My friend Jane had an old cat who passed away today.
This is the tribute I sent to her.
I'm so very sad to hear about the passing of your wonderful cat, Matisse.
We will miss his commanding presence and regal composure.
He was always true to his feline nature with his outward sense of superiority
and his unrelenting demand to be acknowledged AND ignored simultaneously, a feat lesser cats would envy.
That he put up with you for so long is a testament to your ability to live down to his expectations.
He owned you.
Apr 10, 2013
for the pre-menopausal....
If you don't like this personality, wait five minutes.
Jun 16, 2012
I completely understand.
You were cranky, tired, mean and vengeful for a reason.
You had sleep apnea. I can see why you'd have your breathing machine on at night but don't understand how you could stand it on all day, maybe you liked the way it made your voice sound -all bassy, resonant and inhale-y.
Not sure what the statistics are for people dying from sleep apnea, probably not that many, I wonder how many people were killed as a result of someone's sleep disorder. It's no fun to wake up tired, crabby, tired, everyday especially when you think you just slept through eight hours of uninterrupted sleep. It's enough to make you want to kill.
Perception vs reality.
A sleep study is a mild form of torture. Imagine a floor in an old office tower with multiple examining rooms all beautifully appointed with double beds and romantic florescent lighting. Once you get in your p.j.s they Franken-wire your entire body with archaic methods like sticking toothpaste in your hair to hold the probes on. Probes are placed all over your head, face, chin, jaw, neck, heart arms and legs. Two straps go over your waist and chest and a heart rate sensor is clipped to your finger. Each probe has multiple wires that lead back to some kind of a CPU, beside the bed which in turn sends the signals to some room where supposedly someone stays awake all night watching the signals. I imagine it looks like the bridge of the Enterprise.
I also imagine Scotty telling Kirk, 'the engines canna take it!'. Every twitch registers, wakefulness is timed and calculated. An infrared eye stares at you from above and the room's audio is also recorded.
As I lay there uncomfortably trying to fall asleep, thoughts raced through my mind. What if they count the number of times I fart? What if I have to get up to go to the bathroom?
Igor's disjointed tinny voice pipes in through a speaker, "Call me if you need to visit the bathroom, I will unhook you, just say my name, I'll hear you." (Say my name? Really? Lie here and just declare, "I need to go".)
What if the probes can READ MY MIND and Igor and his Franken-buddies are sitting together laughing and placing bets on how many times Gotye will grind through my teeth and mind maddeningly keeping me awake! Can THEY HEAR MY THOUGHTS? Did I think of anything racist, rude, evil, etc? Do my thoughts offend, whoever you are? WAIT! I am totally lying in an office in the downtown core on the tenth floor in a bed I can't get used to and my thoughts won't turn off! Is this real life?
I try to toss and turn but my movements are met with resistance, millions of wires try to pull me back but I drag them over to my side with me. The adhesive on my neck bandage is starting to itch, the probes continue to pull back stubbornly.
"If you want me to sleep I have to get comfortable and that means tossing and turning 'til I find the best position, get it!" I internally lecture the probes and wires. I imagine the wakeful probe watchers snickering at my attempts at comfort. Finally, things loosen up, I feel my mind settling, drifting to...
Igor walks in the room and plugs me back in.
I'm wide awake again. Wondering if I'll just stay awake and ruin the study.
"We never got a sleep reading, Cap'n, but you should check out what she was thinking all night."
"Dammit, Scotty. Not another night of Gotye! I hate that song!"
(You didn't have to count me out...)
"We gave it our best, sir."
I give up trying to sleep and will Igor to come in and unhook me. No response. Igor must have fallen asleep.
"I have to go to the bathroom" I state as if Igor is beside me.
"I have to go to the baffroom" I call out like a potty-training toddler.
Igor arrives. Unplugs me and stuffs the miles of wires into my waist band. I go into the brightly florescent-lit hallway and do my business, looking up for signs of an infrared eyeball or a microphone. I try to pee quietly.
Back in bed the wires are untangled and plugged back in, I settle in for more hours of wakeful, teeth-grinding, fun.
