Sunday, December 26, 2010

it's Boxing Day in Canada


our king bed


Yesterday turned out very well, in spite of being one of my achey fibro days. The kids let us stay in bed until 09:45, and when we got up Jamie was making pancakes for herself and Em. After the coffee was on, everyone gathered in the living room to open gifts.

The kids got me gardening gloves, magazines, and some garden art, as well as an indoor herb garden. We got Jamie some items for her house, like a stainless steel cannister set and electric skillet, as well as gift cards, costumer jewelry and comfy sweats, for homework nights. The BIG gift had been an iPod Touch, which we gave to her on Wednesday for her 22nd birthday. She was thrilled and seems quite happy with all the apps and subsequent iTunes cards.

Traditionally, Em is harder to shop for; what she wants one day may not be what she wants the following week! But the last year have brought so many changes and this year I think she'll use everything. We focused on fashion & beauty, like the flat iron she's wanted for awhile. Knee high boots with faux fur at the top, a winter hat knitted to look like a cat (ears and whiskers included) and a fuzzy green robe for cold mornings.

Bill and I found it easy to shop for one another this year! He'd recently purchased his first Fender guitar, and I was able to get him a beautiful leather strap and mini-amp, for practicing around the house. He got me a new little Canon! So I'll be able to start posting pics again, yay! He always gets me a biography, and this year it's John Lennon THE LIFE by Philip Norman. I started it last night and it looks like it'll give me some R & R on my time off over the next few days!

Overall, the entire season went well and now that I've had a day of rest I'm feeling much better. Today we're cleaning the kitchen and figuring out what to do with the huge amount of leftover chicken we have in the fridge! We cooked the last of the Hutterite chickens last night (those chickens average 9lbs each!) but weren't hungry enough to have more than a little plate.

Happy Boxing Day!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

old



We haven't decorated the exterior of our house. Last year we didn't because we didn't want to spend the money, this year we were just too tired.

Aging just kills me.

It always makes me chuckle when I think back to the day I turned 30 (almost sixteen years ago now.) My friend Crystal and I were sitting in a club, waiting for the rest of the group to show up. I was wearing a black blazer with corset lacing up the side, a knee length pencil skirt and a pair of knee high, leather laced up boots. I had a cigarette in one hand and a double rye & coke in the other.

"Wow!" said Crystal. "I can't believe you're 30!"

"That's because you're twenty-one," I said with a smirk. "At least I am young at heart."

"That's true," she agreed. "You'll have to come out for MY thirieth. You'll be forty by then!"

I took a long sip of the whiskey. "Where do they go, do you think?"

"Who?"

"The forty year olds - to party. Why isn't there clubs for people over forty?"

"I dunno! Maybe they don't like to party."

I know the answer to this one now that I'm forty-five. We don't have time, and if we did, we'd be having a nap.

Happy Tuesday!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

jamie grows up, em isn't far behind


Emily and friend, Oct 2010


Merry Christmas!

The countdown is on now that there's only a few days left until Jamie's birthday. She'll be twenty-two!! For those of you from journalspace, you may remember that she was sixteen when I first started blogging. Now, she's living on her own in a rental house over by the college; she's working part time at an accessories store and taking several classes, which should be finished by now. She recenty got word that her student loan was approved and that will really make a huge difference! Last semester she and I paid for all her classes with cash so she had to be careful how much she was spending and when her classes were taking place so that they wouldn't interfere with work. Now, she'll be scheduling her work around her classes.

Bill and I are particularly proud of the way that Jamie bounces back from problems in her life, without the use of drugs, alcohol or sex. Not all of her friends and colleagues can say that, unfortunately. Even Bill and I can't say that!

Last winter, directly after the holidays, she broke up with her BF of a year because he just didn't care enough. She wanted someone who wanted to see her every day; wanted to come over for dinner or to just to hang out. She wanted a man who didn't have mommy issues and who wanted to help lift the burdens of every day life and he wasn't it. In the past I may have worried that she'd have low self-esteem and hook up with an abusive guy but I shouldn't have. She won't lower herself for anyone and I love that.

Bill and I are doing well at work, but we have a new area manager and he's been a challenge. He's some kind of wonderboy sent to us from Dubai (through our head offices in Paris) and appointed by the President of the company himself. The first day I met him he questioned my company vehicle (my status does not indicate the need for a vehicle as nice as this) and warned me that the January 15th end date of my contract was "looming."

"Looming?"

"Yes," he replied in a posh, french-and-something-else-accent. "You will have to prove yourself to me."

Yikes!!

Still, things have been improving and I hope that Wonderboy offers me a permanent contract in January. If he doesn't, both Bill and I will be looking for work elsewhere.

Speaking of work, Em is doing an eight hour shift around the house today. On Friday I gave her $80 to do some Christmas shopping and she lost it at the mall (this is the third time out of five Christmasses she's been here) and she's working from 11-7 so that she understands what an eight hour shift is like. She'll get a half hour break at 3 pm, but otherwise she's working right through as though she was actually at a real job. Obviously, we feel she doesn't appreciate what a full work day is like and we want her to experience that. After the first hour, she started watching the clock, lol.

Happy Sunday!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

the raven and the crow


one of several tattooes that Bill is looking at


Throughout that long fall season and once again through the winter, the widow suffered withdrawal of her dead husband. She suffered even though she'd taken up with someone new (as an afterthought, she wondered if he might be too young, but in the end thought him to be mentally ill and couldn't deal with another psychotic) and so let him go. Not that that was easy, since he seemed to be hanging on with all his might; he may not have wanted her for anything more than security and a free ride to work but that was quite a lot in his eyes!

After the dust settled, the widow set about doing two things in tandem; finding out who she really was, as she'd been adopted, and finding another partner (a better partner) so that she'd feel complete(even though everyone told her that was silly, she could be complete on her own.)

Discovering herself was easy, as every day that passed taught her that she was much stronger than originally surmised. She found that each day as she got up and got dressed and went about her business, she was learning. First, that the world in general viewed her as someone different than she was before. Somehow less than before. Also, she learned that a huge percentage of her socio-economic group did not know how to deal with the illness or death, and for that she was somewhat ostrasized.

This gave the widow an opportunity to look a little closer in the mirror, and during the next few months she discovered that her anscestors were from Haida Gwaii, and she was born from a very long, very old branch of the aboriginal peoples of Northern British Columbia, the Tshimshian. More research seemed to say she was from the Raven Clan, and she was not surprised to learn that the women were often shamans and soul doctors.

During this time, the widow continued to suffer the seperation from her (now) long dead husband. She had received a few visits from him during the first year, once at ten months and then again two months later (to proclaim his lasting love and to gift her with the northern lights, Aurora Borealis) but nothing since. Yet she continued to feel a strong connection, a presence, a yearning, and one day when she could stand it no more she cried out. "Please!" she begged of him, tears dampening her cheeks. "Please, let me go; I don't have the strength... Please, if you love me, let me go." She cried until she was dry, and continued on home.

Weeks passed and turned into months and the widow felt a subtle shifting in her day to day life and her ability to sleep at night. She still felt her dead husband from time to time but it was almost peripheral and nothing solid. She noticed that the love she carried for him was changing into something softer, more maternal.

Spring came and with the melting of the snow came renewed hope. The widow, who had never considered herself different, began to embrace the idea that different might be good.

And the following month, she met the man whose grandmother considered herself a healer in life and a crow in death. A medicine man in his own right, he had eyes that changed from gray to green and a way with touch that healed animals and calmed the emotions of the people he loved.

