Friday, July 31, 2020

It's been hot here this week.  Both dogs wilt in the heat.  Lucy has a bad heart and I'm not sure what the deal is with Heidi but she definitely prefers the colder weather.

My son got married last weekend and I met my daughter in law for the first time the next day.  My son told me she was pregnant and due in the fall but she sure doesn't look pregnant.  She seemed nice enough.  Not young, not overly smart but not mean either which is nice.  Now I sound like a bitch. 

Work has been better.  I emailed my manager and spoke with her as well.  She is a lovely young woman who works hard at her job.  She cares about her employees the way I care about my patients.  She listened to my concerns and told me what she is doing to address those issues.  Knowing that there is someone trying to do something to make things better helps.  We had two days this past week that we had enough staff and that makes all the difference.

Life continues on.  We took the little guy to the spray park after work yesterday and he had a blast.  The first thing he did was go down the slide and he shot across the spray deck when he hit the bottom.  Apparently that's what is supposed to happen but neither the big guy nor I knew that.  The grandson looked like he'd been shot out of a cannon.  I couldn't stop laughing.  He had a great time and so did my hubby, both of them ended up soaking wet.  We bought burgers on the way home and he enjoyed those.  Then we had cheesecake with bumbleberry coulis and he really liked that.

Gracie is working nights right now so we fed the little guy, washed him up and took him back home.  She was telling us how hard it was working nights.  I worked nights for years and took care of three kids but I didn't tell her that.  Then I picked up the food off the floor and put it in the garbage can;  we don't need more mice there.

I'm off today to do as I please and a massage pleases me today.  I haven't had one in months and my poor back is complaining bitterly about it.  Take the dogs for a walk.  Do some laundry.  Putter in the yard.  Nothing big or exciting but comforting just the same. 

It's a long weekend here and we are going nowhere.  There is a pool in the backyard now that looks like this.

We obviously spared no expense in making our backyard as comfortable as possible during this pandemic.  I may sit by the pool and have a Bellini this weekend.  Who knows?

I am thankful that we didn't do much socializing before this pandemic.  It's made this social distancing much easier on us than on many I imagine.  

Stay safe my friends.

Sunday, July 26, 2020

My depression has lifted and I feel human again.  It probably helps that there are blue skies again.

And this little guy, he helps far more than he'll ever know.  We had a friend and her daughter over for lunch yesterday and that was lovely as well. 

I was over at Gracie's last week to help her fill in forms and find cockroaches.  I didn't find any cockroaches but I did find mouse droppings under her fridge and in her stove.  Not the best housekeeper obviously.  The strange thing was she told me that if she had a girl she would have named her Gracie.  Too strange.

Live goes one.  Today we take Miss Katie out for a walk and lunch and shopping if she needs anything.  My son and his new wife will see our grandson this afternoon for an hour.  My son got married yesterday.  I hope and pray that it works out for everyone.  The new woman already has three children and one more on the way.  Seems like a recipe for disaster but what do I know?  Well I do have a lot of experience with my son but I also hope that he changes his behavior. 

Work on Friday was better than it's been in awhile which helped.  I was ready to quit last week.  I did speak to my manager and she listens and tries to make things better which is more than our previous managers ever did. 

I'm trying to avoid news of tRump and his hatred and ignorance.  That's helped as well.  It seems we're getting used to the coronavirus, or at least it's not new anymore.  I wear a mask when I go into stores and use the hand sanitizer in my car when I'm done.  I'll probably still end up catching it but I would like to put that off for as long as possible.

Stay safe my friends.

Thursday, July 23, 2020

This week I worked the late shift at work which means go to work with the big guy and then hanging around for an hour and half until my shift starts.  I don't mind it, I go for a nice long walk by the river usually, but it does make for a long day.  And this past week at work has been brutally busy.

Two days ago I had a young patient, twenty-eight years old with an extremely rare type of cancer.  His poor mother looked shell shocked and he seemed apart from himself somehow which is understandable.  Only six weeks ago he was a healthy young man who ran ultra marathons and rock climbed who is now missing part of his liver and starting chemo.

