Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas from freezing my ass off land!

Wishing you all a most wonderful and heartfelt Merry Christmas to all my bloggy friends!

I'm esconced in the bosom of my caucausian Edmontonian extended family in -17 degree Celsisus weather - lovely. My feet and hands are freezing but my heart is toasty warm. Mmmm. Can't possibly eat more Ferrer Rocher and mixed nuts down my throat - but I'm going to try.

A toast to you and yours. May you be fertile, may you be content, may you be held in peace and love and appreciation for the amazing women that you are!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Lesson to learn - 4

By the way, my Buddhist friend who had a double mastectomy last Thursday was at the culture centre chanting on Saturday morning and shopping in the afternoon with nothing more than extra strength Tylenol in her system. After I stopped blubbering, I called her and spoke to her just to confirm what I had been told. She sounded so great and so happy. She said she felt our daimoku the whole time. She felt so grateful.

Frankly, if I had had a cold, I wouldn't have gotten up early and dragged my ass to the culture centre in the freezing cold, never mind surgery.

Note to self. No more excuses.

I had a really great conversation with hubby the other night about being grateful for family. His older brother was being a bit persnickety about something. And as usual, hubby starts barking into the phone and then they hang up on each other and then he gets a phone call back and then they express how their tender emotions and the fight is over.

You know how I complain about how cheery his family is at this time of the year and how overwhelmed it makes me feel. I only have memories of sullen, dysfunctional Christmases and yet I still crave to be with my side of the family just once without having it feel like something I have to ENDURE. I told him how lucky he was to have a great mother, and warm and caring relatives, that they should never let petty complaints get in the way of their love for one another. Like every family, they have their issues, but for crying out loud, they actually talk to each other even if they're mad. They have always made me feel so appreciated and accepted and I know so many people who have to endure with in laws or relatives with gritted teeth.

My family wouldn't know the honest truth if it smacked them upside the head. I've tried to talk privately with each of my sisters about things and they have an uncanny ability to avoid actually being alone with me. We have a tendency to report events, not share how we really feel. When things go wrong, it's usually me that tries to "fix" things. I can count on one hand the amount of times we've been alone together in the past 10 years. I would also have fingers left for the amount of times they've actually called to see if I needed anything.

So. With this in mind, I will do my best to embrace my husband's side of the family with more gratitude and appreciation for who they are. I think his mum wants us to go to church. I have no idea why people who never go to church insist everyone go at Christmas. Oh, man. This is going to be tough.

And I'm not eating trifle... no matter what.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

It's Okay, I'm Just Neurotic!

Why the hell do I need to see a psychiatrist? I don't. When I booked the appointment, it was because I was tired of the throw this against the wall and see what sticks kind of approach. I was hoping that maybe someone who dispensed anxiety meds might have some sort of experience with drug combinations or dosages or something. Perhaps all I needed was a little bit of this and a dash of that. And maybe, he could even offer counselling. However, I think I already realized that I was willing to walk the unmedicated route for a little while cause I was feeling much more motivated about my life. Watching one of my dearest friends in the world die in front of me gave me a certain perspective on life. I've seen my Buddhist friends look head on into BIG FUCKING ILLNESSES and glow with such high life conditions. I'm not looking for any big illness wake up lessons. No thanks. I'm full thank you. So I went to my specialist appointment and he asked me a bunch of questions and I answered.

I told him that I had recently come off of Effexor because the side effects were outweighing the benefits. I had reached a big question mark, not quite clear of the withdrawal, but given my grief issues, I was certain to be a little emotional. Yes, it did its thing, my mood improved and I got a lot of stuff done. That's always a good thing. Getting out of bed is always a good thing. Pretending you have life under control when really you don't is not a plan. It's a disguise. But I don't see why I have to put with intense itching, dead taste buds (wait, that was a good thing cause skinny tastes good), no libido, crazy ass dreams that make you wake up in DREAD and the threat of burning up on a spin bike. He made a comment that perhaps some of the side effects were psychological. Oh. No. He Did. Ent.

I smiled sweetly. I told him what difference did that make? If one feels the drug is giving you a nasty side effect, it's still real to the person affected. He conceded quite graciously on that point. Or maybe my smile looked homicidal, I don't know.

And then he gave me his professional opinion. He told me I probably could use some psychotherapy cause I had some "life issues" but that I wasn't suffering from severe depression and I didn't need medication. If I had indicated that I just wanted to try something else, he would have gone with that. (That was something he could "fix". ) I asked him if he could refer me to any low cost or free therapists. He told me he didn't know anyone and the last psych at the clinic that did that had retired. So. Ah. I'm good to go.

I told him that it's always nice to have a symptom addressed and treated but it rarely addresses the total health and wellness of a patient and I impressed upon him that it would be really nice if one could really do further research to offer assistance and reassurance to those who might not know how to proceed next if one might find themselves in a situation similar to mine. Not suicidal, just "neurotic". Was that polite?

Yeah, I guess you could say I have some issues with medical professionals. Given that I have more than just a casual acquaintance with the medical system for a pretty healthy individual (mainly for hoo haw malfunctioning and maybe that's why I'm bitter/cranky/sensitive). I feel like I can say with confidence that GENERALLY SPEAKING western medicine is only focused on the eliminating the symptom or treating a disease. Not preventing a disease, or getting to the real cause of a symptom. Don't get me wrong, I love pills. They don't call me the pharmacist for nothing. I won't tolerate discomfort if I can take a pill for it. But did you ever notice that when someone really hears and acknowledges what you have to say (even if it's only in 5 minutes) you actually FEEL better? Especially with your spouse. Even if it's just "all in your head". What's wrong with seeing a doctor and feeling less "stressed" coming out then when you went in? Did you know that some people's blood pressure actually goes up a bit just from simply seeing a white lab coat? Do you know the real reason why some cancer patients just turn away from the medical establishment. It's not that they don't want to live. It's not that they don't want treatment. It's because sometimes the treatment feels WORSE than the disease. So. Don't. Even.

That's my rant and thanks for listening. I feel better already.

I thanked the doc for his time and on my way out I formulated an action plan for myself. I felt grateful that at least he saw me as perfectly capable of handling my own mental health. That's a positive. I really can't afford to spend several hundred dollars a month to see my old shrink, sweet as she is, but I do have a program through my actor benefits that will allow 6 visits without any money down. Of course, you spend a couple sessions bringing the counsellor up to speed and then wrapping up, but hey, I might just be able to find a good "coach". Maybe I'll drag up a new skeleton out of the closet. I actually know what most of my "issues" are and how they came about, I'm actually good with that - it's just the how do I change that thing that is no longer working for me - that's the sticky part.

So here's my plan, stick with the chanting, exercise and treating myself well, I've got some amazing creative work to look forward to (yes!!!!) and acknowledge that crying about my friend and my dog is grief and it's okay to feel sad. I will continue to write action plans and post up positive notes and Buddhist encouragement on my bathroom mirror and tell people to back off when they get on my last nerve. I will own up to bad behaviour and apologize where needed (cause I hate apologizing cause I'm HARDLY EVER WRONG) and I will work on demonstrating the love, understanding and compassion that I so desire. I am also a bit cranky and will firmly but lovingly place my foot up the ass of the person who gets on my last nerve.

Good plan.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Memories of Samps and Snow

This is for Wordgirl and Lucy.


I had a really nice appointment with my regular GP yesterday. Nice because she was actually listening to me and not hurrying me out the door or anything. I was just filling her on my freedom from Effexor escapades. I'm still grieving the loss of a long time friend and I still miss my dog so much. We had a lot of snow recently and I always remember how much Big Boy loved the snow. What dog doesn't? I also unpacked some Christmas stuff and started crying when I picked up his stocking. He looked forward to his stocking - with savoury treats and rawhides - he could smell them right through the wrapping of course, so I had to put it out last minute or else risk having a pool of slobber on the floor. We would go on long walks through the park on snowy cold days, with him repeatedly throwing himself down and rubbing all over the snow, catching snowballs in his mouth, peeing all over snowmen. Ah, if only I could be similarly so easily entertained.

She did agree with me that having a dog can be therapeutic. There is this article in the Vancouver Sun that says that dogs can be better than Prozac. I'm still not over Saint Sampson but 2009 is a new year....

For those who asked: Here's the link for the Omega 3 capsules. They come highly recommended by Teendoc.

I had my mammogram today - oh, joy, now I can obsess about that - I had to go back for an ultrasound last year because I have a fibrous mass in one of my breasts, but my doctor told me I could call her - hopefully the results will be in before Christmas.

One more doctor appointment tomorrow. They say it takes a village to raise a child - well, it takes a whole medical team to take care of my ass!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A "YES"!

