Those Little People….

I have been asked by my counsellor to create a Gratitude Journal. At first it reminded me of the time my ex told me to stand in front of the mirror and say I love you. Never did it and laughed in her face.

This time I will try displaying my personal gratitude in my own way. PUBLIC DISPLAY AND CONSUMPTION!

Gratitude #1.

These two little people. They bring light to my day and I would gladly die for them.



Those Little People….

The Reasons Why I am Returning Home


I have decided to return home – home being Calgary. This has been a very tough decision and one not come upon lightly. I am going to touch on the reasons why it was difficult first.

My Toronto friends. You all know who you are. You and you alone are the reasons that I had such a hard time leaving. You have all seen me through the good and the bad and kept by me throughout. Thank you. I will be forever grateful and I will be back to visit, I promise.

Now, to reflect on why I am leaving (and a brief history of Dallas in her thirties). A few years back…say 2006? I met a girl. When I say we met, I mean we chatted online, MSN Messenger to be exact! I had just come out and was really getting along with her. In fact, I was falling hard. Here I am in the throes of my new found identity.


That particular romance did not last, however a spark in me did. I needed to get out of Vancouver and broaden my horizons. I figured that Calgary would be a good place to start. So I gathered my buddy Erin and my two cats to move with me and recruited two other friends to help us load up the UHaul and drive with us to Calgary.



Once I arrived it didn’t take me long to flourish. I joined everything, I volunteered, I made amazing friends. I discovered I wanted to write. I felt at home. I met this weirdo.


I had never been in a space where I felt pretty fantastic. This was my home. This was my Calgary. And than I met a girl.

I fell in love, and I fell hard. I wanted to be her everything and I became someone I was not to try and be that everything to her. I lost myself in the process. This was not her fault. It was how I chose to do things. She wanted me to follow her to Toronto. I did.

In the back of my mind I was telling myself no, don’t go. But my stubborn mind was made up. I went. Our relationship did not work out, but I do not regret going. These are some of the reasons why.




After we split up, my mom got sick so I came to Vancouver. Before she passed away she told me that I always seemed so happy in Calgary. I was happy, she was right.

I decided to return to Toronto in September with full intentions to make a go at it on my own. I found a great place with great roommates, I reconnected with friends, I went to yoga religiously, and I went back to school for creative writing. I even began working on my mental health by going to groups. But something was missing.

My mental health was at an all time low. I was alone. I was away from heart and soul – my home. I was starting to rediscover myself and with this I realized that I needed to return.

So here I am. Two weeks from my departure. I want to thank Toronto for taking me in, for bashing me around, and for helping me rediscover myself.

I also want to thank Calgary for always being there, even when I left you. Thank you for letting me back.


The Reasons Why I am Returning Home

The Summer Morning Routine


My enormous, sleep encrusted brown eyes quickly opened. I jumped out of bed. I dashed to my bedroom door, forcing it open with the might of a 9 year-old on a mission with some seriously unfortunate bedhead.

“I’m awake!” I cried, waiting for some sort of commendation.

Silence. The dog didn’t even stir.

My mom was on the couch with her legs curled underneath her. Her lit cigarette was making billowing silvery-grey smoke figures while resting in the grooves of the pea green, rotund glass ashtray on the side table. Her coffee cup was half full, and it would stay that way, as she never finished a full cup of anything.

“Can I have Cheerios for breakfast?” I requested, adjusting the wedgy that happened every time I wore that 100% polyester floor length, sea foam green nighty from Zellers. Somehow all of the static that was ever accumulated in one summer evening found its way into my fast asleep ass.

“I guess,” she stated glumly while looking through her burgundy coupon container that used to be a recipe container in anticipation of her grocery shopping trip that day. She hated grocery shopping and she wasn’t afraid to tell us as much “If I didn’t ever have to go grocery shopping again I would be happy,” she would say on an almost weekly basis.

Domesticity was not her cup of tea, and in later years I realized she had passed this trait down to me.

“Don’t make a mess, and see what your brother wants.”

