Velociraptors

This last month has probably been the most difficult month to be away from home and Daniel. Because it’s my last moth before I’m done my MA and go back to Winnipeg, you’d think (as did I) that it would be the easiest, and would fly by in a haze of newly engaged bliss. Boy, was I wrong. July started with a bang as it brought with it devastating news about close family friends that really affected both Daniel and I. Struggling to support him from afar as well as trying to sort through it while continuing to prepare for his transplant from a province away and finishing up my last course has been almost too much. As a result, my sleep schedule has become almost as messed up as my nursing friend’s and at its worst, I wasn’t falling asleep until 6am consistently, some days waking up two hours later to head off to class, coming  home and collapsing, only to repeat night after night.

One thing I have found that helps is filling my head with something other than all the fear, sadness, hurt and confusion milling around up there. I do this by counting, not sheep, but velociraptors. I know sheep are more traditional, but really, what good does it do to count things that only mix with all the negativity rather than viciously destroy it? And that is what my velociraptors do. They rip, tear and feast on the things and people that won’t let me sleep until my head is filled with nothing but velociraptors. There truly is something soothing about imagining something that has given you nothing but grief suffering through a brutal and painful death by velociraptors.

Also, I love Daniel even more for turning my velociraptor counting into a Harry Potter reference by mentioning it as a way to practice occlumency. If anyone tries to break into my mind, all they will find is a slaughter of velociraptors (I don’t know what a group of velociraptors is called, but if a group of crows is called a murder, velociraptors deserve something just as, if not even more, awesome than that) ready to devour them.

Thanks for willingly venturing into my zany thoughts! I promise you won’t get eaten by a velociraptor….this time.

Laura

Love and a Sunflower Umbrella

I recently got engaged, and I haven’t gotten tired of telling our proposal story, which was truly the best proposal of all time.  One of the most frequently asked questions I have received since getting engaged has been “was it a surprise?”. The answer to this question is both yes and no.

It started a month before the actual proposal, around the time of our two year anniversary when Daniel told me that he had a surprise for me. I have a love-hate relationship with surprises, and waiting a month for a surprise is almost like a form of torture! On the other side, Daniel loves driving me crazy with surprises and watching me go crazy trying to figure out what it is. After begging for hints, a week before I got home, Daniel told me he was going to make me a three-course meal and we were going to get dressed up as well.  That’s when my brain started working overtime and insanity began to set in.

Upon my arrival home, I still had an entire week to wait before the night of the surprise, and after almost driving Daniel to the point of insanity trying to keep it a secret, I promised to stop trying to weedle it out of him. However, Daniel underestimated my sneakiness and while he had a medical test, I was left alone in a waiting room with his phone for a whole hour and a half. Like any normal person, I went through his call history and googled every unidentified number. To my satisfaction, I found one number from a few weeks earlier that belonged to a jewellery store. My sneakiness did not end there, and I devised a plan to find out for sure that the surprise was in fact, from there. That afternoon, I told him he had to call and make sure that the surprise, whatever it was, would be ready in time for Friday. After he called, I inconspicuously stole his phone and confirmed my suspicions! At the very moment I figured out the phone number, Daniel told me to give him back his phone so he could delete the call history. Too bad he was a few hours too late; I knew it was jewellery (or a Disney figurine).

So, going into Friday night, I was 80% sure a proposal was coming. I had gotten my nails done, bought a new dress and spent hours on my hair. And then I walked in the door. The minute I walked in, Daniel (looking handsome in his suit, I might add) immediately began to lower expectations. He told me he had two surprises for me: a fun surprise and a thoughtful surprise. He led me through to the living room to show me the ‘thoughtful surprise’: He had rearranged the living room and put a small table in with a beautiful sunflower centrepiece. With the ‘fun surprise’ left, that’s when I started to doubt my assumption. While he finished up dinner, I went to the washroom and quickly texted a friend to tell her “it’s not what we thought. He’s calling it a fun surprise.” We began our dinner of crab cakes, followed by chicken stuffed with ham, cheese and artichokes with risotto and sautéed kale and peppers, I still have dreams about that chicken, it was absolutely delicious!

