28 November 2016 @ 07:12 am
It's the most absurd thing to fret over but ... I'm a creature of habit, and I live alone and expect things to remain where they belong. Also, I have a tendency to get fond of things—even trivial things—and worry about them.

So I have a favourite dishtowel, i.e., the one I use most often. I always keep it hanging over the handle to the oven door. I don't often dry dishes with it. (I've a dishwasher, after all; or, if I wash a mug or spoon by hand, I just leave it in the rack.) However, I dry my hands on this dishtowel a lot; so, every week, it goes in the laundry.

It's of those terry-cloth ones, which I find are the most absorbent. White with orange stripes in a sort of loose plaid design. I've had it for quite a few years, and have to admit that it's got a bit on the shabby side. However, it's still quite serviceable: a bit thin, but no holes or ragged edges or the like.

For nearly two months, it's mysteriously been missing.

At the end of September, Flo came for a couple of weeks. Shortly before she left, she did laundry in preparation for packing. I went into the kitchen, couldn't see my dishtowel, and asked her if she'd washed it with the other things and put it away somewhere (thinking, of course, that it might have been put in the wrong place). However, she said no.

And I've not seen it since.

I've looked—God knows I've looked!—everywhere I can think of. Through the drawers in the kitchen, the cupboard under the sink, the shelves where cleaning supplies are stored ... and then round odd corners of the dining room, the living room (in case I'd used it to carry something hot) ... basically, everywhere that seemed likely and then those that seemed most unlikely.

I keep being reminded that I have still to find it because, each time I go in the kitchen, I immediately notice yet again that it isn't there. If I'm not in a rush, I'll at least try to find it. Okay, not daily at this point; but certainly I have another look round at least once or twice a week. It's got to be somewhere!

As my mother used to say, when I told her I couldn't find something, "It has to be in the house, Greer. It can't walk off on its own."

Let me tell you, when you're middle aged and live alone, the last thing you want is to have something mysteriously vanish with no memory of where you might have put it.
19 December 2015 @ 02:07 am
My mother died on 17 December shortly after 11 p.m., exactly one month after her 94th birthday.

My sister Flo and I were with her. For the last hours, we were moved into a separate room so that we would not be disturbed. The ICU at Toronto General is very sensitive to the needs of both family and patient; and we much appreciated it. They had a radio, which we tuned to a classical music station (for my mother generally had music on at home); and Flo and I simply sat and talked, sometimes about our mother's life and sometimes other things, but maintaining a pretty steady chat. As our mother drifted deeper, the sounds that she heard were those of familiar voices and background music, as close as possible to having a nap at home.

She died peacefully in her sleep.
17 December 2015 @ 12:44 am
At the moment, my mother is still alive. Flo arrived at the hospital around 6 p.m. on Tuesday; and, after I updated her on the stroke, spent a short time at the bedside. However, she was very tired from jetlag. So we discussed things, and decided that she would return the following day to spend a few hours, after which we would tell the doctors to take my mother off life support.

This all changed the following morning when, just as Flo was about to leave, the hospital rang to say that our mother had woken up.

Sad to say, although her vital signs were improving and she was conscious, this did not alter the effects of the stroke. As afternoon wore on, it became clear that my mother was aware that she was, as they say, "trapped in her own body". Her left arm has long since been paralysed by the effects of radiation for the cancer she'd had in her late forties; now the right arm is paralysed by the stroke. Furthermore, she several times tried weakly to talk; but, although she seemed to be forming words, Flo could make no sense of them. By afternoon, therefore, our mother was starting to give Flo looks of despair and pleading.

I had gone home to have a nap; but, after I returned in the early evening, I also recognized what my mother was trying to convey. I am sure that she does not want to die; but, for her, this is a fate worse than death.

We have therefore told the doctors that, from now on, she is to receive palliative care only. They, in turn, have told us that they think it is likely that another crisis will occur sometime over the next day or so, for victims of massive strokes often have such complications.

So, for now, we wait.
14 December 2015 @ 09:15 pm
Right now, I don't feel up to adding to the long friends-locked post that I have been adding to for the past couple of weeks. However, for anyone who has been following it:

My mother had a catastrophic collapse this morning. They called Code Blue and resuscitated her; but she is now in the ICU on life support. The prognosis is ... well, poor hardly describes it. She's in critical condition.

Flo has managed to change her flight, and will arrive Tuesday afternoon. Of course, I don't know whether my mother will even survive the night.
When I asked for Prehistoric Park last Yuletide (not to mention the Yuletide before), my hopes were not high. Although it's a marvellous series, the amount of fan fiction is slight—and basically on, with all that implies.

My birthday came, my birthday went. Last Friday, to be exact. I received, among other things, a bag of presents from my sister Flo (better known in these parts as [ profile] fawatson), who had left them with our mother when she came over here last Christmas. She did say in an e-mail that there was another present to come....

Well, I just received it! Officially, it is a New Year's Resolution (i.e., part of the small ancillary fanfic collection for stories written to Yuletide prompts during the following year). However, it is also my birthday present! I exult!

"Sea World" brings Prehistoric Park into the present, accounting nicely for the gap in time since the series was cancelled. Now under new management, having survived the recession (!), it is ready to expand its collection of prehistoric creatures with specimens from yet another era. This time, Nigel and his team go to the mid Jurassic in search of sea monsters. Meanwhile, back at the park, the head keeper, Bob, and the veterinarian, Suzanne, have to prepare for...who knows? (For as fans know, Nigel never brings back only what he set out to catch.)

For all that, when I first asked for Prehistoric Park two Yuletides ago, Flo had never heard of it, she has clearly done a lot of homework since. Not only does the story have a new Mesozoic menagerie, with all the adventures one could hope for, but the original cast is back for more, with all quirks intact.

Do check it out. It's a delightful sequel to the series.