Wednesday, January 30, 2013


     It's been a while since I wrote anything about our dealing with ALS. Partly because the move and holidays have eaten up all kinds of time. Mostly because I'm struggling with it. Until I can figure things out, it's hard to put thoughts to words.

     I thought I would be facing depression, fear, tears and sadness. I wasn't prepared to be feeling so much frustration. Jaw clenching, teeth cracking, tongue swallowing, frustration. Not so much with the doctor or the medical community but with my partner.

     It took me a little by surprise how badly I took the confirmation we got from the specialist in December. I guess sub-consciously, I was really hoping it was a mistake. The doctor was quick to reassure us that it was in the very beginning stages, almost imperceptible nerve damage, presenting in it's least aggressive form.

     Knowing my partner the way I do, I asked what we could expect in the near future. What would this mean for our lives? No guarantees, but basically, not much change. He should go back to work, to the gym. Keep active, resume your life as much as possible. There is a predictable progression of symptoms. You won't go to bed having trouble walking and wake up unable to swallow. It just doesn't work that way. He even told us some of the symptoms my other half has been complaining about have nothing to do with his condition. As good as the news is going to be all things considered.

     As upset as I was with the confirmation, I was also encouraged by what he told us. There was time, life could go on. We could make plans, maybe not 10 year ones but you know what I mean. Doing Italy this September shouldn't be out of the question, we could plan at least that far ahead.

     What happened?

     Two weeks later he bought a cane to walk with and won't leave the house without it. Two half days a week at work, no gym. Most days in bed until after noon. Then sitting on the couch for the rest of the day. Taking sleeping pills to sleep, then staggering around the house higher than high. Complaining about the same things the specialist told him in no uncertain terms aren't symptoms, or happening yet. And that's the kicker, yet.

     We will face these things eventually. It is unbelievably frustrating to watch him doing exactly what the doctor told him not to do. I'm getting information in pieces. I was there for the specialist appointments, but not for his GP or ALS counsellor. He's taking what he wants to hear from each and creating something that just isn't so.

     I don't doubt for a minute that he believes himself the next best thing to helpless. Just because he believes it doesn't make it true, yet. But it will. And I don't know how to help.

     We don't talk, we argue. I don't know how he feels. I'm just being pushy, mean. But here's the thing. We've been down this road. An emergency room visit because he couldn't breathe. Even packed a bag prepared to stay. No, not ALS, an anxiety attack. Relax, go home, here's an appointment with our anxiety clinic. Cancelled. Don't need it.

     A present, my other half is his own worst enemy. I can't get through to him. He doesn't believe anxiety, depression and fear have real physical symptoms. And the clock is ticking. There will be a time when we are facing all of these things, it just shouldn't be yet. It's robbing us of enjoying or making the most of the time he has.

     That's the crux of it. Time is an issue. What if by being patient and allowing him to work through this on his own, I'm harming not helping? On top of everything, I feel guilty for pushing as much as I do, not being the sympathetic shoulder to lean on. There isn't an easy answer.

     I'm resigned to the role of stern parent, rather than partner. A shift in our relationship I'm not overly thrilled with either. Ultimately, I can't make his decisions for him. He either will or won't come to some kind of terms with this. Sometimes all you're left with is waiting, with teeth clenched, hoping for better days.




Tuesday, January 29, 2013

What time is it anyway?

     Tuesday Coffee Chat oh how I have missed you. This week's prompt was just to good to miss, "What makes you lose track of time?"  Answer, everything.

     I'm not a particularly good multi tasker, more of a singular focus kind of guy. Part is genetic, see I was doomed from the start, the other part I'm blaming on my job.

     As a coordinator, I juggle a host of details and time lines all day long. On top of that, I'm always working on planning at least one week ahead. By the time I get home, my poor brain is done. I lose track of time playing video games, cleaning (yes, I do clean, occasionally), spending quality time on Facebook, Blogger, Google... you get the idea. The biggest culprit is reading. I can get lost in a book for hours.

     The only time I don't lose track of time is watching television. I'm guessing it's because it comes in discreet blocks of half hour, hour or two hours. I've even been know to use programs to keep me on track for the night. I just have to remember to catch the start time. LOL

     Grab a coffee and drop by RoryBore's to see , wait what were we doing?

