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Archive for January, 2013

The injured arm snug in a Canadian mitten.

The injured arm snug in a Canadian mitten.

Concentrating!

Concentrating!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All hail my left hand! You have done yourself proud today! Not only did you manage to get me in and out of my bath unscathed but you dressed me single handedly too. What a feat! I fear that I owe you an apology.

All these years you have hung around at my side playing second fiddle. I have never allowed you to shine, never taken cogniscance of your hidden potential. You have endured derogatory name calling and have been insulted with words like ‘cack –handed.’ But all that will change now that you are ‘my right hand man.’

A recent skiing accident put my right hand into a state of temporary dormancy. Suddenly mundane tasks like brushing one’s teeth, take on a whole new meaning. In order to carry out these simple deeds old synapses had to be woken up and refired. The left hand that was once merely the spectator is now the active player. In fact it has been observed by my family that I am being more thorough with certain jobs. This is because they are being completed with such concentration and deliberation. Hopefully my dentist will notice a difference on my next visit.

My culinary practices are being tested too. I must add that I am a no nonsense chef! I usually produce lashings of tasty food in record time, as it is what my family demands. This has all had to change with my novice assistant, the left hand. My lengthy daily escapades next to the stove consist of dreaming up novel ways to unscrew a cap or open a sealed packet. It has required some lateral thinking and I have come up with some ingenious methods which I am thinking of patenting some day. They include using the grip of my hip against my broken arm and using the ‘said arm’ like a claw. This inventive grip enables narrow objects to slide between my bruised fingers without applying pressure to the ‘broken bits.’ I never realized how valuable it was to be able to merely hold onto something. It allows me to carry out a few tricky maneuvers when cooking the evening meal. However, I do pollute the air with a few choice words in the process! 

So the learning curve continues with its challenges that still need to be mastered….like putting on the ‘morning face.’ A touch of eye pencil, the odd bit of panel beating and a smudge of lipstick is all part of this execution. Another challenge is meeting Josh’s needs. I have to grip a boisterous dog on our daily stroll and pick up the morning turd simultaneously. The delightful package then has to be knotted up into a biodegradable plastic bag to be dispensed with at a later stage. There is much lip curling and grimacing when the knot is being tied. My nimble leftie is certainly working hard for her living.

 

 

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All geared up and ready to go!

All geared up and ready to go!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The amazing ski patrol.

The amazing ski patrol.

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hPC2Fp7IT7o

 

The air was crisp and the white snow- covered hills beckoned. It was a fairyland out there! This was our second winter in Canada and I prepared myself for another round of skiing. I had been suitably decked out with all the right gear which included my recent thermals and a helmet. I could not persuade the men in the family to omit this piece of equipment. It pressed my ears and felt like a potty perched on my head.  My snug fur hat would have been my first choice! I felt the excitement rise as I penguin walked out of the club house. With my skis nonchalantly perched on my shoulder, I made my way to the beginner’s slopes.  I certainly had no illusion of my prowess on skis.

There was a flutter of panic as I realized I would have to master the ski lift before I could test my skiing skills. Leaning forward, bending my knees and the stopping method of ‘pizza slice’ was all that I had run through to refresh my mind. I had forgotten about the fact that I would first have to get up the hill! My son kindly accompanied me and explained the process of ‘alighting from the lift.’ Remember to push off from the seat! The first attempt was a snow plough of my head into the snow. The second try involved me falling backwards on my rear.  Fortunately the snow was fluffy and soft. I was not having much success with this jolly ski lift! I must add that I did manage to recall some of the skiing maneuvers from the previous year. I gingerly applied these skills and made my way down the slope. So I had at least accomplished the first hurdle. I could still remember how to ski! The ski lift swung around the corner…..third time lucky! We jumped on and made our way up. My heart thumped as I ran through all the tips that I needed to follow. What was the worst that could happen?

The lift approached the icy landing and I braced myself. I duly pushed off but as my skis touched the landing, I slipped. My tall ungainly frame flew and my right arm cart wheeled round to break my fall. There are few disadvantages to being tall and this was one of them! My arm did not reach the ground but collided with the ski lift instead. I just lay there for a second or two. I knew I had broken my arm as I could feel it…… the numbness and then a warm surge. I had seen enough broken bones in my years as a teacher and one look at the disfigured limb confirmed my suspicion.

The ski patrol strapped me into a toboggan and raced me off the slope. It was a wonderful swift ride with these experienced skiers. They made it look so easy! As I watched them pull me along, I knew what my next snow adventure would be……dog sledding. Yes, I fancied racing through the snow on the back of a sleigh. But that would have to wait……

There is something very humbling about learning to ski. You become childlike again with the lack of confidence and the reliance on others to share their skills with you. Unfortunately I will have to wait for next winter to pick up where I left off. In the mean time I have other lessons to learn…..to accept and enjoy the help given to me by my patient family and friends. My right arm is ‘resting’ in a sling while it heals.  My amateur left arm is having its moment of fame and is the hero of my day!

 

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Josh has his own walkway!

Josh has his own walkway!

Get out as much as possible! Ha! Ha!

Get out as much as possible! Ha! Ha!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All that I am, all that I ever was……..

