October posts transferred in one go

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2006-10-03 00:50:00
Awake Again … Sorta
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Yup, I’m still here. I’ve just had a few tired days again, but I’m sure that you probably all figured that out by yourselves. No big deal, apart from wasting some absolutely gorgeous weather while I was doing all of the extra sleeping. It was 23 C. Saturday, with 27 C. Sunday, and bright sunshine both days. Yesterday was a wee bit cooler, but only a wee bit. I didn’t actually check the temperature when I finally emerged mid-afternoon, but it was definitely warm, verging on hot, when I took my “please jolt me into a conscious state” bucket of coffee out onto the deck right after I got up. Well, not quite a bucket of coffee, but the size that means that you don’t have to waste steps going back for a refill. Just being sensible, I figure. 😉

So, since I didn’t take advantage of the nice weather to get some outside jobs done over the weekend, I guess I’ll have to try to get at them this week. It’s to the point where the flower beds can be pretty much cleaned out now, and the grubby windows definitely need some attention. I’m not the clean freak I used to be, since I can’t be with the lower energy levels. But grubby windows are only slightly lower on my intolerance list than a grubby bathroom and kitchen. The bathroom and kitchen thing is understandable, since I used to be a nurse and we’re programmed to be germ phobic for life. But the window thing is a throwback to childhood “holidays” spent with my maternal grandparents. Grandma’s measure of one’s housekeeping abilities was the state of their windows, and I’ve never forgotten her lectures. Tiny woman, but when she got into lecture mode, which was often, giants would quake in their boots. Oy!

On to more cheerful thoughts, a few have kindly asked about Daughter’s jewellery venture, so I’ll give everyone a quick update. She has turned out lots of lovely pieces and was ready to get the online sales stuff set up on the weekend. However, a slight hitch is now going to delay that aspect of the venture for a few more weeks. It turns out that her digital camera just isn’t up to snuff for the kind of photography she needs to do. Richard and I were in the middle of discussing the possibility of getting one for her as an early combined Christmas and birthday present, when he had a brainwave. Air miles! We had a few thousand sitting in our account, and it’s not like we’re going to be taking a grand vacation any time soon. So, we checked the balance against what was required for the camera of her choice from their catalogue, and we had exactly enough. It’ll take 3-4 weeks for it to get here, and then she’ll be in business for sure.

Right, that’s about all of the excitement that I can stand at this hour, so I’ll end here and get back to the sofa and my book. I’m still stuck in my medieval history craze, and am currently reading a novel about the battle between Stephen and Maude for the throne of England in the 1100s. She was the rightful heir, but of course women weren’t seen as fit to rule back then, so he grabbed the throne before she had a chance to build up the needed support. She tried to get it back and failed, but her son, Henry ll, succeeded, followed by his sons, Richard the Lionheart and nasty King John, and on it went. Yeah, yeah, I realize that not everyone is a history freak like me, but it’s my journal and I’ll ramble on about my passions if I want to, thank you! 🙂

Right, I was going, wasn’t I? Sweet dreams. The end.

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2006-10-08 04:36:00
Boredom? Never Heard of It!
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Oy! Wasn’t it just Monday? Sorry about the quiet journal lately- I’ve just been busy or dopey all week. And that’s dopey, as in tired, not the other kind. Okay, yes, that kind too, but I was hoping that nobody would notice. 😀

We’ve been flying around, getting all of the autumn necessities done this past week, while the weather has been so gorgeous for working outside. The weather is going to change dramatically, as of today, so it has been a bit of a race against time. But the really essential stuff is done now, apart from digging the vegetable patch. Richard got a good start at that yesterday, but has a few more days of digging ahead of him. I used to work away at it while he was at work, but no can do now. I took the spade to a couple of flower beds the other day, and ended up sleeping most of the following day away. Bah! He’s probably quite pleased that I can’t help him now, though. He’s of the old school and wielding a spade is not something his Lady Eleanor should have ever been doing, as far as he’s concerned. No, no, he’s not a male chauvinist pig, far from it. Rather, he’s a true gentleman, of the chivalrous knight brigade. The fact that I’m a farm girl, who was used to heavy physical labour, is irrelevant in his eyes. I used to bristle at that a bit, quite a bit in the beginning, actually. But then along came CFS and I had to quit bristling. Sometimes. I am not a delicate flower by nature and it really goes against the grain to have to act like one now.

Speaking of not bristling, somebody asked me the other day how I don’t go stark raving mad from boredom, being stuck at home so much because of the fatigue. Boredom? What’s that?! I’ve never been bored in my life, and I can’t see it ever being something I’ll have to deal with. I’m a bit of a hermit by nature anyway, and have never had trouble amusing myself. I grew up in relative isolation in the country, so I suppose that I just learned to enjoy solitary pursuits and like my own company from very early on. Sure, sometimes the walls close in on me a bit, but we live in an area where many of the services and such that we need/want are within easy walking distance, even for me now. So, if I need to see something besides my house and yard, and get back out with civilization, I can just wander the short distance to one of the nearby businesses and have a good chin wag with somebody or other. We’ve lived in this house for fourteen years, so are definitely known at all of the local businesses, by employees and regular patrons alike. But really, it’s not often that the walls close in, as I have so many solitary interests and not enough time to pursue all of them. I get frustrated with the fatigue, as it irritates the crap out of me when I can’t keep up with stuff the way I used to. But it’s certainly not a cause of boredom.