I have some great news - I have been accepted into the acting ensemble at the Banff Centre for the Women in the Director's Chair program. I didn't make it as a director, but that's okay, I'll make it next year's goal. It was a bit of a long shot anyway. And it costs a fortune. I was going to get a scholarship to go but now I don't have to stress about that now. As a participating actor, the expenses are all paid for. Yippee! I get to work with some up and coming female directors and immerse myself in a creative atmosphere. I'll be taking notes from a director's point of view and I will soak up inspiration. I'm travelling again - what good fortune for me! I absolutely hate January (unless I'm working) and now I have something to look forward to. Of course, I just found out that hubby will be going to Toronto a couple days before but he will have to stock up on frozen foods cause I'm outta here.

Part of the thrill is someone just saying "yes" to me. It's been a looooooong time since that's happened career wise. I've been an actor for years and I've developed a thick skin to rejection, but really, if you had to endure the amount of "no" I've had this year, you'd be medicated too.

Speaking of medication, I've been off Effexor for about 10 days now and I'm feeling much better. It's been two whole nights without a sweaty sleep. I'm still having some minor side effects, but I'm enjoying having my taste buds (for shiraz and popcorn, and President's Choice Dulce la leche ice cream sandwiches) come alive. My Mike & Ikes' obsession may be ending - I can actually taste the ohmigod that's way too much sugar! what the hell have I been eating? feeling again. I haven't been to the gym since last week when I almost spontaneously combusted in spin class. Not in the mood, but if I'm not careful, after Christmas time, I may not be able to get my mood IN my jeans.

I've been ingesting my omega 3 oil (eww!) and Teendoc has sent me a link for more high grade oil to stabilize my mood. (Why is everything cheaper in the States?) Speaking of mood, I just paid the GNP of a small country to get my hair done again. So I'm feeling like my old diva self again. Hubby has me on a cash budget these days, but he's been good enough (read: smart) to keep my hairstyle in mind. Trust me you don't want to fuck with an irritable black woman coming off an SSRI with a old weave!

He's made a couple comments about me dressing lately in dog walking clothes (baggy sweats - they are warm and it's cold and snowing here at the moment), but I pointed out to him that I only have 3 pairs of pants (skinny black jeans, blue jeans, dress pants) that actually fit skinny (size 12 - so what Tyra?) me and since I've been on shopping lockdown, I don't have a huge selection. I'm actually getting rid of a bunch of old clothes. I actually don't mind so much now - I'm trying to change my financial karma and I want to be able to save money for more important things like baby gear.... and my hair. You know, important stuff.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


I've got to to change my subheading soon. My uterus isn't crappy anymore, my periods are lighter than ever.

As a matter of fact, strange spotting notwithstanding, I did eventually get my real flow this week, so I'm feeling hormonally more balanced. Screw you menopause, I'll get there when I get there and not a minute sooner! And by the way, I am indeed experiencing withdrawal from Effexor which does include sweating for no particular reason, so there. Food is starting to taste really good, too, like my taste buds are waking up .... which could be a bit of a problem.

You know part of the resistance to that whole idea is I'm still tied to my fertility (non-existent as it is). I was reading chicklet's post on the whole will I or won't I thing and it really struck a chord in me. The wanting to have a child, any child versus wanting a genetic child. With IVF, there is always hope in every embryo and hope is an addictive feeling. When you win, you win big time - but when you lose - oh, it costs so much more than just money. As much as I've put that idea to rest, occasionally when I see a bi-racial child I get that yearning in the base of my stomach. We dropped by our friends' place on the weekend with Christmas gifts in tow. They just had their second boy last week. I played with the 18 month old a bit and saw the 2nd boy snuggled against his mum for a breastfeeding and I wonder what our child might have looked like. I tidied up the play area and wonder what it would be like to be reading and teaching a child what a ball is, or a flower. I see how hard it is to have an adult conversation (unless you're the father who apparently can have conversations with his buddy without risking the toddler's demands for attention for mama, mama, mama!) Hubby told me he had told his friend that it had been really difficult to spend time (he's the godfather)with them in the past because their son was a constant reminder of what our own bio child could have been. These guys grew up together and I know it can be awkward for my husband as well.

In the past, I do remember us being there at the circumcision (the father was out of the country working) and the nurse thought my husband was the father and the mum was his wife. It was like somebody stabbed me. There I was comforting her cause she was all stressed and I was in a room full of parents and their babies feeling like the nanny or something. I was just trying to be there for friends, but honestly, I should have been given at least a gift certificate or something.

Back to the present, and I am still waiting to hold a baby of my own. Just breathe, wait, pray (and action) and repeat.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Now for a spiritual moment

This morning I went to my friend's house to chant. Yesterday it was bright and crisp and sunshiney and you could just love this city to death and today it's grey and rainy/sleety/snowy and I feel like cozying up in bed all day. And after last night's sweatfest, that's exactly what i wanted to do. But I hauled my butt up anyway.

With us was a fellow Buddhist who is undergoing her own nasty breast cancer battle. We talked a bit and though I was reluctant to share my friend's experience with it for obvious reasons, I just had to plead with her to ask for help if she really needs it from her friends and members. We all feel proud of our strength and independence, but I have to say it is a joy to care for your friend when she's feeling poorly. Even if we just sit in the other room while she's asleep.

She told us an amazing thing - when she had to get radiation treatment, she felt the presence of the members and Pres. Ikeda and Mrs. Ikeda holding her hand and she knew she wasn't alone and therefore she wasn't afraid. Her skin continues to remain smooth and unblemished. That's so awesome. I feel so encouraged by her experience because it meant that prayers can truly be felt.

Another Buddhist friend of mine who has been battling diabetes for the past few years and has been close to death too many times now has to have a kidney transplant. A student, one who had been touched by his compassion for her, was tested as they had the same blood type and amazingly is a match. His transplant is taking place on Monday. This happened within 6 months! Many people have to wait years for this to happen. I am so happy for him to have this incredible opportunity and I hope the kidney remains compatible.

Feeling grateful for my petty discomforts.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Doctor here's your Rx, get out

I went to the doctor, not my usual one as I couldn't get in with her. I think she was on speed cause she conducted our visit at rapid fire speed. She even handed me a prescription for ativan from the exam room door. I had to make her sit down and explain my blood test results. I did get my FSH test and it was quite low - which means I'm not menopausal, but it doesn't rule out perimenopause. Sigh. I just loving being a girl. In any case, I'm done with the Effexor. The side effects are outweighing the good effects. I'll be getting my Omega 3s tomorrow. My appointment with the clinic psychiatrist is on the 20th. So I've put honey on notice - don't get on my nerves - I could snap... unless I get to go to Linen's N' Things... or Banana Republic - one or the other.

WTF? part 2

I've decided to wean myself off the Effexor. I had the worst hot flash/nightsweat or whatever the hell it was while I was in Toronto. I put on my cozy fleece pjs and cuddle up in my stellar king size bed in the hotel and one hour later wake up like my body is on fire! I throw off the covers, throw off my top and run to the bathroom mirror. My skin is prickly and appears to be inflamed. I felt like I had a sunburn! My top is soaked through but the sheets are dry. Mmmm. I've been sweating through the night the whole time I've been on the Effexor but this was the worst. Okay, I calm down and realize that maybe I shouldn't be wearing a fleece top though I actually wasn't hot at all in it and opt for a towel instead. The next night I drank 1/2 litre of red wine and slept like a baby. No sweats and woke up feeling lovely.

When I get home, I actually surprise myself by feeling a little frisky. Hey, maybe the low libido side effect is going away, but I'm not sure. Back to spin class and I'm getting that crazy prickly feeling and sweating in that not so good way all over again. Okay, maybe I'm just not in shape. Mmmmm. The night sweats and crazy dreams continue, so I decide that enough is enough. I take one pill a day and yesterday I had a panic attack and ran out of a grocery store and came home, took an ativan and lay down til I felt better. And now this morning, it appears I'm having a period again, (the last one being 2-3 weeks ago - I DON'T REMEMBER EXACTLY WHEN CAUSE I STOPPED KEEPING TRACK) but it's definitely too soon.

I have tried explaining this to my GP the last time I saw her and I don't think she gets it. I am going back to the doctor's today and hopefully my FSH test is back. My specialist appointment is on the 20th. So I am either starting perimenopause (fuck it or should I just embrace it) or is it possible that Effexor can cause a hormonal imbalance or is it just more side effects - or a mixture of both?

Told hubby to forget about my dusty eggs and the surrogate idea. Granola and medical advice is welcome.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

What the F***?

A lot of things are coming down in price during these hard economic times. Including donor eggs and surrogates. Why is hubby showing me this article? Does he think my 45 year old are still in the game? Is he crazy?

