Wednesday, July 1, 2009


Some of you may have noticed that I've removed all my ads. I started this blog for me. It was a place to express myself. To share my story and listen to yours.

What started off as a Caregiving blog evolved into gardening, grandchildren, poetry, birthdays, family, and seasons.

I've decided to re-name this blog, or actually start up a new one, called Changes with the Seasons. I was tired of seeing google ads about oxygen concentrators, miracle cures for COPD, and whatever other nasty stuff they wanted to advertise.

Blog Her Ads was much better to work with. At least there were people to contact when you needed a problem sorted out. The Blog Her Ad network was full of creative, fun, regular people. They wanted regular posts (of course, otherwise, why advertise?).

But now that it's summer, I don't want to post when somebody else insists. I will post when I feel like it. After all, this is why I started blogging in the first place. To be my own boss. To sit at the computer for hours if I want or leave it when I'm too involved in other activities. And my good blogger buddies understand. They have a life too.

So COPD Caregiving is NOT for wimps will evolve into Changes with the Seasons. The focus will not be on hubby. Oh, I will still blog about our life together, as I continue to grow and learn and try to accept that which I cannot change.

As a matter of fact, the focus changed a long time ago. I wanted a happier blog, and began to branch out into other topics. I even learned to post my digital-camera-challenged pics without embarassment. One day I will take the time to buy a better camera and learn more about photography.

So on to a new blog... I hope to see all of you there!

Saturday, June 27, 2009


Yesterday, we had new garage doors installed. Our old wooden ones had to go. I was sick and tired of prying up the bottom of the door in winter when it was freezing cold. The wooden doors actually froze to the garage floor. I would then stick a shovel underneath and jump on the handle to break the ice and pop the door open. Enough is enough! Time for some new ones.

Details - do you notice details? Well I don't. I never noticed that the doors did not have handles on the outside. Hmmm. One of our garage doors has the automatic door opener, so you don't need an outside handle to open it up.

Our other garage door opens manually. Much better for the oxygen delivery man (we just leave it unlocked and he picks up the empty cylinders and brings us full ones), and much better if I want to take my bike out for a ride. We're down to one car, since hubby doesn't drive any more, so the second garage is for storage. I keep my bicycle in there, as well as gardening stuff, mops and buckets, garbage can, recycling bin, you get the picture. It's much easier to manually open this door, instead of using an electric door opener. I'd have to walk around the garden (or ride my bike) with the opener in my pocket, or I wouldn't get back in.

Doors were installed. Technicians (that's what the salesman called them), were almost ready to leave, when one of them said:

"You realize Ma'am that there is no handle on this door."

Well I'll be! I hadn't noticed. Now do I ask the most obvious question?

I did.

"How am I going to open it?"

"We can put a handle on it for you."

Oh, am I supposed to be impressed? Or did they think I really didn't want to open this brand new door?

They screwed on a suitable handle, which worked like it should.

"How do you like it, Ma'am?"

"Very nice, thank you."

Now really, it's just a door handle. You'd think this guy had given birth to it!!!

Curious, I went for a walk down our street. Sure enough, there were only 1 or 2 houses with crummy old wooden garage doors - with outside handles. The rest had new (or newer) garage doors with no outside handles. That meant only one thing - almost our whole street used automatic garage door openers. I never noticed.

We had a new bathroom shower installed last year. The old one was leaking and looking gross. I had tried caulking it, waiting 24 hours, using the hairdryer to dry it, ripping it out, caulking it all over again, waiting 36 hours, blow-drying it, changing the caulking material - all to no avail. It kept on leaking. Finally I'd had enough. I am certainly no handiman - or handiwoman for that matter. Not even close.

So I went to our local Home Hardware store. Picked out a reasonably priced shower stall and fixtures. I don't like these stores. Too intimidating. Too many nuts and bolts. Too much "guy stuff" (read: stuff I don't understand, and don't really want to).

A week or so later, our shower arrived along with the "technician". He spent all day installing it. It looked fine. I was asked not to use it for 24 hours. That was alright with me, as I really really wanted that caulking to stick.

