Wednesday, June 27, 2012

18 years...

18 years ago today, my dad died. He had been sick for two years with leukemia, in and out of hospital (both in town and two hours away at the special cancer hospital), had chemotherapy, a bone marrow transplant...but after such a long illness, his body just couldn't handle any more. He was almost exactly three months shy of his 50th birthday.

Because I was so young when he was sick and when he died, I blocked out a lot of those scary memories. We spent a lot of time in hospitals. There was one time when he was in the cancer hospital for three whole months. Mum and I were only able to visit him on weekends, and we had to depend on getting rides or taking the bus because we couldn't drive there. I have a few random memories of those two years, but it makes me sad that I basically lost that time because my mind blocked it all out. Self preservation, I guess? He was so sick...he lost a lot of weight, lost his hair, lost his sense of taste and weren't generally allowed on the cancer floor (hello walking germ pits), but I was. The only time I wasn't allowed to visit him was after his bone marrow transplant when he was in ICU. I got to see him through the window though.

He hated having his picture taken - he preferred to be behind the camera. He often looked angry in pictures, except for pictures with me or Jamie or Mum. In most of the pictures with me, he was looking at me rather than directly at the camera.
I've forgotten a lot of things, but I remember that morning 18 years ago. My aunt and uncle came from the east coast to be there. They took turns staying with me in the visitor's lounge while I slept. I remember them being there when Mum woke me up at 4:30 in the morning to tell me Daddy was gone. I remember wanting to go to his room but they wouldn't let me. I remember bits and pieces of the long drive home. I remember my aunts and uncles showing up, a lot of whom I'd never met before. My dad was the youngest of 16 kids (although some of them had passed away by that point) and they all lived on the east coast, so I'd only met a handful of them before. It was weird having all those strangers in my house, but knowing they weren't really strangers, they were family I'd never met before. 

I love the way he's looking at me here. Jamie and I are ten years apart, and my nephews are almost 8 years apart. It's crazy to see pictures of Jamie and me  together as kids, because Noah and Logan look so much like Jamie and me. It makes me sad that my dad never got to meet them. He would have adored them.

It's weird to think that I've lived almost 2/3 of my life without him - I've lived longer without him than I lived with him.  

I've lost quite a few loved ones, but the biggest losses in my life were my dad and my Grama. There are a couple of ironic things about their deaths:
*My dad was 3 months shy of his 50th birthday when he died, and my Grama was 3 months shy of her 100th birthday when she died, making her twice the age he was when he died.
*When my Grama was in the hospital before she died (and when she died), she was in the last room my dad had in the local hospital before he died. He didn't die there, he was sent back to the cancer hospital and that's where he died. 

Weird, huh?

If you've read my novel Blue Sky Days, you'll see some of the similarities. Nicholas was diagnosed with leukemia and had to go to a cancer hospital an hour away. I have a scene where Emma walks in and the nurse is shaving his head - that's one clear memory I have from when my dad was in the hospital, so I worked it in. The room Nicholas was in was the same room number my dad and Grama were in. I worked in other little things, like Emma's dad's name was Paul, and that was my dad's middle name. There were other things, too. Writing the book was cathartic - I poured my heart and soul and guts into it, bled all over the pages and let the blood mix with the tears, the memories I had, and the ones I'd lost. I gave Nicholas the happy ending that my dad didn't get. I think he would have liked that. 


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Jenn's Wedding

One of my best childhood friends, Jenn, got married on Saturday. The ceremony was held at a beautiful hall just outside town. The ceremony itself was outdoors with a lovely view of the river, and the weather was perfect. The chairs were under a tent (which Jenn and I got the license for a couple weeks ago - took us ten times longer to get the tent license than her marriage license), and there was a nice breeze coming off the water.

