my tragic right hip

Busting out bad joints all over the place

July 4th, 2014

In Comes The Summer, Welcome

The summer has arrived, and we are in full cottage mode. We’ve already spent about 15 days there, off and on over the last little while, and I’m looking forward to a busy summer of even more weekends, even more family, even more visits, even more swimming, and even more nights staying up too late watching movies or playing cards.

My cousins from the west coast were here at the end of June, beginning of July–more like brothers to me, they are a pair (one older, one younger) and we are a pair (one older sister, one younger brother), and the four of us have played together at every stage of our lives. Having our fourth here, with his wonderful wife, and spectacular kids meant the cottage property was filled with my relations, and that felt right. It was chaotic and fun and the kids are all at such fun ages at the moment, playing together, not fighting too much, waking up with juice popsicles, and drawing pictures, sharing lunch, and their toys. Watching them made me feel very lucky for being alive–I know it sounds hokey. But every year, every month, every hour I get to spend being a parent is another one that I have survived in terms of the disease.

We are exhausted, most of the time. But I’m finding the days easier. Whether it’s riding my bike or eating a bit better (more fruit, homegrown lettuce!) or less medication (um, yes!), the usual bits and bobs of a disease-ridden life are quiet. Bloodwork only once every three months. Doctors every six. Deep breathing when I can.

The other morning, my boy clamoured onto our bed and said, “What fun thing are we going to do today mummy? Do you want to ride our bikes up the path?” And I laughed, and said, “What a good idea.” Except we spent Canada Day out with my dad, and he had just as much fun there as he would have on his bike. Oh, to have a life at the moment that’s utterly and completely punctuated by fun. That time and space for him are defined by the exciting events that will unfold throughout the day. It’s a wonder to have a 3.75-year-old. Even if there are still tantrums (oh goodness) and tempers (wow) and outright violence (helicopter arms, watch out!), there’s also the wonder of his smile and amazing giggle, the joy in him learning to swim, the brilliance of his “H’s” as he learns to write.

And speaking of writing–I’ve managed, over the last little while, to finish the second draft of a second novel (my first firmly in the drawer never to see the light of day, wow, that was hard to accept). And I like it, well, I like the ending, and that’s about as much as I’m going to say about that. I’m squeezing time in where possible, and all of my routines are working for me. My garden is growing. Some weight has finally come off. I don’t know what to do, really, when my life is this good.

One thing is for sure, I’m not going to wait for the second shoe to drop. I’m going to keep my foot up, and pedal along as if this is what it’s meant to be, how my life is meant to be, happy, healthy, and laughing at the next crazy sentence to come out of our boy’s mouth.

Highs and Lows

I don’t know how it happens. Months slip by, and my blog goes unattended. All of a sudden I look up and the season has changed. The cottage is open. And I’ve barely finished a book.

That said, there have been some amazing highs and lows, for all of us–the weather has been amazing. Warm so that your bones don’t ache, but not too hot to sleep. Perfect for biking, which puts everyone in my house in a good mood. My garden is mostly in–I have a sprinkling of Alpine strawberries this year but, for some reason, none of my bush bean seeds are coming up. I went a bit crazy with the cucumbers (I have 15 plants at the moment. I will have to cull)…. still, that I turn the earth, plant the seeds, and then food grows is a process I am forever awestruck by.

The highs of late–a wonderful opportunity presented to me by fate. DNTO was developing a story about crashes just as we had one, and so I was on the radio. Terrifying, but thrilling. I love the CBC so much. The podcast is online here. The best thing about being on the CBC, for me, is spending time with my friend Rosie, a producer there. She’s exceptional at her job, and I can get over my fear of, well, everything because it’s just she and I in the room talking. The part when it played on the radio was a bit difficult to appreciate, because you’re always afraid of acting, sounding, looking foolish. On the whole, definite high.