I waited 48 hours just to be sure. Turned the handle to the proper water temperature. Then pushed it in towards the wall, so I wouldn't get a deluge on my head. I don't like a full stream of water. Usually about half strength is fine with me. It didn't budge. I pushed as hard as I could. It still didn't move. So, I twisted and turned. Pulled and pushed. Nothing. Gave up and had a full-throttle shower. What happened to water conservation? Don't they now make flush toilets using only a fraction of the usual amount of water to avoid wasting our precious resources?

The next morning I tried again. Still could not slow that shower down! So back to Home Hardware I went. I checked out all the "newer" shower hardware and found that you could not adjust any of them. One setting. That's it. Period.

Now I ask you - when you go to buy a tap or a faucet, do you ask if you can adjust the water flow? And when you order garage doors, do you ask if they come with a handle so you can open them?

Either I shop at the wrong places, or our world is getting crazier!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Summer Solstice

Happy, Happy,

Summer!!! Flowers are in full bloom. Days are long. Sun is shining between the rainclouds. BBQ's are cooking.

I had the most splendid day! Spent the morning in the garden. It was rather gloomy and cloudy; even rained a tiny bit, but by afternoon the clouds parted and the sun shone!

I made a cup of tea, and walked around my yard, thanking the flowers, birds, bees and Mother Earth for all of her gifts. This Solstice weekend was to be a "heal our planet" weekend, whereby each person would choose their own way of sending healing energy around the globe.

Later in the afternoon, after Hubby's nap, we sat quietly outside, taking in the sights and sounds of this glorious summer day. Hubby had his book, but I was watching. There is a nest of red-capped chickadees in our hedge and I was wondering when the babies would be leaving their nests to learn how to fly. I did not want to miss this.

I had been so careful not to disturb their nest by being curious. Oh, it was hard. I did so want to peek inside and take pics for this blog. But one other year, I frightened a bird away. She abandoned her nest and I've felt badly ever since.

Luck must have been shining down on us this first day of summer, for it wasn't long before I heard baby "cheeps". At first I couldn't distinguish these sounds from other birds, but soon pinpointed their location as coming from the hedge. Next I saw some fluttery movements within the hedge. Hmmm, this couldn't possibly be adult birds. They usually fly right out of the hedge, not within.

I watched and waited some more. They must have been getting the hang of things, for they started venturing outside of the hedge and on to the lawn, the nearby trees, and the other hedges. Fascinated, we continued to watch those tiny fledglings hopping from hedge to hedge as they tested their wings. One little bird bravely flew to the oak tree. It clung to the trunk in fear, afraid to let go. The mother flew to a branch and then to the ground to encourage Junior, but he just flapped his wings and dug in deeper. Then a wiley chipmunk ran up the tree towards Baby. That was the "push" Baby needed to fly away.

Father's Day, Summer Solstice, and baby birds leaving the nest. It was a glorious day! I hope you all had a nice day too!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Strange dwellings

What a strange place for a spider to live.......on top of an outdoor table........connecting flower pots.
This see-through sticky material ...... looks almost like saran wrap.

How can a spider live in such an odd-looking house? No floor, no door, no windows, no walls. And everything open, for all to see.

This little caterpillar is in the middle of spinning his cocoon. He chose such a strange the little space between the back door and the brick wall....right on top of another caterpillar's cocoon.

It didn't take long before his cocoon was made. Now they're both asleep.....until?? I don't know how long this process is likely to take. Maybe some of my fellow gardeners (especially the ones who like bugs) will tell me.
I 've drawn circles around the two cocoons, so you can see them. Strange place for a house........right above the doorbell!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Garden fun

Mrs. Tiggywinkle and her baby keep watch over my herb gardens. Somebody's been nibbling my purple basil in the night! I suspect it must be naughty chipmunks. Do you think they flavour their salads with it? Or brew basil tea?
I started potting up some herbs for Computer Son last year. Now it's become a tradition. He enjoys cooking and likes to use fresh herbs in his creations. Looks like a sneaky groundhog helped himself to the parsley (on the left side of the container). That's why all the herbs have ended up on the table. I hope he (or she) doesn't know how to climb.
Sweet pansies......I wonder if they're having a sing-along. Or maybe they're just sunbathing. Whatever.... I think they're happier in a container instead of in the ground. They usually dry up and die about mid-summer; probably due to our sandy soil and fierce sun.
Snapdragons are so pretty, but I haven't had much luck, until I tried this variety last year. I like the way they cascade gracefully down the sides of the pot. And the blooms last all summer.
And last, but not least, our resident faerie, having a private consultation with another pot of pansies. I wonder who is telling the secrets and who is listening?? Happy gardening everyone!
Enjoy the weekend!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Seeds of discovery

I was tidying up the yard the other day. Branches had blown off some trees and scattered all over. Usually these branches are dead, but this one still had leaves on it. I started cutting it up into smaller pieces.

