Saturday, July 13, 2024

My flowers are much happier now with some heat.  My husband and I have lived in this house for eight years now and I've wanted a patio/deck set for awhile but they're so expensive and I'm thrifty.  And then this one came on sale at Home Depot and it was a floor model so I asked for something off the price, which I got.  They wanted $85 to deliver it and I asked my neighbor if I could borrow her son's truck but he's out of town working on a pipeline.  My neighbor works at Home Depot and told me that I can rent a van there for $25 for an hour and a half, so I did and now I have a comfy place to sit on the deck.  The adirondack chairs were fine but it's getting harder to get up and out of them, don't laugh.

Yesterday it was cooler than it has been all week, so I picked up Jack early from daycare and we went to the spray park where he told me, "I'm on a team".  A bunch of boys had water guns, including Jack, and apparently they had split up into teams.  It's was all good until he got shot in the face and his mouth was open, talking no doubt, and he did not like that.  So we had a snack and drove into Edmonton to pick up poppa.  He's with Gracie now until tomorrow at supper time.

I also learned how to change the air filter and spark plug on our lawn mower.  Next week I'll change the oil.  Thank you youtube.  What else can I learn?  Don't worry, I'm thinking:)

So far I'm enjoying retirement, early days I know.  I will work on Monday though and I imagine I will spend the whole day wanting to go home.  I'm finding I'm not missing work at all, which I thought I would.  We'll see how it goes.  


Thursday, July 11, 2024

The top flower is a Canada Anemone.  The western salsify has gone to seed and it looks like a giant dandelion.

It's been hot as hell here, up to 36C yesterday, in a two storey house with no AC.  Fortunately there is a lovely cool basement to sleep in.  I've been keeping cool, sitting in the pool as well, and yes, Canadians do own guns, water guns.

We went to court on Tuesday and the living arrangements for Jack remain unchanged for the next nine months and we go back to court in April to see how things are working out.  This gives us and Jack some stability.  Gracie agreed to it which is the first time she has ever put her son first.  It was a nice surprise.  I asked her if she had a job and she said no, her boyfriend was supporting her, so that's great.  I've never met the guy but he thinks Gracie is a catch.  I guess we'll see how that pans out.  It's always such a good thing for women to rely on men to pay all their bills.

Otherwise, retirement seems to be going well.  Yesterday I tried to change the lawnmower blade, twice, but both blades did not fit.  More research required, but I did take a file to the blade and sharpened it.  I also did some mending and shortened a summer dress that was too tight around my legs to take a proper long step.  I also decided to go visit my brother in August, by myself.  I'm hoping we'll both work on repairing our relationship.  

In another surprise this week, my oldest sister sent me a card thanking me for taking care of mum all those years ago.  Mum died in 2013 and I had virtually no support from my siblings at the time, plus I had work and Katie to take care of.  They then had a family meeting, without me, and decided what should happen to mum, without me, her primary caregiver.  I had a lot of anger attached to my grief and haven't talked to my oldest sister since mum died.  This same sister also made my life hell when I got pregnant with my son forty-one years ago.  She's almost eighty now and I've forgiven her but I don't really want her back in my life.  She's not the nicest person.  We'll see.  Families are hard.

Monday, July 8, 2024

This peony is from my neighbor's garden.  I thought the flowers were just white until I looked more closely.  I quite like the tint of pink along the edge of some of the flowers.

Really not much going on here.  It's hot, not hot like Florida or Arizona, but hot for here.  Today they're calling for a high of 32C (90F) which means the house won't be able to cool off during the night and I'll be sleeping in the basement tonight.


Western salsify, a beautiful, edible weed.  Who knew?  Certainly not me.  

Jack is home from daycare today because he's got diarrhea.  Never seen anybody so excited to have diarrhea; it's the staying home part that's go him excited.  Right now he's playing Roblox in my hubby's office, later on we'll go for a short walk and maybe take some photos.  There's a slough nearby with pelicans.

I'm not happy with how I've been dealing with him. I heard a woman interviewed on CBC last week, Michaeleen Doucleff, a science writer for NPR.  She has a daughter and she was having a very difficult time trying to raise her daughter.  Michaeleen has a bachelors and a masters degree, as well as a Phd, but she still couldn't deal with her daughter's temper tantrums. She started looking at child rearing books, looking at the science behind the ideas and was appalled at the lack of scientific evidence for most of the child rearing ideas that we embrace today. I'm a science nerd too and what she was talking about made sense, so I ordered her book.

