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Friday, December 31, 2010

Hopes for 2011

Here's hoping 2011 will be a happier year than 2010! Losing my mom at the end of January has made for a very sad and lonely year.  Having to be her executrix and to go through the probate process has been doubly difficult.  A word of advice--try never to have be anyone's executor.

The Summer was lousy-cool and wet.  Dave had an accident on Thanksgiving Day with my (my mom's) truck. I've become quite disillusioned with insurance companies (not that I had a whole lot of regard for them before, but now...), and with the "system", and with people who can lie so easily. A couple of days ago Dave was presented with a ticket by the RCMP--the officer told him off the record that it could be beaten and that there was reasonable doubt.  So why declare Dave at fault??

I am very frustrated with apathy at the EG--you would think in a place which houses 500 residents, more family members would want to be involved. I am also fed up a lot of staff who don't seem to get how lucky they are to have a program like Second Wind Dreams there. Diane Berge stepped down as Chair of SWD--I miss her for many reasons! I lost a freezer full of food--:(( 

My dad has suffered some setbacks with his health this year and I hope he can be okay for a couple of more years.

However lots of good things happened too.  SWD won a Government of Alberta Seniors Service Award. I have managed to carry on in some fashion (!!) with SWD as the new chair and we have completed 10 dreams since I took over in the Summer.

My friend Jacqueline , who now lives in Perth, Australia, was here in the Fall for a visit.  It was great to see her and made me miss her all over again!  I went to Lethbridge in November--the first time I have been anywhere since my parents went into the EG.  I got to see Jolene, meet her great bunch of friends, and cheer for Kort!! I want to live in Lethbridge!! I also started a blog--we'll call that a good thing!! And I became a bona fide blog stalker too!!

Duffy (or The Prince--as the neighbor calls him!) is maturing and settling down--some!! We went to our first classes this Fall and we graduated and I got to confirm what I have suspected about him all along--he is very, very smart, and loves to show off!! I have plans to enroll us in more classes and I would like to enter at least one Obedience Trial in 2011 and hopefully more.  As for conformation with him, well we will have to see, but I don't care all that much about it.  Or at least that's what I'm telling myself for now!! Hahahahah!! While occasionally he drives me up a wall--like with his barking--but we are working on that--he is my pal, my buddy, and I would be lost without him. All this year, his presence has kept me from getting too awfully depressed. And I am planning for the potential of another Collie pup in the house, either in 2011 or 2012.

My wish for everyone in 2011, is that they know more gladness than sadness, good health rather than bad, peace and contentment rather than strife and stress, and the love of family and friends, undiminished.

Happy New Year!!!!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

A message from my mother

A couple of days before Christmas, I dropped the letter opener down the side of the desk.  And since I needed it, I pulled the desk out and discovered all kinds of things--including the money order to Davenloch that I couldn't find for months and months, some bills, and a newspaper clipping that had fallen between the floor board and the wall. It must have been there for years, because when Dave refitted this desk as a computer desk 5 1/2 years ago, he had pulled the whole thing out and hadn't seen this clipping.  From the article on the back, this clipping is from 1968. 

The clipping had been saved by my mother years ago and to find it and read a poem which is so fitting to my life and feelings, can only mean that my mother was sending me a special message at Christmas time. She's telling me that she's with me always, as are my grandparents and my uncle.  Uncle Mike always did the ploughing. And she's telling me not to feel too sad.  It did help a lot, I felt better after I found this and Christmas was okay.

Thank you Mother--I love you and miss you. ♥

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas 2010

There's a lot I could say about this Christmas but I will confine myself to a couple of items. I swallowed down tears several times during the day thinking of my mother and missing her. But several days before Christmas I got a wonderful message from her--that really helped me feel better. I'll blog about that next time. I also have been in agony for several days with back pain, so much so that standing at the kitchen counter trying to bake and cook was awful.  I had to sit down so often, that it took me 5 times as long to do everything. I was finally finished at 1:30 Christmas morning. I then took out the garbage, and sat outside on the bench for a while with Duffy beside me.  It was -15 or so, but so peaceful and quiet in the big city--except for some sirens to the east. I then came in, had a shower, had a small glass of amaretto, and got 4 hours of sleep!! Here are some pictures from the day, including visiting my dad.

