Friday, December 31, 2010

Farewell to another year

Here we are, at the end of yet another year.
It always amazes me how quickly the years pass, yet how easily they meld one into the other.
For instance, it seems like just yesterday that my beautiful boy was an infant; and I'm sure John will tell you that I've always been here.
Yet, I've only lived here fifteen years, and my grandson is already nine years old.
"Time flies when you're having fun," as the saying goes.
Ain't that the truth!
Another year wraps up and I've not made any further inroads with my family tree research, primarily because I've not spent any significant time on that project.  However, now that I have my sanctuary, I plan to get back to that in earnest in the new year.
As this year closes, I can't help but think of the family and friends who are no longer with us:
  • My brother, John, left us in August (he was 56 years old).
  • A very good friend, Duane, passed away in September.
  • In November, my grand-niece, Tamarra, was taken (only 18 years old).
  • Just four days before Christmas, my cousin Gerry passed away very suddenly (57 years old).
  • A friend (and regular reader of this blog) lost her father-in-law on Christmas Eve.
May they all rest in peace, and watch over their loved ones here on earth.
And as this year comes to an end, I'm reminded of my resolve of many years ago -- a credo I adopted as a teenager and have tried to live by ever since (admittedly, I have on occasion lost sight of it but I eventually always come back to it).  I had read The Serenity Prayer I know not where, but I know I was still a teenager when it first came to my attention.
"God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference."
Although I was still quite young, it struck me as such a common-sense approach to life.  Essentially, if I could live by its philosophy, the easy stuff would take care of itself and the tough stuff, well -- not much I could do about that over which I had no control.  I try very hard to identify that which I should accept.
My resolve for 2011 is to remember to keep the lessons of that prayer in mind as the new year progresses.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

What a wonderful Christmas we had

It truly was a terrific Christmas Day.
I actually slept 'til about 5:30am (record late for me) and tried my darndest to wake John -- sometimes it takes a while.
I turned on the coffee as I made my way to my sanctuary to collect our stockings, which were chock-a-block full of goodies!
By the time I got back to the bedroom with the stockings, John was suitably awake and sitting up, waiting for the onslaught.
We emptied our stockings and then we each pretended that we were being patient about moving into the sanctuary to find out what else Santa may have left for us.
Eventually, one of us (I don't recall which) simply said the words, "Coffee must be ready by now," and we were both out of there like rockets.
We opened our gifts, of which there were many, and then got ready to go into the big city to join my little chickadee and her family for our traditional breakfast.
The drive to the city was uneventful; practically no other cars on the road, and thankfully, no snowstorm to delay us.
My beautiful boy was already splayed out on the carpet building his beloved Lego but he broke from doing that long enough to give us hugs and kisses and to show us all his gifts.
Breakfast was its usual delicious: waffles (with three different toppings from which to choose) plus whipped cream; sausages; bacon; coffee; juice (with champagne of course for the requisite Christmas cheer).  Absolutely scrumptious!
Then we opened gifts again.
Later, when we left MLC's place, we stopped at my good friend LC's for a quick visit with her.  We didn't stay long because we wanted to get home to get our dinner started.
This year, for the first time, we actually cooked a full-course Christmas dinner, with all the trimmings -- for just the two of us.
Of course, we didn't cook a turkey -- instead we cooked one of our home-grown chickens.
And it was delicious!
But the topper on the whole day was the e-mail I received from MLC this morning, which read:  "Marcus told us last night that if all he had got for Christmas was the watch he would have been happy. "
Now that just warmed my heart to no end.
The watch was from his Grandma and Grandpa!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas Everyone

Merry Christmas to all my friends and family.
Here's hoping everyone has a safe and happy holiday.
We're off to MLC's for Christmas breakfast, then we'll drop in at LC's for a brief visit before heading home to a quiet dinner by ourselves.
We'll be having our Christmas brunch on the 28th with the blended family, an event to which we both very much look forward.
Isn't Christmas wonderful?

Joy to the world! the Lord is come
Let earth receive her King
Let every heart prepare Him room
And heaven and nature sing
And heaven and nature sing
And heaven and heaven and nature sing!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Finally, it's Christmas Eve!

