Monday, April 30, 2007

Driving in Toronto? ... NOT!

I got my driver's licence reinstated today. It's been a year. In Dec/2005, I was arrested for DUI. It was at the time that my 'bottom' was truly visable to me. In Ontario, there are manditory minimum sentances for DUI. First, I spent the night in jail. Next, I lost my licence for a 3 month suspension period. Then, I was fined a year losing my licence, $1000 fine, and a 'Back on Track' program that people convicted are required to complete. Actually, the day I was arrested I truly didn't have that much to drink. Anyone who knows what the numbers mean would be shocked. I blew 340, and I should have been comatose. I wasn't. Judge said that may indicate there is a problem. Duh!
So, I completed the program (3 components to it, takes about a year), have not driven in a year, and am paying my fine off. The next part...Interlock device in my van for a year. Doesn't sound too bad, you blow into a breathalizer each and every time you start the vehicle. I can live with that, as I don't drink at all and it will always blow '0'. Problem is...it costs $125 to install and it's $100/month to maintain. Crap. I don't dispute the sentance or fine, but it never ends. The thing is, I have straightened out my life. I am the best person and mother I can be. I am working as much as I can to support us. I think there should be a clause that says that if I am in AA and maintaining my sobriaty I shouldn't have to have the interlock. Or the gov't should pay for it. I think that's fair, don't you? Hahaha.
On another post, a woman listed a bunch of 'things' and each had a 'fine' attached to it. After honestly participating in this, I don't think I should be the only one in 'blogland' with this interlock. Mine was one of the lower 'fines' , and I thought I was bad until I read some of the other 'fines'. Just goes to show you that perception is sometimes difficult to view.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Going back to high school

My high school had it's 50th reunion today. The school, NOT my class. I was toying with the idea, if I should go or not, so I emailed some friends from high school that I still keep in touch with. I talked to my kids about it as well. One friend, Ramona, emailed back and said that for sure she was into going. Heather was interested in going as well, so that meant that Leah was as well. Ramona has 2 kids that are more or less the same age as mine are. We ended up meeting there this afternoon. There were so many people there, the school was packed. I did see my sister there, I saw her this morning when she left to go there. Living next to her, I actually do see occasionally outside. It was okay, but I was very dissapointed to see that very few of us from 'the Crowd' were there. Ramona and I started to talk about our lives in high school. In the caf, the benches looked exactly the same (then I found out that they WERE the same!). We had a fairly close group in high school and we did call ourselves the Crowd. It's so funny to think about it now. We were such geeks! We were the 'good' kids who didn't smoke, didn't do drugs, didn't drink, and didn't have sex. The majority of us went to university, and many of my friends were honour students (I was not one of them). Ramona and I were closest of friends in school, and over the past 20 years we have stayed friends. Even when I lived in BC, whenever I was in Toronto we saw each other. Our kids get along, especially our oldest...both girls and only 5 months apart. The weird thing is her oldest, Olivia, looks exactly like Ramona. I'm told that Heather looks just like I did. Watching them play together brought back so many memories, although we did not know each other when we were 7. It was like watching ourselves as little kids. Weird, but neat. One thing we commented on was at the school how the kids who attend it now are so territorial about it. I guess we were at that time as well, but it was strange asking where things where when we graduated from the same place before those kids who attend now were born.
We had planned on coming back here for a playdate and dinner, but Ramona's husband had made plans for them without checking first. It was fine, we had our visit and the kids played at the school. Once we got home, Heather called one of her friends. The mom called back, we ended up going for gelato nearby, then Heather invited herself for a sleepover there. It's her first one at that friend's house, but it's all good. Heather loves sleepovers and this friend and her family are very nice. I got to know the mom a bit tonight, and she is nice, honest, and a caring person. Heather's friend, Stephanie, is 1 month younger than Heather. Andrea, her little sister is exactly (almost to the day) one year older than Leah. Sitting back now, the day flowed nicely. We were busy, saw old friends, and spent time with new friends. I think that's how a Saturday should be. Hope you had a good Saturday as well!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Gratitude...