The book looks at how Mayan, Inuit and Hadzabe people raise their children, raise happy, helpful children.  Years ago I had read about a woman who had spent time with Inuit people in the 1960's and she wrote about that time in a book called "Never In Anger", Jean L. Briggs was her name; she had also written about the Inuit style of child rearing.  Michaeleen read the book and wanted to learn more about it.  The Inuit people believe that children need to be taught emotional skills in the same way that reading and arithmetic skills are taught.  Children are not born with the emotional skills they need in life, we shape them.  That belief, that children are not born with emotional skills, but that they must be taught, means that they don't think children are being bad or manipulative, but rather that children have not yet learned a skill.  This removes the anger from the equation for those parents.  It's also a very different way of looking at children and their development.  Westerners/Europeans have a culture steeped in original sin which colours how we see our children, even if we don't realize it.  I was also raised in the "spare the rod, spoil the child" era, an era which believed that goodness and obedience could be beaten into a child. 

When I think about Indigenous cultures and what they must have felt when Europeans arrived and started having children, they must have been shocked by the brutality of European child rearing practices.  And then to have those Europeans declare them to be savages and take their children away to be beaten into submissions, it's a true testament to the Inuit culture, and all Indigenous cultures, that their culture and child rearing practices survived in any way.  It also makes me weep to realize how much damage Europeans did to Indigenous peoples and their children.  It was a crime that I'm only now beginning to understand.

I'm almost finished the book, "Hunt, Gather, Parent: What Ancient Cultures Can Teach Us About The Lost Art Of Raising Happy, Helpful Little Humans" .  Now I'm in the process of translating it into bullet points that I can put on my fridge, to remind me what I need to do.  Right now I yell at Jack sometimes, not often but often enough that I really don't like it.  And I lose my temper, which I don't like at all.  I was raised in an angry house and I don't want Jack raised that way.  If there is a better way to deal with small people, I'm happy to try it and it would be good for me as well.  When I lose my temper, I always feel like a failure, that I'm just like my father.  My father's anger left me with lifelong scars and I don't want to pass that along to Jack. My own children still bear the scars of my anger and I don't want it to continue, not if there is a better to do things.

It's hard writing about being a bad mother to my children.  I did the best I could, with the tools I had but it makes me very sad to look back and see how much damage my own anger did.  I don't know if my own father was ever able to do that, to look back and acknowledge what he had done, but I can and I'm thankful that I'm still able to learn how to be a better parent. 

Thursday, July 4, 2024

I took Miss Katie to a different off leash park last weekend, the one down by the zoo.  It's a huge park, complete with both paved and unpaved pathways along the river; there is even a sprinkling of coyotes, although we didn't see any.

Miss Katie has a list of things she loves most in life:

- horses
-ice cream

Last Sunday she saw a woman with a baby wrap, complete with baby, and the woman had two dogs with her.  I told her that if she had been sitting on a horse, eating popcorn, Katie would have probably died right there and the woman laughed and understood my joke..  We also stopped at the Italtian Centre to buy sandwiches and drinks, so that we could have a picnic lunch.  While we were there, some man asked me if there was something wrong with Katie.  I told him, "No, she's just handicapped."  It seemed like an odd question, but what do I know?  He wasn't rude, just seemed concerned.

Katie had a good time, fresh air, and got to see babies and dogs.  And I actually got a photo of Katie smiling.  It's hard to believe she's thirty-two now.  My baby girl still.

We have another JDR (judicial dispute resolution) next week.  I just got off the phone with our lawyer, I had sent her an email yesterday with our concerns and what we want going forward, including support from my son and the government.  She didn't think that would be a problem.  She asked if we wanted support from Gracie (which made me laugh out loud) and I assured her that was not something we wanted to pursue.  She also suggested we ask for a longer term agreement, like a year, which would give all of us some stability, especially Jack.  

The lawyer also asked me if I think Gracie understands that she can't care for Jack.  I told her that I'm pretty sure that Gracie thinks she can, despite all of the evidence to the contrary.  

Enough dark stuff.

We've been flying kites.

And playing at the spray park. 

Otherwise, not much going on.  My house is clean and the laundry is caught up and even put away.  My flowers are blooming away and the sun has come out.  Probably time for a walk with a dog.

Sunday, June 30, 2024

My last day of work was Friday.  I worked Thursday and Friday this past week and on Thursday, they had a potluck luncheon for me which was lovely.  Last weekend the MRI manager and his wife had bought me a gift certificate for Michael's and I remembered a video I had seen of young women at a bridal shower, painting their arms with fabric paint and then hugging the bride to be who was wearing a white shirt.  I thought this was a wonderful idea and bought paint and a t-shirt with the gift certificate.

The first thing one of my young nurses did, was paint a pair of droopy boobs on the t-shirt, complete with nipples.  People signed the shirt and left messages for me on it and near the end of the day, I went around asking people if they wanted to give me a hug.  One of the young nurses, asked if she could put her handprints on the boobs.  Of course I said and so she did.  The afternoon was lovely and I got to say goodbye to people and get lots of hugs. 