A new shaver for my dad!

A nice picture of my dad.

"Who said you could take a picture of me???" Dave would kill me if he knew I had posted this picture, but it makes me laugh!! He looks this way because he's wondering why I'm using the old camera--I wasn't!!
Duffy starting to "open" his prezzie
And here we have Duffy practising his sits and Dave practising how to open a package of treats. He changed treats because I told him the first one was too big!! Hahaha!!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!!

Merry Christmas to everyone!! May you and you families have a safe and happy holiday season and may 2011 be a wonderful year!!  All the best from Dave and I, and Duffy too!!

Why is this deep freeze open?

I went downstairs yesterday in the late afternoon to see if I had some pecans in this deep freeze.  I opened the door and water ran down the door onto the floor. "Oh, oh, that can't be a good sign," I muttered to myself! Then the smell hit me!! Whuff!! Ewwww!! Rotting, moldy veggies and fruit.  I yelled for Dave and we spent the next hour dumping the thawed bags into garbage bags and swabbing up the water, which was red--either from raspberries or cherries--or both!! Yuck!! I hadn't been in the deep freeze for a couple of weeks, so everything had a nice long time to thaw!! All this year's peas, beans, corn, and some veggies from the year before--all gone. Saskatoons from a year ago, raspberries from this year gone too. A lot of work--planting, weeding, picking, chopping, blanching--all gone:((  Dave has taken all the bags to the dump this morning. Guess what I will be shopping for in the new year?? Bah humbug!!!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Being one of Santa's helpers

It's been a crazy busy couple of days for me at the EG! I got word on Monday that the Mandarin oranges I had ordered for SWD to give to the 18 units ( 2 boxes per unit), were being delivered with the lunch meal carts on Tuesday.  I had prepared 18 Christmas cards and a Christmas note to be delivered to the units, explaining where the oranges were from and wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from SWD. Kay and I were already meeting on 6Y on Tuesday to deliver a food gift basket that a resident had asked for--was for his wife at she had been relying on fast foods too much, since he came into care.  I also had gift bags with presents for a couple of other residents.  There were clothes for a younger resident who has no family and nothing much in the way of clothes, and a shawl for a lady who likes to dress nicely!

The wife who was to receive the food basket was sick and hadn't come in, so we left the basket with the RCM and asked that a picture be taken when she gave the basket to the couple.  I gave her the gift bags too and Kay and I delivered the cards--she did the Y wing and I did the C and AB wings. I also stopped off to see Janate and give her the 3 donation cheques and a card.  Lots of walking!!

Dave got the truck washed before he came up here! And now all I need is a Collie license plate again!!
Dave is here and he brought my truck back!!! Yippee!!! All fixed and looks as good as new and has new tires too! After all the old ones were 20 years old--that's how little my Mother had driven the truck!! So we visited with my dad for awhile and then stopped at Planet Organic on the way home--I haven't been able to go there for over a month.  I was in severe withdrawl!! Hahaha!!

Wednesday, we stopped to get a bunch of Christmas flowers before heading to the EG. I had flowers for my dad, the unit got a poinsettia plant, the assistant rec therapist Jill got cut flowers, and the neighbor will getting another bunch today. I also got a floral arrangement for another gentleman and his lady friend on 6Y.  He had asked for a Ukrainian meal, but sadly, the cancer has spread and he is mostly in bed now and is on a puree diet.  So in lieu of the meal, they got the flowers and a card.  Duffy came along yesterday and he was a hit with everyone--as always.  He got to visit a couple of new units he's never been on and make some more friends. Everyone always raves about what a lovely dog he is.  He is really well behaved, doesn't try to jump on anyone anymore--he's growing up!! One lady wanted him to sit and shake a paw. I got him to sit, but he wasn't into paw shaking.  He only does tricks for me and sometimes Dave.  Guess he needs a relationship with people before he will do little tricks!!

