Life is precious

Somehow I've made it through almost fifty-eight years on this planet without a life threatening incident. Sure, I've had some moments, like nearly going off the side of a mountain on my dirt bike, but I never viewed them as "life threatening", or sensed my own mortality.

I've also always considered myself fairly active, working very hard for long days, roller-blading and dancing and hiking and water skiing and cross country skiing and dirt biking - things that people my age don't normally do. Lately I haven't been doing a lot of anything, but that was because I didn't have the money, not because I couldn't.

My situation with not being able to sell the house put me in dire straits financially. My roomie, Ric, has been paying the rent and keeping food on the table, and lending me money when something was critical. One thing I could not afford was my very expensive medicines for my diabetes. I ran out near the end of August, but I had a mortgage arranged for early September, and figured I'd "catch up" on my meds as soon as I had some money and took care of my bills. "Dumb" is not the word for it. Not only did I stop the meds, but my depression made me eat and eat things I am not supposed to touch, let alone gorge on. I ate those mini chocolate bars like there was no tomorrow. I had ice cream with chocolate sauce. I ate ice cream bars and drank Coke and had two or three drinks of Rum every day. I was the poster child for what NOT to do as a diabetic. The mortgage got more and more delayed and still hasn't come through.

A couple of weeks ago I thought I was getting sick with something. I felt horrible and went up to the clinic to see my doctor and get some antibiotics for what I thought was something like bronchitis. I had also just had my blood work done a couple of days before. When my doctor saw me he said he was going to send me straight to the hospital. My blood sugars were completely out of control and I was on the edge. He took a urine sample and said if I started on insulin shots right away I might avoid the hospital. My blood pressure was bad. My cholesterol was bad. My kidneys were bad. I was on the verge of going into a diabetic coma.

The next few days were hell. I almost slept around the clock. I had trouble speaking. I couldn't remember what day it was. My mouth was pasty dry all the time and I drank and drank. I peed twenty times a day. I felt as though I was outside my body. My brain was not working properly, which I learned is a symptom of very high sugar levels. I had not used my glucometer for years, again, not bright, and when I tested my sugars, they were so high all I got was a "too high" flashing on my meter. The least little bit of exercise sent my head spinning. I was so weak. There were a couple of days in there that I thought I would not wake up again. It was pretty scarey stuff.

My sugars are slowly coming down with the insulin shots. The doctor has doubled my insulin, hoping to get my sugars down to where they were long ago. He says I will have more energy and will eventually get back to "normal", which, at the moment seems hard to believe.

This has very much changed my life. I know I came close and I am not infallible anymore. I took my health for granted and I paid the price. I am hoping I have not done too much damage, and that I can get back to living a normal, healthy life. I may be a type 1 now, meaning the insulin shots are permanent, but it won't stop me from living my life as I want to. I need to get healthy, lose some weight and quit smoking, and take all my meds faithfully, or I won't be writing anything on my fifty-ninth birthday.

I hope you learn something from my story and never put yourselves in this position by being as stupid as I was.

Don't Go There



When to explain I try to endeavour

Your only response - “whatever”.

When I suggest we get “touchy-feely”

Your only response - “oh, really?”

When over the line I venture to dare

Your only response – “don’t go there”.

Even when I stumble with only a “duh”.

Your only response – “Uh-huh”.

But when I’m not acting the fool

Your welcome response – “cool”.


And the most common answer wherever I go

Is that all too simple, but meaningful “no.”

Father and Son

Chris called me around six o'clock our time and we talked until 2:30 in the morning! After twelve years we had a lot of catching up to do, that's for sure. Although we covered a lot of ground, obviously, the main things were:

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One of those "Life Moments"

Haven't had a whole lot of "personal" stuff to add to my blog, because, of course, with the reno I don't have a personal "life" per say. lol. Nuttin' but work, work, work.

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As I reach the twilight of my life

As we grow up we take advice from friends and family, mostly our parents. It’s a little late to realize that my parents really didn’t talk to me or share their life lessons to help me to avoid the mistakes I’ve made. Now that I’ve lost both of them I realize that they were too immersed in living their lives trying to survive and didn’t focus on teaching us anything. There were no talks around the kitchen table about life in general or decisions that I had made or what my plan was for my life. We all lived in the moment and didn’t have any real vision for the future.

The “talk” came much too late in life and it was an emotional regret. My Dad decided it was time to ask me where my life was going. It started with a pretty devastating summary of where I was, with no money for the future, no home, no special person in my life and on and on. He pulled up every mistake he felt I had made in my life. It quickly turned into a three hour shouting match, mostly because of the comparison to my brother. They felt he was far more successful than me because he was married, owned a daycare and import business and traveled the world to buy inventory for his business. What they didn’t know was all the dirt in his life. He treated his daycare employees with contempt, taking money out of the business at will and leaving no money for payroll. He wouldn’t spend a nickel on anything to improve the daycare. When he was overseas and his mortgage on the daycare was coming due he called me for help. Every time he got into trouble with the daycare he called me to bail him out.

