Monday, February 13, 2017

Bye Bye Mama.

My Mama passed peacefully in my Dad's loving arms this past Saturday morning. Gaining strength and love from family and friends and from my God. Thank you for all your words and wishes. I can feel your compassion.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Madame Itchy McBlister Checks in

What can I say about having shingles? 

A LOT! But it would turn the air blue. It's not good. On a positive note, after being diagnosed and given the early treatment (Valtrax), my 2 spots of shingles 
dried up and began healing. THEN a different rash started --- one that was an allergic reaction to something which to date remains unknown. This rash spread everywhere except my palms, feet and, thankfully, my face. And it's extremely itchy. THEN the shingles nerve pain started. Anyone who's had shingles knows what I'm talking about when I say this is the worse pain I've ever experienced! A constant has been the burning sensation -- like I've been skinned and put out in the wind. A constant from about 2-3 pm onwards is the feeling that my body is being poked with a scrub brush full of needles; and the later, harsher pain comes unexpectedly in the form of feeling like I'm being repeatedly stabbed and/or electrical shocks running down my arms and legs -- so much so that they'd occasionally twitch. Clothing hurts and I need a makeshift tent under my bed covers at night so the weight and heat from the blankets don't make me feel like I'm burning. From a medical standpoint, not much can be done other than over-the-counter calamine lotion and such; and that doesn't work with the bad pain. There were some evenings I was kneeling on the floor crying and praying. And there were a couple of evenings when I called my sister (who is on a lot of meds) begging her for something to knock me out for the weekend so I could get some rest which is one of the key things to healing from shingles. I took several different meds from several different people -- dangerous, I know. But effective. And I've had blissful moments of relief with almost no pain. Almost!

I hate to speak too soon, but I think I may be beginning to heal. I'm still pretty itchy, but some of the rash now has a fine, rough, sandpaper feel to it. I have patches of the usual red, angry rash; and my poor legs are peppered from the knees down with scabs. As Monty Python would say, I am currently "not attractive to men, sir!".

I've been diligent in going to work and our wonderful staff have put less demands on me. 

But because by the time I finish work I'm headed into the most painful parts of my day, I've not been able to visit my Mom in hospital very much. She has been failing and is now in palliative care. The family has been preparing themselves for this, of course, but it is still heart breaking. We are all looking to God now for comfort and for a peaceful transition for my lovely mother. 

The other big news which is more positive for me is that I'm moving at the end of this month to a slightly smaller but much cheaper apartment: internet and cable are included, there's a washer/dryer, electricity is less, it's in a lovely location which overlooks the bay and is close to a major route to work. I'm a little overwhelmed with packing again but trying to overlook what's immediately in front of me and focus on being settled in a place that I believe will be better for me. And this is what I'm focusing on for my Mom as well. 

So, I've a crazy stressful, busy, painful life right now. But it is my belief that God is right at hand and that He'll come through as He has ALWAYS come through. 

I thank any of you out there for prayers and/or compassionate thoughts towards me at this moment.

Monday, January 9, 2017


Ah yes. I moved home to begin a new adventure, one that I imagined would be filled with family get-togethers and leisurely walks and lots of opportunity for relaxation, etc.  The best laid plans .........

Most of our family get-togethers have been round the hospital bed of my mother who very slowly is recuperating. But there's a lot of expectation placed on we sibblings to be at her bedside, even when she's sleeping. She wants company; my Dad wants what she wants; we want her to get well. So everyone had been working double time over the holidays.

The result of those good intentions has been that most of the family has had or has at this moment flu and/or cold. My sister has a bacterial infection that is taking a long time to quit. So, for about 1.5 weeks, it was just my Dad and I doing all the visiting. 

But I think that overextending myself coupled with all the Xmas over-indulgence in rich, sugary foods put my immune system at risk. I came down with what I thought was a flu last Thursday only to find out late Sat night that it is indeed --- SHINGLES!

Just that word puts dread in the hearts of many a brave soul! With good reason apparently. I'm in the early stages (and hope my meds will help lessen the pain and duration). But both my parents have had it, and my brother who is in his mid fifties had it in Sept. So, he's been a huge source of help and advice.

