by Jan

From the above title, you may think this post has to do with cooking — it doesn’t.

I’m in the mood to spring clean. For me that means going through each room, sorting, tossing and re-arranging all or most of our possessions. I leave the actual cleaning to the Crazy Cleaning Lady, Patti!

FYI – we have too much stuff and yet, I need to be in the right mood to let some of it go. After all, I am Alice’s daughter.

Memories get attached to things and even while I know the thing is not the memory —  just holding or looking at the thing again, brings back a flood in my heart.

Two examples come to mind right off the bat.

Once came out of Ken’s closet. A vest he probably bought when we lived in Oregon. I say that because it has a bit of a hippie feel to it. This was Ken’s dress up vest. He wore it to Christmas parties, funerals, and weddings. We even have a formal photo or two with him in it.

I don’t remember the last time he wore it, however. We don’t get dressed up much anymore and if we did, I doubt he’d choose to wear that vest today.

Yesterday, he put it in the donate to the Sally Anne pile. I’m sure my heart tugged at it more than his did.

The other huge “let go” was a bag of cutlery. It was all I could do to NOT to put it back in the keep pile. The memories stormed my heart and I remembered the story.

In 1973 when I graduated from High School, I received only two presents. One, from my brother Art. It was a painting of the Sandia mountains by my friend Jeff Potter. I still have it. The other was from my Grandma Hudson.

For years and years and years, Grandma saved Betty Crocker coupons off cake mix and pudding boxes. When she had a certain amount, she sent them in trade for sets of cutlery for each her grand daughters.

She presented me with a full 8 piece place setting, of the Oneida Chatelaine pattern silverware as a graduation present. As the years went on, she’d gift me different serving utensils of the same style for birthday and Christmas.

Grandma must have she collected a ba-zillion coupons, because I know my cousins June, Karen, Patty, and Nancy were also given full sets.

I used this cutlery everyday until we moved to Sechelt when we bought a new set.

I like matchy matchy. I’m not one for odds and sods with things such as cutlery, dishes, glasses, or even towels in the washroom. The OCD in me likes matching sets.

The ONLY reason we bought new was because after 42 years, of using this cutlery daily, more than a few pieces had gone missing. For some reason we were down to 3 forks, up to 9 spoons, and had only 5 knives. Strangely, we still have all the serving pieces, and I happily continue to use them.

So, as hard it was, three years ago, I put what was left of Grandma’s silver away.

Yesterday, I came across it, and thought maybe, it’s time to let go. But then again…. Maybe not quite yet.


by Jan

As the world turns… we last left off our hero was… oh wait, that’s a different saga.

Art has Superimposed bilateral neural foraminal posterolateral disc extrusion with cranial migration resulting in severe mass effect  on the passing left 4 and l5 nerve roots AND kidney stones!

My doctor friend Mika, translated the above for me. He said, The disc is pushing out and extending up toward the head (cranial) and pressing on the left sided L4 and 5 nerve roots. This might cause left leg and pelvic pain and maybe some weakness. And Kidney stones.

The good news – Art is home. I don’t know about him, but I feel 2,000 times better.

A lot of the time he spent in hospital was because they needed to match his care with his insurance. Apparently, he has good policy and only had to pay his deductible which will include a home health nurse coming to him for aftercare and physio. Surgery is not off the table.

Thanks Obama!

He’ll get ultra sound for the kidney stones this week.

Art’s good neighbours and friends have been helping and will continue to help as needed. Whew.

My brother is positive and amazing. I admire him to the moon. He continues to inspire me to be a better person, and to have a more positive outlook on life.

Oh, and if anyone is looking, the doctor said Art could sell his blood for a high price to those who need drug testing. Art has never done drugs, smoked and is not a big drinker. So – he’s pretty clean.

I slept really well last night.


by Jan

I’m in a holding pattern right now.

They say the not knowing and the waiting is the worse. I’m not going to say it’s the worse, because there are a lot of things are much worse — but it does suck.

Art’s in hospital. He called Monday and said he was in serious pain. Later that night he went to the hospital where they admitted him.

At first they thought kidney stones, but the latest news is, he has a herinated disc. But, they’re still, doing tests and have given him no real answers. What they have given him is morphine. Fuck!

It is hard to be here and not there. My suitcase is at the ready if I do need to go back to Vegas baby.

After a couple nights in hospital, Art was taken for a MRI yesterday, but the results still aren’t back.

