Friday, April 17, 2009

Niagara Falls




The girls and I were lucky enough to go to Niagara Falls last weekend. We belong to a group, Parent's Without Partners (PWP). There was an 'outing' to Americana Resort over the Easter Weekend, and I decided to surprise the girls and take them there. The surprise actually didn't last long, I told them where we were going and showed them pictures. They were very excited about it.
Heather has often said that she is the ONLY person in the entire school (forgetting that Leah is at the same school) who have NEVER been out of Canada. Poor baby! Anyway, Niagara Falls is in Canada and the US. I also decided to surprise them and take them over the border to the States. Again, that surprise didn't last long. They saw the document I got Scott (my ex, their father) to sign allowing me to take them. Oh well, so much for the surprise, but they were super excited about it.
Easter Friday arrived and we drove to Niagara Falls and the Americana. There is a huge indoor water park with slides and wave pool. We had a great time! There were several PWP families there, kids that my kids are friends with, other parents that I knew. It was so much fun! We stayed the night and spent time in the water park on Sat as well.
Saturday, we went to visit Niagara Falls as tourists, then went to go over the boarder into the States. I loved that part...over the Rainbow Bridge, I slowed down. There is a Canadian Flag, space, then the US Flag. I said 'we're in Canada...we're nowhere...we're in another country'.
Surprisingly, there was no line up at the boarder and we went almost right through. When asked why we were going there, I told them that my poor kids had never been out of Canada. That was enough for them to allow us into their country. From there, we went to the Factory Outlet Mall. We went 'shop, shop, shop...DROP'. It was so much fun. I discovered a store there that we don't have here, The Dress Barn. I loved it and spent some of my very hard earned money in that store. The girls got a lot of stuff as well. After that, we drove around and found a motel to stay at for the night. The girls asked me if the Easter Bunny would find them. Luckily, I had thought of that before and had hidden stuff in my bag. Sure enough, Sunday morning they woke up to find that the Easter Bunny had indeed found them, in a motel, in the States, with me being Jewish and them half Jewish. The Easter Bunny stupidly put chocolate eggs under their pillows and Leah, during her sleep, had uncovered one and it got on the sheets. I wrote a big note: 'This is a CHOCOLATE stain' and left it on the bed.
We went back over the boarder into Canada. It was actually kind of funny...the guard asked me for the paper that Scott had signed allowing me to take them into the US on the way BACK into Canada. Again, no line up. Asked what we bought??? Earrings and stuff for the kids. No prob!
On the Monday, I took a vacation day and took the girls to see Hanna Montana, the Movie'. I enjoyed it and so did they.
All in all, we had a great weekend. We all needed it and we all loved it.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

The Ring


I had said that this blog was not going to become an AA forum of any kind; however, there is something that I need to share with you that is AA related...


I like amethyst. Actually, I love amethyst. It calms me, and helps to ground me. Amethyst also happens to be purple, my favourite colour. I looked up the meaning of amethyst, it literally means 'not drunk'. Huh, who knew??


As my 3 year AA birthday passed in January, I decided to buy myself something at the Conference that was in March. I already have AA jewellry. The AA symbol is a triangle with a circle around it. Anyway, I decided that I wanted a ring with a trilliam (triangle) amethyst. At the Conference, I bought a pendant which was exactly what I wanted as a ring. I then took it to a jewellery store and decided to have it made into a ring.


So, to make a long story short...I took my wedding band and Scott's wedding band and had it made into my ring. I had 3 small diamonds in my band, so I had them put in my new ring..one at each end of the triangle.


The result???


Exactly what I wanted.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

I've talked a lot about work and some of the people there. There are 3 lawyers (one recently left and another is starting next month - making 4). There are 3 Assistants, or support staff. I am Assistant to the 'main' lawyer; Katherine works Mon - Thurs. The other is Ari. We've had our differences, as anyone who reads this blog knows that.
Ari has missed a lot of work in the past while. She was diagnosed with Menier's (an inner ear thing). To make a very long story short, she has now been diagnosed with MS. She was having problems and they kept getting worse. She was in the hospital for over a week and we have no idea if or when she's coming back to work While her condition is improving, she will never be the same. She is partially paralized and it's not known if or when it will get better.
Regardless of my personal feelings about her work, she doesn't deserve this.
I went to visit her last weekend in the hospital. I didn't stay long, but it was a good visit. It's so important when going through serious things to have the support of other people.

I think it's important to show support where ever I can. AA is pretty much a support group and by following some instructions and using the support I have learned, I am staying sober. Ari needs to know that she is not alone, people care, and she needs the support of people around her.
I did a bit of research and the support for MS is huge, which is great.
I am so grateful that we live in a world where there are so many support groups, they are a vital and necessary part of any recovery process.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Girl Guides

Heather, my 9 year old, is in Girl Guides. I remember many (many) years ago when I was in Guides as well. I kept my uniform my many years, hopeing that it might be interesting to show my daughters one day. Now I can't find it. I think that perhaps when we moved back from BC my friend convinced me that I didn't need it any longer. Bummer.

