Saturday, August 27, 2011

As promised - a tad later than - but better late than never.  Got the okay from Miles last night to post pics of 'my' boys on my blog.  So here goes - sure hope it works smoothly.

Allow me to introduce you to Baby B - picture taken minutes after his entrance into this world.

This is Baby A - not looking all that thrilled - again taken within minutes of his entrance.

Baby B - giving us the 'eye' - I cannot believe what just happened.

Baby A hooked up to his c-pap machine - to help him with his breathing.  Again taken shortly after birth - August 9, 2011

Lincoln Gordon Myers - sleeping peacefully at the Peter Lougheed Centre NICU on August 13, 2011.

Austin Miles Myers - in his mom's arms - at the NICU in Peter Lougheed Centre - also taken on August 13, 2011

Proud papa with Austin - red light on his foot is monitoring oxygen saturation of the blood - Aug. 13, 2011

Austin and grandma communing - notice the little smile.  Aug. 13, 2011

Proud papa and Lincoln - such a tiny package of joy.  Aug. 14, 2011

Lincoln with grandma - such bliss.  Aug. 14, 2011

My boys waving goodbye to me - Aug. 14, 2011.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Today was a big day in this Myers' household.  Shani and I went to the hospital this morning and the boys were released.  We brought them home - arrived about 1:30 - they are adjusting well to their new environs and mom and dad are tickled pink to have them home - makes life so much easier - gives them time to get things done around the house - and to enjoy the boys in a much more comfortable setting.  Lounging around on the couch is much more comfy while snuggling the boys than sitting in one of the chairs at the PLC (Peter Lougheed Centre).  Unfortunately before we were able to make our escape it was found that a routine test that was done a week ago yesterday was going to have to be redone because the box indicating what sex Lincoln Gordon was had not been properly checked off - so they would not accept the test - so he had to have another heel poke - and while the nurse was poking his foot to get the blood - Lincoln anointed me - he peed all over me - missed the diaper just about completely - ah well - such are the joys of being around babies.  Good thing I was not wearing my high fashion duds of silk and satin - not likely as I do not own anything that cannot be thrown into the washing machine.

One of the women in their ward brought supper over - zucchini pie, salad, sour cream brownies, grapes and blueberry muffins.  It was all very good - although I have not yet tasted one of the muffins.  Miles will be making himself popcorn - Mr. Picky Pants.

I took quite a few pictures and will endeavour to upload them - should try now - but I am too tired - afraid that if it did not go well - the laptop might end up out a window.

When we got home Shani and I had a bite to eat and then she laid down for a snooze and I was given the 'honour' of putting together the change table - quite the challenge when I had no idea what it looked like - no instructions as it is a borrowed item - but with a bit of ingenuity I managed to get it together.  Here is hoping it stays together - I did not have a screw driver so I used my nail file - pretty sure I got the bolts done up tight enough - especially for now - not as if Lincoln and Austin are exactly bouncing around much yet .

Tomorrow I think we will likely be doing a lot more around the house to get it more organized - needless to say with the twins opting to come early not much is ready for them.  So Shani and I have a lot to do - and I will be doing most of the grunt work with directions from the boss.

The nursery needs to be sanded down - to get the wall paper remnants off - and then painted.  Miles will have his hands full - although I think he has enlisted the aid of a friend - so hopefully it will be done sooner rather than later.

Just realized I will have to invest in some batteries for my camera - as my rechargeable ones may not be able to be recharged - will have to ask Miles and Shani if they have a charger that I could use - if not I will just buy some regular batteries and use them - not really a big deal - unless I forget to get the batteries and the camera dies - then it is a problem.

Must admit that flying from Fort McMurray to Calgary is much more pleasurable than driving - took less than an hour to fly down - whereas when you drive it takes between eight and nine hours - depending on the number of stops you make.  Only one small fly in the ointment - the cost - but ......

The next big news is that Ayman has been 'found'.  He contacted his wife and kids in Egypt on Saturday telling them that he was going to be released in a few days - as soon as the battle for Tripoli was over.  Mahmood kindly passed along the news.  Then on Sunday while I was at the airport waiting for my flight I checked my Facebook and Mawada had sent me a message telling me that Ayman was out of jail and at his brother's place in Tripoli - kindly giving me two numbers where he could be reached at - tried to contact him this morning and got nowhere - will try again tomorrow - although I am tempted to just 'wait' for his call - but he has likely lost Miles' phone number - but still tempting.  Guess we will see how I feel tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Ta da - I am a grandma - Miles and Shani had their twin boys on August 9th at 11:00 p.m.  They did not have names picked out for them - so they were referred to as Baby A - who weighed in at 5 lbs. and Baby B - who came in at nearly 4 lbs. - 3 lbs. 15 oz. to be exact.  Shani had gone for her usual appointment and on the way home her water broke - so she made her way to the Foothills and they hooked her up to a monitor and told her she was in labour - pains were obviously not very bad as she was not feeling a thing. 

Shani was released from the hospital on Friday and the twins were moved from Foothills to the Peter Lougheed Centre - not at all convenient as Miles and Shani live in the SW - they were asked where they wanted the boys to go and they chose Rockyview - but they were full - so why bother to ask.  Of course the transfer was a good news bad news scenario - good news because it meant the condition of the twins was not as grave as it had been meaning they could be transferred out of the Level 3 NICU to a Level 2 NICU - which is great - but then they were transferred to the hospital furthest from them - which means a lot of travel time.  Unfortunately, Shani was left with an epidural headache - one of the side effects of having an epidural - which meant every time she was vertical she was in a great deal of pain.

I received some pictures from Miles on Thursday - they had been taken by Shani's brother Dennis - and of course I needed to see them in person - Marian suggested I take Friday off work - a no go as I need to earn as much money as possible - but then she suggested we drive down Friday after I finish work - I was desperate to see 'my' boys - so I phoned Miles and asked if I could bunk with them for part of Friday night and Saturday night so I could see the boys - he allowed as how I must be 'desperate' to see them - and he was right - as it is an 8 hour trip to make on a two day weekend - just a bit nuts - but then.....

So Friday after work Marian picked me up - a tad on the late side and we drove down to Calgary - we arrived around 2 a.m. - I got to bed around 2:30 a.m. after having a shower and had to get up early - 6:30 a.m. - as Miles wanted to have a shower before we were going to head to the hospital in the morning - so I needed to get up early enough so I could shower before Miles did - yes I shower twice a day - we headed out to the hospital around 8:30 a.m. - made it for their 9:00 feeding.

When the babies were being transferred it was impressed upon Miles and Shani that they boys needed names.  So let me introduce you to Austin Miles Myers (previously referred to as Baby A) and Lincoln Gordon Myers (Baby B). 

They are so cute - and oh so tiny - remember my 'baby' was 9 lb. 3 oz. - I have never held such little ones.

When we got to the hospital Shani fed Austin and I snaffled Lincoln and fed him - unfortunately I was sitting on my iPod so was unable to take many pictures of him - and it is tough to get your mitts on him because Miles loves to cuddle with him.  I do have pictures which I will endeavour to upload one of these evenings when I have more time.

Lincoln had been hooked up to a CPap machine - to help him with his breathing for the first couple of days - but he was off that before he was transferred - both boys are hooked up to a monitor to check on their heart rates, oxygenation, respirations, etc.  as well he had an IV to supplement his diet.   Austin was hooked up to the CPap machine for a very short period of time and also an IV - but he was taken off the IV before they transferred. 

