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I am a Canadian who has been living in London UK for the last 11 years!! How did that happen?

Sunday, 23 November 2014

I fell off the toilet seat

Did I get your attention? When you are inebriated the absurd thought of falling off the bog isn’t soo odd. Sadly a few weeks ago I did fall off the can but I wasn’t drunk I was ill/sick.

Now after living here (UK) for so long the work sick means so many things.

Sick: in the UK can refer to vomiting.
Sick in North America means sick with a, cold, flu, and viral infection anything really
Ill in the UK is more like the North American version of sick.

For the purpose of this entry I feel I should find a name for this illness / sickness / nightmare / pain in the ass situation. Give me a sec, I thinking. I would like to just call it a fucking pain but it is a pain so let me come up with a better word. When ever in doubt refer to Sesame Street. I’m going to pick a 2006 character that I don’t have any memories or affiliations with. Sorry Abby Cadabby…. I’m picking you

So on October 16th 2014 I woke up with Abby Cadaddy! I was feeling rough as fuck and my lymph nodes were swollen. (Glands for the UK lot). I’ve always been pretty astute to my body and something was not right. I called in sick at work that morning and went to see the GP. Before even seeing the doc I knew what lymph nodes do and I’m aware that when they are swollen it’s a sign that my body is fighting an infection.

I haven’t always had the best experience with GP’s so I was so surprised when I was actually examined and the doc actually felt me. She agreed that I yep, my glands were swollen and it was probably a viral infection. She told me to take painkillers when needed, and to rest. She said I should feel better in about a week and If didn’t I would need to return for a blood test. She signed me off for a week.

I should have gone back to work the following Friday but I wasn’t getting better I was getting worse. It was that weekend when I had my ‘falling off the toilet’ incident. I had a bath and then felt dizzy and too weak to get to my bedroom so I thought I would have a little rest and sit on the (closed) toilet seat. I sat there for a not even a minute and then fell. Luckily I put out my hands and landed on all fours. My head almost hit the sick but fortunately it didn’t. Some how I managed to get up and stumble to my bedroom and landed on my bed. I didn’t move for 3 hours and remained in the same position. I fell asleep like this and my hair dried naturally un brushed. This was the beginning of my uni-dread. Think of one massive dreadlock. It was clean… but I swear birds could have nested in it. I was massive and I wasn’t fussed.

When I woke up my heart was racing and I was kind of freaking out. I had been in physical pain for weeks now and I was tired. Plus, lets not forget that I was coughing like a chain smoker. (I don’t smoke)

I was worried for me and wanted to go the A&E (ER), however I had my rational hat on. I have worked for the NHS in a hospital and I know how they work. The worst time to rock up, is on the weekend. Staffing is limited and unless you are bleeding or its more severe its not worth going. I could have explained my Abby Cadabby symptoms but its wasn’t worth it. I needed to make it through the night and Monday would arrive. I could go to the GP then.

On Monday I put on a bra for the first time in 11 days. There were only going to be one of 2 things that was going to happen that day. Either I would put on a bra or brush my hair. The uni-dread birds nest was twisted into a bun and fastened with a big clip.

I walked super slowly to the GP and wiped tears. The tears weren’t all linked to the pain, some were concern. I was not feeling any better, only worse. In the waiting room the tears were more steady. The walk there had done me in. When my name was finally called I entered consultation room 2 and was confronted with another GP. I thought I had met them all at my practice but apparently not.

I sat there and tried to explain how I felt while crying quite a bit. I was also explaining that I’ve never cried in the doctors before. (Paediatrician appointments don’t count). The whole thing was messy. He looked at me with great concern and told me he thinks I have one of 2 infections. We will call one Abby and the other Cadabby. I also had a fever at the time and when he examined my throat he told me I had tonsillitis too! He said that as soon as I left the surgery (doctors clinic) I had to go straight to the medical centre for a blood test. It was Monday October 27th and my results would come back in a week. During this visit he also signed me off for another 2 weeks and said I was not fit to return to work. I did as I was told and went for my blood test.

On Tuesday October 28th I was in lots of pain and watching TV in the living room was not option. I was not going to leave my bed. It’s where I spent most of my time anyway. I was too tired to do anything, even the soles of my feet ached. I was quite emotional that day. I’m youngish, I shouldn’t feel like this. My mom was calling me twice a day from Canada to see how I was doing. At about 2ish my phone rang with a withheld number. All the numbers from my employers are withheld so I thought it was work. To my surprise, it was the doctor calling me. He asked me how I was feeling and I started crying again! Poor guy… I still feel bad about that. He said he had hoped I was feeling better but seeing I wasn’t I needed to go to the hospital. He explained a few things. He had put a rush on the blood tests and my white blood cells were high… too high. Something bigger could be wrong. Also the blood test had shown that I had recently had Abby and Cadabby, so instead on having one whopping virus I had had them both. ( I know have the antobodies for them) The doctor explained that he was going to call the hospital and give them the heads up on my situation. He said I could have gone in that evening but if I went the following morning I might be seen quicker. I opted for the morning. Doc also explained that depending on how things go I might be admitted. He told me to pack a small bag when I went in.

I called my mom who was with my sister and explained the news, something was definitely wrong but I didn’t know how wrong until I had more tests etc.

The next few hours were a mixture of several phone calls. My mom was looking into flights that evening to arrive in London on Wednesday morning. This way she would go with me to the hospital and deal with anything that might need dealing with. During this time I also spoke to one of my managers who also offered to go with me to the hospital if I couldn’t find someone or if my mom couldn’t make it.

