Thursday, 30 June 2016

Thursday, or Thereabouts - June 30, 2016

School's Out!

Today, 7am was silent.
Today, no windows resonated with the rumble of school buses.
Today the 3pm 'rush hour' convoy of those same buses will be absent.

"No more pencils, no more books, no more teachers’ dirty looks!”

Oh how I remember chanting that rhyme. The vast expanse of uninterrupted playtime stretched out before me - Summertime!

Getting up when I wanted, sometimes to just see the sunrise from the lounge chair on the back porch. 

Riding my bike all over the neighbourhood, sometimes taking longer treks, farther from home just to see how far and how fast I could go (if only mother knew...probably a good thing she didn't!). 

And long afternoons spent in our backyard pool, until with fingers puckered like prunes, I'd drip over to the towels laid out on the grass, to be baked dry by the sun. Then dash back in the pool again!

Life was good!

July 1972

Fast forward some 45+ years (FORTY-FIVE?? Are you serious? It can't be... ) to 2016 and "School's Out!" doesn't quite have the same kind of celebratory exuberance. Now, I can get up whenever I want every day. I don't bike all over the neighbourhood - 150m in one directions gets me to highway where the gravel trucks roam; 150m in the other gets me to the bottom of a quad busting, knee popping hill!  And we don't have a pool in the backyard.

Still, all is not so very ho-hum humdrum in my life this day.
The strawberries are ripe for the picking...

and Canada Day sits on the doorstep.

I am so privileged to have been born where and when I was.
I am blessed to call Canada my home and native land.
"I am a Canadian!
Free to speak without fear,
Free to worship in my own way,
Free to stand for what I think right,
Free to oppose what I believe wrong,
Free to choose those who shall govern my country.
This heritage of freedom I pledge to uphold for myself and mankind."
John Diefenbaker, Canada's 13th Prime Minister,  July 1, 1960. 

Life is still good, very good!

Happy Canada Day, eh?

©2016 April Hoeller

Monday, 27 June 2016

Monday Moanings - June 27, 2016

Hazy, Hot & Humid

It's not just the weather that's overheated and sweaty, so is the news. "Brexit" has become almost as frequent in vocabulary as the "F" word is in many a teen's chatter.

The engines of communication are at full throttle, spewing out ginormous clouds of words. Dire warnings, finger-wagging recriminations, and just plain shouting, all but drown out the few voices of reason and restraint.

If there is one thing that I have learned this month, it is that when a crisis arises, stay away from the twitterverse. Just two weeks ago as a potential critical incident was unfolding on the University of Toronto campus (a few sightings of a suspicious looking person elicited lock-downs and police searches - no fault found) I took to the live feed on Twitter®. I watched in slack-jawed amazement and then despair as unfounded, un-moderated, utterly untrue tweets appeared and gained traction. The tone of the related tweets became etched with fear. Such was the escalation that even I sitting my kitchen 60km away from the scene, felt the pierce of a sliver of panic - somebody could get really hurt by this wrong information.

Panic kills. It kills truth. It kills reason. It kills trust. It kills people.


I took a day away from the news yesterday, all the news, everywhere. Though I checked Facebook® once, I did not look at email, Twitter®, nor any news website. It was lovely, so lovely that I'm going to make such a sabbath rest a weekly observance. From now on, if you want to tell me something on a Sunday, pick up the phone and let's talk, real stuff.

©2016 April Hoeller

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Thursday, or Thereabouts - June 23, 2016

On Track?

Six weeks post-op and I'm on track for the most part. There have been a few days when I've had to pull of into a siding and just watch the world go by.

Most of these forced stops have been the result of my going too far, too fast.

A normal recovery from major pelvic surgery, or as I've called it, "The Works" (if you really want to know you can search these terms: LAVH, BSO, anterior and posterior Colporrhaphy, TVT).

There has been one near derailment. I can say "near" now but four days ago it looked and felt imminent. This past Sunday some soreness developed at the one external incision site that had required stitches - my belly button. By Monday, signs of infection were oozing redness and pain. (What? You want pictures? I don't thinks so!)