Wow, I thought it would never get here!
I love Christmas.
I'm still, after all these years, like a little kid on Christmas morning.
I wake way too early.
I immediately go get the stockings (which I filled, you realize).
I take them into the bedroom and wake John, trying to sound all 'cited like a child, telling him that "Santa came!"
And John, being the sweetheart that he is, plays right along with me.
He sits up, rubs his eyes in wonder, and proceeds to open the goodies in his stocking (and feigns surprise because by now, he knows precisely what to expect).
Once we've demolished the contents of the stockings, we move out to the living room where the presents are (the difference this year of course, is that we will move to my sanctuary to open our gifts because that is where Santa should visit this time -- I hope!).
My sanctuary, ready and waiting for Santa -- cookies and milk will be put out at bedtime.
BUT, before we're allowed to open gifts, we must have a glass of juice.  That's a carry-over from my childhood when my parents always required that we at least have a glass of juice before opening gifts (the thinking was that we were getting little else in nutrition for several hours, given all the excitement of the morning).
Once we've opened our gifts (from each other, and from Santa -- yes, we each get each other gifts from Santa because Santa still comes to our house!), we shower and dress for the day.
And then we head into the big city to have what has become our traditional breakfast at my little chickadee's home.
We started this tradition, somewhat by accident, when my beautiful boy was about a year old.  Naturally, I couldn't handle NOT being with them on Christmas morning so we've always driven in early in the day.  MLC figured that if we were going to be driving in anyway, she might as well feed us.
And a tradition was born; a tradition that we all now very much enjoy.
John salivates about the scrumptious meal for days leading up to it!
Every year, MLC sends out an official invitation, although we've usually discussed the logistics ad nauseum by the time the invite arrives.  It's not like we don't all know that we're going to be there.
Included in the event is my good friend, RLR, who happens to be one of MLC's other mothers.  RLR's immediate family lives in Saskatchewan -- we are her "Ontario" family and she has been part of our Christmas mornings all of MLC's life.
Here's hoping Santa is good to you!
Have a wonderful Christmas everyone.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Where do I start?

OK, I've been remiss again and I apologize -- big time!
Since I last posted, I've been kind of busy.
Let's see now.
On Sunday, I did not much of anything -- 'cept fritter away my day on my very favourite pasttime (what I call "looking for my dead people" -- genealogy research) .
On Monday, I again did not much of anything.  Having spent the day before on genealogy brought to light the fact that I had numerous digital records still to be processed -- they just had to be put in proper order.  So that is what I did.  The files are now all organized, by generation, and now I have to do the grunge work that is required to produce the final documents.  I have my work cut out for me in the new year!
On Tuesday, I went into the big city for my physio, which I needed desperately, having missed last week's session due to the weather conditions.
And this trip was being combined with many errands, plus an overnight at MLC's so John could get some more painting done around here.
Before I got to physio, I made several stops en route -- Christmas is coming you know.
And after physio, I went to visit my good friend LC, whom I hadn't seen in quite some time (it was a surprise drop-by and fortunately for me, she was delighted to see me).
Then I went to MLC's place and we had numerous errands to run before picking up MBB at daycare.
MLC and I were very productive before we collected MBB and then we headed off to his very favourite restaurant to have dinner (but first we stopped to deliver a special package to my hairdresser -- it is Christmas, after all).
We ordered our dinner very promptly and were warned that it might take a while since the kitchen was extremely busy.
OK, we were warned.
Fine by us (although both MLC and MBB were really really hungry!).
After waiting an inordinate length of time, and after receiving numerous apologies and assurances from our server that ours was coming right up, our server arrived at our table with the manager in tow.
"We're really sorry," said she, "but the printer broke and your order never made it to the kitchen.  But we've now put a rush on your dinner so hopefully it won't be too much longer."
"Oh," we said, "that's too bad because this little guy," (pointing to MBB), "is really really hungry."
And let me tell you, my beautiful boy was being an awfully good boy while he waited -- he really is a remarkably well-behaved young man, a delightful young man indeed!
The manager must have come to our table another three times to apologize before our dinners finally arrived (one time sending over nachos and salsa to tide us over).
MLC suggested that they must be used to being yelled at when these things happen, given all the apologies we were receiving.
They very nicely brought MBB's food immediately that it was ready, telling us that ours would be "right up," and apologizing again.
And shortly after our food did arrive, the manager appeared at our table again.
"I won't disturb you while you're eating," she said, "but your meal is on me.  I can't tell you how much I appreciate that you didn't yell at me or the server when your dinner was delayed so long.  And again, I'm really sorry for the long wait.  But thank you for not yelling at us."
We really had a chuckle over that -- MLC's assessment was right on the money!
Later, once MBB was in bed and shortly before I crashed, MLC left to go to the movies with her neighbour.
The next morning, MBB decided that he was "still too full from dinner the night before" to go for breakfast with me.  So we delivered him to his daycare before MLC and I went for breakfast ourselves.  We haven't done that since before MBB was born, I'm sure!
When we got to MLC's work, she got out of the car (I always make her drive in the city) and as I was getting out of the passenger side, the heel of my boot caught on the strap of my purse.  I was propelled out of the car with such force that I had no control over where I was going.  I did manage to avoid landing on either hip though, but landed on the heels of my hands and on my left knee.  Man, did it hurt!
I stayed down trying to collect myself, and realized that I first had to untangle myself from my purse before I could even attempt to get up.  And I wondered why MLC hadn't come running around the car to help me.
It turns out she hadn't realized what happened because she had gotten out of the driver's seat and turned her attention to the back seat to get her purse and bag, but she had wondered why she couldn't see me!  (We had a good chuckle about that -- later.)
Anyway, I was -- and am -- OK but my left knee somehow managed to get cut sufficiently well to bleed significantly (the inside of my jeans was stained with blood, yet the fabric is not torn!).  I came home and iced my knee, and tried to take a nap -- but as usual, naps don't happen for me apparently.
My left knee has an ugly scrape on it with significant bruising, but that's it.  My wrists are still a little sore but not anything to worry about.  My mid-back, however, feels as though it suffered a whip-lash type of injury -- it is really sore even today, more than 24 hours after the fall.
So today, I've just been taking it easy.
Gotta rest up and be ready for the big man's visit tomorrow night.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

