Another Year Bolder…

July 12, 2018 at 12:38 am | Posted in All Things Doodle, Birthdays, Family Ties, Sisters, Toeses and Noses | Leave a comment
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Hi Babes.  It’s your Birthday today and I know you know that because you’ve been dropping hints for a while, and constantly reminding me that you’re 15… I remember being 15 and you are sailing through it so much better, and more gracefully than I did.

You won’t let me hang onto that amazing little kid that stole my heart the first moment I met her.  You are growing so strong and so beautiful, and I’m so incredibly proud of you every day.  You excelled again in school this year, though I’m not surprised 🙂

I wish I was with you today, but it’s only for a few days. I hate that I can’t be with you today, but sometimes life doesn’t give us easy choices.  My darling Doodle, I hope you will always be happy and you get everything your heart desires.  Please slow down a bit with the growing up; remember your Mom’s in constant denial… love you Babes, to the Moon and back.  xoxo.

 

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1 + 1 = 11…

February 6, 2018 at 12:03 am | Posted in All Things George, Birthdays, Caityisms, Family Ties, My Kid is a Donut, Sisters, Toeses and Noses | Leave a comment
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When Caity was born, it was still the Year of the Dog as the Chinese New Year hadn’t yet occurred.  Her Dad, Sister and myself were all born under the sign of the Ram.  Caity, I’ve always said, was born to herd us.  She has been doing exactly that for the past eleven years.

Today is her eleventh birthday.  Eleven.  I can’t handle that so I prefer to think of her age in numerology terms, two (11 = 1 + 1 = 2).  A two-year old Caity I can handle and that would mean Lex is five and I’m happy in my fantasy world….

Every year as I watch her grow, both in height, and in character; I realize how lucky I am to have her in my life.  Although Cait adores her Dad and her Sister, she’s always been bonded with me.  As much as I’m sad to see her growing up, growing away, not quite needing me as much anymore – I’m so happy to see what she’s become, although I still miss those 4 year-old toes, and 4 year-old nose.

Cait, my beautiful girl, I love you more than words can say.  I’m so proud of you and I look forward to see what you become.  I just hope you don’t lose your quirky charm, it’s a very special part of you.

Just do me a favour and slow down a little bit.  Life passes by in a heartbeat and I’m not ready to watch you grow up just yet.  To me, you’ll alway be that little monkey who would cling to my legs when you were unsure of your surroundings.  You’ll always be the four year-old who always saved her very best smiles just for me.  You’ll always be that two year-old who would carry George around by his neck everywhere you went.  You’ll always be that kid who wouldn’t let me enter a room because you were working on a special drawing for me and it was a surprise.

I’m so glad you still love to cuddle when we watch movies, though more often than not I’d fall asleep through them.  You still have all of us wrapped around your finger.

Happy Birthday, my littlest-little one.  I love you more than yesterday, but not as much as tomorrow.  Xoxo

 

Are You My Mother…?

November 21, 2017 at 1:30 am | Posted in Birthdays, Christmas, Depression, Family Ties, Toeses and Noses | 3 Comments
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Yesterday I was told that she was so glad I was her Mom.

She told me how proud she was of me and my Father.

It wasn’t one of my Daughters who spoke those words, it was my Mom.

Any time lately when I call her, our conversations are nearly identical.  We’re caught in a hellish infinite time loop.

“Hello..?”, my Mom always answers the phone the same way, with trepidation and nervousness.

“Hi Mom, how are you?” My opening is always the same.

“Who is this?” She now sounds concerned.

“It’s me Mom, Kelly…”

“From where..?”

“Mom, I’m your Daughter…” I sigh, holding back tears because I don’t want her to hear me crying.

Sometimes hearing me say that phrase turns a switch on and she realizes who’s speaking.  Sometimes not.  It depends on the day, it depends on the last time I talked to her.

It’s so hard watching my Mom slip away from us, further each day.  My Mom’s Dementia is much worse than it was and she has been on a steady decline since the Summer, only a couple of months ago.

It seems lately that I’ve been getting a weekly phone call about her from the Nurses at her Long Term Care Facility.  Last week they found her sitting on the floor of her room, trying to rearrange the cables which lead to her bed.  She was confused and they weren’t sure if she fell, or just sat down. She’s been wheelchair-bound for the past two years since she fractured her Pelvis when a Resident pushed her while trying to gain access to my Mother’s room.

