Monday, June 25, 2007

Wow - What an Afternoon!

Yesterday we spent the afternoon with The Crawfords - Don's youngest brother Paul's - fiance's family. They have a beautiful vacation property in Caledon, Ontario. This is just "one" of the beautiful ponds located on the property.

There were around 20 children and approximately 25-30 adults. The kids had fun playing on a trampoline, kayaking, canoeing, paddle boating and swimming in their indoor pool.

The adults had fun having a few drinks, eating some delicious treats, swimming in the indoor pool & watching the children have fun by the pond, playing football & soccer & trying to catch some frogs.

It was a "delicious" day, weather was wonderful, food was incredible, company great & you couldn't imagine a more idyllic setting.

Friday, June 22, 2007

The Arthritic Knee - Mine

A little update on the knee saga.

Well, the humidity has returned to Toronto and my knee is singing but it's not a tune that I like very much. The cortisone has certainly calmed it down considerably, however the humidity seems to get right inside of me and make everything ache including the darn knee.

Oh well, my dad always said "pain and life go hand in hand". Say la vee!! (Did I spell that right?)

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Ahhhhhh - Grandchildren

Is there anything more wonderful than a grandchild??

Don & I just spent the morning with Ryan, Jayden, Zander & Gabriella. The excitement when we come to the door could warm even the coldest heart. When we ring the doorbell, we hear them thundering across the floor, come racing down the stairs, then unlatch the door and launch themselves at us. Zander is usually first in line. Although nearly 4 years old, he is such a cuddle muffin. Then we get the kisses and hugs from Ryan and Jayden. Their love is so genuine - adults could take a lesson from child-like love.

Then upstairs we go, "Mammy, Poppa, come and see us play this game, play with us. Won't you sit with us and watch, see how good we are?"

Soon, Gabriella wakes up from her nap. She comes out in Sebrina's arms, sees me and gives me one of her beautiful smiles. He soulful eyes reach deep into my soul and touch me. Poppa and I get to have quality time with Gabriella now, while Sebrina makes wonderful freshly ground coffee and Pomegranate & Raspberry muffins. Yummy!!

We cannot leave until Poppa goes outside to play soccer with Zander. Then we talk about the family picnic on Sunday for Uncle Paul & Auntie Sarah's engagement and upcoming wedding. Ryan & Zander ask if they can go with us in our car. Zander says "I am in a big-boy seat now Mammy, so I can come in your car". I tell Zander I don't want him to grow up to be a big boy because then we won't have our cuddle sessions anymore. He says, "When I'm a big boy we'll have bigger hugs and cuddles Mammy".

Then Ryan runs over and gives us a double hug, "I love you" he says. My heart melts. "I love you more" I whisper in his ear. Ryan then stretches his arms wide and says, "I love you this much Mammy". So I stretch my arms, "I love you this much Ryan!" Of course my arms are longer so in his childlike wonder he points to sky and says, "I love all the way up to the sky". Okay, I guess he wins.

Who wouldn't want grandchildren.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Arthritis Pain

Well, I just returned home from a visit to Mt. Sinai hospital to see my rheumatologist about the pain in my knee. She injected me with cortisone. I do not normally like to resort to chemical treatments, but at this point of not sleeping, unable to walk, constant flaming pain in my knee ... I am quite ready for anything ... up to and including have me knee removed (LOL). It is amazing what pain will drive one to.

Not only did she say that she has never seen a knee go from moderately healthy to requiring a knee replacement in just over a year, she feels quite strongly that the car accident I was involved in, last January of 2005 was the springboard for all of my knee woes, due to the lateral movement I sustained after being hit broadside. She likened it to a whiplash with quick forward and back slashing of the neck. My knee experienced a very similar effect with a quick back and forth sideways motion which tore ligaments, cartiledge and broke off small fragments of bone.

Although I don't agree with using Cortisone ... it can have a weakening effect on tendons if injected directly into them. It can also soften cartilage when injected into a joint. There is also a risk of tendon ruptures as a result of a cortisone shot. Long term use of cortisone injections can increase the arthritis , so care must be taken by the physician in not over injecting the same site.

