Hello Again World,

February was a long month. It was a month of being very very sick and then I got better, and then I got worse. You don’t need the details, but I’m waiting to hear back about test results and I am not doing much better in the mean time.

I am stuck wrestling the frustration of a long winter, with the rest of us Canadians. There is something disheartening about muddy snow covered streets, exponentially higher car accidents and the constant bundling up against wind chills.

The good news is. I have finally secured a full time job. Yes folks, I have joined the ranks of the “real adults” working 8am to 430pm. I even moved into my own desk on Friday. On Monday I plan on prettifying it a little bit with my own calendar and maybe a photo. I called my Grandma today and she suggested flowers. Apartment Therapy suggested that too, there is nothing fresher or more satisfying to the eye than flowers! Especially with no windows back there.

This weekend was some tough talk with family members. I called my Grandpa on my biological mother’s side. We talked about the controversy over her death, and where the paperwork was sitting for him to have custody of my brother and sister. He said he’d keep me in the loop, which I appreciate. I worry about them! It’s strange to slip into the role of granddaughter with him and his wife. Hell, it’s strange being in the role of family member with that side of the family, period! But I’d rather be in touch with them than not.

I also called my Omi and Opi. They didn’t pick up. And they’ve disabled their voicemail. So I wrote them the most straightforward letter I have ever written. I let them know that my Opi’s sister called me to ask if they were ok, but I didn’t know because they haven’t talked to me. I let them know this past half a year I had two family members pass away, that I got a new job, and that I was frustrated with reaching out to them and have them not respond. I let them know that I’ve learned life is short, and that I get angry with them sometimes when I think about all the letters and phone calls they haven’t replied to. I didn’t ask for an apology, I just asked that they be a part of my life, because they are after all, a part of my family. I don’t know what else to do as far as they are concerned. I haven’t decided if this is my final attempt with them, or if maybe when I am out West I’ll just show up at their door and invite them for coffee.

While this wasn’t the most uplifting of posts, it was some things on my emotional and mental to do lists’ that I’ve been putting off checking off. Now that they are done I’m going to enjoy a book, maybe do a bit of tidying up, and then eat dinner with the amazing people I live with. Because they make me so happy! (And there is Sesame Chicken on the menu for dinner tonight and folks, it is to die for.)

Enjoy the last bit of your weekend lovelies! And chin up, spring is in the air! ❤

One More Checked Box

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Finally hung curtains upmin the closet! I feel so much better about it, I even popped a couple extra multipurpose hooks on the inside walls of the closet.

And. I got my desk cleared off and decluttered. Don’t open the drawers mind you…
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I love Winners, I picked up those metal yellow baskets there a couple weeks ago. Yellow is the accent color in the bedroom so I am always delighted when I come across something like those!
More meaningful posts to come I promise, I definitely just wanted to brag tonight (sorry)

Have a great night, hope you escape the cold I’m coming down with!

Getting Fit Resolution of 2014

 

 

I am in no way shape or form (all puns intended) a health nut. I love pasta. I love cake. I love the SunChips, Cheezies, Pretzels, Nacho chip Munchie Mix, and given the opportunity, will devour an entire bag all to myself. HOWEVER. I’ve had enough of throwing clothing all through out the bedroom in frustration of feeling awful in all of it. I have had enough of being winded running up three flights of stairs. I hated how embarrassed I felt going on a hike with my friends in Alberta and lasting all of five minutes. I have had enough! Plain and simple!

 

So far using the bike my boyfriend got me for Christmas has been great. I do yoga, I bike, I walk the dog a bit, sometimes I shovel snow.. (and that itself could be an Olympic Sport… Except Canadians would win that every time and the rest of the world would sulk about it) I am happy to say that I am making progress too! Today I burned 50 more calories than yesterday on my 45 minute spin, and went 2.5 miles more than when I first started out end of December! Want to know my secret motivation tip????

 

PINTERESTOBVIOUSLY.

I kid you not folks, I bike my butt off furiously looking at those cheezy motivational pins, scrolling through cute outfits I want to be comfortable in, pinning that bikini I want to rock this summer … All while listening to Dubstep and Pop Remixes so loud the dog is confused by it. I even have a Get on that Bike Board! (That I may or may not pin to while sitting on the couch watching “Just one more episode” of House Hunters)

 

Below is a photo of my favorite post maniac bike work out smoothie. Maybe I should patent that… But here’s the recipe if you want to try it out!

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Post Maniac Bike Work Out Smoothie:

1 small banana sliced

1/3 cup frozen raspberries

1 cup of vanilla fat free yogurt

2 tsp oatmeal

1 ice cube

1/3 cup no sugar added orange juice.

Pop it on your Magic Bullet and Blend!!!

One final update. I applied for a receptionist position at my best friend’s insurance firm. My cover letter basically screamed hire me, and the resume was tailored for the job (as it should be) so my fingers, toes and eyes are crossed that I get this full time job! I want my life to continue! I’m sick of being on pause in part time jobs that I hate!