I’m a lucky grateful child. My mom arrived on Wednesday morning and we went to the hospital together.

This entry is soooo long so I’m going to fast forward a little.

At the hospital I had a load of blood tests, blood cultures, xrays of my lungs etc. My white blood cells count had improved since the Monday so they sad that I didn’t need to stay in and just carry on resting.

The recovery is long and slow. Ive been back to the GP and they are monitoring things. My sick note has been extended to January 2015! This sounds crazy but is all Abby Cadabby related. Abby Cadabby also explains why I have felt shit most of they year. I had a really bad cough in June and though it eventually went away I never really felt like the normal Leena.

I hope that I feel like the normal Leena soon.

Friday, 24 October 2014

Hugging and crying

Alison is not a hugger, it's not her thing. We only ever hug if someone has died. Pretty much that is the truth. Hugs are not her thing. 

Hugging is one thing, crying is another. 
Neither of us cry very much at all. Almost never. 

This morning I checked my Twitter that brought me to a YouTube video. I watched it in bed and burst into tears. Not a little trickle down my eyes but wet wet sobbing tears. I lost it. It's was like an explosion, unexpected and fast. I didn't cry for long and I was and still taken back by my emotions. 

This morning, Alison woke up and also has an unexpected sob. It too, was fast and unexpected. Her sob relates to her utter frustration with a situation.

We met this evening and had our regular  catchup chat. We both talked about our unexpected events from this morning etc. 

As I left her this evening I suggested that we should hug, her reply was 'ok, but I'm afraid I might cry again.' I told her it's ok. We both held onto each other for a good long squeeze.... And then she had to dash to catch the tube. I swear, the tube really has cut my hugs short in the past. (I remember this one time...(another blog entry)

Now I know I'm keeping my large readership on the seat of their pants waiting to find out why I was crying..... What's happened now. 

I'll explain tomorrow 

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Beliefs and regrets

I’ve had a lot of time on my own recently which means the thinking is on overdrive. Some of this is good because I need to make some very big, life alternating decisions. When I say life alternating, is just there is a split in the road and I need to decide which road I want to go down. I wish I could walk down each road and then decide which one is better.

Do I leave my safe job that provides for me but doesn’t bring me any happiness or do I take the money (small redundancy package) and run! AKA find another job.

Everyone that I have spoken to from the motherland (Canada) friends and family all think I should stay because of the perks, safety and security.

My friends and the people that actually SEE me think I’m nuts to not leave. The money could tie me over until I find something else.

Now here is down side of having an overly active imagination. Every time that I read a job advert I think to myself. Shit I could do that, I would be good at that. (and no… I’m not looking at brain surgery jobs but jobs that interest me)

In the last few years I’ve really need thinking about how growing up or growing older has changed me. The biggest pro is even when it goes all wrong, its not nearly as band as when I was younger. The con of aging is taking risks and going out on a limb is so much harder, sometimes even impossible.

I suppose you can tell by the language that I’m using here I’m pretty fucking scared of taking the plunge.

This now leads onto another topic that I’ve been analysing a great deal. Our beliefs, values, and thoughts processes. Do you ever think about it? What do we believe and why? Who told us what to believe? Of course some of this comes from family, some is life experiences and then there are others that I just can’t figure out.

Now here it is. I have managed to live my life thus far without ever having any regrets. I just don’t believe in regrets. Of course there are numerous things and events that I would do differently if I could go back but its not a regret.

I suppose this essentially means…. Whatever I decide, it’s ok. Its all going to be Okay

Monday, 13 October 2014

What I'm currently listening to

This evenings horrendous journey home has been made bearable by the following:

(Do you hear a hint of seseame street there? You should)

Some good old classic 80's tunes. In the air tonight by Phil Collins. Play it super loud and you won't be sorry. The drums bit just rocks.

The other fine album that's keeping me company is the self titled album Benjamin Booker. Check it out. 

I'm writing this on the iPhone and so I don't know how to add links. Just google it. 

Oh! And I haven't told you. I didn't get Glastonbury tickets. I'm still distrait but I will find a way! I will, I will, I will


Thoughts on Love and how is all I think about

Although I have not written much I've had so many thoughts that I have wanted to write down. I've stored them up.

A lot of it has so do with what I have been thinking. It's like I'm actively monitoring what's going on in my head. Some of it is no change at all. I've been unhappy in my job for years... And when am I going to change that. Or more importantly, will I ever change it. It's quite easy for me to stay there until I'm 65, or better yet... I think I can now retire at 72. This is a tad bit depressing so I'll move on now.

So! I have noticed that I think about love all the time every day. I think about the word, how often it is said, when did I see it last. What does it mean, how does it feel, when did I feel it last, who loves me, who do I love, have I ever been in love? You get the drift. 

Listening to music as often as I do, I can't go few songs without someone or another singing about it. Sometimes I think to myself, why can't they sing about something else. Ultimately though, I know the answer. Love makes the world go round. It's not money or happiness or anything else. It's only love. 

The British I feel, still have great difficulty in expressing love unlike their counterparts on the other side of the pond. Some would say North Americans say 'love' way too much. I.e I love my iPhone 6 (I do). 

One would come back and say, how can you love an object. Of course it's an object and it's not real love. But I think love is a great word and I don't think there is that much harm in using it. Most people know the difference.