Each had followed a parallel path that led to the other, and to this day they travel along together; the raven and the crow on a journey with no destination in mind.

Monday, December 6, 2010

monday



I'm not sure where I found the painting, so I apologize in advance for not knowing the artist. It's so pretty, I must have used it as a wallpaper at one time or another.

Anyway, things have been going very well these last few days. I got hooked on a Showtime show called The United States of Tara. I watched both seasons online and can't wait until the show returns in 2011. I love the quirky, intense characters and unusal storylines.

My parents gifted us with a 1/4 of beef!
For those who may not know, that is 250 lbs of ground beef, roasts, ribs, steaks (including the tenderloin) and stew meat. It almost completely filled our 7 cubic foot freezer. What an awesome gift, I just couldn't thank them enough.

Rogue is adapting well. She's eight weeks old but still only two pounds! She's been treated for all the fleas and other nasty disorders (including an eye problem and intestinal problem) and totally accepts us as her clan, poor kitty.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

time for another camera


For the last several months I've been in denial about my digital camera. It cost me almost four hundred dollars six years ago, and because of that I have always placed such major value on it.

When the shutter started sticking, it didn't matter; I just pried it apart with my fingertip. Last fall when we had to remove the program that uploads the photos, I remember thinking that I could find the driver online.

Last week when we got the new kitten, Rogue, I tried taking a few photos but to no avail. Not only does the button stick, but the computer won't recognize the device to upload the photos.

I believe it's time to get something new. I still can't afford to get the type of camera I'd like, but a pocket digital will satisfy my need to post pics on blogspot and facebook.

Have a nice Sunday!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

embrace change!


I hate change.

I struggled with it for years until my late husband died, then I had no choice whatsoever - to me, it was either get used to the change; in fact embrace the change, or lay down and die as well.

Sounds harsh, but that was the truth. Death hovered near my door for nearly eighteen months, with a tiny little flicker of hope burning away in the back of my mind. I had to face all the issues I couldn't (or wouldn't) face before - my co-dependency, my complacency, my selfishness. My home and my work area reflected how I felt for all those years. If I took something out, I left it out. If I opened a door, I left it open. If something fell on the floor, it stayed there.

As time passed after Dale's death, I felt that change was something I needed to embrace. I left my job and changed industries altogether; insurance was something that interested me because of the service and maintenance aspect. I loved my office and my co-workers, loved the suits and the snappy SUV, and I just adored the shoes!!

Alas, I couldn't sustain the required continuous prospecting. BUT, I learned through my experience with insurance that when it comes to mountains of paperwork, organization is key.

My working life is much easier now. It's not that I don't have moments from the past (just yesterday I misplaced a file) but for the most part I have accepted this new order of things. My house, my car and my office space reflect this.

My office partner has yet to see the light. I spent three hours cleaning her space for the arrival of the new manager yesterday, and within the same amount of time it was all back to piles of paper and trails of equipment.

In the afternoon, she told someone that it will be difficult changing twenty-five years of bad habits, and with that attitude, she's right. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

admitting defeat


Now that our family cat, Tokyo, has been gone for over seven weeks, we're finally admitting that something may have happened to her. We're afraid that she went into the hay field to the east of us and that means eagles and coyotes would have had a chance to get her.

If that happened, I hope and pray it was fast. I miss her.

On Sunday, we brought back a little grey tabby kitten from the farm. She's about five or six weeks old and very cute! After having her in the house for a few hours, we've decided to call her Rogue. She might be little, but she's tough!

Pics to follow. Now it's time for me to get back to work!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

sunday sunday


random flower pic, I collect them for ideas next spring!


I'm feeling a little frustrated with my newest client, Mrs. Bodwell.

I first saw her on Thursday, and spent well over ninety minutes showing her how to use the concentrator, the cylinders, and the regulator. The next morning, the respiratory therapist showed her everything again, and on Saturday morning I went over and showed her again.

It's very important to me that these clients feel comfortable using everything, but I am picking up a different vibe from this lady! At least half a dozen times during each demonstration, she would start to say how upset she was that she had to use oxygen therapy, that she refused to wear the cannula or carry the little O2 cylinder down to the games room, that she called her Dr (who is very important and flies back and forth from New York) and he said she didn't have to wear it to dinner; I would reiterate that she can only do what she's going to do but it was still very important to learn how to take care of herself and her lung health. If she eventually decided to use oxygen therapy outside her room, she'd want to know how to use the regulator.

Last night I got another call from her.

"Kathy? I'm in big trouble!"

"What's happening, Mrs. Bodwell?"

"I can't get the oxygen to shut off. I wore it to play cards, and now that I'm home it won't shut off. I am just so confused by all this! Can you come by and show me again?"

"Absolutely, Mrs. Bodwell. However, I think you could use some family support with this and would like to show one of your daughters. I may not always be able to come over and it'll be important that they know."

"I'm not sure when they're available..."

"I'm very open to whatever time they're available, as long as I'm available."

"I tried turning it clockwise like you said..."

To be honest, I have a suspicion that she's building up a case against using it, but I have to keep persuing the family training. Once you've done the individual training three times and they're not retaining it you've got to move on because there are hundreds of clients to take care of and it becomes the family's responsibility.

In this case, she's very lucid; she's active, she has friends inside the nursing home, she sews and plays cards and knows exactly what she wants (she had her daughter picking up a flat screened, HD TV while I was there) so I know that it comes down to

A) a mental block (or)
B) manipulating someone - the docs, the family, or me.

I remember how upset my mum was the year the docs told her she'd be on blood pressure medication, possibly for the rest of her life. I wondered if we'd have trouble keeping her compliant! In the end, she knew the meds were going to help her and after a few weeks, it was rarely mentioned again.

I have an appointment with Mrs. Bodwell and her daughter on Monday, and I hope it works the same way.

Speaking of Mum, it's her 82nd birthday today! We're headed out to see her in an hour or so.

Have a nice Sunday!

Monday, November 15, 2010

okay, that's a start.


Well, at a little before 4:30 today, my co-worker, Marianne, had our boss on speakerphone and came right out and asked whether I would still have a job tomorrow.

"Oh yes! Please have her show up tomorrow! I've been meaning to let you know that I put in a request to extend her contract; I can't do much else because there is a new area manager and he'll have to make a call on permanent full time."

Okay then ... I'm just so happy to continue getting these paycheques. I got a pink slip in my water bill last week (that is our city's way of saying last chance before disconnection) and I was able to pay it today. Yay!

I wish I didn't have to work so many hours, but there isn't much I can do, for now. When I get the chance, I'd like to start looking into the competition. I heard from a respiratory therapist today who might be interested in hiring me to help him start a company from the ground up and that would be exciting! A therapist from my company passed on my phone number in case this company wasn't going to keep me on. The offer wouldn't be on the table until 2011, but the networking has started already and I'm a huge believer in networking.

Jamie's still doing great at her college classes but she's mad at me right now and I haven't spoken to her since Saturday night. To be honest, I know why she's mad but there are some things I can do and some things I can't do and I can't sweat the little things. In this case, she thinks we had a "fight" but we didn't - she hung up on me and I'm over it. Hopefully she calls me back tomorrow because today was payday and I usually get her coffee money, books or cash for some of her classes and this tantrum is putting the kibosh on that, lol.

