September 19th – Birthday Celebrations

September is a busy birthday month for our family with both sons and my sister Elaine celebrating their auspicious arrivals on this planet.Β  In fact, today is Elaine’s birthday so Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday, Elaine πŸ’ž

With all of these birthdays happening, I started wondering who and how these celebrations began.Β Β  As, usual I turned to Google for some possibly questionable answers to fill that little ‘piece of my mind’ that torments me when I get plagued by such all-consuming wonderings.Β 

Google hooked me up with Huffington Post and this is what their inquisitive minds had dug up on the subject.

Ancient Egyptians began the birthday celebrations in the 1300 BCs as an annual means ofΒ  honoring their Pharaohs.Β Β 

The Greeks added moon-shaped cakes, decorated with lit candles for a glowing effect. πŸ•―οΈπŸ•―οΈπŸ•―οΈ Awwww….

At some point, Ancient Romans started celebrating birthdays for the common man.Β Β  Christians found the practice rather pagan but eventually joined the party when they started celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ in the forth century. It was not until the twelfth century that women were deemed worthy of such celebrations. πŸ₯Ί

Finally, in the late eighteenth century, Germans created the birthday cake as we know it today and began decorating it with a specific number of candles to honor the age of the celebrant.

So there you have it! The thirty-one century origin of birthdays.

Take care and have a great day. (Even if it isn’t your birthday, it is never a bad day for cake!)

September 18th – Transformation

Today I am opening up that ‘piece of my mind’ that examines creating transformations in my life.

I have experienced many dramatic transformations in my life. Changes instigated by me, by others, or just by life in general. People have come and gone. Homes and careers have come and gone. Pets and pastimes have come and gone. Other people, homes, careers, pets, and pastimes have come to fill the void. Over the years, everyone and everything in my life has changed – except me.

Obviously I have changed – but not necessarily how, or as much as, I would hope to.

This morning when I sat down to browse You Tube for a morning meditation, I came across a Tarot Reading. I am not into astrology as a rule. I don’t totally discount it but I definitely haven’t studied it either. This Tarot reading caught my attention. It had a heading that proclaimed ‘Leo, you are going through the biggest transformation of your life.’

Whoo, hoo! Finally! The Me I Always Wanted To Be!

It spoke to me. My life has changed drastically in the past two years and I have worked harder to change more than ever before. Except lately, I have been feeling stuck. Not necessarily in a bad place, but not in a great place either. Just stuck – mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically.

Obviously this Tarot reading was just what I needed. After all of the changes that have happened in the past two years, all of the changes that I have made, this is IT! This is the darkness before the dawn. I am about to be transformed. πŸ’ž

So I watched this Tarot reading. It went really well for the first fourteen minutes. Then the last two cards and there it was. The transformation was not coming from outside of myself – it would happen on the inside AND only if I made it happen with work and dedication.

There’s always a catch!

So I guess that is it. We all have the ability to change, but we have to invest the hard work and dedication that it takes. Even when we feel stuck, we just have to keep working at it. It isn’t want I wanted to hear but it was obviously what I needed to hear today.

Take care and have a great day! πŸ’ž

September 17th – Odds and Ends

I had a less than ideal sleep last night so rather than trying to focus on any one topic today, I thought I would just share a few random ‘pieces of my mind’.

Meatloaf – Dan enjoys a great meatloaf. Unfortunately, mine are not particularly great. I made one last night. It was definitely better than the last one I made but the texture was a bit soft and the bacon wrap was a bit limp, despite cooking it longer than I should have! What does it take? At least, the cake I made was great. πŸ‘

Carrot Cake with cream cheese icing. 😁

Covid has made a serious comeback in Saskatchewan. It is rediculous that for all the grief and upheaval this pandemic has caused, people continue to resist even the slightest inconvenience to control it. Seriously people! Follow the damn arrows! ➑️➑️➑️➑️. Does it not make sense to avoid face to face contact with people? Even if you are wearing a mask?

