Living a Life of Love

The weeks and months leading up to my maternity leave were slightly stressful. Stressful only because the pressure I put on myself of course. I love working. I love working hard–I love accomplishing things and being good at what I do. I also enjoy being a part of a growing company and building a team and providing products and services I believe in. While it sounds like a cushy deal, taking a year off for maternity leave, for me, is a lot harder than it sounds.

Don’t be mistaken, I love my family, and I love being a mummy to Marigold and a wife to Martin, but it really doesn’t define me as a person.  It’s not the be all, end all of me.  Neither is my job.  I am the sum of these things and many others–all of which make me who I am.

While my current job isn’t exactly my dream job, it’s still awesome and I like the company and love my boss and the people I work with.  The hardest part is the timing, of course.  Putting my career on hold when things are positioned for growth in a major way isn’t the ideal scenario I had imagined when I first found myself with child.  I hadn’t expected that I would be getting a new boss, and that I would need to make a new and lasting impression on someone when I was tired, bloated and irritable. I didn’t think that I was about to miss out on something really rad for the next year.  I hate to miss out on things–I love to be right in the action!

I’m sure tons of other women and men go through the same thing when they take their respective parental leaves. I truly am grateful for the opportunity to take the full 50 weeks to spend time focusing on my new baby and growing family.

The last time I went on mat leave, I was literally counting the minutes before I could walk out the door and not return for several months, even though I was still there late on my last day.  This time I was really sad to go.  I was having sleepless nights thinking about the many projects I had on the go just before clocking out for the next year, and as my last day crept closer, I had expected my stress level to spike, but it slowly dissipated.  I was ready to go, and I know that I’m not in any real danger of being left behind at work.  I’m confident that I’ll be able to return and pick up where I left off and just spend this year focusing on real life–and my family.  What a treasure.

Almost three years ago now, I revived my blog because of this overwhelming need to write it all down.  I needed to tell everyone how I had never loved as much as I loved right then. With hormones running rampant, I’m sure, I was plagued with so many feelings and emotions, but it was the love that overflowed.

When I first discovered I was pregnant with my second child, of course I was thrilled, but there were hesitations that I hadn’t expected. I was worried about how I could possibly have TWO children (people survive with many more, I know I’m ridiculous) and look after them successfully. I was worried about our finances, and the size of our apartment. I was worried how Marigold will adapt. But most of all I was worried that I couldn’t possibly have any more love to give to another child. I just loved my little Marigold so much that I didn’t think it possible to have the capacity to love a new addition to our little family.

Two Peas on the floor, under a blanket

Two Peas on the floor, under a blanket

Martin gently reminded me that love multiplies as a family grows–and we have a never ending supply! We have found love in places that we never even knew existed.

The hardest part has definitely been dealing with my feelings for Marigold.  It’s weird, but I miss her.  I still spend time with her everyday, but she’s no longer my one and only, and I feel bad that my attention is divided.  This has been the greatest source of postpartum tears.  She is the most amazing big sister in all of the land, and I’m so proud with how she is handling it all.  She is a huge help with Baby Alice, and I can’t even count the amount of times I’ve heard her say “Don’t worry, Baby Alice.  Big sister’s right here” in the last 10 days.  And it melts my heart every time.

20140221_124904Miss Marigold and Lady Alice

One night I went to lay in Marigold’s bed with her before she went to sleep because I just missed her so.  I couldn’t stop the tears from coming, as they so often do these days.  I talked it over with Marigold, and for a not yet three year old, I’m impressed with her understanding.  I apologized for not spending as much time with her as I used to.  I got up to let her fall asleep, she said to me as I was leaving “Baby Alice needs you, Mummy.”  She totally gets it, and it just made me cry harder.  I’m so proud of her and I’m amazed at how awesome she is every single day.


