RIP Auntie Barbara

Last week, I wrote a post on my Other Blog about the emotion of grief, how I experience grief and how I cope with it.

This is why that post went up.

It was my Auntie Barb’s funeral today.

The family has been in Toronto for the past week – those of us coming from away arrived on the 1st – and we were there to see Auntie Barb pass. It’s been very hard; she was my father’s only remaining sibling, and the only biologically related adult from that generation remaining in Toronto (for the sibs and family that live here).

Funeral Home Obit and Memorial Page

Toronto Star Legacy Memorial Page

Her online friends have been wonderful; condolences have come in from her friends in the Celtic Tenors fan group and the Celtic Tenors themselves and of the online puzzle group Jigidi.

As I mentioned in the post in my Other Blog, one of the main ways in which I grieve is by writing memorial poems. I’m including the poem I wrote for her here.

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“BiMonthly” Personal Update: Sat. Dec. 10/11

(Okay, so it’s Sunday. It was still Saturday when I wrote this.)

Hey, all.

So… I have apologies to make to everyone. I am terribly sorry that I’ve ended up getting so far behind on my weekly updates. It’s just… well, first I was busy working on getting ready for NaNoWriMo, then November hit and suddenly my stress levels went through the roof. Fans, picture a Sentinel starting to come online without a Guide. That’s what it felt like. My senses were starting to overwhelm me (random note: “whelm” means to cover with water, according to the Scrabble dictionary), particularly sight and hearing, and particularly at work. I’ve been wearing my yellow sunglasses and a bright pink (Fighting Breast Cancer pink) visor to work every day, to try to control the headaches from the CRT screens and the fluorescent lighting. And the noise… don’t get me started. Over the past week and a half or so, I’ve been using an earplug in my left ear (I keep the phone headset on my right) at work. It helps somewhat, but….

I ended up taking a week off work, doctor’s note included, at the end of November to the beginning of December, because my stress level was so high (taking sick days off work due to headaches and nausea, most of which could be put down to stress, and the rest of which could be put down to my senses, which contributed to the stress). It helped a huge amount, though my stress level still isn’t down where I’d like it to be. So, thanks to my lovely training supervisor (who is no longer my supervisor, except in a general sense during the late nights – I got moved to a new team at the beginning of December), I met with the scheduler, and I’ve cut back to 4 days a week, starting today – Thursday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday – with slightly reduced hours and generally ending my shift at midnight (on the weekdays) or before 11 (on the weekends). (Except on the weekend after Christmas, which is bound to be busy – but given I’ve actually got Christmas Eve and Christmas off, I am not going to complain about that.)

On a lighter, better note, Imber is improving by leaps and bounds! She regularly comes up to the main floor of the house – she’s even been known to do so when I’m sleeping in my room – and while she still growls and snarls at Thor, the two of them spent last night in an uneasy truce (punctuated occasionally by said growls and snarls) on my bed. In fact, she is up here in the living room, where I’m typing this out, draped over my forearms asking for scritches, and generally making it hard to write. (Scratch that – Dad just came up, and made a remark, “Look at that baby!” and Imber rolled forward onto the arm of the chair. She doesn’t mind the other animals – except Thor – seeing her lying on her back, but Dad is a different matter. Not that she dislikes him, she’s just wary of someone so tall.)

So, back to the somewhat gloomy, but getting hopeful stuff: We’re looking to get me a local psychologist (though I’ve still got Dr. Garling on consult for a bit, in case it doesn’t work out) and I’ve got an appointment just before Christmas at the START Clinic, recommended to me by my Aspie friend (whom I’ve only seen once this past month! *pouts*), which will hopefully lead to a semi-rapid official diagnosis of Asperger’s. (The alternative is waiting 1-2 years to see a qualified psychiatrist, then waiting more time for the team to be assembled to render the diagnosis….) I’m also seeing an occupational therapist who has a very good method for working on getting me to focus on dealing with feeling unwell, and who is trying to get a consult with a specialist in sensory over-stimulation. (No guarantees on that one, but it’s worth a try!) Hoping the combination of these factors will get things resolved with reasonable rapidity – or at least get things on the road to being resolved. Dealing with mental health is, unfortunately, a years-long process.

