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Get out of town

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Have you ever needed to escape? I mean really needed to escape, escape from what is grinding you down? Taking away your energy? Erasing your spirit? Well after everything that has happened over the last few weeks, yesterday I grabbed a friend and headed the heck out of town.

And it was exactly what I needed. What my spirit needed.

I woke up early to pick up my sweet and dear friend Vanessa and we headed for the lovely little town of Gimli, Manitoba. Now, if you haven’t been… you’re definitely missing something. It’s this quaint little town, nestled on the banks of Lake Winnipeg, home to Icelandic settlers. This past weekend Gimli hosted the annual Icelandic Festival, a fun festival celebrating its Icelandic roots. You seriously need to do this once or twice in your lifetime. It really is fun!

The weather was perfect and I am proud to say that I walked that entire town… with no issues! Talk about a HUGE feat! We made it in time for the parade, watched it and enjoyed it! Love, love, LOVE small town parades! Walked to the beach and sat on the shore watching a sailboat waaaaayyyy off in the distance, and then walked to the park where the main festivities are held. Now, I haven’t been there in ages (since I was a kid), so everything has definitely changed. Once we surveyed the happenings at the park, we walked all the way back to the car and drove back to the park with our delicious (and it was very delicious) picnic lunch. GO SANDWICHES!

After our lunch and a quick tour of the pavilion, we headed back to the boardwalk area to check out a cute little store called Tergesen’s (I seriously need to go back with cash!) and then back to the beach! I honestly can say I don’t remember swimming in a lake when I was a kid. So, to change that, I dipped my feet into the cool lake and zoned out for a bit. Some people say that Manitoba is a boring province, but when you step back and take a look a it, I mean… really look at it, it sure is beautiful. I know that on the other side of Lake Winnipeg is land, but when you’re looking out across the lake, it’s like as if it goes on forever and doesn’t end. Such a beautiful province to explore.

This little excursion is exactly what the doctor ordered, and I’m so glad I was afforded the opportunity to do so. I’ll definitely be going back next year.

Here are a few pictures I snapped, for your viewing pleasure.

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Stages

Last week we were dealt a difficult blow when a very close family friend, who’ve I’ve been calling my aunt since I could talk, passed away with a short and difficult battle with cancer. When she told us of her diagnosis in late June, we were shocked. Here was this vivacious woman who did everything she could to stay healthy, was diagnosed with stage 4 inoperable liver cancer. It was like a knife was slammed into our hearts. In November, we said goodbye to her mother who passed of lung cancer and two years ago, she buried her sister who passed from stage 4 breast cancer. In no way was this cancer hereditary (she was adopted).

While I cannot believe that she is gone, this ordeal and my grief makes me think of the Kübler-Ross Model – 5 Stages of Grief. I first learned about Elizabeth and her models when I was in high school. Our English teacher introduced it in a discussion on death and Euthanasia (we had open topic discussions every class), we even had to write a small essay on it. I was intrigued by what she had to say because from as early as I can remember, I didn’t have issues with people dying, especially from horrible diseases. Why would I want them to stay, for my selfish reasons, and suffer any longer (with the exception to one death in the family). I didn’t even really cry when my grandparents passed away. Sure I was heartbroken and sad, and to this day I miss them dearly, but dealing and accepting with the death of a loved one was never an issue.

Kübler-Ross’ Model for the 5 Stages of Grief is as follows:

1. Denial

2. Anger

3. Bargaining

4. Depression

5. Acceptance

At first I was in denial. I denied that it was cancer and possibly something else. It was so fast, with no signs or symptoms until a few weeks ago… I have never heard of cancer taking someone this fast. I completely jumped over anger. I’m not an angry person (only when backed into a corner), so this stage did not apply. After denial I went straight into bargaining. I’m not a spiritual person, but I did ask God if he could take away all the bad and evil people and spare her life. I guess this was selfishness talking, but I was really thinking of her grandkids… they loved their grandma so much, and the thought of them losing her tore my heart into tiny pieces. After a few days of talking to myself, I finally decided I had to accept this. There was nothing that I could do, nor could the doctors. I could not cure or heal her of cancer, and no how hard I begged… her life would not be spared.

But what about depression? Depression is a strange little thing. It acts in weird ways. Depression came last. For a few days after her death, I was depressed. On the second day I had to get myself off the couch and into non-grungy clothes and get out…. even if it was to visit the grocery store. I have to admit. I’m not sure if I could even classify it as depression, more like, sadness. One of my favourite people in the whole-wide world is now gone, and I will never be able to talk to her again.

The funny thing is, that when I was planning the huge Christmas dinner last year something told me I had to do it. It was like this force came over me because someone/something told me that someone was not going to be with us next year and that I had to make this the best Christmas ever. I had mixed feelings. I wanted to do it, but then again… if I had this feeling of impending loss, if maybe not doing it would prevent it, then maybe I shouldn’t. But I did anyway. And I’m glad I did. I was able to create this amazing memory of her and of all of us celebrating Christmas together, cramped in our little living room and sharing in good memories of Christmases past.

