Nobody thinks it will happen to them

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Winter is upon us and, as luck would have it, I was very ill-prepared for the sudden onset of about two feet of snow.  Our friends to the south of us in the Buffalo area got it much worse than we did and I hope everyone is safe and warm preparing for the clean up after that terrible lake-effect snow that was dumped on your world.

The flurry of flurries made me realize how far behind I am with following my prep list for the “festive” season.  My summer tires are currently doing a remarkable job getting me to and from work and my golf clubs are still using the valuable space in my trunk that should now be reserved for my winter safety kit.

Those kits are rarely seen in vehicles but, if you were one of the people trapped on the Interstate during the storm that pounded Buffalo, are a very welcome use of space when you are stranded in bad weather.

Having a safety kit in your car is such a simple way to help prevent what could be a terrifying experience.  It is so easy to collect the necessities and have it in your trunk, just in case.  Good things to keep on hand are:  candles and a metal container to hold them, matches or lighter, snack food like nuts, trail mix or energy bars, a blanket, a change of clothes and footwear, flares, a flashlight, a whistle, kitty litter or a bag of sand (I keep strips of carpet to put under my tires – they are awesome!) and bottled water (using plastic bottles that do not crack).

safety kit

These items should be there as well as your usual items like jumper cables, spare tire, windshield washer fluid and small shovel.

Please be safe this winter.  It only takes a trip to the Dollar Store and a few minutes of your time, but it could save a life, maybe even yours!

 

That glue really is Krazy stuff

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My mom and dad both battled their share of medical problems.  There were many trips to local hospitals and many chats with our family doctor to make difficult decisions.

In early 2003, my dad became so ill that those decisions were unable to be made by us or by our local ER doctors.   He had been flown by air ambulance to Toronto with an upper G.I. bleed and his stomach was sprayed with super glue to stop the bleeding.  According to the specialists, it was the only thing they could do to save his life.   By some miracle, it worked.

krazy glue

My mom and I basically moved in with my aunt and uncle in Burlington and drove into the hospital in Toronto each day.  I became an amateur resident doctor in a span of a few weeks.  I would check his chart each morning and even yelled at a nurse when I read that he had been given Aspirin, a blood thinner, during the night to control his fever.

When he finally regained consciousness, he had been in a medically induced coma for two and a half weeks and suspended in his own state of consciousness for another four days after that.  He had been on a respirator that had since been removed and he was initially unaware that he had to cover the hole in his throat to be able to speak.

It took him a while to acclimate and, once we showed him that he had to put his finger on the opening to have a voice,  the first question he asked me was “what day is it?”

“It’s Wednesday, Dad.”

Without missing a beat, he put his finger back on the opening to his throat and croaked, “I’m not happy about that.”

I looked sideways at my mother and we both had to look away.  After three weeks of sitting vigil at his bedside, wondering if he would even recover from all of the things going wrong in his body, we started to giggle.  I was dumbfounded.  He was mad because it was Wednesday!  He wasn’t angry that he was attached to a plethora of medical equipment.  He wasn’t concerned that my mom and I were covered from head to toe in gowns and masks to prevent contamination in the ICU.  He wasn’t upset that he had to put a finger over the gaping hole in his throat to utter any words.  He was mad because it was Wednesday.  The stress-releasing laughter continued and my mom and I were quickly ushered out of the ICU.

That moment in time left an imprint on my brain.  I regaled my co-workers with the story and, since my dad was home and on the mend, it became our go-to phrase in the office.   Every time something went wrong, one of us would cover a phantom hole in our throat and squawk, “I’m not happy about that”.

My  dad passed away in March of 2006.  That memory had sadly disappeared until one of those friends typed the line “I’m not happy about that” into one of her emails today.  After all of the things we had gone through with my mom recently that moment in my life had become buried in the recesses of my brain, but I’m glad it’s back.  I forgot a big part of the journey with my dad and “I’m not happy about that”.  At least the memory is back and I will hold onto it this time.

Under his spell

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lempicka-saint-moritz-1929

What wouldn’t she have done for his love,

for the forbidden taste of his lips,

for the soft caress of his fingers tracing lightly upon her skin.

She savored the memory of his smile,

she recalled his sweetness as he spoke his words of love,

words that were meant to only fall on her ears.

But his carefree words deafened the ears of the spoiled.

Those words were never meant for her.

His life had been promised to another.

And now her soul was trapped,

forced into everlasting damnation,

compelled to bear witness to his life with another.

Their black magic hardened on her skin like a crust,

holding her face in sadness for eternity.

Her body now a statue,

held fast in its place,

her eyes meant to watch him,

reminded every day of what she cannot have.

Her consciousness banished

to a lifetime of anguish and melancholy.

In the darkness he would sneak out to visit her,

his touch was just as warm and his words of love, just as sweet.

~~

Written for the Grammar Ghoul Challenge - combining the above painting, Saint Moritz, by Tamara de Lempicka with the word prompt:

Crust (noun):

A hardened layer, coating, or deposit on the surface of something soft

gg-wkbadge-e1411321572196

How a funeral home typo helped us get through our grieving

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Dark red carpet and stained wood encased the visitation rooms in the funeral home.  The atmosphere was quiet, somber.  The air had an icy quality to it.  But beneath that chilled facade was a team of people full of emotion and empathy – a staff that was ready and willing to guide us through a tumultuous but necessary experience and to find the right way to help us get through a difficult time.

