Friday, 29 September 2017

Persistence

I think I've mentioned that I had a few more stories about my dad and his life-changing stroke (click here) and the years following it, and that some of the stories were quite funny. And also that I should write them down, to make sure I remembered the smiles as well as the sadness.

So, here's one. It's from the very beginning of his stroke journey.

My dad was living with his lady friend at the time. In her words, "he moved in after his heart operation [a few years prior to that] and never moved out." He hadn't been feeling well for a few days, and before she left for work that morning, she asked if he'd like her to stay home. He was still groggy from sleep, and he said, no, it was fine.

She was driving away from the house when my dad realized he wasn't fine after all. He pulled on his pants (trousers, for those of you across the Atlantic) without bothering to fasten his belt and went to the door to try to call after her to stop. He shut the door behind him so the dog wouldn't get out . . . and the door locked behind him. On the tail end of his belt.

He couldn't get the belt out of the door. He couldn't get back in the house to telephone for help. He was having a stroke and was losing his coordination and ability to think.

With much fumbling, he managed to step out of his pants and work his belt out of the loops, then put his pants back on. Luckily, his car was in the yard and the keys were in it. (Oh, how many times we had appealed to him to take his keys out of his vehicle! Once he had all his mechanic tools stolen from our front yard because of this, but that's another story.)

Anyway, he got himself into the car and drove to his buddy's house a couple of miles away. By the time he got there, all he could do was lean on the horn until his friend came to his door to see what the noise was.

From there, his buddy took him to the emergency department of the nearest hospital, which was a fifteen-minute highway drive.

My dad told me this story as he lay on the stretcher in the ER. He could see the humour in the situation, perhaps because he didn't realize yet how serious his condition was. Being similarly unaware, I thought it was funny, too.

At the time.

So much for recording the funny moments, because now I'm having trouble seeing the joke. Now it just makes my heart ache.

But it also makes me marvel at the human spirit, and think about the part that luck plays in our lives.

Dad's drive to survive allowed him to overcome several dilemmas and get to his buddy's house, even though his brain wasn't working properly.

He was unlucky to have had a stroke to start with, but he was lucky to only gradually lose his muscle control. He was lucky his keys were in the ignition. He was lucky he didn't go off the road or hit another vehicle. He was lucky his friend was home.

And I was lucky, too -- to have him around for another eight years, to talk to, to help care for, to learn family history from, to be a bridge to closer relationships with some of my relatives on his side of the family, to laugh with and cry with, to share memories with, to share the making of new memories with (a marriage and the births of two great-grandchildren) . . . and to love.

Some day soon, I'll tell you another story, which I hope turns out to still be funny when I write it. It involves chocolate, so that's a point in its favour right there.

If there a lesson in today's story, I think it would be this:


If everything seems too much, just look for the next step to take . . . and take it. Then the next step. And so on. You can do more than you think you can.



Have a good weekend, my friends.




Monday, 25 September 2017

Poetry Monday: What You Wear Under There

That week sure went fast ... maybe partly a little bit perhaps probably TOTALLY because I was SO looking forward to the topic Diane gave us for this Poetry Monday ... underwear.

Ha ha. I lie.

Anyway.

Whatever you call them - underwear, undies, gotchies, pretties, unmentionables, knickers, smalls - they aren't something we were ever encouraged to talk about in polite company in my family when I was growing up.

Now, I know perfectly well that they are just another article of clothing. And I also know that Diane and Delores and Joan will find a delicate way to discuss undies. And probably be hilarious while they are doing it.

But this is the best I can do, given my upbringing and resulting inhibitions.

Underwear

Do I dare
Talk about
Underwear?

Do I dare
Write about
Underwear?

Do I care
To even think about
Underwear?

In my opinion
The biggest thing
To remember about
Underwear

Is that it
Should never
Ever
EVER
Be spelled
UnderWARE

We WEAR it UNDER
Other stuff.
UNDERWEAR.

