Thursday, July 30, 2009
I have been reading and watching the news lately about the sweltering heat wave many areas of Canada and the US have been experiencing.
I personally love the summer months but I'm definitely not looking forward to the heat and humidity. We have been very fortunate in Toronto. Instead of living through the heat, we have been getting a lot of rain and cool breezes. I wish I had a magic wane so I could share it with those who need it most.
Today the temperature went up to 27 degrees celcius but I'm not complaining. Compared to British Columbia's record breaking 33.8 degrees celcius, 27 is cool. I don't mind working in the rain or getting wet either :))
I'm hoping that the cool rains and gentle breezes reach all of you experiencing this heat wave and I hope things have cooled down a wee-bitty for DJan, one of my blogger friends. Stay cool everybody. This time of extremes will pass!
Remember to stay hydrated and drink plenty of water. Just think, in a few short months we'll be bundling up to stay warm in the snow.
It brought to light the suffering of innocent children and how an act of kindness can rekindle their spirits and trigger new found smiles.
Al's post is inspirational and her last words really say it all --
"The reward of joy in my heart was so priceless as I watch them leave stroking their tummies and with their heart full of gladness while my soul was so filled with happiness and again anticipating for our next much awaited gathering."
If you haven't read her blog, please do!
Bless the Children
When the day is long and hard, I visit Mother Nature.
On this particular day I took a long stroll. I observed the beauty around me -- the scenery, the people, the animals and the vast sky. With camera in hand, I began clicking away! I was one with nature.
I hope you enjoy the stroll as much as I did.
Do you have a special, peaceful place?
My Stroll with Mother Nature
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
By no means is this meant to poke fun at people. My intention is to illustrate how terminology in various specialty areas - whether it be scientific, technical, or business related - may be common place for some people but foreign to others.
I have worked in the medical field for 35 years; therefore, I find medical terminology routine. However, start talking about rollpans, shift boots, rucks and mauls, or a Helmholtz resonator; the most intelligent word you’d hear from me would be, “Duh.”
I’ve never needed to know that, Sabine absorption is A = 0.921 Vd /c. Hell, I wouldn’t even know what subject area you would be referring to. Just recently, someone mentioned my typeface and my response – “oval I guess.” I later found out he was referring to my font. Even when we write, we tend to gravitate towards personal experiences and special interests.
This just goes to show that we all have our areas of familiarity and should never feel less of a person for having to ask for clarification. With that said, here’s my story.
Many moons ago, I was working in Centenary Hospital’s outpatient department. My duty was to obtain pre-operative ECGs (electrocardiograms) and to collect blood and urine samples. On one particular morning, a tall, husky man – approximately 25 years old, sat in front of me - his wife, by my side. After collecting two vials of blood, I handed him a specimen container and asked for a urine sample.
Ten minutes passed, but he hadn’t returned. At first, I didn’t feel that it was anything out of the ordinary. After all, it’s not always easy to void on demand. After another ten minutes, my curiosity was heightened when his wife started to pace. I decided to knock on the washroom door.
“Are you alright?”
His response, “Ya, I’m okay. I’ll be out in a minute.”
When he appeared, I immediately knew what had taken him so long - so did his wife.
One must remember that in some hospitals, urine containers are in the shape of test tubes (as was his).
He proudly handed me the container, jam packed --
I still can’t figure out how he got it into that narrow tube. Without missing a beat and to avoid any unnecessary embarrassment, I picked up another tube and asked for a “pee” specimen.
He appeared agitated. “You should have asked me the first time. I don’t know if I can go again.”
Little did he know that I did. The young man didn’t understand what I meant by the word, “urine.”
Eventually, after four glasses of water, he was able to give me the needed sample. I’m only sorry that I had to discard his first donation.
As they were leaving the laboratory, I heard his wife chuckling. Seconds later, he said, “shit” and she responded – “exactly.” They both burst out laughing, as did I.
Now, regardless of who the patient is, I approach this situation differently. If you ever happen to appear in front of me for a pre-operative workup - you will hear me ask, “Can you “pee” in the container for me?” Yep, that’ll be me.
