Christmas 2019…then 2020!

To start this blog I had to share a beautiful photo taken by our rancher friend east of town, Rhonda Weiss.  This is a prairie long-tailed weasel in his beautiful white winter coat!

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We did some birdfeeder shuffling but a Northern Flicker was able to find the suet on our new feeder.

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There was Christmas baking to be done before we ventured to Calgary Dec. 4, 5 & 6, since it was my only chance to get Xmas gifts to the rest of the family.  Mom’s shortbread & Aunt Ruth’s pecan date krispies.

Bill had some meetings & the LivingWorks’ Xmas party was Friday night.  We had dinner with Brian, David & Mom on Thursday night at The Keg.

Unfortunately I felt like I was getting a cold & Bill had attended a 6-hour board meeting at LW (he was pooped!) so we did not attend the LivingWorks Xmas party 😢😢

While we were in Calgary, dear Desiree was having a new baby!  Mia Talia Salenga was born  Dec. 6!  Here are a few shots of the family.  Des & Carm are now proud parents of Quentin & Mia.  Dear cousin Jane has gone out to spend about a month with them helping Desiree with the new baby & Christmas!  Love the last shot of the 2 babes cuddling with Mom.

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I was asking Jane who she thought Mia looked like & she sent me this photo of the 2 babies taken at the same age (actually wearing the same sleepers!).  Quentin (L) & Mia (R).

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I can see that Q looks exactly like his Dad & Mia so much like her Mom!  Congratulations to all of them!

I have been enjoying Xmas messages from various friends & relatives.  Received this beautiful photo of Cheryl & Dave Elliott, who came & spent a couple of days with us last year.  Such a gorgeous couple!

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Steve & Fran sent this beautiful photo of their place lit up for Xmas.  The person standing to the left of Steve on the porch is Dorothy.  She is actually NOT A REAL PERSON!  Yep – a sculpture which used to reside at their neighbour’s place, but they found it too eerie & gave it to Steve & Fran. HA!  (I personally love her!)

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Just before Xmas, Kevin & Rhonda (she of the weasel photo) dropped in to give us their best wishes & some beautiful Xmas baking!

Neither of us can eat these sweets, but I gave them to my Mom, who just loved them (she has such a sweet tooth).

Of all the Xmas cards I received, my 2 favourites were from Fran & Steve – & their daughter Leslie.  This is my piano w/ all the cards, then my 2 fav’s.

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I loved Frannie’s rendition of our 2 cats building a snow mouse!  Leslie obviously inherited her artistic talent & drew their dogs w/ antlers – so bloomin’ cute!

Our darling cousins Penny & Wilf kindly invited us to have Xmas dinner with them & their family at their JUST completed new home on the edge of the Cypress Hills.  They cut their own tree & could barely get it into the house because it was about 7 feet wide & had to go through a regular sized door!  Truly beautiful!

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They are just the sweetest family – they cuddle each other, laugh together & get along so, so nicely.  It’s a pleasure to spend time amongst them!  That includes their 2 sons w/ wives & 3 gorgeous granddaughters.

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It was a pefect turkey dinner & included home-made lefse!  Penny got all the girls together & they made about 70 pieces!  I just can’t bring myself to do it alone – I get exhausted & the whole kitchen gets covered with flour!  So I really enjoyed a piece.  We can buy frozen lefse made by a group just outside Swift Current & I gave some to my family for Xmas, along with chokecherry syrup.  It is actually very tasty lefse, though a little thicker than we make ourselves.

It is very hard to get a nice photo of Wilf, who is, to say the least, camera shy! However, I captured this wonderful one of Penny & Wilf while we were visiting with them in their living room.

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When we left, Bill wasn’t feeling very well.  He actually almost passed out as we were driving down the lane to the main road.  Luckily Wilf said he’d check on us if we didn’t call from town in 15 minutes.  Sure enough he came out & found us & followed us all the way home.  I was relieved because it scared me for Bill to be driving (though he insisted on it & wouldn’t let me drive).  He was better the next day!

We also received a photo of our wonderful Montana family from Missoula:

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Mom & Brian came Boxing Day to spend a couple of days & partake of another turkey dinner.  This is Mom’s 5th turkey dinner this season!  I love a selfie with my Mom (& fam)!

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Karen came out for a visit the next day so we took her, Brian & Mom out to Penny & Wilf’s for a visit.

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When Kevin & Rhonda were over to visit, Kevin asked us a question: “is there anything you would have done differently since you designed & built your house?”  Bill immediately said “no” – while I immediately put up my hand!!!  In the back hall/laundry room, there is no place to fold clothes.  Well, that’s all it takes for my darling Bill to put on his thinking cap!  He immediately re-designed the back hall to put a table in there.  He wasn’t able to do the work, so our great helper, Dale, came over & helped move stuff around when he got it done.  We put a new fridge in there also & gave the one in the garage away.  Here’s what it looks like now – from the garage entrance & from the hall.

Since Christmas, Bill hasn’t been doing very well.  I’ve been really worried.  On Jan. 20th he got up in the night, feeling like he needed more O2, took off his cannula & walked from the bedroom into the office where he has a larger machine. This was about 2 AM & I didn’t hear him.  At 4 AM I got up to pee & saw the light on in the office.  When I got to the living room, Bill was sleeping in his chair on the couch.  I asked him how he was & he said he felt pretty banged up – I asked if he meant tired from not sleeping well.  Then he turned toward me & showed me his left eye.  Hugely swollen & black!  He’d passed out & fallen as he got into the office – he’s not sure for what length of time he laid there.  Luckily he awoke, got over to his O2 machine, turned it on & put his cannula on.  This  was the beginning of  several hospital visits – from Maple Creek, to Swift Current, to Regina, and back home.  His black eye lasted over a month.

