Posts filed under ‘Inspiration’

Amanda’s Beauty Salon

I have been going to Amanda’s Beauty Salon for about 20 years now. I have had a good relationship with previous owner Amanda, professionally and personally. When she retired and sold her business 3 years ago, I wondered if I had to shop around for another hair stylist. But she only had good recommendations for the new owner, Trang. So I continued going there. It’s been 3 years now, and I still go there.

Trang is a very good hair stylist and I can say that we get along very well too. A visit to the salon doesn’t mean just getting my hair done, but it has also become sort of a visit to a friend. Trang and I always have stories to share with each other and sometimes we laugh while I sit at her chair whether just getting a haircut or getting highlights, or both. 🙂 No wonder her clientele has slowly grown. She’s a good hair stylist and a good friend as well. A very nice lady.

She accepts appointments and walk-ins at her North Kildonan salon.

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September 2, 2017 at 3:32 pm Leave a comment

Best of times, worst of times

I just finished reading “A Tale of Two Cities” by Charles Dickens. I can’t remember how many times I have read this book over the years. I love the beginning line: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” I also love the different plots in the novel. I agree with Alex Trebek when he said to a Jeopardy contestant who is also a booklover that every time you read the same book, it’s a totally different experience. Sometimes you forget what a book is about after a long time, but what I couldn’t forget about this book is Sydney’s ultimate sacrifice at the end.

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” It seems this line applies to my life at the present. Ending a long-time relationship may sound like it could be the worst of time in someone’s life, but if it’s a bad, explosive relationship, it could mean that it could also be the best decision someone makes. But of course, when we talk about relationships, there are always emotions involved. And that’s what makes it suck big time. I had wanted to leave a long time ago and it’s not like I left on a whim. I have thought about it very carefully and I don’t have any regrets.

A few weeks ago, I was given two awards at work. Perfect Attendance and 100% Quality for the year 2010. “How did you pull that off?” asked a co-worker. I honestly don’t know. I guess instead of wallowing in self pity and despair last year, I just really tried to focus on something else – work. And I guess it worked! And I’m very proud of these achievements. But the irony of it is this. Later that same day when I received these awards, I was at my lawyer’s office finally signing my separation agreement. It has been a long process drafting that document, going back and forth with my ex’s lawyer, trying to bargain on how much I should get from the division of our conjugal assets and liabilities. In the end, I agreed to what the ex wanted, just so I could get the money in my hands already (well it will go to my bank, actually.)

“Hardworking, niceheart. Life’s not fair, eh?” My lawyer greeted me when I showed up at his office.

“Well, it’s not.”

“How do you put up with it?”

“Well, I have already accepted that that’s the way he is and this is the way it’s gonna be.”

I could have fought it in Court, but as my lawyer has explained to me, I might end up losing more in the end.

What I have learned in life, especially during the time I have spent with this person, is that you have to choose which battles to fight. Not all of them are worth fighting for. And when you think you have lost in one aspect of your life, just look at the rewards and blessings you have. That’s how you move on with your life. That’s how I move on with my life.

March 20, 2011 at 11:36 pm 2 comments

On Anoop Desai and Jamal Malik

“He looks like that guy from American Idol,” my 11-year old son told me as we start to watch Slumdog Millionaire.

“Oh, you mean, Anoop,” I said.

anoop

I have a soft spot for Anoop Desai and my kids have heard me say a few times, “I don’t think he’s going to win, but I like Anoop.” I like him when he sings the slower songs, like when he sang You’re Always on My Mind, True Colors, and Everything I Do. Because he can sing naman, di ba? And probably one other reason why I have such a soft spot for him is that he looks like my kind of people. Brown skin and black hair. Just like my kids. If Anoop could be famous for being on American Idol, my kids could also have a good chance at being famous for being a jazz musician, or a basketball player, or an artist, or maybe an actor, or whatever it is they decide to do in the future. 🙂 Besides, Anoop seems to be such a nice, polite kid.

Well, anyway, back to Slumdog Millionaire . . .