Or think of it
Like this:

   U is for under clothing
   N is for no holes or tatters
   D is for decorum, please let's have some
   E is for everybody please wear some
   R is for really, please wear some
   W is for wishing everybody would wear some
   E is for everyone you see is either wearing or not wearing them but you can't always tell
   A is for always glad I can't tell
   R is for rolling eyes, because by this point you likely are, and I know I am


*****
Aaaaaand . . . done!!


Actually, I'm so rattled I forgot the preamble. I'll do it as a post-amble. Poetry Monday is brought to you by Diane, Delores, Donkey (me!), and Joan (in the comments). Read a poem, write a poem, leave a poem in the comments or join in on your blog if you have one!


Donkey snickering about underwear, no doubt. Because real donkeys don't need any.



P. S. If you want to read about more euphemisms for underwear, check out this page:
http://blog.oxforddictionaries.com/2012/07/dont-forget-your-pants/




Friday, 22 September 2017

Lazy Friday

It has been a quiet week here. My poem is all ready for next Monday, but what can I write about today?

It certainly hasn't been a quiet week in the rest of the world. But I have no heart to write about natural disasters, humanitarian crises, wars, political machinations, or even arts and entertainment.

Instead, I return to the icanhas.cheezburger website.

Well, maybe just one political statement first . . .

Not confined to just one politician. Many are behaving badly at the moment. And some of them are Ma'am, not Sir.




Now on to other things:











































A lazy Friday here at Procrastinating Donkey . . .

Hope you have a lazy day in your calendar soon. Unless you like the other kind of day; then I hope you have one of those :)






Monday, 18 September 2017

Poetry Monday: Working ... Plus: Arrr, Matey!

It's Poetry Monday, people!  Started by Diane, taken up by Delores and I - and now, in the comments, Joan, who has agreed to take on the challenge each week and have her name up in lights, so to speak. You know the drill: Write a poem, read a poem, leave a poem in the comments - anything goes, poetry-wise. This is for fun and for sharing.

Thank you to everyone who takes the time to visit and contribute a comment or a poem. You are a fine bunch, and may I add good-looking too.

This week's topic, as suggested by Diane, is working. The first thing I think of in connection with working is the jobs we do for a paycheque. I thought about the difference between the active working lives of my parents and grandparents and my own sedentary working life, spent first at a typewriter (remember those?) and then at a computer chasing numbers and words. In June of 2016, after an extended run of very long days, aggravated by sitting in a chair that did not suit my frame, I developed rather bad hip and lower back pain. In the end, it was determined that my joints had started to seize up, like unused equipment tends to do, and then took my muscles along for the ride.

I am mostly pain-free now, but I have to keep mobile and strong to stay that way. Having been unable to walk for pleasure for six months last year has helped me appreciate even more the ability to walk now without pain. Walking is my physiotherapy, but it's also my joy.

One of the professionals who worked on me to bring me back to mobility told me research shows people who work at computers all day have as high a risk of physical impairment as nurses in the days when they lifted, moved, and worked on patients all day long. Who would have thought it?

*****

Working

Those of my family before me
All hard workers were they
A merchant, a miner, a woodsman
Their living they earned that way

A mechanic and a teacher
Were my parents' jobs, you see
And that brings me to the present
And the work that's done by me

I work with words and numbers
Typing and tapping away
I sit for hours and hours
Only fingers and eyes in play

I wonder which is the harder -
Pushing a body to give?
Or forcing a body to be so still?
Neither's a way to live

The answer may prove (as usual)
To be a shade of grey
Too much work wearies the body
Too little ... still makes you pay

A body is made to be working
And a body needs times of rest
A healthy, consistent balance
Is what suits a body best

*****

How I feel when my numbers don't behave. My brain definitely gets exercise even when my body doesn't.


Do you have to work at getting a balance of work and rest? Or does it come easily?

*****

And just before I go, might I remind all of you that tomorrow, September 19, is International Talk Like A Pirate Day (see HERE for a fun rundown on how it began, and HERE for humourist Dave Barry's hilarious column about it).

