Equanimity

Oh, so much is going on in the world and each Monday, I write a blog in my head and it never makes it to the page.  Sigh.  I had to take a few days off of Facebook.  I’m grateful I don’t get CNN so I can watch and re-watch people getting murdered in the name of law enforcement.  I’ll write more later.

Just an update.  I didn’t tell you, my dear URL friends that I had a bit of a scare with my breast health.  Found a HUGE lump in my right breast ON THE WEEKEND of course, went to a walk in clinic on Monday (cause I couldn’t get in to see my GP) to get a requisition for a breast ultrasound.  Of course, I started thinking about my dear friend who had passed away from breast cancer and all the other women that I know who had it and how could I have missed such a big lump before? (Maybe because I barely even consider my breasts AT ALL?) I was responsible for booking it only to find out I couldn’t get an ultrasound until August on the North Shore.  Seriously, folks?  So I started to call around in the city, (reached a private clinic that could do it the next day, but no my pitiful extended health does not cover it) so I called the BC agency that books mammograms (it’s literally like the Breast Centre) and I got an ultrasound the next day.  Whew!  Then I picked up my previous scans since I moved to the North Shore to bring with me.  I had to take Boo with me but he was great, he waited patiently until I was done.  Of course, I sneaked a peek at the image and then when I got home, I Googled it.  Of course I did.  When faced with an unexpected obstacle, I will seek to control, usually by googling and researching information.  By that point, I had already chanted and was pretty calm about it.  I was pretty darn sure it was a cyst.  And yes, to cut a long story short,  it was a cyst.  A big one, but a cyst that did not need further treatment.  Heavy sigh of relief.  Serious relief.  And perspective.

Now all of this was going on when I was dealing with the sister not signing the waiver and release thing.  Now the great thing about being a Buddhist is that instead of freaking out I can go chant with someone.  So I did.  So in the space of a few days I had gone to defcon 5 with anger and frustration, then rode a wave of chanting into all this crap will pass and I don’t need to kick anybody’s ass.

Today, the lawyer’s office told me she had signed the release.

 

Bring it *&&(!

Lately, I’ve been trying to finish up as executor of my mum’s estate. After completing a bunch of paperwork, file taxes, etc. I’ve had my lawyer send out the required statement of accounts and division of assets to my sisters.  My younger signed it.  My eldest sister has cut off all contact.  Not a whisper.  We’ve both called and texted, no reply.  Radio silence.  So if she doesn’t sign, that means there will be no early distribution of money. It’s a nice chunk really.    I had planned on buying a much needed family vehicle (used).  My younger sister would like to move her family out of a tiny one bedroom apartment they’ve been living in for years.  My eldest sister owns her own home, and has all her adult children living with her.  So you can see who thinks she has the upper hand.  Now the funny part is that my  mother had no intention of leaving her anything more than $500.  But she died without finalizing her will, so therefore the law requires that all assets be split 3 ways equally.  Yup.  I’ve known that for years.  Didn’t like it but there you have it.

Now I haven’t written about all the shit that she put me through with my mother’s funeral for a reason.  I just didn’t want to make a cause I was going to regret.  However, that may still happen anyway.

I suspect that my spiteful sister thinks mother should have more to be left for her.    In fact, when the first time I was told a couple years ago that Mum was going to die, that’s what she asked me.  What happened to all her money?  Never mind the fact that she has never cared to ask me about how Mum was doing for a decade; no Mother’s Day cards, no birthday cards, no flowers, no phonecalls.  Nothing on her 80th birthday.  She came twice in a decade for a week.  The first time was right after Mum was in the home.  My Uncle Cami came over from England for 2 weeks and we put them both up in my mother’s condo that she had bought just before her stroke.  My Uncle Cami loathed her.  The 2nd time she came for a week, her whole family came, made a big show of buying dinner for everyone, gave my mother suffering from dementia a digital photo frame full of pictures of them on vacation WITHOUT her.  Note to family of dementia patients:  you might want to give them pictures that they actually experienced or were included in.  Then went to Seattle  for the weekend to go shopping.  The 3rd time her own daughter had to convince her to come because we all thought she was dying and she stayed 2 days!  That’s when she dared to ask me what had happened to all the money from the sale of the condo.  I blasted her for bothering to ask me anything in a decade of neglect.  Eventually I did tell her most of the money was spent on storage fees, legal, accounting and additional personal care but the bulk of it remained.