My mind was miles away. I was thinking about whether or not to get some planting in before lunch, when I noticed these tiny bumps on the branches.

Those are funny-looking lumps, I wonder if the tree is sick....
Wait a minute, those funny-looking lumps look like.... baby acorns! This tree isn't's pregnant!
Here's a closer look.

So that's how acorns are made! As you can see, there are lots and lots of teeny, tiny acorns on each branch. The oak leaves (they look wilted in the pic) are on the tips of the branches. They must reach up towards the sunlight for nourishment to feed their babies. Or to protect them from the strong rays of the sun.

We have plenty of oak trees in our yard and that means an abundance of acorns. They don't show up until late summer or early fall. But at this time of year, I don't give them a thought. Anyway, the trees are so high, I've never had the opportunity to observe baby acorns in the making.

I was thrilled with this discovery, so I shared it with Hubby. Don't know why we've never noticed this before.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Backyard Fun

The more pictures I take, the harder it is to get them right. Does that make sense? No, probably not.
You'd think the more practice I get, the better...... Jasmine, look at Grandma...
No, not down at your water toy....up at the camera.

Smile, Nathan. Oops, just missed it.

Yes, that's the sun shining up there, but please show me your sweet smile, once more.....

I took about 20 pics that day. And these are the best. Oh well.

At least the day was warm and sunny and we spent the morning playing in the backyard.

I did not realize how difficult it is to photograph small children. The only pics I took of my own children were for special occasions. And probably my parents took those, as I was busy with cake and ice cream or unwrapping presents.

Enjoy the nice weather while it's here, everyone. Have a good weekend!

Monday, June 1, 2009

June is Busting Out All Over!

All over the meadow and the hill.....
And the young Virginia creepers have been hugging the bejeepers....

Don't remember any more of that song. I just remember singing it in high school. Must have been June and spirits were high. School was almost over. Yippee!

June means strawberries.
Warm sunny days.
Soft nights.
Flowers bursting with colour.
The smell of freshly cut grass.
Fledglings learning to fly.
June bugs, beetles, ladybugs, butterflies, dragonflies and bees.
Laughter and fun.
The beginning of summer!

What does June mean to you??

Friday, May 29, 2009

School Play

Well it's that time of year once again. School is winding down and children are putting on performances for their parents and grandparents to attend. Grandson Ryan was singing in the play Swan Lake. He (along with other children) was disappointed that he didn't get a "part", but I assured him that singing was an important part of the performance.

I do remember those long-ago days when everybody wanted to be dressed up in a colourful costume and star in the show. Everybody wanted the lead part. Or at least an important part. I almost always got relegated to sing. I loved singing, but to be on stage and shining like a star! Wow! It's too bad that only a few chosen children get to be stars. I wish everybody could have that chance.

Well, life isn't about center stage (unless you take that up as a profession) and children need to learn that as one of life's lessons. But in my mind (and heart), Grandchildren are always the Star of Grandma's show!

Hope everyone is having a sunny day (weekend). We're having rain.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

May is a Magical Month...

Our lily of the valley are in bloom. Lilacs too. May is the beginning of the outdoor gardening season in this part of the world .....and I LOVE IT!!
Today, May 24th is my eldest granddaughter's 13th birthday! She is now officially a teen-ager! Happy Birthday, dear Kaitlin. Sorry I don't have a more recent photo of you, and this school photo is a little washed out, but nonetheless - I am happy to be your grandma!
Thirteen years ago, you came into this world and blessed us all with your presence. Today I am so proud of you - not only what you achieve, but who you are.
Lots of Love on your special day,
Grandma Wendy

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Hubby has asked me to buy him a walker.
I nearly fell off my chair.
I bought him one 2 and a half years ago, which he asked me to return.
He was not ready.
Now he is.

Two and a half years ago, he could still walk outside. While grocery shopping, he would lean on the shopping cart, while placing his oxygen cylinder in the basket where a child would normally sit.
I thought a walker would make life easier, back then, but he resisted.

