kaffyr: The TARDIS says hello (Default)
Pictures. Pictures Are Good.

Warning - this will be an image heavy post, so it will be going under a cut (and let's hope the cut works!)

When I got back from Canada last fall, I promised pictures. I didn't deliver. And when last fall's political events started drowning me in the deepest of depressions, I promised I'd try to rise above it, at least occasionally. I haven't truly delivered on that, either.

So, before the start of another undoubtedly stressful week, I'll be giving you some pictures that make me smile. I hope you can enjoy them!

These are some pictures taken on the day of my stepdad, Rob Stirling's, birthday. His many kids, two stepkids, grandkids, at least one grandchild, and various spousal units, took him to Lunenberg, Nova Scotia, in hopes of sailing on The Bluenose, one of Canada's cultural icons. As you'll recall, we weren't able to sail, because the boat's electronics chose to misbehave, but the Bluenose's Captain was still able to present Rob with greetings from the Prime Minister, the Nova Scotian Premier, and various other People of Importance. You'll be able to figure out who Rob is; you'll see a boat load of his family; you'll also be able to ID the aging couple (including the woman with the horrible posture) as BB and I, and one would-be artistic picture of the Bluenose's mast. 


Here is an admittedly fuzzy picture of my brother Mac and Rob, wearing Chicago Cubs sweatshirts; those were my Christmas gifts to them, along with the copy of the Chicago Tribune that the two of them are holding. I was more than pleasantly surprised to hear how happy Mac was at getting his presents; I'd thought he might roll his eyes and just be polite about them, but he was genuinely excited, and said he was going to save the paper because of its historic value. I asked him to send me a picture, and he did. Cool! It's fuzzy, but it's still cool!

And here. )



And finally, here's a picture of one of my succulents with a completely unexpected flower. The last time it flowered was two or three years ago, when I got it from my daughter of the heart. I never expected it to bloom again. So that's kind of a great omen for 2017, right? 

And here! )
 

kaffyr: Two elegant dancers (Dance)
Nov. 8: Too Depressing Even For Him

Leonard Cohen has died. 









(All jokes aside, I adored Cohen's poetry, his music, his brilliance, his humor, his resilience - and, of course, his flawless abilities as a ladies' man. I'll miss the fedora and the quirked smile, the darkly glittering entirety of him.)



kaffyr: Animated Canadian flag (Canada!)
In (Very) Brief

Went down and visited the striking Chronicle Herald workers on their picket line, talked to several of the folks holding down their union strike office, took pictures, made a donation, told them I was hoping for the best. Come this morning, I hear that the Chronicle Herald has had to shut down its weekly edition in Cape Breton (the northern island part of Nova Scotia) because of - and they admitted this in their announcement - "a headwind of union sympathy." Good. Capers are good union folks, and this will hit them in their pocket, maybe go a ways to force them back to the table. 

Going to dinner tonight with an old friend. Going on the Bluenose tomorrow. Pics from both of those things Saturday, most probably. Boy, are the folks at Mac's local Tim Horton's ever getting to know me. (And Bob.) 

Dept. of Oh, Hell

Wednesday, 14 September 2016 11:08 am
kaffyr: (Clara didn't ask for this)
 I Think My Laptop is Dying

And my company is deliberately not responding to my questions about my phone.

I do NOT need this. 

Must think of fluffy bunnies. 

Actually, thinking of the gorgeous day, and the fact that I'm gonna drop down to see striking Chronicle Herald workers this afternoon before heading up to the Valley to visit with my step-dad again. (We visited for awhile yesterday, and told him we'd take him out to have ice cream this afternoon.)

So, that's good. And laptops can be replaced, or fixed (preferably the latter.)

Huh - I actually feel pretty good now! Vacation magic ....


kaffyr: The TARDIS says hello (Default)
In My Brother's Back Yard

This is what we saw when we looked out the bedroom window this morning. 
 photo IMG_3199_zpsjidipaxb.jpg




And from the sublime to the slightly ridiculous; this is at Wolfville's water front park yesterday, showing why the town was first called Mud Creek. But in the background you can see Cape Blomidon, so only slightly ridiculous!
 photo 209294bf-a9e1-42f4-a58c-1500aa92cbc5_zpsgtdg6ldx.jpg
kaffyr: Animated Canadian flag (Canada!)
As It Says on the Tin

I'm here in Canada with Bob, staying at my brother's and enjoying everything so far except the extreme lack of internet (I told Bob that I am indeed addicted. I've been twitchy and irritable without my phone (no international cellular yet, long, horrible story which I'll talk about when I have more access than the local Tim Horton's) and wifi, but being here, just for joyful things and not for dying loved ones, almost makes up for it. Almost. 

