Another equally busy weekend is quickly drawing to a close.
My brother Trevor and his wife Barb are safely back in Toronto. They were in need of a good break. I think they got it.
We had another Koga reunion meeting today. It is really odd knowing that this huge reunion is right around the corner (33 days and counting). I have been trying to get the family history together. Yes, I have become Dorothy Wilker ;-o I am really surprised how much I have learned about Jerry's mom's side of the family since our arrival last August. We will be reunited with Denise and Mom Yamashita for a couple of weeks. I haven't got a handle as to how long Colleen will stay on. I really hope that she will stay the two weeks as well. However with law school tuitions the rate they are...and climbing...I know that she wants to find a summer job that will help with the bills. She has left her highrise in downtown Toronto and is searching for accomodation for herself and some of her friends...anyone have an old house near U of T that needs to be babysat for a while? Ken and Kevin will also be coming for the reunion weekend and the following couple of days. Unfortunately it wasn't in the cards for Jerry's sister Janet and her husband Ron to make this trip. Retirement and the stock market haven't allowed for the type of cash flow option that they would need to make the flights. We still are hopeful that Nancy will be able to come. Even as of today, there seems to be a glimmer of hope that she will be able to make the trip. So we will all bed-out in Thanksgiving Crew weekend style for that weekend and as long as everyone can stay on. Patti and Tom will also have a houseful as the whole 20 members of her clan will be arriving from Vancouver and environs. Auntie Kimi, now in her late 80s, wants to come from Toronto. Her children (also Torontonians) are not so eager that she make this long trip but I know she loves these events. We are not likely to see any of that Nakata branch....but who knows what may happen.
We have baseball planned for the Friday night...yes Dave, if you build it...we will come. Dave has been pampering a part of his fields into a proper diamond. The uncles wanted to set up formal teams with a proper roster and such but the women won over the idea as a proper pick-up game. The next day will be golf for many and bowling for the ones who don't want to venture onto the greens. After the golf "tournament" (yes, Uncle Suey and Uncle Morio definitely wanted to decide on teams for this event) Uncle Suey and everyone that didn't show up to the meeting will be off to the Buddhist temple to set up for our dinner and family talent show night. Jerry and I have been trying to find the script to a fun skit we saw in Greece (in Italian) during our honeymoon...that was revamped, translated into English and performed at one of our Lutherlyn Camp talent show nights. We already know that the competition...I mean...entertainment will not be matched by the ever-talented Sakaki branch of the family (natural musicians, professional dancers and creativity up the wing-wang all in one family). The food menu for that night sounds absolutely wonderful and all authentic Japanese !!! The next day will be our family olympics and BBQ at the farm. The teams haven't been set yet...Patti and I are going to do this one...I think. I have to quickly learn how to make a family calendar using multi-media computer images .... I know that I will be doing a few late nights for this. However, nearly 80 % of the important dates are gathered...now the presentation needs to be worked out. Tom Girard (one of the talented Sakaki family branch) will be doing up a multi-media VHS presentation of the whole weekend. Sunday will be food, photos and fun, and food, fwimming and family and more photos and more food and more fun...oh yes, the customary fwimming fool belly flop competition. Already there is talk of using 5 BBQs and plenty of rice cookers. As is customary for farm family, there will be the dinner...then the lunch that night....Lunch will not simply be left-overs but a whole other meal. I am really looking forward to this.
We also received word tonight that my God-parents, Aunt Marion and Uncle Ron, are venturing through just before the family arrives for the reunion. We don't know the details yet but I do know that they are on a cross-country hike that might (?) take them up to Alaska?....they are doing a trek that they had planned on going on this spring with a bus and cruise tour that was cancelled (?). I can't wait to show them around...hmmmm, what will I serve. I don't have the benefit of a deep freezer here, so I better start practising my culinary concepts....I knew I moved my shelf-ful of cookbooks here for some reason...