The history of how he got the daycare, which my Dad felt was such a smart move, would never have happened if it weren’t for me. His girlfriend in Revelstoke had finally got fed up with his smoking weed around her young child that she threw him out. He showed up at my door in Westbank, sobbing that he had lost everything. They had been working together on a mobile home park in Revelstoke and he had put months in to improve the park. Although they were not married, they had lived together for seven years, so he had some right to share in the mobile home park. I started questioning him about how they had handled the financing on the park and he was clueless. He had never even written a cheque and didn’t know anything about the business as Joanne had dealt with everything. I asked if he had any record of all the hours he had put in. He had nothing. I asked if they had drawn up any agreement about the park. He had none. He had even received an inheritance from our aunt, thirteen thousand dollars, and I asked what he had done with the money. He had just given Joanne the money and he had no record of it. He was in up the creek without a paddle.

Knowing that Joanne’s father was a ruthless businessman, coupled with the fact he would not want to see Kevin get anything, I knew he would take steps to transfer the ownership of the park to him so that Kevin couldn’t get his hands on it. I contacted a lawyer immediately and she called a judge in Revelstoke and got an injunction to stop any transfer of ownership of the park. I then spent hours with him going over his contribution to Joanne and the park. After much haggling back and forth, which only happened because we had the injunction and they had no choice but to negotiate, Kevin ended up getting a cheque for a whopping one hundred and thirteen thousand dollars. His reaction? Never thanked me one second and complained about what the lawyer charged him.

He then looked around for something to invest his money in and asked for my help. Although he was a registered nurse he had been caught trying to smuggle cocaine into Canada. He had swallowed bags of it and he called me from the airport saying they were holding him until it came out. Another long story, but he was going to do at least ten years of hard time. I got him a wonderful lawyer who ended up getting him only a six month sentence in Milton. Again, all he did was complain about the bill from the lawyer and never thanked me for saving his ass. With the conviction his life as a nurse was over.

He found the daycare for sale and felt that as a nurse this would be something he could do. When we put in an offer, again, with my Realtor, he couldn’t get financing because his credit record was a mess. I had also warned him that with a criminal record he might have trouble getting his license for the daycare. The only way he got his financing was assuming a first mortgage from the bank and I arranged a private second mortgage, both of which I had to sign for as a guarantor. After the closing date I went in for several days going over the books and setting things up properly. He never spent a minute in the daycare. The old tired house needed a lot of work to be able to get the license, so my girlfriend at the time, Tracy and I spent six months getting the daycare setup properly and running the way it should. Tracy ended up working their looking after the staff and she was amazing.

Before we had started working at the daycare Kevin said that his import business was taking all his time and he wanted to sell me the daycare. That was most of the reason that I worked there with no pay. I drew up an agreement of Purchase and Sale and submitted it to him. He was leaving the country, so I pushed him to sign the agreement before he left. His answer was to call Tracy and offer her a deal to buy the daycare, cutting me out of it altogether. I was furious. Before he left the country he took six thousand dollars out of the daycare, leaving no money to pay the staff. I did my best to collect as much money as I could, but I could not make payroll. On Monday morning, without notice, I had to put up a sign that the daycare was closed, leaving parents with no care for their children. I stood at the door for hours as parents arrived and they were obviously furious and took it out on me. So much for his “successful” daycare.

His marriage? Well, believe it or not, on one of his many trips overseas he met a young girl and got her pregnant. He actually asked Susan if he could bring them to Canada and is she would look after the baby? Talk about clueless! In a flash Susan closed all their bank accounts and froze the assets of their import business. She fire-saled all the inventory out of their store and closed it down, leaving my brother with nothing. Naturally he phoned me to bail him out. He had got involved with some shady land deal in Thailand and needed ten thousand dollars or he said they would kill him. Even though my mother hadn't died, so he was not entitled to any inheritance, I sent him the money, much against my feelings about it. His reaction was to get my sister to argue with me that he should have got more.

It was the last time I had any dealings with him and today I don't know whether he is alive or dead and, frankly, don't care. He has used me ever since he was a teenager and I always come out the worst of it, so good riddens.

You stole my heart

You stole something from me while you were here
A thing that to me I hold quite dear.
I knew it would be gone, right from the start,
I know it’s broken, but can I have back my heart?

And now for the rest of the story…..

Thoughts of rhyme have long since died
Without inspiration I’ve not even tried
Now you come along to light the flame
Of burning desire to write it again.

We are the sum of the people we’ve met
Some bring good, some bad, and yet
We learn from each and every one
To avoid the mistakes others have done.

Visions of you and that cute little wink
You lighten my heart and make me think
About dreams I’ve not had for a while.
Every thought of you brings on a smile.

Your wonderful laugh and twinkling eyes
Stir feelings in me I can not disguise.
Our time together was all too brief
That my feelings are strong is beyond belief.

You’re gone now just as fast as you came.
No more time together – such a shame.
Your life goes right back to the way it was.
Mine now changed forever, you are the cause.

