All posts by Bridgesburning Chris

The older I get the more amazed I am at the simplicity of life and at the same time the complexity of it. I think sometimes we make the simplicity complicated by our own ingenuity and the insistence that something so wonderful cannot be simple. Perhaps our greatest failure is to make complex that which is not.

Feeling Bad about Missing a Midnight Deadline Until You Realize it Might Not Be Missed 11/366

 

I missed the midnight deadline, a post, which by the way was about the reliability of midnight deadlines. Had it all planned. It was the execution that proved problematic.

See, in the world of daily blogging I have fallen a little behind. Advanced to the Rear as they say, except it was not an aggressive advancement which should count for something I think.

If you take note of the date you will see it is the thirteenth of the month. Really, here we are almost halfway through the first month of 2016.

I have accepted the reality of this being after midnight, though I suppose of could call dibs on the midnight next to come, say in Manitoba, or British Columbia. I could just date it the 12th, then I am just a wee bit behind. But no I will stand tall and loudly proclaim my allegiance to midnight in Southern Ontario. And let the chips fall where they may. Hmmm wish I had some chips here to snack on. I am not usually up this late, but I have things weighing on my mind so this happens occasionally. You know the staying up late part.

Any commentary up to this month relating to El Nino and the lack of snow in my part of the world can now be put to bed with the bears.   Winter has arrived!

Yesterday morning I did not brave the trek to my usual Café O to meet with my peeps. By midday it was over cast and damp so I made the 12 km run to The Home to see our favorite Aunt. The plows had been out so the roads weren’t too bad as long as one drove slowly leaving lots of distance between cars.

We had a nice visit, tea and chatter. Frannie was able to tell me about someone who had come to see her earlier that day, she spoke of Jack but knew he had died a long time ago. The only thing she was unable to do? She had no idea who I was. Oh she was pleased to see me, she knew she must know me. And she was very socially polite but I could see her trying to figure out exactly who I was. She just could not remember.

It leads to anxiety and more confusion. Then in a blink that part of the picture clears though another piece of the puzzle fogs.

‘I only believe in statistics that I doctored myself.’Winston Churchill 10/366

Statistics are like Play-Doh. They can be molded and shaped to give us what we want or what we want others to believe.  It’s a funny thing but it seems that whenever people hear ‘Statistics say…’ they automatically believe.

Decades ago I was part of a community council of sorts and we wanted the public to agree to let us spend a large amount of money.  To stop any nay sayers from grabbing a foot hold, the public was reassured that to prove we needed to achieve what we wanted, we would hire an independent research company at great cost and they would prove or disprove our goal.

Well you know, if we pay somebody a LOT of money they must be worthy of our belief.  We met with the company to describe the parameters of the research then at the end of the discussion they were told exactly the results we wanted.  Oh my, surprise surprise.  The results completely supported and justified what we were doing. Amazing huh?

You see the numbers are accurate and can be proven and depend entirely on what area or section you do your research.  They can be skewed.  Skewed is such an appropriate word.  One needs to be knowledgeable enough about a situation to ask the right questions.  That is the hard part.  But I cringe at the thought of people believing because they believe the numbers are impartial.

So what is this about anyway?

Yesterday I became most agitated because I suddenly had a high cholesterol that the doctor said could not be controlled by diet and medication was the only route.  Oh and that I currently had a one in three chance of having a stroke. (see there is the statistic).  I was told in the beginning this was a possibility but of course it took a back seat to the business at hand.

So I spent a few hours muttering to myself about the side effect of medication I must take being more deadly than the disease, and that stats that say cancer is more survivable than previous (certain types) don’t count deaths from side effects of treatment.  So if I expire from a stroke, no one is going to say cancer killed me.  But technically it will have.

And it annoys me that say statistics predict say nine percent of this particular population will develop something resulting in death.  Or that there is a one in fourteen million chance you will win the lottery.

I am telling you that for those people who die, or win the lottery the chances are not nine percent or one in fourteen million, they are one hundred percent.