I've been waiting for this day for months, because I found this:







and also this:






Don't forget to say "arrr," "yar," or even "arf," and "matey" and "walk the plank" at some point in the day! No, no - don't actually walk the plank, just SAY it ... and if you accomplish nothing else, you'll have either confused, confounded, or exasperated the other people in your orbit ... er, on your pirate ship of life :)







Friday, 15 September 2017

I'm Rich! I'M RICH! But Not The Normal Kind

As I mentioned last Friday (HERE), the local used book sale was held recently over the better part of a week. My daily attendance was almost 100%.

I'm not sure that's something to be proud of, but I look at it like a squirrel might: Gather ye acorns while ye may. Except in my case it is ye books. (I know the original line is "gather ye rosebuds" but I like to think of a literate squirrel changing it for his own use, and then me borrowing it from him and changing it again.)

Husband and I are devotees of the written word - as are many of you - and our habit is just too costly at full price. It does take time and stamina to weed through the hundreds of books available, but I was determined to make the most of the sale.

Last year the 30-some books I bought lasted less than six months, even though we both read each other's preferred genres. My husband leans toward historical fiction and legal mysteries, while I lean toward books with less action but lots of thinking and feeeeelings (always said with the proper emphasis), but those are only leanings and there's a lot of overlap in our reading.

I went bigger this year with 60-plus books, many of which could double as hefty doorstops - at an average price of less than $2. My book-loving heart is going pitter-patter as I contemplate my harvest. Not unlike how I imagine a squirrel feels when it gets into a bird feeder.

The last day of the sale I nearly swooned when I learned that all books were priced to move at a buck apiece. This is how five cookbooks came home with me - against all reason, considering that I make the same things for supper over and over. Maybe I'll make something new and exciting now.

... Or maybe I won't. But I'll have fun reading them. (Some of us do that, you know. Like a novel.)

And next year, many of these books will be donated back to the sale, to be bought by another avid reader.


Job done. Can relax now.

Hope you all have a happy weekend ... and if you are a book-lover too, tell me: how do you feed your habit? Do you prefer best-sellers or do you like to look for overlooked gems? Or are you omnivorous?

(Side note: I used the word omnivorous in fun, thinking it was only meant for food, but checked the definition - and lo, it can be used just like this!)



Monday, 11 September 2017

Come Back, This Will Only Take A Minute If You Hold Still

It's Poetry Monday! Diane (who started the challenge) suggested Nature as this week's topic, to give us a boost and some focus. But if you're inclined to write about something else, please do! There aren't any rules; we just want to encourage the writing of poetry of any kind. Post in the comments on any of our blogs, or if you post on your own blog be sure to leave us your blog address in the comments.

Check out Diane's blog (HERE) and Delores' blog (HERE) for their poems. Joan (of Devon) also contributes regularly in the comments here. Other folks are leaving poems or links quite often, too. Check out the comments to see them - there is a lot of talent and everyone has a different take on the weekly topics. If anyone wants to join on a regular basis, please let us know and we'll include you in the preamble each week.

In view of the direction I took with this week's topic, I think we need some introductory comments.

I had already been musing about the idea of having a tail.

Before you start backing away from me with that funny look in your eyes, let me explain how I got there. If you've been reading regularly, you will remember that our big fluffy black cat has gone to live with our son. Here he is, before he moved away:

I hope you can see his tail here. Photographing a black cat can be a challenge. And who could have predicted I'd need a better picture of his tail at some point?

Anyway, it turns out that Mr. Floofy was responsible for nine-tenths of the cat hair issue we had here. (Sorry, son. I didn't realize.)

That got me thinking about what it would be like to be covered in long, fine fur all over and not be able to ever, ever, ever get away from it. And, in particular, for a cat who bathes with its tongue, what would it be like to have a tail covered in that amount of fur?

Then I got to thinking about what it would be like to have a tail, in general. Or to have other things humans don't have.

Oh, for goodness' sake, before you run away completely, here's my poem.


