Do you have an expensive habit that you need to support? I do. What also makes this habit doubley expensive is that each time, I have to have two. Not just one shot...I HaVe to have two. "Doubles for me Sam". It seems too that at times like this is when I am feeling that I am not going in the direction I want to go, I need to exercise this habit. And we just can't afford it. I don't know that my family knows about this habit. They have seen the results of my habit from time to time. Usually at family gatherings I feel I can let loose and go with it. You know, those merry times like Christmas and Easter. I tend to fall back to this habit when the sky seems its bleakest, or everything around me is rosy...but not me...no, even that doesn't stop me. Today, I went out on my own. Jerry didn't know where I was going. I just had to leave the house. I had to get out. Now I regret how much money this run is going to cost me again.
Is there anyone out there who can help me? I need help. I can't stop taking photos. I can't stop getting doubles....maybe, just maybe I will take a shot that someone else would like to see. Gosh, photos are so expensive!!
U.S.A. vs Canada for the semi-finals;
I love Soccer...I mean REAL soccer.
Tonight we just happened across the game that decided who would go onto the gold medal final in an invitational event. U.S. had outplayed the Canadians as far as agressive play goes. Lars was incredible throughout the 90 minutes plus 30 minutes overtime. I was totally impressed with many of the Canadians..except..now listen up you guys...Brennan, please, please, please get some umph work done on your corner throws...Canadian coaches, please, please get rid of McKenna. He had no place in the centre. He had no idea whether to face north or south. And, to shoot straight at Kellar...please!!! McKenna had no energy. He never even attempted any rush at the ball. Thank goodness for the new-comer Tam Salewa. We will see much more from this rookie...thank goodness. Thanks too to DeRosaria. You rock man!! Too bad those big, bad Americans were up against you. And Canadians, one other thing, you did great work in the box, but please, please, get the act in gear. Keep the ball in play over the line, then you won't have to show off your great defensive form in the box. That American goaltender...was amazing. When they cast for the movie, I know exactly which two guys might run with that part,...I just can't remember their very famous names (one guy played a famous astronaut in "The Real Stuff"..he was the really nice guy who was completely true to his wife; or else that guy who was married to Demi Moore). That Kellar is going to be the one to watch when the U.S.A. play Costa Rica. I don't know about the bronze medal game. What I don't know is whether I will watch it. I don't think Canada should have too much trouble against South Korea. However, is McKenna set to play in that game?...He was horrible! Awful! Get rid of him! Go Canada (all the other players....). Now I really must get some shut-eye. Hasta Manana (practising for tomorrow)
Positive perspective prevails today:
Yesterday, I am not exactly sure why, but it just "stunk". The place wasn't right, the province wasn't right, the boys and Jerry just weren't right, the air was so negative.
I woke up this morning expecting the opposite and positivity prevailed. I had a wonderful morning with xdr's reading group. They have a real flair for reading. Some will be dramatists, I am sure, while others are already fostering the air of speed reading. One of the wee lads today finally forgot I was there and started slowly reading silently to himself. It is a good group of kids and they were all fighting over who was going to have the book that night to take home and finish. Now, that is teaching. That is fun.
After that, I had some chores and decisions to make downtown. I received one of my first responses to a possible job position with a local tutoring facility with a "thanks but no thanks"...oh well. I then started to do some of that "active" searching that Jerry's group has been encouraging him to do. I started, then stopped, and I may have more to tell you about that tomorrow. I did get another possible job offer emailed off for a billingual receptionist position. Maybe if I could get my foot in the door with this company, I could see me getting into some development with them. This same company turned down Jerry flat, so he is routing for me...but helping be realistic. This group is clearly set around the employment of those who they know...and we aren't in that area yet.
I did find some cool stores today though. One store is a manufacturer of lovely Mexican style pottery. This company has total control over the pottery which is made in Mexico, but is made in order to survive our 4 weather systems. I talked with the owner and his right hand gal. It turns out the right hand is off to China to teach. My first inclination was to whip out a job resume, but I cooled off. I really just wanted to stand and drool at these wonderful pieces of work. They are absolutely exquisite. I did find out that in fact the new manager is a lady from Mexico. She is having a bit of a rough time though with the transition and moving her two children 7 and 14 her on her own. I will hopefully be popping back into the store again on Thursday to say my salutations (hopefully my Spanish will not fail me too much).
When I left that store, I found a really wonderful little Japanese store. It mostly serves as a market. I am so glad to see the products and I recognize some of the containters from my own Japanese cooking classes. I may be able to try out some of my old recipes again with the actual goods. The proprietor had just finished an incredible bit of mixed sushi (veggie and non-veggie). That with some veggies and beef made up the base of our supper and the real delight is that xdr loved it. Yahoo.
Alexander is doing much better. His skin is still very thin and any cure there will be slow. Even the simplest of the prescribed creams offers only pain. We have had a non-soap that is used to clean him once in a while, but that process is far to painful for him most of the time. His rash is starting to change to the scales (which he has mis-named as 'lice' a number of times), but his ability to hold off from itching may help the skin to continue to heal. There is no idea which virus he contracted, just a list of horrible diseases that we can be assured that he did not contract. Our biggest problem now is trying to get a very reluctant homeworker caught up slowly while also trying to maintain the present assignments. He has a large project to do on Ontario. It has been a blessing and a beast. As he sees the things that he remembers, it has started him back into his dump and wishes for a return to live there. However, he did say today that this place is so good that he doesn't know what he would say right now if he was offered to only live in one or the other.
Today I used some of the money received as gifts at Christmas time and I bought xdr a feather bed. It is heavenly. With the feathers on the bottom, and the feather duvet overtop, I fell into a quick nap in no time. So, if this doesn't offer the needed sleep and xdr continues to cuddle into bed beside me, I think I may just get up and take over his comfy bed. Hopefully he will love it so much he won't want to get back into those old habbits. This will be night to tell.
Tomorrow morning I am off to the woods of the other side of the lake to practice yoga with my sensei in her log house. We will be facing into the bush. I really like a lot of the direction she gives, but the pace is sometimes much slower than I would like to go. Hopefully, when I get my act in gear, i will be able to retain the moves in my head long enough that I could come home and use them as a form of refocussing for days like yesterday.