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Baby Alice is just perfect from head to toe and I loved her just as much as I did Marigold when she was placed in my arms.  It’s like there’s a love explosion in your heart when you give birth–I would do it over and over again because the feeling is incredible.  And the results–well, they’re incomparable.

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So our love has grown.  Martin was right–I didn’t have anything to worry about.  We’re a family of four now.  I’m truly grateful for all the things that I have in this life, and I honestly don’t take it for granted.  I came from nothing, and now– I have everything.  And it’s definitely not lost on me, this extraordinary life of love.

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Alice's First Bath

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January Celebrations

January is an especially special time around our house, and it really is nice to have something to celebrate in the cold, dark month of January.  Martin was born in January.  January 20th, to be exact.

I love his birthday, not just because we get to celebrate his existence, also because it’s when things started for us.  It’s the beginning of us.  I had met him long before his 30th birthday party, but it was that party that ignited the cliched spark that now burns brightly on a daily basis.  Barf, right?

Long before I came along....

Long before I came along….

I sometimes find myself thinking about what would’ve happened if I’d declined the invite to his birthday party way back in 2009, and I can barely fathom what I’d be doing right now.  Certainly not sitting on the couch watching him play video games, with a giant belly bursting with baby.

He’s changed a lot in the last five years.  Or maybe I just know him so much better.  I’m not sure which–but it doesn’t matter, because I only love him more for it.  And I am certain it will be that way until the day we die–I count on it.  We are fully committed to each other and we will work hard to make it last forever.

Together

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I was watching Marigold kiss and play with her little wind up frog and found myself saying to her:  “You might have to kiss a lot of frogs….”.  I had to kiss a lot of frogs, and suffer a lot, and I mean A LOT of serious heartbreaks before I fell in love with Martin.  I wouldn’t say that it was worth it, but what I would say is that it helped me realize and value what I have in my husband today.  I had an amazing life before he came along, but he really has made my life so very nice.  And for that, I am extremely grateful.

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In light of all that, the lady McWaters’ of  Parkdale celebrated by baking a cake while their Mister/Daddy slept late.  We ate a lot of cake batter before it finally made it’s way in the oven.  Our dinner was delicious Indian and we took it real easy.  It’s a far cry from that first birthday we spent drunkenly belting karaoke at the Duke five years ago, but the celebration in my heart is just as strong.

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**sorry for the blurry photos!!

And just like that, Toronto got a little less sweeter

Laugh if you want to, but my favourite book is Anne of Green Gables.  I’ve read the entire series a few times, and some particular installments in the series,  more times that I can even remember.  Lucy Maude is a great story teller.  And if you’ll remember back to when you read Anne, or even if you didn’t read the story, you probably can probably recall bits of the tv movie that aired on the CBC or you took a class trip to some high school performance of the play.  You might even remember Anne’ bosom chum, Diana.  On January 1st, my bosom chum got on a plane.  And just like that, Toronto got a little less sweeter.

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It hasn’t been such a sweet place as of late–the political storms, the weather issues, and the transit follies.  Surprisingly to me, I find myself sometimes wondering why we continue to live here.  Though today, I drove through the city, and I’m happy to report that it was easy to find all my old loving feelings for the city.

I took the long way home and remembered that there are so many places around with so many great memories attached.  Memories of me and my bosom chum–the things we did, and the places we met up, the places we took pictures.  I’ll sure miss her while she’s gone.

Magical Adventures

Magical Adventures

I had already lost her earlier this year.  A result of  the time and space and the things happening in our lives that began to naturally separate us.  An undesired side affect of desirable life changes, I suppose.

I met her in December 2005, at my kindred’s birthday party on Robert.  She was wearing mauve, and I knew instantly I wanted to be friends with her.   Later, I saw her kitchen and wondered even more about how we were going to become friends. And then, months later, after having moved to Toronto, I found myself meeting her at Spadina and Dundas on our way to see Final Fantasy at the Music Gallery.  I’m sure you’ve heard this before.

