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I am a Canadian who has been living in London UK for the last 14 years!! How did that happen?

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 Fal├ęsia. 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