Gratitude and Compassion

Saskatchewan has officially frozen over. It has been this way for a few days and there is no end in sight for these frigid temperatures.

In years gone by, I would be miserable and exhausted by now.  This year I am happy, rested and GRATEFUL that I am retired.   Every time I glance outside or see a weather report, I am reminded how fortunate I am to be at this place in my life.  I have nowhere I have to go, nothing I have to do. We have everything we need to keep us safe and warm.

My life these days revolves around eating heathy, working out with Dan, sitting by the fireplace crocheting a cozy blanket, and meditating.  My favourite meditations involve going within and sending love and peace to our world – the plants, the animals, and especially the people that inhabit it. 

These days when I meditate, I have been focussing on the people who are most affected by our brutal weather. I think of the children who are trudging back and forth to school on our icy streets. I feel for those who are dealing with the miserable drive to work and back – more so for those brave souls who are working outside in this frigid cold. My heart goes out to those desperate souls who have no home to provide shelter from our Saskatchewan winter. There are shelters where those on the street can find a warm bed or a hot meal – if they are lucky. Facilities are overwhelmed at times like this and sadly some must be turned away.

It is hard to look out at our frozen neighbourhood or watch our weather forecast and find anything good in it – but there is. There is the opportunity for gratitude. There is a reminder that there are those who need and deserve our compassion, kindness, and generosity. And there is hope that things can and will inevitably get better for all.

Strawberry bedding plants. When spring arrives, we will be ready for it!

Keeping Busy

January has been a bit busy so far.   Dan has been home so we spend quite some time being together. 😊

I have started cleaning our basement.  Basement is probably an overstatement at this point, but it is coming together.  I have replaced a dozen cardboard boxes with a few Rubbermaid totes, sorted through Christmas decorations and downsized considerably, vacuumed up a year’s accumulation of dust and spider webs and found a few winter sweaters I forgot that I owned.    A few good day’s work for sure.

While going through the basement, I found boxes of old family favourite recipes – and a few that could become so,  now that I have time to cook.   I have tried a few already – peppersteak, breakfast pizza, breakfast wraps, and lemon butter tarts.

We had a brutal storm this week.  Sustained winds of 126mph 😳 and snow.  We were extremely fortunate that we had no damage to our place and that all of our family stayed safe.  Our power was off for a couple of hours and Dan had some shoveling to do the next day.   

There was a lot of property damage across the province and many travellers were stranded away from home.  Dan and Amanda spent an extra night in Edmonton after taking Cason in for a bit of day surgery.

Recovering and milking the family for a little extra TLC. 💗

I have spent time morning and evening practicing my meditation.   I have been enjoying Buddhist chants lately and continue to spend time sending healing energy to friends and family near and far.     I cannot imagine why it took me so long to appreciate meditating, but everything in its own time and this is my time to meditate. 🧘

Saskatchewan has the dubious honor of highest per capita Covid numbers since Christmas.    Dan has been doing our shopping and running our errands while I hunker down and await my turn to receive the vaccine.   In the meantime, I am happy to see those on the frontlines and our most vulnerable seniors getting the first doses that are available here.  🎉🎉🎉

Keep safe, keep busy! Only 4 more months or so until spring 🌻

December 17th

My Father with my son Danny💞

Today marks the 27th anniversary of my Father’s passing. This week is always intense for me. My Father was a good man and he lived a good life – but his passing was the result of five years of pain and grief, as sinus cancer ravaged his body and our lives. His passing was a devastating and heart wrenching relief and blessing – set against a full blown stage of Christmas flowers and decorations, Christmas carols, and of course a raging, frigid blizzard. It was, and still is memorable.

This year, this week is particularly intense. This year, many have lost loved ones due to the Covid 19 pandemic that continues to rage. Many of those lost have been elderly parents, grandparents and loved ones. Everytime I hear another horror story of a nursing home that has been overwhelmed with cases of this brutal virus, I think of my parents and I feel for the residents and their families. I know what it means to be with loved ones when their time has come. I know that it is irrelevant how long a person has lived, or how much they have done or been through in their lives. I know how important it is for the elderly and their families to experience compassionate, loving final hours and days. When it is all that is left, it is everything.

I could go off the rails here and rage about those who protest wearing masks, or spread bullshit about the virus conspiracy, or complain about missing sports or holidays, or whine about whatever else is disrupting their pathetic self-centred lives. I could, but this blog is a tribute to my Father, so this is not the time or place.

