Friday, September 29, 2023



Wonder what 54 has in store?
My 54th birthday was 15 days after surgery. As I was told that recovery would take about 6-7 weeks, my cousin and I decided to post-pone our duo birthday celebration until I was feeling much better. Her birthday is 3 days before mine and we have been celebrating together for over a decade now. We did get together for a brunch to acknowledge her birthday and get me out of the house for the first time since coming home from the hospital. 

Three days later it was my birthday, and I did want to do something. I was feeling a little more confident about getting out of the house for a short period of time after doing brunch, so I invited a couple friends to join Rob and I at one of our favorite restaurants, Azarias for dinner 

It was good to see some friends and enjoy a delicious meal together. After dinner they came back to the house for birthday cake. 

My birthday feast!

Making a wish!
Beautiful roses from a friend. And I had to take a picture of Meadow's favorite bush, as it always blooms around my birthday.

It was a quiet, enjoyable and very special birthday. At this time I still didn't know what the mass was, and it was nice to really put that out of my mind for a little while.   

Friday, September 8, 2023



A note from the boys next door.
After 3 days and 2 nights at the hospital and passing the tests I needed to in order to go home, I was discharged from the hospital on May 27th. I was so happy to be home. I didn't see my surgeon again for almost three weeks, and during that time I really wasn't allowed to do anything, and I mean anything. I wasn't allowed to raise my arms, even washing was a struggle. I watched a lot of  TV and slept. I couldn't sleep lying down, so I'd sleep for a couple hours, be awake a couple hours. I think it was a month before I could sleep lying down, and even longer until I could finally sleep on my sides. I even tried to roll over onto my right side a few times while I was under anesthesia, as that's the side I usually sleep on.  

I got discharged on a Saturday, and it wasn't long until friends and family started making things easier for both Rob and I with food drop offs. The weekend went ok, Rob had to help me a lot with simple daily things but we found our temporary routine pretty quickly. 

When Rob went back to work on Monday I had "Angie Sitters" for the first week while Rob was at work, as I really couldn't be alone. Recovery was very slow but steady. I made sure to get up every hour for a little walk and when I felt a little stronger I started walking in the yard. I saw my family doctor after ten days to get my stitches out. 

Flowers from the boys next door who were my first visitors.

Did this every hour I was awake for weeks,  so happy when I could finally get all 3 balls in the air!

Homemade chicken pot pie from a neighbor.

Bouquet of  juice from work. 

My co-worker and friend, Steve, was in charge of getting the work card signed and sending flowers. Well, he wanted to purchase something to assist in my recovery so he showed up with all this juice. I did start my day every day with a glass of it.    

Nurse Molly on duty.
Molly had a hard time after I got home. She couldn't understand why she couldn't crawl all over me. I tell people I looked liked I was in a 70's slasher film. I had many incisions and bruising all over my chest area and was so tender and bandaged up. I was allowed to remove some of the bandages after a week, but had to wait for others. The iodine was a bitch to get off, and took weeks to get it all removed. 
She was so happy when she could finally get in my lap.

Our backyard helped with recovery.

I am so grateful that my surgery was in May. Having the backyard to sit in, and walk in, was really helpful in my recovery and with the backyard birds and critters to watch, it was good for my mental health too.

Boop was morning coffee company most days.

Rob taking a well deserved break from taking care of me.
I had my first follow-up with the surgeon on June 13th and let go of a breath I didn't even know I was holding. The mass wasn't cancer. It was a mass of glands that should of disappeared as I aged, but instead mine kept growing. It was giving me chest pains that I thought was heart burn, and in time would of caused double vision. What a relief. I still had weeks of recovery ahead of me because of how invasive the surgery was, but this was the best news.

Cookies I ordered as thank you gifts. 

It's been over three months since my surgery, and I've been back to work since July 17th, but recovery continues in the chest area. Those drainage holes seem to take forever to heal.

Again, a huge thank you to everyone for all the help, the "Angie Sitters", the texts, the phone calls, the comments on my daily Facebook posts, the meals. Everything helped in my recovery and Rob and I appreciated it. 

Wednesday, August 30, 2023



I'm going to try to condense a rather long story. Due to family history of Crohn's disease and Celiac, I have to go for regular colonoscopies. I was referred to a new Gastroenterologist late last year. Before my colonoscopy he sent me for blood-work, X-rays and a CT scan. When I had my follow-up with him he mentioned an abnormality that showed up on my CT scan. He really down played it, but wanted to send me to another specialist that dealt with that part of the body to have it checked out. I didn't think much about it while I waited for my appointment.

