Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Comings and Goings

Had to chauffeur Emil from his place to Everett's on Saturday after Everett got home from work.
And then back to town Sunday evening to take Emil home again.
Dad arrived from B.C. and has been here a couple times.
The first time, we had grilled cheese sandwiches and white wine.

After Dad. He gave me his laptop.
Then Doc showed up yesterday afternoon so we spent the day chitchatting at the kitchen table, and after supper Bev came out. She's in town helping her mom get moved to a seniors' residence.

Doc and Bev
Then my hairdresser is heading out on holidays so, unless I want to have very big hair by the time she gets home, I've gotta be in town in an hour for a cut.

Never a dull moment.

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Empathy for you both....still on the lookout for a couch my mom liked at LaZboy.

I can relate. I watched a re-run of Last Tango in Halifax last night and wondered what Mom would think of the show, since one of its characters was also a regular on Coronation Street back in the day when I used to watch it with her.

Time does get away from us. Journalling is a good thing for the most part. 
Thanks for your comment. Daughter is feeling somewhat better. Waiting to see her specialist. Think it is all stress related. 

Glad she's okay. 

Not quite ready to publish my own boring life journal I've kept. But I do publish another family member's daily journal of farm life through the 1930s to early seventies in "Nevardblog". Its been a good way to spread a little family history on the net. 

Boring lives aren't boring! Whaddaya mean?

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Looking Back to 2004

It's been 11 years since Mom passed and I haven't really been able to dip back into the old journals, either online or handwritten. They have the power to take me to a shitty place. But since posting that link yesterday I followed up with a bit of reading last night and this morning and have had a few good laughs ... mostly at Everett's expense. He was a funny little guy back then and he's a funny big guy now.

One good reason to keep journals is that one forgets the many amusing and/or sweet things said and done by one's children, otherwise. But once written down, the memories can be triggered. It's so worth it.

Cattle on our "hill."
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Magpies, for me, are always associated with silver; Ottawa has a couple of stores full of lovely silver jewellery, which in my dotage I have learned to avoid. 

Hm! That's an unexpected connection. Will we ever hear the story behind it?

I blogged all through my mom's ovarian cancer diagnosis, treatment and eventual death. It was over teo blogs and then I started my current blog because, well, I don't know why. Just too much sadness connected with it all. She died 4 years ago in September and I will never, ever get used to her not being her. I have just learned a different way of living. 

The last thing mothers want is for their children to be defeated by their passing. That doesn't take the ache away though, does it.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Drafts Folder

Wait! Have I forgotten to finish a letter to a longtime friend and correspondent? Is it languishing in the drafts folder? Let me see ... 

No, it's not there, I must have sent it. Good. 
There aren't as many drafts there as I thought, either. 

There's a Star Trek Christmas poem for the boys' dad.
There are several epitaph-type poems about pets that have died. I was collecting them to send to Karen after one of her beloved Yorkies chomped down on a sharp piece of cow hoof, which sliced into her upper palate and killed her. 

There is a link to the journal I kept online before this one. The draft's subject line is Blogging Through My Mother's Dying. The link goes to an entry written shortly after we got the news that Mom had terminal kidney cancer and maybe a year to live, at most. I'll never forget the shock of that. I remember falling to my knees a couple times after getting off the phone with Dad, and then just heading out to the field to be alone and bawl my eyes out. If you're new to this blog, you might be interested in that shitty little journey, which ended in tears but also gave us many enriching times together as a family: http://xoetc.antville.org/archive/2004/05/19/.

Today is 11 years since Mom passed away.  I miss her. It doesn't get less so. Time heals? I don't think so. And now that I've set her photograph next to my desk here at home, I think of her more often. Which is nice, but still hurts too. When they say this life is a vale of tears, they aren't kidding.

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We were quite pleased to see some husky robins chase away the bluejays who were tormenting the smaller birds like our mascots, the brave and bold chickadees. Robins are so cool; they love people or at least the worms we stir up from the ground and the water we provide. 

That's true: they do seem to love people! And we sure love them.
This year we've got a pair of merlins in our yard, which means the songbirds will probably be decimated. No one likes that, but the "experts" say the merlins won't be back every year.

Birdie has left a new comment on your post "Robins & Magpie": 
I have a friend who tells about being chased by crows for 2 blocks. The way he tells it is hilarious but it was actually not funny. Birds can be scary! 