Like so many things in my life. I can't remember when I was taught things. When did I learn what love is. A baby, a child? All the children that I've ever encountered that have parents seem to know what it is.

I can remember a phone call with Steph a few years ago when she was telling me about Leo. He must have been 4 ish. Just out of the blue he would walk over to Steph, give her a great big hug and tell her that he loved her. How did he learn to do that? Probably from her, but what made him reach out to her in that moment? Love of course.

I shall digress quickly to a scene in a documentary that I watched yesterday. It's a 2012 doc called 'Stories we tell' it's by Sarah Polly. I quite enjoyed watching it and therefore don't want to spoil it either, for any of you that see it. There is a scene where she hugs her dad as she gives him some life changing news. Towards the end of the film he explains that although the news was big. The hug meant more. That was love.

I'm going to sign out now but I'll write one soon about the love of animals / pets. It's a true story that happend a few weeks ago. 

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Podcasts: Vinyl Cafe with Stuart McLean and Serial


So let me tell what has been keeping me company for the last 11 weeks. Podcasts, podcasts and more podcasts.

The first is the Vinyl café by Stuart McLean that I’ve mentioned briefly before. It’s a Canadian thing that has been around for 20 years yet I only discovered it when someone told me about it. Radio is my favourite medium so why not. In August I downloaded everything Vinyl Cafe podcast I could so I’m now officially up to date from all the broadcasts that go back to March. Stuart takes the show on the Canadian road so it is often broadcasted in towns around the country.

It’s a show that comes in 3 parts. The music part, bands, music, self-explanatory. The story exchange where the public write true stories and one is picked and read out loud. And the last part is fictional story that is written by the narrator Stuart McLean. There are 4 main characters but as time you learn of their friends, family neighbours etc. Dave is the dad, Morley is his wife and his 2 children are Stephanie and Sam.

In March 2015 I will have lived in London for 14 years, I have never missed Canada as much as I have this summer listening to this show. It makes me miss Canada so much. It also makes me laugh and cry. Do you ever see those weird people on the tube that start smiling out of the blue and then you notice that they have headphones in. That weird person is now me.

Stuart was born and raised in Montreal and so suppose it’s that extra bit special. One weekend in September I came across a fantastic interview. Some of the things he said really hit home. I re-listed to a few parts about 5 times. Rewind, play, rewind, play etc. Here is the link for the interview with Broadcasting Canada. Look for Stuart Mclean

The next podcast that is totally worth checking out is called Serial. Its the number one podcast in the US. Its a true story about a murder that took place in 1989. Really good listening and it you just don't know who did it. I have gone on a bit of rampage at work and downloaded it on almost everyone's iPhone. ( they all think I'm crazy at work) Ive explained that on monday's we are doing to have a group discussion. I've told them its just like show and tell at school but instead we will talk.  - They don't even know what show and tell is so I doubt I'll have this conversation with them tomorrow. Stephanie is also listing to it in Abu Dhabi so at least I have her, to talk to it about it. 

You should all check it out and feel free to comment, do you think he did it or is he innocent. Make sure you start listing from episode 1.

Here is a good article from the New Yorker and another from the Guardian 

The boys that make me smile

Hello All,

I have a new reader that found me on twitter… So I thought I better write.

Plus every few days when I talk to Adam he reports back that he’s checked the blog and no entries. Best I write.

I have missed you all, but I feel bad that I don’t have anything interesting to say. I have been just going through the motions. It’s not the best way to live but I am aware so that’s a good start. I have said yes to every social gathering and that’s been good. The boys at work invite me to things, which is nice. I attend, even when it makes no sense at all. 2 weeks ago I went to all you can eat meat carnivore restaurant. As a veggie is was not the best but they are a bunch of good hearts so it was worth it.

So in honour of the people I know and their funny stories and comments I will share a few of them with you. Some are just one liners but they make me chuckle.

This one is from Matt. I asked him if he likes his new smart phone? His reply was, ‘It’s like a new cock. I can’t stop playing with it!’ I just grinned and the other girl in the office looked at him and asked, Did you say what I think you said?  He replied yes and that was the end of that.

Another funny story is from Steve. We were talking about Christmas and New Years. He was telling us about the time when he was either 19 or 20. He and his mate had not made any plans as yet so they rocked up to Victoria station on New Years Eve and decided to take the next train that was announced. That happened to be to Brighton. Even as I’m writing this I’m laughing. You have to meet him because he is this great big kid in an adult body. Anyhow, when Steve came home after new years to his Irish mother he found out that she had reported him as missing to the police. The silly bugger forgot to call home… and it was 5 days later!!!, ! I’m not a mother but the mother in me wanted to yell at him and it’s a decade later!

He carried on telling us stories about his wild days and then reminds us all that Lizzy saved him. He says it with such love. Lizzy is his wife and baby mommy, they have a daughter. They met on a train; you never know where you’ll meet your person.

I have a few more things to say on separate topics so time for a new entry

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

It's going... Mostly well

This entry is for Adam... Who was waiting to be named dropped :-)

So folks it's been a few days now since I wrote last. 

Most days and moments are not too bad. Some are even very good. 

Today's had been interesting. I'm now entering the stage of anger when it comes to grief. All I want to do is kick some ass or tell people where to go. On a twisted positive note, the deep sadness is going although of course there will be a part that that will always stay. 

