It’s April 1, 2021. If life had gone to plan, I would’ve qualified for Boston 2021 and be 18 days out from crossing an item off my bucket list.
We all know how that went.
The marathons I was going to run in 2020 were all canceled one by one. First Vancouver, which filled me with a sense of relief and disappointment. I’d burned out after my experience in Sacramento, where by sheer force of will – and absolutely no memory – I crossed the finish line before waking up in the medical tent. I thought I would just train the experience away; I exhausted myself instead. Vancouver being canceled forced me to rest, to fall in love with running again, and just be OK with being OK.
Then Edmonton was canceled in August. I took that as another blessing – I’d switched my Vancouver Marathon to a half, and ran it on a hot and humid July morning. The way my spring shook down (dropping a bird bath on my foot, for example), I wouldn’t have been in any shape to run a marathon in August. The cancellation was not entirely unexpected, but I still took some hope from the fact that I could possibly exorcise my demons in Sacramento in December.
I was sitting on a bus in late September when I got the email the CIM in Sacramento was canceled. That one hit hard. I still don’t know why. Maybe it was the last little bit of hope to run Boston slipping away. Maybe it was just one more trip I couldn’t take or thing I couldn’t have. I am able to defer my registration for one of the next three CIMS, so it’s not like I’ll never go back to Sacramento, but still… Boston 2021 was really and truly gone.
Until Ed, my guide runner and friend, sent me a message on Facebook in March. “hey, you should do this!” he said (my paraphrase, badly), linking me to a post from the Boston Athletic Association. As in 2020, they are doing a virtual Boston marathon. Unlike in 2020, if you could be one of the first 70,000 registrants, no matter your pace, you could sign up for Boston in 2021… and run it in your own backyard! You’d even get a different medal from those who ran the “real” (physical, on location) Boston in October. After a bunch of frustrating Server Unavailable messages, I paid my fees and I GOT IN! This girl gets to run Boston, 2021! Maybe not exactly as planned, but… BOSTON!
I’m out of shape. This winter kicked my butt. I’m in no position to run a marathon YET. But I will be. I’m going to make this Boston thing the best I can. Until I can once again travel and race and run IN Boston. Because make no mistake, I will get there. Maybe not in 2021, but I’ll get close enough. Come join me as I whip my body and mind back into shape. Because heaven knows, I’m not there yet! I’ve got a million reasons to train hard this spring, not the least of which that running isn’t canceled, even if I canceled it for a while.
It’s cold, it’s dark, it’s winter in Alberta. It’s also what turns out to be the midway point of a two- to three-month period where social and business activities are severely restricted. I work from home. I am not legally allowed to have people over to my house, and it’s too cold for outdoor social gatherings (which aren’t allowed either). But I need to be around people in a safe way. And I need to get out of my house. And my partner and I want to get to know the city; there are places I’ve been that he needs clarity on, and there’s others he’s encountered more recently than me. As visually impaired people, I believe it’s important to learn your environments whenever possible. It’s not always possible, but if you’re planning on encountering certain spaces more than a time or two, I believe it’s important to familiarize yourself with those environments. I’m used to doing this myself, as is my partner; if a blind person is used to going through spaces first with the aid of a mobility instructor, please don’t change anything you’re doing because of reading this blog, unless you have safety supports in place. So, with a sassy black guide dog and an adventurous spirit, we take a haphazard, if purposeful, approach to exploring Edmonton: Let’s prioritize a couple places, then figure the rest out as we go. Funny… the thing about exploring with someone else? You kinda have to tell them what you’re thinking…
It’s mid-January. It’s not too cold, but it’s ugly enough that we need to be judicious about where we go. My partner wants to get to know City Centre better; I know the main floor and LRT access like the back of my hand. Jenny targets the entrances, the elevator, even shows us where the pickup window for Tim Horton’s is. We pattern it a couple times, just to make sure my partner doesn’t get lost in the dungeon-esque pedways (I use them regularly and can give people excellent directions). It’s cold, we’re tired, we’ve got the January blues…. but we’ve found success.
