Saturday, July 29, 2023

It was a busy week at work and I'm still tired.  Jack is still awful when we pick him up from his mother's.  Gracie's sister is still in denial about the effect Gracie is having on Jack.  We wait for Gracie to start drinking again.  It will happen, sadly.

Below is the park behind our house.  They're digging it up to build a Francophone school.  The neighborhood kids can't go to it, only children from Francophone homes.  Ninety percent of the children will be bussed in and the neighborhood park is gone.  Progess?

I saw this lily when I was out for a walk with Charlie.  It was huge, the flower larger than both hands put together.

A seal pup from our trip in June, left on the beach for safekeeping as it's mother went off to hunt.  I find it shocking how good the camouflague is.  My husband almost stepped on it.

A bald eagle we came across on our trip, in Clayoquot Sound.


Tuesday, July 25, 2023

That's me and my dad.  I was born when my dad was forty-two, so not really young anymore.  Between my sisters and me, there are five dead babies.  My sisters were born in '47 and I was born in '62.  The last counselor that I saw asked me about my family and when I told her the story, she surprised me and said, your parents must have been so happy to have you.  I never thought of it like that and certainly growing up I never felt that my family was happy to have me.  I always felt like the odd one out.  But when I'm looking at old photos, there are a lot of photos of me and my dad and maybe they were happy when I was born, alive and healthy.

Right now I'm reading a book called "It Didn't Start With You" by Mark Wolynn.  The books is about inherited trauma and epigenetics, and how those things can affect us today.  As science progresses, we're finding out that there is more to DNA than we first thought, and that our environment and experiences can affect our DNA; our DNA doesn't change but the genes expressed in our DNA can change due to methylation and demethylation.  These changes can also be passed along to our children and grandchildren.  The book includes various ways of dealing with traumas, but I'm not that far into the book yet.

My father was an angry, depressed, scared man.  He grew up with an alcoholic mother, in extreme poverty.  He went to war in 1939, as a young man and came home with PTSD, I'm guessing.  One of my sisters almost died when she was twelve years old, hit by a truck.  He was angry for as long as I knew him, thirty-seven years.  He pushed everybody but mum away from him.  There was no tenderness left in him for his children.  As far as he was concerned, the world was a dangerous place and it was his job to keep his children safe.  Sadly, his idea of safe was total control.  I'm sure he thought that if he could just control everything, nothing else bad would happen.  You can imagine how well that worked.

When my dad died, my mum told me that I was favorite, which was a shock to me.  I felt like I was his greatest disappointment.  I have much more compassion for my father now, twenty-three years after his death.  I know now that my father loved me, as best he could.  For the last couple of nights I have been visualizing my father holding me as a small baby, keeping me safe.  I repeat, my father loved me, over and over.  I cry, but it also feels good.  My father loved me.  I never knew.  I wish I could talk to him now, but it does bring me comfort to say these words to myself.  

I look around at my broken, hurting family and I see the same things over and over.  Alcoholism, disappointment, depression, anxiety and anger.  It breaks my heart to think that Jack and even his children, will be affected by the things that I have done, long before he was even born.  I see my own son struggle and that breaks my heart too.  My son is part indigenous and his grandmother was forced to attend a residential school, so much trauma and on both sides of the family.  My son's biological father is a sociopath and an alcoholic, and his father before him was an abusive alcoholic.  And then I expand my thinking to include the world and all of the awful things we do as humans, to each other; the wars, the racism, the poverty, the hatred and the inequities in this world, all of these things will affect not only the people already born, but future generations as well.  And I wonder, when will it end?  Can we ever make it better?

It all seems too much.  But if I can make a difference in myself, for Jack, maybe that will help. I hope so. 

Friday, July 21, 2023

Really not much going on around here.  It's so hot here.  We took Charlie to the dog park this morning, along with Jack.  After lunch we went to the spray park to cool off.  Jack had a great time, bouncing back and forth between the cold of the spray park and the heat of playground. We had supper outside and Jack got to play with his friend from next door.  Our neighbors sold their house and are moving in two weeks, to a trailer out at a lake.  We've been invitied out but I can't see myself driving 121 kms, one way, for a visit, so he won't be seeing much of his friend anymore sadly (another loss for him).

Jack's having a hard time right now, lots of tantrums, screaming, crying and he even slapped both my husband and me today.  He's hasn't been this bad since he was taken into foster care almost two years ago.  He's been spending nights with his mom again, something we didn't know about or agree to.  Gracie's younger sister, she's thirty, knows better apparently.  Gracie has no job and has mananged to remain sober for three months, maybe, but she's doing so good (says Gracie's sister, who lied to us about where Jack was spending his nights).  She doesn't seem to understand what credibility is, that not lying is pretty much at the top of the list for being credible.    

Same old shit that I'm so fucking tired of.  

At least dogs don't lie.



Monday, July 17, 2023

I'm finally starting to feel better and slept until 9am this morning, three hours longer than usual.  I didn't have a car because I slept so long, so I took Charlie for a walk through the neighborhood.  We're not far from Highway 21.  In the second photo, you can see the fence that separates a neighborhood and the highway.  There is a lovely, wild green space between the houses and the fence which Charlie and I found this morning, as well as actual trails.