This experience reminded me that just because the terms; urine, void and micturate are common, every day words to me; they are not necessarily routine for others.
Have you ever done something that made your face light up in embarrassment, but in hindsight, you laugh yourself silly? How's that saying go - "A picture is worth a thousand words."
Today after work, I decided to go for a jog. It looked like rain so I wore my nylon sweat pants. I plugged my ipod into my ear and zipped out the door.
It turned out to be a beautiful evening... After my run, I realized that I needed a few things at the store. Instead of rushing home to change, I trotted over to the supermarket and grabbed myself a grocery cart and away I went down the aisles. Hey - I felt like a million bucks, especially after running two miles.
Then I saw the cat food on the bottom shelf. I crouched down and took a gander. Let me see - Kitty Chow - that's it.
I reached for the bag, stood up and placed the package in my cart. All seemed well - YA RIGHT! I felt a wee breeze on my legs and when I looked down, I gasped...
My pants were around my ankles.
The elastic waistband lost its desire to hug my waist and went south. What a sight to behold - Susan standing in her underwear! I never moved so fast in my life. I grabbed my drawers, yanked them up and looked to see if anyone was watching.
Phewwwwww - or so I thought!
As I scanned the aisles, I noticed a young man trying to smother his laughter. His eyes looked every-which-way as not to embarrass me any further - until he couldn't resist any longer and let out a loud - Baahahahahahaha!
My feet started to move as I held on tight to my bloomers. I passed the laughing bystander, made a dash for the checkout counter, and bolted through the exit door. I didn't stop until I got home.
As I sit here typing, I wonder if my shopping cart, with the cat food, is still sitting on aisle 4 waiting for my return!
I hope the store camera didn’t catch my act, otherwise, I may be the next shining star on, “America’s Funniest Videos.”
So - what happened to you today?
Saturday, July 25, 2009
Have you ever had one of those days? Well, today is my turn.
I brought this on all by myself. While surfing the net and sipping on a cup of coffee, the phone rang.
I got up to answer it leaving my coffee beside the computer (my first big mistake and something I usually never do). I was talking to my friend when suddenly I heard a thump. Eeeeecccckkkk! My cat, Sassy knocked over my coffee cup saturating my laptop keyboard. I quickly said my goodbyes to my friend and ran to the computer. Nothing! It didn’t respond when I tried to start it up again. Whaaaaaa!
Sassy's hiding because she knows shes done something wrong but I can’t blame her for my carelessness.
I went to Staples and asked if they could salvage my laptop. Good news and bad news – I was told that if I brought it in tomorrow, a technician will try to fix it which will take approximately 4 to 5 days. The bad news is that I’ll be without my computer for a few days and won’t be able to check in with all my friends here unless my son lets me use his computer (like I'm doing now). I can only hope. My son uses his computer for work and I’d be afraid to touch anything just in case I deleted something important.
I’m going to miss you all and hope they can fix my computer soon. I think I’m addicted to my computer. Hehehehe
To top things off, it’s raining hard outside – What’s that saying? “If it rains, it pours.”
Well, I’m still happy because I love the rain and everything else is okay out my way.
I think I’ll go for a walk in the rain and take my trusty camera with me!
Have a great weekend everybody. I hope to be online again soon!
Love and hugsssss
SquirrelQueen has posted a challenge.
"The purpose of this challenge is to raise awareness for purchasing locally produced foods. Be it fruits, vegetables, dairy products or related items we want to know what's available where you live."
I love tomatoes, especially organically grown cherry tomatoes.
Travelling up towards Stouffville, Ontario (only 20 minutes from my home) one will find several roadside stands and shops selling fresh, homegrown fruits and vegetables. I always stop by when I'm up that way and buy oodles. I also like to pick strawberries and make my own jam.
There's nothing like homegrown fruit and vegetables - that's the way to go - Great food choices for healthy living!
