Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Sound of Music

This afternoon, I am taking my mom to see "The Sound of Music".

I watched this movie over and over again as a teenager, loving Maria played by Julie Andrews.

Maria, of course falls in love with Captain Georg von Trapp, but alas he has become engaged to Elsa out of a duty to provide a mother for his seven children.

Sensing that she would not be comfortable staying there after the marriage she returns to the abbey to take her monastic vows, but the Mother Abbess tells Maria she is running away from her feelings.

So many obstacles were overcome in this story for Maria and Georg to finally realize their love. Of course the rest of the story you know ~~~ they lived happily ever after.

Then there was the sweet love between Liesel and Rolf which of course gave me pause to dream of love for me as a young teenage girl.

This is one of my mother's favourite movies so I hope she enjoys the play.

In Toronto over the past few days a massive protest by the Tamils is blocking road traffic very near the theatre district, so I decided we would be better off to take public transportation downtown.

Tomorrow I'll post an update to let you know how the play was.

Dumb Animals???

This is a touching story.

These pictures made me think about how often I hear animals called "dumb animals".

The instinct shown here by Anjana ~ the surrogate chimp mother is astounding. She appears to love and nurture these tiger cubs as if they were her own babes.

When Hurricane Hannah separated two white tigers from their mother, Anjana came to the rescue.

Anjana, a chimp at TIGERS, in South Carolina, became their surrogate mother and playmate. She even helped with bottle feeding according to The Sun.

But here is the truly amazing part. This is something Anjana does all the time, having helped raise leopard and lion cubs on several occasions.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Olympic Gold

Whew !!!!!

Finally at 11:35pm last night I finished the baby blanket I set out to make on Friday.

Here is it in all its pinkness. I love the ruffled edge.

I stood in the rain working on this yesterday while watching my sister-in-law run across the finish line. (Don held an umbrella over my head).

I sat working on this while at her home celebrating with everyone else in Don's family.

I sat working on this while visiting with my girlfriend who had surgery on Wednesday.

I sat working on this through breakfasts, lunches and dinners this weekend. Don even brought dinner in last night so I could continue working.

Now why is my post titled ~ Olympic Gold? While sitting crocheting yesterday at my sister-in-laws home, Dons mom and my two other sisters-in-law wanted to know what I was making. Don answered them to tell them that I was doing my own marathon this weekend and was going for the Olympic Gold medal in crocheting. He even told them how many hours we calculated it would take to make this blanket. BTW ~ ended up taking 20.7 hours.

Don's a pretty quiet guy ~ doesn't show emotions (except for his daughter and grand babies), but this extreme show of pride in what I was doing really made me feel good. His family tends to accent sporting triumphs so Tammy's 29 minute run was a really big thing with everyone in the family coming to the race to cheer her on and meet her at the finish line. I have never felt a kinship with his family because my skills do not lie in physical fitness but in the creative world. His obvious pride in what I accomplished this weekend was very validating for me within this very fit, very athletic family where I am quite the misfit with my very obvious lack of physical prowess.

So now, all I want to know is ~ did I get the gold medal?

Did I break a record in crocheting this blanket in one weekend?

I can tell you one thing ~ I'll never do this again. It's going to take my right arm and fingers days to recuperate ~ they are still numb, tingling & throbbing this morning.

Edited to add: When Don arrived home last night, he told me that my blanket was a big hit and quite a few of the women at his office asked if I took orders.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Happy Birthday Ryan

I'm a little tardy in getting this birthday greeting onto my blog, but I have been attached to yarn and a crochet hook to complete this blanket all weekend and haven't taken time to do much of anything.

No cooking ~ no cleaning ~ no exercising, just crocheting where ever I happened to park my fanny.

I even watched my sister-in-law in a 5k run today while my fingers continued crocheting the blanket.

I'm now in the home stretch and blanket will be going into the office with Don tomorrow.

So although one day late, I am wishing Mammy's first love ~ Ryan a very happy 9th birthday.

It seems like only yesterday when I watched him make his entrance into this world and I can still feel his dear little body in my arms when I held him for the first time. Took me all the way back to when his mom was born.

We had fun at a birthday party last night, Sebrina made a delicious Oreo cake (devils food chocolate complete with butter cream icing ~ topped off with real Oreos), watched Mike put Ryans 251 piece Lego Star Wars ship together and then Ryan provided us with a fashion show of the clothes that we took him as part of his birthday present.