There was a Christmas tea on the 7Y yesterday, so we spent the rest of the afternoon there.  Then Dave dropped me off at Kingway Mall and he took Duffy home.  I only spent 1 1/2 hours in the stores but I was so hot and exhausted I couldn't wait for Dave to come back to pick me up!!

It's been hard for me to get into any real Christmas spirit this year.  But I find that doing things for SWD at the EG helps. I will be doing lots of baking today, then Dave and I are going to go out to celebrate our birthdays, and when we get home, I will watch my favorite version of A Christmas Carol--the Alastair Simm one.  I had seen a live performance of it at the Citadel Theatre on Saturday--which was very enjoyable too! Tomorrow I make the holupche (cabbage rolls), the cranberry sauce, prepare the bread for the stuffing, and roast the turkey. I have been doing the turkey bird the day before Christmas for the last 6 years, so that we can spend part of Christmas Day at the EG and not worry that the turkey has caught on fire and burned the house down!

I'm sure everyone will be super busy in the next couple of days, but I hope we all can take a moment or two to relax and enjoy these last 2 days before Christmas!!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Happy Birthday to my Sweetie!!

Today is Dave's birthday.  Don't tell anyone but he's 65!!!!!!!!!! He can start getting his pension in January!! That's what happens when you marry someone older than yourself!! Hahaha!!

Awwww--Dave's about 3 months old here!!

He's a creative and inventive kind of a guy!!

He's handy around the kitchen too!!

He loves Duffy and Duffy loves him!!

Hey, save your smooches for me!!!!!!


Our Last Snow Storm of 2010?

Well we can only hope!! That 2 inches that fell Tuesday night was nothing compared to what Wednesday had in store for us!! It started snowing and blowing in the wee hours of the morning and kept up all day and into the night. I shovelled out the front and the back up to the gate Wednesday and did the back 2 more times that day.  Thursday I spent 3 1/2 hours outside shovelling and using the snow blower for the driveway and the drifted in city sidewalk.  What fun!!

Wednesday morning

Thursday morning
The beginning of an over hanging snow drift
What it looked like 24 hours later
BBQ anyone?
Even blowing snow can produce art!!
Hmmm, have I got some major packing down of the snow to do!!
Is that a chiffon cake????

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas Party

The Christmas party for Unit 7Y (where my dad resides) was on Tuesday evening.  It was great to have Christmas parties again as we didn't last year due to that phoney baloney H1N1 so-called pandemic. And no I won't start a rant on all the stupid people getting their flu shots as usual!!!

As I still don't have my truck, I had to bus it to the EG (and it's a 2 bus each way trip!!).  It started to snow as I left the house with my containers of Christmas cookies that I baked earlier in the day. And by the time I was waiting for the 2nd bus downtown, it was really coming down and blowing as well.

My dad was happy to see me and was having one of those rare days where he doesn't say stupid things and he acts like he does have a brain!! And no, he doesn't have any dementias--he's always been like this!  There was entertainment from 2 oldtimers--one sang and played the accordian and the other played the mandolin. There were lots of goodies to eat and many family members in attendance sharing the party with the residents. The highlight was a visit from Santa Claus--every resident has their picture taken with him!! Cutbacks had kicked in--instead of little gifts being given to each resident, as in the past, they got a candy cane!! Whoo Hoo!!  Santa came up to the unit after the party, which was really nice for the residents who are bedridden, or couldn't go down to the auditorium.
Here's Santa!!!

The evening's entertainers with one of the chaplains--turns out she has the most beautiful voice and sang several carols for us.
I missed my mother being there--she loved music and would have enjoyed the evening. And she would have loved eating my cookies--even when she didn't want any other food, she always ate my baking.

It had stopped snowing by the time my 1st bus came for the homeward trip, but I was wearing shoes and not boots, and all that cold snow got in my shoes--brr!! I shovelled the walks when I got home--I shouldn't have bothered as the real blizzard blew up in the early hours of Wednesday morning and it snowed and the winds howled and piled up drifts all day and into the evening.  More pictures of that to follow!!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

December 12

Lots of birthdays today!!!Here is a sampling of them: Jennifer Connelly (turns 40); Kirk Cameron; Cathy Rigby (my age!); Mike Pinder (Moody Blues); Connie Francis; Mayim Balik; Bob Barker; Frank Sinatra; Steve Podborski (Canada's first World Cup Downhill Ski Champion); Dionne Warwick (turns 70--can you believe it?).  Lots of actresses, actors, singers, and sport figures born on December. Oh, and someone else--who can that be??? Hahahaha!!

It's a snowy birthday this year.  Last year Edmonton broke all record temps for the coldest day and was the coldest place in the world!!! But the sun was shining--I prefer cold temps and sunshine over warmer temps and snow, any old time!

I am just going to relax today--well sort of.  It's been a difficult couple of weeks.  One of Dave's very good friends (and mine as well, to a lesser degree) died suddenly 3 weeks ago (blocked artery aggravated by several epileptic seizures); another friend had to be flown from BC to Calgary and was near death.  They performed a gall bladder operation, but he has cancer of the colon. And one of my aunts-in-law had to be rushed to hospital in Penticton. Something has been going on with my dad this week--Tuesday he fell off his bed, has bruises and probably bruised ribs, and he was very confused. I was very worried that it was another TIA and to be having one so close to the last one, would not be a good sign.  However, it could also be a UTI--I sure hope so.  We're waiting for all the test results. UTI's in the elderly usually present with symptoms of confusion, making the person appear like they have a dementia. My dad has never drank enough liquids in his whole life, so it's extra hard to get him to have water or juice.

Dianna, Kay, and Edith

We had our Second Wind Dreams 50-50 fund raising sale this past week, for 3 days.  We made a little over $200.  But between manning the table and running up to check on my dad, and having to take buses there and back, it was hectic. But we have a new recruit!! Her name is Dianna, she's a friend of Kay's, so we have another Greek with us!  She was fantastic at drumming up sales and the 1 day she wasn't there our sales were way down!!The rest of us are on the shy side!!

In terms of dreams, I took Homaira to Marvel to have her hair and nails done and to have a facial; there are several presents of clothes to deliver to residents; might be able to get 2 residents to the Winspear next Sunday for an Edmonton Symphony Christmas concert; there will be a gift basket delivered; and boxes of oranges for the units.  This is all before Christmas!! I have 2 meetings on Monday and 2 Christmas parties on Tuesday!! Whew!! And I put up the Christmas decorations and little tree yesterday--with Duffy's help.  He was in Olds last year, so the ornaments and garlands, etc. were all so interesting for him!! And this is his 3rd Christmas--already!!

Homaira and Amy the hairstylist. Homaira is one of the younger residents--she has 2 daughters-6 and 10.

Eliza doing the facial and another student putting on the nail polish

Vanessa, the instructor in esthetics, Homaira, and Eliza after everything was done. Homaira was tired and happy to get back to the EG after all that pampering!

So back to today.  I was going to go downtown, maybe see a movie and try some shopping.  But it's blowing and snowing, so I don't really feel so much like it now. I am still trying to shake this cold I picked up--must be those Southern Alberta germs--I'm not used to them!!! I might just go to 7-11, get a paper, and stay home!! It's just pretty great to have my Duffy for company too. Oh, and if you are wondering where Dave is--well he's in Olds!! He was hoping the truck would be all ready and he could bring it back to me today.  But the hood painting and curing is taking a little longer ( being done by an autobody painter), so both husband and truck are delayed.  I wouldn't want them to be on the snowy highway anyway!

Duffy's Christmas portrait!!

Happy Birthday to all the other December 12th birthday people out there!! We rock!!!

Friday, December 10, 2010

So true!!

I LOVE my messenger bag!!!