Sunday, May 30, 2021

Miss Katie actually looking at the camera.  That's how she prefers to wear her mask.

I've changed my blog site and name because my middle daughter found the site and was angry that I had posted an old photo of her on it.  On Friday she was doing an online audit, which I didn't even know was a thing, and when she googled my name she came across a comment I had left on someone's blog back in 2015 which brought her to my site.

She's applying at tech companies, I didn't know that, did the online audit, I didn't know that, and was upset with me, I got that part.  How she went about it was not that nice but I'm not about to give up blogging because I enjoy it and it helps.  So, a new site and a new name.  I liked being Lily, now I'm Pixie which I should have thought about more before deciding on that name but there you go.

My middle daughter and I just don't mesh well.  She's been angry with me for such a long time;  she doesn't like me which is painful to write but true sadly.  She is an unhappy young woman who believes that if she makes a lot of money, then she will be happy.  I hope one day she figures out that what she wants and needs is already inside her but if she's like me, and she is, it will take her a long time.  She prefers to blame me and my exhusband for her unhappiness.

I lay in bed last taking an inventory of myself, good and bad.  I tried to find a balance and did for the most part.  I'm stubborn, inflexible, judgemental, a control freak and I have anger issues.  On the upside, I'm compassionate, kind, hardworking, empathetic and I have a wicked sense of humor.  I'm much more patient than I ever used to be and less impulsive.  I don't like looking at my flaws but I do.  I would prefer to be a gentle, kind soul who was always calm but that's not me. I get angry, especially when I see inequities.  So all in all, deeply human, a mixed bag.  I fell asleep without obessing about my daughter, a win for me.

Today is my last day of holidays, more time in the garden, another dog walk, some time with Jack and then back into the fray.

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Heidi looking pensive.  The big guy and I had a long talk last night.  He always reads my blog which is helpful because I often can't articulate what's going on inside my head, it only comes out when I write it down.  He pointed out how negative I can be on my blog which is true.  He asked why I don't write about the good things.  To my mind the good things aren't a problem and I write to sort out problems, so my writing is heavy on the negative side, although he says I am heavy on the negative side in real life too.  I do know that I have many wonderful things in my life and I am thankful for that.

I'm planning on working in the garden all day today.  I enlarged my front flower bed this spring and I've been working on that, planting and moving plants, digging up sod and trying to decide what I want growing there.  Gardening takes times so it will be a few years before the front garden has filled in to what I imagine I want it to look like in my mind.  

This is how I would like my front garden to look.  Of course the reality is that I live in a northern city with a short summer season and many perennials don't survive, but the ones that do survive, I can plant multiples of and I'm starting to do that.  

Last fall I planted allium and they've all come up.  This fall I'm going to plant more bulbs.  I love allium, fritillaria, hyacinths and tulips.   This spring I planted sunflowers for Jack, short ones and the really tall ones so that he can be amazed by them.  Ferns and hostas do surprisingly well here and I keep moving around the ones that volunteer themselves.  I have a pulmonaria which reminds me of my mum which I'll divide up and encourage.  This year I bought myself a peony, same thing, reminds me of my mum.  One of my favorite flowers is daisies and I'm trying to start some from seed this year.   You can buy daisies, and I have, but none of them are as tall as I want and the seeds supposedly are.  We'll see. 

When we first moved to the house I planted a couple of hydrangea bushes but they struggle every year so I'll cut them back hard.  Dogwood does much better here and the red twigs are beautiful in the snow all winter.  I have one I can move.  Nine bark also does very well here and I love the bright green foliage.  I also had a clematis that was hidden behind a huge dogwood, so I dug that up and moved it to where I can see it.

When mum was alive we always spent time in the garden.  I think it's where she was happiest.  I know I'm happy in my garden

Gardens are like life.  There is the garden you imagine and the garden that you can actually have, dependent on your climate, soil and time.  Time and effort are required for the garden I want.  I can do that.   

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Jack helping me in the garden a few weeks ago.  Last weekend he was quite helpful while I planted my pole beans.  I poked a hole in the soil and he put the seed in. 

He also likes to water.

I picked up Jack last night from Gracie's place because she is working today.  He stays with us overnight and we take him to daycare in the morning because she starts work before the daycare opens.  I had told her that I would be there at 6:30 pm and I was.  I just walked over there;  it's not far.  

