Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Four Months.....and it's Christmas...

It's been 4 months since Cleo died. It's still so raw. My world isn't what it used to be..and there's no going back...but forward is so damn hard. Yes, each breath follows another, each step brings space but each moment, each second, each splice of time cuts deeper as the realization that my Cleo is gone. Even after 4 months it's still so difficult to comprehend.
It's harder .......The word bereft comes to mind. ..Until just now I hadn't realized how fitting a description that word really holds... (Definition = to deprive and make desolate, especially by death ..)
The word bereft itself, kind of sounds like the wind has been violently knocked out of you . It's true...and the waves keep coming....You keep getting kicked in the gut...by whatever triggers it. With each hit resulting in trying to keep it together.  To not fall on the floor from the blast...Suck it in, hide your face....wipe those tears, try to calm the heart that's beating hard against your chest...it hurts so much.
It's just not OK, it's all wrong and no one should ever go through this.....

Yesterday we got most of our xmas shopping done...and I can say for a fact that I can't wait for this season to be over....Yes, I realize that it's normal for anyone to have a difficult time during the holidays after a loved one is gone....Normal doesn't make it easy.

Shopping for my niece's son, took us to Toys R Us .yesterday..BAD IDEA!.... I had to hide in a few corners to get under control. Any child and parent, triggers me...I see Mom's and their kids, big or small, I think of Cleo at those ages, or I think of the children she could have had one day ...Of all the joy I would have had spoiling a grandchild...I think of all that emptiness ahead of me without it...Chris coined it best when he came into the store after parking the car to find me hiding in the empty book section...gathering myself...and said...Each store is like a trial by fire ..

I absolutely realize that I have so much to be thankful for...believe me! I have such a wonderful husband who has been my rock. He's managed to be right there like magic when I need him the most...As I turn around to hide from sudden gut wrenching sorrow , he's right there to shield my tears. As I start to crack at the food court in the mall hearing a baby laugh...He makes me laugh ...As I throw myself into projects to keep myself busy throughout long sleepless nights...to numb my thoughts ...He's there to pick up the slack when I finally do fall into bed exhausted...I could go on and on ...but none of us have that kind of time.....I don't know what or how I could have gotten this far without him....

I have been so moved by the letters and cards I've received by ppl I haven't seen or heard from in more yrs then I can count...their thoughtfulness unbounding while reaching out to touch my heart with a written hug....Other family and friends have been wonderful and I think my lucky stars for having them in my life.
There's a BUT coming....yes, there always is isn't there.....I have to be honest...I was more hurt by some cards I received that had no mention or a tiny acknowledgement  of Cleo's passing like it didn't even happen.....I don't care if it's a cheery bright sparkling Xmas card...singing Merry Christmas! If there's a tiny message inside saying...I know this is a difficult time of year for you..or I hope u can find some joy during the hard parts of this time of yr...or You are in my thoughts...or even mention my daughter by name!!  like ...Cleo will be missed.......Anything is better then .......NOTHING at all!!  I so pray that I haven't made that same mistake with others in the past ...Of course I realize that no one has meant to hurt, they have diligently filled out their list of xmas cards for another year.

As I pear over photos of past Christmas' and smile through tears of happy memories I am reminded of the gift of time I had with my only child. Of the joys of magical times when Santa left cookie crumbs on the plate and grabbed the carrots left for the reindeer before dashing off to the next house . My beautiful Cleo was so special, she was as excited if not more so to get tools with a workbench as she was to get  Barbie dolls and kitchen stuff! LOL

 In our home,  like when I was a child, we always woke her at the strike of midnight once Santa had come...His special gift was always set up and ready to play, not wrapped, just there on display ...it was the same for me as a child...Those sleepy eyes opened up wide at that moment of surprised magic seeing Santa had been there and left that special toy! Being allowed up during the wee  hours of the night opening gifts, snacking on yummy food and finally falling back into bed knowing we could all sleep in later .................Yes, that's our Christmas tradition ...and those are the memories that I shall hold dear to my heart for the yrs ahead... Take a moment to cherish yours ......

.......................................................................Joyeux Noel ..................................................

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Dreading Christmas

Sometimes , even in public, it's hard to control ones emotions ...
Yesterday was a day for a medical apt for a client and some errands.
 After we brought our client back home to the sitter we were off to the hardware store.
I was excited to go get a can of paint for a cpl brainless projects I have lined up. I say brainless because one doesn't need to think while painting furniture lol! I need projects like these to balance out all the complex reading and thinking and trying to LEARN all the other stuff I'm taking in my courses.
As Chris was off to another area of the hardware store I bee lined it for the Christmas Decoration area...I've always loved checking out what's new at the beginning of the xmas season in the big hardware stores...
It's not like I hadn't seen some Christmas decorations before yesterday, I even got some for my product display at the dollar store the other day....
But as I stood among all the Trees and outdoor decorations at Home Depot...The thought of Christmas ....was overwhelming...the thought of pulling out my tree to decorate was overwhelming....the thought of Cleo not being home to quickly put on her new PJ's as soon as she arrives at the house, and to open gifts at midnight on Xmas Eve like we do ....was overwhelming.........
I hadn't even noticed that tears where just streaming down my face...until I turned around and Chris was there just in time, to let me  hide my face into his coat and cry....Thankfully there was no one around....