Saturday, December 6, 2008

My sister-friend

I met her through her older half sister, D (yeah, most of their family have names that start with the initial D). We worked together at the CN Tower in 80's. Her sister was heavily made up, had Tina Turner hair and bright red lipstick on her lush lips. She wore bright flashy clothes and hats. Amazing hats. I remember the first time I saw her without makeup and I was stunned, she looked 15 years younger and her skin was silky smooth. When I was looking for a new job and a new place to live, her sister (another "D" (Devadatta) not only got me a job where she worked, but she got me into her old building at High Park. She was totally unlike her sister. She was into all sorts of new age stuff and even introduced me into one of those weekend seminars where you cry and scream, forgive your parents and meditate to the colours of the rainbow. She was a total seeking spirit. She was friends with all her old boyfriends. She was the only woman I had met that actually had "lovers". I met a few of them and invariably they were attracted to me. I don't know why, I never found any of them even remotely attractive, but I was totally out to lunch about guys and I figured if D was nice to them then I should be nice to them. I had no idea that they would misinterpret my friendliness as flirting. I was constantly hanging out with guys that I considered "friends" who had other things on their minds. I was clueless, but she never held it against me.

About once a month we would go out and go dancing at the restaurant club called The Big Bamboo. They had a fabulous reggae band that we totally loved. We would take the subway down, pay $5 to get in and buy a beer or two and split a cab home. We called ourselves the P.P.P. The Positive Pussy Party. We could laugh and carry on while we waited in line and once, a young woman was so taken with our spirit that she asked if she could hang out with us for the evening! That night we had a great time, dancing our asses off and at one point we heard some Jamaican voices behind us. When we turned around, we were surprised to see Chinese faces. Well, if you know anything about Jamaica is that they do have a Chinese minority that speak patois with the best of them. Man, we partied with those guys into the wee hours! We had such a good time winding up and dirty dancing.

Her older sister eventually moved to the States, but when I went to Toronto to visit, D and I would get together and sit at our favourite restaurant in Little Italy, "Midtown" and drink wine and eat tapas. D and I always talked about all sorts of things.

I remember sitting on her back porch in of the many places that she lived... listening to the patois as she filled me in on what was going on with her latest cancer treatment and her crazy family. We talked about life and love and karma and the universe. She was a person that you could tell anything. She would not judge you.

Earlier this year, I went back home for a few days and she bought a bottle of prosecco (Italian sparkling wine) and we had Chinese food. I was so happy to be with her. I never considered her not beating cancer. She was single, she had no children and she seemed perfectly content. She never planned. She just "put things out to the universe" and things would take care of themselves.

She passed away last Monday. I was on a plane one day later and attended her funeral on Wednesday and just came home yesterday. As much as I wanted her back, I knew that her ancestors had called her home. It's just hard to think that I will never hear her laugh again, hear her singsong patois, drink prosecco with her again. Hope the beach is nice and hot where you are D and Bob Marley is playing your favourite song.

Sunday, November 30, 2008


Just a short post to say thank you all for your kind words and support. I feel like I have a secret tea and sympathy section just for me. Your words are like soothing salve on raw skin.

My girlfriend came over Friday night and we drank wine and swapped mutual heartbreaking events. The next day I spent the whole day in bed utterly exhausted and spent or hungover - not sure which. I was supposed to go see my mum, but I just called her instead. I just couldn't find the energy. I was also supposed to see some old Buddhist friends, but they cancelled and I mercifully spent the night on the couch. I rallied long enough to go out and get myself to some delicious Alaskan black cod with sweet dark sauce and rice from a local restaurant. Ah, a slice of heaven. Then my friend's sister called to let me know she was finally in hospital.

Got a dog walk with Sampson's old girlfriend and her family, lunch with the folks that cancelled and a big Buddhist meeting and a play to go to tonight. No more rest for the wicked.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Slipping away

Back home. So good to be home. I must say he keeps a cleaner house than I do. My plants are not doing so good and there's no food in the fridge, but the house is clean. Couldn't ask for more. Except for my husband who left today for a business trip. Sigh.

I'm glad I went to be with D. I suppose it will be the last time I will see her. By the time I left she was not really eating, she could barely swallow her morphine pills and her eyes were often glazed and unfocused. Before I left, I had her name a friend who could be her point person. I had called her friends together to decide who could cover the gaps in the home support schedule. I printed out phone numbers and put lists on bulletin boards. The nurse came again and asked her all the tough questions. Surprisingly she wanted to be recessitated if necessary. I'm not sure why she said that since she had refused once again to be hospitalized. I called her sister in the West Indies and made sure she knew she had to come immediately.

I woke her up to say goodbye and told her that I loved her and she told me that she couldn't tell me how much she loved me. That's when my tears began to fall. Her friend, another Buddhist who chants nam myo ho renge kyo, held me in her arms and said daimoku for me and then I left.

I'm still getting reports, her sister has finally arrived. She is getting weaker every day and I don't suppose she will last much longer without hospitalization. Her ancestors are calling her and it won't be me that wishes her to stay.

Now I know why I was meant to be there. To bring everyone together. She refused to ask for help so I did it for her. I called and they came. She is so loved.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


I woke up really early this morning wanting to go to the bathroom - the light in the hallway was on, which meant that D was up. I stayed put and decided to go back to sleep. When I got up 2 hours later, guess where I found her - you guessed it. Asleep on the toilet. I hauled her up and she put her back to bed. I wrote up an action plan for her which included the choices available to her. I barely got her up in time before the nurse and a palliative care coordinator came this morning to have a meeting with her. They recommended she go to the hospital immediately because they were concerned her lungs were filling with fluid. She refused. I sent them out of the room and had a private chat with her. I asked her what she wanted. She made it clear that if she went to the hospital or anywhere else she couldn't take her herbs because they would put medicine in her. She was done with western medicine. But every day she says she's going to make the herbs and every day she is unable to and she won't let me do it.

I hung my head, drew a deep breath and went to tell them she wasn't going and what could be done for her at home. There was a whirlwind of phonecalls and questions and now I have a few hours to put a put a plan in place and then pass the info on to a point person before I leave. I could wring her little scrawny neck. Yeah, I yelled at her a bit - I had her the phone and tell her to call her point person and she says she wants to think, she needs five minutes. Yeah, I said, why don't the rest of us sit around and wait on her. It's not like we mind being inconvenienced. I warned her that the minute she becomes incoherent (and she's had her moments) or becomes unconscious, she will no longer have any more control as to what happens. I know she is not ready to die, but she's waiting for the divine and I hope she answers her call. As much as I understand, I am frustrated! I have to make these phonecalls that I don't want to make. I have to hear her relatives pain in their voices as they try to understand what can and cannot be done for her at this point. She should have had a plan in place, a power of attorney done, but she has not done so. There is a profound reason for this. And I have to just let it go because I cannot control this situation and it's not my responsibility. But as one who has gone down this road before with my mother, those that are left to caretake and do all the grunt work, are the ones who pay the price when critically ill people don't prepare for the worst ahead of time. I love her but I'm a bit pissed.

I will get to go home and others will fill my place. There will be a schedule of professional caretakers, family, volunteers and friends to fill in the gaps. They have a limited amount of hours they can provide personal care to her. It will be depleted in about a week, unless another relatives can show up from out of town which apparently is supposed to happen Monday. I hope that woman realizes what she's getting into.

Ah, I need a drink.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Now comes the tough part

Things have gotten worse instead of better here. My girlfriend is weaker. I went out Saturday night to spend time with an old friend and when I came home, she was on the toilet, unable to get up. I asked her how long she had been there, but she said it had only been a few minutes. I did mention that she probably needed a raised seat last week but she brushed off the suggestion and now here I was planting my right leg between her, her arms around my neck and my arms under her arms, hauling her upright. It seemed like a long time to go 6 ft. She sat on the edge of the bed, breathless. Last night, a friend of hers dropped by and before he left, I quietly murmured to him how bad it really was. Someone had to know, I was leaving in a few days, someone had to know the truth. Then we repeated another late night lifting ritual after she nodded off on the toilet for over an hour. I knew she had, but I waited patiently for her to ask for help. She needs to ask for help. I waited and I waited and by the time I had gotten her to her bed, she was sweating with effort, unable to raise her head off her chest. She seems bound and determined to stay in her home, and get more help or friends to come in but really she needs a couple of weeks of in a respite care facility. She cannot get down the steep flight of stairs to the front door. She cannot get herself something to eat or drink. She cannot prepare the herbs she wants to take. A few extra hours here and there with a support worker will not make a difference. She's fighting it, but I only have a couple more days to be like water over a stone. She says she wants to think about it, but time is running out. I stayed while the nurse came to check on her, making sure she really knew what was going on instead of what my girlfriend allowed her to know. She shot daggers at me with her eyes, but I didn't care. I'm the Buddhist with an Edge.

Another relative is coming next week, but are they prepared to be with her 24/7? Can they lift her time after time after time? Is their back strong? I know she'll get better, but for now my love comes in homemade soup, a ready smile and a boot up the ass.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Wisdom on a fridge

Something I found on my friend's fridge that I'd like to pass on to y'all.

Remembering Self Love
An affirmation
By Cynthia Long

What if I had a gentle, irresistible alarm that went off within me, telling me when my body needed sleep, rest, meditation, movement, comfort, pleasure, joy…and I had to listen to that alarm. What if that alarm was created by my intention to love myself enough to begin by opening to these aspects of self-respect, so that they may lead to my readiness to love the world from a place of wholeness, and in this way offer my gifts. Would I not then be of wholeness, and in this way offer my gifts. Would I not then be completely empowered, and strong enough to be of the value I have always wanted to claim?