Family news is, unfortunately, not as good. A few of you already know this (my family, namely), but my “adopted” aunt Gloria was admitted to hospital on Monday. She’s been fighting cancer (uterine and stomach, I believe) for several years, and it’s gotten fairly bad. They don’t think that she’ll live to see Christmas. She’s going to be going into Palliative Care as soon as there’s a bed free. Mom flew down to Toronto on Thursday, staying with Daphne’s friend, to see her, and is currently on her flight back here.

Hm. What other good news do I have to break the gloom?

Well, Daphne’s got her audiology hours finished, is waiting impatiently on the Praxis scores (they were supposed to be up last week), and has only her final anatomy exam, on Tuesday, to complete her anatomy course. She’s got paying work for the rest of the time she’s here in St. John’s, at least. I’ve had two interviews for more clerical type jobs (one with RONA, one with the Canadian Red Cross), and continue to send out resumes. Even with the problems I’ve been having, I’ve been able to continue to enjoy Scrabble Wednesdays, and this past week spent Tuesday evening (before and during making dinner) making cookies for the group. They were much appreciated by the family, at least, as well as the one member of the Scrabble group who decided to start nibbling before I had to leave at 12:30, and I found even the burnt ones quite addictive.

A wonderful link from my aunt:
Man With Autism Absolutely Stuns an Entire Crowd

Also, a Happy Belated Birthday to .

Thanks for your patience and continuing friendship, everyone.

‘Later, all!
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Weekly Update: Friday Sept. 30/11

So, it turns out that Tony and Anna had a couch-surfer from New Zealand this past weekend, so on Friday night, we looked after Julia while they took him downtown to be Screeched In. I slept well Friday night – I even slept in! – and woke up to Julia and Mom in the morning.

Had a good, relaxing Saturday. Not much happened; I read a bit, relaxed, read fic… and in the evening, went to see “Dying Hard”, my cousin Mikaela’s show.

Gods. I sent out the link to my review on Sunday, but… man. The show was intense. I really enjoyed it.

Sunday was mostly quiet, but I ended up meeting the guy from the Asperger’s group that I clicked with. (It turned out I’d been waiting for him to contact me, and he’d been waiting for me to contact him – but he had my phone number, and only Daphne had his info.) We met up at Tim Horton’s at 3:30, and before we knew it, it was 6:30! Had to call Mom and Dad as we were leaving to let them know I hadn’t disappeared. The two of us just have so many similar experiences and manifestations….

Monday morning, I discovered that the cocker, Quixote, had peed behind Imber’s litter box. (It was definitely a dog, and Sancho won’t walk on the laminate that is the floor of my “main suite”.) Turns out he’s also done some peeing on the floor of the den, which he knew he wasn’t allowed to do – and it wasn’t kidney problems, he was choosing to do it. As a result, Monday afternoon, Mom and Dad went to the vet and had Don Quixote de la Rancho put down. Sancho and the parents miss him, but they’re adjusting.

Had an issue at the end of work that upset me Monday evening, but was able to talk it out with Mom and Dad. However, I was really upset and crying, and I woke up Tuesday morning with a sore throat.

Aside from getting 96% on the weekly assessment test on Tuesday, nothing much happened Tuesday and Wednesday. Just went to work, came home, and crashed early because I wasn’t feeling too well. Took a few cups of hot lemon and honey Wednesday and Thursday.

Yesterday (Thursday) I was feeling even worse (still just the sore throat, luckily), so grabbed some Strepsils, and took a drink of cranberry cocktail to help with the throat. It’s still sore today, but much better than it was yesterday morning.

Yesterday I also had coffee/tea (well, hot chocolate) at Timmy’s with the guy from the Asperger’s group again – though this time I set my watch alarm so I wouldn’t be late for dinner – and he’s coming over tonight for dinner. *shrugs* We’ve just clicked so well….

