Category Archives: Back in the day

Birthday catch-up

imagesYesterday was my 56th birthday.

Gulp.

Pause.

That’s hard to write. But yes, I turned 56 yesterday, and considering the alternative, I need to just get over it, to suck it up and embrace it.

Okay.

I had a lovely day yesterday, the day of my 56th birthday. (I am trying to write it as often as I can, in the hopes that I will get used to it and accept it gracefully. So far, this is not working.) DD took me out for breakfast, as is our tradition, and when she went to work, I baked Christmas tarts and cookies. And I popped over to my mother’s to drop off some groceries that she’d requested and to pick up my card and gift from her. In the evening, PG took me out for a fabulous dinner in a little French bistro, and even let me have two glasses of champagne! And throughout the day, I fielded numerous texts and phone calls from the many wonderful friends and relatives who fill my life, all expressing good wishes for my birthday.

And I got one call from someone I hadn’t talked to for a few years. I almost didn’t recognize the number, it had been so long! And that person didn’t even mention my birthday (and it may have been a complete coincidence that she called me on my birthday) – but she did share a lot of news about a number of other people with whom we were both acquainted and with whom I had completely lost touch. People had moved, had had operations, had lost their parents, had made up with their parents … but the very best news of all was about this one guy with whom I haven’t exchanged a word in probably seven years. This guy has had a serious alcohol problem for many years, and he has now been sober for eight whole months! Apparently his doctor scared the shit out of him, detailing all his alcohol-related health problems and how they were only getting worse and that he was likely to die early because of them all. And the guy quit drinking just like that, and his health problems have diminished dramatically. He is apparently back to who he used to be, funny and personable and just a regular guy.

I was SO happy to hear this – and I’m smiling even as I think about it and type this right now!

Because this guy is my ex-husband and DD’s father.

I am hopeful that DD and he can now rebuild their broken relationship, but of course, she is a grown-up and has to make those decisions for herself. Me, I think I’m going to give him a call very soon and tell him how amazing I think it is that he was finally able to quit drinking.

7g314So, Merry Christmas K! You’ve made my spirits – and my 56th birthday – SO bright!

(And Merry Christmas to YOU too, lovely readers! Hope your Christmas season is as fabulous as you are!)

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All quiet on the western front

I live in a suburb of Vancouver. I do not live right in the city, though I grew up there. I do live in a fairly urban area of said suburb, however, just a half-block off a four-lane main street. I like where I live, as I have walking access to just about everything I need: grocery store, gym, hairdresser, liquor store, ATM, several restaurants, my doctor’s office, pharmacy, lots of clothing and shoe shops. I live within walking distance of FIVE Starbucks, for heaven’s sake! That’s practically downtown-like, almost!

It can be a little noisy, though. The traffic on that main street is pretty constant, and even my side street can get pretty busy, as people often use it to dodge traffic. There are diesel buses that run on that street, and lots of delivery trucks. There is an ambulance station four or five blocks away, so I often hear sirens wailing at odd times. There used to be a truck rental place almost directly across the street from me, but that business has moved on, and now there is a small car lot in its place. That means double-decker car carrier trucks at various times, and I have learned that they need to keep running so that the deck hydraulics work and the cars can be loaded or unloaded. Apparently that car lot is a lucrative business.

So yes, a bit noisy. I’m used to it, though, even when the windows are open in the summer. Actually, even when I first moved here ten years ago, from the depths of a brand new suburban subdivision, I embraced the noise happily. It was great to be back in civilization, I felt, after years in a oh-so-quiet place where everyone kept to themselves and people lived at the back of their houses so you never saw anyone. I used to joke that every time a car drove down the street back there, I would run to the front window just to see another person! I mean, I did really like my house and yard and the neighbourhood, but it also took a lot more work to keep things up, plus young DD kept me busy. I’m much lazier than that now. And I’m likely not cut out for suburban living anyway.

So what I’m saying is that most urban noise is okay by me.

Even the construction noise from down the block is okay, though they’ve been taking up half the street for two weeks now. Really, how long does it take to dig up part of the street to hook up services for a new soon-to-be built building? It’s NOT two weeks, I know that. But they’ve still got their signs up and flaggers directing traffic and machinery all over the place – and they haven’t actually started construction yet. I recall the big sign that was erected there long before all this started, and it said that the lot had been rezoned for a multi-family dwelling. I think it’s going to be a small townhouse building, maybe four or five units, judging from the size of the lot.

Since the weather has been so nice, I often have my breakfast outside on my back patio, which, oddly enough, faces the street. I can see (and hear) a lot of what’s going on in my neighbourhood, as well as soak up a little sun before it gets too hot and burny. So, earlier this week, I was doing just that, when I became aware of a different noise. It was higher-pitched and pierced through the digger noises and the traffic noises. I knew it immediately.

Chainsaws. Apparently there was logging going on in the ‘hood.

