The Party’s Over

To finish off our 25th Anniversary celebrations, my side of the family arranged for a meal at Peter Piper’s Pub in Fonthill several days after our return from Stratford. Nat’s side of the family (at least some of them) also joined the festivities and it was really great fun. The food was terrific and I had a chance to sit with a few of my sisters and have a personal chin wag which I’ve not had a chance to do in a long while. I so miss those sister get togethers.

Before the meal began I stood up and announced that Nat had come into possession of a bag load of Empire Apples fresh off the tree from Vineland Agriculture Centre and we were hoping to give away the whole lot, if any one or more wanted. We had already set aside quite a few for ourselves. Nat had a desire for Apple Pie and we were going to give it a try the following Sunday.

I had been thinking prior to going for our dinner, that I would give a small speech to thank everyone for coming and to thank Nat for 25 years of marriage. I chickened out at the last minute, not wanting to upset any apple carts, and became worried how things would be taken by my loving hubbie. As I had composed this little speech in my head over several days, I’ve decided to add it to this post, firstly, because it kind of sums up our life together so far, and secondly, because I truly wanted Nat to know how much he means to me after 25 years of putting up with such an independent women and with all of my crap. So here goes:

  • In my early 40’s I fell in love with this man as he walked his daughter down the aisle. As I shook his hand in the reception line, I gazed into deep blue eyes that melted my heart. It was instant.
  • It’s been 25 years of ups and downs that the love of my life never saw coming. He’s had an instant education in Kidney Disease, with 3 long years on Dialysis, the work-up, the Transplant, the Rejections, the recovery and extensive medications and all of their varying side effects. He’s endured my withdrawal of 30 years of smoking, with the anger, depression and tears brought on by the withdrawal.
  • Then came the Polyp, the long undiagnosed Thrush that almost broke the two of us in 2018.
  • We’ve had our spats, arguments and drag out fights, with one on the back balcony so loud I’m sure all of Ridgeway heard us. Even the birds didn’t return to their feeder for 2 days afterward.
  • We learned that honesty with each other was imperative, talking things out was a necessity, but most of all love and understanding dominate.
  • We’ve travelled (even while on Dialysis), have explored places neither one would have done alone. Together we’ve grown in mind and spirit.
  • It was not easy for me to be an outsider while getting to know his family, their customs and their habits. Nat has helped and supported me in every way he knew how.
  • We’ve had 25 years of wonderful family memories that will endure a lifetime.
  • Nat, I’ve loved you all of my yesterdays, love you today and will love you for all of my tomorrows. Here’s to the next 25.

With all of my heart I hope and dream that the rest of our years together will be health free, carefree and loving. A little extra money along the way wouldn’t go amiss!!

P.S. The Apple Pie – first time for both of us – may have a sunken top, but was delicious according to Nat:

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Our 25th Wedding Anniversary (For What It’s Worth)

Having suffered the slings and arrows of 25 years of marriage, Nat and I decided to celebrate by taking four days off with a mini-trip to Stratford. Having been there several years ago, we had a pretty nice time despite my choice of plays to see – Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet. Being the first Shakespearean play Nat has ever seen he was at a loss. Having booked the play myself, at the time I felt it was one of Shakespeare’s easier plays to understand. I was wrong.

This trip I booked a Noel Coward play, Private Lives which I knew was a good comedy. So we packed our bag and decided to leave Monday morning for that 4 hour drive via the back roads and farmland, which Nat loves.

Monday morning arrived. Nat packed the car, along with my Walker for safety and convenience, as I finished off with that “last minute” stuff. The tone for our little trip was soon to be set as I lost a bottom tooth. One of two teeth that my bottom dentures attach to. My tongue was now being scratched by steal hooks and could get caught in the gaping hole where that little tooth once sat. There was nothing I could do. I would have to endure the next four days trying to eat meals I was so looking forward to.

Once on the road, we took our first stop in Caledonia at Tim Horton’s for a quick bite to eat. We were back on the road and endured numerous road works as we arrived in Shakespeare (just east of Stratford) early afternoon. The Shakespeare Inn has seen better days, but was clean, friendly and in a convenient and less expensive area than Stratford. Our room was smaller than we were use to and apparently stuck in the past. At first we were unable to connect to the internet with my iPad, had no bedside clock, no set-up for coffee or tea and wondered about the Satellite.

After unpacking we took a small drive into Stratford to refamiliarize ourselves with this quaint and theatrical city. We stopped and walked around the downtown core, stepped into one of our favourite stores, The Scottish Shop, where I had to buy a Scottish Thistle pendant and a Highland Cow pillow. As usual, it was difficult to restrain myself from buying more, as I knew I wanted to save what I had for my other favourite store.