When I got there and rang the doorbell there was no answer so I rang again.  Finally Gracie appeared at the door;  she was either drunk or on ativan, not sure which but she gets weird and I can spot it now. She had been sleeping and Jack was still sleeping.  She woke him up and he started crying.  His hands and face were covered in red paint and he hadn't eaten any supper.  Gracie wanted me to look at the bike she had bought him while poor Jack was crying.  I bundled him into his buggy and walked home with him.  

He was upset and hungry when we got back to our place,  but he wouldn't eat anything and only wanted milk in his bottle.  I gave him a bath and washed the paint off and once again he had a horrible diaper rash.  I was angry at Gracie.  I was very angry at Gracie.  Angry that she's still the better choice as a parent for poor Jack.  Did I mention I don't like alcoholics.  I know it's a disease.  I know it's difficult.  I know it's how those people are dealing with their pain and their trauma but my trauma came at the hands of alcoholics. 

I'm better this morning but I still might like to punch her in the throat.  It's the diaper rash that gets me.  It hurts him, scalds his poor little balls and would make me miserable as hell.  It breaks my heart everytime.  I have talked to her many times about this, even yelled at her once.  She has cream, she has diapers but she doesn't like poop.  It's yucky.  What did she think would happen when she had a baby?  That she would get a self cleaning one?  

I don't really say much to her, the big guy is better at talking to her.  I have basically zero diplomatic skills and can't stand listening to bullshit.  I also have a face that shows every emotion I feel.  She's trying, I know, but her trying just really sucks sometimes.  She'll be fine for a week, seem normal, everything is good and then she tips over into trashy mama, dirty kid, unfed and unbathed, filthy house with Jack picking up stuff off the floor to eat that's been there for awhile.

I'm hoping we can keep him again tonight.  I'm off all week to work in the garden, do my spring cleaning and burn some holidays.  

I feel better getting this stuff out.  It can't be fixed.  Jack loves his mama and she loves him.  Some of the time she's a good mom.  We have no rights and we are allowed to be in his life because of his mom.  I will not jeopardize our relationship with him so I keep my mouth shut and tell Jack that nana loves him very much.  

Monday, May 24, 2021

The snow has melted and the flowers are blooming.  This is a bloom on our ornamental pear tree.

I had a horrible dream last night about a serial rapist, although the rapist was convinced he was doing a good deed.  He was the groundskeeper for an apartment complex of older women and regularly raped the older women there, every one of them.  I moved into the building but because I was only thirty years old he told me that I would have to wait until I was older.  Then I was in the shower and there was a window in the shower.  I looked out and I could see the guy and he saw me.  I quickly closed the curtains but when I turned around he was in the bathroom opening the shower curtain.  For some reason I had a bathrobe on and I started screaming and making a lot of noise which made him reconsider.  

Then a twelve year old girl was raped and all hell broke loose because they were okay with the older women being raped but not a twelve year old girl.  I don't know what happened in the end;  the dream just ended.

In my lifetime I have been sexually assaulted a number of times.  When I was a young woman, a guy wouldn't let me out of his car and I cannot remember what happened, other than he wouldn't let me out of the car, even though I kept asking.  When I was nanny, out walking the little girl I was taking care of, in a public park, a guy ran up behind me and pulled down my pants.  A doctor at work said he could help me with my back pain, took me into an office, undid my bra and put his hands on my breasts.  It was all so surreal.  My ex- husband tried to rape me one night when he was extremely drunk and I had a house full of kids for a sleepover so he knew I wouldn't yell at him.  I got away from him and of course he didn't remember anything.

I wonder if my own daughter has ever been sexually assaulted which is a thought that breaks my heart.  

Right now at work a group of us have made a complaint against our medical director, a man.  The group is predominately women, only one man has put down his name.  It's now in the hands of more men, directors and such, and will be sent to the College of Physicians and Surgeons, more men.  The findings will be kept confidential because apparently that's the best way to deal with problems, not make them public, sweep them under the carpet.  Wonder who made up that rule?  

And as I write this I'm starting to see a connection between my dream and reality, the feeling of powerlessness.  Men still make the rules and I wonder why I still accept this.  I wonder why women in general still accept this and I feel angry and sad.  What the fuck did women ever do to men to make them treat us less than?  Which is the wrong question.  What is wrong with men that they think it's okay to treat women like this?  