Of course I had to find out what my brother wanted. Wade, in my eyes, was only born to make my life miserable. He was the thorn in my side, the Gargamel to my Papa Smurf, the Ghost to my PacMan. Wade, my younger brother, was the barrier in my life’s pursuit as the coolest kid of the 10 kid wolf-pack living on my block.

I lurched past his room which wreaked of old food and pee with hopes of catching him doing something wrong. And there he was, sitting on his bed, sucking his thumb, staring blankly at his X-Wing Fighter poster with his enormous sleep encrusted brown eyes.

“Mom wants to know what you want for breakfast.”

“I want toast.”

“Then you should make some.”

“I’m not allowed”

“Because you’re dumb.”

“I’m telling Mom.”

“Go ahead, I don’t care.”

“Maaaaaaaaaammmmmmm!!! Dallas called me dumb!”

“Dallas don’t call your brother dumb.”


I made my brother toast.

After breakfast which included both toasting and buttering for two people and making sure that the dishes were brought back to the sink, I brushed my teeth and ran to my room to find something to wear. My brown bell bottom corduroys that were worn out in the thighs and knees from both excessive bike riding and attempting wheelies and Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader T-shirt, and ode to my Dad’s favorite football team/cheerleading squad, were my go-to outfit so I slipped them on quickly

“I am going out to play” I said as I struggled to fit my white wooden clogs over my thick white socks.

“Not until you clean your room,” my Mom countered.

“My room is clean,” I disputed.

“Ha! It’s a pig-stye!” clinched my Mom.

“Maaaammmmm…. can’t I clean it when I get home?”

“No. Now. You told me you would do it this weekend.”

Knowing that I had lost the battle, as I always did, I kicked my clogs against the wood panelled wall and ran to my room. I slammed the door.

“Don’t slam your door.”

Utter defeat.

I quickly hurled all of my toys in the closet. I made my bed. I ran a sticky Kool-Aid encrusted plastic cup to the kitchen. I was done.

I threw my clogs back on. “K, I’m going out to play.”

“Take your brother with you.”

“What? I hate taking him, he always cries.” He did really cry a lot. It was embarrassing.

“You don’t spend enough time with him. He is your brother for crying out loud.”

“He’s stupid, that’s why I don’t play with him.”



“Don’t be smart.”

“OK, I will be dumb than.”

“Take him or you are not going out.”

“Fine, but if I lose all of my friends because of him it’s your fault.”

I kicked off my clogs and stopped for a second to marvel at my accuracy skills. I happened to hit the same spot on the wall as I had ten minutes earlier. Not bad.

I went to Wade’s room to get him. He was sitting on his bed with his thumb in his mouth crying. Of course. I felt bad a little but I didn’t know why.

“Mom wants you to go out and play with me.”

“I don’t want to.”

“Oh my God. Just come outside.”

He wiped his nose with his thread barren yellow blankie and stood up. He was still in his blue Snoopy pyjamas.

“Mom he is still in his pyjamas!”

“Wade, put your clothes on and brush your teeth.”

“I don’t want to go outside with dumb head.”

“Fine, stay home than.”

Summer was exhausting.

I once again put on my clogs.

“I am going outside now.”

“Not until you clean the mark on the wall where you kicked your clogs.”


The Summer Morning Routine

Part Time Jobs, Crazy Classes, a Flu/Cold, and memories of Tofino


I chose this page today because I think that it really portrays how I am feeling today. A little psychotic, thrilled because I have a coffee, a little dishevelled, and holding a napkin to wipe up my mess.

This photos was taken this summer on Long Beach in Tofino, BC. Sam (my best friend) and I took a road trip around Vancouver Island. We stopped here at my urging. I came here when I was a kid with my family. I remember the soft, sweat, squishy sand in my pudgy little toes. I remember my dog Susie running through the waves. I had to go back and relive what I remembered.

As soon as I heard the ocean I felt at peace. I ran through the sand and than waited to see Sam’s reaction at the entirety of it. It was a good reaction. Here are some photos, however they do not at all capture the immense beauty of it all.



I guess these photos make feel good because this place and space and feeling exists. I am happy in nature. I am happy surrounded by those that know me inside and out. This is when I am at my best.

