Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Checking off Milestones

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Bosco

Today marks the end of a week of milestones for our family. Taking posession of our home 12 years ago (August 2nd), The 1st anniversary of Bosco's arrival to our family (August 4th), My sister-inlaw's birthday (August 6th), and today our 21st anniversary.

Thursday, 13 July 2017

The next chapter in the medzone

The last week or so has seemed like rather a whirlwind of medical appointments and plotting. I'd teased my teddybear that booking more than a couple of days off in a row would  tempt the fates and he'd laughed.  It never fails, every time we plan to do something for ourselves, something gets royally screwed up!  

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Sometimes it's perfectly OK to be unplugged for a few days..

This might just be the first year that I didn't get online to post something for Father's day, and for my father-inlaw's bday. Kids came down for a few days and we were too busy enjoying them that my keyboard didn't get any airplay whatsoever.

Thursday, 18 May 2017

An unexpected trip to London and a fabulous weekend!

How awesome is it that it's Thursday, and I'm still pumped after a fabulous weekend?
The District "G" Portion of the Convention Parade.  My teddybear is carrying our branch flag. 
What we thought was going to be a weekend comprised largely of meetings and a "work" type atmosphere turned out to be so much different than I had imagined. 

We'd jumped at the chance to attend the Legion Zone Convention in Gananoque just a few weeks before and I hadn't even considered adventuring to London for Provincial Convention. Part not wanting to push my luck  having just gotten back from what we'd been calling the closest thing to a vacation we'd seen in quite a long time, and partly logistics. 

I had been chatting with fellow comrades who were encouraging us to go, and  so I promised to bug my teddy bear.  Much to my surprise, he had already been thinking about it and had started the wheels in motion.   We often joke that this is one of the perks of having been together so long.  We often find ourselves in synch when we haven't actually vocalized our "evil plans."

A bigger bonus was that my cousin Tom was to be the Dominion guest speaker.  I was pretty happy that I would get to be present for that.  I didn't know he would also do the new officer installations but I probably should have guessed.   I got to get some pretty fabulous photos for the family album as well -- Scrapbooker for the win!  As is the norm, I'm way behind on getting the bulk of them posted, but they'll arrive on a Facebook page near you soon. :) 

I thought it was pretty fabulous that a son of my Dad's eldest brother and I, a daughter of the youngest brother would be together at the same convention talking "shop."  I wonder what our Dads would have thought about that. 

It was the longest road trip I've been on in a while, clocking in almost 6 hours by the time we got through Toronto.  It's been a very long time since these poor legs felt like they'd been fashioned into pretzels.  Days later, my knees and legs still haven't recovered but it was so worth it -- I'd do it again in a heartbeat!

The weekend was an opportunity to meet a number of faces to go along with names we already knew as well as a chance to connect with people we talk to regularly but don't always get to see.  I also made a number of new connections and a few new friends.  I really enjoyed the chance to network with other Legionnaires from a variety of experience levels.  I came home re-energized and ready for the new term. For once I felt like I had more answers than questions, though my convention book margin notes remind me I still have much to learn. 

I'm still giggling at just how very different some folks are out of uniform than they are in uniform.  My first Provincial convention I witnessed a new induction for a couple of fellows to something called the Order of the Thong, in the middle of a meeting of the Pink Ladies.   No, I wasn't drunk, nor did I imagine any of it.  Colour me amused.  

I even won a $100 Walmart gift card from one of the vendors on site! 

I really enjoyed the presentation by Invictus Games Co-Captain Natacha Dupuis (Retired Master Cpl., who shared her story and talked about what the opportunity to once again represent her country means to her.  I'd read about the games last year but hadn't really followed them.  After this presentation, I don't think I'll ever look at them the same way again.  CTV London interviewed her as part of the Convention coverage, check it out here.

Maj. Mark Bossi
We also had the opportunity to reconnect with a presenter we'd seen at the Gananoque Convention.  Major Bossi had given such a captivating presentation on the OSI (Operational Stress Injury) Program. It was one of the best presentations I've ever seen -- we were thrilled to bump into him again.  He did speak at this convention as well, but it was a much more condensed version. 

Even though I was an Observer not a Delegate (meaning I didn't get to participate in the vote) being there still made you feel like you were part of the process.  It was SO much better than reading the reports (or having them read to you) after the fact.  

