a peek inside the fishbowl

18 Apr, 2017

The Wednesday after the Tuesday

By andrea tomkins in Misc. life

I was downtown today, for an appointment with a surgeon about the potential removal of a non-cancerous cyst. I arrived early, worried about traffic and parking, so I had a few extra minutes to walk and think, and now I am trying to put those thoughts down in a way that makes sense.

As I sit here now, in my family room, tapping away with the sun on my back, I find myself feeling thankful. I am thankful for the good things I have. There are so many.

There was more I wanted to add to my recent post but I didn’t want to tack it on the end like an afterthought. I actually wrote and deleted many words before hitting the publish button. I wrestled with writing anything at all and thought a lot about what this blog is actually all about; its Purpose. Is it a record of our lives, or just the best or more interesting or humorous parts of our lives?

That happy feeling I had, the one that was the result of a great day to myself and the 16th birthday of our youngest daughter, didn’t last. Well, it lasted until the next morning when I opened my email and saw a note from a person who’s never reached out to me before. My father’s wife, who he married after my parents divorced when I was in my early twenties, wrote to tell me that he had passed away the night before. He was 73.

Some of you already know the story. In a nutshell, my father found religion and hasn’t been part of my life for the past 20 years. Sometime during my last year of university, he called to tell me he was moving. I asked him where he was moving to, because that’s what you ask when someone tells you they’re moving, right? There was a pause, a very uncomfortable pause that went on for too long before he told me he would not be giving me his new address. That was the last time we spoke.

How do you mourn someone who hasn’t been part of your life for such a long time?

I am writing about this here because I feel like I have to. The day should be marked somehow… and this is it.  Someone suggested I light a candle in his memory. There will be no candle. No flowers. No cards. It was also suggested I attend the funeral and bring the kids. This won’t be happening either. I don’t want anyone’s condolences, I just want to go on living my life.

I haven’t been able to pinpoint the right word to describe how I am feeling. I am not sad, mournful or bereaved. I’m not grief-stricken or morose. I knew he would go some day, but, in a way, he’s been dead to me for many years. I have a few happy memories of my childhood, but those are stored away like old family photographs.

Funny thing, there were times when it occurred to me that no one would tell me he’d died and that I’d somehow find out years after the fact. I guess I can say that I am relieved it didn’t unfold that way.

I do hope he had a happy life without me.

To review: every other Tuesday is my day off and I’m trying to use this time to recharge my batteries. No work, no meetings, minimal errands. In my previous “Andrea’s Tuesdays” excursion I went to the Library and Archives building, and Ikea.  (A weird combo, but there you have it.)

I wish I had something more exciting to report than the fact that I went to the gym, but that’s what I did. I am training for a 5K and decided that this was the day to get real about it.

I did some research about interval training, downloaded a new timer app, and set out to the gym. I was feeling rather triumphant about the whole thing until I arrived and noticed that every single treadmill was occupied. Sigh. I did a few minutes of pedaling on the recumbent bike until one freed up.

I am slow, and most of my running consists of an awful lot of walking, but I’ve done an interval training before and lived to tell the tale.

I want to confess why I decided to partake in this race event. Contrary to what you might think, I didn’t sign up for my health, to lose weight, or to further my personal goals. I am in it just for the medal: a UNICORN MEDAL awarded to all participants.

Behold the glory:

Two words: UNICORN MEDAL 🦄🤘 #DreamInColor #Happiest5k

A post shared by thecolorrun (@thecolorrun) on

This race is not a timed event, so I’ve told myself that it doesn’t matter how slow I am. I don’t care how fast I am, as long as I can finish in a respectable way without embarrassing myself or collapsing on the finish line. This is why I’m back at interval training.

After I was done at the gym, I came home, ate lunch (smoked salmon/cream cheese/cuke/lettuce wrapped in nori) and went online to check out options for new shoes. There was a flash sale at Sport Chek, so I drove over there to check it out. I tried on a couple of pairs and talked to a very knowledgeable sales guy about footwear options for people like me. They didn’t have the pair of shoes I spotted online ($200 Asics at 40% off!), so I did something I’ve never done before. I left the store, parked myself on a bench right outside, whipped out my iPhone, and bought them. I got them a day and a half later, and they are a perfect it.

I should also mention that the most important thing about this particular Tuesday was that it was our youngest daughter’s 16th birthday. (!) Now that they’re older I want to give them some privacy so I won’t go into TOO many details, but I will say this, she planned our evening’s activities and it was all very fun: a sushi dinner and a movie at the Mayfair, which turned out to be a documentary film about cats in Istanbul. (You can read more about it here. The film was surprisingly lovely and thoughtful.) Afterward, we drove to Altitude Gym in Gatineau, not because we wanted to climb some walls, but because she’d forgotten her coat and Presto pass there. Sigh. We ate cupcakes when we got home and unwrapped gifts. All in all, it was a very good day and I went to bed feeling full and happy.

15 Apr, 2017

Weekend reading: April 15 edition

By andrea tomkins in Weekend reading


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The Obligatory Blurb

My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our two daughters Emma (17) and Sarah (15). I am the managing editor of our community newspaper, the Kitchissippi Times. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger, and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999... which makes me either a total dinosaur or a veteran, I'm not sure which! The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

If you'd like to contact me, please use this form. If you're so inclined, you can read more about me here. Thank you for visiting!


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