*****

And You Thought The Bionic Man Was Special


Have you ever thought that being human-shaped is kind of dull and boring?
No doubt our opposable thumbs are an advantage but after that it's all downhill.
Compare our two arms and two legs to a bird with two wings soaring ...
We're stuck on the ground while he flies high without a single pill.

Or consider the elephant with his elegant and useful trunk,
So sensitive it can find and pick up a single blade of grass by touch;
Strong enough to knock down trees and pick up heavy junk;
So agile it can open any human-made, one-handed latch.

And speaking of prehensile appendages, what about a monkey's tail?
It's like a fifth hand, while humans are lucky to have two (and could often use a third).
Imagine the thrill of swinging securely along a treetop trail!
It would be just as glorious as flying like a bird.

And what if we could bring our homes with us like the tortoise does?
And if we're threatened simply pull in our head and limbs and be safe?
All snug inside our fortress, uncaring what the danger was,
While the thing outside that meant to eat us can only growl and chafe.

Then there is the lowly fish, a swimmer extraordinaire.
He spends his days and nights where we cannot survive for long,
Pulling oxygen from the water with his gills, just as we breathe the air ...
We say he's lower on the evolutionary scale, but maybe we're wrong.

So many of Nature's creatures have been given (or have retained)
Extra-special features -- like deluxe models of the basic animal form ...
Why on earth does man think he has the right to rule and reign?
Is our brain our only saving grace? The thought leaves me, at most, lukewarm.


Yes, but some days maybe I shouldn't be allowed to write down what I think ...



*****

For seven facts you might not know about the elephant's trunk, click HERE.

For a brief but adorable video of a baby elephant trying to figure out what that thing on the front of his head is, click HERE.

*****

I'm not sure why I started out thinking about tails but now I'm concentrating on trunks. Your guess is as good as mine.

*****

If you could have any "extra-special feature" that another species in the animal kingdom has, what would it be?




Friday, 8 September 2017

Small Wins

It's been another hard week for anyone with a heart who is paying attention to world events. Of course, it's been an even harder week for those who have been actually living through the natural and man-made disasters that have been in the news. My heart goes out to those who have been affected, and I wish them safety and steady recovery.

I've been feeling slowly crushed by it all, even though I know I can do next to nothing about any of it.

All I really know how to do is to light my small corner of the world, and so I want to share today some things that made me smile this week, hoping they will either lighten your day too or remind you of things that have been good about your own week.


I smiled ...

... seeing, in the back seat of a passing car, a golden retriever slouching comfortably upright with a frisbee clamped firmly in his teeth. I don't know where he was going, but it looked like all was right with his world.

Like this guy, except not in the water, and not with a stick. Otherwise, IDENTICAL.



... watching our Angry Cat pouncing on a length of strapping tape being pushed under a sheet of tissue paper ...This is the cat who followed me home after a walk a few years ago, punched me in the face when I picked her up, and once bit me so hard I got blood poisoning and needed antibiotics (to be fair, the vet was manipulating her sore hip when she lashed out). This is the cat who did not even know what toys were for when she first came to live with us, who watched me rolling a toy ball for her with a look of grim disgust. To see her playing now like a kitten does my heart good.

... reading about the raccoon who scaled a 700 foot crane in Toronto; after it got to the top, it "made a poo" and then "ambled all the way back to the ground" ... (full article HERE).

... finding out that the annual used book sale is on right now, at the exact same time as I have a few days off work. I've already been once, and will go a few more times at least, and will end up with enough reading for a few months at a fraction of the cost of new books. For those who haven't read the post in that link before, it gives the background behind why I stopped being a book reader and how I started again. (If you want to know what I've been reading, check the "Recent Reads" list on the right side of my blog.)

... figuring out how to take a picture of the huge yellow-orange moon with my point and shoot camera - apparently "beach and snow" is the correct setting to use. What?? No wonder it took so long to figure it out.