After dinner, I could not wait any longer, and asked if I could get my surprise yet. So Daniel went into his room, and came out with….a sunflower umbrella! I was floored. It was beautiful, and I liked it, but after all my trouble of figuring out the jewellery store number, I couldn’t believe it, and I let him know. “What about Independent Jewellers?? You called them! I checked your phone!” Daniel deflected my questions by claiming he had anticipated my sneakiness and had called them as red herrings. I was annoyed and amused at the same time, couldn’t believe the lengths he went to and felt rather foolish for being so sure a proposal was coming. Daniel then suggested we watch something before dessert, so we watched a top gear (what else??) and I grumbled for an hour and Daniel convincingly apologised for fooling me so thoroughly.

Daniel then went to get dessert ready (lemon cake with raspberry filling) while I waited downstairs and texted another friend about the sunflower umbrella, at that point completely convinced there would be no other surprises that evening. Five minutes later, Daniel came and led me upstairs for dessert. He led me into the living room, and sitting on the table was the cake with something written on it. As I got closer, I saw the word “marry,” the glitter of a ring and began freaking out, exclaiming “You have GOT to be kidding me!” It took me at least five minutes to stop communicating in shrieks, alternating between kissing Daniel and storming away from him. The rest of the evening was a blur as we called family and friends and celebrated with our parents. I cannot wait to get home and enjoy being a newly engaged couple as we begin to plan our wedding next August, after Daniel has recovered from his transplant. It was the best surprise ever, precisely because I didn’t think it would be a surprise. I really love my sunflower umbrella now, and it was great for our engagement pictures, which took place in the middle of a downpour!

The rearranged living room, complete with table for two and sunflowers!

The rearranged living room, complete with table for two and sunflowers!

 

Homemade stuffed chicken! I'm marrying an awesome cook!

Homemade stuffed chicken! I’m marrying an awesome cook!

Our engagement cake!

Our engagement cake!

 

 

 

 

Endings and Beginnings

Hello World!

I have broken down after having a few dreams in which I find myself forming phrases and paragraphs and have decided to write a blog. We’ll see how I much I enjoy writing and how much time I have.

I guess a good place to begin is with my inspiration. The title of my blog comes from one of my favourite childhood poems “The Giraffe and the Woman” by Laura E. Richards. The opening phrase “Sing a song of laughter” has stuck with me and has almost become a part of how I approach each day and situation, with a positive attitude, ready to look for the good in each situation. More specifically, at this point in my life, I find myself at a series of endings and new beginnings. I’m finishing up grad school, which has been an amazing experience! However, with this ending comes an unsettling move into adulthood as I search for my first real job and worry constantly about ending up working minimum wage at McDonald’s. Another exciting beginning has been getting engaged to Daniel and planning for our life together, which I just want to start now!!

Finally, probably the driving factor behind writing this blog is an outlet for some of my emotions in regards to Daniel’s health and upcoming bone marrow transplant at the end of August. I love Daniel dearly, and watching the person I love the most struggle through chronic illness, hurts unbearably. One thing I have noticed while searching Google is the number of articles addressing people with illnesses in relationships, but rarely is there much out there for those involved with someone who is affected by an illness. Let me make this clear, I am no expert on relationships or in anything health related, but I know it can be hard to talk and open up to those close to you about what you’re really feeling and how you should be feeling. In our world of instant answers, it can be much easier to look for advice from someone you don’t know than someone you know. I know some of the strongest encouragement I have gotten has come from silently watching and learning from others who have dealt with the sickness of a loved one. Their strength and courage in the face of something so terrible has given me the strength to face each day with a smile and continue to love when it hurts the most. So as well as being cathartic for me, if it helps someone else going through a similar situation, that is the best possible outcome I could wish for.

On a final, more positive note, I want this blog to chart my minor triumphs and stumbling blocks, my quirks and faults. Thanks for joining me on this journey we call life and I’ll see you all soon!

This is only the beginning!

Laura