Tag Archives: moving

Restless Legs cured?

quote-i-haven-t-found-anywhere-in-the-world-where-i-want-to-be-all-the-time-the-best-of-my-life-is-the-sean-connery-41134Well, not the medical malady. More the moving all the time thing. My friends mock me for it, those who choose to stay put for years and years can’t understand it, even the local landlords have taken to asking me prying questions about my moving history.

It’s true. Since I left my husband, I’ve moved a lot. Partially because of work, partially because I rent and so don’t HAVE to stay put. And partially, as my kids say, because I seem unhappy and can’t settle.

I’m not unhappy. Clinically depressed, probably. But not unhappy. I’ve loved all of my surroundings for various reasons, and disliked them for various reasons. My youngest son thinks I’m crazy to move so often but he moves every few months; my middle son changes jobs frequently. I suspect we all have somewhat restless souls.

When I first had to stop work, I moved to Ottawa to be close to the kids and still be near supportive services. I didn’t know how long this MS would give me to play. I wanted to be somewhere with good public transit and medical services in case things went bad.

But, after a year in Ottawa, my ex remarried and all of a sudden I needed to be further away. I still loved my in-law family but it was time to make space for his new wife in the constellation. It was too awkward for both of us to be there, me knowing the history, she knowing the present. I thought carefully, and decided to return to the sea, the place where my heart had settled, the divine and magical Nova Scotia.

5cc883be42d2e36462ba6d1389c495daTo my astonishment and gratitude, the MS thing seems to be taking me away slowly. Yes, walking can be a challenge. Yes, I lose my ability to think concretely if I am in a crowd or if there is noise or if I’ve done too many things that day. Yes, I’m in pain a lot of the time and numb even more. There are those other things, too, not to be mentioned in a public blog. Unless I’m tired and have lost my filter. Which happens a lot and explains why so many people know of my misadventure with the peppermint foot cream….

My plan had been to write and become a locally-known author. Instead I’m a somewhat known crafter and sometime writer, former volunteer and somewhat snarky group member (I never hung out in groups as a kid or adult and it still feels itchy now).


my favourite mode of transportation

I’ve dug a cozy nest for me here, lined with wonderful friends who are surrounded by yarn or tasty treats or fun conversations or interesting life stories or all of the above. I feel blessed, most of the time. (Except when that MS chews at my brain and makes me think it is all for nothing. Most of the time I can whip my thoughts back into shape and I’m getting help for the times when I can’t. And my MS friends here understand and we laugh about it together until I feel better.)

I miss my family (just a wee bit far away), and I long, occasionally, for the bustle of Ontario. I miss my fabulous cousins, many of whom for SOME REASON live in Ottawa… But I have the sea, and that is a tremendous comfort. There’s vast, changing beauty, just outside my door…

I’ve moved a lot since I 20130101-downtowndecorations-06came to Dartmouth – started in the suburbs because of my dog, moved in closer each succeeding move, and now I am exactly where I want to be, tucked into
friendly downtown Dartmouth, steps from the waterfront and the ferry, and Halifax is a 15 minute boat ride away. My apartment is wonderful, if a bit snug. I hang out here with my cat and his fish and I can see the world going on outside my window. I run down a flight of stairs and I’m in the stream, part of the streetscape.

It’s strange to be comfortable here, especially as it is wonderfully noisy in the summer,


Follow the ferry back and you’ll end up at my house!

hot and humid for months, and now I am currently freezing my tail feathers off * because of a heating system that is NOT geared to people who don’t work. High electricity rates during the day do not a warm DA make! But…it’s home.

Every once and awhile I think about buying property, but when I am sensible I know that this place is just enough for my energy level – easy to tidy, nothing too strenuous to accomplish, walking distance to everything. Heck, I rarely even have to cook, with places to grab a bite all over the place!

Can it be I am finally settled?



*(I rather suspect I feel at home in the chill because my mother used to turn the furnace down to sub-zero to manage the bills on our huge house, especially during the oil crisis…my dad took to wearing a heavy wool hat in the evenings in protest. Maybe I should try that?)


Yin and Yang

images-13I’ve started a Tai Chi class, taught by a very soothing gentleman who is patient with our stumbles and questions and awkward poses. He may go home and snicker to himself, but somehow I doubt it. He seems suffused with calm. I find myself looking at him, wanting to get closer to his aura, somehow absorb it all.

But instead I try to memorize the steps, ease back and forth, move my arms around in circles, feel my body sway. It is wonderful, even as I miss steps and teeter.

He speaks a lot of Yin and Yang as we work, reminds us of the constant shifting from one side to another, controlling our weight as we move, maintaining a strong posture, holding the centre.

It’s all wonderfully applicable to this, my winter of discontent.

