The best and the worst.

  I cried myself to sleep that night.  I lay on that single size mattress that wasn’t my own and cried for mess I had made, for the bigger mess that was coming, and out of sheer exhaustion.
  My arms felt heavy from the weight they had carried all day.  My legs were sore from all the steps they had climbed that day.  And my face hurt from trying so hard to put on a brave face on all day when I was scared.
That day I removed the last thread holding my family together.  I took my children away from a life they loved, cut off ties and hurt people in the process, created a vast hole where before there was something.
I no longer had a bed of my own.  I didn’t have beds for my children.  I couldn’t make them dinner that night even if I wanted to.  I was surrounded by boxes that weren’t my own.  The only space for me to lay my head down that night was on the floor in a kitchen.  I lay on that mattress that wasn’t my own, staring up at a ceiling that wasn’t familiar to me, and cried for the place I was in, the mess I had created, for everything I had lost, for everything I had failed.
It was the worst night of my life.
In the morning, the sun came in unfiltered through the kitchen window and filled the room with light.
I had slept through the night for the first time in months.  Maybe even years.  I woke and just lay watching the light move across the walls that were starting to feel a bit more familiar to me.  I did not wake with the usual  jolt of dread that left my heart pounding till after my morning coffee.  I remember feeling the smile on my face that needed no forcing, that appeared out of desire and seeing the light.
The boxes that had threatened to become an avalanche of burden the night before seemed smaller that morning, and easily done away with.  The pain of the night before had dissipated with the morning sun, and left a scrubbed clean version of my new world.  My mind was more calm and clear that it had been in months.  I knew I had made the right decision.
  It was the best morning of my life.
  Both perspectives are important to me.  In one night I saw the limits of my strength pushed and how easily it could be renewed.  The worst and best happened for me at the same time that night, and my perspective was changed.  It was OK to trust myself.




Dear 2017,

My word this year is ‘Push’.  You will hear this single word when you try to slow me down.  I will push back if you try to trip me up.  I will push to stand up if you try to knock down.  I will push a little harder if I feel I am out of fight.

I.  Will.  Push.

I’ve worked hard the last two years.  2015 was my doorway.  2016 brought me beauty.  I have put so many things in place.  2017 will be when I will push to cross off the big items from my list.  It will be the year I push the boundaries.  It will be the year I push myself to overcome challenges.  It will be my year to push.

Mom, I’m going to be late…

Occasionally I get a glimpse into what my children will be like in the future.  I got another glimpse this morning when my oldest added an alarm to my phone to remind me of something I need to do today, while my youngest claimed she’d lost her pants, again.  

Christmas Eve, 2032

*a telephone rings

HALIA:  Hello?

MOM:  Hey, Squish!  I was just calling about dinner tomorrow

HALIA: *sighs  Yes, I just sent the file to you.  I’ll be leaving my place at 3:07pm, which means I’ll arrive at 4:30pm.  In the file is the route I plan on taking, as well as a link so you can follow my progress on the way.  I didn’t recieve your meal plan for tomorrow, so I took it upon myself to order in some groceries yesterday.  Did you recieve them?

MOM: Yes, I did, but –

HALIA:  I also included the recipes in the file.

MOM:  You know, I have done this before, Halia…

HALIA:  Yes, I know you have, Mom.  I just want to make it easier for you.  I’ve sent notifications to your phone to let you know what time to preheat the oven and when to start cooking the turkey.  I’ll take care of the veggies when I get there.  

MOM:  I was thinking we could have…

HALIA:  We are having turkey, Mom.  No substitutes this year.  

MOM:  OK, fine.  Have you heard from your sister?

HALIA:  No, but I did locate her phone.  

MOM:  Oh, where is she?

HALIA:  Maybe you should just call her.  I’m sick of having the same conversation with her.  

MOM:  OK.  I’ll see you tomorrow

*a telephone rings

LEONA:  Mom!

MOM:  Hey Squeakers!  Halia told me to call you about Christmas dinner.  

LEONA:  Yes, for sure!  When is that?

MOM:  On Christmas day, of course.

LEONA:  Oh, yeah, I knew that…

MOM:  That’s tomorrow.

LEONA:  Oh, um, I’m going to be late.  

MOM:  I haven’t told you the time yet.

LEONA:  Yeah, um, Mom, the thing is…

Hang on…

*there’s rustling over the phone and Leona speaks to someone nearby

Excuse me, could you tell me where I am?  

Are you sure?

Well, yes, I suppose most people would be sure of where they live

*Leona comes back to speak to Mom again

The thing is, I’m in New Delhi  

Mom, are you still there?