I thought I’d convince the kids to watch the movie with me. Make it a movie night like last time. “It’s about this kid who was a contestant on the Indian version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire,” I told them. We used to watch that game show.

My 19-year old wanted to watch the movie, but he has final exams next week and he needs to study and practice.

The 14-year old wasn’t interested or he probably just got annoyed with me for saying the word slumdog wrong. I said it like slamdog. 🙂 Of course I’m just kidding, he just wasn’t interested.

And after guilt-tripping my 11-year old son, “don’t you want to spend time with your mommy?,” I finally convinced him to watch it with me. Only to send him away after about 10 or 15 minutes into the movie. I’ve already asked him a couple of times to cover his eyes with the blanket when I told him, “I don’t think this is a good movie for you to watch. I’ll tell you whether he wins the million dollars or not. Sorry, Ryland.” I know, it was my bad. I thought, they’d show the main character play and win the game at the start of the movie or something, but the story was told in flashbacks of flashbacks. I know, it’s kind of complicated.

dev-patel

Well, it started with 18-year old Jamal Malik being tortured because they suspected him of cheating. He was from the slums of Mumbai, a slumdog, and here he was, one question away from winning 20 million rupees, which is equivalent to about US $400,000.00. But he didn’t cheat. (Ooops, sorry, if you consider that a spoiler.) He just happened to know all the answers, and that’s the reason for the flashbacks. His life story explains why he knew the answers.

The story of where he came from is really a sad one but it is filled with hope in the end. And on Jamal’s persistence to find his childhood love, Latika, again and again, I find it so inspiring and romantic at the same time. 🙂 Well, I’d spare you with anymore details. You might want to go rent the movie or buy your own copy because I highly recommend it.

Here are related movie reviews from a couple of my favourite bloggers:

Jayred’s Why you should watch Slumdog Millionaire

Wil’s Slumdog Millionaire

April 19, 2009 at 4:09 pm 7 comments

How I lost 20 pounds and kept it off

First of all, I’m not a health and diet expert. So you won’t see me writing about calorie counting or doing any kind of exercise regimen. I’ve shed off 20 pounds and I have managed to keep it off, for about a year now. And since it’s the start of a new year and I know that there are people who make New Year’s resolutions and I also know that “to lose weight” is most likely to be on that list, I thought I’d share with you how I lost weight. Maybe it will give some hope and inspiration to those who, like me in the past, has been unsuccessful, no matter how I cut my portions at dinner, cut back on softdrinks (soda, pop), and did a half-hour walking.

How did I gain the weight?

In 2001, I started working at home. My three boys were then ages 3, 7 and 11. My youngest son was in daycare and the high fees were putting a big strain on our budget. When the company I work for offered the work-at-home program, I immediately grabbed it. I pulled my son out of daycare and looked after him at home while I worked. This opportunity also gave me a chance to spend more time with my growing kids. We got to sit down together at breakfast before they went to school, and I was also at home when they came back from school. Oh, how I loved working at home. I didn’t have to rush in the morning, or the kids for that matter. Less stress. I also didn’t have to dress up. It was so comfortable. So comfortable that I took my time at breakfast, took long lunches, munched on snacks – potato chips, M&Ms, candies – I have a sweet tooth, you see.

I didn’t gain the weight right away. It happened gradually. I didn’t notice anything until after about three or four years. My usual attire at home was just a plain T-shirt and my elasticized pants. So I didn’t really notice the expanding waistline. What I noticed was that I would sometimes pant when I went up and down the stairs when I did the laundry. Or when I had to walk for more than 10 minutes. Well, once in a while I did have to get dressed up when we were invited to birthday parties, and then I would notice that most of my decent clothes won’t fit me anymore and I’d have to buy a new blouse or new pants. And then I’d see myself in the pictures and I’d see the double chin or the big derriere, or the love handles (flabby mid-section). No wonder my youngest son would ask me if I was gonna have another baby. At first I thought that he wanted a baby sister or a baby brother. And then he would sometimes call me fat and I realized then it was because of my big tummy. I looked pregnant to him. And when I saw that picture where I looked like I have two sets of boobs, that was kind of depressing

Taking action.