I’m not alone in the discontent, I think. This winter has been unusually harsh and we are already fed up, a lot of us, with the prospect of weeks and weeks of more winter to come. Add the usual and unusual trials of life and a lot of us feel buffeted, knocked off-balance, off centre and wobbly. We crave change, if only to alter the view.

And yet, change is already constant. The challenge in all, as in my Tai Chi class, is to keep centred as the changes happen, as we look this way and that, as we move forward and back, full or half-steps.

My balance is dodgy at the best of times. I race forward with enthusiasm and then find I am overreaching my abilities. I retract and grieve when really I should just seek balance in my new position, move into it or past it, stop fighting with myself as I go forward.

I need to remember that we naturally seek balance and I should ease into it, arms raised high.


The love of a new bathroom floor

ImageFor most of my growing up years, I lived in the same small town, restricted by expectations and past experiences. When I married, I first escaped to London, UK for a year and a bit and then our multiply moving military madness started. We moved so often I got to be a pro at it, grew to hate having to clean the same bathrooms for more than three years, adored getting to know new towns and views from my windows and places to walk and different paths home.

When my marriage ended, I found the exploring part of my nature didn’t. I love to change my scene regularly, though I think my kids think I am barking mad when I do. Recently I ran away TO home, to Nova Scotia, a place that claimed my heart over 15 years ago. We’d moved here and there and all over in the inbetween times, but I knew this was where I wanted to be.

Now I’ve been here for two years, in an apartment with a lovely superintendent couple and great neighbours, but I feel the need to move again. Why? It’s quiet, too quiet. I look out on suburban monster houses and I’ve explored as far as I can walk all around here. I cannot easily walk for a paper or a coffee.  When visitors come, I have to give up my bedroom. I can’t see the sky. I’ve cleaned the bathrooms the requisite number of times for me to feel restless. I’m so completely self-contained in this place I never have to speak to anyone if I don’t want to. That’s not good for me.

So move I will, though it seems hardly wise. This time I’m going where I can see the sea and the lakes and the sky out of my windows. I’m up high, so I can satisfy my catlike self. I can watch ships coming in and out, see thunderstorms and fall leaves and fireworks and boat races.Image

Primarily it’s because I like a different view. My kids think it’s because I am never happy, never content, and my response is, I am happy. That doesn’t mean I have to stay static. I strive in every other part of my life, to be more fit, to be more knowledgeable, to do more interesting things. Why wouldn’t moving enter into that?

Of course, packing is a pain, but it’s also purging. It gives me an excuse to empty out stuff, clear the decks, look for things I don’t need to toss. It refreshes me but when you are living in a place for awhile, I tend to let rubber bands accumulate in the corners of drawers and crumbs in my cutlery tray, papers here and there. Moving forces me to take account, take charge. It’s lovely.

So I may appear mad, unsettled, unhappy, strange, compared to the stability of living in one place for years. Realistically, I had that time. Now I can move when I want, and so I will. And with the move, the new vista, new friends to meet, new places to explore.


Going home again

ImageThey say you can’t ever, ever, go home again.

In a way, it’s true. Life has changed, people have moved on, the place is subtly different and yet familiar.

I recently went for a visit to Ottawa, my home several times over my life – as a new nurse, taking on my first, terrifying job; as a newish mother and first-time home owner, starting to take on grown-up commitments and lifestyles; as an experienced military wife, choosing to keep my life separate from the military; and as a single person again, coming “home” to a place that could take care of me, in the physical, sensory, emotional ways.

It is a beautiful city, though it was drenched with heat so intense I wanted to lie about and gasp in air conditioning. The grass, green when I arrived, had already started to brown before I left, three days later. The canal was gorgeous, the city all dressed in Canadian flags for Canada Day, sounds of music everywhere from bagpipes to opera.

But it wasn’t home, so mingled with the recognition and the pleasure in seeing old friends and family was the tiniest bit of grieving.

I’ve lived so many places, and loved most of them (Leavenworth was a bit much, really). I’ve tried to return to a few of them, with various disappointments. Shilo, Manitoba, was no longer a fun place to live with the kids. Annapolis Royal, NS, though sweet, seems small and empty. Kingston, ON – well, I could still live in Kingston. I may live there again one day. I liked it there, both as a student and as a grown-up, though I have many sad memories associated with the place – the breakup of my marriage, my job failures, the discovery of my illness, all that stuff. The pleasant memories outnumber them, though, so on balance it seems a good place. And there’s the lake…

Flying into Nova Scotia, I happened to see the coast as we crossed over the Bay of Fundy, and was suddenly, unexpectedly, simply, happy. I feel at home here, in one scant year, and yet I still feel there is so much to learn about my new place. I think I’ll be exploring for years. It makes me smile.

