Friday, June 29, 2007

Wild n Whacky

Pet Sitting

A few short whiles ago my wife and a neighbor had a chat. This itself is nothing abnormal,. It was the content of that chat that caught my attention, for I know that even after the deed is done, that topic may not be over!

The neighbor is a good friend of ours and she has a ‘Lovebird’ ah ha! Yes you’ve got it already I see! ~ I wonder who is going to win that one when it arrives. ~ But I digress.

Brenda, our friend has had to go into the hospital for a procedure on her knee. The missus of course volunteered to look after Zsa Zsa, (an alias) no not that one! Gee I should get so lucky! Grrrrr. Ahem!

The wife then has really been in her element this last week. So much so, I feel like I’ve been given the bird! If you can pardon the pun.

Day one, Elizabeth went upstairs to check on our charge and get acquainted. When she came back she said, “I never knew lovebirds were so vicious “ to which my response was ‘they’re not but they can seem to be’.

“But she lunged at me when I put my hand close to & in the cage” The wife tries to demonstrate to me, using her hands, the birds clawing & lunging actions with its head and beak.

‘Well think about it, wouldn’t you whack anybody with a tire iron, if they tried coming into our home?’

“But she’s just a bird!”

‘Exactly’ I smile and try not to smirk, ‘they do like to play.’

I might add at this point that the missus worries even if the sun goes behind a cloud, in case it never comes back! So now when Elizabeth and Zsa Zsa have their little fencing game, I get a blow by blow description of all the ensuing activities that take place, on a daily basis.

Three days in a row now I have inherited a new very pretty feather. If this keeps up, soon I will have more feathers here that the bird has!
Today the missus tried to clean the perches, oh what a to-do that was, I think that’s where the last feather came from!

I remember the wife telling me once that when she lived up north, she used to pet sit different friends pets, amongst the other things she did. There’s been cats n dogs, and a snapping turtle used to visit quite often. She even has a turtle skull sitting on her desk. (no! not him)

Then there was the time she used to look after Barney the pet pig! Barney was great when he was small and a baby. Then he grew, and kept on growing to eventually be about 250lbs of bacon on the hoof!.

Barney was a playful pot-belly pig. A neighbor had bought it for his wife when she was sick with cancer. She loved pigs. ~ The husband though really detested them, as a consequence him and Barney didn’t get along too well at all.

Sometimes Elizabeth would get a call for help. Apparently Barney would be acting up, and here was the neighbor threatening that soon Barney would be ‘Pork Chops!’ my wife of course would hurry over there and settle the pig down. Baiting him with his favorite banana chips and green seedless grapes. ~ Barney was soon once more a happy pig, back where he was supposed to be and the guy, ~ persuaded to put away the frying pan!

~ While the missus was relating all this to me over a cup of tea, I smiled at a thought image I was having. ~

I could just picture Barney charging the neighbor and chasing him down the street with the lovebird, wings spread wide, screeching away perched between the ears of the rampant pig! ~ Olay!! ~


Sunday, June 24, 2007

A Visit to my Father’s Grave

The yellow haze hung in the air like an impending disaster. Above the haze even larger volumes of stormy clouds swirled around tenaciously. Slowly at first the drizzle came down, the kind they call Scotch mist. It saturates the clothing in a very short time and leaves you standing there freezing to the bone. From the edges of the undergrowth rose a cold damp mist that enshrouds and clings to everything. Visibility was at a minimum, making one feel like they were trapped inside a bottle or a drain like a drowned rat.

Slowly out of the murky depths emerged a figure, a small slight woman, holding the hand of a child. Hunched over against the cold and wet breeze she peered looking for something. Gradually, slowly, like ghostly apparitions, headstones emerged from the mist. Still my mother and I moved on seeking now we can presume, a particular grave. ~ I was four years old.

That is all I can remember about that visit other than eventually we arrived at a headstone. Then we just stood there in the cold misty rain, and my mother added a warming tear or two. That was the only visit I ever made to what I found out years later, was my fathers grave. Came the war, evacuation and I just forgot the road back.

