Saturday 5 December 2015

I am trying to figure out how to post my Christmas letter and then I will try to see if I get enough responses from other cultures to continue posting. I have a few loyal followers on Blogger but I would like about 10 more from around the world.  I WANT to understand                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

other cultures and share mine in daily experiences.  My Christmas letter is almost ready to post, but I need to do the editor thing of waiting 24 hours to edit one's own writing before publishing.

Monday 30 November 2015

I am thinking of coming back to Blogger

It has been a year of grief.  My husband of 50 years is gone.  I can't stopping gasping with the grief of it.  But the gasps happen less often.  I just started a Christmas letter and thought I could use it as a re-introduction to doing blogs again.  I have been missing my blog friends in Nepal and Australia and England and Florida and Idaho and.....and ....and...      I love learning about how you spend your time during your days inside your own cultures.  If you remember me from a year and a half ago, let me know.  I am a fifth generation Canadian and don't feel the need to say Irish/Canadian any more.     Nursing a husband through the pains and humiliations of cancer is not easy and I am now ready to forge ahead.  Maybe.  Aanother friend said I would get more responses at .......  However I know my way around this site now.  , I will not do Facebook.  I will not do Twitter.  I am not in to writing to more than 10-20 bloggers.  I just want to get a taste of other folks' cultures.  And after all that has descended on creation this last month,,,,,,maybe we need to underrstand each other better.  Here is my little Casino Royale...I sold the big rig as I didn't need the space in it and couldn't manouver it with confidence.
I will need to figure out how to update my account info.

Monday 15 December 2014

It is a down hill slide for Old Man Watching

I actually started this blog a few weeks ago but didn't get the editing done or find time to come back to finish it.  I have a few minutes before I have to administer some drugs...oxycontin.  The codeine 3's weren't working anymore.  I am tired but wrote most of this in a family information letter so will just copy parts to update my Blogger site.  If you are also on Google + you may get an extra just delete it.  I just do not have the energy to type much news, but do sit mindlessly reading your entries and am thankful for them, but don't have the strength to respond to them. I don't know where the last tthree months went.  I am tired though and very thankful for the hospice workers and volunteer visitors who let me go for a walk and to get a few books at the library and milk at the grocery store.  I will keep adding to this for a few days.

Duncan has lost a lot of weight as he eats little, mostly porridges, soups, and puddings.  His belly is distended from retaining water and the tumours.  He needs assistance to get up to even sit on the edge of the bed.   Any exertion, such as getting out of bed to the commode, makes him short of breath afterwards and he has an anxiety attack while gasping for oxygen.  That just started a few days ago. However the good news is that after our weekly nurse's assessment on Friday, his meds will be changed.​

He will be given narcotic meds that work for 12 hours at a time.  ALLELUIA....ALL NIGHT.  I had been having to get up every 4 hours and then other times for toileting and other needs.  That made me happy as I might get a better sleep some nights.  I will also walk over in the projected -18 C. or so weather, to the pharmacy, to get the narcs and some anti-anxiety pills for when he panics when he can't breathe.  There is too much pressure from swelling which pushes onto his lungs.  He will also get some diuretics to drain some of the fluid from the abdominal pressure on his lungs.  

On a brighter note, our landlord, Jim and Pitter-Patter (as Duncan calls Presley), Jim's grand-daughter, came and hung a garland of greenery with lights in our living room window to start the Christmas season off.  He also hung multi-coloured lights outside on the porch posts and the B/B sign.  They looked quite festive in the cold, dark, windy winter nights we were having.  Duncan calls Presley, Pitter-Patter, because he LIKES the sound of her little feet running around upstairs when she visits, which is often.  Isn't it funny the things that make old men happy?  ​  Jim also gave me a fibre-optics table-top tree which cheers the living room up a bit for the Christmas season.
Duncan's cards and crib-playing friends from the Legion came to visit. (Bob and Jeannine Nishigushi).  They talked about the old school where Duncan attended years ago as we had a class picture.  Bob could name most of the kids in the photo as he was born in Ashcroft.                        