Hubby wants one for in the house. He gets tired just walking from room to room. And he wants to walk a little on our back deck - to try and build up his leg muscles.

One day not long ago, I was driving home from visiting my daughter. It was a beautiful day. The sun was shining and there was no wind. No reason to think the power might go off. Happily zooming up the driveway, I nonchalantly pushed the button on the garage door opener.

Nothing happened. I pushed again. Still nothing. Oh S**t!! I jerked the car into Park, threw open the car door and left it that way. Pulled on the handle of the manual garage door, meanwhile praying for all I was worth. Please, please, please.......

Smashed open the inner door to our house, and heard the alarm screaming! When the power goes off, Hubby's oxygen concentrator emits a high-pitched squeal. Oh no! Please! Not yet!

Ran into the TV room where hubby takes his naps, and jumped up beside Hubby in the bed.
"WAKE UP!' I yelled.
He woke up.
I cried (well not right away, but afterwards).
I hooked him up to his portable and thanked God he was alive.

We figured out he had been asleep without his supplemental oxygen for 20 minutes. Nobody home. No back-up. And he did not hear the alarm! Something had to be done.

We had talked about getting an emergency service like "Life Line" before I went away. Hubby was not interested.
Now he is.

We are making changes in our home.
Sometimes change comes easily.
Other times, we seem to be forced in a certain direction before we allow change into our lives.

Saturday, May 16, 2009


My daughter and I celebrated our Mother's Day by taking the children to the Ecomuseum. I don't know why it's called a museum, since the animals are all outdoors. Mind you, there is a building on the grounds, where some lectures take place about the habits and history of native animals. The bear pit! We didn't want to get too close to Mr. Bear.

Ah, the otters. Er.... where did they go? There were here swimming and playing just a minute ago. I think I see an otter back in the upper right corner. Or maybe it's the tail?

Jasmine is giggling at their antics, as Mommy holds her up to the otter tank.

Could not get a pic of the otters in motion. They were just too fast for my camera. So here they are, basking in the sun.

We had a wonderful day. Complete with lunch at home and no nap!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


Here is where I stayed. Just kidding. My hotel was the little one with the red roof, just to the right of the huge, rather posh hotel.
If you look closely, you can see that on the left side of the red-roofed hotel is an open-air restaurant.
This is a closer pic. You can't see the restaurant, but the dolphin statue is directly over the front door.

The first morning, I went to the hotel restaurant for breakfast. The service was great. I did not want hash brown potatoes with my scrambled eggs and bacon, so the waiter suggested sliced tomato instead. Perfect! I was pleased. He seemed to know what I'd like. We chatted a bit about Fort Lauderdale and then I went to the beach.

One evening I had supper there. I ordered mahi-mahi served with veggies on a bed of rice. Ummmm - it was good. There was a man at the next table who struck up a conversation. He seemed friendly enough. We chatted about his internet business and his family.

"So what are you doing tomorrow? Not that I'm trying to ask you out!"
I didn't know whether to be insulted or to laugh.
I chose to laugh.
"I know you weren't."

Yikes - why did he have to justify a perfectly innocent question? I know he was just curious, or trying to make light conversation.

Then an older couple sat at the next table. I don't remember how they got involved in the conversation, but it was funny to be having a conversation with all these people as if we were at a dinner party. Except that we were seated at different tables, and had to shout a little to be heard over the noise of the other diners.

Breakfast time, on my last day of vacation. I wanted something simple and quick. There was a young lady sitting alone at the next table, eating blueberry pancakes. They looked yummy, so I ordered some. While waiting for my order, I started a conversation with the lady. We talked for a bit and then she left.

I was still waiting for breakfast and I was hungry. And getting crabby. I looked around and saw that other people (who had walked in after me) were already happily munching toast and bagels.

Now I was really getting annoyed. Where was my waitress? I hadn't seen her in a while. Did she go for coffee? Or home? To the beach?

I stopped a waiter "Is there a problem with my order? I haven't been served yet and they have." I made a sweeping motion with my arm to include the tables around me. And I didn't care if I sounded like a school kid.

"I'll go and check." he said amicably.

I waited a few minutes. My waitress still had not come back. Then I saw the waiter come back from the kitchen (where I presume he was checking on my order) and start clearing tables at the far end of the restaurant.