When we made our complaint last Monday, I went in and talked to our manager, a young woman, who has been the best manager we've ever had, to give her a heads up.  She has pored her blood, sweat and I'm sure tears, into our department, trying to make it a better place to work.  She wanted to know what she had done wrong.  I told her that this is not about her, this is about our medical director.  This is not her problem or her behavior.  This is about a man who has power and uses it to bully people.  Why do we do this as women?  Take on the blame for the actions of others?  

I'm tired of it.  I'm fifty-eight years old.  I need to speak up.

Friday, May 21, 2021

We had snow here on Tuesday, a fair bit of snow and some of it is still here.  It's been below 0C at night this week but my plants are hanging in there.  Some of the plants have been covered with sheets or towels and some of the plants are hanging out in my kitchen.

I've been thinking a lot about why people don't change their minds, not even when faced with facts.  I've never understood it, not even in myself.  I try to be open minded but I know I have beliefs which defy logic.  Apparently a lot of research has been done on this subject by pyschologists.

Why people won't change their minds.  The full article is here.

1. We are pack animals.

2. Most of the time what learn from others is reliable.

3. Many fixed ideas are self congratulatory.

4. Changing our attitudes and ideas is likely to imply that we should change our behavior.

5. Perception is so malleable...believing is seeing.

Yesterday we had a nursing meeting about teaching patients pre procedure and what I discovered is that what I teach is not a good idea, or at least that was my take away from the meeting.  Nobody said that but I also know that I'm the only one that mentions wires and dilators in my teaching.  A third party watched us all teach patients pre-procedure and as a non medical person she wasn't comfortable with the inclusion of medical details.  It made her feel uncomfortable.  It makes me feel comfortable because of how I am but I can see how it might scare or intimidate non medical people (pretty much all of our patients).  I didn't say a lot in the meeting but I did say that one of the biggest problems in our department is the phrase, "Well that's how we've always done it.", which I apparently am just as guilty of as well.

We have a chance to change how we teach and I want to embrace it but I also have to look at my own teaching methods and change my behavior which is hard.  I'm getting better at it.  I used to believe that if I changed how I did things it would mean that what I've done is the past was all wrong, a mistake.  What I believe now is that when I know better, I do better.  Change doesn't mean that the past was wrong, it means that we know more now, we can still learn, we can change and do better.  That was difficult and even now I have to catch myself from feeling bad about the past.

When I started working in my department there were no teaching materials.  Everything we have now is stuff I developed on my own without direction from any managers.  It was better than nothing.  And now they want to change my teaching materials and I feel somewhat bereft.  But I also believe that standardized teaching methods are better for patients so I want to embrace this going forward.  It's tough because I believed what I was doing was the right way to do things.  But really, there are many ways to do things and what's important is, patient's getting the information they need.

I can see this playing out in the world right now.  People who believe there is a pandemic and people who don't believe.  People who believe that vaccinations work and people who believe it's about control.  What I also learned while reading this morning is that when people doubt their beliefs, they become more entrenched in defending their beliefs which explains a lot about the polarization of the world right now.  Things are changing.  People are scared.  Lets stick to what we know.  I don't want to change.  It's too scary.  

So I will embrace the changes coming in our teaching.  I will scale back the medical terminology, focus on what patients will feel during their procedure, not why they feel the sensations.  I will adapt and stop defending my previous teaching methods because I can do better and also because this is not about me, this is about my patients.  

Saturday, May 15, 2021

It was a beautiful day here on Thursday.  I worked in the yard pulling weeds, planting carrots, seeding the parts of the lawn that the dogs have killed and expanding a flower bed in the front yard.  I mostly avoided housework and took Heidi for a walk at the dog park.  

My son has been leaving me alone which I'm thankful for.  

Our medical director must have been spoken to again but because he's being almost human.  He is a deeply unhappy, angry man who bullies everyone.  I know his anger comes from fear but it's also ruining our department.  He doesn't bother me too much anymore as he knows my husband and I'm sure he's physically afraid of my husband.  I don't call him the big guy for nothing.  My husband is also responsible for keeping the equipment running in our department, so he is indispensable;  so basically, don't fuck with the big guy's wife, which is sad because people should be treated with respect just because.  I do a good job.  I'm an excellent nurse and not a single other radiologist or patient has ever complained about me.  I'm not the problem.