This year the Royal Canadian Legion Ontario Command elected its' very first female President on this the 50th convention.
Sharon McKeown, President of Ontario Command
I found myself listening to how she'd come to be a member of the Legion and smiling to myself as it was my Dad that got me involved too.  I found myself wondering what I'd say if I eventually had the opportunity to share my "why."  

We met the Honourable Kent Hehr, Minister of Veteran's Affairs outside our hotel Friday evening and then caught up with him again the following day and were able to get photos with him.  James teased me that I'd gotten a new photo for my "collection" that I hadn't needed my media credentials to get.  Smartipants. 
James Edwards, Secretary Branch 105 (and my teddybear) pictured with the Hon. Kent Hehr, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Tom Irvine, Dominion 1st Vice President (and my cousin) at Provincial Convention in Londaon Ontario.
I'm always amazed when I meet one of those "larger than life" people that you've only ever seen from afar and you realize that they're people too.  He couldn't have been more personable or friendly.  I spent some time chatting with his photographer as well. 

I was offered a new project this weekend as well, but that's another blog.  I'll wait until we have our meeting in a couple of weeks and I know more about what I'm getting myself into before I start making noise about that.  Just know I am quite excited about the opportunity!!

Now we set our sights ahead to Dominion Convention 2018 in which Tom will be invested as Dominion President.  Come Hell or high water, I definitely want to be there!

Today's blog comes with a very hearty thank you to 3 fabulous comrades who I am proud to hold among my family and friends.  Your constant encouragement and support despite many newbie questions and sometimes hair-brained ideas is precious to me.  Your patience has been so very appreciated.  <3


Friday, 21 April 2017

Remind me not to blink as I fast forward 4 more years

A message popped up in the reminders on my Facebook page this morning from 4 years ago and I couldn't help but take pause at the realization that 4 years had gone by since I wrote it.

It had been written in the hangover of my Dad's passing, and a whack of family drama. I'm always amazed at how much unnecessary crap people can create at the most inopportune of times. Never surprised, but always amazed.

I'd started out thanking a few close friends and family who stood by me through the year gone by. It was one of the worst of my life. The only thing that carried me through was that feeling that I wasn't as alone as I felt. I am so grateful to have had my beloved James with me and that his boss was willing to let him take extended leave to be with me. I could never have gone otherwise.

Aside from the obvious leg-wrapping and care issues, I honestly don't think I'd have survived any of it without him. He's pretty modest about it all, of course, but I cannot forget the daily leg wraps, the gall bladder drain tube I was sporting at the time waiting on a surgery date, and the pure logistics of everything. His sunny disposition and whole "you'd do it for me" attitude still makes me smile. He is my energizer bunny, and he keeps me going. (Often quite literally).

Calling up friends I'd known for years, but hadn't seen in a long time to tackle a variety of tasks while we were ut there was a true testament to good friends always being able to jump back in to place right where they left off. I'd forgotten how huggy our bunch was. I'd missed them so very much.

On a plus note, I got to "show off" my teddybear and dispel the myth that such an awesome guy really did exist, and that after all the misteps they'd witnessed in the past that this girl had finally gotten it right.. always nice to get to find at least a little bright side :)

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I'd actually written a long post on my Facebook page about it:

I still can't wrap my head around this message being 4 years old. I could have written it just yesterday (except for the thanks to fabulous friends).

I remember being 10 and 11 and having Dad go through his ritual of showing me where he kept his wallet, his coins and among other important things like making me memorize his SIN number, and DVN #'s.

Unfortunately this ritual always seemed to take place in a flurry of tonight's the night I'm going to die and often after a night of drinking with friends so I'd always thought he was trying to make me crazy. I never really appreciated the "lesson" he was trying to convey.

On more than one occasion I was furious with him for even suggesting that he would leave us too, leaving us with no parents.

He, on the otherhand, was so determined to make sure that in the event of the inevitable I'd be ready -- I'd be OK.

No matter how ready you are, however, it is impossible to say goodbye to someone who has been such an integral part of your life forEVER. I still find myself talking to him on occasion and wondering what he['d think of this or that.

I imagine him up there above the clouds somewhere laughing and shaking his head at me.. but it's all his fault. He's the one that gave me the warped sense of humour.