Right now, the local anesthetic is wearing off, so I must get back to my ice pack and hopefully will not experience an increased amount of pain from the injection for the next few days.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Fluoride - Yes or No!

I recently came under fire because I choose to drink reverse osmosis water which does not have fluoride in it.

Two of my four grandchildren have had quite a difficult time with dental problems and of course condemnation was issued because we do not drink fluoride in my family nor does my daughter's family.

"That's why they are having such a difficult time with their teeth" I was told. "They need the fluoride".

Fluorosilicic acid, the additive generally used to fluoridate water supplies, is not purified and contains traces of both lead and arsenic, a carcinogen. The ingredient is a byproduct of fertilizer production.

If I don't let my dog walk on lawns that have been sprayed with fertilizer why on earth would I want to drink a byproduct of that same product?????????

When my children were growing up we all drank fluoridated water (the efficacy of it had not been discussed 30 years ago) and interestingly Sebrina has never had a cavity, Todd struggled terribly with many, many cavities and has heavily restored teeth today. He still drinks fluoridated tap water and continues to have problems with his teeth. I also grew up on fluoridated tap water. I lost my upper teeth about 10 years ago due to heavily restored teeth which resulted in multiple fractures in my upper molars and when I was growing up there was no such thing as bottled or filtered water.

As well do I not have the right to maintain my health without confrontation from anyone? It is after all MY health. Even my medical doctor does not challenge me anymore on decisions I make regarding my health.

Here is just a very small amount of an article issued by the American Dental Association on why fluoride is dangerous to children under one.

This article specifically states why fluoride is unsafe for children under one, however the website offers much more information on the dangers of fluoride. This was issued by ADA American Dental Association:

This directive was issued recently by an unlikely source: the American Dental Association (ADA). In a November 9th email alert sent to all of its members, the ADA noted that "Infants less than one year old may be getting more than the optimal amount of fluoride if their primary source of nutrition is powdered or liquid infant formula mixed with water containing fluoride." The ADA went on to advise: "If using a product that needs to be reconstituted, parents and caregivers should consider using water that has no or low levels of fluoride."

The ADA issued this advice because babies exposed to fluoridated water are at high risk for developing dental fluorosis—a defect of the teeth which can result in staining and even corrosion of the enamel. In addition, on October 14th, the Food and Drug Administration stated that fluoridated water marketed to infants cannot claim to reduce the risk of cavities.
Dental fluorosis is not the only risk stemming from a baby's exposure to fluoride. In the same week that ADA issued its advisory, an article in the British journal, The Lancet, reported that fluoride may damage a child's developing brain. The Lancet review described fluoride, along with the rocket fuel additive perchlorate, as an "emerging neurotoxic substance" due to evidence linking fluoride to lower IQs in children, and brain damage in animals.
"Newborn babies have undeveloped brains, and exposure to fluoride, a suspected neurotoxin, should be avoided," notes Hardy Limeback, a member of a 2006 National Research Council panel on fluoride toxicity, and former President of the Canadian Association of Dental Research.

Fluoride is linked with other health problems as well, including weakened bones, reduced thyroid activity, and possibly, bone cancer in boys, according to a recent report from a team of Harvard scientists, the US National Research Council and other recent studies.
While most of western Europe has abandoned the practice of adding fluoride to water, most US water supplies remain fluoridated. In addition, some brands of bottled water sold in the US, such as Nursery Water, specifically market fluoridated water for young babies.

A recent investigation by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) found that over-exposure to fluoride among infants is a widespread problem in most major American cities. EWG's study found that, on any given day, up to 60% of formula-fed babies in US cities were exceeding the Institute of Medicine's "upper tolerable" limit for fluoride. "Water is supposed to be safe for everyone. Why add a chemical that makes it knowingly unfit for young children?

We should follow Europe's lead and end fluoridation," says Michael Connett, Project Director of the Fluoride Action Network.

