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Sunrise at Tombstone, AZ

Monday, 29 May 2017

A taste of the summer weather. May 27 - 28

The weather has been fabulous with temps up to 26C. Lovely sunny days.

This week has been busy with arranging for quotes on a new roof, pest control and going to the hospital to visit Ray's mum. I made us a little sitting area under the trees in the front garden as it is in the shade for most of the day. The back yard, I find, is way too hot for this kid. In the front there is almost always a slight breeze making it quite enjoyable. As we sit there, we can see the hummers coming to the feeders too. This area used to be thick with bushes you could not see through it.

On Monday I made pork tenderloin on the BBQ for dad and he really enjoyed it. Larny took Monday off to take Mark with some friends to Alouette Lake. Too funny ... they all use their cell phones as GPS but there is no cell service near the lake and they got lost. Took them from 8:30 am to noon before they finally got to the lake! Anyways they had a great day.

Saturday, Garrett and Kat came to visit and wash the coach for us. They also helped with a bunch of brushing that needed to be done in the back yard.

You now can see through the trees to the back.
Kat helped me load up the bagster bag with all of the junk from the garage that was riddled with mouse droppings ... very stinky stuff. Apparently the mice and rats moved in last winter and made a huge mess. Ray found at 3 nests. When I had pest control come for an estimate on the ants and rat control they found evidence of nesting in the roof as well. Yuck. Well the new roof and new vents will solve that problem and I think since the garage is emptied out and we will set traps, that should eliminate the mice and rats this year. There was old cat food and a filled litter box still buried amongst all the junk that had been stacked up in there. Now the garage is empty except for Kerri and Steve's winter tires and some stuff that will go into a garage sale. Quite the job to get done off of our list.

 (Pictures not as good as usual as I took them with my phone! :) )

Garrett washing the coach

"The Junk" it is actually bigger than it looks. The bag will hold a full sheet of gyproc.

And there it goes!

The girls enjoying being together again.

Kat starting to get tired.

There she goes!

I made a barbequed prime rib for dinner with corn on the cob. Larny contributed fried rice and salad and we also had a lovely dessert from Costco, a blueberry cream cheese crumble. We had great evening. visiting with Garrett and Kat. Mark came back from his first day of work around 8:30 pm, one very tired and sore guy. All he could say was "hard work" going up 3 stories up a ladder carrying stuff. Don't know if he will continue?

Sunday morning, after a big breakfast of pancakes and bacon, it was Garrett's turn to have a nap as they had been out late on Friday night. By 10:30 am it was just Dad and I left. Larny and Mark left at 9 for her day off and Ray went to visit his mum. Watering all of the new plants was first up on my list and then I finished dragging all of the cut down brush into the back compost area. Next I planted my herbs in the greenhouse while popping in and out to check on Dad. He slept in his chair most of the afternoon as it was so warm in the house. Although we keep trying to get him to come outside, he refuses.

For Sunday dinner, Ray stopped at TNT Market at Metrotown and bought 3 huge dungeness crabs for dinner. This was an early Father's Day present for Dad and Ray. I made up a seafood sauce and garlic butter sauce. Ray shucked all of Dad's crab for him. A nice bottle of white wine.  We all pigged out. Yumm. Expensive but worth it. Ray and I also have leftovers for tonight, might have to pop a new bottle of wine as no leftovers there.

Friday, 26 May 2017

Dad's Place May 20 -26

Saturday, May 20

Ray's brother Ryan, came over from the island this weekend to stay for a few days and visit mom at the hopsital. Ray and I did not go Saturday but one of us has been going every day this week for a couple of hours. In between, I've been doing stuff for Dad and Ray's been sorting out junk in the garage in preparation for getting rid of a bunch of stuff. Nothing too exciting. The only good part is that the weather is fabulous so we have been sitting outside in the afternoons enjoying it in Dad's backyard.

Saturday we did take Larny and her husband to the beach in White Rock for a walk, and bought lunch at Moby Dick's Fish and Chips to eat on the beach. They enjoyed seeing the ocean.

Larny and her husband Mark

The rest of this week was taken up making appointments with pest control ... we have mice in the garage and an outbreak of ants again, calling roofer companies for quotes ... getting our shaw cable sorted out finally on Thursday and generally getting plants for Dad's planters. I also took Mark to Service Canada for his social insurance number and drove him to a few businesses to get application forms for work. In between, as I had mentioned earlier, one or the other of us has been visiting Ray's mum in the hospital daily. Very tiring. She is not a very happy camper and is complaining about everything. So not like her. Very hard to visit and stay positive. She is turning down physiotherapy so this does not look like a good situation. Ray cannot keep spending hours at the hospital, his back is excruitiating and I cannot do it every day for him as I have stuff at Dad's to take care of that Ray cannot do so we will start limiting our visits to 2 to 3 times a week to give us a bit of a break. Tough times.