So, in order to find this place and feeling without being in Tofino 24/7 needs to be sought.

Is It A Cold Or The Flu

For the past couple of days I have been fighting a cold/flu. My ears hurt, all I want to do is sleep, I sweat profusely and than freeze, and my head feels like it is stuffed with cotton. It is difficult for me to tell if I am sick. I only know if I have the voice of a baritone and the nose of sandpaper. It is hard for me to tell if I am in fact sick or if it is just my brain telling me not get up because there is no point. With this being said, when I do succumb to sickness I don’t rest. I cant rest because I feel guilty about me doing absolutely nothing. That is almost worse than being sick.


“How about when you sleep in until noon. You wake up and get angry at yourself for sleeping in. Everything you wanted to do today is not going to happen.”

This was said yesterday by the lead of my new Crazy Class. It is actually named the Depression and Anxiety Group held at CAMH. I was referred to this group by a psychiatrist at CAMH who I was referred to by my doctor. It has taken almost a year to come to fruition (free healthcare everyone!).

Anyways, during orientation yesterday my group lead said this. It was like she was talking to me. She wasn’t. She was talking to depression. My group is interesting. Lots of folks who I would definitely categorize as worse of than me (or I hide it better) and a lot of folks that look better than me (or they hide it better).

This is a long program that I have to attend once a week for  many weeks. I am not sure what to expect, but I am looking forward to it. It runs a few hours before my crazy group so Monday’s should be interesting.


I got a part-time job. Not just for money sakes (although it does help). but also for my sanity, and some structure. For the past few months I have not worked. I have kept busy, which I am thankful for because I was afraid I would allow myself to rot in front of the t.v. But I have not had that structure. I don’t do well with not structure.

I am the kind of person that makes lists of my week, What I will do each day, and what times I will do it. I can not wake up without some kind of plan or I lose my shit.


So I got a job. I am working part-time (seasonally) at Indigo in this massive upscale mall called Yorkdale. It really is a beautiful store, and it is surrounded by every overpriced thing that I love. I get a discount. This could be dangerous.

I have worked at Indigo before. When I first moved to Toronto a couple of years ago I worked at the Mt. Sinai location. I really did enjoy it as it was so different from ‘retail’. I saw little babies, the elderly, the sick, the grieving. Hell, I even saw Brian Mulroney and his wife (not sure how awesome that is).

This time around I had reservations about working at Indigo. For some reason I thought I deserved a better job, a job with some clout. Why I thought that I don’t know. A job is a job. I would be surrounded by books, my favorite thing ever! There was even a Starbucks there.. like come on!


I think I think that because I have endured numerous amount of hours in school, volunteering, and work I deserve more. For some reason, I believe that my dream jobs should always be open to me. That I, of course, deserve the job before anyone else.

A counsellor once told me ‘you know you are not the centre of the world.’ I know that sounds harsh but she was right. I was constantly feeling guilty for letting people down. I was feeling sad and desolate because I was never getting what I want.

By understanding that in fact, I am not the centre of the world, the guilt, anger, and desolation subsided.

So I have a job. The fact that I am able to carry a job right now is tremendous. It is only part time, and that is what I want. I want to enjoy my days. I want to go to yoga, walk, eat well, and write. I want to learn how to write well. I want a bit of structure. This is where Indigo comes in. Tonight I work a graveyard tasking shift. Wish me luck..


Part Time Jobs, Crazy Classes, a Flu/Cold, and memories of Tofino

Yoga and the art of being broken


So, here I am doing a kick-ass handstand. I am really good at it. Kidding… this is by no means me. In fact handstands don’t even happen in my dreams. I have been able to do them though. I think I was about ten and my brother and I used to whip ourselves into handstands in the basement against my Dad’s workshop door. I can’t imagine that they were graceful, but I do remember them being fun.
Truth is, I have been frequenting yoga for some time now. I did it a bit in Vancouver, but I was more concerned with losing weight and figuring out why I hated boys than I was about the phenomenal and life changing internal benefits.
While here in Toronto, I have been going to Kula Yoga in the Annex. Wow, I can not even tell you what a welcoming place it is. First of all, they offer classes that are only $8.00. Yoga is expensive, and this break in the wallet is welcomed by me and I am sure that multitude of students that live close to here.
Then, as soon as you walk in the door  there is a sign that says something along these lines. “We aim to be a welcoming space and welcome all sizes and shapes. We aim to be Fat-Positive, Trans and Queer Positive, and welcome folks with all abilities.”