Then I had the distinct pleasure to be a part of The M Word launch in Toronto in the spring. Kerry’s wonderful book is starting conversations all over the place these days, and that moment, when I was surrounded by so many writers that I admire, made my heart ache. My husband and my boy were there–and he was the perfect “accoutrement” to my reading. Bounding up to me at the very moment I described his thrumming heartbeat in my essay, the response was a collective, “ahhhh.” Amazing high. Panicked and terrified throughout, I was glad it was over, and I was glad I faced that demon.

Over the last couple months, I’ve had very good news from the doctors–the disease is exceptionally stable right now, and I’m on the lowest dose of prednisone I’ve been on in over four years. But what that means is it’s time to face the music in terms of the state of my body–pummeled as it was by the one-two punch of prednisone and pregnancy–I’m woefully out of shape and overweight. I know the solution. I need to eat less, move more, and cut out the sugar, but the time and energy for both is simply not there. This is my low.

March 19th, 2014

The Best Possible Way to Have a Car Crash

Last Saturday we went to a conservation area near Campbellville called Mountsberg, where they have annual maple syrup / sugar bush days. We went with my RRHB’s sister, and her family, and it was one of the nicest days I’ve spent all winter. The conservation area was charming, we went on a horse-drawn sled ride, ate pancakes (ahh, Bisquick, ugh), walked around, and visited with the birds of prey they have rescued and rehabilitated¬† (having never heard a bald eagle up close, it was spectacular). There was a lookout area, a great barn for the kids to play in, and some farm animals. The weather held out, not too cold, not too snowy, not too polar-gusty, and after lunch in town, we headed home, exhausted, but for all good reasons. The Boy and I watched The Jungle Book, which I’d never seen, and I was happy, content, and relaxed.

That was how it was supposed to be on the previous Thursday.

Except, the weather, as is its wont, dumped a pile of snow the night before we were supposed to go to the sugar bush, and made the roads a mess. It’s not the first time this year we’ve driven out and about in rotten weather. I mean, you’re not Canadian if you let the weather stop you from going places or doing things. So, away we went in our car, the Boy tucked away in the backseat, rushed as always, and everything was fine until we turned the bend of the 427 on ramp to the 401. And then: carnage. There was a car in the ditch, another crashed and turned around facing the other way, and a third accident we couldn’t see in front of a Crate & Barrel delivery vehicle, tow trucks littered the side of the road, and then in an instant we were slipping and sliding and crashed right into the back of the aforementioned truck.

A ridiculously handy Ukrainian tow-truck driver raced over to the car, our front end slightly crushed, helped direct us off the road, and while my RRHB dealt with the logistics of the fender-bender, sat the Boy and I in his truck. We were all unharmed. The car wasn’t going very fast, the slipping was unavoidable, and the chaos on the road made it impossible to do anything but slide into the truck. Our Ukrainian towed us to a collision shop on Kipling, and within a half-hour we had a rental car. Everything else wasn’t so smooth–the fact that I had upped the deductible on our insurance in order to reduce our monthly premiums over three years ago was an issue (I thought it was to $1000.00; it was actually $5,000!!!), because the amount is MORE THAN OUR CAR. So, we’re fixing it out of pocket, and it was just a pile on of a pile on of a pile on of financial issues over the last few months. The adjuster was lovely and understanding, and the insurance company is doing more than it needs to, and it’s all going to be fine.

So it goes, that our luck would have been better not to have an accident, but when it’s all said and done, we’re luckier than most. Our car will be fixed. I’ve learned a lesson about saving $10 to pay out thousands, and our Boy got to ride in a real tow truck. We finally made it to the sugar bush.

It’s hard to put into words, how I feel about car crashes. I’m terrified in cars and can’t find my bearing regardless of how many deep breaths I take. My family has had worse luck than most–a beloved uncle died as a result of a drunk driver; my mother’s unbelievably sad situation and subsequent death after living for twenty years with her injuries; an equally beloved cousin’s accident when we were just teenagers; and a night when I was with a bunch of friends and we rolled the car–it’s no wonder I’m scared. Yet, when we were slipping, and I was listening, quite outside of myself as my husband was saying, “we’re sliding, we’re sliding,” in a strangely-calm voice, I wasn’t as scared as I thought I would be. I have always expected us to crash, and we did. And when we did, it was the best possible way to face a fear, because, like I keep saying, we’re luckier than most.

