I finally located my latest favourite T-Shirt…
Ken Workman is a friend whose music I love…
Back in March 3, 2007, I put up a posting about “my Polish airman” and how I had always wondered what happened to him. I THOUGHT I had added the update to the story which came in the form of an email on the morning of March 4, 2007. In fact, I didn’t and I was VERY remiss not to have done so.
In fact, that morning, I received an email from Chris Dreja who some will know as a member of the very famous band, The Yardbirds. I think, at first, he thought I was some long-lost love-child of his father’s by a girl he met during the war. I think he was relieved to find out I wasn’t and interested to know how I, or my mother, anyway, knew his father.
In any event, Chris Dreja informed me that Alojzy Dreja was, indeed, his father. I was over the moon to have received this news as well as a photo of Alojzy and his wife on their wedding day in 1943.
Alojzy left the Polish Air Royal Force ( as a Major) at the end of the war and had a successful career in aviation. He was well liked and very much loved by his 3 sons. As I mentioned, he died in 1985.
You can see on his chest the medal, the Virtuti Militari, which was one of the medals given to members of the Polish Forces.
Alojzy may well be somewhere in one of the photos, here, during ceremonies. I have looked through many photos but can’t pick him out.
For the background to the story, click HERE.
That’s Chris Dreja on the far right… I think you can see a resemblance, in spite of the presence of the dark glasses.
I haven’t had time to post recently, so this is the first in a couple of weeks, I think.
Aside from my life being turned upside down with my mother having been ill and now with my sister-in-law being in palliative care in Halifax, things have been somewhat topsy-turvy.
However, I am making attempts at keeping up with the picture-taking and as some of you may know, one of my new-found techniques it the “bug’s eye view”. This gives me plenty of “downside up” photos to choose from.
I received a call, today, from my brother, telling me that Alice, my sister-in-law, wife of my brother in Halifax is in the palliative care unit.
She has lung cancer. They give her “a few weeks” – less if the cancer moves aggressively.
Alice is the sweetest woman you will ever meet. She has suffered from a number of medical problems, including asthma, environmental allergies, and Fibromyalgia. Despite her pain and chronic conditions which have limited her mobility, she has always been cheerful and warm to everyone she meets.
John and Alice met later in life, and they were “made for each other”. I have never seen two people so comfortable and caring towards each other.
John took a job up on Iqaluit and then to Chesterfield Inlet (I think it was) for a couple of years and the time they spent up there was freeing for Alice because she suffered less from her allergies.
They had to come back down to Halifax, though, but we saw Alice and John a number of times when Alice was in town for appointments with specialists. One memorable time was once when I took Mom in for an appointment for X-rays at a clinic up the road from us. I sat down in the lobby and the man sitting next to me looked familiar… It was John! Alice was having tests done at the same clinic.
We all went for lunch and had a lovely visit.
John isn’t a “blood brother” of mine but he’s the next best thing. John is my step-brother’s half-brother. In our family, that is still “family” and I love them both as much as (and in some ways more than!) some of the family closer to me.
I cannot imagine John’s feelings as he sits with his soul-mate, watching her die. For me, this is the second major loss this year to cancer, to lung cancer in fact. And it is… I am trying to count… the 5th person I know battling with cancer… No… sixth.
Here’s a question….
When you ask someone “How are you?” or “How are things going?”, do you expect someone to answer truthfully? Or are you just asking out of form?
Are you taken aback when they answer “Things have not been so good…” or “I’ve been sick all summer”… or “I have cancer…”
I had the experience this weekend of being asked repeatedly “How was your summer?” and “How’s it going?” and then a glassy stare, and an uncomfortable “Oh dear… Well, gotta run.” when I answered truthfully…
In one case, I received a quizzical look and “Welll… Um… thanks for your honesty.” and then they looked for a quick exit. Now, I am not telling them that I have been abducted by aliens or that I have decided to become a sex-worker to support my crack-habit… I am simply explaining how things have been with my Mom sick and how Mom’s memory is. And these people were all members of our congregation, who I have known for years and, more importantly, have known Mom for years.
The “thanks for your honesty” one was from our minister.
Now, it isn’t as though I am going around unloading on everyone I meet… I’m talking about the people who supposedly “care”.
