For the Love of Elephants

For my second Christmas, my parents gave me a fluffy stuffed elephant. They may have been trying to insinuate something. I was a bit fluffy myself in those days.

My first elephant.

Forty years later, I started to seriously accumulate elephants. It began when my father-in-law passed away and I inherited my late mother-in-law’s elephants.

One of my mother-in-law’s favourite elephants. She received it from an artisan she met when on a cruise. She watched him make it and was so amazed by his talent that he gave it to her when it was finished.
I started buying elephants as souvenirs when we travelled. I bought this little guy for myself on our way home from my Mother’s funeral.

My husband, children and grandchildren started buying me elephants.

Dan bought me this elephant (piggy) bank when our granddaughter Maddy was about nine months old. She would come in and go straight to the bookshelf to feed the elephant toonies.
My son Mark picked up this ‘Ganesh’ statuette when he went to British Columbia with Erin and their son Dominic.
Gabby, Lucas and Cason picked up this cutie when my son Dan and Amanda took a family trip to California last summer.
This “See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” trio of elephants was a birthday gift from my daughter Jennifer and family.
This bridge of elephants was a present from my sister Denise and her husband Ray. We went to visit them in White Rock, BC a few years ago and were able to celebrate our anniversary with them while we were there.

I have another seventy or so elephants right now. I have garden elephants, stuffed elephants, stone elephants – even a crystal elephant. I will share more pictures of my elephant friends in future posts.

Surprise

Granddaughter Genie stopped by for a short surprise visit yesterday with her younger siblings. It is a bad time to socialize but we did our best to keep physically distanced. Nobody was happy about the no huggs and kisses policy but they all complied.

Genie
Rory, Prim& Kat, Maddy

Genie has been working a lot at Superstore these last few weeks. They are making things better for store clerks – shorter hours to allow for extra cleaning and stocking, limited customers at one time, special shopping hours for seniors and for store staff, sneeze guards to protect cashiers and wage bonuses for all staff. So grateful to their powers that be that they realize how important their staff is to them and to us all!

It was great to see Rory, Maddy and Prim. With Mom and Genie working lots of hours, Rory is stepping up to cover a lot of the house cleaning. Maddy is growing up fast. She is helping out with cooking and baking. Prim is doing her part to keep things lively and helping where she can – no doubt keeping the dogs, cat and turtle on their toes.

A few things of note:

1) They are all great kids and it’s amazing how they pull together to help out.๐Ÿ‘

2) We miss them all – thank goodness for technology that keeps families in contact while we are kept apart.๐Ÿ“ฒ

3) It is really hard to keep physically distanced in our little house. Going forward – no visits until it is warm enough to visit outside. Fortunately, we have a huge yard and warm weather is coming. ๐ŸŒฒ

4) I am now pretty much out of gummy bears, toffee and Pepsi. ๐Ÿ˜‚

5) Rory was as happy as the girls๐Ÿ˜Š. I just caught him at a serious moment. (Probably when Genie and I made fun of him for referencing ‘Fifty Shades of Blue’). Apparently he hasn’t seen the movie. If it is a sequel to ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ that is no doubt a good thing.

Technology to Live By

Technology has made major strides in my lifetime. I do not claim that it is all for the betterment of society but some of it is definitely good. In these days of ‘social distancing’ it is proving to be truly great in some ways.

One of my favourite aspects of technology, as a parent and grandparent, is the ability to receive photos and video clips at the press of a button – even when we are separated from family by geographical distance or ‘social distancing’ meant to keep, us and them, safe.

When I was a young child, my earliest photos were black and white – on films that were sent away for expensive processing. By the time I was in elementary school, my photos were in color, taken by instamatic cameras and still sent away for processing. By high school we had Polaroids that printed out instantly – the quality left much to be desired and the film was expensive, but they were quick.

When my children were preschoolers, I had my first experience with digital photos. They were done at a booth in a mall and printed on a dot matrix printer. They were black and white, relatively economical, and instantaneous. I framed them and they hung on my livingroom wall for twenty some years. I have them packed away in a box at the bottom of my closet amidst my other treasured memorabilia from their younger days.