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Not unlike humans, the sky is often referred to as "angry, dark, blue, cloudy, happy, clear, etc.
If you have a photo showing the sky personified, please post your link. I’d be interested in seeing what emotion you caught with your camera when you looked up at the sky.
The above photo is one I took at sunset -- an angry, flaming sky.
Have fun and remember - the sky’s the limit!
Love and hugsss
Look Up . . .
I learned from CARAMEL MACCHIATO’s blog that Holdfast Seeker has posted a photo challenge – “Your favorite photo.”
I have many favorites but the above photo came to mind immediately because it deals with children and their loving nature.
I took this photo while strolling through Bluffer’s Park in Scarborough, Ontario. The young boy is my nephew, Matthew. He loves animals and anything involving nature so when it came time to feed the birds, he stepped up and shared his snack.
As I was taking the photo, I heard him say, “Are you hungry, birdie?”
That statement triggered my smile!
There’s something magic about children – they give so lovingly!
Love and hugsss
Monday, July 20, 2009
Life can sometimes throw obstacles and hardships our way yet there's always something that can trigger a smile -- something to brighten our day!
My son came across this wee bunny when trimming the grass.
A little while later, he set it free to be with his family -- away from harms way!
Caption this . . .
Many times a photo triggers a smile, but add a caption and voila -- the photo takes on a whole new meaning!
A CATastrophic Surprise
“Eeeeecckk! Who let the dog in?”
Birds of a feather
“Hey buddy! Stop following me -- I'm not your momma!”
Girl's Night Out
“Okay ladies, get a move on or you'll miss your flight.”
Just funnin' with ya!
Have a great day everybody!
Love and hugssss
Sunday, July 19, 2009
Later in the evening, we went to 'Smiling Jack's' or the Road House as we like to call it -- and enjoyed a great meal together while singing along with the local band. I was taken back when one of the lead singers approached us and informed me that the next song was going to be dedicated to me (and my birthday). Soon afterwards, I found myself up on the stage jammin' with the band. Image - a white haired older woman dancing on the stage. Hahahaha! What a great time I had and a birthday I'll never forget!
The day ended with me visiting my wee nephew, Matthew. Bless his heart. He spent the tips he made at the flower shop and bought me 3 beautiful roses. Attached to the card he wrote. "To Susan, Love Matt. I Love You." He has no idea just how much his token of love meant to me. What a perfect way to end a day -- surrounded by the ones you love. I will always cherish the special moments I spend with my family. I am so blessed!
I hope you all had a great weekend too!
Love and hugsssss Susan xo
Friday, July 17, 2009
Ever have the feeling that everyone’s going “QUACK” when you’re going “HONK?”
Do you sometimes find yourself saying ~ “I’m not like the rest - I’m different?”
Feeling out of place?
Like the Ugly Duckling ~ we don’t always recognize our own strength or beauty. We focus more on ~ “If Only…”
In time, our mind’s eye will adjust to these dark feelings and we’ll begin to see our surroundings in a new light ~
We’ll recognize the real enemy ~ Fear
Then, like the duckling, our dreams will come true ~
Our Swan will appear!
As a child, growing old was something I dreaded. I never thought I'd become one of those 'white-haired' women with saggy skin -- but alas, age caught up and grabbed hold of me. Yep, I have white hair and my body is starting to sag. :))) Now when I walk by young children I often wonder if they're thinking the same thing.
Well, tomorrow I'm celebrating another birthday and I feel great! I'm alive, I'm happy, and I feel good about myself. No fear here just contentment. The sun will come out tomorrow and I'll be greeting it with a big smile! Woooweeeeee! Isn't life wonderful? You bet'cha it is!
I've finally found my swan even if I do look like an old pigeon. :)
“I never dreamed of such happiness as this, while I was an ugly duckling.”
~ Hans Christian Andersen
I hope all your tomorrows are filled with sunshine and laughter!
Freedom to Soar
Sunday, July 12, 2009
Every photo tells a story .
Sometimes we come across a scene and ask ourselves: "Why? Who? What?"