Jenn had 6 attendants - Starr, who I’ve known since Kindergarten (a year longer than I’ve known Jenn), three I’ve known for several years through Jenn (Tanya, Lindsey, and Jill), one I just met at Jenn’s bridal shower (Andrea), and Jenn’s new sister-in-law (also named Jenn). Jenn’s dad and six-year-old son Kaleb walked her down the aisle. It was very sweet, and she looked beautiful.

Kaleb, Jenn, Mr. Ashby
The ceremony was short and simple, and was completed with a sand ceremony to signify the union of their families (Adam has two daughters - they were flower girls). It was really nice, and by some miracle, I managed not to cry!

After the ceremony, there was a lot of standing around while pictures were taken. Suleena (my other best childhood friend, and my date for the wedding) and I hung out with the bridal party while they waited for their pictures, which didn’t end up happening until after dinner. 

Me, Jenn, Suleena
Intros and speeches took place in between dinner courses, and then we all went outside so some of the tables could be moved to create a dance floor, and so more pictures could be taken. We ended up with the bridal party again, taking pictures of our own while they waited for their actual professional shots. We had a lot of fun.

Me and Suleena
Tanya and me
When we went back inside, Suleena and I left our assigned table of strangers and sat with the bridal party near the dance floor while Jenn and Adam had their first dance, then the father/daughter and mother/son dances. I only cried twice that night - once during one of the groomsmen’s speeches when he said Kaleb told him he was getting a new dad that day and asked if it was ok, because he (the groomsmen) had basically been like a dad up until then, and once when Jenn was dancing with her dad, because it made me sad that I’ll never have that. I’d say that’s pretty good for me, since I’m known for being a crier! 

The fun really began when we all finally got on the dance floor. Except for her bachelorette party, I haven’t been dancing with Jenn in about eight years, and we used to go every weekend in college, so it was like a blast from the past, especially with Tanya there, because she used to be one of our club buddies.

My favorite part of the day (besides actually seeing Jenn get married, of course) was getting to catch up with old friends - Starr and Tanya in particular. It made me sad when we left, because I have no idea when I’ll see them again. Starr lives out of town, and I haven’t seen her since we graduated from high school (ten years this month), and I haven’t seen Tanya since about 2005, and she just moved across the country a few weeks ago, so chances of seeing her again for awhile are slim. It’s a strange feeling - kind of bittersweet, getting to catch up, feeling like you’ve reconnected, but knowing it will probably be years before we see each other again.

Starr and me
Anyway, it was a great day, and I had a lot of fun. It was incredibly surreal to watch Jenn get married. None of us ever thought she’d get married, and when we were little, we all thought I’d be the first to get married and have kids, but almost all our friends are married and/or have kids, and I'm still single (feeling kind of like the spinster aunt lately). I’m so happy that Jenn’s happy, and I hope she and Adam have a long, love-filled life together.  


Saturday, June 16, 2012

This past week has been full of highs and lows - unfortunately, mostly lows. Yesterday I was really looking forward to having the day off and spending some time with Amanda and Logan. We planned to go to the park by the bay and have a picnic. We headed out shortly after 10, and we made it about halfway to the park when we were in an accident. It was seriously the shitty icing on the shitty cake that had been my week.

We were driving along behind a car that was going about 25-30 in a 40 zone. We stopped behind the car at a red light, and all of a sudden the car starts backing up. Amanda laid on the horn, but we couldn't back up because there were cars behind us. She kept honking and honking, but the driver didn't stop, and rammed right into us. My first thought, of course, was Logan, so I turned around and asked him if he was ok, but I honestly don't think he even felt the impact all the way in the back of the van. Then I turned around to see the car ahead driving away, and Amanda hopping out of the van to check the damage and try to wave him down.

There were a few people standing around and they told us to get his license plate number, so we headed after him, and he pulled into the strip mall, so we followed him in and around to the grocery store, where he stopped to pick up his wife. 