Believe it or not, this is true to the colour of the moon here a couple of nights ago. It wasn't quite this big, though; I zoomed in for this shot. And I still didn't see a single beach or flake of snow.




And now, two bonus funnies, one for cat lovers ...




And one for dog lovers ...





Wishing you a good weekend! And tell me, has anything made you smile this week?




Monday, 4 September 2017

Poetry Monday: Parents (And The Ones Who Make Them Parents)

It's Poetry Monday! Join Diane at On the Alberta/Montana Border, Delores at Mumblings and me, as we write, re-write, gnash our teeth, sweat and swear (or is that just me?) to complete our offerings. Joan (of Devon) has also joined us! She will be posting her poem in the comments here each week as she does not have her own blog.

Other readers have also joined in from time to time and your contributions are always welcome. Leave a poem in the comments on any of our blogs, or if you'd rather post it on your own blog, leave us a link in the comments so we can come trooping over and cheer you on.

Diane has been giving us a topic each week, and you can use it for inspiration or you can write about something completely different. The aim is to have fun and stretch our skills.

This week I thought the topic of "Parents" would be a piece of cake. I have parents, I am a parent, lots of material to choose from, this thing will write itself ...

I persisted in thinking this all week, even though ONLY ONCE has the topic been a piece of cake for me, and as it turns out, this week fell in with the majority.

But persistence finally won the day. Being donkey-stubborn can be good as well as annoying.

For your amusement, may I present:


You Think It's Bad Now? Just You Wait

The story is as old as time:
Boy meets girl and it's sublime.
Nature is what nature be,
And soon the one plus one is three.

For something oh so natural,
It's scarily incredible,
How one small person in the nest
Can make its parents feel helpless.

Feeding, burping, changing onesies -
(Side note: nothing rhymes with "onesies") -
These are skills they never had
But now they need them - need them bad.

Broken sleep makes thinking hazy.
Non-stop crying makes parents crazy.
No time to eat or have a shower -
For such a wee one, oh! such power!

Don't fret too much, new mom and dad;
Baby care is not so bad.
Enjoy these moments, by all means ...
. . . 'Cause babies grow up to be teens.



*****

Let us recap:

Even this sweet baby ...


... will turn into a moody, whiny ...


... or maybe lazy teen ...


... before finally turning into a mature, productive member of society.


P. S. I know many teens who are already more grown up than I am. I am making liberal use of stereotypes in this post, and I hang my head in shame and apologize.

All photos courtesy of Pixabay, with appreciation.

Friday, 1 September 2017

Skies Above Me

There's not a lot going on in my head today, so I thought I'd post a few pictures from the last few months instead. When I looked back at my picture folders, I had an awful lot of pictures pointing up; some were just sky, some were stuff with the sky as background. So I guess there's quite a bit to be seen even when the sky isn't full of stars.



The walking trail I use runs below the bank where these trees grow, which allows for a shot from nearly ground level without needing to lie down, get bugs or leaves in your hair, or get funny looks from other walkers. Do you know I've never once seen any other walkers with a camera? That seems against the odds, somehow.



The moon at twilight, trapped in the wires. I'm surprised it got free in time for the eclipse, but it did ... unless ... maybe that was an imposter moon that blocked out the sun




A beautiful sunset at our local Wal-Mart

Wispy clouds - they remind me of bits of cotton candy (candy floss, for some of you).  Except in white. Who would buy white cotton candy, though? Is there such a thing?

More wisps


So many layers of clouds!

Half a dozen mourning doves




Another night at Wal-Mart. I swear, they have the best sunsets. And they're free.



Can you spot the two crows? They remind me of sailors in the rigging of a sailboat. Except noisier. They were busy calling me names as I went by.



More clouds. These look like the wool of a lamb to me. I'm beginning to think I have a problem.




And a cheat picture - not the sky, but I couldn't resist:


The most photogenic cat I know. He has no bad side. (If you recall, he shows up on the walking trail at the look-out shelter.)



And that's what's overhead (and underfoot) in my corner of the universe. What's in yours?