All of this I have to say, has been brought about pure and simply because Julie contacted me, about tracing my families ancestry for her daughter.

One wonders in this exciting adventure, about the long and winding road.

To you Julie, I am forever indebted for this trip.


Thursday, June 21, 2007

Rehab ~ Hawaiian style

When we had arrived at the hospital for the rehab yesterday, we had noticed that there was a huge sign set up on the boulevard near to the entrance to the grounds. Vaguely I had noticed it said something. Of course, being in the hurry I was in to get to rehab I didn’t really have any idea what it was all about.

Boy! Were we in the right place at the right time. We noticed a bit of action happening on the front lawn. A catering truck was setting up barbecues, cases of water, pop and potted plants?

The surprise happened when we were on out way out after finishing rehab just over an hour later. On reaching the hospital entrance foyer, there were all kinds of people milling around and a lot of them were dressed in differing forms of Hawaiian dress. I still I didn’t know what the occasion was.

I thought maybe the dressed up people were there to visit with patients in the hospital. After all we had bumped into a lady and a huge Newfoundland dog doing a weekly visit with patients in the hospital, on our arrival.

That’s when we noticed everyone outside on the grounds, with some sitting on the lawns eating. Music was playing from an outside system. After talking to a couple of people I was able to determine that all of this was a fundraiser for the hospital.

Apparently this local catering business from town came each year and put on a BBQ. When they say cater, they certainly mean cater!

They supplied everything for the event which was a steal at $5 a plate, with all proceeds going to the hospital. This was a most generous gesture on their part and must have been costly with them supplying all the food, music set-up, plastic plates and cutlery, lots of Hawaiian trappings and decorations all were freely provided by the business, for the fund raiser.

With the bbq setup on the centre grassy lawns and with potted flowers and the inflatable palm trees, it was heavenly! Really it looked just like an oasis in the middle of an urban asphalt jungle.

~ Most spectacular! ~

I tell you, yesterday I ate some stuff I had never tried before ~ remember I am an Englishman/Canadian and I love my meat n potato’s! Pretty much a creature of habit you might say, and at my age, not wont to try things that differ from my norm!

From the barbecue ~ chicken burgers with roasted pineapple.The wife reached for a bun and spread some curry mayonaise on it, then handed the plate to the smiling chef. "Would you like mango salsa on that?" 'Sure' she said, meanwhile, suspiciously I eye the salad, gritting my teeth ~ I spoon up some ‘baby spinach leaf salad‘…(normally I hate spinach) with mushrooms, onions and mango ~ Elizabeth asks about the dressing. The chef beaming, "Cointreau, orange liqueur without the alcohol". Then there was a choice of spring water or various fruit pops.

Dessert consisted of a choice of chocolate, vanilla, or strawberry homemade ice cream, two heaping scoops. Decorate for yourself with a selection from crushed oreo cookies, colorful candy bits, fresh caramel sauce, strawberry sauce and chocolate fudge.

I know! To heck with the calories!

I enjoyed every morsel of it! ~ Boy have I been living in the dark!

This is the link to the caterers’ with a number of recipes including the Hawaiian chicken.

Read and enjoy!


Wednesday, June 20, 2007

COPD What a Day

This last couple of weeks, the weather here has been pretty warm and quite humid. That, for anyone with COPD can be bad news as far as breathing is concerned. So at times like this, there are moments when you get the feeling that you are on the fast track to hell. Times even when you think the word ‘Win’ has departed your vocabulary.

With the hit and miss way my sleep pattern is through this COPD, there are times when I find it difficult to differentiate between night and day. I go to bed and rarely manage to sleep much longer than an hour and twenty minutes, then I am awake once again. COPD does that to me

Today is rehab drop in day, it's only once a week right now; that is until the extra day we've applied for kicks in ~ When? That is the question, I thought things would have been in place long ago. ~ Next time I will know better than go after something around budget time! ~

It seems like chasing a myth, in a maelstrom of moonbeams and misty dreams.