At this point I think I owe Mike an apology for the Lego gift.

So Happy Birthday my love ~ you make Mammy's heart sing and my eyes sparkle with love when we're together.

Friday, April 24, 2009

This Weekend

What do you have planned for this weekend?

We are going to be soooooooooooooo busy. First hoping to get to our grandson ~ Zander's gymnastics class tomorrow morning at 9:20.

Then it is Ryan ~ our oldest grandson's 9th birthday, so time will be devoted to the festivities.

Then on Sunday morning my sister-in-law is running in a 5K marathon, so we are going to surprise her and be at the finish line. She recently lost about 20-25 pounds and running has been part of her fitness routine. BTW ~ she looks marvelous!!!

Then after that we're heading up to see my girlfriend who recently had surgery. Just want to check her out for myself and make sure she's okay. Maybe I'll take her a bunch of "Springy" flowers.

Then back home and I have to make a baby blanket ~ yes you heard me right. One of Don's reports recently had his & his wife's second daughter, so I was recruited to make one of my famous crocheted baby blankets. I usually make these in yellow, green, white, because we don't always know what's coming, but since this baby was born last week and we know it's a girl, I get to make a pink one. Now, I sat last night and started the chain 131 chains, then 124 rows consisting of single and double crochet to create a bobble like effect. The picture below is what the blanket will look like when it's completed.

It took me 1 hour last night to complete 8 rows ~ so in working out the math, that means it will take me approximately 15 hours to finish this blanket and that's not including the picot edge. I managed to do 36 rows this afternoon, so I'm well on my way. Oh and by the way, that was after I was recruited to do the baby shopping, so I was out this morning filling a sweet little pink lacquered storage bin with a whole bunch of goodies as well as running around to quite a few stores looks for Beatrix Potter baby china only to find out that Wedgewood is having some kind of licensing issues so all the Beatrix Potter china is pulled off the shelves presently, so I had to settle for Bunnykins ~ not a terrible thing, but since I got Bunnykins when I was a baby, I find it a little ..... for lack of another word ~ yucky. The colour of the china looks dirty to me. I just love the white background of the Beatrix Potter china. Oh well, it will still be a nice keepsake for the new baby.

Stay tuned to see if the blanket is completed by Monday morning when all the gifts will be wrapped and delivered to the new daddy.

Have a great weekend all, enjoy the beautiful sunshine ~ think I just might sit outside to get my daily dose of vitamin d and do my crocheting in the sun.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

More Girl Power

I have a friend who always tells me, "You're such a boy".

Well, I must admit, I love building things and I especially love power tools. I'd much rather spend time in Home Depot, Rona, Millwork, etc.... than clothing stores. Now don't get me wrong, I love clothes shopping but construction materials, my new Dewault 18V cordless drill or my compound mitre saw ~ now that really gets the creative juices flowing!

Here, so far are the results of my latest project. My boxed in venting in the basement which incidentally I am quite proud of. I made it by simply building ladders and hanging them in vertical and horizontal configurations. Easy peasy!

And here is the partition that I built to split the room in half. Oh by the way, I also levelled and hung the door myself. I used the cottage grade pine panelling, because we can't get a 4' x 8' sheet of drywall in our car, so this was my solution. I will paint it out to match the room. The door was one that was in a bathroom the previous owner installed in the basement, but didn't vent any of the drains, so we took it out and I found a good use for the door. It will be painted white like the rest of the trim in the basement.

My mom says, I should hang out a shingle and go into business. She tells me that I could probably build an entire house if I really wanted to. I got news for her ~ I don't.
As each project is completed, it becomes much more pleasant to exercise downstairs. Now I'm at the point where I am getting impatient for the carpet and ceiling to be finished.

Sunday, April 19, 2009


Okay, the mysteries around here continue to grow.

This afternoon ~ believe it or not ~ I found my engagement ring. Remember this post about the "strange" occurrences around here.

Well, you are not going to believe where I found this ring.

I had to return something to a store this afternoon and went in my laundry room to get two large shopping bags ~ one was from Winners and the other was from Homsense. I always keep these bags folded in three and piled up in the space between my laundry tub and my dryer. First I pulled out the Winners bag to put one of the items I was returning in and then I grabbed the Homsense bag.

I must pause here for a moment to say that the Homsense bag was on the bottom of the pile with about four other bags folded and stacked on top, but it was the largest and I needed two large bags.

