Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Samhain

Halloween as it's called today. Samhain as observed by the ancients.
October 31st marked the end of summer and the beginning of a New Year.

For the early Europeans, this time of year was the start of cold, lean winter months. The flocks were brought in from the fields to live in sheds until spring.

Samhain is a celebration of the final harvest; a time for assessing how much food would be needed to last the winter. Bonfires were made with sacrifical animals, herbs and wood, to appease the gods.

Samhain also represents the apple harvest. Apples were considered gifts from the gods - a wonderful tasting, healthy, wholesome natural food, full of vitamin C, antioxidants, and natural sugar, for energy.

Samhain is the time of year when the Veil or boundary between our mortal world and the spirit realm is at its thinnest.

On this night Ancestors (those who have passed on) were invited to return to feast with their loved ones. Grinning jack-o-lanterns were put in windows to light the way.

What are you doing tonight?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

First Snowfall

Snow has fallen early this year. The Japanese Maple wears a snow skirt with brown leafy ruffles peeping from underneath.
Poor pot of gold - marigolds, that is.
I left them last because they still looked so vibrant.
The frost hadn't touched them.

Now they are droopy with snow, the bright orange refusing to die.
The good thing is - this snow will melt by the weekend, as warmer temps are predicted.
Keeping my fingers crossed for a warm Halloween for the children.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Sunny Sunday

My Japanese maple, shining in the morning sun.
Yesterday it rained all day. It was so dark and gloomy.

I used to enjoy rainy days when my children were small.
We'd bake cookies or make finger paint or playdoh.
Those were the days I cooked playdoh on the stove. Flour, salt, water, and oil, oh yes and cream of tartar too. Cooked until it formed a ball. Took it off the stove and waited a bit until it cooled.
Then the fun - we added food colouring to make red and blue and yellow and green balls of gook!

Outside it was raining, but inside was love and laughter. I miss having children at home.

After my last post of feeling like my old self again, I had a horrible night.
It figures - I just post about how much better I'm feeling when wham! Back to menopausal insomnia.

I awoke at 12:15 a.m. after a strange dream.
I dreamed that I was in the garage with my mother (she's been dead for 10 years) and 2 dogs or wolves. The wolf/dogs were circling around me, but I wasn't afraid. One of them then put its front paws on my shoulders trying to weigh me down. I tried to shrug it off, but it wouldn't come off. I still was not afraid, but I wanted to leave.
My mother was sitting serenely on the garage floor.
I said to her "I'd like to go back home with you."

Then I woke up. And stayed awake for about an hour.
I walked about the house trying to figure out this dream. Wondering why I was slipping backwards into insomnia again.
Maybe it was the dark and dreary day. Who knows.

But today the sun shone. I spend a good part of the day walking. Walking in sunshine. Breathing in the good fresh air. Feeling like my body is fitting once again. Letting go of that dream. Letting go of dreary days.
I know I will sleep better tonight.

Friday, October 24, 2008

My Body Rhythms are Changing

The air is cold in the mornings.
I wait until mid-day to take my walk.
By then the sun is high in the sky, warming me as I walk.

I'm starting my days with tai chi.
Morning stiffness is leaving me.
I am no longer in emotional turmoil brought about by hormonal fluctuations.
Mood swings have settled down; food cravings too.

My basement is dirty. My bushes trimmed nicely.
One afternoon in a fit of heated menopausal rage, I vacuumed the whole basement. Top to bottom, cobwebs and all. Nooks and crannies.
I haven't touched it since. I think that was about 3 years ago.

Another time, I hacked away at a lilac bush that I'd bought at the end of a season, and lovingly planted in the garden.
In 10 years it had never flowered; not one single lilac.
So I got mad and cut it right to the ground.
The next year, it grew bushier. But still no flowers.
Maybe it needs more time. Now I have patience.

My body is starting to fit better. It's beginning to feel like it's old self.... Before Menopause.

I still get hot flashes every day. So I know the process is not complete.
I still wake up at night several times, but I have no trouble going back to sleep.

I told my daughter the other day "There is an end to menopause. Just so you'll know when your time comes. You won't be suffering mood swings, hypoglycemic attacks, rage, crying, stiffness, forgetfulness......for-ever. It will go away."

"Isn't that strange?" she said to me, "That your body fits better now that you've made the decision to start caring for your own needs?"

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Misty Morning Cobwebs

The little spiders were busy in the night. Or maybe it was the faeries! Spinning delicate lace on the cedar hedge.
This one looks like a cradle. Or a fisherman's net.
I don't have much to blog about today.
The Wheel of Life turns....
My aunt died yesterday at 95. She lived a good long life. I did not know her well, so was told by my cousin in an email. My cousin had been with our aunt when she died. I told my cousin that at our age, we are the midwives, helping our parents and older relatives pass on. It is our turn, and now we are the "elders".

A friend of my daughter's gave birth to triplets! Three baby girls. They are going to have their hands full - maybe feet too. LOL!