Em's on restriction because she was less than forthcoming about the number of missing assignments she has to date (four as of parent-teacher interviews) and we also discovered that Em has been disrupting math & science classes by talking and has been moved a few times already. The next step is to move her to a table alone, we're hoping she'll be able to control herself and show more respect for her teacher and her classmates before that happens. Seems like she's already improving, thank goodness.

I'm off to clean off my desk before leaving the office for the day. Have a nice evening!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

commitment


The last few weeks have been so busy that I haven't had an opportunity to blog or to read blogs. I've thought about everyone though; particularly since the JS crowd has been posting like crazy on Facebook!

I usually get a chance to have coffee and blog on Saturday mornings, but last week our boss in Edmonton wanted us to work Saturday so that we could get a head start on inventory. Bill, Marianne and I showed up around 10:30 and stayed 'til just about 5:00, counting C-Pap machines and oxygen therapy equipment. To be honest, it's been a nightmare.

The woman that ran the office prior to our arrival often lent out machines without documentation, she also cut open bags to take clips or headgear from sets. Also, respiratory therapists come in and take supplies without filling out the proper forms. I have to say, my resentment has truly built up for this company this past two weeks! My temporary contract runs out on Monday and I still have no idea whether they'll be offering me a permanent position or not.

When I brought it up last week, the manager from Edmonton looked up and said, "Oh. Maybe something part time? Would you do that?" I agreed, but for the record, I average over fifty hours per week.

If it comes down to the company not wanting to offer me benefits, so be it. Bill has benefits, I don't need them; but I do need to know that I am valued as an employee. I love my job most days, and I really enjoy taking care of my customers. If I have to, I'll start applying to the competition.

Today I'd like to go see my mom, who's turning 82 next weekend. I got her a very pretty teal coloured cardigan and tank and since you never know when you'll be called out, I'd better take it to her now in case next week doesn't work out.

Have a nice weekend!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Halloween weekend



In past years, our house has been covered with Halloween decorations. Pumpkins, on the verge of rotting, sat on the front steps; gravestones and cemetary signs covered the front lawn. Inside, the living room looked like backstage at a community theatre. Costumes and weapons covered the coffee table, end table and chaise.

This year with Jamie gone, the house is eerily quiet. Em is having a sleepover a few houses down, and it looks like she took her giant pumpkin with her. That thing weighed at least 25 lbs, lol.

Yesterday she went to school in her Mad Hatter Girl costume and it was a hit! At first she wanted to buy a costume but I talked her into getting a hat and building a costume around that and a Victorian jacket we cut down. After moving the buttons and slitting it down the back, I used a long black shoelace to put corset lacing in. She wore a blue satin bubble skirt, multi-coloured leggings and boots, and the other kids loved it.

We don't have any decorations up, but we do have a snow globe that has a skeleton couple dancing to Ding Dong the Witch is Dead and two crows that look down on you from the top of the desk in the kitchen. That's the extent of Halloween for us, this year, along with handing out candy.

Have a safe and happy weekend!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

there's a chilly mist today


painting by Mark Bryce


I'm a little disappointed that it's cold today, although it might not stop me completely from trying to place a bunch of rocks that we got yesterday.

Jamie, Em and I drove out to the farm to harvest rocks for the backyard, and it was a great day for it. We picked up one little boulder (40lbs+) and two dozen medium size pink rocks that will form the foundation of the beds that surround the stairs that come up from the basement. I've already transplanted some of shady plants from the front yard back there, but now I can replace the old boards with stone.

While we were there we visited with Mum & Jim, and I got to talk gardening with Mum for awhile. I can't wait until the Spring, because I'm going to fill their front yard with annuals!

Jim was a little grumpy but he's got another hip replacement coming up so he can be grumpy if he wants to be. Still, he gave me a box of potatoes from his garden, which is a real treat for us these days! I don't know why I didn't always appreciate the difference between fresh veggies from a garden and from a grocery store, but I'm loving the onions and garlic from Bill's sister Cathy.

I'm off to make some stew. Have a nice Sunday.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

becoming an advocate


photo from Gratitude Rocks.com


I mentioned Mr. Schultz in my last post. He's about ready to break my heart! In between phone calls and enquiries I am getting a lot of lectures from co-workers.

It started when I got the pick up notice from dispatch. Mr Schultz is actually a C-Pap client but because he is 85 and severely claustrophobic, he was unable to be fitted for the mask and when he started freaking for the second time on the second try, the Specialist ripped the mask off and said "You know what? This isn't going to work. Maybe you should pay for the Oxygen." Keep in mind that this all happened within six months of his wife's untimely death.

So instead of having a C-Pap machine to treat his apnea, he was being billed for an oxygen concentrator that would open his airways a bit at night and because he had not applied for any widow's benefits, nor updated his new address with the Senior's Program, he wasn't getting subsidies and couldn't pay for anything more than food & rent. After his bill went $600 Past Due, I was sent to take the concentrator away.

I did have to take it, but I also stayed long enough to contact Home Care. They'll get him some of the things he needs (like a wedge pillow and a shower chair) and they'll help him with payment plans in case he needs to buy something. I also called the Senior's Program and printed off the app for CPP Widow/ers Pension so that he'll be able to pay the overdue amount and (hopefully) get the C-Pap.

Bill cautioned me not to do "too much" or bill my time doing all this, but I believe in the end, he will qualify and we'll be able to make him a client in good standing.

Twice during our meeting, Mr Shultz cried when recounting how his wife used to take care of him. I looked him in the eye and told him, "Mr Schultz, I believe that you've had one of the roughest years of your life, but you are not alone. I will help you get the ball rolling with the paperwork, and Marianne will help you get the C-Pap. Until I can find you another, I will be your Advocate."

He promised to be more open-minded about talking to machines (Mr Schultz hung up the moment an electronic voice came on the phone, out of principal. But that principal was driving him out of his home and into the poorhouse) and he promised he'd be open-minded about the masks we'll have to try on his apnea.

The next day, I called Billing and confronted the woman that was pushing me to go out and get the concentrator. I explained a little before she commented that I was "new and idealistic" but I didn't agree. "I may be new to the company, but I'm forty-five and have a lot of experience with people."

"Everyone has a story," she cautioned.

"Exactly! I have a story too, and in this case I think I can help him and I can get that invoice paid."

In the end, she softened. "I hope that when I'm 85 and have Alzheimer's, someone like you will decide to help me."

Me too. And if I'm not here and my family needs help, please let someone else step in to help them!

I'm off to see my mum today, and hopefully get some nice quartz rocks. Have a good weekend!

Friday, October 22, 2010

tgif



I'm in my office, waiting for Bill to come back so that we can go home.

In the end, it was a good week! I did my deliveries and pick ups, and although we lost several clients this week they were people I hadn't met and I found it easy to deal with their families.

I met one man yesterday, Mr. Schultz, who is 85 and living in a town half hour south of here. His wife of forty years died last January and ever since, he's been sitting back waiting for everything to fall apart around him. It hasn't taken long, given that his wife did everything for him; all the banking and paperwork, all the Dr's and dentists appointments, all the bills. Anyway, he just needs so much and his kids aren't helping, so my office is stepping in.

