Month: April 2013

Flat-Out Friday: Jiggity Jig

Home again, home again. Back in Alberta. Back to my own bed, my kitties, and my neighbourhood. Back to the same time zone as my husband. Back to a regular schedule. I’m back.

There is nothing quite like snuggling up in your own bed with your warm furry loved ones to cure a bout of loneliness. And yes, though visiting my parents is wonderful and I love being there, I don’t sleep the same way and it’s not home any more. Granted, I lived with them for several years before moving in with my knight in CadPat armour, so while I visit I use the same room, the same bathroom, the same bed… everything I’m used to. But there’s always something missing. Even with their four dogs and two cats acting as surrogate furry loved ones, there’s something missing.

This is where my parents live. Beautiful, but so different from my urban lifestyle.

Home is where everything that makes you you is. It’s where you don’t have to worry about eating the food in the fridge because it’s yours, or worry that people won’t like what you make for dinner because it’s for yourself. It’s where you don’t mind being woken by animals because they’re your animals and you know they’ll go right back to bed with you once they’ve eaten. It’s where your clothes are, your movies, and your shower with your towels. Hell, I even missed the Internet!

It has a certain smell, too. A smell that, no matter how dusty or strewn with cat hair it might be, when you step into your home you can’t help but take a huge breath inward. A smell that instantly calms you, relaxes you, and tells you that you can take your pants off now if you want because you are in a sacred place, one where you both worship and are worshipped. A smell that tells your brain that you can stop sucking your gut in, it’s okay to feel fat here, no one is going to judge you and you might even get told how beautiful you are.

Home is beautiful.

My cats are lounging close, not letting me out of their sight. Moriarty the fish has made his bubble nest again to welcome me home. My pants are off. I’m letting my tummy hang out. I’m probably going to hit the sack early, just because I can. And the internet, the wonderful internet, is here waiting for me when I wake up. Yep. Being home is just about perfect. All that’s missing is one Matt-shaped loved one to hold me while I dream.


Flat-Out Friday: I Has A Pout

I think I’m entitled to have a pout once in a while, and today I have one. Since I’ve been in Kingston, despite me being busy nearly every day and still making an effort to eat right and get exercise, I think I have actually gained weight. This is truly frustrating. I was doing so well, and this setback is humiliating. I have to go see my doctor in a few weeks and she’s gonna wonder why I haven’t made any progress. This kind of thing makes me just want to give up all together and become one of those wretched scooter people that run over people’s feet and don’t apologize.

I think this is compounded by the fact that I miss my husband. He is out in Wainwright, being all Captain Canada, and will be there for another two weeks. Then I just get him for a week before he’s gone again for another month. Sometime in June I might get to see him more regularly. (I know it’s army life, and I married into it, but this is my pout and I’ll have it if I want to.) He’s my biggest fan, my loudest cheerleader, my reason for getting up in the mornings. He makes me want to be the person I should be. And I know this fight will be ongoing and permanent, always battling against the many scars on my body and my psyche, but I also know that they feel less like scars and more like badges of honour when he’s standing behind me.

I should be kicking my own ass. I should be going on a juice cleanse or celery soup diet or whatever will make me thinner. I should be going to the gym every day and swimming until the lifeguard has to fish me out before I drown… But right now it all feels like what’s the point.

Sure, my stubborness has gotten me through a lot, and it will get me through more as time goes on, but it doesn’t really apply to dieting. And maybe because I can’t stubborn my way out of this I’m getting panicky; this IS just another example of control lost.

Which makes me think, why bother?, which makes me sad, which reminds me I’m already sad because my husband’s been kidnapped by the army, which makes me even more sad…

You get the picture.

In some ways, pouting is healthy. It helps people understand how I’m feeling inside since I don’t walk about with a sign saying “extra sensitive day today – caution” on my back. And in some ways its a step toward acknowledging that it’s all right for me to have bad days and that they are a normal part of healing mentally. But then my stubbornness steps in and reminds me that no one likes a whiner, and I should just suck it up and try harder.

Sometimes I want to punch my stubbornness in the mouth.

As I write this, I’m curled up in bed with my teddy bear (shut up, I have one and I’m 32, shut up) and am trying to decide on whether to just hibernate for the rest of April. The wind is blowing, there’s a storm coming in, and I might feel like this is an apt metaphor except I really can’t muster the effort that would require.

I’m too busy wasting it on my pout.

Flat-Out Friday: Gratitude

A lot is going on today, of all days: my grandmother is celebrating her 82nd birthday today, my cousin gave birth to a healthy baby girl this morning that looks just like her, and an ice storm moved into the region, covering everything with a thick layer of frozen rain and making the world still and silent. It’s the kind of day that has me reflecting on just how lucky I am, as it is also 20 months exactly since that life-changing August morning.

