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 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

Day 23 – Memories

It is Day 23 of my June ‘Accentuate the Positive’ challenge and I have decided to pay tribute to memories. This one is a bit of a trip down the rabbit hole for me, so hopefully it will be a positive experience for anyone who chooses to join me today.Β  πŸ™ƒ

I have never been one to dwell on the past.  At first,  it was not a conscious decision.  I was focussed on dealing with the present and looking forward to the future. πŸŒž   After a brutally painful period in my life, I did make a very conscious decision to shut the door on my memory banks and slap a big old lock on them.   If a moment from the past happened to sneak through, it was nothing more than a snapshot in someone else’s photo  album.  I would not relate to it personally.

I was perfectly happy to live in this delusional little headspace, where my past did not exist.Β Β  I had no desire to relive my past throughΒ  painful memories, and bizarrely,Β  the bestΒ  memories from my past were the ones that were most painful for me to face.

Ultimately, this decision to block my past became problematic.   I had a tendency to react to triggers that  seemingly came out of nowhere – like the time a business consultant snapped his fingers in my face.   He was lucky that he got out of my office while he still had fingers!   There were other times, many times,  when I just drew a blank when someone mentioned the past, even the recent past –  like the day Dan and I ran into his boss.  They started talking about the time they had been at one of our local hospitals.   I could not remember when or why Dan would have been at the hospital.  It was only when Dan’s boss turned to me and asked how I was doing now, that I realized that Dan had been at the hospital to be with me.   I had been in the hospital with pneumonia/empyema for a solid month  a couple of years earlier and  I had totally forgotten! 

In the security of my relationship with Dan, and the relative well-being of my life in general, I decided it was time to crack the locks on my memory banks and have a peek around.   At first, there was a whole lot of ugly memories that burst out.  I wasn’t surprised, and I wasn’t that bothered by this.   I was expecting them.    I did not find a lot of warm and fuzzy memories.   I was not expecting to and quite frankly, I was terrified of finding any. 

Lately, I have been sorting through our basement and closets.   I found a couple of boxes of older photos.  I started to go through them and discovered that I have finally reached a point in my life where I am ready to look for the positive anywhere and everywhere – even in my past.

So, without further ado, or rambling on as the case may be, I invite you to browse through a few positively good memories with me. πŸ’ž

Lunching out with Jen.
For years, we went shopping on Saturday morning. And we went for lunch. And we went walking at Wascana Park or took the kids tobogganing or swimming or to any number of places. We took trips to Gravelbourg and Saskatoon and one memorable trip to Winnipeg.  $$$πŸ˜‚
First there was one – Genie, back in the day when grandbabies were all sweet littleΒ  innocents – happy to chase ladybugs and steal Pipsi. πŸ€—
Back in the day with Casey and Susie.  Casey was a beautiful American Eskimo/Pomeranian.  She was with us for sixteen years before she passed away.   Suzie was a tiny  blind kitten that Jennifer gave Dan.  She lost her owner and all of her siblings in a house fire.  The owners family took her mother but could not provide a home for Suzie. We had her for about thirteen years before we lost her to cancer.
My first Christmas with Dan and his dad, Nick.
Danny, getting ready to head out on his own with his very first vehicle – bought and paid for by his truly. πŸ‘
The first home where my ex and I lived in Regina.Β  It couldn’t have been uglier!
Until we added our ugly sofa and mirror and fugly lamps!  (I spared you the wall of mirror tiles and the one covered with metallic butterfly wallpaper – and the glass and brass orange lamps!)
Family visit at our home up north.  Without a doubt the best years with my ex. 
Back in the day with my ex. (Mark Sr.) and our three little ones (Danny, Jennifer and Mark B.)
And way back, with my sister Lorraine and our niece Brigette. πŸ’ž

Twenty-three days down and seven to go.

Now that I am caught up with my life, I had better get busy with my here and now. That lawn isn’t going to water itself.

Have fun today and I hope to see you tomorrow! πŸ’

Day 21 – Retirement!

Since I have retired, the positives in my life are ubiquitous! Today for the twenty-first day of my June ‘Accentuate the Positive’ challenge, I have chosen to express my appreciation for this wonderful time of my life – RETIREMENT πŸ₯³

Time to bloom. πŸ’

I appreciate that my retirement provides the time for doing what I please, when I please! I particularly appreciate this in the morning. I love having the time to enjoy my coffee, while reading my online newspaper and playing my morning internet game. πŸ’

My happy morning place.