I was devastated! Dammit! Just 2 days from the Six Week Check Up with the surgeon and something which had looked like a slam dunk thumbs up, gold star on my forehead kind of assessment was going pear-shaped. Worse than that, I had to go back to wearing my 3XX balloon pants because I couldn't tolerate any pressure around my waist.

I bathed the wound regularly, dressed it with gobs of Polysporin® - the triple antibiotic kind - and hoped that would do it. It didn't. By Tuesday morning things were worse, more pain, more yellow ooze and some blood. My worst imaginings ramped up to full potential. Good thing I was going to the doc, eh?

"Oh, that is pretty gooey," was the surgeon's comment. The culprit, a recalcitrant suture which refused to dissolve on schedule. It happens. The doc pronounced sentence, "I'm going to hit it hard with antibiotics."

Two days into the meds, and the swelling is down as are all the other signs of infection. I'm feeling much better about my world. The other pronouncements the surgeon offered now rise to the fore,
"The pathology report on the uterus, ovaries and cervix are unremarkable." (translation: no touble found)
"I'm pleased with your progress. Everything else looks okay." 

So what if it wasn't the all clear I wanted? The good days outnumber the mediocre and on my good days I feel better than I've felt in over a year. Score!

And I'm on track and on time!

©2016 April Hoeller

Monday, 20 June 2016

Monday Moanings - June 20, 2016

Those were the days

You know it's going to be a hot one, when the A/C kicks in at 5:30am. By 10:30 this morning it was already 29°C (84°F). Unlike her prior siblings, Summer has rushed her entrance onto my doorstep, arriving a tad early and overheated.

Her usual entourage of bugs - black flies, mosquitoes, deer flies, and ants - are all present and accounted for. Even the "Bobbsey Twins", high humidity and poor air quality have shown up.

No doubt about it - Summer is HERE!

I would have preferred a kinder, gentler approach, a gradual ramp up to the eighties and nineties. Actually I'd really love a summer of 22 - 25°C with only occasional forays into the mid-eighties and above; intrusions that are brought to a swift end by a ring tailed snorter of a thunderstorm. Great flashes of lightning followed by ear splitting, room shaking, gut vibrating booms that rumble on for minutes it seems and rain, torrents of rain that wash, quell and replenish the earth - there is nothing like a good summer thunderstorm.


As a kid I loved the summer... 

Hot! Hot! Hot! So hot the tar bubbles up between the pebbles on the road; round, shiny black globs. I can smell the tar - acrid gasoline fumes rise up from the road surface. My flip flops stick haphazardly as I walk; sometimes a step is unhindered, other times the foam sole sticks then releases raising fine black strands of gooeyness. Round flat, black globs decorate the bottom of my favourite summer footwear. I scuff over to the lawn hoping the grass will wipe away the sticky tar. It's futile. Now I have flipflops with green grass clippings stuck to them...

Mom July 1971 - backyard party

Happy days indeed! Wind in my face bike riding, 5¢ popsicles, 10¢ ice cream cones, Coppertone® sun tan lotion (no sunscreen), big circulating fans swirling in the windows (A/C back in the day), family bbq's and a backyard pool made summer an absolute delight.

We didn't have a heater so a pool freshly filled in June began at 16C (or less!) and crawled its way to a blistering 23 by mid August. Those were the days of Fahrenheit, so "Arthur" our pool thermometer actually registered 74. One banner year I recall ''Arthur' made it all the way to 78F. In the early part of the season, while Dad was at work, Mom and I added buckets of hot water to the pool. Dad came home, splashed his hand in the pool and announced, "It's warming up nicely!" Mom and I just smiled.

Those were the days...

©2016 April Hoeller

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Thursday, or Thereabouts - June 16, 2016

 A Garden of Delight

There is nothing quite like down-on-your-hands-and-knees gardening. My un-gloved hands break up clumps of  dark, cool loam, pull out the weeds and smooth out the surface. I revel in the rich feel of all that dirt, magical dirt. Just add flowers and water!