A colleague really annoyed me and man did I want to tell them where to go. But I didn't because I'm better than them. Some people have nothing better to do with their life than to sweat the small stuff. I actually just feel sorry for this person, however they made a bad decision today. I've cut my ties.

What else, I've been so lucky with all the people that have been texting and emailing me. I shouldn't use this blog to brag constantly but I can't help myself. 

The smaller the gesture the bigger it is for me. 

Here is some of the greatness I've encountered. Texts, emails, hugs, lunch time walks, walks to the vending machine. 

I think there are moments where I look like I'm lost. Today a colleague who doesn't know me, or anything that is going on with me, came up to me and asked if I need a hand. (I've only been in my new role for about a month) I immediately told her, "Thank you, but now I'm going to cry." Then I did for about 2 seconds. Poor girl, I'm sure she wasn't expecting that! Oops

Kindness is such a funny thing. 

An hour later I receive an email from a work friend. The first line had me going again! He wrote, 'I wish there was more I can do for you'. My reply to him and all the others, is they have done so much for me as it is and I'm so very, very grateful. 

This morning I was thinking of a new-ish friend who I haven't seen or spoken to in a while. She is mom with a 2 year old and very busy. 
Low and behold I get a text from her inviting me to her sons birthday party on Sunday. She wrote, there will be lots of nice food and nice people! I'm in! I can't wait, I'm sure I'll report back.

Well that's about it for now. I love you all xx

Thursday, 28 August 2014

I'm doing better, much better

Things are better. I'm starting to feel like me again. I haven't cried since Monday and I'm taking good care of me. My friends have also been great, lots of nice texts etc. My yoga teacher even called me yesterday.
I'm a lucky ducky.

I'm just focusing on all the good now. None of us know what's going to happen from one minute to the next but we can always hope. 

Dream big. I've always been a dreamer. I live and function well in a very realistic world but that's never stopped the dreaming. 

What else have I been doing. I'm taking a break from reading the papers (all of them) and watching the news. Normally I like to be clued up with what is happening around me and other parts of the world. However reality often bites so I can live without it for a bit. When BBC question time is back on I'll start watching it again. It's too good to miss.

Oh another thing. In the last few weeks a Canadian told me about a podcast called Vinyl Cafe Stories from CBC radio with Stuart McLean. I've been listing to 2 a day. One on the way to work and one on the way back. It's been a real hoot and it's always funny when you catch yourself laughing on the tube. It's a tad bit embarrassing but who cares!

Tonight I'm going to after work drinks with my new department. It will be interesting to see what they are like when they are not behind their desks. One of the girls is getting married in a few weeks and that's the reason for the gathering. 

You can tell that I'm almost back to normal (I'll always miss people, but I live for me and for them too). So a way I know I'm back is when I say what some would say is inappropriate things. I'm careful what I say and to who. I'm just far more open than an average Brit. 

So I'm in the work kitchen yesterday alone with the bride to be. She's telling me how she needs to be careful when drinking tomorrow. Her bladder isn't the best. Then that's  when I start. 

It was funny, I was asking her if she wanted kids in the future. She said maybe. Well then, I said, best you start working on those Kegal exercise / pelvic floor muscles. She had no idea what I was talking about. Then I started pointing to the muscles and telling her to contract. But how she said, I don't know what I'm doing. Think about holding it when you need to pee. Once I explained that she got it. Actually the pelvic floor muscles aren't the same as the bladder ones but they are close to each other and both should be exercise 

I had her in hysterics. I was telling her that if she really started to exercise these super important muscles then if she decides to have babies she won't be wetting herself every few minutes. And I told her! 'Your man will feel the difference!' 
I then went on to say, 'You do know what I mean?' 'Yes! Yes! I know!' she yelped! 

Good, good I replied.

All this Kegalling made me remember an article 

This extract from a Sunday Times article 25 June 2011 puts everything into perspective "You do see a lot of British women with vaginas you could drive a bus up,” one woman obstetrician remarked graphically. “I think a lot of them just accept that forgoing sexual pleasure is the price they have to pay for having children.”

Well, I'm almost at work. 
So ladies... Go kegal. And the rest of you, love one another.

I feel like Oprah and Ellen DeGeneres. 


Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Bank Holiday Monday August 25th 2014

The first thing was trying to get Tuesday off. One quick text and success! I don't need to be in until Wednesday. A nice short work week. 

The day started off well, I carried on sorting and chucking out things I don't need. I have a few piles going on. 
Bin, skip, charity and eBay. I'm hoping the eBay stuff will sell well and go towards debts. 

I'm being a good Mary Poppins when the sadness hits me again like a wave. It freaks me out how quickly it comes. I've mourned many before but it's never been like this. Boom! Out of nowhere I'm crying. I pull myself together and decide I need to talk to someone who knows me. Someone who knows that I'm a happy person, not a sad one. I called Steph in Italy. 

When you've known someone since the age of 7, all you need to say is 'Hey' and they know. I told her about Mark and cried about other things. We discussed my family. Steph knows them and their situations. When ever I cry it's for a mix of anything or everything. Remember I don't cry often.

After I got off of the phone I decided, it's time to get out of the house for a bit. I needed a little outing but something productive. One of my tumbler glasses has chipped. It's a beautiful glass and aesthetically pleasing. Oval on the bottom and circular at the top. I discovered it at fifteen when I went out with my mom for my 30th. I had bought my set at Heals and so that's where I would head. 