Mark Then
And Now
Daniel Then
And Now
Jennifer Then
And Now
Videos at the touch of a button

It is so nice to have the ability to quickly, easily and economically share photos and videos with family and friends. At this point in time – it is priceless๐Ÿ’

Pandemic 2020

For those of us who are not on the front lines of this global crisis, the hysteria is calming down and we are starting to go about life as it is.

My husband and I were both working today. Things were quiet at my office. For various reasons, we were at half staff. The phone was relatively quiet. Our only walk in traffic was a couple of delivery drivers. It was kind of nice to slow down and focus on one task at a time.

I took time to do some extra cleaning. I wiped off every surface, doorknob, phone, copier, mouse, keypad, etc with bleach cleanser. I scrubbed down the washroom. The place smells clean if nothing else.

I spent time with my boss while he agonized over whether we should close down and send everyone home or plug along. As long as the construction industry keeps going and product is still available we will probably keep going. Our clients expect us to – but it is hard. A lot of our work is out of town so we are separating families for days at a time. My boss’s son had his first son last week. My son has a four year old son. They need their paycheques but, at this time, their families need them. I am glad it is not my decision to make.

I stopped at a home centre on my way home to pick up some solar yard lights. I think I was the only customer. Hopefully the grocery stores are calming down. I will probably have to pick up a few things on the weekend and I am trying hard to avoid crowds.

I came home, relaxed for a bit, and fed Kat before Dan got home from work. We barbecued pork chops, cooked some noodles and asparagus and had a nice supper. Now we are watching Survivor.

So that is about it. We keep going with faith, hope, trust, and gratitude. Our hearts go out to all who are sick, for those who have lost their lives, for their families, for all who are caring for them, for all who are juggling family and finances, for all of those who are stepping up to serve others, and for all who are forced to make difficult decisions right now.

Hoping for a speedy end to this situation. Hoping that this will ultimately make us all better, kinder, stronger. ๐Ÿ•Š๏ธ

Hitting Home

There are two presumptive cases of coronavirus in Saskatchewan, Canada. At this point, it would be logical to follow expert advice – avoid crowds, avoid travel, wash your hand often, stay home if you are sick, plus anything else that will slow down the transmission of this virus to help manage the strain on our health system.

What is not logical is the mass hoarding and panic that has erupted in Saskatchewan. Our stores are suddenly slammed with shoppers, pushing cart loads of everything from toilet paper to baby formula to canned goods. Shelves are empty, and I am sure it is virtually impossible for store personnel to restock during the day, with the crowds being as rediculous as they are.

I am not overly worried about contracting coronavirus or how I will be affected by it, if I do contract it. I will cross that bridge if I come to it.

What I am worried about are these fools who are cramming stores and panic buying, and hoarding product that others may actually NEED. This behaviour triggers more panic and it has already gotten way out of hand. Not only are these people putting a major strain on the supply chain, but they are creating disasters waiting to happen and putting a major strain on all who staff our stores.

Two of those store staff people are my daughter and granddaughter. They are concientious and diligent. They are working extra long, extra busy shifts, pushing themselves to cash out as many customers as possible. I know, they are being run down and exposed to coronavirus plus every other seasonal cold or flu that is out there right now. I am worried about them, I am worried about what they will bring home to the rest of their family. I feel for them and for anyone working in our stores right now. It is totally unnecessary risk that they are being exposed to. They are not machines, they are people – my people.

Genevieve
Jennifer

I don’t know what has triggered this panic/hoarding nonsense or what kind of people indulge in it. It is senseless, it is greed, it is pure stupidity. Someone is going to get hurt or worse. I hope it won’t be my girls.

Childbirth

Genevieve

Last night I watched one of those movies that included the typical childbirth scene that is intended to bring the expansion of the human race to a screeching halt. The mother- to- be writhed and screamed, changed colors on occasion, and fainted at least twice before welcoming her little one into the world. For the benefit of anyone thinking of becoming a first time time mother, I thought I would put my two cents on the subject out there.

1) There is no such thing as a typical birth experience – even if you have ten such experiences in your life, every one will be different and the offspring you bring forth will be totally different. It keeps life interesting.

2) If you waste your energy writhing, screaming, changing colors and fainting, you will never get the job done.