Sunday, January 27, 2013

When I grow up?

     It's listicle time again. I'd just like to say two things about last week, I'm a little envious most of you have closets the size of my entire house and why do I not have any weapons in my closet. I guess I'm not as prepared for the Zombie Apocalypse as I thought.

     This week, 10 things as a child, you thought you'd like to be/do.

1 This is probably every kid's dream, a grown up (or at least older). Remember that righteous indignation about bed time, cleaning your room, leaving some where you didn't want to... "When I grow up..." Be careful what you wish for, right?

2. Being the son and grandson of farm folk, being a farmer is the first thing I remember as a career choice.

3 A cowboy, we grew up on horseback after all.


4. Or a trick rider

5. Flipper inspired a desire to be a marine biologist. Who wouldn't want their own dolphin? Way cooler that Lassie.

6 Skippy, well I don't know what I wanted to be but it involved having my own kangaroo.

7 World explorer, just like the guys from Mutual of Omaha's, Wild Kingdom.

8 An astronaut, just like the crew of Moonbase Alpha from Space 1999. For whatever reason Star Trek never inspired the same desire. Maybe I thought the moon was more attainable?

9 A singer, then my voice changed to a baritone not a tenor. Oh yeah, and I can't carry a tune in a pail.

10 A big star. See, I had the sunglasses, big smile, paparazzi pose right from the start.

     Drop by Stasha's and see what everyone else dreamed of being.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Hangin' Around

     Another Monday, another list with Stasha. I had so much fun reading all the movie moments last week, you are all brilliant, thanks for the chuckles. This week, 10 things from your closet, no it's not that kind of post, she's talking clothes. Bonus points for pictures.  Although I like the idea, my cupboards are a bit bare. The most interesting bit I have is my sock monkey toque, so I'm going to go with 10 reasons why I have no embarrassing things lurking in the dark shadows of my wardrobe.

1. Most of the time the majority of my clothes are on the floor. Only moths hang out in the closet.

2. The purge. Having just moved, nothing I don't wear on a regular basis survived.

3. I'm hard on my clothes. I rip them, tear them, stain them and often lose them. They don't get  a chance to stay around and embarrass me. Case in point, I once came back from a club in a completely different outfit from the one I went out in. My friends swear I didn't leave??? Good times??

4 I got a "real" job, one with health benefits. No more bars, restaurants or theatre gigs. I work for accountants, a federal body, with international ties. Personal expressions of fashionable creativity strongly discouraged. Besides I pretty much wear a uniform. How crazy can you go with black shoes, black pants and a golf shirt? That's as casual as it gets.

5 I'm, let's see, what's the word? Frugal, sounds way better than cheap and more accurate anyway. I don't have a problem dropping cash on clothes but I reserve it for classic pieces, Hugo Boss jacket, Armani ties, Kenneth Cole shoes. Timeless things that never really go out of style.

6 -10 I'm older, heavier, attached, employed and it's not the 80's or even the 90's anymore. I do however reserve the right to pick up those canary yellow Docs I saw the other day. Probably not.

     Sad but true. My clothes hanger frame was 60 pounds ago. No more living in the clubs. No more "trawling" outfits, you all know what I mean, I'm off the market. No more design student days of running up a disposable outfit for the night. Now that would have been a completely different post.

Shirts made of vintage bed sheets. Yes, I had a few

Chartreuse, still like the colour and the liqueur

Harem pants
I had already destroyed mine long before MC Hammer came on the scene

Jude Law aint got nothin' on me
I ran up several versions of this shirt 25 years ago

     So there is is, no real embarrassing things hanging around. Not like this little head scratcher?

International pop star sporting a slogan rarely seen outside of gay porn.

I can hardly wait to see what dark fashion secrets come out of everyone else's closet this week.

Monday, January 14, 2013

The Key

     Okay, so I got a little carried away with Listicles at the movies. I had to make the key to the movie quotes a post all on it's own. Here goes.