What if it’s true that I have created every obstacle as I would mould a clay dragon before me, and I can just as easily crush each one to dust by refusing to believe in it anymore, by no longer giving my faith and power away?

What if it’s true that the only thing that stops me celebrating each moment is the subtle, unconscious habit of believing I am not fit, that I should be punished for my failures of the past? And when I let go and stop condemning myself, there is nothing left but all possibility, anything and everything that gives me true joy.

What do you love? Who do you love? How would you live if you could make no mistake and simply followed your heart?

That is the gift you give to others.
Stop trying.
Start allowing every dream its rightful birth.

Monday, November 17, 2008


I'm in Toronto with my friend, taking care of her for a while. I've told you about her before. She has triple negative breast cancer that has metastasized into her liver and lungs, etc. She recently returned home from a healer in Peru but she's completely wiped out. I'm here making vegetable juices and cooking and shopping for her, keeping her company for a while. I can't tell her what to do but that doesn't stop me from trying. It's a little like caring for a sick child, she's kinda fussy and whiny, but she can't catch her breath if she moves too much, and she barely has strength to sit up. But I've noticed her mouth still works and she has no problem asking for what her juice in a particular cup. I honestly don't know what she would have done if I couldn't come. It hurts to see such an independent woman barely able to do for herself.

She's encouraged however for her future and that's what counts. She sees her illness as a spiritual journey. A lesson she has to learn. I understand on some level, but I really don't know. I think she's getting better, I hope she does. I pray she does. It's supposed to snow on Thursday.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Please take a good read on Teendoc's comments on my two previous posts. She writes:

All I can say about that as an adoptive parent in open adoption is that I've never seen or heard about any open adoption relationship that resembles such a scenario. I am my daughter's mother and my husband is her father. We are not co-parenting with her firstparents. We exchange letters, e-mails and phone calls and periodic in person visits. (All of this is decided by the adoptive parent before you match...if you are not comfortable with in person, just do cards and letters).

I always appreciate her candor because she just gives you the straight goods from one who has been there. I have however heard of such scenarios as overnight visits and frequent visits from the birthmothers themselves. I just have to stick with our boundaries and hope we get chosen. When I look at her and her little one, I can practically feel little feet against my face and smell the top of baby's head. It gives me such hope that I too can be a mother.

Just to clarify, I was not implying that it's a bad thing to be wealthy and adopt. I just find it annoying and stressful that I'm not wealthy. Having said that, you should see my shoe collection and my royal butt has felt the comfort of business class. I don't exactly live in a van down by the river. I think I was just frustrated on the heavy emphasis on money. It's like hey, Miss Bargain Hunter, look in the clearance bin over here - we've got some good kids here, they're a little scratched and maladjusted, but with a good coat of paint.....! Argh! We had also reviewed another package of US lawyer services and it itemized everything, from filing of this paper to fees for a paralegal. It's daunting to me because I am an actor and an unemployed actor. I'm just one US national commercial away from realizing my goal. I truly believe that at the onset of the whole thing, the financial aspect was just theoretical, and since the economy was doing well, and DH's job was bringing us all sorts of benefits we were confident that it would continue and all our money struggles would be over. Frig, I was this close to being a lady who lunched! I would have hoped my career (which is quite impressive on paper) would have prospered better than the previous year, I would have hoped that the economy didn't tank and affected my husband's job, but that is not the case. We do have retirement savings which we will use and we don't have a problem with that. Cause we'll just have to make more. There will be no financing and no borrowing. I will be at home to take care of the child as neither one of us will have parental leave benefits. I also don't want to put this off as I am not going to get younger as time goes on. As IF veterans know, time waits for no woman and I'm either in or I'm out.

I just feel bad sometimes because I know my husband would move heaven and earth to make me happy. And that fact that I cannot contribute on a larger scale, is a thorn in my side. (Why why why didn't I become the lawyer my parents wanted me to be?) So if I see one more Brangelina story about their ever expanding family (look, I can adopt and birth my own!), I'm gonna puke. Yeah, I've been drinking the Bitrex, I hate to admit it. I promise I'll count my blessings and readjust my attitude later. Just let me vent my spleen a little.

I will do whatever I have to generate more income but realistically, I may have to dump it all if I get a certain phone call. I am committed and determined to bring about the best circumstances for us both.

In the meanwhile, I will go to and play

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Bitter aftertaste

I just thought of something that I really want to add to my previous post. I didn't want to adopt a child because I thought I could AFFORD to adopt a child. I wanted to adopt a child because I wanted to love and raise a responsible, caring human being. I knew I had enough love and enough common sense to nurture and take care of a child until they could take care of themselves. Selfishly, I wanted to be called "mother". I knew we both had enough love and common sense to really enjoy having a child. I've known that for a long time. I never expected to not get pregnant. I never expected failure. I never expected that someone would choose us based on the ability to pay for said privilege. I guess that's just a reality I never really had to think about. And yet when I see couples of on certain adoption websites, the one thing they all share is that there are quite financially well off. They've got the big house, the car, the toys but no children. American birth mothers can have the potential adoptive parents pay $1200 a month until they deliver, hospital expenses, the lawyers have to get paid, papers have to be filed in court, the social workers have to get paid, everybody wants to get paid! That's the reality. And if you're a decent human being that's just a bonus. We're not rich, despite appearances. I would prefer to use the money for a university education or say, uh, a house. I don't want a kid that I can buy STUFF for or dress up like a doll. I just want an opportunity to be a real mother right from the beginning of their lives.

I'm just feeling a little bitter right now. I'll get over it. Right?

Another birth mother panel

We attended a birthmother panel from our adoption agency last week. It is mandatory for all their clients. I have to preface this by saying that I am aware that I have a bias already, as one who wishes to adopt a child. I am also aware that their experiences don't always mirror the experiences of others. I'm leaving out a few identifying details as well. There were 3 birth mothers, including one who shared her experience last year. I have to say, that it was quite obvious that these young women loved their children. In no way did I get the impression that they did not consider the children they gave birth to as not theirs, though they did not claim proprietorship. One person asked what they looked for choosing a profile. They talked about looking for something that clicked with them, whether it was an activity they liked or a love of dogs. Of course, they were looking for a couple that were financially and emotionally stable. They noted that if they had gone through infertility, that was a plus because it showed the couple could weather hard times. Then they went through the book, picked the ones they liked and then met with each of them. Based on how those meetings go, they make a decision.

I did ask why they decided to not parent their children. They all said it was for financial reasons. Because of their life circumstances, including jerk boyfriends who broke up with them, they felt that they could not give the child what they deserved to have.

One girl was an adoptee herself. She expressed how painful it was growing up not knowing where she came from. She believed it was in the best interest of the child to know their original parents. Another girl had given up TWO of her children. She became pregnant in high school, relinquished the child and THEN changed her mind and kept the child for 4 months before giving the child back to the adoptive parents. The second time was a couple years later (apparently she forgot about the torment she went through) and became pregnant again. She made a remark about wanting to have children of our own one day but until then she could go to someone else's living room to see her children play.

Another birthmother expressed that she was having difficulty in seeing her young son because the adoptive parents were not returning her calls and letting her see the child on the birthday or Christmas. Her next step was for mediation. I don't know the details of her open agreement with the parents, I don't think it's legally enforceable, though, correct me if I'm wrong. I could tell she was really distressed about not being able to spend time with the child. At the same time, I could well imagine the adoptive mother trying to deal with a growing child's questions as to what role she played in the child's family life. She may have had holiday plans that did not include the birth mother or realized that she wanted to control the frequency of access to the child.

We left as soon as it was over, dashing out. I did have a charity function to go to but that wasn't the reason I was in such a hurry. I have to admit, I got the impression that adoptive parents had all expense and responsibility of raising a child and the birth mothers still wanted to play a big part in the child's life. The issue may be the frequency of contact, the type of contact and the fact that people often change their minds about open agreements. What happens when teenage rebellion rears its ugly head and the birth mother can easily become default parent? DH and I discussed the type of agreement that we could live with when we get chosen. I get that open adoption is what's best for the child, not the adults. I don't mind being in contact with a birth mother, knowing the person and important medical factors, but I don't want to have a monthly visitation either. I want to be a child's mother, not a babysitter or a guardian. I certainly know how DH feels and he happens to be a very protective person. Trust me when I tell you he's not as flexible as I am. I appreciate and respect a woman's choice to have a child and place it for adoption so that they can have a better life. That's a kind of sacrifice that I could never understand. I've already thought of the type of gift I would give the birth mother to commemorate the child's birth.

