Monday, August 31, 2009

Mommy's Little Man


As I watched you play your second last softball game of the season tonight, I found myself drifting back 18 years in time to your first season of t-ball. As a fan of the Blue Jays, you were so excited when we asked you if you wanted to "play ball."

Your first year was an indoor parks and rec program. I'll never forget your very first day ... your hearing problem resulted in you not being able to pronounce some of your words properly. Unfortunately your name was one of your most difficult to pronounce. When your coach went around the circle asking everyone to introduce themselves, you told the group your name was Mandon and without hesitation your coach replied "nice to meet you Mandon." You were so upset. We spent the entire next week practicing and the following week you told everyone your name was Brandon and then so proudly turned to me and said "right, Mommy?"

You were so focused that year. You would smack that ball off the tee with everything you had in you ... and then knock everyone down as you ran to get "your ball." We tried so hard to get you to understand that you were supposed to run to first base after hitting the ball. As far as you were concerned, you hit the ball and so you had to run to pick up the ball. You were so much bigger then the rest of the kids and you were quite prepared to run over anyone who got in your way.

You were very proud; and I was even prouder.

You've come a long way since then, even reaching Nationals in 2004. I was as proud tonight watching you strike out in your Men's League, as I was at Nationals and all the way back to that first year of t-ball.

Tomorrow I will watch your final game of this season, and look forward to another trip down memory lane.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

#13: Describe the most serious illness or accident that you have had.

With the exception of age-related problems that have begun to creep up on me of late, I have been blessed with good health.

As a teenager I had a lot of stomach problems but the doctors could never find anything wrong. I would get incredible pains that, after vomiting, would stop as quickly as they started. It went on for years and after tests came back all negative, I started to believe it was anxiety-type or stress related. During my pregnancy with Bg the pains intensified and came on more frequently. I was told it was heartburn from the pregnancy. The pains would get so severe, I used to tell myself if I was this much of a wimp with just 'heartburn' how would I ever handle labour! I was terrified. After giving birth, one of the first thoughts that went through my mind was "Thank God! No more heartburn!" Then when Bg was 4 weeks old .... another attack. I was so upset. How could I still be having heartburn when I was no longer pregnant? As luck would have it, at Bg's 4 week check up I saw a resident who was working with my regular family doctor. As residents are required to gather background information, he started asking me about my pregnancy and delivery and the subject of my heartburn came up. As he then started to delve into the history of my stomach pains he decided I should be checked for gallstones. Sure enough, an ultrasound confirmed his suspicions and surgery followed. After the operation, the surgeon told me I had so much scarring and stones actually throughout my abdomen, so without a doubt he felt I had suffered for years with gallstones. At last, I had an answer to the pains I thought had been all in my head.

As I'm approaching middle age, I'm having problems with high blood pressure and high blood sugar. Both of which are associated with being overweight. I'm seeing as I start to lose weight and take better care of myself that I'm showing improvements in my overall health.

With continued hard work, dedication and a change in lifestyle I look forward to continued good health.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

How do I know if my cat is ...

So, my one year old indoor cat got out apparently a week or so ago. She has been in and out of heat for the last couple of months so we've had to be extra careful not to let her dart out the door. However, she obviously found an exit and we were unaware until she came meowing at the back door to be let back in.

Our concern, of course, is that she found an all too willing male while she was outdoors. Her nose was all scratched up on her return and I'd rather believe it's from the bushes she walked through as opposed to thinking they're mating wounds. For several days now she has been over the top affectionate with everyone; even Peach whom she normally ignores. He's convinced she's pregnant.

While at Wee's last night I was telling her my feline tale of woe and she suggested we search on google for the signs of a cat being pregnant. So we started to type ....

"how do I know if my cat is....."