It was very busy yesterday but not crazy thank goodness.  I had one older lady who was so sweet.  She's a farmer and her veins are so difficult to get into.  It took us six tries and I finally got it on the sixth try.  We warmed her arms for over an hour, she drank almost 2 litres of water and I finally was able to get a tiny IV catheter in.  She was gracious and understanding.

It's a lot different working in a cancer hospital.  People are generally there because they want help.  They are generally patient and kind.  They help each other, discuss treatments amongst themselves, compare notes, support each other and laugh. 

The sun is shining today and it's supposed to be warm all day.  I'm going to work in the garden and soak in the sunshine.  Later I'll take the dogs for a walk and maybe we'll have a fire outside this evening.  No drama today.  Peace and quiet.  

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Unsettled sky at the dog park.

We went to court again today about my son's visits with Jack.  My son didn't show up despite several attempts by the court to reach him by phone.  My husband and I had already decided to stop supervising his visits.  The judge agreed to supervised visits by a third party agency.  This agency is unbiased and he would have to pay in advance for his visits.  The matter is now adjourned sine dei, without any future date.

Both Gracie's parents and my husband and I have to tried to accomodate my son for the past two years but nothing is ever resolved and in fact continues to degenerate.  My son has a long criminal record which includes drug dealing, drug addiction, weapons charges, driving under the influence, driving without a license, driving without insurance, domestic violence and there is probably other stuff I don't know about it.  We all agreed, including the judge, that he should not have unsupervised visits with Jack.  

I don't know what this means for the future but for now Jack is safe.  I know my son's violence can escalate when he doesn't get what he wants and I warned Gracie to call the police immediately if my son should show up at her place.  I made her promise and she did.  

Then I took the Heidi for a nice long walk.  Poor Lucy is still recovering from something rattling through her belly.  She's had bloody diarrhea for a few days now but it's getting better.  She's probably the only beagle with a sensitive stomach.  It's my fault.  I gave her scraps which I never do and this is on me.  Her gut will right itself in about a week, poor thing.

I feel relieved, deeply relieved, that at least this one thing is resolved, for now.  My jaw has been aching since last week, worrying about today's court date.  

And this is why we've been doing this for the past two years, this little guy and his brilliant laugh.


Sunday, May 9, 2021

My mother's hands.

My mum was born in England, almost a hundred years ago now.  She was a great believer in the benefits of fresh air, long walks and hot baths.  She also loved birds.  On Mother's day I usually bought her a plant or plants.  She loved gardening and I inherited that love of gardening from her.  Our favorite outings were to garden centres.  Everytime we visited each other, when she still lived in her own home, we walked around the garden first, looking for new growth.  I miss that the most.

We took Jack for his visit with his father yesterday.  I didn't go well.  There was a lot of shouting and swearing, by both me and my son.  He was angry because he didn't get to do as he pleased and because I served him with papers.  I was angry because he wouldn't wear a mask and because he was so aggressive and belligerent.  It lasted all of five minutes and left me shaking.  

I'm done with him.  We cannot provide supervision for his visits with Jack.  He will have to find another way.  A part of me is very sad and a part of me is very relieved.  We go to court again on Tuesday but we're done.  I have no idea what the future will be like but at this point in time I have no desire to have a relationship with my son.

I just finished reading a book last night about a sociopath called "Best Day Ever" by Kaira Rouda.  At first I didn't like but it draws you in.  It's written from the first person perspective, which is the sociopath, and it's deeply disturbing.  It's a first hand account of a person who lives without remorse, morals or a conscience.  Roughly four percent of the population is sociopathic;  they walk among us, some of them are even related to us.  

But enough about that.  Today is sunny and it's quickly warming up.  Miss Katie is coming over for a visit and then a long walk with the dogs.  Yesterday I baked a pumpkin tart and more cinnamon knots.  I'm thankful my neighbor and her kids like fresh baking.  



Wednesday, May 5, 2021

 An homage to Mr. YP which combines Easter Island and England.  

This is where I would prefer to be, anyplace else, taking photos.

Work was brutal so far this week.  One of our nurses is off waiting for Covid testing so we're short staffed.  One of our regular casusals had toe surgery and is off for a month and another regular casual just found out her sister has a brain tumor.  The sister was air lifted to Edmonton yesterday and is having surgery today, so both of these wonderful nurses were not available to help out.

