Braless at the Heart Institute

Warning:  The word “bra” is used throughout this post.

The City of Ottawa has an excellent Heart Institute, which forms part of the Ottawa Civic Hospital.  This week my youngest daughter was admitted as a patient at this facility because of recurring problems with her heart. 

She has known for some time about the heart condition she has, called AV Block (arterial ventricular block) where the electrical conductivity of the heart goes wonky and her heart beat becomes very irregular.  But two weeks ago, she collapsed at work and she has been in and out of hospital, consulting with specialists, and undergoing a series of tests.

Last weekend she was admitted to the heart institute and I have been spending most days with her, talking to her, bringing her cards and letters from her children, and mothering her.  A mother’s love has no bounds and yesterday I was given the opportunity to prove it.

Early in the morning, she had an echocardiogram, which is an ultrasound of the heart.  It is non-invasive and was no problem for her, even in her weakened state.  In the afternoon, they scheduled her for a stress test.  For this test, a person must run or walk on a treadmill while connected to a bunch of monitors. 

Now everyone knows that when they run on a treadmill, on a sidewalk, or on a beach, females have to wear a bra.  If you happen to be generously endowed, it becomes even more essential.  I think you get the point.

But, she hadn’t brought a bra to the hospital when she went there at 4:30 a.m. on Sunday. 

What would you do?  What would any mother do?  I took off my bra and handed it to her.  It was a perfect fit and she went off to do the test secure in the knowledge that she wouldn’t do herself an injury.

I, on the other hand, was a little self-conscious.  I mean, these were working breasts, and they are a little tired, if you get my drift.  I’m just not as perky as I was when I was 14.  I didn’t EXPECT to be braless at this esteemed institution, and I spent an uncomfortable half hour until my daughter returned with the bra in her hand. 

She had so many wires attached to her that she had to take the bra off anyway.

There was something not quite normal with that test so they are going to be doing another test tomorrow.  This time it will be a CT scan of the heart.  Her case is an interesting one.  The doctors, residents and specialists alike, are excited by it.  Us, not so much!!!

I feel good about the fact that I gave the bra off my back to help my daughter in her hour of need.  Would you have done the same???



Pericarditis is a viral inflammation of the lining of the heart. 

For the past week one of my daughters has been seriously ill, and yesterday was diagnosed with pericarditis.  Her underlying heart condition (atrial ventricular block) has exacerbated the condition. 

The treatment is bed rest and a high dose of aspirin (8 regular aspirin) daily, for one month.  The worst of the illness should pass in about two weeks but she won’t be back to normal for about three months. 

Needless to say, hubby and I are helping out with her two little ones.  We are so happy that we moved to Ottawa and especially happy that she now has a diagnosis and a plan to recover.

I may not be blogging as much as I’d like to, but you never know, ideas may spring up when I have a little spare time.

Thanks for reading and have a good weekend. – Maureen

Winterlude Part 2

Well, we had quite the weekend.  Eleanor and Jim, our friends from Oshawa came to visit us here and we took in several of the Winterlude events.

On Friday, Eleanor and Jim came over in the evening for cake and tea and we caught up on all the Oshawa news.  It was so good to see her again!

On Saturday morning we had to help out with our grandson’s hockey and we stayed to watch the game.  The little guys were so cute and they impressed us with their skating ability.  They tied the game 1 – 1, and  Owen had a couple of good shots on goal, but the goalie managed to stop them.  They all seemed to have a lot of fun. 

We met with Eleanor and Jim for supper at Swiss Chalet and enjoyed every bite.  After that, we drove to the Rideau Canal, the World’s Largest Skating Rink.  We parked the car at our daughter, Michelle’s house and she accompanied us on the block and a half walk to the canal.  It was c-o-l-d!!! 

We went down the temporary steps erected especially for skaters to use to get onto the ice and walked across the canal to where huts were set up for skaters.  The canal was fairly dark, but skaters were wearing little blue lights around their necks so they could be seen.  It was so, so nice.  We spotted a hut selling Beaver Tails, (deep-fried dough, smothered with cinnamon and sugar) but decided to wait until the next day to partake.

Night-time Skating on the Rideau Canal.

We saw people selling candies, maple sugar, and hot chocolate.  There are beautiful warming huts set up for skaters to change into or out of their skates, or just to sit for a few minutes to catch their breath.

A Warming Hut on the Rideau Canal.

There was a stage set up where people were performing music and even a few fire pits to warm up those freezing fingers.  We made our way back to Michelle’s and they invited us all in for hot chocolate and sugar cookies, made by Michelle and decorated by Amelia and Enid, her two girls.  We stayed talking for a couple of hours and drove them back to their motel.

On Sunday we helped with Brynn’s Ringette game and then met Eleanor and Jim for a bus ride into the city.  We went on the canal, saw the ice sculptures and bought a Beaver Tail. 

This was one of the beautiful Ice Sculptures at Winterlude.


One of the many huts selling Beaver Tails.

Afterwards the guys went home and Eleanor and I went to the National Gallery to look at the art.  Unfortunately there were very few Group of Seven paintings there as the gallery has lent many of them to an exhibition in England. 

Winterlude was fabulous for us and we still have lots to do next year!  Maybe it won’t be so cold!!!