Today was a busy day. My ex brought the girls home at 7:30 this am. He finally remembered to bring their bikes back, which is good because the weather has been great (exept for this afternoon). He walked my older one to school, it's faster to walk the block than to drive. Leah and I took the bus and subway, as usual. I worked for a few hours, then went to my AA meeting. This meeting that I go to on Monday's is a sort of special group. I have just become secretary of the group; that means I welcome people, do announcements, and hand out chips (coins for periods of sobority in the first year). It's pretty neat, especially since I go to many meetings I know lots of people. Today I was chairperson for the meeting. I pick people to read stuff and choose the main speaker. Today I chose my neighbour, Eric, to speak. It got me thinking about all of the 'coincidences' in my life. When we moved back to Toronto a couple of years ago, all I could think of was how we were right 'in' Toronto. I see things differently now. I can see how things work out for a reason, and it's damn interesting to see. Out of all of the places in this huge concrete mountain/jungle, I share a driveway with an AA member, long before I am one myself. I live next to my sister, our houses are attached (she owns both sides of the semi). My younger daughter goes to a great daycare that is close by. We do take the bus and subway, but it's very close in Toronto terms. There is a church next door to the daycare and another church one street south. Between the 2 churches there are 5 meetings a week. I work a block away from this as well. That is unheard of in Toronto. I am not going to get into religion by any means, but part of AA is beliving in a 'higher power'; something or someone who is higher than you or me. The concept itself is great. I cannot control things, I have no control over people/places/things, but something has to. I love it! When I had no idea what was going on in my own life, this 'power' was planning all of this. I can care for my children, work, and attend AA all in the same area. One of the best things is my work is very flexible with my schedule. As long as my work gets done, I can leave when I need to. Today was one of those days where I did have to leave for my meeting, and then I had a phone appointment at 2:30. At the scheduled time for my appointment, I let them know I was leaving and went downstairs so I could have my call in privacy. No questions asked from work. How wonderful. Don't get me wrong, it's not the perfect work place, but it is a good one for me. I really can't think of too many places that would allow me to just leave when I had to for over an hour 3-4 times a week.
I hear of so many people that have long commutes to get to work, work late, don't see their kids much and are so tired at the end of the day. The other great thing I did today...I was finished my am work, so left a few minutes early. I went to Leah's daycare for 10 minutes to say hello, and she 'read' me 'Goodnight Moon'. How many parents do that in the middle of the day? I am truly blessed. When I'm in a yucky mood, I must remember to read this again. Remind myself to count my blessings and write a long gratitude list. I do try to keep this list handy, but often I do forget about it.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

It Helps to Work for a Lawyer

I work in a lawyers office. Not just any lawyer, my family (divorce) lawyer. I started there a few months ago after I got the girls back. My ex, Scott, had decided one day after an overnight that he was not going to bring the girls home. He changed their schools and daycare and denied my access for about 3 weeks. I wasn't totally blameless in this, I had joined AA by that time and had begun to take control of my disease, but he didn't know that. Anyway, not the point. At the lawyers office, I do all of the filing, plus a bunch of other stuff. I was working away today and the ex phones me on my cell. We're trying to get to a final agreement with the kid stuff and things are going back and forth. We sent his lawyer stuff a few weeks ago, I think a very fair offer for him. I'm giving him more access time with the girls, and being flexible with time as well. There are provisions in there in case either of us get sick, or either one of us is concerned with the other in terms of caring for the girls. I am a recovering alcoholic, but that doesn't mean I always will be recovering. He has a huge history smoking pot, growing it (in our backyard in BC), and he also drinks a lot. He's been known on many occasions to drink 15 or so beers in a night, plus the other stuff. The wording is such that it protects the children. After asking him many times to deal with this and get it over with, he still had not talked to his lawyer about it. He was also Ordered to pay me some costs associated with last year's court. He paid almost half and I haven't heard anything since then. He called me today while I was working to tell me that he was going to be looking over the stuff that we sent him 3 weeks ago, and then he'd talk to his lawyer. I told him that the divorce itself was going nowhere, and it would never happen if he didn't do something. See, I'm big on the piece of paper and the symbols. He didn't care if we got married, in his eyes we already were. I wanted the rings (yes, 2 of them) and the paper that said we were married. Well, that's changed now. I still wear 2 rings...one is a family ring with my and my daughter's birthstones, the other is an amythist ring I bought myself when I achieved my one year medallion in AA. I'm sure you can see where I'm going with this...I want the piece of paper that says I'm divorced! After I got off the phone with the ex, I told my co-workers that I was going for a break. I came back, and after they asked how I was I told them all I wanted was the piece of paper that said I wasn't married to him any more. The two assisstants are so sweet...they made one for me. As we work for a family lawyer, all of the things are right there in the computer. It's not legal by any means, but after they 'presented' it to me they told me I should put it up and look to it as a goal to achieve. Exept for the legal Seal and being signed by a judge, it is the same as it will be. They were so thoughtful. It's nice especially since one is married and trying for a baby, and the other is almost engaged.
I was trying to upload a picture, but it wasn't working for me today. Oh well, it's the thought that counts. That's how I felt today, it doesn't matter that the Order isn't official, it's the kindness and thoughtfullness that counts. I truly hope you have people in your life who as thoughtful! I feel much better now that I've written this.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Happy Saturday.

