Month Apart

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26 years ago, on this day, my life changed forever.

On the way to The Ottawa Civic Hospital, I begged and pleaded with my dad; he would have none of my 3 year-old politicking however.

I was anxious, but also nervous. I had known for months that this day was coming and I had no idea what to expect. Granted, I was 3 and was pretty short on life experiences. Up until this particular point, I had no memories of being in a hospital.

I had my favourite outfit on: a track suit; it was a big day after all. Yellow zip-up jacket, with Kelly green sleeves, and a moose patch on the left breast. The pants were matching green joggers.

My dad parked the car and we made our way to reception. As I mentioned, this day was a long time coming, so everyone was waiting for us. They told us which room to go to, and we started making our way.

My memory is hazy, but I remember walking into the room and seeing my mum there. Despite her exhausted expression, she had a big smile on her face. She told me to come over closer to her; she could tell I was nervous by my fidgeting.

They handed me a small bundle, my dad close by my side to help me keep it balanced. I tried with one final desperate plea to convince him:

“Are you SURE we can’t name her Oscar?!”

The bundle in my arms, was my new baby sister, Caroline. Born 3 years, 1 month (minus a day) after me.

Over the years, there’s probably been more bickering than cooperation. As the older brother, I was quick to try and establish my dominance over my younger sibling. Despite our quarrels, there have been many fun, beautiful, and precious memories, that I will cherish forever.

Some people have lots of siblings, and that’s great; having a full house can be very loving. I only have the one and for me, that’s perfect. There’s a closer bond I have with my sister, that I wouldn’t have gotten with others around. While we’ve certainly cursed each other’s existence at least a few times over the years, I hardly could imagine growing up without one of my best friends.

As has has been the case over the last dozen or so years, I won’t be there to celebrate with her. It gets harder with each passing milestone, to be so far away. Know, my dear sister, that I love you to the moon and back, and that I miss you terribly. I hope you have a wonderful birthday filled with many laughs, and lots of love.

Xoxo

Wandering

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People taking
Pictures
Of people
Taking pictures of
People

♠♠♠

I walk by a lot of restaurants on my way home from work. Patio season is in full swing with the beautiful weather we’ve been having. I don’t usually take notice of the diners; I’m too focused on dodging the waves of tourists who walk four-abreast down the sidewalk. They caught my eye today, though. No less than 3 out of 4 people were busy snapping pictures. In a lot of instances, it seemed like they were taking a picture of their friend/S.O. who was also busy doing the same. It must be a nifty balancing act: maintaining physical rapport with someone, while also creating an interesting online snapshot of your life.

♥♥♥

June 16th is the day Native American tribal leader Geronimo was born.

Others people of note to celebrate a June 16th birthday are: Gustaf V of Sweden, former English Secretary of Health; Enoch Powell, Russian painter Natalia Goncharova, and American photographer Irving Penn.

Of historical significance, it was on this date in 1963, that the Vostok 6 Mission was launched. This would mark cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova, as the first woman in space.

It’s really interesting to look at the Space Race. The Soviets rushed out to a quick start. They launched the first successful artificial satellite, were responsible for the first animal to orbit earth, as well as the first human in space (as well as to orbit earth). Of course, the Americans would ultimately catch up, and “beat” the Russians, when they put the first man on the moon.

Tereshkova stands out to me. The 60’s were not a particularly solid era for Women’s Rights. Things had certainly started to slowly improve post-WWII, but the Glass Ceiling was definitely in full effect. The idea that a female, Soviet, civilian, would end up in space voluntarily is a bit surprising. I guess we’ll never know Korolev’s true reasons behind deciding to put a woman in space, though it certainly  could serve as a defining moment of constant “one-upmanship” of the era.

♣♣♣

Speaking of inspirational women…

I had some really sad thoughts over dinner today. I was imagining how I would handle the day, when my parents pass. Assuming Dad dies first, I think that thought breaks my heart the most. Not because I’m particularly close to him. In fact, I’m not even particularly close to my Mum. I would say it’s about even, though I definitely resonate more with Mum.

Dad comes from a long line of hard-headed, strong-willed, tradesman. While he has a definite artistic side, he hid it well while I grew up. Mum was born in Scotland. Something about that means more to me than Dad’s Canadian roots. She was artistic; tasked with the arts and crafts side of raising my sister and I. Dad was the sports and music. Dad blended in with the extended family; partially because it was his siblings and parents. Mum isn’t from here, she’s not French, and definitely not a labourer, so she stuck out a little bit. I’ve always felt like I was the Black Sheep of the family, and so I identified a bit closer with her as a result. I’ll definitely cry for days when she passes. The thought alone is welling up tears as I type. If I had to choose though, I hope she goes first.