No, really, I love it here, and I'm able to laugh at myself, mostly. I wrote some things (longhand! Lo-fi wonderment!) in my notebook, and I may transcribe some of it tomorrow, although looking at what I wrote only reminded me about how irritable I could get. Still. OK, I'm going to pick up another book for my Kindle, and get the heck out of here, but goodness, it's good to be able to talk to people again (although I won't be able to respond until tomorrow.) And I'll upload a couple of pics I took yesterday, to prove I'm actually here. 


kaffyr: Keep Calm and Carry on At Length poster (Carry On)
I Am Not - Repeat, Not - Going To Give Up On Posting. Or Responding To Posts

Because all of you out there are very important to me. 

I realize that the last few months have seen epic absence from me. Somehow, each day at work has been so much more stressful than it's been in the past, that getting off work in the evening doesn't leave me with enough energy to communicate. I haven't worked out why that seems to be the case - certainly, I've posted like mad during previous periods of extremely high stress - and perhaps it's counter-productive to wonder at the reasons. Poking a stick at a dead horse doesn't do anything for you or the horse. 

Exercise in writing something longer than a tweet )
What I've seen on YouTube )
Union work, huzzah! )
Jazz! )

Nova Scotia, television, gin and hernias )
Dear lord, I'm babbling like a brook. It's time for me to cease. But I can tell you that it's wonderful actually having the time and energy to post. I'm very happy about that. 

Dept. of Don't Despair

Saturday, 2 July 2016 04:49 pm
kaffyr: Animated Canadian flag (Canada!)
Post Canada Day Report

I wanted to post something happy after my last extremely emotional rant. The world is still pretty fucking awful, but there are good things going on as well. 

Canadian goodness )

American goodness )

So, yes, good things. Good, strong things that remind me life can still be worth it all. 

Dept. of Woo-Hoo!

Monday, 19 October 2015 11:01 pm
kaffyr: Animated Canadian flag (Canada!)
Buh-bye, Stephen.

Yes, yes, I know he kept his own riding. 

But his party lost. And he's going to resign his party leadership. 

Yes, the party I'd have voted for if I were still living in Canada managed to scuttle itself right back down to third party also-ran status. Bad NDP, no cookies ... but ... but - 

The fucking Conservatives are out of power. 

Out. Of. Power. 

Yessssssssss!!!!!

So, Justin? You'd best do a good job.


Dept. of Oh, Canada!

Wednesday, 1 July 2015 09:40 am
kaffyr: Animated Canadian flag (Canada!)
 






Happy Canada Day!!!

kaffyr: Fantasia - night and the profile of a hill (Dark and lovely)
Positivity, Redux

1. At the end of the another long day, and returning home from another meeting, I was again presented with a parking space within paces of my own back door. The Great Spider, who often provides parking spaces if you pray to her, using the phrase "Come on, Great Spider; come oonnnn, Great Spider!!!", was there for me again tonight. Thanks, Great Spider!

2. I do not have a headache. This is grand!

3. And this happened. I think very little of the current Prime Minister of Canada, but even I can share his elation at the discovery of one of Franklin's ships -  if only because the discovery proves that Inuit reports about the fate of some expedition members were right, even though They Didn't Come From White People. (Mind you, I've often thought that anyone choosing to start an expedition into the unknown on ships named Erebus and Terror would have had little reason to expect a sunny outcome.)

4. In connection with 3, there's this. It still raises the hair on my arms and the back of my neck, every time I hear it - the only song of his that ever did that to me. When I hear it, I feel the North, and that fills me with awe.

Under a cut because bandwidth )
kaffyr: Rory Williams Pond cries (Rory cries)
It Would Be Boring If It Wasn't Worse Than That

I'd sort of fallen off the map, journal-wise, and finally congratulated myself today about getting back into action by wishing folks happy birthdays, belated and otherwise. Then I'd planned to talk about all sorts of things; my continuing crazed work experience, thoughts of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, maybe one or two other fannish things, and updates on my brother, who came home Saturday. He still sounded weak, but he was on the mend. And I wanted to talk about things that were going well, or at least things I could grind my teeth about, but in a lively and maybe humorous way. I was going to upload the picture of my first 2014 Spring Robin. It was really plump, its breast was red, and it was sturdy and cheeky, and the picture made me smile, and I thought it might make you smile, too.