The other specialist didn't down play anything. He walked into the room with a copy of my scan and pointed to the "mass" that was behind my breast bone and in front of my heart. The big C word was mentioned, but they weren't sure what it was. It couldn't be tested due to it's location. I was sent for a rushed MRI. I had the MRI May 12th, five days later the specialist called me at home that evening and told me the MRI was inconclusive. I needed to have it removed, as they didn't know what it was and if it grew they may not be able to operate due to it's location. I was scheduled for surgery the following week.

After that phone call I had a panic attack. Rob's Mom came over and stayed with me until Rob arrived. He left work early when he found out what was going on. I took the next day off work due to lack of sleep. I called people who needed to know and started getting organized. I worked the Friday, May 19th, and due to the long weekend and pre-op appointments that was my last day of work for two months.

After the shock wore off and I got a good nights sleep we started referring to the mass as "My little alien friend". The weekend before surgery was a long one, and we made it a good one, doing all my favorite things. We went for brunch at my favorite brunch place. We went birding and had a picnic with my cousin and her husband. We went out for a delicious dinner and I enjoyed a feed of oysters. Rob took me to visit a bakery I had seen on the Food network's "Project Bakeover". It was a very fun-filled and food-filled weekend.

My favorite brunch meal at Toast on Bloor.

Some birds seen on our walk, Bay-breasted Warbler, Indigo Bunting and a Canada Warbler.

Yummy picnic food after a morning of birding.

Enjoying a drink at Azaria's.
I love oysters, and had 12 to start and another 6 for dessert!
Feasting at Azaria's!
Was trilled to meet the owner/baker at Mecairo's Bakery
And just like that, it was surgery day. I was due at the hospital at 7am on Thursday, May 25 and a couple hours later in was time. I was in surgery for 7.5 hours. When I woke up briefly in recovery, I remember thinking, "good, I woke up", and I asked if they had to break my breast bone, as that was a risk, they didn't. I remember them telling me my family was waiting for me in my room. Rob and his Mom had been waiting a while, and I'm grateful Rob's Mom was with him, it was a long day for them.

Good luck charms I took to the hospital.

Top - Out of surgery, Bottom - The next day.  

The first night was pretty rough, I was sick to my stomach, hot, weak, and needed a lot of help going to the washroom due to the two drainage tubes and boxes I had coming out of either side of me.

Rob and his Mom were back the next day and I was feeling better and was doing what I needed to do to ensure I was able to get discharged the next day. I had so many people taking care of me at the hospital. I made sure to ask everyone their names and thanked every one, every time. The surgeon came to see me 3 times on the Friday to check the many incisions, as she wouldn't be there on Saturday. I was told there were challenges during the surgery, but they got it all and it was sent off for a biopsy. Her assistant was there Saturday, and many others were checking on me, often, including a cardiologist. After spending 2 nights and 3 days at the hospital I was able to go home to continue my recovery and wait for the results.

To be continued.....  

Monday, August 28, 2023



Sign at Long Point Bird Observatory. 
Our May vacation, as per usual, was all about getting out and seeing as many migratory bird species as we could. We visited parks close to home and also spent a couple nights in the Port Rowan area. 

Road trip!
I named our car Dory after Rob sent me a picture of her all those years ago. Then after work that day I went out and bought a stuffed Dory for her. What? doesn't every one name their car?! 

Prothonotary Warbler.
We finally saw a Pronthonotary Warbler this trip to the Port Rowan area after not seeing one the last two years. We had better looks than photo ops and that was fine by us.

For lunch I was super excited to visit my favorite restaurant in the area, The Country Fork, but it was closed for a private event. Blessing in disguise, we went to the new to us restaurant Chef Stan's Saloon and it was awesome! Great atmosphere and delicious food! We went back for lunch the next day.

Best fried chicken sandwich ever!

Wings, Caesar Salad and Won Ton Nachos to share.  

This year we stayed at Long Point Echo-Adventures. We had a King Wilderness Suite. I liked the camping and birding combo, but it was a bit chilly over night. Still, a great location to visit all the spots we like to hit while in the area, and the onsite restaurant was a bonus.

Our tent. 

My dinner on site one night, fish tacos. 

Green Heron.
We enjoyed watching a couple Green Herons fly around the Long Point area, but I think we enjoyed them calling to each other more, what a sound! We were aiming for 100 species on our trip, got over 90, oh well, we'll try again next year. 

Blackburnian Warbler, always a nice warbler to see.
After a nice two night getaway we visited some local parks close to home.   

