Saturday, November 28, 2009

Crowd Pleaser

Boa noite, as crianças!

Tudo bom para voçes?

Eu me chamo Miss IPP. "A canadense"! Hehe. Eu não sou casada, mas tenho o namorado. Ele é engenheiro. Infelizmente, ele não gosta de minhas lindas: as dois gatinhas.

Escrever o texto é mais difficil! Como se diz « j’ai tout oublié » em português? Tantas coisas eu esqueço.

Muitos beijos. Eu vou dormir com os anjinhos :o)

Tia I.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Granny Update - Part 561

My grandmother is 85 and one half. Her name is Yolande. She is dying.

Over 15 months ago, i started sending my relatives, colleagues and friends an email I named "Granny Update". My mother's mom, who had always been healthy with the exception of diabetes, was hospitalized. Because her condition seemed to change from night to day within a few days and depending on the doctor who was treating her, I jokingly changed the number on my updates from 1 to 2 and then drastically to 42, 73 and 98. This is the Granny Update - Part 561.

This grandmother is, low and behold, the best of grandmothers. Think unconditional love, wrapped in generosity, layered with unequaled patience, dipped in sweetness, and sugar coated. And sugar she loves!

My first memories of her go as far back as when i was 3 years old. She would babysit me when my mother went back to work after having me (and until I was in grade 4). She would make the beds after everyone was out of the house. "If the beds are made and there are no dirty dishes in the sink - the house looks clean", she would say. I still make my bed first thing when I get up. I hate dirty dishes in my sink but that's another story. After that, she'd have her coffee. And whatever she did, i had to do. So at the tender age of 3, I started enjoying cafe latte!

I remember that the color was vaguely beige-ish. There was more milk and sugar than coffee. But i would have my coffee with her in the morning. In the afternoon, I would paint her face. Not literally, but I would put so much makeup on her face that it looked more like paint by numbers than makeup! She would sit there and be my model. For hours. If there was a song I particularly liked, she would play it for me over, and over, and over, and over again. And again. She never seemed to mind.

She took me to the local park and pool. She would not dare wear a bathing suit nor swim, but I remember seeing her dipping her legs in the water while I would play next to her. She loved it when I would play pedicurist! A very familiar scent which reminds me of my grandma is Noxema. OMG, the countless jars I put on her feet! She would never get tired of getting her feet and legs massaged and creamed. She would laugh and twist from my ticklish tiny fingers going between her toes. She didn't seem surprised when, nearly 18 years later, I became an esthetician. In the afternoon, she'd have tea. So would I.

I am told (I was too young to remember) that I had a bottle and pacifier at my grandmother's, even after my parents confiscated those at home. My mom tells me that I would never ask for them at home, as if I already knew that those where special "grandma treats". My mom only found out after dropping my older sister and I at my grandmother's one evening. She'd forgotten something and found us with a bottle in hand and pacifier in mouth. Oops! What we liked, my grandma would give.

For a few years already, we've known she had heart failure and a tendency to have water on her lungs. She was medicated for that. In addition, in the last year, she has been diagnosed with: myelodysplastic anemia, ovarian cancer, chronic water in and on her lungs and, lately, with a beginning of kidney failure due to all the meds meant to reduce the water on her lungs. She had a bypass last April and would also need a heart valve replacement. Her heart is now functioning at 20% when, at her age, it should average around 50%. She is so full of water that her kneecaps are double their usual size. Pressing against her skin leaves an instant print because the tissues are engorged with water (think sticking your thumb in Silly Putty). She is so terrified of choking and drowning in her own lung fluid that she no longer goes to bed. She sleeps sitting on a chair.

Medically, nothing can be done to save her. All that can be done is to keep her "comfortable" until her heart is too tired to beat once more. At least four times, we rushed her to the hospital to receive a blood transfusion (due to her myelodysplastic anemia) and the blood count was so low that we were told that "her heart should have stopped". Sometimes I think she's made out of steel. With a heart of gold. And spirits of concrete. This week-end, she was informed that she would never leave the hospital. She was living in her own apartment only 2 months ago and still making veggie soup for us at least once a week.

She is entirely and completely lucid. She understands every little thing that is going on. She thinks she will get better. I want to hold her and tell her that, although I wish it from the bottom of my heart, it will not happen. This time, she will not get better.

