything down.

Unfortunately it's that one time out of a hundred that gets me every time. I hate hospitals! You have no idea how much I hate hospitals! I will do anything to avoid them. However, after 24 hours have passed and the food is still there and I'm exhausted from trying to move it, I give up and go to the hospital.

I've been to all the downtown hospitals in my 20 years here and to me Mount Sinai was the best. Well not anymore! Let me tell you about my experience this time.

I can deal with some of the doctors and nurses doing this weird thing where they begin directly asking me questions and then asking the people with me what's wrong with me. I want to scream "Hello! I'm still here! I didn't just disappear!"

And sure I could understand that they were too busy to take me to the operating room right away. They seemed very busy. And sure I groaned a bit when they told me I had to spend the night in a very uncomfortable cot situated in the very brightly lit and noisy hallway of the emergency room (they usually put me in a quiet little cubicle). But I could see that they were renovating so I just shrugged and dealt with it.

I didn't get angry until they woke me up and told me my procedure wouldn't be until 5 o'clock. I said "AM?" To which they said "No, PM." I just about lost it because they knew I hadn't eaten or had anything to drink in over 24 hours. Plus it's been drummed into my head over these few years that it's very dangerous to leave food in my esophagus for long periods of time because the food can either go into my lungs or perforate my esophagus!

So I was finally taken up to a room to wait until 5. Lucy was with me and she was great. We watched Netflix and scratched lottery tickets. But by 5pm I was feeling nuts because nobody had given me an IV for fluids. Can you imagine that!?! I asked for one and pointed out that it had been 48 hours since I'd had something to drink or eat. Isn't that terrible!?! They gave me one of course, but they never apologized for not giving me one earlier.

Well hours passed, and I was told that I'd have to spend another night there. I almost went berserk! Never in my life had I had to spend two nights waiting for a 20 minute procedure! Considering the seriousness of my condition, what the hell were they thinking!?!

Well anyway at 2pm the next day they FINALLY took me to the operating room. They were all very nice, and I thought the anaesthesiologist was cute. That's good! They told me that they found a HUGE piece of cheese blocking the hole to my stomach (personally, I thing it was tofu).

I was so happy that it was over and I could go home! I was happy until a harpy of a doctor told me "This must never happen again." She told Lucy that all my workers had to start "cutting the cheese" and other types of food. Angrily, I told her it's up to me to tell my employees, not her! Again, the doctor said "this can't happen again!" And it made me feel like I couldn't go back to the hospital again. It also made me feel like they were being hypocritical because they had endangered my life by not doing the procedure earlier and by not checking my hydration.

I've lived with this condition all my life and I know accidents happen. Once when I was a teenager my mom was giving me a piece of cake with huge pieces of walnut on it. She thought she had taken all of them off but one got stuck in my throat.

Accidents happen, especially to me