full circle

. . .from an upward battle of struggles and emotions to a journey of healing, growth, and laughter. . .


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first world problems

Yes, that little phrase puts everything into perspective. So does the cliché “life’s too short.” While it took me years of severe depression (The Breakup), three months of stress leave from work, and a few years without a man in my life (aftermath of The Breakup), I have learned that you can control only your reactions to negative situations. You cannot control other people nor the circumstances. But you can be a grownup and stop sulking about unimportant things. Life is too short to worry or dwell on something that doesn’t involve your health or ability to live, your family, or helping the community.

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I started writing the above post in December, and I see now that I never finished it. It was about M, with whom I am no longer friends effective May 20 due to unrelated reasons.

 

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shells

my sister, two nieces, nephew, brother, brother’s girlfriend, and brother’s girlfriend’s daughter came to visit me this past weekend. my sister and the kids flew in to visit my parents on the island last week and came to vancouver to see me for the weekend. five of us sleeping and eight of us hanging out in my 1-bed apartment!!! craziness!!

it was great to see the kids. i’ve been lucky because usually, i see them only once every two years, but last year, i crashed their disney world vacation, and then they came out here. i think i’ve finally gotten used to their getting older. but my eldest niece is 15, and that still makes me nervous – i don’t want her to be a teenager, lol! my younger niece is 12, and she confessed to me that i was one of her idols because of all the places i’ve travelled, and she wants to travel, too. i was so touched. it was such a good feeling in my heart to know i’m making a positive impact in her life. living in a different city, i don’t get to see them much, so what she said meant a lot to me. and my nephew is 10 and a typical goofball when you want him to pose for a photo and runs away when you want to kiss him (heehee).

we went to the beach down the street from my apartment on saturday afternoon, and for the first time in five years of living there, i actually went right down to the water, got my feet wet (i wouldn’t dare swim), and helped them pick up shells. i couldn’t believe how beautifully purple all the shells were. i picked up a few to add to my collection surrounding my candle (shells from sydney, italy, vancouver, maybe england).

we went out to dinner twice (mexican and italian, yum!), and one night my brother actually barbecued for all of us! my sister and brother did the shopping, my sister made the salad and served everyone, and my eldest niece fought with me to do the dishes (we both like doing dishes… i’ve never admitted that to anyone except her, lol), so i didn’t have to do a thing except enjoy it all!

i’m glad they all came to visit. it was really good for me to have some fun with family.

i have other exciting news… i am going to see kittens tomorrow after work. they live with a “foster family” and are ready for adoption. if the kittens like me, and i like them (pffft, of course i’ll like them, lol), then i can take them home! i’m so nervous and a little scared, lol. watch this space!

some sad news… a friend at work whose cancer had come back a year ago passed away yesterday. she was only 50. there will be a memorial at work, but i don’t know if i can go. i don’t do death very well. it was one of the reasons i left canada 10 years ago – my boyfriend at the time was killed by a drunk driver. it was the second worst time in my life (it had been the worst time until T and i broke up – that bumped the list). J was so kind and funny, and everyone liked her. she was surrounded by lots of family when she died. as another close friend of mine said, i’m honoured to have known her.


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in the studio

i used to write a blog. on myspace. and people actually read it. it was fun. last night, i was looking forward to staying in because last weekend was too intense, and i wanted to chill and sleep in today… but eventually, i got bored and looked up an old friend’s number whom i hadn’t seen in years and sent him a text to see if he wanted to catch up sometime this weekend. he replied that he was working at the backstage lounge and that i should pop in. but aside from hating going to a bar by myself (unless i know the band playing), how was i supposed to catch up with him if he was working? and then i was eating strawberries (as you do on a friday night alone), and then amber was jealous (about the berries) and sent me an email, and then we chatted on msn. she was staying in, too, so i was trying to convince her that we should go out tonight (because i knew by saturday, i would be going stir crazy). and then my nephew called from winnipeg.