All I want for Christmas ...

... is a pair of legs that work.
Please Santa.
That means I need a pair of hips that work, because it follows that if my hips could function, my legs would work.
I am soooooo tired of these damned hips, of the constant pain.
Does anyone out there have any idea how fatigue-inducing it is to have to "drag" one's legs around all day -- legs that just don't want to co-operate with you?
How annoying it is to wake constantly all night long from the pain coursing down your legs (emanating from the hips)?
Yes, I'm sure there are lots of people who know precisely what it's like.
Because my hips don't work as they should, I can't tell one leg to move in front of the other; I have to almost "roll" my body from side to side in order to walk forwards.
And that is exhausting.
A simple change of position -- from any position to any position -- causes excruciating pain in the groin.
And the need to change position is never-ending because no position is comfortable for any length of time.
Car travel is difficult because sitting is difficult.  And my legs need to be rearranged constantly; not easy to do in a vehicle (fortunately, my car gives me some leeway in that depatment).
When I watch television, I'm like a jumping jack (albeit a slow one) because I simply cannot stay put for long periods of time.
And while I have to "keep moving," every movement hurts.
And the pain doesn't lessen as I keep moving -- it heightens if I push myself through the pain.
There are no easy answers.
All I want for Christmas is for the pain to stop.
I've been a good girl Santa, honest I have.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

No physio today ...

I've cancelled my physio appointment for today.
There's simply no way I'm up to the longer than usual drive to and from the big city that can be expected due to the harsh weather we're having.
Of course, I might not be able to go anywhere anyway ... probably won't be able to get out of my garage (it sits atop Mount Methuselah, as I call the hill that becomes insurmountable with very little ice conditions).
I had big plans for today too.
Several stops en route to physio, not the least of which was a brief visit with my little chickadee.
Oh well, you can't have 'em all, as someone once said.
It just makes no sense to put myself through the agony of such a trip when I know the impact on my body would far outweigh any benefit I would derive from the treatment.
My pain level has been through the roof lately, primarily emanating from the hip joint.
And nothing seems to give me relief.
There is no position I can sit in to be comfortable.
No position I can put my legs in to be comfortable.
No position I can lie in to be comfortable.
It doesn't matter what I'm doing -- I am in dire pain.
Of course, it doesn't help that I have had to stop using the TENs machine, hopefully only for a while.
You see, my wonderful body for some reason decided to react to the electrodes a while back.
Yup, I broke out in an angry rash from the electrodes and have had to suspend use of the unit until the response stops.  The last time I tried using it, I developed the rash after only a short period so that is a no-go for a while longer yet.  I have no idea why after all these years of using the TENs I would just now start being allergic to the electrodes.  But that's my body:  find something that works well and it decides that was fun, now what are you gonna do????
And because of what painkillers do to my system (bowel function), I try not to take them.  But obviously, I'm going to have to break down and use them because I can't continue like this.
I'm wearing my compression shorts; I'm using the compression brace; I'm using the acupen; I'm doing my stretches; I'm going for my physio sessions (well, except for this week); I'm going for my massage therapy.
I'm doing everything I can to keep the pain under control and it still isn't enough.
Each modality has its application and provides relief but each has its limitations -- and none works continuously.
I need a pain-relieving implant of some kind I guess (haven't we had this discussion already?)
As for today, I guess I'll manage to find something to fill in my time.
The Christmas cards are in the mail; the meat pies are baked; the village is up; the gifts are wrapped.
There's nothing left to do but play now, and wait for Santa to get here.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Ready for Christmas

