Thursday, September 15, 2011

Memorial Service for Dad

Yesterday Mom and I went to a memorial service at the Grace Hospital for Dad and all the other residents who passed away at the Grace Hospital and the Grace Hospice. 

It was short but very emotional for the people who attended.  The minister read from one of her favourite books and the theme was how to live on an island.  She used the island as metaphor for people's lives - that there are times when you are afraid to go to the island because it can seem scary, lonely and isolating but there are some valuable lessons to be learned from the experience. 

She then asked each of us to take a stone from two containers that were passed around and we were asked to think of our loved one and how they were a part of our lives.  She said that we could keep the stone or throw it away when we were done our moment of silence.  I put mine in my handbag.

After that, Mom and I went over to the hospice which is right next door so that I could drop off a Thank You card for the staff.  It is overdue but it's hard to go there without thinking about Dad's last few months. Nurses Gaye and Linda were at the desk. I also had a chance to say hello to Mandi (Health Care Aide who used to give Dad his supper) and Tracy the cook who learned to cook curry just the way Dad liked it because he always said that it was "lovely".

They were happy to see us as we were to see them.  They are such great people.  They mentioned that the other Health Care Aide Chandal who used to help Dad with his breakfast has now enrolled in the Bachelor of Nursing program at Red River College. I'll have to make a point of visiting her when I am in the nursing building. She'll make a very wonderful nurse because she was very caring and attentive to Dad.  I was reminding Gaye yesterday that she no longer has to worry about suffocating from the copious amounts of powder that Dad used to use after his shower.  She said "Dood loooved his baby powder!"  Indeed he did. 

I told her to give our regards to the rest of the staff - Margaret, Janine, Monica (to name a few) and of course all the volunteers who sang, read, and wheeled around carts of tea and dainties each week. 

Thank You again to the Staff at Grace Hospice for being special people.  We are glad that you were with us on Dad's final part of his journey.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Subhadra rollerskating for cancer; my rollerskating story.

My daughter Subhadra is rollerskating to raise money for cancer.  She is doing it in memory of my dad. I don't know much about it but I think it's the E-Ville Roller Derby.  If anyone would like to donate to the cause, please email or call me and I can give you her contact information.  I think she must be a good roller skater to be in a league. 

My rollerskating story

I have to tell you about my first (and might I add - my last...) roller skating experience.  My best friend Catherine was a great roller skater.  She claimed that there were not many things she was good at but roller skating was one of the few but very good things she could do.  She used to whiz around the rink as if she was floating on air.  She could go backwards and and do loops and could stop on a dime.  I used to watch in awe, wishing that I could do that. 

One day I laced up some skates and went on the floor.  Well, within seconds, I was down on the ground and try as I might, I could not get my legs out from under me long enough to stand up.  Each time I tried, one leg would end up in one direction, and the other in the other direction.  I finally crawled on my hands and knees over to the side wall and pulled myself up.  I gingerly slid over to an opening on the rink floor and stepped on carpet.  Grateful that I did not break any bones, I took off the skates feeling like a complete idiot - mostly because there was a little girl beside me who had just effortlessly glided off the rink and was also taking off her skates. 

After a good belly laugh, Catherine offered to teach me to roller skate.  Humiliated, I thought about saying no but she said since I was so proficient at riding a bike, I would undoubtedly be able to master rollerskating in no time. 

The next week I got dressed with what I thought were appropriate skating clothes and off we went to the rink.  She made sure that I had the right size skates and she quickly laced up hers and went for a warm-up around the rink.  I spent some more time doing mine up and stood up - proud that I was able to stand without tipping over.  I even got brave and did a little roll beside the table - all of this done on a carpeted floor.  I was beginning to feel confident that I would be able to master skating.  

Catherine came back for me and we went into the rink. First step and BAM! right on the floor.  I was doing what I had done before - legs splayed in every direction.  I crept over to the side wall and carpet and lifted myself up again.  Catherine offered to hold my hands and support me while I learned to balance.  I actually moved about 6 inches on the floor and managed not to fall. Good. Now the next step was to try for a straight line from one end of the rink to the other.  I did that - staying close to the wall so that I could grab on to it if I need to - and I needed to.

