Wednesday, December 31, 2014

and a Happy New Year!

A bit of an update before the new year starts....

My mother is still in the hospital, although they are thinking about sending her back to the care home any day now.  I told both the social services lady and the therapist all what she used to do on her own before the hip fracture, despite being mostly wheelchair bound, hoping to gain a few more days of therapy for her.  They called on Tuesday, and were going to discuss her case today.  I figure since tomorrow is a holiday, she will be there until at least Friday.  She is still a bit confused about where she is and what happened some days.  Mostly though she seems to be back to 'normal'.

I felt like death warmed over yesterday.  Started as a tickle in my throat on Monday, and then Monday evening I felt pretty crummy.  Yesterday was just awful, pounding headache and upset feeling stomach, and that all over yuk feeling.  Today was about the same in the morning, and then from noon on I have gradually improved and feel so much better this evening.  At first I thought it was the flu, but so many of the flu symptoms seemed to be missing, and it seems like it is over too fast, so I don't know what it was. Horrible while it lasted.

Jake was at the vet on Monday.  On Saturday he was chasing a little stick which broke on impact, and then he yelped and ran back to us.  I was sure he must have a piece of stick in this throat and was all mad at Larry because the 'rule' is that you throw a stick opposite to where the dog is expecting it to go, so that it is dead on the ground before the dog gets to it.  We checked out his mouth and throat and couldn't see any problems, but Jake was 'depressed' for about 6 hours after than.  He came into the kitchen when I cut up an apple, but didn't want to eat the core like he usually does.  I gave him a mushy supper which he ate, and then after that it was a relief to see him pick up at toy and give it to Larry to throw.  I did wonder if there was an issue in his mouth, as he had yelped once one morning while he was eating his breakfast, a couple of weeks ago.  I had made an appointment at the vets for Monday, right at closing time at noon on Saturday.  Then I worried all afternoon that maybe I should find another vet to take him too.  It was a relief to see him back to normal that evening.  So I decided to keep the appointment on Monday and have the vet check out his mouth, and I had also discovered a lump on his chest that I wanted to have checked out too.  Anyway, the vet couldn't see anything wrong in his mouth and said other than a bit of wear, his teeth looked great.  He did think that the upper left canine might be dead, due to the darker colour of it, but since it was not causing any problems, he suggested we leave it alone.  He did a needle biopsy on the lump and said it just contained fat cells, so nothing was done about that either.  We'll just monitor it.

Christmas was quiet, but was nice.    We used to have a sort of tradition of all of us going out to do the animal chores in the morning, and then all go for a walk through the bush with the dogs.  That didn't happen this year,  with both Meredith and David not living at home now.  We also didn't get our Christmas photo taken, which was kind of sad.  Meredith got here first, and then David stopped to see my mum at the hospital, so he was quite late.  Then after we did the gifts, Meredith left to go to the hospital, and by the time she got back we had lost the daylight, and then it just seemed to get forgotten.  In fact the only pictures I took were of the food on the table for Christmas dinner.  Despite being somewhat prepared, there still seems to be rushing around that day to get the meal cooked.  I brined the turkey and it was cooked about an hour and a half before I was expecting it to be done.  I was going to put potatoes in around to roast and found out that the turkey was already cooked.  I couldn't believe it, but tested it with two thermometers and they both said yes, this turkey is done!  We had turkey and stuffing, or maybe we should call it dressing since I just stuff it into a loaf pan, not into the turkey, and then pour turkey juices over it occasionally while it's cooking. Roast potatoes, yam casserole, brussel sprouts, carrots and broccoli, pickled beets, cranberry sauce and gravy.  I'm proud to say that the potatoes, carrots and the tiny, tiny brussel sprouts (it took me forever to peel the outer layers off those little suckers) as well as the beets were all from our garden.  

So here we are at the end of another year.  Larry has walked down the road to a get-together at the neighbours.  I'm keeping my germs to myself and didn't feel up to it anyway.  The days are getting longer already and there's a whole new year ahead of us.  I hope it's a good one.
Happy New Year everyone!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

A GOOD afternoon!

My son David worked at the farm across the road for a couple of hours this morning.  That is a job that he has had since he was 15, and has continued to work there while working at other jobs, going to college, university, and even when he worked and lived 3 1/2 hours away during the four month summer break. He drove home on weekends to visit his girlfriend (who he met at the farm), and put in a Saturday working there.  The owners are family to him. On his way to his home now,  he passes by the hospital where my mum is.  I asked him to stop by and drop her glasses off, and to give me an update on how she was.  This is the text I got. 