Our next outing sends us back to City Centre, but not before a trip to Best Buy. Our thermostat is eating through batteries every 2 weeks – at most – and we need some rechargeables. After making our purchase – and flawlessly encountering another service dog team – we head over to the Corona LRT station (and, yes, that’s what it’s actually called). We get to the corner of 109 St and Jasper Avenue, and I angle myself to cross Jasper Avenue, which will have the green light first. My partner tells me I’m going the wrong way; I tell him I’m not going the wrong way to cross Jasper Avenue. Turns out, we have VERY different ideas of how to get to the station. We both regularly access Corona Station from opposite sides of the street – I always access it from the south side, my partner accesses it from the north. It might help if we communicated that. After struggling to find the entrance to the station, which is situated street-side in freestanding “shelters”, we make our way down to the station. My partner familiarizes himself with the station, and also takes the opportunity to fulfill one of the requirements for my guide dog application process. We use our two-way radios to indicate our location – after realizing it’s best for him to “ring” me rather than just speaking into the radio. We hop the train, then head over to City Centre to get more footage. I know where I am – I can do this in my sleep – and Jenny is so thrilled to use the pedway that my partner struggles to keep up! In the end, my partner knows Corona Station better now, and I have one more piece of the application process complete. Since we’re near the train, we head over to Bay Station to catch the bus home. Since there are a bunch of exits, and neither of us has spent much time there since the construction last year, we end up completely confused and turned around and don’t have much concept of which street we exit onto. After crossing the street erroneously – twice – we make our way home, with a clear sense that we need to figure this out some more.
It’s February. It’s gorgeous… until it’s not. The deep freeze settles in. It’s cold. It’s so cold that even the thought of exploring isn’t nearly as appealing as curling up under blankets and eating soup. When we do go somewhere – when it’s warm enough to walk anywhere – we pick up items made available to us through a local Buy Nothing group. We’re getting to know our immediate area, as the group is for items located in a few select neighborhoos of Edmonton (including ours). We learn the importance of asking for good directions (one pickup point offers no more explanation than an address). We learn which secondary streets go through and/or have good sidewalks; they aren’t necessarily the ones you think they should be. Only one of us steps in a puddle…
Once the deep freeze loosens its grip, we decide to figure out Kingsway. It’s a large enough mall that I’m familiar with, though we soon discover that hopping off the bus at the transit centre and walking down is…. complicated. There’s islands in the middle of the street, and the pedestrian signal doesn’t work. Using traffic cues to figure out the light patterns is nearly useless because they just go through anyway, and all of them travel at an angle. It’s so stressful that we decide to navigate another way. After a couple false starts (heading to the McDonald’s because Jenny thinks we need fried food), we make our way to the mall. There’s enough landmarks to act as orientation points, but it’s challenging enough that you can definitely get to know it over several trips. My partner needs a new keyboard, and we pass the store no fewer than three times (my partner is looking for different visuals, and I don’t honestly know where the store is). Once we’re done, we discover walking down 109 St to the bus home is so much less stressful – and takes less time – than monkeying around with the transit centre. WINNER!
Speaking of malls, neither of us is familiar with Southgate. I’ve only been there a handful of times – the most recently probably about three years ago. My partner points out the easy way to get from the bus stop to the mall, which I previously had to go all the way around the station to get inside. We pop in to the LRT station to check out the pedway. There’s just enough doors to get yourself confused if you’re not familiar with it. The trains aren’t running today, so we need to do the full exploration from the platform at a later day, but without the stress of a schedule or a place to HAVE to be, we’re free to explore. Once we get into the mall, I let Jenny figure stuff out. She reliably shows me the exits, flawlessly guides through the food court, and thinks I need to get my nails done. She tries to direct me to the Apple store – which she’s been to once or twice with me – when we’re unceremoneously stopped by someone who we can only presume is a security gard, though he doesn’t identify himself. He orders me to stop, then tells me they only accept appointments. Forgive me; the whole storefront is wide open… We fly through the mall to get back to the bus, and both feel like it was a well-deserved outing.
In the time of COVID-19, I’ve noticed a couple things. First, people leave me be. I’m not forced to be polite when the fourth person in a row demands to know where I’m going or what I’m doing and please let them help me. My partner describes things non-visually, but provides enough visual context that it’s useful for me to know, even if I don’t use the visual cues. I can decide where I go, and when, and either go on my own or with my partner. In a time where people are talking about freedom, I feel that, in this small way, I’m free to be me, to figure things out, to ask questions of myself and my city, and maybe be able to contribute to someone else’s experience along the way.
