Tuesday, April 28, 2009

end of life care

kingston general hospital
Originally uploaded by Julep67
I always carry a camera with me wherever I go. Sometimes I have my big Nikon but I always have a small point and shoot olympus with me.

Whenever Joe would be in the hospital (and during the last few years of his life he was in and out of hospital a few times a year), inevitably, we'd spend hours waiting. Waiting to find out what was wrong, waiting to find out "what's next" and, in the end, waiting with him for the end of his life to come.

I often took photos in the hospital. I felt that I needed to be stealth about it though as I felt that the nurses might not appreciate me snapping shots. In retrospect, they probably wouldn't have cared but I always did it quickly. I took several photos of Joe over the last two days he was in the hospital. I didn't want to publish them online because it felt too personal to share but I did publish photos of things and stuff from his room. This photo, I took during his first night in palliative care.

Yesterday, I had a note from the folks at WBUR about my photo: "We've used your image for an online companion to our radio documentary series, Inside Out. It is called "Quality of Death, End of Life Care in America". We're basically covering the challenges in America to proper end of life planning and a "respectful death." We loved your image and we feel it helped us convey the seriousness of the topic visually. "

I was flattered that they used it. I wish that they had contacted us before though, I think we could have contributed to the discussion, given what we went through with Joe's last time in the hospital. For something that we'll have to deal with eventually, it's certainly not something folks talk about very often.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

my sexy nose

It never ceases to amaze me, just exactly how much mucous your body can produce when you're sick. I filled up our kitchen composting container today with the tissues I've used. That doesn't include the ones I used at work while I was there this morning. It's gross but fascinating all at the same time.

My nose hurts like crazy, so does my throat and my ribs. I've been covering my nose with petroleum jelly and using 3-ply tissues with aloe but it's not helping much. My nose is still tender and red and a little W.C. Fields-y looking. My throat and ribs are sore from coughing. I've been on my antibiotics for 24 hours now. I think it takes a couple of days for them to truly kick in. Last night, I slept in 45 minute increments. While I slept, I kept thinking that if I didn't keep my feet in a certain position in the bed, my antibiotics would not work.

I was able to to go into work this morning for a few hours, get some things off my desk and I'm taking tomorrow off too. I have a note from the doctor but the people I work with are awesome and don't really need it but I feel better having one.

Of course, the weekend is supposed to be beautiful, sunny and warm. Mark and Andy are going to be working on our deck (expanding it - yay!) and I'll be hovering under my blanket with Gracie all weekend. If it's really nice, I may be able to bundle up and take my blanket outside and hang out on a lawn chair, we'll see.

Right now, I'm just happy to have the drugs and that my stomach has settled down (it was pretty upset the first 12 hours or so on the drugs) and that Mark made me scrambled eggs for dinner and for hopefully being able to sleep tonight. Sleep would be awesome!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

baby boy

baby boy
Originally uploaded by Julep67
We had a really lovely little shower for a colleague yesterday. Her mat leave starts on Monday and I'm really going to miss her while she's gone. It'll be a long year without her around.

I've been struggling with a really bad cold all week. I woke up with it on Saturday morning and can't shake it. I'm heading to see my doctor this afternoon about it. I'm really nervous that it could develop into something more.

I hope it's not but I'd rather get checked out than leave it for a week. My nose and throat cannot take it!

Monday, April 20, 2009

happy birthday grandpa

me and my grandpa
Originally uploaded by Julep67
Today is the birthday of my grandfather, Lawrence Shanks.

I've been thinking about him a lot more than I usually do lately. Partly because today is his birthday and partly because of a review I read about the coffee shop at St Joseph's Oratory.. Thanks Ralph!

I often think about my grandfather. He was a really cool and smart guy and he was a massive Habs fan (just like my dad is) so I know he'd be happy that they're in the play offs this year. My grandfather died almost 25 years ago and I still miss him.

So yeah, before I start to water up and the screen goes all blurry, I just wanted to say Happy Birthday grandpa!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

have a nice day

You would have to have a heart made out of dirt or stone or something very hard and cold to not enjoy this video.

Imagine how cool it would have been to have witnessed this in the middle of a travel day. I don't really care that it was a publicity stunt for a tv show, it still made me smile and it will probably make you smile too!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

I can so drive the van

I can so drive the van
Originally uploaded by Julep67
Have I mentioned lately how much I love sleeping with the windows open? No!? Well.

I love sleeping with the windows open.

For some reason, over the weekend, when I saw the weather forecast was for sunny days, I wrongly thought sunshine = warm. I forgot how cold it can be in April. On Saturday, when we were doing errands, it was cold as, well, really cold weather. Well, not really cold, more like, it was sunny but the wind off of the lake was cold. When we got up on Saturday morning, convinced that it would warm up, I turned the furnace off. Saturday night, I decided that we should leave the windows open.