Hello.  Just leaving now.  She was in good spirits.  Recognized me when I walked in and remembered my name when the nurse came by.  We talked for over an hour.  Well she talked mostly.  She recalls most of what happened yesterday.  She recalled it in a sort of third person perspective.  Didn't seem at all upset about the situation.  Spoke about you and dad as well.  Remembered your name but couldn't remember dad's.  She was having lunch and managed to eat most of it.  She still doesn't seem certain how it all happened but doesn't seem worried.  I would say she was in an extremely good mood compared to what I imagine she was like yesterday.

I cried, happy tears.  
It was a beautiful afternoon, and we had taken the dogs down to the dyke for a walk.  I needed the outdoor time.  I have missed out on a lot of that the last little while.  I took a few not so wonderful pictures with the phone.  Should have taken the camera, but needed the phone to keep in touch with David and to let my sister and Meredith know the latest.  Thank goodness the dyke is flat and straight, so I was able to text and walk and not fall on my face! 

It was one of those dramatic sky kind of days.  We were walking in the sunshine more than the pictures show, and no those black clouds did not dump rain on us.

The dogs were game for a swim, and I think Calli would have taken the plunge if not for the leash holding her back.  She did stick her head underwater a few times to try find a big rock.  Jake and Luna usually need something to be thrown in the water to get wet, so we just didn't throw anything.  I think Jake was quite disgusted with us.

Christmas will be much better now.  
Thanks for following along for the ride.
A very Merry Christmas to you all!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

I bet there are a lot of people who don't know about this.

Postoperative delirium in the elderly

Postoperative cognitive dysfunction

'Peaceful' made a comment about this in my last post.  I didn't think too much about it.  I went to see my mum this afternoon.  She wasn't there, but another demanding, mad, cursing person was.  It was horrible.  She was trying to get out of the bed.  Demanding that I put the sidebar down so that she could swing her legs over.  She wasn't supposed to get out of the bed.  She was furious with me for not helping.  She wouldn't leave the oxygen tube in her nose.  Then she would calm down a bit, and talk about things that didn't make sense.  She wasn't in a hospital, she couldn't figure out what all this 'stuff' was.  She had never been in a hospital before she said.  She has been, many times.  The nurses came to help with her, got her on the commode, although she had been on it not long before.  I walked out into the hallway and peered out the window at the rain and the view of the wall of another part of the hospital, and shed a tear or two.  The nurses used a 'd' word.  They said it is common, most people get it.  Maybe most of the patients on that ward are elderly.  When I got home and was looking it up, I was thinking dementia, but then later I thought it might have been delirium.  Is there a difference?  Doing all this reading is bloody scary (my mum used that word a lot this afternoon).  The surgeon never mentioned it.  No one mentioned it.  I didn't know there was such a thing.  It's damn scary.  Will it go away?  Please?

So after that sad visit, I went to a friend's and had a cuddle with this.  Almost four weeks old. 

He and his four black sisters are destined to become guide dogs or autism support dogs.  You can read about one of his sisters from a previous litter, here, on page 4.

One day at a time.

Monday, December 22, 2014

A Pre Christmas Downer

I was feeling pretty good about Christmas.  The decorating was finished last Friday. I think Larry did most of it:)  I got a bit of Christmas baking done.  What gifts we have to buy were mostly done, although not wrapped.  We went to a really fun Christmas Brunch on Sunday with nieces and their hubbies and their 11, soon to be 12, little kids.  (Larry's side of the family).   

Usually I go to see my mother on Sundays, but I told her I wouldn't be there for this one.  I didn't feel too badly about it, as I had been with her on Thursday afternoon when we went to see the plastic surgeon about the sores on her leg.  (Not much was done about that, other than to take biopsies to check for cancer).  
We were driving back home on Sunday around supper time.  The Brunch had turned into an all day affair for some of us:)  The phone call came during the drive, but I didn't hear my phone, buried in my purse, in another bag, in the back seat of the truck.  When we get home I see a missed call from the care home where my mum lives.  I call them back and find out she had a bad fall, has a lot of pain in her hip and has a big cut on the back of her head.  They have called the ambulance and sent her to hospital.  Long story short, xrays and a CT scan show she has broken her left hip but her head is okay.  Her left leg is the one affected by a stroke so she has only partial control over it.  Meredith met me at the hospital and we hung around for four hours waiting to talk to doctors and surgeons.  I've got to say, the nurses and doctors were really great, helpful and informative.  The result was that surgery would be performed today, with a partial hip replacement to be done.  The ball at the end of the femur was replaced with a metal one this evening.  It was a little bit stressful waiting to hear the results, but it seemed to go well.  I had to sign for the level of treatment offered should my mum's heart stop during surgery.  That was the stressful part, second guessing myself about that decision.  Now it will be one day at a time.  Seeing what the therapists can do to help her gain back as much mobility as possible.  While my mum did use a wheelchair all the time, and had lost the use of her left arm and hand, and part of her left leg, she did all the bathroom stuff on her own, dressed herself, transferred herself from the wheelchair to the bed, and even did her own laundry in the bathroom sink with one hand.  I'm hoping she can get that independence back.

