A Week From HELL!!

People need to stop getting older and getting sick…. and dying!!

Our friend Doug, of Doug and Brenda, passed away last night!!  Possibly a heart attack.  Long story short….got very sick Friday night, ambulance called rushed to emerg, in ICU immediately and on life support.  He was 65.  For godsake Thursday we were on the phone and emailing stuff back and forth about the trip we were planning for the Spring!!!

First it was my BIL (Ken’s younger brother). 64. A heart attack last weekend – one valve impacted, 2 stents put in.  Home now with some major dietary and lifestyle changes in the works.  A wake up call for him and everyone else!

Then my friend Heidi 63, passed away a week ago Sunday.  Heart attack/congestive heart failure.

A girl I worked with for many years 68 passed away on Tuesday.  Stroke or heart attack have not heard all the details yet.  She was one of my travel buddies when we were working a big project with an Alberta company years ago.

My exSIL, who has been doing great.  Got the all stable on her last CT scan but since just after our trip to Calgary she’s been getting continually more and more nauseous…..her Dr is sending her for a brain CT scan on Thursday….they’re concerned that there may be mets.  I sure hope not because she’s been an incredibly strong person all through this and does not need one more thing on her plate.

This all weighs so heavily on my mind.  All of these people were just fine, or seemed to be, two weeks ago and now?????   As everyone gets older I think we start to expect stuff to happen but not all in one week and none of these people are really “older” to me!

Just why?  This has been such a horrible week.  I want to take my phone and just throw it away…..no more please.



Lunch For Heidi

There isn’t going to be a CofL for her, at least not now.  They had a cabin a couple hours outside of the city which is where she loved to be and spent most of the summer  there….her husband is going to do something next summer when he does her ashes down there.  That is what she would have wanted.

P & L had spent two days with him, helping him get things sorted out, making sure he ate and just basically being there for him.  L’s husband and him are childhood friends too.

I found a bunch of old, old pictures which I took along.  We all had a good time looking at them and admiring how young and slim we all were back in those days.

Old pictures of pictures from their wedding day, July 1975 (for whatever reason that picture comes out sideways no matter which way I rotate it….argh.)


this is a picture of my Dad with some of “the girls”.  My parents and Heidi’s parents were friends.  We were one of the families that had a car…a station wagon….so my parents often loaded it up with all of us girls for picnics, drive -in movie nights (in our jammies), evening drives for ice cream, driving us to/from the skating rink,  even holidays.  Bev is second from the left….she passed away in 2013.


At lunch yesterday they brought boxes of Heidi’s jewelry.  She loved her bling!  She also make jewelry and would buy cheap stuff just for the beads.  There was a lot of it……they thought what a good way for everyone to remember her and she would have hated it all just being given away….so after lunch we went through the boxes.  Everyone took some….


This was my take away stash….the coloured bracelet on the right, which I hope everyone will remember to wear to the next lunch.


There were 7 of the same coloured stone bracelets so we decided to each take one and wear it to all the other lunches…..I hope everyone remembers to do that.  It would be kind of like a bit of her being there too.

Her husband is doing OK….feeling guilty right now.  I’ll give him a call in a couple of days just to see how he’s doing.  Is grief different for men?  I don’t know…..I’m sure they go through all the same thoughts…..sadness, anger, guilt.

Such a busy week for me….physically and in my head.  Today might just be a “do nothing day” but I have a lot of stuff I could be doing which would bug me if I just sat there…..I guess I’ll just figure that out as the day goes along.


Happy Birthday To Kim!

My DIL…..dinner out tonight with everyone to celebrate.  God…these kids are already 35 years old!!  Really….where does all this time go.

Her Dad and his wife will be there…..I do think it’s their turn to pick up the tab for the kids dinners but that would be in my dreams.   I’ve already got myself a bit worked up over that trying to figure out what to say when I get there to let them know that I AM NOT PAYING this time.

