Friday 13 April 2018

This Was My Week

The snowstorm I mentioned in my last post (here) brought us about ten inches of snow. We didn't lose power, which was good, and the weather warmed up since then, so almost all of the snow is gone again. That's the nice thing about this time of year -- if we get snow, it quickly disappears.

I went for a walk when the snow was just starting. A quick video:

And here's a still shot of the snow as it started to build up.

It was sticky and wet and as you can see it was clinging to the trees and shrubs.

The next morning it was beautiful outside, especially where the snow was heavy on the evergreens, but I didn't take any pictures, because . . .

. . . at the height of the snowstorm I had to go stay with my mom as she was having another dizzy spell. She has inner ear problems and has lately developed associated vertigo, which sometimes comes on very fast. I was glad for all the times I had to drive through heavy snow when I was younger, as the experience helped me navigate the unplowed streets to get to her house. It was nearly midnight when she called me, and I didn't know how much worse the streets might get, so I stayed overnight with her. Not a lot of sleep was had by either of us.

The experience has nudged me to begin to look for a longer-term solution for my mom's living situation. She is doing okay with daily, habitual routines, but much less okay with decision-making and health problems. She doesn't really need someone coming in to make meals or do cleaning or oversee her usual medications -- she's managing those things. What I would like is a solution where there is help available right away when she needs it, and oversight of any medications that are not routine. I don't know if there's any help like that available in one's own home or if she would need to move to some form of assisted living. She's not going to like either one.

Meanwhile, I cleaned the deer spit out of the bird feeder once again and put it out (the bird feeder, not the deer spit) the day after the snowfall. The robins have shown up again and we have chickadees, sparrows, bluejays and at least one woodpecker. There have been no four-legged diners (i.e. deer) as yet; they must have forgotten to check. But I'm sure some morning soon I'll find the feeder empty and spit-covered once more.

Speaking of robins, I read recently that they do not necessarily migrate to warmer regions in the winter. They are quite capable of living in the cold. But they do tend to move temporarily to the countryside where there is a greater supply of berries and fruit (apples left on the trees, for example.) When the snow is gone and the bugs wake up, the robins return to urban life and a high protein diet.

On one of my walks earlier in the week, I noticed two crows flying into a nearby tree, and as the leaves aren't out yet, I was able to see that they had a large nest there. Here it is:

Look right in the centre of the picture

And here's the close-up:

I'll be monitoring this place often while trying not to appear to do so. Here is one of the crows that was flying around when I took the photo of the nest:

I left the area as soon as I realized he or she had spotted me. The last thing I want to do is to make them uneasy.

Yesterday I got out for a long walk. It was a glorious day for walking -- the wind wasn't cold enough to be uncomfortable; it was fresh and cool, just the way I like it for my twitchy bronchial tubes.

Speaking of breathing, and impediments to it, did you know that you can microwave a sweet potato to the point where it smokes a lot and causes you to open all the windows and hope really hard that the smoke detector doesn't go off? .......... Yes. Yes you can. And now I wonder if I had left it in there any longer whether it would have actually burst into flames or if it would have just turned black and made even more smoke. I don't plan to try again and find out.

Wishing you a smoke-free week, unless you happen to be going camping, and then smoke is a required part of the experience. This is one reason I don't like to camp. (Again, twitchy airways.)

How's the weather where you live? Are things growing, whether they are plants or animals or humans? Tell me all about it.

And don't forget, I'll be back on Poetry Monday with my best effort at writing about "Spring" . . . Join me if you're so inclined!


River said...

I've never seen a crows nest, it's quite "stickery" with many bits protruding to deter interlopers. I have seen more than a few crows in the city here recently and I think they are building nests in sheltered areas of rooftops.

Elephant's Child said...

Deer spit on the bird feeders is a problem we never experience. A huge challenge.
How would your mother respond to something like Medi-Alert - a button she wears round her neck and can push for assistance if things go pear-shaped?
Not an easy time - for any of you.
I hope your weekend is blissful.

LL Cool Joe said...

What I was going to do with my mother, (but she suddenly became very ill), was get a carer to pop in to visit my mum once a day for half an hour to help her if she needed it. I was going to make some excuse that they visiting to make sure she didn't need help with her compression tights, but really it was just make sure she was okay. Maybe make her a drink etc.