Managed to spend nearly 8 hours at the hospital with the boys on Saturday - then headed back to Fort McMurray Sunday morning - as we both had to be back to work on Monday.  It was hard to leave my boys behind - but it was certainly wonderful to see what a good daddy Miles is going to be.  He was looking after the twins as well as Shani - he even changed a poopy diaper on Saturday.  He had been bragging that he had not yet had to change a dirty diaper - and voila both boys pooped themselves - and I was given the honour of changing Austin while Miles changed Lincoln - I have it on video.

Talked with Miles and the boys are doing well.  Lincoln no longer has an IV - woo hoo.  And Austin nursed 2 or 3 times today and Lincoln managed to nurse once - which is really good as they have been being fed via bottles - and it is a challenge to get them working for their food now.  Lincoln gained a bit of weight today while Austin held his own. 

And that is my life in a nutshell - and I need to call it a night and get some sleep.  Tomorrow seems to come awfully fast these days - and my body is not thrilled with not having a day of rest over the weekend - and going on very little sleep as well.  If I want to make it through this week with my 'sanity' intact and no more injuries I need to get some sleep.

So until tomorrow or so - TTFN.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

My life is so very unexciting these days that I find it difficult to blog.  There is nothing to report.  Work is as usual - I seem to have accepted a long term assignment - was told to me that it was only until they find a permanent employee to take it - but once I accepted it found out it is for a year to two years - hmmm - wonder what will happen when I fly the coop in November/December for a few months - oh well will cross that bridge when I get to it.  Started working on the route (Rover 2) on July 11.  Settling in nicely - then on the 18th at 6:05 a.m. the phone rings - they need me to be Jim today - he was on holidays and was scheduled back on the 18th but did not show - and I am the 'only' person who knows how to do his job - with no real training - so I was out the door at 6:10 a.m. to catch the first bus - had just managed to get dressed and was on my way downstairs to have breakfast and get something ready for my lunch - no such luck.  Was at work by 6:35 and worked straight through until 2:00 - someone noticed I was wearing my 'sandals' - closed toe ones - but sandals nonetheless - felt it necessary to bring it to the Health and Safety person's attention - who then went to the supervisor - my response was - well I am assigned out of the Riedel office - so I leave my stuff there - my sneakers are there - so someone was supposed to bring them over - actually the woman who got to do my run for the day - but she forgot - twice - then said she would bring them over at 2:00 - and I said not to bother as I would be heading home then.  Got home around 3 - and for some odd reason was hungry - go figure - looked in the fridge and there was some pizza - figured I could have a few slices as I had not eaten yet - and it would be the only meal I ate - but was informed by Matthew that the pizza was 'his' - so left it and made myself a couple of little sandwiches and had some salad - then had a big bowl of fruit - raspberries, blackberries - and went to my room.

Tuesday morning - phone did not ring - figured I was safe - downstairs at 6:36 - having had breakfast and made my lunch - and the phone rings - call a cab and come to be Jim again - ARGH - and do I have a pair of sneakers I could bring - yes I did - as I had purchased two new pairs of runners on Saturday - had been window shopping and Foot Locker had a sale on - so I picked up two pairs of Saucony shoes - size 9 and 9.5 - not sure about the 9 - but - whilst browsing I ran into a fellow postie - Maxine - and she told me what to look for and also informed me that her podiatrist had told her that with all the walking we do that shoes should be replaced ever two months - ouch - we do get a boot/shoe allowance - a whole $0.11 an hour - and the shoes were one sale for $80 a pair - no way does the shoe allowance cover replacing shoes every two months - but upon hearing that I did not feel badly any more that the pair that I started wearing in March were trashed - I had wondered what was going on - bad pair or what - but upon reflection - not surprising - the walk routes are between 12-17 km every day - day in day out and I am no light weight - so it is not all that surprising that the shoes had had it.  With the route I am on now - the walk route is very short - so the shoes might last longer.  Anyhow - took the pair of size 9's to work - and by the end of the day thought my toes were going to fall off - not a happy camper. 

Wednesday back to 'my' route and I wore the new size 9's again - had the old pair at the depot so if necessary could swap out - but they were not that bad - I am glad that I do not have a lot of walking to do - as they are just a snitch too short - but for the walking I am doing now - they will work - the size 9.5's will be perfect - and I must admit that with the new shoes my knees and hips are not nearly as sore - although I guess it is not fair to say it is just because of the shoes - part of that may be because I am not walking nearly as much.

The Rover 2 run consists of a lot of loading and unloading of mail/parcels.  First thing I have to do is load up the mail for Fort Chipewyan and take it to the airport - then off to Westjet to pick up any last minute express post - and then back to the depot for the express post to be distributed.  I also have to take all the 'third class' mail from the Riedel office to the Hardin office - royal pain in the touche.  The bins that are used are quite large and get heavy - so I have to lift them onto the truck and then shift them from the truck into a 'mono' (large wire cube - 3' x 3' at least) - lots of upper body work - and my upper body is not all that strong - so my muscles are not really thrilled with me - and having to reach up to close the back door - my right side gets a really good stretch - need to remember to alternate which hand I use - or I will end up even more lopsided than I already am.  I have to pick up parcels and other mail at two Retail Post Offices and take them Riedel to be sorted to Edmonton or in Fort McMurray.  I also have to empty the red mail boxes - have to start that at 15:00 not a second sooner.  I have 21 'ports of call' that I have to deal with from 15:00 on.  Usually am back to the depot by shortly after 16:00 - although sometimes it is later.  No one wants to take this run because you do have to work until at least 16:00 - whereas if you are doing a walk - you are finished by 13:00 or earlier and then you get to go home.  There are certainly times it would be nice to be able to head home early - but such is life.  If the morning goes smoothly - no late relay bags or anything like that - I am finished by 11:30 a.m. and then do not have to start back until 13:45 - so have a nice long lunch break - would be nice to have wheels - could do something - but then again - I do not think I would want to be coming home - because once I got here it would be tough to go back.  I manage to while away my time.  Think I will use the company vehicle (it is allowed) and head to the library this week - have finished all my library books and will not be in town this coming weekend to return them - so will do it during my break - or in the morning if I have time before I head out to deliver my mail.

Spoke with my sister in law, Suzanne, last weekend still no word from or about Ayman - afraid this is really wearing me down - I do not sleep well - which does not help me deal with work or life around here - but not much I can do about it.

Marian and Matthew headed to BC on the 21st of July - Marian will be spending two weeks in Creston with the folks - Matthew is headed to the island to spend time with his dad.

Shani and the twins are doing well - this upcoming week is her last week at work - she says she feels as if she is being beaten up from the inside out, but other than that she is doing well - has passed or will soon pass the 32 week period.  Here is hoping she can make it to the end of August - best for the babies - every day she can keep them happy incubating in her is great.

Still no idea when I will be heading to Calgary - Miles has not been able to make/take time to discuss it - so will certainly be playing that one by ear.  Did get busy and ship some 'treasures' down to Calgary with Marian - will make my trip much easier - as I will only have to pack one suitcase.

And on that note I am going to sign out - go downstairs and finish the laundry and maybe get brave and mow the front lawn before it rains again - will have to check to see how wet it is before I attempt it though. 