It’s a bit of a long story but every time we ALL get together for a birthday dinner I end up picking up the bill for the kids.  He doesn’t contribute a dime.  Don’t get me wrong….I don’t mind paying for their dinners but it’s a bit of principle here….I always do it!  They talk about all the new “toys” (ATV’s, boats) that they buy AND the apartment that they just bought for rental revenue.  The last time I suggested that we split the kids bill all he did was make sort of a pouty face and laugh.  They see the kids maybe once a month if that and very rarely for dinner, let alone taking them out somewhere for dinner.  I don’t think it’s her Dad so much as his wife.  The kids are at my place at least once a week for dinner and/or we’re out for dinner.  It’s not so cheap anymore to do this as often as I do.

The hardest part is if he doesn’t pay and I don’t pay I know the kids can’t afford it…..but then in my head I’m thinking they shouldn’t plan these birthday dinners if they can’t afford it….very much a dilemma today for me.  Maybe as soon as I arrive I’ll blurt out that it’s HIS TURN to pay but then what if he does his pouty face again and says no??  WHAT THEN??

Oh well…..I’ll take my mind of this today catching up on my laundry!  This working business is rough on my routines that I’ve be trying to get going.  Ironing is very therapeutic for me so a good way to spend the afternoon.

Maybe a lunch tomorrow with “the girls”.  Waiting to hear back from them to see what’s going on….will be nice to see them but would rather it be to celebrate one of the birthdays.


Lots Accomplished!

Such a good day with the kids too….sometimes I get a little too involved in my attempts to get their place organized and don’t spend as much time as I’d should with the little ones.

Two cupboards cleaned out and another big load to take to VV.  My DIL is being so good about getting rid of stuff….I hope this lasts.  One of the best things about yesterday was that there was not a sink load of dishes when I got there and there was even room on the counter.  Clean dishes in the DW, which was easily unloaded because I could find a place for everything in the cupboards.  She really does want to do this.  It’s still pretty overwhelming and I doubt that I alone can help her with everything but we are making progress which I hope will be a lasting effort.

I sat and read the “literacy week” books with the two in school.  Both are getting really good….it’s French though.  My French is pretty rusty so I’m not sure just how much help I am but at least I can sit and listen and hope that they’re pronouncing everything the way it should be.

I really don’t like the fall…….it’s such a dark, dull, grey time of year.  It’s like it’s the beginning of the end of yet another year of my life.  I tend to reflect back on everything…..what should I have done with my life, what should I do with the rest of it, what do I regret doing or not doing.  And of course my childhood friend passing away makes it all the more difficult.  I wouldn’t say I’m depressed but I’m also not myself, which I hope is a lot more “up”.  It’s one of those things that I keep telling myself….you can’t change what was…..it’s done, learn from it and move on.  Right now I’m wishing I’d spent more time with my friends but that is just how life was.  I didn’t go to all the birthday lunches or dinners or weekends away all those years ago, partly because we couldn’t afford little things like that when the kids were little and I was a stay at home Mom.  But….and that’s the big but……I certainly could have picked up the phone a lot more often than I did, but then I tell myself they too could have done that…..all those thoughts that go around in your head.

Tomorrow, or one day next week when it’s not so crazy busy for me, I’ll make the effort to make some phone calls to people I haven’t talked to in a while……that is the lesson I learned this week!!

I’m babysitting again today…..just a short day though, only a few hours, while my DIL has to go in to do and “intake” of a new case.  I’ll only have the little one this afternoon so I think her and I will go shopping instead of cleaning or organizing.


Happy Birthday to My Mom…

She would have been 88 today.  I still find it hard to believe that she’s been gone 9 years.

My Mom had Alzheimers.  Such a devastating disease.  She was such a fun, full of life person and to watch that life get sucked out of her over the years was a very hard thing.  She went through the many different stages of it…….anxiety, denial, anger, paranoia and aggressiveness….especially with my Dad.  That said, once she’d gone through all those she was happy…..always a smile, laughed at everything and anything whether she understood what people were saying or not.  She enjoyed music of any kind….a good old Frank Sinatra or Dean Martin (her fav!) tune would get her tapping her foot and singing along if she could.

I’m not surer what is worse….to be so totally oblivious to your surroundings and the people around you but still be happy or to have all your marbles and be physically incapable of doing the things you like because you’ve lost your strength, various other ailments that restrict your movement or the worst thing ever….losing your eye sight.