You know how google automatically suggests recent/more popular searches that match your search? Well, the list included:
  • ... has fleas?
  • ... is constipated?
  • ... is happy?
  • ... is in labour?
Yes. Apparently a popular google search is "how do I know if my cat is trying to kill me?" It's been searched 184,000 times. 184,000! Wee and I could resist. We had to make it 184,000 and one. The signs, just in case you're wondering, that your cat is trying to kill you include:
  • KNEADING ON YOU. You may think this is a sign of affection, but it's actually your cat checking your internal organs for weakness.
  • EXCESSIVE SHOVELING OF THE KITTY LITTER. After using the litterbox, your cat needlessly kicks litter around, most of it ending up all over the room. This is practice for burying bodies.
  • STARING CONTEST. If you get caught in a staring contest with your cat, do not look away. Looking away will signal to your cat that you are weak and an attack will likely follow.
  • BRINGING YOU DEAD ANIMALS. This isn't a gift, it's a warning.
  • SLEEPING ON YOUR ELECTRONICS. Humans have superior technology. Your cat knows this and is attempting to disrupt all communications with the outside world.
Just in case your not sure after reading the above and more, they conveniently offer a two minute quiz entitled "Is your cat plotting to kill you?"

Well, after the chuckles we still had a task at hand and finally did research signs my cat may be pregnant. Among other things, being overly affectionate is indeed a sign. We will continue to monitor the situation and if Peach is right we may be welcoming a litter of kitties within the next 60 - 67 days with the average being 63 days.

Stay tuned.

Friday, August 28, 2009

August 28th today. Hard to believe we've reached the end of summer.

We are fast approaching fall which is one of my favourite seasons of the year. The smell and feel of fall is already in the air; the evenings and especially the morning. And this is also the time of year I start planning for Christmas; my favourite time of year.

I prefer to refer to Christmas as a season, rather than a holiday. It's about so much more than presents and Christmas morning. It's the spirit of the meaning. It's family, and spending time with friends and family that we don't see often enough throughout the year. It's the baking; the crafts. The lights. The excitement. The hustle and bustle. It's the music. I listen to Christmas music almost all year round. When the kids were little I would use them as my excuse, saying I needed to start listening to the carols early so the kids could learn the words to the songs so they could sing along at Christmas. They're older now, and wise to my tricks and excuses. They don't mind (anymore!) that their friends and our neighbours hear my Christmas music in April, or August.

This is also a time of new beginnings, with a new school year just around the corner. A time full of promise and excitement. New friends, new teachers; new schools for George and Gingo. Hopefully new inspirations; new interests. New achievements. They're excited and I'm excited for them. This year we will have 2 graduations - George from grade 12 and Pudge from grade 8.

Hard to believe my babies are growing up so fast.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Dear Comment Card Reader

We need more benches in the Ladies Department for weary husband's to rest while their energetic wives shop. And more benches closer to the change rooms too so they can be available to offer their advice.

Remember, the longer I can keep Peach there, the more I can spend!


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Meltdown Timeline - Part 1

July 4th -
Pudge: Mom, my phone's not working; the screen is black.
Mom: What?! It's only 3 months old. Fine, we'll take it in to be looked at.

July 5th -
Pudge: Are we taking it in today?
Me: ignored request.

July 6th -
Pudge: Are we taking it in today?
Me: ignored request.

July 7th -
Pudge: MOMMMM! Please can we take it today!
Mom: Yes. Go tell your dad.

Wireless Store Associate: Hi, can I help you?
Peach: My daughter's phone is not working. It's new; it won't turn on.
Wireless Store Associate: It's $50 to do the estimate. If the damage is covered by warranty you get the $50 back. If not, we'll apply the $50 fee against the cost of repair. It takes a week to ten days for the estimate. Here's a loaner phone in the meantime.
Hands Peach a dirty, used phone with fewer features then the one that's being sent in. Pudge is NOT happy. Peach tries to pay the fee with his debit card.
Wireless Store Associate: Oh, we don't take debit.
Peach: What? You have a machine right there.
Wireless Store Associate: Yeah, but that's for sales only. For repairs we only take cash.
Peach: Fine. I'll be right back.
goes to bank machine; withdraws $60.00 in twenty dollar bills. Goes back to store and hands Wireless Store Associate the $60.00
Wireless Store Associate: Oh, I'm sorry sir. We don't have change?
Peach: What? You only take cash payments for repairs, but you don't have change.
Wireless Store Associate: laughs.
Peach pays $60 for the $50 estimate and leaves the store.

Later at home -
Peach relays conversation with me.
Me: WHAAAT?! Fifty bucks for the estimate?! The phone only cost $25.
Peach: See, this is why I don't like doing these kinds of things. Next time, you go.

Week one passes. Pudge does not like her loaner phone. No camera feature. No music feature. I tell her to be happy she has one at all, and she goes away sulking.

Week two passes.