Hard to explain that he's gone, but he's he's still that inner voice in my head that never goes away. I stll hear him giving me advice, and hear his wit and wisdom coming back to me often when I least expect it. He's here.. but he's not here..

Dad used to talk about missing his parents, people I didn't really remember. I didn't get it then, but I do now. I never thought I could miss one person so much.

I have to believe we'll see each other again some day Dad.

When Dad passed, people told me that time would heal all wounds. That in time, it wouldn't hurt any more. To put it simply, PEOPLE, are generally full of shit.

Today marks 4 years since that post, and this December will mark 5 years since his passing. I can't say that time has fixed anything.

If anything it has only served to make me sadder. I still miss Dad. The family drama caused irreparable damage that has no repair manual. Sadly at least one of the participants has also passed.

Beyond the hurt and angry, lives a broken heart that may never heal. I'd heard stories of vultures in the wake of such events, but the experience was beyond my wildest expectations. People so focussed on gossip and stuff that couldn't be bothered to realize that in the midst of all of the responsibility that had been left on my shoulders, that above all I'd lost my Dad too.

Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger (or so they say). Where are those damned zombies hiding anyways?

Until next time!

-T.



Thursday, 9 March 2017

He's Coming Out - Oh to be Happy and Gay

North Dundas Mayor Eric Duncan Announces he is Gay

The announcement was posted to LinkedIn, though the actual post was in the fashion of a guest blog post on bronzeandgoldblog.ca

Friday, 3 March 2017

Opportunity Knocks - March 3rd, 2017


Opportunity knocks is a regular helping of area opportunities to volunteer time, donate tangible items or otherwise serve to better the communities we live in. 

Thanks to everyone who has taken the time to share my column with friends and colleagues,  who has submitted an item for inclusion,  or has sent a message to comment on the project.  I appreciate the support! 

Do you have an opportunity that you'd like to share? Please send it to me at tammy.dcemediaproductions@gmail.com

 ~ Tammy 

Brockville - The Brockville Y is accepting nominations for its board of directors.  Nominations will be accepted until March 31st, 2017.  For more info: http://https://lnkd.in/dzMd_XY

Brockville - Kingston The Kingston/1000 Island Crimestoppers seek volunteers to join their 2017 board.  Click for more info.

Please contact us at 613-340-0948 or email your resume to Kingston Police agutheinz@kpf.ca or Chairman of the board j.a.oliveira71@gmail.com

Cardinal - The Cardinal Legion seeks volunteers for a variety of tasks, and events.  Students welcome!  Contact rcl.br105@gmail.com

Prescott - Cardinal - Spencerville - The Food for All Food Bank is seeking Volunteers.  Did you know that high school students can volunteer to get their 40 hours of community service required for graduation?  

Students may assist in stocking shelves, making posters, assisting with fundraising events, and interacting with the community.  We always need volunteers, so come on down and get started today! 

Smiths Falls - Town of Smiths Falls seeks volunteer firefighters.  More info.

Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry: Victim Services of Stormont, Dundas, Glengarry and Akwesasne is seeking volunteers. 

Are you looking to gain some hands-on experience in dealing with crisis situations and want to make a difference in the life of someone who has been affected by a crime or a tragedy?  Volunteer with us! 

Call 613-938-8900 for more info or e-mail info@vsv-sdga.ca


Thought for the day: 




Wednesday, 1 March 2017

It's all fun and games til the fish swim out of the tank!

Today would be a bittersweet day, I'd told myself going into Tuesday morning.  After all, we'd over done it walking Monday, and had the appointment at the cancer clinic so we were tired - not the best start - but today would have been Dad's birthday.  That alone overshadows almost everything.  

All things being relatively equal I really didn't have high hopes for a great day, but I wasn't plotting for a bad one either.  If the day passed quietly, I'd have been just fine. 

Apparently this was not to be the case.  

I'd planned to do something special to mark the day, but here we were and I'd still come up empty as to what I wanted to do.  I'd thought about planting something in the garden but it's still too darned cold.  I'd given consideration to getting another squirrel or two for the garden paying homage to his love of feeding his "little buddies" but I just haven't seen any yet.  I am at a loss. 