Monday, July 11, 2011

The lockout is over and we are back to work - we were back to work on June 28 - have been working flat out since then - have a back log of mail to deliver.  First week I was on a mobile route - which means I deliver parcels for a fairly large area and deliver mail to a smaller area - got the hang of it and was finishing in good time on the last day - which was the Thursday - Friday was Canada Day so a day off.  Then I got switched to another route - not sure why - according to the union rep I should not have been bumped - but who knows - and of course by the time I am informed it is too late - and this route is a walk route - walking about 12 km every day - five days - Thursday in the rain the whole time - Friday in the rain for a bit of the time - needless to say by the end of Friday my body was not at all happy with me.  I feel physically beaten up - add to that being mentally bruised and I am not in a very great place - wishing I could find me a cave and hide out in it for the duration - the stress of not knowing what is happening with Ayman is wearing on me - I know there is nothing I can do about it - could someone please get that message to my brain - so that at night I can sleep - I am not sleeping well - which does not help me to carry out my letter carrier duties at all - need all the sleep I can muster to get my body walking as far as it has to - but ....

Spent yesterday in the company of a very good friend - she picked me up and we went shopping.  We went to the Body Shop at the Peter Pond Mall - they had an awesome sale on - so I took the opportunity to stock up on body butter and a few other treats - spending as much time outside as I do - I need extra moisturisation for my skin - I am getting quite brown - well parts of me are getting quite brown - my feet have a very funky tan line going - and that which is tanned is quite dark - my legs are slowly getting brown - not at the same rate - unfortunately - and my arms and neck are quite brown - my face is not getting a lot of colour - a) because I wear a wide brimmed hat and b) because I wear sun screen with an SPF of 100 - as per the dermatologists orders in Egypt - need to be careful when applying the sun screen because if it gets in my eyes - it really burns - and of course I sweat like a horse so if I put it on my forehead it just runs into my eyes - so it is put on my nose, cheeks and chin - and of course the hat covers my forehead - so it does not get any sun.

Today spent the day at Marian's work picnic - was a good time - despite the sulking 18 year old - must admit I do not 'appreciate' his attitude and the way he treats Marian - not much I can do about it - but it certainly frustrates me.  Lots of good food - the standard fare of hot dogs, hamburgers and chicken breasts - all very well done.  They had someone painting faces, a balloon man who was busy making all kinds of balloon shapes, snow cones, popcorn and of course cotton candy.  They had a bouncy room for the little kids - lots of soccer balls for the kids to play with - a little craft area where they could colour up a bus and take it home.  Weather was nice - a bit of a breeze - some cloud to keep it from getting too hot - but enough sun to keep it warm.

That is all I have to report at the moment - not much new in my life - in fact nothing at all.  But felt the need to update and try to keep on top of things - such as they are.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Not much to report - nothing much has changed - been busy running around 'shopping' as if I had money - which I did do as I got paid on Thursday and my vacation pay was added to the cheque - which of course meant the government took their share - wish we had the option of holding the vacation pay and asking for it - would ask for it once I was no longer working - then I would receive more of it - oh well - such is life.  Went to WalMart bright and early Friday morning because they had 32GB iPod touch on sale for $298.  Now I am debating whether or not I will keep it - or return it and bite the bullet and get an iPhone - which I can use in Canada and Egypt - need to do some research - talked with Miles about it last night - and he had some good insight - so will have to do some checking - may take the iPod touch back and end up with and iPhone - will see how I feel after I talk with some sales people.  Only thing is that I would likely want to wait until September before getting the iPhone and I seem to have misplaced my cell phone - SIGH - not a good week - not sure where my head has been - but I seem to have been misplacing things quite regularly.  Hope I can get my head back in the game soon.

Marian headed to Edmonton on Thursday night - so I am left in charge of three cats and one teenager - the teenager is a royal pain in the hiney.  And of course my hands are tied as he is not mine - so not much I can do about it.  So very grateful that my teenager - while not perfect - was nowhere near as obnoxious as this one is - if he had been I would been in jail for murder - not really - because mine was not allowed to be so obnoxious - I was a very MEAN mom - but it certainly paid off - because Miles has grown in to a very responsible adult.

Weather here is still not bad - yesterday was a very cloudy day - we had hopes that it would rain - but no such luck and today the sky is blue with a few clouds - so not much chance of having rain in the near future.  And we really do need it - the forest fires are still going like crazy - just hope and pray that the fire does not come closer to the town site.

Have had no further news on Ayman - will likely be talking with my sister in law tomorrow - but I am not holding out much hope that the status will change.  I am worried about him - but I am also really pissed off with him - he should have left Libya before he was incarcerated - but oh no he had to stay to protect his 'assets' - not doing him or his family any good now - are they - GRRRR - all of this could have been avoided if he had not been so greedy and short sighted - he was convinced that the protests would be short lived and the people would 'cave' - when we talked about it I was always urging him to leave - but he was sure it would amount to nothing - hmmm.

Has been a quiet day - have spent most of the day reading - had a short little snooze - felt good - and I think I will continue reading - it is just that kind of day.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Today is the second day of being 'locked out' at work.  Monday all temporary employees were sent home - at the behest of Canada Post - not the union.  This means that mail is not being delivered all over Canada because Canada Post is playing 'games' - shame on them.  Yesterday spent the day grocery shopping - buying loads of cherries, grapes, pineapple, satsuma oranges, strawberries, lettuce, broccoli - do love this time of year when there is so much produce available - yummmm.  Then I realized I had 'misplaced' my driver's license - ARGH - went through all my 'purses' - one purse and my backpack plus the bag I carry to work - could not find it - drove myself nearly off the deep end - did not take a lot - stress levels are a tad on the high side right now - was having my shower prior to heading to bed and trying to recollect the last time I knew for sure that I had had the thing - remembered that I had shown it to a woman at work on my birthday - because she did not believe it was my birthday - it was one of our supervisor's birthday as well and they had bought her a birthday cake - said it was also my birthday - and this woman did not believe me - HARUMPH - despite what some people believed my birthday is June 2, not June 12 (dig at my favourite cuzzy) - so after my shower I went to my room and checked all my work shirt pockets and VOILA there it was - meant I was driving on Friday and Monday without my license on my person - good thing I did not get pulled over - and thank God that I found it.  WHEW!!!!!!!  Big sigh of relief.

Talked with Suzanne (my sister in law in Egypt) and the news about Ayman is less than stellar.  They had word that he was incarcerated in a jail in Tajura - which is a suburb of Tripoli - had been moved all around the place prior to this place - heard this from someone who was incarcerated with him but had been released - but the authorities are denying they have any Egyptians in jail - and my brother in law - Hatem - who lives in Tripoli went to the jail and was told they had no Egyptians - so it is anybody's guess as to where Ayman is and how he is.  He may well have been 'fine' the last time someone saw him - but that can change in an instant as he is being held by Ghadaffi's goons - who are not known for their kind caring spirits - they are better known for being torturers and murderers - so many people have 'disappeared'. Ayman was picked up with a group of Egyptians and jailed because he is Egyptian - nothing more than that.  Ghadaffi had decided that the Egyptians were to blame for the Libyan people revolting against his 'benevolent' regime - guy really lives in la la land.

So, this week has not been great - started with not so great news about Ayman (which translates into lousy sleep for me) - locked out of work - and I am so grateful that my living situation is what it is - my living expenses are minimal - do not HAVE to pay rent or a mortgage - do not HAVE to pay for utilities - I do pay a minimal amount for 'rent' and contribute groceries by paying for them - but nothing major.  Will be interesting to see how many temporary employees are still around after this 'strike' - most of them rely on their income to live - so they will likely be looking for other work - not looking forward to getting back - as the work will be piled high - I had just been given an indefinite route - the woman is off on maternity leave - so I was to cover it until they found a permanent employee to take it - would have to be out for bid - have a feeling when things resolve themselves - I will be on it for a fairly long time - as no permanent employees want it - you start at 8:30 a.m. - not 7:30 a.m. and you do not finish until 4:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. at THE earliest - with upwards to a 2.5 hour break from 11:30 to 2 - depending on how quickly the first part of the run is done.  It is not my favourite route - but it is all right - but the permanent people want to be done by 1:30 or so - which is when most of the walks are done by.  So I will be 'stuck' doing this - at least I know what I am doing for the foreseeable future - once we get back to work.  And then misplacing my driver's license - at least I found the thing so that is one less worry.