What the heck? Did he check for me or not? Well how about coming over to me and saying "your order's coming right up." Or "it will be just a few more minutes". Or... anything!

Now I was really mad. So up I got, once again, and angrily flounced away, down the sidewalk intending to pick up a ready-made sandwich at a convenience store.

I had gone about 2 blocks when I came across a familiar hotel. Wait a minute, didn't I stay here 4 or 5 years ago? With my Dolphin group? I'm sure of it! We stayed one night and the next day, departed for the Bahamas for a Swim with the Dolphins program. I remembered (back then) that breakfast had been included. Hmmmm. I wonder......

I walked right in. Said good-morning to the few people milling around. Popped a bagel into the toaster. Spread it with cream cheese. Poured a cup of coffee and took breakfast out on the terrace. Ahhhh this is more like it! My crabby self faded away. And Mrs. Crabby turned into Mrs. Full-stomach-satisfied. And Mrs. Satisfied turned into Mrs. Oh-no-did-I-really-do- that?

Walking back to my hotel, my conscience was prickling me. Maybe I should walk back and put a couple of dollars ..... where? It was a self-serve kitchen. There was no where to put any tips or money. Should I leave it at the front desk? The desk clerk would pocket it. Well so what? It would ease my conscience. But then I would have to explain....

Too late now anyway. I had to get packing. So I left a few dollars for the maid who cleaned my room.

I know. She had nothing to do with it. And it was a totally different hotel. But I felt better. And made blueberry pancakes for Hubby and me when I got home.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Eating Out

Eating out when you are on holiday is always a pleasure.
After all somebody else does the cooking and washing up afterwards. And you get to try different dishes. Food you wouldn't normally try at home, or food special to that region.

My vacations almost always take me to the sea. And that means seafood.

When vacationing in Maine, I eat lobster. In Fort Lauderdale it was shrimp and fish.

I had the absolute best experience eating at the Cheesecake Factory. I'd heard about it's excellent reputation, but I'd never been, so one afternoon, after disembarking from the Water Taxi, I set out to find this legendary restaurant.

The Cheesecake Factory was very busy. I'd also heard that there are times you have to line up and wait for a table. I'm not good at that. When I'm hungry I want to eat! I can't wait. My head gets dizzy and I get crabby.

I was in luck. No waiting, but the restaurant was busy. I chose a table outside in the shade. Nice ambiance. The clientele were obviously business people or contented shoppers enjoying a break and a delicious meal.

I ordered the guacamole and shrimp, a glass of white wine, and their key lime cheesecake for dessert. I was not disappointed. The food was divine! Service impeccable. I look forward to going back there one day.

Now for the not-so-good eateries.

I was walking down the Beach Strip a day or so into my vacation, popping in and out of beach boutiques. I'd tried on t-shirts, summer dresses, flip-flops, sunglasses, and funny hats. Feeling hungry, I perused the eating places.

Hmm. Menus were pretty much the same and I walked from one eatery to another. Some were crowded, some not so. Then I saw a woman eating curly fries with her meal. Curly fries! Ohhhh, I love those. And haven't had them in years.

Quickly I walked in and sat down at the nearest empty table. The waitress came to take my order. She poured me a glass of water, which I promptly began sipping.

Then I looked around. Eeewww, she hadn't bothered to clean the table, where I was sitting. Crumbs from the last customers were visable not only on the surface of the table, but on the chair beside me as well.

Eeewww - was I sitting on crumbs?

I was beginning to feel uncomfortable. Looking around I noticed that this place was not as clean as I'd assumed.

Sipping my water, I waited for my meal.
It didn't come.

I was beginning to feel strange vibes. (or I was creating them, who knows!)

Feeling uneasy, I looked around again. Was it my imagination, or were the people sloppily dressed, not-so-nicely mannered, loud?
O.K. I said to myself. I'll give them 3 more minutes to bring my order.
I think I actually waited another 3o seconds.

Then I walked away. Down the sidewalk (all these eateries are outside on the sidewalk, making walking away much easier than if you had to walk past the maitre'di or seating person), I went at a rather quick pace until I found a shop where I could purchase just a sandwich to curb my hunger.

I think I made a wise decision. I wonder what the waitress thought when she brought out my order? Or maybe it had gotten lost?

To be continued......

