Thursday, August 27, 2009

Random Summertime Photography: 30

Well, I made it all the way up to 30 posts for my "Random Summertime Photography Challenge".

Yes, I love these photography fun sessions, filling my computer up with oodles of photos, things snapped and my passion for shooting people I love, things I find wonderfully interesting and catching glimpses of my geographical surroundings from the viewpoint of a camera lens.

Thanks for joining me in this endeavor, see you on my next photographic challenge whenever I get the urge to participate in another.

"Live in the Sunshine,
Swim in the Sea,
Drink the Wild Air"

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

May your remaining summer days
be filled with relaxing sunsets,
cool drinks and sand between your toes...


You can see all 30 posts by clicking HERE on this link

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Canadian Blood Donor Clinics - My Donor Day!

My prized sticker possession!

Two months ago I left home very enthusiastic to give blood for the very first time.

The parking lot of the blood donor clinic facility was full to the brim! Wow, I wondered how long would this take!

Upon entry I checked in with the volunteers sitting at their table set up near to the doorway. When they discovered from their notes that I was a first time donor, I was awarded with a sweet sticker to wear. I felt like a little kid loving every second of my sticker, proud to wear it. (see photo above...snicker)

The atmosphere in the hall was that of joy, happy folks everywhere encouraging and congratulating me over my decision to donate my blood. Some were waiting at various stages in the donation assembly lines.

Here were the hoops one had to jump through...

  • 1 - Check in. No I had no previous blood donor card - this was my first time. BUT, I will get one in the mail after my first donation.
  • 2 - With reading material given to me to read in hand and a sweet (ick) juice to drink (I think it was Tang, world's WORST sugary awful chemical gross drink in my opinion) and was instructed to have a seat and await the number I was assigned to be called forward.
  • 3 - Taking my seat in front of the nurse's table, a series of questions and proof of identification were required to validate my blood donation this day.
  • 4 - The nurse took my temperature and blood pressure. All normal.
  • 5 - A small device rested at the end of my forefinger and "pop", blood began to squirt out. Painless. A small bit was collected and dropped into a vial, at which time it was heavy and began to fall to the bottom long before it bobbed on the surface. I was told a second test was required now.
  • 6 - Second test, more blood onto a microscopic glass and slipped into a machine to determine hemoglobin levels. Surprised and heavily disappointed, my levels weren't quite sufficient to give blood this day.
My heart fell to the floor and tears surprised me as my eyes grew misty. I had been denied the chance on my very first day to give blood.

Immediately following, my personal file folder with my information was returned, and a nurse escorted me to a private cubicle where a more senior RN nurse, I guess, counseled me not to feel rejected. But I did. There was undeniable proof before me now on WHY I had been feeling so droopy. Proof that sprang me to my feet after our little chat with my next scheduled appointment card in hand and as I left through the doors, I began to feel terrible about not being able to lay on one of the lounges as the others were. And here me and my big mouth had announced on my Facebook profile status about giving blood, challenging others to do so too. Actually to be honest, by not allowing me to give blood, they were doing me a favor.

With my bandaid on my forefinger and my special first time blood donor sticker on, I did try to turn the positive around by snapping a few photos on the way home, maybe if for any other reason to boost my own spirits up higher. Dumb I know but this photo below will serve to remind me to look after ME a whole bunch more now so I can give blood over and over again in the future.

Sure I was worn down from the move as the nurse suggested, plus having a hubby in hospital for seven weeks, a plethora of deficiencies in our new home to deal with, lots of out of town company, schooling the children and so forth, admittedly then - over this past few months I've really gone to town to raise my own barre on my health status.

I never told anyone about this, except my hubby who saw how visibly upset I had been when returning home afterward. Now obviously my secret is out but if my honesty becomes helpful in motivating someone else into action, then I'm thrilled. Go on, go and get yourself a sticker! :-)

Up until this point in my own life, I had either been pregnant, nursing, marrying kids off, having grandbabes, moving or escorting an unwell husband around to doctors for so long, I never thought to take the time to give blood. Unlike my friend Barbara whom I found out is a super star blood donor (hugs to you girl!), I just hadn't ever thought to do it.

My trigger point to become a donor? (besides seeing and witnessing others who have required it to save their lives...) I was energized and super excited after viewing the Canadian Blood Donor poster at my local post office, calling right away to schedule an appointment.