When my husband and I have traveled throughout Canada we always enjoy the magpies. We don't have them here. 

I didn't know Nanaimo doesn't have magpies. I thought they were everywhere.
They are a regular around our yard, as they nest in our spruce trees. They are so common that I hardly glance twice at them, when really they are a very interesting bird. Smart and quirky. Also, the year-old birds stay with the parents and help raise the next brood; it's how they learn to be raise their own young. 

Magpies! Can't say I like those birds much. 

They are little buggers, that's for sure. Scott's always threatening to shoot them but he never does. I'm glad he doesn't because in winter, the only birds we see at our feeders are the magpies, chickadees, redpolls and woodpeckers. The magpies can't get into the feeders but they sure check out the snowy ground beneath them. I wonder what they find to live on during those cold months. 

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Robins & Magpie

Michael Crummy was being interviewed on CBC Radio by Shelagh Rogers and I was sitting in the driver's seat, listening, having just arrived home from taking Emil into town.

During the 15 minutes till the end of the show, I watched a robin perched on top of the chimney on the roof of the tractor shed about 50 feet from the car. Or maybe it was watching me. It was standing lookout, apparently, over the yard.

When a fat smartypants magpie landed near the truck parked near Little Green (the car), it hopped around between the two vehicles, quite unconcerned, until suddenly from the air two missiles dived at it. The three swooped like lightning across the windshield of the car. I nearly jumped out of my seat.

The robins must have a nest very near, and they are having no truck with no magpies.

Taken through the car window

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Maggie Turner on "Tractor & Me": 
My oh my, how tractors have changed since I was a girl! Of course, the farm where I grew up did not require a large tractor, it was only 25 acres. There were no cabs, and I remember riding on beside my Dad, standing up; it couldn't have been all that safe, but back then people didn't think much about those kinds of things. 

Hell, Maggie, they still don't think enough about those kinds of things. You still see children on tractors and even driving other machinery, no matter how many public warnings there have been against it. I guess everyone thinks accidents only happen to other people. In short, they don't think.

I have lived in Nanaimo my whole life. In fact, my family had lived here for 162 years. I also work in Home Support and see and know a LOT of people. No doubt there is a connection somewhere. :-) 

No doubt! 

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Tractor & Me

Heaven help me: while out walking, I recognized this tractor coming down the road toward me when it was a mile away. No one is more surprised than me.

What's the big deal, you say? It's that I don't know (or thought I didn't) one tractor from another, and it could have been any of the neighbours'.

Scott was on his way from land further north to cultivate in the quarter-section across the road from our place.

When I got home from my walk, I drove out to the field with a beer and promised to come back and pick him up at dark so he wouldn't have to walk to our yard. It was a cold evening, he'd be tired, and would need the tractor in the field the next day.

Like I said, it was cold. I waited inside the car.

How caring you all were. 

I hope so. I hope we did the right thing. You always kind of wonder. 

Maggie Turner on "Goodbye Jenna": 
Kate, just got to my visiting, so sorry to hear of Jenna's passing, it was hard on all of you. 

Thank you. She was 13 or 14 years old so we knew she wouldn't have a lot of time left. Would've liked to see her life end differently, that's all. But lives don't usually end perfectly, do they?

Wandering through your posts and this one grabbed my attention. I live in Nanaimo. :-) 

Oh, so that's where you are! I read some entries on your blog but didn't see where you're located. I have a beloved friend who lives in Nanaimo, too. I've added your blog to my list so will be visiting. Maybe we'll find out we have mutual acquaintances! 

Lorna on "Me & Emil": 
We have books here that were mine as a kid, and some that belong to my kids and theirs. It makes me happy and I realize how lucky I am to have been able to keep them over the year. Actually that's probably not true because if I lose a book or make a mistake about my wish to keep it, I buy it again....I must have bought 12 copies of The Golden Compass. 

You've made me think about the grandchildren Scott and I are looking forward to. I will have to go out and get some books to read to the little ones. They'll already have a baba and a grandma from other sides of the family; maybe I'll be BookGran!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Annette Answers My 5 Things Questionaire

Annette is the only person I've actually met face-to-face after becoming acquainted online. We were both members of a writers' online discussion group and when I took my boys and moved to Kelowna in 2004 to be with Mom through her dying months, Annette and her sweetie were living in Armstrong, just down the curving highway. I drove over for a visit. They gave me a nice lunch and the next time they were in Kelowna we met up for coffee and Annette and I have kept in touch ever since.

