Sunday, 12 August 2018

BOOGIE’S WORLD

Discovered in a box abandoned at the side of the road with her infant brothers and sisters, little Boogie was rescued and taken to a shelter. What heartless ugly human does this? But don’t get me ranting about animal cruelty. When old enough, this adorable little black kitten was put up for adoption. But who wants a black cat? They are bad luck, aren’t they? And so she waited, month after month after endless month, unwanted. At long last, a lovely couple adopted her as company for their older cat. Happy ending, right? Well..........

From the moment Boogie was introduced to her ‘forever’ family, the existing adult cat hated her, viciously attacking the new smaller arrival with alacrity. After six months, the adopters sadly came to the conclusion that Boogie, suffering from ongoing maulings, would have to be “surrendered” back to the shelter........back to the shelter at just the moment when Jim and I were looking for a cat. As our elder son, Chris, espouses, “A home without a pet is a home without a soul”. Seven years after the passing of our last beloved family pet, we needed the injection of some “soul”.

So traumatized was our new little family member that for the first week, she hid, only sneaking forth to eat and use her litter box. We respected her fears, knowing that kindness, patience and love would ultimately win her over. By the end of the first week, Boogie emerged from her hiding place ever so cautiously reconnoitring her new home. Our hearts broke as we watched her warily peak around corners, obviously terrified of potential attack cats. Three weeks in and Boo was at home, cat-talking, demanding copious pats, purring, racing over our two floors and stealing our hearts. A sweet and gentle cat, she has never once scratched or nipped at Jim and I. She simply craves love, loads and loads of love. Originally named Raven, Jim took to calling her his “sweet babboo” which has morphed into Boogie. Close family and friends will understand the nickname.

An indoor cat (too many coyotes and raccoons the size of dogs in Uxbridge), Boogie’s favourite spot is on our lower level where she spends her days transfixed by “her world” of squirrels, chipmunks and birds. My now ritual 5:30am ‘cat wake up call’ ðŸ˜ē is followed by food and then a demand for the French doors to be opened so that she may, like the little queen she is, oversee “her world”. Thankfully, at long last, our sweet babboo’s world is one of gentleness, sweet air and love and our home has a soul.











Saturday, 21 July 2018

OH MAN, I’VE GOT IT BAD

I’m not one to worry about imagined illnesses. Life is simply too short to waste the time it takes to be a committed hypochondriac. Most certainly, cyberchondria is also not my affliction; scouring the internet researching symptoms is not my thing. No paranoia here! You can imagine, then, that no one was more surprised than me to discover my malady described ‘on line’.....in a tweet, no less.

Of late, I have noticed myself exhibiting recurring symptoms which are increasing in severity.
  • Significant feelings of helplessness, anxiety and fear.
  • Periodic episodes of a racing heartbeat.
  • Anxiety which more frequently presents itself as anger.
  • Involuntary vocal outbursts.
  • Compulsive yelling at inanimate objects like the computer, TV, and radio.

I do worry that my affliction is transmittable, because it appears that, although to a lesser degree, my generally mild-mannered husband has also become infected with the malady. Many friends and family are exhibiting symptoms. Such a puzzlement or it was until miracle of miracles, this appeared:


Well, who knew? There it is folks. I have TDS and I have it bad. 

“What treatment will I seek?” you ask. Certainly there is a 12-step programme out there somewhere. I’m betting that Mr. Drumpf’s Organization would love to offer me a course of action for recovery. Decline any attempts to cross into the U.S.? Perhaps, lock me in a pen near the Mexican border. Personally, I’m holding out for $130,000. 😂  

TDS, eh? Rather than looking for a cure, I’ll live with my symptoms. God willing, they will clear up in 2020 and I can return to normal....whatever that is!




Monday, 16 July 2018

KEEPING TWO LONG-STANDING PROMISES

In 2011, Jim and I joined a Bellissime Small Group Day Tour out of Venice to the Dolomites and Cortina. We loved the idea of seeing what many people believe to be Europe’s most beautiful range of mountains. I know what close friends are thinking. What? They actually went on a group tour? Tours are definitely not our cup of tea, but we decided that for one day, we could sacrifice our independence. 

Skirting the stunning Prosecco Region and heading into the Alps, it proved to be a day of gorgeous stops - walks around shimmering turquoise lakes, awesome scenic vistas, a stroll through tyrolean Cortina and a scrumptious alpine lunch at Malga Rin Bianca, a Refugio on the side of a mountain. The piece de resistance was our final stop at Rifugio Auronzo’s car park, elevation 7600 feet. Exiting our van, to a person, we six travellers stopped and  gasped, one muttering, “if ever there was a place that touched heaven.” In front of us and soaring an additional 2300 feet towards heaven was the breathtaking Tre Cime di Lavaredo.