Our minds wander in search for answers -- Answers to questions we will never know.
Hence, the real story is frozen in time . . .
Out of place?
On a sandy beach a lone flower grabs my attention. Was it placed there in remembrance of someone, thrown away as a symbolic gesture - lost love, dropped unintentionally, or was it left behind after a romantic stroll? One can only wonder.
I did not disturb the flower simply because I did not know who put it there or why.
The Happy Imposter
I happened upon little guy nestled between two tree branches.
I wonder how he got there. :)
If his purpose was to bring a smile to my face -- he succeeded.
"No bird ever...raced 15 miles high at triple the speed of sound. But birds do something else. They do not conquer the air; they romance it."
Man must rise above the Earth - to the top of the atmosphere and beyond - for only thus will he fully understand the world in which he lives.
When I come across animals, I often wonder -- 'What are they thinking?' Hehehe
"Oh nuts! The lady with the camera's watchin' me."
"Hahaha. Now that was funny!"
My wee cat, Sassy always laughs at my jokes. :)
Nature's Peaceful Slumber
I love watching night fall -- tucking the sun in for another day.
Soft winds whirling about
Trees quietly sway
Majestic shadows caress the land
Waters calm for a day
Tranquility lays its blanket
Sunlight closes its blind
Lunar's comforting night light
God's creatures rest for a time.
Thank you for the encouragement, SquirrelQueen.
I hope you enjoy my photos as much as I enjoyed taking them.
Love and hugsssss
On May 20, 2008 I suffered a stroke affecting my left side. I had difficulty walking and needed a cane to get around. My speech was also affected which was frustrating when trying to communicate.
My children, John and Jen were my biggest supporters in recovery. They instilled in me the belief that I could regain all my mobility and surpass the difficult times.
John and I discussed goals and we both came to the decision that we’d all enter the 5k marathon on May 10, 2009 – a year after my stroke. Each day he would train with me. As the days and weeks went by I grew stronger and the cane was no longer needed. * poof, gone *
We started slow, running a mile and progressively increasing each day until we reached 5 miles. We also did weight training 3 times a week. I was exhausted after each session but felt exhilarated when I finished.
Then the day came when Jen and John challenged me to take the ‘CN Tower Stair Climbing Challenge – all 1,776 steps.’ I was game and decided to take them up on their challenge. So on April 16, 2009 we set out to the CN Tower and accomplished our goal. We all reached the top of the Tower. I must admit that it was hard but, boy what a rush when I climbed the last set of stairs and saw my children standing front and centre cheering me on – a moment I’ll never forget.
John and I continued to workout and train for the marathon. One Saturday, Jen and her friend, Tara joined us and what a great time we had!
Well, the marathon was a SUCCESS! I ran beside my husband and children. I DID IT! I ran my first marathon. Yippieeeee! I never thought I’d be able to walk again never mind run a marathon.
I learned a lot from my children!
“Don’t find reasons why you can’t succeed – find reasons why you can.” And, God bless them – I did!
Anything’s possible if you believe. Never give up just take it one step at a time and watch the miracle happen!
The video below is our playful workout together all in good fun ~
John is portrayed as a tyrant in this video but, in actual fact, he was always gentle, supportive, and very protective of me. He was my mentor and inspiration.
It's Crunch Time
Life is beautiful. Live each day to the fullest!
Love and hugssss
Saturday, July 11, 2009
When my daughter was younger, she liked to play dress-up ~ funny hats, long beads, gloves and high-heels. Here she looks like the poor little rich girl. She had just finished watching the movie, "Little Princess" starring Shirley Temple. In hindsight I wonder ~ What was going through Jen's little head – What was she thinking?
How fast the years pass. Today she’s a 24 year old woman and I’m playing dress-up ~ the poor little rich mom ~ (minus the rich) :))
Tonight, I was reminiscing of days gone by ~ back to the yester-years when Jen was a wee baby!
I remember the nights we sat together and talked for hours.
She would share her dreams. Everything seemed to be moving so slow for her back then.