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

To all mothers, grandmothers, and great-grandmothers!

And a very happy Mother's Day to those who are mothers in spirit, whether they've given birth or not.
Happy Sunday to everyone!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Grandson's new home

Welcome aboard my magic bus. Where would you like to go? We can travel near.
We can travel far.
We can get off and take a car.
Or change this bus into a boat.
And sail the Seven Seas
Or travel to the jungle
And swing like monkeys
From the trees!

O.K. then,
Come follow me along the path,
Beside the ancient tree,
A little further,
Through the hedge
Tiptoe-ing, soft-ley...

Around the back and over the deck,
Where would you like to roam?
I think I've had enough of this.
Please just take me home!

Adrian's new home.
Adrian is grandson #4. Elder Son and daughter-in-law's firstborn.
There's lots of room in this new home. A backyard, garage and swings! I know they'll be happy here.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Ocean Energy....

I've brought back energy from the ocean.

And restored faith in myself.

Taking a break from the Caregiving routine - a total time away has shown me that I can feel "normal" again.

This was so important to me.
For I had begun to doubt myself.

Fatigue, sore muscles, and lack of energy led me to believe that there was something seriously wrong in my body. But once I jumped into the ocean, played in the waves, and lay in the warm sand, all the aches, pains and depression dissolved. Faded away. Gone.

Not on the first day, of course.
On the first day, instead of feeling excited once I checked into the hotel, I felt sad. What was I doing here? All on my own, while poor Hubby was stuck at home (and not feeling well, of course). I knew he would start one of his "down cycles" by the time I was ready to leave. But there was no turning back. I had to go. And I could sense him downplaying his symptoms for my benefit.

Kicking off my shoes, I flopped down on the king-sized bed. Memories of all the wonderful vacations we had taken together, washed over me, and I wished with all my heart we could vacation together again.

After a restless night (I find it hard to sleep most nights, worse in hotel rooms), I awoke to the lure of the ocean. After a quick cup of coffee, I ran down to the beach.
And surrendered.
Surrendered to the soft ocean breeze. The sand between my toes. The cry of the seagull. The enticing waves, washing to shore, calling me to come and play. Or swim, or dance.

Taking a deep breath, I stretched towards the sun. That golden glow permeating my skin; its warmth caressing my face.

"Good morning!" I called to the sky. The waves. The creatures of the deep.

Pulling energy up from the Earth (the sand really), I began.
Gently, yet with purpose, my tai chi routine unfolds.
Focusing my mind on the movements brings a calmness, a sense of peace. Sandpipers skitter at my feet. The gentle lapping of waves grounding, like a heartbeat.

Drawing strength from my surroundings, I relax.
Ahhhhh - bliss!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Home Sweet Home

This is my new home. Ha! Just kidding!
This really is some millionaire's home in Port Everglades, Fort Lauderdale.

I had taken a Water Taxi to see some magnificent homes and to enjoy travelling over water, rather than in a hot, dusty car.

The beauty of this form of transportation, is that you pay only one fare ($13.00) for the whole day. There are 11 stops and you can ride the circuit from morning until midnight as many times as you wish.

What most people do, however, is to get on at one stop, ride for a bit and then get off somewhere to shop and eat lunch or dinner. You can get right back on and continue on your way. Or decide you've had enough and take the next taxi boat home.

I have more to post, later on.
Now I want to visit all my blogger friends and play catch-up.
I had a fun, relaxing, rejuvenating time.
And I'm glad to be home - my real home.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Bon Voyage!

I am leaving tomorrow morning for Fort Lauderdale, Florida. I will be back on Monday May 4th. A short break, but one that I've been looking forward to since the winter.

I don't plan to email or blog while I'm away. I'll be swimming in the ocean, walking the beach, and shopping!

Will miss all my blogging friends.
Hope you all have a wonderful week with lots of sunshine and gardening.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Spring flowers at last!

These little blue stars were the first. Too bad they look sunbleached.
It was a hot, dry, dusty, blowy day. I wanted to take a pic of these daffodils this morning when they were still closed. But, the sun was too strong. Today it was 28 C or somewhere in the 80's! Most unusual for April. After supper I took my camera outside. The sky was overcast. Ah, perfect for picture taking (I'm learning). To my surprise this one had opened! You can see a bit of purple hyacinth just behind.
This lighter one, pictured down below, is just beginning to open. Tomorrow rain is predicted, so I don't know whether this daffodil will fully open in the rain, or wait until another sunny day. Isn't it exciting to watch them open one by one?
Last, but not least, are my favourite. Teeny, tiny, bell-like daffodils. They may look big in the pic, because I held my camera up close, but they are a miniature variety. So sweet!
What's blooming in your Spring garden?

