Friday, April 15, 2011

End of long week

I'm glad the weekend is here.  It's been a busy week since I've returned and I am trying to play catch-up on all my projects and my school work.  Today was a particularly tiring day both physically and mentally.  I was facilitating a workshop with Electrical, Electronic and Instrumentation Technologists and because I am not familiar with the occupation-specific terminology, I had to pay close attention to what they were saying.  By the end of the day, we had a pretty comprehensive chart but I sure did a lot of walking!  I forgot to wear my pedometer but I felt like I had walked a half marathon.  I am sure it was not but trying doing that in high heeled shoes with plantar fasciitis (but don't feel sorry for me because I was too vain to wear flat shoes so of course I am now sitting with a heating pad on my back and sore heels).  I came home and had a nice hot shower before I could think of doing anything else.

Mom went to the hospice today and she said that Dad's face is very swollen.  It's hard to know if it's more than when I saw it yesterday but she said that he didn't eat all of the lunch I sent for him.  I had also flambeed some bananas but he didn't eat any of that either.  I sent some chicken fiesta for tonight's dinner and some for tomorrow night as well. I hope he ate that.  Dr Hartley came to visit him today and Dad said he was very tired.  For him to say that he is tired must be something.  Mom said he was very shaky and she reminded him that he is to ask for help when he needs to go to and from the bathroom. 

Bena is coming tomorrow so we should be able to get most/all of the stuff from Mom's house cleaned, packed and moved by the end of next week.  I am also hoping to have a family Easter dinner on Thursday while Bena is here but the logistics is a bit challenging.  Karran is not sure about his schedule, Sophie doesn't finish work till 6:30pm, Sharm and I are okay to go anytime after 4pm.  The greatest challenge is that Dad eats dinner around 5pm and is usually in bed by 6:30pm.  So we may have to do two Easter meals with a few of us at a time to accommodate everyone's schedule. 

Thank you for the phone calls and emails in the last week - Auntie Lovin, Uncle Deo, Eddie, Brent, Georgie, Prak, Gaytri, Auntie Bauline, Ida, Auntie Rosaline, Kami, Indra, Auntie Siloch, Arlene

Have a great weekend everyone...

Thursday, April 14, 2011

I went to the hospice this afternoon on my way home from work.  I checked in with the nurses prior to seeing Dad and Gaye said that he was doing okay and there was no bleeding for the last few days.  I went to his room and he was up.  His face on both sides is swollen but it doesn't appear to be affecting him adversely - at least no more than usual. 

We talked for a few minutes and he said he was hungry so I went to get him his dinner.  Mandy was about to bring it to him but since I was there, she stayed with the other residents.  Dad was telling me that Chef Tracy made him curry for dinner and he tasted it and said it was lovely.  It didn't look too lovely to me but he enjoyed it so that's what matters.  After dinner I get him a bowl of ice-cream from Tracy -a very big bowl which he didn't think he would eat but we talked and he finished it. He told me that he usually has cream of wheat just after his shower in the morning but for the last few mornings there was none so he was having oatmeal which he is not too enjoying.  He mentioned it to one of the staff who told Tracy and within minutes she was in his room apologizing that there was no cream-of-wheat and she promised that there would be some by the end of today.  And by Jeeves.... there was!  She sent someone out to buy some so Dad could have it tomorrow morning.  Now that's service.  Just like the kind I am getting at home. 

Mom has been making dinner for the last few days so it's nice to come home to good smelling food.  Mind you, I am a good cook too but it's nice to have someone else cooking once in a while.  She seems to be settling into a kind of routine so we are finding a rhythm that appears to be working for the time being. 

BTW: IF any Winnipeg people reading this blog knows of anyone looking to buy a solid mahogany bedroom suite (frame with queen mattress and box spring, bookcase headboard, triple dresser and mirror, five drawer chest  and one night table), please email me. 
Kijiji: Mahogany-coloured Queen bedroom suite

I also have a maple china cabinet,
Maple china cabinet

...a 9'x12' brown and gold area rug

and an 8'x10' oriental rug  (cream background with a dusty rose motif).

10'x12' Oriental rug - Motive

10'x12' border

We'd like to sell them by the end of next week if possible.  That's it for now. Long day and another long day tomorrow.


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Dad; birds of summer

Mom went to the hospice today and dad was having an okay day.  He called home yesterday to ask us to bring a dental instrument that he had at home because he thinks that he has something stuck in his teeth.  I called a friend in Toronto who is a denturist and he gave me some possible scenarios, one of which that he may have something stuck in his teeth but that he should not use any sharp instruments. He suggested floss sticks so I sent some with mom today.  It didn't appear to work so we'll try a different floss and hope that works.

