Thursday, June 30, 2011

News - Royal Visit to Canada

How exciting!  The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, better known as Will and Kate, have just arrived in Ottawa, starting their four month tour of Canada.  I remember watching their wedding all night with my daughter.  I thought it was a lovely ceremony ... not as grand as Di and Charles, but rather in keeping with the world as it is now, in my opinion.  They do make a lovely couple.

Monday, June 27, 2011

A fun "I" thingie

... that I borrowed from someone else's blog, who stole it from their friend's blog, and that's as far as it went.  Here it is:

I am - melancholy at the moment
I think - my grandchildren are so cute
I want -
to continue learning
I have - great children, and live in a beautiful place
I wish - there was peace worldwide, but that is unlikely to happen

I hate - nothing, but I dislike lies and the decimation of the forests, and the earth's oceans, etc.
I miss - my grandchildren
I fear - I won't have enough time to get to know my grandchildren, and finish what I have started

I feel -
hopeful and wondrous at the things I am still learning at this age.  Just amazing planet.
I hear - at this point, I hear the show "Big Bang Theory" at which my son is watching
and laughing
I smell - my garden has the smell of spearmint and oregeno
I search - for inner inspiration
I wonder - what my mission on earth is
I regret - shouting at my children ... ever
I love - that my hair grew back after cancer ... and then some.  I also love the laughter of small children.
I always - find pennies in the weirdest places ... even had one fall on me in an empty movie theatre (pennies from heaven?)
I am not - skinny, I am cuddly
I dance - for joy when I am happy
I sing - alone
I don't always -
wear make-up, in fact, just lipstick really
I write - on my blog and facebook, but now that it's summer, I am stumped with  writing my stories
I lose - my memory of words sometimes ... thank goodness for thesaurus'

I never -
break a promise ... so, it is rare that I make them ... hehehehe
I listen - to the birds in the morning before getting up
I can usually be found - sitting at my desk
I'm scared - of spiders
I read - just about anything, but I do favour sci-fi

I'm happy about - living in the "now"

Food Storage Adventures

My niece introduced me to the joys of food storage.  It comes at a good time, after watching the horrors of the Japan earthquake/tsunami/nuclear disaster.  We here on Vancouver Island, are within an earthquake zone, so it is a good idea to be prepared, and if there is no situation where we would need a year's supply of food ... we have our retirement groceries subsidized. 

I started with 2 starter kits, large bags of rice, powdered milk, powdered potatoes, oil, oats, raisins, canned goods, dried peas, lentils, and whenever I see something on sale, I buy extra.  For instance, I bought extra toothpaste when I saw it going for $1 per tube.  I am far from my 1 year goal, but close to the 3 month storage limit.  I still need to purchase 72hr backpacks, so that's my next goal, plus I need to buy sugar and honey.

I have created a spreadsheet to track what I buy, so that I don't get too much of one thing, and too little of another.  I have set aside a room, with a freezer, and shelf to start the storage.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Memoir - Sundays 2011

One thing we love to do on Sundays, is go to the Fox and Hound pub/restaurant.  By we, I mean, myself and my two children who still live in Nanaimo ... sometimes a friend would come, or their dad if he's home for the weekend.  The restaurant has special roasts on Sundays, such as roast beef or lamb with roast potatoes that are "to die for".  One can play cards at the table, and we usually play rummy while we chat and catch up with the news from the previous week.  Or, just reminisce about family and friends or debate various issues, or tease each other.  It's fun!  I love it!  I don't have to cook ... big plus.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Memoir - My Dad

My dad was a carpenter by trade, working for many years on the South African Railways which he joined on his return from the war (WWII).  Every day he would go to work with his "safari" suit (an outfit with a medium length tunic, shorts above the knees, and worn with long socks and lace up shoes).  He had a hilarious sense of humour, telling funny stories of his childhood around the dinner table.  He enjoyed reading, and was very creative.  I always felt he was a man denied his full potential in life.  He was very intelligent and taught us to respect all people, no matter their colour.  

I don't recall him being a 'huggy' dad, but he did talk to me a lot, perhaps because we had similar interests, such as reading.  I was always happy to make him some tea or coffee, just in case I got a little attention paid to me.  Out of all my siblings, I was the one most interested, I think (my sister always felt I was a 'suck-up').  According to my three elder siblings  (I am the second youngest), he was a tough dad when he was younger, but he was also hard on my younger brother.  I think this is so because I was the most scholarly, and didn't disappoint too much where school marks were concerned.

My dad passed away on September 28, 1973 in the small South African city of East London.  He was 49 years old.  I was 16, for three days. I felt as if my whole world had come to an end.  I wish my children had gotten to know him and my mom, and I had gotten to know them as an adult.

I don't know why, but I always carried one pair of my dad's 'safari' suit socks wherever I moves.  I used them when ice skating.  They were pretty new when he died, but now they are pretty worn.  I like to think that in some way, my dad and I walked/skated/ran/travelled/danced together in those socks. 

