Wednesday, December 25, 2013


   Today Buddy was our family Santa. He wore the cap and carefully picked up each package, read the tag and passed it to the recipient.
He was most happy to be doing this. For days he's been telling me he feels like there's a spirit of Santa in him. He even described to me that he felt as though there was a hologram of Santa in his head. I asked him what he meant by that. 
He laughed,
 "Well, it's a 3D Santa. Don't you know about holograms? I learned about that at the Science Centre at the laser show and it was fun. I love my Santa in my head."
  It made me think back to my childhood. I recalled having my own images of a Santa. And I suppose those of us who have been a part of that culture with Santa in it, we have all had our own images and dreams over time. Recall all the drawings, stories and movie versions that we are surrounded with and that have sprung forth from creative imaginations.
  We hope you are having special times with your loved ones at this festive time too.
                           MERRY CHRISTMAS

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Faith in Magical Events

  It is a very magical time now! All around us people are decorating their homes with pretty lights and wreaths. And the malls are bursting with shoppers making it tough for us to find a parking spot. But Buddy loves to be out and about so when the weather is a bit too cool a mall is where he wants to be for our walks.
  We went the other day after our first snowfall because we wanted to buy a few gifts. As we strolled along we hit the spot where parents and little kids line up to visit with Santa who sat perched in a big chair for those photo ops. Buddy walked over to the fence that surrounded this area and pulled out his brand new iPone 5C that he had purchased two days earlier to capture his favourite friend of the season. As he did so something very special happened.
  I captured this by grabbing his iPhone from him. Seems this Santa was too special to overlook. As Santa saw Buddy's keen interest in his presence he must have noticed Buddy has a disability. Without warning this Santa decided to forget about all the lined up small kids and walked straight towards Buddy who exclaimed,
  'Wow Santa is so magical!"
Santa was soon at Buddy's side and said to him,
  "I think you have been very good."
 Then he handed us each a candy cane and assured Buddy this Christmas would be awesome again before he headed back to his big chair to greet the tots waiting in line. I wondered how the parents were feeling. I hope for their sake it was a positive moment because that's what makes this time of the year so magical and fills many of us with wonder and hope despite other sorrows we may have to deal with.
   That Santa has the true spirit of the joy for this festive time and Buddy more than ever loves his magical ways even though he knows we buy the gifts. 
  Buddy is so inspirtational. At 40 he gets it better than many folks I know! I get to share his amazing insightful comments. He's a very bright man. But he refuses to give up those things that made his youth very magical and happy.
  Do you have a special moment similar this to share? Buddy would be thrilled and so would I to hear from you.
  How do you like Buddy's hat? He's very fashion aware and knows hats are in.

Sunday, November 10, 2013


  Doesn't she look like a happy great future chef? Adorable future housewife? Compassionate care giver? Currently she's an emerging super tattoo artist!

  After almost two years of independent living our daughter has decided it's not very cost effective to run a new business and a new household simultaneously. Somehow the cash flow out is just too high and it's eating away at her investments. So she gave her landlord notice to vacate and November 3rd her buddies assisted her with moving into our home. 
  Hubby is delighted to have her back though she's running her life parallel to her needs not his. He's okay with that. But I'm a bit more skeptical about my girl whose intentions of being organized and domesticated are like many artists,  not a priority. To have things ship shape as I would have them hardly matters to her unless someone special is coming around for a visit. 
  Check out my living room on the first day of her re-entry. She assumed no one was coming. Happily no one was.

After a couple of days the living room area was emptied and I could see my sofas and dining room table clearly. Several items still remain.  

   But as it happens her stuff was just shifted up to a second floor bedroom right at the top of the stairs. There her chaotic ways continue. However, she promises it will be dealt with soon. Perhaps even tomorrow? Her bed seems to be buried but that's no problem for her. She just goes over to her cousin's or a friend to hang out since they live in the city where all the action for artist tends to be. She may be home tonight but late. And then she may have to rest because Mondays are usually her day off unless an appointment was pre booked for some ink to skin. Her world is so different from one I am familiar with. I was a teacher and lived by the rules of my times. That's how it had to be. But it's different now.