Then I had a moment of reality.  How dare I complain about my situation?  It takes some nerve to bitch about something relatively small.  I thought about someone dear to me who has never smoked in his life but is now tied to oxygen tanks to survive.  I thought about my mini me cousin who went through exactly the same as I but much worse and is suffering from constantly painful side effects.  I think about a dear one who at thirty eight is just beginning that long road with the Big C.  I think of so many close to me who are suffering with things out of their control.  When I think of those we loved and lost from cancer and they had no choice.

And I think to myself, “How dare you, who can walk, laugh and sing, moan when you want and truly live, having to accommodate one small pill, How Dare You?

So properly scolded, I apologized to the universe and to all whose own suffering I belittled in my own self pity.

I go off shortly to see our Auntie.

 

 

 

WAAAAAAA WAAAAAAA 9/366

I need just a moment to shout out a primal scream.*MEN OR LADIES IN DANGER  of BEING BORED OR GROSSED OUT CAN SKIP THIS ONE.

so being a conscientious sort I have been checking out proper diets. Then I decide to search for answers in what can cause sudden cholesterol elevations in a relatively healthy female who had cancer, surgery, radiation a year before and who has been taking a daily dose ofcArimidex.

WELL it seems the Arimidex I am supposed TO TAKE  for the next 5 Years can cause high cholesterol.

Now it makes sense why she said dietary changes would Not Help.

I did not sign up for this.   I agreed to highly recommended surgery, radiation and medications for 5 years. Now it seems the effect of the cure could in fact kill me. Or force me to take statins. GRRRRRR

I see my doc in 6 weeks.

do I decline anymore cancer meds. I guess I will have to check and see what the rate of cancer reoccurrence if get off them. Then will my cholesterol automatically return to normal or is the damage permanent?

Were  I given to profanity we all might have learned some new words. ADVICE PLEASE!

Six Word Saturday: Puff, You Said This Would Happen 8/366

Peter, Paul & Mary – Puff, The Magic Dragon Lyrics

Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea
And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honah Lee,
Little Jackie paper loved that rascal puff,
And brought him strings and sealing wax and other fancy stuff. ohPuff, the magic dragon lived by the sea
And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honah Lee,
Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea
And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honah Lee.

Together they would travel on a boat with billowed sail
Jackie kept a lookout perched on puffs gigantic tail,
Noble kings and princes would bow whene’r they came,
Pirate ships would lower their flag when puff roared out his name. oh!

Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea
And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honah Lee,
Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea
And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honah Lee.

Dragons live forever but not so little boys
Painted wings and giant strings make way for other toys.
One sad night it happened, Jackie Paper came no more
And Puff that mighty dragon, he ceased his fearless roar.

His head was bent in sorrow, green scales fell like rain,
Puff no longer went to play along the cherry lane.
Without his life-long friend, puff could not be brave,
So puff that mighty dragon sadly slipped into his cave. oh!

Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea
And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honah Lee,
Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea
And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honah Lee.

G2 who has been by my side every day almost since he was three is growing up. He turns eight in March so I knew it was coming.  He still loves his grandma but his world is larger now.
I went to Hamilton for an overnight visit Wednesday evening.  Everything was almost the same.  He still wanted to go for our penny walk, which netted no pennies but lots of information and camaraderie.  But later I noticed he was not at my side.
G2, I called where are you?
In my room playing Grandma.
Do you want me to  play too?
No, its okay Grandma.
G2, you aren’t playing with me the way you usually do.
Oh Grandma, I am more like (G1) now.  I am growing up.
Sigh.
On the Auntie Fran side of things I thought I would show you what we have been up to. Above is a sample of our art work compiled while we have tea and chat each day. ( I have no idea how to position photos with this site.)
Most often Fran sorts through her coloring pencils then will color a bit but spends most of the time chatting and watching me.
When we left our love bird story we had Fran who felt she was down to earth and realistic about her own unattractiveness and Uncle Jack who felt he could charm the world.
Fran had agreed finally to go out to dinner with him.  She says now she wasn’t particularly impressed at that first date but he was pleasant enough.  She politely declined the suggestion of another date and went on her merry way.  But he did persist.  I am not sure what the second date was but it was interesting enough that it caught her interest.  And that was enough to get her to the all important stage – meeting the family.
I mentioned previously that the group of nurses who traveled the world together stayed together.  When they arrived at a new place they all shared apartments.
Fran told me years ago how sometimes one of them would ‘bring home a man’ and then she felt compelled to launch into her lecture on such activities.  She told them that if they must engage in such activity then so be it, they were adults, but please make sure you do it on his territory.”
“You never soil your own nest.” A saying she would repeat again and again.  It was the sixties but ‘free love’ did not exist everywhere no matter what you hear.