As we needed a small cheap clock for the room, we took a quick look at the WalMart store on our way home. Not exactly the same set-up as our store in Ridgeway, we were taken aback when we were told they don’t sell clocks!!! I explained I could find all kinds of them at our store at home, but the clerk explained the store was down-sizing or re-organizing. We left disappointed.

After great research we were dumb-struck where to have our evening meal. As it happens, the owner of the Inn told us about an extremely popular restaurant in Millbank and showed us on the map exactly where it was. We decided this may be our best bet for the evening and plugged the info into the GPS. While on the road, we began to wonder if we were headed to No Man’s Land” It was further north than anticipated. We soon arrived at Anna Maes, a restaurant and bakery where home cooked meals and homemade breads and goodies were prepared by the Amish and the aroma was wonderful. We were escorted to a table and ordered a couple of sandwiches that came with French fries and enjoyed a small but tasty meal. It was obvious this place was well known for miles around by its size. We were tempted to buy something from the bakery, but knew it would be hard to enjoy during our trip or even save for home. We paid our bill and headed back to our little room. The joke was on us, however, as Nat took a piece of homemade pie back to the Inn to have for his evening snack, but arrived home and discovered we had no fork!!

Arriving back at the Inn, we approached the Owner again having told him of our dilemma. He soon went to fetch us a fork, and also informed us that we did have the internet for free and where Nat could get a cup of tea or coffee when wanted. A little nook hidden around a corner in the lobby! With that, we soon settled in and began to watch the Federal Election results.

Tuesday arrived after a half decent sleep. With a little more research, we drove down to a restaurant in Stratford, Demetre’s, a family restaurant with lovely atmosphere, for what turned out to be a great breakfast/brunch. Two eggs, bacon/sausage, etc., home fries and homemade toasted bread. Delicious, especially the toast!! Nat and I were impressed and would return for our evening meal before the play later that night.

Not having found a clock, we drove across the street to see if the Dollarama in the Festival Mall had one. We had wandered through this nice Mall previously and checked out a couple of stores. Winners was a much cleaner store than the WalMart, so we walked around while Nat, this time, found something he could use. Dollarama also had the perfect little bedside clock which we purchased and then headed over to the Avon Theatre in the downtown area where we could case the joint to find available parking, so Nat could get his bearings without any surprises. We then took a walk along the Avon River, but the wind had picked up and the weather was starting to turn, with rain in the forecast for later, we drove back to the Inn for some thinking time.

Once we arrived back at the Inn and while unpacking our clock, I realized we didn’t buy any batteries. The old brain was playing its tricks again. Nat decided he could pop back into Dollarama on our way to the theatre later and all would be right with the world.

We were dressed and ready for our evening at the theatre. Dressy casual, we felt good as we left for our night out. We drove back to Demetre’s where we both ordered a simple Chicken dinner. Simple but home cooked – Chicken, Baked Potato, Carrots. It was delicious and not over whelming like so many restaurants now – too much on the plate that Nat and I can’t finish. We enjoyed this meal with great abandon. Again, homemade bread for a starter. Bonus!!

We finished our meal exactly at the right time, as we drove across the street where Nat picked up a package of batteries, and then downtown to find a parking spot. Luck was on our side as we were able to park right around the corner from the Theatre and were only steps away. Our seats were in the balcony and as this old broad is still struggling with her balance, we took the elevator up, but had to finish by walking up some stairs to our front row seats. The view was perfect. The play was enjoyable and Nat had a great time watching the Set Decorators do their thing during intermission. He had done that exact job earlier in his life at Brock University Theatre. He was fascinated at the extra features the Decorators were able to make use of nowadays. Aww, memories!!

We arrived back at the Inn by 11:00 PM, and went straight to bed. Our 25th Anniversary evening had, at least, been enjoyable. Despite the extremely crappy mood I was in during that day, the play had seemed to lighten my spirits. I made so many screw-ups during the day with my memory, I knew I was driving Nat crazy, but he endured, as always, trying his damndest to help out as much as he could.

It was a “no brainer” that we would return to Demetre’s for our breakfast/brunch on Wednesday morning. Our plan would be to have our morning meal and return to the downtown core in the afternoon for some walking about. It was a given that I wanted to visit my other favourite Stratford store Indigena, with its Native art, sculptures, jewellery, clothing and blankets.