As I’ve mentioned before, I remember bits and pieces from the scene. I remember being in agony, I remember the witnesses talking to me, trying to keep me calm, and I remember the driver standing outside his vehicle (after Clark, the off-duty paramedic, told him to move it forward so I had space) talking on his cell phone. I remember telling the arriving paramedics that my hips hurt. I remember them loading me onto the scoop stretcher and it hurting. And I remember them joking with one another about how Clark couldn’t even have a day off.

In the back of the ambulance, they gave me an IV. I’m sure it had some pretty strong drugs in it. I had to recite my name, address, age, the date, the place, etc., for Logan, one of the two stellar respondents I was blessed with. I don’t remember much else, except him holding on and saying how Jackie was a crazy driver.

In the ER I was whisked into a theatre, transferred to a bed, my clothes were cut off me, and I was wheeled in to have a lengthy visit with the MRI. Once I returned, they gave me more drugs, put in a catheter, and took my jewelry. Matt was there by then, and he took my promise ring and threaded it onto his chain around his neck for safe keeping. (It’s still there, hanging close to his heart every day.) The police CSI unit came and took photos of my injuries. I remember Matt talking to them. And I remember Matt pacing at the back of the room while he called my mum to break the news. By this point the doctors were already talking about sending me to Calgary; they just had to find a way to get me there. I remember Matt saying, “Your mother damaged my calm” as he held my hand gingerly. I also remember having to sign something so they could give me a blood transfusion; it would be my first of three. At some point, someone made a joke about losing my shoe, and how it was always just one shoe but not both.

 Once they had secured transport, I was separated from Matt, who had make some arrangements before he joined me, and driven to the Medicine Hat airport by the same team who had picked me up. They would be making the trip to Calgary with me. This made me happy and relaxed for my trip. I dozed lightly on the 50-minute flight, and all that stands out is Logan saying to Jackie, “She told me she was lucky to be alive. She kept saying how lucky she was.” Jackie’s response is long forgotten. And though I don’t remember saying that to him, I can believe I did. I also remember Jackie taking the “shortcut” through a construction zone once we were on the ground in Calgary, and Logan just holding on and smiling in the back. I remember crying once they left me in the care of the Foothills Trauma Response Team because they had been so good to me.

They both said to me over and over that once I got to Foothills, it would be a very intense barrage of questioning and testing. It still didn’t prepare me for what came next. There were a dozen people at any given time poking, prodding, examining, asking me questions, talking to one another – I felt like a cow at a meat auction. I had to keep telling people who I was over and over, what day it was, where I was now, as though they didn’t believe my answers from 30 seconds before. I could wiggle my toes and apparently this was the greatest thing in the world. They rolled me onto my left side and I screamed loud and long. They found one of my ribs had chipped under my right arm but the ultrasound showed it harmlessly hanging out nearby so they didn’t have to worry about my lungs being punctured. I was sent for another round of MRI screening. I think there may have been a picture of cherry blossoms on the ceiling. They gave me another transfusion, and I was whisked upstairs to the Trauma Ward’s “major injuries” unit.

I was given a window spot, and I shared the four berths with a guy who had a total facial reconstruction after diving off a cliff, a guy who got drunk and drove his ATV into a tree, and another empty bed. It was awful. Finally, Matt arrived, befriended the nurses (as is his nature), and did everything he could to make me comfortable. And he wouldn’t leave my side except to sleep for the next 10 days.

There is more, but it is most feelings and emotions that I can’t describe and images that are fuzzy with shock. I think someone commented on my promise ring at the scene, but I don’t know if it was the blonde lady that called 911 or Jackie, or even someone else. Matt said that on his way up to Calgary he heard the story on the radio news, and it was a surreal experience to hear someone talking calmly and objectively about the events. I think it was even on the local television news, but that’s not really the way I had hoped to become a celebrity.

 When I woke up this morning and realized there was a new baby and a long-lived great-grandmother to celebrate today as well as the 20-month anniversary of the accident, I knew it was the kind of day to be thankful for. I am truly lucky to be here.

Flat-Out Friday: Travel Sickness

It’s not an actual sickness as the title of this post suggests, but yes, when I travel I have health-related consequences.

The biggest of these is the sheer exhaustion I incur. The trip from Alberta to Ontario takes 4 hours; tack on travel time on either end and time in airport, and it is doubled. Then take into account the early hour you get up, the late hour you get in, and the nappus interruptus of the actual flight time. By the time you’re done all that, you discover that I went to bed last night at 9pm Alberta Time and I had been up for 16 hours straight.