I contacted a seniors helpline today and got the ball rolling. Ah, Bill is here. Back later!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

tuesday afternoon


An old barn on my parents' farm. Pine Lake, Alberta


Each week I face new challenges and frustrations on the job; this week it's a couple from a farming community south of here. On Saturday I got a call from a rural hospital asking that I come in and set up Mr. Oakley so that he could go home, he had some kind of pulmonary problem and had gone to the ER Friday night. Nice couple in their 60's but very high strung and not likely to listen to anything you say! The two of them rambled on while I was trying to demonstrate how to use the equipment, interrupting me over & over again to ask, "how much is that?" A ninety minute job turned into two hours and twenty minutes, and when I would try to steer them back to the task at hand they chastised me.

To be honest, I don't know. Most of our clients are covered through a provincial program, and in their case they have 100% coverage. It doesn't stop them from worrying, and I don't blame them for the worry, but if they've been told over and over by several different people that they have full coverage, they shouldn't call me when I'm with another client to accuse me of "shafting" them. Seriously.

My working relationship with Bill continues to improve but there have been several setbacks, and as much as he'd like me to forget what was said, it's going to take a little time. Remember that line from When Harry Met Sally?

"You can't take it back. It's already out there!"

It's true, for the most part.

On another note, do you have teens? Em is thirteen and would like to start dating soon. My thoughts are that dating means "physical contact" and I don't want anyone touching her! How old were you when you started dating?

I was sixteen before I was allowed to date, but was able to trick my parents into letting me have "sleepovers." These were plans to attend parties & dances, to drink, and to scope out boys. I was NOT a virgin when I was finally allowed to date.

I'd appreciate your thoughts on it, and I must return to work now that's 1 pm. Have a good afternoon!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

over it


photographer unknown; came across it while gardening this summer.


In the last six years, Bill and I have created quite a little micro-climate of our own inside this house. He and I and the kids have used this house as a haven against the harshness of the outside world. When retail was kicking my ass (or Jamie's) we could come home, make a nice dinner, and sit around the table just basking in the glow of how safe it was here.

Maybe that's why it hurts so much when turmoil appears on the scene.

Oh man! Years and years ago when Dale was still chronically drinking and bringing home all that angst to me, I asked his therapist about it.

"You know, people don't believe me when I say that he did this; no one but me ever sees that side of him! Everyone else sees the charming, friendly, happy man who has it all together. I just don't get it."

"He trusts you. He loves you and he knows that you're the only one that really knows what he's like and you love him anyway. Classic Borderline behaviour, actually."

Let me just say thank God I don't go through that anymore. Bill is a supportive co-worker but he's never worked with a wife before either, so I'll not hold a grudge for long. This time.

To be honest, I'm never very sure if he gets it or if he's calling a truce to get me to shut up. I guess time will tell. Yesterday and today have been pretty normal and we're back to being laughing companions, the way it should be.

Have a good Sunday!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

coming down


photo courtesy of Ron Chavez


Things had calmed down somewhat from the night before, but by yesterday afternoon I continued to resent Bill for comparing me to Lacey. If a call came in for me to fix something on his paperwork, or if I thought I might have to do something that would normally fall into his area of responsibility, I would start to feel miserable immediately.

At four-thirty, I left the office thinking that I'd gas up and deliver a few cylinders to the dentist office and a guy out near Sylvan Lake, but after getting to the gas station I realized that I hadn't brought the delivery notices or an invoice book and couldn't do either because I was too distracted.

Now Bill gets kind of frustrated with me because of the 24 hour turnaround time it takes me to calm down; for him something can be over five minutes later and he can go on as if nothing was said. Unfortunately, when someone questions my ability to do something it takes me a bit longer to calm down. Yesterday and the evening before all I could do is inventory my successes, all the things that both myself and my new co-worker have accomplished, against what I haven't completed yet. I called him from the gas station, miserable.

"So you really feel like things were better before?!" I asked, trying not to cry.

"No Kate," he said, frustration spilling into his tone. "It was a mistake to go down that road last night, I shouldn't have done it and I didn't mean to do it. If we start it all over again today it'll all go to shit like it did last night."

"But why would you say it if you didn't mean it?"

"I was frustrated. I really appreciate everything you and Marianne are doing."

"You didn't mean it."

"No."

"Okay."

Bill went to pick up his nephew, so that they could take in a Rebel's game (local hockey) and I got Em and Jamie and took them out for chinese food and got them some clothes for school.

I hope that on Monday, I can get back some of the enthusiasm I had for the job before all this stuff went down. I like the job when I think I'm making a difference. Not just to Bill but to my clients. Oh, and the good part of it so far? My paycheque was actually bigger than his. That's awesome.

Friday, October 15, 2010

livid


The night I moved into my new house, 2004


Many of you know that I took a job at Bill's company as a respiratory technician; there hadn't been one for several years and the remaining staff were completely overwhelmed.

Lacey, the wife of the old manager, left the company when her husband got her a position at his new company, our competition.

After she left, we started seeing just how overwhelmed she was. Piles of files and invoices and requisitions lay all over the office, every surface was covered. Based on what I've seen, Lacey did nothing but sell C-Pap machines and service those customers.

She talked our boss into letting her hire a helper, based on the fact that she'd take over some of the home oxygen deliveries but that never happened. Apparently, she lied to get the help in the office with filing (fat lot of good that did) and sold Bill down the river.

I come along and six weeks later, have the deliveries done, the paperwork done, the filing, the Safety, the warehouse, the supplies, the troubleshooting and Bill is now down to very little overtime and can call on me when he needs something. Good, right?

Yesterday Bill was in a mood due to some computer error and even though I took care of it (and it's still being investigated) he decided to "be honest" with me. Apparently he'd been "spoiled" by Lacey because he could call her and she'd "make one call and it'd be alright" and he doesn't blame me because I am "inexperienced" and "need some more time to learn the ropes."

BIG, BIG, MISTAKE. I know he was just venting; but now I'm doubting that anything I do will make a lick of difference. Today I feel like quitting my job because apparently, I'm not doing enough, and to be honest, I can't do any more - working fifty hours a week is already too much.

The good news is, I don't have to see him tonight because he's taking his nephew to a hockey game and I'm taking Em & Jamie shopping. Hopefully this black mood will lift by then.

Monday, October 11, 2010

another day off


Random garden art. Love stuff like this!


Yesterday was such a lovely day!

Bill and I usually spend Sundays loading/unloading his 3 ton truck, sorting empty cylinders and decontaminating and transferring equipment to our biomed location in Calgary, but this week we did it on Saturday and boy did we get a lot done! Thank goodness too, because in the last few days we've had a lot of call outs to change concentrators and we were so behind we were having to clean & test on the go.

Having everything finished early meant that I could do some gardening while the turkey was in the oven, and I took full advantage of that. I moved a peony tree from the front yard to the back (I think it's going to need it's own micro-climate this winter, and since I moved it into a corner area, I believe it'll survive) and I edged some of the other beds I have in front with soft red brick. Although I don't always like the look of it when it's freshly installed, I know it'll look great next spring once the annuals are planted.

By five in the afternoon, I had much of the garden cleaning done and while Em and I drove off to collect Jamie from work, Bill mashed the potatoes and drained the veggies and took the turkey out of the oven.

Dinner was lovely! The bird was only ten pounds and went quickly, and after dinner we settled in the living room with coffee and cheesecake to watch "One Week", a Canadian independent film with Joshua Jackson. Loved it and highly recommend it!