Maxine Noel is a former workmate of mine while living in Edmonton. It was apparent from our first meeting of her desire to return to her Native routes. This woman opened my world. She taught me to downhill ski, and we both loved our adventures while skiing in Jasper and Banff. She has a great sense of humanity, humour and love. She (and her first husband) returned to Cochrane, Ontario. She then headed south and within time soon began to draw attention to her beautiful paintings while living in Stratford. She has become such a success she’s been awarded the Order of Canada in recognition of her paintings and her support of the missing and murdered indigenous women in Canada. I purchased a painting of her’s while in Stratford the last time, and I had to see what else she has done. She’s now expanded to doing T-shirts, wallets and small prints, so I purchased a T-shirt “Not Forgotten” in memory of those missing and murdered indigenous women. I’ll cherish it forever and I’ll carry my memories of Maxine with me whenever I wear the shirt.

The rest of our afternoon was spent quietly walking around the shops while rehashing our mini-getaway and discussing the trip home tomorrow.

With the balance of Wednesday ahead of us, we returned to the Inn, packed away the purchases I made, and decided to go for supper. Where else, might you ask??? Well, Demetre’s would be my reply. Another nice meal – Nat the Perch and me the 6 oz. steak. Not my best choice with one bottom tooth missing, but I endured. Guess what I have to do when we get home??

Thursday morning arrived. We had mainly packed the evening prior, so we drove back down to Demetre’s for breakfast, returned to the Inn, finished the last minute packing and started our journey home.

As with all trips Nat and I take, we had our little foibles regarding the GPS and managed to take a couple of wrong turns, but were soon put back on track and arrived home by early afternoon and to a dire message we did not expect.

The message was from our friend, Floris. Her husband, Cecil, had taken a fall before we went on our trip, and after going through some rough times, medically, had passed away while we were gone. We could hardly understand her words through the tears that were swelling up, but managed to understand her words he’s gone”. I called her back as soon as I could and it was obvious she was still too upset to talk. Having been married for 67 years, this couple were devoted to each other, and had only been apart for one night during that entire time. After calming down for a second, I told her to email me when she was ready and let me know if there was going to be any memorial.

Nat and I attended Cecil’s memorial service this morning. Standing with her son, Floris was still struggling to go through the gestures of greeting their friends and family and it broke my heart to watch. This was a time when you still want to be alone and suffer in silence with your memories. A necessary evil to go through the motions of thanking friends for their thoughts and prayers, Floris stayed as strong as she could and when everyone gathered together in the Church’s dining room, we gave Floris a big hug and sadly had to say our goodbyes. Other life events had reared their heads that we had to attend to. I asked Floris to give me a call whenever she felt she could talk. We haven’t seen each other in quite some time and both wanted to get caught up with the news.

With such a loving 67 years of life together, it will take Floris a long time to recover from her loss. Nat and I think about her all of the time and am at least thankful that she lives with her youngest daughter who will give her the support and help she may want and need. Our friendship will always be there for Floris along with any support we can give, too.

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

The bad days are beginning to be more frequent in my senior years. On the other hand the good days that come along are very good, so I’ll keep plugging along hoping for more good than bad.

Starting off on what I thought was a good day, I decided to make pasta salad, which hubby and I haven’t had for quite some time. I only made a small batch for our supper and I was trotting along so well until the pasta had cooled enough to dress. That night we decided to finish off the last chicken legs in the freezer. We had been to Costco the previous day and stocked up on chicken thighs for a change. Not wanting a large meal we voted for the pasta salad as a nice side dish with the legs.

All was going well, as I said, until it came time to dress the salad. As I was stirring in the mayo, I also added the salt and pepper. Once done, I gave it a taste for seasoning and OMG my tongue felt like it had swallowed half the box of salt!! It was awful and I started to get upset. Not always thinking straight, I grabbed Nat to take a taste to confirm my suspicions. His face suddenly cringed, his eyes closed and his tongue was spitting out whatever it could. The following discussions:

“What were you thinking”?, he asked.

“No bloody idea. I took a pinch from the salt box and must of miscalculated”, was my reply.

“No kidding”, was his sarcastic retort.

I’m not starting over, so how do I fix it?”, I asked.

“The only answer is to boil some more macaroni, add it to your mix and see if it absorbs that extra salt”, Hubby’s response .

So away I went. It worked. We did, however, now have enough pasta salad to invite the neighbours over. In the end we decided to put away enough for lunch the next day and toss the rest. Ce la vie!!!! My fault and lesson learned, even though I won’t remember a thing.

As the week continued, and most days were just boring, I went for my hair appointment feeling somewhat optimistic and upbeat. I decided to get a perm this time, now that my hair has grown back from the Thrush scenario. The shampoo I bought for hair loss worked better than expected and I was pleased as I sat in my hairdresser’s chair. Even she had noticed my hair looked better and we proceeded with a discussion on what kind of perm I wanted. On a whim “Let’s go really curly”, was my smart ass reply. Without hesitation the process began.