My memories of our time bring on a smile
To say I don’t care would be such denial.
To hold you, caress you and share a kiss
Those wonderful memories are all such bliss.

To cuddle, caress and make love
Would truly be a gift from above.
I got a glimpse of how it might be
If I were yours and you were free.

It’s said that in every life two people exist
Who will be perfect matches you can’t resist.
Now that you’ve come and gone away
I am very sad that it ended that way.

“Hope springs eternal” it’s often said
But my heart must listen to my head
You are so perfect – gorgeous and smart
But logic must prevail, forget my heart.


A different place and a different time?
Isn’t knowing that it “might be” sublime?
Now everyone else will be compared to you
They’ll fail ‘cause to you I’m true.

Ah, the possibilities, tho’ you say “Don’t Go There”,
But memories of you, they’re everywhere.
It’s like there was nothing before you came along
To fill me with hope, dreams and song.

Thoughts of you never go away.
Why this happened now I cannot say.
Maybe the dream is better in fact
You may not like the way I act.

You must have faults, yes, only a few
Certainly no better or worse than I do
We are two different people that we know
But in the same direction, couldn’t we go?

It would be swell to just have the chance
Just to see if there could be romance
Give the dream a chance to come true
You think it’s something we should really do?

There are probably others who’d question why
I would even think to give it a try
When those around might not agree
That you and I, together should be.

That our paths crossed now must be fate.
Such strong emotion that feels just great.
Yet the depth of affection I feel for you
Is dashed by what I know to be true.

That you are pledged to another I cannot ignore.
It’s the painful truth of what came before.
The mere chance of our meeting cannot change
The course of our lives, no matter how strange.

You say I don’t know you, suggesting that’s bad.
What I do know is, without you, I’m left very sad.
Little doubt in my mind that you’re probably right
But my heart says it’s a lot more than one night.

For you are the one I’ve been waiting for
That’s more than you want I cannot ignore
But I speak out no matter the cost
The simple truth – without you I’m lost.

Words of the songs have new meaning to me
Before you came along my mind could not see
How long dead emotions had grown so cold.
It’s wondrous to feel alive before I’m too old.

You spun and you twirled at the beat of the dance
Just like my heart with thoughts of romance
You made me proud just to be with you
Sad that you’re gone now, and I’m so blue.

I wake in the morning and wish you were there
To touch your satin skin and silken hair.
To caress your back and kiss your ear
God, how I long for you to be here

For all too brief moments, my world was okay
Then it was shattered when you went away
My cup was half-full when you were near
Now only half-empty without you here.

When I climb into my bed at night
I squeeze my eyes down very tight
Grasping for the visions of you and me
With you by my side the way it should be.

A hopeless romantic I am, it’s true
I guess that I’ve proven it with you.
But I’d rather live with my dreams
Than consider the facts, it seems.

The pangs of happiness turn to sorrows
When I stop to think about tomorrows
Will I ever meet another who can compare?
To the wondrous woman I met, it’s not fair.

That you’ve got other plans, I cannot deny
Get on with my life and don’t ask why
You came along and moved me so
That these feelings can exist at least I know.

What “might have been” is now lost
That I miss you so much is the cost
Of dropping my guard and letting you in
You showed me how unhappy I’ve been.

We all need our fantasies just to survive.
Thanks to you, mine are alive.
I always wondered how you’d appear
I thought when you did, I’d keep you near.

When I first came west in ninety-three
Never again married did I think I’d be.
‘til now never met a girl to change my mind
To remind me that I am the “marrying kind.”

In my wildest dreams I didn’t think
You could steal my heart with one little wink.
Or that when you appeared in my life
I’d want you forever as my, ah, friend.

The Big "C"

This has been one of those life changing moments when you really wish you had that Leave It To Beaver type family, surrounded by family and friends, and with that special someone in your life to lean on and support you.

My family doctor asked me if the small birthmark I had on my face was getting bigger. He sent me to a dermatologist to get it checked out. She removed a bit of it to send off for a biopsy. I had just traveled down to the Island for a two-day conference at my new job when my doctor's office called and said my doctor wanted to see me right away. Obviously I couldn't come in until I got back, so they made an appointment for Sunday. Some of you may know that my mother had a small lesion on her leg in 1991, which turned out to be fifth stage melanoma, and she was given less than a five percent chance of survival, so I got to freak out for the next few days, worrying about my results. Not exactly what you need on a new job. I did tell my new boss about it just so he knew why I might not be my usual self.

My doctor gave me the delightful news that it was melanoma and I was to see Dr. Anderson, the dermatologist again. Dr. Anderson failed bedside manner for sure, because she came into room, pointing an accusing finger at me, saying "that's melanoma you know - the kind that kills you!" Nice. She said she was sending me to a plastic surgeon to make sure they got it all. I wasn't too concerned because I figured with the way healthcare is in Kelowna, it would be months down the road to get an appointment. To my surprise and dismay, she said my appointment was for that Friday. I remembered my mother being diagnosed on a Thursday and operated on the following Saturday, so this parallel wasn't great. With the new job I asked her what sort of post op I would have and asked if I would have scarring and so on. She said it would just need a "little bandage". Didn't sound too bad.