Come and visit Ottawa some time. – Maureen



Winterlude is a celebration of winter, held every year in Ottawa, Canada’s capital.  It is a fun-filled event that can be enjoyed by the whole family.  Tens of thousands of people will visit Ottawa for one of the three weekends in February to partake in one or more events.

Our friends, Eleanor and Jim are travelling from Oshawa to be with us for this second weekend of Winterlude and we will enjoy the outdoors despite the weather forecast which promises to be quite cold but sunny!  Fortunately there are many indoor activities as well.

There is something for everyone, from Arts and Culture to Outdoor Sports, where you can participate or just watch. 

Arts and Culture –

  • There is a Crystal Home where you can experience what a (luxurious) ice home would be like. 
  • There are Art Creations and a public Ice Sculpturing Contest.
  • There is the Ice Carving Championship, where contestants from all over the world come to show off their skills.
  • A Build-your-own Snow Bunker competition.
  • The Snowflake Stage has Shows throughout the day, all week long, for three weeks.
  • Winter Jazz Festival.  Hope their lips don’t freeze to their instruments!
  • Art Gallery special exhibits.
  • Fashion shows.
  • Youth Orchestra and Choir performances at various venues.
  • On Sundays there are Gospel Choirs performing.
  • Theatre Performances.
  • Cracking-up the Capital comedy shows.
  • Portraits on Ice.

Winter Sports –

  • Ice Skating on the World’s Longest Ice Skating Rink, the Rideau Canal, at 7.8 Km.
  • A Giant Ice Slide, Snowshoeing Demonstrations, an amazing Ice Maze, Downhill and Cross-country Skiing.
  • Learn How to ski, skate, snowshoe, and fly a kite.
  • A winter obstacle course.
  • Downhill sledding and skate safe demos.
  • The Winterlude Triathlon, the Bed Race, a Marathon, and Animal Tracking on Snowshoes.
  • Dog-sled rides and demos.
  • A Hockey Tournament.
  • Hockey Zone and Train rides.


  • A Pancake Breakfast
  • The Byward Market Stew Cook-off.
  • An evening of Food and Fashion.
  • Wine Tasting.
  • Cordon Bleu Bistro.
  • Cooking Classes, including Vegan and Gluten-free demos.

There are several “Sno Buses” which ferry people from specific pick-up spots to different venues.  This is a free service!!!

Then there are the Beaver Tails, deep-fried dough, covered with cinnamon and sugar and topped with maple syrup (how Canadian).  I’ve never had one, but Eleanor and I have already decided we’re ready to try one. 

Hope you get a chance to come to Ottawa, either this year or some time in the future, to enjoy Winterlude with us!  I’ll try to get a few photos to share next week.

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend. – Maureen.


Arts & Crafts Night

Our Arts & Crafts night was a success.  I had everything ready this month and was looking forward to seeing my daughters, my cousin and her daughter.

A good workspace. The Cricut is on the left.

Monica arrived and wanted to make Valentines cards for her children to give out.  In all they have to give out 80 valentines and rather than spend money on “Star Wars” cards or “Hello Kitty” cards, she decided to craft them and have the kids, aged 5 and 7, address and sign them.

We all got involved.  I made the hearts using the Cricut machine.  This machine uses cartridges to select and cut out shapes and words, such as flowers, hearts, etc.  The others helped Monica assemble the parts, glue on the hearts, stamp them and cut the edges with fancy scissors.

Before the cutting, gluing, and stamping began.We were all hard at work.Patti is a great help!The finished product!

Thanks for reading!


It’s a new month and I am happy that January passed by without too much in the way of cold, snow, and ice.

We moved to Ottawa in mid-December and were worried that we’d freeze.  But the weather has been mild (for Ottawa) and the free buses have been great.  I think that with very few exceptions, we have been on the bus every free day since we got here.  We even ventured out last week in the middle of freezing rain.  It was a skating rink out there and we inched along like two penguins and made it to the bus.  From there it was indoors all the way as the bus stops indoors at an indoor mall.

Tonight I am having the second monthly arts and crafts night at my house.  I had the first one shortly after New Year’s with two of my daughters and my sister.  It was fun but I wasn’t really prepared, since I had no tables, and only one small lamp.  My daughters were on the floor, one scrapbooking and the other crocheting.  My sister and I just sat on chairs and talked!

Now I am all set up for the girls.  This time my two daughters are coming and I have invited my cousin and her daughter as well.  I have five lamps and a nice large table as well as a couple of portable ones.  I have a rocking chair for the knitters and/or crocheters.  I’ll try to take some photos for the blog.

February is also my birthday month although why anyone would want to be born in this month is beyond me.  It is so cold!!!!  Hubby and I are planning to go out to dinner on Friday (the big day) on the free buses.  I will be 67 on Friday and I realize I am breathing down the neck of 70!!!  Wasn’t I a teenager just a few years ago?

February is a short month, even with the extra day this year, and I like that.  Because March is the month when the snow disappears (by the end of the month I always say), and my daughters and I look for the first robin of spring.  The flowers will start to pop up and everything is new again.

“For lo the winter is past, the rain (snow) is over and gone.  The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove (robin) is heard in our land.”  Song of Solomon 2:11, 12.

The words in brackets are mine.

Yes, spring is really coming!!!  I can feel it.