Well, tomorrow is the big resignation day from Grand Erie School Board. I held it off for as long as possible as I fear this is my last glance at that part of my life, that part of life that defined for me a great deal of who I am and why I was put here on the earth...but, I am sure the move will be best for all three of us here. So, help me bid the fond fairwell with a glass of wine, mead, soda, pint or cider. Another new breaze may be blowing on the wind someday.
Thanks for reading. I hope to be back into the daily routine again soon.
Anger Management to the office please:
Do you ever have one of those days where you are just pissed off at everything and everyone, yet you have no real idea why? That is where I have been at today.
I started the day off fine. I took my son to school, and planned on getting some chores done in the city. I was ready to face the world, until I turned on the radio. In B.C., in the wee hours of last night, the provincial government started to do what every other government does...made up its own mind as to how the world around me should be run, and they didn't have the nerve to ask me if I was ok with their decision. Contracts, binding agreements were stopped, torn, refigured according to the governments wished. Three bills were passed (2 effecting education and 1 effecting health) between 1 and 4 a.m. last night (Sunday night!!).
The teachers of B.C. will have so much in raise (7.5% over 3 years), and the class sizes maximums will be changed for the primary grades. Each grade maximum being upped by 2 more students...but wait, grades 4 - 12...no maximum. Please!!! Oh and one of the health unions, don't even bother asking them what they want...most of those people are now out of a job. I mean...what the hell is going on. I can't get these things figured out. Does anyone have the Coles Notes somewhere that I can borrow. Isn't a contract, a binding agreement until its due date. Then there are negotiations...give and take...at a bargaining table. In the end, give and take is done on both sides in order to come up with an idea, an agreement. Does this mean I can tell the bank that we passed a bill here last night, and we decided the contract we have with them is no good. I will only pay 2.5% interest on my mortgage (for just the next 3 years...then nothing), and by the way, I have 2 other accounts that you have to look after...because I am not going to anymore.
Education has become a babysitting service. Today, the teachers took a day of protest. They will not get paid for today. They had to all do this in order to make this thing work...oh ya, except for the grade 12 provincial English exam...those students had to go to school...because the government said so. Parents are complaining. We were only told this was going to happen on Friday. How are we supposed to get time off work or find someone to look after my child. Those who could afford the $52 lift fees (plus rentals and food where necessary) went off to the ski slopes with the kids for some "quality time". ...thank you B.C. teachers. Why weren't the kids, the teachers and the parents all in force together?
Then, I started to muse about what I was going to do. The crunch is on. We are officially "moved in". I have got to get a job. I haven't officially resigned from my job in Ontario...but I must. I must give up a job that I had studied hard in university, took extra courses, went to teacher's college, took more courses, attained an honour roll mark for my B.A., excellent marks in my courses and college, worked toward and attained my specialist in special education, French as a Second Language, English as a second language, so that this year I would have been returning to a job somewhere in the county (which by the way is now covering 2 other boards that it didn't cover before I left), for somewhere around $60,000/yr. I was a professional. Now here I am trying to figure out which diploma course I will take at the local college so that I can become a legal secretary or a dental/medical secretary. Even to be a flag person...you know those people who stand at a construction site to say when cars can and can't go past....needs an "official" flag certification and and updated St. John's ambulance with c.p.r. and first aid before any application is looked at (oh yes, and the all important and mandatory security check...all to be funded by yourself).
Forget about any idea of training in a field of medicine tech. I couldn't get a job in that area even if I was qualified. Those jobs are being cut and all of the local hospitals are being closed. Forget about a job in computer anything. Not even my husband can get a job with 35 years experience. Forget about a job in import/export...nobody here does that sort of thing...a bloody secretary job is the only thing that I have some experience in. Not exactly what I paid all of that university, extra courses and specialist training in....and then there is this stupid Lupus...I don't even know if I have the energy for a stupid job. I have become an over-educated, non-professional, sick, ghoul.!!! UGH
I love the air here. I love the scenery here. I love where we live, and where Alexander is going to school. But, I have no friends. I haven't a life outside of volunteering (which is nearly running me ragged...and that is without even having a job). Everyone I am around is either 8 years old or 58+. I don't have the medical support here (except for the other wonderful people I met at the Lupus Support Group). ...why won't I just open my eyes and get on with "it". I feel like such a loser.
Anyway, enough of my going on. I guess I should just go to bed and wake up tomorrow so that I can get off to xdr's school and do the reading program with the kids. I know, I have to be the one to make the changes, but you know, I wouldn't mind something positive just falling out of the sky and landing on my lap right about now.
"Voice of Canada" is echoing again as we remember a great man.
I loved Mr. Gzowski. He was like a "father" voice for me when I lived in Ottawa in the early to mid '80s. His intellect was incredible and a great voice of guidance during some of those early morning work dates at "Girol books". It was then that I became addicted to "Morningside" on CBC-radio. He joined me each morning as I read over the evening's telexes at "Rigby Trade". His laugh was contageous and he "introduced" me to so many great people around our own world. His knowledge of everything Canadian often reminded me of my own father. Like my dad, he would get me thinking about a historical event in our Canadian life or a current person who was shaping my very existence as a Canadian. His wit and understanding helped me to understand the diversities and the current changes in my Canada. I always pictured him as though we were sitting talking at a dinner table. He would be robed in a multi-coloured plaid shirt, rolled up to his elbows, coffee in one hand and the "Globe and Mail" in the other. Off to the side would be a coffee steaming, waiting to be sipped. Relaxed, yet controlled, he would develop a dialog that either had us laughing with him or continuing an earlier discussion well into the morning with whomever had shared that day's "Morningside". I will miss you "father" Gzowski. Rest well.
Does anyone know what language this is???
Mornie utulie...it means darkness has come
Mornie alantie...it means darkness has fallen
This is part of the chorus of Enya's song from LOTR "May it Be"
It is late here...past 3:30 a.m., but I can't seem to sleep so I have been spending some fun time doing some overdue letters and such. When I went to play this song, I was mesmerized by these two phrases, but I don't recognize the dialect.
Any ideas?...comment to firstname.lastname@example.org
Movie Night in Kelowna
What I am about to blog might get some of you upset with me...but I wanted to blog this anyway.
Although we have tried to change our old habits and not see too many movies, tonight we broke that rule...once.
All three of us went out to see Lord of the Rings:FOTR and we all really enjoyed it. Xdr is familiar with the story, but not too familiar with the type of prose JRR Tokien uses. Unfortunately the detail of the novel was starting to frustrate him as I read and re-read sections of the story, soon leaving it to my own interpretation for him. Today though, we decided, despite many of the rather "scary" scenes, we would risk taking xdr to see the movie. He loved it!!! As did we.