Another portion of this same website talks about the case before the Public Health Council in New Jersey. Opponents to fluoridated water are fighting to have it taken out of their water. Presently only 15% of New Jersey is now drinking fluoridated water.

"This is a stupid idea from the '60s when we also thought it was okay to spray DDT around our neighborhoods to kill mosquitoes," Jeff Tittle, director of the New Jersey chapter of the Sierra Club, said at the hearing in Ewing Township. One scientist, Richard P. Maas of the Environmental Quality Institute at the University of North Carolina at Asheville, described his new research, not yet published. He said that fluorosilicic acid, when combined with the disinfectant chloramine, creates a "strong chemical synergy" that increases the dissolution of lead in pipes. Chloramine is used by water suppliers. Maas said the institute's tests found that water with both chemicals had three to 10 times the levels of lead as other water. Environmentalists, some scientists and activists -- including one carrying her 5-month-old baby -- spoke harshly against fluoride, claiming the additive does not reduce cavities and has been linked to thyroid disease and bone cancer in young males.

"Water is supposed to be safe for everyone. Why add a chemical that makes it knowingly unfit for young children? We should follow Europe's lead and end fluoridation," says Michael Connett, Project Director of the Fluoride Action Network.

Monday, June 11, 2007

This is my Blog & I'll Say What I Want

Since friends and family have found out that I am blogging, I have come under some rather hurtful criticism.

"Blogging - you've got to be kidding - what a waste of time."
"Isn't blogging just a glorified diary?"
"Why would you want to waste your time blogging?"
"I can't believe you of all people want to have a blog".

Well, I am so far really enjoying spending time writing and sharing hopefully some interesting information with those who care to read my blog. I do not wish to use this blog for nothing more than chit chat but hope to share interesting experiences, great web sites I have discovered, health issues and maybe just a litte chit chat, but overall hope that my blog is informative.

So for all you naysayers, I say "This is my blog and I'll say what I want."

Saturday, June 9, 2007

What a Wind!

Well, the storm that ripped through Durham Region yesterday decided to tear apart my 23 year old Maple tree.

I was standing at my kitchen window watching all the trees in the ravine behind our home bending as if trying to escape the powerful force of the wind as it blew through our area. Then while I was standing there, the Maple bent over at a precarious angle and then slowly, came down on our hot tub & deck. We lost approximately 2/3 of the foliage portion of the tree and it ripped away over half of the trunk.

We don't know if it will survive or not so are going to call an arborist to come and take a look at it.

I can almost feel the pain of the tree when I look at the horrendous injury it sustained.

"Human judges can show mercy. But against the laws of nature, there is no appeal. "

Friday, June 8, 2007

A Small Tribute to Edna

A dear, dear friend of mine "Edna Giles Tolley" passed away in June 2004 from Acute Mylogenous Leukemia (AML). She was a published poet, a well known artist & art teacher. At 82 she was still working with "seniors" at Union Villa in art therapy classes.

When she was diagnosed she knew she had lived her best life possible and chose to accept the inevitable outcome of AML. She was gone in six weeks.

Edna, I miss you, the memories we created and the friendship we shared will remain forever in my heart.

While in the hospital slowly slipping away she penned this poem:

I will not walk this path e'er long
As time relentless
Moves ever on
And I must meekly follow

I once trod with jaunty step
Path now overgrown
Touched trees so small
Now reaching to the sky
I touch trees grown tall

Trees too must follow time
And all the small
Woodsy things
They too know
But will not speak

Now on each revolving hour
I may tarry as is my want
And taste the gentle peace
As time and I move
Ever on

Still do I walk in
the mossy grass
Beneath the whispering trees
Finding the gentle peace remains

When the veil would
Slip o'er these eyes
And lips are muted forever
Know I see this scene e'er more
Laugh and sing
With the rain
As ever I always did

Edna Giles Tolley, June 2004

Scents & Sights

Is there anything nicer than a good cup of coffee & a great book?