And that’s the crux I’ve been rolling around in my mind over the last few days. Just because I expect something to have the worst possible outcome, doesn’t necessarily mean that it will when the worst possible situation actually happens. This is revolutionary for me. I was calm. I took care of my son. I let my husband deal with everything, and felt very bad for him for having to do so–tried not to make the situation worse, although I did for a minute let the stress get to me, and in the end it was okay. Somehow, this is the way of my life–incredible stress meets incredible bliss. I have a disease, I live with it, but I am alive. I lose my mother in a car crash, and it’s impossible, sad, but it also defines my life. I am pregnant, the disease explodes, near-death, but I have my son. I am consistently terrified, and when the worst happens, we just deal with it. And so I look upon my worry as necessary evil. Sure, it would be better if I didn’t worry. But if I didn’t worry, I wouldn’t be able to contextualize anything.

We stood up, we let people help us, we solved the problem, the car is getting fixed, we ended up having a wonderful day, and life goes on. There is wisdom in here somewhere. I’m sure I’ll reflect upon it even further but, for now, I’m just going to sit in wonder about the fact that if you’re going to have a car crash, it might as well be on a snowy day when there are Ukrainian tow-truck drivers handy, and dozens of other people suffering similar fates.

March 3rd, 2014

“The World is Round, People”–Cate Blanchett

While I know I am not a cultural commentator with any weight whatsoever, and I know social media has sort of ruined the art of sustained thought through 140 snarky characters, but I’m going to ramble on about some stuff, and feel free to ignore me.

First, I’m a feminist. There are no modifications to that statement, I am, and, like Caitlyn Moran, I’ll stand on a chair and shout it, if you can’t quite hear me: I AM A FEMINIST.

So, too, apparently is Cate Blanchett, and I admired her speech last night for it’s obvious stump-like quality of suggesting, broadly, that women want to see movies with other women in them. And I loved her comment, as above in the title of this post, “the world is round people,” when referring to the fact that it’s more and more apparent that there are juicier roles available to actresses that don’t involve being half-naked and chasing around after men. But here’s where the whole thing fell down for me–I find it hard, and harder still, to stomach, that Blanchett, who has played some kick-ass women in her career, was pontificating for Blue Jasmine, which contained two of the most appallingly-non-feminist, anti-women, even, characters to grace the screen in a long, long time. Woody Allen’s personal issues aside, and they are legion, celebrating the great opportunities for women from a movie that demoralizes our gender so insultingly, well, it gave me pause.

Just because there are female roles doesn’t necessarily mean that they are role models for females. I found the same thing with Gravity, which I enjoyed far, far more than I did Blue Jasmine–yes, Sally Hawkins and Cate Blanchett played the hell out of those characters, but they were not real women. They were not even approximations of real women. They were one-notes played on a sliding scale of bad decisions, and the sexism displayed in that film honestly shocked me. Never, not once, at any point in that film do either of the characters step outside of being defined by the men in their lives–they allow men to walk all over them, in multiple ways, their children are plot points, and their whole perception of the world around them is clouded by a desperation, which is seemingly of their own making.

But back to Gravity–a film celebrated for both its technical complexity and its brevity–not to mention the fact that Sandra Bullock plays an astronaut trapped in a terrifying situation (lost in space, even the thought of it freaks me out!). Why does Bullock’s character have to be “damaged” (SPOILER ALERT) because she’s lost her only child? Why does she need some emotionally cloying backstory? Does George Clooney’s character have any other reason for being in space than the fact that he’s a scientist? Why couldn’t the George Clooney character be played by a women too–at least we’d be seriously challenging some gender stereotypes there in a meaningful way.