Thursday, April 23, 2009


I was standing in line at a Tim Horton's coffee shop the other morning. Looking around I noticed a table where a couple of elderly gentlemen were sitting.
It was mid-morning and they were deep in conversation over coffee and doughnuts.

"Do you know it costs $500 for a plain wooden box?" said Mr. Serious.
"Ha! I've got some in my garage!" chucked Mr. Jovial.
What were they talking about? Not coffins, surely.

"Oh no, you can't just use any old box. They have to be a certain size. It's got to fit!" said Mr. Serious.

It? The body?
I then turned my attention to the menu, so they wouldn't see me so blatantly eavesdropping.


Oh-oh, they were talking about funerals.

".........and those urns! They're so expensive!!" continued Mr. Serious.

"A coffee can is good enough for me!" Mr. Jovial shot back.

Just at that moment I turned around to see a woman, reaching out to pick up a can of Tim Horton's coffee from the shelf.
She obviously had not heard this conversation.

Should I have enlightened her?

Monday, April 20, 2009

A Fine Line..

There is a fine line between giving and giving away.
It's taken me all this time to awaken to this realization.

For the past few years, I have been struggling with needs. Hubby’s and mine.
I am now learning to value myself and honour my needs.
Blogging has helped me with this.

However, I could never come to the point where I put myself first. How could I? Why should I? I was taught to put others before me.

"Be polite. Don't be so selfish. Let others go before you. Take the smallest portion. Stop thinking about yourself" are words that echo down through the years from a distant childhood.

To care for someone is to make sure they are comfortable and safe. And then the mother/caregiver/wife can turn her attention to her own needs.

Not so hard to understand on the surface, is it?

But let's take another look. A little deeper one. At some point, the lines blur. The boundaries between Patient and Caregiver become entangled, or fade into each other.

Caregiver doesn't recognize her (most of the time it's a female caregiver and I'm talking about myself here anyway) own needs anymore. His needs take precedence, since they are life-threatening, or he just can't carry them out anymore. So Hers either cease to exist or His become Hers.

I had been feeling depressed because of our loooong winter. Cooped up inside away from the sunshine and garden. Happens to a lot of people during the cold, dark months. But there was more. I felt like my life was not going anywhere. Every day I’d have symptoms of anxiety; feelings like I wanted to run away. Feeling "stuck" here.
Life was starting to feel hopeless. I had nowhere to go.

I wished with all my heart that Hubby and I were back in that delirously happy time when we first met. We lived our lives with passion, energy, fun, travel, and joy. It was a dream come true.

I woke up one morning recently with no energy. Picked up a broom and swept the back deck clean. Not such a strenuous chore, but then I had to go and rest. Something is very wrong. Where is my energy? I can't let myself down like this. I have to get back on track.

Then something snapped or clicked. I realized just how tired I am of giving. But what can I do? I can’t leave Hubby. I won’t. I need to care for him.
“Ahhhh,” said a little voice somewhere in my head, “it’s not the giving you are tired of, it’s the "giving away little bits and pieces of yourself.”

Giving and Receiving are a natural part of life. We need to give to someone who is dependent on us. We receive their love and support in return. But we don't give up our own needs. There is a fine line. A distinction between the two.

That’s when I made the connection. I have been giving up my own life. I no longer work. Go to tai chi classes. Ride horses. Socialize (except for my family) Travel. Take singing lessons. I had been giving away or giving up too much of myself in the role of Caregiver. I had been living Hubby’s life. Not mine.

No wonder my body had been sending me signals. Fatigue, depression, painful muscles, anxiety, insomnia. Did I listen? Of course not. But you can't ignore your body's signals for very long. They have a nasty habit of persisting. What you resist....persists!

It hit me that my whole day consists of caring and pleasing hubby.