This morning I got up around 4:30am ... couldn't sleep, headed downstairs to my favourite spot, wrapped my velvet throw around my legs and feet, leaned back into the feather cushions and then curled up with my book. I sat in my living room watching the sun come up and peek through my window. As it slowly rises in the sky, it catches the prisms on my collection of Swarovski crystal and then ..... a riotous explosion of colour dances around my room. While I sit and watch this light show, my sense of smell is assaulted by the delicious scent of coffee which I had set to brew a few moments ago - freshly ground beans in a drip coffee maker.

Can you tell I'm a sensory person?

I'm back with my coffee and take the first velvet smooth sip. The flavour explodes in my mouth, waking up every taste bud and after I swallow I produce an audible "ahhhhhhh".

Now I get back to my reading. An intriguing murder mystery - ""Cold Moon" by Jeffery Deaver Along with the taste of my coffee, I detect the peculiar odours associated with my book, the smell of the paper, the binding glue & the cloth that covers the book. Each one distinct, but combined together stir many fond memories of reading through the years.

My father, who is an author, taught me early in life to respect books & love literature. Many years ago he was listed in "Who's Who" for having one of the largest personal libraries in Canada. He passed that love of books along to me. I still own his original leather bound set of World Book & Childcraft - copyright 1959. It still after all these years smells like an old book store. I cannot borrow from the library, I must buy my books. In quieter moments you can usually find me with my nose buried in a book. What other "free" vehicle can we use to escape to somewhere exotic, to enjoy the beauty of the great masters of art, to learn how to install a kitchen, bathroom, etc... There is no end to the plethora of how-to books, novels, biographries, self-help, cook books, crafting books, poetry, nature books, travel books & childrens books. Who can forget "Winnie The Pooh" or "Wind In The Willows" - favourites among children for decades. Or how about C.S. Lewis, "The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe". Or what about "Narnia" recently made into a delightful movie.

Here is a condensation of "The Four Agreements" by Don Miguel Ruiz, one of my favourite books.

Agreement 1 .... Be impeccable with your word - Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.
Agreement 2 .... Don’t take anything personally - Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream.
Agreement 3 .... Don’t make assumptions - Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama.
Agreement 4 .... Always do your best - Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse and regret.

Would we have wars, terrosists bombings, kidnappings, murders or even school bullying if we all just lived our lives by these four simple agreements????

Let me leave you today with a quote from one of my favourite authors: The best things in life are nearest: Breath in your nostrils, light in your eyes, flowers at your feet, duties at your hand, the path of right just before you. Then do not grasp at the stars, but do life's plain, common work as it comes, certain that daily duties and daily bread are the sweetest things in life ..... Robert Louis Stevenson

Take a moment today to stop and smell the heady fragrance of newly blooming shrubs & flowers, look for the explosion of spring colours & listen to the songbirds as they wake the day.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Durham Farm Fresh

Today my mother & I took a little driving trip around some of Durham's local markets. It was a lovely day for a drive and what beautiful countryside lies just north of us. Rolling hills, quaint little towns with beautiful century homes ... many lovingly restored, loads of little country stores, the odd small lake, dense forestry as well as beautifully manicured farms.

First stop - Hy-Hope Farms which is located at 5450 Lakeridge Road (approximately 20 minutes north of Ajax). Over the last 25 years Hy-Hope Farms have gone from a folding table at the side of the road to a year round market, which carries seasonal fruits and vegetables, home made jams and preserves as well as an 18 hole executive golf course. They have a beautiful assortment of seasonal plantings, patio pots, hanging baskets enough to make the passionate gardener green with envy. $18.00 for a hanging basket - why if I give up coffee for a week I could buy 2 or 3.

They sell their preserves which can be loaded into a canvas bag - holds 4 bottles which makes a wonderful gift. The canvas bag is $10.00 and the jars are $5.00 - $6.00 apiece.

I dare you to visit Hy-Hope Farms without sampling their homemade pies or famous butter tarts ..... Ahhhh - butter tarts .... just the thought of plump raisins, juice dripping through my fingers ......................... Sooooooooooo, after buying a freshly brewed coffee and of course a couple of their pies and a few butter tarts, we're off to our next stop. Up to Raglan Side Road and across to Simcoe Road in Oshawa where we visit The Whitefeather Country Store. They are located at 15 Raglan Road East in Oshawa - slightly north ofWinchester Road.