Finally after hours of lying awake waiting Igor walks in unplugs me and sends me on my way. I try to scrub the toothpaste off my face, it smears around instead. I pat the top of my head and there's more toothpaste pushing through my hair. It's five am, I've been awake all night and now I have to ride public transportation home with a full head of toothpaste. Talk about your ride of shame. The only good news is that no one is awake enough to notice.
Weeks later I'm back at the clinic for a follow up.
"It took you 39 minutes to fall asleep" the doctor reported.
"But I didn't sleep at all".
"Yes, you slept for five hours" he said a little too smugly.
I gave him the side eye and sneered. He said there were some signs of insomnia. (Really) and when I slept I snored. (Sure, uh huh).
"And you stopped breathing approximately 13 times per hour" he declared a little too triumphantly.
"So you have sleep apnea"
Not a surprise. The husband said at night I had bouts of complete silence followed by loud gasps like I was struggling for air and very LOUD snoring.
We ended the appointment with another one set for that night to try at CPAP machine to register the differences. Great. Another night of Igor, probes and now a lovelySnuffleupagus mask.
"Just like somebody that I used to know" he whistled as I walked out.
Jun 9, 2012
SIX SYLLABLES! Not even a Monday! Although I'm still sore about the Thursday syllable bomb: multi-generational
. (Seven) Way to go Maria F.
You can add multi, micro, able and ally to lots of words to stretch them out but it's better when they're multisyllabically fortificated without.
But I digress.
I'm half way. I've decided to live to 106 so tomorrow I'll be half way there. to honour another year of life four of us went to Bella Italia on vacation. Three of the four share the same birthday. It's more coincidence than anything but we used it as an excuse to celebrate. I've been back for two weeks but I still dream all things Italian. The wine, the food the culture in your face, the beauty that doesn't stop. Breath-taking. I want to go back every year, for at least the next 25 years.
Who knew when I was a kid being schooled in Italian swearing by classmates that 40 years later I would get to think of those words again in their home country? One Italian boyfriend taught me to say horrible things that I turned into cute little rhymes. He refused to introduce me to his parents. He said it was because the only girl who could ever meet Italian parents was the one marrying their son. I think it's because he was afraid I might drop the fanculo-bomb at dinner.
That and I was a manga -cake (actually strudel) so I would never do.
In real Italy I never heard anyone swear, lots of muttering under the breath but no overt, passionate yelling. It made me feel like I didn't really live the real Italian experience. It did come close at a couple of restaurants but I blame the Prosecco. I won't begin to describe the land, the food, the gelato, it's too fresh, too raw to relive just yet. But I can't think of a more wonderful place to have a holiday. Some places were so unreal we thought Disney had come in and created their own version of the historical cities. Now having experienced Italy off the beaten track, without the cruise ships and tour guides I feel like I lived it and I'm ready to go back.
Maybe next time I'll get to use some of the colourful words ingrained in my brain.
Happy birthday to all my fellow celebrants! May the 28th be with you.
May 27, 2012
(two steps back)
You ever get the feeling your life is not in forward motion? Like while your innate sense is to feel yourself marching, moving, aging with time, going progressively toward something with a semblance of momentum, it's like everything is bending, bobbing and weaving away from the linear timeline just to MESS YOU UP?
It's kind of like dodge ball but the ball is looping around you rather than hitting you, you know it's supposed to connect and there will certainly be pain so you just want to get it over it with but the ball keeps hovering around, teasing, making you feel like you should dance with it, help it find it's way to make that equal and opposite thingy happen like life is supposed to.
Yeah, just like that. Only with more sentences.
It's not even standing still it's defiantly moving in an unexpected way, mostly backwards. Stupid life. You need to upgrade, get a new one.
Unless of course this is the course. Bob and weave, duck, roundhouse kick back. Cha cha cha. Looks like there's a new rhythm in town and it's unpredictable.
May 27, 2012
Wish I could order that
on Apple TV.
Sleeping is the part of the night time that I impersonate a bulldozer filled with revving gas powered buzz saws cowering under an endless parade of fully charged monster trucks in a stadium filled with screaming, drunk truckers.
At least that's what the husband tells me.
