It has been a bit since I posted photos of my elephants. These are just a few of my random favourites. That is not quite accurate. Every one of my elephants is my favourite.
These are just a very few of the elephants I have. I have everything from a huge stuffed elephant to outdoor elephants to micro mini elephants. I saved one very special elephant for grandson Rory’s birthday post tomorrow. 😉
When I created my blog, I was focussed on my impending retirement. WordPress had other plans for my blog. “Instead of Retirement 101…”, My blog website became “Seclusion101….”. As strange as that seemed to me, it was actually a perfect fit for me. According to Wikipedia “Seclusion is the act of isolating from society”.
I admire people who can walk into any situation and make it better. Some people enter a room and radiate happiness. Others can be caught in the midst of drama, conflict or fear and radiate peace and calm. I am not one of those people.
I am a sponge for the emotions of those around me. By the standard of current terminology, I am an empath. I get close to anyone who is experiencing extreme emotion and I absorb it by default. I do not even have to be physically close to people I have close ties to – like my husband, sons and daughter. I feel off if there is something seriously wrong with them or the situation they are in.
There are occasions, when this ’empath’ way of being is helpful. I can generally feel when people need comfort or support. I can also generally feel when people are in a state where it is best to just back away and give them space. For the most part, being in the midst of extreme emotion just beats me up – regardless of the type of emotion.
I hate parades. I always have. When the planes fly over or the band strikes up and the crowd unites in excitement and anticipation, I am overwhelmed by the urge to burst into tears. Funerals crush me – even when the deceased was not someone I was personnely close to. The collective grief of family and friends suffocates me. Angry outbursts are the worst. Even if people screaming at each other are across the street, I feel terrified. I know these situation are over reactions, but that is how I am.
I would love to live on an acreage surrounded by nature. In the city, I make do. Regardless of where I have lived, I have always had my special place where I could ‘isolate from society’. Back in the days when I was alone with my teenagers, my ‘place’ was a corner of the kitchen cupboards. I could open a window, sit on the cupboard with my feet in the sink and enjoy a cup of tea and a cigarette. Nobody came near me when I was in my corner – until Dan came into my life. He was allowed in my corner. (He wasn’t allowed to put his feet in my sink.)
Now it is relatively easy to seclude myself. I have indoor and outdoor places that are perfect for isolating. Life has never been better – in retirement and seclusion.
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.
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.
My husband, children and grandchildren started buying me elephants.
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.
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 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.👍
2) We miss them all – thank goodness for technology that keeps families in contact while we are kept apart.📲
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. 🌲
4) I am now pretty much out of gummy bears, toffee and Pepsi. 😂
5) Rory was as happy as the girls😊. 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 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.
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 priceless💝
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. 🕊️
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.
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.
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.💖
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. 🙄
The closer retirement gets, the more it looks like an unavoidable train wreck.
In July 2019, I decided that I would retire on my 65th birthday (July 2020). This was not a rash decision. I gave it a lot of thought and took a number of factors into account.
1. I wanted the opportunity to spend more time with my husband. With his 24/7 shift work and my 9 to 5 Monday to Friday, our together time was limited.
2. I wanted the opportunity to spend more time with my sons and daughter and my grandchildren.
3. Although I have always seemed more youthful than I actually am, and felt I could easily work for a few more years, I decided I wanted to retire when I was still felt young enough and strong enough that I would have the energy to pursue new interests.
4. There were situations within the construction industry and the construction company that I worked for that made my job stressful and frustrating. I did not want retirement to be about getting away from what I was doing but I was ready to leave it behind.
5. And, last but not least, I wanted the opportunity to start enjoying the retirement life that my older siblings were already living. 🧘🧚🏄👩👧👦💃
I discussed my decision with my husband, my children, my boss and my siblings. Everyone was on board and encouraged me to do what I felt was right. I threw myself into preparing for retirement🥳
That was then, this is my now:
1) In recent weeks my husband seems to be less enthusiastic about my impending retirement. He has to work for another four years to get his full pension and he seems to resent that I will not be slogging it out with him. I get it. I really do. But I know this will be better for both of us. We will have more time to spend together. I will be able to carry more of the household workload. We will both be able to live around his schedule. I want to do this, but I do not want to go into this feeling guilty and resented.
2) I will no doubt have the opportunity to spend more time with my sons and their families. That will be nice. In August, my daughter kicked me to the curb and banned me from seeing her children. To say that I am devastated from the loss is a total understatement.
3) I am definitely not feeling youthful. I have been sick since October and I am exhausted. I look old and I feel old. 👵 Retirement, as I see it now, is the opportunity to nap – a lot.
4) Even though I was definitely ready to leave my job, I wanted to go out feeling really good about the job I did and the contribution I had made to the company I worked for. Things get worse every day. I do not care how I get out. I just want to get out. That is not how I wanted to begin my retirement. I did not want it to be about getting away from where I am. I wanted to be excited about where I am going.
5) Finally, my siblings and the retirements they were enjoying. I have a sister two years older than me. We practically grew up as twins. We have been best friends before bff’s were even a thing. She had a kidney transplant last March. She still, and will always, takes a handful of pills every day. The side effects are brutal. She was always the bright one, the quick one, the happy one. Now her life is so hard. My oldest sister has always been large and in charge. Not do much large physically, but definitely in charge. She has always been a hoot. She has been dealing with recurring cancer for years. She has been keeping it at bay and living a good life. She has been sick since before Christmas. She has been exhausted and losing weight, confused and weak. Last week she was diagnosed with aggressive, advanced Alzheimer’s. We are all heart-broken for her, for her family and for us.
I am less than six months from retirement. I should be more excited and relieved and happy everyday that it gets closer. I should be, I want to be, but to be honest I am struggling. I definitely do not want to stay in the workforce but these days I do not know if retirement is going to be any better. 🚂