Tonight, Heather gets to go to the Science Centre (in Toronto) and sleep over with her Guide unit. I am so jealous! It's going to be so cool. They arrive at 4pm, have dinner there, walk through the exibits, and then sleep in sleeping bags there. Leah and I are going to meet her there tomorrow morning (maybe, they have to be picked up at 9..way too early for me on a Sunday...I might get one of the other parent's to pick up).

We have a membership there that I bought last year. It's a great place to go to kill an afternoon, and it's educational. There are imax movies as well, very neat. We have seen underwater movies, Great Lakes, mountain climbing...all on the biggest screens in Canada.

It's going to be a fun time for Heather!

Saturday, January 31, 2009

My AA Retreat

I went to an AA women's retreat a couple of weekends ago. It was a huge learning experience for me. I had gone once before...3 years ago when I was all of 1 week sober. Surprisingly, I got more out of it this year.
I arrived Fri night. We studied steps 1, 2,3. I was asked to speak about step 1, and I did. 'We admitted we were powerless over alcohol and our lives had become unmanageable'. It's probably my favourite step. I gain power by being powerless.

I had what we call a 'spiritual awakening' while at the retreat. It was one of the most wonderful experiences of my life. It's hard to explain unless you have had one. For the first time in my life, I felt like I belonged. Few people, except for some alcoholics, truly understand the significance of that statement. It was an overwhelming sense that I was 'part of'.

On the Sat. night, a bunch of us played 'Charades'. Believe it not, I had never really played it before. We all wrote down either movies, books, people, etc. and put them into a box. We took turns choosing them. It was so much fun! One of my contributions was 'Dora', it was funny. The funniest one was one woman acting out 'Wizard of Oz'. Instead of clicking her heels together, she decided to make a spin of 'wiz'. Picture grown woman pretending to 'wiz' with her charade male part. We were crying with laughter.

All in all, it was a great weekend. I reinforced my commitment to my AA program, took time to talk to good friends, strengthened friendships, and made new ones.

I can't wait to go again next year!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy 2009!

All in all, it's been a pretty good holiday season.
I'm sober and I've stayed that way. While I haven't had the urge to drink, I did have a couple of 'off' times in the past few days. The girls were gone for just over a week. While it was nice to have the break, I missed them, but didn't miss them too much. They left to be with their father Dec 21 and I picked them up yesterday. I'm Jewish, so the x-mas thing didn't bother me at all. What is difficult for me is this time of the year, not because of the holidays, but because I am approaching 3 years of sobriety (Jan 21). Three years ago, I was alone while the kids were with their father and I hit the bottom of all bottoms. I've come a long way and don't want to make this post into a bad 'remember when'.

Obviously, like many others, I have spent some time thinking about the highs and lows of 2008. I can honestly say that there were far more 'highs' than 'lows'. In the past year I have more than doubled my income, moved to a great 'house' (it's a tri-plex and we have the middle floor, with 3 guys above and below us), got my driver's license back (lost it for 2 years - drinking), earned an awesome promotion at work, watched both daughter's grow into lovely young ladies, become a bit closer to my family, continue to grow on spiritual levels, etc.... In a netshell, that's my 'gratitude list' for 2008.

The 'situation' at work is now great. The one other assistant I was whining about is now pretty good. We had a couple of 'talks' on our last day of work for the year (x-mas eve, until noon). She actually apologized for the way in which she treated me and we discussed things. I told her it was in the past and we need to both let it go and move on. It was a great talk and I'm looking forward to working with her. Now, I can honestly say that I actually LIKE everyone I work with. I don't know a lot of people who can say that.

My daughter's are truly good people with kind hearts. They love me for who I am. While there are problems and life is never perfect, I know that no matter what, we can get through it. I heard a speaker once at an AA meeting who had a great message... 'there's a blessing on the other side of through' - meaning you have to go through things in order to receive the blessing. I'm sure I'm not saying (or writing) it so you will really understand it, but it was amazing and really made me think.

Money is not as abundant as I'd like it to be, but really, few people can say that they have 'enough' money. It bothers me that Scott (the ex) is to pay me $450/month (based on numbers we used, it's a fair amount given the amount he makes). It bothers me that he is a few months behind and can't afford the small amount he has to pay. I know I will receive the money, in Ontario we have the Family Responsibility Office - they 'take care' of support payments. He can't turn around and say that he couldn't pay one month and move on...that amount doesn't go away until he's paid up. All things considered, I have enough money to do things with the kids that we want to do (within reason...we're not hopping on any planes in the near future). Today I took them to see 'Bedtime Stories'. We had fun.

I'm learning to put things into perspective and to keep things simple. I am doing my best to keep the important things at the front of my mind. Is life going to end if I don't send a letter out immediately? Usually, it won't. Is it going to change history if I can't get to my daughter's 5 minute dance recital? It might, for her anyway. THAT is priority. There was one week when I left work early 3 days out of 5. Two for dance (end of the session thing), and once to take them to the dentist. It doesn't always work that I have the priorities straight. Sometimes I need help with them. I've also learned that it's okay to ask for help. That is a huge thing for me, to ask for help.