I'm ready now.
The village is up -- different than last year's but of course, each year it is different.  I don't know how I fit everything in last year but there was no way all that stuff was going in the same space this year.  I had to put the train station off to the side this time.  I guess people will simply have to take a cab to catch the train, which will then take them for a ride 'round and 'round the village -- good thing it's all imaginery so one can make up whatever story one wants to suit the arrangement.
This photo was taken in 2009 -- the scene has grown somewhat since then but this captures the essence of the corner that will remain until January 6th (Little Christmas).  You see, I also put up a Creche each year and actually follow the story of Christmas.
The above photo was taken on Christmas Eve last year -- Joseph and Mary are there, but the baby isn't because he hasn't been born yet.  The shepherd will also arrive on Christmas morning.  And the Three Wise Men won't appear until January 6th, after which time I will dismantle "Christmas" for another year.
Crazy I know.  But it's what I've done since my little chickadee was a very wee little chickadee (using this exact same creche and figurines, I might add) and I continue to re-enact the story even though there is truly no need to do so in this household.
Old habits die hard, I guess.
Even my new sanctuary is getting into Christmas mode.
The rocking chair has finally been added to the room (all that's missing now are the blinds and a seat cushion for the rocker).
My step-son and his wife arrived the other night with a "room-warming" gift (a plastic poinsettia plant, since I'm seriously allergic to the real thing).  It makes a nice addition to the room so I thought I'd add a few other seasonal touches:  a snowglobe; a candle; a small tree, which will acquire decorations with time; a stocking, hung with care.
I wonder if Santa will find this room?
I managed to get the meat pies made yesterday so all that's left to do now is the wrapping of gifts. Since we appear to be headed for a couple of days of being snow-bound, I guess gifts will be getting wrapped before too much longer.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Getting ready for Christmas

Now that my sanctuary is finished and I'm all settled in, I can finally turn my attention toward getting ready for Christmas.
Most years, I've completed my shopping by Remembrance Day (yes, you read that right).  I really don't like being in the stores as it gets close to the big day; I simply can't handle the hustle and bustle any more.
But having been delayed this year by all the construction chaos around here, I've only recently got started on the serious business of holiday preparations.
Fortunately, we don't have a long list of persons for whom to buy gifts.
The difficult part, for us, is deciding what to get for people.
You see, I really don't see the point in buying a gift simply for the sake of having something to give to someone.  I choose gifts that are specific to the person, something I think they would like (or something from the list they have nicely provided to me).
Of course, we also make our own greeting card every year.  And usually, we take the photo one year to be used on the following year's card.  But for some reason, we didn't do that last year.  So when I pulled the file, there was no photo in it.  Luckily, we had a brief dusting of snow one day and it stayed long enough for us to get a suitably "wintery" shot to use for the card and I managed to get them all printed without too much hassle.
This morning, I signed my share of the Canada-bound cards, and they are ready to go in the mail.  John is busy signing his now, so they will all go in the mail on Monday.  (The UK and USA-bounds ones were mailed this past Tuesday.)
In the meantime, I've managed to amass a collection of gifts for all but two recipients so I guess I'm doing not too badly in that department, all things considered.  I even have two gifts for my darling husband!
This evening, my step-son and his wife (the step-daughter-in-law who is a year older than I but who calls me "Mummy" just because we like to have fun with that) are coming for dinner so they can see my "ready for viewing" sanctuary.  They were here before any furniture was put in place and they loved it then, so now they are anxious to see how I've organized it.
Over the course of the next three days, I plan to put up my Christams village and make my meat pies.
Then, I'll be ready for the big day and I can rest until it gets here.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Welcome to my sanctuary