   From several documentaries and first hand experience I know that some of our generation's children are coming back to parental homes and it is quite a trend due to the shift in the current economic job situation. Their age group is highly impacted by our generation's assumptions that good education leads to job opportunities and job security. What we all came to expect from our own paths and achievements is no longer the pattern nor the norm. It is far from the truth now! With modern mass production lines where machines do assembly work we have reduced chunks in the job force. And we even have over production a times. Careers we once held are being phased out. Even school classrooms as we know them will have a new look by 2030 because the curriculum is now being tailored to individuals working on tablets and will do much of it from remote locations rather than at desks in a school building. Only group activities would be the exception.
   Though she runs her own shop she finds it is not easy to promote her type of skills for a quick profit. She loves tattooing and has become more skilled over the past 5 years but she could use a good marketeer to launch her into a larger client base. That costs money. So for now she's back with us. Her goal is to save on her cost of living and to afford ways to promote her craft. We are fortunate to be able to extend her that time for now. We've been partially assisting all along as an investment into her future business. In fact this reduces our financial gain a bit.
  But seeing all her clutter makes me think back to days when we did without so many frills. Shopping was different. Spending ideas were different. Advertising has had a huge affect on that. Today our middle class kids have come to expect more because of us. We have managed to show them that way. Clutter is so common as over purchased bargains pile up. We parens also fail to part with our things and they see that too. Clutter woes are an issue, one that's growing fast.
  Could daughter use some serious additional lessons on how go live with less? Probably. Would less clutter be the outcome? Or would less spending cause a negative downslide perhaps in our economy, the same one our generation put into place so that the kids of middle class could thrive?
  Woes to ponder. 
  Older kids moving back home?
  Perhaps family life is being reshaped so that some members will have to remain home in order for the job market to be balanced? 

P.S.  Our Ellie gained a feline rival / companion. Daughter brought along her one year old kitty, Chilli, to join our menagerie. And we also gained an aquarium full of fish that she inherited from a friend who returned to the parental home a bit earlier.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


There are many games to be played and one that I was lucky to learn at an early age was chess. It's amazing over the years how the moves of the game have become almost life itself for me. Often I have found myself in the check position but then somehow I have always manage to regroup and figure a path away from the final blow!
We just returned from a week at a resort in Cayo Coco where we soaked up the sun, walked, danced, played and met up with some lovely people who were also taking a break. It's so rewarding to see Buddy love the attention he gets because of his abilities and good nature. He seems to be able to break down some barriers people had until they met up with him! 

I have not taken the usual time to blog because it's been harder on my eyes now. And I know now that I shall have to use every minute of daylight to its max because once it get dimmer I see very little. I am slated for eye surgery on December 2 to remove the right vitreous and to replace an implanted lens with a stronger one. It is my better eye so if this surgery fails then I guess I feel like I'm another step closer to that dreaded checkmate? Perhaps I'll learn to play by touch? Or sound? The game still has possibilities right?

I continue to read your posts and leave my comments as often as I dare. If my vision improves then I'll have much more to share and enjoy along with you.
Buddy is missing sharing with you too.