Why Aging is Exactly Like a Leaky Roof 7/366

I think of myself as a healthy person.  Oh sure I am not without ‘condition’ as it were.  But I think that as long as the affliction is manageable then it means I am in good health.

Imagine my surprise yesterday when I went for a ‘follow up appointment’

Doc says, How are you?

I reply, I am great!  I feel good.

Doc says, Well there are a couple of things I want to discuss with you regarding your bloodwork.

Now keep in mind that when I was terribly ill for over a year every bit of blood work came back perfectly normal.

Well it appears my cholesterol is high.  I have been eternally proud of my cholesterol and my bone density.  They were what convinced me I am far younger than anyone knows.

I resisted but the fact is I had to go on a statin.  But I said could I not spend a couple of months making dietary adjustment?

Doc says no.  This is absolutely necessary right now.

I say, But that is an old person’s drug and you are on it for life.

Doc looks at me like perhaps I have an age defying problem.  Me? Never!  I just don’t think I am truly  as old as the people I grew up with.

Anyway, must head off to see our favorite aunt.

Oh the point is, as we age, we cannot be fixed so easily. No new roof to prevent the leaks, so all we can do is scatter pails, buckets (medications) to address each no leak as it happens.

6/366 When It’s Short It’s Probably Busy

 

I am in Hamilton staying overnight as I have an appointment in the morning here.

Saw my fave Aunt this morning, then it was off to my first Tai Chi class, which I loved, then motored to Hamilton.

Visiting with my newly returned from Hawaii family.  It’s only been four days so they are still sporting nice tans. The time zone adjustments took a bit of time but everyone seems back to normal.

Frannie gets a little confused sometimes and will think Jack is still alive (he has been gone more than a decade) and then when she remembers she grieves anew.  These days she is pretty good so all conversation is just nice memories.  We were talking about Jack’s fave hobby which was fishing.  Now Fran cannot abide anything that comes from the sea, especially if it was once alive and is now dead in preparation for consumption.

She never belittled his passion and would properly ooooo and ahhhh over the catch of the day. They respected each other’s feelings. Thank goodness Jack was an A1 cook and we would feast mightily.

Five Days and It Feels Like a Year 5/366

I just thinking the other day – I wonder how long it will continue to feel like a new year.  You know, when your first morning thought is not, -Wow it’s a new year.  There is a certain deliciousness in the feeling.  Sort of how you feel when you get a brand new car.  A sense of awe.

But life intrudes, you know, with life things.  What is that saying? “Life gets in the way.”  Yeah I think that is it.

Conditions change, people get sick and get well. Some things you expect as you age.  As your friends age.  And sometimes the threat is to  younger people.

I was just saying not too long ago to a dear friend, Judith, that someone should write a book about cancer.  About something that never seems to be addressed.  I mean people discuss, write, argue about ‘fighting’, about “surviving’.  But there is one word that describes cancer perfectly.  Waiting.  Eternally waiting.  That’s what it all becomes about. The Sword of Damocles.  Hanging there.  Always.  Just try and live a normal life while you wait.  Hah.

No, it’s not me.  The Big C and I did our dance over a year ago and so far so good.  But it is someone.  And the thing is that for the next forever there is THE WAIT.

Wait – something may be wrong

Wait – we have to do some more tests

Wait – we have to do some MORE tests just to be sure

Wait – you have cancer

Wait- we have to do this bit of surgery to see how bad it could be.

Wait – we have to do more surgery

Wait – we have to do more tests

Wait- we have to do this treatment, that treatment

Wait – we have to do more tests

WAIT WAIT WAIT

Your life and everyone who loves you waits.  No promises.  No conclusions.  Just wait. Suspended Animation.

LIMBO.  Rod Serling’s Twilight Zone.  Imagine if you will.  That’s how he started each of his shows.  Imagine if you will…..