Gingo: Mom, my phone's not working. The screen is black.
Pudge: That's the same thing that happened to my phone!
Me: Well, I'm not sending yours in until I find out what's wrong with Pudge's. I'm not paying $50 ... no, make the $60 for an estimate on a $25 phone.
Peach flashes me a not-so-loving look. I smile.

Week three arrives. Pudge is warned if she bugs me about her phone one more time ....

Pudge: Mom, PLEEEAAASSSEEEE. It's been three weeks and I still don't have my phone. They said it would take one to two weeks. Can you call them? Please, I'll do anything.
Me: Yes, I'll call tomorrow. I didn't call.

Week four passes. Pudge constantly nags me about her phone. Gingo nags about not having any phone at all and tells Pudge she should be happy because at least she still has one to use.

Week five passes. Nagging now reaches new and bothersome level of harassment. Gingo and Pudge are continuously arguing over which one of them is worse off ... the one with the phone she doesn't like or the one with no cell at all. I wonder how did I ever survive my teenage years back in our day of no cell phones ....

Pudge: MOM! Please call about my phone.
Me: OMG. Fine! I'll call now.
Pudge: Thank you Mommy. I love you.
Gets repair ticket receipt out and grabs for the phone. Dials number only to get recording "the number you've reached is not in service."
Me: Well, perhaps this is why we haven't heard from the store; we'll stop by there tomorrow and see what's going on.

August 17th -
Peach and I take a trip to the store. They are still open.
Wireless Store Associate: Hello, can I help you?
Me: Yes, I brought a phone in for repair and it was sent out for an estimate. That was 6 weeks ago tomorrow and we haven't heard from anyone yet.
W.S.A: Wow. Let me check the back.
Me: waiting not so patiently.
W.S.A: Ummm. It's not back yet.
Me: Why not?
W.S.A: I don't know. I can't call anyone until tomorrow because it's after 5pm.
Me: Well, I've waiting this long, what's one more day. Can you please make sure you call tomorrow on my husband's cell?
W.S.A: No problem.
Me: Oh, and by the way ... I tried to phone the store but the number that's printed on your receipt is out service.
W.S.A. studies the repair ticket closely with a confused look as she tells us the phone is working just fine. Suddenly, she laughs and tells us: Look, that's why - the phone number on here is a typo!

I'm soooooo not impressed. I go home and call R*g**s.

Me: Hello, I'd like to make a complaint please about one of your stores...

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

My Mother Always Told Me ....

If you can't say something nice -

And that's the kind of day I've had. I'm tired; I'm cranky.

I'd say nothing at all if it wasn't for NaBloPoMo, so instead I'll keep it short. I'm stressed over George. I have a toothache. My feet are so swollen today I could barely fit them in my shoes. It may be from my blood pressure, but I'm choosing to tell myself it's from the heat and humidity. I was home from work today and didn't accomplish much around the house which is all the more depressing.

Oh well. Looking forward to a good night sleep and a better tomorrow.

Thanks for listening.

Monday, August 24, 2009

As Robert Munsch Would Say ....

George, my beautiful daughter.

I'm trying desperately to respect your right to make decisions and choose your friends and relationships. I really, truly am.

But I'm watching you make poor choices and allowing yourself to be taken advantage of. It breaks my heart to see you cry. There is a certain amount of heartache that all teenagers go through and are what I call "growing pains." It is inevitable. It is normal.

But these are not those growing pains.

When your boyfriend consciously and intentionally sets sets out to hurt you, that's emotional abuse. When he cuts you off and doesn't allow you to talk to anyone about your relationship with him and fights with you when you do, that's emotional abuse. When you fear his reaction to the point that you hold back telling him how you feel and what you think, that's emotional abuse.

When you find yourself apologizing to him because what you did or something you said "made" him do those things to you .... that's emotional abuse.

And that's when and why I have to step in.

I understand that you're about to turn 18. I so very much value that you trust me enough to confide in me and come to me when there's trouble; most teenagers don't go to their parents. The last thing I want you to do is make you feel like you can't trust me, or regret having come to me.

However, it is my right and it is my responsibility to protect you. And that's what I'm trying to do.

If you allow yourself to be treated this way now, how will you be treated when your 25? 40?

Please trust me, and listen to what I'm trying to say. I would never mislead you or do something to add to your pain and stress. But remember always remember the line from one of our favourite stories when you were a child:

"I'll like you forever,
I'll love you for always.
As long as I'm living,
My baby you'll be."