Today is Holiday Monday, which means I get an extra day off (again, thank goodness! I put in 51 hours last week) and we're driving out to Eckville to see Bill's sister. Since she lost her MIL to cancer in January, she has quit work as a camp cook and stays home on the family farm to help look after her FIL; this has meant she could send for her fifteen year old son in Newfoundland and she's thrilled. She has not lived full time with her children for several years, because she had to leave the province to work. Now that she has Brent back, she's spoiling him rotten! Good thing he's such a nice boy.

Happy Monday!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!


It's Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada and I have a lot to be thankful for!
My parents are all alive and relatively happy, my oldest is in college and working and Bill and Em are doing well and their respective families are all okay.

Em is coping well with the suicide of her mom, which happened in March this year. Since she's turned 13 (in May) we've really stepped up our expectations in regard to how well she cares for her own possessions, how much she helps us around the house and how willing she is to be open about her friends and aquaintences and she's done pretty good. There have been a few times that we've had heated exchanges, but that is to be expected. Man, the teenage years are hard on everyone!!

Jamie is enjoying college but really needs to get out of retail and FAST. She's been trying to do both because she put off asking for a loan, but after her manager started gunning for her (writing her up for almost anything! She's had to refuse to sign a few complaints because they were completely made up) she's decided to resign and is looking for something more part time and hopefully, with a team that doesn't have an ego based manager. Jamie is a lot like me when I was younger, and having such a strong personality doesn't go over very well with managers like that, lol.

This past week was a lot better in terms of work, and I cried only three times, which is an improvement! One of the problems is that I am very sensitive to other people's pain; this is something I have always had and it got worse after Dale's passing. If someone yells at me or treats me badly I must chalk it up to stress or worry, but I am getting better at ignoring it. Remember Mr Avery from last week? He was in the hospital this past Wednesday and I didn't have to deliver any cylinders, but I was awfully worried knowing how he'd been feeling the week before. I can only hope that he recovers okay, or if he can't, that he goes quickly and without pain.

Okay, I'm off to read a few blogs. Happy Thanksgiving to all Canadians!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

long darn week


tokyo loved the moniter and the warm modem, which used to sit atop the old desk.


What a rough week.

On Wednesday while I was out in the van, Bill called to see if I had enough cylinders on board to deliver to a man on the south side. Since I knew one of my favourite ladies on the west side hadn't been feeling well and thus hadn't used her oxygen cylinders up, that left one delivery in that area.

I pulled over and called. In the last month, Mrs. Miller had hurt her foot and lay down more, Mr. Miller often forgot to put the empties out and always appreciated a call anyway. Two weeks prior, I had taken her a kit filled with soap and bath puffs from Jamie's store and as I was leaving, Mr. Miller shouted after me, "Make sure you say thanks to your daughter, too!"

The phone rang several times.

"Hi Mr. Miller! It's Kathy calling. How many cylinders will Mrs. Miller need this week?"

"She won't be needing any. She died an hour ago."

Heart sinking

Completely unexpected! His voice was filled with shock, confusion and despair and after saying how sorry I was and making some cursory plans to pick up equipment, I hung up and cried for the next few minutes. I can tell already that I am going to have to keep tissues in my work van! After sniffling for a moment I called Bill to let him know and he was heartbroken as well.

Thursday dawned with the excitement of my second full time paycheque, but after checking online I realized that I'd only been paid for one week, the mortgage had already come out and I was left with enough to pay for haircuts (myself, Jamie and Em cost about $135, tips included) and maybe a few groceries.

Later in the day I was called to Mr. Avery's senior's residence to replace his regulator (the mechanism that brings oxygen from the cylinder into the tubing) and was looking forward to seeing him again. I'd met him the week before, changed out his cylinders and found him to be very friendly. He reminded me of what Tim Robbins might be like, if he were 90 and very frail.

When I arrived at 3:30, he was with a palliative care community nurse who must have mistaken me for a respiratory therapist, because she started asking me about his sats and pulsox and charts and information she'd been promised but which never arrived in time for this appointment. It was meant to arrive through the Hospital Respiratory department, not our company, but I was able to get a house therapist on my cell and get all the numbers she needed. I could feel a lot of tension and confusion in the room and that made me feel as though I would take the brunt of it and I was right. Apparently a recent diagnosis had forced his consumption of oxygen up and he's received a call from WCB asking why he was doubling up on cylinders. (What bastards by the way! Mr Avery suffers from the effects of inhaling asbestos in his working days) He must have been flustered by the call, by the nurses visit, and by the way he was going through oxygen.

"I need a new nose piece!" he'd bark out. "And some tubing. No! Not that long. Pull your hair back! Don't drop it! What do you mean?! Did you do that or not?"

Throughout, I continued with "Yes, absolutely! No problem. Okay, Mr Avery." I gave him two large cylinders free of charge.

As I was saying good-bye, he apologised and I smiled and said I'd see him Wednesday, then went outside and cried.

It's emotionally exhausting some days, which is something I wish that Em would understand, but at thirteen you can't really expect it. That particular day was a bad day for her to start something with me at the mall, particulary after we've spent the last month buying, buying, buying and she was whiny and insistent that it wasn't yet enough. It doesn't take long for that sense of entitlement to kick in for teenagers and I'll always put the kibosh on that! Still, I hope one day that Em realizes she'll avoid a world of trouble if she just watches her tone when she's addressing adults.

Tokyo ran way three days ago and we don't know where she is yet.

Now it's Saturday and we've all made peace again, although we're all worried sick about kitty. Bill and Em are bedroom cleaning and I'm blogging, after having made eggs & toast for breakfast. I have some chicken soup on the stove and I'm going to try my hand at cooking this hard bread that Bill says is such a Newfoundland delicacy. Today is the eighth anniversary of Dale's death, which is hard to believe! Time truly marches on.

Have a wonderful weekend.

disclaimer: all names and locations are changed to protect privacy.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

clear communication is key



A rash of miscommunication of late is causing me to get frustrated! Here's an example.

phone rings.

Kate: Hello?

Iris;Resp. Therapist: Hello. I need assessments faxed to my office. Have you heard anything yet on Rebecca Smith?

Kate: Marianne saw her last night. Would you like to speak to her?

Iris: No. Is Cindy there? (our boss)

Cindy: I need for you to set up Rebecca Smith.

Iris: Kate said that Marianne set her up.

cindy: She did? I dunno why she'd say that.

*sigh*

Kate: I didn't say that. I said...

cindy: It doesn't matter.

*sigh* Yes, it does. This type of thing will hurt someone eventually. "Seeing" is not slang for a full oxygen set up. Goodness.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

september 26


painting by Stephen Magsig


Next weekend will mark the eighth anniversary of Dale's death. October 2, 2002.

It was at the beginning of last week that I thought, is it someones birthday today? What day is it anyway? and a few moments later I realized that it was the countdown time.

Sept. 14th was the day he announced he was ready to go; he lingered on at our little duplex over by the Michener Centre. I was caring for him there because I'd promised him he wouldn't have to die at the hospital. Those eight hospital stays had taken their toll and he would have no more of it. Honestly, he would have liked to go off on his own to die, on his own terms down to the letter (that was his personality disorder at work) but he acquiesced to me and eventually chose to pass in his own bed, which was a double size platform.

For the first few days we didn't make any changes, he was growing weak but could still be assisted to the en suite bathroom or to lay down on the couch down the hall in the living room. One such day I remember putting a Muddy Waters disc in the stereo. He lay still for a few seconds, with his eyes closed, before whispering, "You are a Goddess."