Planting flowers can turn any frown upside down and turn any lament into pure delight. Works for me, every time. And did you know that talking to the precious blooms, especially the pansies, sets the stage for laughter and enduring memories?

One day a long time ago, my Dad was out planting the annuals in the back garden. He loved gardening, when he had the time to do it, and if he could amuse his three daughters at the same time, well that really was a red letter day. So on this one morning my sisters and I, noses pressed tight up against the window screen, watched Dad plant pansies.

For our entertainment, he talked to his little plants in a voice not unlike that of the late Jonathan Winter's character, Maude Frickert. An old reedy, wheezy voice with a bit of a southern drawl wafted up to the window, "Well aren't you just a little cutie. Let's just get you set up right in here. Oh, such a sweetie. Now what about your other little friends here? They want a special place just like you. Oops, don't you worry about those little wormies. They're your friends too."

We hung on every word, suppressing giggles and jostling each other. What neither we nor Dad knew was that our neighbour, hidden by the fence, was also crouched down in her garden not two metres away from Dad. At some point she went to the fence to investigate the chatter.

Dad kept right on talking to the flowers, "Oh look at you, such a pretty yellow dress."  At some point I guess he must have felt her eyes burning into his back. We watched him ooze his head around to look over the fence. We saw the colour go out of his face. Then we heard a woman's voice say as sweetly and slowly as possible, "Well they are pretty aren't they?"

We slid from our places at the window, hands clutching our mouths, giggles bubbling up inside us. I don't think Dad ever talked to the flowers again, at least while anyone was within earshot.

Do I talk to my pansies? You betcha! And not just the pansies, but the begonias, gazanias, geraniums. and more!

Together we enjoy many a lovely chat come sun or cloud. There are no little faces pressed up against a window screen watching me and no neighbours listening in, but I'm never alone. My Dad is always right there beside me chatting away. It's a family tradition!

Mom & Dad, August 1971

©2016 April Hoeller

Monday, 13 June 2016

Monday Moanings - June 13, 2016

Sighs too deep for words...

It has happened again.
Hatred teamed up with guns and went on a rampage, again.
First responders saw the worst and did their best, again.
World leaders offered the solemn words of shock, sorrow and support, again.
The news media spewed out a torrent of opinion, information and raw images, again.
Social media exploded with tweets, status updates and hashtags, again.

I have no solutions to offer, only sighs too deep for words,
          and perhaps a respite from the chaos and cacophony....

Come stroll with me beside the still waters along the Philosopher's Path in Kyoto, Japan.

It is Autumn along the path. The sun is shining.

Let's step into a few of the temples along the way.
Breathe in the soothing incense.
Hear the call of temple bell and singing bowl.

Be still.
Be patient.
Be kind.

©2016 April Hoeller

Thursday, 9 June 2016

Thursday, or Thereabouts - June 9, 2016

It's a Beautiful Day in my Neighbourhood!

Bright, breezy, and cool-ish at 19C; a day good for whatever ails ya!

A great day for a brisk walk in the sunshine, a little putter in the garden and some light yardwork (translation: replenish the birdfeeders and note things that need doing, to be presented to the man as 'suggestions' for his ToDo list).

A great day to open wide the windows and let the fresh breezes blow away the dust and cobwebs. Dusting made easy, at least inside the confines of my being. The house, well that's another story, but as long as the sun doesn't shine a tractor beam across the living room, those irksome, omnipresent particles will remain out of sight. Good enough for me!

Back outside, the grass is thick with green thanks to a good rainfall and the gardens are looking good too.

It's been just over four weeks since my surgery. I'm coping with the fatigue, yielding to the afternoon nap more often than not. My protests against the restrictions and slow pace are easing, sort of, sometimes...maybe even most of the time. And this post has taken 4 hours because I keep getting up to go outside!




©2016 April Hoeller