My sanctuary is now open and ready for business.
And I am oh so happy with it.
It is everything I imagined it would be.
John is delighted with it too (sometimes a little too so, methinks) and feels it was worth every penny spent.
The room is truly an excellent addition to the house and already seems such a natural one, almost like it's always been here (OK, we're still getting used to a few of the changes but they're all good!).
The only thing we're waiting for are the blinds, which have been ordered and should be here any day now.
But I figured I could answer the call for photos without further delay (too many people have been begging to see the room).
So now, in segments, here's my work area (the north east corner of the room):
(I'm very busy at my station already, as you can see.)
Here's the "study" (the north west corner) -- a rocking chair will soon be added:
The exercise ball will be moved once the rocking chair is ready to join the room (it is waiting to be painted); the ball's eventual 'home' will be beside the television.
Here's the "leisure area" (the south west wall of the room), for lounging, taking work breaks, watching telly, and of course, for use by those occasional overnight guests:
This spot has also become the favoured seat for our before dinner drinks each evening ("drinky-poo time" as it has come to be known in our household).  The futon is a remarkably comfortable sofa; I can only imagine how comfy our overnight guests will be, once they start appearing on our doorstep.
Here's the south east wall (the telly and the broom closet):
Our overnight guests will be able to watch satellite TV, view a DVD movie (or VHS tape if they prefer!), play a music CD, whatever they want -- all the comforts of home right at their fingertips!
And here's a view of the room, overall -- John has a fancy lens on his camera that lets him take funky shots and he loves putting it to use:
I've been getting serious kudos from all who view this room: the floor; the painted crown moulding (what an ingenious idea!); the closet door; the colour choices -- everything is just oh so perfect.
John says the room has character.  He really really really likes it. 
And for that I am glad.
Because I really really really like it too, especially with yesterday's addition of my new 27" monitor -- it's just that extra touch that the room needed (the other monitor looked so puny against the openness of the room).

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Where to start?

Perhaps I should discuss the state of my being, of late, since the title of this blog is "Living with Fibro."
I've been having increasing difficulty with my hips lately, as well as with my hands.  That tells me that my arthritis is in a flare-up, most likely from the unseasonable amount of rain that we've been "enjoying" (NOT).
Last week, my massage therapist got a scare when she was working on my left hip.  As she was manipulating in the area of the hip joint, I all of a sudden yelled out in agony (I was seeing stars).  She jumped away from me as I reacted to whatever she had done.  It took a good five minutes for the sensation of pain to lessen enough for her to be able to make any sense of my babblings.  The only way I could describe the pain that she had induced was that it felt as though she had pushed the ball joint into the hip socket and had hit raw nerve.  Whatever had happened, it hurt like a bugger!
When I saw the physiotherapist on the following Tuesday and told her of the incident, she wondered if I had any cartilege left at all in that area.  She suggested that my doctor really should be referring me to the Hip Replacement Assessment Centre because she was quite confident, based on her many examinations of my range of motion, that I am due for a hip replacement.
Well, I saw my medic on Thursday morning.
I told him about my physiotherapist's assessment and opinion.
"Tell your physiotherapist to relax," he says.  "Your pain comes from your bursitis.  I have your X-ray results here and there is only mild degeneration in your hips."
As we continued to discuss the issue, and I mentioned the incident with my massage therapist and the increasing difficulty I'm having with movement, as well as the intense pain that is emanating from the groin area, he decided to examine me yet again.
"OK, that X-ray report doesn't support what I'm seeing here.  Have you had an MRI done?  We've had this discussion already haven't we?  I'm referring you to an orthopedic surgeon."
So in the space of about ten minutes, he had come full circle.  But now, he was by-passing the assessment centre and was going straight to the surgeon.
I left his office (thanking him for getting my hips all riled up again!) with a referral to a surgeon as well as a request for more X-rays, to be taken once I get the call from the surgeon's office with an appointment date.  I'm to ask the radiology department to give me the actual film this time, because the surgeon will need to read them himself.  We will be ready!
When I saw my massage therapist the next day, she was delighted to hear of the referral because she too is quite convinced that I am a candidate for hip replacement.
My physiotherapist will be over-the-moon when she hears of the referral.
Will be interesting to see what the surgeon has to contribute to this discussion.
Also this past week, I saw my ENT specialist.  He had to again vacuum my left ear.  My Lord that is a painful procedure.  He tells me that I will have to see him every four months to have it done to avoid its getting as bad as it was this time (this was five months since the last time).    My right ear is not as much of a problem (it required only mild suction, which did not hurt at all).  Oh the joys of wearing hearing aids.
So, other than my sleep being its usual upside-down, there is nothing else new to report.
My sanctuary is now complete and we are just putting the final touches to it (shelves) so I can empty the last of the boxes.  Then I will take photos of the room and post them.  I've been reluctant to take photos of the chaos while I moved in because it was really quite unsightly.  But it's all coming together now so you should see photos up here by tomorrow, I hope.