I decided that some easy company and a friend would be grand. I called Alex. He's normally really busy but he was free. Alex like Tim is a good story. In October 2012 we sat next to each other on a flight from Lisbon back to London. We spoke most of the flight and here we are now. Alex is gay and I often end up telling him how gay he is in a sweet joking way. 

He picked me up from Heal's who no longer stock the tumbler and we then headed to another one of my favourite department store in London. Selfridges... The yellow bag brings joy. (Yes it's superficial, I know - but who cares)

He had a few things on his list which he got and then we ended up in the wine / alcohol section. I've been looking for St.Germain for ages and guess who had a massive display of it! :-) just the other day I found a store that was selling it for £35. My bottle was £28 bargain!

We were about to head off when Alex decided we should go to the champagne bar.... And so we did. They didn't have any desert wines by the glass (my fav). Alex ordered a Riesling and I thought why not. I had a sip and it was good, so I ordered a glass. One glass later and I had the giggles.

As we're finally, finally leaving Selfridges we pass Krispy Kream. It's pure sugar and bad for me...but sometimes it's ok. 
It was delicious!

We finished our evening at a pub/restaurant where I had filet of sole. My vegetarian days are kinda of on the back burner. I've been quite a pescatarian recently and I'm enjoying it. I had the best sushi last week! It was amazing!

Once I was at home and tucked in bed Steph messaged me to see how I am. Again... Very cheesy but this is what she wrote: You are a good person and I love you. I'm always inspired by your happiness and depth and insight.

And so at 3:56am (couldn't sleep) I would like to sign off with a good quote.

Develop an attitude of gratitude, and give thanks for everything that happens to you, knowing that every step forward is a step toward achieving something bigger and better than your current situation. -Brian Tracy

Oops and lastly! What have I been listing to! Remember there is always music playing!

I'm currently loving:

Clock Opera - Once and for all
Jessie Ware - Tough Love
Interpol - All the rage back home
Cat Power - The Greatest 

Sunday August 24th 2014

I woke up at 6:45am on Sunday. Slapped on some clothing and headed out. I was meeting Alison for breakfast and I wanted and needed a walk. I have mentioned this many times before but walking is my drug. Some people, smoke, drink, take drugs. I walk. 

I also find nature really healing and soothing. Being outside just does it for me. Not sure of its a Canadian thing or not, but I couldn't live without it. 

I walked through the beautiful woods and then my favourite park all the way to hospital where she had finished a night shift.

Some pic's of my journey: 

The woods

The park 

Check out the view... London in the background :-) perfection

We then made our way to Cafe Rouge for breakfast. We were there for about 2 hours and I'm surprised how I now have the ability to cry. I could never cry. It was strange, for years the tears were stuck somewhere.

Well folks, they aren't stuck anymore. I spoke, cried and ate. She was very good. It's wasn't messy, I'm not a messy crier. I was just sad, very very sad. I don't like being sad, I find it scary. But I remind myself that it's ok be sad. I have a good reason. 

After breakky I walked all the way home and stopped off to get 2 things that I've been looking for ages. It's it funny how sometimes when you least expect it you find what you need. The first thing was a over the door organiser for my shoes. I have a lot of shoes and they need a better home. Actually they need a walk in closest but until that day comes, over the door will be A ok. 

The next purchase is more of a summer purchase. I've been looking for simple, elegant white cotton dress. Not sure of I'll get an opportunity to wear it this year, but there is always next year or a sunny destination. 

That afternoon I spoke to Eli in Montreal. He's been trying to reach me for a while. It was good to talk to him. I'm grateful for him.

Tim from Glastonbury has also been texting real kindness. I'm so lucky sometimes how people come into my life. 2 years ago we (Emma & I) pitched our tent and Tim and Phil pitched theres near ours. I started taking to them and now we're friends. 

I'll share his text with you all. It's cheesy sharing these things on the blog but it's just nice and so I will. 

Sounds to me like you're coping really well. I'm really impressed/proud of the way you seem to be dealing with everything - that's not too patronising I hope! As some who scores highly as an introvert I get the bit about lacking energy to engage but that's not your natural character and the next few days you will regress back to your mean ie outgoing and excitable. Give it time. Love you!

The rest of my Sunday I focused on getting rid of stuff. I have too much stuff. Stuff, stuff, stuff. All I need in life is good people and love. The stuff is not the way. 

On Sunday night I decided that I wanted another day at home. The plan was to contact management on bank holiday Monday to get Tuesday off. 

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Good Stock (Mark)

By the time I finish typing this entry it would have been Mark’s 44  birthday. He was born on 24/08/1970… but we buried his body yesterday.

It’s been a really hard week for me, lots of things… silly stupid things. How about this, I was told I was dressed too casually at work on Monday. I’m still pissed off about this. I was wearing a Ralph Lauren cable knit jumper, nice trousers and suede camper boots. I was told off a few days later. Well my official answer is fuck off! I was cold, I had only come back from Portugal a few days later… Sometimes I just need a break.

But onto more serious things… I have been waiting for the funeral since the minute I found out he died. Funerals are difficult, but for me it’s the only way that it really clicks. Mark is not coming back, its breaks my heart. On Friday I had a little cry on my bed after having my shower. Its funny what set me off, it almost sounds selfish.

Let me explain. I choose my friends well, really well. It doesn’t matter if they are female or male, single or not. I am very comfortable telling them I love them. They get it, and I get. Its not romantic love, but its love and well, you cant beat love. I loved Mark, and he loved me back. I’m never going to hear it back from him again.