Today was fine – somewhat warm and muggy, though. Work went fairly well, and going to have Oriental Chicken and Cashews with rice (and without cashews) for dinner and chat some more. Watch us still be chatting when Mom and Dad get home from dinner out!

Major Update

Lots of changes since my last post.

– We now know what’s wrong with my hand (ref: Ugh. Hand Is A Problem. from April). I’ve got a frayed ligament in the wrist. So splint, zinc tablets, and rest.

– Secondly – remember my absence from LJ last summer, when I had trouble walking and the final diagnosis was nerve damage? Well, guess what happened to me the early morning of June 24th. Same symptoms (except for no physical shakiness) – but it’s not the same diagnosis. I’ve had a brain & spine MRI, an electromyograph (AKA nerve conduction test), a chest x-ray, some blood tests, spent 5 days in hospital getting this done… and no one knows what’s wrong. And it’s not got any better. So as of today I’m back on short-term disability, since there’s no way I could respond with any speed in an emergency (I can’t even attempt running), which is a major part of a security officer’s mandate. *heavy sigh*

– Mitzy, my elderly but still active Burmese inherited from my youngest siblings, was put to sleep due to a major chest and stomach lymphoma (cancer) on July 21. Still miss her. She lived a good life, though; she was 15-1/2.

– And introducing Imber, a now 7-month old kitten adopted from Toronto Animal Services on Aug. 1. She’s a grey and cream tabby who is missing half her right hind leg (pretty sure she was born without it). The userpic attached to this post is of her the morning after I brought her home. (“Imber”, FYI, is Latin for “rain storm”. Her coat looks like a storm cloud….)

As for upcoming news:

– One of my best friends, Loui, is going to be visiting for a week at the end of September, four days of which will be spent in Montreal. I’m really looking forward to it.

– Given I’m likely to have some time on my hands for a while, I’m not only looking at possibly doing a university course or two, but have gone and done the inevitable – I’ve signed up for NaNoWriMo 2008. I’m planning on doing an original SF novel (tentatively entitled Search & Rescue).

Anyway, that’s basically everything from the last few months. *sigh*

😉 tag0
(working on keeping my mood up)

Brightspot – Kitten, Cat, Beloved Confidante

Brightspot Goold

Today is the first anniversary of Brightspot’s death. I found myself a bit worried about how I was going to handle the day, considering how much I still miss her.

As it happens, it was also Day 3 of Toronto Trek, and I managed to keep busy enough that I didn’t even think about it. I don’t think Brightspot would have objected – in fact, I know that she would have wanted me to be happy, to celebrate my memories of her life. She was like that.

I still miss her dearly. I shall always miss her dearly; she holds a special place in my heart. We grew up together throughout my adolescence and young adulthood, and she was (as the subject states) my confidante as well as my beloved friend and pet. But the fact remains that life does go on, and I have two other wonderful cats who are special to me in their own ways. No other pet can or will take Brightspot’s place in my life – but I have other places for them to occupy.

Kitten, Demon-Child, Sweetheart… I shall always love you and miss you, Brightspot. You are in my heart forever. And I think you would (do, perhaps?) approve of Aspen – she certainly keeps Mitzy on her toes!

Posted in Cats, Grief | Tagged , , | 1 Reply

Safe & Sound…

Well, I arrived back safe and sound Sunday morning, in time to go to brunch with my aunts here in Toronto. Got home, and crashed until a couple of hours before work.

Somehow, while I was gone, Toronto had its spring and jumped straight to summer. My sister was saying Sunday morning (it was at least 28C, and the humidity made it even worse) that it wasn’t late enough yet in the year for the nights to be hot enough to cause a problem for me at work (my uniform for the school year is a long-sleeve shirt and black pants). Well, she was wrong about that… at 9pm here, the temperature was 26C and the humindex was 29C… Luckily, we’ve been given permission to wear the polo/golf (short-sleeve) shirts that are part of our summer uniform, so tonight should hopefully be better than last night (as I didn’t know before I left for work that I could wear the short-sleeve shirt).