Now I should trot off and try to get a bit of sleep. After all of the extra snoozing that I’ve done all week, I’m a bit turned around with my sleeping habits. So, sleep has pretty much eluded me in these overnight hours. But I have a Thanksgiving meal to make today, and I need to get some rest before I tackle that. The actual holiday is tomorrow, but Richard is working then. So, it’s feast day today. Even three or four hours on the sofa down here should get me through until supper time, so hopefully I can nod off.

One sheep … two sheep … three sheep … four sheep …

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2006-10-08 10:48:00
Thanksgiving
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Happy Thanksgiving to all of my Canadian friends. Hope you’re having a lovely holiday weekend, doing whatever it is you most enjoy doing at this special time of year.

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2006-10-10 04:59:00
One For the Tykes
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Yorkshire Pudden

Hi waitress, excuse me a minute, now listen,
I’m not finding fault, but here, Miss,
The ‘taters look gradely… the beef is a’reet,
But what kind of pudden is this?

It’s what?…
Yorkshire pudden!, now coom, coom, coom, coom,
It’s what? Yorkshire pudden d’ye say!
It’s pudden, I’ll grant you… it’s some sort of pudden,
But not Yorkshire pudden… nay nay!

The real Yorkshire pudden’s a dream in batter,
To make one’s an art, not a trade,
Now listen to me, for I’m going to tell thee,
How t’ first Yorkshire pudden wor made.

A young angel on furlough from heaven,
Came flying above Ilkley Moor,
And this angel, poor thing, got cramp in her wing,
And coom down at owd woman’s door.

The owd woman smiled and said, ‘Ee, it’s an angel,
Well I am surprised to see thee,
I’ve not seen an angel before… but thou ‘rt welcome,
I’ll make thee a nice cup o’ tea.’

The angel said, ‘Ee, thank you kindly, I will’,
Well, she had two or three cups of tea,
Three or four Sally Lunns, and a couple of buns…
Angels eat very lightly you see.

The owd woman looking at clock said, ‘By Gum!
He’s due home from mill is my Dan,
You get on wi’ ye tea, but you must excuse me,
I must make pudden now for t’ owd man.

Then the angel jumped up and said, ‘Gimme the bowl…
Flour and watter and eggs, salt an’ all,
And I’ll show thee how we make puddens in Heaven,
For Peter and Thomas and Paul’.

So t’ owd woman gave her the things, and the angel,
Just pushed back her wings and said. ‘Hush’
Then she tenderly tickled the mixture wi’ t’ spoon,
Like an artist would paint with his brush.

Aye, she mixed up that pudden with Heavenly magic,
She played with her spoon on that dough,
Just like Paderewski would play the piano.
Or Kreisler now deceased would twiddle his bow.

And then it wor done and she put it in t’ oven
She said t’ owd woman, ‘Goodbye’,
Then she flew away leaving the first Yorkshire pudden,
That ever was made… and that’s why…

It melts in the mouth, like the snow in the sunshine,
As light as a maiden’s first kiss,
As soft as the fluff on the breast of a dove…
Not elephant’s leather, like this.

It’s real Yorkshire pudden that makes Yorkshire lassies,
So buxum and broad in the hips,
It’s real Yorkshire pudden that makes Yorkshire cricketers,
Win County championships.

It’s real Yorkshire pudden that gives me my dreams,
Of a real Paradise up above,
Where at the last trump, I’ll queue up for a lump,
Of the real Yorkshire pudden I love.

And there on a cloud… far away from the crowd,
In a real Paradise, not a dud ‘un,
I’ll do nowt for ever… and ever and ever,
But gollup up real Yorkshire pudden.

I have no idea where this came from, but I found it in a file and thought I’d suck up to the Yorkshire lads. Not that sucking up is required f
or any reason, at least not that I know of. But it never hurts to have a few brownie points in the bank, just in case. 😉

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2006-10-10 20:29:00
Dashing Through the Snow …
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Oh the weather outside is frightful,
But the fire is so delightful,
And since we’ve no place to go,
Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!

Well, I guess the weatherman had it right, for once. When I was outside on Saturday, working up quite the glow, clad only in shorts, tank top and flip flops, I was a bit sceptical about the predicted snow for today. But it’s here. There was a driving rain this morning, and it changed to heavy snow in the past hour. It’s warm enough that the pavement is just wet, but lawns, rooftops, etc. are getting a nice blanket of white over them already.

The birds are having a freak fest out there right now, not quite knowing what this is all about. It’s pretty obvious that many of them are young ones, heading into their first winter. But they’ve become very round and plump at our feeders over the past few weeks, so are in good shape for what lies ahead.

