Today, fill your cup of life with sunshine and laughter.

24 January 2007

23 January 2007


Thank you to all my friends and visitors for your patience and support over the past
few days. I appreciated all your messages of love and concern.

In every heart there is a room
A sanctuary safe and strong
To heal the wounds from lovers past
Until a new one comes along
I spoke to you in cautious tones
You answered me with no pretense
And still I feel I said too much
My silence is my self defense
And every time Ive held a rose
It seems I only felt the thorns
And so it goes, and so it goes
And so will you soon I suppose
But if my silence made you leave
Then that would be my worst mistake
So I will share this room with you
And you can have this heart to break
And this is why my eyes are closed
Its just as well for all Ive seen
And so it goes, and so it goes
And youre the only one who knows
So I would choose to be with you
Thats if the choice were mine to make
But you can make decisions too
And you can have this heart to break
And so it goes, and so it goes
And youre the only one who knows

And now, for the main event. In light of a certain article exposing the, shall we
say, "slightly dishonest" practices of the TV show American Idol, I would like to
dedicate this blog post to the producers of the show. May your nefarious scheming fail once again, as it did when your audience outmanoeuvred you in their zealous support of Taylor Hicks last year. Here now, for your listening pleasure, is a forecast of the producers' pick for winner of American Idol for the 2007 season.

21 January 2007


I don't know what this is - I don't do poetry. I've tried to move past this, but it's not working. It hurts to breathe right now. I know - I tell myself - that I have so much to be thankful for, but there's only one thought in my head. It's not supposed to be like that. Babies aren't supposed to die. I finally phoned my parents. They didn't want me to adopt the first time, so I guess I shouldn't have expected anything but the relief they displayed this time. I don't really know how I can even be writing right now, because I have this big unmoving lump in my chest and my arms feel so heavy. How can emotional pain be so physical? Christiana Elizabeth ... such a big name for such a tiny soul. 3 lbs, 3 oz. That was all. With all her imperfections, she was so beautiful. They sent me a picture. Why did they? I didn't want to see the child I'll never hold in my arms. So why do I carry it with me? Sometimes I wish I could just put everything down and walk away.

How do I breathe
when each breath is a struggle?
Who do I see
when I close my eyes?
Why can't I move
with this weight on my shoulders?
How can I grieve
when I can't seem to cry?

I get up each day
and I go through the motions
Of walking and talking
of working and being.
Reality is
there's nobody there.
Instead of me
it's my shell that you're seeing.

I don't pray for death,
I want my life back, instead.
Because the truth is, inside,
I'm already dead.

19 January 2007


I decided to brave the elements and go to the school anyway to finish preparing for exams. Now I'm kind of regretting that decision, because I'm snowed in. Lol - sure hope conditions improve before I have to go get Brennan.

18 January 2007


Exam Week has arrived and I will be occupied with administering exams, marking, preparing report cards and getting my stuff together for the next semester. Take care of each other and remember to treat each other with love and kindness.

Why Isn't That Enough
By Meat Loaf

16 January 2007


"Alcohol or drug consumption during pregnancy -- any amount -- could be a sentence of lifetime disability for an unborn child."

What is FAS?
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) is a medically diagnosable condition describing a set of birth defects seen in children whose mothers consumed alcohol or drugs during pregnancy. Fetal Alcohol Effects (FAE): is a term used to describe the presence of some, but not all, FAS characteristics when prenatal exposure to alcohol or drugs has been confirmed (also used occasionally when use is uncertain). Fetal Alcohol Syndrome/Fetal Alcohol Effects (FAS/FAE) is one of the major known preventable birth defects among Canadian children.
Prenatal exposure to alcohol or drugs is one of the leading causes of preventable birth defects and developmental delay in children in Canada and one of the top three known causes of mental retardation, along with Spina Bifida and Downs Syndrome. It is a life-long condition. A child with FAS becomes an adult with FAS. There is no cure for this syndrome; the damage is irreversible. The fetus is most vulnerable to various types of injuries depending on the stage of development in which the substance is encountered. A safe amount of consumption during pregnancy has not been determined, and all major authorities agree that women should not consume alcohol or drugs at all during pregnancy. Unfortunately, women sometimes wait until a pregnancy is confirmed before they stop. By then, the embryo/fetus has gone through several weeks of critical development, a period during which exposure can be very damaging. Therefore, the Division of Alcohol and Drug Abuse urges women who are pregnant or anticipating a pregnancy to abstain.
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) is a pattern of mental and physical defects that develops in some unborn babies when the mother consumes alcohol or drugs during pregnancy. A baby born with FAS may be seriously handicapped and require a lifetime of special care. Some babies with substance abuse-related birth defects, including smaller body size, lower birth weight, and other impairments, do not have all of the classic FAS symptoms. These symptoms are sometimes referred to as Fetal Alcohol Effects (FAE). Researchers do not all agree on the precise distinctions between FAS and FAE cases. Alcohol or drugs in a pregnant woman's bloodstream circulates to the fetus by crossing the placenta. There, the substance interferes with the ability of the fetus to receive sufficient oxygen and nourishment for normal cell development in the brain and other body organs.