So I started to do something about it. First, I stopped drinking softdrinks. There was a time when I’d drink a glass of Coke at lunch, at snack time and then at supper. I remember Dr. Phil saying on his show that in order to stop eating or drinking something that you want to avoid is to stop buying it. Well, I didn’t actually stop buying them. I would buy just one or two 2-liter bottles per week. For the kids, I would say.

softdrinks-x

The famous doctor also showed the viewers how to eat a balanced meal. Imagine that your plate is divided in four parts. You put your starch (rice or potatoes) on one quarter of your plate, your meat on another quarter and your veggies and fruit on the rest of the plate.

balanced-meal

I also heard somewhere that if you want to cut down on your portions, use a smaller plate. So I did that, too. I started using a smaller plate, 8 1/2 inches, instead of the bigger 10 inches. If I still felt hungry after finishing the food on my plate, then I’d just eat another fruit.

I also realized that being cooped up in the house everyday could be a contributing factor to the weight gain. I knew I needed to get more active. Get out there. I thought of going to back to the office so I could get out everyday. But I loved working at home so much. I got to work and stay at home at the same time. And I just loved being there for the kids. I decided to stay at home but resolved to do something to get my butt off my chair for a few minutes or so a day. So I thought I’d walk for half an hour everyday. I did walk, but not everyday. There was work to do and I didn’t always have the extra time. I also volunteered at my son’s school as a school patrol. That did get me out of the house. Patrolling didn’t really give me a chance to do a lot of walking. But getting out of the house did some good. I wasn’t as sluggish as before. And it made me a bit energetic. So even though I didn’t lose weight, I felt better. No more panting or getting out of breath. And I was happy about that. I’ve learned to accept that maybe I’d be stuck at the size that I was.

The turning point.

Late in 2007, I got recalled back to the office. I had a feeling that it was going to happen. But I was still kinda taken aback. I had mixed feelings about it. I knew I was going to miss working at home. Being there most of the time for the kids. But at the same time I was also excited and looked forward to the changes that would happen. Going through all that morning rush, getting dressed up, trying to catch the bus, literally rubbing elbows with people going to work and interacting with people at the office. I also took a second job at around the same time that I went back to the office. All of these changes that were happening – the sudden activity of getting my butt out of the house everyday and also my second job required a lot of standing and walking, I slowly shed off some pounds. Besides I wasn’t munching on my usual snacks of these.

chocraisins-x fuzzy-peach-x potatochips-x

Yes, I realized then that even though I was cutting back on my portions at lunch and dinner, I hadn’t given up on chocolates, candies and potato chips. Lots of sugar and salt and hydrogenated fat. That was the reason I couldn’t lose the weight.

I developed these bad habits when I was working at home. I was mostly alone at home and I didn’t have to worry about anybody seeing me in a bad posture, for instance. I would sometimes have my feet up on my chair while typing on the computer. Watching TV while working. Bet you can’t do that in any other workplace. And of course, having food in front of me, munching all day long. Hence the weight gain. But when I went back to the office, I had to give up all these bad habits. I didn’t want my co-workers to see me with my feet up on my chair, or munching on junk food while I work. I observed proper work behaviour at all times.

Now, I’m not saying that working at home was bad. No, please don’t get me wrong. It had been a really good experience for me. I wouldn’t trade those six years for anything in the world. I had the time of my life. There were just some things that I did not handle right. Looking back, I think I should have given more thought on time management. I guess I was trying too hard to be a super mom, or a super woman. I thought then that since I was at home, I would be able to do everything. Like do my work and also the house chores and still tend to the kids. Or like when I realized that I should be getting out of the house for a few minutes a day, I should have been more disciplined in that matter. Maybe I should have set aside a specific time of the day instead of getting distracted by the TV or the internet (blogging). 🙂

Getting recalled back to the office was the saving grace for me. I guess I was in denial at that time. I think I knew deep inside that I wasn’t happy at home anymore. The kids were getting older and they didn’t need me that much. Also, I was getting bored with the daily routine. I was just scared of the prospect of change. But you know, change is good.