Fast forward to more recent times, and my return visit for the second scheduled attempt at donating blood. Gosh, I was so nervous! Nervous enough my blood pressure was up a bit more than usual.

By now I knew the routine; Check in, sticker (wasn't as exciting this time though), scheduled another donor appointment for the next clinic, gross juice and book to read, sit, wait, nurse interview, and the blood routine after the blood pressure and temps.

Here we go I thought after the nurse announced she had squeezed blood out of my finger too quickly as we had both just observed it plummet to the bottom of the vial again. She proceeded then as protocol with the second test.

I sat trying to understand my emotions while we waited for my numbers to pop up, at least a 12 was required. My heart pounded, my head began to hurt, my eyes were misting up, and then - I was almost a 14! Woot-Woot!! I passed. Leaky waters invaded my eyes, and for this I uttered a happy prayer of thanksgiving. I felt like Gene Kelly looked (!) just wanting to kick my heels up together and dance up and down that hallway.

Next I had to complete a longer form with many questions, some I thought were real awful really (but they have to screen each candidate well, good thing you know to do), followed by another interview with another nurse to swear by oath that to my knowledge I did not have AIDS as they would be testing for it as part of the screening process and would later have to by law inform me if I had it.

As I lay comfy cozy on my cot, I grinned (alot) knowing I'd be donating a nice big sac of blood (I'm so cheesy...), but as two nurses were now unable to find a big enough vein (another issue I've always had in my lifetime!), a third nurse was called over. Oh brother, could this be another negative thing for me?

After using both stretch band and blood pressure cuffing to (squeeze the heck out of my arm!), she found one she would try, but didn't guarantee anything. It worked, just fine. It had better as my arm felt like it was in a vice grip. The red stuff began pouring out just fine and I was happily well on my way to filling up that lovely lifesaving blood sac.

The nurse stayed with me for a while and I began asking questions, loving all of the education on blood donation, how they separate the blood, store it, use it, and so forth.
I found it all fascinating!

The nurse took photos for me, my arm squished on the curved section from the way the nurse plopped me there with the pressure cuff at first. It was the only discomfort so far.
(and my blood on the tray)

One sac of blood, five vials of blood and a smaller sac were removed from me. Donating blood has huge health benefits, this I knew. The biggest issue is dodging around people who are unwell afterwards due to lower counts of white blood cells and being susceptible to contagions.

I never experienced any woozy feelings of light headedness or nausea, only a teeny tiny bruise where the needle entered. And I was proud of my round bandaid on my arm and the tip of my finger this time. :-) Dumb I know.

Yep, this is MY sac of blood here under me

Motivation became even higher after sitting around having my snack and water at the end of the donation process when I met a woman who was celebrating her 40th time giving blood. It was also where I met a family of four, a family who all scheduled appointments together every three months no matter what to "pay it forward" for another.

Just like airplane snacks, we were instructed to eat.
(If you're thirsty or hungry, this is a great place to go by the way- wink.
You're allowed as many snacks or cookies or juice/tea/water as you like.)

In conclusion, if you're able to, and especially if you are a woman in menopause, or a man who is healthy, why not keep your blood circulating and consider "paying it forward" to possibly save a life, or maybe a few with your blood, platelets, plasma and more. I am very hopeful someone out there will be taking blood donor clinics seriously in the event my husband ever required blood as he has a very rare type - ABneg. I earnestly (beg) implore you to think about this possibility at the very least okay? Let me know how I can persuade you. Maybe I can send you cookies....LOL

Guess what I'll be doing Oct. 17th?

After such an uplifting and positive experience of donating blood, I've decided I'm actually going to investigate a step further by possibly becoming a Red Cross or Canadian Blood Donor Volunteer to assist at these clinics near to me. I think it's an excellent way to offer my time, really I do. (And besides, I was awarded a special Canadian Blood Donor pin the last time too I can wear now when the sticker doesn't stick anymore. giggle)

If you live in Canada, please check out the Canadian Red Cross website by CLICKING HERE


If you live in Canada, please check also the Canadian Blood Services website by CLICKING HERE

If you live in the USA, please check out the American Red Cross website by CLICKING HERE

If you live in another part of the world, google the Red Cross for a local website near to you.