I love you, dad, wherever in the universe you may be.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

I Stand for Israel

No, I am not Jewish.  Well, maybe a drop of blood, but that was from an ancestor two generations back.  But, if there is any country besides my own, that I will stand beside and help defend in whatever capacity I can, then that country is Israel.  I am so glad that our Prime Minister, Stephen Harper is on their side, and sees it as the only true democratic country in the middle east.  I am sick of the lies and manipulations perpetrated against Israel (and the sacrifices of the "Palestinian" people by the Arabian countries to this "cause").  We see again, the start of another pogrom against the Jews, but this time, it's global.  The general population of the world believe those who are shouting the lies, that there was no holocaust (there most certainly was, where 6 million people were murdered by the nazi regime merely because they were Jewish), that there was a country called Palestine (none ... it was an area within the Ottoman Empire), and so many other histories of that area being rewritten to try and make Israel unlawful as a country or to debunk the history of the Jewish nation.

The Canadian Islamic Congress said:  "It's not time that we speak on who is right and who is wrong. I think it is time that innocent people in Gaza and Israel be protected." I argue that it is more than past the time that we speak of right and wrong.  Why are the Islamic areas not allowing the Palestine people the right to assimilate into their countries?  They are being forced to live in refugee camps by the very people who should be helping them.  After the war, all Jews were evicted from Islamic countries in the area.  Why could no space be made for the refugees who wanted to leave Israel?  Even someone married to a non-Palestinian cannot be a citizen.  (see interesting Aish article)  I have to wonder why Islam is worried about a people who comprise less than 1% of the world's population. 

I urge Christians to read the book, Is G-d finished with Israel? by Alan Turner.   Check out his website at  It showed me how miraculous it is that Israel even exists today.  I am truly amazed.

Some Historical Links and Current News:
History of Middle East - WW1 to post WW2
PM Harper warns Canadian flotilla members
Christians for Israel
Murdered at Auschwitz (this story really touched my heart)
Canada Votes Alone for Israel
Glenn Beck stands for Israel
Symbols of Israel - Wikipaedia

Memoir - I Choose Life

I cried for the first time in the shower, while my long hair fell out and curled around my feet, wet and dead. Somehow, I thought I would be spared this, but that was an unrealistic expectation. How silly and egotistical. The neurosurgeon had been so careful not to shave too much hair from my skull during the biopsy, and now his carefulness seemed wasted. He left a very expensive piece of metal in my head; titanium will not set off alarms at any airports. The scar of the operation and the dent made by the metal piece became exposed. It seemed, my disease could no longer be hidden.

My cancer is called oligodendroglioma, “the second worst kind of brain tumour one can have,” my oncologist said. I'm not sure if that was supposed to make me feel better, or more fearful, or if she was just stating the facts. I started calling the tumour, Mr. Ollie, trying to become friends with it, you know, so it will treat me kindly. But, it didn't last long. Once the radiation treatment started, and my hair started falling out, the name changed to that fucking tumour, or freaking tumour out loud.

During a radiation treatment, I would close my eyes and imagine a queen (The Queen of Life, I called her) who directed the rays to my tumour to burn it away, then sink into my veins (rivers) and destroy the tiniest of cancer cells.  She had knights who guarded my healthy cells, and would drive away any monstrous growths, hacking at them.  It sure helps to have a lively imagination.

I told the doctor that I didn't want to know the odds on surviving, or how long I had to live, or stuff like that. “Just treat me, and we'll see what happens,” I said. In other words, I chose life and being limited by numbers and percentages was just too negative for me. If it was my time to go, then it would be so, but I chose to fight for my life. I had things to do, places to go, grandchildren to see who are yet to be born. Life is just too exciting to just passively leave without raging a war against death. Yes, I know that day will come, but until then, I live. I sure learned the lesson of living in the moment, that life is fun, and joyous, spiked with the odd pain so we might know the difference. As the Tao Te Ching says, “to live till you die is to live long enough.”

I had children for which I was trying to set an example, so I tried to show my strength, which I gained from them. They were my rock, and took good care of me, since my husband had to travel a lot on business, and I was unable to drive due to the seizures. We hugged a lot, watched funny movies, talked and even had an argument or two. No-one can keep up the pressure of being nice all the time. 

My Visualization Picture
I disliked it when people said, “I'm so sorry,” in that voice of dripping pity, as if you're on your death bed already. Not everyone had that tone, but there was the rare one. Or, “you are so brave,” as if I had a choice. I knew they were just being kind, but it irked me, nonetheless. They couldn't see the days where I was so tired, all I could do was sleep for hours, drink copious amounts of water and juice because my mouth was so dry. Sometimes, I woke up in the middle of the night, sweating with fear. And then, gratefully fell asleep because the drugs made me that tired. I learned the power of prayer during those dark, lonely nights. My friends knew the struggle I had and they added their prayers and positive thoughts to mine.

Once out of the radiation treatment, I had a month break, then onto chemotherapy. The chemotherapy drug was in capsule form, which I could swallow at home. I was fortunate that my blood had the markers that would give this form of chemotherapy a good chance to work. I still had to go for MRI's every six months, and the first one after the end of chemotherapy, showed the cancer was clear, and still clear after the next MRI six months later. My doctor informed me in June 2010 that henceforth, I would only have them annually. And I can drive after more than a year of taking the bus or relying on someone to drive me. Life is good. Yeeeesssss!

“I had better not get run over by a bus now,” I said to my husband, as we walked out of the cancer centre building. 

[Note: I am due for my next MRI and oncological appointment at the end of this month.  And, my hair has grown back thick and irritatingly curly.  :)]

Yellow daisies

Yellow daisies
taken in Nanaimo

White daisies

White daisies
field of daisies taken in Nanaimo