Monthly Archives: January 2016

Dog Vs. Squirrel

What is it about squirrels? All dogs seem to think that they can catch one. They will sit at the bottom of a tree hours after the furry little cutie has disappeared. One day I saw the same one descend the other side of the tree, while my dog sat a matter of a couple of feet away, waiting… I swear the squirrel was laughing at her as it made off with a prize.

Today we were sat in front of the fire playing Canada-Opoly (great Christmas gift from my best partner in crime). There I was, for the first time ever, buying up the board after spending the first two rounds in a snowstorm, when a large black fellow scuttled along our fence just outside the living room window. One minute all was calm, various parts of the room had calm animals snoozing, the next Tess was off the sofa going bananas, leaping & jumping & barking & howling. Of course seconds later when she looked again it was gone.

For the next hour & a half the stupid beast paced around from room to room. Sat at the door, gave pathetic little woofs here & there. She doesn’t have the sense to realize that it’s gone, disappeared, long since moved on from our garden. When it was finally declared that I owned most of Canada & everyone had narrowly escaped landing my Hudson Bay to visit one of my 3 log cabins, we ended the game & I finally let her outside.

You know she’s was still looking for it 4 hours later!!

Party people…

We entertain a reasonable amount, which is always fun, but hard work. So when we’re invited to someone else’s gathering it’s even more fun because we are spared the hard work. It is always interesting to meet new people, inevitably when it’s your own do you pretty much know all the people. No matter how big or small it brings together all works of life. Being married to a physician, & having been a nurse BC (before children), it is not surprising that most of our friends are part of the medical/nursing world too. Then through a few other professions, most of us have kids, some at the same school/similar ages, we live & work in the same city… you get a wide variety of discussions & story’s.

Today while all the kids watched movies & destroyed the basement of our friend’s new house. Us grownups gathered in the kitchen where all the best parties happen (because why would we want to sit on a comfy couch in the nice spacious living room to enjoy our wine & nibbles?). All the walks of life & ages put the world to rights & shared stories of life experience. My favourite one was shared while the host was making coffee (for me being the designated driver today). It began when my husband announced how fantastic it is that he can order his coffee from the hospital Starbucks now via a new app so that it is there waiting for him, therefore avoiding the queue of 30+ people. This particular Starbucks lineup was then discussed at length.

One of the guys who also work at the hospital, someone I know but see very infrequently, has obviously studied this particular lineup in great detail. Of course, the first discussion was about my husband ticking everyone off by jumping the lineup to pick up his order. It must make no difference to those waiting that this ordering system is perfect for people like him who only get a matter of seconds between cases to grab their fix. The fact remains that to them he is somehow jumping the queue. The coffee lineup expert then amused us with a clear description of who the real queue jumpers are.

It’s the ones who see a friend or colleague who conveniently happens to be about 3 people from the front. They sidle up to said friend & get chatting, announcing at some point that they should get coffee together now that they are at the front. Meanwhile, there are several faces behind them looking like slapped backsides!

He then went on to describe that moment when a drink is announced & placed on the countertop, & 4 hands reach for it. He gave us the perfect look that the individual to whom this beverage really belongs to would give the caffeine thieves – a look I can only describe as a Paddington hard stare. Clearly this guy had been in this position enough times to perfect the art of making those hands 3 hands recoil and apoligise instantly for their mistake.

Of course this has all set a standard for my future visits to any coffee shop really, not just Starbucks. I shall now be watching the lineup with great interest, & in turn the collection bar. All the time while listening & watching this guys account of coffee bar behavior I was thinking that this scene needs to be in book…


Date Night…

… at home!

When you’ve been together nearly 20 years & life is busy with kids & work, you don’t always want/need/can afford to go out to spend time together. It’s all very well & good enjoying a romantic meal for 2 in a fancy restaurant where you’re waited on hand & foot, & believe me I love it, but it can be just as much fun, if not more, if you cook together.

When you’ve been together for so long, it’s important to find new ways to keep the romance alive. Date night at home is something we have been doing for the last couple of years. We chose something that we can both get involved in cooking, prepare it while the kids are having a quick & easy Friday night meal (usually while drinking gin – us not them!), then eat together when they’ve gone to bed, & enjoy a nice bottle of wine. Then it’s ice cream & a movie curled up in front of the fire!