1 Yippee Ki Yay, Mother...... Bruce Willis in any of the Die Hard movies (at least I think he says it in all of them)

2 It's a dangerous business, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no telling where you might be swept off to - Bilbo in TLOR#1

3 Fasten your seat belts, it's going to be a bumpy night - Bette Davis in All About Eve

4 I 've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore - Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz

5 It's a great thing when you realize you still have the ability to surprise yourself - Kevin Spacey in American Beauty

6 Don't ever let somebody tell you...You can't do something - Will Smith in Pursuit of Happyness

7 Well, you know what they say: if you don't have anything nice to say about anybody, come sit by me! - Olympia Dukakis in Steel Magnolias

8 Gimme some sugar, baby. - Bruce Campbell in Army of Darkness

9 There's three ways to do things, the right way, the wrong way and the way that I do it - Robert DeNiro in Casino

10 I appreciate it, but I don't accept it. - Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca

11 But you are, Blanche! You are in that chair! - Bette Davis in What ever happened to Baby Jane.
Argueably the best bit of movie camp, ever. I know it's supposed to be this thriller, fraught with emotional turmoil but that line cracks me up ever time. Bette was a genius.

12 All right Mr DeMille, I'm ready for my close up - Gloria Swanson in Sunset Blvd. A classic film with an icon of the silver screen

13 Why don't you come on up and see me sometime -- when I've got nothin' on but the radio - Mae West, not sure which film because she uses this line in several movies with variations after "sometime" it's not from She Done Him Wrong

14 No wire hangers, ever - Faye Dunaway in Mommie Dearest

15 No, thank you. We don't want any more visitors, well-wishers, or distant relations - Bilbo in The Lord of the Rings  Fellowship of the Ring again

16 You shall not pass! More LOTR but Gandalf this time

17 The horror...the horror. - Marlon Brandon in Apocalypse Now, epic

18 I can't think about that right now. If I do, I'll go crazy. I'll think about that tomorrow- Vivien Leigh in Gone with the Wind

19 What a dump- Bette Davis again in Beyond the Forest

20 Whatever I feel like I wanna do. Gosh! - John Heder rules in Napolean Dynamite

21 There's nothing bigger in life than the little things... - Tom Cruise in Vanilla Sky

22 Houston, we have a problem - Tom Hanks in Apollo 13

23 Just what do you think you're doing, Dave? - HAL in 2001, A Space Odessy

24 Stupid is as stupid does. Tom Hanks again in Forrest Gump

25 Why would God make us all so different if he wanted us to be the same? - Jenna Malone in Saved. Very under rated comedy flick with a ton of great one liners

26 Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death. Rosalind Russell in Auntie Mame. Another classic I've seen over and over.

27 Luke, I am your father- Classic Star Wars, didn't see that coming

28 Party on Wayne - Dana Carvey in Wayne's World

     So I may have gone over the 10 quotes just a tad. Anyone get them all? Here's the link to the original post.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

TOK goes to the Movies, again

    " Yippee Ki Yay, Mother......" . This Monday, we're back at the movies, movie quotes to be exact. "It's a dangerous business, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no telling where you might be swept off to",  so, "Fasten your seat belts, it's going to be a bumpy night"

     If you're thinking, "I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore", you'd be exactly right. I moved. To Oshawa, affectionately know as the 'Schwa. I took the plunge and moved to the 'burbs. Didn't know the area, don't really know anyone out here, was more than a little apprehensive having been a downtown boy for soooooo many years. But you know, I love it here. "It's a great thing when you realize you still have the ability to surprise yourself". "Don't ever let somebody tell you...You can't do something." Let me show you around.

      Come on in, grab a seat, relax a little in the living room. We can have a chat. Well, you know what they say: if you don't have anything nice to say about anybody, come sit by me!

    Here's the side view of the living room. Looks like the mirror is not going to say. We're thinking gas fire place on the feature wall. Big built in mantle. Yes?

     From the couch in the living room, you can see to the kitchen. There are very few full walls in the new house.

"Gimme some sugar, baby."
Sure if you've got the arms of an orangutan.
Who builds out cupboards to the depth of the fridge?

Now I know you're all jealous of my custom built kitchen, but... "There's three ways to do things, the right way, the wrong way and the way that I do it." This is a recurring theme in the house. I'm not sure who the DIYer was. “ I appreciate it, but I don't accept it. ”

"But you are, Blanche! You are in that chair! ”

      The dining room is right off the kitchen, one large room really. And speaking of those chairs, let me tell you how much I hate that dining room set. It looked  good in the showroom, not so good in the old house or the new one. I was very disappointed it didn't get lost or damaged in the move. That's pretty much it for the main floor. Time to move up stairs.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

2013 Matters

     Rory over at "Time Out For Mom" gave us this prompt for the first Coffee Chat of the new year.