I woke as usual around 5 am and after that it was just restlessness. After laying there for an indeterminable amount of time I crawl out of the pit and make some tea. Today I hit the kitchen around 7.30 am but that was alright, for I needed to be out of bed early in order to get myself ready.

My morning started out okay, as I went through my usual routine taking my medication's. On a day like today the wife usually gets up soon after me and then we really get things moving along. Not today! ~ I guess we got our wires crossed and things were thrown out of kilter.

That's when things went sour for me, I had gone through the routine of secretion clearance with very little effect. Also I was struggling so much trying to get my SOB under control. Try as I may I couldn't get things together again, that’s when my enthusiasm drained out of my toes along with my breathing. Soon I ended up not really wanting to go to rehab, for all I really wanted was just to be able to breathe. ~~ I don’t usually panic, for that gets you nowhere. ~

Some days though things just don’t seem to want to move and believe me, then it’s very easy to panic a little, because you can’t get any air into your lungs.

That’s when Elizabeth arrived on the scene! “Have you been drinking any water?” Trust my honey to always have an answer. I have to drink lots of water for it helps to loosen up any obstruction. Once again I went through my stuff this time following her advice. Wouldn’t you know it, very shortly after it worked, so now I have to go or else we will be late!

So after all of my fussing, this was just another bad news event for me. I really do need the exercise because of my breathing, in order that I stay as healthy as is possible for me.

~ Just a day in the life. ~

Now I have to get my butt out of here!


Monday, June 18, 2007

A Quiet Interlude

For a change, words not of my pen.

The Unnamed Lake

It sleeps among the thousand hills
Where no man ever trod,
And only nature's music fills
The silences of God.

Great mountains tower above its shore,
Green rushes fringe its brim,
And o'er its breast for evermore
The wanton breezes skim.

Dark clouds that intercept the sun
Go there in Spring to weep,
And there, when Autumn days are done,
White mists lie down to sleep.

Sunrise and sunset crown with gold
The pinks of ageless stone,
Her winds have thundered from of old
And storms have set their throne.

No echoes of the world afar
Disturb it night or day,
The sun and shadow, moon and star
Pass and repass for aye.

'Twas in the grey of early dawn,
When first the lake we spied,
And fragments of a cloud were drawn
Half down the mountain side.

Along the shore a heron flew,
And from a speck on high,
That hovered in the deepening blue,
We heard the fish-hawk's cry.

Among the cloud-capt solitudes,
No sound the silence broke,
Save when, in whispers down the woods,
The guardian mountains spoke.

Through tangled brush and dewy brake,
Returning whence we came,
We passed in silence, and the lake
We left without a name.

Frederick George Scott 1861-1944

In the Forest

Out of the mid-wood's twilight
Into the meadow's dawn,
Ivory limbed and brown-eyed,
Flashes my Faun!

He skips through the copses singing,
And his shadow dances along,
And I know not which I should follow,
Shadow or song!

O Hunter, snare me his shadow!
O Nightingale, catch me his strain!
Else moonstruck with music and madness
I track him in vain!

Oscar Wilde 1854 - 1900 ©

My Voice

Within this restless, hurried, modern world
We took our hearts' full pleasure - You and I,
And now the white sails of our ship are furled,
And spent the lading of our argosy.

Wherefore my cheeks before their time are wan,
For very weeping is my gladness fled,
Sorrow has paled my young mouth's vermilion,
And Ruin draws the curtains of my bed.

But all this crowded life has been to thee
No more than lyre, or lute, or subtle spell
Of viols, or the music of the sea
That sleeps, a mimic echo, in the shell.

Oscar Wilde 1854-1900


A Time to Talk

WHEN a friend calls to me from the road
And slows his horse to a meaning walk,
I don’t stand still and look around
On all the hills I haven’t hoed,
And shout from where I am, What is it?
No, not as there is a time to talk.
I thrust my hoe in the mellow ground,
Blade-end up and five feet tall,
And plod: I go up to the stone wall
For a friendly visit.