No posh frocks, fancy hair or makeup.

Just comfy pj’s & bare skin!


Boot Camp!!

This is how I describe the morning routine that finally gets us out the door & to school. On a normal school day my kids start at 8.20, early I know, but it can also be 7 or 7.30 for my elder boy depending on which co-curricular clubs he does. Yes this can be hard work to co-ordinate, & No.2 & I do a bit of hanging around to accommodate these activities. Getting out of the door wearing & carrying everything they both need is a challenge – & of course the dog comes too so we can carry on to the park – that’s ok she’s easy.

The thing that drives me up the wall about boot camp is the amount of mucking around & silliness that occurs in this small window of time. Their routine couldn’t be easier, their clothes are put out the night before, lunches are made, & I even lay breakfast out – we have been doing the same routine for years now so it should run like clockwork by now… NOPE!

To be fair to No.1, he has gotten much better and will take the initiative to sort himself out. No.2 on the other hand, well if I didn’t remind him to get dressed every morning, every school day would be a pajama day – & he probably wouldn’t notice he was the only one! Take this morning for example, they were discussing what No.2 should wear for school tomorrow. This week is literacy week so tomorrow they are to go dressed as their favourite book character. No.1 is Harry Potter for everything of course, easy he has Quiddich robes; No.2 has decided he would like to be Dobby the house elf. Perfect, I thought, I cut holes in an old pillowcase, rub it in some dirt, find a piece of string to tie around his waist, & he can were the elf ears we have in the dress up box!

The elf ears were where the problems began…

They are a bit big, & therefore don’t stay on very well. They started discussing the problem while putting shoes & coats on. Initially the discussion started off quite helpful, until they started getting very silly about hot gluing them to his own ears, stapling them, hanging him from the ceiling over night from his own ears to stretch them!

Needless to say I was losing it by the time we got out to the car, after handing one of them the lunch that was about to be forgotten. Checking that No.1 had his iPad – no it was still charging in the study. Then there was the Math test I had to sign that was left on the bench after I’d asked twice for it to be put in his bag LAST NIGHT!!

Give me strength!!!

Half way to school I glance in the mirror & notice that No.2’s shirt collar is sticking out the top of his coat. I ask him if he’d remembered to put his tie on, He couldn’t remember if he had, & consequently unzipped his coat to look. It is frowned upon if you don’t wear your tie; it is part of the uniform. The helpful voice next to him suggested he turn his collar down & zip his coat right up so the Principal doesn’t see him. This only made me madder because he couldn’t walk around all day in his coat. Ranting & raving as I’m negotiating three lanes of traffic, left turn filters & a fool who had no idea how to use a roundabout (but then it appears to only be us Brits that do know!). I finally said that he had to apologise to his teacher, & explain why it was forgotten. I also said I would ask his teacher if he had done so.

When I saw her at pickup, of course he hadn’t, & he looked very sheepish about it too. So I didn’t leave school in any better frame of mind than when I’d dropped off. We rushed off to their guitar lessons, & not two seconds after we’d got in the car & pulled away, I notice No.2 dancing around in his booster seat… “Mum I’m bursting!”


A walk in the park…

It’s inevitable that when you have a routine where you go to the same place, at the same time, on the same day/s, you will see the same people. So, every morning in the forest I always see a guy who trains guide dogs, he usually has his own Labrador, & a pup in training. The lady who rides her bike with her dog trailing behind, on leash, attached to the back. There are will be several runners with or without dogs. Then there’s the high-speed train lady who walks super fast, never looks back to see if her dog is following, but he always is. There’s the lady who walks while carrying treats so her dog follows her (along with every dog in the city!). The little old Chinese lady who walks alone & looks like she’s about to go an expedition to Antarctica – no matter what the weather. I could go on & on, there are many more…

My favourite, however, is an old couple who must be in their 80’s. They are there every morning without fail, walking their black Labrador. The guy never says much, just a good morning, but his wife always makes me smile – & this morning I really needed a smile, even though she says the same thing EVERY morning. She will be walking along, slightly bent, & not at a great speed. In her purple coat, clumsy walking boots & an orange hat. I think the dog must be a reasonable age too, because it’s never interested in bouncing around with my 3 year old that behaves like she’s 3 months. There is always a ‘good morning’ exchanged, and then…

“Aren’t we so lucky to have this park… I grew up not too far from here, so I know this park well…”

Sometimes there’s a bit more than that, or the order of the speech might change, but without fail, that’s what she will say.