She's only recently started up her blog and that's why hers is the last of my "favourite 5" to be posted here; I started with the one I've been reading the longest and worked my way through to the one I've been reading for the shortest time.

Here is a woman with such a great appreciation for life. Even with the struggles and heartbreaks, and Annette (P'tit Lou) has had more than her share, she is thrilled by sunsets, birds, walks near the river, time spent with friends, and road trips to see her daughters and grandchildren. She notices and values the little daily beauties and understands that they are, in reality, the big beauties we are blessed with. She writes about the moments ordinary lives are made of, even though her own life is not ordinary and, no matter what is going on over there in northern Alberta, I'm rooting for her happiness as I read her blog. She has been a friend to me for more than 10 years, always willing to lend a kind, non-judgmental ear and her full support and understanding. Friends like Annette are few and far between and they are worth more than gold and diamonds.

Below is her answer to my questions, and here's the link to her blog so you can bookmark it for future visits: LOU TO YOU.

Five Things To Tell You About
I’m itching to get my fingers in the dirt and I keep thinking today is the day but the day passes and all I’ve done (among 100 other things) is to repot a few houseplants that were in bad need of tender loving care. I’m not big on flowering plants but I absolutely love my sunflowers when they pop out of the ground and stand tall with heads held high. It makes my heart smile when I get up in the morning, look out my bedroom window and I’m greeted by a whole bunch of bright yellow smiley faces. What better way to step forward into the day.
Playing in the dirt is a grounding and nourishing time for me but even more grounding and nourishing is having a good piece of writing or reading to sink my teeth into. Some real life stuff that allows me to enter another person’s world and connect with them on a more intimate level than the everyday casual meeting on the street with the standard, “Hello, how are you?” “I’m fine, thank you. And you?” Those are the kinds of interactions where people won’t let you see what they’re really living or how badly they are hurting inside because it means exposing their soft, vulnerable underbelly and it’s either not cool to do that, or it’s as menacing as entering a totally forbidden land. That superficial stuff bores me.
So I read and I write and I write and I read and it’s never as much as I’d like but for now it’s what I can do.  It feeds me and keeps my thirsty insatiable self under control. There are two blogs I go to in order to quench my thirst. One I’ve been told I’m not allowed to mention but I’ll give you a hint anyway. If you’re reading this post you’re likely at one of those blogs right now. This one keeps me grounded in everyday life and the living of it. It is flawless writing often filled with an appreciation of the simple things that render life precious. The other blog focuses on memoir writing and often refers to the important role the personal and intimate details of life play in writing. Give it a whirl and see what you think. “The Heart and Craft of Life Writing :”   http://heartandcraft.blogspot.ca
Other places I travel to on the internet.
1. Word Think: http://www.wordthink.com
2. Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/
3. Moon Phases Calendar: http://www.moonconnection.com/moon_phases_calendar.phtml
4.The Shift Network: http://support.theshiftnetwork.com/home
5. OM Times: http://astrology.omtimes.com/daily-horoscope/
On another note – about potluck suppers and holidays, which are two things I’m all for. With either one of these, it means less cooking and more dishes to choose from. Do I do it often. No. At least not according to my rating. As far as holidays and travelling goes, others would say I’m always on the highway, which, when compared to some, I suppose can be seen that way. I could easily be a gypsy. I like having a home to land at and a place to hang my hat for a while but I could easily travel a whole lot more than I do now. When I travel I’m like a kid in a candy shop, especially when it’s new, yet unexplored territory. Love it, love it!
As for potlucks, I’m ok with it but it’s something I usually have a hard time with because I’m such a fussy, picky eater and I’m not a great explorer or adventurer when it comes to food. No sauces, no tomatoes, no condiments, no salad dressings, no mashed potatoes, and on and on it goes. It’s much safer when I can order what I want. But hey, sometimes I hit it lucky and there’s lots of dishes to my liking to dive into.
And when it comes to what makes a great holiday it’s not being in a hurry to get back where I started from. It’s to have the time to stop and relax, read, write, walk, explore, discover. When I have the opportunity to spend time in nature, to enjoy the sunshine, the water, the scenery, the people and to share stories. There’s not much more I could ask for. I’ve taken this kind of holiday before and I hope to do it a lot more in the future. My idea of a perfect holiday which I’ve added to my bucket list is to travel across Canada in a little motorhome. I want to go from coast to coast and take about six months to do so.
That’s about it for today folks. There you have it, my five things to share with you. I’m off to help a friend move some furniture, do some stuff around the yard, cook myself some dinner, go for a walk, work on another piece of writing, and later this evening go help an elderly friend take her shower.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Me & Emil