Amanda got out and talked to the wife while the driver stayed in the car, and when he finally got out (or, rather, staggered out), we saw that it was an old man, and he had the nerve to claim (slur) that he hadn't hit us. ARE YOU F**ING KIDDING ME?! How far gone are you that you're driving in a school zone at 10:30 in the morning and stop at a light, back up, hit a car, keep driving, and don't realize it? The wife told Amanda what we'd already figured out by that point: he was drunk. She came over to talk to us and told us she'd been hoping for this day - a reason to get him off the streets, because he drove drunk all the time. 

I had really mixed feelings about that. I felt bad for her, but at the same time, if she knew he'd been driving drunk, a) why hadn't she reported him, even anonymously? and b) why did she get in the car with him when she clearly knew the dangers? He could have killed someone. What if a kid had been on the street and he'd hit them and kept going? What if we'd been in a small car rather than a big van that could absorb a lot of the impact? What if the baby had been hurt? (The answer to that one, clearly, is that Amanda and I would have ripped the driver to shreds.) 

The wife told us to call the police - not because Amanda had any interest in exchanging insurance info - luckily the only damage was a bent license plate and a bit of chipped paint, which my brother can fix - but because he was driving drunk and needed to be taken off the streets. Long story short (well, kind of), the police came and took the man into custody. I don't know what kind of charges they'll press - drunk driving, obviously, but I'm hoping more than that - reckless endangerment? Leaving the scene of an accident? I'm a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, and even though it was a scary experience, none of us - thank the gods - were hurt, but because of the accident, we helped the police get a drunk driver off the streets. I just hope he's never allowed to drive again. 

After our little misadventure, we had to come home and email the police officer a full incident report, so our 'fun day' was a complete loss. Now I suddenly remember why I'm mostly a hermit. And also why I don't drive. Amanda and Logan were leaving, I walked out with them because I needed a 'yellow' picture for the Photo a Day challenge, so we had a mini impromptu 'photo shoot' at the front of my apartment by the flowerbeds. We had hoped to take a bunch of pictures at the park, but this was better than nothing. If you saw my last round of pictures, you'll notice that I'm still in love with the macro setting on my camera, and I'm really loving taking pics of flowers. Maybe it'll be my signature thing?

Onto happier news - my aunt and uncle are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary today, and one of my childhood best friends is getting married. I'm really excited to get all dressed up and help my loved ones celebrate their special days. The weather's supposed to be nice, and I think the wedding is being held outside (and it's by the river), so it should be beautiful. I, of course, can't wait to take pictures, and I'll have a full report in the next day or two. My nutrition and fitness has been totally out of whack all week, so today is my last hurrah before getting back on track. I plan to stuff myself so much that my date for the wedding (aka my other childhood best friend, Suleena) will have to roll me out to the car at the end of the night!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Friday's Letters #3 - June 15th

Friday's Letters is hosted by Ashley over at Adventures of Newlyweds. This has been a really busy week for me, and it's looking like it'll be a busy weekend, too. I swear I need a few more hours in the day just to get everything done.
Dear Jenn, I can't  believe you're getting married tomorrow. Remember when we were little and we all thought I'd be the first one to get married and have kids? Now all our childhood friends are either married and/or have kids and I'm still single. Funny how life turns out. I can't wait to celebrate with you tomorrow...and yes, I will cry like baby.
Dear Aunt J and Uncle R, I'm so happy I'll be able to go to your 50th wedding anniversary party after all. It's going to be a jam-packed day, and I'll only be able to stay for an hour since I have to go to Jenn's wedding, but it's better than missing the party entirely. 50 years...what an amazing thing. I'll have to remember to tell Jenn that she picked a lucky wedding date.
Dear weather, thank you for finally cooling down. It's technically still spring, and it's nice to actually have spring weather instead of jumping right into summer. Please stay like this for at least a few more days...but especially tomorrow! 
Dear week, you have not been kind to me. I'm actually kind of surprised I made it through in once piece...and that all the people around me did, too. I'm so glad you're almost over.
Dear Mum, thank you for always being there for me, and being the one person in the world I know I can count on no matter what. Thank you for celebrating with me when I finished writing book #2 last weekend, and for not complaining when I let this crappy week get the better of me from time to time. I love you more than anything.
Dear Logan, I've said it before, but I'll say it again: this whole terrible twos thing is for the birds.
Dear Noah, getting to see you unexpectedly on Wednesday and having you hug me tight and say 'I missed you' made my heart melt...I can't believe you're going to be ten in a few weeks. My babies are growing up! Auntie loves you so much.
Dear motivation and will power, where did you go?! We were doing so good, don't leave me now. We can't afford to give up again - this weight must come off!
Dear blog and blog friends, sorry I've neglected you this week. My brain's a crazy, scattered mess right now. Next week I should have more to talk about, and hopefully my brain will be functioning better.
I hope you've all had a great week! Be sure to leave links to your Friday's Letters below so I can visit you in return. Have a great weekend!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Exciting news