Enough sadness….although definitely great memories.  These last couple of days have left me in one of those funky moods.  I’m just so grateful for all that I have and need to remember that!!

It’s Tuesday so babysitting day.  The plan today is the pot and pan cupboard and I’ll get to see if the new dishes are helping to keep things a little more organized…..

As much as I might complain about doing this, I really enjoy these days with the kids and helping out with whatever I can, even if it’s shortlived…..it makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something.

Must go now and slap/snap myself out of this mood….


Losing A Friend

One of my old childhood girlfriends passed away on the weekend.  How very sad.  She just turned 63 in July.  It happened in the wee hours of Sunday morning.  She’d had a bit of a cold and hadn’t felt very good for a couple of days….woke up and was having trouble breathing.  Her husband called 911 right away and they arrived within a few minutes but too late.  He was still on the phone with them when she passed out….possibly they thought from hyperventilating.  The parameds worked on her for 45 minutes and couldn’t revive her…..how desvastating!  So quick.

Heidi is one of the seven girls that I grew up with.  She was a bridesmaid at my wedding, I was her maid of honor.  Her parents and my parents were pretty good friends for a number of years.  Another friend, Bev, passed away 3 years ago.  Heart attack.  She was only 60!!

All so very sad.  H and her husband had just sold their house in the city and moved an hour or so out of town to a new, smaller home.  Both were retired as of last year.  The plan was to get a motorhome and travel all over the place.  The new motorhome is being delivered on Nov 1.

They’d been married 41 years, no children.

All this just reinforces that we must do what we want to do while we can!  Don’t wait and wait and wait……you just never know.  One day all is good, life is normal then boom…..it all changes in a few minutes or a second.

Over the years we hadn’t seen each other as often as we should have I guess but that is just how life is, isn’t it.  I did see her and one of the other girls more often than the rest.   Usually birthday lunches.  Now of course I wish I’d seen her and all the rest of them much more often.

L and another friend are heading out to their place today to help her husband do whatever he wants.  The tentative plan is that I will go out there on Thursday with Linda (another of the girls) to help.  If nothing else I can at least relate to what Mike is going through and maybe just sit and listen……I know there isn’t anything that I can say.

Last week Ken’s younger brother was hospitalized with a small heart attack.  No surgery necessary but did have two stents put in….one blocked valve.  He’s home now but some lifestyle changes will be required….diet, exercise etc.  He’s 64.

This is such a wake up call…..every day I plan things in my head but more often than not those plans don’t materialize.  I’ve really got to get serious about doing more of the things I want to do….so be it, even if it means doing it by myself.  That has been one of the stumbling blocks for me.  I really need to work on this.

Today I’m off to work again…..one more day of training which will hopefully be enough.   I’ve got my little note pad and will use my phone camera to take pictures of the “drop off” spots and all the places I go too.  This getting up early, in the dark, is something that I don’t miss from my old working days.  Luckily it’s not going to be that often!



Inside and Outside Chores….

It took all day Friday to recover from my one day of work so I didn’t get too much done but made up for it yesterday.  Not used to getting up at 5:30 anymore or having to get ready to go to WORK!!

Yesterday I had Kallie for the day while the rest of them went off to the annual “Cassie and Friends” family day.  She had a bit of a cold so not good to expose all those kids to that.  That association really does great stuff for kids and their families…..all sorts of  resources, information, direction for treatment, support etc. http://cassieandfriends.ca/programs/family-day/

Kallie and I spent most of the morning outside raking leaves….she really did help and had lots of fun until the little girl at the end of the cul de sac came out….they both helped for a bit and then were gone to play and do things that were more fun than helping Grandma!!

What a thankless job raking leaves is!!  I’ve filled my green bin to it’s max….anymore and I wouldn’t be able to move the thing…and have made piles of leaves, that will still hopefully be in some sort of piles, for the next green bin pick up.  They really should do an additional run or two during this time of year….they want you to keep the drains cleared and all that which means raking them up pretty much every day that it’s not pouring rain…

In the afternoon Kallie helped me clean out the pantry.  She spent her time putting all the stuff on the counter and then sorting/matching all the plastic containers and lids.  In the course of doing this we found money!!  That’s not a bad thing.  I had a bowl on a shelf that I would put loose change in.  Somehow a week or two ago that got dumped over.  The racks in there are wire meshy type things, so the change just all trickled down.  Over the last few days every time I’ve pulled out one of the drawers/shelves, it’s sounded and acted sort of like a slot machine…..tinkle, tinkle and out of the bottom would come flying a few coins.  The bottom part of the cabinet has been taken care of, next week it’ll be the top shelves…..just how many Christmas tins does one need…..especially one who doesn’t bake….for cookies and bars etc.???  Definitely not as many as I have up there!