Jerry and I saw the movie in a packed movie house around the time it came out. We hired a babysitter, only to return and see that xdr was still awake wanting to know every detail of every part of the show. We kept firm to our decision that the plot, content, visualization and complex character development would be beyond his grasp. We had decided that when the DVD came out, then we would introduce the movie to him. By then too, we would have read the book with him. However, as every good parent...we set our standard...then modified it according to the situation.
I am really glad that we did. Now xdr is more excited about reading the book. There were even some inconsistencies he noticed just from his limited introduction to TLOTR. He wasn't scared at all and he asked questions that were leading, not frustrating. He even cried and clapped at the end. This was definitely a good choice from that perspective.
And, we needed to get out. The three of us have been together most of the time over this last time with Alexander. The tests for mono, menengitis, Kawasaki's disease...and the always-active little guy have warn away at us a bit. Today, we found a bump on the lower part of xdr's head (near his spine). Thankfully we have one of the doctor's appointments already set for tomorrow. The new medication has helped xdr feel more comfortable and not so itchy, but the rash is still all over his body (although we think it may have receded a bit from his soles and his palms). However, going by how xdr is...as active as always...we don't see the signs of a very sick child which would be indicative of the illnesses that he is being tested for. So, thank you for your prayers and good words. Keep the prayers going.
It amazes me the delights of children. Xdr has had to remain home because of his health this past week. He will probably be kept here until the end of next week. We have so many things to do...read, draw, paint, colour, watch tv, etc., etc., etc.
My own childhood memories were brought to the surface yesterday when Brian told me of Trev's recent blog about "The Hillarious House of Frankenstein". Great link Trev. Yes, those are happy times for me as well. Good memories. Thanks again Brian for the call and chat with Alexander and your boys...that was great...
Then, I was remembering the few times we were kept from school because we were ill. Having a father who was a teacher and knew the value of good attendance at school, and a mother who was a nurse and knew the true indicators of health issues, we were not allowed to be home from school very often.
However, when I was in grade three (as xdr is now), I was kept home after an injury I "suffered". A friend of mine at the time (Debbie Dobbie, I think was her name), had decided that the quicker route to school would be better after our lunch break had meandered on longer than it should have. She decided that the quick run down "Vinegar Hill" on our bikes was much better use of time than cycling over to highway 6 and then north to school. I had never ventured down this hill on bike. We had laughed and howled in the winter as we sped down the unused road that led directly to the Grand River below. Our sleds and snowsuits were our ticket down a very fast, and rather dangerous winter wonderland. The hill was not yet barred from "traffic", but nary a VW bug nor jeep was seen trying to use the hill road as a connector from the Elora Road above, down to the South River Road below.
Now, this cycle down the same very steap hill was to happen either in fall or spring...time has melded the two together. My friend was first to coast quickly down the hill. Screaming with excitement, she encouraged me to follow her lead. Scared nearly to death, I stood on my pedals with the brakes ready...until...suddenly the chain broke. In those days, the brakes were an integral part of the chain and pulley assembly. No chain = no brakes. Quickly I sat (or fell) in the small "V" that made the bike frame commonly a "girl's" bike and I used my feet in Flintstone manner trying to stop the bike from continuing so quickly down the hill. With each inch the bike's momentum increased and in direct proportion so too my fear. Sensing the outcome of a quick drop and the Grand River below, I decided (or it just happened?) to tilt myself to the right. Bike and I were intertwined upon a rock. Now all I could see was red. My leg was open. I could see things that I later learned were tendons, muscle and patella bone and blood. The red pool overflowed the edges of the seemingly clean cut and with that I "SCREAMED" in fear or pain...the both were one at the time.
A fearful e.r. visit ended with a leg reluctantly stitched into 15 horrible stiches. When I regained consciousness...well, not too much kidding aside, as I did end up getting very sick due to infection that had developed in the wound. The doctor's desire to get rid of the crying child had perhaps overridden his due diligence in cleaning the area thoroughly. The wound had to have 5 stiches removed so that the growing green puss could escape freely. So, for once, I was allowed to stay home from school.
I remember the green wood and green flowered couch that had been converted into my bed. The floor had the parquet pattern that was the utmost of style at the time. To give the room a homey style there was a large, circular polyester green, grey and white braided"rag rug" that created a whirlpool form in the middle of the family room (matching oval pieces had been formed over the stairs leading up to the harvest kitchen). The room was clad in green panelling, and as yet, there was nothing more than a matching chair with the matching stool (also trimmed with the green flowered upholstery) and the coffee table and side tables to match. I think there were green lamps, or maybe green lampshades and a matching tall lamp (fuzzy on that light). And, the huge double doors that led to the backyard (it had not yet been landscaped and there was still a piece of 4 X 8 that served as a ramp from the backyard mud to the door) were beautifully dressed with a polyester green lace drape (with matching tie backs secured to the moulding on either side of the door frames). The room was a perfect picture from Sears.
In the corner, standing on it's own metal (with fake wood top) t.v. stand was our black and white Zenith t.v. The "piece-de-resistance", the "etre" behind wanting to be home from school. I was able to have the control (somewhat). Since I was "couch-bound" the dial was set and would stay on the same channel. But the day was mine. I remember sitting with my "horsey stories" nearby, my glass of drink (probably juice)...this was all sitting on the metal folding t.v. tables we had (I thought they were wonderful because the top of the table could come right off and serve as a lovely white metal tray depicting a beautiful yellow or red rose) beside the "bed". When the family had left, I was ready. First there were the kids shows (Hillarious House of Frankenstein, maybe Cheektewaga's Captain Tom, Captain Kangaroo and Mr. Greenjeans, then on to Mr. Dressup and other CBC children's shows), then, around 10 o'clock the game shows began (Let's Make a Deal, The $10,000 Pyramid, Password, Joker's Wild...and the sort). By afternoon, the soaps started. I wasn't into those "grown-up" shows, so likely this was a chance to catch a nap or read a bit of my book. Then, the day ended. Quickly. It seemed much quicker than if I had been in school. My family would be home....maybe mom first at 3:30 following her shift from "The General". Then Trevor would have been picked up by Mom, soon Brian would doddle in next (with my homework...remember the teacher Dad, well we never would be really "away" from school. That morning, Brian would have taken a note to Mrs Luxton telling of my accident and asking that the day's work be sent home. Brian would dutifully show up at her door at the end of the day to receive all of the books and teacher-written assignments that I needed to get caught up on). Mom would get me right into the assignments then Dad soon would get home from CWDHS.
