Monday, 3 March 2014

Belated Update

Oh my!!!  How time has flown past so quickly.  I can't believe that I've neglected updating my blog for so long!!!

I was inspired to write this morning because I saw a blue jay hop around in my tree outside my living room window.  His blue feathers caught the glorious sunshine and he was very blue.  It reminded me of how much I enjoy nature and the birds.  It's been a long winter and we still have lots of snow.  There are robins around and I wonder how they are managing.  I've seen them and I've heard them singing but I wonder how they manage to survive with everything still deeply covered with snow.

The last time I posted, I had just come through another time of anxiety due to a lump that had been found.  Everything is fine and I have been busy working and enjoying a hectic social life.  My singing continues to improve as I'm singing in my church choir regularly again.  I went for a check up with the throat doctor and everything looked fine.  The undetermined swelling has subsided and he does not need to see me again.

At the end of January, my son surprised me with a visit home for the weekend.  My husband knew about it as he was the one that paid for the bus tickets but I did not know.  On the Friday night, I was watching television at 9:30 and I heard the front door open.  I thought it was my daughter arriving home from being out with friends but when I looked around the corner there was my son's face smiling broadly at me.  What a surprise!!!  He, of course, burst into laughter at the look of shock on my face.  We enjoyed a wonderful weekend that was much too short.  But he was back again 3 weeks later for Reading Week.  It's hard to believe that he is the majority of the way through his first year at university.  Again, all I can say is "time flies"!!

I must admit that the snow hasn't bothered me too much until lately.  We have had a lot more snowfall than in recent years.  This year is reminiscent of when I was a young child and the snow banks were very high.  I am the one who does the majority of the shovelling and I really don't mind as it is good exercise and I get my fresh air.  However, I am finding now that it is harder to lift the snow and throw it.  I am ready for the snow to melt so I can sit on my patio and listen to the birds in the morning.  That won't happen for a while though because I have 2 to 3 feet of snow covering the patio at the moment.  Today the sky is a brilliant blue with lots of sunshine.  But with the wind, it feels like -28 degrees Celsius.

February was a busy month socially for us.  My husband had a gala to attend with me at his side at the beginning of February.  Then it was Valentine's Day where we enjoyed going to a hockey game with friends and then out to hear a band from Ottawa play. The next day, we picked my son up from university and brought him back home for Reading Week.  We enjoyed our time with him.  I was blessed in that he turned 20 while he was home.  We enjoyed a family dinner out at a "posh" local restaurant.  We shared laughter and memories.  It is so nice to have the family home together.  I was just chatting about this yesterday and it is like I want to grab these moments and cling to them as they are so precious.  Of course, I can't really cling to my children as that would smother them and keep them from maturing.  But how I miss when they were younger and I used to play with them.  I find myself silently remembering how much fun I had with my children when they were small.  During the birthday dinner, we revisited some of the memories of both children and these memories brought smiles and laughter.

My daughter was always very quiet when she was small.  I remember when she was about 2 years old, she and I played hide and seek in the house while my son and husband were at school and work respectively.  While I counted, my daughter hid.  I looked in all the usual places where she would hide.  I looked behind the living room chair by the front door.  Was she there?  Nope.  I looked in my bedroom as she used to hide under the covers thinking that if she couldn't see me, then I wouldn't see her.  Was she there?  No.  I looked in the closets.  I looked in the bathtub behind the shower curtain.  I looked downstairs.  I couldn't find her.  I looked in the storage space under the stairs.  I looked everywhere and I couldn't find her.  I remember starting to feel panicky because there was nowhere else left to hide.  I had been in her room and looked under the bed.  I had looked in the closet.  I remember I started to call her name.  Silence!  I revisited her room and noticed that the door on her wardrobe was slightly ajar.  I went to close it as it was full of shelving and clothes.  There was my daughter curled up in a tight ball and crammed into a tiny space under the bottom shelf.  I was so happy to see her!!  I had been really worried!!  She was full of smiles because she had hid so well.  As I retold this at my son's birthday dinner, we all enjoyed a good laugh.

