Posts Tagged ‘Family’


Thanks Ma

September 16, 2011

Strange Fruit

Due to the generosity of my mom, Mabel, I’m heading west to visit my kids at the end of the month. First I’ll be staying with Sarah and Zeph in Vancouver for a few days. Then a quick hop over the Rockies to Calgary to meet my new grand-daughter Caitlyn & staying with Russ, Melissa and Madison.

Yeah, a couple of days after Caitlyn was born Mom said, ‘ You really ought to get on a plane and go meet her, you know.’ I just raised my open hands and shrugged… as in, ‘how is that to happen considering my bank balance?’ ‘Hell, I’ll send you; I’ll send you and Lynda, too.’ God, it’s nice to be related to someone who considers family connection to be so important. I’m honouring her offer and going while I can. Lynda won’t leave home and travel anymore so I’m going solo.

While in Vancouver I might try and hook up with an old friend I re-met recently via FaceBook. She was a server in a bar where I was a nightly regular when we were both in our early twenties. It would be good to get some face time and do some catching up over coffee or a meal. My friend is suffering in the mid to late stages of tick-borne Lyme Disease and any plans will have to be later on in the day. She says getting moving in the morning is the hardest thing she faces while waiting for her meds to begin to work.

It’s been a year since the kids and I were together – at Russ and Melissa’s wedding a year ago Labour Day weekend. Sarah and Zeph were there and of course the kids mom Vicki, my best ex-wife. A little earlier last summer Sarah had visited here for about a week on the occasion of my stepson Craig’s funeral. I’m really looking forward to checking out the changes in Zeph and Madison – at their young ages the changes over a year will be huge.

Late Bloomer

Once again, here it is Friday already and I’m glad it’s here. The strike action at my workplace continues and I’m finding that being around a bunch of anxious people for hours at a time is making me just as anxious as them. Osmosis-like. It’ll be nice tonight to see them all out of the building and have the place to myself. Conger up a zen moment or two with a big ‘OMmmm’.

Tomorrow Owen and his father are coming for an overnight visit…. woo-hoo! Now that the weather has cooled off maybe we can go for another of our walking adventures. Something to look forward to. Last time Owen was out Lynda asked him if he knew what that high-pitched sound was. ‘Oh, that’s a cicada.’ “And how do you know that?”, asked Lynda. ‘Pops told me when we were out walking. They only do that once it hits 80 degrees, you know Gramma.” Such a good kid; listens too.

a skywatch for Kel

Gotta go – adios. 




Nascent; a celebration of new life

August 26, 2011

def: coming or having recently come into existence; a new consciousness.

Caitlyn Isabel

3:38 P.M. local time, Calgary, AB

I was at work when my daughter texted me that her sister-in-law had just been delivered of her daughter, Caitlyn. High-fives all round with co-workers; I had been on pins and needles waiting for the news. Other than her ‘C’ section being delayed by a couple of emergency deliveries there were no problems. By the time I arrived home a few hours later and called out west to speak with my son, mom had already been up for a short walk around the hospital room. Lord, the resilience of women! Mom and baby are doing fine. Everyone is healthy, happy and relaxed.

pretty in pick2

Now I’m itching to hop a plane and get introduced. Maybe in a few weeks…… let them get home and into a routine first.

That’s all the news I have…. but happy, happy, happy news it is! We are all blessed. 




Another Year Older…..

August 21, 2011

…. and deeper in debt. (?) {is that how it goes? name that tune}

Had a hodge-podge of a day yesterday on my birthday. Got quite a bit of work done in the yard and lots of running around done. We didn’t wind up eating dinner til about 8:30 or so – late for us. Our neighbour ‘crazy ella’ and i share the same b’day so we had her in for dinner too.


 Owen’s dad came and picked him up this morning so he was a little boo-hoo-ey pulling away. He’s going to miss his Gramma lots.