Still lots of smoke around here - the sunrise and sunset are spectacular - the sun is SO red from the smoke.  Guess we have the 'honour' of having the largest fire in 50 years - 415,000 hectares have burned so far - and it is still out of control - and awfully close to Fort McMurray - if the winds pick up and blow the 'wrong' way we may have to evacuate - and of course we have had NO rain to speak of - had a few showers the other day - along with thunder and lightning - which meant of course that more fires were sparked - thank goodness they got them put out in a hurry.  Last week the weather was VERY warm - in the high 20's - just about melted - driving around all day in a 'step van' - an oven on wheels - and of course no air conditioning - and then on Friday the high was set at 8 - we got to 4 - it was freak'n freezing - although I would rather have that than the heat - at least I can wear a sweater to keep warm and when I have to do the walk portion of the route I am not dripping all over the mail.

Not much else to report - my body is not really thrilled with this job - but then it never has been.  The new route I am on requires me to do a lot of heavy lifting - not a lot of walking - so my upper body is not happy - lots of lifting and twisting - have to be very careful so as not to injure my back or my knees.

And on that note I will sign off - keep thinking I should post pictures - but of what??? 

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Another work week about to begin - wonder what this one will bring.  The last two weeks were quite 'pleasant' as I had the same route every day - gave me a chance to really learn it and get it done in a timely manner - in fact Friday I was back to the depot by 1:30 p.m. - a record for me - of course for the regular carriers it was considered late - most of them had already left for the day - but I was tickled that I got back so early.  Meant I had time to do the one flyer and get out before 3:30 - in fact I was home by 2:45 p.m. - YES - that is what I like.  Only drawback last week was that I injured myself.  Wednesday I was back to the depot by 2:00 p.m. and ended up falling flat on my oh so expansive backside - but in the process I managed to wack the back of my left hand - badly swollen - thank goodness nothing is broken - but the worst part was that when I fell I managed to do more damage to my hamstring -where it attaches to my hip - so my right butt is extremely tender - walking is not a problem - but sitting - OUCH - and the route I had was a driving route so I had to drive the vehicle around - Thursday was a challenge - Friday I got smart and took some Ibuprofen before I headed out and it was not so bad.  But sitting at the computer is a challenge.

The weather here has been great - a couple of days of rain - but it was not a heavy rain - a nice 'gentle' rain - so did not get soaked while out delivering the mail.  The day it rained the most - by 1:00 p.m. it had quit and the birdsong was fantastic - I do so enjoy being outside and being able to listen to the sounds of birds - something that I really do miss in Egypt - temps have been in the low 20's - very nice for me - I sweat profusely - so the temps is good - they are forecasting 26 tomorrow - gonna be a hot one for me - but such is life.  My arms are nice and brown - I am being very good and putting my sunscreen of 110 SPF on my face every morning and when it is sunny I wear my Post Office 'sunhat' - so my face is still fairly pale - and I do need to get busy and start wearing sunscreen on my arms - but I do so like to be brown - I know I know - it is not 'healthy' - but I think it is more attractive than being pale.

This weekend Marian took off for a doctor's appointment on Friday - she had had an ultrasound on May 6th - and when she got to Edmonton on Friday she found out the appointment had been changed to May 27th - asked me to mark it on her calendar - and lo and behold she had already made the change - DUH - guess one should check the calendar.  She left Matthew and his buddy Daniel here - as Matthew was scheduled to work.  When I got home from work on Friday he and Daniel were still hiding out in their room - had done nothing yet - they were supposed to be working at 5 - but that had been changed to all day Saturday - after some 'haranguing' Matthew came down and did the dishes - sort of - and vacuumed the living room - jobs that his mother had left him with.  He got about 1/2 the dishes done and ran out of room - so I told him to come back in 30 minutes and then the dishes could be put away and the rest of them could be washed.  So about 45 minutes later I called him down to finish the dishes - he came down and did most of them - left  a few behind - never ceases to amaze me how pots and pans are not considered dishes - what are they???  When I got up Saturday morning (around 8) the house was empty - so I finished cleaning up the kitchen and made myself something to eat.  The boys did not arrive home until 2:30 this morning - one wonders what they were up to - guess I will find out when they start moving.

Yesterday was a very quiet day for me - had planned to head out and do a bit of shopping - but by the time I could go - my get up and go had left me behind - so I just schlepped around - watched some of the shows that I had recorded last week and the week before.  Head to bed around 10:00 - had had enough TV - but still have more shows to watch - so may spend some time this afternoon going through a few more of them.  Must admit this ability to tape them is kind of nice - I know the technology has been around for a long time - I remember setting my VCR to tape shows - but this is so much easier. 

Today I got up around 8 - and came downstairs and cut up celery and carrots for munching on during the week - as well cut up radishes, celery and onion for making egg salad or tuna salad for the week - made myself a salad for the rest of the day and had a bacon and cucumber sandwich and salad for breakfast after munching on a couple of oranges and some watermelon.  Plan is to head out for a walk - go to the ATM and get some money - I have no cash on me - and I do not use it often - but it is nice to have some on me for those occasions when a credit card is not feasible.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

At this time 29 years ago I was labouring to give birth to Miles - yep today is his birthday - he was officially 'hatched' - had a c-section - at 12:01 p.m. on May 14, 1982.  This began one of the 'best' adventures in my life.  I am so truly blessed, honoured, lucky, fortunate, etc., etc., to have been 'chosen' to be his parent.  I do believe he got the short end of the stick in this choice - but hey it was his choice to make and I am so glad he did.  We certainly had our ups and downs - but mostly I remember the ups - he was a great kid - learned quickly - well most of the time - he was a relatively easy baby - made being a mom quite 'easy'.  He liked to sleep - never had to fight with him about going to sleep - he would fall asleep anywhere - I remember one time we were visiting my maternal grandparents - I put him to sleep on the floor - he was not very old - I don't think he was six months yet - but I knew not to put him on a bed - so I placed him on a blanket on the floor - went to check on him and there he was - GONE - he had skooted under the bed and he was peacefully sleeping - at Laverne's - his long time sitter - she would find him sacked out on the stairs or on the kitchen floor - always had his blanket with him - he did not have a specific blanket - but he always had a 'receiving' blanket to snuggle up with. 

He has always had a very tender heart - although he tries to 'bury' it - I remember we went to visit my sister Marian - she was going through a divorce and was pregnant - we found her in tears - and he just climbed up into her lap - wrapped his chubby little arms around her neck and told her he loved her and it would be all right - he was not yet four.  His curiosity was just what was needed - we all need to see the world the eyes of a child - brings us back to 'reality'.

Along with his tender heart is a very strong streak of stubbornness - I remember him sitting with my dad for ages and my dad trying to get his to say Dog - Gog - he would be on my dad's knees and my dad would say duck - Miles would parrot back duck - then door - back would come door - working their way through quite a list of words that began with D - and then dad would say Dog and back would come Gog - OMG - what a hoot.  There were certainly times his stubbornness stood him in good stead and other times I sure do wish he had been a little more 'maleable' - but looking back I am grateful that he was stubborn and did not 'follow' others - kept him out of a lot of trouble.  Although I am sure he got into more than his fair share - a lot of which I doubt I will ever know about.