As always, thank you so much for allowing me to put in a plug for something very important to me. Hugs; Renee

Wordless Wednesday

Sweet corn is now being harvested.

  • Great on the BBQ, at the beach (smile) or in the picnic basket.
  • I know I'm stocking up and freezing a few batches for the winter ahead. Are you?

Monday, August 24, 2009

Ten Things I'm Thankful For

It's been a week again, time for another installment of my "Ten Things I'm Thankful For", though as usual I could mention dozens of items and not just ten. A few off the top of my head are;
  • Surviving 8 trips back and forth to the dentist in two weeks; a few at a time, a few who required dental work, one bite adjustment, one wisdom teeth removal consultation, and mommy alone. The joy of summer jobs and children who require separate appointments.
  • Three so far have been to our new Optometrist, only three more to go.
  • Celebrating Liturgical Feasts, like this past Sunday with a trip to Dairy Queen (In honor of a Queen) after Mass.
  • Thankful for duct tape holding our tent canopy together on the back deck.
  • Hosting even more company several nights last week.
  • Donating a whole sac of blood, that is being able to because my hemoglobin was high enough to do it. It just makes so much "pay it forward" sense to do that type of thing to me.
  • Taking time (long overdue) for a few mommy moments, not just a cuppa but a pedicure. Woot woot.
  • Getting the boys haircuts before school begins.
  • Looking forward to turning off the summertime taxi light on top of the family vehicle.

* You can read all my posts written and titled by the same name; "Ten Things I'm Thankful For" by clicking the LINK HERE.

- 1 - I'm thankful for the flowers around the house, the ones my husband continues to bless me with. These blooms have lasted quite some time and remind me all the time of the necessity to take time out to marvel over the absolute beauty of the season.

2 - I'm thankful for "The Red Cross Blood Donor Program", especially after we've heard story after story about how much blood donors' donations save lives.
  • Our former piano teacher's husband has endured almost 80 blood transfusions and thanks donors with notes in local newspapers often.
  • Our nephew (grand nephew) became deathly ill and required an emergency one last year.
  • And quite a few of my husband's respiratory friends at the hospital have been lucky recipients of someone's good intentions.
Please consider donating blood by making an appointment at the Red Cross location near to you by browsing their website for dates and times - check it our on THIS LINK HERE.

- 3 - I'm thankful for our son's wonderful experience at the summer boy's camp with all of his new friends from our Catholic community. With one Priest overseeing the camp week, several Seminarians, some of the Dads and visiting Priests, what a crazy bunch they proved to be once more with their canoe trip in black cassocks, all standing and tipping themselves over into the water. Picture a priest in his black cassock soaking wet hauling his canoe to shore and you can only imagine the fun everyone has together on those canoe trips.

- 4 - I'm thankful for this sweet new foal born three weeks ago, the new resident at the barn who has provided our family and all the stable riders with sweet entertainment. Our daughter's friend was able to place this very tiny red halter on her this week, so cute.

- 5 -I'm thankful for the call from our library announcing my reserved books were awaiting pickup. School comes right around the corner so aside from multitudes of things to do this week in preparation for the start date to begin, I have some new to me type of "mommy reading" to take me away from the hustle of the moment, specific types of books I rarely have time to read.

Our local library is archaic, just in a few ways. Before our move eastward, I was used to a library who allowed online browsing and reserving abilities, wonderful for one click borrowing privileges. Since our leave from B.C., our last library was about to proceed with this same type of computer reservation system, and then we moved here expecting something similar. Nope. I feel as though I've taken a step back in time some days, especially when our local librarians prefer we hand in a "wish list" of books or other items we're hoping to borrow in time. I handed in a lovely list several weeks ago but much to my surprise - they all seem to have arrived at the same time. Most of the books in the photo above were from my list. Not my usual type of reading material , but I have to admit they look just scrumptious to me about now!

- 6 - I'm thankful for the little ritual our youngest daughter began and continues to do every evening before she retires to bed. She readies the coffee pot for her father's early morning cup and then writes him a love note. Day after day she writes a note and then she leaves a blank sheet of paper and pen next to it for my husband to write one back to her. This photo above was the very first along the way, both writing on the same note. I'm going to keep them all, love them.