Wow, did the story ever change when I saw the plastic surgeon, Dr. Williamson, at the hospital! He explained that with these types of lesions they normally remove 5mm around the actual lesion. Having no clue what 5 mm was I asked him to show me. He drew a circle with a felt pen and then handed me a mirror. It was at least the size of a Toonie - not something you want removed from your face. Then he goes on to tell me that he has a problem with me. Normally people my age have wrinkles and saggy skin and he doesn't have a problem finding enough skin to cover the skin he has removed, but my skin is too "youthful" and tight and he can't find enough to cover the surgery. So then he goes into what can only be described as more of a "facelift" procedure, drawing other lines to show me where he's going to "nip and tuck". Scared the crap out of me.

The surgery took a lot longer than planned, I guess because of my damned youthful skin, and a couple of times it hurt like hell because he went outside the area that was frozen. No pain quite like the blade of a scalpel on tender skin. They finished up and bandaged my face up. When I saw the size of the bandage I could only hope that it was a lot bigger than the actual scar.

I ended up falling asleep with the dressing still on, so when I awoke it was soaked with dried blood and I was terrified to try and remove it, in case I broke some of the stitches. I went up to my clinic to have them remove it and put a new dressing on. While the doctor was trying to cut a new dressing he told me to go look in the mirror - the first time I had actually seen what the surgeon had done. OMG. I have this "mark of Zorro" scar that is just gross. All I could think of was how my prospective clients are going to react to this! My choice is either huge bandage or bride of Frankenstein. Not good!


Well, the doctor's words ring true - "better a live guy with a scar than a dead guy with a birthmark". Kind of puts it all in perspective, doesn't it?

Not one of the most fun moments in my life.

My Outdoor Adventure

This was truly my "experience of a lifetime" and I just wanted to share it with you. If you ever venture to Puerto Vallarta do not miss this one!

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Dear Diary

February 27th
Lenny graciously agreed to let me bunk out at her place again. Ain't she great? Nice to have true friends, who understand what you're going through and help out however they can. Couldn't make her dinner because the ski club was having a "thank you" dinner for volunteers that helped out. Awesome dinner at Teresa's and lots of people - way more than I expected. They are a good bunch. Couple of them were heading down to the Gator to see Almost Elvis, so I said I would meet them there. Roads were a little crazy because of a late season snow storm. Almost Elvis certainly wasn't playing the blues, so dancing wasn't as good as usual, but still had fun dancing with Darlene, Cathy, Donna and Waneta. Thanks for the compliments ladies. I needed them this weekend for sure. Told a couple of them that I was going cross-country skiing today and they said they might join me.

Sunday was the perfect day for cross-country. Bit of new snow last night. Temp just above freezing and no wind at all. Linda wasn't feeling good, and, as usual, the others didn't call, so I wasn't crazy about going on my own, but I wasn't going to waste the perfect day, so off I went. Although I wanted to do my usual run, I knew I was not in good shape, seeing as how this is the first time up this year, but I thought I would just take it easy. I was doing great until I took a wrong turn and ended up bombing down a black diamond hill. Couldn't stop and bought it into the snow bank at the bottom, right in front of two skiers coming up. At least it was nice fresh, soft powder I fell into to break my fall. Did a great couple of hours and I just know I'll be paying for it tomorrow.

Cooked chicken wings and Caesar salad for dinner and played with Sasha and took it easy until I came home. Linda was being cautious about talking about who she knew I was going crazy about, as had everybody all weekend. As usual, when I got home I had to empty the garbages, fill up the pellet stove, do the recycling, fill the humidifier, empty the dishwasher, even do Mum's pills which were empty. So much for "help" from my sister.

Now for the worst part of the weekend, and my life for that matter. Over the last three weeks I've learned that it ended up being a big mistake to be so proud of having a great girl and sharing things with friends. Naturally they only want what's best for you, and to see you happy, so they ask how it's going? I have only myself to blame for unwittingly putting myself in an awkward and embarrassing position.

Not even sure I feel comfortable posting anything public about this, but I have to face up to it and deal with it, so this is a start. It doesn't help that I have the picture of her that I posted right above the computer to look at while she was away. As you know all too well, this has been a brutal three weeks for me. I have been through just about every emotion - pain, loss, sadness, confusion, anger, loneliness for the whole time. This weekend was the worst because, first, as far as I knew she was flying into Vancouver Friday night. Of course I didn't know anything for sure because, well, you know why. I kind of expected she would call from Vancouver, or at least email to let me know she got back safely and when she was coming home. Before the holiday extension, we were going skiing this weekend at Big White, so I hoped she would at least let me know if that was on or not. No such luck. As the weekend drew on and still no word from her, I bounced back and forth between concern that something had gone wrong for her, to just total confusion. I got my answer when I got home and checked my email. There was a brief and terse message, a "dear John" thanking me for the "good times we had." "Hurt" and "sad" don't begin to describe how I feel.

