Tag Archives: nana

15 Life Lessons I Learned from my Nana

This week marked one year since we lost my beautiful, wonderful, fantastic 102- (and a half!) year-old Nana.

I can’t believe it’s already been a year, and at the same time I feel like it’s been forever since I last saw her. If you know me, or if you’ve followed my blog for a while, you probably know that we were very close and she meant a lot to me.

I feel so very lucky to have had her in my life for as long as I did. She was such an incredible person and taught me — and our entire family — many important life lessons over the years. And she taught these by example, not by preaching to us, just by living her life.  I can only hope to be half the woman she was.

These are the biggest lessons she left us with (there are so many and I know I’m leaving some out, but I hope to do her justice!).

15 Be generous.

Nana had a large heart and her generous love knew no bounds. She housed us, not only our family, but our friends, her neighbours, their friends. She would host my friends and I at her house in Toronto for weeks at a time. She opened her home to anyone who needed somewhere to stay and even had boarders for many years, figure skaters who were training on Team Canada and needed somewhere to live in Toronto. She cooked for us, pierogies, cabbage rolls, pizza, lasagne, and so much more, and she baked us elaborate cakes for our birthdays, filled with change that she scrubbed, dried and then wrapped in wax paper.

My brother Eric, Dawn and I back in 1998, with a famous Nana cake

She gave us all $200 for our birthdays, slipped us cash when we didn’t have money, or just because (or if she felt we should buy ourselves $50 worth of chips and gingerale…treat yo’self!). When I moved out on my own she bought oranges and cookies and cheese and paper towel and whatever else was on sale at the grocery store and made care packages for me. When she moved into a nursing home she saved whatever random assortment of goods she acquired (cookies saved from meals stored in Ziplock bags, socks won at Bingo, pens, stickers, Werthers Originals, etc.) and continued with the care packages, giving me whatever she could manage. She gave and gave and gave and gave, right until the very end. She loved endlessly, and she sacrificed to make sure that her family came first.

14 Don’t sweat the small stuff. 

This is cliche, but it’s a big one. People ask me all the time what Nana’s secret was, how she lived so long, looked so great, and was still so spry until the end. It was undoubtedly her positive attitude. My Nana was truly THE most positive person, and this was despite experiencing many hardships throughout her long life. She lived through two world wars (born during the first) and the Great Depression. Her mother died of the Spanish Flu when Nana was very young, leaving her father to care for her and her younger brother and two-month-old sister (she had an older sister who still lived in the Ukraine and she wasn’t reunited with her until years later).

As her father needed to work to support his family, Nana was often left with neighbours, friends, anyone who could watch her, and these people were not always kind to her or took good care of her. She gave birth to my dad three months early in the 50s and he nearly died. She ran a busy restaurant in Toronto on Yonge Street for many years, which you bet was a stressful situation. Her husband died 34 years before her, of lung cancer, and she never took off that wedding ring.

After all of these things, and who knows how many more little things, she was the most positive, uplifting person, and she never dwelled on the past. Maybe her less-than-perfect life allowed her to put things into perspective? I don’t know, but I don’t think I ever saw her without a smile on her face.

As she would always say to me, “Don’t worry, you’re beautiful!” (which of course does not solve anything, but never failed to make me feel better).

13 The biggest power you wield is forgiveness.

Nana forgave. She knew that forgiveness is for our own growth and happiness, and it is forgiveness that allows you to be happy in the present. She understood that when you hold onto anger and resentment, it harms you more than the person who caused it. The only person in the world you have control over is yourself, and you can control how you let situations and people and things affect you. You have the power of forgiveness.

12 It is up to you to make the best of any situation. 

At 96 when Nana had to leave her apartment and move into a nursing home,  it was not her favourite, BELIEVE ME. She had been living it up independently for years, and she absolutely mourned that loss. But she knew the nursing home was the best place for her. She embraced it, and focused on the good things — meals made for her! Cookies at every meal! Friends! Games! And of course, the care she needed. She kept as much independence as she could while living there, and for a while even did her own laundry to keep a sense of normalcy. She went to all the activities, Bingo, table bowling, mystery word (which is a game I still don’t understand). She made friends. She did whatever she could to make it enjoyable for herself. When Elvis came to the nursing home’s annual family BBQ, she was all over it.