Normally I would post this on my author blog (and I will eventually), but since it's leading to something personal, I'm posting it here first.

Yesterday evening, I finished writing my second book. And by second book I don't mean the second book I've ever written - this is probably my fourth or fifth - I mean the second book I intend to have published. My first novel, Blue Sky Days, was contemporary YA romance/coming-of-age, and this one is women's fiction/chick lit. 

I started writing this book on January 19th, two days after Blue Sky Days was officially published. I had another story idea in mind that I planned to go with, but I got this idea and after scribbling a dozen pages of notes, I knew I had to go with it while I had the momentum. I hoped to have it done within a couple of months, but then I started watching Logan every day, and I had to cut my writing time back. There have been so many distractions and setbacks, I was honestly beginning to think I'd never finish writing it. I know five months isn't really a long time, especially for writing a novel, but it felt so much longer than that. 

Anyway, I forced myself to sit and write yesterday, and after writing about 5,700 words (possibly a personal record), I finished the book. I was so excited, I was practically hyperventilating. I'm so used to feeling numb most of the time that the excitement was almost overwhelming. It was completely foreign, but it was also amazing. 

The final word count was 103,971 words, which absolutely floored me. I kept track as I went so I'd know my daily count, but I never in a million years thought I'd be able to write a book that was that long. Blue Sky Days was about 84,000 words I think, and a huge chunk of that was written during revisions.

The first thing I did when I finished writing was run out to tell my mum. She knew I was close, so she'd been waiting most of the afternoon with bated breath for me to come tell her I was done. My next instinct was to tell my Grama...even after all these months, she's still in the forefront of my mind. I looked at Mum and knew she was thinking the same thing, especially when her eyes filled with tears. 

It was a really bittersweet moment - finally finishing my book, and knowing how incredibly proud she would be, but not getting to tell her. Next to my mum, Grama was my biggest supporter and biggest fan. She was always asking me about my writing, wanting to know how it was going and what I was working on. Even in the hospital the days before she died, she wanted to hear all about how Blue Sky Days was coming. My one and only regret when it comes to her is that she didn't get to read it. That grieves me immensely, and I'm afraid it'll haunt me for the rest of my life.

My next step was to email my cousin, who's been a big support, and who was also a beta reader for Blue Sky Days, as well as the book of short erotic stories I'll be publishing in the next few weeks. Next, I messaged a childhood friend who I reconnected with a few years ago, and told her. Her excitement and encouragement and support made my heart burst with happiness. Finally, I messaged a friend on the west coast who I met at a U2 concert last July, and who I've been in touch with almost every day since. I was so touched by their excitement and how proud they were of me. It made the moment that much more special and memorable. 

Now comes the long and exhausting process of revising and editing, which I have a love/hate relationship with. For more on that, keep an eye on my author blog and also my book blog (yes, I have three blogs...there's nothing like confusing people). I'm drawing a blank on cover design, but hopefully I'll get that straightened out soon and be able to do a cover reveal - stay tuned!


Saturday, June 9, 2012

I went wandering...