OK I admit I've awakened abruptly to the sound of snoring before I just figured it was HIM. In spite of his denial I am convinced that I've heard him cracking knuckles in his throat. A few weeks ago he decided to mention that when I sleep the buzz saws start up in low gear then progressively increase to monster truck stadium scream until....
I suddenly stop.
For what seems like minutes there is no sound, nothing, just edge-of-the-cliff-like-Wile.-E. Coyote-suspended-in-mid-air-before-he-drops quiet. Until...
Like the one you take after holding your breath underwater too long.
My jaw dropped when he told me. After the very bad heart day you'd think this might be a thing. Like something I'd need to know. Like right away or at the very least a YEAR BEFORE MY HEART STOPPED. But at least he mentioned it.
Within the week I had talked to my cardiac consultant, my doctor and the lady whose job it was to process my request at the clinic and was walking into a downtown office tower to spend my Sunday night in a 'sleep' clinic. Ironical operative word of note: 'sleep'. You don't get to actually sleep, you 'sleep'.
After signing my life away (again, what is it with the medical profession? We die, we get it), I was put in a examining room with a double bed. After I got into my PJs they started by smearing a cold, wet tooth paste-like goo in strategic spots on my face, head, body, then stuck electrodes into the setting toothpaste/concrete . They shoved stuff in my nose, wrapped TWO belts tightly around my body and turned on the florescent night light and left me to 'sleep'.
There was a camera lens pointed at the bed, the room was wired for sound so they could count snores and please-God-let-that-be-the-absolute-worst-thing-they-hear. It was mortifyingly uncomfortable and strange to have wires attached EVERYWHERE. I started to become hyper-concious of everything! I was grinding my teeth to the rhythm of that insipid Gotye song and began to wonder if they could make out what the tune was. Could they read my mind? Did they sense I was aware of not sleeping and worrying about not sleeping? Did they watch me trying to flip flop trying to find a comfortable position to actually do that sleep thing in? Was this normal for them, they, the unknown observers? Who would sign up to listen to farty, congested, snorers all night? What if I have to pee? How do I unhook.
"I can hear you so if you need anything just ask" said the heavily Asian-accented female HAL.
"OMG SHE HEARD ME!" I thought, possibly out loud. How do you make your inside voice be more inside? I was wrapped in a conundrum of an enigma. Is that even a sentence? Man, I was tired.
After maybe ten minutes of sleep I had to go the the bathroom.
I thought I was speaking out loud, "Hello, I have to go to the bathroom."
A few minutes later, "Hello? I need to get up".
Again, many minutes later the feminine/Asian HAL voice came over a speaker.
"You need to get up? I come in."
Out comes the nose thing the wires are tucked into he belts and off I waddle through the medical office to take care of business. By the time I get back get hooked up again I'm wide awake. Soon I was grinding my teeth to a U2 song and worrying about trying to relax to maybe perhaps ease into sl...NOPE. Not going to happen. I have to go through the thought rolodex looking for something to worry about.
Ten minutes later the technician is unhooking me. Pulling probes out of the sticky, stringy toothpaste/cement. It's 5:30AM and I'm being turned out. I tried to scrape off the goo on my face only to realize my hair resembled Mary's gelled hair from 'Something About Mary'. Looking and feeling ridiculous I bolted for the subway and hurried home. SevenAM I'm ringing the doorbell, waking the husband up to let me in. It's a good thing he can fall right back to sleep but I only have time to shower change and go to work. Running out the door I feel like I haven't slept all night and it's the beginning of the week. It was all I could do to NOT fall asleep at my desk; I'd hate to subject my lovely co-workers to my nocturnal noises. I save that for the husband.
Apr 14, 2012
Some weeks just outshine others in the calendar of life.
Last week was one of them. It's always exciting when you have a 'first', but a week filled with firsts is exponentially more exciting.
Let's start with The Raptors. Basketball. That game with the tall men that goes on for a quarter of the time, entertainment and fist-thumping antics for the other three quarters? Yeah, that. Now, picture this as your first time seeing a basketball game, from a private corporate box with a group of your favourite people and catered yummies. Yup, basketball heaven. It was a special treat, a work without work evening and our whole team ("I love us!") was there with some of the talent from the shows we work with. An excellent time was had by each. It was actually hilarious to me that the fist-pumping music, and the cheerleading and the shooting t-shirts into the air entertainment fits itself in and around the game like a commercial break. Yes I'm new, why?