How Much is too Much?

In a recent survey done for Health Canada to measure the knowledge of the effects of alcohol and drug use during pregnancy, 60 per cent of the survey respondents (male and female) said cutting down on or stopping using would be one of the most important things that pregnant women might do to increase the likelihood that their baby will be born healthy. Many women also said they would be most receptive to support and encouragement from their spouses to stop or cut back. As researchers have not been able to determine a safe level of consumption during pregnancy, there's only one safe course if you are pregnant or wish to become pregnant: don't consume alcohol or drugs.

Even moderate consumption during pregnancy can have serious, long-term adverse effects on the fetus and child. Some studies have shown that children born to mothers who drink or use drugs only occasionally are at increased risk for learning disabilities and other cognitive and behavioral problems. What do alcohol and drugs do to the fetus? When a pregnant woman consumes alcohol or drugs, it rapidly crosses the barrier of the placenta into the fetus. The brain and central nervous system of the unborn child can be damaged by prenatal exposure, at any time during pregnancy.

Bruce Ritchie 1997

Don't ask my child to fly,
for he has not wings.

Don't ask my child to see the glint on the eagle's beak,
for his vision has been diminished.

Don't ask my child to remain calm amid the din,
for her ability to screen out the noises has been taken away.

Don't ask my child to be careful with "strangers",
for he is affectionate with everyone and prey for the unscrupulous.

Don't ask my child to "settle down",
for the clock which works for you and I, does not exist for her.

Don't ask my child to not play with the toys of others,
for he has no concept of property.

Don't ask my child to remember you tomorrow,
although you met today.

Don't ask my child to heal your wounds,
for her hands cannot hold a scalpel or sutures.

Don't ask my child to meet the challenges set by society,
for you have denied her the tools.

Don't ask my child to forgive you for standing idly by,
while he was being tortured in his mother's womb,

for he will,
but He may not.

IN MEMORIUM for a special lady

SUNSET and evening star,
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
When I put out to sea,

But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home.

Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
When I embark;

For tho’ from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crossed the bar.

- Alfred, Lord Tennyson

15 January 2007


Memory is a way of holding onto the things you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose.

By Billy Joel
The prayers and thoughts of many are with you and your family in your time of grieving, my dear Ann, sister of my heart.

13 January 2007


12 January 2007

FIVE FOR FRIDAY, or "What Were They Thinking?"

Musicians have always been, and continue to be, a strange breed. Leave me a comment if you remember any of these freakish fashion statements. Or better, if you participated in the insanity ...

Bennie And The Jets (Live) (2)
By Elton John

Ziggy Stardust (Demo)
By David Bowie

By Madonna

Saturday Night
By Bay City Rollers


11 January 2007

THURSDAY with a silly meme.

I got tagged by dear Sanni and sweet Mary a couple of days ago, and only just managed to get to this now. Sorry there's no bells and whistles today. Anyhow, here's more silly stuff about moi.

(BTW, it's MJ Blige's birthday today, but I'm only human ... and that's BONO!! On the audio as well. Couldn't resist. My apologies to MJ.)

Silly Questions Meme

1.When you looked at yourself in the mirror today, what was the first thing you thought?

I need a haircut.

2.How much cash do you have on you?
Exactly $1. 36, in case of emergencies.

3.What’s a word that rhymes with DOOR?

Abhor, folklore, galore, roar.

4.Do you label yourself?

Yes, I'm afraid it's a very bad habit I have.

5.Bright or Dark Room?

Should I ask what I'll be doing in the room in question? Ok, dark.

7.Why is there always a missing question?

HEY! What happened to number 6? LOL

8.What does your watch look like?

Brown leather strap; digital Indiglo.

9.What were you doing at midnight last night?

Cursing at my blog and trying to get it finished.

10.Where is your nearest 7-11?