Perhaps she objects to me charging the executor fee. Which was actually lower than what I could have charged.  She also has no idea I have to pay tax on it as well as pension deductions.   She has no idea that I never charged a dime on any of the accounting I had to do for the provincial trustee’s office on my mother’s behalf for 12 years.  It was overwhelming for me but I figured but I wanted to save her money instead of paying an accountant $100 per hour. She never spent hours and hours wading through boxes of junk that mother packed ON HER OWN before she moved. Did I mention my sister lived a 7 minute drive away from her mother?

Perhaps I’m wrong about all of this.  I’d like to be.  I really don’t know what she objects to because she hasn’t bothered to communicate what her problem is.  I already know they think I am doing all of this for the money.  I always thought that was amusing since she hasn’t contributed one dime to mother’s care.  She was never there when my mother was in hospital for 2 months crying in confusion and despair.  She was never there for all the emergency room visits, the care conferences, the funeral arrangements… she never asked how I felt when mother used to call me 20-30 times a day begging for me to take her home.  She wasn’t there to talk to when I had insomnia,  when I could barely move with swollen ovaries from fertility drugs but I still went to see my mother.  She wasn’t there when I put on a mask to visit my mum when the home had a viral outbreak.  She wasn’t there to take my mum to jazz concerts, get her hair done, comb her hair, rub her feet.   I’m sure she thinks she has a valid bone to pick with me.  I don’t care.  Cause she’s keeping it all to herself.

I vacillate between pure rage and pure pity for her.  No matter how much money she gets, it cannot replace what she never had with her mother.  It will never be enough.

Not sure who my sister think she’s dealing with.  We’re a formidable lot, the daughters of Ada, oh yes.  But if being my mother’s caretaker, infertility, depression, toddlerhood and the acting business hasn’t taken me down, what makes Big Sis think she can take me down?  I pity the fool.

 

Growing up

I think I have to admit to myself that I’m a grown up now.  It’s been a 20 year journey but I have to admit that to myself.  I always wanted to be free to chart my own destiny – even if I didn’t have a clue as how to go about it. I didn’t have a template or a model. Nothing was a given.  Being black and female, well, I wouldn’t call it a burden, but let’s just say I was always insecure of my place in the world.

All my revelations came late in life. I didn’t realize how important problems were.  Let’s face, like most people, I try very hard to avoid problems. And yet, because of them we have an opportunity to learn valuable lessons and hopefully transform a negativity experience into a positive one.  One of the most meaningful was dealing with infertility.  It really did change who I assumed I’d be.  IVF didn’t give me anything but an empty bank account and swollen ovaries.

The day I received my son from another woman’s arms was another one.  Everyone told me it would be a victory and yet it was tinged with great sadness.  My gain came at a loss to someone else.  On the surface it’s a win/win but it was so much more complicated.  I’ve dealt with that and I have to be present to help my son deal with that as time goes on.  That’s all I can do really.  Was it worth it?  Yes.  Of course.  I get to parent an awesome kid.   He calls me Mama.  I take care of him.  I put out my hand and most times, I feel a small hand go in mine.

Just this morning, a mum friend said to another mum and me while we were cooing over her 2nd son, “You want him?  Take him.”  People say that all the time in jest, I know.  But when I tell you that I would have liked to have another child, I actually mean it.  But I didn’t have that chance.

Speaking of siblings, my son asked my husband recently if he had any.  And he was told yes, that he had two, in fact.  One older and one younger.  That was the first time he had been told. Not an insignificant moment considering how much he’s always wanted a sibling.  He rarely talks about it anymore, but he’s happiest when playing with a friend.  He’s also quite friendly with younger children. Not long ago, we were talking on the way home from school about grandparents.  That one of his grandmothers was dead.  That he had two granddads (yes I know there is another set), one was my father, but he had only met him once.  And that he has two mothers, a birthmother and a forever mum, and that he has 2 daddies, one that he had not met but that had made him.  Boo will ask occasional questions when talking about how he came to be our son.  He doesn’t ask very often and he seems quite satisfied with brief answers.  Then he moves on to something else.  He’s not a moody child, he’s always quite chill and laid back.

Hubby and I have talked about the day will come that he’ll want longer answers and perhaps even a visit and though our adoption had been built on another foundation, that will most likely change.  As things do.

So when I look in the mirror, and note all my flaws, my grey hairs popping out, my thinning hair, my tired eyes, I also see a grownup.  I have survived. Endured more disappointment than I cared to.  Even when I get all stressed out and pissed off, I know my problems gave me a deep sense of compassion, strength and a firm sense of who I am that I would not have gained in any other way.