In regards to losing weight, or kicking out any bad habit for that matter, I have to agree with Dr. Phil, that we sometimes have to make significant changes in order to be successful. You have to change your environment or substitute a bad habit with a new one. Like for example, I wanted to stop drinking softdrinks. I replaced it with juice and milk. I have never been a milk drinker, but I realized that I am in my forties now and I need calcium for my aging bones anyway. So why not start drinking milk now? I just hope it’s not too late. I also always have a bottle of water beside my desk.

Last summer, I bumped into friends who I haven’t seen in about six months or so. Some of them noticed my weight right away. “You lost weight!” “You look good!” “Gumanda ka nung pumayat ka” (You look prettier now that you’re thinner.) I’m sure she didn’t mean that I looked ugly when I had some extra weight on me. 🙂 But these comments were all very flattering even if they came from my girl friends.

Some has asked me how I lost the weight. And sometimes I would just give a quick response that it was because I was working out of the house now. It was the mobility.

In conclusion.

So just to summarize, here’s a list of the things that made me lose the pounds and help me keep them off. I hope these simple tips will also help anybody who wants to lose weight.

1. Give up the softdrinks. Please people, if you have to go cold turkey, please do. It doesn’t mean that you have to give it up forever, just at least during the first few months that you are trying to lose the weight. I, myself, have never given it up completely. I still drink Coke but only on special occasions. And when I do, I actually find it quite strong for me.

2. Stop snacking on potato chips, candies or chocolates. Also go cold turkey if you have to. Replace it with fruits or veggies like carrot sticks or celery sticks, or my favourites – grapes or orange slices. Or chew a gum if you feel the urge to munch on something. Like the softdrinks, you don’t have to give it up forever. I would still eat a chocolate bar every now and then, but not every day. 🙂

3. Use a smaller plate for meals. And distribute your food like this:

balanced-meal

4. Use the stairs instead of the escalator or elevator.

5. Take the bus to work.

6. When you take your car to go shopping, don’t park too close to the entrance. A little walk will do you good.

7. Take a walk at lunch time. If you don’t have time to do a 30-minute walk today, 15 minutes will do. Not only will it re-energize your body, but also your mind, especially if you’re having a bad day at work.

8. Before you go to a party or any handaan, eat a little snack at home. It might not make sense to you. Why eat at home when you’re going to a party where you will eat anyway? Well, it’s just to curb a huge appetite. If you’d had a little something before you left home, you won’t have the urge to fill up your plate with a mountainful of food.

9. If you don’t work, let’s say you’re a stay-at-home mom, and you think that you might also need to lose some weight, but can’t find the time to go to the gym or do some exercise. Maybe you can make arrangements with other stay-at-home moms that you know. Maybe you can take turns looking after each other’s kids and then you can go to the gym, or take a half hour walk. Or maybe find a part-time job or do some volunteer work. Just a few suggestions.

10. Have a specific and realistic goal. Don’t say that you want to lose 20 pounds right away. “I want to lose 10 pounds in two months” is a more realistic goal. Last summer, I was glad that I was able to finally wear this pink blouse that I wore on my 40th birthday. You see, I only wore that pink blouse a couple of times. The following summer, it won’t fit me anymore. And it is one of my favourites because I like the colour and the style. Now that it finally fits me again, I dread gaining weight again. So that’s sort of a motivating factor for me. To stay in this size that I am right now.

Before

Before

After

After

Disclaimer. This account is not intended to substitute or replace any medical or professional advice. Please consult your physician before you try to lose weight especially if you have a medical condition.

January 11, 2009 at 3:38 pm 20 comments

More Quotable Quotes – 2008 TV Season Premiere

Desperate Housewives

“Women only have five seconds to be young and beautiful and then it’s gone. And then before you know it, we’re old and fat, married and wondering where our beauty went.”

~ Former model Gabby to husband Carlos Solis, on facing their daughter’s weight problem.