I wish we could just go away for xmas ...to an island paradise far removed from anything that resembles Christmas for us.........
But I can't...my niece Chantal has lost too much herself and has always celebrated Christmas with me since her mom died when she was 10yrs old. I can't bring myself to deny her and her little boy their Christmas....and so it will be.....

Friday, February 14, 2014

Have Thoughtfulness or Consideration been misplaced?

I've noticed such a lack of basic consideration or thoughtfulness in people over time. Or maybe I just assumed that most people practiced it because I try to. Such simple steps, most of the time can make the biggest difference in a person's day.

 Letting someone in front of a line who has only a few items compared to your full cart, offering a right of way in traffic, I'm rarely in a hurry. Picking something up off the floor if someone has dropped something or even holding the door open for the ppl behind you! I'm amazed how often I see the door swing in the face of others more and more often!

 To CONSIDER how your actions can effect others is certainly a big one. To sum it up simply I guess just being KIND makes for a thoughtful and considerate person. Which brings me to today...

Today is Valentines day.
 Chris and I had booked out sitter for today. Not really because it was Valentines but because our sitter happened to be free today and we had a bunch of errands to run. We figured we could grab a nice meal like we usually do .
Our sitter is a lovely lady we've had working for us for many yrs. She divides her time working for us and another foster family caring for handicapped people like we do.

Last night we were expecting our sitter to come spend the night here because a big storm was hitting around 10pm. She was working at the other residence and rather then drive all the way home then come back here for 10am tomorrow morning with all the added snow on the roads, it was just smarter for her to come straight here instead. She even reminded them that the storm would hit and she hated to drive in it when it can be avoided. Hoping they could be back for around 10 pm....

So by 11pm we were looking outside at the ugly conditions and I just knew that Marthe would hate driving in that! and wondering if she had left yet. I said to Chris that if she hadn't , I would give her the choice of going home instead of coming here. I know how nervous she gets ...I figured our plans could wait for another day, nothing that important. However for her, knowing she could go home to your own bed and not worry would be much appreciated!

This is when Chris admits to me that he had made Dinner reservations at a nice restaurant for us...AWEEE...Just knowing he had thought ahead made me happy...I don't even need to go ...Just the thought was enough!

When I called, she was so relieved...and still waiting for the others to arrive. So the plan was that she would call us today if the conditions improved and come for the afternoon instead and if not that was totally ok also.

She called this  morning to say they hadn't arrived till close to 1am! It was horrid conditions and she wasn't impressed...especially when they said, ...Oh we passed the time at a friends house having coffee haha...Totally forgot that you wanted to leave around 10, Our Bad!...

Now I know we all have those moments but this happens all the time with them. It's inconsiderate, thoughtless and just outright selfish. Just 2 weeks ago, she had told them to be home around the same time as she had a early morning drive to go celebrate her granddaughter's bday with family...They arrived after 2pm so by the time she got home , she was to exhausted to make the trip the next day and missed the party!!!
 Yes we can say she needs to work for someone else and not put up with it and I agree. But I also know that we get attached to our clients , it's the same for the sitter who 's also cared for them for yrs. Also, being on a fixed income , it's not easy to just drop a job just like that. If I could afford to hire her for more hours then I do, I certainly would!

So on the phone with her today, I had no problem telling her to stay home and relax today, it was our Valentines present to her lol! To which she responded...It's often the least expensive gifts that make the biggest impact. I truly appreciate it more then you know!!

As for us...well we have everything we need to spend a lovely Valentines Day ! Each other!!....along with four handicapped men to share the love LOL ...(we have chocolate surprised for them all for supper time ) Oh the joy such little things produce is all worth it!!

This week I've gotten more then a few handmade Valentine hearts and cards constructed at their program ! Today I was surprised with this lovely bouquet from Chris... How lucky am I!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Beginnings of much more to come...Bare with me ...

Finally putting some of the theory we've been learning for the past 4 months to practice!! The last months have been as interesting as they were a bit intimidating. I was worried that it wouldn't sink in to be  honest. I wasn't the best student back in the day ...and well, Science...was worse...Unless you count the yr we had a hot science teacher ! I was somewhat more motivated that year LOL.