I look to him for advice. I am vigilant for every little nuance in his speech, his tone of voice, so I could capture the real meaning behind the words. Did he want me to cook rice? Or spaghetti? Just because he said rice did not mean he really wanted rice. Perhaps he was trying to please me.
How convoluted. How ridiculous. We never had that kind of relationship before. We used to be such a happy, outgoing, active couple. We'd each be at our chosen professions and then come home and share our day. We valued and respected each other's point of view. Nobody tried to overly please the other person. We did the normal things of course (candles, chocolates, flowers, checking the oil in my car - yes hubby took great pleasure in doing that little thing for me, which I grew to appreciate)

So when did the balance tip? When did I become an extension of him? When did I lose my own life and take on his?
Three years ago I stopped travelling. Simply because I couldn't leave him alone. Now with my new understanding, I know that my life can't stop because of his illness. I long to travel. I need to see the ocean, feel sand under my toes. Breathe the soft ocean air. Shop 'til I drop. So I will.
I need to work part-time. So I will.
It's enough that I plan my day around his schedule. That I do with love and patience.

But I can't keep giving myself and my life away.
I can and I will give - but not "give away."

It has been a long road to this discovery. A long voyage. And blogging has helped me tremendously, to arrive here.

I have finally, finally booked a trip.
Hubby's son will arrive next week to look after him.

It is time I looked after myself.

It is time I began to disentangle my energy, my boundaries, my life force from Hubby. I know he will feel this, and I feel sorry. To feel your loved one detach (however slight) is painful. But I think it's time I walked my own path - in my own shoes.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


Spring clean-up time once again.
Our lawn service guys came to clean up the yard.
The team consisted of 4 healthy, young, strong men (well, boys actually, the way they horsed around, kicking leaves onto a tarp instead of raking them and just generally being playful).

Watching from the window, I was impressed with how well they worked together.
Hoisting heavy leaf blowers on their backs, they quickly blew all those left-over dried brown leaves into piles. One of them picked up fallen branches, which were strewn all over the property. He pitched them into the truck.

One of the young men pointed his leaf-blower towards my rock garden. I held my breath. Please don't destroy any of those tender shoots! Unfortunately he blew the fragile white crocus a little too hard. It was gone in no time!

Taking a short break, I watched as two of the four fellows lit up cigarettes. I always feel sad when I see young people smoking. They have no idea what kind of damage they are wreaking on their bodies.

"You've done a good job, I'm very pleased," I said to the-person-in-charge when they had finished.
"But now I'm going to give you a Grandmother Lecture." He looked at me as if I'd sprouted horns.

"My husband is in the house taking his afternoon nap, hooked up to an oxygen concentrator, because of cigarette smoking. He would love to be able to come out on this nice sunny day and work in our yard. But he can't. This is why we need your services. I would hate to see you years from now in his shoes. It's not fun."

He looked a little sheepish and for a moment I thought perhaps I should have kept my mouth shut. After all, I didn't really know him. But, I kind of like to look after all young people - as much as possible without putting my nose into their business.

"Funny you should say that. My girlfriend and I just had a discussion about my smoking, over the weekend. She really wants me to quit."

I smiled at him.
"Well then?"

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter at Our House

Gosh is this party ever borrrring!
Don't you think so, Owen?

Ewwwww - it smells like your diaper's leaking, Nathan!

Not mine! I thought it was yours!

Friday, April 10, 2009


I think these are lily bulbs, just coming up.

And these are my daffodils - a wee bit taller than last week.

My dahlia is growing. I overwintered the corm (or tuber) by wrapping it loosely in newspaper and keeping it in the garage. I am so pleased that it survived.

These Easter bunnies are gifts for the grandbabies. The two youngest are eleven weeks and six weeks.

Just like the promise of Spring bulbs coming to fruition, the babies in our family hold the promise of our future.

And, so you don't think I've forgotten the older grandchildren; the boys are getting soccer balls and shin pads. The younger children (aged 1, 2, and 3) I've bought finger paints and recycled paper to smear to their heart's content. My eldest granddaughter will receive real artist's tubes of paint with dollar store brushes.

Of course, I've sprinkled chocolate eggs into each gift bag - even the babies. Just a few, since I know the Easter Bunny will be visiting......

Update on Simon - he left the hospital on his birthday, later on in the afternoon. He's on the mend and I will be very happy to spend Easter and celebrate his birthday tomorrow!

Hope everyone has a Happy Easter and a fun weekend.