Holidays – I ran to the Dollar Store yesterday for more peanuts and birdseed for our furry and feathered visitors. Apparently, we are officially into the holiday season. There were Thanksgiving, Halloween, and Christmas decorations filling the shelves. Maybe we have too many holidays when they have to compete for shelf space? πŸ™„

I bought a little ornament for us – I think that should cover us until Easter. πŸ€—

Federal Election – Only two more full days until election day in Canada. I am so excited!!! I can avoid watching the news but there is no dodging the election advertisements. Soon they will be over. ☺️ And we will be Simply Blessed to see the end of them. (What a handy ornament!)

Weather – This morning it was +2 when I got up (felt like -3). It has warmed up some but I am still wearing a sweater and feeling a bit chilled. Tomorrow’s weather report for Regina. ….

Summer is back πŸ₯³

That is all I have for today. Take care and have a great day! πŸ’ž

September 14th – So Far So Good!

My catscan is complete and I am back home with Kat. Today the ‘piece of my mind’ that I am sharing is relative to my latest medical experience.

Kat was not worried – she was just waiting for me to share my breakfast. πŸ˜‚

Everything went as well as could possibly be expected!

I was up at six o’clock to drink two glasses of water as per instructions. By seven o’clock I had lost eight pounds which would probably be expected by anyone who has ever gagged down two glasses of water at six a.m. Since the hospital where I was going is just a few blocks from our house, I had ample time to get dressed, check the weather and read my online news while I was not having my regular morning coffee.

I headed to the hospital at seven thirty and got there with no issues. I made it into the hospital and to the admitting desk without issue. I found radiology on my first try. (By this time I was feeling pretty cocky! I have the worst sense of direction and when I am within the confines of a hospital, where my stress level is through the roof, my sense of direction flies right out the nearest window.)

I was sent down the hall to change and had only one moment of sheer terror when I stepped back out of the change room with no idea which direction I had to turn. There were only two directions to turn and fortunately I chose the correct one to take me back to the reception counter. The clerk at the counter led me to the catscan area.

In the catscan area I was given another glass of water to drink. When I told the nurse I had already gagged down two glasses of water, she gave me a pass. She could not give me a pass on the iv that she had to insert so the lab technician could pump dye into me for the catscan. The injection went smoothly despite the fact that my vein (or artery?) on the inside of my elbow runs horizontal instead of vertical. Very strange – maybe they zigzag all over my body. 🀷

As soon as the iv shunt was in place, I was taken into the lab and placed on the catscan table. They attached the bottle with the die and did a quick scan before, and one after, the dye was released into my system. The dye did not hurt but it definitely causes an instantaneous and wierd feeling as it travels through one’s body – like a warm liquid starts at the top of one’s head and moves all the way down. That was relatively creepy.

That was it! All I had to do was wait fifteen minutes before the iv could be removed and I was free to run back to the change room, get my street clothes back on, stop in at Robins for a coffee and lemon poppyseed muffin and I was out of there!

I was so excited that I got to the Jeep before I realized that this was just a test and I still have to go for the actual surgical procedure for my hernia(s). I will have to go to the General Hospital, across town, for that performance. 😧😳πŸ˜₯

I made my way out of the parking lot and got myself home in one piece. Now I may need a nap. If I let myself dwell on the next step in this journey I may need wine – or a shot of tequila. πŸ₯Ί

I must say that everyone, EVERYONE – from security, to clerical, to nurses, to technicians were AMAZING this morning. I am definitely grateful for their kindness, consideration, competence and professionalism.

That is it for today! All in all, a good full day before nine a.m. (Retired life is so great until one inevitably has to venture back into the real world. πŸ˜‚)

Take care and have a great day! See you tomorrow. πŸ’ž

September 12th – Simply Sunday

Some days are just about ‘Peace of Mind’. That is today. Just a day for Sunday morning ham and eggs, spending time with Dan, rest and relaxation, fresh air, and hanging out with our little dog, Kat.

Overcast morning
Kat, hanging out and about
Summer fading
Sunday morning visitor
The sun breaks through

That is it for today. A peaceful, pleasant Sunday. Life is good. 🌞

Take care and have a good day! See you tomorrow. πŸ’ž

September 11th – Violence and Terrorism

Sharing a ‘Piece of My Mind’ on 9/11.