MOM:  Oh, Leona…

LEONA:  Mom, I can explain!  I’ll be there for New Years!  I promise!

MOM: That’s in a week.

LEONA:  Make that Valentine’s Day.

MOM:  Just bring me back something nice.

LEONA: Speaking of buying things…

MOM: *sighs  Yes, I’ll send some money.  

LEONA:  Thanks Mom  

Brantford Writer’s Circle 2nd Annual Book Launch Shindig

On November 28th, the Brantford Writer’s Circle will be having its 2nd Annual Book Launch party.  This party is to celebrate the authors who have published this year, as well as to celebrate authors who have published in previous years and supported the group.

This is a public event and everyone is welcome.  Come mingle with members, meet the authors and get your copies signed.  I am pleased to announce that we will have Caleb Turgeon at the event. Caleb will be providing entertainment. He will also have his new CD, titled Sidewalk Confessions, available for purchase during the event.…/…

November 28th, 2016 @ 7pm
Train Station Coffee House 5 Wadsworth St, Brantford Ontario



Be Good.

I had to google how to write a eulogy.  In my mind it seemed so cut and dry that I thought for sure I was missing something.   

  I’m supposed to tell you how my mom was born in Brantford in 1951 to Betty Foster Hamilton, and George Jones, both of whom passed away before her 20th birthday.  I’m supposed to tell you she had a brother, Robert, who also passed away before her.  I’m supposed to tell you she grew up poor, and died not much richer.  I’m supposed to tell you a synopsis of her life but none of that will matter tomorrow.  

 But I can tell you what she’s leaving behind, and what will be missed.  

 Becky, my mom taught me the value of friendship.  She met her best friend, Karen,  when she had barely started public school, and they remained best friends through loves and loses, births and deaths, health and sickness.  I’m proud to say that I know my mom’s best friend well enough that I could recognize her laugh in a crowd.  I hope that I’m lucky enough to have you as my best friend not only for that long, but for my girls to know that they have someone looking out for them just as much as I am.  My mom taught me how important it was to be friends, and to keep them close like family.

  She left behind her laughter with my brother, Matthew.  Mashed potatoes behind the furniture.  Food fights.  Tripping over someone’s face.  Karate kids crossing the street, applecores and bad jokes.  The ability to see the punchline before the joke has been made.  The unique talent of laughing straight from the gut.  Her humour is in my brother and sometimes the only thing left to do is laugh.

  She left me the rules on being a woman.  She showed me that it’s okay to be beautiful, smart, funny, strong and independant all at once.  She taught me that I should be proud of that, and never hide it away.  She taught me that Prince Charming might be a fairy tale, but that’s no reason I can’t be a legend.   

  Halia and Leona, your grandmother left strength behind for you.  Your grandmother had balls of steel.  

  Great.  Big.  Fucking. Shiny ones.  

  She took life obstacles head on, bashed her way through, and came out stronger on the other side.  She didn’t always aim her fight in the right direction, but she was a force to be reckoned with, nonetheless.  Life handed her a lot of shit, but she still fought on till the end.  If I ever teach you anything, I hope that I teach you to have even half the strength that woman had.

  When we have reached our final day, our whole life will only amount to the legacy we leave behind, the lessons that carry on beyond us, and the standards with which we held ourselves accountable.  

  In my last conversation with my mom, she told me to ‘be good.’  Such a simple sentiment, but one we often take for granted.  I’m sure part of my mother’s message was intended to remind me to stay out of trouble, but the greater lesson was to be a good person.  Be the person you want to be.  Be the person you wish the world to see.  Be the standard that others live up to.  

Just be good.  

Thank you.  


Thanksgiving 1989

  He sat down at my Mother’s table, in my father’s spot, even though he didn’t ask if he could.  My mother, brother and myself were each seated in our usual spots, so my father’s spot was the last remaining one open, but still, he should have asked.
  My mother was all smiles that Thanksgiving, instead of all cursing, and when I looked at her from my side of the table, I noticed she was wearing my dangly earrings; my only dangly earrings.  She didn’t ask either.  Everything he said required my mother to nod emphatically with him, and those dangly earrings nodded with her, keeping beat each time they grazed her cheek and neck.  They were stupid earrings anyways.
  I gnawed on my turkey, watching those stupid earrings when I turned to look at my brother, who was already staring at me.

We locked eyes and identical, crooked smiles formed on each of our faces.  We had a mission to complete.

