Saturday, December 26, 2020

Covid Christmas

Covid Christmas was rather low key,  no big family breakfast gathering. MeMa and I had our morning cups sitting in the parlor and watching the rest of the neighborhood waking up. This is the third day after her chemo infusion so typically she is not feeling well, surprisingly it has started just the opposite.  We were up late Christmas Eve but the only one showing any tiredness was Roxy.

Just before bedtime Christmas Eve. our youngest son Ian called and asked that MeMa read "T'was the Night Before Christmas" via zoom to our two youngest granddaughters. Some traditions just have to be kept.

Earlier in the day we received these photos from our son's who had gotten their families together for gift exchange at our eldest sons home. All wore masks.

Youngest son Ian is on the left and eldest son Nathan on the right

Left to right
Taeya, Lucy holding Jupiter, Nathan, Brooklyn, Jackie, Aungelle, Adrianne, Ian and Jill

Back to the cozy parlor and Christmas morn, we prepared the house for our youngest son's family coming to open their gifts and to celebrate Lucy's birthday. Just after eating cake there was knock at the door, daughter-in-law Jill's parents came bringing MeMa and I a complete Christmas dinner including desert

Soon they all left to have their Christmas dinner out at Grandma and Grandpas house and quiet returned to Menagerie Manor. MeMa and I settled in and had an early supper. Thank you Grandma Debbie

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Holiday Fun

 We had a very enjoyable weekend entertaining granddaughters, Taeya and Lucy. Nothing better to lift MeMa’s spirits having this sweet girl to help bake dozens of shortbread cookies. MeMa’s secret family recipe is a cherished favorite. Lucy was such a big help.

While cookies baked Taeya and MeMa played Monopoly, Lucy was the official Banker.

The weather was less than cooperative so the entire weekend was spent indoors.

We did get a small break in the rain and took the girls on a hunt for the annual Chris Willis' Santa display, which has been a fun event for the last ten years. And always in a new location with clues given over his Instagram account.

This year all the 300 + Santas had face masks on.

Roxy was a real sport posing for our Christmas card. We wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a healthier New Year.

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Christmas Postcards and Bananas

Today we had an early start for a couple of old retired folk getting up at 07:15 leaving us enough time to dress and feed and exercise Roxy before we left the house. We made our one shopping trip to Costco which is a bulk store where we purchase a few things monthly that we cant get at our local grocers. Back home we spent the next hour trying for the perfect photo to grace our Christmas postcard. This following photo is not the one but is one of many that were taken this morning. Roxy doesn't mind being photographed but objects to the stupid hats she had to model.

After the photography session I felt Roxy deserved a walk so MeMa and I took her for a nice long walk in the cold crisp air. Being long time residents our walks are broken up with visits from friends and neighbors all wanting to know how we are faring. One gentleman that has known us for many years called out to us so while we visited Roxy laid down on the walkway giving one of those patient looks. Mr. Thompson told us that he just paid an  enormous vet bill because his little poodle ate a piece of meat that was thrown into his fenced in yard that was loaded with these nasty looking things. I just can't believe the cruelty that is some hearts.

Today, because of the weather and the fact that MeMa is having a very good day I went out into the back gardens and cleaned out so much of the fall debris that I have been ignoring. I was totally amazed by the little bananas that I cut off the three most mature hardy banana trees. Go ahead, ask me about global warming. We have had several years of the big flower heads forming but this is the first year that we have actually gotten fruit

Saturday, December 12, 2020

Break Please ?

Today was a busy day at the Manor. I have gotten quite used to doing little bits of activity and then resting as this is usually all MeMa can handle while going through chemotherapy.  Unfortunately she developed an abscess high up in the pelvic chamber,  so high that antibiotics will not work. Her surgeon said it appears to be draining and if it doesn't then she will have to have antibiotics intravenously which requires her to go into the hospital again. Meanwhile because of this situation they have postponed her chemo. So no chemo to drain her energy, she is full of it, today is a perfect example of  what I normally live with.

While having our morning coffee she put together her latest "Porch Post" for the dog walkers.

Then she had me remove the Thanksgiving chrysanthemum and fill the same pot with poinsettias. That was a good start, how about a break? Nope!

While I ran the vacuums over the floors she appeared with the silver tree that used to grace her fathers television repair shop. It looks good in our theatre room.

I could tell that this was not going to end soon so tried to help as much as I could by doing what I was told to do while keeping an eye on her. The large frame contains all the photo's of our two sons with Santa and the individual frames are all the grandchildren with Santa.

Next appeared my favorite Christmas decoration, the hand stitched cloth that MeMa made which is the perfect base for the antique Manger. A cherished gift from good friends who have both passed many years ago.

I convinced my lovely wife to take a break and have some lunch
Lunch finished, out came the Mickey Village. I just love the little streetlights that actually light up.

Then it was time to move furniture to make room for the big tree. So many boxes of ornaments that all have a special memory. 


Saturday, November 28, 2020


Thanksgiving was not a holiday that I really want to remember. MeMa was only able to eat about a tablespoon of mashed potatoes and gravy before she needed to retire. Earlier in the day I was able to get some of the garden work done before the daylight disappeared on me, there is so much to be done that I choose to ignore in order to spend time with my wife.  This last infusion seems to have taken longer to bounce back from. But tomorrow brings a better day and that is something to be thankful for.

MeMas latest "Porch Post" for the dog walkers.


Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Monday, November 23, 2020

Purple Jam Up

Our neighborhood has always had many walkers, whether with or without dogs. It is one of the older neighborhoods and most everyone on our street has a keen interest in their gardens so there is always something interesting to look at. Since the year we moved in I have always kept the front gardens tidy and designed the landscape to be pleasant to the eye of the pedestrian. I like color especially dramatic colors or shape. This callicarpa or Purple Beauty Bush fit the bill. It is planted right at the sidewalk edge and is about five feet tall. This morning while we sipped our morning coffee there was literally a foot traffic jam up consisting of several dogs all wagging their tails as their owners oohed and ahed over the bright purple berries.

Spring time, this now vibrant plant looks like any other shrub leafed out with dark green leaves. Berries start forming but are green nondescript little bundles tucked into the leaves. When fall comes, the cold nights drop the leaves, leaving the purple berries. 

The berries stay put until food sources become scarce then within a half hour the birds will strip every berry from the once vibrant Purple Beauty Bush leaving it just another shrub in the landscape.


Sunday, November 15, 2020

Rainy Day Jobs and Bird Song

Since MeMa has no immune system along with this second wave of Covid we had to tell our sons that we will be passing on family gatherings during the holidays. It is a sad but necessary decision in order to keep their mother safe. I could see the heartache in my lovely wife’s face as she talked on the phone to our eldest son. I immediately started thinking of ways to brighten her days. Her little canary “Mickey" had passed  a couple of days after her cancer diagnosis and at the time I just cleaned out his cage put it in the attic. I told her we would take a canary break with all the chemo and a hospital stay coming her way. We really missed the bird song filling the sunroom so this last Friday we visited a nice couple who raise canaries as a hobby. They were very proud their birds and enjoyed showing us around. MeMa had five birds to choose from and decided on a very nice red factor cross. When we got him home I asked MeMa what she was going to name her new bird? She said since it was Friday the 13th his name has to be Jason.
I checked, no face mask and he wasn’t hiding a big carving knife.

Since the weather had turned to cold heavy rain, we busied ourselves with indoor projects. I cleaned and packaged zinnia seeds.

MeMa worked on embroidery.

The weather may have been cold and nasty but the room was once again filled with bird song.

Monday, November 9, 2020

Winter's Grip Is Starting

Good news from MeMas surgeon today, she is healing very well. Roxy was just happy that she finally returned to the car.

 The rest of the day was spent mostly indoor by the fire. However I did get out for a few fall photos.

Japanese Maple 'Suminagashi' with its intense red fall color was a gift from my twin brother Don and his late partner Tony for my 50th birthday.

It really brightens up the back corner of the garden.

One of my very favorite trees is this dwarf Ginkgo 'Chi Chi'

Coral Bark Maple

MeMas favorite tree is the Harlequin Glorybower with it's cobalt blue seed heads.

A sure sign of winters grip is here in MeMas picking garden, just two weeks ago she was filling her basket with dahlias every color of the rainbow.

Friday, October 30, 2020

Big Fat 0

Up early today as it is time for MeMa to start the fourth round of chemo infusions.  She will have her fifth and sixth infusions in November and December. But there has been a change as of a few days ago, her Chemo doctor is advising her to come in once a month after the December infusion  and have a monthly infusion using one drug instead of two, hopefully this approach will increase the chances of the tumors not returning. 
Halloween is usually a day that we look forward to not only because the grandkids all come first for some of MeMas clam chowder and then delight in running from house to house collecting candy from all of the neighbors. But I also once again get to dig out the Halloween record book that goes clear back to 1976, the year we purchased and moved into Menagerie Manor. Ironically this years page is the last page in the book and it looks like there is going to be a big fat "0" filling the page. 

Halloween Record Book 1976 to 2020

Each entry is a record of how many treaters, weather and any family or events that added to the evening.
Volume 2 is ready and waiting for 2021 and hopefully a year free of Covid and the threats of nightly riots that are keeping family and friends from enjoying what should be a day of family fun for kids and adults.

Earlier in the week our niece Dr. Carly came to visit with her new sweet puppy Ruby the Dalmatian. She is such a sweet little thing and thought MeMa's snuggles were the best.

The youngest granddaughters came to spend a couple of days before their MeMa had to continue Chemo and were treated to Pumpkin face cheese quesadillas for lunch, clever MeMa.

MeMa's latest "Porch Post" for the dog walkers and passerbys


Wednesday, October 21, 2020

No Holding Her Back

It has been nearly three weeks since MeMa's surgery, the nurses on the surgery floor  told me it will be a six week recovery for her. I couldn't keep the smirk off my face at that statement. I said, "You don't know my wife."  She is a very strong women I would almost lay money on three weeks. Well it has been nearly three weeks to the day,  should have put money on that one. We got up early at her insistence and headed up to the cabin because she heard that the weather on the mountain was going to dip into the low 20's and she wanted to winterize the place because we leave it for the winter. So while I packed a few things she made a lunch to take with us.  

We were surprised that all the deciduous trees still held most of their leaves so there was no need to clean rain gutters. 

All of the outdoor furniture got packed away in the garden shed. tools got washed off and stored as well. 

Chairs and picnic table moved against the cabin and covered, decking was swept of debris ready for next year's lazy summer family meals and playing board games.

Before heading off the mountain we walked Roxy around the neighboring cabins and up the road passed the swings and climbing structure that my father and a neighbor built for generations of children and grandchildren to come. MeMa took these photos of mushrooms growing on tree stumps. It was a pleasant drive and good to check on things before winter snow keeps us away. A feeling of calm comes over us both when we are there. The fresh woodsy air and the quiet that surrounds you is very fulfilling and replenishes ones soul before heading back to the rush and noise of the big city.