Where's my nearest WHAT???

11.What’s a word that you say a lot?

Cool. Hey, it's better than "groovy".

12.Who told you he/she loved you last?

My son tells me every day when I drop him off at daycare, then again at bedtime.

13.Last furry thing you touched?

That would be my big fluffy dog, Daisy.

14.How many rolls of film do you need developed?

None, I'm pretty good about getting them done right away.

15.Favorite age you have been so far.

I would have to say 29. As a matter of fact, I liked it so much,
I've decided to stay there and visit for a while.

16.Your worst enemy?

I would have to admit to it being myself. When it comes to me, I'm hypercritical.

17.What is your current desktop picture?

Work computer is Zac Harmon; home laptop is Taylor Hicks.

18.What was the last thing you said to someone?

" You did a really great job on that project."
I'm still at school, and I just evaluated some work for a student.

19.The last song you listened to?

This is a beautiful song:"No Woman No Cry" - Bob Marley

20.What time of day were you born?

As my mother frequently reminded me, I was born at 4:15 am.

21.What do you do when vending machines steal your money?

Unfortunately, I'd probably just grumble a bit and put more money in.

22.Do you consider yourself kind?

I'm actually notoriously softhearted ... but I DO have a backbone when I need to.

23.What’s your life motto?

All I really need is love, but a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt!

24.Name three things you have with you at all times.

My water bottle, my glasses and my son's picture are with me 24/7.
At night, they are on my bedside table.

25.Can you change the oil in a car?

Yes, but it's icky and I'd rather have someone do it for me.

26.When was the last time you wrote a letter to someone on paper and mailed it?

Last week, I wrote to my son's foster family.

I Tag:
anybody who reads this and hasn't already been tagged.

08 January 2007


Amy tagged everybody to answer these. If you didn't know that, it's because you didn't read her blog, and shame on you for that! Here's a little more useless information about me. Please leave a comment, even if you don't really read my post. It's for the exercise minutes. Really.

1. If you could build a house anywhere, where would it be?
There is a gorgeous private beach near here. At one end, there's a point with a working lighthouse. I'd build my house adjacent to the lighthouse, or maybe even incorporate the two together.

2. What's your favorite article of clothing?
Only one person out there "suspects" this, so it's a true secret, I think. I absolutely adore my flannel nightie. It's cuddly and soft and warm ... it's like wearing a hug.

3. Favorite physical feature of the opposite sex?
Hmmmm, it's really close, but I'd have to say eyes, because you can read a person's character in them, and that's way more important than looks.

4. What's the last CD that you bought?
Thanks to darling Anndi and her blog Friday, I had a weak moment and went out to buy U2 18 Singles. I must admit, it is worth every pang of guilt ...

5. Where's your favorite place to be?
I love this secluded beach near my home (mentioned in #1), any season of the year, although it's to be avoided during a winter storm, because the tide gets too high. And yes, I'm speaking from experience ...

6. Where is your least favorite place to be?
I really dislike being in a crowded elevator. I don't consider myself to be claustrophobic, but I have a vivid imagination ...

7. What's your favorite place to be massaged?
Believe it or not, that would be my hands. I'm a heap of goo after a good hand massage. My hands are my emotional barometer, and are also the principal reason I believe in reflexology.

8. Strong in mind or strong in body?
Am I allowed to claim both? I wouldn't have claimed "mind" a year ago, but that's getting so much better, it might just qualify as a miracle.

9. What time do you wake up in the morning?
My alarm clock goes off at 5:50 am, but I don't get out of bed until 6:00.

10. What is your favorite kitchen appliance?
I would probably starve to death without my microwave ...

11. What makes you really angry? Intolerance and cruelty.

12. If you could play any instrument, what would it be?
To be honest, I can already play most musical instruments, but I would like to play bagpipes.

13. Favorite colour?
I have two - I love to decorate my environment in shades of sage to dark green, but my signature colour to wear is red.

14. Which do you prefer...sports car or SUV?
Ever since my uncle took me for a ride in his lemon yellow '67 Jaguar convertible, I've been a convert. Besides which, I am a bit of a speed junkie.

15. Do you believe in an afterlife?
Yes, because there must be consequences for our choices in life. Sometimes, that belief is about all that holds it together for me.

16. Favorite children's book?
There's no contest, really. My son and I get many chuckles from this one: Dr. Seuss' "I Wish That I Had Duck Feet". It rhymes and the pictures are great. Plus, the educator in me loves the fact that there's an underlying lesson about being happy with yourself.