I appreciate having time to take care of myself and run errands that I need to deal with. I never have to stress about making doctor or dentist or optometrist or hairdresser appointments – I am free – anytime! I can even take Kat to the vet or groomers any day of the week!

Going to the groomers on Thursday πŸ™‚

I appreciate that in retirement the weather is always perfect! If it is warm and sunny, I can spend the day outside enjoying the beautiful day. If it is rainy, snowy, cold, or windy, I can stay inside and look out the window and appreciate what I have the option of avoiding!

Rain, shine, or in-between, every day is lovely!

I appreciate that I SAVE so much money that it is not terribly painful to take a significant drop in income since I retired . I save on taxes, on clothes, on vehicle expenses, on take-out food, and on spending money – just because it was my payday reward for working. 🀦

Money I haven’t spent! πŸ˜‚

When the weather is lovely, I appreciate that I can spend my time outside – during the best parts of the day. I check up on my flowers and vegetables, do a bit of clean-up, water and take care of my plants. I have even been working on our front lawn this year. Still a ways to go, but at least it is green!

Mostly green πŸ‘

I appreciate that shopping is so much easier! My husband has always, and still does, the bulk of our shopping. However, there are times when I go with him, or without him, for whatever reason. Shopping is so much easier mid-week, when most people are at work!

Wednesday afternoon shopping – far from the Saturday crowds 🀭

The biggest positive of retirement is the time I get to spend with my husband. Although he still works 24/7 shifts, at least when he has time off, I have time off! Time we can actually spend together! πŸ‘«

Spending time together, enjoying Dan’s yard projects. πŸ’ž

Whether you are working towards it, or already living yours, I hope you enjoy your retirement as much as I enjoy mine. πŸ€—

Twenty-one days down and only nine more to go! Thank you for dropping in today and I hope to see you tomorrow.

Daily Reminders

When Dan was running errands a few mornings ago, he found this metal plaque to put in one of our flower beds.

We are getting to an age where life is becoming more precious and fleeting. Regardless of what is happening, how we are feeling, or who is or is not physically with us, we try to make the most of each and every day. This little sign will be a reminder to help us do just that.

We have other such reminders around our house. They may be a bit corny but they work for us. πŸ™‚ They help us to appreciate each other and our life together.

A little bowl of stones from my mother.
Dan bought these to dress up the kid’s playhouse
I picked this one up at a garden centre.

Not every day is the best, but try to make the best of every dayπŸ’ž

Another Week of Retirement

It is no secret that I am enjoying retirement. There is much to enjoy! Even the downsides of life are less down than before retirement – like health issues. It sucks to be sickly but it doesn’t suck as much as being sickly at work, or taking time off work to be sickly, knowing that work is piling up on my desk. Being financially challenged sucks, but it sucks a lot less than when you are working your butt off five days a week to cover working expenses. Miserable weather is still miserable, but hardly noticeable when you have the luxury of seeing it through a window!

This week I had the pleasure of dealing with one of life’s downsides. I got to do our taxes. Yay!!! Six hours of searching for documents, replacing printer cartridges, filling the paper tray on the printer, deciphering government directions, data entry, checking, rebooting the computer, correcting, and rechecking! Arghh! Bottomline? Thanks to ‘senior credits’ and ‘pension sharing rules’, we both got nice tax refunds at the end of the day. ☺️

Having completed our taxes, it is back to retirement – taking a relaxing bath at 10 am, working out with my husband at 2 pm, hanging out with my little dog all day long, and working on my crocheted blanket while Dan watches tv. Life is good. 🌞

Have a good week and enjoy my favourite tune of the day. πŸ’ž

Aging & Wisdom

Mom with Mark, Jen, & Danny

In North America, the general consensus is that being younger is synonymous with being better. We are conditioned to believe that the young have the advantage of being smarter, stronger, more attractive, and all around more capable and valuable than those who are elderly.

I bought into this theory when I was younger. I felt that I was smarter and sharper than my elders. In some ways, I was. I was quick to learn academically. I could read by the time I was three, absorbing the ability by listening to my older siblings doing their homework at the kitchen table. I memorized letters and numbers, poetry and prayers. I stayed at the top of my class, or close to it, throughout my school years. Once I became a mother, I quickly learned that I could multi-task, which I felt was a good sign of higher intellect and a great survival skill. Throughout my working years, I was capable of easily learning whatever was required to do my job competently. I did learn a lot of my knowledge from my elders, but I felt that my younger, quicker mind helped me to utilize that knowledge more efficiently.