After xmas our professer Stephanie Plamdondon  launched the production phase of our courses. Starting with the chapter on soaps. I can honestly say that watching assembly and techniques helped to connect the dots in terms of the chemical reactions we learned about. The science makes more sense when you see it in action so to speak. I also really enjoy how Stephanie teaches. She makes it interesting and answers all of our endless questions. I've learned so much these past months and look forward with much anticipation to each week that unfolds!  That said...it will still take me yrs to know all those $20 words. .. I'm still debating a venture into the glycerin soap she made last week. Lot's of additional steps. They are clearly beautiful soaps though.....haha! get it~ ;-) ..I know, a groaner! My husband would be so proud!

Anyway, for this chapter we have to make 2 soaps for our homework. A solid soap and either a glycerin soap or a liquid soap. The calculations that have to be worked out are quite impressive if I do say so myself. Took me near 5 hrs to get all the different values for each given oil/ingredient in my soap to work out the exact amount of Sodium Hydroxide you need in order for it to become soap!

Of course I had to make things easy by starting with a soap that has at least 26 ingredients in it! But it's the most important soap I will ever make, so I might as well do it now , work out the kinks if needed. It's absolutely ridiculous to have as much as I do in there but it incorporates almost all the ingredients of a melt and pour soap I had formally used to make an eczema, psoriasis soap that made huge differences in my husband and my moms life! As I'm now making from scratch, I need to repeat the same results but with an even better soap.

So now I have my recipe in hand...ALL the  precious ingredients I need. Most of which I get at Noblessence in Montreal .....All the tools and protective gear is ready to go.......Ready to go!.......Hello!!! Ready to go!!!

Ok, I'm nervous!....Really NERVOUS!

I'm sure soap makers are having a good chuckle over this apprehension for not so big a deal but
I doubt I'm the only one who was super intimidated about the 1st step of combining the Sodium Hydroxide with liquid causing a chemical reaction that heats the sodium immediately. All the precautions have to be taken for safety.
-Ventilated area, either outside or safe place away from ppl, (garage)
-Protective eye gear....check
-long sleeves, apron....check
-face mask for fumes ..check
-long rubber gloves......check
-all ready to go............check

Oh get on with it!!!....(I can't tell u how many times I rechecked everything)
How exciting ... No?
I want the temp to cool down so putting this in abed or snow or ice does the trick.
As my sodium cools, now I can start to assemble all my oils ...
I've already weighed all my first oils...to melt slowly...and cool off before combining with sodium. Below are just the ingredients being added AFTER trace! To Super Fat my soap and add all the beautiful essential oils that give it the properties needed to sooth Eczema & Psoriasis .
My Sodium is cooled down, my oils are between 30c-40c...So it's time to combine!! The moment of truth!.....Oh look how lovely that is ! (I know I'm talking to myself at this point)
After trace is attained ( kinda like when u get peaks with whipped cream...light trace is when u see slight marks that stay on the surface. That's when it's time to add your powders, exfoliates, essential and super fat oils if desired.
Yummy .... ;-)
My PRECIOUS Oils............... (in my best Gulum voice)
Needs a bit of colour...
I'm loving this rich green!
Pour into molds
This makes 1 kilo. so 10 soaps of aprox 100g.
I wanted to make some 50g sizes also...
I've sprinkled some with dry calendula petals as garnish.
The soap itself has ground calendula , oatmeal & goats milk powder, all for their therapeutic properties among other things.
I've also used some of my own oils infused for 6 weeks with calendula, hibiscus, chamomile.
Time to cover my pretties and set aside in a cool place to rest 24 ours before unmolding ...
Now comes another fun part!

My pretties are ready to cure for 4-6 weeks! I put garnish on half.... Curious how it will look and feel once hardened.
These are extremely rich soaps! The cost is redonkulous but their properties attest for every cent! I will have to sell these for at least $10 each. It's a lot but definitely worth it!
I've already started another beautiful floral face soap with a 2 colour technique....
Hope they turned out the way I hope, but won't know for another 24 hours :-)

Thursday, January 30, 2014

What a bunch of KNobs!! At least these ones are useful!!

Part of being in the Great White North means owning big coats, warm scarves, hats and/or toques ! As organized as some people manage to be...I'm not among the best for sure!!. Last yr I did a good purge, got some nice big baskets to put up top in the closet. Which works great ....during the warm months! But as soon as winter hits...well.....
basically a mess ensues in short order! I'm too short to deal with the basket back and forth. Scarves end up stuffed into sleeves or thrown on anything that will hold it there ..barely... So I started thinking.....I want a better way!....I have a small entry...but as I stood looking at the mess I heard a PPSSSSSSTTTT! from the small wall facing the mirrored closet ...
A blank canvas! I can have some fun! So the cranks started to turn as to how to make hats and scarves easily accessible and fun to look at. But I also wanted something that looked good during the summer months when all those things are put back in the basket in the closet. (who wants to see wool scarves and hats during hot and humid temps!
I started to accumulate bits and pieces as my idea started to germinate ...First though...I had to paint the top part of that wall the same red as my living room...that boring beige was driving me nuts anyway...
then all the other painting began...
                                                                 White then Black

and finally assembly begins...
I was so impatient. I had to wait a few days for all those layers of paint to dry!! But it was worth the wait!
Now was time to figure out where to put what ...I can't tell you how many times I changed things around! Then promised myself I was done.....no wait...this with that looks better... too much white over there...but if I add this to that I need to change over here.........you get the picture!!......