Then the gastronomic bliss of dinner at Ruby Watch Co. consumed (hah!) the following Wednesday night. It's not just a meal, it's an experience. Chef Lynn and Chef Laura have created full menu nights, every night. You come on a Wednesday, (here's what you're going to eat..). It changes every day. Food is served family style, (here's the bowl, plate, basket, etc. help yourself) and the menu is as local as the ingredients can be. The layers of flavour and textures are courtesy of fresh-baked goods (I will marry that biscuit one day!), home-made butter, canned marinated, pickled and preserved delicacies, and freshly cooked ingredients. Lynn Crawford wasn't there but I could hear her voice in the descriptions of the courses. She has a way of making everything sound enticing, stimulating the waterworks in your mouth. Her staff is great at simulating her delivery, there's love and lust in every syllable. And that's just the description, eating it takes you to a whole new plateau. The restaurant was full, a great energy envelopes you as soon as you enter and it carries you through every course. Wine and cheese pairings are hand selected with care and every moment in there feels like a privilege.
I was in great company except the husband wasn't there. I got him the next best thing: A signed cookbook!
But the week of firsts continued...
I had a chance to meet the lovely and talented Lisa Ray star of the film, Water and recent cancer survivor. She's probably the most beautiful woman I've ever seen. It was a work scenario so I didn't have a chance to delve into her recovery story ala George Strombo but I'd love to one day.
Then the very next day...
Lindsay Wagner came a calling. She's friends with a producer friend and wanted to stop by to visit. I HAD to take her around to meet people because you just HAVE to show off the Bionic Woman. I apologized to her in advance and she was so gracious. Allowing pictures to be taken and hands to be shook (shaken?). We talked for over two hours about the TV industry, her life as a facilitator, teaching people to connect with who they really are. Her journey to self discovery is interesting but it's not about her it's about sharing her knowledge. She's quite fascinating and yes, absolutely beautiful inside and out. I left our meeting feeling like I'd received an incredible gift; her time and energy.
To top it all off was at the Canadian Film Festival premiere of "Webdultary". Brilliant, funny, well-crafted and captivating. I just happen to know the DOP and he actually challenged me to come see it and experience the camera and lenses he used. I taunted him about budgets and expensive lenses and how nice it is when you have both. The irony is this full feature film was made with less that $40,000. Less than what it costs to make a music video these days... and it was brilliant. Special mention: Kevin Kincaid as O'Keefe, the brother. Exceptional performance, Genie-worthy for sure. Ironically it was my neighbor who introduced me to Kevin a couple of months ago, and she was my date for the evening!
Tonight the festivities wind down at a sleep clinic where I will spend the night to determine if sleep apnea is a factor. I suspect it may be the route cause of many things -including a few clogged pipes! Here's to a cure to stimulating senses when we're supposed to be SLEEPING! Huzzah!
Apr 1, 2012
Snoring? How bad can it be?
Apparently it is very, very bad if it's a symptom of Sleep Apnea.
C'mon how bad can it be?
Well it can kill you.
Yup, bad sleep = bad. Good sleep= good.
Do you randomly wake up in the night sweating, heart racing, adrenalin pumping? That can lead to: high blood pressure which can lead to ... wait for it... clogged arteries! Really. Here's how it goes. The flight or fight response is ignited when you're sleeping and stop breathing. Could be because your tongue is hanging far back in your throat, the water retention from the day in your feet is moving up around your neck (ew, I know!), or you hear some strange noise that jars you awake -it's your snoring that did that but you didn't know because YOU WERE SLEEPING. Sometimes in the night you might just stop breathing. You may find yourself (in a shot gun shack) gasping for breath or just mildly miffed that you're suddenly awake. But PAY ATTENTION. It could be...wait for it... SLEEP APNEA!
Kind of sounds like an editing term in English class.
OK maybe not.