Those were also the days before we had anything like a "remote control", so needless to say, many quarrels ensued in our childhood over which station the t.v. was to be set at (the strongest person would also take the dial off of the t.v. so "their" channel couldn't be changed. That continued until someone figured out that by attaching a set of plyers to the changing nib, the dials could be moved...and of course, others became stronger over time). However, the other perk about being home and "ill" is that my brothers would show a great deal of caring. The dial would easily be changed to my preferred station...at least as long as I chose "Gilligan's Island", or "The Addams Family".
So, there was xdr today, remote in hand flicking through the 45+ stations trying to decide which show to stop on. Not being able to find a good channel, he slipped in one of his VHS movies. Soon, he was watching shows that he had pre-recorded from earlier in the week, then he turned to the DVD and his new "Ghostbusters" movie. But even that wouldn't do. He sat at the computer for a while trying to write books to his sisters, then he cuddled for some storytime with me. Finally, the thing he really enjoyed the best, was a full out fun-filled game of Monopoly with Dad. Xdr won. Boy, being sick isn't always so bad...is it?
Oh Dear What Can The Problem Be?
Today Alexander would hopefully find some relief from the sore, itchy rash that is covering his whole body from scalp to the bottom of his feet....or would he? We went off to our doctor's appointment knowing that the rash hadn't yet given up, but I was hoping that the doctor would know why and what to do. There he stood, puzzled. He pulled out a small palm computer from his belt. We went over the symptoms again. He looked puzzled and not sure where to go next. He decided to consult his mini-computer, stylis flicking up and down the tiny screen.
The whole time I am thinking....hey, how difficult is this. He has hives. He is going to be well right? Just say that he will be well. Just say that he only needed some rest. Hey, maybe even it was nothing...he could go to the school trip tomorrow without any problem. Right?
The doctor smiled at me, "Well, I'm glad that we took the bloodwork that we did take. At least we know that ..... " He paused to let me finish, "The flesh eating disease?" Yes. My heart jumped several beats. I wanted to confirm, "So he DOESN'T have that flesh eating disease, right?" The doctor looked at me, then at the palm computer..no, but....what?
We waited for a while in the waiting room waiting for our doctor to consult another. Very soon we found out that we had an emergency appointment with a paediatrician (I had already heard good words about this doctor) at the hospital. This was 3:30 p.m. Our appointment was for 4 p.m.
Timelines are completely a different zone once one enters an e.r. We did the usual things, gave the info, saw the triage nurse, sat, waited. A volunteer knew who we were waiting for and he said that he just saw the doctor arrive...it shouldn't be long now. We waited. Xdr and I sat reading while Jerry took the chance to go see Ross.
Ross is not well again. He has lost all of his hair due to the treatments. He is quite bright though and knew it was Jerry as soon as Jerry found Ross's new room. This room was bigger and brighter. Good news since Jerry's cousin, Janice spends the night at her husband's bedside in a cot each night. His room was decorated in Valentines. The girls (that would mean his daughter and his nieces) had put on a Valentine play for him and left the decorations up to help keep his mood up. A doctor interrupted their visit. Ross now has convulsive spells...irregularly every couple of seconds. He finds it so annoying. The doctors find this adds to the puzzle that is Ross's rare cancer. Jerry decides it is a good chance to say a quick good bye and return to me and Alexander.
Shortly after Jerry returns, we are ushered into a large children's e.r. room. The walls were gayly bordered with letters and circus animals all in primary colours. The room is large, but the only bed is a cage...I mean, crib. The doctor explains that he is a resident, or did he say attending, or student...oh, it all melds after a while. He asks us our names again...for the third time. A young, energetic man. No ring that told of a wife and few automatic responses that would come from an experienced father. He neatly writes our names at the top of the white hospital sheet, then begins. Again, we give the timeline, the drugs, the numbers, the hours, the days, the spots...but nothing is joining together. His handwriting now is similar to sanscrit or some other alien caligraphy...I guess he "IS" a doctor. He is very confident. He asks the right questions. He gives the puzzled looks. He thinks of more questions, then he examines Alexander. I could see in his eyes that something was off. He wasn't expecting exactly what he saw. He asks some more questions, probes xdr's ears and eyes and mouth and glands. After some thought, he lets us know that we may have a bit of time to wait as the doctor is seeing a lot of patients today. We don't mind, please let the pro have some answers.
The three of us don't say much. Alexander couldn't wait for the man to leave so that he could get back to his book. He scratches another itch, and scratches and scratches. As I gently hold onto his hands, I too try to escape...I have chosen a rather interesting book to take with me to the doctor's appointment, never guessing that it would come in handy for the next 6 hours. "The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary". It was recommended to me from a stranger. I knew the author and I wanted to read a book he wrote about the history of a map...how did I end up with this? Thankfully the book is interesting. Xdr becomes involved in Harry Potter's world while Jerry realizes that he now has time to actually read the articles of the sports and B.C. magazines he had picked up in the waiting room.
We wait. We read. We talk once in a while. But mostly, we just try to focus on not focussing. We don't really think. We just want to be there...be there with Alexander.
It is now past 7 p.m. and we are getting a bit hungry and our lips are very dry. We had juice earlier, but I thought I would look for a cookie or some lip balm. I leave the two guys for a moment. When I enter the noise and rush of the e.r. area, I see that our young doctor is with another, taller, older man..."the pro". Maybe this is the man we are waiting for. They are finishing with a patient. Maybe we are next. I walk quickly to the store...pick up "mentos" (xdr and my fav quick fix), then blistex and 3 oatmeal cookies.
When I return, the doctors and a nurse are sitting at a table. Talking. Discussing. The one doctor is squinting his eyes as though there is something on the paper, something that is between the caligraphy, something that is there but he just can't yet see. I figure they must be discussing the last patient's file knowing inside that they are discussing my son's case.