I've read adoptive parents' blogs about open adoption and I've read the books about how important it is for the child. I get it and I would never keep their origins a secret from them. I guess I just have to wait and see what happens and just keep my heart open.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Sweet Romance

I decided to take over our anniversary as it was evident that DH was a bit stressed about money. He always makes special occasion plans, so I thought it would be nice to take over for a change. So I decided to recreate use our first date as inspiration. And with a handy pay cheque that came in the mail that day, I had the means. First of all, he sent me a beautiful bouquet of flowers. (Unfortunately, I was out chanting at a friend's early that morning but they redelivered as soon as I got home.) Gorgeous - yellow flowers, peach roses, sunflowers, stargazer lilies, etc. A bit of sunshine on a gloomy day.

Then I went out and ran around a little bit to get all the things I needed. A single red rose for when he got home with a homemade card. For dinner, I went out (in a monsoon, I might add) and brought home Nando's chicken (spicy rotisseries chicken) for dinner. We used to have that when we were dating. A nice romantic dinner with wine in the kitchen. Then off to the location of our first date - Commodore Billiards and Bowling. We played a few games of pool, and it was really fun. I even reminded him of what we talked about that night - how we bumped into my ex in the way in, how he thought he didn't have much competition in that department. I even sunk 3 balls in a row - not too shabby. Then back home and I presented him with the videos of "Sleepers", our first date movie and "Romeo and Juliet" the movie we saw when we realized we were in love. That one was a bit difficult to locate but I got lucky at a drugstore, believe it or not. He even got a bonus gift of "The Untouchables". Next up was a bag of candy and chocolate for the movies. Oh, yeah and of course, cupcakes from Cupcakes. Delish! I love the red velvet with cream cheese frosting and he had mint condition (chocolate with mint). I lost weight last week so I figured I could afford to splurge a little.

He was really impressed and touched by the whole thing. He couldn't quite stomach watching "Romeo and Juliet", (remember I told you he never really wanted to see it in the first place) but we did watch our favourite Lord of the Rings: the Two Towers. I was so happy, it was just the kind of fun we needed. See? Romance doesn't have to cost a lot, it just has to mean something special for the two of you.

And I had enough money left over to have a deluxe pedicure the next day. Hah! Victory is mine!

Friday, November 7, 2008

You just know

Okay, okay, I don't really have time to write that much, as today is my anniversary and I told DH that I would take care of the evening.

But I want to clarify a few things about how we met. When I met him I really wasn't looking for Mr. Right anymore. I had pretty much given up and was just trying to enjoy myself. I drank a lot, danced my ass off in gay clubs and spent $20 a week on food. I honestly had doubts as to whether Mr. Right or Mr. Reasonably Okay even existed. I was working and getting gigs and was getting by. I finally figured out that I was quite attractive and I was learning how to deal with men. I had learned to disengage myself from men who exhibited bad behaviour. If I a guy stood me up, (and it happened), I called him and chewed him out. If he didn't know to take me out and be considerate, I stopped returning his calls. If he wouldn't wear a condom, I left.

What impressed me about DH was that I felt that he was never late picking me up, always kept his word, tried very hard to be romantic and considerate. He loved to laugh and tease me; he was outgoing and fun. He would sing to me and surprise me with flowers, he would drive me wherever I needed to go. He brought me ice cream when I had cramps, we talked for hours and he never made a pass at me. That had never happened to me. So despite we saw each other every day, we waited for a few weeks before we consummated our relationship. When I told him I was moving back to Toronto to do a show, he told me that I should do what was best for me, that I shouldn't come back to Vancouver just for him. That if I decided to come back, it would be because I really wanted to. One night, we went out to see Romeo and Juliet (you just know, he could care less but I wanted to see it) and when we returned to my place, he became really quiet and intense. He stood by the window, not really saying anything and I just knew then that I had fallen in love with him and I knew he loved me.

I just knew.

I called the ex and let him know that he should not expect me to come back to him, that I had met someone else and it was serious. The ex was surprised, stunned, hurt and completely taken aback. True, we had messed around a bit and he was an amazing kisser, but I knew that that was not a good enough reason to be with him. He felt that I had never given him a second try to rekindle our old relationship. And that was that. I knew the difference between the two men by the end of the call. One man wanted what was best for me even if it meant that he would never see me again and the other never bothered to ask me if I was happy. He never asked if I truly loved this person and could have a life with him. He never asked me what I WANTED. Not once. At one point, he had actually told me that he never understood why people thought I was so special. He was only concerned that I had hurt him. When we had been together, he had treated me so shabbily, so poorly and I kept going back for more. I actually went into therapy after we broke up. Five years later, I was stronger, more assured and tired of settling for whoever picked me. He was not a bad person, he just wasn't for me. So I didn't feel that bad letting him go on his way. I deserved better.

Now for the hot little summer fling that I had, that was a little harder. I kept him a secret for a while but eventually I had to pass up seeing that tasty little morsel again. Tee hee. Love makes you do crazy things.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

One more Obama story

One more Obama story, can you stand it? Our politicians are rarely so interesting. In Canada, we like our prime ministers white and boring as drying paint. Okay...moving on. Going to a birth mother panel tonight and I will let you know what I learned.

Blind Date

As promised, the day before our 7th anniversary, I wanted to let share how I met DH - a gajillion years ago on a blind date.

I was doing extra work (for a show called Madison) on a dark and rainy night in the middle of nowhere. As I entered the extras tent, I noticed a tall dark man huddled up by the gas heater. I had recognized him before, I had seen him on set before playing a fireman. I sidled up to this good looking African guy and noticed he was reading One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez . Mmm, intriguing. They paired up us in a car and we chatted a little bit and by the end of the night, it was still raining and I asked him to drive me home. He was going to visit a buddy who lived in my neighbourhood, so he obliged. As he was driving, he called him up on his cell and told his buddy that he was coming and he had a cute but lippy black woman in his car. Before I knew it, I was on the phone and his buddy asked me out. I was not really looking to hook up with him, but I said sure, as long as I wasn't working the next day we could meet for coffee. I had been seeing my ex and a young summer fling floating around in my head, but what the heck, I was single and uncommitted. My new acquaintance started chatting his buddy up to me, so I surmised he wasn't too interested in me.

The next day I gave him a call and a woman's voice was on the answering machine. I hung up. A minute later, the phone rings and it's him (caller ID) and asked if I had just called. I said, yeah, but who was the woman's voice on the answering machine. He explained that he lived with 3 roommates, 2 of which were female. Okayyyy. So we make a plan to meet at Starbuck's later that day. And there he was, as described. Close shaven head, brown eyes waiting at the door. Waiting for me, as in didn't get his coffee before I came in. Good sign. So I have a cappuccino and he has a juice, apparently he doesn't drink coffee. He was sweet and funny and though I went in fully determined to keep my mouth shut, I found myself blabbering on about myself. Then his pager goes off. Yes, this was the time of pagers, people. He was a correctional officer and he had to go to work. Yeah, sure, I thought, that's his buddy getting him out of bad situation. So as he walks me to the corner, he smiles and says that he'd like to continue our date sometime soon. I'm like, yeah, sure, call me and I go off to meet my friends. Whatever, nothing ventured, nothing gained. That night he calls me and says he truly had to go to work, it was not his buddy calling him and he really enjoyed meeting me. Sweet. He really did have beautiful brown eyes.

Meanwhile, my ex was in town for business. You know, he was one of those guys where years later, you give your head a shake and think what the hell was I was thinking?! The actress and the nerd. But it was years later, I was over it and all of a sudden he wants to see me. I'm thinking, maybe for closure, I don't know. But it's obvious, we still have the same physical spark we always had and I'm just trying to figure out why the universe has sent this man back into my life. I didn't love him anymore, but maybe I should try again. A week later, DH calls me and we make a date to go out. I'm feeling like, ah, this is the life I was meant to live. Going out, enjoying life, happy and single. The ex wants to get together but I tell him I have "other plans" and he should go out with this business colleagues.

We went to play pool. As we're walking into the pool hall, guess who comes out? The ex. Yep. And he wants to hang out with us. I tell him I'm busy and try to pretend I'm not freaked out. I'm not sure my ex realized I was out on a date. I'm completely rattled and eventually confess to my handsome date and we have a good laugh at my expense. At this point, DH doesn't know the full extent of our history, but still I feel a little awkward being out with one guy while another is trying to get back together with me. Later, we went to see the movies, "Sleepers" with Kevin Bacon. Yeah, not exactly a date movie but there ya go. As we are leaving the movie, I get a message on my pager that my ex had left his briefcase at my place and had to get it back that night. Oh great. So as we pull up in front of my apartment, I'm hoping he's not at the front door waiting for me. I'm actually sweating. Whew, he's not there (he's actually around the corner at an all night bakery) and I get a nice goodnight kiss. DH also promises to take me to work the next morning cause he kept me out so late. Off he goes and the ex shows up 10 minutes later. He has to spend the night because at this point he can't get back to where he's staying because the transportation was no longer running. And no, we did not have sex. Honestly, what kind of girl do you think I am?