Can’t recall if I wrote about this or not and too lazy to look but I had a one week change in my work schedule whereby I actually got to spend a portion of the evenings with Lynda and Owen this past week. It took only a couple of days for the ‘powers that be’ to realize their plan wasn’t going to work the way they had envisioned. Tomorrow I’m back to my regular evening gig. ‘Whatever – just pay me come the end of the week.’

i know, i know... another 'shadowcast'

Lynda and I were supposed to go to a family ‘do’ today but I begged off this time. I picked up a cold that Owen had at the beginning of the week and I’d like to rest up today and try to nip this one in the bud. Speaking of which….. the sofa is calling my name in it’s siren voice. Coming…… 

Oh, a quick p.s….. I finished ‘Running With Scissors’ and it was a good read. Had I known when I picked it up that it was about a young kid’s realization growing up that he was gay, and included his first homosexual experiences and love story…. I probably would have went, ‘nah, not interested’. But I’m glad I read it; well written, thought provoking, different perspective, etc.


Media Break

August 10, 2011


So,….. I haven’t been around again for a bit. I find I’m getting really tense so I’ve taken a bit of a break from the computer, TV news and the hard news at the front of the newspaper. Between wars, uprisings, financial meltdowns, factious politicians and their parties, yadda, scandals, yadda, trials,…. I’ve had enough for awhile.

Feel free to share some good news. That’s all I want to hear about these days.

Into another memoir; this one called ‘Running With Scissors’ by Augusten Burroughs. I didn’t like the way it started off; the ‘voice’ it was written in but I’ve gotten used to it and am enjoying it now at about a quarter of the way through. (It sounded more like narrative fiction than personal reflection {to me}).

Work – Stayng at the same location but new shift hours beginning next Monday. See how that goes….

Previous workplace – They are to finally re-open the facility after Labour Day. All the same counselling personnel are returning so no opening for me & that’s okay. I’m not going back to my old night position. But I had a major WTF moment when I heard who they had hired as the new manager. Still trying to pick my jaw up from the floor, still shaking my head. Can NOT believe it. What are they thinking?????

objects may appear wet

 Owen is coming for another week long visit. Woo-hoo!!

The chip truck (my stepson’s) was broken into last week. Glass everywhere and a bunch of cases of pop missing. A couple of days missed from working it but back in business now. Must have been the proverbial ‘gang of yoots’. (as per Joe Pesci) 




July 29, 2011

How’s that for a catchy title, huh?? A real eye-grabber.

What’s new…. hmmm…

Well, my grand-daughter Madison turned 3 the other day. If you didn’t catch this post on FaceBook here is the link to a photo session that her parents arranged:​5eCA4jJ7Y394cYFdiecSw/s/da​rk . Such a sweetie. I sent a message to my daughter-in-law Melissa saying I wish I could visit way more often so I could see the changes in Madison as she is growing. It is also less than a month before Melissa is due to deliver baby #2, ‘C’ section scheduled for Aug 25. They had some prego pics done as well, here:

Oh, glory-be!

Last week I marked off another successful year of ongoing sobriety through working the miracle which is the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. I know I have thought this previously in this my twisted life’s journey but….. if I can stay sober through this past year I can survive anything. One day at a time and all that good stuff.

straight around

I’m glad I keep book review columns that I see in the newspaper otherwise I likely would have missed out on reading Rodney Crowell’s ‘Chinaberry Sidewalks’. I finished reading it last night and it was a terrific piece of memoir. He had me hooked from the first page and didn’t let up till it was all done. Highly recommended – 5 stars.


Lynda and I enjoyed having g’son Owen with us for all of last week – he’s quite a character. We’ve also been getting out doing a few social things due to the fact that I have my weekends off (PTL). Tomorrow night we’re heading into Toronto for an evening with some of the folks I went through my Addiction Studies course with…. probably be a dozen or so of us. We haven’t done one of these get-togethers for a few years so it ought to be interesting.


lazing around at the flea market

Have a good weekend, folks. Time to get cleaned up for work tonight.



May 9, 2011

Our little corner of the world through a small boy’s eyes:

Our g’son Owen has been out for more frequent visits lately and now his big thing is stretching his boundaries. ‘Walks With Pops’ started when he found a suitable stick for walking a couple of weekends ago and he asked if I would take him out through the greenbelt behind the house. That led onward to the creek, checking both banks as far as we could go, and the train tracks. Left a penny on the tracks and marked the spot so we could find the penny later. Chucking big rocks into the creek to see who could make the biggest splash. Finding the best stones for skipping and seeing how many hops we could get. Testing his boots in the shallows at the edge of the creek. Collecting souvenirs – a patch of moss, a special stone, a fiddlehead fern, little things…. his pockets were chuck full.

