Starting a New Chapter in My Life

So, as you may or may not know, I was recently laid off from the job I’ve held for sixteen years. I was the Sales Secretary at a food brokerage, working with food distributors and vendors. It was a good job, and I was pretty damn good at it.

I’d had some inkling that it was coming, so I wasn’t completely blindsided. However, I didn’t know when and that added a whole new level of stress and complication to the mix. And, as time ticked down, the stress got worse and worse. So, as sad as I am to not be working there anymore, I am happy to be free of the stress, which wasn’t good for the fibro or trigeminal neuralgia.

I do want to say one thing, though. That place was like family to me. We had our rough patches, and disagreements, but at the end of the day, I was treated very well. And we were like a little family, the six of us. They had my back and I had theirs. Two of my former co-workers passed away, and both were good, decent people. One former co-worker retired. So at the very end, it was just me and my bosses.

I will miss them. It hasn’t been that long, and I already miss going there every day. Taking the bus. The vendor reps and buyers I worked with on a day-to-day basis. Sometimes, I can’t believe that it’s over. But…things always change. My bosses were of retirement …

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Trigeminal Neuralgia: 26 years

So if you’re been reading this blog for awhile, you know that I have been battling trigeminal neuralgia (an excruciatingly painful inflammation of the trigeminal nerve, which supplies sensation to the face) for about four years. It went undiagnosed for almost three. The medication I take to control it stopped working around May, and my dose was increased. It did not help at all. So I’m pretty much back to constant pain again which frankly sucks.

Four years.

Very recently, I made a startling discovery.  I have been battling it for longer.

Twenty-six years.

Let me explain.

I had major jaw surgery to correct severe TMJ when I was fifteen—a nine-hour surgery where my oral/maxillofacial surgeon broke my jaws apart and realigned them, rearranged my face the way it’s supposed to be, and wired my jaws together for two months. As I’ve learned, surgeries like this—as well as routine dental work—can cause TN.

I had 28 pieces of hardware after the surgery. They took a “if it doesn’t hurt, don’t do anything” policy because taking them out would be another big surgery. They didn’t bother me, for the most part, for eleven years. Then, I started getting infections and rejections. So out they came. Oddly enough, most of the right side is still intact while the left is almost completely gone.

Throughout this entire ordeal, I keep asking myself (and anyone else who would listen) why it stayed dormant for over twenty years and then popped up. Now I know …

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Coming Home

This week, I am home.

Sort of.

I grew up in a largish but sleepy city on the Canadian prairies. Suburbs, car culture, indoor shopping malls, long cold winters with plenty of snow and sunshine, lots of festivals and a tight-knit arts scene, large university.
But for the last 12 years I’ve lived in Toronto – one of the three biggest cities in Canada (Vancouver and Montreal are the others).

I remember being amazed by the number of pedestrians when I first moved there. You don’t nod and smile as you pass, you avert your eyes, because there are just too many people for it to make sense to nod and smile at everyone. The sheer number of restaurants, of full subway cars and buses, that Toronto can support still astounds me. And the diversity — half of all Torontonians were born outside Canada. It’s hectic and vibrant and wonderful.

When I come back to the place where I grew up, it feels like home and not home. Familiar and strange – and stranger every time. The infrastructure is always changing – big box stores and suburbs continue to sprout up, and other businesses I remember have closed. There’s now an LRT (surface-level rapid transit) running down the nearest major artery to the house where I grew up. The streets look wider than I remember, even though they mostly aren’t. The downtown core doesn’t shut down at 6 PM anymore — people actually live there now, and the whole …

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Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die

Okay, get ready. I will be talking about Adam Lambert again.

Well, sorta. Today has been a rough day for me emotionally. Won’t get into it…most of it is just life crap, and the fact that I have a migraine, and I’ve been exhausted. Anyway…I’ve been listening to Adam’s “The Original High” and my favorite song, “The Light” came on. I think I’ve mentioned that it’s my favorite before, but if I haven’t, there you go (I actually love almost every single song on that album, so picking a favorite is really, really hard). So anyway, the line “I’m too weird to live, too rare to die” struck me for a second (and I do know it’s from Panic! At the Disco). Actually, literally took my breath away. I’ve heard it before and have actually thought about it (hell, maybe having it tattooed on myself somewhere!) but in the context of today…I dunno, it grabbed me.

Let me explain.

I’ve never, ever been the sort of person to blindly follow people, or things,, or trends. People are pinch-rolling their jeans because that’s the latest cool thing to do (’80s kids, remember that)? No, no. I rebelled that one so badly, my mom thought I was nuts. Long hair is no longer in? Pffft. I grew it past my waist for most of my life. Get married, pop out kids? Nope. Not me. I am not a kid person, and my health sucks. So no kids for me (and I am …

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Fourteen Years, In Memoriam

The other night I dreamed that my dad was taking one of my siblings and me for a drive on the West Coast (British Columbia, for you non-Canadians). The timing was contemporary, for we had modern cell phones and we felt like our current adult selves, in that way you know things in dreams.

I didn’t remember until an instant after I woke up that my dad has been dead since 2003.