Talking about this isn’t easy for me because it makes me feel incredibly vulnerable, and I always worry about people judging me…but I want to be completely honest here, and maybe along the way someone who’s going through the same thing will read this and take comfort in knowing they’re not alone.

In my last post, I talked about having social anxiety issues. I’m incredibly shy, and I have trouble doing things on my own. I rarely go out alone because of my issues, but I’ve decided it’s time to start taking steps to change steps. I know that baby steps will eventually turn into leaps and bounds if I can stick with it and be strong. I’ve overcome so many obstacles in my life, I can overcome this too.

A year ago, I was getting better. I went out on a fairly regular basis, and even ventured out alone. During the periods I didn’t feel like going out, I went anyway because I had a purpose: visiting my Grama. She was one of my best friends, and I visited her at least once a week, more if I could manage. Then last August she died and a little part of me died, too. A bright light went out in the world, and I was so lost. My heart was broken, and on the days I wasn’t drowning in grief, I was completely numb.

I reverted to my old ways, but it was worse than ever. I didn’t want to go out, and the only times I went were with my mum or friends who understand my anxiety. Nobody but Mum knew how deeply I was grieving - it felt like nobody even really cared. The whole world moved on while Mum and I were stuck grieving the loss of someone who was basically the centre of our universe. And it wasn't the first time, either...but that's a story for another day.

Lately I’ve been desperate for change. I know it’s not healthy to live like this, and more than that, I don’t want to live like this anymore. I’m tired of letting life pass me by, and I want to start really living. I don't want to let my fear hold me back from all the wonderful things I know life has to offer.

I also mentioned in my last post about the Exploring the Senses course, run by Susannah Conway. I feel like this is the nudge I needed to get out. So…baby steps. Yesterday I was watching a group of high school boys kick a soccer ball around across the street. I just watched them for awhile - laughing, carefree, playing like little kids - and I couldn’t help but smile. While I was watching them, I also noticed a beautiful rose bush near the wall of the school. That just proves how unobservant I am - it’s across the street (mind you, it’s a city street, so that’s a fair distance), and I’ve never noticed it.

That sparked an idea. The kids at that school planted a flowerbed last week, and I was curious about it because we can’t see it well from our window. I decided that I would head out, wander around, and take some pictures. As sad as it sounds, I really had to psych myself up for it. It’s only across the street, but I was serious when I said I don’t go anywhere alone. My first thoughts were, ‘What if something happens to me? What if people see me taking pictures and think I’m weird?’ And then I realized a) It’s ridiculous to think something’s going to happen to me any time I go out, and b) Who the hell cares if people look at me and think I’m weird? These are just excuses to remain stuck in this rut, and I'm tired of excuses.

So I was actually starting to get a bit excited about my little adventure, and then the skies started to darken…and darken...and it started to pour, and then storm. I couldn’t believe it. I was so disappointed - all that anticipation for nothing. But, by the time I finished dinner, it had stopped raining and mostly cleared off. Despite that, I thought ‘maybe tomorrow will be better. Or the weekend.’ It only took me a minute to come to my senses, get dressed, grab my camera, and head out. And I’m so glad I did.

To most people, this would seem really insignificant, but to me it’s a big step. Now I just need to keep it up. 

The flowers that started it all
On a side note (and I feel kinda stupid for admitting this): a few weeks ago, I finally figured out what the macro setting was on my camera, and how to use it. I've only had this camera for...oh, two it was about time. I've had so much fun using the setting, and I keep looking for things I can take close-ups of. I'm obsessed. I had a lot of fun with these flowers, and when I got home and uploaded the pictures, I actually thought, 'wait, I took these??' All around, a good night.