- 7 - I'm thankful for two sons who are six years apart but share a love of golf and scoring result around the same levels. I love it when they head off for another round together and this photo above shows them sharing a new bunch of golf balls they had to purchase, the first ones since we moved east because of our continual supply offers from living near a golf course in our former home.

- 8 - I'm thankful for the two large arced windows which are now replaced due to broken seals, and I'm also thankful for the safety of the men who had to perform this superman feat. Of course one of them just had to be the very largest and highest to reach near the roof, way up there, but it's now complete and checked off our "still-to-have-done" list. :-)

Although our list of deficiencies seems to be getting shorter with our builder and his trades, unfortunately we had more news today for additional items to place on our master list. At the end of this week, scaffolding will be set up at the front of our home for quite some time. It appears the few rocks on the facing of our home were not installed correctly afterall (the ones that were loose when our son was on a ladder and placed his hand on them, shocked they moved inward at the same time). The front facing of our home on either sides of the front doorway, under two of the main areas of the roof require all of the rockwork facing to be replaced. The original installation mud was not adequate for the job, something like that. Another opportunity for patience, yes?

- 9 - I'm thankful for mommy moments when the discovery of a new and quaint coffee shop seemingly invites me through their doors with a cheery hello.

"Make mine something frothy please....and I'll just sit a spell and ponder the goodness of this special day."

- 10 - I'm thankful for
(so very thankful for!) being safe and sound after the Province of Ontario's weather went quite mad over the past few days. My hubby decided to head home from work early for no reason at all last Thursday (Guardian Angels!), and decided our dinner should be cooked over his BBQ. A few moments later, the weather patterns shifted to something dark and scary, monsoon rains began to fall while thunder clapped in the sky before releasing lightning bolts aplenty. Tornadoes ripped through many areas, some creating so much damage and trauma everywhere. One city alone saw 600 homes damaged, 40 buildings and 2 schools with foundational problems. Lightning has struck many people, critically in some of the cases. In the photo above, my hubby looked stranded under our canopy while cooking, and within a short while we begged him to come inside.

Our daughter was at the barn with a friend and required a rescue from the weather surfacing around her with the high winds and wicked lightning, our son's friend was driving towards our home with him in tow right into the eye of the storm. Very scary! Very, very scary! We really thought we had moved from tornado areas when arriving here, not so. But then, the locals say this is highly unusual weather to them, so let's hope so.

P.S. About my last post..... My husband read it later in the day and enjoyed my slapstick humor very much. He claimed I made his day brighter and nodded his head about the whole thing. He did caution me however to perhaps let all my readers be aware of our wacky type of humor, and not to assume it was a disrespectful bit of writing in any way towards my dear, sweet and wonderful man. Not so. We're a bit crazy here at the best of times, but just in case, I did go ahead and edit my original piece, though just a bit... LOL I would feel devastated if anyone read me wrong and felt I had nothing but a most sincere love with deepest respect and honor for my dear hubby. That man has made my knees buckle for a long, long time and still continues to do the same today. sweet sigh.....

Hugs to all! Renee

Random Summertime Photography: 29

Take one husband who has encountered a difficult day to the water's edge, one seemingly tags along grumbling and muttering something under his breath about being treated and carted around like one of my children, and I will present to you ONE man, in dire need of recognizing graceful possibilities. LOL

On a day to day basis his work is often intense, filled with an abundance of responsibility, loaded with decision making, attending telephone conferences and/or corporate meetings, and managing multitudes of staff situated geographically both near and far. Oh yes (tongue in cheek), he's just like one of my children alright (hee hee, but heh, as he would say - if the shoe fits....) but truly in all seriousness, he does know that *I am* usually the one he calls his thermometer; when my the red begins to rise for alerting me to the sensitive timing on his overdue on-purpose relaxation action , there is just something about spontaneity to make it happen right away. :)

As a result of my own determination to overrule him for his own good instead, my confident and controlled voice will sound off just like that of an Air Flight Captain when making his flight announcement to the passengers onboard; "Sit back, relax and enjoy the flight". I can say that you know. I can. That's because I also get behind the wheel and do the driving on such days to give him even MORE time yet to unwind first before hitting sand and surf. snicker, snicker...

Psssst - don't tell him I told you so, but he really, really needed this day I'm about to unfold for you below, if not for any other reason than to render him fresh air breathing abilities (sans humidity!) where he could just seek solace and begin to suck back the refreshing sea air to ease up on a tough day with air climate control issues. Frustration can easily mount, and it does when not being able to take a simple and easy routine breath and the concentration alone sure can take its toll on anyone with respiratory issues, of that I can assure you.