The following week in our bedroom, I'd had to take out most personal affects to make room for wash cloths, bed pads, foamy toothbrushes and a washing basin. Above the bed where a print had once hung there were bags of saline and morphine. The bedside table was gone and a large beige corduroy papasan chair was positioned so that the caregiver could read or nap while sitting with him.

It blows me away that it's been eight years since I started that first countdown - at this time, on this day eight years ago, my sister and I were in her truck taking Dale to see his general practitioner in Innisfail. I'd be told that he had a week or so left, and he did indeed pass on a week later.

Today I'm building a little compost bin in the back yard. I think it'll be a good day.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

lovely morning


It's supposed to be 18 deg C today but feels a lot cooler. Bill and I have been in the kitchen reading the news and playing on Face book since we got up at 10:30, but now that there's a fresh pot of coffee ready, I want to sit back and read blogs.

I know that I have cleaning to do later but I'll probably take advantage of this peacefulness as long as work will allow! The last few weekends have been spent responding to customer calls; a faulty humidifier on a concentrator, an initial oxygen set-up, a traveller low on cylinders.

Last night around eight-thirty I got a call to visit a woman nearby, she was living in a beautiful seniors facility. The entire building is reminiscent of Italy, with it's wide sweeping stone balconies and Italian tiles! Large displays of flowers and beautiful paintings line the gently curving hallway, and each resident has their name engraved on a large square, ceramic tile located to the left of the door.

I was surprised at how small the room was! It was painted in the same, soothing colours as the rest of the building, but resembled a small private hospital room. A tall, frail woman lay in the bed and a middle aged woman, her daughter, stood in the narrow space between the bed and the window. Apparently the cylinder was faulty and we were able to switch it out in no time. The younger woman remarked how her mum kept hovering near death and coming back, to the surprise of doctors and family members alike. We spent twenty minutes making sure they felt comfortable with everything before coming back home.

Today Bill has a trip to Edmonton, to retrieve his own delivery truck from the repair shop. This means that I take over the on-call service, so I'm making him wait until I finish reading a few blogs. It's nice to see that many of my old favourites are back to bloggong again.

Happy Saturday!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I made excellent tai chicken for dinner and now I am too tired to write for long.


Here's Bill and Em from two summers ago.

Bill is thirty pounds lighter (from working so many hours since Christmas) and doesn't have the glasses anymore, and Em is now 5'7".

We need another vacation so that I can update the pics!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Christmas Morning


Em's new Ideapad


That's what it felt like at 9:00 last night, when we gave Em her new Ideapad.

I've wanted to give her one since she came home from her Auntie's house asking if she could use my laptop (nope, sorry) and the best time to get it would be during the month of September when all the back-to-school sales are still going. Bill and I were paid on Wednesday, it took us three days to find the time. Finally, he decided to take Em with him to Edmonton, to drop off his work truck and I took Jamie with me to get the Ideapad and to buy Jamie's textbooks for her college classes.

I can't tell you how satisfying it was to see the look of relief on Jamie's face; her books total hundreds of dollars and she was so worried! Then several hours later, we called Em to the kitchen for a family meeting and presented the little 10" laptop. It was just awesome.

I know that money isn't everything but dang does it buy some personal and parental satisfaction! I think yesterday's date will go down as one of Em's Big Days in the years to come. Yay!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

stay back


photo by Stuart Krempin


Yesterday, Bill almost killed three teenaged boys.

Actually, he was driving down the highway in his International delivery truck and the boy that was driving the half ton behind him almost killed himself and his passengers.

All he did was get up close to the back of Bill's truck, looking for an opening to pass. However, Bill was also looking for an opportunity to pass the vehicle in front of him, and when he glanced into his side mirrors for the second time and didn't see anybody back there, he flipped on his indicator light and started to move into the passing lane.

That's when he saw the half ton truck, who'd started to pull out from behind Bill's truck at the exact same moment. The half ton with the kids was forced onto the shoulder and Bill hit the horn, shaking his fist out the window as he picked up speed and left the kids behind him, shaking at the side of the road.

"Oh my god," I exclaimed as he retold the story. "I would have been freaking out!"

"After they pulled out and I caught sight of them, their faces were all frozen in some kind of horrified scream. We have to make sure that we emphasize to the kids that they ALWAYS keep a safe distance behind big trucks."

I agree. Scary! Here's a good way to know if you're too close to a big truck; if you can't see his side mirrors from your position behind him, then HE can't see you.

Personally, I like to keep six to eight car lengths behind and if I don't have the power to change lanes and overtake him from back there, I need to calm down and wait for a few more minutes.

I tend to have a heavy foot, but carrying a supply of oxygen cylinders has helped me a lot to be patient on the road.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

objects of desire


I would like to have my side yard filled with these types of flowering shubs. Next spring baby!
Yanno, snow is forcasted for tomorrow and Saturday in my area. That's crazy!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

lost


Yesterday, I lost the 1/2 carat diamond out of my engagement ring from Dale.

I was pretty sad about it becaue the diamond meant a lot to Dale. It took him six months to pay it off, and once when I lost it in the clothing store I managed, he was so disappointed. Thank god it was found a month later and for Christmas he gave me a narrow gold band with channel set diamonds to hold the engagement ring in place.

I wore the diamond with mine and Dale's wedding band for a full year after his death, then not again until after Bill and I were married. I loved how well it set off the diamonds in the band that Bill gave me.

Yesterday afternoon I noticed that the diamond was gone, and my heart just sank.

Bill says he's excited to help me find a new one, and I'll leave the other one behind. Besides, it could be anywhere - I visited several nursing homes and a couple of private homes. It could be in someone's vacuum cleaner by now.

Monday, September 6, 2010

monday quiet


Jamie, July 2010


Last week when Jamie said, "Well I dunno how to tell you guys so I'll just spit it out."

In that second, Bill and I both thought 'don't be pregnant', as a knee-jerk reaction.

"I'm moving out."

*sigh of relief*

"Moving out!" I parroted, somehow not surprised. In the past few weeks I'd seen the odd comment on Jame's facebook page, then she started organizing her things. That alone was the biggest red flag of all, lol. Anyway, for the last year I have been waiting for that moment, yet it still felt a little shocking.

Jamie turned twenty-one last December and many of her friends have have been out of their parents' homes for years by that age, although some still require assistance from their parents.

I'm so happy that I had her at home a little bit longer.

She'd gone through Dale's nervous breakdown, alcoholism and death between the ages of eight and thirteen and lost at least two years of development in 2001 and 2002. In the aftermath of all that, we moved into an apartment on the east side (I always refer to those two years as our pergatory) where Jamie struggled through a myriad of challenges.

These last four years have been spent building a foundation for the kids. In the past both myself & Dale and Bill & Tina had been caught up in all the problems associated with mental illness and drug and alcohol abuse, and the kids paid a high price for that. Dale passed away in 2002; Tina passed away last March.

The kids have really bonded these past four years! That's the best thing about Jamie having stayed home a little longer. Plus, I got to know her as she grew and changed and in these last few years she's gained a graceful self-confidence.

Em stayed with her last night but forgot to take a change of clothes so we're running some items over after this, I think we'll also take an old buffet table and some of Dale's things. After that, Jamie is taking Em shopping for more school clothes. Yay for holiday Mondays :)

Saturday, September 4, 2010

a conversation about journalspace


Em came home from school yesterday, exclaiming "Oh my God! I was filling out forms today and had to give my social teacher your email."

I was sitting at the kitchen table with my laptop open, Jamie was making something to drink by the fridge, having come over to finish packing.