Or don’t imagine.  Just try not imagining. HAH

Well enough of my grumping for now.  I saw our Auntie Fran this morning as I do most days.  She was telling me that she was seventeen when she went into Nurses Training.  So that would have been 1951.  She said training lasted for four years and most of it was working on the units.  It was pretty much the same when I trained in 1966 and I still think it is a superior way to learn.  But for her it was six days a week, twelve hours a day when on the units.

To appreciate our love story you have to understand the two people involved.  I already told you Uncle Jack was a charmer.  Aunt Fran was the exact opposite.  Down to earth.  Her early years were spent during the second world war.  Her father gone into service, rationing and hardship for everyone not just for her.   Her father returned I think about 1945.  She was eleven when the war ended.  Hardly a year later when she was twelve her mother died.

Her parents and probably their parents were Salvation Army so they grew up with a solid foundation of faith.  Frances Alice never thought of herself as a dreamer.  There was too much harsh reality.

She told me a story that when she was about six she and her mother were walking along in town, and her mother was holding her hand.  The town was most upset because a young child had been abducted from the town, and I do not know if she was ever found.

Anyway Fran told me her mother said, “You should be happy you are not pretty. Because that means no one will ever steal you.”

Isn’t funny the things we remember from our childhood?  Fran told me this story because I had told her a few years ago that when I first met her I thought she was so beautiful.  She offered this information so that I would know she was not beautiful.  She was not even pretty.  I am sure her mother loved her and I think that she could not have known those words would stay with her young daughter forever.

You might think there would be a danger that if a smooth talking gent happened along and called her beautiful that she would succumb to his charms.  But don’t forget our lady was made of strong moral fiber.

More tomorrow my friends.

 

Oh by the way , the stamp about was issued by the Australian government in honour of nurses in 1955 the year Frannie graduated.

 

Book One and 4/366

I just finished reading The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins.  Every year I think I should keep track of what and how many books I read because I read a lot so am naturally curious.  Anyway it is the first book finished this year.  I tend to be very cautious about new hot sellers.  Often the book doesn’t live up to the hype.

I read the reviews that said things like, GRIPPING, and I COULDN’T PUT IT DOWN.  I get most of my books from my library which I download onto my tablet.  Very convenient.  It means I don’t get to the actual library very often and I do miss that.  There is something magical about being amongst books.

I remember a few years ago, in Canterbury England going into an old old bookstore and smelling something so intriguing I never wanted to leave.  Sort of like old ink and dust.  So I miss the library itself.

Oh yeah, about the book – OUTSTANDING.  An amazing story filled with suspense.  Truly GRIPPING. All the reviews were dead on.  At least all that I read.

I just came back from visiting Auntie Fran.  She is not doing quite so well today but perhaps tomorrow will be better.  I think I told you yesterday a bit about my Uncle Jack who became her husband back in 1969.

Jack was this charming gad about and Frances was a traveling nurse.  In those days it was not unusual for nurses to travel the world, usually in groups, working for a year or  so in a part of a country then moving on.  There are ‘traveling nurses’ today but it is not quite the same thing.

Anyway Frannie and some nursing friends had saved some money in Australia and they decided it was time to travel.  They headed first for Europe, and worked in England.  After a year or so they headed off for Canada where they planned a few stops across country.

They went to work at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Toronto.  The girls shared apartments together and saved money toward the next leg of the trip.  Whilst there, (Fran being a well spoken Aussie often says things like ‘whilst’) a friend encouraged Fran to meet a male friend of hers.  Fran was rather rigid in standards and would not date just anyone.  She refused more than once to meet this gent.  Now as Fran tells it, one day this woman said, “I really think you should meet this fellow.  He is divorced, he is short and he stutters but I think you will like him.”

I guess that was the statement that sold her.  Perhaps curiosity.  Of course it was not an easy sell at all.  Which of course is part of the charm of their love story.  He truly had to woo her.

Well I must dash off.  More on our love birds tomorrow.

Surprisingly It’s Winter 3/366

Here in the supposed frozen north, as anyone south of Canada thinks of it, it is winter.  White flakes falling, and roads plowed to allow traffic flow.  El Nino winters are always milder than the norm but this year we saw no snow until New Year.  Frequently we wore lighter jackets.  But now we are truly into winter.  The question is what kind of winter will it be?