17. What is your favorite season?
Despite all reasonable presumptions, I love Autumn. The weather is still warm enough to enjoy activities outside, the leaves here begin to change colours to gold and rust, and I go back to work after the long, hot summer.

18. Your least favorite household chore?
I abhor ironing. Wrinkle-free was invented with me in mind. Unfortunately, I am a big fan of natural fibres, which means I spend more time ironing than any sane person should. One of my New Years Resolutions SHOULD be to force myself to wear polyester (shudder).

19. If you could have one super power, what would it be?
I would love to be able to fly. This is a recent desire - it would get me where I want to go, which is with my friends in Birmingham in March.

20. If you have a tattoo, what is it? I'm not a big fan of needles, and inflicting it upon yourself for a non-medical reason seems purely daft to me.

21. Can you juggle?
Actually, I can. I used to volunteer as a clown, and it's part of the training.

22. The one person from your past that you wish you could go back and talk to? I'd love to have another conversation with my hero, my grandmother.

23. What's your favorite day?
My favorite day ever was November 6, 2003: the day I signed the adoption papers for my son.

24. What's in the trunk of your car?
I have a hatchback, so no trunk, but there's a blanket for the dog, one of those cannisters for sealing flat tires, and a car vacuum.

25. Which do you prefer, sushi or hamburger?
I love sushi, and I'm an adventurous eater, anyway. Hamburger is an occasional barbeque food, as far as I'm concerned.

MUSICAL MONDAY #1 - a new series

Many people perceive classical music as being relatively uninfluential today, but we need to understand that all types of music are important, and that classical music is widely used by many rock groups. Some of the methods for integrating classical music into the pop genre are by the inclusion of an orchestra and sometimes a choir, as well as the borrowing of classical tunes, in whole or in part. I thought I knew a lot about this subject, but as I began to select samples, I realized that my knowledge was scarcely the tip of the iceberg. There are literally thousands of popular songs, in every imaginable genre, that are based upon classical music. Here are ten, in various styles, from the 1960's to today:

U from Chopin's Prelude in C minor for piano:
Could It Be Magic?
intro and coda (outro) are direct quotes of the prelude; the remainder of
the song follows the same chord progression

Could It Be Magic (Single Edit)
By Barry Manilow

U from Bach's Suite in G minor for lute:
this is basically a jazzed-up version of Bach's piece

By Jethro Tull

U from Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto #2:
All By Myself
the melody is taken note-for-note from Rachmaninoff

All By Myself
By Eric Carmen

U from Pachelbel's Canon in D major:
C U When U Get There
background accompaniment is the Canon's bass line

C U When U Get There
By Coolio

U from Tchaikovsky's Symphony #5:
Annie's Song
the melody is the same as the 2nd movement of this symphony

Annie's Song
By John Denver

U from Grieg's Hall Of The Mountain King
background track is the Grieg, pretty much intact:

By Mary J. Blige

U from Bach's Jesu, Joy Of Man's Desiring:
Lady Lynda
this one was new to me: the Bach is used both in the
accompaniment and melody of the song

Lady Lynda
By The Beach Boys

U from Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture:
exerpts of the 1812 Overture are scattered throughout

U from di Capua's O Sole Mio:
It's Now or Never
the melody of di Capua's aria is replicated here

It's Now or Never [Original Undubbed Master]
By Elvis Presley

U from Brahms' Symphony #3:
Love Of My Life
the melody is taken from the 3rd movement of the Brahms

Love Of My Life
By Santana

Maybe it's the music nerd in me, but I love the juxtaposition of two such different styles of music. If you're interested, check out Wikipedia's partial list of "popular songs that have been based on classical music". You may be surprised. I know I was.

05 January 2007


This was going to be a bit of fluff for Friday, but I'm going to start out by asking for your prayers for our darling Anndi's mom, who has cancer. I am the absolute worst at expressing sympathy, because no matter how I say things, they come out sounding very "greeting card-ish", but Anndi is one of the most incredible women you could ever hope to meet, and that says a great deal about her mom, I think. Anyhow, they can probably use all the prayers and loving thoughts that you can spare right now. Love you, Anndi.

Ok, now for the fluff: every December, right before the New Year, some of my old friends and I get together to have our Tarot cards, our astrological charts or our Numerology charts read. It's mostly just for fun, although last year's Tarot reading predicted upheaval and great change in my personal life (well, that certainly happened), and also stated that I should become part of an organization through a common interest. I thought it meant I would rejoin Amnesty, or something like that ... (SOUL PATROL!) Anyway, the time has rolled around again, a bit later than usual, and this year, Erica the medium did Numerology readings, which didn't really deal with predictions as much, but were still fun. Here's the first bit of mine:

Coco, you are a number 6.