Yesterday there was a youngish patient, only forty-four, who looked like he was dying.  His wife thought so too because she couldn't stop crying when she came down with him for his chest x-ray.  I helped the x-ray tech position the patient because the patient was too weak to do it himself.

And another lady who was ninety-two and still ticking over, in spite of her cancer.

I've started IVs on young people and old people, on men and women, on people with all different types of cancers and all of those patients are wearing masks.  And I wear a mask all day at work which is hot and unpleasant and makes me thirsty, but it protects my patients.

And then I go on Facebook and have to listen to people complaining about their fucking rights and how it's just a hoax and masks don't matter and OMG people, grow up already!

There are worse things than having to wear a mask when you go out to get your groceries or buy a pair of pants.  You could have lung cancer, even though you never smoked a day in  your life.  Or could have a glioblastoma that is killing you and you have five children under the age of ten at home.

Work is hard right now.  Do more with less.  Our patients always need more.  They need someone to listen to them, someone to be kind to them, someone to be gentle with them.  It's so sad but I truly feel like a cog in a wheel, insignificant, just do your job.  But my job is more than just starting IVs, it's about listening to the young woman with five kids while I start her IV and remembering her name half an hour later when she's leaving and treating her like a human being who matters because she does matter.

I feel like I don't matter.  I feel like none of us matter.  On Tuesday I went for my lunch break an hour and a half late.  Doesn't sound like a big deal but it is.  It's disrespect.  We don't have enough staff to do all the work that is required of us and I don't want to leave patients waiting for hours.  Yesterday I cut my lunch short to make sure the line patient I had at one wouldn't have a late start.  He was a young man, 3200 km from home, waiting for a stem cell transplant.  He matters.

All of my patients matter but nurses don't seem to matter which hurts.  This pandemic is eating away at my sanity.  The big guy says stop reading the news which would be helpful but I also want to know what's going on.  I'm tired of stupid too because right now there is a lot of stupid floating around in the world.  There's also a lot of selfish floating around in the world too.  All of us are selfish at times but right now, my god, it's too much.

So I'm tired and bitchy and hot, three of the seven menopausal dwarfs.  Not sure what the other four are, fat, forgetful, sleepy and sweaty I guess.  Apparently I'm all seven of the menopausal dwarfs.

Something beautiful I saw on my walk before work this week because life for me isn't all bad, just parts of it suck at times.

Last weekend the big guy and the little guy behind our house enjoying themselves.

I feel better for venting.  Today I clean and then relax.  The windows are all open and I can hear a blue jay in the back yard.

As my friend would have said, "Always look on the bright side of life."  I think she always did.

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Some photos the big guy took while on holidays.  A yellow warbler, I think.

A hawk, I'm going to go with Swainson's hawk here but please correct me if I'm wrong.

 Pelicans I can identify.

Life continues on at a snail's pace.  Could be worse though, right?  We could be related to tRump.

Friday, July 17, 2020

Big sky country indeed.  The view towards Waterton National Park from Police Outpost Provincial Park.

I finished our quilt yesterday which felt good and I put my sewing machine away until the fall. 

We took the dogs for a quick walk after I picked up the big guy from work.  The sky was threatening so we only walked halfway and back.  We had quite the storm last evening.  When it gets hot here, the weather gets bad. 

I'm feeling slightly better which is good.  I'm trying to remember that I have no control over the behavior of others, just my own actions.  I'm trying to remember to breathe.  I'm trying to make it through each day. 

It's sunny today so I've planned on treating myself to a drive and a chance to take photos, something I rarely do by myself.  I always have a list of things to do which gets shorter and longer and shorter and longer.  I cross things off and then add new things.  None of these lists will matter when I'm dead of course.

I was on Elizabeth's blog this morning and she was writing about her daughter's seizures.  I imagine she's always waiting.  Waiting for a seizure, waiting to see how long the seizure is, waiting to see how severe the seizure is, waiting to see if Sophie survives the seizure.  Endless waiting.  She's done this for twenty-five years. 