I try not to do the hard classes like Power and Hot Yoga. I feel I may resent yoga if I do. Instead I try to do Gentle Yoga, Restorative Yoga, and Queer Yoga…. Yes that is right there is a yoga for us queer folk (not like the others aren’t welcoming, but this one is our own).
Today I went to Gentle Yoga. As always I felt great. My sciatica screamed in pain, but it was the kind of pain that hurt so good. I still don’t say Namaste because I feel it is culturally not mine, but the rest is great.
What was remarkable about today was the end. I can’t remember what the actual pose name is, but in English it is called the corpse pose. You are basically lying on the ground, breathing well, and trying to tap in to the inner soul we all have.


I felt good, relaxed, more relaxed than I have for a very long time. My mind started to drift off. I thought about random things. I turned my head to the side and immediately it reminded me of my mom. It reminded me of when I sat with her as she lay dying. I watched her breathe for 10 hours with the help of a machine. Near the end I noticed that her breath was slowing. Everyone that was there with me had left the room about 5 minutes before this. She looked peaceful. I grabbed her hand and told her that it was ok. We would all be ok. She stopped breathing. Her head tilted to the right, just like mine did. Her colour drained from her face but her hands were still warm. She looked like my mom, but she was gone. I knew that she knew that I was there. She opened her eyes about two hours before that and stared at me. I said hi. She closed her eyes soon after that. She would never open them again.
This memory made me start crying while I was in corpse pose (strange irony I know). It was a sad cry, but it was also a cry of release. I felt ok. I felt a bit like my mom was now telling me that it would all be ok.
I continued to think about why I was crying. Why this practice of yoga was doing this to me. This practice of yoga was in fact healing me. I barely cried when my mom died. I stayed strong. I grieved, but I didn’t let go. Today I was letting go. Yoga was breaking me open. It was allowing all the bad to leave. It was opening to allow me to heal again. All the shit (and I mean shit) that had happened this year is finally leaving. I am allowing myself to heal. I am raw, and sad, and hopeful. I have been gaining clarity. Things are really starting to make sense. Thank you yoga for allowing me to do that.


Yoga and the art of being broken

Yesterday’s News… Part One

home I was tired yesterday, I admit it. But, I posted. Yay Dallas! I had a lot of things that were on my mind, but when it came down to writing them, I was too tired. Maybe that was an excuse. Maybe I just didn’t want to write. I often think that my writing is bad, boring, sentences to short. But, sometimes I read over my words and think to myself, “That was pretty fucking good!”

I went to a book launch last night. A guy that I attended an intensive writing workshop with (taught by the awesome Sarah Schulman, dyke extraordinaire) had his first book published. It was a collection of short stories. Most of the room (the cabaret at Buddies) was filled with his friends (or so I guessed), considering most of them were of the queer bear sort like him. I thought about my book launch, because there will be one, and who I would want to be there. I thought of my mom immediately.. and well that isn’t going to happen because she died. I wanted to cry than. But, that is another blog post. I than thought of my BFF Sam. She would be there. And all of my Calgary friends. And Erin. And my family. Than I thought, where would this be? Buddies? No. Too pretentious. So much of the Toronto literati there. I know I am supposed to care about them, but I don’t. I hate elitism. Like seriously fuck off. I just want those I love there. And they aren’t in Toronto. Ok, that isn’t true, some of them are here… There is Rachel and Hope and Felicia and Laura… but that is it.

So what does that mean? Well that got me to thinking about my definition of home. Where was it? Half this summer I couldn’t remember where I was. Was it Calgary? Was it Toronto? I have been so consumed with running towards something or away these last few years that I have forgotten to stand still. I have no home base. Or I do and I deserted it. I have learned through this process that I am not good without a home base. I can travel the world but I need a home to come to when I am done. I don’t have one. I am lost. My head and heart are heavy. When I walk around I feel like this dream I had where I was homeless in the streets of Vancouver and I was trying to sleep in the rain… behind a grid. It was terrifying and so lonely. This is my depression trying to deal with my sporadic nature. I need my home. I know where it is but I am afraid to say it. But I crave it. I need it.