All-in-all, 2008 was a year that showed me how life CAN be, if I work all aspects of it. Nothing is perfect and along those line, nobody is perfect either. It boggles my mind how happy simple things can make me. It boggles my mind how much my life has improved from attending AA meetings and following some 'suggestions' (AA people will never TELL you what to do, they SUGGEST).

Here's hoping that 2009 is everything that you want it to be. I wish you, your family, and your friends, the very best for a healthy, happy, and safe year!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

School Lockdown

There are several things that my daughters have at school/daycare that I never had as a kid. They still have fire drills (and the kids still love them). Now, our school, and I think every school in Toronto, has lockdowns and evacuations. Lockdowns are split into 'strangers in the school' and 'strangers out of the school'. They had a practice lockdown a few days ago. Heather, my 9 year old, didn't know it was a practice and started to cry because she was scared.
There's now another element to this scary new world we live in...
I received an email yesterday from the daycare. Two girls were in the bathroom (they always go in at least pairs). While in the bathroom, a man took their picture. They immediately notified the daycare (they are daycare kids). The daycare called the principal down, who then called the police. I'm happy to hear that these situations, while extremely rare, are taken seriously. There was another email update this morning saying that there were more details and that the police and the school were taking it seriously.

When I went to pick the girls up today, Heather was talking about a letter that was in her backpack for me. Everyone got a letter to give to their parents. The letter talks about a 'potentially serious incident' and the steps that the school is taking to keep the kids safe and secure. Leah was talking to Heather's friend, Emily, who promptly came to me and told me what Leah was saying. Leah told us that a couple of days ago she was in the bathroom with 2 of her friends (all grade 1) and a man took a picture of them and then walked away. I immediately asked Emily's father to take Heather with him for the girls to play in the school yard, and took Leah into the daycare manager's office to talk with the manager and assistant mgr about what I had heard. After some prompting, it turns out that Leah may have seen the same man who took the pictures of the other girls. She gave a description of the man and described the camera he was using. What impressed me was how serious they are taking this. I took Leah out and they called the police and the school principal. Most likely, Leah will talk with the police tomorrow.
While I am not completly convinced what Leah did see, I am sure that something happened. She didn't say anything about it because she didn't know there was anything to say. It wasn't an extraordinary occurance for her. She also has a great imagination.
After we left the school, I talked with the girls more and told Leah what a great thing she did and if she talks with the police tomorrow to just tell them the truth with the story.
I received another email tonight, saying that the school is on high alert and will have one door only open. There are several doors to the school, some of which are open in the morning and afternoon (before and after school). Now, only one door in the entire school will be open.

While it is scary to think of this world we live in, I am so grateful that we live in a good area (relatively) and things like this don't normally happen. The school is on 'high alert', the police are involved, and everyone is doing the right thing in insuring the childrens' safety.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Some People CAN Change...but for how long??

I have vented, ranted, and bitched about a couple of my co-workers, A and K.

I haven't updated in a bit because I was afraid that if I did, things would change back to the way they were.

I am thrilled to report that as of a couple of months ago K has been amazing with me. One night, we had a very long chat on the phone and came to an understanding about each other. Seems that we were having some mis-communications. Through talking about it and discussing communication methods, we resolved many of our mis-communications. Since that time, things have been great with us at work. Now, a couple of months later, I know how she expects things to be done, and things that I can do to make her life easier (she's a lawyer, I'm the assistant).

A is another story. She has had a 'hate-on' for me since the day she started. From the time she started as assistant, I went from working a few hours a week filing, to more responsible work, to full time, and now to Cheryl's assistant (a very good job). I have had discussions with other people about her and our lack of relationship. She's jealous of me. She is superior to me because she went to college to become an assistant. She's getting married. She's not in recovery....it goes on and on. The bottom line - she treated me like crap. If I asked her what time it was, she would tell me to look it up or figure it out myself. Don't even get me started on the fact that I have a laptop and can work at home (I begged to work at home...who does that???). I always describe her to other people as the exact opposite of teamwork.

At the end of Oct., she took the last week as a vacation week. During that week, she got sick and ended up taking the following week of because she was still sick. To make a long story short, while she was gone for those 2 weeks, I handled everything that needed to be done. I served/filed court documents, and did both of our jobs. I worked every night from home after my day at the office, and worked weekends. I didn't complain, it needed to be done.

Since she has been back now, it's like she's a different person. She's actually nice to me. We joke. She has explained things to me. Today, she asked me about my divorce, my case, and offered to help me with it. Wow! I don't know if this is going to last, as she has been nice the odd time before. I hope it does. Perhaps she has heard that I am staying as Cheryl's assistant when her friend, the other assistant, returns from maternity leave in a few weeks. I don't know why the 'change' occured. I don't care either. All I know is that now work is the way it should be in terms of teamwork. I love it. For now, I'm accepting it and enjoying it.