Thursday, September 5, 2013


   The first of this month of August came on a Thursday and Friday was the beginning of long holiday weekend. We are lucky to have this one. It's known as Civic Holiday.
    Our younger daughter had come from UK for a holiday. She booked it before we had our lives turned upside down with hubby's fall leading to his brain injury and she arrived June 27. Much of July was busy with visits first to the hospital and later to many follow up therapy appointments. This did not feel much like any July holiday.
    When August arrived it seemed like summer was just flying by. Daughter was scheduled to head back to her UK place on the 9th and it seemed as if such a brief visit had happened. Any spare time she had she spent catching up with in laws or friends. However on Saturday the third she made time to drive with me in the morning to see an old family friend who needed some hugs. Her hubby was in critical care for a bad case of pneumonia. She lived a 45 minute drive away and it was all country roads to get to her. That was a treat, a break from a constant flurry to serve our own patient. And it was just the two of us for a brief time in the car. Those moments can be special. She is a good driver.
    Then came the day for her to depart. She drove to the airport and I had to drive home. Hubby was along as a passenger and helped me navigate the exit from the airport onto the right path to our stretch of the highway heading to our house. He was patient with me. Each time she leaves it's hard. 
(She's coming back in November for a friend's wedding and I'm already excited.)
     On the 15th of August hubby's three nieces and their five children decided to spend a week with us. They took a Megabus from New York City. BRAVE!!
For me it meant setting up the bedrooms so we could all be comfortable and have personal space. I put a bed for Buddy in the Master bedroom with us and gave his room to one of the sisters and her teenage daughter. Her two sons got the bedroom that shared an adjoining washroom thus keeping them as one unit and to accommodate her two boys my older daughter brought a couple of thin mattresses from her place and we created a cosy king sized low bed for them in their room.
    The single bed that was originally in that room went across the hall into the second Master bedroom which already had a queen bed. The single was added to accommodate the single Auntie. And by putting two sisters and the little girls in a large bedroom with an ensuite washroom all would sleep in comfort. The little ones were to share the queen bed with their mom. It was set up so that they all had a space similar to their home arrangements. This way we could all cope under one roof in maximum comfort. And we did. The kids were very respectful of our need for rest and personal space.
   Being 11 people at meal times was very efficient with so many cooks and hands to clean up. The boys even chipped in to do daily vacuuming! They fixed a jogging machine and Buddy's bike too! For them the novelty of being with their grand uncle was a huge holiday treat. They were all such a happy fun group to entertain and to enjoy. It really helped hubby's mental wellness being so surrounded with such a loving caring group of younger people. 
   For one fun event we spent a day at the CNE, a huge show that comes to Toronto each August. We rode on many rides, ate loads of junk food and walked through exhibits until we were too tired to take another step. We took public transit for that trip. Even hat was an adventure for Buddy and myself. And on that day, August 16, we left hubby at home alone for the first time. He managed just fine.
   On August 19 we organized my daughter to join us with a her van. We drove in three cars to Niagara Falls. I drove hubby's car and my niece drove mine. It had an easier navigation system. Hubby who preferred to be a passenger in his own car was my guide.
    It was a trip to remember. Hubby did remarkably well on this huge all day outing. We strolled slowly and savoured the falls. We sent the group down under while we stretched out on the lawn under a shady bush. Then the two of us rode up the side of the cliff in a lift to the higher level where the cars were parked and we ate dinner together as the others did their walking about.     Around 8 pm we met up at the cars and set out to head for home. We left the parking lot with one of our nieces and her son in our car. Later we discovered that the rest were not behind us. We called them and learned they had decided at the last minute to stay a bit longer, to go on to rides and to see Niagara Falls light up at night!! Daughter was very thoughtful by letting them. 
    They didn't reach home till 3 am . We were asleep long before them. But sadly two missed out by travelling home with us.

When August 22 arrived we began to feel a bit sad. That was the day of their departure. Just before midnight they would board the Megabus back to New York City. 
   We packed as much as we could in the remaining day and it included some last minute shopping for gifts. One grand nephew got a macbook that he would use in his upcoming college years. Others got mini iPads so they could FaceTime with their Granduncle whom they chose to nickname Grandpa! And guess what nickname I was given? 
   Ah yes it was a very busy month, very much packed with emotions of every kind and mostly the best kind! It ended on a Saturday and again on a long but rainy and quiet weekend.
  AUGUST 2013 was gone in a flash!!!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

July Cakes

In our family July is full of birthdays and Buddy always makes us feel so happy to celebrate because he loves fun!
This year we gave him the chance to choose the cakes because we were not in a position to bake any. We were in the midst of a huge heat wave and the AC was not working well. Nor was there much time since hubby was discharged from the hospital on the 8th and my BD was the following day. My cake was rich but the best part was that hubby was there when my cake was presented to me in our bedroom.