This time there was some excitement at the salon regarding a possible abandoned car with Texas license plates. One of the customers went out to check the car and discovered it had also been left unlocked. Naturally, she opened the door, had a good look around at a small mess in the front seat and smelling what she felt was more than a dead animal lingering. She returned to the shop and the theories soon began. My hairdresser reported the customer’s finding to the owner of the Avondale Store who put a note on the car window that it will be towed if not removed by end of day. We all had a good laugh at the various scenarios being discussed and, trust me, they began to get a little weird only because they were Texas plates!! None of us have ever heard of anything good coming from the State of Texas, especially from watching TV.

With all things now settled, it was time to remove the small pink curlers and reveal the masterpiece. EGAD!!!! I was taken aback as I have never in my entire life had so many curls on top of my head. I looked like Mohammed Ali, with a mass of Afro curls only on a much smaller head!! I started to laugh as my hairdresser could see the huge disappointment in my eyes. She reassured me it could be fixed with a curling iron and smoothed out. But the whole idea of getting a perm was not having to use a curling iron. I wanted to finger and fluff my hair in the morning. Another smart ass idea of mine gone wrong. In the end my hairdresser fixed Mr. Ali’s curly top and I was at least able to face the public again.

For the last month, my mind has also been on the crappy eating habits I’ve returned to. Chocolate has been the bane of my existence. Eating more than I should. Buying more than I should and stashing whatever I can in the fridge. Whenever Nat is out of the house at his golf games (3 x a week) I’ll sit in front of our computer and stream my favourite British cooking or comedy shows while munching on as much chocolate as it takes to complete the show – each one usually an hour long. Seriously, I’m addicted and sick. I’m now anticipating really bad blood sugar levels at my next blood work which will probably confirm the high results I’m getting at home. Telling myself every morning to behave and lay off, I’m only good on the days that Nat is not out of the house. The true signs of a Chocoholic.

I finally came to terms once my blood work was done. After checking the results online today, my numbers weren’t good, but weren’t has high as I had anticipated. I’ve now disposed of any stashes in the fridge, started keeping record of my exercise, blood pressure and blood sugar results everyday to remind myself that if I don’t make better gains, I’m going to have two really pissed off Nephrologists. The discipline is extremely hard and it’s been getting me depressed at times. Hubby tries to support me as best he can but being an already disciplined person, it’s hard for him to connect with me. These are the times I miss living closer to my sisters. I know I can get through this, despite going it alone.

Back to normalcy, and in order to get out of the house to clear away the dust bunnies that had gathered on our shoulders, Nat and I headed to the Balls Falls Craft Show this Thanksgiving weekend. We had walked around the Marshville Heritage Festival the week before, which was a bit of a bust.

When we arrived at Balls Falls. we were surprised at the reorganization of the event. They had now extended the parking area to a larger lot, had 6-seater golf carts running back and forth every minute to pick up people who were unable to walk up and down the large hill that takes you down to the Artisans and Big Barn. The Artisans, too, had been re-organized. The large tent at one end was now split in two with new Artisan tents in between. All Artisans in the Big Barn were laid out in a more conducive manner, and the Food Artisans were located in another large tent set up behind the Big Barn. The only disappointment was the Food Tents and eating area, which seemed to have been downsized. It was probably just my mind playing tricks, but the seating area was moved behind all of the Food Vendors and the Band Stage was now abandoned with Artisans scattered around where picnic benches use to be. Really not conducive to enjoying lunch and watching the world go by.

As Nat and I walked around we really enjoyed a lot of the Vendors and their wares. Some of the Vendors seemed to have changed while other new ones had arrived. The one Artist I love was there and has expanded her village houses using recycled boards. They were gorgeous and it pained me to keep my credit card in my wallet. Damn!!! In the end I found a few more items I would loved to have bought, but I had to be good and save my pennies for our 25th Wedding Anniversary trip to Stratford for 4 days.

Continuing on the bad day vein, the Mail app on my iPad has decided to act up. Apparently I’m not alone in this, as I have a sister having the same problem. Mail will send or receive messages, but if you try to answer a received email, it won’t go. I get a message back regarding a problem with the setup on the Server or that the address is not recognized. Another one of those things where I’ll end up on the phone talking to someone at Cogeco to see what the problem is. I’m sure it’s something I’ve done wrong at this end – it usually always is!!

After visiting Balls Falls we returned home for a quiet afternoon. As it was such a perfect day, Nat went for a walk while I did a little research on cooking our little turkey breast for Monday. Wanting to save a lot of hassle and mini-arguments, I happened upon a recipe for the Slow CookerDespite not having all of the ingredients, I knew we could improvise as we have in the past and it would all work out.