"Mom. Are you going to stay in your pyjamas all day?"

This is a question Emil quite often asks me when he is here on a weekend, as I'm in no hurry to get dressed. Yesterday, for instance, I slept till nearly 11 after being up till one the night before, and then I was busy making fagioli soup and doing dishes and talking to my ex, Emil's dad, on the phone. Who had time to get dressed before three o'clock? I'd even been outside in the perennial bed, pulling weeds and quackgrass, in my fluffy green housecoat. Living on the farm — what freedom!

Emil phones me most Thursday nights, if he and his gang are not off at a dance somewhere or busy with some other activity that runs late.

His opening statement is always, "I had a good day at work today."

His typical questions:

"Do you have your pyjamas on right now?"
"Are you wearing your glasses?"
"Is Scott home?"
And usually, "What did you have for supper?"

Emil reading to me.
Recently I decided he needed more variety in reading material so I have been bringing home books from the library for him. He has his own collection of old favourites that he looks at, whether he's at the group home or here, and when I suggested getting library books he didn't seem interested. He likes the ones he has and prefers to avoid change of any sort. However, I still think new and different books would be a good thing for him. His reading skills are at the level of a student in Grade 1, though I've been surprised at how well he actually does read. And I'm hoping that in time his skill level will rise, although if they couldn't achieve that in all the years he went to school and had special-needs teachers and one-on-one time with aides, maybe it's just not going to happen.

The point is, books broaden your perspective and enrich your life, and I want both for him.

He's enjoying the books. That's no surprise; he's loved books since he was a wee babe in my arms who could only point at the bookshelves whenever I carried him into the livingroom, and if I didn't sit down and read one to him, he'd cry.

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Lorna has left a new comment on your post "They Know Where I Live": 
when we were in the grocery store, the woman ahead of us had bought a huge amount of food, but left her points card at home, so she offered the points to us. It was a pleasant surprise and a generous offer.I wish I'd had something to offer her in return, but we just smiled at each other for the looooooooong time it took to get her groceries packed. 

People are goodhearted and will help when they see a way to do so. 
I find it difficult to make the connection between what I hear about in the news — terrorism, murder, rape, theft, and on it goes — and what I see in my own life. 
Dad and I were talking about this the other night on the phone. I think the topic of the moment was domestic violence by men against women and children. I said the extent of it even in Canada is so shocking; you and I, were we raised in a bubble or what? "Maybe we're bubbleheads," he said.
Because to us, it's so unthinkable it's like it can't be real. Yet we can't argue with the statistics; they can't be that skewed.

Jenna Doodle

Birdie has left a new comment on your post "Goodbye Jenna": 
I was just clicking around in blogland and came across your post. Even though it is my first time here I couldn't jest leave without saying something. 
Losing a pet is so hard. In our brains it should be so easy because it is just a dog/cat. But our hearts know so much better. Pets offer us so much love and acceptance. They just love us because of who we are and not who we should be. That is the reason it hurts to much. You are losing a best friend. 
Sending love to you and your family. 

I hope that clickable link there leads to your blog, Birdie, so I can check it out.
Thank you for the kind words. 

Annette Erickson has left a new comment on your post "Goodbye Jenna": 
I'm so sorry to hear this Kate. Made me tear up as I read your post. It's so hard to lose a pet that's been at your side for so many years and yes, of course, we deeply feel the void when their presence is no longer there. I know I'll be facing the loss of my cat soon and I dread the thought. Goodbye Jenna. 

And wouldn't it be somewhat easier if they -- if we and all our loved ones -- just died in our sleep? But maybe not. I know it helps to have a chance to say goodbye.