Sunday, October 4, 2015

What no one tells you about aging parents

My mom thinks she's the sandwich generation. She says she's a "club sandwich" because she has her parents, children, and grandchildren. She might be right, but I'm also living with a sandwich. Young children, down to age 4, and older parents in their late 60s. What no one tells you about aging parents is that they probably feel guilty about not having enough time for their parents, children, and grandchildren, because they still have to work.

My grandfather, my mom's father, was diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia in 2006 and passed away this Spring. My great-grandmother, my mom's grandmother, had Alzheimer's. Reading "Still Alice" makes one hypersensitive to the possibility of the existence of some form of dementia in one's family. What no one tells you about aging parents is how to have an honest conversation with them about their mental health.

My dad has donated his whole body to science so that there won't be anything for the family to take care of. On the other hand, he also bought a cemetery plot - maybe in case science doesn't want him? My mom was a P.O.A. for my grandfather, but has set nothing up for herself. What no one tells you about aging parents is that some of them seem to be in denial about their own mortality.

As far as her children know, my mom has no P.O.A., no Will, no Executor, no last wishes. She once mentioned something about having red velvet fabric in her casket, but that's all. What no one tells you about aging parents is how difficult it is to get them to discuss their final wishes.

What about you? What did no one tell you about aging parents?

Sunday, September 20, 2015

5 Ways I Use Aloe Gel

If you've seen "My Big Fat Greek Wedding," you'll remember that the dad recommended using "Windex" for just about everything. I've recently come to feel the same way about Aloe.

Here are 5 ways that I use Aloe gel*:

1. On my finger tips
It keeps my cuticles and skin soft and, as a bonus, the unpleasant taste is a reminder not to bite my nails.

2. On my face
I smooth it on any pimples or irritated spots and it promotes faster healing.

3. On mosquito bites
Soothes and reduces itching,

4. On sunburns
Soothes and reduces pain

5. On my feet
Rubbing Aloe all over my feet before putting my socks on softens them and heals cracks.

*Medical Disclaimer: I am not a doctor. Consult with a doctor if any irritation occurs. Aloes should not come into contact with eyes.

What about you? What other ways do you use Aloe?

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Letter to our kids' schools re: Halloween

I searched for a sample letter online and didn't find one, so here's what I wrote in case anyone else can use it.



Recognizing that thematic planning starts well in advance, we thought it would be important to make sure you are aware that our family does not celebrate Halloween. As you may be aware, this is a religious holiday, celebrated by adherents of the Wiccan religion as one of their four holiest days of the year.

We would appreciate it if you could keep us informed as to any school-wide Halloween activities taking place so that we can plan accordingly. We would like to "opt-out" our kids from any Halloween-related assignments, costume parades, or crafts that depict witches, zombies, and the like.

If you have any questions, please let us know. Thank you in advance for respecting our wishes.

[my name & DH's name]

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Union Activist?

A colleague of mine, who is very much a Union activist, says that I am an activist too. I went from someone who only showed up for major votes (like whether to strike, and to ratify the new Collective Agreement), to being a Union Steward and member of the Bargaining Team. How did this happen?

Quite simply, I was unhappy with the raw deal we got with the new Collective Agreement - my major concerns being the 10 additional Sundays at regular rate, and minute pay increases that didn't keep up with the cost of living. Bargaining, as part of a team, with the Employer on behalf of my almost 300 colleagues take a huge amount of preparation and significant professionalism. I was honoured to be voted onto this team and have committed myself to seeing the process through to the end. I took on the role of Steward because I understand the value of standing side by side with someone when they need to have a stressful meeting with the Employer.

My grandfather was a VP at a major bank and I had gotten the impression that he was anti-union. Because I deeply respected him, I felt conflicted about my involvement in the Union. When he passed away this April and we celebrated his life, I was reminded once again of many values that he taught me. He invested heavily in helping those less fortunate, donating his time to be on the Board of charities he believed in, and giving financially. He cared about fairness and improving people's lives. I think that would also extend to their working conditions.

According to Oxford Dictionaries, the definition of an "activist" is: 
A person who campaigns to bring about political or social change.

So maybe I am an activist.

What about you? What are you an activist about?

Friday, August 14, 2015

Review: Medicine Walk

Medicine Walk Medicine Walk by Richard Wagamese
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

4 stars. Really enjoyed this book about the journey of an estranged son and father sharing the father's final walk. There is no sugar coating about the challenge, and sometimes impossibility, of trying to make things right at the end of one's life. Wagamese is a rich storyteller, and I appreciated what I felt was a realistic look at the death process.

View all my reviews