Then for Buddy's big BD his sisters took him to a fancy bakery to select his.
He picked a super chocolate one that was dark and delicious!
Once the het wave ended we went back to baking our own and our favourite rhubarb slices was one of them.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Hard Knocks

    As June comes to a close soon all I can say is there's more hardship  for us. The cancer test revealed the colon is completely clear. YAY!!  But there are those newer lumps and bumps all on the left side of me, my limbs and my tummy and my chest, likely tumours that have had a chance to develop over the last five years. The cancer surgery removed the large stage three mass from the colon but that didn't make me cancer clear.
   For me having chemo was not an option at all. The success rate of surviving that with an already weakened immune system just was not for me because I would likely not have been able to survive the secondary infections. I already have a chronic lung and immune deficiency from over exposure to mould while teaching many years in a mould ridden portable classrooms.
   My chosen option using alternative medicine is working reasonably well when I stick to it but being human I did slip up after my daughter married and left for UK. I failed to exercise and eat carefully and stopped drinking some specialty teas and other natural juices. I realized my foolishness in January when all the cancer symptoms reappeared after another bout of pneumonia so I quickly got back to the better routine of healthier foods and lots of activity. Our body needs plenty of oxygen for it to do its job properly and being active makes that possible.
   Buddy had begun to have another flared up skin plaque, likely caused by worry? Anyway on June 16th the two of us found a great deal and booked another trip to a Caribbean resort. We packed hastily for our next day departure. Hubby drove us to the airport. He had opted to remain behind to work on filing client tax returns and other year end stuff due on June 30th. This was to be the second time ever that Buddy and I traveled alone. We were excited.
   Our trip was awesome! We walked a lot, swam a lot , danced too and ate the most vegetarian menu we could put together with only a few pieces of freshly caught fish mixed in. We also rested. All was designed to help us both regain some vigour and smile more. It worked. We were very happy the whole time. We made new friends too. It felt very special. It was a lot of fun too!

   However, we knew from text messages that at home things had taken a nasty turn and that our flight home would lead us to a very sad situation, one we could really not prepare ourselves for. Our eldest daughter picked us up from the airport on June 25th and brought us straight home where we retired right away since it was 4am.
   Later that morning I drove to the ICU at a local hospital where I had to face a very shocking and scary reality that hubby was on a respirator ,  on many IV's and heavily sedated to keep him still. He had suffered a serious brain trauma from a fall onto his head the day after we had left. Apparently it happened in the kitchen where there's marble and ceramic tiles. He hit his head on the side ,likely the countertop and then landed nose down fracturing it. When he gained consciousness much later he found himself in a pool of blood. Scared he managed to find his cell phone and make the ER call.
   When he was first admitted he appeared more surfacely hurt. He had to have stitches and a transfusion for his blood loss from his nose and skull wound. He was mobile and talking from Tuesday until Friday afternoon when all that changed because of some internal bleeding in the brain that had set in and caused some massive behavioural changes along with his ability to breath on his own. It became very erratic. From then on there has been little change in his responsiveness meaning no opening of the eyes, no squeezing a hand to a command, etc.
   Again that same evening I went to him taking along Buddy. He very much needed to see his Dad. The two of us stroked his whiskers that had begun to grow on his face and we softly talked to him. His lack of interacting with us was not important. We love him no matter what condition he's in. That's how it is. Quietly Buddy initiated a circle with the three of us joining hands and us praying for him. It was touching. 
    Since seeing hubby for the first time on the June 25th the only thing that has changed is his pneumonia has improved and a cat scan has revealed that the bleeding inside his brain is way down. 
   Today Buddy brought him his TY Beanie '#1 Dad' . He collected it from hubby's office, a place Buddy also loves to visit, where he has a desk and room of his own and would often spend time drawing or whatever pleased him while his Dad worked. He loved meeting up with the clients and they sure loved him. 
   We had to drop by to pay the employee and figure out what things will need to be attended to in the next little while. It will be a challenge for sure for all of us! Much has changed for us at in such a short time. We are now praying for hubby more than you can imagine.
   The above scene is like one from a movie drama but it is our real life drama. We are having to deal with the fact that a brain trauma has unpredictable outcomes. Here's hoping we can have one of the more positive ones, a complete recovery! 
   Please keep us in your hearts and help us along this road of hard knocks. My cancer seems far less worrisome now that a newer challenge is in front of us. And the amazing part in all of this is of course Buddy and his very touching ways to be of comfort and full of hope.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Lymph Nodes

