Western education 2013

Saturday, August 3, 2013

..... round 2 week 1......

..... and I feel gross!!!  I knew this was coming but thought I had it under control and now... I am uncomfortable.  The medication that you are given to offset the side-effects of the treatments have an insidious side effect of their own.... the bowel completely stops moving.  I was taken to emerge when this happened in my first journey, only to find out that it was so compacted, it would take me weeks to get relief despite all the things I had tried.  Right now, I can barely eat anything without feeling full within minutes of eating and the belly is bloated beyond belief.  This has stopped the passing of the toxic chemo from clearing out of my system for days hence making me feel worse than I needed to.  I will be on a liquid diet for days to resolve this issue and to avoid any other complications. Yay me!!

I am forgetful these days so I make sure I put everything into my iPhone.  I am relieved that the two courses I took this summer are completed.  I received a 94% in Special Education and 92% in Green Industries.  I now think I should just lay low on the courses until next year...LOL.

It was a busy week with friends... Tuesday Colleen came to visit bearing a gift for Max and soup for us.  Wednesday, I got to see Sarah's baby in the ultrasound suite.  Shahid and Annarita visited with me in the afternoon.... later I would have to spring my dog from the pound when the gate was left open.  Thursday Adam came to give me a hand with a TV and to chow down for breakfast.  Yesterday, I picked up Sharm from his home and brought him back for brunch on the deck... today.... I will see my younger sister after 14 years!!!  I am praying I feel better by the time she arrives.  She and her husband have been so ill that they almost did not make the trip.

It poured overnight and this morning the sun has peeked into a cloudless blue yonder for as far as the eyes can see.  The pool is cold but should warm nicely once we get the pool up and running with the sun shining on the solar pad.  It feels a bit like fall out there.  I have to keep moving today to keep my system moving after taking what amounts to a lot of digestion aids with yogurt for breakfast... almost afraid to eat anything at this point.  I am excited but not nervous, surprisingly enough.  I will meet her and get to know her at whatever pace this gathering takes... I am just so humbled that they are taking the journey to see each of us.

.....  my sister knocks on the door around 10:30 Saturday morning and I open the door to this beautiful woman.  She steps in and I give her a hug.  I can tell she is nervous as she prompts her husband to get into the house.  Patricia extends her hand out to Max who has come down the hallways and introduces herself.  He smiles.  Max knows how long we have all waited for this moment and he takes it all in while the kids make their way down the stairs.  Lydia is next as Al comes through the front door and he gives me a hug before turning to shake Max's hand.  Lydia smiles and says hello.  We all make our way out to the back deck to socialize after coffees are poured.  Patricia has brought gifts for myself and the children and bottles of wine and beer for the adults.  I am completely stunned by the generosity, love and thoughtfulness put into each and every gift.  She has acurately selected something for each of us that she knew would be appropriate and appreciated.  William will be arriving later in the evening to meet with Patricia and Alan and he too would feel completely spoiled by their generosity.  

Patricia is a very thrifty and smart shopper and lets me in on her tips for saving money... she has so much to say and I am completely engrossed in every word.  She is lovely, animated, intelligent and full of life as she tells us her life's adventures.  She and Alan have been together 28 years and this is their anniversary today.... where did the time go???  They are world travellers with such ability to convey their adventures so as to inspire us to want to get on a plane and just go somewhere.  They have both worked so incredibly hard, raised their children and have been truly remarkable in their humble beginnings to etch out a life and make it their own.  They were just kids when they got married and now before me are two of the most interesting and amazing grown up people I have ever met!!!!  My in-laws would fall deeply in love with these two!!  

We have moments in the day where it is just the two of us and the conversation is frank and honest.  While there may be a 14 year gap in our history, I believe, as I am sure she does, that it was necessary for us to gain our bearings and live our lives on our terms.  I consider myself rather naive and vulnerable when it comes to our parents and while I always thought that one day they may actually love me for who I was/am, she was smart enough to stop trying.  We agree that while there is a lot of water under the bridge... that is where it will stay.... today is a new day and a new opportunity.  I can't keep my eyes off of her... she is so amazing!!!!!  Our neighbors Brenda and Mitch join us after supper on the back deck and are amazed by how much we look and sound alike.  They love hearing her stories and laugh along. William joins us on the deck and grins broadly when Patricia rises to greet him.  They hug and then he reaches over to hug Alan.  The chill in the air prompts Max to start a fire in our fire pit and the party gathers around for another drink.  Our evening ends with me dragging my exhausted butt upstairs and Lydia tucking me in.  I made it through the day without a nap!!