A few more holiday pics……

Back from our morning trip to Postiano for our Beer and Pizza cooking class……lots of fun and yet another new pizza making technic…..absolutely no yeast in the dough!!  And it rose just lovely….the trick is letting it sit long enough.   This also makes a wonderfully thin, crispy crust, if that is what you like.


Our last sunset from Sorrento and our farewell dinner at a great restaurant, Zi Ntonio,  down in Marina Grande. Everything was delicious…..my antipasto – shrimp cocktail on a bed of radicchio, primo piatti – seafood with fresh homemade pasta, no secondi because there was soooo much, and dolci – profiteroles drowning in a glorious chocolate sauce and lots of wine or anything else we wanted to drink.  A great evening and made even better by being right on the water…..

A month ago yesterday I’d just gotten home….that trip seems like it was ages ago now.  I thought I would be happy to not have any more trips planned until next spring but now I’m thinking that may not be the case….I do so love to travel or just even to get away for a few days…..must think about that.


Hi Ho, Hi Ho…..

It’s off to work I go…..

I’m going to be a parts delivery person!!  On an on call basis only, which I’m hoping means once a week or so.  My sons company is always in need of drivers because the ones they do have seem to miss a lot of days of work.  I’ll be the 3rd in line “on call” person so shouldn’t get too many calls to go in.

I really quite enjoyed myself yesterday doing my “driver orientation”.  Who knew there were that many mechanics…..thousands of them!!  Should never be a problem finding someone to fix my car, or boat (don’t have one but….).  It’s a dirty job though…..holy!!  A lot of the places, being auto repairs, at greasy…..everything including door handles, if they actually have them!!  Some of the businesses lots are just gravel/dirt and because it was raining big mud puddles.  Lots of dogs…..met some really nice ones, big and small, but also met one that wasn’t so nice!

One of the fun deliveries was to the automotive class at the local high school.  First off I didn’t know if I was talking to a student or the teacher!!  It was the teacher but he looked 15 to me.  And I was surprised by the number of girls that were in the class AND quite entertained by the clothes some of them were wearing…..high heels and tube tops!  I guess overalls are a thing of the past…..

My trainer was one of the old guys (retired…and bored) A nice guy and maybe because he was an old guy (like me) very efficient, professional and friendly at every place we went too.  I got introduced as the “new driver” AND “Craig’s Mom”.

The only real challenge is remembering where you put the parts your delivering and the order sheet.  Every place is different.  And because most of these guys are busy working away on a job, they don’t want to be disturbed so it’s important that you put the stuff in the right place and not bug them.  The first delivery yesterday was two dozen donuts as a goodwill gesture because one of the drivers the day before had dropped the order off on the wrong desk….I will definitely be taking more notes on this when I go back on Monday for my second training day.

Most people were incredibly friendly and fun…..but then I haven’t screwed anything up yet either.  When you’re not delivering parts, you’re putting them away stocking the shelves.  This is a bit challenging for me, first because I have no idea what some of the parts are and there doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to how the shelving/stock is set up.  Everyone seems to know exactly where to go for whatever, so that is a good thing for them!!

I hope this helps them out and I hope I will like it just as much on Monday.  I would never in a million years think that I’d like a job like this….and really if it were my “life career” I probably wouldn’t but when you’re retired and want a little structure in your life, working at a place like this one day a week or so is not bad.  You’re not taking “baggage” home with you at the end of the day and you feel like you’ve accomplished something AND even get paid for it!!

I was tired last night though….lots of getting in and out of the car and lots of lifting, luckily nothing too heavy but heavy enough that I had to make a couple of trips to/from the car instead of carrying two or three of the packages….all good for the hips and abs, right?