Luckily I have quit work. It was just getting too much in the way of all of this summer preparation. My job was...well....let's say it was lacking creative outlooks. I was hoping to get into a full time position but none were coming free. Many maternity leaves were opening up....but I have seen what happens upon return from maternity leaves. Former posts are adamently re-established and the last on is the last out the door. I knew where the pecking order was and there was no future for me in any of the areas. I would love to return someday though and be a customer support liason or a writer for the new Spanish software being produced. The customer support people deal with the clients...the tired teachers who are calling after school or between bites in there sandwich at lunchtime...been there, done that, bought the t-shirt. I had just convinced the CEO to hand over a bit of curriculum writing to me when we made this decision. I am still going to help with this area...perhaps on a consulting-type basis....every girl needs a little pin money, right? I made some amazing friends at work and now the job will be to try and maintain these realationships. Too often when I leave a post....I leave the ties behind. This time I hope the fact that we all live in this small-town city, we will be able to change that a bit. Some of my best mates are Nate (who has promised me a trip to Vancouver in his convertable), Simone (a former Scarberian lawyer who moved here to her husband's hometown...and the supplier of pre-read Toronto Star Sports sections..and a great all-round friend), Angela (sis-in-law of Simone and another great all-round friend), Linda (a breast cancer survivor and another great all-round friend), Larene (a wonderful lady who happens to live beside the Lutheran church), Jayne (high school best-friend of one of Jerry's cousins and a hoot to have at a party), Connie / Scott / Ken / Susana (my spanish conversation buddies and Colombiana Susana), Laurelee / Leslie (co-organizers and running trainers with me to get the staff ready for the huge Run for the Cure campaign that we started at Bridges)...just to name a few. I had so much fun socializing with the crew at work that work did have some real benefits...but I have enough envelope glue on my tongue and carpal tunnel syndrome / arthritis aches and pains to last me a good while.
Besides....Jerry likes his job and likes that I am home....win / win no?
I am already booked at Xdr's school to do library inventory two days a week each week of June. I am driving and chaperoning Xdr's class trip to the O'Keefe Ranch (2-1/2 hours away!!!) on Wednesday. I am doing something else with the school on Friday...but it escapes me right now as to what that is. I am working with the Lupus Association to get our end of June symposium news out to the public. In between that, I should probably run the vacuum around and wash some sheets...but the windows...well, isn't that why God makes it rain?
My other piece of news that I will leave you with today is about our dasterdly back-up-the-hill-behind-us neighbours. We are suing them...I think. To make a long story short (at least for tonight...I will fill you in more in my next blog) they wanted us to prune back some of our trees that were blocking their view of the lake (from their bedroom windows...the view was already stupendous from the main floor!!!). Jerry, who has had dealings with this couple already regarding a water out-take pipe (bright white plastic about 10 feet high running down to the ground of our property...yes Brian and Barb, they added onto the already existing downspout) that almost caused some problems with the closing on this house last September (another long story for another long blog), said "No, we won't even talk about the trees until you cap that pipe". So, one of the Mondays when we were off to work and school (they asked the neighbours if we had left yet), they came onto our property and cut down / lopped off / and killed a bunch of our trees (Douglas fir that was 20+ feet is now 5 feet tall; Saskatchewan willow is going to die; several wild rose bushes were killed and damaged; about 8 other conifers [Christmas trees] and 5 other tall deciduous-in-spring-bloom were also reduced to heights of 0 - 5 feet). The RCMP have given them a visit. We are now in the midst of legal action. We have had the pro's out too...the tree pro's. The trees that were reduced in height will eventually, probably still live (good news...particularly since we live on a big sandy mountain that I think is only held together by tree roots). The trees will branch out and become odd shape bushes. The good news.....when they do "bush out", we ain't trimmin'. Their site line will then become even more obstructed. However that is many years down the line. As I said, I will fill in more details later.
I guess that is a good bit to chaw on. I will be back. Even returning housewives crave regular blogging breaks between chores.... Hasta pronto!
There are so many headlines for these past few months. However, I must begin this blog with some very sad news. On Friday, May 17 at around 5:14 p.m. (pacific time), our beloved cat Xochi died.
She is the one that I named this blogspot after. I couldn't bring myself to announce on the day she died but I figured it was high time I got back on the blogger and blog my way through this and the many changes we have had happen over the past while.
Xochi became sick mid April. She has had a condition called hyperthyroidism for years. During that time, her weight would go lower and lower. Any falls in her weight usually meant a trip to the vet, sample of blood drawn and a new prescription dosage started. In mid April, she became very skinny. It didn't take long for her to loose weight yet it was often difficult to really notice the changes. We took her to the vet but the vet felt that unless we wished to perform "heroic measures", this was the beginning of the end. We had some choices though. We could either put her on an i.v. drip to rehydrate, or give her subcutanious (sp?) injections or just monitor her and make sure she wasn't in any pain. The decision to go with the injections was something that we could do at home. The vet wanted to keep her in the hospital for a couple of days first to get her used to the injections before sending us all home with cat and needles in hand (I was relieved too). After a single day in the hospital she rejected the injections with such furvor that the vet returned to water bowls and encouragement. Xochi took the bait. She was hooked. Real canned tuna and real bottled (ice cold) water were her preference. She was coming home earlier than anticipated. Yippee!!!
Each day Xochi was stronger and stronger. She loved the tuna. She loved the water. In fact, we had little water dishes at her disposal all through the house. Poor Siana (our dog) had to look on at this new manner of feeding and turn her wanting nose at each dish. We very firmly reminded her "That's Xochi's...not your's Siana". [puppy dog eyes]. Xochi was very shortly rejecting the tuna for her familiar cat food and kibble (but the water-thing she kept as a keeper). She was back to her old 22+ year old self again. She climbed and jumped everywhere. She layed on me whenever I slept and cuddled up beside me on the couch whenever I was home.