Physically, I used to be stronger than I am now. I had the dexterity to perform tasks that I now struggle with (since when did it become such a struggle to do up the zippers on my winter boots?). I possessed the physical strength to shop for groceries, while carrying an infant, dragging a toddler and herding a pre-schooler. I had my own chainsaw and the ability to operate it. (We had a wood stove up north – the ability petered out when we moved back south. I once almost took out our neighbour with an electric knife. Live and learn – one should not cut a frozen ice cream cake with an electric knife. πŸ˜”). Even a year ago, my job included physical aspects such as hauling around heavy cartons of files, moving around product for inventory, and helping to load and unload trucks on the loading dock. Tasks that I would definitely struggle with now.

There is something to be said for youthful physical attraction. My babies were adorable and are still an attractive lot. My grandchildren are gorgeous. I was no slouch in my younger days. I had great legs. Total strangers would comment on my legs – in bizarre situations – it was kind of wierd. The thing is, younger people can tend to be dramatic, demanding, noisy, messy and embody any number of traits that are less than attractive. If it wasn’t for the bright smiles, thick hair and nice legs, a lot of them would be lonely.

As far as being overall capable and valuable – I think as a society, we are misguided. I have not been ‘elderly’ for very long. I am sixty-five and have been retired for a few months. These months, I have been slower and less productive than I have ever been. My priorities have changed – so much for the better and (not to brag.. but) I find that I am becoming wiser than ever. I understand things that I have learned and ‘known’ over the course of my lifetime. Even the things that I understood – I understand on a deeper level.

Since growing older, or possibly growing up, I have realized that…

1) Peace of mind is the most important thing in life. There is absolutely nothing that is worth sacrificing one’s peace of mind for. It is when things are at their worst, that we need our peace of mind the most. We are at our best to deal with life (especially the rocky periods) when we have peace of mind… 2) Infinity can only be found within. We can stare at the skies, we can gaze at the mountains and the oceans and the forests, we can look out over acres of prairie grasses and wildflowers, but we cannot comprehend the vast infiniteness of the universe and beyond until we look within ourselves and experience our subconscious minds and souls. 3) Aging is a gift. As we go through life – we live, we learn, we experience joy and grief, pain and pleasure. As seniors, we continue our physical lives, but we have such a precious opportunity to dig deeper. One of my blogging friends, likes to remind us of Wayne Dyer’s famous quote “You are an infinite spiritual being having a temporary human experience.” I always knew I was body, mind and soul. I think I always knew that of the three, the soul was the foundation of my existence. I was just too busy dealing physically and mentally, to live from my spiritual place. Now I am there and I would never go back, I could never go back, to that place where I stumbled and struggled to live my life as an intelligent physical being.

Mom & I

Happy Birthday, DanπŸŽ‚

Dan with his family – Cason, Gabby, Amanda and LucasπŸ’“

My son Dan is celebrating his birthday today. We cannot be with him as he lives hours away, but we are thinking of him and wishing him all the best – today and always.

When people talk about nature versus nurture, I think Dan is the perfect example of nature. He hit the decks running, big hearted, and good-natured. Forty-one years later, after taking everything that life could throw at him – Dan is still ready to go, big hearted, and good natured! (although apparently his good nature was a bit lacking the day Cason locked him out of his truck) 🀣🀣🀣

The only thing better than having a child like Dan, is seeing the man that he became. πŸ‘

Cleaning Up

It had to be done. I went out this morning and got rid of my Covid hair. My hairdresser did her best but I still have a fringe of colored hair that makes me look more grey than white. Next time!

Before
After – obviously 🀦

A friend of mine recently had her hair cut short and dyed pink. I thought it looked super cute so I considered perking things up with blue dye once my hair goes pure white. Then I thought back to the days of blue haired old ladies who reaked of cheap perfume and decided against that move.

Speaking of older women… When I was a kid my grandmother used to wear a blue paisley dress every Sunday. She would sit down and totally disappear into the pattern on her couch. Just one of those odd memories that stays with you for life.

I returned home to find Dan trimming his ‘Tree of Enchantment’. It looks much neater but it is still too short to actually look like a tree, in my mind.

Tree of Enchantment – Weeping Willow

We have gale force winds again today so I will have to take a break from painting planters. Darn!

Have a great day and remember to keep safe. This virus isn’t over yet.