My Dad is moving much slower as well. His breathing is getting quite laboured.

On the up side, I asked one of the roofers on Wednesday that had come to the house to quote, if they needed any workers as Mark, Larny's husband, had his papers to work and now has a social insurance number.  I also mentioned that Mark was used to hot weather as it was currently 40C in the Philipines and that I found him to be a hard worker around the house. Mike, the owner of the roofing company, said he already had several Filipino workers and finds them to be excellent so he probably would put Mark to work. They phoned him yesterday (Thursday) and offered him a job starting Saturday. Yeah ... good money to start $17/hour with a raise to $20/hour if he works out. The construction in the lower mainland is booming so there should be lots of work. So far, Dad is happy with him staying here at the house so fingers crossed that Larny stays as Dad's full-time caregiver.

Garrett and Kat to come to Dad's after visiting Ray's mum on Saturday and wash the coach for us. It will be nice to get rid of all the winter dirt.

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Move to Dad's May 16-19

Tuesday, May 16

Today is a very busy day. We had previously arranged Coit Carpet Cleaning to come and clean the carpets and colour the grout on the tiles and seal it so it does not look "dirty" any more. They did a fabulous job. While I was making sure that was done, Ray went to the hospital to visit his mum. Unfortunately there was an accident on the Alex Fraser Bridge so he managed to get turned around and take the Port Mann instead but it took over an hour to get to the hospital. Pretty sad for him watching his mom deteriorate.  As the motorhome is all ready to move as everything had been picked up for the cleaning we decided to move it to dad's this afternoon rather than first thing Wednesday morning. It took a bit to get "leveled" with the soft dirt but we managed. Now we are ready for Shaw Cable to hook us up first thing tomorrow morning. The main reason we moved today is to not be in a rush tomorrow. Here are some pictures of our new camping spot!

View from the front window

Wednesday, May 17

We had a great sleep as it so quiet here at Dad's. I will go to the hospital this morning and Ray will deal with getting hooked up with Shaw Cable. As it turned out I got the days wrong. Shaw is coming tomorrow. Oh well it is nice to be settled at Dad's. Mum seemed a little more "with it" this morning but still not much improvement on her left side. Mostly cloudy all day until 6 pm when the sun finally broke through.

Thursday, May 18

Cloudy again! Geezzz. Hopefully it will smarten up later. The Shaw Cable guy arrived at about 8:30 am. Nothing is as easy as it seems. We ended up putting the cables straight into the PVR through the slides as we were not getting a sufficient signal going through the coach wiring. The coach is 6 years old ... so maybe that is why. Anyways there apparently is something wrong at the pole on the street and the new PVR's do not work in the coach. We had to take the PVR from the office and use it for now in the coach until they sort it out. With it being a long-weekend I am not holding my breath. At least we get some TV now. Too bad for Dad's caregiver ... he loses the TV in the office until we get our problem resolved.

Ray went to visit his mum for lunch. She is doing better as far as her cognitive abilities but her left arm is totally flacid so it does not look good for going back to assisted living. She is also quite cranky ... that is one of the symptoms of a stroke, especially in the area of her brain the second stroke hit. Ray's cousins, Nicki and Val came up today from Lynnwood, Washington to visit with Mum late this afternoon. Ray's brother Ryan is coming over this weekend for a few days so that will lighten our load. I must admit we are getting pretty bushed especially since I have errands for my Dad as well. Next week we should find out more as to what Mum can do and what long-term prognosis might be ... rehab or just long-term care. Long term care means cleaning out her apartment but we will cross that bridge when it comes.

Kristi and Jason had planned to try and get over here this weekend but Kristi is working 90 plus hours a week at the moment and is exhausted. Since Ryan is coming and Ray's sister and husband are coming for a visit on Saturday, Mum should also have friends visiting on the weekend so I told her not to bother and look after herself. If things change with Mum's condition I would let her know.

Friday, May 19

Another morning that is cloudy ... still promising sunshine for the rest of the weekend though. I believe it when I see it. Dad's caregiver, Larny, returns today with her husband from the Philipines. Dad is very excited to see her as they really bonded last year as she became "his person" right after Betty died. She has been calling regularly so I know she misses Dad as well.

I went to visit mum while Ray waited for the Shaw Cable guys to come again and fix the wire at the road. They were unable still, to hook us and Dad's house up properly so for now we have the office PVR and Dad has his own.