After watching Owen Pallett perform incredible magic on his violin, we headed back to my apartment on Robert for leftovers of the food I had made earlier in the day.  There was souvlaki, spanokopita, dolmades and tzaziki–probably the most elaborate Greek meal I had ever prepared.  I played her all my favourites from the latest Belle and Sebastian album.  We danced around my apartment, smoked a bit and I’m sure had some drinks all before exiting the back door to make our way to the Cloak.  There was nothing unusual about the path we took on our way over to see the Gospel Sundays, but AJ’s keen eye noticed a weird lumpy case sitting on top of a postal box.  After stopping and inspecting the case, we revealed the contents.  A violin.

We found a fucking violin on the side of the road after having just attended a concert featuring the violin!  

There was no one to be seen in the immediate proximity of the violin, and we left a note on the post box for the owner to contact us.  We never found it’s rightful owner.  AJ still has it today.  I don’t think she brought it on the plane though, but one day, she’ll learn to play.

It’s a special and unique friendship story that I will carry in my heart forever….re-telling it at whatever chance I get. A cosmic beginning to the friendship I had been looking for all my life.  I don’t know how else to describe it–our friendship that is.  I have a lot of people I really truly love in my life that are special to me in a lot of different ways.  Friends for greater than 30 years, some.  Others I’ve known only for a short time, and others still, who I never see or talk to, yet they continue to reside deeply in my heart.

What developed with AJ is a cosmic friendship with a bosom chum.  And I’m sure she feels the same way too.

Bosom Chums

Bosom Chums

I miss her, I do.  But I already missed her.  In a lot of ways I feel alone without her, and I have for the last while.  I’ve shared some of the most incredible moments of my life with her.   She has this ability to make any event, situation or circumstance magical.  At times I wonder if she IS in fact some magical and mystical creature like Loch Ness or Big Foot.  But she photographs well and I’ve seen her reflection in the mirror with my own eyes.

I have three biological sisters, and I am not close with any of them, and speak to them very little, if at all.  There’s a myriad of reasons for this I suppose…distance, age gaps, lack of common ground.  I haven’t thought about it enough to really understand why…but we’ve never been close, so I’ve never felt that that sister connection was missing in my life nor was I even aware that there even is such a thing as a sisterly connection.

As AJ and I grew closer over time, I grew to love her immensely and care about her in a way that was unfamiliar to me.  The only way I can describe it is that I must love her the way that sister’s love each other.  And it is a love that will never die.

The second time one of your very best friends moves away in a matter of months isn’t fun/  It is, in fact,  exponentially lonelier.  I don’t think I have fully accepted the fact that she is gone, and I’ll probably become drastically more aware, when she is not here when this little baby arrives.  I know for certain, though, that her pursuits are noble and I’m excited for the chapters that will unfold for her after her short stint away at school in Northern Alberta.

So I wait for her return, and I think of her fondly.  My magical, amazing and lovely bosom chum.  Sweet, sweet Alana.

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My 30th birthday sleep over

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In the Alley by the Pie

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A stroll after Saturday Afternoon high tea

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Turkey Coma on her favourite holiday

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Straight from the bottle

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On our way to see Mates of State

8 Things

As you may or may not have noticed, I haven’t been writing at all.   I am a bit disappointed in myself because one of my goals for 2013 was to write more to ensure that I remember it all.  I started the year off pretty good, but as life began to change, writing became less of a priority, more of a chore, and frankly, I felt like the things I have to say on the inside are not what I want other people to read.  I hope that I was still focusing my energy on my output and creative pursuits rather than consumption of things.  But a small part of me thinks that I’ve spent far too much time in front of the television in the last few months–television is a soul-sucking-life-eating time waster, and if I stop to think about it, I shudder at how it seems to drain the motivation right out of me.  I’ll have to work on that this year.