Parts of Sherwood Park are built on wetlands and there is an extensive, interconnected web, of small stormwater lakes and wetlands which protect against flooding.  We have three of these small lakes/wetlands within walking distance.  The county leaves the areas as natural as possible so there are lots of birds, plants, trees and small animals, sometimes large animals too.  Once in awhile a moose has been known to get stuck in the neighborhood.  My point is, it's lovely to walk through the trails, listening to the birds, watching the progression of flowers as the season progresses.  Blue asters will be blooming soon enough, which means fall is not that far away.  

I've had a sore throat for eleven days, probably the worst sore throat I've ever had, until the next one, of course:)  It's much better this morning and I feel human again.  I tested negative for both covid and strep, so a viral infection of some sort (thanks Jack).  He bounced back much more quickly than I did of course.

I'm off work this week so my friend and I are going out to visit the Skaro Shrine, a grotto built by pioneers to honour the Virgin Mary.  It's very important to her and there is an anual pilgrimmage to the shrine every August 14th.  I've been there once but not with her and I'm looking forward to visiting the shrine with her.  

Other than that, not much planned for the week.  Puttering in the garden and the house.  Walking the dogs.  Jack comes back on Wednesday.  My middle daughter is in Iceland this week with her father and fiancĂ©.  I'm looking forward to what she has to say about the country and the countryside and I'm not jealous at all.


Saturday, July 15, 2023

Several months back, Jack and I were in Walmart and he wanted to buy flower seeds, so we did.  He picked out lavatera.  Only one plant survived, for many different reasons, but it's in full bloom right now and he was amazed by the flowers.

Charlie and Heidi are getting along famously, so well in fact, that the grass is being destroyed by their playfighting and perennials are been smashed as they run through the garden.  Sigh.  We took both of the dogs to the dog park this morning, along with Jack.  There is a penned area for dogs who are small or still learning and it's usually empty.  I usually take Charlie there to begin with to run off some of his energy because he still doesn't have great recall.  He comes when he's ready and not before.

This morning there was a group of five or six dogs outside the pen running laps with Charlie on the inside.  He's so fast and the dogs love it, none of the dogs can keep up to Charlie.  He's fast and I think he just loves running.  Good exercise for all of the dogs involved.

I've still got a sore throat and still don't feel well.  The sore throat is the worst though.  The other night I had to take something for the pain, it was that bad.  I'll live but it's unpleasant.


Sunday, July 9, 2023

On Friday night after work, we took Jack to emergency.  His breathing was too fast, heart rate was too fast, he'd a fever off and on, and was complaining of a sore neck.  Long story short, he is normal sick the doc said.  His lungs, ears and throat were fine, make sure he gets plenty of fluids.  Three nights of muscial beds and crappy sleeps, he's feeling better today and went off to see his mama.

I took the dogs for a very early morning walk to the dog park, at 6:30am, we were all up at five anyway.  It was lovely and cool and there was only one other dog there, and a coyote yipping away on the other side of the fence.  Then I took Jack to his mama's and drove to pick up Katie.  That's when whatever Jack had, hit me.  I managed to have a little lunch with Katie and I told her I was sick.  She was so sweet and was rubbing my back while I drove her home.

I came home and slept for four hours.  I never nap.  Hopefully I'll feel better tomorrow.  Sore throat, heachace, sneezing, coughing, fever, congestion and the snot from hell.  A cold.  I have a cold.

Thursday, July 6, 2023

Nothing much going on around here.  I took myself to the Beaver Hills Biosphere the other day, by myself.  I had very few opportunities to take photos while on holidays and I thought the Biosphere would oblige, but it did not (it wasn't the ocean or the mountains).  There was a lot of dogbane in bloom though, which I always like.

I have stopped taking the pepcid, mostly, and tried using tums as much as possible but my reflux is getting worse.  I finally made an appointment with my new doctor but I dread whatever will happen.  All of the drugs used to reduce stomach acid have the same side effect of exacerbating depression.  Sigh.  I am such a picky eater but I will have to find a way to change my diet that will make things better because what I'm doing isn't working.

It is funny though isn't it?  How we keep doing the same things, expecting different results?  Just hoping things will change, but don't.  Real change requires effort and discomfort and conflict even, all things which I dislike and even fear (the conflict bit).  

The other day I parked in a handicapped spot, I was out with Katie and her wheelchair, a man parked beside me in the other handicapped spot, but he had no handicapped placard.  I thought about saying something to him but just walked away.  I'm tired of being the police of good behavior.  I bust my ass trying to be a good person and others barely lift a finger.  Last week, while I was away on holiday, two of my coworkers (both slackers with a long history of calling in sick without being sick) called in sick all week before the long weekend and left their coworkers short staffed.  I guess all that I can do is not be an asshole myself, which at times is difficult, I must say.

I guess I'm not alone:)

On the upside, our new dog Charlie is lovely and affectionate.  He also loves to run and runs like the wind.

Note, this is not his ball.

Off to walk the dogs.