Mac called me today; he'd collapsed while talking on the phone and woke up to find paramedics and police in the house. I'm really glad that he was on the phone when it happened, although he says he doesn't even remember making the phone call. His red blood cell count is dropping, and they can't figure out why, and they're trying to reverse it, and figure out what's going on. So he's back in hospital.

I can't ... my mother went in to hospital. She went through a successful operation and came home. And she went back in, and she never came out. And I know this is a vastly different situation, but it all started happening with Mum just about this same time last year.

I have stories to write tomorrow, and things I have to deal with for the condo association, and some union stuff, I think. In the meantime, I've finally watched the latest Agent of SHIELD, and taken enough pseudo-kinda-trankey stuff to get me to sleep fast tonight.

kaffyr: River's in light (River in light)
Eulogy

I call this the department of closing the book, but I realize it won't truly be that. When people we love leave, closure doesn't mean shutting a door. It means making an agreement between between our heart and memory, that it's alright to forget for days and weeks at a time,that it's just fine to be happy and to go forward, because the ones we love want us to stay in the world.

In terms of this journal, it's closure, because this will probably be the last time I speak about Mum for a while. Thanks to all of you who listened since Oct. 27; who gave me hugs and offered sympathy and who took the time to listen as I talked about her. You people are treasures, plain and simple. Here is one last thing I offer you about Mary Glen - the eulogy I wrote and gave at her funeral. As Bob said, it was distilled in large part from the outpouring I wrote in the first minutes after I learned she had died. but the distillation made it a different thing. 

 

She Was Made of Love )

Dept. of Home

Thursday, 7 November 2013 07:19 am
kaffyr: Amy and Rory from "Let's Kill Hitler" (Ponds on wheels)
Heading South

I'm heading home, and I can hardly wait.

Under here.  )
kaffyr: Young Melody Pond regenerates (I can fix that)
Sweet Lord, Computers Are Infuriating

('Ware, 'ware ... here be computer neepery from someone who doesn't even know the right computer language, but has messed about)

Like I said, neepery. And wills. )
And tomorrow I go home.

kaffyr: Eleven is blue inside the blue TARDIS (Blue Eleven)
Hi There; I'm Coming Back to the World

The funeral is three days in the past and my brother is back to work (not because he wants to be back at work; because his boss is a horrible scheduler, is really unsympathetic, and because another guy in his detachment learned that his dad is dying and had to fly to Ontario to be with his family. Sorrow doesn't belong to any one person) and I have a rental car that's super modern and a little intimidating. I'm up in Wolfville and online, albeit not until after I had to fight  my computer and its connection at the cafe where I'm seated.

I am gradually returning to real life; it's the only way I can really explain it. At first, I didn't think I was in limbo for the last, what, week, but that's really the case. Things happen, and you react, you respond to people on automatic, remembering all the lessons your parents told you about being polite and being communicative, and you can even fool yourself into thinking that you're not in limbo.

But you really are.

Worrying about my brother has been helpful in keeping me tied to the real world. When you're not totally focused on yourself, you are closer to OK, I think. He's so very weary, after so many months with my mother's illness (not to mention the months in 2011 when he helped Mum and my stepdad move) that I think it will take him even more months to recover. I want to be here for him, and was looking forward to spending more time with him than I've had during the past two Nova Scotia visits. And then that disappears. Oh, well. I will make the most of the time I have with him.
And of course, I will make a hell of a lot of use of the phone in the near future.

I'm going to spend some time later this afternoon with my stepdad and his eldest daughter. Jane and I will go through some of Mum's things, and I'll get rid of all her remaining drugs by taking them back to the pharmacy for disposal (these are the kinds of things you never really think of when it comes to a loved one dying.) We may even make a stab at deciding what things of Mum's we can get rid of, what my stepdad might want to keep for emotional reasons, and what we can give away.

And tomorrow I'll be spending time with Clara, my Mum's oldest surviving friend (or one of two, but the other lady is living down in the American Southwest), who I really love. She sat with the family at the funeral, but we didn't have the chance to share grief and love, so tomorrow we'll have lunch.

I may come back to the cafe later today, before I head back to my brother's, but I think right now it's time to head to Rob's and Jane's.