I haven’t quite put together my intentions, goals or plans for 2014 just yet.  That is disappointing in itself, but I’ve been having a rough go of it since the holidays started.  I’ll spare you the details but I’m just not feeling myself.  It is a real let down because I love the New Year.  I love the chance to start fresh–to create a purpose for myself and my life and re-focus my energy on all the things I want to accomplish in the coming months.   The truth is that I’m in this funny place–my life is about to be consumed by another human, I’ve got 5 weeks left on the job and there are no real and desirable goals that are jumping out at me aside from all the things that need to get done RIGHT NOW!  I don’t even have a fucking motto or theme song for this year yet.

But I can’t let that get me down.  It will come.  It just didn’t come before January 1st.  And I’m trying on a few candidate songs for 2014, so that’s something…

Though I’m not quite ramped up for 2014, I can still take the time to reflect on the things that have happened in the last year.  It seems, based on my facebook feed, that people were happy to leave 2013 behind them.  When I first started thinking about it, I realized I had a lot of great things to remember.  So here they are, in no particular order, 8 things that happened in 2013 that make me happy.

Pee and a Plus Sign–We knew that we wanted to have more children, so what better time was there after we got married?  I was late 4 whole days before Martin would let me take a pregnancy test.  He didn’t think it was likely after only a few weeks, but I knew deep down there was a baby in my tummy.  Sure enough, we put Marigold to bed, I peed on a stick, and a plus sign appeared.  It’s been a bumpy ride, this pregnancy.  I’ve had some minor scares, I’ve found myself much more emotional and much more exhausted.  Only 7 weeks left to go until this child is scheduled to arrive.  We’ll see if I can last that long.

The newest McWaters at 19 weeks

The newest McWaters at 19 weeks

The Begonia EP–While I didn’t do anything personally to accomplish this, it gives me a great deal of pleasure that Gord finally released some of his own music.  It was a long time coming and I’m proud of the time and effort he put into it.  It really is a great album.

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I’ve got a New Boss Now –I really liked my last boss.  He was awesome and hilarious and I literally cried for days when I found out he was leaving.  I was certain that there was no way that the new boss would be awesome or good or that really anything positive could come of the change.   Well, I was wrong, new boss is great.  Awesome and amazing even.  I’m actually quite sad to be going on maternity leave!

Hoops and Skeins and Fabric, oh my!–I’m not too sure where I got the idea for needlepoint from, but I had been thinking about it for a long while (I guess as an extension of my sewing dreams).  Finally one day, I went to the Workroom and dropped less than twenty bones on the supplies I needed to get started.  Turns out embroidery is a really simple and inexpensive hobby.  It’s similar to tracing, except you’re using thread and the results are really impressive!

The first actual thing I embroidered

The first actual thing I embroidered

Hoot!

Hoot!

Marigold admiring the scene I did for her

Marigold admiring the scene I did for her

Paying it All Off–I have had this deep dark secret for so very long that I have ignored and shoved aside as much as I possibly could, but it was still always bringing me down.  When I put my list together of things I wanted to for 2013, I included details on the things I wanted to accomplish.  I didn’t want to acknowledge my financial issues–so I just put a line in my list that said “get financially on track”.

I had terrible credit and huge amounts of debt for a really long time and thinking about it made me feel ill to the bone, so instead of dealing with it head on, I just pretended like it didn’t exist.  Turns out that doesn’t make it go away, and it doesn’t make you feel good, because no matter how hard you try, you can’t actually forget about it.

Anyways–through a variety of methods–tax returns, savings and what not, I was able to pay off my student loan, and the majority of my debt in 2013.  I am no where near as good as I want to be with handling my cash, but I’m definitely a lot better than I was in 2012.  I’m paying my bills and saving–I think that’s a good place to start!  And for the first time in a really long time–I’m not afraid to answer my phone when it says “unknown caller” because it’s definitely not someone that I owe money to.  The tremendous relief I feel is inexplicable.