She went to the dining room for every meal and she always looked her best before going. Which brings me to…

11 Always make an effort to look your best. 

It’s about feeling good about yourself. Nana took pride in how she presented herself. She woke up early every morning and would get ready, washing up and doing her makeup, including lipstick, to go down for breakfast in the nursing home. Even at 102. Even at 102 she was still getting manicures and having her hair done! She always looked like a million bucks.

10 Thoughtful gifts are the best gifts.

Nana didn’t care about receiving gifts from us, but she sure cared about cards! She saved every card anyone had ever gotten her in a photo album. And she loved reading the messages on them. For holidays all she ever asked for from me was photos of me.

Giving cards was also just as important to her, and she prided herself on finding that perfect card. And she would always add the same message: May all your dreams come true. With love, Nana.” And stickers. She always added her own stickers.

Later in the nursing home if she couldn’t get out to get a card, no problem, she just regifted a card that some random child had made for her.

She just whited out the name to make it her own.

When I was younger I was big into Babysitter’s Little Sister and then the Babysitter’s Club books. Nana kept an updated list of all the book  numbers that I currently owned and for every holiday she would buy me a few of the books I still needed to add to my collection. Unwrapping a fresh Babysitter’s Club Super Special that I hadn’t yet read on Christmas morning was THE BEST.

9 Sometimes you’re just going to have to take care of things yourself.

She didn’t like the fan on in the hallway outside of her room in the nursing home because it would make her room cold, and when the nurses left it on she took matters into her own hands. She dragged a chair out of her room, stood on it, and turned it off herself. At 100 years old. One time we were walking through her nursing room hallway and there was a resident in a wheelchair blocking the way. They weren’t moving, so rather than wait it out, Nana picked up her walker to chest height, carried it past the person blocking the way, put it back down and continued walking with it. It was incredible.

8 When the odds seem against you, don’t give up.

When Nana was 99 she fell and broke her hip. We worried it was the beginning of the end. The doctors warned us that she would probably never walk again and to prepare ourselves for the worst. But she just couldn’t have that. She said that she told herself that she WOULD walk again, she WILLED herself to walk, and she was walking again in the hospital the day after her hip surgery! No one could believe it.

She had another fall on her bum just before her 100th birthday party and was not feeling the best the day before her party, but when my aunt told her that she needed to perk up because a lot of people were coming to celebrate her big milestone, she somehow just snapped back to normal!

Again, I think she just willed herself.

7 It’s okay to get dirty, in the kitchen or the garden.

You need to get your hands dirty to insert love into everything!

6 It’s important to be able to laugh at yourself.

IMG_1890

My friend Emily went to see Nana in the nursing home when she was about 8 months pregnant and Nana had a moment of confusion, thinking Emily was me and I was the one who was pregnant! It was quite a surprise. When she realized it was Emily and not me she laughed and laughed. When I saw her next she was still laughing at her mistake. Nana had no problem making fun of herself, and that is a quality I admire.

5 Eating is one of life’s greatest pleasures. 

Nana was incredibly food-oriented and was always making food for us. Banana splits before bed whenever I slept over at her house is one of my favourite memories. One of my first blog posts was about Nana’s love of food! One time I asked what she had for breakfast in the nursing home and she responded: porridge, toast, eggs, yogurt, coffee, and orange juice. Yes, this is for sure where I inherited my love of food. Also there are five ingredients that make everything taste better: butter, salt, garlic, sugar, and of course, love.

Also, there is room for wine in any diet. Or a mimosa on your 100th birthday.

nana

4 Enjoy the little things. They can bring you so much joy.

Cards, cookies, books, the Y&R (she watched it faithfully for years and years), horoscopes, Turtles, afternoon tea, dessert, the love of your family. Well, that last one is a big thing but Nana lived for all the little things and again I think this is why she lived for so long. She always had something to look forward to!