It’s been a long year. For many guide dog programs, their training and placement of guide dogs has come to a screeching halt. The opportunities to train dogs have been limited, because they may not be able to access shopping malls or other crowded places; the types of exposure a guide dog might need… just might not be happening. As for students, many have been accepted to guide dog programs prior to the global pandemic, but are still waiting for a class date nearly a year later. For a prospective student, such as myself, the ability to obtain all the documents required is complicated at best, and for some a risky proposition. What? You mean, you don’t just throw your name out there and someone somewhere in the world hears your story and matches you with a guide dog? A perfect guide dog that totally knows what you need, despite the individual never having made contact and figured out what your needs might be? You watch too many movies! No no no. It’s a fairly straightforward process, but it requires a lot of documents from a lot of different places. To be honest, I’ve filled out fewer documents when getting married, or applying for almost any job I’ve ever had. And while many programs understand that you might be applying in other places, the requirements are slightly different, and might not translate across the board. In my case, some stuff went smoothly; other stuff? Not so much.
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I had it all planned out: Jenny would turn eight years old in March, 2020, I would run the BMO Vancouver Marathon in May, and then I would drop applications to guide dog schools. Jenny deserves a long, happy, and well-earned retirement after all the work she’s done – traveling to seven provinces and eight states (most notably on an amazing month-long journey where she encountered brand new surroundings every 2-3 days), training for and running two half-marathons, and keeping me safe from random obstacles and inattentive or unreasonable drivers. Sometimes she’s had to tell me I’m the foolish one; sometimes we need to have discussions about her not following her nose. But she’s been my sidekick since the fall of 2013, and while she loves her job, and is still more than willing to do it, she deserves all the couch cuddles and play dates and visits with friends that a retired guide dog can handle. I also needed to buy enough time so that she can both enjoy more work time and a long retirement, and a guide dog program can best find a match for my pace, personality, and lifestyle – no small feat! I have chosen, for a wide variety of reasons, not to return to BC and Alberta Guide Dogs for a successor dog. With that decision made, I had to make important choices on where I would be applying for Guide Dog 2.0. Over the past several years, I’ve been watching guide dog groups on Facebook, and spoken to many friends with guide dogs about their training and follow-up experiences; I had a pretty good idea where I would be dropping applications based on what I’d seen over a period of four or five years. A year ago, I sent my first email to a potential guide dog school, and felt like I’d just pulled the pin out of a grenade. Over the following months, the world shifted due to a novel coronavirus – now known as COVID-19 – and my plans flew out the window. I didn’t run BMO in May, and the timeline for Guide Dog 2.0 became less crucial as Jenny’s workload decreased. When I dropped my first application in early July, again I felt the pin-pulled-from-grenade feeling, this was really going to be a thing. What I encountered was…. complicated. And it had little or nothing to do with COVID-19.
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After an incredibly exhausting October, where sleep was elusive and the thought of warm blankets and books I couldn’t concentrate on seemed more appealing than doing stuff around the house, it seems that the last two months of the year put me back together again. We didn’t have to worry about washing dishes by hand, or putting off washing dishes by hand. I could just do my job, go running, spend some time on my exercise bike, and yes… get sh*t done!
November: Puppy Dogs and Plumbing Problems
Ben’s puppy, Wyatt, comes to visit for a few days. He and Jenny get along like a house on fire – they start each day with enthusiastic greetings, wrestle and play, have a nap, and then regroup for more tug wars – not always with things that are appropriate. More than once we have to take Jenny’s stuffed pink pig away from them… and six weeks later we’re still finding strands of destroyed tug rope in various nooks and crannies of the living room… or (also likely) they’ve re-materialized after Wolfie has balled them up and turned them into her own kitty toys. Wyatt and the kitties co-exist quite nicely, staying out of each other’s way, or firmly asserting boundaries if avoidance is impossible. Unfortunately, both Wyatt and Jenny come down with Kennel Cough, and the puppy party must end unceremoniously.
Once a year I have a plumbing company come in and do a check of the plumbing and furnace. This year, I get told – again – that the whole house pretty much needs to be re-plumbed. Oh, and the furnace needs replacing too. And can we add a humidifier to your new furnace? Why yes yes you can… when the furnace gets replaced. But thanks so much for showing me how to disconnect the plumbing for the old dishwasher that’s going to be hauled away in just a few days!