Everything I’ve Longed For–I have loved Hayden and his music since the 90’s.  I would have to say that “Everything I Long For” is probably the most played album I have ever owned.  Actually–come to think of it, I don’t even think I own it–I borrowed it from my pal in  1997 and just never bothered to return it because I loved it so much.  

Hayden, live!

Hayden, live!

I have cried more tears over the lyrics and songs on that album than I could ever dream of counting.  They were a solace I could always count on for any break up.  My good friend, Ryan T., also loves Hayden as much as I do.  It is a special bond that we have shared for over a decade.  At the end of November, I finally got to see Hayden in concert–with Ryan T. sitting a few rows behind me.    It was pretty rad–the show was great, Hayden was hilarious and awesome–it was everything I ever could’ve wanted in seeing him live for the first time.

Nothing Better–Seeing Hayden live was a lot more likely than ever getting the chance to see the Postal Service.  They did one album 10 years ago, and I think they only ever did one tour.  I had often dreamed about getting the chance to see them live so when they announced a 10th anniversary tour, I would’ve paid just about anything to see them.

I went alone to the show at the ACC–it was a night just for me.  I ate dinner at my favourite Mexican restaurant, did some shots of tequila and went to the show.  As an added bonus, Mates of State were opening–they are always good live and also another one of my favourite bands.

Nothing better....

Nothing better….

Seeing the Postal Service was surreal.  The music was fantastic, the lights were amazing and they loved every minute of being on stage.   My heart was practically beating out of my chest and I felt like I had been tele-ported to 2004.  The show was outstanding.

From this Day On–I always wanted a husband, pretty much for as long as I can remember.  It was getting a bit dicey 5 or 6 years ago–I was beginning to think it was never going to happen.  I was happy with my life, and was ok with the idea that maybe I wouldn’t get to have a husband one day.  I always thought that I would make a pretty good wife.  Turns out I make a great wife–just ask Martin.  And really, being a wife and having a husband isn’t really what makes me happy–it’s the person that my husband is.  His personality, his beliefs and convictions, his compassion and interests, his strength and honour–all of those things make him an amazing person.  I’m thankful on a daily basis that he chose me to become his Mrs. McWaters.  I laugh to myself from time to time about how unsure I was in the beginning when we started dating.  And now, I couldn’t imagine my life without him.  I really do love him more and more each day and really look for forward to spending the rest of my life with him.

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2013 was great in a lot of ways.  Of course there were some bad times–but what good is it to focus on that?  It’s the bright spots that will keep you going…pining over the dark days will only bring you down! 2014 is going to be a busy one for us, and it’s a little scary to think about what we’re up against, but after writing this, I’m finally getting excited about setting some goals and planning for what I want to accomplish in 14.

WOOOOO!

From This Day On….

I wish I’d taken more time to painstakenly savour each moment.  Instead it felt as though the entire night was racing past us.  All day and night I couldn’t wait to get to the party. The biggest party we’ve ever thrown with cheese, and booze, and music, and donuts and special lights and everyone we know and love. At the very core of my being is a hostess, and it brings me so much joy.  It makes me so happy to have people in my home. This hostessness allows me to share and aid in the merry-making of my dearest friends and it is a pleasure unmatched for me on this earth.  At the most base level, I really fucking love to party.  And you know who else loves to party?  My husband.

I’ve always thought having a surprise house party wedding would be really cool, but pulling off a surprise wedding is a lot harder than it sounds.  We decided in February that we were to be married in May.  May 11th to be exact.  Less than 3 months is surprise enough, no?

Years ago, before I’d even met Martin, I was driving along in the good old battle Saturn with my cronies, Gord and AJ, talking about boys, of course (I really was quite boy crazy, remember?).  I turned to them and said, I’m going to get married on May 11, 2013.  I passed AJ my Samsung flip phone and had her look up the date.  Sure enough it was a Saturday.  I didn’t have a boyfriend, or really have my sights set on a particular fella, but I knew my wedding date.  And somehow, I managed to meet, fall in love and marry my dearest, all in the nick of time.  I’d like to say it was clarvoyance, but it’s probably better categorized as a self fulfilling prophecy.