Taken a day ago, in my spare room where I hang out so I don't disturb hubby I took this photo wearing a new treasure. I treated myself to a couple of new outfits with the help of Buddy because I have lost weight very fast as a result of the cancer invading my lymph node system and I have to take serious measures to control that.
    Much of my days I feel tired and achy but I have had a few good ones and I use those to keep house chores in line. I have hired help for big cleaning but with Buddy's skin dropping constantly from his spots of psoriasis there are daily needs to keep up a tidy place.
    Tuesday is my next colonoscopy to see how that looks. UGH!! Citromag and liquid prep(: Grrrrrrrr But the doc insists. So does hubby. In fact he's having his as well so daughter will come and watch over us for a night and entertain Buddy of course.
    Today has been my best day yet this month and I took the time to let you know I think of you , miss you and pray you'll stay with me.
Some of you are emailing me and I get those on my phone. That's so caring and cheers me up a lot! you are so kind.
Please do continue if you feel you can and those who haven't do join me in my quest to best this. Prayers are welcome too:)
Positive energy is so special and healing too!

PS I also keep stuff on my photo blog about Buddy and so forth. The link is above.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Dreaded C ..

  The last two months have been a stressful time that we really didn't anticipate. Our move into a nicer, healthier house was to be fun. It was until I woke up three weeks ago with severe pains in my tummy, a place that has been operated for colon cancer and was already at stage three. What a sudden blow that it has forced it's way back! Luckily I believe I can beat it again! I immediately resumed all the anti cancer stuff. Already today I feel some improvement slight change in my level of energy and I have less pain. 
   To date I have had great cancer checkups but somehow around Christmas time I felt some pangs and I wasn't feeling right. I had pneumonia and recovered but then a weird sensation of 'unwellness' kept popping up. It included some sudden hot flashes unrelated to menopause ( because I have long passed that phase). It became clear to me that the colon and lymph nodes were acting up because some tender spots especially on my left side in my belly area, my arm and leg joints and armpit became more painful. Cancer, that awful growing beast, was creeping back into my life just when I was very excited about a change in our home. Also I wanted a more active life style and I really needed to adopt it not just for me but Buddy too.
   And next came another hurdle, that flash of a severe chest pain! I had never had one before. This just came suddenly. Quickly I had cardio tests done and it was discovered that I have a blockage to the heart. While all these episodes are a part of aging I am taking care to have a speedy recovery. I pray that I can be around for many more years. I just have to get better. Hubby's rooting for me as is Buddy.
  For a break tomorrow Buddy and I are meeting up with Tina, his one time babysitter when he was just 6 and she was 12. An older blog, Tina, can be found if you wish. We recently visited her at Princess Margaret Hospital where she was recovering from a bone marrow transplant to help her recover from years of Hodgkins Lymphoma. She's home now and doing very well.
   Lunch will be fun.
   I'm so sorry that I have not been around to visit your many posts but I shall try again to be there as soon as I am better. Pray that I shall recover quickly. I do so enjoy the photos and stories you all share. They are very meaningful to me because you have taken time to read my work too. Sharing is a big part of my way of life.
   As April draws to an end I hope that the many days of cold weather and record breaking rainfall will also halt a bit for the sunshine. It's rays just tend to help me really enjoy the renewal of life as the gardens become green, plants bloom and wildlife takes up it's local residence.
   I'm hoping to sit in our new yard watching hubby grill and Ellie chase the bugs while Buddy laughs at her playful ways. But the stones are still wet from snow and rain. Let's hope May will be better.
   And where are you? I wish to meet up with you again too.