On Sunday morning, we awoke to a really cold house. I jumped out of bed, frozen almost solid (made jumping difficult) and closed the windows. While Mark hid under the covers, I went to the living room to turn the furnace back on. It was 14 degrees in the living room. That's cold! Eventually, the furnace kicked in and the house slowly warmed up. It took me almost all day Sunday to thaw out after that. I swear my nose was colder than Gracie's all day.

The last couple of days though, have been gorgeous. The breeze is still cool but the sun is lovely and we've been sleeping with the windows open again. Man but I sleep so much better with the windows open. Fresh air is really truly awesome after a long winter of being cooped up with too hot central heating.

Yesterday was Mark's birthday. We didn't do anything too fantastically special because we'd sort of spent the weekend celebrating his birthday. The Tuesday actual birthday day was a little bit anticlimactic but that happens when your birthday happens mid-week sometimes.

Tonight we're seeing my parents for a birthday dinner and that should be nice. We only saw them very briefly on Saturday so it'll be good to have a visit and get caught up with them. Other than that though, there's not much to report around here. Work's busy but it's a good kind of busy which I really like.

It's not often than I can say that I have no complaints (because I can whine for Canada if I have to) but today, I have to say that live is really good, deceivingly sunny days and all.

Monday, April 13, 2009

doggy day trip

doggy day trip
Originally uploaded by Julep67
Today we had a great day.

For a whole bunch of reasons, both Mark and I booked off today and in amongst looking after the stuff we needed to look after, we took a road trip to Trenton. Gracie had never been to the Quinte West Dog Park and Sam had a blast when we took him so we thought we'd go again.

It was awesome (although the wind was pretty cold). They had a great time, running around, meeting some new dog buddies and hanging out in the van. They are good road trip dogs. We even took the Glenora Ferry to Adolphustown (and were at the front of the ferry) and they were really good. It's a much smaller ferry than the Wolfe Islander so they could see the water and didn't freak.

Good doggies huh? Of course now, all four of us are tired. Too much fun and fresh air I guess. It was a great way to end the weekend.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

inaction balls

inaction balls
Originally uploaded by Julep67
The raccoons are here to stay, we think.

On Friday morning and again this morning, we saw them. Quite late in the morning, well after the sun came up.

Tonight, they were on top of our shed, taunting the dogs.

If this keeps up, it's going to be a long summer. I feel badly for the dogs because they are doing what's natural to them, barking at the raccoons and defending our home. Unfortunately, it's noisy and we live in the city and until we told a couple of neighbours what had happened on Thursday morning, they were cursing us, I'm sure.

On the other hand, if someone was trying to break into a neighbours' house, I think they'd bark at that too so...it's not always as bad as it might seem.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

our hero

Saturday Sammy
Originally uploaded by Julep67
Don't ever let it be said that Sam is not protector of his domain!

This morning, we awoke to the sound of what we at first thought were geese. Because it was 4:40 a.m. though, when Mark said, "oh no, I bet the dogs will start barking at the geese when they go out" I couldn't help but think it seemed early for geese. It was still dark out, by some folks standards, the middle of the night even.

Of course, as soon as the door was open, the dogs flew off the deck, barking loudly. They wouldn't come when I called them so I too went out onto the deck (in bare feet) to try to get them back. They were both down at the bottom of our yard, barking up toward the top of our 6 foot fence. A top the fence sat Daddy Raccoon. He was a big Daddy and I was terrified that he was going to lunge at the dogs. Those boys have razor sharp claws and can kill a dog if they're cornered.

It seemed like Daddy Raccoon was dancing along the fence. At one point, he dropped off the fence into our neighbours' yard, Seconds later, he popped his head up and seemed to be taunting Sam and Gracie. All the while, I'm still calling the dogs, my feet are frozen and I'm on the verge of tears. Mark came out (smartly wearing shoes) and was able to grab Sam and get them back in the house.

We sort of thought that the drama was over. Once we got back into the bedroom though, we could hear the geese sound again. Almost at the same time, we both wondered aloud if there wasn't a raccoon nest next to our house because we were now thinking that there baby raccoons somewhere. The sound was coming from the west side of our house which is a completely fenced area containing our air conditioner and some bark chips. The sounds we kept hearing were like something crying and scratching.

Mark went to the window and noticed that there were raccoons now up on our neighbours roof. What we think happened was the mommy and two babies got up there and the babies couldn't get back down. Daddy was trying to figure out how to get them down and then Sam and Gracie came along. He was taunting them earlier, kind of like "hey, look at me, don't look at the house next door where my family are trapped." We stood in the window, listening to the distress calls and seeing poor Daddy pacing across our fence, snorting like a piggy. Honestly, I've never heard raccoons before so this was educational but upsetting.