Marie Smith said...

Miserable here today, Jenny, just to the north of you.

I can imagine your concern for your Mom. I hope you can find a solution which she will come to appreciate in the long run. It won’t be easy though.

Joanne Noragon said...

I must tell you, yesterday was a full on, glorious day of wall to wall sunshine and spring breezes.
I have read the same of robins, but cannot make most people believe.

Red said...

I hope you find a solution for your Mom's living arrangements. Some robins stay here all winter and we have a more severe winter than you do. We get them in our winter bird count.

Cherie said...

Hi Jenny. I really wish Spring would arrive overnight. I am sick to death of cold grey drizzly days and even colder nights. The blue sky and sunshine is a dim and distant memory. It teases us for a few hours now and then. Then it disappears for weeks on end. Hope you get your mums situation resolved. Growing old is no fun.

jenny_o said...

It is "stickery" and that's a great word! About a month ago I wrote about seeing crows breaking branches and flying away with them. I guess this is an example of the result :)

jenny_o said...

I had mentioned an alert device to her last fall and intended to follow up -- but then it left my mind, so thank you for reminding me! After this latest scare (which it was for her as much as for me) she may be more receptive.

jenny_o said...

A brief visit may be better than an hour or two, thanks for that suggestion. And it may be the way to get started in the direction of fuller care.

jenny_o said...

The weather can be so different between northern NS and PEI even though they are so close!

I, too, hope whatever we decide will be seen by her to be a good thing.

jenny_o said...

Don't you love the first real spring day?!

I'd never heard that about robins before, so I think it's something the average person doesn't know.

jenny_o said...

Well, good - I'm glad to have that backed up with personal birder knowledge! I can hardly believe I hadn't learned that years ago, but I think it must be a widely held myth that they migrate.

jenny_o said...

Your last thought is one my mother echoes every time she has a medical issue now. And I must say, I've thought it more than a few times myself when I've had issues! I try to keep reminding her - and myself - that the alternative is worse.

You've been having an unusually wet and gray spring, haven't you? I hope it turns around soon. It's so hard to get outside and do anything with all the wet.

Yorkshire Pudding said...

Canadian "robins" are very different from British robins. Ours are smaller, sing sweetly and often follow gardeners around when they are working. The weather here in South Yorkshire has been grim all week. It has not been raining but there has been a thick layer of cloud blotting out the sun. Next week is predicted to be much better.

jenny_o said...

I didn't realize European robins were different from ours but have now been to Wikipedia and read about that. Apparently American robins (which is what we get in Canada) are a significant host for the West Nile virus, which is rather sobering.

Your weather has seemed unusually wet and gray and I hope you see the sun soon.

dinthebeast said...

The sun is out and there are little green leaves on the peach tree.
There's a similar nest in the tree across the fence in our neighbor's yard, and we have a pair of robins who often fly out of the flower bed next to the house and into the vines growing through the pear tree when I go into the back yard for walks.
Also, the sweet-peas have pink and white flowers on them that smell glorious.
Dizziness and vertigo can just scare the crap out of you, in my own experience, especially if one of your legs doesn't work right and you can't quickly sit down for your safety.
I hope your mom is OK and figures out what she needs to do to be safe, even if she's not too pleased with her options.
I can completely relate to those feelings.

-Doug in Oakland

e said...

Beautiful photos. I hope your mother is receptive to visits and the medic=alert. You might remind her that either or both are to help her feel more secure, should she protest. My own died at 59 of cancer and the fretfulness or nastiness about change was short-lived.

jenny_o said...

I can see how other mobility issues would make vertigo even worse than it already is. I'm finding that just aging and the slower response with that has affected how safe I feel if I start to fall or have a spot of dizziness, so I can easily imagine your feelings. I'm worried that my mom will fall and break a hip, and that's a very serious thing at her age. I'm hoping she will see the need for some help (besides mine!).

jenny_o said...

Yes, appealing to her sense of security might be the best way to approach it. She's had a couple of scares now, so maybe she won't be in denial to the same extent as she used to be.

Cancer and aging have seemingly different issues, but the common thread is change, and it's hard to accept.

