Summer has hit the ground running, and so have I. I’ve been keeping a secret – I’ve finally managed to start losing weight (in a healthy way) AND have energy! Yes, I still have MS fatigue, but I am motivated. I want to move constantly, even when in pain.
My yard is not large, but I love it. I have worked on the gardens there, worked on the plants, cleaning up old growth, overgrown vine, pear trees that were left to run with no one to tend them. A beautiful rose bush left to be scraggly and gnarled were cut back last year and are growing in a lush, full green. I can’t wait to see them bloom. There was a lilac bush left to grow into a gnarled, ragged tree. I trimmed it far back as well; the new green is full and gorgeous.
There was a raised garden bed left to overgrow, the only decent remnants were chives and mint left wild and full. Those beds have been tilled under, the chives moved (though ants remain in them, so they await replanting). A new, smaller, garden was tilled (all work by me) with new plants to start.
I’ll need to take more photos of the front and full back. The branches you see around the perimeter where the trimings from the overgrown trees that I turned into a fence like structure. I absolutely love the feel of it all. My only complaint – ANTS! There are ants everywhere.
The sun has brought light back into my life – literally and figuratively. I want to be outside. I want to dig my toes into the ground and squish the soil. I want my hands to be soiled from the work I’ve down. I want the rabbits to come play, and the birds to come feed.
Here comes the sun, and I’m going to worship it every day that I can.
“Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.” ― Albert Einstein
What a month this has been. Not even half way through June, and so much has happened, is happening, will happen!
My 19 year old son is on the cusp of graduating! I’m so proud of him. He has FASD. If you don’t know what that is, it’s Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. His birth mother drank while pregnant, causing a great many neurological issues for my sweet boy. That said, he has constantly strived for what he wants. The past week alone he has past his learner’s driving test (YES!) and will finally graduate with his GED that he worked so hard to get. He even has full time work on a farm. To say this momma is proud would be an understatement. I can’t take the credit though. He has been staying with a caregiver who is trained in assisting those with issues like my son’s. She has been my super hero, a guardian angel that swooped in and made life so much better for all of us. My son’s mind is active, he is constantly thinking of what he wants to do with his life, how he wants to do it, where he wants to go, and so on. He has a huge heart, and his spirit shines so bright.
In other news, my parrotlet, Kalypso, has started laying eggs! My budgie, Pi, has become her mate/guardian and even injured himself trying to keep me away. Oh my. The eggs will not be fertile, budgies and parrotlets are from two very different genera. If you’d like to see a little video of them, feel free to head over to my Instagram (link on the sidebar). They are so adorable. The eggs will remain until about 20 days after the last one is laid. If I remove them any sooner, it will cause Kalypso to lay more, and that could be very harmful to her. Parrotlets can lay up to 8 eggs every other day in one breeding season!
Schools almost over for my youngest. He’s so excited to start summer, and we are so fortunate for our lives.
This, then, brings me to a very important current happening, something that needs to be talked about.
Many people in Canada, and around the World, were shocked to hear of the discover of 215 children at a former Residential School. Some calling it a dark part of Canada’s history. What a load of shit. The last Residential school closed in 1996. I graduated in 1992. I graduated university in 1997. I grew up knowing how horrible these children were treated. I don’t know if it’s because of where I was raised of my family dynamic, or that I had friends and loved ones who are First Nations. Maybe a combination of all those and the fact that I have a thirst for knowledge.
My mom’s family (as mentioned in the previous post) is Acadian from Northern New Brunswick. I’m not going to paint it with rainbows and fairy dust, but for the most part I grew up hearing how wonderful First Nations treated Acadians, especially during the horror of the deportations by the English (we know we have family that were separated from us, but we don’t know where they ended up).
My dad’s family is Welsh. My grandparents immigrated to Ontario around 1938/39. My dad’s oldest brother was born in Wales, followed by my dad who was born in Canada. If you don’t know the history of the Welsh, let’s just say the English treated them just as good as they did the Acadians and for centuries longer. The Welsh weren’t allowed to speak their own language, it’s amazing it has survived and now there are many Welsh schools in Wales.
I do know how to speak French, my mother insisted on it. I have struggled to learn Welsh. My dad spoke Welsh at home until he was school aged, then it was all English. He remembers a few words, but not much else.
Why am I explaining my family history in this context? I think because I feel like it shines a light on perspective. I was raised by families who had endured hardships. That being said, I’m white. I completely understand and see my privilege. If you see me on the street, you’re most likely going to judge me by my tattoos or lack of make up, not my skin colour. That is wrong on a level I can’t even put into words. There are those who have been born with this privilege, but they lack the perspective to see and understand it. They lash out with terms that are meant to demean, all the while showing how fragile their own self image truly is.
The fact that First Nations children were so heinously abused for just wanting to speak their mother tongue is absurdly cruel. They were harmed for things any white child would never have been even scolded for. I’ve started to read the names of the dead First Nations children, starting from A. The list is long. My pronunciation is atrocious, I am sure. I will persevere in reading each and every one. Their names deserve to be heard, I just wish their birth names, not Christian moniker, but true First Nations birth names were written therein. Some do, you can tell which ones. It breaks my heart and hurts my soul to see so much pain. I’ve tried to put myself in the shoes of their families, and I can’t. It would quite literally break me if someone stole my children from me and sent them away to such a place.