Yet another lesson learned - don't EVER be honest about your feelings.

February 23rd
For anyone following the saga of the long lost girlfriend (yeah, both of you), it might have seemed odd that I haven't said a word about it in days. Actually, I know, anyone who knows me finds it odd when I have nothing to say. Well, there isn't anything to say really, only because there hasn't been a single word - no email, no postcards, no nothing. It's a very strange situation for sure. At this point I don't have a clue when she's even coming home. It's already Thursday in Fiji and she'll be leaving at some point because it's a four hour drive back to the airport, and a nineteen hour flight home to Vancouver. I would assume that she probably wants some "catch-up" time at home before going back to work on Monday, so I doubt she won't be back until late Sunday, but you never know. I certainly haven't been right about anything with her so far, have I?

I'll freely admit to being more confused about this "relationship" than I've ever been in my entire life. I find it so hard to believe that I could have been so wrong about someone. We spent so much time together and we talked for hours and hours. I thought I knew her at least enough to think how this holiday would go, but I could never have been more wrong. They say "absence makes the heart grow fonder". I guess you could add "absence makes the brain clearer" as well. When I put the holiday experience together with the stuff that happened before she left, I get a pretty clear picture of how dumb I've been. All the affection; the "wuv" you; the cards and gifts; "celebrating" our one month anniversary; and talking about the longer term and making plans to do stuff together, like take lessons to develop a dance routine for us, all seems so empty when I realize there never ever was anything coming back from her. How could I have missed this when it was so damned obvious? I guess when you are blinded by falling in love with someone you don't pay attention to the fact that they don't feel the same way. You just wish for it, but that doesn't make it happen. Even though some things should be painfully obvious, like refusing to let me do something for her for Valentine's Day, which I know is brutally clear to just about everyone on the planet except me, accepting the truth means you have to give up on your dreams of it being the way you had imagined.

Regardless of how badly it turned out, and how painful it has been to accept the way things really are, I know I am a better man for having been through all this. I have learned my lesson and will be much more cautious the next time, even when my heart tells me differently. I know now that expressing my true feelings too soon is my worst enemy, not my friend. I will pay more attention to the signs - the reality and not the dream. I will try to keep uppermost in my mind how much it hurts to be so wrong.

I have always believed that there is a woman out there who wants what I want - love, affection, trust, treating each other like the two most special people in our lives, caring more for the other than ourselves, putting their needs first, respecting and sharing in their hopes and dreams, and knowing that, with them, our lives have more meaning and are so much better together, than apart. They light up the room and our hearts when they walk in. We think about them all the time, not out of need, but out of love. We miss them horribly when they are not around. We only find true peace and comfort in their arms. We know honest passion when we make love. We are devastated by any upset or argument, or anything that jeopardizes our future, like health issues or family situations. We are free to be ourselves, without any reservations. We can feel genuine kid-like happiness around them, and we laugh and laugh together. We sense a whole new optimism about life, and we can confront our problems with the confidence that having a strong relationship brings. None of this exists when you are alone. I know that all too well, because, obviously, I am alone.

"It takes a minute to have a crush on someone, an hour to like someone and a day to love someone, but it takes a lifetime to forget someone."
- author unknown.

February 20th
Got out of my gloomy slump (a glump?) a little this weekend.

Saturday got off to an interesting start. Tracy was going to look at a boat in Peachland and she asked me if I would mind coming along with her to check it out. It was a chance for me to see the kids again, so I jumped at it. It was terrific to see Bray and Madison again. They are getting so big! We had a ball and took some pics. They dropped back to the house to see some of the renos and say high to Mum, although Mum had no clue who they were, of course. Threw her a little when Bray said, "good-bye Grandma."

Lenny graciously agreed to put me up for my one-day weekend break. I was cooking dinner for her Saturday, then we were going to the Blue Gator that night, and hiking on Sunday. Her boss, Heather, had a friend, Judy coming in for the weekend, so the plan was changed to dinner at Friends, then to the Gator. We had a great meal, that I couldn't afford, at Friends, then we were off to the Gator to see one of my favs, Dogskin Suit. I was shocked when I walked into the Gator because they had done some major renos since I was last there. It's about twice the size now and awesome. Big new dance floor and more seating.

It was one of those weekends that prove Kelowna is the biggest little small town in the world. When we sat down I noticed a blonde sitting at the table next to us, and thought I might be lucky enough to know her. When she went out for a smoke I followed, and she immediately said "hi, Gary", and I realized it was Wanita, my buddy Greg McCarthy's ex. We did some catching up and she asked me to dance, which was great. At one point she was sitting alone at the table, so I went over to ask her to dance, She said she didn't want to leave the table because she was waiting for some friends to arrive. Next thing I see Marv and Sylvie, my sort of ex, come walking up to the table, so we had a laugh that we all knew each other. Darlene was there, the lady I planted the tress for, and John Grant and Erin, so I got lots of dancing in. John asked me if I liked hockey cause he gets Rockets tickets a lot and takes his son, but sometimes his son can't go, so he asked if I wanted to go with him. Bonus!