It is twenty years today since Al Qaeda, under the leadership of Osama bin Laden, attacked the Pentagon and destroyed the twin towers of the New York World Trade Centre. They were supposedly acting out of retaliation for the USA support of Israel and their involvement in in the Persian war. 

…… It was one of those days, just one of those normal days. I was getting ready for work. Dan was not home, but for some inexplicable reason I had the television on when the first news reports come on. A plane had hit one of the twin towers of The World Trade Centre. Like most everyone else, I assumed it was a horrible, freak accident – until the second plane hit the other tower. On live television, the plane flew straight into the side of the tower and was swallowed whole. This was no accident. By the time I got to work, there was a small television on the service counter. We saw rescue workers swarming the area, we saw people fleeing for their lives, we saw people falling to their deaths, we watched the towers fall – taking countless victims down in clouds of smoke and dust and rubble. We watched the reports on the Pentagon attack and the plane that went down in a field, short of its mark. Even in Saskatchewan, Canada – standing around a small television, thousands of miles from the devastation, we watched in horror and grief. Thousands died that day. There was carnage and mass destruction. Air traffic and any sense of normalcy was brought to a halt for days.

Several al Qaeda members died in this suicide mission. Over a number of years, many of those involved were captured, killed or imprisoned. After evading capture for almost ten years, their leader Osama bin Laden was tracked down and killed.

This horrific act of violence and terrorism shook the United States, Canada, and virtually every country around the globe. Lives and families were destroyed. Chaos reigned. There was billions of dollars in property damages and business losses.

But, what did these terrorists gain. There was no appreciation gained for their cause, no justice, no closure. The only result was the retaliatory measures inevitably taken by the USA and its allies. The escalation of the war against terrorism. More violence, more bloodshed, more loss.

You would think people would learn. After a lesson like 9/11. You would really think people would learn. But have they?

Who are these people that attacked the United States Capitol on January 6th, who carry out attacks on Muslim temples, who attack LGBTQ nightclubs, who burst into malls and schools and theatres with guns blazing, who scream obscenities and throw gravel and dog feces at politicians? What do they want and how do they possibly think they are going to get it with hate and violence?

If bin Laden and Al Qaeda, did not accomplish anything with their 9/11 attacks, how can anyone still possibly believe that hate and violence is the path to victory?

That is all I have for today. My heart goes out to all who are to this day suffering the consequences of of 9/11.

Until tomorrow, take care & stay safe. πŸ’ž

September 10th – Politics

Today I am moving forward into that wee ‘piece of my mind’ that cares about politics.

Canadian go to the polls on September 20th to elect a new or re-elect the old political party that will lead Canada for the next four years (more or less). Just two years ago we elected a minority Liberal government. They are now vying for the power of a majority government but they have some stiff competition and some solid opposition.

For the record, I do not, nor have I ever, stood solidly behind one political party or another. Whether it is a federal, provincial, or municipal election, I vote for the leader that I feel will best represent our country, province, or city. Also, my vote is mine, and mine alone – as it should be. Dan and I seldom discuss politics and we do not always agree when we do, but we do respect each other’s right to vote as we see fit.

In this current election, the Liberals and the Conservatives are neck in neck for first place. The NDP (New Democratic Party) are a distant third. The Green Party, Bloc Quebecois, and The people’s Party of Canada do not have the overall support to seriously affect the election one way or another.

These are my thoughts on politics, this election and the leaders of our top three parties.

First, I do not think it makes a lot of difference who wins or looses any election in Canada. We are a democracy with so many checks and balances that no party in power can make changes that are terribly sweeping or detrimental to our country.

Second, I do not think any of the main party leaders are particularly great or terrible. Justin Trudeau of the Liberal Party has been our Prime Minister for six years. He has his strengths, but his public speaking leaves much to be desired and he does have a history of embarrassing himself and our country with his wardrobe, his questionable connections, and regular public faux pas. He has tried to enact policy that is in the best interest of all Canadians and to help all areas in a manner sensitive to specific challenges.