“Well, maybe I don’t deserve to be happy.”

~ Susan to new lover, Jackson, on why she didn’t want to be in a relationship.

(OMG, I sometimes say that line to myself. But hearing it from Susan, it sounds pathetic. Of course, each one of us deserves to be happy.)

Brothers & Sisters

“Nobody can slide the knife between the ribs quite like the people who love us.”

~ Robert McCallister to Sarah Walker, on apologizing to her sister Kitty.

The Tudors

Sir Thomas More: If the lion knows his own strength, no man could control him.

(He was referring to King Henry VIII.)

~~~~~~~~~~

Anne Boleyn: It’s so hard when we’re to be married but she is still here. You can’t have three people in a marriage. Why can’t you see that?

King Henry VIII: And why can’t you understand that I have more things to think about than shirts.

(This is when Anne finds out that Queen Catherine is still making Henry’s shirts. Henry promised Anne that he and the queen aren’t intimate anymore since he wanted to annul his marriage to Catherine so he could marry Anne. Doesn’t this remind you of another famous Royal triangle? 🙂 )

~~~~~~~~~~

Queen Catherine of Aragon: Henry, not for our daugther, nor for anyone, would I dream of leaving you. You know my rightful place is by your side.

(Now, doesn’t that sound more pathetic than Susan?)

~~~~~~~~~~

King Henry VIII: A happy marriage is devoutly something to be wished for.

(Then he turns to Charles Brandon to talk to Queen Catherine about leaving the palace. When Charles came back … )

Charles Brandon: She said that she’ll obey Your Majesty in everything save for her obedience to two higher powers.

King Henry VIII: Which two higher powers – the Pope and the Emperor?

Charles Brandon: No, God and her conscience.

(Now, that’s what I’m talking about Catherine. 🙂 )

Pushing Daisies

“Somebody always loving somebody they shouldn’t be loving.”

~ Private Detective Emerson Cod, on workplace romance.

“Oh, whoa, hold that pregnant pause. I’m not with child, unless it’s immaculate conception, or I wore a strange man’s underwear.”

~ Olive Snook to Mother Superior when she thought that Olive was pregnant that’s why she’s hiding in the nunnery.

“Sometimes bad things just happen.”

~ Betty Bee to Chuck, aka Kitty Pimms, on how all her bees supposedly died.

“And so the piemaker had come to understand. Home did not mean four walls and a door you never walk out of. Home was a feeling of where you belong.

~Narrator at the end of the episode, on Ned (the piemaker) finally letting go of Chuck and accepting her desire to move out.

Ugly Betty

“Daniel, anything you truly want, has to be worth fighting for.”

~ Betty to boss Daniel Meade, on convincing him to go back to work at Mode Magazine.

(Okay, this is from the second episode. But that’s one reason I like Betty. She’s loyal to Daniel and she’s just so beautiful inside. Okay, that’s two reasons. 🙂 )

October 5, 2008 at 8:22 am 10 comments

My 2008 TV Season Premiere Favourite Quotes

Dancing with the Stars

“Mind your cleavage.”

~ Judge Len Goodman to celebrity contestant Cloris Leachman when she flashed him her cleavage.

The Big Bang Theory

“Well, I assume you’re referring to digestive regularity. Because I’ve come to learn that such inquiries are inappropriate.”

~ Sheldon to Penny when she asked him if the brainiac Leonard has ever dated a regular girl.

How I Met Your Mother

“I don’t want to be Robin’s boyfriend. I just want to be with her. All the time. I want to hear about her day and tell her about mine. I want to hold her hand and smell her hair. But I don’t want to be her stupid boyfriend.”

~ Womanizer Barney to friend Lily, on being in love with Robin.

The Office

“I lost four pounds. I don’t know what those other fools were doing but I lost four pounds.”

~ Stanley, on how his officemates lost only one pound as a group on week 4 of the weight loss challenge.

“What is wrong with these people? They have no willpower. I once went 28 years without having sex. And then again for 7 years.”

~ Michael Scott, on how his officemates lost only one pound as a group on week 4 of the weight loss challenge.

Ugly Betty

“Growing up isn’t about making the right decisions. It’s about dealing with the decisions you’ve made and picking yourself up.”

~ Ignacio Suarez to daughter Betty, on moving out and getting her own apartment.

“Take a leap. Don’t be afraid to fall flat on your face.”

~ Betty to Kimmie, when the former mean girl was feeling bad about herself.

(This quote made a lot of sense while I was watching the show. But now that I think about it, I think Betty was just trying to get even with Kimmie, wanting her to fall flat on her face. 🙂 )