Then my son asked me to tell about the Valentine's Day when he was almost 2.  At the time we had a black lab/shepherd cross named Indy.  My son and Indy were inseparable.  It was in the afternoon and I was on the phone visiting with my mother-in-law.  I realized that things were much too quiet so I ended the call and went looking for my son.  I could hear giggles down in the basement so I went to the top of the stairs to go down.  The wooden steps were full of white/grey dust!  I took my socks off and went down in my bare feet.  You could see my footprints in the dust.  As I descended into the basement I couldn't believe my eyes!!  There was my small son and our black dog, Indy, completely covered in white wood ash!!!  My son was grabbing handfuls of cold wood ash from our bucket beside the woodstove and throwing it up into the air!  Indy was no longer a black dog but was completely white!!  My son, who has red hair, was completely white from head to toe!!!  What a mess!!! The walls, floor and furniture was completely covered with wood ash!  I remember asking what he was doing.  He answered me that he was "rolling in the soot" just like the 101 Dalmatians.  So I took our dog and put him outside on the snow-covered deck.  I would give him a bath later.  Then I took my son and carried him up the stairs to the bathtub where I stripped him.  There was wood ash in his ears, scalp and every other crevice in his body.  After his bath and multiple hair washings, I put him into clean clothes and closed the door to basement.  I would clean it the next day because it was Valentine's Day and I had a special meal to prepare for my husband.  But first I had to give the dog a bath.  Then I had to clean the bathtub to get all the wet wood ash from off the tub.  Then I had to vacuum my ashy foot prints off the carpet.  I had to cancel all my lessons in my music studio for the next 2 days while I cleaned the basement.  As I relived this memory at my son's 20th birthday dinner, we all enjoyed a good laugh.  I do remember that I could even see the humour of it at the time.  What an imagination my kids had!!

As always, I have digressed from my update.  Life is great!  When we drove our son back to university, we stopped into a Motorcycle Show in Toronto.  It motivated me to think ahead to Spring.  I'm looking forward to Spring when my husband and I can get back on his motorcycle and enjoy some day trips.  Spring...when the snow is melted away and I can start working in the garden again.  Spring...when the warmth of the sun can soak into me as I hang my laundry out on the line to dry.  It will be here soon enough.  In the meantime, while the snow is on the ground, I'm enjoying hearing the birds and the warmth of the sun as it shines into my living room and I can enjoy the warm rays because I'm not outside in the harsh cold.  I also need to get moving on putting together my Relay For Life team again this year.

I can honestly say that I am blessed with friends, family, health and a deep inner joy.  Life is great!


  1. Dear Cathy. I came across your blog while searching for side effects from R-CHOP chemotherapy. My father was diagnosed with lymphoma in early January and has just had his 3rd cycle of chemotherapy. Following a difficult time where he was hospitalised after the first two cycles, your blog has been an amazing support to know that all of the side effects and emotions he is feeling are really normal. I have printed out some parts for him to read and I know it is really helping him. Thank you for sharing your story and I wish you nothing but health and happiness for the future.

    1. Hi Sinead. Thank you for dropping by my blog. I am sorry to hear that your father is going through R-CHOP. I'm glad that my blog is helping him to cope. I remember that rounds 3 and 4 were difficult to get through as it is in the middle of cycle. He may find it helpful (as I did) to have "special treats" lined up during each cycle if he has certain days that he feels physically a little better. I found that having something to look forward to helped me get through. It was most often visits with friends and family. Two days stand out in my memory and still bring me warmth and joy. During my 4th cycle, I had 3 friends drive 2 hours to come and visit me. In this same cycle, I had family drive 4 hours to come and visit with me. These visits not only lifted my spirits at the time, but also gave me something to look forward to and help me get through the rough patch immediately after the 4th treatment. I will add your father to my prayers. Please drop by again.