3 Moisturize moisturize moisturize!!!!

She was ALL about moisturizing and credited her amazing skin at 102 to her moisturizer (she used Olay if anyone is wondering, their cheapest most basic one!). I’m crossing my fingers it’s genes but you better believe I’m still moisturizing.

2 Love as long as you live.

Nana lived for the love of her family and she told us and showed us how much she loved us every chance she got. When I think of Nana, love is the first word that comes to my mind.

1 Carry on.

When something seemed insurmountable, when Nana was in pain (she was frequently in pain during her last year or so) she would always say “Well, I’ll just carry on.” It almost became her motto, carry on.

When things seem overwhelming to me, I ask myself what Nana would say, and it would be to carry on. Life is going to be real shitty sometimes. It’s all I can do, it’s all any of us can do, just carry on.

I am no expert at putting any of these lessons into practice, but I hope I have a long life ahead of me to get better at it. I’m so thankful to my Nana for being such a great example and for giving me a solid foundation. It is her legacy to all of us.

(if you enjoyed reaching about Nana, this post about all the reasons she is the best ever is my favourite!)

Follow

Beautiful. Wonderful. Fantastic.

Thank you so much for your lovely messages about my Nana. They mean a lot to me and I loved reading them. I especially loved hearing that some of your favourite posts to read of mine were about Nana. They were some of my favourite to write! I did my first tribute to her soon after I started my blog. Several people referred to her as the “famous” Nana, and she would have loved that! I’m so glad I could share her with all of you and you could get to know her and love her, too. If only she knew how many people she touched.

I’m not done talking about her just yet, I have learned many lessons (and recipes!) from her and I don’t want to forget, but I need to collect my thoughts on that first. Right now it’s one day at a time.

I have my moments, as expected, but I am okay. I was on my way to dinner with friends and then a Kings of Leon concert on Monday when my dad called to tell me the news. I missed his call and was going to call him back but then got busy at the restaurant with the girls and figured I’d just do it later. I’m so, so glad I didn’t call him back. Finding out in public would have been awful and I’m not sure how I would have reacted. I don’t know how to be upset in front of people. Obviously I wouldn’t have been able to enjoy the concert, so I would have left and gone home. But there was nothing I could have done at that point so I’m happy I was blissfully unaware for a little while. Kings of Leon was a really good time.

I’m not sure the guy in front of us enjoyed it quite as much as we did. He was not a fan of the couple directly in front of him.

It was Evan who broke the news to me when I got home that night, which I’m sure was super fun for him as I was clearly still on a concert high and came in the door singing “Yeahhhhhhh, your sex is on fire!” (Kings of Leon song). I’m so glad he was the one who told me though, at home, where I could just process by myself.

I knew this moment had to come at some point so I’m surprised at how shocked I was. I just saw her, and she was same sweet, happy Nana. But I know she’s been in a lot of pain for a while, even though she put on a brave face. Nothing specifically wrong really, just being old and her body breaking down. I’m so glad she’s not in pain anymore.

I also know that she has been ready to go for a couple years now. When she was 100 she somehow lost her dentures – she put them in a tissue and left them beside her bed, and we think the nurses accidentally threw them out thinking they were garbage. It really sucked for her because eating was her favourite and without her teeth for the last couple of years she hasn’t been able to enjoy her favourite foods. She could only eat soft things and liquids. No more Turtles and cookies! She didn’t get new teeth because they’re expensive and at 100 what’s the point of spending money on teeth you can’t possibly have the time to use? Her plan was to just ride it out. But on her 102nd birthday I remember her saying “If I had known I was going to live this long I would have gotten new teeth!!!” Which makes me laugh. Fair enough. I hope she is surrounded by all her favourite foods now and is just going to town on them.