Microblog Mondays – Birthday edition

Oh, lawdy, getting older!  My birthday was yesterday.  With frozen shoulder and leaky bum, I’m a mum of a 6 year old.  Send wine!  Ah, but life is good.  We went to the island to see the in-laws, it was after all Father’s Day and we haven’t seen them in a long while. Hubby’s work schedule is often unpredictable with long hours, but he finally took some much needed time off.  Loathe though I am to share my birthday, I sucked it up and did it.  Hubby was wise enough to book both me and his mum to a pedicure at a lovely spa in downtown Victoria and we had a nice time.  Dang, two pedicures is 3 weeks, my feet have never looked so good!  He hadn’t seen his mum for Mother’s Day so he wanted to treat her as well.  My MIL got a free a package of flattened chicken that was marinated in rosemary and olive oil so we had that for dinner with salad.  I’d have to say that was the best chicken I’ve ever had.   Wow!  I will have to try to recreate that for myself.  Later that night, they presented me with a lovely lemon meringue cake (with scant candles thank goodness) and sang me happy birthday.  That really touched my heart more than anything.  Cake and wine, what more can a girl ask for.  Of course, I thought of my mum, who for decades would call me up and sing me Happy Birthday.  Ah, mum, still miss you.   We went to play mini golf on Sunday at a beautiful course and everyone enjoyed themselves.  I also received a gift certificate for a mani-pedi and a massage at a Thai spa so I’m looking forward to that in the near future.

And back to work for me, tons of transcribing to get done by Thursday.  Wish me luck!

A Fellow Sister

I left out a rather pertinent event in my Microblog Monday post because I needed more time to write it out.

I finally met Pamela Mahoney Tsigdinos of SilentSorority.com.  She came in to my town to meet up with other bloggers and stayed on Granville Island (which is like this man made island that is still functioning as a cement factory but has a housed farmers market, gift stores, artisan workshops, a theatre, restaurants,kayak/boating companies, an arts university, community centre, and a hotel located there).

I picked her up (of course, I knew what she already looked like and she knew me), made her get into my dog hair covered (like the Febreeze commercial) car (sorry, Pamela!) and took her to lunch.  I did have to remark that as a childless not by choice blogger that ironically, she had stayed in a place that was awash in kids attending the Vancouver International Children’s Festival.  And I mean busloads and busloads of kids!  It is already tourist season but the island was even busier because of this event.  Can’t get away from it, Pam.

It was so wonderful to see her, but I couldn’t just gush at her or she’d think I was nuts. I’m so glad I cancelled my acting class.  It was a rare opportunity to thank her in person and I wasn’t going to miss out.   So we talked and talked.  She’s so warm and caring and immediately has a way of putting you at ease.  We talked about coming out in the real world as infertility survivors, people’s attitudes towards adoption, etc.  She asked me an interesting question.  Was all the work of adoption worth it?  Short form, yes.  But of course, isn’t that the case with most things that take a lot of hard work and trouble?  If I had almost died giving birth, I would have answered the same way.  Most people who say “just adopt” have no understanding of exactly that adoption entails.  Heck, I didn’t.  I hadn’t anticipated the process making me feel unworthy because I had to get references from friends with kids (of course I didn’t spend a lot of time with because it was painful to be around them).   Adoption isn’t for everyone and there’s all sorts of reason for that.  There are people who do it over and over again and bless’em, cause I know I couldn’t.  I’m glad I did hang in there through it all because I have such a wonderful and loving son and he has truly enriched my life.  I’m the lucky one, not him.  It was what it was and it taught me a lot. Mainly, I had to grow up.  And I still have plenty to learn.

Pamela had this amazing idea of wanting to put our stories together in some meaningful way and I shared my experience with theatre being used to bring stories together. (Hope it’s okay I shared that, if it’s not, let me know and I will delete it.) I wanted to talk more and show her around, but I had to get back to the North Shore (Friday afternoon traffic is quite bad here) and I had my entire weekend (awards show, children’s festival) scheduled already. Pam, we need a do over and I hope that I can properly host you next time.

She was the first person to encourage me to write my blog.  I, like many others, went online to find support for infertility.  Undergoing repeated unsuccessful IVFs just about gutted me.  I found her blog and immediately felt relieved that someone knew exactly how I was feeling.  There she was, like a light in the darkness.  I never talked to anyone about how traumatized I felt, I even hesitated to use the word.  I mean, I had never truly suffered a “loss”, right?  My biological child was only a dream that died, not a real being.  I get that.  But still there was this grief.  And bitterness.  There was a shift in my identity as a woman that I had to re-align.  There was so much in my life that hadn’t turned out the way that I wanted, and now I couldn’t even count on my lady parts to do what I wanted.  I was supposed to “get over it” or “just adopt” and she just commiserated with me and heard me, validated me, and let me say all horrible, dark, nasty stuff that no one in my real life wanted to hear.  I remember telling hubby that I was going away for a couple of days to write and off I went with a bottle of wine and my laptop.  To my amazement I did not finish the bottle of wine because all I did was pour my heart into writing and reading other blogs.  I had found a place that I could just be.  Broken bits and all.  That’s why I’ll always be grateful to her.  I even remember when I read one of her first drafts of her book Silent Sorority.  Go buy it if you haven’t already, it’s amazing. Blogging was therapy for me and I was able to really understand that my Buddhist practice gave me an opportunity to transform “poison into medicine”.  All the ALI blogs I have read and interacted with have given me a deep sense of compassion and appreciation for what people go through.