I join the boys who are more than happy to see the cookies...and the mentos. Xdr stops and talks about what is happening in the book. He is amazed at the how exacting the character lines from the movie match those of their character partners in the book. He exclaims aloud, "How did she do that?" We eat, and laugh at something (I can't remember what) and suddenly, we hear a big snap sound coming from xdr's mouth...a stone. He chewed down on a stone. A stone was inside his cookie!!! In disbelief, I take the stone and run in under the tap with hot water....the doctors arrive.
Again, we answer the same questions. Again Xdr is disrobed and prodded. The doctors comment back and forth in their own lingo. Like a trip to Romania...I get most of what they are saying, but not quite everything...a different language, though similar to one I have heard before. I know now something isn't right, but it also isn't too bad either.
Kawasaki disease...a disease which lasts 5 - 10 days. Mostly Asian children younger than 5 years of age. Rash exactly like Alexander's...but he is too old. Sore throat, sore tongue, sore tummy....xdr doesn't confess to any of these, although I remind him that he has said that his throat was sore and his tummy was sore a number of days ago.
Mono...in my day it was "the kissing disease". His glands are all swollen, the doctor explains this is common with mono. However one of the earlier tests had cleared him of having this disease.
Kawasaki? Mono? ....tests. Yes, we are told. He must endure more blood work and and a set of chest x-rays.
When the nurse arrives to get the blood, it takes no time for xdr to jump in fear. The needle...not again!!! No reassurance will allow his mind to rest. Dad holds his hands and attention, I am deligated to holding his hand and making sure he doesn't move his legs or torso. The other nurse holds his arm steady while the tech carefully and successfully gets the needle in and starts to collect the blood. Xdr sees that the blood is brown? Not red? Why? After a quick hemo-lesson, he is more curious than scared and the tech can continue.
Shortly after we are ushered off to have x-rays. Painless and common. The room was exactly like the x-ray rooms xdr had experienced only months earlier when he broke his ankle. He finds this challenge fun...don't move...take a deep breath, but don't move...he does this easily and with a great deal of skill and success...He should, he has practiced hiding from me at home many times. Often he fools me as he lays under the covers, not a move, not a breath, stealth in flesh. This is a game he has perfected over years of his own personal hide-and-seek.
Once we return to the room, the doctor comes back to let us know that xdr has cleared the x-rays without concern. We are given a prescription for a better anti-hystamine. All we can do is wait, and watch. He gives us his emergency number and we are told to return if his fever (which has remained low grade) starts to go up or if he gets worse in any way. We are told to make a number of doctors appointments with our GP and himself. Xdr isn't to return to school until we know more. At least until after he sees the paediatrician next Friday.
So we wait and we watch and we enjoy the time together once again feeling glad that we are all together. I know we will be ok. I know xdr will be fine because tonight, for the first time in many nights, he fell to sleep easily. He is tired and the new anti-hystamine has given some ease from the itching. We will get past this one...we did when he broke his ankle, when he dislocated his left elbow, then his right elbow, then each again and again a dozen times, the ear-aches, the ADD analysis, the psychiatrists, the psychologists, the rashes during childhood, the asthma, the colds and the flus, the colic...another milestone that we will pass along the way.
Red Rash Returns:
Poor Alexander. All he can do is scratch and scratch and try not to scratch. His whole body and scalp, palms of his feet and hands are all filled with these tiny little spots that won't give up. His body's hystamines(?) are on overdrive and there is nothing yet that we can find to do. Again, we will be back to see the doctor tomorrow. What is he allergic to? What is he reacting to? My title "que sera sera" seems so cold right now. I can't do anything really significant to comfort him. He stayed home with me from school today. All he wanted to do was read and cuddle.
He is on chapter 6 of Harry Potter (book 1). This time, he is reading every word completely on his own. His wee mouth whispering works to find meaning as he mouths out the letters and morphology of the words searching for their meaning by their sound. Once in a while he will lift his head and announce a new discovery. "Mom, it wasn't supposed to be Ron who said.... Here it says that Hagrid said....". He amazes me. How does that wee body remember such facts? How can he feel the injustice of an overlooked fact from the "official" author? Then he itches and I think, how come he has to be stuck with this awful thing of hives? Where are the facts? What is wrong?
I guess there is a bit of adult in every child, and when your own child is sick, there is a lot of child in every adult. I just wish I could make it stop.
While I was ill, I did get some reading done. I love Canadian writers, especially when they add a bit of Canadian history into the plot. Jane Urquhart became one of my favourite novel writers after I read her book "Away". I have had her most recent novel "The Stone Carvers" on hold at our local library. However, being number 200+ on the waiting list, I think the paperback will be out before I get my hands on the Okanagan copy. Has anyone read "The Underpainter" and not liked this story? I don't know if I am one in the crowd here. She is masterful with language. She does reflect her prose much like a painter paints a picture...but for me, the final work was not pleasing to my "eye". The main character lacked ...well, character. I did read the whole book even though I desperately wanted to put it down. Somehow, I felt sorry for Jane. The book had obviously not been read beyond the first quarter many times. As I neared the end, the pages still stayed together much like the pages of a newly pressed book. It would have been rude not to at least finish the whole thing...but, yuck!! The next day, I read "The Whirlpool" and my faith in Jane was new again.
What to read next? I have re-read nearly all of "The Hobbit". I am re-reading "The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring" to Alexander. I am "Harry Potter"-ed out (read, re-read, re-read). I need something that is good to escape into. I like to learn from my reading too...either something that I could learn about myself or some part of Canadian history. Any suggestions?
Alexander's rash has gone. His fever broke in the night and he woke up in his normal heavy morning mood but back to his normal colour again. The mystery rash is gone...what caused it...who knows.
No, he hasn't passed the quarter yet. No this hasn't "changed" Alexander (ta da dum). No we aren't expecting "change" from Alexander (ta da dum). No, it didn't make him a "quarter" heavier (ta da dum). No, this doesn't mean that he now has 30 "scents" (ta da dum). Thanks for all of the wonderful puns.
It amazes me. I am speaking daily with kith and kin throughout various parts of the world. Just now, I logged into my brother's cam to find out, to my surprise that it was dark...dahhh...as I look east, the sun is leaving a trail of orange against Dilworth Mountain. We lie in the shadow of Mount Hayman and the clouds. The light looks a warm shade of content...a job well done.
