Saturday, May 31, 2008

Saturday...


Saturdays... they can be as different from each other as oil and water. I haven't blogged in at least 3 Saturdays and most people around here know why.

Just two Saturdays ago, I recieved a phone call very early in the morning from my dad's doctor. She called with news of my dad who had been admitted to the hospital just the day before with an infection in his foot that has swelled and was pretty red. She called to say he had a terrible night and things were not good. That was the last night that he spent alone in that hospital. From that day forward, between my sister, brother and I, every waking and sleeping moment was spent at his side so he would never been alone. His terrible night was plagued with dreams of being here at home and calling for people to help him get into his own bed. It broke my heart to hear this, but the real news was that he was failing rapidly. The infection compromised his kidneys and that compromised his heart and it just got worse from there. And just one Saturday from today, my sister and I sat with dad on a sunny Saturday afternoon as he took his final breath. We sat close to him, holding his hands and told him we loved him and he slipped away into a peaceful calm.

And today, Saturday again. A beautiful day at my sister's cottage, doing yardwork and gardening before our long drive home to spend the first day alone in our home since dad arrived several years ago.

Saturdays....

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Happy Hips!!!

I thought I had seen it all!!! But when grocery shopping last night, Terry and I entered the health food section looking for a cereal that Terry saw on TV for diabetics (for dad). In our intense reading of every box on the shelf, I came to the pet section. We had fun reading all the "organic" doggie treats.... We came upon some special treats for certain needs.After we chuckled over the name, I read the label and saw that it's chicken... free range (or to quote them "cage free")no less, and contains glucosamine and Chondroitin (hence the name). So for our sturdy girls' hips to be more happy, we bought them to help. So, she loves her little treat and so does the cat. Now whether her hips are happy or not, we will see. She is starting to get pretty stiff, so lets give it a few days to see how well it does. She already knows what the words "happy hips" means after two treats, so they must be good.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Birthday Debbie Walker!!

Debbie was the ultimate Mother's Day gift to her mom. She was born on Mother's Day 1958 and how fitting that she celebrates her 50th on Mother's Day.
How can one let a 50th birthday go by without a little embarrassment and fun. And for this reason, Debbie was an unsuspecting victims of about 15 friends who wanted to say Happy Birthday.
Now, I have known Debbie for about 17 years. Our kids played together at Pooh's Playhouse and when I first got my job at Kingston School, Debbie kept Michelle one day a week so she could still go to nursery school with all her little friends from Pooh's. We were stay home moms together and we were working moms together. We were brownie leaders together and have curled together. We have lived provinces apart and lived practically next door to each other. We have walked together, been on weekends away for curling, shopping etc, and we have scrapbooked together almost EVERY Monday for almost 4 years.!!!!! AND I NEVER KNEW..... that Debbie was the Acadia University's Homecoming Princess for 1978. Here is the "Debbie Marshall, small town girl does well" article, as it appeared in the old ARGUS newspaper here in Greenwood. (Thanks to her MOM!!) Of course, we had to share this with all Debbie's friends and Debbie got to where a pink tiara for the evening. A small group of friends met at Wendy's place and then tiptoed over to Debbies' amidst the text messaging going on between Ashley and Michelle, to keep us informed as to where Debbie was sitting (so we could sneak past the window) and then we crashed their family time, bringing in all the nibbles, the cake and balloons, along with a commemorative poster depicting her life. Debbie gave us a tour of all these pictures and her brother and sister in law had quite the chuckle looking at all of them. Debbie's mom hid in the background while sending little whispered apologies out towards Debbie, but not venturing too close. Hopefully today, Debbie will have forgiven her mom (and her friends) and will have forgotten all about this invasion of privacy!!! Oh, and of course, the cake. We mustn't forget the cake.... And anyone who is pretty good at grammar will note the grammatical error in the loving message on the cake. That sent me into fits of chuckles when I first saw it, and realized the 16 year old I ordered the cake from didn't see the mistake at all..... what can ya do but laugh, really.! I can't remember, but I think Debbie said this was her grade 9 school picture.... hee hee After a terrible round of "Happy Birthday", Debbie blew out the candles and served up this yummy cake. It was such a nice evening to catch up with all my seasonal friends. I see everyone all winter, but once Golf Season hits, I am left back in the ice rink until October... But maybe this year, I will make an attempt! We left Debbie, Brian, Ashley and Shane with a big mess and a few new memories.... Love you Debbie..... (and Wendy too) How great to have friends. Truly.
Following is a few random thoughts are being 50

