The View From Here

Sunday, July 06, 2014

It's Almost Time

We are less than a month away from our annual trip to Greece and Germany and I am in panic mode. After waiting four years on "wonder " surgeon's wait list for forefoot reconstruction surgery I got a call. There was a May 1 cancellation, did I want it. Of course I did, no question about it and the deed was done. I had joints removed from three toes plus some nerves work. I spent he first twelve day being permitted to walk five minute an hour. Then four more weeks of roughly ten minutes per hour with wires sticking out of three toes.

Had I known how difficult the recovery would be I'm not sure I would have tone through with it. The older you are the harder it is to recover and having rheumatoid arthritis and fybro just adds a mess to the mix.

So two months later, the toes are pretty but they are not quite functional yet.  I still can't put full weight on the foot and with less than a month to go I am getting worried.. Nevertheless we are committed to going, tickets bought and I must go to Germany to see my gravely ill uncle, probably for the last time. A short road trip through the Pfalz region and to France are also planned with my childhood friend Petra. She will then return to Greece with me for two weeks of fun and sun and a trip to an island just the two of us, probably Sifnos.

In September my son and family arrive. It is the start of their one year sabbatical from teaching and they will travel some of the world. We will miss them as a year is a long time to be away, especially our granddaughter Elliotte.

So that's the plan. As always I will be taking a ton of pictures and write about my adventures and misadventures...ciao

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Ice Storm

We survived just about the worst ice storm I've seen in all my years living in Canada. We made it through 48 hours without electricity and heat and live to tell the tale.  Not quite that dramatic, I exaggerate maybe just a little, but it was bad.

The storm started in earnest early Saturday and we did get out and get a few groceries. Should have known better, most of the stuff ended up spoiled and in the garbage today. The power went out about 1:00 am Sunday morning and stayed out for 48 hours. All through that night we heard trees crashing every few minutes. There was a crackle warning and then the crash. Our neighbors backyard looks like a war zone. Sleep  was not possible that night and Sunday morning found us both bleary eyed, cold and wishing for coffee. All restaurants and coffee shops in the hood were closed. There were over half million households without power in the Toronto area.

  Good neighbor to the rescue. She has a gas stove came by with a kettle of boiling water so I could brew some coffee. As the temperature in the house dropped we started piling on the wool sweaters and socks. By noon the temperature had dropped to 18C in the house and we were getting a little hungry. Again I sent Steve next door with some eggs and he came back with nice hot scrambled eggs.

I found every candle in the house and set them up in mason jars. Every big tower candle left over from my mom's stash was put to use. Altogether we had about a dozen candles burning. By 6 pm it was time for dinner. Every restaurant in the area was closed so we made do with a stew I had cooked a couple of days earlier. Again, wonderful neighbor came to our aid to warm up dinner.

After dinner we played Sequence until it got so cold we went to bed. Lots and lots of feather duvets and wool blankets made for a reasonably comfortable night. The worst part was the freezing toilet seat and only a woman would understand that.

Morning brought this...

And that was Monday morning...

We spent the day at the mall where it was warm and I think half the city was at our little shopping center. Steve stood in line for 1 1/2 hour to get us some food while I scoured the food court for a place to sit. Throughout all of this I am struggling with my back. It is in spasm and on Wednesday before the storm I got some cortisone injections and it felt somewhat better. Now after all the stress and cold, I'm back to square one and it hurts like the dickens.

By Sunday night we bailed. The temperature in the house was 10C and it became unbearable. We went to a friends house, who also didn't have power but had a gas stove in the kitchen and leaving the burners on low gave us warmth. We played Sequence by candlelight and we planned to spend the night.

We got lucky, at 11 pm or so I received a text from a friend who lives a couple of blocks from us to tell us we had power. I don't think I've ever been so happy in my life. We packed up our stuff and headed home.  I cranked the furnace up just in case we lost power again and we did have some blips throughout the night but it held and we're good for now. There is still some danger as the weather has gotten really cold and trees that are hanging heavy with ice could still crack and take out hydro lines.

The tree hanging on our hydro line out front is still there, no one has come by to clean it up yet. It is impossible to get through to any emergency services right now. We are hoping for the best, my turkey is defrosted, and we just did a grocery run to replace everything that was spoiled.

Here's wishing every one a blessed, warm and safe Christmas...ciao

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

The View From Here

From my dining room window last night. There are days when I wish for a better camera, sigh...

My very first knitted project with my homespun yarn. A hat for Steve. He loves it.

Since this was my first yarn ever, it was a bit rough in spots. Where it got really thin I did a little what I call cut and paste. It worked in the end. There might be enough for mittens.

All activities are currently on hold as I've done something to my back. My chiropractor is getting rich on me but far has offered no relief....

Monday, November 11, 2013


Early this year I bought a spinning wheel. I had been sitting looking at me waiting to be used. Every time I walked by it I could almost hear it whisper, use me, use me. Except I didn't know how. On line videos always make it look easy and I did try. I just didn't get anywhere.