Martha said...

It is really tough to make decisions with elderly parents. Mostly because they don't cooperate. They don't like change, and it's a fearful situation for them. Perhaps a slow transition for your mom might work. Whatever you decide, I know it'll be in her best interests.

That is really neat about the crow nest. I've never run across one. It'll be fun to see the babies when they arrive.

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

Oh, so sorry to read that spring has not come to tour area. We had snow last week, but today was 80 degrees and tomorrow will be the same. Trees are finally popping with blooms, but then on Sunday and the days to follow, we are supposed to return to winter temps. It has been a strange and annoying year.

It is good to make plans for your mom’s future. I know it is hard, really hard.

Mr. Shife said...

How's the weather? It's spring in Idaho. It's going to be 70 on Sunday and then 48 on Monday. I love it. I really don't love it. They need to really invent a sarcasm key. Take care, jenny_o.

Steve Reed said...

It looks MIGHTY cold there! As of today, we're finally getting a bit spring-like. We'll see if it lasts.

As for your mom, my impression is that getting someone to help manage medications and be on call for emergencies is pretty hard without also getting someone to just come in and help with the day-to-day. I don't know whether it's worthwhile to take that step yet, but it definitely sounds like a conversation you and your mom should have. (Or continue having.) My mom actually felt quite a bit of relief when she moved to her assisted living facility, I think.

jenny_o said...

With my mom's particular disposition, I'm thinking you're right - a slow transition is our best bet.

I'm looking forward to seeing what develops with those babies!

jenny_o said...

"Strange and annoying" sums it up very well! Our winter was mild but our spring has seen us get more snow than we did all winter; at least that's my unofficial measure :)

It's going to be harder on my mom. I put myself in her place and I know it would be very hard to move or accept help.

jenny_o said...

I SO wish there was a sarcasm key too! Get busy on that, Mr. S. :) Make your fortune!

jenny_o said...

You folks have had a miserable spring by all accounts. I hope that changes from here on.

Maybe my mom will be relieved, too. That's not in keeping with her personality, but a lot has changed with her health the last year or so. Here's hoping.

kylie said...

So, what happened with the sweet potato? did you put an extra number in the cooking time?

I like the crows nest. It's just wonderful to see a thing like that, joyous and hopeful

baili said...

You are loving and caring child of your mom dear Jenny and she is lucky to have you though she might not be capable to understand this right now (time will come to us either so..)

you are looking for perfect solution but i remember that my mom did not allow any paid help instead of her both daughters to whom she humiliated when ever she wanted but we had to stick with her as she was our mom after all ,i was bound to my home responsibilities so i was the unfortunate to be absent when she took her last breath but lucky enough to attend her last goodbye!

thank you for the snow video my friend!
i am glad that sunshine helping in melting the snow quickly .
wanting to say you "HAPPY SPRING!!!"

this is great that you found the perfect day for beautiful walk!

either i like camping less though i don;t have issue with smoke ,may be i am coward (simply scared of wild and non wild animals )

Stay happy Jenny hope spring will last long in your area and your walks will fertile your beautiful brain more

jenny_o said...

Re the sweet potato - my mother told me she cuts hers in half and turns it skin side up on a plate in the microwave. I didn't know whether to slice it the long way or the short way, so I did the second and it wouldn't cook so I kept punching in more time . . . I'm guessing she slices hers the OTHER way :)

I love how you describe the crows nest and will think of that each time I see it.

jenny_o said...

"she was our mom after all" - and that is the whole story in a nutshell, isn't it, baili? I'm glad you got to attend your mother's final goodbye. It helps to be able to do that.

Happy spring to you as well, dear friend :)

Diane Henders said...

I feel for you and your mom - if there isn't a service like you described, there should be. And the snow just seems like adding insult to injury.

We're having a cool and gloomy spring here, but the flowers make up for it! The crocuses have already finished blooming, and daffodils, heather, trilliums, hyacinths, and hellebores are putting on a show. I even have a few blossoms on my tiny peach tree! But I'm off to Calgary in the morning, where they just had 4" of snow...

jenny_o said...

I hope you took some pictures of your flowers for those of us starving for colour!! Have a safe trip.