When I was talking to John and Erin, we mentioned the dance lessons from Tom and Deb, and I said I was hoping to take them with my new girl, but things were a little uncertain with the whole "holiday" thing. I explained what happened to John, and the first thing he said was "oh, she's with a guy then, not a girl." Funny that everyone draws the exact same conclusion. Erin was listening, and she asked if this was the girl she knew. When I said yes, she said that the girl she knew was a "sweetie" and would never ever do that, so don't jump to conclusions.

Sunday was a bit of a bummer cause, first I wanted to go cross-country skiing, but Lenny wasn't up to it, so we were doing a hike. Judy was joining us, but when Sunday morning came, Judy was "sleeping it off", and Lenny wasn't doing anything except crash on the couch. I ended up taking Sasha (Lenny's dog) for a hike myself. Got some good pics for the hiking website, and managed to train Sasha to actually come for me off the leash, which was great.

Still in a bit of a "funk" but at least took my mind off things for a bit. Stay tuned.

February 17th
Well I finally heard from the long lost "girlfriend". Now she's staying until late next week, not arriving into Vancouver until Friday at 11:00 pm, with no idea when she'll be back into Kelowna. I can just hear the tongues wagging now - yes, I guess he's showing her a very good time, and she wants more. Oh well, at this point what's a few more days. I wasn't expecting an invite to the wedding anyway. Oh, and by the way, not a word about the Valentine's eCard, naturally. Did I expect anything else? Live and learn, I guess.

Even sadder is the fact that I've been in a sulk, dreading the thought of learning the truth at the airport on Sunday. I've been feeling that horrible sense of loss when a relationship is over, and it hurts so bad. You try to pick yourself up and get on with life, but it all seems so empty without that special someone. They always say it's better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all, but right now, I can't say I agree with that. Not a very happy camper, that's for sure.

February 16th
Okay already - so I am an idiot. I get it. Sometimes having lady friends to talk to really sucks, cause they make so much sense all the time. Sometime it's better to just be a clueless man, and fumble your way through life, than to actually understand the female mind.

In helping me through my confusion over the Valentine’s Day "massacre" with my "girl", survey says I am clueless and I don't get it. Why would she not give me the information on where she was staying so that I could do something special for her on Valentine's Day, even when I had to spoil the surprise and tell her why I needed it? She knew how difficult it would be for me to have her away on such a big day for me, and how important it was, but she refused to give me her "girlfriend's" name, who the room was booked under. Made no sense. Well, survey says, it isn't a "girlfriend" she's with; it's obviously a "boyfriend". That explains why she refused to give me any information; why she said she wanted to have no "connection" while she was there; why she hasn't made any attempt to email me, and why she hasn't even received the eCard Valentine I sent her. Duh! Wake up Gary. Okay, I get it. I may be older, but obviously not wiser. I want to think only the best of people, and trust them, so don't confuse me with facts. Sometimes you just want something so bad that you ignore the reality of how things really are.

Although I hate hearing the truth, I defer to all those wise women who are true friends and want only the best for me, and don't want to see me get hurt. I'm listening and I promise to learn. Don't forget, I am a "hopeless romantic". We just hate the truth when it isn't the least bit romantic. You could have at least humored me when I suggested she was staying in a grass hut on a deserted island with no contact with the outside world, and that explained why I hadn't heard from her. Damn you!

Even though. sadly, you are no doubt right about the boyfriend thing, I hope you are also right that she will still want to be friends, if not boyfriend/girlfriend, because I truly was looking forward to doing all the things we talked about. I have a ski pass to Big White, and she agreed with me holding off going until she came back. We talked about going cross-country skiing, and she said she would try to learn roller-blading. And the big one - she is my all-time favorite dance partner, so I hope we can always dance, no matter what. Against my better judgment (okay, so I don't have any) I went to the Corral last Saturday, if only to refuse to admit to myself that I couldn't go without her, and it was lousy. I didn't enjoy dancing with all my "regulars" because they just didn't get it, and kept asking me what the hell I was doing when I tried some of the moves I do with her. We talked about taking dance lessons together and I hope this is still on for her. Hopefully the "boyfriend" understands.

Clueless in Kelowna.

February 14th
This is the day when those in love feel that special glow of being with someone special. It's also the day when those people without someone special feel lonely and depressed, and wonder what they are doing wrong in their lives.

My "sweetie" is in Fiji, a million miles away, and this makes this day all the harder. It's a day ahead in Fiji, so I sent her an eCard for Valentines yesterday. I was hoping beyond hope that she would find the time to at least send me an email or let me know she got the card, but no such luck. As an admittedly "hopeless romantic" guy, Valentine's Day is the most special day of the year to me, and it's sad to see it as just another day. Before I found out she would be away on Valentine's I had made reservations for a special table by the window at Earls, down on the lake - something that's almost impossible to do because it's THE romantic spot for Valentine's. I was going to have roses on the table for her, and get her something special for our very first Valentine's Day. All of this was trashed when she informed me she would be in Fiji. As sad as I was about it, I tried to arrange to send her flowers at her hotel in Fiji, and emailed the hotel to make the arrangements. They had no one by that name booked in, I assumed because it was booked under her friend's name. I tried to get her to give me the information, without telling her why, but she wouldn't without her friend's "approval". Finally I had to spoil the surprise by telling her why I needed it, and she still wouldn't give it to me. So much for feeling "special".