85th birthday this summer.  She likes her jewelry:)

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Pineapple Express

It's the train from Hawaii.  Hey, did you know Hawaii had trains.  I had to Google it to find out, and yes they do.  Actually the Pineapple Express is what they call a weather system that heads from Hawaii and blasts the SW part of BC and states south with a lot of wet and warm.  Last week we had the Polar Express, with record breaking cold temperatures, and this week we are the opposite, with record breaking warm temperatures.  Tuesday the official high was 18 C or 64 F. Today was similar.

That would be shorts weather for me if the sun was out, but we've had rain, torrential downpours, high winds, power outages and even some thunder this evening.  Our power went off for a few minutes yesterday, thank goodness that was all, and the lights flickered a few times this evening, but others have had it much worse.  I was out much of yesterday, and when I was driving home there was a break in the rain, even a bit of sun in a few places, and some blue sky.  I love taking pictures of dramatic skies.  All I had was my phone, but it still looked impressive.

Among many other stops I made while I was out, I went to five thrift stores.  Boy, what a hardship that was.  I had to force myself through the doors:)  I was looking for some brass candlesticks, or something similar, as bases for these.  The coffee cup is to give you an idea of the size.  

I only found six.  
There were two or three more out of my price range, but only because that particular thrift store seemed to think their candlesticks were much more valuable than anywhere else. 

I made a few of these book trees and sold two at the farmers market last weekend, have two more spoken for, and I want to have some for the two markets I have this weekend.  The last markets  of the year! I'm sad and I'm glad.  I'm doing the last jam making this week.  I'll have a break until the marmalade oranges come in season at the end of January, through March.  I'll actually put the canner away for a while.

 Of course I picked up a few more odds and ends while I was in those thrift stores, but not much.  I did score on some great fabric buys in the Salvation Army thrift store.  For about $12 I have enough fabric to make 12 aprons and 6 shopping or book bags.

I also got six of the pillow panels.  I don't make pillows out of them, I sew them on the sides of some of the bags.

 The birds are cute, and the cow looks a little.....mad.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Christmas Prep

We've got one thing all decorated for Christmas.  The poor sign is a little weather beaten.  I'll have to try get it painted next year.
There's something moving in the background, can you see it?

A closer look.

They blend in so well that I leaned over the fence to take the photo.  It was a lovely dry mild morning, and some of the hens had wandered down to the bottom of the field, about as far away as they can get from the coop, and were scratching in the dead leaves from the big Broadleaf Maple at the bottom of the driveway.  
Pretty well camouflaged don't you think? 

Saturday, December 6, 2014


I wrote this post last week, and never got it quite finished, so never posted it.  So here it is now, a week late.  Unfortunately in this past week, nothing more has been done with the dahlias.  I am easily distracted:)  Some great cleaning up and sorting out of other things has been done though!  Those two wheelbarrows are still hogging a lot of room in the garage, as are the bins.  That cold weather that I mentioned we were expecting, with it's inch of snow, came and went.  We are back to rain and weird collapsing ground as the ice in it thaws out.  Anyway, here you go....just imagine you were reading it on Friday of the previous week.....

Since I've come back from Ontario, I've been working at getting the dahlia tubers out of the ground, cleaned off, divided and stored away in feed bags until next Spring.  We had some cold weather while I was away, so the foliage was all killed off. That's over 100 dahlia tubers to dig up and cut the rotting dead foliage off. It's been a heck of a job, and it's not anywhere near done, but at least all of the tubers are out of the ground now, and washed off, and in the garage where there is no chance of them freezing. Larry has helped me with the digging and cutting the rotten stems off.  We've got some cold weather coming in the next few days.  I don't know if it will be cold enough to freeze the tubers in the ground, but there is a good chance, as we have had a week of lots of rain, and the ground is saturated.  I dug up the last 20 or 25 this morning.   Thank goodness they were all fairly small ones, so it was easy.  Some of them have been monsters, probably weighing 25 lbs, all loaded up with wet soil and umpteen earth worms.  Last year I don't think I washed them, I think I had some nice mild weather to get them all sorted out, but it has been different this year.  So I've loaded them up in the wheelbarrow and used a nozzle on the hose to blast most of the dirt and worms out from between the tubers.  Then I'm letting them dry off for a few days, and then will divide them up.  There seems to be too many that aren't labelled, I'm not sure why.  I know some were labelled wrong.  Not sure what I can do about that, other than to write a note (on my forehead maybe?) to check them all next year when they are blooming.  I have to come up with a better way to tag them.  I had tied flagging tape around the tuber, but often as the tuber grew, the tape was buried in the middle of the clump, and I had to try and ease it out gently and try to read it.  Often I couldn't even see a tag until I had hosed the dirt off.