Larny and her husband arrived at about 5:20 pm. Ray and I stayed in the motorhome to let them get settled. They had travelled for over 24 hours so were pretty tired. We will have lots of time to get to know Mark, Larny's husband in the coming days.

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Peace Arch May 7 - 15

Mum and Freya
Sunday, May 7th

It was my day to spend with Dad and cook dinner. We had a lovely Pork Rib Roast with scalloped potatoes and fresh corn on the cob.  Dad actually ate quite well. It was quite sunny but a little cool with the wind. Ray left after dinner to come home and I stayed until John came back from his day off at 9:15 pm. Kind of a long day for me. Dad went to bed at 8:15.

Monday, May 8th

I took the day off ... yeah! but stayed home and caught up with laundry and house cleaning as well as some personal grocery shopping. Managed to sit outside for an hour or so in the sun.

Tuesday, May 9th

I took Dad to run his errands and then off to vote. Another sunny with some clouds but not very warm out. Made pork belly in my Instant Pot with Ray's favourite, homemade chow mien. Turned out fabulous. (Don't know why we never heard about pork belly earlier! :)

Wednesday, May 10th

We woke up to a cloudy morning. I met the electrician at Dad's at noon to install a 50AMP plug for our motorhome. We also have scheduled 3 motion lights to be installed at a later date. Ray and I had been invited to Dianne and Steve's in Fort Langley, for our last dinner with them before they leave on Friday for their work camping position at Tunkwa Lake for the summer. Great visit, and great dinner Dianne. Your pork tenderloin was awesome ... your barbecuing of said pork tenderloin was also awesome Steve!

The two chefs "dancing" in the kitchen ... actually Dianne keeping Steve's hand "out of trouble"!

Unfortunately while we were enjoying the last of our dessert, we received a call that Ray's mum had fallen at the care home and was taken by ambulance to Burnaby General Hospital. We left immediately and headed back to the coach to let the dog out for a bathroom break before we locked her back in the coach. She was not very impressed with us. While we were driving, the emergency doc called us ... Mum had had quite a severe stroke and had a large blood clot on her brain on the right side so had a severe deficit on her left side but she could still talk fairly coherently. Did we want to administer the "clot busting drug"? Mum had signed a DNR and does not want extraordinary measures however, the stroke was not going to end her life just make it more miserable with lack of movement so Ray gave the order to proceed with the drug. Also we asked the doctor did you ask her what she wants?? They just assumed she did not have all her faculties being 92 years old, so he asked her and she agreed. We arrived within an hour of his call and saw mum in emergency. She did not respond as quickly as they had hoped and she was moved into ICU. She was quite easily understood talking but the left side of her mouth was quite slack. By 9:30 she was having some progress being able to move her left leg and toes. We left the ICU as she was stable for now and went to bed at 11:30 pm.

Ray was in such pain with his back that even his "heavy medication" was not helping and he ended up not getting any sleep all night. I managed to get 5 hours before we were "all up and at em", Ray to the hospital and I had to go to Dad's to meet the tree pruning guys at Dad's to oversee the work to be done. Isn't it true everything always happens at once. I really wished to be at the hospital supporting Ray and Mum but I was needed at Dad's. I also had to take him to a dental appointment at noon in Delta as the dentist already rescheduled as we were supposed to be there a day earlier but it had been missed on Dad's appointment calendar.

Thursday, May 11th

The guys from the tree service arrived shortly before 9am. The scope of the work was to prune all of the trees along the side of the driveway to fit our motorhome and clean out all of the low shrubs and branches in the middle garden to improve security for the front of the house as well as visibility getting in and out of the driveway. All of the shrubs and trees have grown substantially in the 30 years since they were planted and are in need of thinning of dead wood and branches. It was amazing to watch how quick they got the front garden cleaned out. Unfortunately for the guys, all six of them, it poured rain all afternoon and they called it a day by 2:30 pm to return first thing tomorrow for another full day of work.

Before Pictures:

Kristi cancelled her office hours today and came over first thing this morning to be with Mum as well, making sure that her care is being done right and with Mum's wishes. Good thing as they wanted to put a nasal gastric tube down her throat to administer her medication and Kristi put a stop to that and told her to do suppositories instead which is much more pleasant than a tube up through your nose that stays there and makes you feel like gagging! She cannot take anything by mouth yet until they do a swallow test. Also, Mum gets dehydrated fairly easily and has been hospitalised for that a couple of times since Christmas so Kristi made sure she was put on an IV. In the 12 hours since she had been there, that had not been done.  Ray's brother Ryan, missed the 3pm ferry from Nanaimo and won't get into Vancouver until 7 pm but he did manage a visit with her. Ray will take over at 10 am hopefully missing the rush hour traffic. This morning at 7:30 am it took him 70 minutes instead of 25.

