Sunday 30 May 2010

Parental Drama... as per usual

Hello there... I've just spent most of the afternoon and evening napping I'm afraid. This means that I am now wide awake and ready for action, even though it's 10:00 pm. :-S

Ah well, not to worry. I'll just force myself to sleep at midnight. Hopefully that will all work out...

Anyway, update on Dad... He's doing well. The surgery went really well, and the only trouble he had was a bit of low blood pressure afterwards. This is apparently pretty normal for a stent insertion procedure. The reason being - that with the stent in his artery, the blood is able to flow more freely, so there is less pressure. He's ok now though, just really really tired. He didn't get much sleep in the hospital, and I'm guessing that now he's at home with my Alzheimer's suffering Mother, he's still not getting much sleep.

I just had a chat with my Sister, and it sounds an awful lot like Mum is getting worse and worse with her Alzheimer's... she will hear nothing about talk of living wills, or assisted living. This is a source of great frustration for me and my siblings. She's always been that way though - extremely stubborn, and unwilling to hear what other people have to say. Now that she's not at full capacity, it's even worse. I don't know what to say really, except that I moved at the right time. ;-) Just kidding... well sort of kidding. To be honest, I couldn't handle much more of her behaviour while I was there, it gets to you after a while. Plus, I was the one who was there, actually living with them, and keeping an eye on them. So, I got the brunt of most of her attacks. Now, Dad gets it. Debbie and Rich get it too, but they don't live with her - so it's not every day. You can imagine, that living with that every day, and trying to recover from a stroke, and surgery is pretty difficult. I'm afraid Mum isn't going to be the pleasantly confused type of dementia patient. She'll be the kind that we had at the hospital all the time who yells abuse at you, and tells you you're going to hell, because you're a terrible person. Mark my words Geri-Psych nurses - you're in for it. They're used to it though, I suppose. As for me, I've had my share, and it's enough for anyone. I don't know what to say really, except that if she doesn't want to hear what people are suggesting about assisted living, then I'm afraid that eventually, she'll be committed to a geri-psych facility via sectioning. That won't be a pleasant experience for any involved. Maybe I'll have to have a blunt talk with her. It will be slightly easier with me being a million miles away. The only trouble is, you have a blunt talk, and she forgets the whole thing the next day.

A person could go slightly crazy going around in circles like this. There is no clear answer, except to say that she is going to get worse, and we'll just have to see how it goes day to day.

As for me, in my life - I'm good. Life is good. I'll see my boyfriend on Friday. :-) He's wonderful, and normal, and kind. He's highly refreshing after a lifetime like mine. :-) Andy is going for a walk tomorrow for Haitian Appeal... if you can donate, then please do so here... (link)

Have a lovely evening.

Becky x

Monday 24 May 2010

Prayers Please...

Sorry I didn't get a chance to blog yesterday... it was a busy week-end as it turns out. It was just what I needed though. I had a very good visit with my Andy. It was a short visit, but productive. :-)

Plus, my mind has been on other things...

Thursday morning I logged onto facebook, and read my little brother's status which went like so... "mmm just got home a little while ago and just missed parents. message from mom about hospital and dad, crap." I wrote him a message asking him to expound on that, but with no response. So, all day Thursday I was thinking about this in the back of my mind. Then, when I got home, there was a message on my phone from my Mum.

What happened was that my Dad had a stroke. He's never had a stroke before, but he has eaten a fried English Breakfast almost every day I can remember for his entire life. He would dispute that, but it's true. Any of my siblings would say the same. Fried Bacon, fried eggs, chips, fried mushroom, fried tomato, rashers, sometimes beans. So, I guess it finally caught up with him.

What they found from the tests, is that if he hadn't had this little stroke, he would have had a much bigger stroke in a week's time that could have been much more detrimental, possibly fatal. They found that he has 77% blockage in his carotid artery. Which means - that tomorrow he has to go in and have surgery. What they're going to do is go into his artery from his groin, and pump a balloon up that has a stent around it to open up the artery again. Obviously this is a risky procedure, but leaving it the way it is with no procedure at all is far more risky.

I've spoken to a couple of people since this happened who have had the same procedure, and they say that they are fine, and that it was the best thing they could have done. This brought me some comfort. Also, Andy was a big comfort to me on Friday and Saturday. It has been hard though, being so far away and not knowing exactly what is going on, and not being with him. In the past, whenever something like this has happened, I've been the one to be there with them, and make sure everything is alright. But, my sister is there, and my 2 brothers. Also, the Relief Society at church, and my parents' Bishop have been a support. So, that brings some re-assurance.

So, the reason I am writing all of this, and laying out the personal details about my family drama is because I would like to ask anyone out there who knows us and loves us, (or maybe doesn't know us at all but can relate) to offer up your prayers for my Dad that his surgery will go well tomorrow. Whatever your faith, or even if you have no faith, if you can - please spare a thought or two, or a prayer for my Dad and family. I would very much appreciate that.

Sunday 16 May 2010

I Fell Off The Wagon A Little...

Apparently I didn't learn my lesson the last time I gave up Caffeine...