Sunday, August 23, 2009

A Day of Remembrance


We had a beautiful day today to mark the one year anniversary of your passing. We spent the day as you would have wanted ... everyone together; laughing; lunch and lots of treats!

No doubt you were there with us, and laughing at our 'comedy of errors' when we were trying to fill the vase with water. We could hear you laughing, asking "how many people does it take ..."

Know that we love you, and we miss you. Especially when we're all together.

Keep smiling down on us. We take great comfort knowing you're there.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

7 Stores and a Restaurant.

First a stop at the Supercentre for dishwasher tabs (with bonus jetdry!) at a whopping $6.50 off with coupon.

Second stop at Home Outfitters to check out the baking sheets, loaf pans and muffin tins - but they didn't have the kind we were looking for. Everything else too expensive, so we left after just a few minutes ... but not before stopping to discuss and ponder the Magic Bullet.

Third stop - a unscheduled stop - to Walmart to look for the baking sheets we couldn't find at stop 2. Success here; found everything but the mini muffin trays and 1/2 loaf pans.

Fourth stop at BulkBarn. Auntie E had been there earlier in the week to buy spices, but didn't label the bags so Nana needed to match up the numbers with the spices. Also picked up some golden raisins for the rice pudding, seasoned salt and more baking sheets.

Fifth stop at Kitchen Stuff Plus with a longer list: spice rack (2 - 1 for daily spices & 1 for baking spices), senior-friendly 'pop-top' canisters, pyrex bakeware (4 of various shapes/sizes)
and probably more, but I'm not sure at this point.

Lunch was next because the last scheduled stop was for groceries and Nana didn't want to leave food in the truck in the heat. We ate at Mama's which has become our "regular" spot of late. Nana had one egg scrambled with bacon, homefries and toast; Wee had a toasted western on brown with a side of onion rings and I had a chicken wrap with a side of fries. Good conversation and laughs over an enjoyable meal, and then it was on to what was supposed to be our last stop.

Sixth stop at A&P. Nana pulled out her list including milk, bread, dijon mustard, butter and jello powder. In addition picked up some gladware containers, sweet treats and icecream bars. Realized while looking at the list that she forgot to pick up some Immodium, a toilet brush and a birthday card. These were essentials and deemed another unscheduled stop necessary.

Seventh and final stop at Zellers. A quick trip in proved successful for 2 out of the remaining 3 items. The toilet brush, it was decided, could wait until our next shopping day in 2 weeks.

Back to the house to unload and wash all her new treasures. Over tea, more conversation and laughs. A quick lightbulb change, mirror wiped and toilet cleaned and we had successfully completed all of our scheduled tasks.

3 pairs of tired feet. 2 missed naps. 1 productive day.

Another fantastic visit with our grandmother.

Another day 2 sisters spent together laughing, teasing and enjoying eachother's company.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Mother / Son Time.

Ill keep it short and sweet tonight; I've been up late the last 3 nights on

Had a surprise visit tonight from my son and before I knew it we were on our way to his place for dinner and to hang out for the evening. Everyone else was out for the evening; peach, gingo and pudge were at baseball - lou is at her friends cottage for the week and george was at work.

Hanging out at bg's kept me from wasting more time online, and we got to spend some time together which we haven't done since he moved out in February.

Thanks kiddo! I enjoyed our visit. Love you.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

#9: Where did you live as a child?

I was born and raised in this city. I grew up downtown pretty well most of my childhood. We didn't move around much and most of my memories up until age 11 come from living in the apartment. It was a low rise; only 6 apartments in the L-shaped building, and situated on a corner lot. It was a small 2 bedroom unit, and Wee and I shared a room.

There was no yard to speak of. I remember the activity of choice was digging in the rock hard dirt out back. Gramma used to get mad at me a lot for losing all of her spoons out there. Wee and I weren't allowed to play anywhere but in the back yard, because Gramma was afraid we'd either get hit by a car or abducted (seriously!). I was quite content to play out back as long as my friends were with me, but they were allowed to venture around the building and when games like tag or hide and seek were being played I would lie and say I didn't want to play because I didn't want anyone to know I wasn't allowed out of the yard.

My favourite activity had to be building forts in the crawl spaces and cubbies in and around the building. We lived right across the street from a corner store and they had the biggest selection of penny candy ever!

