Thursday, November 26, 2009

Not sure I can do this

I don't think I've mentioned this before, but I am growing my hair so I can donate it to Locks Of Love, an organization that creates wigs for cancer patients, particularly children.

Contrary to popular belief, it IS okay if donors have dyed their hair. (Dye = fine. Lightening or highlighting = bleach = NO.) The other requirement is that the donated hair be twelve inches long.

The hair on the top of my head is much, much more than that, I'm just waiting for those wisps on the bottom to catch up (probably ten inches now).

I am soooo close.

For most of my life, I have had long hair. I have flirted with super short two or three times,and loved it at the time, but I always go back to my comfort zone, to hair I can pick up in my hand. That feels like me.

But I hate my hair so much right now that I'm not sure I can keep at this. It is sooooooooo LONG. I look like a freaking drowned rat, and in the past two weeks I have noticed that every time I try to eat and move a fork close to my face? My hair gets on it. Seriously, you guys, it's GROSS.

And now that I have grown accustomed to having long hair? I'm really not sure I can face the once inch shag I'll be left with once the whole Locks of Love thing happens.

I have been working towards this goal for over three years. But now I seriously think I'm going to throw in the towel, say, "I don't care, I want to cut my hair to the shoulders, and some poor nine year old girl with cancer won't get a wig because of it."

I feel soooooo selfish and shitty, does anyone have any advice??

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy birthday, Carleton

I think we all know that my name isn't really Irma. And surprisingly enough, I am not in love with a guy whose driver's license reads "Husbandly One", although that would be very cool. I keep up my thin veil of secrecy because it feels right to me, but I am not obsessive about it. Tonight's post is about my brother, and seeing how I am going to link to his web page at the end, I may as well call him by his rightful name.

Happy birthday, Carleton.

Not in a thousand years could I ever explain the ways I love you. We are only one year and thirteen days apart, so we were always together as children, we got to really HAVE each other in a way our much younger sister missed out on. We have a history between us that needs no explanations, no back story, no discussion.

I remember going to kindergarten with you when I was four and you were three in the Baptist church up the street, the way Mummy used to stand on the corner at 11:30 waiting for us to emerge, and how thrilled she was to see us.

I remember how angry --well, let's not mince words, how unbelievably fucking pissed off you were when I went to grade one the next year, and you had to go to kindergarten without me.

I remember all the nights we begged our parents to let us sleep in the same room. (they wisely usually did.)

I remember one afternoon a year later, when you were going over to Dale's house to play with Dale and Peter. You wanted me to go too, so I did, and the other two boys loudly announced they wouldn't play with a girl and I had to leave. I remember you got in trouble back home for punching Dale in the face....but you didn't get in too much trouble.

Even earlier, out of context, I remember the only time Mummy every spanked either one of us: you were two, and you took off across the frozen pond in early winter near our house in Birch Grove, across ice that was paper thin. Mummy didn't dare step foot on the ice, knowing she would fall through with the very first step, so she kept calling to you in her sweetest voice. You kept giggling and running further out... I can only imagine what terror lived in her heart. Finally her sweet sing-song lured you in, and as soon as you were within arm's length, she turned you over on her knee, your face inches from the snow, and sobbed as she let her worst fear out with each raise of her hand. (You never went out on the pond again, by the way.You may have needed to learn things the hard way, but at least you learned.)

I remember our confusion, but particularly your confusion, when our parents split up. I remember all the times we just looked at each other, each of us unsure what was now expected of us at any moment or in any situation. I remember we had wonderful parents and then wonderful step parents who loved us, and who we loved in return.... but only I can remember that it was the two of us clinging to each other; everything else might change, but we never would.

Fast forward. I remember when we both thought we were grown ups (ha!) in our twenties, I remember you flying from Toronto to come visit me in the Rockies. I remember being so proud that I could pick you up at the airport in a car I had bought all by myself. I remember you asking me to pull off the highway, so you could get out of the car and really LOOK. You were blown away, you just needed to stop and take it all in. "Look how beautiful it is", you said with wonder.

I had lived there for several years, had ceased to see the beauty of what I took for granted. But through your eyes, I really saw the mountains for the first time in years. Thank you for that.

Fast forward. I remember the day after Mummy died in January 2006, going through her closet to pick her last outfit. I remember you taking a pair of her tiny embroidered jeans and folding them carefully. "I want these."

