As Life Rolls On

As a friend of mine always says, "We plan, God laughs." You never know what life will bring, but the ride can be a blast!

Monday, January 22, 2007

The "CALL"

This is my youngest, my "baby" Jason with his wonderful fiance. He is a full time student at the University of Toronto and graduates this spring. As he was growing up, his teachers labelled him the class "peacemaker" or class "mediator". Although very "popular", he has always been known to stick up for and intervene on behalf of the underdog. Some telling incidents of the man he would become include the time at camp (Jason was 13) when one boy in the cabin was being austricized by the others. Jason stepped forward and took the other boy under his wing and befriended him even after being told by his friends he would no longer be welcome to hang out with them if he did (these were "friends" he had year round). It's interesting that some of these same friends talk about the courage Jason had in taking the stand he did. Then there was the time in high school where Jason saw a younger, smaller boy being bullied in the cafeteria. Jason got up from his spot, walked over and intervened. The boy being bullied was not bothered again. He has become a man of great integrity and principle and we are very proud of him.

When he was 16, Jason began talking about joining the military reserves, but as his mother I was able to have some say as to if that should happen at that time. Whew.......I was able to keep him safe for a bit. When he was 20 however, it was a different story. As a mature, responsible young man who has always made wise decisions, Jason decided it was time to follow through with joining the reserves. His first round of training was last summer. He excelled, graduating 2nd in his class, and was given extra responsibilities in leadership. He was also greatly respected by the others for the moral and ethical stand he took. He has continued on with further training and courses on the weekends.

Since he joined the reserves, I have fretted and worried about the chances of him being called up to active duty in Afghanistan.......................Well that "CALL" came. Jason phoned me on Saturday to tell me his name is on a list of reservists to do further training starting next September and that he will be shipping out to Afghanistan for 6 months after that. I think that he was not surprised by my reaction on the one hand, yet was surprised on the other. I was not happy and I was and am frightened to death with what he was telling me, what mother wouldn't be! I did not however cry, or yell or try to find ways he could try to get out of it. He is a man now who is about to be married and move forward with his life. He is the one who needs to work through this with Alyson's support. As I stated, he is a man of great integrity and principle, and that is something I would never ask that he comprimise.

I am glad that Jason did not wait to tell me this news. It's going to take me alot of time to come to grips with it. I have always felt that if something were to ever happen to my husband Bruce, I would be devestated, but I would survive. My children on the other hand, I don't think I could survive if anything were to happen to one of the three of them. I will pray daily for wisdom and discernment for Jason as he begins this venture. I will pray daily that God give him patience and courage to deal with all he will be confronted with. I will pray daily for he and Alyson as they begin their marriage amidst some trying circumstances. I will continually thank God for the kind of man he has become. I will pray ongoing that God will keep him safe.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

I Think I've Got It!

OK, so I think I have it figured out. I've got my pictures downloaded into an image station album. Click on the link below. Let me know if it works.

PS: here's a preview

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Farewell to a Much Loved Nephew

This is Oreo. He is my 12 year old fur-nephew. He is the dog of my sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Wanda and Kevin. Although I had seen pictures of Oreo many times, I met him for the first time when I moved to Calgary in July 2005. We formed an immediate bond.

Oreo was an amazingly intelligent dog with an incredible amount of personality. I don't think I have every met a dog as intelligent as him. He had a way of being able to let you know exactly what he wanted. He knew exactly what cupboard the dog treats were in and what shelf they were on. If he wanted one, he would take his nose and continuously nudge your arm until you got out of your seat, followed him to the cupboard, then he would sit and point his paw until you opened the cupboard and gave him exactly what he wanted. Every night at exactly 9:30, he would begin walking between Kevin and the stairs leading to the bedrooms until Kevin would say "time for bed", at which point Oreo would would run up the stairs to the bedroom. He loved his "toys" and had favorite ones that no one else was allowed to touch. Those were the ones he hid. I lived with Kevin and Wanda for 3 months when I moved to Calgary. Oreo became my friend and my protector. When my own brother Stephen arrived at the house for a visit, Oreo barked, positioned himself between Stephen and I and refused to move until I assured him it was OK, I was safe.

When Bruce and I moved into our house, Oreo became a regular visitor with Wanda and Kevin. Bruce became the "treat man" and Oreo knew exactly where to go and how to let Bruce know he wanted a treat. On December 22, Kevin, Wanda, Robyn, Danielle (the girls were home from Nfld for Christmas) and Oreo came over for Christmas dinner. Oreo seemed restless after he arrived. He kept wandering the house and going back and forth between the garage door and the deck door. After a few minutes we realized what he was looking for..........BRUCE. Bruce was out on a bus run. When Bruce arrived home later, Oreo was right there at the door waiting for him, excited, with his whole back end moving back and forth his tail was wagging so hard. A little while later, I said it was time to open presents. Oreo went running straight to the tree and positioned himself so that he could get his. When he opened his new toy, he immediately took it and wouldn't let anyone else near it. He was hilarious!

Oreo has been sick off and on for several months now. Tonight I stopped by the house on my way home from work to say goodbye to the girls, as they are flying back to Nfld tonight. Oreo as usual met me at the door, excited to see me. He did not appear to be himself however. Wanda very quickly explained that he had been very ill again, that they had been up all night with him as he was having trouble breathing. They had taken him to the vet today, and the x-rays showed a mass pressing up against his heart somehow, and his lung had filled with fluid. It was difficult to tell exactly what was up, however it was critical. After some discussion with the vet, they had brought Oreo home and the decision was made that it was time to let him go. Although it was a difficult and emotional decision, it was also a compassionate and courageous decision that the family made. We spent the next hour just "hanging" with Oreo and saying goodbye. Kevin and Wanda's friends from next door also came to say goodbye. At 7:00, I said my final farewell, and Kevin, Wanda, Robyn, Danielle and Oreo climbed into the truck together.