Bottom line?  The date was special.

I had spent weeks and months preparing for the celebration, only for the night itself to quickly fade away as I tossed my bouquet to a small clan of ladies on my porch.  I stole off into the night with my lover, my husband. I spent every spare second I had in the weeks leading up to the wedding cutting and pasting and planning and scheming and downloading and curating and thinking it all through over and over and over again.  And in all that time I never anticipated that the party would go by so quickly.  I got to spend 5 short hours buzzing from room to room basking in the glow of the best people on the planet, save a few, doing what we all love best: Partying.  And I wish I could do it all over again.  Despite how fast the night passed me by, I enjoyed every minute–I had a really really great time.

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Me and my new husband, flashing his gold ring.

For me, it all came down to crafts, a 4+ disc mixed CD set, an 8 1/2 pound cheese order, and 5 dozen donuts.   Not necessarily traditional, but a Peattie-McWaters wedding it was.

Courtesy of the Thin Blue Line
8 1/2 pounds of pure dairy gold
DIY Decorations
Pennant made from antique sheet music
Glory Hole Donuts as Wedding Cake
A small fraction of the 60 glory hole donuts
DIY Craft Bags
Hand crafted Sacs Aux Surprise!

Smoky smoky
Porch Party

All of those really awesome things aside, there was love.  So much love, our apartment was bursting at the seams.  My love for Martin, his love for me, and our love for little Marigold was multiplied exponentially by the love of those surrounding us that night.  I felt like was floating.  On a sweet cloud of love all night logn.  And I’m totally serious.

Eddie Bo-From this Day On

I was welcomed as a McWaters with a resounding “Yay” and narry a “Nay”, and the feelings are more than reciprocal.

So we danced and we drank, and we smoked, and I untraditionally swore through my speech. We floated through our home around the people that have come to mean so much to us.  An outstanding amount of love surrounds our lives and it will shine through us, from this day on.

Special thanks to all our friends that took photos!!!

Becoming Mrs. LadyBird Magpie of Parkdale

I definitely don’t want to forget any of this.  Just a bride and a groom and some rings and everyone we know and love.



Where do I even start?  DIY wedding is a blogger’s fantasy, and I did almost all of it myself, so I should have lots and lots to share.  Through the exhaustion of the last two weeks, I’ve been trying to find the clarity and the words, trying to find anything to write about, and I’m still unsure about what to say…


I thought I would be much more emotional throughout the ceremony.  Like falling over sobbing, with mascara raccoon nightmare face, but it wasn’t really that bad.  I thought I would get to the part where Gord handed me over to Martin and I would completely lose my shit.  But I didn’t–I had welled to tears enough many times in the weeks prior to the wedding about Gord giving me away.  I cry because I’m happy.  How could I not be?  Everything makes sense, right?  Marrying Martin for starters, and Gord giving me away, and everything leading up to that point.  My life has made 100% sense, and I’m full of so much joy.

On May 11, 2013, I had a bath with a Lush bath bomb, I made our bouquets, I traipsed down the stairs of my Parkdale house of dreams without calling a cab because at this point, I don’t even know HOW to call a cab.  But hailing a cab is pretty tough carrying a suitcase, two bouquets, a crinoline and smoking a stranger’s cigarette.  The neighbour of all neighbours escorted me to the street corner and hailed me a cab.  Put my bags in the trunk and sent me off to the Gladstone.  It really was very very sweet.  He later hauled like 250 lbs of ice up the stairs, and had the time of his life blasting records.  What an awesome dude.