3) When your time comes, you will be so jacked up on excitement and adrenalin, you will not even notice most of the pain. Even if you do experience A LOT of pain, once that little one is placed in your arms NOTHING else matters.

I have had several birthing experiences to base my opinions on so thought I would share:

1) My mother often told of the painful deliveries she experienced. To be fair, my mother gave birth to six children. My sister Lorraine thought it would be fun to try to slide out sideways. From all accounts it was not. She gave us and all of our arrivals a bad rap.

2) When I was eighteen and totally naive on the subject of childbirth (and most other life altering events), I spent several months working as a nurse’s aide on the night shift at a small hospital. One night the charge nurse thought it would be amusing to assign me to the labour room to watch over a first time mother. Every few minutes she would scream. I would jump a foot and shriek. The resident paramedic came in, asked what idiot had sent me in there and booted me out. He stayed with the young mother until the doctor came to see her through a safe delivery. From what I heard it all went well.

3) I had three children by natural (?) childbirth. When I was pregnant with my son Mark I developed severe toxemia. By the the time he was born, I was so wasted on Valium and other medication to keep my blood pressure to a level where I would not stroke out that I did not even know I was pregnant much less giving birth. Mark slept for the first month of his life which helped me to get ample time to rest and recover.

4) My second birthing experience was the arrival of Danny. My husband and I were playing cards. Every so often my insides would turn to jelly, I would pass gas and experience an hysterical fit of giggles. At some point, I noticed this was happening regularly at closer and closer intervals. We headed to the hospital, where the nurses in emergency assumed I was having a psychotic meltdown, however they sent me up to maternity to be checked out. This was at 11:35 PM. The elevator was out of service and my husband was on crutches. I hauled myself and my suitcase up two flights of stairs. Danny leapt into the world at 12:05 AM. To this day, he still leaps into every day as if it is his first opportunity to see the world.

5) My third and final personal birthing experience was Jennifer. I awoke at 5:30AM to the unmistakable signs of impending birth. My husband was working away from home so I was alone with a three and a half year old and a one and a half year old. Thinking of Danny’s quick arrival, I called my in-laws to get me to the hospital. My husband arrived a few hours later. And we waited. At 5:30 PM we watched I Dream of Genie. Sometime in the next hour we moved to the delivery room where Jennifer finally made her entrance into the world. I remember two things. One she was absolutely beautiful. Two she was shrieking like a banshee. She still is and she still does. (39 years later)

6) Finally, my husband Dan and I were in the delivery room when my daughter Jennifer gave birth to her daughter Genie (Genevieve). It was WOW! It was bad. Jennifer did not scream or writhe but she definitely changed colors a few times and passed out several times. Genie was born five weeks early, tiny, and perfect. Jennifer recovered and went on to repeat the experience with Rory, Madison, and PrimRose. It never got easy for her – but it did get better.

If you are planning, or in the process of starting your family, go for it! I doubt if the birth will play out like the typical movie scene. I hope that it will be amazing, memorable and worth any pain involved.๐Ÿ’–

The Psychology of (my) Retirement

In less than six months I will be retired. I was so excited about the possibilities when I made my decision to embark on this new phase of my life. My family and friends supported me. It was all good!

Somehow the closer I get, the harder this has been getting. Retirement has not been looking that promising. Finally, in total frustration, I sat down and wrote a blog about my current struggles. I put it all out there. (Well most of it). I hit publish and went to bed. When I woke up the next morning, I suddenly realized what I was really struggling with.

For the past five decades, I have been in the enviable position of being a ‘caregiver’. I have had the physical, mental, emotional and financial ability to help and support others – husbands, children, grandchildren, parents, siblings, employers, co-workers, friends and the occasional stranger. Now, I am suddenly planning for a life where my main focus is caring for me. It never occurred to me that such a change in focus would be a problem for me, much less others – especially those who I have done the most for over the years.

There are probably a lot of people who come up against these mental struggles when they are planning or kicking off their retirement. I wonder why nobody talks about them. ๐Ÿ™„

Jen & Danny with friend Dave. (Almost family๐Ÿ˜‚)
My Mother and I
Grandbaby Cason
Co-worker Kori
My Husband with Maddy & Prim
Mark & Erin and Dom