I’m glad it was sudden and peaceful. It seems so fitting for her, too. Quietly without a big fuss or dramatics. And I cannot help but think of her timing. My aunt (Nana’s daughter) left for Florida last Friday morning, arrived on Sunday, and is there until mid-April. We had a plan in place if anything happened while my aunt was away, we’re not having a memorial for her until the spring, and all the arrangements are already made. I honestly think my Nana knew that this would be the hardest and most stressful on her daughter and so she waited until she was safely in Florida. Which is again, typical Nana. Considerate of others until the end.

I’m sad that she won’t be able to make it to our small family wedding in Toronto (although I don’t know if she would have been able to make it anyway). But I’m so happy she got to know Evan and she knew that we were getting married.

One of my favourite memories was when she asked me what Evan’s last name was and I wrote down “Evanoff” (mine/her last name). That really made her laugh. Actually, my favourite recent story of her is when I told her Evan and I were engaged.

I went to visit her when we got home from Cuba, and I wanted to tell her the news in a visual way since by this point she was nearly completely deaf. I took off my ring and showed her pictures from our trip that I printed for her, in sequence. One of us on the beach…

The one of us in the water just after Evan proposed…

During this she just kept saying “Oh beautiful! Beautiful couple!”

In case she missed the ring on my finger in that last one, I then showed her a picture of just the ring.

I think she got it then.

But just in case, I pulled out my actual ring and put it on so she could see.

Her reaction was priceless. Her eyes welled up and she gave me her genuine “Beautiful! Wonderful! Oh fantastic! Ohhh I love this!”

And then she checked out the goods.

She approved. More beautifuls, wonderfuls and fantastics.

It was a beautiful, wonderful, and fantastic moment that I will forever cherish, however, this took place in the main room with the other residents and the entire time this was happening there was a lady in the background yelling (to herself) “JENNIFER! You get in the car right now! Don’t you make me get your father! I’ve got a JOB, and you DON’T, THAT’S THE DIFFERENCE! Hurry up and get in or I’m going to call the policeman!”

Super awkward at the time because I was trying not to laugh, but now I think it makes the story better.

Another recent moment that I will forever cherish was the last time I saw her, when we showed Nana a picture of her young husband that my aunt found in an old album.

And notice she is still wearing her wedding ring

I’ll never forget how her face lit up. She just repeated how handsome he was. She sounded so happy, and so lucky that she had such a handsome husband. And seriously though.

Papa (who I never got to meet) was handsome. It makes me happy that my Nana is finally reunited with her love.

We are all so lucky to have had such a wonderful lady in our lives.

Who was THE MOST beautiful, wonderful, and fantastic.

Follow

Happy 101st Birthday to my Amazing Nana!

Happy 101st (yeah, one hundred and first!) birthday to this wonderful lady!!!

11709776_10206153888239859_1872089243136908973_n

Whenever someone asks me what her secret is I tell them this. It is, without a doubt, her positive attitude. Her life has not been all sunshine and rainbows. She has had her struggles and difficult times, just like anyone else. But she has never let those things define her. And you would never know her struggles by spending time with her. She lives for the little things in life, and she has always been, genuinely, to her core, the happiest and most positive light in my life.

So in honour of my Nana on her 101st birthday, I am going to share my favourite memories of her, moments with her, and funny things she has done/said. I’ve mentioned a lot of these things on my blog over the years, but it’ll be nice to have them all in one place.

36 Reasons Why My Nana is the Best Ever

1  She looooves horoscopes and she has always read hers, mine, my best friend’s, and my boyfriend’s, religiously. One time she called me and was all “Lindsey, Lindsey, is everything okay? I read in your horoscope that someone is going to try to undermine you today, so please be careful!” Noted. And one time after reading my Bestie Lisa’s she called me and said “Lisa’s horoscope said there is going to be a new man in her life soon, tell her to keep an eye out.” Thanks for the heads up, Nana!

2  We were getting ready to leave her house after Easter dinner one year, and she called out to my dad, who was driving “Do you want a beer for the road?!” Oh Nana. That is illegal.

3  Her reaction to pretty much everything you say to her is “Oh, wonderful! Beautiful!” and then a pause, and then “Fantastic!”

nana

4  One time Evan and I were visiting her in her home and as we were leaving she forced a $50 bill into my hand and said “I want you to take this and go and buy some CHIPS.” And just the way she said chips made us die of laughter. We still laugh about it today. Sure Nana, I will go and buy $50 worth of chips.