So please will you stay around while I get back on track. Your prayers and words of encouragement would be so appreciated at this time.

P.S. I just noticed that I posted this on Rolli"s birthday. My brother died in 1978 at the age of 30 and I still miss him. There's a blog about him too. Tins knew him.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Help (Part 3)

    The train ride to Quebec City was long. The first stretch was to Montreal by a late night train. I had a sleeping berth. That was a new experience. I didn't really sleep much though. I never slept well in new places the first night and I missed my own pillow. The change over in Montreal to another track to get to the Quebec City train meant I had to be able to read the posted schedules. They were in French! It was then that I got very excited. I had arrived in a French speaking environment. I was able to get myself to the correct platform to be on the 10am train to my final stop. The last portion of the journey took another five hours. Final stop was Ste. Foy Station where I would be greeted by Mme Amyot as outlined in a letter she had sent to me.
   It was early afternoon when the trained pulled into the station. Not everyone was leaving the train but I was very happy to. On the platform I waited a bit. As the locals cleared I saw a lovely blond lady dressed very stylish heading in my direction. She had a photo that I had sent her so she could spot me and it had worked. In no time she held out her hand to welcome me. I felt a sense of relief and a tingle of terror at the same time. Would I be able to meet this lady's expectations? It was clear to me that she came from a higher social class than the immigrant family one that I was used to. She introduced herself as Monique in perfect English and invited me and my luggage to follower her to her car which turned out to be a Pontiac convertible with the top down! Wow! It was automatic too! Back home I drove a 1960 VW beetle with standard transmission.
    The ride to her home took us along the St. Lawrence River, past a seminary then up into a residential area of fancy, well maintained, luxurious homes in Sillery. She made some polite remarks to me about the area but I was too busy trying to take in all that surrounded us. It was my first ride in a car with the roof down and there was much to see. She pulled into the driveway of a  house on Rue Oak. It was to be one of my homes that summer.

The arial view shows how gorgeous their property was. The swimming pool would be one of many favourite places to pass time with the children. It was also the site for some amazing social gatherings that I was allowed to be a part of until it was time to get the children off to bed. A few times I was even allowed to return and join in once they were asleep.
Hope you'll be back for the next part of my adventure.

Saturday, January 5, 2013


   Though a new year has begun I feel that it's just a continuation of my daily life. Years back each new year gave me a sensation of newness but now I find that has past. Now I have to be content with each day as a new beginning. Aging altered my perspective and sense of time. It has odd effects on my way of seeing things both literally and figuratively.
   On Thursday I was watching a documentary put out by the CBC's DocZone. The broadcast was about volcanoes and their effect on our earth. But what grabbed my attention was that Yellowstone is an area that has been keenly watched for the longest time. There's even a website created just to follow its daily status. 
   Many go to Yellowstone National Park dedicated to the area in 1872. I have seen some great photos taken by visitors. Yet I don't recall much reference to the fact that the area is actually the site of a type of a volcano. Instead I hear it's an area of geysers, Old Faithful being a very popular one. The park is said to be open for visitation all year. However, there's only one entrance open during wintertime, the northern one via Montana. I doubt I shall be visiting the place. It seems a bit beyond what Buddy and I could manage. 
   Still I am curious. And this documentary gave me many glimpses. It set forth some proposals of what might occur if an eruption does happen. It was very fascinating to learn how much research is ongoing. It also showed what dangers come with any eruption in the world and how the ash affects so much. It can change the face of our earth as we know it. Could we ever devise a means to survive a major eruption?
   Next time I hear about Yellowstone I shall recall some of this. How about you? Have you visited? Are you a geyser lover? Are you aware of the volcano watch?