Now I must away as Daughter has been taking photos and wants to do a post on her own journal. If I ask nicely, she might even stick some up on here for me.

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow …

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2006-10-11 07:56:00
See? I Wasn’t Kidding!
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In January, yesterday’s snow wouldn’t even rate a “meh.” But it’s kind of a big deal at this time of year, even in Manitoba. The photos were taken not long after the snow started, and the ground was eventually totally covered. Most of it melted when the sun came out later, but we had another skiff overnight and there’s a good sprinkle in today’s forecast, too.


Here’s a little chickadee at the feeder in the backyard. Poor wee thing had its feathers all puffed out, and looked most unimpressed with the white stuff falling down around it. Chickadees are my favourite little bird species, by the way.


The remains of a flower bed to the right. Just some mums left in bloom there, if you can see them through the snow. Note the freshly dug soil to the left. That’s the veggie patch that Richard has been turning over by hand over the past few days. Oh, and I see that he left the lone snapdragon that popped up there from seed. 🙂


Looking towards the east from the corner of our property. You can see the snow falling in this one.

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2006-10-12 13:39:00
It’s Here
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Often an early to mid-October snowfall is simply a warning to get our bums in gear. Winter’s coming in a few weeks, folks, so get those autumn chores done pronto! However, once in a while Old Man Winter comes to stay, much earlier than desired. And this seems to be one of those years. Judging from the long range forecast, this is it. He’s here and we had better learn to like it!

This was the scene Stephanie captured outside our front window at around midnight last night. I had just gone out on the deck at the back for my usual late night bark at the moon session, and couldn’t believe what I had walked into. You can’t see the snow falling in the foreground of the photo, but if you look behind the houses across the street, all that you see is white. That’s the “blizzard” that roared for a couple of hours last night. Stephanie took some photos at the back, too, which prove that the snow was blowing onto her camera lens, but I don’t want to steal all of her handiwork. Those who are on both of our LiveJournal friends lists are going to get a bit tired of seeing duplicate photos on our journals. When her new camera arrives, I’ll be inheriting her old one, so I’ll get some original stuff up on here then. Once I figure out how to work the thing, of course. Knowing me and technology, that could take a while!

Anyhoo, am I thoroughly depressed about the early arrival of winter? Not really. I’ve always been more of a cool weather person anyway, but in recent years the heat of summer really knocks the starch right out of me. The only real hate thing I had for winter was when I had to drive to work every day in ice and snow. I especially hated it when Stephanie was tiny and I had to drag her out to a babysitter every day in brutally cold or stormy weather. It went against every protective maternal instinct I have, and was akin to child abuse in my mind. I had no choice in the matter as I had to work full-time for the first four years of her life. But it never sat well.

So, yes, I suppose that I am a bit of a winter fan, when I think about it. I’d much rather be cold than hot, and it’s easier to warm up when cold, as opposed to trying to cool down when it’s hot. The only down side to winter for the past few years is that the brain suddenly began to react to the shorter daylight hours, setting off the “winter blahs” at a certain point in the winter. It has been getting progressively worse each year, but perhaps it will be held in check this time by the bit of chemistry I’ve been ingesting for the past six months. We shall see!

Now I must quit rambling as a certain someone has been breathing on my shoulder for the past couple of minutes, and has now started the gentle poking. Subtle, isn’t she?! It’s called sharing, Dear!! 🙂

Have a good one.

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2006-10-13 00:02:00
Happy Birthday, Pea!
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“A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart, and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words.”

Happy Birthday, dear Pea! Hope your special day is perfect from beginning to end, and the start of your best year ever! xxxooo

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2006-10-13 01:32:00
Belated Birthday Greetings
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Oops, I just realized that someone on my friends list over here celebrated his birthday yesterday. Sorry, Stan, I didn’t get a chance to check friends’ entries until now. Hope you had a fantastic day yesterday, and that the next 364 days of your year of being 77 are just as fantastic!
You belie your age big time, young man! 😉

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2006-10-16 13:51:00
Friendship
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There’s nothing nicer in this life than a good friendship, and I’m fortunate to be blessed with many friends at this stage in my life. Some have been around forever, some for what seems like forever, and some are relatively new. But whatever the length of the friendship, or the level of the friendship, each one adds something positive to my life, and for that I am truly thankful.

But sometimes friendships go awry, don’t they? It has happened to me a few times, and I’ve seen it happen to those around me. Sometimes the reasons are obvious, as in it’s a toxic friendship that never should have been, something radically changed within the friendship that turned it negative, there was never enough common ground to sustain a long friendship, or whatever. Or sometimes we just have to move on after a life-changing event and we need to make an entirely fresh start. I know that when I left my “old life” behind sixteen years ago, I had to totally leave it behind. I maintained some contact with a few people from that life, but the general situation had been so negative that the contact with them just kept dragging me back to where I didn’t want to be anymore. These people were nice enough in themselves, but I couldn’t move on properly while maintaining contact with them.