Instead of feeling that warm glow of being special to someone, all I feel is the incredible sadness at what might have been. Not exactly what I had in mind for Valentine's Day, 2006. Hopeless Romantic? Nope, just another sad lonely guy.

January 30th
What a difference from last weekend. This weekend was one of "failed expectations". Part of the problem was my sweetie was still very sick, and worried that she would still be ill when she had to fly off to Fiji next Friday - a scary thought with a head cold. Friday night was me cooking dinner, and watching movies, so she could rest. This weekend was Snowfest, so there was lots going on to do, but Crystal wasn't up to going out much.

Saturday night was a big deal for me, as it was the last night Crystal and I would have for quite a while. She's leaving on Friday afternoon, and not coming back until late Sunday night in two weeks, so that basically toasts three complete weekends - the only time I get to leave the house and caring for Mum full-time. This meant Saturday night was the only break I would get in the next whole MONTH. Yikes! Talk about pressure to make the best of it! No matter what we did Saturday night I at least hoped I could spend the night with Crystal at her place. When we talked on the phone to decide what she was up to, she informed me that she wanted to get a good night's sleep and preferred that I didn't stay over. That was a blow! My one and only night in a month was toast. We ended up going to the Corral because she felt she wanted to at least try to see if she could get some dancing in. We did have a couple of hours of great dancing, but this was certainly overshadowed by going home alone at the end of the night.

Sunday was even worse. I had hoped that we could spend our last full day together. Ron and Wendy were taking Mum out for breakfast and then to the casino, so we would have the day alone at least. I suggested I get some movies and cook a nice roast beef dinner, then we could cuddle and watch our Sunday night TV - all so Crystal could just get some much needed rest. No deal. She can't handle Ron and Wendy's smoking in our house, so my plan was toast. Not exactly what I wanted after feeling so bad after Saturday night. I'll admit to the start of some serious doubts that this was going to be so "perfect" after all. I know that it's the stress of caring for Mum full-time and feeling that no one cares what Gary wants, and it's all very unfair to a new relationship with Crystal, but feelings are feelings. I almost didn't go to see her at all, but realized wallowing home alone in my self pity wasn't going to solve anything. It would have all been different if she wasn't sick, and simply didn't want to do anything I wanted to do, so I knew it was unfair to judge her this way. And we've had such good times, and so much promise. The very thought of it being over brought me to the verge of tears.

I doubted she was going to be well enough to do anything, like go skating, so I picked up a movie. It was so indicative of my day that even her DVD conspired against me and wouldn't work, but I eventually figured it out with the kind help of Hillary at Shaw. Crystal cooked a great meal and we sat down to watch Hustle and Flow, which then promptly started breaking up and wouldn't play properly. Could anything else go wrong today? No sooner had we eaten dinner than the phone rang and it was my sister informing me that they were leaving early and asking when I was coming home? I told her not to tell Mum any particular time, but that I would be home soon. She called again when they were leaving asking me if I was going to be on my way soon? When I avoided making a commitment she said Mum was freaking out, afraid to be on her own. When I said that was nothing new - she did that every night, my sister's smart assed reply was to ask me if I go out every night? I've been telling everyone that Mum is not eating; balling all the time, and shaking, scared about she doesn't know what. No one believes me. The second Wendy walks in the door Mum wants to have a drink and party. She eats and goes off to the casino, just like everything is great, which it's not. I get all the bad stuff. Wendy sounded so judgmental that I wasn't dropping everything and rushing right home. I guess I am not entitled to have any life at all. Crystal was on the phone and I had paused the movie for a while, just long enough to start feeling guilty about not getting home and knowing that I now didn't have time to watch the movie anyway, and if she had come to our place like I wanted in the first place, I wouldn't be stressing about all this, so I gave up and left.

Did I find Mum in am emotional turmoil when I rushed home, or wandering around the park scared? No, she didn't even acknowledge me coming in. She was watching TV in her room, blissfully ignorant of how she had destroyed my last night with Crystal. What should my sister have done? Well, if she had a clue about Alzheimer's, or if she gave a damn about me, she would have told Mum I was trying to enjoy my all too brief break from caring for her and I would be home when I got home, and to stop pulling this shit. She had my cell phone number and Crystal's home phone number, and could call if there was a real problem of any kind - not the ones she so conveniently fabricates when she doesn't get her way.