I remember you playing and singing at her funeral, a song that you had written with her in mind, and how your song ended on such a jarring, unfinished note, with the words, "She's listening."

I remember calling you three months later at one in the morning, to tell you that Daddy had died. And I will never, ever forget how you sighed, how the first words out of you mouth were, "How did I know."

Fast forward. I remember standing in the lobby at Toronto's city hall on your wedding day, you were inside filling out the necessary paperwork, when your beautiful bride arrived late. I had never met her, but the white dress kind of gave her away. "Ai", I said gently,"Carleton needs you to do the paperwork." She left without even saying a word to me, intent on reaching you and the formalities, but I already knew this stranger was my sister.

Fast forward. We don't talk as often as we once did, but that is because of mismatched schedules and obligations, not because of a lack of love. We have grown apart geographically, but every time I talk to you, we are once more two little kids, curled up in the same bed, hoping we are whispering quietly enough that Mummy and Daddy won't burst in to the room and separate us so we'll go to sleep.

Happy birthday, Carleton.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

It's beginning to look a lot...

Today Son and I put up the Christmas tree. Yes, it's early, shut up. He is only here every other weekend, and it is an important tradition for the two of us that we decorate the tree together, and I wasn't willing to wait til his next visit to do it.

A lot of our ornaments are just ornaments, but there are also several dozen that Are Important. We take our time unwrapping them, and we re-tell to each other the reasons they are significant:

"Look, this from our trip to Disney."
"Look Amah, I made this for you when I was eight."
"This one is the ornament my parents gave me when I was sixteen, the one that started me collecting ornaments..."

Son knows the story each bauble contains --I know this because I check every year, repeat details he may have forgotten or that maybe he was too young to hear before. It is important that he know and remember these stories, because someday these pretty bits will be his. And I can't even begin to tell you how sad it would make me for him to inherit a lifetime of dreams and memories, without knowing what they are.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Still lurching along

YES, I am going to write all about my Camino; I even thought I was going to start writing about it tonight. But I just looked at a few of the pictures I want to post here, and I realized I'm still not ready. It's weird, because I know what I want to write about, and most of it is really just travel details, "today this happened, I saw the following, Kelly said....." but it still all too fresh in my mind if that makes sense. I still need to digest the whole thing.

What I CAN tell you is that my ankle is still messed up. I developped tendonitis in my right ankle on Day Two, and --with a lot of perseverance, stubborness, and tears of frustration and pain-- kept walking another eleven days (look at me giving away the ending, ha ha!) before I had to accept that I had to stop walking, that I was risking hurting myself in a permanent way.

Long story short, I have been back in Canada for almost two weeks, taking it VERY easy, and walking is still a struggle for me, I'm still using the hiking poles I acquired in Spain just to help me get from my desk to the photocopier. Early morning is the absolute worst: I swing my legs over the edge of the bed, grab my poles, stand up.... and then literally stare at my feet, trying to get one of them to take the first step, trying to figure out which foot first will mean the least amount of pain (because it seems to change all the time!).

Still, there HAS been definite improvement, in the last few days I have been able to go short distances without the poles. If things keep getting better, then I will let nature take its course. As soon as I feel that progress has slowed too much, I will consult a doctor here in Canada. In te mean time, I'll keep icing my ankle, taking the wicked strong ibuprofen I was prescribed in Spain, and looking forward to long walks once more.

Next post....Camino stories and pictures, I promise!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

So it was my birthday

Turned forty the other day.

I can honestly say I was ready for this, I was actually looking forward to this based on the personal high I was still riding from my trip to Spain. Woo HOO, I'm FORTY!!! I am ready to celebrate, ready to laugh at myself, ready to spend time with those I love, ready to start this next part of my life.

My son gave me a hug and a book. Hug was the best part.

And I'm pretty much done telling you what happened on my birthday, because that was pretty much it.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I'm baaaaaack

So hard for me to believe my trip to Spain is over. My fabulous, perfect, not-what-I-expected, amazing trip....which I will tell you all about, but right now I am fighting both my jet lag (just got home late last night) and nursing my poor right ankle, which I injured on the second day. Yeah, looooooooooong story there, and the reason there are walking poles in the picture above.
Anyway, so far today I have taken my drugs, iced my ankle, taken a nap, had more drugs, currently have my foot up with an ice pack....I think there may be a pattern here!
I can't wait to tell you all about the trip, and show you some of the great photos Kelz took. For now, though, I think another nap is in order.