Sarah arrives at 10:30 Sunday morning with Miss Payton.  She wants to meet my sister.   Sarah is my best friend and 'daughter' all rolled into one and her burgening belly holds Payton's sister-to-be.  They have brought colorful flowers to welcome Patricia to London.  I am hemming panels in the family room for the Gazebo and am not sure when my sister and Alan will be arriving.  Sarah cannot stay long and I know she will be disappointed if she misses Patricia so I offer to feed them lunch.  I made a lovely potatoe leak clam chowder and I heat up lunch for them and invite Kevin next door to sit with us  Sarah really has to go and we walk out to the front of the house just as Patricia and Alan pull in.  Sarah smiles and they greet with a hug.  We all head into the house so miss Payton can give them the flowers she brought for them.  How did I get this lucky??  We all walk Sarah and Miss Payton to the door and hugs and byes later I turn to the kitchen where Patricia is preparing a fruit lunch.  OMG there is huge amount of wonderful fruit and berries and we all dig in and begin day 2 of our wonderful visit.  

I am not one to sit and neither is Patricia so we get going for a walk with the dogs in the early afternoon around the neigborhood after meeting up with some of our neighbors.  We are very lucky to be living in a place that is more than just a is our life, filled with people we care deeply for and whose time is valuable to us.  We have a beautiful property we love living on and making ours through the gardens and landscaping.  Patricia notes all the plants in our garden that she cannot grow because of the bitterly cold winters where she lives.  We live in a zone 5 and they are in a zone 7/8, making it impossible to grow the plants we have come to enjoy.  We meander through the neighborhoods that have front yard sprawls and large backyards....something that is rare to find in new builds.  She is astonished at the distance between the houses and the many gardens hosting the summer blooms.  Patricia is fearless and friendly with a lady who is kneeling in her front garden bed.  The lady comes to chat and is easily engaged in Patricia's knowledge of the many plantings.....ah, a favorite hobby we share and have a great deal of passion for.  I watch and listen to the conversation, add a few bits of my own.... I am just enjoying being with this incredible human being!!!!

Dinner time brings the entire family together as we make our way out to Dolchetto's Italian restaurant to celebrate our visit and our Anniversaries.  Wine, good food (some not so authentic - Patricia notes as she has eaten in both Italy and Venice) and amazing company.  Max and Patricia get a chance to chat while Alan has the boys with him.  Miss Lydia is cuddled up to me - she is dressed so beautifully and is sporting the new coach purse she has been gifted by Patricia.  A few pictures are taken at the table.... I am not big into my own picture being taken... my face is getting grayer, my hair is thin and I am not, in my estimation, looking quite right in the eyes.  This is our treat and I am so happy to be able to host my family in a nice restaurant.  After dinner, we take the kids to get ice-cream and we grab an ice coffee at the local Tim's within walking distance of the restaurant.  The evening has become very chilly for this time of year.  Although Patrica and Alan swam in the afternoon with Lydia yesterday.... the weather has been incredibly poor this year and swimming is not on the roster anytime soon.

We finish off our last evening with the kids gathered around on the floor as Patricia and Alan speak of their time in Europe and their insight is enlightening.  I know we have to wrap up soon as she gazes at her watch... 5 am comes early.... I get the children up to say their good-byes as I hover in the background.  There are lots of hugs and love to go around.  I will miss you both.  You are the nicest people anyone could ever meet and I am honored that you are my family.  Safe journey....I try not to tear up but their smiles and quick exit have us standing in the door smiling and waving as they head off into the darkness towards their hotel.   I love you.

Lydia and I made homemade cards of thanks to Patricia for her wonderful gifts and her time.....we will remember this visit for the rest of our lives... The pic on my card is of my younger, very blonde sister and myself at 'Reptile Gardens' in the States..... xoxoxoxoxo

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