Two weeks ago, they called me to tell me they found her on the floor in her bathroom.  That time it was obvious that she fell and they were monitoring her for head injuries.

She thinks my Brother is my Husband, but she knows who my Husband is by sight – in person.  She doesn’t recognize people in photographs.  She doesn’t recognize herself when we show her a picture that we just took of all of us together.  “Who’s that?” she’ll point to herself, confused.

Sometimes she’s there.  I know she’s still in there somewhere, but the distance we have to travel to reach her gets farther every day.  She speaks to us in a combination of German and English, even though she hasn’t spoken more than a few words of German in thirty years.  That part of her Brain still functions sometimes. She doesn’t talk about Dad anymore.  He’s gone from her memory for the most part. I guess it’s a good thing that she doesn’t remember how much he suffered, the months before he passed.

We always fought from the time I was a teenager craving independence.  We were too much alike and butted heads often.  As the years went by and I had two wonderful girls, our weekly phone calls often ended up in yelling matches.  I would remind her of something coming up and she’d tell me that I never told her when I knew I did.  She would get insistent and stubborn and dig in her heels because I was wrong, I never mentioned that we were having Thanksgiving, or Christmas, or a Birthday, or my Sister invited them over when I had already asked them weeks before that.  It was frustrating.

When we would go visit, she would call afterwards and tell me that the girls must have broken the TV because she couldn’t get the clicker to work (she was pressing the wrong button).  “No one broke your TV…”, “Yes, they did…”, and so on.  When she moved into the Retirement home, the first few months we would have arguments about people coming into her room and moving things around when she wasn’t there, or taking her things.

She used to hoard items like there was a famine coming.  We cleaned out so many stale-dated products from her cupboards when they moved to an apartment, bagsful of flour and sugar.  She had a chest-freezer full of meat that had been there far too long.  Toilet paper and Paper Towels were another thing she stocked up on.  And still we’d fight.  It would infuriate me that I couldn’t get through to her about whatever it was that we were currently fighting about.

I had no idea at the time that it was a symptom of her disease.  Gradually I learned to have more patience with her.  Now she kicks her feet back and forth like a little kid when she’s happy.  She’s cute and silly and everything that you would expect from a three year old, except that she’s 92.

She hardly has any short term memory to speak of, that is if she can speak at all.  She babbles.  Sentences not quite forming from her lips, yet she knows what she wants to say – it’s just stuck in her head.  But she’s so happy to see us when we go to visit.  Lexy usually insists on going with us because she’s always been close to her Nanny.  Caity gets bored on the car and usually stays home.  Mom can’t remember their names, but refers to them as the Big One and the Little One.

It feels like I’m looking at my future and that is completely scary.  It’s depressing.  It’s maddening and there’s no hope for her except to keep visiting and calling and letting her know she’s not alone and she is loved.

I can’t sleep.  I toss and turn most nights that I’m not sedated.  Sometimes that doesn’t even help.  I no longer look forward to large gatherings full of food and family or parties or even getting dressed.  I know, it’s not about me, but that doesn’t make it any easier.  Some times you just need to wallow.

 

:)

July 12, 2017 at 4:38 am | Posted in All Things Doodle, Birthdays, Family Ties | Leave a comment
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Happy Birthday to my biggest-little one on her 14th Birthday.  Love you more than words can say 🙂

I Finally Have It…!

July 3, 2017 at 3:23 pm | Posted in Birthdays, Food, Recipes | 1 Comment
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…My Mom’s famous recipe for Kalterhund – directly translated, Cold Dog.  The reason for the weird name is because when the ‘cake’ was first made, the shape resembled the snout of a dog.  Perhaps my German ancestors were not so inventive afterall… 😉

My Mom used to make this recipe for my Brother and myself when we were kids – if we were good.  Needless to say, we didn’t have it very often.  I think it was actually due to the fact that we didn’t have a lot of disposable income for extravagant cakes when I was growing up.  To this day, a lot of children in Germany request this cake for their birthday, or so I’m told.  It’s sinful.