Dept. of Goodbye

Friday, 1 November 2013 08:54 pm
kaffyr: The TARDIS says hello (Default)
Exhausted

Exhausted
Exhausted
Exhausted

Cousins and funerals and old friends and newly-discovered step-siblings and egg-salad sandwiches and asparagus pinwheel sandwiches, courtesy of the Social and Benevolent Society and eulogies and ministers and rose-marble urns and"thank you so much for coming, I really appreciate it" and warm air and high winds and driving rain and lobster crepes and short-circuited political arguments and goodbye, goodbye, goodbye.

I'll be far more coherent tomorrow. I think. Love you all.

kaffyr: Hayao's realistic Pompoko raccoons yawn in our faces (Pompoko yawns)
Yeah, We're Real. Real Tired.

So, rather than ramble on and say nothing, I turn to the saving grace of exhausted non-thinkers - the bullet list!
  • Had the visitation. All my step-dad's living kids, spouses and many grand kids were there to support him and to support Mac and me. It made me feel good. I know some of the younger kids through school umpty decades ago, but none of us were close and there were some touchy times in the past (very understandably.) I am lucky to have come to know several of them a little better. They're good people; better than good, really. Many of Mac's contacts and friends came by; some folks Mum used to work with. Mum was there, in a lovely rose and ivory marble urn classical boxy thing. I think she probably likes the design.
  • Discovered that the wife of one of my step-dad's kids is an SF fan, and familiar with LJ. In fact, she was the anonymous commenter on my first post about Mum. I cannot tell you how cool this is. I got her email, and hope to stay in contact.
  • Discovered, too, that the second minister who is going to be officiating tomorrow is not the mother of an old schoolmate - she's actually the old school mate. And she is pretty fantastic, I think. We only went to school between kindergarten and Grade Four, because then they built a school in her valley and she was able to go there, but I always remembered her. And she is vivacious, affectionate, unafraid to be friendly ... she gave me a good feeling. I'm glad she's involved in the service.
  • Uhm ... I think that's about all I can get my head around right now. I'm going to bed; have to be up at 7 a.m. tomorrow because the funeral's at 11 a.m. Wrote my eulogy (a little of what y'all saw in my first post, a bunch that wasn't in there), hope I can get through it.
  • Then there's will and bank etc. I'm going to renounce my executorship, because it turns out that me being in the States and the estate being up here would cause a surprising amount of delay and problem for my brother. I trust him to handle things, since he keeps me fully in the loop. That's great.
  • Huh - didn't I just say that's about all I can get my head around? Time for me to go to bed.
kaffyr: (Dalek ballerina)
When Do You Want the Burial? Before or After the Service?

Which is a question one gets to answer in these situations, apparently. (We settled on "after", by the way.) So yes, life is still surreal.

Further surreality )
kaffyr: River's in light (River in light)
In Toronto, Halifax Bound

Let's see; damned near missed the plane because I misfigured the timing of getting from north side Chicago to Midway Airport. Porter Airlines once again went above and beyond ... they walked me to the plane 10 minutes before it took off and made sure my bag got on; this was on an international flight, mind you, where you're supposed to be there 90 minutes ahead. Fly with them if you have to go anywhere in the Toronto-Chicago-East Coast route.

It's been weird, needless to say. I'll try to catch up later, but I want to thank all of you who sent your thoughts, words, prayers, vibes, hugs and strength. They all mean so much to me that even I, wordy as I am, can't tell you how much I appreciate, thank, and love all of you.

Realized that Mum and Lou Reed died on the same day. That is, considering their ... disparate ... lifestyles, almost eye-crossingly amusing. Because these days I'm amused by horrible things, I guess.

Once again; thank you, and I love you all.

Dept. of Home

Friday, 23 August 2013 08:43 pm
kaffyr: Hayao's realistic Pompoko raccoons yawn in our faces (Pompoko yawns)
I Am Home

I'm home, and tired, and so very grateful to have Bob, so glad to be back in his arms. So glad to be back in Chicago, so happy to see my kitties, so happy to know I'll see my son, so happy to have had a Chicago pizza and a proper cup of tea (waitwut? I hear you cry, did you not have proper tea in Canada? Ah, but that is a kvetch for another day) and so very, very, very ...

... so very glad I am home.

I have declared a personal 12-14 hour moratorium on thinking about what I have experienced over the past 6 days. I shall clean my teeth and crawl into my own bed, and start anew tomorrow.

Did I mention how much I love Bob, and how glad I am to be with him again?

kaffyr: The TARDIS says hello (Default)
Preparing to Leave

Have seen my mother this morning, and will see her again in about an hour, for about an hour. That will be it for this visit, since I spend tonight 60 miles away in Halifax with my brother.