I go out for a run on a Sunday morning, and come home to find a coughing, mopey dog, and a brand new thermostat on the wall. We realized with Daylight Savings Time that there’s no quick and easy way for me to adjust the temperature settings, or the time. This new thermostat can be operated like a traditional thermostat or through Smart technology, which means that for the first time in my life I can independently program a thermostat! It’s a BIG deal to me, even as it feels like a small thing. Oh, and if there’s ever a reason to open up that wall, we need to watch out for sharp objects – there’s a handheld hole saw that got dropped down there (I’m writing this so that no one can say they didn’t know!)
The brand new dishwasher we’ve waited six weeks for finally arrives on a cold Friday – the same day I realize the snow rake isn’t designed to be used by short people, or blind people… either that or my house is too tall. The massive dishwasher box blocks the pantry door for a day or two, but we’re eating takeout this weekend – skipping the dishes, as we do. The installation, however, doesn’t go as smoothly as the delivery. I hear nothing until 5:00 PM Sunday (the day of the appointment we booked six weeks ago), at which point I’m told that they can’t install today and will be able to reschedule for Tuesday. I decline the offer, and call my friend Keith, who comes by both Sunday and Monday night (due to missing parts) and gives us a crash course on dishwasher installation. I don’t think I could do an entire installation, or explain how it’s done, but I know more than I used to… The first load of dishes that runs through is so quiet that I find myself regularly walking into the kitchen to make sure there’s not a problem. Thankfully, there is no problem, and our dishes get REALLY clean, and we have more time to enjoy the holidays.
December: An Unusual Christmas
It’s proving to be a holiday season unlike any other we have ever experienced. The provincial government has imposed restrictions so that people cannot mix and mingle over the holidays. I take the opportunity to add a few touches to my personal spaces. I completely de-clutter my work space/beading table and even create a couple pieces for the holidays. The old, ratty mat by the back door is replaced with a shiny new one. And the music room receives some TLC in the form of new curtains. I think I need to spend more time there in the coming year.
So, it is just my partner and I for Christmas. In some ways I am glad to miss the hustle and bustle, and in others I miss the mingling. We enjoy Mandarin oranges and chocolate treats. Christmas dinner turns out to be disappointing – the turkey breast we bought turned out to be sandwich meat… Oops! But Keith and his family save Christmas by delivering an emergency supply of prime rib and mashed potatoes and little green balls of death (brussel sprouts) that I normally don’t like but turned out YUMMY! Even though we couldn’t have Christmas dinner all together, I feel blessed to have friends who, over the years, have come to my rescue in ways big and small.
During my time off from work, we alternate between resting and relaxing, and doing things about the house. We decide to be strategic, starting in the kitchen, and working our way towards the other end of the house. It’s not all done, it’s not all perfect, but the kitchen is reorganized and way less cluttered. The caddy, the portable counter-top unit that every single person who has ever been to my house has bumped their hip on at least once, has now been relocated into the living room. Wolfie is not a fan of this new development, because now she can’t hang out in the kitchen and meow at us. And she seems to show no interest in hanging out in the living room and meowing at us. I don’t think I’ll understand that little gray fluffball…
A Few Reflections
When I started this journey of making my house my home, I did so with the hope to make my place both somewhere I would want to live and a place that I could be proud of. I had no illusions that my house would ever become a show place – I’m not the best housekeeper in the world, and my place is old and kinda beat up – but I wanted to have people come over and not worry so much about whether they were politely avoiding comments about the state of it. I’m not sure if I’ve succeeded to this end – looking back I realize I’ve ebbed and flowed in drive and motivation – sometimes with great bursts of productivity and sometimes trying to stop myself from drowning in inertia. I’ve kept a plant alive for almost a year – something that a friend who is no longer with us would be super proud of if she could see it. Perhaps Happy Plant is a lot like me – sometimes bursting forward and sometimes quietly growing in incremental ways.
I’ve done a lot of things myself this year, and a lot more with other people either assisting or directing. Maybe, just maybe, I don’t have to do everything myself. Maybe, just maybe, there are times to rest in the little things, where small pleasures and small victories are the important ones. This year, like for so many others, hasn’t been the year that I have expected. I have experienced great joy, Wolfie has come home! I have experienced sadness with the loss of friends. I’ve done things I never thought I would do, like actually sort of want to barbecue, or cut the grass. I’m not terrified to go into any part of my home, which honestly was a really big thing for me earlier this year. Maybe, that’s enough. Maybe the symbolic burning of things – like the dishwasher box and the papers I sorted earlier this year – is a way to clear out the old feelings of shame and expectation I’ve carried for so many years.
