6 Month-ish Blog Update – one month late

Hey there gang, how’s everyone doing?

Yes I know, this is my first post since late November 2020. Sorry friends, I’ve been meaning to pop in to say hi or post a quick update but I just can’t seem to figure out exactly what to say or how I want to say it.

And don’t even get me started on the time I’ve wasted trying to figure out how to use this ridiculously clunky, counterintuitive ‘new’ block editor with its cartoonish interface, that WordPress has thrust upon us.

All is relatively well here as we carefully emerge from the pandemic and cautiously decide which of the eased public health and safety restrictions to exercise.

We’re both fully vaccinated and assuming all continues to go well, we look forward to gradually returning to a more normal life in the weeks and months to come. Perhaps there’s even a road trip on the horizon later this summer.

It’s good to see that my friend Dan at No Facilities has kept Thursday Doors rolling along nicely; as I was sure he would. He has even made some cool changes and improvements that have brought in some new contributors – Bravo Dan!

As for what has been up with me, well as some of you may remember I’ve been dealing with life as a heart failure patient since 2011. I wrote about that several years ago in a post you can read here.

Since then I’ve been doing relatively well, all things considered. North American medical statistics indicate that roughly 50% of heart failure patients don’t survive beyond 5 years. Yet despite my condition, I was lucky enough to spend almost 10 years now, living pretty close to a normal life.

However, over the past 18 months my cardiac output has been gradually declining. My damaged ticker is getting tired, to the point where last fall my doctors decided that before it became too urgent, it was time to put me through the heart transplant screening protocol.

In simple terms the screening involves a long checklist of tests and procedures to determine whether or not someone is a viable candidate to receive a transplant, should the time eventually come when a transplant is necessary.

To quote one of my doctors, “We’re going to put you through more tests than a space shuttle before launch”. He wasn’t kidding, because over the past months I’ve been busy getting poked and prodded, pricked, probed, scanned and evaluated in more ways than I could have ever imagined.

Needless to say this has pretty much been my main focus these days and it was the primary reason why I felt the need to step away from the blog and hosting a regular weekly feature.

To complicate matters the entire screening process has taken much longer than it would have under normal conditions. Thanks to the incredible strain the pandemic has imposed on our healthcare system here in Quebec everything that isn’t immediately life-threatening has had to be pushed back while the system dealt with the surge of Covid patients. In fact I’m still waiting for appointments for my last few tests.

As our system and its exhausted healthcare workers slowly chip away at the backlog of non-urgent procedures, by the end of summer I expect to know for sure if I’ll be added to the transplant list.

Not to worry, I’m certainly not in any imminent danger and so far there’s been nothing to indicate I wouldn’t be a good candidate.

I’m confident that I’m in very good hands. Being followed quite closely by a terrific team of cardiologists at one the the world’s leading heart hospitals makes it much easier to quiet the mind of the inevitable recurrent worry over the unknown and helps me sleep well at night.

They’re taking such good care of me in fact that thanks to some corrective actions taken earlier this spring I’m feeling noticeably better today than I was more more than 18 months ago.

And of course the constant support and encouragement from the amazing lady I’m lucky enough to share my life with has made coping with all this uncertainty much, much easier.

All the same I still don’t expect to be returning to this blog on a regular basis any time soon.

I am however pondering starting a new blog perhaps this fall, to document my eventual transplant journey and help spread awareness for, and promote the importance of, organ donation. Watch this space for more info sometime later this year.

In the meantime I’m enjoying summer, having fun playing in the back yard vegetable garden, taking good care of myself, and occasionally taking a peek at some of your posts.

Who knows, before the end of summer I may even join you all on Dan’s site with a doors post.

Until then take care, stay safe, and if you haven’t already, please consider signing your organ donor card and should you decide to do so, don’t forget to inform your loved ones of your decision 🙂

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Thursday Doors – November 26, 2020

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Au Revoir But Not Goodbye

Hello Friends,

After posting images for Thursday Doors for a little over six years and hosting it as a link-up event for five and a half, the time has come for me to step away.

Once next week’s Thursday Doors post on November 26th is in the books, I’ll be taking an extended blogging break to focus my energies on other matters.

For all you door lovers out there don’t despair, Thursday Doors will continue under new management and at a new location.

Starting December 3rd, Dan Antion over at No Facilities has graciously agreed to be the new host and head door wrangler for Thursday Doors.

We had the chance to meet with Dan on our way home from a road trip in 2017.

For those who don’t already follow Dan, he has been sharing door posts for almost as long as I have; and having built and installed more than a few with his own hands, it’s safe to say he knows his way around doors 😉

Dan also has a fun and friendly way of sharing words and images about his home corner of the world, the architecture and history-rich north eastern part of the USA known as New England.

Going forward I have no doubt that Thursday Doors will be in good hands, and I hope that if you’ve been participating in our quirky little group, you’ll continue having fun and sharing your door discoveries over at Dan’s place. In fact, to make sure you don’t forget you should probably go over there right now and click on the “follow” button. That way Thursday Doors will continue to show up automatically in your feed after I sign off next weekend.