Okay, back to my story, I grabbed the Homsense bag and shook it open. Something sparkled and caught my eye as I shook it, so I shook the bag again and reach down to what I had seen in the bottom. In the very bottom corner was my diamond ring.

There is no possible explanation for how my ring got into the bottom of a bag that most probably came home from the store many, many weeks if not months ago. I just can't wrap my mind around how this happened.

Another one to chalk up to the strange and mysterious things that continue to happen around this house.


Special Day

Today is a special day for me.

It is the 35th anniversary of the day I gave birth to my first child.

After 29 hours of labour and fourth degree tears (ouch!), I delivered a healthy 9 pound baby boy at 5:27AM.

Today my son is 35.

The pictures are blurry, but after all they are 35 years old.

We faced quite a lot together through the years, but today he is a proud homeowner ~ is in a management position with a financial firm ~ and still brings his mom roses occasionally.

Happy Birthday Todd with all my love!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Camp Out

Last night our youngest grandson Zander came over for a sleepover. This is following on the heels of having Ryan (our oldest) a couple of weeks ago.

Zander decided (with a little help from Mammy) that he wanted to to have a camp out in the family room.

So off we went to Canadian Tire to purchase flashlights to use in the dark ~ air mattresses (sleeping on the floor doesn't cut it with me) along with other sundry camping paraphernalia.

When we got home we inflated the air mattress and I of course got to sleep (well lay all night) on the sofa. We turned out all the lights and used our flashlights and watched "Spongebob" and "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles". What fun!

I decided a while ago that I would take one child at a time for special Mammy time. This works well for me and hopefully for the children too. They will get one on one time with Mammy and Poppa with no distractions from their siblings. And we get to plan special things just for us. I let them choose three movies to watch, I let them choose what they want for dinner (within reason) and then they get to choose one treat.

Now that they are older, it is so much fun to have them one at a time to spend an overnight with. It gives me more opportunity to really get to know them as individuals. When they are all together it is hard to see who they really are, so this is such a wonderful opportunity and I am so grateful that I am able to do this.

Zander is a very caring little individual. He could not stop running up and down to my mother's room to check on her, to offer her one of his mints, to see if she would like to come downstairs to watch a movie with us. And then when she wanted to rest, he kept asking when she was going to come back down. After we came back from an excursion out, he ran right upstairs to tell her he missed her.

So, all in all we have had a fun time ~ as I write this Zander is still having fun letting Chelsea chase the flashlight beam around the floor. (Sidenote ~ Chelsea thinks she's a cat and loves chasing any beams of light that might move).

One overnight seems to be just right for the boys ~ they miss each other and start showing boredom after one day, but it is still so much fun for me to have them all to myself just for one day.

Looking forward to my next visit with Jayden.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Still Here

I don't have much to say lately and find that I'm not feeling very bloggy.

Although I have determined to make this the year of "Barb", I continually turn around and find the same old issues biting me on the ass yet again. Why can I not just move forward and accept the things that I cannot change. I still exercise gratitude on a daily basis, but those nagging old issues creep in and infiltrate my mind wiping away all the good I have spent my time working on.

Recently a comment was made to my daughter that "this family is f---ed up". The only thought that comes to me on this comment is ~ what family? I have never witnessed such a lack of love as is evidenced in this family. Very few phone calls made to inquire about the well being of my mother ~ no calls to see if we could use a break. I never imagine caregiving for an aging parent would be so taxing. However, that is not what this post is about.

I just thought to check in and let you know why I don't seem to be doing much blogging lately. It seems that I have lost interest in most of the things that have always brought me so much joy in the past ~ my crafting ~ reading ~ my home ~ the blogs that I have followed so faithfully ~ writing. Other than my grand babies ~ it feels like someone has sucked the joy out of my life. Sleep has become quite elusive and I struggle with a good nights sleep waking usually around 3-4:00am and then staying awake the rest of the night. As well the surgery in June is weighing heavily on my mind. Although not continually experiencing the discomfort from a gall bladder that is non-functioning and causing biliary colic is a positive aspect to the surgery.

Then just to add insult to injury ~ I recently discovered that my engagement ring was missing. This has been a particularly heartbreaking episode to deal with, as when Don and I got married we put all our funds into buying our home, so there was no traditional engagement ring. Then after paying off our mortgage, he surprised me with a beautiful diamond ring for Christmas ten years ago. I remember it so clearly. He put it on the finger of a stuffed animal ~ our son-in-law was so excited and told Don to get on his knees and ask me to marry him.