Cancer is a nasty bitch, which we all wished never existed. I’m tired of going to funerals of loved ones who have passed from this horrible disease. I’m tired of young lives being taken, people being taken from their prime.

Goodbye auntie, I will miss you terribly. I hope that wherever you may be, that you are no longer in pain and are having a good time with your sister and mom. Say hello to my grandparents for me.

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Serenity

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The last few days my family has been dealing with some heartbreaking news, so on Saturday I had to go somewhere to have a mind break. I went to my favourite park in the city, a place my mom brought me all the time when I was a baby, and spent a bit with the ducks, geese & a magazine.

The ducks that are at this park are pretty tame, so they walk right up to you (see above photo). I love talking to the ducks/geese and I’m sure they love talking to me too. I had a nice little break, just sitting on a bench and watching nature swim on by on a cool summer day.

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Hello, my friends.

Whoa. Hasn’t it been a while my lovely blog readers? Yup. It sure has. The last few weeks have been so crazy and filled with a lot of various things, that it just flew right by. How in the heck did we get to May 3rd? I have no idea. Do you? I think I can finally take a collective sigh of relief now that everything has quieted down.

For instance, my dad is finally out of the hospital. He was discharged two months to the day (well, one day before it being officially two months) of being hospitalized. He was given the go ahead from the doctor and home care to finally go home. He is loving every minute of being home and his leg is almost completely healed. He just loves being able to sit in his big recliner, watch shows on a big TV and cuddle with our dog. I think our dog enjoys it more than my dad does. And the best news of it all… my dad is back to doing everything he did prior to becoming ill. Thank you for all of your kind words of well wishes and thoughts/prayers. We appreciate it all.

The week my dad was discharged I fell ill. Really ill. I woke up the Sunday prior feeling a little congested. I went out anyway because I chalked it up to allergies – the snow was gone and the sand/dirt under the snow was starting to rear its ugly head. That night I picked my mom up from visiting my dad and I felt like I was run over by a truck. I could barely move, or breathe, and I called in sick at work. I was off work the entire week. Finally I dragged myself out of the house to see my doctor – dun dun dun…. I had pneumonia. I knew it. I had the same symptoms as when I fell ill with it in 2008 and it felt like I inhaled water. The antibiotics I was prescribed worked really fast and I was able to return to work the following Monday. It took about a full week afterward to feel (and be) completely healed. Now I’m dealing with allergies. No people, I am not sick… I am blowing my nose because of  my ALLERGIES!

I am also busy with work. I really love my job. I am an educational assistant, working with a special needs child. My job can be stressful and frustrating and times, but I really am in love with it. This is what I have been waiting for and despite the years in university and thousands of dollars spent on tuition (for something totally different), I’ve finally found my niche and I am extremely happy. I work with grade one students in the most amazing class, with the most amazing kids. Every single day I get to see life through the eyes of children. Every single day I am reminded what it was like to be six/seven, and reminded of how I didn’t have to worry about a thing in the world. Being an adult can suck (while most of the time it’s pretty awesome), but when I step into that classroom all of my worries are gone. Thanks kids, I owe you big time!

This week I was told that I would be working right up to the last day of school. I was also given some pretty good news but I have to keep it a secret, for now. I’ve told a select few, a few people who’ve been in my corner for a long time. Let’s just say I am extremely hopeful. It is something that I have wanted for the longest time.

In just two weeks time I will be on vacation, celebrating my good news, with people I love being around. It’s going to be nice to finally get away and to finally relax. Even if it is for three days. Thank you Queen Victoria for being born…. and once our monarch. Ish. It’s also going to be a little sad because it’s my last time spending extended days in this little lovely town. My cousin is moving to a new city, and I think I’m just as excited as they are. In a few months once they embark on their new journey, I will be helping them unpack and move into their new home. I am really looking forward to it. I am super excited for them.

I’ve also decided that I am going to change the direction this blog has been going. Not only have I been in a blogging funk because of personal circumstances, but I’ve lost my blogging mojo. I didn’t know exactly where I stood when it came to writing here, and I wasn’t sure if I would continue. Writing is my creative outlet, as it is for many, but the words just weren’t coming out. When I started out I knew I wasn’t going to mold myself into what other bloggers were doing. I was going to share my life and thoughts and just hope that someone, somewhere, was following along.

Then came this – Danielle Hampton of “Sometimes Sweet”, talking at a blog conference about finding your voice. I don’t know Danielle personally, but after being a loyal reader of her blog about her talking about her adorably sweet life, something resonated with me from her discussion – talk about what you want to talk about and don’t worry about what others think. It’s your blog, not theirs. So if I want to talk about my love for cheese, I will talk about my love for cheese. She also said to believe in yourself and others will see it (in your writing). How true that is! So from now on, I am going to write about what I want to write about. If there’s a few days, weeks or even months in between posts… so be it. I’m not here to please everyone. I am here to talk about things I find important, fascinating, or to vent.

So stay tuned peoples… a change is coming. I’m going to do me, and only me. Will you be along for the ride?