Dad is strong, he’s tough, he’s stubborn.

Mum’s tough and stubborn too, she’s a Scotswoman after all.

They both hide their sadness very effectively.

Why would hate to see what my Dad’s death would do to my Mum, above all else? He’s her best friend, her rock, the one constant in her 30+ years since leaving Scotland. While my Dad would certainly be devastated, as she certainly means as much to him as he does to her, I don’t think it would compare.

When Dad had his cardiac episode years ago, it was impossible to understand her words over the phone. This was despite knowing that he would be ok. I don’t ever want my Mum to be alone. It breaks my heart that much more, to know that I couldn’t be the one to offer her respite from solitude. Seeing the tears, the loneliness, the anguish in my poor beautiful mother’s eyes, would rip me to shreds.

It’s ripping me to shreds right now.

For both their sakes, I hope they go together. It’s cheesy and corny, but that’s the type of ending they both deserve. Their love is the most beautiful thing I have, or ever will witness.

♦♦♦

My brain’s been wandering today.

I’m just one more shift away from a 10 day break. My best friend is coming to town, and we are going to get up to all kinds of no good. Hopefully by then, the sad morbid thoughts will have given light to some positive energy. I’m going to need it…

Busy roads on the horizon.

-DFP-

HBD

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Boy, I sure don’t come around these parts very much anymore. In case anyone out there is wondering, I spend most of my time on WordPress here.

It is now officially July 4th on the West Coast.

Living in Canada, I always feel envious of Independence Day. There’s a lot richer, substantive history tied to it versus Canada Day (a patriot to my homeland I am not). This obviously doesn’t win me too many allies here at home, but a pox on them. There’s something more magical about July 4th to me, and I reckon that will never change.

A little over two years ago, this date got a little more special to me.

I came to Vancouver to try and figure out a career path. I’ve always had a passion for communication, art, and advertising, so graphic design seemed like a logical approach. It didn’t exactly pan out. School didn’t end being a total loss however, as right from Day 1, the trip our West started to show some gains.

Ok, I’m not going to lie: When the only seat left in your first college class is right beside a cute blonde girl, you can’t help but do a discrete fist pump. Granted, I was there for higher learning, not to worry about girls. Regardless, the next 12 weeks were made a lot easier sitting next to her; particularly since this carried over into 2 other classes that term as well.

It’s really interesting to look back on how a friendship grows. This is especially true in a scholastic environment, where in the case of workstation partners, you get a real close look at the other’s work. I got to see my newfound friend progress from simple Egyptian inspired communication design, to an ambitious Rococo poster, and finally the early beginnings of solid corporate branding.

In between all this, we’d talk about how Kiwis were simply better than Aussies. We’d make plans to see the Vancouver Art Gallery (accomplished a full year later), and generally vent about life and school. Seeing as how I was only a part time student, I would see her advance on to bigger and better things, getting a glimpse at was down the road for myself. It’s really heartwarming watching as someone’s skills, talent, and passions grow; even more so when they are a friend.

Eventually, the day would come for her graduation and portfolio show. Seeing all her hard work come to fruition was something that made me feel really prideful.

“That’s my friend, look how talented she is! She’s going to do big things!”

Of course, it didn’t take too long for her to find work within the industry. While it brought her to a new city and a new province, I couldn’t be more happy for her. It’s really easy to take for granted these opportunities to live and work in a new place, and I know she’s fully embracing it. Plus, it has given her a chance to experience my home town. Which I think is really cool when two people come from totally different places; it connects you just a little bit closer to that person.

So we may not be the best at staying in regular contact. Some of our best laid plans took a long while to come to fruition, if at all. At the end of the day though, if the most I got out of my failed time at design school was this really great friend of mine, I think I’ve come out ahead.

Today is your birthday Chloe. I miss you bunches, and hope that you at least come back to visit before you go on your next adventure. I guess I’ve never really shared a lot of this out loud, mostly because it’s not exactly the type of thing you pull out of nowhere. I hope you know you’ll always be one of my favourite people I’ll ever meet in Vancouver, and I love you to pieces.

Have a stupendous birthday (a Friday!! Woohoo!) and I’m sorry for broadcasting this over the blogosphere, I just really couldn’t help it.

You’re one in a billion.

Happy Birthday 🙂

-DFP-