Yep. At the end of my street, across that four-lane main street, there’s a large stand of evergreen trees along the street. For five years now, there has been a sign in front of them proclaiming that an intermediate care home for seniors would be opening there in the Fall of 2009. That never happened. But now maybe it was going to happen, as I could see a couple of workers in orange vests busily hefting chainsaws and cutting down some – not all! – of those evergreens. There was a bulldozer there and a big truck to collect all the wood, as well.

And that’s been going on all this week. Every morning I have woken up to the normal traffic noise mixed with the dulcet tones of construction and logging.

But this morning, I woke up feeling that there was a disturbance in the force. What was it?

No construction. No logging. It was relatively quiet.

I don’t know what’s going on exactly, but I’m anticipating that this is the calm before the storm. I think that very soon there will be two very noisy construction sites nearby.

But that’s okay. I can get used to almost any noise – and I’ll be back at work in two weeks anyway.

Sleeping beauty

images-1So I’m still waking up at stupid o’clock every morning, two weeks into my summer. The difference now is that I can usually get back to sleep till 7:30 or 8 am, which is STILL way too early to get up when I don’t have to go to work, but whatever. That’s quite possibly just what I do now, at my advanced age – and that’s really quite a change for me.

You know, I can remember sleeping till 11 am almost every weekend. And I wasn’t even a teenager yet! I could go to bed at, say, 9 pm on a Friday night (which was already pushing it in my house, at least till I was 12 years old) and sleep for a solid 13 or 14 hours, easy. I actually needed all that sleep, too. I didn’t wake up at all. I just slept. Then I’d wake up and stagger out of bed, be all groggy for a while (till I’d scarfed down a sugary bowl of Alpha-bits or Captain Crunch cereal), then I’d be good to go.

I wasn’t one of those kids that stayed up all night at sleepovers, either. I was the kid who was yawning and desperately trying to stay awake at 10 pm, while the other kids were just starting to ramp up for the night’s frivolity. I was always the first kid to fall asleep, and the last one to wake up in the morning. I actually didn’t go to a whole lot of sleepovers, now that I think of it.

LvQvHHSeKNRLlIzvcZS6tu07vorOYxEpttOvSoMpkA0fYrqRDx0OFFFatmCinKQgxUvERw=s85As a teenager, I was able to stay up longer. Sometimes I made it to 10 pm on a weeknight, but more often than not, I was out like a light by 9:30. And I still wasn’t an early riser. I just needed to sleep a lot. If I did have to be at school earlier, like for at 7:30 am for a sports team practice or maybe an early departure for a field trip somewhere, I had to adjust my bedtime accordingly so that I could still fulfill my enormous sleep quota.

And I only rarely went out on weeknights when I was a teenager and in my early twenties because I needed so much sleep and I knew I had to get up early for school or work the next day. (Oh – who am I kidding?? I STILL only rarely go out on weeknights. It used to be because I needed my sleep, but now it’s more that I have nowhere to go.) I could do it occasionally, but never on a regular basis. I could never understand those people my age who could party almost every weeknight at a downtown club or go to concerts or do whatever they did till the wee hours – and then they’d wake up at 7 am and turn up at school or work, fresh as a daisy. I just didn’t have that ability.

When I was in a language school in France, at age 20, my roommate told me that I was a bit of an embarrassment to her because I accepted no weeknight invitations and just went back to bed early, whereas she was out doing something with our classmates almost every single night. She said people kept asking her why I didn’t come out with the group, and she was running out of excuses. I told her to not worry about it, that I just needed my sleep. And when we came home to Canada, we didn’t stay friends and we never saw each other again.

imagesThen when I got married and had a baby, it was pure hell for me to get up and feed that baby every three hours through the night! I know all new mothers are miserable and overtired for a while, but I seriously had trouble waking up. I mean, I heard DD fussing in her crib, but it often took me a good ten minutes before I could drag my carcass out of our warm bed and get to her. She was a bottle-fed baby, so I took to leaving her night-time bottles already in her bedroom so I wouldn’t have to go downstairs and heat up a bottle each time. DD didn’t seem to mind room-temperature milk, fortunately. Many nights I sat in the rocking chair in her room, feeding her and dozing off myself, then rousing myself to burp and change her, putting her back to sleep, then falling back into our bed, practically asleep already. And I was napping every afternoon, too! Imagine if I hadn’t done that – or if DD hadn’t been such a calm baby and such a good sleeper herself!

So you see, this waking up early crap is HUGE for me. So is the not-always-sleeping-though-the-night that I periodically suffer from. I’m still hitting the sack fairly early, yet despite those disturbances, I’m rarely tired in the morning. My sleep needs have definitely changed dramatically. All together now, with sarcasm: yay ageing.

I think I should find a new hobby now, just to fill in all those extra hours that I’m no longer sleeping.images-1