Erin O’Toole is the leader of the Conservative Party. He is dignified, polished, and seems relatively intelligent and reasonable. I have two issues with Mr. o’Toole. The first and worst is that the Conservative representative in our riding is Andrew Scheer, who I personally have no use for as a person or a politician. The second is that Mr. O’Toole obviously supports the Conservative election campaign. Their campaign rests on questionable and ignorant attacks on Justin Trudeau and the star of their ads is a typical arrogant ‘Karen’ making typical patronizing snotty ‘Karen’ remarks. They have already lost two elections using this tactic, why would any leader support a third round?

Jagmeet Singh is the leader of our federal NDP party. As leaders go, he appeals to me. He is charismatic, dignified, and appears to be genuine. Unfortunately, I cannot get behind his doctrine of wealth and power distribution, unions and the like. I am not against helping those in genuine need – but I am a serious supporter of personal responsibility. I believe that there is a point where empowering gone too far becomes enabling irresponsible behaviours.

I believe that all three men who could become our next Prime Minister went into politics with a genuine desire to lead with integrity. (Which I believe is typical of most people who go into politics). I also think that most people who go into politics are painfully naive. They grow up surrounded by one group of people and share a lot of their beliefs. They think good governing should be relatively easy. Except, they get into politics and realize that there are countless people with countless different, and often opposing, views, beliefs, and desires. Few, if any, who want to change or compromise. We all want everything we want or need, we do not want to pay for anything that anyone else might want or need, and we all object to adequate government to make it all happen. Sounds simple enough. πŸ€”

Fortunately, most Canadians are reasonable and rational. Unfortunately, as elsewhere, there are extreme supporters and detractors of any government policy. Those are the Canadians who drive semis through cities (horns blasting), demonstrate outside of hospitals, throw gravel and scream obscenities at our Prime Minister, drive tractors and combines and tie up traffic from the Prairies to Ottawa. I cannot imagine anyone going into politics, being prepared for such goings on. Nor can I imagine anyone engaging in such goings on and expecting a positive outcome. πŸ₯Ί

That is pretty much my ‘piece of mind’ regarding politics. Although I know who I will be voting for, I wish the best for all who are running in this election and for all Canadians who will live with the results.

Take care and have a good day! See you tomorrow. πŸ’ž

September 9th – The Downside of Aging

I usually write about the benefits of aging. Peace, patience, wisdom, understanding, time – the things that are a true blessing to the aged and for which I am truly grateful.

Today I am going to that ‘piece of my mind’ that deals with the downside of aging. FYI – I totally believe in the protection of the tiny tots around us! But where these protective measures become an issue for us older folks is when we inevitably reach that physical decline of strength and dexterity.

I don’t know what I would do without Dan, or with him – if he ever reaches my current state of decline.

Everyday there is a new challenge accessing something I want (like salad) or need (like Cheezies). I am not proud of it but I have resorted to taking a butcher knife to one of those stupid plastic protectors that come on store bought cakes. What are they protecting them from for heaven’s sake! It is a cake – obviously sold to be eaten. But, apparently and sadly, not by us wimpy old folks. πŸ₯Ί

Sometimes it isn’t even a protective device as such. Sometimes it is supposedly convenience packaging – like those plastic bags that come with built in ziplock closures. Our store bought Gyoza bags are the worst. We have purchased them for years and last night was the first time I ever got one opened and resealed as they are meant to be. Chances are the next time we have Gyozas, I will have to resort to using my trusty butcher knife to regain access but last night it was a major win.

At home, I am relatively able to manage with Dan’s assistance and a bit of ingenuity. Going to my son’s house is a total battle of survival. With Cason at the age of inquisitive self-destruction, their entire place is one huge challenge. I finally figured out their baby gate to the basement and during our latest visit I discovered that they had booby-trapped their exterior doors. In case of a fire I will be fried to a crisp, clutching one of those stupid little plastic cap things that spins around with no intention of opening the door. (Way to go Dan & Amanda!) 😳

Anyway, that is my ‘piece of mind’ for the day. We are having chilli for supper so I should start trying to claw my way through the heavy duty, stretch plastic wrap on the the ground beef. 😟

Take care & have a good day! See you tomorrow πŸ’ž

September 8th – Grief

The ‘Piece of My Mind’ that I am sharing today is rather a deep one. ‘Grief’ – we all experience it and we all process it in our own way. This post is about my way. (Sorry, this post will be a lengthy one.)