Well, last week during all of the election excitement, and staying up late to watch this news or that I got to be pretty tired in the mornings. So what did I do? I turned to my old friend Diet Cherry Coca-Cola. I need to remember though, it is NOT my friend. No - not! I'm sad to say that yet again, today I am suffering from Caffeine Withdrawal. I think I have spent quite a lot of my adult life suffering from Caffeine Withdrawal. The best times I've had in my life, where I've felt the most healthy have been when I've been off the sauce - entirely. I've got to get off the sauce again. Today, it was quite by accident really. It's the week-end is all. No caffeine yesterday, or today. Today I am feeling it by golly.

I'm sure most of this blog makes very little grammatical sense. If so, you can blame it on the caffeine withdrawal. Why is it so painful? I don't know. I'd like it all to stop though. Make it all stop.

I'm thinking of going to Addiction Recovery classes at the church on Thursdays. I have a bit of an addictive personality I'm afraid. If I weren't a Mormon, and I didn't have the "Word of Wisdom" to follow, I would probably be dead in some ditch by now. Yep - dead in a ditch. Thank goodness my parents let the missionaries in. In fact, if they didn't let them in, I probably wouldn't have been born at all because my parents would have never met. So - overall - thank goodness for my parents letting the missionaries in. Way to go Mum & Dad! Way to go missionaries!

Excuse me while I crash on my bed for a while.

Later peeps!

Tuesday 11 May 2010

Flat Chloe!!!

Have you heard of the "Flat Stanley" books? Well, my niece has a project she is doing in school associated with the "Flat Stanley Project". So she sent along "Flat Chloe" to me for a wee adventure... (that's her name - Chloe) I got this letter, and this miniature drawn version of my niece to take around with me...

So, today we had an adventure, and here is my report back to her teacher...

Dear Mrs Coombe,

Flat Chloe mailed herself all the way to Dundee, Scotland.  I took her around with me today on a typical "day in the life" of Becky...

I took Flat Chloe to work with me - where I work as a Finance Administrator.  The picture shows me in my work setting - with my files behind me.  Then, on my lunch break - I took Flat Chloe around to some of the places where I spend my time here in Dundee.

First off, I showed Flat Chloe some of the buildings where I work at the University of Dundee.

Then I showed her the Tay Rail Bridge.  This is actually quite a famous bridge, because in 1879 there was a terrible disaster where the bridge gave out.  The entire train fell into the Tay with no survivors.  The bridge has obviously been rebuilt since then, and we use it all the time with no problems, but the news at the time shocked the world.

After seeing the bridge, I took Flat Chloe further into town, where we came across the famous statue of Desperate Dan here in Dundee.  Desperate Dan is quite a famous comic book character in the UK, and he was invented right here in Dundee.  In fact, some of the most famous comics were invented here in Dundee, including the characters in the Beano, and the Dandy.  Dennis the Menace was born right here in Dundee!

I also showed Flat Chloe some of our local artchitecture, including the Steeple Church of St Mary's on the Nethergate.  Another thing we saw was the R.R.S. (Royal Resesarch Ship) Discovery.  The Discovery was built right here in Dundee, and it was the ship that Captain Robert Falcon Scott first took to Antartica.  It actually got stuck in the ice for 2 years!  In fact, another ship that was built in Dundee came out to rescue the Discovery and pull it out of the ice.  The Discovery went on several polar expeditions, and now it has a permanent home docked here in Dundee where people can come and see it.

At the end of my work day, we had some visitors at the University, including 2 Jacobite Highlanders and a Piper!!!  So, we had our picture taken with them.  (broad sword and all)  It's a long story as to why the highlanders and piper showed up, so I won't tell it.  Needless to say though, it was a pleasant surprise.

After we left the highlanders, we walked through the park to my church.  As we walked through Baxter park, we came across Baxter Pavillion.  Baxter park and pavillion were named after a wealthy family that owned many Jute mills.  For a very long time, Jute was one of the main industries here in Dundee, but eventually, it died out.  The owners of the jute discovered that it was cheaper for them to mill jute in India - where it is produced instead of shipping it all the way to Dundee and then distributing it.  The last Jute mill died out in the 1970's.  This was a heavy blow to Dundonians as Jute mills were a major source of employment for them.  So, long story short, I took a picture of Flat Chloe with the Baxter Pavillion.

When we got to the church, Flat Chloe met up with some Scottish kids her own age.  We had an activity tonight that included making cookies.  The kids had their picture taken with Flat Chloe.  On our way home, we came across what looks like a castle.  :-)  *wink wink, nudge nudge*  Actually, it was the Dundee Waterworks station, but it looks just like a castle - doesn't it?

So, that was my day with flat Chloe... it was a good day... pretty typical in my life.  I'll send Flat Chloe back in her envelope.  But, here are the pictures I took of her.  I think Flat Chloe had a pretty fun time with me.  :-)

All the best,

Flat Chloe's Aunt

*I only wish it was real Chloe I was taking around with me instead... :-( *

Sunday 9 May 2010

Politics Can Be Dead Exciting At Times...

Well, lots of things have happened this week...