Your attention is directed to helping and caring for those you love. You are exceedingly domestic. You love your home and family and work hard to make both comfortable and secure. Your love for family and friends is a major source of your happiness and sometimes unhappiness.Your desire to help others is so strong that you often find yourself sacrificing your own personal needs for someone else's. You can overdo it, becoming too deeply involved in other people's lives. You risk interfering in personal matters and or smothering those you love in too much affection. This can be especially weakening to children, who never experience their own personal strength if an adult is too protective.

You are extremely loyal and rarely let anyone down. You need to feel appreciation for your giving and caring. You want to know that you are needed.You are generous and very forgiving. You are somehow able to overlook the worst mistakes in another and find enough good in that person to continue the relationship.You are patient, warm, and sympathetic, sometimes to the point of sentimentality.You have a natural ability as a counselor and healer. You are an excellent listener, compassionate and understanding. You are able to both sympathize and empathize with a person's dilemma. Your challenge as a counselor is to be adequately educated so that you can do more than provide a sympathetic ear or shoulder.

You possess a great deal of artistic talent, though you may not have a lot of confidence in your ability. Art gives you a great deal of pleasure and satisfaction. You are especially sensitive to your environment and have a knack for creating an artistic, healing, and harmonious atmosphere in your home or work space.

Your deepest intention is to love those around you, and be loved in return. Six is the most loving of all numbers, especially in a one-to-one relationship. Your instincts are toward your family and friends. You envision a beautiful and harmonious life with love as the basis for all social interaction. Your love is returned manifold; people appreciate you and the love you give, and are willing to go to great lengths to keep you close at hand.

Ok, so I know that's all only just so much B.S., even though I think that some parts of it might come close, but it was fun to get together with old friends. Does anybody else have New Year traditions that they'd like to share?

04 January 2007

THURSDAY THIRTEEN #7 - Raindrops on Roses and Whiskers on Kittens ...

In case you didn't know, I'm a teacher. That means I am on holiday for two weeks at Christmas time. Today, I'm going to list (and explain, where necessary) thirteen things I love to do in my spare (!) time.

1. Play with my son - oh, come on! You knew this would be number one. When I'm working, I only get to spend a couple of hours with him each day, so vacation time is perfect for doing all the stuff we wish we had time to do, but don't.

2. Listen to music - when I'm at home, the stereo plays non-stop. It isn't just an accompaniment for the things we're doing, either. Sometimes, we do housework or cook to it, but sometimes we sing or dance with it, too. And sometimes, Brennan and I just sit and listen to the music. It's part of what makes our home beautiful ...

3. Make my own music - Well, I am a musician, and nothing soothes, and energizes, me more than to spend a few quality hours with a musical instrument. Whether I'm playing the piano, or the sax, or my beautiful djembe, or singing, there's something so soul-perfecting about it. It's also something I can share with my son and my friends, and that's very important to me.

4. Play games - Nothing says home to me better than a group of people sitting around the kitchen table playing Scrabble or Risk or just about any other game. It's fun, it's communal and I'm afraid it's becoming a lost art for the next generation. It just seems like there's too much to do these days ...

5. Watch movies - I'll admit it. I have a real soft spot for old movies. Come to think of it, I have a huge weakness for new movies, too. And foreign films ... sigh. I just love movies in general. I prefer the theatre experience, but curling up under a soft blanket on the couch with Brennan and a bowl of popcorn ... that's pretty close to my definition of heaven.

6. Outdoor activities - whether it's sports or yardwork, it's something that often gets put on the back burner when I'm working. And guess what? It's stuff that I can do with my son!

7. Make lists - ok, I'm solidly a type B personality, but when it comes to my lists, I'm positively anal. Lists of things I need to do, of things I want to do, shopping lists, wish lists, you name it, I have a list for it. It's contagious, too because, even though Brennan can't write yet, he has already started making lists ...

8. Reading - I am a voracious reader. Books from all eras, in both English and French, line the walls of almost every room in our house. I often have more than one on the go at a time, and I'm rarely without a book at hand. Brennan has started picking up on this, too, and I'm glad, because so many kids these days don't know the joys of reading.