Heroes

“I have no interest in money. Money won’t show me my destiny. I saved the world … twice. Now look at me, a man without a quest. All I do is sit here bored. It’s not like destiny is going to come knocking at my door.” (Then someone knocks at the door. 🙂 )

~ Hiro to Ando, on taking over his late father’s business.

“I don’t feel anything. It didn’t hurt. There’s no pain. I heal. But I always feel everything. It hurts the same as it would for anyone else, but not this time. That pain. I’m always so grateful for. Because it’s the only time I know I’m still human.”

~ Claire Bennett to mom Sandra, when she cut her hand on a piece of broken glass.

Smallville

“We all have something that we need to hide. But it’s alright. It will get better.”

~ Clark Kent to Beth, a 15-year old meteor freak who blew up a bus and her friend.

(This is actually from the second episode.)

September 28, 2008 at 2:54 pm 5 comments

There is a Season

There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” ~ Maya Angelou

I have finally finished reading “There is A Season: A Memoir,” by Patrick Lane. I started reading this book back in October, but I got really busy with work when I was halfway through the book and I sort of abandoned it. Sometime last month, I picked it up again and continued reading from where I left off. I do my reading in the bus while commuting to and from work. There was a time when I thought that I couldn’t read in a moving car or bus because it makes me sick. But on our road trip to Alberta last summer, I figured out a way how to make it work for me. I just have to hold the book upright so I’m not looking down. Because it’s the looking down that’s making me feel sick. Besides, it’s getting more comfortable sitting in the bus now that there’s more room in the seats without our bulky winter jackets.

I first heard about this book on the Vicki Gabereau show when Lane was on. Lane is an award-winning Canadian poet. He was an alcoholic. He went to a treatment centre after the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York and when he came out, he spent a year in his garden writing about his life and his drug and alcohol addiction. As he digs in his garden, he uncovers bottles of vodka everywhere. When I watched that show, I told myself, I want to read that book. I have already read Angela’s Ashes then and I related to Frank McCourt’s story because like his father, mine was an alcoholic, too. And now, I want to read the life of an alcoholic from his own perspective.

Lane is a gifted poet. And reading his prose is like reading a poem without trying to figure out what it means. I don’t have much tolerance for poems. His narration of his past are just as vivid and as colourful as his description of the plants and the interaction of bugs and animals in his garden.

Here are just some of the excerpts in the book to give you a few examples.

I remember the bag of oranges breaking and the bright fruit falling. I can see my brothers running down the path in front of my father as the oranges bounded on ahead. They laughed as they followed the golden balls, picking up one and then another from among the fir cones and needles, desiccated ferns, and stones. I wanted to be with them. I squirmed in his arms and he laughed a great laugh and took me in his two huge hands and held me out in front of him. I wriggled, desperate to be put down. My brothers were far ahead of me on the path. They were stuffing oranges into their ragged shirts.”

The birds ignore me as I cut the fallen leaves of the Japanese iris at the edge of the pond. The leaves splayed outward on the water are like the long hair a woman throws forward to dry in the sun. How beautiful the neck of my woman when the sun touches her hidden flesh. The irises have already begun to push up their first green spears. They’ll bloom in late spring, a spray of startled blue. They have no beard, just a thin stripe of gold on the curved petals.”

Lane writes about how his parents were both alcoholics. His mother gave him sips of whisky or beer when he was a small child and his father let him finish his last inch of beer. As a child, his body already craved alcohol. He also writes about how his brother died of cerebral hemorrhage and how “in his youth and confusion, he had nowhere to put his grief.” His brother’s death was followed by others and he turned to drugs and alcohol to escape the misery of life.

I’ve always wondered how my father became an alcoholic. Did his parents introduce him to alcohol? When did he start drinking? Was it just brought about by going out with his kumpares (friends) to these inuman (drinking) sessions?

