Monday, November 23, 2009

Gone too soon....

Saturday started off like an ordinary Saturday for Barry and I. He got my son Drew off to work while I allowed myself to wake up and slowly start to tidy up a bit.

We were just about to start sorting out some outdoor candy canes when Barry took a call for Drew from one his friends. I could tell from his expression that it wasn't good but nothing could have prepared me for what Barry was about to tell me when he hung up the phone.
Drew has a pretty tight group of friends for the most part. Most of them date back to high school and the various bands they formed together. It was Michael that was taking on the dreadful task Saturday of having to call all of his friends and pass on the horrible news.

Andy was a big part of this group. It was Andy, Drew & Curtis that formed the infamous Janga Brothers that will live on in our hearts forever.

Andy was also considered the more cautious one. He didn't take drugs or even smoke pot and when he drank, he drank with common sense. But somehow on Friday night, at the age of 21 years, Andy took a fall from a 7 story balcony and lost his life.

None of the close group were there that night. From what little they know, he was supposed to be attending his work party. There are more questions than answers. How could this happen to Andy who is the most cautious guy they know?

Naturally, we got Drew out of work right away. He's devastated; each and every one of his friends, including his girlfriend are devastated and I have to be honest; so am I. These kids have spent so much time at my house, I can't help but form a bit of a bond. I can't count the number of times, I'm telling them "drive safe...." as they're on the way out the door. We make sure we have a place for them to crash if they need to. This could have been my child and I feel awful for being thankful that my children are alive and well.

My heart is crying for Andy's parents. No parent deserves to go through this. No parent should have to bury their child. Dean and Andy had such a close relationship; I can't even imagine their pain.

Andy had a whole future ahead of him. He hadn't even finished university yet. And he would have gone far. He was intelligent and talented with a wonderful sense of humour.
Andy...I know that wherever you are, there are good people already there. So you're not alone. We'll miss you here but in time, I know we'll all meet again.

But the healing is going to take a long time. Which really makes me think; it's not always how many years we spend on this earth but how many lives we touch while we're here.

Andy touched many lives in his short life. Many tears have been shed and will be flowing for a long time yet.
Rest in peace, will never be forgotten and always loved.

****thanks to Tracy Rochetta for the last picture (taken at our wedding June 7, 2008)

Monday, July 6, 2009

Sheltering Form

In 2004, I was invited to join a committee in Cobourg, whose ultimate goal was to place a visual display in a public park. This visual display was to honour all victims/survivors of abuse. It would give people a place for quiet meditation, while also providing a space for local groups to hold vigils and/or other events. We also hoped in bringing this visual display to fruition, we would be helping to bring more awareness to the issues that feed abuse, keeping the cycle alive.

The name of this committee was to be called TAAP (The Abuse Awareness Project). In 2006, the city of Cobourg, donated a beautiful piece of land, on the eastern tip of Victoria Park, directly across from the Lioness Pavillion. In September 2006, we blessed the space, naming it the Gathering Place.

Throughout the last 5 years, our small committee grew smaller and suffered many heartaches. Two weeks before our blessing of the Gathering Place, on September 1, 2006, our dear friend and fellow member, Barb Buller passed away suddenly. As much as we all struggled to go on, we always knew she was with us, giving us the strength we needed. And whenever things got really tough and we had to pull ourselves back up again, it was often Barb who kept us going.

It's funny how things work out and work out they did.

It started when Janice Newson, our committee backbone as I like to call her, contacted Frances Gage to ask her advice. Without going into all the details, in the end, Frances Gage generously offered to donate a sculpture that she calls "Sheltering Form".

During the time that "Sheltering Form" was in the process of being created, we (the remaining members of TAAP), were invited to Frances' workshop to get our hands in there, scraping, forming and bonding. What I will always appreciate the most from this was the opportunity to get to know an incredible, beautiful, gentle woman who has worlds of experience to share.

Not long after our unveiling on Jue 20th, 2009, my husband Barry, also a TAAP supporter since 2006, was googling for media on our event. Sadly all he found was a blog from an obnoxious neanderthal who obviously has many misogynistic beliefs. I chose to ignore it as I've learned in life that ignoramuses really are not worth my energy.

What saddened me though was finding out later that the Cobourg Star printed this rubbish. And not only did they print this rubbish but not one of the many letters that were sent to defend Frances Gage's honour were printed. How sad when the Cobourg Star gives room for a misogynistic slug to bully a woman who cannot even understand the cruelty of such comments, let alone know how to respond to them. But then that's what bully's do, isn't it?

The more I learned about who this slug was, the more I'm happy I did not respond to the rubbish, or even name it. I feel it's had enough media attention, thanks to the Cobourg Star.