But finally, with Chris' help we got all the pieces screwed in and ready to dress up or down depending on the season! We love how it turned out if I do say so myself! Next summer I can see a straw hat thrown up there with an umbrella or two...or like now, I see some of the beautiful scarves I have to choose from. Some are precious gifts given to me or made for my be friends and family! I love that they can be seen now as much for their practical use as their special beauty!

Lets do a BEFORE
So there you have it....My knob wall. Something practical and pretty all year round ...
What do you think?

Saturday, January 04, 2014

Saddly Snubbed but for the Actions of Another..

We hadn't been there for a good while. So we were happy to return to our favourite breakfast place today. During the past cpl yrs, we were always warmly greeted by the owner. He always took the time to chat and exchange pleasantries. This came about because we had a mutual friend. Who happened to be the one who recommended this place to us. Over that time we have brought countless ppl there to eat and recommended it to many others. The food is always good there, I  happily admit.

Today there was no Bonjour, no pleasantries, no smile, not even a courteous nod. Today was as if he had never met us before. Better yet... we were the next cpl up in the waiting line to be seated... but he gave the next table to the ppl behind us instead.  Which was ok , we were in no hurry and they had a small child with them. But this was an obvious snub. We were quiet and waited. When Chris went to pay later, he never made eye contact, or said a word. It was blatant and rude.

and such a pity.

I shouldn't feel hurt by the actions of someone who is just an acquaintance and certainly not worthy of that kind of emotion but ...It smarted nonetheless. We didn't deserve to be treated that way.

Especially given the reason why.
The mutual friend....

The crux of the story...

Earlier this yr , as some know. I hurt my back terribly. I was flat on my back in the worst pain I have ever felt in my life. Unable to do anything at all. For a cpl of weeks! Chris was my hero! He cared for all four of our live in clients with special needs AND Me!

I had what I thought , was a very close friend for a cpl yrs. Who happened to be a very good massage therapist. I liked her a lot I truly believed we were good friends.. I was always there for her. Late night calls about her relationship probs...staying with us when she needed space. Sounding board for all her woes, invited to all our get togethers yada yada like friends are. We also encouraged her with her career. I hired her often to come with her table , as much for me, as for any guests that came to visit us. Never expecting to pay less then others. As it should be. She worked on me often when I had neck and arm problems.

Then I hurt my back...

The 1st week ... she was booked up. But thought maybe she could fit me in the next Tuesday?
I was a bit flummoxed to be honest. I was demoted to meer client status. Friendship not surpassing business hours?

 I was deeply hurt. She was the one friend who could have made a huge difference in my condition or at the very least, be cause for some relief . She also knew how much pain I was in. But then asked if I could go to her when we had no sitter and I couldn't sit up to drive ! It hadn't even occurred to her to come here , after business hours. That I would have paid for anyway!

 So I was hurt. But I kept it to myself until one evening , exhausted from the pain and miserable about this, I just started to say her name to Chris...

Who immediately said...I CAN NOT BELIEVE we called her a friend! Seriously a friend would have been there as soon as possible to try to help. Like you've been for her over and over again. Not to mention that we would have paid her anyway! Just makes me sick...

I decided then, that I would just walk away....Who needs friends like that? We choose who we surround ourselves with. Friendship isn't one sided. It's not always about one person. Sometimes the other one needs help. Another week later, I got one message asking if everything was ok, she sensed something.

Didn't reply, just walked away. Needed to put all my energy toward trying to get better over the summer. Physiotherapy and massage therapy by a stellar professional who Chris and I really appreciate.

Never heard from her again... in the last 6 months since.....which is perfect.

Fast forward to today.

She obviously told the restaurant owner we weren't friends anymore. Why? Who knows.  Have to wonder what was said to merit such distain. But I certainly can't blame him for taking his friends side of things, since he hardly knew us...
What I do blame him for is being a total jerk to two ppl he knows little about!
Most of us have been guilty of blind loyalty for friends in our lifetime . But in a professional/business manner, any mature person would have politely greeted us and showed us to a table. Not only to act like an adult, but to smartly ensure we continued to patronize his establishment. We would not have been the wiser lol...Our money is just a drop in the bucket but each drop is the sum of many....

Needed to Vent that today....