So, he waits. We wait. He said they finally gave him a meal after the MRI – holy moly — he must have been hungry.

My mind goes every where with this and my hearts hurts. I am reminded to stay present. We’re all just waiting do the next right thing.

He did say he when he gets home, he’ll write a song titled Water and Morphine for his next album.


by Jan

We’re back from our trip to Vegas!

We brought home about 30 cans of Hatches green chile, and I brought home a stupid cold.

For almost three years, if you don’t all my count head trauma, I’ve been quite healthy. But, this is my third cold since November, and I am not happy about it.

To help, I made a big pot of green chile stew yesterday. Today I’ll throw another can of chile into it, and maybe the heat will blow this crap out of me.

We had a great time with Art. I am so lucky to have this relationship with him. Art and I were close as children, then hell broke loose in the family, and we went our own way for survival. Now, we are close again, and my heart is so very grateful.

Art treated us like kings while we were there. He planned each day, bought all the meals, took us on the HighRoller Ferris wheel, where we could see the city from high up. He booked us a night in the Hard Rock Hotel on our last night, both so we could be near the airport in the morning for our flight home, and so we could taste the thrill of Vegas.

Now, the thrill of Vegas is not my kind of thrill, but we played a little as well as gawked at the sights, like the small town bumpkins we are. In the end — we came home with $100. US – about what we went in with, so I’m calling it good. It’s true, when you start winning, it is easy to say…. one more. Being cheap makes it easier to stop!

We took a day trip out to Hoover Dam. What an incredible place. To think all that was built with before computers — amazing.

One reason I may have come home sick, is Art had the same policy our Grandma had when we were kids. We could do anything we wanted at Grandma’s house. The same went for Art’s house. The answer was always Yes no matter what you asked! So, instead of being smart — we ate ice cream at Dairy Quees before lunch of pizza and tacos. We acted like fast food joints and smoked filled casinos were good for us. It’s a good thing we don’t drink booze. Silly, I know.

Art bought a beautiful home, in a retirement community on the east side of Vegas. It took a lot of courage for him to leave New Mexico and move. He didn’t know anyone in Vegas, and basically started a fresh life.

We spent most of our time in his home. We listened to music, watching sports on TV and laughed our asses off. If you’ve ever met my brother, you know he is a friggen riot, and will entertain and tell a story like no one else I know. It was fun. We laughed a lot!

We saw some amazing sights in Vegas, both good and odd, we did things we would never do on our own and saw things not meant for healthy eyes. For example, we went to Wal-Mart, and passed by the “drive through prayer tent” in a parking lot, we did not go to the gun show that was advertised.

Sometimes, you have to do strange things and go to different places to get confirmation, that Ken and I made a good choice for how and where we live. It is good to know that Art has made a good choice for how and where he lives.


by Jan

Ken and I are going to Vegas Baby! We are going to visit my brother Art, in his new home.

It will be a fast easy peasy in and out trip.

We already have tickets to attend the potato and salad dinner at the community centre in Art’s housing complex. (I hear they may have karaoke).  Art also promises to take us sight seeing, including Hoover Dam. We are not big casino people, so passing on them will be easy.

I know we will eat well, sing a lot, play name that tune, and we will laugh. We will laugh a lot.

Then hopefully, get home before anyone pulls a gun.

I admit to being nervous in going.

First off – I prefer road trips in the van, to flying the friendly skies. And I’m not a big fan of crossing the border into a country where there is a fucker in the white house.

All that will be put aside though, because I can’t wait to see Art and his new digs!

I’m so lucky to have him in my life. I know he will do everything possible to make sure Ken and I have a fantastic trip.

The biggest challenge has been to know when it’s safe to buy the Hawkins Cheezzies we want to take to Art for a present.

They were on sale last week, but we peaked early. I bought a few bags, and we ate them, watching the Olympics.

It was then suggested to me by a good friend, that we buy them at the airport, and put them in checked luggage if we really want Art to get them.

We’ll be home before we know it.

Please send thoughts and prayers.


by Jan

Let’s talk about pot.

Okay, since this bloggy thing is not really a conversation, but a place for my rambles, what I meant to say is….

I’m going to talk about pot.

I’ll put it out right from the start. I’m not a fan.

I’ve certainly been high on it, but it’s never been my “drug of choice.” Actually given the choice — pot is probably the last mind altering thing I’d choose.