Robert Frost (1874–1963).

Mountain Interval. 1920.


Thursday, June 14, 2007


Can you believe it? Whenever the weather gets hot and humid, you just know that you’re in for a violent summer storm.

Four or five days ago it rained.. The weather channel had given out a storm warning and this was the beginning. It wasn’t long before the wind picked up as the storm moved into the area and with it, the intensity of the rain increased. Soon things started flying around the place like tumbleweeds in a ghost town! Someone had reported earlier, seeing three funnel clouds in the area. That’s quite the storm.

The trees started to bend and twist, debris flying everywhere as leaves and small branches were ripped off and scattered all over the place. The rain was just pouring down in sheets and hitting the metal overhang with a noise like a hundred freight trains. Close behind was peal after peal of thunder followed by lightening. Suddenly the sound of thunder overhead and sphitz! Bang! Lightening splattered nearby and the power went out !

Earlier we had been trying to decide what to have for supper. We had reached an impasse on whether it would be steak, or as Elizabeth favored, lobster ~ I can’t stand the stuff yuk! ~ I’m a meat and potato’s man myself.

The advent of the storm had surely solved that argument at least! Guess you could say we certainly got 'Surfed and Turfed!'

A screeching whine rang through the air as the alarm on my oxygen concentrator went off. Announcing it had not been shut down properly. A clear indication our power was off. Elizabeth quickly switched me over to a portable tank.

Both computers shut down with a jolt, and an eerie quiet took over inside our small apartment building. Surprisingly not too many people were home. A call to the hydro soon confirmed that the whole town was down and would be for a little while. ~ So we wait.

An hour later comes a knock on the door. A kind neighbor concerned that I might "be gasping for air" decided to check to be sure. She too suffers asthmatic COPD. We explain to her that I am ok and good for about 2 days on portable tanks.

Another hour. ~ Looks like the steak dinner we had planned will have to wait. We don’t want to open the freezer, the wife‘s funny that way and how the humph! are you going to cook it!

Earlier Elizabeth had made a potato salad (to go with the steak) so we plan around that. Cold baked beans and I suggest, "Honey, remember that can of lunchmeat I bought". She gives me that look of horror. (I start rummaging around the cupboard for the can she had hidden! )
Really there’s not a lot of choice. ‘Canned sockeye‘, she perks up desperately . "Just give it a try", I win and offer to help. I open the can and slice the meat up nice on a plate.

My sweetie looks pale. ~ I think the sun just went down! ~

I ignore the obvious and serve the meal. A few minutes of silence elapses then, “hmmm not that bad really , how‘s your lobster honey?!” ~ I think I’ve seen that look on the MIL before! ~ I button up. ~


Friday, June 8, 2007


Yesterday was quite a sad day indeed. The news when it came, still struck like a hammer blow. Strange really how things like that can effect people, even though all the indications were there and had been for some little time now. We sat there with bated breath and hoped just one more time.

Yesterday Phil died of COPD. With all his medical numbers reading as bad as they could possibly be, he still fought this monster and won himself many battles. Already he is sadly missed.

Phil was an online regular poster at a COPD forum that I frequent. A man very much involved with spreading the word and coming up with breathing techniques that would assist people who suffered with shortness of breath.

Phil was a native of Nova Scotia, Canada. I once told him that I would only eat apple pies made with apples from the Annapolis Valley, for I needed to gain a little weight.(Now I need to lose some!) He replied that each of those pies were lovingly kissed by the little old ladies that made them, before they were put in the oven to bake.

Unfortunately with an adversary such as COPD, the battles appear inconsequential, for the result of the war does seem pre-ordained. ~ Eventually ‘it’ wins.

One can help themselves as much as is possible, firstly of course by quitting smoking. Then treating the COPD with their inhalers and pills to help keep the airways open, rehab programs, regular exercising and eating a good diet.