Boy ~ does time fly!
Many a night she would reveal her fears ~ “Mom what if I fail?”
But deep down inside, I knew she would succeed! Hey, us moms know these things. :)
I heard a song tonight and my dear Jen came to mind.
She reached up high, grabbed a star and now she’s shining bright!
I’m so very proud of her but miss those precious moments together.
But I’m still smiling because I know she has reached her goal and, more important, she’s happy!
Every parent’s dream ~
A little something I put together for Jen's birthday - last November.
Heaven Sent: My Precious Daughter, Jennifer
Please excuse the rantings of a mother ~ but I had to tell someone how I felt!
I know all you mother's out there can relate.
When our children are young we sometimes forget that time, distance, and life will lead our children down another path. Enjoy them while you can for someday they will leave home to start their own families.
Okay...I'll put a sock in it now and scoot.
Love Susan xo
So... with the support of my children, I set out and found a job. I was hired as a landscaper and gardener for York Cemetery. I didn't know a thing about gardening and was terrified to venture out into an unknown career. Needless to say, after a few months of hard work and training, I grew to love my job. There wasn't the same stress as I knew in the hospital - No life and death decisions. There was a calmness that followed me around each day. Don't get me wrong though. There is a death aspect that comes along with working in a cemetery. Every day, I stand and bow my head as funeral precessions pass by. I watch people hug one another and cry for the ones they've lost. There are moments of sadness but,this is a part of life that will greet us all someday.
People finding out that I work in a "graveyard" have asked,
"Aren't you afraid? You're surrounded by so much death."
"Do you see ghosts or strange things?"
Some go so far as to say,
"You'll never find me working in a cemetery."
My response usually goes something like this.
"No I'm not afraid to work here. If anything, I find it peaceful."
As for seeing ghosts - There have been a few incidents when I thought I saw a shadow in the corner of my eye but when I looked up there was nothing there. Many of my co-workers have also experienced this. There's nothing to be afraid of. Personally, I believe that we are surrounded by spirits each and every day regardless of where we are. While working in the hospital I experienced many such encounters or, at least, I think I did. I can't explain what happened or why but have been left with the opinion that they where acts from beyond. Maybe someday I'll write a blog and share these stories, but for now, back to the cemetery.
Working in the gardens at the cemetery gives me that sense of accomplishment I needed. I can give that added touch to someone's grave site - special care to the flowers, washing the tombstone, mowing the lawn or trimming around the monuments. Standing back and looking at my work afterwards makes me smile. I hear myself saying, this would surely trigger a smile on the faces of family members of the deceased or even the spirit of the deceased him/herself. That's what it is all about for me - I can add a smile to someone's day and feel good about it.
Aside from working in my gardens, I also enjoy the wonderful scenery and wildlife around me. There is a beautiful array of colourful flowers to feast my eyes on and countless wee critters that join me on my trails - rabbits, squirrels, birds galore, resident geese and mallard ducks to name a few. I am a familiar sight to them just as they are to me. This season I've been observing a duck family for a number of months and would love to share their love story with you. The colourful male duck has been following the female around for weeks chasing off those who come close - myself included. He knows me now and doesn't run me off anymore which has made it possible for me to take a few photos of their cycle of life. Yes! There is life in the cemetery.
The following video is Part 1 of their story. Hopefully when the little ducklings hatch and are led to the water by the mother duck, I will capture those moments on film. Stay tuned -
Words I believe -
"Every flower is a soul blossoming in nature."
Have a wonderful day, my friends
Monday, July 6, 2009
It all began as we were standing in front of the bathroom mirror, me fixing Jen's fine, blonde hair. I was putting in the final elastic of a spunky pair of pony tails and finished with, "I love you, Jen."
"And I love you," she replied.
"Oh, yeah," I taunted, "well, I love you more."
Her eyes lit up as she recognized the cue for the start of another "I love you more" match. "Nuh-uh," she laughed, "I love you the most."
"I love you more than a volcano!" I countered--a favorite family phrase in these battles of love.