Birds of summer
Mom said that the bird feeders outside of Dad's window had what seemed like dozens of goldfinches.  I get a few in my yard each year and each year I try different foods to attract more.  They like niger seeds so I have been using that for the last couple of years.  I am looking forward to the start of Spring and the birds in my backyard.  I have 3 pairs of doves (or as Sahana used to call them "loves").  I also have two pairs of mallards One pair builds their nest in our yard or the neighbour's yard and last year there were 13 ducklings.  I also had a pair of robins build their nest on the light in the backyard and they had four babies.  I put a six foot ladder under the nest last year and took Sahana and Sabreena up the ladder and used a mirror above the nest (the nest was too close to the soffits to be able to just see them so I had to use a mirror) and we saw four of the most glorious turquoise robins eggs and eventually watched the babies grow up until they were too big for the nest and flew away.  I spent hours watching the parents feeding them all day.  I almost wish I could have recorded it on a video camera.

Now back to my backyard farm.  Lots of blue, red, yellow and orange headed black birds, many red ringed black birds, several rabbits, last year a deer, and this year a very annoying squirrel.  I don't mind that he eats but he is very aggressive and won't let the rabbits and birds eat.  Last year I got some new hummingbird feeders so I saw a few hummingbirds.  The are so cute and so tiny!  They actually eat about 30 times their weight in food each day but you can see why.  Their wings flutter about 40-80 times per second.

Canna Lilies - reminder of Guyana

Pretty in Pink

Can you tell that I am looking forward to Spring and planting my flower and kitchen garden ? Yes I am.  I call it flower/colour therapy and I get a bounty of produce and flowers that last into the Fall. 


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

I went to the hospice this morning around 7:30am.  I can't believe how different the grounds look with all the snow gone.  There is a beautiful waterfall out front but it wasn't on yet.  I can imagine how it'll look in the summer with water running and flowers all around.

I checked with the nurses and they said that Dad had a good night.  He was tired but doing okay. I went to his room and he was sleeping all curled up and very tangled (not in a bad way)  in all the sheets and covers on his bed.  I woke him and he was pretty happy to see me.  I asked if he had breakfast and he said no so I told him to stay in bed until I heated it.

I went to get a bowl and a cup of coffee for him and came back to heat his dhall and roti.  He got up and I put him in the wheelchair and wheeled him to the table.  The first thing he asked was how the focus group last week went.  I told him that it went well and he said "Praise the Lord."  He said he has never met anyone more persistent and hardworking than me and he was glad that I am getting through with my studies.  Then he said "Persistent bombing weakens defence." 

Can't you just hear him saying that? He would say that when I was a kid that I should not give up if I wanted something and I know that I can be pretty single-minded if I set my mind to something.  It's been a long road and winding road when it comes to my studies and one that's sometimes paved with what seems like broken glass and sharp nails but I find a way to traverse it anyway because also along the way, I can take those broken pieces of glass and make beautiful mosaics.  Have you ever taken a look at a stained glass picture?  When you think about it, one piece of glass is just that.  But when you combine it strategically with other broken pieces of glass, you get a wonderful picture - one which you can admire for many years.

Anyway, he started eating his dhall and roti and he said it was very tasty and enjoyable.  Now, you have to realize that he has little or no sense of taste but he said it was very tasty.  He was making happy noises when he was eating and in between spoonsful, he would say that he was glad that I was there.  He had his cup of coffee while I changed his bed linen and removed at least three blankets and then I took him to the bathroom to brush his teeth.  While I was waiting for him he said he had a strange dream.  This is how he explained it: I had the strangest dream last night.  I was dreaming of the day you were born and I remember how I drop my milk can and run up the steps at Ma.  Then I grabbed your big toe and looked at it.  It looked like mine.  I said to myself, what the hell is that dream supposed to be?"  I said maybe the dream was telling him that I would come to visit this morning,  He agreed but didn't sound convincing as if he thought it was some kind of premonition. 

I called mom and told her about his dream and she said it was not a dream.  It really happened exactly like he described it.  That was exactly what he did the day I was born.  He told everyone he wanted a baby girl and when he came home to Nani's house which is where I was born (a blessing by itself), he heard that he had a baby girl so he dropped his milk cans and ran up the stairs, took off my booties and looked at my big toes which looked exactly like his.  I don't know if that's a good or bad thing but he seemed to think it was a good thing.