50

When I was in grade 4, Mrs Gigauls class, she made us do this writing exercise where we had to write what we thought we would be doing when the millennium changed. You know, in the year 2000. I remember that after I struggled with the math to figure out my age, I realized I would be doing nothing in the year 2000 because I would most likely be dead. After all, in the year 2000, I was going to be 42!~

Don't you all remember when you were young and 50 sounded ANCIENT! My aunts in their big house dresses and big aprons, rolled down pantyhose and big black shoes where pretty old when I was growing up, and now when I do the math, they were in their 40's. This is my Aunt Irene with my Grandmother. She is the one in the printed dress. This is my aunt at 45!

But when my mom turned 50, I was sort of shocked, because she was pretty darn young looking, and running a department store, dressing in really nice clothes. I was wondering when she would make the transition to the big house dresses and rolled down pantyhose. I think my opinion of 50 started to turn a little at that point. But when I hit my 30's and first starting meeting real people who were near 50 and looked and acted younger than me, I began to strive for the idea that maybe I would be alive when I was 42!!!

I think we almost 50 year olds, and the 50 year old and plus ladies I know are setting a new standard for those little kids in school. 50 is amazing. 50 is a right to passage. 50 something to be proud of.... and on that note.....Happy Birthday Debbie!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Spring has left

First off, GREASE the Musical is playing at our High School. We went to see it last night and it was very well done. The singing was fantastic, and all the sets and actors were great. It was awesome to see old school mates, old students and parents of kids too. We met Michelle and Scott there as they decided earlier in the week that they would be coming home for the weekend, so Terry picked up 2 extra tickets for the musical. Both Michelle and Scott have been in the Music Pit for the West Kings musicals, so this was their first experience being in the audience.
In just a week, things are popping up all over the garden. My peonies were hardly two inches high last week and have grown over a foot. We have had somewhat sunny weather but the last 2 days have been cooler than what I would call "spring"!.... I severely pruned items in my little sun garden at the front of the house, and I need one day just of weeding. Then mulch, and I will be happy with the front garden. All the other gardens will get what I can give..... The pond was uncovered this week, and our water lilies survived the big freeze, and are growing nicely. The bad part is the pond has a bad leak and the water level drops 4 inches in a day and then stops dropping. This tells us the there is a leak in the upper part of the pond and it just seems so daunting to try and find it! Maybe one evening this week. The rippling river had a rough winter, and I need to rearrange the rocks (maybe tomorrow).


Terry and Scott are busy today, working on Stephanie boxes for her new bed creation. Its using MDF which is very dusty and very heavy. So, today, there is a cool breeze which helps with the dust that the saws are creating. It will be a series of boxes that have large drawers in it, and when arranged, they can be the base to a bed, or a chest of drawers... I will keep you posted.