"When she looked at it, she said 'Becomingkate?' and I said 'yeah' and she said 'oh my God I used to follow her on journalspace!'"

I looked up over my reading glasses. "Journalspace?! What did you say?" I asked.

"Nothing! I just looked at her like this. Oookayyy."

"I didn't know there was anyone from here that followed me at JS," I said, surprised.

Jamie walked over. "Me either!! Small world, hey?"

Indeed! I have so many happy memories of journalspace. There were so many people whose lives I really cared about, and so many people that followed my posts from the time I'd first met Bill. Some of the very first I remember meeting was Silent Whisper, Wizardress, Tammy and Kittywoman.

Remember Smotlock? He was definitely one of a kind, love him or hate him.

I really enjoyed photography blogs, or blogs with the writer pouring out their hearts, or sharing their stories of every day life with family and friends. It's true that at the end of the day, I would much rather leave a nice, encouraging comment than a contrary one, but most of the time my comments were like a friendly wave as I weaved through link after link of friends posts.

Maybe now that I have weekends off, I can keep up with the awesome friends I have here and at various other blogsites.

Have a good weekend.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

the flowers, the job and passing another milestone



For the last couple of months we've been watching these strange, sedum looking plants pop up all over the front bed but until now, we haven't know what they are or where they came from. Turns out that it's Rosemoss, and I have yellow and white blooms. We don't know if they were planted or dropped from a planter on the porch, but they're hardy little things!

My new job has been pretty good so far. Neither of the women in the office has been very welcoming or helpful, but I've discovered that I'm senior to one and on par with the other; one is down to help from Edmonton and the other has resigned and her last day is on Monday. Anyway, I have had the Regional boss stop in and have secured $1,500 in stainless steel tables and cabinets and while I'm waiting for those I've gutted the warehouse that Bill works in and re-organized everything.

In between all that, I am delivering oxygen cylinders or concentrators and getting patients set up on the proper flow before the Respiratory Therapist arrives 24 hours later. I enjoy it so far and have been getting an hour or two every day in overtime. Yesterday I picked up a custom fitted company van with 35 km on it!

In other news, my oldest daughter Jamie is moving out. She's 21 now and attending college in the fall, this place is about a block from the college. It's a great opportunity with the rent being so low! I will miss her every single day but I know she needs to do this and it's time. I'm proud of her.

Today we're going to transplant my Mom's peony so I should finish up and read a few friends. Happy Saturday!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

good news


Random gardening photo; I'm obsessed with how people work around their yards.


I was hired for a full time position yesterday, with Bill's company. Yay!

The remuneration is about 80% higher than my previous position, especially when you consider the company car and company cell phone.

I start training in Edmonton on Monday, but do not expect to be overwhelmed - from what I understand, I'll be delivering oxygen to senior's and doing some administrative work in the office. Thank goodness!

I am SO happy to be moving on from the situation I was in.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

summer book report


Julie Metz was forty-three years old when her husband of twelve years dropped dead on the kitchen floor. After realizing that the thud she'd heard in another part of the house wasn't a package being delivered, nor was it something that one of the cats knocked off the counter, she raced up the stairs to the bedroom, calling out his name.

"Henry" (his name in the book) was not in the bedroom, so she raced back down the stairs to the kitchen. As she spotted him on the kitchen floor, flat on his back and spread-eagled, she had the overwhelming sensation that she and Henry were in an opening sequence for the show Six Feet Under, which was a favourite show of theirs that year.

"Perfection" is the best-selling true account of what happened after Henry, 44, died that day.

It details how Henry was cremated and the urn kept at home, surrounded by the people and the things he loved. How his little girl (six at the time of his death) dealt with the good and the bad that was her father, and how Julie turned to one of their mutual friends, Tomas, for support. Six months later and a few weeks after becoming sexually involved with him, Julie describes laying in bed with him one evening. An ambulance in the distance roars past; the sound takes Julie back to the afternoon of Henry's death.

"I still miss him so much, I can't bear it. How long is this going to go on?" she asks.

Tomas laid still, staring at the ceiling. "Do you miss everything?"

"No, but when I think that way I feel guilty."

"You shouldn't."

"What do you mean? Tomas please. Please tell me."

"There was a woman in California. I thought you knew. There was also some others, I don't know everything yet...we found a lot on Henry's computer."

The next morning, Julie gets up early and starts calling all of their mutual friends. One in particular, Emily, begins crying right away. "It was Cathy," she said, between sniffles. "They were having an affair, for two years at least. We found their emails on Henry's computer the morning after he died."

Cathy! Cathy lived next door with her husband, a petite athletic woman who'd befriended both Julie and Henry. Cathy's daughter was best friends with Julie's daughter Liza, at that moment Liza was in Cathy's house, waiting to picked up from a sleepover.

Julie's first thought:

I have to go pick up my child. Liza was in the home of the woman who had been involved in a long affair with my now dead husband, who had used her own daughter to gain daily entry to my home, who had insinuated herself into my life, eaten my food, preened by my swimming pool, pretended to be a friend. A women that had left a fucking fruit salad in my refrigerator.

The story continues as Julie discovers one lover after another; Henry's computer and his address book turn up five different lovers over a long period of time. Almost from the beginning of their marriage the red flags are there; Julie had decided to ignore them. After his death, she has no choice but to face it head on and eventually confronts each of his lovers. "What the hell were you thinking," she asks. "You had to have known he was married."

One of his lovers - one of the last, that Henry had tried to hire on as an assistant, actually becomes online friends with Julie and they keep in touch for years to come.

I really enjoyed this book. I read it first as a widow, and truly identified with Julie's feelings (part one is aptly titled "fog") and revelled in her uplifting and hopeful ending. I loved her brutal honesty about sexuality after widowhood, the mistakes she made with Liza when she started dating, and the peace she felt after becoming recoupled. In one of the last anecdotes of the book, Julie and her new BF take Liza to Mexico for a vacation, and there they meet up with a single man who has a daughter the same age.

"Do y'all live together then?" the little girl asked in her southern lilt.

"Yes," I replied cheerfully, "we're a funny little family, we none of us have the same last name."

The father nodded. "Whatever works," he said.

"Indeed."


"perfection; a memoir of betrayal and renewal" by julie metz
2009 Voice
Hyperion Books

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

the red queen


Over the weekend, Bill, Jamie and I attended a birthday party with the Tim Burton "Alice in Wonderland" theme. We had weeks to prepare but were busy with the kids and work and trying to stay out of the way of mosquitoes, which are OUT OF CONTROL this year due to all the rainfall.

Anyway, in the end Bill dressed up as Rabbit (replete with a bunny tail and a vest with an alarm clock attached) I dressed as the Red Queen, and Jamie went as an Ass Kisser (if you haven't seen the movie, an ass-kisser is a character that is afraid the Queen will chop off their heads; therefore they all wear prosthetics so that the Queen with the HUGE head won't have them killed. IE, someone will have normal body proportions but have a really big nose, or ears)

As it turned out, we were the only ones that dressed up out of about a dozen people, except for the birthday girl. This is now the second time we've shown up at a party in costume, only to find everyone couldn't be bothered.

It's a little disappointing. I wonder if the birthday girl was disappointed?

(Driving Jamie to work. Be back soon)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

not bad!