I smile to myself, mainly because I will try & predict exactly what she will say & in which order. But also because I think it’s amazing that this couple continue to be active. I really have no business complaining, & that is why I am writing about them today – so I don’t complain! Although since we’re on the subject, I am more comfortable today & taking it easy, which is what I should have been doing yesterday but I don’t listen to my body. Let’s see if it pays off…

Miserable again!!

Why do things have to feel worse before they feel better?

I was told this, but it’s awful, I thought by now it wouldn’t be throbbing and at least feel more comfortable. So I’m miserable again going through the motions of the day like clockwork, just slower, and now I’m at the end of it I’m done. I feel like I am having more bad days than good days, & I’m scared of sliding into a black hole, unable to climb out. Please let my knee feel better soon…

I have been absolutely & extremely very brave!

No, I did not kill a spider – I’m not that brave!

I saw my rheumatologist this morning; he examined ‘the knee’ & remains as baffled as everyone else who has had a poke at it. So much so I had to sign a form that will allow him to use my MRI scan images at the local hospitals radiology rounds at the end of the week.

YAY! Fame at last! Well my knee anyway but it’s a start!

So far the knee itself has made it clear that it will not respond to intramuscular or oral steroids, so there was only one thing left to try… hit it right where it hurts! Interestingly my doctor wasn’t convinced I needed an injection directly into the joint. Instead, he thought that literally injecting the area that was most painful was all it needed.

I doesn’t often happen these days, but thankfully my husband (whom, if you remember was having the absolute grandfather of bad weekends on call & has only had about 4 hours sleep since Thursday!) was with me, in body anyway, which is all I needed so I could squeeze a supportive hand. Was it as bad as I thought it was going to be? Actually no because it was more superficial than originally planned, but it was bad enough, & I think I now have quite a high pain threshold.

Of course there was local anaesthetic in there too, & at first it was quite nice to have the tender spot numbed. But oh boy, did I pay for that couple of hour’s relief. It came back with a vengeance, & of course I wasn’t sitting at home with my feet up was I? Oh no, I was tile shopping in preparation for our renovations that start next week. In some ways it was good to have my mind taken off it, but as time went on I was desperately trying not to turn into the miserable cow I felt – & succeeded, I think.

So, fingers crossed it will all have been worth it. I was told it will be sore at first, but I’m not very good at the R&R thing, as you might have gathered by now. Maybe just a little bit of wallpaper stripping tomorrow, after doing the school run, walking the dog, making a casserole, doing some laundry, changing the beds…

Instead, I will write…

It’s been a very long weekend. As predicated my husband went to work at 8am & is not expected home until sometime in the wee small hours of tomorrow morning. The boys have been pretty good to be fair to them, but my patience was wearing thin by dinnertime. Even when I finally get them to bed there is still a bunch of chores to do before I can relax.

Tomorrow is getting closer. My Rheumatologist only see’s me between regular appointments if he has cause to be concerned about something. Tomorrow he is seeing me when he doesn’t even have a clinic day. This means he is concerned & wants to help me get well again as soon as possible. It is now 4 months since my knee flared up. It is possible that very soon I am going to have it injected with steroids – something I probably should have agreed to do a couple of months ago. The thought of having this procedure scares me. I know what it’s like to have joints injected, it can be excruciating.

I’m sure when he sees it he will agree that this is what needs to be done. It is what my orthopedic surgeon suggests. I currently have two physicians trying to do what is best for me, because I fall between two specialties. The really worrying part is that the type of arthritis I have does not usually flare up in knees, or other limbs for that matter, therefore the question I hope can be answered tomorrow is, ‘why in me?’