But sometimes a friendship goes awry for reasons that are more difficult to pinpoint. Over time we just realize that it isn’t good for us anymore, and we can’t really identify what has gone wrong. All that we do know is that what used to make us happy now causes anxiety and we dread the contact that we once enjoyed so much. We hang on, thinking that it’s “just a phase”, and the feeling will pass, but it doesn’t. It just gets worse. Those are the friendships that are the hardest to get out of, when we finally see the writing on the wall, and know that we need out. None of us wants to hurt another person, but it’s impossible to avoid it in these situations. Most of the time they don’t see any problems in the relationship, and it broadsides them when we come clean and say “I just can’t do this anymore.”

It’s a very desirable thing to constantly grow and evolve as a human being. As we grow, needs and wants change, and naturally that has an effect on all of our relationships, including friendships. What sustained us at one stage of our lives, just doesn’t at another point. The strongest relationships evolve with the changes, but others just don’t. It’s not a case of either party being good or evil, right or wrong, more committed or more fickle. Fickle is when you move on to the next good thing, without a thought or a backward glance. There’s nothing fickle about having to move on, after much agonizing over a situation, and realizing that you just can’t be there anymore. Even if the reasons aren’t clear, gut instinct never steers us wrong. And if the instincts are screaming that we’re at the point where we have to call time on a relationship, we have to listen to those instincts.

I’ve been on both ends of a friendship breakup, so understand the pain on both sides. The one on the receiving end might not realize that the breaker is in pain, too, but they are. However, the reality is that, much as it might hurt at the time, it’s not the end of the world. Sometimes it “just happens” and the best thing is to write it off and put it out of your head. But sometimes friends desert us for a reason, and we need to take a hard look at ourselves. Perhaps we had chosen the wrong people to be friends with in the first place, and we need to learn to choose more wisely in future. Or sometimes, after a good think, we realize that we actually did do something wrong, and need to learn from this experience so that we don’t repeat the same behaviour in future. None of us sees ourself as others do, so sometimes we need to step outside of ou
rself, and see what others see. Which can be a real eye opener.

But at the end of the day, friendship is never a waste of time, even one that doesn’t last. Any relationship teaches us much about ourselves and others, and contributes to our growth as a person. The trick is to dwell on what you gained from the relationship itself, rather than obsessing about the breakup for the rest of your life. That one didn’t work, but others will, and what we learned from that one will make future friendships that much better.

And just in case anyone is feeling a bit paranoid after reading this little missive, relax, I’m not giving anyone a hint that our friendship is about to end. Honest, I’m not. While it’s not a random idea that popped into my head out of nowhere when I sat down to write today, it wasn’t inspired by feelings about any of my own friendships at present. Just thought I had better make that point clear! Have a good one, my friends. 🙂

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2006-10-17 16:15:00
Celebrity Lookalikes … Apparently
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I found this bit of silliness over at Yorkshire Soul, and thought I’d give it a whirl. I was expecting some scary results, but was pleasantly surprised. Well, mostly. Don’t much care for some of the celebrities themselves, but I can definitely handle being compared to sweet young things. Or at least they were when these photos were taken. Juliette Binoche is one of the most stunning women on the planet in my book, so I especially like that one.

The photo of me was taken on my 43rd birthday in January, by the way. Most of my regulars from the old place will have seen it already, but the newbies probably don’t know what I look like yet. Enjoy the moment, ’cause I don’t post many photos of myself!

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2006-10-18 12:59:00
Celebrations Week
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If you have a minute, how about heading over to see the lovely Lena? She and her hubby are celebrating their 20th wedding anniversary, and I’ll bet that she’s still accepting belated birthday greetings, too! 🙂

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2006-10-20 11:04:00
What I Need to Do, and What I Used to Do
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I really must learn to eat something before I go wandering around in Blogland. Usually it’s Yorkshire Soul, chef to the stars, who tortures me with pictures of delicious offerings from his kitchen. But today it’s English fare of a more basic nature – full English breakfasts. Oh lordy. Two blogs I visited have photos of heaped plates, and if that isn’t torture to an empty stomach, I don’t know what is! I have all of the ingredients in the house to make one for myself, but it’s a lot of effort for one plate. So, I’ll see if I can control the craving until tomorrow, when he of English birth will be at home to enjoy such fare with me. If I play my cards right, he’ll even do the cooking. Note to self – be really, really nice to the man this evening. 😉

But seriously, the man of the house is the one who deserves the pampering this weekend. Today ends a long stretch of shifts on, thanks to having his schedule for the last couple of weeks totally mucked up. As is typical of the health care industry these days, the needs of he and his colleagues fell by the wayside, in favour of yet another bit of lunacy, dreamed up by someone behind a desk at the regional health authority. He and his co-workers were forced to give up days off to attend two, eight hours each, training sessions on how to do lifts and transfers. Good grief. Not a one of them has less than twenty-five years of experience as a nurse, and in Richard’s case it’s over forty years. Considering the fact that he has never had an on the job injury, or caused an injury in someone he has cared for, I think it’s safe to say he has been using the proper techniques for a very long time. If I recall correctly, I learned the whole lift and transfer business in my first week of nursing school. Of course nursing is an ever changing profession and ongoing education is necessary. But how about focusing the education sessions on worthwhile subjects? Back in my nursing days I attended regular education sessions about new drug therapies, new equipment, new approaches to treating certain illnesses, etc. Which is how it should be. I worked in a privately owned facility, with very sensible people running it, and the assumption was that if you were qualified to be a nurse, you knew the basics!