5  When I was born I was quite dark. I can apparently credit this to my Papa, my dad’s side of the family, the Bulgarians. I had very dark hair and darker skin, but somehow I seem to have lightened up as I’ve gotten older. Anyway, my parents were pointing me out to my Nana after I was born when I was in an incubator in a room with all the other babies at the hospital, and when my parents pointed to me my Nana said “The negro?!”

naname2

Not quite…

6  Her care packages. OMG the care packages. When she lived on her own, and after I moved out on my own, she would make care packages to give me when I came to visit her. These consisted of random items such as half used bottles of Windex, one roll of paper towel, oranges, a can of soup, bread, cheese (wrapped in tinfoil and then wax paper), PC Decadent cookies, stamps, and whatever else might be useful that had been on sale at the grocery store. Now that she is in a home and can’t shop for herself, she still tries to do this, but her items are things she has somehow acquired, so therefore even more random. Usually cookies and muffins she has saved from various meals and stored in Ziplock bags, socks she won at Bingo, and stickers.

carepackage

This one was around Easter

carepackage1

I love it.

7  Fairly recently she called me and told me she was not doing very well so I needed to come see her immediately because she had something very important to give me. It was this:

img_6016

Still trying to take care of me, even though she wasn’t well herself.

8  A couple years ago my cousins Chrissy, Allie and I were all at my aunt’s house with Nana. My Nana suddenly pulled a couple of adult diapers out of her bag and handed them to Chrissy and I saying “THESE ARE FOR YOUR PANTIES!!!” (very loudly). I guess she didn’t need them anymore, but we might, you know! Girl time! I didn’t really know what to do so I was trying to say thank you as tears of laughter were streaming down my face, and Nana looked at me and said “Oh, sorry Lindsey, these aren’t for you! I thought you were Allie!” and snatched the diaper away from me. Then she handed me my present: cookies saved from meals, and $20. And my cousins were all “But…why doesn’t Lindsey get a diaper?” and Nana said “Well Lindsey lives on her own you know…” Which, yep I did! To this day I don’t think I have ever laughed so hard (I actually blogged this whole story just after it happened).

9  Before she moved into a nursing home, she had a little vacation in one for two weeks to try it out and see how she liked it. When I asked her how it was there, the first thing she said was “The food is AMAZING!” and then went on to describe everything she ate.

10  Whenever I ask her what she ate for breakfast she always says porridge, toast, eggs, yogurt, coffee, and orange juice. Pretty sure we all inherited her love of food.

nana (2)

11  Speaking of food, all the food she made. Homemade pierogies, cabbage rolls, lasagne, pizza, pickled everything, soda floats, SALAD, Easter dinners with painted eggs, cookies… The homemade birthday cakes she used to make with buttercream icing (always white with blue trim and pink roses), and she would wash coins and then wrap them in wax paper and put them in the batter. We would have competitions to see who could find the most money.

IMG_0156

12  Her shortbread cookies. They are the best ever.

img_8702

13  The nurses in her home are each in charge of various games, and are reviewed for the attendance of the residents. Nana knows this and she doesn’t want the nurses to get bad marks, so for a couple of years she would go to ALL THE GAMES. Mystery Word, Bingo, and table bowling were her favourite. And whenever I would call her and ask her how she was she would say “Oh I’m just so BUSY!” Going to all the games was really tiring her out, but she couldn’t risk the nurses getting bad marks!

14  One time I asked her if she was able to play Euchre in her home with the other residents, and she looked at me and said “Euchre! Most of these people don’t even know where their room is! They can’t play Euchre!”

15  She always looks like a million bucks. She gets up and does her makeup every morning, is always wearing lipstick, and her nails are always freshly painted in a bright colour.

img_6786

nana-linds (1)

16  My friend Melissa and I used to stay with my Nana at her house for a week in the summer when we were younger, and her favourite thing was to take us shopping. She was in her 80s but she would make us shop with her ALL DAY. And we would be all “Nana, slow down, we need a break!” and she would just say “Come on girls, we still have stores to hit!” and so we started calling her the Energizer Bunny.