That said....
Kite boarders in action

Just in case someone else requires a wee tutorial of sorts for the presentation delivery of an "beaching visit" in your home, here's what I would coach you to do...
  • 1 - Take one spouse who has experienced a tough day arriving home after chugging along through rush hour traffic, who then shuffles his feet through the door in (very possibly) a wet dishrag mode (grumpy!) and with your sweetest voice, suggest he take a few moments to change into clothing suitable for outdoors, freshen up a bit, maybe suggest to have a power nap while at it, and when he's completed those tasks, be sure to have a cold beverage and snack ready in the kitchen (or take in on the road with you).
  • 2 - Have the family vehicle already packed and your children ready to depart on a moment's notice (when dad heads out the door - that's the key, it's time to leave...and fast!); with his favorite chair, refreshments, a hat, an umbrella if necessary, comfort food, and a front row seating to the most beautiful vista near your local water's edge.
  • 3 - If your spouse won't go willingly - why not kidnap him! (LOL). Eventually you'll get to this number stage, I promise. Take a good look at the photo above... see my husband sitting after some time has passed in a rather noticeably visible tense type of mode with hands still clasped tightly and a bit of a frown on his face? Obviously he's not yet completely relaxed in any shape or form, and (sigh) - this is a man who is not sure if he would rather be here yet or at home sulking by having a long nap in his own bed. LOL
  • 4 - Just as in a Dick & Jane child's early reader, it comes down to this;
See him begin to unwind. (It may take a long, LONG while).
See him all tense and knotted up at first, a contrast will result eventually.
See him soon become in tune with his surroundings.
See him soon melt involuntarily, relaxation now visible on his face.
See him become restful.....actually beginning to crack a genuine smile, all ready for his front row reserved seating for a lovely sunset session.
See him now realize how necessary this day's end has been for him.

He hugs his wife...and thanks her eventually.
(That's because she always knows just what to do! (wink, wink)

Sending much love to my hubby who is likely reading this too today. Heh sweety, weather looks great for a sunset at the water's edge tonight. Need it?

And let the just feast,
and rejoice before God:
and be delighted with gladness
~ Psalm 67:4

  • 5 - Last but not least, take a few silent very private moments to compose yourself by closing your eyes and knowing success is definitely now at hand. Offer complete and utter thanksgiving for this beautiful gift before you, not only the vista views but also the gift of offering someone a fill-up of refreshment he never knew he so desperately required. And then, reach out and hold your hubby's hand as you both witness the sun plunge into its evening bliss together on that stretch of water's edge.
  • 6 - Might I also suggest by this time everyone commence a verbal "thank you" to daddy for allowing them to get to the beach for such a fun time. (sneaky huh?) Actually, all said and done, at the end of a day, there are no losers - only winners all.
But wait! Last tip for you; Begin to observe your man rise ever slowly from his chair and just like that (snap of fingers), quite suddenly he's in no hurry at all to return home. He stretches his limbs. He sniffs a last gulp of air. He takes a look up and down the beach to capture the remaining surroundings, and then while thoroughly relaxed, he takes his sweet time preparing to depart. (Two thumbs up!)


Do you know someone who could use a day like this? Go on then! What are you waiting for? Just - make it all happen and ignore the grumbling.

And besides, how can anyone NOT crack a smile and discover an attitude adjustment quickly when observing the scenes before those of a beautiful sunset, just like these below...


"Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power
and the glory and the majesty and the splendor,

for everything in heaven and earth is yours.

Yours O LORD, is the kingdom;
you are exalted as head over all.
Wealth and honor come from you;
you are the ruler of all things.
In your hands are strength and power
to exalt and give strength to all.
Now, our God, we give you thanks,
and praise your glorious name."

~ 1 Chronicles 29: 11-13

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Random Summertime Photography: 28

What's a super sunny day without eye protection?

I know our our Optometrist wouldn't agree with two of the examples below (grin), but these three had a wonderful time shopping outside of the box for their "faddish" eyewear, typically awesome things to own for many teens these days.

Being different is a good thing, I think... Why not just ask these three below what their opinion on that statement might be. (snicker)