Speaking of my nursing days, I don’t think I’ve ever really talked about what kind of nursing I did. I realized that after a comment left recently by Rel, who is a nurse anaesthetist. Totally cool branch of the profession, but I don’ t think such a designation exists here in Manitoba. We’re behind the times in a lot of ways, and hopefully one day the powers that be will realize that nurses are capable of becoming specialists in a number of areas. It would ease the doctor shortage crisis in a big way, as well as saving the health care system a load of money. Midwives and nurse practitioners are starting to pop up here and there, but they still face a great deal of prejudice in “the system”. That needs to change.

Anyway, I’ve always referred to my former specialty as geriatrics, but that’s not entirely true. I spent my entire career working in a long term care facility, but it wasn’t your run of the mill nursing home as far as the residents went. Certainly the majority of the one hundred beds were occupied by geriatric residents, with various physical or psychiatric needs. But there was also a decent ratio of younger people, with various ailments and conditions. Severe cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, uncontrolled epilepsy, brain injuries of various kinds, crippling rheumatoid arthritis, myasthenia gravis, ALS, and various psychiatric conditions were among the reasons the younger residents were with us. At one point the age range was from thirteen to one hundre
d and three, so yes, lots of variety there for sure. At that time there were fewer group homes for the young and handicapped, and psychiatric hospitals were downsizing, with nursing homes taking in stable psychiatric patients, or those who should have never been committed in the first place. Back in the day, many people were committed for reasons which would never be considered now. After a long period of being in an institution, they were unable to function independently, so needed a place to go where they could be cared for.

It was very interesting work indeed, and yes, I do still miss it sometimes. But not enough to go through the process of gaining my nursing license again, and heading back into the fray. Well, it’s kind of a moot point now as I don’t have the necessary energy for holding down a regular job, but I wouldn’t go back even if I could. I live with a psychiatric nurse, so know how much things have changed since I left. He also works in a long term care facility, and it’s sad to see how the focus has changed from hands on care to satisying the latest whims of somebody sitting in an office at “regional”. Also, the qualifications of administrators have changed, much to the detriment of those living in and working in the facilities these people run. Back in the day, the bosses had actually worked on the “front lines” and had risen through the ranks to the top job. Not anymore. Now they’re trained paper pushers, and/or financial whizzes, who have no clue of what is actually happening out on the wards.

But enough of all of that. As I said at the start, I haven’t eaten yet today, and must do something about it before I faint away here. But at least I’ve actually seen morning today. After a couple of weeks of having days and nights mixed up, it’s great to be back on track. Now I just need to get the eating habits back on track, too. Proper rest and nutrition – you don’t have to be a former nurse to realize their importance.

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2006-10-24 14:04:00
Hope
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Even though I’ve been blogging for what feels like forever now, I’ve never lost the sense of discomfort about pouring out my innermost thoughts and feelings for the consumption of the whole world. I’ve had some rants and moans over the years, but mostly I keep the “heavy stuff” to myself. I’ve always been fairly private by nature, but mostly I just don’t like burdening others with anything and everything. We all have our own “stuff” to deal with and there is a limit on how much outside “stuff” we’re willing and able to listen to.

But just this once I’m going to drop the “everything’s fine and I’m the Rock of Gibraltar” facade and let it all hang out. Well, not all, as some of it isn’t my “stuff” to tell, and I’m not going to intrude on my daughter’s privacy. But suffice it to say that I’m far more worried about her than I am about myself right now. She’s in good hands and hopefully this will be the turning point in everything for her. But nobody knows for sure. So, all that I can do is pray like I’ve never prayed before and hope that somebody is listening. She deserves so much better than she has had, and surely it’s time for her to break free of all of this.

As for me, I mentioned some months ago that I was fortunate enough to come into contact with a psychiatrist who was actually interested in doing something about my lifelong battle with anxiety. Not that others haven’t tried, but all that they offered were bandaid solutions, that didn’t address the actual problem. I wasn’t actually the patient back in May, so it was just a fairly basic chat at the end of the appointment, here’s a prescription to try, and call me if I can be of any further assistance. The prescription made a big difference, so I thought that I could do the rest on my own. But I couldn’t, which led me back to his office yesterday. Sure, the anxiety is a lot better, but the “mild” depression, also diagnosed back in May, has become much, much worse in the ensuing months. I’ve had down periods throughout my life, as everyone experiences, but I’ve always snapped myself out of them. This is a whole lot different. The nature of the fatigue has changed over the months, too. The kind that has plagued me for the past two years is still there to some degree, but what has really been dragging me down recently is something quite different, in addition to the other.

