happiness

So busy with school and housework and gardening (FGK 224)

I’ve decided to post more of the hospital letters. it’s been a long 6 months for me as I’ve been addressing some way overdue health issues which has slowed my whole world down substantially. It’s created space for healing and reflection – as have these letters.

I don’t read any of these letters until I post them here. I thought at first maybe this was Aunt Annie, but it seems like it was a friend and probably someone who also had been in the hospital with mom. mom would have been 13 when this letter was sent.

Vauxhall, Alta

May 30, 1954

Box 341

Dear Margaret

Now I guess I will have to apologize for not writing to you but really I am so busy now with school, housework, and gardening.

You mean to say dear old Maryanne is still there? Well say hi to her for me. Tell her I still haven’t forgotten about her but I haven’t got any time to write anymore letters than I am now. Also to ______ and Verna when you see them. When you write or talk to Janet ask her for me whose turn it is to write. I think it’s mime but I don’t want to write when it is unnecessary.

It’s sure good to hear that you are getting along so well. You have sure been in the hospital a long time already . I hope you will be able to get out in the near future

Did you ever see Lillian anymore? If you do also say hi to her for me. Does she still come to Girl Guides? how aboutBetty Brown? Does she still come up? If so give her my greetings. I hope you will remember all these but if not it’s ok, I’ll excuse you this time.

Tell your mom thanks so much for all those good things she did for me while I was in the hospital. i will never forget them. She sure cheered us up often.

Last time I was at out-patients was April 9 and I couldn’t come up to see you because we were in a terrible hurry and I didn’t know you were still there. Honestly, we started out right away after we were through at the hospital. We went to Brooks, back around Bow City and the road was terrible. It had rained very hard. When you were between Enchant (?) and home we got stuck so terrible where we sat for I’m sure over an hour. Unit and transport came and pulled us out.

We expected to get home at four or five and we got home at twenty-after-eight. Boy were we tired.

I guess you are tired too of reading by now. So I will close

Bye for now

Write soon

Annie

Love

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happiness

George Copithorne death notice (FGK-223)

George Willian Copithorne, prominent district rancher and horseman, died in Holy Cross Hospital Friday following a lengthy illness. He was 56.

A native of Jumping Pound, Mr. Copithorne spent his entire life in the district except for six years in the forestry branch. As assistant ranger and packer, he helped establish lookouts at Moose Mountain and Black Rock.

During the 1930s, he started a Hereford ranch west of Calgary. He was a successful Calgary Stampede competitor for several years, a member of the Cochrane Light Horse Association, and a member of the Alberta Stock Growers’ Association.

He recently entered partnership with Sam Blood of Cochrane to establish Scott Lake Services, 25 miles west of Calgary on the Trans-Canada Highway.

Mr. Copithorne is survived by his wife, Gertrude; two sons, Lawrence and David; two daughters, Mary and Patricia and three brothers Percy, Frank, Clarence, all of Jumping Pound; and two sisters, Mrs. Jack Buckley of Springbank and Mrs Idwal Jones of De Winston.

Funeral services will be held at 1:30 pm today in Foster’s Garden Chapel. Rev. E.W. Julian and Rev. Dr. J.H. Garden will officiate.

Burial will follow at Mountview Memorial Gardens.

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happiness

Protected by mom’s love

Mom’s birthday was a couple of days ago so she’s been on my mind more than usual. Last night a memory came up that I shared with the girl and I thought it was such a powerful memory of mom’s love that I would share it here.

When I was a little kid- I don’t know how old but probably in the 6-8 year old range – some of the horses here got into some gopher poison. The carrier for the poison was oats so when the horses discovered a big bucket of oats they devoured it. I remember lots of yelling and then mom, dad, and I (and I think Grandma and maybe some others – I’m a bit sketchy on these details) were standing just outside of the yard in the square field watching Grandma’s horse Captain and another horse named Stick run flat out up and down the field. I remember the adults all freaking out and the horses both snorting loudly and having kind of wild looks in their eyes. At the time I had no idea what was going on but I knew something bad was happening.

Suddenly mom turned to me and yelled at me to run back to the house and grab her purse.

Now I was a little kid, and a curious and kind of defiant little kid so I stood my ground and stared at her demanding to know why she was sending me off when clearly shit was getting real. I don’t know how she said it but something in her voice let me know that I really needed to run back to the house and get that purse. I was grumbling my way up the driveway when I heard more shouts and cries and things were kind of chaotic. My stomach sunk because I knew something bad had happened and I recall having a moment of gratitude for my mom who had sent me away.