Anyway. I hope you have a fantastic day, that you love that smoothie recipe (you’re welcome) and that I didn’t bore your face off with my fitness ramblings 😉

Ninja Cleaning and Preparing for a Swap Party

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Well! Christmas and New Years and Ukrainian Christmas have come and gone. Did you enjoy your holidays? I certainly did, I ate so much good food, and visited with family and friends, and received some very sweet gifts as well! 

Moving on with January, I dropped my final course in preparation for joining that bank I had the interviews with. Things are still up in the air with that, but I am going to be meeting with a manager this week about my career there. While I am moving in the right direction, every molecule in me screams impatience! I really hope that 2014 isn’t another patience testing year…

Yesterday the cleaning bug hit and took down all the Christmas decorations! Wreath, tree, the cute knick knacks, the dinner tables set up, the presents still chilling under the tree… All of it. “It was like Christmas never happened.” I laughed when my boyfriend’s mom said that. It reminded me of how my Stepmom taught me to clean. She said everything should look just the way it was before, but cleaner. I was in charge of the dusting and vacuuming. Once a week. Every Saturday. And every knick knack, decorative arrangement, furniture piece, rug etc. had to be picked up, cleaned under and put back exactly how it was before. Oh my poor pre-teen soul! But I love the routine and cleanliness that woman instilled in me. I “windexed” the bathroom every morning for goodness sake! God but she was a tidy woman…

Anyway, I tidied everything but my boyfriend and my room. So today I am hoping to tackle the two laundry baskets of clean clothes, the presents I haven’t found homes for, the games, chocolates and paper paraphernalia that I threw in a tray on the side of my desk, and then just the general tidiness of the bedroom! If along the way I happen to sort some things off to the side for my friend’s swap party next month… well all the better! 

Have you ever done a Swap Party? I apologize for the lengthiness of today’s post, but I simply can’t leave this post off without explaining the wonder of swap parties!

The Swap Party

The swap party is a collection of everyone’s things they didn’t use, the things buried in the back of their closets. I’m talking the Christmas gifts they wanted to love but couldn’t, the shoes they wore once but never again. The make up that just wasn’t the right shade. The home products that weren’t as useful as they had hoped, the books they won’t ever read again… All of these things, the party goers collect and round up and bring to the hostess’ home. The gracious hostess supplies treats, snacks and perhaps some wine or bubbly, and the swapping begins! It can be done in different ways, but the way my friend taught me was that each participant gets a ticket for every item they brought. They can then use this ticket to pick from the other participants things, and should there be more than one ticket on an item, the item is drawn for. Once everyone is out of tickets, the remaining things are up for grabs, or are sent off as a donation. It’s really a smart idea, and allows people to bring home things that feel new without spending much more than the cost of the wine they brought with them 😉

Well I am off to tidy and sort until my heart’s content! The last thing I’ll say is that I am enjoying the flowers I picked up after work last night: bright yellow daisies. I have a handful in a vase on my desk, and a handful on the coffee table downstairs. If you’re interested in why I’ve brought home daisies (other than the fact that they brighten the room and feel like spring!) I encourage you to check out the January Cure that Apartment Therapy is running again this year. They are simply the best. Take care! And may your January be tidy, bright daisy filled and hold many cups of good tea for you! ❤

Feeling Messy

Hi folks. We’re a week away from Christmas, and while I am 3/4 of the way ready, and about the same amount excited… the rest of me feels scattered all over the place. I think a good symbol of that is the three projects all in piles around me, and two started in other rooms… 

My grandpa on my mom’s side is celebrating his birthday today, and all I can think is how hard that would be. This close to Christmas, and his birthday, and this year the huge shadow cast on that. He just got in touch with my birth mom this past year or so too. We were texting yesterday, just checking in. He and I agreed that sleep isn’t the same anymore. I wake up most mornings sick feeling and worried, and to distract myself from all that I keep the day busy. 

I called my Dad this afternoon, on a dog walk around the block. He asked if I had talked to my brother lately, and I said I’d text him this afternoon. My brother is stressed about school, he’s a year and a half away from graduating, failing a course, and therefore discouraged to the point of not even going to classes. I don’t want to push or nag him, and I am actually concerned that he is depressed. There’s an alarming amount of teenagers suffering depression. High school pressure isn’t what it used to be. In grade nine we had universities coming in and pushing us to pick degrees and career paths. I remember all to well the overwhelming panic that set in that early. And god, I’m four years into university, half done a degree, and I still feel that way! So anyway, my brother opened up, explained he was confused and let me in a bit. So I sent back a long response, saying I understood, offering advice. He immediately shut down, and now I just feel worse about it.

It’s the same feeling with my sister, she texted me last Friday, letting me know she and our brother are going to a foster home. There’s nothing I can do, not much I can say, and that is so frustrating.

Negative feelings really are a little crack in the dam, and now I’m feeling even heavier. I suppose I’ll get some cookies going, just to keep my hands and mind busy. There’s just so much sadness this year. My family on my stepmom’s side is still reeling from my grandpa’s death in the fall. My friend texted me yesterday, saying a woman from work just lost her daughter in a car accident, the father had finally agreed to see the daughter after two weeks, and on their way back to the mom’s place they got into the accident. My friend was upset, and couldn’t imagine how the mother felt. It really puts a twist in the stomach, to come up on a holiday that is all about family, and be feeling the ache of lost family members.