Today I had the last of the turkey dinner left overs.  It’s a meal I truly enjoy so I am not sure why I don’t have it more often.  And I am now just finishing the last of my holiday wine.

I quit smoking this past year in October.  It is something I really enjoyed but there were enough reasons to do it so I did.  I miss it sometimes but not enough to light up again.  I worried about my weight more than anything.  Back in ’97 I quit for eighteen months and gained thirty pounds.  I am quite happy with my weight and have no desire to gain.   Anyway, in almost three months I have actually lost a few pounds so I suppose that is good.  I decided sometime last year to stop worrying about gains and losses.  Well mostly gains.  I put it out of my mind and ate and drank pretty much what I wanted.  No fuss.  No muss as they say.  It seems to have worked.  The only change I have made is that I try to be more active.  Not working out active.  Just more active.

I went to see my auntie today again as I do most days.  She is somewhat confused but not too bad.  She still knows who I am.  I know yesterday I mentioned her a promised to tell you about  her.

She is originally from Sidney Australia, born in 1934.  She is not an ‘immediate’ aunt but a great aunt.  She was married to my great uncle John, or Jack as we all knew him.  Now Jack was my fathers uncle but he was two years younger than my dad.  So that means that when my dad was two years old, his mothers mother gave birth to a bouncing baby boy.  Actually Jack’s mother, Annie White had something like twenty-eight pregnancies, fourteen of which survived.  One of whom was my grandmother Elsie and many years later her brother, my uncle Jack.  Jack and my dad grew up more like brothers than anything else.

Jack was quite the charmer who liked to describe himself as the black sheep of the family.  He was viewed as something of an adventurer.  He had already had two wives by the time he met Fran in the sixties.  But more of that another time.

For now I must get on with other things.  Fran and I coloured today.  I had gotten her one of those ‘adult colouring books’ for Christmas.  Not ADULT as is restricted but books designed for adults.  The newest kick seems to be that coloring is rather meditative and good for one’s stress and ability to focus.  In truth Fran colours only for a short time then we chat merrily while she watches me and gives me some advice about colours. I just wish I had been the one to think of calling a colouring book “for adults”, charging ten or twenty times the going rate of a child’s book and getting rich.

 

 

 

 

Ins and Outs, Ups and Downs Day 2

This year continues to feel like it will be exciting and wonderful though I have no grounds to suspect this except for a gut feeling.  It doesn’t mean  nothing is going wrong, because lots is, but there is a prevailing belief that whatever the problem it will be dealt with.

3 great whites by Tom Barwell
3 great whites by Tom Barwell

******I will download a pic of Miss Bree our yellow lab  for tomorrow

The family returned from Hawaii arriving on the doorstep at seven something a.m.  Pretty much as expected.  The three felines and one incorrigible canine seemed to sense their impending arrival about twenty four hours previously – their behaviour changed though I cannot really explain how.  They entered nicely tanned – my family not the animals-, happy and very tired after too many hours in the air.  It may have been seven a.m. but their body clocks said no no, it is two a.m.

They insisted on taking me out for breakfast brunch after which I hit the road, allowing them time to rest, rest and rest some more.  Yesterday I prepared a full turkey dinner with all the trimmings and had it on trays ready to easily heat up.  I had the tree lights on and a few presents under the tree, since they missed that whole thing in Maui.

I arrived home to Waterloo and left an hour later to go off and visit my auntie.  Since a group of us are determined to blog everyday for a year I think you will get to know Auntie Fran pretty well.  She was admitted to a nursing home in November and prior to my stay in Hamilton over the Christmas New Years Season I had seen her pretty much every day and I worried about her while I was gone.  But of course she was fine.  I had printed off a large sign and taped it up in her room saying Christine (that’s me) is in Hamilton for two weeks and will return on January 3rd.  I did get up to see her once on the 24th and seeing her one day early – to day – was for me at least a treat.  She has a most interesting story and you will hear it bit by bit.

Today I am also missing the wedding of a dear friend’s son.  I knew I would miss it since the wedding is in Winnipeg and I am in Ontario, but my thoughts are sure with them.