Maid of Honour
The maid’s homemade bouquet
Really awesome homemade bouquet
The Brides homeemade bouquet



My room was at the Gladdy was red, and there was just enough time to doll myself up to the fashion by which I chose to get married.  My red room, my red dress,  and a perfect Parkdale view of the Gladstone Cafe (ha!) and the rug factory in the distance.  I hung my dress in the window for all of Parkdale to see. I prepped and primped and listened to old reggae and my escorts arrived on cue, and I got to show off my crinoline for the very first time. And no, that’s not a euphemism.

 
Red Curtains
Red Curtains in the Gladstone Room #303
TTC at the Gladstone
Outside the Gladstone

We drank champagne and put feathers in our hair and descended down a beautiful three flights of stairs to the Gladstone lobby. I guess whenever I imagined my wedding the two things that were always consistent–I was always coming downstairs and there was always music.  As a child, I used to stand at the top of our stairs and have my mother call “Andrea Peattie, come on down”, as though I was headed to contestants row on the Price is Right.  No contestants row on May 11, though, just a groom and some rings and everyone we know and love. and the last time I’ll ever descend anything as an unmarried lady.  Just Andrea Peattie, for the very last time.

 


Smoking Bride, vintage red dress
$12.99, just slightly more than my pack of cigarettes


Vintage bride in a taxi
Back of a taxi, heading away from the sunset
My Handsome Groom awaits

I never want to forget, sitting in the judge’s office, singing with my dudes, and my best gal.  It was one of the most special moments of my life.  The sweet harmonies, Vigoda’s soft strums and some super slow tempoed soul.  This all sung volumes to me about the man I was going to marry.  They love me, and they love Martin.  And I wouldn’t have it any other way.  


They led me, and serenaded us into our marriage.  And while I really wish my dad and Luigi could’ve been there, it didn’t really matter, because I knew they would be so happy, and they would love Martin too.  Samson-esque locks and all!.  

The words of the ceremony didn’t even occur to me at the timeand I really don’t even know what the JP said.  He asked about vows and readings just prior to the ceremony and I told him to say whatever he wanted, just don’t say anything about God.  What I do know is that I meant what I said to Martin and I know Martin meant what he said to me and we’re never going to stop meaning it.

  ……..I will.  So will he.  The end 
and also the beginning.  Presenting Mr. and Mrs. McWaters.


There are about 1000 things that I wanted to say to Martin the night we got married, and by the time that I got to him, I didn’t have to say anything.  Everything just makes sense for us.  
And we are head over heels in love to boot.  

When I first started dating Martin, he had stayed over on a Saturday night, and we went for brunch at Mezzrows, then walked along King back to my former PD house of dreams.  We lollygagged up the stairs, sat down on the futon and played Tony Hawk on the PS2.  We were having some snacks (naturally) and I turned and looked at him and said…”Does this feel normal to you?”  He said “yep” and we went back to playing our video game.  


Here we are now, tonight, on the couch, and he’s playing a video game while I write.  The snacks will be out soon, I’m sure.  Guess what?  This is absolutely-one-hundred-fuckingpercent-no-doubt-in-my-mind “normal”.  And so my first reflection (yes there are more to come), upon being wed, is this:  I got married and I don’t feel any different.  Not even in the slightest.  And as you can see on my face, am thrilled.



****Special thanks for the photos:  AJ, Lisa DeeAlex in Wasaga, & Maureen & Alan.  

Anniversary Traditions

I just looked it up.  It was actually March 5th.  Turns out that’s actually my pal’s Parks’ birthday…funny coincidence.  I didn’t even know there was a Park’s when I moved to Toronto.

In 2006, I made a pretty significant life decision.  I quit my job, packed up my shit and moved here.  I had exactly 4 friends on the north shore of Lake Ontario.  And now, this is my life.  Lake Ontario at the bottom  of my street, and Queen Street is just steps to the north.  I listen to Parkdale sounds as I fall asleep at night, and I wake to Parkdale sounds in the morning.  Deep in the throbbing heart of Parkdale, I am at home in my Parkdale House Of Dreams.  Until 2006, I didn’t even know what a Parkdale was.

