Loblaws stopped carrying the Ace Bakery whole grain and cranberry bagels I've come to love.
That was one of the big disappointments for me in 2011.
I don't expect much from life, but a 200 calorie, high fibre, bagel that doesn't taste like sawdust is one thing I've come to count on. It keeps me satisfied and it keeps me regular, therefore it keeps me happy.
When you get to be this old, tilting toward the end of the side rule of life, not that many things can get you down. You're rarely disappointed in people because you just don't expect much of them anymore. If you're not rich by now, you're never going to be, so why worry?
As long as you have a safe, dry and warm place to live, people who love and care about you, and a pack of dogs sitting at your feet, you're pretty lucky, I'd say.
I don't have much to gripe about, but there are some things that have pissed me off in 2011.
The year was another bust, economically. Some months, we could barely pay our expenses. Often, we had to do without. There were no trips, only a couple of good dinners out and there was sheer mayhem on the technology front with all but one of my trusty computers dying pitiful deaths.
My work situation was worse than usual. I think I made $4,000 which is less than I made as a university student in the 70s.
And yet there are things to be grateful for.
Despite my economic failure, I've had a wonderful work year. I started out getting Botox and dermal filler as part of a video project. I got to meet and write about some wonderful and inspirational people, like Francoise-Rene Dussault, a man who has had two kidney transplants. There is nothing that makes you more grateful than feeling the heart beat of a dialysis patient through the exposed vein on their wrist. I will never again take for granted my ability to pee.
The blog has been a God send for me. It's opened up my mind and it connected me with the greater world where I now have many friends. Most of my bleaders aren't Canadian. (Note to self: stop writing about Stephen Hartper) My bleaders come from the United States, the UK, Eastern Europe, even Brazil.
In their honor this season, I'm breaking out the firearms, drinking some industrial strength vodka and going to the salon for a wax. Hehe.
Seriously, it's nice to know that I have a voice, and that some people are listening.
The year has been hard on the family, I'm afraid. While we will be happy to welcome our first grandchild, conceived in 2011, it's created a hardship for all of us. Priorities have shifted and each of us is doing our part to pitch in, to give little Wheels a better future than if her parents were flying solo.
I've heard the lectures from some people who say they made their bed and they should have the baby in it. I say, that's not how we do it in our family.
At the end of the day, family is all we've got.
The strain of no money, a crappy job and more responsibility is taking its toll on Scott who, lately, has lost his wonderful smile. He wrote me a note yesterday apologizing for being so gloomy.
It's just, he says, that year by year, everything seems to drop away and diminish us by inches.
It's getting harder and harder to boost his flagging spirits. Too often, the only thing that lifts him up is 40 proof.
I hope 2012 will be a better year for him.
It should be.
As a Leap Year baby, he's about to turn 14.
That has to count for something.
I find my own strength, my gratitude, in the things I still have.
A wonderful family.
The rowing machine at the gymnasty.
Three dogs who continue to make me laugh.
And of course, you my faithful bleaders.
You're always out there.
At 8 in the morning or 4 in the morning, someone around the world is out there for me to talk to.
Here's to you, my good companions.
May 2012 bring you love, happiness, and enough booze, pot and cigarettes to make it through the rest.
Hopefully, the Mayans will be wrong.