Hubby is not feeling well. But this is October and we've had rain and cold weather lately. Seasons change. Rain brings heaviness to those who struggle to breathe. He will be alright again....

Littlest grandson has a cold. He's almost 10 months now and this is his first one. His parents are concerned (rightly so - they're the ones he keeps awake at night), but through my Grandma eyes I know this will pass fairly soon. He is a lucky little boy.

I have started back with my aquafit classes. I do not worry as I go out the door. I need this time for me. My body feels better with water exercises. And I cannot control everything.....

I am very very grateful and appreciative for all the information, good resources, kindness and support from all of you in bloggerland. I really feel that by sharing our experiences or just saying "thinking of you" or "hope things get better"or "sending hugs and prayers" makes a HUGE difference in coping with the stress of illness.
Thank you all - you do make a difference.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Eosinophilic colitis the diagnosis we've been given for granddaughter, Jasmine. It's a chronic, allergic, inflammatory condition of her large intestine. In simple terms, she is allergic to most foods. There is not much known about this illness. It may be autoimmune. We don't know yet.

She's just 20 months, and has been dealing with digestive upsets practically all of her life.

Diagnosed with GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) about a year ago, her mother (my daughter) thought at that time "we finally have a diagnosis". Now Jasmine would begin to put on weight, enjoy her food, and maybe even sleep through the night.

Although she did improve somewhat, we knew there was more to this picture. She was not getting better. If she wasn't having diarrhea then it was constipation. The type of food made no difference. Her mother could feed her prunes all day and it wouldn't relieve the constipation. It sounded like she had an underlying motility disorder. Blood tests, x-rays and allergy tests were done.

She gained 2 lbs. from January to August. Not good enough.

We knew there were food intolerances, but the only one we were certain about was milk protein. Not lactose in milk. Protein. I'd never heard of anyone, particularly a baby being allergic to milk protein. Jasmine was and still is. So she drinks rice milk.

She eats chicken and rice. Sometimes fruit, sometimes potatoes. Not much else. Her problems persist. So the next step was to take a look inside and biopsy anything that looked suspicious. That meant a trip to the hospital where she was put under anesthesia for her endoscopy (both ends). You can imagine that a toddler would not cooperate for this type of procedure, hence the need for anesthesia.

We now have another diagnosis. Although eosinophilic colitis is a disease she will have to learn to live with, there are medications to help. Not cure....just help her through.

If anybody knows anyone with this form of eosinophilic gastroenteropathy, I'd appreciate an email.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

I wish this pic didn't have the power wires showing, but I took it from the road, as I didn't want to step right into my neighbour's property. You can see how much the leaves have changed since last Sunday's posting.
Here are some other trees in my neighbourhood. It was beautiful and sunny on Saturday when I took them. A rare treat on Thanksgiving weekend to have such warmth; unfortunately, the sun has bleached the leaves and they don't look quite so crisp.

I have a lot to be thankful for - I hope you do too.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

The Turkeys are Coming....

Wonder if these flowers taste good?
Something tasty in the driveway?
Oh, a fence... can I fly over it?

Maybe I'll just hide in the bushes for a while.

I did it! Flew up here on top of the world!

Good-bye...... Thanksgiving is coming.....I'm outta here!

I got a suprise one morning about a year ago.
Walked down my driveway and saw this wild turkey.
I ran inside the house to grab my camera and took these pics.
She was rather tame and didn't mind me taking her pic at all.
I sent some of these to the local newspaper and they printed the turkey on the fence pic. I was delighted!
Have a nice Canadian Thanksgiving weekend everyone!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Remembering Ron

Ronald George Charbonneau
October 8, 1945 - March 1, 2002
My brother died of liver cancer when he was 56 years old.
Yesteday, he would have been 63.
He leaves behind a devoted wife and lovely daughter.
A history professor at Vanier College in Montreal, Canada, Ron lived his life to the fullest.

This is taken from the "euology" I wrote when he died. I didn't know I was writing anything formal. I just sat down and wrote:

We lost a cherished brother today. He left this earth too soon, in his middle years, just when the frantic pace of youth was beginning its gentle slope towards peace, wisdom, harmony and balance; a time to get out of the rat race and focus on leisure, home and family.

Ron worked hard all his life. From an early age, he shouldered responsibilities beyond his years. Never would he refuse to help anyone in need. Extremely loyal and devoted to his family, friends, students and coworkers, he set a fine example for others to follow.

Turning the corner with anticipation to begin a new phase of life, a well deserved life of retirement, of time for himself, time to read, to write, to listen to music, to plant exotic flowers, to cook gourmet meals, to enjoy his beloved wife and daughter - something happened.

As he was preparing to leave behind a lifetime of fierce blizzards, ice storms, and snow shovelling, characteristic of our harsh Canadian winters, to take up residence in the sunshiny, warm and welcoming climate of the South, he mistakenly took a wrong turn, got on the wrong path, opened the wrong door - and entered the Summerland instead. What made him lose his way? We'll never know.........