I sometimes get angry with tv producers and their advertised times. When I lived in the east, and a show advertised 11 central, 1:30 in Newfoundland...I thought that was rather interesting that we were watching a show that was being broadcast at the same time, but viewed in another person's time 2-1/2 hour later in their day. Then we moved here. We get all sorts of mixed messages. Some shows will label their times with mountain, or pacific time. However, the norm is to advertise the same in central Canada and U.S. as out here. So here I sit. A favourite show will be on at 9 central time. Now, does that mean that we will get it at 9 central time which translates to 6 pacific? Maybe. Or, do I tune in at 9 pacific and hope that the same show is being broadcast here? Usually.
New Year's Eve was a total hoax. We watched various broadcasts labelled as "live" only to find out that the producers were offering it to us "recorded" from a "live" broadcast. Did you know that the lights in New York city "really" go down at midnight...then, they must set them up again for the next midnight and the next and so on. Although petty, please...if it ain't live...at least have the courtesy of adding "prerecorded".
The night is nigh and I sit high upon this chair. The hour is late, the coffee aint great, but the minute hand clicks enlessly. The nights remain late which would only be great if off to Bladislav I were going. So soon I agree, that sleep time will be the day and at night I'll remain restless. Time zones are needed, but my body clock has heeded to horizons not of this area. But I must try to get sheep to whisk me asleep or tomorrow a bear will replace me. Nighty night all.
Sunday Alexander swallowed a quarter. I am not even going to explain that one. The problems the on-call doctor warned us "could" happen have not happened...knock on wood.
Today, Monday, I was just finishing off the section of the newspaper that talked about "How to enjoy the company of a social animal" (yes, in The Kelowna Courier, this appeared next to the editorial?), when we had a call from the school. Alexander had a rash and needed to come home. When we arrived at the school, his rash had extended from somewhere on his head, down his neck, torso and was starting to spread to his legs. Luckily the doctor fit us in (oh my...some day, I will tell you the problems we are having here with doctors...we are still on "probation" with this doctor. He may not even take us on as clients...for another day). We stripped the wee lad down only to find that the rash was redder and spreading all over. His body is reacting to something (not likely the quarter), but we don't yet know what. Just the Friday before this, I had been to the doctor about my own health only to find out that I seem to have Strep throat...ergo the sore throat...and other "stuff" (some lupus-related, minor allergy-related "stuff). In light of my earlier diagnosis and the rise these past weeks in a strain of bacteria that causes Strep as well as the "flesh eating disease", xdr is being closely watched. We had to go and have tests and blood work done (the best that have ever been done for him, but after all of the "horrible" experiences he has had in his wee life with badly trained needle wielding nurses..he did not approach this intrusion as a trooper). We started with myself and a nurse. Then a 2nd nurse was called in. Then a nurse came to calm xdr, myself and the two nurses down. Then she decided to just "attack". So there were were, mom, child and three nurses holding him down to get 2 tiny vials of blood. After the "draw", he was offered a bandaid..."would you like Rugrats, sparkled, crayon shaped, dinosaurs, hockey clubs, sports balls, Beauty and the Beast, [....when she was only halfway through the pile and I saw that the next choice was Barbie...I suggested sparkled to which xdr agreed]. Then, "You were such a brave boy. Would you like one of these stickers?" Thank goodness there was a Batman and Robin sticker with ultra shiny, lazer-featured side rays on top. He loved it. That wasn't so bad???
My question is this, what are the nurses going to hand out when this generation has to have more intrusive tests done when they turn 50+? "Oh say, you were a trooper the way you handled that machine as we pushed your warm torso in a rather contorted manner so that you could place your breast upon the cold plate and wait for the pressurization of the machine to squish any semblance of the breast into a pancake. It didn't hurt a bit, did it? Because you were so good, you get to choose a ______________ from our goody box for troopers like you (fill in the blank with your ideas of what this generation is going to expect to be rewarding with after services rendered by the time they are 50+, "Suckers and stickers today, _________ tomorrow!!! send your ideas to email@example.com)
Back at home we now have to sit and wait and watch. If he gets worse, we have to get him to the doctor. If he is the same, he stays home and I teach him here for a couple of days (until the rash goes). If it doesn't go away, and we get results from the tests...we will see what happens next. In the meantime, he can't have anything 'on' his skin (no creams, etc), he has to drink lots of fluid (to try and cool him off as the rash "burns" a bit), and I think tomorrow, I may even be trying to put socks on his hands like I did when he was a baby. He is not to scratch the itches...thank goodness he is sleeping now. Thursday we will see the doctor again and hopefully by then, xdr will be back to normal. I should have the rubber room finished by then!!
Jerry's doing fine. His secretary is way overworked...but ok. And now that she is back to work after being sick for the last 4 weeks, he will be glad to get some more letters and emails done up. The job research his secretary was also doing will have to be sidelined though until she finishes her nursing duties....all in good time. In the meantime, Jerry is out "networking" each day. Starting tomorrow, we are basically back to the same list we started to use for the job search this time over a year ago. He is meeting up with the CEO of one of those companies who "loved him so much...the perfect person for what we are doing...the one". With the Liberal government cutbacks, the government decentralizing its workforces to "areas in need", we should have a few more people competing with Jerry and the others for jobs starting Thursday. Kelowna...a city in flux. Great place to retire (if you are healthy and wealthy). Great place to live. Not a great place to find a living.
Now a moment for some 'ketchup'
Where do I begin? The huge Japanese New Year dinner at Auntie Carol and Uncle Morio's was cancelled. Since Ross has been sick, Carol and Morio have adopted Ross's family into their house as well as helped with all of the needs that Ross and Janice's daughter Lee required while her parents were working on getting Ross better. Christmas is always a busy time. The travel to and from the hospital and the extra running around has worn out a number of people. Ross's mom started to get the flu, then Auntie Carol started to feel sick, and then Uncle Morio...and you can just imagine. Maybe another time.