Shortly before we left for Greece I had a lesson at my local yarn shop. It was not a good lesson. I don't know if it was the teacher or the fact that it was held in a dark basement that was the problem but I didn't want to go back there.

Finally after much deliberation I called the yarn shop to arrange another lesson. The person who gave me my first lesson was no longer available and the owner of the shop would teach me herself. I have to admit to feeling some relief at that news since I don't think we really clicked. Jen, agreed to teach me in the morning before the shop opened and definitely not in the basement. After four lessons here are the results. She is a wonderful and patient teacher who copes well with my frustrations. Kudos to her.

Some really pretty fleece from New Zealand half done.

 The while plied with pumpkin to give this, which will become...

Mittens for someone...

This is my first finished yarn and I'm thrilled. It's not perfect by any stretch and I have a lot to learn still but I am having fun. I spin every day for an hour or so and my blood pressure it completely normal again.  Later...

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Home Sweet Home And Blepharoplasty

I miss Greece...I miss the warmth (although I hear they are having a old spell), I miss Sophia  our wonderful neighbor and I miss sitting out on the balcony looking at the sea. It's been raining for three days now with no sun in the forecast for another three days. Not good weather for arthritis sufferers.

I don't miss the disorganization of Greek life and the daily struggles of getting stuff done. That's were North America has the edge.

I am happy to report that my eyes are healing splendidly so here are the before and after pics. The after is three weeks post surgery and I expect them to get even better. The good doctor told me that it needs a good two months to see the final result.



These photos are not touched up at all. I have eyes...

Here is the link to the article in Der Spiegel that made me choose the doctor that I did. It was a great choice. To say that I am thrilled with the result would be an understatement. So far no one who I haven't told can tell, all they can say is that I look rested. That was the look I was trying to achieve.

The good doctor really wanted to fix the bags under my eyes too but I declined.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Time To Say Goodbye

After almost two months away from home the time has come. We are saying goodbye to Greece for another year early Saturday morning. I don't know what I was thinking when I booked these flights but we have to be at the airport in Athens by 4:30 am, yikes, my brain must have been fried. Actually not so much, it was pretty much our only choice. We fly through Zurich and have a decent connection if nobody is late and should be in Toronto early Saturday afternoon. Then I will probably crash for 24 hours or so.

We did lots of things on this trip. We spent a week in Lesvos, the town of Erressos and had a great time. I fell in love the the big green figs they grow there not the puny little purple ones I know. They taste so different. I spent a week in Germany visiting my friend and my very ill uncle. He has cancer and is near the end of his life. I am so glad I got to visit with him. He reminds me so much of my late father.

I brought my friend back to Greece with me for another week of frolic on the beaches of lovely Glyfada. When she left I had my eyelid surgery and spent a few days recovering. I am happy to say that the good doctor did not let me down and once the healing process is complete in a couple of months, I will be very happy. The poor doctor was not so happy when I said I wouldn't be back after he said I should fix my neck next year, hah, maybe he thinks I'm rich. I'll live with my wrinkly  neck and any other wrinkles, bugger it I am 65 after all. I earned them fair and square. I'm not particularly against plastic surgery and everyone can do as they please. I did my eyes because they were so hooded as to make my vision difficult. Now I can see better especially in the dark.

The packing is almost done and tomorrow will be the last beach day. Home here we come...

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Recovery Continues

So this is day 6 of the Blepharoplasty, otherwise known as upper eyelid surgery and I think I'm going to survive this thing. I know, I know, I did it to myself. No one to blame here but me. So I'm not whining or anything.

The surgery was last Thursday done by the brilliant (in my view) Dr. Athanasiou here in Glyfada and Friday all was well. On Saturday though it was pretty much a crisis day. My face, especially my lower sinus area and my temples swelled so badly that both Steve and my neighbor Sophia wanted to take me to the hospital. I absolutely refused. I had a prescription for anti inflammatory from the good doctor and Steve went through a lot to get it filled. The three pharmacies in this neighborhood were closed all day Saturday and the hunt was on to find an open one somewhere. We were also had no car this weekend which meant taking the bus. He was successful but it took him over two hours. I just consider that normal in Greece.

Monday I saw the good doctor again and he assured me all was well and today the stitches are supposed to come out. I'm not so sure about that because I don't think it's quite healed enough. I think the RA impeding the healing process.

I keep looking at myself in the mirror and I can see how this will turn out in the end. Once all the swelling is gone I'm very certain that my eyes will look amazing and all the bagging and drooping will be gone. The good doctor only promised me a sixty percent improvement and I appreciated that . I hate doctors who promise you the world and then can't deliver, like my foot doctor.
 I do think though from what I can see that it will be more. Both eyes are symmetrical which they weren't before.

The only thing I'm going to whine about is that for the last two weeks leading up to surgery I was not able to take Naproxen and as a result my knees, feet, elbows and hands are swollen and sore. I'm waiting for his okay to start taking it again.

That's it for me, no pictures, they are still not very nice to look at...ciao