Although I will not see Oreo again, I will cherish his memory. Goodbye Oreo, you were greatly loved. You will be missed.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Darn, It's Over!

So, I've been to Ontario and back. Christmas holidays just flew by. Bruce ended up getting home part way through the evening Christmas Eve and didn't have to go back into work until early boxing day. That was totally unexpected. We sat down in front of the TV with some goodies and watched Scrooge, one of our Christmas traditions. I was sick as a dog though, as I came down with a sinus infection. We skipped Wanda's Christmas Eve party and going to Stephen and Gayle's for brunch Christmas morning because I didn't want to make anyone else sick. We did go to Stephen and Gayle's for a very short visit on the way to the airport so that we could give the kids their gifts.

I tanked myself up on medication before I got on the plane (ya, I know, I wasn't willing to make my family sick, but still got on a plane with about 100 or so other people). There was this one kid who screamed (not whined, SCREAMED) the whole flight, 3 hours worth! It was like having 50 people drag their finger nails down a blackboard. About 45 minutes before we landed, the kid across the isle from the first kid started too (turns out they were cousins or something). GREAT dualling screamers! The flight attendants started taking bets with each other as to which one could scream the loudest. When I was booking my seat, I thought of switching it to closer to the front of the plan. Boy was I glad I didn't, at least I had some space between myself and the screamers. I felt bad for the people sitting around them.

Anyways, Jenn and Kevin picked me up from the airport. Jason was back at the house. When we got to their house I emptied all the gifts from my suitcase and put them under the tree. Jenn insisted everyone get into their PJ's. We had our Christmas morning at 10:30 Christmas night. Jason got his tool box and all his tools, Jenn got a hand carved girafe from Zimbabwe and some clothes, while Kevin got an electronic Sodoku game, some golf shirts and a golf gift card. The kids and Bruce all went together and bought me a very good (8 MP) digital camera, along with an extra memory card. It's great what I can do with it. I took tons of pictures and some videos while I was in Ontario. When I get it figured out how I can post them all, I will.

Tuesday we went to Mom and Dad's for the annual boxing day family doooo. It was great. I really missed it last year. As you may have already read, we initiated Alyson with a game of spoons. We tried scaring her by telling her we were going to play "forks", but it didn't work. She said she was disappointed we weren't going to play "knives". The younger kids had a blast. They especially liked it that they got what they termed "war wounds" and that they were able to wrestle spoons away from the adults.

On Wednesday, Alyson came over and openned her gifts from us. We made her sit in the middle of the room with all of the rest of us around her gawking at her. We then played a game of Phase 10, where everyone ganged up on her for a bit (we stopped when we realized Jenn was running away with the game). Thursday, Kevin got Jenn and I into a movie for free. A piece of advise........if you have to pay for it, don't go see the movie "The Holiday". A huge piece of fluff with lousy acting.

Friday, Jenn and I hooked up with Liz. I haven't seen her since I moved to Calgary. It's amazing how when a friendship is as solid, and as deep as the one Liz and I have, we may have gaps in time when we don't see each other, yet when we do, it's as if we had been together just the day before. We've been friends since we were 12 years old, so for 35 years now. She has been one of the staples of my life and I really do miss not being able just to drive up to her place or being able to meet her for dinner somewhere. Man, time flies!

Saturday, it was girls night out with my sisters and Deb (a friend we have come to know through Barb). What a blast. I think when we showed up at the scrapbooking store in Whitby 5 minutes before it closed, the girl working there almost "pooped" her pants. We didn't stay long though. I think the people at the restaurant thought we were nuts too, as we danced in our seats, ran around taking pictures of upside down Christmas trees and tried to attract the attention of our waitor (for Deb's sake of course). Of course, when we got back to Jenn's place, the aunts had to raid Mr. Stinky's, I mean Jason's room for a bit.

Sunday Kevin & I went to church at Scarborough (Jenn was working), then went back to his parent's (Ruby and Leslie) place for lunch. I've said it before and I will say it again, Jenn is so blessed to have Ruby and Leslie as in-laws. They love her as if she were their own. Ruby put lunch (roast beef dinner, complete with Yorkshires) together for Jenn and one of her coworkers and Kevin took them to her. Jason came over towards the end of dinner (he had been in Cambridge with Alyson's family). Ruby spoiled him, just as she does Jenn.

Ater that, it was time for me to fly back home. It was a great visit with only one negative, James and Bruce weren't there. I have come to accept however that now the kids are all adults, we can't be together for everything all the time, but when we are together it's great! It's a sign of a strong, healthy family when we can be apart at times when we are usually together and we can long to have each other there yet be comfortable in the fact that they are mature, responsible, strong people and are OK.

So there you go, my blow by blow of my time in Ontario. My trip home was much more uneventful as compared to the flight out. Bruce was out on a run when I got in and does not get back until late tonight, so I still haven't seen him yet. So much to share with him as well.

PS: So I played with my camera all day. I know I am a little late for this round of the photo challenge, but here is what I have come up with.

My gold & silver music tree. Most of this will be gone next year as the majority of the ornaments belong to Jason.

Our fireplace