I'd like to plant them in a different spot next year, in a single row along a fence line.  That will involve a lot of work to prep the ground, so we'll see how that goes.  Probably won't go well, it will be too physical.  I think it might be too much to try to get our little rototiller to break through sod that has been here longer than us.  I've thought about it quite a bit, and have a few ideas, but it remains to be seen if I put them into action.

Here's today's and yesterday's haul in the yellow wheel barrow.  The other wheelbarrow is from earlier in the week.

Here's some more that have been in the garage for a while and are waiting to be divided.

Here's the ones that I'm actually finished with, rolled up in labelled bags and stored in what used to be a wine cellar that is accessed from the garage and is built under the stairs.  One year a mouse thought that was a good place to spend the winter too:(  I am taking them into the utility room and dividing them there, near the warmth of the woodstove.  Much too cold to work in the garage.

I don't think there is room in there for all of the bags I'm going to have.
And camping dishes....? Don't think we will ever use those again, any camping we do now is in a trailer, and it has it's own dishes.

Monday, December 1, 2014


It was a cold farmers market on Sunday.  We had a bit of snow on Friday night, and then the temperature dropped to below freezing and the wind howled, and it was miserably cold, at least cold for us.  At the market we were set up inside, but the doors were open most of the time, so despite having tights on under my jeans, plus multiple layers on top, and a scarf, I got cold.  A few times I went outside and found a protected sunny spot, (there wasn't much wind on Sunday) and was able to soak up a bit of heat from the sun.  

After the market was over and we were all packed up, we met a friend for lunch and then Larry headed home and I went to visit my mum.  The care home she is in is 5 or 10 minutes from the market, depending if the traffic lights are in my favour or not, and this past Sunday they were.  My mum always wants to go OUT.  Quite often we go the grocery store to pick up some of the extra things she likes to have.  Right now she is having a lot of trouble with one foot.  A large patch of skin cancer on it, plus a couple of smaller ones, and it is heavily bandaged.  Hard to get a shoe on it.  A couple of weeks ago I just pushed her for a walk in her wheelchair straight from the home.  The last couple of Sundays have been quite cold, so instead I suggested we just go for a drive.  Thankfully that was okay with her, as even to get her and the wheelchair in and out of the car once is a difficult chore for both of us. In the three years she has been in the care home, I can only really remember one time that I visited her and we didn't go out.

The Sunday before last I suggested we drive to Crescent Beach and watch the sun set.  It was hard to get her moving, so when we finally got there, the sun wasn't setting over the water as I thought it would , but because the days are so short, had already disappeared behind the houses on the last point.

We were parked in front of the dog swimming area, and the tide was right up.  There were no dogs there that day.  A lonely boat is chugging towards the marina. Vancouver would be off in the distance on that sliver of land on the right edge, with the north shore mountains in the background.

Yesterday we went for another drive.  This time we went back the way I had got there, and down to the beach.  This is the pier at White Rock.

White Rock got more snow than us, but even there, some of it had melted, especially close to the water.

See that breakwater at the end of the pier.  My dad used to fish around there in his little boat, and jig for cod.  Sometimes I went out with him.
There is some boat moorage on the right at the end of the pier, and now just a small dock on the left.  There used to be a large dock there that formed a square, it was called The Tank.  I took swimming lessons for a year or two there in the summer.  The lessons went rain or shine or jellyfish.  Yes, at times a bunch of jellyfish would pass through.  After all, we were swimming in the ocean.  I wasn't much of a swimmer, and was often the oldest one in my class.  I hated it, and was so glad when my mother switched me to tennis lessons when I was 12.  Tennis I was good at:)

The tide was going out.  There is a sandbar forming halfway along the pier.  It wasn't there in the previous picture.

We drove up the hill and got one last shot of the sun before it set.  What a view that house would have.  I wonder if they ever tire of the view, or don't notice it any more.  Probably not. You can just see the pier and the breakwater to the left of the house.

There was one more thing I wanted to drive past.  I had noticed this when I had gone to retrieve the truck at the end of the market from the parking under the community center.  This is part of the area where the summer markets are held.  Someone got pretty creative:)

My mum has a doctor's appointment this week, where he will cut away another small spot of skin cancer.  Just before Christmas she has an appointment with a plastic surgeon to take care of the mess on her left foot and ankle.