I have to thank my wonderful German friend and colleague for bringing me the ingredients on her recent trip to Canada.  I can’t find any of this here.  However, I need to make sure that the recipe which was lost when my Mom and Dad moved out of their house, stays found so my girls can have it one day – hence the blog post.  The original comes from the Palmin website, but it is in German – so I had it translated; including North American-izing the quantities.  The original German version’s quantities are in brackets below. Some variations add an egg (my Mother never did), or a dash of Rum or Rum Extract (blech), she did and my brother and I hated it – Don’t mess with the original.  Although a 1/2 tsp of instant coffee added to the warm oil would be nice.  Mom did that sometimes.

You have no idea how much nostalgia and ‘warm and fuzzies’ I get with this recipe.

Mom’s Cookie Cake

  • 250 grams (1 package) Palmin
  • 5 oz (150 g) Bittersweet Chocolate, broken or chopped
  • ½ cup (50 g) Cocoa Powder
  • 1 cup (250 grams) Powdered Sugar
  • 2/3 cup (150 ml) Homogenized (or whole) Milk
  • 250 grams butter cookies (Butterkekse) – use as many cookies as you need

Sift together Icing Sugar and Cocoa, set aside.  Melt Palmin and chocolate in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Remove from heat when liquified. Carefully mix in sifted cocoa powder, powdered sugar and milk.  Stir gently to combine.  Keep pot on warm (but off) burner if more heat is needed to combine ingredients.  A whisk can help remove any lumps.

Let the mixture thicken slightly.

Making a Ganache

Line a loaf pan with wax paper or plastic wrap.  Mom used a square ‘rubbermaid’ container – not as many layers but made it wider for more pieces.

Spoon enough of the chocolate to create a ¼” layer of chocolate at the bottom of the lined pan. This bottom layer will end up being the top of the cake once the cake is unmolded. Cover the first chocolate layer with a layer of cookies. Keep the cookies about ¼” from the sides of the pan.  You can break the cookies if needed, but try and have a solid layer of cookies so there is a good separation between chocolate and cookie layers.  Stagger the layers (like a brick wall). The last layer will likely be cookies, but any remaining chocolate can be placed onto the last layer of chocolate.  Alternate layers of cookies and chocolate until all the chocolate is gone.

Cover pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Try not to steal any before it’s completely set and chilled.  I promise, you will be rewarded for your patience.

When cutting, a warm sharp knife will help you get through those cookies cleanly.  Serve small pieces, it’s very, very rich.  Excellent with a glass of milk or a cup of coffee.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

For the Record, Donut’s Birthday is Cancelled…

February 6, 2017 at 12:39 am | Posted in Birthdays, Caityisms, Family Ties, My Kid is a Donut, Sisters, Toeses and Noses | Leave a comment
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Happy Birthday my darling Donut.  Today my littlest-little-one is 10.  Where’d the time go?  I officially have no more kidlets left with single digit ages.

birthday-girl

I’ve been attempting to write this post for about a week or so.  I’ve had a million thoughts go through my head, but nothing seemed fitting.  I don’t know that I have the words to tell you what I want to say about you on your big Birthday.

You know already that I love you … I tell you that many times a day.  You know already that I’m proud of you and your accomplishments and you know how beautiful you are – because those things too, I tell you every day.  You’re funny, you’re smart, you’re sweet and you’re kind.  You’re a big goof-ball.  You seem to be surprised when you do something well – but I’m not.  I know what you can accomplish when you put your mind to it.

I hope you have a wonderful 10th Birthday and that all of your dreams come true.

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Love, Mama xoxo

A Very, Merry, Un-Birthday to Me…

September 8, 2016 at 12:02 am | Posted in Birthdays, Depression, Family Ties, Miscellaneous Crap | Leave a comment
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Judging by the number of candles, this was my 5th Birthday cake – my Mom always added 1 extra for ‘good luck’

I miss my Dad.

I lost him a year ago, on my last Birthday.  That’s why I’ve decided not to ‘celebrate’ my Birthday this year – it’s too painful.  Not that I’ve ever really celebrated my Birthday in my Adult life.  I’ve never liked it, but was never sure why.  I think now that it may have been foreshadowing.

I had so many things I wanted to write about him.  I can’t see the point right now.  He’s gone and it still hurts, nothing will change that.  I’ve felt so lost this past year, not really knowing what I was doing – everything was just automatic.  It’s been very difficult getting over the grief.

My Dad and my Brother on his 2nd Birthday

My Dad and my Brother on his 2nd Birthday

I have so many good memories of him. From the many camping trips we took when I was a kid – my brother and I lying down in the back of our Zephyr Stationwagon – seatbelts were not mandatory in those days.  We drove through Hurricanes to reach the East Coast, only making it as far as Prince Edward Island.