The horses didn’t survive the incident and it was pretty devastating, I remember how much my Grandma loved Captain.

Mostly what I remember though is how mom’s immediate thought was to protect me from what was undoubtably an extremely traumatic scene. Because mom couldn’t just pick me up or grab my hand and kind of force me to leave she had to choose words that would convince me to run. There’s a fierceness in a mother’s love that I don’t think you really find anywhere else and I’m so grateful that mom pulled me out of a really tragic situation.

Mom protected me in many other ways throughout the years, especially near the end when she was my strongest supporter throughout my divorce. We had so many bumps in our relationship but there are these moments when her love shines through so clear and bright.

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happiness

Backwards shirt day

Today would have been mom’s birthday and my emotions have been all over the place. It’s also right before thanksgiving and this is a difficult holiday for me as memories of a violent incident from my marriage pop back in my memories at this time.

With that said, I really needed something to laugh about today. I was in town doing some errands and swung by our butcher shop. I am in there a lot lately because my diet requires that I eat a lot of meat and theirs is such good quality – I find grocery store meat makes me feel ill at the best of times. Because I am in there so often I’ve got to know the guys who work there a bit – they all seem really nice and it feels like a happy place.

Anyway, I walk into the store and I was chatting with one of the guys who works there. They usually wear chefs coats, but he was leaving for the day and was in his street clothes. I noticed that the front collar of his t-shirt looked like it was up a bit higher than normal and I had a thought “his shirt is on backwards”. I have no idea if it actually was or not, could have just been how the shirt was sitting. But once that thought was there it stayed. And it made me laugh a little because when my kids were little no matter how hard I tried at least one of them headed off for the day with their clothes on backwards.

That’s not the funny part though.

I came home and was sitting on the couch telling the story to the girl when I looked down and went OH MY GOD. I jumped up and said MY BLOODY SHIRT IS ON BACKWARDS!!!. So yeah. I don’t know if he went home and laughed when he noticed his shirt was on backwards, if indeed it was, but I certainly laughed when I got home and discovered my shirt was on backwards.

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happiness

Grandpa’s turquoise ring

When I was a little girl of about 6 we went to Phoenix to visit my Grandpa who used to winter there. I remember very few things about the trip. Some woman with cleats stepped on my bare foot and then yelled at me when I cried because it hurt. We went panning for gold and I found a nugget in my pan and got to keep it. And I got a pretty little turquoise ring.

My foot has recovered and I’ve learned to stay away from cranky people in cleats when I’m barefoot. My parents took the gold because they said I was too young to be responsible for it. Once in a while mom would pull it out and show it to me, but even as an adult I never was given my gold nugget back. I assume it’s somewhere in the treasure pile that is our home. But I was allowed to keep the ring.

When I was little the ring was too big for my hand. As I got older my hand was too big for the ring, and I kind of missed the tiny little window when hand and ring were both the right size. But I do wear it often as a pinky ring. It’s made all of my moves with me and has always had a small and special place in my heart.

Last night I was left unsupervised again which is never a good thing. My hands had shrunk in water retention/swelling/fat to be smaller than they have been in ages and I was playing around with my rings. I put my turquoise ring on my ring finger to see how close it would come to fitting and then twisted and shoved it right onto my hand.

Huge mistake

So then my hand swelled up and I couldn’t get it off. After looking on google and YouTube, I tried lotion, soap, ice, and the ribbon/dental floss trick. Nothing. And the ring was starting to hurt.

This morning I did a walk of shame into our Urgent Care and told them what I’d done. The staff there were so kind and thoughtful as I told them what I’d done. They brought me back into the little cast room and a nurse came in to try the windex trick again. Nothing. Then about 5 nurses all came in – one was their “ring getting off professional” and i think the rest were women who could relate to what I was going through. She tried windex again but it wasn’t happening. Finally she got out some archaic looking device that was able to cut through the ring and free my finger.

So now my precious little ring is broken and I will somehow figure out how to get it fixed. But I figure it kind of adds to the value of the ring through this story. There was never any real monetary value to the ring, it was all sentimental. And I figured Grandpa being the jokester that he was would have got a real kick out of my plight. I am so grateful for our Urgent Care. They have saved us in much more serious incidents, but I appreciated the dignity and humour that I was afforded in this less serious one.