Nani wanted to name me Savitree when I was born but mom said that she couldn't use that name because Mr Kawall (where she worked) had a daughter by the same name and he would think that she was copying him.  Besides I needed a name from a pandit.  Dad apparently picked the same name but mom told him the same thing she told Nani.  So off he went to the pandit to get my name and the pandit said "Savitree" so Savitree it was and still is.  BTW: Sandra is also my name for those of you thinking that I have Anglicized my name.

He was in a good mood when I left and was even calling Chandal "Sugar Plum."  I told her that was a good thing.  She said "He also calls me mama sometimes.  Is that good?"  I said yes, that is almost akin to daughter.  She was happy.

I went off to work to deal with the mountains of work I have to do but one bite at a time.  Right?  Right!


Monday, April 11, 2011

Time to leave Isla
I was going to get up at 6:30 but woke up at 6 instead so I cleaned up and was ready by 7am.  We were planning to take the 8am ferry but we managed to get the 7:30 ferry so we arrived in Cancun at 7:50 and the driver was waiting for us.

We are now at the airport waiting to check in to our flight.  We got here early but the flight counter was not yet open for the flight to Winnipeg so we are now having a latte from Starbucks.  I don't particularly like Starbucks coffee but the other option was to go into a cafe and order a full breakfast.  I don't know why they can't just say a large is a large - it's called a venti.  There's tall, grande, and venti and of course there are all the different combinations that you can get. It's like speaking another language and it all seems so pretentious.  

I made an interesting observation at the airport.  There are a lot of shoe shine men with their little kits offering to polish shoes for a nominal fee.  There were several men getting their shoes shined.  The shoe shine men were sitting on the floor and they had a small stool where the client can put his shoe while getting it shined.  I noticed, as I did when I was in Mexico City and other Mexican cities that business men have very shine shoes.  I love to see a man with very shiny shoes.  It makes a statement I think but the image of a man standing while he is getting is shoes polished by another sitting on the floor is a bit too subservient for me.  I am too uncomfortable with that image and I know that some of you would say that everyone has to earn a living and it's an honesty living.  I agree but when a man gets another to clean his shoes while he stands over him, I am not so comfortable with that.
I called home this morning and asked mom to cook some dhall and roti for me for supper.  You can't take the coolie out of the girl and as good as the food was in Isla, I can use some home cooking.  Mom said that she was going to cook that anyway along with spinach and okra.  I am looking forward to some of that.  I am not thinking about work.

It's now 7:30pm and I've been home for about an hour and a half.  It's good to be at home.  I called the hospice a few minutes ago and spoke to Nurse Shannon.  She said that Dad was very quiet today and that's how he's been spending the last several days  There has been no bleeding and no "shadowing" (I'm assuming that means light bleeding).  He was already asleep but she has to wake him to give him his evening meds because he hadn't taken them yet.

I'll go in the morning before I go to work.  I have a 9am workshop to facilitate so I won't be able to stay long but I am sure that Dad will notice that I am a bit more tanned than I was a few days ago.  Not sure if anyone but Eddie is reading this blog.  If you are,feel free to post a comment.


Sunday, April 10, 2011

Dad; Isla

I received an email from Sophie this afternoon to say that the hospice called and said that dad had a big bleed today so I called the hospice and spoke to Nurse Donna.  She said that Dad had a bleed last night and they managed to contain it but he had another more aggressive bleed today and that was a bit harder to control.  It's the biggest one he's had since going to the hospice. They eventually manged to get it to stop and used some new dressing for bleeds that they have not had to use before.  By the time I called, he was doing okay and there was no more significant bleeding.  She said that he appeared more confused today and that could be attributed to a number of reasons - weakness, maybe internal in addition to external bleeding, tiredness or medication or a combination of all of those. She said that I should enjoy the last day of my time in Mexico because there is nothing I could do anyway.  They just wanted us to know. I mentioned to her that had Dad not been at the hospice in the capable hands of the entire very caring staff, I would not have gone anywhere  Prior to going to the hospice, I was trying to manage his home care staff schedule, his medications, his meals and any doctor's appointments.  So to have qualified medical staff taking care of all of this now, means that I can breathe a little easier - although I bought trip cancellation and interruption insurance just in case I had to return home early. 

This morning we decided to go to the Miramar Restaurant for breakfast.  This is the first restaurant that did not serve good food.  I got my huevos mexicana (Mexican eggs) but it was pretty tasteless and instant mashed potatoes is not my thing at all.  We all got that on our plates.  Yuk.  Sunita and Robin had huevos rancheros and that was passable.  Ronin had pancakes and bacon and his seemed to be okay.  This was his second breakfast.  The first thing that he wants to do when he wakes up in the morning is to eat so I gave him a bowl of cereal and milk and a glass of pineapple juice.  The best thing I could say we had at Miramar was the freshly squeezed orange juice but that's likely because they didn't prepare it themselves. I walked away disappointed that my last breakfast in Isla had instant mashed potatoes.  That has to be the grossest thing that anyone can eat.  It tasted like powdered nothing.  So it's not Miramar tonight.  It's probably going to be Rolandi's again but we know for sure that the food is always, always good.