I eventually got my act together, got dressed and set off. I think I looked pretty good. For his sake I dressed up. In the last few years when ever he came over on the odd evening to say hi I was in my pj’s, so this time I wore a dress. Traffic was a fucker and I’m not a fan of the A1. I’m a M1 girl.

His funeral was in a really quaint English village, beautiful but too far from London in my opinion. From the minute I parked the car my legs were shaking. I went to the funeral on my own. Alison offered to come but I’m a big girl. I know when I need people, and I was going to be ok. About a second after I parked Mark’s brother parked his car behind me. I wasn’t even out of the car and he waved.

I won’t go through all the step by steps but his family were soooo nice. They treated my like family. I spoke to his 13 year old and told her how amazing her dad was. I’m sending her a card with my details for the times when she might want to hear stories about him etc. If ever you were lucky enough to know him its clear that he came from good stock. It was nice to meet his stock.

Let me give you a quick Leena moment. When I was introduced to his mom the first thing that just blurted from my mouth was Oh my God, you’re so young! This lady looks good, she popped out 5 kids in her days and is now about bury her second oldest son. Its tragic but some compliments need to be shared in life. – everyone, go give a compliment.

Mark was having chest pains towards the end of 2013. I offered to go with him for his tests but he went with his mate and colleague Eddie. Although I had never met Eddie either, I made it a point to find out who he was and introduce him to Marks folks. They had some moments together after the funeral.

I got to speak to Eddie later, it’s strange when you try to piece together someone’s final moments. Mark was guy, simple in someways and very complex in others. He trusted me, he really did. This is clear now more than ever as I know how he really was feeling. I had been worried about him for a while. He had gone on holiday a few weeks before and I didn’t know. During this time, I thought him going AWOL, was him checking out. I was wrong about the AWOL as he was on holiday. Sadly I was not wrong about the checking out early part.

The police / coroner inquest will be in February 2015 and his family are happy for me to attend, I want to see how they are, as much as to find out what happened. He had only recently been put on meds for sleeping and depression and they had been adjusted a few days before. I think I just want to find someone to blame. If you knew him, you would know that what happened to him, shouldn’t have.

(a little side note. I’ve spent some time recently with a healthy eater who has got me back onto the healthy road. I re watched FoodMatters. Do you know that 2 handfuls of cashew nuts is the same as Prozac. And the vitamin Niacin or vitamin B3 in high dosages can help with depression too) Man… I wish he knew about this.

I’m going to sign off. It’s sinking in slowly. I’m going to bake something tomorrow. I’m good at baking and I enjoy it. Maybe I’ll make some peanut butter cookies or some yummy banana muffins. Oh and that special taste that you are wondering about, its my tears.

Its midnight now… Happy Birthday my fellow Virgo. I love you and miss you lots xxx

Monday, 11 August 2014

Another one bites the dust

I'm in my mid 30's and I'm averaging a funeral a year, sometimes 2 for the last decade or so. 

Although cancer is a fucker. I almost get it. Suicide on the other hand is a lot harder to digest. You'll know from previous entries that suicide is not new to me. ( I always like to point out. Not me but other people I know. Some quite close to me)

Well this evening after yoga I came back to my room to a bunch of calls from Alison. Calls, texts, Whatsap and Viber. Although the 2 of us are very different we are also very much the same. We are, each other's people. This doesn't mean we talk daily or see each other. We just know where to find each other etc. When ever we are on holiday we leave the other alone and have very little contact. If we do, it's always initiated by the one who is away. It's their time away. So when I saw she tried to reach me that many times I knew something was up. 

I called her and established immediately that she is ok. The next was her family, the nicest people and always so kind to me. They too were ok. I explained that I had to eat and she told me to call her after dinner but that was a clear sign that she needed to tell me something. I wanted to know then. She said it was bad. It was. 

My dear friend Mark is dead. He died  last Wednesday / Thursday. Neither of us know the story but I know he took his own life. He hasn't been in a good way for a while, but I was hoping things were getting better. I spoke to him 3 days before he died. He shared a lot that evening on the phone but our call got cut short when his brother rang him. I never spoke to him again. I'll never be able to speak to him again.

I'm not in shock, I'm just sad. I rarely experience shock anymore. Everything just is what it is. Maybe it's the way I cope. Maybe it's the way I live. All I know is that I was lucky to have him in my life. He was in one of the more caring professions and trust me when I tell you he helped a whole lot of people. 

He leaves behind a wife, an ex wife and 3 kids. The youngest isn't even one.  Depression is a real fucker! I just wish people would talk to each other more. Communication.... So important. Meds alone is not the answer. 

Anyhow,  Alison is trying to get funeral details for me tomorrow. 

After speaking to Alison, I joined the yoga group for dinner and told a few people who were sitting next to me. I didn't tell them because it was news. I told them incase I started acting strange. And what is strange Leena like? I'm the same, but less chatty and I become even more of a thinker. You can tell that I'm somewhere else. 

As bad as this news is, I found out in a nice place and there are enough people that I can ask for hugs from. I got 3 good hugs this evening. 

Alison is not the huggy type but she'll give me one when I'm back. I'm hoping to get a few more too when I'm back.

And that's it. That's my day

Be kind to one another and love one another Lxx

Sunday, 10 August 2014

First day of yoga

So folks, I made it through my first day. I was clock watching in both sessions but these things happen. I have a feeling my legs will kill tomorrow. 