So while Hollywood was all “whoo-hoo!” look at all these great roles for women–let’s break it down to see what kind of roles they actually were: Amy Adams plays a women who uses her sexuality for criminal purposes; she’s a grifter. Cate Blanchett plays a women whose husband cheats on her, and then Bernie Madoff’s a whole pile of people, and she can’t stand on her own two feet. I haven’t seen the film that Meryl Streep was nominated for, so I can’t comment on her character. The same goes for Judi Dench in Philomena–I haven’t seen the film, and don’t want to make assumptions (especially, again, because it’s based on a true story). And then Sandra Bullock plays an emotionally damaged scientist who is only up in space because she can’t stand life on earth.

Forgive me for insisting that great roles celebrating women actually portray women who are changing the conversation in any feasible way? Just because the character is female isn’t cause for celebration–why can’t we be pushing the boundaries a little bit further and actually have roles that are good for our gender, and not just roles because of our gender.

I’ve included an image of Julie Delpy for a very specific reason. I loved Before Midnight to distraction, and it got my vote for best adapted screenplay even though I knew it wasn’t going to win. Why? Because that character was a real woman–in almost every way. The only bone of contention I had with that script was how (SPOILER), while arguing, Ethan Hawke’s character kept referring to Delpy’s character as “crazy,” which I hate–it’s an easy way of doing away with a woman’s feelings, going back to hysteria, etc., etc., but her Celine was the most modern, well rounded (with flaws, of course) female character I’d seen on the big screen in a very, very long time. Everything she said rang true, rang authentic, and I didn’t feel like her gender was a plot point to be exploited, and nor was she emotionally manipulated for the purposes of audience enjoyment.

It’s wonderful to see the rich and varied performances of some of the greatest actresses of my generation doing such vivid work, I just wish that there was an equal veracity applied to the scripts as is applied to the conversations about the shifting nature of Hollywood. It’s not enough to be present on screen and winning awards. The words matter. The context matters. And that’s what I found so frustrating about much of what was celebrated last night.

October 10th, 2013

And Then the World Went By…

It’s been so long, I don’t even know where to start. I just know I need to, start, that is. There’s an element to my personality, a constant communicator, I think, with myself, that gets lost when I don’t have a moment to catch up, to document, to brave the introspection that comes with what blogging represents in my life. In a way, it’s my journal–as it is with many writers, and I have sentences whirling around my head at all times, with nary a place for them to go these days because by the time I wrestle the pen out of my son’s hands, find a piece of paper that doesn’t have scribbles on it already, and sit down to write, he’s climbed up the stairs by the banister or something equally dangerous, and by then the thought is lost anyway.

We spent about a week in Winnipeg visiting friends and it was very nice to get away. There’s something truly wonderful about taking a break from your everyday life. Spending time in a place that is not familiar to you. And when you pause, even more ideas come floating into your brain. Yes, we could sell our house completely and move to Winnipeg. Yes, we could make a change that drastic if we really decided we needed to. Yes, wouldn’t it be nice to just take a jet plane somewhere so completely away that you honestly get a break?

But what am I saying?

The value of routine for my life is unquestionable. I need the stability. Stemming from living through tragedy in my childhood, that I have a house I have lived in for almost ten years, with no plans to leave, makes me feel strong. Knowing I’ve been with my RRHB now for almost fifteen years holds something together. I’m not saying the last few years have been easy. They haven’t. I’m not saying that we have a perfect union. We don’t. But I am entitled to take comfort in the fact that fifteen is a lot of years.

I have seen both of my doctors in the last little while, the SFDD and the kidney doctor, and the disease has been stable now for a year. Our boy is turning three. I got a promotion at work, and my job is very interesting at the moment. We are climbing out of a debt-hole so huge I never thought it would be possible to fill in the dirt/debt, but we’re slowly getting somewhere. The thing is–when you make a big list, and when you see your life in the big picture, it’s actually a picture, and not just a snapshot, a slippery moment when everything feels overwhelming. Progress isn’t always huge leaps and bounds. Things are better than I could imagine them to be–now if only I could control the day-to-day.