When I turned 11 we moved to the outskirts of the city, and I've been here now for 30 years. That was an exciting time!

My own room!

Freedom! I had to take the bus to school and even though Gramma followed behind the bus in the car ... I was still on the bus by myself!

We moved to a small townhouse complex, complete with tennis court, swimming pool and playground. It was honestly the fanciest place I had ever seen. It was full of kids my age and I made friends quickly. My time was soon spent rollerblading, swimming, playing jumpsies and baseball. Just hanging out. I was the perfect age for the move and I took advantage of every opportunity I was presented with. Back then, there were still farms in the fields around the complex and one of my earliest memories about moving there was a huge barn fire one spring. The entire area now is of course of shopping plaza.

I've driven you all through the area many times over the years and shown you my house, my hangout, my friend's house etc. One day it will mean more to you then it did then or does even now.

One day, I'm sure you'll drive your kids around showing them where their Gramma grew up. Only then, when you're older and have kids of your own, will you appreciate my now-boring stories of my childhood.

And then you'll drive my grandchildren around to show them the area that YOU grew up in.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

9 Pounds of Love and Devotion.

Not since I was a child have I experienced the unconditional companionship, love and devotion that is the family dog.

We've only had Doodlebugz for just over 4 months now, and already I can't remember what it was like before her. We adopted our one year old Maltese Shih-tzu from a young woman who had placed an ad on Kijiji. 'JS' was clearly heartbroken when a promotion at work led to regular travel and therefore was not home to provide the love, care and attention that Doodlez so richly deserved.

She fit our family like a glove, is spoiled beyond words.

She's our own little "Lassie, come home" and has developed an internal clock with a silent alarm that lets her know when it's 3:30pm. Everyday at that time she can be found sitting proudly and not so patiently at the front door, awaiting everyone's return. She greets each one like they were the first to arrive, and waits there until everyone is home. On the nights the girls work, she won't come up to bed until everyone is home. We can eventually coax her upstairs to the bedroom, but she'll lie in the doorway until they're home. Once she knows her family is safe and together, she hop up on the bed and retire for the night.

We truly feel blessed to have her with us. We are thankful to 'JS' and often email her updates and pictures so she knows how much her baby is loved and cared for.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Tea with Donna

I learned today of the death of my late friend's father. No doubt he has been reunited in Heaven with his devoted daughter and loving wife - and together, over tea, they are watching over us all.

Rest in peace.

Our death is not an end if we can live on in our children and the younger generation. For they are us; our bodies are only wilted leaves on the tree of life.

~Albert Einstein

Monday, August 17, 2009

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em

I've never understood this MMORPG thingy.

Peach plays a lot, and I find I get quite pi$$ed at the amount of time he spends online. Especially when there's laundry, dishes, kids ... basically life going on.

I'm a realist (read here: "I'm the adult.") I don't have time for games; for fantasy stuff. I've always prided myself for living in the real world. Peach, on the other hand, is everything I'm not. (Read here: "he's the child.") We are complete and total opposites. It's one of the things that he thinks makes us 'perfect' for each other.

However, this weekend I decided to try and understand - for peach's sake. And for the sake of peace in the house and my own sanity. Clearly, even though I don't understand it, it is something my husband has an interest in. I want to share his interests as much as he shares mine. He's always encouraging and supportive of me and my hobbies/interests.

I guess if I want to continue to refer to myself as the adult, I need to behave and respond as such.

We'll see how it goes. Wish me luck.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

NaBloPoMo Themes Optional.

And it's a good thing.

Considering the August theme is Tomorrow and most of my posts are yester-year. Oh well. If you believe, as I do, that your future is created by what you do today, not tomorrow and where you are today depends largely on what you did with yesterday ... it's all good.

But I do want to make at least one theme-based post, so I will make this a 'my hope for tomorrow' post.

Tomorrow I hope to hear about a job at the hospital I applied for last week.

Tomorrow I hope my girls do their chores without a fight.

I hope tomorrow is not as hot as today.

Tomorrow I will continue to appreciate all the blessings I have in my life.

Tomorrow I will again say a prayer for all those I hold dear in my heart.

I hope to take advantage of the promise of tomorrow's opportunities.

Tomorrow I hope to have something worthwhile to blog about.

Happy today everyone. See you all tomorrow.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

#53: Tell about learning to drive a car.