I don’t think about him often anymore, except right around this time of year. He died in March, late in a bitterly cold prairie winter. The day he was buried, there was a thaw and, finally, everything began to melt. Ever since then, I’ve found late winter difficult to bear. Some years are harder than others; this one has been easier so far, probably because it’s been so unseasonably warm here. Bittersweet for sure.

He feels now like part of another life, one I don’t remember as well as I would wish to. He did get to meet the man who would later become my husband. For that I will always be grateful. But since his death, the two of us have moved across the country, joined or made new communities, established our careers, bought a house, assumed adult responsibilities within our families, traveled to seven countries (eight as you’re reading this!). He didn’t live to see Turtleduck Press or all the writing I’ve done here, or to hold my first novel in his hands. And my two …

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Mountain Memories

Two weeks ago, I blogged about my magical fantasy dream castle retreat, where I wished I was instead of plowing through a difficult month at work.

Last week, I got to spend some time in a place that happened to resemble it more than a little.

I spent the week in the Canadian Rockies, reconnecting with my siblings while hiking. (But not camping. Beds, showers, and easy meals are too much of a draw when you’ve spent the day walking.) I didn’t grow up there, but I did spend at least a week in the Rockies every summer, and they’re still one of my favourite places on the planet.

Here, then, are just some of the things I want to remember, like talismans against the sometimes-grind of daily life…

The way my siblings and I can still communicate with a look or half a sentence, or all acquire identical facial expressions at the same time, even though we are very different people and haven’t lived in the same house or even the same city for years now.

The Technicolor wildflowers all over the mountainsides. Kananaskis Country, where we were, is famous for them. Some of the meadows are sloped 30 degrees or more, making for a very unpleasant climb, but the flowers don’t mind at all. They’re busy making the most of the short mountain summer. So are the butterflies. I’m no lepidopterist, but we kept seeing orange ones with wings that looked like lace, and I even spotted …

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See the Positives

Two weeks ago, I spent $560 on my car. The intake manifold was leaking, among other issues, and I had to get through emissions to register her–so I had a  a deadline.

I barely got her back, and the AC went out. In case you haven’t heard, it’s a really bad time to be without AC in my neck of the woods. That cost me $322—and they’re not confident they fixed the problem, as they’re not sure how they got it working.

Last week Erin talked about what it’s like, living mostly without pain. Putting nearly a thousand dollars into my car over the course of a month has made me think about what it’s like, having a life without lack.

People like to complain about their jobs, and their bills, and how their paychecks are gone before they even hit the bank account, and I think it’s important to get that frustration out. I also think it’s important to remember that jobs are good to have. Lots of people out there would love to have a job. Though most of us would love not to need a job, until that awesome circumstance comes about, it’s good to have a job.

Bills are good to have. Bills mean (probably…?) you’ve received something you wanted.

I whine a lot every summer about my electric bill. When summer hits and we start running the AC all the time, my electric bill quadruples. See above link to the weather.

But you know …

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It Got Better

I was cruising along Facebook this afternoon and found a video Adam Lambert had done called “It Got Better.” He’d originally done one some time ago for It Gets Better, but this is a new one. In it, he talks about his struggles with being gay and feeling alone because of it, and how he always strove to be himself. Here is the video if you want to see it.

Damn, I love that guy. And his message.

Granted, I’m not gay or struggling with being gay, but I have had struggles of my own. Recently I participated in #AprilLove2016, which was a month-long challenge to write love letters every day according to specific word or concept. It changed every day. And love letters didn’t have to be actual letters, they could be pictures, or paintings, or collages…whatever you wanted to create. I managed 14 days of 30, due to wrist tendonitis catching up with me (I was writing longhand in a journal for most of them, and for a few posted them to my blog). I really wanted to complete all 30, but doing14 of them was fun. By the end of the month, I was in the throes of a flare and could not even consider writing anything longhand. Maybe, once I feel better, I could try to the rest here and there.

Anyway, one of the topics that got me thinking was “Dear Younger Me.” Writing that brought back so many memories of my teenage …

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Why I Didn’t Post Yesterday

Normally, I’m pretty good at keeping myself organized. Because we’re on a schedule, it’s pretty easy to remember. I’m the third Tuesday. But, apparently, I got distracted.

Why did I get distracted? Well, you see, I was copyediting this awesome, kick-ass novel. The one we are releasing in May. I’d just gotten the second part, and I was DYING to keep reading because the place they ended part 1 was a bit of a cliffhanger and…gah. I kept thinking about it. And then I started copyediting, and time just went away.

It’s kinda been like this all month. Kit and Siri, bless their souls, were running a bit behind on edits, so I was working on Ever Touched and Covenant, my two main projects. Then, over the weekend, I got a kick-ass idea for a horror novel (or screenplay). So that’s been on my mind. I’ve had a few personal things happening in the midst of this, plus daylight saving time (don’t tell me it doesn’t effect you because I will smack you. Some of us are sensitive to such things, mmkay?) and work stress. So, yeah, I spaced on yesterday’s post. I apologize for my error. I know you were all waiting with bated breath for my monthly thought-dump.

But seriously? This book is out of this world (see what I did there? No? Okay, now I feel cheesy) and it’s very different from what’s out there which is the point. Awesome characters, awesome world, kind of dystopic, too. …

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