With the arrival of Monday, we proceeded to get the Slow Cooker out and the veggies all prepped and ready. We cut up some potatoes, and onions, laid them in the base of the cooker and placed the turkey breast on top (after seasoning the breast). Switched on the cooker for 6 hours and we were done. Voila, our meal was complete except for the gravy and one other side which could be completed closer to eating time.

During the rest of the afternoon we could smell the turkey cooking away and as luck would have it, the turkey was done earlier than expected. It had reached its temperature so we decided to eat early. What the hell, it was only us!! With the drippings in the bottom of the slow cooker, Nat was able to make his gravy in the same pot, while I heated up another side dish. The turkey breast was sliced, the potatoes laid along side and the extra side was ready to go. We enjoyed a very quiet, yummy Thanksgiving dinner on our own. (Honestly, still not the same without a whole wack of family sitting around a big table and all talking above one another.) We retired to our recliners for the rest of the evening.

Regarding the Turkey Breast, I have to give cudos to Costco. While getting our semi-annual groceries this past month, we came across a small bin full of turkey breasts with bone in for only $9.99. A deal we could not resist, we grabbed a package and when we were unpacking it at home, we discovered it was the whole top of a turkey. Both sides were huge and we divided the pair and froze one for another time. Such a deal!!

With Thanksgiving over, we have Halloween to look forward to. Oh goody!! I’ve lost my zest for this event and would love to just turn out the lights. Nat, on the other hand, feels that since the neighbourhood has increased with Little Ones, that we should do something. This year, my love, it’s all yours.

Good Friends and The Passage of Time

Again, no postings for over a month. Things really have come to a complete standstill in our lives. We’ve been doing the usual – groceries, prescription pick-ups and WalMart runs, much to my chagrin. With no other choice, it’s frustrating that WalMart is our mainstay  to purchase the everyday necessities, certain cheaper grocery items, or even an inexpensive pair of slippers, T-shirt, running shoes, etc.

On a happy note, we’ve been to a couple of dining-out events. One was a great get-together with some former workmates which I have not seen for close to 15 years. This small group of ladies get together every couple of months to catch up on events and have a good ‘ole chinwag. I kind of invited myself when having lunch with Michele and it was great fun. I will admit, however, that I felt myself getting a little hyper as the night went on. I could feel my lips wagging faster and faster and had to remind myself to shut up so others could talk. There was so much news in my life and apparently not enough time for my brain to get it all out!

We were having our evening out a JJ Kapps in St. Catharines, and as I ordered a steak sandwich on garlic bread, the new dentures were given a workout not expected. As a result a bit of adhesive began to give up the ghost and as I rambled on after eating, I could feel them dropping. I quickly grabbed a thumb to stick them back up where they belonged all the while pretending to suck on my nail as if I had a bad habit!! Trust me, I’ll know better next time.

The second meal was at Bugsy’s for Bridget’s birthday. Another nice time and really good meal – fish and chips – which hubby and I enjoyed immensely. This time I wasn’t out as late as the previous night, but we all had a good time and can’t get over the fact that our youngest granddaughter is finishing her year at Brock University and will soon be out in the working world. Mom and Dad will become empty-nesters and wonder what to do with all of their spare time. I’m sure they’ll both find lots to do.

With the quiet times at home, I’ve taken some time to try some new baking. I found a couple of cookie recipes – Walnut Sugar and Potato Chip. They both came out pretty good and hubby thinks they’re “keepers”.  A couple of newbies for the recipe book.

Today I also tried Brioche Rolls which I found quite easy to do, but man the butter content was unreal – a stick and a half!! Haven’t tried them yet, but they look and smell fabulous. Can’t wait to try them.

On an extremely sad note, a great friend of ours’ has passed away. Cecil was the better half of our former neighbours when living on Green Maple in St. Catharines. We would join Cecil and Floris on their front lawn early summer evenings and have great chit chats about family, events and anything newsworthy. Once they moved to another part of town we continued to visit almost on a nightly basis to join them on their back porch. Then we moved out of town and although the visits back and forth decreased with time, we always tried our best to keep in touch via the telephone. I’m not a telephone conversationalist, but talking with Floris was always fun, funny and very enjoyable.

Cecil, a man with a dry sense of humour passed away this weekend. He had become sick and his ailing body could no longer keep up. I loved this man. A tall, gentle figure that would go for early morning walks to keep his achy joints pain free and had a stride that would take me 3 steps to 1 of his to keep up. He was an avid golfer until most of his foursome were having ailing problems of their own. I’m sure he missed his games but understood time takes its toll and spares no one. He would sit quietly in his chair as Floris and I would chatter away all the while listening intently and answering any questions that his wife would throw his way. With a bit of a minor disagreement now and then, he would concede to his wife with a polite nod and the conversation would continue. Once in awhile you could see a twinkle in his eyes while listening and then a quiet sly remark would be injected into our talks. His dry sense of humour was quick and if you were not listening you’d miss it. God, he was quick! My husband, too, enjoyed his talks about golf and other ‘man’ things with Cecil along with appreciating his quiet presence.