As many of you probably know, the UK has had a general election this week. After doing a bit of research and also watching the Prime Ministerial debates; (the first of their kind) I had narrowed down my choice between that of either the Liberal Democrats led by Nick Clegg, or the Scottish Nationalist Party - led by Alex Salmond. Both parties seemed to have pretty solid manifestos for me, and lined up with what I believe personally. Also, I'm not really that bothered about Scotland separating. I think that if Scotland wants to separate, then they can - it's economically viable - I mean - we have all this oil up here and stuff. Plus, Scotland survived for hundreds of years before the Union, so what's the big deal if they separate now? Also, Alex Salmond, the leader of the SNP is dead quirky and funny. Check this out...

My opinion on this matter probably sounds pretty naive to a lot of folks out there, but frankly I don't care. Take it or leave it. In the end though, I wound up voting for the Liberal-Democrats. This was mainly because I didn't feel either choice would have been bad, but I just had a feeling at this time that I should vote for the Lib-Dems. In the end, it didn't make a difference in my constituency anyway, because the Labour candidate nabbed it.

So, the result of the election is what is known in these parts as a "hung parliament". There has been much amusement among my Canadian friends with regards to this term... my facebook status the morning of the election said something along the lines of "Well, hung parliament is a good thing..." I had many comments in my inbox about that particular choice of word. However, what a hung parliament means - is that we - the people of the United Kingdom have elected a more balanced parliament. The Conservatives had the most votes of any party, but all of the other parties combined had WAY more votes than the Conservatives. It's very much like the minority government in Canada at the moment. The situation we have is quite interesting really because there are a number of choices that could be made. In the end the man that seems to have all the power is Nick Clegg - the leader of the Liberal Democrat party. Depending on whom he decides to align himself with, this government could swing either way - Conservative or Labour. Here is a more detailed explanation of this hung parliament...

Nick has started by talking to the Conservatives to see what sort of offer they can make that could entice him to allow his party to form a coalition with them. He has made no official decision at this moment. However, there have also been offers from Labour, and the SNP / Plaid Cymru (in Wales) to form an alliance against the conservatives. Nick has all the power in the end, and it's very interesting to watch. He better not screw it up!!!

One principle of the Liberal-Democrat Manifesto is that of Parliamentary Reform... the idea of Proportional Representation has been kicking around in the UK for more than 20 years. PR has been used in many countries around Europe for years and years... here's a video from the 80's with John Cleese in it to explain how it works...

So - yeah - I'm all for PR. I think it's a brilliant idea. Since the results of the election have come out, more and more people are becoming aware that there is something wrong with the current system of voting. Parliamentary reform at this point is inevitable. This is one of the main points that Nick Clegg will be pushing right now in his negotiations. (or better be!) If you believe that parliamentary reform is important for the future of Britain, then I would recommend that you sign this petition... (link)

I have... I hope that the outcome of this whole thing will be a positive one that will reflects the wishes and desires of the British people, as opposed to the wishes and desires of a few greedy politicians.

So yeah - there's my unfashionable political post. As I said, take it or leave it. I'm not much of a debater, so don't even try to start one up with me... I believe what I believe, and I stand by it.

Other than that, not much has happened this week. I was just really glad to have a reasonably restful week after the events of the past few weeks.

Have a good week peeps, and pray for us Britons. Thanks. x


Here's a video of the protests for parliamentary reform from yesterday...

Thursday 6 May 2010

News & Stuff...

I profusely apologize for not blogging the past 2 Sundays... I've been ridiculously busy lately. I had a very special visitor 2 week-ends ago. ;-) Then, I had another visitor from Canada staying for a couple of weeks, and then this past week-end I had a large group of singles from age 25-45 come up to Dundee for a wee conference I had planned. I also had my first University assignment due in this week - which actually was due last week, but I got an extension...

Anyway - well yes I do have news. If you've been following me on Facebook, then you already know this, but well there's a new man in my life.

By a new man in my life - I actually mean - a man - for real. I'm not being funny, I actually have a boyfriend. Yes, I know, I know - it's about time and all of that.

Brief synopsis... (since everyone asks)

We met online about 3 years ago through a mutual friend on and kept in touch rather casually all of that time. Anyway - a couple of months ago, when I went to the temple for the first time in 18 months, we finally met in person. We had lunch in the temple cafeteria - which was our first date... the rest is history. We've had 3 other dates since then - including 2 week-ends back when he came to Dundee to visit me. We seem to hit it off. We have a lot in common, and plenty to talk about when we're together.

His name is Andy, and he works at the temple as an assistant engineer. :-)

He's very kind, thougtful, smart, funny, and witty. Plus, I really really like him.

We're not engaged or anything - so stop jumping to conclusions, and try not to get ahead of yourselves. We're taking it one step at a time. But, umm - watch this space.


p.s. - I'll try to write this Sunday xo

p.p.s. - I voted today in my first UK parliamentary election. I think it's going to be a pretty tight race. I really really hope it doesn't wind up a Tory parliament, but that's me. I had a lot of pressure from all of my friends to vote this way, and vote that way. In the end, I voted according to my conscience - so there you have it. :-) New parliament tomorrow - likely hung.