Secretly, I was glad of the delay in one way. All of the women were going to be cooking up famous family Japanese recipes. I would have been making famous family Japanese recipes...the newbie...the girl from Ontario...the one who didn't know 'wasabi' from 'ocho' at the house party
There are three things that I participated in at the Japanese Cultural Centre in Hamilton. The first was Japanese language. I did fairly well on all of the written work and oral work (beating out Jerry...teehee). I caught the toddler words and the alphabet just fine, but I have to get some work done to get into the kindergarten songs. That will happen. Someday. My second class was Japanese pottery. I was pumped. This was my calling. Finally, an "art" for me. At the end of the first class, the sensei came up to me, held the door open for me, and ushered me out with "you don't need to worry about coming anymore"...waaa, so my clay was too dry, then too watery, then too dry...at least I didn't cause any personal or mechanical damage (I am still working on that rejection). My third class was in Japanese cooking. Now, to be fair, I was bumped up to the 2nd year group. I still think it was due to my Yamashita name and that the sensei just "knew" that I had a hidden talent here...I refuse to believe it was just because I was the only one in the class that owned a rice maker that could make enough rice for the whole class. I sliced, and I dices...all perfectly poorly..too chunky/too thin/too long/too short. My knives were too small, then too long, then not the right cut. My dicing was blamed on my tools. Each time anyone complained about my poor instruments and preparation faults, I don't think I imagined it, sensei would loudly clear her throat, glare at the person who was chastizing my lack of ability and then jesture in the direction of my nice, big rice maker off in the corner cooking rice for the whole class. I passed. I even have pictures. I cooked Japanese (even for my mother-in-law) and no one complained...hey, come to think of it, that is about the time that Jerry said that he liked cooking and he took over...hey, now the pieces are coming together...hey!
Anyway, this family get-together did not happen and we three sat around playing "Marvel Comics Monopoly" and "Scrabble". It was a great day afterall. The rest of the holiday, I spent mostly in bed or on the couch. I had been fighting off a flu or cold or something for a number of weeks. Finally, I couldn't eat much, slept nearly all of the time, and spent the rest of the time trying to swallow through a sore throat or manage a full head of fluid. It wasn't so bad though. Alexander loved it. He and I sat around drawing, reading and playing games. I even challenged Jerry to some more Scrabble games. I can now beat him. And bonus...and while beating him I 'taught' him a whole lot of new words he has never even heard of. Actually, I better teach all of you these words. Someday they might end up in a dictionary and have an actual meaning attached to them! We watched the movies we received for Christmas. We listened to new CDs and it was a very low key, slow paced holiday. Except....
We did have one wee emergency that I think I forgot to mention to a lot of you. Alex blew a tooth. His tooth actually, sort of, exploded. Christmas Eve day, xdr came to me complaining of a tooth ache. I looked in his mouth, and sure enough, he had a chip off one corner of one of his molars. The next day at Patti and Tom's, I asked them for advice and suggestions on how to find a new dentist here in the west. It turned out that one of Patti's friend's husbands is a dentist who is about to retire and leave his practice to a friend of Jerry's other first cousin's wife (that whole 6 degrees of separation has fallen about 3 degrees here). We called the dentist on the 27th...he would see us. So, off we went to the dentist. There he was, in his shorts, keys in hand. He opened the office, turned on the lights and sat xdr up in the big dentist chair. We were alone. Just us and the summer-attired dentist. He examined our wee son and his wee emergency (luckily the dentist had a moment just before he and the family were off to Hawaii for the holiday!!). The exam proved necessary. Alex would have to return on the 10th for "work".
The 10th...we showed up on time, and we were pleasantly met by the new dentist and her assitant. The aahs, and ughs that followed led us to know that something wasn't right. Apparently, xdr had cracked the molar at some point (he grinds his teeth...probably then or in one of his wrestling gigs with Siana). Bacteria had entered into the crack even though xdr looks after his teeth rather well. He has been blessed(?) with the "Baker" teeth, which means they are fairly prone to problems. This wee bit of bacteria ate away inside his wee molar and basically, in trying to expand, popped off a complete chip in his molar. The dentist had no idea how far the infection went. 3-1/2 hours later, xdr was asking if it was time for him to leave yet because he had to go to school (we knew he was hurting then). The pulp in the tooth had been infected and he had a baby root-canal operation. He took the needles and the drills and everything MUCH better than I ever did when I was his age (or do now). After the appointment, we were booked for his follow-up, and then we were off to another specialist...xdr will be joining we "Baker"-teethed people and will be having orthodontic work. We will be actually seeing the orthodontist (and we get the first appointment free!!) in a couple of weeks. So, is the saga of xdr and his bacterial mole mining molar.
I can't believe it has been so long since I last wrote. Actually, I have written here twice...alas, I am learning not to press "posts" when one wishes to "post and publish" and that if I write a message and attempt to save it...well, leave it to say, I am learning by trying. Thank you so much Barb and Trev for all of your help. I will be putting your work into action very soon. It is really cool being able to "talk" with you this way. I really am thankful for you introducing me to this mode of communication.
A couple of weeks ago I wrote to a friend of mine announcing that I had decided to delve into the world of blogging. I also added that I suspected my other brother (Brian) would be joining in soon. After I sent that message, I retrieved my own email, a lo and behold, with the speed of light (or is it faster digitally?), there was Brian's new announcement...he too has indeed joined the world of blogging. Brian's desire to blog is equally impressive when you read his subject matter (check out http://www.gatheredintoone.blogspot.com), much loftier undertaking than my mere desire to "gab". Keep up the good fun you guys.
Then, I was just getting used to catching up on Brian and his blogs when suddenly, the newest member of the family...my new sis-in-law, Barbara, has also joined the blogging fest. So, now I can catch up on my two brothers, and their wives (both named Barb) while catching up on the sites of Toronto's Queen's Quay, what is REALLY happening with music, inspirationally charged (and personally selected) "random quotes", be inspired by the pictures painted in Barb's words, catch up on any of Barb's new works, get some inspired thought from Brian (and hey Brian, don't get too good with your work. I may end up just logging into your site each Sunday instead of trekking into mass at Westbank...teehee), get another wonderfully poetic glance at the world from Barb and her world-hopping-work-n-home blogs. You know what guys...we are going to probably know more about each other, and talk more than we have in our whole life together...forget "disfunctional family" ....because 'dis' function 'ill keep dis family functioning better than ever into the 21st century. Yeh Wilkers!!!
But readers...how am I going to distinguish between my two sisters-in-laws who happened to both be named Barb? Any ideas? They are both beautiful, extremely bright, wonderfully creative, have an awe-inspiring ability with conveying written pictures through their word, world savy, globe trotting (I know Barb you wish you could do more...but 2 trips to England in the same year...?), lovers of life, perfectly planted and incredibly green-thumbed, loving, energetic, fit....anyway....I need pet name ideas, or nicknames..."Brian's Barb" and "Trev's Barb" just doesn't cut it....help, please!!! Send me your ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I was remembering today how someone described to me(?) how they sculpted a beautiful marble horse. They said, "It's very easy. I simply remove all of the marbel that isn't the horse and what is left is what you see." My first experience of sculpture, I mean "real" hand-worked sculpture, was probably during my visit to Italy when I was 11 years old. There I was able to see and experience the finest works of Michaelangelo...David, the Pieta, Moses. I realize now that those things that I love to look at usually items that can be formed into fluid shapes. The shape, for me, is the "eye candy".