I don't have much to report so here are a few photos from yesterday. 

Tomorrow C and I will stay on site again and play some pool games. Funny how 'catch' with a ball is still enjoyable. You don't need lots to have fun.

Oh, this reminds me of a great documentary. I might have blogged about it years ago. If I hadn't... Then I should have. It's called Babies and it was made in 2010. A look at one year in the life of four babies from around the world, from Mongolia to Namibia to San Francisco to Toyko. 

You should all see it because all kids want the same thing despite where they are from. There is a scene where the babies from Namibia are playing with stones to keep them happy and the baby in San Fran had a million toys and isn't all that's pleased. Too many options, little brain. 

I actually liked this doc so much I bought it. I must watch it again. 

In typical Leena fashion I'm off on a tangent. Here are the pics from yesterday. Enjoy Lxx

Yoga in a few hours

 It's 3 am and I can't sleep. 

I'm now in the Algarve and in a few hours I need to do 2 hours of yoga... and 5 hours after that! I need to do another 2 hours!

This last year has been so busy and I've only managed to attend 2 weekly classes. The next week will be interesting!

Charlotte and I had a lovely day today at the beach. We started the day off at Praia de Falésia. The beach of the cliffs or something like that. Really beautiful red sandy cliffs. I took a few photos on Charlotte's phone so I'll post them once I get them. The water was quite cold and so I didn't last too long but it was good to be in the ocean. After that we napped, chatted, roasted and eventually went for a wander. There were a load of restaurants but you know those times when you want something simple. We found a cafe that made me a veggie baguette and C had a ham and cheese omelette. It's the simple things.

After that we took our merry time walking, talking and stoping loads. Eventually we ended up at and other town and beach that we both hope to revisit. This one was called De Olhos d'Agua. Isn't it funny what you end up doing on holiday. We walked into almost every tacky kitch store. I bought a new hat and so did Charlotte. We were good. We didn't waste our money on shite yet we still had a good inspection of what they have to offer. 

I don't know Charlotte well but the day was effortless and well that's all you really need in life. From January until last month we use to sit on the same floor and for the first 5 months we were only one bay of desks apart. We didn't even talk that much back then, but you just know. It's that feeling. So when I mentioned the yoga holiday in passing on a Friday about 6 weeks ago I was totally surprised when she came up to me on the Monday and said that she would like to come along. 

I was really pleased! I can be quite sociable and I would have made friends here to keep me company but it's always nicer when someone is your friend. It's like you have dibs. 

We are both good today and almost didn't talk about work at all and when we did, it didn't last for hours. 

God... It's half 3. I should sleep

pictures to follow

My week so far: 06/08/2104

Should have been posted on 
Wednesday August 6th 2014

This week so far!

This is my first week at my new desk and in my new job. No complaints, it's going well. 

Health: so from the last entry I've had my tests back and I'm going to survive! No but seriously the GP has no idea what's up. My playlets are elevated and she's not sure why? (Neither am I, would be useful if she had an idea) Anyhow. Last Saturday I felt super rough and spent all of Saturday and Sunday in bed. On Sunday I found enough energy to go to planet organic and invest in anything natural. I eat a pretty healthy diet so to have a cold, flu, cough for 9 fucking weeks is nuts! I left there £70 lighter in the pocket and loaded with UDO's oils and healthy bacteria. Today is Wednesday and I'm starting to feel a little more like moi! Throat still not brill but I'm hoping in a few more days it will be. I'm also juicing more and having more fruits with antioxidants. 

Now that my health is on the up I can start and get excited about Portugal! Not sure how my body will handle 4 hours of yoga a day but that's what I paid for! This will be my second year on the one week yoga holiday retreat. It's really flexible not regimented plus you have 5 hours in the middle of the day to do what ever you fancy. There is 3 pools and we are only about 8 miles from the ocean. My friend Charlotte is coming with me. 

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Dinning room

Hello all,

Yes I'm back!!! Where the hell have I been?

Lots to report.

I've had this cold cough thing for 4 weeks now! The last time I really felt great was May / June. I've been to the GP for the last 3 weeks and this week I had a chest X-ray and a blood test so watch this space.

I've a got a new job that starts this week. Exciting and scary at the same time!

One of my house mates is moving out and so I'm looking for a new one!

I've decided that it's ok to ask for help and that includes paying for help! I have now procured a gardener! Whoop whoop! Tim will come every 2 weeks and do what he can in the time slot. Time for some BBQ's!

What else, I finally finished painting the dinning room and it's looks shit hot! Actually it looks very grown up but I think that was what I was going for.

I can't wait to start entertaining again. My mom had me at 22 and so back in the day she was super cool. I grew up with my parents having dinner parties and going to them too. We were never too young to go out or to have other couples, families and kids over. I actually think is one of the reasons that my brother, sister and I are so well behaved. We were never cooped up in the house due to our age. Our folks, particularly my mom took us everywhere. We have always known how to behave in public.

Anyways... Back to the table. So in true Leena style I bought this table 6 years ago! Yes you heard right! Six years ago. It's taken me blinking ages to get a move on it. I always have these faffy excuses. For a while I wanted to sell the old table. I never got around to that and so last month I gave it to my plumbers 17 year old sister who has just got her own council flat. I don't know the story and I kinda don't care. (I do care... I had to live at home or get a job... Anyways!) Her place is unfurnished so the table has come in handy.