We started to get concerned about the dogs. We knew that we couldn't let them go back outside until the raccoons were gone and we started to worry that if the raccoons were trapped, Daddy could attack our dogs or one of the many dogs who would be coming out for their morning walks.

I decided to call the police communications office and find out if they had a 24 hour animal control line (because I couldn't find anything on our city website). They were nice and friendly but not really helpful. I ended up calling the Humane Society and put out a page to their emergency people. A lovely woman called me and when I told her what was going on, she assured me that as the light came up (this was around 5:30 a.m.), if mom and dad were around, they would move heaven and earth to get those babies down. She did say though, that if the sun was up and the raccoons were still up there, we could call back and they could coordinate some folks to help get them down. Fortunately, at a little after 6, just as the sun was coming up, I saw the mommy and the last baby on our neighbour's fence, heading for wherever home is.

I was really relieved that they were going to be okay. I waited another 30 minutes or so before letting the dogs out again. They didn't bark when they went out but they did go to the fence and sniff and explore everything, just to make sure it was safe. They're very good doggies.

Hopefully, our neighbours won't be too pissed about the barking so early in the day but sometimes, it just can't be helped!

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

a blur in the snow

a blur in the snow
Originally uploaded by Julep67
Last fall, when I packed my spring/summer clothes away for the winter, I kept out some tshirts and a couple of pairs of capris. I did this because in the spring, it sometimes gets really warm and I'll have some clothes to wear before I have to haul everything out.

Tonight I was putting away some laundry and noticed two pairs of capris, on hangers in the closet. I thought about how nice it'll be when it's warm enough outside to wear sandals and capris again.

I left the bedroom and walked into the kitchen. Through the window in the door, I could see the dogs wrestling in the snow. That's right, snow. We had an honest to goodness, snow actually stuck to the ground, snowfall today.

This shouldn't surprise me. I live in Canada and it's only early April and this stuff happens but, all the same. On Sunday, I was on the deck in my bare feet and today, well... a picture is worth a million words.

Monday, April 06, 2009

wanna play?

wanna play?
Originally uploaded by Julep67
Once again, the weekend flew by in a flash.

Because of the dogs, we tend to wake up pretty early, even on the weekends. It's kind of nice though because on Saturdays lately, we've been getting up and out of the house nice and early. I really don't care much for shopping and I especially don't like it when it's crowded so shopping, early in the day, before the mobs wake up, is a happy compromise.

We had most of our errands and chores finished up by midday on Saturday. It's amazing what you can accomplish around the house when the weather outside is shitty. Mid-afternoon, it seemed like the rain had let up so we took the dogs to the park. Big mistake. It was freezing cold and super windy. The rain had almost stopped and what precipitation was still left in the air was blowing against our faces like little pellets of ice. It was so rotten that even the dogs didn't want to stay long.

The park we go to is really close to our house and the city is currently trying to figure out how to reconfigure the space. We're not sure what that will mean for us in terms of access for the dogs. Apparently they are supposed to keep an off-leash area but we have no idea how big it will be. Also, I just discovered that the site plan for the area where the more popular park (the one we stopped going to because it's overrun with disease and Sam and I were almost attacked by an out of control dog) is, may not include an off-leash area. This could mean that all of the dogs from that park will be heading toward ours. I'll not be impressed if that happens. It's quite cliquey over there and one of the things we like best about our park is that folks sort of stick to themselves. It's all about the dogs and not about the social scene.

Yesterday, even though the day was sunny and nice, we didn't get too far from home. Mark cut his finger pretty badly (took part of the nail with it) while making breakfast yesterday morning. He didn't need stitches but he was sort of in shock after it happened. More than anything else, I think he felt sort of stupid for doing it. I kept telling him to let it go but he couldn't. Of course, like any injury to an extremity, every time he moved, he banged it on something. It's a little better today. Hopefully it'll heal quickly. It's not a lot of fun having a sore finger like that.

Friday, April 03, 2009

friday fun

It's raining here. Actually, I think it might stop soon but it was totally pouring earlier, which kind of sucks because it makes for big muddy wet areas at the dog park.

I'm having a busy day at work, things are going well, getting lots done. Thought I'd share a video with you all which never fails to make me smile (I just love this song!). I may have shared this before and I did, I refuse to apologize because I like it that much!

Enjoy & happy weekend kiddies!!

Wednesday, April 01, 2009


morning on the ferry dock
Originally uploaded by Julep67
I'm worried about the protesters in London right now.

How is trapping folks who are in the financial district going to help matters now? Honestly police folks, what kind of a plan is this? Perhaps you should have been better prepared. People are angry, and rightly so. They want to be heard. I hope that no one is badly injured, or killed. I feel a little bit sick to my stomach thinking about it right now if I'm honest.

I don't have much respect for "authority figures" on a good day. On a bad day, like today, I have none.