It has been a grey week where the sun has not showed its face from behind the clouds at all! I begin to understand the meaning of ‘winter in Canada’ as we fight to stay warm. We heed the advice of ‘getting outside as much as we can.’  Even then we go for days with this grey hue all around us. Then you just need to add some rain to the mix! To be cold is one thing, but to be wet and cold is a whole new ball game! I comfort myself indoors with my emails from friends and family back in South Africa as they recount their sun- filled picnics and barbeques. Oh happy days! My stash of ‘Ouma rusks’ are a constant source of pleasure as I am confined indoors.

Just know that these things will not change for us at all……

So one gets on with the process of acceptance of how things are. It is cold……..dam cold! The ingenuity kicks in and we develop coping strategies. Fortunately for us, our concerned Canadian neighbours have taken us under their wing. They fill us in with many tips for surviving a cold winter. They range from the right boots to wear on black ice to safety tips for ‘blonde drivers’ in white -out conditions. I dread the day when I have to put these into practice! But for the most part, we have thought up some of our own too. A domestic pet is quite a challenge, as you have to cope with their ablutions when they are cooped up all day. If you have a pup you can teach them to ring a bell that hangs at the front door. They knock it with their snout and then you respond accordingly. Unfortunately we tried that with our Josh but as the saying goes…..you can’t teach an old dog new tricks! So we had to think of other ways to meet his daily needs. The problem was that this fussy little canine preferred to relieve himself on grass. Oh my hat! I ask you? Where do you find a patch of grass when there is a foot of snow outside? The snow shovel came out and we cleared him a little patch near the side of the house. He is now happy to oblige on his spot of Canada Green.

If I lay here, would you lie with me and forget the world?

Depression is the real scary part of winter. The television and radio carry adverts and hints on how to cope with this dreary time. We have much to keep us entertained indoors from interesting reads, challenging puzzles and home theatre. Josh, our Jack Russell, is not partial to the confinement of winter.  He jumps deep into his basket and rearranges his blanket over his head. This is his fleeting form of hibernation. I must add that this state of being is quickly interrupted with the ring of the doorbell. We have had to think of ways to ‘entertain’ him. (I never thought that my day would consist of dreaming of ways to improve my dog’s psychological wellbeing!)We now dig a pathway through the snow on the deck so that he can still see his nemesis, our resident squirrel. His relentless occupation of getting his teeth into Mr. Squirrel keeps him entertained and his spirits up.

Show me a garden that is bursting into life…….

So I page through my gardening manuals and read up on plants that can withstand these freezing temperatures. I dream up ideas and designs for my garden here in Canada. We planted a whole heap of spring bulbs. They are resting under the snow in my front garden. Soon they will be triggered into a burst of new life. I will see their bright colours in the sun!

Venturing out with friends...a trip to the city.

Venturing out with friends…a trip to the city.

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The ego was still intacked here!

The ego was still intact here!

Christmas sparkle!

Christmas sparkle!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qR2WYVWI65M  

 My world is changing……      

The tinsel has lost some of its sparkle and there are baubles lying around the bottom of the Christmas tree. It is time to remove the wreaths from the staircase and to toss the tree out in the road for collection. There has been laughter, good food and friends and we have indulged in all that is Christmas.  So ‘after this Lord Mayor’s Show’ there certainly needs to be a clean up cart! This involves the unraveling and packing up of all things Christmas.Our second Christmas in Canada has been and gone…..

I know I have found you…….

  I begin by about sorting through the decorations and packing them into boxes. I always add a few to the collection each year. The camels from Dubai, the hand crafted angels from South Africa and the wooden raccoons from this Canadian Christmas. They all remind me of the Yuletides past. There are wreaths to unravel from the front door and all the Christmas lights around the house too. This ‘packing away ritual’ used to evoke pensive thoughts as I contemplated the end of the festivities. Instead, as I systemically place each shiny bauble back, I allow myself the time to indulge in the happy moments of the last few weeks. It is almost as if I have to put them ‘all to bed’ so that I can start the new chapter. All too quickly the New Year will be staring me in the face and I will get sucked into the hustle and bustle of every day life.

You never fade away……

The big snow dump has been part of this Christmas too and our surrounds have been transformed into a winter wonderland. Kids are out on their toboggans and young and old delight in the white covering.  Temperatures have dropped significantly and some brave souls even took part in the polar bear swim in the Ontario Lake! Definitely not my cup of tea! I landed up the other day next to the lake on my backside ‘met bene in die lug!’ The slippery snow got the better of me! It left me with a bruised ego and an aching rear end! So I have come to realize the merit of the ‘penguin walk.’ This unflattering geriatric gait allows you to tackle a slippery pathway with ease. Although I think I need to add some ski poles to the mix for added stability.

It will feel like Christmas all the time……

The boxes are packed and stored away for another year. But all is not lost! Christmas will have to linger in the Morkel household for a little while longer. It is just too cold to get up on the roof to remove all our Christmas lights. They are going to have to twinkle for a couple more weeks. At least they will let us down gently……….

The Joy of Christmas stays inside us …..

 


 

 

 

 

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