I’ve said it before, I will say it again – the depths of human depravity never cease to amaze me.
If you want to learn more, please visit The Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s page – http://www.trc.ca/index.html. Here you can find more information, resources, children’s books that can help open up a conversation about Residential Schools – I firmly believe they need to be taught this, it is not just of historic importance, it is important CURRENT issue.
My heart is with you. My eyes see you. My mind thinks of you. My spirit weeps with you.
“You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.”― Mae West
On April 25, 2021, my beautiful Mémère passed away, aged 102. Yes, 102 years old. She would have been 103 on Canada day, July 1st.
I missed her birthday last year, thanks Covid. I was sick and unable to visit out of fear of making her ill (no, I didn’t have Covid).
Two weeks before her death, I got to visit her. She looked great! She held my hand tight, looked deep into my eyes. She loved having her family near. She was a very devout Catholic and I’d like to believe that she is in her heaven with her husband, my pépère (he died in the 1980s), and her daughter, my matante Clairine, who died almost 13 years ago in an accident. I hope she is surrounded by all her loved ones.
Her name was Albertine Doucet (née Dugas). She survived the Great Depression, WWII, and so many other calamities. She started life with no indoor plumbing, no phones, none of the things we take for granted now. After my pépère past, she got her driver’s license at the ripe young age of 66! She raised seven children, only losing one in her twilight years.
My mémère spoke very little English, but always had a warm hug and a huge smile for those who didn’t understand her words. She accepted everyone for who they were. She had a huge heart and loved all of us, and we are a BIG family.
My mémère survived to see the youngest members of her extended family six generations on. She was a great great great grandmother to my cousin’s grand-children! She was the matriarch of our family and I know it just won’t be the same without her.
For the first time in years, I won’t be travelling up north to see her on her birthday. For the first time in years, I’ll be making plans for Canada day locally. It feels weird.
Je t’aime beaucoul et je t’embrace ma belle mémère. T’es toujours dans mon cœur.
“If you remember me, then I don’t care if everyone else forgets.” ― Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore
30 years ago today, my best friend would answer my call and excitedly tell me about her new stockings her mom found to match her dress. She was prepared for junior prom, the dance at the end of 9th grade at that time. She told me how they were a perfect match for her black and purple dress.
Then, she told me she had to go. She was going to hang out with a different group that night but would call me when she got back for curfew.
She never called.
Six days later, they would find the body of Pamela ‘Pam Pam’ Gail Bischoff in the river.
We knew she wasn’t a runaway, even though they tried to tell us she was.
We knew she would never leave without telling us.
We knew it was going to be bad.
Pam would have loved Pink, or at least I would like to think so. I know the song below seems a strange one to pick for a memorial post, but trust me – Pam would have loved this song. She had the attitude, she had the spunk.
30 years later, I still remember the sound of her voice and her laugh, even when other memories have faded.
30 years later, I still wonder if she would have been auntie Pam to her friends’ kids, have kids of her own. She would be so proud of her sister and nieces.
30 years later, I still wonder why.
30 years later, it still feels like yesterday.
Yesterday, she talked me into hitchhiking (omg Pam lol).
Yesterday, she and I rolled old tobacco into a somewhat smokeable cigarette (I quit a long time ago now, Pam).
Yesterday, we drank a magnum of Hermits – never to do that again (I don’t even drink anymore, Pam)
Yesterday, we were staring up at your Poison poster over your bed, talking about which of the band was hottest (I still listen to them now and then, but not often as I think of you each time, Pam).
Yesterday, you were telling me about that guy who was so hot (I’ve been married twice now, Pam, number 2 is amazing).
Yesterday, I was able to hug you.
30 years feels like yesterday. You would have loved this song, Pam. You had that attitude and it made you larger than life.
“Every man is guilty of all the good he did not do.” ― Voltaire
Before I moved into our new home, I have a beautiful Indian Ringneck parrot. She, however, had been aggressive towards my little birds (that I had before her), and I thought my best option was to rehome her.
Guilt is a large emotion. I feel it often. Rehoming her was the worse guilt I have had in a long time.
Fast forward a year and a half (about) later…the woman I rehomed her to could no longer care for her. I took her back instantly.
Welcome home, Kyra. I’m so sorry I let you down and didn’t push myself more for a better solution. Between Charman (the cat) trying to nab you, the littles getting hurt, and you being relegated to a cage because we were selling our house, I thought it was in your best interest. I see now just how wrong I was. I have missed you so much and I will carry that guilt with me always.
Guilt is one of my many demons. I have guilt for not being enough for everyone – human, animal, bird, everyone. Guilt for not calling my friends, guilt for not sending that email, guilt for not making it to that late show. I have guilt for not eating right in the past, guilt for not being enough for my husband, guilt for spending any money, guilt for not spending, guilt for not being able to get everything my kids could dream of.
Anxiety and guilt are best friends in my life.
I’m working on that. I’m working on letting go of the past. I’m working on ME.