542050_3397156821369_1554920707_n (1)

17  It was my Nana every year who would take me shopping for back-to-school clothes, and it was my Nana who would take me shopping for my prom dresses (I went to a really small school so I went to prom for five years).

18  She was always so welcoming to my friends in her old house, and then her apartment. Most of my best friends have stayed with her for at least a weekend.

19  When I was young and would sleep over she would always make me a real banana split before bed. When I woke up in the morning there would be freshly squeezed orange juice beside my head. Followed by porridge with all the brown sugar.

naname3

20  She would always have puzzles and books tucked under her couch for when we came over.

21  Her apartment used to be just plastered with pictures of her grandchildren, and she had album upon album of us also. We were everywhere. My cousins and I used to have a competition about it, and we would go around and count how many pictures of us there were when we were visiting, and my cousin Chrissy (she is the oldest) was always in the lead by a couple. Until I got Nana an entire calendar of pictures of me 🙂

23  She saves every card anyone’s ever gotten her, and she keeps them all in a big photo album.

24  One time she couldn’t get out to get me a Valentine’s Day card, so she just whited out the name on a card a child had made for her.

card card1 card2

Oh how this made me laugh.

25  The way she signs all her cards to me.

nana-card

And how she adds her own stickers to spice them up.

26  How happy she is when holding a baby, or just in the general vicinity of a baby.

img_1653

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

IMG_3304

26  The smell of her, and the smell of her house. I’ll never ever forget it. If I concentrate really hard I can smell it in my mind right now.

27  Her house in Toronto, the one my dad grew up in. The backyard in particular, I just loved it. It was huge, with the biggest garden, with grape vines, and a willow tree. In the front she had a big maple tree that was perfect for climbing, so we would climb and hang out in it for hours.

28  Throughout my childhood she had various figure skaters from around the world boarding with her while they were training in Toronto, so she wouldn’t have to live alone. She treated them as part of her family, and they would come to our holiday dinners, etc. One of them went on to be on the American Olympic Team, so I felt like my Nana lived with a celebrity!

29  Every time I see her she tells me how beautiful she thinks I am. And if I ever am worried about something she will say “Don’t worry, you’re beautiful!” not that it would make the problem better, but it does make me feel nice.

30  Her love for the Young and the Restless, the Y&R!

31  When she worries about things, they tend to be things that make me laugh. For a while she was worried that my brother Eric was going to join a gang and start smoking. And she was always concerned about my purse, because you always had to watch out for “those purse snatchers.” They could strike when you least expected it. Like when you’re in your car and you have your purse on the passenger seat, and someone opens your door and snatches it when you’re stopped. This was a big concern of hers.

32  When she was 99 she fell and broke her hip, and the doctors thought she would probably never walk again. But she was walking in the hospital the day after her surgery!

33  One time I witnessed her pick up her walker, carry it around an obstacle, put it back down and continue walking with it. Like it wasn’t needed at all.

34  She is the easiest person to buy a birthday present for because she does not want me to spend any money on her, so all she has ever asked for from me is pictures of me.

IMG_1702

35  I love the love she has for her family. That she must be touching us if she is near us.

nana-love1 (1)

naname1 (1)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

36  I love that I have never in my life seen her without a smile on her face.

photo (2)

IMG_0150
nana (1)

linds-nanny (1)
img_3172
img_3095
1391539_10201607616945918_638482200_n
62622_3396966496611_1105009093_n

There are so many more reasons, I feel like I could go on forever…but it’s almost time for her birthday party!

The happiest of bithdays to my most wonderful Nana! We love you so much!!!

fam1

img_9677

310183_2448214858413_793105921_n (1)

large_image_1405684352

Follow

Thank you, you got nice ____.