Fast forward to the next morning and I'm trying to get the ex to leave as early as possible. Finally, I get him gone and 5 minutes later, DH shows up as promised (on his day off) to take me to work. Sometimes it's a curse being so hot, honestly. The ex leaves town the next day and I end up seeing DH every day after that. I am relieved when he is gone. He has sucked all the positive energy out of me. I was so depressed. I was actually moving back to Toronto and I thought, is that all there is? I would end up living with this guy because I had no one else. I was pretty sure he was planning out the wedding invitations. Sigh. It was obvious that he hadn't really changed all that much, I was definitely not in love with him and told him so repeatedly and as usual, he was intent on only believing in the fairy tale in his head. But when I was with DH, I felt light and happy and that he really wanted the best for me. No sad history, no bad memories. I felt safe with him. Free to be the woman I had become. And 5 weeks later, we fell in love and went looking at rings. Now the journey for the actress and the prison guard to actually getting married is another story. :)

So there you go.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


Congratulations to America and President Obama! I was working while the election was going on, but the French Canadian clients were keeping updated on their laptops! They raised a glass of wine and toasted to Obama's victory. Now the French Canadians don't like anybody so that's saying something. I would have cried had I been home, but I was at work so I had to just wait til I got home to toast Obama. What a resounding, historic victory! I know, I know, I'm Canadian, but still.... you gotta admit, it's a momentous occasion on this side of the world. I never would have believed it - a black President in my lifetime. Honestly, I thought I would only see Dennis Haysberry's "President Palmer" on "24". I don't think it has even sunk in yet. It was even that long ago, when blacks were fighting just for the RIGHT to vote.

Race is always such a big issue for Americans. You have people voting for him just cause he's black. That shouldn't be surprising. Some people voted for McCain because he's white. Some people couldn't get past how unlike Obama's name was compared to theirs. He wasn't one of THEM. Had one of the candidates been a Mexican-American, you could be sure that someone would have been searching high and low for the relative that was in the country illegally. They liked Sarah Palin because they looked just like her, their friends looked like her. They wouldn't invite Michelle Obama over for tea, now would they?

Hello folks, his mother was white. That should make some people feel better, though strangely it doesn't. That makes him mixed. He's been shaped by more than one culture and that would make him better equipped than most to be compassionate and knowledgeable in world affairs. He has an understanding that can be only experienced by someone like him. That makes him unique. And to those who talk about his "ties" with a domestic terrorist - are you kidding me?! Just because you served on the same board with a radical, doesn't make you one. As a matter of fact, experience in dealing with such people might actually come in handy. As for Obama having a socialist agenda - do you truly know what socialism is? Give me a break - he's a president not a dictator, please don't lose sleep over that one. You have had presidents, both Democrat and Republicans, that have been adulterers, crooks, liars of incredible magnitude, war-mongering morons. You almost impeached one of your presidents, remember? You voted in a former actor, so don't get too upset about Obama's lack of experience. He's not alone in all of this. He won fair and square, of that there can be no doubt. Be as gracious as Sen. McCain. You know what you should really be afraid of?

Every time, a man stands up to be a true leader, a good leader, a man of vision that can truly change the destiny of a country, one American stands up and kills him. Now that's what you should be truly afraid of.


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

My Canadian 2 cents

Thanks Luna!

Infertile's guide to babysitting

I just read this article at LoriBeth's blog, the Road Less Travelled , you've got read it - called the Bubble of Silence - so powerful! If you want to read what it's like for an infertile living in the fertile world, you won't want to miss it. Please note, if you are said topic, it will cut straight to your heart.

As an artist, and not a "brave" one like the author, I want to explore the topic - but it certainly makes you a bit of pariah in polite circles. I know a few colleagues who have become pregnant and haven't personally told me the good news because they know I can't have my own. You don't call up your Orthodox Jewish friend and invite them over for ham sandwich party, right? Still, what do I do? Do I call up about to pop any day now person and ask how they are or should I wait for the birth announcement?

Seriously, people, I should start a babysitting service for actresses - because I will have no mother friends when I get my onedayinthenearfuture baby. I've avoided young kids and babies out of sheer necessity. And apparently no one uses babysitters anymore because I have yet to socialize with parents who are not always with their children. Recently, I was at a birthday celebration in a restaurant and one guest brought her 18 month old in a sling with her. Her husband was working and she had him with her all night. At one point, she went outside for about 30 minutes walking around in the cold until he fell asleep and then she came back in. I don't think she had a bite to eat. She doesn't own a stroller and doesn't mind walking around for hours at a time with him in the sling. I'm sure she has the back muscles of Michael Phelps (Olympic swimmer). She also doesn't allow him to socialize with other toddlers unless she's involve directly in the play. Mmm, apparently there is a school of mother thought that believes this is necessary. I don't know anything about it, but I can assure you that I will not follow suit on that matter. Wouldn't young mums like a break every now and then?

I can watch them from 8 - 10pm, so they can go out to a movie or dinner (not both) and I can entertain them with old dog toys or or sock puppets. If that doesn't work, I've got a big plasma TV and they can watch videos while I play online Scrabble with my headphones on. I draw the line at Telebubbies. I can change diapers, if I can do my mum's, I can do theirs. I have a strong stomach. And aromatherapy products. I better read a book on infant care, eh?

Monday, November 3, 2008

Itchy and Cranky

I'm thinking of changing my subheading to rants and musing about my ever changing state of mind. You know, as much as I don't want to admit it, I may indeed by perimenopausal. I have many of the symptoms. Of course, many of these symptoms are also side effects of Effexor, so it's a little confusing. Still, it would explain a lot. I'll go get a blood test by the end of the week and check out my hormone levels. At first, the drug made me a little nauseous which curbed my appetite, that's cool, I can live with that cause my waist could use a break, but now I've been craving carbs like there is no tomorrow, mac and cheese, oven fries, and you know how I love candy. Seriously, I would skip dinner if I could have candy instead. Last week, I ate enough Mike and Ike's to give myself a sugar headache. True, I was on my period, but if I continue to eat like that I will end up where I was last year. In a bigger pant size! And I'm throwing out my fat pants, people. I honestly don't feel like working out (but I do of course) or even getting off the couch. Maybe I'm a bear and just need to eat a lot and go sleep in a cave for the winter. I've also noticed that I can have a couple of glasses of wine, but I actually don't get a buzz. I would seriously like a buzz people! What's a glass of wine without a warm, fuzzy feeling? I'll tell you what that is - expensive Kool-Aid. I don't sleep very well, I get sweaty, but I'm not tired when I get up. Of course, Effexor can cause sleep disturbances and increased sweating. See what I mean?

I'm not actually suffering too much, I just want to know what I should do. Maybe a naturopath can get this all sorted out for me because I'm tired of being itchy, confused and cranky.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Trick or Treat

Ever get on the phone with someone who talks on and on AND ON about stuff and then when it's your turn and you get in to some emotional talk about your dog dying and then she has to go, it's her mother calling through on the line? Really. Yeah, well, she can call me back. Sometimes being on Facebook is a curse - all sorts of people get a hold of you and want to talk to you. There's a reason they're not on my speed dial. Never mind. Just ranting.

I got up early yesterday and chanted 2 hours with my friend. Now, I suppose I should be feeling better after all that daimoku - but I don't really. Sometimes, all the noise in my head just gets in the way and it was just one of those times. My friend's chanting was throwing me off, my mind just wouldn't settle down - it's like I had all these wants and needs and I didn't know if I should chant for them all or just put it all aside. Still, the day was somewhat productive. I finally caught up to my old agent and chatted with her briefly just for some closure. I felt sad about it, I really did, but we hugged and left it at that. Then dropped some stuff off at my new agent, more stuff at the union, re-ordered more headshots, then onto the liquor store for a nice cheap bottle of shiraz. I was planning on dropping by the home to see my mum at the Hallowe'en "party" they were having at the home, but I was running late (cause my old agent is never available in the mornings... which is why she's my old agent) and I decided to just call it a day and spare myself the slow-mo geriatric entertainment.

Holed up for Hallowe'en with DH and a box of Mike and Ike candy (glorious candy!) for both of us and thought about how nice it would be if I could dress up and give treats out to little ghosts and goblins. We don't really have to worry about that living in high rise heaven. Small favours, right?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Next drug, please!

I went back to the doctor and requested to see a specialist - i.e. a psychiatrist - to discuss my medication issue. (You were right, Teendoc.) My appointment isn't til just before Christmas, but hopefully I'll get a call before then. I upped the dosage as I was instructed and started to experience intense itching all over and I even had a hive on my face. I've got a scar on my inside cheek from catching it between my teeth sometime during one of my many intense dreams. (Can't find a nightguard in the drugstores yet.) Once, I even batted DH away as he attempted to kiss me goodbye before he left for work. I was not a happy camper. And of course, the continuing non interest in sex. I went back down to my usual dose of 150 mg. And now, I have started waking up during the night all sweaty. Not oily sweaty where the bedding is soaked or anything, but still a bit sweaty.