A Good Day!

Lots accomplished at the kids place.  My DIL was very receptive to the new dishes….and getting rid of a bunch of the old ones.  I emptied the dish/glass cupboards and loaded it all onto the kitchen table, then putting in the new ones and some of the old stuff that I knew were keepers…all the rest I left piled up for her to look at and make a decisions on when she got home.  I sort of felt bad about doing that because I remember coming in the door from work and really not wanting to do anything but sit down!

She was a trooper and made her decisions.  A lot of the plastic glasses went back in the cupboard….ah sigh….but a lot of the dishes, mugs, cups and orphaned lids did not.  We loaded all the to go stuff into a couple of boxes and put them in the back of my car….gone!  It’s a start and I told we’d eventually get through it……that was to encourage her because I really don’t think we’ll ever manage this clean up ourselves without some professional help……but I’ll take all little bits of progress that I can.

The kids were fun when they came home from school.  It’s “Literacy Week” so they have books that have to be read, or in Karter’s case read to them (he can’t read yet).  We did that and he sat for an hour or more practicing his letters.  He’s really enjoying school.

Today is an in day at home for me, or at least for most of the day.  I may phone Bev and see if she wants to do a VV (Value Village) run…..I could drop off the stuff from the kids place and see if they have any new and exciting picture frames.  This morning though I have a closet to get working on…..the one in my daughters room.  Her room is a mess!!  But in all fairness to her she doesn’t really have a lot of room to put things away.  That closet is filled with wrapping paper, boxes of books (could also go to VV!) and the parents boxes of estate stuff, which could all be moved either into the other spare room closet or into storage under the stairs.  I’m not sure whatever lurks in that closet but I’ll find out!

A few more holiday pics…..it seems like such a long time ago but really it was just a month!

These are of our morning day trip to Positano.  What a glorious place it is….so very touristy but so very pretty….

Early morning coffee and pastries….left at 7:30AM so we could beat the traffic on that famous Amalfi Coast road…

The narrow road from the Villa down to our drivers pick up point….and this was one of the wider parts….some places you could stand in the middle of road and touch the walls on both sides!!


That famous road…..not for the faint at heart.  In some places there is nothing, other than a two foot concrete barrier, between you and thousands of feet down into the sea.


We took the ferry back to Sorrento which was great.  The views along the coast are beautiful.


Goodbye Positano…..I would have to check my trip journal but I think that almost 10 years ago to the day we were having lunch here ….



Babysitting Day

That’s what Tuesdays are now.  The only negative would be having to pick up kids….I really don’t like to have to drive with them if I don’t have too but….

Last week I had decided I wasn’t going to do anything at their house….just because.  But I couldn’t stand it.  I did manage to do nothing for an hour or two only.  Did dishes and tidied what could be tidied and then I took a good look around the kitchen to see what the problem is……besides not cleaning up after themselves.  Why are the counters always full of dishes (clean and dirty)….and the sink!  The kids have all these cutsie cups and mugs…all big, some with cute lids that look like hats, none of which fit into each other for stacking in the cupboards…..no room, so they just stay on the counter and get all mixed in with the dirty ones.  They don’t have a lot of cupboard space and what is in them is minimal because of the shapes and sizes of everything.

It’s the dishes that are the problem!!  Too many of them and too many of them are too big!  It was a lovely set of dishes but so not practical.  The set is really big…the big square plates that I swear are half an inch thick and weigh a ton, you can only stack two of the bowls on the shelf and the mugs are huge…so I went and bought them a new set of dishes….with my DIL’s approval of course.  Much more practical with lighter plates, bowls and mugs that stack good and they’re plain old white!  Today that is what I’ll do….reorganize some of the cupboards.  I’m also going to take their old dishes away with me.  The set is missing a number of pieces now…broken or just simply have disappeared somewhere so not worth keeping.  It’s a start….we’ll see if it helps.

I actually lost sleep thinking about this……I really need to work on that!!  I’m treading very carefully but also figure that whatever I do is part of the compromise…..free babysitting in exchange for me doing whatever to keep my mind at ease.  I think this is a win, win situation for them!!  But is does help me too….