Monday was a holiday in Ontario, Family Day, so I took the opportunity to visit my saucy 100-and-a-half-year-old Nana. When I got to her nursing home it was afternoon TV time, so she was sitting in a big leather recliner in the main room with some of the other residents. I pulled up a seat next to her for a catch-up chat.

A few feet away, a man was sitting in his wheelchair. I would estimate him to be about 90 years old.

cartoon-man

He dropped his mug…

cartoon-man1

And was in a bit of a panic about it. The nurses were busy tending to someone else across the room and no one seemed to be paying attention to him, so I got up to help him out.

cartoon-man3 cartoon-man4 cartoon-man5 cartoon-man6

And then…

cartoon-man7

I was caught VERY off guard and I did not know what to do, so…

cartoon-man8

Because what do you say to that?

And then I turned away and burst out laughing.

I sat back down with the Nanners to continue our conversation. She nor anyone else had heard the nice t*ts exchange. Five minutes later…

cartoon-man1

Not this time, buddy.

Follow

Nanny’s Annual Elvis BBQ

Last Wednesday evening was the annual family appreciation barbecue at my Nana’s nursing home. Long time readers of my blog may remember this in previous years because the highlight of the barbecue is an Elvis tribute artist. He is not easily forgettable.

I have attended for the past five years or so and Elvis has been the same guy each year.

IMG_3193

He is pretty awesome. He is very good at getting the crowd excited. Last year was a particularly good time.

Anyway, after work on Wednesday, Evan and I made the trip up to the nursing home and found my excited little (100-year-old!) Nana camped out outside. She went down to the yard super early so she could score a prime location for our group. She doesn’t mess around. She snagged us the best seats in the house.

IMG_3095

Oh she is just so cute. She is still so chipper and spry. I think the Elvis barbecue might be the highlight of her year. Actually, I think it might be mine (EDIT: I was just reading my post about Elvis last year and I used the same line, embarrassingly… I am going to have to pick up the originality over here).

While we waited for Elvis to start his hilarious show, we did the barbecue thing…

IMG_3094

Same as usual, and pretty good. One thing my Nana has definitely not lost in her old age is her appetite. She ate half a hamburger, an entire hotdog, and both kinds of salad. Plus a big piece of cake. I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again, I know where I get my appetite from.

IMG_3102

This gal right here.

My family had a lot going on last week and unfortunately couldn’t make it to the party, but my Auntie Nancy’s childhood best friend Joanne and her husband Harry were in attendance.

IMG_3186

It was their first time coming to the Elvis party and I think they really enjoyed themselves. And I’ll tell you one thing about Harry…he’s a troublemaker. Just a jokester. They were very entertaining.

We ate and chatted and caught up for a bit, and then it was Elvis time. He made a beeline towards my Nana.

IMG_3099

Look at my Nana just clutching his hand with her sassy pink nails. Seeing her so happy just makes my heart want to explode. When Elvis first came out and was just talking she said to us “He doesn’t sound like Elvis!” but then he started singing and you know what, he actually does. He does a very good Elvis. And he’s quite the entertainer, doing the ol’ “what’s your room number, baby?” to all the old ladies, and I think an old man. Once he started doing his thing my Nana warmed up to him.

IMG_3104

She may have been in awe of him.

Evan too.

IMG_3160

Look how close they are in this picture.

IMG_3190

I’d say Elvis is Evan’s new best friend.

It was kind of cold outside so Elvis came over to the Nana and was all “Are you cold, baby? Do you need me to take you to your room to warm you up?”

IMG_3170

That scandalous Elvis.

IMG_3172

Nana’s all, no thanks I’m good.

And even Harry got in on the Elvis action.

IMG_3183

Elvis thought Joanne was my mom, so when he discovered she wasn’t he was all “Well who’s the mom here?” and Harry immediately said “I AM!” which made me laugh a lot harder than I would have expected. Harry’s cheesy humour just slays me.

Also during the Elvis barbecue, the staff at my Nana’s nursing home took part in the ALS ice bucket challenge, as they were all nominated by another nursing home.

IMG_3179
They are clearly enjoying that.

So it was once again a fantastic Elvis time.