​Travis (down below with our grand-daughter, Eden, 5) took a few days off of work to drive up to visit his Dad.  It is a long day from Nanaimo to Ashcroft with a 2 hour ferry trip in the way.  6-8 hours travel...Travis and his family turned their garage wall into a MOVEMBER exhibit in November.  It raises awareness for men's cancer and research.  It is chalk-paint so it will dissolve over the rainy winter in Nanaimo.

November is over.  I doubt that Duncan will see another Christmas but then the specialist told me he would be gone by Halloween so God must have other plans.  Somebody once told me that if you want to make God laugh, just tell him your plans.  I have some choice street-language words I could use these days about cancer.  You can just guess which of the rudest I would like to use.  (My childhood favorite, used out-of-adult-earshot was,   shit.. fart.. poop.. damn.. turd....and it felt scandalous to rattle off when we were younger).  That ​doesn't come close to what I would say about cancer today......

Duncan is enjoying all kinds of music on CBC and that is a bit of a shock to me.   I am sure God is laughing at that one too.  Maybe it is a gift to me.   He used to complain about my choice of radio for listening to CBC.  He has also started discussing 'the meaning of life' questions.  He has a lot of questions and not many answers.  It makes for good conversations, usually in the morning when he is brighter.  This morning we decided that life just might be all about hot chocolate with whipped cream topping.   That was only half in jest   after I brought him a morning cup of it with whipped cream on top.  He seems to still enjoy that treat every morning.

Our friend Germaine sat with him while I used her warm pickup to get his new meds and some groceries.  I also get breaks from 2 Care Workers and 2 volunteers on different days.  Jean comes to relieve me so I can go to church on Sunday mornings and stay for coffee hour afterwards.  The Home Care Registered Hospice nurse is now coming twice a week.

  Sister Linda brought the finished bone china urn that she painted for Duncan's ashes.          
​She also brought one for me that Duncan declined as he didn't want pansies on his urn. Why?  He would have accepted lilacs.

Mine has licorice allsorts in it right now.

​Here is a picture from a happier day in our suite last month when I had a 70th birthday party thrown for me on the 16th.  I didn't have to do anything and was waited on a lot.

My Crones group are spectacular and supportive and make me laugh.  Nobody could have a better bunch of buddies.  I am the Queen because I am the oldest of the group.
We talk a lot about the old days and when Duncan's favorite horse for branding and roping, who was called Who Dat, looked somewhat like the big lanky bay horse in this painting.  

Tuesday 7 October 2014

Here is the sad news

People have asked or phoned or e-mailed the last few days to ask about what is going on here, as I haven't been writing.  Cousins have phoned and others asked yesterday.  One request came from the Orkneys in Scotland, another from Scottish friends in Dawson Creek,  and one from a place near the base camp under Mt. Everest where a good friend put up prayer flags for Duncan.  She was on a hiking trek leaving her job teaching English in Hong Kong at a Christian School.  I cherish prayers from anyone, anywhere.  I am convinced that Our Lord honours all of our heart-felt requests.  
​ I just have this habit of adding, "in Jesus' name, Amen" to mine.  
I apologize for the passing of time since the last note.  I have been busy just coping and attending to medical needs and visitors.  So I will try to do a catch-up.  If you know what is going on now, just delete this e-mail.  That won't hurt my feelings.    