Fast forward to 1992 - when I 'met' missionaries from the LDS church - after quite some time of teaching I took the challenge to be baptized - told Miles I was going to be baptized - I had always met with the missionaries when he was not around - and he informed me that I was not being baptized without him - so for the following couple of weeks it seemed as if the missionaries lived at our house - I had to have the remaining three discussions and Miles had to have all six of them - we were baptized together in October 1992.  In May 2001 he left on his mission - one of my online friends asked me at this time why Miles had joined the church - and you know I had never given it a thought.  I then asked him when he was in the airport in Denver on his way to Houston - and was informed that he had been praying for years for the missionaries to come and find us - WOW - so it was all his 'fault' - amazing testament to the power of prayer.

He served an honourable mission and when he came back we had some bumpy times - choices I had made led to a rift.  A rift that broke my heart - but thank God it is being repaired.  I can feel the distance drifting away - this past February when I ended up staying with him and Shani - it felt almost 'normal' - was great.

He married a wonderful young lady - Shani Ellison - am so grateful that she joined our somewhat 'strange' family - she and Miles make a great team - it is heartwarming to see them together - they have what I 'wanted'.  Now they are on the verge of a new journey - this coming August/September they will begin the journey of becoming parents to twins - I can't wait to watch them grow and adjust to this new role.  I have no fear that Miles will be an awesome father - as he is an awesome (but not perfect) husband - he worries that he does not have a role model - the flip side is that he has had no bad examples to work through - he has a clean slate - he can chart his own course as a father - his children are so fortunate to have 'chosen' this family to come to.

So, Happy Birthday my baby boy - you will always be my baby - and I will always be 'emotional' about you - it is with great delight that I prepare to watch you as you start on this new journey.  All the best - and I love you the most.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Just a very short little post before I head to work.  Got word from Suzanne (my sister in law) that Ayman is safe (for the moment) - he is unable to leave the house where he is staying at - from my understanding of the message that was left. 

Monday, April 25, 2011

Time flies when you are having 'fun' - guess I am having way too much fun - NOT.
Started this post over a month ago and did not get it posted.

I am now in Fort McMurray - arrived here on March 24th - flew in - was kind of nice - not that I could truly afford to fly - but the difference in price between busing and flying was not all that great - but the time spent on a bus would have been at least 10 hours - whereas flying took only 1.5 hours - so ....

I phoned the Post Office on the 24th and told them I would be ready for work on the 28th - boss was 'thrilled' to hear I was back - have been working every day since - had truly thought I would not get many hours so soon - but hey - it is all good.  At least good for the bank account.  I find it quite stressful - not knowing what I will be doing day to day - one day I am doing one thing next day something else and then something else again - and unfortunately I get routes that require me to drive - which means I take a LONG time to deliver the mail - because you also get to deliver parcels and I am not very good at getting things 'organized' - no matter how hard I try I usually end up 'forgetting' at least one parcel - which means I have to back track - which of course puts me behind - oh well such is life.

Weather here has been very good - considering the time of year - we have had a bit of snow - not enough to really cause a lot of problems - although one Monday we did get quite a bit - lasted a couple of days - but then was gone again.  This weekend the forecast was for temps in the double digits - we did not get them - it has been a tad on the cool side - clouds today look like they are going to be dumping some snow on us sometime or other.  Time will tell.

I opted to stay in Fort McMurray this weekend - have four days off work - Marian and Matthew decided to head to Calgary - and I toyed with the idea for all of 15 minutes and then decided to stay here - and enjoy a nice peaceful weekend on my own - has been very nice.  Have spent the time resting, cooking for the week so we do not have to worry about cooking suppers when we get home from work, have been playing catch up on a few TV shows as well.

I went out last weekend and bought myself a bicycle - Canadian Tire had them on sale - actually got the bike Wednesday night - they had to assemble it - and that took them a long time - but it was done - now I need to gather my courage and go out and ride the thing.

Have had no word from Ayman - needless to say the family is frantic with worry (me included) - no one has told his mom that he has 'disappeared' - last time he was heard from was March 16 - a long time with no word - and of course the last he was heard from he was in the town of Binjawad - which apparently has been leveled - so .... His brother had been able to get through - but now all the cell phone lines are out of commission as are the internet lines.  Apparently Hatem (his brother) who is located in Tripoli is unable to leave the city - he waited too long to get out of the country and he is now 'stuck' - and in considerable danger - as is everyone else in the country.  I worry about all my family and friends there.  I am glad that I am here in Canada - at least I am working and keeping relatively busy - so that at least I am not sitting in Egypt stewing - although I would have been back in Canada anyhow - plan was to leave Egypt mid April so that I could visit for a bit before heading back to work in mid-May.  When Ayman left for Libya I told him good bye for good - because I 'knew' that I would not see him before I left for Canada - a little something told me - and it was oh so right.  I wonder what I would have done about money if I had stayed - I know he left lots of money in the safe at his house - and I bet dollars to donuts that Amal would not have made sure that I got my monthly 'allowance' - so all in all I am glad that I left Egypt when I did - at least here I have been able to help when I was needed and am back at work - so that I can take time off when the babies are to be born.

Before I headed to Fort McMurray I went to Creston for 10 days - and had a good visit - unfortunately I arrived with a cold and when I left both mom and dad had managed to contract a cold as well - not sure if I am to blame for both of them - but when I went I worried about mom getting ill - and now both of them are sick - sorry.

Arrived in Creston bright and early in the morning of March 10th - Thursday - had taken the bus - my nephew in law Ty took me to the bus depot as both Miles and Shani were otherwise occupied - was kind of nice - Ty had worked at the Greyhound Depot as a security guard - so I was given the 'royal' treatment - did not have to pay for my second piece of luggage - went to the gym with mom and dad - did some work on one of the elliptical trainers and then did weights for legs - must admit working out when it is hard to breathe does make it more difficult - but I worked my way through it. 

Friday we headed down to the States - went to Staples, Yoke's, GNC and WalMart - I do enjoy wandering around stores to see what they have that is different than in Canada - bought a few things - of course.

Saturday we headed to Cranbrook (108 km west) for my dad's eye appointment - things are looking good so that his next visit is in two months instead of five weeks - we stopped in at a local restaurant for lunch and then mom drove home.

Sunday I went to church - saw a few old friends - good to see them.

Monday dad and I headed to the gym - did 12 minutes on the rower - I do hate that machine - but it is a good overall workout - then worked on my upper body. Went to the gym a few more times - must admit I do miss the gym when I am in Fort McMurray - sick puppy I know.

Helped Dad gather up the 'limbs' from the trees he had pruned before I arrived - needed to gather them up so that the spring flowering bulbs that are in the area could show themselves.  Was nice to be there and see the crocus and other spring bulbs that do not get eaten by the deer - unfortunately the tulip crop got scavenged by the deer - much to my parent's chagrin.

I also did up my income taxes while in Creston - dad bought the program to do his and mom's and so I did mine as well - I was some chuffed that I could not finish them online - as I was a new 'immigrant' I was unable to finish them - so when I got back to Calgary I copied them out onto the appropriate forms and went downtown and put them in to be couriered to Winnipeg - have yet to receive my refund - any day now - I hope.

While I was in Calgary I 'dragged' my buddy Deb to a new store - the Bulk Barn - did not take a lot of arm twisting - what a store - good thing I do not live in Calgary - would be bad news.  The variety of bulk spices was fantastic - great place to go to stock up on a lot of things.