I was grinning when I got the other end but of course I hadn't learned how to stop so I had to rely on Catherine.  I turned and with her help, managed to go the short end of the rink without incident.  Again she helped me to stop and turn.  Then it was the long end again which I managed without incident again and repeated the same at the short end. By this time I had made it completely around the rink, albeit with assistance and with stops and turns rather than going around the curves like the other skaters. 

Catherine then thought that to be safe, I should learn to stop properly.  So after one more long and short roll around the rink I positioned myself for my skate on the long side of the rink.  I was moving confidently but not too fast and then I did as she said and tried to touch the rubber brakes down on the floor lightly so that I would not tip over.  That takes a great degree of skill when you don't know how - skill that I did not have so I tipped my foot and the next thing I knew, I tumbled and was sliding across the floor on my knees, stopping just a hare's breath from crashing head first into the wall.  I felt a burning in my knees but did not look as I came off the ice trying to look dignified.  It's not possible to look dignified when you are recovering from a fall.  Try to think of slipping on ice in a busy parking lot in winter and trying to get up and not look embarrassed.  Not possible.   

I got back to my chair and took off my skates. I was about to lift up my pant leg to see if I had skinned my knee, then I saw the two big holes in the knees of my pants.  The burning sensation on my knee was the heat of the fabric melting on to my skin.  You see, I had worn beautiful silk pants to go roller skating - not the most appropriate clothes but they looked pretty.  The friction from falling and gliding on the rubberized surface of the rink floor had burned holes in the pants.  Needless to say, that I was my last roller skating experience.  Catherine had a good laugh and where ever you are, looking down on me, you must still be grinning.

Catherine passed away more than 20 years ago and the void she left in my heart is still there but I have such beautiful memories of her, that she never really leaves me.  This is one of those embarrassing but lovely memories.  

Anyway, if you would like to donate to a worthy cause - Subhadra's cancer fund raiser - please email or call me for her contact information.  This is timely, because tomorrow, I am attending a service at the Grace Hospital in memory of all the residents who passed away in the last few months.


Monday, September 12, 2011

Some more pictures of our Alaska trip

These are very special pictures.  Sahana and Izabel were both keeping journals of their Alaska trip. Sahana's was in the form of a photo journal.  Here are her pictures of her trip.  She is 6 (almost 7) and she did not ask for or get any help either with the drawings or the spelling.  The only whale picture that I will have from the trip is hers.  Here they are:

My alaska trip



The mawnins (mountains)

The lawng (lounge)

The waves

Fun Factory

Piking shels (Picking shells)

This is wate (what) the bedroom lookt (looked) like

The glacier

Porkeepin (porcupine)


Sea lion on the booe (bouy)

The totm pols (totem poles)

Wayel woching (whale watching)

These are fantastic pictures and a pretty good representation of the things we saw and the activities we did.  If you look back on some of the pictures I posted, you'll see the ones I took with my camera. 

Happy Monday to all.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Happy Birthday Trent!

Today is Trent's birthday and we as a family are celebrating with a nice brunch at Prairie Ink.  Then we are all indulging in a nice piece of cheesecake (don't know what kind) before the football game between Winnipeg and Regina starts.  Winnipeg has been doing quite well this season - so far.  Hope they continue to do all the way to the Grey Cup.

I hope what ever you are doing today, you'll do it with the ones you love.  I am...

Remembering:  The Other September 11

Chile's Sept 11

The other 9/11

War on Democracy-Chile

Denying the destruction of democracy

Victor Jara

I have seen first hand some of the lasting evidence of the political, economic and social turmoil and destruction of democracy.  I spent a total of 5 weeks in Chile in 2008-09 teaching courses in adult education to a group of Indigeneous Mapuche people in Temuco, Chile. 

Temuco is not in a rich part of Chile and many disenfranchised Mapuche people live there.  I also had an opportunity to visit some of the surrounding communities - Puerto Saavedra, Currarehue, Chol Chol, Lumaco and Alto Bio Bio. The people in these communities are very friendly but many of them are illiterate and living in poverty.  The courses in the "Train-the-trainer" program which I was teaching was to assist them to acquire teaching skills that would empower them to become teachers in their own communities. 

One of the courses I taught was a Foundations course where we discussed some of the history of Chile so that the teachers could understand their disenfranchisement was not because of something they did or didn't do but to political forces that did not have their best interests at heart.

So take  A moment of silence to remember...