The Bar Mitzvah was today, it was very nice. My nephew did his Torah part and was very good. All who participated were great. My kids were amazing. They were almost well behaved.
The lunch after was unbelievable. My sister has always been the creative type. She was always the one in school who got top marks, had great jobs and a nice family. She also makes a lot of money. Don't get me wrong, she works VERY hard. I'm just not too sure what she does. Mostly she buys houses and upgrades them to double the price of them. She's become a realtor to sell her own houses. Anyway, one of the things she has done a few times is make a video for important occasions. She made one for my wedding, and for my neices Bat Mitzvah, and she made one for her son to show today. Now, I don't mean just a little home video, I mean she goes all out for these things. My nephew is a hockey guy, plays it, watches it, and lives it. My sister, being who she is, is the manager of his team and goes to ALL of his games. She is the only one who is allowed to carry his stick. He's goalie, and he's got lots of equipment. For the video, she took clips from the time he was an infant to the rehersal this past Thurs night. Part of the video was a hockey part. She got the 2 guys from 'Hockey night in Canada' (Don Cherry, etc) to announce that it was Michael's Bar M. She also took clips from other players' talking about players' and how amazing they were. They were all made to appear as they were talking about my nephew. It was awesome. Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't trade places with her for the world, but I do admire the things she can do.
The other thing that is done at a Bar M is the candle lighting. There are 12 candles it, and generally close family and friends are asked to come and light one with the Mitzvah kid. What was amazing about this one is the fact that my nephew sung songs without any music about the people who were to light the candles. Our's (the girls and I) were to the theme of Brady Bunch, all about a lady with '2 girls of her own'. The wording and songs were all so appropriate for everyone who went up there. It was great. The restaurant had 2 floors and what they did was have the adults on the main floor and the kids upstairs. My sister and her family also like to gamble and play cards; her husband was a blackjack dealer on a cruise, that's how they met. The placecards to let us know what table we were at were done as pictures of cards, the tables had the actual cards on them. The kids upstairs were all given poker chips and there were tables with real dealers. Tons of gifts for all as well, not just the winners. I guess the point is, there was so much effort and details put into this thing that you couldn't help but to have a good time.
On a final note, I have decided that my girls will have Bat Mitzvah's. They both want one, but their father is not Jewish so they are both. I went over to my sister's after and watched as Michael opened his presents and cards. He scored over $11000, not including the gifts and gift cards. Wow, not bad for a days 'work'. I'm wondering if it's too late for me to have one (yes, I'm pretty sure it is).
Hope your Saturday was as great as mine was. I could watch that video again (I did at my sister's after we got home), and again.

Friday, April 13, 2007

I have beautiful daughters!




My nephew's Bar Mitzvah is tomorrow. The family is very excited about it, 150 or so of my sister's closest friends and our relatives. It should be fun. A few months ago, my sister talked to me about our part in the Bar M, our part being my daughter's and I. There are certain things that are done during the service/ceremony that honoured people are asked to do. I don't speak or read Hebrew, so that was out of the question. Anyway, we decided that Heather, who is almost 8, will represent us by opening the arc where the Torah is kept. Very cool duty. Anyway, we had the rehearsal and photos last night and the Canter (the guy that sings) said that Leah is too cute not to do anything. He made an executive decision that she could open the arc with Heather and my aunt. Again, very cool. There is a rule that one is supposed to be 8 to do stuff, guess the Canter didn't care. The girls were so cute during rehearsal.
While there, I was taking some pictures of them by a stained glass window. My uncle then pointed the window to me and he told me that it was dedicated to my great grandparent's who died many years ago. It was so neat, I had no idea and was taking pics of the girls. It was neat to see my last name there on such a beautiful piece of art and realize that my grandfather dedicated it to his parent's.
I'll write more about how the Bar Mitzvah was over the next couple of days. We have a busy weekend with that, the long lunch after it, and we are going to the Science Centre Sunday with some friends. Can't wait for work Monday so I can relax. I'm going to attempt to post pictures from yesterday, hope they turn out okay!