The “before”
Icing icing icing to get the swelling down
My poor little ring, but man my finger feels better.
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happiness

Where were you when you heard the news?

I was sitting in Tulip Room 2 with my girl waiting for a doctor appointment. I had left my phone in the car and was just sitting there when her phone buzzed. She looked down and casually said “the Queen is dead” and I promptly burst into tears.

A few minutes later we could hear two women talking about the Queen’s passing. We couldn’t make it all out but they were clearly upset and sharing some of their memories of her. When my doctor came into the room it was the first thing we spoke about and it turned out that it had been her processing the death.

Those of you who know me may remember that I fell madly in love with Lady Diana before she married Charles and my love and respect for the People’s Princess carries on today. I’ve also had a lot of respect and admiration for Queen Elizabeth. No matter the situation, she has always conducted herself like royalty, I’ve never heard anything bad said from her or about her (not saying there isn’t anything – but really if there is it must be fairly uncommon – her children are another matter).

Lately I’ve said that the only thing that would be worse than the Queen dying is him becoming king, and with that her becoming queen consort. Bleh. Mostly it’s just that I don’t like how they were dirty with Diana.

And it was pretty much the same thing my doctor said – she just said it with more kindness than I just did. Really upset about the Queen, but even more upset that she was going to now be called queen. Then we had a long and lovely talk about how much we both loved Princess Diana. Finally my girl understood what I was saying when I said that there were so many of us in my generation who loved the People’s Princess.

I’ve loved the Queen too – for all of my life. And I sure will miss her. I will miss her class and grace. I will miss the way she kind of reminded me of my Auntie Mary who is also gone, and who also made it to a lovely old age (95). I am grateful though that I was given the opportunity to process the information of her passing with an adult whom I trust and admire and respect. It was very meaningful to be able to share our memories of both the Queen and Princess Diana with each other.

God Save the Queen.

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happiness

Struttin’

This is first and foremost a happiness blog. 8.5 years ago in one of my darkest times I started looking for moments of happiness in my world. Sometimes it was really hard for me to find even one thing that made me happy in a day – often it was seeing Henry the Heron on my walks – but I made a point of continuing to seek a moment that brought me joy. Eventually my life started getting better and better. Then it got worse. Then it got better again. And so it goes with life. Up and down and sideways. But always back to happiness. My understanding of happiness has deepened and changed over the years, but at the end of the day – those things that bring a legitimate smile to my face are still moments of happiness.

Enter TikTok

Yes, I know- I’m too old for TikTok. My kids banned me from it for ages, just like they did with Snapchat. But at some point this summer TikTok found me and we have been friend ever since.

Good thing or else I wouldn’t know about 🎵corn🎵.

Even better (in my opinion) is Thumpasaurus and their song Struttin. Not only is their own video hilarious, but tons of other people are also posting their Struttin’ videos. And now every single morning the first thing I do when I get up is sit and watch a couple of Struttin’ videos and laugh and smile and then I’m ready for the day. Ok, sometimes I also watch some Corn videos, and that guy Max who spent all his money at Disney (gosh he’s funny).

Today I was able to make my own public happiness moment as Bear the Dog (who is very shy and generally stays off social media) gave me the perfect Struttin’ video. And so I have officially joined the world of TikTok as more than an observer – I am now a participant. Or I should say, Bear is.

https://vm.tiktok.com/ZMNKkGAgy/

This seems to be the only way I can get the link to work – but I highly recommend watching Bear strut (you need the volume on) for a smile.

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happiness

SIBO: Inflammation

Well the good news is I’m feeling much better than I have been – both during my horrid shake drinking episode and the weeks that preceded that. Unfortunately I’m still feeling pretty crappy – but I’ll take it compared to where I’ve been

I saw my naturopath the other day to assess were we are at and figure out what to do moving ahead. His concern is that I seem to still have a lot of inflammation. I agree- I can feel it throughout my body. And I’m so, so, so tired from all of this.

The inflammation part I am kind of curious about. I think I’ve had inflammation in my body for years- decades. And on a side note, I think I’ve had some pretty intense food intolerances that have periodically created inflammation as well as other things since I was a little kid. But I’ve had a few weird inflammation flare-ups in the last 20 years or so. After I had the boy my tailbone became so sore I couldn’t sit for 2.5 years. It was awful – I sought help everywhere you could think of and had some pretty amazing professionals on my side. But I couldn’t seem to get the pain to go away, until finally it did and I immediately got pregnant with the girl (no tailbone pain with her fortunately). Years later I had plantar fasciitis for almost 2 years – that was awful as I could barely walk. I worked for a long time with my chiropractor and eventually it went away too. Not too long after that, I developed a frozen shoulder and could barely move that arm for almost a year. But then I left my marriage and so many of those issues went away. I figured it was extreme stress that brought on many of my physical issues.