Last night, I managed to get to sleep (in one position ONLY!) and sleep through the night. Today there's been a lot of irritation and slight pain (imagine a body brush full of needles being intermitently pushed into your skin); but Aloe Vera gel and pain meds have helped. I'm hoping as much as possible to work when I can as I expect there will be days when it will all be too much for me and I'll need heavier pain meds. Also, I'm one of the sufferers whose Shingles virus showed up as the symptoms of the flu. And today is the day when my nose and eyes are both streaming and both red. Very attractive indeed!

I've researched to find all sorts of natural remedies/aids to help me over the next few weeks. But if any of you have advice for me, I welcome it.  Even the horror stories are okay to share. I need to know what to expect. 

And words of advice for me for the future?

Your health comes first before the wants of others. 

After all, if you don't have your health, what do you have and how much good are you to others.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Merry Christmas from the Frozen North

Hello Friends. I've been missing in action for quite some time now
but my family and I are dealing with some serious and sad issues in my family. My Mom recently broke her hip; and although that's on the mend, with her age (86) and her poor overall health, she has NOT recovered well.  She's blind, has diabetes, kidney problems, a heart condition, high blood pressure and was diagnosed this summer with mild Parkinson's. However, with her heart condition, there was not a lot that could be given to her to control the Parkinson's. And now with the trauma of the hip injury and anesthetic, etc., she's fallen into a slow, steady decline where she doesn't really know where she is and what's happening. So far though, she does still recognize our voices most days and is aware of what health issues she has. It's been a very difficult month. And it's certainly not the "last Xmas together" that any of us envisioned when I moved home.

However, I have not given up on Christmas. My tree is up, apt is decorated, gifts are wrapped, and thanks to my darling soon-to-be 3 year old grandson, Christmas will be celebrated. I'm hoping to bake cookies with him this weekend because I'm a firm believer that children should roll out their own cookie dough and handle it until it's grey and gross at which point they eat it! It's a tradition, right?

As a Christian, I don't get into the back-and-forth debate about how to address people during the holiday season. And I certainly don't walk around malls or streets demanding that parents tell their children the "truth" about Santa and how this is a time to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. I believe we all need to make our own decisions on what this season is all about: it's between you and your God.

And just this morning, I came across this post The War on Christmas which sums things up very nicely, I think, and gives one cause to think.

However you celebrate, whatever you say, I hope your home is filled with good smells and good wishes and love, love, love. 

Thursday, November 24, 2016


Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends. 
And please note that this post was created 5 days ago but I had some Blogger issues. 

A couple of weeks ago, I volunteered to drive my sister to her specialist appointment in our capital city of St John's (or as we Newfies say "Sin Jawns"). It's a 9 hour drive across the island! 

But as I was suffering badly from thrift store withdrawl, I suggested we stay a few days and do some Christmas shopping as well. We left a week after her recent marriage: "Have a nice honeymoon, you two!" said her husband as we drove away in their new lux vehicle with built-in seat warmers and GPS -- a necessity in Sin Jawns!

We booked an awesome Airbnb: a tiny little historic row house right downtown for an unbelievable price. We each had our own room and a little patio out back. And while we were there visiting the large malls and our 2 cousins, I met up with an old friend.

"Hello darling", I cooed lovingly as we arrived in the city and drove past on our way to our new digs. "See you tomorrow."  On the same street, we passed Previously Loved, another thrift store recommended to us as well as a large Salvation Army thrift store and the mall where we planned on shopping. 

(With my heart all aflutter, I thanked God for obviously placing all these shops in one convenient location!)

My sister was a total greenhorn to thrifting, but after our first stop, she was hooked. (We'll repeat our visit in the spring when she has her next specialist appointment.) 

