This is for my beloved sister J, who passed away on December 26 after a short struggle with cancer. I love you, J.
You have always been kind and tough and thoughtful and practical.
And you learned early how to deal with the family’s narcissists. Before it was popular, you knew a kind of no contact and lived it. Your own kind.
Distance did it. Physical distance. Mental distance.
I, much younger, didn’t really know you.
Not until much later. Not until now, really.
And then, we faced another narcissist. This time, together. Looked at our heritage.
But you handled that, too. Adroitly, as you always have. Even as you grew smaller and smaller and your world grew smaller and smaller.
The one who wasn’t “smart.”
The one who always knew but didn’t fuss. Just lived.
I’ve had a good long life, you said.
I wish it was longer.
I wish I didn’t have to say good-bye.
After a short illness, our darling Rudy passed away this morning. We love you, sweetie dog.
Rudy is my dog. Well, he’s technically my son’s dog, but he has lived with me for most of his life. Rudy readily adopted M into his pack and now hates it when M is away. Recently, he also adopted B, M’s son.
Rudy is an amazing dog. And he’s about to turn 15. We’re not sure exactly when he’s turning 15 because he was an SPCA dog. But it’s within the next three months, most likely around the end of February or beginning of March. Rudy is in excellent health and is still living a full life. His hearing and eyesight are not quite what they used to be and he’s got a little arthritis, but those things aren’t holding him back at all.
So in honour of Rudy’s 15th birthday, and in honour of the fabulous guy that he is, I’m going to share with…
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I first posted this two years ago.
Wear a poppy; thank a veteran.
In Canada, today is Remembrance Day. Today, we remember those who have given their lives to preserve the greater good, those who gave us what we have today.
Both my parents were veterans of World War II. My dad escaped from Dunkirk and later, in 1944, helped to liberate France and the Netherlands. He went all the way to Hamburg, Germany, before being sent back to England and to my mother.
My mother served in the British army as a radar operator during the London blitz. Her father, a World War I veteran, was a “spotter” who alerted higher command that enemy planes were coming across the channel.
One day, a fighter saw him and killed him.
Three of her brothers served in the army, one of whom was captured. He spent four years in a prisoner of war…
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Here in Canada we have a great and young new prime minister. I for one am delighted. Many thanks to Juliet for her tribute post and for including the lovely photo of Trudeau and his mom. 🙂
Please check out this great post from Ross Murray. Ross knows how to really capture the essence of the main event that will be taking place for us Canadians on Monday.
2. Check for structural damage.
3. Be prepared for aftershocks and gloating.
4. Deal with any minor injuries, including cuts, sprains and ideological collapse.
5. Take two minutes to weep in silence behind closed doors so as not to alarm the children.
6. Eat a healthy, nutritious breakfast, because breakfast is the most important meal of the next four years of fear-driven dogma and social alienation.
7. Listen to the radio for further instructions. If it’s CBC Radio, you better make it quick.
8. Stay away from downed power lines, washouts, Twitter and Facebook.
9. If you begin to hyperventilate, take a plain paper bag, open it, fill it with large sums of 50-dollar bills and mail it to the member of the Senate representing your region.
10. Try to find out who is the member of the Senate representing your region.
11. Stock up…
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In July, we sold our house in preparation for a move next year. We packed up all our stuff and trucked it to a rental. I whined about that a couple of posts ago.
However, life is not always orderly nor predictable (nor should it be). In late August, the opportunity for a great job came up. I interviewed, and a couple of days later I accepted their offer.
The job was 1000 km. away in the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia. Wine country. Some of the best wine in the world.
I was on my way west (even though I’m not a young man) inside of a week with my car packed to the rafters, my poor Rudy dog parked in a kennel and my dear M left on the prairies to finish up a work contract.
Now I live near all those wine grape vines you see in the top photo.
After finding a long-stay motel to reside in and starting my new job on August 31, I immediately got sick. Go figure.
There was sniffing, snorting, blowing and wheezing. A cough that came out of my bootlaces. A jackhammer headache that doubled in intensity every time I coughed. Aches and pains in my muscles that could have been caused by digging the equivalent of the English Channel tunnel but weren’t. I sounded like a four-pack-a-day, 60-year smoker. If I laughed, I broke into a cough. Sneezing turned into a chain of mini-eruptions with attendant lava flow. I was feverishly hot and cold at the same time.
And through it all, I kept working. New job and all that. I was the queen of hand sanitizer, giant tissues and elbow coughing.
Then it started to go away.
I started to feel better.
I started to get cocky. I’m like that.
Then I started to feel really, really bad. I woke up one morning feeling like I needed to get the bolt in my neck tightened.
Which would have been all fine if my name had been Frankenstein.
But it’s not.