Emotionally… I’d have to say in some ways, I’m still numb/coping. *sigh* It’s going to take a while.


Well, my grandmother’s funeral was yesterday.

The service was lovely (the priest was excellent, which is not something I’d say very often – I’m not Christian, much less Catholic – but he gave a very tolerant homily, and made us all laugh more than once), and then we had a reception back at the house for family and friends, which was surprisingly easy for me to handle, despite the fact that I hate social situations like domestic cats hate water (or perhaps even worse!). The sun was shining brightly, and it was the warmest day St. John’s had seen so far this year… the priest joked that Granny must have more pull than he did, to have arranged the weather so well. She would have loved it.

I’m coping. Writing definitely helps, so I’ll be doing more of that today, tomorrow, etc. Even likely to be doing some work on original stuff…

Going back to Toronto early Sunday morning (will, in fact, be arriving in time to go to brunch with my aunts).


Posted in Family, Grief | Tagged , , | 1 Reply


My grandmother passed away this afternoon.

We knew it was going to happen – despite my hopeful message of Thursday morning, they discovered when they ran the EEG that the right side of her brain was entirely destroyed, and the left side was damaged, so my Mom and her sibs were trying to get her moved into palliative care (what they do for terminal cancer patients) because Granny would never have wanted to be kept alive as… well, a vegetable, essentially.

The next few days are going to be hard. There may end up being some rather sad fic written because of it… writing tends to act as a catharsis for me.

I’m just glad that I managed to get down here, and was able to see her – and she knew I was there. It counts for a lot.

Just wish Brightspot was still alive – hugging her always made me feel better. I’m missing her more now, because I could really use her help to deal with this; she’d always let me cuddle her, and cry into her fur, and she’d purr to help…

Got to at least get the worst of the tears over with before Mom gets back – she’s going to need me.


Here In St. John’s

Well, arrived in St. John’s at 3:45pm (Newfoundland Time) yesterday, having been up for almost 20 hours at that point (I worked Tuesday night), then went to the hospital to visit Granny, then had dinner with one of my aunts.

Granny was… more responsive yesterday than she’d been since Saturday, so that was good.

Going out to lunch with the cousin who was in Toronto in the fall…

Later, minna!

😐 tag

Off to St. John’s…

Grandmother had a massive stroke last week, and hasn’t woken up for about 4 days (she ended up with pneumonia on Saturday) so my sister and I are off to St. John’s. Don’t know how long we’ll be gone…


It will depend on the situation there.

Still, I will be glad to see the rest of the family…


🙁 tag

Ramblings From At Home & Tired… (AKA Mishmash of Stuff)

Came across a rather neat website a few days ago – excellent resource for writers who are doing stories involving travel/international plotlines:
World Clock: Time Zones
Check it out!


In terms of what I referenced in my previous post…

On Monday night (after I slept all day, of course – having been up for over 24 hrs. by the time I got home from work in the morning), I found out that my great-uncle Fabian had passed away on Sunday.

I didn’t know Uncle Fabian terribly well – at least not as an adult; I’ve only been out to Newfoundland once in the past ten years – but I do remember him as a wonderful man, who used to take us out in his motorboat up at his cabin, and let us pilot it around the lake… and lent my immediate family the aforementioned cabin at least once or twice when we spent Christmas out east. We generally saw him at least once or twice on visits out there when I was younger, and he was always kind to us. I shall definitely miss him.

One thing I never failed to mention when I told anyone about Uncle Fabian – having been quite proud that he was a member of my family – was that he served a term as lieutenant-governor of Newfoundland (from 1963-1969). It always impressed me greatly that kind, quiet Uncle Fabian spent time as a reasonably important member of the Newfoundland provincial government.


At last, no kids at work for two weeks! Peace and quiet! I may even manage to get some writing done! (*peers guiltily at the current texts of Eye of the Storm and Harry Potter and the Sensitive’s Gift…*)