Atop the bank

Oh, and me imparting a little wisdom about how the banks get undercut by spring runoff enough that the edges are dangerous to stand on. He’s a funny guy. We had been walking for about a half hour along a trail that followed the creek’s path when he turned and asked. ‘Are we lost?’ Well, you’re leading this expedition, O. Do you think you can find our way back? ‘Sure Pops… but I’m not ready to go back yet. Let’s keep going this way.” Okay buddy; lead the way..

I like the opinions he offers on what he sees, the questions he asks, the little things he takes note of. ‘Inquiring minds want to know’, doncha know.

Ridge banked by cedar

Lynda describes O as an old soul, and the embodiment of her father Victor. He certainly is a sight to see trudging along in his rubber boots and his ‘just the right size’ walking stick.
Our walk done, we sit to enjoy a drink of milk and a couple of cookies while filling his parents and gramma in on our travels. ‘We saw…. we did….. it was so cool when ….’
You’re not the only one who had fun, Owen. Thanks for one of the special times of my life. 


May 3, 2011

… a mixture of the good and bad rattling round my brain.

The Good: My daughter-in-law’s second ultrasound was conclusive; they’re having another girl. If they are very fortunate they’ll have a clone of their daughter Madison – one of the sweetest personalities on the planet.

The Bad: Early last week another of my cousins (and BJ’s) died. He had lived a solitary life for the last 25 or so years but had managed to manipulate and hurt his sibs and parents in so many ways it was sick. Strange not to feel much of anything but relief at someone’s passing but that’s the way it is. So long and hope your next life is healthier and fuller.

‘Big’ Picture Bad: Yesterday was Canada’s federal election and the outcome was definitely not to my liking. A majority Conservative government – very scary considering Prime Minister Harper’s modelling on George Bush’s policies and practices (which proved very unsuccessful). Corporate tax cuts; tough on crime; super-jails; militarization; cuts to social services to those who need that safety net most. The Liberal party fell flat and lost many seats. The Democrats had a surge and are now the official opposition (Yay!) and gained many seats. The Bloc in Quebec was disembowelled; leader resigned (Yay!); separatist bastards can go pee up a stump. The Green Party leader won the sole seat for that party in the House of Commons; good on Elizabeth May – a feisty broad whoops, I mean, lady.

More Good: The reason Lynda’s youngest son spent a few weeks here was because with his share of his inheritance he bought a chip truck… and had it here working on it and getting it in shape for the season. Yes Kel – along with french fries, burgers & sausages he is also serving poutine!!…and getting compliments on it, too. His first day in business was last Saturday and I hope and pray that it’s a continuing success for him.

The ‘So-So’: Weather!! Man, will it ever warm up and stop raining? We had 3X as much rain this April as last year – one storm system after another out of western Canada and the American midwest and gulf. I’d really like to ditch the long-john underwear but every time I try going without them I chill to the bone.

More Good: During this last week I’ve been getting reaquainted with a female friend from many years ago – when we were in our early and mid twenties. She was a server at a bar I was a regular at in downtown Toronto – Yorkville – T.O.’s version of Haight-Ashbury… tho these were the ‘disco days’; hippydom having passed. So it’s nice to catch up on lives and stories that diverged for so long.

More Bad: I’ve had a number of Dr appointments lately because, quite frankly, I think I’m getting old. I really haven’t felt well since I got sick on New Years Eve – it has been one thing after another and I’m sick & tired of being sick & tired. So, I’m being pro-active; seeing my MD; being compliant with his suggestions, etc. and even EXERCISING. (God help me) Monitoring mood and outlook for signs of a recurrence of chronic depression – gotta watch that – don’t want to go through another bout of that.

So, that’s it; that’s all for today. The good and bad of it. Choose to have a good day; it beats the hell out of the alternative. I am.


More Good News

April 19, 2011

I was at work last Friday night when I received a text message from my sister Linda. She and her fiance had been on holiday in Florida all that week and come home this weekend. The text was brief: “We’re MARRIED!”