Duncan stopped eating and lost a lot of weight very fast in mid-September.  That is normal evidently.  His codeine pills were not working well enough last weekend, and he was too weak to get himself out to the pickup to go to the planned doctor's appointment on Monday morning. So I took all my notes on the forms Home Care Nurse gave me to record medicine dosages, food intake, BM outtake etc. etc. etc.  It was a terrible day last Monday doing that, as I ran into 3 bureaucracy glitches that wasted 3.5 hours of my day.  I had to keep ducking out to go home to give Duncan the last of the codeine pills. Thank the Lord that we live in a small village so distances are walkable.   It was also a 'hurry up and wait day' that I don't have time for anymore.  I was panicking because I needed stronger meds for him for the coming night.  The landlords, Jim and Martina, were listening for him with the nursery monitor their daughter-in-law lent to me.    I got Oxycontin finally and they seem to be working fine.  Also the Dr. wrote a prescription on the palliative # (so it is free) for a pill that works well to improve the appetites of cancer patients.  It costs about $470 a month so I am glad it is free from this week on for him.  He had stopped eating for 3 days and was disappearing fast.  But in two days these pills perked him right up and he was asking for porridge and tapioca pudding with home-canned peaches, and even chicken soup.  Yesterday he even ate a few slices of head cheese, although he said it was too spicy.  That was always one of our favourite snacks when we were on the farm  even after we stopped making it ourselves.   We used to get a good supply of it for the trip home from shopping in town.  Lawrence's Butcher Shop in Dawson Creek made one as good as homemade to buy before the hour drive, heading back to our Blueberry Mt. farm.

He has had some lovely visits with old friends.  Ginter Grey came for a few hours last week.  I didn't take a picture, darn it all anyhow.  They had good chats with a few quiet times too during the visit.  But it was amazing how alert he could be for old stories.  Then on Sunday Cousin Bob Carson, arrived with a small water bucket filled with potted plants, and a box of KEY LIME TARTS.  Yummy, but they are all gone now.  He arrived in time to let me go to church as I hadn't been since the Sunday Auntie Donna was here.  Our abbey is only 3 doors away.
 Our Abbey greeter, Ken, was thrilled to meet Auntie Donna.  He is very welcoming.  John Gillis, Donna's son, who shocked me by turning 60 as he is still 15 inside my head, dropped her off for a lovely visit with us, while he ran off to judge a rodeo in Merritt.  We had fun times with John though at each end of his judging weekend.  

This week Duncan has had visits from his cousins from Lillooet, Sheila and Joan.  The Bryson family settled there during/after the British Columbia Gold Rush era.

Cousin Rita from Kelowna was able to get off work and drive 3 hours to see him.  
   That is me in the back.  Neither of us like to have our pictures taken.  But they   talked us into it.   Actually it was the other cousins, Joan and Sheila who talked us into staying still to pose.

Wonderful news today.  An angel phoned to say her husband, who is very clever, would pick up our RV from Rocky Mt. House and deliver it to us after the Thanksgiving weekend.  The angel is in the above picture at the back, Sheila. They are going over the Rocky Mountains to Thanksgiving dinner and a weekend with their son in Alberta and will come back via Rocky Mt House and pick the unit up and have a little adventure in a dirty RV.  When it broke down at the beginning of Sept. our son's family had to leave fast so the tow truck could haul it away.  
 Here is our grand-daughter and belongings on the side of the highway.  Our son and his family took a taxi to the tune of $145.  I just want it over the Rockies and home before the snows fly. What a sense of relief that will be.  Neither of us realized how heavy worrying about the RV was on our shoulders at night, or during the day, until Sheila phoned with this offer to help.  Praise the Lord for angels in the form of cousins.  Other family members have been very generous too but I won't mention how as it might embarrass them.  Then my brother, Art, says he will collect the RV from here and take it to his acreage in Qualicum Beach on Vancouver Island and work on selling it for me.  I will never use it again without my trusty driver.  That last sentence got me teary.  I can drive it but choose not to any more.

Tonight Duncan is settled and breathing deeply.  I can hear him in the monitor beside my computer.  In the mid afternoon yesterday he had a shower and a shave as my brother, Art, and his wife Ingrid, were expected.  I changed the sheets and put new flannels on his bed as it is getting colder in the nights here.  The palliative room was freshened, floors washed and area tidied.  He really doesn't like strong perfumes or aftershave....just a warning if you plan to visit.  I need an 8-10 hour sleep.  It won't happen soon.  I do get two afternoons of respite a week though as a care worker comes to be here with him so I can meet friends for lunch and do shopping and banking.  It is like having a new born as he needs meds every 4-6 hours in the night and day, and needs care and feeding. He can still get up to the loo and shower but doesn't want to, or even shave, very often.