Another delay was the fact that there was some damp on one the walls. What do you expect when you buy a house built in 1897. Well I sorted out the damp 3 years ago but never got around to getting the wall re-skimmed/plastered. I finally got that done last month and picked a paint color. I have to say, picking paint is hard. I find buying a new car easier or picking a holiday destination. I think I find almost everything easier. Why is paint colour so hard, because you have to look at it all day! (Side note! Maybe I've never settled down with a boy because I can't find one I want to look at for that long? Maybe... Not sure)

On the topic of boys. Steph and I had a 2 hour phone call this week. I've been super busy with all of the above and she has 2 little men to run after so it should be no surprise that we haven't spoken since I left Italy on June 17th. We spoke about a lot of things, and there was a whole section on boys.

Boys, men, sons, husbands, fathers, brothers. At the and of the day you can never take the boy out of the man, husband, father, brother, son.... They are all boys! Even the really good ones! Look close enough... And you'll see the boy. I suppose that's one of the best things about the opposite sex and also the one things that all woman should be weary of.

You kinda had to there for the conversation I guess.

L xx

Thursday, 10 July 2014

A Fault in Our Stars & The (Dead Mothers) Club

I’ve spent the last 4 days in bed coughing my lungs out and watching copious amounts of Netflix.

Some time in the middle of last night a documentary I had tried to download months ago, finally finished downloading. I’ve just finished watching it, its called The (Dead Mothers) Club. It was on HBO in the US.

I found out about it via twitter in May as some of the people I follow were raving about it. Particularly Dee Kras, her blog Not skinny in LA is worth a read. Anyhow… Dee’s mom died when Dee was young and this doc really touched home in other aspects.

I was telling Steph about it in June when I was in Italy although I still hadn’t seen it.  Steph’s mom Barbara had also died much younger than an appropriate age. (Appropriate ages for death are when you are in 3 digit figures…. 100 plus is acceptable… anything less is not allowed. Please note the name of this blog is The way it is according to moi)

This death dying thing is really quite a biggy and it comes up in life every once in a while, sometimes more often then we want. On Sunday I watched a film in the cinema that really brought back some memories of a teenage friend that had died. The film is called A Fault in Our Stars. Good teen romance drama with a twist of the big C. Here once more we are reminded why I don’t write movie reviews as a profession.

When I was about 20ish my friend Emilie died of a brain tumour. Barbara also died of the same thing. Tumours’ are a strange thing, particularly brain tumours.

Anyhow let me attempt to get back on track. While watching a Fault with Our Stars there is a lot of ‘I love you’ being said back and forth. It made me think of the most important I love you that I have ever received. Now it’s not from my parents, or my siblings, or my fiends, or my colleagues. It was actually from Emilie’s mom.

It was Easter time and I knew Emilie was on her way out. I called the house often that long weekend and got no answer. My gut knew they (her and her family) were in the hospital now. I was working at one of my most favourite jobs Blockbuster video (back in the VHS days) well my dad had called me at work, to tell me that when he got home, there was a message on the answering machine for me to call Emilie’s mom Julia. Even though that was all the message said, I knew. I had a weird feeling for a few days. I’m not someone that really needs mothering from my own mother but sometimes you need a mom. My mom was living in the UK and I was in Canada so I went to see my sister’s best friend’s (Ashley) mom (Gale). As mentioned in earlier posts, Steph and I have been friends since 7 and Ashley and my sis have been friends since 4. I know Gale pretty well.

I drove over to Gale’s and she made me some tea and gave me some cake. I was totally together, not even crying. It was time for me to call Julia, give my condolences, offer any assistance and get funeral details. We didn’t talk for too long, not much needs to be said. Neither of us were crying on the phone but as she hug up the phone she said ‘I love you dear’ and then the floodgates opened. I was completely beside myself. This lady’s child has just died and she’s telling me she loves me??? Why??? What did I do?? I only did what I think necessary for any human. Be a good person, a good friend etc.

I moved the UK very soon after Em’s death. Just coincidental, nothing to do with her death but it has made keeping in touch with Julia hard. I’ve lost contact with her. We did Christmas cards in the early years but nothing for at least 6 or 7 years. Maybe I’ll write to her but I don’t know if she even lives at the address any more.

Watching Emilie get sick and sicker was hard but I had a much bigger gripe with her so called friends that all seemed to go a little AWOL. Em and I were friends though college, we didn’t know each other that well but we were friends. I’ve always made an effort. It’s strange quality of mine because I the only one in my immediate family that does. I remember the last time I saw her alive. My mom was visiting Canada for a few days and we were going to see Emilie and Julia. The tumour had really taken over and so Emile could not walk, talk, eat. The eyes are very powerful; they have the ability to speak. I was a quite afternoon in the country. She lived in Apple orchard countryside of Canada. The 4 of us just spoke and nodded. Julia fed herself and Emilie while my mom and I fed ourselves. From memory the 3 of us had apple pie while Em had a more easier to digest version. She was a really skinny and I remember Julia making a joke saying that I should come over more as Em was eating that day. (I would have come over more but I didn’t own my own set of wheels and it’s a 2 hour journey on the highway – far)

Anyhow… Im not entirely sure why I’m sharing this story but a little part has to do with one of the lines in film. I don’t want to give the film away but the dying character is worried about being forgotten.

I don’t think people should worry so much about being forgotten because most of us make an impact in each others life all the time. Its just when you least expect it.

Sending Juila, Steph and everyone else out there a really big hug xxx