My Dad's homework when he was first learning English

My Dad’s homework when he was first learning English – my favourite line “dont say ‘vicious’ when you mean ‘wishes’…”

Back in the early 1990s, my Dad took my Mom and I home to his native Denmark to reunite with family that he hadn’t seen since he moved to Canada in the 1950s.  I have such fond memories of that trip – Denmark is a beautiful country.  It was fascinating seeing the Viking Longships, meeting relatives made infamous in my Dad’s many stories and just taking in the breathtaking countryside.  I learned a lot about my Viking heritage during that trip and my Dad was so proud to show me his country.  He was a lousy translator though.  Apart from the fact that the Danish language had evolved in the 40 years since he had left, and he didn’t know a lot of the new words – his siblings found his old fashioned way of speaking charming – and amusing.  Dad would get so excited to tell me something one of my Uncles had said – they being of a generation that didn’t learn English in school (if they made it through school in the first place). He would repeat what they said in Danish back to me.  “Engelsk Dad, Engelsk” (English Dad, English) I would have to remind him.  Even funnier was when he would repeat what I said to my relatives in English instead of Danish – the looks they gave him because they didn’t understand what he said was priceless.

My command of the Danish language was less impressive than his.  I remember asking one of my Uncles if he wanted, what I thought was another beer – I held up a beer bottle and said to my Uncle “mere Ost?” (more cheese?) – No wonder he was confused.

In the Stocks again, Me at some place in Denmark that's hundreds of years old

In the Stocks again, Me at some place in Denmark that’s hundreds of years old

So tonight I think I will raise a glass of Tuborg in his honour and drink a toast to his memory.  Skål Dad, I miss you.

Time Marches By Too Quickly…

July 12, 2016 at 12:17 am | Posted in All Things Doodle, Birthdays, Family Ties, Miscellaneous Crap, Sisters, Toeses and Noses | Leave a comment
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I’ve had a lot of difficulty composing this post, after all it isn’t every day that your biggest-little one turns 13.  I’ve had a lot of things in my mind that I want to say to her.  She’s heard them all before a million times – yet one can never hear that they are loved too many times.

I’m not sure where to start. My beautiful daughter has far exceeded my expectations. Her sweet smile is all I need at the end of a tough day.  Lexy is so bright and intelligent and charming – she has a soft spot for babies and animals and they naturally gravitate to her.

I am so unprepared for her to grow up – I’ve said this every year. I wanted her to stay three, because when she was three, she was goofy, and cuddly and wanted nothing more than to be with her Mom.  Now she’s a teenager (EEK!), who’s still just as goofy, cuddles on occasion and wants nothing more than to be with her iPod… sometimes it feels like she no longer needs me.

I’ve tried to teach her the best I can about the things I know. How important family is, especially Sisters.  When you have a good family like ours, they will stick by you, no matter what.  I’ve tried to teach her to be respectful of others, to be kind, and have empathy for those less fortunate than yourself and to be a good person.

Happy Birthday Doodle – I love you more than yesterday and almost as much as tomorrow… Love, Mom xo

…And a Pinch to Grow an Inch!

February 6, 2016 at 7:38 am | Posted in Birthdays, Caityisms, Family Ties, My Kid is a Donut | Leave a comment
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It’s amazing how quickly time goes by.  Today is my littlest little-one’s 9th Birthday and it’s the last one of the single digits.  A lot happened this past year and she was always there with a hug and a smile for me.

You’ve become a remarkable young lady my Donut and I couldn’t be more proud of you.  I love you and hope you have a great Birthday full of monkeys, sprinkles and glitter… just not all at the same time 😉 💕

Happy Birthday, love Mama

2015, My Annus Horribilis…

December 31, 2015 at 2:59 pm | Posted in Birthdays, Christmas, Depression, Family Ties, Miscellaneous Crap, Toeses and Noses | Leave a comment
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To paraphrase Queen Elizabeth II, 2015 is not a year on which I shall look back fondly. In other words, it has turned out to be an ‘Annus Horribilis’, a horrible year.  I am very much looking forward to its conclusion.