Friday, April 6, 2007

I'm 'allowed' not to like you.

I've discovered over the past few months that I can give myself permission to do things, and that it's okay to do that.
I guess it started a couple of months ago when I wasn't feeling well, the flu. I took the kids to school and went to work. I was feeling like crap. I kept telling myself that I could do it, I wasn't really sick. Well, I was and people at work knew it. I was told (nicely) to go home. I did. I made arrangements for both girls to be picked up by different people and taken care of. One friend offered to take both girls, give them dinner and bring them home for bedtime. I have some very good friends. I took her up on the offer and for the first time I 'allowed' myself to be sick. I stayed in bed, slept, read, and slept some more. Once I surrendered to the fact that it was okay to be sick, I felt a huge weight lifted from me. That one day of being sick, and allowing myself to be sick, made a lot of difference to me and the girls. By the next day I was a lot better and I could function and go to work.
Since that time, I've been experimenting with 'allowing' myself things. I'm allowed to get pissed off when someone almost runs me or the girls over in their car. I'm allowed to be happy when I see my daughter's do something funny or nice. I am also allowed not to like certain people. In AA, it's common for people to say that they like everyone. There is the common alcoholism and that is supposed to unite us. I've talked to people about it, and there are various answers. I have decided for myself that not only is it okay for me not to like some people, it's also okay to talk to my oldest daughter about it. I can't think of anywhere in life where I have liked everyone. I try, but it often seems that there are some I just don't like. I've discovered that it's okay to feel that way. It may seem simple to some, but that was a big thing for me. It's also okay for some people not to like me. I am who I am--nothing more, nothing less. Letting my daughter express her feelings is helping her, I think.
Passover dinner this past week is another example. Twenty of my closest relatives at my mom's for dinner. There were a couple of things that bugged me. Instead of staying in the room, I left it for a bit. My mom asked me to pass her a bottle of wine and I looked at her and said a very definate 'NO'. She didn't think it would bother me to pass the bottle. It did so I didn't. I guess for a lot of my life I've been trying to please others and be what other people want me to be. I don't have to sit and take everything. It only took me 40 years to figure that out!
I guess in a lot of ways it is selfish. I often don't express my feelings and tell people that things are fine when they really are not. When the girls and I first moved back to Toronto after living in BC for 10 years in a smaller community, we were right in the middle of Toronto, no grass, a much smaller house and yard, and a semi-detached house. On top of that, I always disliked Toronto. And, my marriage had just ended. Not that it was the happiest of marriages. That's a lot of change at one time. People kept asking me how I was and I kept saying 'fine'.
I really didn't mean to go into all of this. This new thing of 'allowing' myself things includes admitting my feelings when they aren't the best. On the whole, I'm much happier now that I can say that I don't like some people and I get angry sometimes. Seems kind of silly when I read it, but it's the truth.

On another note, I had a good day today. The girls left last night with their father to spend Easter with his family in Grand Bend (about 3 hours from Toronto). I was out for some of the day, but was home by mid-afternoon. Being in an empty house, I got into my jammies and watched 3 Harry Potter movies that I borrowed from a friend. What a wonderful way to spend a day! Tomorrow I'm meeting some girls for brunch, then having dinner with my uncle. Another lovely low-stress day.
I hope you have a great low-stress weekend. Remember that it's okay to 'allow' yourself certain things. In the long run, you will thank yourself for it!

Monday, April 2, 2007

Full Moon?

Do you know when it's a full moon without looking at the sky? I've heard it said that strange things do occur at a full moon. Warewolves. Psychos. Zombies. Me.

I know it's a full moon before I look at the sky or a calander. I get ultra-sensitive (yes, sometimes it is pms, often it's not); I have strange thoughts; I loose it for no apparent reason; I have a much shorter fuse; I cry for no reason, and I could go on. I also notice things around me as well. I do notice that some people are just 'different'. Some people get very strange. I used to work in sales, and my co-workers and I always knew it was a full moon. Questions were strange and bizzar. Things were just 'different'.

Now that I have realized that I am affected by the moon, I've started to watch for signs and look at other people. I noticed that people drive more like idiots. There are more fights at home. There is more violence in the news. May sound crazy, but I notice it. I notice I am the same on the outside, but feel differently on the inside.
If you are one who does not really notice, try for one month to keep track of the moon phases and how people act and react to everyday things. If you are like me, you will be amazed at the difference the moon phases make to some people (and animals, too, if you really want to get into it!)...

Happy Full Moon!!