Crystal did call later and we talked for our usual marathon, and she made me feel better. I am starting to realize more and more that nice guys really do finish last. No matter how hard I try to be accommodating to everyone and consider how they feel, no one give me the same respect in return. If I was a miserable, self-centered, prick that puts himself first, like so many guys I know, at least people pay attention. That's just not who I am, so I guess I'm doomed. I realized that all of what's going on now, especially with Crystal and I, which is the first thing I've done for me in forever, started with Christmas. I was as entitled to Christmas as anyone else - even more so when I've done more than my share of giving everything up for everyone else. My buddy was driving seventeen hours to spend Christmas with me, and we had been invited to friends for Christmas eve. My sister informs me at three in the afternoon that they're leaving for ten days to Vegas, and want to "get away early". Gary's plans? Who cares? Instead of just rolling over like I always do, what I should have done was tell her I had made plans based on her telling me she would be here, so either stay or take Mum with you. It's time for someone else to share the load.

Special moments? None this weekend. Not a one. And this when I face the next three weekends with more of the same, and no one to share any chance of "special moments" with. This sucks the big one. Watch this space. Things are going to change.

The Year in Review

Well it's that time of year to think back at what made 2006 memorable and to plan for 2007. For me 2006 was one of the most difficult years of my entire life. There's nothing to celebrate or look back with fond memories on. Mostly it was a year filled with struggles with relationships and too much sadness and feeling very lonely. If there's any good to come of it hopefully I will be able to reassess who I am, what's missing from my life and discover how to change it.

Family: tough on all fronts. Giving up hope of ever seeing my kids again. It's been twelve painful years since we had any contact. I've hung on to the faint hope that someday they will smarten up and realize I was a good father who gave his all for them and who loves them very much. It's been incredibly hard to live with them not knowing that Dad passed away last year. Accepting that I will never see them again burns a hole in my heart and adds to my loneliness.

My birth family has been torn apart, first by the loss of my dear father. The memory of the day he died still haunts me like it was yesterday. I can still see him lying face down in the water and me dragging him up the beach and giving him CPR, desperately trying to bring him back. The paramedics working on him and my mother crying uncontrollably on the porch, and the idiot cop asking me questions while I watched my father die in front of me. My mother has gone from an otherwise healthy vibrant woman who suffered from Alzheimer's, to a shell of a woman. She has lost at least sixty pounds and is frail and unable to function. She hasn't eaten for days and now has uterine cancer on top of everything else. Her doctors say that the hysterectomy she needs will probably kill her, so we now face the choice of her having the operation with poor chances of her surviving it, or watching her waste away from the ravages of cancer. Not great choices.

My brother pulled yet another one on me, sending me into a frenzy trying to get money to close yet another one of his hair-brained schemes going in Thailand. There were over fifty calls from Thailand in just over a week and I finally managed to get him the money, only to have the deal fall apart and leave everyone pissed at me for helping him. Barely a thank you from him. Then he came home and started pushing me about all the decisions I made with Mum, questioning everything I did and not helping a bit with her care. Unbelievably selfish, as usual.

It was a year of huge change for Mum. I sold her place after working my butt off renovating it and finally managed to get her into a care facility after eight months of pushing anyone who would talk to me. The time I cared for her after losing Dad was the most trying time in my life. Being thrown out on a regular basis; being told I was "f*ckin useless" and the daily abuse was really hard on me and there were times I thought I would lose it. My sister added to the strain by being in denial that there was anything wrong with Mum. Only after she took her to Revelstoke did she get a glimmer of what I had been dealing with, and she still worked all week and only visited Mum. She never dealt with the 24/7 I did, yet she was still on the verge of a nervous breakdown because of Mum. She took Mum out of the care facility it had taken me eight months to get her into, and put her into what was basically a "bed and breakfast" care facility, who weren't capable of providing the care Mum needed. She was eventually hospitalized and finally got into a new care facility, but it was too late. Now she is just waiting to die. If they had left her in the facility in Kelowna, where she got the care level she needed, and where she was starting to make friends, she might still be with us, healthy and happy and dealing with her Alzheimer's.

The saddest of all for me was that my nephew, on learning of just what I had been through caring for Mum, said Wendy and Kevin thought I had "done nothing". That cut like a knife. I wanted nothing more to do with either of them.

Friends: not much to say here. When I think back to the good years of boating and camping and partying and hanging with the group of at least thirty of us, it's sad that everyone has gone their separate ways. I have almost no contact with anyone, even the ones I considered close friends. This all came to a head when I moved in June. I'm normally the one helping everyone, but I sent out an email in desperation because I simply couldn't move everything myself. The response from all the people I'd helped over the years? One person, and not even a close friend. George learned of my need from Bianca in Alberta and saved my butt by working all day in oppressive heat. He was a life-saver that day. I was very hurt and angry that my so-called "friends" couldn't give me a hand when I so desperately needed it.

Work: taking on this project has meant untold hours of really tough work. There's certainly been some challenges, but it's been gratifying to see things coming along. It's been a very lonely pursuit though as no one ever offers to help me with anything. When I think how I've done so much work for other people over the years, it hurts that it never comes back. Makes me feel very used and abused.

Love: well, 2006 sucked. Enough said.

Oh, and Happy New