My mom said to me just before she died, “You seemed so happy there.”

I was…




Yesterday’s News… Part One

Eulogy of Mama by her sister Nancy….



-Jacki without an “e”, Ann without an “e”, Jacqueline with a “q”

Early Interests shaped passions for herself and others later in life. Several examples of how Jacki’s past played out in the future of others

Rockhound– had a collection in elementary school, could identify them, knew their history, etc..  Wade, wonder where your future came from??

Spiritual- interest and belief in the supernatural. Erin, you fit in perfectly

History– school: academic/vocational. Jacki decided to take History in Grade 12. Unheard of but she worked very hard and was successful. Future: passion for history played out through her lifelong interest in art history and travels in Egypt, England, and Europe where she was thrilled to visit galleries and museums that she had always read about.

Sewing and Textiles: major area of study in senior high school: revisited passion with coursework in the textiles programme at Capilano University over several years. She was very proud of her studies there and didn’t feel out of place with younger college students.


Family:  Pride in her children’s talents, interests, education and pursuits.

Dallas: Accomplishments in your administrative roles with Pride at local, national and international levels. Travel to meetings including Europe and The White House. Poise when being interviewed by media on T.V.

Wade: Geology degree through SFU as well as further education at BCIT. Successful career as a geologist both in the field and at the corporate level.

Erin and Wade: so proud of the dedication you both have shown as parents both in your daily care of Effie and Wyatt and your commitment to do the best job you can as parents.

As Granny: loved being able to be there so much to experience development of Effie and Wyatt. Fun, play, laughter, games.

Also, took seriously the role of aunt for my kids at graduations and celebrations. Accepted being like a grandparent with pride and responsibility.

Career: Westover Day Care: dedication, genuine care and concern, creativity; recognized by educators who worked with her for the excellent programme she ran there.

Home Support and Careworker: Jacki epitomized the person you would have hoped for to care for you, your child, or your family member. She talked about her “gift” and many were so grateful to have benefitted from her care and dedication. She often spoke of her clients with great and devotion.

Accepting:  Okay, this is what you’ve got. When you are young, you have dreams and assumptions about how things will turn out. Well, Jacki accepted and celebrated the unusual as it turned up in her future. And it did.

For Dallas, she accepted her choices and marched proudly in many Pride Parades with the Parents Group and readily welcomed getting to know her friends wherever Dallas lived.

When the news came that Wade and Erin’s wedding would be officiated by a Wiccan priest, she didn’t bat an eyelash. That was what her kids wanted and so it would be.

When she became aware of some health concerns of her own, she became educated and accepted treatment and limitations with strength and determination.

Jacki could also certainly be feisty and fiercely independent. She travelled to Egypt twice on her own where she lived out her childhood dream of seeing the pyramids. Feisty: when she came to see the Rolling Stones with Paul and me a few years ago, she took exception to people standing in front of us and made it clear that they should sit down and they did. We can all hear her saying “I can do it.”

Things you may not have known about Jacki:

SPORT Swimming accomplishments- Canadian Dolphins member

FITNESS Jazzercize Queen active participant in 70’s leotards

HOCKEY TEAM-Favourite player- Frank Maholovich 27

Teenage rebel: tasselled bikini, backcombed bleached hair, Christmas entrance in suedine bellbottoms with cigarette and rum and coke

FAV BAND Great fan of Rolling Stones and

FAV MOVIES Lawrence of Arabia and Doctor Zhivago


What would Jacki want?

Don’t live in the past. It’s done, so move forward.

Don’t keep crying over me. You have people to care for so devote your energy with them.

Go where you’ve always wanted to go. No time like the present to pursue your dreams.


Thank you for spending this time with us and be sure to laugh as you share memories of Jacki.

Eulogy of Mama by her sister Nancy….