This store is a cornucopia of country fun. Around this time every spring they have a baby chicks exhibition. My grandsons went last year and loved it. They have an onsite bakery that incidently makes one of the best chelsea buns I've ever tasted (do you think I have an addiction to bread products????), a terrific frozen food section (an entire freezer is dedicated to frozen fruit). They carry gourmet dips, pasta mixes, baked potato toppings, etc... Moving through this section takes us into the gift shop. I don't think my 82 year old mother has had this much fun shopping in a long time. We filled a buggy with goodies and then she still had to carry a couple of extra things. She purchased a beautiful jacket, hand quilted and appliqued for only $29.95 and beautiful hand dressed Bearington Bears for only $15.00 - There are gourmet kitchen accessories, an extensive collection of Yankee candles, hand made pine furniture, shelving, placemats, throws, jewellry .... need I go on.

There is no end to the wonderful markets in the Durham Region. What are you looking for? Emu oil - we have it, goat products - we have that too, alpaca yarns - you guessed it - we've got it.

Check out what Durham has to offer by going to Durham Farm Fresh website

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Your Attention Please

If my blogging gets your attention - let me know. Love to chat. Always looking for someone who shares my passions & my problems.

Some of my challenges each day - I have degenerative arthritis (very severe in several joints) & fibromyalgia - both of which cause me quite a lot of daily pain & fatigue. On February 5th I underwent a scope to my left knee after a car accident which tore the cartiledge and left bone fragments floating behind the patella. Dr told me scoping my knee would give me great relieft. To date I am about 40% worse and still undergoing therapy weekly, but cannot regain the flexibility or lower pain levels pre-surgery. Anyone else ever experience this result? I have also been told that I need a knee replacement. I am also strugglng with great fatigue from my fibro since the accident, sleep is an elusive thief in the night. I struggle each night with proper sleep - the pain in my knee wakes me every few moments or if I move. The pain has grown to a level that interferes with everything in my life. It frustrates me that I cannot walk any more. I used to walk about 30 minutes each day.

Well enough complaining - on to something a little more exciting ..............................................

My daughter, Sebrina and I recently returned from an exciting trip to Ethiopia to pick up my darling granddaughter who she & her husband Mike adopted. Her name is Gabriella Raine Sintayhu. She is such a beautiful child and fits into their family perfectly.

Our trip was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. Ethiopia is such a beautiful country, her people are beautiful, kind, generous, loving, helpful, but there is the other side of the coin. It is a country devastated by poverty & loss. Beautiful children run the streets barefoot, begging for food & money, children who have been orphanged by hunger, war, AIDS, illness, etc... We met a young boy 12 years of age whose entire family was gone, he was living on the streets, but he was still trying to maintain his education. The things he begged for most were school supplies & money to pay cab fare to get to school.

We spent 3 weeks there - the most emotional 3 weeks of my life. We laughed, we cried, we felt so much pain for the horrors we saw and could do nothing about. We live such a priviledged life here in Canada. I did not fully appreciate that until I spent those few weeks in Ethiopia. There is so much need everywhere!!!!

For a small amount of money a child can be sponsored This organization was started by families who adopted in Ethiopia and saw the need for outreach. A wonderful organization where only $5.00 of your donation is used for administration costs. - another organization where a few dollars can do so much good. African peoples have to spend many hours each day in the tedious task of collecting water (often from polluted sources), which typically means time away from their fields or diarrhoeal diseases from that same collected water which prevents them from working, which in turn accentuate the food problem. Indeed, many diseases stemming from polluted water are so virulent that they make the availability of nutritious food quite irrelevant.

It takes so little to do so much!!!

First Entry

Well, here I am typing my first entry for my blog ... something I never thought I'd do. Stay tuned for more entries as I get used to this on-line journaling.


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