Not counting anything else, the timing is hard for my body to take. Now add standing for forever in lines, the uncomfortable seats in the waiting areas and on the plane, two takeoffs, two landings, turbulence… The bodily toll ramps up. Top it all of with a giant scoop of crowds, deadlines, delays, screaming kids, rude people, and gross travel food and you have pretty much just described the 10th circle of hell.

For me and Matt, travel is our lifeline to our families. But it also is a giant elephant in the room when we talk about vacations. How much will I be able to handle in one day? How much is too much? Can we stagger or stage this any better? I need at least one day of recovery for the AB-ON trip, so there’s no way I could do a connecting flight to the US or abroad after that. Then there’s all the emotional stimuli. By the time I get to Ontario, I feel desensitized to all but the most extreme of emotions, so I walk about in a zombie-like state. Not really all that great when visiting loved ones, especially if you have a limited time with them.

I am lucky to have three full weeks with my family this go-around: lucky because I can fully recover and enjoy myself and lucky because it’s a substantial visit. Also lucky to have found a nice older lady in our apartment building to look after the cats, and lucky that I don’t have to find a way to fill a month by myself while Matt’s back in Wainwright. So all in all, I plan to enjoy myself once my body and mind catches up with me. Right now I’d like to say thank you for waiting as this post was later than I intended.

I was napping.

Week in Review: Easter’s Magic

Happy Passover! I hope everyone had a properly wonderful Easter. Matt and I celebrated in our usual quirky hipster fashion: Thursday was sessions at our tattoo parlour for some colouring; Friday we took in beer and burgers at the Sherlock Holmes pub and cheered on The Rock in the new GI Joe movie; Saturday was a day of rest; Sunday we had sushi and saw a Studio Ghibli movie at the local independent theatre; and yesterday we went to the zoo! In between all this excitement, Matt finished Bioshock Infinite (I’m still trying to wrap my head around the ending) and I played Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch (which is a JRPG with graphics and animations done in cooperation with Studio Ghibli).

I feel like we were that couple that everyone is secretly a little jealous of. And I wouldn’t blame you if you were. Our philosophy is that, if we don’t have any family to celebrate the holiday with, we celebrate it the way we want. So, like Thanksgiving supper was the traditional East Indian buffet, this year’s Easter dinner was the classic sushi and tempura.


  • The Sherlock Holmes pub was a lot of fun, and I can’t wait to get fancied up and go try Moriarty’s, the bistro and wine bar next to it. 
  • The Rock was classic The Rock. It was a fun movie that didn’t need to be in 3D but was full of action and also Bruce Willis.
  • If you are looking for a locally owned small business to support and happen to enjoy sushi, definitely visit Kabuki. It’s just off Whyte in the Garneau Theatre building. The service was good and the food was great.
  • The Ghibli movie we saw was called “Ocean Waves”. Apparently, it’s rarely ever shown outside Japan, so it was a treat to see it in the original 35mm. It was a coming-of-age story that I was secretly also hoping would be a coming out story, but they went for the staid boy-loves-girl ending instead. However, I am just thrilled to be able to check it off of the Studio Ghibli roster as “watched”. Next month they are showing another hard-to-find film called “Only Yesterday”, and though Matt will be in Wainwright, I am going to head down the theatre for that one too.
  • The Edmonton Zoo was smaller than I thought but they are currently in the middle of doubling the size, and there were quite a lot of very cute animals to see, including a tiny baby Goeldi’s Monkey and the adorably fluffy Red Pandas. The day was beautiful and it was a fantastic way to spend an afternoon for a very reasonable price.
  • Bioshock Infinite will blow your mind. My brain hurt after it was finished. I’m still not totally sure of what actually happened, but my grasp of quantum mechanics is tenuous at best. Totally deserves a replay through as a trilogy.
  • Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch is just making my inner fangirl squee in delight. I feel like I’m playing a Studio Ghibli movie. The scenery is like that of Howl’s Moving Castle and The Cat Returns. The characters could be extras from Porco Rosso or Castle in the Sky. The actual story is simple and heartwarming. As a teen, I played Final Fantasy VIII for years (honestly), just playing it over and over because I enjoyed it so much. Now I have Ni No Kuni. I’m gonna play this disk until it is unplayable. And then I’m going to download it from the PlayStation store and play it some more.
Oliver and Drippy make some magic

I  hope everyone had a great Easter. I am off to Ontario for three weeks in a couple of days, so I will be updating again on Friday with my Flat-Out post about travelling. Now go watch Studio Ghibli movies! You all might learn something.