I know that question may never be answered. I have been a bit atypical from the beginning, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that something like this has happened. It still doesn’t make it any easier; ‘it’ is bad enough without other parts of me getting involved. Right now I’m sat here with a cat on my feet, & my dog snuggled by my side, kids asleep, & no prospect of seeing hubby for a comforting hug, & I could really use a glass if wine. I’m trying get out of the habit of pouring a glass most nights, especially when I feel like this – it’s not the answer. Instead I will write…

On Call Widow!

Poor hubby rolled in at 5.30 this morning having been at work since 7.30 the previous morning. It doesn’t happen very often, but when it does it affects everyone. We all had to creep around on our eyelashes until I decided that I should wake him before he slept the day away (& I really needed to have a shower!). After resuscitating him with bacon & eggs washed down with black coffee, the inevitable happened…

His pager went off again!!

We don’t normally make dinner plans for an on call weekend, but today he wasn’t the first to be called, normally when he is second it’s very unusual to be called in, so usually safe to stay locally with friends. Unfortunately they had to cancel on us, which ended up not being a bad thing because the husband was still at work. So there I was, now no dinner plans, no husband, disappointed kids not to see their friends & a specially baked cheesecake that should have been for 8 & not 4!

By the time hubby got home – again – the kids were back in their pj’s, I was about to put mine on, & we could see pizza in front of a movie in our future. Finally managing to salvage something of the day at the end of it, we all snuggled up with a roaring fire & enjoyed homemade pizza (sadly not me because ‘it’ doesn’t allow me anymore) & a rather delicious cheesecake that I’d successfully made for the first & I can eat.

We made the most of it because he’s first call again tomorrow & already knows he will at work all day, at least. The moral of this story is… NEVER marry a doctor!!

WARNING: Mouth works faster than brain!

This is a problem I have always had. Usually it’s amusing so I get away with it, often it is a blonde moment when I just don’t get it, and occasionally I completely drop myself in it! Then there are the times when my kind & generous nature agrees to do something that will take up time & energy.

So there I am hanging out in the school lobby minding my own business just waiting for No.1 (No.2 was in dance!). I get talking to the president of the parent association. I don’t know how but we get talking about our principal retiring, & gifts etc. This is where my mouth started, even though my brain was a little late in engaging, it very quickly started saying “SHUT UP!!” But no, the mouth just kept going…

What did I get myself into?

Well I am a HUGE crafter. So much so, that we are about to renovate a part of the house so that I can have my own room. Once a week my best friend & I make cards, scrapbook, & have a good old bitching session during the process. We get excited about cardstock, embellishments, die cuts, stamps, ink, embossing, heat guns & oh so much more.

You know what’s coming don’t you…

That’s right, I first of all offered to make a personalized retirement card, which the president thought was a fantastic idea. She was also trying to think of something very personal, a keepsake of the 16 years he’s been principal or a project the kids were involved in. Then my mouth really got going, ‘how about a scrapbook?’ Then she remembered the scrapbooks that I made for our winter gala fundraiser last November (they fetched $3000 each at the live auction – which I’m rather proud of thanks to my best buddy for helping me). The response of course was “what a fantastic idea!”

As her son arrived & she had to shoot off, we left the idea open & said we would talk about soon. I would work on some thoughts & ideas in the meantime. As I too gathered No.1 & headed off to the coffee shop to join other mum’s who were waiting for siblings, I chastised myself for being to kind & generous. This would need to be done by June, yes ages away, but not really when you consider the potential scale of the project. However, it is what I do, & I do it well & love doing it. It’s always fun to do something different. I have done several baby books, a wedding book, holiday books & of course my own kids scrapbooks (which constantly get put on hold to accommodate what my mouth can’t say no to!), a retirement book for a fantastic principal who stands at the door every morning & shakes the students hands as they enter. Who knows every child by name, who their siblings are, who their parents are, & even who their grandparents are. A principal that will be missed by everyone, students, staff & parents. To be part of documenting his achievements & wishing him well in his retirement, I’ll find the time even if I have to stay up all night!!