But we have spoken, and I've held her hand as she slept, and I have assured her that whither she goes, I will go, and that I am fully confident that I will see her again. And that when she closes her eyes on this world, she will open them again on another one.

She was happy with what I said. I am not a Christian, but the words I gave her have satisfied her. That I believe them in a completely different way than she does - that I don't believe that her savior is the gate, but just one gate - she either need not know, or she does know, and is happy to ignore. What is important is that we both believe we will meet again.

Martin Gardner talked about the leap of faith that must be taken by a human who believes in logic, when that human also believes in some sort of god. I'm paraphrasing him badly here, I know. Well, I, too, take that leap of faith. I choose both the irresistible and immutable world of physics, and the numinous. I refuse "either/or" and therefore my mother and I will meet again.

That we both know it makes this visit a success.

kaffyr: Miles and Ekaterin's profiles (Komarr)

Things that I have done over the last day or so:

  • Had a very good, sometimes intensely nerve-wracking and ultimately completely worthwhile home visit with my Mum. We picked her up at the hospital Tuesday, pried her from their clutches by 2 p.m., went out for grapenut ice cream cones (our favorites), had supper at home, which I cooked for her and Step-dad Rob, got through some sundown syndrome, got her all her meds, and got through the night. Then we went out for brunch, took another drive through the countryside so that she could drink in the blue sky and summer clouds above the multiple greens of the Valley, and took her back to hospital. I'd give the visit an 8 of 10, despite not having expected to keep having to re-tape her incision dressing four times. (Gah. I am not healer material.)
  • Spent enough time on a bad futon bed,  under enough stress, that I developed a full-on back spasm episode. I'm about half way through it, I estimate, which means lots of drugs tonight. More than I'm currently operating under, I mean. I really, really, really hate back spasms.
  • Had some quiet time with my little brother, and will have more of that tomorrow when I spend my final night here down at his place. I'll get to have time with his current rather dynamic flame, and I'm looking forward to that.
  • Other things: here in Nova Scotia, where so many fishermen fish for so much fish, I had what may have been the worst fish and chips of my entire life, when I took my brother out for supper. I was both relieved and disappointed when he didn't notice the horrible nature of my offering, and indeed thought it was OK. Heh.
I hope to have more pics and even video to post tomorrow. The pics and video have been taken, but uploading the video is proving a bit difficult, and the spasms are starting to get a little hard to take, so I'm about to pack up and go back to the apartment. Thanks again for all of the good thoughts pointed in my mother's direction!

kaffyr: Princess Jellyfish goes to work (Reporting for duty)
Tomorrow Mom Comes Home for a Day; Today I Cornered a Doctor

So this morning, I attempted to do a small amount of laundry, figure out what the various frost covered lumps in her long-ignored freezer were, dust the area around her bed, figure out what I needed to get at the (completely inadequate) grocery store; it was eye-opening.  For the four months Mums been in hospital, her cleaning lady-cum-friend has been doing yeoman's duty in trying to keep Step-dad Rob fed and such. But it's four months of just one 87-year-old man living on his own and ... not being extremely good at it.

I finally extracted myself from the house by reminding myself that I am not here to clean the house, which she probably won't be in again permanently anyhow, but to be with her. I was there to help explain (again) the legal papers transferring power of attorney to Mac. And we just spent a lot of time hugging each other.

Doctors and Mortality )
kaffyr: A still from "Kiki's Delivery Service" (Kiki dreams)
Hello in Haste

I'm just stopping at the little cafe (whose owners I most sincerely hope have solved their labor problems) to type up a quick post to thank folks for all their kind comments about my gorgeous mother, Mary-Glen Keirstead Routliffe Stirling.

I've visited her once this morning, taking my stepdad Rob up. One of her closest friends came in and visited as well (she is a marvelous woman, who is also very dear to me.) I drove him back home, and we stopped into his family's farm to get some apples and fresh pressed apple cider. He'll be cooking applesauce tonight, yum! And he also showed me the walnut tree his aunt planted for him when he was a little boy. Walnuts are unusual this far north, but he picked three green walnuts for me. They have a very spicy, piney scent. Amazing.

I'm now headed back to the hospital where I think my brother will have made it up to the valley from Halifax. More time with family. I intend to take more pictures, and maybe even some video. That'll please officer friendly, I'm sure. Heh.

I love you all.

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kaffyr: The TARDIS says hello (Default)
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