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Dear Diary – I was comfortably settled on the couch Friday morning, happy that I didn’t have to go anywhere, when I heard my cell phone ringing. Upstairs! I thought it was in my purse. I didn’t hustle because I figured it was just a telemarketer. But it wasn’t. It was the grocery store about my order…which I was supposed to be picking up in the next 2 minutes. I had ordered groceries online the day before, but I thought I had reserved a 9 a.m. slot for Monday because I was heading to my folks on Monday and I thought I should feed my family.

As I pulled on my sneakers, listening to my voicemail, I also noticed I had 5 text messages, including one from a friend looking for a ride home from the hospital! I got my groceries; she still hasn’t gotten out. As the shadows of the day grew, so did her list of things I needed to bring her. The only problem was the only person with a key to her apartment wouldn’t be back in town until after 8.

By the time 8 arrived, I was exhausted. It was dark, cold, and drizzling outside (as well as inside my heart) when I walked into her building. I almost didn’t make. One of the senior residents who felt he deserved the entire empty parking lot to circle his wagon before pulling into his parking space, and nearly ran me over. I was okay with visiting my friend, but I didn’t relish being her roommate!

Hospital parking is never straightforward, nor the rates low. After delivering my friend’s bag, pillow and hot coffee, I trudged behind the porter taking her to her room. There were no covid checklists to tick off or hoops to jump through, even though I was entering an overflowing Emergency Room.

It was almost 10 before I headed out into the drizzle again. The ticket machine refused to take my ticket, instead sticking it back at me like it was sticking out its tongue. I maneuvered my car to try the other exit, and after several attempts (and a few punctuated threats), my ticket was accepted and I was permitted to escape leave.

However, the exit didn’t allow a left turn, forcing me to drive west away from home. I pulled into the first street 2 blocks away, and began a tiring suburban drive in a warren of streets that serpentined endlessly. I was beginning to despair that I wouldn’t be crawling under the covers until sunrise when I passed the park and finally knew where I was!

By the time I got home, I wanted a drink…of cranberry gingerale. I vowed that I would not leave the house on Saturday.

It was not meant to be. My friend had another wish list, but this time, I didn’t drive. I asked Hubby to drop me off and spare me another neighbourhood tour. 😉

Dear Diary – Recent stats said my post was shared to 441 email subscribers and 161 social followers. If this is possible, why do I only get, on average, one comment a week? 🙂

Dear Diary – Someone reminded me that I have a beautiful life. And they’re right.

This week the father of Eldest Son’s best friend, S.’ passed away after a long battle with cancer. He lived longer than expected which meant they had one more Easter, one more Thanksgiving, and many more beautiful days. I’m sure they weren’t all weren’t easy. Eldest Son, L. and S. have been like a family since high school, and together these 2 girls have been caring for Dad while Mom is at work. L. lost her father just over a year ago. I admire these brave young women who have already known such deep sorrow and they are on my heart.

The path I’ve taken may not have been the one I dreamed about when I played with Barbie (I still haven’t walked a Red Carpet). Sure, instead of a castle, I live in a semi-detached house. Prince Charming is an engineer who doesn’t ride a white horse, but he’s no frog. I am blessed with princes. I have woken up on Christmas morning under my parents’ roof for almost 50 years (with the exception of 2020 when we celebrated in a service center parking lot), and I will celebrate with them this year too. At my house. But all of these things, and so much more, has given me a life filled with love and laughter (a lot of it with me and at me), and that is what makes it so beautiful.

I sustain myself with the love of my family.

Maya Angelou

Dear Diary – The last two days have been crazy. I headed to my folks where I baked a crunchy mess, stole borrowed a Christmas tree from church, and saved a life. I took my best friends and partners in crime along for the ride!

I arrived Monday afternoon to an empty house. The guy installing my parents’ new carpet got sick and the work’s been postponed, so everything in the living room and hall had shuffled, except 3 chairs lined up in front of the t.v. The couch and dining table are now sharing a space; the table covered in Mom’s good china from the china cabinet. The sideboard and the t.v. stand are in my bedroom, but they created a crooked maze almost as wide as me to get to the bed. And a flashlight.

I lost the flashlight by the second night.

I attended a birthday party with my Mom for a lovely lady I have never met. I was promised cake.

On Tuesday, Mom and I muttered in our separate corners of the kitchen while we baked our own cookies. The couch made an excellent surface for spreading out baking utensils, cookie cutters and when you got tired, a soft place to rest. My sugar cookies kept flaking as I rolled them out and they baked crunchy. It wasn’t until the middle of the night that I realized I had forgotten the milk.

Suddenly, Mom gasped and covered her hand with her mouth. “There’s a squirrel drowning in the pool”.

Normally, this would be a “Dad” job, but Dad wasn’t home. I sprang into action.

In advance of the new carpet, Dad had been pulling up the carpet and adding screws to the floor so there was an assortment of tools in the living room. I was hoping for a bucket, but with none in sight, I grabbed the white plastic bowl on the couch and crawled over the back. I ran to the gate, shoved the bbq out of the way, and scrabbled with the lock. I couldn’t see any movement n the water, not even ripples on the surface.

I grabbed the ladder from the side and shoved it into the black water. The squirrel finally surfaced but on the far side of the pool. It was obvious he was exhausted and we didn’t have much time. I ran up the stairs and across the deck, with the bowl still in my hand. I also grabbed a step stool and hopped down the stairs.

My feet were soaking wet by the time I got to the pool. “Where is he?” I called to Mom watching from above, as I dropped the stoll and climbed up. He was just coming up for air when I reached the bowl out to him and he turned to me. I scooped him out and tried to set the bowl on the ground, but still panicked, the squirrel tipped out. Unhurt but still terrified, he started to crawl under the deck into a pile of debris. Mom threw down a dry towel and I did my best to wrap it around him, but I couldn’t pick him up. Once I knew he was safe, I stepped away so he could calm down. He didn’t know I wasn’t going to hurt him.

I returned a few minutes later to see how he was, and I tucked the towel around his little body again. He purred and closed his eyes to sleep. Sadly, when I went back later, he had died in his sleep. I felt terrible.

On Wednesday morning, we went shopping in some local shops. It feels good to support small businesses. I know how much love and attention to detail I put into each of my creations for my Etsy shop. I could certainly see that love in the candles, soaps, pickles and jams I admired.

With Christmas shopping nearly complete, I turned my attention to cookies again. This time I added the milk. This time, they worked. All they need now is some sparkle and buttons.

Last night, like the 3 bears, we partied with chips and a James Bond movie in our 3 little chairs. Except I was in Mama’s leather Chair because I could have both laptops plugged in and lying at my feet. I’ve started the incredibly boring task of transferring files to my new laptop. We sampled some saskatoon berry jam on Dad’s homemade raisin ‘n spice sourdough bread muffins before toddling off to bed.

That means, dear diary, that I have a car to pack and a long road trip ahead.