2021 will also look different – I won’t be running Boston like I thought I would. I don’t know all of what it will bring – I hope it will bring joy and love and peace. All I know is that, as much as it’s up to me, I’ll do what I can to continue this journey of home improvement, and to work on the things within myself that need to shift. I’ve got a few things on the go for 2021 already. My hope is to write more, to have some fun with the writing process, and I have some ideas that I’m excited to share. As I am writing this, I realize that maybe I got what I needed out of 2020 – it’s taken a lot, but given me much as well that I can carry into 2021. Who knows? Maybe in a year, I’ll look back at 2020 and realize that without it, 2021 wouldn’t be the year it will be. So let’s look forward, clinging to hope, doing what we can, wherever we are, and, above all, be kind to ourselves and each other. When it comes time, my home will be ready.
October was all about survival. It was about sleep, doing what needed to be done, and really not a heck of a lot much else.
Why is this? Why is it that whenever there’s a certain amount of momentum and equilibrium, something happens that makes it completely impossible to get anything done?
In early October, my partner and I took a trip to the local home improvement store. We bought ourselves a nice shiny new dishwasher… Considering that ours is definitely no longer operational. The downside? We would have to wait 6 weeks to get it, and possibly longer if there was some sort of a shortage. But it’s paid for, for which I am extremely grateful! It’ll get here when it gets here, but for the meantime, two people who hate doing dishes… have to do dishes…
The kitchen spent most of October in a state of chaos. We cooked as many one pot meals as we could think of, ate out more than we should, and discovered the absolute amazingness of paper plates. 75 of them. months ago, I placed a Costco order and in order to get free shipping I decided that hey why not, paper plates might come in handy at some point. My partner thought that I was completely irrational, but I think I’ve been proven right. Those 75 paper plates, including ones that held our Thanksgiving feast, have definitely made dishes considerably more manageable… Score one for thinking ahead!
Other than the disaster area that is our kitchen, not a heck of a lot got done in October. When it started to get cold in mid-October, I brought my hammock in from outside. I’m not ashamed to admit I may have cried a little bit. That same week, I ordered an exercise bike so that I could maintain my fitness when the weather was too cold or it was too impractical for me to go for a run. My partner spent an aggravating Wednesday afternoon putting it together while I was working, but it is now together and I’ve spent probably more time in the workout room, where the stationary bike sits along with other fitness equipment, than I think I’ve spent in the last 6 years. Here’s to more time on the…. road? I don’t know, how does that work?
Every morning, for most of the month of October, I would inexplicably wake up at 2:00 in the morning. I would be awake for anything from 30 minutes to a couple of hours. This basically meant that my evenings were spent resting, and the ability to get things done was absolutely non-existent. If it wasn’t immediately necessary, it didn’t get done. November, be kind to us. Bring us our dishwasher, bring us some sleep, and bring us back to some semblance of normal, whatever that may look like right now…
August arrives, hot and humid. My legs are exhausted after my birthday half-marathon – it’s been months since I’ve run anything close to that distance. I find myself spending as much time as possible in my new hammock, thrilled with the arrival of the NHL playoffs. But summer is undeniably short – the work we can do outside can’t wait.
I order some paving stones to fill in the trench left behind by the removal of the chipped ones a few months ago. A friend picks me up in her SUV, and we take two trips to pick up the stones – they’re far too heavy for my friend’s SUV to carry home in one trip. My friend, my partner and I carry the stones one at a time from the back of the SUV into a pile on the lawn. The second trip concludes right as the rain starts falling. We hurriedly unload one, two, three, four, five stones, our clothes sticking against our skin and hair dripping wet. My friend drives away as the rain falls in curtains and drenches the ground, the bricks, the city.
* * *
I need to make my workspace my own. It still doesn’t feel like it’s truly mine, even though I’ve spend forty hours a week there for the past three months. Curtains! That’s something I can use to change the feeling of this room. Since the master bedroom needs curtains, why not get some for my office? My partner and I hang them when they and the new curtain rods arrive. I love the new curtains in the office, and I hope the blackout curtains we’ve purchased for the master bedroom will make sleeping through the night easier.