I went out walking
Through the streets paved with gold
Lifted some stones, saw the skin and bones
Of a city without a soul
I went out walking
Under an atomic sky
Where the ground won’t turn
And the rain it burns
Like the tears when I said goodbye
Yeah, I went with nothing
Nothing but the thought of you
I went wandering
I went out there in search of experience
To taste and to touch and to feel as much
As a man can before he repents
~The Wanderer - U2~

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Exploring the Senses

Confession time: I’m a bit of a hermit. I have some social anxiety issues, and because I work from home, I don’t need to go out all that often. Most of my friends are married and/or have children, so I don’t really have many people to hang out with, and I’m not confident enough to go out on my own (something I’m going to be working on this summer).

Being a hermit has never really bothered me until recently. I think it was because until recently I could go out, I just didn’t. Now that I have Logan here 4-5 days a week, my freedom is gone. Don’t get me wrong, I love having him here, and he brings me a lot of joy, but having him here has been a huge change/adjustment.

I’m an author and freelance writer, so I used to work on my writing, social networking, and promotion all day every day, and now with Logan here I’ve had to cut way back. I was hoping to have my second book finished several months ago, but I’m still working on it because I don’t have much time, and I’m finding it hard to concentrate. For instance, right now I know I should be writing, but I’m just not feeling it. My mind is all over the place, and all I really want to do is curl up and fall asleep...and it’s only 5pm as I write this. I'm mentally and physically exhausted - and I'm used to insanely long days (me being a hermit = working 8-14 hours a day, 7 days a week until I started watching Logan).

Again, don’t get me wrong. It’s not that I’m complaining, and I wouldn’t even necessarily change things if I could (I didn’t get to spend even half this much time with my older nephew, Noah, when he was Logan’s age, so I cherish this time with Logan and know how lucky I am), it’s just I feel like I’m stuck in a rut. Same routine day in and day out, same four walls, and it's starting to feel like they’re closing in on me.

I’ve been feeling stuck for awhile now, but it wasn’t really until today that I realized I need to get out more. There’s this amazing blogger/photographer/author named Susannah Conway, who I’ve been following for awhile now and drawing inspiration from. She does several different e-courses, and her book, This I Know: Notes on Unraveling the Heart came out this past Tuesday. She had a special offer for anyone who pre-ordered her book to take a free e-course, and I was so excited because I’d already pre-ordered and received my copy. 

The course is called Exploring the Senses. I was immediately intrigued, because I know my senses need a little (okay, a lot of) fine-tuning. Usually writers are incredibly observant, and although I am with certain things, I’m terrible with other things. I live very much in my own little world (occupational hazard), and I often forget to pay attention to the world around me. I don’t take the time to really see or smell or touch or taste or connect. Maybe that’s part of my current problem.

I obviously can’t tell you the finer details of the course, but as I said, this morning I really realized I need to get out more. It was when I got the first ‘assignment’ for the course in my inbox, that I thought, ‘Huh…I’m actually going to have to venture out into the world of the living to accomplish some of these things.’ It’s kind of scary for me, but also exhilarating at the same time. It almost feels like a gentle nudge from the Universe telling me it’s time to get over my fears and my other issues and really LIVE. No more existing, it’s time to do and see and go and BE.

I’m already planning and plotting how to accomplish these things. I’m thinking that I might go to the rose garden on Friday (weather permitting), and maybe on Saturday I’ll wander around downtown, go to the library (my favorite spot), check out the farmer’s market (something I almost never do because there are so many people around), and see where the day takes me.

Maybe this is the beginning of something big and wonderful for me. Maybe this is the catalyst for change I’ve been so desperately seeking. So, thank you Universe…and thank you, Susannah.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Motivate Me Monday #3

Motivate Me Monday is hosted by Amanda at For Love of a Cupcake.

Weekly stats from Monday May 28th - Sunday June 3rd
Fitness minutes: 363
Miles walked: 25

This week was full of highs and lows fitness and weight loss wise. My workouts were decent, but my eating sucked a lot of the time. It could have been a lot worse, but there were quite a few times where I either ate too much, or ate stuff I shouldn't have. But...there's nothing I can do about it now, and I refuse to feel guilty and punish myself, so I just have to keep on keepin' on. This week will be better. I bought a ton of fruits and veggies on Saturday, and I'm already planning out my meals and snacks.