​Above is a shot of a camp at Barnes Lake where our grandchildren learned to shore-fish for trout.  Duncan loves to watch "Indian TV" (nature and passing birds and beaver etc.)   Germaine is teaching Eden how to cook on a campfire.

Below is a china urn that my sister, Linda is working on.  She is an artist who started out doing bone china painting.  She has a gallery.  On the sides of the urn, we may put his saying, "  I was born in Ashcroft"   and on the other blank side, " I want to die in Ashcroft" 
... " been a lot of places in between."  and his dates will go wherever they will fit.  

The visit to the funeral home to set things up was not as bad as I thought it would be.  The new young owner, Shawn, is very comforting.  He will walk me through all the paperwork.  Still it was a shock to find out that just to take Duncan's body to the crematorium and return a cardboard box of ashes to me, is going to cost $2500.  How do welfare people do that?  I asked about internment in local cemeteries, and that is another $1500.  So Duncan said, "Bullshit, throw my ashes in the river."  But after discussion he wants them put beside his Uncle Duffy at West Pavilion at the little cemetery with pole fences around it.  Rita says another option is that they can go on top of Pavilion Mt. at the Carson Cemetery.  One of the grandmothers was a Carson.  I will worry about that next spring. 

Old Man Watching's brother Mack, and his wife Liz, stopped for visits on the way to Nelson and back.  They stayed one night upstairs in the B/B as I was looking after it while the owners were on a wee holiday.  He wrote a book about his/our ranching days. This is the view from the calving sheds at Empire Valley.    
It is called 'A Cowboy's Life"

 This is a little park a block from us.  You can see that autumn is in the air although the days have been glorious.  I wish I could get out more to go "walk-about".  I hope you are having a more pleasant autumn with its seasonal delights than I am.  However, I did get a 2 hour nap today after everybody left.

Monday 8 September 2014

Tough Times

I have a few hours of quiet tonight while I wait for our oldest son to pick up his cousin and bring her here for the night.  She had been Dragonboat Racing in Skaha Lake.
 She will stay the night and then head out to Alberta tomorrow.  She lives in Edmonton so it was so good of her to come the extra hours (6) of driving to come see her Uncle Duncan and then take a rental car back to Edmonton for us.  There is a tale of woe on why she has to do that.  I don't have the energy to tell you about it.  

Duncan roused to cook the bacon for a visit from our youngest son and his family, but ducked back to bed to leave me to finish.

Our bottom line is that Old Man Watching is doing a lot of watching and little activity.  He is being slowly emasculated.  He can't drive, or help pack in the water jugs of purified water he still wants or pack in the groceries.  I have to have somebody listening for him if he is in distress if I go shopping.  He has a bell he can ring and pooh-poohed that but used it that first night he had it to get a pain pill at 1:30 AM.  Showers are becoming a less private affair, and he was always a very private person in the bathroom.  Even when we married he didn't like me to watch him even while shaving, which I found kind of sexy.  He is still shaving himself and reverted to a straight razor as the electric wasn't doing it properly.  Unfortunately with liver failure you bleed a lot if nicked.  Sigh sigh sigh.

People have been wonderful.  We live in dog-free Bed and Breakfast home.  But our rent-a-daughter brought in a new border collie pup she plans to train to herd cattle, and Old Man was so contented to have a puppy in bed with him and licking his face.  It is too late to worry about sanitation and infection. 
 I did wash the bedding the next day though and gave it a good airing on the outside clothes line. 

Old Man's sister came from Alberta to visit with us for a few days and decided to walk the half block to go to church with me.  People were so kind but we cried a lot and couldn't stay for coffee hour.  Our little 8 year old neighbour, Trinity, came with us.