In the coming year, I would like to....."
Complete the above statement as you will.

Sounds easy enough, this'll be a cake walk. I can write this with my eyes closed. Then I got thinking.
    Some things are easy, continue to work on being more fit. Stress less, enjoy life more. Fix up the new house. Explore the new 'hood. That kind of thing. Pretty standard stuff.
     The truth of the matter is, I would really like to take a break. From everything. I'd like some time to digest the chaos of last year. Time to think about all the things I've learned and how I'll move forward. So rather than complete the prompt, I'm going to share some of the things I learned last  year. Maybe I'll have an answer by the end.
     Set your own course. You always have choices even if it doesn't feel like it at the time. Don't let anyone or anything rob you of your voice. We are usually smarter and stronger than we give ourselves credit for. My biggest mistakes were when I forgot that and allowed other people or situations to make my decisions for me. That little voice inside, I should have paid better attention.
     Take advantage of every opportunity to be happy, to laugh, dance, sing. Whatever lifts your spirits. It's far too easy to get overwhelmed with what life throws your way. If you're miserable, life seems that way too.
     In the same vein, time really is precious. There are no guarantees. Nothing drives that home quite like finding out you may not have all those tomorrows with the one you love. Make the most of what you have, every day.
    Be fearless. I was surprised how many people reacted with. "I'd never do that, I might get hurt" when I was regaling them with my exploits trying to learn to snowboard. And yes my learning curve was quite shallow. But I had a blast. Don't let fear of failure or getting hurt hold you back. Nothing is worse than regret.
     Just say no. No, this is unacceptable. No, I don't like this. No, I don't have time. We aren't mind readers. If you don't say anything, nothing changes. Saying yes to everything doesn't make you the good guy, it makes you a doormat.
     I guess in the coming year, I would like to ... be whatever I can be. The possibilities just might be endless.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

10 for 2013

     Happy 2013. Seeing as how the world didn't end, I guess we must carry on on our merry way. Good thing too, I just paid off my credit cards, what a waste that would have been. Anyway, it's been a while and I couldn't think of a better way to start off the new year than joining up with the Listmaster extraordinaire, Stasha.

     Being the rebel she is, she tasked us with 10 things we'll still be doing in the year ahead. Resolutions be damned. I like that. Now that I've finally stopped giggling and downright 555ing, reading all about last week's crushs, tweets and all things 80's, (I can't believe I missed that prompt) here's my list of 10 things I'll be still doing in 2013.

1. Enjoying my steak and burgers. Cholesterol level, what?
2 Relaxing with a beer in hand. (or maybe in each hand)
3 Napping in the afternoon. Nothing feels quite so indulgent.
4 Smoking. I know this is a bad one but a guy has to have some vices, right?
5 Tooling around in my little Ranger XL. Yep, I've got wheels again.
6 Unpacking. I swear I had no idea I had this much stuff. The unpacking part feels endless.
7 Cleaning. I just took a  look in the attic. WTF, end to end and to the rafters plugged full of junk. I'll be lucky if I have it cleared by 2014. No, it isn't undiscovered treasures, looks like an episode of "Hoarders". How did they get that mattress through that tiny little opening?
8 Hanging out in the "man cave' listening to and the like. Loud. (just in case you mistakenly thought my taste in music had improved, I'll be listening to this as well. I know it's bad but I just can't seem to help myself)
9 Loving living in the new diggs. I can't properly describe how much I like the new house. Who knew I was an aspiring suburbanite? Besides, rather than being a Torontonian, I'm now a 'Shwan. Cracks me up every time.
10 Being grateful for everything I have. If this last year has taught me nothing else, I am a lucky guy.

     I wish I had pictures to go along with the post but typical me, made sure I packed the camera for an easy find, not so much for the little cord that attaches to the computer so I can unload the pictures. For the love of... Once I locate everything, I'll be sure to take you on a tour of the new crib. Be nice, it's another fixer upper. Good bones, LOL.

     Off to Stasha's to read what everyone else will still be doing this year. You should take a peak too.