Me and pot do not get along. I get paranoid and itchy. The times I’ve gotten high, all hell tends to break loose. Something big will happen, and I will either have to run, or hide, or talk to someone in authority. That’s me. I do not get or enjoy a harmless buzz.

I know a lot of people do. I also know a lot of people who have wine with dinner or a shot of whiskey in the evening. Again, I’m not one of them.

Pot will be legal in Canada very soon. Yet, I wonder what that will change, maybe the government will make more money, maybe more treatment centres will need to open, maybe nothing will change.

What I see, and have seen for years is pot is already everywhere. Those that consume it, consume it. Where and how does not seem to make a difference to them.

There are very few times I go anywhere, be it to the grocery store, or a hike in the bush, that I’m not “treated” to the order of pot in the air.

Seriously – it does not matter if I’m hiking in the bush or walking downtown, on the main street of our little town, I smell pot. People already smoke it everywhere, and have for years.

Pot isn’t yet legal, and yet the small town of Sechelt, has three pot stores selling weed already.

There was an article on the inter-web that was worried that cops, doctors and airplane pilots would be coming to work stoned when pot was legalized. You know, like they’d be smoking joints with their coffee breaks, because — it’s legal and they’d now have the right.

Maybe they forget that booze is legal. Now, while I know there are cops, doctors and pilots who have alcoholism, and many are what we call “maintenance” drinkers, and do show up at work loaded, but the majority of people don’t drink on their coffee breaks. Just as the many folks who get high, don’t come to work stoned.

Now, I know, I know… many say, and maybe it’s true, that pot is less harmful to individuals and society as a whole than booze is… and while that MAY true, don’t forget I worked at a treatment centre for 12 years.

Pot can fuck up the best of a person, just as easily as any substance can.

I’ve no where to go with this ramble or rant — except to say, I prefer not to debate the merits of weed, and I really don’t want to smell pot when I’m out in the world.

But, that’s just me.


by Jan

The Olympic flame is out.

We can take a break from hours of TV and rest up from all the cheering and hoo-ha of the Olympics. But, we can’t take too log a break, as the Para-Olympics games start up in a few weeks!

Now, the Para-Olympics games have all the same sports as the “regular” games; it’s just that in these games the athletes are blind or only have one leg.

I know we won’t be able to watch as much as I’d like, because the CBC won’t cover these games as much. There just isn’t the same kind of money provided for showing a blind guy fly down a mountain on skis at 70 miles per hour, no matter what country they’re from.

Plus, you can only imagine the metaphors the announcers could come up with…

Wow, he didn’t see that coming! She doesn’t have a leg to stand on…

Yeah – probably not.

For now, it’s all good. Like I said, I need a break from the fast forward button and the big TV. We’ve other stuff to do.

By the way – in case you didn’t hear… I swam a mile last Saturday. Actually I swam a little further as I didn’t want to come up short in case my count was off.

In 57 minutes, I swam 70 lengths of our 25 metre pool.

I’m pretty darn chuffed with myself and don’t mind tooting my own horn with this accomplishment.

I don’t know if a mile will become my workout, it was hard and I sure was tired after. I know several friends who swim a mile on a regular basis. Toot-toot to them!

Still, something happened to me over the last 7 weeks, I actually look forward to going to the pool now!

I’ll do my best to keep the schedule of three times a week at twoonie time. My bar will remain set low, at swimming a minumum of 30 minutes. If I do more – bonus. Toot-toot!

Never forget this addict prefers to change her goals to meet her behaviour rather than change her behaviour to meet her goals!

Did I tell you I swam a mile? I meant to!


by Jan

Yes, the Olympics are still on and I’m still in front of the TV.

Recording the CBC 24/7 has been the best thing we ever did regarding these games. We’re able to watch the events we love, and fast forward through commercials and the blah, blah. (of which there is a lot!)

Snow boarders and skiers are my favourite. I’m not a big fan of skating sports. Speed skating gets my heart rate up too high. I can’t stand it when they crash. I don’t watch hockey, or figure skating. Except I had watch Tessa and Scot, because they are Canada’s sweethearts and they did good. I also fast forward to the 10th end in curling and then watch the last rock thrown for all the teams.

I’m disappointed in the Women’s hockey game. Not the game itself – I didn’t watch it. I heard everyone played well, and a shoot out is not the way to decide a game, but the Canadian women were sore sports, and that put a twist in my knickers.

Of course every one plays to win, and with this level of skill, on any given day, any given team or athlete could get gold. They know it, yet acting like a silver medal is crap is… well… crap. Shame on them.