The pandemic feels like this endless waiting too.  It's a heavy burden for Elizabeth to bear and she does bear it with grace and wit and dark humor.  Now with this pandemic, we all know a little of what Elizabeth has faced for the past twenty-five years.

A friend of mine in Australia, a friend from my teenage years, is waiting too.  Her husband has been diagnosed with lymphoma and they are waiting for pathology reports and waiting for CT scans and waiting for a treatment plan. 

So I guess I can buck up and learn to wait and accept with equanimity because there are no other choices.  I've tried them all, anger, denial, bargaining, depression and it's gotten me nowhere.  And now there is a pandemic.  I always want to control things.  I have no control over a pandemic or how others react to this.  I wash my hands, I wear a mask in public, I limit my interactions with others and that's all I can do. 

With my son I have set boundaries that he can no longer cross and that's all I can do.  I need to accept.  The universe is a tough teacher and tenacious, but what about me?  Can I learn?  Can I unlearn?  That's the real question, isn't it?

Thursday, July 16, 2020

After the fire. 

Mother nature knows what she's doing.  Three years ago there was a huge fire in Waterton National Park.  The dead trees still stand, future nourishment for the forest.  Wild flowers have sprung up with the canopy gone.  Most of the green you see in the photo is fireweed, waiting to bloom in August.  The yellow flowers are arnica, a poisonous plant, related to sunflowers.  Mother nature doesn't fuck around.  Already there are pines that are a foot tall, released from their pinecones by the heat of the fire.

Depression lingers here.  My brain and I are engaged in an old struggle, rational thought versus long held beliefs, or ruts as I like to think of them.  Brains can be rewired, ruts can be avoided, but it's difficult work, especially when I'm tired from depression and news and pandemics. 

It will pass.  The sun will shine again, blah, blah, blah.  At the moment though, I feel more like the dead trees still standing than the bright yellow arnica around their feet.

Monday, July 13, 2020

I'm off work this week, using up my holidays.  Last week was hard.  How many times have I written that?  Too many I'm thinking. 

Gracie has started a job and we're helping out with the little guy so we had him four evenings for supper, plus work, plus I'm not young anymore.  She does appreciate the help though and I'm glad she found a job.  She's working in a transition home that houses homeless people with mental illnesses and addictions.  She likes the work so good on her. 

My son is getting married in two weeks and now we know that his girlfriend is also pregnant.  I can't do this again.  My son paid one month of child support and then hasn't paid any since.  He's mad right now because we arranged for him to see his son at the park and visit with him.  He showed up late and we didn't wait for him because we're both done with being disrespected.  His last text to me was, "Court it is!". 

Which brings to me last Friday when I drove Gracie downtown to put a protective order in place for her.  We got the royal run around because of COVID, but it's now in place.  If my son shows up at her house, calls her or her family, he will be arrested.  Not only did Gracie have to relive the trauma that has has happened to her in the past two years with my son, but I got to as well.  It was awful, hearing the things he's done.  It broke me for a couple of days. 

And now there is court for the protection order and court for custody.  I weep for my grandson.

I don't even know my son anymore.  I have to finally accept that he is not the little boy I once loved.  He has become something else.  I looked up sociopath which has been renamed antisocial personality disorder and I recognized my son.  Then I think back to things that happened during his childhood and it starts to make sense. 

When my son was six years old I found him and a neighbor girl in the garage;  he had a rope around her neck and was trying to strangle her.  When he was seven he was stealing things from the neighbors, watches, money.  When he was eleven he started a fire in the house.  When he was fourteen he started drinking and doing drugs.  When he was sixteen he gave his best friend a concussion by knocking him out with a punch.  Nothing changes his behavior. 

He is charming and good looking.  He manipulates people, especially women.  He never stops lying, ever.  He  never changes his behavior.  I could go on but if you look up sociopath, Wikipedia, it pretty much describes my son. 

So yesterday I felt the black dog of depression heavy on me, dragging me down.  It's still there but not so bad today. 

A week away from work will help.