It's funny, but I still keep feeling like it will show up. Then I wonder "Is it my resident prankster up to no good yet again? Remember all the strange occurrences I talked about in this post. Well strange things continue to happen around here.

A lovely old handmade satin wrap that my mother had since she was a girl and kept her mothers handkerchiefs in disappeared, however the hankies are still here. She had two links taken out of the bracelet on her watch and kept them in a small ziploc bag. The other day she went to look for them and they were nowhere to be found.

I am truly struggling with where my diamond ring may have gone to. I am very methodical about where I keep everything. In my home I always know where everything is kept ~ what cupboard ... what shelf ... even keep my clothing hung by colour. The same goes for my jewellery. I wear five rings whenever I go out ~ two pinkie rings, my wedding band, my engagement ring and an inherited diamond ring that belonged to my great aunt. I only wear them outside never at home, so they go on when I go out and come off the minute I come into my home. When I'm not wearing them they are in small dish in my kitchen. One day the rings were worn and the next morning when I went to put them on to go out, my engagement ring was gone.

I really wish whoever or whatever is pranking me would stop. This isn't amusing anymore.

Now on to a couple of knitting projects that I have completed from the "Debbie Bliss" spring & summer knitting book.

This lovely blanket is so soft and just the right weight for this transition time between winter and spring. I too knit it pure white.

I can't share the second project because it is a birthday present and I don't want the birthday girl to see it, but it too is soft and the perfect weight for a cool summer evening.

Hope she likes it!

We had fun on Good Friday deciding to do some gardening. We planted five cedar trees to provide a little bit of privacy from the ravine behind. Just when we were getting started, we had a surprise visit from our daughter and her family. Of course the boys wanted to help Poppa dig the holes, but once they got started, Ryan (our oldest grandson), sat on the ground and rescued all the worms that were turning up in the soil. It was a touching scene watching him pull out all these worms and gently placing them in another spot.

Then on Saturday we drove out to watch Zander (our youngest grandson) in his first gymnastics sessions. His enthusiasm and sheer joy was such fun to watch. Zander attacks everything with such energy and gives 200%. Then Sebrina cooked a wonderful Easter dinner ~ turkey, ham, fennel, asparagus, mashed potatoes, stuffing ~ delicious!

We took some Easter chocolate and gifts for the kids. Of course they knew that Easter was the next day so wondered how we were able to get early chocolate from the easter bunny. I told them I emailed and asked him to specially bring it early to our house for them. They were quite happy with that answer.

I just love treasuring this secret and hope that they believe all these wonderful childish ideals for many years to come.,

Happy East Monday and I hope you all had a wonderful weekend too.

Monday, April 6, 2009

How Was Your Weekend

So, what did you do this weekend?

As you can see from this picture, Don was working on a roof. He helped his father build a shed in 1992, but unfortunately it sustained a little damage to the roof and was leaking. As the weather was gorgeous yesterday they decided to undertake this project.

Here's a picture of Don on the roof cutting out the damage so they can replace it. It took him and his brother from early morning until 6:30 last evening to complete the job.

He looked about 5" shorter when he got home, he was so sore.

We are both slowly coming to the conclusion that we are getting past the age of doing all these home projects.

As for me, I spent all day Saturday and yesterday morning hauling cedar shrubs, raking the garden, bagging the garden refuse for compost, turning over the soil, finishing the taping and plastering on the bulkhead in our basement, then applying two coats of Venetian plaster, removing and rehanging a door in a partition wall I built last week.

Then, after about 6 hours of work ~ my fibromyalgia (FM) hit full force and I seized. This is actually not such a bad thing. In the past I would never have been able to accomplish this much work, so I am quite pleased that I could finish as much as I did before the FM set in.

So today, I am taking Arnica (homeopathic remedy) and not moving too much ~ it even causes me pain to take a deep breath. It will probably take a day or two to recuperate.

The second part of my weekend was spent watching a movie probably because I couldn't do much else. So what did I chose to watch?

"The Secret Life of Bees".