  Not wishing to draw any suspicion from Mother, we turned our attention back to our plates, waiting for the moment our plan would turn into action.
  He talked for what seemed like hours, always boring topics.  My mother spent most of her meal with a mound of mashed potatoes on her fork, perched in her hand, half way between her plate and mouth, always smiling, nodding, and only taking forkfuls of food when he turned his own attention back to his plate.
   Finally the conversation died away, and just the scrapes of the fork on the plates and between teeth could be heard.  The tension between my brother and I suddenly grew thick.  Surely Mother would be alerted.
   I took a deep breath, and as calmly as I could, not taking my eyes off the plate I said “Applecore”.  I said it so much louder than I had planned.
   “No!” my mother said.
   “What was that?” he asked Mother.
   “Oh, nothing.” My Mother said and smiled sweetly to him.
   Quiet fell over the table again.  I could hear everyone chew.  It dragged on so long, the silence, I thought for sure my brother had aborted the mission.
   “Baltimore” my brother finally said.
   “No!  I mean it!”  My Mother said sternly.  There was no smile this time.
   Braver now, not to be out-dared by my little brother, I said “Who’s your friend?”
      “Don’t you dare!” My mother hissed at us.
      He stared at us, brows furrowed high on his vast forehead.
      My brother put his fork down, and raised his napkin.  Oh, No.  Surely he wasn’t admitting defeat in our mission now!  We were so close!
   He used his napkin to wipe his mouth, turned and beamed at me.  

   “Len” my brother said.  

   I stabbed my boiled-to-perfection brussel sprout with my fork with gusto.
   “Amanda…” my mother said.
   I turned my fork in my right hand, tines to the ceiling, handle gripped in my fist.  The brussel sprout slide further onto its spikes.
   “Don’t!” Mother said, placing both hands on the table.
   “What’s going on?” he said.
   I raised my fork a bit higher, my left thumb finding the right spot on the tip of the tines.  I pulled back the catapult.
   “No!” Mother said.  Here comes the cursing.
   This was my mission and I couldn’t let my brother down.  I released the fork catapult and that brussel sprout flew through the air in a courageous ark, in a direct flight to its target.
   My mother reached out to try and grab the brussel bomb in mid flight, but missed.
   “Dammit, Amanda!” Mother said.

   My brother laughed.   I sat up tall, proud of the missions direction thus far.  

   The brussel bomb made contact with its target, leaving a green skid mark across his bald head, and finally falling to the floor right behind his chair.

      “What the fuck?!” he yelled and ejected himself from his seat, pushing the chair backwards.  “What the fuck is wrong with you?”
      My brother stopped laughing.  I held my breath.
      “They’re just being kids.  She didn’t mean any harm.”  My mother said.  She leaned towards me in her chair, her hand reaching towards me.
   “They’re being fucking brats!” he said, still standing.  He leaned towards my mother, over the table, his face getting red, and pointed a meaty finger towards her.  “What kind of mother are you?”
   “You should leave.” my mother said with such calmness that both my brother and I cringed with the fury that was about to be unleashed.
   “Fine!” he said, and pushed his chair back towards the table.  As he stepped back, he stepped right onto the brussel bomb, grinding it right into his socked foot.  “Fuck!” he said as he limped towards his shoes and the door.   He grabbed his jacket and out the door he went with a slam.

   Mother returned to her meal, as we listened to his car pull out of the driveway, spewing more gravel than necessary in his wake.
   “I’m sorry, mom” I said.
   Mother continued to eat, with a pace much faster than she had during the first part of the meal.
   “I didn’t mean to-” I started
   “Applecore” said Mother quietly.
   “What?” I said.  I must have misheard her.
   “Baltimore?” my brother said sheepishly.  He and I looked at each other.   We were out of our element now.
   “Who’s your friend?” mother said, not lifting her eyes from her plate while she pushed her mashed potatoes into a tall mountain.
   “Um… Amanda?  Please?”  My brother said.  He leaned back in his seat as though the table might bite him.  I looked at my brother again who looked just as confused as I felt.
   I looked back at Mother “Mom, I- ”
   And then the counter attack happened.  The fork catapult launched the mountain of mashed potatoes that only moments ago had been on my mothers plate and splatted them right in my face.  Some made their way into my open mouth, some on my glasses, some making their way into my hair.  I had been hit!
   I looked at my mother, searching for a trace of a clue on her face as to what had just happened.  
   “He had bad breath anyways.  Are you ready for dessert?”  Mother said.  

A Pot to Piss in and a Bucket of Lists

Originally posted 4 years ago, I can scratch two of those items off my list.
Next two I work on is a successful blog and running a marathon.  Shouldn’t be too hard.



A Pot to Piss in and a Bucket of Lists Everyone has a bucket list (Thank you Morgan Freeman!)  I think my list is pretty simple, nothing insane on it like these things, but things that fit me, my l…

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