And then it was time to pack up again - I was only able to take one suitcase with me - so left a second suitcase and a bag for Marian to bring back with her.  She left for Calgary the day after I arrived in Fort McMurray - she had booked holidays - and my being in Fort McMurray meant she did not have to take all her cats with her - she left three of them behind for me to look after - and took the one that needs 'special treatment' - which is fine by me - I do not mind looking after the cats - although must admit doing the litter is not one of my favourite jobs to do.  Marian was gone for 10 days - so it was a very quiet re-entry into life in Fort McMurray.

Not much else to report - life is busy - work is keeping me out of trouble - well for the most part anyhow.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

BRRRRR - third day of below minus 20 temps - with the wind chills it has been around minus 37 - Monday was the worst because the wind was the strongest and I went out for a walk - dang it I must be crazy - I left Egypt because of what?????  I am beginning to think I was crazy - but then I read what is going on and I am glad to be here - I may be danged cold - but at least I am safe.  Libya has eclipsed Egypt in the news - but I do not think things are normal in Egypt yet - not sure when they will be - I am hoping that when I go back in December things will be 'better' - I am thinking it is going to be a long time before things in Egypt are 'normal' - mainly because no one has any idea of what normal is going to be.  Unfortunately the people are expecting miracles to happen overnight - to have democracy, better wages, better living conditions - and these things are all going to take time - has taken 30 years for things to get as bad as they were - so please be patient - none of the things that people protested about happen overnight.

Miles and Shani are getting ready to head to Houston today - their flight leaves around 5:00 p.m. - so I will be driving them to the airport and then I am on my own - with wheels - imagine - WOW - the trouble I can get into.  Only drawback is that is too cold to get into too much trouble.  Oh well I will work on it.

Yesterday I went to MEC and wandered around - managed to find a few things to purchase that will assist me in keeping warm when I get back to delivering the mail - not really looking forward to it - but the money is good and the exercise (if I survive) is awesome.  Can you tell I am trying to convince myself.  I don't think I am doing a very good job - because I am really looking for a cave that I can hibernate in until the weather becomes warmer - but so far no luck.  I have been successful - I think (I hope) in finding a pair of winter boots that I can wear at work - have been wearing them around the house - in the hopes that I will be able to 'break' them in a bit - they are not that uncomfortable - but not as comfy as my runners - but I truly hope they will keep my feet warmer than my runners do.

My life seems to be in a state of turmoil - wish I could get it back on track - but I cannot do this on my own and my 'partner' is quite content to bury his head in the sand and ignore everything in the hopes that it will all just disappear and I will come to my senses and be a good girl and let him continue to do what he wants when he wants with no consequences - think he will ever get that - I don't.  Must admit one 'nice' thing about Miles is that at least he is willing to talk things through - oh well such is my life.

Has been very nice to be appreciated while I am here in Calgary - I think it is the first time since I married Ayman that I have felt that way - I have usually felt very much in the way - but Miles has certainly changed and for the better.  Patience - wish I was better at it - slowly but surely.

Not much else has been going on - trying to keep warm - major feat - and trying to work through the 'mess' I seem to have made of my life - this is a tough one - as it keeps me awake at nights - which does not help my situation at all.  I have trouble keeping it together when I get enough sleep - but when I am plagued with insomnia it is ten times worse.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Just a quick little post - the cat is out of the bag - Shani and Miles told her parents tonight - so I am free to 'blab' - I am going to be a grandma - Shani is pregnant - with twins - yep you read it right - twins - due at the beginning of September - more than likely to be born before that though.  I was told on January 30th, along with the request for my help for awhile when the babies are born - another reason to come back to Canada earlier than I had planned - need to start work so I can take time off - and still have time to earn some money.  

Shani is doing well - has to graze all day or her gag reflex goes into overdrive - so I have been packing a small store of goodies to keep her going at work - as well as preparing suppers as she is very tired when she gets home.

Miles is thrilled - as is Shani - but he is a tad 'stressed' about the financial side of things - expensive enough having one - but two at the same time - double everything - also means getting a larger vehicle - ah the joys of having babies.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Wow, where has the time gone.  Last time I posted I was on my way back to Egypt and here I am back in Canada - 3 months earlier than planned - the unrest in Egypt was too much for me to deal with on my own.  My family was great - but waking up at 3:30 in the morning to the sound of gunshots in the street was the breaking point.  And my family in Canada was very concerned about me - so I decided - albeit a very tough decision to make - to come back to Canada early and wait things out (what was I thinking - it is danged cold here).

I arrived in Cairo on January 8, 2010.  Ayman was at the airport to meet me - first time in a very long time.  Arrival was a bit trying - was just about not allowed in the country - I have a residency visa - and unbeknownst to me it allows me to be out of the country for only six months - so I was held up at passport control until the office could nab his superior (who was busy chatting with others) and once the superior came, he looked at my marriage contract and said to let me in - the marriage contract trumps the residency visa - YAY.  Ayman wanted to spend the rest of the 'night' - arrival time was 3:30 a.m. and by the time I passed passport control and got my luggage it was around 4:30 a.m. - at a hotel in Cairo - I had been travelling for 24 hours - and while it was sort of appealing - I would have jumped at the chance if we were going to stay in a 'nice' hotel - but the hotel of Ayman's choice is not a really great hotel - hot water is a luxury, the bathrooms are not all that clean and it is in a very noisy, busy (therefore dirty) area of Cairo - so I was not really interested - especially as we would have had to check out by 11 - did not see the point - I had slept most of the way back - so was not really tired - so we headed back to Alexandria - another 3.5 hours of travel time.

Got home and was 'upset' at the mess my house was in.  Ayman had asked the bowab (security guard) to find a maid and he had not been able to find one - likely did not even bother looking - he is not known for being very active at doing things unless you are right there to nag him - and Suzanne (my dear SIL) had also been unable to find a maid to clean (and unbeknownst to me she had been in the hospital in ICU for four days - she just about died) - one of the balcony outer doors had not been shut properly and had blown open in the wind - which in turn blew open the inside door and there was garbage all over the place - the bathroom was a disgusting mess - and Ayman had 'lent' my place to friends from Libya and they had stripped the bed but had not made it - so I had to clean up the bathroom - because after travelling for that length of time I HAVE to have a shower and then I had to make the bed - needless to say I was less than 'thrilled' - and then Ayman pouted like a little kid - did not help - just sat their bemoaning the fact that I was not happy to be home - ARGHHHHH.

Spent most of Saturday trying to clean up the worst of the mess - did manage to get a bit of rest - told Ayman I was not cooking - as I had been out of the country for a year and had no idea what was left in my freezer or cupboards - so he sent my youngest nephew out to get a roasted chicken.

Sunday we got up and headed out early to get the registration on the car renewed - had expired in April of 2010 - and Ayman had just driven the car without registration and when he got pulled over he paid a bribe and went on his merry way.  Took most of the day and 700LE to get the car registered - then the complaints about how much it cost started - I figured that since he drove my car all the time he was in Egypt while I was in Canada it was the least he could do.

Sunday evening my mother in law and Suzanne and her kids came up to visit - my MIL was impressed with my weight loss (Ayman had not mentioned it at all) - had a good visit - this is the custom in Egypt - if you have been travelling the family is supposed to come and see you shortly after you arrive home.