I will just take this opportunity to express gratitude for all who have stepped up this year to do their a part – the medical personnel, the caregivers, the support workers, the truck drivers, the store clerks, the teachers, the suppliers of all essential services and products, the politicians who have worked together in good faith with the medical community, the teenagers who have supported their families and their communities, those who have followed health guidelines and done everything possible to protect themselves, their families and their communities. To everyone who has done their part, thank you. 💖

I would also take this opportunity to share my thoughts and prayers and condolences for anyone, anywhere, who has lost loved ones, or who has been separated from their loved ones throughout this pandemic. My heart goes out to you. 💖

Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to share my thoughts and prayers and condolences for those who have been personally affected by the Covid 19 outbreak at Parkside Extendicare in Regina. In one, two hundred resident, senior’s care home – within three and a half weeks – there have been one hundred and sixty residents who have tested positive, many who have become severely ill – twenty residents who have passed away – plus eighty six care workers who have tested positive. There have been many from the community that have gone in to assist – paramedics from the Regina Fire Department, doctors and nurses and support workers from SHA, all risking their own health and well-being.    The statistics are staggering. The reality for all affected – residents and their families and their caregivers have been beyond devastating. I am so sorry for all you have been going through – all you continue to go through. 💖

Dedicated to my Father – Rest in Peace, Dad. You will always be a part of me & a part of my life💖

Evraz In The News

On Wednesday evening, Evraz issued 500 layoff notices in the tubular division of their Regina pipe mill. That included every unionized worker from seniority number 500 down to 0. I think my husband Dan is around #92.

This news did not come as a shock. Evraz warned of an impending work shortage some time ago. Financially, we will manage but any extended time off will mess with Dan’s pension, so that isn’t great. But, it isn’t all bad for us, either. If Dan’s layoff is actually December 17th, we can spend the holidays together. 🌲⛄☃️🥳. We can hibernate in January. 🐻🐿️ And, I am pretty sure I can find some things on the honey-do list for Dan to work on. (That gym in the garage is not going to build itself – it hasn’t so far… 🙄)

Sadly, this news is devastating for many of Dan’s co-workers. That it has come to this, days before Christmas, makes it worse. I feel so sorry for the younger people out there – the ones with mortgages, loan payments and families to support. It doesn’t help that many of them have been off lately due to a Covid outbreak in that plant. I certainly hope for everyone’s sake that this lay-off is short term. There is not a lot of comparable employment around here – especially now.

The Evraz layoff made our news yesterday. Our politicians are running true to form. Ryan Meilli (our leader of the opposition) is taking the governing Saskatchewan Party to task for their failure to use Evraz pipe for local crown projects. Mopey Moe, our Premier, is blaming Prime Minister Trudeau for the Saskatchewan economy. And, Prime Minister Trudeau has promised to support Evraz and their employees through this difficult time. 🤔

Keep well, keep safe, and have a great day.

Covid Saskatchewan

Covid has found Saskatchewan and things are not looking good.  The case numbers are insignificant compared to more populated areas around the globe but our per capita numbers are bad and getting worse.    This should not come as a shock to anyone here.  

People here have a tendency to believe that due to our small population and wide open spaces, we are immune to such things as global pandemics.  Unfortunately, that is not the case. There  is a false sense of security in knowing our co-workers, neighbours, and classmates.    People in Saskatchewan know and trust the people around them. Covid has taken advantage of this lapse and spread through manufacturing plants and mines, schools, penitentiaries, health centres and seniors homes, sports teams, and families. It is here and spreading exponentially.

Our hospitals are filling up and our intensive care units are already over capacity. We must all do our part to stop the spread of Covid. It will be interesting to see if people actually start taking this seriously – wearing masks, following directional arrows, keeping socially distant, following official guidelines for gatherings and the like. From what I have seen so far, I think we are in for a long uphill battle. 🥺

Keep Safe 💖

Another Day on the Prairies

It has been a while since I have posted. Everything changes from one day to the next so by the time I go to write about something, things have taken a turn. 🙄

Our weather goes from snowy to icy to brutally cold and back again. I have all but given up on walking, which of course has been detrimental to my health. I have been working on my meditation, which is helpful and I have been enjoying sourcing out different You Tube videos on that – so that is something!

There has been an uptick of Covid cases, including quite a few at the plant where Dan works (right in his area 🙄). We seem to have dodged it. Personally, I believe Dan and I had it in February, which was when my health went sideways, but they were not testing then. The doctors can tell I have lung damage that suddenly shows up on scans but they cannot tell what caused it.

I went out one day last week to help granddaughter Genie pick out her Christmas present. Our favourite dress shop (Le Chateau) is closing down so we went looking for a dress for son Dan’s wedding and her graduation (should they have one this year).

This is the dress Genie went with. It fit her perfectly! It will look even better with fancy heels instead of fuzzy black socks😂

Then, son Dan called last night to say that due to new Covid restrictions in Alberta, they are postponing their wedding party until next summer. They are going ahead with their wedding ceremony on New Year’s Eve – with just their children, officiate, and the couple who are standing up for them. They have had to wait long enough, they just want to be married already. We look forward to celebrating with them in the summer!

Dan & family💞

With case numbers going up here every day, we have stayed home as much as possible. We did go to Leon’s and got a new mattress for our bed one day. (Kat does NOT like it). Dan had to go to Canadian Tire so he picked up a new monitor for our computer. I went and did our weekly shopping early Monday morning – by myself. With things being bad at Dan’s work I thought this was our best option. I did amazing btw. There were only 3 items I did not get (frozen okra, oven gloves, and soda crackers) and I only went rogue twice (picked up 4 cans of tomato soup and a container of sour cream). I hate shopping but actually got through it ok – even packing everything up at the cash register. 🙂

Dan is at work starting a new round of shifts today. They are finishing off a couple of orders, then he expects to be laid off mid-January until the company picks up more work. He has been expecting lay offs for about fifteen years and they always come up with something, so who know? We will see when, or if, it happens.