Butterflyinthesky1

There is no one way to grieve.  Each person will find their own way to overcome the loss of a loved one and each experience will be different based on the circumstance of loss.  When my brother and I lost our mother in March, we had been mentally preparing ourselves for the day that we would have to face the news that our mom was no longer going to be a part of our daily lives.  The phone call with the news was a still a shock, but we were grateful she went peacefully and no longer had to suffer the effects of her illness.  What we had not prepared ourselves for was the way that we would be able to celebrate her only 36 hours after we were told she was gone.

We received the news on a Friday morning.  The rest of that day was a blur.  Phone call after phone call was made to tell family and friends that she was gone and then Saturday morning was upon us.  My brother and I made our way to the funeral home to make the necessary arrangements and have the notice printed for the paper.  Upon proof-reading the notice, I realized that the funeral director had mistakenly typed my mom’s name as “June” and not “Jane”.  It was a simple fix and seemingly a forgotten mistake……until we went to my Uncle’s cottage for dinner that night.

There were six of us.  My brother and I, my mom’s two siblings and their spouses.  When I regaled my aunts and uncles with the story of the misprint it was, not offensive but, really amusing.  We raised our glasses and had a toast to “June”.  Thankfully we all knew my mother would have seen the humor in the mistake and toasted right along with us.  For the rest of the memory-filled evening, through tears and laughter, we continued to raise our glasses and make the heart-felt toasts to “June”.   If I listened really hard I could hear my mom laughing along with us.

We had mom’s celebration of life two months later.  I had gone into the funeral home to have the notice done for the paper and the same funeral director asked if I wanted it to say “June” or “Jane”.   We both had a good laugh and I felt comfortable telling him how his simply typo had made our evening so much better than the sorrow-filled night it could have been.  During the course of the evening, we changed my mom’s siblings names as well.  (Eight months later I still refer to my Aunt Carol as “Cheryl” and my Uncle Peter as “Proctor”)

The simple change of one vowel that day gave us permission to laugh that night.  It allowed us to hold the grief close to our heart but let our minds remember all the good in the world when my mom was still in it.

 

 

 

 

The art of procrastination

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procrastination

I am not usually one to procrastinate.  I like to take the bull by the horns and just get things done.  But more and more lately, I am putting things into piles and some of those piles are collecting a great amount of proverbial dust.

The piles of tasks that I am pushing to the side are things nobody can see because they are in my head.  But I seem to have a found a wonderful corner of my mind that has a giant rug and all of those things I want to be doing have been swept under that giant Persian beauty!

It’s unlike me to be this unmotivated.  I’m not going to be in that deadline-induced panic but I am going to be disappointed if I don’t lift up that rug soon and deal with what is hiding under there!  I guess I’m going to have to buy some steel-toed boots and give myself a good, swift kick in the ass.  (another of my mom’s great sayings)

What do you do to get yourself back in the saddle?

 

If I had a million dollars….

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For those of you familiar with the song of the same name by The Barenaked Ladies (yes, a Canadian Band), you’ve undoubtedly heard what those crazy Scarborough guys would do if they were blessed with that amount of money.  This song was obviously written in their early days before they earned well over that amount.

one million dollars

(image credit: quickmeme.com)

The song always makes me think about what I would do with a million dollars (buy a Morgan, write my book).  I have seen several stories, one just as recently as tonight, about people who win large sums of cash and continue to work at the job they have been doing for years.  On one hand, it makes me happy that money will not change the winner of the money and they will remain at their job.  On the other hand, if the winner is able to invest their money wisely, I always think there is someone out there that could truly benefit from having a chance to do that job so they can pay their bills and provide for their family.

I have always been on the fence about this situation and wanted to put the question out there.  What would you do?  Would you quit your job or continue to work?

Would I hit the button and turn the chair for MY voice?

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Lately I have been going back through past blog posts and reacquainting myself with some of the words I have thrown out into the eternal abyss known as the Internet.   After spending time digesting my previous musings, I have come to a great awareness about the novel I am attempting to finish.  Unless I just keep writing the damned thing and stop editing as much as I’m writing, I’m never going to finish the book in this lifetime!

From two years ago, when I began this blogging journey, to now, my writing voice has changed.  That same voice that was so timid in the beginning has grown and evolved into someone different.  It has gone through that rite of passage to be comfortable in its own timbre.

Looking back on some of my earlier posts, I am so tempted to edit and repost some of those phrases and paragraphs but I would be doing myself a grave injustice.  I would be denying who I was when I wrote those posts and not allowing myself to accept the voice I had when I began.  The same holds true for those chapters of my novel that were written from that less experienced recess of my brain.  While the characters will evolve with my determination to finish the book, those first chapters speak volumes about the beginning of their journey as the cast and my journey as a writer and their director.

chair on the voice

(image credit)

I’m glad my voice is different now.   It sounds more experienced.  It is comfortable being heard by others.  It has a more believable quality to it because it has faith in its ramblings.  If I were a judge in that chair, I would hit the button to see what my voice has to say next!