Monday, October 28, 2013

The Root Problem

Swirling in a whirlwind. It's one of those times when colour, crazy, workloads, and obligations collide. It isn't always pretty. But today I put metal to the pedal and by lunchtime, I could finally exhale. I paused. Fatigue slowly drained from my very being and the weight lifted. I could breath. And I did. Deeply.

I sang country music all the way home.I belted it out. If I'm singing - I'm joyful. And it felt like freedom - until I remembered that I have a root canal tomorrow.

I got an email:

From: Dr. Simon  Dentist
To: Lynda
Subject: Dental Appointment
Hello Lynda, we have you in the schedule for tomorrow, Tues.Oct.29th @11:30am. Cheers, Dianna
To: Dr. Simon  Dentist
Sent: 2013-‎10-‎28
Thx Dianna. I'm looking forward to it. 

Sometimes I am such a goof.

The good news is that after my root canal, I will have one less thing on my "to do" list and one step closer to enjoying the anticipation of my upcoming Tanzanian trip.

I am off to sing myself to sleep!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Fall

Whoosh! Thanksgiving has come and gone - country fair and famjams and all; our cottage is closed up and in an induced hibernation; and whoosh! October is almost gone before I barely flipped my calendar. Time is precious and in short supply these days. I have lots to do and lots to look forward to. But I am trying to live in the now while preparing for my trip to Tanzania. Just a few things between then and now -- root canal, some writing, some work deadlines, a few birthday celebrations...

So -- to catch up -- I'll share a few captures of my month. I hope all is well in your world and that you are finding the beauty in each day before it slips away. I'm trying - and then - whoosh!
First time using family heirloom turkey plates for the feast

At the fair, the noses had it!

Leaves were down at the cottage, signalling the "close" of the season.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

First Aid Save

It was an impromptu dinner intended to be a pre-Thanksgiving (Canadian) visit to catch up with my dear friends who just happen to be my ex in-laws. My daughter Lyndsay, her significant other and I met the dynamic duo at local Vietnamese pho restaurant, for food that was as far away from turkey as you could get.

Norma and Harvey are a striking couple. Although retired for years now, Harvey still dresses in a full suit and open necked dress shirt. Norma's slim, athletic build, platinum blonde hair and youthful disposition belie her age. She has a calm, coy way of speaking and the only sign of age in this firecracker of a  woman is that she has turned her signature stilettos in for flats. She no longer towers over her husband, but still cuts a striking figure. My dad always refers to her a Zsa Zsa (after the actress  Zsa Zsa Gabor).

Last night we almost lost her.  We were barely fifteen minutes into our meal when Lyndsay started patting Norma's back. What happened next was a flurry of activity over five minutes that rolled before me in slow motion. Norma jumped up, pointing to her throat, eyes wild, gasping for air. I slid out of the booth, calmly and purposefully and took my position behind her to perform the Heimlich maneuver. She suddenly seemed frail and tiny. With my fists, I gave four upward thrusts but couldn't dislodge the blockage. Lyndsay called out that she was turning blue. The gasps were startling and anyone who was in the near empty restaurant had gathered round. A man who worked at the place took over but it was evident he didn't know the technique. A patron with the kindest eyes stepped forward, and asked if he could take over. I nodded, and after two thrusts, she started coughing. She fell into my arms and I nodded a silent thank you to the lifesaving stranger.

It was surreal and shocking and we sat the rest of the meal in quiet trying to resurrect the conversation. But we all knew the truth. We had almost lost her.

As with all crises, the calm I had in the eye of the storm, gave way to hysterical gratitude on the drive home. Thankful for the angel stranger; thankful that she survived to live another day.

Lyndsay and I agreed that knowing first aid is a must! And as we celebrate our Thanksgiving today, I have yet another big reason to be grateful.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Aging in Place

As one who has received a personal invitation to join CARP, falls into the "aging worker" category, and is a middle-aged, menopausal empty nester, I admit this aging thing has been on my mind. And not in the superficial - "look-at-these-crevices-on-my-face" way. I've been paying close attention to our elders and thinking about how they spend the years and how we treat them. I have a vested interest in the outcome -- if I'm lucky enough to become a grand old lady -- I wonder what will be in store.

Apparently the elders club is a growing phenomenon around the world. Never in human history has our planet contained so many older people - or such a large percentage of them. And thanks to the aging baby boomers, the globe is tilting to the elder-agers, which explains the longevity of The Rolling Stones. I think the world is ripe for an elder revolution -- if they organized, they could rule the world.

Long-term care facilities are springing up everywhere -  sleeker, cleaner and better smelling than the dingy "old age" institutions of yesteryear. They offer professional care, activities, facilities, entertainment and lots of company - everything but what elders really want -- their families.

I think we make an incorrect assumption about older people -- that if we put all the old lonely souls together, they can keep one another company; sometimes being old is the only thing they have in common.

It's a dilemma - what do we do with our ever-growing elder population when they need special attention and care? Today people are living longer than ever before and I wonder how our society will adjust; how, or if, families will change.

My goal will be to age-in-place gracefully; age-in-place -- age where I live, sleeping in my own bed, surrounded by the people I love and who love me. But it may be an idealistic dream. I may need more help than my family can handle, and I may have illnesses or ailments that require medical interventions. I may have to learn to like bingo and paper mache classes and be content with biweekly visits from family who take their turn to drop by. I may have to live with my alcohol consumption limited to a weekly thimble full of wine or I may become a cranky old gal who hates being told what to do. Come to think of it, I already am a cranky old gal who hates being told what to do. And that does not bode well for my future caregivers!

Closing thought -- aging is reserved for the fortunate who live long lives -- and aging and all that goes with it is inevitable. We too will be old -- if we are lucky.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013


The cover is on the pool, held in place with random bricks and planters; a little pool of water has collected on the blacktop cover; the gazebo is stripped of its canvas cover and the patio is devoid of furniture. All traces of summer fun have been packed away.  In a nutshell, our backyard is in hibernation, laying in wait for winter.

At first glance, it looks dismal, and maybe even a little depressing. But the weather is beautiful, the leaves on the trees are turning their shades of gold and crimson, and in a week or two, we will be surrounded by brilliance. And in another few months, the dreary will be draped in a cloak of white snow. We need the contrasts to fully appreciate the beauty.

Life is like that too. We need contrasts. We need chaos in order to appreciate order. With stress, we feel the peace and serenity that comes with the absence of such pressure. If  we've done without, we more readily recognize abundance. We experience discomfort - and then relish comfort. So maybe the lesson is not to shy away from the unpleasant side of things. The pendulum always comes swinging back and when it does, we can fully appreciate the good and gifts in our life.