Once again, I’m going to comment on the commentators – I know it is a hard job and for some reason, going quiet and just watching the sport is not part of their job description. So, while in giving us the blow by blow, they come up with some wonderful metaphors to describe the events.

Here are just a few…
• Another big tree falls
• She left her cake in the oven too long
• He’s on the ropes
• He played his cards too early
• Only she knows what is left in her tank
• You can decorate a cake all you want, but if it doesn’t taste good…
• I like that we were invited to his party
• A soft drink away from movie night
• They have a cushion and window, but better not sit back and enjoy the view

And then there are the cheers …
• Stop, drop and open up shop!
• One, two, stomp and cue the crowd!

and my favourite commiseration…
• So disappointing, but, this is a hard sport — you really need skill.
(this was said during ski cross, when no one crashed or died and they all crossed the finish line within .03 of each other!)

I say, cue the crowd! Woot-woot!

Did I mention I love the Olympics? I also really love the fast forward button!


by Jan

What I learned this week.
A lap in a pool is up and back. A length is one way, and a lane is the what you swim in.

So, while I was tooting my own horn about swimming 40 laps — according to this new knowledge, I actually only swam 20, but I did them all in my own lane!

It is weird to have swimming be a thing for me, I have is a lot of baggage attached to a pool.

My dad was a serious swimmer. He was a swimming teacher and swimming coach for his career. I know my brother Bill swam competitively both in school, and at least once in a seniors meet.

My brother Art, was the swim teams manager in high school, but I don’t think he swam.

I do remember my dad picking Art up and tossing him in the pool and yelling “Alligators!” I know Art got out of the pool somehow.

I never learned to be comfortable in the water. As children we spent a lot of time messing around in pools. And, I’ve had at least two near drowning experiences in my life. (good times!)

When we worked at Bowen Island Sea Kayaking – I was able to do a wet exit from a kayak, without getting my hair wet.

I’m more comfortable with my feet on the ground and my head in the clouds, than with my face wet and limbs splashing around in the water.

But, as the IChing notes, more will be revealed and perseverance furthers.

I’ve been to the pool three times a week for over a month now. I’ve made steady progress with laps, lanes and lengths.

I not reached the goal of swimming a mile yet, but I am still showing up for twoonie time.*

I’ve said, I really like how I feel when I get out of the pool — today, for the first time, I’m looking forward to getting in.

Oh what a world we live in!

*A small window of time, at the Sechelt Aquatic Centre, when it only cost two bucks to get in.


by Jan

I do not know my place in the world on the grand scale of life, and I don’t really care about it.

I have no illusions about life before or after this one. I care nothing for legacy. I only know, I am here now, and am glad for it.

My place in fitness class, on Tuesday and Thursday morning, is an entirely different thing.

Fitness class at the Sechelt Activity Centre is super fun.

The instructor is wonderful! For a little over an hour, Jacquie leads us in heart pounding aerobics, strength training exercises, and muscle relaxing, stretches.

It’s a class I look forward to and feel great leaving from. (Unlike swimming where, so far, I only feel good leaving the pool!)

The gym we gather in is big. It’s a good thing too, because often 60 people plus, come to this class. I’m talking numbers of people in the class and not age.

Of course, we move a lot around the gym, but like musical chairs, when ever we face the front of the room — everyone finds their place!

June, Jane and John are on the far right middle section. Anne, Helmut, and Kathy hang out in the back.

My place is in the second row, far left. Michael is on my right. In front of me is Elisabeth and Renata. I have no clue who is behind me.

As in any class, we all find our preferred power spots.

I’ve taught enough classes to know this. If I think back to different classes, I’ve taught or taken, I can tell you to a tee who stood where.

The first year I learned Tai Chi, I stood behind Darryla, who wore the same worn out, and ripped pair of pants to class for the longest time.

It wasn’t long before, I became a front row centre, type of student. I didn’t want to miss anything and I admit to being a bit of a suck up, to whoever was teaching.

I mention this, only because, yesterday Elisabeth wasn’t there for part of the class. At least she wasn’t in “her spot”.

It was weird, every one in our little corner of the class was a bit off. Finally, she came in late and took her spot — we all got comfortable again. Ann who’s spot is right of Elizabeth, gave her hell. “Where were you? We were worried sick!”

I smiled.
I get it. We all need our special spot, if not in the world, at least in class. And we count on those around us to have theirs.