Yesterday afternoon there was only me on the floor because the other nurse was in interventionals helping with a central line.  One CT tech is assigned to help us for half the day but she worked pretty much all day with us and two other techs came out to help me.  They rocked because I also had two recovery patients to take care of and we had a code blue yesterday which was only a seizure thank goodness.  I slept well last night but I'm still exhausted.

We've had Jack since last Thursday because Gracie has been working.  She came over last night and took him for an hour to the park before she had to go to work.  It was a nice break.  He goes home today after she wakes up this afternoon.  And Jack slept all night last night!  

I'm off today so I'm making more cinnamon buns, tweaking my recipe and I'll the enjoy cinnamon buns.  It's supposed to be warm today so I plan on working in the garden.  

We're back on a lockdown which makes no difference to me.  I still have to work and we don't see anybody really anyway.  I invited a coworker and her daughter over this weekend for a weiner roast but that will have to be delayed.  All of us at work are struggling with depression, fatigue, burn out.  It's been a tough go and I don't even work with covid patients.  I can't imagine how the nurses on the covid units, in ICU and ER are managing.  We have the highest rate of covid cases in North America per 100,000 right now thanks to asshole Albertans and our asshole Premier who is more worried about reelection than he is about doing what's needed.  He likes to talk about freedoms and rights but fails to recognize that alongside those rights and freedoms are duties and obligations.  Sigh.

I'm tired but okay.  We have a birdhouse in the backyard that a pair of sparrows has moved into.  It's literally right beside the bird feeder on the pergola.  Location, location, location.  The female sparrow must be deeply impressed with her new nesting site:)

I moved a clematis last weekend as it was stuck behind a huge dogwood shrub.  It now sits at the end of my garden where I can see it from the deck and from the family room.  I bought a new trellis for it, which the big guy screwed to the fence, and I'm looking forward to enjoying the purple blossoms.  The allium bulbs I planted last fall are coming up which I'm also looking forward to.  I have a small garden but I want to pack as much into it as I can.  I've planted peas, carrots and green onions in my planter boxes.  Beans, sunflowers, broccli and tomatoes will follow when the nights are frost free.

It's quiet right now which is bliss.  I was going to write about change and hearing Stacey Abrams talk in an interview but that will have to wait.  What I did take away from what she said was that change is constant, nothing is forever.  She sounds like a hopeful woman and she gave me hope.

The cinnamon buns turned out well.

Sunday, May 2, 2021

We drove down to Wetaskiwin yesterday to visit my in laws.  They're fully vaccinated and my hubby and I have both had one shot and all of our covid tests have come back negative.  I made a casserole, salad and dessert so that my mother in law didn't have to cook for us.  We haven't had a meal with them since last July.  The visit was nice and Lucy especially enjoyed the car ride.

Storm clouds on the way home.

My son continues to fuck up his life.  He didn't show up for the last two visits that he had arranged with Jack.  And yesterday someone showed up at our house to serve my son with papers in the hopes that I could pass them onto my son with the next visit.  Apparently my son hit a cyclist almost two years ago, injured the cyclist and is being sued for $400,000.  It never ends.  Instead of dealing with the consequences of his actions he has decided to never see Jack again so that I can't physically serve him with the papers.  I texted him photos of the papers.  I don't know if it's legal but I've done my bit.

I try very hard to not let it bother me but I think I grieve everytime there is new information about my son.  He went to jail for dealing drugs, grief.  He went to jail again for dealing drugs, grief.  He was arrested, grief.  Jail for domestic violence, grief.  Attacking Gracie when she was pregnant and more jail time, grief.  His failure to provide for Jack or even see Jack, grief.  Neverending lies, alcoholism and drug dependence, more grief.  And now this.  I grieve with every new instance and I need to figure out to let it go, to let go of the son I thought I had and to see him for what he really is.  

I am protecting Jack from violence and lies and chaos but sometimes it feels like I'm keeping him from a father's love, but I don't think there's really much of that.  My son cares for no one but himself and how that person can serve his self intersts, including his child.

My hubby is a wonderful poppa and male role model for Jack.  He is patient and kind and gentle.  He is even tempered and rarely gets angry, almost never.  He and Jack love each other very much and that's a good foundation for life.