West Queen West upon entering Parkdale  “You’ve Changed”

Coming to the decision to move away from my friends, my family, my love, was actually easier than I thought it was at the time.  I had been to visit my dear Kindred on several occasions, and cried whenever I left.  So I moved, and my life changed. Of course I miss my friends, and it was challenging to make new ones, so that part wasn’t easy. But the rest really was pretty simple.  It didn’t matter that I was surrounded by tons of really rad people who I really really really  love a whole lot, I always felt lonely in the Cath.  I knew that if I stayed in Niagara I would live a sad lonely life.  I needed things to change.  I needed to be alone to end the loneliness.

I had some ideas about what I was walking into by leaving, but I can assure you that those ideas are so vastly different than what I found once I arrived. There was this thing that was happening when I moved here, and I’ve realized that time was standing still for me then.  It was standing still for all of us. I really wish that I could actually paint more than just paint by numbers, because I would paint it all as a giant mural.  And it’s a big fucking party mural.  A really fun party.  The one night only affair that lasted for years, that still finds itself revived in a pub or on a deck, or in a kitchen–over a hot stove here and there.

The Cloak
The cove children

I don’t actually believe that things happen for a reason, and I don’t really believe in fate or pre-destination.  It doesn’t actually matter, fate or no fate,  when you’re too busy living.  Sometimes the universe owes you a favour–you simply accept its kind offer of amazing and be thankful.  So, thank you, universe, for this, and all the other things that have followed.
There hasn’t been much else in my life more right than that move I made in ’06.  A few things, but not many. Anyways, I’m big on anniversaries, and starting annual traditions and reflecting on special times in my life.  It’s all very special and amazing.  I do love it when there are things to celebrate.  Birthdays, New Years Day, Thanksgiving, Mondays.  Celebrations truly are some of the best times of our lives, wouldn’t you say?

There I was yesterday.  Here I am now and where I’ll be tomorrow–ever so much to celebrate!  I know March 5th, 2013 has come and gone, but each year I try, at the very least, to remember the time with celebratory thoughts.  I try to remember how I felt then, and how it feels more right every day.  

From Rancho Relaxo, to the Starbank, The Market, Neutral, Maggie’s, the Cloak and Dagger, the backdoor of 106, Croft, Sneaky Dees, The Magpie, The Press Club, Euclid, Roxton,  to the corner of Grace and Harbord.  

The Dakota, Lakeview, The Gypsy, The Park, 909 and my dress, the dog bowl, Squirrelys, The Paper Place, Preloved, Queen and Dovercourt, The Cock and Tail, The Gladstone.  The Dufferin jog, the now bricked up stairway under the GO overpass. Streetcars, Lamport, the amphitheatre, the Caddy, Salvador, the Rhino, Meher’s deck, Capital, Not my dog, The Village of Parkdale mural, Thrift Town.  Mezzrows and Tibetan protests.  The CN Tower. Going Steady.  The Golden Dogs, White Cowbell Oklahoma, and the Wednesday night residency at the Cameron. Bikes. The people.  The people on bikes. The transit.  The vibe.  The sounds.  The weather.  The fresh flowers on the street corners.  I look around me at the city and I am in love.  In love with the people and the places.  I have never in my life felt more at home.

On the sunny Sunday afternoon that Cindy and Juliee drove me into town, this song by Bjork came on.  Just as it was supposed to–this song played and I laid eyes on the city that had become my new home just at the moment where Bjork says “this is where I’m staying.  this is my home.”  In March 2006 I came home for the first time. Happy anniversary, Toronto.

Roommates Ruling Supreme

Every spring I used to plan a party with Gord to celebrate another year of us ruling supreme as roommates.   This spring, I’m planning a different kindof party.  A party that I’ll surely celebrate for the rest of my life.  I look forward to the traditions that will follow.