The buggers went and eloped…… and we’re all very happy for them. She and Mike make a great couple and they’re really devoted to one another.

So, there was a flurry of phone calls and texts between them, Mom, Lynda and I and we’re to have a meal and drinks when they return. Good stuff!

Shine On



March 4, 2011

I’m done with apologizing when I don’t get much of a chance to post here. Life keeps perking right along with lots of dips & dives, which is to be expected I suppose. Needless to say there is lots going on that prevents me from spending time plunking away at the computer.

A couple of weeks ago my work schedule was changed suddenly – little notice – so my hours have changed; shift rotation, too; and place of work. I’m hoping this will be another longish-term post. I was also studying for and wrote an exam to re-certify for my licence to work in this (#!&*%%#$) field. Got a 77% which I was quite happy with considering the gawdawful quality of the exam. Truly had no idea how I might have done.

The kitchen was coming along quite quickly but there have been some hang ups because a couple of the appliances were damaged in shipping…. the plumbers discovered the damage when they went to install them. Lots of back and forth regarding that. The cabinets are all in and the granite countertop is a thing of beauty – predominantly dark grey; lots of solid black offset with swirls of quartz and highlights of various minerals. Love it. Pics to follow, promise. Oh, okay…. maybe one.


We’ve settled on handles for the cabinets but they haven’t been put on yet. Still trying to nail down final decision on backsplash but that should be figured out tomorrow. Then a bit of final trim & we’re finally done. PTL.

I mentioned on Facebook that I had gotten my shortest haircut in 40+ years primarily because it’s thinning so much; mostly in back. Check this out…

Yikes - whole lotta scalp!

Last week I saw a couple of dogwalkers out in the greenbelt checking somethings out on the ground & yelled to them asking what it was. ‘A hawk’, says he. And it clicked, we’d heard a bunch of crows – probably 30 of them – raising a ruckus about an hour before. We have such a thing about birds of prey that I couldn’t let it lie out there and be picked apart by other birds, or cats, dogs or coyotes. Out I go with plastic garbage bag and work gloves and collect the poor thing. It had it’s wings scrunched up as if protecting it’s head but had no obvious signs of injury. Beautiful even in death…. and surprisingly light. WARNING – picture below.

Red-Tail Hawk

I sent this and other photos yesterday to a woman who writes a nature column for the local paper. She said in a prior email that she hadn’t seen this happen before – that usually the hawk can make it’s getaway. I think it was overwhelmed my sheer numbers and had a heart attack through panic and exertion. With the constant dive bombing the hawk isn’t able to gain enough altitude to soar and outpace the crows.

What else? Mom is good – got together with she and my older brother on the weekend. My sister Linda got engaged to a great guy last weekend – they were celebrating going out together for a year and he popped the question. Leafing through the calendar the other day and realized my daughter Sarah will be 30 this May. 30!!!!! Holy carumba!

That’s it for today. Time to get cleaned up for work and make something tasty for my lunch(es). I’ll do another ‘books’ post but thought I’d mention I’m reading Sara Gruen’s ‘Ape House’; which is great and got wonderful reviews.


Blessed Events

February 10, 2011

My son Russ and I don’t talk nearly as frequently as we ought to. We both work wonky schedules and hours and there’s the time difference, too. So, when I do hear from him and it isn’t simply a response to my having left him a message it’s a pretty good indication that something is up.

He called one evening early last week and we spent quite a while catching ourselves up on family news. All the while I’m wondering when he’s going to let the shoe drop….. Finally, as we were getting ready to sign off he says, ‘Oh, and one other thing… maybe you could stand a bit of good news. You’re going to be a grandfather again come September!!’

In a word? How about ‘beaming’? Best news I’ve enjoyed hearing in such a long time. Fingers crossed for a smooth, uneventful pregnancy and a healthy baby.

Said to Russ that it fit in nicely with the aside I threw in at the end of my toast at their wedding to the effect that: anytime they decided it was time for Madison to have a little bro or sis would be just fine with me. That comment raised a few eyebrows and caused a few laughs but Hey!, I meant it!! Come on baby & welcome to the family!