That’s next.

September 30th, 2013

And, Here We Go Again

I can’t believe it’s September. And so much has changed this summer–my RRBB has grown into a RRB (rocknroll boy). We have made it through sickness, health, cottage, home, single vacations, family vacations, new jobs, changed old jobs, other jobs, and then some. I’m going to do it point form because I want to track some of the things that happened over the summer but can’t write a missive:

1. My RRB had a rough few weeks where he was diagnosed with pneumonia, strep throat and a sinus infection. He was so ill we were at the family doctor three times, and Sick Kids twice. He bounced back after a few weeks but it really knocked the stuffing out of him. The night his fever bounced to 104 had me terrified. He missed two weeks of school, and I missed countless hours of work. There’s nothing like a sick child to put your life in perspective. I have never held him so tight. He was so brave at the hospital when they were running tests and putting in I.V.’s. My boy is magic.

2. I started a new job this summer teaching at Ryerson. My course, “Publicity for Book Publishers,” meant less time for, well, my life, because it took up most lunches in terms of planning, and then all of Thursday nights until the beginning of August. Here’s what I learned about myself. I love the “teaching” part of teaching, the lecturing, the examining issues, the discussions–but I am TERRIBLE at administration. I have always prided myself on being organized, but after handing back assignments and forgetting to write down the grades, I knew I had to pay better attention to the details. Overall, it was an incredibly rewarding experience. My students were smart, the university offers excellent post-grad course work for publishing students, and I would do it again in a heartbeat.

3. We spent every moment we could at the cottage. And it was packed with friends, family, visitors, cousins, kids, swimming, chasing, running after the RRB, and generally collapsing into bed at night feeling like we squeezed the most of out the summer. It’s my favourite place in the world.

4. I stopped reading. I don’t know what it was–a combination of exhaustion from my part-time job, being a mom, and working full-time. A dissatisfaction from anything that I picked up, but I could not finish a book this summer to save my life. I don’t know if I ever did actually finish anything that I started over the summer unless it was specifically work related or Laura Lippman’s new novel. I might be back on track now. At least I’m managing to get through some words… but who knows. I’ve never, in my life, not been able to read.

5. My boy has developed a sense of humour. He’s taken to walking around the house with various toys in his pants saying, “I’ve got a surprise for you mommy!” And then cracking up. And then I crack up because he really doesn’t understand why it’s so funny that he’s walking around shouting about surprises in his pants.

6. My garden was a bit of a disaster, yet again. I’ve now paid a professional to fix it, and it looks much better at the front of our house.

7. I got a promotion at work and the focus of my job is changing. It’s exciting, but terrifying.

January 28th, 2013

So Sue Me, I’m Loving The Cold

The giant parka was pulled out of the basement this week because it’s beyond cold in Toronto. Minus 25 with the windchill and you’re bundled up with boots, a scarf, a hat, mittens, a giant coat, and people are upset about strollers on the TTC? Winter gear is so much more oppressive than a poor mom trying to get her day accomplished while a) being kind to the environment and b) suffering from the humiliation of having to rely on the kindness of strangers and/or the grumpy bus driver when navigating your child and public transportation. How about banning giant knapsacks on teenagers who never move and refuse to take them off? How about fining the people who listen to their music so loud that I can sing along and I’m standing an entire car length away? Oh, no, let’s punish the parents–because it’s the strollers that are the problem with the TTC, not the ineffective management, the poor service or the ridiculous discussions about subways and this or that that never get solved.

Whatevs. It’s cold and I’m loving it.

My kid, not so much–he hates getting into the snowsuit, hates wearing mittens, has succumbed to a hat because we’ve been relentless in forcing one on his head regardless of the weather, and don’t even get me started on the battle for boots. But when we do get outside, even when he’s picking up rock salt and putting it in his mouth, even when he’s shoving a pile of disgusting snow into his mug, even when he’s slipping for the hundredth time, it’s still really nice to be outside and enjoying the weather. There’s a magic to the winter that I know is overstated when people are miserable and late for work because but I don’t mind the wind chill because I’ve got a good coat and even better boots, and I love living in Canada.