I love the sand as it is sculpted by the wind into fine waves and crests. I love smooth river rocks that have been shaped by water (and their close neighbours). Water creates for me and always draws me closer. It's depth, fluid motion, mystery, colour all change magically and transform predictable figures. Land and rock that have been open to the elements (or opening to the elements) either laid bare with blowing grasses, worked into fine peaks, rounded into pillars, protected by pines and firs, capped with white clouds or snow. I love the look of fresh snow, especially when their is a wind that allows small pieces of the individual pieces to be rushed across the surface creating minute paintbrushed textures along the top. Ice and glass are sculptures that can have the strength to twist images and add colour simply by having the sun reflect and refract through their torsos. Curved lines created by potters, glass blowers, carvers, forgers accentuate and create an "earthiness" that my age and body changes can fully understand.
Like the horse sculptor, I am choosing to take away the parts that aren't part of the sculpture and flow of life. By letting these pieces be discarded to the side, I will allow the real image that lies frozen and waiting within come out and live to be "eye candy".
a room with a view:
The night is chilly, the food is cooked and cleaned up and the rest are asleep in the cabin. You look at the fire and suddenly feel pulled to sit. It's not just the chill in the air that draws you closer, but there is a mesmerizing dance that goes on in a slowly burning campfire. The embers at the base dance in robes of red, yellow and orange while the blackness of the night is echoed in the moments of black wood set as the backdrop to the dance. Mesmerized you stare at this performance for even a blink may create the quickest yet inappropriate break to the dance. You observe and sit and dream.
This afternoon I needed to nap and when I awoke, the window blinds were still pulled open but the sky was dark. Then, I saw the dance. Like the embers at the base of the fire, there were quicksteps of orange, red and yellow that flittered across the lake. Added too where mute whites, blues and greens. The reflection drew me to the source of the dance. Lively dances of lights flickered across the expanse from the city beyond the lake. Like the fire-dance I was drawn to this city-scape. Far-off cars, changing traffic lights and newly lit houselights added to the fluid movement of the scene. The backdrop was punctuated by black, uninhabited parks, mountains and the endless sky. The dance draws me to sit and watch thankfully from afar. As the spectator, the wonder of the scene performs before me as I sit in a sea of black. Mesmerized, wondering, dreaming.
I am so fortunate to have a room with a view.
I have been thinking that some people may wonder why I called my blog *xochi* when my own name is wendy. Xochi is my cat. Xochi reminds me of so much about where I have been, where I am, what is important, how to live with the basics and where things may go. Like Xochi, I have used up many of my own 9 lives. Xochi is my past rolled up in Mexico/Ottawa/Guelph/Fergus/Tavistock/Hamilton/Caledonia, and now Kelowna, all cities I have called home at one time or another in my life.
Xochi is actually my cat's short name. Her real name is a Nahuatl name Xochitatitlanita. Her name is pronounced like [Cho - chee] which sounds more oriental than Mexican. The first Xochi was a little girl who saved my life (3rd life). When I lived in Mexico, I worked for some time with a very special priest and nun in a little town in the mountains of Mexico (Citlatapetl...El Pico de Orizaba). The classroom was a small one room school house, and my students were very young. The kids "wore" their chairs to school using a special head-band and arrived more willing to learn than any children I have had the opportunity to meet so far.
Xochi was introduced to me one morning by Padre Olejo. Olejo told me that Xochi was quite young and lived with her cousins. Her parents had both recently died and she was living in a mute and quiet world. He let me know that she would be very withdrawn and would not be participating in the class, but we both felt that being with the other children and maybe she would take in some of the learning in spite of her wee world. Padre left, the lesson was about to begin when Xochitatitlanita came to the front of the class. I can't remember if I asked her anything, but I do remember the rest of the class looking in amazement that she was in fact approaching someone. She quietly crawled up on my lap, smiled and stayed by my side from that day on.
One particularly fine spring morning, I thought I would take the students out of the school for some other learning. We would sit on the side of the mountains and see all that God had created. I still had visions of Julie Andrews taking her crew out on the Swiss alps to learn to sing. Not being a singer, we freely ran around and looked at the smallest of God's creations. Just at that point, a small caterpillar started to wiggle across a piece of rock. It was probably out to warm its body on the warm rock, but I thought this would be a perfect little science class about metamorphosis. I reached down to pick up the "furry" caterpillar when xochi jumped across and pushed me away. Xochi received my cross words about pushing and quizzically I administered a new lecture to her on sharing (my attention and the little thing I was about to pick up). As I looked back at the rock, my science lesson prop was gone.
Later that night, as I was back at the kitchen in the parish church (the church was offering me room and board in return for my "expertise" as their teacher), Xochi's uncle showed up at the door and spoke with Padre Alejo. I knew their discussion had something to do with me as they both glared in my direction, but I was puzzled. The uncle left and Alejo motioned for me to come and speak with him privately. He related to me the fact that Xochi was concerned because I had been cross with her earlier that day. I explained what happened to Alejo while he stode quizzically with his arms crossed, with one hand raised toward his lips. He looked up and corrected my Spanish when I failed to use the proper term, then he realized what had happened. It turns out that Xochi's push was not at all a child's desire to play or grab my attention, but rather a chance to save me from getting ill. The harry caterpillar was actually a very poisonous worm. Had I grabbed the insect as I had intended, the "harry" prongs would have gone into the very fleshy part of my palm. I would have definitely been very ill, and without quick and proper attention, I could have died. Living very far from any medical help, hearing the words that Padre spoke, I knew that I owed Xochi a big apology. She had actually saved me from my childish stupidity...this wasn't my land...I had much more to learn before I could teach science "in the field" as it were.
Thanks Xochitatitlanita (mountain flower). I still think of you today and wonder where you are. You must be a grown woman of around 24 years now. You most likely have children of your own and you are probably still fighting each day to keep them from harms way as you did for me those 20 years ago.