Monday, May 5, 2008

My Aunt Madeline

Sunday afternoon, dad and I braved the roads (ok, it was sunny and warm, for once) and drove 150km to visit my Aunt Madeline. My dear Aunt Madeline lived all her life in Glace Bay Nova Scotia until about February this year. She lived in the same home for over 50 years and that home almost did her in, this cold winter. As she slept on her livingroom couch, which she did often, the pipes froze in her old house and the rads burst. As the cold seeped into the house, Madeline slept deeper and deeper and after 3 days when worried family finally broke into her locked house, she was so cold she couldn't possibly wake up. Off to the hospital by ambulance she went and after a couple of weeks of tenderloving care, she was well enough ( in her health, at least) to leave. But she didn't really have anywhere she could stay for any length of time. She stayed with her daughter until they could find a home that had an empty bed, her daughter's home was not the right place for her. Even though her health was good, her short term memory was/is not good and that is probably what got her in trouble in the first place. She was forgetting to eat and wasn't remembering important things, etc. After her close brush with death, the memory loss and ultimate confusion was far more severe. finally after a month of waiting, she got a spot in a Seniors Rest Home in Herring Cove, (over 5 hours from her home) just outside of Halifax. We have been trying to find a good weekend to go and visit and yesterday was the day. We picked up my Aunt Jeanette in Dartmouth, went out for a nice fish & Chip lunch and then made our way out to the COVE.... When we arrived, she was napping, and woke up right away, and prettied her hair. She recognised both dad and I, even though she couldn't remember my name. She recognized her baby sister as well, without hesitation. We chatted in her HOT DARK bedroom for a bit and then found a sunny outside patio to sit at. As we followed the nurse down the hall to the patio, my Aunt Madeline hopped and skipped behind the nurse, sort of making fun... soooo cute. She asked a lot of questions, as to where she was exactly, and why. My dad explained everything to her, and she told him that he was full of %#$%$%%>. A few minutes later she asked the same series of questions again, and added in a few others. But only a breath later, talked about my mom and how much she enjoyed my mom. Especially when they went on fishing trips together!! Below is a picture of my mom and dad enjoying a big laugh with Madeline in 1953 during a fishing trip. I still can't believe my mom EVER went fishing. She sure gave that up before I came along....
Madeline was so happy to finally be outside, and was thrilled to know that this place full of crazy people had such a nice patio. I was glad I suggested the patio and felt pretty good that I may have changed her life here at the "home". When our visit was almost finished,
her son David and his wife Mary came along. We chatted for only a second when Mary commented that she burnt yesterday while sitting on this patio with Madeline!!!! Which means, Madeline was out there just the day before and didn't remember. Poor little sweetie, and David and Mary explain to her almost every day what happened and why she can't go back to her house in Glace Bay. That short term memory stuff... pretty wicked.

Meet my Aunt Madeline, who refused to wear sunscreen "because she is FRENCH", which must give her some extra sun protection all in itself. Meet my Aunt Madeline who goosed "Peter" one of the male nurses here at her residence. Meet Aunt Madeline who has a cupboard full of stolen items from the other residents (such as hair brushes, dolls, slippers, etc). Meet my Aunt Madeline who will be 90 this Christmas and doesn't take a single pill. Not one! Meet my Aunt Madeline who is a breast cancer survivor. And those glasses on her forehead are just when she needs to read, and she doesn't like putting them on her head because it messes up her hair, and she doesn't want to hang them on a chain because it will make her look old!!!

I love my Aunt Madeline, and I am glad she is safe and sound, in a beautiful retirement home only 1.5 hours from my house!!!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

The Great Move

Michelle and Scott finished their exams last week, started full time work... moved all Michelle's stuff from her Dorm to Scott's old apt. Then they organized and packed all of Scott's belongings, help clean the apt and then on Thursday, moved all their stuff in the pack of the car to the new apt. And there they sat. No beds, no dishes, no cutlery, no food. Well, they had pasta. the boys left lots of pasta behind and pasta sauce.

Saturday morning, the first nice day of the week in Antigonish and we arrived at the new apt at 11:20 with the load of things from our place. Terry and Scott lifted beds, dressers, chairs and boxes up these narrow metal steps that go up the side of the building to the second floor. Michelle, Laura and I unpacked all the dishes, pots, plastics and bake ware from my house to her kitchen and we chatted about Laura's graduation and up and coming job interview for RLC. I hope she gets it, if nothing else, to live back in the Nish to be with Michelle. They have become great friends and great support for each other. You hate to see your friends leave... so, I am soo hoping she gets the RLC.
We made a second van run, this time to Scott's' former house, to pick up the second hand living room furniture and a few odds and ends. They are babysitting Hutan's plants for the summer and they had to be moved over as well. Michelle and I broke up the afternoon by going to a few stores to buy some necessities and also to a fun kitchen store to pick out some fun things for me, because I got a nice gift certificate from Michelle for Mothers Day!!! What a fun and amazing store!!!
Below is a video tour of Scott and Michelle's apt, in its first stages. Nothing unpacked or even decided on what will go were. But these videos are to please all the family who couldn't be there to help move all that stuff up the steep steps!!!