I couldn't wait to turn 16 and get my 365! (I know, Lou - now it's called a G1)

Driving meant freedom. Driving meant independence. And as Grampa was always quick to remind me, driving meant responsibility.

Grampa taught me how to drive, and that worried Gramma tremendously. She was against me learning to drive; insisting 16 was "far too young." Gramma, I believe, was in her early 30's when she first started to drive and has always been a nervous driver. She's a nervous passenger as well. It was no surprise she was a nervous parent of a newly licensed teenage driver.

I studied that driver's handbook more then anything I'd ever studied in school to date, or since. When the day of my 16th birthday arrived, I was nervously excited (and slightly nauseous) all day with anticipation of the written test after school. Grampa was waiting proudly out front when I got out of school that day, and I still remember climbing in the passenger seat and looking at him beaming with excitement as he asked if I was ready.

When I passed the written test without a single error, I thought the hardest part was over. Grampa and I headed towards the long line to book my road test. It was November and the next available road test date was December 4th. I laughed. December 4th? Are you serious? You do know this is only November, right? Grampa looked at me confused, and asked what the problem was.

"I'll never be ready by December 4th!" I insisted.

"Yes you will," he said calmly and confidently.

"No way," I again insisted - this time with the angry defiance that teenager's tend to sometimes have.

The clerk stood patiently while Grampa and I bantered back and forth and then he informed us that the next available date after December 4th was February 4th. This time Grampa was able to convince me to book it, telling me that if worse came to worse and I didn't feel I was ready then he would bring me back to the exam centre to reschedule. That made me feel better and February 4th it was.

We walked out to car and Grampa proceeded to walk around to the passenger's side. I looked at him with one of those what the hell are you doing kind of looks, and he shot one right back at me. "You're driving," he said as he tossed me the keys to the family's Aries K-car station wagon.

And I drove everywhere and anywhere from that point on. If someone had to go somewhere - Grampa made sure I drove. If the car needed gas, oil, air in the tires - Grampa made sure I did it. Even getting me out of bed on a Saturday at some unreasonable hour to go gas up. If we needed milk, had shopping to do ... anything. And everyday we was waiting for me outside of school at 3:15, and he'd be offering all my friends rides home. All so I could get the driving experience I needed.

He taught me the responsibilities that accompanied the privilege of driving and I learned how to put gas in the car; check the oil, brake fluid, steering fluid; change the air filters and spark plugs; wash and vacuum the car. He even had me pull over one night and said "you're going to learn to change a tire." We spent hours and hours and hours practicing parking. There was no such thing as Sunday shopping back then, so the mall parking lots were a perfect place to practice and I spent most Sunday mornings doing just that. Grampa made sure I could pull in, back in, do 3 point turns and most importantly (in his words) learn to parallel park. I learned to drive on the highway and he made sure I understood the importance of merging on and off and lane changes. Even know at 40, there are so many times while driving that I still remember and hear his teachings and words of encouragement to me as if he was sitting in the passenger's seat beside me.

I learned to drive over the winter months and there was many an argument at our house with Gramma. She didn't want me to drive when the weather was sunny and the roads were clear so just imagine how she felt about her 16 year old daughter out on the roads in ice and snow. Grampa said "if you can drive in the winter, you can drive in anything." He was adamant that I had to learn to drive under all conditions that our wonderful seasons had to offer.

I'm not exactly sure who was more proud the day I passed my road test. He was right - I would have been ready in December ... and he still reminds me of that to this day. But I credit my success to Grampa. He made the time for me. He made my interests and goals his interests and goals. He stood up for me with my mom and tried (mostly in vain) to get her to understand that this was something that was important to me. He refused to let mom instill her fears in me. He made it fun. He believed in me, and never let me stop believing in myself.

I hope he enjoyed our time and accomplishment together as much as I did. I hope he knows how special the experience was to me.

Grampa has already taught bg how to drive, and my hope is that each of you girls will get to share that same experience with Grampa.

Friday, August 14, 2009

#73: Write about the best day you ever spent with your mom.

Wow. This one's a tough one.

Having never been close to Gramma growing up, we didn't spend a lot of time together. It's only been in the last few years as you guys have gotten older that Gramma and I have what could actually be called "a relationship."