As for me, I’m not one for long goodbyes, and since I do hope to pop in from time to time when I can, this is more of an ‘Au Revoir’ than an actual ‘goodbye’ anyway.

Thanks to all for your support and friendship over the past 6+ years!

Until next Thursday,


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Thursday Doors – November 19, 2020

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Wordless Wednesday – Come Sail Away

Thanks for looking 🙂

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Thursday Doors – November 12, 2020

This gallery contains 23 photos.

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Lest We Forget – Why We Wear the Poppy

Long-time followers will recognize this; for you newer followers this post is a variation on a subject I speak about on this day every year.

The armistice that ended battlefield hostilities during World War I started at the eleventh hour, on the eleventh day, of the eleventh month in 1918. Here in Canada as well as in other Commonwealth countries, wearing a Red Poppy on the left lapel, the one closest to the heart, is a tradition we use to mark this event.

Poppy on lapel

Though now over a century after the end of the Great War, government and financial institutions are the only ones to actually take the day off, November 11th is still a National Holiday here called Remembrance Day.

In the United States November 11th is also observed as Veteran’s Day.

Now you can talk to me about the pointlessness of war. How violence is not the answer. Or how it is wrong for well-off, well-fed, middle-aged (mostly) white men to send our youth off to fight their battles for them; and on 364 days of the year I’ll probably agree with a fair amount of what you have to say.

But just not today, alright? Today, November 11th we pay our respects to those who served in all wars, and especially to those who were lost, at home and abroad.

Speaking to younger people it saddens me to find that so few know how this tradition started.

remember poppy poster simple

It’s a fascinating story that stems from one of the most iconic pieces of Canadian literature ever written. I’m referring of course to the poem In Flanders Fields by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae which was taught to every child of my generation and recited each year in grade school.

In fact this poem is such an ingrained part of Canadian heritage that until 2013 when we switched from paper to polymer money, an excerpt from the poem was included on the back of our ten dollar bill.

John McCrae

McCrae who was born in Guelph Ontario, was a 41-year-old doctor serving with the Canadian artillary during the second battle of Ypres, in the Flanders region of Belgium.

On May 2nd, 1915 during a particularly brutal offensive by the Germans, McCrae witnessed the death of Alexis Helmer, a 22-year-old friend and former student of his from his teaching days at McGill University in Montreal.

Legend has it that during a short break in the hellish battle, McCrae and Helmer were smoking a cigarette away from the trenches. Helmer was exuberantly telling McCrae about his plans for after the war and how he hoped to marry his sweetheart when he got back home.

A few minutes later as they tossed aside their cigarette butts and went their separate ways back to their posts, McCrae heard that unmistakable whistling sound of an incoming mortar shell. The nearby explosion rocked him and he turned to see if Helmer was alright, only to discover that the young man had sustained a direct hit; his body was blown to pieces.

The following day after presiding over his friend’s funeral and burying what remains could be collected, McCrae took a solitary stroll to a remote corner of their makeshift cemetery. Alone with his thoughts as he looked out over a field of poppies that swayed in the breeze, he was seen scribbling intently in his notepad.

This is what he wrote:

in flanders fields

Apparently McCrae wasn’t happy with the poem, or perhaps it was just the sense of overwhelming futility of it all. Whatever the reason, he tore the page from his notebook, crumpled it up and discarded it. It was picked up by someone who had been watching him and forwarded on to a military journal where it was published. It gradually gained in popularity and became one of the most famous war poems of all time.

Though John McCrae didn’t make it home from the war either, his words live on. Through his poem poppies became a symbol that is still used to this day as a way to remember and pay tribute to those who served and sacrificed in that and all subsequent wars.

Here in Canada the yearly Poppy Campaign is organized by the Royal Canadian Legion. In a normal year, by late October veterans don their uniforms and fan out across the country in shopping malls and other places where people go in large numbers. They stand quietly with their boxes of poppies and tin can to collect donations. The money raised is used to help provide anything not covered by government-funded veteran’s services and to offer additional assistance to the families of those who have fallen.

There is no specific price. For each Poppy you take you can give as much or as little as you can afford.  This year with lockdowns, physical distancing, and other public safety regulations in place due to the pandemic, the Legion’s fundraising activities have been severely hampered. The Legion has adjusted as best they can and thanks to the help of a number of major retailers, poppies will still be available this year, just in significantly fewer locations than usual.

With this in mind fellow Canadians, here’s a link to the Legion’s online fundraising portal for the Poppy Fund. If you’re budget allows for it, please consider making a donation and give a little back to those who have given us so much. And if you’re curious here’s a link to the list of ways donations are used to help our veterans.

If your budget doesn’t allow for a donation then please, if you do cross paths with a veteran this week take a moment out of your busy day to offer them a respectful and heartfelt, “Thank you for your service.”

Thank you to all who serve!

lest we forget


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Thursday Doors – November 5, 2020

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Silent Sunday – Pause and Ponder

Thanks for looking 🙂

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Thursday Doors – October 29, 2020

This gallery contains 10 photos.

Thursday Doors is a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in on the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post each week … Continue reading

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