This Is My Life, Rated
Life:
6.4
Mind:
6.2
Body:
6.8
Spirit:
7
Friends/Family:
5.9
Love:
9.1
Finance:
5.2
Take the Rate My Life Quiz

Friday, July 2, 2010

ribbit


the frog in one of my front flower beds. Love the umbrella!


In 2005 and 2006, Bill and I stayed at a Bed & Breakfast place out in Kelowna, BC. The place had incredible landscaping all along a hill; it was lush with flowers, shrubs, and perennials, and right beside our room along the patio was a little pond, replete with frogs.

We loved those frogs and decided to add them when we designed ours. Well, it's taken a lot of trial and error, but the yard is coming along fine and so are the frogs. Pictured is my latest aquisition. He hangs out near the Asiatic Lilies, but gets extra shade from an umbrella.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

I was made for lovin' you baby


A few months ago, I started thinking about scooters.

The van we recently purchased is for Bill's use, it's almost twenty kilometers to his shop and no city buses run that way. On the other hand, I have a bus stop at the end of every corner, so it's so much easier for me to get around. The scooter would be for those times that we just want to run to the store, or get some place quickly. I like the idea that the kids can use it (Em can use the scooter after she turns 14 and gets her driver's learner permit) and that it doesn't have to be licensed and insured. I don't like the idea that it's more dangerous, but at the very least, the traffic here in my city tends to follow a certain pattern and we're already hyper-vigilant of vehicles when we're on foot.

Scooters like the one in the pic go for $1,000 and up. One day soon....

Friday, June 11, 2010

06.11.2010 update



I have missed blogging so much over these past six months!

I've missed you all as well. To be honest, my life had gotten so bad that I couldn't even write about it. If I was finding it depressing, it would have been even worse for you. Thankfully, things are starting to look up.

I purchased a vehicle the other day, a Dodge mini-van from the nineties. It might be an old beater, but there are several good things about it; we're the third owners with the first & second owners being older empty nesters (which means no one has used the back seats, ever) and we'll never have to make a monthly payment on it. Yay! The best news was being able to insure it.

I can't tell you how much anxiety we had around not being able to insure Bill's truck! Every trip to the gas station, the bank or the grocery store meant being overly vigilant for RCMP and County Mounty cruisers. I can probably recount at least a dozen occasions where we ended up directly behind one of them, and the fines and demerits would have made things much, much worse.

At any rate, we're through that now. On Monday we went down to the insurance office and paid for the first three months. We're thrilled.

My education really took a hit this past spring, and as a result I had to drop out of my Math 75 course last Wednesday. With everything going on I couldn't keep up with my homework and everything snowballed to the point that I would have failed my last exam. Since I'd rather have "withdrawn" instead of "fail" on my transcript, I signed off on it the day before the unit exam. Already I miss the friends that I made there, but I have been trying to make other plans.

I may be able to challenge the entrance into my business program by meeting with the Director of the Business and Finance department (I have to look for my certificate from the LLQP course I took to become a Financial Advisor) and hopefully he'll work with me. If not, I'm looking into some law courses.

I'm signing off now to catch up with everyone. Happy Friday!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

she's officially a teen


Today is Emily's thirteenth birthday!

I can hardly believe that she was as small as she was when I first met her. Now she is almost 5'6" with a love for tank tops and sneakers, skateboards, curling irons and flat irons and high end phones (Jamie turned her into a phone snob by giving Em her Blackberry when she got a new one) Things have definitely changed!

The first time I met Em, it was two weeks after her seventh birthday. She was a tiny little thing with chipmunk cheeks. She was just finishing up grade one and still carried around her favourite stuffed animals, (which she called stuffties) and she fell in love with Jamie immediately. I think she loved how punky/emo/unusual she was with the spiky, dyed hair and funky clothes.

Now, Em is the one experimenting with all the different looks and Jamie is settling into adulthood. It's been an interesting few years, to say the least.

Happy Birthday Em! We love you and wouldn't change a thing, even if we could.

PS: If you have a Wordpress blog (Wildstorm and Burstmode come to mind) please know I am reading your blogs and LOVE your recent pics. For some reason, my laptop won't allow me to add my info to comment, and I will have to do that next time I am on the desktop)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

sunday again, already?


photographer unknown


It's a beautiful Sunday today, 10 C°!
Bill is in the front yard fixing the truck (fuel pump) the kids are downstairs cleaning, and I'm trying to figure out what to make for supper on Tuesday night. Bill's sister and BIL are coming for supper and will see our house for the first time!

I love having people over for dinner. It's one of the only times our family will pull together to do a major clean (floors, entranceway, windows, bathrooms - it's a Spring Clean every time!)

Update on Em: She's doing very well and so is Bill; in fact, there is a sense of freedom in the house that we have never had before. Tina's death kind of set off some memories for me (which kind of surprised me) but I went for my yearly physical on Friday and the doc gave me some Xanax to handle the anxiety.

I'll probably pick it up on Monday, not sure if I'll try it at all during the school day but save it for afterward - the last thing I want is to fall asleep while I'm supposed be working on geometry.

I'm off to finish the meatballs. Happy Sunday!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

sunday meme


photographer unknown


Meme stolen from Irishcoda

1. What were you doing 10 years ago? I was managing a clothing store and Dale was still alive, Jamie was eleven. We spent a lot of time trying to avoid and/or deal with Dale's alcoholism, so the two of us ate supper at various restaurants while he slept it off.

2. Five snacks that you enjoy in a perfect, non weight-gaining world: Dill Pickle chips, Reece's Peanut Butter Cups, Oh Henry Bars, Triple Layer Chocolate Cake, fruit & yogurt

3. Five things you would do if you were a billionaire: Sell the house and buy an acreage, buy another Xterra, set up a retirement fund for Bill and I, trust funds for the kids and help the family.

4. Three of your habits: avoidance of unpleasant tasks, blogging, leaving half finished drinks around the house.

5. Five jobs that you've have had: waitress, bartender, renumerator, store manager, financial advisor.

6. Five places that you've lived: Sechelt BC, Elnora AB, Edmonton AB, Youbou BC, Red Earth Creek AB

7. Five things that you did yesterday: made coffee, hand washed some clothes, made the bed, bought meat for supper, took Em to the bookstore.

8. Five people you would want to get to know more about: None that come to mind.

9. Abortion: for or against it? I support a woman's right to choose.

10. Do you think the world would fail with a female Prime Minister? nope.

11. Do you believe in the death penalty? Yes

12. Do you wish marijuana would be legalized already? Perhaps a better word would be "decriminalized."

13. Are you for or against premarital sex? When the time is right it's fine.

14. Do you think same sex marriage should be legalized? I believe in equal rights and responsibilities for everyone.

15. Do you think it's wrong that so many Hispanics are illegally moving to the USA? I don't really have an opinion unless you're talking about Canada.

16. Should the alcohol age be lowered to eighteen? It IS 18 here, and I'm fine with that.

17. Should the war in Iraq be called off? I really feel for everyone involved, but it's not my place to say.

18. Assisted suicide is illegal: do you agree? Not sure if it's illegal here, but unless you've actually watched someone die a terrible death, you'd better not tell me I have no options to help.

19. Do you believe in spanking your children? I spanked Jamie twice when she was two and I was relieved that it worked and I didn't have to do it anymore.

20. Do you worry that others will judge you from reading some of your answers? They might, but I am not worried.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

oh, Madonna!


As much as I hate my own upper arms, I would never, ever want to have arms like this. Doesn't it make her look like some kind of alien? Who finds this attractive?