Friday was my actual last day, usually a day spent swanning around and chatting with people.  I was the only regular staff on, everybody else was casual.  Usually a CT tech comes out to help us with IVs but they were short staffed so had nobody to spare.  The first problem, a patient whose chart said she'd had a severe allergic (skin peeling off severe) to CT dye (she wasn't, the nurse who charted that made a mistake) and that took half an hour to sort out but I did learn how to look back at the nursing notes made while the patient was in the RAH. 

The next problem was kidney function tests.  Normally we do our own creatinine tests but there is a shortage of the cartridges needed to do this, so we had to draw our own blood, order the tests, print the correct labels and take it down to the lab and none of us really knew how to do that.  That took almost an hour to sort out, plus grumpy, frustrated nurses. 

The next problem was a patient with a strange mark in the middle of her port (implanted vascular access device) that shouldn't have been there.  We had a rad, reluctantly, come to look at, who then wanted a systemic (chemo) nurse to take a look at it.  It wasn't infected, yet, but it wasn't right either.  The decision was made to start an IV instead and the patient informed me she had no veins.  And the poor patient thought she was going to die because of the port problem.  I reassured her while I heated up her arm, nothing catastrophic was going to happen until we could decided properly what do to with her port.  Fortunately, I got a very tiny IV in first time and she was able to have her CT scan without incident.

By the end of all of this, I was late for my break by an hour and half.  I don't do well without food but I held it together, although I did end up crying on my break.  What a shitty last day.  It didn't get much better and we ran our asses off until a regular staff came in at 1pm to cover the last half of the day.  She was surprised to see me and told me to go home, which I finally did.  Wasn't a great day and reinforced my decision to retire.

And then yesterday we took Jack to Brick Fest Live, an overpriced lego thing which Jack thoroughly enjoyed.

This morning the sun is shining and the cat wants to go out and then come in and then go out and then come in.  I've put my sheets on the line to dry and I'm going to take Miss Katie out shortly.

Unless you're a nurse.

Wednesday, June 26, 2024

Jack is okay, not happy but not sad or mad, very hyperactive though.  We went for a walk last night after supper, he wanted to find "interesting things", and we did.  He also burned through some of his energy.

Miss Katie is undoing her seatbelt on the DATS bus, all behavior is communication=she's bored/tired of long bus rides.  Her agency wants to put another harness on her to keep her in her wheelchair for long rides.  Katie is not the problem, long rides are the problem.  People with disabilities are expected to spend hours on buses to get where they need or want to go.  

This reminds me that Jack's behavior is also communication.  Is he confused/anxious?  Not sure what he's feeling and not sure he can identify more complex emotions like frustration or anxiety.   I know that for me, moving and walking helps to calm me.  Perhaps it will for him too.  Nothing wrong with making a practice of going for a daily walk.  

Caught this bee working hard.  I used to be terrifed of bees but have come to love them.  They are hard working and they're all sisters.  

The wild roses are all blooming right now, filling the air with their lovely scent.

 I'm bored with no routine yet.  What a shock.

Monday, June 24, 2024

My daughter came to visit; she made a lot of food; we had a party; she flew home; I cleaned the house.  The End.

It was a busy two weeks but it was also nice to have two visits with my daughter.  We're still working on rebuilding our relationship.  I still don't trash talk my exhusband, despite the fact that he did , about me, for ten years.  I don't want to poison any future relationship she may or may not have with him.  It's funny though, it took years for me to understand that he was abusive.  He did a good job of convincing me that I was the problem.

Jack has been a shit.  He knows everything.  He's tired and grumpy.  He's mad at me a lot.  So I googled, why is my five year old so angry?  Past trauma, ADHD, unresolved grief.  He's had a lot to deal with in his short life and I forget that, or I get triggered.  He's pretty good at pushing my buttons and he knows how to hurt me.  I always wonder what goes on when he's at his mother's place.  I know she fills him up with candy and buys him lots of toys.  He doesn't hug her when he sees her.  It's heartbreaking really.  He probably wonders why he can't have a normal family, which makes me laugh.  Who has a normal family?  We always think other people have normal families, it's just us that has the weird family, until we grow up and start comparing stories with other people and realize that pretty much all families are weird in some way.

I have to remember to take a deep breath before I respond to him.  Show him how to deal with anger in a good way, because I'm so good at that.  Don't fly off the handle.  Don't get offended so easily.  Don't snap at people.  Don't say things you'll regret.  Bloody hell, this kid is going to make me grow up even more.  More self development.  More self control.  Sigh.

I may be tired too and the wind has been blowing hard all day which irritates me.  It's nice for awhile and then it just starts to bug me.