It is funny meeting up with people from the past, though. Some are friends forever, and it doesn’t matter how long it’s been since last you saw them – they still call to your heart. Some have changed and you realize the relationship you cherished is no longer sustainable. Some make you wish you could be just down the road from them again. It isn’t predictable which will be which. I met all three types of friends over this short visit.

So coming back there is a sense of loss, a sadness, but also a sense of completion. Time to move on, taking those friends that stay along for the ride. I’m so happy to have so many of them. You know who you are. I love you all.

Moving and separating

Just had a lovely breakfast with one of my favorite people this morning. I can’t believe that it won’t be too long until I’m no longer down the street from her – she’s been a rock, a support to me in my various life transitions. We’ve laughed over challenges and acquaintances and silly things, talked about serious ideas and politics and literature. We’ve even seen violent movies together, freezing together in the subterranean level chill of summer air conditioning while watching winter in Sweden. I’m going to miss her so much I haven’t really allowed myself to think about it. I simply adore her and am probably a pest wanting to get together with her, but I love talking with her, enjoy outings so much together. We’ve discovered Merrickville, rocked Perth, been outrageous in as many places as we can. It’s wonderful.

The world is smaller these days, but I’ve got to say, those woods through New Brunswick just seem to be getting bigger. Trees and trees and trees and trees. It seems excessive. Getting across our vast country is a challenge at the best of times, and let’s face it, a lot of the year, it just isn’t the best of times for travel. I feel saddened leaving the friends I’ve made in Ottawa, can feel the tug of a special few that I can’t quite face saying goodbye to as yet. I’m excited about the move, excited about seeing folks I know down east, but goshens, Auntie Em, why haven’t they invented transporter beams so we can flip from one place to another easily? I want both – my wonderful Ottawa chums and my wonderful NS apartment and the sea.

I feel like a piece of Velcro – stuck here with myself cuddled in close to those I love, only to rip myself away and wander un-matched for a while.  It’s a bit scary. It’s a bit thrilling. It’s happening soon. I’m torn with wanting the departures to be over, and wanting them to last forever. Saying goodbye is tough, even if it is really au revoir – it’s just the revoiring is sometime in the future, as yet unspecified.

I’ve been so lucky to have these wonderful people in my life. We’ve been separated before and kept the relationship going – I hope this can happen again. I’m just going to have to make it work.  Because they fill my heart, and I miss them already.

So I’m flighty, am I?


I’ve been told for some time that I’m a flighty gal, given to lack of commitment, flowing like the wind.  Lately, the noise is louder, now that I am thinking of moving far away, to the Maritimes, instead of being a good boring person and staying in one place. This is beginning to really get on my nerves. Being told you are flighty, at 52, kindof leaves you the vision of the White Queen, hair blown every which way, not able to make decisions or choose consciously, just buffeted by chance and one’s own stupidity.

They base their evaluation on 1. the fact I left a 23 year-long loveless marriage. 2. The fact I changed jobs often, not understanding that in my field I had to do so to advance, and that I managed such advance in a scant 9 years from temp worker to advanced management  – while finishing a degree and parenting in my spare time. 3. The fact I haven’t found my heart’s desire yet, and so keep searching. 4. The fact I’ve moved fairly frequently since I left my marriage, whereas my ex has stayed securely in the marital home.

I, on the other hand, think that staying in the same job for years and years and years is stagnating and boring, living in the same town for years is mind dulling, and staying in a marriage where all one can muster is a tired hello is death-dealing. To be fair, most of them agree, when it comes to their lives. They just don’t see it as valid for me.

I feel cranky and judged, by people who don’t walk in my shoes. I don’t judge them! I don’t say to them “Geez, you’ve lived here for how long? Wow.  How dull.” or “Don’t you have any imagination?” or “Geez, why’d you settle for him, or her, or that?” I know they find what makes them comfortable, as I must do.

I don’t rant at them about their need to put roots down, when I concentrate on the flowering. We all have different lives, different ways of approaching the challenges given us. My parents have been gone forever, it seems. My mum died 20 years ago, my dad 25.  Surely that has an effect. I was dealt a blow with a diagnosis of MS two years ago – that gives me a very real framework on which to pin my probable next years. Despite these things, and the healing from the hurt the marriage loss caused me, I think I haven’t done too badly for myself. I am generally cheerful, try to help where I can, support others when I remember – you know, like all of us.

So stop judging me, right when I am reaching a goal! Maybe, maybe, when I get to Nova Scotia, I may find out that it isn’t as perfect as I thought it would be. Maybe, after a few years, I’ll be ready for other challenges. I don’t know, though.  Every time I step into the Province, a singing starts in my veins. It may not be a perfect place, but it may be just right for me. For now.

Change = growth = change.


Only I can change my life. No one can do it for me.
Carol Burnett
US actress & comedienne (1936 – )