There is this period of time that I wish I could go back to. This was the time after my father suffered a stroke. He was paralyzed from the neck down. I had been here in Canada for a little over a year. I came back home to see him, maybe for the last time, I thought. He was sent to his hometown in Atimonan, Quezon to be looked after by a cousin. I was staying in Manila then but I went down to Atimonan to spend a week with him before I flew back to Winnipeg. Only a week, when I was there in the Philippines for two months. I wish I could have spent more time with him, reminisce about the happier times of my childhood, get to know him again. Because I haven’t really spent that much time with him since he and my mother separated when I was 12. And maybe I could have asked him all these questions that were in my head. But I was distracted at that time. I was then struggling with a long distance relationship and I was trying to renew my relationship with a man who also loved his kumpares and his alcohol. But I didn’t realize it then. It was only years later after following the Dr. Phil show that I understood why I was with a man who was like my father.

It’s hard to lift myself out of the past. I find I have to go back with a will toward remembering and so understand not only why I was alcoholic and sick but also who I am now that I am sober.”

When I remember the past it is alive and it is as if it is dreaming me. Without the past I can’t learn to live in the unfolding present. This bit of history called the new millennium wants to forget, but forgetting means having to repeat everything that came before. While the past can be a burden, it is also a gift out of time. The clear moments of memory must be understood. It is only then they can be let go.”

Like Lane, I also find myself remembering the past, for the same reason that he states in his memoir. Yes, the past can be a burden, but at the same time, it helps me understand why things were the way they were, why I am the way that I am.

This morning I found a full mickey of vodka tucked under the corner of the deck in the shade of the overhanging viburnum. My hands shook as I picked it up, doubly so because it was full. The weight of the clear glass bottle, its shape, the colour of its red cap, and the dense swirl of slight oiliness in the liquid made me feel I was holding an old and trusted friend. It was all I could do to carry it into the kitchen, break the seal, and watch the alcohol chug slowly down the drain. It was like watching both ambrosia and poison vanish at the same time. How my body yearned to drink it and how, at the same time, it rebelled against the thought.”

I know my father also tried to give up alcohol at least a couple of times after my mother left him. How hard he tried, I don’t really know. Because as soon as we thought that he’d change, there he was again out with his buddies and he’d come home drunk and wasted. I do understand now that alcoholism is a disease. It’s just too bad that at that time, treatment centres were not available yet back home.

I am withdrawing from the scourge of forty-five years of drinking. Two months ago I stumbled into a treatment centre for alcohol and drug addiction. Now, I am barely detoxed. Standing here among the swordferns my senses seem to be thin glass, so acute at their edges I am afraid I will cut myself simply by touching the silicon edge of a bamboo leaf.

There is something about Lane’s struggles that connects with me deeply. No, I’m not an alcoholic or drug abuser, nor was I ever one of those. The healing process that he went through is so familiar to me. In a way, I am also going through a healing process and I also feel that vulnerability. There are many other things in his life that I can relate to. I wish I could share them all here, but this post is already getting long. Maybe some other time.

Why do I keep writing about my ugly past? Why am I airing my dirty laundry? Yes, I’ve written about it a few times before. Isn’t that enough? But I come across these stories and I find a connection with them. These stories inspire me to also share my own story. I know that there are others who can also connect to my story.

I begin to understand that when things fall apart it doesn’t mean they’re broken, it means they are forming themselves into other things.”

And I guess that is the message that I am trying to get across. Things change, so don’t lose hope.

By the way, gardeners might also enjoy reading this book because Lane describes his garden so beautifully and his gardening in such minutest detail.

June 8, 2008 at 3:06 pm 7 comments

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