The medication that I’ve been on since May is great for both anxiety and depression, but the dose was too low to deal with both equally well. So, that has been bumped up now, bringing with it a return of the side effects. Bleh. But those will disappear again in a week or two. By which time I should be starting to feel the beneficial effects, so fingers crossed. But he’s not leaving it at that. He’s not the kind of doctor to go for the easy solution – he digs around until he gets to the real root of the problem. I’ve had the standard bloodwork and such done since the start of the fatigue thing two years ago, and nothing amiss showed up. Hence the “vague” diagnosis. But the psychiatrist isn’t happy with that and feels that something has been missed. Test results can sometimes be inaccurate, things can change over the course of months, and I wasn’t tested for everything that he feels could be possibilities. He’s not looking for anything really scary, just a slight chemical imbalance that is at the root of everything. So, I donated six tubes of blood to the hospital lab yesterday, and the search begins for any possible contributing factor to the depression and fatigue. I’ve done the counselling thing in the past, and the conclusion was always that I was coping as well as anyone could, given whatever the circumstances were at that time. Hence the search now for something amiss physically, rather than picking all of my thought pro
cesses apart. Sure, I’m too much of a perfectionist and have lots of “baggage” from the past. But if those haven’t led to a major depression before now, it’s unlikely that they ever will. For now he has me started on a regimen of Vitamin B12 and Folic Acid, since even a decent diet doesn’t guarantee adequate levels in all females of the species. He found the B12 deficiency in Stephanie back in May, and problems with absorption and retention tend to be hereditary. As for the rest, we’ll wait and see. We see him again next Monday, by which time he’ll have my results and hopefully the missing piece of the puzzle.

So, there it is. I tend to withdraw a bit when I’m not on top of the world, but know that I’ve been seriously withdrawing from everyone and everything in recent months. So, don’t take it personally – it’s me, not you. Just be patient until I get my act together again, and normal contact will resume. I haven’t forgotten how to write letters, make phone calls, answer e-mails, comment regularly on blogs, etc. I’ve just lost the motivation to do so, temporarily.

And that’s all that I have to say on the subject at present. I’ll be fine eventually, so don’t do any fretting on my behalf. A few prayers, good thoughts, positive vibes, or whatever, would be appreciated for Stephanie, though. Pretty please?

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2006-10-25 13:23:00
Eureka!
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I never thought I’d wish for abnormal blood test results, but in this case I was. The results are in and the mystery has been solved. The doc’s a genius. 🙂 His suggestion to start on Vitamin B12, just in case, was right on the money. His office called me a little while ago, and my B12 level is in the basement. You can look up the symptoms of pernicious anemia if you so desire, but suffice it to say that the diagnosis explains everything. There’s no doubt that I have had CFS or some similar post-viral syndrome, too, but the B12 deficiency is likely the main culprit at this point.

The good news is that the deficiency is totally treatable, so I should be back on form again by the time my birthday rolls around in January. Maybe earlier, but it usually takes about three months for supplement therapy to do its thing. I’ll feel some improvement in the meantime, though, so am looking forward to that.

And now all that I can say is halle-freakin’-lujah! What a relief to know what’s wrong and what a great feeling to know that I’m not stuck with it indefinitely. It’s a good day, folks! 🙂

Now I must get off and make myself somewhat presentable for the day. It’s almost 2:00 in the afternoon, and I’ve wasted a good chunk of the day sleeping very, very late. Just an effect of the med increase, but probably I needed the sleep anyway after a few weeks of insomnia. It’s civic election day, so I should stroll over to the nearby high school and mark my ballot. Then I have a few windows that need a bit more attention, since this will likely be the last window cleaning day of the year. Hate cleaning windows, but I hate looking out through grubby ones more. You know how it is.

Until tomorrow …

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2006-10-26 13:52:00
Brideshead Revisited
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Revisited once too often, to be precise.

This rather annoyed me when I heard about it a few days ago. I know that it’s the done thing to make new versions of classics a couple of decades later, but not everything needs to be “updated”. Some were so perfect the first time that they should never be touched. Perhaps I’d feel better about it if the actors in the planned remake were the current best of the best, as in the first version. But they aren’t. I mean, think about it – Laurence Olivier, John Gielgud, Claire Bloom, the magificent Jeremy Irons, Anthony Andrews, et al, vs. some soap stars. I’m a loyal watcher of Coronation Street, from whence some of the actors noted in this article come, but will be the first to admit that the calibre of the acting leaves a lot to be desired sometimes.

I read somewhere else that the purpose of the remake is to make Evelyn Waugh and his literary masterpiece more accessible to modern audiences. Rubbish. My daughter represents the modern audience and she is as ticked off about this as I am. She’s in full agreement that the original is pretty much the best thing to ever hit a TV screen, even if it was before her time.