9. Entertain - this was a great love of mine that forcibly took a hiatus during the time I was married. Now that I've been cured of that particular ailment, I'm gradually rediscovering the joys of having friends around the house.

10. Photography - not just the point-and-click kind of photos. I have an idiot proof camera for quick and fun candids, but my real love is the artsy stuff. I have a sweet manual Minolta that has, shamefully, been collecting dust since Brennan came into my life, and a gorgeous Canon with manual override, as well as a full complement of lenses and filters. Our school has a darkroom, and that's where the real magic grabs me ...

11. Cooking/Baking - it's not something I'm great at, but there's something creative about it that appeals to me. Brennan loves to help me in the kitchen, too. And, of course, the end result is usually so satisfying. Unless I burn it ...

12. Sewing - my grandmother taught me how to sew and quilt, and I feel her close to me when I'm sitting at my machine, or handworking a piece. I made most of my own clothes while I was in university, and the year I was off with Brennan, I sewed most of his outfits, too. It's something I do for myself, by myself in the evening, and I find it soothes me and relaxes me before bedtime.

13. Blogging/Computer communicating - this is a recent discovery for me, but it satisfies a need in me that I didn't even realize was there. Not only that, it's been a way for me to stay in touch with some of the people who are important in my life. You know who you are. Hugs to you all.

01 January 2007


Last night was the first New Years Eve celebration that I ever spent essentially alone. Ever. Before you all say "Awww, poor Coco.", I must hastily interject that for that very reason it was one of the very best in recent memory.

Some soul searching during the wee hours of First Night led me to the acknowledgement that I must make this first post of the new year meaningful, if only to myself. I'm a very private person by nature and do not easily give up my secrets. Those of you who have become close to me in the past few months may gawp disbelievingly at that, but if you think about it for a few minutes, you'll remember ...

For the year 2006, I have to thank some very special people. Oddly enough, I've never met most of them. It doesn't matter. In the past year, I've discovered that geographical distance has no effect and no meaning when something is meant to be.

First (and I feel really weird doing this even though it's right and true), I must thank Mr. Taylor Hicks and American Idol. If not for you, I would never have taken steps to find out more about the incredible voice I heard that first night, thus leading me to the people who were instrumental in helping me to make necessary changes in my life.

To my friends of the Soul Patrol and most particularly from the Bunny division, thank you for being there with open arms and open minds. You proved time and again that friendship can happen anywhere, anytime and under just about any circumstances. You also established that love is the most enduring force among friends, no matter what other crap may be going on.

An eternal debt of gratitude to my dear friends SueAnn, Vinny and Anndi. Sue, you were the first person I ever told about my domestic situation, and your input and understanding encouraged me to seek assistance in ending it. Vinny, you validated me in a way no one ever has before. I don't think you realized it at the time, but the turning point for me was June 6. Check your blog on that date if you don't remember why. Anndi, your advice led me in the right direction, and your caring words helped me understand that other people would not condemn, either.

My friends Juanita, Francois-Xavier, Janice and Butch ... even though I had blocked you out of my life when the worst was happening, you were right there when I reached out again. Our friendships, although damaged by my lack of confidence, are steadily regaining ground, and for that I am thankful. A special thank you to F-X for going the extra distance by attending support group with me. That can't have been easy for you. And for looking out for Brennan and me when I was sick. Things like that make me wish you weren't quite so gay, my dear old friend. Lol. I'm glad you're back in the neighbourhood.

Dr. Nadeau, thank you for your talent of listening without interrupting or judging. It was exactly what I needed to get everything out in the open. I wish the others had your instincts.

My brother and his family, because I knew I could count on you for anything. How lucky am I to have family like that? Nothing was too big or too small. And although you made me cry on Christmas Day, I hope you'll remember the smile that went with those tears. I'm still wearing it.

Finally, and perhaps most strangely of all, I need to thank my husband. Distance being the great clarifier, I see now what was clouded in my judgement. You've helped me, Dave, by being an even bigger jerk since we separated, to realize that I deserve so much more than you would ever be able to offer. I don't hate you any more. What I feel is a certain amount of pity, mixed with disbelief, that you can't see that you are the cause of your own discontent. Thank you for behaving, these past months, in a way that helped me see that I was not the reason for any of your failures, no matter what you would have me believe. Now that the separation is legal, I can move on with my life, and make sure that Brennan and I create a new reality far removed from the one you inflicted upon us.

To all my loved ones (I've never said and meant it more), I wish for you all the joy and peace imaginable for this new and glorious year that we are now entering. Much love.