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.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Happy Birthday Simon!

Happy Third Birthday Grandbaby Simon!

This pic was taken when he was two. I can't find any newer pics at this moment (and I wanted to post this today - his birthday).

Simon is grandbaby #4. His little brother is Owen.

Yes, that is a hospital bracelet he is wearing. At that time, he was hospitalized (day surgery only) to have tubes put in his ears.

That was then.
This is now and unfortunately, Simon is spending his birthday in the hospital.

He became dehydrated after catching a nasty gastrointestinal virus. This bug seems to be making the rounds of schools, daycares, and playgroups.
On Sunday night, Simon was admitted to the Childrens' Hospital here in Montreal. They are keeping him until his electrolytes stabilize and he can keep fluids in his body (I'll spare you the yukky details).

We will plan to have a real birthday celebration for him at Easter, when he's back home again and can eat!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

April Showers...

....bring May flowers.
These daffodils are pushing their way up!
It won't be long now. It's raining cats and dogs today, and will be for most of the week.
I don't mind. There is nothing I can do to change the weather anyway.
And all this rain will wash the last bits of snow away.
Refreshing rain to cleanse our Earth.

I was visiting my son and daughter-in-law a week after Baby Owen was born. As I sat in a comfortable chair, cradling Owen, my eyes were drawn to a pretty bouquet of spring flowers, gracing their dining room table.

Hmmm, I thought to myself, someone must have given Kathy flowers for this special occasion. Her mother? No, she's not that kind of a person. Her sisters? Naw, they're not either. A friend then. Must be a friend or a neighbour.

"Who gave you those lovely flowers?" I asked.
Son and Kathy (daughter-in-law) looked at each other, with something like amusement on their faces.

"You did, Mom!"
"Oh." (covering up as quick as I could) "but I thought those would be dead by now, and these look so fresh."

"It's only been a week, Mom."

Yikes! Of course I bought her those flowers. But, I didn't know if she'd even remember to bring them home from the hospital. There is always so much to bring back home again, not to mention a brand-new little person! Besides, some people give their flowers to the nurses, as a "thank-you", which would be perfectly all right with me.

Don't think I fooled either one of them. They probably think I'm losing it. {{sigh!}} are these "menopause moments" ever going to end?

Thursday, April 2, 2009


Appreeeee-sheeee-a-shun! Don't you just love the way that word rolls off your tongue?

I drew the appreciation card this morning:

"Appreciation is the secret to life. Become a person who appreciates and you will thrive; you will fulfill your reason for being."

I appreciate my flowers, and my camera to photograph them.

I appreciate my hot cup of coffee - every morning.

I appreciate my morning shower.

I appreciate the sun rise of a beautiful spring day. Today it will be 13 C! I think that's somewhere in the 50's F.

I appreciate my family and friends. And the blogging community.

Hope you all have a wonderful day. I appreciate having you in my life!