"But, Mom, I love you from here to China."
We volleyed back and forth a few favorite lines. "I love you more than peanut butter"...Well, I love you more than television"..."I even love you more than bubble gum."
It was my turn again, and I made the move that usually brings victory. "Too bad, chickadee. I love you more than the universe!"
On this day, however, Jen was not going to give up. I could see she was thinking.
"Mom," she said in a quiet voice, "I love you more than myself."
I stopped. Dumbfounded ~ Overwhelmed by her sincerity. Here I thought that I knew more than she did. I thought I knew at least everything that she knew. What a wonderful expression of love ~ she loved me more than herself.
Jen is now 24 years old and we still have these “I love you more” matches. I still maintan ~
“Jen, I love you more ~ More than forever and a day.”
I await her response. :)))
Sunday, July 5, 2009
Having worked in the medical field for many years, I have witnessed a lot of final goodbyes and heartache. On February 22, 2006 I said my final farewell to my little sister, Mary. I prayed that she would survive until my return the next day but it wasn’t meant to be. Mary passed away on February 23, 2006.
Our Last Moments Together
I lift her hand and squeeze gently. It’s so cold and swollen ~
I glance at her legs, motionless, her energetic stride halted
The mechanical sounds echo throughout the room
Overhead screens displaying pressures, vital signs, ECG tracings
The hissing sound of the humidifier fills the quiet.
A multitude of IV and CVP lines intertwined around her neck, arms and right leg.
Are you in pain Mary?
I want so much to lift your suffering but I do not have the strength
I look down at her once gentle face and find my worst nightmare
Can she hear me?
A single tear ~ is that a body reflex or is she crying inside?
I cannot embrace my sweet Mary for the alarms command distance
Her mouth slightly open with her tongue framing the plastic endotracheal tube
Unnatural intrusions but necessary to maintain her precious life
Her body twitches ~ is she in pain?
Oh God, please take her mind to a quiet place where she can escape any discomfort
Do not let fear find her gentle soul.
It’s time to leave Mary.
I do not want to go.
I do not want to release my hold.
Do you know that I’m leaving?
Are you afraid to be alone?
Did you just squeeze my hand or am I just wishing it so?
Oh Mary ~ let’s go back to those carefree days
Let me see your loving smile and feel your gentle embrace again
Good night sweet Mary
Do not leave me in the night for I promise to return tomorrow.
My tears brush her hand as I kiss her good night
I’m leaving my heart and soul with you dear Mary
Sleep well dearest sister. I love you!
Hold on Mary! Hold on!
I promise I’ll never stop believing.
Mary passed away Feb. 23, 2006
and a part of me died with her.
I find solace in her music ~ I remember her playful nature
She had such a positive spirit. I miss her daily calls.
I long for her carefree nature.
Oh Mary ~ Hold me now!
Love your big sister ~ always and forever!
Oh how I miss you!
Goodbye for now my beautiful little rose.
Catalogue of Music
Mary is an Angel who touched many with her music and gentle soul.
Quote from mp3 Unsigned
"She left behind her a beautiful catalogue of music that you can view via the link at the bottom of this page, and a community that is deeply saddened as a result of our loss. That sadness will always remain with us, and the community will never be the same for it. But at the same time we may take this opportunity to celebrate Mary's work, and the positive effect that she had on so many of us."
Life is so precious! Cherish yours and take a moment to tell the ones you love just how special they are to you. Tomorrow may be too late.
Love Susan xo
Saturday, July 4, 2009
We need to stop long enough to remember that our lives also leave ripples in the ocean of time.
Those who have been changed by our presence here will, in the course of time, touch others and affect their lives, as well.
The reach of our existence extends far beyond this tiny moment of time we walk through.
Why not consciously choose to leave ripples of care, love, and joy ... and let this moment of time realize the value it truly holds?'
How many times have we promised ourselves that we’d call an old friend, take the scenic route or just sit in the sun? Take one of your favourite ‘one of these day’ promises and make it come true today.
Love and hugsssss