Monday he decided that he wanted to look at property in Borg el Arab - a new 'city' that is being built about 1.5 hours from Alex - he is going to 'invest' in property for his boys - so when they want to get married he can provide them a home - as this is a requirement - the males are to provide a home for the wife - and of course his boys are not about to work for it themselves.  So I was dragged out to look at property for his kids - unfortunately I am not really thrilled with this - as he was unable to purchase a home for me - I had to purchase my own place - needless to say I am less than impressed.  Monday night I was informed that he had to go home to spend time with his kids as he had not seen them for a month - WTH - you have not seen me for a YEAR - and you arrived in Egypt on Tuesday and I arrived on Saturday - so what were you doing during that time.  Another black mark.  And the whole time he was with me he talked about his kids and money - not exactly my two favourite subjects - I am beginning to see the end here.

After Ayman left I went downstairs and visited with Suzanne and her family.  Suzanne was very surprised that Ayman had already left to be with his family - she figured he would have spent at least a week with me.  She was also very surprised that Ayman talked so much about money and his kids - as if I am interested in his kids.  I was interested to find out from Suzanne why Ahmed was in contact with me while I was in Canada - he was under the impression that I was going to buy him a laptop and bring it back - asked where he got this idea - Ayman had told him that I was going to do this.  When I came back to Canada Ayman had asked me to look at the laptop of his son's desires - I looked - and  before it went any further - my brain said WOAH - here I am looking at a laptop for my 'stepson' while my husband refuses to pay 500LE to get my computer up and running - something is not right - so I quit looking.  Saw Ahmed twice while I was in the country - once because his father 'insisted' that he come to see me and he came with my nephew Mahmoud.  Then once more Mahmoud was coming to see me - so Ahmed came along to say good-bye.  So much for his assurances to me that he would be better than before - I doth believe I smell a rat.

Tuesday I drove to Sadat City to visit my friends Rose (from the US) and Louise (from Australia).  I had not seen Rose for just about two years - and of course last time I saw Louise was just before I came to Canada in 2010.  Both of them had had a really rough 2010 - both their husband's passed away quite unexpectedly and quite quickly.  It was great to see them - Louise kept looking for the other half of me - made me feel good that someone 'noticed' the weight loss.  Ended up spending the night - as it was too late to head back - I do not like driving the highway at night - so just spent the night visiting and having a really good time.  Wednesday morning I headed off around 9:30 or so - they were heading to Cairo to put Louise's son (Thomas) on an airplane back to Australia.  I got home without mishap.

Thursday  Ayman went out to Borg el Arab with his uncle and aunt - and they came back to my place for lunch - I made beef stir fry and rice - trying to stretch the meat as I had not taken enough out for guests - but it worked out all to the good.  Friday we were out and about looking at more properties for his sons. 

Saturday and Sunday I was on my own again - went out to Carrefour to do some shopping on one of the days - took a friend along - and we decided that we needed to make another trip so we could just walk around and see the expansion and renovations that had been done to the mall.  Spent time with the family.

Monday and Tuesday were spent running around looking at properties again - nice to know that I was soooo missed in the year I was gone that all Ayman could think about doing was dragging me around to look at properties for his sons.  Hmmm - do I detect a touch of sarcasm here - not me!!!!!

Not sure what I did on Wednesday and Thursday - likely not much - think I worked at getting things unpacked and in order and doing cleaning.

Friday, Ayman informed me that he was going to be heading back to Libya that day - I pitched a fit - I have been gone for a year and you cannot stay in Egypt for more than two weeks after I arrive back - WTH?????  So he - oh so graciously - allowed as how he could manage to stay for another week.  We spent the day looking at yet more properties and on Saturday it was the same - only difference was that we were looking closer to home - at apartments that were actually finished - the placed he had been looking at in Borg el Arab were in the construction phase - I figured he would never get the things done - and there are time limits on when the construction has to be completed or there are fines to be paid.   The flats he was looking at are really nice - if I had the money I would be looking to buy one - the flats are situated in 6th of October a subdivision of Agamy - which is a 'bedroom' community of Alex.  The area is a gated community - and everything is built in a very nice grid pattern - no buildings higher than four floors - and each area has it's own shopping area - not far from the sea.  Oh well - such is life - I don't think I would have liked buying there when I moved to Egypt - it is nice to be so close to the family.

Monday I walked to San Stefano - took me an hour (walked along the corniche) and met with the ladies from AWA - was nice to see those who are still around.  After the coffee meeting there was a lunch being held in honour of Gail Rohland - a wonderful lady from the States - her husband had been working in Egypt these past 18 years - but they were preparing to move back to the States as Gail has been diagnosed with Parkinson's.  One of the ladies of the group - Gloria - hosted a lunch for Gail and members of her Bible Study and MahJohng group - at a very nice restaurant.  I was asked if I was going - said no as I had not been invited - but was told that I was welcome to come - so I  tagged along.  Felt badly as one of the AWA group had not been invited - if I had realized that I would have stayed behind and visited with her.   Ayman came over and told me good-bye - he just HAD to leave - there was a truck heading to Libya that he had to get things ready for so when the truck was coming back to Egypt he could bring a shipment to Egypt for Ayman - I as not too impressed - in fact I was truly pissed off - but that is one of the 'joys' of being married to Ayman.  And of course with all this unrest - he is unable to get the copper here - and he did manage to get one shipment but he cannot sell it because the roads are not safe and the banks have been closed - although the banks are now open - not sure if the shipment has been sold or not yet (anyone but me see the irony here).

Tuesday was the first day of protests - held on Police Day - I went to spend the afternoon and early evening at my MIL's place with Suzanne and her two youngest children (Mawada and Mohammed).  My MIL lives not far from the train tracks - we saw two groups of protesters - both on the other side of the tracks - did not see or hear anything in her immediate neighbourhood.  Played cards with the kids and then had supper with the family and then we came home.

Wednesday was a quiet day - did not do anything memorable.

Thursday I walked to San Stefano again - this time I walked along the tram line - took me 35 minutes - had a nice visit with Gail Rohland - walked home and felt good about walking that distance - a couple of nice hills to navigate.

Friday I spent the day glued to the television watching history unfold - I could not believe what I was seeing - the protesters were not at all violent - but the riot police came after them like gangbusters - the scene of the riot police tear gassing the Muslims as they said their mid afternoon prayers will be seared in my mind for a long time to come - as well as the scene of the police using the water cannon on the men as they prayed the sunset prayers - OMG.  Unfortunately the peace did not last all that long - but I truly believe that if the police had minded their p's and q's there would have been much less violence.  Watching what was going on in Cairo and Suez was mind boggling - the people were without fear - for the first time since the Mubarak regime took over.  There were no live reports coming from Alex - at least nothing to show - but there was a female reporter who was reporting that thousands upon thousands had gathered in an area - a long way from me - and it was getting violent.  In the end all of the police stations were torched along with all the Ministry of the Interior buildings.  Needless to say I did not leave the house - internet was cut - not that I have a computer - and mobile phone service was also cut - thank goodness I had my land line - they did not cut that service - so I was not completely cut off.  I had phoned my sister fairly early in the day to wish her a Happy Birthday - because they were announcing that mobile phone service was going to  be cut.