So bad sleep equals tired equals over-eating equals weight gain equals fat all over including all under and around organs including face, throat, stomach. etc.
(somebody illustrate this). Overweight equals high blood pressure, high blood sugar, hypertension, irritability, unstable cycle (women), and in some cases anxiety. Anxiety leads to flight or fight adrenalin rushes which lead to high blood pressure.
What does this mean?
Interrupted sleep is killing us. It's the most under diagnosed illness around and I'm questioning whether clogged arteries could be not from stress during the day, but stress during the night?
I'm going to do a sleep study and see if this all makes sense. Right now this logic is completely fuelled by Barefoot Pinot Grigio. (No, it's not a symptom).
Mar 21, 2012
The abbreviated family had the opportunity to meet up with some rellies from the husband's side of the family recently. The Jamaican quarter includes many aunts and uncles, scattered about the globe usually only assembled for wedding and funerals, and rarely all together at the same time. Recently 'my favourite aunt' (technically she's only related through marriage so I shouldn't make such claims but she is
) has been visiting from England.
I adore this woman.
She was an angel sent to gently guide my mother-in-law through her last days in a cancer-ridden body. She came and stayed with her and made her as comfortable as possible, she exuded such an intensely calm and loving persona we all felt safely wrapped in her arms and comforted. After witnessing and caring for my poor mother-in-law during her fight against such a relentless disease we all felt battle-worn and unprepared for the inevitable end. Nobody had the experience and confidence to be there 24/7 except Cynthia. She raised ten children and continued to work well into her retirement years. She raised geniuses, diplomats, leaders with a gentle hand and wise words. She dropped everything to come to Canada to be here for her dear 'Beanie', the tall lanky baby sister who was no longer strong enough to take care of herself (and reluctant to let her immediate family help her).
Aunt Cynthia is soft-spoken and was self-assured in her nursing duties, gently advising us how much, when and what our dear Claudine could handle. She possessed a true understanding of death and dying having worked in Palliative care for years and we let her lead us through the process, tripping and fumbling through the inevitable steps toward a loved ones' death. She cooked cod fish and akee, rice and peas and oatmeal but she cooked it just right. Whether it's the medicine or the cancer, Claudine's taste buds were the first to betray her and our attempts at cooking 'like home' were snubbed, Cynthia's were welcome.
When Claudine left us, fighting death until her last breath, Cynthia took sotckm choosing the dress for her for the coffin, making sure she looked right. A job no one would ever embrace, she spared the family many of the decisions, working solely with my father-in-law to get him through that part of the process. She stayed until she felt she had done all she could, well after the service, well after the flowers began to dry up and the casserole dishes were piled up to return to their owners. She never shed a tear when we could see her. Her grief was private and profound.
Ten years later, she's come back with her bear hugs and lovely laugh. She talks to you with words that will stay with you, meaningful always. We trust and adore her, hanging off her every word. She is a loving mother that we should all learn from. She is a rare breed from an ancient time, she steps in when you need her for the most thankless job, performs it in the most dignified way and asks for nothing in return.
We spent a couple of hours reminiscing -the twelve year old pretending not to be interested in our conversations- at the home of one of her brothers and his wife, (another aunt and uncle who are well into their 80's). At the end of our visit we join hands and are lead in a prayer of thanks for the visit and a request for safe travels after which Aunt Cynthia took both of the twelve year olds hands in hers, looked him in the eye and said, "Know that you are loved by all of us and we expect great things from you in the future." Never at a loss for words he replied, "I expect great things from me, too".
When we got home he was reflecting on the visit. He told me he thought the praying thing was cool and that he liked this Aunt Cynthia. I agreed. We don't stop and pray after we've spent time with people we love but what a lovely gesture that is. I think her words were profound and will never be forgotten by the12 year old.
Her visit was another gift we will all cherish, a reminder of how important true love and family will always be.
Mar 11, 2012
The twelve year old accidentally touched my boob. He was so disgusted and disturbed I thought he was going to throw up - I mean full out retching and dry heaving. Does that mean he's damaged for life or (judging by his reaction) completely normal? Either way I feel hideous.
Mar 10, 2012