I guess if I had to pick a day, it would be the first day I really started to understand her. The day I became a mother. When I became pregnant at 18, Gramma was, to say the least, upset. She became pregnant with me at a young age and of course had hoped I would learn from her mistakes. I, on the other hand, liked to challenge authority and prove it was "my life; my choice." However, as someone told me early in my pregnancy, a baby brings it's own love - and sure enough, by the time I was ready to give birth Gramma was excited at the arrival of the new baby.

Mid way through my pregnancy, bg's father and I had already parted and gone our separate ways. My best friend's mother had been very supportive to both me and Gramma during this time and had graciously accepted my request to be my labour coach. She went to the birthing classes with me and arrived at the hospital ready to do her job when the big moment arrived. Gramma didn't leave my side during the entire labour and when it came time to be taken to the delivery room, Marianne leaned down and gave me a hug. She told me she would absolutely follow through with what she had agreed to do 6 months prior .... but told me that my mom really wanted to be there with me. She asked me if that was ok, and to be honest at that particular moment I really didn't care. I was in too much pain to worry about who came into the delivery room and who waited outside.

I just wanted that baby out!

Gramma did come in with me, and we cried together after the birth of my first born.

For as much as I had been warned, my life really did change on March 14th, 1988. Slowly, and with a lot of resistance at times, I started to see Gramma differently from that day forward. Understand her a little more.

Respect her a lot more. Love her, for perhaps, the first time.

The best day ever spent with my mom.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Memory Jar Moments

Lou brought home a Journal Jar from Sunday School, some 8 or 9 years ago. Nothing fancy. Just a Mason jar with a plain white label and Journal Jar scribbled in crayon. Inside, skinny strips of white paper.

Not much to look at.

And for years, I didn't.

Then one day, I took the jar down from the top of the filing cabinet where it had been collecting dust. Opened it up and started reading the skinny strips of white paper. I'm a little slow (yes, just a little), so it took a few strips to realize what it was all about; this Journal Jar.

Well, I've renamed it; it's a Memory Jar. And from what I can tell, there are just over one hundred different questions. I started to answer the questions one day, in a binder, and wanted hubbz to do the same. I answer the question with my history, then he answers the same question with his.

Now, instead of the binder I'm going to randomly choose and answer a question here.

Between the two of us, our kids will have a taste of where they come from.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Lucille may have left you with a crop in the field, but she brought my Gramma back to me.

Even if just for one song.

I don't have many memories of my Gramma Rogers growing up. But the ones I do have are very vivid. I've always credited her for my love of country music. Classic country specifically. I have early memories of being in her kitchen, with the comforting warm smell of delicious in the air and the sweet sound of her singing Patsy, Kitty, Loretta, Hank et al.

I remember picnics in the park and breakfasts with Santa. Falling asleep on the living room couch watching tv at night. Being allowed to go to the corner store by myself, like a big girl. Travelling on the street car. Feeling special.

Gramma was never a big part of our childhood - there was tension and conflict between her and Mom. Mom has told me she's not even sure where my memories come from since we didn't spend much time with her.

The fact that we spent such apparently little time yet the memories are so vivid just speaks volumes of how special the time we did spend was to me.

As we grew up, the distance between Mom and Gramma and the stage that teenagers go through of it not being cool to hang out with your family led to spending even less time with Gramma over the years.

I'm not exactly sure when Gramma started to "get sick." Gradually robbed of her memories and her life, first by dementia then later Alzheimer's. For a long time I would hear of her difficulties but not see them first hand. I don't even know for sure when Mom and Gramma resolved their issues. Perhaps they didn't; perhaps Mom just worked through them on her own and learned to let go of years grudges as she dealt with watching her own mother deteriorate.

What I do know, is that Mom and Aunt Lynda were taking care of Gramma more and more and before I knew it my own children were spending Saturdays at Gramma Rogers' with them helping with shopping and household chores. I was proud that they had that opportunity. Not many children have the luxury of having a great-grandparent around. My children were blessed with several great-grandparents on both sides of the family and it was important to me that they knew how special that was. Many conversations with Mom brought up the question "do you really want the kids to see Gramma this way?"

Yes. Yes I did. I certainly wouldn't have chosen to inflict this struggle on Gramma, but this is who she was now. Her illness didn't make her any less 'Gramma Rogers'. It didn't remove her from the family. To keep my children from seeing her "this way" would have meant keep them from seeing "her." Life can unfairly take those we love far too soon, far too often. I didn't want take Gramma away any faster then she was already slipping away from us. I also didn't think I would be doing my kids a favour by "protecting" them from the sad realities of ageing and illness.