Based on Sue Monk Kidd's ravishing debut novel which is set in South Carolina in 1964. "The Secret Life of Bees" tells the story of Lily Owens (played by Daykota Fanning), whose life has been shaped around the blurred memory of the afternoon her mother was killed. When Lily's fierce-hearted "stand-in mother," Rosaleen (played by Jennifer Hudson), insults three of the town racists, Lily decides they should both escape to Tiburon, South Carolina ~ a town that holds the secret to her mother's past. There they are taken in by an eccentric trio of black beekeeping sisters who introduce Lily to a mesmerizing world of bees, honey, and the Black Madonna who presides over their household. This is a remarkable story about divine female power and the transforming power of love ~ a story that women will share and pass on to their daughters for years to come.

This is one of my favourite books and I have been anxious to see the movie. Originally we were trying to set up a "girls night out" to watch this, but couldn't get everyone together, so I went ahead on my own.

May I say ~ What a delicious movie!

Now I know you're probably thinking, "but Barb, it didn't get very good reviews".

One reviewer said it has charm but is largely maudlin and sticky sweet. Another critic described it as sappy, syrupy, sentimental and sermonizing.

However, Roger Ebert said "I have great affection for this film because it honors a novel that many people loved for good reasons. It isn't superior, nor does it dumb it down. It sees what is good and honors it. The South was most likely not like this in 1964. That was the year the Civil Rights Act was passed, and a year before the Voting Rights Act became law. The Boatwright farm, as I said, is really a dream. But in those hard days, people needed dreams".

So, what do I say ~ watch this movie. If you love love, charity, looking beyond skin colour, feeling good and feel good movies ~ you really must see this.

Queen Latifah plays an amazing role. She is regal, majestic, loving, wise, fiercely protective of those she loves and a dreamer ~ I could go on but will stop with that. Daykota Fanning is simply marvelous as Lily. This child's breadth of acting knowledge and believability just continues to increase as she takes on more challenging acting parts. I see this young woman moving towards a fantastic adult actor. Roger Ebert has compared her to Jodie Foster ~ no small compliment.

So, all in all I will watch this movie again and try to set up another "girls night in" so we can get together to laugh, cry and feel good while enjoying this movie.

Thursday, April 2, 2009


Well, it's official ~ I am to be parted with my pet gallstone which I posted about here as well.

After much testing, gastroscopies, biopsies, ultrasounds, blood tests ~ my internist and surgeon have through the process of elimination determined that due to the size of my gallstone ~ my gall bladder is non-functioning with a slightly thickened outer wall and irritated lining.

It amazes me though that the surgery is done via laparoscopic surgery (five little puncture wounds) and I will be in and out on the same day. When my grandmother had hers out many, many years ago, she was in the hospital for a week and very ill for over three weeks.

There are pros and cons for this surgery. There is a 60% chance that I will still experience symptoms after the cholecystectomy. So do I proceed with this procedure (which is booked) or do I carry on with the nausea, pain, bloating, diarrhea, heartburn, gnawing, etc...

If I can live with these symptoms indefinately, I can carry on with no further problems other than the ones I mentioned above, as the stone is very large, there is virtually no chance that it will ever move into and lodge in a duct.

Then the question ~ will dietary changes help?

Here is alist of foods I should try to avoid:

Eggs, pork, onion, fowl, milk, coffee, oranges, grapefruit, corn, beans, nuts, in that order.

Trans fats, hydrogenated, partially-hydrogenated oils, margarine, fried foods, saturated fats including coconut oil, red meats, dairy products, eggs (Research shows that eggs caused symptoms in up to 95% of patients).

Coffee, regular or decaf, chocolate, ice cream, black tea, alcohol (what no bloody caesar), beer, wine, liqueur, fruit juice, carbonated water, tap water, radishes and turnips, cabbage, cauliflower, colas and all sodas, oats (for some people), wheat, barley, rye (although the sour German rye's seem to be less troublesome). all legumes (beans) as they tend to increase the cholesterol in the bile.

Artificial sweeteners, sugar, preservatives, refined and bleached foods (like white flour)

Certainly doesn't leave me much of a choice to eat now does it????

So far, I have not been able to find any food that doesn't seem to cause problems except for Oatmeal. Very small meals also are much easier on the tummy, but it is a matter of changing the way I think.

So to this end, I think after giving this some thought, I am going to do three things.

One ~ Have the gall bladder removed.
Two ~ Change my way of thinking about the way I eat. Try to move towards a more vegetarian type of diet. And just as a little extra, I am going to do my utmost to lose 10 pounds before the surgery.
Three ~ Ask the surgeon to save my pet. I want to personally meet this little beggar who has caused me all this grief.


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