This life is short enough. My friend Barb taught me that. And in the end, I want to know that I contributed to something worthwhile and that I've made some truly amazing friends along the way. Not that I've sat on my butt, doing nothing while criticizing the efforts of those who did.

Sheltering really is a big hug and I'm truly grateful to have been a part of this.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Liquid Larry and the Afterburners

Since I've been off work, I've noticed how much more my life seems to be consumed by my youngest son and his music.

It's funny; I'm often finding myself remembering back to the day I brought Andrew home from the hospital. I had to wait for the orthopedic specialist, Dr. Bent, as Drew was born with a clubbed foot. The specialist needed to have a look at Drew before we left, explaining to me, what procedures would have to be done in the future and then fitted my 3 day old son with his first cast.

I remember him telling me to not expect Andrew to be athletic. I looked at the doctor and told him my son was going to be what ever he chose to be.

Drew get's so tired of hearing that story. But I never get tired of telling it. Because I've always believed that of my sons. And for some reason, Drew seemed to always want to prove it. He was the toddler, up on the monkey bars, that the elderly women would say "isn't he yours????"

What could I say? If I went to get him, he'd be kicking and screaming and I'd get those hard and I mean hard shoes in the face. No....better to wait until he's done falling and scrape him up afterward. The kid was my human Mollie. He had to learn for himself.

When Andrew decided to play the drums at 14, I really didn't give it a lot of thought. A group of them started in the basement. Most of them didn't have much talent but they kept at it.

I remember telling Drew "just make sure you have a back-up plan". And then as time went on, I remember the kids in the basement sounding less like screechy noise and more like, I actually remember one day, stopping outside the band room door and actually starting to move to the music....for the first time.

They still took a few years to mature though.

And now, I believe they've got what it takes. Let me introduce Liquid Larry and the Afterburners.

They will be playing in Toronto on March 18, 2009 at the Opera House, at 735 Queen Street East. This is a fabulous opportunity Underdogs Showcase and we're hoping to get as many of our Toronto people as possible there.

They have another gig at Johnny B's in Whitby on May 3rd. This is a 2 hour set. They got this one through a Battle of the Bands that they participated in. There are times they may not win in the way they hope but something else comes of it.

Sometimes, it's just about who sees them that night.

So....if you're ever in Peterborough, they're pretty much at the Dobro every Wednesday night...unless they're busy recording.

***Special thanks to my handsome hubby's input with the last two pictures of Liquid Larry on stage.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Love and Hope

This is the picture for February on one of our calendars.
I thought it was a good starting point.

"Love makes all things possible"

Have you ever felt like you were at
a crossroad in your life but you had no control over
which direction it was going?

I spent years with a vision.
I knew what I wanted to do,
and now.....

Now it's gone.

But that's alright.

I know I can do so much more because
I feel the love of those around me...
my husband, my family and my friends.

Even from my dog, Mollie.

In my role as a counselor,
I've worked with many women who
had little or no supports from family and/or friends
and it makes a huge difference in ones life,
especially during a healing phase,
to have a good, loving support system.

Where there's Love, there's hope and
where there's hope, there's
a future.

And I believe in a hopeful future.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Life with a geek....

Yesterday was a day of organization around the house. I was organizing the living room and my husband, whom I lovingly refer to as the geek, decided to organize his desk space.

Barry and I have been together for 6 years or will be together for 6 years on February 1st of this year. He's different from anyone I've ever known. Well, I think he's just plain different. He's what we'd call a geek. When we met, he was designing and building control panels for reverse osmosis systems for many uses from homes to dialysis machines. He's now building (or doing the electrical, wiring, etc., for...) fire trucks, trailers to pull horses for the RCMP and assorted other vehicles.

For our first Halloween party, he went all out and painted the basement with a special UV luminescent paint that activates under black light.

It was an incredible sight to me when he flicked the switch for the lights to go off and the black lights to come on. It reminded me of something from CSI.

Naturally, every Christmas the lights are getting brighter with more of them. And yes, they are synchronized to blink with the music.

It has it's downsides though; clutter. There are wires hanging from doors, things I can't even put names to, sitting on shelves as well as what used to be my kitchen table and huge and I mean enormous wires going right through my kitchen, into the band room. I tolerate this because they are being used to record my sons band and I believe that one day, if they continue to work as a team; they can make it big.

Our music is one of my favourite perks. All of our CD's have been ripped onto a main computer to be used as our jukebox. It goes through a mixer, that goes through a small FM antenna. Barry assigns the antenna to an unused station and voila!! I can play our music from any location in or around the property by simply playing FM 88.1 on the radio. As I'm typing, Barry is playing Rita Marley, from his turntable, and it's coming through my receiver. It still impresses me.