videoThey have a lot of unpacking to do, and some cleaning over at Scott's former house and I hear they plan a visit to see their little guinea pigs that were born two weeks ago. That is there weekend. This is the second part of the video tour of the apt.

videoOn, a further FLOOD note, check out my sister's blog. They went to the cottage this morning to check out the water levels. Not only is the river over the edges of the highway, blocking half of the road, but the Grand Lake has swelled up to the highest level ever, and is touching the steps of the cottage. The baby cottage is totally submerged with only the roof showing. wow, its quite the FLOOD of 2008.

Friday, May 2, 2008

My Crazy Cat Pika


He is my one and only cat. There was a time just 5 years ago that we owned 4. Tiger was a stray that we took in, after feeding him for a year outside. He was orange and small but the same age as Pika. KAT (Kristopher Anthony Tom) was my mother in law's cat for a year, and then soft hearted Terry rescued him from a life of loneliness to come live in a house of cats, dogs kids and the great outdoors. He died when he was ten from a deteriating hip. Then of course, there is Sonny who died just this spring, and that leaves my one and only, Pika. He is the most loving cat I have ever met, and Sonny was the most loving before him.


When Sonny died, Pika most certainly showed signs of confusion, especially around meal time. He always ate off to one side in the kitchen because we couldn't put them too close together. Sonny was a fast eater and the BOSS of the bowls. Pika had to eat fast and get out. Often, they ate, and then traded bowls, with Sonny leaving nothing behind, and Pika's dish still half full, for Sonny to polish off.



Pika was quite confused when he no longer had Sonny's bowl to lick out, and could quite easily finish his own supper without the eagle eyes of Sonny watching him. To help with the transition, we left Sonny's bowl there, and I even put a tiny bit of food in it occasionally, so Pika would feel like he was getting extra. But eventually, we stopped doing that, and removed the dish altogether. Now since Pika always ate over by the phone and Sonny ate by the water dish, there was a big void spot over there, on the nice eating mat that was made for pet dishes. So, one day, I moved Pika's bowl over there, to give him a new pet friendly place to eat. His old spot was usually bombarded with the phone cord, or the pantry door was partly open and his dish would get pushed under it, making it impossible for him to get the last little bits of food. On the first day of this new location, he sat in his old eating spot, and looked at the bowl of food over in Sonny's spot. He, pondered this new location, and thought about it, and looked and then..... lost out, because then big black dog Mollie saundered in, and jubilently ate every last morsel of food, leaving Pika still sitting there wondering what the heck was going on. We tried for 2 more days to feed him there, and he wouldn't eat. So back to the old spot. This time, we moved it an inch closer to the mat each day, until it was almost by the waterbowl. He eventually ate with gusto, as usual and didn't bat an eye at the new location.



Then about 2 weeks go, Pika stopped eating. He begged and meowed like he was hungry, but when we put food in his bowl, he would sniff it, and walk away. We tried new flavors, we tried warming it up, and we tried taking it away, putting it back, taking it away,.... you know, letting him know if he doesn't eat it, its gone. Mollie loved the new Pika... because Mollie would give him a minute to decide and then MOLLIE TO THE RESCUE!!! She would clean up all the food. Two weeks, all meals. He ate his crunchies, which are way down the hall in the cat barn, so we knew he would live, but still, it started to bother me. We checked his teeth, and I clipped him good, thinking he might not like his mane getting dirty...



Then, a couple of days ago, in desperation, I moved his bowl back to the old feeding spot.... and, he ate. And now, he eats without hesitation, every day since! I have no idea what triggered this new no eating phase, but back in the old annoying spot, he is quite content.
Below is this morning, back to his old spot and you can see where Sonny ate, over on the right, next to the water bowl.