I decided to investigate by taking a look in the bathroom mirror.
I looked like I was wearing a turtleneck sweater with an inflation device inserted into the neck part.
The side of my neck was swollen from my ear to my shoulder and the pain that accompanied it was intense. My tonsils were swollen. My ear ached and crackled. I could hear everything inside my mouth but nothing outside.
A secondary infection had taken up residence. Yum.
It’s still not gone but I’m about to start my second round of antibiotics, for which I am eternally (and internally) grateful.
Nevertheless Continue reading Changing, Moving, Growing
Is your dog’s health at risk? Read my surprising NYT story. If you own a dog, please check out this good advice from Kaitlyn Kelly. In this heat (it’s 40C today where I live) our canine pals need some special care. 🙂
I’m pissed off. About ageism, that is.
I was just at a store picking up some necessaries for my new abode and got treated like a doddering old fool at the till. And the thing is, I’m not much older than that cashier is.
I’ve noticed this more and more lately. The penchant for people to automatically think that I don’t know how to use a debit card. That I have no idea what the internet is. A couple of days ago, I was asked by a bank employee if I use online banking.
“What was that sonny? Speak up! I can’t hear you! Frontline spanking? Is that what you said? You oughtta be ashamed of yourself. What would your mother say if she knew you were talking like that to a customer?” Of course, I was just thinking this. But I felt like saying it. In a loud, high-pitched, whiny voice.
I’ve been using online banking for 15 years. I’ve had a debit card for, I don’t know, probably about 30.
People keep calling me “dear” too. Does getting older automatically imply that I’m in some sort of relationship with you? A few days ago, I politely asked a waiter to stop calling me “dear.” He kept doing it anyway.
People who use that word also have a special voice that goes along with it, too. There’s this patronizing, condescending tone, like they’re talking to a half-deaf half-wit. Just give me some pablum and a glass of warm milk and let me be on my way. Don’t let my clippy clop bother you as I head for the door, if I can find it.
Holy bloody hell.
And another thing is that my husband, who is five years older than me, doesn’t get treated like this.
He’s a guy! He still has all his faculties! His hearing! His virility! His drive! He’s vital and living!
While on the other hand, I have one foot on a banana peel and the other in my grave.
I’ve faced a lot of discrimination in my life. Nowhere near as bad as what some people have had to deal with, but still.
My guidance counsellor in high school told me that I couldn’t be a pilot. (You’re not a guy!)
People gave me suspicious looks when they heard my very French surname. (You’re not English!)
Military combat? (You’re REALLY not a guy.)
But the government says I can, so f**k off.
Yes. I’m 50-something. Yes. I’m female. It doesn’t mean that I live under a rock with only my walker and my knitting for company. And, I’m not a cheese.
So get with it, “youngsters.” Just treat us older people like … well, like people.
Have you faced ageism in action?
I once read somewhere that moving house is the third or fourth most stressful thing you can do. I’ve moved before, but for some reason, it didn’t seem as stressful as it does this time. Maybe that’s because I’m older. The joints and muscles don’t work as well as they once did, and as a result, everything takes longer and is more tiring. 😦
The other thing is that last time, I was just moving me, and I hadn’t accumulated much stuff. Now there’s two of us, and I’ve been here for six years and I’ve managed to collect an impressive array of stuff that I didn’t have when I lived in a condo.
A complete set of garden furniture, including arm chairs and a chaise. A vast assortment of hoses, rakes, shovels and other garden implements and tools. Two rain water barrels. A garden gnome. Bags of drought-resistant grass seed. A weird instrument that looks like a mini-oil well driller but I have no idea where I got it or what it’s for.
You find stuff like this when you’re moving. Questions like, what am I keeping this for? And, what is this for? keep popping up. And let’s not forget that ureka moment when you realize that you’ve just found something that you’ve been looking for for ten months.
Yesterday, M called me out to the garage to ask me if I wanted to keep the rain barrels. It felt like answering that question might take two sessions with a therapist.
We have cartons and packing paper and bubble wrap everywhere.
It took nearly three days to pack up our rather large collection of china and wine glasses.
And, just for added excitement, we’re deciding what needs to be packed up for next summer’s move and what needs to stay out. Because …
right now, we are only moving across town to a rental house.
Next July, after my last year in my present job, we are moving to another part of the country.
As a result, I’m not doing a very good job of keeping up with my reader, or with much of anything else outside of this move, either.
I actually think today might be my birthday, too. But I’m not sure. It’s also entirely possible that I’m a Justin Bieber fan, as well. Er – no. I don’t think I’ve lost it that much. Have I?
So wish me luck, because if my brain falls out and lands in the wrong packing box, I might not find it until next year.
As you know, misery loves company. Do you have any moving stories to tell?