Dear Ron, our brother - firstborn - first to enter the world, first to leave. He was the cornerstone of the family - the sacrifical lamb - he who paves the way for his younger brother and sisters to follow......

Ron..... husband, father, brother, and son - we will miss your smile, your happy, round, jovial face, your joie-de-vivre, your sense of fun and mischief and your love of laughter. May you soon find your way out of the darkness and towards the light with grace and dignity. Go with our love Ron, and may you rest in peace.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

It's Blooming Tuesday

I sure hope I do this right. It's Blooming Tuesday and I'm supposed to show what's blooming in my garden. Well, I cheated.

Below - you will find my first attempt at Photostory. I really had fun, especially with the "edit" feature. That's why you will find blue and green flowers (they were edited with the "negative" mode).

As well some of my pink hibiscus are bathed in the "ethreal glow" , which makes them look white over pink - again, compliments of the "edit mode". The music is rather tinny, but I had to use what was available.


Sunday, October 5, 2008

Putting My Garden to Bed

Leaves look like a child has taken a paintbrush and swept it over the treetops.
The forecast is for a low of zero the next couple of nights, so out here in the country, that means freezing.
Time to pack up the hobbit garden.....until next year.

Dahlias I will try to save. The roots or corms or tubers ; not sure what you call them. I'll keep them in the garage wrapped in newspaper and if they survive, I'll plant them in the spring.

Asters ( I think) growing wild at the side of the road.
Shall I pick them before they freeze?

Friday, October 3, 2008

My Lucky Day

I had an amazing day yesterday.
My daughter had an appointment for The Ultrasound. The one that tells you a little boy is growing in there, or a little girl.
I volunteered to babysit Little Granddaughter.
We played dolls, and puzzles, and playdoh. We put on shoes and zipped up coats and went for a walk in her stroller.
Jasmine said "ducks? ducks?"
"No sweetie - it's too cold to feed the ducks today."

Back home, we ate our lunch and waited for Mom to come back. It wasn't long before Mom came bursting into the house.
"It's a Boy!"
"Allllllright - good news! Everything's o.k.?" Daughter nodded her head as she picked up her daughter and gave her a hug.

Hmmm - can Baby Boy wear pink sleepers and onesies?
Not a chance (I decided) I'll just have to stop at the mall and check out the newborn clothes.
Oooooh -how exciting!

Waved good-by and jumped into my car. Stopped to pick up a latte. I happened to look in the mirror. Eeeeeeks - is that me??
Maybe I'd better stop at Sephora and refresh my lipstick. For those of you who don't know Sephora, it's a well-known make-up store. They carry oodles of make-up - every brand you can think of. There are lots of testers- with disposable applicators, tissues - everything you'd need to try, try, try - so you'd buy, buy,buy.

I chose a rich wine lipstick. Ahhh - that's better. Might as well apply a little foundation while I'm here.

"Can I help you?"
"No, I'm o.k., thanks"
"Well that powder you're using needs to be applied with a brush - not a tissue"
"Here let me show you."

Obediently I followed her to the make-up application station.
"This must be your lucky day!" she enthused, "We'll do a full face."
What does that mean? She'd normally do half a face?
I sat on the high stool and watched her do her magic.
I must say I was impressed. She used brushes for everything:
concealer, liquid foundation, setting powder, blush.
A real artist.
When she was finished, I looked in the mirror. Wow - what a transformation!

"So, shall I take these to the cash for you?"
You've gotta be joking, I thought. I didn't come here for that. All I wanted was a quick dash of lipstick to liven up my face.
"No, but I'll take that brush."

Now on to Sears. I made a bee-line right to the baby department and got lost in all those sweet little blue onesies, teddy-bear blue sleepers, teeny-tiny blue socks, hats, blankets......when a youngish lady (dressed in an autumn costume) approached me. Obviously a store employee, she carried a basket over her arm. I peeked inside and saw colourful fall leaves and dark brown pinecones.
"Choose a leaf or pinecone and you will win a prize."

Hey - that sounds like a good idea. Sticking my hand inside the basket, I wondered what the prize would be. Samples of shampoo, or baby lotion, a box of chocolates, or maybe a trip around the world! My imagination was catching fire...
Withdrew my hand - I'd grabbed a pinecone.

"Oh a pinecone! This must be your lucky day! You win a 10 x 12 picture at our photo studio!"
Yuk - I don't want my picture taken.
"Can I give it to my daughter?"
"Sure, no problem."
What a disappointment. I walked away and once again immersed myself in soft, snuggly, powder blue, teeny tiny newborn clothes.

A few minutes later I heard a familiar female voice.

"Oh a leaf! This must be your lucky day! You win a 10 x 12 picture at our photo studio!"
I should have guessed. No matter what I'd picked, the "prize" would be the same. LOL!