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Not to go into all the gory details, but he was poked, prodded & tested.  While in Regina I was unable to go to see him (4 hour drive w/ dicey winter driving conditions).  Our good friends from the ranch east of town (Kevin & Rhonda Weiss) had an appt there & they stopped in to see him.  They brought him a MacDonald’s breakfast – they are such wonderful folks!

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Our dear birding buddy, Don from Broadview, also made a trip into Regina to see Bill.  I was so grateful since we don’t know anyone in Regina.

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They sent Bill home at 3 AM via patient transport services (a private ambulance service).  Apparently they were short of vehicles, hence the late arrival.  It took a couple of days to get rested up after that stressful trip (for me too!).  I helped Bill take a shower late the next day – we have a chair in the shower, so he felt better after that, but was still pooped.  He had been waiting to see his wonderful internist in Swift Current (who saved his life last Oct) – & we received a phone call that she’d had a cancellation & he could come in that day!  However, that would have been a bit much.  Happily they called a couple of days later & she had another cancellation – so we accepted immediately!  I think she was a bit surprised that he’d been let out of the hospital.  She recommended he be admitted immediately.  We weren’t surprised by this & had brought his robe & toiletries.  So over to the hospital he went & he was admitted.  His internist wasn’t on duty the 1st week he was in there, but when she came on, really took control of things & adjusted Bill’s meds to help reduce water retention which helped his legs, as well as lungs & heart.  This was the final step which made him feel waaay better than he had for months.  Here he is when he was feeling well enough to get dressed & have his favourite take-out brought in!  (Mcdonalds breakfast w/ vanilla milkshake),.

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Somehow I had to deal with 2 cats – on 1 lap!  Luckily they figured it out themselves:

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Darling cousin Karen (who lives in Swift) visited a few times, brought him special treats (hamburgers & Mcdonalds breakfast).  That relieved me quite a bit, especially when the weather was bad for driving.  I don’t drive in a snow storm!  So after 2 different types of pneumonia & a near-death experience, my honey is doing well!  He feeling so much better than he’s felt for months!  However, he lost more than 20 pounds over the last few months & is trying hard to gain it back.  He had lost his appetite for quite awhile before  going into the hospital – then hospital food (no comment).  I am doing my best to feed him his favourite things.  He is able to do one of his other favourite things:

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I went to Calgary a couple of days before Bill came home, just so I could see some of my family & especially Mom.  We went out for dinner with David, Brian & Jane.

Some time ago, my handsome nephew Ben, celebrated his CPA with his family & peers at a gala dinner.  They sent this gorgeous photo of the family (Omanthi, Ben’s gf, Ben, Inga, David & Katherine).  Wow eh!?

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With the onset of COVID19, we are staying pretty close to home.  I am the only one who goes out for groceries & mail.  But we can both get out to go birding (driving only).  Not many photos taken, but here are some Canada Geese out at our friends’ (Kevin & Rhonda) ranch east of town.  For any birders, see if you can spot the Greater White-fronted Geese (hint: bright orange feet) and at least 1 Cackling Goose (much smaller than Canada Geese).

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Kevin & Rhonda also sent us this one taken at their place a few days earlier – not very close, but you can see the Tundra Swans.

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As you can imagine, Bill hasn’t had his hair cut for a long time!  So I went on-line to watch some videos of how to cut men’s hair.  I can sure see how it takes a long time to acquire the skill to be proficient at this!  Nonetheless, here is his before & after!

It is at least shorter.  Don’t know what the heck I’ll do about mine however!

Now that Bill is feeling well & so am I, the only one not doing very well is my dear little Katrina.  She has kidney failure, but it is the slow type.  She is slowly losing weight, but is happy & affectionate.  The girls still play together.  Here’s my Katrina in the sunshine.

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One further note regarding Bill’s state of health:  he says he is feeling as well as he did 8 months ago, just when he went on O2.  Two days ago he went downstairs for the first time (using his portable O2 machine) & when he came back up, was hardly winded!  We are planning on getting a stairlift machine at some point (when we can have workmen into the house again).  But Bill was pretty chuffed about it!

On a sad note, out dear “Supreme Primo” Murray, died on Feb. 9th.  He was the instigator of the wonderful gatherings of cousins at his place for many years & the oldest of all the Larson cousins.  His death came at a terrible time due to COVID 19, which prevented many from coming to his funeral.  His brother Lorne from England, turned around & flew home (didn’t even see any of his family) – & others were also forced not to attend.  Luckily Patsy, his wife, was blessed with many good wishes from her friends & family.  We will surely miss him!

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Now we’re all dealing with a world-wide COVID19 pandemic. Most of us are too young to remember living through WWII – though Mom did & of course Uncle Bud, the famous fighter pilot.  But it seems a war-like fight we’re facing.  2 of our best friends have the virus & are fighting through it at home.  Lorne is feeling near normal, but Joey is still fighting hard.  We need to support each other if only via electronics.  I sure miss giving my Mom a hug!

Thought I’d send a photo from a birding outing – a Great Horned Owl on its nest.

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Hang in everyone – keep safe & hope to see you all on the other side!  All I can do now is stay home & cook (saskatoon pie).
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