Into the Ocean

“Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.” ― André Gide

Hi, my name is Gwen and I am addicted to my aquariums.

Oh myyyy…

I was afraid to get back into this hobby. The more I researched, the more intimidating it was. It is no where near like it was back in the 1980’s – back then you put a fish in a tank, no filter, no heat – just plucked them in and did a full change of water when it was bad enough. I cringe so much writing, and reading, those words.

Step by step, through trial and error, I have grown live plants in all three aquariums. All three have LED lights; the largest having the atypical tube light. All three have happy inhabitants that have come to expect food by a certain time and the largest aquarium even shows signs of wee fry.

I love watching the fish swim around and interact. I’ve persisted through the problems that have cropped up. I do lose an occasional fish now and then, but the population I have now is quite stable.

I enjoy cleaning the aquariums, seeing results from my efforts of care. I get a sense of purpose and joy from it. These beautiful creatures, born into a market that uses them as disposable, are now in my care. I will do everything I can to love and protect them for their natural lives. I do the same for all the creatures in my home. My budgies have more than what is required, my bearded dragon as well. My cats and my dog – all of them, receive the best care I can give them, and sometimes more.

If I can make the effort for all these beautiful creatures, why is it so hard to do the same for myself?

Well, I’ve again dipped my feet into a new ocean and am losing sight of the shore I once clung to. I’ve finally taken a leap I had always wanted to, but was afraid, no, anxious to do. I’ve become vegan. This is huge for me both mentally and physically.

My health has not been very well. My doctor actually recommended I go vegan in an effort to help. I’m overweight. I have depression and anxiety. I could go on. I started my animal free eating more than a week ago – not long, but enough to feel a difference. In this short span of time I can already sense a difference! Mentally, I feel sharper and more ‘awake’. Physically, I feel less tired – my MS fatigue has always been horrible, but this last bit it’s not as bad. I’m still tired, but it’s not as intense. I’m not really sure if I can explain it well.

I know veganism is not for everyone. I would never enforce my dietary needs/wants on another, but I am so glad I finally did this. I’m not sure what I was waiting for.

Here I go, tending to myself finally. Here I go, swimming away from the shore of what I was towards who I really want to be.

In the meantime, my aquariums will always call to me…

Blue October – Into The Ocean


“The world breaks everyone, and afterward, many are strong at the broken places.” ― Ernest Hemingway

I live with many mask.

I wear them at different times, sometimes together.

Right now, for instance, on the outside I wear the mask of the dutiful worker, compliant and conforming (well, mostly). I wear the mask of the dutiful mother, wife, daughter.

Inside, where there are no masks to wear, I am broken.

On the weekend, I wore the mask of mom. It’s not really a mask though, it is one of my many aspects, but it masks the pain and anguish.

My head/scalp, neck and shoulders have been numb for a couple of weeks now. My doctor believes my MS is flaring a bit. I get symptoms, but haven’t had a full flare in years. My MS is considered mild.

Cognitively, my MS has robbed me of so much. Memories gone, thoughts scattered in the wind.

Depression has become my constant companion. Even with the joy of starting to lose weight, my children, new pets, life…it is always there. Sometimes harsher than at others.

When the depression comes, I wear the mask of happiness, a false smile, over exuberance to compensate for the lack of true emotive joy.

Few things truly make me happy now. My children. When my youngest smiles at me, my heart smiles back. My pets…my bearded dragon and my budgies (my two newest additions) get me out of bed in the morning and functioning because they depend on me to survive. I love these two little birds. They are still juveniles, but we think they are male as their ceres are a purplish hue (adult males have blue ceres – the area around the nostrils). I’ve only had them since last week, and they already provide me with more than they will ever fathom.

Spook & Lemon

I’m not ok. I wear a mask of being fine, but I know I’m not.

I try. I really truly try.

I feel so broken lately. My older son has so many issues. I love him with all my heart, I love all my children deeply. My older ones have broken me. I don’t know what to do for them anymore, how to help them, how to cope. Even if I am right and they know it, I am still wrong, that in itself is not unusual – the reactions from them, however, are.

I’m tired. I want to spend a month in bed, but my body would ache from the pressure on it.

I’m tired of this rollercoaster. Just once would I so love to have a day of peace. No arguing, no loud noises, no door slams, no stomping, no screaming at me, no swearing at me, no expectations. Just one day to ‘be’.

Wouldn’t that be nice?

Sarah McLachlan – Fallen


“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot,
Nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”
Dr. Seuss, The Lorax

I love Dr. Seuss. The Lorax is bar-none my favourite of his stories. It is every bit as relevant now as it was when he first wrote it. One only needs to look at the oilsands in Alberta, the huge amount of plastics in our oceans, the destruction of forests globally, the reduction of our precious ocean coral reefs, the ongoing extinctions – you needn’t look any further than your own backyard to see what the Lorax meant, and what the Lorax stood for.

This one quote can apply to so many things. It can apply to your personal life, public life, community, village, city, province, nation.

For me, right now, it applies to my personal well being, my love of animals, and my deep love for my family. Unless…

Unless I begin caring a whole awful lot about the shape and state that I am in, nothing will ever get better in my life.

Unless I begin to work more carefully with my pets, their behaviours will NOT improve, it will not get better.

Unless I become more active with my family, we will drift apart, and it will not get better.

I do care. I do care a whole awful lot. I care enough to walk every day this week. I walk through my physical pain, and I feel the difference.

I do care so much about my pets, I care that they have – for some reason – become dirty and will work so hard to get them back to how they were.

I do care more than a whole awful lot about my family – I can’t wait to take day trips with them. I want to show them our beautiful province and to go places that even I have never been!

I do care so much about the environment and I promise to fix my compost and restart recycling, my lack of energy had stopped me for a time – but I need to lead by example!

Joni Mitchell – Big Yellow Taxi

Babies, Dogs, and the Incredible Likeness of Being

I really want to curl up in bed and snuggle with my baby boy. He’s a tiny 15 month old and he was super snuggle and sookie when I dropped him off to the babysitter this morning. I’m in a snuggly sookie mood too. It’s dark and dreary outside and a day in bed sounds divine.

When I took my dogs out this morning, it was obvious Spring has finally started to arrive. Snow melting everywhere…dog shit showing up everywhere…ah yes, the signs of Spring. My dogs love it. I have three of the poop makers. All mutts; a husky shepherd cross, a Rottweiler shepherd cross, and a Pomeranian poodle cross. The larger two are from our local SPCAs, the smaller one was bought from a former babysitter, he was the last of his litter and my kids were attached to him (I don’t normally buy my dogs from anyone, preferring shelter mutts over purebreds/hybrids). I love my dogs, but can honestly say I will never have three at once again.

I actually have three dogs, three cats and three kids – yes, my house is busy, yes it is always full of hair, yes they take a lot of work, and no I will never part with my pets until the die of natural causes. I firmly believe pets are for life. There are definitely times when pets do need to be rehomed, but I believe those issues are few and far between.

I’m digressing. If you read my blog, you’ll notice I do that…a lot.

Onto the third part of that title – the incredible likeness of being. That’s how I feel this week. I’ve been looking over some work I have done in the last couple of months and am finding several errors. I’m a perfectionist and this is not acceptable to me. I know I’m new to this job. I love it here. But it’s sloppy work and I should have been triple checking. It makes me feel like I am here, but my mind isn’t. Hence the likeness of being.

Time to buck up and move on.

The Viking Kittens (don’t ask, I just love this thing)/Led Zeppeling – The Immigrant Song: