Blog Header

Blog Header

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Finally!! It's Christmas!!

I had a truly awful Christmas Day--not because Dave and I were apart--that I could handle. No it was because my father was his usual Christmas neurotic, nasty, vile self.  I had flashbacks of all the Christmases of my life while I lived at home and and how he did his best to ruin everything for Mother and I. And when he told me I was lying about being sick with the stomach flu, that was it, I left. In case anyone thinks I'm not being understanding of someone who is old, etc. let me tell you, my father has been like this all the years I can remember.  I want to love him, I try to love him, but he is selfish and mean spirited, among other things. He disrespected my mother while she was alive and he disrespects her in death and that really hurts me. On Christmas he complained about everything I brought and was totally unappreciative of the gifts, the food, and my presence.  I really wished I had stayed home. How many times have I come home feeling awful because of the way he has treated me and talked to me.  This time I was still feeling awful the next day. But out of this I have decided that I have had enough and I going to make some changes in my life. More on this in a  forthcoming blog post.

Duffy warming up for present opening!
The happy news is that Dave finally arrived here today, after fixing the his friend's wife's vehicle, so that the friend could loan his pickup to Dave.  And the weather gods cooperated and no one was sick, and it was Christmas!! We opened gifts and had our Christmas dinner of turkey, stuffing, holupche (cabbage rolls) made with sour cabbage and basmati rice, homemade beet pickles, homemade cranberry sauce, and garden grown squash. We also had a dry red wine made by my neighbor Gus Pucci.  No fancy labels like Diana showed us on her blog, but the price is sure right (free) and all his wine is good stuff.  Dessert was this:

We didn't eat the whole plateful!!

Duffy getting started on his stocking.

His new toy--Santa pup. Get a load of those teeth!!

Opening a Paws Absorbant Drying Towel for pets.  We'll see if it works like they say it will!!

The date doesn't really matter so much when it comes to these holidays, it's being together with your nearest and dearest that matters most of all. My Dave and my Duffy! ♥

Friday, December 23, 2011


Norovirus--now there's a word you don't want to hear at this time of year, or anytime of year!  But it's been doing the rounds at the Edmonton General.  Not all units have it but those that do have gone through quarantines.  The virus also keeps coming back too.  My dad had it 2 weeks ago, and I couldn't visit for 4 days.  Then he seemed to be all better.  But he had another bout of it this week on Sunday.  I was there on Sunday and Monday.  Guess what I have???!!  Despite endless hand washings everywhere, I succumbed.  I was sicker than a dog yesterday and although I don't have the active symptoms today--you know the ones, that make you want to drag your bed into the bathroom, just so you won't have so far to go!! But I still have the headache, stomach still hurts, feel like crap--no pun intended--lethargy, no appetite. 

I was so well organized this year too!! I had done lots of baking, have all the gifts wrapped, including gifts for 5 residents that fulfilled their Second Wind Dreams wish, and was going to attend the candle light Christmas Eve service at McDougall United Church. I was going to cook the turkey tomorrow, so that we could spend part of Sunday with my dad and not worry about the turkey needing basting.  Today I was going to make the holupche and maybe even some perogies.  Guess that's not going to happen eh?  I still had a few small prezzies to get--maybe tomorrow morning, I can manage that. You should be quarantined for 48 hours after your last active symptoms.

Norovirus is an extremely virulent one--symptoms appear 24-48 hours after exposure.  It is over between 24-60 hours after that.  But people shed it for weeks long after they have recovered.  That's why it's so bad in enclosed facilties, like nursing homes, cruise ships, etc. And it spreads most often through contaminated food.  It can take only one person who has it and handles food, to create an epidemic. 

We might be celebrating Christmas later next week--I sure don't want Dave to get sick, so he's staying in Olds.  We sure have some kind of luck don't we???

In the meantime, here are some pictures of Duffy for Christmas--we wanted to take him for a picture with Santa, but Petsmart only does that on Sunday's and Dave wasn't here on a Sunday.  So we brushed and trimmed him and took our own!

I want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and may you all have the love and joy of family and friends to help you celebrate this special season.  God bless.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me!!!

Yes, another birthday has come and is almost gone!! On the bonus side it wasn't -30, nor was there a blizzard blowing.  Jacqueline will remember the year we couldn't go out for my birthday because of the blizzard!! Then 2 years ago, Edmonton had the coldest temperature in the world on December 12!!!!  Ah the joys of a December birthday!  Because it's only 2 weeks before Christmas, when I was young, celebrations were low key, to put it mildly--one small prezzie, and my mom would bake a cake.  I never had a party either :(  But I survived!! Then in 1969, I had to write the first part of the English departmental on my birthday.  And from then on, university meant exams on my birthday--first taking them, then giving them.  Not so much fun!

This year, the day started out with me getting up at 5 and sitting at the computer for an hour, then laying down again and dozing off and on with Edward G. Robinson movies in the background--his birthday today too.  Much better than Frank Sinatra movies--also his birthday.  Then Duffy lay down beside me for a little while--I love that--I can reach down and pat and scratch him.  Then just before 8 he decided it was time to get up, so we did and then he decided the best way to celebrate MY birthday was for us to play HIS favorite game--hide the toy.  Hammy (aka Hamish the Hedgehog) was the toy of choice.  So we did that for awhile.  Then I talked to Dave who is stuck in Olds--they had a bunch of snow and the highways around Olds are dreadful, as usual.  And, he was called at 2:30 in the morning to go out and clean snow from parking lots and gas stations with a bobcat--he's been helping a friend out. So no husband to spend my birthday with. Phooey!! Thank heavens I have Duffy!!

I had 2 meetings to attend at the EG this afternoon. Diane showed up with a silly hat and a button and said I had to wear them!!  She's very bossy!!  It was hard to take minutes with the hat on--it kept falling off.  So I gave that up, despite her orders to put it on!! I later ditched it in my dad's room and we are going to donate it to Rec. Therapy so they can use it for their celebrations. Diane had brought a cake too, but the taxi cab took off with the cake in the trunk!! Somewhere in Edmonton tonight, there's a very happy taxi cab driver's family eating MY birthday cake!! Phooey!!

I wasn't going to attend the 2nd meeting, but decided that I should because there were some issues re staff behavior that I wanted to bring to Admin's attention.  There were 2 presentations, one was late, there were lots of questions from new members, and the meeting ran long, too long.  And guess what I got for my birthday???? A parking ticket!!Phooey!!

But on the non-phooey side, I had lots of birthday wishes from FB friends around the world, which is one of the cool things about FB, my friend Lin in Lethbridge called me, and Dave's Aunt Brenda called me too.  And the best, most wonderful surprise occurred.  There was a phone message when I got home about a floral delivery.  I called the place and Anna of Anna's Flowers delivered the flowers.  I wondered who they could be from--maybe Dave, to make up for not being here? Nope!!  From Jacqueline in Perth, Australia!! Not that the flowers came all the way from there!! Hahaha!! The message on the card is so great: "Just thought you should have something memorable for your 'and holding' year. Wish I could be there for a big Greek dinner."  I like the idea of a 'holding year'!! And I wish you were here too Jacqueline.  We always went out for Greek food!!  The flowers are absolutely lovely--yellow roses, deep purple irises, exotic lilies, and mums.  I am thrilled and very touched that she did this. Thank you, thank you, thank you!! ♥♥♥♥

All in all, aside from a couple of phooey events, a pretty good birthday!! And I am definitely 'holding"!!! Well, at least until next year, anyway!!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Primum non nocere--First, do no harm.


Is chemotherapy effective/successful?

I found it particularly interesting that in a study done at McGill University, 54 out of 64 oncologists responding to a confidential questionnaire said that in the event of a diagnosis of cancer for themselves or a family member, chemotherapy would not be an acceptable treatment. Hmmmm.  Yet they have no compunction in recommending it for everyone else.

It is also interesting to note that one has a better chance of cancer survival by doing absolutely nothing to treat the cancer.  Not even a change of diet or taking supplements.

Paramount to treating any disease or health problem, is the understanding that you must change your diet. Remove all processed foods from your diet, all GMO foods too. No sliced meats, as they are full of sulphites/sulphates--notice they are putting sulphites in bread and baking at most grocery stores now--processed cheese slices, etc. Read labels--if it doesn't sound like food it probably isn't and don't buy it!!Get rid of chemical cleaners.  Get rid of lotions, bath and shower products, make-up, etc. that have any form of parabens in them and sodium laureth sulphate. Try to get away from using plastics to store and wrap food.  Go back to glass containers. Use only whole foods, real foods, organic if at all possible. Go back to basics, like the way our grandparents lived, the way our parents were raised to eat.

And remember when evaluating any potential treatments, the dictum, Primum non nocere!  "First, do no harm." This is what the medical profession, whether for human or animals, are supposed to follow. Do they? 

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Getting into the Christmas Spirit

Baking has begun!! I made lemon squares and these cherry pecan shortbread cookies for the unit Christmas party.

Friday evening before the party, I finally got to take my dad out to see the lights. Last Friday they had put him to bed at 6.  On Sunday it was pouring rain and only 1/4 of the lights were on anyway!!

Let the party begin!!

The decorations are up...but something's missing!!

Ahhh, there's Duffy--the best part of my Christmas and every other day of the year!!♥♥

Monday, November 28, 2011

My Uncle Mike

Today, November 28, would have been Uncle Mike's 100th birthday. He was my mother's oldest surviving brother ( a first born boy had died at the age of one). He was strong and tough, worked in coal mines and farmed, never buttoned up his shirt and coat unless it was 30 below, and was a natural mechanic. Although he had been born in Edmonton and lived there until he was 13, he loved to plow and till the land.  He was often in the shadow of his younger brother Nick (who will be 97 in December) because Uncle Mike wasn't an academic, book learning type of guy and consequently thought he was dumb.  Nick helped that along by telling him that he was dumb. Nick is not a nice a person. But this blog post isn't about him!

My grandparent John and Katherine Kowalski and their sons. Uncle Mike is leaning against my grandmother.  He was named for his paternal grandfather.
Before I was born, Uncle Mike came to see my parents and find out why there was no word yet about a nephew (I was 5 1/2 weeks late)!! My mother promptly told him, that the baby might well be a niece, you know.  He considered that for a moment, and then figured, yeah, that would be okay too.  When I finally did arrive, it was as if he was born to be an uncle.  I should mention that neither one of my mom's brothers got married.  There was a special bond between him and I and he never let my being a girl get in the way of things he figured I should learn how to do. When I was 9, he showed me how to work the levers on the caterpillar tractor and I happily rolled up and down the pasture.  When I was about 14, he showed me how to drive a tractor.  As I got into my later teens, but didn't have a driver's license yet, he let me drive his brand new cars!!  Around the fields of course, not on the highway...but still!!  He had such confidence in the whole driving thing himself, that I in turn felt far more confident. When I got my license and bought my first car--affectionately known as Blue Belle--I gave him the honor of being the first in the family to try out my car.  It seemed only fitting.

Dressing up my uncle!!
When I moved to Saskatoon, he was sad.  He used to say to my mom, when they would be out at the farm having a meal, that he missed his partner--we sat on the same side of the table, side by side.  When I came back to Edmonton, he always commented that he had his partner back.  One day I was helping out during combining time and I was to move the end of the auger while he lined up the top end at the granery window. If you have ever lifted an auger, you will know how heavy they are.  Well, the first try, I couldn't lift it. Uncle Mike said, "Oh, you need more kapusta!" Kapusta means cabbage in Polish/Ukrainian--actually it's the sauerkraut. This started me laughing, but I was able to lift up the auger and move it over!!  Just before I moved to Red Deer to teach in 1987, I went out to the farm . He and I were in the kitchen--he had just finished washing the dishes and we were having tea.  I knew he wasn't too happy that I was moving away again, but at least Red Deer wasn't as far as Saskatoon. Then he said something that turned out to be prophetic," Maybe you will meet a cowboy down south." He was right--I met a cowboy turned welder and married him in 1989.

Good looking snowman!! This was c. 1975/6.  Uncle Mike never fussed about his clothes!

Sadly Uncle Mike passed away 6 months after Dave and I got married, and just 2 weeks before his 78th birthday.  He hadn't been feeling well for at least a year, hadn't been able to eat, and was passing blood.  It turned out he had a huge hole in his stomach and on top of that he had lung cancer.  He was a heavy smoker and although we all had tried to get him to cut down, if not stop, he didn't.  Working in coal mines for years would have already weakened his lungs and smoking didn't help.  The ulcer--I think it was partly from drinking coca cola all the time, and partly living with Nick, who caused him a lot of worry over the years and in the last years was always threatening to sell the whole farm.  Uncle Mike just wanted to live out his life on the farm that he loved. Uncle Mike ended up in Sturgeon Hospital in St. Albert--he never went to doctors and didn't want to be in the hospital. On Sunday, Dave and I came up from Olds, picked up my mother and went out to see him.  He said he wanted to see everyone--I think he knew the end was near. He had clasped my hand and held it so tight.  I couldn't help but feel that he was holding on to me for dear life--literally.  And I gave him all the strength I could, to hold on until everyone was there. I sat on the bed, and even though I was in an uncomfortable position, I didn't care and wasn't going to move. Mother phoned my dad to come and Dave went out to the farm to get Nick.  Nick didn't want to come and Dave had to be quite stern with him, telling him that his brother was asking for him, so he'd better get his coat. Everyone arrived, and Uncle Mike fell asleep and after about 2 hours, let go of my hand. By supper time, we all decided to leave and let him sleep. Dave and I drove home to Olds.  I slept very poorly that night and had a pain in my abdomen.  The next morning Mother phoned to tell me that Uncle Mike had passed away that morning around 9 AM.

In 1947, The Edmonton Bulletin did a story on the Samis Coal Mine at Namao, where Uncle Mike worked in the winter. This picture was part of the article--I have always loved the picture. My grandfather was a coal miner/farmer too.  So I'm a coal miner's granddaughter and a coal miner's niece!! And proud of it!!

I lost not only an uncle, in fact the only real uncle I ever had (Nick is a strange one and never talked to me directly until I was in my 30's, and as Mother didn't like my dad's relatives, I never met my other uncles or my aunt), but I also lost a friend. He was the one in person in my family who had loved me unconditionally, even when I made choices that he didn't think were a good idea, he never reproached me or railed at me.  If you know my family at all, you know that unconditional love was rare.  I miss him more than anyone else who has passed away, I think even more than my mother, in some ways. For these 22 years, I have cried more for him and wished he was still here. But I have also always felt his presence very strongly--he is with me, looking out for me as he always did.  Happy 100th Birthday Uncle Mike!! One day your partner will see you again. ♥♥

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Lights of Hope

This evening, at a ceremony in the Devonian Building, across the street from the Edmonton General, Covenant Health's initiative, Lights of Hope, was officially turned on.  It contains a number of Christmas light displays and rings the EG and also the parkade. The displays come from the now defunct  Brightnights display that the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce put up in Hawrelak Park at Christmas from 1998-2010. I don't quite recall why it was cancelled---one senior attending today's event mentioned that some of it had been damaged--maybe a wind storm/blizzard?  If anyone recalls the specifics, please let me know! I do know that it was the largest drive through Christmas lights theme park event in Canada and boasted 375 animated and static light displays. In addition to the public driving through, bus loads of seniors were taken through the display too. One year Dave and I went and were quite impressed. If you are interested in seeing what it looked like, here's a Youtube link:

Anyway, a staff member at the EG had the idea that it would be great to set up some of the displays at the EG. They were purchased from the Chamber of Commerce and in the last couple of weeks, crews have been working hard to get them in place in time.  The 2 blizzards of last week, followed by a couple of very cold days over the weekend, slowed things down, but they got it done!!

Those who were invited to the official ceremony (including yours truly) were treated to wine and cocktails as well as hot canapes cooked by Earl's Restaurant chefs, and the inevitable speeches. Luckily we couldn't hear much of them, because someone neglected to get a microphone and an unfinished concrete space is not ideal for speech making without one!  We were on the 5th floor so we had a good view when they turned on the lights. They are quite lovely and I think the residents are going to really enjoy having these displays, and I also think the Lights of Hope will help the inner city community experience the joy and spirit of Christmas.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Happy Birthday to my Dad!!

Today is my father's 89th birthday! A few weeks ago I wasn't sure he was going to be here for either his birthday or Christmas. But he rallied and for that I am very grateful. I hope he makes it to 90. His grandfather, James Roderick Stretch lived to the age of 89, dying in Port Coquitlam, BC in 1931. He had been born in Upper Canada, then moved with his wife, parents and many of his brothers and sisters to Minnesota to homestead, then in 1899 he came back to Canada to the then Northwest Territories to homestead at Ponoka with his sons, and he made one final move to the west coast in 1907. I think it's amazing that he traversed most of a continent and crossed the 49th parallel twice in his lifetime! I would love to have been able to talk to him about it all!!! My paternal grandmother's 2 sisters both lived into their 90's--Aunta Della lived in Portland, Oregon, and Aunt Minnie lived in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. And their grandmother, my great great grandmother, Mary McWilliams Jamieson died at Ponoka at the age of 94. So there are some long lives and good genes in the family. My dad has already lived longer than any of his brothers or sister did--I think 81 is the longest they lived. So with a little luck, he can make it to 90, at least!! And I can continue to hear him lament that he hasn't found a wife yet and that he has no children. I guess I'm Mother's child! Hahaha! But I love him anyway!!
Proof that I am his child!!!

Surfer Daddy--taken at the Hawaiian beach party in July

The chocolate chiffon cake he gets this afternoon!
Happy Birthday Father!! ♥

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Duffy Takes Charge!!

Duffy and Kylo

Duffy and Chance
While Duffy was down in Olds with Dave for 9 days, he had the opportunity to dispense some discipline to another dog. Dave's friends Rick and Les were over, along with Les' black Spaniel Kylo and Chance who may be a Pug or Pug mix, who was not wanted by some family member and Les took him.  Duffy has known Kylo since Kylo was a little puppy and they get along great.  But Chance--he's a dog that snarls, snaps, tries to bite other dog's faces, and is generally aggressive. He treats Kylo like this too.  Well the 3 dogs tore around the garden and the back patio, but Chance was always nipping and snarling, etc.  Duffy put up with this for 3/4 of an hour--Duffy is very tolerant of all kinds of animals.  When we meet other dogs who are snarly, he whines, like "Aww, what's the problem, I just want to be friends!" Magpies sit on his back, pull his tail, he does nothing except maybe move a little. But I guess he has a threshold for bad behavior after all, because he put his paw on Chance, held him down, put a little weight into it, and went "WOOF" in Chance's face! Like "ENOUGH, you little squirt!" Chance stayed down, didn't struggle and when Duffy took his paw off him, Chance was a changed dog.  No more snarling, growling, snapping, biting. And he has stayed that way--Les says he's so much better behaved!! Yeah for Duffy!! I am so, so proud of him!! He has never snarled, growled, or snapped at another dog and he showed in this case that he could get the message across without violence!! Did I say that I am very proud of him??!!! ♥♥♥♥ Unfortunately Dave didn't get a picture of the disciplinary action, but he and his friends witnessed it and all were amazed!

A well-deserved rest!!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

November 9

Today would have been my mom's 89th birthday.  Happy Birthday Mother! I love you and miss you. ♥♥ 

Monday, November 7, 2011

RIP Hickstead ⊰ A Champion

Yesterday, November 6, one of Canada's finest athletes, Hickstead, died of a heart attack in the jumping ring at a competition in Verona, Italy. I can't imagine how heartbroken his pal and rider Eric Lamaze must be feeling. Hickstead was a Netherlands born Dutch Warmblood stallion, born March 2, 1996. He and Lamaze had a wonderful career together, culminating in their winning a gold medal and a silver medal at the Beijing 2008 Olympics. In 2010 they won 1st place at the World Equestrian Games in Kentucky, and after completing the feat of 4 clean rounds, Hickstead was named "Best Horse in the World". This year at Spruce Meadows, the pair won the $1,000,000 CN International, for the 2nd time in their career. Hickstead joins Ian Millar's fabulous Big Ben now, who died in 1999. May they keep each other company until their human best friends join them.

Friday, November 4, 2011

A little hectic...

The past month has been a difficult one and a busy one. My dad has been quite ill, in fact 2 weeks ago, I thought we were on the final road.  But he has rallied somewhat, but is much weaker and less able to do things like feed himself, or talk.  It's sad to see and of course reminds me of my mother's decline all over again. I have been going to the General nearly every day and that in itself is exhausting and it's so hard to get anything else done in a day. I haven't bothered much with emails or FB or even blogging all the things I could have--just don't have the energy or sometimes I don't really care. There are a few people I try to keep up with though. If a person has never gone through care giving for an elderly loved one, or a terminally ill person, it's really hard for them to understand how draining and emotionally and physically exhausting it is.  There is nothing harder to do in this world.

Duffy has had increasing digestive issues--often I am awakened to let him out at 1 or 4 or 5:30, and consequentially don't get enough sleep.  I simply have to get with a homeopath to work on Duffy's vaccine damaged gut :(  My damaged leg still bothers me and lying on my left side (which is my favorite) is hard to do.  For those of you without FB, I sliced up my leg in July with a weedeater, when the cover flew off.  Major ouch, let me tell you!  And what I thought were lateral cuts, have turned out to be a lot deeper than I thought.  As Dave put it, I pretty much turned my leg into hamburger! Eeesh!

But life goes on, and Second Wind Dreams put on a Christmas Craft and Gift Show yesterday and today, so I was there all day yesterday and a couple of hours today. We had a 50/50 draw and a raffle with nice donated prizes from the crafts people. Here are some pictures from yesterday.

Crafts people rented a table for $30 for 2 days--which is a pretty good deal--money going to SWD

I managed to spend some money too!

Wooden roses/flowers

Priscilla, Diane, Doreen (standing), some lady who's wondering if she should actually drink from that cup, and Claire

Dianna, Kay--talking on the phone--and moi

Dianna and Kay, looking at the camera this time, but Kay still talking on the phone, and moi!!

Farmfair starts tomorrow and the Canadian Finals Rodeo starts next Wednesday and today I was down at Northlands stuffing Aggie bags for the schools kids coming in next week.  That's why I was only at the EG for a couple of hours.We are going to have almost 1000 kids, Grades 1-3, coming next week. We worked like dogs from 10-1:30 getting those bags ready--2 of us (there were 8 volunteers) didn't even take a lunch break.  The little stuffed cows arrived late so all the bags that had been done had to be stuffed with them and then counted into groups of 10 and tied. On Monday I get to help register the school groups and hand out those bags!!  Save-on is a sponser for the Abert'a Own Agriculture so we stuffed Save-on plastic bags--we don't want to see them for a long time!!

Tomorrow is the River City Round-up in downtown Edmonton with a caravan of 30 wagons and 25 outriders, all coming right to Churchill Square.  I am working as a games assistant, but hope to get some good pictures to post tomorrow!!  Dave took Duffy down to Olds yesterday, because with me being away from the house so much, it wasn't going to be fair to Duffy to be alone.  But they will be back next Friday, and we are going to the matinee performance of the rodeo!! Yee Haw!! By the way, I bought a genuine cowboy hat!! Lammle's Western Wear is a sponser of Farmfair and the CFR, and is offering 20% off their merchandise to Northlands volunteers, so voila, time to get a hat. Maybe I can find someone to take picture of me in it!!!

Monday, October 31, 2011


Happy Halloween from Duffy and I and our stuffed friend!!!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Hey we can practise weave poles for agility!!!

Hahahaha!! Actually the past couple of weeks have been a little chaotic in the 'hood as the gas lines are being replaced in the lanes and to most people's homes. The job was started last year and several blocks were done down by 118th Ave.  So we expected that sometime this Summer, they would get to this part of the neighborhood.  But we could all see that the progress was really slow and we were thinking the snow would be flying before we saw any action.  Then in September we started getting notices in the mailbox from an outfit called Somerville about the work.  Turns out that the original company hired by ATCO Gas to do the job had been fired because they were doing next to nothing--yay!! Somerville started in early October, and clearly they knew what they were doing.  They systematically progressed from west to east and 2 weekends ago were digging out the holes in people's yards by their meters on this block.  Then they dug up the connection areas in the lane--we have to park in the front and take our garbage out to the front.  I would hate to live in a neighborhood where I had to do that all the time--I like a back alley for garbage!! But lucky for us, a new plastic pipe service had been put in here in the later 1980's when the attachment to the garage had been built.  So no hole and dirt pile here--I was relieved as I hate mess and mud!!!
Holes dug, snow fences in place to keep unwary dogs, cats, and people from falling in!
Monday was the day they shut off the gas--at 8 AM--to hook up the new lines, restore gas service and come in and light the pilot lights. They replaced the regulator in the morning, the lines were purged--you could hear the pressure swooshes throughout the block, and from what Dave told me (he's done this kind of work when he worked for Inland Gas in BC) that we would have gas again shortly. I saw the neighbors getting their service restored at 2 and waited, watching for the guys to come here.  I had to keep Duffy in and when the serviceman would have to be in the house I would have to put Duffy in the bedroom as he would otherwise be a nuisance for the first 10 minutes!! But no one came!!??? I talked to the neighbors, yep they had their pilot lights lit, Gus said he told the supervisor no one had come to my place, and he said they'd be here in 10 minutes. Forty minutes went by, then an hour.  I can see the crews moving more south all the time.  By 4 o'clock I phoned ATCO--it took some time to explain to the guy who was in some place, not Edmonton, that I hadn't scheduled an appointment, this was replacement work being done in the whole neighborhood.  To make a long story and long phone call short, he finally told me that they were still working in the neighborhood and if no one had come by the end of work day to call again.  Well, thanks for that!! I called Dave again, wondering if I had misunderstood and we were supposed to light our own pilot lights. He said no, and suggested I hike down the block and see if I could nab someone to come and do this.  I did just that--found an ATCO tech and he lit the 2 stoves, water heater, and furnace. Hooray!! Time finished 5:20 PM! It had got pretty cool in the house--I was wearing 3 sweaters, then kept my jacket on.  I had a space heater going by the computer, but that didn't do much for the rest of the house.  So I was glad to have heat and hot water again.  It was a boring day without them too, as I couldn't cook, bake, wash clothes, etc.

Holes filled, snow fences gone.
On Tuesday Somerville filled in the holes in the lane and tamped the gravel/dirt down.  We are waiting for them to pave now--guess it will be next week?  Wednesday they filled in the holes in the yards. They are a nice bunch of guys and have clearly been coached about working with the public and in public.  There is no swearing, spitting, scratching, and er 'equipment adjustment' going on!! How refreshing!!

Waiting for asphalt

You can imagine that with all the mechanical equipment (to be distinguished from the above!!) rattling, rolling, banging, and thumping and all the men going back and forth, Duffy lost his little mind with barking!!! I often kept him inside.  He didn't like that!! But the excitment is coming to an end soon and our little neighborhood will return to the usual activities of street people going through the garbage for bottles, the occassional drug deal, and people using our lane as a shortcut and speeding while they are at it.  Maybe I can convince Somerville to put in a couple of speed bumps when they repave???

Thursday, October 6, 2011

A moment of fame?

Yesterday I attended the Covenant Health Community luncheon at the Delta Edmonton South. The luncheon was good--the food was much better that the Amalgamated Transit Union banquet Saturday that my dad and I attended at the Shaw Conference Centre!! The luncheon keynote speaker was David Whyte who holds a degree in Marine Zoology, is a poet, leads expeditions to the Amazon, Andes, the Galapagos Islands, and does workshops and lectures. His mother was Irish and his dad a Yorkshire lad, and David grew up in Yorkshire.  This was an interesting and unusual choice as a keynote speaker for a health care organization and an audience of administrators, board members, staff, and some volunteers. But it was inspired as far as I was concerned.  He read some of his poetry to illustrate his points, told stories from his own life, and was certainly far more entertaining and relevant than the usual choices for speakers!! Bravo Covenant!!

We were all given copies of the Annual Report and herein lies my moment of fame.  Back in August Diane Berge and I were interviewed by Krysta from Covenant Communications--she even taped the interview!  She decided to center the story about SWD around my mother's airplane dream and myself as now co-chair of SWD.  I had an honest to goodness photo shoot in early September, complete with screens, bright lights, multiple shots, fussing with the props, etc.--I felt like a super model!! Well, okay not quite!! Hahaha!! And I engaged in multiple emails with Krysta over the story. As she approaches writing from a journalism perspective--corporate journalism to be precise, and I approach writing from an academic perspective, you can imagine we had some differences!! Like when she ascribed to me a quotation that Diane had made--um, that's plagiarism!! Also I don't like inaccuracies in numbers, dates, stuff like that.  I'm sure she thought I was a real pain, but she graciously made the corrections.

I scanned the page from the report, so it's not great quality, but you will get the gist of it--I hope.  I offered to sign autographs after the meeting, but no one took me up on that!!! Hahahaha!!

I really like the story because fulfilling that dream with my mother will always be something I'll cherish for the rest of my life.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Dog Days of Summer

Here it is the last week of Summer, already!  We had a terrible Spring and until August our Summer sucked big time--between the torrential downpours, the clouds of mosquitos, the endless lawn mowing, and the cooler than average temperatures we thought we had been robbed!! Mind you, everyone's lawn was soooo green, and I never had to water anything--kept the water bill down!! But August sure improved everyone's outlook--we finally had more seasonal temps and September has been even better.  We had a week of beautiful days with temps up to 30 C and they are forecasting upper 20's for us later this week. Whoo Hoo!! So here's how Duffy enjoys nice Summer days--as only dogs can!!