That all started to change very quickly last week. I returned home from a very late night at work. On the floor in the diningroom was Jerry, carefully following Xochi, trying to encourage her to drink some water. When I arrived, she sat close to me and slowly but surely took sip after sip. We went back to tuna that day. She ate it and she perked right up that night. Wednesday the same thing happened...with the same result later in the night. Then Thursday, she had little strength but much resolve left. As I sat on the bed, she attempted to jump onto the bed...and for the first time...missed and tumbled down. I picked her up as we went downstairs to watch some tv. She struggled away from me wanting to exert her independence. As she made her usual approach across the back of the couch, she slipped and fell onto my lap. Quickly she got up and steadied herself (almost blushing at the blunder). We sat together as we usually did. I ignored the earlier slips and we took our usual stance (her on my chest as I lay on the couch). After about an hour she stood up, and lost her balance. This was not typical at all. I realized that she was not at all doing well. The next day, Friday, I would take her to the vet again.
Since Alexander had the day off due to a teacher's retreat I decided to make it as enjoyable a day as possible for everyone. Alex and I had a picnic brunch in bed. Joining us was our fantastic feline. She chowed down on tuna and water. We sat deciding what we would do for the day (I knew that Xochi was to go to the vet's by around 11 a.m.) when suddenly Xochi got up and with everything she could muster, returned her breakfast back into the bowl. Immediately Alex and I swooped her off and headed to the vet's. When we arrived, I was told to sign some papers (no heroic measures) and leave Xochi so that the vet could see her and give her a thorough examination. Reluctantly Alex and I headed off to make the best of our day.
We went for a walk by the lake and talked about spiders, rocks and trees. We put in his favourite CD (soundrack from "grease"...ugh!!), and ventured around the valley in the van. Then the cell phone rang. Jerry was on the other end. The vet had called him and told him that "it was time". I tried not to cry as I wasn't sure how I would approach this with Alex. We sat for a while and talked about what I had just learned. I tried so desperately to not use the term "go to sleep" as I felt that the image of Xochi simply sleeping wasn't quite honest although I didn't want to actually use the other terms of "death", "dying" or any other word that only spoke of the end. I couldn't face that this was really the end. If I told Alex, that would mean it was really the end. Then, as every child is known to do, he took the matter into his own hands and said "Mommy, is Xochi going to be put to sleep? Is she going to die?". Tears came to my eyes and his right away as I blubbered out a meager "yes". We held each other and cried together. I never wanted my child to feel this kind of pain for anyone or any pet. I filled him in with the information I was given and we discussed the options he might want or not want to do. In the end, it was decided that he wanted to see her one last time, but not once she was dead. We decided that we would talk about anything at all. He could ask me questions and I promised to answer honestly. We sat and talked and then decided to go home as we weren't expected back to the vet's until around 5 p.m.
Jerry came home from work while Alex and I shared in a combination of sharing comic book stories and stories about our cat. We all remembered some of the great things about her and Alex urged me to tell him her whole history. He wanted to hear everything about her from the moment I got her those many years ago. The time came for us to go to the Animal Hospital. We were ushered into our usual small room and Xochi was brought in to have some time with us. She was her usual self. A bit timid in the setting, but very curious and attentive to our being there. We hugged, cried and kissed her. When the vet returned she explained EVERYTHING to the three of us. She spoke so well and honestly. Alexander wasn't at all scared but he was set on having said goodbye to Xochi. The vet took Xochi to get a sedative that would initially "put her to sleep" prior to the final needle. Jerry and Alex remained in the waiting room, but I offered to hold Xochi so that she could be calm at the end. Xochi watched me with her big green eyes. I could feel her tiny body breathing and her heart pumping, but she relaxed every other muscle. We sat together for about 5 minutes. I rocked her like a baby (the vet had her wrapped in a green towel). She was truly asleep. When the vet came back, she took Xochi off for the last needle. I said my tearful goodbye and we all somberly went back to the van.
During the drive home we cried and laughed too. We talked about the silly things she did and just how lucky we were to have had her in our lives for so long. We are all missing her very much. Siana is sort of "off" but I really think she too understands that it was time for Xochi to finally rest. We are now in the search for the perfect rock. We are going to find our rock, take it to have her name carved into the rock, then keep the rock in our garden. Although we don't need something like this to remember her as our memories are doing well to take care of that, we want something to remind all of us (and others) that she was here. She was great. She beat a whole lot of odds against her living this long. She was loved and she always showed us her love each and every day. Maybe looking at the rock will remind us to live our life as long and as fully (and unpredicably) as she has. We love your Xochi. Farewell.