We went to Viva Il Gelato last night and the food there was incredibly good. It's on Ave. Hidlago and it's surprising that there weren't more people there and that we didn't think to try it before.  I had a Caesar salad with chicken and there was enough food there to feed three people easily.  Ronin had a half serving of spaghetti with pomodoro sauce and it was definitely enough to feed an adult comfortably. We asked the server if it was a half portion and he said yes because we would be surprised to see what the full portion looks like. 

We went back to the hotel with a hibiscus that Ronin picked for me and then changed his mind and wanted to give it to Lucy who is the owner of the hotel we are staying at.  He's taken quite a liking to her.  I bought some Oreo cookies for the kids in the yard (her son, her step daughter's children and her chambermaid's kids).   Ronin gave it to her two days in a row to give to the kids and she kissed him on the cheeks so he walked around town that evening with lipstick on his cheeks showing it off to anyone who would make eye contact with him.  The next night he wanted to repeat the whole thing all over so of course I let him.  Then last night it was a flower for Lucy and she kissed him again but this time he hardly had any marker (lipstick) on his face.

We went off to the square to get a latte, a leche flan and some churros (which Ronin calls Chew-Woes).  The churros man had some already made but since I have been buying them every night, he made me a fresh batch.  It was deliciously yummy like I mentioned before - sugary and crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside.  We went off to the seawall to enjoy the rest of the evening. 

We got back to the hotel which is all of a two minute walk from the seawall, had our second or was it third shower of the day and went off to the roof to watch the stars and the crescent moon.  There was something going on the square during the day and evening so there was lots of music.  We listened to that for a bit and then went back to the room to start reading a good book that Sunita just finished - Water for Elephants.  I now on page 173.  I took the book to the beach today and read some of it there. Ronin and I went into the water and we were jumping, floating and riding the waves.   That kid has more energy than ten people.  The sun was blistering hot on the way back to the hotel but we had to stop to see three iguanas basking on a rock.  

I gave Ronin his shower before lunch and he wanted to get into his pyjamas because he was so tired from the water.  He ate lunch and went to bed a few minutes later  I took him for his after nap ice-cream and Sunita wondered what he'll do when he goes back to daycare on Tuesday.  He'll be asking Eunice for an ice-cream when he wakes up from his nap.  I'll miss my little grandson but I'm loving the time I have with him.    

Tomorrow we leave Isla on the 8am ferry for Cancun and on my way home.  This trip has been a Godsend.  I had not planned to go anywhere for the next few months but I got such a good airfare at very short notice and it was a direct flight so someone must have been looking out for me. 

I have so much stuff to do when I get back that I am deliberately not thinking of any of it right now - at least not trying to work on it while I'm here.  There'll be enough time for that when I get back.  In the meantime, I'm going to have some guacamole and think about where we can all go at Christmas for a big family vacation.  Sunita was looking at a house rental in the Orlando/Kissimmee/Davenport area or the Phoenix/Scottsdale area.  We are even considering Isla again but it might be a challenge for all of us to come here. Anyplace with a heated pool or a warm ocean will do and it won't be -30C. 

Brent if you are reading this, it only seems like my life is one big vacation, interspersed occasionally with brief periods of work.  I guess when you like the work you're doing, it does seem like being paid to be on vacation.  Now, what do I want for dinner?  Pizza? Pasta? Grilled chicken? I can't believe that I am saying this but I think I've had my fill of fish and shrimp for now. 

Off to throw some rocks to the sky with my grandson...

It's now later in the evening and we had our pizza at Rolandi's.  We threw lots of rocks on the west beach this afternoon and the waves were quite high.  Later in the evening, we went up on the hotel roof top and watched the stars.  Ronin and I were singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star but when we got to the part where it says " a diamond in the sky..." he observed that the stars did not really look like diamonds but circles so we revised the song to sing " a circle in the sky...". Somehow that doesn't sound quite as nice but he is accurate,  They do look more like circles than diamonds.  We should tell songwriters to be more accurate...

Ronin at Rolandi's

We're now packed and ready for a light breakfast tomorrow morning prior to catching the 8am ferry.  Life in paradise is almost over. Reality bites...