Some First |Nations people came to give us frozen salmon they are catching right now in the Fraser River.  It is illegal for them to sell them but these were gifts to Old Man Watching's family at a time of duress.  Probably that is not technically legal as we do not live on a Reserve, but it does show how big-hearted and generous they are.  We have had so many visitors that I have asked folk to not ring the doorbell but go to the back porch and sneak in and call out softly.  When the doorbell rings he tries to get up to go to answer it.  He is not in pain.  He has gut discomfort mainly from bowel impactions due to the codeine.  But the codeine is turned into morphine by the body and is keeping him at ease with only one every four hours so far.  

Some officials came to give the landlords an award for improving the village and keeping a tidy garden.  

Fortunately I had just deadheaded a lot of mess as I needed to move and do something useful while Duncan was sleeping.  We laughed at the timing but didn't tell the officials that I didn't own the place or even do most of the gardening.

The Stay at Home programme that saves the government money in the long run is starting to kick in.  I will blog about that later if I find the energy.  Good night.

Saturday 16 August 2014

Bad News

Old Man Watching has been diagnosed with cancer and liver failure and who knows what else.  He has been uncomfortable in the guts for a month.  We were blaming the water so started buying big jugs of filtered/clarified water.  I probably will not write much here for a while.  It is too upsetting and looking after him right now is a full time job, day and night.  When I am stressed I may read your blogs and make comments but I don't think I will have the strength to be writing about this very hurtful and stressful time in our lives.  I had hoped we would get to go on a holiday camping at some new place for our 50th anniversary in 2017 but I doubt that will happen now.

My faith and friends will get me through this.  He has no beliefs so that makes it harder for me.  But I will support his passing as best I can and may write a bit but I doubt it.  It seems to be a full time job to look after a dieing mate. 
He is 77 and always claimed he wouldn't make it past 40 as he had such a wild and dissolute youth.  He has dodged a lot of bullets over the years, like car crashes and that aortic aneurysm in 2003 and seems content to go off now and just drift away.  He just wants meds to make it easier as he would not put one of his dogs or horses through pain.  He asked me to shoot him a few days ago but we gave away or sold all his hunting/guiding guns a few years ago.  Here he is at Paradise Bay at Horne Lake near Qualicum Beach last July.  We had a wonderful time with the grandkids.  Such great memories.
I will probably not have the time or energy to write more for a while.

Tuesday 29 July 2014


Another week floats by and we were busy.  I am trying to keep the gardens meticulously free of weeds.  Then we get to eat the landlord's produce.  I also cleaned out one raised bed and replanted it with new kinds of lettuce and carrots and beets and radishes.  It was sad to see it all disappear but the lettuce was getting 'leggy'.

The Crones in town gathered on a hot evening at Rhonda's to look over on the river while chatting and noshing.  

I had to bake for the Soup's On kitchen on Friday and go to spend about 5 hours helping to prepare and serve there.  Then on Saturday it was time to make a dessert for the immersion baptism on Sunday.  I did not make these cupcakes though they were lovely.

This is not a usual thing for an Anglican/Episcopalian church.  We do infant baptisms or in church baptisms at the font in the abbey and then confirmation ceremonies later, usually in the teens but sometimes in mid-life.  So when a middle-aged man who became a committed Christian a few years ago, decided he wanted to be re-baptized by immersion we had to do some thinking and opening of our brains so new Holy Spirit winds could drift through them.  
The Bishop was all OK with the idea so we set up a day and went to the same lake above town that my grandkids catch all their fish in during May and June.  There were a lot of tears and hugs and jubilation.  
Afterwards, because we had all renewed our vows during his ceremony, the presiders started splashing water on all of us at the shore who were witnessing.  
It was a joyous and frivolous moment that united us all some more as a family in Christ.

We participated in an outdoor Eucharist later

and then feasted at a BBQ with donated salads and desserts.  Alleluia and Welcome to our Christian family, Dan.