Plus, it’s good for my garden. And it’s good for my soul–to have all four seasons. It makes me think that we could still have an earth for future generations, but maybe that’s just too optimistic.

January 4th, 2013

My January Revolution: Dealing with Stress

One of my New Year’s Revolutions is to ramp up a sense of healthy living now that the terror of the complications from my pregnancy and the massive disease attack has subsided. It’s only taken two and a half years! Each month, like I said, I’m going to try and tackle an aspect of my life, not that I’d like to fix per se, but that I’d like to evolve a la AJ Jacobs. I’ve decided that January is the month I’m going to think about stress.

It’s an all encompassing term, sort of like “depressed” that people toss around left and right without really taking a moment to consider what it actually means either literally or figuratively. For me, stress, and worry in particular, is the number one reason the disease becomes active in the first place. When I am too busy, too stretched, worrying all the time, freaking out, panicked, upset, terrified–it ramps up my immune system which is a signal for the disease to jump into action. This is not scientific, this is just me living with Wegener’s for the better part of two decades.

The weekend before I came back to work, I was at a spa with my darling friend Heather. I was looking forward to it immensely after the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, of cooking two giant meals, of intense days spent with a two-year-old. And it was amazing, except for one small thing–I have absolutely no idea how to relax. Oh sure, I know how to be comatose in front of the television after a long day. But I don’t honestly know how not be so go-go-go all the time and laying down for a straight 24-hour period of people rubbing oils and lotions etc into my body was amazing but perhaps a little lost on me. We did a chakra realignment treatment–it was incredible–except every single one of my chakras are blocked. The therapist kept telling me to visualize a colour associated with a particular chakra and in my mind I got it wrong every single time. This was not the fault of the therapist. This is all me. I can’t quiet my mind. And since I’m too busy for restorative yoga these days, I don’t even have that hour space in the week where I could meditate and rest.

There’s a viable difference between being still and simply not moving. Being still incorporates a mindful, healthy essence–it’s breathing, it’s contemplation, it’s restoration. Not moving is just that–it’s sitting, mind whirring, iPad still on, spelling game in check, bad TV on full and putting in the time before bed. You’re too tired to do anything else. Being still takes work. Not moving, not so much. It’s a subtle difference, but I’m not being very still these days. Sure, there are stretches of time where I’m not moving but my brain buzzes over lists and things that I need to do the next day and moving forward and keeping on keeping on and work and RRBB and this and that and that and this and all of a sudden it’s 3AM and I haven’t slept for the fourth time this week and my kid’s going to wake up in an hour and wow I’m flapjacking tired.

So. Still.

There was an hour when we attended a yoga meditation session. I did pranayama breathing and for the first time in months I was still. It was the best part of the time I spent at the spa. The treatments were amazing but they aren’t something I can afford or realistically do regularly (except massage is covered by my benefits at work). But the meditation, well, that’s something I can try. My friend Kat has written a great introductory ebook (published in March), that has some terrific tips in it, and I’ve decided the book I’m going to read this month is When the Body Says No by Gabor Mat√©. I’m also looking for any bits and kernals of information anyone out there would like to share about how they deal with stress, about what else I might read, what other things I could do… About what really causes it and what it truly is. I’m embarking on stillness. That’s my goal for January.

January 1st, 2013

New Year’s Revolutions

Every year around this time I make New Year’s Revolutions. Called such because a ‘resolution’ is so easy to break and I have always wanted to be a part of any kind of revolution, it’s a chance for me to re-asses how the year went and tackle aspects, big and small, that I’d like to change. Comparing to last year’s goals, I have actually made a dent in many of them–I did read a pile of books from my shelves, made many home-cooked meals (and ate in at work), stayed healthy (no more disease flares), and I managed to write. So, in the spirit of the ultimate book marketing theme, “New Year, New You,” here are my goals for the upcoming year:

1. Practice patience with my boy. The time I have with him is squeezed into the edges anyway, weekends, weeknights after work, and I don’t mean to make a silly judgments about losing my temper and him losing his temper but trying to actually reconcile what it means to be TWO with my own grown up sensibilities.