my nephew is nine. when he called, i panicked a little because i was afraid he was going to ask to speak to thomas, and i didn’t know if my sister had told him that we had broken up (and by ‘broken up’, i mean he bailed on our relationship and walked out on me). but then i realized my nephew was just calling to ask me for money. for his fundraising. so, of course, i said yes. and then we talked… and my nephew and i never “talk”. our short conversations usually consist of my asking him how school was, what he was going to do on the weekend, and telling him i loved him. but we actually chatted for awhile this time. i asked him if he liked his birthday present (he had interviewed my now former friend brian about his band, and i sent him my copy of their cd), and he said yes and told me his favorite song. i told him that that song was actually my favorite song on the album, too (just because brian turned out to be an insensitive person doesn’t mean it still wasn’t a song i liked). we talked about my birthday (which is two days after his), age, getting old vs. older (he’s a smart kid), and hip hop dancing. towards the end, he told me he missed me, too and asked when i was going to come back to visit. i nearly shed a tear… when they were younger, i hated being so far away and missing out on their childhood. would they know me? would they come to have a relationship with me? the answer is yes.

and then my younger niece came on the phone (to less aggressively ask me for fundraising money, too), and we had a nice conversation. and right on cue, she also told me she missed me and asked when i would be visiting again. {sigh} i love them lots and miss them terribly…

back to the regularly scheduled program, i exchanged texts with that old friend of mine. he kept insisting on my dropping by, but my motivation to get off the couch was lacking with every text… well, until i heard from another friend of mine (by this time, i told amber i was gonna watch tv for the rest of the night and would call her today). i had asked him earlier if he was available to go to the backstage with me (see above mention about not wanting to go alone), but he was in his studio. so, i basically invited myself over, lol. {i didn’t hear him complaining.}

with a bottle of aussie red and two glasses in hand (hey, i’ve seen the studio space, and who knows what those boys drink wine out of!), i invaded my friend’s music session. i love visiting him in the studio, because he always gives me a mini mixing lesson (not that i retain any of it) and asks me what i think of his latest song. he values my opinion, which makes me feel honoured. while i’ve only hung out at these studio sessions a handful of times, it reminds me of how thomas was so sensitive about his music. i went from telling him my honest opinion (and usually it was just something about a few notes, or the volume level of a part, or something very minor) to being scared to tell him what i thought of his music at the risk of offending him and making him angry. i used to be so hurt that he couldn’t trust me as his girlfriend to love his music but be able to give him my honest feedback as a listener. it just shows me how much more confident and developed my friend is as an artist, even though they are both very talented musicians.

the best part about last night’s studio session was that he actually wanted me to help him write the song (well, the lyrics). of course, i thought that was a silly idea! i’m not a musician, nor do i pretend to know what i’m doing! but after he forced me to do the mic checks (man, i still hate the sound of my own voice… i had to plug my ears so i wouldn’t hear it!), he sat me down in front of the computer and showed me which buttons to push and when. at first, i tentatively pushed the buttons, so he could record lyrics that came into his head at that moment. by the end of the hour, my confidence grew and i was actually giving him direction about what i liked, what i didn’t, where he should sing softly, where it should come in louder, which note seemed out of tune… and i do believe i was producing a song!!! that was THE coolest experience!!! 😀

visiting my friend during his studio session is good for me… i listen, learn, and laugh. and i get excited about my own song… the one you might recall i wrote last fall. i used to come home from work every day and work on it for hours until it was time for bed… i was so dedicated to finishing it… one project i would finally complete… i even bought a zoom H4 recorder… but disappointingly, i never got around to actually learning to play the whole song… so i could never record it. after these studio nights, i would get pumped to go home and work on learning my song, because my friend was going to help me record and produce the song, and after having seen what he can do (even in the simplest context as a capable producer), i could envision my song coming to life. but a day or two after i returned home, the feeling of sadness would haunt me into not touching the piano… the song had been written during a dark period of my life and i didn’t want to revisit it.

but i will always think about my song and wonder what it sounds like. so, i’m hoping that i can hang on to the inspiration my friend instilled in me last night long enough to start working on it…

but maybe later… i have a delayed hangover headache right now…lol.