My hubby was barely out the door when the phone started ringing and as I collected my things to get into the box and on with the day I noticed a puddle on the floor.  As I muttered to myself about how the darned dog had just been outside and didn't need to pee in the house (yet again) as I went to get the mop,  I noticed a small leak on our fish tank dripping onto our hard wood floor.  Okay puppy, you get a pass this time..  

Seems our prolific gaggle of guppies have been rather rowdy lately and the caulking has let go in a couple of spots.  OH whatta mess!!  35 gallons is a lot of water to be puddling out onto the floor. 

So so grateful that hubby was able to turn around and come back home.  I don't even want to think about how that might have gone.  

Turns out our spare tank has a leak after being stored in the garage for a couple of years.  Yeah it's been that kinda week (so far).  

Oddly enough I heard my Dad's laughter when we were in the thick of it yesterday.  I blame/credit him for my warped sense of humor.  He'd have been amused by the thought of us chasing the waterfall and bailing fish.  He'd likely remind me of the time my sister was bouncing on a chair next to the fish tank and her head went through it.  We were walking on towels for days and picking up dead fish all over the rec room.  Ah childhood memories.. LOL 

I read somewhere the other day that the way we speak to our children becomes their inner voice.  I believe it.  For years, I've heard my Dad's voice in my head giving me advice, scolding me, telling me what I should be doing..   see?  I'm not crazy!  Well maybe just a little.. <Grin>   

My little sister texted me this morning to wish me Happy Dad's birthday.  Though we both agree it doesn't seem so happy without him here.  I have to wonder if he knew how much we'd miss him.. warped bits and all. <3 





Thursday, 23 February 2017

Before you start to judge.. Should you really?

A friend posted this graphic on his Facebook page this morning and it got me thinking.  Let us pause on that for a moment..



Its message is pretty clear, and if I might say so -- it was bang-on! 

I began to think of many of my interactions over the last several weeks.  Comments made to me pertaining to one friend or another that came across as almost a test to see if I'd divulge some other 'secret' I might know.  That always makes me laugh - That's never really been my scene.   

Having said that, I have to wonder when people got to being so damned judgy. So many that haven't got the foggiest idea of what's going on but fill in the blanks with assumptions and half-baked ideas that couldn't be further from the truth.  I know they tell us that it says far more about the person than it does us -- but at the time that's never an easy pill to swallow.  I've heard some rather interesting stories about myself over the years.  Who I've been with and things I've done.. and I just have to laugh.  

A good friend was fond of saying well, as long as they're picking on me they're leaving someone else alone.  I always thought that was a good way to look at it.  Though I've been known to offer to dig out an old quad-cane on occasion as a mechanism to maintain order and peace. 

In the grand scheme of things there are several groups of people in each of our circles.  They are those who know little to nothing, those that know a little, and those that know a lot -- in most circles there are very few that know absolutely everything there is to know.  That level of trust is pretty rare -- as it should be. 

Even with the addition of Facebook and the "TMI" generation,  how much do we really know?  That too comes in degrees.  There are those that post as it is, fully and completely almost down to the minute play by plays and others who only post the sunny side up "stuffs."   More still use it for a platform to rant the rant, and rile everybody up.  I have heard it said more and more often lately that the biggest smiles hide the largest tears.  We cannot assume that what we're seeing is all there is to know.. or even that it's to be accepted as gospel..  that's just not reality. 

I'd been talking with a lady a few weeks back and I'd said something about growing up with a single Dad, and the woman was bowled over and beside herself that she'd known me for so many years and I'd never told her.  She thought I was ashamed of not having had my mother as a regular force in my life and was quite offended that I hadn't shared this significant detail in my life.  Honestly, I hadn't really thought about it.  I remember a period in my teens where I'd tell people my mother was dead just to stifle those sorts of questions because it was so much easier to deal with that glance of pity and have them look away (and leave me alone) than deal with all the questions that I had no answers for anyhow.

Some things come up in conversation depending on who you're chatting with.  Who I lived with when I was growing up 30 odd years ago just wasn't one of them with this particular person.  

Truth be told, who I lived with (or didn't live with) from the ages of 10 - 16 hardly seems to be relavent to me now as a wife, mom (stepmom) and best of all Grandma.  I certainly don't dwell on it. 