Even though it was very quiet in my neighbourhood it was very unnerving being in Egypt by myself at this time - family was just one floor below me - but I did not spend much time with them - my mistake - but that is just me.  I was not really concerned about my safety - because it was so quiet where I was - but I had begun to notice a definite shift in the attitude of people towards me as a foreigner - one of the vendors at the souk I go to for my produce yelled at me - telling me that I should speak Arabic not English - I was talking with my SIL at the time - and he was not nice about it - he was quite angry - told Ayman and of course he pooh poohed my concern - which just makes me even more ticked off - as he was not there so how dare he try to tell me that I was over reacting - GRRRRR.
Ayman was calling on a fairly regular basis during this crisis - always downplaying my concerns - making me feel like a moron - as he was sitting 'safely' in Libya - telling me there was absolutely nothing to worry about - hmmmm.  And for the most part I was fine - a bit worried about food supplies - but not overly concerned - I had a fair bit in the house - so did not really need much of anything - although when I heard that Carrefour and one of the Fathalla's (large grocery stores) had been looted it was disconcerting.  And I must admit that seeing the 'neighbourhood watch' in place - once the jails had been emptied - made me realize that all was not really well with the world.  Went to Suzanne's on February 2 - Wednesday - and spent the evening visiting.  She 'convinced' me that there was no need to leave - I was safe - nothing to worry about - so I went back upstairs and went to sleep - sleep had been rather elusive of late - and at 3:30 a.m. I was awakened by the sound of gunfire on my street - ummmm - now I am really scared - so with the urgings of my family - my mom had been calling regularly and my son had called on the Sunday (Jan. 30) and gave me some news that changed things - I was ready to leave - hard decision to make as I felt like I was deserting a sinking ship - the overriding reason for the decision to leave was the fact that I was on my own - Ayman had no intention of returning - so what was the point in my staying - and plus I rationalized in my little brain that since I had the option maybe I should leave so that there would be one less person to feed - kind of crazy - but that was my thought process.  Called Shani and asked her to make arrangements from Canada - as I was unable to do anything in Egypt because all the travel agents were closed and there was no internet.

During this time my mom was 'registering' me with the Canadian Embassy - I had contacted them - called the Embassy in Cairo and there was no one there - so was transferred to the 'command' centre in Ottawa - to register you had to have access to the internet - hmmm - kind of tough to do when there is no internet - thank goodness for my mom - she managed to register myself and Margaret - albeit a slow process.  Must admit hearing that the Canadian government had arranged flights to get registered citizens out of the country was a red flag to me as well.  I phoned to see where they would be taking us to - and it was to Jordan - where in the news it was just being announced that the king had dissolved their government and people were protesting in the streets - hmmm - sounded like jumping from the frying pan right into the fire - at least in Egypt I was in my own home - so I passed.  As well the flight to Jordan was going to cost $400 and then once you arrived in Jordan you had to make your own arrangements to get back to Canada - $400 to get to Jordan was way over priced in my books - so I went to plan B and contacted Shani and asked her to see what she could arrange - I admitted defeat - in my eyes.

Shani was able to book a flight leaving from an airport near Alexandria - Borg el Arab - as I was unable to leave from Cairo - the road to Cairo was not safe so .... I was scheduled to leave from Borg el Arab on Feb. 6 - through Bahrain, London, and finally Calgary - adding an extra 7 hours of flight time to my trip - but what the heck - at least I would be in Canada.  I booked a taxi to take me to the airport - on the way out - just about there - I am asked which airport - so I phone Shani and ask her new or old airport - and she tells me the flight to Bahrain has been cancelled - Egypt Air cancelled the flight - needeless to say I was in tears - did not help when Suzanne asked me if I was sure - as if Shani would jerk my chain like that - then Ayman called and asked the same thing - GRRRRR.  Went home - calmed down - then tried to book a ticket myself online - unfortunately my bank would not allow me to use it - afraid of fraud - GRRRR - so another SOS to Shani and she booked my ticket leaving from Cairo - no choice in the matter - on Feb. 8 - one month from the day that I arrived - through Amsterdam - and because of the curfew the departure time from Cairo - which is usually 3 a.m. - had been switched to 2:45 p.m. - it meant I had a 20 hour layover in Amsterdam - YUCK - but at least I would be out of the country - and the return ticket was $400 cheaper than the one way through Bahrain, London and Calgary - added to that the first flight was with British Airways so I was only allowed one suitcase - and with KLM you are allowed two - minor detail that I had already packed everything into one suitcase I brought alone an empty 2nd suitcase.  Booked a taxi to take me to Cairo - and waited until Tuesday.

Trip to Cairo was 'interesting'.  Instead of taking the desert road the driver took the agricultural road - which tends to be slower as you are travelling through many small farm communities.  My nephew - Mahmoud - came with me.  The drive was uneventful until we hit the outskirts of Cairo - we got stuck in traffic for over an hour - I freaked out when I realized I might miss the flight - I arrived 30 minutes  before the flight was to depart - thank goodness Mahmoud was allowed to come with me to help me with the luggage - bottom line I was in tears - because I was worried about missing the flight and because I was leaving so soon - it was hard to leave my family - I worry about them.

I arrived  back in Canada on February 10th - to some nice weather - only drawback was that because I was so run down I managed to get a whopping nasty cold - so I could not head to BC to visit my parents  because my mom does not need this - as she suffers from COPD.

And that is my saga.  Will work at being more 'reliable' at posting on my blog.  Now things in Libya have gone to hell in a handbasket and I am worried about all my friends and family there - I have a brother in law and his wife as well as Ayman there - and of course all my good friends in Tripoli.  In shaa allah all will be safe.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

As my time in Canada winds down it is very bittersweet - I am glad to be going 'home' to my own bed and my own space - but not really looking forward to the 'expectations' that will be placed upon me - and looking even less forward to the upheaval when it is made clear that I have had it up to here - and changes need to be forthcoming from the other party - it is not all about my changing - I have changed, compromised, bent over enough - I am D O N E.  Also - must admit that the explosion at a church near my place has certainly given me pause for thought.  Only one thing keeps going through my head - 4.5 months and I will be heading back to Canada for at least six months.  And must admit this  year has shown me that if push comes to shove I can start over again - not saying it will be easy - but it can be done - had had my doubts about that - but - I eventually found work - and in time could get started over - again.

I am currently staying with Miles and Shani - has been a great visit so far - have never had issues with Shani - but Miles and I have certainly had our 'problems' and this time a corner has been turned - I hope it keeps up.  Last night we had a fondue - borrowed my fondue pot and other things from my best cuzzy Maurine - Shani and I shopped - and then I made the sauces - and she copied them down - maybe I should have kept them secret so I would still be 'useful' to them - as Miles does love fonduing and he does love his Bouginion sauce - loves it so much but cannot remember the name of it - so I am required to 'remind' him - giggle.

They are both currently at work - and I am waiting for my friend Michele to come over for a visit - she is going to be in town for a doctor's appointment and we are going to do lunch.  Will be great to spend some time with her - missed her presence in my life for a lot of years - great to be reconnected.

Tomorrow the plan is to spend the day shopping with my niece Shawna - have a few things I want to get at Costco and she has a membership - also want to get a new pair or runners - the ones I bought in July for work have had it - they do not owe me much - they have been through a lot - and since my plan is to walk five days a week and work my way up to being able to do the fifteen floors of stairs in my building before I come back to Canada - I need new shoes.

Getting a bit stressed about all that I have accumulated during this year - have stuff all over the place - need to get things together so that I can sort through and decide what I am going to take and what will stay here - and what I will have to get next time 'round.  Does not help that Ayman has requested a few things - and of course they are not little things - but will figure some way of transporting them.

Not much else to report - except the butterflies in my stomach are growing - but as Miles says - not to worry - I will be back and what I do not get done or cannot pack will just have to wait until next time.

This will likely be my last post from Canada - will endeavour to keep everyone posted once I am 'settled' back in Egypt.  Have a month to get things sorted out and then my buddy Deb is coming for a visit - she will be in Egypt for a little over two weeks - looking forward to that.  Am also trying to 'convince' my parents to come for a visit in March/April - if I am successful on that - will be a busy time as I will be heading back to Canada mid to late April - as I am to report back to work on May 16, 2011 - yay.