A few sources of motivation this week: on Wednesday, I went shopping with my friend Jenn. She was looking for clothes for this past weekend for more pre-wedding fun. Jenn's always been very thin, and shopping with her always makes me feel kind of bad about myself. The stores she shops in don't carry anything even close to my size, and even though I had a few wistful moments looking at clothes I wish I could wear, I didn't feel as bad as I normally do, because I decided to turn it into motivation. 

*I will fit into those kinds of clothes by next summer.
*I will be able to shop at any store in the mall and find a size that fits. 
*I won't always have to shop in the plus size section or avoid certain kinds of clothes because they make me look fat. 
*Someday Jenn will be the one sitting outside the dressing room while I try stuff on, and giving her opinion on how things look on me
*Someday I'll get to walk out of the mall carrying bags full of clothes and get to have a Carrie Bradshaw/Sex in the City moment. 

If I keep working as hard as I have been, it's all only a matter of time. Last week's setbacks? Already forgotten...moving on!
What's motivating you this week?


Friday, June 1, 2012

Friday's Letters #2 - June 1st

Friday's Letters is hosted by Ashley over at Adventures of Newlyweds. This has been a really busy week for me, and it's looking like it'll be a busy weekend, too. I swear I need a few more hours in the day just to get everything done.
Here are my Friday letters...
Dear body, I know it’s been almost a week now, but I still can’t believe we got day drunk at Jenn’s bridal shower/bachelorette, drank for 12 hours straight and didn’t get sick. How did that happen? I thought we’d be a puking, drooling, miserable mess on Sunday. 

Dear Noah, last weekend when you came in from playing and you didn’t know I was at your house, I expected you to ignore me because your friends were there and you’re too old (or perhaps ‘too cool’) to acknowledge your auntie, so when you yelled, “Mimi!” and ran into my arms, I swear my heart just about burst. It was worth getting covered in dirt and sweat from your hours of playing outside. Thank you for making my day. No matter how old or how big you get, you'll always be my baby.  

Dear Bruno Mars, why didn't I start listening to you sooner? I knew a few of your songs from the radio, but Jenn introduced me to more of your music and now I'm in love. Talking to the Moon, and Let It Rain are my new favorite songs.

Dear Amazon, my package arrived two days earlier than expected, and I can’t love you enough for that. I haven’t had new books in so long, and these are four books I’ve been dying to get my hands on. Thank you!

Dear mailman who delivered my Amazon package, thank you so much for actually coming to the door to deliver it instead of pretending we weren’t home, leaving a slip in the mailbox, and then making me walk down to the post office in this heat.

Dear Jenn, I can’t believe you’re getting married in two weeks. I had a great time with you on Wednesday, and since I’m not part of your bridal party, I’m glad I could help you out in some way (ie keeping you company for an hour at city hall while you got your marriage license, and a tent license, then spending the afternoon trailing along with you in the mall and watching while you tried on clothes for some of the upcoming events before the wedding).

Dear Quinte Mall, I really wish you had more stores that catered to full-figured women. Seeing almost everything in XS-L makes me want to get violent. I’m busting my butt to lose weight, but I’m a hell of a long way from anything resembling a Small.

Dear June, how are you here already? What happened to May? Please be an awesome kick-off to summer. I'm kind of worried because the only thing I have planned all summer is Jenn's wedding, but hopefully you'll prove me wrong by being full of awesome.

Dear Logan, this whole Terrible Twos thing is for the birds. You’ve always been so sweet and good-natured and even-tempered, I guess I naively hoped we’d coast through the Terrible Twos relatively unscathed. Yeah, not so much.  Good thing you're so freaking cute. And good thing I get to send you back home to your parents at the end of the day.

 I hope you've all had a great week. Any fun plans for the weekend?