Our first of year Scarlet Tanager at Colonel  Sam Smith Park.

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker on the same outing. 
Of course, I love seeing all the migrants every May, but there are two that are my favorite and they enjoy our backyard all summer long. 

Summer Guest - Ruby-throated Hummingbird 

Summer Guest - Baltimore Oriole
We've had a couple pairs of Baltimore Orioles this summer, it's hard to believe they will be gone in about a week. It's been the year of the Ruby-throated Hummingbird for us, having about six come regularly. They will also start their migration in the next couple weeks. We leave the feeders up til the end of September, as we also get some passing through from further north.

On the Friday of our week off I had to go for an MRI, I didn't know it at the time, but 5 days later our world was about to be flipped upside down.

To be continued.......   

Friday, August 11, 2023


Easter Cookies

I can't believe how far behind I am on my blogging. My life took a bit of a roller-coaster ride in May, and I'll get to that eventually, but first I want to do a few catch-up posts.

Like most people, once March rolls around we're all ready for the winter weather to end and Spring to really arrive. Planning something fun to do in March helps, and for us this year it was going to Niagara Falls for a night to see Bret Michael's perform at Fallsview Casino with friends. 

Bar Barista Cocktail and Coffee Bar

Before meeting up with Brian and Amanda we discovered Bar Barista, a great place for coffee, a drink or some small plates to share. I fell in love with this place, so much so we visited three times in less then 24 hours! 

We met up with Brian and Amanda and their kids for dinner and drinks at Margaritaville before the adults went to the concert. Their oldest was sibling sitting back at the hotel. We enjoyed the concert and our time at Bar Barista after. We went for Whoppers at 2am, it's been years since we stayed up that late! 

A collage of our Niagara Falls fun.

The end of March saw my life long friend, Cathy, in Toronto, as it was her last appointment regarding a health issue. We were all sad that this was her last visit but made the most of it.

Rob, Cathy, and I enjoying our time together.

April gave us a long Easter weekend and we took advantage of that. Enjoyed a dinner at my Cousin Andi's place, and on another day we went out on a walk in search of Eastern Bluebirds with friends and enjoyed a meal at a favorite restaurant, Cascata.    
Success, we found an Eastern Bluebird on our outing! 

Another yummy meal at Cascata.

The Easter Bunny always finds us.

Boop, our backyard Chipmunk provided lots of April entertainment. 

Early migrants found on April weekends. 

And to end the month, Merry and Molly celebrated their 8th birthday! A cake was made for their humans to enjoy, and they received new scratching pads, though they sometimes use it as a bed. 

Merry and Molly celebrated their 8th birthday April 30th.

Wednesday, May 3, 2023



What is going on in there?!?

Rob and I have been talking about giving the kitchen a face-lift for the past few years. The stars aligned this year when my preferred contractor had the time, and an unexpected financial windfall happened. 

On Sunday, January 8th the contractors came over to take measurements and discuss the plan. I didn't tell Rob this was happening until the day before, as I didn't want him to stress. A date was set in February for them to start and by March 1st we had a shiny new kitchen!

We wanted new flooring, cabinets, counter-top, sink and new paint.We ended up with a few extras and some new friends, who we're going to visit at the end of the month.

All emptied out.

Protect the internet at all costs!

We donated the china cabinet and got rid of the extension on the counter.

It was so empty it echoed.

Demo day!

Demo day!

Demo day!

My make shift kitchen in the basement. 

The kitchen reno was hardest on Rob. The contractors were here at 7am, which means he was getting up earlier, and they left at 2pm. I was at work during 99% of it, only taking a couple afternoons off when I needed to. Merry and Molly, who we were so worried about, handled it all way better then we expected. I think it helped that Rob was home with them, as he doesn't leave for work until 1pm.   

One of the things I really wanted was a designated food prep area, and I got it. 


Another angle.

The teacup on my floating shelf was my Mom's.



Moved the fridge and added a pantry.

After a month at his grandparents, Frankie is back in his spot on top of the fridge.

The hutch is where the computer desk use to be.

All filled up.
Did I mention how much I love my pot drawer?!?

New microwave stand as I didn't want it on the counter or in a cabinet. 

Randy made a pine frame and shelves for this built in area of the wall.

He also made this storage bench seat and I had a cushion made for it.

Then I had him make one for the cats! 

This Kitty Kat clock is still the only thing on the walls.

We still need to find a small dining set and redo the windows and coverings, but we are very happy with how it turned out and how smoothly it went.