A couple of months ago we were talking about our dreams and I was telling him of mine; to drive the Alaskan Highway. A few days later he told me of his purchase.

Photo courtesy of Barry Duff

He bought it from his boss at work. It has very little mileage on it, which is good when you consider what it was used for. Barry is considering ideas of remodeling and eventually it will take us where we want to go.

We all smile and say "that's Barry". These are many of the things that I love about him.

So back to yesterday and my geek, er... husband, needing more desk space. He acquired more junk, I mean some Kee Klamp from a friend of his who runs a store, here in Peterborough. Well this Kee Klamp is or was used for stage and sound equipment (just another area Barry has expertise in). Basically, it's galvanized pipe, with elbows, etc.

So my husbands desk went from being a six foot table, along with our whole dining room table to a six foot table sitting on galvanized pipes, with shelving to hold his monitors and other electronics, sitting on more galvanized pipes, also utilizing old waterbed parts for the shelving.

And what geek desk is complete without it's own bar fridge?

Well alright, it was mine. I brought it home from my office last week but I guess the rotten bugger decided he might as well pillage it while he had the chance.

One thing I can say, watching all of this come together. It's definitely strong. And it's different. But then so is Barry.

So this is life with a geek. Some may know what it's like to get up from their chair and trip over a bag holding a 20' antenna that has future plans to be erected when "we have our own home". This has become my norm and one thing I can say is, it's always entertaining around here, especially if you love music!!!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Letting go....

****This is the innocent face that was trying to steal my apple pie while I was preparing to work on this blog. She creates a plan, then puts it in action. Unfortunately for her; her brain only functions to the level of a small child.

2008 has come and gone and I've just realized that I haven't been on here since June. I've always meant to but there have been just too many dark days and I really don't like writing during those days.

It hasn't been all dark. Mollie and I got away for a weeks adventure in July to Tobermory, where we met up with some of our crazy Fundawg furiends, human and canine.

It's funny how I had started out earlier today with a thought in my head that I had intended to use as the focus in today's blog. I took that thought out with me on my walk with Mollie this afternoon.

She had a great walk. I didn't take our usual path along the Rotary Trail as it's been pretty icy lately, so I just walked her up the sideroad not far from home. Well out of nowhere comes a horse with a sulky. They turned along a driveway, came back out and back up the road. By the time, I was able to get my mitts off, camera out and on, take my picture, they had made pretty good tracks.

Mollie, being the ever alert, scent hound, sight hound, crazy hound attached to my waist, had never been that close to a horse before.

Although it was good for the horse, not to mention the gentleman riding along on the sulky, that Mollie was not able to roam free, robbing her of the opportunity to give this man the ride of his life and the poor horse nightmares for the rest of his/her life. It sure gave me a work out holding back my full 55 pounds of ADHD in full throttle for the next half kilometre of our walk, looking for her horse.

Eventually, she gave up and we were able to enjoy a liesurely walk.

The last six weeks or so of 2008 were challenging, to say the least.

I was looking back at my posting from mid-January 2008 about our move here, titled "Goodbye Slumlord". In it is the picture of the old tree in the front of our house.

In the wee hours of the morning of September 14, 2008, as I was getting ready for bed, I was looking out my bedroom window, talking to Barry. The wind was incredible. Suddenly the was a loud crack and bright blue light and loud popping noises as part of the tree came down, taking the hydro line across the highway with it. I've never seen anything like it in my life. Naturally we were without service for the night. We were alright with that. We also spent the next couple of hours out on the highway, with a couple of people who had stopped, making sure vehicles, especially trucks did not drive through the live wires.

The part that will always stay with me was when I was on the phone with the hydro people and Mollie escaped from the house. She ran right through the wires. Thankfully, she came back fairly quick, for her standards. I think she was confused by the energy that night. Coming back she was on our property, away from the wires.

If there's one thing I can say about my life is that I always try to learn from challenges I'm faced with. And I'm always stronger from them.

During that period, my husband, Barry was unemployed for two months. That tree certainly has helped give us some warm fires, combined with the wood we had already purchased in the spring.

It's still sad sometimes, seeing the stump silhouette where the tree stood proud. But it was meant to happen and some good came out of it as well. And thankfully, nobody was hurt.

I also see that stump as sort of a symbol of 2008. What it took from us. What it gave us.

And now I'm ready to face 2009. I'm ready to take on a new direction. I'm not exactly sure where it's going to take me but I'm certainly going to enjoy the ride.

May all your hopes and dreams for 2009 become realities.