To this day I’m the one that people  talk to when IVF doesn‘t work.  Not like I enjoy being a cautionary tale for people but I hope that they come to me because they know I will listen, I will give them hope and they’ll know that when life doesn’t turn to the happily ever after ending, life is just different and can hold just as much joy as the one they had imagined.

Thank you, Pamela, for holding my heart so carefully.

 

 

 

 

Microblog Mondays – Glamour edition

It’s been a little crazy around here…

  • lots of auditions, callbacks, positive feedback and….crickets.
  • Yes, I went to another hairdresser, one I had used years ago and she gave me exactly what I wanted!  Finally!  And hubby was insistent he pay for it. Yes, he did not like the previous handiwork at all and I noticed the definite lack of compliments from anyone.
  • a fabulous evening at an award show.  My girlfriend helped me find a lovely, cranberry red sequin Ralph Lauren sequin dress.  On sale! Awesome.  And a black dress with a little bit of sequins.  Since I couldn’t make up my mind, I bought both, but really 2 glamorous Ralph Lauren dresses for $200?  I just had to.  Hubby liked the black one, but really, how many opportunities am I going to get like this?  So I chose the red one – even Boo advised me that it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks, it’s what I want to wear. Let’s face I already stand out in a crowd, so why not go all the way.  Sadly I did not win, nor did our show win any awards.  But I had an really fun night out.  And my hair looked great.
  • Hubby had minor surgery for a pilonidal cyst.  He was doing quite well until he fell off his hoverboard (I know, I know, what made him think that was a great idea?!) chasing after our son (who thanks to his generous uncle, now has a damn hoverboard too!) So needless to say sitting through a long evening was not that much fun for him.  But he did it and I’m glad he was there.
  • The paperwork for Mum’s estate is just about done.  And then of course, I find out the government takes 17 weeks to get a tax clearance certificate issued.  WTF?  I’m going back to the lawyers to make sure we get an early disbursement done.  I can’t take this shit anymore.  I just want it over and done with.  You have no idea how much time and aggravation that has been. For the love of Pete, please make sure your parents have a will done!
  • My whole goal last week was to attend the award show and be victorious no matter what – and I was!

 

Microblog Mondays – Beauty is $$$

Microblog_MondaysYours truly has been nominated for a Leo Award for Best Actress in a Web Series!  How exciting!  The  Leos are a BC industry event, it’s not televised, but it’s still a big deal.  It’s great to be acknowledged by one’s peers. At first, I was really pleased and I adored the congratulations. And now, I’m  a bit stressed out.

I recently had my hair done (in a weave), and unfortunately I’m not too happy about the result (in hopes of getting new headshots). And yes,  it’s my fault cause I told her I wanted my hair left out at the front but she left a LOT OUT and she insisted it would look good and I could wear my hair up, but my hair is quite thin and it’s not even close to the picture I showed her.   I returned to the hairdresser the day of the shoot to see if she could fix it but really, she’d have to redo the whole thing and frankly, I’m out of money. The hairdresser on set made me look really good, but I shouldn’t have to work that hard every time I leave the house.  And I don’t normally, but at an industry event, there will be bright, unforgiving spotlights and I will be surrounded by skinny bitches in stilettos!  Hubby wants me to get it redone, but I’m not very confident that the outcome would be better.  (She’s not my usual hairdresser, but my old one has been in and out of the hospital lately.)  So do I just let her style my hair with a ton of hairspray on the day and live with it until my regular hairdresser is feeling better or do I ahem, prod her into redoing it and risk another disappointment?  And now of course, I have to find a dress to wear to the ceremony. I am not skinny, people, so I can’t just wear anything and call it a day, but I also don’t want to look like the mother of the bride either, you know what I mean?  People, it takes a team to get me camera ready! And yes, nominees have to pay for their own ticket and I’d like my husband to come with me and that means a sitter and you see where I’m going with this?  This one night could cost me a bundle.  Here I come, clearance racks!