Our guide pointed out a commemorative chapel for the alpine forces, defensive caves carved into the massif, home to WW1 forces defending the Italian border from Austrian invasion, and the start of a 10km hiking trail which circumnavigated Tre Cime. Jim immediately looked at me and mouthed, “hiking trail!” Then simultaneously we said, “Promise!”

As loathe as I am to admit it, I have been known on occasion to make errors, colossal errors! ðŸĪŠ  On a 2013 trip to Switzerland, I managed to make what has to be my most colossal travel blunder. During our Swiss visit, Jim and I made arrangements to dip down into Italy for a four day sojourn in Varenna on Lake Como. Sitting in our Lucerne hotel room the night before our drive into bella Italia, we turned on the television. Why, when all the programmes were in German, I still don’t know. Suddenly scenes of a massive multiple car and truck accident with blazing fires and obvious casualties appeared. The scene was straight out of a nightmare. Yellow letters on the bottom of the screen screamed,  Gotthard Stabentunnel. Exhibiting my characteristic calm, I grabbed our road map and shrieked like a banshee, “ That’s the 57km long tunnel we are driving through tomorrow.” To make this sorry tale short, after numerous calls checking options because of a closed Gotthard, cancelling our Italian hotel (they understood as we were coming from the north), and booking in Gruyere and Cully, on Lake Geneva, we collapsed into bed. We are, if nothing else, always flexible when travelling. 

The following morning I received a call from the concierge at our Varenna hotel confirming that we still wished to cancel. Are you ready? There was no current problem with the tunnel. The programme we had watched was a restrospective of a 2001 disaster in the Gotthard Road Tunnel. 
Oh, just shoot me! Remind me not to watch German TV again. Jim and I had now committed and paid for four additional nights in Switzerland. Luigi, who to this day I love, kindly agreed to cancel our reservation without penalty as long as we promised to stay at their hotel on any future visit to Varenna. I promise. Luigi’s parting advice? Senora Lockett, please come from the south next time. 😂



How does that proverb go? There is no greater fraud than a promise not kept. And so this September we head off for a northern Italy adventure, keeping one promise to ourselves and one to Luigi.





Saturday, 14 July 2018

THE DEEP FREEZE

Oooo, do you ever experience that instant sharp ache in the centre of your forehead when you eat too much ice cream or gulp an icy drink too quickly? Me, too, but that is not the deep freeze of which I write today. Nor am I describing our endless past winter or the highly preferred state of my jaw at the dentist.

For most of this past year, I have suffered from a deep freeze of the brain. 




Hey, you don’t have to so unanimously agree.  ðŸ˜ē  ‘Writer’s block’ may be a kinder, gentler way of referring to my sorry state.  Let’s go with that, okay? Writing, for me, is and always has been therapeutic. Truthfully, I write for no one but myself. Surprisingly, absence of my blog and my writing has been mentioned numerous times of late. Well, maybe twice!

At first I blamed my lack of writing on an updated bloggers programme which plagued me with no end of headaches. The solution to that problem was just too easy for it to be the cause of my brain freeze.  I simply had to ask for assistance from my 10-year old grandson, Zachary. Problem solved!

At over seventy years old, I fretted that my brain was suffering from its own old age issues. Shudder! How I dread that day. Or could the one and only medication I take (more about that at a future date) possibly be slowing my thought patterns down. Please no!

At long last, I looked in the mirror; I was honest with myself. In my heart I know that the state of our current world, most particularly our neighbour to the south and sadly, our own country, at times, got the better of me. I have been overwhelmed with worry, anger, fury, negative thoughts and even hate. Attempting to channel that emotional turmoil into words stopped me in my tracks. And for the few who do read my blog, dear god, you do not need additional negative thoughts. 

Like “the Grinch’s heart grew three sizes that day”, my brain freeze began to thaw today. Guess what? There is no urgent need for me to comment on the current state of our world....well, not always.....I can leave that to investigative journalists and those far more talented than me at expressing their emotions in words. My ‘writing therapy’ can henceforth return to jotting down thoughts and keeping family and friends up-to-date on our retirement. 

Whoopee!! Brain freeze over!

Sunday, 4 February 2018

PLEASE, PLEASE STOP....