The love between this lovely couple could be seen through their eyes. When we were living on Green Maple, Cecil took sick and ended up in hospital. Floris was beside herself as the two of them had never slept apart from one another during their entire 60 + year marriage. There were times when their kitchen window and ours were open at the same time and we would hear the two of them laughing to the British TV comedy show they would watch while having their lunch. It was infectious and I would begin to laugh, too, as I was washing up at our kitchen sink. The best of times were being enjoyed by two wonderful people and you hoped it would never end for them.

Cecil will be missed and we can only hope that Floris will find solace in the wonderful memories they made together. Here’s to an enduring love.

When Will I Ever Learn?

Haven’t been posting for several weeks. Not much to tell or talk about, honestly. Now that all of my health issues have dissipated and I’m feeling terrific, it’s been too good to be true and I’ve been doing more things around the house. I’ve also gotten back to baking which makes hubby happy!! I’ve also been able to maintain my lower weight and it’s given me more energy and enthusiasm. That alone is worth everything to me. After being so lazy and lethargic for a long time, feeling perkier is so uplifting and I’m taking advantage of every minute of the day I have.

Michele and I had lunch a couple of weeks back, which was nice. My appetite certainly hasn’t gone anywhere and, in fact, it’s hard for me to control. I have this voracious habit of wanting to nibble on chocolate whenever I have idle hands. Needless to say, I’ve been getting a lot done because if I don’t keep busy, I’ll nibble. After all, idle hands are the devil’s workshop!!

My family was also notified that a friend of the familys’ had passed away a week ago. She was, in fact, the Maid of Honour at our Mother’s wedding and we went to school with some of her children. Gail, Michele and I attended the funeral which was short and sweet, but did not recognize anyone we knew anymore. Her children had grown up with babies of their own and even they were now grown up themselves. With over 50 years having passed between the two families and our memories fading, it was difficult to recognize any friendly faces from our childhood days. The three of us quietly exited the church before the light luncheon was served, and as we had signed the Guest Book, we knew the family would at least see our names and hopefully recognize that we had been there. Another era in our lives is now a footnote in our futures.

During these past couple of weeks, I came across some old public school class pictures. As I had heard about “Memories of Lincoln” being on Facebook, I decided to re-join in order to see if I could get responses from anyone still around and would be able to remind me of those that attended the same Grades 1 and 2 as myself. As much as I hate Facebook I thought I would only become “friends” with anyone from my personal past and leave immediate family out.  I was also trying to get in touch with one certain person from my past and who was, in fact, distantly related to the woman whose funeral Gail, Michele and I had attended. Another reason I went to the funeral, but this person was not there. That I would have known!

I posted my Grade School photos and received great reactions but mostly from siblings of those in the pictures. It was great to hear from them and even one or two remembered me, along with some of my siblings. I then began to play around with my main identifying picture and background photos, along with one other memorable event in our family’s life. As time went by – just a few days, in fact, things began to change and I soon realized why I was NOT a fan of Facebook. More and more “Friends” came out of the woodwork and postings were soon popping up on my “Timeline” that meant nothing to me. Some of these “Friends”, were children of “Friends”, unknown to me, and most of these postings were just taking up space, in my opinion. I’m not one for philosophical sayings, love your neighbour and all that, and especially postings of graphic, silly jokes that are completely stupid according to my senseof humour!! I knew it was time I had to leave, yet AGAIN. Once you join Facebook you have lost all privacy you may think you were going to have. You accept to be Friends with one person and suddenly any one of their Friends get notice and things begin to snowball from there. Friends of Friends of Friends, etc. are now seeing you as a “Suggestion” on their Facebook Timelines and a parade from your computer to anybody else remotely known will be lining up until eternity!!!

After thinking of ways to at least say adios to those who had befriended me, I gathered up my thoughts, as politely as I could, posted them to the Facebook box that asks “What’s on your mind, Twila?”, letting them know I appreciated their thoughts and that I would be deleting my account within a couple of days. Thank God. I just can’t cope emotionally with this program. It’s extremely exhausting as you’re on the damn thing for a good part of your day. You have to check your Timeline, respond to any Comments, or Notices that pop up, and Friend Requests, check these “Friends” out if their name is unfamiliar (or even to be nosey) and then decide whether to befriend them or not. Then as you’re going through all of these steps, someone sees you are online and decides to Wave, so you have to click on that button and Wave back so as not to appear rude. Then some other Friend decides to send you a Message via Messenger, so another click onto that button to read and respond to their message. The longer you’re on Facebook the longer it takes to get off. The next thing you know your day is half over and your plans for the rest of the morning or afternoon are shot to hell. The bread you planned to bake wouldn’t have time to rise, the errand you wanted to run was cutting it close to lunch or supper and then dear hubby has been sitting in the living room quietly doing his crossword puzzles wondering where in hell you had gotten to.