She gave me a requisition for hormone testing just in case I'm starting to get MENOPAUSAL. After she picked herself off the floor from me kicking the chair out from beneath her..... just kidding. I thought about it though. You know, she told me she was concerned about my mental health, but I was never suicidal. Just between you and me, I betcha she's medicated. What with all those free samples and all. I used to work for doctors, they get tons of them. Being concerned about my total health, including a healthy sex life, should be a concern of a doctor, but I guess that only matters to men. One word - Viagra. For women? Nada. Yeah, I gave it the old college try anyway and it was like I wonder who DH is having sex with, it's not me cause I can't feel a thing. I wonder if porn stars feel like that, fake it til you hear cut and then go get a ham sandwich. Yep. Is that under the TMI category? Naah! We've got dildocam stories between us all.

So somehow during all this, she misunderstood that I had quit the Effexor entirely. No, you told me not to do that, it was something that I had to cut down slowly. She actually used the words "titrate down". Twice. Apparently, my face had the look of someone who understood that term. I assumed what it meant. She was quite happy to get me the referral though she did say the psych would probably just pick another medication like she would. He had better listen more, I tell you that. And yes, I know, talking to me can be a chore. I tend to be circular in my thought processes, though I do get to my point eventually. It's a lovely habit that allows me to experience more, mull things over more than some people, tolerate more but some may call it indecisive. Whatever. The Christmas season is coming and the "lights out" rainy weather that this lovely city has to offer is on its way, and I don't want to spend the winter contemplating my broke ass, childless, artistic self all winter. I've got a life to live.

Thanks for listening and if you have any assvice - please do impart your wisdom.

Monday, October 27, 2008

TTC article

Check out the article in the September issue of O magazine, called "Trying". For once, an article about trying to conceive that's been the most effective in communicating the truth.


I shared my post yesterday with DH and we had a really great conversation. I was trying to explain to him how I felt, wondering if I truly communicated what I had been feeling. Mind you, my post wasn't long and he prefers few words to long, rambling, analyzing text. So often we are busy with other things, the daily caretaking of domestic crap to truly talk about other things, that I was grateful to have his complete attention. As a matter of fact, we had a really nice weekend really talking to each other. We went for a long walk in the endowment lands with his friend's dog that we had for the weekend. A black, flatcoat retriever named Moose. One of Sampson's buddies. He's kinda like the developmentally challenged younger brother. He looks similar to Samps but his hair is longer and silkier. He has the worst case of separation anxiety I've seen in a dog. He's needy and annoying and cute as hell at the same time.

I'm beginning to realize I can't fix my friend but I can do what I have learned. I went to my Buddhist discussion group yesterday afternoon, all excited. The theme was gratitude. We had guests and I told them my experience with my mum and my practice and how I felt ready to deal with friend. Not full of sorrow but feeling prepared and calm that I could offer my bubbly chatter, my silence, my ability to support her in whatever way she needed. This girl in her 20s spoke up. Her mother has been diagnosed with breast cancer and she was sad and worried and scared to death. She told me her mother was tough, but she was conflicted at whether she had to be positive all the time despite being weighed down by grief. She so desperately wanted to be strong for her mum. We all assured her that what she was feeling was normal, grief was inevitable, that she could develop a life condition that would give her what she needed.

She told me I was inspirational. I told her that her mum was lucky to have such a wonderful caring daughter. I was so happy that we could make her feel heard and understood at a time that she most needed it. One of our members had thyroid cancer in the past and she shared some amazing encouragement.

I am constantly reminded of what it means to be a mother, a daughter, to nurture and be needed. This yearning has been like a kind of grief for me for so long. I can't know the love of a developing life in side of me and the agony of losing it. I think of my friends out there, some of you, that have experienced this. I am ashamed to admit that years ago, I was envious that some had been a mother if only for a brief time, had something real to mourn. Can you believe that? Yep. Infertile women can. The ego knows no shame. I bow to your Buddha nature. I am only humbled by your ability to know that kind of love and remember.

I pray for Devadatta's safe journey and return. I am happy that I will see her soon. Thanks for listening/reading.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

What really matters to me

On Friday, I finally got in touch with my friend, Devadatta who is fighting breast cancer. And the news is not good. Her cancer has returned and metastasized and has spread to her lungs, liver and blood. Swell. She was pretty matter of fact about it. She has done clinical studies, without much success and is now going to Peru to see a shaman. She won't be alone, she has a friend coming with her. I know, I know, it sounds crazy, but you'd have to know her to know that it actually makes sense. She sent a picture of herself to him and without even knowing she had cancer, he knew precisely where she had tumours. Spooky, huh? A lot of events aligned to bring her to that decision and I fully support her. You see, she really doesn't have anything to lose at this point. She's done both western and alternative therapies and both have helped in varying degrees, but they really don't know what else they can do. She's fighting triple negative cancer and it keeps coming back. Chemotherapy and drugs are not effective for her and her only option seems to be radiation but because of the places that it has reoccurred, that might not happen. So, she's looking for a healing. I hope she find what she needs and I hope she comes back better than when she left. I will be leaving to spend some time with her upon her return. DH has been reminding me for months that we have enough aeroplan miles to get to Toronto if I wanted to go visit my friends, but I thought no, that will mean just spending more money I don't have. Then I talk to her and money becomes irrelevant. I just want to spend some time with her.

She'll be so tired when she gets back and I just want to do what I can for her. Just for a little while. She lives on the top floor apartment of a house and when I think of the steep flight of stairs she has to climb to come and go, I wince. Yeah, I know, I wear the part of the princess very well, I like my lattes and my leather boots. I'm at home in a chic boutique hotel and I'd rather shop than eat, but the day I washed my mother when she was in the hospital after her stroke, and she looked at me with such shame and loss of dignity at her own state, I understood what it was to love someone so much that you could bear their misery and hold them in love and do what had to be done anyway. Have you ever looked into the face of someone you loved who was suffering and absorbed that pain, if only for a minute? It changes you in a way. Love is what matters, not your pain or discomfort. I don't know how to explain this at the moment. Oh, crap, I wish I could find the right words. Ah, crap.

This search for motherhood, this search for a deep connection with another human being, there's ego, there's self delusion, there's yearning for love. It's all in there. In life and death.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Still waiting

We went to the adoption agency yesterday for a little face time. Just wanted to know what we could do to get things moving along. We were encouraged to hear that we were on the top of the list for a bi-racial baby and that we should hang in there. We have also discussed the possibility of posting on a couple of internet sites for more exposure in Canada. We would use a contact person there to handle any inquiries from birth mothers. I did learn though that the province of Ontario insists on anyone adopting out of there to hire a lawyer from there if the child is moving out of province. So in essence we'd be paying two lawyers when one lawyer would do. In Nova Scotia, adoptions are just plain discouraged. So the two provinces where we might find our bi-racial child, and thus avoiding US immigration, are proving to be problematic.

On our way home, hubby railed against the horrid expenses adoptive parents incur, as if infertile couples haven't shelled out enough money on fertility treatments and therapies, and that we'd be saving the province from supporting a needy child and why weren't they more helpful. That we could be using tens of thousands of dollars to buy that child an education or a new home or whatever. He ranted that there are some great people out there who could never undertake adoption because of the expense. I pointed out that it is only because we wanted a newborn and we could have chosen other options, like choosing an older child from a government waiting list. We did have choices. Not easy ones, but we did have choices. Not to mention, remaining childless. I know that's only one side of the whole equation, but his frustration was apparent. I can understand why it's so easy to be overwhelmed. Waiting can be very painful, as we all know. It can feel that you are being punished once again for not being fertile. There are so many people out there that could barely raise an objection never mind a child, but that doesn't stop them.

Ah, never mind. Onward and upward, back to the action plan.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Tagged back!

Question: what's with the Blogger verification for posting comments? I used to just put in my name but now I have to put in letters and for some reason I can't see them.

I've been tagged by Loribeth at The Road Less Travelled so you can blame her. Haha.

1. Where is your cell phone? Purse
2. Where is your significant other? at work
3. Your hair color? black
4. Your mother? Demented
5. Your father? who?
6. Your favorite thing? Laptop
7. Your dream last night? can't remember thank goodness
8. Your dream/goal? Motherhood and a creative job that I get PAID for
9. The room you’re in? Living room
10. Your hobby? hidden object games, online Scrabble
11. Your fear? loss
12. Where do you want to be in six years? In my own home making cookies with my kid and husband
13. Where were you last night? Chanting at the culture centre
14. What you’re not? gainfully employed
15. One of your wish list items? Baby, pedicures on demand, smaller ass

16. Where you grew up? Ontario
17. The last thing you did? had coffee
18. What are you wearing? pajamas and the worlds comfiest robe
19. Your T.V.? Young and the Restless
20. Your pet? in my heart :(
21. Your computer? essential!
22. Your mood? bored
23. Missing someone? my dog
24. Your car? Mazda Tribute
25. Something you’re not wearing? perfume
26. Favorite store? London Drugs
27. Your Summer? endless
28. Love someone? yes I do!
29. Your favorite color? cranberry or orange
30. Last time you laughed? yesterday
31. Last time you cried? yesterday morning

So you folk are tagged now - don't pretend you have nothing else to do - !