Dad's Congestive Heart Failure is quite prevalent this morning as well.  His ankles are swollen and his chest is gurgling quite loud. He's not feeling top notch either. Poor guy. Kristi left the hospital  at  6:45 pm after spending the day with Mum. She called a colleague of hers to discuss the neurological findings that Kristi had read and watched all day and found out that Mum is doing remarkable well after the 24 hours. The fact that she can move her arm and leg on the left side is huge at this point. We do have to watch for a bleed though from the clot busting drug. Kristi is going to stop in to Dad's to have a quick visit and then probably take the 10:45 ferry back to the island. What a day for her but we are so thankful that she was here to make sure Mum was being taken care of properly and explain to us what is going on.

Friday, May 12

Friday I was at Dad's again as the pruning continues and Dad also has an emergency dental appointment for 1:30. He has a huge hunk of his front tooth that has broken and is just hanging there compressed between his other front tooth and the dentist is worried that if they don't take it off he could choke on it. More fun!

So after 6 guys working for 2 days we have a wonderful result ... new bark mulch was spread as well.

After Pictures:

Large rhodos taken out in front of the windows. (New roof scheduled for July)

The tarp shed will be moved out and the motorhome will fit right beside the house now with 50AMP Power.

Ray's mum had a very successful Friday. Ray's brother was there first thing in the morning before returning to the island and Ray took over at 10 am and stayed until noon. Ryan's neice Raychelle arrived for a visit as Ray left.  Mum was up in a wheel chair and ate a good lunch. This was the first time they let her swallow anything since her stroke Wednesday night. She is regaining movement on her left side with her arm and leg. Mum should be moved sometime today to an actual ward for physiotherapy. It is still too soon to know if she will be able to go back to her assisted living apartment or will have to be moved into long-term care.

With all of this going on, Ray and I decided to stay in our motorhome in Dad's driveway for the summer. Too much is happening with our parents and we do not feel that we should leave them at this time. If everyone is stable in July we may be able to take a couple weeks off and go to the Merritt area to do some fishing.

Saturday, May 13

Woke up to some clearing. Ray and I were off to the hospital and arrived by 10am. Mum was in good spirits and was progressing quite well. We were back home by 1 pm to relax for the afternoon. Ray's back is hooped and I am just plain tired. Instant Pot meal of country spareribs, yummm.

Sunday, May 14 Mother's Day

Ray and I again spent a couple of hours at the hospital. Once we were back I headed up to Dad's as it was my day to look after him and deal with dinner. Dad bought Chinese Food so I would not have to cook on Mother's Day. Thanks Dad. Ray came later after resting at home for a couple of hours.

Monday, May 15

Today I left for the hospital at 5:30 am to get there before the traffic. We have had no communications from the doctors as to mum's status, prognosis, test results etc. Getting pretty frustrated. So I went to spend the day and get her sorted out. When I arrived I found out she had had another stroke starting late afternoon. They apparently took her for another CT scan at 11 pm to confirm the new stroke. Never did they even call us that she was worsening or that she had another stoke. Unbelievable! I was very shocked to see her condition when I walked in at 6 am. After making my displeasure known with mum's nurse on duty, mum's internist, who just started with her file that morning, made sure he came to see me to discuss her case. I think we will have more info this week as Dr. Hui also covers ICU if mum should end up there. Mum is back to being unable to move her hand, arm and leg on the left side. She still has her full faculties though and can talk although a little slurred with the left side of her mouth slack.

It was a very busy morning starting with another CT scan at 7 am, and with physio in, speech pathologist to assess mum's ability to swallow again ... whether she can have food, the internist, and being tested for her neuro signs every 2 hours. Her outcome at this time does not look very good for the ability to regain her movement this time. I have also arranged with the nurse to get her an air mattress like she had in the ICU which is way more comfortable for her as she is just skin and bones and has had a sore back for the last month. After feeding mum lunch a friend of hers came to visit so I was able to leave at 1:30 to get back home to rest.