I’m hoping you get the picture. Just bloody time consuming and if I were to be completely honest a bit mundane. I really appreciate how Facebook can certainly help you find and keep in touch with loved ones who live far and wide and family is able to keep in touch with those they’ve not seen for a long time. I know I love seeing and hearing from our side of the family in Britain – especially the kids (God, I love those children), but I can also keep in touch through Instagram which is far less time-consuming and the pictures posted are far superior than those on Facebook. You can leave comments, if you want, or quietly “Heart” the picture(s) and move on. I can also get any other news I need through my Twitter account. Another program where I can completely control who I follow and who I don’t. As I’ve gotten so sick of the American news of late, I’ve just unsubscribed to every and all news feeds, kept my feeds coming from Visit Scotland, a couple of other quiet Twitter feeds and even one celebrity- actor/singer in the U.K. whom I adore. So now my mind has stopped racing from all the tense moments I had been readiing in the news, I can relax looking at gorgeous pictures from Scotland and reminisce of our trips, and get a laugh or two from the other Twitter sites I follow. Whew!!!! Quiet at last!!!!

There are other quieter and less stressful ways to keep in touch with friends and family, So much more personal and fun – Skype. Free and easy, give it a try. Then sign on to Instagram for photos and more smiles!!

Lesson learned. If I ever join Facebook again, please smack me in the face, tie my hands up and disconnect any gadgets that can get online. Thank you.

The Surprises Just Keep Coming

Our oldest granddaughter’s birthday was on the 24th of June. She turned 26 and was a feisty one-year old when she attended our wedding in 1994. There have been a lot of wonderful memories over the years of Christmases, Birthdays and family get-togethers watching as Karly grew into a very beautiful young woman. She’s been through some good times, sad times and even stressful times with her love life. A huge animal lover, it soon became apparent she would follow her love and enter into the Veterinary field. Alas, she has the job she’s always wanted, as a Veterinary Assistant, taking a hands-on approach to treating, caring and healing animals of all kinds. She’s at her happiest when a four-legged creature is in her arms.

Needless to say, it was a great surprise for us when we received a message that Nat and I were invited out to supper with Karly’s Mom, Laura, and her brother, Lucas. She had picked the restaurant of her choice and on the 26th we joined her family for a very enjoyable meal. It was very nice to have some quality time with the three of them and listen to dear Lucas rattle on about his life and fitness routine. He, too, has grown into a tall, good looking young man with biceps and upper body form any 22-year old would envy.  Needless to say, Nat is very proud of his grandchildren and their maturity.

A couple days later I was off to see my regular Doctor. My face had sprouted a couple of red marks and for the past couple of months just sat there, one on my upper cheek and the other on my upper lip. Every now and again I would scratch the two making them redder. They were not appearing to grow like the previous spot near my lips that was lasered off but were still giving me a bit of worry only because they were not healing or clearing up. My Doc gave them a look with her magnifying glass, told me they were a medical term I fail to remember and told me she could get rid of them by using Nitro (like dry ice). She also gave me another option but the Nitro seemed quicker and I would be out of there right away. With my permission, she grabbed her Nitro Bottle with nozzle, held it over each spot and shot some extremely cold dry ice (?) on them. With that, I was up and at ’em and on my way  home. All that worry for naught.

I’ve also been going through a two week routine where I have to check my blood pressure and pulse about 3-4 times a day so my Doc in Hamilton can check to see if its coming down. I’m on extra Blood Pressure meds which appear to be working, as I’ve been feeling so much better and have a bit more energy than several weeks ago. It also appears that some of my balance issues have dissipated and I won’t complain, as that really takes some stress off my shoulders. It feels so good to be back to my old self, or as much as I can. It’s also felt wonderful not to have any doctor or dental appointments in over a month and I’m thrilled with every moment. I’ve just past the first anniversary of my dental surgery and that’s one celebration I won’t be having!!!!

Thought Provoking Moments

Now that the new sump pumps have settled in and are much quieter, life at home has almost become a bit complacent.