Oh, I know, it’s not worth really getting my knickers in a twist about, but we’re all entitled to our individual annoyances. When something grabs me, it really grabs me, and I don’t like unnecessary tampering with something of such quality.

Any other Brideshead fans out there, by the way?

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2006-10-28 11:48:00
Crisis? What Crisis?
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I’m starting to wake up again, which is ever so nice. It takes me a while to get going, but once I’m going, I’m going. Woot! I probably achieved more yesterday than I have in the past three weeks, without the need for frequent sit down sessions, and a cattle prod to get me off the sofa and moving again. Richard is starting to get a bit worried. Being quite a bit older, he figures that I’ll leave him in my dust once the B12 situation is sorted out, too. Silly man. I’ll welcome the return of the whirling dervish I used to be, but if I didn’t whirl out of his sphere then, it’s not likely that I will in future. He should be grateful, as it will mean more leisure time for him. Unless, of course, he has truly enjoyed the extra duties over the past couple of years. Which would be most illogical. But if he wants to continue with the grocery shopping, errand running, sharing of cooking duties and some housekeeping chores, who am I to say no? Retirement is only a couple of years away for him, and perhaps the past two years have been a training period for his future. He likes doing the things that I despise, and vice versa, and we make a good team on everything else, so that bodes very well for our “together years.”

Now I just need to get my sense of time back. Hours, days, weeks, and months have sort of melted away over the past two years, and I’d like to actually feel the passage of time again. If that makes sense. It’s hard to describe in words, really. I’m aware of what day it is and all, but something that happened six months ago feels like last week. Very strange. Last evening I glanced out the window at the deepening dusk and thought to myself, “In a few weeks it will be pitch black out there at this time, after we change the clocks.” Um no, Eleanor, not a few weeks hence, it’s tonight that we say ta ta to DST! Oh, right. Which is always a blissful occasion, by the way. If I had my way, we’d be on CST year round. My inner clock much prefers CST and never seems to truly adjust to DST.

Now I must away and take advantage of having the house to myself for a short while. It’s Richard’s weekend to work, and Daughter has taken herself out to converge with the masses downtown. I wonder how much clutter I can remove, without her missing it, while she’s not here to see me doing it? At the very least, I’ll get the vacuum run around, while her jewellery making stuff isn’t spread all over the living room carpet. No, we didn’t have the energy to get the spare bedroom properly converted to her studio, and now it will have to wait until spring. Wet paint in a closed up house gives me vicious migraines and makes me feel ill in general, even latex paint. So the painting has to wait until all of the house windows can stay open day and night again. I’m such a delicate flower. 😉

Have a great weekend, all.

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2006-10-28 16:01:00
Heaven in a Box
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Daughter returned from a stroll around some of the posh shops downtown, with a posh treat for her mom and daddy-o.

Luscious.
Succulent.
Sensuous.
Decadent.
Sinful.
Exquisite.
Blissful.
Perfection.

And no, I’m not a raving chocoholic. Or at least I wasn’t.

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2006-10-29 23:04:00
A Spooky Classic
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I don’t do “scare the bejeebus out of you” horror of any kind. I have a very overactive imagination and am so easily traumatized. 😉 Nor am I into really cutesy-wootsey stuff for Halloween.

THE RAVENby Edgar Allan Poe
(1845)

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
“‘Tis some visitor,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door-
Only this, and nothing more.”

Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December,
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow;- vainly I had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow- sorrow for the lost Lenore-
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore-
Nameless here for evermore.

And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me- filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating,
“‘Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door-
Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door;-
This it is, and nothing more.”

Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
“Sir,” said I, “or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you”- here I opened wide the door;-
Darkness there, and nothing more.

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering,
fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortals ever dared to dream before;
But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, “Lenore!”
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, “Lenore!”-
Merely this, and nothing more.

Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.
“Surely,” said I, “surely that is something at my window lattice:
Let me see, then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore-
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore;-
‘Tis the wind and nothing more.”

Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and
flutter,
In there stepped a stately raven of the saintly days of yore;
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed
he;
But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door-
Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door-
Perched, and sat, and nothing more.

Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore.
“Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,” I said, “art sure no
craven,
Ghastly grim and ancient raven wandering from the Nightly shore-
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night’s Plutonian shore!”
Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.”

Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,
Though its answer little meaning- little relevancy bore;
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
Ever yet was blest with seeing bird above his chamber door-
Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door,
With such name as “Nevermore.”

But the raven, sitting lonely on the p
lacid bust, spoke only
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
Nothing further then he uttered- not a feather then he fluttered-
Till I scarcely more than muttered, “other friends have flown
before-
On the morrow he will leave me, as my hopes have flown before.”
Then the bird said, “Nevermore.”

Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
“Doubtless,” said I, “what it utters is its only stock and store,
Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful Disaster
Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore-
Till the dirges of his Hope that melancholy burden bore
Of ‘Never- nevermore’.”