Mom has recently become Gramma's primary care giver and Gramma has made the transition into living at Mom's permanently now. I've enjoyed spending time with Gramma again, and as I watch her slip further away I'm saddened and guilt ridden that I let all those years pass by in the middle. I may not be able to change the past, but I have complete control over the present.

And I'm taking advantage of that.

Last weekend I got to spend a brief moment with the old Gramma; the one I remember so lovingly as a child. Mom, Wee, Gramma and I were sitting in the gazebo as we have so often done this summer. The three of us gabbing and gossiping while Gramma sits quietly. I had my ipod playing, which was different - usually it's Wee's music. As some of my classic country tunes started playing Gramma started first to tap her foot, then clap her hands. It was nice to see her enjoying the music and I enjoyed quietly watching her. As Kenny Rogers' Lucille came on Gramma sat forward a little bit in her chair .... and I almost fell off mine when she sang - word for word, in perfect tune - the chorus:

"you picked a fine time to leave me Lucille.
with 4 hungry children and a crop in the field.
I've had some bad times, lived through some sad times,
but this time your hurtin' won't heal.
you picked a fine time to leave me Lucille."

Most of the time Gramma doesn't know who we are. She'll think I'm Mom and my kids are my sister and I when we were little. That's if we're lucky and it's a time when she's familiar with us at all. She dips her kleenex in her eggs like it was toast and eats it. She puts the phone in the fridge. Tries to walk around the house naked in front of others. Thinks she's lived at Mom's for 30 years. Screams and thinks Mom is trying to hurt her when she's getting her pyjamas on. Doesn't remember being married. Tells Mom she's not her daughter; says she doesn't have any children. Garbles sentences when she tries to answer questions so she's stopped even trying.

Somehow, for some reason, that song brought her back to us.

Even if just for that brief chorus. The most beautiful chorus I've ever heard.

It brought tears to my eyes, and another moment with Gramma Rogers that I'll treasure forever.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Who vacuums in the nude, anyway?

My most embarrassing moment to date.

You'll know where this is going as soon as I begin, but I'll walk you through the horribly dreadfully embarrassing details step by step.

Sunday. August 9, 2009. A scorcher of a day outside, and without a/c in the house the temperatures inside were registering 29 degrees Celsius. And that was on the main floor; the third floor noticeably hotter.

After giving doodlebugz a bath and brushing her out in the yard, I decided to have a shower. A nice, cool, refreshing shower. Walking past the laundry room on my way through the house I undressed and sorted my clothes with the rest of the laundry to be done. Walking to the top of the basement stairs I could see the front door was open and hollered down to hubby to please come up and close the door - joking that I didn't think the neighbours were ready to see me in all my glory, wearing nothing but my crocs.

I guess I could blame this on my husband. Had he come up right away when I asked, I wouldn't have had the time to think of the vacuuming. The stairs and the third floor hallway were yet to be done and so I decided that I would vacuum my way up to the bathroom for my shower and that way I wouldn't have to get all sweaty again after the anticipated nice, cool, refreshing shower.

I didn't even hear the door. Holding the canister with one hand and using the hand tool with the other, I was bent right over and about half way up the stairs. Now, you have to understand the layout of my house to really understand the severity of the situation. When you walk in my front door, the stairs leading to the third floor are immediately to your left and you have a clear view right to the landing.

Anyways, I didn't hear the door. I did however, feel the slightest hint of cool-ish breeze gently kiss my behind. Excited about where this breezy relief had just come from, I stood and turned towards the front door.

Just in time to see my daughter and her now damaged-for-life boyfriend walk in the house.

Angrily, I screamed a pitch much higher than I thought possible as I curled - or should I say, tried to curl - into the smallest ball possible while using the hose of the vacuum as a shield. As George turned to shove her boyfriend out the door, he was repeatedly screaming "Oh God, I'm sorry ...."

No. I'm sorry George. I'm sorry Nyck.

Family dinners will just never be the same. In response to your question, "who vacuums in the nude anyways?" Obviously someone who thinks it's safe to do so in the comfort and safety of her own home.

Someone who now also has to decide if the boyfriend must marry the daughter, or never see her again.