I have experienced a few devastating losses over the years, the first being the loss of my brother-in-law. Paul died suddenly in a horrific accident. His death was a terrible loss for everyone who knew him and definitely for everyone in our family. He had been married to my sister Jeanne as long as I could remember so he was more of a big brother than an in-law. I was shocked and beyond saddened.

Years later – I was driving across the city with my daughter on a Sunday afternoon. Suddenly, I ‘sensed’ Paul lean forward from the back seat and sharply warn me to “protect her”. I glanced over at Jen, who was about nine at the time. She was sprawled across her seat with the seatbelt pulled up to her neck. I barked at her to sit up. She responded immediately by jolting straight up. I looked back at the road just in time to see the black van in front of us slam to a sudden stop. I responded, but not fast enough. I slammed my little sedan into the back of the van. The police came and, as the one behind is always at fault in such situations, I expected to be charged. The police officer spoke to the driver of the van and to me and gave me a minimal ticket. (I don’t remember why the driver of the van had slammed on his brakes). Everyone involved was unharmed and our insurance company covered all of the repairs. The thing with Paul was wierd but I just thought that the mind does strange things. I let it go at that.

The next major loss in my life, was the death of my father. I was devastated. We were so close. He had been suffering from cancer for a few years. My rocky marriage had turned violent and dangerous at the same time. My heart, my soul and my life were just shattered. I stumbled through the next few months until I was forced to pull myself together and get myself and my three teenagers out of the dysfunctional situation with my ex. The next few years brought the best, the worst and the weirdest experiences of my life. Through it all, I often felt my father’s presence. We all did things that we simply could not have done, if he had not been a part of it – supporting us, encouraging us, laughing at our mishaps. My Dad was gone but he had left a part of himself with each and every one of us.

Finally, Mom passed away a few years ago. Losing a parent is always difficult but Mom was ninety-five, the quality of her life had deteriorated in her final years, and she was finally ‘home’ with Dad. We all accepted our loss and we were all prepared to move on with our lives. After the funeral, we all headed back to our own homes and families. A few days later I started to hear hymns in my mind. Like when you get a little tune stuck in your head. But they were not hymns from Mom’s funeral. They were not hymns that I was familiar with. They were hymns that I knew were from my mother’s youth. I knew she had left a piece of her soul in my heart. By that point, I just knew.

Back to my Dad. Losing my Dad had a devastating impact on me at the time of his death and my grief had been overwhelming. With everything else that was terrible about that time, the timing of his death was the hardest. Dad passed away on December 17th – days before Christmas. Everything about that time was made worse by the Christmas decorations, the carols, the holiday reminders that would come back hard and fast – every year, for decades! Every December hit me hard. Finally one year, I woke up on a December morning to a holiday carol. I could feel the familiar pain crushing my heart. And I ‘heard’ my Dad. I heard him tell me to let it go, that every year he felt my pain, and that it was haunting him.

I had the biggest epiphany of my life when I realized that if I could sense his presence in my life, that he could feel mine. I vowed there and then to ‘let it go’. Not just for Dad specifically, but for all that I lost and all that I would lose.

Grief is natural, but going forward I will never allow grief to consume me again. What’s more, I know that no matter what happens in my life, I will do anything I can to keep my heart and my soul light and filled with peace and love, contentment and happiness. It is not just about me or for me. It is about the people that I love. The ones here with me and the ones who go ahead of me. It is for all that I carry in my heart.

So that is my take on life and love, loss and grief. As always, feel free to comment in the comment section below. All comments are welcome and will be respected.