.....asking me to prove myself by copying and pasting, NOT sharing, your post to show support. Grrrr! This a stupid epidemic and waste of social media time. Of late, I have received a plethora of such posts explaining that if I do not copy and paste, I am:
  1. not reading your posts fully,
  2. not a true friend, and worst of all,
  3. not supporting the cause fighting cancer, diabetes, mental illness, kidney disease, Mothers Against Drunk Driving......or whatever!
Let me make this clear, if you are my Facebook Friend, I am, indeed, taking the time to follow your timeline and read your posts. If you don’t already know that I am a friend, please feel free to delete me immediately.

Now let’s talk causes, all of them extremely worthy. Since when does copying and pasting, NOT sharing, actually fight cancer, diabetes, mental illness, etc. Last time I checked such regurgitating of posts put zero dollars into the Cancer Society’s research coffers. As an adult I have more valuable things to do, some of which include supporting numerous causes financially and with my time.  And so, here’s my idea. Post exactly what you have done in support of any or all of these causes, and that is a timeline I will share.

‘Nuff said!

Friday, 29 September 2017

DO WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY

Heart racing, stomach flip-flopping, and palms sweating, he sat and waited, barely able to breathe. He had thought that the ten-day period between biopsy and doctor's appointment was the most unbearable wait of his lifetime, but these final twenty minutes sitting in his specialist's office would prove to be even more tortuous.

Jim's journey to this moment began with rising PSA levels. A prostate biopsy confirmed the presence of cancer, moderately aggressive, but thankfully not widespread. Because success and survival rates for men of Jim's age and excellent health are high if this cancer is detected and treated early, we were disappointed with the diagnosis, but not panicked.

When prostate cancer cells metastasize, they generally spread to the bones. An MRI was ordered by Jim's cautious urologist to ensure that his prostate cancer was indeed localized. To Jim's great relief the MRI showed that his bones were clear. BUT! Why is there always a 'but'? I hate 'but's' in a doctor's office. BUT the MRI revealed a lump on a lymph node in Jim's groin. "99% chance that it is cancer" were the words that sent Jim's initial elation into a tailspin. If it was cancer, it would have to be dealt with first. Shelve the prostate surgery. Now we panicked!

Feeling like a human pin cushion, it was back to the hospital again for a second biospsy, this time under CT scan and of a lymph node.  A stressful ten days later found Jim sitting, awaiting the results. "Mr. Lockett". The nurse's call broke his frantic musings. No BUT'S, though, this time. "Mr. Lockett, the 1% chance that the lymph node would not be cancerous is you!" Elation! Joy! Relief!

Late in October, Jim will undergo a radical prostatectomy. Not something he is looking forward to, especially after his hip revision surgery in March, but with the spectre of a cancerous lymph node negated and the high success rate of such surgery, Jim is now more philosophical than worried.

I have a very dear friend in Uxbridge, who in her life has experienced more than any human being ever should, but remains beautifully upbeat about life. She is my hero and my inspiration. Her mantra and what she frequently professes to me is, "Do what makes you happy." How wise.

Jim's health scare brought home to both of us what is most important in life. Why do we need close calls to remind us that our lives are not dress rehearsals? Live, live, live every day doing what you enjoy most. From hence forth we will make an even more concerted effort to do what makes us happy!!



Sunday, 9 July 2017

SUMMERTIME NOSTALGIA

My daughter-in-law, Michelle, posted a series of photos of our grandson, Zachary, at their cottage. I love the collage; not only did it make me smile with its images of pure summer joy, but memories of childhood summertimes flooded my emotions. Rose coloured glasses on, I was carried back to those simple moments.


Holding our collective breathes, we waitied for that second when the final school bell of the year rang. Then enmass we raced from our classes into the carefree sunny, hot, humid days of vacation.


No computer games, iPhones or iPads held our attention inside. Summertimes meant creating our own entertainment OUTside. I don't ever remember feeling bored. We climbed any tree with substantial enough branches, ran joyously through the sprinkler, played endless games of hide and seek, challenged each other in bicycle tag or picked up a rag-tag game of baseball. Happy and sunburned we returned home for dinner when our mothers rang the bell or blew the whistle, each carrying its unique family call. Dinner eaten, we jumped up from the table eager to once again head outside 'until the streetlights came on'.


Thinking back, I can even hear the music of summer - the hum of industrious bees, the chirp and call of birds, the shrill buzzing of cicadas and best of all, the tinkling of the ice cream truck.

Life was good; it was summertime. As those summers ended so ultimately did our childhoods. "We didn't know we were making memories; we just knew we were having fun." Thank you, Michelle, for your beautiful collage. To our grandchildren, Morgan and Zachary, have fun and soak it up. You are making lifetime memories.