2. Work on working out. For me, because of the bone issues (in that they break so easily) this means swimming. Start small, this is how change seems to work for me, little bits of here and there until things are actually better. I was the healthiest I had been in many, many years the moment the RRBB showed up in my belly. I’d like to get back to that. I don’t know if it’s possible.

3. Finish the things that I start. I have a few projects, self-starters, things that have been on my ‘life’ to do list for ages that I want to accomplish this year. These are always the projects that ensure that I feel bad about myself, where I’m the hardest on myself, and also where I make the most excuses.

4. Do the things I say I’m going to do. As he grows older, I think it’s ever-more important to do the things you say you are going to do. I want to build a relationship, a family, that’s anchored in a reliable honesty. Not a, “no honey your ass looks awesome in those jeans” kind of way, but in a, “yes, step out on your own and stand tall but I’ll still be here when you get back” kind of way.

5. Get back to blogging. And then reading. And then blogging, and then reading about blogging, or blogging about reading. I have a reading challenge in mind for 2013–a “Get Better” kind of challenge, where I’m going to tackle small change through big ideas as the year goes on. Pick a book that’ll help me, and try and integrate it into my life.

So, only five this year, and they are more esoteric than in year’s past, but I think they’re also more achievable, in a sense. Honestly, after two ++ years of intense disease, getting used to a new routine, and having a toddler-sized explosion in my life, I am craving keeping it simple and letting life come to me.

December 31st, 2012

Snow Day!

A really lovely snowstorm hit Toronto last night, a couple of days beyond Christmas, but it was still nice to wake up to a layer of white, white, white everywhere. It made me feel better about the state of the world, if only for a moment, to see ‘regular’ weather. We bundled RRBB up in a snowsuit (he refuses gloves, always), a hat, his boots, and off we went–without a shovel aptly sized, he tackled the mountains of snow with an adult one, three times the size of him.

Today, I’m pausing for a moment. I have my New Year’s Revolution post ready to go. My RRHB has taken our boy to daycare. I’ve got my new book open and I’m plugging away. I have a spring deadline, and I’m making headway. I have two whole hours to myself. I spent 24 hours relaxing in a way that’s even too decadent to mention (we went to a spa, my friend Heather and I), and even though I’ve got a cold (natch), I’m feeling all right. I’m not feeling defeated and exhausted as I usually do at the end of a year. I’m looking forward to what fun my family will get up to in 2013. I’m looking forward to getting back to the busy days of work doing a job that I enjoy. I’m looking forward. I actually can’t believe I’m writing that sentence. No, what’s more, I actually believe the sentence as I write it.

There’s something about winter covering everything up that allows for internal moments. I always found my best writing times were in the dead of winter–deep, dark days that let your imagination wander and your thoughts trend downwards. It’s very healthy for the imagination, those bleak long winter nights–you get right down into it, and I’m excited that there’s a proper Canadian winter out there for me to enjoy.

I have a number of challenges–lord knows I wouldn’t be me without them, including blogging more and really trying to find a way back to health this year. The disease is stable for the first time in almost three years. I’ve battled back from the edge once again. I don’t know how many chances I’ll have. How many lives. So I’m taking a page from AJ Jacobs and will be reading a number of categorically health-related books and trying to integrate some simple changes into our lives. I’m picking an issue a month and going to try to find ways to deal with it.

A new year on the horizon. Could anything have more potential and be more energizing?

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Girl with titanium hip will rock. Girl with titanium hip will write. Girl with titanium hip will read. Girl with titanium hip will battle crazy-ass disease called Wegener's Granulomatosis. Now stuff that in your spelling bee!

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deanna [dot] mcfadden [at] gmail [dot] com
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