There is an old superstition that you must take down your Christmas Tree before the last bell tolls on New Year’s Eve. Otherwise you will be dragging all your baggage and bad luck from this year into the new year.  I’m not taking any chances, my tree and all the trimmings are already down.

This has been the worst year of my life.  I’m not exaggerating.  It really sucked and seemed to be never-ending.  If it wasn’t for the love and support of my family, I’m not sure what I would do, I probably would have lost my mind by now.

In January, I lost a very dear friend of mine to Cancer.  Randy was also a work colleague and his presence in the office is sorrily missed.

Photo by Aurélien Muller (http://www.maclupus.net)

Randy Moreau – Photo by Aurélien Muller (http://www.maclupus.net)

It took longer than I expected to get over Randy’s passing, especially when there were so many reminders everywhere.  There were mementos on my desk and on my wall; passing his many offices within our work walls; having to look up something in old files that we worked on years ago – all brought back strong memories of him.  French Macaroons and expensive Italian Cologne still make me smile.

On the heels of Randy’s passing, I had to deal with my Parents’ transition from their last home to an Old Age Home.  My Father was very sick with Cancer and my Sister kept the details from my Brother and I, and it seemed that he had more time than he did.  The last few months of his life, he had no discernible quality of life.  He was unable to self-ambulate, he couldn’t get out of bed without assistance and was getting to the point where feeding himself was difficult.  His pain increased nearly daily and we watched as the cancer raced through him, eating him from the inside out.  He was so skinny at the end, mostly blind and mostly deaf.  When he was in Palliative care, unable to eat or drink, he still knew when we were there – I’d call his name and he’d reach out his hand to hold mine, and try to talk.  I know he had things to tell me.  I knew he was dying.  I told him several times not to worry, we would look after Mom.  That was our job now.  He could rest in peace.  He passed away in early September, on an incredibly warm day – and on my Birthday.

I have not been able to get over his passing, as much as I try.  He was too important to me.  He was my everything, he was my Daddy.  I miss him, terribly.   I had an emotional breakdown during our family Christmas Dinner and couldn’t stop crying and had to leave.  I didn’t want to ruin everyone’s good time – I felt like a fool.  The emotions were still so raw. My Mother-in-Law told me something that a friend sent her after her Mother passed. She said: your Mother teaches you everything, except how to live without her.  Truer words were never spoken.

Dad 1923-2015

Dad 1923-2015

My Mom has Dementia which is continuously worsening.  We can no longer have a conversation with her other than a few sentences which are repeated over and over again.  She’s alone in her Old Age Home and it’s far from where we live.  It’s like I’ve lost her too…

The next wave came in November, my female cat, Charlie was looking very skinny.  She was still eating and drinking, but it was harder for her to jump up on the furniture and she wasn’t as social.  She would still bark at us any time we would pass by close to her, and loved to be petted.  She had the loudest purr I’d ever heard.  She started walking less and taking more frequent breaks.  She would let me cuddle her for quite a while (she was not a cuddler, but she was too weak to jump down).  I made an appointment at the vet, fearing the worst.  That day when I came home, she was lying down by her water dish, unable to get up any longer.  It was her time.  I miss my little girl, my Bobcat with the tufts on her ears.

Charlie (2000-2015)

Charlie (2000-2015)

Charlie’s brother, Maverick didn’t mourn her loss as we expected.  He searched for her for quite a while and on occasion we could hear him calling her, probably wondering why she wasn’t answering.  He had become more cuddly with the rest of us – he was always my cat – he sleeps with me every night and more often than not, requires play time or food around 2 a.m.  He hasn’t learned that I’m not supposed to be awake then.

Last weekend Mavvy started acting funny.  His head was down and he couldn’t hold it up on his own.  His pupils were wide and he and trouble walking.  His head even tilted on a 90º angle for a bit.  When he’d walk, it was like he was on crutches, his front legs stiff and straight out, his head tucked into his chest.  He couldn’t go up or down stairs, he’d bump into walls.

We took him to the vet, who suspected a Stroke.  He’s currently on a decreasing course of low-dose steroids and he’s almost back to his old self.  He’s not ready to go yet.  I’m not ready for him to leave.

So after all that, to say that I’m more than ready to see the tail end of 2015 tonight and ring in 2016 is an understatement.  I’ve always believed, silly or not that bad luck happens in odd years and good in even.  I’m so ready for my luck to change … Happy New Year everyone, may it be a good one…

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