I had my annual check-up at St. Joseph’s in Hamilton. My Nephrologist and I got each other caught up on our version of events during the Thrush fiasco. Apparently he knew quite a bit more than I was told. He had been in constant touch with the Doctors on my case and despite the fact I was told nothing, my medications were practically being changed on a daily basis (which originally had me puzzled, but was helpless at the time) only because of the constant conflicts with one of my anti-rejection drugs. I guess my transplant meds were keeping the powers that be on their toes. I then had my turn and a chance to rant and rave about the Dieticians constantly nagging me to eat, and my constant explaining that how can I eat, if I can’t swallow?????  At least now we were both in sympatico and I felt better being updated on the whole affair. I really do have to know what exactly is going on when it comes to me, myself and I.

I also had to explain to the Doc about the number of times I had fallen, hit my head and was now having balance problems. Knowing what I know about concussions, I had become concerned as the old noggin’ is taking its time getting better. The Doc then put me through a series of tests, as his trainee interns watched on. He had me stand up while he put one of his arms in front of me and the other in back and asked me to remain standing for several minutes. I could feel my body wanting to sway back and forth, but I held my ground. He could tell I was wavering but was satisfied how I did. He had me walk back and forth across the floor, touching my left index finger to my nose and then try and touch his index finger, repeating with my right finger. He appeared satisfied that I was alright and then explained to Nat and I how to proceed. As I’m wanting to loose at least 5-8 pounds, he agreed that the treadmill would be perfect for helping my balance and that a regular routine was now really recommended. It was also a given that I would strengthen my legs and concentration. I will admit this treatment is a great relief from what I had previously been thinking.

With more information in hand, a couple new medications (for blood pressure), Nat and I had lunch on the way home and then settled in for what was left of our day. My appointments in Hamilton, despite being at 10:00 am, usually take up over 5 hours. The drive (both ways) and parking alone are 3 hours. The walk from the parking garage to the Clinic is close to 20 minutes (2 ways), the waiting to be seen is usually another 30-45 minutes, the check-up close to 60 minutes (depending on scenario). Now you can understand why we just clear our entire day for that one appointment.

The sore back is continuing. This has been going on for several weeks and there have also been a couple of days where I couldn’t even stand up without a stabbing ache in my right hip and back. I was walking bent over like a pretzel and it was agonizing. I sympathize with all those in my family who are also experiencing back problems. Thankfully as the days have passed, most of the pain has eased up, but there’s always that little weak feeling in my lower back that reminds me not to go for a run!!

Our routine has now returned. Nat has his golf games 3 days a week, I’ve been trying desperately to get the baking caught up-to-date. I’ve not made bread in several months, the cookies are in extreme low supply, along with the Raisin Loaf and Scones. I started something almost 20 years ago, that I can’t stop. Nat has become use to having fresh baked goods for his Tea, it’s going to be a struggle to wean him off when the times comes that my baking slows to a “crawl”.

A few surprises have also come our way. From the beginning of the year, Laura has been coming by periodically for a visit. Sometimes she brings Zoe and sometimes not. She’ll stop by Timmies for us and we have a great visit. This has continued right up to this past week, and even Susan and Tom have caught on. I have no idea why they decided to change their ways, but it’s been absolutely great. The visits break up the days for their Father and I, plus we have a chance to visit more often than in the past.

In previous years I was enjoying Nat golfing and having a few hours to myself. I would eat lunch when I wanted, watch some crap TV, muck about on the computer, play games on the iPad or generally amuse myself without the love of my life looking over my shoulders. With the Thrush trauma last year, the old body walking like a drunken sailor, and now the back pain,  I’ve become a bit complacent and my ambition has given up the ghost. I long to sit in the recliner, play games on the iPad, watch boring TV and become brain dead. My emotions are also on the edge.  I’m now getting lonely while Nat is golfing. I’m dwelling on having dentures and my life has become quite stagnant. Even shopping has become somewhat boring. Believe it or not!!!!!! Not having a car, nor being allowed to ride my bike and being just a bit too long of a walk to downtown can add to my loneliness. Nat struggles to come up with any suggestions, despite his tries, as his imagination is a bit lack-luster and his spirit of adventure has disappeared with his childhood. I love him to death for even trying.

Getting out of bed is also becoming a struggle. Not that I’m sad, but I just don’t want to leave the warmth of our bed, close my eyes and return to the Land of Nod. My pill routine is the reason forcing me to get up and at ’em as I have to take one at 9:00 am on the dot. After 20 years this, too, can become a bit of a drag, but my health and well-being are more important than snuggling in bed.

I’m trying hard not to allow my depression to rear its ugly head. I’m hoping that if it does I’ll have the sense to talk things out with myself on my website. The last extreme depression I experienced almost became fatal. The sisters I called were unavailable and Nat tried with every fibre of his being to understand. Nothing in that world makes any sense to him and if he doesn’t understand then he shakes his head and struggles for words to say to me. With the passing of days, talking in bits and bobs, we soon stick our heads out of the sand and get on with our lives, as boring as they are.