Wordgirl at Blood Signs
chicklet at Bloorb
Pamela Jeanne at Coming2Terms
DMarie at Bella Vida
OHN at Only Half Nuts
Portraits in Sepia
Anna at Working on it

What now?

I bet you're all wondering what happened. I'm still wondering that myself. Talked to hubby about the situation, talked to the agency. Not having the immigration number was a problem, but I have tried calling the immigration number. It's the usual automated hell. I tried waiting, I tried pressing 0, I either get disconnected or told that number was invalid or that they can't transfer the call to an agent cause it's too busy. I don't have any further information from the agency yet regarding whether our profile was even approved, so it could be just one of those things. Oddly enough, I thought of this woman who gave birth and wanted to sign away her child so quickly and I was so upset. What if she changed her mind? Did she really know what she was doing? How old is she, does she have other children, who is she? I actually pictured myself by her bedside with a beautiful healthy little girl in my arms. Was she really choosing me or did it even matter to her? Where is this child now? Already, I'm attached. Ohmigosh, I was so overwhelmed with emotion.

Hubby was a little freaked about the bags of money in small unmarked bills (just kidding), but looks like some money that was locked up in a government RSP will soon become available. When we first started this, we were counting on being able to cash in some stocks which were doing very well. That idea was flushed down the toilet along with the rest of the market. Ah, the glamorous world of high finance. He was quite impressed with my action plan though. I think it helped us both realize that this adoption could really happen in real life, not just in our dreams.

I went to the culture centre last night, all revved up for some serious chanting and boy did I have a lot to chant for. It occurred to me that while I was chanting for bags of money that I could also chant for a "free" baby or a Canadian baby. That sounds horrible cause you can't really put a price on a child, but the reality is that people who adopt infants can afford to or have made significant sacrifices to do so. Potential parents would like to put the money away for a child's education or pay down their mortgage, but lawyers, agencies, and birth parents need to be taken care of. I understand that. The adoption process is not for the faint of heart, you have to be committed, you have to be strong. We're lucky, I actually know people who could come up with serious coin if I asked (ssh, hubby would kill me, he'd rather chew off his arm instead of borrowing), but we'll see about that. He married a woman with Bajan (Barbadian) blood and we do what we want. In secret. (insert voodoo music here.)

I also chanted for my girlfriend dealing with breast cancer. See, now that's a REAL problem. I'd like to go spend some time with her and we may have enough aeroplan miles. Though I appreciate hubby's efforts to deal with the current state of the economy and what it means to us personally, I also wish that he could put money in perspective. This is a child and our future, not a car, not a house. Debt sucks, but dying sucks harder. People first, money second. (Occasionally Suzie O. says something worthwhile.)

Thank you for all the encouragement and advice and support. Thanks Joanne for the offer to stay in Houston. When I know more, I'll let you all know.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I hate mornings

I've had a very busy morning. Just minutes after I wake up from another drug-induced dream where I wake up completely flustered like someone was on my last freaking nerve with a sore jaw and headache cause I was clenching my teeth so hard AND BEFORE MY MORNING COFFEE, I get a phone call and email from our adoption agency about a baby girl born on Monday(!) in Texas in need of biracial parents! And the birthmother wants to relinquish and sign today. Yep. And then I was told of the fees. Ahem. Let's just say - yikes! Long and short of it was that I got the impression that all I had to do was show up in Texas with a bagful of American dollars. I considered having a freak out. There's a hitch though.

We haven't been able to apply for an immigration ID number because our taxes haven't been filed and cleared yet. We are not prepared. As you may recall, several months ago, we had other things on our plate - like working on our marriage so thinking about paperwork was not our top priority. We have since remedied our dramatic marriage issues and the tax returns, but due to our European adventure where we were attempting to deal with the loss of our pet and actually have FUN, we didn't get our taxes back from the accountant. I was jetlagged when I returned so I told them to mail them and they mailed it to our old address instead, so by the time I figured out what was going on, weeks had passed and - well, our timeline is messed up. Hence, no immigration number. Yep. The agency encouraged me to call immigration with a hope and a prayer for said number, but of course, all miracles considered, we are not prepared with a bagful of American currency.

After a brief call to a friend and scouring my shower with lemon scented Vim and vaccuming the lint out of my bathroom fan vent, I sat down and drafted an action plan. A missed opportunity like this is a perfect wake up call to us. Nothing other than a bagful of money is going to solve this one in the next 5 minutes, so before I go out and buy a lottery ticket, we are going to sit down and talk about what we need to do to prepare ourselves to bring home a baby one day real soon. Before I have to wax grey hairs out of my chin.

Thank you for your kind words of support. I am eternally grateful.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Moody times

I try not to write about DH but when it really starts to get to me, I can't help it. He's been pretty moody lately. I'm used to being the seriously unhinged one around here. The economy has been on everyone's mind lately and it's not any different here in Canada. BC has been economically strong and stable for the past few years, but when you're in certain financial sectors, the good times are over. His usual travel plans in the fall have been cancelled, no one is interested in making the big deals at the moment for obvious reasons. Earlier this year there was talk about us having enough money for the adoption and then some and now he's grocery shopping with me and looking for sales. That is not like him at all. He would just throw things in the cart and I would be the one digging around in my humongous purse looking for coupons as he rolled his eyes. He would laugh when I told him stories about how I would live on $20 a week for groceries and how my girlfriend and how I could eyeball the items in my basket and tell I was up to $19.95. Well, he ain't laughing now!

There are very few things that put him off his feed so to speak. Our dog's death was one. Just recently he got a tattoo of Big Boy's paw on his calf. I'll get a picture of it soon, I was just waiting for it to heal up. I kept asking him how much it was going to cost and he feigned ignorance. Apparently, it goes into the "worth it" category. As will mine. The other thing that is sure to get him down is worrying about money. I felt compelled to reassure him that I think about it too, but I've never really let the money thing get me down. After all, I'm an actress and after all these years, I'm used to the feast or famine rollercoaster. Yes, indeedy, life is way better when you have lots of money, no doubt about it. I'd rather have to debate between going to Bali or Thailand as oppose to brand name vs. no name can of beans. Back in the day, I used to toss and turn when I wasn't sure where the rent money was going to come from, but then it always came. So at some point, I decided not to worry about it, to just have faith that the money would come. Faith is not something he subscribes to, however. Since he is the breadwinner, he feels the weight of my expectations. His own expectations. He finally found a job he loves and it provided us a glimpse of the future we could have. So to see him toss and turn, not eat, get all short and impatient with me, well, it's upsetting. He keeps telling me everything will be okay, but he's not acting like it. He's started to rearrange things around here. Not a good sign. When things are out of his control, he seeks order in his home. So I did my best not to hyperventilate when he rearranged the office. I hate it when my stuff is moved around, but I let it go. My idea of rearranging is adding things, not taking things away.

Did I tell you I left my agent last week? Yep, it was long overdue, but I was practically ill over it. It is times like this that I wish I were a high powered something or other. I'm sure in another life I was. But when I go to sleep, I have to push away that evil whisper that says if only I was skinny enough, smart enough, more successful, more educated, more something I could make him happy. I push that whisper away with some daimoku and realize the truth is that I can't make someone happy any more than they can make me. I can't fix it. Nor does he want me to. In fact, he hates it when I try to.

I'm finally in a good mood and now he's in a funk. Swell.

Get real!

I was watching a program the other day - the Real Housewives of New York City. (It's the east coast version of the Real Housewives of Orange County - which deserves it's own separate rant.) It's a little like watching a car wreck - you want to turn away but you just can't. I'm sure there's a psychological term for that - anyone? I'm always amazed that people actually live like that. What I mean is that they live without a financial care in the world, their only ambition is to secure their position in the "in" crowd, the socialite set. Marrying Mr. Right with a 6 or 7 figure income is a skill that I never acquired, but apparently it does take some smarts. First you need a career, say a personal chef to busy, wealthy people and then you suck up to his parents by donating your time and services to a charity that you don't give a fig about to impress them and get their seal of approval. What if you are like one woman hanging in the Hamptons for the summer and you are not invited to a dinner party that your other friends were invited to? Eeks, why that's just plain rude and cause for revenge, right?

Honestly, it's like watching a bunch of mean girls in high school! Maybe this program serves as a sort of moral touchstone to the hoi polloi. I may have bills piling up cause I'm living beyond my means but I'm not like that! As one who has 2nd hand knowledge of such people, I feel confident to say they wealthy people have insecurities and problems just like the rest of us - they are just have more expensive problems. Like running out of travel points and having to pay for upgrades to first class or having wicked alimony payments or not being able to afford a private jet. It's all relative, folks.

Why just the other day, as this guy was asking me for spare change, I wanted to say - spare change? Hey listen buddy, I barely had enough for this $3.50 Starbucks non caramel macchiato, get real!