Have a great day! Take care and see you tomorrow. πŸ’ž

September 7th – Bloody Hell

I wrote a blog last night that I was going to post this morning. After this morning, I decided to cycle around to a different ‘piece of my mind’ that needs sharing.

I am waiting for surgery for a hernia(s). My surgeon wants to get this done ASAP but his office arranged for me to have a catscan because the ultrasound I had in May was inconclusive about some problem areas. I have my catscan booked for next week but I needed to get a routine blood test done before I could have the catscan – or the surgery.

My surgeon’s office sent a requisition over to our local lab for the blood test. All I had to do was go to have it done. Which I did, this morning.

I have no idea how the seriously ill or aged survive ‘health’ care. It is not a place or process for wimps. None of it!

My first step was to make an appointment for my test at the lab. Good freaking luck with that. Dan and I used to have an account with our lab to book appointments. After their system was hacked a couple of years ago we were locked out. There is no option for a reset unless one calls to speak to a real person. Hahahaha… After spending an hour on hold at 1-800-welcome to hell, I figure no such person exists. I decide to call the local clinic to make sure that they had received my requisition before heading down to stand in the walk-in line. The local clinic phone number is a recording advising you to call 1-800-welcome to hell.

So, I head down to the local clinic. I get into line (outside the clinic) behind maybe five people. A lab assistant came and asks the routine Covid questions. I ask if she could check to see if they have my requisition. That was a hard no. It would be in contravention of our healthcare ‘privacy act’. PHFTT!

So I stand in line – for an hour. While the line grows much longer behind me – growing past the lab and wrapping around Giant Tiger. Oddly enough, I am like the pick of the litter in this line. There are at least two women old enough to be my grandmother, one elderly man who was there to pick up a sample container for his wife, several people who are obviously seriously ill, one woman who is suffering from a possible miscarriage, and one very pregnant woman who is probably still in line and no longer pregnant. In the shade of the strip mall it is miserably cold and we are obviously in the company of a colony of wasps. I myself am not that uncomfortable, but I am seriously concerned that some of us are not going to make it through this sh*t show.

After hearing the lab assistant tell several people, that things are abnormally backed up because this is the first day after a long weekend, I watch as a number of lab techs drift in – hours after the lab was scheduled to open. πŸ˜’ Finally, I am at the front of the line and I am called in. I feel horrid taking my turn when there are so many who obviously need the relief of getting this over and done with more than I did. But, I need this blood test and will obviously throw the entire system into a tizzy if I let anyone step in front of me, so in I go. To stand in line inside. 🀦

I get to the counter and find that they have never received, or quite possibly have lost, my requisition. I am advised that I should call my doctor’s office and get it sent over. I ask if I should sit down in the office to make the call. I assume the receptionist says yes. Her head sort of nods. If she is speaking English, I did not recognize it as such. I sit down under the ‘No Cell Phones Allowed’ sign and pull out my cell phone, while the receptionist guns me down with dirty looks. What?? I am pretty sure she didn’t expect me to use their 🀣🀣🀣 phone.

I call my surgeon’s office and the requisition is sent over immediately. I hear the fax. I sit and wait while half a dozen other people are directed off to the various lab booths as they open up. The receptionist shoots me dirty looks until I step up to the counter and ask if they have my requisition. She asks for my health card. I hand it over. She hands it back and has me write my name on a paper so she can check the requisitions they have on hand. My name is on the health card she was just holding. The clerk next to her advises that he has my requisition.

Within a couple of minutes, I am directed to booth number one. It takes 30 seconds for the lab tech to verify my identity, draw my blood, and put a bandaid on my arm.

I am out of there! I stop at Petrocan to grab a coffee and a lottery ticket (because this is obviously my lucky day).

I am now home and one step closer to surgery.

I cannot imagine how our health system can possibly make things more difficult and uncomfortable for those who need their services. This is not a third world country. This is Canada. Surely to God we can afford to do a more humane job of taking care of the sick and elderly amongst us. It just boggles my mind every time I experience our health system.

That’s my ‘piece of mind’ for the day. 😁

Take care! Have a nice rest of the day and see you tomorrow.πŸ’ž