Before I left NS to move back home into an apartment, I got rid of an awful lot! I foolishly thought I could live with only a few pairs of shoes in black, brown and tan. Well! Time told a different story. So at the top of my "To Find" treasure list was SHOES. I probably spent a total of $125 thrifting, but I bought 6 pairs of flats, a down-filled winter coat (an absolute must for our long, cold Newfoundland winters), 2 pairs of pants/jeans, 2 t-shirts, 2 sweaters, 3 scarves as well as 5 additions to family Xmas gifts, 6 items for my grandson, 2 pieces of antique glassware, and a slew of lovely other items. (I'll share later.)

Linda and I had a fantastic time together, getting to know each other again and bonding over glasses of wine and lovely food: rustic loaves of artisan bread (unavailable in rural CB) from Volcano Icelandic Bakery; thick slices of delicious, rich buttercream topped cake from Rocket Bakery; a carnivore's delight at Montana's (fuel for shopping) and skinny vanilla lattes from Starbuck's. We acted like tourists, visiting Cape Spear and just walking historic Water Street and chatting with the artists and musicians.

I love my new quiet, laid back lifestyle in Corner Brook. But this trip to the big city was a wonderful mini vacation:  soul-rejuvenating and full of fun and laughter. 

Now, back to my budget and saving for next April's trip! 

Tuesday, October 18, 2016


Newfoundland is an island:  a veritable rock in the north Atlantic where the people are known to be cheerful, generous, fiercely proud and extremely resilient. History shows the extreme hardships that we have overcome and how tough life continues to be for many in this fair isle. Winters are long and harsh: not much of fall is seen and spring is often by-passed. And then comes our short summer season, or what we like to call black fly and Nipper weather! 

I still wake every morning rapturously happy to be where I am. And I often feel a mixture of awe-struck surprise and perplexity at some of the other differences between my 41 years in Nova Scotia and my new life here. So many changes! Most are wonderful -- the proximity to family, my new job, my wee little apartment, the scenery, little chubby hands holding me saying "You okay, Nanny B, you okay?"  My new life is grand!

But one thing that makes me sad is the lack of thrift stores, especially here on the West Coast. Newfoundlanders are not "happy thrifters" like Nova Scotians. Many of the people I know would not be caught dead in "someone else's clothes"! I think it comes from years of Newfoundland being the "have-not" province and the pride that people feel at not just making do here on this literal rock in the Atlantic but at prospering. But I've got a few friends as well as my eldest daughter who love a good bargain. And although the local Salvation Army Thrift Store is not a large one, donations are large and it's well attended. I try to check it out once a week (just so I won't lose my thrifting mo-jo!).

They closed last week for 2 days to pack away summer and put out the fall/winter inventory. I visited a couple of days later and scored big time AND I only spent my allotted amount!

I bought this pretty black & yellow blouse (Northern Reflections) as well as a 3/4 sleeve teal, black and white cardigan (Ricki) and a navy blue with white polka dot cardigan (Old Navy). 

 I also bought a pair of brown dress pants and a fantastic cream and yellow Colombia jacket, perfect for fall. (Just needed an Oxy super-soak and a wash in hot water and it's looks good-as-new.) 
 (PS - The color is not true in these pictures. Sorry!)

The Sally Ann here as well as the 2 others in a 50 km radius have helped me replace things I sold before my move like my rice cooker, mason jars and jigsaws & paperbacks. My sister and I purchased most of the incidentals for her very small, informal upcoming wedding. I found a really cute, opalescent glass boudoir lamp for $2 (with just a temporary shade on it at the moment).

But the thrifted item I most love is this fantastic lamp from the early 70's with an antique brass filigree foot and an amber globe with black felted pattern. Now, I've been searching for years for a colored glass globe-style lamp base; and although this is not exactly what I had in mind, it kept calling to me until I paid the $5. I proudly marched out of the store, while the locals stood mouths-agape in shock and horror. "Wass dat daft woman totin' outta here, for da love a God? Das h'ugly as sin, my dear!"  But beauty is in the eye of the beholder; and this beauty has won a place in my heart as well as on my end table.

$30 for the shade (EGAD!), another $4 for the tri-light; not as thrifty as I'm used to but still an excellent price for this sized table lamp.

Plus, when you turn the switch, you hear the sounds of angelic voices. 

How's your thrifting been going?