The next sunny Saturday, my partner and I place the paving stones into the trench. We have exactly the right amount, though there’s a small gap between the end of the new path and the old stones that never got moved. One of these days, the whole thing will be done, but having a path with a gap is better than having a massive hole in the middle of the yard.
This productivity has spurred us to action. The shed floor needs to be replaced – the idea of falling through it is not an unreasonable fear. I hold the boards together while my partner screws them in place. We like what we’ve done and how the frame is taking shape. Unfortunately, relocating it from the yard to the patio results in the entire frame coming apart. So we call it a night and have to start from scratch.
It takes three weekends – and enough screws and brackets to make my head spin – to put together the new shed floor. It’s only upon trying to relocate the frame (yet again) that we realize this new frame is HEAVY. We drag it from the patio into the middle of the lawn, proud of the work we’ve done but it’s become abundantly clear that we absolutely need another couple sets of hands to move the shed, put the new floor in place, then re-place the shed on top.
Mike, a neighbor, arrives on a cloudy Saturday in mid-September. My partner and I have already removed everything from the shed, placing tools and lawn implements in disorganized chaos on the lawn. He provides invaluable assistant in suggesting how we can relocate the shed, and adds an extension onto our frame since we apparently can’t measure accurately to save our lives. The three of us clear away the old shed floor, and are horrified by its condition – formerly large portions of sub-floor have rotted into five or six pieces in terrifyingly ominous colours. They are added to the Ecopile of doom that seems to be multiplying at frightening speed.
Mike tells us he has to take off as soon as the new floor has been put into place. Our next door neighbor pops by and offers to help place the shed on top, so the four of us make quick work of it. We need to re-situate things so that the shed is level, and while it’s not perfectly straight, it looks less like the Leaning Tower of Pisa. And, most importantly, no one is in danger of falling through the floor. Our neighbors take off, but the same friend who helped pick up the paving stones has come by for a physically distanced coffee. The three of us make fairly quick work of putting the doors on the shed, and finally – after six weeks – it is all done.
* * *
Ca-thunk! Ca-thunk! Ca-thunk!
The dishwasher has started to make ominous sounds, and the dishes don’t seem to be getting clean. After a third time running the dishes through – making sure a dislocated tea ball isn’t causing a sprayer to get stuck – we call an appliance repair company. We’re able to get a spot the day I book the appointment. The technician come by and tells us that he can try and clean all the parts to see if that works, or he can replace the motor for the approximate cost of a new machine. We agree to the cleaning, cautiously optimistic that this might fix the problem… We are, unfortunately, quickly dispelled of that notion. It looks like we’re in the market for a new dishwasher. Things can’t be simple these days, can they?
July was beautiful and soggy and hot and gloomy, flip-flopping uncomfortably almost every day. The yard work sorta kinda got done – whenever it was dry enough to get things done; even housework inside became unappealing. But July had so many bright spots – I’m looking forward to August!
There’s not a ton to report for June. It almost doesn’t deserve its own blog post, but hey… here I am.
In the land of fun happenings, the most hilarious occurs in early June. I wake up highly amused by my partner trying to negotiate treat distribution with a 6-pound cat (“You can have three more treats if you leave the rest for Wolfie”). Or maybe I’m mostly amused by walking a propane tank to the gas station for refilling in a lawn seeder.
We start work on the yard – preparing it to relocate the fire pit – but evenings in June prove to be wet, and weekends are either far too rainy or I’m far too unmotivated – or both.
More happens to me personally, rather than on the home-improvement/maintenance front. Wolf is here to stay permanently; she’s keeping Annie young and is happy to be here. The city starts to open – restaurants, malls, etc. – but I’m disinclined to go out when not strictly necessary (even though our first outing to a restaurant includes the staff having an ’80s sing-along). I sign up for a HUGE running challenge, and hope that I have the physical and mental strength to run/walk/move for more than 2000 km… by the end of the year…
May has always been one of my favourite months. The mornings tend to be cool, the birds are chirping and announcing their happiness to the world, afternoons are perfect for sitting on my front steps or back patio, and we occasionally get evening thunderstorms that clear all the yucky energy out of the air.
This May has had all of these, and a couple great surprises – which made some of the crappy stuff a little easier to deal. But while my foot is healing from the bird bath incident last month, my heart got pretty beat up. May was book-ended by bad news, but the bright spots made it better.