Have a great week and take care out there!

Winter Wonderland

We missed out on the blizzard this weekend but we got a good dump of snow last night. I have been out shoveling this morning. I am feeling better today than I have for a few weeks but have to take it pretty slow. Dan went out and did a stretch because he doesn’t think I should push myself too far. It doesn’t look that impressive on these pictures but the snow is a good foot deep and HEAVY. I will be busy all day. 🌞❄️☃️

Changing Seasons

The struggle is real. Moving from summer to autumn, in Saskatchewan, just doesn’t work for me.

Trading the summer heat for the autumn chill does not work. Trading bright sunny skies for dull, overcast ones does not work. Trading green grass, thick lush trees and colorful summer flowers for the depressing dying plant life of autumn definitely does not work!

This morning Kat and I headed out for our morning walk. We took a route that we do not usually follow. We trod along four or five kilometres of city sidewalks. It was ok. The weather was warmish. The people we crossed paths with were friendly.

Finally we reached our neighbourhood park. I started to take more notice of the nature around us.

The grass was pretty sad looking.
Some of the trees were looking downright depressing.

And then I saw IT!

A perfect golden leafed tree framed by brilliant blue sky.

It is amazing how one can find so much peace and joy and hope and beauty in one glance. I could have been looking in the wrong direction and missed it. I could have been shuffling along staring at the ground and feeling miserable and I could have missed it. But there I was, walking through my favourite little park, looking for peace and hope and joy and beauty and BAM there it was.

Wishing all a great day – or at least one perfect moment. 🤗

September Sunday

I am taking it easy today. I went for a walk with Kat this morning. She’s taking it slow lately due to a bum leg. I take her for a walk around our route, bring her home for a treat, and then go back for a brisker walk by myself.

Kat resting after her nap.

I snapped a few pictures in the garden while I was outside.

Our bell peppers are amazing this year.
Our jalapenos and other hot peppers are prolific.
Our Roma’s and San Marzanos are finally ripening
Kat has Tiny Tim tomatoes ripening faster than she can eat them.
A couple of our carrots have gone to seed. I have never seen that before but we have plenty of them and they are huge this year.
Out geraniums are still in bloom!

Time to rest and relax for a bit before I start supper.

Have a nice Sunday💐

The Power of Peace

When I retired earlier this year I had plans for a grand and productive summer.   My ‘to do’ list was impressive, to say the least.   I also had high hopes that this would be my year for resolving major personal issues – health, family, finances. 

Summer is coming to a close and my ‘to do’ list is more of a ‘didn’t get done’ list.  My issues are still there – health, family, finances.  My life is not perfect.

But… here is the thing.   I have been having a great summer.  After decades of stress and anxiety, I have actually experienced moments of profound peace.    I have felt totally fearless – in sync with nature and the universe.  This is the most amazing and powerful  feeling and it is becoming less random and fleeting.  My life may not be perfect but it is improving and I am better equipped to deal with any challenges that I am faced with.

I have always enjoyed walking but it is something that I have not done enough of for the past several years. This summer I walked and I walked and I walked. It started off as a means to cope with health issues I was having. Following a bout of pneumonia, I could not seem to recover. I struggled to breathe and my heart would race after the slightest exertion. With respiratory specialists and therapists closed down to prevent the spread of Covid 19, I was left to my own devices. My device of choice was walking. At first, I could barely make it to the end of our block and back. Now I head out before the heat of the day and I walk for miles.

As I walk, I allow my mind to wander wherever it chooses to roam. Whatever chaos my mind decides to pursue mellows as I walk off the miles. Personal problems come into perspective. Global issues fade. There is always a turning point where instead of feeling attacked by fearful thoughts, I feel empowered. I take control and I choose. My choice is always peace.

There is so much anger and fear and hate in this world. I choose to not contribute to it. When my mind pursues anxious thoughts, I focus on peace and love. When I worry about my health, I remind myself that stress will not help my body to recover. Walking will, so I walk. When I get frustrated or concerned about my family, I wrap them in thoughts and feelings of peace and love. When I worry about our finances, I realize how fortunate we are – and I choose to be grateful for all that we have.

When my mind starts rehashing the news of the day or the reactions on social media, I refuse to dwell on these thoughts or add to the noise. I focus on peace and I move on, considering how and why I feel the way I do. I have learned a lot about myself during my walks and have become more focused on my own thoughts and beliefs. It is no longer a matter of fighting the belief of others. It is about my beliefs ringing true. If, or when, I share my thoughts and beliefs, I am no longer seeking validation or holding a do or die attitude about them. They work for me.

Despite my lack of accomplishments this summer, I feel good about how I have used these pasts months. I feel that I have evolved into a stronger, better person. Hopefully, I will knock a few projects off of my ‘still to get done’ list in the coming months. Hopefully my life will continue to improve and my issues will gradually resolve themselves. Either way, I will continue to move forward – one step at a time.

Take care out there💞