IMG_3192

And Evan and I are once again thinking what we sort of events we have coming up that we could possibly book Elvis for. As we were leaving I told Elvis that we liked him and he was a good time and then I asked “Hey, do you want to come to our cottage and perform for us?” and he said that sounded like fun, so that could be an option… I am just sad we didn’t think of booking Elvis as a surprise for Brotherman’s wedding. Now THAT would have been a party.

Follow

Happy Birthday Eric! And the last of my mom’s visit

This week has been a bit nutso, so just a few things before it has been too long since my mom left and it is weird to talk about.

But first, happiest of 21st birthdays to my baby brother Eric!

baby-eric

The first time I held him. He was a HUGE baby.

IMG_0893

21. 21 years have gone by since that cheeky cat was born. I can’t believe it. I remember when I was eagerly anticipating his arrival and drawing scary clowns to be posted on the walls of his nursery that said “TO BABY!” all over them (not kidding about that, my mom saved one of the clown posters that I drew and it is terrifying. Poor guy). I have a lot more to say on the subject of having a baby brother…I also found a speech that I wrote about little brothers when I was in Grade 6 and it does not paint Eric in the most flattering light (direct quote: “I like him when he is sleeping and when he is playing in his OWN room with his OWN toys. I do not like it when he comes into my room and gets into all my stuff. And forget about putting up a barricade because Eric will just smash through it.”) I think I will have to write more about that speech later…

Anyway, he did turn into a shining, respectable young man. So happy birthday Eric, I love you!

Last weekend when my mom was still here we did the rounds of visiting her old friends. And we dropped in to see my lovely Nana.

IMG_2501

I still cannot believe she is 100. And she is still so with it, asking my mom all the questions about what she has been up to. Nana is my dad’s mom, but my parents were married for 20 years so was obviously a big part of my mom’s life. Nana was just thrilled to see her. She is still calling me and raving about our visit and how happy she was to see my mom doing so well.

IMG_2506

She’s a sweetheart that Nana. Her annual Elvis impersonator barbecue is coming up and I cannot wait.

Aside from family and friends visiting, we ate a lot. My mom made her famous chicken soup that I love so much.

IMG_2482

My friend Melissa was telling me that the reason she loves soup so much to this day is because of my mom and the soups she used to make for us when we were growing up. I totally agree. I never thought about that before but I’m pretty sure that is why I love soup so much now too. I can always go for some soup.

Evan also made his delicious lentils and red curry chicken for my mom, and it was her first time eating anything like that.

IMG_2578

With spicy pickle and Evan’s cousin’s chutney and popadoms. My mom loved. I loved! I want to eat that every day!

Evan cooked for us a lot actually…

IMG_2471

IMG_2584

I’m sorry but sausages are just not photogenic, no matter how you photograph them.

I was happy my mom got to experience Evan’s cooking, because it is dynamite.

Evan and I also took my mom to the flea market last Sunday so she could experience that randomness. And we went to amazing crazy food court with all the foods of the world, and what made the experience for me this time was this pork rice from the Columbian food stall.

IMG_2573

It is cooked inside sewed up pork skin and it was incredibly amazing. We all loved it. My mom and I also shared a quesadilla from the Mexican booth, but not even worth taking a picture of, I was too into that rice.

My mom hung out a lot with this little minx.

IMG_2542

My mom was Winnie’s first owner. I think Winnie remembered her! She slept with her every night and has definitely been missing her since she left. My mom could not believe how much she still acts like a spry young kitty, and she is turning 21 this October! I haven’t been posting a lot of pictures of Winnie since Bolt’s arrival, but rest assured she is and will always be my number one. She is my favourite.

Other than that, a lot of hanging around and chatting in the condo. Evan and my mom really like each other.

IMG_0733

IMG_0737

Brotherman came over for dinner a few times and he and my mom really hit it off as well.

IMG_0739
I know she had a really great time. I was so sad to see her go. We are going to miss her around here. But I am very happy knowing that Eric (and Kenya and Dixon!) are taking such good care of her in BC.

Have a great weekend!

Follow