I still think a lot of this is brought on by stress. Life (thank Goodness) has been a lot more quiet the last couple of years, but I’m still processing and recovering from the shitstorm that we walked through and apparently that is also what my body is doing. I’m learning how to have a better relationship with myself, learning kindness, learning to rest (as opposed to sitting and stressing and calling that rest), and deepening my relationship with the Divine.

Whatever this is that I’m going through I feel like I’ll be a happier and much more complete human when I reach the other side- but damn this has been a long journey. I’m really grateful for all the people I’ve got in my life who share their love and support. I haven’t talked recently about my “tribe”, but I continue to feel very blessed and thankful for the people who God has put in my life.

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happiness

SIBO: ElementALL Diet Day 9

I quit! I was hoping to make it until next Monday when I see my naturopath, but this morning after I had my 26th shake in a row I felt like complete crap. Foggy head, massive anxiety, upset stomach, and just gross gross gross.

Is it more die off? Is it a reaction to one of the ingredients? I don’t know. All I did know was that I wasn’t making it for lunch. I went back to my hamburger soup. I was a little worried because it’s been so long since I have had to digest anything I wasn’t sure how it would go.

So far it’s meh. I didn’t get sick from the soup but I wouldn’t say I feel better. I figure if I need to I can do partial elemental diet but at this point I have a fairly strong aversion to the shakes.

What is weird to me is that there’s nothing in the shakes that should be aggravating the sibo. But my aches in my neck, throat, shoulders, other joints, and the general anxiety for no reason tell me something is up. Hopefully I get answers by Monday!

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SIBO: ElementALL Diet day 7

It’s been a week since I’ve had food I could chew. Or felt full. And I’m very whiny about that.

One thing I’ve realized throughout this process is that I’ve never been really, truly hungry for a prolonged period of time – and that is a privilege that I have totally taken for granted. Even now when I constantly feel so hungry, I’m not really – my nutritional requirements are being met.

Back in the days when I was teaching there were 2 schools I worked at that provided meals for the students and often those meals were the only times those kids ate. Which of course means that holidays and weekends were extra rough on these young souls. I always felt for them, and was so grateful that they were at schools where they were being fed, but I don’t think I really understood how awful it must have been for them having nothing to eat. And honestly, I am aware that even now I don’t have a real understanding of what it must be like for one of these kids because like I said although I’m hungry my nutritional needs are being met. And also I’m fortunate enough that I am getting professional help to deal with this – how many people are living a life where they can barely function because helping with these kinds of illnesses isn’t covered through regular medical care? I’m ashamed to admit I had very little understanding of things I would have lumped into the larger term of IBS. This isn’t just an upset stomach or feeling kind of crappy. It affects my mental health, my ability to digest food, my joints and general pains in the body, brain fog, and so much more. Quite literally it stops me from being able to do the things I want to do, things I need to do. It feels like I’m debilitated by the equivalent of a paper cut – but it’s so much more than that.

I’m still having my existential crisis. Although it now comes with a side order of grief, which makes sense since I’ve stuffed down so much of my grief to “deal with it later” – which I suppose is now. I have stayed committed to staying off social media while I go through this aside from posting on my blog. But yesterday when I opened my ipad I saw a notification from this dog I follow on Facebook. Poor Bradley Bear (BB) is a Pyrenees/beagle cross and is just the cutest little guy. On Friday his 18 year old cat sibling crossed the rainbow bridge and poor BB had been quite distraught. So when I saw the notification I figured I’d just go on fb to see how poor BB was doing. Not well it seems. He had a rough couple of days and on Monday they took him to the vet to find out that his kidneys were in total failure and they made the decision to put him to sleep yesterday.

I spent the whole day crying for this dog. Which kind of shows you where I am at emotionally. So this morning I once again cheated and looked on FB to see how the poor owners were doing. What I discovered was that when they went to go to the vet for his rainbow bridge appointment he was doing so much better – so he’s home on hospice care and being loved for a few more days. You just never know what is around the corner.

I don’t know why I’m sharing BB’s story but it really affected me – and made me realize how much of my own grief I’m holding in and probably need to deal with.

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