Today I am remembering the wonderful opportunities I had as I entered into my PhD studies. I was offered awesome scholarships to study with amazing people at the: University of Umeå, Sweden; the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia; Harvard, Cambridge, Massachusetts; University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario; and UCLA, Los Angeles, California. I have kept copies of all of those wonderful offers. In the end I would have had to leave my children behind in Toronto, had I wanted to take advantage of any but one, Toronto, of these opportunities. The Toronto offer, which was the weakest and worst choice for me, and for the children, was the only one I could choose if I wanted to keep my children, a conclusion I came to after weeks of heart rendering exploration of possible solutions. Legally I could not leave the city with them, and there was no one else to take care of them while I was away. The ex didn’t want them to leave Toronto, he had lawyers, yet he had no interest in taking care of them, nor would I have considered him a good choice even if he had been willing to invest some of himself in their upbringing. Sometimes I think “what if”, but who knows what lay behind each door. It would have been good for the girls if I had been able to follow my dreams, but such was not to be. These were opportunities that don’t knock twice, by the time the children had grown, there were no opportunities, my dreams were gone.
It was during the time of making these life decisions that I adopted the pen name Maggie Turner, and have used it ever since. Before I began to write my online journal in October of 1999, I had already been using this online moniker for years in online venues, and it flowed into the online journal seamlessly. Even though my dreams had died, I carried on with the life left to me, using the blog to speak my mind, and explore my thoughts. Maggie has been an invention as much as any life is an invention. There are huge ugly bits left out of my Maggie writing, lest anyone entertain the notion that my life is, or has been, ideal. I am of the school that seeks to celebrate and strengthen what is good in the world, without forgetting what is not good in the world. There is much to celebrate, if one ignores the popular notion of success in our society.
And so I come back to sitting in front of this keyboard, looking out the window at the leaves playing in the breeze, the bees visiting each and every bloom on the bright, cheery Scarlet Runner beans that grow up our backyard fence, and it is so very good to be here, to have hands to write with, thoughts to share, and people that I love.
I visited the drop-in clinic yesterday for a follow-up appointment about my high blood pressure. Two weeks ago the doctor doubled my medication. On this visit we determined that it didn’t work, my blood pressure is unchanged, still unacceptably high. The medication has been doubled again and I go back again in three weeks for another assessment. The doctor decided that it is probable that there is an underlying health issue causing my blood pressure to remain high and resistant to moderation by medication. I went in for a blood test this afternoon, and had to leave “samples” as well. With any luck the underlying health issue will be something relatively easy to deal with, and the last increase in medication will lower my blood pressure.
And how did I handle yesterday’s bit of unwelcome news. Well, I am not proud of my reaction, but a girl has to do what a girl has to do. I went to the grocery store, found butter tarts that did not contain my allergen, bought the smallest package, returned home with my treasure, poured myself a big glass of 1% milk, and ate every last butter tart with great relish. Then I felt physically horrid for the rest of the day. Supper helped balance out the poor food choice, we had fresh green beans from the garden, and meatless wieners on rye bread, with fresh garden tomatoes and chopped onion. This morning I feel much better, and breakfasted on a toasted tomato sandwich on rye, and a peach smoothie (1 peach, 8 oz 1% milk). When I used to live in Toronto and some situation hit me hard, I would go for a walk, and the rainbow of humanity soon brought my own existence back into perspective. If that failed I resorted to chocolate bars, and oh the woe of a four chocolate bar day!
Which reminds me of the year we painted the exterior wood siding at Mist Cottage. Attila painted a small bit of the siding, one coat, and it looked so hideous that I went directly to the grocery store, bought a chocolate cake mix, baked the cake, iced it, and ate the whole thing at one sitting. I don’t know what it is about this idiotic coping mechanism of mine, but it works. I regard it as far superior to drugs, legal or recreational.
My last hair cut was a while ago, and my hair has been getting a bit unruly. So last night I asked Attila if he would trim the bangs and the back for me, and he agreed to give it a try. This is an act of extreme generosity on Attila’s part, because I am seldom a satisfied customer, even with professional salon cuts. So Attila braved it out, and the results weren’t all that bad, I can live with this cut, without complaining.
The garden shed is nearing completion. There remains a bit of painting to do, and a ladder to be constructed to access the attic, where lumber will be stored. The new dishwasher has had so many benefits, and allowing Attila much more time after work to devote to his project has made quite a difference in the progress he is making. This garden shed, Attila told me late in May, would take two weekends and the week in between to complete. He began demolition and construction in early June. Attila is too much of an optimist for me to take his estimates seriously!
I see I am wandering around on the page again today… so glad I always end up right here at Mist Cottage.
Date: 6:00 PM EDT Wednesday 14 September 2016
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 102.3 kPa
Visibility: 24 km
Wind: N 22 km/h
“Maps encourage boldness. They’re like cryptic love letters. They make anything seem possible.”
This appeals to the Geographer in me. Another saying that I read on the wall of toilet stall in 1992, that I loved, was:
“If it weren’t for history everything would happen at once. If it weren’t for geography everything would happen to me.”