Sounds like a good week to work in my garden.

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Life is in the shitter right now and I have no energy to write.

Blanket flower, so named because it used to blanket the prairies.

Not sure what this is, maybe hawkweed.

Wild rose.


That's all I got.  Stay safe my friends.

Monday, July 6, 2020

I cracked a piece of my tooth off last week and this morning I had it fixed.  I don't like going to the dentist and I may have screamed and cried when the needle went in.  The tooth is fixed and my face is still frozen enough that I can't really talk so I called my boss, who thought it was hilarious when I tried to talk to her, and told her I was going home.

I can't remember the last time I screamed from a needle, maybe when Katie was born.

While we were on holidays we got a text from my son's girlfriend telling us that they were getting married on July 25th which was a surprise.  And then about a week later my son texted me to let me know that his wife to be, is having a baby in the fall.  I don't trust my son at all, so I guess we wait and see what happens.

Now my son wants his big, happy family.  He wants his son to be a part of his new family.  Needless to say Gracie is losing her shit and she doesn't even know about the new baby coming.  Sigh.

I'm kinda done with everyone's drama.  Becoming a hermit sounds inviting right now.

I think I'll take Heidi for a walk instead.

Saturday, July 4, 2020

 Miss Katie had her birthday party today and she had so much fun.  She loved having her nephew there and she laughed and laughed and laughed. 

When my baby girl is happy, I'm happy.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

The Sweet Grass Hills of Montana in the distance.

The Sweet Grass Hills of Montana in the distance and Writing on Stone Provincial Park in the foreground.  This area is a sacred place for the First Nations peoples of this area who have inhabited the area for around 9000 years.  From Wikipedia...

Other First Nations groups such as the Shoshone also travelled through the valley and may have also created some of the art. These carvings and paintings tell of the lives and journeys of those who created them, and of the spirits they found here. The towering cliffs and hoodoos had a powerful impact on the native visitors, who believed these were the homes of powerful spirits. The shelter of the coulees and the abundance of game and berries made the area that is now the park an excellent location for these nomadic people to stop on their seasonal migrations. While the greatest use of the area was made by those in transit, there is some evidence, including tipi rings and a medicine wheel, that there was some permanent settlement here.

The area was so beautiful and peaceful and awe inspiring.  The center of the photo is the Milk River Valley and the Milk River, where there are cottonwoods and camping and a beach.  Apparently the First Nations peoples appreciated the cottonwood trees.  They are hardy trees that survive in Alberta and are underappreciated I think.

Except for two rain storms the skies were sunny all day, we saw deer and antelope and never heard a discouraging word:)

It was a good break from the pandemic.  Back in the real world, two of my coworkers were losing it yesterday.  One nurse, the one who drives my crazy, was saying she was going to divorce her husband.  Apparently he has a runny nose, like he gets every year at this time because of allergies, and he decided to get a COVID test and now has to self isolate until he gets the results, and their son is getting married on Saturday.  She was beside herself and I suggested that instead if divorcing him, she just push him down the stairs.  She laughed and said they don't have enough stairs in their house. 

The other coworker is an xray tech who is normally grumpy anyway but he was having a hissy fit over the regular shit at work.  Everyone is worn down, myself included.  The pandemic has added a thick layer of stress overtop all the other stresses that we deal with everyday anyway.

I had a lovely surprise last night as I lay in bed, a phone call from the other side of the world.  My girlfriend from Australia called me and we talked for almost an hour an a half.  We laughed, talked seriously, were silly, nostalgic and and then laughed some more.  It was a boon, for both of us I think.  We have known each other since we were teenagers.  She was the beautiful, sophisticated one and I was the weirdly, awkward girl.  Now we're both just in our fifties and still friends.

And today as I sit here I have the back door open, listening to the rain come down.  It hasn't stopped raining since we got home and the back yard is green and lush.  Our grandson is coming over in an hour and he'll spend the day and the night with us.  Gracie starts a job tomorrow so I'll take the little guy to daycare and pick him up.  In spite of everything, life goes on.