Sunday, 7 May 2017

The George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary, Delta, BC

Saturday, May 6th

The sun's out with some puffy clouds. Time to choose a destination for the day to enjoy it while it's here! After a leisurely morning, and Freya walked and left behind, we set out for the Reifel Bird Sanctuary located in Ladner at the mouth of the Fraser River. We'd tried to see the sanctuary before and left as there are no dogs allowed.  After touring it we can certainly see why with all of the birds just sitting on the trails waiting to be fed! Entrance Fees are only $3 for Ray as a senior and $5 for me for a couple hours of walking. Very reasonable. You can buy packages of seed for $1 to feed the birds. Most will eat right out of your hand.

The George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary consists of nearly 300 hectares (850 acres) of managed wetlands, natural marshes and low dykes in the heart of the Fraser River Estuary. For the millions of birds seeking feeding and resting areas during their annual migrations along the Pacific Coast, the Sanctuary is ideally located. It is a place where wildlife and their habitats are protected from harm, and it lies next to miles of flat marshland and the farmland of Westham Island.

In The Beginning

The Sanctuary is located on the outskirts of the Village of Ladner, in Delta, BC. In the early 1900's, protective dykes had been built along the Fraser River to protect Ladner's thriving farming and fishing-based community from the Fraser River and the tidal waters of the Strait of Georgia. Nearby river islands, though, were only partially dyked or left to flood each year naturally, and were often sites of fishing camps which supplied the numerous local salmon canneries.
The northwest part of Westham Island consisted of such undyked islands when George C. Reifel bought his property in 1927. Natural river channels such as Ewen, Robertson and Fuller Sloughs dissected the property and retain their names still within the Sanctuary waterways. Although all equipment and building materials needed to be barged in, by 1929, Mr. Reifel had created a large recreational family retreat in this idyllic location. Dykes and causeways were constructed to create waterfowl habitats and road access connecting his land ("Reifel Island") to the rest of Westham Island. Although the family ran successful real estate and brewery businesses, Reifel Farm, as it became known, was also very successful, and during WW2 was responsible for over one-third of the sugar beet seed production of Canada.

A Meeting Of Minds

In the 1960's, his son, George H. Reifel, granted the first lease to the British Columbia Waterfowl Society for a Bird Sanctuary to be named after his late father. Ducks Unlimited Canada was brought in to assist with the water management of the many wetland habitats on the site, and has continued to be an active partner in the management of the area. The provincial government supplemented this effort by establishing a game reserve on the adjacent intertidal foreshore. By 1972, there was widespread recognition of both the real estate value and the wildlife habitat value of the Reifel homestead, waterways, farm fields, and Sanctuary area. To conserve the entire area, the Reifel family agreed to a combination of land sale and donation to the federal government on the condition that it would continue to be managed for the primary benefit of waterfowl and that the Sanctuary would con tinue to bear the name of George C. Reifel.

Ray and I saw many different ducks, geese, different swallows etc.

Viewing plataform and warm up shelter.

Ray looking very professional with all of his gear!

Our kids, Kristi and Garrett were taken here by my parents years ago. They still remember it.

Notice our "fashion faupas" ... socks and sandals! Ready for that hot sun later today!

While Ray looked for photo ops he noticed some large fish in the water that turned out to be carp.

Beautiful Views

We decided to walk to the tower to get a great view out over the water and to Steveston.

Looking north towards Steveston we saw a tall ship moored on the other side of the Fraser River.  This is the Kaiwo Maru, a Japanese Navy training ship.  It's one of the largest in the world at 361' and 29,000 square feet of sail.  It rarely leaves Japanese waters. A freighter happened to be entering the main arm of the Fraser River so you can really see how big the tall ship is.

Here is the CPR Rail Ferry and after looking at the pictures we realized that the tall ship was starting to display it's sails. Too bad we did not stay a little longer to get the full effect!

This guy was hard to get a picture of as he seemed to fly off just as you snapped the picture.

Lots of nesting boxes everywhere.

Wood duck
 Next it was off to the Sandhill Crane nesting area. We only saw one mated pair though.

Here's Momma sharing her little island with other birds.

Here's Dad keeping an eye out for anyone else that might bother mom.

Blue Heron

You could see birds flying in and out of these nesting boxes but of course when we wanted to take a picture ... no go. There is a small bird sitting on the top box that you can barely see and one perched on the nest in the top box.

This blue heron swooped in just before we were leaving and I managed to get a picture before it dissappeared in the weeds. Lovely bird.

This was a "do again" kind of place. Very reasonable entrance fee, nice flat walking trails and lots of birds singing and splashing. A lovely peaceful place.

After 2 hours of walking Ray and I decided to have a late lunch at Sharkey's on the river in Ladner as we were starved. The beer was great but the food was just okay. Did the job though. Back home to the coach and rescue Freya. The rest of the day we spent sitting outside enjoying the sun. Another great day.

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