What all that does is slow down the progression of the disease and buys some time. Sometimes it is a fair amount of time for a number of lucky people, but there are always the ones who no matter what they do, their number comes up. There is much that one can hope for and most people never give up the hope that one day, maybe a new cure will be found.

However with the passing of Phil, it just shows that everyone with this disease is one step closer to the door that he just stepped through.

Breathe easy my friend.


Tuesday, June 5, 2007

She has me in stitches!

For some little time now the wife has been going a bit crazy on the sewing machine. That is, she has been making all kinds of sleep wear! Trouble is there are only two of us in this family, so just how much can one wear in a week or two!

Just before last Christmas a limited number of these sewing machines came on sale. A fantastic deal to be had at 70% off. That is if you were quick off the mark and got in line in time! Elizabeth has never had a sewing machine of her own before and she’s always wanted to do more sewing and make some clothes.

That’s what made getting this deal so important to me, I wanted to please her with this surprise. (even though she was with me to help get it! )
Her goal is to make some dresses and other assorted attire.

You should have seen what we went through to get this hot item! We spent an hour in line, with me and my oxygen bottle fending off all would be jostling line jumpers, for they weren’t getting past me and my quest for the prize!!

Because it had been a while since she used a machine, she started with a pair of PJ pants, just so she could get used to sewing again and they turned out great! We have since been informed by the younger generation, they are not PJ’s but “Sleep Pants!” This then was followed by more sleep pants and more and more!!

She even made several sets for her Mom! Then dare I say, she ventured into doing Top‘s! Those too turned out very good, and so now she is really on a roll.

More recently she has taken to doing some alterations to a few of her things, you know shirts and tops, that kind of stuff.
In looking over what material she could use for an alteration on a particular shirt, she came up with a pair of never worn silken panty sleepwear. This she used to fill an idea for around the neckline!

Of course when I saw that I made a typical male remark, as I teased her about having her panties up around her neck!. Now she’s going kill me for sure!!

Plus my trade in value just went down!!


Friday, June 1, 2007

A Blog About Nothing!

I think the weather was acting a little bit funny today, judging by the unsettled
people that I encountered around blog world. They all seemed to be somewhat afflicted with some kind of malaise. Come to think of it, I too had been feeling a little unsettled, without any reason that I could think of.

First I had gone to read a friends blog and found him down in the mouth, unable to write. Then I went to two more places and found a similar situation going on. Finally I thought of myself and my recent struggle to come up with a topic to write about. The weather lately had been very unsettled, hot and muggy, almost enough to make your ears droop!! So you can see, I had to blame the weather, for I don’t feel that I am in any kind of writers block at all! I made suitable comments at each place I visited. I even considered writing a mail to one of them, as sort of encouragement then decided against that idea.

Writers block can occur at any time and with anyone. It’s a fact of life and should be treated as such. As an example ~ I am writing all this right now, on a nothing subject ~ all because I had nothing else to write today. That is, until I did the morning rounds of the blogs! That gave me my topic for today!

When a friend feels that “This is the end of a writer” I am going to retort! That this is NOT the end of a writer! That is unthinkable and besides, there is no such thing.

I have been writing now on and off for just over 13 years. My writing back then consisted of poems, some philosophical ramblings and a couple of short stories based on real life experiences. Then yelp! ~ Writers block Struck!

Mine lasted for almost a year and like my friend I thought that was ‘my end to writing.’

In January this year I started blogging and it might even be said that I never really started writing until I got into the peace work of doing a blog! I got that I felt that I had to produce a different blog each day too.
Quite frankly that is very hard work after the novelty wears off a little.
For myself I try to write on a variety of topics because that way I am able to get a feel most times for a subject to put on paper. It also keeps people wondering what I will write next!

Everyone goes through the block though and they do survive it to become I feel, a better writer.

BTW I too have a book or two partially written, don’t know yet if they will ever get finished, but they may.