But the Raven still beguiling all my fancy into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird, and bust and
door;
Then upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore-
What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt and ominous bird of yore
Meant in croaking “Nevermore.”

This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom’s core;
This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
On the cushion’s velvet lining that the lamplight gloated o’er,
But whose velvet violet lining with the lamplight gloating o’er,
She shall press, ah, nevermore!

Then methought the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
Swung by Seraphim whose footfalls tinkled on the tufted floor.
“Wretch,” I cried, “thy God hath lent thee- by these angels he
hath sent thee
Respite- respite and nepenthe, from thy memories of Lenore!
Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe and forget this lost Lenore!”
Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.”

“Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil!- prophet still, if bird or
devil!-
Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted-
On this home by horror haunted- tell me truly, I implore-
Is there- is there balm in Gilead?- tell me- tell me, I implore!”
Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.”

“Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil- prophet still, if bird or
devil!
By that Heaven that bends above us- by that God we both adore-
Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,
It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore-
Clasp a rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore.”
Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.”

“Be that word our sign in parting, bird or fiend,” I shrieked,
upstarting-
“Get thee back into the tempest and the Night’s Plutonian shore!
Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!
Leave my loneliness unbroken!- quit the bust above my door!
Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my
door!”
Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.”

And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon’s that is dreaming,
And the lamplight o’er him streaming throws his shadow on the
floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted- nevermore!

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2006-10-30 20:44:00
Adult Entertainment
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Why should kids have all the fun? Head on over here and select your own favourite “grown up” action figure. Totally work, child, and maiden auntie safe, by the way.

So, which one would you choose?

And which one do you think I’d choose? Actually, it’s sort of a toss up between four, but I think I have it narrowed down to one now.

Oh heck, let’s turn this into a contest, as I haven’t done one of those in ages. No actual merchandise on offer this time, but the first to guess my very favourite, gets to choose a topic for me to write about. Okay, yes, maybe not the most generous prize in the world, but it’s totally carte blanche for the topic. No matter how outrageous, risque (pretend there’s an accent on the e), silly, or serious, I have to tackle it and try to do it justice. Fire away!

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2006-10-30 23:50:00
A Wintry Halloween
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It has been several years since we had a snowy Halloween, but we’re going to have one this year. It has been snowing all day, and it’s expected to continue overnight and into tomorrow. The wind is also going to get up tomorrow, so it’s going to be a very cold and miserable evening for the little trick or treaters. It won’t stop all of them, of course, but I imagine that many parents will take the littlest ones around the warm malls, rather than traipsing around outdoors in the snow and wind. The mall concept was new to me when we came to the city, but we were very grateful for it the first Halloween here. It was very cold that night, and the snow was quite deep, after a couple of early storms. We lived in an apartment complex then, so it wouldn’t have been too bad to just go trick or treating around the complex. But my youngest sister was living in Winnipeg then, and worked in a mall, so we didn’t say no when she invited us to go trick or treating there.

We’re all set for whoever does show up at our door tomorrow night. On a nice Halloween we get 40 or 50 kids on average, but I expect that there will be far fewer tomorrow. We have treat bags made up for 50, though, just in case. And yes, we always buy stuff that we like ourselves, should we end up with lots of leftovers. We’re not stupid. 😉

Stephanie finished off the decorating today. That was my job when she was little, and a cooperative effort when she got a bit bigger. But she took it over completely when she outgrew trick or treating. She loves Halloween, and needs to get her fun somehow, you know! Her rather impressive Bride of Frankenstein jack-o’-lantern was created yesterday, which will go out on the front step tomorrow night. A bat garland went around the outside of the front door tonight, as well as some rather spiffy skull lights, mini-lights, and a pumpkin garland in the front window. Enough to impress the little ones, but nothing too over the top and scary. Stephanie still hasn’t recovered from some of the scares she had as a trick or treater, I’m sure. The most traumatic was when a guy down the block put a coffin in his front yard, out of which he leapt, screeching and brandishing an axe, whenever the little ones approached his front door. Richard took Stephanie around that night and it scared the crap out of him, too. Sorry I missed it … not. That’s a bit much, I think, especially for the really little ones. Sure, do it to the older ones, especially the teenage louts who go out to collect loot without bothering to dress up at all. But that’s way beyond fun for the younger set.

Speaking of the teenage louts, Stephanie suggested that we do up some special treat bags for them this year … filled with empty treat wrappers. I totally agree with her in principle, but I kind of like my house in one piece, and free of undesirable decoration when I wake up on November 1st. My sister suggested that I make the non-costumed ones earn their treats by singing or some such thing. Like I said, I like my house in one piece, and free of undesirable decoration when I wake up on November 1st. Sister has a lot to learn, obviously. This will be her first non-rural Halloween, and what you can get away with out in the sticks is quite different from what you’d even try to get away with in the city! Even a much smaller city than this one.

Now, since we’re only minutes away from the big day, I’ll end with a boo, a ghoulish mwahahahahahaha, and a Happy Halloween to you all!

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