When I visit her in the hospital, she is coiffed, usually wearing earrings and makeup. In the afternoon on week-ends, we play cards (Tock!). On my lunch hours during the week, we just talk. She enjoys when I visit her; she loves it when I go at night for "the closing shift" (until 9 pm - when visits are over). That means that I wash her legs, her feet and massage them with cream. Of course, she is the only ederly woman on the floor with pedicured toes. "My granddaughter is an esthetician", she happily informs the nurses and aids complimenting her. Before I leave, I apply her eye contour cream and facial moisturizer. "I find I have under-eye bags when you don't put my eye cream", she tells me. She has me tweeze the few undesirable hairs that her chin has grown accustomed to in the last years. She is proud and wants to be at her best, always.

I love her. I love her to death.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

To blog or not to blog?

This is it. My first official blog posting. Ever. I have high expectations for myself, but I am mostly doing this because I promised friends I would have 250 pages written by December 31, 2009. We made that "bet" in September. Uh-oh. I'm late!!!

I have a few posting ideas in the back of my mind. The idea is to post at least three times weekly until December 31st. Now does that add up to 250 pages? I loooove writing mile-long emails to friends to update them on my life, to make them giggle. I have been doing it since I've had access to email (1998?). I figured sending an email to 5 or 10 of my friends at a time was much faster than calling each of them individually. (That sounds cold, doesn't it? It isn't. Keep reading.) Of course, there are things or stories which are only shared with certain friends, but any good friend/family member wants to know the basics: relationship status (single, brokenhearted, dating, shopping for a man, in a relationship, single and benefiting from Air Canada perks, etc.).; news on the family, health (I promise - the subject of at least one of my eventuals blogs), workload, etc.

I started writing those "news emails" mostly due to work. Almost 10 years ago now (ouch... that dates me!), I started traveling for work. Every night, I was in a different Canadian city. So I would write an email to my closest friends and family members to let them know what was going on, what happened. "The airline left my luggage on the ramp. For TWO hours. It was snowing. I got my luggage at 6 in the morning the day after I flew in and had to litteraly hand-squeeze the water out of my clothes. Which were IN my now soaked suitcase! Ingredient dictionary? In the recycling bin now because the water made it triple in size and it's no longer readable." I can still see myself, in my pjs', drying my work clothes with a hair dryer. Ah, the joys of life on the road!

Later on in life, I became lactose intolerant (note to self: another blog topic). (This paragraph is for my sister, who always gets a kick out of hearing this story). I had had no time to munch properly before taking a direct flight from Montreal to Saskatoon. The only thing they were serving on the plane that night was pizza. I had a bottle of Lactaid pills with me so I took 3 or 4 caplets (suggested dose is 1 or 2 - but I didn't want to take any chances - I already knew the symptoms of eating lactose). I figured... one slice of pizza can't be that bad, right? Ate the pizza. Wow... no bloating, no nausea... we happy. Later on that night in my room, I went to the little girl's room. As I am zipping up my pants (keep in mind that I am by my lonely self in a hotel room in Saskatoon), I let what I thought would be an innocent one pass (the joys of lactose intolerance). "Ah crap!". Precisely. That night, I sent an email out on the newfound techniques of washing jeans in a shower with shower gel and shampoo. The most difficult task was drying the crotch. My pants' crotch, that is.

After a few years in a great relationship that didn't work out in the end, I found myself single. In the words of Trina: "I'm single again, back on the prowl...". The dating scene is, you already know it, the source of many, many conversations! A certain someone seemed to pop in and out of my life repeatedly. Let's call him... BT. To this day, and I have known him for over a decade, he remains a mystery for almost everyone close to me. "Does he really exist, because we've never seen him!" We joke and call him my imaginary friend. Every time he would pop in or out of my life, he would be the subject of a news email. He was so mysterious, so difficult to understand. So I would write up an email and make my cousin (who knew him) crack up. Every once in while, my cousin would ask if I had news on BT. Of course I did.

So this blog will allow me to keep my friends and family updated on the latest news. It will also allow me to share memories. Upcoming blog topics? My grandma (already in the works), lactose intolerance, my health (whatever illness you never heard of - I've had it!), my oh-so-simple-love-life (because it's healthier to laugh about it once you're done crying about it), my love of rodents (wabbits, groundhogs and squirrels) and my travels - both work and leisure related. I have kept copies of certain emails and I will definitly bring them to life again. Until then... tchau miaow!

Pour ceux qui préfèrent me lire en fraçais ne désespérez pas! Certains articles seront bien entendu in French. Selon le sujet, je veux tenter de répondre aux besoins de mon lectorat (pouhahahaha!) et écrire dans la langue de la majorité. Vous savez que je préfère toujours faire ça à deux langues, non? ;o)