Some things are bigger than others.  Up until recently I only wore long pants that covered my leg wraps, and later my leg brace.  I had someone see me out walking with my cane that questioned why I needed it.  They were flabbergasted when I told them, and especially when I detailed just how I ended up this way.  The life of the guinea pig conversations only really come out in detail in certain circles and even then it comes in varying degrees too.  All in all, at this point I consider myself pretty lucky to be here and I try not to dwell in that "other stuff."  The bad days come and go, and they serve to make those good days feel more awesome.  You learn to roll with it,  but nobody is obligated to give anyone a play by play - this isn't a show and nobody is selling tickets. 

Just a couple of examples but there are many. 

Life's like that though isn't it?  You can have 10 friends in a room and I would be that every one of them could name one thing about you and there would be someone in that group that wouldn't have known.  

Most of us think we know our closest friends and colleagues, but in many cases we've barely scratched the surface.  Just a little food for thought..  chew on it :) 



Monday, 23 January 2017

39 - 9 - 20 Milestones to Cherish

This past weekend was full of milestones.  Oddly, I went into the weekend thinking about how and what I'd write about it but then the weekend got here and I didn't feel much like wriitng.  Ok, you can pick your chins up off the desk now..  (and I bet that some of you can hear me chuckling behind my screen too.)

Saturday January 21st, brought a couple of very significant milestones.  39 years ago my little sister was born.  In my mind's eye she's not so "old"..  and being 8 years her senior I have to wonder when I too, got old.  

In more recent news, this day was also the 9 year anniversary of my gastric bypass. 

The more I think about it, the more my head spins.  

Going in knowing that if I do it, I might die, but if I don't do it, I will absolutely die. They didn't think I'd see another 5 years.  This usually leads me to ruminating on the long list of things I'd have missed had I not been here.  I try not to dwell on the year spent in hospital, and the following year spent convalescing and getting back on my feet.  

I can hear at least one cheeky friend laughing as he asks if I'm not here would I even know I missed anything?  Not surprisingly, it's the warped and sarcastic among us that have kept me going.  Those who never looked at me with sadness and pity, but instead encouraged me to take my hospital bed and wheelchair for races down the hall.  

Dad was fond of telling me to get off my ass and get home, that my family needed me.  He's always add that if I didn't hurry up that James would find another wife to replace me.  Dad was always a big fan of using anger as a motivator.  I came to tease James that Dad loved him more than me, and I was not living up to my duties as his wife.  

I would be remiss if I didn't mention the lovelies who kept me going from Nurse Liz and her mobile mcgyver spa, to the nurses and PSW's who became my extended family.  So many who made an extra effort to brighten our days.  I can only hope that they know what a difference they made. 

Even after all this time, I think of the kids and how all of the medzone drama affected them.  How differently things might be today had none it happened.  I have to believe that we are all stronger for the things we've had to endure.  Otherwise, what's the point?

Sunday, January 22nd marked another monumental day in the world of me.  20 years ago on this day I moved to Ontario from Vancouver.  I always tell people I traded in my webbed feet for snow shovel at the border.  

20 years..  so many things I thought I'd never have, and never do.  So many things I was told I wouldn't do, and many more I almost didnt get to do.  I never thought I'd leave my family, and friends and I sure as hell didn't think I'd relocate so far from home.  I've always said that people might be surprised what someone would do for the love of a good man.  Though James has always teased that I loved his children first, and they are the reason I came.  Ah but yes darling... YOU are the reason I stayed.  

From the birthday wish of a little boy, and then a little girl, an unexpected journey unfolds. Looking back in the rear-view mirror, I see so very many bumps in the road. I sometimes wonder how we got here. 

I couldn't have imagined 20 years ago that I'd be where I am today.  In many ways parts of it still feel like a dream.  I do not take my blessings for granted. 

I cannot help but anything but grateful. 








Wednesday, 4 January 2017

On Facebook Memories, and Trips Around the Sun

Facebook memories are a funny thing.  Sometimes the items it chooses to share remind you of a time you'd forgotten about or perhaps just when something  transpired. 

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Getting onto the the Happy New Year!

This time of year is often filled with resolutions and promises to make some major change to one's habits in one form or another.  I always found that these "big ideas" seemed to be setting ourselves up to fail, since their lofty nature seemed just a little too far out of reach.