My Poppy

It’s Veteran’s Day. It’s also my dad’s birthday. He’s not been with us to celebrate for seven years now. It’s not a birthday you easily forget.

My dad had a myriad of health problems throughout his life. One, in particular, was his eyesight in his later years.

At this time, he was around 80 years old and had to have medical and eye tests done to keep driving.

At his eye appointment, the doctor said there was a strange dark mass behind his eye and he recommended my father to a specialist.

Even hearing this news caused me a great deal of worry. It’s not something anyone needs to hear, let alone live with.

I remember when the date of the specialist’s appointment arrived. I was worried sick all day. I had to wait several hours before calling him due to the time change.

When I finally called, my dad, in a very grave voice said, ‘I have some really bad news’. Seriously? My blood froze and I stopped breathing. For those few seconds, I imagined all of ‘worst case scenarios’ coming true.

What is it, Dad? I was almost too frightened to hear the answer.

‘He took my driver’s license away’

It took me a second or two, then I  laughed a bit out of sheer relief.

‘He’s a bastard’! he screamed down the phone.

It’s all about perspective. Cancer might have been bad news but losing the license was a loss of his freedom and independence. He lived in an apartment building with other seniors and he was reigning ‘cool guy with a car’.

I suggested perhaps if he was to have eye treatments that driving wasn’t likely the best idea but he wasn’t hearing any of it.

He ended up having laser treatments and did get his license back for a few more years. I often think about that, the ways we reacted to the same situation.

In the words of Louie Prima, ‘Enjoy yourself, enjoy yourself, it’s later than you think.

 

My parents on their way to a movie date.  Enjoying themselves.

 

Mom and Dad

 

 

My Birthday Blog

It’s my birthday tomorrow. I love my birthday. It’s a great time to reflect and look ahead. Having a spring birthday when I lived in Canada was nice because everything is new and starting over and coming to life. Here, it just gets more sweaty.

Last year, I drank wine, but I hadn’t drunk for about six weeks before that. I had decided that I should give it a bit of a rest, mostly because I could no longer afford it. I treated myself last year to some nice red wine and was hung over for two days.

This past year has been pretty bleak and scary. It was always a struggle and wondering and worrying how things would work out. Thankfully and very recently, they finally did.

But I am not going to talk about my shitty year, but focus on the year ahead. Last year when I put down the wine glass, the cocktail glass, the beer glass, the champagne glass, the martini glass,  … well, you see where I’m headed.

I strapped on my old running shoes and headed out in the early morning hours to go for a walk. I see a small group go by each morning and felt inspired to do the same.

I started out just walking around the few blocks of my neighbourhood, then I added a bit of a jog to it. Not a lot, just enough to get me moving and sweating.

Then, last Easter I ventured a little farther and went towards the park I like. I thought it would be good to run the stairs there, and I did! I got all the up and didn’t even puke.

I was quite surprised to see a lot of people there, walking running and biking. The whole road was closed, and I thought it must be something for the Easter weekend.

But it’s a regular thing. Every day, from about 6am to 9 am, people use the street to exercise. There are armed police and guards and all types of people there. Young, old, fit, obese, on canes, stroke victims, I absolutely love it.

I feel like I have some community here. I see a lot of the same people all the time. Some say hello, some call me a prostitute. there is lovely Santos who talks to me and the guy I see early mornings with two enormous sacks like saddle bags on his motorbike full of fresh bread and buns to deliver to the stores and restaurants.

Here’s me just over a year ago and then me today, in the shirt. It fits a bit better and I feel a lot better. I’m not trying to get movie star thin, just tired of being circus fat.

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Photo on 4-18-18 at 1.45 PM

 

I’m really happy I found this new job. It’s one of those situations that just has to come to some sort of conclusion. I’m very happy about this one.

I love going out early in the morning. It’s cool and quiet. I run a good long way now. Not fast, but steady. The street and park are directly up the hill from where I live and get a perfect view of the ocean.

I stop every time I’m there to take in the view. I marvel that I am so lucky that I get to live here. I marvel at the beauty and I’m making it work and all of a sudden, everything looks brighter.

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I am looking forward to my next year, to living with my new number. The job is pretty open and I have the choice to work as much as I want and make as much money as I am able.  But I think, considering the year or so I have just come through, that my motto this year will be,

“Take what you need, leave the rest”

Happy Birthday, Baby! I love you!