I sometimes feel like I am from some other planet. When I ask someone how are you? I certainly hope that they are going to say fine because they are. But when they tell me they haven’t “been fine” or that things have gone terribly wrong in their lives, I don’t take this as a personal affront. I stop and listen and offer my sincere wishes for improvement… Even offer to help, if I can.
On the very rare occasion when I encounter someone who I know just complains for the sake of complaining, I probably won’t ask “How are you?” because I know the answer. But why bother asking, especially someone you know well and supposedly care about if all you want to hear is “Great!”?
How about actually caring how someone is? How about that, for a change?
Or maybe I should just hand out a card that allows them to check off the answer they want to hear….
___ Absolutely peachy-keen
___ My life is complete, now that you asked me
___ If I was any happier, my head would fall off
___ Short of shitting bricks of gold, I couldn’t be happier
___ These are tears of pure, unadulterated, fucking joy….
And, while we are at it… Why the fuck is no one using their damn turn signals this week? Did I miss the memo?
September 5, 2009 at 9:45 am (Uncategorized)
Last night, Cat and I went out to see the legendary Wanda Jackson!
Nat, at The Elmdale House Tavern, scored a coup and managed to book her for two nights. Wanda is AMAZING and had the audience screaming. She was backed by the stellar Lustre Kings (not to be mistaken for the Reggae band of the same name) who also opened for her. Even without Wanda, it would have been an amazing show.
Being right up front (thanks to Ray and Michelle keeping seats for us… I had to go in to my office right across town for a rush job and would have been lucky to get standing room by the back door had they not…) I had a rig-side seat for one of the best shows I have been to in my life! I managed to get video of part of the Lustre Kings set and (I think) the entire Wanda set.
Early in the day, Ray got a call from Nat, the co-owner of The Elmdale, asking if he could “bring along his equipment” for the show. Mark Gamsjager, the guitarist for The Lustre Kings, as luck would have it, is suffering from some sort of back pain and was, when Nat called, sitting in the Emergency Room at a local hospital and was likely not going to be able to play. Ray spent the day sweating and learning all of Wanda’s set-list. Ray was both enormously relieved and mildly disappointed (and profoundly honoured to be considered) when, late in the day, Nat called to let him know that Mark was heavily medicated but able to make the show. At least he was able to enjoy the show, himself.
The chance to play back-up for a rock-and-roll, Rockabilly, and Country music legend of the caliber of Wanda Jackson would have been a true honour, I am sure.
The Legendary Wanda Jackson at the Elmdale Tavern Hotel, September 3, 2009 ~ Backed by the stellar Lustre Kings
More videos of the evening here
Yesterday, Mom had another “turn”…
I had to take my niece to get her glasses and made a short stop at work to drop off some stuff at work. While I was in the building, Mom apparently started feeling woozy and when I came out, she was just on the edge of passing out. I managed to get her feet up on the dash so the blood could get to her head.
However, as she was wearing her monitor, it SHOULD have picked up… finally… the one baffling, recurring problem that arises. Of course, it didn’t. My niece didn’t know to push the button for a manual activation and when I came out, I was too preoccupied in making sure she didn’t pass out to press the button. It wasn’t until she was almost feeling back to normal that I remembered. I pressed the button, but not hard enough to activate it and when I realized it wasn’t recording, I did it again but by then we were already driving and I think the bumps in the road were messing up the reading.
It is so frustrating and tiring to have to be so discombobulated all the time… I am making headway in getting certain things organized and under control and I know that I will eventually be able to have things work smoothly but it is a learning process.
The last weeks have shown a fairly significant memory change in Mom. But also a sense of compliance on her part to my taking away her medications and insisting on helping her with her showering. This is good for me but something I would have had to fight with her over a few months ago.
At least, I have the advantage of being able to work at home and to be able to time-shift my day to accommodate the little hiccups in my days. It also means that I don’t have to leave her at home alone and to her own devices.
It does mean, though, that I will have to start looking for outside help… some community resources to help out, probably sooner rather than later.
I worry, though, because of my own propensity to depression and anxiety. I did manage to weather the August doldrums better than I have in the past but I can never really let my guard down. I also find my mind inevitably turning to “what happens when…” either when things get to the point when I can’t manage or when… she’s gone… I know it’s stupid to worry about these things until they happen but that’s me. I worry. That’s my job in life.