I hope your families are safe and healthy, and you get to enjoy some cookies too! There’s a lot of snow out here, but it’s pretty to look at, and makes home feel that much cozier. And as my Dad said before we got off the phone: “Do make the most of your time here!” 

Open Arms or Armor?

The funeral is tomorrow.

I’m unsure whether I want to go in a full suit of armor, or completely open and receptive. My personality is leaning toward the armor instinctively, but there are a couple things that are encouraging that choice…

The main one being my Great Aunt… let’s call her Great Aunt May. She is already on one of my last nerves and I haven’t even MET the lady yet. She kicked it off on the wrong foot over the summer when she made clear that she expected all the family – including me – to fly out to B.C. to meet this Great Grandmother that I didn’t know existed.

Now here’s where I’m kind of grateful that I have evolved as a person. The old me totally would have been frantic and guilty and felt obligated to scrounge up money or put a ticket on my visa just to fly out and see people that were never there for me. Wanna know my response?

“I’ll send her a letter if someone gives me her mailing address. But I have a hard enough time affording a plane ticket to visit my own family.”

I never did get that mailing address…

Anyway she’s kicked it up a notch, she asked if her and my other Great Aunt could stay at my boyfriend’s mom’s place. When I made that clear that it couldn’t work out (and that it wasn’t my home to just open up to relatives I’ve never met before) she moved on. And then asked me to pick her and my other great aunt up at the airport and drive them the hour or so out to the town where the funeral will be. When I responded that no, I don’t own a car and couldn’t do that, with apologies even…. she said “Well do you have any idea what a cab would cost from X to Y?” Infuriated I responded “Why no. I don’t. Because like I said. I take transit.”

So I guess I’m a bit on edge and defensive going into this. And I don’t want to be! I want to be open enough that my sister and brother can approach me and that we can meet and bond and they can know undoubtedly that I am there for them.

And here’s where the story gets all Hollywood Reality TV: I don’t know if my Mom’s abusive boyfriend will be at the funeral. Furthermore, I don’t know that I possess the self control to not punch him square in the nose should he approach me. Or my siblings

So it seems the regular cheer up techniques aren’t going to work out for me.

I painted my nails. I’ve listened to music that doesn’t allow me to wallow. I’ve allowed myself moments to be sad. But after talking to my aunt and uncle, my boyfriend, and my boyfriend’s mom I’ve come to the conclusion that:

Grieving never stops.

It might become fewer and fewer between. It might become bittersweet, and it may stop hole-punching into your lungs when it hits. 

I’ve had my heart broken before. I know it gets better. But I don’t know what to say to the six year old who lost our mother. I don’t know what to say to the preteen girl who looks like a mirror image of me at her age, with a matching anger and hopelessness already blooming across her life. I don’t know how to connect to the man who lost his daughter, and doesn’t know this granddaughter.

I don’t know how to answer “How are you?”

I don’t know what to say to “My condolences.”

And I know I’m not alone. I know this isn’t something that I’m the only person dealing with. I know all of you readers have experience loss.

What did you do? How did you respond to family and friends? What did you tell yourself to keep moving?

“Keep moving” has worked pretty well for me this far. Just don’t stop. It allows me to collapse into bed at the end of the day, into the welcoming fog of sleep.

I wish you a cheery Christmas coffee, some cookies and warm things for the snow. 

Off to tidy the room and get some sanity before bed!

xo

Decking the Halls; Receiving Hard News

Last night I lit candles, and played Christmas music. (Songza is the bomb for Christmas music BTW) I washed dishes, and had a beer and laughed with my boyfriend as we put up decorations. It is still surreal to me, that my mom passed away on Friday.

I didn’t know her all that well. She was present in my life for the first few years and then disappeared. She came back in my life just last year. We messaged back and forth on Facebook, many of her family members found me through her, and it was strange to watch my family multiply. And now she’s gone. Just last week I told her we should catch up soon. Just a couple months ago, I thought about when I will be ready to meet her in person. Maybe we’d go get a coffee in her town so close to mine. Maybe we’d meet up for brunch, maybe she loved breakfast food as much as me.

I think what will bring this home and make it real to me, is when my brain and heart fully accepts that none of that can happen now. I think my heart will be drop kicked into mourning when I meet my sister and brother and cry with them.When I think about what will happen to them now, and where they will go and who will care for them. But. Until then, I am on autopilot.

I am cat and house sitting, and so far it has been…. an adventure. There are six litter boxes. They are fed 11 cans of cat food between the 14 of them twice a day. The floor needs sweeping and swiffering daily. They are adorable though! And the energy level is much lower than dogs in here. My favorite is curling up on the couch and they all just settle around and we spend some quiet time. It’s a good distraction.But I am looking forward to my own bed!

Well. With this little grenade of a post, I hope your December is off to a lovely start!